AWT News Update: April 4, 2017

'iPhone 8' concept rendering by Marek Weidlich.

'iPhone 8' concept rendering by Marek Weidlich.

It's been a good day for Mac users, with word coming down from Cupertino of new Mac Pros and iMacs in the product pipeline. Other news:

  • The surprise announcements from Apple today point to a company that's willing to admit mistakes and move on from them
  • The third Apple retail store in the UAE is under construction, with artwork at the site touting local artists and entrepreneurs
  • Construction continues on the flagship Chicago store, with huge roof panels being lifted into place this week
  • One financial analyst believes the iPhone 8 (or iPhone X, or...) won't be as expensive as previously thought

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.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for April 4th, 2017.

Today’s surprise announcements about Apple’s plans to bolster the pro user market by bringing out a new, more powerful iMac this year and a new, more modular Mac Pro next year were impressive. Apple invited a handful of journalists to Cupertino to meet with some Apple execs with the sole purpose of having those journalists announce to the world that they were not abandoning the pro Mac market. The Mac mini also received a mention, although the execs did not say exactly when a new product would be expected. It’s also interesting that Apple will release Apple-branded pro displays to go with the new Mac Pro, which seems to be an admission that the LG UltraFine 4K displays were not exactly what the pro community wanted. One feature that we’d love to see with any new iMac or Mac Pro is a Magic Keyboard with a Touch Bar. That’s probably not completely out of the question, as a recent Apple patent application shows exactly that happening. Touchscreens, however, aren’t going to happen.

The third Apple retail store in the United Arab Emirates is still under construction, and received a bit of love from retail senior vice president Angela Ahrendts on Twitter. She said, and we quote, “We’re getting ready for our newest store in UAE by celebrating local artists and entrepreneurs. Excited for Apple Dubai Mall!” That new store is in a mall with very high traffic — 92 million visitors were reported in 2015. The store will be two stories tall, and the construction site is marked on both floors with a large mural that features those artists and entrepreneurs Ahrendts was referring to.

Speaking of Apple retail, the flagship store in Chicago is reaching a critical construction milestone this week with the installation of the large roof panels to the glass building. That store is located right on the Chicago river, and a barge containing the roof panels has been tied up next to the site in preparation for the crane lift of the panels. The new building will definitely become a Chicago landmark when it opens later this year.

More financial analyst guesses coming out today with respect to the OLED iPhone 8 or 10th anniversary iPhone or whatever the heck it’s called. Most have been speculating that the device will start at $1,000, but one is expecting that it will start at $850 — just a tad over the price tag for the iPhone 7s and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Why the lower price? Steven Milunovich of UBS think that a greater than $1,000 price tag would hamper the demand for the device, since it will have a smaller screen than the competition — that Galaxy S8 Plus. It’s also expected that Apple might decrease the price on the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus by about $100, which would afford consumers a wide range of pricing from the iPhone SE to the iPhone 8. With a pricing scheme like this, Milunovich thinks that 45 percent of 2018 iPhone shipments will be for the OLED iPhone 8.

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