How would you feel if you had just gone out and bought a fancy new Apple product only to have it updated with a newer, better version within only a few month's time? We've kind of grown used to Apple product cycles where products aren't outdated for at least a year. If you think there's a chance that you'd feel at all slighted by spending hard-earned money on a device that's about to become outdated, you may want to consider holding off on purchasing the Apple TV.
For well over a year rumors have been floating around that Apple would come out with a new Apple TV set-top box that would include Siri and an App Store. Now, according to BuzzFeed, it's finally going to happen. Citing "sources familiar with the company's plan," BuzzFeed says the new Apple TV will be introduced in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and that it represents a major overhaul of the device. That overhaul not only includes a new interface but also the capability of controlling smart home devices. With the introduction of HomeKit at WWDC last year, many had expected the Apple TV to play a central role in controlling HomeKit-compatible devices. It looks like that may be happening.
Apple products have always kept their value pretty well and there is a healthy marketplace for used MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads. I don't mind the "Apple Tax" because I'm likely to get a good portion of that value back at trade-in time. My Pebble Watch, which sold a year ago for $150, is only worth $20 on trade but the $349 Apple Watch should do better. Cnet is reporting that Gazelle already has plans to take in, and sell, used Apple Watches.
As it gets closer to April 10, when you'll be able to get your hands on a demo Apple Watch in the Apple Stores, details are leaking about the preparations Apple is making for the large crowds that are expected. According to 9To5Mac, which apparently has sources inside the company, Apple will be making 15-minute appointments for customers to come in and try on an Apple Watch. The post said that it may not be necessary to have an appointment, but that in every case people will be limited to 15 minutes. And having tried on an Apple Watch, they can make a reservation to come into the Apple Store to purchase an Apple Watch beginning on April 24. The stores are expected to have enough stock to also service walk-in customers.
Steve Jobs was a great salesman. Perhaps too good. He lured John Sculley away from the CEO spot at Pepsico by asking him if he really wanted to be selling sugared water for the rest of his life. Sculley became Apple's CEO and within a year, Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple. He formed NeXT, which Apple ended up acquiring and Jobs returned to Apple, like Moses returning from the wilderness and the rest is history. But that sales pitch hit home during Apple's Spring Forward keynote. Tim Cook showed a slide of a Coca Cola machine that accepts Apple Pay. The very next day, I saw one of those machines at a college campus, and it occurred to me that Apple is now "selling" sugared water!
Apple's iOS 8 is chugging along quite well, as Apple now reports that 77 percent of iOS devices are using iOS 8. AppleInsider is citing Apple's App Store statistics, stating that Apple's iOS 7 still commands 20 percent share of iOS devices, at least of those that visited the App Store. That means 97 percent of app customers are using the current (2014) or last generation (2013) operating system. This is important to developers, myself included, as it means we can focus on the latest features without leaving too many potential customers behind.
Apple may have just updated a bunch of products and introduced some completely new ones, like the Apple Watch, but there are quite a few products on their price list that are overdue for a refresh. The iPod line hasn't been touched in almost two years. Considering they list for close to the price of an iPad mini, Apple may feel that customers can get a bigger device for the same price, or buy an iPhone or use a hand-me-down iPhone, without a cellular contract, as a de facto iPod touch. The Apple Watch could take the place of the iPod nano, but at a much higher price.
Attention, guitarists! IK Multimedia announced that the iRig 2 ($39.99)—the signal converting wonder that lets you rock out with a kaleidoscope of filters and patches using the iPad or iPhone—hit the streets today! We have reviewed the iRig and related audio gadgets in the past, but this new version garnered one of our Best of CES awards this year, and a full review will be forthcoming. You can read on for the technical details and first impressions from my brief experience at CES.
As Apple gears up to sell the Apple Watch, they're upping their efforts to get Android users to switch to the iPhone. After all, you gotta have an iPhone if you want the full functionality of an Apple Watch. 9To5Mac is reporting that in the coming weeks Apple will begin letting users of Android and other smartphones trade in their phones for an Apple gift card that can be used toward the purchase of an iPhone. The report says that the process will be similar to the program already in place for trading in used iPhones. Customers will bring in their old smartphone, and an Apple representative will determine the trade-in value. Extensive training for Apple Store employees is said to begin this week, with the trade-in program expected to start sometime after that. Presumably the new trade-in program will launch before the Apple Watch goes on sale April 24.
Microsoft is reinventing themselves, and using Apple as a blueprint in some ways. Today's news has them making Windows 10 a free upgrade, albeit for a year, for existing Windows 8 customers. Even users of pirated copies of Windows, which are reportedly 75 percent of China's Windows users, will be allowed to upgrade for free. Apple also does this, but they make money on all of the Mac hardware. Microsoft needs to keep Windows' market share high, and fight off Chromebooks on the low end and gain inroads against Android tablets and iPads as well. Plus Microsoft is now in the hardware business and has been for some time. So they can afford to make less profit on the operating system.
Every year, analysts predict the Apple TV will offer a la carte Cable TV channels, and every year they are wrong. Sure, some channels like HBO and ESPN have added "apps" or buttons to the Apple TV, and the HBO NOW announcement, during Apple's Watch event, help Apple inch along towards a set top box replacement. This year is no different, as the Wall Street Journal is getting a little more specific and stating Apple could add about 25 channels and could do so this fall.
If you're thinking of getting an Apple Watch, you'll have lots of decisions to make regarding style and size. This is atypical of Apple, which has usually kept their product line tightly focused. So it will be interesting to see how it does with a device that's also a fashion accessory. In a previous post, I pointed to a website that lets you try various combinations of watch styles and bands to see how your customized Apple Watch will look and to help you decide which to buy. And now iMore has a tip that helps you decide which size Apple Watch to get.
The annual SXSW festival that's currently going on in Austin, Texas, featured a new documentary on Steve Jobs by the award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney. And it's bad, says 9To5Mac. A number of Apple employees walked out during the screening, and Apple's Eddy Cue tweeted that it's "an inaccurate and mean-spirited view" of his friend. Titled Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, the movie has now been picked up for distribution in theaters by Magnolia Pictures and for airing on TV by CNN. It includes interviews with former Apple employees and with Jobs's ex-girlfriend with whom he fathered a child. It even includes footage of Jobs's testimony to the SEC in 2008. The movie is expected to be released before the movie based on Walter Isaacson's biography that will be in theaters in October.
Apple has given us so many choices when it comes to the Apple Watch. The case comes in three metals, each with different shades and a wide assortment of bands, and two sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm. The potential downside is known as paralysis of indecision, or analysis paralysis. I can't even decide what to call it, that's how tough it can be to make a decision!
If you like to use the camera on your iPhone or iPad, one of the features you'll appreciate in iOS 8 is the ability to recover deleted photos. When you delete a photo, it remains available in the Recently Deleted album on your device for 30 days. If you decide that in fact you want to save a photo you deleted, you can easily recover it.
At the Apple Watch announcement, Apple didn't spell out the differences between the 38 mm and 42 mm versions of the Apple Watch, but we are learning now that the larger device has a larger battery. It makes sense, from what we learned about the new MacBook. Apple loves to cram batteries into every nook and cranny. There is a precedent, as the iPhone 6 Plus has a larger battery than the iPhone 6 (but it also needs a larger battery to power the much bigger screen.)
The Apple Watch announcement is behind us and it's time to "spring forward" and look ahead to the next announcement! The huge focus on fashion in the watch product line may spill over to the iPhone. Originally, the iPhone was only available in an aluminum and black form. Later white was added, and then silver, space gray, and, of course, gold. The iPhone 5c brought plastic colors too, but those are on the way out. The iPod touch product line came in assorted colors, but that product line seems to have been abandoned. Now, just as former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts brought her fashion sense to Apple Retail and the watch offerings, she may be influencing Apple to go pink with their flagship iPhone.
The Apple Watch is cool. It might be the next big thing in smartwatches, and it's certainly a step above the rest when comparing it to wearable fitness monitors.
We've "sprung forward." Now we know what the specs are for the Apple Watch, and most importantly, what it will cost, in each configuration. We know that the somewhat smaller watches with a 38 mm case (height) will cost $50 less than the 42 mm ones. We also know there is no functional difference between the smaller one and the larger one. For my money, I will probably get the smaller one. It should be somewhat less bulky and perhaps more importantly, $349 is closer to an impulse buy (at least as Apple products go) versus $399. As an app developer with several watch apps on the horizon, I know I need to own an Apple Watch. But that doesn't mean I need a fancy one.
Thanks to the Apple Watch, we can now get apps everywhere—from our MacBooks on our lap and the iPad on the desk, to our iPhones in our hands and our Apple Watches on our wrist.
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