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‘Nobody Is Going to Buy It’

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Keris Lahiff, writing for CNBC:

Fiercer competition and an inflated belief in its own products are among some of the challenges facing the world’s largest company, according to BK Asset Management’s Boris Schlossberg.

“I do think they’re in trouble. I think they’re making a huge mistake,” Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy, told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Tuesday. “They’re basically betting on the fact that high expensive products can be sold at this point and it’s clearly becoming evident that everybody has caught up to them in the marketplace.”

Schlossberg’s concerns over Apple pricing resurfaced ahead of the launch of its Siri-connected artificial-intelligence home device, the HomePod. With a $349 price tag, its latest product is far more expensive than its major competitors, including Amazon’s Alexa-equipped Echo or Google’s Home Mini.

“Nobody is going to buy it at the price that they’re putting it out right now because the functionality of those products is just nowhere near as great as it needs to be relative to the price difference,” said Schlossberg.

Noted for future claim chowder.

HomePod is one of the most interesting new Apple products in years, insofar as I really don’t know how it’s going to sell. If most people see it as a direct competitor to Amazon Echos and Google Home dinguses, HomePod might be in trouble, because it’s a lot more expensive and has fewer features. But Apple has been positioning it as, first and foremost, a high-quality music player. The Siri-as-personal-assistant/smart-home-controller is secondary to audio quality. If there’s a market for that, HomePod could clean up. $350 is a low price in the audio world.

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joelowrance
89 days ago
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They've been positioning it as a high quality music player? News to me, and I thought I was paying attention.
bricker
89 days ago
All of the promo stuff last year was trumpeting its 7 speakers and some custom audio “shaping” adaptation it will do based on room geometry, so I think Gruber’s characterization is fair.
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jhamill
89 days ago
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Apple has been positioning the HomePod? Nobody I know even knows it exists.
California

Google Disables Button on Home Mini in Response to Privacy Bug

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Matt Weinberger, writing for Business Insider:

Google is permanently disabling a feature on the forthcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker after a reviewer discovered that it was surreptitiously recording his conversations without his knowledge or consent.

The issue, Google says, was that the button on top of the device was faulty and would sometimes activate on its own. In response, Google acknowledged the bug and issued a software update that would disable that button for all users while it explored a long-term fix.

I try not to play the “What if this were Apple?” card often, but come on. This is ludicrous.

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wmorrell
192 days ago
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“Oh, so advancing speech recognition technology by decades with a massive training corpus of candid speech is considered evil now?” — some Google engineer, probably. Yes I know they officially quit using the “don’t be evil” motto years ago.
joelowrance
192 days ago
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I'm probably naive,but if it was Apple? I'd believe it actually was an accident.
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Steven Levy: ‘How Apple Is Putting Voices in Users’ Heads — Literally’

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Steven Levy:

My conversation with Mathias Bahnmueller started as pretty much all my phone interviews do. “Can you hear me?” he asked, and I replied affirmatively. Then I asked him the same question. His answer was yes — he could hear me very clearly. And this was a tiny miracle.

That’s because Bahnmueller suffers from hearing loss so severe that a year ago he underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant — an electronic device in the inner ear that replaces the usual hearing mechanism. Around a million patients have undergone this increasingly mainstream form of treatment, and that’s just a fraction of those who could benefit from it. (Of the 360 million people worldwide with hearing loss, about 10 percent would qualify for the surgery.) “For those who reach a point where hearing aids no longer help, this is the only solution,” says Allison Biever, an audiologist in Englewood, CO who works with implant patients. “It’s like restoring a signal in a radio station.”

With this new integration, the iPhone transmits directly to the cochlear implant. It’s like a bionic ear:

Merging medical technology like Apple’s is a clear benefit to those needing hearing help. But I’m intrigued by some observations that Dr. Biever, the audiologist who’s worked with hearing loss patients for two decades, shared with me. She says that with this system, patients have the ability to control their sound environment in a way that those with good hearing do not — so much so that she is sometimes envious. How cool would it be to listen to a song without anyone in the room hearing it? “When I’m in the noisiest of rooms and take a call on my iPhone, I can’t hold my phone to ear and do a call,” she says. “But my recipient can do this.”

I’m a sucker for a good accessibility story.

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joelowrance
264 days ago
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internetionals
264 days ago
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Apple really is one of the most accessibility oriented device and software makers around.
Netherlands

Group Led by Laurene Powell Jobs Acquires Majority Stake in The Atlantic

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Gillian B. White, reporting for The Atlantic:

David G. Bradley, the chairman and owner of Atlantic Media, is announcing this morning that he is selling a majority stake in The Atlantic to Emerson Collective, an organization led by philanthropist and investor Laurene Powell Jobs. Bradley will retain a minority stake in The Atlantic and will continue as chairman and operating partner for at least three to five years. In a letter to his staff, Bradley wrote that Emerson Collective will most likely assume full ownership of The Atlantic within five years.

Reminds me of Jeff Bezos’s acquisition of The Washington Post — a wealthy steward who can bankroll essential and good journalism.

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joelowrance
268 days ago
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...or Chris Hughes' acquisition of The New Republic
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Jon Bois: ‘What Football Will Look Like in the Future’

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I implore you to drop everything and read this now, regardless if you care about or even understand the rules of the game.

Trust me.

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joelowrance
290 days ago
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So. F'ing. Good.
glenn
291 days ago
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Ok this is seriously definitely worth "reading"
Waterloo, Canada
wmorrell
291 days ago
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WTF 45* stays president until 2025 then Tom Cotton becomes 46? And another fucking George Bush in 2045?
peelman
291 days ago
I about lost it when it was Bernie Sanders in 2057 or whatever it was.
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gazuga
279 days ago
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It took multiple other sites linking this for me to cave in and click through. So glad I caved.
Edmonton
quandary
289 days ago
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Awesome
Pgh, PA, USA
MotherHydra
291 days ago
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I had no idea what I was in for, this is what the internet is for.
Space City, USA

Ming-Chi Kuo Says No Touch ID on New OLED iPhone

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Ming-Chi Kuo this morning:

We predict the OLED model won’t support fingerprint recognition, reasons being: (1) the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and (2) the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges, including: (i) requirement for a more complex panel pixel design; (ii) disappointing scan-through of OLED panel despite it being thinner than LCD panel; and (iii) weakened scan-through performance due to overlayered panel module. As the new OLED iPhone won’t support under-display fingerprint recognition, we now do not expect production ramp-up will be delayed again (we previously projected the ramp-up would be postponed to late October or later).

Mark Gurman, hours later:

For its redesigned iPhone, set to go on sale later this year, Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product. This is powered by a new 3-D sensor, added the people, who asked not to be identified discussing technology that’s still in development. The company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system, one of the people said.

A few thoughts:

  • No Touch ID would be weird. If it’s true the 3D facial recognition has to be as good or better than Touch ID in every way, in all lighting conditions, or else it will be a severe regression.

  • Gurman is late again. Everything in his report was first reported by Kuo.

  • I don’t believe anything related to the new iPhones is still “in testing”. I’m sure they’re still finalizing the software, but the ship has sailed on which sensors the devices are going to have.

  • If it’s true that Apple is going to release three new iPhones, my bet is that they’re named the iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, and iPhone Pro. And I hope the iPhone Pro starts at $1500 or higher. I’d like to see what Apple can do in a phone with a higher price.

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joelowrance
294 days ago
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$1500? Says the guy who gets free phones from Apple.
arnabocean
294 days ago
Actually, says the guys who earns >$400k per year. It doesn't matter if he gets free iPhones from Apple. (BTW, he only gets review units for a short period.) However, it's a fun experiment, right? How expensive can Apple make something and still get decent sales? They tried the gold Edition Apple Watches at $10k and it didn't work. $1500-$2000 for a phone with serious next-generation technology would be cool. Most of us wouldn't buy them, but we'd know what to drool for for the next few years. :-)
martinbaum
293 days ago
Also, there's a good chance that the new Mac Pros next year will top out well above $10K. Good point about the $10K Watch, but why not skim that cream off of the top? Those buyers are there.
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jhamill
294 days ago
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Who really cares if Gurman isn't first?
California
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