Is Apple scaring the auto industry?

Which explains why carmakers are feeling more threatened than ever by the idea of handing over their user experience to a savvy outsider. As Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives explained to Marketplace.org, “Auto is a massive industry for Apple because it’s just a further expansion of its ecosystem. Its goal is to be more and more entrenched in consumers’ life.” Monetising gas station tip-offs is the tip of the iceberg; CarPlay’s integration of apps for everything from parking spot finders to EV charger locators suggests the monetised possibilities are endless… More here.

I’m almost tempted to compare it to macOS running on computers made by multiple manufacturers. You would only remember the software and what’s behind becomes a mere commodity. Auto makers would not like that at all.

Is the iPhone the best value smartphone?

I think it’s safe to say iPhones hold their value. A recent visit to Gazelle (opens in new tab) finds iPhones going back to the iPhone 6s still for sale (granted why would you buy an $84 6S when you can get an iPhone 13 mini for $589?).

Even with all this, Apple’s iPhone isn’t always winning. In late, 2020, Apple was briefly Number 1 with roughly 20% market share, but then it dipped through the summer of 2021 as customers waited for the iPhone 13.

My point is, though, that people will always come back to Apple and its high-value iPhone and not just for the iconography or the ghost of Steve Jobs. They pay more because, in the end, they get more… More here.

The article above ticks most of the boxes for why the iPhone is ultimately one of the best value smartphones, and likely the very best if you have the money to buy it. My daughter uses an older iPhone 7 and it’s working fine, and to date all of our family iPhones have been used for at least 5 years.

Apple Wallet is the stickiest of sticky things

Now, with its foundation being laid over the last decade, Apple is putting its foot on the accelerator to make Apple Wallet inescapable, for better or worse. Apps will soon be able to get ID and age verification (enabled by the rollout of digital driver’s licenses); flying and other governmental checkpoints should be faster; and a pay-later service will be available. These things are all being enabled to make Apple Wallet on iPhone a trusted and important part of daily life… More here.

iMessage was for a long time considered to be the sticky that kept people using the iPhone and by association Macs, iPads etc, but it is so much more than that. I use Apple Pay for 99% of payments and have done for a long time, and truth be told I cannot imagine using anything else.

I could move away from Apple Music to Spotify or another competitor, I don’t use Apple Books, Apple Arcade is OK and I don’t currently use an Apple Watch, but there are some things that I would struggle to give up.

iCloud is everywhere for me (photos in particular). Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but it is.

Apple Pay is essential to me.

Messages would be difficult to ‘downgrade’ from.

Ultimately I just prefer iOS and macOS to the competition for so many reasons, far too many to list, but those particularly sticky areas really are the glue that stop me from even looking elsewhere. That’s good and worrying at the same time…

An iPhone / Apple Watch / AirPods charging stand that is cheaper than one MagSafe charger

The (deep breath) Magnetic Wireless Charger Stand, 3 in 1 Magsafe 18W Fast Charging Station with QC3.0 Adapter for Apple iPhone13/12,13/12Pro,13/12Pro Max,13/12Mini,AirPods 2/pro,iWatch 6/ SE/5/4/3/2 is currently available in the UK on Amazon for £28.89.

The HiRise 3 Wireless Charging Stand from Twelve South is $99.99 and by all accounts doesn’t work as it should for the money (review here).

I decided to try the Magnetic Wireless blah blah thingy from Amazon following some reassurance that the reviews appeared to be genuine and extremely positive. And it has proved to be an excellent product that delivers in all of the areas that are important.

It is not a sleek product by any means and does look relatively thick, but it is sturdy and never feels like it will fall over. Charging could be a bit quicker when giving all three devices a burst of power, but it will certainly work well overnight or on a desk.

When you consider that it is cheaper than one MagSafe charger from Apple there is no doubt that it offers superb value for money. I cannot, however, verify that it won’t burn your house down due to poor electrics, but that risk will be up to you and how you feel about non-brand products like this.

When design fails

Take a look at the above watch I bought last week for £50. It’s a 1972 Avia Swissonic which is an electric watch and which was arguably right at the cutting edge of technology at the time. Electric watches were pre-quartz and they were designed to offer an alternative to mechanical timepieces. A battery and a tuning fork were used to keep time, and there are many available today in a variety of impressive 1970’s styling.

I say again, take a look at it and if you think hard you may notice a ‘huge’ design flaw in the dial.

The new Twelve South HiRise 3 looks impressive as well. It has the ability to charge an iPhone via MagSafe, an Apple Watch and a set of AirPods. It is $99.99 and can only charge an iPhone up to 10 watts, the Apple Watch cannot work in Nightstand mode and if you have a case on your iPhone it won’t connect properly. Jeez! That is so poor from a company that has historically made excellent products. A review highlighting the issues is here.

Oh yes, the watch. Look at the number of markers between the 5 minute markers. There are 3.

How on earth can you set the time accurately and, even worse, how can you tell the time accurately on this watch which was marketed as being a much more accurate timepiece for the modern generation? That’s appalling design for the sake of design while forgetting the actual functionality, and something that thankfully Apple rarely does.

Have you any examples of terrible design on products you own?

UPDATE: Neil may have solved the Watch conundrum- ‘Am I being dense? On the electric watch, I wonder if one is supposed to use the gaps between the markings, rather than the markings, to count the minutes?’

One feature of iOS 16 changes everything

I have been largely accepting and underwhelmed with the iOS 16 beaters (oops, should be betas- thanks Simon!) so far, but there is one improvement that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The dictation is phenomenal and above any other system I have used in the past. I am writing this article by simply speaking to my phone and I am doing so at normal pace while the full stops and commas, and everything else are put in for me.

It almost doesn’t feel real as it’s happening, because it goes back to correct itself, the grammar is corrected as I speak, and I am watching the cursor jump back to insert punctuation where it is needed, whilst all the time not one word is misspelt or misheard.

Seriously, you need to try it for yourself to understand what it’s like for everything from text messages to quick emails. I find it hard to believe that the on-screen keyboard could get anywhere close.

Apple makes a big deal about changing everything. This time they actually have. It’s amazing.

Forcing Apple to change

Apple would be forced to allow users to install apps from outside the App Store under legislation recently unveiled by the EU. This stipulation was included in the initial proposal for the bloc’s sweeping Digital Markets Act, or DMA, which came one step closer to being signed into law this week, and an EU spokesperson confirmed that the provision is still included… More here.

This is great news and I look forward to being able to do this. Oh, I can’t. Is this another Brexit benefit?🤨

Apple is making good on its promise to let some developers link out to their own sites from within their apps, according to an announcement from the company on Wednesday. The new rules, which go into effect today, let developers of “reader apps” (apps that are primarily meant to provide access to digital content, like Netflix, Kindle, or Spotify) link out to their sites for things like account management or creation… More here.

Finally! Excellent news.

Apple (March 2021)

Tim Cook started by announcing weekly baseball Apple TV+ content. Baseball, a game that is a child’s version of cricket. Cricket, a game that is not a sport. It’s just standing around waiting for something to happen. So, as a Brit the first scoop kind of bypassed me;)

Next up, iPhone 13/Pro in 2 new colours. Nice I suppose, but 99% of iPhones are cased 99% of the time so…. moving on.

A new iPhone SE with a better chip, the A15 bionic. Better photography, battery etc. It’s good to see this smaller phone getting an update in so many different areas.

A new iPad Air which I was not excited for because my Air (2 years old) is working well for everything I need it for. There are changes to connectivity (5G), an M1 processor, the cameras and certain apps which are useful plus the expected ‘green’ marketing stuff. And that was it… I am far from an iPad power user so I am not the target market for this, but all of the powerful hardware in the world will not push the form forward without some major changes to iPadOS.

The M1 Ultra chip was up next. Very very impressive and some will want/need this- it just seems to push Apple even further ahead which must unnerve the competition massively.

Mac Studio (a Mac mini Pro?) is an interesting product and one which I am still considering in my mind. Very powerful, great design and it appears to be a winner at first glance. And while I am again not the target market, this level of power puts even more professional tasks in the hands of individuals in any location. This level of ‘freedom’ should not be overlooked.

The Studio Display is also brilliant and so typically Apple. It does complete the Mac Studio solution as it should, but the price is, well, typically Apple. $1599…

This event was as expected thanks to all of the leaks that came before. It was somewhat muted which makes sense in a time when people are being slaughtered in Ukraine and when we are still in the Covid-19 era (we are not post-Covid yet), but what was shown highlighted that Apple can progress at a speed that many will feel is not innovative and still win. The fact is that it is all impressive and it does not need to wow us. In 2022 we just need to get on with our lives and these products seem to fit the moment.

Unnecessary Smartwatch Alerts

Getting an alert about a heart rhythm, then, doesn’t help the typical Apple Watch user’s overall health, says study author Josh Pevnick, co-director in the division of informatics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “It can cause anxiety for people who it identifies, and if there’s no treatment, then you’re maybe not bringing much benefit,” he says… More here.

There is no way to tailor alerts in an exacting way and it is likely that for the majority they will not help them. Getting the balance right between scaring people and helping them is almost impossible.

Apple Chips Are Way Ahead. Is That A Good Thing?

That’s not much of an improvement over the Exynos 2100‘s multi-core score of 3,263 and nowhere near a breakthrough in performance. The CPU numbers here aren’t even better than a two-year-old iPhone 11 with an A13 processor. Granted, CPU scores aren’t everything, but with camera and communication features demanding more and more resources each year, phones need as much power as they can get. Particularly when you’re spending a thousand dollars plus for a new handset that claims to be “game-changing.” More here.

In the real world, the majority care little for processing power and that is fully understandable. However, as the ways we use our phones become more advanced this will become a crucial area that will make or break some platforms. It appears that Apple has a (un?)healthy lead at the moment in mobile and desktop chips and this could be problematic for everyone.