Newsletter Issue #820: The Apple Hardware Report: Waiting on Refreshes

August 17th, 2015

Apple is no doubt busy crafting and manufacturing fall updates for many products. There will be new iPhones, maybe a new Apple TV, and perhaps updated iPads. There might even be something new in the Mac universe due to Intel beginning to ship those more powerful and energy efficient Skylake chips.

But not Apple Watch, which debuted in April and only needs an OS update to come into its own. But if Apple needs to fix something to make this product hot for the holiday season, you can bet they’ll do it on the software side of things, not to mention spending a bundle on promotion.

When it comes to the iPhone, it’s sort of predictable, or has been since the product debuted in 2007. A new design appears, and the following year, the same casings are used, with minor modifications, but internal parts are enhanced. So there will likely be an iPhone 6s and an iPhone 6s Plus, with brand new components. That means a rumored A9 processor, perhaps a better camera with more megapixels (maybe with 4K support), and enhancements to Wi-Fi and LTE. There may even be Force Touch, since Apple already debuted that feature on the Apple Watch and assorted gear from the MacBook line.

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3 Responses to “Newsletter Issue #820: The Apple Hardware Report: Waiting on Refreshes”

  1. dfs says:

    “But if Apple needs to fix something to make this product hot for the holiday season, you can bet they’ll do it on the software side of thing…” No, what Apple really needs to do is stand back and let third party developers produce a gazzlion apps. The iPhone and similar Apple mobile devices would not have fared nearly so well if the available apps were only those developed by Apple itself, it’s that huge library of options that makes them so appealing.

    I gather that Apple is opening the door for this with the next watch OS. But it must do something more too: it needs to set up a systematic and well-organized scheme for curating as well as distributing third-party apps that parallels the way it curates apps for its mobile devices.

    And besides third-party apps why not allow third-party faces as well, as long as they adhere to Apple’s design guidelines?

  2. dfs says:

    Another associated thing Apple needs to do is rethink how apps are presented to the user on the watch. The current flexible icon cluster works fine for the moment, and may be pretty to look at (if your taste runs that way), but as the number of apps that a user can load on his watch increases, as I’m sure it will, it’s soon going to become impossibly unwieldy. In order to make the watch ready for the coming avalanche of third-party apps I hope to see, Apple needs to rethink this issue and develop either a scheme in which individual apps can be grouped in folders or which can be paged.

  3. dfs says:

    Thinking about this issue some more, there has been a fair amount written recently (including here) about the possibility that the Apple Watch is not selling as well as it could. In the absence of third party apps, this is pretty easy to believe. If the only software available for the iPhone had been that with which it shipped, it is doubtful that it would ever taken off as a spectacular best seller. To a very large extent it was the superabundance of third-party apps combined with a reasonably easy and effective means of distributing them (the App Store) that made the iPhone a smash hit in the marketplace, by turning it into such a flexible multipurpose device. It was these apps that sold the iPhone and “there’s an app for it” became a popular catch phrase. If Apple wants the Watch to be a similar smash hit, it very much needs to encourage third-party development. And it is equally as important that it do just as effective a job of curating and distributing them as it does with iOS apps.

    Just tonight I saw an ad for a small device which monitors diabetics’ blood sugar levels and transmits the results to a special iOS app. It would presumably be very easy to make a watch app so that this gizmo could deliver notifications to the watch, and perhaps even issue warnings when the patient’s blood sugar level was getting out of whack. If genuinely useful Watch apps like this one start appearing, the sales figures are bound do skyrocket.

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