Apple announced on Friday a small delay before it will start shipping its HomePod wireless speaker. In a statement provided to media outlets, Apple says it needs a little more time before the HomePod will be ready for customers. Apple also said that HomePods will ship in early 2018 for the US, UK, and Australia, suggesting that we’ll see much more limited availability compared to Apple’s more recent product releases.
The iPhone X has been included on Time’s list of the 25 best inventions of 2017. It’s pretty easy to see why — a display that goes all the way to every edge, sophisticated facial recognition, and a design that removes the home button, a staple of every iPhone design up until this one. It’s not perfect, but for the first big departure to the iPhone design since the iPhone 6, it’s not bad. And I know no-one that has returned theirs, so it must be pretty OK.
Apple’s holiday gift guide has Apple hardware and accessories for the whole family. While an iPhone X still seems like a fairly extravagant gift unless you’re particularly well off, I can totally see AirPods being given as gifts, or at a stretch, even an Apple Watch. Other than that, there’s the usual selection of Apple Watch bands, cases, and other app-enabled accessories. And because Apple’s holiday return return policy is now in full effect, anything you buy from now on can be returned through January 8, 2018.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has some predications about next year’s iPhone lineup. Kuo claims we’ll see three new iPhones next year, with a 5.8-inch OLED like the current iPhone X, a 6.5-inch OLED as a kind of iPhone X Plus. Sitting between them will be a 6.1-inch LCD version, with all models expected to feature Face ID and its TrueDepth camera system.
With all the news recently about Apple’s redesigned brick and mortar stores, I’ve been wondering when they’ll be bringing the town square design to Australia. Chadstone will be the first Apple Store in Australia to receive the redesign treatment and three times the physical space, despite the location being located within a shopping centre and not a standalone building like many of the other new Apple Stores. The grand opening is on November 24.
Apple’s latest diversity and inclusion report tells us about the Apple workforce. While the overall split between male and female is still about 68% male, 32% female, Apple notes that half of all new hires from the past year were from “historically underrepresented groups in tech”. Female Apple employees have been on the rise, but Apple’s tech and leadership sectors are still skewed towards white males.
Bloomberg claims Apple is ramping up work on an AR headset in time for a potential release in 2020. Apple’s AR headset will have its own display and use its own chip, separate from other products which use a linked smartphone to do all the heavy lifting. The one thing I’m not really sure about is whether this will turn out to be another Google Glass, or whether this will have real-world applications beyond niche use cases.
Six Colors talks about one week with the iPhone X. Jason Snell writes about the differences between the space grey and the silver finishes, the impressive camera, and the need for there to be some other way to invoke Control Center other than a swap down from the top right “ear” (we really need to settle on a common name for those things). There’s also initial thoughts on the iPhone X from MacStories, who extolls the virtues of Face ID as the Touch ID replacement we never knew we needed, while at the same time praising developers for having updated apps ready to go.
The New York Times has a story this morning about Apple’s new tax haven, following close scrutiny of its tax practices in Ireland. With nearly US $269 billion in cash, and over $128 billion of that offshore, Apple has reportedly moved its operations to Jersey in what seems like another move designed to avoid taxes. It’s important to note that Apple’s US operations only account for about 30% of its worldwide profits, with the rest coming from overseas locations, making tax havens like Ireland and Jersey strategically important for Apple’s financials.
Apple’s guided tour of the iPhone X tells you about all the new stuff, including how to use Face ID, Animoji, and Portrait Lighting. Ignoring the impossibility of holding an iPhone that still while doing a demo of all the new features, it’s a great, practical introduction to the great iPhone X-only features. There’s also the Apple support article on using gestures to navigate your iPhone X, if that’s more your thing.