Tue, Apr. 7, 4:08 PM
- With five days to spare before the season premiere of hit Game of Thrones, HBO Now (NYSE:TWX) has opened for business on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC).
- The Verge notes that overall, it's what you'd expected: HBO without the pay-TV subscription. HBO has included language in its agreement to change the number of streams/devices that subscribers can use, a sure hedge against password sharing.
- A nice benefit: For library content (which includes 2,000 titles), HBO will tell you the exact date when licensed films will be leaving the service so you can plan
- Other than that, it looks quite similar to HBO Go, its existing "TV Everywhere" approach for authenticated pay-TV subscribers.
- In her detailed recounting of the path to developing HBO Now, Nicole LaPorte notes the service might one day include content not available on the standard network offering.
- Previously: Dish, Time Warner make new peace; and Sling TV gets HBO (Apr. 01 2015)
- Previously: HBO CEO: Direct streaming a play for millennials (Mar. 31 2015)
Tue, Apr. 7, 10:58 AM
- Preliminary sales for Brian White's Apple Barometer (measures the sales of Apple-dependent Taiwanese suppliers) are up 42%-44% M/M in March, better than 2014's 34% Apple Barometer growth and well above the 28% average seen over the last 10 years.
- The Cantor analyst/Apple uber-bull now sees Apple Barometer sales dropping 25%-27% Q/Q in seasonally weak Q1; that compares with 32% a year ago and 25% two years ago. By contrast, the midpoint of Apple's calendar Q1 (FQ2) sales guidance calls for a 28% Q/Q revenue drop, worse than last year's 21%.
- White reiterates a $180 target ahead of Apple's (AAPL -0.1%) April 27 FQ2 report. That's equal to nearly 16x his 2016 EPS estimate after backing out $24.07/share in net cash. Strong Apple supplier sales could also be a positive for Cirrus Logic (CRUS -0.1%), which has risen over 80% from its fall lows with the help of strong iPhone-related sales.
- Meanwhile, in an employee memo, Tim Cook states "more than one thousand [Apple Watch] apps were submitted in just four days last week when the App Store started accepting them, and the rate of submissions has only been climbing since then." Apple released its WatchKit SDK last November; 3rd-party Watch apps currently have to interact with complementary iPhone/iPad apps.
- Cook also states Apple employees - there were 72,800 as of last year - will get a 50% Watch discount. Pre-orders start on April 10, and shipments/in-store sales on April 24.
Wed, Apr. 1, 2:22 PM
- Nine months after launching coverage with a Buy rating, Citi's Jim Suva has added Apple (AAPL -0.2%) to his Focus List, while reiterating a $145 target.
- Among Suva's 5 reasons why he thinks Apple can continue rising: He expects consumer demand for higher-capacity iPhones (driven by increased app usage and higher-resolution photos) to provide a "permanent step up" for gross margins. Demand for 64GB/128GB iPhone 6/6+ models helped Apple's GM rise 200 bps Y/Y in FQ1 to 39.9%, and its iPhone ASP jump to $687 from FQ4's $603.
- RBC argued yesterday GMs could benefit from component discounts, as well as yield, mix, and pricing improvements. "Going forward, we think that gross margins should act as the main lever for positive surprises..."
- Also cited by Suva: 1) Faster consumer phone upgrades thanks to carrier promotions and upgrade plans. 2) Growing enterprise penetration as Apple steps up its efforts to court businesses. 3) The potential for Apple Pay/Passbook to strengthen the ecosystem through over a dozen potential uses (payments, identification, keyless entry, etc.). 4) An "attractive" valuation of 11x forward EPS exc. cash.
- He sees Apple Watch as a "bonus" potential catalyst, and is cautious about its near-term sales due to concerns about its battery life and lack of built-in GPS (it relies on an iPhone to provide location data). Like others, Suva expects fresh dividend/buyback hikes to eventually arrive.
- Earlier: Samsung gets rave reviews for Galaxy S6
Wed, Apr. 1, 1:24 AM
- "The iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL) Has Met Its Match," reads the headline for the WSJ's review of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6.
- Reviewer/iPhone 6 owner Joanna Stern: "Like a child who just found out that Santa isn’t real, I have spent the past week questioning everything I know." She's a fan of the S6's glass/metal body with dual Gorilla Glass 4 (NYSE:GLW) panes, as well as its 2K OLED display, improved fingerprint sensor, rapid charging support, and 16MP OIS-capable camera. "The Galaxy S6 destroys HTC’s new One M9 and other flagship Android phones ... on photo quality."
- The Verge's Dieter Bohn gives the S6 8.8/10 stars. "Samsung finally copied the right thing: caring about design." Bohn declares the S6 to have "one of the finest screens I have ever seen on a phone," thanks to a 577 PPI pixel density and improved color awareness. He also calls the device (powered by an 8-core Exynos CPU) "probably the fastest Android phone I’ve ever used."
- BGR's Zach Epstein: "Samsung’s Galaxy S6 features a stunning design that manages to be sleek and elegant, yet modern ... Samsung has raised the bar when it comes to smartphone screens ... Samsung finally stopped obsessing about increasing its [camera] megapixel counts and instead focused on improving its optics, design and software performance ... I’ve never used a phone that charged from empty to full as quickly as this one."
- Samsung's software, though declared to be improved from the S5's (less bloatware, and what remains is often buried), still gets some criticism. Epstein reports seeing a lag with some UI features, and Stern is critical of Samsung's icons and keyboard. Also: Reviewers generally see little reason to pay an extra $100 for the curved S6 Edge, and some Android users might not like the S6's lack of a removable battery or microSD slot.
- Ahead of the reviews, there have been reports Samsung has upped S6 production due to strong early interest. The phone goes on sale on April 10.
- Other reviews: TechCrunch, CNET, Re/code, TechRadar
- Expected S6 suppliers: BRCM, INVN, OLED, SYNA, MXIM, IDTI
- A month ago: Samsung launches metal/glass S6 with Gorilla Glass 4, 2K display, new fingerprint sensor
Mon, Mar. 30, 10:23 AM
- "We believe ADI has secured multiple sockets across AAPL's iPhone/iPad lineup to enable the 3D/Force Touch feature," reports Barclays, upgrading Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI) to Overweight and hiking its target by $15 to $70. "[W]e believe AAPL needs and would be be willing to pay for ADI's high accuracy [analog/digital] converters."
- The WSJ reported 3 weeks ago Apple's next-gen iPhones will support haptic sensors that allow different software commands to be sent based on how hard a user presses on a screen. Apple has already integrated its haptics solution (christened Force Touch) within Apple Watch and a new 12" retina MacBook.
- Barclays forecasts the Apple wins will boost ADI's 2016 EPS by $0.80 or more. It thinks 1 converter chip will be needed for the iPhone and 3 for a 12" iPad, and estimates an ASP of $1.50-$2.00. "ADI is known to have the best converters in the industry and this level of performance is needed to compensate for high levels of screen noise."
- Long-term, the firm believes multi-chip iPad solutions could be replaced by a single chip, and that ADI could even "integrate the 2D touch function into a single super chip." It also believes the company is seeing strong industrial chip demand, forecasts a pickup in auto chip sales, and sees room for further revenue and cost synergies from the Hittite acquisition.
- Shares have blasted off to new highs on Barclays' report.
Fri, Mar. 27, 2:50 AM
- Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook plans to give away all his wealth after paying for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew, Fortune Magazine reports.
- "You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change," Cook stated.
- Fortune estimates Cook's net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, at about $120M. He also holds restricted stock worth $665M if it were to be fully vested.
Thu, Mar. 26, 12:48 AM
- Though there have been a slew of reports stating Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) will be the main supplier for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) A9 CPU (expected to go into the iPhone 6S/6S+ and next-gen iPad Air), "industry sources" tell Taiwan's Digitimes TSMC (NYSE:TSM) will "remain the major processor supplier for Apple in the second half of 2015."
- The world's biggest foundry will reportedly supply CPUs for the iPhone 6S and 6S+ using a next-gen 16nm FinFET process, and for a cheaper 4" "6C model" via its existing 20nm process (used to make the A8). Cowen previously reported Apple is working on a new 4" iPhone.
- The site qualifies its report by stating Samsung is also expected to be a 6S/6S+ supplier. Samsung recently began producing chips using its next-gen 14nm FinFET process, widely expected to be leveraged for A9 production. Meanwhile, A8 orders have done wonders for TSMC: The company has posted 30%+ Y/Y sales growth for several months in a row.
- In spite of a favorable Digitimes report last night as well (that one was about Q2 sales), shares fell 5.4% today amid a major chip stock rout - volume (32.3M shares) more than doubled a 3-month daily average of 13M. Barron's has reported hearing CFO Lora Ho made cautious comments about near-term demand at a Hong Kong Credit Suisse conference.
Tue, Mar. 24, 3:54 PM
- Buyback-happy U.S. firms are prohibited from repurchasing shares from about five weeks prior to releasing quarterly earnings to about 48 hours after those reports. These blackout periods, says Goldman, may offer an especially tasty time for investors to pick up shares of their favorites.
- "High valuations in the absence of corporate demand may weigh on stock prices," says Goldman's Amanda Sneider, and particular areas of focus are tech, consumer discretionary, and financials - they've accounted for more than 50% of buyback activity.
- Goldman's buyback blackout theme buys: SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Travelers (NYSE:TRV), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR), Xerox (NYSE:XRX), Torchmark (NYSE:TMK), F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV), Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS), Aon (NYSE:AON), Moody's (NYSE:MCO), VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN), Hartford Financial (NYSE:HIG), Ameriprise (NYSE:AMP), Corning (NYSE:GLW), Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX), Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB), Legg Mason (NYSE:LM), XL Group (NYSE:XL), DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), Allstate (NYSE:ALL), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), CBS (NYSE:CBS), Macy's (NYSE:M), Kohl's (NYSE:KSS).
Mon, Mar. 23, 5:21 PM
- A Cowen survey of 3K smartphone owners - 1K apiece in the U.S. and China, and 500 apiece in the U.K. and Japan - found nearly 20% of the 1,500 respondents who owned an iPhone 6/6+ (NASDAQ:AAPL) stating "their new device replaced a competitor’s smartphone, of which ~83% were Android." Another 5% said the 6/6+ was their first smartphone.
- Android defections were particularly strong in China, where 30% of 6/6+ owners said they replaced an Android phone - Apple's Greater China sales were up 70% Y/Y in calendar Q4. The figure was 14% in Japan, 9% in the U.K., and 8% in the U.S.
- Also: 42% of the 1,500 respondents who plan to buy an iPhone 6/6+ in the next 12 months own a non-Apple smartphone, with 85% owning an Android device. Meanwhile, nearly 50% of those who have bought one upgraded early.
- Regarding Apple Watch, the survey found 55% of respondents indicating "a positive purchase intention," and 28% indicating neutral purchase intent. With 3/4 of respondents expecting battery life to be above 1 day (as compared with the official 18 hours under normal use), Cowen sees battery life as a near-term limitation. The firm has also reported initially supplies could be low.
- IDC assigned the iPhone a 19.7% Q4 unit share to Android's 76.6%; revenue share is likely above 40%. More than a few observers have argued the arrival of 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones could win over some Android users who prefer larger-screened devices.
Fri, Mar. 20, 2:15 PM
- The 3G-only Lumia 430 is Microsoft's (MSFT +1.4%) cheapest Windows Phone to date. It has a 4" 800x480 display and 8GB of storage, runs on Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) low-end Snapdragon 200 processor (dual-core, 1.2GHz.), and contains a 2MP rear camera to go with a VGA front camera.
- The 430, which goes on sale in April, also supports dual SIMs (important for emerging markets) and comes with up to 30GB of free OneDrive cloud storage. Its unveiling arrives three weeks after Microsoft launched the mid-range Lumia 640 and 640XL, and four months after it launched the low-end Lumia 535 (5" display and 3G-only, starts at €110).
- Low-end devices are believed to account for a big portion of the 10.5M Lumias Microsoft sold in calendar Q4. While costlier Lumias have struggled to gain ground against the iPhone and high-end Android hardware (thanks in part to iOS/Android's app support edge), cheaper models have fared well in many cost-sensitive emerging markets. The 430 aims to significantly lower the cost edge the cheapest Android devices still have.
- IDC estimates Windows Phone had a 2.8% global smartphone unit share in Q4 vs. 76.6% for Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) and 19.7% for the iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Fri, Mar. 20, 12:06 PM
- Four days after the WSJ reported Apple (AAPL +0.1%) plans to launch a Web TV service this fall, BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski (formerly with Re/code) reports the company plans to unveil a new Apple TV set-top at its June WWDC conference, replete with an App Store, developer SDK, and Siri support.
- Paczkowski, who has a long history of providing Apple scoops, adds the new Apple TV is "a significant overhaul of the device, one intended to undergird Apple’s vision of what the TV viewing experience should be" and stand out from Roku, Amazon, etc. An A8 CPU (found in the iPhone 6/iPad Air 2) is said to be included, along with "a dramatic increase" in storage from the current 8GB and support for "a selection" of devices leveraging Apple's HomeKit home automation platform.
- 9to5 Mac reported two weeks ago Apple is "finishing up work on a slimmer Apple TV set-top-box with a more capable and tactile remote control and a redesigned operating system bundled with an App Store." Apple used its March 9 Watch event to announce a $30 price cut (to $69) for the current Apple TV, which was launched in 2012, and to state cumulative Apple TV sales have topped 25M.
Mon, Mar. 16, 10:33 PM
- The TV service that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is talking about (per WSJ) would be anchored by major broadcasters ABC (NYSE:DIS), CBS and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) -- but leaving out NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) because of hard feelings might make Apple's plan a harder sell.
- WSJ's Shalini Ramachandran notes Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) launched Sling TV without Fox and NBC, and Sony (NYSE:SNE) Vue without Disney ... which might make this yet another messy middle step toward some customers' a la carte dreams.
- The big broadcasters aren't all, though -- the talks with Disney could bring ESPN, and there may be other basic cable additions, though the ultimate package is likely to end up as a "skinny" bundle that leaves out the typically large number of channels in typical pay TV tiers.
- According to the report, the service would work across all iOS devices: iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs.
- Previously: WSJ: Apple talking Web TV service for fall launch (Mar. 16 2015)
Mon, Mar. 16, 10:06 PM
- Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in talks to launch a Web TV service this fall -- featuring about 25 channels (including ABC (NYSE:DIS), CBS and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA)), costing $30-$40, and available on devices like Apple TV, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) isn't in the talks right now because of a falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal owner Comcast over last year's negotiations, the paper says.
- An announcement could come in June for a September launch.
Wed, Mar. 11, 10:51 AM
- Following an outage that began at 5AM ET, Apple (AAPL -1.7%) states iTunes and the iOS App Store are "unavailable for all users." The iBooks Store and Mac App Store are also down.
- Though some iTunes and App Store pages can be loaded, downloads aren't going through. The Next Web is providing running updates.
- Apple is adding to the Tuesday losses it saw amid a market selloff. Shares are down 3.7% over the last two days, following Monday's Apple Watch event.
- Update (2:00PM ET): Apple blames the outage on an "internal DNS error." The company has issued an apology.
- Update 2 (4:40PM): It's finally over. Apple says iTunes and the App Store are back up.
Wed, Mar. 11, 10:36 AM
- VentureBeat reports Intel's (INTC +3.7%) recently-announced XMM 7360 4G baseband modem (made by its Infineon unit) will go into 2016 iPhone units aimed at emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, thus partly taking a slot reserved for several years by Qualcomm's (QCOM -0.9%) Gobi modems.
- The site adds Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) engineers "have been making trips to Munich, Germany to work with Intel engineers to ready the Intel LTE chip for the iPhone," and that Intel "has been willing to go a long way to get its LTE chips into Apple phones." Infineon was once the iPhone's (3G) baseband supplier, before Apple switched to Qualcomm.
- The XMM 7360 supports Cat-10 LTE (450 Mbps peak download speeds), as well as 3x carrier aggregation. Qualcomm, which still claims the lion's share of the 4G baseband market, announced a Cat-10 LTE modem (the Gobi 9x45) last November that was declared to offer better power consumption and take up less board space than the prior-gen/Cat-6 9x35.
- Apple sold 193M iPhones last year, and will likely top 200M this year. As is the case with many other clients, Qualcomm's modem sales to Apple help enable the sale of several complementary parts - an RF transceiver, a power management IC, a receive-only chip, and an envelope-tracking IC that lowers power draw.
- Intel is up sharply today after selling off hard yesterday amid a market rout. The chip giant has already seen 18.2M shares traded vs.a 3-month daily average of 29M.
Tue, Mar. 10, 11:23 PM
- A day after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) showed off both a smartwatch and a 12" retina MacBook featuring haptic Force Touch sensors that let users send different software commands based on how hard they press, the WSJ reports Apple plans to add the technology to its next-gen iPhones.
- The paper also states the next-gen iPhones will have 4.7" and 5.5" displays (no surprise), and that Apple is testing a pink color option to go with its current silver, gold, and space grey options.
- Apple demoed several Force Touch-related features for Mac OS apps at yesterday's event; Mail, Safari, and the Finder app were among the covered products. Messages, Music, and Calendar are among the Apple Watch apps with Force Touch controls; 3rd-party developers can also write apps supporting the technology.
- Immersion (NASDAQ:IMMR) has licensed its haptic software and patents to many Android phone OEMs, and could strike more Android deals if the WSJ's report pans out. During its Q4 CC (transcript), when asked whether it plans to reach a licensing deal with or sue Apple, Immersion simply stated its guidance doesn't assume any Apple revenue or litigation expenses.
- Meanwhile, a slew of hands-on reactions have been provided for Apple Watch from writers given a chance to test the device at Apple's event. The consensus: The Watch has plenty of interesting features and apps - here's a run-down of 3rd-party apps - but compared with the iPhone/iPad, its UI can be confusing to a new user.
- Bloomberg's Stephen Pulvirent: "On first use, the device felt a little confusing and clumsy. Sometimes it seemed to do one thing; at other times, just the opposite ... it seems like the interplay between tapping, swiping, and turning the crown will take some getting used to."
- The NYT's Farhad Manjoo: "Whether it’s calling an Uber car, checking into your hotel or answering a text, the watch will allow you to interact with the digital world at a glance, in a less outwardly antisocial way than you now do with your phone ... Should you really spend hundreds of dollars, let alone thousands, on a gadget to free you from the inconvenience of accessing your $650 smartphone? That remains the deepest unanswered question about the Apple Watch."
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Apple Inc designs, manufactures, & markets mobile communication & media devices, personal computers, & portable digital music players, & sells a variety of related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, & third-party digital content.
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