Feb 27

Apple have just sent out invitations to a media event to be held Monday, March 9 in San Francisco with the standard 10 AM PST or 6 PM UK  starts time.

Apple event

 

The event is called “Spring forward” which coincides with the commencement of daylight savings time which in the US starts on March 8.

One can safely assume this is the official launch of Apple watch. At this point we still don’t know much about the watch details. We can expect this event to fill the gaps about prices, battery life , straps options and of course shipping dates.

There are also rumors of additional updates to the MacBook there and or iPad product might as well.

We will of course know more on March 9.

Feb 14

The temptation of an Apple iPhone for a thief is dropping, thanks to Apple’s decision to implement a remote kill switch via Find My Phone that can erase and disable a phone once it’s missing. A recent report from Reuters found that iPhone theft fell by 50 percent in London, 40 percent in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York. The drops represent theft activity as measured during the 12 months following Apple’s introduction of the remote locking feature in iOS7, released September 2013. With the most recent release, iOS 8, Apple made its so-called said “kill switch” active by default, in accordance with California regulation. 

find_my_iphoneApple’s Activation Lock requires a user to authorise a wipe or fresh install using the existing iCloud details and of course password, ensuring that a thief can’t go ahead and just wipe the phone easily to use it themselves or prepare it for an eBay sale. Apple is the first major manufacturers to switch to implementing the system by default, rather than through user opt-in, which means it is present on a larger percentage of Apple phones. All iPhone 6 and 6plus iPhone have it on be default given that they shipped with iOS 8 pre-installed.

Stats from last year indicated that Apple’s implementation of the Activation Lock were having a significant effect, but Apple’s combined iOS 8 adoption rate (currently at over 70 percent) and the fact that it’s now on by default means that the risk associated with stealing a modern iOS device is even greater. The aim is to make smartphone theft ultimately as futile as stealing a credit card, whereby a user ‘cancelling’ their hardware renders it close to worthless.

Smartphone theft is often theft of opportunity, meaning a thief weighs reward vs. risk, including factors like how difficult it is to recoup an investment on something they’ve taken. Activation Lock doesn’t automatically render iPhones using it worthless to thieves, but it skews the value proposition considerably, and reduces reward (an iPhone sold for parts is worth far less than a fully functional unity, for instance).

Apple seems committed to coming up with new ways to protect user devices and data when it comes to theft, given its early pioneering of phone tracking tech via Find My iPhone. Patents awarded to Apple have also described systems whereby the phone requires positive ID of the user to even display an unlock prompt, and technology which can monitor and report on unidentified users in the background.

Feb 04

Yes it’s that time again when Apple returns cash to stockholders in the form of a dividend worth $2.8 billion

Apple new photo applicationNext week THursday, February 12, Apple will pay shareholders of record a quarterly dividend of $0.47 per share, but investors will need to buy shares by February 5th (to have settled ownership of the company’s stock by the market’s close on February 9) in order to qualify for dividend.

Apple has been paying its shareholders a dividend about a month and a half after the end of each fiscal quarter ever since it declared its modern dividend plan in the summer of 2012. This dividend will be the third to occur since the company issued a 7-for-1 stock split. That split also converted the dividend from $3.29 per share to 47 cents per share.

Following its stock split, Apple has been busy buying its own stock and spent $17 billion in the September quarter and an additional $5 billion of stock in open market purchase during its December quarter (Apple’s Fiscal Q1 2015). The company now has 5.825 billion shares outstanding down from nearly 6.6 billion in early 2013. That’s a significasnt drop in the number of shares outsrtanding.

AAPL Dividends & Buybacks

Dividends are a minority portion of Apple’s shareholder capital return program, the majority of which has been earmarked for buying back outstanding shares.

Buybacks increase the scarcity, and therefore value, of Apple’s stock by taking shares off the market and retiring them. Removing shares from circulation also enhances the company’s closely-watched earnings per share metrics. Over the last four quarters, Apple has repurchased $45 billion worth of its stock off the market or via accelerated repurchase programs.

The repurchase of shares has slightly reduced the total dividend Apple pays. While the company reports $2.8 billion in dividend payments for FYQ1, at $0.47 per share the 5.825 billion shares outstanding would appear to total $2.73 billion, a $70 million reduction over the previous quarter’s dividends.

“The Company also plans to increase its dividend on an annual basis, subject to declaration by the Board of Directors,” Apple states in its 10-K filing.

Over the past calendar year, Apple has paid out $11 billion in dividends to its shareholders, distributing about $2.8 billion every quarter, although that number is dropping in tandem with buybacks.

Apple’s volume of stock buybacks have also now reached the 5 percent threshold to qualify for inclusion in the “NASDAQ BuyBack Achievers Index,” as well as the PowerShares Buyback Achievers Portfolio, as noted in a report by ETFtrends.

In total, Apple has spent $72.9 billion on stock buybacks since initiating its capital return program, including an opportunistic $14 billion share grab initiated after the stock plunged more than 8 percent last January following the company’s holiday Q1 release which detailed its highest ever quarterly revenues and operating profits—results that the tech media depicted as “disappointing.”

Combined with dividend payments and net share settlements, Apple has spent $102.7 billion on capital return since mid 2012, but still holds over $178 billion in cash.

Feb 02

During last week quarterly earnings call Tim Cook revealed that the Apple Watch will go on sale in April

Apple Watch

Apple doesn’t launch “new” products very often. Sure, it introduces updated versions of existing products, like the iPhone, but truly new products? In the past 15 years, there have been three: the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. All were hugely successful, and all put a new twist on what came before.

Now, we have the Apple Watch. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, development on the Watch is on schedule and shipments are expected starting in April. The company has launched a somewhat limited developer program — more APIs will be available over time — but nonetheless, app makers are already testing out apps in a watch simulator on OS X.  By the way its not an iWatch but an Apple Watch. Get it right.

“The creativity and software innovation going on around Apple Watch is incredibly exciting,” Cook said during the conference call last week,  “We can’t wait for our customers to experience them when Apple Watch becomes available.”

In true Apple fashion, Cook wouldn’t commit to any sales predictions aside from some predictable generalizations.

“My expectations are very high on it. I’m using it every day and love it and I can’t live without it,” said Cook. Some Apple employees seem to be enjoying it as well. Readers on the MacRumors Forums have been collecting photos of Apple Watches spotted in the wild, suggesting that more and more Apple employees have been issued the devices for early beta testing.

Unlike the iPhone 6, which launched within weeks of its introduction last September, the Apple Watch will go more than six months between its public reveal and its on-sale date. Something similar happened with the iPhone, which was six months from introduction to launch, and the iPad, which was around 3 months.

When the iPhone was introduced, the App Store wasn’t even in the cards. Steve Jobs didn’t think it was necessary, but he was eventually turned around, and the App Store launched a year later. The iPad could run all of the iPhone’s apps, and developers quickly began developing apps specifically for its larger screen. As for third-party apps? “We’re seeing some incredible innovation” on the Watch, said Cook on the call.

Some very special developers got an early peek at the Apple Watch before it was even launched, and I’m sure there are high-profile developers who currently are working on Apple Watches ahead of everyone else.

The Watch isn’t going to be a massive $100 billion revenue generator for Apple — it’s an accessory to the iPhone, and a pricey one at that. Instead, it’s going to be one more piece in the ecosystem that keeps customers locked in. Apple’s churn, the amount of iPhone owners who leave for another smartphone platform, is extremely low. Much of this can be attributed to the App Store and iTunes, but for every Apple product that someone buys in addition to their iPhone, that’s one more reason for them to keep using Apple’s products rather than switching to a competitor. However if it sells say 30 million units in the first year at an average selling price of $495 that’s a tidy $15 billion revenue boost. And if the watch makes Apple Pay a must have then more Watches in use will drive iPhone sales which will drive Watch sales.

That’s the goal of the Apple Watch — locking customers in. The revenue generated by the device will be a nice bottom line booster, however.

 

Jan 28

Yes, once again Apple far exceed revenue and unit shipments for the quarter with $18 Billion profit

Apple completely crushed not only its own all-time records, but also even the loftiest expectations on Wall Street on Tuesday, selling a staggering 74.5 million iPhones on its way to record revenue of $74.6 billion and $18 billion in net profit in a single, massively successful quarter.

iphone6p-gray-select-2014_GEO_GB

Apple posted record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion, earning $3.06 per diluted share, for its first fiscal quarter of 2015. Apple’s net profits of $18.9 billion sets a new record for quarterly profits, blowing away previous record holder Exxon’s $15.9 billion performance.

The company was led by a blockbuster quarter for the iPhone, in which it sold nearly 75 million units — a year over year increase of 46 percent. As Tim Cook mentioned on the earning call 74.5million iPhones in 3 months represents over 34,000 phones sold per hour every hour of the quarter.

Mac sales were also at an all-time high at 5.52 million units, edging the company’s previous-best in the preceding September quarter. The company’s Mac hardware saw its numbers increase 14 percent year over year.

Record sales of both the iPhone and Mac helped push Apple to the strongest quarter in history.

iPad sales continued their decline, however, falling to 21.4 million units in the December frame. That was down 18 percent from the same period a year prior.

“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. “Our revenue grew 30 percent over last year to $74.6 billion, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”

Gross margin was also up to 39.9 percent this year, compared to 37.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. Apple also said that international sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple also announced that its App Store set a record performance in the holiday quarter. The company’s “Services” revenue category, which includes the App Store, iTunes Store and other digital storefronts, reached $4.8 billion.

“Our exceptional results produced EPS growth of 48 percent over last year, and $33.7 billion in operating cash flow during the quarter, an all-time record,” said Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri. “We spent over $8 billion on our capital return program, bringing total returns to investors to almost $103 billion, over $57 billion of which occurred in just the last 12 months.”

Apple updated the expected release date of the Apple Watch to ship in April and made bullish comments on the growing use of Apple Pay in US retail stores. The company also announced that it has shipped over 1 billion iOS devices in total.

Also on Tuesday, Apple provided investors with the following guidance for its fiscal 2015 second quarter:

  • revenue between $52 billion and $55 billion
  • gross margin between 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent
  • operating expenses between $5.4 billion and $5.5 billion
  • other income/(expense) of $350 million
  • tax rate of 26.3 percent

As expected, the Apple Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of 47 cents per share of its common stock. The dividend will be payable on Feb. 12, 2015, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 9, 2015.

And Apple updated iOS to 8.1.3

Early on Wednesday AAPL stock is at $117.29 up 7.4%

Listen to the earnings call and read the release on the Apple IR website 

Dec 17

Apple won an antitrust trial on Tuesday this week when a U.S. jury decided the company did not act improperly when it restricted music purchases for iPod users to Apple’s iTunes digital store.

The verdict was read in an Oakland, California federal court. The plaintiffs, a group of deranged individuals and greedy businesses who purchased iPods from 2006 to 2009, sought about $350 million in damages from Apple alleging the company unfairly blocked competing device makers.

ipod classicPatrick Coughlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said “the jury called it like they saw it.”

In a statement, Apple applauded the verdict. “Every time we’ve updated those products — and every Apple product over the years — we’ve done it to make the user experience even better,” the company said.

Jurors deliberated for only a few hours on the sole question of whether the update had benefited consumers.

Under the Sherman Antitrust Act, a genuine product improvement cannot be considered anticompetitive, even if it harms competitor’s products. “A company has no general legal duty to assist its competitors, including by making products interoperable, licensing to competitors or sharing information to competitors,” Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the US District Court in Northern California told the jurors Monday prior to closing arguments.

The jury found that Apple’s iTunes updates were indeed genuine product improvements. Had they found that Apple did not deliver such improvements, the question then would have been whether Apple had a monopoly on the digital music market and, if it did, whether Apple acted anticompetitively to maintain that position. Because Judge Gonzalez Rogers bifurcated the argument, meaning divided it into various parts, the entire case rested upon whether Apple misled consumers about its software updates, an argument the jury did not buy.

“This is a big sigh of relief for Apple and companies like that because it says they can build innovative ecosystems and they can keep them closed if they think that’s best,” wrote David Olson, a Boston college professor and antitrust expert, in an email. “They’re not forced to deal with competitors if they don’t want to so it really allows some freedom in their approach and their design in technological ecosystems.”

Since jurors agreed with Apple, they did not have to decide any other legal issues or damages. Jurors declined to answer questions after the verdict.

The trial included video deposition testimony given by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs shortly before he died in 2011.

Apple’s attorneys argued aggressively against that scenario in closing arguments Monday. “This is all made up. It’s lawyer argument,” said Bill Isaacson, Apple’s lead attorney. “No evidence this ever happened … there’s no consumers, no iPod users, no surveys, no Apple business documents.” Isaacson then asked jury not to “hold a great company liable and tell them to stop innovating — to stop innovating based on nonsense.”

Apple faced a challenge in the online music market from Real Networks, which developed RealPlayer, its own digital song manager, plaintiffs claimed. It included software which allowed music purchased there playable on iPods as well as competing devices.

Apple eventually introduced a software update that restricted the iPod to music bought on iTunes. Plaintiffs say that step discouraged iPod owners from buying a competing device when it came time to upgrade.

Apple argued the software update was meant to improve the consumer experience and contained many desirable features, including movies and auto-synchronization.

Nov 26

A U.S. judge on Friday gave final approval to Apple agreement to pay $450 million to resolve claims it harmed consumers by conspiring with five publishers to raise e-book prices.

During a hearing in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called a “highly unusual” accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company is unsuccessful in appealing a ruling that found it liable for antitrust violations. That works out a very beneficial $17 per eBook customer.

ebook imageThe $400 million comes on top of earlier settlements with five publishers in the case, which provided $166 million for e-book purchasers.

Apple agreed to the settlement in June, ahead of a damages trial set for two months later in which attorneys general in 33 states and territories and lawyers for a class of consumers were expected to seek up to $840 million.

During Friday’s hearing, Cote said it was an “unusually structured settlement, especially for one arrived at on the eve of trial.”

The deal allows Apple to continue to appeal Cote’s July 2013 ruling that Apple had violated antitrust laws by colluding with the publishers to drive up e-book prices and impede rivals such as Amazon.com Inc. 

That accord calls for Apple to pay $400 million to consumers and $50 million to lawyers if Cote’s findings are upheld on appeal, and nothing if the Cupertino, California-based company wins its appeal.

If the appeals court overturns Cote and returns the case to her, perhaps for a new trial, Apple would owe $50 million to consumers and $20 million to lawyers.

While the deal was unusual, Cote said she understood why the plaintiffs decided to go with it, given delay tactics by Apple.

An Apple spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The ruling finding Apple liable followed a non-jury trial in lawsuits filed in 2012 by the U.S. Justice Department and states attorneys general against Apple and the publishers.

The publishers include Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s, HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan.

A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear Apple’s appeal Dec. 15.

The case is In Re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-md-02293.

Nov 13

DigiTimes reports that Apple is entering production of the Apple Watch and has ordered between 30-40 million for the initial batch. We know that there have been issues with the Sapphire cover that was to come from GT Technologies, a supplier that is now in Chapter 11.

Apple-Watch

One assumes that the initial batch will be the Sports Watch version with the standard glass rather than Sapphire cover.

Apple is employing a rather advanced system-in-package technology, beyond the current A-series chips designs. This consists of a single chip with an entire computer system called the S1. It is a piece of custom-designed silicon which stacks and integrates many subsystems into an area that is small enough for a watch.

The watch will also feature a Force Touch Retina display, Nearfield Communication for Apple Pay system, Taptic Engine, Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, wireless inductive charging, and Digital Crown. The latter was designed for navigating the operating system and prompting Siri.

Spring arrival?

Recently, Angela Ahrendts (senior vice president of retail and online stores) shared a special video note directed to Apple retail employees claiming the new watch would hit stores sometime during the spring. In the message she explained, “[You] guys were hired because you’re the best people in the world. And you know how to service customers, but we are sprinting a marathon right now, and it’s not going to stop. Right? We’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring. So, I just, I really wanted to say, stop for a moment, take a breath. Realize that every customer you touch — and again I know you know this, but you’re really busy — so just every customer that you touch, how do you make sure that they will walk away feeling very different, very positive, than before they walked into that store or they interacted with you?”

Of course Time will tel.

Oct 09

Apple just announced another keynote event less than a month after the iPhone 6 launch.

This time graphic simply states”it’s been way too long”.

apple event

Event to by one week from today: Oct 16th at 10:00 Pacific time at the Apple campus.

Expect news of new / revised iPads, possible MAC Book Pro updates, Mac mini refresh and one more thing as well as the launch of the Mac OS Yosemite.

Oct 09

Looking to purchase a used iPhone or iPad but concerned it might be nicked?

Now you can check an iPhone or iPads activation Lock Status using iCloud.

 

lockstatus

The secondhand market for iPhones and iPads is hot, and unfortunately so are some the devices being sold on it. Just search ebay for iPhone and you will see over 2,500 iPhoine 5S currently available in the UK alone.

To try and protect people from buying devices that turn out to have been lost, stolen, or otherwise misappropriated, Apple has created a new Activation Lock Status checker on iCloud.com

Before you purchase an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from somebody else, make sure Find My iPhone Activation Lock is turned off and the device is ready for you to use.

Activation Lock is a feature designed to make iPhones and iPads less appealing to thieves. It debuted in iOS 7 and prevents anyone from restoring or otherwise taking over an iPhone or iPad without first entering the Apple ID password of the owner. The theory is, if the device can’t be used, it becomes little more than a glass and metal paper weight, it’s value drops, and so people are less likely to steal them.

Of course, it can’t stop thieves who have unwittingly stolen Activation Lock protected iPhones and iPads from trying to pawn them off anyway. That’s where the Activation Lock Status checker comes in. Take the EMEI or serial number, enter it in, and iCloud.com will tell you its status.

You have been advised.

 

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