Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes leaked iPhone details for 2020 crippling this year’s iPhone, Apple Pencil support, choosing iPhone XR sales or services success, new iPad Pro details, the tiny feature on the massive MacBook Pro, Apple’s quarterly financials, and a boost for Apple Arcade.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
Apple Damages The Latest iPhone’s Potential
As details on both 2019’s new iPhones (the presumptively named iPhone 11 family) and the iPhones destined for 2020, there are more confirmations that Apple is removing features from this year’s smartphone to package more ‘change’ into the 2020 handsets. The latest news – that all three 2020 handsets expected to pack 5G connectivity – leads to a significant question. Why would you buy this year’s iPhone? Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:
And the reasons to wait for a 2020 iPhone don’t stop there. While the iPhone 11 will be more of the same, Apple is completely redesigning (and resizing) the iPhone range next year, upgrading the displays and giving them the all-new camera tech it pulled from the iPhone 11 at the last minute. Touch ID may also make a comeback.
For those who still think the iPhone 11 will be enough for them (and it has some compelling features), there’s also another factor to consider. Kuo states that Apple’s primary motivation to push all 2020 iPhones to 5G is because customers will deem it essential, so trying to sell your 4G iPhone 11 in a few years time is highly unlikely to give you the great trade-in prices normally associated with iPhones.
More here on Forbes.
Is There Anything For 2019?
So what does this year’s iPhone 11 have? Assuming there is something more than a simple bump up in chip speeds and specs, how about the long awaited appearance of support for the Apple Pencil… will that do?
…bringing the stylus to the iPhone neuters one of the key selling points of Samsung’s Galaxy Note series of smartphones. The South-Korean manufactured phablets are tied closely to the S-Pen, and there are very few competitors using this interface on mobiles (as opposed to tablets). Although the Note 10 family is launching next week (August 7th) there’s no word yet when they will reach retail shelves. If the S-Pen is a key selling point, perhaps the Apple Pencil will eat into that crowd and tempt some over to iOS?
More here on Forbes.
iPhone XR Success Suggests A Route To Services Success
Alongside the development of the iPhone over the next few years is the development of Apple’s software services. The likes of Apple Music, Apple Games, and Apple Video are expected to increase their contributions to the bottom line; but to do that Apple needs a wide user base to sell to. So the news that Apple is cancelling mid-range handsets to focus on the slower selling premium handsets is a bit of a problem. Given the success of the iPhone XR, Tim Cook needs to prove, through the market, which direction Apple is prioritising. Is it hardware margins or services revenue?
Tim Cook has decided that the way forward for Apple is in providing software based services to users, and that the revenue from these will become a priority for Apple. In a sense this is a way of increasing the ARPU from a user by getting them on board with Apple Music, Apple Games, and presumably Apple Video later this year.
But a software and services approach requires a large consumer base to sell to. CIRP’s report shows Apple the way to do that is to continue down the path the iPhone XR has illuminated and to increase the value of smartphones in that path. Yet Apple is pushing away these consumers and is instead focusing on the high-end premium market.
More discussion here on Forbes.
Disruptive iPad Pro Models Leak
It’s not just the iPhone that is looking for an upgrade. The iPad family may be getting not a piecemeal update, but a sweeping and disruptive update over all seven flavors of iPad Pro, with various screen sizes and connectivity options. David Phelan covers the news that has come out of a regulatory filing:
The Eurasian Economic Commission is the place that Apple leaked the information. Of course, Apple really doesn’t care to leak anything but for regulatory reasons it has to place details with the commission some months before a product can go on sale in the five countries it works across: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
No surprise that the company reveals not one scintilla more information than it absolutely has to. Earlier this month, Apple filed certification documents for five model numbers. These, if you like this kind of statistical completeness, were: A2068, A2197, A2198, A2228 and A2230.
In the last few hours, there have been two more certifications, A2200 and A2232.
More here on Forbes.
The Massive MacBook Has A Tiny Detail
The MacBook Pro is also set for changes. As reported last week, more details on the 16 inch macBook Pro are coming out of the supply chain. This week details of the bezels – or the lack of them – has come to light. Don Reisinger reports:
The tech giant is planning to redesign the bezel around the MacBook Pro’s screen to increase the device’s display size. The smaller bezel will allow Apple to increase the MacBook Pro’s screen from 15 inches to 16 inches…
Apple’s transition to a 16-inch MacBook Pro screen has been floated in recent rumors. Those reports have said that Apple will unveil the revamped MacBook Pro alongside new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro versions later this year. It’s unclear whether the 15-inch MacBook Pro Apple has been selling over the last several years will remain on store shelves or be discontinue
More at LaptopMag. Of course this all begs the question when will it be announced, and will Tim Cook and his team update the whole line?
There is speculation online that Apple will not be fully committing to an update across the board of the MacBook family. Updates to the MacBook Pro 13 and MacBook Pro 15 – and the potential of the removal of the hated butterfly style keyboard – are being reportedly pushed back into 2020. That would leave the MacBook Pro 16.5 inch laptop to launch solo.
More from myself on that angle here.
Apple’s Quarterly Numbers
Apple’s quarterly earnings call provided a ‘steady as she goes’ report on the company revenue, with a positive light on the slow rise os services revenue looking to hide the shadow of falling iPhone revenue. The key takeaway being the iPhone’s contribution to revenue falling below fifty percent. Jason Snell reports:
Apple’s latest quarterly results are in, and they’re exactly what you’d expect: the portrait of a company that’s massively profitable and successful, but whose main product is lagging behind while new product lines are growing just fast enough to make up the difference. I guess we yawn at $53.8 billion in revenue these days—that’s a record for Apple’s sleepy third fiscal quarter, but up only one percent over last year’s record third quarter.
More at MacWorld. It may be a record third quarter year on year, but growth is slowing. As WRITER notes, without sales figures of the iPhone we can only assume that this reflects reduced iPhone sales being compensated for by a larger unit price:
The company hasn’t been sharing device numbers for the last several quarters and has instead focused solely on revenues, a sign of both the stagnating iPhone sales and the spike in the iPhone’s average selling price. The story for the last several quarters that Cook and Co. have been selling is the spike in Services revenue. This quarter, Services didn’t grow quite as much as analysts hoped, but it still reached $11.5 billion.
More at TechCrunch.
He may or may not be rostered to Apple’s subscription gaming service Apple Arcade, but new hire Nat Brown, formerly of Microsoft’s Xbox and Valve VR is heading to Cupertino. Variety’s Janko Roettgers reports:
Brown announced his new gig on Twitter Monday, writing: “I’m looking forward to continuing to work on my obsessions by focusing on all applications of graphics, and working with any of you using graphics on Apple platforms.”
Brown was part of Valve’s VR team until the company laid off more than a dozen staffers earlier this year. At the time, the company called those job cuts “an unfortunate part of business,” but insisted that they didn’t represent “any major changes at the company.”
Before starting at Valve in 2015, Brown had worked for a number of social media companies, including as CTO of iLike.com and vice president of technology for Myspace. In the 90s, he worked for 7 years for Microsoft, where he was part of a small group of engineers that created the original Xbox, at the time called “Project Midway.”