Aug 30

Apple sent out media invites yesterday for an iPhone-centric event that will be held on Wednesday, September 7 at 10:00 am at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. Media invites offer up a first look at the theme of the event and feature the simple tagline: “See you on the 7th.”

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The September 2016 event is expected to see the debut of the next-generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which are rumoured to feature improved cameras, better processors, and improved water resistance, implemented through the removal of the headphone jack and the introduction of a new flush, pressure-sensitive home button. Both devices are said to look similar to the iPhone 6s, with the same general size and shape, but with relocated antenna bands that no longer span the back of the devices.

Faster LTE and Wi-Fi speeds are rumoured, as is a jump in storage space with 32GB positioned as the new minimum and a 256GB option rumoured at the high-end (possibly limited to iPhone 7 Plus). Display improvements first introduced in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, including the True Tone feature able to adjust the display to match ambient lighting could be offered, and the larger iPhone 7 Plus is expected to have exclusive features like 3GB RAM and a dual-lens camera for crisper, brighter images.

Apple may use the event to debut a second-generation Apple Watch, said to include better waterproofing, an improved processor, and a built-in GPS chip. Design changes are not expected for the next-generation Apple Watch, but new materials and new bands are always a possibility. Apple rotates its Apple Watch band offerings on a regular basis and we expect to see new designs this fall.

Most of Apple’s Mac lineup is due for an update, but the most highly anticipated machine, the MacBook Pro, will reportedly not be debuting at the event, coming later in the year instead. It’s not known if other Macs will see a refresh announcement at the event, but it’s unlikely, and we’re also not expecting any iPad announcements at this time.

We will, however, get an update on the prospective launch dates of iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10. We’re expecting to see iOS 10 and watchOS 3 launch shortly ahead of the release date of the next-generation iPhone (rumoured to be September 16 or September 23), while macOS Sierra could come a bit later, perhaps towards the end of the month. tvOS 10, as a new operating system, could launch alongside iOS 10 or alongside macOS Sierra.

In line with past events, the September 7 event will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, that’s 6PM London. As it has done with several past events, Apple is likely to stream the event live on its website and on the Apple TV.

Jul 24

Apple Watch sales numbers are shrouded in mystery, as Apple has not released definitive sales numbers. A few weeks ago a lone report suggested the sales had dropped off a cliff. A story by MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends with the blaring headline “Apple Watch Sales Plunge 90%” epitomizes this attitude. There was a nugget of truth behind Arends’ headline — a sales estimate from Slice Intelligence — but it was ripped out of context in order to mislead reader. The Slice report was not covered in full and only represented sales on-line and ignored the transition to Apple selling in store.

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In this week earning report Apple provided no concrete data points, sticking with its rationale that such data would be useful for competitors. Apple did say that sales beat its internal expectations, while noting there were supply constraints throughout the quarter as it ramped up production. Apple Watch wasn’t even available at Apple Retail Stores until mid-June. Tim Cook did directly dismiss those reports that sales had fallen since launch. Apple Watch had the highest sales in June, completely undermining Slice Intelligence’s dubious findings.

Since the earnings report a number of more established research firms have updated their sales forecast for the Apple Watch. The Strategy Analytics estimate shows the Apple watch Capture 75% of the global smart watch market during the launch quarter while Samsung grabbed 7% market share.

Strategy Analytics suggest Apple sold 4 million watches during the second quarter with Samsung selling less than 400,000 in the same period.

Other analysts have adjusted their own apple watch sales with the consensus standing 2.2million to 3 million units sold. These numbers imply that the Strategy Analytics estimate is towards the top end of range. However they do always imply Apple watch has become the dominant market leader.

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “We estimate Apple Watch shipped 4.0 million units and captured a dominant 75 percent smartwatch marketshare worldwide in Q2 2015. Apple Watch launched in sixteen major countries and saw decent take-up from iPhone loyalists in the United States and elsewhere. Apple Watch has clearly raised the bar for the global smartwatch industry. The ball is now in the court of rivals, like Samsung, to respond.”

With the launch of the Apple Watch the global smart watch market has expanded significantly with an estimated market growth of over 400%.  Strategy Analytics report that Smartwatch shipments were higher this quarter  than the whole of 2014,  when Samsung topped the market  with a commanding 74% of global market share.

Samsung and Apple combined now account for eight and 10 Smart watches sold leaving other manufacturers combined with 900,000 smart watches of which Pebble is a leading contender.

The smartwatch race has similarities with the smart phone race in the apple and Samsung are the two dominant players and the remainder take the crumbs from the table.

During the earnings release conference call Tim Cook said Apple what sales of Apple Watch exceeded expectations but did not specify actual sales numbers.  His only concrete comment was the apple what sales during the first nine weeks on availability higher than sales of the original iPad and iPhone Windows Devices were first available for sale.

Jul 15

This morning the Apple Pay screen is now live on the iPhone.

This lets you add a bank card to Passbook. Until today that option was not available.

It’s dead easy to add a card. Just follow the set up instructions, hold the camera to the the credit card and the iPhone sucks in the cards details.

Apple pay set up Set up Apple pay

 

 

You will then be asked to verify the card. By this time the card’s issuers will have sent you a text or email with a code. Simply enter the code into the iPhone and the card is ready for use.

You can see the cards in the Paybook app and you can set a defiantly card to use.

 

Apple pay card ready for use

To add your Watch you have to add the card to the Watch in the same process as initially adding it to the iphone. Plus you need to add a code to the Watch to increase security.

Then to make a purchase you just hold your Watch up to the Card Terminal in a retailer that accepts Pay by Touch, that most UK retailers and the job is done. On the Watch just double click the long button to show the card you are using.

Pay by Apple watch

Fist transaction carried out in a Marks & Spencer in Guildford. Cashier was excited as it was their first Watch experience.

Very neat and rewarding experience.

 

Jul 06

According to 9-5 mac website, Apple appears to be planning to enable its Apple Pay iPhone mobile payments service in the UK on July 14th, according to sources at multiple retailers. Apple has informed some Apple Retail employees in the UK that Apple Pay support will go live on that Tuesday, while an internal memos for supermarket Waitrose plus an additional retail partner indicate the same date.

applepay2 applepay

Apple will also begin training its local staff on supporting Apple Pay on July 12th. Apple has begun enabling its mobile point of sale systems in England-based stores to take NFC payments and has been preparing materials to promote the Apple Pay launch in stores. It is plausible that different stores will have different launch dates, but the presence of the same, at least tentative, date makes July 14th a very possible widespread start date.

Announced for July at the June Worldwide Developers Conference, the U.K.’s Apple Pay launch will mark Apple’s first expansion of the service outside of the United States. Like in the U.S., a PIN won’t be required for usage, but the launch will include a £20 cap per transaction, as also noted on the above memo sent to us and posted across the web. However, a source tells us that U.K. systems will be updated in the fall to process higher values. Apple is also currently working on bringing the service to Canada later this year in addition to China and South Korea in the future.

Looking forward to checking out local Waitrose on Bastile day, perfect execuse to pick up some wine and cheese.

Nov 13

DigiTimes reports that Apple is entering production of the Apple Watch and has ordered between 30-40 million for the initial batch. We know that there have been issues with the Sapphire cover that was to come from GT Technologies, a supplier that is now in Chapter 11.

Apple-Watch

One assumes that the initial batch will be the Sports Watch version with the standard glass rather than Sapphire cover.

Apple is employing a rather advanced system-in-package technology, beyond the current A-series chips designs. This consists of a single chip with an entire computer system called the S1. It is a piece of custom-designed silicon which stacks and integrates many subsystems into an area that is small enough for a watch.

The watch will also feature a Force Touch Retina display, Nearfield Communication for Apple Pay system, Taptic Engine, Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, wireless inductive charging, and Digital Crown. The latter was designed for navigating the operating system and prompting Siri.

Spring arrival?

Recently, Angela Ahrendts (senior vice president of retail and online stores) shared a special video note directed to Apple retail employees claiming the new watch would hit stores sometime during the spring. In the message she explained, “[You] guys were hired because you’re the best people in the world. And you know how to service customers, but we are sprinting a marathon right now, and it’s not going to stop. Right? We’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring. So, I just, I really wanted to say, stop for a moment, take a breath. Realize that every customer you touch — and again I know you know this, but you’re really busy — so just every customer that you touch, how do you make sure that they will walk away feeling very different, very positive, than before they walked into that store or they interacted with you?”

Of course Time will tel.

Sep 04

Adding to this morning’s report from The Wall Street Journal pointing towards a curved OLED screen for Apple’s upcoming “iWatch”, The New York Times has released several details about the wearable device, suggesting it will have a flexible display and wireless charging capabilities.

Of course we can’t tell if there is an iWatch let alone say what it will offer in terms of features. We do know that Apple have been recruiting high level people from the fashion and watch industries. We are expecting a range of Apple watches with price points from $299 to $999. Apple are used to high margin quality products. We cant see a low cost option in the mix and see plenty of upside potential.

There are plenty of iWatch renderings. Here is one more from SET solutions.

iwatch_concept

Echoing past rumors, The New York Times says the iWatch will come in two separate sizes, focusing on health/fitness and mobile computing tasks, and that it will allow people to make purchases with included NFC support. Its flexible display is described as “unique,” and Apple is said to have settled on wireless charging after a failed experiment with solar charging.

It has a flexible display panel that is protected by a cover composed of sapphire, a type of tougher glass, they said. The device’s circuit board, which includes its sensors and chips, was described as tiny, about the size of a postage stamp.

For replenishing the battery, the smartwatch will rely on wireless charging.

According to unnamed employees who spoke to The New York Times, Apple’s iWatch is “one of Apple’s most ambitious projects to date,” with an “enormous” amount of time and money put into the health and fitness sensors in the device, which will be “much more” accurate than existing fitness devices. Rumors have suggested the iWatch will measure an array of different health-related metrics, from steps taken and sleep quality to blood pressure.

The iWatch is said to take advantage of HealthKit, a set of APIs Apple introduced alongside iOS 8 that will integrate into existing health devices and apps, reporting data to a central location. It’s also going to rely on Handoff, a Continuity feature that lets users seamlessly transition tasks from one iOS or Mac device to another.

The report also echoes a litany of rumors that have suggested Apple’s wearable device will not be available for purchase until 2015, despite Apple’s plans to unveil the iWatch at its September 9 media event. The gap between the introduction of the iWatch and its debut will give Apple time to finish work on the device as well as provide an opportunity for developers to create new apps suited to the smaller form factor.

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