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  • Jamie Adams

Apple's New iPhone Is Making Us Feel Uncomfortable

Apple has a weird new phone, WeWork is still not working, e-cigs may be banned, the EU is coming for Big Tech and Facebook is taking on Tinder. It's MyWallSt's Five on Friday of course!



Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

The Five On Friday is our weekly newsletter covering the investing world's top stories. If you want to subscribe for more great content, simply sign up here!


#iBored

Apple’s annual conference at the Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino CA drew the usual crowd of excited spectators but underwhelmed in delivery.


What does this mean?

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. One might be forgiven for letting their mind drift back to this overused sentiment when following Apple’s annual product conference in Cupertino on Tuesday. Every year there is anticipation that the spirit of the late, great Steve Jobs will descend on California and bless everyone with an innovative and world-changing product. Alas, another year and no divine intervention from beyond the great iCloudin the sky. In short: there are three new iPhone models, the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. There is also a new iPad which is 10.2 inches and compatible with Apple’s iPad keyboard, and an Apple Watch Series 5 which has an always-on display (but still no sleep-tracking, grrr). One could argue that the new (and weird looking) double and triple camera display of the iPhone 11 series is innovative, but it is certainly not groundbreaking! In fact, it is really freaking out some of the trypophobicsamong us (Google it). In reality, arguably the last great innovation of Apple was the Apple Watch, which launched in 2015! Since then it has been a steady stream of upgrades and updates, coinciding with service investments and retail sales decline. One truly surprising and positive announcement was the $4.99 price-tag placed on Apple’s original content streaming service, which will launch on November 1st. With Apple pushing more into the services market,can we expect several more years of lackluster product announcements? Only time will tell.


Bet you didn’t know

Mystery often surrounded the reason for the name ‘Apple’, but in truth, it was just the fruit that Steve Jobs liked the most, and named his company after that.


#WeAgain

SoftBank, WeWork’s largest outside investor, is urging the startup to shelve any plans it now has for its initial public offering.


What does this mean?

You must think that our writers here at MyWallSt love WeWork because we seem to be writing about the company every week. The truth is, CEO Adam Neumann’s office space provider is just the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to wacky market news. After months of speculation surrounding the company’s upcoming IPO, WeWork’s chief investor, SoftBank, have urged it to cancel any IPO plans immediately. SoftBank made a strong claim earlier in the year, giving WeWork a valuation of $47 billion, but it is reported that it has since seen its valuation drop to roughly $20 billion. Not short of controversy, WeWork has faced much criticism regarding its complicated corporate structure, its governance, and payments made to its CEO. If the company does decide to postpone its IPO, it can expect its value to drop even further, as investors reevaluate the worth of a company which has had so many issues.


Bet you didn’t know

As of July 2019, WeWork was losing $219,000 hourly, and this statistic has only gotten worse since.


#eBanned

President Trump has taken time out of his trade-war with China in order to call for legislation which will ban flavored e-cigarettes in America.


What does this mean?

E-cigarettes have been making headlines recently for tragic reasons, as more than 450 people have been hospitalized and at least 6 more have died due to vaping-related incidents. In light of this growing concern, the Trump administration stated earlier this week that it planned to ban all flavored e-cigarettes. "We can't allow people to get sick," President Donald Trump said from the Oval Office. "And we can't have our kids be so affected." Despite studies which suggest that e-cigs can damage several organs, there is still very little information on exact specifications of damage caused by the trend. One company who would be greatly affected by such a ban is e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. The company’s executives are reportedly debating whether to fully back the Trump administration’s proposal or lobby for exceptions for mint and menthol flavors, their biggest sellers. In the first half of 2019, Juul had $1.27 billion in global revenue, including more than $100 million outside the U.S., which would make any ban on their various products a very costly one. Between flavored e-cigarette manufacturers needing FDA approval on any new products from May 2020 onwards, and now the proposed ban, the industry may well be in for a turbulent few months.


Bet you didn’t know

Between 2011 and 2017, e-cigarette usage in U.S. high schools jumped from 0.6% to 11.7%. 


#DigitalCzar 

Big Tech has a big problem, and that problem is coming at them hard and fast in the form of Margrethe Vestager!


What does this mean?

“She hates the United States, perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met.” These are the words of U.S. President Donald Trump regarding the European Union’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who on Tuesday, was bestowed with even more power, as she became the equivalent of the European Union’s digital czar. For a long time, Ms. Vestager of Denmark was the scourge of Silicon Valley, enlisting billions in fines on Big Tech firms in breach of antitrust laws, and now she will be the most powerful regulator of Big Tech on the planet. Ms. Vestager’s enhanced status reflects the European Union’s ambition to become the most active tech regulator in the world, creating a far-reaching role for itself in the global economy. Much of the commissioner's role with revolve around the use of consumer data by these tech companies, as well as ensuring that smaller firms are not blocked out in advertising, something that Google is currently being accused of doing (I feel like I read about that somewhere recently). It remains to be seen whether placing so much power in one office will pay off, but in an age of uncertainty and digital ambiguity, sometimes drastic measures must be made to ensure everybody plays nice. 


Bet you didn’t know

The first ‘antitrust’ law can trace its origins back to the Sherman Act of 1890, which made it illegal for competitors to make agreements with each other that would limit competition.


#AndFinally

“Facebook Dating makes it easier to find love through what you like” - This is the opening statement in Facebook’s official announcement of its new dating service. Funnily enough, we were led to believe that most people DIDN’T like having Facebook in their private livesanymore? In the run-up to this service, Facebook has hyped new privacy and security features that would allow users to share their plans and locations with specific friends and hide their dating profiles from friends of friends in order to hide sensitive information. You’ll forgive our skepticism as we have been through this song-and-dance with Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild before. The company has a terrible track record of safeguarding user data, and the announcement of Facebook Dating came merely days after the company confessed to exposing over 419 million user IDs and phone number online, so why should an intimate dating app be any different? It should be noted that in 2018 alone, the number of romance-related scams reported to the FTC were over 21,000 (3 times 2015’s count), and had a collective loss worth around $143m.


What does this mean?

With so much speculation surrounding the safety of Facebook Dating and privacy of data in the company, there is valid skepticism surrounding the initiative. Love hurts Mark, so forgive us if we pass on this latest anti-Tinder move.


Bet you didn’t know

According to OkCupid’s research on its own users, the most successful dating profile image is of an unsmiling man looking away from the camera - (hastily edits Tinder profile).

The Week In Numbers


$98

is the annual subscription Walmart will charge customers for its ‘unlimited’ grocery delivery service nationwide.


$100 million

is how much U.S. based Dunkin’ is investing in it’s coffee trade, in an attempt to take on Starbucks.


$500 million

is how much Google’s have had to pay France following a fiscal fraud probe. 


MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently hold long positions in Alphabet, Apple and Facebook. Read our full disclosure policy here.

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