ZEV Credits Won’t Save Tesla’s Quarter – Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA)

When trying to forecast Tesla’s (TSLA) financial results there are two big unknowns:

  • How much the company will make by selling regulatory credits. Zero emission vehicle (ZEV) credits are all over the place, bringing anywhere from $0 to nearly $140 million in a given quarter; non-ZEV credits hover around the $15 million mark save for one big exception in the year-ago quarter.
  • How much of the loss will be taken up by Solarcity’s non-controlling interests (NCIs), and thus excluded from the GAAP net loss figure.

User CoverDrive estimated a loss of $492 million for 17Q3 on the assumption that NCIs would remain at the same level as the previous quarter ($65 million) and there would be $0 ZEV revenue. He based the latter assumption on the fact that Tesla sold $100 million worth of credits between April and June, and after such a large sale its credit balance would be mostly depleted.

(Regarding deliveries, the actual figure of 25,930 Model S and X was very close to the figure CoverDrive used in his forecast: 26,500.)

Well, one of those wild cards is now more or less known: the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has just published data related to the ZEV program for the period from September 2016 to August 2017. With a little bit of work, we can estimate how much money Tesla may have made in the July-September quarter. It’s not enough info to say ZEV revenue will be close to zero, but it does rule out any “blowout” like 16Q3, when Tesla made $139.5 million off these credits.

In the most recent period Tesla made about $2,500 per ZEV credit

CARB reports credit sales from September to August, which doesn’t exactly align with financial quarters. To get the closest possible figure, here I have added up Tesla’s ZEV revenue from Q4 of one year to Q3 of the next. We can this way estimate how much the company makes per ZEV credit. The figures are in single dollars.

Period

ZEV credits sold

Revenue

Revenue per ZEV credit

Sept 2012 to Aug 2013

37,472

139,800,000*

3,700

Sept 2013 to Aug 2014

18,577

86,100,000

4,634

Sept 2014 to Aug 2015

44,423

169,600,000

3,818

Sept 2015 to Aug 2016

80,227

203,600,000

2,538

Sept 2016 to Aug 2017

51,776

?

?

*For 12Q4, ZEV revenue is undisclosed. I estimate $10 million for that period, which results in the total figure of $139.8 million, due to the fact that Tesla disclosed $40.5 million of total credit revenue for 2012 (and most ZEV revenue would have been concentrated in the last quarter, when Tesla made a majority of Model S deliveries).

From 16Q4 to 17Q3, if ZEV credit price had stayed at the previous level, $2,538, Tesla would have made $131.4 million.

There is one caveat: at the end of August 2017 Tesla still had 29,556 ZEV credits in its balance, and it may have sold some or all of them during September. Such a sale would not really be offset by subtracting the credits sold during September 2016, because at the end of August 2016 the corporation only had 3,530 credits in its balance, far less than 12 months later.

Thus, the $131.4 million figure may conceivably be “missing” the sale of roughly an additional 26,000 credits – which would provide another $66 million.

The numbers imply ZEV revenues for 16Q3 well below $100 million

Don’t just take my word for it – keep reading. First we need to figure out how much revenue Tesla made selling ZEV credits from October 2016 to June 2017. Comparing that with the CARB data on credits sold, we can figure out how much is missing, i.e. how much additional ZEV revenue Tesla might have made between July and September of this year.

Here you can see Tesla’s disclosed ZEV revenue, in millions of dollars:

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

2013

67.9

51.5

10.4

0

129.8

2014

0

10,000

76.1

66

152.1

2015

51

14

38.6

8

111.6

2016

57

0.1

138.5

NA

NA

2017

About 0*

100

*Tesla disclosed in 17Q1 that sales of all regulatory credits declined by $56.1 million year-on-year. Given that ZEV sales for the year-before period were $57 million, and non-ZEV revenue is very stable around $15 million, it seems likely ZEV revenue accounted for almost all of this decline – reaching values near 0 in 17Q1.

OK, data for 16Q4 is missing so we’ll have to figure it out somehow. Here’s the revenue from non-ZEV credits:

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

2013

17.1

17.9

14.8

14.8

64.6

2014

11.6

15.8

16.8

20

64.2

2015

15

13

NA

NA

57.1

2016

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

2017

NA

NA

Which results in revenue from all sales of regulatory credits (excluding tax credits, such as those obtained through the Gigafactory):

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Total

2013

85

69.4

25.2

14.8

194.4

2014

11.6

25.8

92.9

86

216.3

2015

NA

NA

NA

NA

168.7

2016

NA

NA

NA

NA

302.3

2017

NA

NA

Now, just because you see a lot of “NA” doesn’t mean we know nothing about those periods. For instance, Tesla did disclose for 17Q2 that total credit sales increased by $104.3 million. Since ZEV sales alone increased by $99.9 million, we know non-ZEV credits accounted for the rest of the increase, i.e. $4.4 million. Which is in keeping with the evidence that non-ZEV revenue tends to have similar levels quarter after quarter.

For that reason, I’m going to assume non-ZEV credits provided Tesla with $15 million in each of the four quarters of 2016 – except the third, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, in which they generated approximately double that figure. Thus I estimate Tesla’s non-ZEV revenue for 2016 to have been $75 million, leaving $227.3 million for ZEV credits. Subtracting ZEV revenue for the first three quarters of 2016, which is disclosed, leaves 16Q4 ZEV revenue of $31.7 million.

With that data point in hand we can estimate that from October 2016 to June 2017 ZEV revenue was $131.7 million, or perhaps a bit higher if we include the undisclosed (but small) figure for 17Q1.

What we have is that ZEV revenue for Tesla from 16Q4 to 17Q2 ($131.7 million) was, roughly equivalent to all Tesla credit sales from September 2016 to August 2017 ($131.4 million). Put other way, there is almost no room for any further ZEV revenue in 16Q3. All revenue from sales of ZEV credits was obtained in the previous three quarters. The not-so-wild card left is credits that may have been sold in September 2017, minus those sold in September 2016, but the net amount is almost certainly less than $70 million.

Tesla has not yet said when it will file its results for the July-September quarter. But you can be a bit more sure of what they’ll say: minus $500 million, more or less.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Xbox chief says Sony won’t allow cross-platform Minecraft, probably never will

The release last month of the Better Together update for Minecraft brought together Minecraft players on most of the game’s many platforms: the Xbox One, Windows 10, mobile, and VR versions of the game now all use the same engine and can all play together without borders. Servers and content will be accessible from any Better Together platform. Microsoft has also announced that this version of the game will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, and it, too, will be able to join in the cross-platform play.

But one major platform is being left behind: PlayStation 4. Minecraft players on the PlayStation 4 will only be able to play with other PlayStation 4 users. Not because of any technical constraint, but because Sony won’t allow it.

Speaking to Gamespot, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said Sony regards platform lock-in as a way of driving sales and “that reason [for blocking cross-platform play] is not going away.” Spencer doesn’t hold out much hope for things changing, either: “I’m never going to call anything a lost cause, but I think some of the fundamental reasons and certain scenarios—they’re not really going away.”

In June, Sony execs insisted that the company has no “profound philosophical stance” against cross-platform play, and it has permitted play between the PC and PlayStation 4. But cross-console play is clearly a sticking point. While Microsoft isn’t the first developer to cite Sony’s refusal to allow cross-platform play—Rocket League developer Psyonix and Gwent developer CD Projekt have both blamed Sony for the limitation—this is the first time the company has itself fallen foul of Sony’s restrictions. Moreover, Spencer’s comments make clear that Sony’s desire to create lock-in appears to be its overwhelming concern.

If one game could make Sony reconsider, the sheer size and popularity of Minecraft means that it’s surely the one. Better Together is a substantial update, and one can well imagine that it won’t be long before Minecraft players start to expect—and even demand—the ability to play on the same servers regardless of whether they’re using their consoles, their phones, or even their PCs. For now, however, Sony appears content to deny the users of its platform access to the larger Minecraft universe.

Apple’s iPhone X won’t experience the joy of 6… • The Register

Apple’s upcoming iPhone X will be its biggest in years, but will still fall short of sales expectations.

This is according to Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor, who today likened the looming iPhone X launch to the 2014 unwrapping of the iPhone 6 and 6S. Like that blastoff, the iPhone X introduces a new design to Apple’s smartphone and with it more hardware features and the need to adapt software.

Where the two handsets – the X and the 6 – will differ, said Windsor, is in their sales. The iPhone 6 caused iPhone shipments to climb by 46 per cent and 40 per cent, year on year, in its first two quarters on the market, and 35 and 22 per cent in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

By comparison, Edison only projects the iPhone X to be a modest push to sales with shipments going up by 15 to 22 per cent in its first four quarters.

“This is due to utility, as while the new screen is nice to look at and enables a big screen on a smaller device, it does not offer an increase in utility over the iPhone 7 similar to that of the iPhone 6 compared to the iPhone 5,” explained Windsor.

“Consequently, it will not create the same degree of desirability and therefore not trigger a similar degree of early replacements compared to the iPhone 6/6 Plus.”

Further complicating matters, said Windsor, is the already large market share Apple has, with fewer people looking to get a new smartphone, Apple has less headroom to grow sales. This, combined with the eye-watering $999 starting price for the iPhone X, means there are only so many people who will be able to buy the new model when it hits the market next month.

Windsor’s estimate suggests the iPhone X would top off at around 245m units shipped, short of the 255m that analysts have projected. Falling short of those projections could, in turn, hurt Apple’s stock price.

While those buying the iPhone X won’t much care about share price (assuming they’re not Apple shareholders) a stock price drop would put more pressure on Cook and co. to manage expectations with other upcoming product releases. ®

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Pokemon Go news – THIS Legendary Raid won’t release with Gen 3 Halloween update | Gaming | Entertainment

Pokemon Go developer Niantic is unlikely to add Oh-Ho to the game anytime soon.

A leaked Niantic email supposedly confirmed plans to add Oh-Ho to the game as part of an imminent Legendary Raid.

Unfortunately, the email wasn’t actually sent out by Niantic, so you’ll have to wait a little longer for Oh-Ho Raids.

That’s according to a Niantic employee, who told Reddit users: “I reviewed our support ticketing system and I can confirm that our support team did not send this erroneous message.”

It’s been speculated that a new Legendary Raid will launch alongside Gen 3 Pokemon and the upcoming Halloween event.

Niantic is yet to reveal its plans for Halloween, but a recent Pokemon Company statement suggested that new ghost-type Pokemon would be joining the app as part of Halloween.

Express Online has put together a list of all the Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 Ghost-type Pokemon that could be included as part of the Halloween 2017 event.

Check out the full list below…

“The Halloween season is a special time in Pokemon Go,” the post reads.

“Plenty of good stuff is coming to the game later this October, and we can’t wait to get out and about to see what sort of excitement we can scare up while catching new Pokemon to fill out our Pokedex.”

As previously reported, Gen 3 source code was recently discovered by Pokemon Go dataminers, which must surely mean that new Pokemon are on their way.

Gen 3 Ghost Types include Shuppet, Banette, Mega Banette, Duskull and Dusclops, which is a nice selection for a limited time event.

Pokemon Go developer Niantic is yet to make any official announcements, so stay tuned for more information.

What’s more certain is that Niantic has big plans for the app in the future.

A Pokemon Company spokesperson recently told Bloomberg that Niantic isn’t even close to being finished with Pokemon Go.

In addition to Gen 3 Pokemon, new items and Ex Raid Battles involving Legendaries like Mewtwo, Niantic is also working on player-vs-player combat and trading.

That’s according to Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara, who said: “We’ve only accomplished 10% of what Pokemon and Niantic are trying to do, so going forward we will have to include fundamental Pokemon experiences such as Pokemon trading and peer-to-peer battles, and other possibilities.

Microsoft Won’t ‘Distract Developers’ With Xbox One X VR Support Just Yet

We’re still expecting Microsoft’s Xbox One X console to get VR support at some point down the line, but the company doesn’t want to “distract” developers with integration in 2017.

Albert Penello, Senior Director of Product Management and Planning at Microsoft, said as much to Wired in a recent interview. “We learned with Kinect and the Wii that just translating a typical game experience to VR is not a winning strategy,” he said. “It’s the oddball VR-specific stuff that makes it sing. It wasn’t something we wanted to distract developers with this year.”

When Xbox One X was first announced in 2016 Head of Xbox Phil Spencer stated the console would be capable of “high fidelity VR”. The technology wasn’t even mentioned at the console’s full unveiling a year later, though, leading to some confusion. From what we can gather, Microsoft will be bringing what it calls “mixed reality” to Xbox One X in 2018, but with what experiences and what headset we still don’t know, though there have been hints that it will be a wireless device.

Penello later added: “But VR has so much potential. Is it a viable consumer product? For a certain size of audience.”

As it stands, Xbox One X is capable of running certain Xbox One games in 4K resolution, though it’s not to be considered the true successor to that console. Presumably the company wants its developers to focus on 4K support right now before appealing to the VR crowd later on. It has promised that VR support is still coming, though.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is just a week away from launching Windows 10 VR headsets on PC in partnership with companies like Samsung, Dell and HP. These headsets use inside-out positional tracking, meaning they don’t require external tracking sensors as seen on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It’s possible that Microsoft’s treatment of that platform will reflect what VR looks like on Xbox One X, so anyone interested should be paying attention.

Hopefully we’ll see Microsoft get a little more decisive about Xbox One X and VR next year, then. The console launches next month.

iPhone X release – Five new features you won’t find on Apple’s iPhone 8 | Tech | Life & Style

Apple announced its latest lineup of smartphones last month with the US technology firm unveiling its updated iPhone 8, 8 Plus and all-new iPhone X.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are already on sale with the devices offering more power from the A11 Bionic processor, an improved screen and better camera.

These smartphones can also be charged wirelessly and now come with at least 64GB of memory as standard.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus definitely offer improvements over their predecessors – you can read our full iPhone 8 Plus review here – but the Apple smartphone everyone is talking about is, of course, the iPhone X.

This radically different device will go on sale on November 3 with pre-orders going live from October 27.

And, if you’re seriously considering an iPhone X, here’s five things you won’t find on any other Apple smartphone.

Apple iPhone X releaseAPPLE

Apple iPhone X release

Apple iPhone 8 release dateAPPLE

The Apple iPhone 8 features an edge-to-edge display

EDGE-TO-EDGE DISPLAY

Apple has made some major changes to the look of the iPhone X with this new smartphone now including a stunning edge-to-edge display.

This means the iPhone X features a huge 5.8-inch display in a phone that’s physically smaller to hold.

In fact, the iPhone 8 Plus, which includes a smaller 5.5-inch screen, is over 10mm bigger than iPhone X.

Apple also says the all-glass front and back feature the most durable glass ever in a smartphone.

Ditching the bezels and going for this edge-to-edge design is something we’ve been wanting to see for a while and the iPhone X finally delivers this immersive technology.

Apple iPhone 8 release dateAPPLE

Facial recognition now replaces Touch ID

FACIAL RECOGNITION

If you’re looking for the famous home button on the iPhone X you won’t find one.

Due to the giant display, the Touch ID fingerprint scanner has now been replaced by facial recognition which will unlock the phone simply by glancing at it.

Called Face ID, Apple says it will revolutionise authentication on iPhone X.

Face ID uses a state-of-the-art TrueDepth camera system made up of a dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator, and is powered by A11 Bionic to accurately map and recognise a face. 

These advanced depth-sensing technologies work together to securely unlock the iPhone, enable Apple Pay, gain access to secure apps and many more new features.

All saved facial information is protected by the secure enclave to keep data extremely secure, while all of the processing is done on-device and not in the cloud to protect user privacy. 

Face ID only unlocks iPhone X when customers look at it and is designed to prevent spoofing by photos or masks.

Apple iPhone X AnimojiAPPLE

Apple’s iPhone X now includes the ability to send Animojis

ANIMOJIS

Along with Face ID, the clever camera on the front of the iPhone X also allows users to access a fun new feature.

The TrueDepth camera can now bring popular emojis to life in something Apple is calling Animojis. 

Working with A11 Bionic, the TrueDepth camera captures and analyses over 50 different facial muscle movements, then animates those expressions in a dozen different Animoji, including a panda, unicorn and robot. 

These animated characters are then available in the iMessage app with users able to record and send Animoji messages to their contacts.

OLED TECHNOLOGY

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have both been given upgraded Retina displays with True Tone technology that changes the colour of the screen depending on the light around you.

These updates are certainly welcomed but neither of these devices include OLED technology.

That upgrade is only available in the iPhone X with it including a stunning 5.8-inch Super Retina display with an OLED panel.

Apple says the iPhone X has a display with stunning colours, true blacks, a million-to-one contrast ratio and wide colour support with the best system-wide colour management in a smartphone. 

It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, which together should make photo and video content look even more amazing. 

A £1,000 PRICE TAG

There’s clearly plenty to like about the iPhone X and it’s definitely a huge update over anything Apple has produced before.

But all this technology does come at a price with the iPhone X the first smartphone from Apple to cost £999.

And, if you want the 256GB it’s the first time an iPhone has cost over £1,000 with it landing in your pocket for £1,149.

Apple won’t reveal Apple Check out profits figures, but it’s not alone

You, pricey reader, are obviously somebody who pays notice to what Apple is undertaking. So here’s a rapid quiz: How a lot of Apple Watches did Apple provide during its past fiscal quarter?

If you answered, you ended up guessing. Apple doesn’t disclose how a lot of Apple Watches it sells, both by models or bucks. As opposed to the Iphone, iPad, and Mac, which the enterprise does split out, the Apple Check out is rolled into an Other Products class that also is made up of Apple Tv and numerous other things.

Apple suggests it has competitive good reasons for not disclosing true profits figure, but it even now needs to boast about how effectively Apple Watches are selling. Which prospects Apple to perform a activity which is common among tech and tech-linked firms: furnishing superlatives with out aspects.

Bezos charts

Maybe the enterprise which is most famed about this is Amazon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos loves to boast about how effectively Primary is undertaking, and how terrific Kindle profits are… but he doesn’t want to give details. Bezos usually takes it to a total other degree by routinely displaying charts in shows with the Y axis eliminated.

bezos chart 2014Amazon

Amazon and Jeff Bezos, like a good deal of firms (like Apple), provide imprecise figures when it will come to profits of specified goods.

These “Bezos charts” aren’t information and facts free—I’m going to suppose that the relative height of the bars is precise. But with out understanding true figures, all it does is clearly show development. Which is terrific, but is Amazon selling hundreds of Kindles, or 1000’s, or thousands and thousands? There is no way to know from the chart.

In some cases firms aren’t even kind plenty of to existing their imprecise superlatives in chart variety. The enterprise most routinely assailed for furnishing superlatives with out detail is Netflix. In spite of the Tv industry’s obsession with rankings, Netflix plays it coy. The enterprise will in some cases drop factoids about the most-rewatched Star Trek episodes, or what shows lead folks into view The Defenders, but actually disclosing how a lot of folks view specific shows on Netflix? It not often happens, although Netflix’s Ted Sarandos did reveal how a lot of folks watched Beasts of No Country that a person time.

star trek discovery press01CBS

Star Trek: Discovery

The previous pair of months, I have been having fun with Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Obtain, which I have subscribed to so that I can view a new Star Trek series as it’s… what’s the streaming equivalent of airing? Created readily available. In any case, I’m not alone—CBS has been placing out push launch following push launch trumpeting its accomplishment in making a subscriber base on the again of Star Trek fans. Other than… guess what’s missing? True subscriber figures! As a substitute, the push launch suggests items like:

Star Trek: Discovery has pushed the service a new document large for subscriber indicator-ups in a solitary 7 days. This builds on the momentum and previous document the series established around its Sept. 24 premiere which marked a document-breaking working day, 7 days and month for the service… Pursuing STAR TREK: DISCOVERY’s premiere on Sunday, Sept. 24, CBS All Access’ each day development in subscribers is up extra than 200 per cent 12 months-above-12 months.

In other words… we know they’ve damaged the document they established the previous 7 days. We know that “daily growth” is up 200 per cent above the previous 12 months. (While “daily development in subscribers” is by itself a bizarre measurement.) It is all way greater than it was ahead of… whichever that was. Is it a million new subscribers, or 20,000? We just really don’t know.

Perhaps they could make a Bezos Chart to enable us out.

Figuring out Apple Check out profits

In any case, to carry this again to Apple: I guess I can enjoy that the enterprise needs to continue to keep its profits aspects a solution. But on a person degree, it’s a bit foolish, for the reason that there is loads of context around Apple Check out profits. At Apple’s media occasion in September, Tim Cook claimed that Apple Check out is now the biggest view company in the earth, surpassing Rolex—so if you know how effectively Rolex is undertaking, you’ve obtained an concept wherever Apple Check out profits have to be.

Just about just about every quarter, Cook and Apple characterize Apple Check out profits in some way, no matter if it’s that they’ve experienced “the ideal quarter yet”, or professional “50 per cent 12 months-above-12 months growth”, which has allowed some wags to make sarcastic charts of Apple Check out profits in the type of Amazon’s.

Additional seriously, if you review the dimensions and development of Apple’s Other Item class, you can make a really very good guess about how Apple Check out profits are undertaking. Analyst Horace Deidu has been undertaking this all alongside, and his benefits are robust. Deidu suggests Apple has offered about 33 million Apple Watches considering that launch, building about $12 billion in profits.

Individuals aren’t bad quantities at all. It is a disgrace Apple won’t give them to us directly, but it’s much from the only enterprise taking part in this activity.

Andrew House Stepping Down Won’t Derail the PlayStation 4’s Steam

Andrew House has led the PlayStation brand through arguably the most dominant period of its history. Having taken over from Jack Tretton after the hugely successful launch of the PS4, he wasted no time resting on the laurels of that inheritance, driving toward improving the brand’s reputation in North America and utterly sealing Sony’s number one spot in the market. Little wonder, then, this week’s announcement that he will be stepping down as CEO and President of SIE has caught the gaming industry off guard.

The thought of House’s absence ahead of a year that promises to be the biggest in the console’s history is a strange one, and his sudden abdication strikes an emotional chord among longtime PlayStation fans. After all, he’s far more than just a familiar face — House is one of the original PlayStation men. Together with some of Sony’s most instrumental personalities of the early nineties, such as Olaf Olafsson, Ken Kutaragi, Norio Ohga, and the still-at-PlayStation and hugely popular, Shuhei Yoshida, he has been with PlayStation since its inception. A CEO that lived and breathed the brand, fans would have expected House to see-out the console that he’s steered so competently, at least over the potentially triumphant next twelve months.

In steps his replacement, John Kodera: a long-serving Sony executive but not necessarily a recognizable personality to console owners. His resume, as it turns out, is far more closely aligned to Sony than it is to PlayStation, and his area of expertise centered around networks and services, such as PlayStation Now, rather than hardware and gaming. And in an industry in which the importance of physical media and the longevity of console hardware is a hotly debated topic, Kodera’s appointment might well have some console owners feeling uncomfortable.

Yet there’s plenty of reasons to allay concerns that Kodera’s leadership will have little immediate bearing on PS4’s continued success. For a start, House will remain as a Chairman for a year, helping to guide Kodera during this period of transition, which is a partnership that both men are familiar with. As Deputy CEO since 2013, Kodera has “been responsible for the company’s overall business strategy and product planning,” meaning that he has been heavily involved in orchestrating SIE’s outstanding recent successes, and his vision for the console is likely either closely aligned or strongly influenced by House’s.

Indeed, Kodera’s experience in strategic planning is perhaps a less headline-grabbing but possibly more telling resume detail than his interests in network services. Kodera is clearly a diligent, highly respected executive with strong leadership skills, but he also knows the business intimately and has been a central cog in its recent prosperity. So while House’s departure marks a management shake-up, Kodera won’t be rocking the boat — 2018 is already written, with big exclusive games looking to further cement the PS4’s status as the leading console of its generation. Beyond that, the final years of its life cycle are likely already planned too. If Kodera has visions of cloud-based gaming and a greater emphasis on network services, any actioned strategy on PS4 will be ancillary to the consoles design and immediate future.

Fundamental principles relating to those forward-thinking concepts will have to wait for PS5, which may well see Kodera push to incorporate more streamlined, network-oriented functionality to the console. The potential of cloud-based gaming is apparent, with many analysts bullish that it is the future of gaming, so Kodera’s appointment is perhaps in preparation for Sony to compete in that space. Another key battleground for Sony will also be the transitional phase between PS4 and PS5, specifically, how best to continue steady revenue during this time. Kodera’s efforts to add music and television services to PlayStation has clearly impressed President Hirai, who said: “With the significance of network services increasing across the entire Sony Group, I believe that John is ideally equipped to build on the foundations Andy has left in place”.

Ultimately, while Kodera’s appointment may well allude to a future in which cloud-based gaming and network services play a greater role in console design, that won’t be realized for some time yet. Even if his intentions are to institute that as core principle moving forward, those contributions won’t play any role in unsettling the established PS4 roadmap. The future of the console is sure to have been forecasted even beyond next year, and Kodera’s initial time at the helm will be more concerned with successfully executing a pre-planned strategy with guidance from House. It is what comes after, years from now, that is an unknown space and one that could see Kodera draw on his experiences with networks and steer the brand toward a new and exciting cloud-based space. Perhaps, he’s exactly the sort of inventive and forward-thinking man that Sony considers PlayStation will need in order to cement the brand as number one in the next generation.

No, Future MacBooks Won’t Have ARM Processors

According to a recent Nikkei report, industry sources say Apple is thinking about taking another step into the semiconductor industry. These sources claim Apple wants to cut its independence on Intel when it comes to notebook chips. Instead, Apple would manufacture the processors itself, based on ARM architecture. Personally, I think it’s a bunch of hogwash that Apple would switch to ARM processors for the MacBook.

arm processors

Is it possible that future MacBooks could use ARM processors instead of Intel CPUs? Doubtful at best.

What ARM Processors Would Mean for the MacBook

If Apple did decide to switch to ARM processors for the MacBook lineup, it would boost Cupertino’s ability to make the notebook computers thinner and lighter. The ARM architecture provides better power efficiency, better mobility, and equivalent processing power. Apple could also integrate touch, fingerprint, and display driver functions.

With all of that said, it would mean the MacBook wouldn’t run current versions of macOS. In order to make this happen, Cupertino would need to do one of three things: turn the MacBook into an oversized iPad, fork new versions of macOS for mobile and desktop use, or ditch the desktop market altogether.

An Oversized iPad

This might not be the least likely alternative, but it’s certainly close. We’ve already seen that the iPad doesn’t really take the place of a laptop computer. Apple knows this.

This would be the easiest path to take, though, if switching to an ARM processor for the MacBook. Since iOS is written for ARM-based processors already, it would be a relatively trivial task to get it running on a MacBook with that processor architecture.

The problem is, such a device probably wouldn’t do well sales-wise, unless massive changes were made to iOS. An ARM-based MacBook would need to be able to run professional-grade software, something not really possible now. It would also need more transparent and efficient access to the file system. In short, I don’t see it happening.

The Fork in the Road

Next, Apple might fork macOS to support two different processor architectures. That would mean a version of macOS for ARM, and one for Intel. I say this because the industry insiders claim the move to ARM would only be for MacBooks, not iMacs, the Mac mini, or the Mac Pro.

I don’t see this happening. Remember, Apple’s been down this road before with the transition from PowerPC to Intel. As soon as it could reasonably do so, Cupertino yanked the rug out from under PowerPC Macs, leaving them stymied in OS X Leopard 10.5.8.

Writing an operating system for a new processor architecture is not a trivial effort. Maintaining it equally between two architectures is even less so. I really can’t foresee Apple wanting or even needing to do this.

Ditch the Desktop

The final option is to ditch the desktop altogether. Apple’s not showing any signs of doing that, though. Cupertino just released a new iMac and iMac Pro, and is supposed to be giving us a new Mac Pro in 2018.

The desktop Mac market might not be Apple’s largest profit-maker, but it’s certainly healthy enough that Cupertino isn’t going to abandon it. The desktop used to be Apple’s bread and butter, but now it’s the jelly. Who wants their toast without jelly?

Final Thoughts

Business Insider and Nikkei are both convinced Cupertino’s going to switch to ARM processors for the MacBook. I’m not convinced. I’d need to see a plan for how Apple would handle having the desktop on Intel while the MacBook ran ARM.

Right now, the move just doesn’t make any sense to me, and I doubt that it really does to Apple.

Elon Musk’s Rocket Travel Plan Could Work, Probably Won’t

All hail Elon Musk, First of his Name, King of the Martians and the First Molemen, Protector of Tubes, the Unbalded, Breaker of Industries, Father of Dragons. And now, maybe, uniter of the seven continents, if his plan for rocket travel takes off.

Musk, the man who would take humans between planets like the Dothraki crossing the Narrow Sea, has added another dash of wildfire to his plans for saving the world. During a presentation at the the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, on Friday, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO announced his plan to use a fleet of reusable rockets to move people between any two cities on Earth in under an hour.

OK, “plan” is a stretch. Musk didn’t go into any of the details, like when he might do this, or where, or how. A short video he played on stage (gotta hope he has got his renderings guy on retainer) showed passengers boarding a ship and sailing out to a floating launch pad. They stroll into a rocket, which blasts off, hits nearly 17,000 mph in suborbital space, reenters the atmosphere, and touches down again. Then it’s back onto a boat and into the destination city. London to Dubai in 29 minutes. New York to Paris in 30. Delhi to San Francisco in 40. The world has never felt so small, so connected.

“It’s a great, fantastic thought,” says John Olds, a former aerospace engineering professor who founded and now runs Spaceworks, a company that develops hypersonic flight and space exploration technology. Olds also helped form and previously ran the FastForward Project, an industry group focused on point-to-point space travel.

The idea of traveling through space or at very high altitudes has been around for decades. At least half a dozen companies, including Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, are pursuing it. But nearly all of them plan on using planes capable of flying to extreme altitudes and at supersonic speeds, not ground-based rockets.

“A rocket-powered ballistic point-to-point is fast, I’ll give you that,” Olds says. “But it’s expensive and complicated and, I would say, unlikely to be the final solution by which we travel around the planet.”

Let’s say Musk nails down all the rocket tech and ensures the things can take off and land safely 100 percent of the time, or acceptably close to it. Let’s say he figures out how to keep them full of fuel, and puts enough people in electric cars that he’s not destroying the atmosphere.

Then he gets to tackle the real problems. Like how to get passengers through the crushing g-forces that come with takeoff and landing. The weightless period in the middle may be cool, but it’s not exactly a work environment business travelers will enjoy. Running anything more than the occasional flight would require an unprecedented integration with the national airspace system, to keep the rockets from taking out planes the way planes take out birds. “From a regulatory point of view it’s very difficult,” Olds says.

Building launch pads at sea assuages concerns about annoying city dwellers with the noise, sonic booms, and vibrations that come with hurling rockets into the sky, but brings up another concern. The flight itself may be brief, but forcing customers to get to the ocean in the first place could easily add hours to trip time. And it’s hard to see rockets serving any major city that’s not near an ocean or lake, like Paris, Berlin, New Delhi, Denver, Riyadh, or Johannesburg.

“I would like to see this development mesh with existing infrastructure,” like airports, says Madhu Thangavelu, who studies space exploration at the University of Southern California. “Then it becomes much easier to put safety protocols in place.” Otherwise, Thangavelu is jazzed about the idea, and Musk’s role in pushing the limits of what people may think is possible. “The moment you master it, you’ll have a lineup of customers,” he says. “I can’t wait to see this happen.”

It would be a wonderful thing, no doubt. Same goes for the high-speed hyperloop, electric cars for everyone, life on Mars, a base on the moon, or a network of traffic-annihilating tunnels. But if Musk really wants to add another honorific to his list of titles, rockets may not be the best move.

“I think there are better ways to do it,” Olds says. “Basically really fast airplanes.”