Sales Skew Huge for iPhone 14 Pro and a Surprise Super Bowl Halftime Headliner –

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

During today’s shift on the Observation Deck, we saw details about the high consumer interest in the iPhone 14 Pro family, as well as increased AppleCare+ repair costs. We’ve also got somewhat surprising news about the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show, sponsored by Apple Music. And, we see Apple adding more magic to its products, just to keep us happy with our choice of smartphone, computer and earbuds.

JP Morgan: iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max Interest Far Outweighs Consumer End

J.P. Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee is out with a note about iPhone sales. Basically, they’re going well and skewing to the Pro side. Apple 3.0 ran part of the note. That cites data from Wave7 Research that says sales of iPhone 13 slowed just ahead of the launch of iPhone 14. Chatterjee says that that probably hurt September-quarter iPhone sales, though other analysts have said that launching iPhone 14 relatively early in September could/should boost sales for the quarter. 

Really though, the big news is on sales of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max versus the consumer end. Quoting his note:

…in a survey conducted by Wave7 Research (in collaboration with other research groups), customers are showing more interest towards Pro models, with combined preference of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models being as high as 80%.

Mr. Chatterjee has an “Overweight” rating on Apple shares. His price target on the shares is $200.

Apple Reminds Customers of Increased AppleCare+ Repair Coverage

Remember the change to AppleCare+ Apple made earlier this month?  The company wants to make sure you do. A piece from 9to5Mac says Apple sent out emails late last week, informing/reminding people that the service now comes with an “unlimited” number of accidental damage repairs, up from the two incidents covered before the change. Quoting Apple’s email:

Your AppleCare+ plan now protects your covered device from unlimited incidents of accidental damage from handling (instead of two incidents every 12 months) while the plan is active and in effect. Each incident is subject to the applicable service fees. This additional protection comes at no extra charge to you, and you don’t have to do anything.

Because we are who we are, 9to5Mac can’t help wondering how unlimited “unlimited” is. You know — like “unlimited” data? Whatever the case, stealing and losing are not unlimited. While the AppleCare+ Theft and Loss program has been updated with the “unlimited” repairs, the plan “still only covers up to two incidents of theft or loss per year,” according to 9to5Mac. 

AirPods Pro 2: The Case for Magic iPhone Shows AirPods Pro 2 Case Engraving

Apple does so many little things that are just magical. I remember the first time I put my marigold MagSafe case on my blue iPhone 13 and realized the screen was pulsing with a kind of orangish/marigold color — indicating that it didn’t just have a MagSafe case, it had my MagSafe case. Kind of magical. Now, a piece from MacRumors says they’ve done something more magical with the case for the second generation AirPods Pro. According to the report:

Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their ‌AirPods Pro‌.

So — it’s not just connecting to AirPods. It’s connecting to your AirPods. 

I know it’s technology. But, seriously — it’s magic.

New AirPods Case Shows Charge, No AirPods Required

On more of a practical magic side, the case for Apple’s latest AirPods Pro has another neat trick. A piece from iDownloadBlog says the case for the second-gen stoppers will report how much battery life it has left even without the AirPods inside. According to the report: 

…the charging case that ships with AirPods Pro 2 can report the charge status of its own internal battery to Apple’s Batteries widgets without having to leave earbuds in the case. This is quite different from all other AirPods models which don’t report the case charge level without at least one AirPod in the case.

The piece says that’s thanks to the case’s own wireless connectivity. That connectivity, and the inclusion of Apple’s U1 chip, also gives the case access to Apple’s “Find My” network. Or … gives Apple’s  “Find My” network access to the case, depending on how you look at it. 

13-Inch M2 MacBook Pros Hit Apple Refurbished Store

Apple’s 13-inch M2 MacBook Pros have hit the refurbished store. MacRumors says the machines — introduced this past June — don’t come at much of a discount, but — you know … money saved is money earned. 

According to the report, a refurbished 13-inch MacBook Pro with ‌M2‌ and 256GB of storage will run buyers $1,169 — $130 less than the same machine new. A 512GB refurbished model will run $1,349 — a savings of $150. 

Apple’s refurbished store says each machine comes “with genuine Apple replacement parts (as needed),” and that each “has been thoroughly cleaned and inspected.” They come with a one-year warranty with AppleCare+ as an option as well. You can find out more at 

Apple Opens Fourth Store in South Korea

Apple’s fourth store in South Korea opened over the weekend. A piece from AppleInsider says the Apple Jamsil location slid open its doors on Saturday. Announced a little under two-weeks ago, the piece describes a typical, mall-based Apple Store (as opposed to a stand-alone store or one in a historic building). That includes an open storefront, large wooden tables, a Pickup counter, side tables for demos… pretty much an Apple Store.  

Though not in attendance, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted the opening. On Twitter, Cook said, “We’re excited to connect with more customers in Seoul as we open Apple Jamsil in the vibrant Songpa District!”

Rhianna to Headline Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show

When word hit last week that Apple Music would be sponsoring the halftime show for the 2023 Super Bowl, everybody knew that Taylor Swift would be the star. Even before I saw the official announcement, a personality I follow on Sirius/XM was saying it’s obviously going to be Taylor Swift. The entertainment news site Variety ran a piece Friday highlighting a number of reasons Swift was the odds-on favorite to headline the show. So it was kind of surprising Sunday afternoon when the NFL announced pop/R&B megastar Rihanna would headline the first halftime show sponsored by Apple Music.

Going alphabetically, the release had Apple Music, the NFL, and Roc Nation announcing Rihanna’s appearance. Apple is the presenting sponsor, the NFL is the NFL, and Roc Nation is an entertainment agency founded by Jay-Z. Roc Nation will serve “as the strategic entertainment advisors of the live performance,” if you’re wondering why Jay-Z was quoted all over the place talking about the show.

Speaking on Apple’s behalf, VP of Apple Music and Beats Oliver Schusser was quoted as saying:

Rihanna is an incredible recording artist who is a favorite for many millions of Apple Music customers around the world… We’re excited to partner with Rihanna, Roc Nation and the NFL to bring music and sports fans a momentous show…

The press release says “fans can expect to see exclusive details and sneak peeks leading up to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show” over the coming months. The NFL says they can do that “by following @AppleMusic on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.” 

Which is funny to me on many fronts.

Apple Arcade Getting Exclusive Edition of NBA 2K23

From the real gridiron to the pretend court — it looks like Apple Arcade is getting a special edition of NBA 2K. 9to5Mac says Apple’s subscription gaming service is set to welcome “NBA 2K23 Arcade Edition.” It sounds like it’ll be the usual game, with the addition of a “Greatest” mode. That’ll have players going toe-to-toe with NBA greats of yesterday and today “to see who’s really the greatest finisher, shooter, play-maker, or defenseman in the NBA.”

“NBA 2K23 Arcade Edition” hits Apple Arcade on Tuesday 18 October. 

Apple TV+ Holiday Film “Spirted” Gets Mid-November Release Dates

And finally today, Apple’s first, bonafide holiday film has a release date. While the company did the Mariah Carey Christmas special a couple of years ago and that Christmas decoration neighborhood fight documentary last year, Spirited could be the kind of perennial holiday hit that such movies as Scrooged, A Christmas Story, and Elf have become. 

We first started hearing about this one in 2021. That’s when Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, and Octavia Spencer started filming the movie, with Ferrell and Reynolds dropping hints about the shoot on social media. Flash forward about a year, and we find AppleInsider saying that the Cupertino-streamer’s “reimagining” of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will be out in November.

The film is probably a comedy with Farrell and Reynolds in the mix. Definitely a musical, since a Twitter post from Apple TV+ says, “Yes, it’s a musical.”

Promotion is also likely to be everywhere, with both theatrical and streaming releases planned. Spirited will hit theaters on Friday 11 November. It’ll start streaming one-week later, hitting Apple TV+ on Friday 18 November.

Just in time for the holidays.

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