Apple iOS 12.2, Apple News+, Apple Card

Screen Time is pretty good, but can always use more. It has that very Apple feature cycle where you expect more easy release, but they tend to keep it overly simple. The second item below should be good:

Screen Time
– Downtime can be configured with a different schedule for each day of the week
– A new toggle enables easily turning app limits on or off temporarily

And a review of Apple News+:

Currently, magazines offered by the service are a mix of rich, responsive content based on Apple News Format and fixed, high-resolution “scans” that behave like pages of a PDF document. I was happy to see that the majority of magazines I’m interested in such as Wired, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorkerhave been built with Apple News Format, which brings a host of advantages: layouts are richer (with animated elements, swipable galleries, and more), text can be resized, and each issue offers a Table of Contents that lets you jump directly to a specific story or section of the magazine.

And then the Apple Card, mostly from a competitive angle:

…and Apple just took on a bevy of competitors including the following:


  • Capital One and other credit card issuers such as American Express, Bank of America, and Citibank. 

  • In a blog post, MasterCard highlighted its involvement with Apple’s digital first card. Apple is using MasterCard’s token services and M Chip technologies. 

  • Banks that have built in personal finance apps and rely on credit cards for margin.

  • Apps like Intuit’s Mint. 

  • Payment apps like PayPal and Venmo that have an app presence but not a physical one. PayPal also issues its own credit and debit cards with Synchrony Bank as the issuing bank. 

  • An architecture and financial setup that makes Apple Card as compelling as a rewards program. Customers get three percent Daily Cash on all purchase made with Apple; Two percent with Apple Card and Apple Pay usage and one percent with the physical card; and one percent with the titanium Apple Card. 

And: “Apple Card will be available this summer.

So, add Apple to the FUD list on your opening, vendor pitch slide, esp. for banks. “What will they do next?” your slide will imply, “stealing your customers, making you just a backend, at best.”

Then, some analysis from the financial analysts at Keybanc:

Apple’s services efforts appear less compelling the further away from user lock-in they go. Apple began its presentation by showing the definition of services: “the action of helping or doing work for someone,” an insinuation that its services business is an act of kindness bestowed upon the Company’s users and content partners. The irony in this is that Apple’s Services segment generates the vast majority of its profit in areas where Apple faces no competition or has a massive advantage due to user lock-in. In other words, its success in Services to date appears to be more a result of leverage over user control than a result of kindness or service to its ecosystem participants. The services announced today ventured beyond the walled garden of iPhone-linked services into markets with more-established competition. In these areas, we believe Apple’s rate of success and profitability are likely to decline vs. its current lineup of services.

They’re not too hot on Apple Pay being a big deal:

The ability of Apple to transition from a mobile phone maker to a trusted and highly engaged financial service offering remains an open question, yet we applaud innovative efforts and see the greatest disruption occurring on the issuer side of the equation with the non-traditional pick of Goldman. The choice of Mastercard and rewards construct largely follows industry standards and showcases the power of the traditional payment processing value chain (e.g. V, MA). The decision to omit a card number and thus encourage Apple Pay usage online is interesting, but is unlikely to be a needle-mover within the e- commerce landscape (e.g., PYPL). A rewards structure linked to Apple Pay Cash is interesting but is likely to yield relatively small payment volumes and we see limited demographic overlap with Venmo or Square Cash (e.g., PYPL, SQ).

Link: The axes of HomePod evolution: don’t judge what you can’t yet see

“it’s important to bear in mind how every single Apple product tends to evolve: from MVP, aka minimal viable product, to thing that people buy by the million.”
Original source: The axes of HomePod evolution: don’t judge what you can’t yet see

Link: ‘Big Tech’ isn’t one big monopoly – it’s 5 companies all in different businesses

‘But despite simple perception of them all as “tech” companies, their core revenue sources are clearly different. And those distinctions suggest ways people can understand and respond to anxieties about their growing economic and cultural influence.’
Original source: ‘Big Tech’ isn’t one big monopoly – it’s 5 companies all in different businesses

Link: Apple Pay accepted at 1 out of 2 U.S. stores, says Apple VP Jennifer Bailey

“Apple Pay availability was limited to about 3 percent of stores in the U.S. when it launched in 2014, but is now accepted in 50 percent of stores.”
Original source: Apple Pay accepted at 1 out of 2 U.S. stores, says Apple VP Jennifer Bailey

Link: Apple bringing medical records to iPhone, Apple Watch

“It all works when a user opens the iPhone’s health app, navigates to the health record section, and, on the new tool, adds a health provider. From there, the user taps to connect to Apple’s software system and data start streaming into the service. Patients will get notified via an alert if new information becomes available.”

Sounds cool. We’ll see. Apple often takes 2-3 years to actually have software that works well and is useful. And then, as with Photos, they fuck it up 2-3 years late.
Original source: Apple bringing medical records to iPhone, Apple Watch

Link: Apple’s Siri-equipped HomePod comes to your home on February 9

Apple is pretty cool consistent in anemic features versus alternatives, but like the Windows says. Of course, when Apple nails the opinionated workflow, you appreciate it:

“Since Apple revealed HomePod, it’s been clear that the company is focusing more on sound quality and the music-listening experience with this smart speaker than Siri’s capabilities as a home assistant. That’s why Apple’s device is so much more expensive than most Amazon Echo devices and the Google Home and Home Mini speakers (although Google does have Home Max, its own high-end smart speaker). However, HomePod will not launch with an important music feature: multi-room audio and stereo. Apple states that this will come to HomePod later this year through a free software update, allowing two or more HomePods to play the same audio throughout an entire home or specific room.”
Original source: Apple’s Siri-equipped HomePod comes to your home on February 9

Apple makes major podcast updates, tracking how much user’s actually listen

Apple said today that it will be using (anonymized) data from the app to show podcasters how many people are listening and where in the app people are stopping or skipping. This has the potential to dramatically change our perception of how many people really listen to a show, and how many people skip ads, as well as how long a podcast can run before people just give up.


Meddling with Apple and Chinese Manufacturing

A nice discussion that highlights the complexity id trade policy and, thus, rhe high risks of fucking it up. I like this critique of trade criticism:

What makes Navarro’s critique challenging is that it’s not wholly wrong, at least from the American worker perspective, yet it’s not particularly actionable.

So often, that last part is overlooked: you have to actually be able to on something, despite the past. Until we have time machines, finding flaws and suggesting how we should have fixed them is little use on its own. Sure, you need a good analysis of history to figure out what to do next, but it’s deciding what to do next, and doing it, that count.


Apple AirPods will force you to use your Apple Watch more

The lack of physical controls is very … well … Apple. It’s part of what makes the AirPods so attractive but also can be maddening if you want to change the volume or skip a track without talking out loud to Siri. If you have an Apple Watch, you can get around this without pulling your phone out of your pocket or purse. I think this shortcoming will be the biggest complaint about AirPods.

Source: “Initial Impressions of the Apple AirPods”

A nice description of why large, business case driven companies innovate less

But this can be a toxic formula. The financial optimization algorithm always prioritizes the known over the unknown since the known can be measured and is assigned a quantum of value while the unknown is “discounted” with a steep hurdle rate, and assigned a near zero net present value. Thus the financial algorithm leads to promoting efficiency at the expense of creation. Efficiency may be the right priority when times are difficult and resources are scarce but creativity is the right priority in a time of plenty. And abundance is what being big is all about.

Priorities in a time of plenty

Link: Apple Watch by the (estimated) numbers, and 11 claimed myths about the wearable

Round up of marketshare and commentary on the Apple Watch from Horace’s Apple Watch conference. 80% of wearable market, they say.

Source: Apple Watch by the (estimated) numbers, and 11 claimed myths about the wearable

Link: Usage of Apple Watch by British Airways Passengers

“Apple watches now account for more than five per cent of app usage, giving customers access to real-time flight status, gate information, a countdown to the departure time and the weather at their destination.”

Source: Usage of Apple Watch by British Airways Passengers

Coté Memo #034: No longer blending iPhones, Applefornia, Developer Relations & Marketing


Hello again, welcome to #034. Today we have 41 subscribers, so we’re +/-0. I’d love to hear what you like, dislike, your feedback, etc.: (If you’re reading this on the web, you should subscribe to get the daily email.)

See past newsletters in the archives, and, as always, see things as they come at and @cote.



Tech & Work World

Quick Hits

Finally, I’ll be getting a new phone

Obviously, there was a big Apple event today. I’m overdue getting a new phone (I’ve got an iPhone 4s!), so I’ll be shelling some cash out once it’s available; I’ll see what kind of AT&T discount I get. I finally waited until I was due a new phone, so hopefully not that much.

Like most people I saw, I was impressed by the Apple Watch more than I thought. I like how Apple just kept piling on functionality to it. Pretty Amazing.

Kevin Lynch shows off the Apple Watch

It was also fun to see Kevin Lynch in action. I used to work with him in tiny ways, mostly over lunches, when he was at Adobe. He always seemed like a very genuine, very smart guy who actually had a passion for computers. I think that came through in his talk today. He had a nice sense of humor too which popped up a tad. Last we saw, he was blending iPhones, but you know, because the cause.


The other thing I find fascinating is the weird world that Apple’s personas all exist in. It’s somewhere between stock photos at Target and the mall, and high-end PowerPoint clip-art. I like to think of it as Applefornia: that cool, ocean-filled place where people seem to constantly be on vacation and covering them selves with patinaware. That Umberto Eco should write an essay on it.

Developer relations and marketing

At our upcoming HCTS cloud conference (look above for more info and discount code if you want to register), I’ll be doing a short talk on developer relations and marketing, followed by a panel on the topic.

I put together a first, incomplete draft of the slides. Take a gander and tell me if you have any feedback:

I’m not sure where I came up with that title, but it looks like something I’d type…

Fun & IRL

No fun today, just work.

Things analysts forecasts won’t tell you

“These old technologies are holding us back. They’re anchors on where we want to go,” he said. “We find the things that have outlived their useful purpose. Our competitors are afraid to remove them. We try to find better solutions – our customers have given us a lot of trust. In general, it’s a good idea to remove these rotating medias from our computers and other devices. They have inherent issues — they’re mechanical and sometimes break, they use power and are large. We can create products that are smaller, lighter and consume less power.”

Ain’t no 5 year bar graph that says that