The Seek-Growth-Elsewhere Edition Friday, January 4, 2019

The Ride Is Over: Apple Faces The End Of The iPhone Boom, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

The writing has been on the wall for some time. Back in January 2016, Apple began calling out the growth of its services revenue line every time it talked about financial results. The message to Wall Street was clear: There's a new growth area for Apple, and it's selling services like iCloud and Apple Music to Apple's existing ecosystem. It was Apple's admission that it was seeking growth elsewhere. The iPhone stalling out isn't a surprise.

Apple's Precarious And Pivotal 2019, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

The transition from the iPhone company to a Services company is now officially underway. It is clearly happening earlier than Apple had planned. How will Apple adapt to this new era?


App Store Hits New Single-Day Revenue Record On New Year's Day With Customers Spending $322 Million, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Gaming and self-care were the most popular app downloads and purchases during the holidays. Fortnite and PUBG were some of the most downloaded games over the holiday period, along with Brawl Stars, Asphalt 9, and Monster Strike.

‘King Troll’ Ebro Darden On The Future Of Apple Music And Terrestrial Radio, by Shawn Setaro, Complex

Streaming services are doing a lot of things right, which is why people are excited about them. Refining that, just like any great consumer interface does through its lifespan, is how you stay relevant. That’s why we have the human capabilities that we have at Apple Music. It helps us have living, breathing people interfacing with the consumers so that we stay relevant. We have the data, we have the behavior, we have the consumer, we have the humans curating shows, pulling that all into one place. Being able to evolve in real time with the audience as much as you can is how you stay relevant.

Hardware Margins

Young Beijing Shoppers’ Appetite For Latest iPhones Wanes, by Yuan Yang, Financial Times

Apple’s smartphones used to be a status symbol, an exclusive and foreign luxury item. But domestic competitors, especially Huawei, now appear to have caught up — not just on technological innovations such as dual Sim cards and edge-to-edge screens, but also in terms of prestige.

“Apple is no longer a luxury symbol in China,” said Cheng Yu, a 22-year-old undergraduate who has been using iPhones for over eight years, but who now plans to use a top-range Huawei as well as her current iPhone.

Regarding Apple’s Gross Margins, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

So if high-margin services revenue is growing but overall company gross margins are stable at 38 percent, that means their margins on hardware products like iPhone are actually shrinking.

Security Matters

How WindTail And Other Malware Bypass macOS Gatekeeper Settings, by Philip Stokes, Security Boulevard

Relatively speaking, Gatekeeper does indeed make downloading apps from the internet safer than not having Gatekeeper at all. Likewise, Developer IDs do indeed allow some malware to be blocked. But that is not at all the same as blocking all, or even most, malware.

Most importantly, however, note that this message does not say that Gatekeeper blocks apps that are not signed, and nor does it say that Gatekeeper’s settings ensure only apps downloaded from the App Store or signed with a Developer ID can run on the Mac. Those claims, though widely believed, are not in fact made by Apple anywhere, and for good reason: they would in fact be false.


Apple Launches Chinese New Year Gift Guide Including ‘New Year Special Edition’ Beats Solo3, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has released a new pair of Beats Solo3 wireless headphones in commemoration of the new year. These headphones come in “silver wing grey” and are touted as “New Year Special Edition” and seem to be exclusive to China.

Apple's Back To School Promotion Offers Beats To Students In Australia, Brazil, New Zealand And South Korea, by AppleInsider

Like last year's U.S. promotion, Apple's international back to school program offers a pair of Beats headphones with eligible Mac or iPad Pro purchases made through the company's regional education stores.

Procrastinate? iPhone Apps And Tips For Procrastination, by Matthew Byrd, The App Factor

Smartphones are capable of many, many things, but it just so happens that one of those things is instilling a strong desire to procrastinate. While some people are better at managing that desire, there are still just too many distractions on most iPhones. It’s hard to resist the urge to procrastinate and get back to work.

Thankfully, your iPhone doesn’t have to be your enemy. With the right apps by your side, it’s possible for your device to actually help you stop procrastinating. It’s not always easy, but the good news is that these apps and tips will make it significantly easier. At worse, they’re just useful to have around.

Smartphone Apps To Diagnose Depression Based On Activity, by

The idea has sparked a race to develop apps that warn of impending mental health crises. Call it smartphone psychiatry or child psychology 2.0. Studies have linked heavy smartphone use with worsening teen mental health. But as teens scroll through Instagram and Snapchat, tap out texts or watch YouTube videos, they also leave digital footprints that might offer clues to their psychological wellbeing.

Changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice and how often kids stay home could signal trouble, according to preliminary studies.

Relieve RSI Pain With This Armrest Mouse Pad, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The soft, black mouse pad gel material on both ends makes the armrest more comfortable than a DIY solution would likely be. I’ve also been pleased with the included wrist rest, which has just the right amount of give and a nice, smooth texture.

Evernote's New CEO Says The App Sucks But He Can Fix It, by Anthony Caruana, Gizmodo

Evernote was, for a long time, a great app for capturing notes, saving images and clipping webpages. For students, researchers, writers and others focussed on the capture of random bits of information, it was the leader in pulling tougher disparate bits of information. But somewhere along the line, the company lost focus and the releases on different platforms started to diverge. The Windows version became less feature rich than the Mac version, a touch version for newer Windows devices came and went, the mobile versions became pared down versions rather than mobile views of the full app and users reported lots of syncing issues. The company's new CEO acknowledges that things aren't going well and vows to address the issues.


Age Against The Machine: The Secret To Enjoying A Long Life, by Stephen Moss, The Guardian

The conclusion Honoré came to, after three years of research and an examination of the way older people are treated around the world, was that it was in many ways a golden age for “the old” (a term he would never use): there were more of them, they were healthier, more active and many were better off than in previous generations. They could no longer be ignored or marginalised. But, in his view, that is just a beginning. “It can be so much better,” he says, “if we move a lot of goalposts and change the way everything from healthcare to politics to the business world to education is organised.” He argues that the idea of being educated between the ages of five and 21, working for 40 years and then retiring on a pension at 60 is completely out of date, imagining a much more fluid way of life where we dip in and out of education and the job market and never formally “retire”.


On Netflix Pulling Out Of iTunes Billing For New Users, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If Apple wants to insist on a cut of in-app purchased subscription revenue, that’s their prerogative. What gets me, though, are the rules that prevent apps that eschew in-app purchases from telling users in plain language how to actually pay.

The One Dumb Feature I Wish Apple And Google Would Add To Their Phones, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

What would dumbphone mode do? Simple. It would turn your smartphone into a device for calls and texts. That’s it. Other apps would simply disappear from your screen so as not to tempt you to tap. And all that spyable data lurking deep in the OS–like GPS tracking–would be deactivated. As a result, you’d get the full dumphone experience without carrying another phone around.

Apple Pulls iPhone 7 And iPhone 8 Models From Sale In Germany Amid Legal Battle With Qualcomm, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Those four iPhone models are no longer available to order via in Germany and they have also been pulled from sale at all 15 of Apple's retail stores in the country until further notice. The latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR models are not impacted by the verdict and remain available.

Apple Told To Pull iPhones From Germany, by BBC

The two companies disagree on whether the injunction also covers the sale of iPhones in mobile phone operator shops and other third party retailers.

The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR models will still be available at Apple stores in the country.

Bottom of the Page

I think it is okay for Apple that the iPhone is no longer viewed as a luxury status symbol in China. Apple does not know how to do a luxury product. (Witness the first Apple Watch Edition.) Hopefully, Apple should now have a better idea how much each of the iPhone's feature are valued by customers, and be better informed what phone it should be making.


If you think selling the same iPhone around the world is difficult, trying selling the same services around the world.


Thanks for reading.