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Apple Supplier Numbers Suggest Apple Watch Sales Are Below Analyst Expectations

We're all curious about how many Apple Watches Apple has sold, but with the company opting not to break out its Apple Watch sales numbers, all we have to go on are analyst guesses, information distilled from third-party sources, and tidbits of data that Apple has provided.

The latest data that hints at how the Apple Watch has fared comes from The Wall Street Journal, citing shipment information provided by analyst Mark Li from Taiwan's Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) most recent earnings call. ASE is the company that builds the S1 package housing the many chips and sensors used in the Apple Watch.

SB LL MB Apple Watch
An ASE subsidiary reportedly failed to meet its "break-even volume" of two million units shipped per month during the second quarter and does not believe it will meet that target in the third quarter, either. The company's failure to meet this target suggests the Apple Watch "is not selling nearly as well as some analysts expected," says The Wall Street Journal.
"The shortfall of Apple Watch is a disappointment," Mr. Li wrote in a note to clients. "We came in with a low expectation but below break-even still surprised us."

In an interview, Mr. Li said it is unusual for a company like ASE not to reach break-even volume during a typically busy period like the third quarter, especially when dealing with a new product.

He said that he now expects ASE to fall short of his forecast of shipping 18 million units this year, peaking in June.
Ahead of Apple's recent earnings call, analyst estimates of Apple Watch sales during its first quarter of availability ranged from 2.85 million to 5.7 million, averaging out to 4.07 million. After the call, many analysts adjusted their estimates, with the consensus largely changing to between 2.2 and 3 million units sold. Estimates continue to vary, however, with Strategy Analytics suggesting Apple sold 4 million units in a recent report.

During the call Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Watch sales "exceeded [Apple's] expectations," despite supply continuing to trail demand at the end of the quarter. "We feel really great about how we did," he said. Apple CFO Luca Maestri hinted current revenue from the Apple Watch was "well over" $952 million, but he also did not provide insight into sales.

In the past, Tim Cook has warned against attempting to infer information from single data points from the company's supply chain due to its complexity.

Related roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2

IBM to Purchase Up to 200,000 Macs Annually, With 50-75% of Employees Ultimately Switching From Lenovo

A year after teaming up with Apple on an enterprise partnership to push iOS devices and apps for business users, IBM is moving forward with plans to rapidly move its own employees onto Apple's platforms, MacRumors has learned.

While IBM announced in an internal memo several months ago that it was planning to purchase up to 50,000 MacBooks for employees by the end of 2015, chief information officer Jeff Smith has revealed in a new internal video released to employees yesterday that he believes IBM could actually end up purchasing 150,000-200,000 Macs annually.


In the video, Smith relates a conversation he had with Apple's chief information officer Niall O'Connor about the possibility of a massive Mac deployment for IBM.
"I'd like to be able to offer these to everyone that can use it. We've got to find a way to make the overall cost the same or lower than PCs to make that happen. Would you be interested in helping me do that, because you guys know these devices", and he said, "No, Jeff, we'd never do that...very secretive, we never allow anyone in. You know, we just don't do that."

And I said, "Well who's your largest corporate customer?" And he said "Well, that customer has got about 25,000 MacBooks a year." And I said, "Well we could be 150-200,000." And he goes "Jeff, that's a great idea! We're gonna come here, you know, next week...you bring your whole team," and that's exactly what happened.
In a separate clip from the video, Smith describes a recent conversation between Tim Cook and IBM vice president Fletcher Previn in which Previn indicated the initiative could see 50–75 percent of IBM employees eventually converting to Macs from the Lenovo ThinkPads that are currently the company standard.

Apple and IBM, former rivals in the PC market, have been working increasingly closely together on both specialized enterprise-focused iOS apps and more recently on HealthKit and ResearchKit data management tools. With so many IBM employees now in line to switch to Macs for their work machines, the stage is setting up for even more collaboration going forward.

Tag: IBM

Apple, BMW Could Resume Talks Over Possible Apple Car Partnership 'At a Later Stage'

Earlier this month, rumors suggested Apple had been in talks with BMW about potentially using the body of the electric BMW i3 as the basis for its Apple Car, but those talks did not progress into a deal. Reuters has now spoken with some inside sources at BMW, giving us more insight into what the two companies discussed and where their relationship might lead in the future.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and other senior executives visited the BMW factory in Leipzig, Germany in 2014 to look into how the i3 is manufactured. According to Reuters' source, Apple left the talks without reaching a deal with BMW because the company wants "to explore developing a passenger car on its own."

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During the visit, Apple executives asked BMW board members detailed questions about tooling and production and BMW executives signaled readiness to license parts, one of the sources said. News of the Leipzig visit first emerged in Germany's Manager-Magazin last week.

"Apple executives were impressed with the fact that we abandoned traditional approaches to car making and started afresh. It chimed with the way they do things too," a senior BMW source said.
Apple and BMW do not have plans to jointly develop a car at this time, but one of the sources believes that "exploratory talks" could potentially be revived in the future. Given Apple's lack of experience with industrial manufacturing, a partnership with BMW or another car company would make sense, as it could help speed up development and eliminate many of the headaches associated with entering an entirely new industry.

Details on Apple's rumored car project remain scarce, but the company has been hiring several automotive experts over the past few months. Apple is said to have hundreds of employees working on the secret car project and has picked up employees from companies like Tesla, Ford, and GM, along with robotics experts and researchers specializing in cutting-edge car technologies.

Rumors have suggested Apple plans to introduce its car by 2020, but Apple often works on projects that never make it to fruition, like the much-rumored Apple-branded television set. It's possible that Apple's car plans could be shelved or delayed in the future if the company is unhappy with its progress or finds entering the automobile market to be an unviable option.

Related roundup: Apple Car , Tag: BMW

Elgato's 'Eve' Smart Home Accessories Are Useful, But Hampered by Buggy HomeKit Platform

Elgato, with its Eve line of smart home products is one of the first companies to come out with home accessories that integrate with Apple's HomeKit home automation platform, and it's the very first company to produce a Bluetooth-enabled HomeKit product.

The Eve system, which consists of a weather station, an indoor room monitor, a door/window sensor, and a smart outlet, is one of five HomeKit-compatible products that became available for purchase in June. With the Eve components just now shipping out to customers, Elgato invited us to review the lineup to get a feel for what's possible with Apple's system.


HomeKit and Eve's accessory lineup promise to make our homes smarter and our lives easier, but in its current incarnation, HomeKit is a service that feels unfinished. It's limited in scope and even though I found many of the Eve accessories to be useful, the delays and bugs I ran into with the HomeKit system almost made the frustration outweigh the convenience.

Hardware Overview


As I mentioned above, Elgato currently manufactures four HomeKit-compatible products: Eve Room, Eve Weather, Eve Door & Window, and Eve Energy.

Eve Room - Eve Room is an indoor room monitoring sensor. It measures temperature, humidity, and air quality.

Eve Weather - Eve Weather is an indoor/outdoor sensor that's simpler than the Eve Room, measuring temperature, humidity, and air pressure.

Eve Door & Window - Eve Door & Window is a two-piece sensor that detects whether a door or window is open or closed.

Eve Energy - Eve Energy is a power sensor and switch that can be used to turn an appliance on and off and detect how much power it's using.

Each of the Eve products has a clean, unobtrusive design, integrating into any environment without standing out. The Eve Room and the Eve Weather are both small square-shaped sensors resembling an Apple TV, while the Eve Energy is a simple socket. The Eve Door & Window comes in two adhesive-backed pieces to fit on each side of a door or window, snapping together magnetically to detect whether it's open or closed.

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Force Touch Panels Enter Mass Production Ahead of 'iPhone 6s' Launch

As the launch of the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" inches closer, suppliers have begun shipping Force Touch panels for the next-generation smartphones, according to DigiTimes. The report claims that Apple's supply chain partners started shipping Force Touch panels in limited quantities in June before ramping up production of the pressure-sensitive modules in July.

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Taipei Times vaguely reported that Apple's touch panel supplier TPK expects widespread adoption of pressure sensors, presumably for Force Touch, later this year. Force Touch, an existing Apple Watch and MacBook feature, is a pressure-sensitive technology that will enable future iPhones to distinguish between a light tap and deep press and complete different actions accordingly.

Taiwan-based website DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, but its sources within the upstream supply chain have proven reliable in the past. Apple has also announced new iPhones in September or October since the iPhone 4s, so suppliers ramping up Force Touch production is to be expected with less than two months to go.

The "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" are rumored to feature the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, an A9 processor with 2GB of RAM, Force Touch, a faster Qualcomm LTE chip, an improved 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and 7000 Series aluminum. The overall design of the smartphones will likely be nearly identical to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Apple Seeds Second OS X 10.10.5 Yosemite Beta to Developers

os_x_yosemite_round_iconApple today seeded the second beta of OS X 10.10.5 to developers, two weeks after seeding the first 10.10.5 beta and one month after releasing OS X 10.10.4 to the public. Because we're just a couple of months away from the public release of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, it's possible that OS X 10.10.5 may be one of the last updates to Yosemite.

Today's beta, build number 14F19a, can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store or through the Apple Developer Center.

The first OS X 10.10.5 beta did not appear to include any consumer-facing changes, so it's likely that this update focuses on behind-the-scenes bug fixes and performance enhancements.

Over the course of its lifespan, OS X Yosemite has received four updates. The first two brought bug fixes and security improvements, while OS X 10.10.3, the most significant update to Yosemite, introduced the new Photos app, Force Touch APIs, new emoji features, and more.

OS X 10.10.4, the current version of Yosemite, also focused on bug fixes and stability improvements, most notably introducing TRIM support for third-party SSDs and eliminating the Discoveryd process that caused ongoing connectivity issues in the OS.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite , Tag: OS X 10.10.5

Apple Plans to Debut New Apple TV in September With Touch-Based Remote, Full App Store

Apple is planning to introduce its long-awaited next-generation Apple TV in September, reports Buzzfeed's John Paczkowski. According to sources familiar with Apple's plans, the new set-top box will be unveiled in September at the same event where Apple will unveil the next-generation iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

As has been previously rumored, it is said to include an A8 processor, a touch-pad based remote that's "drastically improved" compared to the current version, a new operating system that supports a full App Store, developer APIs, and Siri voice control, and more on-board storage to accommodate apps. Physically, the Apple TV will take on a new, slimmer look.

Apple TV 2015
Apple will not be introducing its rumored television service at the same time, with sources telling Buzzfeed that the Internet-based streaming service could possibly launch in late 2015, but 2016 is more likely. Current rumors suggest Apple's television offering will bundle approximately 25 channels and cost between $30 to $40 per month.

Apple was widely expected to introduce both its new Apple TV and its upcoming streaming television service in June, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, but the two products were not ready for launch at that time. Apple postponed its release of the set-top box because it was "not ready for prime time" and held off on the television service because deals were not completed.

Apple has not introduced a revamped version of its Apple TV since 2012, so an updated set-top box with App Store support and other features will be a major change from the platform that we know and use today.

Related roundup: Apple TV , Tag: buzzfeed.com

Apple Seeds Second iOS 8.4.1 Beta to Developers

ios_8_iconApple today seeded the second beta of iOS 8.4.1 to registered developers for testing purposes, just over two weeks after releasing the first iOS 8.4.1 beta and a month after launching iOS 8.4 with the new Apple Music service.

Today's beta, build 12H318, is available via an over the air update and it can also be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center.

No outward facing changes were discovered in the first iOS 8.4.1 beta, and it's a .1 update, so it's likely that it includes only minor bug fixes, security enhancements, and performance improvements designed to prepare the operating system for its upcoming retirement.

iOS 8.4.1 may be one of the last updates to iOS 8 as Apple is working on its successor, iOS 9. iOS 9 builds on many of the features introduced with iOS 8 and adds new content and underlying performance improvements. iOS 9 is currently in beta testing and will be released in the fall.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features , Tag: iOS 8.4.1

More 'iPhone 6s' Part Photos Surface as Production Ramps Up

Less than two months before Apple is expected to launch the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus," new photos of leaked components for the next-generation smartphones continue to surface from within the supply chain. The images support rumors that claim the next iPhones will have minimal design changes compared to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The main part shared by French website Nowhereelse.fr is a purported iPhone 6s single flex cable that houses the volume rocker, mute switch, power button and LED flash. The blog also shared photos of the device's Lightning connector and headphone jack assembly, rear-facing camera rings and home button enclosure, which appears to be anodized in a gold or champagne color.

iPhone 6s Single Flex Cable
Apple has returned to using a single flex cable for the iPhone 6s after splitting the flex cables for the iPhone 6, but otherwise that part and the Lightning connector assembly remain largely unchanged, which is unsurprising given Apple's "tick-tock" refresh cycle for iPhones. Apple typically makes major changes in a "tick" year (iPhone 6) while focusing on smaller improvements and refinements in a "tock" year ("iPhone 6s").

iphone_6s_lightning_annotated
The leaked camera rings suggest that the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" could also have a protruding rear-facing camera lens, a design choice that Apple received some complaints over for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Particularly, some users expressed frustration at being unable to lay their smartphone flat on a table because the camera lens sticks out about one millimeter.

iPhone 6s Camera Rings Home Button
"iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" production is believed to be underway, with leaked images of the front panel, rear shell and logic board surfacing earlier this month. The smartphones are rumored to feature an A9 chip with 2GB of RAM, Force Touch, a faster Qualcomm LTE modem, an improved 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, 7000 Series aluminum and more.

First Volkswagen Cars With CarPlay Support Arriving at Dealerships

Volkswagen today announced that its first 2016 cars with CarPlay support are arriving at dealerships this week, equipped with the company's next-generation CarPlay-enabled MIB-II infotainment system.

In addition to supporting CarPlay, the MIB-II system also includes support for Android Auto and it comes equipped with Volkswagen's own Car-Net apps, enabling features like remote lock control, remote honk and flash, parking info, stolen vehicle location, automatic crash notifications, diagnostics, and vehicle monitoring. While CarPlay and the MIB-II system don't carry a subscription fee, the Car-Net suite of apps will be priced at $199 per year with 6 months free up front.

volkswagen2016carplay
Volkswagen was not one of the first CarPlay partners announced during CarPlay's debut, but the manufacturer promised CarPlay support in its 2016 models back in January. According to Volkswagen, most of its 2016 models will include the new MIB-II system, aside from entry-level models.

Four different MIB-II systems with CarPlay will be offered, varying based on model and trim package. Entry-level VW models include a 5-inch resistive 400x240 resolution touch screen that does not include CarPlay support, while 6.3 and 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreens that support multi-touch gestures, CarPlay, and App-Net will be available in select trims.

Higher trim levels will include additional features like 2.5D navigation, electric vehicle functions, and more, while the 2016 e-Golf SEL Premium model alone will receive an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen with CarPlay support.

The first 2016 Volkswagen models, the Golf R and the Tiguan, are already arriving in dealer showrooms as of late July, and additional models will be released with the MIB-II system and CarPlay support later in the year.

Related roundup: CarPlay , Tag: Volkswagen

Apple Releases Third OS X El Capitan Public Beta

Apple today seeded the third beta of OS X El Capitan to public beta testers, one week after seeding the second beta and just under three weeks after first providing the OS X El Capitan beta to the public for testing purposes.

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The third public beta follows the launch of the fifth OS X El Capitan developer beta, which was seeded to developers late on Monday afternoon. No outward-facing changes were introduced with the beta, suggesting it's an under-the-hood update with bug fixes and performance improvements.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple’s beta testing program and already have the public beta installed can update through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store for OS X.


OS X 10.11 El Capitan is expected to be released to the public in the fall after the beta testing process is complete.

Related roundup: OS X El Capitan

iPad Market Share Falls Below 25% as Tablet Market Continues to Decline

The latest numbers from market research firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker show that Apple remains the largest vendor in a declining tablet market, shipping 10.9 million iPads in the second quarter of 2015. While the iPad continues to be the best-selling tablet, its worldwide market share fell below 25% as Apple faced increased competition from low-cost rivals Lenovo, Huawei and LG.

idc_tablet_trend_2q15
Samsung continued to be the second largest tablet vendor with 7.6 million tablets shipped in the second quarter and 17% market share, a 12% year-over-year unit decline. Lenovo, Huawei and LG Electronics rounded off the top five, with 2.5 million, 1.6 million and 1.6 million global tablet shipments in the second quarter respectively. All other tablet vendors had a combined 45.6% market share.

IDC Q215 Tablets
iPad sales have declined for six consecutive quarters year-over-year in what has become a stagnated tablet market over the past few years, but that trend could be broken in a few months as Apple is expected to release up to three new iPads in time for the holiday shopping season: iPad Air 3, iPad mini 4 and the much-rumored 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" targeted at professional and enterprise users.

Related roundup: iPad Air 2 , Tags: Samsung, IDC, LG, Huawei, Lenovo