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Apple bits
Future Apple Macbook models could get their power from the iPhone in a novel idea that would put the smartphone at the centre of everything. Filings that turned up at the US Patent and Trademark Office cover a variety of new ideas, but the most interesting involves using an iPhone to power MacBooks. An image in the patent shows an oblong-shaped slot where the touchpad once existed and in its place a smartphone would power the whole show. Whilst the laptop clam shell would still provide the display, keyboard, GPU and ports, the iPhone would take on most of the heavy lifting, usually done by a CPU.

Apple's next MacBook could completely reinvent the wheel and be powered by your iPhone

As per a new proposition suggested by the European Union (EU) executive today, online messaging services such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, Google’s Gmail and Apple’s iMessage could face tough rules over their methods of tracking their users. This proposal may also adversely effect their advertising revenues.

EU's proposed e-privacy law could hamper ad revenues for Facebook and Google | The Tech Portal

Shares of Anglo-German manufacturer Dialog Semiconductor lost more than a third of their value on Tuesday morning after a financial analyst warned the company may lose a contract with the U.S. tech giant Apple. Bankhaus Lampe, a private bank in Germany, downgraded the manufacturer to a "sell" rating on "strong evidence" that Apple is working on its own battery-saving chip for the iPhone - which could replace Dialog's power circuits as early as 2019.

Apple supplier tanks 36% amid fears it could lose its key contract

30.3 percent of the market capitalization of the Nasdaq is now accounted for by just five companies -- Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent), Microsoft Corp., Inc. and Facebook Inc. That percentage is high, historically speaking.

Tech's Giants Keep Devouring the Competition - Bloomberg View

My issue is with the premise behind a deal like this: that Apple should vertically integrate content creation into its portfolio of products and services. Doing so would be a significant departure for Apple from the strengths that are behind its competitive advantage: outstanding brand marketing and industrial design, and a well-integrated suite of services on a seamless common platform.

This Is Frightening News for Apple Shareholders -- The Motley Fool

Something strange has happened this year between Apple and companies that supply parts to its many products: Their stock performances have diverged, after a long period of moving up and down together. Even weirder is that this divergence is not based on which companies are more dependent on the tech giant.

Apple suppliers are seeing strange things happen to their share prices


Except Anker. The steady rise of the company’s profile is proof that it’s possible to meet one very specific consumer need and ride that wave as it continues to ripple out to other markets. A majority of Anker’s sales come from cables and wall chargers, and it’s now moving into the smart home and auto market — anywhere a plug and a cable can solve a problem. Yang and his team started a company with the sole purpose of selling a better third-party accessory. But they stumbled onto a more lucrative reality: mobile phones, once niche luxury items, are now ubiquitous centerpieces of our digital lives. Each of these phones, and all the products that connect to them, need their own cable and plug. And each and every day these devices die before we want them to.

How Anker is beating Apple and Samsung at their own accessory game - The Verge

At MWC Shanghai, Qualcomm announced its latest ultrasonic fingerprint solution, with the new highlights being its integration underneath OLED displays (up to 1.2mm-thick), as well as working fine even when the device is immersed in water. As before, this tech can tolerate dirt and sweat on skin better than its capacitive counterpart, and it also works underneath metal and glass (duh) but with increased penetration -- up to 800um for glass and up to 650um for aluminum, as opposed to the old 400um for either material... Even though it was Xiaomi who got to use Qualcomm's previous-gen "Sense ID" solution on its Mi 5s, this time the chip maker is letting Vivo get first dibs.

Vivo beats Apple to an under-display fingerprint scanner

Apple’s AAPL, -0.40% upcoming iPhone 8 is widely expected to have facial-recognition and iris-detection abilities, raising fears that Android phones would fall behind in a key technological area. Now Qualcomm QCOM, -1.04% the dominant chipset, processor, and wireless connectivity provider for Android-based devices, has released information about an updated set of Spectra image processors that will enable similar capabilities in Android phones, tablets and VR headsets later this year. How a smartphone senses the physical world impacts the ability to include security features in the device, add realism to gaming and augmented reality, and open up markets for new uses that don’t yet exist. This capability comes from depth sensing, an ability for the device to passively or actively locate itself in the physical world while measuring the spaces and items around it.

This technology shift opens up new possibilities for iPhones, Androids and virtual reality - MarketWatch

The lack of YouTube 4K comes down to the fact that Apple doesn’t support the VP9 video coding format in either the TV or Safari browsers both mobile and Mac. Apple hasn’t revealed when this support could happen.

Apple TV lacks Dolby Atmos, YouTube 4K; Apple Pay comes to ALDI - Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) | Seeking Alpha

Apple Inc. could close in on a trillion-dollar market capitalization next year — and if it does, it may have President Donald Trump to thank. That’s according to a scenario laid out by analysts at RBC Capital Markets, who said Apple AAPL, +0.04%  may turn out to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s planned U.S. tax changes.

Apple stock could get a trillion-dollar tailwind from Trump’s tax reforms, says RBC - MarketWatch

A few weeks before Apple would unveil iPhone X at its September 12, 2017, event, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo declared that Apple was ahead of Qualcomm (QCOM) in 3D sensing technology by two years. Unfortunately for Kuo, less than 10 days later, Qualcomm announced its partnership with Taiwanese company Himax (NASDAQ:HIMX) for 3D sensing systems to be in mass production in 2018 Q1. The Qualcomm/Himax approach is very similar to Apple's in that it uses an infrared laser to create a structured light illuminator and an infrared camera to view the IR light pattern as it illuminates objects. Apple's key advantage in facial recognition is not the sensor hardware, but the processing hardware provided by Apple's A11 Bionic SOC. The A11 provides on-chip machine learning acceleration through its Apple Neural Engine. Apple claims that FaceID is reliable and also robust to minor changes in the face from day to day. It was an important insight that machine learning was required to accomplish this, and an important security feature to provision this capability exclusively within the A11 SOC, rather than resorting to cloud computing. This capability will be more difficult for competitors to duplicate. Undoubtedly, Apple competitors such as Qualcomm and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) are working on similar neural engine hardware acceleration for their next-generation mobile SOCs. Huawei has announced that the Kirin 970 SOC will feature a dedicated Neural Processing Unit.

Apple Leads In Smartphone 3D Sensing, But For How Long? - Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) | Seeking Alpha


"Warren Buffett differentiates between franchises and businesses. A franchise is based on offerings that are needed, thought by customers to have no close substitute, and not subject to price regulation," Milunovich wrote in a note to clients. "Franchises enjoy such strong economics that they can survive mismanagement. If that's true, then concerns about Apple losing its mojo post-Jobs could be accurate yet misplaced though we think management is performing well." Buffett recently endorsed Apple by disclosing a 2.6% stake in the company, making his Berkshire Hathaway the fifth-largest owner of Apple shares. The move notably goes against his famous investing habit of staying away from tech. The reason Buffett is so confident in Apple's ability to outperform its rivals comes down to his simple theory of economic moats. A company with a wide competitive advantage has a "moat" around its business that can keep other players at an arm's length and give the company room to maneuver. It can be argued that despite several recent hardware missteps, Apple has maintained and expanded its economic moat. Apple customers tend to spend like high-value customers when they step into an Apple store, even when they wouldn't exhibit those behaviors at other retailers, Milunovich explains. Apple's customers are incredibly loyal and show their love by opening their wallets.

Warren Buffett has a simple reason for why Apple will continue to thrive without Steve Jobs (AAPL)


"Investors worry that the smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated, especially at the high end, where Apple competes, and that over time, the market for iPhones will largely become a replacement market. Moreover, over time, we believe that successive generations of iPhones will likely become less differentiated (i.e. new iPhones will become "good enough" to forestall further upgrades), resulting in the elongation of replacement cycles. Such a development could materially pressure iPhone revenues; to a lesser degree, Apple has already faced these challenges in its iPad business, where annual revenues declined 37% from 2014 to 2017. We note that if the average iPhone replacement cycle were to eventually lengthen from 2.5 years (roughly where we are today) to 3 years, annual iPhone annual unit sales would ultimately fall by 17%." The good news for Apple's stock price is that it's already sitting on one of the solutions: The iPhone Upgrade Programme. This essentially lets people buy the newest iPhones from Apple SIM-free with 20 monthly payments. If a new iPhone comes out, customers can upgrade halfway through the programme to the new phone. The upshot of this model is that customers get a new iPhone every year and Apple gets guaranteed, ongoing payments that increase every year if people decided to swap to a new, more expensive phone.

Analysts say iPhone sales could shrink by 17% if Apple doesn't make a drastic change to its business (AAPL)

Brick and mortar's troubles have been laid at the feet of digital disruption. There is some truth to that. However, digital sales are still only 10–12 percent of retail. It's not stores that are dying, but the middle class, and the stores serving them. Most that are located in, or serving, middle-class households are struggling. By comparison, stores in affluent neighborhoods are holding strong. The middle class used to be 61 percent of Americans, now they are the minority, representing less than half the population . . . the rest being lower or upper income.
The success of single companies like Apple can hollow out entire markets, even regions. The iPhone debuted in 2007, and devastated Motorola and Nokia. Together they have shed 100,000 jobs. Nokia, at its peak, represented 30 percent of Finland's GDP and paid almost a quarter of all of that country's corporate taxes. Russia may have rolled tanks into Finland in 1939, but Apple's 2007 commercial invasion also levied substantial economic damage. Nokia's fall pummeled the entire economy of Finland. The firm's share of the stock market has shrunk from 70 to 13 percent.

How Apple and Amazon built ‘moats’ to stave off the competition—commentary

Despite the fact that the iPhone 8 only went on sale on 22 September, just a few days before the fourth quarter ended on 30 September, and the iPhone X wasn’t even available, Apple sold 46.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of of 2017, compared to 41.026 million iPhones in Q3, and 45.5 million in the year ago quarter. That’s up 14% quarter-on-quarter, and up 3% year-on-year. So concerns that people were holding off buying the iPhone 8 in favour of waiting for the iPhone X seem to be unfounded. The company made revenue of $28.846bn from these iPhone sales, compared to $24.846bn in in Q3 and $28.160 in the same quarter of 2016. That’s up 16% quarter-on-quarter, and up 2% year-on-year.

Apple Q4 2017 financial results, iPhone, iPad & Mac sales data - Macworld UK

Apple is likely to win big under the tax plan that Republicans are pushing through Congress, according to the Financial Times. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm could make as much as $47 billion in additional profits from the tax legislation, according to the paper's estimates.

Analysis: Apple poised for $47 billion windfall from GOP tax bill | TheHill


And that brings us to our call of the day from Sinolink Securities Co. analyst Zhang Bin, who has predicted that a circa $1,000 price tag on the iPhone X may cut into first-quarter demand. His research, cited in a Bloomberg report on Monday, said handset shipments of Apple’s newest phone could be as much as 10 million less than he expected for the first quarter, to as low as 35 million units.

Here’s why investors may have to worry about Apple shares in 2018 - MarketWatch


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