The Pricing-Strategy Edition Thursday, November 29, 2018

Tim Cook’s Idaho Visit Shows Apple Can’t Just Donate Its Way Into Schools, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

I’ll be the first to admit that few problems are actually as easy to fix as they superficially appear to be, and just saying “it’s about price, stupid” doesn’t mean that it’s actually that simple. But after the release of this year’s iPads, it should be more than obvious that Apple’s pricing strategy isn’t working for schools. The company marketed its latest 9.7-inch iPad directly to students and educators, adding a faster processor and Pencil support. But if you look at the results of that marketing effort, iPad unit sales barely changed from last year’s numbers. I’d submit that sales remained stagnant because the iPad’s entry price stayed the same, and the key feature schools were looking for — a physical keyboard — still wasn’t included.

There’s no question that Apple’s latest entry-level iPad is a better and more versatile device than a basic Chromebook. It has a better processor, twin cameras, augmented reality support, a million games, support for the first Apple Pencil, and so on. But most schools don’t care more about those things than price, and to the extent they do, they’ll buy hundreds of Chromebooks and have students share a handful of iPads.

Wearables Get Serious About Heart Rate, by Vanessa Hand Orellana, CNET

Smartwatches and fitness trackers with heart rate sensors have made it easy to keep tabs on your ticker without seeing your doctor. But they're starting to do a lot more than just track your data. The Apple Watch already lets you know when it detects a spike in heart rate, and the company's newest Series 4 Watch will be able to take an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to help screen for serious medical conditions like AFib that increase the risk of stroke. And other wearable makers like Fitbit and Garmin may not be too far behind. Both are developing similar screening features for AFib and sleep apnea.

Potential limitations of tracking technology still stand in the way, but the end goal of these companies is to elevate heart rate trackers from workout buddy to medical device.

Study Shows Apple Watch Health Insurance Deals Yield Substantial Increase In Exercise, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

For the study, participants paid an upfront cost of £99 for the Apple Watch Series 4 or £9 for an Apple Watch 3. From there, they were burdened with a monthly charge of £12.50 – but that charge varied depending on how much exercise they performed. Those recording the most exercise through their Apple Watch did not have to pay any monthly fee.

Gore explained that this model creates “loss aversion,” meaning that participants were motivated to stay active, otherwise they could lose their free access to Apple Watch.

Apple Says The iPhone XR Has Been Its Top-selling iPhone Since Launch, by Shara Tibken, CNET

Apple's iPhone XR has been outselling the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max every day since the cheaper, colorful phone hit the market last month.

Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of product marketing, told CNET in an interview Wednesday that the device has "been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available."


Using USB-C On The iPad (So Far...), by Alex Cranz, Gizmodo

So yes, some aspects of the iPad Pro’s USB-C support are overblown. Monitors and hubs don’t work well, and that’s disappointing, But when the iPad Pro does do USB-C right, it’s pretty special and makes me wish Apple would finally, FINALLY, bring mouse support to its touch-based operating system.

Wrestling With The Infograph Watch Face, by David Sparks, MacSparky

For so long I've been looking for a watch face with many complications and now Apple has given it to me. The problem is, I made a big mess out of it. My first attempts involved using all of the available complications. If it was shiny, I put it in. The trouble with that is the complications surrounding the watch hands tend to blend in with the watch hands. As a result, when you glance at your watch, sometimes it is difficult to tell what time it is.

Mophie Unveils New Powerstation Portable Battery That Recharges Itself Via Lightning, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new Powerstation with Lightning packs 5,050mAh of power and integrates a Lightning port for recharging itself, as well as two USB-A ports for recharging external devices.


How To Game The App Store, by David Barnard

So, let’s talk about how developers are gaming the App Store and why it matters to the future of the platform. Any one of these tactics might seem somewhat bland individually, but when tens of thousands of apps deploy multiple tactics across many categories of apps, the impact can be measured in hundreds of millions of users and likely billions of dollars.

I’ve been focused on researching the weather category the past couple years as I’ve been working on my weather app, Weather Up, but these tactics apply to pretty much every category on the App Store.


Microsoft Is Worth As Much As Apple. How Did That Happen?, by Steve Lohr, New York Times

The near-term, stock-trading answer is that Microsoft has held up better than others during the recent sell-off of tech company shares. Apple investors are worried about a slowdown in iPhone sales. Facebook and Google face persistent attacks on their role in distributing false news and conspiracy theories, and investor concerns that their privacy policies could scare off users and advertisers.

But the more enduring and important answer is that Microsoft has become a case study of how a once-dominant company can build on its strengths and avoid being a prisoner of its past. It has fully embraced cloud computing, abandoned an errant foray into smartphones and returned to its roots as mainly a supplier of technology to business customers.

Gmail Smart Replies And The Ever-Growing Pressure To E-mail Like A Machine, by Rachel Syme, New Yorker

My greatest anxiety about using Smart Replies, though, was that other people would know I was using them. I worried that my editors would see my “On it!” and feel like I was cruising on autopilot, or that my friends would get a “Perfect!” and feel like I didn’t care enough about them to craft a finely tailored response. (This unease runs both ways: Has the editor who replies “This is great!” even bothered to read my fresh story draft?)

When The Internet Archive Forgets, by David Bixenspan, Gizmodo

We take a lot of things for granted, especially as we rely on technology more and more. “The internet is forever” may be a common refrain in the media, and the underlying wisdom about being careful may be sound, but it is also not something that should be taken literally. People delete posts. Websites and entire platforms disappear for business and other reasons. Rich, famous, and powerful bad actors don’t care about intimidating small non-profit organizations. It’s nice to have safeguards, but there are limits to permanence on the internet, and where there are limits, there are loopholes.

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Has Apple forgotten how to make an iPod shuffle?


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