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To: Paul H. Christiansen who wrote (463)9/12/2017 11:24:59 AM
From: waitwatchwander
   of 721

Gee, the new merging with the old. We've all seen that before. I guess this time they aren't buying each other out though. No matter how it gets done, it's consolidation of interest for the sake of share within a marginally growing pie. Along with this kind of growth comes all sorts of other challenges which are likely unwanted.

Are we re-entering a newer version of an older phase?

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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/12/2017 11:27:09 AM
   of 721
The fight to replace the iPhone and other smartphones is on — here's what to watch for in round one

Earlier this year, the biggest companies in tech all outlined their visions for the next big thing in computing. Now, things are about to get real.

When Apple holds its big event on Tuesday, it won't just be unveiling the iPhone 8, it's going to kick off another wave of announcements from the tech giants. Only this time, what the big companies will be promoting won't be their conceptions for the industry's future. It'll be the products you'll actually be able to buy this holiday season.

That transition from vision to tangible products is the first step in the master game plan of supplanting the smartphone with the next great technology platform. It'll still be a decade or more before that changeover is complete, at least if you believe Mark Zuckerberg. But we're slowly —one new Apple, Google, or Microsoft gadget at a time — building up to a future without screens, keyboards, or, indeed, the smartphone itself

If you're keeping track of the smartphone's long, slow march to history's graveyard, here are the early road signs you should be looking for the rest of the year.

Apple At its event Tuesday, Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 8, the 10th anniversary edition of the gadget that triggered the smartphone boom. The device will represent a refresh of the iPhone's hardware; you should expect it to have a screen that covers the entire front of the phone, minus a "notch" for its camera. But more importantly, the iPhone 8 will mark Apple's first big step into the world of augmented reality.

Augmented reality is the technology that projects digital imagery into users' field of vision. It's delivered through special eyeglasses or headgear. In the future, you may access it via customized contact lenses.

Most tech industry experts assume such AR devices will eventually replace the smartphone. After all, why carry a phone if you can view your text messages, edit spreadsheets, and watch Netflix through your glasses or contact lenses?

The impending shift to augmented reality devices gives Apple almost a perverse incentive to kill the iPhone itself. Apple benefitted greatly from helping drive the tech industry's move from the PC to the smartphone, much to the chagrin of Microsoft, which ruled the PC era. It's in Apple's best interests to drive the coming transition away from smartphones to augmented reality before any upstart can slide in and turn the iPhone maker into the next Microsoft.

Apple appears to be trying to do just that. It recently launched ARkit, a set of software tools that allow developers to tap into the iPhone's camera and sensors to build augmented reality apps.

In the near term, Apple hopes ARkit will be a boon for its smartphones, and you can expect the company to heavily promote the iPhone 8's augmented reality features. CEO Tim Cook has saidthat with augmented reality, the iPhone will be "even more essential than it currently is."

But in the long term, ARkit could give Apple a leg up on the devices that will make the iPhone obsolete. Apple reportedly is already working on a pair of smart glasses.

When Apple launched the iPad, consumers could, from day one, download thousands of apps for it, because it could run the same ones that were designed for the iPhone, which had hit the market three years earlier. In much the same way, whenever Apple releases its smart glasses, buyers will likely be able to download lots of AR apps for them — they'll be the same ones that developers are creating with ARkit today.

But augmented reality isn't the only new post-smartphone technology or device Apple's likely to talk about on Tuesday. The company also will likely share more details on the HomePod, its new Siri-powered smart speaker, which will compete with Amazon's Echo devices and Google Home.

Google This October, several weeks after Apple's event, Google is expected to launch the Pixel 2, its new flagship Android smartphone and the follow-up to last year's original Pixel. What will be interesting to see is if Google uses the event to talk about augmented reality.

Just recently, the company released ARcore, an augmented reality system for Android that works much like Apple's ARkit, letting developers build new apps that use the phone's camera in cool new ways. The difference is unlike Apple, whose smart glasses are still in development, Google already has some in the market in the form of the revitalized Google Glass. That could give it some momentum.

Augmented reality is arguably as important to Google as it is to Apple. As the dominant maker of smartphone operating systems, Google has a lot to lose if people start to spend more time on augmented reality devices rather than on smartphones, especially if those new devices run another company's software.

But whether or not Google reveals more of its hand in the area of augmented reality, it is likely to talk soon about digital assistants and smart speakers.

As the early success of Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo gadgets has shown, there's potentially a big market for technology that lets users ask questions and get answers without having to use a screen. At first blush, the market should be a natural one for Google. Answering questions is literally why it exists, and the thing it does better than any other company. And, indeed, Google showed last year that it was focused on the market when it released its Google Home smart speaker.

Now the company is reportedly preparing a tiny version of Google Home. Not only would the new gadget likely be better positioned than the original to compete with Amazon's best-selling and hockey puck-sized Echo Dot, it would speak to the importance to the company of its Google Assistant, the search giant's Siri-style smart agent.

But like augmented reality, smart speakers and digital assistants represent a threat to the company. It hasn't figured out how to extend its core ad business — the thing that brings in the vast majority of its revenue — to voice-based devices and interfaces.

Still, you should expect Google to keep pushing in the voice assistant market until it has significant share.

Microsoft Every October for the last few years, Microsoft has announced new Surface computers. It's expected to do so again this year, though what exactly it will announce is still up for debate.

But we do know the company's bigger-picture strategy — if augmented reality is going to be the next big thing, Microsoft wants Windows to power it. The company doesn't want to miss out, like it did with mobile.

Microsoft staked its claim in augmented reality before the technology was cool with its HoloLens headset. Announced in early 2015 and launched with a $3,000 price tag in the middle of last year, HoloLens beat its rivals to the punch.

Now, though, Apple and Google are threatening to battle back. And so, Microsoft is going on the offensive, albeit not in augmented reality, but in a related area. The company is partnering with PC manufacturers including Dell and Asus to release virtual reality headsets for Windows at a prices as low as $300. And the software giant has struck deals with Valve and other companies to provide VR content.

The party line at Microsoft is that virtual and augmented reality are closely linked. Success in one area will lead to success in the other.

Getting back to the anticipated Surface announcement, you can expect Microsoft, when it unveils its new Surface hardware, to also tout VR on Windows.

As for voice, Microsoft is trying to build a niche for its Cortana agent as the AI system of choice for professionals on the go. You can expect to hear more from the company about how it's connecting Cortana with Amazon's Alexa. That's a tie-up that should have Google and Apple worried.

The wild card Amazon doesn't really throw parties for itself, and isn't generally a fan of letting its plans be known in advance. But we can make some educated guess about at least one product.

For the last few weeks, the company has been offering its Echo smart speaker, which normally sells for $179, for $99 or less. That could indicate that a new version is on the way.

The whole market is keeping a close eye on Amazon, Echo, and Alexa. Because Amazon doesn't have a widely used consumer computing platform to defend, the retailer has been free to go nuts in the smart speakers and digital assistant area. So far this year, Amazon has released an Alexa-powered fashion camera and an Alexa-powered touchscreen tablet with few other controls. And numerous companies have announced that they'll be building Alexa into their products, from other smart speakers to refrigerators to cars.

Amazon's hardware business doesn't operate at the same scale as Apple's or Microsoft's, but its Echo devices are a modest success in their own right. In the race to kill the smartphone, Amazon may not be the company in the lead, but it's certainly the one to watch.

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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/13/2017 2:12:54 AM
   of 721

YOU LOOK AT your phone too much. It's too distracting, you'd rather be able to be present and in the world, but you still need to be connected. That’s what makes the initial theory behind the Apple Watch so compelling: It’s a device on your wrist that can do everything in a pinch, but mostly exists to look nice and only alert you when you really need to be alerted. It's the gadget everyone could use.

Over the past couple of years, though, fitness emerged as the most resonant feature of the Watch. And Apple leaned into it: It made a big partnership with Nike, started working on connecting your Watch to your gym equipment, and improved the way it tracks workouts. Apple's also working on more health-focused features such as sleep tracking and glucose monitoring.

Today, Apple announced the third version of the Apple Watch hardware, called Watch Series 3, which comes with a handful of upgrades but only one that matters: The Watch can now connect to LTE. That has huge fitness implications for runners who hate armbands but need to make phone calls, or people who go a little too hard and need an Uber home. It also goes a long way toward helping the Apple Watch achieve its ultimate and truest goal: to free you from your phone. It starts at $329 without cellular coverage or $399 with, and it's coming September 22.

The Watch looks the same as always, so this is your moment to be sad it's not round. It's even nearly the same size—Apple's Jeff Williams called it "two pieces of paper thicker"—and packs the same battery life. The only difference you'll really notice is a red dot on the Watch's crown, which used to signify that you were wearing one of the super-expensive Edition models but now stands for LTE. On the screen you'll see a four-dot status bar for service on your watch face and an icon in Settings for turning LTE on and off. Mostly you'll just notice that you can, you know, do stuff when you're not near your phone.

There's a new dual-core processor inside the Watch, which Apple says is 70 percent faster than the last model. It also uses the new W2 chip for wireless, which Apple uses to keep connection good and battery usage low, plus an altimeter for the snowboarders and skydivers out there. (There was at least one in the room during the event, who woo'd pretty loudly at the announcement.)

The Watch's new software, WatchOS 4, has been in developers' hands since June. It adds a number of new watch faces, including a Siri-based one that promises a constant feed of useful information. (Also, Toy Story watchfaces.) Apple redesigned the Watch's dock and complications, part of its ongoing effort to figure out how a smartwatch should actually work. And as always, it focused on fitness, adding better tracking and more notifications to close those three rings every day. Your Watch will now have your heart-rate information much more centrally located.

Of all the Apple Watch's features and upgrades, Siri's the most likely to benefit from built-in LTE. You won't really want to type or chat too much on your watch, but asking quick questions or jotting down notes while you're away from your phone sounds amazing. You're not replacing your phone with a smartwatch so much as replacing it with Siri. Pair the Watch with some AirPods and the new Apple Music streaming setup on the Watch, and you're closer to Her than anything you've tried yet.

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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/13/2017 2:29:33 AM
   of 721
Has Death of U.S. IPO Market Been Exaggerated?

The market for initial public offerings is shaky. So says the new head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, and the president of the New York Stock Exchange, Tom Farley, who point to burdensome regulations as a big part of the problem. The decline in new listings has been fingered as a key reason the total number of public companies in the U.S. shrank from more than 8,000 in 1996 to about 4,400 in 2016. Does fewer companies going public mean there’s something fundamentally broken in the IPO process? Not necessarily.

1. Why are fewer companies going public? Many companies can find capital privately, allowing them to avoid the red tape that comes with a stock listing. A prime example is the technology industry, which has more than 200 closely held companies with valuations higher than $1 billion, according to CB Insights. Take Airbnb Inc.: The nine-year-old home-booking company has raised about $3.4 billion in private funding rounds and is valued at $31 billion (what investors are willing to pay for a share in the latest private stock sale, times the number of existing shares). Airbnb has expanded into new markets and dealt with regulatory issues away from the daily scrutiny of public market investors, unlike, say, Google (now Alphabet), Apple and, which held IPOs within six years of their founding.

2. Where does the private funding come from? Nowadays, all over. Old-school private funding players like venture capital firms have been joined by mutual funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms. These parties have piled money into private companies, trying to get a piece of the next big business before an IPO. Throw in new players, like SoftBank Group Corp.’s almost $100 billion Vision Fund, which has stakes in private technology and biotech firms, and many younger businesses have been able to find cash when they need it.

3. How has this changed the IPO market? The number of annual U.S. IPOs has declined, but the deal sizes are bigger. Because companies are waiting longer to go public, they’re typically larger and more mature when they finally do. From 2007 to 2016, there was an average of 164 corporate IPOs each year, down 47 percent from the prior decade. But the average amount of stock sold climbed 82 percent to $284 million. Still, some of the most notable IPO holdouts, like Airbnb or the $69 billion Uber Technologies Inc., are among the country’s most valuable companies, based on their valuations gleaned from private funding rounds.

4. Is it really such a hassle to be a public company? It does bring new responsibilities. Your company is judged on a daily basis through its stock price, and management must file quarterly financial reports and additional incremental disclosures. These checks were designed to provide information to public investors on things that can affect the company’s performance. Some new companies faced a tough time once out in the market. Snap Inc. and Blue Apron Holdings Inc., two tech darlings, went public in 2017, only to have their stocks fall below their last private market value. That’s put a chill on both public and private share sales.

5. Can anything be done to boost IPOs? At the NYSE, which makes money when companies list, Farley says that the cumbersome listing process and financial regulations dissuade companies from going public. He’s bemoaned rules including the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which regulates how companies divulge their finances. Meanwhile, the SEC recently extended to all companies, regardless of size, a rule that allows them to file confidential IPO documents. The intent is to make the listings process more efficient by allowing companies to start the filings process without publicly divulging potentially sensitive information.

6. If there’s no IPO, how can employees cash out? This has become a hot question over the past few years. As companies stay private longer, employees with private stock haven’t been able to collect the cash reward they feel they’ve earned for their hard work. Private companies have begun to use secondary offerings, where investors can buy shares from employees and other existing holders in private transactions, usually at the same time as a new funding round.

7. Are individual investors losing out? Potentially. It’s difficult for many individual investors to get in on private share sales. That means the longer these companies delay going public, the more these investors miss out on early-stage growth. Getting in a younger company is inherently riskier, but the few winners usually reward investors with big returns.

8. Did fewer IPOs really cause the drop in total companies? Not necessarily. EY says the smaller number of public companies now can be attributed to the influx of dot-com listings beginning in the mid-1990s, since many of those companies eventually failed and delisted. Three-quarters of the decline in total companies took place between 1996 -- the height of the tech bubble -- and 2003. Almost 2,800 public companies disappeared in that period because of mergers and acquisitions or delistings, a May report from EY said. The accounting firm added that if policy makers are aiming to generate capital formation, job creation and economic growth, it may not matter much whether the money is raised publicly or privately.

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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/13/2017 9:51:43 AM
1 Recommendation   of 721
Apple Needs an Entirely New iPhone, Not Just a New Version

In 2007, I had a chunky feature phone with a pixelated display that slid sideways to reveal a keyboard. It wasn’t pretty, but it was fine for texting and making calls—which, at the time, was all I ever did with my phone.

Then the iPhone was released, and everything changed. Suddenly, we all expected so much more from our handsets; they weren’t just phones, but smartphones. Sure, there were already BlackBerrys and Palm Treos and an assortment of other handsets that were bigger and more capable than a flip phone, but they were not that easy to use and there wasn’t all that much you could do with them. There was nothing on the market even close to the iPhone in terms of its display, touchscreen, user experience, and—perhaps most importantly—wow factor. The iPhone (coupled with the App Store, which came a year later in 2008), didn’t just redefine a category; it created it.

It’s been 10 years since then and the mobile industry has changed drastically. These days, most of us have smartphones, they almost always seem to be black or silver, and we use them for everything from finding a date to paying for lunch. Most of these phones (85 percent, according to data from tech market researcher IDC) run on Google’s rival Android OS, while Apple’s iOS and iPhone takes up nearly all of the rest of market.

To read the entire article, select the following URL;

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To: Paul H. Christiansen who wrote (465)9/14/2017 9:40:33 AM
From: zzpat
   of 721
Android devices can find what we're searching for within seconds. Google appears to have the most advanced AI. Type in the word apple and you have pictures of apples. Text, voice, image, (Google can find images similar to what you have) and facial recognition are becoming commonplace. Translations from metric to inches, Celsius to Fahrenheit or English to Spanish are also easily done mostly from the location bar (or by voice).

You can use a display or simply listen for an answer to a query. AI is bigger than the Internet and may make the Internet obsolete.

Investors would be wise to get in at the ground level and CEOs who haven't put money into AI are worthless. Their companies will become extinct as fast as Blockbuster. No more stock buybacks.

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To: Paul H. Christiansen who wrote (471)9/14/2017 9:47:10 AM
From: zzpat
   of 721
All these companies put far too much money into creating keyboards for easy texting but texting is a waste of time. Why text when it's far easier and more efficient to call? I don't need a $1000 phone to make a phone call but it has to be able to display what I want using my voice (forget fingerprints and facial recognition).

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To: Paul H. Christiansen who wrote (470)9/14/2017 9:57:54 AM
From: zzpat
   of 721
The problem isn't only IPOs. There are a lot of other problems and they're all trending in the same direction.

The average time a company is in the S&P 500 is 14-years, down from decades a few decades ago. This means that CEOs and investors have a very short window to make money before a company falls off the S&P.

There are also far fewer retail investors with most estimates putting the number around 10%. Machines have taken over most of the market and control everything. Without investors demanding better CEOs etc. bad CEOs keep their jobs far too long and quickly cause companies to collapse.

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To: Paul H. Christiansen who wrote (461)9/14/2017 9:59:56 AM
From: zzpat
   of 721
IBM had over 8000 patents last year and over 2000 AI patents. R&D doesn't seem to be the problem. Finding something that people want is the problem.

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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/14/2017 9:09:10 PM
   of 721
Alphabet Said to Be in Talks to Invest About $1 Billion in Lyft

The Google parent is also an investor in Uber, though that relationship has soured

Google parent Alphabet Inc. has held talks to invest about $1 billion in Lyft Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in what would further an alliance against the ride-hailing company’s arch rival, Uber Technologies Inc.

It isn’t clear when the talks took place or whether a deal will materialize. Bloomberg earlier reported the talks.

An investment in Lyft would complicate an already confusing mix of alliances and competitors in the global ride-hailing business. Alphabet is an investor in Uber after its venture-capital arm, now called GV, invested $258 million in the ride-hailing giant in 2013. Their relationship soured over the years as Uber and Google began competing against each other in developing self-driving cars.

The standoff reached a head in February when Alphabet sued Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets to jump-start its own driverless-car program, allegations the ride-hailing company denies. In May, Alphabet turned to Lyft in a deal to jointly develop autonomous-vehicle technology.

Lyft, which only operates in the U.S., is a distant second in market share and valuation. It was last valued at about $7.5 billion and has raised about $2.6 billion from investors including venture firms like Andreessen Horowitz and companies such as General Motors Co. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Uber, by comparison, was last valued by investors at $68 billion and is nearing a deal with SoftBank Group Corp. on an investment that could total up to $10 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

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