Apple World Today News Update: April 12, 2018

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Welcome back - the podcast skipped a day yesterday, as Steve was taking advantage of warm Spring weather and enjoying some downtime with his wife. We have three short news items for your listening pleasure on today's Apple World Today News Update podcast:

  • iMovie for iOS got an update today, adding iPhone X screen support and adopting Apple's Metal graphics processing framework, among other improvements
  • The HomePod isn't selling well; Bloomberg feels that it's the lack of Siri smarts and the price tag that are hurting the smart speaker, not the speaker's great sound
  • Today's the day Apple started warning Mac users about the impending incompatibility of 32-bit apps

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, April 12th, 2018.

iMovie and Final Cut Pro were updated for macOS earlier this week, and today Apple has updated the iOS version of iMovie so that it now fills the entire screen of the iPhone X Super Retina display. That would be enough for iPhone X owners, but Apple’s added more: the app now adopts the company’s Metal framework for graphics processing to speed everything up as well. Stability was improved, and localization for Simplified Chinese was added. The new update to version 2.2.5 of iMovie requires iOS 11.2.

Bloomberg Technology said today that Apple’s HomePod smart speaker isn’t selling well. By late March of 2018, Apple had lowered its sales forecasts and cut orders with Inventec, one of the companies that manufactures HomePod for Apple. It sold well early on with excellent pre-orders, but once the device showed up in stores sales started falling. Ken Cassar of Slice Intelligence noted that “Even when people had the ability to hear these things, it still didn’t give Apple another spike.” Slice’s numbers showed that HomePod had about 10% of the smart speaker market in its first 10 weeks, with Amazon Echo taking the bulk of sales at 73% and Google Home coming in at about 14%. Three weeks after launch, sales had fallen so that HomePod had only about 4% of the market. Bloomberg said that despite the excellent sound quality of HomePod, consumers were disappointed with the lack of versatility of the smart speaker’s AI. Amazon’s Echo uses Alexa, which gets new features every week. Consumers don’t see Siri on the HomePod as being able to do as much — unlike Echo and Google Home, it can’t answer questions, order takeout food, and so on. The HomePod’s smarts are primarily in playing music through Apple Music, controlling some smart home devices, and sending messages through iPhone, with a price tag $200 more than the competition.

Today was the first day of the future. Now that sounds pretty trite, but it’s actually true for Mac users. Starting today, macOS began to display alert boxes when a 32-bit app is opened. Apple plans to make macOS 64-bit only, with no new 32-bit apps being accepted after June. The new warning message will give users a reminder that they either need to contact the developer to give them a nudge on making an update, or look for an app that performs the same functions and is 64-bit compatible. You’ll still be able to click an “OK” button to continue to run the app, but Apple wants to give you fair warning that a big change is on the way.

That’s all the news for today - join me tomorrow afternoon for another edition of the AWT News Update.