Tag Archive for ‘Ming-Chi Kuo’

iPhone Keeping Lightning Port ➝

Hartley Charlton, writing for MacRumors:

Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the “foreseeable future,” with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Lame.

➝ Source: macrumors.com

Apple Rumored to Release iPhone SE 2 Next Year ➝

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple is set to launch the next version of the iPhone SE 2 in the first quarter of 2020, according to renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new phone will be more affordable than the rest of the Apple iPhone lineup and feature newer internals, like an A13 processor with 3 GB RAM, in a familiar iPhone 8 chassis.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a new 4-inch iPhone in the lineup, which would allow Apple to serve a segment of the market that practically been abandoned by smartphone manufacturers. But I suppose a replacement for the iPhone 8 will have to do. I just hope they improve the camera system — it really is a massive leap forward compared to the iPhone 8.

➝ Source: 9to5mac.com

Apple’s Hardware Updates for This Fall ➝

Ming-Chi Kuo expects three new iPhone models, two new iPad Pros, a Mac Mini refresh, updates to Apple’s laptop line, iMac display improvements, and Apple Watch offerings with larger displays.

Amazon’s Next Echo Will Be More Like Apple’s HomePod ➝

Devindra Hardawar, reporting for Engadget:

Amazon is working on a new Echo that will improve on the first speaker in practically every way, a source tells Engadget. And, not surprisingly, it’s aiming to take some of the hype away from Apple’s HomePod.

The new Echo will be both shorter and slimmer than the original, almost as if it were three or four Echo Dots stacked on top of each other, our source claims. Amazon is also softening its design with rounded edges and a cloth-like covering, rather than the current Echo’s plastic shell and flat ends. And yes, it should sound better, too. The company is packing in several tweeters this time around, instead of just relying on one large tweeter and a woofer (for low end).

Perhaps this is the Amazon Echo that Ming-Chi Kuo claimed the HomePod was aiming to compete with. Instead of the Echo Show, which I assumed he was referring to.

Thoughts on a Potential Echo Competitor

Rumors of an Apple-made Echo competitor have been around for nearly as long as Amazon has been selling their voice assistant devices. Last year, The Information claimed that Apple had been working on a Siri-powered smart speaker since 2015. Here we are, a year after The Information’s piece, and the current crop of rumors are pointing toward this year’s WWDC as a possible announcement venue.

Ming-Chi Kuo, writing for KGI Securities, as quoted by MacRumors:

We believe there is an over 50% chance that Apple will announce its first home AI product at WWDC in June and start selling in the [second half of 2017] in order to compete with the new Amazon Echo models to be launched […]

We expect Apple’s first home AI product will have excellent acoustics performance (one woofer + seven tweeters) and computing power (similar to iPhone 6/6S AP). Therefore the product is likely to be positioned for: (i) the high-end market; (ii) better entertainment experience; and (iii) higher price than Amazon Echo.

I think it’s worth pointing out that Kuo believes Apple’s Echo competitor will be positioned to compete with “the new Amazon Echo models to be launched”. Just eight days after KGI Securities published this note to investors, Amazon unveiled the Echo Show — a new smart speaker device with a built-in display. Perhaps this is the device that Apple is aiming to compete with.

Adding fuel to the fire, Phil Schiller, in an interview with Gadget360, was asked about the Amazon Echo and Google Home. He wouldn’t speak to either device specifically, instead choosing to discuss the category as a whole. While Schiller did admit that there were times when an entirely voice-controlled interface was useful, he emphasized the importance of a display for many tasks:

First of all, there is a lot of talk in the industry about voice-driven assistants and we believe deeply in voice-driven assistants that’s why invest in Siri, but there is interest in a voice-only assistant, where there is no screen, and we think it’s important to that there are times when it’s convenient to simply use your voice when you are not able to use the screen. For example, if you’re driving [and] you want Siri to work for you without having to look at the screen, that’s the best thing. Or maybe you’re across the room, and you want to ask Siri to change the song you were listening to – you don’t have to walk over and back [and you can use Siri instead].

So there’s many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen. So the idea of not having a screen, I don’t think suits many situations.

If Apple plans to announce a Siri-powered smart speaker at WWDC — and I think they will — it has to feature a touch screen display. And in an attempt to one-up Amazon’s Echo Show, I believe Apple’s Siri-powered device will feature a fully-functional version of iOS that’s capable of running all of the same software as the iPad or iPhone. One of Apple’s greatest strengths is the iOS ecosystem — a never-ending supply of developers building some of the most innovative software of our time.

A touch screen device that’s built on iOS seems like a no-brainer, but the bigger question is, what will the Siri-powered speaker actually look like? Will it be similar to Amazon’s Echo Show — an iMac-like iOS device? Or will it be two components — a dock with high-quality speakers and beam-forming microphones alongside an iPad Mini-sized tablet.

I would prefer Apple to favor versatility and portability in their design and opt for a Siri-speaker with multiple components. Give me a device that, when docked, can be fully operated by voice — for use while cooking or doing dishes — but can also be removed from the dock and carried into the dining room for light reading while I enjoy a cup of coffee.

I want the ability to browse for recipes on the tablet’s touchscreen while I’m streaming podcasts from my iPhone to the device’s speaker dock. I want to use my voice to start playback of the latest episode of Silicon Valley and have that viewing reflected in the TV app on my Apple TV and iPad. I want a an Echo-competitor that feels fully entrenched in Apple’s ecosystem — something that syncs with my iCloud account, can run all of the same applications as my iPhone and iPad, and leverages services like FaceTime, the TV app, and iMessages.

I think this is something Apple can deliver. Maybe they can’t do everything in 1.0. But if they can ship a sizable portion of these features by the end of the year, I’ll be the first in line to buy one.

Apple May Announce Amazon Echo Competitor at WWDC ➝

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Apple’s widely rumored Siri-based smart speaker and home hub has an “over 50 percent chance” of being announced at WWDC, scheduled for June 5-9, according to often-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.

If this is announced at WWDC, I hope it will come alongside a robust Siri SDK that will allow developers to extend Siri’s functionality in ways that aren’t possible today. It would also be nice if it could function as a Wi-Fi router, replacing the AirPort Express.

And I still like John Gruber’s idea from last year, Apple should call it the Hi-Fi.

Lightning Everything

It’s safe to say that I was a bit concerned when the Wall Street Journal published a piece that indicated Apple would be removing the Lightning connector from future iPhones and replacing it with a USB-C port. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of an open standard for charging — having a single cable that will work on Android phones, iPhones, MacBooks and potentially iPads would take a huge step towards simplifying the charging process for everyone.

My concerns were primarily selfish in nature, though. Just a few weeks ago I started the process of transitioning everything in my travel bag to replacements that charge over Lightning. The primary goal was to reduce the amount of cables I needed to bring with me and eliminate the frustration associated with finding the right cable for each device when I’m riffling through my bag.

Imagine my surprise when I read that Ming-Chi Kuo had clarified the rumor, saying that future iPhones would retain the Lightning connector, but that it would gain USB-C capabilities — much like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which supports USB 3.0 transfer speeds and faster charging when used with a Lightning to USB-C cable. This was great news. I could continue transitioning to Lightning everything without the worry of reverting my bag to a mess of cables when I purchase the next iPhone this fall.

You may be wondering what I could possibly have in my bag that allows me to go all-in on Lightning. There certainly must be something that requires, at least, a micro-USB cable. Well, no, everything in my bag has a Lightning connector.

My bag contains my entire everyday computing setup. I’ve been able to pare it back considerably since I’ve switched to iOS, but I’m still able to get everything done on these devices without ever needing to interact with a non-Lightning power cable. I specify “power” because I still have to carry an HDMI cable with me for the times when I want to watch video content on our hotel room’s television.

The first, and most obvious item in my bag is the iPad Air 2. It’s my primary computing device and where I do the vast majority of my work. It’s powered over Lightning, like the iPhone in my pocket, and every other iOS device Apple makes. And will make for the foreseeable future, thankfully.

Next, we have the Magic Keyboard and the Aukey 3600mAh Portable Power Bank. The Magic Keyboard isn’t anything particularly special. I’ve only had it for a few weeks and I’ve been lukewarm on it so far. The slim design and Lightning charging port are fantastic, but I still find myself getting a little lost in areas of the keyboard — especially the arrow keys. I haven’t found the shallow key travel to be as irritating as I was worried it would be. The pleasant clicking sound of the butterfly mechanism more than makes up for their lack of travel.

The Aukey Power Bank is a unique product, though. It’s the only external battery I’m aware of that charges over Lightning. It doesn’t appear to feature MFi certification, so my impression is that Aukey made it without Apple’s blessing. That would explain why no one else is making portable batteries with Lightning ports. But this is a tremendous product. It isn’t going to give you multiple-days-worth of charge for your iPhone or iPad, but its small enough to fit in your bag without adding much weight and the convenience of the Lightning port is unparalleled.

For trips when I expect to have a fair amount of downtime (which is rare) I have the SteelSeries Nimbus. It is, what I’d consider to be, the absolute best MFi controller available. I can prop up my iPad in the Twelve South Compass or plug it into whatever television is available, with the Lightning to HDMI adapter, and play some of the best games that iOS has to offer. And when I’m finished gaming, I can recharge the controller using the same cable I used with my iPhone.

The Future

There are two more Lightning-powered items that I’d like to add to my kit — AirPods and the Beats Pill+ (or a similar, Lightning-powered Bluetooth speaker). I’ve already ordered the AirPods, but Apple’s having serious supply issues and the estimated ship date isn’t for another five weeks. I’m hoping, by some miracle, that Apple will get them to me sooner than that. I’m growing tired of fighting with wires and I’d like to take them with me on a weekend trip in early April.

Everything I’ve read about AirPods have been positive overall and I imagine my experience with them will be no different. I’m ready for this courageous, new wireless world and a pair of Bluetooth headphones that charge over Lightning and are built on the W1 chip seem like the absolute best way to go.

I wish Apple offered a similar solution in the Bluetooth speaker market. The closest device available is the Beats Pill+, which charges over Lightning but isn’t built on the W1 chip. It’s a nice speaker, by most accounts, but I would hate to spend over $200 on a speaker that could be replaced by something significantly better sometime this year.

Luckily, I don’t find myself wanting a Bluetooth speaker too often. I think I’ll be able to hold out until later this fall to find out if Apple releases one with the W1 chip. If not, I’ll probably end up with the Beats Pill+, if only because its powered over Lightning.

To recap, here are the Lightning-powered devices that I currently have at my disposal, or plan to have in the near future:

As I said, that’s my entire, everyday carry computing setup. I do have a Mac mini at home that I occasionally use for tasks that require a Mac, but those are few and far between. And of course, I always interact with the Mac mini over VNC using Screens on the iPad — I almost never need direct access to the machine, I can do it all remotely, wherever I am.

I couldn’t have been happier to hear that Apple isn’t going to leave Lightning behind anytime soon. With everything in my bag being powered by the same cables, I can reduce clutter and limit the total number of cables required to power all of my devices. For the foreseeable future, I don’t expect to need more than two Lightning cables and a single, two-port charger when I travel. And that is something to get excited about.

Ming-Chi Kuo: All 2017 iPhones Will Have Lightning Connectors ➝

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Kuo expects Apple to retain the Lightning port given it has a slightly slimmer design compared to a USB-C port, to sustain MFi Program licensing income from Lightning accessories, and because he believes USB-C’s high-speed data transmission is “still a niche application” for iPhone.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro already supports USB 3.0 speeds and fast charging with a Lightning to USB-C cable, while iPhones and other devices with a Lightning connector still transfer at USB 2.0 speeds.

This should allow for backwards compatibility with existing cables and accessories while improving charging time and data transfers when using a Lightning to USB-C cable.

I think Nick Heer had the best take on this:

One of the great things about the Lightning connector is how it’s able to abstract all of this under-the-hood stuff and make it really consumer-friendly. […] Lightning is just Lightning, even when it isn’t; the only thing consumers will notice about the new iPhones will be how much faster they charge.