The plunge in Apple Inc’s share price will cause new pain for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, after the conglomerate suffered a big quarterly decline in its net worth that will hit its bottom line.
Berkshire’s share price fell more than 4 percent on Thursday after Apple, its largest common stock investment, slashed its revenue forecast after demand fell in China and fewer customers upgraded their iPhones. Apple slid as much as 10 percent.
The Berkshire decline reflects Apple’s impact on the Omaha, Nebraska-based company’s book value, which measures assets minus liabilities and is a favored growth gauge for Buffett.
It followed a fourth-quarter slump in stock prices that may have already cost Berkshire 8.2 percent of its book value, according to Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Meyer Shields.
Much of Berkshire’s roughly $219 billion of equities as of Sept. 30, including its stake in Kraft Heinz Co, suffered double-digit declines in the quarter, when the S&P 500 .SPX including dividends fell 13.5 percent.
Among Berkshire’s 10 largest stock holdings, only Coca-Cola Co escaped the carnage, rising 2.5 percent. Shields said a 9 percent drop in Apple could reduce Berkshire’s book value another 0.74 percent.
Buffett’s assistant did not respond to an email concerning whether the billionaire’s view of Apple has changed.
Berkshire began investing in Apple in 2016. Buffett then ramped up the stake as he exited IBM Corp, an investment that had broken his usual aversion to technology stocks.
IBM proved mediocre. Yet while many investors consider Apple a technology stock, Buffett views it more as a consumer stock, reflecting the dependence of so many people on their iPhones.
He told shareholders at Berkshire’s annual meeting last May that he would “love to see Apple go down in price” so he could buy more.
Assuming Berkshire hasn’t sold any shares, the value of its 5.3 percent Apple stake had fallen below $36 billion on Thursday from $57.6 billion on Sept. 30.
A big drop in book value could push Berkshire to an overall fourth-quarter net loss, even if its dozens of operating businesses, including the BNSF railroad and Geico auto insurer, perform well.
Accounting rules require Berkshire to report unrealized investment losses with quarterly results, and Buffett has urged investors to ignore the resulting swings. It last posted a net loss in the first quarter of 2018.
Berkshire’s operating businesses provided a cushion during the global financial crisis in 2008, when book value fell just 9.6 percent. The S&P 500 including dividends fell 37 percent.
Source: Business Insider
Prices for the new Apple iPhone Xs will start at R22,000 in South Africa – R5,000 more than its main competitor, the Samsung Note 9 – iStore revealed on Thursday.
The new line of Apple phones will officially be available in the country from September 28. 
The new iPhone Xs, with improved battery life, and water resistance, will cost R22,000 for the 64GB version, R25,000 for the 256GB version, and R30,000 for the 512GB version. 
See also: This is officially what the new Apple Watch will cost in South Africa
The new prices are R1,500 more than the starting prices of the previous iPhone X in South Africa a year ago.
In the US, the iPhone Xs 64GB retails for $999 – which is around R14,400 at today’s currency rates. This means the same phone costs R7,600 more in South Africa than in the US, not a great deal more than a return flight to New York.
Prices for the larger iPhone Xs Max, with a 16.5cm screen, start at R24,000 for the 64GB version, R27,000 for the 256GB version, and top out at a whopping R32,000 for the 512GB version. 
Prices for the cheaper iPhone XR, expected in South Africa on October 26, have not yet been released. 
Both the iPhone Xs and Xs Max can be pre-ordered by directly visiting iStore South Africa’s website from September 21. 
It can also be bought on FNB credit cards starting from R689 per month for iPhone Xs 64GB, and R755 for the iPhone Xs Max. The iPhone Xs 256GB version is available for R785 per month, and the Xs 256GB R849. 
At the launch of the iPhone XS alongside the new Apple Watch at Apple’s headquarters in California on September 12, Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive said the new phones are the company's “uncompromised vision for the future.”
He said the phones’ screens offer better colour precision, a faster camera with 4K abilities, and a more accurate Facial ID to unlock the phone. 
Business Insider...

On many campuses, students should carry ID cards to get their residence halls, take out library books, go to the fitness center and pay for lunch in the dining hall. But this practice could soon be a thing of the past, together with the launch of digital student ID cards on Apple Watches and iPhones.

Using Near-Field Communications technology, pupils will have the ability to access a multitude of services on campus just by waving their phone or see near subscribers that are compatible. Six universities have been working with Apple and Blackboard about the initiative, including Duke, Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara and Temple Universities and the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma.

Rather than an app, the electronic student ID cards will probably be a part of Apple Wallet and linked to Apple Pay. The service is expected to go live in the six collaborating universities this fall. Contacted by Inside Higher Ed, not one of the universities enlarged on details like what version of iPhone or Apple Watch pupils would have to have to use the technology, nor if they are planning an Android equal of the system. Presumably, the technology will supplement (rather than replace) existing student ID card programs, rather than all students own Apple technology.

Joshua Kim, manager of digital learning initiatives at Dartmouth College’s Center for the Advancement of Learning, stated he is interested to see whether this initiative could be the”gateway drug” for additional cellular educational experiences from Apple — especially on the Apple Watch.

“Student IDs are still an interesting beginning, but what is more fun would be to think about other ways that Apple Watch could tackle some higher ed challenge,” explained Kim. The fact that the statement was made by Apple’s vice president of technologies, Kevin Lynch, is a promising signal, said Kim.

Speaking at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, Lynch described the electronic Student ID attribute within an”exciting” development which will”expand into more campuses over time.”

In the end of 2017, Apple started a partnership with Ohio State University, which involves the joint creation of apps for use on campus — a development that some observers said indicated a renewed attention from Apple on higher education.

Eric Stoller, a high schooling notion leader and Inside Higher Ed blogger, stated the Student ID statement is a”big deal” that provides Apple with”another helpful entry point into higher education,” as well as great PR for Blackboard and the universities involved with analyzing the technology.

A spokesperson for Blackboard verified that the company was working with Apple to create the student IDs, including that Blackboard would be supplying the compatible reader devices. The spokesperson said that the electronic student IDs would offer students”heightened security and outstanding advantage” on campus. Though not mentioned in the Apple announcement, sources reported that all the associations involved in the initiative will be a Blackboard Transact customer. Blackboard Transact is a subsidiary of Blackboard that oversees campus ID systems.

A spokesperson for Santa Clara University said the university had been”looking forward” to bringing its own campus ACCESS Card to the Apple Wallet, including that the technology could be available to students, faculty and staff to work with on and around campus by the end of the calendar year. The University of Oklahoma echoed this announcement, saying that its Sooner Card would likewise be available to students, faculty and staff.I

n a tweet, Tracy Futhey, chief information officer at Duke University, said that the initiative could enable students to get buildings and make payments across campus at an”even easier way.” She included her institution is”continually searching for technologies that can enhance student experience,” adding that working with Apple has been a”natural fit.”

Source: Diego Post

Qualcomm Inc. filed lawsuits in China seeking to ban the sale and manufacture of iPhones in the country, the chipmaker’s biggest shot at Apple Inc. so far in a sprawling and bitter legal fight.

The San Diego-based company aims to inflict pain on Apple in the world’s largest market for smartphones and cut off production in a country where most iPhones are made. The product provides almost two-thirds of Apple’s revenue. Qualcomm filed the suits in a Beijing intellectual property court claiming patent infringement and seeking injunctive relief, according to Christine Trimble, a company spokeswoman.

“Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them,” Trimble said. Apple shares initially gave up some gains from earlier on Friday before recovering, while Qualcomm stock maintained small losses.

Qualcomm’s suits are based on three non-standard essential patents, it said. They cover power management and a touch-screen technology called Force Touch that Apple uses in current iPhones, Qualcomm said. The inventions "are a few examples of the many Qualcomm technologies that Apple uses to improve its devices and increase its profits,” Trimble said.

Apple said the claim has no merit. “In our many years of ongoing negotiations with Qualcomm, these patents have never been discussed,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “Like their other courtroom maneuvers, we believe this latest legal effort will fail.”

Qualcomm made the filings at the Beijing court on Sept. 29. The court has not yet made them public.

“This is another step to get Apple back to the negotiating table,” said Mike Walkley, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity Inc. “It shows how far apart they are.”

There’s little or no precedent for a Chinese court taking such action at the request of a U.S. company, he said. Chinese regulators would also be concerned that a halt of iPhone production would cause layoffs at Apple’s suppliers such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which are major employers.

Conversely, supporting Qualcomm might help Chinese phone companies such as Guangdong Oppo Electronics Co. to gain share against Apple, Walkley said. Investors aren’t concerned about a disruption to iPhone supply because they believe Apple would immediately compromise if there was any threat to production.

“Apple’s not going to miss one day of production,” he said. ‘If for any reason they get a negative judgment, they’d go back to paying Qualcomm in the short term. They’re not going to risk their business model for this.”

The two companies are months into a legal dispute that centers on Qualcomm’s technology licensing business. While Qualcomm gets the majority of its sales from making phone chips, it pulls in most of its profit from charging fees for patents that cover the fundamentals of all modern phone systems.

The latest suits come at a crucial time for Apple. It just introduced iPhone 8 and X models aimed at reasserting leadership in a market that’s steeped in competition from fast-growing Chinese makers. Suppliers and assemblers in China are rushing to churn out as many new iPhones as possible ahead of the key holiday season, so any disruptions would likely be costly. The Greater China region accounted for 22.5 percent of Apple’s $215.6 billion sales in its most recent financial year.

Apple uses some of Qualcomm’s modems -- chips that connect phones to cellular networks -- in some versions of the iPhone. It’s cut that relationship back by using alternatives from Intel Corp. in some markets.

The legal battle started earlier this year when Apple filed an antitrust suit against Qualcomm arguing that the chipmaker’s licensing practices are unfair, and that it abused its position as the biggest supplier of chips in phones. Qualcomm charges a percentage of the price of each handset regardless of whether it includes a chip from the company, and Apple is sick of paying those fees.

Qualcomm has countered with a patent suit and argued that Cupertino, California-based Apple encouraged regulators from South Korea to the U.S. to take action against it based on false testimony. Earlier this week, Qualcomm was fined a record NT$23.4 billion ($773 million) by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission, a ruling the company is appealing. Qualcomm is also asking U.S. authorities to ban the import of some versions of the iPhone, arguing they infringe on its patents.

Soon after its first legal salvo, Apple cut off licensing payments to Qualcomm. That’s about $2 billion a year in highly profitable revenue, according to analyst estimates, and the chipmaker was forced to lower earnings forecasts. Qualcomm stock is down 19 percent this year compared with a 35 percent gain by the benchmark Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index. Apple shares are up 36 percent this year.


Credit: Bloomberg

Apple laid claim to the future of the smartphone Tuesday with a 10th anniversary iPhone X, touting the device as the next generation of mobile computing.

The iPhone X was one of three new iPhone models unveiled at the first event at Apple's new "spaceship" campus, as the California tech giant sought to spark fresh momentum in a global smartphone market seeing slowing growth and tougher competition.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook, speaking at the inaugurative event at the new campus theater named for late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, said the newest flagship handset is a milestone for the company a decade after the first iPhone release.

"Ten years later, it is only fitting that we are here in this place, on this day to reveal a product that will set the path for technology for the next decade," Cook said, calling the iPhone X "the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone." The iPhone X has an edge-to-edge 5.8-inch (14.7-centimeter) "super retina" display that has improved resolution, and uses facial recognition to unlock the device.

Apple upped the ante by boosting the starting price of the new handset to $999 for US customers. It will be available starting November 3 in more than 50 markets. "I think it will have very strong appeal to the Apple core and the high-end market," Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin said of iPhone X.

Rubin believed that payment installment plans and price subsidies or promotions offered by carriers would mean the iPhone X "won't be a big stretch" for people in the market for premium smartphones. Apple also unveiled a new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which offer more modest improvements over their predecessors and will sell later this month at starting prices of $699 and $799, respectively.

All three new handsets will be capable of wireless charging and are adapted for augmented reality with more powerful processors and cameras. The also had memory space boosted in a nod to modern day demand for storing rich data like video.

The unveiling comes with Apple seeking to recapture the magic of the first iPhone release in 2007 as it struggles to maintain market share. Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategies called the new flagship iPhone X "an engineering marvel, especially when compared to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8."

Moorhead said the handset "is not just a late copy of the competition. Apple did it their way by perfecting the experience. "

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research called the iPhone X "a far bigger upgrade" than previous devices, but questioned whether Apple was stretching its market too thin. "What Apple doesn't want is for people to want the best but not be able to afford it and therefore hold onto their existing phones rather than buying what they consider second best," Dawson said in a blog post.

For the iPhone X, Apple developed what it called an A11 Bionic chip as part of a system that lets handsets recognize owner's faces to unlock screens or pay via the Apple Pay mobile payments system.

Apple is touting the edge-to-edge OLED display -- the organic light-emitting diodes used in high-end televisions -- to win over customers. "For more than a decade, our intention has been to create an iPhone that is all display," Apple chief designer Jony Ive said in a statement. "The iPhone X is the realization of that vision."

The iPhone 8 models boast upgrades from the prior generation handsets. They have Bionic chips, improved cameras and are made with "aerospace-grade aluminum" and durable glass, according to Apple.

Apple's success with the iPhone has transformed it into the world's most valuable company, but it is struggling to keep its share of an increasingly competitive smartphone market. Chinese electronics colossus Huawei passed Apple in global smartphone sales for the first time in June and July, taking second place behind South Korean giant Samsung, according to market tracker Counterpoint Research.

Samsung last month unveiled a new model of its Galaxy Note with a similarly high price tag as it seeks to mount a renewed challenge to iPhones. Other makers are also scrambling for market share, including Google, which is expected to soon unveil a second-generation of its flagship Pixel smartphone.

Apple unveiled an updated version of its smartwatch, as it claimed the device had become the top-selling watch in the world ahead of rivals such as Rolex and Fossil. The Apple Watch Series 3 has its own mobile connectivity that allows users to remain connected without a smartphone for phone calls, music and other functions.

Also unveiled was a new generation Apple TV, this version of the set-top box updated to stream ultra-rich 4K video from the internet. Apple is working with Hollywood studios as well as streaming television providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to bulk up the library of 4K shows or films, according to Cook.

While hardware grabbed the spotlight, Apple also emphasized behind-the-scenes technology such as augmented reality, machine learning, and linking to the array of smart devices in homes.

"Apple is trying to differentiate through design and experience," Rubin said. "There is a lot of emphasis on Apple technologies positioning us beyond the phone."


Credit: Economic Times



Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. launched a new chipset with built-in artificial-intelligence capabilities to power its next-generation smartphones and take on rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

Though Huawei is well known in the smartphone business, it is No. 3 world-wide behind Apple and Samsung. It is lesser known as a maker of chips for its own phones. The company says its new Kirin 970 chip will power its forthcoming Mate 10 smartphone, set to launch next month to compete against the coming 10th-anniversary iPhone.

Huawei's new chipset was unveiled Saturday at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin. It comes as the company has been pouring resources into the more profitable high-end phone market, long dominated by Apple. Its current flagship phone, the P10, launched this year with a base price of $685.

The Shenzhen-based company has said the Mate 10 will have improved camera and battery life. It also said the new Kirin chipset will power stronger image-recognition abilities and other camera features on its phones.

While Huawei's rivals are likely working on chip upgrades as well, "making AI computation faster and more efficient will give Huawei an edge, if it can demonstrate improved performance or battery life when conducting everyday tasks," said Tim Coulling, analyst at electronics-research firm Canalys.

Huawei has been steadily gaining market share from rivals in the smartphone wars. In China, where Apple has been losing ground, Huawei recaptured the top spot from Chinese brand Oppo in the first quarter, according to Canalys.

Globally, it had 10% of the market in the first quarter, according to Canalys, behind Samsung's 23% and Apple's 15%. While it is a major player in Europe, its sales remain low in the U.S.


Android phones sometimes follow Apple's lead when it comes to key functionality features, and the next generation of smartphones could be no different. Future Android devices are expected to mimic one of the upcoming iPhone 8's most anticipated new features: 3D facial scanning.

Qualcomm's next generation of Snapdragon chips, which will be announced at the end of the year, will have greatly improved, new image signal processors (ISP) and will likely enable even better depth-sensing capabilities for smartphone cameras, according to a report from CNET.

That new processing power could potentially allow phones with the highest-tier Qualcomm chips — which in the current generation of devices include the flagships from OnePlus, Samsung, and HTC — to offer the same 3D facial sensing feature expected to replace Touch ID in the iPhone 8 as its go-to biometric security feature.

The new 3D scanning capability will ostensibly change the way we interact with our phones yet again, like when the iPhone 5S introduced Touch ID in 2013 and other phonemakers adopted it to follow suit. So Android devices will probably want to adopt the tech as soon as possible to stay competitive.

The new Qualcomm chipset will reportedly use infrared light sensors, which would likely be attached to a smartphone's camera module, to "measure depth and render high-resolution depth maps for facial recognition, 3D reconstruction of objects and mapping." Biometric security features would be one of the most obvious uses for the functionality, although it could also be harnessed for other things, like VR.

You can check out a demo of Qualcomm's 3D mapping and image reconstruction tech in the video below, but there's no footage of the biometric feature described in the CNET report.

Demo of Qualcomm's 3D mapping and image reconstruction

The chips could also help to improve Android cameras, which for many, specifically ex-Google SVP of Social Vic Gundotra, lag behind Apple's latest dual lens setup in the iPhone 7 Plus.

The iPhone 8's 3D facial sensors (and everything else about the phone) haven't been confirmed yet, so it might be premature to call the feature the future of smartphone security. The rumor mill is strong however, and Qualcomm is ready to stake its own claim in the functionality — so you shouldn't be surprised if we're all unlocking our new phones with our faces by this time next year.



Samsung's on a streak of not copying the iPhone, with original features like curved edges and iris scanners actually outpacing innovation at Apple. But that could end with its upcoming Galaxy Note 8.

A new report from The Investor claims the Korean electronic giant's follow-up to last year's disastrous Note 7 will come with a pressure-sensitive screen. The screen technology is said to be similar to the iPhone's display, which has supported 3D Touch since the iPhone 6S launched in 2015.

The new display, which is able to detect how hard you press it, will be used to "replace all the functionality of a home button and open a hidden menu with shortcuts to different features."

It's unclear if the new screen will replace the thin pressure-sensitive area that only covers the bottom portion of the Galaxy S8's display. But it's better late than never since Android Nougat already supports the special displays.

Copying the iPhone's pressure-sensitive screen isn't even the worst part. The report also says Samsung's going to call it ... 3D touch. Oh boy, do you hear that? That's Apple's big scary lawyers getting ready to leap out from behind their desks and run straight to Samsung HQ.

Samsung will have to face the laughs of a billion Apple fanboys for being so unoriginal, but there might not even be a courtroom battle between the two tech titans.

Eagle-eyed readers will recall that Huawei's Mate S, the world's first Android phone to copy the iPhone and sport a pressure-sensitive display, also called its technology 3D touch (with a lowercase "t"). If Huawei can get away with the name, perhaps Samsung could, too.

Despite initial excitement, 3D Touch hasn't exactly become a must-use feature on iPhone. Apple has yet to announce a compelling feature that makes use of it. A long-press works just the same on iOS and Android devices that don't have pressure-sensitive screens.

There's not much else we don't already know about the Note 8. We know that it'll be announced on Aug. 23 and The Investor claims it'll launch on Sept. 15, which matches reports that the phone would launch in mid-September to beat the Apple's iPhone 8.

Several comprehensive leaks suggest the Note 8 will be a pricey beast of a phone. It'll reportedly come with a 6.3-inch display, Snapdragon 835 chip, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, dual cameras that might offer even better optical zoom than the iPhone 7 Plus, and an S Pen with enhanced stylus features.

The one thing that won't get a significant improvement is battery life. Samsung's reportedly going with a 3,300 mAh battery, which is smaller than the S8+'s 3,500 mAh battery. It'd also be smaller than the Note 7's battery, which has the same capacity as the S8+.

The smaller battery might turn some Samsung fans off, but there probably isn't much to worry about. Battery capacity and longevity aren't always directly related. Software optimizations and power efficiencies from the chipset can make up for a smaller battery. Just look at the iPhone; iOS and Apple's custom A-series chips allow it to last just as long or longer than Android phones with bigger batteries.

Whatever Samsung announces later this month, it's sure to attract the world's attention. The company will no doubt boast about the phone's myriad new features, but all it really needs to do is make sure there aren't any explosions again. If the safe S8's anything to go by, then Samsung should be in good shape with the Note 8.



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