It really is amateur hour at Apple. The tech giant’s first major product line launch in years has gone badly wrong, with the original in-store sales date scrapped, and no word of when the Apple Watch will actually go on sale for people to, you know, buy.
Sales predictions, and online pre-order numbers look great, but that’s about the only thing that’s good about the launch of the first new product line to come from Apple under Tim Cook’s stewardship. Frankly, everything else associated with the launch has been a balls up from start to finish.
Apple has released the iOS 8.4 beta and with it, the upcoming revamped Music app.
The new music app features a stylish design (as we would expect from Apple), and a well thought-through interface, which includes a mini-player that remains visible while you’re looking around the app.
It is a given that whatever technology you see in front of you will be bettered if not next week, then next month or next year. Processors will get faster, hard drives bigger, laptops thinner and... well, you get the idea. In the realm of mobile devices there was a time when size meant everything. Mobile phone screens grew larger and larger, but then focus started to switch.
Size, it turned out, was not everything after all; it’s the number of pixels that matters. We started to see ppi figures quoted everywhere, Apple even came up with its own label for the pixel density at which pixels became indistinguishable -- Retina Display. This was just the start of the battle of the pixels, though, and now things are starting to get a bit silly. Sharp has announced a 5.5 inch 4K screen which boasts a pixel density of 806ppi. Say, what?
Today Apple started taking orders for Apple Watch, and the world is agog. It's online only this time around, so there are no amusing articles about nutters camping outside Apple stores for six months living on noodles and coffee just to be first through the door -- people are, in many cases, buying blind. We've already baulked at the price of the Apple Watch Edition, but today Apple released details of its AppleCare+ extended warranties and, my god, do they make for interesting reading.
There has already been much said about the pricing of the various Apple Watch models -- not least the Apple Watch Edition -- and Apple is sure to make quite a markup on the precious metal version. Not content with raking in the cash through its sales of wrist-bound hardware, Apple is trying to squeeze every last possible cent from its customers. If something goes wrong with your Apple Watch, even if you are covered by the extended warranty, it's going to cost you a pretty penny to get things fixed. If you were foolish (er... lucky) enough to invest in the Edition, the costs are absolutely astronomical.
I typically don't pull together review roundups, but bloggers and journalists with early access to Apple Watch and 12-inch MacBook beat the products senseless. Not even Wall Street Journal gives glowing look at the laptop; the pummeling is among the most brutal. Meanwhile, The Verge repeatedly gut-punches the smartwatch. Two themes rise from the many reviews, even those trying to cover up pooh with perfume: The devices are beautiful, but performance is a lumbering beast.
Welcome to the Tim Cook and Jony Ive era of putting form before function, and to a fault. Apple's CEO and design chief may not be the dynamic duo shareholders hoped for. The first truly new products to emerge under Cook's stewardship receive a collective meh, which should scare any intelligent buyer witless. Because if the past means anything, the carefully chosen coven of early reviewers embrace newfangled Apple things like the Devil clings to sinners. But not this week.
As the clock passes Midnight and takes us into April 10, Apple Watch preorders begin. Sales start two weeks later. The buzz is big, but will actual demand be? Argus Insights, an analyst firm that is new to me, doesn't see strong sales ahead. The metrics are interesting: 7.8 million social interactions and 65K online reviews about wearables.
"Though the Apple Watch will of course be successful, we don’t see the product to be wildly successful", John Feland, Argus founder, says in a statement. I reviewed the firm's report, which data is from September 2014 to end of March 2015, and it's interesting reading. The question, and Apple Watch sales likely will answer: Is online social buzz a means for predicting a product's success?
On a day when Apple Watch is once again in the news, more information is becoming available about what you can expect from this latest fashion statement for your wrist. The success or failure rides largely on apps, as it does with phone and tablet platforms. Now Apple has one more to boast about for its launch, as Pandora steps forward.
Pandora has a history of being there for Apple, as it was ready for launches of both iPhone and iPad. This time around will be no different -- when you pick up that watch later this month Pandora will be waiting for you.
The iPhone 6 release in September of last year marked yet another successful product launch for Apple. Both the regular and "Plus" models combined exceeded 4 million pre-orders within 24 hours and sales of more than 10 million units in the first three days following release. Both were Apple records.
Considering that the regular iPhone 6 retailed for $649 at launch and the Plus model for $749, it would seem fair to assume that such premium-level prices would be reflected in premium specifications. After all, the iPhone 6 comes in at slightly more expensive than Samsung’s Galaxy S5 which was released a few months previous.
Apple today released the third round of major updates for iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. As expected, there are lots and lots of bug fixes in iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite, as well as new features, performance improvements and many other changes.
With regards to performance, iOS 8.3 claims to improve app launch times, responsiveness, messages, Wi-Fi, Control Center, tabs in Safari, and keyboards -- both built-in and third-party. OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite, on the other hand, touts improved Wi-Fi performance. As seen in beta builds, iOS 8.3 also features a refreshed Emoji keyboard with more than 300 new characters, and OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite adds the much-awaited Photos app.
If you haven't responded to either of our most-recent buying polls—Apple Watch and Chromebook Pixel—it's not too late. Preorders for the timepiece start April 10. The laptop is available now, but with long-wait ship times. I purchased the higher-end Pixel, which review is underway. Whether or not one of our writers will test the smartwatch is uncertain.
Polls of this nature are meant to gauge what a specific audience, BetaNews readers, plan to do. Often what respondents would like to buy isn't what they do. For lots of reasons: Budget; spousal or partner objections; availability; competitive pricing; early product reviews; and more. Results better reflect your intentions as the sample size increases. So, please, take a few seconds to answer each poll, if you haven't already.
When you think of the great tech rivalries, it’s unquestionably Microsoft vs. Apple that springs to mind -- after all the two firms have been battling it out for close to 40 years. Microsoft was the dominant force for much of that time, until Apple surged ahead to become the most valuable company in the world.
Both tech giants have massive, and incredibly loyal fan bases. When we write something negative or overwhelming positive about either company’s products on BetaNews, the fanboys come out in force, accusing us of bias or being on one of the firm’s payrolls. So surely it’s time to find out which company has the most loyal and satisfied customers -- will it be Microsoft or will it be Apple? Place your bets now…
Every new high-profile smartphone is subjected to a bend test nowadays. It's become a tradition following the launch of iPhone 6 Plus, which has been found to easily bend under pressure. So, naturally, when it came time to test Samsung's new Galaxy S6 edge and HTC's new One M9, SquareTrade chose Apple's phablet to serve as the basis for comparison.
Galaxy S6 edge appears to be more fragile compared to Galaxy S6, due to the rounded screen which minimizes the level of protection offered by the surrounding metal frame. Meanwhile, HTC's One M9 has a more traditional form factor, similar to last year's One (M8), which should help it fare better. So how easily do they bend?
Microsoft's Surface Pro took many people by surprise. It was a bit of a late entry to the tablet game, but it showed how to do things properly. This was full caffeine, full sugar, full alcohol Windows in tablet form. For those who need a little more flexibility, there's the option of adding a keyboard. With Surface Pro, Microsoft carved out a niche for itself.
It tried to do the same with Surface, and Surface 2, but there was one problem. Windows RT. With the Windows 10 wheels now in full motion, Surface 3 has been pulled out of the bag. Microsoft has made the sensible decision to ditch Windows RT and provide a cut-price tablet with full-blown Windows 8 -- and ultimately Windows 10. This is Microsoft's chance to take on the iPad head to head.
Earlier in the month we reported that Apple was about to start offering gift cards as part of a trade-in program for people buying a new iPhone. The updated program has now gone live so you can take your old Apple device, or non-Apple smartphone to an Apple store, or mail it in to receive credit.
The credit can be used in store or online against the purchase of a new Apple device, and this program expansion is the latest move from Apple to try to tempt users away from other platforms. You can check online to see how much you can expect to receive for your existing phone and decide whether it's worth your while. Hint: it might not be.
China is not known for its subtle language, as recently displayed by Chinese CEO and billionaire Jia Yueting, who compared Apple to the Nazi Party through a cartoon-style image.
In a weibo post, Yueting compares the attributes of the Android and iOS ecosystems as "Crowdsourced, freedom vs arrogance, tyranny", painting Apple as the villain.