A Tale of Two Quarters and Bumble-ing into Bantr

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

Mac shipments are up, according to one analysis. Oh, but wait, they’re really down, according to another. Apple’s squishing more bugs, another Apple TV+ series is blurring the lines between reality and fiction, and yet another entry in the streaming service’s catalog. All of that and more, from today’s viewpoint on the Observation Deck.

A Tale of Two Quarters

IDC: Mac Shipments Soar as Remainder of Computers Slip

Early in the day on Monday, IDC hit with computer numbers that looked absolutely amazing for Apple. Late in the evening on Monday, Gartner hit with numbers that looked as bad for Apple as every other computer maker out there. 

Last quarter was a bad quarter for laptops, notebooks, and computers of all sorts according to market tracker IDC — the Mac not included. CNET had the firm reporting sliding computer sales. According to IDC, the September-quarter saw global computer shipments slip to 74.3-million machines. That was a little bit better than the June-quarter, but nowhere near as good as the same quarter a year earlier. Shipments for the third quarter of 2022 were down 15% versus the third quarter of 2021, according to IDC. 

I know what you’re thinking: Economic uncertainty, right? That might be part of the problem. The CNET piece lists a couple factors for the fall: Lower demand and problems in the supply chain. Another piece on the numbers from Cult of Mac says the supply chain issues were tied to a wave of COVID lockdowns implemented in China in late spring and early summer of this year. As for the slower demand, while today’s economic uncertainty may play a part, the PC space was also up against a really tough compare. “Shipments reached their highest volume in almost a decade in 2021,” according to the CNET report. 

The Good News, According to IDC

Let us get to the good news, as far as Apple is concerned — at least according to one firm. IDC says sales of Apple computers were way up year-on-year. According to the firm, the Cupertino-company saw Mac shipments rise 40.2% in the September-quarter, versus the same quarter a year earlier. 

Just as the PC market’s fall was focused on a few factors, so was the Mac’s rise. Cult of Mac says the recently released MacBook Air played a part. Additionally, Apple was able to spend the September-quarter catching up to demand that had built after the COVID lockdowns in the supply chain in China earlier in the year. 

Going through IDC’s numbers, the Cult says “Apple shipped 10.1 million Macs in the September-quarter…” That was way up from the 4.7 million machines it shipped in the June-quarter, and way up from the 7.2-million shipped in the September-quarter of 2021.

Of the top-five computer makers tracked, IDC says only Apple was able to show growth last quarter. Running down those five:

  1. Lenovo saw shipments drop 16.1%
  2. HP saw shipments drop 27.8%
  3. Dell saw shipments drop 21.2%
  4. Apple saw shipments rise 40.2%
  5. Asus saw shipments drop 7.8%

The grey group of others fared no better. The “and the rest” crew saw shipments decline 19.4%, according to IDC. 

Gartner: Apple Falls Just as Hard as Rest of PC Market

Much, much later in the day on Monday — so late we call it “night” in most parts, IDC competitor Gartner hit with numbers that were largely inline with IDC’s with one major exception: That firm says Mac shipments fell about as hard last quarter as the rest of the personal computer space. It’s really pretty amazing. While IDC saw Mac shipments of 10.1 million units — up 40% year-on-year, Gartner saw shipments of 5.8-million units — down 15.6% from the same quarter a year earlier. 

Otherwise, it’s kind of amazing how close they were. According to Gartner: 

  1. Lenovo shipments were down 15.3%
  2. HP shipments were down 27.9%
  3. Dell shipments were down 21.1%
  4. Apple shipments were down 15.6%
  5. Asus shipments were down 7.5%
  6. Acer shipments were down 25.6%

“And the rest” were down 17.3%

Seriously — the furthest off the two firms were besides the wild divergence on Apple was two percentage points on the “others” category and the surprise inclusion of Acer. 

I first spotted the Gartner numbers on Philip Elmer-DeWitt’s Apple 3.0. There, he posed an interesting question: 

Up 40% year over year in one estimate and down 15.6% in the other. Why do these guys have so much trouble with Apple — and only with Apple?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know.

Bug Busting Updates for iPhone and Apple Watch

Apple hit with a couple of small but important OS updates on Monday. First, a piece from MacRumors says the Cupertino-crew let fly with iOS 16.0.3. Issues addressed include:

  • A problem where iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max were not getting incoming call and app notifications in a timely fashion (or at all in some cases)
  • A problem where the mic volume was too low on CarPlay calls on using one of the iPhone 14 models
  • A problem where the Camera on Apple’s latest Pro phones was slow to launch or switch between modes
  • An issue where a malformed email could make the Mail app go crashy-crash at launch

The other OS update was for one of Apple’s wearables. A separate piece from MacRumors had Apple releasing watchOS 9.0.2 on Monday. Issues addressed with this one include:

  • One where Spotify would not stream properly from the Spotify app for Apple Watch
  • One where the Snooze alarm kept piping back up for AssistiveTouch users even after the alarm was deleted
  • One where Fitness and Wallet data wasn’t syncing completely for a newly paired watch
  • One where audio on the mic was working intermittently for some Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Series 8 users

Bumble Harnesses Power of ‘Ted Lasso’ for In-App “Bantr Live” Promotion

The Apple TV+ smash Ted Lasso keeps blurring the line between AFC Richmond and reality. On his recent trip to the UK, Apple CEO Tim Cook was photographed in the stands of the fictitious football club cheering with some of the show’s actors (or characters, maybe). The club will be featured in FIFA 23, a football/soccer video game that features managers, coaches, players, and teams from the real world. And now, the series is part of a promotion for a dating app that parallels a story line from Ted Lasso season two. 

TechCrunch says “Bumble, the women-focused dating app, has now partnered with ‘Ted Lasso’ to bring the experience of Bantr to its users.” “Bantr” was a fictitious app featured on Ted Lasso.  Promoted by one of the characters on the show, the app lets users chat and get to know each other but will not let them see pictures first. It led to a rather interesting relationship on the show (no spoilers). Now, TechCrunch says:

…Bumble is launching a weekly “Bantr Live” experience, which mimics blind dating by having the user connect via chat without seeing what the potential match looks like.

Olivia Yu, Global VP of Partnerships for Bumble, says this is a thing Bumle users have been asking for. The piece has her saying in a statement:

The premise of Bantr is a dating experience many of our members have expressed interest in over the years. Bantr Live enables our community to connect with someone unexpectedly and learn more about a person before seeing them. We look forward to people on Bumble having fun with Bantr Live and connecting and dating in a new and exciting way…

“Bantr Live” on Bumble starts this Thursday and runs every Thursday through the end of the year. I assume there’s more info in the Bumble app. “Also,” the piece says, “as part of the partnership, Bumble users can redeem a two-month subscription to Apple TV+.”

Because — you know… what good’s a promotion without promotion?

Apple TV+ Announces Trailer and Release Date for Selena Gomez Documentary

And finally today, the start of November stands to be kind of heavy on Apple TV+. We heard last week that the Jennifer Lawrence/Brian Tyree Henry drama Causeway will release the first weekend of the month. Now, a piece from 9to5Mac says the Selena Gomez documentary, My Mind and Me, will premier on the same day. According to the report:

The intimate documentary film follows Gomez over the last six years of her life, confronting her mental health challenges. Behind the scenes of her celebrity status, she battled with bipolar disorder and the skin condition lupus. Her lupus was treated with a course of chemotherapy.

If you want to make a night of it, maybe send the kids to bed early. Both Causeway and the Gomez documentary are rated R. Both hit Apple TV+ on Friday 4 November. Trailers for both the drama and the documentary are available now on YouTube.

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