Monday Morning News
On a scale of one to “putting a U2 album in the iTunes library of everyone with an iTunes Store account”, how much fun was iPhone 6 pre-orders on Friday? 5PM on a Friday afternoon just isn’t an ideal time for Aussies, but either way, Apple has said pre-orders overnight set sales records. While they haven’t disclosed how many units have been pre-ordered, the majority of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are now listed as available to ship within 3-4 weeks, with the remaining sitting at 7-10 business days. Anecdotal evidence suggests the iPhone 6 Plus sold out faster than its smaller sibling, but was that due to a shortage of the 6 Plus or due to it being genuinely more popular? We’ll probably never know.
Meanwhile, Techcrunch spoke to people familiar with materials used in high-end watches and came back with the conclusion that the Apple Watch Edition could cost up to $1,200. The enclosure could cost as much as $600, and internals accounting for the extra cash.
A report from The Financial Times says Apple are taking 0.15% of every Apple Pay transaction. The deal is that Apple facilitates transactions via Apple Pay, then they get a cut of the transaction. It really isn’t all that different from banks charging merchants fees to process credit cards.
A new rumour claims Apple could launch a 27-inch iMac with a 5K Retina display later this year. If true, the timing would be around the same time that they release OS X Yosemite and update the iPad lineup. The source of the rumour is LCD researchers at WitsView, but I feel as though they’re ignoring the realities of the GPU power required to drive a 4K panel, especially those capable of doing so within the thermal envelope of the iMac.
Apple are using the highly efficient H.265 codec for FaceTime over Cellular on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The main advantage of H.265 is that it delivers the same video quality as H.264, but at half the bit rate — meaning video calls over mobile networks won’t hit your data allowance as hard. Speculation says the A8 SoC in the new iPhones has dedicated encoding/decoding hardware, which might be why H.265 support is only on the newer iPhones.
ICloud Photo Library has mysteriously disappeared from the iCloud preview page on Apple’s website, with the previously-available feature also being disabled in the Gold Master of iOS 8. MacRumors dons the tin foil and says “it is possible that the company has decided to push it back in light of the negative press iCloud has received in recent weeks due to the celebrity photo leak”, but it’s equally likely the feature just wasn’t ready for prime time. Same deal for SMS continuity between OS X Yosemite and iOS devices, which has also been pushed back to an October release. If you’re wondering which features will be available in iOS 8, there’s a weirdly specific iOS 8 feature availability matrix on Apple’s website, which goes as far as listing the cities which have 3D buildings in navigation.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by Charlie Rose, and you can watch the interview on Hulu, which for some strange reason is available in Australia without any DNS or VPN shenanigans.
Peter Cohen from iMore didn’t pre-order the new iPhone, because he’s doing the smart thing and waiting until he can look at both models in person before he makes the decision. If you’re still struggling over which model to get, I’d love to hear about it in the forums.
A report from Anandtech looks at the future of Thunderbolt. In case you had any doubts about whether Thunderbolt was FireWire all over again, it is: poor support from vendors, a lack of adoption, and inferior performance on Windows compared to Mac will mean Thunderbolt probably won’t ever gain any traction on that platform.
Before smartphones, we were trying to get our mobiles smaller and smaller. Now they’re getting bigger and bigger. And that’s not all that’s strange: we’ve more or less shunned voice communication since the age of smartphones, instead preferring to communicate via text messages, hastily tapped-out tweets, even at times only via emoji. But both iOS 8 and Apple Watch are facilitating all new ways of voice communication, from voice messages in iOS 8, to push to talk on the Apple Watch. It’s clear, then, that Apple sees voice messaging as the next big thing in digital communication, as reported by The Verge.
What about wearables, then? There’s been an explosion in the number of activity monitors/fitness trackers over the past few years, so what does the Apple Watch do to set it apart from the rest? Engadget says it probably won’t cure our wearable ills, given the Apple Watch’s reliance on the iPhone and the fact it doesn’t solve any problems presented by others of its kind (battery life chief among them).
Benedict Evans has a great tweet on iPod adoption that says it looked like a flop or a hobby for four years before taking off. Over at Wired, Mat Honan has a requiem for the iPod. The iPod was the device which let people carry around their entire music libraries for the first time, and that was huge.