Intel outside

Surely i'm the first person using that headline.

Greetings! Coming right up, the most interesting stuff about Apple in the past week. — Please forward this email to anyone you think might find it interesting.

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👋 We’re back to our original programming after last week drama-o-rama. Apple WWDC went on as one of the most interesting developers event of the company, with a pre-recorded keynote and a week long open sessions. The company now boasts 23 million developers, and Craig Federighi showmanship reached new heights.

📺 Talking about original programming, we got the first Foundation Apple TV+ series teaser and it looks great.


Apple Silicon

😎 Apple will switch its Mac Line to “Apple Silicon”. It’s more than “moving to ARM”, as it will require almost a total re-engineering of the boards. It goes beyond switching Intel CPU for an Apple SoC. We’ll know more in a few weeks.


🖥 To make the transition easier, Apple is lending developers a Mac Mini/iPad Pro hybrid. It has a 2020 iPad Pro chipset (A12Z) and I guess some developer will end up opening or x-raying soon.

The device, dubbed DTK, runs macOS 11 and a Geekbench test (done through Rosetta 2) reveals a small difference in synthetic performance compared with iOS Geekbench results on an 2020 iPad Pro, and very close to a new Mac Mini with Core i3 (and costs $799). It’s an iffy comparison, but it ballparks performance.


📈 Speculating with that data means that the first Apple Silicon Macs will have better performance than almost all of the models sold today with Intel chips. Specially those in the lower- and mid-tier MacBooks and iMacs, that are Apple’s best-sellers.

A few questions that will get an answer in a few months:

  • Does Apple Silicon boards and chips mean lower costs for Apple?

  • Would that mean cheaper entry-level Macs?

  • Would at least the high-end Apple Silicon computers have fans?

  • How long will Apple keep supporting macOS on Intel?

I have my guesses (yes, no, yes and around five) to that questions, but it’ll be interesting to know more.


😅 Former Intel principal engineer speculates the fate was sealed five years ago when Skylake-era Intel chips became some sort of a nightmare for engineers at Apple, and the company started investing more and more in their own chips.


🆕 iOS and iPad OS 14 are both hugh updates. The betas are surprisingly stable, and the list of new features is endless. A lot of “finally’s”, but my pickings would be:

  • No more full-screen take over from calls and Siri

  • App Clips

  • Redesigned Home screen functionality

  • Find My app with 3rd party support

  • Change default browser and email apps

  • Emoji search


Safari

🌐 The browser will get WebExtensions, only on the Mac, the same system that Chrome, Edge and Firefox use so it’ll get a lot of new extensions through the Mac App Store.

🔐 But Apple declined to add several good browser-APIs that would add plenty of features for Progressive Web Apps (the only kind of app that you can distribute outside the App Store) out of privacy concerns. Some really would be a nightmare, but others would give access to networking and sensors that only native apps have.


Podcasts

🎧 Apple is in a tight position regarding podcasting in China. Yang Yi of JustPod dived in the details around Beijing’s bureaucracy to try to understand what’s really happening behind the scenes.

🗣 Federighi went on two podcasts this week both with huge Apple-rati personalities Marques Brownlee to answer questions from the audience, and with John Gruber to talk about the future of the Mac.


Apple News

📰 The New York Times pulls out of Apple News. The newspaper with the most paid subscribers (6 million) already decreased its operations in the platform but now it leaves for good. Apple News is still a gateway for more readers, and The Times have all the leverage it needs today. — It’s the second newspaper to leave after The Guardian left in 2017.

👉 Rumor has it that Apple News+ isn’t working that well. Of all the paid-subscriptions of Apple, it must be the worst performing.


🤖 Apple News “algorithms pick more celeb stories than human editors” according to a research paper that looked at more than 4,000 headlines. Human editors also chose from a wider array of sources.

👉 Apple News is still far better than other “Silicon Valley-made” aggregators precisely because of the editors.


Money

📈Apple is worth 60% more than it did 3 months ago. Showing how crazy the markets have been since early March. I don’t invest, so I can’t say I care much.


💵 The Federal Reserve is buying Apple bonds along with those of other 793 American companies to “support” the market for investment-grade corporate debt".

👉 I don’t know why, but FinTwit was having a field day.


Coronavirus

🛍 Apple closed many stores in the U.S. mainly in Texas and Florida as coronavirus cases trended back up in many American states. Mexican and Brazilian stores still down. The tally is 50 stores closed out of 510.


🇬🇧 British govt. switched plans for its COVID app, and will implement the Apple-Google API. Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock talked about an “hybrid” approach but Apple said that’s not on the table, as their guidelines wouldn’t allow for GPS and other data gathering.


🇺🇾 Tim Cook congratulated Uruguay for implementing the COVID API. The Uruguayan implementation and app are pretty cool and open source. Sundar Pichai also sent a letter.


🌎 Here’s a list of territories using the API. A couple dozen countries as of today. Almost all of Europe is onboard, only four U.S. states.


More from the Orchard

🚕 Project Titan is alive, in a roundabout way. Didi Chuxing, where Apple invested $1 billion back in 2016, announced their plans for “one million robotaxis” in 2030. Let’s all keep an eye on Apple’s board seat at the company.


🥽 Apple is hiring most of Magic Leap ex-employees. The Florida-base Augmented Reality company is having a bad couple of years and some LinkedIn spelunking shows that 4 in 10 former employees are now at Apple.


🖥 Apple bought Fleetsmith, a company with Mac/iOS deployment tools. Another step into enterprise for Apple, after partnering with Cisco, SAP, IBM and almost every “cool” kid in the market. Fleetsmith software will keep working as it is for now.


Thank you for reading Apple Weekly. Please consider forwarding this email to your contacts or hitting the like button below. — Alex

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The Storm before the Calm

Apple Developers are riled up on the eve of WWDC. Many feel wronged and call for App Store reforms after a decade of capricious and arbitrary enforcement.

Greetings! Coming right up, the most interesting stuff about Apple in the past week. — Please forward this email to anyone you think might find it interesting. 


This is a long issue. Skip to the “The root of it all” section, and then go to the very end if you don’t have time.

I’ve read thousands and thousands of words and listened to many podcasts about it. This is a recollection of it all. I hope saner heads prevail.

I’ll try to summarise what transpired this week after the European Commission started two investigations to check if Apple broke the blocks competition rules. The formal investigations are two:

  • (1) Are the App Store rules about payments too restrictive?

  • (2) Does Apple reduce choice of payments with Apple Pay restrictions?

These formal investigations are serious, and many of the concerns are shared across the Atlantic by members of the U.S. Congress. Apple isn’t on the verge of a path that leads to being broken-up by regulators, like probably Google and Amazon are, but still it’s in the target of bureaucrats and politicians in many fields.

The case for “reform” was only made stronger after a new email paid service called Hey.com, made by traditional software studio Basecamp, got rejected from the App Store, and less so by the revelation that Apple had rejected a new Facebook app for the fifth time after months of tug-of-war and design changes.

I’ve spent the week reading other people’s opinions and perspectives. From pro-consumers to developers, from ex-Apple employees to average Janes. I will quote most of their most interesting thoughts and offer my commentary, to try an offer a full-picture.


The letter

I’m assuming you’ve read the letter from Apple to Basecamp after the rejection of Hey.

“This feels like an inevitable moment of change for the App Store. The question is, will Apple get ahead of the situation and negotiate that change themselves, or will they resist and minimize any change, pay the fine and keep their model as is?”

Jim Dalrymple, veteran Apple writer.

U.S. Congressman David Cicilline joined the Vergecast episode this week, to talk about the letter. He is the chair of the Antitrust Committee in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Cicilline, and others from both American parties, have been pushing for more restricting regulation for several companies in the tech sector.

“That’s always the answer of monopolists: “if you don’t like it, leave.”"

“The whole reason that we have competition as a virtue — in that we have policies to promote competition — is because it promotes innovation. It makes space for the next great idea, the next great company. And it also drives down prices, gives consumers more choices.”

“I think the economic size and the economic power that these large technology platforms have they believe translates into certain political power.”


The last paragraph

The part of the letter that struck many people as unnecessary and inflammatory.

Thank you for being an iOS app developer. We understand that Basecamp has developed a number of apps and many subsequent versions for the App Store for many years, and that the App Store has distributed millions of these apps to iOS users. These apps do not offer in-app purchase — and, consequently, have not contributed any revenue to the App Store over the last eight years. We are happy to continue to support you in your app business and offer you the solutions to provide your services for free — so long as you follow and respect the same App Store Review Guidelines and terms that all developers must follow.

Signed “App Review Board”. More than likely penned under Phil Schiller supervision, if not by Schiller himself.


“Whoever at Apple wrote this (…) should never be allowed to communicate with developers again.”

Marco Arment, long time Apple developer and host of ATP, one of the most influential media inside and around Apple.

“Wow, this is extremely flimsy. Who is Apple protecting with this stance?”

John Siracusa, another host of ATP, and seen from inside the company as a person that ‘gets’ Apple.

“Apple didn’t just send it to the developer, they shared it with the press. A middle finger to everybody just before WWDC”

Steve Throughton-Smith, long time Apple developer.

“Spent 13 years working at Apple. Poured my life into it. Disgusted by what I am seeing here.”

Jordan Dea-Mattson, former Apple engineer.

“I think Phil is just lucky that it isn’t an in person event this year. He might actually have been met with a chorus of boo’s this year”

Steven Barker, another Apple developer.

“This is just tripling down right now and honestly, it’s painful to see this sort of thing.”

Christina Warren, Microsoft employee and former journalist.

“The basecamp founders spent a decade marketing themselves by deliberately insulting their peers, employees & half the tech industry. That’s their brand - a cool app run by trolls.”

Benedict Evans, VC.

“This whole “has generated no revenue for the App Store” line holds no water. If Apple removed all third party apps from their iOS store today, what would iPhone sales look like for the next 2 years? The abundance of apps makes Apple’s phones sell. Without them they’d be dead."

Russel Ivanovic, CPO of Pocket Casts, the podcast app Apple removed last week after China told them to.

I have to agree that the last paragraph is arrogant, disrespectful of developers that made the iPhone so desirable of a tool… and also plays into Hey getting a free marketing campaign.


The broken rules

Apple argued that Hey didn’t follow Rule 3.1.1, that regulates In-App Purchases in the App Store. It currently says:

“Apps may not use their own mechanisms to unlock content or functionality, such as license keys, augmented reality markers, QR codes, etc”.

“Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.”

John Gruber, an excellent writer and probably the person outside of Apple with the most keen and perceptive view of what transpires in the company, doesn’t see any problem:

“The Hey app isn’t dancing around the App Store’s rule 3.1.1 in some cute way — they’re complying with it completely. Am I missing something?”

In fact, Apple didn’t see any problem as they approved the app, only for them to, after an update, flagged the already approved feature.

Matthew Panzarino, from TechCrunch, could reach a quick interview with Phil Schiller, the SVP at Apple responsible for the App Store.

“You download the app and it doesn’t work, that’s not what we want on the store.” says Schiller

It doesn’t work because Apple doesn’t let them add external links. There are plenty of apps like this. Like Netflix, or your bank’s app, or newspapers for instance. They don’t work if previously you didn’t engage outside the App Store with them.

Apple refers then, to a articles 3.1.3 (a) & (b), where they offer exceptions to “Reader apps” and “subscription platforms”.

“Apps may allow a user to access previously purchased content or content subscriptions (specifically: magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, video, access to professional databases, VoIP, cloud storage, and approved services such as classroom management apps), provided that you agree not to directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase, and your general communications about other purchasing methods are not designed to discourage use of in-app purchase.”

But 3.1.3 (b) doesn’t allow you to link to a webpage where users can pay:

“You must not directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase”


The root of it all

According to Apple, an app like “Hey” must include IAPs so users aren’t confused when they install it. Only a subset of apps that Apple chose can include a secondary link to “access previously purchased content”.

Basecamp, and others quoted, argue that “Hey” fits into the category, because it could fit under “cloud storage”, and they don’t think Apple can arbitrarily decide what kind of business they are running.


The enforcement of the rules

Marco Arment proposed that that exact rule could be replaced with the previous one.

“A realistic solution that would give Apple and devs most of what they want, and remove most antitrust pressure, would be the older, less-strict version of the rule: Allow non-IAP payments to exist, but not be reachable in-app, and let apps say “Go to our website to sign up”

You can check the historical revisions of the App Store rules here. Apple has changed rule 3.1.1 four times.


Rep. Cicilline, again in the Vergecast episode:

“The [App Store] rules are not clear at all. (…) But besides that, a company doesn’t have the ability to make rules that violate competition policy or antitrust”

“There are thousands of small businesses all across America that are facing the same kind of bullying, the same kind of gatekeeping from these large technology platforms.”


“The fact that Apple has trouble following its own rules (it accidentally approved Hey at first) may suggest there’s an issue here.”

Harry McCracken, technology journalist at Fast Company.

One of the better arguments against the rejection, is that many similar apps don’t offer IAP and have been on the App Store for years. Fastmail, another email app, said:

“Apple asked us recently to add IAP. We agreed to add it, and it was already on our longer term roadmap. We have always believed in meeting our users where they want to be, and more and more people are going mobile-only. It’s expected in our next major release.”

Another such case is Gmail suite. You can’t use it without paying for the service outside.

“App Store rules and policies were created for the world as it was a decade ago. The world is not as it was a decade ago. Apple should create new guidelines for the world as it is now.”

M.G. Siegler, a veteran journalist turned VC.

Benedict Evans reaches a similar conclusion:

“Apple locked down App Store payments in early 2011. At that point around 10% of the mobile phones in the USA were iPhones. Today, 60-70% are iPhones (and 80%+ of US teenagers have an iPhone). That changes the conversation about what terms are OK.”


The spirit of the App Store

The App Store is a great equalizer. Every One Man Band and every Multinational videogame maker are in the same level, and treated under the same set of rules. That’s the theory. The reality is that Apple apps and big apps from Tencent and Amazon aren’t treated the same.

Steven Sinofsky, a veteran Microsoft executive turned VC investor, shared his thoughts in a very nuanced article about how we got here.

Talking about the United States vs. Microsoft case in the 90s, Sinofsky clarified: “Much of the DOJ v Microsoft antitrust case was perceived to be about browsers or even”bundling" but in fact it was really about the terms and conditions that came with selling a Windows PC. The regulation that followed was much more about that."

Today’s case is very different, but he explains how Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit, a set of rules to distribute Windows, was hit by regulators, and eventually turned into a mess. Sinofsky also argued that “clearly no one wants to go back to a free for all”, a world where you’re two clicks away from installing anything from the Internet. One of the biggest points:

“Today we’re hearing all the examples of good actors who say they want to do good things. We’re not hearing from bad actors who would have destroyed the smartphone experience—maybe even prevented the app revolution from happening.”

He is, of course, right. I still think 99.9999% of users are better off with a “benign dictator” at the gate. Software makers should also be free to reach pro-consumers and businesses outside the stores.

Like we do on desktop machines. Make it opt-in, reduce your guarantees, and leave the small subset of consumers to do with their hardware what they want. I think the “smartphone app revolution” is mature enough in 2020.


Other developers aren’t as complacent as Sinofsky, specially those who have been doing work for Apple’s platforms for decades.

“It’s pathetic to say, but I respect your bravery in immediately calling them out for this. We’ve dealt back-channel style with capricious rejections for years and years and it’s so exhausting, and though we almost always prevail, the only thing that gets Apple changing is bad PR.”

Cabel Sasser, founder of Panic Software, a firm that’s synonym with quality macOS and iOS software.

“The goal that Apple is shooting for. A world where they have all the control, and also get all the money. And also have apps that have all the features that customers expect it’s never going to happen. (…) Best case scenario is this tense Cold War where our apps are inexplicably stupider that they need to be, developers are cranky, and Apple’s platform has apps that are worse.”

John Siracusa.

“iOS wouldn’t be what it is without devs producing apps. Apple couldn’t have done it alone. Cash isn’t the only value Apple extracts from the App Store.”

Layton Duncan, long time Apple Developer.

“[Developers] add value to your highly profitable hardware FAR beyond the 30%”

Marco Arment.

“Apple still needs to rewrite its payment policies. If it doesn’t the EU will, and no-one wants that.”

Benedict Evans.


The Developers

Ben Thompson talked with an undisclosed number of developers, both big and small, privately.

“I have now heard from multiple developers, both big and small, that over the last few months Apple has been refusing to update their app unless their SaaS service adds in-app purchase.”

“Multiple emails, several of which will only communicate via Signal. I’m of course happy to do that, but also think it is striking just how scary it is to even talk about the App Store.”

Thompson has long argued that the Apple’s App Store is “by far the biggest antitrust problem in tech”.


Respected analyst Ben Bajarin did an (arguably unscientific poll) amongst his Twitter followers: “If Apple allowed you alternate payment methods and took no fee, but your app would never be featured or promoted in the App Store would you take that trade-off?” 43.7% voted yes, 33.5% voted no, and 23.8% said “maybe”.

“After many issues early on, Rogue Amoeba has avoided Apple’s App Stores. To save our sanity & revenue, we focused on direct distro via the Mac. Sadly, problems have persisted & worsened.”

Rogue Amoeba, a traditional software shop for Apple platforms.

“As a direct result of Apple’s actions, as well as policies both written and unwritten, we have no plans for future App Store apps”

Rogue Amoeba.


Neil Cybart, another highly esteemed analyst, argues that this is just a vocal minority:

“The entire tech press apparatus has been after the App Store for years. It’s not like there is a lack of outlets to air grievances.”

Some of his points:

“The loudest voices against the App Store want to change everything. This isn’t just about revenue share percentages or unclear App Store guidelines. It’s about who has more control.”

But Apple has all the control. Not more, all of it. The company sets the rules, enforces them and manages it with varios degrees of competence and independence.

Cybart also argues that most developers build free ad-based apps, and thus, the App Store is a cash-generator, not a burden of fees:

“The vast majority of app developers don’t share any App Store derived revenue with Apple”

“I don’t think people who have legitimate issues with the App Store end up advancing their cause if the narrative shifts to “let’s burn the App Store down.”

I get that point, but after a decade of the App Store, Apple has bulged after developers pressured to make it fairer rules several times. This is only one more. I don’t think Cybart is right that a majority doesn’t care because, the App Store is not a relationship where two businesses meet as equals. See points from developers in the previous section.


My proposal

My opinion is that a middle ground is very close. Apple has changed the rules several times in the past, and they only need to broaden the categories that qualify for external purchases and subscriptions.

Now, I don’t know if Apple can earn back the admiration of the developer community as a whole. If they do, it will be through a generous compromise and thinking about the customers. If they don’t reach a deal, Brussels and D.C. will make one for them, and it won’t be pretty.

Doubling down when faced with antitrust cases from both sides of the Atlantic, plus Beijing doing what it does best, doesn’t make for a good strategy.

I don’t think Apple needs to apologise. Just sit at the table before it’s too late. There are many other issues that developers would like to see addressed too, just sit and talk with them.


Thank you for reading Apple Weekly. Please consider forwarding this email to your contacts. — Alex

Get in loser, we're going ARM

Apple co-founded ARM in the 90s and now it's leaving x86 for good, while developers and pro-consumers hold their breath.

Greetings! Coming right up, the most interesting stuff about Apple in the past week. — Please forward this email to anyone you think might find it interesting. 


🦾 With WWDC just one week away, ARM macOS is almost here. On June 22, Apple will show the first version of macOS that will fully work on ARM architecture. The company has been working on it for years, and giving baby steps both in hardware (T* chips) and software (Catalyst). Lots of answers here.

🔂 Bloomberg reports that Apple will announce the first (full-)ARM machine, with a chip that will be based on the next A14 line of chips. So it looks like we'll have an A14 for the iPhone, an A14X for the next iPad Pro, and A14-something for the Mac line.

🤔 Questions to be answered:

  • What co-processors will Apple add?

  • Will software compiled for x86 continue to work in those machines? (1) yes, (2) only from the Mac App Store (transpiled, I think), (3) nothing, only Catalyst apps.

  • If so, will it be through Rosetta-like emulation or virtualization?

  • Will ARM Macs continue to support Windows dual-boot? (1) no (2) yes, the x86 version, (3) yes, but only Windows on ARM.

  • Will Apple keep AMD GPUs in higher end computers or switch entirely?

  • What's the roadmap? My guess would be: MacBook > Mac Mini > iMac > "Pro" lineup

💻 That means macOS and iOS won't merge, at least for the time being. Lots of things will converge for developers, but "Macs will be Macs, and iPads will be iPads". Let's see how it pans out for the further development of the iPad as an standalone machine.

📅 Here's the complete lineup of the event. There are lots of changes besides the 'remote' thing. "All new" developer forums open for developers to talk with Apple employees, and 1-on-1 sessions via FaceTime.


Apple Watch

⌚ Here's the updated Apple Watch sales chart. It averages several reports, and this past two quarters the disparities between reports have grown a bit.


Coronavirus

🦠 American states reject Apple-Google Covid API, while Europe slowly embraces it. Only three states (Alabama, South Carolina, and North Dakota) have committed to use Apple and Google's ambitious API. -- In Europe: Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Switzerland are onboard, and probably more will do so soon.


More hardware

🧐 Second WWDC without Jony Ive. We're entering an era of Apple where any product that he ever oversaw or designed must be coming out the door. Probably for two more years.

💻 Apple will pay you for your old Mac. No details yet, but the new trade-in program will start next week in Canadian and American stores.

🤖 And also for your old Android phones. Again, only in the U.S., but the company will pony up up to $340 for a Galaxy Note 10, yet only $130 for a Pixel 3 XL.

📱 Apple still doesn't have a Pixel problem. It's been 4 years since Google released the beloved Pixel phone line, but it still not selling at all. Only 7.2 million Pixels sold in 2019, a marked improvement, but not enough to get into the top 10.


😥 Jim Keller resigned from Intel for personal reasons. Probably family related matter. He isn't going back to Apple, where he led the development of the giant leap that were the A4 and A5 chips, before eventually going to AMD and Tesla. Keller is one of the more accomplished individuals in the field.

🤔 Commercial Hackintosh again. A company called OpenCore Computer, started offering Windows/macOS dual boot machines this week for $2,200. It's doomed to be struck down in the courts.


China

📉 Pension Fund of Rhode Island will sue Apple over demand comments. Courts in California said Apple must face a lawsuit "claiming it fraudulently concealed falling demand for iPhones, especially in China". I am not a lawyer, obviously, but tt's an interesting timeline:

  • November 1st, 2018: Tim Cook says on the analyst call that the new phones had a "really great start", and that while some emerging markets weren't that great "I would not put China in that category".

  • "Mid November" 2018 Apple tells manufacturers and providers that they don't need as many iPhones.

  • January 2nd, 2019: Apple reduces forecast by $9 billion.

  • January 3rd, 2019: Apple stock drops 10% ($74b market cap)

  • Since then, the stock has more than doubled.


🎧 Podcasts apps banned in China. Beijing ordered Apple to delete Pocket Casts and Castro, after both apps refused to delete or stop promoting some shows. I'm guessing Apple must have deleted the shows in their own app.

🙈 AppleCensorship.com is a great guide that tracks every app, search or function that the company removes in China, the U.S. or elsewhere.


Software

🤳 Snapchat launches its own app store in July, to distribute "Snap Minis", a set of small apps made by 3rd-party developers that will perform or offer special functions like buying tickets, school work, payments and such.

👉 If Snap Minis reminds you of WeChat Mini-Programs, you're right. I don't grasp why Apple allows this kind of "app store inside app store", but my guess is that they're browser based and free.

🌐 Google will go “full-Safari” and hid the complete URLs in the address bar. It's not a big issue, but it has a lot of UX issues. This is kind of a vindication to the Safari team, but I still don't like it.

📚 iTunes U will be gone at the end of 2021 as the company switches all their educational stuff to the Schoolwork and Classroom apps and services. Maybe a more cohesive service in the future?


Apple Car

🚕 It's been three years since Tim Cook openly talked about "autonomous systems". I don't know if Project Titan is still alive, or it morphed into something different. But it was a big thing back in 2017 to get Tim to say it out loud: "probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on."

🚗 Eddy Cue is interested in Nikola, the so-hot-right now car company.


Apple TV

🇬🇧 4% of Britons use Apple TV+ according to the latest UK-wide survey from Omdia, just a tad more than YouTube Premium. That would translate to just over one million people.

🌊 Greyhound will debut next month in Apple TV+. The World War 2 film starring Tom Hanks was meant for cinemas, but Sony and Apple reached a deal to premiere it in the Apple TV+ (trailer) service while the pandemic clears out.

🏀 Apple has hired Amazon exec Jim DeLorenzo to head up sports for its Apple TV unit.

👨‍👧‍👦 Dads will premiere this week. A Brice Dallas Howard documentary about celebrity dads and their day to day lives. Here's the trailer.


Thank you for reading Apple Weekly. Please consider forwarding this email to your contacts or hitting the like button below. — Alex

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Apple and China: what's going on & what could happen

Divorces suck, but sometimes are the only way forward

Greetings! Coming right up, the most interesting stuff about Apple in the past week. — Please forward this email to anyone you think might find it interesting. 


First: I know there are plenty of Chinese and sinophiles reading this newsletter. I urge you to comment with your views, or correct what I get wrong. Thank you.

What's going on with China

🥶 Apple got a reminder that it's on the frontline of the cold war. After the U.S. extended sanctions on Huawei, the Communist regime talked through its outlets about punishing Apple in return, along with Cisco, Boeing and Qualcomm. 

"I'm sure Tim Cook is tired of putting his diplomatic hat on", i said last year

🤐 Apple depends on China, but doesn't like it. Supply side, Apple and many companies just can't make their devices outside of China. It's not just about cost btw, it's just not possible today. It would take a lot of money and years for another industrial power-zone to arise, or more likely: several mini power-zones.


🧧 What about demand? For a brief period of time, back in 2015 Apple got a huge growth spurt in China. In one quarter: 29% of total revenues came from what Apple defines as Greater China (PRC + Hong Kong & Macau + Taiwan). Apple had built a lot of stores and the new bigger iPhones were a hit:

😭 But since then, it kinda fizzled out. For the past two years, Greater China revenue has been consistently around 16-17%. I'd love to see the numbers without Taiwan in the equation, but I don't have any available.


🎮 Besides hardware, China is more important in services consumption. Chinese users spend the most in mobile apps and mobile games. China is to mobile gaming what Japan is to console gaming: a power house of both creation and consumption.


What could happen in China

🤜 It's my opinion that Beijing could hit the App Store first. By arbitrarily expanding the restrictions of what Apple can sell in there. They already banned Apple from offering VPNsWestern newspapersU.S.-based iCloud, and so on. — Also, the gaming licensing is heavily regulated already.

⏮ It's also a soft spot because these rules could be lifted in an instant, unlike restricting manufacturers and providers to work with Apple, or banning the sales of devices. Apple is also very important to the Chinese industry.

🔮 It could allow Beijing to test the waters and see how Washington (and Cupertino) would react, while leaving their national industry largely unharmed. Chinese iPhone users could also consider switching to other brands if this restrictions are kept long enough.


Could Apple leave China

💰 Apple could leave China. It just would take a lot of billions and years. Divorces suck, but sometimes are the only way forward. If things don’t abruptly break, Apple will just take it step by step. — Make some things in the U.S., some things in China, others in Vietnam, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, etc.

🤔 Samsung did it! By the end of 2019, none of the Samsung smartphones were made in China, it was a "new blow" to the country according to the FT. Sony Mobile left too. Even Chinese OEMs are moving part of their production to India or Thailand. — Trade tensions could have been the final straw, but the decision was mostly economical.

⚙️ China got expensive, but not yet super-high tech. There are things that only Taiwan, Korea, Germany, Japan or the U.S. can make today. Importing those parts to be assembled by Chinese workers whose wages doubled in five years didn't make sense any more.

🇮🇳 Apple already moved some production to India, as a response to the Indian government stick and carrot doctrineApple and providers have been talking about this for a few years. Apple can afford to pay in advance part of the relocation costs. This will continue.

🇻🇳 Also now, some AirPods moved to Vietnam. "Some 3 million to 4 million units, or around 30% of total classic AirPods production this quarteralready re-sourced. AirPods are relatively simple to assemble, but it's a step. Vietnam has its own political issues, but labor is much cheaper.


📊 Here's an amazing chart of the glacial smartphone shift away from China, from Counterpoint Research. Even past their peak, smartphones will continue to be the #1 selling electronics for years and years to come... but fewer and fewer will have a Made in China sticker.


Also, out of Silicon Valley

🌳 Apple also thinks outside the Park. The Apple Park will forever be the heart of the company, but the Austin campus will be huge, with enough capacity to accommodate 15,000 employees in the future. It broke ground in November and since then there has been an interesting recent addition:

🏨 Apple Austin campus will have a 192-room hotel attached.This shows thinking beyond "remote-first" or whatever. It appeared in a revised site plan approved by the City of Austin in late April. — This shows how fast the company has adapted to coronavirus.

🌐 Apple will never be “remote-first” but they certainly are remote-friendly for many of their Apple Park employees. Design and engineering will stay in Cupertino, but giving options to marketing, sales, support, services, cloud, payments, and so forth just makes sense. The offices in Toronto, Austin, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, etc. will just become bigger and more encompassing. 


More from the Orchard

😷 iOS 13.5 will make easier to unlock with a mask. FaceID will detect if you're wearing a mask and instantly prompt to enter the password. It's still a hassle, but less so. — Apple couldn't make for the software to recognize you just with your eyes and forehead. It wouldn't be secure enough.

🤞 Rumor has it that iPhone 12 will get Touch ID again, by putting a new kind of sensor below the screen. This will be the best of both worlds, as both your fingers and your face could unlock it. — I still struggle to unlock it while in bed.

🐠 The great Scott Forstall did a public interview again. He talked about his past at Apple, told the dead-fish story again and inspired a bunch of kids learning to code.


Thank you for reading Apple Weekly. Please consider forwarding this email to your contacts or hitting the like button below. — Alex

Égalité, Sécurité, Réalité

are Apple Glasses even real?

Greetings! Coming right up, the most interesting stuff about Apple in the past week. — Please forward this email to anyone you think might find it interesting. 


Tim Cook not using Apple Glasses.

Alternate Reality

💵 Apple bought NextVR for $100 million. The south California company was struggling to a degree after failing to get more funding, but holds plenty of patents, knowledgeable engineers. — Is it fair to label the deal an acqui-hire?

🤓 Does this mean Apple is getting into virtual reality? If by VR we mean "Oculus-like" in functions probably not. But we know Apple is investing really hard into Augmented Reality, and the edges between the two so fuzzy some like to talk about "Mixed" (or "Augmented") Reality.

🚿 Shower thoughts: Apple really likes to buy companies named Next! and, if Google Glass, HTC, Magic Leap or Microsoft HoloLens have shown is that this is very hard and it takes time and billions. Apple has both.

👓 Apple started talking internally about at least two devicesBack in October 2019. We don't know much about what Mike Rockwell and his team is doing. It was reported that company had 2020 in mind for a first release, but the goals were delayed. 

🗓 So, when? The first reporting dates back to 2016. Even Ming Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman, both with exceptional track-records, talked about a potential release in 2019early 2020late 2020, and now maybe 2023. — Even Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said last year that smart glasses are a decade away.


Security

🔐 The FBI unlocked a terrorist iPhone without Apple. "We received effectively no help from Apple" said the FBI Director. It’s the Pensacola case, not San Bernardino. — It's not clear what software did the FBI use to break the system's security and encryption, but we may have a clue:

💸 Zerodium claims they don't want any more iOS exploits.The security company pays handsomely to any researcher able to break into an iPhone or iPad. Or used to, because that's now halted due to a recent increase in the findings. — They later sell the fixes and consultancy to governments.

🔓 "iOS Security is fucked", according to Chaouki Bekrar, Zerodium founder, that explained "there are a few persistence exploits (0days) working with all iPhones/iPads". — Without more details, it's hard to to say, but one those could explain how the FBI broke into that iPhone.

🔏 A few months ago, Apple sued security company Corellium, which provides tools for developers and researchers to put a copy of their iPhone software in a virtual container. — Apple tried to buy Corellium and when refused, sued arguing that the company commercializes an illegal “replication of the copyrighted operating system and applications that run on [Apple’s devices]”. — Many iOS exploits are probably found this way.


Hardware

🔋 Judge ready to approve up to $500 million settlement over iPhone batteries. Apple agreed to settle the class-action in March and pay $25 per iPhone. Now the judge has provided preliminary approval, with a final decision by the end of the year.

⌨️ The new Magic Keyboard doesn't feel so magical to some users. One third of 9to5Mac readers say that they're experiencing battery drain from the iPad Pro when the device is idling and the new keyboard attached. Another third say no, and the rest isn't sure. — Some reports that the issue disappeared with a replacement under warranty. 


Television

👽 Ridley Scott has inked a first-look multi-year TV deal with Apple.

📺 Sofia Coppola will make a limited series for Apple with the adaptation of "The Custom of the Country" novel. — It's her second work for the company after "On the Rocks", a film that will stream exclusively on Apple TV+.

🤳 Mythic Quest will have a special episode shot entirely on iPhones. — Reminds me of Modern Family's 2015 "FaceTime episode".


More from the Orchard

🗓 We're one month away from WWDC (June 22).

🎧 Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of product marketing, does his job and claims AirPods are pretty good and selling like hot cakes. Still no official figures.

💳 Apple Pay users doubled in the last two years in Australia to 6,5% according to a survey. — It's around 9% in the U.S.

🎮 Ubisoft sued Apple after refusing to remove from the App Store a videogame made by an Alibaba-subsidiary that's a "near carbon copy" of one of their most popular recent works, Rainbow Six: Siege.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Apple starts hiring engineers in London to work in the Wallet and Apple Pay services.

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