Apple

Apple Tracker: New iPhone, Watch Fail To Impress

Even though it’s not available yet, the iPhone X already seems to be overshadowing its brother, the iPhone 8, pre-sales for which have been, well, uninspiring. With one new product delayed and one giving a lackluster performance, it would have been nice for Apple if the new version of the Apple Watch had done well, but early reviewers are saying that’s not the case. At least we’ve got iOS 11 — have you updated yet?

Series 3 Apple Watch

As the pre-order phase draws to a close, and days before the new product ships, it turns out the big feature Apple touted with its latest version of the Apple Watch — that is, its LTE connectivity, which theoretically equips the wearable device to connect to cellular networks in addition to WiFi — may not actually do what the tech giant has been boasting.

Early reviewers, including the Verge, reported Wednesday that the Watch would try to connect to unfamiliar wireless networks when they were out and about without their phone. Worse yet, if the device was unable to connect to those networks, it wouldn’t connect to cellular networks, either.

Apple said in a recent statement that it was investigating a fix for this issue, one that would be released as a future software update. But the promise was not enough to save the company’s stocks from dipping 2.5 percent on Wednesday morning. That was a “substantial ding,” TechCrunch noted, for a company worth more than $800 billion. The value of that drop would have been in the tens of billions of dollars range, enough to bankrupt a smaller market-cap company like Snap or Twitter.

Apple has been banking on its new LTE-enabled Watch and iPhones to help kick its growth engine back into gear as it guns for a $1 trillion valuation. As the stock dip indicates, though, connectivity issues are probably not the best way to kick off that product cycle — especially in a smartphone market so saturated that a company would need to do something quite unique to make a splash at all.

It’s even more of a shame for Apple because of the company’s recent forays into chip design. After revealing it had built new custom chips or chip components for AI, graphics and video — on top of the ones already powering the new iPhone and the Series 3 Apple Watch — discovering that its custom chip designed to add cellular connection to the Watch doesn’t actually work has got to be a buzzkill over at Apple headquarters.

iOS 11

Apple’s new mobile operating system is still a work in progress, but even with some features still pending, Fortune says iOS 11 is “outstanding,” especially for iPad owners.

Some big changes for the iPad include an expanded Dock facilitating quicker access to more apps, multitasking features such as the ability to toggle between apps or use more than one at a time — a great feature for productivity — and better integration with the Apple Pencil.

The iOS 11 Control Center — the menu that appears when a user swipes up from the bottom of the screen — boasts even more features which can be customized to reflect the ones the user wants to access most often. Controlling Apple Music is easier than it was in iOS 10, Fortune said, and users now have the easy option to turn off just their cellular connection, just their WiFi or enter full-on airplane mode.

The much-anticipated peer-to-peer (P2P) payments feature isn’t ready yet, which is a shame, but there are enough other upgrades to whet Apple fans’ palates until it is.

Business Insider has the full list of features and functions you didn’t know your updated iPhone had, from managing storage to calling up the one-handed keyboard on the larger Plus devices. It also introduces a smarter Siri, a built-in QR code scanner and a Map app that tells drivers which lane they should be in before turning or merging.

To update, go to the Settings app — iOS 11 will be available as a free download.

iPhone Who?

With so much buzz around the forthcoming iPhone X, it seems consumers forgot all about the middle child, the iPhone 8. Pre-orders for the 8 and 8 Plus have been underwhelming compared to those for the iPhones 6 and 7 back when they were announced.

Barron’s reported Rosenblatt Securities tallied approximately 1.5 million iPhone 8 pre-orders via JD.com in the first three days of availability. The iPhone 7 enjoyed 3.5 million pre-orders in the same time frame. China Mobile reported similar numbers, Rosenblatt told Barron’s, selling only about 1 million iPhone 8 pre-orders compared to 2.5 million for the phone’s last iteration and 3.5 million for the iPhone 6.

Though iPhone X sales could well make up the difference, Rosenblatt researchers won’t pretend they aren’t concerned — that could simply add to the problem, one noted, by forcing Apple to slash its 70 million iPhone 8 production plan while creating shortages of the X edition.

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