Intel is a monster, or at least it has been. For nearly three decades Intel has owned the desktop-class and server semiconductor markets. Ever since the DOS PC emerged Intel gained rapid traction into desktop computing. While others, such as AMD, constantly struggled to meet demand, Intel understood capacity and high yields were key to market dominance and never left PC manufacturers wanting. No one had a better silicon fabrication process in the industry. Intel's marketing was equally brilliant. Before the tag line "Intel Inside" no one really knew or cared much about microchips used within a computer. After all, the only interaction a user had was with a keyboard, mouse and display. Suddenly, everyone was asking for a computer with Intel inside.
Intel was so confident of their own ability to shape the future based on their self-serving direction, they no longer needed to own a large portion of ARM, so they sold it off as it was useless for the long term. Intel also decided there was no need to quickly move to 64-bit processors. Intel failed to understand they had built, and were living in, their own arrogant reality distortion field. But AMD knew it, and 2003 stunned the industry by offering their 64-bit backwards compatible 32-bit, Athlon processor. It saved AMD as a company and Intel suffered it's first major stumble. Mobile computing arrived soon after, with Apple commissioning Intel to design a processor for their secret handheld needs. Intel balked, finding it a financially useless pursuit. Thus, Apple launched iPhone with an ARM processor. Due to Intel's blunder, the mobile world runs almost entirely on ARM designs, with Intel nowhere to be found other than under piles of failed ATOM processors. Today Intel finds their bread and butter personal computer market about to be shaken like never before by Microsoft, and quite likely, Apple.
If one visit to Apple Park and Steve Jobs theater wasn't enough fun for journalists this year, they may be getting a second opportunity to visit in November. For those who were not invited the first time (Leo Laporte), this may be their opportunity to gain their first-ever access.
Apple's first Steve Jobs Theater event left some wanting more. The Apple Visitor Center wasn't quite ready for, well, visitors, and the ground are still not completed. On the product side, Apple still has more to reveal before the year is over.
Rumor and random speculation is running rampant regarding Apple's 10th anniversary iPhone, often referred to as iPhone 8. Perhaps the most shocking feature claimed of them all is that the smartphone will sell upwards of $1,400, with a starting price around $1,000. New technologies, such as a larger OLED display, glass integrated Touch ID, 3D sensors, a larger battery and waterproofing are among the reasons for iPhone 8 prices shooting the moon – at least these are the claims.
While many new technologies initially raise Apple's iPhone build cost, this happens with every new iPhone having all-new features. This raises an obvious question: Has Apple ever raised iPhone prices to this extent in the past when introducing a slew of new features? Answer: No.
Apple's newly unveiled Augmented Reality Kit (ARKit) has developers diving in and thinking about the possibilities. Apple provided a presentation of the technology at their World Wide Developers Conference earlier this month and it did not disappoint. Virtual objects were shown on a table, taking into account the surface size, camera movement and lighting solutions, all in real-time. Needless to say it was an impressive demonstration.
During the unveiling of ARKit, Apple had John Knoll of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) provide a Star Wars VR presentation. John introduced Lauren Ridge of EPIC Games, who was backstage, complete with green screen and her VR goggles ready to go. John and Lauren showed off a Star Wars experience and some quick programming, adding in tie-fighters and Darth Vader for what played out as a pretty close call with the Dark Lord. It was cool stuff, but I started revisiting the presentation again. As Darth Vader came towards Lauren, what if she had a physical lightsaber that integrated into the game? ILM and EPIC Games could deliver the holy grail where VR and reality completely blur. But it could go much further.
Lately, Apple has been adding to their space exploration team. Not only does Apple have their sights set on your mobile life, but evidently they look up at night and think about how to reach for the stars. Apple recently added two of Google's satellite executives to some vaguely understood hardware team. In April an inside-the-satellite-beltway blog site talked of Apple working with Boeing regarding Low Earth Orbit (LEO) multi-thousand satellite deployment. Sounds cool, but when it comes to Apple, the age old question remains; What's in it for me?
Have you ever been on a cruise or taken a flight? How about visiting another country far away or hiking to parts unknown? In each scenario internet access often costs far too much to justify, or simply isn't available. If you've ever attended a college football game good luck getting anything in or out of your iPhone, as the towers are typically jammed solid with traffic. Now envision all these places, or virtually everywhere, providing strong signal with amazing speeds for any task, anywhere, any time. That's what's in it for you.
For those wondering when Apple will hold their first event in Steve Jobs theater on their newly minted campus called Apple Park, the odds on favorite goes to a September/October special event. iPhone 8, or iPhone X – whatever it may be called – roughly represents the 10-year anniversary of iPhone. With such a significan Apple milestone, one would think the event would be targeted to take place in Steve Jobs theater, but will it be ready in time?
Project Titan, Apple's not-so-secret car program, has apparently been all over the map. But just when the Titan finally appeared to have legs, former Ford executive, Steve Zadesky, who was heading up Apple's automotive project, left the company in September, 2016. Filling Zadesky's vacuum, veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield promptly took over the reigns. According to the New York Times, Mansfield immediately slashed the Titan workforce, whittling the program down to autonomous-only driving solutions. Earlier this week Apple CEO, Tim Cook, just revealed publicly that autonomous driving is indeed Apple's direction. But I've never bought into any Apple CEO's public comments (only delivering part of a picture they want us to see), nor do I buy into the "paper of record" rumors, nor should you.
Mansfield has saved many fledging programs at Apple, working with shoestring teams while delivering remarkable results. Project Titan had become a program losing it's Apple culture, while gaining a bloated staff with far too many Detroit executives running the show. Mansfield was tasked to bring the program back to Apple's roots with a lean and focused team. Evidence continues to mount an Apple car has always been – and still is – on it's way.
The endless amount of talk regarding Apple's forthcoming iPhone 8 has been nothing short of rumor-staggering. A fair amount of the information seems quite likely, and has given way to any number of new ideas Apple could incorporate. The amazing feat of building the home button with Touch ID directly into the glass is looking more like one iPhone's new realities. But in doing so, it presents a basic problem. How does a user quickly and easily locate the home button on an all-glass, sleep mode display?
Forget about iPhone 8's edge-to-edge OLED display, 3D camera, IP68 waterproof rating, Touch ID built into the glass, or, or, or... The killer feature for iPhone 8 will be AirPods that ship with the phone as a standard feature. Will this happen? Sorry kids, I don't work on Apple's iPhone product marketing team, nor am I close personal friends with Phil Schiller (although "Uncle Phil" has always seemed pretty cool), so I have no idea if this will actually happen – but it most certainly should.
Analysts have been beating the drum that iPhone 8 will cost over a $1,000 in certain configurations, with starting prices nearing $900. If that's the case, I highly question where the massively increased costs for iPhone 8 are hidden? OLED display vs LCD? No. There is no longer a massive cost delta between the two technologies with Apple's volume. New sensors and Touch ID built into the glass will cost more than Apple's current Touch ID implementation. But when Touch ID was launched in iPhone 5s it was also a costly new feature and Apple didn't jack up the prices for iPhone 5s with Touch ID, rather, Apple held prices and focused on selling more iPhones.
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.