Latest Apple Watch estimates: 3M sales, $2B revenue, Apple’s most profitable product ever

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A leading technology analyst has estimated that Apple Watch sales in the first two weeks are likely to hit 3M, comprising 1.8M Sport models, 1.2M steel and 40,000 Editions – generating more than $2B revenue. Think Big Analytics principal Carl Howe also estimates that gross margins on the wearable are likely to exceed 60%, making the Apple Watch the company’s most profitable ever product.

[The electronics] in the expensive models are the same ones used in the Sport models, and they just don’t cost that much. And while adding Gold cases and designer bands add cost to the bill of materials, the costs are small compared to the price premiums paid for these products. Unlike in the consumer electronics business, I see no pressure for prices to fall and if anything manufacturing costs will, resulting in a very profitable business.

Howe readily admits that his analysis, like any other from outside the company, are “really just educated guesses,” but he’s a credible name and his reasoning makes sense …  Read more

Third-party bands, replacement straps, & battery packs for Apple Watch

With no official support from Apple, the third-party strap market for Apple Watch is still a bit of a wild-west, but there are some companies making it possible and offering inexpensive alternatives to Apple’s own bands.

Apple might have its own exclusive strap colors available for a select few, but you’ll likely need to go the third-party route if you want a similar level of customization for your Apple Watch.

Below we’ve put together a list of third-party bands already available to order, as well as adapters for traditional straps and replacement straps for Apple’s leather bands. Read more

Apple’s Jony Ive reveals Apple Watch w/ exclusive collection of Sport band colors at Milan Design Week

Apple’s PR tour for the Apple Watch doesn’t appear to be slowing down with Apple’s design chief Jony Ive showing off the device and revealing an exclusive collection of never before seen Sport band colors tonight in Milan. Apple this morning kicked off a showcase of the device at Milan’s Salone Del Mobile Design Fair in Itlay, which was attended by Apple executives including marketing head Phil Schiller and designer Marc Newson.

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Sony leaks reveal Apple TV and iTunes Store contracts, Sex Tape + Breaking Bad deals with Apple

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Known for publishing previously confidential documents, WikiLeaks has released a large collection of emails from last year’s widely publicized hack of Sony, notably including Apple agreements covering Sony’s Crackle Apple TV channel, video sales through iTunes, and other topics. The leaks include:

  • The terms of Apple’s agreement to add Sony’s Crackle video service to the Apple TV, notably including a 3-year term (starting December 11, 2013), Sony’s retention of 100% of advertising revenue, and a promise that Apple will permit new types of overlaid/display ads on Crackle if it becomes technically feasible and Apple OKs it. Few details were previously known about the business terms between Apple and channel providers for the Apple TV.
  • Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store, including the original 2007 agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss, term extensions and high-definition amendments, and the addition of iTunes in the Cloud (which Apple originally called “Virtual Storage Locker”).
  • Sales forecasts for Sony games sold in the App Store, as well as charts suggesting that Sony’s iPhone and iPad game revenues far surpassed the amounts made on competing platforms.

The leaks go on to describe Apple and Sony product tie-ups, including the iPad’s “character” role in the film Sex Tape, as well as Sony’s internal reaction to Apple’s “Stickers” ad featuring a Breaking Bad reference, and an apparent effort by Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg urging Sony not to collaborate with Apple…
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Ex-Apple SVP Scott Forstall is now a producer on a Broadway musical

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Less than 24 hours after a report surfaced revealing Scott Forstall began serving as an advisor to Snapchat last year, the former iOS chief has announced via his Twitter account an unrelated project: a Broadway musical.

I’m thrilled to be co-producing the Broadway musical Fun Home opening this Sunday. Bravo to the phenomenal team!

The announcement is especially notable as it marks the first time the former Apple executive has surfaced in public since his ousting at Apple under current CEO Tim Cook in late 2012. Read more

Review: Aircharge Qi wireless charging case for iPhone 6 (and 5/5s)

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As a founding member of the Wires Are Evil club, I’ve been waiting impatiently for wide-area wireless charging, where any device on a desk or within a certain area of a room is wirelessly charged. That still seems a way off yet.

A good halfway house would be inductive charging powerful enough to work through the thickness of a desk, so your charging pads sit out of sight on the underside of the desk and your devices charge as soon as you put them down on the right place on the desk. Sadly today’s wireless charging standards are too weedy to work through even the thinnest of desks.

If you want wireless charging today, then, you’re going to have to have a visible wire to a charging pad, and place your device on that. Apple has so far limited wireless charging to the Apple Watch, but if you want it for your iPhone, you can buy a wireless charging case that allows you to use any compatible wireless charging pad. We’ve reviewed a number of these over the years, and I thought it was about time to try one for the iPhone 6

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Just when you thought the failed LA schools iPad program couldn’t get any messier, it did …

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We learned yesterday that the Los Angeles Unified School District may sue Apple for “millions of dollars” following the collapse of its plans to provide every student with an iPad. The mess eventually led to an FBI investigation and a federal review.

The latest development, as ever reported by the LA Times, says that the program is now the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into whether funds were misused in the $1.3B project …  Read more

Apple Watch user-interface still seems confusing? There’s a workshop for that …

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Following the try-on appointments that allowed 15 minutes hands-on time with an Apple Watch (or an hour for the Edition), Apple is offering Apple Watch Basics workshops at selected retail stores. Appointments can be booked now, and the earliest workshops take place on the official (or perhaps now unofficial) launch date of 24th April.

It’s unlikely many people will have received their Apple Watch by this date, and you won’t be able to buy one in-store before June, but if the tutorial videos or unofficial cheat-sheet still leave you wanting more, the workshops seem a good opportunity to get to grips with the new device …  Read more

Apple officially names Steve Dowling as Vice President of Communications

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Apple has officially named long time director of public relations Steve Dowling as its new Vice President of Communications, as noted on the company’s executive bios webpage. Dowling succeeds former Apple Communications head Katie Cotton, who left Apple in 2014 following Apple CEO Tim Cook choosing to take Apple in a new direction PR-wise. Dowling has led Apple’s Communications division for several months following Cotton’s departure, and he was internally named interim head of PR last October. Following the departure of Cotton, Apple’s PR strategy has been more open, with the company commenting more frequently on various news matters and seeding product review units to more news organizations. Dowling has been seen alongside Cook at various media appearances across the world. Last year, we published an extensive profile of Apple’s PR, Communications, and Marketing department, noting that Dowling would likely become Katie Cotton’s official successor in the near future.

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