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  • A Steady Stream of Apple Stuff for Midsummer!

    August 9th, 2017

    After Apple reported a stellar June quarter — with a surprising resurgence of the iPad way above analyst predictions — it has quieted down  somewhat on the Apple front.

    Well, except for the usual predictions of doom and gloom and a few glimmers of hope.

    So there’s a published report that the alleged iPhone 8 production situation isn’t quite as dreadful as some had feared, or fear mongered. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who tends to be more right than wrong about Apple, has some mostly positive news to report. He writes that a 5.8-inch iPhone with OLED, which may be called iPhone 8 or something else, will ship on time in three colors. But supplies will be severely constrained at launch, and they won’t catch up with demand until early 2018.

    All right, nothing surprising there.

    He also reports that all the new iPhones will only come in three colors, being black, silver and gold. In the past, they’ve also been available in jet black, rose gold and red. I suppose it’s possible more colors will be added later as production improves, but that’s just speculation. Maybe the alleged decision to build them in fewer colors is designed to make the ramp up more predictable, since Apple doesn’t have to concern itself quite as much about customer color choices.

    Or maybe none of this is really true. But as I said, Kuo tends to have a better handle on Apple than other analysts.

    Supposedly there will be support for so-called wireless charging, but it will require an optional accessory. You’ll be able to take advantage of fast charging with an optional USB-C-based lightning cable. Or something like that.

    Obviously there are still unanswered questions, even if Kuo’s analysis is pretty close to the mark. But none of it necessarily paints a bad picture about Apple. You expect all-new products to be in short supply for a while. Apple has yet to catch up with demand for the AirPods wireless earphones, months after it was launched.

    Let’s look at some other stuff from other sources, and this has far less support:

    There’s also the promise about what might turn up in other products allegedly based on examining HomePod firmware. I’m not at all sure why there’s a connection, except to allow Apple’s forthcoming Siri-based speaker system to talk to other gadgets.

    So there’s supposedly something there that may indicate SIM support on a future Apple Watch. If true, it means that at least some versions of the next Apple Watch — the only successful smartwatch — may come with LTE support. You’ll be able to make and receive phone calls, and perform many of the other functions of a smartphone without a need for pairing.

    The claims about the features of the rumored iPhone 8 also come from this firmware, such as facial recognition and the ability to record 4K video at 60 fps with both the front and rear cameras.

    If this doesn’t make sense to you, not to worry. You’re in good company.

    A developer also reportedly hacked the tvOS 4 simulator, used to develop apps for Apple TV on a Mac, to run 4K videos. Does that mean such support will come in a possible fifth generation model? It would make plenty of sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s really going to happen.

    On the other hand, how many people even care all that much about Apple TV anymore? It’s underpowered, lacks 4K and HDR support, and there are no killer apps to speak of. Most people use them to watch TV shows, same as the previous generation models.

    Indeed, I still have my third generation Apple TV. It’s a little plodding when it comes to performance, and I’m not nuts about the interface, which forces you to jump through many levels to actually find something to watch. But since I use it mostly for Netflix — and the rare movie rental made rarer by that foolish 24-hour limit — it doesn’t matter so much.

    Indeed, if I didn’t have a problem getting Netflix to work on my aging Vizio TV, I would never have bothered with an Apple TV. The integration with other Apple features leaves me cold.

    In the meantime, testing proceeds on Apple’s beta operating systems. Public testers had access on Tuesday to the fourth releases for iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, and tvOS 4.

    I’ve run the first two, and they are becoming more and more stable. I haven’t dared to put High Sierra on my iMac — it’s installed on my less-used 2010 MacBook Pro — but I might in a few weeks. iOS 11 is stable enough on my iPhone, stable enough to allow me to run the driver apps for Lyft and Uber and actually go to work. Google Maps integrates properly with the former, and my riders aren’t complaining that I’m taking them to the wrong places.

    When it comes to iOS 11, however, it has to be farther along, because Apple needs to submit the final release soon for wireless carrier testing. So it may well be mostly done by the end of August.

    And, oh yes, Apple’s stock hit a record $160.08 as the market closed on Tuesday. Market cap exceeded $826 billion. So how long before it hits the trillion dollar threshold?



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