Apple Pay Paying Apple

Apple Prime Hints, Apple Pay Mints, 'Joker' Prints, Emoji Tints, Romney Squints

Apple is Laying the Groundwork for an iPhone Subscription

Kif Leswing:

During Wednesday’s earnings call, when analyst Toni Sacconaghi asked about the idea of a prime subscription, Apple CEO Tim Cook did not shoot down the idea. In fact, he suggested that something like it was already in effect.

“In terms of hardware as a service or as a bundle, if you will, there are customers today that essentially view the hardware like that because they’re on upgrade plans and so forth,” Cook said during an earnings call. “So to some degree that exists today.”

Cook went on to say, using bullish language, that Apple sees it as a major growth area.

“My perspective is that will grow in the future to larger numbers. It will grow disproportionately,” he continued.

No surprise here, of course. Still, it’s good to hear Cook acknowledge they’re going for this. As they should, given the new tool in their tool belt: Apple Card. I’ve been on the iPhone Upgrade Program to which Cook is alluding (he also presumably means the upgrade paths the carriers offer as well) for a while. It’s fine. But it’s not great.

Because Apple outsources the current financing to a third-party, you have to interact with Citizens One. Again, not a ton. But enough that I know who they are — and I know what their logo looks like! Again, it’s fine, but it’s not exactly an Apple experience. Doing this through Apple Card would be a decidedly more Apple experience (even if Goldman remains the financing partner). Did I mention, 3% cash back? I mean, who wouldn’t do this?

More importantly, it could be step one for all sorts of AaaS — Apple as a Service, for shame — products. If Apple can capture even a sliver of the opportunity here, the Services narrative kicks into a whole other gear… I got this far without saying “Apple Prime”, aren’t you proud of me?

Apple Pay Starts to Flex

Speaking of Apple and payments, here’s Chance Miller with another tidbit from Tim Cook during last week’s earnings call:

We had all-time record revenues from payment services. Apple Pay revenue and transactions more than doubled year-over-year, with over 3 billions transactions in the September quarter; exceeding PayPal’s number of transactions and growing 4x as fast. Apple Pay is now live in 49 markets around the world, with over 6,000 issuers on the platform.

Anyway you slice it, that is impressive. It really seems as if Apple Pay is now less of a sleeping giant and more a giant in plain sight. If only Apple could make the experience as ubiquitous as it is in other parts of the world…

‘Joker’ Set To Bank Nearly a Half-Billion In Profit

Anthony D'Alessandro:

Our sources say the Joaquin Phoenix pic is poised to make at least $464 million after global theatrical, TV and home entertainment windows, and it could be more if the worldwide box office for the Todd Phillips-directed movie exceeds $900M. That amount of profit isn’t that far from what Avengers: Infinity War racked up last year in black ink: that pic made a half-billion dollars but was more expensive, with a production cost and global P&A of … a half-billion dollars.

Wow, put on a happy face indeed! And that’s without China, where the movie is unlikely to play given the tone of the content. It’s pretty wild how well this movie is performing — it’s good, but it’s not exactly easy to watch. And while technically a comic book movie, a Marvel movie, this is not.

The success has clearly surprised Warner Brothers as well, per R.T. Watson:

During its development, “Joker” was considered by Warner executives unlikely to generate the same kind of blockbuster returns as the studio’s more conventional DC comic-book movies such as “Aquaman” and “Wonder Woman,” according to one of the people familiar with the matter. “Joker” is a brooding character-study considered a “hard” R for its strong language and violence. Further limiting its commercial prospects, “Joker” was conceived as a stand-alone film rather than a piece of a larger narrative structure of sequels, spinoffs and prequels—a model perfected by Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.


But the film’s uniqueness was initially met with skepticism. Before moving forward, Warner Bros. executives enlisted BRON Studios and Village Roadshow Pictures as financial partners to help share the film’s risk, with each shouldering between 20% and 25% of its roughly $60 million production budget, according to another of the people familiar with the matter. Marketing the film around the world cost more than $100 million.

So they gave away roughly half of the upside. I mean, it makes sense why. But with the benefit of hindsight (and their history), boy was that dumb. A joker move, as it were.

iOS 13.2 Emoji Changelog

I just love these detailed changelogs so much. Also, the emoji landscape is so rich now that any service which doesn’t offer an emoji search capability is foolish.

The Liberation of Mitt Romney

Regardless of your politics, I think this profile by McKay Coppins is worth the read:

In the nine years I’ve been covering Romney, I’ve never seen him quite so liberated. Unconstrained by consultants, unconcerned about reelection, he is thinking about things such as legacy, and inheritance, and the grand sweep of history. Here, in the twilight of his career, he seems to sense—in a way that eludes many of his colleagues—that he’ll be remembered for what he does in this combustible moment. “I do think people will view this as an inflection point in American history,” Romney tells me.

It’s a seemingly obvious point, yet one that many in our current world seem to be overlooking. Our future selves and more importantly our children and their children will look back at these days, one day. Act accordingly.

A couple recent 500ish posts

Time Is Not On Your Side, So Timing Better Be

The challenge for social apps and services in our current era

Apple Pay is Magic, We Hate Magic?

An extension of many of the thoughts above…

Many thoughts on the AirPods Pro coming soon!