Microsoft seemed very pleased with itself yesterday, as their Surface franchise managed over $1 billion in global sales for the December quarter. While Microsoft is trumpeting the sales figure, based on an average selling price of $1,000, Microsoft may not have actually sold 1 million Surface devices.
This is Microsoft, a company that has never let reality get in their way. Yesterday they were giddy like school girls about their fledgling 2-in-1 sales increase. Surface revenues rose from $908 million during the September quarter to $1.1 billion in the December quarter. Analysts expected sales of Surface would grow during the largest consumer quarter of the year, but with Microsoft’s massive advertising campaign, the software giant still cannot figure out how to sell over a million of their devices during the largest consumer hardware sales season of the year.
31 car companies and counting. Apple is closing in on adding every major, or exotic, car manufacturer on the planet to their CarPlay solution. Third party makers such as Alpine and Pioneer are also making aftermarket CarPlay receivers. Kenwood said only months ago it really did not need CarPlay, but in early January at the Detroit Auto Show, Kenwood announced its forthcoming CarPlay decks, as did JVC. The four major aftermarket deck manufactures are now building for CarPlay.
Rumors of both a 12-inch MacBook and iPad have surfaced in recent months. Where there is smoke with Apple rumors there is often a form of fire, and claims of the an iPad Pro have been heating up quickly. We have put our stamp of approval on a 12-inch MacBook, but a 12-inch iPad (now with a stylus?) have us questioning the merits of why a product should exist.
I like my Apple TV. It is a little device that has made watching Netflix, iTunes Movies/TV Shows, the NFL Network, and all sorts of streaming content very easy. It is a tiny box that matches the color of my television and seamlessly integrates with my living room hardware.
Research, rumor and a timely update, inform us that Apple will be holding a special event in February 2015. Exact timing is still unclear, but Tuesday, February 24th, may indeed be the event date, with an as of yet unknown announcement.
The question that came across my desk this morning is whether Apple’s software is getting better or worse? Thinking back to the initial releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, I can not, with a straight face, say that Apple’s software is getting better. I am not talking about features, but rather quality. OS X Yosemite should never have been released into the public’s hands with its myriad of bugs. Only after its first update 10.10.1 is it now safe to put on my wife’s laptop or my parent’s desktop.
What is in an Apple patent? Usually, not much. Apple applies for hundreds of patents for all sorts of unusual and strange technologies, but Monday the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent that could change the way we view the world – literally. But is the patent a rehash of something old, or does Apple really want this Kodak goodness for a future device?
If history provides any guidance, we are less than six months away from WWDC 2015 — hard to believe, but true. With a few exceptions, Apple typically holds this massive developers conference in the month of June. Since Tim Cook has been guiding the ship, the “SS Apple”, Special Events, WWDC or any type of Apple announcements, have been on a strict schedule — WWDC in June, Special Event in September and a Special Event in October.
CES has come and gone in another stimulus overload blur. Only remnants of ideas and a few actual products making it to market will remain, but two themes stood above the rest at this year’s show: wearables and home automation. I reserve any judgment on wearables and their acceptance by consumers until Apple releases Apple Watch. It is ironic that many wearable manufacturers are relying on Apple Watch to be a success in order to ride Apple's coattails, which, by the same measure, will likely put dozens of device makers out of business entirely. The massive onslaught of home automation was the true heart of CES. From massive touch-screens controlling virtually every light bulb and security service in the home, to Bluetooth controlled hand locks — nothing was out of bounds. It left me wondering, does anyone really care, or more precisely, how many will justify the costs to use their iPad in order to control turning off their lights instead of just flipping a wall switch or bedside lamp before going to sleep? Is changing the hue or precise brightness really that a big deal?
The rumor mill is rife with speculation, claiming Apple will be releasing an all-new 12-inch iPad Air Pro. Or is it a 12-in MacBook Air?... The latest information on the matter comes from Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac. Gurman is well connected within the Apple ranks, and reported his findings about as close to fact as one could do without it being set in stone. So which is it? Which rumor makes sense, if either do at all?
First, there is the 12-inch iPad Air Pro rumor. Most of the iPad information has stemmed from Asian tech publications, siting upstream supply chain contacts. DigiTimes leads the pack with such rumors, and is a publication having as good a track record as a broken clock (even a broken clock gets it right twice a day).