If you’re an Apple user, you’re probably already familiar with the convenience and efficiency that comes with using keyboard shortcuts. But did you know that there’s an entire app dedicated to creating custom shortcuts for all your frequently used actions and tasks? It’s called the “Shortcuts” app, and it’s a game changer.
Here are my top ten favorite shortcuts available in the Shortcuts app:
1. “Travel ETA” for quickly texting your estimated time of arrival to a friend or family member. This shortcut uses your location and traffic data to calculate your ETA and sends it in a text message with just a tap. 2. “Heading Home” for automating your commute home. With this shortcut, you can set up a series of actions to be triggered when you leave work, such as turning on your house lights, setting your thermostat, and sending a text message to your spouse. 3. “Order Takeout” for quickly placing an order at your favorite restaurant. This shortcut allows you to select your preferred restaurant, menu items, and delivery or pickup options, all with just a few taps. 4. “Create Event” for quickly adding an event to your calendar. This shortcut allows you to specify the details of your event, such as the name, location, and duration, and automatically adds it to your calendar. 5. “Add to Reading List” for quickly saving articles to read later. This shortcut allows you to add a webpage to your Reading List with just a tap, making it easy to save articles or websites for later. 6. “Send Message” for quickly sending a pre-written message to a contact. This shortcut allows you to create and save a message template, and send it to a chosen contact with just a few taps. 7. “Create Note” for quickly adding a note to your Notes app. This shortcut allows you to specify the details of your note, such as the title and body, and automatically adds it to your Notes app. 8. “Search YouTube” for quickly searching YouTube for a specific video. This shortcut allows you to specify your search term and opens the results in the YouTube app. 9. “Create Reminder” for quickly adding a reminder to your Reminders app. This shortcut allows you to specify the details of your reminder, such as the name and due date, and automatically adds it to your Reminders app. 10. “Play Podcast” for quickly playing a specific podcast episode. This shortcut allows you to specify the podcast and episode you want to play and opens it in the Podcasts app.
The “Shortcuts” app is a powerful tool that allows you to automate and streamline all your frequently used actions and tasks. Give it a try and see just how much time and effort you can save with these handy shortcuts!
As a proud owner of an iPhone myself, I often find myself marveling at the endless possibilities and features that come with my beloved device. But with great power comes great responsibility, and as any iOS user knows, there are a multitude of tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your iPhone.
Without further ado, here are my top ten iOS tips, spoken with the rhetorical flourishes of a certain former president:
1. “Yes we can” save battery life by going to the “low power mode” in your settings. This handy feature helps conserve battery when it’s running low, so you can keep your phone running smoothly throughout the day.
2. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time” – so take control of your notifications by customizing them in the settings app. This way, you can choose which apps are allowed to send you notifications and which ones aren’t, giving you greater control over your phone’s alerts.
3. “The future rewards those who press on” – so keep pressing on with your updates! Keeping your phone up to date with the latest software ensures that you have access to all the newest features and security patches.
4. “We must be a source of hope” – and with the “find my” app, you can rest easy knowing that you have the ability to locate your lost or stolen phone.
5. “We can’t stop living our lives because of the worst-case scenario” – but with the “emergency SOS” feature, you can feel secure knowing that you have a quick and easy way to call for help in case of an emergency.
6. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – and with the “screen time” feature, you can conquer your fear of phone addiction by setting limits on how much time you spend on your phone and which apps you use the most.
7. “Fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges” – and with the “dark mode” feature, you can save your eyes from strain and reduce your phone’s energy consumption.
8. “We are not a collection of red states and blue states; we are the United States” – and with the “unified inbox” feature, you can unite all your email accounts in one place, making it easier to stay organized and on top of your communication.
9. “The best and brightest are not confined by geography” – and with the “continuity” feature, you can seamlessly switch between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, making it easier to work on the go.
10. “We cannot solve our problems by laying blame at the feet of others” – and with the “offload unused apps” feature, you can take responsibility for the apps that are taking up space on your phone and free up some much-needed storage.
I hope these iOS tips help you get the most out of your iPhone and make your experience with your device even more enjoyable. Go forth and conquer, my fellow iOS users!
I haven’t written on my blog much in 2022. So I thought I should still write something at the end of 2022. The year was a tough year for the world and Apple and all of us. All the tech stocks took a big hit in the stock market this year. Many investors are down in 2022. But I still feel bullish about Apple and other top tech companies in the U.S. If you look around, the technology is still very good. We rely on our devices and the devices get getter and better and better. My iPhone 14 Pro is amazing. The videos and the photos it takes are amazing. My 3 year old 27 inch iMac is still great with a great screen. My Airpods for listening to music and podcasts are also great.
I am looking forward to the technology future. In particular, I can’t wait with Apple’s car comes out. Eventually Apple will come up with an Apple Car. Some say it will come out in 2025. I think Apple will definitely come out with the Apple Car this decade. And I told my kids, if the Apple Car is under say …$120,000, I will buy it.
Other Apple devices I am waiting for are the Apple VR/AR glasses. I am sure Apple will come out with that devices before the Apple Car.
Anyway, have a great New Year everyone. Looking forward to 2023.
2021 has almost come to an end and I realize I haven’t written any post to my website this year. So here goes
Apple is a behmoth. It has a market value of nearly $3 Trillion. Amazing. The most valuable company in the world. I remember way beack in the last 1990s when Apple was hanging by a thread. About to go bankrupt. Things looked glum.
Now, Apple is so massive and so successful I feel that governments and other companies are afraid of Apple and now going after it as a “monopoly.”
I feel that Apple can still grow. For example, while many people in the U.S. have an iPhone, maybe 50% or so, not many people have a Macintosh. Nor do the majority of the people have an iPad. In most offices most businesses ae still using Microsoft Windows. The strange things is that most businesses are using iPhones for their employees as Microsoft missed the boat on smartphones. Many businesses are using iPads.
I think going forward, more businesses will drop using Windows computers and switch to devices that are iOS or MacOS. iOS devices, particulary iPads, or now so powerful that most people working in an office can use an iPad to get work done. The iPad is actually better to use than an Windows computer because 1) the iPad makes less noise, and 2) the battery life of an iPad last much longer than any Windows computer. But now, the Macs, with the M1 chips that are similar to the chips that the iPhone and iPad uses, are also really quiet and have batteries that last much much longer than any Windows computer. This is a game changer. When the people in offices realize how quiet and battery life Apple’s devices have, they will want to switch to Apple. Its a better experience.
But what about Windows? Well the thing is, Microsoft realizes that the life of Windows is coming to an end, so Microsoft if moving to the cloud. You can get Windows 365 on the cloud. More importantly, during the pandemic, many office workers accessed their Windows network virtually over vpn. I did so through my 27 inch iMac and the experience was good. As the internet gets faster and as office networks get faster, officer workers will wont care what device they are using as long as they can easily access there office network through vpn. Because Apple’s processors are so better than Intels in terms of not giving off heat and being powerful, workers will seek to switch to having such device.
Bottom line, I think Apple will continue to grow in the office space because its devices are better experiences for workers.
I am excited about Apple’s new M1 processor for its Macintosh Computers. I am excited about them even though this past late summer I purchased the 27-inch 2020 iMac for over $4k which has Intel processors. This iMac may be the last Intel computer that I ever purchase. That is because Apple’s M1 Processor is totalling kicking the ass of Intel’s processors. The M1 processor is currently in Apple’s newest MacBookAir, 13-inch Macbook Pro and Mac Mini. And from what people who purchased it are saying those Macs are as powerfull as the latest 16-inch Macbook Pros and iMac Pros. Crazy stuff. They probably already compete with my 2020 27-inch iMac which I loaded up with the i9 intel processors and best AMD video card and 128 GB memory. Crazy powerful. That is until Apple created the M1 processor based on the amazing processor chips in the iPhone and IPad.
The computer world, particularly Intel and those who rely on Intel should be shaking in their boots. Apple’s M1 processor uses less electricity and gives off less heat than Intel’s processor while being even more powerful. That spells big trouble if not death for Intel and those who rely on it.
During the pandemic, I have been using various computing devices at home. My work computer, which work has given me, is a relatively new HP laptop that has i7 Intel processors in it and anS SD drive plus about 16 gb memory. This is a pretty powerful computer given that I mainly use it for Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, browsers and Microsoft Word. But I hate it. I hate it because it is constantly using the fan because it gets really hot underneath. It is noisey and hot. Plus, I have to pretty much always keep it plugged in for power because the battery doesn’t last long — at most, 2 hours.
With the new M1 Processor that uses less electricty, the Macbook Air gets 18 hours without a charge and the 13-inch Macbook Pro gets 20 hours. The Macbook Air makes no noise as it doesn’t have to use a fan. The 13-inch Macbook Pro has a fan but it hardly ever kicks in. People in enterprise are going to be purchasing these M1 computers that Apple makes because they are quiet, give off no heat and have batteries that last very long as well as being very powerful.
This will break the Windows-Intel hold on computers in the work place. For decades, Microsoft and Intel held a monopoly on computers in the work place. Apple Macintoshes had at most a modest slice of that business, maybe 3% or 5% at best. But that grip is going to be smashed by Apple. The time is ripe as Microsoft sees the writing on the wall particulary as Apple dominates smartphones and tablets with the iPhone and iPad. In enterprise, most businesses use iPhones and iPads. Microsoft completely supports Apple’s devices. Microsoft is now going to the cloud for its business. Office 365 is in the cloud. So Enterprise has aleady been used to dealing with Apple devices, i.e. iPhones and iPads. With the Macs now using the M1 processors, Enterprise will probably start switching to Macintosh computers. Afterall, the Macs work well now with the iPhone and iPad. Among other things, the millions of apps on iPhones and iPads will now work on the M1 Macs. For enterprise, it will be easier to support Macs with M1 when they are already supporting iPhones and iPads rather then continuing to support Intel laptops. In addition, since the future of Intel is in doubt now, enterprise will probably rely on Apple, the most successful company in the United States.
These M1 chips growth will not stop in the enterprise. They will also grow and domominate in the cloud. Right now, Intel processors dominate the servers that run the web and the cloud. But the problem for Intel is that Apple’s M1 processors are much more efficient in terms of power versus electricty consumption compared to Intel processors. Anyone running a lot of servers will be compelled to purchase the more powerful and power efficient M1 processors from Apple. Apple sells MacMinis with the M1 processor for under $700. Look for these MacMinis ending up being used as servers.
Here is a video I made explaining why Epic Games recent federal court Antitrust case against Apple in the Northern District of California will fail. Check it out.
Here is what I state in the video.
Okay, so here’s the thing a couple of days ago, Epic Games sues Apple, and it seeks declaratory injunctive relief in federal court in the Northern District of California. And what my YouTube video is about is how this claim by Epic Games is not really an antitrust violation. There’s really no basis for this. And if you understand what antitrust is all about, you’ll see why this doesn’t make sense.
Now, here’s the thing with antitrust. So antitrust is when a company has a monopoly in a market and it takes that monopoly in the market and uses that to destroy some other market or to destroy some other entity that is trying to compete. And that’s what antitrust is all about. This goes back to the Sherman act way back at the beginning of the 20th century.
So Fortnite — that’s the game that Epic Games is famous for. So they released Fortnite which is the shoot ’em up game, multiplayer game and actually had it’s probably its greatest success on the iPhone. And what Epic Games is claiming is that it’s unfair for Apple to take 30% from selling the game in the App Store. So Epic Games is basically trying to get a court to say it’s illegal for Apple to charge 30% to any app that is being sold through the app store or 30% of the services. Also, what’s going on is Epic Games is trying to claim that Court should then tell Apple that they have to allow other stores to enter to sell apps on the iPhone. And they’re claiming that, you know, Apple has a monopoly over the iPhone.
Okay, let’s think about this. What does that mean? First you have to establish what is the relevant market? And does a company have a monopoly power in a relevant market? Right, but the key is what is the relevant market? Right. And monopoly power historically had been, you got to be significantly over 50% usually 60%, 70%, 80% or maybe 90%, dominating the market. Okay.
So what are things that are typically monopoly power? Well, your local electricity company like the one where I live in New York City: Con Edison provides electricity. The relevant market for electricity is New York City because I can’t really buy electricity from California. That is because Con Edison owns the wire lines, and I have to get it through Con Edison in New York. Now, the government regulates Con Edison, because otherwise Con Edison could just raise the price a lot. And we don’t have any real choice.
The fact that a company created a product doesn’t mean that it has a monopoly in the market. That wouldn’t make sense, right? Think about it. Does Nintendo have a monopoly power? Because it makes the Nintendo Switch or other Nintendo devices? No, because the market isn’t just Nintendo’s switch. Similarly, Microsoft doesn’t have a monopoly power because it has the Xbox because, you know, yes, it controls the Xbox. But the Xbox competes with other things. So Microsoft doesn’t have monopoly power over the relevant market.
So you have to figure out what is the relevant market. And one way economists historically have tested monopoly power is to do an analysis of, could the monopolist significantly raise prices, and its customers couldn’t leave, there is no place to go. So for example, we need electricity, where we live in New York City. Now Con Ed, if it wasn’t regulated by the government, they could raise the power and maybe some people couldn’t afford it and would have to shut off the electricity. But a lot of people would have no choice and would have to pay much higher electricity. And there’s really no other product that they could get in New York City. We don’t have fireplaces for heating up and it’s not really practical to use candles for light That would be an entity that would clearly have monopoly power.
Buried in Fortnite’s complaint against Apple — I’m reading it, it’s, well, it’s on the web, you can find it, I found it at unrealengine.com. But if you look in the complaint, a lot of it is how users don’t have choices. And it sort of puts down the quality of the App Store. Let me let me take some of the arguments one by one. Here’s the key thing. If you go to Section three, paragraphs 156 157 and 158. These are the paragraphs that are alleging that, you know, trying to convince the court why just the iPhone is the market. The Complaint alleges this heading entitled Competition In The Sale of Mobile Devices Cannot Discipline Apple’s Conduct in the iOS distribution, or iOS in an app payment Process market. So basically, it’s saying Apple’s mobile device customers face substantial switching costs and iOS lock in. So that’s one argument that they make. The second argument is that Apple’s sticky iOS ecosystem protects its dominance in the sales of mobile devices. And then the third point they make is information costs and other market inefficiencies in iOS, iOS distribution iOS in that payment process market.
So basically what they’re saying to the court is people who are iPhone users can’t switch can’t switch away from the iPhone can’t switch away from Apple’s devices, because they’re locked in and you know, they’re locked in because they have a lot of devices. They can’t switch. Now, I think this argument is ridiculous stretch and is kind of crazy. Okay, let’s take the situation with Fortnite.
First of all, I think most people would agree Fortnite the game is played by kids, a lot of teenagers, young kids, maybe even under 10 a lot of teenagers and maybe young adults. These kids are if they’re really passionate fortnight fans, they’re going to lobby their parents for an Android device. Now here’s the thing, Google kicked out Fortnite from the Google Store and Android, but Android allows you to side load apps and also Samsung has its own store and Fortnite is in the Samsung store. So, if you want to play Fortnite on a smartphone, you don’t have to stay with Apple, you can switch to Samsung phones and to other Android phones and get them on your device. This isn’t like the electric company, the electric company can raise the price a lot if its not regulated. There’s nowhere for me to go.
If I really want to use Fortnite and it’s not offered on the App Store for Apple, I can switch to an Android device and Android devices can be very cheap. And I can use it that way. So even now their complaint goes on at length trying to make arguments about how that’s impossible. Let’s take the first argument Apple’s mobile device customers face substantial switching costs and iOS locking. This is what Fortnite’s attorneys, a major law firm, is trying to argue:
So it’s Apple’s power and iOS app distribution market. And iOS in app payment processing markets is not constrained by competition in the sale of mobile devices, because Apple’s mobile device customers face high switching costs in are locked in to Apple’s ecosystem for at least six reasons. These costs make it more difficult for users to purchase a mobile device from a competitor after having committed to Apple’s mobile devices, thereby bolstering Apple’s market power.
So they’re basically saying again, that it’s very high switching costs. Now, I don’t think that’s the case. Okay. First of all, most people anyways after a couple of years, or if not every year, are upgrading their smartphone. It’s ike in some ways these smartphones are accessible luxuries that even people who are economically challenged go for, as well as middle class and upper class people. I remember years ago, I used to stand in line for the Apple store, you know, when that was a thing here in New York City and across the country. And I gotta tell you, it seemed to me there are a lot of people who were economically challenged, who are waiting for the 500 or $600 or $700 iPhone, and for good reason, because these devices are an incredible Information and Communication deal for people.
A lot of people who didn’t have a regular computer can afford a smartphone and particularly the iPhone. And even today, I think a lot of people upgrade every year or every other year or maybe every three years. But the thing is they have it’s not that expensive. The cell phone carriers are still doing these promotions where you get a free phone if you switch. So if you really wanted to switch, you could switch carriers and get a subsidized practically free Android or iPhone. T Mobile has these deals. So I’m not sure what switching costs now, in terms of the apps.
Well, one of the things this complaint doesn’t point out, you know, and what’s interesting that complaint at some point tries to compare the iPhone to the Apple’s Macintosh. And you know, the current Macs and long history of Mac’s Apple has an app store but also Apple allows people to download programs for the Mac from, from the web, or from alternative stores. Epic Games is saying that’s the way it should be. But here’s the thing for consumers. Apple’s App Store on iOS, which is exclusive has been better for consumers. Then this open system on the Mac, and the open system that was on Windows PC. And the best evidence of that is, look how cheap the programs are on the iPhone, compared to programs on the Mac. Programs on the Mac are much more expensive. You typically pay $10, $20, $30, maybe even $100. Well, you know, on the on iPhone, the biggest complaint has been a sort of, you know, the prices of apps keep going down and down and down and down. And developers can’t really charge that much money for an app like you can’t really, you never see somebody selling an app really for 100 bucks or 50 bucks on the iPhone. Instead, there’s a lot of free apps or $5 apps or a $10 app. And maybe if there was a really great you know, professional app Like, like ferrite, you know, that people use to edit audio and podcasts, you know, that might be $15. But if anything, these apps are really cheap. And, you know, I don’t use Android devices. But my sense is that the Android counterparts to a lot of these apps are also cheap. And don’t cost much. So if I wanted to, you know, if I really wanted if I was really into gaming, and you know, Epic Games basically says in its complaint that it wants to create, like its own store, on iPhone and sell other apps directly to people. Well, let’s say if they couldn’t do that. And they did that on Android, and I really loved Epic Games. I could easily switch. And I think a lot of people could just buy another Android device. It’s not that expensive to to play these games.
Let’s look at Section B in the complaint where Fortnite alleges that: Apple sticky iOS echo system protects its dominance in the sales of mobile devices. This is kind of a rehash of the other one, but it says Apple’s ability to raise customer switching costs creates customer lock into its ecosystem. iOS ecosystem is reflected in Apple’s ability to maintain its dominance in the sale of premium smartphones as well as in the sale of tablets. First, Apple’s iPhone dominates sales of premium smartphones. In 2019 alone, Apple’s global iPhone sales generated more than $150 2 billion in revenues. And in the first quarter of 2020, Apple was able to capture 60% of global premium smartphone revenue. Okay, so then it goes on to say that Apple maintains substantial operating profits ranging from 62 to 90%. And it goes on to say Apple has also been able to maintain its pricing power over many years. It’s then it’s then it sort of segues into that. But to say the high switching costs are obvious from empirical evidence. According to 2017 survey by Morgan Stanley 92% of iPhone users intending to upgrade with the next year indicate they would stick to an iOS device.
But wait a second, this evidence is not evidence of high switching costs. See, this logic doesn’t make sense. This is a survey that says a lot of iPhone users tend to stick to iOS devices and upgrade to a new one. And and then they’re arguing that’s a switching cost. It’s not a switching costs. People are happy with iOS devices. Apple makes a premium product. And the irony is the reason that Apple is making a premium product is because it curates the App Store and prevents crappy apps from coming in there. The curating prevents third party apps from over your device and hijacking it. Now what do I mean by that? Okay, now the Mac. And just like the PC for years was around before the iPhone, right? But the Mac just like the PC was susceptible to malware taking over your PC or Macintosh.
And even recently, you know, my teenage daughter I gave her gave her and my son 13-inch MacBook Pros a couple years ago. And my daughter, you know, who probably learned when she was younger how to use an iPhone before she used the Mac. She was clicking stuff on the internet with her MacBook Pro. And I’m telling you, malware got into her to her MacBook Pro, because she clicked on the wrong thing. And next thing you know, both browsers, both Chrome and Safari. were sort of hijacked by this fake Google thing that made it look like you were using Google. But you weren’t using Google, you were using some third party unrelated to Google hijacking your browser to think that it was using Google when it was using its own stupid malware.
This argument in the complaint that because so many people want to stick to the iPhone, there’s high switching costs, there’s no basis to say people are sticking with the iPhone because they don’t have a choice. This is kind of a logical if you think about it, right? What they’re trying to argue is, people don’t want to stay with the iPhone, but they’re forced to stay with the iPhone. But how are they forced to stay with it? Apple’s coming out every year with expensive iPhones for a premium and people they’re not getting the deal. No one’s giving like if there was a subsidy, right? What if If you could like somehow, you know, turn in your iPhone and get a huge subsidy for the more expensive iPhone, that’s why you would stay for it. That would be cheaper than buying an Android. But that’s not the case.
For iPhone users, they can now go to Android. You could go out right now and get a much cheaper Android device that will do a lot of the basic stuff that an iPhone does, right? But a lot of people are finding that it benefits consumers to use an iPhone, right? And how does it benefit the consumer? it benefits the consumer because Apple is investing a lot of its profits into creating better processors. So you get a much more powerful processor for your bang for your buck with an iPhone than you do with an Android device. I mean, now that’s well documented. I don’t know if the average consumer knows that. But the other thing is Apple does a really good job with the camera but then look the Google does with its with its camera, the Google phones right that are androids.
So what is it? I mean, the other thing that they don’t really talk about is great customer service. Apple has all these Apple stores, right? So you know, if you have a problem with your iPhone, you just go to a Genius Bar, and they take care of it. Android doesn’t have any genius bars. There’s no Google stores. There’s no Samsung stores, that you can just go in that that I know of, and solve that. So what is going on is that, to the extent people are sticking with the iPhone, it’s because there’s better customer service. And I’m telling you one of the better customer services, that Apple is curating the App Store.
Now remember, Apple has kicked off a lot of things from the App Store. Apple has, there’s no pornography in the App Store. There’s no you know, crazy apps that are like for like Nazis or something like that. Or, you know, Holocaust denying apps or anything like that. Now on a Foogle device, you can’t get it through Google Store because Google stores is trying to do curating just like Apple’s trying to do. But Android is an open system. So you could side-load pornographic apps. But here’s the other thing, an Android phone is more susceptible to malware being installed into it, because it can be side loaded. And by side loading it you can get into the system. And so that is a risk. That’s why if you see a lot of a lot of businesses and enterprise and government are using iPhones instead of Android phones because of the security.
So one of the reasons that the app store is closed is for that security and for that peace of mind. Take also an example customer service. Now remember a while back, Apple went to you know, allowing service by some games. Games like Fortnite, frankly, you know, make more money by selling points or coins or, or something in the game. And we know, you know, many years ago, there were these horror stories of kids buying games in the app store, and racking up huge, huge fees that with their parents credit cards, buying gold coins or something stupid like that in games, people were upset and people reached out to Apple, and Apple is the one who refunded those monies and cracked down on that practice.
Now, here’s the thing. Epic Games has its own store. Parents are going to have to rely on Epic Games to prevent that kind of abuse of children, where kids rack up and waste money on points on games. And, I mean, with me, I’m very strict with my kids in the sense that I don’t let them play games, where they’re gonna have to buy coins and wrap things up. Okay.
And so you know what Epic Games wants it? So Epic Games wants to do two things: it wants to not have the 30% fee. But let’s go back to that. If Apple has doesn’t have monopoly power, it can do whatever it wants. If Apple doesn’t have monopoly power over smartphones, it can if it wanted to kick out everybody out of the App Store, Apple could decide. Remember, the original iPhone didn’t have an app store. It just had a few of Apple’s own apps. And Steve Jobs said, Oh, people can download from a website, make a website, be an app on the iPhone, and you can still do that you can save any website, you know, look like it’s an app, but it can it can’t do much other than what the website does, because it can’t go into everything that’s in the iPhone.
If Apple doesn’t have monopoly power, it can do anything it wants. It doesn’t have to be fair to anybody. Apple can make deals and say okay, you know, Netflix is a big provider. I’ll give you a special deal. You guys are smart. All developers, they’ll give you a different now, people aren’t gonna like that maybe developers weren’t like that. And so for business reasons. Apple wants to be fair, but that’s for business reasons for you know, for the company.
Now, if you remember companies before they’re a monopoly, the whole point is to compete with the competition. And Apple has lots of competition. Lots in the sense of Apple is competing with Amazon. Apple is competing with Microsoft. Apple is competing with Google and Apple is competing with Facebook. Okay. And Apple has a lot of other count competition. Spotify is competing with Apple. But let’s take these other big entities. These other big entities are worth over a trillion dollars, just like Apple is worth over a trillion dollars. Apple is in ferocious competition with them and Apple does not have dominant market share of the smartphone market.
And here’s what I’ll point out to you. Okay, so a little while back when another app was trying to claim, you know, antitrust violations. I did an article on my blog, MacsFuture.com Apple does not have monopoly power in the smartphone market. And that is the relevant market. There are charts. And so if you look at smartphone sales from the third quarter of 2007, through the fourth quarter of 2019, which is last year, you could see that Apple has anywhere from under 15% to a little over 20% of all smartphone sales, globally. Right. So I mean, the world is kind of integrated economically, and smartphone sales Apple is every year more than 23% in some quarters, it’s down below 15 or 12%. Obviously, its fourth quarter around Christmas time is the big one.
Now in terms of worldwide smartphone shipments, market share forecast, Apple is listed as having less than 15%. And the rest is really dominated by Android. Android has 85% of the market in terms of mobile operating system market share. Apple has less than 20% of the market share.
Now one thing that is true is in terms of profits made in the smartphone market. Apple, does have a majority of the profits, but that’s because it’s making premium phones and it’s making its own chip and It’s integrated. In other words, there’s no other company making its device, and also the operating system. I mean, Google is trying to do it. But in very small quantities, only a small quantity of the Android phones or pixel phones. And Google, I think, is outsourcing the actual manufacturing of the hardware. But Apple is making the hardware. It’s making the chips, it’s making the operating system and so it has more efficiencies in making these devices.
And I think because of that, it’s garnering more profit. It’s the premium now, but is that the relevant market, that they have a majority of the hardware profits in the smartphone market? I don’t think that’s the relevant measure of market and think about it. Think about it from Epic Games perspective. Epic Games, wants to be able to get to as many customers as It can. But Apple only has 20% of all smartphones. If Apple kicks it out, they’re still 80% of the other smartphones, right that Epic Games can sell to. So Apple can shut out Epic Games from a majority of all smartphone users, because it only controls maybe 20% of all smartphone users.
So then what’s the argument for Epic Games Epic Games? And I don’t think they’re arguing this in the complaint because they can’t, because they also sued Google. Right? But they can’t argue that the people who use iPhones are more likely to pay for games. And so that’s the more lucrative market and we’re being shut out of the more lucrative market. Well, I’m not sure for gaming if that’s true. I mean, I think there are a lot of gamers on Android.
And so that’s not the relevant market. But then here’s the thing. It’s not just smartphones and for gaming, right? mean, Epic Games a little too cute by half here. But the gaming market isn’t just smartphones, right? A lot of people play Fortnite on the PlayStation, on the Sony PlayStation, the Microsoft’s Xbox, I think even maybe Nintendo Switch, the Mac, the PC, all these other devices are gaming platforms. Windows is a huge gaming platform. And I’m sure a lot of people play Fortnite on that.
So when you factor that in, in the universe of gaming devices, Apple has only a teeny percent of installs. So can’t really shut out and dominate, right? Like if Apple was a monopolist truly in this market. For games, Apple would be able to dominate 80% of the market for games of the people playing in games and then shut out for it. Right, but it can’t.
What this really is, is that Epic Games, which grew in Apple’s App Store, and is now making hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, is greedy, and doesn’t want to give Apple its cut of activity in the App Store. Now, regarding Apple’s app store, something like 80%, or 90% of the apps in the app store are free. And Apple’s doing all this backend work in terms of developing the technology for the developer tools like Xcode, and the API’s that come out every year that are revealed WWDC, lots of money is spent to do that. And for every game like Fortnite that makes money, Apple has all these free games that it’s supporting and those developers. Apple has an economic basis for charging 30%.
And then the other thing is if you look at this 30% cut, it’s not high. You know, if you go to Walmart and try to sell some product through Walmart, Walmart, I’m sure Walmart’s taking a significant cut out of that. And I’m sure Amazon takes a cut out of products that you’re trying to sell through Amazon. And you know, if you want to go in if I want if somebody wants to release an app into into Nintendo store, sure Nintendo’s taking a cut, Microsoft is taking a cut. Everybody’s taking a cut. So 30% is appropriate where Apple’s doing all the work in terms of collecting the money from users, providing the support is a reasonable fee.
Look, I think when a court looks at this case, the first thing they’re going to do is look at whether or not what first they’re going to decide what is the relevant market and I just think that the arguments that Epic Games is making — basically saying that the iPhone is itself a relevant market — are a big, big, big stretch. And I am going to follow this case, but I have a feeling that Apple is going to prevail on this. Apple may be worth close to $2 trillion. But it’s facing competition from other trillion dollar companies. And we’re not even talking about the Chinese companies that are out there that are worth, you know, maybe close to trillion dollars and are giants that are going to compete with the American companies. Apple’s a big company, but it still isn’t dominant in terms of market share. That’s why I think Epic Games is going to lose. We’ll have to see.
The latest rage among some developers on Twitter and the internet is to say that Apple is unfair for charging a 30% cut of selling apps or services through Apple iOS APP Store. Fine, it might be unfair, but sometimes business is unfair. But what really doesn’t make sense is that some developers are claiming that Apple is a “monopolist” and violating Antitrust Laws by charing 30% for app or services on the Apple iOS App Store. This makes no sense.
For example, this developer, Russell Ivonovic, said:
The issue is, Apple also makes the iPhone, and has mandated that there’s no other way to get software onto an iPhone except through their store. So what you have is the company which has a monopoly on installation of software on the iPhone, mandating that you use their store, and give them 30%. If you don’t like that deal, there’s no alternative available. It’s the definition of anti-competitive monopolistic behaviour: taking the market dominance you’ve created in one market, to give you an unfair advantage in another.
This logic makes no sense. It claims that because Apple makes the iPhone, and has an exclusive App Store for the iPhone, it is a monopolist and abusing monopoly power. By this logic, anyone who makes any device and any service that controls its device and service and limits what can go on that service is monopolizing its device and service and thus is a monopolist. By that definition, Nintendo is a monopolist because Apple, Google, and Microsoft and no one other than Nintendo can operate an App store for Nintendo devices. How about Walmart? By that logic isn’t Walmart a “monopolist” because Walmart controls what it sells in its stores? What if I want to sell a product in Walmart’s stores? Can I force Walmart to allow me to set up a stand in Walmart and sell it? No. That would be stupid.
It is well established in Antitrust Law that for a company to be deemed to have “monopoly” power, it must have more than 50% and closer to 80% and 90% in the relevant market. So there are two key things to properly define. First, what is the relevant market? And then what is that company’s market share in that relevant market.
Apple Does Not Have Monopoly Power In The Smartphone Market And That Is The Relevant Market.
What Rusty and other get wrong is that the relevant market is not iPhones in and by themselves. The relevant market is at the very least all smartphones, if not also all computing devices. Lets take the smartphone market. The smartphone market is dominated by two types of smartphones iPhones and Android Devices. These devices are so similar, that in the early days of Android, Apple engaged in major litigation with Samsung claiming that Samsung violating its patents on iPhones and iPhone designs so that customers couldn’t tell the difference between iPhones and Android. And if you go to websites and YouTube channels covering Androids, customers who are using Android smartphones claim Android smartphones are much better than iPhones.
So most customers would say the market between iPhones and Androids is very competitive. And in terms of market share, the data shows Android has a larger share of the market than Apple. In fact, data shows that Apple sold fewer than 30% of all the smartphones in recent quarters and years.
So with far less than 50% share in the smartphone market, there is no way any court can find Apple to have monopoly power in the smartphone market. And that makes sense. A monopolist is such that it can raise prices and customers have no choice but to pay the monopolist and can switch to another supplier . For example, ConEdison, the Electric Utility in New York City, is a monopolist in New York City. I have to purchase electricity through ConEdison. For that reason, the government regulates ConEdison’s prices. But Apple can’t raise the price of its iPhones and then require me to pay it. There are all those Android smartphones that my Android friends say are better than the iPhone. So if Apple raises the prices of its top new iPhone to $3000, I don’t have to purchase it. I can purchase the latest Samsung smartphone for $1500.
Apple Is Not A Monopolist Because Its IOS APP Store Is Better for Developers Than the Android App Stores.
Now Rusty Rants claims there is no other choice for developers than Apple’s App Store. But Rusty there is. You and other developers can make apps for the Android Store. It is a bigger market. There are man more Android customers than iPhone customers. Now those Android stores are not as lucrative. But that is because Apple made a better app store. And it is a better app store than the market for Apps on the Android smartphones, because Apple curates the iOS App Store to make sure there isn’t malware and other terrible apps on the app store. It is not a perfect, but many customers like it because Apple keeps iOS devices safe and not destroyed by malware.
Apple’s App store is more lucrative than the Android app market, because Apple’s exclusivity has made it a better store. Ironically, the very thing that some developers want to do, open up iPhones to have additional app store, or allow side loading, is the very thing that will destroy the quality of the iPhone experience and cheapen the quality of the iOS App store.
Developers who complain: “Cry my a river.” You don’t have to develop for iPhones, or smartphones. There are various other devices that you can develop for, like the Web, and Web apps, like plug-ins for WordPress, like apps for linux devices like Raspberry Pis.
You can develop for PCs and Macs. There are enterprise developers. The market for developers services is incredibly large and iOS developers are only a tiny slice of the developer market.
These complaints of Antitrust violations are ridiculous.
We are just a day away from the virtual WWDC starting on June 22, 2020. This is Apple’s annual developers conference that usually takes place in the first week of June each year. But this year it is going to be only online and starting later in June.
Its always felt like Christmas in the summer. When I was a kid, Christmas was a time of surprise and new toys being given to me. For many years now, WWDC has been the same thing. A time of surprise and new toys being available. The difference is the new toys are new software technology and new hardware technology.
When Steve Jobs was alive, he ruled over WWDC. He ran the show on the main keynote speech that always takes place on Monday the first day at 10 am Pacific time. He was like the magic Uncle in the Nutcracker bringing magical toys to the children. He captivated us with his showmanship. Gather closely and I will pull something from my pocket which will dazzle you. Steve died on October 5, 2011. And his successors, led by Tim Cook try to continue with that summer time magic in WWDC.
I look forward to Monday, June 22, 2020 and the coming WWDC keynote. There are rumors and leaks of what is to come. I welcome the rumors and leaks. They provide hope of new and interesting things. At this time of difficulty in our country and world, we need the magic and positive excitement of WWDC.
Here are things that I am looking forward to:
The rumors are that Apple will announce new iMacs and release them at WWCD. They key part of that rumor is that Apple has finally redesigned the iMacs. As you may know, for about 8 years or so, Apple has not changed the design language of the iMacs. The rumor is that Apple has actually created a new design and its like the style of the latest iPad Pros and the expensive XDR monitor that Apple released in 2019 along with the new Mac pro. My 2020 iMac finally died earlier this year so I have been looking to get new Mac. I have been lusting after the Mac Pro but the price of that along with a monitor is fiscally irresponsible for me to pursue. A new iMac with a fantastic screen makes more financial sense. So if new ones come out, I will probably pull the trigger and get one.
Transition of Macs to Apple’s Own Processors
Apple is expected to announce to developers that it is transitioning the Macs away from using Intel’s processors to using Apple’s own ARM processors that Apple has developed and uses in its iOS devices. I am all for this. I remember in the mid-2000s, about 16 years ago, when Apple switched from RISC processors to Intel processors for its Macs. It was a big deal back then. The Intel processors were faster and better performers. Through out the 1990s and early 2000s, one knock about the Macs was that they weren’t as powerful as the Intel-based PCS. Also, back then, software was such, that there was less software to use on Macs because the software on Intel-based PCs couldn’t run on Macs without a virtualization software also being run. It was a miserable experience running Windows software on those non-Intel Macs. But then Apple switched to Intel. And Apple created the Bootcamp software so you could boot the Intel Macs as a Windows computer. It was a big deal and made the Macs more useful.
So why am I looking forward to ARM-based Macs? Because Apple has shown it is an amazing processor maker. Its processors for the iPhones and iPads are amazing. I am writing this on a 2020 iPad Pro and the power of this device is amazing. Every year Apple comes out with newer processors that greatly increase performance from the prior year. Apple optimizes its software with its processors to make them more efficient. Intel meanwhile has been lagging and rapidly going down hill as a processor company. It has let AMD lead the market in high end processors for PCs. Intel missed the boat in developing processors for smart phones. Apple and Qualcomm make all the processors for smart phones. Apple creating Macs based on its own processors will result in super powerful Macs that will eventually dwarf Intel-based PCs. I don’t think the new iMacs that will be announced next week will be running Apple processors, at least not the main workhorse processors. But it looks like Apple will announce the transition to developers. Most likely, the first ARM-based Macs will be the lightest MacBooks. Then Apple will migrate developing its own processors up to the Mac Pro. Apple just released last year the Mac Pro so it wouldn’t make sense to change that Apple-processors right away. No one who purchased $6k to $50k for a Mac Pro prior to WWCD wants to feel like their Mac Pro is obsolete. My guess is that Apple’s transition to all ARM-based Macs will take at least 3 years. The Mac Pros will be the last computers that Apple upgrades to Apple processors.
New IOS and Mac OS
One thing for certain, Apple will announce new features to the operating systems for iOS devices and Macs. That has been the case at each WWDC I can remember. What are some of the features I am expecting and hoping for?
Better Multitasking. Apple has made iPad OS much more useful for power users who are using the iPad as their main or only computing device. In particular, multi-tasking and access to files has greatly improved. We can bring up at least two Apps side by side and quickly get access to other Apps. We can quickly share data and files among apps through the Sharesheet, the Files App and Shortcut actions. I expect Apple will go further in that direction with more multi-tasking features in both the iPad OS as well as iOS for the iPhone. Apple may bring up some of the features on the iPad OS to iOS. Apple may allow its larger iPhones to run Apps side by side like on the iPad. I expect that Apple will increase the amount of Apps you can bring up side by side on the iPad and also make it more elegant when you do so.
Shortcuts App I think the Shortcuts app and its integration into iOS and iPadOS is one of the most amazing and powerful features on iPhones and iPads. I believe Apple will make that program and system integration more powerful. Among the things I would like to see:
Allow Shortcuts to be organized into folders.
Allow all shortcuts to be run and executed in the background.
Improve the scripting actions to make it easer to create if and then actions and make it more intuitive.
Add more actions tied into the system. For example, there is a built-in password manager in iOS which works when you log into accounts on the browser and apps. Tie that to Shortcuts.
I desperately want Apple to redo the springboard on iOS. One huge problem with iOS is when you have many apps on the iPhone or iPad, its hard to organize them and move them around. In addition, if you have many apps on your device, its hard to find what page they are if you want to move them around. I would like Apple to make it much easier. For example, I wouldn’t mind when you edit a folder on the springboard, you can click somewhere and get a list of all the apps on your device and pick which apps you want to move into that folder. Similarly, I would like to click on the springboard anywhere or in the Control Center and see a list of all my apps and I can delete the apps. Or if I pick the apps on the list, I can chose to create a folder with them or move them to a list of folders. This needs to be fixed. Please please Apple fix this!
There have been rumors for more than one year that Apple is developing Airtags. These would be cheap plastic tags that you can attach to anything and then you will be able to find them using your iPhone or Apple Watch. The key technology is that Apple will crowd source all the iPhones that people own to help you find where your lost Airtag is located. The idea would be that if I lost my Airtag, even if my iPhone was out of bluetooth or other wireless range from the Airtag, another person’s iPhone that went by the Airtag that I lost will tell Apple where my Airtag is and then Apple will automatically tell me where my Airtag is. I guess some people will worry about privacy because one’s iPhone could be used to help someone else find their lost Airtag. But Apple could do this while keeping any data about people’s Apple’s data or information. A number of years ago I tried a third-parties tag products which also tried to do this. But the product wasn’t that good. The tags were expensive, the batteries didn’t last too long, and the tags were too big and heavy. Significantly, the ability to find the tags was based on how many people but that tag. That is because that third-party didn’t control everyone’s iPhone or devices. It only controlled those devices where the owner purchased their tag. Here, Apple could use all the iPhones that are out there, regardless of whether the people purchased an Airtag, to help find lost Airtags.
Apple is supposedly going to work to have the iPhone be able to replace your carkey. This makes sense. Just like Apple has worked to replace subway cards so you can use your iPhone to get an on a public bus or subway, Apple is working on making your iPhone be your car key. More and more Apple will make your iPhone be the control for everything you do. Apple Wallet and ApplePay is replacing my physical credit cards. Many buildings allow you to use NFC on your iPhone to get into your dorm or office. Soon governments will realize that your credentials, like passports and drivers license should be in Apple Wallet and be digital. Carkey technology will just be another thing that you don’t have to carry and have on your iPhone.
Augmented Reality Technology and Apps
Hey, my 2020 iPad Pro has lidar sensors in it. Apple should release more augmented reality apps to work with it. They should also release more AR technology in the iOS and Mac system. Bring it on. Very soon, they will release AR Glasses so let the customers get used to it.
These are just some of the things I hope they release on Monday. I am sure some will not be announced, some will be announced, and hopefully some which I never thought of will be announced and surprised me.
One of my favorite Apps, is Apple’s Shortcuts App. If you don’t know anything about it, Apple’s Shortcuts app allows you to automate things you do with your iPhone or iPad. It is a way for anyone to learn how to be a developer as it shows you how to think like a developer. I have a many shortcuts on my iPhone and iPad. I plan to create a page where I write up how to use Shortcuts and what you can do with it. I plan to create a subscription newsletter. Among the things I do with Apple Shortcuts is:
Quickly get the password for certain important things.
Put the lights on and off in various rooms using verbal commands.
Having the tv put on and have Apple TV’s Youtube TV to come out and have my virtual remote ready. And then quickly shut things down when I don’t need to watch TV.
The amount of things you can come up with with Apple Shortcuts is almost endless. And Apple Shortcuts is very powerful as you can put various development language to make really powerful and complex Shortcuts.
This is not my day job. I am not a professional technology person. Rather, I am an everyday person who likes technology. So if I can learn this, you can to. It is easy and powerful once you pursue learning Apple Shortcuts.
Here is where the sign up will be if you are interested:
My goal is to write many articles and videos showing how you can use Apple Shortcuts to make your life and work easier. I believe Apple will eventually have Apple Shortcuts on the Macintosh. In particular, as many business use iPhones and iPads for their employees, Apple Shortcuts will help businesses by more efficient. So sign up, and you will get newsletters on the word of Apple Shortcuts.
In the Graduate movie, a young Dustin Hoffman is playing a recent college graduate who doesn’t know what to do with his life. Some jerky older adult pulls Benjamin (Hoffman’s character) aside to tell him “one word, Plastics, there is a great future in Plastics.” Well it looks like this year, the great future is in LIDAR. One word, LIDAR. Hear me out.
Prosser’s Apple Glass Leak
As I mentioned in a recent post, the YouTuber, Jon Prosser, recently leaked from an Apple employee that Apple is working on releasing glasses next year. Prosser claims he has seen the glasses Apple is making and claims that the product will cost $499 (without prescription lenses), it will be called Apple Glass, Apple Glass1 looks like regular glasses, and Apple Glass will have LIDAR technology but no cameras. It’s the last part that I will address. Why would Apple not put cameras in Apple Glass? And is LIDAR technology enough for the Apple Glasses to make customers really want to purchase that product?
First, why won’t there be cameras in Apple Glass? Prosser suggested that there would be no cameras because people freaked out when Google Glasses had cameras in it. I think that makes sense. Apple doesn’t want people to be afraid to wear Apple Glass. Apple wants to make it easy for every day people to purchase the glasses. Apple also has been telling everyone that they respect the privacy for consumers. If cameras were on Apple Glass, people would be afraid that whoever is wearing Apple Glass is video recording what they see.
A number of years ago, I purchased Snap’s glasses, Spectacles. You can see the video I made here. They were fun to wear but the glasses were big and people could see the camera on one side of the glasses. When you were having the glasses take pictures or recording video, a light would go off on the side of the glasses letting people know you are recording them. I wore then for a while, but I felt I looked kind of silly wearing them and I have stopped using them.
So one reason Apple might not put cameras on the Apple Glass is that people might be afraid to wear them if everyone knew they had cameras on it. That makes sense.
Another reason to not use cameras on the Apple Glass is that cameras, that are always working or on a lot, could eat up the battery of the Apple Glasses. Prosser says the Apple Glass will be connected with the iPhone to work. So probably it will wirelessly connect with Bluetooth or some other wireless technology like the W1 chip. So that wireless connection itself will eat up some of the battery on the Apple Glass. And if Apple Glass look normal like regular glasses, well there won’t be much room for batteries on Apple Glass. So to save battery energy, maybe that is why Apple will not use cameras on the Apple Glass.
But how could Apple Glass be a great technology if they don’t have cameras? The answer is LIDAR, which Prosser mentioned is on the Apple Glass. He also pointed out that Apple put LIDAR on the latest iPad Pro so Apple could test out LIDAR before Apple Glass comes out. I think that makes sense. But how could LIDAR make Apple Glass be great new technology.
Lidar is an acronym for “light detection and ranging.” It is sometimes called “laser scanning” or “3D scanning.” The technology uses eye-safe laser beams to create a 3D representation of the surveyed environment. Lidar is used in many industries, including automotive, trucking, UAV/drones, industrial, mapping, and others.
A typical lidar sensor emits pulsed light waves from a laser into the environment. These pulses bounce off surrounding objects and return to the sensor. The sensor uses the time it took for each pulse to return to the sensor to calculate the distance it traveled. Repeating this process millions of times per second creates a real-time 3D map of the environment. An onboard computer can utilize this 3D map of the surrounding environment for navigation.
LIDAR has been around for a long time in automobile technology for autonomous cars to “see” as The Verge pointed out in an article right after the Consumer Electronic Show this past January. That technology, as the Verge pointed out, has been very expensive, but now that technology is becoming much cheaper.
So cheap, in fact, that the companies leading the pack now predict LIDAR will become as commonplace in mass-market vehicles as cameras, radar, and other low-cost safety technology.
So why would Apple want to put pulsed lasers rather than cameras in Apple Glass? Or not both? As Velodyne explained, LIDAR has an advantage over cameras for mapping out what is around you because it immediately creates a 3D map while cameras create a 2D map that then the computer has to figure to make it 3D.
Cameras produce 2D images of the environment and companies are installing them around vehicles to use for navigation. However, there are serious problems with the accuracy of proposed camera-centric systems which have not been solved and will likely not be solved soon.
Lidar “sees” in 3D, a huge advantage when accuracy and precision is paramount. The laser-based technology produces real-time high-resolution 3D maps, or point clouds, of the surroundings, demonstrating a level of distance accuracy that is unmatched by cameras, even ones with stereo vision. Whereas cameras have to make assumptions about an object’s distance, lidar produces and provides exact measurements. For this reason, autonomous or highly automated systems require lidar for safe navigation. The ability to “see” in 3D can’t be underestimated. Lidar produces billions of data points at nearly the speed of light. Each point provides a precise measurement of the environment. Compared to camera systems, lidar’s ability to “see” by way of precise mathematical measurements, decreases the chance of feeding false information from the vision systems to the car’s computer.
So LIDAR appears to be more efficient than cameras at mapping the world. Maybe also LIDAR may use up less energy than having cameras open all the time. Also it looks like when you use cameras you will need more processor power to determine what the camera is seeing.
The breakthrough LiDAR Scanner enables capabilities never before possible on any mobile device. The LiDAR Scanner measures the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away, works both indoors and outdoors, and operates at the photon level at nano-second speeds. New depth frameworks in iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR Scanner, data from both cameras and motion sensors, and is enhanced by computer vision algorithms on the A12Z Bionic for a more detailed understanding of a scene. The tight integration of these elements enables a whole new class of AR experiences on iPad Pro.
So you figure Apple will use LIDOR sensors in Apple Glass that are as good as the LIDOR sensor in the iPad Pro. So that means the LIDAR will be able to see anything in front of you that is at least within 5 meters, which is just short of 16 and 1/2 feet. So what could Apple do with 16 and 1/2 feet of LIDOR data for Apple Glass?
Some Ideas of What Apple Could Do!
What if Apple used the map and GPS data that the iPhone has together with the LIDAR data from the Apple Glass? Let’s think about this. Your Apple Glass maps out what is in front of you for 16.5 feet in front of you and sends it quickly to the iPhone. Your iPhone knows where you are because of GPS, Bluetooth Data and Wifi connections. Now Apple has been spending many of the last few years catching up to Google Map by sending cars mapping cities and towns in the U.S.A. and around the world. That is why in Apple Maps you can drill down on the map in the city your are and see 3D renders of buildings and monuments. So when the LIDAR data comes back to the iPhone, the iPhone can quickly connect it to the data from the GPS and Apple Maps and match up the LIDAR data. So even though you don’t have a camera, the pictures and virtual 3D pictures of the buildings on Apple Maps could be sent to your Apple Glass and matched up with the scan of your LIDAR data. That means your Apple Glass and your iPhone which is connected to it will know exactly what you are looking at through your Apple Glasses and it will be able to label it quickly for you. So you will able to look at a building or a a neighborhood and Apple will know exactly where you are and what you are looking towards and map out in front of you.
This LIDAR information is really helpful for Apple because currently, GPS data is not very accurate.2 Significantly, the current state of GPS data, according to the United States Government, is accurate to 16 feet. That is just short of the range of the LIDAR sensor on the iPad. The LIDAR data could fill in the 16 feet of inaccuracy from the GPS data. So the LIDAR data married with the GPS data will help Apple pinpoint exactly where you are standing and where you are looking. Apple will then put Augmented Reality (AR) data on your Glass as you are looking.
Right now, if Apple just used GPS data, the accuracy of what you see would be really messy. But with LIDAR data being sent back to the iPhone and matched with GPS data, Apple will have much better accuracy regarding where you are. Apple couldn’t do this with out first mapping out cities and towns on its own. Apple now has data regarding where buildings and structures are located. With LIDAR and other location data, Apple will be closer to the holy grail of location accuracy.
What does this mean? When I am driving and wearing my Apple Glass, I will be able to get map data on my Apple Glass rather than what I currently do, i.e. either look at my Apple Watch for prompts or look at the iPhone next to me. With Apple Glass, Apple Map data will be right in front of my eyes. I will look ahead. Data will come on telling me which way the route is going and where I have to take turns.
Similarly, using Apple Maps when you are walking and following directions is a pain. You have to look down at your phone or Apple Watch. And because the GPS isn’t very accurate, the map is often not lined up with the direction I am looking at. With Apple Glass, Apple Map will be more accurate and very convenient. The LIDAR data from Apple Glass will tell exactly Apple Maps where I am looking and the map data will be shown on my Apple Glass screen. Walking directions now will be incredibly easy.
With Apple Maps supercharged and showing on you Apple Glass, developers will make great apps using the map data combined with the LIDAR data. Someone can make a walking tour app for tourists on Apple Glass. When you look at certain landmarks, information can be showed on your Apple Glass or a video or audio played.
But I think Apple will use Apple Glass for something even greater — one of the last frontiers that hasn’t been mapped? What is that? Is it Antarctica? Is it deep oceans? No, it is your local gigantic box store, like Costco or Home Depot. GPS can only map what is outdoors and generally tell you roughly where you might be in a building. But Apple Maps doesn’t not have mapping information for large buildings. Now Apple previously tried to use technology to map the great indoors. Way back at the Developers Conference in 2013, Apple launched the iBeacon protocol which uses small Bluetooth beacons that will work with iPhone. I played around with such iBeacons and they were cheap, like $10 each. You could plug them into the wall in a building and when you walked by with an iPhone that had an app that worked with it, the iBeacon could send you a message on your screen. And presumably, if Apple knew where the iBeacons were placed, it could map your location in doors. But that technology never really took off. It didn’t work well with the iPhone. For it to generally work, stores had to put the iBeacons around and map the location of each. Then for it to work, the store’s app had to be used by the customer and work well with the data from the store.3
What I want as a consumer, and which iBeacons failed to deliver, is walk into my local large Home Depot Store and when I tell my iPhone to get me a certain screw, the iPhone takes me directly to the hallway and exactly where the screw I need is located. Finding products in stores without having to search for help and look at a bad map in the store is want I want Apple to solve.
Apple Glass with LIDAR data could solve this problem. A developer working with Home Depot or other stores could use Apple Glass to quickly LIDAR map the store. Then the Home Depot app would have an exact map of each store. And when someone came in the store with Apple Glass, the Home Depo app would know exactly where in the store the customer was located based on the LIDAR data it was getting. The Home Depot app would then guide the customer exactly to where the product is.
More importantly, Apple could use the LIDAR data from customers who walk into stores to map each store. Already, Apple is using Siri data from customers, although anonymously so it doesn’t know the name of each customer, to improve Siri. Apple is crowdsourcing Siri data from its millions of customers to improve Siri. Apple could do the same with the LIDAR data that customers wearing Apple Glass are collecing when they walk into stores. What if Apple married the LIDAR data with the Apple Pay data when Apple customers purchase products in large stores and malls? Apple probably knows exactly what terminal in a store you used Apple Pay. Although the stores don’t know your name and ID, Apple probably knows where the Apple Pay transaction occurred. Apple could marry that location data with the LIDAR data to map indoor stores and malls.
Don’t Forget the U1 Chip!
There is more that Apple could marry up with the LIDOR Data. Apple has a U1 Chip. Remember, back last year, Apple put a U1 Chip in the iPhone 11 Pro. Back in September 2019, longtime Apple journalist Jason Snell was so impressed by the U1 chip and its potential, he penned an article entitled: The U1 Chip In The iPhone 11 Is The Beginning of an Ultra Wideband revolution. Snell pointed out Apple only released this nugget of information about the U1 chip on its website:
The new Apple‑designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness — allowing iPhone 11 Pro to understand its precise location relative to other nearby U1‑equipped Apple devices. It’s like adding another sense to iPhone, and it’s going to lead to amazing new capabilities.
It looks like for now the U1 chip is used for making AirDrop transfers and maybe the Apple Tags which hasn’t been released. The U1 chip is low powered and can pinpoint other U1 chips.
Snell explained its potential after interviewing an industry person familiar with the technology:
But the possible applications of UWB go way beyond AirDrop and tracking tags. Decawave’s Viot says potential applications include smart home tech, augmented reality, mobile payments, the aforementioned keyless car entry, and even indoor navigation. (And it’s not a power hog, either—Viot says that Decawave’s latest UWB chip uses one-third of the power of a Bluetooth LE chip when in beacon mode, as a tracking tile would be.)
So think about what this means? Apple is rolling out the U1 chip roughly at the same time it is rolling out the LIDRO technology.4 Apple could have both technologies working together. For example, eventually if all the Apple devices have the U1 chip, Apple could use the location of the devices together with the LIDAR data. So if you lose your device in a mall, Apple could pinpoint for you exactly where that device is.
Developing new sensors, it looks like Apple is very serious with AR and mapping indoors with LIDOR technology. Apple getting in the LIDOR game is very serious. Remember, there have been rumors for many years that Apple is working building a car — Project Titan. (See MacRumors). LIDOR has been used for building an autonomous car.
Who knows what new products and services Apple will bring to the market in the coming years. What ever they do will push us forward into the future.
I refer to it as Apple Glass without “the” in front of it because that is Apple’s naming convention for products. For example, Apple always refers to “iPhone,” not “the iPhone”. ↩︎
In addition to GPS, Apple’s latest iPhone also has GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System)technology. GNSS is an umbrella over all the satellite location technology. GPS relies on the old United States Department of Defense satellites. But other countries and Europe are creating new location technology location using new satellites. Europe’s Galileo is precise to 1 meter, roughly three feet, much more precise than GPS. So eventually satellite location for iPhones and other devices will be more precise than GPS. ↩︎
Apple hasn’t abandoned iBeacon technology and still touts it in the technology specifications for the iPhone and iPad devices. It refers to it as “iBeacon microlocation.” ↩︎