Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘apple

Boxed In

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Big news coming out of SCOTUS this morning: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Apple in case involving its App Store, allowing iPhone users to move forward with an antitrust suit against the company.

According to a report from CNBC, the iPhone users argue that Apple’s 30 percent commission on sales through the App Store was passed along to consumers, an unfair use of monopoly power.

Apple argued that only app developers, and not users, should be able to bring such a lawsuit:

“Apple’s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits,” [Justice] Kavanaugh wrote.

Shares of Apple, already battered by trade concerns, were down more than 5%, lagging the broader market.

The result of the iPhone users’ litigation could affect the way that Apple, as well as other companies that operate electronic marketplaces like Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet’s Google, structure their businesses. For Apple, hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties could hang on the outcome.

And if you’re worried about becoming boxed in by looming new automation technologies, you might want to steer clear of the Amazon warehouses. 

Reuters is reporting that Amazon is rolling out machines to automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders.

The company started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelopes them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item, two people who worked on the project told Reuters.

Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, these people said. These facilities typically employ more than 2,000 people.

That would amount to more than 1,300 cuts across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory. Amazon would expect to recover the costs in under two years, at $1 million per machine plus operational expenses, they said.

A video shot by Reuters accompanying the story suggested the human workforce decline would come through attrition: Amazon would simply “refrain” from refilling packing roles over time, a job that already has huge turnover work for its 10-hour shifts.

On the man v. machine front, it sounds as though the machine boxes that box the boxes themselves will eventually beat the humans hands down.

My question is, will the boxing machines ever buy anything from the company store?  

Will Amazon give them a discount for being so efficient at their jobs??  A promotion??

Maybe a corner office on the warehouse floor??

Written by turbotodd

May 13, 2019 at 10:32 am

When the Chips Are Down

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We now know more about the Apple/Qualcomm settlement.

It was all (or mostly) about 5G.

No sooner was the settlement announced that Intel announced it was pulling out of the 5G smartphone chip market.

Apple and Qualcomm’s six-year licensing agreement will help ensure the launch of the first 5G iPhone in 2020.

According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, the settlement included an undisclosed payment to Qualcomm by Apple, which "several weeks ago asked its suppliers to begin testing the chipmaker’s 5G modems."

Intel told Nikkei Asian in a statement that there was "no clear path to profitability and positive returns in the smartphone little business. That said, 5G remains a strategic priority across Intel and we continue to invest in our 5G network infrastructure business."

Apparently, Apple had long been concerned that Intel could not meet its 5G schedule, likely prompting the settlement with Qualcomm.

Nikkei Asian notes that Intel had been the sole modem chip supplier for iPhones since 2018, which, ironically, were due to Apple’s legal dispute with Qualcomm

What to do when the chips are down?!

Written by turbotodd

April 17, 2019 at 10:30 am

Hating Social Media, Loving Divorce in the Amazon

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Newsflash: Americans apparently have a love/hate relationship with social media.

According to the results of a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, they regard services such as Facebook to be divisive and a threat to privacy but continue to use them.

Across age groups and political ideologies, adults in the survey said they held a negative view of the effects of social media—even though 70% use such services at least once a day.

The results also suggest Americans are generally optimistic about the benefits that technology will bring to their lives and the economy, but they seem to struggle exactly what it is that policymakers and regulators should do to address some of the grievances people have about social media.

It’s Friday, my head hurts, The Masters starts next week, so I’m just going to think about puppies and golf balls.

But if you want more on the tech front, and the content wars specifically, get this: Apple Music has overtaken Spotify in U.S. paid subscribers.

In February, Apple Music had more than 28 million subscribers in February, while Spotify had 26 million. Does that bode well for Apple’s looming TV content play? I think it’s way too soon to tell, considering that nothingburger of an event last week in Cupertino, but it does at least seem to suggest that the Apple hardware penetration (iPhones, MacBooks, etc.) continues to be a benefit in reaching users with its services play.

The razors have to lift up the Apple razor blades or Apple’s dominance will inevitablye dwindle.

Who’s not dwindling? Ex-wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Bezos, who got 4 percent of the company in a stake worth roughly $36 billion, making her one of the world’s richest women.

Bezos keeps 75 percent of their Amazon stock and voting power over all the voting shares the couple own together.

The Bezos divorce settlement started the way the marriage ended, with a Tweet.

We hate social media until we love it again.

Written by turbotodd

April 5, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Posted in 2019, amazon, social media

Tagged with , , ,

Bull Run

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The 2019 bull run continues.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 211.22 points higher at 25,928.68 today, and CNBC reports that the S&P 500 has notched its best start to a year since 1998. 

What happened to that inverted bond yield???

Perhaps that’s all just more goodness for the soon-to-be rampant unicorns, including Lyft, whose IPO float today send the stock trading up 8.7 percent to $78.29, with more than 70 million shares trading on its first day as a public company. 

That lifted Lyft’s market valuation to $22.2 billion.

Other unicorns likely to be unleashed into the wild soon? Uber, Slack, Pinterest, among others.

Just remember, Lyft is currently #2 in the ride-hailing pecking order and lost $900 million in 2018.

While we’re on the subject of moolah, let’s talk about TechCrunch’s story about consumer spending on apps.

Sarah Perez’s headline suggests that spending will reach $156 billion across iOS and Google Play by 2023. Yes, you read that right.

That research estimate came from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, and suggests that both stores will more than double their revenues over the next five years. That’s +16.8 percent CAGR, if you’re counting along.

Getting further down into the numbers, that’s an estimated $96 billion for Apple and $60 billion for Google, with Apple taking nearly 62 percent of all revenue generated by the two platforms.

To put that in perspective, the global film industry was worth an estimated $136 billion as of 2018.

Time to hone those developer skills, because the bull run appears to continue across the board.

Written by turbotodd

March 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Apple TV

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This is the kind of data I like to pass on just three days before Apple starts its own “Game of Thrones” programming play geared at the incumbent filmed content distributors.

What’s New In Publishing is reporting that smartphones are the big gainers in media consumption according to the Nielsen Q3 2018 Total Audience Report.

Specifically, the Nielsen data shows there’s been a “significant jump” in mobile time-spent among 18-34s, from 29 to 34 percent. Growth, WNIP notes, which came at the expense of television.

It goes on to note that this trend “continues from a year earlier, as live and time-shifted TV (traditional cable, set-top box viewing) was surpassed by mobile in Q3 2017.

For all US audiences, mobile went up from 21 to 24 percent, with media consumption otherwise remaining flat at about 10.5 hours per day.

To whit I ask, don’t any of you people working for a living?

In terms of platforms, YouTube was the big winner per its 37 percent of all mobile Internet traffic. Facebook and Snapchat were both less than 9 percent. Interestingly, Netflix only garnered 2.4 percent of mobile traffic.

So with that as a prelude, what is expected of Apple’s Monday announce?  

The Verge’s sneak peak suggests two things, Apple Video and an Apple News subscription service. 

Though Apple has already had a big screen content play with its Apple TV device, this new video service could bring the prestige of Apple’s brand into Netflix- or Hulu-like experience (although notably Netflix won’t be participating in the Apple Video offering, according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings).

However, rather than being just the distributor and aggregator, much like they were with the original iPod, this time they’re going to be in the business of backing horses (making content). 

What will determine its success?

Simple. Will the content be good enough, and the price aggressive enough, to convince Apple loyalists to subscribe to yet another streaming service.

If not, Apple Video could go the way of the Newton. 

Written by turbotodd

March 22, 2019 at 10:43 am

Posted in 2019, apple, hollywood

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The New AirPods Are Here

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$1.7B.

That’s how much Google is being fined in the EU for restricting rivals’ ads. 

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the fine:

…deals with abusing the dominance of its search engine to block competitors in the niche market of selling text ads on the search results that appear on third-party websites.

It doesn’t come with a specific order to change Google’s business practices because the commission says Google ended the last type of anticompetitive behavior at issue in the case shortly after charges were filed nearly three years ago.

Back here in these United States, Facebook has announced it will stop allowing ad targeting by race, gender and age groups in the housing, jobs, or credit categories by the end of the year, according to an article in The New York Times:

The changes are part of a settlement with groups that have sued Facebook over these practices in recent years, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Fair Housing Alliance and the Communications Workers of America. They also cover advertising on Instagram and Messenger, which Facebook owns.

And Apple fanboys/girls everywhere unite, as Apple has finally launched its second gen AirPods. 

As covered by 9to5 Mac, the new versions come with a wireless charging case, a new H1 chip, hands-free “Hey Siri,” longer battery life and faster connections to devices.

The new AirPods are $199 with the wireless charging case and $159 with the standard case, and existing AirPods owners can purchase the wireless charging case separately.

For those who have been on the fence about AirPods, here’s my personal endorsement not paid for by Apple or anybody else: Buy them.

They’re one of the single most useful items of tech I’ve purchased in years. 

The only regret I had about not buying the first gen AirPods was that I didn’t buy them sooner.

I’ve used them on planes, trains, and automobiles, in noisy airports, riding my bike around Ladybird Lake in Austin, and beyond without any real issues.  

The thing you notice most: There’s no cord to get in the way or get caught up on your desk, your seatbelt, etc.

Also, my concerns (which I’m sure others had) about losing one of them — which I surely figured I would have by now — have faded away.

If you’re on the phone or emeetings a lot, or you listen to a lot of music and use an iPhone, they’re a no brainer and worth every penny.

Written by turbotodd

March 20, 2019 at 11:51 am

Posted in 2019, airpods, apple

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Need a Lyft?

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If you’re looking for a new iPad, Apple is offering up a couple of new options.

A new 10.5” iPad Air ($499), and a 7.9” iPad mini ($399), both with retina displays, the A12 Bionic chip, and support for the first-gen Apple pencil.

For those keeping score, that mini has the same screen size as the previous generation. 9to5Mac writes that the Air is “a halfway house between the $329 iPad and $799+ iPad Pro tiers.”

On the dealmaking and moneyraising fronts, there’s also news from this Monday.

Fidelity National Information Services Inc. said it has agreed to acuire Worldpay Inc for roughly $35 billion in cash and stock, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Why do we care?

This deal would build a global payments giant and back-end financial services business in a sector “under pressure to cut costs, develop new products and add customers.”

The combined FIS and Worldpay expects to generate $500 million in additional revenue and annual cost cuts of about $400 million through combining their one-stop shop services to process online and in-store payments and manage transactions in multiple currencies. The enlarged group, which expects to have annual revenue of about $12.3 billion, also will offer services to manage fraud and advanced data analytics, the companies said.

 FIS helps banks process credit-card transactions, service auto loans and handle back-office functions for money managers among a range of services that it offers. The company says its technology is used in managing transactions involving more than $9 trillion annually.

Finally, if you’re looking for a lift, ride-share company Lyft today disclosed it hopes to raise over $2 billion in its IPO, at an initial market cap that could top $19 billion. 

Lyft is expecting to offer 30.77 million shares valued at between $62 and $68 per share, and its IPO road-show is expected to kick off today.

Might be cheaper to ride a scooter.

Written by turbotodd

March 18, 2019 at 10:25 am

Posted in 2019, apple

Tagged with , , ,

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