October starts with a whimper from some of Apple's competitors, who are either getting out of competing markets or about to jump into them. We also look a new product for those who love that "new Mac smell":
- Microsoft bows out of the smartwatch market, with no plans to make a third-generation Microsoft Band (were there really first- and second-generation Bands?)
- KGI's crack analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seems to be making forecasts for the past
- The new Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones come out tomorrow, and you are excused if you think they look pretty much like an iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
- Twelve South outs a new line of novelty items for Apple fans
The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.
Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 3, 2016.
Start playing those little violins. There’s a sad piece of news out there for Microsoft. In the past, Microsoft tried to mimic Apple’s success with the iPod by coming out with the Zune. The Zune. Do you remember the Zune? Not many people bought them due to the ease of use and ubiquity of the iPod, and now the Zune is just a bad memory. Or how about Windows Phone? Remember that? No? Me either. Well, Microsoft’s string of failures where Apple feared to tread continues, with the Microsoft Band now heading for oblivion. The company isn’t going to make a third-generation Band and has pulled listings for many models of the current Band from its online store. The Band SDK has disappeared, and rumor has it that the hardware and software team is gone. I’m wondering when the Surface Pad will disappear, since the Windows tablet seems to have very few fans. Perhaps Microsoft should just stick to the software and services businesses and avoid hardware altogether.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is back this week after polishing his crystal ball, and he thinks that the new Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches will not sell as well in 2016 as they did in 2015. Kuo says that the Apple Watch isn’t hurting sales of the Fitbit and doesn’t think the more affordable Series 1 will change that. He’s cut his estimate of Apple Watch shipments for 2016 by 15 to 25 percent. I don’t know what Kuo is smoking, but I have personally seen many more Apple Watches in the wild over the past few months than I ever saw last year. Between the lower price tag for the Series 1 and the new waterproofness of the Series 2, I think the Watches are going to be a very hot seller in the October to December quarter, which of course is in Apple’s 2017 fiscal year. So perhaps he’s just saying that the total sales for fiscal year 2016 — which ended on September 30 — will be down, and covering his butt by not forecasting 2017 sales.
Speaking of Apple competitors, Google today revealed its new Google Pixel phone to retailers, who of course leaked the product line to the rest of the world. The new phones — the Pixel and Pixel XL — are to be officially announced tomorrow, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think they are both iPhones. They look like iPhones and use a Snapdragon 821 CPU, come in storage capacities of 32 and 128 GB, and are allegedly built by HTC. They’ll both ship with Android 7.1 Nougat, will have 4GB of RAM, a 12 MP rear camera dn 8 MP front camera, a fingerprint sensor and use a USB-C port. The Pixel supposedly has a 5-inch AMOLED screen running at 1080p, while the 5.5-inch Pixel XL has an AMOLED display running at 2560 x 1440 resolution. It’s expected that the Pixel will start at $649, so anyone wanting a price advantage over the iPhone 7 won’t find one. If the story changes after release tomorrow at 9 AM PT, we’ll let you know.
Twelve South is one of our favorite Apple accessory makers, and they’ve just come out with a line of Mac-related novelty items that will be perfect for those people on your holiday gift list. First, they’ve come out with the “New Mac Soy Candle” that’s available for just $24 and evokes that beautiful scent that you get when you open up a brand new Mac box. It will burn for up to 55 hours, contains 100% soy wax, and has scent notes of mint, peach, basil, lavender, mandarin and sage. They’re also now selling their ⌘Q Staring (“Quit Staring”) t-shirt that they gave away at Macworld Expo a few years ago, and even an iDrink can cooler set. We’ll have links to all of them on Friday, but if you can’t wait, head over to Twelvesouth.com and take a look around.
That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.