The iPhone 14 Plus Pleases Reviewers, UBS Says iPhone Results May be Flat and a New Apple TV+ Trailer

Observation Deck Featured Image Alt 3

Looking out over Apple-land from the Observation Deck, the reviews are in on the iPhone 14 Plus, and they’re very favorable. We also see UBS claiming Apple will report flat iPhone sales, more of the Cupertino-based company’s international legal scuffles and a new movie on Apple TV+ could be a shoo-in for an Oscar. Seems like a good way to end the week, for the most part.

Positive Reviews for iPhone 14 Plus

If you’re getting an iPhone 14 Plus, you’re apparently getting a great big, solid phone. “Bigger phone, smaller price” seems to be the theme of reviews I spotted. Going over some of the headlines:

CNBC: The iPhone 14 Plus wins on battery life and screen size, and is $200 cheaper than the Pro Max

CNET: iPhone 14 Plus Review: If You Just Want a Huge Screen, Here’s Your Upgrade

“A big iPhone without the big price tag,” says CNET.

WSJ: iPhone 14 Plus Review: Big Screen, Big Battery, Not-as-Big Price

The Journal’s Joanna Stern says:

The iPhone 14 Plus arrives a few weeks behind Apple’s other new phones. It’s the best option for those looking for a big phone with long battery life that’s a little lighter on frills.

Engadget: Apple iPhone 14 Plus review: It’s an iPhone, but bigger

“Starting at $899,” says Engadget, “the iPhone 14 Plus neatly fills the gap between the standard iPhone 14 and the pricier Pro Line.” 

The Verge: Apple iPhone 14 Plus review: a big deal

“Excellent battery life and a large display make the 14 Plus upgrade-worthy,” according to the site.

So now I want an iPhone 14 Plus and an iPhone 14 Pro Max. (Don’t tell my iPhone 13 I said that)

The iPhone 14 Plus October Itinerary 

With Apple’s bigger little phone hitting the first round of countries today, the Cupertino-company has let the world in on where it’s going next. iDownloadBlog runs down who is getting what and when. 

According to the piece, more than 30-countries are getting the Plus today, including the usual day-one suspects like the Australia, Canada, China, many countries in Europe, the UK, and the US. 

Take a week to breathe and a smaller round-two is set for next Friday 14 October. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-countries get the phone then — Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey among them. 

Take a couple of weeks to catch your breath, and a still smaller round gets its hands on iPhone 14 Plus. iDownloadBlog lists but three countries picking up the phone on Friday 28 October — those being Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

UBS Forecasts Flat iPhone Results for September-Quarter

Don’t let new iPhone Day: Part Deux excite you. A glance at the financial pages tells you there’s always reason to worry. Seeking Alpha writes up a note from UBS analyst David Vogt. The piece has the analyst indicating “that wait times for the new iPhone 14 product line have eased, indicating ‘flattish’ year-over-year growth for the September quarter.”

Kind of a strange assertion. We’re into the December-quarter. Assuming he’s right about easing wait times, there was nothing easy about waits for the iPhone 14 Pros to round out last quarter — And that was with an extra week of availability. 

The problem may be the mix. Citing numbers from his firm’s Evidence Lab, Seeking Alpha says:

Vogt said the data shows Apple’s high-end iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have seen “elevated” wait times relative to last year, but the lower-end iPhone 14 is “readily available,” and wait times for the iPhone 14 Plus — [out today] — [are] at roughly 7 to 8 days across most regions.

While a number of analysts think revenue for the Pro phones will make up for weakness on the consumer end, Vogt’s not convinced. He thinks everything the 14 Pros had going for them at the end of September “is likely to be offset by continued strength in the U.S. dollar,” according to Seeking Alpha.

Unfun as all of that sounds, Vogt’s still really into Apple. He’s got a “Buy” rating on the company’s shares and a price target of $185. 

France Lowers Apple Price-Fixing Fine from €1.1 Billion to €372 Million

Apple’s had a fine in France lowered by a lot, though not enough for the Cupertino-company. A piece from MacRumors says a hexagonal appeals court cut a fine for alleged anticompetitive behavior from €1.1 billion to €372 million. 

According to the report, French antitrust regulators fined Apple in early 2020 for setting prices on Apple gear with authorized resellers so high that the prices the resellers charged ended up close to the prices Apple charged consumers itself. According to MacRumors:

The fine was reduced after the appeals court dropped one of the three main charges related to price-fixing allegations, and significantly lowered the rate applied to calculate the overall fine…

While Apple may like the idea of paying about a third of the original €1.1 billion, what it really wants to pay is nothing. A piece from Barron’s (via Apple News+) says that’s still the way the company is aiming. The site quotes Apple as saying:

…while the court correctly reversed part of the French Competition Authority’s decision, we believe it should be overturned in full and plan to appeal. The decision relates to practices from more than a decade ago that even the (French Competition Authority) recognized are no longer in use.

Italian Court Dismisses Fines Against Apple and Amazon

Something Apple may be thinking: Why can’t France be more like Italy? A piece from MacRumors earlier this week says an Italian court has dropkicked a €173 million fine against both Apple and Amazon — again for alleged anticompetitive behavior. 

Boiling it way down, the two companies were fined late last year for working together to limit which third-party sellers could sell Beats products on Amazon’s Italian site. Antitrust authorities there said the limitations were meant to “stifle competition and keep prices high,” according to the report.

No word in the piece on why the court killed the fine, just that it did. Amazon is said to have welcomed the ruling. Apple and Italian regulators offered no comment.

Apple TV+ Outs Trailer and Release Date for ‘Causeway’

Apple may have serious competition come Oscar season, coming from Apple itself. The company is making the Antoine Fuqua/Will Smith historical drama Emancipation Oscar-eligible. Now it seems to be doing the same with Causeway. And it’s got at least one nomination written all over it. 

According to Apple’s press release about the film, Causeway tells the story of “a military engineer who has returned to the States from Afghanistan with a debilitating brain injury after an IED explosion.” But she’s not just dealing with the trauma of war. Back in her hometown of New Orleans, she also has to confront memories of a traumatic childhood. She finds a new, supportive friend though — an auto mechanic who’s dealing with trauma of his own.

Brian Tyree Henry plays the mechanic. You know him from the TV series Atlanta, as well as the films If Beale Street Could Talk, Marvel’s The Eternals, and Godzilla Versus Kong. The returning vet is played by Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence — and there (I’d be willing to bet) is a practically guaranteed Oscar nomination.  Not just because it’s her — I’ve seen the trailer.

Causeway hits Apple TV+ on Friday 4 November. It starts a limited theatrical run the same day — a requirement for Oscar eligibility. The trailer makes the film look tough and touching. You can catch the trailer on YouTube. 

KRON-4’s Mark Burnette Retires

Finally today — There’s a pretty good chance that this is not going to mean anything personally to anyone who reads it, but I want to say it publicly: Mark Burnette has retired. Mark spent 45 years in TV, 26 of them directing the news and live programing at KRON-4 in San Francisco. I worked with Mark there when I was producing the Rob Black Show from 2005 to 2008. What I told Mark on LinkedIn was that a lot of people made me feel like I had no place in the control room. I suspect that they were right, though they also put me there: That’s another story. 

Mark was not one of those people. I know I frustrated him because I had no idea what I was doing when I started. No matter how little I knew and how badly I screwed up — and I nearly left us with dead air more than once… Not only did Mark never let me fall… he never treated me like I didn’t belong there. 

In addition to being a TV guy, Mark’s a pilot and flight instructor. So — I could panic. He could handle it. 

We were friends when we worked together. We’ve lost touch over the years. But what Mark gave me was invaluable. Everyone should be so lucky. If I ever get the chance, I hope that I’m as cool headed, helpful, and genuine to others as Mark was to me. 

Fair skies and tailwinds, Mr. Burnette. And I can never thank you enough. 

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