A Look at Weekend One for iPhone 14

The Daily Observations for September 19, 2022

Editor’s Note: The Observation Deck is an extension of The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations podcast. It includes the topics host Ken Ray and his guest (or guests) talk about, plus perhaps a bit more. Check out the podcast and let us know what you think in the comments!

The first weekend of availability for most of the iPhone 14 line is in the books. We’ll start the day looking at how long it’ll take to get one now, ordering from Apple.

“… I’m Just Waiting on a Phone…”

Checking on a 128GB, Deep Purple iPhone 14 Pro, unlocked: If I’d ordered Sunday it could have been in my hot little hands between 18 October and 25 October — a wait of a little over four-to-five weeks. Changing colors and storage capacities did not change any of those dates.

The dates did change when I went to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Starting again with a 128GB, Deep Purple, unlocked model: If I’d ordered Sunday I’d be looking at delivery between 25 October and 1 November – a wait of a little over five-to-six weeks. Once again, changing colors and storage capacities did not change the delivery window, though – to be fair – I didn’t try every combination Apple had to offer. 

There is, for all intents and purposes, no wait for iPhone 14. At least there was no wait when I poked around Sunday afternoon. Again, I did not try every color and storage combination. But, for the several I did try, not only could I have had one delivered tomorrow – Tuesday 20 September, if I’d been willing to pay an extra $9.00, my local store would have driven it to my house yesterday. Also, I was welcome to bee-bop on by and pick one up.

It’ll come as no surprise that delivery dates for iPhone 14 Plus have not moved. Order whatever you want now and it should deliver on Friday 7 October – launch date for iPhone 14 Plus.

Tracking Sales in China

A bit of nostalgia in the Middle Kingdom. South China Morning Post ran a report over the weekend, featuring lines outside of Apple stores and scalpers selling iPhones at significant mark-ups.

The lines aren’t quite what they used to be, which is honestly a good thing. Instead of a crush of humanity trying to be first-to-buy, the report reports on lines of people “anxious to pick up the iPhone 14 handsets they had pre-ordered online.” The scalper thing’s legit, though. According to the piece:

[The] Post reporter also spotted a group of scalpers gathered outside the store, asking people if they wanted to sell their brand new handsets at a mark-up, and who then attempted to re-sell the devices at an even steeper price to other consumers.

One scalper said for a phone like a 1TB iPhone 14 Pro Max, he’ll offer the equivalent of ~US$170 over retail, then turn around and sell it for ~US$215 over retail. Doesn’t feel like a lot, but I guess if you do that several times in a day – it adds up. Plus, other scalpers in other areas were dealing in prices as high as ~US$286 over retail, which starts to look more worth the trouble. It’s kind of a risky game, though. One scalper to whom the paper spoke said they were having to let consumer-level iPhone 14s go for less than the retail price. 

Just as the lines aren’t what they used to be, the “grey market” for iPhone isn’t what it used to be either. The paper says most consumers in China seem fine waiting for official orders. According to the piece, a “check on Friday showed that orders for the Pro models still required a wait time of six to seven weeks in mainland China.” In all of this, SCMP sees good tidings for China’s smartphone market in the latest release. According to the report:

The enduring popularity of Apple’s iconic smartphone is expected to give China’s declining handset market a boost, amid weaker consumer demand due to a slowing economy and disruptions in supply chains because of China’s strict Covid-19 control policies.

Looking for Meaning

More financial folk have weighed in on pre-orders for iPhone 14 Pro. I told you last week of an assessment from Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives. He credits strength for the Pro-end of Apple’s latest iPhones versus the not Pro phones to a few factors. Those include the lack of differentiation between last year’s iPhone 13 versus this year’s iPhone 14, as well as the significant incentives being offered by carriers this time around. He also threw in his perennial belief that roughly a quarter of the one-billion iPhones out there have been in use for over three-years and are ripe for an upgrade. 

Mr. Ives has a positive rating on Apple shares. His price target on the shares is $220. 

Also grooving on the pre-orders (back when they were pre-orders) was Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani. Apple 3.0 ran part of a note he wrote last week, wherein he highlighted stronger than expected lead times for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Quoting his note:

Given the data we see and assuming supply is better today vs last year – we think iPhones are poised to see a higher ASP uplift vs expectations, and total demand is much stronger than expected. Into the launch, the fear was how much would demand get impacted by inflation and China lockdowns. So far, demand for the high- end models remains exceptionally strong across all geographies, including China & Europe.

Mr. Daryanani has an “Outperform” rating on Apple shares. His price target on the shares is $185.

Having a Buggy Time

Apple Investigating Freeze After Setup Data Transfer in iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max

Getting an iPhone wasn’t the only problem people had over the weekend. Some folks who got units had issues with the devices as well – one pretty serious sounding and one pretty annoying. On the serious side, a piece on Sunday from MacRumors said that Apple was investigating phones that had frozen after transferring data. The piece cites a memo, wherein:

Apple specifically says that some customers may find their new ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ or ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max models freezing and becoming unresponsive after an iCloud restore or data transfer from their previous ‌iPhone‌ during the Quick Start process.

For now, Apple seems to be suggesting that people who see their new iPhone freeze for more than five-minutes force restart the device. Meanwhile, the memo says Apple is “aware of this issue happening and is investigating.” 

Some Third-Party Apps Make iPhone 14 Pro Camera Shake and Rattle When They Roll

On the annoying end of the bug spectrum, a piece from 9to5 Mac has third-party apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok experiencing issues with the camera on iPhone 14 Pro. Specifically, the thing shakes like crazy – the camera, that is, not the phone. It’s not just the video that’s shaking. At least one poster said they “can see and hear [the camera] shaking…” The piece also points to another video that seems to show “the physical camera module itself is also making a grinding/rattling noise of some sort.” 

Indications in the 9to5 Mac piece are that this is only happening when third-party apps are activated. The piece says it’s also iPhone 14 Pro specific – though I’m not 100% certain whether the means that model specifically, or the Pro end of the iPhone 14 line. Either way, 9to5 Mac thinks the issue is software, not hardware related. Quoting the report:

Because this iPhone 14 Pro camera shaking/rattling problem is only affecting the camera in third-party apps, it’s almost certainly a software bug of some sort. It is likely that these third-party apps weren’t prepared for the iPhone 14 Pro camera changes. In particular, it could be something related to optical image stabilization, hence the rattling sounds the camera module itself makes.

No word of any sort of fix for now. 9to5 Mac figures those will come in the form of individual updates to the affected apps. 

“Where do you think YOU’RE going?” 

It’s not just consumers catching issues with Apple’s latest and greatest. A piece from MacRumors says developers (or people in Apple’s developer program) are as well. According to the report, the iOS 16.1 beta is “preventing the GPS from working properly” on at least some iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max units. If you are among the affected, the report says you’ll either need to “downgrade to iOS 16.0.1,” or go without working GPS “until a later iOS 16.1 beta fixes the issue…” 

watchOS 9 Kills Streaming for Spotify on Apple Watch

When it comes to bugs, new hardware, and new operating systems – the phone’s not having all the fun. A piece from MacRumors says watchOS 9 breaks streaming to Apple Watch from Spotify. According to a message from the streaming audio juggernaut: 

Apple WatchOS 9 introduced a bug that causes Spotify streaming on the Apple Watch to stop working. We urge Spotify Apple Watch users not to install the WatchOS 9 update until Apple has implemented a fix for the issue. Users who are already affected can instead download their content to their Apple Watch and listen offline or stream from their phones.

Kind of a funky bug. User reports seen by MacRumors indicate that streaming stops after about a minute. While the audio is no longer audible, the track progress bar keeps on progressing. Unconfirmed reports say the developer beta of watchOS 9.1 seeded last week fixes the problem. “However” the piece says:

…Apple does not mention the issue in its release notes so users won’t know for sure until Apple rolls out the next Apple Watch update to the public.

Hit the Island: New iOS Game Takes Aim at iPhone’s Notch and Dynamic Island

Businessy-money-wait-times as I’ve been about iPhone 14 so far today, there is fun to be had with the machine and a game to show that off. MacRumors ran a piece to end the week last week about a new game called “Hit the Island.” The site calls it a “pong-style” game, though I think “Breakout” gives one a better idea. 

The game is pretty simple: There’s a paddle at the bottom of the screen that you move back and forth with your finger. There’s also a ball flying around the screen. You’ve got two goals: Don’t let the ball get past your paddle and hit the Dynamic Island at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max display with the ball. 

Sounds cool, but here’s what’s really cool: It works for phones that have a notch as well. Played it on my iPhone 13. Honestly – it reminded me of some of the earliest games in the App Store… the ones that used the heck out of the edge of the screen and iPhone’s accelerometer. If you’ve got an iPhone with a notch or a Dynamic Island, “Hit the Island” may just remind you what a cool thing the iPhone itself actually is. Anyway – it did that for me. 

“Hit the Island” is free. It’s available now in the App Store.

DoJ Wants to Address Court in Epic v. Apple Appeals

The Department of Justice apparently wants in on the Fortnite fight. A piece from Engadget says the DoJ “has asked a US federal judge to participate in the upcoming appeals case between Epic and Apple…” While the 2020 antitrust case between Apple and Epic Games went pretty much Apple’s way, the Justice Department thinks Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, the judge who oversaw the case, was wrong in how she interpreted US antitrust law. In its request, the DoJ said:

The United States believes that its participation at oral argument would be helpful to the court, especially in explaining how the errors (in antitrust law interpretation) could significantly harm antitrust enforcement beyond the specific context of this case…

What they would like is 10-minutes of the court’s time. Neither Epic nor Apple oppose the Department’s participation, though Apple has a request. Either they want the 10-minutes to come out of Epic’s time or they want the whole process to be extended. Such demands may sound petty, but in this instance 10-minutes is a lot. Earlier this year, a piece from Apple Insider explained that the “format for the appeals court sees each side being given 20 minutes to make their case.”

Recode Makes Cook, Ive, Powell Jobs CODE Conference Talk Available on YouTube

And finally today – News of something to watch that won’t cost you a thing, provided you’ve got access to YouTube. Just under two-weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company’s former design chief – Jony Ive, and philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, sat down to talk about Apple’s former CEO at this year’s CODE Conference. It’s also when and where the three announced the Steve Jobs Archive. I had hoped they’d make the full conversation available to everyone – and they have. A piece from MacRumors says it is now available on YouTube.

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