AWT News Update: November 16, 2015

In today's roundup of Apple news:

  • Apple taps Foursquare as a data provider for Apple Maps
  • Two of the early Mac interface designers don't like Apple's current UI designs
  • Want an Apple Pencil? Take a look at eBay
  • A San Diego, CA Apple Store gets its hand slapped and must wear a badge of shame
  • Apple making a lot of iPhone profits

Text is below, and video is here.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for November 16, 2015. 

Do you wonder where Apple gets all of the data that is used in the Maps app? Well, Apple Maps Marketing, a website that keeps tabs on such things, found out that as of October, one of the partners providing Apple with info is Foursquare. Foursquare was one of my favorite apps for years as I could check into restaurants, bars, schools and other locations. Last year, the company split Foursquare into two apps; Swarm for checkins and Foursquare for local listings. That was a bit of a mistake and the company has suffered as a result. Sharing data with Apple could end up being a good move for Foursquare in the long run and help it survive in a crowded marketplace. 

Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini were two of the early Mac user interface designers, and as such, were instrumental in putting together Apple’s early user interface guidelines. In a long piece written for FastCo, the two say that Apple has abandoned many of the original design principles in the most recent versions of OS X and iOS. Among the items they say are largely or completely missing in iOS are:  

• discoverability – having all possible actions be visible

• feedback & feedforward – making it obvious what a function will do, and what it has done

• recovery – the ability to undo a mistake, or get back to where you were before

• consistency – using the same gestures across platforms and hardware

• encouraging growth – helping people tackle more complex tasks when they’ve mastered the basics

Personally, I think while they have a point that Apple has made some of the more recent operating systems a big more complex, it’s also true that today’s computer users are much more sophisticated than those of the early users in the 1980s. 

Apparently I’m not the only person who wants to get his hands on an Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro. A few of the devices actually were delivered and enterprising owners are selling them on eBay for as much as $400 - that’s four times the price from Apple. Me? I’m not going to spend that much for an Apple Pencil, so I guess I’ll be waiting until mid-December for it to arrive along with the Smart Keyboard. 

The Apple Store UTC on La Jolla Village Drive in San Diego California is wearing a badge of shame this week. During an inspection by the County of San Diego Department of Agriculture, Weights, and Measures on September 1, 2015, it was found that the store’s point of sale systems charged prices higher than the lowest posted or advertised price, putting the store in violation of the Business and Professions Code Section 12024.2. Employees at the store said that the pricing issue was over a third-party accessory, and since those items are often available on sale from other stores and websites, it’s possible that the store prices may have been unfairly compared with those from discount retailers. The store has displayed a sign showing the details of the violation in the front window since last Thursday, and must continue showing the sign through Sunday, November 22. 

And here’s one final piece of info from Cannacord Genuity research — Apple is now taking 94% of the profits in the global smartphone market, while selling only 14.5 percent of the total volume of phones. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Samsung, which is the biggest Android licensee by far, only makes 10% of the profits. In case you’re wondering why Apple and Samsung seemingly make up over 100% of the profits, it’s because most of the other manufacturers in the smartphone business are posting losses. 

I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.