Posts tagged with "Apple"

Apple, Goldman Sachs market virtual Apple Cards to consumers

August 7, 2019

Apple and Goldman Sachs Group rolled out a virtual credit card on August 6, in a deal designed to enable the iPhone maker to diversify from device sales and to build out the Wall Street bank’s new consumer business.

Apple intends to market the card to iPhone owners, Reuters reports—offering 2% cash back on purchases via the Apple Pay service, no fees, and an app to manage related finances.

On the Goldman Sachs side, the new card is intended to help build the new Marcus by Goldman Sachs consumer brand; which the bank started in 2015 to even out volatile results from businesses, such as trading and investment banking.

On Tuesday, Apple shares were up about 1 percent at $195.30 in trading before the bell. According to the Reuters report, the company said a limited number of the people who had expressed interest in the Apple Card would start receiving sign-up invitations immediately.

“The Apple Card doesn’t play in the same league as premium rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or AmEx Platinum,” said Sara Rathner, an expert on credit cards at NerdWallet.

She noted, “Those cards charge ultra-high fees, but in return you get some pretty sweet perks: massive sign-up bonuses, annual statement credits, free Global Entry, and a higher point-earning rate for travel expenses.”

Apple will offer an option for a physical card made of titanium, but with no visible number. Instead, the card’s number is stored on a secure chip inside the iPhone, which will generate virtual numbers for online or over-the-phone purchases that require a number.

Apple said purchase information would be stored on the user’s iPhone and that it cannot see the data. Goldman will not be allowed to use data for marketing purposes, even for selling its other products.

Gene Munster, managing partner with Loup Ventures and a longtime Apple watcher, said the card’s adoption is likely to be low in the first year, but it could generate about $1.4 billion of high-margin revenue by 2023.

That would add about 1.8% to Apple’s overall earnings and complement the much larger Apple Pay business for total payments revenue of $5.38 billion by 2023. Apple has roughly 50 million U.S. Apple Pay users now.

But at Apple’s size—$265.6 billion in sales for fiscal 2018—the revenue matters less than the effect on keeping Apple customers tied to its brand, Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies said for the Reuters story.

“If it works, it’s one more thing that causes you to stay deeply loyal and entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, even if something better comes along,” he said.

Research contact:  @Reuters

Prime time: In rivalry with Amazon, Target offers ‘deal days,’ eBay plans a ‘crash sale’

June 27, 2019

Amazon is promoting its “Prime Day” again—but other retailers aren’t going to be caught out again this year. They are offering a bevy of their own deals, which they hope will dazzle shoppers and draw them into their websites and brick-and-mortar locations.

According to a report by CNBC, both Target and eBay so far have announced their own deal strategies following Amazon’s announcement on June 25—in which the company said Prime Day will actually run for two days this year and begin at midnight (PT) on July 15.

Target is plugging its “deal days” on July 15 and 16. The discount chain said in a June 25 press release, “Savers, start your engines. Today we’re unveiling Target Deal Days, two (yep, two!) days of red-hot online sales, no membership required. On Monday, July 15, and Tuesday, July 16, you’ll be able to save big with thousands of deals across Target.com and on the Target app, with new deals each day.”

As it says above, Target is emphasizing that no o membership is required to shop the special deals—as is the case with Amazon’s event. Customers can also receive 5% in savings when they use a Target credit card.

Last year,  CNBC reminds us, Target held a one-day sale on its website that aligned with Prime Day. It was one of the retailer’s biggest days of the year for online sales, according to Target’s Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton.

Amazon rival eBay, meanwhile, is holding what it calls a “crash sale.” It said it will start offering some deals as early as July 1. But on July 15, it will be offering deals on major brands including LG, Apple, Samsung, KitchenAid, and Garmin.

What’s more, eBay snarks,  it will drop more deals if Amazon’s website crashes, as it did last year at the start of Prime Day.  “July has become a massive shopping season,” Jay Hanson, COO of eBay’s Americas division, told CNBC.

On Prime Day, which started in July 2015 as a way to mark the company’s 20th anniversary, Amazon Prime members can buy highly discounted products. The deals are applied to most of the goods Amazon sells. And many items will sell out within minutes, creating a sort of Black Friday scramble where people are trying to buy things as quickly as possible.

Amazon said last year’s Prime Day was its biggest ever, topping a record in 2017. And so it’s plausible this year could be even more successful since it runs longer, CNBC says.

Amazon shares are up about 25% so far this year. Target’s stock has rallied close to 30%; eBay shares are up more than 39%.

Research contact: @CNBC

Supreme Court allows antitrust suit against Apple App Store to proceed

May 13, 2019

A divided Supreme Court voted 5-4  on May 13 to allow an enormous antitrust class action suit against Apple to move forward—ruling that the plaintiffs should be allowed to try to prove that the Cupertino, California-based technology giant has monopolized the market for the sale of iPhone apps, The New York Times reported.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the court in October, wrote the majority opinion in the case, Apple Inc. v. Pepper et. al (No. 17-204)., which also was signed by the court’s four more liberal justices—rejecting a plea from Apple to end the lawsuit. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the court in 2017, wrote the dissent.

The syllabus of the case summarized the basis for the suit as follows:

Apple sells iPhone applications, or apps, directly to iPhone owners through its App Store—the only place where iPhone owners may lawfully buy apps. Most of those apps are created by independent developers under contracts with Apple. Apple charges the developers a $99 annual membership fee, allows them to set the retail price of the apps, and charges a 30% commission on every app sale. Respondents, four iPhone owners, sued Apple, alleging that the company has unlawfully monopolized the aftermarket for iPhone apps.

The legal question in the case was whether the suit was barred by a 1977 decision, Illinois Brick Co. V. Illinois, which allowed only direct purchasers of products to bring federal antitrust suits. According to the Times report, Apple argued that it was an intermediary and so not subject to suit.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, earlier had  disagreed. “Apple is a distributor of the iPhone apps, selling them directly to purchasers through its App Store,” Judge William A. Fletcher wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel of the court.

Research contact: @nytimes

Researchers say wireless earphones could be a source of carcinogenic radiation

March 15, 2019

While most of us have worried at one time or another that our use of smartphones could endanger our health, it turns out that the earphones—specifically, wireless earbuds—could pose a much greater danger, News-Medical.net reports.

Specifically, medical researchers are worried about wireless earbuds, such as the AirPods introduced by Apple in 2016. These wireless earpieces transmit data using a type of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiowave via Bluetooth technology. The proximity of this radiation to the brains of the users is cause for concern, they say.

In fact, News-Medical.net notes, a group of 250 experts and researchers have signed a petition to the United Nations and World Health Organization to stop the use of these and other wireless devices.

The petition reads, “Based upon peer-reviewed, published research, we have serious concerns regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices.”

It goes on to say that the risk of cancer, neurological disorders, and DNA damage that have been associated with EMF exposure cannot be ignored.

Jerry Phillips, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs agrees with the medical alert. He told the news outlet, “My concern for AirPods,” he says, “is that their placement in the ear canal exposes tissues in the head to relatively high levels of radio-frequency radiation.” Phillips is one of the many scientists who have called for a restriction on use of such devices.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently confirmed that these EMF waves could be “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. These waves are similar to UV rays or x-rays—but are not as powerful. They can cause burns at high concentration but are generally of less impact. The debate about whether they are carcinogenic is still ongoing.

The World Health Organization developed guidelines that regulate the amount of EMF the devices are allowed to emit. The petition adds, “The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of EMF. By not taking action, the WHO is failing to fulfill its role as the preeminent international public health agency.”

The guidelines insist that phones should be kept away from the body when not in use. Sleeping with the phone is not a good practice and usage of headsets or headphones to conduct phone calls is suggested as a good option.

Research contact @AzoNetwork

Apple’s new watch will appeal to Baby Boomers

September 14, 2018

On September 12, Apple introduced a line of three new smartphones—the 5.8-inch   iPhone Xs and  the 6.5-inch iPhone Xs Max—both with Super Retina displays;  as well as a colorful, lower-cost model, the iPhone Xr. The company also launched a new version of the Apple Watch—geared for Baby Boomers who want not only a wicked-rad smartphone, but the advantages that, until now, only came with a range of devices on the market, including the Kardia handheld ECG, the Philips Lifeline fall detector, and the FitBit workout tracker.

If a Baby Boomer not only wants to be au courant—but also wants to feel safe and connected to assistance—this new Apple Watch Series 4 is the technology to try out.  It comes featuring a larger screen, fall detection, the ability to take an electrocardiogram, and a workout tracker—all in one , with the phone service, watch face and alarms that the buyer expects.

The watch still requires FDA approval. But when that’s accomplished, Apple says in its press release, the watch will enable “customers to take an ECG reading right from the wrist using the new ECG app, which takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal.

“With the app, users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications, and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.”

What’s more, the Apple Watch intermittently analyzes heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification to the user, if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is detected. It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.

Fall detection on the phone uses a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces, along with custom algorithms to identify when hard falls occur. By analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, Apple Watch sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If Apple Watch senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts.

In addition to its other features, the new watch makes it easier to stay connected. Customers can reach their friends with just a tap of the wrist with WalkieTalkie, a watch-to-watch connection that is an entirely new way to communicate around the world over Wi-Fi or cellular.4

Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS) starts at $399 and Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499—both featuring the updated design and new health features. Series 3 will be available at the new starting price of $279, making it even more accessible to customers. A new collection of bands debuts this fall and all bands continue to work with any generation of Apple Watch.

Research contact: Lance_Line@apple.com

Most U.S. households own more than two Apple products

November 10, 2017

With apologies to New York City, just call America “The Big Apple,” and be done with it. A CNBC All-America Economic Survey released last month has found that fully 64% of all Americans now own an Apple product—up from 50% when the question was last asked five years ago. The average American household reports owning 2.6 Apple products, up by one product from the 2012 survey.

Among the products offered by Apple are iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macbooks, iMacs, Apple Watches, Apple TVs and various accessories.

“I cannot think of any other product — especially any other product at a high price point — that has that kind of permeation with the public and level of growth,” said Jay Campbell, pollster with Hart Research, which conducted the survey  on behalf of CNBC, along with Public Opinion Strategies.

The Apple product line is pervasive by income group, age, race, sex and region of the country, according to the poll results. Indeed, more than half of nearly all demographic groups report owning at least one Apple product.

The household ownership rate is below 50% for only a few groups, including those with incomes under $30,000, retirees and women over age 50. By contrast, 87% of Americans with incomes over $100,000 report owning at least one. And the wealthiest Americans own 4.7 products per household.

The survey also found that 64% of respondents say their time on their smartphone is “mostly productive and useful,” while 27% acoutner that it is “mostly unproductive.” Young people, Midwesterners and those with just a high school education are most likely to report wasting time on their smartphones.

As for usage, it is dominated by phone calls, emails and texts, followed by social media. Few Americans say watching videos, playing games and shopping are the main uses for their handhelds.

The poll of 800 respondents across the country was conducted late last month and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points

Research contact: @steveliesman