WWDC 2018 takes place June 4 to June 8 in San Jose, California.
The total includes 85 percent of respondents who said they are "very satisfied" with the iPhone X, which Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin said "is amongst the highest" he has ever seen "in all the customer satisfaction studies we have conducted across a range of technology products."
12 percent of respondents said they are "satisfied" with the iPhone X, while three percent were unsatisfied to various degrees.
Of course, the higher the "very satisfied" responses, the better a product probably is. For perspective, research firm Wristly conducted a survey in 2015 that found the original Apple Watch also had a 97 percent overall customer satisfaction rate, but a lower 66 percent of respondents were "very satisfied."
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone X has a 99 percent customer satisfaction rate on the company's first quarter earnings call, citing a study by 451 Research, but Creative Strategies said its own survey had a significantly higher number of respondents that led to a more balanced number with room for slight variance.
Creative Strategies surveyed 1,746 respondents to be exact. The research firm informed MacRumors that respondents were profiled as early adopters based on a series of upfront questions about purchasing habits.
On a feature-by-feature basis, the iPhone X saw very high satisfaction rates in all but one area, including Face ID and battery life at above 90 percent. The sole exception was Siri, which scored only a 20 percent satisfaction rate among early adopters, leaving four out of every five respondents unimpressed.
As noted by Creative Strategies, early adopters tend to be more critical than mainstream consumers of technology, but Apple is widely considered to have lost the lead it once had with Siri in the artificial intelligence space.
The Information recently reported that Siri has become a "major problem" within Apple. The report opined that Siri remains "limited compared to the competition," including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and added that the assistant is the main reason the HomePod has "underperformed" so far.
Apple responded to that report with a statement noting Siri is "the world's most popular voice assistant" and touted "significant advances" to the assistant's performance, scalability, and reliability.
"We have made significant advances in Siri performance, scalability and reliability and have applied the latest machine learning techniques to create a more natural voice and more proactive features," Apple wrote in its statement. "We continue to invest deeply in machine learning and artificial intelligence to continually improve the quality of answers Siri provides and the breadth of questions Siri can respond to."Bajarin has been a respected technology analyst at Creative Strategies since 2000. For more details from the survey, read Top Takeaways From Studying iPhone X Owners and his paywalled follow-up report iPhone X Study Follow Up on Tech.pinions.
European Regulators Concerned Apple's Proposed Shazam Acquisition Could Hurt Competitors Like Spotify
The regulators are concerned that the merger could reduce choice for users of streaming music services in Europe. In particular, they believe that Apple could gain access to sensitive data that could allow Apple to directly target its competitors' customers and encourage them to switch to Apple Music.
While the European Commission did not name any specific services, Apple Music's biggest rival in Europe is Spotify, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Other competitors include Deezer, Tidal, and Google Play Music.
European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager:
The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services. Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won't face less choice as a result of this proposed merger.In addition, the European Commission said it will investigate whether Apple Music's competitors would be harmed if Apple were to discontinue referrals from the Shazam app to them following the acquisition. Shazam's app currently integrates with multiple services, including Spotify and Deezer.
The regulators have set a September 4, 2018 deadline to reach a decision, delaying an Apple-Shazam merger for at least 90 days.
Apple announced its plans to acquire Shazam in December, describing the two companies as a "natural fit" with "exciting plans" ahead. In February, the European Commission received requests from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden to assess the deal under European merger law.
Shazam is a popular service that can identify the name and lyrics of songs, music videos, TV shows, and more. It has apps across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, iMessage, and Mac, while the service has been built into Siri since iOS 8.
Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted a self-portrait created by 13-year-old Özgün Asya, who made the image on an iPad with Apple Pencil.
It’s Children’s Day in Turkey! 🇹🇷 Thanks to 13-year-old Özgün Asya from Istanbul for this colorful self-portrait, created on iPad using Apple Pencil. pic.twitter.com/N5EzH11F1x— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 23, 2018
Following the first video, Apple published six more short, 15-second clips where kids from Turkey explained the art that they created using iPad. Ali G. explained that he drew seven-and-a-half versions of himself due to his own age, Ece S. described her nature-focused portrait, and Defne A. showed off an image of her and her dog.
In the most recent video, shared over the weekend, Apple combined all of the self portrait videos into one 30-second ad.
The power of the iPad, the ease of use of Apple Pencil, and the unlimited creativity of children came together, and these extraordinary self-portraits came out.Apple's Children's Day videos showcase the latest 9.7-inch iPad, which was announced at an education-focused event in late March. The sixth-generation device includes Apple Pencil support with sensors that measure pressure and tilt so that users can take notes or illustrate in supported apps. The tablet has a reduced education price and multiple accessories that are particularly aimed at kids in school.
やっぱり伊勢丹のApple Watch Storeは閉店か… pic.twitter.com/moYjXCfYRp— Shotaro Akiba (@ShotaroAkiba) April 21, 2018
The message reads, "This is a notice that Apple Watch at Isetan Shinjuku will close as of Sunday, May 13. Thank you very much for your continuous patronage."
The closure of the pop-up shop follows last month's opening of Apple's Shinjuku store, which is situated directly opposite Isetan and offers the full range of Apple products and services, including Apple Watch.
Japan's pop-up shop is notable for being the first of its kind to open, coinciding with the launch of the original Apple Watch in 2015. Apple has only operated three pop-up shops worldwide selling Apple watches and bands. The other two operated out of Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Selfridges in London. Both closed in 2017.
The closures appear to be part of Apple's recent strategy of promoting Apple Watch as a health and fitness accessory first and a haute couture fashion detail second. The pop-up shops specialized in selling Apple Watch Edition models, gold versions of which sold for at least $10,000 and up to $17,000 when they hit the market.
The pop-up shops were essentially outlets for Apple's remaining inventory of 18-karat Gold and Rose Gold Apple Watch Edition models, which were discontinued in 2016 and replaced with the ceramic Edition models the company continues to offer online and in-store to this day.
Apple Celebrates Earth Day With Ziggy Marley Concert, Apple Music Playlists, and $0.99 iTunes Movies Rentals
Also in attendance during the performance was Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social issues. In a tweet this morning Jackson reminded Apple Watch users about today's Earth Day Challenge, which requires you to do any workout for 30 minutes or more before the day ends, and record your activity within the Workout watchOS app or any other app that adds workouts to the Health iOS app.
While "Mixtape for Mother Earth" is the main playlist currently being promoted on the Browse tab, if you search for "Earth Day" you can also find playlists like "What are Earth's favorite songs?" and other curated collections from previous Earth Day events.
Over on the iTunes Movies store, Apple has a collection of $0.99 rentals for films that all include messages about the environment. The list of just over 40 films has a mix of scripted movies and documentaries, including "FernGully: The Last Rainforest," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Fly Away Home," "Blackfish," "March of the Penguins," "An Inconvenient Truth," "A Plastic Ocean," and more. There's also a collection of Disneynature documentaries priced at $9.99, including topics like Oceans, Bears, African Cats, and Monkey Kingdom.
iBooks readers can also get in on the Earth Day celebrations thanks to a "Protect the Planet" section of the Featured tab within Apple's digital books app. The books in the new collection "include meditations on Mother Nature's delightful quirks, rallying cries for biodiversity, and blueprints for how to play a part in passing on a healthier planet." The collection is split up into three sub categories called "Explore the Natural World," "Get Informed & Inspired," and "Do Your Part." Books include "Unstoppable" by Bill Nye and Corey S. Powell, "Voices in the Ocean" by Susan Casey, and "A Hole in the Wind" by David Goodrich.
Earlier this month, Apple announced that its global facilities, including retail stores, offices, data centers, and more, are powered with 100 percent clean energy. Apple went into further detail about how it has lessened its overall environmental impact with the 2018 Environmental Responsibility Report, sharing stats about its reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lowered energy footprint, and more. The company also updated its trade-in and recycling initiatives into a new "GiveBack" program, and introduced a new iPhone disassembly robot named Daisy.
Apple says that a limited number of these units feature a component that can fail and cause the built-in battery to expand. It is not a safety issue, according to the company, and Apple will replace all eligible batteries.
Customers who want to see if their machines are eligible for a fresh battery should use the serial number checker on the MacBook Pro Battery Replacement page. You can find your serial number by clicking on the Apple logo in the menu bar and selecting "About This Mac." The serial number is located at the bottom of the information window.
Affected customers who are eligible for a new battery will need to visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, make an appointment at an Apple retail store, or mail their device into an Apple Repair Center after initiating a repair with Apple Support.
Apple suggests customers who are getting a battery replacement back up their machines ahead of time. Apple also says that if the MacBook Pro in question has damage that will impair the replacement of the battery, it must be addressed prior to the battery replacement process.
Any customer who has already paid for a replacement battery can contact Apple Support about a refund.
The battery replacement program covers affected MacBook Pro models for five years after the first retail sale of the unit.
U.S. Department of Justice Investigating Claims AT&T, Verizon and GSMA Colluded to Prevent Customers From Easily Switching Carriers [Updated]
AT&T, Verizon, and GSMA, an industry group that sets mobile standards, were asked in February for documents related to their efforts to hinder the implementation of eSIMs. An embedded SIM, or eSIM, is a standardized chip that's designed to replace a physical SIM card.
With eSIM technology, there is no need to swap out SIM cards when switching carriers, making it easier to make a switch from one carrier to another. eSIMs are designed to be compatible with all major carriers, regardless of network type.
eSIMs are a major change from physical SIM cards, which require customers who wish to switch carriers to obtain a new SIM card when changing providers. eSIMs make it simpler for customers to swap carriers while traveling, and, of interest to device makers, they free up space currently taken up by a SIM card.
AT&T and Verizon are accused of colluding with the GSMA to create standards that would allow devices with eSIM technology to be locked to their networks. Representatives from the two carriers attended a meeting for a private task force called GSMA North America earlier this year and advocated for the ability to keep eSIM devices tied to a single carrier.
Verizon reportedly claimed that phones needed to be locked to its network in order to prevent theft and fraud.
At the heart of the investigation is whether the nation's biggest wireless carriers, working with the G.S.M.A., secretly tried to influence mobile technology to unfairly maintain their dominance, in a way that hurt competition and consumers and hindered innovation in the wider mobile industry.The Department of Justice launched began the probe several months ago following formal complaints from at least one device maker and one wireless carrier. The investigation may include other carriers beyond Verizon and AT&T.
AT&T and Verizon together control about 70 percent of all wireless subscriptions in the United States. A technology that made it easy to switch carriers could lead to more churn and fewer subscribers for them.
AT&T, Verizon, and other U.S. carriers have long resisted features that would make it easier for customers to switch carriers at will without being tied to a specific network. Verizon, for example, refused to allow Apple to offer Verizon service through the Apple SIM built into newer iPads. The Apple SIM, a multi-carrier SIM card, is designed to make it easier for customers to choose a carrier after an iPad purchase and switch to a new carrier when traveling.
Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other wireless carriers in the United States are proponents of the eSIM. Apple, for example, is said to want to use eSIM technology in its 2018 iPhones, but may instead opt for dual-SIM technology because "some carriers are resistant to the idea."
Apple has already implemented eSIM technology in the Apple Watch Series 3 models equipped with LTE connectivity. The eSIM is also a feature of the Google Pixel 2 smartphone and the Microsoft Surface.
Update: According to CNBC, all four major U.S. carriers received requests from the U.S. Justice Department.
Update 2: Apple is one of the companies that submitted a complaint to the Department of Justice, according to Bloomberg.
The data, collected from September 2017 to the present, suggests an app that's highlighted using either the "App of the Day" or "Game of the Day" feature in the U.S. sees the greatest increase in downloads.
Specifically, "Game of the Day" apps have seen a median download increase of 802 percent for the week following the feature, while "App of the Day" apps have seen a boost of 685 percent.
Other features, such as a developer story or an app list can increase downloads by up to 240 percent. Stories resulted in a 222 percent boost in downloads, while app lists increased downloads by 240 percent. A theme feature had the lowest impact at a 164 percent increase in downloads.
Sensor Tower has also outlined what kind of data Apple has chosen to highlight through the new App Store design. Many of the top publishers that have been featured are larger companies, like Electronic Arts, Warner Bros., Square Enix, Gameloft, Noodlecake Studios, and King, which is unsurprising as these companies have put out some of the most popular apps in the App Store.
13 of the top 15 featured publishers had at least one million U.S. iPhone downloads since the launch of the new App Store.
Apple has, however, also focused on highlighting indie apps. 29 percent of apps featured since the launch of the new App Store have been from publishers who had fewer than 10,000 downloads at the time.
"While it's clearly the case that big publishers are more likely to receive the largest number of features, small publishers still very much have their chance to benefit from a feature on the App Store," said Sensor Tower's Mobile Insights Analyst, Jonathan Briskman.Apple introduced the redesigned App Store in iOS 11 to offer additional opportunities for exposure to app developers. The new App Store includes a "Today" section that's updated daily with app suggestions, featured spots, app lists, developer features, and more, and it splits apps and games into two distinct categories.
Content featured in the new App Store is chosen and curated by Apple's App Store editorial team, which ensures high-quality recommendations that don't rely solely on popularity rankings.
As noted by TechCrunch, Sensor Tower's data suggests that Apple's goal of increasing developer exposure through the new App Store design has largely been a successful venture.
The case makers said the second-generation model will retain the same physical size as the current iPhone SE, and Touch ID is expected to remain, suggesting the device will continue to have a four-inch display sandwiched between top and bottom bezels for the home button, camera, and earpiece.
Following in the footsteps of the iPhone 7 and beyond, the case makers do not expect the new iPhone SE to have a 3.5mm headphone jack. If accurate, and with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus likely to be discontinued in September, Apple would no longer sell any iPhone model with a headphone jack.
Also like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the new iPhone SE will supposedly be powered by Apple's last-generation A10 Fusion chip, up to 40 percent faster than the A9 processor in the current iPhone SE. The chip will likely enable support for the HEIF image format and HEVC video compression standard.
The report speculates that the new iPhone SE may have a glass back with wireless charging capabilities, like the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, but evidence is said to be inconclusive at this time.
It's unclear how and where the case makers obtained this information, but they are likely compelled to dig up details from the supply chain in order to be first to the market with properly fitting cases and accessories.
Earlier this week, Apple filed several unreleased iPhone models with the Eurasian Economic Commission, as legally required, and this action has often foreshadowed product launches. Apple submitted a new tablet to the database in February, for example, and the new 9.7-inch iPad debuted in March.
If history repeats itself, the regulatory filings in April do lend credence to a new iPhone SE debuting next month. DigiTimes also predicted May or June. Apple has only debuted new products in May twice in the past five years, including the fifth-generation iPod touch in 2013 and a refreshed 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2015.
WWDC 2018 in June could also provide Apple with stage time to introduce the new iPhone SE, but that hasn't happened since the iPhone 4 in 2010. A press release in May could be more fitting if the update is insignificant.
iPhone SE rumors have been all over the map in recent months. A sketchy report from Chinese website QQ.com, for example, claimed the second-generation model will have a larger 4.2-inch display, Touch ID, A10 Fusion chip, 2GB of RAM, and metal back and frame, available with 32GB or 128GB of storage.
Apple is likely most focused on making under-the-hood improvements to the iPhone SE, as the device is now outdated by a few years. At its $349 price point, its new design is unlikely to resemble the iPhone X.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who relays information from Apple's supply chain in Asia, recently cast some doubt on rumors about a second-generation iPhone SE launching in the second quarter of 2018.
If there really is a so-called iPhone SE 2 on Apple's roadmap, Kuo expects it will have few outward-facing changes. He predicts the device would likely have a faster processor and a lower price, rather than iPhone X-like features like a nearly full screen design, 3D sensing for Face ID, or wireless charging.
The current iPhone SE looks much like the iPhone 5s, including its smaller four-inch display preferred by a subset of customers. The device is powered by Apple's A9 chip, like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and it has 2GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and Touch ID.
Apple hasn't fully refreshed the iPhone SE since it launched in March 2016, but it did double its available storage capacities to 64GB and 128GB in March 2017. It also dropped the device's starting price to $349 last September.
For example, Singapore's Apple Orchard Road store has already been updated with the green logo, as Apple gears up for its annual Earth Day celebrations at multiple retail locations around the world.
In typical fashion, Apple store staff are also encouraged to wear green shirts instead of their usual blue ones to promote the event. Apple may also be planning to hold a special Earth Day celebratory event at its Cupertino headquarters, as it has done in the past.
Apple often uses Earth Day as a way to highlight its environmental efforts and reaffirm its commitment to recycling, renewable energy, and other initiatives. This year it is explicitly tying the event to its new GiveBack trade-in program, which offers customers credit and/or free recycling on old Apple devices, as well as a donation to Conservation International.
On Thursday, Apple published its environmental report outlining all of the improvements and changes that were implemented throughout 2017 and early 2018 to lessen the company's overall environmental impact.
In addition, Apple shared details on initiatives that support its goal of making its products using only recycled or renewable materials, and introduced a new iPhone disassembly robot named Daisy – an improved version of Liam, its first disassembly robot launched in 2016.
Also on Thursday, Apple Watch owners received a notification about an Earth Day activity challenge. If previous years are anything to go by, customers can expect more Earth Day-related goings-on from Apple over the coming days.
Greenpeace Criticizes Apple's 'Daisy' Recycling Robot, Says Focus Should be on 'Repairable and Upgradeable Product Design'
In response to Apple's environmental report and details about the new robot, Greenpeace has released a statement suggesting Apple's focus should be on product longevity rather than recycling robots.
In a statement, Greenpeace Senior analyst Gary Cook said Apple needs to work on product designs that better accommodate upgrades and repairs, allowing for devices to be used for a longer period of time. Cook says customers clearly want to keep their devices for longer, citing demand for battery replacements under Apple's discounted battery program.
"Rather than another recycling robot, what is most needed from Apple is an indication that the company is embracing one of its greatest opportunities to reduce its environmental impact: repairable and upgradeable product design. This would keep its devices in use far longer, delaying the day when they'd need to be disassembled by Daisy.Greenpeace often champions device repairability and longevity, especially in regard to Apple products. Last summer, for example, Greenpeace teamed up with iFixit to rate the repairability of Apple devices, accusing Apple of shortening device lifespan with difficult, proprietary repair processes and components, ultimately leading to more electronic waste.
Customers want to keep their devices longer, as evidenced by a 3 to 4 week wait for a battery replacement at Apple retail stores earlier this year, when Apple was compelled to dramatically reduce the replacement cost.
For its part, Apple in its environmental report says that device durability and longevity is one of its goals, citing its efforts to provide parts and repairs for five years after a product is no longer manufactured. "When products can be used longer, fewer resources need to be extracted from the earth to make new ones," reads the report.
While Greenpeace criticized Apple's lack of focus on repairability, it did laud Apple's efforts to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to Apple competitors. Samsung, for example, operates on 1 percent renewable energy, a sharp contrast to Apple's operations that now run on 100 percent renewable energy.
"Apple's latest environment report highlights the company's continued leadership in aggressively deploying renewable energy to tackle the greenhouse gas footprint of not only its own operations, but also its suppliers who are responsible for the vast majority of its emissions. Apple's leadership on climate change contrasts sharply with its main competitor, Samsung Electronics, who currently operates on only 1% renewable energy.Greenpeace regularly gives Apple high marks for the company's dedication to environmental improvements, which is close to unparalleled in the tech world. Apple received a B- in Greenpeace's latest Guide to Greener Electronics, beating out Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, HP, LG, and more.
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Apple Shares 2018 Environmental Report With Details on Daisy Recycling Robot, Progress on Closed-Loop Supply Chain
As was announced earlier this month, Apple recently hit a major milestone and longtime environmental goal, with 100 percent of its operations around the world powered by renewable energy. Apple has also convinced 23 of its suppliers to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy so far.
These efforts allowed Apple to cut down on its total carbon footprint in 2017. During the year, Apple was responsible for 27.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, down from 29.5 million metric tons in 2016.
Through its unwavering commitment to renewable energy, improvements to energy efficiency, and a reduction in emissions from aluminum manufacturing, Apple has reduced emissions by 54 percent worldwide since 2011, and as of 2018, 66 percent of the renewable energy Apple procures comes from Apple's own projects.
Over the course of 2017, Apple worked to implement energy efficiency improvements to its facilities around the world, including Apple retail stores. Upgrades were made to LED lighting, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, resulting in an overall electricity savings of 3.7 million kilowatt-hours per year.
Apple's overall energy footprint was reduced by 14.7 million kWh and 225,000 therms in fiscal 2017, and combined with other efficiency measures implemented since 2011, Apple cumulatively saves 70 million kWh of electricity and 2.4 million therms of natural gas per year. The company has also worked directly with its suppliers to audit facilities and find opportunities for better energy efficiency, with the program saving an annualized 320,000 metric tons of C02e from entering the atmosphere in 2017.
Today's environmental report highlights Apple's newest recycling robot, Daisy. Daisy can disassemble 200 iPhones per hour, removing and sorting components more efficiently than Apple's previous recycling robot, Liam. Daisy removes and sorts components from the iPhone, allowing Apple to collect more materials than it would get from traditional recycling methods.
Daisy has a smaller footprint than Liam and can disassemble multiple models of iPhone with higher variation compared to the earlier robot. Using Daisy, Apple was able to make progress towards its goal of creating products without mining materials from the earth, aka the closed loop supply chain that it announced as a goal in 2017.
Apple says that in 2017, it invited "key stakeholders" to small "closed-door roundtables" in Europe, the U.S., and China to get targeted feedback on its closed-loop supply chain ambitions. Apple spoke with academics, NGOs, industry leaders, and other companies.
The company has also been investing in research to figure out the barriers to implementing a closed-loop system, and it has been launching pilot programs to determine possible solutions. Apple outlines several materials and programs it's currently focusing on, including aluminum (sourced from old iPhones), cobalt (battery scrap is now shipped to a recycler), copper (reducing copper usage on PCBs), glass (new reuse and reprocess methods), paper (sustainable forests), plastics (aiming to eliminate plastics), rare earth elements (exploring new recycling technologies), steel (increasing recycled content), and tungsten (recovered from the Taptic Engine and sent to specialty recycler).
Apple's main accomplishment in 2017 was the use of 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on the main logic board in the iPhone 6s. Recycled tin is now being used for the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.
For those interested, Apple's full environmental report [PDF] goes into much greater detail on landfill usage, water usage, dangerous materials, recycling, product efficiency, and more, and it's well worth reading if you want to brush up on Apple's environmental protection efforts.