Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Brave New World

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Happy Monday. Bloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook made a “very compelling argument’
that Apple might lose its edge to Samsung because due to tariffs on Chinese goods. 

China’s apparently moving on, with The Verge reporting that Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are collaborating on an AirDrop-style wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their devices with speeds of up to 20 MB/s. If you will, the Great Wireless Wall of China.

Also news on the crytocurrency front: Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched a crypto exchange for trading in bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. And, Accenture is reporting that global fintech investments have dropped as Chinese fundraising has fallen sharply.

The U.S. remains the world’s biggest fintech market with $12.7B in first-half fundraising — such investments in China were at $820M, a huge fall from the $17.7B raised a year earlier.

Why the big drop? Increased U.S. scrutiny of foreign investments in the U.S., restrictions on Chinese firms’ access to U.S. tech, Huawei’s blacklisting, fears of a global recession and declining business capx investment (among others).

It’s a brave (and never boring) new world.

Written by turbotodd

August 19, 2019 at 10:34 am

Posted in 2019, apple, china, fintech

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Growing Wearables

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The wearables market is growing in North America, with Apple Watches continuing to lead the pack in shipments.

According to a report in VentureBeat, research firm Canalys cites in a new report that the market is now segmenting into two sweet spots, $200 to $299, and $400 to $499.

These two together now represent 60% of all shipments, and Apple also sent over 60% of its 4.7M global Apple Watch shipments to North America (a 32% quarter-over-quarter growth).

The $500+ market seems to have contracted significantly, and the $700+ market saw very few shipments.

Notably, Apple’s Airpods and Watches did not get a break in President Trump’s latest tariff reprieve for China (while laptops and cellphones did).

Be smart about what you ask Santa for for Christmas this year!

Written by turbotodd

August 16, 2019 at 9:50 am

The Apple Card

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Today we get to see the beginning of the rollout of Apple’s continued services expansion plan.

Introducing the Apple Card, a new credit card issued in partnership with Goldman Sachs, which goes into a “preview rollout” today and will be available to all iPhone users in the U.S. later in August.

Axios’ rundown on how it works: “At its base level, the Apple Card is an “iPhone-first” MasterCard that can be used anywhere Apple Pay or MasterCard is accepted.”

Though users can get a physical card, the Apple Card is “mobile-first” and customers use an iPhone to sign up for the card, view their transactions and pay their bills.

The physical card has a traditional credit card number on its chip and magnetic stripe, but that number isn’t visible on the card, and customers can provide a different one stored on their iPhone if they need a numeric number to give out.

Apple is saying the card will have no fees including no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no late fees, and it doesn’t boost its interest rate if customers miss a payment.

Apple also indicated it would neither collect nor view anything about where you shopped, what you bought, or how much you paid.

We shall see if you can easily cancel those persnickety app subscriptions! 

Written by turbotodd

August 6, 2019 at 10:38 am

Posted in 2019, apple

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It’s Tariff Time!

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TGIF. It’s a good day to take a quick glance at some key economic fundamentals that could impact the consumer tech landscape.

U.S non-farm payrolls rose by 164K in July, and the jobless rate held steady at 3.7% (near a 50-year low).

Average hourly wages for private-sector workers advanced 3.2% from a year earlier. GDP increased at 2.1% in the second quarter, down from 3.1% in the first.

Manufacturing output has declined since the end of 2018, and an overseas manufacturing decline could hold U.S. growth back.

The U.S.’ largest trading partner is now Mexico, not China — speaking of whom, President Trump hit the Middle Kingdom yesterday with 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods that included consumer products like apparel, toys, and cellphones.

Yes, that means iPhones, too!

Current estimates suggest about a 15% increase on electronics like laptops, smartphones, etc.

They go into effect August 30th, so you have 28 days to shop ’til you drop for any bargains.

Wonder if Gazelle’s traffic is seeing a post-tariff bump!

Written by turbotodd

August 2, 2019 at 11:25 am

T-Mobile Doesn’t Fold

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Apple’s deal for obtaining the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business is a done deal. Estimated transaction value: $1B

To help pay for the deal, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple and Goldman Sachs are issuing a credit card targeted to launch as early as the first half of August.

When Apple starts issuing credit cards, it could be time to start looking for a new phone.

Alphabet (Google) announced earnings yesterday PM, reporting Q2 revenue of $38.9B, up 19% YOY. On its earnings call, the company said its sound business now has an $8B annual revenue rate, double that reported last year.

And Amazon reported Q2 revenue of $63.4B, up 20% YOY, with AWS up 37% YOY – the first sub-40% growth rate since Amazon began sharing AWS figures.

Following up on the revitalized Samsung Galaxy Fold, don’t look for it at T-Mobile, a spokesperson for which indicated that “T-Mobile will not carry the Galaxy Fold because we already offer customers a wide range of the largest smartphones.

Yes, but do any of them fold when they fold?

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes at Apple

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Big news at Apple this week…Longtime creative guru Jony Ive will be leaving Apple later this year after more than 20 years at the company. Ive is leaving to start LoveFrom, his own creative agency, and has already landed apple as its first client.

Daring Fireball noted “this dropped like a bomb,” apparently because nobody in the media had been given a heads up. Uh, this is Apple we’re talking about, when do they ever warn the media about anything of significance.

John Gruber continued::

It makes me queasy to see that Apple’s chief designers are now reporting to operations. This makes no more sense to me than having them report to the LLVM compiler team in the Xcode group. Again, nothing against Jeff Williams, nothing against the LLVM team, but someone needs to be in charge of design for Apple to be Apple and I can’t see how that comes from operations. I don’t think that “chief design officer” should have been a one-off title created just for Jony Ive. Not just for Apple, but especially at Apple, it should be a permanent C-level title. I don’t think Ive ever should have been put in control of software design, but at least he is a designer.

I don’t worry that Apple is in trouble because Johnny Ive is leaving; I worry that Apple is in trouble because he’s not being replaced.”
Another reaction, from Stratechery:

I understand Gruber’s angst. It is precisely that sort of dictatorship, first and foremost in the person of Steve Jobs, that made Apple, Apple. Again, though, I think Ive is in part a cautionary tale: he did his best work under Jobs, while the last few years have been more fraught from a design perspective; if Ive was not entirely up to the task of being the ultimate arbiter of all things Apple, who can be?
That is why the conclusion I had after WWDC feels more applicable than ever: it is less that Jony Ive is leaving Apple, and more that Apple, for better or worse, and also by necessity, has left Jony Ive and the entire era that he represented. So it goes.

Others reported that I’ve had only been coming into the office twice a week since the release of the Apple Watch in 2015… hey, the only constant in the tech industry is change. Enough said.

But there’s more change at Apple. The Mac Pro, which had been touted by Apple CEO Tim Cook as having been manufactured in the U.S. (right here in Austin, actually), will now be outsourced to Quanta Computer Inc. in China.

Why this matters? From The Wall Street Journal:

While the Mac Pro isn’t one of Apple’s bigger products, the decision on where to make it carries outsize significance. Apple’s reliance on factories in China to manufacture its products has been an issue for the company, especially under President Trump, who has pressured Apple and other companies to make more in the U.S.

The spin:

Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process,” [an Apple] spokesman said, adding that the company’s investments support two million American jobs. The Mac Pro is Apple’s most powerful computer, used primarily by a small group of professionals working in industries such as film and videogames.

The global supply chain for tech manufacturers is a long and winding Silk Belt and Road!

Meanwhile, back on the AI front: Somerville, Massachusetts has become the second U.S. city (behind San Francisco) to ban facial recognition usage in public space. From Vice:

The "Face Surveillance Full Ban Ordinance," which passed through Somerville’s City Council on Thursday night, forbids any “department, agency, bureau, and/or subordinate division of the City of Somerville” from using facial recognition software in public spaces. The ordinance passed Somerville’s Legislative Matters Committee on earlier this week.

The ordinance defines facial surveillance as “an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying an individual, capturing information about an individual, based on the physical characteristics of an individual’s face,” which is operationally equivalent to facial recognition.

Now if someone could just find an AI bot to clean up all the poop in the streets of San Francisco!

Written by turbotodd

June 28, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Posted in 2019, apple, artificial intelligence, china

Tagged with , , ,

Apple Drive

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It’s already Wednesday?

I’ve got a jet plane to catch, but before I did, I wanted to convey a couple of stories that caught my eye.

First, back to the “Chimerica” trade wars.

The New York Times is reporting that U.S. tech companies that include Intel and Micron have found ways to sell millions of dollars of products to Huawei despite the Trump administration’s ban.

How?

Industry leaders including Intel and Micron have found ways to avoid labeling goods as American-made, said the people, who spoke on the condition they not be named because they were not authorized to disclose the sales.

Goods produced by American companies overseas are not always considered American-made. The components began to flow to Huawei about three weeks ago, the people said.

The sales will help Huawei continue to sell products such as smartphones and servers, and underscore how difficult it is for the Trump administration to clamp down on companies that it considers a national security threat, like Huawei. They also hint at the possible unintended consequences from altering the web of trade relationships that ties together the world’s electronics industry and global commerce.

And…Apple says it has acquired autonomous driving startup, Drive.ai, as well as hiring dozens of the company’s engineers and taking over its autonomous cars. 

The company was once valued at $200M, and Axios reports this deal and the hires “confirm that Apple hasn’t given up its autonomous driving project.”

No purchase price was disclosed.

Let’s hope this isn’t the road to nowhere for Apple and its autonomous driving strategy.

Written by turbotodd

June 26, 2019 at 9:37 am

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