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December 2, 2021
👋 Good morning!
iPhone 13 series not selling well?
iPhone 13 Pro lightning port
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

This comes to me as a narrative violation: Apple, which had to cut forecast iPhone sales figures because its suppliers couldn’t keep up, is now reportedly advising supplies that demand is softening for its iPhone 13 lineup.

The news:

  • Bloomberg led with a report headlined: Apple tells suppliers iPhone demand has slowed as holidays near.
  • Quote: “Already, Apple had cut its iPhone 13 production goal for this year by as many as 10 million units, down from a target of 90 million, because of a lack of parts, Bloomberg News reported. But the hope was to make up much of that shortfall next year — when supply is expected to improve. The company is now informing its vendors that those orders may not materialize, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.”
  • Apple reportedly orders around 75 million iPhones for the year of each launch, so this might be just another year for iPhone rather than a bonanza year.
  • Which, you know, is hardly a bad thing. As Bloomberg says: the iPhone is Apple’s flagship product, accounting for about half of its $365.8 billion in revenue each year.

The question:

  • What feels a little out of sync is how well the iPhone is doing versus supply chain issues. I checked all styles of the iPhone 13 Pro and it’s still set for a 1-2 week delay on deliveries.
  • And in China’s massive market, Apple returned to the number one phone brand for the first time since 2015, per Counterpoint Research data. Partly that’s Huawei’s demise, but it’s not like iPhones are exactly a bargain in China’s hot market full of its own brands.
china smartphone sales share
  • I’d figured with China’s demand adding to the usual iPhone demand, it’d still be a blockbuster year.
  • It’s all speculation for now, but we’ll see more when Apple next reports: 25 Jan 2022.
Square becomes Block

Look, Square changing its name to Block is both nothing and everything.

  • Like Facebook becoming Meta, it doesn’t mean a lot for how things work, how companies are run, and so on.
  • But it does give us a signal, because changing names isn’t really a thing that happens often. 
  • Google changing its name to Alphabet didn’t affect much: Google continues to live off advertising. 
  • But the whole block thing is more meaningful: it signals a shift towards blockchain and crypto tech even further. It gives us a jolt that Jack’s full-time focus isn’t going to be trying to capture more of the old world, but the new.
  • And look, there’s really very funny leadership profiles:
block jack
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority
  • And while we’re here, remember Square owns CashApp, TIDAL, TBD, and agreed to buy Australia’s Afterpay, though that deal is clearing regulator hurdles…
  • More: Jack Dorsey becomes a Block head (Wired).

😬 Five years on, HMD Global’s handling of Nokia is a tale of squandered potential (Android Authority).

👉 This could be our first detailed look at the Samsung Galaxy A73, as the mid-range keeps ticking along (Android Authority).

🆕 Qualcomm’s PC-focused chips unveiled at the second day of its Tech Summit target PCs, handheld gaming consoles: light on details, but new 8cx Gen 3 (now 5nm, for more powerful devices, and “up to 85% better CPU performance and up to 60% faster GPU performance”) and Snapdragon 7C Plus Gen 3 (for Chromebooks, cheaper PCs) push in particular is an interesting decision (Android Authority).

👉 And there’s a new Snapdragon G3X Gen 1 chipset for handheld gaming: Qualcomm teamed up with Razer to build a handheld gaming developer kit, complete with 120Hz OLED display, but it’s fairly early for the chipset with no promises about real devices, and again, few details were given… but being “built for cloud gaming” surprised me, and no, you can’t buy it… (Android Authority).

💻 By the way, Razer gaming laptops will cost more next year, Razer CEO says: “significant increases in component costs” (Gizmodo).

🍎 Here are Apple’s 2021 App Store Award winners and most downloaded apps of the year. Children’s app maker Toca Boca winning iPhone app of the year for Toca Life World, and Riot Games’ League of Legends: Wild Rift winning game of the year (TechCrunch).

🦅 There’s a very odd but practical-looking bird-like drone, with 3D-printed raptor legs stuck on a quadcopter (Wired).

📸 Also, Sony’s $9,000 drone is now available to order ahead of a December 24th ship date (The Verge).

🎬 New trailer for The Matrix Resurrections is heavy on the déjà vu (Ars Technica).

🧂 There’s now a camera the size of a grain of salt and it’s pretty cool to see its images (Gizmodo).

🤔 “ELI5: What actually is stamina, and why can a person run longer after months of running? (r/explainlikeimfive)

Throwback Thursday
roku quibi

Yesterday marked a year since Quibi closed down, after a brief seven months in operation, and a kind of New Coke-like stay. 

  • The Roku Channel went and bought Quibi’s catalog of content (As you can see, above) and now plays it on their devices as Originals, and still on TVs it’s kinda not quite right.
  • One of the truly weird things about Quibi was how good it was on mobile — the tech was great, it’s just that the content wasn’t, and the whole pandemic thing.
  • Anyway, here’s six things that were planned for Quibi from Syfy that never made it out and we’re still waiting for, including Steven Spielberg’s After Dark, which was at least a working title for Spielberg’s planned horror series that was going to only be available once the sun went down.
  • Slugfest, which does live, and premiered its first episode during New York Comic Con last year but hasn’t been seen since, goes into the comic book rivalry between Marvel vs DC, out of Reed Tucker’s book Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC.

Also: Tomorrow marks 20 years since the first Segway was shown off by inventor Dean Kamen.


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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