April 7, 2015 Last Updated 10:19 am

Lurking Apple Watch launch overwhelms talk of earnings, iPad sales or the App Store

Tech writers declare a Samsung renaissance, while T-Mobile pulls flagship Sony smartphone from their stores after slow roll out of Android update

The quarterly earnings will be arriving in the next few weeks, with Apple reporting unusually late in the month – October 27. That is three days after the Apple Watch has launched, and you have to admire the company’s sense of timing, knowing that what most investors will want to talk about is early sales for the new product, not whether sales of the iPad are continuing to fall, or what to expect with the next edition of the Apple TV.

Q1 of the calendar year is actually Q2 of Apple’s fiscal year, and lately the second best quarter of the year for iPad sales. Last year Apple sold 16.35 million tablets in the quarter, with 19.48 million during the same quarter of 2013. In fact, it was following Q1 (calendar year) of 2013 that iPad sales started to show their declines.

iPad-bixWhat is interesting now is that no one is talking iPad, other than the occasional rumor of a larger device coming at some point. The Apple Watch has so overwhelmed all other news that all investors can talk about, other than the Watch, is whether Apple will boost its dividend (a subject that doesn’t interest TNM in the least).

Because of this, I think WWDC ends up being an even more important event than normal. At Apple’s conference in June we will get a sense if Apple has decided that the tablet market is just not big enough, with not enough margins to interest them long term.

Though dedicated to software developments, WWDC has, since 2002, been the place Apple announced new Mac hardware, and several models are expected to be updated at this time. But if Apple is going to announce a new publishing platform, or major changes to the Newsstand, it would seem to me that WWDC would be the place. It may be the last time Apple could make a change and still have the attention of digital publishers. A couple major publishers told me that in the past year their digital edition strategy has completely shifted due to slumping sales through the Newsstand, and without dramatic action, they see a complete shift to web apps coming in 2016.

Speaking of Apple… today Apple added 39 new banks and credit unions to Apple Pay. I find that incredible since the roll out of Apple Pay has been fraught with issues. I’ve owned an iPhone 6 for a few months now and have not been able to compete even one payment using the feature, not one.

Is anyone else finding better success using Apple Pay?

Meanwhile, the tech press has returned to talking about Samsung, especially with the launch of the Galaxy S6 smartphone.

kv-phones-180“After nearly two years of suffering at the hands of upstart rivals and established industry giants, Samsung may finally be on the mend,” the NYT said today.

“I think the reason Samsung struggled last year is they just looked boring,” one analyst said, though that could sum up the feeling of many tech reporters, who probably are way overstating any decline at the Korean consumer electronics company.

Just as there is a built in base of customers for the iPhone, Android still has many adherents. But the platform’s weakness remains the same as ever: software updates. Yesterday came work that T-Mobile had stopped selling Sony’s flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z3. From the perspective consumers, the withdrawal of the device probably reflects the competitiveness of the market; but from T-Mobile’s perspective, they couldn’t help notice that the latest Android update was so delayed in being rolled out.

The event circuit seems the place many former publishing executives fall back on after leaving the daily grind. Tina Brown, it appears, is no different. The former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker is making the rounds, giving lectures – and giving interviews to promoted those lectures.

Yesterday the Des Moines Register interviewed the former head of The Daily Beast and found her not so up on the state of magazines.

“There are still people putting out great magazines, but it’s very hard for them to get traction in all the noise out there,” Brown said. “What I think is so difficult is that the stories get posted on the Web immediately, so you don’t buy the magazine. I don’t buy magazines in the way I used to because I read them online.”

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