The Daring Fireball Linked List

Quartz Charts Apple’s Second Quarter Results 

Lots of interesting visualizations. The one that struck me was the last one, showing that the iPad remains ahead of the iPhone in terms of cumulative sales since launch. Apple has sold more iPads in its first 57 months than they sold iPhones in its first 57 months. The gap is narrowing, however.

This Is Tim: Six Colors’s Transcript of Tim Cook’s Remarks on the Analyst Call 

Fast-typing Jason Snell has a transcript of Tim Cook’s remarks. Regarding the company’s projection that Apple Watch will have lower margins than the company’s average next quarter:

In the first quarter of any kind of product, you would always have learning and these sorts of things. We’ve had this with every product we’ve ever done. And so again, we’re not guiding to what it will be over time, we’re talking about what it is now. I would keep in mind that the functionality of the product that we’re making is absolutely incredible, the power of it. And I’d also say, generally there’s cost breakdowns that come out around our products that are much different than the reality. I’ve never seen one that is anywhere close to being accurate. And so if that’s the basis of your comment, I’d really dig on the data if I were you.

Countdown to iSupply projection that Apple Watch Sport costs the company $67 in three, two, one…

Regarding iPad sales:

When you look at the underlying data, it makes you feel a lot better than the sales do. Things like first-time buyer rates, the latest numbers from the U.S. are like around 40 percent, and when you look at China they’re almost 70 percent. These numbers are not numbers you would get if the market were saturated, so I continue to believe — even though I’ve seen different people write that — I think that theory is not correct. We also see usage numbers that are off the charts, so far above competition, it’s not even in the same planet. And we see customer satisfaction at or near 100 percent. So these kind of numbers, along with intent-to-buy numbers, everything looks fantastic. So my belief is that as the inventory plays out, as we make some continued investments in our product pipeline which we’re doing, that we’ve already had planned and have had planned for some time… I think still, I believe the iPad is an extremely good business over the long term. When precisely it begins to grow again I wouldn’t want to predict, but I strongly believe that it will.

My reading on this: lots of people are still buying their first iPad — 40 percent of sales in the U.S., a remarkable 70 percent in China. So the market for “tablets” is not saturated. Usage numbers and customer satisfaction are high too, so it’s not that people who bought iPads previously aren’t happy with them. The problem, thus, is that older iPads continue to work just fine. People don’t replace them every two or three years like they do with their phones.

Apple Reports Record Second Quarter Results 

Apple:

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 second quarter ended March 28, 2015. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $58 billion and quarterly net profit of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $45.6 billion and net profit of $10.2 billion, or $1.66 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.8 percent compared to 39.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 69 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The growth was fueled by record second quarter sales of iPhone and Mac and all-time record performance of the App Store.

If there’s a dark cloud in the numbers, it’s the iPad. Sales dropped precipitously year-over-year, from 16.3 million in Q2 2014 to 12.6 million this quarter.

But overall, Apple’s growth continues to amaze. They’re the largest company in the world by market cap, but are reporting double-digit growth. For context, five years ago Steve Jobs noted, with considerable pride, that Apple had become a $50 billion company in annual revenue. Today, they’re a $50 billion company in quarterly revenue, and are easily on pace to book $50 billion in annual profit this financial year.

The Difference Between Apple and Samsung Industrial Design 

Rene Ritchie:

But when I looked at the picture of Samsung’s product, it wasn’t the sticker that bothered me so much. That, I assume, can be peeled off. It was something else I saw that bothered me, and something I can now never un-see.

It’s the lack of basic alignment.

Apple’s Antitrust Lord 

WSJ editorial excoriating Michael Bromwich, the “outside monitor” appointed by Judge Denise Cote:

To take one example of this feather-bedding, for Feb. 17 Mr. Bromwich charged Apple with a block-billing entry that included “review relevant media articles.” The same day we published an editorial, “All Along the Apple Watchtower,” as well as excerpts from a related appeals-court hearing. When Apple flagged the expense, Mr. Bromwich replied, “We do not charge the time for reading the newspaper except when the WSJ editorials focus specifically on our work.”

We hope we provide value for money, but it’s flattering to be read at Mr. Bromwich’s hourly rate of $1,100, $1,025 for Mr. Nigro, and a 15% “administrative fee” for his consulting firm. The larger conflict of interest inherent in this revenue stream raises questions about the impartiality required of Mr. Bromwich as an officer of the court. He even suggests in his report he may require more than the two-year term that expires in October.

Consumer Reports’s Initial Apple Watch Test Results 

Impressive scratch-resistance results, especially for the sapphire crystal on the steel Apple Watch. Water resistance was as good as promised, and the heart rate monitor was as accurate as their highest-rated dedicated chest-strap monitor.

More details here.

Conversation With a Tech Support Scammer 

Lenny Zeltser:

When investigating an incident that involved domain redirection and a suspected tech support scam, I recorded my interactions with the individual posing as a help desk technician and researched the background of this scheme. It was an educational exchange, to say the least. Here’s what I learned about this person’s and his employer’s techniques and objectives.

Fascinating story. That they offer a “senior citizen discount” gives you a clue as to their target audience. (Via InfoSec Taylor Swift.)

Apple Collecting Red Cross Donations via iTunes for Nepal Earthquake Relief 

This is a good way to help the people of Nepal — 100 percent of the money collected goes to the Red Cross, and because it’s through iTunes, you can do it with just a few clicks from your Mac or iOS device. If you haven’t chipped in already, take a few moments and do it now.

Update: Another convenient way to help: Square is collecting money for UNICEF relief efforts.

Todoist 

My thanks to Todoist for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Todoist is a task manager that tracks everything you need to do and achieve your most important goals in less time, with less work.

Todoist has exclusive features like natural language date parsing, productivity-tracking, sub-tasks, labels and filters, location-aware alerts, project sharing and more. Todoist is the ultimate to-do list for power users. Available on 15 different platforms (including Mac and iOS), Todoist will help you stay organized and productive anywhere, on all your devices. And it’s completely free to get started.

Google Engineer Dies on Mt. Everest 

Conor Dougherty, reporting for the NYT:

On Saturday, Dan Fredinburg was at a base camp on Mount Everest when a powerful earthquake in Nepal set off an avalanche. Mr. Fredinburg was killed, Google said in a statement posted on its website.

“Sadly, we lost one of our own in this tragedy,” the statement said. “Dan Fredinburg, a longtime member of the Privacy organization in Mountain View, was in Nepal with three other Googlers, hiking Mount Everest. He has passed away. The other three Googlers with him are safe, and we are working to get them home quickly.”

Shortly before, an Instagram post on Mr. Fredinburg’s account went up: “This is Dan’s little sister Megan,” the message began. “I regret to inform all who loved him that during the avalanche on Everest early this morning our Dan suffered from a major head injury and didn’t make it.”

Kind of surreal perusing his Instagram account — he was posting from the expedition.

White House Email System Was Compromised by Russians 

Michael S. Schmidt and David E. Sanger, reporting for the NYT:

Some of President Obama’s email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation.

The hackers, who also got deeply into the State Department’s unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Mr. Obama’s BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly.

In 2009 it seemed forward-thinking that the president carried a BlackBerry. Now, it feels preposterously behind the times.

28 Apple Watch Tips and Tricks 

Good collection from Serenity Caldwell. Clearing all notifications with a force tap is a great feature — and something that’s sorely missing on iOS and OS X.

Suzy Menkes Interviews Jony Ive and Marc Newson at Condé Nast Luxury Conference in Florence 

Suzy Menkes: “There’s no doubt that you are now producing things that may be more desirable than traditional luxury to consumers, particularly the younger consumers, don’t you think?”

Jony Ive: “I don’t know — we’ll see!” Smiles while audience laughs. “We’ll see.”

(Via Abdel Ibrahim.)

Once Comcast’s Deal Shifted to a Focus on Broadband, Its Ambitions Were Sunk 

Jonathan Mahler, reporting for the NYT on how Comcast’s close ties to the Obama administration didn’t help it get approval for acquiring Time Warner Cable:

But now the $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is dead. Comcast is folding, in anticipation of regulators rejecting the deal.

The news, which broke on Thursday afternoon, was certainly dramatic. But the air of inevitability that once hung over the deal had been dissipating for months, as the debate over net neutrality — in short, the question of whether Internet providers should be allowed to charge content providers for speedier service — played out in Washington. And a merger that had at first seemed to be primarily about cable television turned into something much different.

Three New Apple Watch Commercials 

All three are good, hit the right tone. They’re humane — emotional, not technical. My favorite is “Us”. That’s the one I’d put in heaviest rotation on TV.

My wife’s watch arrived a few hours ago. After setting it up and playing with the communication features, she said something to the effect of, “I saw people asking you whether Apple gave you two of these, so you could test these features. They should have — this is way more fun.”

Note too: in the context of these ads, the Edition models are simply peers to the Sport and steel ones.

Apple Watch Waterproof Test 

Impressive results from FoneFox in Australia: they had it submerged in a pool for 15 minutes and it came out no worse for the wear.

Jackson Arn on Steven Soderbergh’s Re-Cut of ‘2001’ 

Good piece by Jackson Arn for Film Comment:

These kinds of complaints are inevitable, but Soderbergh rises above them with his bold reimagining of Kubrick’s work. The new center of gravity in 2001.5, uniting the visceral and the coldly Kubrickian, is HAL — the sentient computer whose fate is to be perfectly objective and yet hopelessly subjective (indeed, in the Discovery One section, Soderbergh preserves all of the computer’s-eye-view shots, reminding me that HAL sees the world through the same wide-angle lens through which we view Alex’s depravity in A Clockwork Orange). In Kubrick’s original, HAL’s presence feels like a fascinating but nonessential step in man’s journey from ape to star child. Watching the new cut, one gets the idea that this movie was about HAL all along.

Largely in agreement with my tweet-length review of Soderbergh’s cut back in January.

(Thanks to Dave Nanian.)

Twitterrific for Apple Watch 

Ged Maheux, The Iconfactory:

The Twitterrific watch app displays a list of your most recent 25 replies, mentions, direct messages, favs, RT’s and new followers right on your wrist. This helps you focus on the part of Twitter that’s most important to you and frees you from information overload common when viewing your entire timeline. Simply tap any item in the list to view its details and respond in a number of ways. Favorite a reply or mention, give a new friend a follow back and even reply to mentions and direct messages using Apple Watch’s dictation feature. It’s just that simple.

Twitterrific for Apple Watch is a lot more interesting to me than the official Twitter client. Twitter’s watch app only shows two things: your regular timeline and a list of top-trending global hashtags. Neither of those things is useful or appropriate in the context of a watch. Twitterrific, on the other hand, focuses on the sort of things you’d actually want to be notified about: your mentions and DMs.

Apple Watch and Durability: How Tough Are Apple’s Finishes? 

Greg Koenig — author of that terrific “How Apple Makes the Watch” piece a few weeks ago — writing today for iMore:

The best way to answer such questions is to wait and see how the first wave of watches do in the hands of real people. Yet it’s not unreasonable for potential early adopters to want at least some idea before they buy. Lucky for us, Apple is using materials and techniques that have been standard for wristwatches going back a few decades, so we can make some educated, experience-driven assumptions about how the watch variants will fare on our wrists soon.

App Store for Apple Watch Is Live 

Jim Dalrymple:

You can now see what apps are available for the Apple Watch, even if you don’t have one of the devices. Just open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, which comes with the latest iOS update, and you can browse the available apps.

Certainly interesting that there are already a few thousands of these. But it’s worth noting that none of these are actually apps that run on the watch itself. They’re extensions that run on your iPhone and display on your watch over Bluetooth.

Shawn King Needs Some Help 

My friend Shawn King — longtime Mac/Apple writer/broadcaster and host of Your Mac Life for 21 years — has hit a run of bad luck. He’s developed “advanced periodontal disease”, and needs extensive oral surgery. That’s bad enough, but even worse: he can’t afford it.

So he’s started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help with the expenses. I know just how stressful it is to deal with serious health issues, even when you have insurance to cover the costs. It’s hard to imagine how much worse it must feel when you don’t. I know Shawn well enough to know just how hard it must have been for him to ask for help like this. But I’m glad he did, and I’m happy to help him.

Shawn is a good guy in a bad spot. Do me a favor. Read his story, think about what it would be like to be in his place, and if you can, pitch in a few bucks to help. It would mean a lot to me for the Daring Fireball community to add a nice bump to his campaign.

Galaxy S6 Unboxing 

Clever video from Samsung. (Via Abdel Ibrahim.)

Apple Watch User Guide 

Boy, I really could have used this a month ago. Apple Watch is remarkably deep for a 1.0 product. One example that I couldn’t figure out on my own — how to discern “turn left” from “turn right” based on the haptic feedback when getting walking or driving directions:

After you tap Start and head off on your first leg, Apple Watch uses taps to let you know when to turn. A steady series of 12 taps means turn right at the intersection you’re approaching; three pairs of two taps means turn left. Not sure what your destination looks like? You’ll feel a vibration when you’re on the last leg, and again when you arrive.

Right is a steady series; left is a set of three series. I can’t say I feel stupid for not figuring that out on my own.

Great design on this guide, too.

Randy Ubillos Retires From Apple 

Announced on Twitter:

After an amazing 20 years working on Apple products, today is my last day. I look forward to retirement and the adventures ahead. :-)

Old-school emoticon instead of an emoji.

Among Ubillos’s numerous accomplishments at Apple, he led the teams behind iMovie and Final Cut.

Natalie Kerris, Veteran Apple PR Director, Announces Retirement 

Interesting sign of the times: she announced it on Twitter.

Reporting at Recode, Dawn Chmielewski presents Kerris’s decision as a result of Steve Dowling being named Katie Cotton’s successor:

Kerris sought to succeed longtime Apple PR head Katie Cotton, who retired last year. Corporate public relations chief Steve Dowling was formally named vice president of communications last week after a period of serving in the role on an interim basis.

The timing is certainly suggestive — Dowling’s promotion was made official a week ago.


Apple Posts Final Three Guided Tours for Watch 

Apple Pay, Activity, and Workout.

MLB Won’t Ban Fans From Using Periscope Inside Ballparks 

MacTrast:

In an on-air interview with CNBC earlier this month, Bowman said The Wall Street Journal was wrong when it suggested the league would actively work to prevent fans from streaming the games live to their followers.

“I don’t know how The Wall Street Journal got that story. I’ve been dealing with them for 30 years. They just got it flat out wrong. That’s called an error,” he told CNBC. “I spoke to the reporter. I have no idea how that conclusion got reached.”

I periscoped a few times from Yankee Stadium during the epic 7-hour 19-inning game against the Red Sox two weeks ago. It was fun. It’s absolutely no replacement for a legitimate telecast of the game, though, so I’m glad MLB is not treating it as a problem.

Cameron Moll on Proxima Nova 

Cameron Moll:

A brief visual history of Mark Simonson’s iconic typeface, a few of his thoughts, and my encounters with it along the way.

As Cameron recalls, we chose Proxima Nova as the original identity typeface for Joyent back in 2005. To me, it felt perfect for the Joyent brand: a balanced combination of friendly and serious.

Unicode Symbol as Text or Emoji 

Helpful post from Matias Singers on how the new skin tone variant emoji work, as well as how to force certain Unicode glyphs to render as text instead of emoji — a problem I ran into here on DF recently, when iOS 8.3 started rendering my footnote return markers as “↩️” instead of “↩︎”.

Skipping the Web 

Eugene Wei:

People often write of countries like India or Africa bypassing landlines or PCs to skip ahead to technologies like wireless or smartphones, but I haven’t heard of countries treating the web as one of those intermediate technologies to be hopped over.

Having spent lots of time working out of China, I see the sense in it. Internet connection speeds are really slow there, and loading the web can be painful. Even with an upgraded pipe into the building, when I worked out of Hulu’s Beijing office, I found myself browsing the web a lot less simply out of impatience.

The web is great. I love the web. I continue to publish my life’s work on the web. But what the web is great for is only what it was designed for: publishing HTML pages. For everything else, the web is a kludge, and native apps provide a superior experience.

How WWDC Became the Heart of the Apple World’s Calendar 

Jason Snell, writing for iMore:

If you had told me in the mid-90s that Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference would end up becoming the social event of the season, I would have laughed long and loud. And yet this highly technical convention has, unconventionally, become the beating heart at the center of the Apple universe’s year.

Marques Brownlee Reviews the Samsung Galaxy S6 

Great perspective on the state of the art in the Android world.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Patents 

Great segment on patents and patent trolls.

Apple.com Through the Years 

Amazingly thorough Flickr album of Apple.com screenshots, by Florian Innocente.

(Thanks to Phil Dokas. “Holy shit”, indeed.)

Distillery Workers Arrested in Theft of Pappy Van Winkle 

The AP reports:

Prosecutors say the scheme led by rogue distillery workers lasted for years and involved tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of whiskey but began to unravel when whiskey barrels were discovered behind a Franklin County shed.

The theft targeted the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries, they said, and included some of the most prestigious brands in the business, including pricey Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. It had been going on since 2008 or 2009, officials said.

Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland said last week the case involves “more than I could imagine one person drinking in a lifetime.”

I don’t know, I can imagine quite a bit.

Twitter Begins Identifying Abusive/Harassing Tweets Algorithmically 

Shreyas Doshi, Twitter’s director of product management:

Second, we have begun to test a product feature to help us identify suspected abusive Tweets and limit their reach. This feature takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse including the age of the account itself, and the similarity of a Tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive. It will not affect your ability to see content that you’ve explicitly sought out, such as Tweets from accounts you follow, but instead is designed to help us limit the potential harm of abusive content.

Something about Twitter brings out the absolute worst in some people. There’s a pattern to it, though, which has long made me suspect it could be addressed at least partially through spam-filter-like algorithms. Good changes to their policies on harassment too.

Robert Rietti, James Bond Voiceover Artist, Dies at 92 

The Hollywood Reporter:

Rietti also provided the voice of the cold-blooded, eyepatch-wearing Emilio Largo (portrayed onscreen by Adolfo Celi, who spoke with a thick Italian accent) in Thunderball (1965), and he spoke as the cat-loving evil genius Ernst Stavro Blofeld (this time played by Englishman John Hollis) in another Bond film, For Your Eyes Only (1981).

“In nearly every Bond picture, there’s been a foreign villain, and in almost every case, they’ve used my voice,” he once said.

It was Rietti whom audiences heard out of the mouth of British Intelligence chief John Strangways (Tim Moxon), who is killed near the start of the first Bond movie, 1962’s Dr. No. Rietti is then heard a couple of minutes later, replacing the voice of another character at a card table.

His Bond work also includes dubbing as Japanese secret service agent Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tanba) in You Only Live Twice (1967), donating several voices to Casino Royale (1967) and appearing onscreen in Never Say Never Again (1983).

Never heard of Rietti before, and no idea the voices for all those characters were done by the same actor.

Update: German voice actress Nikki van der Zyl did the same thing for a bunch of the women characters in the early Bond films. (Via Reginald Braithwaite.)

The First Apple Homepage 

Kevin Fox:

But that was 1997. What did Apple.com look like at the very birth of the World-Wide Web? Say around 1992?

I’m a digital pack-rat, and I’ve been on the Internet a long time. I remember a very different, more playful Apple.com homepage. I remembered a page that was more Fractal Design Painter and less grids and columns. I remember taking a screenshot of that page because I liked the look of it. But where would it be today?

I remember the one from 1997, but I don’t remember this original one. Might have been gone by the time I got around to using the web — I was more of a gopher/usenet guy back then.

Developers on Their ‘Biggest WatchKit Mistakes’ 

Speaking of Apple Watch developers, Realm has assembled some interesting lessons learned from WatchKit developers. E.g. this design lesson from Neil Kimmett:

The biggest mistake we made with our WatchKit app was including lots of padding around text elements. When designing for desktop and for mobile, we’re used to nice big margins between the edges of our screens and any text written on those screens. However, in WatchKit, if you use a black background, the frame of the watch acts as a natural margin for your content. So butt that text right up against the edge of the screen! It’ll look strange in the simulator, but natural on the device. It has the added benefit of giving you a bit more screen real estate to play with — a very limited resource on the Watch!

Apple Offers Some Developers Opportunity to Place Expedited Order for Apple Watch Sport 

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

Apple is sending out emails to developers, offering them a chance to purchase an Apple Watch Sport for delivery by April 28th. It’s doing this to encourage them to test and develop for the Watch, according to the text of an email sent to developers and shared with us.

The email, pictured below, says that Apple wants to give developers the opportunity to test WatchKit apps on Apple Watch as soon as it’s available. It offers the ability to purchase one Apple Watch Sport with the 42mm silver casing and a blue sport band. The Watch is guaranteed to ship by April 28 at 2015, which is probably the biggest draw as if developers hadn’t pre-ordered already then they were looking at June or July delivery times.

The same model — Sport with blue band — doesn’t ship until “June” for regular orders through their online store.

Also noteworthy, given Panzarino’s good sources:

It’s likely that several million (I’m hearing more than estimates I’ve seen out there so far) Apple Watch units have been sold already — and that more have been ordered than previously reported.

(By “ordered”, he means ordered by Apple from its supply chain.)

The Tullock Paradox 

Re: the previous post on relatively low sums of money going a long way in political lobbying, DF reader Jerry Brito pointed me to the Tullock Paradox:

The term Tullock paradox refers to the apparent paradox first observed by the public choice economist Gordon Tullock on the low costs of rent-seeking relative to the gains from rent-seeking. The paradox is basically that rent-seekers seeking political favors can usually bribe politicians to give them the favors at a cost much lower than the value of the favor to the rent-seeker. For instance, a rent seeker who hopes to gain a billion dollars from a particular political policy may need to bribe politicians only to the tune of ten million dollars, which is about 1% of the gain to the rent-seeker.

See also: Tyler Cowen has been writing about the Tullock Paradox for years at Marginal Revolution.

Report: Google Is Fifth-Biggest Spender in U.S. Lobbying 

Hamza Shaban, reporting for BuzzFeed:

Google ranked fifth in the amount spent on lobbying in the first quarter of 2015 among all organizations that lobbied Congress and federal agencies, according to an analysis by MapLight. The search giant spent $5,470,000; for context, that is more than four times the amount that Apple spent, and nearly $1 million more than Comcast did.

While the amount itself may be eye-opening, it’s little surprise that Google has stepped up its lobbying efforts given the regulatory pressures it has faced. While the Federal Trade Commission ended its antitrust investigation into Google in 2013, FTC staffers did conclude that the company “used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and rivals,” the Wall Street Journal found through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Looking at these numbers, what strikes me is how low these sums are. $5.5 million is almost nothing to Google. Nothing. They reported $14 billion in profit last year. That means they spent 0.04 percent of their profit on lobbying here in the U.S. The scale is just whacked: a few million dollars means nothing to big companies like Comcast, Apple, and Google, but it means a lot in terms of political influence.

Beyoncé Sporting Apple Watch Edition With Gold Link Bracelet 

There’s some chirping on Twitter that she’s wearing it upside down, but I doubt it. The orientation settings let you wear it with the crown on either side.

How Apple Watch Measures Your Heart Rate 

Apple:

The heart rate sensor in Apple Watch uses what is known as photoplethysmography. This technology, while difficult to pronounce, is based on a very simple fact: Blood is red because it reflects red light and absorbs green light. Apple Watch uses green LED lights paired with light‑sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given moment. When your heart beats, the blood flow in your wrist — and the green light absorption — is greater. Between beats, it’s less. By flashing its LED lights hundreds of times per second, Apple Watch can calculate the number of times the heart beats each minute — your heart rate.

Matthew McConaughey Watches the New Star Wars Trailer 

Pretty much how I felt, too.

Regarding Chrome’s Power Efficiency on OS X 

Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge:

While reviewing the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, I ran the usual Verge battery test on Apple’s new machine. With the screen set to 65 percent brightness, it cycles through a series of websites until the laptop’s battery gives out. The native Safari made the new Retina machine look good: 13 hours and 18 minutes. Google’s Chrome, on the other hand, forced the laptop to tap out at 9 hours and 45 minutes.

Later:

Apple and Google must both bear a portion of the blame for this ongoing calamity. The MacBook maker has a vested interest in promoting Safari as the most efficient, fluid, and pleasing web experience on its platform. Safari will always have the advantage of being optimized for the latest OS X release ahead of any other browser, which means its lead in efficiency will never be completely eradicated. But three and a half hours? That’s the sort of gap that Google should be able to close — if it makes optimization its priority.

I don’t see how this is Apple’s fault or responsibility in the least regard. Are there accusations that Safari is using private APIs unavailable to Chrome that allow for this efficiency? It seems to me like the usual result of a cross-platform app (Chrome) vs. a platform-optimized one (Safari).

Update: Many readers have emailed to suggest that Chrome’s energy consumption problems might be due to its built-in support for Flash Player. I’m sure that doesn’t help, but it’s almost certainly not the only difference between Chrome and Safari. Comparing Chrome to Safari in Activity Monitor’s “Energy” tab is a real eye-opener.

Heretofore-Unseen Sport Band Colors for Apple Watch Edition 

Bright red, dark blue, canary yellow, and a range of skin-tone sport bands, revealed at a Design Week event in Milan, Italy. There’s no way to tell from the photo whether the strap pins are gold or stainless steel — if they’re gold, that would suggest these colors are exclusive to the Edition models, but British cyclist/rugby player Will Carling tweeted a photo of the red strap paired with a stainless steel Apple Watch.

Rock On: A SongPop Adventure 

My thanks to Rock On — A SongPop Adventure for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Rock On is an iOS music trivia game that takes the proven formula of the hit game SongPop in a bold new direction. Listen to clips and guess the band in more than 80 levels spread across many rock genres. Rock On has beautiful graphics, great music, and even allows you to compare your progress and high scores against your friends.

Rock On — A SongPop Adventure is available exclusively on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. (And, on a technical note, it’s written using Swift.) It’s a free download.

Apple Watch: An Overnight Multi-Billion Dollar Business 

Intriguing piece by analyst Carl Howe on Apple Watch:

I think I’ll save that analysis for another posting, but my belief is that the Apple Watch product line will become Apple’s most profitable product line ever, with gross margins exceeding 60 percent. Why? Because the core electronics modules in the expensive models are the same ones used in the Sport models, and they just don’t cost that much. And while adding Gold cases and designer bands add cost to the bill of materials, the costs are small compared to the price premiums paid for these products. Unlike in the consumer electronics business, I see no pressure for prices to fall and if anything manufacturing costs will, resulting in a very profitable business.

I think he’s made some smart guesses as to the product mix between Sport/Watch/Edition, but if I had to adjust his numbers at all, I’d move the number of Edition models Apple will sell slightly up. In Howe’s estimate, Sport is outselling Edition by about 45-to-1. But if it’s more like 30-to-1, the Edition line would account for as much or more total revenue, and certainly more profit. I’m guessing at an average selling price of around $400 for Sport (more 42 mm than 38 mm, plus lots of extra bands). But let’s say it’s as high as $425. At that ASP, 30 unit sales equals $12,750 in revenue. Given the prices of the Edition line (42 mm with Sport band costs $12,000; the ones with leather straps are $15-17,000), I’d imagine the ASP for Edition will be at least $12,750.

Angela Ahrendts: No Apple Watches for Sale in Retail Until June 

Angela Ahrendts, in a memo to retail store staff obtained by iGen:

Many of you have been getting questions asking if we will have the watch available in stores on April 24 for walk-in purchases. As we announced last week, due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I’ll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May. It has not been an easy decision, and I want to share with you the thinking behind it. […]

Given the high interest and initial supply at launch, we will be able to get customers the model they want earlier and faster by taking orders online.

I know this is a different experience for our customers, and a change for you as well. Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days — and there will be many more to come.

Seems like a lot of people are blaming Ahrendts for this, but it seems pretty clear they just don’t have the supply at this point.

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