Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

X Marks the Spot

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Yesterday was Samsung S9 day.

Today is Apple iPhone whatever-comes-next day.

Bloomberg is reporting Apple is preparing to release three new smartphones later this year, including the largest iPhone ever, along with an upgraded handset the size of the current iPhone X and a less expensive model that has the X’s flagship features.

According to the report, Apple is trying to appeal to consumers who “crave the multitasking attributes of so-called phablets while also catering to those looking for a more affordable version of the iPhone X.”

What, you mean people aren’t responding kindly to having to spend $1,000+ for a phone-slash-computer in their pocket?!

Bloomberg assets the iPhone X has not sold as well as had been expected, which has led to Apple trimming the supply. Apparently consumers want something somewhere between the iPhone 8, which doesn’t have enough new widgets and whistles, and the iPhone X, which requires a mortgage.

The article also suggests the larger screen should appeal to business users, who could use the new iPhone to write emails and manage spreadsheets on a screen “about as big as a small tablet.” The new device would also likely include split-screen mode for certain apps, another feature that would make it more attractive to business users.

Now the question is will Apple come up with the equivalent of Samsung’s DeX docking station, a device that will soon take a Samsung S9 smartphone and turn it into a working desktop computer?

That surely is the direction all this has to be going, right?

Written by turbotodd

February 27, 2018 at 9:25 am

Posted in 2018, apple, iphone x

Summoning Siri

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Apple apparently thinks it can improve upon its extremely popular wireless AirPods headphones. 

Bloomberg is s that the company is working on a new version for release as soon as this year which has an upgraded wireless chip, and another model next year that makes the headphones water resistant.

This year’s update will allegedly allow one to summon Siri’s digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by instead saying, “Hey Siri.”

To which I would say, can I ask it to refer me over to “Google Assistant.”

I’m all for improved hardware, but IMHO, Apple needs to be focusing much more attention on the software side of things, and specifically, having Siri continue her education to train up to better respond to what are increasingly table stake queries.

Don’t get me wrong — I love me some AirPods, and don’t know how I got along without them for so long.  All those wires, all those times I was on my bike tangling up and dropping my phone. Love me no wires!

But Apple, please, do yourself a favor and make Siri smarter before worrying so much about whether or not I have to tap my AirPods to summon her! Because if she doesn’t get smarter and soon, there won’t be any reason to say, “HEY, SIRI!”

Written by turbotodd

February 22, 2018 at 9:47 am

Posted in 2018, AI, airpods, apple, siri

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A Drop in Tablets

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Whatever you do, don’t look at the Dow. Again.

Trading just started here in the U.S., and the Dow is already on the way down again (but only 1.68 percent, as of press time).

Stairs on the way up, elevator on the way down.

Me, I want to turn my attention back to some positive technology news. Okay, er, uh, well, some technology news, anyhow.

I’ll start with a report from IDC as reported by VentureBeat on the subject of tablet sales. IDC’s latest report indicates the tablet market has now declined YOY for 13 quarters straight, with Q4 2017 witnessing a 7.9 YOY decline.

IDC’s estimates count both slate form factors and detachables (tablets with keyboards included).

In terms of market share, Apple led the way with 26.6 percent share, followed by Amazon at 15.6 percent, and Samsung at 14.1 percent.

If you, too, aren’t in the market for a new tablet, perhaps the Apple HomePod might strike your fancy.

The Verge got their hands on one, explaining that whether Apple likes it or not, the HomePod "is the company’s answer to the wildly popular Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers."

So what’s the skinny? The Verge writes that "while it’s true that the HomePod sounds incredible — it sounds far better than any other speaker in its price range — it also demands that you live entirely inside Apple’s ecosystem in a way that event Apple’s other products do not."

So, Apple HomePod is like Wilson the Volleyball — it lives on an island, like Tom Hanks in "Castaway." Got it.

For an example, consider this headline from the review: "Siri Can’t Compete with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant."

You can’t ask Siri to look up a recipe. You can’t ask Siri to make a phone call. (You have to start the phone call on your phone and transfer it to the HomePod to use it as a just-okay speakerphone.) Siri also can’t compete with the huge array of Alexa skills, or Google Assistant’s ability to answer a vast variety of questions.

In other words, if you’re living on Apple’s island ecosystem, have at it.

Written by turbotodd

February 6, 2018 at 8:49 am

Posted in 2018, apple

Tagged with , , , ,

Apple Earnings

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Apple announced its fiscal 2018 first quarter earnings this afternoon, posting quarterly revenue of $88.3 billion, a 13 percent YOY increase and all-time record. International sales accounted for 65 percent of its quarter’s revenue, according to a press release put out by Apple.

We’re thrilled to report the biggest quarter in Apple’s history, with broad-based growth that included the highest revenue ever from a new iPhone lineup. iPhone X surpassed our expectations and has been our top-selling iPhone every week since it shipped in November,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve also achieved a significant milestone with our active installed base of devices reaching 1.3 billion in January. That’s an increase of 30 percent in just two years, which is a testament to the popularity of our products and the loyalty and satisfaction of our customers.

9to5 Mac helped break Apple’s unit sales down by product line:

  • 77.3 million iPhones
  • 13.2 million iPads
  • 5.1 million Macs

The company earned $20.1 billion in profit.

But Engadget notes that this was “the first time iPhone sales have declined during a holiday quarter since the phone launched, best as we can tell,” suggesting an iPhone market saturation.

Yet even if Apple overshot its forecast for iPhone X sales and is ramping down production, “Apple says the iPhone X has been the top-selling iPhone every week since it shipped in early November.”

One other bright spot: The “other products” category, which includes the Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats hardware, and other products, where revenue increased 70 percent YOY up to $5.5 billion.

Perhaps AirPods have finally hit their stride, with supply now starting to finally match demand (they appeared 6-week backlogged for the better part of a year!).

Written by turbotodd

February 1, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Posted in 2018, apple, earnings

Tagged with , , ,

Apple to Cut iPhone X Production

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As my IA friend explained in a Facebook message, “It’s the notch.”

Apple’s new anchor iPhone, the iPhone X, is having is production slashed for the three-month period ending March 31 due to slack demand.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to make about 20 million iPhone X handsets in the first quarter, down by half from the original 40 million forecast.

Those familiar with the iPhone supply chain indicated Apple had cut orders for components used in the iPhone X by 60 percent.

Why is it not selling?

troubles incorporating the new technology led to delays in the manufacturing process, and forced Apple to abandon the use of fingerprints as an option to unlock the phones.
– via WSJ

Those early delays were exacerbated by a shortage of certain components used in the facial-recognition system. Sales of the iPhone X were pushed back until Nov. 3, shortening the critical retailing window ahead of the holiday shopping season.
– via WSJ

Then there is the $1,000 base price—many consumers don’t believe the features justify spending that much money, some analysts say.
– via WSJ

Written by turbotodd

January 30, 2018 at 11:58 am

Posted in 2018, apple, iPhone, iphone x

Reading Apple

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Couple of news bites on the Apple front today.

Apple has released the first developer betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, and they include new features such as additional Animoji, Business Chat for iMessage, among others.

AirPlay 2 is also available but apparently hidden, according to a report from 9to5Mac.

What, you ask me to remind you, exactly does AirPlay 2 do?


With iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, however, AirPlay 2 officially supports multi-room playback. This means that you can stream to multiple Apple TVs directly from your iPhone for a full in-home audio experience.
– via 9to5Mac

And yet Apple announced yesterday that the HomePod would initially ship without multi-room support…with the HomePod being one of the most natural use cases for AirPlay 2.

9to5Mac also notes that AirPlay 2 marks the first major upgrade for the audio streaming feature since its original introduction in 2011.

Meanwhile, back at the virtual bookstore, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is preparing to take on Amazon in the digital book market once again.

The Bloomberg story indicates that Apple is working on a redesign version of it iBooks e-book reading application for iPhones and iPads, and has hired an executive from Amazon for the project.


The new app, due to be released in coming months, will include a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read and a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched last year, according to people familiar with its development. The revamped app in testing includes a new section called Reading Now and a dedicated tab for audio books, the people said.
– via Bloomberg.com

Like AirPlay 2, this iBook overhaul will also be a major upgrade to an app that has gathered a bit of dust over the past several years. That stagnation was led partly by the U.S. Department of Justice’s suit against Apple in 2012 for its alleged e-book pricing collusion scheme, one which resulted in a $450 fine for Apple in 2016.

Note: As of early 2017, Amazon had just over 83 percent of the U.S. e-book market.

That’s a whole lot of reading that needs to get done before Apple can even begin to close the gap!

Written by turbotodd

January 25, 2018 at 9:31 am

Posted in 2018, apple, e-books, iOS

Apple HomePod: Better Late Than Never?

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Apple’s eagerly-awaited answer to the Alexa Echo and Google Home voice assistants/speakers, the Apple HomePod, will be on its way home starting Friday, February 9th.

Orders are available to be taken online starting this Friday, January 26, in the US, UK, and Australia, according to a press release from Apple, and will arrive in France and Germany in the spring.

Here’s how Apple is positioning the device:

HomePod delivers stunning audio quality wherever it’s placed — in any room in the house, playing any style of music. Using just your voice, it’s easy and fun to use, and works together with an Apple Music subscription for a breakthrough music experience, providing access to one of the world’s largest cloud music libraries. Siri, now actively used on over half a billion devices, has developed a deep knowledge of music and understands your preferences and tastes. And with Siri, HomePod can send a message, set a timer, play a podcast, check the news, sports, traffic and weather, and even control a wide range of HomeKit smart home accessories.
– via Apple Newsroom

As for the price tag, well, it’s pretty Apple-ish: $349, well above the retail prices of Google Home at $129 and Amazon Echo at $179.

Call it the Apple premium.

The Verge has some key questions: Will HomePad work with subscriptions other than Apple Music like, say, Spotify? Will Siri be as capable on the HomePod as it is on other devices (and let’s face, Siri has falled behind in AI compared to the other students). And users will have to wait until a software update later this year if they want multi-room audio.

Turbo Take: Apple fans may very well have waited to pay more for less, but Apples has an uphill climb in terms of catching up to the incumbents. And I say that as a longtime Apple fanboy who already owns an Alexa Tap. Sometimes late to market is just too late. We’ll soon see whether or not that’s the case with the HomePod.

Written by turbotodd

January 23, 2018 at 9:32 am

Posted in 2018, amazon echo, apple, homepod

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