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Apple’s amazing 40th retail site opens, Apple Music gets some love & Sherlocking explained!

Apple retail - Battersea

Appleviews – 16th June 2023

London Calling

Yesterday Apple opened their 40th retail outlet – Apple Battersea.

The store in Battersea, south-west London is the 2nd store to follow the new look design signature first seen at the Tysons Corner store last month. This new store is located within a very imposing art deco former power station which has been an iconic landmark of London’s skyline since the 1930s.

The store itself is on the ground floor in the Turbine Hall and is positioned around four of the original brick piers. This latest UK story has a Genius Bar, of course, a hardware flex space, an Apple Watch Studio and a pick-up area.

Apple has relocated its UK headquarters to this building which can play home for up to 3000 employees and occupies 40 per cent of the entire development, including the top six floors.

The ‘Today at Apple’ sessions will draw their inspiration from the local area and for the rest of this opening week there will be live music outside the store courtesy of Apple Music.

Of the store opening at Battersea Tim Cook said:

“Apple has been part of the London community for more than 40 years, and we’re thrilled to soon bring some of our teams together in the historic Battersea Power Station. Once a source of energy for much of London, the transformation this building has undergone honours London’s past and celebrates its future. We’re so glad to be a part of it.”

I’ll be heading there over the weekend.

Apple Music

When iOS 17 goes on full release later this summer it will feature some much-needed updates for Apple Music. Here are the five highlights that should make using the app that little bit easier and more intuitive.

The first thing you’ll notice will be a redesigned interface. Supported albums will have full-screen animated artwork which blends neatly with the player controls. Minimising the player will make it look as if it’s hovering over the UI. There will also be changes and tweaks to the way lyrics are displayed.

Now with Apple Music Sing, you’ll be able to use Continuity Camera and completes the Karaoke experience.

The ability to crossfade finally comes to Apple Music. This feature has been part of other music player apps such as Spotify for some time and at last, we get it too. It means that songs will never end and will just flow from one to another.

Again mimicking Spotify, Collaborative Playlists comes to Apple Music with iOS 17 although possibly not at launch. Collaborative Playlists mean that invited friends and family members can add songs to the playlist – and when they do so it will add their profile picture alongside it to make it clear who added it.

And the last feature of note is to do with CarPlay. Now passengers in your car will be able to stream music via your phone which can then play in the car. All you’ll need to do is scan a QR code or accept an invitation.

Knock, knock

Tap to Pay is being rolled out through stores that are part of the LVMH group.

Later this summer shoppers in Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Celine, and Dior will be able to pay for goods by simply tapping their phone on an employee’s iPhone rather than an Apple Pay terminal which will make transactions quicker and more seamless.

Problems for the Pro

The Apple silicon Mac Pro was finally released at WWDC – but already there seem to be some annoying niggles for those few that have bought the powerful tower.

The Mac which which has a starting price of £7199 only has one distinct advantage over the cheaper M2 Ultra Mac Studio which is the PCIe expansion ports – and therein lay the problem. Users have reported inexplicably getting the ‘disk not ejected properly’ message popping up.

Apple put their hands up to the problem by releasing a support document this Wednesday. The problem is that an internal SATA drive could disconnect after it wakes from sleep. The problem occurs whether the Pro is put to sleep manually or goes to sleep automatically. Apple doesn’t say whether the issue affects the data on the drive, which could of course become corrupt if improperly ejected.

The support document explains a workaround and Apple says a fix is on the way with a future OS update.

Although the final assembly of the Mac Pro still takes place at its Austin, Texas facility, this new model now ships with a ‘Product of Poland’ sticker but Apple has not made clear why.

More movies

Apple marked their serious intent to ingrain itself further into the movie business this year when it announced that it would be spending $1 billion annually on cinema-first release movies.

The move means movies become eligible for OSCAR nominations by being released first in cinemas and Apple has just announced their third theatre-first release with Henry Cavill’s ’Argylle’ and it will be released with another theatrical-distribution partner – this time Universal Pictures.

So far Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers’ was released by Paramount Pictures and Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ by Sony. You’d expect Apple to align itself with one partner so what this strategy tells us I am not sure. Will their long-term plan be to buy a studio outright much as Amazon did in buying MGM a few years back?

There is a fourth Apple movie already in production that will first be released in movie theatres – Joseph Kosinski’s still-untitled Formula One racing movie starring Brad Pitt which Lewis Hamilton has been heavily involved with too.

In March, Apple announced a documentary that will be coming out about the life and career of Lewis Hamilton this summer which will come to Apple TV+ subscribers first.

Hamilton hopes that his currently un-named documentary will inspire kids in a similar way that Senna’s 1992 film ‘Racing Is In My Blood’ did for him.

Elementary my dear Watson

Have you heard the term ‘Sherlocked’ and wondered where it came from and what it means?

Back in macOS 8 Apple had an app named Sherlock which was used to globally search your Mac and the web. It was good enough, but available in the App Store was an app from Karelia Software called Watson which was even better than Apple’s version.

In response a few years later Apple released Sherlock 3 which incorporated many of the functions of Watson. It turned out to be so good that Karelia’s app was then an expensive $29 luxury that no one needed and the company was eventually forced to shut down.

Sherlocking continues today. The newly announced Journalling app closely resembles the Day One app, Namedrop is similar to Bump and Stickers is very similar to Sticker Drop.

Price rises coming

According to a report published by Economic Daily News we can expect to pay more this year for the two premium iPhones – the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

It will be the first time in six years that the company will have raised their prices and those increases are likely to be quite harsh. The report suggests that the Pro model might cost $100 more and the Pro Max could be hiked by as much as $200.

It seems that the cost of the continual desire for new specs – faster chips, better cameras and improved displays can longer be absorbed by Apple. If the report plays out it would mean that the 15 Pro will cost $1099 and the Pro Max $1299 – which is the same price as the new entry-level 15-inch M2 MacBook Air.

Lion’s share

In the wake of Apple Vision Pro having been unveiled at WWDC their share prices have soared.

Shares rose by 1.6% the next day to a high of $183.79 which was the highest closing price since January 2022.

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