Plenty of iPads to Go Around

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

Turns out there are still plenty of iPads, updated operating systems approach, and the icky state of smartphones.

Correction: 10th-Gen iPads Still Available for 26 October Delivery

Earlier this week, I said that orders for the tenth-generation iPad had slipped a week or two. Meant to ship on Oct. 26, my checks indicated delivery on some models between Nov. 2 and Nov. 10. Well — either something’s changed or I misread something. Probably the latter. AppleInsider ran a report Thursday saying:

All models and configurations of Apple’s latest iPads can still be preordered for shipping by October 26, 2022, but buyers will have to wait for the Apple Pencil, adapter, and Magic Keyboard Folio.

It was probably that that messed me up. Scrolling down the iPad page, they’re not just offering color, capacity, connectivity, and engraving on the product page. They’re also including accessories like the Apple Pencil, adapter, and Magic Keyboard Folio. 

I think offering it that way on the page is new this time. I probably stopped at the second or third delivery date on the page for the thing I was actually trying to order. Or — pretending to actually try to order. 

Anyway, my bad. Orders Thursday night/Friday morning did still show delivery for the tenth-generation iPad for next Wednesday 26 October. The new, $249 Keyboard Folio shows delivery in “1-2 weeks,” according to AppleInsider. As for Apple Pencil, if you want to charge that with the iPad, you’ll need an adapter. If you already have a first-generation Apple Pencil, you can buy the adapter from Apple. Otherwise, they’re selling an Apple Pencil + Adapter bundle. Either of those shows a wait of “2-3 weeks,” according to the report.

macOS 13 and iOS 16.1 Due Out Monday October 24

While next Wednesday is for new hardware, next Monday is for new operating systems. Apple seems to be giving macOS Ventura an extra polish. MacRumors says the Cupertino-crew seeded a second release candidate of macOS 13 to developers on Thursday. Sort of surprising — the report does not mention public testers, calling out developers only.

macOS Ventura is due out to the great unwashed on Monday, October 24. 

iPhone-Only Apple Fitness+ Hits Monday

Due out the same day is iOS 16.1. A separate piece from MacRumors says Apple confirmed that operating system’s arrival in a press release on Thursday. What’s funny is the press release wasn’t really announcing the new OS. Rather it was heralding the wider availability of Apple Fitness+. 

Announced in late 2020 specifically for Apple Watch, Thursday’s release says availability of the feature will expand to iPhone users without Apple Watches in 21 countries at the start of next week. According to the release:

iPhone users will have access to the entire service featuring over 3,000 studio-style workouts and meditations, all led by a diverse and inclusive team of trainers. Users will also see onscreen trainer guidance and interval timing, and estimated calories burned will be used to make progress on their Move ring.

Note the estimated calories burned. Without that close connection enjoyed by Apple’s wearable, estimated will have to do. 

The release teased other features coming to the service, including the Taylor Swift Artist Spotlight we heard about last week. It also highlights a new season of “Time to Walk” featuring such notables as singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, former astronaut and colonel Eileen M. Collins, and “Ted Lasso” star Hannah Waddingham. 

Here in the states, the feature will run subscribers $9.99 a month or a discounted $79.99 per year. The service is also included in the Apple One Premier bundle. As far as hardware’s concerned, it reaches back a decent way. Apple says Fitness+ requires an iPhone 8 or later running iOS 16.1, or an Apple Watch Series 3 or later paired with iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14.3 or later.

Canalys: iPhone Shows Q3 Growth in lumping Smartphone Market

The third-quarter of 2022 was the third consecutive quarter of smartphone declines according to the latest numbers from Canalys. If you didn’t hear the asterisk, it says “Apple Not Included.” 

For the sector as a whole, the firm says the September-quarter saw smartphone shipments drop 9% versus the same quarter a year earlier. That made last quarter the worst Q3 since 2014. According to Canalys:

The gloomy economic outlook has led consumers to delay purchasing electronic hardware and prioritize other essential spending. This will likely continue to dampen the smartphone market for the next six to nine months.

Only two smartphone makers were able to grow share last quarter. By the firm’s reckoning, first-place Samsung grew its global share from 21% to 22%, while second place Apple grew its share from 15% to 18% year-on-year. What’s funny is Canalys seems to completely discount Samsung’s growth, saying it was “driven by heavy promotions to reduce channel inventory.” The way the firm puts it:

Apple was the only vendor in the top five to record positive growth, improving its market position further with an 18% share during the market downturn thanks to relatively resilient demand for iPhones. 

What’s next won’t be so bad, it seems. It’s what’s after next that’s worrisome. One analyst quoted in the release notes the upcoming holiday season. Assuming consumers find the sort of discounts and bundles for which they’ll be looking, current quarter sales could be good. “However,” the analyst says, “it will be too soon to see the upcoming Q4 as the real turning point of market recovery.”

Component Maker Murata Expects Smartphone Weakness to Persist

Seconding that slowing smartphone demand emotion is Murata Manufacturing. Never heard of ‘em? If you’re an iPhone user, you’re carrying at least some of their hardware. Based in Japan, a piece from 9to5Mac says Maruta makes smartphone components for a number of companies, including Apple. Just as Canalys says it expects the smartphone slump to continue for the next six-to-nine months, 9to5Mac has Murata indicating that “it expects the current smartphone slump to continue into 2023.” The piece has Murata president Norio Nakajima telling Bloomberg:

Consumers might have been willing to buy new phones even with small upgrades if the economy were in a better shape… What I’m afraid will happen is smartphones get further commoditized and people will wait even longer before upgrading.

If you’re listening for another asterisk, there’s not one for Apple exactly, though Apple’s may be implied. While Murata’s president did not talk about specific brands, the piece says one silver lining he sees “is sustained demand for high-end phones even during the economic downturn.”

Report: TSMC Eyes More Plants in Japan as Tensions with China Persist

You know what’s neat to note? Part of the supply chain planning for the future, rather than just fearing it. CNBC ran a piece earlier this week that’s still kind of dystopian, but trying to outrun it. According to the site, Apple partner and chipmaker to the planet TSMC is thinking about growing plans (and plants) in Japan, “as tensions between China and the West continue to create challenges for the company…” 

The piece cites a Wall Street Journal report, which cites unnamed so-and-sos said to know something about something saying Japan has said it would be totally cool with TSMC building more plants there than the one it’s building already. That’s unofficial of course, hence the secret so-and-sos.

Making things easier with the west would be great, though there’s also local trouble for TSMC. The “T” stands for “Taiwan,” an area over which China has claimed ownership. According to CNBC:

Global leaders have voiced concern about Taiwan’s continued independence from China. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent trip to Taiwan seemed to further inflame tensions, with China’s government launching military drills and halting some Taiwanese imports in response.

Displaying an art for understatement, TSMC Chairman Mark Liu was quoted at an event this week saying:

The U.S.-China trade conflict and the escalation of cross-Strait tensions have brought more serious challenges to all industries, including the semiconductor industry…

As for news of a potential expansion to Japan, the piece says, “TSMC did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.”

Apple TV+ Announces Steve Curry Doc ‘Underrated’

The other day I joked here that the “MyCAREER” mode for NBA 2K23 in Apple Arcade should end with a development deal at Apple TV+ as one of the possible outcomes. I think I was kidding, though I might not have been joking.

Apple TV+ issued a press release this week, announcing Underrated. That is a documentary “featuring the breakout story of NBA superstar Stephen Curry.” The release says the film will focus on Curry’s:

…historic success during the 2008 March Madness NCAA Tournament, as well as his record-shattering and game-changing playing style that turned him from an overlooked prospect to an NBA legend. The film culminates in his incredible 2022 run to a fourth NBA title and his first NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy.

You’re telling me the ending? Spoilers! What’s the point of watching now? 

A24 has a hand in the film. They’ve had a hand in a few notable documentaries, including Val, focused on the life of actor Val Kilmer, and Amy, focused on the life of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. They’re also behind the Emmy nominated, Apple TV+ design docuseries “Home.” 

Big on the short titles. 

No word on when Underrated will hit the screen.

Apple TV+ Film ‘Raymond and Ray’ Now Streaming

Here’s something hitting your TV today (assuming you’re an Apple TV+ subscriber). 9to5Mac says the Ewan McGregor/Ethan Hawke dramedy Raymond and Ray starts streaming today. 

Raymond and Ray are brothers who had kind of a crap dad. I mean — he gave them basically the same name. “…just one act of spite in a line of many,” according to the piece. When the dad dies, the brothers find out that their father’s dying wish was for them to dig his grave. Over the course of the film, they meet family members they did not know they had. 

It’s scoring well with audiences on RottenTomatoes, though critics aren’t terribly impressed. They’ve given it a rotten score of 50 so far. If you want to to be the judge, Raymond and Ray is streaming now on Apple TV+. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TV Party Tonight! Netflix is letting/asking/forcing(?) folks who are “sharing” accounts to move to accounts of their own. TMO Writer Nick deCourville fills us in. Plus, Nick and I offer three picks each for titles you need to see on Apple TV+. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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