Two Sides of Foldable iPads

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A fight over foldable iPads, Apple’s in trouble with the NLRB, and remembering the year that just started.

A Fight Over Foldable iPads

TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is going to introduce a foldable iPad in 2024, while Bloomberg scribe Mark Gurman says — no, it isn’t. And we’ve got ourselves a nerd fight!

Early in the day Monday, Ming-Chi Kuo hit with a short thread on Twitter. The first Tweet said that “Anjie Technology will be the new beneficiary of the all-new design foldable iPad.” The second doubled down on that saying, “I’m positive about the foldable iPad in 2024 and expect this new model will boost shipments and improve the product mix.” The third said the foldable tablet will come with a carbon kickstand, while the fourth explained why Anjie will be the beneficiary. 

Now the bad news, assuming any of it can actually be considered “news.” No new iPads this year, or not much in the way of new iPads anyway. “There may be no new iPad releases in the next 9-12 months,” according to the TFI analyst, with a refresh of the iPad mini “more likely to begin mass production in 1Q24.” That’s got him expecting iPad sales to drop 10% to 15% this year versus last. 

Bloomberg’s Gurman and the TF International analyst do agree on the lack of tablet newness from Apple this year. Gurman took to Twitter with one post. “As I wrote before,” tapped Gurman, “2023 will be a light year for the iPad (and Watch).” He also linked to an edition of his Power On newsletter, which said of iPad in 2023:

  • Apple has been working on larger iPads, but I’m told not to expect those this year.
  • Updates to the 11-inch and 13-inch iPad Pros won’t come until the first half of 2024, I’m told. These will likely include a new design and they’re set to include OLED displays, a first for an iPad.
  • Any updates to the iPad mini, iPad Air and entry-level iPad this year won’t be anything more than a spec bump — if they arrive at all.

As I say, on the lack of tablet newness they agree. On the 2024 iPad, they diverge. Monday’s Tweet had Gurman saying, “The additions in the iPad lineup will be the redesigned OLED iPad Pros in 2024 + entry level and Mini spec bumps.” That Tweet went on to say that he’s “not hearing anything about a foldable iPad in 2024.” 

Nerd fight.

Bloomberg: India Exporting AirPod Components to China and Vietnam

Apple’s manufacturing expansion into India continues. AppleInsider highlights a Bloomberg report that says the pod parts of AirPods are now being produced on the subcontinent. Perhaps more interesting than that, the prince says the AirPods themselves are not being made in India. According to the piece:

…the enclosures or plastic bodies, are (…) being shipped to manufacturers in both China and Vietnam for assembly. The publication says it’s the first time an Indian supplier has been used for anything but the iPhone.

NLRB Prosecutors Say Tim Cook Comments, Apple Policies Violate Federal Law

Apple’s at the ugly end of charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A piece from Bloomberg (via Los Angeles Times) says prosecutors with the agency have decided comments from Apple execs and certain company policies were or are illegal. 

The issue arrises from a complaint brought by former Apple senior engineering program manager Ashley Gjovik. According to the report, claims she filed in 2021 alleged that comments in an email written by Apple CEO Tim Cook about punishing leakers, “as well as a set of policies in Apple’s employee handbook, violated federal law.” Now, the report has prosecutors agreeing. They say that “various work rules” set by Apple “‘tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees’ from exercising their rights to collective action.” 

The report has an NLRB spokesperson saying that the agency “found merit to a charge alleging statements and conduct by Apple — including high-level executives — also violated the National Labor Relations Act.” According to the spokesperson, Apple has two options: Settle, or let the NLRB regional director issue another complaint. Past that, it sounds like the choices are settle again, or go through another court system. According to Bloomberg:

Complaints issued by NLRB prosecutors are reviewed by administrative law judges, whose rulings can be appealed to labor board members in Washington — and, from there, to federal court. The agency lacks the ability to impose punitive damages or hold executives personally liable for violations, but it can order companies to change workplace policies.

No comment from Apple for the Bloomberg report.

Apple Expands Support for Apple Support App

More support more places. 9to5Mac says Apple has grown coverage for its Apple Support App, adding three new languages and 118 new countries. If you have AppleCare+, the app will let you access info and arrange service for your specific device or devices. If you don’t have AppleCare+, you can still get general information about Apple devices and services. And now, more people can in more languages and places. The three new languages are Bulgarian, Croatian, and Greek. The 118 new countries are:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Eswatini, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turks & Caicos Islands, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

“With these changes,” 9to5Mac says, “the Apple Support app is now available in a total of 173 regions and 31 languages.” You can’t get AppleCare+ in all of them, but at least digital support is available. 

Crash Detection Sets Off Rash of False Alarms in Japan

Saving lives the world over is crash detection. And — in places where there’s snow — it’s also making lots of false calls. Earlier this month, the website for Minnesota Public Radio News outlined problems faced by emergency communications centers in places where skiing and snow mobile use rose as snow began to fall. 

Funny thing about snow though: It falls in other countries as well. Take Japan, for instance, where a piece from AppleInsider says that country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry is asking users of devices with crash detection to use the feature carefully. That’s thanks to a rash of automatic calls for help when no help is actually needed.

It’s a pretty big problem in popular areas, it seems. One fire department in Nagano covering five municipalities took 919 emergency calls from the middle of December through the start of last week. Of those, 134 are said to have been false alarms — most of them set off by devices employing crash detection in a skiing area. Similarly, the Gujo City Fire Department had 351 calls for help from the start of the year through the start of last week. 135 of those were false alarms. 

But here’s the thing: In an emergency, the device/service combo is really effective. So, even in ski areas, authorities don’t want the public to stop using crash detection. They just want people to use it carefully.

An agency official asks the public to inform emergency responders of the mistake if their iPhone makes a false emergency call. You know… once you know a mistaken call for help has gone out. 

Remembering 2023 in Music: Apple Music Replay 2023 Now Available

And finally today, it is a tiny bit too late to say “Happy New Year,” but only a tiny bit in my opinion. You know what it’s way too early for? Apple Music “Replay 2023.” And yet, a piece from MacRumors says your own, personal, Replay 2023 Playlist is available now. 

Oh… remember what you were listening to… for the last 31 days? Well, hear it again for the first time. 

I know. It’s me being goofy. Here’s the thing though: The Replay playlists to me are about recapping the year. If you listen to the 2023 replay all year long, when do you get to… I mean, how are you gonna… 

Podcaster shakes fist at music in the cloud. Anyway — the report says:

Apple Music subscribers can now listen to their “Replay 2023” playlist as of [yesterday]. As in previous years, this playlist ranks all of the music you’ve been listening to on Apple Music from 1 to 100, updating weekly so you can keep track of your most-streamed songs of the year as 2023 progresses.

But doesn’t it create a feedback loop? Isn’t it just gonna be the same 100… MacRumors says:

“Replay 2023” will update every Sunday with the newest order of your favorite music on Apple Music. By the time December rolls around, you’ll have an overall list of your 100 favorite songs on Apple Music saved in the playlist.

If you’re wondering where to find it, the piece says the “Replay” lists are at the bottom of the Listen Now page in ‌Apple Music‌ on iOS, iPadOS, and the Mac. If you go there and can’t find it — you’ve apparently not listened to enough music yet this year. Once you do, there it will be. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Managing Editor Jeff Buts and I talk over the dueling iPad rumors from Mark Gurman and Ming-Chi Kuo. Plus: Considering HomePod scarcity ahead of its release. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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