The article was written by Gleb Zinkovskii, a Financial Analyst at I Know First.
“Older people sit down and ask, ‘What is it?’ but the boy asks, ‘What can I do with it?’.”
- Apple has ideas for water-resistant Lightning connectors
- Apple opens its first store in Austria
- Apple’s Unusual Pursuit of Cobalt
Apple has ideas for water-resistant Lightning connectors
Apple is known for patenting concepts way before their introduction to the products. Recently, US patent bureau received applications from Apple regarding new moist and water resistant Lighting connectors for the iPhone chargers. As far as the latest phones produced by Apple can withstand inadvertent trips into puddles, sinks and toilets, it seems a reasonable step to make the most important iPhone accessory to be a water resistant as well.
[Image Source: USPTO. See more details here]
The other Lightning cable design presents a deformable rubber or plastic O-ring to seal a cable connection against moisture.
Besides the new concepts described in the patent application filed on Thursday March 8th it contains the similar approach to protecting USB-C connectors, too. “A liquid-tight seal is formed between the accessory and the electronic device,” the application says, making them “… useful in moist, wet and/or dirty environments.”
As far as the competitors flagship devices from Samsung are already waterproof and have wireless charging abilities, it becomes crucial for Apple’s devices to keep up with this pace and have the ability to withstand hard treatments, especially when you consider that an iPhone X costs more than $1,000. But as countless shattered screens and a thriving smartphone case market show, true ruggedness remains elusive.
Apple’s ideas include a tapered Lightning connector that stuffs into its port and a rubber gasket that squeezes tightly to seal a port when a cable is inserted.
This Apple design shows a USB-C connector — found on Macs and some Android phones — that offers a water seal.
It isn’t clear whether Apple ever plans to ditch its proprietary Lightning connector for the increasingly common USB-C ports sprouting on Android phones and Apple laptops. But USB-C fans can take heart that Apple has an idea for sealing that connector, too.
Apple opens its first store in Austria, expanding its worldwide presence to 19 countries
[Image Source: via Wikimedia Commons]
It has been less than a month since Apple opened its first official store in Seoul, expanding its presence to 18th country – South Korea. Now, Apple makes move to Austria and shifts its presence to 19th country by opening its store just in the heart of Vienna – between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera. According to the latest data from www.statcounter.com, the current share of Apple vs Samsung is 30.34% and 41.88% respectively.
[Image Source: www.statcounter.com]
At the same time, as per Statista data, it is projected that the smartphone penetration in Austria should increase from 62.32% in 2016 to 72.4% in 2022 of the total population. Effectively, one can consider it as a proxy to identify the potential growth of the smartphone market in Austria for the next 4 years.
[Image Source: www.statista.com]
This 10% potential market growth is a plum that both Samsung and Apple, as well as their Chinese rival – Huawei, are willing to get the first. Samsung had already opened its stores in Austria way before 2017 and Huawei opened its store in December 2017, Apple’s move to follow their example seems not just logical, but a required measure to keep up with the market competition. “We can’t wait to join the bustling city of Vienna, a European crossroads so rich in history and culture,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail. Eventually, it became a priority for Apple to reach the existing and potential clients as soon as possible using Apple’s original store approach – Apple store is the place for Apple community rather than just commerce. The press release that followed the store opening states that “Visitors can participate in free Today at Apple sessions every day focused on photography, coding and app development, music, art and design, and more in The Forum. The diverse programs include Quick Start and How To sessions, Music Labs and Studio Hours, all led by Apple Creatives, the store’s experts in liberal arts. Interactive Photo Walks and Sketch Walks take participants outside the store to explore nearby sites in the city while learning new skills.” There is no need to add anything more to see that primarily this expansion has more marketing and promo role rather than just an official selling point. At the end of the day following this approach has great chances to improve the Apple’s position in the market by showing the personalized attitude to the user audience and the overall experience they receive from using of Apple’s products.
[Image Source: By Tiger7253 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons]
Apple’s Unusual Pursuit of Cobalt
Smartphone production comprises about 25% of the worldwide demand for cobalt. The element is one of the most important chemicals that gives significant increase to performance of the Lithium-ion batteries of every single modern smartphone that we got used to in our everyday lives. As far as the requirements for smartphones’ performance increase power consumption perspective wise, the smartphones’ manufacturers increase their demand for batteries. The challenge is that Apple and its rivals are not the only consumers in the cobalt and batteries market and the price fluctuations for cobalt may significantly affect the cost for iPhone and Mac production and decrease the margin received by the company. Recently, it became known that Apple is in direct discussions with cobalt suppliers, i.e. miner companies, to secure the supply of cobalt to Apple’s contractors which provide Apple with batteries for their products. Although it is not something that investors may have expected from Apple, it may be a smart and strategic move for a company that is ultimately responsible for the design and sale of a device and which should be best aware of the potential demand for batteries and respective costs planning. The result will be much more sustainable and stable delivery of Apple’s devices to the customers and, as a result, stable cash flow to be ultimately delivered to its investors. It is not clear what is the stage of those discussions, but taking into account increasing price of iPhones from generation to generation it may become crucial to secure the costs by Apple itself alongside the whole cost chain so as to be sure that it will stay competitive comparing to Samsung, for instance, which actually manufactures their devices rather than outsourcing it to Foxconn. The other side of such move is that Apple enters competition for cobalt supply with electric cars manufacturers like Tesla and traditional automotive groups such as Daimler.
I Know First Forecast on Apple
We see that Apple goes nose to nose with its competitors both on local and global scales. On local level it results in rapid expansion on a country-by-country basis through opening of official retail stores to 19th country and it is known that the expansion will continue to India, Thailand and even Saudi Arabia. From global perspective we see that Apple continues its good tradition of patenting every single technological development that may or may not be implemented in its products and even starts to strengthen it competitive advantage from the very bottom of the supply chain through new approach of taking control over the input supplies for its own suppliers. All that gives strong sense to me that the management focuses not only on tactical short term marketing and software measures for promoting new features of existing products, but elaborates on more long term strategy of achieving opportunity for stable products production costs and resulting prices that serve best interests of Apple’s clients and investors. I Know First forecast supports my opinion that Apple’s stock is going to become even more bullish over 1 month, 3 months and 1 year time with the signal and corresponding predictability increasing over those periods.
Past I Know First Forecast with Apple
[Image source: Yahoo Finance]
On March 23rd, 2017 I Know First published an article by Motek Moyen, Senior Financial Analyst at I Know First, about cheaper new iPads that can shore up Apple’s waning tablet unit sales. We expected bullish behavior on 1 year horizon which almost passed since the forecast publication date and the shares went up by 27.26% shares since then. The bullish endorsement for Apple was backed by the positive algorithmic forecasts from I Know First.
Current I Know First subscribers received this bullish forecast for AAPL on March 23rd, 2017
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I Know First Algorithm Heatmap Explanation
The sign of the signal tells in which direction the asset price is expected to go (positive = to go up = Long, negative = to drop = Short position), the signal strength is related to the magnitude of the expected return and is used for ranking purposes of the investment opportunities.
Predictability is the actual fitness function being optimized every day, and can be simplified explained as the correlation based quality measure of the signal. This is a unique indicator of the I Know First algorithm. This allows users to separate and focus on the most predictable assets according to the algorithm. Ranging between -1 and 1, one should focus on predictability levels significantly above 0 in order to fill confident about/trust the signal.
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 Includes sales of Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products, iPod touch and Apple-branded and third-party accessories [Source: Apple Inc. Q1 2018 Unaudited Summary Data, Official Apple Inc. Press Release on February 1, 2018]