It Used to Be a Rumor

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

It’s new Mac Tuesday, notes from financial folk, and Apple honors MLK.

Apple Brings M2 Pro and M2 Max to MacBook Pro and Mac mini

Apple unwrapped new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook models today, powering them with the M2 Pro and M2 Max chipsets. We’d heard whispers of the announcement, both from tipsters and from Canadian regulatory filings. The Cupertino-based company needed approval from the government there for its new Wi-Fi 6E support, and the regulatory filing showed up online.

9to5Mac ran a piece Monday saying that the Cupertino-company is holding “Mac-related briefings with influencers and select members of the press this week,” with a press release announcement in Apple’s online newsroom coming as early as Tuesday, which it did. 

According to The Mac Observer, the new laptops offer several significant upgrades over the previous generation.

Battery life is better than ever, the new models support Wi-Fi 6E and the computers support 8K display over HDMI for the first time in a Mac.

At the same time, Apple announced new Mac mini models with the M2 SoC. Gone is the Intel-based high-end Mac mini. Instead, you can pick from a Mac mini with the M2 chipset (which is reduced to start at $599) or a higher-end computer with the M2 Pro.

All the new Macs are available to order now, with delivery and in-store availability set for Jan. 24.

Eyeing Returning iPhone Sales 

Rosenblatt Cuts Apple Target to $165, Stays Positive on Shares

Two from the financial front today, both positive and… well… not negative, exactly… 

A piece from AppleInsider says Rosenblatt Securities has cut its price target on Apple shares. That’s tied to production problems last quarter for the Pro end of the iPhone line, and resulting waning interest. 

According to the firm, a September survey of over 1,000 people in the US found 29% of respondents saying they’d either already bought or planned to buy an iPhone 14. For people planning to buy, 44% planned to get an iPhone 14 Pro Max — top-of-the-line in terms of price. Skip ahead three-months and those numbers go down. A December survey of over 1,000 people in the US found 25% of respondents saying they’d either already bought or planned to buy an iPhone 14. For people planning to buy, the portion getting an iPhone 14 Pro Max fell to 34%. The way Rosenblatt analysts see it:

That would seem a logical response to production constraints in Zhengzhou that made Apple unable to deliver an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max ordered in the Dec. quarter on Black Friday or later in time for Christmas.

Of course, production’s better now. That should lead to “better trends in later periods,” according to the firm. But iPhone isn’t Apple’s only issue. Like other firms, Rosenblatt expresses concern over apparently slowing growth for App Store revenue — games revenue, specifically.

They’re not worried though. While the firm did cut its 12-month price target on Apple shares from $189 to $165, it maintains a “Buy” rating on them.

Evercore Adds Apple to “Tactical Outperform” List

Seeing hotter positivity, it seems, is Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani. Apple 3.0 ran part of a note, wherein the analyst put Apple shares on his firm’s “tactical outperform” list. Contextually, I thought I knew what that term meant, but I wanted to be sure. According to Investopedia:

Tactical trading (or tactical asset allocation)is a style of investing for the relatively short term based on anticipated market trends or relatively short-lived changes in outlook based on fundamental or technical analysis. Tactical trading involves taking long or short positions in a range of markets, from equities and fixed income to commodities and currencies.

It does not sound to me as if Daryanani is suggesting tactical trading. Rather, he seems to see elements that will stand Apple in very good stead over the next several weeks/few months. Put simply: Apple’s about to gun it. Points in Daryanani’s note:

  • “Apple has underperformed the S&P 500 by 16% since it reported Sept-qtr earnings creating a compelling buying opportunity ahead of Dec-qtr earnings which should serve as a positive catalyst.”
  • While December-quarter numbers are likely to miss the Street’s expectations (thanks to the disastrous quarter in “iPhone City”), Mr. D and company “are expecting a Mar-qtr guide that is ~5% above consensus driven by the recovery of iPhone sales lost in the Dec-qtr.”
  • All of those sales aren’t coming back, though the ones that do will still paint a pretty picture. Evercore thinks about 8-million iPhones were missed in the December-quarter. Daryanani and crew “currently expect Apple to recover ~3-4M of the lost unit sales in the Mar-qtr,” which will make March-quarter sales this year look great compared to years past.

Additionally, the analyst says foreign exchange headwinds and the Services business are both improving for Apple. All of that will lead to a better than expected March-quarter — hence “adding Apple to the tactical outperform list…” 

Daryanani has an “Outperform” rating on Apple shares. His price target on the shares is $190.

Supply and Demand Meet: One-Day Wait for iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max Delivery in US

Supply and demand seem to be hand-in-hand where iPhone 14 Pro is concerned. Cult of Mac says folks in the states ordering an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max from Apple can expect delivery the very next day. That’s for any color and any configuration, according to the report. 

If you’ve been considering one, the Cult advises that now’s the time to do it. While production of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are in full-swing, some worry that the COVID outbreak that’s followed the relaxation of China’s zero-COVID policies could hinder supply.

Upcoming Software Update Will Address Horizontal Lines on iPhone 14 Pro

If yours is one of the iPhone 14 Pros with horizontal lines running across the display, Apple’s aware of the issue and on it. Word started circulating in December of green and yellow lines flashing on some Pro phones when the phones were being turned on. 

Now a piece from MacRumors says Apple has acknowledged the issue in an internal memo. The problem is said by the company to be tied to software, not hardware. According to the memo, “Apple is aware of the issue and a software update is coming soon that will resolve the issue.”

Apple TV+ Announces Premier Date for ‘My Kind of Country’

Apple TV+ is getting into game shows. Well… competition shows, though now I really want them to try a game show. From the people who brought you “Planet of the Apps,” AppleInsider says the Cupertino-streamer has announced a premier date for “My Kind of Country.” 

Ordered in August of 2020, Apple’s press release on the premier says the show is a “groundbreaking new music competition series,” that will see “scouts searching the globe to find talented artists and break the next big country star.”

Hopefully that’s “break” as in “launch to stardom” not “dash their dreams into a million pieces.” Though done right, either could be compelling TV. 

Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine produces the show. Witherspoon will feature on the series, along with country singer Kacey Musgraves, 2021’s CMA New Artist of the Year Jimmie Allen, and other well known country artists.

“My Kind of Country” hits Apple TV+ on Friday, March 24.

Apple Music Teases Rihana Super Bowl Halftime Show

Are you ready for some halftime? In September, the announcement was made that Apple Music would be sponsoring the Super Bowl Halftime Show. That was set to start with Super Bowl LVII, which is in about a month. 

Headlining the halftime is Rihanna, and Apple Music does not want you to forget nor miss that. To that end, AppleInsider says the streaming music service has released a trailer for the halftime show featuring Rihanna. You can see it on YouTube if you want (that’s where I go for all of my Super Bowl commercials these days). 

Super Bowl LVII is set to take place on Feb. 12, 2023. Oh! They’re doing it on a Sunday. Go figure. 

‘Pachinko’ and ‘Black Bird’ Win Critics Choice Awards for Apple TV+

Congrats to a couple of Apple TV+ titles. AppleInsider says “Pachinko” and “Black Bird” picked up a couple of trophies at this past weekend’s 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards. “Pachinko” won the award for Best Foreign Language series, while “Black Bird” performer Paul Walter Hauser won the prize for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television.

Apple Turns Homepage Over to Honoring MLK, Offers Free Book of King’s

And finally today, Apple did as it’s done in years past on Monday. The company turned its homepage over to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Monday holiday meant to celebrate his life and work. 

Cult of Mac ran the picture of Dr. King from Apple’s site — the great orator caught, it seems, in mid sermon. That was accompanied by a quote of King’s: “This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

While a picture and a quote tend to be part of Apple’s annual homage, the Cupertino-company added something new to the mix. Under the quote from King was a link to an Apple Books copy of a book co-written by King, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. The book is described by its publisher as “MLK’s classic account of the first successful large-scale act of nonviolent resistance in America: the Montgomery bus boycott.” The piece says:

The book “tells the stories that informed [King’s] radical political thinking before, during and after the boycott,” including witnessing economic injustice and discrimination… 

The book was being offered at no cost through Apple Books on Monday. One imagines it’ll stay free for a day or two at least.

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

With a new MacBook Pro announcement rumored for today, TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I talk over what might make a laptop announcement exciting. Plus — continuing to size-up iPhone sales for the current quarter. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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