eXtensions -Saturday 13 April 2019
Cassandra - Weekend Review: Apple Past is Prologue (Repeating Again)
By Graham K. Rogers
One of the most awkward tricks I have come across with the iPad Pro with the magic keyboard was finding out how to use dictation. It is easy enough when no external keyboard is used. What I had to do was press the down chevron at the bottom right of the screen which brings up the iOS keyboard. Then I have to access the numerical keyboard where the microphone icon is found. Only then am I able to use dictation. Not exactly efficient: a key combination would be better. And external keyboards score highly here.
When I used the original iPad Pro a couple of years back I found that productivity was increased by the use of key commands, most of which I was familiar with, because they are all the same as on the Mac. With the new iPad Pro things have advanced. More apps have this available and, like the iPad key commands, these can be shown by holding down the command key. This works for the iPad itself of course, but also for any app.
The matte finish of the Pencil 2 means it has better grip and this is improved with the one flat side that fits the top of the iPad. Unlike the Lightning connector of the first version, there is no physical link. It is all done by the magic of induction: pairing and charging. As I wrote in my initial look at this iPad, this has been the easiest device I have ever had to set up.
Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2 (top)
While the induction and charging work quite well for the Apple Pencil with this new iPad Pro, the Apple Watch has used this since it has been on sale, and there are a number of Qi-standard solutions for charging smartphones, Apple was severely criticised for its decision to cancel its own AirPower product, because there was "difficulty meeting its . . . standards."
Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch) cites this as a focal point for criticism after the problems with the keyboard on the MacBook Pro (I just had to type that N in ON three times), but I would like to think that Apple has the courage to walk away from a product that may not give customers the performance it should. There are other products (and from other manufacturers) that might have not been made. And with the number of Qi-capable devices already in the market, few sales will have been lost.
At the end of this month, on 30 April, Apple will release its Q2 2019 earnings report. After the last Report when Apple predicted some sales would fall because of China, there was a rush to unload the shares and along with many other companies the stock price fell. There were also some hissy fits from some analysts, who were told that Apple would not be providing sales numbers for the iPhones any more. As many analysts ignored Apple's advice, made up their own guesstimates (which were usually wrong) and then penalised Apple for not reaching their (analysts') targets, the reaction was not a surprise. I predicted at that time that, although this was a fall in the market price, it would rise again as it always has before.
Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2019 second quarter:
We also see that New Street Research (Pierre Ferragu) is downgrading Apple from Neutral to Sell, but at the same time raising the target price from $140 to $170, when it is already at $198.87 which sounds like backing two horses in the same race for places and not winners. Philip Elmer-DeWitt also made comments on this and when he asked for a copy of the advice was told he could subscribe: $40,000 per year. I give better advice on Apple for free.
Others have now begun to hit this tired old bandwagon, but I note the reports of a survey in the USA (Oliver Haslam, Redmod Pie) that concludes 86% of teens expect their next phone to be an iPhone. Many smart teens here use these, but many more aspire to own one. It's not dead yet.
Apple Share Prices over 10+ Years
The Irish Supreme Court sided with the Planning Board, Claire Murphy (Irish Independent) writes. Although Apple decided to move the project to Denmark who welcomed the scheme, there are still 6,000 people employed by the company in Ireland and (perhaps significantly), planning permission for the site remains in force.
There is a slight sting in the tale here as Denmark is asking Apple, Facebook and Google to pay for some of the costs that will be needed if fossil fuel use is to be reduced. They are asking for the companies to provide some of the costs towards building necessary windmills. In the past Apple has created its own solar energy farms, so it is possible that they may well contribute to this: the company is committed to green energy (Christian Wienberg, Bloomberg). I always look carefully for the slides that indicate the new APIs that will be available to developers for the next OS versions.
It is also apparent that Apple is about to split iTunes. Some may say this is overdue as one size does not fit all: with music, podcasts, videos et al, a separation of functions might make app (and content) management easier.
While Adobe has been the prime developer of image editing software for years, they have dropped off a bit, particularly with the subscription services approach. Mel Martin (Fstoppers) writes about his lack of love particularly for Creative Cloud and for the poor telephone support. To their credit Adobe have been in touch with him, but there is a lot more that needs doing. Some companies need to remember that the fee-paying customers are the ones who pay the bills.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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