3 out of 4 Apple Watch Buyers are Getting Their First Apple Watch

75% of Apple Watch customers are first time buyers, likely driven by Series 3 promos - 9to5Mac

According to Apple, 75% of Apple Watch buyers during the holiday quarter were brand new to the Apple Watch platform. This is slightly higher than the last time Apple cited this statistic in September, when it reported that 70% of Apple Watch customers were buying their first model.

That’s a fantastic number for a product that’s turning 5 in a couple months. I’ve heard a few people talk about Apple’s wearables revenue as if it’s 90% AirPods and then a couple HomePods and Apple Watches, but I think Apple Watches make up a bigger part of that pie than many give it credit for.

Who is Building Billion Dollar Companies These Days?

Gruber, commenting on Ben Thompson:

There are developers making good money with professional caliber iPad apps. But nothing like the companies that were built around the Mac.

Gruber and Thompson use Adobe as an example of a company who built Mac software and turned into a billion dollar company. They contend no one has done this on the iPad.

My counter would be: since 2010, what billion dollar companies have been built on Mac-specific software? If there is one, I can’t think of it.

I know that web apps and anything built on Electron go against everything people like Gruber believe in when it comes to software, but the massively successful companies today are built on web technologies, and they certainly don’t build native Mac software as their main business.

I look at Notion, which has a $800 million valuation, Atlasian’s $36 billion market cap, Slack’s $500 million-ish valuation, and the many other apps I use on my Mac to get work done and none of them were built on selling local software for the Mac. The closest I can think of is someone like Pixelmator, but even they must be way smaller than $1 billion, and then that’s not perfect because they sell iPad apps as part of whatever their revenue is.

Please let me know if there are companies out there building billion dollar businesses on native Mac software over the past decade, but I can’t for the life of me think of someone. I think this is an example of setting up metrics that the iPad could never live up to, and using that as a way to call it a failure.

Back on Apple’s Incentives (and on blogging as conversation)

Apple’s Incentives - Initial Charge

It’s hard to quantify the value of influencers within families and groups of friends. And the type of people who use RSS are also likely to be the type of people that friends and family members turn to for tech-related advice and recommendations.

Michael responds to my post about Apple’s incentives for only including App Store editorials in the App Store app. I think the argument that people like me, Michael, and let’s be honest, giant Apple bloggers like John Gruber, would be doing more word of mouth marketing for Apple’s editorials if we could consume them in a way that’s convenient for us. We’re absolutely a niche, but our influence (whether it be over 10 or 100,000 people) extends beyond ourselves.

I never link to to App Store articles, but just browsing it now, I see things like this that look pretty cool and I might try and share here.

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On another note, this interaction is exactly what I love in the blogging world, and it doesn’t happen that often anymore.

  1. Thomas Brand writes about something
  2. Michael links to, and adds onto Thomas’s point
  3. I link to, and add onto/counter Michael’s point
  4. Michael links to and adds/counters
  5. I link (in this very post) to Michael, and add on

Personal blogging is fun on its own, but it’s even better when it turns into a conversation.

The Galaxy Fold Not a Viable Product

Samsung Galaxy Fold review: The future is an ugly disappointment | Ars Technica

Should you buy a Galaxy Fold? NO! God no. Are you crazy? The sky-high price, durability issues, nascent form factor, and new screen technology should rule the phone out for just about everyone. (Save your bendy tech dreams for Westworld season three.) Rather than a viable product, right now the Fold feels more like a publicly available prototype device that demonstrates an experimental new form factor.

I know some tech reviewers will disagree, but I really think the Galaxy Fold was always a prototype that Samsung let you buy. It’s clearly not ready for prime time and people got a thrill from using something early. It was like a concept car: it looks cool, it shows you some features that are coming down the road, but it doesn’t have air conditioning, handles poorly, and gets 9 miles to the gallon. It has cool elements, but giving it a “car of the year” award or suggesting anyone actually buy it would be stupid.

"33 Million" Apple TV+ Subscribers

"33 Million" Apple TV+ Subscribers

The Wall Street Journal reports (via 9to5Mac, if you don't subscribe to WSJ) that there are about 33 million acitve Apple TV+ subscribers. That makes is half as big as Netflix, and about 9 million smaller than Amazon Prime, but larger than Hulu and Disney+ (all in the US only, not counting international at all).

These are estimates, so they're up for debate, and Benjamin Mayo suggests the number is likely closer to 10-15 million users.

As 9to5Mac points out, rivals will point out that everyone who bought an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or Mac got one year for free, so while most of those Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ users are actively paying for the service, the number of Apple TV+ subscribers who have spent a cent on it is likely much, much lower.

But this all gets to the point that comparing these things is really difficult because it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. Apple TV+ and Amazing Prime Video customers may not be spending a cent on the services, but they use them because they get them "for free" for buying something else. There are also deals and packages that get you other services like Disney+ for free as well.

These are analysts' predictions, not hard numbers, nor are they neccessarily indicators of how much people enjoy these services. They're interesting, and can give you a ballpark idea of how things are going, but don't get too married to any of these numbers.

Guess What Bozo Doesn’t Understand Encryption

Trump says Apple needs to ‘help our great country’ and unlock iPhones used by criminals - 9to5Mac

In the tweet, Trump emphasized that the government is “helping Apple all of the time on trade and so many other issues.” Despite this, Apple refuses to break encryption for iPhones used “by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements,” Trump says.

He might as well be saying, “come on, I gave you something, now you can build in a back door to your software right? There isn’t a single example of those backfiring!” I’m shocked, shocked he doesn’t get it…or doesn’t actually care.

The Magic of Using HomePods in Stereo Mode

Stereo HomePods for Difficult Rooms and Social Listening - Jim Willis

The HomePods are strange in this way in that you can be sitting very close to one of the pair but still not sure if what you’re hearing is predominantly coming from the speaker closest to you or the one on the other side of the room.
Moreover, as you move further and further away from the HomePods, the volume of the music does not seem to fall off quite so rapidly. Meaning it’s easier to have a conversation in the room while music is playing and the music volume always seems just about right now matter where your are sitting.

Jim wrote this as a bit of a response to me and  Kirk McElhearn’s pieces on how HomePods compare to the Sonos One. He makes a compelling point about the HomePod that I didn’t mention in my comparison, and that’s on me for skipping it. The HomePod does a very good job of creating a “level” sound throughout the space in which they’re playing. The Sonos is pretty good here too, and it’s certainly better than your average Bluetooth speaker, but it’s not quite at HomePod’s level.

This is a classic Apple-style feature in that you just get used to it being great. I thought about it when the HomePod was new and I was getting use to having it in my life, but as time went on I kind of forgot that the even audio quality and volume around the room I was in was indeed a really cool feature.

Launched: A Podcast about Creators Launching Their Greatest Work

Launched: A Podcast about Creators Launching Their Greatest Work

Launched is a new show from my friend, and dare I say, iOS celebrity developer Charlie Chapman. Charlie created Dark Noise, the best white noise app out there last year, and now he’s doing a podcast where he talks to other people about what it was like to launch their projects into the world.

The first episode is out now and is an interview with Heidi Helen Pilypas, the co-creator of When Did I? and Capsicum.

Samsung is Shipping a Phone with COTS Out-of-the-Box

The new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is not the phone for me, but it does make a compelling case as a good phone for merchants who want a mobile POS. COTS (“commercial off-the-shelf”) is a thing we’ve been looking at in the payments industry for a while now, and the concept is pretty damn cool.

The short of it is that instead of using a hardware device to accept credit cards from your customers, you can use the NFC chip on your phone to act as the “tap-to-pay” point in your POS. This removes the need to plug anything into your phone or pair anything over Bluetooth, and for merchants who just want to get paid with as few complications as possible, this is super compelling.

The great thing about this phone is that it ships with support for COTS. The bad news is that, as far as I know, there are no major payment gateways that support this in their apps yet, so it’s not going to be super useful for many people today. But the good news is that because this is out there, it hopefully indicates that more phones will follow suit. As always, we’re mostly waiting on Apple to enable this on the iPhone to make it go truly mainstream. We shall see…