A Few Odds, A Few Ends

Pay-As-You-Go Macs, ARM MacBooks, Apple Podcasts+

In my ever-evolving quest to force myself to write more, and to just experiment with content, one thing I’ve been toying with here is rather than sending this out weekly with 5 (or so) links, what if I sent one link a day, 5 (or so) days a week? It would make this more akin to a link blog (which happens to be emailed to you — but also resides on the web) rather than a collection of links. As someone with a long-simmering hatred of email, I wonder if this would be too many emails? I could also just publish these to the web without emailing them out, of course. Anyway, I’m planning to experiment quite a bit to ride out this surreal summer we’re having. 📝🍻

Pay-As-You-Go Apple Products

Mark Gurman with the scoop on the latest initiative Apple appears to be gearing up to try (sounds like a WWDC announcement):

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is planning to roll out the service in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the plan. The offering will let customers buy a product through Apple and split up the cost over several months with interest-free payments.

The company will offer a 12-month interest-free payment plan for iPads, Macs, the Apple Pencil and iPad keyboards, as well as the Mac XDR Display monitor, and six months with no interest for the AirPods, Apple TV, and HomePod, the people said.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The payments will be managed through the Apple Card section in the Wallet app on the iPhone and charges will be added to a customer’s monthly Apple Card bill. Apple started a similar program for the iPhone last year, offering 24 months no interest.

This sounds like a pretty interesting/compelling way to leverage Apple Card. And while it’s not exactly an “Apple Prime” offering, if you squint, you can see a path to it. If you’re paying Apple in monthly installments (by way of Goldman Sachs, but the way the Apple Card flow works, it’s all very centered around Apple) for hardware, you’re one step closer from paying Apple monthly for everything: Apple Music, Apple TV+, iCloud, Apple Care, etc. At least some of those may also be on the verge of being bundled, which would be another step in the “Prime” direction.

And yes, you can already pay Apple in perpetuity for iPhone upgrades (I’ve been doing this since the program started), but that has always been a little less seamless than I’d prefer — and I’m sure than Apple would prefer. Just bundle it all together to get me everything. I think we’re a few years away from that. But the baby steps are in motion.

How the ARM Mac Happens

Steven Sinofsky with another great post (which is another recap of a tweetstorm) on some of the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ about the now too-much-smoke-for-there-not-to-be-fire ARM-based Macs. I thought his “PS” was interesting:

The least important measure in moving from Intel to ARM is the performance of the processor. Executing instructions per second is the commodity. What matters is the software and device ecosystem on top, no matter how few/many threads/processes are used.

I think this is right. Every Mac is already more than fast enough for the vast majority of users. I have a five-year-old iMac that I don’t perceive to be any slower than my one-year-old MacBook for what I do. The key won’t be performance (though making sure it’s at least on par with the Intel chips is one thing we were presumably waiting on), but the other stuff that results from having a system fully designed by one entity.

Like, say, battery life. Also, a wildcard (because it would seem to be at least as much about macOS as anything else): cellular connectivity. But if the aforementioned battery life gets a huge improvement… 5G ARM MacBooks?

Apple’s Podcast “Game Change”

I’m fascinated to see how Apple responds to Spotify’s Joe Rogan move (not to mention all their other moves in podcasts over the past year-plus). That is, if Apple responds at all — certainly not a forgone conclusion given their history here. But I found this idea from Bradley Chambers compelling:

Apple has millions of credit cards on file. With technology like Touch ID and Face ID for authenticating purchases, Apple Podcasts could reduce the friction to support your favorite shows. In my brainstorming, I envision a ‘support this show’ button on the now playing screen near the sleep timer button. This location wouldn’t put it front and center, but it would be easy enough to find for shows that you regularly listen to. I would envision an 85/15 revenue split for podcasters and Apple.

Basically only Apple or Google could do this given the OS-scale + payment stack, and Apple is in a much better position to do it. But again, would they? It would fundamentally change the nature of podcasts in a different way than Spotify is with all their deals. And again, Apple seemingly hasn’t wanted to do that, historically. But I’m not sure it’s a crazy idea — for Apple, nor for podcasters…



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