AWT News Update: July 24, 2015

There's a lot of good news for Apple fans on this summery Friday afternoon:

  • Apple Pay begins its second year as an iPhone/Watch/iPad-based payment system
  • Apple's 10-Q holds some interesting data for those thinking about the next-generation iPhone
  • Pandora hasn't been affected at all by the launch of Apple Music
  • Intel's Skylake architecture could make upcoming Macs much faster and more efficient

Hate podcasts? Read the news in our text version below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for July 24, 2015.

Believe it or not, Apple Pay just began its second year of existence. While it’s still not accepted everywhere, things are getting better as time rolls on. For example, when it launched in the UK recently, 1.25 million locations accepted Apple Pay on day one. Payment processor Square is working with Apple to roll out an Apple Pay-compatible reader later this fall, which will be a huge boon to the millions of small businesses that use the service. Also this fall, US retailers will be forced to move to accept NFC payments like Apple Pay or credit cards with embedded chips, or take on the liability for credit card fraud. That move could be the best incentive for many retailers to begin accepting payments from iPhones and Apple Watches.

Wall Street analysts love nothing more than to look at Apple’s 10-Q filing each quarter, which gives forward-looking statements as to how the company expects to do in the next quarter. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty noticed something fascinating — Apple’s purchase commitments with suppliers were $26.5 billion, representing a 26 percent increase over the same quarter last year and 15 percent increase over the previous quarter. Huberty’s take on the numbers is that Apple expects the next-generation iPhone, which many are calling the iPhone 6s, to do really well. That phone will most likely be released in late September, meaning that the commitments are being spent on product tooling and manufacturing process equipment for the suppliers that will be building the new phones.

The CEO of Pandora said told investors that the launch of Apple Music hasn’t been a threat to the music streaming service. During a phone call discussing the June quarter, Brian McAndrews remarked that there’s been “no impact yet” and that “we don’t believe that there will be any long-term impact.” Apple Music is designed as an on-demand service, while Pandora is radio based on custom stations that are developed algorithmicallly. That means that Pandora will compete more with Beats 1 radio than Apple Music, and should most likely continue to prosper into the future.

Finally, leaked presentation slides from Intel show that future Macs using the Skylake 14-nanometer architecture could see amazing improvements in both performance and power consumption. The slides were obtained by website FanlessTech, and show that CPU performance could be 10 to 20 percent faster than the existing Broadwell-based systems, while improving battery life as much as 30 percent. The performance of integrated graphics chips on the Skylake chips could be anywhere from 16 to 41 percent faster. While it may be too late in 2015 for any Skylake-based Macs to be released, we might hear of something when OS X El Capitan ships in September or October.

We’ll be back Monday afternoon for another edition of the AWT News Update.