Opinion Today

AAPL: 99.62

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Earlier this week it was reported that an upcoming MacBook Pro refresh would bring a thinner design, Touch ID support, and an OLED touch bar above the keyboard. One of the longstanding requests by MacBook users, however, has been an option for cellular connectivity and now it looks like we might be one step closer to that coming to fruition. As noted by PatentlyApple, Apple has recently been granted a patent for a MacBook with cellular connectivity.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard whispers that Apple is working on MacBook with cellular connectivity. In 2011, a MacBook Pro with 3G connectivity and a SIM card slot from 2007 was put up for auction on eBay with the seller claiming it was an unreleased prototype model, but is it still possible that Apple is considering finally adding the feature?

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Opinion May 24

AAPL: 97.90

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The 2016 MacBook Pro is likely to take design cues from the 12-inch MacBook
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Apple has kept us waiting a long time for a new MacBook Pro. It’s been more than a year since the last update, and that was a minor one. It added Force Touch to the trackpad, provided faster flash storage, an extra hour of battery-life and faster graphics. All fine as a refresh, but nothing to get too excited about.

The latest report suggests that we’re now going to have to wait until Q4 this year before a new model is released. Unsurprisingly, that report points to a next-generation MacBook Pro with a thinner and lighter design, with cues taken from the 12-inch MacBook. More power-efficient processors should allow a thinner casing without sacrificing battery-life.

But it also suggests a couple of new features: Touch ID, and a touch-sensitive replacement for the function keys on the top row of the keyboard. At first glance, Touch ID might sound welcome but no big deal, and the touchscreen a bit gimmicky, but – executed properly – I think they could make a huge difference to the usability of the machine …

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Opinion May 19

AAPL: 94.20

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A wristband that zaps you with a 255-volt electric shock if you over-spend is the latest idea from Intelligent Environments, a company that first announced the Pavlock wearable 18 months ago as a way to dissuade owners from visiting time-wasting websites.

The band would be triggered, explains the BBC, if your bank balance drops too quickly.

If the funds in the account go below an agreed limit, the band kicks in. It can also work with smart meter Nest to turn down the heating and save energy bills if funds are low.

Unsurprisingly, no bank has yet signed up for the service. But while the idea may be silly, it seems to me that the underlying concept here is exactly where the Internet of Things should be headed …

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Opinion May 17

AAPL: 93.49

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Apple has always been seen as a hardware company – from the original Apple Computer through to the Apple Watch. Ask anyone to describe what the company does and they’ll all talk about those sleek, stylish, easy-to-use gadgets.

Some people will even jump straight to calling Apple the iPhone-maker, other products seen as also-rans. Which, in financial terms, is not unreasonable: the iPhone accounts for 65% of the company’s revenues. So it’s no surprise that the market is unsure how to respond at a time when the company’s main product is experiencing declining sales. That uncertainty is being exacerbated by suggestions that the iPhone 7 may be rather similar to the iPhone 6 and 6s.

I’ve talked before about my view of Apple’s long-term prospects, but that piece focused on hardware, touching only briefly on an area Apple has been increasingly talking-up: services …

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Opinion May 13

AAPL: 90.52

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We heard last month that Apple has a team of around 100 people working on revamping the search functionality in the iOS App Store. If true, it’s long overdue because App Store search is a truly terrible experience. You know it, I know it, developers know it, everyone in the world knows it – except, it had always appeared, the Apple execs in charge of it.

If Apple is actually going to fix App Store search so that it works, that’s excellent news. But one part of the report sounded distinctly less encouraging.

One of the methods that Apple is considering is paid search. Essentially, developers and companies could pay to have their app shown more prominently in search results.

That gives the impression that Apple is more focused on generating additional revenue than delivering a great user experience …

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Opinion May 12

AAPL: 90.34

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While Apple has denied a report that it was planning to stop selling music downloads in either two years or 3-4 years, the denial to Re/code was somewhat vague.

Apple rep Tom Neumayr wouldn’t expand on [the ‘not true’] comment, except to make it clear that he was responding to both timelines proposed in today’s story from Digital Music News.

And really, nobody should be surprised if the broader report is true: that Apple has discussed how and when it might exit the music download business …

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