Apple World Today News Update: April 3, 2018

Today's Apple World Today News Update podcast has substantially more content than yesterday's "short edition". Stories today include a look at some of Intel's new Core processors that could be used in a 2018 MacBook Pro update, scheduling of the Q2 2018 earnings call, and some concern from the Wall Street Journal about a "nagging badge" for Apple Pay:

  • The Intel Core i9-8950HK could be a powerhouse for a 15-inch MacBook Pro BTO option, but it doesn't support LPDDR4 RAM...
  • It's hard to believe, but we're already in Apple's third fiscal quarter of 2018. We'll find out how they did in Q2 on May 1st.
  • The WSJ seems to be concerned about a red badge that hounds users unmercifully about Apple Pay if they don't choose to "Setup later in Wallet"

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 Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018.

The day after we came out with a report on how Apple may be planning to do away with Intel processors in Macs in the year 2020, Intel announced the 8th generation Core series processors for laptops, based on the Coffee Lake platform. The high-performance Core i9 line is now available for laptops for the first time, and it has the same 45-watt thermal design power that’s used in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. It’s quite an expensive CPU and much more powerful than most users would ever need, but Apple could possibly use the Core i9-8950HK as a built-to-order option for those who want to do high end video editing on a portable device. The Core i9-8950HK is a six-core chip running at a base clock speed of 2.9 Gigahertz, with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.8 Gigahertz on single cores. If Apple was to consider using the Core i9 CPU in a future MacBook Pro upgrade, those users could also use the new external GPU support found in macOS 10.13.4, bringing the performance of an iMac Pro to a laptop design. Intel has also updated the mobile Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 lines as well, providing more speed and power to those who wouldn’t need the brunt force of the i9. There’s one fly in the ointment, though… none of the Core mobile processors support LPDDR4 memory, which limits RAM to 16GB. If Apple listens to customers and decides to bring 32GB of RAM to a new MacBook Pro, it would need to use DDR4 RAM instead and design a controller for it, both of which would impact battery life.

Apple has announced that it will be hosting its second fiscal quarter 2018 earnings call on Tuesday, May 1st. The earnings calls always start at about 5 PM ET/2 PM PT, and we’ll be sure to provide you with the news on how Apple did in Q2. The company offered guidance at the last earnings call expecting revenues of between $60 billion and $62 billion, with gross margins between 38 and 38.5 percent.

Apple’s getting some flack about nagging users to sign up for Apple Pay on iPhones, according to a new Wall Street Journal article. For those who didn’t set up Apple Pay after configuring a new iPhone and didn’t select the “Setup later in Wallet” option, there’s a red badge on the Settings app that pretty much says “Hey, look at me”. Some analysts and user-interface experts are saying that this is an issue, with Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates saying “it’s really antitrust behavior”. Kay seems to think that the Apple Pay setup badges and notifications are similar to Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with Windows in the 1990s, which the Department of Justice successfully sued Microsoft on antitrust grounds by saying it hurt potential browser rivals. Bruce Tognazzini, a former Apple UI expert and now with Nielsen Norman Group, said that the use of the badge breaks Apple’s own UI guidelines, which advise developers to minimize badges and only use them to “present brief, essential information and atypical content changes.” This could all be solved if Apple just let users know that selecting “Setup later in Wallet” would make the badge disappear.

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