Week Summary: Apple Shows Off Latest Green Initiative, Yosemite Beta Goes Public, Earnings Hold Steady. R&D Spend Soars, Newest Ad Continues to Show New Colours
Weekly summary of stories from across the World of Apple during the week commencing 21st July, 2014. An attempt to summarise the more interesting stories from the week and lace them in observation and comment.
Apple Shows Off Solar Array
Towards the end of the week Apple granted a bunch of journalists a tour of Apple’s latest green iniative, a huge solar array farm in Maiden, North Carolina. Capable of producing 20MW of energy, it allows Apple the peace of mind that it now outstrips its competitors with energy friendly schemes and for once has GreenPeace looking on and saying positive remarks—calling Apple the “gold standard”.
The Guardian has a reasonable write up of their tour and includes a number of comments from Apple’s new senior staff Lisa Jackson who now heads up Apple’s green moves. Jackson explains that “[o]n any given day 100% of the data centre’s needs are being generated by the solar power and the fuel cells”.
The Guardian does throw in a dose of oddity—possibly as link bait—about how Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 will feature a Sapphire display (not news but by no means a certainty) and that Apple plans to use solar power to manufacture the displays in Arizona. Whilst this is not the first time this bit of information has surfaced, it does raise an eyebrow on the author’s face. Anyone that knows an ounce about physics will understand the sheer energy involved in doing anything with second hardest material known to man.
OS X Yosemite Beta Goes Public
For the first time since the original release of Mac OS X in 2001 Apple has released a public beta of the software. The move which has caused some concern amongst developers is clearly aimed at expanding the testing base of the beta process and maybe an admission that everyone who wanted it was pirating it anyway.
The public beta which is available from Apple’s site is not the same that is available to developers and lacks some of the Continuity features that would pair with iOS 8—which has yet to enter public beta.
For those thinking about it, it’s best to check out the ongoing threads on Mac Rumors’ forums to see if any software you rely on breaks completely.
Apple’s Latest Ad Ends in a Colourful Twist
Many had speculated post WWDC that Apple was showing a new friendly, playful, and open side to its personality. And just maybe Apple’s latest Mac advert effort shows this too.
The first Mac advert in recent years doesn’t show off any software, doesn’t show off the MacBook Air’s extreme battery life, thinness, or even its perfectly manufactured aluminium case but instead focuses purely on the customisation that is available through third party stickers. As Matthew Panzarino writes for TechCrunch this is definitely the first time that Apple has shown a banged up and scratched MacBook, the first time they’ve not even shown the screen, and definitely the first time they’ve shown a Mac how it would be in its natural environment outside of the Store.
My favourite touch, the flicker of the Apple logo at the end which shows Apple’s colourful logo that adorned the company between 1976 and 1999. A very rare twist of Apple’s usually pristine modern branding.
Earnings Hold Steady, R and D Spend Soars
This week Apple released its quarterly fiscal results for Q314, with profit coming in ahead of expectations and ahead of the year ago quarter it has left analysts and onlookers feeling a little safer about the company’s position. The profit line of $7.7bn on revenue of $37.4 billion is being driven primarily by sales of the iPhone but also Apple’s entrance into markets where the company has historically struggled. For example iPhone sales were up 48% in China, and in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries the iPad did extremely well. However not well enough for the iPad not to be raising some concern.
Maybe more interestingly than what was said in Apple’s orchestrated earnings call was what followed the next day. As is customary Apple published its quarterly 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which showed all what the company didn’t talk about the day before. As pointed out by the FT Apple’s spending on research and development has soared to $1.6bn for the three months leading up to the end of June, roughly 36 percent more than it spend in the same period the year before.
There are some obvious explanations for this: we’re heading into new product season with a flurry of products expected to be released in September and October. But of course this climb in expenditure has led others to speculate that we could be in for more than just new iPhones and iPads.
Tune in next week (hopefully) for another dose of Apple musings. In the mean time you can follow me on Twitter and sometimes I’ll tweet something funny but mostly it’s about Apple, higher education and politics in the UK, and beer.