Tales from the Orchard: Apple confirms WWDC 2018 keynote livestream

At WWDC 2018, Apple will show us the future of iOS and its other platforms.

 

Didn’t get manage to grab a ticket to WWDC 2018?

Don’t worry. Apple will still give you a front row seat to the keynote on June 4th.

Apple confirmed this afternoon that it will provide a live stream of the WWDC 2018 keynote on its website, the WWDC app, as well as on Apple TV. Even if you’re not a registered developer, you’ll still be able to watch.

Press invites for the June 4 keynote were sent out today. Cult of Mac is on this year’s guest list, so we’ll be live blogging all of the action from ground zero at the San Jose convention center. Apple didn’t provide a live stream of its event in March but did upload the video of it later in the day.

 

What to expect at WWDC 2018

WWDC 2018 is expected to include the unveiling of iOS 12, macOS 10.14, tvOS 12 and watchOS 5. Other rumors have suggested that Apple may unveil new hardware such as new MacBook Pros, or possibly an iPhone SE 2.

Developers that aren’t able to make it to WWDC 2018 will also be able to watch the engineering sessions later online and through the WWDC 2018 app.

What do you hope to see at WWDC 18? Sound off in the comments below!!

The New Apple is the Old Microsoft

 

 

By FundamentalSpeculation.IO on SeekingAlpha.com

Summary

  • I see signs of history repeating itself – the new behemoth in tech is becoming more and more like the old behemoth in tech.
  • The bull case for apple is the strong moat around its best selling product – the iPhone. Based on this year’s WWDC, if anything, this moat is only getting bigger.
  • The bear case is that it is a single product company. They just can’t seem to be able to expand meaningfully into other categories that can rival the iPhone.
  • Is the new Apple with its iPhone a lot like the old Microsoft with its windows/office?
  • We consult our relative value model to see what may be considered fair value for Apple in today’s market.

I am a geek at heart. I like the flexibility of customizing my tools exactly to my liking. I am biased to prefer Linux over macOS/Windows and an android based phone over an iPhone (though I own both). This leads me to not be a big fan of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL products. I am however also in the minority. I appreciate the fact that most people are looking to see how computers/tablets/smartphones can help them in what they regularly do in their lives and prefer an intuitive interface over the customization I crave for. I have experienced this firsthand. I have tried to get my mom to use various laptops, tablets and phones over the years in the end the only devices she likes to use are the iPhone and the iPad. There is definitely tremendous value in the user experience and ecosystem apple has built.

The bear case for apple on the other hand is that it is a single product company at this point and at today’s valuation as the most valuable company ever in history, any misstep here can lead to a significant correction. I watched Apple’s WWDC keynote from earlier this month and I believe this only reinforces the beliefs of both parties. I will go over what I believe this means for the future of apple. Let’s start off with the good stuff from WWDC.

WWDC: The good stuff

Apple has been working tirelessly to make incremental improvements to the iPhone/iPad, its services and the ecosystem in general. I am a fan of Apple Pay and the introduction of P2P payments through Apple Pay has a very good chance of making mobile payments more mainstream in the US. As a developer, I’m also very interested in ARKit. What a lot of people do not realize is that one of the biggest hurdles in building such AR applications is the heavy lifting you need to do to build an infrastructure to support an AR platform before you can actually design your product.

The fact that ARKit does most of the heavy lifting is a big deal. While I would never consider hiring a team of developers to help me build such an AR platform for my one app, I would be much more willing to devote some of my time to building a useful product on top of ARKit. There were also a bunch of other feature additions. While I cringed at the number of times the speakers tried to weave the phrase “machine learning” into their talks, I expect users will find value in a lot of the feature additions.

WWDC: The bad stuff

Steve jobs very famously simplified Apple’s product line when he was brought back to save the company. His “four quadrant” product grid is now legendary. Fast forward twenty years and now how many variations of apple products do we have again?

I understand apple is trying to squeeze the last few dollars from its customer base by trying to cater to some very specific needs a subset of the users may have, but some of the variations they are looking to launch are just silly. Case in point the new iMac Pro.

After what can only be considered a failed launch of the Mac Pro and a very rare admission of guilt, apple seems to be taking a second stab at the pro user. Let me be clear, if I am looking to buy a workstation as a professional user, my single biggest consideration is a modular, expandable design. I do not care one bit about aesthetics in this case! (It also took a lot of restraint for me to not use more colorful language). What I am looking to make sure is that my large investment will not go obsolete within the next few years requiring me to fork out several thousand dollars again to buy the new version of the same product. I fail to see who the target audience is for this device. It also looks like Apple realized this would be a concern and included language in their press release to assure customers that they are still working on a Mac Pro with a modular design. That being the case, it still does not excuse apple from creating useless product lines. This is the exact opposite of what Steve Jobs did to turnaround the company.

“In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design, as well as a new high-end pro display.”

The new Apple is like the old Microsoft

This brings me to how I believe this will play out for apple. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT famously experienced a “lost decade” where the company was tremendously profitable but the stock languished with no one believing Microsoft could build anything successful beyond windows/office. It continued to generate massive profits through this period but the multiples just contracted. It was only recently when Satya Nadella took over the reigns and refocused the company as cloud-first and mobile-first that the stock has taken off. I see a similar case with Apple. I believe the iPhone will continue to be a very successful product. Revenues from services related to this ecosystem will also continue to grow in the near-mid term. However despite the recent run up in the stock, I do not see much room for any significant multiple expansion. Let’s take a look at what our Relative Value Model has to say about Apple.

To add some color to the chart shown above, the “Cohort Fair Value” is the Fair value determined by our Relative Value Model based on comparables with similar business fundamentals (Such as Growth, Operating Leverage, Profitability etc). The “Fair Value” factors in a premium the market is currently paying for technology companies. If you agree with me that Apple will go through a phase similar to Microsoft in the 2000s, then the cohort fair value is the level to look for. Earlier this year, I would have recommended buying Apple and it reached our cohort fair value before falling back again in the recent tech sell-off. If at any point it starts to become clear that Apple can be more than just an iPhone company, I will get a lot more bullish and look for moves towards our sector adjusted “Fair Value” levels.

At the end of the day if you are bullish on the overall market at today’s levels or just want to stay invested, I consider Apple a good buy as long as it is below our cohort fair value. Start trimming your positions whenever it exceeds this level. Good luck with your investments!

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Tales from the Orchard – THE 8 BIGGEST ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM APPLE WWDC 2017

 

 

by Natt Garun of The Verge

Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote just wrapped, where key executives Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller, and, of course, Tim Cook, took the stage to announce updates headed to iPhones, MacBooks, Apple TV, and more.

The rumors for this year’s WWDC came in the final hours leading up to the event, with hints of new hardware and, of course, software news for developers to help prep the release of consumer updates in the fall. We were also anticipating the company to finally take Siri up against the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the hardware and smart home front — and it looks like it arrived in the form of the Apple HomePod.

Here are the highlights from today’s keynote.

 

APPLE ANNOUNCES HOMEPOD SPEAKER TO TAKE ON AMAZON ECHO AND SONOS

 

So let’s get the Siri speaker rumors out of the way: it turns out Apple wasn’t quite aiming its smart speaker to go against just Amazon Echo and Google Home, but also the Sonos home entertainment speakers. Called the HomePod, it uses spacial awareness to tune and better fill the room with sound based on the space it’s in. It also has a “Musicologist” feature that works with Apple Music to stream the music you ask the speaker’s built-in Siri to play. You can even ask more complex, music-related questions like “Who’s the drummer in this song?” or “What album came out on this day 20 years ago?”

“APPLE PRICED THE HOMEPOD AT $349”

The HomePod will be available in two colors — black or white — and will integrate Siri in an Amazon Echo / Google Home-like use case. You can ask it to control smart home devices and check the day’s weather and news briefings. Apple priced the HomePod at $349, with plans to ship it in December first to customers in the US, UK, and Australia. It will enter more international markets next year. Check out our hands-on with the HomePod for a first look.

IMAC PRO INTRODUCED, ALONGSIDE UPDATED DESKTOP SPECS

 

Apple’s introducing updated iMac desktops with improved Retina displays, graphics boosts, Kaby Lake processors, and USB-C. They will also support graphics for VR content creation. During the keynote, Apple demoed this by showing off a VR game featuring Darth Vader, a lightsaber, and TIE fighter.

There’s a new iMac Pro as well, with a 5K display with improved cooling capacity, and 8-core Xeon processor (upgradeable up to 18-core,) up to 4TB of SSD, up to 128GB of ECC memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and built-in 10GB Ethernet.

 

The new iMac starts at $1,099 for the 21.5-inch model, and $1,299 for the 4K model. MacBooks will get upgraded, too; the MacBook Pro starting at $1,299, which includes the updated Kaby Lake processor. The iMac Pro starts at $4,999, and ships in December.

IOS 11 COMES WITH IMPROVED SIRI, AUTOMATIC DO NOT DISTURB DRIVING MODE, IMESSAGE FEATURES

The new version of iOS software has some pretty social updates, such as an update to Siri that has improved speech, the ability to help translate sentences into different languages, and on-device learnings that suggest actions based on what you do on your iPhone or iPad. iMessages now live in the iCloud, with synchronized conversations that you can delete from any device you own that are under the same account. You can also pay and receive payments from contacts through iMessage — so no more Venmo or Square Cash if you don’t want to download extra apps.

“SIRI NOW HAS IMPROVED SPEECH”

Photo capture is also improved, with better low-light performance, and the ability to edit Live Photos so you can change the key still image or trim the video. There’s a new control center as well, which relies a lot on 3D Touch and condenses most controls on the lower half of the screen without looking cluttered.

 

There’s also a new safety feature that recognizes when a user is driving and automatically turns on Do Not Disturb to prevent distractions. When you’re available to be more social, you can now head to Apple Music to see what your friends are listening to and check out shared playlists.

Lastly, the App Store has been redesigned for better discovery and a How To section for tips on how to use various popular apps. Apple’s also bringing back the “App of the Day” section to promote users to open the App Store more frequently.

IOS 11 FOR IPAD BRINGS WINDOWS-ESQUE MULTITASKING ABILITIES

On the iPad, iOS 11 improves multitasking that lets users pull up an app from the dock and drag it onto the screen to split the screen. Similar to what you can do on a MacBook, you can use touch to hold and drag folders, files, or photos and drop them in a different app such as Mail or iMessage. Handwritten text from an Apple Pencil will also be searchable from the Notes app. Apple claims it uses “deep learning” to recognize penmanship.

Apple also talked briefly about the Files app that leaked a few hours before the keynote kicked off, which is just a management system that you can use to sort files by size and date, similar to how you’d go through your files on a desktop or laptop.

APPLE LETS DEVELOPERS MAKE MORE IMMERSIVE APPS WITH AR KIT

 

Just as Lauren Goode predicted, Apple introduced a new ARKit to let developers build augmented reality apps for the iPhone. The kit can help find planes, track motion, and estimate scale and ambient lighting. Popular apps like Pokémon Go will also use ARKit for improved real-time renders.

Rather than requiring external hardware like Microsoft’s HoloLens, Apple seems to be betting on ARKit to provide impressive quality imaging through a device most people already own. We’ll know more on how the quality actually compares when we get to try it out ourselves.

 

10.5 INCH iPAD PRO INTRODUCED

The iPad Pro will now be available in three different sizes, with a new 10.5-inch model introduced today. There’s a 12-megapixel camera, just like the iPhone 7, with a 7MP selfie cam. It supports USB 3.0 and has 10 hours of battery life.

There’s a new feature called ProMotion which reduces the Apple Pencil’s latency to 20 milliseconds. It can automatically adjust the refresh rate based on what you’re watching (fast-moving video versus still image). ProMotion also doubles the refresh rate to up to 120Hz.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro will be available starting with a 64GB configuration at $649; it’s available to order now and shipping next week.

 

THE NEW MACOS IS NAMED HIGH SIERRA. YEP.

The upcoming version of macOS will be called High Sierra, and it comes with updates to Safari that help block site trackers and autoplaying videos. Apple’s also added new photo-editing tools like curves (helpful for those who don’t have Adobe Photoshop), and it has better filtering tools to sort images by keywords or faces.
An updated file management system will be a part of the update as well, which speeds up directory cloning with native encryption. On the graphics end, there’s a second version of Metal, support for VR, and a Metal 2 developer kit that you can order with an AMD GPU to tune apps for external graphics.

WATCHOS 4 BRINGS NEW SIRI WATCHFACE, FITNESS COACHING, AND A NEW APP-BROWSING UI

An update for the Apple Watch is coming which introduces new faces that display different types of informations, such as Siri reminders or more visual ones that feature Toy Story characters a la Mickey Mouse. There’s also a fitness-focused update, which includes monthly challenges to encourage the wearer to get more active and NFC-enabled data sharing where the user can tap their Apple Watch on gym equipment to pair the two, sharing the most accurate calorie burn and activity information.

There’s also a new Music app to make finding and playing music via the Apple Watch more visual — you can now use a new dock layout to scroll through recently opened apps.

Catch up on the latest news from WWDC 2017 right here.

What’s your opinion on Apple’s Announcements? Tell us in the Comments below!

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