iPhone demand in China is on the rise again

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iPhone XS Max
2019 has seen a real turnaround for iPhone in China.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The drop in iPhone sales among Chinese consumers that hurt Apple so much last year is now a thing of the past, according to market analysts. The company saw five straight months of growth in that important region.

Smart speaker installed base could top 200 million this year

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HomePod Volume Controls
Perhaps a rising tide of smart speaker sales will help HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The number of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s HomePod in use around the world is expected to keep growing strongly for years to come. It could pass 200 million in 2019, and pass 500 million in 2023.

Analysts from Canalys indicate the installed base of these devices is now surpassing the number of smartwatches in use. And smart speakers could even outnumber tablets before the end of 2021, they say.

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App Store 1
Fewer iOS apps were downloaded from the App Store last quarter. But the money is still pouring in.
Photo: Apple

Americans are far more interested in buying iPhone than Android

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iPhone XR screen bezels
More U.S. consumers are interested in Apple devices like these than Android.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

Americans about to purchase a handset are far more interested in an iPhone than in devices running the rival Android OS, according to a survey done by an industry analysis firm.

But the news isn’t all good for Apple. The same survey found only moderate interest in the company’s rumored streaming video service.

Upgrade rate slows by 33 percent as we hold onto our iPhones ever longer

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iPhone 6s
With people keeping their phones so long, a typical device getting replaced these days is the iPhone 6s.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The days when people bought a new iPhone every two years are over, according to an industry analyst. In fact, many people are holding on to their handsets for twice that long.

That’s bad news for Apple’s bottom line, as faster upgrades mean more profits.

Apple staffing up its streaming video service

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Apple TV service facing competition
The rumored Apple TV streaming service for Mac, iPhone, etc. needs people to run it. People who Apple might be hiring already.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is hiring in its media group devoted to audiovisual media. After digging through the company’s job openings in recent months, an analyst believes these new employees are for the anticipated Apple TV streaming service.

This company has been paying to have TV shows and movies produced for months, but has so far kept quiet about its plans. That’s expected to change soon.

Now is the time to buy Apple stock

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money
Buying Apple shares now could earn you quite a bit of money this year, according to Morgan Stanley.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you’ve been thinking about investing in Apple stock, an analyst from Morgan Stanley says this is to time to do so. The price is already low, and not likely to go any lower.

There’s been bad news for Apple recently but that’s already priced into the stock.

Apple may hit the brakes on autonomous vehicle program

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Project Titan
Apple’s test vehicles from its self-driving car project could be headed for the highway exit.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Apple’s self-driving car development could be headed for a cliff. Maybe. A questionable report from industry analysts says that there are layoffs in this division and the whole project might even be scrapped.

The cause is supposedly the slowdown in iPhone sales caused by the weakening Chinese economy. The reduction in revenue leaves less room for non-core programs.

AirPods could someday replace your Apple Watch

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airpods
Ear-worn devices like these AirPods could become the most-used type of wearable.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

Smart watches are currently the most popular form of wearable, but ear-worn devices are expected to replace them in the coming years. The changeover will take place as AirPods and similar products gain additional features that people now get from Apple Watch and iPhone.

In less than five years, so-called “hearables” could outsell every other type of  wearable by a wide margin.