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

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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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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/16/2017 6:10:59 AM
   of 721
Quick Take – Iphone X Hints at a Post-Smart Phone World

Apple introduced iPhone X as the future of the smartphone; and for good reason. The iPhone X has advanced 3D-sensing, display, camera, and augmented reality technologies that have never been available in consumer devices. These technologies solidify the platform on which Apple will retain and grow its user base for the next decade.

Impact of iPhone X. iPhone X will ship on November 3, roughly six weeks after we had previously expected. We estimate that some users (about 20% of all new iPhone buyers) will opt for the iPhone X over iPhone 8 and previous models. The ship date likely won’t have a material impact on the number of units sold, but will push some unit sales into the March quarter. Ultimately, roughly 10% of our previous iPhone unit sales in the December quarter will be iPhone X sales that are shifted into the March quarter.

AR Hints at a Post-Smartphone World. But we’re looking beyond the smartphone, wondering how the core technologies shown today will help Apple enable a post-smartphone world. To be clear, we expect the smartphone to remain a dominant computing platform for many years, but a transition to the future of computing is clearly underway. Underneath features like the new iPhone X unlock method, called Face ID, is a set of revolutionary 3D-sensing technology that will enable entirely new experiences with – and through – our devices. As Jony Ive said, “[Augmented Reality] will redefine what’s possible.”

We were hoping to see advanced AR sensors on both the front and the rear of the new device, but the new, advanced sensors are primarily relegated to the iPhone X’s front. This means that the AR capabilities Apple introduced today will be, for the most part, accessible to and backward compatible with iPhones dating back to the 2015 iPhone 6s. Ultimately, this decision will accelerate the adoption of AR and the future of computing.

Freeing You From Your iPhone. Apple’s other big announcement, Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE connectivity, also shows us where the company is positioning itself to win in a post-smartphone world. Apple pitched Apple Watch Series 3 as a device that frees you from your iPhone. Stepping back, the capabilities of the device are astounding, and they hint at a future more dominated by wearable computing devices that enable most of what we can do with our smartphones today, and more.

Impact of Apple Watch. With the introduction of LTE to the Apple Watch Series 3, and the reduced price of the Series 1, today’s announcements could add 10M incremental Apple Watch units in 2018, implying Apple Watch sales of 26M units in FY18. This would bring our estimate for Apple’s overall revenue growth from 12% to 14% in FY18, in-line with street estimates.

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From: Paul H. Christiansen9/21/2017 8:34:46 PM
   of 721
Google Paid Htc $1.1 Billion To Turn Itself Into A Phone Maker

After years of half-heartedly and occasionally hamfistedly building gadgets, Google's finally all-in on the hardware game. Google will announce a number of new products on October 4, reportedly including two new phones, a smaller version of the Google Home, and a high-end laptop. And on Wednesday, the company announced an agreement with struggling manufacturer HTC that will import a team of engineers over to Google, to help close the gap between Mountain View's hardware ambitions and its present reality.

The tie-up's not quite the acquisition that had been rumored, but rather a "cooperation agreement." Google is hiring a team of HTC employees—about 2,000 people in all, members of HTC's "Powered by HTC" division—most of whom have already been working on Google's Pixel phones. Those employees will stay in Taipei, Taiwan, where HTC is headquartered, but they'll become full-on Googlers. In exchange for those workers and a non-exclusive license for some of HTC's intellectual property, Google's paying HTC $1.1 billion. Both sides hope to close the deal by early 2018. Even after the arrangement is finalized, HTC will continue making its own phones, and building Vive VR products.

According to one source, the agreement essentially shortcuts the acquisition process. Google doesn't need an entire company; it just needs engineers that can help it tightly integrate Pixel hardware with its homegrown software. So rather than deal with enveloping HTC whole cloth, it can simply pay for and quickly get the team it needs. A team which, again, already makes Google hardware. In some ways, all that changes is the ID badge.

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