Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Apple 2017 WWDC Opening Keynote: What Does It All Mean?

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There was a lot to absorb today in the opening 2+ hour keynote from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose, CA.

There are plenty of blog posts that are deconstructing the individual pieces and all the speeds and feeds. As a longtime, but skeptical, Apple fanboy, I thought I’d throw in my two cents…

  • Apple HomePod. Is it a “breakthrough home speaker” or is it Apple’s answer to the home assistant market from which it has been conspicuously absent?  Yes, and yes.  But it’s not about the speaker, nor does it seem to be about Apple’s home assistant. It’s somewhere in between, and with Google Home and Amazon Echoes and Taps flying off the shelves, and introducing new capabilities almost daily, Apple has a LOT of catching up to do here.
  • A new and invigorated Siri…hopefully. — Let’s face it, aside from IBM Watson, Siri was one of the first faces of a common AI. But AI seems to have taken a a few gap years, and certainly hasn’t exactly been studying for the GMAT or LSATs. We did see some new Siri capabilities with iOS 11 today (a more proactive, Google Assistant-like-orientation vis a vis the Apple Watch), a new male voice, and some cool language translation betas. But I, for one, expected to hear more about the newer and smarter Siri.
  • The ARKit Future. Apple’s new augmented reality feature in iOS 11, ARKit, is probably the most exciting “new new” thing we saw on stage today from Apple. The Wingnut AR demo (Peter Jackson’s new AR company) absolutely killed it in terms of future AR direction, and the gaming potential alone could be HUGE. AR is the immediate future of our mobile augmented reality future, and ARKit could be one of the jumpstarters developers need to start to make it (almost) real.
  • Hang on to your MacBook Air. There was lots of advanced chatter about new MacBooks, and that’s just what we got: A new MacBook (it looks like an Air, but doesn’t have the name), new MacBook Pros, a new iMac, and even an iMac Pro. Oh yeah, and a 10.5 inch iPad Pro. Hang on to those vintage 2011-2012 MacBook Airs — you might be able to sell them to desperate MBA loyalists in a few years.
  • Amazon on the Apple TV. Not sure if this is just a strategic hedge against other TV set top players or a me, too, but the really interesting part of this could be the enhanced AI and voice capabilities, especially now that 3rd party developers will be able to write to it.
  • Making new time with the Apple Watch. Okay, I’m a sucker for gimmicks, so the new “Toy Story” character watch faces and animations — all over it. For fitness buffs, the new and improved Activity tracker could help you get rid of that expensive personal trainer, but the headline for the watch for me personally was using Siri’s contextual answers and suggestions (assuming Siri HAS been doing her homework).
  • iPad Multitasking Features. Apple realizes that to jump start iPad sales, it needs to better position the device as a full-on laptop/notebook replacement. To do that, it needs to continually show that the iPad can do more and faster. Today, it introduced several changes that make it easier to multitask, including a new dragging and dropping capability that allows one to move assets between two apps in Split View. Sounds arcane enough, but much needed, even if it was more “me, too” against the Mac OS desktop. Apple also showed off a new File System for iOS and an overhauled App Switcher that should up the ante on the iPod’s potential for taking over as “the” work machine (The new Apple Pencil capabilities, including marking up PDFs, will also help here).

I’ll be keeping an eye out for other reactions, particularly from developers. Apple pointed out the review time for newly-submitted App Store is down to 24 hours, and highlighted the fact that developers have been paid out over $70B U.S. since its launch in 2008, and on pace to deliver $10B+ this year alone. 

Written by turbotodd

June 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Apple Earnings And AirPods

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Apple announced its latest earnings report, and while the company doesn’t typically break out sales of its Apple Watch, Cook did note that the revenue in the last year from Apple’s wearables business was “the size of a Fortune 500 company.”

As The Verge pointed out, the smallest Fortune 500 company “pulled in $5.1 billion in revenue last year.”

The Apple announced its latest earnings report, and while the company doesn’t typically break out sales of its Apple Watch, Cook did note that the revenue in the last year from Apple’s wearables business was “the size of a Fortune 500 company.” wearables business consists of the Apple Watch, the Beats headphones, and the company’s newest entrant, AirPods (more on those in a moment).

As The Verge pointed out, the smallest Fortune 500 company “pulled in $5.1 billion in revenue last year.”

The Apples wearables business consists of the Apple Watch, the Beats headphones, and the company’s newest entrant, AirPods (more on those in a moment).

CNBC reported that Apple iPhone unit shipments were off the mark, selling 50.8M against a 52M expectation. And while 451 Research highlights that smartphone buying intent has fallen to a nine-year low, Wall Street projections suggest some 300M iPhones could be set for an upgrade this fall.

It could be needed, as Mac growth was tepid at 4 percent YOY, iPad units fell 13 percent YOY, and Apple’s China sales fell 12 percent YOY.

On the upside, the App Store was up 40 percent and Apple’s developer community grew by over 20 percent, according to Cook.

Now back to those AirPods.

They seem to be a sleeper hit. You can’t find them anywhere, save for maybe Craig’s List, and I’ve been told there’s at least a six week wait.

So while Apple may have missed on their AirPods demand forecast, those folks who *do* have them in hand (or, in ear, as it were) seem to love them madly.

Tech.pinion’s Ben Bajarin partnered with Experian to track down 942 people willing to take a quick AirPods user survey. Customer sat with the AirPods is at 98%! — that’s 82 percent “Very Satisfied” and 16% “Satisfied.”

That’s a record for customer sat for a new product from Apple, according to Bajarin. He points out that the iPhone had a 92 percent customer sat level when it was released in 2007, and the Apple Watch came close at 97 percent in 2015.

The Net Promoter Score for AirPods is also off the charts at 75 (the iPhone’s NPS is 72).

Writes Bajarin: Product and NPS specialists will tell you anything above 50 is excellent and anything above 70 is world class.

So what gives? Bajarin suggests it’s partially the fact that AirPods users are most likely early adopters, so they’re going to be inclined to love the product.

But I also have to think the fact that these are the first wireless ear buds from Apple, ones which automagically synch up with Apple devices (Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.), and have good sound and battery life are big contributors to their speedy success.

And, based on some of the survey verbatims, they just seem to work better than prior Bluetooth headphones.

Imagine that. A new product that just works.

CNBC reported that Apple iPhone unit shipments were off the mark, selling 50.8M against a 52M expectation. And while 451 Research highlights that smartphone buying intent has fallen to a nine-year low, Wall Street projections suggest some 300M iPhones could be set for an upgrade this fall.

It could be needed, as Mac growth was tepid at 4 percent YOY, iPad units fell 13 percent YOY, and Apple’s China sales fell 12 percent YOY.

On the upside, the App Store was up 40 percent and Apple’s developer community grew by over 20 percent, according to Cook.

Now back to those AirPods.

They seem to be a sleeper hit. You can’t find them anywhere, save for maybe Craig’s List, and I’ve been told there’s at least a six week wait.

So while Apple may have missed on their AirPods demand forecast, those folks who *do* have them in hand (or, in ear, as it were) seem to love them madly.

Tech.pinion’s Ben Bajarin partnered with Experian to track down 942 people willing to take a quick AirPods user survey. Customer sat with the AirPods is at 98%! — that’s 82 percent “Very Satisfied” and 16% “Satisfied.”

That’s a record for customer sat for a new product from Apple, according to Bajarin. He points out that the iPhone had a 92 percent customer sat level when it was released in 2007, and the Apple Watch came close at 97 percent in 2015.

The Net Promoter Score for AirPods is also off the charts at 75 (the iPhone’s NPS is 72).

Writes Bajarin: Product and NPS specialists will tell you anything above 50 is excellent and anything above 70 is world class.

So what gives? Bajarin suggests its partially the fact that AirPods users are most likely early adopters, so they’re going to be inclined to love the product.

But I also have to think the fact that these are the first wireless ear buds from Apple, ones which automagically synch up with Apple devices (Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.), and have good sound and battery life are big contributors to their speedy success.

And, based on some of the survey verbatims, they just seem to work better than prior Bluetooth headphones.

Imagine that. A new product that just works.

Written by turbotodd

May 3, 2017 at 9:52 am

Apple Acquires Workflow

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Happy Thursday… Much as with March Madness, there were some significant upsets yesterday in the Dell World Golf Championships here in Austin Texas… Most tragic was last year’s winner, Jason Day, announcing his withdrawal from the tournament after six holes due to his mother’s terminal cancer. He held a gutwrenching press conference, but the former world number one golfer clearly has his priorities in the right place.

Jason, here’s wishing you and your entire family all the best as your mom fights for her life. For those of us familiar with your backstory, we know how much of a fighter she is and how much she helped you get to where you are today.

Now, back to the technology news of the day: Apple has finalized a deal to acquire Workflow, a tool that lets you put together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks.

TechCrunch reported the news, but was unable to get financial details for the deal. As they write:

Workflow has been around for a couple of years and we’ve covered it and its updates. It shares some similarity with the service IFTTT, in that it allows people to group together a bunch of actions that can allow them to perform complicated tasks with one tap. It had built up a sizeable number of users and downloads over the past few years.
– via TechCrunch

They also report that the Workflow app will continue to be made available on the App Store and will be made free later today.

Which makes all you people who bought the app in the last week suckers.

Written by turbotodd

March 23, 2017 at 10:07 am

Apple’s Augmented Reality

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We’re well into March Madness and it sounds like there have been some major bracket busting upsets.

I don’t have a dog in this hunt, so I’ll keep my observations to myself.

The SXSW circus is over and the tent’s (and corporate takeovers) are quickly being demolished.

Thanks, Garth Brooks, for coming to Austin to close out the show. Here’s hoping you found some friends in low places.

Looking forward, Bloomberg has a piece out today on Apple’s next big thing, augmented reality:

As previously reported by Bloomberg, Apple is working on several AR products, including digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone and beam content—movies, maps and more—to the wearer. While the glasses are a ways off, AR features could show up in the iPhone sooner.
– via Bloomberg.com

Investors impatient for Apple’s next breakthrough will be happy to know that Cook is very serious about AR. People with knowledge of the company’s plans say Apple has embarked on an ambitious bid to bring the technology to the masses—an effort Cook and his team see as the best way for the company to dominate the next generation of gadgetry and keep people wedded to its ecosystem.
– via Bloomberg.com

Bloomberg observes the global market for AR will “surge 80 percent to $165 billion by 2024.”

Them’s a lot of Pokemon.

Written by turbotodd

March 20, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Building iPhones in Bangalore

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More Apple news overnight…

The company will soon start to manufacture its iPhone SE model in Bangalore through its subcontractor, Wistron.

This would be Apple’s first move to assemble its iPhones in India. However, as the Economic Times of India observes, “the biggest hurdle preventing Apple from cornering a larger slice of the Indian smartphone pie” is its price points. A new model iPhone in India starts at upwards of Rs 50,000 (roughly $745 U.S.).

MacRumors explains that Apple had been in talks with the Indian federal government to garner possible tax concessions if the company agreed to manufacture its phones locally, but that apparently the “initial manufacturing of the iPhone SE is not contingent on any such concessions.”

It goes on to explain that this move into India “looks to offset slowing growth in China by boosting its share of the Indian phone market.”

The iPhone is expected to come in at around Rs 28,460 (roughly $424).

Note: I’m a proud iPhone SE owner my own self. I opted to get the four-inch model because I like the smaller form factor than the 6/7, and with a Mophie case lasts a full day burning up the AC/DC. I also like the fact when I’m riding the bus to work I can hold and operate it with a single hand and thumb. The tradeoff is definitely smaller screen size, but for me the SE strikes the right balance.

Written by turbotodd

February 17, 2017 at 8:17 am

Posted in 2017, apple, iPhone

Apple Announces WWDC 2017: June 5-9

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Apple has announced its developer conference, WWDC 2017, will be held June 5th to June 9th, and will change venues from previous years to the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose.

9to5 Mac is reporting that Apple is expected to unveil the next major versions of its software operating systems, including iOS 11, macOS 10.13, and updates to tvOS and watchOS.

Why the change of venue?

TechCrunch suggests San Jose is simply more convenient to Apple’s HQ in Cupertino (15 minutes to San Jose vs. 45 to San Francisco, where the Moscone Center is located).

Because there are an expected 1,000 Apple engineers that will be addressing the Apple developer community, it’s more convenient for the Apple participants. For the independent Apple developer, it’s less of a hit to the pocketbook (in terms of travel, hotel costs, etc.)

The conference price is expected to cost roughly the same, $1,599.

Developers will be able to register for a WWDC ticket starting March 27. Then, there will be a lottery to select the attendees (demand usually exceeds ticket supply!)

Written by turbotodd

February 16, 2017 at 9:16 am

Posted in 2017, apple, developers, wwdc

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The Data Unlimited

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Lotsa news on the telecommunications and smartphone front leading up to Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress later this month.

Verizon threw down its gauntlet on unlimited data, its first since 2011 according to MacRumors. The new plan unveiled Sunday includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data, and will cost $80/month for a single smartphone or tablet.

But unlimited isn’t completely unlimited, as “Verizon Unlimited” includes a potential slowdown after customers exceed 22 GB of data usage in a single billing cycle.

Over at Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, they’re looking to introduce their own code-named processor, “Pinecone” within the month, writes Ars Technica. This moves Xiaomi into an alternative smartphone processor universe, considering that most every Android OEM other than Samsung and Huawei have been Qualcomm customers.

Meanwhile, Android Authority reported that Huawei defied slowing global smartphone sales trends and shipped 139M units in 2016, a nearly 30 percent YOY increase. It’s consumer division revenues grew 42% to $26B.

But probably the most intriguing numbers to recently appear were new device activations leading into the Christmas holidays. Flurry has apparently done this analysis every year for several years, and this year, the headline was this: For every Samsung device activated, Apple saw two activated devices (44 percent for Apple, 21 percent for Samsung).

Admittedly, Samsung had a bit of a rough 2016, but yet and still, 2 to 1…and this as Apple recently announced record earnings, sending their stock price to an all-time high.

The sub-headline was that the so-called “phablet” was the dominant form factor by the end of 2016 (with phablet being defined as a smartphone having a screen intermediate in size, between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.

Written by turbotodd

February 14, 2017 at 8:52 am

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