Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

All You Need is Love…and $999

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Well, I was able to make my way through the entire Apple keynote today LIVE (via streaming video) from the new Steve Jobs Theater on the also new Apple Park spaceship-like campus.

The opening video was clever, as it showed people walking into the new theater for the first time ever. Accompanying the walk-in video was The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”

Yes, all you need is love, and $999, if you wish to purchase the new Apple X (pronounced “ten,” not “ex”) 64GB iPhone, whose new features include an A11 Bionic neural engine chip, a first-of-its-kind OLED screen, and a new Facial ID security feature that makes Touch ID obsolete and has a 1 in a million (according to Apple) chance of being hacked.

No doubt, it’s a gorgeous new smartphone, and yes, it’s being released in the 10th anniversary year of the original iPhone’s introduction. But unless you’re really excited by the novelty of the Face ID authentication or the “Super Retina Display” or the increased speeds and feeds of the A11 bionic neural networking chip, then this particular “one more thing” may just be that.

Apple also introduced the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which also come with the A11 chip, which is optimized for 3D games and Metal 2, paving the way for Apple’s coming Augmented Reality onslaught. Both the iPhone 8 devices and the X will now be charged via Qi-standards based wireless chargers, which apparently will create a new cottage industry of 3rd party opportunities for the likes of Mophie.

For me, the upside surprise came with the new Apple Watch Series 3, one which has built-in LTE and gets us closer than ever to Dick Tracy-land. In fact, the demo involved the presenter making a live Watch-to-Watch call to another Apple employee who was out on a body of water somewhere paddle boarding. Thankfully, she didn’t fall in while on camera, but the new Apple Watch working as a phone with no iPhone in sight was, well, a welcome sight. Too bad I just bought a Series 1 earlier this year!

In terms of software, I should have known better — there wasn’t much on offer for what clearly was an Apple fall hardware announcement. There were some cute new animated emojis using the Face ID tech: “animojis.” The Apple Watch includes some new heart monitoring capabilities, including the ability to monitor for atrial fibrillation (if your heart is fibrillating, put down your Apple Watch and call your doctor, FAST!).

My favorite was what looks to be a killer new AR game called “The Machines” where you can point your iPhone 8 (but what about my SE??) and shoot stuff with your friends.

And if you *were* awaiting news about the new iOS 11, Apple indicated it would be available for download starting a week from today (September 19th).

As for buying new stuff, I’ll stick with my year-old Apple iPhone SE for now — it still has a headphone jack I can actually plug stuff into, even if I do have to … first world deep sigh … plug it in as well every night to charge the thing. Oh, the horror….

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

What I’m Looking For In Today’s Apple Announcements

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In a phrase, not much.

First, I’m excited about seeing the new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new spaceship HQ.

Second, while I *am* interested in seeing the specs, speeds and feeds of the reported Apple X and iPhone 8 models, I’m not sure there’s anything transformative that will appear (maybe the presumed "Face ID" facial recognition will be interesting).

The new LTE-enabled Apple Watch? Well, I waited two years to buy the Apple Watch, and Apple told me it had to be tethered to my iPhone and that for my watch to work, I would have to carry my iPhone everywhere I go.

So I did. And I do!

The new Apple TV…meh. I already got one and I hardly use the thing, and I don’t think 4K support will be the kickstarter.

Which leaves us with…what?

Software.

I’m looking to see how the software changes and improves.

I’m looking to see if Siri is getting smarter and more usable.

I’m really looking to see if iOS 11 delivers on some needed improvements…a new, designed Control Center (for better shortcuts and preferred app settings)…Document scanner in Notes…Drag and drop with the iPad…Instant Markup with the Apple Pencil (through a variety of apps)…In short, I’m looking to see if the iPad Pro could actually start me down the road to using the iPad as an MBP replacement.

Other than that, I don’t expect much. : 0

Don’t get me wrong, because I am, indeed, invested heavily in the Apple ecosystem.

But in the past I’ve also bought into too much hype of these types of announcements.

So rather than drool over my screen like a fanboy ready to wait in line for the iPhone X until next February, I’m instead looking for some serious progress on the software front.

Siri, are you listening?

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

iPhone Shmyphone

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Apparently I missed the whole iPhone 10-year anniversary celebration thing yesterday.

Judging from my RSS feeds, though, there was a lot of fond remembrances of how much the iPhone changed the world, even if the original 2G phone connections were lethally slow.
In 2007, I was still a diehard BlackBerry user — my Bold took me around the world and back again, and it did email really, really well (and worked in just about every country I flew to).

But eventually I pried my cold, live hands from the BlackBerry keyboard and migrated to the iPhone. I’d already been a Mac user since…well, I won’t say when…and it only seemed logical.

I’m not one of those who holds the iPhone up on the altar of technology worship. Nor do I denigrate the iPhone because it’s presence has led to no end of human folly and absurdities due to its use or misuse. And don’t ask me to name any of them, because I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

No, for me, the iPhone is a tool, plain and simple. A wonderous one, one that allows me to stay in touch with people all over the globe at the touch of a button.

One that allows me to watch human calamity in real-time from afar.

One that allows me, for good and bad, to respond to work email from anywhere I have a data connection (which is almost everywhere, but not completely).

One that allows me to learn new things, entertain myself, buy stuff, take pictures and videos….we all know what it does for us, personally.

What it does for culture and society and the broader world? Well, I can make a strong argument that it brings us all closer together, but others would argue it does just the opposite, that it takes us further apart.

As with anything, and as with any technology, it’s really all relative and depends on your point of view.

As I look back on the first ten years of the iPhone, I force myself to remember that these devices are called “smartphones.”

Whether or not the iPhone (and subsequent smartphones) have made us any smarter is probably still up for debate.

Whether or not I would pretty much be lost without my own is not.

Are you paying attention to me? Are you still reading this?!

Look at me and stop looking at that damned phone!

: )

Written by turbotodd

June 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

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

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 App Store Price Increases

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The BBC is reporting that Apple is expected to shortly raise prices for what it charges for apps in select countries, including the UK, India, and Turkey.

The increase is about a 25 percent one over previous currency conversions, which for the UK was 79p.

Now, Apple intends to numerically match the U.S. cost, meaning a $.99 app in the U.S. will now be 99p in the UK.

9to5 Mac asserts that the rising prices for both apps and in-app purchases is due to changes in exchange rates and taxation policy. Call it “The Brexit Effect,” which has led to weakened pound exchange rate post-Brexit.

Also figuring into the equation is the UK’s 20 percent value-added tax.

Apple app developers should check the official documentation for the full details and breakdown of the app cost increases.

Written by turbotodd

January 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Posted in 2017, apple, apps, developers, iPhone

(Not) Home For The Holidays

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I’m pretty happy I don’t have to travel today.  I’m going to wait until tomorrow, when all the turkeys have gotten off the road.

Of course, watch out for Wal-Mart and other big retail parking lots.  The consternation about having to work on Thanksgiving is pervasive, and I wouldn’t want to see any customers attempt to play Frogger in those big parking lots.  It’s dangerous enough just trying to get through the doors and into the store!

As always, my wise counsel is to shop from the comfort of your couch.

Walt Mossberg, the ever-dependable tech journalist with The Wall Street Journal, has written an article about “Making Sense of All the New Laptop Flavors.”

He goes on about the various flavors of Windows 8 PCs and tablets, before concluding that the “least costly Mac laptop” is the 11-inch MacBook Air, for $999.

I bought one just about a year ago, and I maintain it’s still the best, fastest, lightest, most dependable computer I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned plenty.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have splurged for more SSD, but that’s it.

If you want to make sure your personal shopping engine is fully revved before Black Friday, Gizmodo’s providing its Ultimate Black Friday guide for geeks, grouping deals by category, and offering a list of when every retailer is slated to be open on Black Friday, just in case you prefer shopping in a mosh pit.

As for an update on my new Apple Mini-me “mini,” otherwise known as the 5th generation iPod touch, I can only say I have no buyer’s remorse, even now after having seen the iPad mini in the flesh.

The retina screen and the small form factor on the newest touch are working perfectly for me thus far. I bought a new “Need for Speed” racing game just to be able to check out the graphics in full force, and the retina screen is simply stunning (as are movies and Netflix streams). I’ve always read what a great gaming platform the touch is, but playing that racing game has cemented it.

Over the next several days, if you want to keep pace with IBM’s annual holiday campaign “Digital Analytics” benchmark, just follow IBM’s e-shopping analytics guru, @jay_henderson (a fellow Texan!).

Jay and his team will be working and posting reports throughout the weekend and into next week to keep us all informed how the holiday e-retail season is going. Jay’s already indicated we can expect to see growing numbers on the mobile and tablet shopping footprint this year.  You can read Jay’s holiday set up piece here.

That said, don’t ignore those retail emails piling up in your in-box — email continues to be the e-retail Trojan Horse, with lots of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already being distributed. From Amazon to Golfsmith, I’ve received a number of holiday email deals, and it’s all I can do to keep my credit card filed away in my anti-scanning wallet!

If you’re looking for gainful employment this pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday, you might want to try somewhere other than LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Website had a “service unavailable” message this morning, and TechCrunch has been reporting a LinkedIn site outage.

As for me, I’ll be (mostly) disappearing from the cyber maze over the course of the next week. It’s my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, and I’m taking them on a cruise in the Caribbean to celebrate. I may send a post or two via email if I’m so inspired, but mostly I’ll be spending some quality time with my parents and some extended family, and gazing out at the Gulf of Mexico in a pina colada-induced haze (virgin pina coladas, of course).

For all of my readers here in the United States, I wish you a very happy and restful holiday weekend. For those of you outside the U.S., enjoy the email and conference call silence from your U.S. colleagues…it won’t last long!

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