Tim Cook: Apple Watch attracting more developer interest than early iPhones and iPads

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In an interview with the Chinese language edition of Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Cook noted that developers are showing more interest in the Apple Watch than they had in the iPhone and iPad at a similar early stage.

Developers are working on more than 3,500 apps for the gadgets, he said. That’s well ahead of the 500 apps available for the 2008 edition of the iPhone and the 1,000 for the first iPad in 2010, he added.

Cook also confirmed what most had assumed: the gold color introduced for the iPhone, iPad and now MacBook (and presumably real gold for the Watch) was “in part” driven by the popularity of the color in China. Greater China now accounts for a whopping 29% of Apple’s revenue …  Read more

KGI: Top 11 new iPhone features for 2015 include Rose Gold option, Force Touch, 12MP Camera, 2GB RAM, more

Artwork by shoplemonde.de

Artwork by shoplemonde.de

A special Top 11 list today from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on the next iPhone (6s? 7?) that will be released later this year. Counting down:

  1. Force Touch will be the biggest upgraded selling point, but also one of the main bottlenecks of the supply chain. Force Touch can enrich user experience due to more input methods and support of handwritten signatures, which is beneficial for expanding in the commercial market
  2. Screen will remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, with resolution the same as existing models. There will be no new 4-inch model
  3. There will be an additional casing color, rose gold, matching the rose-gold Apple Watch Edition
  4. The camera will have a pixel upgrade, likely to 12MP
  5. One microphone will be added near the speaker to enhance voice quality
  6. The A9 processor with upgraded 2GB LPDDR4 will be adopted
  7. The bending issue will be improved by using different casing materials and internal mechanical design changes
  8. If drop test issues can be resolved, the 5.5-inch model will have a limited number of units with sapphire cover lens
  9. The recognition rate of Touch ID will be improved further in a bid to promote Apple Pay
  10. Gesture control support
  11. It’s expected that mass production will start in mid-to-late August. Total shipments will be 80-90mn in 2015, with a 2:1 ratio of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.

Some thoughts: Read more

Apple to require more secure, stringent return process for Apple Watch Edition

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Beyond a unique sales process and exclusivity to select stores, even returning the Apple Watch Edition will have its own special process. Bringing the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition back to an Apple Store for a refund will require the device to be scrutinized under micro-inspection by Apple Store staff, according to sources. While the return process itself is unique, the return timeframe will be the standard 14 days like most of Apple’s other products…

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AppleCare+ for Apple Watch: $999 for Edition, $79 for Watch, $59 for Sport

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To go along with the premium $10,000 and up pricing of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, Apple will charge up to $999 for the Apple Watch Edition’s AppleCare+ Protection Plan, 9to5Mac has learned. The Apple Watch Edition notably has very different AppleCare coverage from other Apple Watch models, coming with two years of 24/7 support and a special setup hotline right out of the box. AppleCare+ will add a third year of technical support and support for up to two incidents of accidental hardware damage. More affordable AppleCare+ coverage will also be offered for the aluminum Sport and stainless steel standard models, which will cost $59 and $79 respectively, adding a second year of technical support to the included one year, plus support for up to two incidents of accidental hardware damage…

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Apple will offer virtual online try-ons and personal setup for gold & steel models

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While Apple will offer extensive in-store sales and try-on experiences in Apple Stores, the company will also allow customers to virtually try on an Apple Watch or Apple Watch Edition and receive setup support, according to sources. Prior to purchasing either of two higher-end Apple Watches, customers will be able to video chat with an Apple Online Store representative who will personally try-on and model Apple Watch collections and band combinations. Additionally, as we noted in our prior article about Apple Watch Edition sales perks, Edition customers will be able to have a “personalized pre-sales experience” either over phone or online chat…

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Apple Watch Edition perks: 24/7 support, private 1-hour appointments, no lines

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After hiring a new team of fashion sales and marketing experts from Yves St. Laurent, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry, Apple has developed a unique Apple Store purchasing experience just for the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, according to sources briefed on the launch plans. When a customer interested in the Apple Watch Edition enters the store, he or she will be given no-wait access to a dedicated Expert, who will provide a personalized “journey” from the beginning of the appointment until the end, as much as one hour later. There will even be a new option for at-home video conferencing rather than in-store personal setup. By design, it will be more “elegant” than the budget-focused experience Apple Watch Sport customers receive…

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Apple’s sales overhaul for Apple Watch will focus on building trust, offering fashion views, upselling bands

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The job of Apple Retail Store employees will begin changing in profound ways next month. In order to showcase and sell the Apple Watch, retail employees will be trained to provide personal fashion and styling advice to customers, according to employees briefed on the plans. Until now, Apple Retail has been tasked with recommending iPads, iPhones and Macs with few styling options aside from limited color options.

Apple is pushing for retail employees to initiate conversations that build trust, enabling the employee to serve as a valued fashion advisor during the purchase process, similarly to how traditional watches are sold. Apple Watch sales training programs will take place for Apple retail staff over the course of the next two weeks, teaching entirely new sales techniques to encourage iPhone upgrades, assist with gifting, and guide customers in watch and strap choices.

Below, we detail how employees will provide fashion advice to customers and Apple’s multi-part plan for selling an Apple Watch.

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Poll: Which MacBook are you? Space Gray, Silver or Gold

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If you are like us, probably the toughest decision you are facing this year is figuring out which new Retina MacBook color you will be getting. The buying process otherwise is more like buying an iPad than a Mac with only 2 speed/storage models.

Will you match your Space Gray iPad and iPhone and now Apple Watch? Or, will you sport the same silver of the Macs that actually do some real work? Will you go off the grid and show your lawyer/banker colleagues who is boss with the gold model?

It is a tough and important call because you WILL be judged – you can’t just embarrassingly hide a MacBook in a wallet case like my Gold iPhone.  You’ve had a few days to mull it over. So what’s it going to be?

Apple supply chain buyers, this ^^^ data is on us. Feel free to send any leftover MacBooks as compensation. Read more

Apple saving money on the gold in Apple Watch Edition, could be planning a platinum model for future designs

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Tim Cook and Jony Ive have both spoken numerous times about the Apple Watch Edition being more scratch-resistant than standard 18-karat gold, describing it as ‘twice as hard’ as standard gold but but without explaining how. A patent application (via Leancrew) appears to explain this–and shows that Apple saves money on the gold into the bargain.

18-karat gold isn’t pure gold, it is defined as being 75% gold by weight. The remaining 25% of the mix is usually made up of one or more other metals, with silver and copper popular choices. The Apple patent describes mixing gold with low-density ceramic particles instead of metal.

Because weight, not volume, is what defines the karat gold standards, Apple’s watch could use less than a third the gold of a conventional alloy while still qualifying as 18-karat gold …  Read more

Apple Watch straps will be available to purchase separately at launch

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Despite speculation to the contrary, Apple does in fact plan to sell an array of bands as separate accessories for the Apple Watch at launch, according to sources. So far Apple has only shown the Watch in pre-assembled collections, which reduces their potential for customization, but our sources say that Apple’s retail outlets will be stocked on day one with individual straps so customers can easily mix and match the looks of their Watches.

While Apple has hinted at millions of combinations of Apple Watch when considering the various watch faces and interchangeable strap combos, up until now we’ve not had confirmation that straps would be available to purchase separately alongside the Apple Watch at launch. Read more