BLOCKBUSTER EXCLUSIVE: Here’s Everything We’re Able To Confirm For Today’s iPhone 6 Launch Event

With just an hour or two to go before Apple executives take the stage to unveil their latest offerings to the world, I’ve managed to secure confirmation for the information published herein from various sources within and across Apple (they’ve all been asked to screen the report below for any inaccuracies and those that were debatable have been expunged). Although Apple might pull a bait-and-switch move on their employees to prevent any leaks, these are, to the best of my knowledge, the products Apple will be unveiling today at the Flint Center…

  1. A new 4.7-inch iPhone, a 0.7 inch increase from the biggest current offering, the 4.0 inch iPhone 5/5S. As previously reported by The Michael Report, it will feature a waterproof and dust-proof enhanced sapphire glass screen, running at a 1,134 X 750 (326 PPI @2x) resolution. It will (naturally) launch with iOS 8 and include an A8 SoC chip with quad-core processing power, an eight megapixel camera as well as a 2.1 megapixel camera for the front facing camera. Similar to the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 will come in Black, White and Gold color options. What’s new to the iPhone 6, however, is the option to purchase a 128GB version, in addition to the usual 32 and 64 GB options (the 16GB option is gone).
  2. iPhone 6L: this is the name for Apple’s larger iPhone 6 offering, which will feature a 5.5 inch sapphire-enhanced display at 2208 X 1242 (461 PPI @3x) resolution. Apart from the screen size and resolution, there is little to differentiate the iPhone 6L from the iPhone 6 (however, the battery life is expected to be longer on the iPhone 6L than on the iPhone 6 primarily due to size – it’s easier to fit a bigger battery into a bigger phone). The iPhone 6L is expected to retail exactly $100 more than the iPhone 6 when it comes to market on September 19 (both phones will have the same release date although multiple supply chain sources have said that the iPhone 6 is Apple’s priority when it comes to production, not the iPhone 6L… which means unless you get lucky on September 19, odds are that you’ll have for quite a bit). Why the iPhone 6L instead of just the iPhone 6? Because people want it – and they’re willing to pay for it, internal Apple research shows.
  3. Why does the iPhone 6L and not the iPhone 6 get a 3x retina resolution? The answer here lies with battery life of the respective devices.. At 3x resolution, the screen would require a way larger battery to sustain it than the one Apple can fit into the slim frame of the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6L, therefore, is the perfect testing ground to ensure all developers get up to speed with regards to updating their apps for the incoming 3x retina resolution, which we’ll eventually see on future iPads, Macs and iPods and iPhones.
  4. Design: no huge changes. Many were expecting radical design changes (like from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4)… but sorry to disappoint. While some changes are inevitable, it’s not going to be a radical change from the frame and design of the iPhone 5/5S. Apple thinks they’ve perfected the blueprint of what a phone should look and feel like with the iPhone 5/5S’ body and they’re not about to change it. Also, the iPhone 5/5S design didn’t have any overt flaws (unlike the exposed antenna design of the iPhone 4), which means that there isn’t a pressing need for them to change it just yet.
  5. Less exciting… but it’s time to talk about prices. The iPhone 6L will retail these price points for 32/64/128 GB respectively: $299/$399/$499. The iPhone 6 will retail at these price points for 32/64/128 GB respectively: $199/$299/$399. Preliminary  internal documents obtained by The Michael Report shows that the iPhone 5S will now retail for $99 (if you bought it in the last few (4?) weeks, you can exchange it for an iPhone 6/6L… Apple is still working out on whether to charge extra for this or not at press time. The plastic iPhone 5C will go free with a 2-year contract (some have been asking… no, unfortunately Apple has not and will not rework the iPhone 5C to include a TouchID scanner).
  6. Apple will debut their mobile payments system, which they’re calling “revolutionary”. There have been lots of reports on this, but one thing previously unstated was that Apple is not looking to “disrupt” the payment services industry… they’re looking to complement it. Also, typical of Apple, they’ve strong-armed several companies in the finance industry to let them take a cut of the profits (one of these companies – which we’ve able to confirm – is MasterCard).
  7. iWatch (or whatever they’re going to call it, which probably won’t be iWatch) – here’s the only thing I’ve been able to confirm for now – and most publications, really: it’ll be something you can wear on your wrist. It’ll revolutionize the way we think about what we wear on our wrists (many within Apple report that the now-infamous “Switzerland is fucked” quote from Jony Ive is an oft-repeated mantra by the designer). My guess, however, is that the iWatch (let’s call it that for the sake of clarity) will be the reason why Apple’s stocks will tank tomorrow – it’s going to be that controversial. It is not a perfect product: it’ll come with a whole bunch of shortcomings (much like the first iPhone or iPad), but many within Apple believe that the release of the iWatch will plant the seeds for Apple’s future wearable strategy.

That’s it for the hardware portion… Apple will undoubtedly release lots of new software too. To follow the event live from your computer, here’s the link: Apple Special Event Live Broadcast. If you’ve got any other tips, please contact The Michael Report.

Exclusive: Twitter Now Notifies You Whenever Someone From Your Contacts Joins Twitter

Twitter has been busy recently, testing out lots of experimental features on different users – many of which would eventually become available to all Twitter users.

The latest one The Michael Report discovered was pretty interesting: the Twitter app now notifies you via a push notification whenever someone from your contacts joins Twitter.

Earlier today, here was what we saw…

twitter new feature themichaelreport

Updating as we hear more…

Analysts V.S. The Truth: iPhone 6’s Display Is Still Most Likely Made Out Of Enhanced Sapphire Glass (And Other Exclusive Details…)

Several news outlet have begun re-reporting Trendforce LEDinside’s analyst report that Apple’s iPhone 6 display, slated for launch in late 2014, will not be made out of sapphire glass as previously reported and shown due to the disappointingly low yields during the production of the glass.

While that reasoning might make sense in theory (it is, after all, quite difficult to perfect the production of sapphire glass at high scale), engineers inside Apple would scoff at the report – if and when they read it.

Deep sources within Apple’s iPhone hardware division have told The Michael Report that despite theoretical claims, the iPhone 6 will still feature an enhanced sapphire glass display and that the production of these glasses have been nearly perfected to ensure a better-than-usual yield.

As evidenced in the video displaying the sapphire glass’ resilience to scratch and pressure, the sapphire glass display would be revolutionary in its own right – it’s thinner than any glass used by other manufacturers out there and by Apple’s internal measures, stronger than what is widely regarded as the current industry standard: Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

Within Apple, many have dubbed the new sapphire display to be “bulletproof”.

Apple, according to these sources, will market the glass for its durability, which in turn also mean less visits to the Apple Store because of screen defects and cracks.

Although this claim hasn’t been checked throughly, I’ve also heard whispers from within Apple that the company is working extremely hard on improving the touchscreen sensitivity on the iPhone 6 as well as treating it to make it more waterproof – although do note that this waterproofing isn’t the same ones that some Android phones feature, but rather, is a treatment to make the sapphire glasses more resistant to light water splashes.

Got a juicy tidbit on the iPhone 6? Let The Michael Report know. 

UPDATE: 

Soon after the publication post, two independent sources from a company contracted by Apple to manufacture these sapphire glasses contacted The Michael Report with some additional information, which we’ve verified to be true with other background sources.

The two sources who have personally worked on the development of these glasses said that the reason why the iPhone 6 is more waterproof than other iPhones manufactured in the past is not because the individual glasses are treated or coated with some substances as we previously suspected, but rather, because of the way these glasses are manufactured. In fact, these sources pointed out that waterproofing of the screen is nothing new since many Android smartphones (the Galaxy S line started doing this around two years ago) released in the past had this feature.

Previously unreported, The Michael Report has also heard that the new iPhone 6 display will work almost perfectly with gloves – a pleasantly surprising feature for many who did not expect Apple to do such a thing, since one would expect Apple to label such a feature gimmicky.

As with all things Apple, the much-improved screen isn’t a half-baked attempt to incorporate as many features as possible, but rather, a genuine attempt to improve the lives of the iPhone users – so much so that Apple’s executive team did not green light the mass production of the screens until it could be used with pinpoint accuracy.

Yes, No, Maybe: Reports Of BuzzFeed’s $200 Million Round Are False

Two days ago, faux-TechCrunch technology news site VentureBeat reported something startling: they’ve heard through a source that BuzzFeed may be raising an enormous $200 million round sometime in the future. Many people believed the report, for one reason: it seems entirely plausible that BuzzFeed, now worth around $1 billion after Disney’s valuation, can raise such a huge round. After all, it seems like BuzzFeed is one of the few content-producing companies investors actually want to invest in.

But the report seems entirely fabricated. And there are two reasons why.

First of all, it’s almost inconceivable to any industry insider that BuzzFeed, who raised a $20 million round just last year, is considering yet another round at ten times the previous amount.

To date, BuzzFeed have raised four rounds of financing, with overall amount totaling $46 million. Unless BuzzFeed demonstrated stratospheric growth within one year, $200 million is an unthinkable reach.

Secondly, VentureBeat’s report is the epitome of bad journalism: the report doesn’t state anything definitively, nor does it offer any proof other than an anonymous source. The report also incorporates plausible deniability from the beginning till the end, to shield VentureBeat from having to take up any blame if the report doesn’t pan out in reality. The report, at this point, seems nothing more than a bunch of wild guesses conjectured by a bored journalist on a slow news day.

But let’s take a look at why… I’ve annotated VentureBeat’s entire report below to point out the glaring flaws:

BuzzFeed may raise a $200 million funding round — its fifth to date — a source close to the matter claims.

Red flag #1: the writer used the word “may”. Maybe BuzzFeed will, maybe BuzzFeed won’t. Strong plausible deniability in play here.

Red flag #2: only one source (and an anonymous one, at that) was able to corroborate the story.

It’s unclear how far along talks are, nor is it clear who will lead the round, although existing investors NEA, Lerer Ventures, RRE Ventures, Hearst Ventures, and SV Angel may participate. When reached for comment, a BuzzFeed spokesperson provided VentureBeat with the following statement: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation.”

The writer is basically saying, “we don’t know what’s happening.” Being “unclear” of how far along the talks are means that the financing may be tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or even in the next decade.

The writer just doesn’t know. There’s no projected timeline.

This is, of course, great for VentureBeat because as long as BuzzFeed raises a $200 million round (if that) in its existence, they would be able to point to it and say, “we said so first!”

The writer also doesn’t know who will be leading the round… so at this point, the only thing that’s somewhat confirmed is BuzzFeed looking to raise a $200 million round.

According to VentureBeat’s source, the $200 million figure is seen as a median estimate; the round may fall above or below that line.

Wait a minute… so the only thing this entire report is based off… is not even confirmed?

Why write the report in the first place if the writer can’t even nail the number? Saying the round “may fall above or below” $200 million can mean anything in the world: BuzzFeed may end up raising a $50 million round, or a $400 million round.

Either way, VentureBeat’s report will still be technically “correct”.

There’s really no way to fault VentureBeat here…

Buzzfeed’s last funding round back in January 2013 saw the company raise nearly $20 million at a rumored valuation of $200 million. Following its last round, Buzzfeed reportedly planned to expand its mobile and video products. To date, Buzzfeed has raised $46.3 million.

BuzzFeed’s list posts and experiments in long-form journalism reached an “audience of more than 130 million unique visitors in November [2013],” according to an official press release. Yet, BuzzFeed took a few blows to the chest this month: The site’s Facebook traffic has reportedly tanked, and BuzzFeed’s longtime chief operating officer and president Jon Steinberg left the firm for British news and entertainment site The Daily Mail.

The rest of the report is just history of BuzzFeed’s past rounds and future goals, which anyone could’ve written in five minutes by Googling the term “BuzzFeed”.

If we’re basing predictions off this report, the odds of BuzzFeed raising a $200 million round is exactly… 0%.

Exclusive: Financial Times Screwed Up On The Price Apple Was Acquiring Beats For

When the Beats by Dr. Dre deal was finally announced by Apple, the number Apple acquired Beats for dropped by around $200 million from the Financial Times reported $3.2 billion to about $3 billion.

Within the industry, some guessed that it was because of Apple’s assessment during the due diligence phase, while others guessed that it because of the infamous video leak.

However, sources I spoke to earlier today are disputing the story, instead blaming the Financial Times’ sources on screwing the number up in the first place. Granted, this isn’t a huge deal, but should put most entertaining/conspiracy theories to rest.

Three Critical Things We Learnt About Apple’s Future From The WWDC 2014 Keynote

Significance

In many ways, Apple’s WWDC keynote yesterday was their most important one in years. They improved on just about every single feature imaginable on OS X and iOS, in addition to adding more features – some of which weren’t expecting. But true to its namesake, WWDC is a conference for developers… not the regular people.

Which clearly explains why Apple’s shares dropped by $7 yesterday. Here’s what Wall Street doesn’t get: WWDC isn’t for them. Press releases for new products are. WWDC is for developers.

More significantly than any other announcement yesterday, Apple also rewrote their entire development language (one they’ve been using for the last two decades, mind you). Apple took something all developers were comfortable with but were limited by and completed scrapped it, replacing it with Swift – a language that’s faster, and more simpler (case in point: someone has rebuilt the entire Flappy Birds game in Swift within 24 hours of the announcement of the new programming language!).

But from the keynote yesterday, I noticed three important themes emerging – and these are the themes that, I believe, Apple will continue to push forward in their future agendas.

(This post is over 2800 words. It will take the average person around four minutes to read it. If you’d like to save it to Pocket, there’s a convenient button on the bottom of this post which will allow you to do so easily.)   


1. If you’re a developer, don’t build your entire company on the premise of a single cool feature. Apple probably likes that feature too, and they will steal it. 

Yesterday, Apple unveiled a whole bunch of improvements to their existing features across OS X and iOS. Some of them includes an improved Spotlight search for the Mac, a Mail Drop service, improvements to the iMessage app, an iCloud Drive (it does everything you probably would expect it to when you hear the name…) and the ability to sign documents in Mail without leaving the app, among many others.

Going by that list above, here are the companies that are screwed (mainly because they’re banking the entire company on just one product… and now that Apple has replicated their product and integrated it perfectly into their systems – remember, often times with new features, only Apple’s stock features will have system-wide integration across the devices – they no longer have anything special to sell unless they come up with something new, fast):

1) Alfred: the Alfred app’s main reason of existence is to improve the much-criticized Spotlight search on the Mac. However, with Yosemite (the next release of OS X, which Apple debuted today), the Spotlight is very much improved. It has the ability to cull information from Wikipedia, Bing, Maps and other resources almost instantly – something which the Alfred app has been known to do for years. Almost as a dig to the Alfred app, the new Spotlight search bar in Yosemite is no longer relegated to the top right hand corner – instead, it now takes up the middle of the screen, taking after the Alfred app’s iconic look.

2) Hightail: Hightail specializes (in fact, it’s at the very core of their service, but the service also includes fringe features like document signing, file synchronization) in one thing: sending large files over email. However, with the release of Yosemite, Apple has included a helpful feature called Mail Drop.

Here’s how Mail Drop works: you want to send a massive file to your friend over email, but you can’t: most mail services only include a pesky 25MB attachment file limit. So with Mail Drop, you would still send your email normally… except this time around, you get to send a file of up to 5GB – with that massive file being re-routed through Apple’s secure servers.

And yes, even people with Windows can receive files routed through Mail Drop.

3) Snapchat/WhatsApp: With the release of Yosemite and iOS 8, Apple has refreshed the text message/iMessage app to include the ability to, in very few gestures, send a voice recording or video, all of which will be displayed inline within the conversation thread. Now this threatens both WhatsApp and Snapchat is a very significant way.

Let’s talk about WhatsApp first. Now long after the demo of the new messaging features, WhatsApp’s CEO and current-billionaire-after-Facebook-acquihire Jan Koum took to Twitter to whine about Apple stealing his features, tweeting “very flattering to see Apple “borrow” numerous WhatsApp features into iMessage in iOS 8 #innovation”. It is currently difficult to predict how the release of the new iOS 8 messaging features will affect WhatsApp’s market share.

On one hand, WhatsApp’s biggest advantage is their cross-platform user base, whereas iMessage still remains exclusive to the OS X/iOS user base. In other words, people using Blackberry, Android, iPhone, Windows Phone (is that still a thing?) can send messages to each other perfectly, without a hitch. But that’s not the case with iMessage, where only users with Apple products supporting iMessage can use the new features.

Counterbalancing that downside for Apple, however, is the fact that there’s a desktop app for iMessage – and there isn’t one for WhatsApp. WhatsApp’s team have been saying that building a desktop app is on the top of their list of priorities, but after several months, it’s still not here. And increasingly, I’ve been seeing more and more people send messages through the desktop iMessage app rather than from their iPhone, given how convenient it is to do so while working simultaneously on the desktop. So until we can get some hard data post-iOS 8 release, I think it would be difficult to predict the effects of Apple’s new iMessage on WhatsApp.

Snapchat wants to be the center of all your communications – and they’re not shy about pushing out features that suggests just that. Snapchat started out with just the ability to send ephemeral  pictures from one user’s device to another. And then they added video. Then text and voice, in their latest update. In their ideal world, the only app you need to open when communicating with others is the Snapchat app – because it can do everything!

But now… the tides have turned against Snapchat.

The only difference right now between Snapchat and the updated iOS 8 iMessage is the ephemeral aspect of Snapchat. And if that’s not what people need (especially those above 25 years-old, I’d imagine), then there’s really no point for them to keep the Snapchat apps on their phones.

As it stands right now, I’d wager that WhatsApp is at a greater risk of being obliterated by the updated iMessage app than Snapchat is – if only because Snapchat’s user base (which has got to do with their young demographic) is more loyal to them than WhatsApp’s.

4) Google Drive and Dropbox: iCloud Drive (which still surprises me that Apple’s execs would name it so, given how closely it resembles Google’s Drive in terms of features) will most probably be a bigger threat to Dropbox than Google (so what if Drive fails for Google? Most of their money is still coming from search… Dropbox on the other hand, will have nowhere to turn to if iCloud Drive succeeds and cannibalizes them). Apple’s iCloud Drive will do everything Dropbox currently do – at a much,much lower price point (we’re talking about $3.99 for 200GB of storage per month – no kidding). Now compare Apple’s $3.99 for 200GB with Dropbox’s price for the same amount of storage: $19.99.

At the Code Conference just a couple days ago, Dropbox’s CEO Drew Huston said, “We’re not cutting prices right now” and instead, is betting that customers will stick with him if he kept introducing new features. But that’s not going to work. Dropbox is not going to be known for whatever new features they’re introducing in the future. They’re known for great cloud storage and syncing.

But as it stands right now, Apple is about to cannibalize their only market with iCloud Drive.

Dropbox executives might take comfort in the fact that iCloud Drive is currently only available to OS X/iOS users… although that may very well change in the future, given Apple’s recent behavior.

(This is something interesting: Apple doesn’t seem to care about exclusivity as much as before – they’re letting Beats Music run on Android – which wouldn’t have happened with Steve Jobs – and many of the features they announced in the keynote is also surprisingly compatible with the PC.)

5) DocuSign: DocuSign is a product sold by a company with the same name that allows users to sign a document “anytime, anywhere, on any device”. However, with the newly-revamped Mail app, Apple is now offering users to sign, markup or annotate documents and PDFs straight from their trackpads. For many Apple users, there would be no need for DocuSign anymore.

The only thing most developers can take comfort in right now is the fact that they have their apps across multiple platforms… while Apple is only focused on one – so even if Apple cannibalizes their market within the OS X/iOS user base, they can still sustain with revenue from other platforms’ users (although I’d bet it’s less than what they would earn with the untouched OS X/iOS user base available to them).


2. OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 is all about refining the basics.

If you were watching the keynote at home and thinking to yourself by the time it ended that maybe Apple didn’t actually release a lot of new features, you’re most probably right.

Almost everything Apple showed off today was a great, massive improvement to the features already existing. More often than not, these aren’t features that Apple innovated in the recent years (how to make calls, text, etc.), but rather, they’ve decided to innovate on the ideas of how these features are/can be used.

There’s something truly beautiful about a company that does not only focus on constantly adding new features, but one that occasionally steps back to take a look at how they can make the fundamental features of the device genuinely better. To me, that shows a company that still cares about how their users use their devices, and not just on how many devices they can sell.

With the release of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Apple reinvented how messages work for all iPhone and Macs. Sure, none of the features they demoed during the keynote were innovative. But they still didn’t force the users to download those apps themselves. They’ve selected the best apps out there that they know will fundamentally make iPhone/Mac a better device and incorporated it in the most seamless manner.

Look at how the new editing features they previewed for the Photos app on iOS 8. They could’ve gone out and asked people to download VSCO, Instagram or some of the other photo-editing apps. But instead, Apple carefully selects the best features from those apps and bakes it directly into their softwares.

Say what you will about how Apple is destroying developers by doing that, but here’s my counter-argument: 1) why would you build a company based off a single product that can be ripped off that easily, and 2) at the end of the day, Apple only cares about the end-user experience. And if they have to steal features from your app to do that, they most probably will.

For Apple, it’s all about making the iPhone/Mac as great as they can for the end-user.

Apple also refined the Notification Center – and took heat for doing so, too. With the new Notification Center on OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, users can now insert custom widgets from different apps and websites to view everything they want to in a single glance. This feature has been in Android for years now. And Apple, for a long time, refused to copy it despite calls from the developer community. Now that they’ve made the feature available, many are criticizing Apple for “copying” Android.

But guess what?

Apple doesn’t care. Because they only thing they care about is making the end-user experience as great as it can be for the individual users.

(Also, let’s face it: most of the criticisms are coming from journalists who are bored by Apple after scrutinizing everything they can about the company… something the average Joe wouldn’t do.)

On the Phone.app, Apple has also rethought the way we do something so routine and mundane that we tend to forget about it until it annoys us again and again: picking up calls.

With OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, users can now pick up calls to their iPhone directly from their Macs, without having to wake the iPhone up. The Mac’s microphone now acts as a speakerphone for the call.

As someone who likes to work in a distraction-free environment, this is incredibly handy. And the thing is, I never thought I would ever want that feature… until I saw it.

People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

Steve Jobs

These are just some examples of how Apple has really focused on what’s important and tried to make it better from the top of my head – and I don’t doubt that there are lots more to be discovered as OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 becomes more widely available.

If anything, this shows that Apple hasn’t lost its focus. They’re still focusing on the things that actually matter.


3. Asked and answered: How is Apple going to make OS X more like iOS? They’re not.

Ever since OS X Lion was released two summers ago, people have been constantly asking one question: when will OS X and iOS finally blend together into one, single, uniform operating system?

And the answer, as evident in yesterday’s keynote, the answer is simple and clear: never.

Apple wants us to experience how special each standalone operating system is on its own: which is why they introduced features such as Continuity.

(If you’ve noticed, this WWDC keynote, more so than any other in recent history, is spread evenly between the two operating systems.)

Each OS will be different in its very own unique way. But if suppose you own devices using the two different operating systems, then Apple wants to make sure that your experience is as seamless as possible.

Started a document on the Mac but have to leave the house all of a sudden? Finish it on the subway.

Began editing a picture on the iPad but have no battery left? Finish it on the Mac.

Features such as proximity sensor and instant hotspot also shows that Apple want the two operating systems to work together… and not have you just work with one because the experience on the other will be the exact same.

It’s all about using the best device for the task.

By now, Apple has figured out that there can never be one uniform operating system for as long as people are still using the desktop/laptop. It would be too (unnecessarily) limiting and restricting and it’s just not Apple.

Maybe Apple will transition to an mobile-only company in the future – but when that happens, all their users will be prepared for that transition because everything has been so integrated all along… everything feels like one.


Other thoughts and observations:

  • Really surprised that Apple didn’t release a single hardware today. I guess we’ll have to continue waiting for “the best product line up in 25 years,” as Eddy Cue said recently in the Code Conference.
  • Judging by the front page of Apple.com, Yosemite seems to be the biggest thing Apple is parading out.
  • The entire presentation feels lighthearted: ranging from the Tinder reference in the video to Craig Federighi’s hair crisis.
  • In the opening video, someone said something along the lines of “intersection of technology and art” when referencing an app. That doesn’t sound like something an ordinary person would say, which makes me question: are those people in the video coached? Or is whatever they’re saying from the heart?
  • The number of times Tim Cook mentioned Windows and Android was not an accident. And the effect worked.
  • Referencing the trashcan icon in OS X Yosemite, Federighi said, “You wouldn’t believe how much time we spent crafting a trashcan.” After seeing it, I do: it’s the most beautiful trashcan I’ve ever seen. Once again, attention to details.
  • The call Federighi placed to Dr. Dre onstage seemed very awkward and scripted, unlike the rest of the presentation.
  • Federighi spent a remarkably little amount of time (less than a minute, I’m guessing) talking about the new Health apps and kits. I was expecting them to talk about it way more.
  • Wow: 98% of the Fortune 500 companies are using iOS.
  • Many within Apple (maybe it’s because of the NSA/Edward Snowden leaks) seem to be answering the question “what would I want from Apple, as a user myself” themselves, which was why they proactively implemented and talked about the privacy features that comes with predictive typing – to reassure you that no one is reading what you’re typing.
  • Now that we’ve got software out of the way, it’s time for the hardware. And to say I’m excited is a huge understatement.

Along the way, while Apple was transitioning between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, I lost a little faith in the company. But after seeing what they’re releasing yesterday, I’ll go on the record to say this: it’s going to be the biggest year for Apple just yet.

And definitely bigger than 2001 and 2007.

Exclusive: Jealousy, Not Dr. Dre, Is The Main Reason Why Apple Is Buying Beats

Earlier yesterday, TechCrunch released a report in which reporter John Biggs wrote, citing “a well-placed source”, that Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics (earlier reported in an exclusive by the Financial Times, who also priced the deal at a steep $3.2 billion) is 70% likely to go through – and the main reason the deal is happening is because Apple wants both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s influence within the music industry and that they’ve got, according to the TechCrunch source, “fashion and culture completely locked up.”

However, sources I spoke to within Apple disputes that story.

These two independent sources (each with a 6 year+ experience working in the company) tell me that the main reason why Apple is acquiring Beats Electronics is not because they need or want Dre and Iovine’s experiences (more on that later), but rather, because they’re jealous of how far Beats Electronics has come in the music industry.

Apple is, in short, buying Beats Electronics to kill off the closest competition while still slightly benefitting themselves.

Beats by Dre, ever since its inception, has seen nothing but strong and steady growth. In a report by Fast Company, Beats Electronics’ revenue in 2011 was only $350 million. By 2013, just a mere two years later, their revenues have skyrocketed four times, up to $1.4 billion.

And while Beats Electronics is growing rapidly, Apple’s music business has, at best, remained stagnant – or at worst, declined.

Over the last few years, Apple’s music business has declined by double-digits in terms of music sales, while Beats Electronics continued their grab for more market share with the purchase of music steaming service MOG and their extensive partnerships with multiple corporations across the board.

Apple was worried.

And they’ve also got lots of cash on hand that they don’t really see a need for.

So why not just buy the competition up?

According to the sources, once the acquisition is completed (“It will be weird now if Apple doesn’t buy Beats,” said a source), the Beats Electronics brand (which also includes the Beats by Dr. Dre brand) is gone. It will be completely dissolved and any technology previously developed by Beats Electronics will either be infused with a current project Apple is working on (unlikely) or just be completely scrapped (more likely).

The sources made it clear that with the purchase of Beats Electronics, there’s absolutely no chance Apple will let the brand live on for another day.

They were competition, and now they’re going to get killed.

For those who are wildly guessing if Apple will implement Beats Audio in the iPhone 6, the answer then, is a clear no.

But what Beats Electronics have done isn’t even the most impressive in the industry. Why didn’t Apple just buy Spotify, Rdio, or something along those lines? Don’t they have more market share than Beats Music?

Yes they do – but here’s where Dre and Iovine comes in. According to the source, Apple thought that the acquihiring of both Iovine and Dre was just a bonus to killing off the competition – an icing on the cake, if you will.

Both Dre and Iovine will fit right into the Apple culture: they’re both experienced marketers. Beats by Dr. Dre headphones aren’t the best in its class. Specs-wise, neither are the iPhones. But it still sells like hotcakes frankly because of the image these products carry with them.

In that sense, the two music-moguls will have no problem fitting in and will, perhaps, aid Apple in negotiating deals with prominent musicians. But don’t expect the both of them to have the massive roles within Apple like many in the media is painting them to be.

Their roles will be, according to the sources, “strictly advisory.”

The sources also cited the fact that the deal almost went down the drain a couple times, which in turn soured the relations between Dre/Iovine and the Apple executive team (an example of this was when the Dre video was leaked… according to the sources who heard the story through the grapevines, Cook was furious enough to call Dre, demanding an explanation).

Confirming Billboard’s earlier report, the deal is set to be finalized next week.