Apple is wholly unoriginal … and that’s okay ? Here Comes Sam(sung)

Apple is set to announce a handful of new products next week that you’ve already seen elsewhere. But when it comes to Apple, that’s not a problem.

Whether it’s larger phones, a smartwatch or a new mobile payments system — all of which are rumored to be announced next week — Apple will be following the lead of other companies that already have products on the market. That’s prompting renewed criticism that the company has lost its ability to innovate following the death of former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs.

But even if Apple isn’t the first company to make these products, its track record indicates that it still has the opportunity to reap gains by executing them better than the competition.
“Apple is not usually first to market — they typically make an existing product much better and more usable,” said Amit Daryanani, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets.

Apple is widely expected to unveil a pair of larger iPhones next week measuring 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, up from four inches on the iPhone 5S.
Those larger phones will finally give Apple (AAPL, Tech30) some entries into the “phablet” market. That product category has been led in recent years by rival Samsung.
For Apple, the larger phones are low-hanging fruit. Customers spent over $10 billion in the company’s App Store last year, the bulk of that going to gaming apps. Bigger screens and faster processors on the new iPhones will make those games even more compelling.
As for smartwatches, Apple will be following on the heels of devices from companies like Samsung, LG and Motorola that sync with smartphones and offer features like directions and fitness tracking.
But the recent crop of smartwatches have underwhelmed reviewers and failed to present a compelling reason why they’re more convenient than simply taking your phone out of your pocket. If Apple can find a way to improve on those models — perhaps with more sophisticated health tracking or location awareness — consumers may finally have a reason to ditch their old Timexes en masse.
The opportunity is even bigger in mobile payments, where smartphone-based systems like Isis and Google (GOOGL, Tech30) Wallet have been around for years without catching on.

Apple has reportedly been working with major credit-card companies on an iPhone-based payment system. The company already has more than 800 million credit cards on file thanks to iTunes and App Store accounts, according to some estimates, giving it a massive ready customer base.
Add to that the security of the iPhone’s fingerprint identification system and Apple could finally push merchants and consumers to ditch plastic and move to smartphone-based transactions.
“To say that Apple is coming out with a product that already exists ignores the fact that there were MP3 players before the iPod and smartphones before the iPhone,” said Walter Piecyk, an analyst with BTIG. “Those products defined their categories

Having trouble with your iPhone 5 battery? You might be eligible for a free replacement.
Apple (AAPL, Tech30) said “a very small percentage” of iPhone 5 smartphones may “suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.”

Don’t get too excited just yet. After a year or two, everyone’s iPhone battery seems to carry less juice than it once did. But Apple’s repair program is limited to certain customers in the United States and China.
Only iPhone 5 smartphones sold between September 2012 and January 2013 are eligible, and only those that fall within a certain range of serial numbers. Apple has opened a website that allows people to determine whether their phones are eligible. (To access your serial number, tap Settings > General > About > Serial Number).

Investors curbed their bets on Apple on Wednesday.

One possible reason: They got a reminder that the company won’t have a free run at the market this fall even with the release of the hotly anticipated iPhone 6 and supposed iWatch.

Apple’s shares fell 4.2%, having hit an all-time closing high of $103.30 on Tuesday. The drop coincided with rival Samsung’s event at the IFA show in Germany, where it previewed new versions of its Galaxy

Apple Inc. (AAPL)-Nasdaq
Prev Close: 103.30
Open: 103.20
Bid: 98.79 x 100
Ask: 98.82 x 100
1y Target Est: 106.83
Beta: 0.83
Earnings Date: Oct 27 – Oct 31 (Est.)
Day’s Range: 98.58 – 103.20
52wk Range: 63.89 – 103.74
Volume: 125,424,577
Avg Vol (3m): 49,884,300
Market Cap: 592.44B
P/E (ttm): 16.60
EPS (ttm): 5.96
Div & Yield: 1.88 (2.00%

iShares SouthKorea ETF (EWY : NYSE : US$65.27), Net Change: -0.13, % Change: -0.20%, Volume: 1,332,424
Arms race?

Samsung unveiled new versions of its Galaxy Note smartphone on Wednesday, featuring a crisper, 5.7-inch display edition version of the Note with a curved edge screen on one of the phone’s sides, helping users to stay focused on their main screen without having to respond to calendar reminders or incoming emails.

It also demonstrated a Virtual Reality headset that on version of the Note with a curved edge screen on one of the phone’s sides, helping users to stay focused on their main screen without having to respond to calendar reminders or incoming emails.

. The launch comes just less than a week before Apple’s September 9 event where Apple is expected to roll out a 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 as well as a possible iWatch device. Last week, Samsung said it would begin selling a stand-alone wristwatch, the Samsung Gear S, which will be able to make and receive calls without having to be tethered to a smartphone. Apple is also expected to join forces with credit card companies to provide a mobile payment option for the iPhone 6 and iOS 8.

eBay Target $ 67

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

EBAY : NASDAQ : US$54.22
BUY 
Target: US$67.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
Founded originally as an online auction site in 1995, eBay has evolved over the years and aspires to now be recognized as an eCommerce enabler. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, and operates three main business segments: Marketplaces, Payments,
and GSI.

UPGRADE TO BUY ON SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND PAYPAL OPTIONALITY
Investment recommendation
After sitting out the first half on the bench, we are upgrading eBay from Hold to BUY for the second half of the game. We believe Marketplaces will
continue to be a stable growth engine and that PayPal can surprise to the upside. eBay is innovating along many fronts which may require
expanded investment/acquisitions. However, we believe in eBay’s vision of synching online and offline commerce and that with ~112 million eBay
accounts and ~123 million PayPal accounts actively engaged on mobile, eBay is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.
Investment highlights
 At the analyst day, management outlined several initiatives that should keep Marketplaces’ growth rate high: global shipping, BRIC expansion, reinventing local shopping, and continued mobile emphasis.
 We believe Payments growth could surprise to the upside as PayPal could gain significant share of future blended offline/online payments.
 We believe Q1 looks mostly in line so far, despite slightly weaker Channel Advisor data, although our revenue estimate is slightly below consensus. We are raising EPS estimates for 2014/2015 from $3.23/$3.66 to $3.34/$3.89.
Valuation
We raise our price target to $67. Our new target is based on 20x our new 2014 EPS estimate of $3.34.

Yahoo! Update Web Portal Turnaround ?

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yahoo! (YHOO : NASDAQ : US$16.67)

Oct 24

You might find all of this through Google.

Yahoo! touched a 52-week high after new CEO Marissa Mayer outlined her turnaround strategy for the biggest U.S. web portal, emphasizing mobile technology and personalized services.

The third-quarter results announced Monday weren’t astounding, but they were better than analysts anticipated. Most importantly, Yahoo!’s net revenue crept higher for the third-straight year. Mayer, the company’s fifth CEO in four years, said on a conference call with analysts that she aims to grow as fast as competitors in online search, display advertising, mobile applications, and products such as email.

Mayer also plans to focus on small acquisitions of less than $100 million rather than large deals, and expects to move workers around within Yahoo! instead of cutting large groups of employees. “Our vision and direction for Yahoo! is to make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining,” Mayer said. “We’ll become a growth company by inspiring and delighting our users

Groupon Goes Mobile

Logo of Groupon

Logo of Groupon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sept 20

Groupon (GRPN : NASDAQ : US$5.34)

Excitement…for the first time in a while!

 

Shares of Groupon jumped after the online deal company launched a payment service that allows businesses to accept credit cards using an iPhone or iPod Touch, becoming the latest company to enter the growing mobile payments market.

Groupon said the new service lets restaurants, salons and spas, retailers and other local businesses accept credit card payments at a lower rate than other providers. Groupon will charge 1.8% for MasterCard, Visa and Discover cards, on top of a 15-cent fee per swipe. For American Express cards, it charges 3% plus the 15-cent fee. The services are aimed mainly at small businesses that, until now, haven’t accepted credit card payments because of high transaction fees. In some cases those businesses lacked the technology required to process credit cards.

The service takes advantage of the proliferation of smartphones in recent years.

Groupon has seen a sharp decline in its stock price since going public late last year. With Groupon  Payments, the company is trying to broaden the array of services it offers.

 

 

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