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.”

sept_2016_invite

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.

apple-watch_large

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 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.

Apr 01

Tesla announced today — a day with very little real news and a lot of “fake news” — that it has created the Model W, a new smart-watch to compete head-on with the forthcoming and insanely hyped Apple Watch.

Tesla Model WFrom the official Tesla press release:

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 1, 2015 – Tesla today announced a whole new product line called the Model W. As many in the media predicted, it’s a watch. That’s what the “W” stands for.

This incredible new device from Tesla doesn’t just tell the time, it also tells the date. What’s more, it is infinitely adjustable, able to tell the time no matter where you are on Earth. Japan, Timbuktu, California, anywhere! This will change your life. Reality as you know it will never be the same.

(Tesla is having some fun here with the kind of reverential talk that often issues from Jony Ive’s mouth. Well played, Tesla.)

Here’s the full-sized promo image from Tesla:

Tesla Model W promo

 

 

Below the picture of the new Model W, Tesla inserts: “Warning, current version requires wrist strength of an orangutan.”

The joke works well because of Apple’s rumoured movement on Tesla’s turf with a new Apple Car. That hasn’t been confirmed, however.

Apple watch will be available to pre order on April 10th with shipping on April 24th.

Feb 02

During last week quarterly earnings call Tim Cook revealed that the Apple Watch will go on sale in April

Apple Watch

Apple doesn’t launch “new” products very often. Sure, it introduces updated versions of existing products, like the iPhone, but truly new products? In the past 15 years, there have been three: the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. All were hugely successful, and all put a new twist on what came before.

Now, we have the Apple Watch. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, development on the Watch is on schedule and shipments are expected starting in April. The company has launched a somewhat limited developer program — more APIs will be available over time — but nonetheless, app makers are already testing out apps in a watch simulator on OS X.  By the way its not an iWatch but an Apple Watch. Get it right.

“The creativity and software innovation going on around Apple Watch is incredibly exciting,” Cook said during the conference call last week,  “We can’t wait for our customers to experience them when Apple Watch becomes available.”

In true Apple fashion, Cook wouldn’t commit to any sales predictions aside from some predictable generalizations.

“My expectations are very high on it. I’m using it every day and love it and I can’t live without it,” said Cook. Some Apple employees seem to be enjoying it as well. Readers on the MacRumors Forums have been collecting photos of Apple Watches spotted in the wild, suggesting that more and more Apple employees have been issued the devices for early beta testing.

Unlike the iPhone 6, which launched within weeks of its introduction last September, the Apple Watch will go more than six months between its public reveal and its on-sale date. Something similar happened with the iPhone, which was six months from introduction to launch, and the iPad, which was around 3 months.

When the iPhone was introduced, the App Store wasn’t even in the cards. Steve Jobs didn’t think it was necessary, but he was eventually turned around, and the App Store launched a year later. The iPad could run all of the iPhone’s apps, and developers quickly began developing apps specifically for its larger screen. As for third-party apps? “We’re seeing some incredible innovation” on the Watch, said Cook on the call.

Some very special developers got an early peek at the Apple Watch before it was even launched, and I’m sure there are high-profile developers who currently are working on Apple Watches ahead of everyone else.

The Watch isn’t going to be a massive $100 billion revenue generator for Apple — it’s an accessory to the iPhone, and a pricey one at that. Instead, it’s going to be one more piece in the ecosystem that keeps customers locked in. Apple’s churn, the amount of iPhone owners who leave for another smartphone platform, is extremely low. Much of this can be attributed to the App Store and iTunes, but for every Apple product that someone buys in addition to their iPhone, that’s one more reason for them to keep using Apple’s products rather than switching to a competitor. However if it sells say 30 million units in the first year at an average selling price of $495 that’s a tidy $15 billion revenue boost. And if the watch makes Apple Pay a must have then more Watches in use will drive iPhone sales which will drive Watch sales.

That’s the goal of the Apple Watch — locking customers in. The revenue generated by the device will be a nice bottom line booster, however.

 

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.

Jun 20

More reports from Reuters, an above average news source, suggests iWatch production to commence in July:

Apple’s upcoming iWatch may measure in at 2.5 inches diagonally with a slightly rectangular face, reports Reuters, citing sources familiar with the product. The watch face is also expected to protrude slightly from the band to create an arch shape, and it will reportedly include a touch interface and wireless charging.

Curved iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton, based on the Nike FuelBand

Reuters also suggests the iWatch has a sensor that monitors a user’s pulse, which is just one of many sensors that may be included in the device. Rumors have indicated that the iWatch will be able to measure several different health metrics in addition to heart rate, like steps taken, sleep quality, and more.

A 2.5-inch screen is much larger than the size predicted in previous rumors, which suggested the device would come in 1.3 and 1.6 inch sizes to accommodate different sized wrists. 2.5-inches is the same size as the existing iPod nano, though the iWatch may be more squared than the nano.

Taiwan’s Quanta Computer is currently producing a trial run of the smartwatch and mass production is expected to begin in July, in preparation for a possible fall launch. LG Display is said to be the exclusive supplier of the screen, which is in line with previous rumors.

While the watch is widely expected, the start date of its mass production and the extent of Quanta’s involvement were not known until now. Mass production will start in July and the commercial launch will come as early as October, according to the source and another person familiar with the matter.

Along with providing an array of health-related information via sensors, Apple’s iWatch is also expected to interface closely with the iPhone and iOS 8, providing users with at-a-glance notifications and information.

Reuters confirms that the iWatch is slated for an October release, a target launch date that was previously shared by Re/code.

Apr 30

The iWatch continues to drive commentators nuts as they describe what it will and wont do. Many images have been shown claiming what it will look like and the raft of features it will provide. Of course these are all based entirely on SWAG, rumors and countless graphic designers with far too much time on their hands.

These images are cool as they don’tBalogh-iwatch look like a Apple watch, but look like a watch.

These are sourced from Gabor Balogh. We like.

Mac Rumors claim Apple’s suppliers have already begun producing the iWatch in small quantities, according to supply chain sources cited by China Times via G for Games, ahead of a prospective launch during the second half of 2014.

Echoing an earlier report from notable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the site’s sources also suggest the iWatch will take advantage of a system-in-package (SiP) design that allows a multitude of chips to be placed on a single module. This could allow Apple to the fit multiple sensors rumored for the smart watch into a tiny area while keeping the device small enough to be worn comfortably on the wrist.

Rumors have indicated Apple’s iWatch will contain several different biometric sensors allowing it to track health-related statistics like heart rate, sleep quality, movement, and more. The sensors will aggregate data that will be stored in a rumored “Healthbook” application, slated for inclusion in iOS 8.

Along with including health sensors, the iWatch will likely function similarly to other smart watches on the market, integrating with the iPhone and iPad to provide notifications and quick access to frequently used apps and services.

Apple’s iWatch is expected to ship in two different sizes to accommodate different sized wrists and it may also come in multiple price points and materials. According to recent reports, Apple’s iWatch could make an appearance as soon as September, but a solid launch date remains unclear.

Just how big is the watch market?

A recent article on Bloomberg claims that the global watch industry will generate more than $60 billion in sales in 2013, said Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen. While that’s smaller than the pool of revenue that comes from TVs, gross margins on watches are about 60 percent, he said. That’s four times bigger than for televisions, according to Anand Srinivasan, a Bloomberg Industries analyst.

“This can be a $6 billion opportunity for Apple, with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod — something consumers didn’t even know they needed,” said Chen, who covers luxury- goods retailers.

Assuming that Apple can achieve 10% to 15% market share of the global watch industry, which seems conservative, this can immediately become a $10 billion revenue stream. Recall, this is what the iPod did when consumers didn’t even know they needed it.

 

Jul 02

With an application filed on June 3 and made public last week, Apple  is seeking to trademark “iWatch” in Japan. This comes on the heels of news that the company filed for the trademark in Russia last month. Of course, this has added new energy to rumors of Apple releasing the iWatch later this year, however the trademark news must be taken with a grain of salt: Major tech companies like Apple are constantly filing applications for trademarks in order to protect themselves if a certain product were to exist. An iWatch may be in the works, but by filing the trademarks, Apple is seeking to make sure it has rights to the name, no matter what.

Here’s a summary at the patent applications that have fueled the iWatch rumors to date:

• September 2012: Apple was granted a patent for an electromagnetic induction system that could allow a device to be charged by shaking, a technology that would certainly be useful for the iWatch.

• December 2012: The company was awarded a patent for a new process for creating high-quality curved glass.

• February 2013: Apple was granted a patent for an “integrated touch sensor and solar assembly,” which would allow a solar panel to capture energy from the sun while also being an optical sensor of a touchscreen. This technology could allow for Apple to make compact yet highly capable and energy efficient gadgets, like an iWatch.

• Also in February, a patent for a “bi-stable spring with with flexible display,” originally filed in August of 2011, made headlines. The patent describes a full-length, bendable, touchscreen display, and also a “slap-bracelet” mechanism for attaching the device to the users wrist for a custom fit. Additionally, the device would be able to sync with iPads, iPhones, and other Apple devices.

iwatch mockupA mockup of what the iWatch may look like,

• Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple had been granted a patent, originally applied for in January, for a curved, flexible battery. Rumors circulated that the curved battery would be part of an iWatch or an even more mysterious Apple product: a bendable smartphone.

Many analysts have taken the information from these patents and assumed the iWatch will launch later this year, but noted KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a solid track record for predicting Apple product rollouts, expects the iWatch to ship in late 2014. Kuo released a report on May 22, writing that the iWatch will be Apple’s first move into the wearable tech field, against Google Inc’s glass, which is still in its “explorer” phase, wherein a select group of consumers were chosen to buy the new device for $1500. Moreover, he said the device will have a 1.5- to 2-inch screen and will focus on biometrics, which could provide heightened security features as well as health-care apps for measuring heartbeat, blood pressure, distance walked in a day, and more.

With the iWatch rumors so prevalent, Apple’s main competitor has responded in earnest so as not to miss out on the potential market for smart watches. In March, Samsung Electronics Ltd. announced it was developing a smart watch. As Lee Young Hee, the company’s Executive Vice President for Mobile told Bloomberg in an interview, “We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long…We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.”

Samsung obviously does not value the element of surprise as much as Apple does, but considering how the Internet allows rumors to spread so wide and so fast, maybe Apple’s use of secrecy is only a formality — now part of the company’s tradition.

 

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