Katie's Week in Review: May 1, 2016

I’m in the midst of studying for my last final exam of my L.L.M. program. The exam starts at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning, so think a good thought for me. I wasn’t planning on doing a week in review post this week, but truth be told I need a little break from Subchapter K. So here is an abbreviated version of the links I found of note for the week ending May 1, 2016:

  • Apple reported their Second Quarter earnings this week. Based on the reports in the news you’d think the sky was falling and the company was doomed. All good things must come to an end and it looks like this is the turning point where the company finally stops churning year-over-year growth in the iPhone market. Jason Snell at Six Colors picks apart Apple’s Q2 2016 results and offers several charts breaking down the revenue per category. If you want the blow-by-blow there’s also a transcript of the quarterly call prepared by Jason and Rene Ritchie of iMore.
  • Last year Apple announced an upgrade program in the U.S that allowed customers to pay a monthly installment for their phones rather than purchase them outright (or with a carrier subsidy) and be eligible to trade in that phone for a new one after 12 months. The plan was aimed at those who always wanted to have the latest iPhone. But there was a catch, to participate, you had to join at an Apple Retail store. Juli Clover at MacRumors reports that Apple’s upgrade program is now available for iPhones purchased through the online store. I just checked out pricing on a 64GB iPhone 6s on Verizon, which I assume will be comparable to the price of the iPhone 7 I’ll likely buy in a few months. The cost to purchase outright is $749, that same phone is $299 on a 2-year contract with Verizon or $31.20 for 24 monthly installments (including AppleCare) from Apple. Something to think about.
  • Dropbox previewed “Project Infinite” which aims to solve the problem of what do you do when your Dropbox storage space is large than your hard drive in your computer. As Jason Snell at Six Colors explains, with this new feature you’ll be able to browse all of your files, but choose which files you want to have synced with your local computer and download on the fly any files that are stored offline. I think it’s a great idea and makes a paid Dropbox plan a lot more appealing.
  • In privacy news this week, Jeff Gamet of The Mac Observer reports that the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill requiring a search warrant when law enforcement seeks to access email and documents stored in cloud services such as Dropbox and iCloud. The bill is pending before the Senate. Candidly, I’m shocked this was even a question, but in today’s world I guess it is.
  • One of my other favorite companies, TiVo had some news this week. As reported by Jared Newman at TechHive, TiVo changed the pricing model on their Roamio OTA box designed for cord cutters. The box now costs $400 but includes lifetime subscription to the TiVo service, meaning no more monthly fees. For $400 cord cutters can plug in any over-the-air antenna, record shows on a 1TB hard drive (expanded from 500GB) and access streaming content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others. I have a similar setup at my home and have been very happy. If you’re a cord-cutter with good OTA reception I’d take a strong look.
  • In other TiVo news, Leslie Picker of the New York Times reports that Rovi bought TiVo in a $1.1 Billion deal. The company will keep the TiVo name.
  • Finally this week, Allison Janney, also known as C.J. Craig on the West Wing, took over the real White House press briefing room this week. The West Wing is probably my favorite television show of all time and if you miss it as much as I do, you may want to check out the West Wing Weekly Podcast, it’s great.