Apple

Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?

The iPhone is arguably the most valuable product in the world, representing the backbone of Apple Inc.’s AAPL -1.03% half-trillion-dollar hardware business and undergirding its software-peddling App store. It remains the envy of consumer-product companies world-wide. If history is any indication, though, America’s favorite handheld device will someday take up residence with the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot in a museum. Although it’s hard to imagine the iPhone dying, change can sneak up rapidly on contraptions that are deeply entrenched in American culture. Consider it was as recently as the mid-1990s when I spent an hour a day during my senior year in high school in a room full of electric typewriters learning to type. Today, I spend most of my working hours using that skill to bang away on a keyboard, but I have rarely touched an actual typewriter in 25 years. “Over time, every franchise dies,” said Nick Santhanam, McKinsey’s Americas practice leader in Silicon Valley. “You can innovate on an amazing mousetrap, but if people eventually don’t want a mousetrap, you’re screwed.” Kodak, Polaroid and Sears are all examples from the recent past of companies that held too tightly to an old idea. Today’s tech giants, ranging from Netflix (having already reinvented itself to be dependent on advertising-free streaming video) to Google parent Alphabet Inc. (counting advertising as 86% of revenue), should take note of those painful demises to avoid the same fate. Apple’s mousetrap is anything but broken. Representing 60% of Apple’s revenue, the iPhone outsells 96% of the companies on the Fortune 500. The phone carries the bulk of the $545 billion valuation that Morgan Stanley assigns to Apple’s wider hardware business. Apple, for the better part of the 2000s, was the master of the next big thing: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone. Apple wasn’t always first, but its products were easier to use, thinner, cooler. With the success of the iPhone since it arrived on the scene, the next big thing has been harder to find. Apple has had no breakthrough on TV, a modest success with its watch, a stumble in music and a lot of speculation concerning its intentions for autonomous cars or creating original programming. Now, as in a comic-book movie, we’re all left to wonder whether Apple’s greatest strength could be its biggest weakness? Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook acknowledges the latest iPhone delivery trends indicate his company faces a potential inflection point. “Apple has always used periods of adversity to re-examine our approach,” Mr. Cook said in a Jan. 2 letter to investors. Apple has a legacy of invention, Mr. Cook says. That’s something the Cupertino, Calif., company is eventually going to need. In a CNBC interview Tuesday, he pointed to rapid growth in services and “wearables”—such as watches or ear buds—as reason for optimism. Someday, Apple will be known more for its contribution to health care than its sleek gadgets, Mr. Cook says. Whatever shape it takes, Apple’s evolution will be closely watched if only because reinvention is so hard to pull off. A decade ago, Nokia’s dominance in handheld devices evaporated after executives failed to create a compelling operating system to make their pricey smartphones more user-friendly. Finnish executives have told me on several occasions that Nokia knew it needed to rapidly change, but lacked the urgency and resources to do it. There are success stories, to be sure. The Model T almost entirely underpinned Ford Motor Co.’s rise a century ago, when the Detroit auto maker owned roughly half of the U.S. car market. Without “The Universal Car,” Henry Ford likely would have been forgotten. A closer parallel to Apple is Microsoft Corp. Its best-known product, Windows, was so dominant that it drew extreme regulatory scrutiny while vaulting the Seattle software company atop the personal-computer market before cloud computing existed. Both Ford and Microsoft adapted and survived. Iconic vehicles like Ford’s Mustang coupe or F-150 pickup prove companies can live a productive life after the initial hit product fades. Microsoft’s transition to cloud computing with its Azure product, meanwhile, has vaulted the company back near the top of the race for the title of world’s most valuable company. Still, it’s a slog. “It’s hard to be a two-trick pony,” former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told me Thursday. “It’s amazing to do one. It’s super amazing to do two. Doing three? I have a lot of respect for a company that can do three tricks. … It’s just hard to come up with concepts that can make that happen.” He said Apple’s line of Mac products is one trick and the so-called i-Series (iPhone or iPod) was a second. “If they had stopped with the iPod, where would they be?” They succeeded because “they pushed beyond” with a phone. By all accounts, the iPhone’s run—nearing the dozen-year mark—has been remarkable, especially when you consider the average company in the S&P 500 remains in the index for only 15 years. Mr. Cook’s legacy, however, hinges on how well he pulls off Apple’s next act.

Indeed…  Thanks to John D. Stoll for that reality check.

Apple’s next iPhone may have a ‘secret weapon’

Apple’s next iPhone could feature powerful camera technology built by rival Sony. The so-called “3D camera” would turn the real world into a video game – using revolutionary augmented reality (AR) tech. Apple is tight-lipped about this year’s iPhone 11, to the point where we don’t even know the gadget’s real name. But a new report suggests Apple has shown interested in a three-lens camera system that could debut on this year’s iPhone. According to Bloomberg, Sony is “boosting production of next-generation 3D sensors”, which could revolutionize phone cameras. Apparently, this is “after getting interest from customers, including Apple.” The report notes that Sony will kick off mass production “in late summer”. Apple typically launches new smartphones in September, so the production timeline could work for a new iPhone. So what’s the big deal with Sony’s new camera tech? Smartphone makers are investing heavily in augmented reality, which overlays computer-generated images onto the world around you. Common examples include Snapchat filters, or the Pokémon you see in the Pokémon Go app game. To achieve high-quality AR, cameras need to be able to work out depth – understanding how far objects are away from each other. This makes it possible to place CGI objects much more accurately, so they seem more realistic. Sony’s system uses a “time of flight” method that sends out invisible laser pulses and measures how long they take to bounce back. This can create more detailed 3D models are a distance of up to five meters. With very accurate AR, it would be possible to turn the real world into a convincing video game. One example included a game where phone owners could use hand gestures to cast magic spells in a virtual game. Sony regularly supplies camera hardware for lots of rivals in the smartphone industry. It counts Apple, Google and Samsung among its customers, and controls about half of the camera chip market. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Apple will use any of this new camera tech in its next iPhone model.

Ready Player One…coming to an iPhone near you

Apple spending $11B on Texas campus, data centers

Apple has announced that it is putting its cash pile to work. The technology giant will invest $1 billion to build a new campus in North Austin, Texas and another $10 billion for new data centers. It is all a part of a five-year investment aimed at creating 20,000 jobs in the United States. The Cupertino-based company said on Thursday it would also to set up new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California and expand operations in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years. “Apple is proud to bring new investment, jobs and opportunity to cities across the United States and to significantly deepen our quarter-century partnership with the city and people of Austin,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Talent, creativity and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or zip code, and, with this new expansion, we’re redoubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationwide.” Apple has faced increasing political pressure to ramp up investments at home since 2016, when then presidential candidate Donald Trump targeted the company for using Asian factories for the bulk of its manufacturing. Data centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada are being expanded. The new Austin campus will be located less than a mile away from its existing facilities, Apple said. Apple’s technology rival Amazon.com last month ended a months-long search for new headquarters, picking locations in New York and Virginia.

Great news!!   🙂

Apple Watch can now detect your irregular heart rhythms and other problems: Here’s how it works

Apple Watch users can now take a reading of their heart’s electrical signal by holding a finger on the crown of the device. On Thursday, customers with the Apple Watch Series 4 who install the latest software update can access a new feature to identify atrial fibrillation, a common form of an irregular heart rhythm, as well as opt in to more passive monitoring. Anyone over age 22 can use these new heart health features, although not all them are designed for people who have already been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, by their doctor. All of this has been in the works for years. Apple got a first-of-its-kind clearance for its electrocardiogram app from federal regulators in September after conducting a preclinical study with 2,000 people. It also did a clinical trial with 600 other participants to ensure it could distinguish between a normal heartbeat, or sinus rhythm, and atrial fibrillation. The company released data on its new features in a white paper, published on Thursday, as well as a physician-facing website. Click here for more

If you’re an Apple Watch Series 4 owner, and have heart concerns, you really need to read this article.  Just click on the text above for more.   This is excellent!    🙂

Independent media rallies behind Alex Jones

Things move very quickly in the media realm, and in quirky ways. Despite the fact that Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify banned controversial broadcast host and “InfoWars” creator Alex Jones, he still led the national trends on Twitter throughout Monday. Such is the irony of social media. Certain content producers are banished from busy sites for violating “community rules” about the nature and tone of content — then the public can’t wait to talk about them. And talk they did. All that aside, the Texas-based Mr. Jones bypassed both traditional news and social media sites and immediately produced a “world exclusive” outlining his response from “being banned from the internet,” then streamed the statement from his own website, and on Twitter, where he still has a presence. Though they may not agree with Mr. Jones’ work or philosophy, many observers are troubled by the banning. “It is a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets,” said Media Research Center founder and veteran media analyst Brent Bozell. “This is part of a disturbing trend. In recent months top conservative congressmen have been shadowbanned on Twitter. Pro-life and pro-gun posts and videos are often removed on several platforms. Liberal journalists even objected to one conservative outlet attending a meeting with Facebook. Several conservative organizations like Live Action, the NRA and even the Christian satire site Babylon Bee have complained they had posts removed or censored,” Mr. Bozell continued. “Social media sites are supposedly neutral platforms, but they are increasingly becoming opportunities for the left and major media to censor any content that they don’t like,” he said, warning that the ban on Mr. Jones is “just the beginning.” Some other media forces were also at work. On Monday the Drudge Report led with Mr. Jones’ story — which is a monster-sized mention. The proverbial Drudge “hit” yields huge readership. Consider that in the last 24 hours alone, 29 million people visited Drudge, which is formatted like straightforward, old-school news. There are terse, pertinent headlines — lots of them — and all are immediately accessible, the provided links leading to the original content. Some heavy thinkers also stepped forward to have a say on Twitter, some characterizing Mr. Jones’ experiences as something right out of communist nation of yore. “Whether you like @RealAlexJones and Infowars or not, he is undeniably the victim today of collusion by the big tech giants. What price free speech?” asked British broadcaster and political analyst Nigel Farage. “Alex Jones is now an unperson, straight out of the plot of George Orwell’s 1984. Regardless what you think of him and Infowars, this is the equivalent of digital book burning and sets a horrifying precedent for mass censorship by Big Tech,” tweeted Mark Dice, an author and independent media analyst.

Agreed!!  This censorship by big tech is beyond outrageous.  Shame on ALL of them!!  For more, click on the text above.  And, if you are curious to see what all these tech companies don’t want you to see, just go to:  http://www.infowars.com   and you be the judge.

Apple’s Revenue, Earnings Top Estimates

Apple Incc. delivered its best-ever revenue for the June quarter, typically its weakest period, as demand for high-price iPhones remained resilient and services like app-store sales swelled to all-time highs. The results for Apple’s fiscal third quarter show how the world’s most valuable company is finding ways to grow amid a contracting global smartphone market that is roiling its rivals. “Growth was strong all around the world,” Apple finance chief Luca Maestri said during an interview. Though iPhone sales usually weaken in the spring and summer as anticipation builds for new devices expected in September, Mr. Maestri said demand has remained consistent, particularly for the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus. “Customers are really valuing the features in the products,” he said. Shares of Apple, up 28% over the past year, rose 3.6% to $197.01 in after-hours trading. Apple’s move to raise iPhone prices continued to pay off in the period with sales of its flagship product rising 20% to $29.91 billion even as shipments rose less than 1% to 41.3 million. Meanwhile, the company’s services business reported record revenue of $9.55 billion, a 31% increase from a year ago, strengthening the case that Apple is in the midst of a transformation from a device-driven business into one increasingly reliant on sales of subscriptions and software. The combination drove total revenue up 17% to $53.26 billion in the latest period, above Wall Street expectations and near the high end of its own guidance. Profit rose 32% to $11.52 billion, or $2.34 a share, also above analysts’ consensus estimates. Apple signaled it expects to sustain strong iPhone sales in the current quarter with a forecast for total revenue of between $60 billion and $62 billion, which would represent a healthy 14% to 18% increase from a year ago. The expected jump reflects a small boost from a trio of new devices the company is expected to release in September, analysts say, including an update to the $999 iPhone X, its first oversize phone with an organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, display and a 6.1-inch LCD phone with facial recognition technology. The new phones are projected to be priced between $699 for the LCD device and $1,099 for the plus-size handset, according to UBS, potentially ensuring another year of higher average iPhone prices to lift Apple’s total revenue. Analysts had estimated the $999 iPhone X made up one-quarter of total iPhones sold, which helped lift average selling prices per iPhone by nearly 20% to about $724. While sales of the company’s handsets have been more pedestrian so far this fiscal year than the more than 7% increase in annual iPhone shipments many analysts forecast a year ago, features like the iPhone X’s facial recognition and edge-to-edge display have been enough to help Apple deliver modest growth and revive a China business mired in a multiyear slump. The company said revenue in Greater China, where sales tanked in 2016, rose 19% to $9.55 billion. Apple’s chief rival, Samsung Electronics Co. , hasn’t fared as well. The South Korean company, which also has raised smartphone prices to nearly $1,000, reported a big decline in mobile phone profits on Tuesday as consumers hold on to devices longer and balk at higher prices. Samsung has seen its market share in China fall as homegrown rivals like Huawei Technologies Co. increase sales.

Florida mom says Apple Watch saved teen’s life, sparks response from Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to the mother of a teenage girl in Lithia, Florida, who told him an Apple Watch saved her daughter’s life. In late April, Deanna Recktenwald’s Apple Watch notified her that her resting heart rate jumped to 160 beat per minute — well over the normal range of 60 to 100 beat per minute. “I didn’t know what was going on at all and it was just out of the blue,” Recktenwald, 18, told WFTS-TV. Recktenwald’s mother and registered nurse, Stacey, shared her daughter’s health story in an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook. At first, Stacey explained in the email posted by WFTS-TV, she thought the reading was “just a fluke” because the 18-year-old is a “healthy, athletic young lady with no previous medical conditions.” But the teen’s heart rate continued to rise — eventually reaching 190 beats per minute. At that point, Stacey took her daughter to a local urgent care to confirm the watch’s reading. The urgent care confirmed Recktenwald’s vitals were abnormal and suggested she go to the emergency room. Shortly after, doctors discovered the teen was reportedly suffering from chronic kidney disease and she was in kidney failure. “I didn’t even know that it had the capability of giving us that alert,” Stacey said of the watch. She added in the letter that “if it wasn’t caught now the doctor said that she would have needed a kidney transplant.” “[I] Instantly started to pray and thank God for her having that watch,” Recktenwald’s father, Tom, told the news station. Like most parents, Stacey is nervous about sending her daughter off to college in the fall, though she said it’s comforting to know the teen will have an Apple Watch to help monitor her heart rate. Cook replied to Stacey’s letter on April 26, saying he was glad to hear Recktenwald is doing better and thanked the mother for sharing the story. “This inspires us to keep pushing,” Cook replied.

Indeed..  What a great story!  As someone who has had heart troubles, I’m glad I wear my Apple Watch every day.   🙂