The Twice-the-Profit Edition Thursday, January 30, 2020

Apple's Record Quarter: Don't Try To Trick Tim Cook, by Jason Snell, Macworld

As reported by Maestri on Tuesday, Apple’s gross margin on products was 34.2 percent. Its gross margin on services was 64.4 percent. That’s right, Apple’s Services business has nearly twice the gross margin of products.

In other words, every dollar of Services revenue generates nearly twice the profit of product revenue. Apple’s product margins are really good, but its Services margins are spectacular. This is more than growing revenue—it’s growing revenue in an incredibly profitable segment.

Apple Made A Small Change To The Way It Introduced Its New iPhones This Year, And Its Record-breaking Holiday Quarter Proved It Was A Runaway Success, by Hollis Johnson, Business Insider

The $700 iPhone 11, despite being Apple’s flagship model, is really the successor to 2018’s $750 iPhone XR – not the iPhone XS. Like the iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 comes in one size, is available in a variety of bright colors, and lacks some of the bells and whistles of its pricier siblings, such as an additional camera.

The decision to brand its least expensive new iPhone as its primary new model in 2019 marked a noticeable departure from 2018, when Apple launched the $1,000 iPhone XS and $1,100 iPhone XS Max as its flagships and positioned the iPhone XR as a less-expensive alternative that offers many similar features at a lower price.

Stuff That Sucks

iOS 13's Music App Sucks, by Sam Stevens

Finally, the Now Playing screen. Arguably the screen I spend the most time on, and the screen that has progressively gotten worse as time passes. Upon first glance, it’s simple enough. Go back, play/pause, next song buttons. A volume slider, the album art, the song name and artist name. Very standard, very understandable. Swipe down to dismiss the page.

But let’s talk about four little icons that turn this page into a living nightmare. The ellipsis, the speech bubble, the Airplay (maybe?), and a queue-looking thing.

A Completely Deranged But Effective Way To Fix Sticky MacBook Pro Keys, by Jason Koebler, Vice

Of course, while this little trick worked beautifully, having to blow on a laptop until I almost pass out is not an ideal way to fix anything.


Skyle Lets You Control Your iPad Pro Using Your Eyes, by David Nield, New Atlas

Not everyone is able to use their gadgets via the usual taps and swipes, which is why extra accessibility add-ons are so important – such as a new eye-tracking system called Skyle, which works with the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro.


"Skyle has been specifically created to utilize the power of the iPad Pro, turning it into an AAC device that can be controlled completely with your eyes," explains developer Inclusive Technology, describing it as "the perfect solution for people with conditions such as cerebral palsy, ALS, Rett syndrome or spinal cord injury."

Portal Review: Immersive Ambient Noise With Philips Hue Integration, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Portal doesn’t just offer a pleasant soundtrack to work or sleep by. As its name implies, its purpose is more specific and holistic than that, providing an escape portal into another environment entirely. Portal employs 3D soundscapes, Philips Hue integration, and imagination-inspiring visuals to make you truly feel, as much as possible, like you’ve escaped to a new place.


Apple Ends AI Startup’s Work On ‘Project Maven’ After Acquisition, by Nick Wingfield and Ashley Gold, The Information

The startup, a maker of artificial intelligence software called Xnor.AI, had been involved in Project Maven, an effort by the U.S. Department of Defense to use AI software to analyze imagery captured by military drones. Apple acquired Xnor.AI recently and decided to terminate the work, a person familiar with the matter said. Google's participation in Project Maven sparked protests from thousands of its employees, prompting it to withdraw from the project.

CalTech Wins $1.1 Billion Jury Verdict In Patent Case Against Apple, Broadcom, by Jan Wolfe, Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple said it plans to appeal the verdict, but declined further comment. The company had said in court filings that it believed all of the university’s claims against it resulted from its using Broadcom’s chips in its devices, calling itself “merely an indirect downstream party.”

Bottom of the Page

Right from the very first iTunes music store app to the latest incarnation of Apple Music, the app looked and behaved very much like a web site. (No, techically, it is not a web app.)

Apple should just accept that, and start adding web-browser-like features to Apple Music. The lowest of low-hanging fruits: bookmarks. There's simply too much of scrolling and clicking and waiting for things to load in order to navigate to 'favorite' places within Apple Music. After all, there are only three entry points: "For You", "Browse" and "Radio." It's like Apple is forbidden itself from deep linking into Apple Music.


Thanks for reading.