Canada’s Rogers sees ‘tremendous’ demand for iPhone X, upgrades iPhone 8 status to ‘good’


 

After calling iPhone 8 demand “anemic,” Canadian wireless carrier Rogers Communications on Friday upgraded the smartphone’s status to “good,” while touting interest in iPhone X as “tremendous.”

The statement issued by Rogers’ Executive VP Raj Doshi to Axios is ostensibly more upbeat than the bleak picture painted by CEO Joe Natale earlier this month.

“We’re seeing tremendous customer excitement for iPhone X with strong customer pre-orders,” Doshi said. “We’re also seeing good demand for the iPhone 8. We expect the two together will be very popular with our customers this holiday season with iPhone 8 being a major contributor.”

During the wireless giant’s most recent quarterly earnings conference call, Natale said interest in the then-new iPhone 8 was lower than expected. The chief executive went so far as to say demand was “anemic,” suggesting customers were holding out for this year’s flagship iPhone X. Natale’s remarks fueled speculation that global iPhone 8 series demand is weak, an notion reiterated by rumors claiming Apple plans to cut production of the handset pair in half.

Whether Rogers is witnessing an uptick in iPhone 8 demand is unclear, but Canada’s largest cellular provider is seeing a deluge of customers clamoring for iPhone X. According to the company’s website, iPhone X preorders show shipping estimates of more than two weeks, meaning launch day supply sold out in well under a day. Wireless carriers around the world are in the same situation.

Apple initiated iPhone X preorders at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Friday and sold through its first batch of units in less than ten minutes. Current wait times are pegged at 5 to 6 weeks for all models on all carriers.

Earlier today, Apple said iPhone X demand is “off the charts,” adding that it’s working hard to pump out as many devices as possible for eager fans. The company has yet to comment on iPhone 8, but the topic will likely be addressed during Apple’s quarterly earnings call next week.

Chipmaker Nvidia’s CEO sees fully autonomous cars within 4 years

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Nvidia Corp chief executive Jensen Huang said on Thursday artificial intelligence would enable fully automated cars within 4 years, but sought to tamp down expectations for a surge in demand for its chips from cryptocurrency miners.

FILE PHOTO: Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang attends an event during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Nvidia came to prominence in the gaming industry for designing graphics-processing chips, but in recent years has been expanding into newer technologies including high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars.

Its expansion has been richly rewarded with a 170 percent stock surge over the past year, boosting its market value to $116 billion.

“It will take no more than 4 years to have fully autonomous cars on the road. How long it takes for the vast majority of cars on the road to become that, it really just depends,” Huang told media after a company event in Taipei.

Global tech firms such as Apple Inc, Facebook, Alphabet Inc, Amazon and China’s Huawei [HWT.UL] are spending heavily to develop and offer AI-powered services and products in search of new growth drivers.

Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said earlier this week that the firm sees its mobile devices as a major platform for AI in the future. [nL4N1MY3N5]

“There are many tasks in companies that can be automated… the productivity of society will go up,” said Nvidia’s Huang.

But Huang joined peers taming expectations of strong revenue growth from a wave of interest in cryptocurrencies. Advanced Micro Devices Inc expected this week that there will be some leveling off of cryptocurrency demand. [nL4N1MZ5RP]

“Revenue for us in crypto is over $100 million a quarter. For us, it’s a small percentage… It’s obviously not a target market,” Huang said.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that use encryption techniques for security and can be traded. Miners use computers to process cryptocurrency transactions, and they are rewarded with additional cryptocurrency.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu; Writing by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Uber sees first decline in business passengers, report says

the-new-uber-app-photo-06

Uber may be seeing a drop in business passengers.


Uber

Uber is starting to see the effects of its tumultuous year.

For the first time, the ride-hailing company appears to have experienced a decline in business passengers. Certify, a management software company that tracks business expenses and travel receipts, said Tuesday that Uber has seen an average 1 percent decline in the ground transportation market. Meanwhile, Certify said Uber’s rival Lyft has seen a 3 percent bump.

“The business traveler is more in the driver’s seat than ever before when it comes to making purchasing decisions on the road,” Certify CEO Robert Neveu said in a statement. “Whether it’s a reaction to the latest headlines or the introduction of new features like tipping, the power of consumer choice has become a major factor in travel and entertainment expense spending.”

Uber has been beleaguered by dozens of scandals over the last year. They kicked off with a #DeleteUber movement in January, then moved onto workplace sexual harassment allegations and an internal investigation led by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. In June, Uber’s board of directors forced CEO Travis Kalanick to resign.

Now Uber is trying to turn things around with its new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, in charge. Khosrowshahi addressed Uber employees when he came on board in August saying what got Uber successfully to where it is, “is not what’s going to get us to the next level” and “this company has to change.”

Uber’s reported decline in business travelers is minimal, but it’s notable since it’s the first time the company has seen a loss of passengers. Certify says Uber owned 55 percent of the ground transportation market in the second quarter. But in the third quarter, it slipped to 54 percent. In its hometown, San Francisco, Uber’s market share saw the biggest loss at an 8 percent decline, according to Certify.

Lyft, on the other hand, had its best quarter ever. It went from controlling 8 percent of the ground transportation market for business travelers in the second quarter to having 11 percent in the third quarter, according to Certify. For comparison, both taxis and car rentals also dropped 1 percent in the third quarter, to 7 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

Certify’s data comes from its third quarter “SpendSmart” report, which is based on more than 10 million business traveler receipts and expenses. It’s been tracking data on Uber and Lyft for the last three years.

Neither Uber nor Lyft returned request for comment. 

Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech.

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Morgan Stanley sees SpaceX value growing to more than $50 billion

Elon Musk, CEO for SpaceX, speaks during the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sept. 27, 2016.

Susana Gonzalez | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk, CEO for SpaceX, speaks during the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Sept. 27, 2016.

Elon Musk is making rocket launches mundane and that could be worth tens of billions of dollars.

SpaceX could become a $50 billion juggernaut through its launch of a satellite broadband network, a team of Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a report Thursday.

The private space company on Wednesday launched its 15th rocket this year, and the second this week. More importantly, the Falcon 9 rocket launch was the third time SpaceX reused the first stage booster, and with each of these so-called “flight-proven” launches, it should be easier to attract new customers.

Morgan Stanley says SpaceX developing reusable rockets is “an elevator to low Earth orbit.”

“When Elisha Otis demonstrated the safety elevator in 1854, the public may have struggled to comprehend the impact on architecture and city design. Roughly 20 years later, every multistory building in New York, Boston, and Chicago was constructed around a central elevator shaft,” Morgan Stanley said. “It all comes down to SpaceX.”

Reducing the cost to launch a satellite to about $60 million, from the $200 million that United Launch Alliance charged through most of the last decade, was a monumental breakthrough. SpaceX is trying to reduce its cost to $5 million per mission, and Morgan Stanley says the launch business “generates limited operating income.”

The cash cow, to Morgan Stanley, is the SpaceX plan to launch a satellite broadband network in two years and send humans to Mars in seven.

“The goal of the satellite internet business is to generate enough cash to be able to go to Mars” the research firm said, adding that it believes Musk is serious about his goal of planetary expansion.

SpaceX has denied that it is preparing an initial public offering, but Morgan Stanley says the prospect should not be counted out. Upcoming projects will require significant amounts of money. “It seems reasonable to us to consider whether the company could look to access capital in the public markets,” the analysts said.

With “substantial room to increase the investment in space,” Morgan Stanley says that “public investors will start to pay more attention to space when or if SpaceX decides to IPO.”

Apple shares bounce back after Raymond James sees ‘surprising’ demand for iPhone X

A key reason for Apple’s outperformance this year was investor anticipation for a big upgrade cycle from this year’s more innovative iPhone models.

Now one Wall Street firm says the so-called “supercycle” may not happen, but strong demand for the $1,000 iPhone X will boost the company’s earnings next year instead.

The iPhone X will be available Nov. 3 at a base model price of $999, while the iPhone 8 launched last week. Raymond James reiterated its outperform rating for Apple shares, predicting better profitability and average selling prices for iPhones next year.

“Our September consumer survey suggests no evidence of an accelerated upgrade cycle for the 8 or X, but it does suggest a surprising demand for the X over the 8 given the price differential and lack of killer app,” Tavis McCourt wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

“Therefore, we view the recent pullback as a trading opportunity.”

Apple shares rose 1.4 percent in early trading Tuesday after the report.

The company has lost approximately $50 billion in market value since it announced its latest line of products on Sept. 12. Despite recent weakness this month, Apple is still one of the market’s best-performing large-cap stocks so far this year. Its shares have rallied 30 percent through Friday versus the S&P 500’s 12 percent gain.

McCourt said 37 percent of iPhone owners plan to upgrade in the next 12 months versus a 44 percent average in the previous three years, according to the firm’s surveys. In addition, only 14 percent of iPhone owners plan to upgrade in the next three months versus 15 percent last year and 17 percent in 2015.

“The data suggests that this year’s refresh may not drive the proverbial ‘supercycle’ that many have predicted,” he wrote.

As a result, the analyst lowered his fiscal 2018 iPhone unit sales forecast to 240 million from 260 million.

However, he said there was big positive news in the survey. McCourt cited how 46 percent of the upgrading consumers plan to buy the more expensive iPhone X. He predicts the better product mix will benefit Apple’s gross profit margins by 2 percentage points in fiscal 2018 and increase the average selling price for its iPhone business by 10 percent next year.

Consequently, he raised his earnings per share estimate for Apple’s fiscal 2018 to $10.85 from $10.50.

McCourt also increased his price target for Apple shares to $180 from $170, which is 20 percent higher than Friday’s close.

“We still expect the trading peak [for Apple shares] to occur in 1H18, likely the March quarter, as historically the shares have peaked in the quarters of maximum y/y growth,” he wrote.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.