The iPhone is a cruel mistress

The humans behind Siri / iMessage bugs / "Sign-in with Apple" caveats

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.


Q3 results are in and they're a mixed bag of great, good and not so good. The latter mostly on the iPhone. The quarter was a record Q3.

  • The iPhone went below 50% of total turnover for the first time since some quarter in 2012 after dropping by $3.5 billion.

  • This is somewhat good for the company in the long term but I'm sure the company would love to sell both more iPhones and more "of the rest" instead of just one of those options.

  • Canalys has the iPhone falling 13% (while the market only 2%) to 36 million units, with no data yet from Gartner, IDC or CounterPoint.

  • In China, the iPhone took off again in June according to Tim Cook, a bit late to save the quarter: under 6 million sold according to Canalys (-14%).

Non iPhone news:

  • Wearables (for now Beats, AirPods and Apple Watch, maybe Glasses soon) are now on par with the Mac and the iPad in terms of revenue. 

  • Wearables are now roughly a $25 billion per year business, similar to Xiaomi as a whole, which did $26 billion in 2018.

  • 75% of Apple Watch customers this quarter were first time buyers. That's pretty good sign of a healthy segment.

  • iPad and Mac flattish.

  • Apple Card will come out in August, as reported.

  • Apple Pay is doing about 1 billion transactions per month according to the company, double from last year.


Apple contractors 'regularly hear confidential details' on Siri recordings. The report goes to enumerate a few details on how the human "grader" team works (spoiler: mostly similar to Alexa and Google's teams). — The unnamed contractor is actually Sigma Technologies here in Madrid, who works for Google too.

👉 I'm pretty sure most Apple customers don't know actual humans can hear some of their Siri recordings. I don't have hard data on it, but I'd take a huge bet on it.


Google reveals six bugs in Apple's iMessage app. Google's Project Zero team told Apple about a fistful of flaws, one of them pretty awful according to the researchers. iOS 12.4 should have patched the vulnerabilities.


The Tesla-Apple Motorway is still busy. Former Jaguar Land Rover and Tesla executive "in charge of engineering for car exteriors and interiores", Steve MacManus, joined Apple as Senior Director.


'Sign in with Apple' isn't that good for privacy. The service could get better, but as stated it "may not really impact customer data tracking" according to marketing company Arm Treasure Data's co-founder and CTO Kazuki Ota. — I quote

"With that type of solution, our match rate will be decreasing for sure,"

The gist is here: 

"The effectiveness of this Apple move was more about how the email address will be used. That prevents certain actions, but I think the effectiveness, personally, will be limited."


Super interesting thread on how Apple's Lightning video adaptors work. Tiny computers that need the iPhone to upload a custom firmware every time they're connected. The problem is: they aren't super reliable.


Apple takes some iPhone models off India. The company stopped selling the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus in the country. The iPhone 6s still on sale as the cheapest option, the rest is iPhone 7 and newer.


Apple bought Intel's smartphone modem business. Over 17,000 patents (good) and 2,200 employees (not that good), mostly coming from the Infineon purchase in 2014. The deal will take a lot of time to get in position.


More from the orchard


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