Most of last week's news came out of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicked off on Monday at San Francisco's Moscone Center. During the keynote, various Apple execs unveiled iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, Apple Music and WatchOS 2.
Several rumors regarding the iPhone 6s (or iPhone 7?) emerged last week. The next generation iPhone will reportedly upgrade the camera with a 12 megapixel Sony sensor that will employ RGBW technology (which adds a white subpixel to the traditional red, green and blue subpixels) to improve low-light photography. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have 8 megapixel cameras.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) enthusiasts finally started receiving their orders of the highly anticipated Apple Watch last Friday, two weeks after the company started taking pre-orders for it. The watch is currently available for purchase online, but most models are backordered for several months. You won't find any at Apple's brick-and-mortar stores (though you can go in and try one on by appointment), but select high end boutiques in Europe, Asia and the U.S. have some of the more expensive models available for walk-in purchase.
A week after Apple started taking preorders for the Apple Watch, sales are still going strong. KGI Analyst Ming Chi Kuo estimates that preorders will exceed 2.3 million, with 85% of purchases going to the Sport line. Despite current manufacturing difficulties with the haptic motor and AMOLED displays, Ming-Chi expects Apple Watch output to reach 2 to 3 million units per month by June. He believes Apple will sell 15 to 20 million watches in 2015. A Reuters poll last week found that about 6% of American adults plan to purchase the Apple Watch, which would equate to about 15 million sales.
With such high demand and limited production capacity, Angela Ahrendts wrote a memo to company employees saying that the Apple Watch will not likely be available for walk-in purchase at Apple's brick-and-mortar locations until June at
Among the more notable news items from last week, Apple began taking pre-orders for its highly anticipated Apple Watch at 12:01 AM Pacific time on Friday. As many pundits expected, the demand exceeded the initial supply and all models quickly ran out of stock, pushing estimated shipping times to 4-6 weeks for about half and to June for the other half. The pink band watch was even pushed back to July. The first unboxing video also emerged last week. Additionally, the Apple Watch became available for personal demos at many Apple Stores on Friday (by appointment), though it can only be ordered online.
Also of note last week, Apple released iOS 8.3 on Wednesday. The upgrade features a new emoji interface plus several hundred new emojis, and the ability to change the ethnicity of the human emojis. Siri's voice was tweaked to sound more natural and she received several new languages. Message filtering for SMS/iMessages was introduced and a new setting allows you to download free
It hasn't been officially announced yet, but it came to light last week that Apple plans to launch a streaming TV service sometime this fall, likely in September. Details are scarce at the moment, but it is clear that Apple is negotiating with content providers including Disney/ABC, CBS, 21st Century Fox, Viacom and Discovery. Analysts believe the service will include around 25 channels and cost between $30 and $40 a month. Talks with Comcast (the parent company of NBCUniversal) have stalled, which some pundits believe could be problematic for launching the new service.
However, due to concessions it made during its acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast may be obligated to offer content to Apple. Under the terms, online video services are considered equal to cable companies; as such, Comcast is
The most notable news item from Apple last week was the company's announcement of its Spring Forward event. Invitations for the media event were sent out on Thursday. It will be held at 9 AM PT on Monday, March 9, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. It is widely expected that Apple will unveil new details about the Apple Watch such as cost, battery life and whether or not it is waterproof; and announce an official launch date for the highly anticipated wearable.
Though it wasn't directly Apple related, another big story from last week that affects everybody (more so in the U.S.), was the FCC's Thursday vote to enforce net neutrality. Service providers will be regulated as "common carriers" under the Communications Act, which means that they will not be allowed to speed up
Although Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has neither confirmed nor even officially commented on it, it appears that the company plans to establish itself in the automobile industry. Since reports of Apple's mysterious minivans emerged, the past few weeks have been abuzz with rumors about Apple's intentions, enough so to warrant some serious investigation. The Wall Street Journal looked into the matter and found that Apple does indeed have a secret project codenamed "Titan" that appears to be involved with automobiles. Further investigation by Bloomberg found that, for the moment, Apple's goal is to have an electric car on the market by 2020. If done right, this could turn out to be another enormous source of revenue for Apple.
Other items of interest from last week:
After a successful public beta of OS X Yosemite, Apple plans to have a public iOS beta, which will be a first. The company is planning to release a public iOS 8.3 beta in mid March alongside the developer version. Apple also intends to
Enthusiasts have been anticipating an Apple TV refresh for quite some time now, yet Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been very quiet on that front recently. It's possible that they are waiting for the dust to settle from the seemingly endless negotiations between content providers and cable/satellite companies. A report from re/code last week says that Apple is in talks with content providers, and may be looking to put together "bundles of programming - but not the entire TV lineup that pay-TV providers generally offer," to sell directly to consumers over the web, bypassing the cable companies altogether (though most cable providers also provide internet access, so that could quickly become a leverage point for them depending on what happens with net neutrality).
Some other items of note from last week:
Apple last week admitted its connection to the camera-equipped minivans that have recently been spotted throughout the country. The slew of sightings has many speculating that Apple is testing autonomous "iCars," but AppleInsider offers some compelling arguments that the vans are contributing data to Apple's 3D FlyOver feature.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares opened last week on Tuesday morning at $107.84 and made gains for the rest of the week, closing at $112.98 on Friday. Apple will announce its Q1 FY15 earnings tomorrow at 5 PM ET. Most analysts expect very positive numbers from the holiday quarter, and for that success to continue into Q2, as the iPhone 6 is still in very high demand, especially in China.
Ming-Chi Kuo, of KGI Securities, expects record breaking sales of 73 million iPhones over the holiday quarter. He also estimates 61.3 million sales for Q2, which would be up from last year's second quarter. He believes the Apple Watch will launch in March and will sell just under 3 million units before the end of that quarter. He expects a 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display to hit the shelves sometime before the end of April.