Apple’s ninth annual Environmental Responsibility Report summarises the company’s work on its three environmental priorities of renewable energy, safer materials & processes and conserving resources. As part of the third of those, the company revealed that its recycling program last year recovered 89 million pounds of materials – Business Insider noting that this included a cool $40M worth of gold.
Gold is commonly used in circuit boards because it has low electrical resistance and, unlike copper, doesn’t corrode. In most applications, a thin layer of gold covers a thicker layer of copper – which was a second valuable material recovered by Apple …
Over the weekend, we learned some preliminary details about Apple’s planned updates for two of their most popular Mac accessories, the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse, in the form of FCC filings. Aside from new and improved connectivity thanks to Bluetooth 4.2, both accessories appear to have design deviations from their existing models, as detailed by the rough sketches accompanying the FCC filings. Based on these sketches, I decided to more fully visualize the changes Apple could be planning for an all new and more modern wireless keyboard based on other modern Apple product designs.
Rapper Ludacris tonight has shown off a unique twist on the Apple Watch: a model encrusted with diamonds around the face’s bezel. Ludacris wore the gear to tonight’s Teen Choice Awards on Fox, and he posted a couple of pictures of the device on Instagram. It appears that taking the custom route allowed Ludacris to one-up his colleagues who were able to secure all-gold Apple Watch Editions with gold Link Bracelets from Apple in the run-up to the Apple Music launch. A close up shot of Ludacris’s Apple Watch is below.
In an interview with the Chinese language edition of Bloomberg Businessweek, Tim Cook noted that developers are showing more interest in the Apple Watch than they had in the iPhone and iPad at a similar early stage.
Developers are working on more than 3,500 apps for the gadgets, he said. That’s well ahead of the 500 apps available for the 2008 edition of the iPhone and the 1,000 for the first iPad in 2010, he added.
Cook also confirmed what most had assumed: the gold color introduced for the iPhone, iPad and now MacBook (and presumably real gold for the Watch) was “in part” driven by the popularity of the color in China. Greater China now accounts for a whopping 29% of Apple’s revenue …
A special Top 11 list today from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on the next iPhone (6s? 7?) that will be released later this year. Counting down:
Force Touch will be the biggest upgraded selling point, but also one of the main bottlenecks of the supply chain. Force Touch can enrich user experience due to more input methods and support of handwritten signatures, which is beneficial for expanding in the commercial market
Screen will remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, with resolution the same as existing models. There will be no new 4-inch model
There will be an additional casing color, rose gold, matching the rose-gold Apple Watch Edition
The camera will have a pixel upgrade, likely to 12MP
One microphone will be added near the speaker to enhance voice quality
The A9 processor with upgraded 2GB LPDDR4 will be adopted
The bending issue will be improved by using different casing materials and internal mechanical design changes
If drop test issues can be resolved, the 5.5-inch model will have a limited number of units with sapphire cover lens
The recognition rate of Touch ID will be improved further in a bid to promote Apple Pay
Gesture control support
It’s expected that mass production will start in mid-to-late August. Total shipments will be 80-90mn in 2015, with a 2:1 ratio of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.
Beyond a unique sales process and exclusivity to select stores, even returning the Apple Watch Edition will have its own special process. Bringing the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition back to an Apple Store for a refund will require the device to be scrutinized under micro-inspection by Apple Store staff, according to sources. While the return process itself is unique, the return timeframe will be the standard 14 days like most of Apple’s other products…
In addition to opening pre-order sales for the upcoming Apple Watch and launching the new 12-inch Retina MacBook, Apple has refreshed its Beats Solo2 wireless headphone lineup with three new color options: gold, silver, and space gray to match your iPhone, iPad, new MacBook, or Apple Watch…
To go along with the premium $10,000 and up pricing of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, Apple will charge up to $999 for the Apple Watch Edition’s AppleCare+ Protection Plan, 9to5Mac has learned. The Apple Watch Edition notably has very different AppleCare coverage from other Apple Watch models, coming with two years of 24/7 support and a special setup hotline right out of the box. AppleCare+ will add a third year of technical support and support for up to two incidents of accidental hardware damage. More affordable AppleCare+ coverage will also be offered for the aluminum Sport and stainless steel standard models, which will cost $59 and $79 respectively, adding a second year of technical support to the included one year, plus support for up to two incidents of accidental hardware damage…
While Apple will offer extensive in-store sales and try-on experiences in Apple Stores, the company will also allow customers to virtually try on an Apple Watch or Apple Watch Edition and receive setup support, according to sources. Prior to purchasing either of two higher-end Apple Watches, customers will be able to video chat with an Apple Online Store representative who will personally try-on and model Apple Watch collections and band combinations. Additionally, as we noted in our prior article about Apple Watch Edition sales perks, Edition customers will be able to have a “personalized pre-sales experience” either over phone or online chat…
After hiring a new team of fashion sales and marketing experts from Yves St. Laurent, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry, Apple has developed a unique Apple Store purchasing experience just for the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, according to sources briefed on the launch plans. When a customer interested in the Apple Watch Edition enters the store, he or she will be given no-wait access to a dedicated Expert, who will provide a personalized “journey” from the beginning of the appointment until the end, as much as one hour later. There will even be a new option for at-home video conferencing rather than in-store personal setup. By design, it will be more “elegant” than the budget-focused experience Apple Watch Sport customers receive…
The job of Apple Retail Store employees will begin changing in profound ways next month. In order to showcase and sell the Apple Watch, retail employees will be trained to provide personal fashion and styling advice to customers, according to employees briefed on the plans. Until now, Apple Retail has been tasked with recommending iPads, iPhones and Macs with few styling options aside from limited color options.
Apple is pushing for retail employees to initiate conversations that build trust, enabling the employee to serve as a valued fashion advisor during the purchase process, similarly to how traditional watches are sold. Apple Watch sales training programs will take place for Apple retail staff over the course of the next two weeks, teaching entirely new sales techniques to encourage iPhone upgrades, assist with gifting, and guide customers in watch and strap choices.
Below, we detail how employees will provide fashion advice to customers and Apple’s multi-part plan for selling an Apple Watch.
If you are like us, probably the toughest decision you are facing this year is figuring out which new Retina MacBook color you will be getting. The buying process otherwise is more like buying an iPad than a Mac with only 2 speed/storage models.
Will you match your Space Gray iPad and iPhone and now Apple Watch? Or, will you sport the same silver of the Macs that actually do some real work? Will you go off the grid and show your lawyer/banker colleagues who is boss with the gold model?
It is a tough and important call because you WILL be judged – you can’t just embarrassingly hide a MacBook in a wallet case like my Gold iPhone. You’ve had a few days to mull it over. So what’s it going to be?
Apple supply chain buyers, this ^^^ data is on us. Feel free to send any leftover MacBooks as compensation.
Tim Cook and Jony Ive have both spoken numerous times about the Apple Watch Edition being more scratch-resistant than standard 18-karat gold, describing it as ‘twice as hard’ as standard gold but but without explaining how. A patent application (via Leancrew) appears to explain this–and shows that Apple saves money on the gold into the bargain.
18-karat gold isn’t pure gold, it is defined as being 75% gold by weight. The remaining 25% of the mix is usually made up of one or more other metals, with silver and copper popular choices. The Apple patent describes mixing gold with low-density ceramic particles instead of metal.
Because weight, not volume, is what defines the karat gold standards, Apple’s watch could use less than a third the gold of a conventional alloy while still qualifying as 18-karat gold …
Despite speculation to the contrary, Apple does in fact plan to sell an array of bands as separate accessories for the Apple Watch at launch, according to sources. So far Apple has only shown the Watch in pre-assembled collections, which reduces their potential for customization, but our sources say that Apple’s retail outlets will be stocked on day one with individual straps so customers can easily mix and match the looks of their Watches.
While Apple has hinted at millions of combinations of Apple Watch when considering the various watch faces and interchangeable strap combos, up until now we’ve not had confirmation that straps would be available to purchase separately alongside the Apple Watch at launch.
Can you guess the price of the gold Apple Watch? There has been a lot of speculation about how much the 42mm and 38mm versions of the 18-karat AppleWatch Edition will cost, but we wanted to poll the 9to5Mac community to see where everyone stands. Put your guess in the comments, vote using the polls below, and we’ll check back in April to point fingers, etc.
We do have some clues about how much it might cost: We reported recently that Apple Stores are being prepped with jewelry store-style touches for the Apple Watch launch, including safes that will store the expensive 18-karat gold Watch Edition models. That could be a hint that we’re looking at a product pricier than anything Apple currently has in stock at its stores.
Earlier this month FiftyThree’s popular Pencil stylus for iPad joined the accessory lineup in Apple’s retail stores, and today FiftyThree is unveiling a new gold brushed and anodized finish variant of its Bluetooth stylus. FiftyThree’s Pencil Gold color matches that latest iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 which are both available in gold versions, while the new Pencil holds the same $59.95 price tag at the existing Walnut option.
Apple is finishing up work on the Apple Watch’s software, and sources familiar with the product’s development say that the device is currently on track to ship in the United States by the end of March. Apple previously said that the wearable product will ship in “early 2015,” while Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts got a bit more specific by telling employees that the launch will occur in the “spring,” after the Chinese New Year…
In line with previous claims, Bloomberg is now reporting that Apple is planning to introduce a gold model to its iPad lineup with the release of the next-generation iPad Air. Interestingly, the report is specific to note that the full-size model will get the color while the mini line goes without mention.
Per the report:
New versions of the company’s 9.7-inch iPads, anticipated to be unveiled this month, will include gold as a choice of color for the rear metal cover, adding to the silver and gray available for the lighter iPad Air, the people said, asking not to be identified ahead of an announcement. That brings the color palette into line with the iPhone 5s, which come with silver or gold backs for models with a white faceplate, and space gray for those with a black front.
If you’ve just been dying to get your hands on a gold MacBook Air, a new rumor floating around the web is sure to make your day. According to a tech website aptly named A Tech Website, the long-rumored line of 12-inch MacBook Airs that are expected to be released next year will be available not only in the usual silver, but also in iPhone-style “space gray” and gold.
This seemingly insane claim allegedly comes from “someone familiar with Apple’s plans.” More reliable sources have previously claimed that we’ll see a 12-inch MacBook Air sporting a Retina display sometime in 2015, possibly with a fanless design thanks to a more power-efficient processor.
We don’t yet know the price of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, but it doesn’t require psychic powers to know that it isn’t going to be cheap. KGH analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s prediction of the most expensive model costing “several thousand dollars” is probably exaggerated, but may not be quite as far-fetched as it seemed.
David Pogue shared one of the things Apple didn’t mention on stage but did reveal during press demonstrations afterwards …