Apple’s MacBook Air offerings saw a small refresh on Tuesday, with little fanfare and with little changed. Yet the update may be the products most significant since the MacBook lineup expanded to include the Air in 2008.
Apple included a small update to the processor, moving the needle north by 100 MHz, and claims slightly better battery life in various areas of use. Nothing else within the specifications has changed, save for one telling area — price.
It has been 553 days, or 1.5 years, since that last Mac mini update. The current model is dated, and behind a processor generation with its CPU and GPU.
Apple’s earnings for the second quarter of their fiscal 2014 shocked Wall Street. In fact, it did more than just surprise, it blew the lids off investors’ expectations, causing Apple’s stock to skyrocket straight north. After hours trading revealed an increase of over $43 a share. Evidently, the move of Apple’s stock has staying power as it is still hovering around $565 per share. Looking back at the earnings call reveals the big items that sent the AAPL skyrocketing, but it also gives a glimpse into the future of where Apple is heading.
Apple's Financial Call Highlights:
Yesterday Apple revealed some numbers they don’t often break out. One of those secret statistics was about Apple TV — Apple has sold over 20 million of the devices. Moreover, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, called it a billion dollar market — no longer a hobby indeed.
Most intriguing is where this puts Apple in the carrier lineup. DirectTV claims about 30 million subscribers in the U.S and Latin America, while Dish Network has roughly 14 million subscriptions. When all is said and done with Time Warner, Comcast will boast of having 30 million subscribers. Apple revealing 20 million Apple TV's sold puts them right into the mix as one of the big boy content providers — a real player in the space — not to be ignored. Apple’s distinct advantage is there is their ala carte system of choosing programming. With Apple TV a large portion of the programming is pay as you go, for only the content you want. There is no blanket charge of $50-100/month for all the content you want (for a gluttony of bad content most never even watch).
WWDC fever is at an all time high, and there is no wondering why. By the time WWDC arrives it will have been nine months since Apple’s top brass has taken to the stage and introduced something new, or even a scant product update. That’s a long time in technology time. Fans, developers and even Apple’s competition are all waiting to see what surprises Apple has in store.
Newer versions of iOS and OS X will be the foundation to the conference. What is yet unknown will most likely revolve around hardware. What Apple will do to surprise and delight developers and conference attendees is always what drives the show.
When Apple launched the first iPhone in June 2007, it changed the cell phone industry in dramatic ways. It also changed the CPU industry as much, if not more.
Before Apple started using ARM processors to power their mobile devices Intel was the king of the hill. IBM, Motorola and even AMD tried, but all failed, in taking on the giant chip maker. IBM and Motorola’s joint venture in the early 90’s, with the PowerPC reference platform, was to be the revolutionary new architecture that would lead us into the 21st century. Intel squashed that effort within a couple of years. Then AMD was the first company to launch a 64-bit architecture for the x86 design. It didn't matter, Intel soon followed with their own version.
Rumors are abundant with new screen sizes with for the iPhone 6. We’ve even blogged on the topic recently. That said the rumors continue to pour in that Apple will launch the iPhone 6 with a 4.7" screen and a 5.5" one.
It is that later rumor I take issue with. 5.5" is really a tweener product. It’s a tablet and a phone, or as people like to call it, a “phablet”. The problem is that it makes a really awful phone. It’s almost like holding your shoe up to your head for talking. Sure you can use bluetooth, but that isn’t always available and sometimes using the speaker isn’t appropriate. Therefore there will be times you are left with putting a shoe up to your head to talk.
Macworld/iWorld 2014 came and went this past month. No one noticed. No one remembered. Perhaps sadly, no one cared.
Official attendance figures for the 2014 show have yet to be released, but estimates are for flat or a continued decline in attendance. IDG World Expo estimated that 25,000 attendees visited the three day all-things-Apple event in 2013. However, that pails in comparison to 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone where show attendance was 45,572. Since Apple’s departure in 2009, Macworld/iWorld has seen a massive decline in attendance with companies constantly shrinking their booth size, and major players, such as Microsoft, no longer attending. Macworld/iWorld may not be long for this world.
The 2014 New York auto show is in full swing, and with it has come some high profile CarPlay announcements, but probably none more significant than yesterday’s press release from Hyundai.
The all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata will be available this fall, but CarPlay will not. Hyundai mentions CarPlay will be available on models with a navigation package later in the year, and that it will be integrating the technology into its core-volume Sonata. Deciphering Hyundai's vague presser, it appears CarPlay will not be arriving in the fall on the base model Sonata, but will arrive sometime in early 2015, bundled into a $2,000 (or higher) technology package.
iTunes has been with us for over a decade now. It’s hard to remember life when “portable” music required physical media (CD, Cassette, Record, 8-track). While the video (see details to the right) is clever and funny it does bring home the point that things change, and change quickly. A decade is a long time for any technology and iTunes is no exception. While iTunes has grown to include movie and TV shows, iTunes Match and iTunes Radio, the fundamental push of iTunes is to buy something — after all it’s really an online store, somewhat disguised as a media browser.
However, the problem is that today’s youth don’t browse and buy, they stream. Streaming is the new way music is consumed, not purchasing. Pandora and Spotify were two entities that figured this out and have led this paradigm shift. Apple tried to respond with iTunes Radio, but if you do much searching or try it yourself, you’ll find that iTunes Radio is still a second place step-cousin to a quality streaming experience.