Apple is such a target rich environment of bad news that it’s no wonder that they have fallen in value and deservedly so. Apple’s Store is full of spyware and security flaws, they have legal troubles that are concerning, they have quit innovating. Below I will give you a brief summary of each article and a link to read it for yourself but be ready to be shocked. I don’t own any stock in FAANG companies but if you do, now would be a good time to sell.
Apple App Makers Spying on You
Many major companies, like Air Canada, Hollister and Expedia, are recording every tap and swipe you make on their iPhone apps. In most cases you won’t even realize it. And they don’t need to ask for permission.
Apps like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com and Singapore Airlines also use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, one of a handful of companies that allows developers to embed “session replay” technology into their apps. These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back to see how its users interacted with the app to figure out if something didn’t work or if there was an error. Every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded — effectively screenshotted — and sent back to the app developers.
Or, as Glassbox said in a recent tweet: “Imagine if your website or mobile app could see exactly what your customers do in real time, and why they did it?”
Glassbox is one of many session replay services on the market. Appsee actively markets its “user recording” technology that lets developers “see your app through your user’s eyes,” while UXCam says it lets developers “watch recordings of your users’ sessions, including all their gestures and triggered events.”
Apple Allows User to Spy on Each Other
Apple has released an iPhone update to fix a software flaw that allowed people to eavesdrop on others while using FaceTime.
The bug enabled interlopers to turn an iPhone into a live microphone while using Group FaceTime. Callers were able to activate another person’s microphone remotely even before the person has accepted or rejected the call.
Apple turned off the group-chat feature last week, after a 14-year-old boy in Tucson, Arizona, discovered the flaw. The teenager, Grant Thompson, and his mother said they unsuccessfully tried to contact the company about the problem for more than a week.
FYI: Apple will never admit fault or flaws with any product or service until it has been made public and the publicity has embarrassed the crap out of them. This and the fact that their PC market share is so small has allowed them to falsely claim that they are more secure than Windows. Their iPhone apps are a mess despite their claims.
Turns out is not just Facebook and Google who are misusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate Program to distribute apps which would not pass Apple’s App Store approval process. Techcrunch has discovered that hundreds of companies are distributing pornography and gambling apps to members of the public using the certificate system designed for only internal use.
The news, however, underlines that the supposedly safe and secure iPhone ecosystem has a rather seedy underbelly…
Apple Guilt of Patent Infringement
As previously reported on this blog, Apple iPhones have been banned for sale in China and Germany due to patent infringement. Here is an update on the story from a German Court.
Apple and Qualcomm have been at loggerheads for a while now, with the firm suing Apple over its alleged patent infringement. Qualcomm won a victory against Apple in Germany, acquiring an injunction which would stop Apple from selling iPhone models that used Intel chips in their retail stores, forcing Apple to pull their devices from sale both in-store and online.
Apple as of now has resumed sales of its iPhone 7 and 8 family of devices with Qualcomm chips in Germany.
Apple Exec Busted for Insider Trading
The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought suit against Gene Daniel Levoff, who was Apple’s senior director of corporate law until September 2018. Levoff is accused of using his position to make illegal trades of Apple shares.
Levoff was part of Apple’s Disclosure Committee—one of the people who could review the company’s quarterly financial reports ahead of their publication. The SEC maintains that he used nonpublic information obtained as part of the committee to inform trades he made of Apple shares. For example, in July 2015 he learned that Apple was going to miss analyst estimates for iPhone unit sales. Between July 17 and July 21, when Apple published its quarterly earnings report, he sold nearly his entire holding of Apple stock, totaling nearly $10 million. When the news became public, Apple’s share price dropped by more than 4 percent—selling early avoided losses of approximately $345,000.
Considering what they did to Martha Stewart for $50K, they better throw the book at this guy.
Apple Stops Innovating iPhone
Apple’s cash cow—the iPhone—for the last decade is running out of steam and new ideas. As reported here previously, they have no plans to release a true 5G phone in 2019, they are reportedly going to shift to USB-C connector in 2020 (more on this in a minute), they have announced no R & D for a foldable tablet or phone, and they are shifting to an Android style display. But still no micro USB memory slot.
As per the report, Apple is also planning to shift its display technology to OLED for the 2019 iPhone family of devices. OLED displays are more visually appealing than LCDs subjectively speaking and show deeper blacks and greater contrast. In other words, they ‘pop’ more and look prettier in stores. They also tend to feature on higher-end Android smartphones, something Apple may be reacting to as sales fall in China and India as consumers prefer their own homegrown, full-featured Android smartphones.
Apple Shift from Products to Services
Apple has stopped reporting sales numbers for any devices on their quarterly stock reports due to declining sales but since they have fallen into the 90 Calendar trap, they are trying a new way to improve their cash flow. The new idea is to fleece their flock by offering subscription services. As such they are rolling out two new services, a subscription news service and a streaming service.
Apple, is expected to have a March 25 event at its Cupertino campus, where it could introduce the entertainment service, a new magazine subscription app and an update to its popular AirPods wireless earbuds.
Apple, coming off declining iPhone sales, is looking to make up the difference.
…Apple will offer the service for free for the first three months, as an app, like iTunes, available on iPhones, iPads, computers and via the Apple TV set-top box and then begin charging. His prediction: $3 monthly if bundled with Apple’s current $9.99 Apple Music offering, or $6.99 as a stand-alone product.
That’s a good deal cheaper than industry leader Netflix, which charges $11.99 for its most popular rate, but then Apple will have a tiny library in comparison. CBS, which also debuted with a smaller library for its All Access offering of originals (new Star Trek, and a sequel to the Good Wife) and library titles like Perry Mason and Cheers, charges $5.99 monthly, with ads, or $9.99 ad-free.
Apple’s track record in entertainment isn’t stellar. It debuted two new series in 2017, the widely panned Planet of the Apps reality show in 2017 and an extended version of the CBS late night comedy bit Carpool Karaoke. It also debuted in 2017 with five episodes, but hasn’t been heard from since.
Apple reported falling iPhone sales in its most recent earnings report, down 15 percent for the holiday quarter, but a booming business for its Services, which includes iCloud online storage, Apple Music and iTunes movie rentals. The company said Services revenue rose $10.9 billion, or 19 percent, over the previous year.
Are people really willing to pay $7 or more to watch shows they can only view on their phones? Color me skeptical. At lest with USB-C phones, you can hook them up to a computer monitor or television and view the content but a phone only person? You already have Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, CBS All Access plus Disney and Warner are starting their own streaming services; all of which you can watch on any device that you own. Apple is late to the party and they only plan to let you watch on their devices. Lastly, as mentioned above, content is going to be a problem. Heck Netflix is suffering due to the content pulled already for services that aren’t even live yet.
Apple is planning to launch an all-you-can-read news subscription service, but is running into resistance from The New York Times Co. and Washington Post, both of which want better terms, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Apple’s negotiators are reportedly floating an all-in-one news subscription plan that would cost consumers $10 per month, with Apple keeping half, and the remaining money getting split among all the other publishers on the platform, based on how much time people spend reading stories from each outlet.
Apple keeps half and gives crumbs to everyone else. Also please note that they are the ones that decide how much to pay all the news contributors based on how many hits each story gets.
I keep saying Tim Cook is just a caretaker and I think I’ve been vindicated in spades on that claim. Apple is no longer a leader in next generation technology, instead, they are just interested in making the current generation more comfortable in their old age.