Apple Slices: Bite-sized Apple News of the Week

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It’s been an up and down week for Apple

It’s been a week of highs and lows for Apple with some good news, some not so good, and other stories that seem to go either way depending on who’s doing the reporting. Let’s get into some of the highlights.

8 Years of the iPad!

Technically this was eight days ago, but such a momentous occasion is still worth mentioning and celebrating, especially for a site that was founded to cover Apple’s category-defining tablet. On January 27, 2010, Steve Jobs took the stage and announced something that everyone expected- the iPad. However, it didn’t go exactly how they expected. The tech media consensus that it would be nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch faded as the sales quickly increased and the iPad-specific apps started to roll in.

Jobs also had one big trick up his sleeve that no one expected- the price. Based on the rumored size and included technology, as well as Apple’s reputation for high markups, everyone legitimately expected a starting price tag upward of $750. When Jobs said $499, it made waves. That price ended up being critical to the iPad’s early success.

It’s hard to believe how far the iPad platform has come in just 8 years, especially with the updates we just got last year with iOS 11. It all goes back to Steve Jobs’ last major new product rollout in 2010.

The iPhone X is a bit of a scratch magnet

A growing number of users are reporting fine scratches appearing on their iPhone X screens. This has been building slowly for a bit, but it hit the tech mainstream this week, and there are plenty of Apple bloggers and tech writers confirming that they are also experiencing this problem. One good account to check out comes from Adam Clark Estes of Gizmodo.

I haven’t had an issue with this yet, but I have had a tempered glass protector on mine since the day I got it. I do this with all my iPhones, so this isn’t an exception. However, if you don’t want to use a protector, you shouldn’t have to just to keep scratches at bay. Past iPhones have generally been pretty good in terms of scratch resistance, but as we all know, the iPhone X is a completely new design with a new screen and glass.

This is not the first time something like this has happened with a new iPhone design. If you recall, the original Black iPhone 5 finish chipped and scratched badly for most users a few months into ownership. Because of this issues, Apple moved away from Black anodization to good old Space Gray, which worked much better. I am sure they will get this issue sorted out for generation 2 of this iPhone design, as well.

If you are experiencing this issue, I would recommend waiting until the screen has enough scratches visible that it is difficult to deal with beyond just the negative effect on the cosmetics of the device, and then take it back to a local Apple Store (or call Apple if a Store isn’t close at hand). Apple was pretty good about replacing iPhone 5s that were effected by scratches. I am betting that they will do the same for X users who complain about excessive scratching, and they absolutely should.

Some iPhone X users affected by an incoming call bug

Apple is investigating user complaints that they are not able to answer incoming calls with their iPhone Xs. According to a report from the Financial Times, the affected phones do not show the incoming call animation immediately after the phone starts to ring. It can be up to ten seconds before the call does show up, and which point it is usually missed or goes to voicemail.

This bug is not affecting all iPhone Xs, and there is no word yet about specific versions of iOS 11 that may be more susceptible. If you are experiencing this problem, submit a report to Apple Support. The more data they have, the quicker they will get to the bottom of this one.

This iPhone X isn’t the only Apple device with issues this week. Some iPhone 7s and 7 Pluses are struggling with a cell modem bug

Apple is also looking into problems with the cell modems of some iPhone 7s and 7 Pluses. The affected phones do not pick up signal when coming out of Airplane Mode, even though cell signal is available. Right now, Apple recommends that users try restarting the phone, and if that doesn’t work, remove the SIM Card and re-insert it.

If these measures don’t work, time to take it to Apple or give them a call. According to this report from MacRumors, one of their readers got his iPhone swapped out because of the issue. Now they have also reported that Apple has launched an official repair program for this issue, meaning that affected users out of the warranty period will get free replacements devices.

iPhone sales actually dropped during the holidays?

How can that be, right? The iPhone X was supposed to set the world on fire and outsell everything else on Earth combined. Well, the bad news is that Apple did sell 1.3% fewer iPhones this year than last year. This is the first time iPhone sales have declined from one Holiday quarter to another, so that isn’t exactly a good thing.

All that said, this was the only real downside to Apple’s Q1 Earnings Report. The number of sales matters less when you sell phones that cost more. On that note….

Apple’s Q1 Earnings Report shows a record quarter and lots of good news

If you want the specifics, dive into the the details over at MacStories, as Federico Viticci always does an amazing job with such things. The basic rundown is that Apple made $88.3 billion, sold 77.3 million iPhones (combined), sold 13.2 million iPads, and sold $5.1 million Macs in the quarter.

Here are a few other highlights to note

  • Apple now has 1.3 billion iOS devices in service.
  • Apple now has 240 million paid subscribers for their various Services.
  • Apple Watch sales grew by 50% for the fourth consecutive quarter.
  • Wearables revenue is up 70% year over year.
  • Average Sale Price of the iPhone was $796, meaning that there were many iPhone Xs sold, driving up that average.
  • Apple made $8.5 billion from their Services, an area that continues to grow rapidly.

It was a huge quarter. There is no doubt about that. The rub is that Apple has had to revise guidance for revenue downward a bit for the next quarter.

Apple to switch the iPhone to all Intel baseband chips this year

Looks like there is yet another shot in the battle between Apple and Qualcomm. According to a report from 9to5Mac, KGI is reporting that Apple will move completely away from Qualcomm to Intel baseband chips this year.

I and many others were expecting Apple to maybe take over making baseband chips for the iPhone and iPad themselves. They have been bringing more of this work in-house as time goes on, but this report indicates that they may not be ready to make that step yet. Still, this move indicates that things with Qualcomm have soured to the point where Apple won’t wait about making a change.

Apple Music to overtake Spotify in paid subscribers in the US this summer

This one came as a big surprise to me, as Apple has been unable to close the total subscriber gap with Spotify over the last year when looking at worldwide numbers. They have largely kept pace, and they are still solidly in second place among streaming services. However, this report indicates that Apple Music is having a lot more success at home than abroad.

On the one hand, this is great news for Apple in the US. This has always been the company’s strongest market, so it isn’t a surprise that Apple Music is doing better here than elsewhere. However, it may also indicate that Apple faces a tough uphill battle going against Spotify overseas. Time will tell.

Apple hit its highest ever US smartphone market share

Apple’s iPhone now has 44% of the smartphone market share in the United States according to Counterpoint Research. This is up from 37% at last report. The other notable news to come out of this report was that the “super-premium smartphone segment,” a segment that Apple is currently dominating with the iPhone X, now makes up 25% of the US smartphone market.

Apple sold the most smartphones over the holiday season, and passed Samsung worldwide

More good news for Apple, as IDC reports that Apple passed Samsung in worldwide smartphone market share over the last quarter. While the supercycle may not be quite what some people were expecting, the iPhone is still doing just fine. While Apple sold 1.3% fewer phones in the last quarter year over year, they had the luxury of making more money with every iPhone X sale. It seems that Samsung sold even fewer phones, and also made the same or less per device.

I would expect that Apple and Samsung will continue to leapfrog each other in US and worldwide market share and device sales, but it is always encouraging to see that Apple is remaining competitive head to head.

That’s enough roller-coastering for this week. It was an up and down affair for Apple. Here’s hoping that this coming week’s HomePod launch will go FAR smoother. We shall see. Until then, have a great week!


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