Apple May Be Working on 7th-Generation iPod Touch – MacRumors

Apple could have a 7th-generation iPod touch in the works, according to new information shared today by Japanese site Mac Otakara.

Several suppliers at CES 2019 reportedly told Mac Otakara that a 7th-generation iPod touch “might” be in development as a replacement for the 6th-generation version.

Here in the UK, the point-of-sale devices at Apple Stores are based on the iPod touch. And I’ve seen couriers using them as well. I’ve also heard that they are popular in warehouses, because they can run apps to manage orders and inventory, and they aren’t as expensive as iPhones or as large as iPads. Here’s one example of a scanner the iPod touch. (And the iPad mini is a common point-of-sale device in stores here as well.)

So while Apple probably doesn’t sell a lot of iPod touch devices to individuals, they probably have a strong worldwide enterprise demand for the device. I’m not surprised that it will be updated to ensure compatibility with the next few generations of iOS.

Source: Apple May Be Working on 7th-Generation iPod Touch, 2019 iPhones Could Adopt USB-C – MacRumors

It’s the Ecosystem, Stupid*

(*Note: the title of this article is a riff on a statement made by Bill Clinton’s campaign manager during the 1992 presidential race: “It’s the economy, stupid.”)

We saw recently how Apple’s profit warning caused the company’s stock to tank. This is because the iPhone, whose sales are down, represents about 60% of the company’s revenue, and any disruption to that leading product has a strong effect on the bottom line. But at the same time, Apple’s services revenue is increasing, as Apple is morphing from a hardware company to a services company.

Apple is a lot more than just the iPhone; its products represent an ecosystem. In a recent interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC, Tim Cook said that the “virtuous ecosystem is probably under-appreciated,” and that “the ecosystem has never been stronger.”

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 65: It’s the Ecosystem, Stupid

We discuss Apple’s trolling of other companies at the Consumer Electronics show this week, a delivery tracking app that sends and receives data in a strange way, and we then look at how Apple’s ecosystem may be “under-appreciated,” according to Tim Cook.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Hell Freezes Over for Apple (Again)

In October, 2003, Steve Jobs announced that hell froze over when the company announced its release of iTunes for Windows. (Go to 18:45 in the video.)

Yesterday, Apple announced that an iTunes Movies & TV Shows app will becoming to Samsung TVs (and eventually to other brands as well). In addition, Samsung TVs will support AirPlay 2 (as will other brands’ devices).

Hell is freezing over for Apple because the company has finally accepted that it cannot make enough money from its video offerings just with Apple devices (ie, the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV). This also suggests that the Apple TV has seen its last iteration. If Apple can put the same apps on any smart TV – which is, of course, not complicated – why have a separate device? I suspect we’ll also see an Apple Music app on these TVs before long (as is already the case for Android phones and tablets).

This is the biggest step in Apple’s morphing from a hardware company to a services company and one that has similar implications to their releasing a Windows version of iTunes. That software led to the explosion of popularity of the iPod, and probably 90% of iPod users were Windows users. Things are different with TVs, but Apple has realized that a standalone streaming box isn’t what people want; as more and more services are available directly from TVs, it makes sense to slim down the living room and get another device out of the way. (Of course, this change is not linked to a hardware product that could become a market leader, so Apple has a much bigger struggle ahead of them.)

On Apple’s AirPlay page, the company highlights the fact that AirPlay 2 is coming to TVs from “Leading TV manufacturers,” and this, too, makes sense. You’ll be able to stream audio from a TV to the HomePod, or to an AirPlay 2 compatible soundbar, such as the Sonos Beam, which I recently bought. Streaming AirPlay 2 to a device like that means one less cable to worry about, but I still wouldn’t want to stream to one or a pair of HomePods, at least not until there’s adjustable EQ settings for the devices.

Don’t forget that Apple controls the AirPlay 2 system, and will be extracting licensing fees from these companies, but they may be more flexible in order to get AirPlay 2 on more devices. There are already lots of audio devices that support AirPlay, many of which haven’t yet been updated to support AirPlay 2, but I suspect that those devices that can do the upgrade – that have the necessary hardware – will be doing so more quickly now, as Apple sees an interest in extending this protocol.

The big change here is that Apple has realized that their silo is no longer big enough to fuel their ambitions; that they need to branch out with their services in order to get enough users. We know that Apple will be announcing an original video content service soon, and it makes sense that users of non-Apple devices can watch it.

Also, I suspect we will see the Apple app being offered on existing TVs. While not all TVs will support AirPlay 2, I see no reason why any would not support a couple of Apple apps.

As a hardware company, Apple could afford to be exclusive; but as a services company, they must be as inclusive as possible.

The iPhone Is No Longer “Magical”

The big Apple news this week was the company’s surprising profit warning, the first time Apple has had to do this in 15 years. Apple is expecting revenue of about $88 billion this quarter, rather than its initial guidance of up to $93 billion. In other words, they’ve sold about $5 – $9 billion less in iPhones. (Yes, this is mostly the iPhone, because other products seem to be stable, and services have apparently increased.)

Funny, though; this is a record quarter for Apple, yet they had to issue a profit warning, and the stock fell nearly 10% the following day. But the stock market fall was not about this single quarter; it was about Apple’s future. The company’s revenue is mostly – and dangerously – focused on this single product. It represents about 59% of Apple’s income, so any drop in sales could have very serious effects.

It was interesting that Tim Cook spent 1,500 words blaming all sorts of reasons for this drop, whereas he can’t come out and say the real reasons. First, the iPhone has gotten too expensive. As Apple has seen demand flatten, they have raised the price of the iPhone (as well as other products, such as the high-end iPad, and the Apple Watch):

Price

The second reason is that the iPhone simply isn’t magical any more. And hearing Tim Cook use that term in the presentation of the latest iPhones sounded falser than it had in the past. Steve Jobs could say that in the early years of the device, because, for a while, it was magical, at least to many users. But now, the iPhone is an appliance, it’s one of many smartphones that all look more or less alike, and that all do more or less the same things. I stick with the iPhone because of the ecosystem – in part, because I write about Apple products, but also because I’m somewhat locked in through the apps I use – and because it is more reliable and more secure. But it’s not magical.

It’s time for Apple to grow up and stop selling their devices using this sort of language. Sure, the company is transitioning to services, and, as this article suggests, we might see iPaaS, or iPhone as a service, in the near future. Apple has already started that transition, with their upgrade program, but given the high price of new iPhones, the monthly payment for that is still somewhat steep. With the company’s dependency on the iPhone as its main revenue source, this transition will need to happen very quickly to maintain the level of income the company has seen, and that keeps its share price high.

But Apple’s biggest problem is that their services have never been stellar. Sure, the iTunes Store was and still is profitable, but their other services are not leaders in their sectors. We’ll see how Apple negotiates this turnaround as their star product becomes mature and no longer seems magical.

Apple’s CarPlay Is a Useful Extension to Your iPhone When Driving

Let’s face it; it’s not safe to use your phone when you’re driving. In many cases it’s illegal, and it can be deadly. While Apple has recently added a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature to iOS, you may actually need to use some of the features on your phone when you’re behind the wheel.

You’ve long been able to pair a phone to a car via Bluetooth to make and receive calls. But Apple’s in-car system, CarPlay, takes this much further by offering a range of apps that can make your driving easier and more efficient. I tried it out on my new car; here’s what I think.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.