Apple’s cash hoard swelled to a staggering $246.09 billion in the December quarter, an increase of $8.49 billion. This, despite returning some $15 billion to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks and dividends. It’s an unprecedented concentration of corporate wealth that would let Apple buy more than 4.9 billion Amazon Echo Dots if it wanted.
Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]
Apple announced Tuesday record revenue for its December quarter of US$78.4 billion, as well as record earnings per share (EPS) of $3.36. That’s up from $75.9 billion in revenue in the year-ago quarter with EPS of $3.28. [Update: This article has been updated with additional details. – Editor]
Check out the Plugies Magnetic Charging Cables, Lightning charging cables with a magnetic connector. They’re designed to work like Apple’s on-the-way-out MagSafe, but for your iPhone. It has two pieces, one a Lightning plug that sits in your iPhone. The other is a cable that connects to that plug with a magnet. They’re $27.99 through our deal. There are also versions with Micro-USB and one with both Micro-USB and Lightning. Check out the details on the deal listing.
The White House has reportedly drafted an executive order that would target visas used by Apple and other tech companies. According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration wants to change the rules for temporary worker visas known as H-1B, L-1, E-2 and B1. Those rules changes would affect the ways several American companies recruit skilled workers overseas.
We have a deal for you on Flux 6, a WYSIWYG HTML and CSS design tool. It features the ability to write and edit code, or use drag and drop controls. Our deal is for lifetime access and future updates on one computer for $49.99, 83% off retail.
iAppleBytes did some speed tests comparing iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 10.3—with its new file system. In the video below, they show startup times on an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 5s. The device on the left of each pair is running iOS 10.2.1, the current shipping version of iOS. The devices on the right of each pair are running iOS 10.3, which includes Apple File System (APFS). This is a brand new file system years in the making, and it will change of underlying structural aspects of iOS. This demonstration shows one of those things is startup times. The iPhone 5s running iOS 10.3 started up 5.88 seconds faster than its cousin running 10.2.1. That’s 19.7% faster! The iPhone 5 running iOS 10.3 started up 7.57 seconds faster (18.7% faster). This is just one metric, mind you, and it’s important to remember this version of iOS 10.3 is the first developer preview. Newer iPhone and iPads with newer processors will likely show a smaller delta in absolute terms, but the whole point is that things are going to be happening faster. Squuuueeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees Saturday that President Trump’s Muslim ban, “is not a policy we support.” Echoing his many previous comments on diversity, Mr. Cook said, “Apple would not exist without immigration.”
Twelve South announced Friday that its SurfacePad leather wrap case is now available for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. I like minimalist leather cases for my iPhones and iPads and I’ve long thought the SurfacePad line is good looking. The back attaches to your iPhone, and the inside of the front cover is lined with microfiber. It has two slots for cards on the inside, too, if that’s your thing. It’s available in Jet Black, Camel and Midnight Blue, for $39.95, and it’s shipping now.
Apple announced Friday that it will announce earnings for the December quarter—the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2017—on Tuesday, January 31st. Apple’s quarterly conference call with analysts will start at 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST.
We have a deal on an interesting device called MultiPoint Bluetooth Car Speaker Phone. It’s a Bluetooth speaker, but it’s designed to be used in your car and attaches to your visor. It allows you to make hands-free calls, even if your car doesn’t have a built-in hands-free system. You can get it through us for $42.95, more than half off retail.
OK, folks, I honestly don’t know how I feel about this, but it’s definitely interesting. A company called Wireless Lab has a new app called FaceApp. It uses the power of a neural net to modify photographs. They can add a smile to a portrait where the subject wasn’t smiling. Other filters make a face young or old, or change the gender from male to female or vice versa. In a statement, the company said, “Prisma changes the style of a photo, but keeps the content. FaceApp changes the content, but keeps the style.” Wireless Lab is using a neural net, meaning your image is uploaded to their servers where a bunch of computers apply the filters. In my quick tests, I found the Smile filter works stunningly well. You’ll see me and Jeff Gamet below both look like women with the Female filter, but it doesn’t handle our facial hair very well. And—much to my chagrin—neither of us look any older with the “Old” filter, but their own examples are markedly different. The short version is that FaceApp isn’t perfect, and it’s little more than a novelty at this stage, but humans are getting really, really good at altering images in stunning ways. FaceApp is free. [Update: I reached out to Yaroslav Goncharov, the founder and CEO of Wireless Lab, who told me the underlying technology with use. He said, “Users already sent us photos some of our filters struggle with and it helps us to fine tune our neural nets.”]
Our friends at Stack Commerce have put together a deal on refurbished FitBit Flex tracking bands. These dedicated fitness trackers let you track steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity, stationary time, and sleep. Set up goals, sync your data (but they don’t sync to Apple’s HealthKit), and more. They’re just $29.99 through our deal.
iOS 10.3 is out in beta, and it has some fun new goodies. Bryan and Jeff look at what they think is most interesting. Net Neutrality is also on the chopping block, one of those situations where politics and technology intersect in annoying ways.
We have a deal for developers today on the Swift 3 Master Coder Bundle. You get lifetime access to 143 courses and 19 hours of content designed to teach you how to make apps for iOS 10. Check out the deal listing for more information. It’s priced at $44 through our deal, 92% off the regular price.
I found a new tower defense game called Defense Zone 3 Ultra HD. I love the tower defense genre. I’ve written up the Kingdom Rush franchise many times, for instance. Defense Zone 3 is similar, but it uses photo realistic graphics with modern and slightly-futuristic weaponry and enemy soldiers, tanks, and aircraft. Mindless hordes of enemies rush headlong down a path, and your job is to stop them. in some ways, it reminds me of a tower defense game crossed with Galaga/Galaxian. One of the things I like is that it’s difficult. I personally “need” to get through every level without losing a single health point (letting an enemy through), and that is frankly tough. There are only eight maps, but each one is long. Very long. YMMV, but I enjoy lengthy scenarios where I get to keep building and improving my defenses. This game is US$2.99—there are in-app purchases for boosts, too, but I enjoy the challenge of getting through these games without such boosts. I’ve already played this one for at least 10 hours, and it’s burning a hole in the back of my mind even now. Map 4 is killing me. One last note, it’s a hybrid app for iPhone and iPad, but I can’t imagine playing it on an iPhone. Maybe a Plus, but I love this game on my iPad Pro (9.7-inch).
Hey VPN fans, we have a deal for you today on a two-year subscription to Private Internet Access. With this plan, you get unlimited bandwidth on up to 5 devices, including Mac, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux PCs.There are more than 3,300 servers in 25 countries to choose from, and the subscription comes with a variety of services. Check out the details on the deal listing. The price through our deal is $59.99, some 63% off retail.
Apple released tvOS 10.1.1 for Apple TV (4th Generation) on Monday. Apple’s general release notes specify only that, “This update includes general performance and stability improvements.” The Security Content document for the update details eight security flaws that were patched.
Apple shipped macOS Sierra 10.12.3 on Monday. The update includes some relatively minor bug fixes, an issue with Adobe Premiere Pro on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, a PDF encryption fix, and more. The update also includes fixes for eight security flaws.
Apple released iOS 10.2.1 Monday, as well as watchOS 3.1.3. The patch notes for both updates say they include, “bug fixes and improves the security” of your devices. There are no other features or improvements specified.
We have a deal for you today on MailButler Professional, a collection of plugins for Apple’s Mail.app. With these plugins, you can mark your emails as to-do items, snooze emails, track emails to find out if recipients have actually opened them, schedule emails to be sent at specific dates and times, and more. You can get a one year subscription to MailButler Professional through our deal for $14.99.