Category Archives: Apple Watch

Is Apple OK or Not?

It is January 1st 2019 so I better get you an update on how Apple is doing. Things got a little dicey in September and October when people worried that the iPhones weren’t selling as well and the trade situation with China and China’s economy were a concern. Apple had just hit its highest stock valuation and became the largest company in the world by stock valuation for a minute. Since then things have been going down a little worse than the rest of the stock market.

I think Apple is hitting a rougher spot than they’ve had to deal with for many years. I still like Tim at the wheel through this challenge, though. The smart mobile phone market is topping out which seems to mean that other than markets like China that has an expanding middle class, Apple needs to get some growth out of the edges that don’t have much money for expensive smart phones like the iPhone.

That need for selling to the “poor” isn’t exactly Apple’s strong suit. Apple is a luxury brand for the masses who have use for and enough money to afford an iPhone and Apple’s other pricey, worth it and groundbreaking products.

Can Apple Adapt and Rebound? I’ll get to some of my enthusiasms for the new products and other good stuff in a minute.  But first lets go a little deeper. Apple has the resources to adapt and throw money at various opportunities, exotic staff people and small tech companies and research projects. And they are doing that. But it takes a bit of time to adjust and if you are used to success without having to compromise, it takes a while to switch things up. The question at Apple is do we have to stoop to the level of making more  compromises?

I like the iPhone XR as part of this compromise. This is the new X version of the iPhone 9 let’s say. It has everything except for OLED screen a 2nd camera and it sells at a very non X price point — $749 for 64gb and $799 for 128. The XR has all the smarts of the XS and XS Max and Face ID. This thing rocks and should really soothe those who are getting tired of the last round of price hikes that started when the X came out. Yes, the tech fast lane has lots of people who can afford an iPhone XS or XS Max. But the middle class is hurting and is looking for places to save a few bucks here and there. The XR fits that bill nicely.

The China Problem. Well, like I said, China is the best problem to have in that Apple has already made great success there and China represents the best place to find some more middle class educated people for new iPhones. Except (1) their economy is stumbling a bit which might be giving some of the middle class second thoughts on price and (2) Trump’s Trade War is making China mad and making some of the Chinese a lot more interested in buying the reasonably cool and cheaper mobile phones made in China. Apple is caught in the middle here and will continue to lose some sales the longer this trade situation goes on.

What do I like about Apple right now? The iPad Pros rock pretty hard and I especially like the new 12.9″ with its improved attachable magnetic and charging #2 Apple Pencil. I absolutely love the Apple Watch Series 4 with its extra screen space and new Watch faces.

I love the speed of the iPhones and iPads. I love Face ID. I love the OLED so was willing to pay more to get one for personal and one for the business. I got a Max for personal 24/7 and a XS for the business. Definitely prefer the Max and use it more. I haven’t used the XR but as I said above, it rocks too. I like Apple having hired away the top AI guy from Google.

I like that Apple is looking good with its much better (but not perfect) privacy measures. While Facebook and Google are getting heat for exploiting our data, “selling” it to the highest bidders (like Russia).

I like that Apple is buying up little tech companies and associated geniuses from places like Israel to play full out to make the best tech on the planet.

Apple has too good of a track record right now to bet against. I bought my first Home Pod for $250 at Best Buy last week. It’s already in the #2 spot ahead of Google Home and rising as far as I’m concerned.

What I Don’t Like. High prices even though I think Apple makes it worth your while. And I don’t like the new policy to not announce unit sales of iPhone models. I don’t like the sound of Apple being a Service company. I like them as a product company the way Steve intended. They can probably win as a services company but the reason they win is keeping their giant-sized user base where it is now. I believe in Jony Ive as a designer — of products!

Happy New Year! I still welcome and take comments sans the spammers who never make it onto this page.

Apple’s Sep 9 — 1-2-3 Punch

iPhones_FrontI’m one of those who was extremely pleased by Tim Cook’s Apple this week. We already knew about iOS8. That’s was a really strong sign of good things to come. I will tell you why I am high on iOS 8 as a linchpin for Apple’s future, then move on to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and finish up with the Apple Watch and finally to Apple Pay.

iOS 8 Unleashes iOS

In developing iCloud Drive and Extensions, Apple has removed the barriers to growth for the iPad.  I’ve railed against the limitations of iOS on the iPad that have stopped me from using it as a full-fledged post-pc computer. With iOS 8, which is due for release next week, you’ll be able to search your entire device for files no matter which app created them. Lack of full device search has been a giant-sized missing on iPad on the order of missing copy and paste on iPhone in the early days.

Extensions solve the other major problem iPad has had which is inability to freely share information and functionality between apps. Yes, it is all well and good to have specialized apps that do one thing well. But, it’s not OK, when you have to go through hell to get a job done copying files from one app to the other. And only when you get lucky and app A has been modified to be able to work to some degree with App B. Yes you can do email and web surfing without that, but knowledge work and creativity suffer and are frustrated.

The iPad mini with retina and iPad Air are very powerful and will be able to do so much more without having to operate with one hand tied behind their backs. Removing these constraints opens up new fields of opportunity that Apple needs to capitalize on. The iPhone 6 party is about to start and we haven’t seen what the 2014 iPad(s) will look like. We’ll get to it all in a minute but lets start with what will be available to preorder tomorrow.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

iPhone 6 is a Worthy Upgrade to the iPhone 5s

Increased screen size is more than welcome on the iPhone and it seems to have been achieved with minimal inconvenience. The 6 is thinner. It has these nice rounded sides so you won’t find it harder to hold than a 5s. Being thinner and rounder helps it fit into your pocket as well. If you can deliver more screen real estate without penalty, why would you not?

iPhone 6 is the Incremental Entry though. The iPhone 6 Plus has other virtues I will get to in a minute but both 6s deliver:

  • Even more gorgeous screen
  • Faster than the 5s
  • Better camera
  • Beautiful design
  • Extra iOS features to make it easier to operate a larger device one-handed

iPhone 6 Plus is the Topper

The iPhone 6 is big. I was surprised when I learned it would be 5.5″. That’s at the upper end of the scale for a <cringe> phablet. I’ve been wanting a bigger iPhone and even I was a little scared this big guy would be too big. But I didn’t anticipate that Apple would do all sorts of good things to make it work as an iPhone. If you can make it work, you’ve done the impossible and given users the chance to have one device to rule them all. I wanted the original iPad to be 7″. Instead we got a 10″ iPad. Then last fall we got an 8″ iPad which many flocked to.

I’ve got a 6″ Kindle Paperwhite but the touch and gray is so inferior to an iPad retina it only gets to come out on special occasions – outdoors mostly. However, that 6″ screen is more than big enough for eReading and the 8″ iPad mini is still too big for comfort though useable. This new 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus fits the eReader size to a perfect T as it is less wide and thus better for single handed use. It’s brilliant.

Strategically, the iPhone 6 Plus seems perfect. Being an iPhone it has a much higher margin than the iPad mini which it will cannibalize to some degree. So, you raise the iPhone price $100 and you solve the issue in an instant.

When iPhone started it had to be a good phone first a foremost. Those days are gone and the new 4.7″ and 5.5″ sizes are spot on for these touch computers that happen to be phones too. Other smartphones have migrated into these spaces and now Apple has answered decisively. See my blog post Ten Reasons to Go Big with the iPhone 6 Plus for details.

Apple Watch

I was shocked at the innovation I saw in the Apple Watch Tuesday. I was hoping that Apple would somehow pull a rabbit out the hat and make the Apple Watch compelling. And they did — much more than I expected.

Wow Impeccable All the Way Around

What I saw on Tuesday was jaw-dropping. I didn’t realize there was so much to do and so much that can be done in reinventing the watch as a mobile computing device/platform. Beyond the watch, it is clear that Apple is taking on wearables as a major new category. They didn’t just do an Apple watch like they’ve done computers and iOS devices to date. They decided the Apple watch is a uniquely personal device and personalization is imperative. No one size fits all here.

Options Galore

The sheer volume of options is not something we’ve seen from Apple up until now. Having 2 iPhone 6 models was the first surprise of the day. The Apple Watch is a landslide in the personalization and options department. Two sizes. Three models. Beaucoup straps. Customizable watch face content. Lots of app support — already.

Unique Opportunities with a Watch

This is what I didn’t count on. Fitness and health, yes. I knew Apple could up that compared to the iPhone. But the communication stuff. Taptics! What is that? Allowing you to signal your partner at a party with all sorts of options. I can’t wait. The little fish drawing wasn’t bad either. The Digital Crown to control zooming is perfect.

Will the Apple Watch be a Hit?

It sure looks like it. I want one and plan to buy the v1 Apple Watch that comes out Q1 2015. This is one of those times when Tim’s warning, “Don’t bet against us” seems particularly prescient.

Apple Pay

This is a giant category waiting to happen, so its scale Matches Apple like a glove. They can easily wheel and deal at this level. Apparently Japan has already proven that this kind of thing can work. I didn’t see anything not to like, but I will defer to those who are fascinated by commerce. I’m a little more idealistic and interested in knowledge and creativity. I have no doubt Apple Pay will roll some heads and be a viable entry to this category. But I’ll leave it at that.


Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Craig Federighi and those on the iPhone and iWatch teams did themselves proud Tuesday. Tim wasn’t kidding when he said Apple would continue to blow our minds!