Inside Apple - March 2nd, 2020

Inside Apple (Mar 2nd, 2020)

Coronavirus continues to delay iPhone / Apple sends care packages to quarantined workers / By the numbers: iPhone’s India comeback

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$AAPL (11:47 AM EDT March 2): $291.90 (+6.78%) // More info

Sorry for getting this to you slightly later than usual; I accidentally wrote a blog post this morning (see #10). Don’t you love it when that happens? Speaking of which, if any Inside Apple readers blog even semi-regularly about technology, please reply to this message and send me a link. I’m one of those people who never noticed that blogging and RSS are supposed to be “dead,” and reading blogs is how I do what I do. I would love to add your morsels to my media diet.

— Jon

1. An LG Innotek factory that supplies iPhone camera modules has had to shut down to contain the spread of the coronavirus, one of a handful of upstream problems slowing down iPhone production. Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes iPhone production won’t recover to pre-coronavirus volumes until Q2 2020. Kuo also reports that shipments of camera lenses from Genius Electronic Optical have fallen off and will take until at least May to pick back up, and supplies are dwindling. Apple CEO Tim Cook says the coronavirus will lead to some adjustments to how Apple’s supply chain operates, but “we’re talking about adjusting some knobs, not some sort of wholesale, fundamental change.” — REUTERS

2. Apple has sent care packages to employees quarantined in Wenzhou and Hubei that include preventative measures, treats, and an iPad. An enclosed letter describes the iPad as being “to facilitate children’s online learning or help pass the time during the prolonged stay at home.” The care package also invites recipients to take advantage of counseling and consultation services Apple is offering. — MACRUMORS

3. By the numbers: iPhone’s India comeback. In 2019, Apple reversed a major decline in shipments in India the previous year, thanks to a new strategy as well as government enticements to enable domestic manufacturing and retail stores. Previously, the problem was simply that iPhones were absurdly priced there. Now, though, Apple’s products are often considerably cheaper in India than elsewhere, especially combined with discounts and incentives from sales partners. Apple grew 41% year-over-year in the fourth quarter in India last year and achieved a commanding 75.6% market share. — ZDNET

iPhone 11 discount in India: $50 off
iPhone XR 2019 price drop in India: $400 less (yes, you read that right)
iPhone 7 2019 price drop in India: $40 less

4. Clearview AI, a company that scraped the internet for faces and is selling facial recognition willy-nilly, has had its Apple Enterprise Developer Certificate revoked for using it to distribute its app outside the App Store. Clearview’s app would never be allowed on the App Store because, well, it lets you stalk people using images of their face. This is the exact same strategy Facebook and Google used to circumvent Apple’s App Store rules, which made headlines because Apple caused company-wide havoc by revoking their certs, disabling the internal apps employees use. Clearview doesn’t seem like the kind of company that pays much attention to what causes media outrage, though, so I guess they missed this one. — BUZZFEED

5. Apple’s decision last week to enforce a Chinese government requirement that mobile games be licensed by the government is actually just a closure of a longstanding loophole Apple has allowed. China created this policy in 2016, and Apple gave some acknowledgement of it right away, asking Chinese games to provide proof of their government license but not strictly policing it. According to local media, there were easy loopholes, like selecting another country to publish the app in and then switching back to China later. Apple actually had some incentive to drag its feet on this, since its market share was vulnerable to domestic phone makers. The availability of risqué games exclusively on iOS might have sold some iPhones while it lasted. — TECHCRUNCH

6. A proposal circulating in the legislative bodies of the European Union has leaked, suggesting that legislators want to force smartphones sold in the EU to have user-removable batteries. While this is, in the abstract, a nice idea for consumers, it is impossible to imagine Apple complying with such a regulation. The leak suggests the proposal will be unveiled in March, and it will be fascinating to see how Apple responds. — TECHRADAR

7. At the recent annual shareholders meeting, investors tried to get a handle on why Apple’s strategy with TV+ is to only have original programming, rather than buying the “Friends” catalog or something. Apple takes a lot of flack for flailing around through multiple TV strategies before settling on this one, and for this one being rather strange. The thing is, it may have been perfectly timed; just as TV+ is coming online, networks are launching their own streaming services and buying their catalogs back from the Amazons and Netflixes of the world, and those streaming-first companies are busily cranking out originals, too. Apple may need to pick up the pace to get a meaningful number of subscribers after this first free year, but its focus on quality originals is just beginning to look prescient. — BENJAMIN MAYO

8. Another survey of developers in the Apple ecosystem has aired out frustration with Mac Catalyst, this year’s new tools for porting iPad apps to the Mac. Some apps have indeed shipped, and their developers are glad to be available to their customers on the Mac in a way they couldn‘t have been before. But there are many complaints, all amounting to a sense that the APIs aren’t finished yet. 2020 is looking like a bigger year for Catalyst than might be expected, though; of course there will be further updates when this year’s operating systems are announced, but some pretty big changes to the way iPad apps receive keyboard input — which will certainly encourage more Mac-like functionality — are coming sooner than that. — DIGITAL TRENDS

9. Disney has returned to its owners an iPhone 11 that sat at the bottom of Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon for weeks, and it is in working order. A team of scuba divers apparently combs the bottom of the lagoon every so often, and not only did they find the phone, the family was able to retrieve its photos of the vacation from it. — MACRUMORS

10. The developer of the new notes app Tot, last week’s #FollowFriday nominee, asked me on Twitter to write an App Store review. Dutifully, I opened up Tot and started writing, and a 1,780-word blog post came flowing effortlessly out. If that doesn’t speak for itself about the greatness of the experience of text in Tot, perhaps the full review will convince you. — EVERYTHING IS ABLAZE

Jon Mitchell has been a tech journalist since 2010. He covered Apple, Google, and the societal effects of social media for the storied blog ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). He co-hosts Internet Friends, a podcast about life online with occasional lengthy digressions into Apple news. He’s the author of In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times from Parallax Press. He has recently, reticently returned to Twitter at @ablaze.

Edited by Inside staff writer Elizabeth Barr.

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