Maccast 2018.02.04 - Show #643
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V In this episode:
* More claims of "disappointing" iPhone sales
* Apple's 1st quarter 2018 results
* Apple custom silicon and future Macs
* Expect less from iOS 12
* A "happy" Apple support story, more Home Pod stuff, doing remote support on iOS, and more on this episode.
V News
V 'Disappointing' iPhone X sales, really?
* Nikkei ran a report last week claiming that Apple had notified their suppliers to cut first quarter production targets on the iPhone X in half, from 40 million units to 20 million
* The report also suggests that the cuts are due to "lower than expected" iPhone X sales.
* The same piece also noted that Apple is expected to maintain a total production target of 30 million units for lower priced models such as the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 7.
V I don't dispute that Apple may have ordered some or many of their suppliers to cut upcoming production
* Apple often does this after a major product launch because they are leveling out production after ramping up for the launch
V What I question is that the "reason" is lower than expected iPhone X sales. I just don't see evidence to support that.
* A Kantar World Panel report found for the month of December that the iPhone X among the top three best selling devices across Europe, urban China, Japan, Australia, and the U.S
* Data from Counterpoint for the 4th quarter of 2017 showed all three of Apple's iPhone's as top sellers, but claimed in the US that the iPhone X outsold the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus by a 2:1 margin.
* An executive from Murata, a company believed to be helping Apple with liquid crystal polymer-based flexible circuit board, told Reuters that their understanding was the cut was not as large as reports claimed.
V And then of course we have Apple's own Q1 2018 results and statements from Tim Cook
* They had a record $88.3B in revenue for the quarter, beating their own guidance, and generating $20.1B in profit
V They sold 77.3M iPhones, 13.2M iPads, and 5.1M Macs
* Last year they sold 78.3M iPhones, 13M iPads, and 5.3M Macs
* So fewer iPhones by a hair, but iPhone revenue was up 11 percent year over year.
* Cook said the iPhone X was Apple's top-selling iPhone every week since it shipped in November.
* International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.
* Apple Watch has seen 50% growth in unit sales and revenue for the fourth consecutive quarter.
* Total revenue from wearables, Watch, Beats, AirPods, was up almost 70 percent year-over-year.
* iPhone still accounts for 70 percent of Apple's revenue, followed by Services at 10 percent, Mac at 8 percent, iPad at 7 percent, and "Other" at 6 percent.
V Ming-Chi Kuo doubts Apple will have a new iPhone SE 2 model out in Q2
* At least he doesn't think a majorly re-designed one.
V Claim's with the rumored three "new" designs in the works for the Fall Apple just doesn't have the resources
* I think if they wanted to they could, but it just doesn't make sense to spend the resources.
* If Apple does update the SE it will be a "minor" upgrade.
* Faster CPU, possibly lower price.
V Apple adding T-series chips to more Macs
* A new report from Bloomberg claims Apple is working on at least three updated Mac models with custom co-processors for release this year.
* The piece also says it's "a matter of time" before Apple bings a Mac to market with it's own custom designed chip.
V There is certainly a LOT of evidence that Apple wants to design and build "the whole widget" on all their products
* They have a history of it.
* Apple's R&D spending just passed 3B for the time
* They have chip labs all over Cupertino and in Israel and have been poaching chip engineers and buying up processor design companies for the past few years.
V It all just makes sense.
* They have much tighter control over the hardware and software integration. More efficient lower power processors tuned to Apple's specs
* Lower component costs
* Keeps their technology a secret from competitive partners like Samsung.
V There are even rumors that Apple may make their own cellular broadband chips at some point
* More immediately KGI analyst Ming Chi Kuo thinks now that Apple plans to use Intel as the exclusive supplier of baseband chips fro their 2018 iPhones
* Originally it was thought Qualcomm would get 30 percent of the orders, but Apple’s ongoing legal battles with Qualcomm may have changed that.
V Still Qualcomm might not remain out.
* If they can settle their patent lawsuit with Apple or if Intel fails to get their chips ready for 5G networking in time Qualcomm could be back in.
V The Financial Times reported and Apple confirmed they are looking into a limited number of reports from users experiencing delays with incoming phone calls on the iPhone X.
* Basically a call comes in, but the display doesn't turn on for up to 10 seconds.
V Apple loses Abrams show to HBO
V It was rumored that Apple was in a bidding war with HBO for a new J.J. Abrams sci-fi series called Demimonde
* According to the Hollywood Reporter HBO won out likely because Abrams was impressed with HBO’s handling of Westworld
V They did pick up a new executive for the team though.
* Dana Tuinier was supposedly hired away from the Paramount Network by Apple's Worldwide Video division to be their creative executive for comedy overseeing shows like the new Kristen Wiig series being produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine company
V Director Steven Soderbergh says he shot his latest feature film, "Unsane," entirely on Apple's iPhone.
* He called the experience "one of the most liberating experiences that I've ever had as a filmmaker." and praised the 4K resolution of the iPhone.
* He said the footage in a 40 foot screen "looks like velvet" and said shooting on the iPhone was a "gamechanger"
* Since it was filmed last summer it was likely shot on an iPhone 7 Plus (I assume MANY of them).
* He says he even began editing the film "on set".
* He said he would likely continue to use phones to shoot his movies going forward, but stopped short of saying he'd use phones exclusively. But did say he'd have to have a pretty good reason not to.
V Apple Pay at half of US Retailers
* Jennifer Bailey Apple's Head of Apple Pay was at the National Retail Federation conference in New York City this month and spoke to CNET Japan about the success of Apple Pay.
* In the interview she claimed that Apple Pay is now supported at 50 percent of US retailers.
* Calling it, "…the world's most accepted contactless payment technology,"
* She also said Apple is focused on creating a “new shopping experience” focused on “application, settlement, loyalty programs, and collaboration between stores and mobile.”
* She gave examples like using ARKit and the TrueDepth system to help customers better visualize the products they are about to purchase and combining that with Apple Pay's easy checkout to help reduce the steps to purchase.
V Apple will open it's first Austrian Store in Vienna on February 24th
* The store look amazing even under construction with this cool patterned black and white decorated facade.
V Expect less from iOS 12
* A report at Axios from Ina Fried says that Apple has decided to delay some major new iOS 12 features until 2019
* Reportedly Craig Federighi told his stuff about the change in direction earlier this month.
* Some thing that got pushed are: A refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces. Improvements to core apps like Mail and a revamped photo management application that would use new algorithms to better automatically sort pictures
* Apple will instead focus on security, reliability, and performance improvements in the existing OS and apps.
V That doesn't mean there won't be ANY new stuff.
* Improvements to AR
* More digital health features
* Updates to parental controls
* The report also claims Apple will make iPhones more responsive so as to reduce requests fro customer support (I assume this is for older models).
V Bloomberg reported more details saying that Apple still will develop a "universal" app
* Project "Marzipan," rumored to simplify developer tools with a unified code base
* Apple already has a private framework called UXKit, used for the Photos app on Mac. It's similar to iOS UIKit and sits above the Mac's AppKit.
* Planned upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV software won’t be affected
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Another Apple support happy ending
* Camillo wrote in to share an Apple support story that when a bit awry
* His wife's Series 0 Apple Watch started failing. Only lasting about half the day.
* They brought it into the Apple Store in Brandon, FL and they did some reset and fiddle with the settings.
* When that didn't work they agreed to send it in for a paid battery replacement.
* Two weeks in they had not heard back and when they went to check with Apple they were told the Watch had been sent out and delivered.
* Carmillo verified they had their correct address on the support ticket but somehow Apple had sent the Watch to an old address for them instead. Needless to say that watch was long gone.
* They apologized for the mistake and asked Carmillo and his wife to come back to the store.
* There they apologized again and explained they did not make that model anymore but that they would give them a model as good or better
* They replaced it with a Series 3 with cellular stainless steel Apple Watch with a Milanese loop band free of charge and threw in a new AppleCare+
* Needless to say Carmillo and his wife went away from that store feeling VERY happy about how Brandon, FL Apple store handled the situation.
V More HomePod details & questions
* Running a variant of iOS, so likely on the same release cycle.
* Looks like a lot of things, including OS updates, will be managed via the Home app.
* Hints in iOS 11.3 that it might be the version that support stereo pairing. Maybe this spring (after March 20th)
* Supports peer-to-peer Airplay meaning you can stream without connecting to your wi-fi network.
V Sampson wrote in to ask about buying a HomePod, specifically he emailed and said:
* "I just need your thoughts on buying a home pod. The thing is I have most of Sonos products I have Apple Music and my library also on Apple servers. Love music and apple (lol) i know that Sonos has their smart speaker but I prefer apple’s privacy and security you know what I mean Siri , what do you think?"
* This is a bit tricky because I too own Sonos products and I love them.
* I also hooked my Sonos up to my Amazon Echo and I have to say it works pretty great.
V At this point I think the Sonos is a much more mature speaker product with a wide range of offerings and, at least for now, the HomePod is unproven.
* That said early reviews are REALLY good and I think the HomePod will hold it's own with the Sonos in terms of audio quality and experience
* Still without owning one yet it's pure hearsay.
* On the "smart speaker" I'm less certain for ANY product. I think Siri (and the HomePod) show good promise and I'm hopeful.
V So really I think this comes down to, especially for Apple fans, how much are you willing to be the tester for Apple's new high end audio experiment?
* Also remember for Home Pod you need to be 100 percent invested in Apple, iCloud, and Apple's Music services at least at first.
* There is no integrations for Siri or HomePod outside the Apple eco-system
V If you're 100% happy with Sonos and not willing to take a dice roll on Home Pod and Apple, I would say take a "wait and see" approach.
* Sonos has said they will be adding HomeKit and Siri support to their system sometime in 2018
* The Siri functionality will likely be limited to music playback though activated via your iOS device, not a full "smart speaker" experience like you'd have with say Alexa or Google Home on a Sonos One.
* $350 is a lot to shell out for being what amount to in some ways a "beta" tester.
V More ideas for using multiple iTunes accounts
* We've been discussing how to manage using multiple iTunes Store accounts for accessing content in different countries.
* Ralph toggles between the US and Canadian Stores and has this advice
V He sets up three accounts:
* One Apple ID is just for iCloud stuff, like mail, calendar, contacts, sync, etc. and that is not tied to any iTunes account,
* Then one account for each country.
* In his case he just funds each iTunes account using gift cards from that country
* You could also use a card tied to a bank from that country.
* As we already discussed switching and getting updates from either country account is fairly easy once you're set up.
* The one tricky bit is you can't use non-country specific payment systems.
* The gift card from country of "origin" is an annoying one I think.
* Can't by digital gift cards and send them to a friend or family member in another country.
* Ralph does point out that one possible work around might be to use a VPN, but i'm not sure that would work because while it might let you in and it might let you start to order I suspect you'll get shutdown if the card you attempt to use to pay is not issued in the country your using iTunes in.
V Dealing with a fiddly iPad keyboard
* Play comment from Glen
* I have been having very similar issues I believe since iOS 11 came out.
* I did have my iPad pro keyboard replaced once.
* I have found that in typing mode I can sometimes pull the screen forward and then put it back, like rocking it, and it will often re-engage.
* It does often just disconnect again and I have to go into the rocking dance.
* You'll often know when it's disengaged because the on screen keyboard will pop-up.
* Sometime I have to do a hard reset to get things working again.
* Afraid I don't have a permanent fix, but maybe someone in the community does.
V Option for remote iOS support
* David wrote in to say he's really enjoying iOS's new screen recording feature for sending "video" instructions to help family members with iOS tech support
V He also pointed out that if you tap and hold or force touch the record button that you get additional recording options
* Can turn on on microphone audio, so live voice over. Good for talking trough the video help.
* Also broadcast to any apps that support ReplayKit
V To access screen recording you need to add the control to your Control Center
* Settings > Control Center >Customize Controls
* Click the green "+" icon for 'Screen Recording' and then drag the sort handles to set it's position.
V Once in Control Center, just pull down from the Home Screen to access Control Center and you should see the new Screen Recording control icon. Tap it to start a new screen recording.
* You get a 3, 2, 1 count down.
* A red bar at the top of your display (red highlight around the time) will indicate you're recording. Tap it to stop recording.
* By default recordings will be saved to your Camera Roll.
* One thing I'd wish they'd add would be an option to show highlights of where you're touching the screen.
V Closing
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