Apple Inc Stories March 24

AAPL: 105.67

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At a time when Apple has just launched its cheapest ever iPhone, and when Phil Schiller caused a few raised eyebrows over what some interpreted as an elitist remark, Apple seems to be aiming for a more egalitarian image where the Apple Watch is concerned.

Apple has quietly revamped the Apple Watch section of its website, rendering the Edition almost invisible unless you specifically go looking for it. In addition, we’re hearing reports that Apple’s most expensive Watch is also being removed from some retail store displays …

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Apple Inc Stories March 23

AAPL: 106.13

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Israeili YNetNews reports that the so-far unnamed “third party” which has offered to help the FBI try to break into the San Bernardino iPhone is Cellebrite, a mobile forensics company based in Israel.

The FBI has been reportedly using the services of the Israeli-based company Cellebrite in its effort to break the protection on a terrorist’s locked iPhone, according to experts in the field familiar with the case. Cellebrite has not responded to the report. But if it is indeed the “third party” in question, and it is able to break into the terrorist’s iPhone, it would bring the high-stakes legal showdown between the government and Apple to an abrupt end. Cellebrite, considered one of the leading companies in the world in the field of digital forensics, has been working with the world’s biggest intelligence, defense and law enforcement authorities for many years. The company provides the FBI with decryption technology as part of a contract signed with the bureau in 2013.

Cellebrite declined to comment officially, and no information was given as to the method the company plans to use. One unlikely source claims to know …

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Apple Inc Stories March 22

AAPL: 106.72

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I argued a couple of months ago that ‘peak iPhone’ was likely a temporary phenomenon, but that Apple might have to be willing to accept lower margins if it is to continue to grow its sales.

I think it will also need to learn to be a little more flexible when it comes to its profit margins, especially in growth markets. That ~40% markup has served it well for a great many years, but I don’t think it can necessarily expect to maintain it indefinitely.

Yesterday, the company indicated its willingness to do just that. For the first time, Apple’s entry-level phone is a brand-new device that offers close to flagship specs at a price level close to the previous-generation phone. That will hit Apple’s margins on the device for sure, but the company is looking to the long-term …

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With Apple making very clear how strongly it feels about the privacy of customer data through the FBI case, it’s no surprise that the issue is a hot-button within the company. A Reuters piece shows just how serious Apple is when it comes to guarding personal data.

Any collection of Apple customer data requires sign-off from a committee of three “privacy czars” and a top executive, according to four former employees who worked on a variety of products that went through privacy vetting […] The trio of experts […] are both admired and feared.

One former employee said that debates over whether or not customer data can be used to improve a service usually take at least a month to settle, and some privacy issues are debated for more than a year before a final decision is reached. Key privacy issues are escalated all the way to Tim Cook.

It was a refusal to compromise on privacy that killed one of Apple’s products, says the piece, while others needed to be substantially reworked to achieve privacy sign-off …

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One remark Schiller made during yesterday’s launch event raised a few eyebrows. In noting that the majority of 12.9-inch iPad Pro customers had actually switched from Windows PCs, he pointed to the huge potential switchers market still out there for Apple. There are, he said, over 600 million PCs more than five years old.

What he said next generated laughter in the room, but may not have gone down quite so well with those owners.

This is really sad. It really is.

Now, he may be right. A Windows PC more than five years old is going to be creaking somewhat by now. But it seems to me that there are three types of owners of old PCs, and the remark may well offend all of them …

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Apple Inc Stories March 21

AAPL: 105.91

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Apple earlier today officially took the wraps off of the oft-rumored iPhone SE. While the device is set to go up for pre-order on Thursday, March 24th and ship a week later, a handful of cases are already available for the device. While the device is largely identical to the iPhone 5/5s in terms of design, many companies are announcing new cases specifically for the latest 4-inch smartphone.

We’ve put together a roundup of some of the best choices to protect your iPhone SE below…

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