Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis


Feedback has always been the cornerstone of our work, you write and comment on all sorts of things. Sometimes weird things happen when something that attracts attention but isn’t something like that suddenly creates a wave of reviews. In the last issue of Biryulek, such a surprise was the application for identifying flowers and plants. There are several dozen letters of gratitude in the mail, people write on social networks, acquaintances and friends said thank you directly. And many perceive it as a kind of game, click plants around, recognize their names. It’s nice that my experience helped me find new entertainment, which is also useful.

But enough about pleasant things, let’s start our issue with what attracted attention this week, what took our thoughts. Go!


  1. Apple TV +, problems, more problems and the cherry on top
  2. Pre-installation of Russian software on smartphones – the first signs
  3. Huawei began to abandon smartphones with Google services
  4. Protected Galaxy Xcover Pro – a collapsible smartphone in the style of old models
  5. Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition – a smartphone for the military
  6. The electronics market continues to fall, and prices continue to rise

Apple TV +, problems, more problems and the cherry on top

Streaming is the new battleground for corporations, and content is more important than ever. For Apple, this is doubly important, since against the backdrop of falling iron sales, it was services that were appointed as a lifeline to support sales. At first glance, it seems that the services took place and did happen. Revenue from them is growing before our eyes, growth slows down from quarter to quarter, but the numbers are amazing. In the first quarter of 2020, Apple’s revenue from services and content sales was $ 13.3 billion. The company uses several financial reporting tricks to keep this growth sustainable and meaningful. Once upon a time, content sales were attributed to iPhone sales, included in the price of a smartphone. It turned out to be amazing, the average iPhone price reported by Apple was higher than the retail price of those devices. Nobody really racked their brains over these fantastic results, but took them as they were. Last year, in one of the reports, Apple’s financiers noted that from now on they will not do this and now revenue from content is not taken into account in iPhone sales, is not embedded in their cost, but will be separate. Many at this moment asked the question: what, was it possible? Yes.

At the end of 2019, I described the battle for the streaming market, how it will unfold, and what challenges players face. The text describes the landscape of this market quite fully.

For some reason, it is believed that large companies cannot be unsuccessful in their endeavors. If Google launches Stadia cloud gaming service, then it will be successful! This is a kind of credit of trust that ordinary people generously give to well-known brands, and it is difficult to assume that such corporations can fail miserably. In the case of Apple TV +, the situation is complicated by the mantra that has been worked out over the years “you don’t need it if it’s not in the product from Apple”, which was imposed on the service, not on the piece of hardware. The company’s fans’ ability to imagine the unimaginable and exist in a different universe is astounding and revealing. The algorithm is always the same – Apple is releasing a revolutionary product that will put everyone on the market one left. This is a revolution, no doubt about it. Then the product appears on the market, but it is far from ideal, ordinary people begin to scratch their heads in thought. They continue to explain why they are wrong, and the product is great and still wins everyone. The product does not take off, but the myth of its success continues to be cultivated and spread.

The situation is approximately the same with Apple TV +, since this service appeared about six months ago and it is already possible to assess what happened. Two weeks after the launch, the top service manager at Apple left the company (Kim Rozenfeld). The bet on its own shows and the power of the brand, which was made at Apple, did not work. Most of the series are average in level, no breakthrough happened. In many countries, Apple TV + does not have audio track translations, only subtitles, in Russia this is exactly the case.

Apple was late to the TV series and content market, the company simply could not attract a large number of writers, directors and actors, there was nowhere to get them. The swarm between services has inflated production prices, it has become much more expensive. And here the winners were those who own the content, invested money in it. For example, this is Netflix or Disney streaming, which appeared later than Apple TV +. Apple understood this from the beginning and therefore set the cost of the service at $ 4.99 per month. But they also made a knight’s move, when buying a device from Apple, a one-year subscription is a gift (I have a strong feeling that Apple pays itself to show the growth of revenue from services, takes into account the subscription and takes this money from the cost of the iPhone, such trick can be done). I have several iPhones that I bought for reviews. Activated a subscription, but never used it. How many people like me? The question is not idle, because people will use a legal service if they have something to see in it, right?

Bloomberg spoke with insiders inside Apple and got a look at the service. By February, that is, in three months of work, he gained 10 million subscribers, of which half were inactive, that is, they did not watch anything. This is just my case. Do you think this is a lot? Disney + hit the same number in one day, at launch! By early May, Disney reported 54.5 million active subscribers (those who pay for the company’s services, that is, the active base). Disney + is priced higher than Apple, but there’s a lot to watch out there. The same story about Netflix, the subscription price is at least twice as high, but the library of TV shows and films is huge, new content is constantly appearing, it is interesting and varied. Why is Apple TV + needed in such a world? I have no answer to this question.

But there is an understanding of how this service should change and what will happen to it. To begin with, it is important for Apple to fill the library with TV shows and films, including old ones. Therefore, the company will look for such content, and this is not just expensive, but very expensive. The price is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars, as you remember, Apple does not like to spend money. This is the reason why Apple decided to shoot the show on its own and thought that they would succeed (a cool example is the See series, which can be considered one of the most mediocre and stupid projects, and they made it key when launching the service, and Apple fans showed miracles of ingenuity when they praised him).

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

Unlike the app market, where it was possible to create a store, through marketing to attract independent developers, this will not work with video. The market is divided by large corporations and strong players, for Apple with this approach there is simply no noticeable place here. And that’s why Apple TV + stalls, the service cannot develop in such conditions. Marketing spending for Apple TV + has been notable, but it’s nothing compared to Netflix alone, with $ 2.65 billion in marketing last year. And let’s remember Disney and others, the HBO Max launch on May 27.

To summarize, the Apple TV + didn’t take off, this product turned out to be overpriced. They are trying to revive him, which is beyond doubt. But even the pandemic did not allow it to take off, people chose interesting content, and not the one offered by Apple, in fact there is simply nothing to watch. And, apparently, this is why Apple is diligently avoiding any details about its streaming service, which turned out to be the weakest among all the offers on the market. In Russia, he loses including local players, which is also an indicator in all aspects.

The trap in which the company finds itself is interesting – it is impossible to quit streaming, it is also impossible to become successful in the current situation. Buy some strong player? In theory, it is possible, but the purchase price will be cosmic in the literal sense of the word. And for Apple this is the only way out, but it will mean rethinking how the company works, what it can do or not. This will actually be a confession of his powerlessness. And in the long term, it will not do anything good, since the strategists at Apple are still the same today.

I really hope that there will be those who will tell you in detail and thoroughly about their experience with Apple TV +, dispel my dirty insinuations and prove in the comments that there is a lot of content, it is excellent and you can watch something new at least every day. I believe, I wait, I hope. After all, this is a key service from Apple, and you need to somehow confirm everything that was said at its launch in the comments about how it will tear everyone up in six months. Will you try?

Pre-installation of Russian software on smartphones – the first signs

The law that it is necessary to preinstall Russian applications on various electronics was adopted, and formally, from July 1, smartphone manufacturers had to install such programs. The vagueness of the definitions, to some extent the confusion left room for interpretation, but there was no doubt that Russian software should appear on devices. Due to the virus, the introduction of this norm was delayed by six months, but several companies have already started installing such software, working proactively. There is no obligatory list, only the type of applications – search, navigation (maps), mail. On the example of smartphones from Samsung, you can see how the requirements of the law are implemented.

Four applications are located on a separate page of the home screen. From “Yandex” there is an application that combines different services, including search, messenger and others. But cards are “2GIS”, you need to upload data for your region. Mail from mail.ru, there is also a separate “Yandex.Zen”.

The law states that the user should be able to uninstall pre-installed applications, and this is where the curious begins. On A-series models, this can be done (I did not check at all, only on a couple), in the M-series they can be turned off, but not deleted (before, it was always and everywhere, only a shutdown). Since the law has not yet entered into force, this moment can be implemented in any way. But you can see which apps Samsung has chosen to pre-install, other manufacturers will probably choose something else.

It has always been interesting how Apple will get out in this situation. As such, there is no preset on the iPhone and never has been (in the usual sense, as in the market for Android devices). However, it is known from the source in one of the operators what the tradeoff might be. This is the choice of a search engine in the default browser, that is, Russian search engines will also be offered (hello, Yandex). In the mail client, a profile for setting up the Russian mail service. For navigation, offers a choice of several programs, but not preload them. I think that this option can suit officials and at the same time keep Apple’s policy intact, save them from changes in their approach to preinstalling applications. Although, in fact, prescribing settings for Russian services in your applications is no longer a pre-installation of applications. If you follow the letter, not the spirit of this law. The postponement of Apple is in hand, but by November the company will have to decide how it follows this law and what the solution will be for the iPhone.

Huawei began to abandon smartphones with Google services

In Russia, several models from Huawei / Honor appeared on sale at once, where there are no services from Google (the P40 flagships went on sale earlier, but because of the price, this is not the most massive segment for the brand). For example, models such as the Honor 9A / 9C / 9S have hit store shelves and lack Google pre-installed apps and Play Store support. In theory, you can dance with a tambourine to install the Google app store, and there are even a couple of exotic ways, but it’s definitely not worth it, and Google will eventually find and block these methods.

In the Honor 9C review, Roma Belykh wonders who will buy such a smartphone, because there are many competitors that are comparable in cost, have Google on board, and it turns out that they are more interesting.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

The question suggests that most buyers at least read Roma or other authors, are studying the issue of buying a smartphone and understand that this device does not have Google services. The reality will seem boring to some, but most buyers do not know anything about the gap between Google and Huawei, this news fell out of the agenda available to a wide audience. The memory of the mass buyer is like a goldfish. Want even more fun? Many people in 2020 believe that Honor is a separate brand that has nothing to do with Huawei. Actually, the success of Honor in Russia is the success of good smartphones that were not associated with Huawei. Why didn’t Huawei go to Russia? It happened historically, and in some ways this is a problem of the name and the fact that when the brand tried to gain market share, the mass buyer was not yet mentally prepared for Chinese brands outside certain price niches.

A survey of regional retail showed that there are sales of new Honor without Google, the absence of the Play Store does not upset people much, and they do not try to return these smartphones en masse. And this already says a lot about what will happen next, the mass buyer will somehow get used to it, get used to it and begin to convince both themselves and others that everything is fine and everything is in order. And Huawei will actively develop the App Gallery, replace the offers from Google. Tolerate – fall in love. A new thing flew to me on the P40 Pro, so there are Android security patches for April. In June, apparently, a patch for May will arrive. The refresh rate is slightly lower than that of the same Samsung, but not critical.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

Inside Huawei, there was much more worry about what would happen without Google than what actually happened. Suddenly, it turns out that life without Google is not just possible, but it is not very different. And this is a big blow to Google, the company suddenly finds itself without a major partner who is not yet going to die, as the US government planned. And in Russia it holds the maximum market share and continues to aggressively sell its smartphones. Curious plot development, don’t you think?

Protected Galaxy Xcover Pro – a collapsible smartphone in the style of old models

In Russia, you cannot find protected smartphones from Samsung on free sale, but they appear for the American market and for corporate customers. Fans of protected models often buy them on their own, and that’s how a fairly fresh XCover Pro fell into my hands, our reader suggested this model for a couple of weeks. Review ahead, but for now a few words about why this device is not at all like all smartphones from Samsung put together.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisisSpillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

To begin with, despite the IP68 protection, the back cover of the device can be easily removed.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

And the stories that it is possible to provide such a standard of protection only by sealing the case do not stand up to scrutiny. This design was used by Samsung many times, there were no noticeable problems in it, the protection against water was quite reliable. Rather, this is a tribute to fashion, the fact that all manufacturers have switched to the same chassis. But for corporate consumers, or rather, those who work in an open field, it is often important to replace the battery with a spare one, and therefore they made such a design.

At the bottom there is a POGO-connector, that is, the device can be charged by simply placing it in the appropriate glass. And again this is important for corporate clients, when there is more than one smartphone, and the account goes to dozens. Let’s add MIL-810G drop protection, advanced software for remote control (available only to organizations), setting both security policies and applications, and a picture of a protected device appears not for everyone.

And I also liked the fact that the 6.3-inch screen (it is, by the way, TFT, not the brightest, no one thought that here you need to watch videos or photos of a family, this device is for another) there is a special setting for working with wet hands or hands with gloves. And it works!

Great integration of Microsoft Teams, a separate key for voice messages, something like a walkie-talkie, you can press and dictate to your group – all with one touch. But you need to have this group! You must have a Teams commercial account.

Much the same as when using this smartphone to receive mobile payments from ordinary bank cards. You can do this if you have the appropriate service and it is available in your country (in the US it is). That is, it is also a cash register! Cool? Not that word.

This device is not at all intended for the mass market, for ordinary buyers (unless they are ready to put up with restrictions, as well as functions that they do not need). With a price tag of $ 500, this is a very unique corporate device that, at the same time, has no direct competitors. In its niche, this is an uncontested option, other models will cost at least the same, but be less capable. So it turns out that this is not for everyone, but for those who are busy with business. And it is with such a yardstick that I will approach this apparatus – it is for those who work in the field in the broadest sense. It is surprising that they have not lost the ability to make such devices.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Tactical Edition – a smartphone for the military

When you have a basic model and a bunch of services that can be put on it depending on the client’s requests, you have the opportunity to create a variety of models, including those for fairly specific customers. For example, for the US Army with all the security requirements, using a smartphone in difficult conditions. It is surprising that Samsung America decided to use not some new model for these purposes, but took the usual flagship S20 and turned it into a military smartphone.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisisSpillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

First of all, we added a holder for fastening, it also expands the capabilities of the device. In the metal case, they provided not only protection for the smartphone, but also additional connectors for connecting a walkie-talkie and other army communication systems. They did not change the smartphone itself, but added the necessary connectors on the case.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

In addition, the smartphone received the Walkie-Talkie function, it can work outside of external communication systems, use both a local radio and built-in capabilities. That is, it is a means of communication at the group level. With a separate physical key, you can turn on the radio silence mode when all communication systems are turned off.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisisSpillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

The requirements for such devices are varied; these are models that are used in combat, and not in offices. Hence the addition of other antennas to the outer case, integration with the smartphone software.

You can consider the usual S20 as a kind of semi-finished product, on the basis of which this model was built. In particular, thanks to KNOX, they added another level of encryption, all data in memory are closed, they cannot be decrypted (this is not a figure of speech, without a number of conditions this cannot be done, even by removing the device from a killed soldier or forcing him to unlock it). There are additional changes compared to the base model – a different screen sensitivity so that it responds to the pressure of the gloves. The interfaces created in the applications of the Ministry of Defense are a different story: simple, understandable and with large elements, everything for comfortable viewing in combat conditions, when there is no time to peer at the screen for a long time. For example, night vision mode changes the way a smartphone works so that a soldier can use a night vision device (it’s not that difficult, just turning off the screen, there are no smart scenarios here). But broadcasting a picture from a drone to the screen of such a smartphone is a completely different story, new opportunities for soldiers.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisisSpillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

The uniqueness of the offer from Samsung is only in the fact that the company has highlighted it publicly, this usually does not happen. I’m not sure if the US Department of Defense will choose these smartphones for use, the tender will take place in the third quarter of 2020, but this is one of the contenders. Not two manufacturers will participate in the tender, but almost a dozen models. But for us it is a great option to look at how such devices are arranged, what they offer, this is a completely different market.

I came across a discussion of how much such a “cover” might cost, the very fact of the polemic shows a lack of understanding of this market. This is a special device created for a very specific range of tasks, it will not be sold in stores to the general public. This is a kind of corporate solution, which means that it is subject to other terms of service, service, and the like. And the price here can be formally anything, at least it is two to three times higher than the cost of a regular S20. This is the price of development, application integration, creation of other possibilities for hardware, compatibility with existing communication systems. What Samsung showed us is just the tip of the iceberg, most of the possibilities are hidden.

Customers like the US Department of Defense always react sharply when information about their toys becomes publicly available. There will clearly not be a public reaction, but conclusions will be drawn. For example, in the USA protected devices from Samsung are very widespread in the police, but you will hardly hear anything about them, the customer (various police departments) is not eager to share information, they simply do not need it. The less they know about the equipment used, the better. In the army, everything is about the same, perhaps even worse.

At the moment, there are not many devices such as the S20 Tactical Edition, consider this a new generation. In the Russian army, as far as I know, there are no such systems, however, the same picture is in most armies of the world. The digitalization of the US Army is the highest among all countries in the world; it is an attempt to create a digital map of military operations, where all operating units will be linked into one system. And for this it is necessary to equip the soldiers with such smartphones and other devices, in addition to technology, which has already acquired electronics.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisisSpillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

The electronics market continues to fall, and prices continue to rise

The feeling that I have lived through these situations many times already does not leave me, all the inhabitants of the country have experienced them with me, the exception may be children and elderly people who have lost their memory. But each crisis repeats the same story, which shows that most simply do not bother to remember something from personal experience, something from the recent past. Yes, at least from 2014, not to mention the previous crises and the behavior of manufacturers in the market. It’s nice that you can present the same arguments every time, and they do not become outdated at all, as do the hundreds of comments that appear under such materials.

Surprisingly, many commentators have created an interesting interpretation of the world, as well as what producers should be doing. For example, last week they discussed US bans on working with Huawei, letters began to pour into the company around the world. This is not one, not two letters, there are thousands of them. It is difficult to rank the proposals and count them, but perhaps the most popular was one – to resist the problems, the pressure from the United States, you need to do one small thing. And it is clear that in Huawei no one could guess about it, even just imagine, but those who sent such messages could. Do you know what they offered? Reduce the prices of smartphones! Someone offered to give them away for free (you will get the whole world! Defeat everyone), someone offered to make a modest discount of 50%, and then it will be done. Surprising naivety, but exactly the same it manifests itself when you read the comments.

For example, many commentators assume that market share is very important for every company. And it is so important that every manufacturer is ready to fight for it at any cost, including reducing prices indefinitely. It is impossible to assume that the strategy, let alone the tactics of different manufacturers, is different. They are trying to bring everyone to one denominator, and not even a market one, but one based on human ideas about beauty.

Observed a wonderful conversation that I found remarkable:

– Nobody needs Samsung, they keep reducing prices, flagships are getting cheaper very quickly
– Prices increased by 10%
– I also say that nobody needs them. You see, already by 10%
– Prices have increased
– They completely failed in sales, so they raised prices

It doesn’t matter how prices change, one of the participants in the conversation already has an understanding of what is good and what is bad. It is not supported by market share, statistics or anything else, it is just a belief that is presented as fact. Another example, which was considered a little earlier about Huawei, is that no one needs these smartphones without Google, there are a bunch of other Chinese people. Misconception? Judging by the sales statistics at the moment, this is not at all the case.

The current response to the crisis looks very simple – the prices are so high that who will buy these smartphones, who needs them? Therefore, manufacturers will immediately begin to reduce prices, and they will not go anywhere from this. In 2014, I remember the statement that no one will buy smartphones at a price of 60 thousand or more, this is contrary to common sense. Nevertheless, buyers are accustomed to and are buying such models perfectly, the market volume in pieces has not subsided, on the contrary, it has grown. Each person has his own capabilities, and there is no need to talk about common sense, here everyone is his own Einstein.

The basic rule sounds simple – when the cost of a product rises, the retail price of that product also rises. At the moment there may be discounts, there may be prices for old supplies, but even in the medium term, prices will rise or someone will have to subsidize sales due to the problems of their own business. In Russia, MTS retail has always been weak, so the operator subsidizes iron sales and continues to do so now, they have very attractive prices. Does this characterize the market as a whole? Not at all. Is MTS Robin Hood that buys high and sells cheap? Hardly. It is simply the impossibility of organizing sales in a normal way and the presence of a core business, which allows giving such subsidies within the group of companies, feeding its own retail. By and large, MTS has long been able to distribute some smartphones for free, this did not greatly change the load for the operator, but it allowed building another scheme for making money (for example, using an advertising model).

In “common sense” and a coordinate system where market share is more important than money, an increase in the cost of a product leads to a fall in its retail price. This is exactly what is being promoted on the net (prices have gone up, we will never buy at this price). It is interesting that the majority of those who oppose the rise in prices are people who did not buy the discussed goods before the price increase, and will not buy them after it. This is not the target audience for the devices they are discussing. Many of them are still well versed in expensive cars, watches and other status items. I was embarrassed when such a person began to discuss the merits of my car, and I could not keep up the conversation, I did not even know a tenth of the information that fell on me. The difference was obvious, for him it was a subject of discussion, for me it was a subject of use. In smartphones and other electronics, everything is about the same, information noise fills the space, and a distorted picture is created that does not correspond to reality.

Here’s another thesis that commentators love: I have never seen a smartphone X (B / C is a brand, as a rule, Russian) in people, what kind of popularity can we talk about? Or exactly the opposite: all my friends and acquaintances use smartphone Y, and you say that they have failed in sales. Transferring private observation to general observation almost always means a perception error and a lack of critical thinking.

Want another example? MegaFon has released a new tariff line “No Overpayments”, an article about this was published on the site.

And here’s a wonderful letter: Why write about a megaphone, waste space, nobody needs it. Dear, poor connection quality, nobody uses it, I don’t know a single person… More than 70 million SIM-cards that work daily on the MegaFon network is nobody, is it? Emotional perception of any company leads to erroneous judgments. Assessment of another operator, in this case “Beeline”: The quality of the network is appalling. There is no decent internet in the center of Moscow. Solid edge… I asked for a screenshot of this outrage, I wanted to understand the situation, the answer was this: I do not suffer from bullshit, I have Tinkoff and everything is fine, it works much better than Beeline, MTS, Megafon, Tele2. That’s who the good fellow is, but you don’t write about them… I call such people sympathetic to myself, they are part of this information noise – they do not have a problem, but they talk about it. Moreover, they are not even a client of the company they are discussing. In response, I also liked the fact that Tinkoff is superior to Tele2 in Moscow, this is the funniest thing in this story.

Information noise has always existed, there is nothing new here. But nowadays it has become more noticeable, people are louder and more emotional. And there is nothing reprehensible in this, everyone communicates as he wants and can. The only question is how to perceive such words and passages, for me this is information noise. For some, perhaps the ultimate truth. That is why Tinkoff is better than Tele2, Beeline is exclusively EDGE, and nobody uses MegaFon. People have perked up to create an invented reality in their heads and follow their ideas. Sometimes it is painless, sometimes it hurts. I am in favor of presenting the world as it is, it is more interesting and definitely more useful. But for some reason I am sure that in response to these words there will be antics, foolishness and similar manifestations of that information noise in the comments.

PS I bought the 2020 iPhone SE, decided to compare it with the Galaxy A51 to make sure that the iPhone is the fastest device on the planet, performs better than any Android smartphone. And so I chose a popular model, which is half the price, so as not to leave her any chance. I play in the iPhone SE team, I will emphasize its advantages in every possible way.

Spillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisisSpillikins # 591. Apple TV + failure as a reflection of the corporate crisis

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