Apple Prime

The theoretical bundle would cost $50 per month and include an iPhone and an Apple TV, with subscribers getting new hardware when Apple issues updates, Goldman Sachs analysts Simona Jankowski and Drew Borst proposed in a lengthy report on Monday.

On the content side, the offering could include the Apple Music service, access to the iTunes library of TV shows and movies (some for free), Apple’s forthcoming original content, and sports, the analysts said… More at Fortune.

I like the idea of a content subscription, at a lower price of course, but don’t see $50 / month cutting it to get an iPhone and Apple TV as well.

FabFocus: bokeh on any iPhone

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With only one-touch, FabFocus is a simple and powerful tool for instantly turning your portraits into professional-looking photos.

For novices without any previous experience or advanced photographers, FabFocus uses facial recognition to bring DSLR-like depth of field and bokeh effects to any iPhone… More at second verse.

Imagine is this app really does produce a realistic bokeh effect. With the jury still out on the ‘magic’ Apple is using on the iPhone 7 Plus, this could be an interesting comparison. Also, imagine if Apple used the ‘it’s too similar to current functionality’ line…

Apple’s Regent Street store re-opens (lots of empty space)

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Apple head designer Jonathan Ive teamed up with architects Foster + Partners for the redesign. In a presentation to the media, Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts explained that the company wanted to maintain the historic nature of the building. The store’s location is near Oxford Circus, one of the busiest shopping areas in the world, and is always crowded… More at Mashable.

Looks lovely, but the only thing that annoys in an Apple store is the crowds which seem to be growing by the month. Maybe it is time for Apple to look at size as well as design in some of the stores which is exemplified in the photo above. I get the ‘showing off’ of products, but feel that the space could be used somewhat more efficiently…

Dashed

You’ll be able to hear a deeper discussion on this between Michael Gartenberg, Serenity Caldwell, special guest James Thomson, and myself on the Apple Talk podcast very soon, but here’s the consensus: Restore the developer account associated with Dash and put Dash back on the App Store. Leave the linked account banned. Monitor Dash going forward the way any other app has been monitored. And that’s it… More at iMore.

You will need to click the link above if you are unaware of the situation with Dash and Apple, but I don’t agree with the consensus reached here. We simply do not have all of the information yet and as one comment quite rightly said-

Try using that logic in any formal, legal setting. Obviously he bears responsibility as to the use of the second account and I suspect that is all Apple wanted him to acknowledge. Had he any sense he would have immediately acknowledged his error in judgement, apologised for any problems caused (however unintentional) and sought to move forward. Denying all responsibility and pointing the finger at Apple was unprofessional, immature and irresponsible.

Apple Watches everywhere

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I bought some silicone spray for my car the other day. How exciting is that?

Anyway, the lady serving me was wearing a stainless steel Apple Watch with a rather fetching leather strap and it looked pretty smart to me.

And then someone turned up with a new Apple Watch at work, with a horrible yellow strap, but they were very much enjoying it.

Over the weekend, I saw more and more Apple Watches and (being really sad) I counted them. In all, I saw 14 Apple Watches over the weekend which is much more than I have seen previously and I do get the sense that the idea is catching on, and seemingly in more of a fashionable way than as a piece of tech.

This is all just perception and smart watches are in no way common, but as I have (really sadly) studied what people are wearing, I have not seen an Android watch anywhere, or a Pebble. Fitbits are the most common fitness trackers I see and alongside the Apple Watch it feels like a two horse race at the moment.

I wonder, however, if the only way the two horses can drop down to one is for people to embrace the Apple Watch which could possibly make it as popular as the iPhone, but within a smaller market?

I have been very sceptical about the Apple Watch, and smart watches in general, but I may have been wrong. Just maybe.


I thought about this some more after reading the following at The Verge.

But that hasn’t slowed down Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT), the partnership between Silicon Valley (Fullpower Technologies) and Switzerland, that gave us the smartwatch modules in the first line of smartwatches from watchmakers Mondaine, Alpine, and Frederique Constant last year. MMT was a subsidiary of Frederique Constant until the watchmaker was acquired by Citizen earlier this year, and MMT was spun out.

Now on its own with a new CEO, MMT is back to making smartwatch modules for Swiss watchmakers — now with new and improved features. Its newest modules will debut in a new line of smartwatches from Frederique Constant in early November.

What exactly is the point of a luxury watch brand making a smart watch when, just like the iPhone, watchOS is way better than the competition according to many?

The watch described above does fitness and sleep tracking, and will alert you to incoming calls and messages using the hour and minute hands. An intriguing idea that does everything it can to hide the smarts and to keep the traditional watch alive, and one that is somewhat silly. Watches that look like an MMT should really have a mechanical movement inside to complete the identity of what it is. Blending two very different watches together doesn’t really work and all it does is play into Apple’s hands. If a luxury watchmaker chose the Android route, that would be an even stranger move and, sadly, one that has already been done by Tag. It’s ridiculous and feels like a hodge bodge of things that should not be put together, and with Apple never likely to let anyone license watchOS, we end up following a familiar path to Apple domination.

For me, the only chance watchmakers have of dealing with the smart watch threat is to do what they did with the quartz threat of the 1970’s and just keep plugging away and hope it goes away. As for Google, I really don’t see where the Android watch is going because it really is not improving at all and the models available are rarely worth the price.

‘The’ iPhone 7 and 7 Plus review

Looking at the basics, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus bring at least a few new things to the table that we haven’t seen from Apple before, such as their first SoC with heterogeneous CPU cores. The iPhone 7 Plus brings a second camera with a full-frame equivalent focal length of 56mm, which isn’t really a unique idea but does represent a unique execution, as the G5’s second camera has an even shorter focal length. There’s some irony here as Corephotonics and Qualcomm have been demonstrating almost the same implementation as what we see in the iPhone 7 Plus, but Apple is the first to market here. IP67 means the iPhone is impervious to dust and is capable of sustaining 1 m of water depth for at least 30 minutes, but water damage is never covered by warranty so you shouldn’t push your luck here. Other changes here are more subtle such as the quad LED flash with PWM compensation, stereo speakers, and doubling the storage for all models relative to the 6s last year… More at ANANDTECH.

If you like your reviews detailed and full of numbers, this is the one for you. As usual, incredible detail.

Who is winning in Android? Nobody…

The recent mess that Samsung created with the Note 7 is not going to go away any time soon and so it is likely that the phone, and possibly the Note brand, will be extinguished to be never seen again.

With Samsung being the dominant Android player, this is a problem and one that could have very serious consequences down the line. However, this is Samsung we are talking about and so the sales of fridges, cameras, ovens and all of the other products they make should continue as they have in the past. Phones and tablets may be hugely profitable, but Samsung has other things to fall back on and so will survive.

And the same applies to Sony and LG. Phone sales have not been good, but ultimately they ‘should’ have the people in place to steer them on another course if needed. A simplistic way of looking at it, yet, but one that is still true.

HTC? Nowhere to go really and circling the drain as we speak alongside BlackBerry. Which one will be flushed first remains to be seen.

Google? Well, it would appear that Google is now thinking that making both the hardware and software will make for a much better experience (sure another company has been doing that for some time…) and with this comes the possibility of new innovations going to its own hardware first. This in turn makes the Android positions for Samsung, Sony and rest somewhat less powerful and so the circle continues within a fragmented platform that always seems to be technically ahead, but always still playing catch up.

The more I look, the more I read and the more I hear from people I know, the iPhone as a brand and as a product is bit by bit becoming the leader in terms of perception. For Google to touch it, devices like the Pixel need to be built and possibly devices like the Note and Galaxy need to not be so popular. It is possible that we will have a two-course race in the mobile world soon. No more Android vs. iOS, but Google vs. Apple.