Huge demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models even after months of being introduced

The new iPhones were introduced in September this year and after more than three months of being announced there was not even one iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to be found for sale on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the West coast. I was at Portland visiting friends and in the wise intention of taking advantage of the state's generous 'no sales tax' law, I wanted to buy an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus there to save some $60 odd dollars. But from Friday morning after Thanksgiving till Monday night, I found only two or three iPhone 6 phones available in the entire Portland area. Those phones were also either the 16GB or the 128GB models. It is crazy to see the demand of these iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones be so high. The last I saw such crazy demand for the iPhone was only for the original iPhone in 2007 and that was mainly due to very low supply. So I am not surprised  to see all the analysts scrambling their way to increase AAPL's price targets (via The Street) right in time for the holiday quarter's sales call. It is also important to note that there weren't any major sales discounts in lieu of Thanksgiving for Apple's iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, as usual, but virtually every unit that was available for sale was sold out!  

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been in such incredible demand since they first became available in September that Apple has had trouble making enough units to keep up with demand, most notably demand for the larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Guana believes that Apple has made inroads on getting supply increased, but noted that sources “have indicated that even Apple has been surprised by the strength of demand.”
— The Street
iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus everywhere but not a single one to buy... (Source: Apple.com)

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus everywhere but not a single one to buy... (Source: Apple.com)

And this is just not in the US, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are a huge hit globally as well (via AppleInsider). 

During the last 12 days of Q3 2014, Apple ‘experienced a huge jump in sales share across almost all major markets thanks to the launch of the iPhone 6,’ reported Dominic Sunnebo of Kantar Worldpanel, enabling iOS to reach or exceed 40 percent market share in Australia, U.S., U.K. and Japan.
— via AppleInsider


A new 4" iPhone?

I posted a piece back in September titled, "Where is the "new" 4" iPhone?" after the announcement of the new iPhone 6 models. After using the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus for a while now, though I haven't bought one myself (yet), I am confident that many of us will miss the wonder of the 4" iPhone form factor. 3.5" was too small and even the 4.7" might be too big for many out there. So it makes sense for Apple to have a 4" iPhone be available alongside its bigger cousins, be it the iPhone 5S or 5C successor or a new design all together in line with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus design language. So this news of Apple planning to introduce a "new" iPhone that is 4" is good news to me, but apparently this rumor is a little too sketchy to even be considered a rumor. 

Japanese site Feng, seemingly citing DigiTimes as a source, is reporting the unlikely claim that Apple will next year replace the iPhone 5c with a new 4-inch model.
— via 9to5mac

A bill named after Tim Cook

An anti-description bill to be named after Tim Cook a man who has made Apple more open and inclusive, a place where no one will be judged based on race, color or personal preferences, but only by their ability to think different, what an apt decision! 

An anti-discrimination bill championed by Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker will bear the name of Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook, a native of the state who came out as gay in October.
— via GlobalPost

"Free" Apps on the App Store

Across the iTunes and Mac App Stores today, a minor but also notable change is taking place with regard to how Apple is marketing its iOS and Mac applications. Instead of free apps being labeled as FREE, the download button now reads GET. The change likely has to do with increased pressures from the European Commission, which this summer, succeeded in forcing Google to relabel apps that offer in-app purchases.
— TechCrunch

By accident or design, the App store(s) are going towards a terrible downward spiral in the race to the bottom in terms of pricing. This is preventing quality and Indie Apps from thriving on the App store and Apple's In-App purchase scheme is mostly to blame for this. While I understand why Apple did this, its time, Apple seriously reconsidered the strategy in place here. From the recent saga of the Monument Valley upgrade pricing woes to the terrible stories of thousands of dollars spent in In-App purchases on stupid games, this In-App purchase scheme is costing a lot of people a lot of time and money and frankly it does not seem healthy for the platform. The EU demanding Apple to, first explicitly mention that an App offers In-App purchase and now (via TechCrunch), not terming any App that offers In-App purchases, as "FREE" are good countermeasures, but not solutions. 

I am not a proponent of the yesteryear Microsoft Software strategy of over charging people for crappy software and upgrades, but again I hate the other extreme of this spectrum as well. While quality and value are in the eye of the beholder, there are way too many Apps in the App store that deserve much more monetary remuneration than they are getting and this has to stop. It is not entirely Apple's fault, we as consumers have a tendency to try to get the best bang for our buck (I just din't want to say we are cheap), but again for any market to thrive, there has to be a balance in pricing and value. I say put an end to this In-App purchase scheme, all together and that is the only way out! 

The Mac App store now says "GET" instead of "FREE" on Apps that offer In-App purchases (Source: Apple)

The Mac App store now says "GET" instead of "FREE" on Apps that offer In-App purchases (Source: Apple)

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Which is more popular?

Apple is most definitely not going to reveal the split up between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales numbers, probably for ever. We can wait for the analysts to play around with the numbers and reverse calculate the split between these two models, based on the profit the iPhone earns this quarter and its average selling price. Or we can look around for some usage analytics data, like this one, from Applovin. 

In general, the 6 Plus is much more popular in APAC countries. While in North America, Western Europe, and Australia the iPhone 6/6 Plus ratio is much more aligned with the global average, APAC countries seem to have taken to the 6 Plus in greater numbers. In a region where phablet sales equal that of laptops and tablets combined, 6 Plus usage is consistently over 35% higher than iPhone 6 usage in the APAC countries.
— Applovin

No surprises here. Of course the iPhone 6 Plus seemed popular in the beginning because Apple sort of under estimated the demand for a humungous iPhone, mainly in the Western countries. But the more iPhone 6 Plus owners I talk to, who did not plan to purchase a 6 Plus originally, the more I am convinced that people love it. Be it our craving for having the best iPhone or bigger the better (like in buying TVs, for example) attitude, the 6 Plus has ended up in more pockets in the Western countries than expected. But overall there was never any doubt that the iPhone 6 will clearly outsell the 6 Plus, the questions was by how much margin and the most common number that has been floating around was, for every iPhone 6 Plus sold, there were three or four iPhone 6 models sold. And that seems to consistent with many studies so far (another one on this from John Gruber, here).

Source: Applovin.com

Source: Applovin.com

And the 6 Plus is more popular in Asia than the West, due to either weaker purchasing power in Asia, requiring consumers to choose between a smartphone and a tablet and/or that Asians, in general don't want too many gadgets, lying around in their household. 

About those always tangled Earphones

I don't know what Apple does with so much money and why it can't invent a better, tangle free Earphones (or pods) for all their devices. I am no audiophile and I am perfectly happy with the audio quality of the (in)famous Apple while earphones, though the same can't be said about its fit. But the biggest thing that keeps bugging me is how badly they get tangled in my pockets. Whatever I do, I don't seem to find an acceptable solution. That is why this video from CNET was so apt to my situation. Come on Apple, please do something about these earphones! 

Apple's EarPods (Source: Apple.com)

Apple's EarPods (Source: Apple.com)

Nokia, the new Xiaomi?

Nokia (at least what is left of it after the Microsoft buy out!) announced a new Android tablet, costing around $250 and it appears as though, it forgot to hire its own designers this time, instead chose to borrow, rather heavily, from Apple designers, albeit without their consent (via The Verge). There is of course only one way to design a modern tablet and why should Apple get all the credit, its not like Apple invented the modern tablet or anything, right??

The only things missing here to complete the iPad mini look are a home button, chamfered edges, and an Apple logo. There’s even “Natural Aluminum” and “Lava Grey” color schemes, and a cover that looks suspiciously similar to Apple’s Smart Case. Nokia’s own N1 website also looks like it’s straight from Apple.com.
— The Verge
Every detail matters for Nokia, apparently in ripping off Apple (Source: Nokia.com)

Every detail matters for Nokia, apparently in ripping off Apple (Source: Nokia.com)

Apple's iPad mini webpage (Source: Apple.com)

Apple's iPad mini webpage (Source: Apple.com)

Eddy Cue promotes Apple Pay

As a promotion to the recently announced Apple Pay, Apple's Eddy Cue, went on a shopping trip with a local California TV channel reporter (follow the link for the video).

While we are on Apple Pay, a couple of points to note on Apple Pay are:

  • Certain stores still might require you to sign your name in addition to Apple's Touch ID authentication depending on the amount of the transaction.
  • Certain Debit card purchases still require a pin to be entered in addition to Apple's Touch ID authentication

None of these are too much of a deal breaker and in spite of these intricacies, Apple Pay is still way more secure (in terms of privacy) and way faster than traditional card transactions.

Apple Watch and the iPhone: Different strategies

Apple has often been criticized for the lack of choice in the iPhone models, other than the generation of the iPhones and the internal specifications like the amount memory. Every one of the more than 500 million iPhone users have one of the three or four generations (mostly) of the iPhones and there is no way to choose an iPhone based on your personal choice of design, other than color and more recently on the screen size. But still no two iPhones out there look alike, even if they are the same model, and this is because most of the iPhone users have a protective case on their iPhones and Apple has been happy to cede this space of customization to third party case makers.

Other than a few color and size options, the iPhones don't offer as much choice for the buyers as the Apple Watch does (Source: Apple.com)

Other than a few color and size options, the iPhones don't offer as much choice for the buyers as the Apple Watch does (Source: Apple.com)

The scenario with the most recently announced Apple Watch, though is very different. There are two sizes of the Apple Watch, then there are different models, like the Sport, the Regular (?) and the Edition, then there are a bunch of straps with different colors and designs, the Apple Watch itself can be chosen from a few colors (and not to mention the different watch faces that can be chosen as the display, that make the total number of permutations and combinations to choose from, more than two million). So clearly Apple's strategy on the Watch is very different compared to the iPhone and this is a deliberate move. Apple has been very vocal about touting the Apple Watch as the most personal devices Apple has made till date and when a device is this personal, people should have a lot of options to choose from. Moreover the iPhones spend most of their times inside the pockets, whereas the Apple Watch is going to be on display on your wrist for everyone to see. So the fashion component of the Watch also demands a lot of choices to available in the first place. 

Apple Unveils Apple Watch—Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever... And there are over 2 million ways to customize the watch face as well, so there’s something for literally everyone!
— Apple
Apple Watch offers a lot of options for customization (Source: Apple.com)

Apple Watch offers a lot of options for customization (Source: Apple.com)