Apple Inc Stories March 7

AAPL: 101.87

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The battle between the FBI and Apple continues to be played out in the media. On the same day that Apple SVP Craig Federighi said that the FBI wanted to create a weakness that could be used by hackers and criminals, NYPD’s head of counter-terrorism weighed in during a radio interview. The Daily News quotes John Miller accusing Apple of providing aid to murderers, among other things.

I still don’t know what made [Apple] change their minds and decide to actually design a system that made them not able to aid the police. You are actually providing aid to the kidnappers, robbers and murderers.

He cited the same quote used by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance during the Congressional hearing to support this contention, that a criminal described iOS 8 as ‘a gift from God’ …

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Apple Inc Stories March 4

AAPL: 103.01

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IDC’s latest quarterly mobile phone tracker contains a mix of good news and bad for Apple. It starts by noting that 2015 was a fantastic year for the company in terms of both sales numbers and average selling price.

2015 was a tremendous year for Apple and the iPhone as shipments hit a new record of 231.5 million for growth of 20.2% over 2014, which was nearly double that of the overall smartphone market. More importantly, Apple was able to grow its ASP from $663 in 2014 to $713 in 2015.

Things get tougher this year, it suggests, forecasting flat sales for the year (or a drop of 0.1% if we wanted to pretend that forecasts could ever be that accurate) …

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Apple Inc Stories March 3

AAPL: 101.50

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Apple Pay looks to have been a big hit in China, Internet Retailer reporting that three million bank cards were activated in the first two days of the launch. Apple had been expecting big numbers, using a gradual rollout of the service on day one, something not well communicated to cardholders.

In the first two days after the Feb. 18 launch, 3 million consumers linked their bank cards to Apple Pay according to China Merchants Bank, one of 19 Chinese banks involved in the rollout.

It’s an impressive number, but with card processor UnionPay having a monopoly on card processing, a single deal by Apple meant the service is available to a staggering total of 5B cards …

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Apple Inc Stories March 2

AAPL: 100.75

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There were a few face-palm moments in yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, from committee members who appeared not to know what encryption is to Apple’s lead lawyer Bruce Sewell having to make a hasty switch from his iPad Pro to paper when the device apparently failed. (Some suggested it may simply have timed-out and auto-locked, but it’s unclear why he wouldn’t use Touch ID to let himself back in.)

Overall, though, it was a serious discussion of the issue, with each side making its points in a calm, rational manner and being subjected to many probing and intelligent questions.

It wasn’t a one-sided battle by any means. FBI Director James Comey made some solid arguments that clearly hit home. But my view is that Apple not only won on points, but also scored the knock-out blow …

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Shortly after yesterday’s Congressional hearing, Apple filed a formal objection to the court order instructing it to assist the FBI in breaking into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Apple had previously filed its mandatory response, in which it called for the court to vacate the order. This was a 65-page detailed document setting out the reasons the company believed the order should not have been granted. The document filed yesterday was rather shorter …

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