Apple: thanks for making the iPhone more expensive, dear journalists

Apple knows well how to play with expectations. They usually disappoint when they launch products, but the disappointment isn’t as big as it could be thanks to big and small media sites.

Those sites (like The Unshut) are happy to talk about every single possible and hypothetical detail on the future Apple smartphones, and all those rumors that keep appearing on the news (I wonder how much of them are leaked by Apple itself) prepare us both for the good and the bad.

Surprises are overrated, Apple would say.

It happened last year with the absence of the headphone jack: weeks before the unveiling of the iPhone 7/Plus every tech journalist in the world had expressed his opinion on that decision. When Apple finally confirmed that omission, we were already prepared for that.

That’s big.

The same will happen with the iPhone 8: we already know for sure that it will cost over $1,000, something that would be a bigger deal if it was revealed as a new fact on the launch day. It won’t be a surprise anymore: Apple already knows they can put this price tag to the new iPhones, because we will be prepared for that. From Appleinsider (and others):

Kuo goes on to estimate an “iPhone 8” price tag starting at $1,000, reiterating a figure first divulged in a report this month. The price hike is attributed to a 50 to 60 percent bump in production costs compared to the anticipated “iPhone 7s” LCD models.

Apple should thank all tech journalists for talking so loud about them. They should thank me, for that matter. So there you have it, Apple: you’re welcome.

Source: Apple’s ‘iPhone 8’ to replace Touch ID home button with ‘function area

Google Pixel: a smart step for a smartphone

Jerry Hildenbrand on AndroidCentral:

Morgan Stanley analysts think the Pixel and Pixel XL are going to be really good for Alphabet’s bottom line with over eight million units sold and $6 billion in revenue.

Many consumers complained about the change course and the departure from the now almost legend-wait for it-dary Nexus family, but that affordable family now makes less and less sense.

Competing in the low spectrum of the smartphone market is getting more and more difficult, but the guys at Google know they can differenciate themselves from the rest of Android phone makers by integrating software with hardware better than anyone, à la Apple.

Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL seem to perform really well and their cameras are probably the best on the market right now. They’re on par at least with the ones found on the Galaxy S7/Edge and iPhone 7/Plus, but the inclusion of Google Assistant (still a little bit inmature) could mean a real new start from the hardware division at Google.

It’s weird: Microsoft and Google seemed to making some hardware products just for fun. Now they have showed they can make better (high end) products than the majority of their partners/rivals.

Hello Mac. Oh, and good riddance, USB and 3.5mm connector 

Apple is expected to launch the next generation of Mac computers at the Oct. 27 event that lots of users were waiting. The PostPC era has clearly eroded the relevance of these machines, but users still need a PC or a laptop to perform their work on a daily basis.

It was about time, of course: users and critics were claiming for the renewal of several Mac computers, so the new models are expected to attract lots of interested buyers in the holiday season.

Apple will probably take advantage of new Intel’s Kaby Lake processors, and besides some gimmicks —we’ll see if that OLED row everyone is talking about in the new MacBook Pro is really worth it— there’s one thing that could stand out on these new machines: the lack of traditional USB ports.

Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C ports will reportedly be part of the new machines, which won’t have “normal” USB ports. There are rumors that seem to confirm too that the traditional 3.5mm jack will also dissapear on these designs, something that makes even more sense on those laptops after watching how the iPhone 7/Plus chaos wasn’t that chaotic at all for the ones that have bought those devices.

That will be an event to watch, for sure. Stay tuned.

The iPhone 7 is a great smartphone you probably shouldn’t buy

That’s what most of the reviewers seem to think about the new iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, which has good features but nothing that could really justify leaving a perfectly fine iPhone 6s/Plus for these.

The differences are clearly there for iPhone 6/Plus users, but everyone seems to be not that convinced to recommend the new iPhones even though their scores are 9 out of 10 points on average. 

That doesn’t matter. Not because almost everyone misses too much the headphone connector (Ars Technica, The Verge, Mashable), but because this is the perfect transitional device

Every review seems too anxious not about the iPhone 7, but what will come with the iPhone 8

The iPhone 7 is competing with a phone that even doesn’t exist. The problem is, it will lose against our imagination everytime

Courage and comparing Apples to oranges

Much has been said about the removal of the headphone jack in the new iPhone 7/Plus, and John Gruber has added is own commentary:

Choosing to do what you *know* will be unpopular in the short run but you *believe* will prove correct in the long run takes courage.

The problem with Gruber argument is that the comparison, as it almost always happens, is unfair. This is not -even in hindsight- comparable to the decision to not support Flash technology on iOS. Gruber later admits that it’s certainly not the same:

Flash/HTML5 was bad/good. Analog jack/AirPods is meh/good.

I don’t really feel analog jack is meh: it depends on the headphones you get, and if you want better sound you can just buy a phone with a better DAC or an external DAC. But there are other considerations here. The first one, wireless headphones are just an option (and to this day, not better than the wired ones), but he implies they’re the future because cables are inconvenient:

More people would have a worse experience on a daily basis, dealing with tangled cords and all the other hassles of having your ears tethered to a device.

Millions of people don’t seem to have a problem with tangled cords, but even inf we concede this, there’s the question of using a proprietary connector that only Apple has control over. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has argued against that kind of option, and mentions that, for example, “manufacturers must apply and pay a licensing fee to create a Lightning-compatible device“, but even if this and the DRM problems aren’t really that important-Schiller calls them a ‘pure conspiracy theory‘-, the truth is there are questions that should worry the general public:

But therein lies the problem: you shouldn’t have to depend on a manufacturer’s permission to use its hardware however you like (or, for that matter, to build your own peripherals and accessories for it). What you can do with your hardware should be determined by the limits of the technology itself, not its manufacturers’ policy decisions.

Apple hasn’t made this decision based on courage. They’ve made this decision based on money. Period.

 

The new iPhone 7, on September 7th

But not at 07:00 AM, fortunately.

I’d like to say I expect a big hardware refresh here -Apple Watch 2, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Apple Thunderbolt Display, maybe an Apple Home à la Amazon Echo-, but I really think the focus will be the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Oh. And iPhone 7 Pro with its dual cameras. Stay tuned, this will start some debate for sure. Apple can disappoint on other issues, but not on the post-news fever.

Apple is the new Samsung

According to recent reports, Apple won’t have just two new iPhones launching in September. They will in fact launch three of them. The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus will be the natural heirs of the current iPhone 6s/Plus, but there seems to be another model waiting.

It’s the iPhone 7 Pro, which will be the only one with the also rumored dual-camera system. The miserly Apple, at its best.

There won’t be many new features: Apple is saving the best for next year’s iPhone 8, which apparently will be the real thing and will be used to celebrate the iPhone 10th anniversary.

The real news here is how Apple has become a company with a product portfolio that isn’t simple anymore. A few years ago we had just one new iPhone per year. If the rumors are right, in 2016 we will have 4 new models of the iPhone (including the SE).

This Apple is starting to remind me more and more of Samsung. One size doesn’t fit all, and that’s true for Apple too, it seems.

Obsolescence again, iOS 10?

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We’ve heard the same song on the last few years: a new version of iOS arrives, and older iPhones are clear victims.

You can upgrade on most models, but that usually means that the performance you get on the new OS with your older iPhone will be usually poor. Many people have complained about this,and lawsuits have been lodged:

The update significantly slowed down their iPhones and interfered with the normal usage of the device, leaving Plaintiff with a difficult choice: use a slow and buggy device that disrupts everyday life or spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new phone,” says the lawsuit. “Apple explicitly represented to the public that iOS 9 is compatible with and supports the iPhone 4s. And Apple failed to warn iPhone 4s owners that the update may or will interfere with the device’s performance

There’s already an online petition for Apple to “ditch planned obsolescence”, but it will be tough to see Cupertino changing its strategy. It’s nearly impossible to get companies admit one of the key points of their roadmaps: obsolescence is a money maker.

Apple resigns: iPhone 7 will start at 32GB

Apple will deliver plenty of critics for that unnecessary goodbye that the future iPhones will make us pronounce, but it will also makee lots of users happy by making right what was wrong for so long.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the iPhone 7 will start with 32GB of storage, replacing the infamous 16GB base tier offered since the iPhone 3GS. That phone was launched on June 19, 2009.

About time, I’d say.

Apple is neither inmortal, nor invulnerable

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Last financial results from Apple show how the company is as exposed as the rest of the world to macroeconomic issues. The economic conditions have impacted on its numbers and have pointed out that its greater strenght is also a potential weakness.

The number of iPhones sold has grown a mere 1 per cent, but next months will prove difficult for Apple, which according to analysts will see how iPhone sales decrease a 10-15% on the quarter ending in March and another 10% on the quarter ending in June when compared to the same periods last year.

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We’ll see what happens with iPhone 7, but I would pay special attention to WWDC’16 and the new features that iOS 10 could bring to the table. Specially convergence ones. Given that Microsoft has unified their desktop and mobile platforms and Google reportedly plans to do something similar, there has to be some movement from Apple here too.

If it’s not there, I don’t have a clear idea how Apple could stop this turning point in the current situation. They’ve got no clear product to replace iPhone’s success in the near future: the Apple Watch will have to show a real change, and the car (if any) is still far ahead.

I won’t say Apple users/investors should be worried –some charts to check here-. I’d say, though, they should be worried about starting to be worried. Apple is not inmortal.

Source: Apple – Press Info – Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results