Apple had quite a robust fourth quarter in 2017, posting a record $88.3 billion in revenue – with a profit of $20.1 billion – despite selling almost a million fewer iPhone units as compared to the same period in 2016. Since 2018 started, the company has announced multiple new updates and releases, with the Apple App Store’s web interface getting a new iOS 11-like redesign, releasing its new HomePod smart speaker to compete with the likes of Alexa, and even announcing a new security update to take care of a serious bug that caused iPhones to crash. There were even rumours a couple of weeks ago about three new iPhones scheduled for launch this year, and the rumours appear to be confirmed now.
In an exclusive today, February 27, Bloomberg reported that the Cupertino-based tech giant is planning to release three new iPhones this year, including the largest iPhone ever – a behemoth approaching 6.5 inches in screen size. The other planned handsets are an upgraded handset as big as the iPhone X, and a cheaper variant that will still include some of the flagship device’s key features. Bloomberg reports that the company is running production tests with suppliers, and is expected to announce the phones later this year. The report notes that an Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Apple’s proposed new lineup appears to cater to consumers who enjoy the multitasking capabilities of larger devices – dubbed ‘phablets’ – as well as respond to criticism of the iPhone X’s high price point. The iPhone X’s $1,000 price point was seen as too steep by many consumers who were hoping to upgrade to Apple’s newest flagship, reflecting in the company’s reduced 77.3 million sales figure. The new lineup appears to offer a device for all segments of the market, along with features like the edge-to-edge display introduced on the iPhone X expected to make a comeback.
While details of the new device remain sketchy in the absence of confirmation from the manufacturer, the Bloomberg report notes, “The phones will have an updated operating system, probably called iOS 12 and code-named Peace, which will include upgraded augmented reality capabilities, deeper integration of the Siri digital assistant, digital health monitoring, and the ability to use Animojis in FaceTime.” It will be interesting to wait and see if the predictions come out to be true when Apple makes its expected announcement later this year.
In other news, Apple has also revealed that it uses Google’s public cloud offering for data storage for its own iCloud service. The revelation came from a file update on Apple’s website in January and marks the first acknowledgement of the fact – something that observers have been speculating on since 2016. Apple’s latest version of the iOS Security Guide replaces mentions of Microsoft Azure (Microsoft’s cloud computing service) with Google Cloud Platform, indicating a switch between data storage systems used for iCloud.
According to the latest version of the guide, it appears that iCloud uses Google’s product solely for core storage of material like photos and videos. The last version of the guide before this was published in March 2017, so it is unclear when exactly Apple made the switch from Microsoft to Google.
However, this marks a significant victory for Google’s cloud offering as it seeks to build a competitive edge against similar services by Microsoft and Amazon. Google reported earlier in February that its public cloud and cloud-based productivity app suite (dubbed G-suite) contribute about $1 billion in revenue every quarter. In comparison, market leader Amazon Web Services reported a revenue figure of $5.11 billion in Q4 2017. Other key users of Google’s cloud offering include payments platform PayPal, image-sharing social media platform Snapchat, and music streaming service Spotify.