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Apple walks away from the NFL, the Dyson Zone happens, and problems at home with iOS 16.2

Appleviews – 23rd December 2022

Apple iPhone SE 4

Is it that time…really?

Not only has the week passed quickly, but the year too. I am not quite sure where it has flown too, but, my word, it has gone quickly. I can recall, as if it were only yesterday, dragging last year’s tree to the yard. And before you know it, I’ll be doing the same again this year!

Anyhoos….on to the news. Let’s start off with the deal that never happened…

NFL & Apple not happening

I reported last week, that it seemed unlikely that Apple would finalise the deal for the Sunday Ticket – the opportunity to stream most of the NFL season every Sunday.

Ultimately, the deal was wrapped-up by Alphabet, who have won a seven-year deal, which will start next season. The Wall Street Journal has suggested the price paid by Alphabet, who will stream the games on their YouTube TV platform, paid roughly $3 billion.

Cash, however, was not the reason for Apple walking away from the deal. With a market capitalisation of $2.5 trillion, Apple could have reached deep in their pockets, had they really wanted to see the deal.

The company has clearly been making a play for sports coverage of recent. This year saw the start of live baseball, and as of next year, a groundbreaking 10-year deal with Major League Soccer will start.

Apple execs didn’t see the logic, in spending that kind of money, for such a diluted part of the NFL package. The league has smartly carved up its latest $100 billion worth of contracts among not only its existing partners like ABC/ESPN, NBC, Fox, and CBS, but also newcomers such as Amazon.

Apple is currently said to be spending $8 billion on acquiring or making original series and movies, including Oscar Best Picture winner CODA and two-time Emmy Best Comedy Winner Ted Lasso for their Apple TV+ streaming service.

iPhone SE 4 in doubt

If proof is where the dollar lands, then it would seem we like bigger phones.

Sales for the more affordable iPhone Mini’s, and iPhone Plus, have been much lower than expected. Apple has been working on a version of the SE iPhone for some time now. The device was to look similar to the XR, with an all-display design that does away with the Touch ID Home button and instead adopts either Face ID or a ‌Touch ID‌ power button.

But with the poor results of the smaller, and lower-tiered iPhones, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple are likely to shelve the idea for the moment. In a series of tweets over the weekend, Kuo said that due to the complete re-tooling that the SE would require, that Apple may ‘reconsider the product positioning and return on investment’.

With the challenges of the global economic recession in 2023 ahead, reducing costs on developing new products, was seen as a greater priority.

Speaking of which…

Spot the Mac Pro

The lack of a new, Apple silicon Mac Pro this year has been conspicuous by its absence.

Mark Gurman, however, said this week, that the Mac Pro is still being developed, but with some changes to the specs. The very highest configuration, was to have had an M2 Extreme chip in it, but, that now seems in some doubt.

Again, with a common thread running here, cost of complex development, and a high-end user cost, seemed to seal the fate of the Extreme chipped Mac Pro. It was hard to justify bringing a Mac Pro to market with a basic ticket price of $10,000.

But, that is not to say that a mighty Mac Pro will not finally be seen this year. The latest flagship Mac will have an M2 Ultra chip inside, and it will be available with up to a 24-core CPU, up to a 76-core GPU, and at least 192GB of RAM. Gurman seems to believe that the engineers at Apple have worked out a way to make sure that the new Mac Pro can still be expandable, allowing for additional memory, storage, and other components to be inserted.

The current Mac Pro has been with us since December 2019, with a starting price of $5999.

Trouble at home

Another story that I first threw some light on last week, was the problems being reported from users with running the Home app after installing recent updates.

Yesterday, a support document was issued by Apple. In it, they outlined suggestions of what you should do, if you can’t access a home or accept an invitation in the Home app.

If you are on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 16.2 or iPadOS 16.2, Apple suggests that you should use the Remove Home option, for any listed homes, that don’t have devices. If the invited user has a home with accessories, Apple support must, instead, be contacted for help.

The issues stem from the introduction of the new Home architecture in the latest iOS updates. Users are currently restricted from upgrading to the architecture, due to the sheer number of bugs and gremlins that have come to light.

Apple says that the new Home architecture will be reintroduced at a later date, and that it has been temporarily removed.

The iPad Pro getting Pro

At last, a high-end video editing app has this week become available for iPad users.

Owners of M1 or M2 iPads, including the iPad Air, can now install DaVinci Resolve, the hugely popular video editing app, directly on their iPads. Blackmagic, the company behind DaVinci Resolve says the iPad app, first announced in October, will deliver 4x faster Ultra HD ProRes rendering on the new ‌iPad Pro‌ with ‌M2‌, with other similar improvements coming to M1-based iPads.

DaVinci Resolve for iPad is available for free from the app store, along with an in-app purchase of $95 that will unlock the Studio version.

At the heart of the matter

The International Trade Commission today confirmed that Apple has infringed upon AliveCor’s patents of heart rate monitoring.

What happens next is not certain, but the ruling will now undergo a 60-day review by the Biden administration. By 12th February, the review will be under Final Determination.

The ITC could place a Limited Exclusion Order on Apple, a type of cease and desist order. An LEO would set a $2 bond per infringing Apple Watch imported or sold during the Presidential review period. The uncertainty comes from the fact that President Obama, refused a similar patent, in the case between Apple & Samsung.

Apple & AliveCor have battled long and hard over ECG technology, with both companies alleging copyright infringements of the other. In a separate case, AliveCor is seeking damages against Apple in the Northern District of California. This case will go to trial in early 2024.

Ho-ho-ho

It’s not too late!

If you have forgotten a pressie for that someone special, Apple may be ready to save you any embarrassment.

From yesterday, 22nd December until Christmas Eve, a two-hour delivery of items from Apple retail stores will be free — for eligible products (with area restrictions).

Although you can’t buy an iPhone 14 Pro online, some configs are still available in-store. Those phones will now be available, for a possible, free, two-hour delivery slot.

The offer includes other, off-the-shelf Apple devices, such as Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and Apple TV. No personalisation is offered, and no special configurations. Apple has waived their normal $9 delivery fee for the period of this offer.

Here we go again

Apple must be fed up with hearing from the EU.

First we had the USB-C drama, swiftly followed by the whole Sidechaining and access to the iPhone’s NFC chip. Well, this week, the EU began to sharpen their pencils for another battle with Apple and other tech giants.

In the latest proposal from the EU, companies, such as Apple, will have to ensure that batteries are easily replaceable. In the proposal, noticed first by PocketNow, it would require manufacturers of electronic devices to allow consumers to easily carry out DIY battery replacements.

To continue to reduce E-waste, companies would also be legally required to accept & recycle old batteries.

Additionally, the European Commission may also endeavour to outlaw the use of non-rechargeable, portable batteries.

As their first line of defence, Apple would likely cite their Self-Repair program, which offers battery replacements, for some iPhones at least, as an act of complying with the new, proposed laws.

There is plenty of time for playground battles over all this, however. The requirement on replacement battles would only come into force three-and-a-half years after the legislation takes effect.

As for the second part of the proposal, focused on non-rechargeable, portable batteries, that is not expected to come in to play, before the end of the decade.

In the Zone

Much earlier this year, I wrote about a new device, and, invention, being developed by the British company, Dyson.

This week, press received their pairs of Dyson Zone, wearable air purifiers & headphones. With the original press release from Dyson coming out on 1st April, many believed this story to be an elaborate hoax. Well, turns out, it was very real!

The $949 wearables consist of high-end, noise-cancelling headphones, and a magnetic visor that sits just in front of your face.

The headphone ‘cans’, house both the battery, and a compact electrostatic filter that removes pollutants from the air. That purified air is then funnelled to the visor, offering you purified air to breathe. The Zone is operated via the MyDyson iPhone app.

As the filter does not fit on your face, it only filters pollutants, allergens, and odours.

With the visor attached, the Zone is heavier than first anticipated – 670 grams (AirPods Max weigh 349 grams). The initial reports suggest that the audio quality is very ‘Dyson’, and for nigh-on $1000 you’d hope they would be too. The sound profile that the Dyson engineers have chosen, is quite flat, bass-easy, and not too coloured.

The real-life tests suggest the ANC, which Dyson claims reduces unwanted sounds by 40%, works ever so efficiently.

The copper-coloured mask, which covers both nose and mouth, is pretty unobtrusive, and offers various blower settings. Apparently, having the air blown at you, from such close quarter, does take some getting used to. The visor, which is attached via magnets, swings down, enabling conversations etc.

Dyson, who is aiming the Zone, at countries with high pollution levels, will open pre-orders from March 2023. Whether the price-point is prohibitive, given the uncertainty of next year’s economy, remains to be seen.

The same was said when Dyson unveiled the $600 Airwrap hair curler, yet that product has become a viral sensation, and is currently out-of-stock at many outlets.

Wrapping up

And with that, may I just wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope to be mostly ‘business as usual’ next week – although, I may allow myself the luxury of taking off Boxing Day.

Is it too early for that mulled-wine?

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