Listening to the pundits, you’d think Apple was about to close up shop and call it a day after they reported a drop in sales for the first time in 51 quarters – otherwise known as 13 years. Poor Apple: they only raked in just over $50 billion last quarter, compared to $58 billion at this time a year ago. Sounds like an imminent collapse to us… So what’s really going on?
CEO Tim Cook says the smartphone market is “not growing” and truth be told, Apple is at that low point in the iPhone lifecycle where the current phone has been out for a while and the new phone – the iPhone 7 – isn’t out quite yet, so many consumers are sitting on their hands until they know what the new phone will be all about. In other words, people aren’t buying tons of iPhones. At least, not right now.
Some analysts think this lull will translate into huge demand for the next iPhone this fall, but that demand will also depend on how great the iPhone 7 turns out to be. We should also note that Apple sells much more than just the iPhone, and has lots of things in the works, including some sort of venture in the auto space, certainly a virtual reality product at some point, and likely a streaming TV service. Our advice: buy Apple stock right now.
More Apple news, this time related to their tussle with the FBI over that iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists. You’d think that the FBI would tell Apple how they cracked the iPhone 5c so Apple could plug the security hole, but, according to the Wall Street Journal, they aren’t doing that. Why not? Because apparently, the FBI doesn’t know exactly how it was done, since they paid some hackers over a million dollars to do it for them and said “don’t tell.”
This “we did it but don’t know how” strategy is no accident: since even the FBI is in the dark – so they say – as to what the hackers did, they don’t have to fess up to a likely White House review of the whole mess, and by extension, don’t have to tell Apple, which means… they can continue to pay hackers to open up iPhone 5cs all day long, as long as the FBI never officially learns how to do it. Pretty sneaky, and as you might imagine, this has the ACLU and other groups up in arms.
And finally, yes, it really has come to this: Germany is installing traffic lights in the ground, to, yes, keep people who are head-down in their phones from walking out in front of trains and such. Yes, really. This concession to our apparent inability to pry ourselves out of our smartphones has appeared in Augsburg, where LED lights in the pavement let the phone-addicted know it’s OK to cross the tracks without being flattened by a commuter train.
Reactions? Of course, people seem to think it’s a great idea, as opposed to, you know, actually tilting your head up 25 degrees and watching where you’re going instead of sending that Instagram of those cute lights embedded in the pavement. Augmented reality glasses can’t get here soon enough.