Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes an important new feature in the new iPhone X, the risky choice of LCD for the iPhone 9, Apple’s quarterly numbers, what’s next for the iPad Pro, changes to the Apple Store’s affiliate scheme, and why Apple needs to ‘Think Different’.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
Two Numbers For One iPhone
The new iPhone X Plus is expected to have a number of new features – many of which will be familiar to Android users. One of those is the likely appearance of dual-SIM… and the biggest signpost to this? It’s hiding inside the code for iOS 12. Gordon Kelly covers this angle:
Hidden within iOS 12 beta 5, Rambo found references to ‘second sim status’ and ‘second SIM tray status’ in the software’s diagnostic reporting. Interestingly, the latter reveals Apple will have two physical slots for SIMs, rather than one standard and one eSIM – something the company has been working on for years.
At this stage, it is unknown if only the iPhone X Plus is getting this feature, or whether it will also be included in the second generation iPhone X (details) and iPhone 9 (details). Given a second sim takes up more space, I suspect it could be an iPhone X Plus exclusive. It would also prove a useful differentiator to justify the higher price.
The iPhone 9’s Risky LCD Choice
Why is the LCD screen for the presumptively named iPhone 9 causing production delays (as reported last week)? Cold it be that Apple is taking a risk in employing new technology to reduce the bezel size?
…Full Active LCD means manufacturers can have bezels as thin as 0.5mm when the current iPhone X has a 1mm bezel. 9to5Mac also cites the Wall Street Journal which wrote back in September 2017 that Apple was using Japan Display to develop a Full Active LCD.
There’s just one problem.
Macotakara states that mass manufacturing of Full Active LCDs has a very high failure rate and this has impacted iPhone 9 production to the extent it may delay the launch until from September to November. A hold-up which was already leaked earlier this week. For my money though, a Full Active LCD iPhone 9 would be well worth the wait.
Apple’s Quarterly Numbers
Apple released its quarterly figures this week as it became a trillion-dollar company. The numbers highlight Apple’s long-term strategy is to extract as much money out of a relatively steady user base. Growth can be found in the services section, and the increased revenue per handset as the price of the iPhone is driven up. Shara Tibken for CNet:
In the recently ended third quarter, revenue climbed 17 percent to $53.3 billion. Analysts expected sales to total $52.3 billion, according to Yahoo Finance. Apple’s net income increased to $11.5 billion, or $2.34 a share, from $8.7 billion, or $1.67 a share, a year ago. Wall Street anticipated earnings to rise to $2.18.
Because so many people have iPhones, Apple’s services business — which includes the App Store, Apple Music and iCloud — has been growing dramatically over the past several quarters. Revenue from services operations jumped 31 percent to $9.5 billion, the second quarter in row with a 31 percent rise. It was an all-time record, Cook noted.
Sales of the key product – the iPhone – have barely improved year on year. And remember last year everyone ‘knew’ there was something big coming (which turned out to be the iPhone X) which likely Osborned the iPhone 7 sales Yoni Heisler for BGR:
Per usual, the biggest metric to pay attention to involves iPhone sales, and when the June quarter came to a close, Apple saw 41.3 million in unit sales, compared to a forecast 41.79 million units. During the same quarter last year, Apple posted iPhone sales of 41.02 million units. Impressively, Apple managed to significantly boost revenue even amid somewhat stagnant iPhone sales, thanks to a climbing average selling price for the iPhone.
Revenue is up but sales are steady. If you believe it’s all about short-term profit and squeezing more margin from users, this was a great set of results. If you’d rather see Apple grow the market, increasing the potential audience for services, and widening its appeal, you’ll see danger signs.
What Next For The iPad Pro?
Is Apple going to carry on its quest to depreciate the 3.5mm stereo headphone jack with the iPad Pro? Will it step up the screen size to eleven inches? Tweaks to the smart connector? What lies in wait for the iOS powered tablet? David Phelan looks at the details, starting with the biometric security:
For a start, it saves space when you take away the Touch ID button. And if you’ve used Face ID on the iPhone X you’ll know it’s a sublimely easy, very efficient system that works like a dream. It also has the side effect that the interface will switch from the one on the current iPads and most iPhones to the swipe-up-to-unlock mechanic favored by the iPhone X. Apple hasn’t said so, but I think Face ID is the future and will be on every new iPhone model from now on and every iPad Pro. It may even be on next year’s presumed update to the entry-level iPad.
So it would be good to unify the user interface between devices, as anyone who has tried to swipe up on their current iPad will know.
Apple Limits Affiliate Marketing Scheme
Previously Apple cut the affiliate referrer fee from seven percent to 2.5 percent, cutting the income of sites that discuss iOS software and link to the App Store pages of the apps. Now Apple has informed it’s partners that it is removing apps and in-app purchases from the affiliate scheme, with a potentially devastating effect on the third-party coverage of the iOS software scene. Nick Statt reports:
The longstanding affiliate marketing service was a way to receive revenue from Apple that the company took out of its standard 30 percent iTunes and App Store cut, and that revenue provided a much-needed source of revenue for independent news sites and publications that wrote about and linked to mobile apps. As Apple puts it, the affiliate program is unneccesary “with the launch of the new App Store on both iOS and macOS and their increased methods of app discovery.” (Google does not maintain an affiliate program from the Play Store, given how many apps are monetized through advertising.)
Now, iOS-focused news websites like TouchArcade may have to shut down in absence of the much-needed financial resource
The man who came up with Apple’s “Think Different” wants Apple’s Tim Cook to take that same advice. Ken Segall looks at the current marketing strategy and considers it “a bit vanilla”. Stephen Silver reports:
“The passing of Steve Jobs created a completely different approach to marketing which we can see the results of,” Segall said. “As a marketer, I look at that and can see the difference between Steve being there — and not being there — very clearly.”
“These days, Apple does a different campaign for a different phone, which I always thought was a lost opportunity,” Segall told the newspaper. “They should be building a personality for the phone, a thing that people might want to be part of because it rises above the features of the moment.” He went on to argue that Tim Cook is operating with the advice of those around him, who are “a little vanilla.”
Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.
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