Apple CEO Tim Cook recently made the official announcement that the company’s inaugural spatial computing product, Vision Pro, is set to go on sale on February 2nd in the United States. According to a report by TechNews, due to the limited preparation of Vision Pro units, with an estimated quantity of only 60,000 to 80,000, there is a high likelihood that the product will sell out on the first day of its release.
TechNews cites the latest analysis from China’s TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who recently posted on X. According to Kuo, Apple has prepared only about 60,000 to 80,000 units of the Vision Pro before its launch, and due to the limited quantity, it is expected to quickly sell out once it hits the market.
Kuo also notes that despite questions about Apple’s lack of clear positioning and key features for the Vision Pro, as well as its relatively high price, the company is likely to sell out rapidly based on its groundbreaking technological innovations, creating a user experience that includes the illusion of mind-controlled interfaces. This, coupled with Apple’s strong core user base and a significant number of heavy users, should result in a swift sellout after the product’s release.
There are rumors suggesting that even though online ordering is possible, users may need to adjust the head circumference size, and Apple may prefer customers to try fitting it in person, which could lead to some consumers adopting a wait-and-see approach.
However, a user on the X platform, Aaron @aaronp613, discovered an encoding set as ‘ You will be able to use the Apple Store app to scan your face to pick the right size,’ indicating that users who are unable to visit stores for fitting may use the Apple Store app to scan their faces and order the correct Vision Pro size. Vision Pro requires a proper fit for functionality, involving a tight seal and correct headgear.
Apple has also introduced the Head Measure and Fit app to help developers test Vision Pro and determine the correct product size. Similar functionality may be built into the Apple Store app.
According to the latest data from TrendForce, global shipments of Apple Vision Pro are expected to reach 500,000 units in 2024.
Please note that this article cites information fromTechNews
In late December 2023, Apple faced sales suspension of certain Apple Watch models in the United States due to concerns over patent infringement with Masimo’s blood oxygen detection technology.
Despite Apple’s appeal for reinstatement, regulatory authorities will review updated designs presented in mid-January 2024 to determine whether sales suspension persists. The potential financial and time costs associated with settlement or redesign may prompt Apple to reassess the necessity of incorporating blood oxygen detection.
Apple and Masimo’s Prolonged Legal Battle Set to Conclude in Mid-January 2024, Verdict on Blood Oxygen Monitoring Patent Infringement
Since the introduction of the S6 in 2020, Apple Watch has featured blood oxygen monitoring technology, addressing the demand for detecting hidden hypoxia and hypoxemia, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many smartwatches released during the same period also incorporated this functionality.
The blood oxygen monitoring technology in Apple Watch utilizes traditional pulse oximetry. The built-in sensor consists of red, green, infrared LEDs, and a photodiode sensors that converts light into electric current.
In essence, the technology relies on shining light onto wrist blood vessels to capture data on the difference between oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. Algorithms are then employed to determine the blood oxygen content.
Hence, this technology involves not only software-related analytical applications but also hardware configurations and usage considerations.
In fact, the infringement dispute between Apple and Masimo has been ongoing. Since 2020, Masimo has accused Apple of patent infringement. The legal battle continued until October 2023 when the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of Masimo, determining that Apple had indeed infringed. Consequently, in late 2023, a sales ban was imposed on certain models of Apple watches.
Despite Apple’s appeal allowing them to resume sales, regulatory authorities will reassess Apple’s redesigned models in mid-January 2024 to determine if improvements have been made.
Currently, the most severe impact of the ban is on models with blood oxygen functionality from the S6 onwards, including the S8, while only the SE series, without this feature, remains unaffected.
Diminished Need for Blood Oxygen Monitoring in Temporal Context – Apple May Reconsider Necessity
Given the current situation, there are several possible developments. Firstly, Apple may reapply for approval of a redesigned model by regulatory authorities, allowing them to resume sales after making necessary adjustments.
However, this approach involves not only software modifications but also hardware changes, encompassing testing, review processes, and relaunching, which could take several months. Considering Apple’s usual product release schedule in September each year, the company faces significant time pressure.
Secondly, Apple may opt for a settlement with Masimo. In the past, Apple has resolved disputes over chip technology and intentional slowdown of older devices with Qualcomm and in collective lawsuits with users.
However, settlement amounts were substantial, approximately $4.5 billion with Qualcomm and potentially up to $500 million in the case of collective user lawsuits. Compared to Apple Watch’s annual revenue in 2023, which may not have reached $20 billion, such outcomes may be less favorable for Apple.
If Apple cannot bypass Masimo’s patent through updates, settlement and payment of ongoing patent fees may become a necessary consideration. However, this to some extent may prompt Apple to reevaluate the necessity of the blood oxygen monitoring feature.
After all, for smartwatches equipped with blood oxygen monitoring is intended for health, not medical purposes. Besides Withings’ products, most smartwatches with this feature have not obtained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In other words, they cannot be used for medical purposes.
While having more features at the same price would enhance the product value for consumers, the current context of the post-pandemic era and Apple’s user loyalty suggest that the demand for additional functionalities may vary.
If Apple does not intend to further integrate blood oxygen data with other physiological data, there might be room to reconsider the necessity of redeveloping the technology and the continued existence of the blood oxygen monitoring feature in future Apple Watches. The value of incorporating such functionality may be subject to greater flexibility in this scenario.
During last year’s WWDC conference, Apple unveiled its first-ever head-mounted display product, the Vision Pro. At that time, the official statement mentioned a scheduled market release in early 2024, prompting speculation about the precise launch date of Vision Pro.
According to Chinese media outlet “Wall Street” citing information from supply chain sources, Vision Pro is expected to be launched in the United States on January 27. However, some media outlets have suggested that the mentioned “January 27” is likely in China time, translating to January 26 in U.S. time, as Apple rarely introduces new products on Saturdays.
However, Bloomberg Chief Correspondent Mark Gurman pointed out that Apple has experience launching new products on Saturdays, citing the initial iPad release. Gurman acknowledged that January 26 is indeed a date heard recently from several Chinese supply chain sources.
Regardless of the official release date for Vision Pro, current rumors align with the earlier predictions of TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who anticipated Vision Pro to hit shelves at the end of January or early February.
Additionally, Gurman reiterated on his own X platform that Apple plans to launch the retail version of Vision Pro in February.
Please note that this article cites information from Wall Street
According to TechNews’ report, ever since the introduction of Apple’s AirPods, there’s been a surge in demand for true wireless earphones, resulting in a proliferation of knockoffs attempting to mimic the success of AirPods.
While these counterfeits may resemble AirPods in appearance and claim to match their functionality, can they truly serve as a substitute for the genuine article?
To explore this, the startup company Lumafield turned to CT scanning technology, originally used in medical diagnostics, now finding new applications in combating counterfeit electronics.
After examining the internal structure of genuine and counterfeit AirPods, Lumafield concluded that the intricate and precise design of the authentic AirPods is unmatched by counterfeit products. They elaborated on three aspects: batteries, circuitry, and build quality.
Lumafield highlighted that batteries are crucial to the wireless convenience and flexibility of AirPods. Authentic AirPods feature meticulously designed button cell batteries in each earbud, aimed at snugly fitting the compact design and providing optimal power.
In contrast, counterfeit AirPods use lithium-ion pouch cell batteries, structurally simpler and potentially less safe than the genuine ones. The counterfeit AirPods simply cram rectangular batteries into circular spaces, lacking the tailored fit of the authentic design.
Regarding internal circuitry, Lumafield deemed the genuine AirPods a marvel of miniaturization and precision engineering.
Apple uses a combination of rigid and flexible printed circuit boards to densely pack components, ensuring effective utilization of every millimeter of internal space in AirPods. Counterfeits, on the other hand, are much simpler, composed of off-the-shelf components, compromising functionality with fewer microphones and control circuitry, thus affecting sound quality.
The stark contrast in overall build quality between authentic AirPods and counterfeits is evident. In one of the tested counterfeit AirPods, wireless charging is entirely absent (as no coils are visible in the scans), while the other counterfeit model lacks the magnets that snap the real AirPods case onto Apple’s Watch charger, despite having wireless charging coils.
Counterfeit AirPods even resort to using internal weights solely to mimic the weight of the genuine product. While these counterfeits may replicate the appearance of the original, the use of inferior materials not only impacts the tactile experience but also compromises the structural integrity and overall lifespan of the product.
Authentic vs. Counterfeit
Lumafield highlighted that the differences between these products and their counterfeits might seem subtle at first, but industrial CT scans revealed significant implications for performance and safety. Ultimately, choosing between authentic and counterfeit may not merely be a matter of cost but rather a decision about investing in reliability and peace of mind.
Google focuses on AI and sensor upgrades with Pixel Watch 2, while Charge 6 smart wristbands may stand out in the market through AI applications.
In early October 2023, Google held its annual fall product launch event, introducing new smartphones, smartwatches, earphones, and AI assistant services. Regarding the Pixel Watch 2, Google opted for a relatively conservative upgrade compared to its competitors, with more significant changes expected in the smart wristband market through the application of generative AI.
1. Google’s New Products Align with Industry Trends, Focusing on AI – Pixel Watch 2 Highlights Sensor Upgrades
The third quarter of the year is an important period for major tech companies to hold product launch events. Following Apple’s event in September and the recently concluded Meta event, Google also hosted its Made By Google fall event in early October. Much like these other companies, Google focused on AI as the central theme of the event, enhancing its range of products and services. The highlights of this event include the Pixel 8 series smartphones, featuring AI-powered image editing, the Pixel Watch 2 with new sensors and monitoring capabilities, and the Pixel Buds Pro smart headphones that can adjust audio settings based on the user’s conversations. Additionally, Google, being a leading player in Generative AI, introduced an AI version of its Google Assistant service called “Assistant with Bard,” which is expected to enhance its app offerings through quick organization, predictive capabilities, and content generation, with deployment on a wider range of devices in the future.
A closer look at the specifications of the Pixel Watch 2 reveals that, compared to its predecessor released just a year ago, the hardware upgrades are not substantial. The primary differences include changes in the watch case material to align with environmental concerns, an upgraded processor, and a slight increase in battery capacity. However, the most significant improvements are in the sensors. The Pixel Watch 2 builds upon its existing features by introducing an electronic sensor for continuous skin conductance monitoring and a skin temperature sensor. Additionally, it has replaced the previous optical heart rate sensor with a multi-path sensor, enabling more precise measurements in different physiological conditions. This allows the watch to provide users with more accurate data, including temperature, heart rate variability (HRV), and other metrics.
Enhanced by advanced AI algorithms, the Pixel Watch 2 can analyze users’ sleep quality, stress levels, activity duration, and calorie expenditure. This allows the watch to provide all-day body response tracking, stress notifications, and guided breathing exercises, offering a range of new features.
2. Google Struggles in the Smartwatch Market; Smart Wristbands Poised for Market Differentiation through AI
Google’s latest release, the Pixel Watch 2, follows a strategy similar to that of other major players like Samsung and Apple in the smartwatch market. It represents a modest upgrade with little change in external appearance, and hardware specifications closely align with existing products in the market. On the software front, besides the new stress management features, other additions such as security checks, emergency sharing, and fall detection closely resemble those of the previous generation.
The primary reason for this conservative approach lies in the challenging global economic conditions and a declining industry landscape. Google’s smartwatch products face relative weakness in the market, lacking the extensive user base and brand loyalty enjoyed by giants like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. Google also lacks the niche market segmentation seen in players like Garmin. These factors collectively position Google in a cautious stance regarding the development of smartwatches.
While Google has displayed a bit of hesitation in the smartwatch sector, its recent introduction, the Fitbit Charge 6 smart band, has garnered significant attention. Although its price exceeds that of the Huawei Band 8 and Xiaomi 8 Active, released later in 2023, by several folds, the Charge 6 leverages Google’s resources and hardware-software upgrades to emphasize its value. For instance, it incorporates a new machine learning algorithm derived from the Pixel Watch, ensuring more accurate heart rate monitoring. This marks Google’s first smart band integrated with Google Apps, offering seamless integration with widely used applications such as Google Maps, Google Wallet, YouTube Music, and more.
Furthermore, Google has hinted at the development of generative AI features during the Made by Google event. These AI-driven features are anticipated to analyze fitness trends and provide insights through chatbots, with potential integration into smartwatches and smart bands. With these advancements, Google aims to elevate its smart bands’ reputation through AI applications, setting it apart in the market, even in comparison to competitors like Huawei and Xiaomi.