As exciting as boundary-pushing, hyper-premium phones are, they’re less important to everyday users than those special devices that check all the right boxes for a price folks can actually afford. It’s the cheaper iPhones that destroy the barriers of entry to new technology, and therefore matter to the widest majority of people.
The iPhone 12 Pro will captivate the imagination of the public, no question. But rest assured, Apple’s success or failure with this upcoming swath of phones is dependent on whether the company can hit its marks with the 5.4-inch version.
Yet these days, we spend more time in apps. Apple is strict about requiring apps to get permission to access certain parts of the iPhone, including your camera, microphone, location, health information, photos and contacts. (You can check and change those permissions under privacy settings.) But Apple turns more of a blind eye to what apps do with data we provide them or they generate about us — witness the sorts of tracking I found by looking under the covers for a few days.
“For the data and services that apps create on their own, our App Store Guidelines require developers to have clearly posted privacy policies and to ask users for permission to collect data before doing so. When we learn that apps have not followed our Guidelines in these areas, we either make apps change their practice or keep those apps from being on the store,” Apple says.
Yet very few apps I found using third-party trackers disclosed the names of those companies or how they protect my data. And what good is burying this information in privacy policies, anyway? What we need is accountability.
Getting more deeply involved in app data practices is complicated for Apple. Today’s technology frequently is built on third-party services, so Apple couldn’t simply ban all connections to outside servers. And some companies are so big they don’t even need the help of outsiders to track us.
The result shouldn’t be to increase Apple’s power. “I would like to make sure they’re not stifling innovation,” says Andrés Arrieta, the director of consumer privacy engineering at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If Apple becomes the Internet’s privacy police, it could shut down rivals.
Jackson suggests Apple could also add controls into iOS like the ones built into Privacy Pro to give everyone more visibility.
Or perhaps Apple could require apps to label when they’re using third-party trackers. If I opened the DoorDash app and saw nine tracker notices, it might make me think twice about using it.
It’s a great phone, but where’s my headphone jack?
At a glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell Apple’s new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, which go on sale Friday, from their 2015 and 2014 counterparts. They look almost identical, and are the same sizes. But once you get your hands on them, the differences are clear: better cameras, longer battery life, water resistance, doubled memory at essentially the same prices, and more.
Oh, and upon closer inspection, you’ll notice something else: the disappearance of the age-old, standard, perfectly fine audio jack that fits every earbud and headphone you own. Yeah, I know. I’m not crazy about that change either.
I’ve been using both the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus for nearly a week, equipped with the much-improved iOS 10 operating system (which will be available for older models as well starting today). And I’m impressed. But I’m also annoyed. And impatient. All at the same time. Let me explain.
The most important thing about the 2016 iteration of the iPhone is that, overall, it takes a truly excellent smartphone and makes it significantly better in a host of ways, even without overhauling the exterior design, and despite the removal of the standard audio jack.
From Apple’s usual long list, I’ve picked five big improvements that impressed me most.
First, Apple is doubling the memory at every price point on both models, starting with 32GB at the low end ($649 for the smaller iPhone 7) and going all the way to 256GB ($969 on the costlier iPhone 7 Plus). The increase in base memory is long overdue, but it’s great to see higher memory at essentially the same prices on costlier models (the larger Plus costs $20 more this year than last).
Then, there’s battery life. Apple claims it’s adding two hours of battery life between charges to the smaller model, and one hour to the bigger one. This is mainly because of a bigger battery plus a clever new processor, which uses low-power cores for routine phone functions and only kicks in high-power cores when needed.
Battery life on phones is notoriously hard to test, because it depends so heavily on what you’re doing, and on how hard the phone has to work to find a strong cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Still, in my short test period, on both coasts, the new iPhones had great battery life.
The bigger Plus easily turned in 13–15 hour days, often with power left in the tank, doing a wide variety of tasks. For instance, my test iPhone 7 Plus was at just a few minutes shy of 14 hours with 14 percent left, when I got to my DC-area home after flying from San Francisco and using the phone heavily on cellular networks, and hotel, airport, and airplane Wi-Fi. That’s a scenario I usually find to be a battery-killer, unless I charge. The smaller model was typically in the 12–14 hour range, even after hours of streaming video and music.
Then there’s water resistance — the ability to withstand being submerged in a toilet, sink, or puddle for long enough to fish it out and still find it fully functioning. (Samsung phones have been water resistant for a while.) I left an iPhone 7 submerged in a large mixing bowl of water for about 20 minutes (it can go deeper and longer, Apple says — 1 meter for 30 minutes). It was fine when I fished it out and dried it off. No rice needed. The only effects were somewhat gravelly sound quality for about 5 minutes, and an admonition not to charge it for five hours thereafter.
Next, cameras. In my opinion, as a determined amateur who has never bought expensive cameras, the iPhone already had the best camera I owned. But Apple has redesigned it, with a larger, f/1.8 aperture that pulls in more light, a better flash, and the ability to capture a wider range of colors. Yet that’s just the start. On the smaller iPhone, the camera now has optical image stabilization, which limits shaky shots — a feature available only on the larger model last year.
And that costlier iPhone Plus now has two cameras, one a wide-angle version and one a telephoto version. Through software, they act as one single camera with easy, elegant controls. With just the tap of a button labeled „2X,“ I was able to get vivid, detailed shots at true 2x optical zoom, not the grainy digital zoom smartphone users have been wise to avoid forever. For me, and I suspect many other average folks, real zooming is a huge deal, bigger than some of the more esoteric effects photo hobbyists might value. In fact, this beautiful zooming dual camera is the first feature I’ve seen that might lure me to a large-screen phone.
And then there’s the operating system. This isn’t a review of iOS 10, which is a separate product from the iPhone 7. But, since it comes with it out of the box, the two are wedded. And I found almost every aspect of it to be faster and better. Lock screen notifications and widgets, and the Control Center are more logically organized and easier to use. Messaging, Maps, Music, News, and other features are improved. And then there are small things: for instance, to my surprise, the phone even automatically saved a map and directions of where I’d parked my car.
The phone is also faster, its screen is brighter, and it has stereo speakers. But I wasn’t wowed by these things in my testing. You might be.
Apple has also replaced the home button with a non-mechanical, non-moving button that uses a vibration „engine“ to simulate the feel of pressing a button. Three people I know said it felt like the whole bottom of the phone, not just the button, was being pushed. But it didn’t bother me, and it’s one less mechanical component to break.
What did bother me was the aforementioned removal of the headphone jack. Yes, Apple has a long history of removing (and also pioneering) standard components, going back to the removal of the floppy disk from the first iMac in 1998.
I have often complained that Apple was acting too soon, but I always agreed that the move made sense at some point, because the displaced component (the floppy, the optical drive, the Ethernet jack) were being used less and less and there was something better (optical drives, the cloud, Wi-Fi) to replace them.
In this case, I see zero evidence that the 3.5mm audio jack is being used less or has hit a wall. It’s happily transmitting music, podcasts, and phone calls to many millions of people from many millions of devices as you read this sentence. Apple says it needed replacing to make more room for bigger batteries and other components.
I also don’t see that Apple has come up with a better replacement. The company is clearly trying to move the whole industry toward wireless audio, which has never been great due to patchy Bluetooth connectivity, poor fidelity — especially for music — and limited battery life.
As a transition, the iPhone 7 includes Apple’s familiar white earbuds — and a free adapter — only with a Lightning connector at the end instead of the standard audio plug. It sounds the same. But now you can no longer charge your phone while making long phone calls or listening to music without a bulky adapter or dock. I label that worse, not better.
Apple says very few people do charge and listen at the same time. I respectfully disagree.
Next month, Apple will ship its take on wireless Bluetooth earbuds — called AirPods — which it hopes will solve some of the old wireless headphone woes and push the transition. Using a custom chip called the W1, the sophisticated AirPods supposedly make Bluetooth connections steadier and Bluetooth audio better. In my tests of preproduction AirPods, they delivered on these promises. And I could charge the phone while listening.
But the $159 AirPods only give you five hours of music listening time and two hours of talk time between charges, though they come in a handy little white case that provides 24 hours of additional juice. Apple notes that it’s proud of those numbers and that a 15-minute charge in the case gets you another 60 percent of rated battery life. It adds that if you use only one AirPod for phone calls, and keep swapping it out for a fresh one, you could talk on and on. Still, to me, they impose a limitation that standard, wired earbuds don’t have.
(Note: during my testing one of the AirPods had trouble holding a charge, so Apple swapped it out. It didn’t affect my tests of connecting and listening, and, since the product isn’t due out until late October, I can’t assume production units would have that problem.)
Not only that, but you have to charge the case periodically. Oh, and they kind of look like white plastic earrings. So, you should hope that’s your style, if you’re planning to buy them.
I’m sure the wireless earbud and headphone revolution is upon us now, and that, in a few years, the battery life will double or triple. For now, though, this Apple change of a standard component adds a hassle to your phone use, whether you are wired or wireless.
It’s an annoyance and a negative.
I am impatient for Apple to do a top-to-bottom redesign of the iPhone, and the iPhone 7 isn’t it. Apple concedes this and strongly suggests a dramatic redesign won’t appear until next year, the iPhone’s 10th anniversary.
Let me stress: I am not for a redesign just for the hell of it. There are good reasons to change the look and feel of the iPhone, some of them evident in Samsung models. For instance, Samsung and others manage to fit a large screen like the one on the iPhone Plus into a smaller body and still squeeze in a big battery. But the iPhones still have big footprints for their screen sizes and big top and bottom bezels.
Another example: the iPhones still lack wireless or inductive charging. Adding that might require a redesign.
The iPhone remains an outstanding smartphone, and this latest model makes it even better in many ways. And, unlike rival Samsung, Apple isn’t beset with the very serious problem of exploding batteries. But the whole audio jack thing makes choosing the iPhone 7 more difficult than it might have been.
You won’t go wrong buying the iPhone 7 if you can tolerate the earbud issue, especially if you’re on an installment plan like Apple’s that just gets you a new iPhone every year. You could get the iPhone 7 and then the big redesign next year, as long as you keep paying the monthly fee.
But, despite the undisputed improvements, this new iPhone just isn’t as compelling an upgrade as many of its predecessors. Some might want to wait a year for the next really big thing — and maybe a better audio solution to boot.
Apple loves a show. Over the years, the company’s staged product launches, where executives in jeans show off flashy new iPhones, have become a global cultural institution. But when Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off this week’s keynote, he didn’t start by talking about the size of the latest phone.
“We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government,” he said, referring to the company’s high-profile clash with the FBI over accessing information on the San Bernardino shooting suspect’s iPhone. “But we believe strongly that we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy.”
Apple opened itself to the media and the public in an unprecedented way to ensure that its side of the story was heard.
Over the past few weeks, as the legal battle between the FBI and Apple unfolded, so did the publicity war. The FBI argued that Apple’s assistance in unlocking the iPhone could help provide justice for the victims of the shooting, by potentially uncovering information about others involved and the events leading up to it. It insisted, at least at first, that it was simply a case of this one phone. Apple maintained the FBI’s demands not only threatened customers’ privacy and personal security, but also violated the company’s right to free speech. In the press and on social media, people took sides.
In late February, a Pew Research Center poll found that the majority of Americans sided with the FBI. Just a month later, after an outpouring of support for Apple—and the convenient revelation that the FBI could possibly, in fact, open the San Bernadino iPhone without Cupertino’s help—the court case is on hold, and Apple’s reputation as an ardent defender of privacy and security is stronger than ever.
How did Apple pull this off, when faced with the federal government’s onslaught and widespread public anxiety about terrorism, stoked in no small part by the San Bernardino shooting? In this case, it went off script. A company famous for its secrecy, and famous among reporters for stonewalling, opened itself to the media and the public in an unprecedented way to ensure that its side of the story was heard. For a company whose image is largely defined by its products, Apple’s PR machine churned to communicate that its principles matter too.
From Antennagate to Foxconn, Apple has dealt with crises of varying magnitude before. But longtime Apple reporters say that the response in this latest case felt different. In mid-February, the FBI said it was unable to access encrypted data on the iPhone 5c of one of the San Bernardino shooters. A California magistrate ordered Apple to help, by creating a new software tool. But Apple believed complying would set a dangerous precedent, so it took its response public. Cook published an open letter on the company’s site laying out Apple’s privacy-centered argument justifying its decision not to cooperate.
It was just the beginning. Whenever the government or Apple filed new court documents, Apple held conference calls to provide background for journalists, any reporters and editors who might touch the case, and let them lob questions at the company’s attorneys. In the process, the company expanded its PR outreach beyond the standard cadre of journalists who follow the company’s every move. Apple invited some political and policy reporters in Washington, DC, to come to Apple’s office there to hear the company’s side. (Apple declined to comment.)
‚They talk about products, but they never ever ever talk about anything else.‘
“They talk about products, but they never ever ever talk about anything else,” said Leander Kahney, a longtime Apple reporter and editor of the site Cult of Mac. “I think it’s unprecedented. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Apple do this.”
Cook too opened his literal doors, sitting down with ABC News reporter David Muir in his office to discuss the situation, an extreme rarity for the company. “I’m not sure I’ve ever done an interview in the office,” Cook says as the piece begins.
In this case, unsurprisingly, the setting was strategic. As The Wall Street Journal has noted, Cook’s office features photographs of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Behind Cook, you could clearly see the Ripple of Hope Award (a bust of RFK), which he was awarded last year for his commitment to social change. The intended message was clear: Cook cares as much about civil liberties as he does about selling iPhones.
“They were trying to stop the controversy from continuing before something happened, which is a sort of new PR approach,” says Mark Gurman, an Apple journalist and senior editor of 9to5Mac. In the past, he says, Apple might have addressed issues after they happened, if they addressed them at all.
That’s easier to do with a few bending iPhone 6 Plus units than it is with a precedent-setting court case. You can always quietly give an aggrieved customer a new phone. But for Apple, there’s no going back from what the FBI was asking. A preemptive strike was the only kind available.
For both the company and the government, this debate is a crucial one. The government has portrayed Apple’s stance as a hindrance to crucial national security investigations. That’s a tough rap to beat. But encryption is central to Apple’s business (personal privacy has become a key to Apple’s marketing) and philosophy. Undermining its own security wouldn’t just help the FBI get into this iPhone, Apple argues, but in any number of devices in the future.
“They don’t want their customers to say, ‘They’re abetting terrorists.’ These are pretty heavy charges,” says Howard Bragman, chairman and founder of Fifteen Minutes PR. “They need to be clear and articulate. When you don’t speak sometimes, people assume the worst.”
To fend off that assumption, Apple made its crusade about, well, you and your private information. Donald Steel, a public relations expert in crisis management, says that Apple is the master of setting an agenda. And, here, their strategy came down to making it all about putting the customer first. That’s easier to understand than the ins and outs of crypto-security—and something Apple as a wildly successful consumer company knows how to do.
Apple is eager to show its motives aren’t purely self-interested.
In the process, Apple also scores a marketing win. It reinforces the message that it can protect customer data in a way that its competitors don’t. Google publicly sided with Apple, but the Android operating system doesn’t have encryption by default. Apple also depends not on ads, like Google, Facebook, and others, but on selling hardware—and one of the ways Apple tries to sell customers on its hardware is by saying that its strong encryption ensures your data is yours and yours alone.
If Apple were to agree to assist the government in unlocking an iPhone, Gurman says that could also threaten their relationship with customers, especially enterprise customers, who have become an increasingly important source of revenue for the traditionally consumer-facing company.
All that said, Apple is eager to show its motives aren’t purely self-interested. Cook has long championed individual privacy on principle as Apple has touted encryption as an important part of the iPhone. Cook has also been an outspoken supporter for other social issues like protecting the environment and LGBTQ rights. To drive the point of corporate principle home, the story recently spread that some engineers threatened to quit if Apple lost in court.
“This is Cook’s thing,” says Philip Elmer-DeWitt, a longtime Apple reporter and founder of tech blog Apple 3.0. “He’s taken principled positions.”
As that Pew survey showed, not everyone was won over by Apple’s PR offensive, despite several major American newspapers running supportive editorials. And yet, in some ways, it’s surprising Apple garnered as much support as it did.
“It’s a genius marketing strategy to grab the American flag and wrap yourself in the mantle of free speech and privacy,” longtime crisis communications expert Sam Singer says. “Two things Americans value above all else.”
Andy Cunningham, a former Apple publicist for Steve Jobs, told The Chicago Tribune that she thinks Apple didn’t go far enough in explaining how assisting the FBI in this case could set a dangerous precedent where foreign countries could demand similar assistance down the road. “I think (Jobs) would’ve spent more time framing the issue for the (public) than I think they’ve done so far,” she said.
But others believe Apple masterfully applied the public relations apparatus it normally uses for, say, product launches, to this issue. “This is not about what color the new iPhone is going to be. I like new iPhones, but they don’t really matter,” Steel says. “But they know how to make a splash. They know how to dominate the headlines.”
In that sense, some say, it’s almost unfair to pit the FBI and Department of Justice against Apple. Brooke Hammerling, the founder of Brew Media Relations, argues that the Apple PR machine has always been “above and beyond,” one of the best. The FBI and DOJ, on the other hand, are government agencies. “The DOJ rarely can act with the swiftness of a private individual corporation,” Singer says. “Yes, Apple has done a great job, but they were fighting an opponent who had at least one arm tied behind its back.”
The Next Round
The battle over privacy and security, however, is far from over. Many believe that this is only the first round of Silicon Valley versus the government.
And Singer says it hasn’t been a total victory for Apple. He argues the FBI and DOJ were successful at raising questions about how secure Apple’s iPhones are as well, and that could prove to be a problem down the line.
So what should Apple do now? “If I were a technology company, I’d propose we have a public sit-down to discuss these issues,” Singer says, adding it could include constitutional lawyers and other experts from around the world as well as the company and federal officials. “Everyone might not agree on a single thing, but the debate is vitally important for public understanding, privacy, and for public safety.” Having that discussion during a detente period may also help the company avoid conflicts down the road.
Steel says that Apple’s ultimate objective is for whatever regulation that does come be favorable to its privacy and security goals. Public opinion will continue to matter, especially since Congress will likely have the last word. If there’s anything Apple knows, it’s that the show matters. So sometimes you have to put your showmanship to work.
Perhaps the most important number in Apple’s quarterly release on Tuesday came from China, and it’s not the good news Apple makes out. The company’s over reliance on the Chinese market is starting to hinder its progress despite management’s attempts to give it a positive spin.
During Tuesday’s earnings call, Apple chief executive Tim Cook sang the praises of the Chinese market, saying it will one day be Apple’s largest. In fiscal 2015, which ended for Apple on Sept. 26, Greater China provided 25 percent of the company’s revenue, for the first time overtaking Europe, responsible for just 21.6 percent of Apple sales. An economic slowdown? Not according to Cook, who is worth quoting at length here:
Frankly, if I were to shut off my web and shut off the TV and just look at how many customers are coming in our stores regardless of whether they’re buying, how many people are coming online, and in addition looking at our sales trends, I wouldn’t know there was any economic issue at all in China. And so I don’t know how unusual we are with that. I think that there’s a misunderstanding, probably particularly in the Western world, about China’s economy, which contributes to the confusion. That said, I don’t think it’s growing as fast as it was; but I also don’t think that Apple’s results are largely dependent on minor changes in growth.
The statistics Cook cites in support of this view are impressive: 87 percent growth in iPhone sales year-on-year in Greater China (which includes Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) despite the entire market’s 4 percent growth; revenue almost twice as high in the last quarter as a year ago; and the iPhone 6 now the bestselling smartphone in China, with the iPhone 6 Plus at number three. These numbers are less relevant, however, than two others: a drop in quarter-on-quarter sales in Greater China and an erosion of Apple’s overall market share there.
In the last quarter of fiscal 2015, Apple made $12.5 billion in revenue in Greater China, a 5.4 percent drop compared to the previous three months, despite the inclusion of the first weekend of iPhone 6s sales in the fourth quarter, 2015 data. In 2014, the new iPhone 6 wasn’t immediately available in China, so the fourth quarter didn’t benefit from the new product boost — and still sales were higher than in the previous three months.
Cook is wrong to say the Chinese slowdown isn’t affecting his company’s sales. The effect has been immediate and quite obvious. But Apple’s market share in the Asia Pacific region, which includes China, wasn’t growing even before it manifested itself.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence, in the second quarter of this year, Apple’s market share of smartphone unit shipments in the region dropped to 7.7 percent from 10.8 percent in the previous quarter as Chinese leaders Huawei and Xiaomi increased their shares. Apple is the Asian smartphone market leader in terms of value, but its share by that measure also dropped in the second quarter — to 34.1 percent from 42.7 percent in the previous three months. Again, Huawei and Xiaomi posted gains, although Korean producers such as Samsung and LG also managed to pick up some of Apple’s losses. As Apple’s revenue in the region dropped, it was unlikely to have made share gains in the last quarter.
Cook is banking on the future growth of the Chinese middle class, and that’s an obvious long-term bet to make, but under the current economic conditions, this growth is not likely to be explosive. Besides, Apple won’t even be able to grow its sales at the same rate because many Chinese consumers will opt for better-value devices from local producers, as they’re already doing, judging by the market share data.
Improving distribution in China yielded strong revenue gains for Apple this year. Greater China accounted for 53 percent of the company’s revenue growth in fiscal 2015. Unless China’s economic troubles are miraculously cured over the next year or Huawei and Xiaomi stop making cutting-edge devices for a fraction of Apple’s prices, this growth engine has stalled. Nor does Apple have any comparable opportunities for extensive growth anywhere else in the world.
Cook’s bet on China was, of course, no mistake: It would be a crime for a device producer not to develop a strong presence in the world’s most populous country. Focusing on China was a business decision that produced gains comparable to a ground-breaking product launch, especially in 2015. There are no more miracles coming out of China, however, and no more technological rabbits coming out of Apple’s hat. It’s time for some stagnation and retrenchment — at least by this company’s remarkably high standards.
„Along the way, the Apple team landed upon the Watch’s raison d’être.
It came down to this: Your phone is ruining your life.
Like the rest of us, Ive, Lynch, Dye, and everyone at Apple are subject to the tyranny of the buzz—the constant checking, the long list of nagging notifications. “We’re so connected, kind of ever-presently, with technology now,” Lynch says. “People are carrying their phones with them and looking at the screen so much.”
They’ve glared down their noses at those who bury themselves in their phones at the dinner table and then absentmindedly thrust hands into their own pockets at every ding or buzz. “People want that level of engagement,” Lynch says. “But how do we provide it in a way that’s a little more human, a little more in the moment when you’re with somebody?” Our phones have become invasive. But what if you could engineer a reverse state of being?
What if you could make a device that you wouldn’t—couldn’t—use for hours at a time? What if you could create a device that could filter out all the bullshit and instead only serve you truly important information? You could change modern life. And so after three-plus decades of building devices that grab and hold our attention—the longer the better—Apple has decided that the way forward is to fight back.
Apple, in large part, created our problem. And it thinks it can fix it with a square slab of metal and a Milanese loop strap.
Meet Apple’s Super-Sized iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
As foretold by the rumors, Apple announced two new larger iPhone models today: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Sized at 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches respectively, the phones sport a slick new style and landmark new features.
The iPhone 6 is priced at $200 for 16 GB, $300 for 64 GB, and $400 for 128 GB, with a two year contract. The larger iPhone 6 Plus commands a premium: $300 for 16 GB, $400 for 64 GB, and $500 for 128 GB. Both phones come in silver, gold, and black.
Pre-orders start this Friday, September 12, and the phones go on sale Friday the 19th.
Both phones sport new designs. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with their larger displays, now feel reminiscent of a miniature iPad. The rear of each device is smooth brushed anodized aluminum that curves softly into its glass front face rather than being completely flat on the back with largely squared-off edges—the look the past four iPhones adopted. On the front, you’ve also got the familiar Touch ID home button.
The iPhone 6 has a 1334×750 display, the 6 Plus 1920×1080 display. That’s over 1 million pixels on the iPhone 6 and over 2 million on the iPhone 6 plus. These new display sizes use a new generation of Retina display Apple is calling Retina HD. The new reengineered displays use ion-strengthened glass on top, and on the bottom, an ultrathin backlight. Even with the larger display, Apple is promising the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will have equal or better battery life than the last generation of iPhones.
To use these big-screened phones, Apple’s introduced a few new software tricks to iOS. In the iPhone 6 Plus, the Messages app has a new horizontal split display. Stocks also has a two panel horizontal view, as does Mail. The keyboard takes advantage of the display area, too, and there’s a new horizontal homescreen view. These views obviously make better use of the increased screen real estate, but I wonder how easy it is to use with your fingers as you type.
You can also use swiping gestures for navigation in Mail, Messages, and Safari. There’s also a new gesture called reachability: If you double touch the home button, the display slides down so you can reach things at the top of the display without having to readjust your hand. This seems like a better solution than Samsung’s one-handed mode, but it’s still kind of awkward that it’s necessary.
Both phones will ship with iOS 8. Software updates will go out to older iPhones (the 4S and later) on September 17.
On the iPhone 6 line, Apple updated the camera hardware and software. Apple’s using a 8-megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture. There’s also a new sensor inside that’s an improvement over previous iPhone cameras, and a faster auto-focus. There’s the standard digital image stabilization at work in both phones, but in the bigger iPhone 6 Plus, there’s also an optical image stabilization system that uses the phone’s gyroscope and M8 processor to cancel out movements and shaking hands. Video is stabilized too, and there’s a new slow-mo mode that shoots at 240 fps.
Inside, a new A8 processor promises to keep things humming faster than any iPhone before, and the M8 chip has improved performance for motion-sensing and health-tracking. Working along side these updated processors is a new sensor: a barometer.
Die Übereinstimmung erreicht 68 Prozent – im Vergleich dazu liegt sie zwischen iPhone-Verkäufen und Aktienkurs nur bei 62 Prozent, bei den Macs sogar nur bei 40 Prozent.
Für Börsenexperten und Anleger stellt diese Beobachtung eine äußerst verwertbare Information dar, die durchaus eine Grundorientierung auch für alle anderen bietet, die sich nicht sicher sind, wann sie am besten ihre Apple-Aktien kaufen oder loswerden sollten.
Einen weiteren guten Anhaltspunkt bietet natürlich auch die Verkaufszahl der jeweils einzelnen Einheiten an iPhones, iPads und Macs, wobei hier das iPhone – das etwa die Hälfte aller Apple-Einkünfte ausmacht – klar vorn liegt: mit 77-prozentiger Korrelation zum Aktienkurs, wohingegen die iPad-Verkaufszahl nur zu 68 Prozent dem Kursverlauf entspricht. Diese 68 Prozent sind wiederum viel angesichts der Tatsache, dass das iPad-Geschäft lediglich 20 Prozent der Gesamteinnahmen Apples ausmacht. Dies sind derzeit jedoch stolze 30,9 Milliarden Dollar. Dieser Wert ist größer als der Gesamtumsatz bei 419 Unternehmen des S&P 500 Index.
Kurz gefasst heißt das für den Anleger: eine klare Kaufempfehlung, wenn die iPhone-Verkaufszahlen und die iPad-Einkünfte ansteigen. Am 22. Oktober soll Apple die nächste Generation von iPads und iPad minis vorstellen, sechs Tage später wird das Unternehmen dann seine Bilanz für das vierte Quartal präsentieren. Und mit dem erst danach beginnenden Verkauf der neuen Tablets geht auch die Arbeit der Statistiker und Analysten, die den Erfolg oder Misserfolg des Geschäfts messbar aufbereiten, in die nächste Runde.