AWT News Update: January 18, 2017

Concept of a future iPhone with an edge to edge OLED display

Concept of a future iPhone with an edge to edge OLED display

Grumbling ex-Apple employees and Wall Street analysts with good imaginations are what we have for you on today's Apple World Today News Update podcast:

  • An ex-Apple engineer thinks that Apple's not the innovative, problem-solving company it was in 2007
  • A Wall Street analyst sends out his wild guesses on this year's crop of iPhones
  • Another Wall Street analyst says iPhone revenues will be down slightly due to anticipation for the "iPhone 8"

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Hello, World!

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for January 18, 2017.

An ex-Apple engineer took to Twitter recently and then talked with CNBC about how Apple is no longer a “dynamic change-maker” under CEO Tim Cook. Bob Burrough noted that when he first worked for Apple in 2007, “…organizationally it was the wild west. I was hired under a particular manager, but for the first two years worked on projects that had virtually nothing to do with that manager's core responsibility. That's because the organization wasn't the priority, the projects were the priority. It was the exact opposite of 'not my job.' It was 'I'm here to solve whatever problems I can, irrespective of my role, my title, or to whom I report.' It was wild. But it was also very rewarding, because everything you did had maximal impact on the product." Now he says that the “dynamic has clearly and distinctly changed,” and is like his former job at Palm where he says that “When you went to someone for help solving a problem ‘not my job’ was a common response.” Burrough’s tweet storm included a comparison of ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Cook. While Ballmer tripled sales after taking over from Bill Gates, the company lost its dominance in mobile, search, social and cloud to companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Rumors are always fun, if not always accurate. Today analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company cited supply chain sources as saying that the 10th anniversary iPhone will be a jumbo model with a 5.8-inch OLED “fixed flex” screen. That display would provide an edge-to-edge display that could even wrap slightly around the sides of the iPhone 8. Arcuri’s report seems to suggest that Apple will also release 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 7s models in addition to the groundbreaking iPhone 8. Key components of the phone, including the FaceTime camera, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and earpiece, could be embedded into the OLED display. The iPhone 7s models would continue to use standard LCD panels as suppliers ramp up production of the OLED displays for future iPhones. Arcuri also thinks that Apple might add facial and gesture recognition to the iPhone 8, as well as wireless charging. The facial and recognition features would be powered by a laser or infrared sensor near the front-facing camera. Of course, with a little over 8 months to go before the next iPhones appear, I could be just as accurate as this Wall Street analyst if I were to say that the next iPhone will be able to fly on its own.

And speaking of Wall Street analysts, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty says that the firm is lowering fiscal 2017 iPhone revenue estimates by 3 percent. Citing “weak demand ahead of the ‘supercycle’”, Huberty believes that many buyers may wait to upgrade their iPhones until a truly major upgrade — like that iPhone 8 we were just referring to — happens. In fact, Morgan Stanley expects iPhone sales growth in 2018 to leap to 20 percent, a huge increase over the past few quarters.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.