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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: We present noted industry analyst Stephen Baker, Vice President for Industry Analysis at the NPD Group. He provides an extensive discussion about the arrival of 4K TVs, their success so far in the marketplace, Will enhanced color features, such as the Ultra HD Premium standard, continue to push sales? What about the lack of 4K content? Stephen also discusses flattening sales of iPhones and other smartphones, and whether one key reason is the longer upgrade cycle?

    We also present commentator and talk show host Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” He offers a change-of-pace discussion about the technology of dealing with autoimmune diseases. The discussion moves to why iPad sales are falling, and have fallen for several years. Is it much, again, about the fact that people who buy them see no reason to upgrade? Kirk goes to explain that the older iPad actually works fine other than some possible performance issues with games and other software. He also cites an article, from tech columnist Jason Snell, about the rise of Chromebooks against iPads in budget-conscious school systems. And what about competition from cheap competitors, such as a $50 tablet from Amazon? What about Apple buying BMW? Are we serious?

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    Apple’s Financials: One Billion Devices and Counting

    January 27th, 2016

    Before you begin to dismiss Apple’s prospects in light of its tepid quarterly financials for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, and an expected drop in iPhone sales for the current quarter, there are some amazing numbers to be found. First and foremost is the fact that Apple has activated over one billion devices so far. So the mind boggles. That leaves loads of customers who can upgrade existing gear, or buy other Apple products and services. That installed base has to be the envy of the industry because it strictly represents paying customers for a single company.

    In contrast, there may be more Android handsets out there, but Google’s primary source of earnings is targeted ads. Yes, a lot of Android apps are being downloaded, but a high proportion are free. Actual hardware sales are spread among a number of manufacturers, and few of them earn much in the way of profits.

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    Ahead of Apple’s Financials: Hysterics

    January 26th, 2016

    While financial and industry analysts aren’t all predicting doom and gloom for Apple, the word “blowout” doesn’t appear to apply to most estimates. That said, it doesn’t appear as if sales will decline either, but that will be known in short order.

    Meantime, regardless of the final numbers, there will be recriminations from the media about Apple’s perceived shortcomings. Chief among them is no doubt the alleged overreliance on iPhone sales, as if Apple planned it that way and doesn’t have a clue about introducing or expanding other product lines. One commentator referred to it as “iPhone fatigue.”

    But any company would be delighted to have a single product become so popular, so this ought to be a badge of honor, but not to Apple’s critics who have for years been hoping and praying for changes they can believe in — the failure of Apple.

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    Newsletter Issue #843: The Head of the Project that Doesn’t Exist Leaves

    January 25th, 2016

    Officially, Apple is interested in cars. For now, however the only actual auto-related product is CarPlay, which essentially brings portions of your iPhone’s interface to the car’s infotainment system. What this means is that you’ll see a subset of your iPhone’s apps in the LCD display usually located in the center of the dashboard, plus tight integration with functions related to those apps.

    The core features include, naturally, the phone plus such apps as Maps, Messages, Music, Podcasts and Audiobooks. A handful of other apps are available, with more being added. In order to access CarPlay, the usual practice has been to attach your iPhone via wire, although a wireless capability is being added.

    Most of the major auto makers have announced plans to ultimately install CarPlay in their new vehicles. Many will also support Google’s competitor, Android Auto, so you aren’t locked into one company’s mobile platform or product line. Regardless, Apple boasts that over 100 car models will support CarPlay beginning with their 2016 and 2017 models. So where does that leave that alleged Apple Car?

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    Making Sense of iPhone Sales Projections

    January 22nd, 2016

    When you read the current chatter about iPhone sales for the December quarter, it doesn’t appear so favorable. If there’s going to be any sales increase at all, it’ll be slight. But whatever that figure, there will be a larger percentage of sales of cheaper gear, meaning Apple’s high average sale price will be a little less high.

    Where is the source of this information? Well, supposedly some of it comes from the supply chain, where leaks indicate Apple has cut back orders, meaning fewer iPhones are being built perhaps to satisfy a lower demand. That information is taken as gospel. What’s not being considered is what Tim Cook said a couple of years back, that the metrics from a few of Apple’s suppliers can’t be applied to the total sales picture. The long and short of it is that Apple’s ordering patterns, and the reasoning behind them, may not be at all obvious to an outsider. So it’s wrong to take a little bit of information and make assumptions.

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