apple · apple watch · rumors

Thoughts on Apple Watch 2 Rumors

I have an Apple Watch Sport.   No surprise there.  I also have to say that I’m pretty happy with it.  Also, no surprise.  Aside from Microsoft’s Wanderlust to-do list app, I don’t use many third-party apps.  (Checking my grocery list in the store without having to pull out my iPhone is pretty amazing.  But I digress.)  I find myself using Apple Watch for notifications, Siri dictation for hands free iMessages and, yes, even channelling my inner Dick Tracy to take calls when my iPhone is in the other room.  Before my Apple Watch, I used a Nike+ FuelBand and a Jawbone Up after that.  (The Bluetooth Jawbones are better, by the way.)

On Friday, MacRumors.com ran an article revolving around predictions that Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White made while in China touring new technologies.

In the MacRumors article, in part, reads:

“Finally, we walked away with the sense that the Apple Watch refresh will not occur in September with the iPhone 7, but is more likely to occur within the next 2-3 months, and thus we believe an unveiling at WWDC in June makes sense. We believe Apple Watch 2 could be 20-40% thinner than the current Apple Watch.”

Mr. White’s report has got me thinking about my plans for Apple Watch 2.

I find the idea of a thinner Watch body would be a great upgrade and is something that would get me to buy a new Apple Watch Sport.  The one thing that I am worried about is whether or not Apple Watch Sport 2will be compatible with the current crop of Watch bands.  Apple never made any guarantees that the bands that we buy today will be compatible in the future.  If today’s Watch bands aren’t compatible with a new Apple Watch body, I feel that it will dampen the enthusiasm for accessory band sales.  If one thing about Apple Watch is clear, the bands are what helps drive the feeling of uniqueness and individuality.  Both of those things are key parts of the Apple Watch. story.

I would like to see new sensors that will extend the functionality of Apple Watch.  For example, I liked and miss having an actigraph sensor that can track my sleep patterns.  My Jawbone Up tracker had one and I thought the collected information was interesting.  I’m not all that excited about the rumor that talks about the possible inclusion of a FaceTime camera.

If Apple makes Watch 2 thinner, and is compatible with the current crop of Watch bands, than I think I will get one on launch day.  If there are new sensors in Watch 2, that would make it an even more compelling upgrade.  However, if the current bands are not compatible, then I think I will stay on the sidelines and wait for Apple Watch 3.

apple · apple watch · ios 8 · rumors

Apple Announces March 9 Event

Apple has sent out notices to members of the media for their March 9 event.  Simply titled “Spring forward.” with a note that the event will get under way at 10am PDT (1pm eastern) and be available for steaming at apple.com/live.

Many Apple followers, including myself, believe that this is the event that Apple will use to really show off what the new Apple Watch can really do.  I was impressed by what where were shown back in September, but I believe on March 9 we will learn about the Watch’s full capabilities.

We also know that Apple Watch requires iOS 8.2.  With iOS 8.2 we will get all the enhancements for our iPhones to make Apple Watch work. (The first generation Apple Watch requires an iPhone to work.)

[Rampant Rumor Mill Mode: On]

There are some whispers on the Internet that Apple will, in addition to telling us all about the Apple Watch and iOS 8.2, will unveil new hardware also.  If you look around, you will find bloggers or analysts talking about the 12-inch “iPad Pro”, an Apple iPad stylus, and event a completely redesigned 12-inch MacBook Air rumored as the “MacBook Stealth.”  These things may come to pass, but I don’t see it coming during the March 9 event.  March 9 will be all about the amazing things the Apple Watch can do and why you need to get one.

[Rampant Rumor Mill Mode: Off]

What I do expect at the March 9 event, that is decidedly not a rumor is the pricing.  Back in September, Apple told us that the Apple Watch Sport edition will start at $349.

My own back of the envelope speculative pricing has a Sport edition watch going for about $549 when you factor in the larger screen size and maybe 8GB of storage for music.  It could be even more if you can purchase an AppleCare plan.

I originally thought I would get the Apple Watch edition, you know, the one in sterling silver with the cool looking Milanese Loop band.  Again, my completely speculative pricing envelop puts that Watch in the $749 – $1,299 price range, again, when you factor in the larger face, extra memory and AppleCare warrantee.

Don’t even get me started on the Apple Watch Edition edition.  That version of the Watch is not intended to be so much as functional as it is really a piece of 18K gold jewelry.  Expect the Apple Watch Edition to start at nothing less than $9,999 and go up from there.

At this point, anyone who follows Apple closely will know that Apple is really serious about the Apple Watch, its function and it’s perception that it’s jewelry.  And that means that it will be expensive.  I like to purchase the mid-tier and Apple equipment, but this time, remembering back to how hard I was on the last two $80 – $120 watches I purchased years ago, the Apple Watch Sport edition looks like the new “fitness tracker” for me.

Let’s see what Apple has in store for us on March 9.

apple · macbook air · rumors

MacBook Air To Get The Smallest Of Upgrades

According to 9to5Mac.com, as early as tomorrow, Apple could be rolling out an upgrade to the MacBook Air line of 11 and 13-inch notebooks.

The upgrades are said to only be a slight CPU upgrade to the Intel Core i5 Haswell processors.  These processors require less power than the previous CPUs in last year’s model Airs.

If you’re like me, you are still waiting for the rumored 12-inch model MacBook Air that is suppose to sport a Retina display, an even slimmer chassis, and no longer need a fan.  I’m guessing that model, if it’s real, to be announced at this year’s WWDC conference which gets underway on June 2.

[Via 9to5Mac.com…]

apple · ios 8 · nike · rumors · Uncategorized

Is This the End of the Nike FuelBand? Maybe, Maybe Not

Yesterday, a number of websites and Apple fan blogs when nuts with the news that Nike had laid off most if not all of their Nike+ hardware staff and was planning on spinning down their fitness hardware sales.  Articles, like the one that appears on Cnet.com suggested that Nike would shift from a hardware software solution to a software only platform solution that others can write applications for.

But then, things took a 180-degree turn when Nike reported to Re/code that it was true that a “small number” of layoffs did take place, but that Nike had no plans to halt sales of the current Nike+ FuelBand SE.

Interesting.

There are a few pieces of information that we need to keep in mind here.  First, is that the wearables market is still a relatively new market and, in my opinion, no killer device has been released yet.  Yes, the FuelBand is popular as are the FitBit and the Pebble.  I’m seeing more people starting to use “wearables” in my office.

Another thing to consider, as was pointed out in some of the articles that appeared over the last few days is that Americans start things with the best intensions, but after a period of time, stopping doing them.  This explains, perfectly, my on again, off again relationship with my local gym.  At least I’m not alone.  I think this supports my first point above that people buy wearables with the intent of being more fit, and then slowly use them less as time goes on.

As an Apple fanboy, there are two other things to consider.  We know that Apple is working on some kind of “wearable” device.  The popular opinion is that it is the “iWatch”.  Recent rumors of the iWatch has been all over the map, but we know it’s coming.  I’m in the camp that says the watch will be more of FuelBand device than a traditional watch.  Any entry of an Apple “wearable” is likely to have a negative impact on other other smaller players, like Nike, when it is first released.

The last item to consider is that Apple has had a long relationship with Nike that goes all the way back to the iPod and the Nike+ running accessory.  What I learned yesterday, which I didn’t realize, is that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a Nike board member.

Huh.

Does Nike’s board know more than we do about what’s coming next from Apple related to their new Health Book application and wearable?  Maybe.  Nike was at the front of the like with an application to support Apple’s M7 coprocessor in found in the iPhone 5S.  Maybe that, in some small way, is a glimpse into the future of the Apple/Nike relationship; Apple takes of building the hardware, and Nike with their Nike+ API kit, develops applications using their Nike+ Fuel points system for all of us to use in the future.

We’ll see what the future holds with the announcements from Apple’s WWDC that kicks of on June 2 and then again in late September or October when Apple finally releases new hardware.

apple · iphone · iphone 6 · rumors

iPhone 6 Rumors, meh

Ok, so the iPhone 5S has been out for about five months now.  It is hard to not notice the Apple rumor sites going full tilt crazy with new rumors and supposed hardware leaks.

Just in the last few days, we’ve seen an alleged future iPhone chassis, overall thinning due to thinner backlights, new larger sapphire displays, new front and back side cameras from Sony, and a new bezel-free design.  Throw in a healthy does of “iWatch” and AppleTV rumors and any Apple fanboy should be blown out of their iSocks.

Except I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my iPhone 5S and iPad Air and I’m planning on getting a new MacBook Air this summer.  But I’m having a hard time getting excited about these rumors.

First of all, the alleged iPhone chassis has already been debunked by eagle-eyed observers.  I’m sure there will be many more faked competent leaks between now and whenever the new phones arrive.  (And I do expect two flavors again this year.)

For me, I’m more interested in what the software is doing to do.  Apple is putting the final wraps on iOS 7.1.  All indicators are pointing to a March-ish release.  iOS 8 is, I’m sure, already under development.  While component leaks are just part of doing business these days, the software, the real heart and soul of our favorite iDevices, is what’s really interesting.

Will Apple finally leverage it’s massive iTunes business to process credit card transactions for things other than it’s own goods?  What new delightful features will our iOS devices be able to do in 12 months?

What about the “iWatch”?  Apple has been bulking up their “wearables” team.  Whatever they have ins store, I’m sure the device or devices will be able to tell time.  I envision an Apple device to be something that might look like a Nike+ FuelBand with with all kinds of interesting sensors inside.  Oh, and a clock.

Whatever Apple is cooking up in their labs I’m sure it will be interesting, easy to use, and no doubt will delight us.  But as for the iPhone 6?  Meh.  I can wait until June, or September, or whenever Apple gets around to releasing it.

apple · ios · rumors

Rumor: Apple Having Trouble with iPhone 5S Biometric Sensor

DigiTimes, which has a spotty track record with regard to their Apple rumors, is reporting that the iPhone maker is having trouble with low yield rates with the rumored fingerprint reader that is said to be part of the upcoming iPhone’s Home button.

From DigiTimes:

“Volume production of fingerprint-recognition and LCD driver chips for the iPhone 5S should have started at the end of June or early in July, but issues related to yield rates will delay commercial production of the two chips to the end of July, therefore affecting the initial supply of the iPhone 5S, the sources explained.”

Many people, myself included, expect Apple to follow last year’s September announcement of a new iPhone followed up with October shipments.  If that is true, and full production runs of the iPhone 5S are just now ramping up, there should still be plenty of time to build the millions of iPhone 5S handsets that will be needed globally in October.  If that is true, one had to wonder how a device that Apple has not yet publicly talked about or announced be considered ‘late’ if it ships in October and not September.

I think that there are two more important things to consider here.  The first is that Apple really does leverage last year’s acquisition of Florida based AuthenTec to build and include a biometric fingerprint scanner into their smartphone.  I would love to be able to use that technology to secure my iPhone with a finger swipe rather than a clumsy PIN code.  That would be an amazing feature that will be a head of the competition.

The second thing to consider is whether iOS 7 is ready in time to be installed on the new hardware.  If the software takes longer to work the major bugs out, it could impact the ship date as I don’t see Apple launching the iPhone 5S without iOS 7.

[Via DigiTimes.com…]

apple · iphone · rumors

Rumor: iPhone 5S Said To Begin Production This Month

With iOS 7 still cooking, Apple is said to on track to begin building the next iPhone, largely expected to be the iPhone 5S.

From BGR:

“Apple’s manufacturing and supply chain partners are reportedly gearing up to begin mass production of the iPhone 5S later this month. The news comes from a new research note issued by well-respected Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek, and it closely follows an earlier report that claimed Foxconn is currently hiring more workers to accommodate heavy iPhone orders from Apple.”

It is also largely expected that Apple will launch the iPhone 5S in late September or early October.

[Via BGR.com…]