Costco and Apple haven't always seen eye to eye over the years. But under Tim Cook's leadership, Apple's reach at Costco has slowly improved. This Christmas represents Apple's largest reach to Costco's faithful in years.
Costco is fortifying their warehouses with a large Apple kiosk, which essentially contains every major Apple product, the Mac being the only exclusion. Apple's 9.7" iPad, 10.1" and 12.7" iPad Pro, both sizes of Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K are all available at Costco.
If you are on the fence as to whether you should consider moving from an Android smartphone to a new iPhone, but still feel comfortable in giving away virtually every ounce of your 4th amendment right to privacy, prefer a slow and out-of-date processor (coupled with inferior camera technology), are comfy cozy wth an ecosystem that has you searching for fragmented cloud solutions between computer, phone, tablet and watch, and love selling your phone for virtually nothing every 2 or 3 years, then another Android phone may be the right fit for your future.
But before you tell me that the latest iPhones really look appealing, please keep in mind that an Android smartphone provides just about everything you shouldn't be looking for in a smartphone, and you may even get an unexpected bonus or two, such as a phone that explodes in your four-year-old's hands or a nice bit of malware that steals your banking information. These are all clever and surprising things an Android phone can deliver – at any time. Thus, if this is what you have come to expect and live with, then an iPhone may be a complete shock to your digital way of life.
FitBit was all the darling in 2015, with a strong IPO showing and staggering sales topping 21 million devices. Fast forward to today, and in just over 20 months FitBit's stock is down nearly 60% from it's all-time high. More or less, FitBit provides decent, singular focused devices. While this has been good for FitBit in terms of volume sales, the Mark Cuban question has raised it's ugly head – Are you a viable business or just a clever one-off product?
Simple, low-priced fitness trackers have been an easy, low-risk purchase decision for many, but over time devices like this tend to fall out of favor with consumers, as they gravitate towards multi-functional solutions, even if that requires a higher spend. Enter Apple Watch.
They are being heralded as Apple's best surprise product of 2016 – AirPods. They are being heralded as Apple's ugliest product of 2016 – Airpods. So which is it? Are Airpods great? Yes. Are they ugly? No.
Airpods are virtually identical to to their wired cousins, Apple's EarPods, but for one major factor. Airpods have, rather obviously, no wires. When I first saw them, they looked awkward. After pondering as to why they looked rather odd, the answer became obvious. I'm simply not accustomed to seeing earphones without wires. The answer is really that simple.
If you haven't noticed, Apple silently racked up large scale iPad and MacBook Air sales over the Black Friday weekend, according to Adobe's analytics. But wait! Like a good Ginsu knife, there's more! Apple's Beats headphones were also show stoppers, and the new MacBook Pro has seen stronger than anticipated demand since its release. If you think there couldn't possibly be more, you'd be wrong! Apple's iPhone is also the most wanted item on Christmas wish lists this year, up by 2% over last year's desire for iPhones. There can't possible more than this, right?! Wrong! This weekend I moved to Verizon from AT&T, and upgraded muy plan with six new iPhone 7's!
Across the board Apple's sales are looking solid, but Verizon's virtual blind-side to AT&T this holiday weekend may have given Apple an extra boost. The largest US carrier offered $200 Visa cards and generous trade-in values on older iPhones for new customers. After the cash card arrives, my purchase of a 128GB iPhone 7 is a net zero dollars cost to me. The Verizon plan also provides my 6 lines with a 24GB per month data pool, with half of it able to be rolled over into future months. Verizon even offered $300 for a base iPhone 5, plus the $200 Visa card! It was an impressive offer, and coming from Verizon, a company known to rarely provide steep discounts, AT&T was caught flat footed.
At least half of all Galaxy Note 7 users have switched, or soon will, to iPhones, according to IDC's latest research. This is big news for Apple and iPhone sales. Only 17% will be choosing another Samsung phone, and an astounding 13% were not even aware of the recall.
IDC did not seek to poll future smartphone buyers, but during last Tuesday's Apple quarterly conference call, Apple CFO, Luca Maestri, cited a survey indicating 79% of those planning on buying a smartphone in the U.S. during the December quarter would be purchasing an iPhone. Consumers in the know, or had a Galaxy Note 7, are turning to iPhones in droves.
If you believe the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 release was nothing to take note of, you might be surprised to learn that Apple's watches are flying off the shelves.
Two Guys and a Podcast conducted spot checks this week with several Apple retail stores, and all were completely sold out of Apple Watch series 2 versions (some stainless and ceramic are available), with some Series 1 watches still available for purchase. Apple has a hit on their hands, and it may be the big gift of the holiday season.
Apple's Mac lineup has been languishing over the past few years, and their may be valid reasons as to why. Perhaps Apple been preparing to migrate away from Intel to their own A-series processors? Or would iPad's be ushering in a new area of computing relegating Mac's to back of the line? Any number of rumors have given chase as to why Apple's overall Mac lineup has become extremely stale, but it appears Apple is staying firmly Intel for their next generation processors, and thus a slew of long overdue Macs should should be unveiled during an October special event.
Apple is planning a major Mac invasion of new technologies, but it does not explain why this has been long overdue. Two big distractions may have been causing Apple's innovative Mac engine to sputter on 3-cylinders the past few years.
Tuesday, at Apple's September special event, CEO, Tim Cook and crew revealed iPhone 7. Among it's biggest new technologies was the omission of a legacy feature – Apple has done away with the industry standard 3.5mm audio jack, and for a slew of good reasons. But none more impactful than the fact that Android makers are now torn in what to do with a standard Apple just ditched.
Apple VP of World Wide Marketing, Phil Schiller, pointed out new digital advantages for moving past the the analog standard. Yes, the move brings wireless headphone technologies towards becoming the new standard. Yes, it saves space within iPhone. Yes, the removal of the jack eliminates another area for water and dust ingression. The shift to using iPhone's Lightning connector for headphones certainly ushers in the digital age for Apple's headphones, but the initial pain it brings to the competition is greater than the benefits within iPhone 7 in and of itself.
The auto industry: dull, unimaginative, predictable. The car market has remained relatively unchanged for decades, and a gluttony of focus group developed cars has helped keep it that way. The industry slowly innovates, making glacial ice-ages look fast.
The result is, at best, is incremental improvement, with Detroit scrambling to find the next niche segment to gain market share. But cracks in plodding automotive market are starting take place. From startups, to radical new fuel alternatives, the auto industry is on the precipice of the largest transformation in its history, and Apple appears ready to usher in its own sea change of ideas.