Apple’s Rumored e-Ink Keyboard Could Change Everything
Rumors started coming hot and heavy this week that Apple may be thinking about moving their 2018 MacBooks to a dynamic keyboard with keys that are little e-ink displays. This would allow for custom key changing on-the-fly.
The Wall Street Journal of Apple Podcasts
Apple has more podcasts dedicated to it than Hillary Clinton has scandals and that’s saying something. But if you’re looking for a podcast with good business sense there aren’t many to choose from. One of the best, however, is The AppleInsider Podcast. If podcasts were newspapers, this one would be the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal tries to offer relevant news and analysis for busy professionals without the fluff.
Anyone Remember That Blurry iPhone Super Bowl Pic?
In February when Tim Cook tweeted the blurry Super Bowl celebration picture that he took from his own iPhone, it became a worldwide joke. A pretty funny one too. I couldn’t help but smile every time the “Shot on iPhone 6” meme popped up. It seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun with it. Except maybe Tim Cook.
Should Apple Build a Household Device?
I’ve heard the rumors that Apple is looking at offering a new product this fall in the mold of a household assistant. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I have to admit, I’m a little skeptical about it.
Assistants are by nature personal When you have an assistant, you speak to him or her in the first person. You never speak to your assistant in the third person. You simply say what you want. Bring me my mail, set up a meeting for next Tuesday, or make a list of the following items. Your assistant understands that you are the subject of the command because they work directly for you.
Ever since I laid eyes on Apple’s new AirPods I’ve been wondering just how necessary it is for Apple to ship a physical remote with their next generation Apple TV. Already, in our household we mainly use the remote for the microphone to tell Siri what app or movie to open. We even use Siri for fast forwarding or reversing in videos. It works pretty good. It’s one of those things that you never consciously decide to do but one day you notice that you’ve been doing it that way for a while.
AI Is Nice, But Is It Consequential?
I love intelligent assistance. I wrote earlier about my favorite features in Apple’s new iOS 10 which both involve learning how I operate. Having my iPhone automatically categorize my e-mail and suggest playlists is pretty cool. But lets get real about how earth shattering important this is. There’s a lot of hyperbole floating around right now about how AI is the next frontier in device evolution. Is it? If automating menial tasks is changing the world then I suppose the Roomba is leading the way.
Let the Android Civil War Begin
So Google debuted their new Pixel phone this week and the tech press has exploded with articles written about how this may impact Apple. That’s ridiculous. While this may impact Apple somewhat in the future everyone is ignoring the fact that it’s going head-to-head with Samsung’s Galaxy line first and foremost. Sure, they took shots at Apple's iPhone on stage. But that was just a smoke screen intended for the Android hardware makers who would be watching.
If You Can’t Remember It, It’s Not For You
In the business world all processes and routines are geared towards maximum efficiency. If the people involved can’t master those routines, the people are replaced, not the routines. Corporations have little choice because the business world is a competition where the least efficient teams are eliminated. But the real world isn’t always like that.
For the record, I was a Rubio guy whose nightmare scenario was to see a Trump v Clinton election. I don’t like either of these candidates. Donald’s debate skills never impressed me and I fully expected him to get eaten alive by Hillary. But an unexpected thing happened. Donald exceeded my expectations. I had set such a low bar for him that he actually impressed me. He’s still going to lose in the end and Hillary will win on the strength of the “elect a woman” platform but I thought he did a good enough job to stay in the race
Apple Inc. and McLaren
There were some juicy morsels leaked this week that hinted at Apple being interested in a buyout of McLaren. Wow. I don’t think Apple getting into automotive is a very attractive proposition and even I was excited at the thought of Apple owning McLaren. TechCrunch had an interesting take that Apple is probably after a specific division within McLaren that specializes in real world applications for all their technological break throughs. MAT, or McLaren Applied Technologies.
When Should Apple Change the iPhone’s Form?
While I was working with NASA I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with a lot of bone fide rocket scientists. These engineers at Stennis Space Center were researching next generation engines for the space shuttle and the design was limited by the technology of the day. In a nutshell, we were limited by what we could do because of heat. As we experimented with various fuels and component metal alloys one inevitable thing always happened as we pushed the envelope. The engine at some point would start to burn up it’s own internal components as fuel. But as technology advancements were made in creating alloys or fuel that line got moved back and the design could change.
Being an iPhone owner comes with a lot of advantages over owning an Android phone. But one of the biggest advantages comes as a surprise to most Apple fans. A critical press.
The AirPods Are Nice But Apple Also Needs EarPods 2
Apple should have included wireless headphones with the sale of every iPhone 7. That part I’m convinced of. If wireless is the future I find it odd that every one received wired headphones and an adapter to continue using their old wired headphones. The question is at what cost could they have went wireless or how could they have done it?
The TechWithMatthew YouTube channel just uploaded their Apple Watch Series 0 vs Series 2 speed test and the results were kind of surprising. For the most part, there doesn’t appear to be a dramatic speed boost from gaining the faster S2 chip. This speed test was conducted right after a cold reboot so the memory caching shouldn’t be impacting the results too much. This test should be reflecting how quickly the chips are able to process actions.
There are two kinds of tech consumers. Those who appreciate the cumulative "patina" of daily life and those who prefer the brand new look. I definitely fall into the latter group who desires perfection. Like the dazzling white of newly fallen snow, I love unblemished examples like new cars with their perfect paint or an iPhone screen without any scratches.
So within a month of my writing that Apple would welcome a head-to-head battle with Samsung fought on the grounds of product design and material quality, Samsung phones literally start spontaneously exploding. I didn’t expect to have confirmation so soon. And for Samsung's recall to happen during the iPhone 7’s launch week sounds like one of those unbelievable plot twists in a TV show.
AirPods Should Have Been Bundled with iPhones
I’m a financial analyst. I’m the guy who typically counsels companies to take the more profitable road. But even I think Apple should have included a pair of AirPods with the sale of every iPhone 7.
Rumors are starting to circulate that Apple may actually be about to update the MacBook Air line of laptops. On the surface, this is surprising, because with the introduction of the new Retina-screen MacBook you’d be forgiven for asking, “Why update the Air?”
Does Tim Cook Deserve Bravery Points?
Does Tim Cook deserve bravery credits for his “green” initiatives? Apple isn’t shy about advertising their commitment to renewable energy and recycling. Without a doubt, you probably can’t attach a specific ROI on these initiatives, and they are going to have some kind of measurable impact on the income statement. And yet, I don’t give Apple any points for bravery, because I’d make the case that these green initiatives are actually helping Apple sell more iPhones. It’s a net positive and not a cash drain.
Most companies will invade your privacy to the extent that they think they can get away with it. I know, because as a senior financial analyst with various Fortune-500–level companies I had top-level access to customer data in order to research various sales and customer trends. We used this data when evaluating where to invest capital and marketing expenditures.
Well, isn’t this rich? In 2013 Apple introduced the iPhone 5s with the never-before-seen in a mobile phone 64-bit processor. The Android world was quick to label this “marketing fluff” that wouldn’t make a bit of difference in a phone using less than 4 GB of RAM. They accused Apple of resorting to desperate marketing gimmicks. Never mind that non-biased web sites like Anandtech predicted that there would be a significant performance benefit simply from implementing the ARMv8 instruction set.
So now, three years later Google is ready to release Android 7.0 Nougat to all qualifying phones. Except, it’s looking like only phones running 64-bit chips are invited to the party. It appears that running the latest ARMv8 instruction set has a whole slew of benefits to both performance and security that have nothing to do with managing memory. So much so that if your phone isn’t on a 64-bit chip Google refuses to upgrade your phones operating system.
In the Android world ARMv8 just went from “marketing fluff” to mandatory. The same Apple critics called 3D Touch marketing fluff too. Meanwhile you know that the only reason Android phones don’t have it is because they haven’t gotten it sorted out yet.
Anyone who thinks that the Apple Watch doesn’t need cellular connectivity built-in because they don’t want to pay for another data plan or because the screen is too small to be useful misunderstands the whole purpose of the Apple Watch.
So it’s happened again. Samsung released a brand new phone to critical acclaim, only to find last year’s iPhone can still kick dust in its face.
Target reported disappointing Q2 results a week ago and put part of the blame on disappointing iPhone and iPad sales. Right off the bat, this looks suspicious.
First, Target’s electronics sector in general was down by double digits. Apple products make up only one third of electronics. By virtue of the fact that iPhones cost a whole lot more than alarm clocks and headphones, it makes sense that Apple products would be a large part of the overall electronics decrease. But even so, two thirds of the decrease in electronics had nothing to do with Apple.
Something doesn’t smell right when it comes to explaining Samsung’s profitability improvements in their latest quarter. What Samsung is saying versus what they are rumored to be doing seem to contradict each other. However, after some thought, I think I can reconcile this paradox and explain why they’re not contradictory.
Manufacturing and distribution analysis since 1993.