How Apple Lost Last Week to Microsoft

Last week, Apple and Microsoft had dueling product launch events. And in the tech version of this “Who wore it better?” contest, the winner seems to be: Microsoft.

That’s right. At least in the microcosm of last week, Microsoft has made Apple look like the square, after lifting the veil on a 28-inch touchscreen all-in-one desktop called the Surface Studio that immediately had tech enthusiasts drooling. Over a desktop.

(Also see: Everything You Need to Know About the Microsoft Surface Studio)

One could argue that this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Microsoft, while on the rise again, still benefits from lower expectations than Apple. Introducing a new product, such as the Studio, is almost always going to be more exciting than upgrading an old line. But there is a common thread here, which we can use to analyze how these companies are thinking about the future – even more specifically, the future of touch and computing.

How Apple Lost Last Week to Microsoft

Touch itself, as a technology, isn’t new. But Microsoft did a good job of framing its incorporation of touch with the Studio as expansive, liberating, and a universal way to unlock potential. Who doesn’t want to think that they have a symphony, novel, or artistic masterpiece inside them, just waiting to be unlocked by the right new tools?

Apple, on the other, seems to have uncharacteristically flubbed its audience pitch. Speaking to analysts after its event, it seemed that “current MacBook Pro owners looking to upgrade” was the main audience Apple was going for.

That’s practical – Apple laptops sell well. It’s not inspiring, though, is it?

What makes this even more odd is that Apple is arguably the company that, arguably, did something really new for their company, at least – the Touch Bar shows off something we haven’t seen from Apple before. The Surface Studio looks gorgeous, but Microsoft’s essentially made an enormous version of its Surface tablet. It’s a very stylish and powerful one, but that’s basically what it is.

Given a couple of days, and a truly dazzling Apple event, that probably could have become the storyline for the Studio. But try to explain what exactly Apple did, and it’s surprisingly hard. They put a miniature iPhone screen at the top of the keyboard, that you could probably ignore if you wanted?

That’s a too-harsh assessment of the Touch Bar from someone who’s only played around with it for less than a half-hour altogether. But the Touch Bar certainly lacks a clarity of purpose that Microsoft managed to nail with its products – and managed to nail by not-so-subtly going after Apple’s traditional market of creatives.

Even Apple’s main on-stage demos, of photo-editing and a DJ, weren’t effective pitches for the MacBook Pro. The demos were fine, but there needed to be something communicated to a broader set of users that wasn’t just, “Hey, you can stop using those keyboard shortcuts you’ve committed to muscle memory over the years.”

Should it be all red lights and klaxons in Cupertino? Not necessarily. But there is a sense of longing for something more from Apple. Apple has a lot to prove, and it’s not proving it quite well enough. I’ve heard more “Well, I am a little tempted by the [insert competing product here]” from Apple fans this year than I’ve heard in a long time.

(Also see: MacBook Pro 2016 vs Microsoft Surface Pro vs HP Spectre 13)

Temptation isn’t enough to uproot a customer, particularly when you’ve done as good a job of keeping users in your ecosystem as Apple has. Apple will still make money, since Apple fans have proven in the past that they’re willing to pay a premium for its products, said Linn Huang, of the analysis firm IDC.

“Apple is in the position to say, with something new, that it can charge what it wants,” he said.

But that’s no way to retain happy customers, particularly for a firm that prides itself in manufacturing delight. Yet it’s somehow Microsoft – out of desperation, inspiration or a combination of both – that has managed to make products that are turning heads.

Apple should not panic. But it should at least take note.

Apple announces peer-to-peer payments with new operating system

Apple Inc. AAPL, -1.07% announced peer-to-peer payments using Apple Pay Monday, putting it in competition with PayPal Inc.’s PYPL, -0.17% Venmo. Apple announced the update, along with its new iOS 11 operating system, at its developer conference. IOS users will be able to send payments through iMessage and also store the money received on Apple Pay Cash, a digital debit card. Shares of Apple were down 1% midday Monday.

Image result for R3 Aims to Build the ‘Operating System of Finance’

Apple Inc. announced peer-to-peer payments using Apple Pay Monday, putting it in competition with PayPal Inc.’s Venmo. Apple announced the update, along with its new iOS 11 operating system, at its developer conference. IOS users will be able to send payments through iMessage and also store the money received on Apple Pay Cash, a digital debit card. Shares of Apple were down 1% midday Monday.

Apple Says Developers Earned Over $70 Billion Since App Store's Launch

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple made the announcement on Thursday
  • Photo and Video category is fastest growing category on App Store
  • Apple’s WWDC 2017 kicks off next week

Apple on Thursday, few days ahead of its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kickoff, announced that its global developer community has earned over $70 billion through the App Store since its launch in 2008. The Cupertino-based giant further added that last 12 months have seen massive growth, and the App Store has seen over 70 percent growth in downloads.

Talking about its App Store, Apple said that iOS developers around the world have been catering to 155 countries, and few segments have lately seen massive growth. Apple says that the Photo and Video category is among the “fastest-growing” as it registered nearly 90 percent growth. Other segments like Lifestyle apps, Health and Fitness have seen over 70 percent growth in the past year. Gaming and Entertainment are top-grossing categories, adds Apple in a statement.

Apple also adds that the subscription model introduction has bumped the paid subscriptions as it saw 58 percent more paid subscriptions compared to over a year ago. The company notes that subscription model has been doing well in a wide variety of services including Netflix and Hulu. While newcomers like Tastemade, the mobile-first cooking network, and photo editing apps like Over and Enlight, have also done well.Apple Says Developers Earned Over $70 Billion Since App Store's Launch

Announcing the news, Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing said, “People everywhere love apps and our customers are downloading them in record numbers. Seventy billion dollars earned by developers is simply mind-blowing. We are amazed at all of the great new apps our developers create and can’t wait to see them again next week at our Worldwide Developers Conference.”

Apple’s annual developer conference WWDC is no doubt one of the biggest events for the technology lovers and it will take place from June 5 to June 9. The 28th annual Worldwide Developers Conference will be returning to McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, which will host the event after 15 years. For those unaware, San Jose was the original venue of WWDC, and it hosted Apple’s annual event from 1988 to 2002.

Apple Swift Playgrounds Educational Coding App Expands to Robots, Drones, and More

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Swift Playgrounds to offer new way to learn to code using robots, drones
  • It is an intuitive programming language for building apps
  • The Swift Playgrounds 1.5 update will be available from June 5

Tech giant Apple has announced that Swift Playgrounds, its educational coding app for iPad, will now offer a new way to learn to code using robots, drones and musical instruments.

Swift Playgrounds is great for students and beginners learning to code with Swift, Apple’s intuitive programming language for building apps.

“More than one million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering.

“Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favourite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn,” added Federighi.

Apple Swift Playgrounds Educational Coding App Expands to Robots, Drones, and More

Apple is working with leading device makers to make it easy to connect to Bluetooth-enabled robots within the Swift Playgrounds app, allowing kids to programme and control popular devices, including LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones and more.

The Swift Playgrounds 1.5 update will be available as a free download on the App Store starting from June 5.

Swift Playgrounds is compatible with all iPad Air and iPad Pro models and iPad mini 2 and later running iOS 10 or even later versions.

Apple MacBook Lineup Refresh Expected at WWDC 2017 Next Week

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple has been tipped to upgrade MacBook Pro with new processors
  • MacBook Air has been suggested to be updated at WWDC 2017 as well
  • Apple might launch a MacBook model with 32GB of RAM as well

Apple has been rumoured to update its laptop lineup at its WWDC event early next month but now there are some strong indications, this time coming from company’s own official site, which suggest that it would be wise to wait before you buy your next MacBook. As per Apple’s online store, the delivery times of 15-inch MacBook Pro have now been delayed to June 5- June 6, which is one day after company’s WWDC keynote, from usual deliveries on same day or 3-5 business days.

While the delivery estimates for the 13-inch MacBook models have not been changed and the laptops are available for delivery as soon as the next day, the recent changes give credence to a report that suggested that Apple is planning to launch new MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook models on June 5, as pointed out in a report by MacRumors.

Usually when the delivery times are changed on Apple’s official website, they indicate that the company is planning to launch new products and as the Cupertino-based company’s event is right around the corner, we might be able to see new MacBook models. Conventionally, WWDC is associated with software but this time around, the event has been heavily linked with launch of new hardware products.

Earlier this month, a report suggested that Apple will be refreshing its MacBook lineup, with updates lined up for 12-inch MacBook, the MacBook Pro, and the almost forgotten MacBook Air as well.

Image result for Apple MacBook Lineup Refresh Expected at WWDC 2017 Next Week

First coming to the MacBook Pro upgrade, Apple has been tipped to update the laptop with Intel’s Kaby Lake processor series, from the current SkyLake processors. Further, the company is expected to launch a 32GB RAM variant of the 15-inch MacBook Pro to cater to the need of professional users, as pointed out in a report by 9To5Mac. There are reportedly some price cuts to the existing models that can be expected to be announced at WWDC 2017.

The 12-inch variant of the MacBook laptop series has been tipped to be upgraded with new Kaby Lake processors as well as receive a new 16GB RAM option as per KGI, 9To5Mac points out.

Finally coming to the MacBook Air, while the upgrade rumours for the laptop are thin and hard to find, the laptop is expected to be refreshed with new processors at the very least.

As all of this talks is from rumour town, we will have to wait till the company’s official announcement next month to get any confirmation about the laptops.

iPhone 8 Render Leak Tips Rear Fingerprint Scanner, Bezel-Less Display

HIGHLIGHTS

  • iPhone 8 fresh render suggests rear Touch ID sensor
  • This refutes previous rumours that suggest display embedded Touch ID
  • Benjamin Geskin claims that this render is fake

Fresh iPhone 8 renders coming out of China seem to thicken the mystery surrounding the implementation of Touch ID on the smartphone further. The one rumour that has been on the see-saw for long has been the integration of the fingerprint sensor underneath the display or at the back of the smartphone. Now, a fresh leak, seems to refute other reports to claim that the Touch ID will be integrated at the back.

iPhoneros.com has leaked renders of an iPhone 8 prototype fully assembled, sporting a fingerprint scanner at the back, right beneath the Apple logo. The prototype also shows the vertical dual camera setup at the back, and the almost bezel-less front display as well. The flash also does not reside between the two sensors at the back, but is situated outside of the vertical camera ring completely, beneath the two sensors.

iPhone 8 Render Leak Tips Rear Fingerprint Scanner, Bezel-Less Display

Tipster Benjamin Geskin seems to suggest that this is a fake iPhone 8 render, and reiterates that the iPhone 8 will have Touch ID embedded under the display only. He has been leaking iPhone 8 information regularly, and in his latest tweet, he suggests that some case makers have got a whiff of what the iPhone 8 final design will look like, and they have already begun mass production of cases and covers for the phone. He also claims that the back of the iPhone 8 will be a unique alloy of glass and metal.

The iPhone 8 is also tipped to sport an OLED display panel, wireless charging feature, some form of AR features, and a 3D front camera. It is expected to be more waterproof and dustproof than before, and will be powered by the Apple A11 SoC.

iPhone 8 Dimensions, Renders Leaked; LG Reportedly Eyeing OLED Display Orders Next Year

HIGHLIGHTS

  • iPhone 8 dimensions tipped at 143.59×70.94×7.57mm
  • Renders tip an edge-to-edge display
  • It is expected to be thicker than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 8 rumours have been numerous in the recent past, and today’s leak brings more information on the dimensions of the iPhone 8. Renders have also been leaked alongside, and the iPhone 8 is seen being compared to the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Samsung Galaxy S8+. Furthermore, LG is reportedly eyeing OLED display orders from Apple next year, and has made a large amount of investment to ramp up its OLED smartphone display production.

First up, iDrop News cites anonymous “factory workers with intimate knowledge” to report that the iPhone 8 will measure at 143.59×70.94×7.57mm. This makes the iPhone 8 wider and larger than the iPhone 7, but smaller when compared to the iPhone 7 Plus. To recall, the iPhone 7 dimensions are at 138.3×67.1×7.1 mm and the iPhone 7 Plus measures at 158.2×77.9×7.3 mm. Looking at the dimensions, the iPhone 8 is also thicker than both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone 8 Dimensions, Renders Leaked; LG Reportedly Eyeing OLED Display Orders Next Year

The report is unclear about the weight, but it is anticipated to be more than the iPhone 7 but less than the iPhone 7 Plus. The report has also leaked renders of the smartphone, based on the information it received. The iPhone 8 is seen sporting an edge-to-edge display in the front with no Home Button in the front as well. There is a small lip at the top edge of the smartphone for integrating the front camera and sensors. At the back, there is a vertical dual camera setup with the Apple logo, but no sign of a fingerprint scanner. This further cements rumours of a fingerprint scanner embedded underneath the display.

Furthermore, the iPhone 8 is also pegged against the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+. To recall, the Galaxy S8 measures 148.9×68.1×8.0 mm, while the Galaxy S8+ comes in at 159.5×73.4×8.1 mm. If the rumoured dimensions are true, the iPhone 8 will be slimmer.

A separate report from ET News claims that LG is investing huge amounts of money to become Apple’s second supplier of OLED displays next year. This year, Samsung has reportedly bagged the exclusive deal for the iPhone 8’s OLED displays, but LG is reported to be ramping up its production facilities for OLED smartphone displays, and is switching from its previous focus on TVs.

“LG Display is planning to invest about $3.56 billion (KRW 4 trillion) into P10, which is its new factory in Paju, and construct production lines for 6th generation flexible OLEDs in 2018. Although it was planning to make investments mostly on large OLEDs for TVs initially, it is currently thinking about making investments on OLEDs for Smartphones first. It seems that LG Display is planning to secure its position as the second supplier for Apple iPhone by quickly increasing its production capability of OLED for Smartphone, the report said.

LG also believes that Chinese OEMs will follow Apple’s footsteps to integrate OLED displays, so if it doesn’t bag an order from Apple, it does have other options to partake from.

Flipkart iPhone 6 Offer: 16GB Model Available at Just Rs. 21,999 in Father's Day Promotion

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The offer will last till June 10
  • Flipkart has also listed No Cost EMI options for SBI card holders
  • There’s an exchange offer of up to Rs. 15,000 listed as well

Flipkart is offering the iPhone 6 with 16GB storage at Rs. 21,990 as part of its Father’s Day promotion, as it had teased previously. The offer starts Thursday, June 8 and lasts till June 10; Father’s Day is on June 18. Notably, the Flipkart iPhone 6 16GB offer is available only for the Space Grey model, and not the Gold and Silver ones. The price drop is accompanied by smartphone exchange offer of up to Rs. 15,000. The e-commerce company is also offering a No Cost EMI option for SBI card holders, and a 5 percent off on Axis Bank Buzz credit cards as well.

Interestingly, the iPhone SE 32GB model is also available at Rs. 21,990 on Flipkart. This variant has double the storage, was launched last year (iPhone 6 was launched in 2014), and has a faster processor than iPhone 6. On the other hand, iPhone SE sports a relatively smaller 4-inch display compared to the 4.7-inch screen of iPhone 6. It is also available with exchange discount of up to Rs. 15,000.

Flipkart iPhone 6 Offer: 16GB Model Available at Just Rs. 21,999 in Father's Day Promotion

Another iPhone model you can consider besides the special price iPhone 6 16GB and iPhone SE 32GB is the 32GB iPhone 6 in Space Grey colour, which is available on Flipkart at Rs. 25,999 with exchange discount of up to Rs. 15,000. Notably, the listing pages for both iPhone 6 32GB and iPhone SE mention “Special Discount Ending Soon,” so these prices may not last long.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch (750×1334 pixel) screen, and is 6.9mm thick. The phone has high-speed Wi-Fi 802.11ac support and support the TD 2300 LTE band used in India. iPhone 6 has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front camera, with improved sensors when compared with the iPhone 5s. The phones feature the new Apple A8 processor and a motion co-processor labelled M8. Apple promises that both devices will provide better battery life than the iPhone 5s.

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Apple's 2017 Roadmap Leaked by 'Foxconn Insiders'; Includes Siri Speaker and AR Glasses

HIGHLIGHTS
iPhone 8 has been tipped to come with 3GB of RAM
iPhone 7s is expected to come with aluminium body
MacBook Air has been tipped to be discontinued
It is not a new thing for an Apple product to be leaked ahead of launch but if a newly surfaced leak turns out to be legitimate, we might already have information about several upcoming products from the Cupertino-based company. Alleged Foxconn insiders have reportedly leaked information about company’s plans about augmented reality, upcoming smartphones, laptops, and a voice-activated speaker.

In a Reddit thread, ‘foxconninsider’ has revealed that a 32GB RAM variant will be introduced to the 15-inch MacBook Pro lineup and that MacBook Air laptop will be discontinued by the company, as pointed out in a report by AppleInsider. However, the source didn’t respond to a query seeking the timeline for the addition of the new RAM variant.

Interestingly, earlier reports have suggested that Apple will be introducing the 32GB RAM variant of the 15-inch MacBook Pro on Monday at its WWDC 2017 event. Further, the leaks have suggested that Apple will be refreshing its MacBook Air laptop at its event, contradicting the new information.

While foxconninsider says that new designs have been tested including “more glass and dark black body,” the glowing Apple logo is also expected to be reintroduced to the lineup. A MacBook with dynamic E-Ink keyboard, rumoured since last year, is apparently in the pipeline for 2018 as well.

Moving to the iPad, the alleged insiders have suggested that a new size variant is expected to be launched but said that they don’t have access to the tablet, as pointed out in a report by The Verge. Apple is currently expected to launch two iPad Pro tablets – one with a 10.5-inch display and the other with a 12.9-inch display.

Apple is already expected to announce its Siri-powered speaker at WWDC 2017, and foxconninsider says that Foxconn lost out to another contract manufacturer for its production. Calling it the Apple home speaker, the tipsters added that its availability will be delayed until late-2017. The tipsters also said the speaker has a similar shape to Mac Pro, adding that it hadn’t been seen in a while. The Siri-powered speaker has been tipped to come with a modified A9 chip, as pointed out by The Verge.

Apple's 2017 Roadmap Leaked by 'Foxconn Insiders'; Includes Siri Speaker and AR Glasses

Coming to the information leaked regarding iPhone 8 aka iPhone X, the design of the smartphone has been described as “more like an iPhone 7 with glass and without the AuthenTec’s capacitive touch module.” The design on the smartphone has been described by foxconninsider as closest to a leaked image that shows a vertical dual camera setup with glass back.

The source said that some units with glass back and fingerprint sensor beneath the glass were tested as well but the yields were not found to be “not good”. The iPhone X has been said to feature facial detection as well as a retina scanner that will be “included in the front facing camera modules,” as pointed out by The Verge. The foxconninsider says that the iPhone X will pack 3GB of RAM. The glass has been said to be included to enable wireless charging and USB Type-C has been tipped to be removed from the phone altogether. As a result, the iPhone X is also expected to be water resistant as well. On the other hand, iPhone 7s, the rumoured refresh for the iPhone 7 has been tipped to come with aluminium unibody and not feature wireless charging.

Notably, the augmented reality glasses from the company, which have been in leaks, were also discussed in the Reddit session. As per foxconninsider, the project for augmented reality glasses has been termed Project Mirrorshades and is being designed to bring AR to a larger audience, as pointed out by The Verge.

The Apple AR glasses, termed Apple Smart Glasses, have been tipped to come with “Kopin NED Acetate frame, Polarisized or prescription lens with Zeiss smart optics, Bone induction modules Microphones (noise cancellation), Light sensor Accelerometer for step tracking and head movement, app navigation Magnetometer for navigation, Capacitive Pavel Ceramic battery, Apple chipset, Charging circuit BL5 Induction module.”

The cost of the materials used for these glasses have been estimated to be around $150 (roughly Rs.), and would eventually place the retail price around $600, as per the information made available by foxconninsider. However, the entire project can even be cancelled with the source claiming that there is 65 percent chance of cancellation.

While some of the information might be proved correct or be disproved at company’s WWDC event, we might have to wait a little longer for information on other products. Till that time, we would advise you to keep grain of salt by your side.

iOS 11 Said to Get New Volume Indicator, Drag and Drop for iPhone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The new volume indicator sits on the top right edge of the screen
  • It doesn’t take up the centre of the screen like it does now
  • The drag and drop feature works within apps only
 iOS 11 Said to Get New Volume Indicator, Drag and Drop for iPhone

iOS 11 has brought along a host of new features, some targeted to solely elevate iPad experience, and some focused on improving both – the iPhone and iPad. This includes a new feature called Offload Unused Apps that deletes dormant apps from the phone without losing data on it, Maps improvements like lane guidance, Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, and even speed limit indications. Now, developer preview testers are highlighting new features that they have stumbled upon while using unstable iOS 11. Two big changes noted were the change in the volume indicator which no longer takes the centre space on your iPhone screen, and a drag and drop feature that works within iPhone apps.

Twitter user Devon T has revealed that iOS 11 has a new volume indicator that no longer obstructs the centre of the screen, as it does now. Instead, it sits in the top right corner in a non-invasive sleek manner. This has been a much needed feature by many, as the volume indicator often jarred the experience of a user, especially while watching videos.

ios11 main iOS 11

Furthermore, another user named Dave Schukin revealed that the drag and drop feature for iPhone is coming with iOS 11. He’s also shared a small video on how it works on the iPhone, and it seems that the feature works within apps only, and there’s no ‘spring loading’ as seen on macOS. In any case, this will particularly be useful to organise things in the new Files folder as well.

However, it is worth mentioning that there are tonnes of features tested in beta that don’t always make it to the stable version. Although these are both exciting features to look forward to, we recommend you to not hold your breath.