AWT News Update: October 19, 2017

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Wow, only eight days until the pre-orders for the iPhone X. We have some news about the newest iPhone and other topics for you today!

  • Imagine creating your own 3D renderings of your home or a dream home. It's all possible with Live Home 3D from BeLight Software, this week's AWT sponsor
  • Tim Cook told a Mac mini fan that "we plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line," whatever that vague statement means...
  • The CEO of Canadian telecom company Rogers says the company is seeing "anemic appetite" for the iPhone 8 while customers appear to be saving their money for the iPhone X
  • Soon you won't have to sign an electronic or paper receipt for purchases made with Apple Pay on a MasterCard

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

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Thursday, October 19th, 2017. This week’s sponsor is BeLight Software, developers of Live Home 3D. If you’ve ever wanted to design your own home or create a virtual model of an existing home to see how improvements change its looks, then Live Home 3D is for you. The $29.99 app is powerful and easy to use, and you can get full information on Live Home 3D at this link

Remember the Mac mini? That headless Mac that people love because they can add their own monitor, keyboard, pointing device, and other goodies, mount it under a table, turn it into a server, and do a thousand other things. There’s only one problem; Apple hasn’t done anything to the Mac mini for about three years. Well, apparently one reader over at MacRumors decided to go right to the source to figure out what’s happening to the mini, so he sent an email to Tim Cook. Cook replied, with a typically vague CEO response that sounds like something he’d say on one of the quarterly earnings calls — “I’m glad you love Mac mini. We love it too. Our customers have found so many creative and interesting uses for Mac mini. While it is not time to share any details, we do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward. Best, Tim.” Other than sounding like Tim Cook has been replaced by a chatbot, the message seems to indicate that the mini will be revived some day, perhaps in 2018. My hope is that Apple uses the Mac mini as a testbed for using its own ARM-based chips to replace the Intel processors that are currently used, but that’s just a dream. 

Unsurprisingly to me at least, most people seem to be avoiding the purchase of an iPhone 8 and waiting for an iPhone X. Today, we saw a note from the CEO of Canadian telecom Rogers, Joe Natale, who remarked during an earnings call that “What we’re seeing is sort of…anemic appetite for the iPhone 8.” Natale believes that most customers are waiting for the iPhone X, which begins pre-orders just eight days from now and becomes available on November 3. However, Natale is worried about both the cost and the supply picture for the iPhone X. He was quoted as saying “The iPhone X price point is about 75 percent higher than the iPhone 7. So it’s a very expensive device. Inventory is a question mark in terms of what we will get.”  Natale seems to be having problem with simple math — the iPhone 8 (not the iPhone 7) is what the iPhone X should be compared to, and if you compare the regular iPhone 8 at $699 to the iPhone X at $999 (both of those are base prices), the iPhone X is only 43% more expensive than the 8. Still, it’s apparent from the numbers of iPhone 8s that are not being sold that the public is not only willing to wait for the iPhone X, but pay whatever premium is required. Natale should be cheered by the fact that his company will be selling a much more expensive phone and that some recent analyst reports appear to show that production rates for the iPhone X are better than expected.

If you’re a Visa cardholder, it may be time to switch to MasterCard. The credit and debit card company today announced that cardholders can forgo signing a receipt on any purchases in the US and Canada after April 2018. That means that Apple Pay purchases made on a MasterCard will also do away with the need to sign a paper or electronic receipt. MasterCard did consumer research that found most people think that it would be easier to pay and that checkout lines would be speedier if they didn’t have to sign a receipt. More than 80 percent of in-store MasterCard transactions in North America are already performed without a cardholder signature, with only purchases for more than $50 currently requiring a signature. I won’t be happy until a combination of RFID labels and my Apple Watch make it possible for me to just walk into a store and walk out with a product, without having to check out at all.

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