iTunes TV and movies are coming to Samsung TVs

Will Goring, 06 Jan 2019

Samsung have announced that as of Spring this year, their smart TVs will feature a new “iTunes Movies and TV Shows” app. There’s no indication in the press release whether this is a Samsung exclusive or part of a wider roll-out of Apple’s media to non-Apple hardware. My guess is that it’s the latter; with Apple investing heavily in it’s upcoming TV service, they want to make it available to the widest possible segment of the population, and that means rolling out support to as many devices as possible. I expect to see similar apps on most TVs, and possibly even third-party streaming boxes, such as Roku or Amazon FireTV.

A worry I have is what this means for the Apple TV. Does it have much of a future in a world where all shipping TVs already have access to Apple’s media properties via built-in apps? This is really part of a wider anxiety I have about Apple hardware in a world where Apple is a services and media company; will it be deprioritised in favour of horizontal integrations? The iPhone is obviously safe; it easily generates enough revenue to justify its existence. The same‘s probably true of the Mac, the Watch and the iPad. But the Apple TV or the HomePod, which exist primarily as a way to put Apple’s services in people’s homes? Are they still worth the investment when everyone already has access to those services? Well, it’s early to say, but I’m a lot less confident.

Did iPhone battery degradation drive upgrades?

Will Goring, 03 Jan 2019

The thing that really shocked me about Apple’s revenue warning today wasn’t that they’re now expecting to make a lot less money than predicted in Q1; that is surprising, but it’s business and it was bound to happen eventually. No; what got me was their acknowledgment that the battery replacement programme has potentially hurt upgrade rates:

While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements.

– Tim Cook Letter from Tim Cook to Apple investors (Emphasis mine)

That’s dangerously close to admitting that they knew old batteries made phones unusable and quietly allowed that to drive people to buy new ones. Do I think that’s the case? I don’t know; I’d hope not, but who —outside Apple— can really say? It would certainly be a strange company that voluntarily closed-off a revenue stream, even one that was bad for users. But then, that’s how Apple presents itself; the company that puts user experience above all-else.

One thing’s for sure; if this isn’t them intentionally admitting batterygate was driving revenue, then it’s a shockingly sloppy unforced error.

Of course it was a pretty big revenue miss; maybe having a credible explanation is the lesser of two evils, and they’re just prepared to eat the PR pain of the battery revelation (true or otherwise.) Or maybe they figure the battery thing is a lost cause anyway, since most people already believe they throttle older phones?

Gruber has a similar take.

Update: I’ve seen a few people suggesting that Apple meant that they were making a loss on the battery replacements. That’s definitely possible; they will definitely have lost (some - but surely nowhere near $7bn) revenue by selling replacement batteries at a steep discount. If this is what they’re trying to say, then their wording really was a blunder; it was way too easy to read as admission that the batterygate critics were right all along.

What a piece of junk!

Will Goring, 03 Jan 2019

Back in April 2018, I build the largest LEGO set ever produced; the reissue of the Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon. It was awesome. I also recorded a timelapse sequence of the build. Here it is.

The Beats price breakdown isn’t very interesting.

Will Goring, 31 May 2014

Apple Inc. is paying slightly less than $500 million for the Beats Music streaming service, and more than $2.5 billion for Beats Electronics in its $3 billion deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

The breakdown between the two portions of Beats Electronics LLC offers insight into Apple’s thinking for the most expensive acquisition in its history.

– The Wall Street Journal, Apple Paying Less Than $500 Million for Beats Music Streaming Service

The only way to get insight into Apple’s thinking on the purchase would be to have been privy to the decision-making process or the negotiations. These figures give us insight into the way in which the lawyers and accountants divvied up the agreed price between the two properties; nothing more.

Why would Apple buy Beats?

Will Goring, 14 May 2014

The last three or four days have been more or less full of discussion about Apple’s rumoured $3.2bn purchase of Beats; everyone seems desperate to figure out the reason for the proposed purchase. Could it be for the headphones expertise? The recently launched music streaming service? What about the power of the brand?

I hope I’m stating the blindingly obvious here, but the answer is clearly “Yes; all of the above.”

I’m constantly surprised by how much discussion happens that’s focused entirely on getting to the one, core reason for purchases like this. Google got the same scrutiny when they purchased Nest; was it an aqui-hire? Was Google after our personal temperature data? Were they just looking for an entry to the consumer electronics market? People expend both time and effort discussing – even arguing over – which is the real reason. Why? Is a simple narrative so appealing that everything has to boil down to having a single cause?

Sure, sometimes – maybe even often – there really is a single reason for a purchase; when Apple bought AuthenTec in 2012, no-one wondered why. But when it’s not clear, or when there are a selection of competing theories, my first assumption is that, just like us, the purchaser can see a variety of reasons to make the purchase and have determined that between them, as a package, they’re worth the asking price.

It’s not a simple narrative, but then life (like, I have to assume, the decision to spend $3.2bn) is rarely simple.

On The 4” iPhone Screen Rumours

Will Goring, 18 Apr 2012

I’m with Marco Arment; now I’ve seen the mockups, I think the 16:9 portrait screen just looks peculiar. Contrary to what I’ve said in the past, I think I’d rather the phone was a little wider but kept the same aspect ratio.

I still think a bigger screen would suit me though.

No more Apple trial software

Will Goring, 17 Apr 2012

As reported by MacStories, it looks like Apple have quietly stopped offering free trials of their software, including iWork. The page which used to provide the download now simply says

The trial version of iWork is no longer supported. But you can easily purchase Keynote, Pages, and Numbers from the Mac App Store to start creating beautiful presentations, documents, and spreadsheets today.


Which is great, except that that download was also the only digital distribution for iWork licenses – like mine – purchased before the App Store existed. So, if I hadn’t had the presence of mind to hang on to the installer, I’d now be stuck with a useless iWork ‘09 license and Apple’s official response is to suggest I re-buy the exact same software from the App Store.

Not cool.

Marketing BS

Will Goring, 13 Mar 2012

It’s true, today I’m disappointed in Apple. Not because of the iPad thing. I’m pretty impressed with what the company announced today. My disappointment is a matter of something deeper – a sign that Apple gave in to a carrier, rather than standing up for the customers. Anyone with iOS 5.1 and an AT&T iPhone 4S will now see a 4G symbol in certain areas. The only problem? It’s not really 4G, it’s marketing BS from AT&T.

– Brad McCarty, The Next Web

I find it really hard to get angry about this because all 4G is marketing BS right now. The initial spec for 4G called for peak throughput of 1Gbps; something that none of the current candidates come close to. The spec was relaxed to include technologies like LTE and WiMax because manufacturers had been using the term to describe them anyway. AT&T is just playing the same game.

How Important Would Office for iPad Be?

Will Goring, 23 Feb 2012

John Gruber on the possibility that MS and Apple might be planning to announce Office for iPad at the iPad 3 launch event:

But what would be in it for Apple to offer such a spot to Microsoft? … Why give credence and attention to Microsoft in a market where so far Microsoft has had no success?

– John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Because the one thing that ridiculous ‘googlighting’ video got right is that businesses see Office as essential to their operations. And because there are a metric-assload of companies – of all sizes – out there who have existing volume licensing deals with Microsoft and who’re currently deploying iPads because there’s no credible alternative, but who, if approached by an MS salesforce (with whom they have an existing relationship) and offered an alternative with better exchange integration and the ability to run Word, Excel and Powerpoint, would drop the iPad within a week.

Put another way; it depends on what you see as the market. Apple have the tablet market sewn-up for now; that much is obvious. The corporate market, on the other hand, is still largely ruled by MS Office.

TextMate 2.0

Will Goring, 13 Dec 2011

There’s been a bit of a fuss today about a TextMate 2 private alpha being seen in the wild. I particularly like Matt Gemmell’s take on it; it nicely captures (and satirises) the extent to which TextMate was adored by the Mac community before… well, disappearing.

I never bought into the TextMate thing myself. I mean, I used it for a few weeks because I use a Mac and for a while it sort of felt rude to use one without the other, but I soon got disillusioned and went back to Vim. I’ll be interested to see how it pans out, but I don’t think this new TextMate, as cool as some of the ideas sound, will get even a couple of weeks of my time. I’m simply past the point in my life where a new text-editor is either desirable or practical. Vim might not be pretty and it had a hell of a learning curve 10 years ago when I first started using it in anger, but for those 10 years it has done everything I need from a text editor and, more importantly, done it completely consistently on every machine I’ve had cause to use. I just don’t think there’s any amount of UI-prettiness or shiny-new-feature-ness that can compare to that (even putting aside the decade of muscle-memory I’ve built up for vi keybindings.)

Obviously, I should never say never; there might be some new feature waiting to be invented that will completely revolutionise my use of text-editors but, several decades into their history, I’m going to assume that those eureka moments are mostly in the past, and that any feature missing from the highly-functional editors (Emacs, vim, etc) is probably missing for good reason, not because no-one thought of it.