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Apple's July 2023 in review: Goldman Sachs wants out of Apple Card, Threads, Underdogs and more

Apple launched a new Underdogs video and Meta launched Threads

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July 2023 saw Twitter become X, Threads briefly become a Twitter rival, and Apple's Underdogs return — but none of it mattered because apparently Android was finally better than iOS, so there.

There must be technical reasons to prefer Android to iOS and there are certainly underlying financial ones as iPhones are generally more expensive. But otherwise, it's personal taste and personal preference, or it was until July 2023.

This month, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that "Android's now better than iOS." If you're looking for the full quote, go back a sentence: that was it. In full.

No more details, no justification, no qualification, just — boom — Android is the best, mic drop.

Your opinion doesn't count any more, Android is better than iOS. Official.
Your opinion doesn't count any more, Android is better than iOS. Official.

To be fair, the lack of context might conceivably be to do with how Mosseri posted that on Threads. It isn't, he might have said more anywhere, but it could be that he concluded no one was listening.

For Threads was the big new launch of July 2023, and it wasn't without problems, while it was without certain typical social media features. Nonetheless, July was the month of Threads.

As in, this Facebook/Instagram-created rival to Twitter was launched in July, it exploded in July, and it pretty much burnt out by the end of the month.

Threads started with a bang.
Threads started with a bang.

Whereas Twitter actually, definitely, kind of died in July. For it was this month that Twitter was rebranded as X, and the only sensible response was to say that if you must do this stupid thing, Musk, don't do it in this stupid way.

For even ignoring the fact that Twitter and tweeting are part of the language now, X's rebrand was done with what seemed to be as much care and attention as graffiti.

But that steamroller approach still seems to be working for Elon Musk, at least as far as Apple is concerned. For Apple gave Musk an exception to do with renaming the Twitter app.

X is the only single-letter app on the App Store
X is the only single-letter app on the App Store

As of this month, the only app in the entire App Store — and the only app in the entire history of the App Store — to have a single-letter name is X.

Twitter is over, X is here, and doubtlessly before the start of August, no one will even remember tweeting. Though possibly less because they're now X-ing, more because they're now exiting.

Trying to exit stage left

It's peculiar to see how Twitter, this giant corporation, is acting and moving like an individual. But then legally, corporations can be regarded as such, and yet that doesn't make you any more sympathetic to Goldman Sachs.

The financial giant is hurting this year, and last year, and the year before, and actually since whenever it first agreed a deal with Apple.

Not everyone has been loving the Apple Card success story
Not everyone has been loving the Apple Card success story

Goldman Sachs allegedly wants a divorce, though naturally both companies are making happy, smiling faces for the children.

It's seemingly got so that Goldman Sachs would be happy if Apple left it for another finance company, but other finance companies are staying away.

To be fair, Goldman Sachs has been having problems — legal as well as financial — with all of its consumer-facing projects. But reportedly, the deal with Apple to make Apple Card saw the finance firm lose at least $1 billion between 2021 and 2022.

That's presumably over the whole tax year, it wasn't just a really big New Year's Eve bar bill.

Joining Apple

Goldman Sachs should surely have taken some financial advice before joining Apple, but when the giant technology firm comes calling, people do seem to listen very keenly. So it was that this month we learned of how Luxshare went from an accessory maker, to a key part of the whole Apple Vision Pro production.

While Apple has not confirmed this, reports claim that Luxshare is now the sole manufacturer for Vision Pro. And according to unnamed sources within the firm, it won the contract by having been willing to try out Apple's "crazy" ideas in its factories.

Tim Cook (far right) at a Luxshare factory
Tim Cook (far right) at a Luxshare factory

No more than with Mosseri's thread about Android and iOS, this is a case where you'd want a teeny bit more detail.

It's hard to imagine what crazy manufacturing ideas Apple could have had, but the company does have a history of making things to try them out. As opposed to designing everything on CAD/CAM and then hoping it works.

Or at least, it had that reputation when Jony Ive was head of design. He publicly lamented how hard it was to find designers who had actually ever made anything with their own hands.

And whether or not Apple has continued that same ethos since he left, Ive definitely has.

For in July 2023, Jony Ive's latest design was revealed. Linn, a Scottish audio firm you've never heard of, told how Ive was a fan and had approached them ahead of their 50th anniversary.

And Ive wanted to design them a record player, a turntable for vinyl, based on the company's most famous "LP12."

"I got a LinkedIn request for a meeting with British design guru Sir Johnny Ive," said Linn CEO Gilad Tiefenbrun. "The first thing he said to me was, I just want to tell you how much I love your company and your products."

"We never collaborated before, and then suddenly, this phenomenal opportunity comes along," continues Tiefenbrun. "If I was gonna pick one person, or one organization on this planet that I would wanna collaborate with, it would be this one."

The Jony Ive-designed record player
The Jony Ive-designed record player

As you have already suspected, a collaboration with Jony Ive produced a refined, gorgeous, quite minimalist turntable where the only excessive part is the price.

It costs $63,000.

Losing Apple devices

That $63,000 is probably about as much as the damage to Apple's bottom line of Russia banning officials from using iPhones. It was all briefly a storm as apparently most Russian officials had ignored the last time iPhones were banned.

And if in reality no one lost their iPhone, there was one person this month who lost her Apple device in the most public way possible.

Apple's "Underdogs" returned to YouTube for an adventure in which a MacBook Pro was stolen, and the team raced to get it back before either a presentation, or before it was remote-wiped by their company.

It was described as a comedy, but if you've ever left a MacBook or an iPhone behind somewhere, it was extraordinarily tense. You would have liked Apple to credit whoever wrote it, but in the months since, you would also want Apple to have left it online — for some reason, it's subsequently been taken down from Apple's YouTube channel.

Tension within Apple

There may have been a few thrilling moments within Apple Park this month, too. For one thing, the EU mandated that batteries in electronic devices must be user-replaceable.

Maybe that was more distracting than we thought, too, because the only thing Apple did faster in July 2023 than bring out a Rapid Security Response update — was to pull that same RSR.

Apple Vision Pro
Apple Vision Pro

Or maybe it's the Vision Pro that is taking all of Apple's attention. While still saying that it is due to ship early in 2024, this month saw multiple reports of issues.

There were "roadblocks" in Vision Pro assembly, for instance, and the displays were proving to be the biggest production problem.

But then a claim that Apple Music had banned a track over its Vision Pro parody turned out be rubbish.

Whereas anyone who has spent years studying Apple's patent applications for news of Vision Pro, was half vindicated as the company admitted to filing hundreds of patent applications regarding it. But then despite them being filed in plain sight, so many were completely missed that now seem obvious in retrospect.

It's not that there was a patent application called "We will name this Vision Pro," but it is staggering to see how many patents relate to points we now know about, such as gaze tracking.

Then whatever work Apple had to do to get to this point with Vision Pro, it's now time for third-party developers to get in on the act. For in July 2023, Apple released a Vision Pro developer kit for the first time.

That thing is getting real now.