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Apple Loop: Poor iPhone Sales Panic Apple, Sudden iPhone XS Price Cut, iPad Pro’s Big Mistake




Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes low iPhone sales, Apple pushing a positive iPhone XR message, more iPhone price cuts, the good news around no iPhone sales information, why the iPad Pro smart connector has failed, the latest Apple patents, the App Store heading to the Supreme Court, and Project Fi coming to iPhone.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

More iPhone Discounts To Fight Low Sales

Apple continues to counter the weak sales of the new iPhones with more discounts. These aren’t (yet) direct to the customer, but it’s getting close. Following the discounts to carriers, the latest move is to increase the value of credit offered if customers trade in an older iPhone. Gordon Kelly reports on the new Chinese offer:

Digitimes reports today that Apple has “enforced a second wave of order reduction in the wake of weaker-than-expected sales for its new iPhones”. Apple’s Chinese manufacturers were already reporting profit warnings due to order cutbacks of 25% by their “largest customer”.

Apple’s response: it will give customers up to $100 more when they trade-in their existing iPhones under its ‘GiveBack’ program and upgrade to one of the new models.

Apple Says The iPhone XR Is The Best.

Good news! Apple VP of marketing Greg Joswiak has told CNet that the iPhone XR “been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available.” But hold on a moment… that doesn’t tell us anything about the retail performance of the iPhone.

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Netflix Just Lost More Than $16Billion In Market Value




Netflix reported earnings on Wednesday night, and the results were disastrous. The company saw its first major loss in US subscribers last quarter, and a mere 2.7 million paid customers added globally, nearly half of what was forecast. Stocks dropped by more than 10 percent just after the report came out. It’s a terrifying slowdown for a service that’s based on subscriber growth and raises new questions about how long the company can justify its content spending spree.

On a call after the release, Netflix executives emphasized international markets where subscriber growth is still healthy. Nearly all the company’s new subscribers were from international markets this quarter, and according to CEO Reed Hastings, there’s still plenty of room to grow there.

“There are about 700 million households that pay for TV outside of China — the equivalent of the US hundred million — and that’s one established market,” Hastings said on an investors call Wednesday night. “Do we have enough content in each of those countries? The internet is capable of some very large customer bases.”

Netflix executives also spent a significant portion of their call talking about India, where the company expects significant growth. It’s a largely unsaturated market and one that Netflix has tried to develop content for over some time. Netflix is about to launch five new originals for India, some of which may be marketed to audiences in the US and Europe, too.

“We’ve been seeing nice, steady increases and engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on,” Sarandos said. “Growth in that country is a marathon. We’re in it for the long haul.”

That international focus is paying off, according to Sarandos. Three particular shows — How to Sell Drugs Online (Germany), The Rain (Denmark), and Quicksand (Sweden) — have all found big audiences outside of their native region. Each show has amassed between 12 and 15 million global viewers, Sarandos said, adding that although “they’ve been deeply relevant in the home country, and travel the region very, very well,” their finding audiences everywhere.

“We’re seeing some real locally, regionally and globally relevant content coming from all over the world,” he added.

At the same time, the company is facing a steeper path than ever in the United States. Netflix lost subscribers this quarter for the first time in years, a combination of the price hike and a content lull. As the US market becomes oversaturated with streaming services — with WarnerMedia, Disney, and Apple all launching streaming services — the only way to ensure growth is going outside the United States. Netflix currently has 60 million paying domestic subscribers, and Hastings believes they can get to 90 million, but the risk of market saturation is real and raises difficult questions for the company’s content strategy.

“Netflix’s subscriber spiral reveals a dangerous decapitating of their growth strategy,” financial analyst Eric Schiffer told The Verge. “Investors can expect to see a near-insane level of development spending overseas.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at a conference, with a concerned expression

But the company is facing a number of problems that could affect their overall growth in the years to come. Netflix is losing a number of heavily watched licensed series, like Friends and The Office, to competitors WarnerMedia and NBC Universal respectively. A lack of enticing originals, which plagued the company’s most recent quarter and helped contribute to a loss of 130,000 subscribers, will continue to grow unless Netflix can ramp up production. It’s part of the company’s plan — permanent studio sets have been purchased for Netflix to produce films and TV shows faster.

Executives know they are going to have to start replacing people’s favorite TV shows, which they don’t own and are departing for competitor services, with new shows and films. That immediate loss of licensed content is going to be felt in the United States more so than other countries because of agreements with rights holders, and that’s a market they know they’ll have to step up their game in to keep subscribers happy.

“We’re getting our members much more attuned to the expectation that we’re going to create their next favorite show,” Sarandos said. “Not that we’re going to be the place where you can get anything and to every time.”

Netflix is still putting lots of money behind US shows and movies, signing hundred-million-dollar deals with high-profile showrunners like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy. Adam Sandler’s Murder Mystery was viewed by more than 73 million household accounts worldwide — more than Netflix’s entire US base.

Although Hastings and Sarandos wouldn’t say how much of their budget is being allocated for US spending, the company is making big bets on Hollywood projects. Bright, which starred Will Smith, cost close to $100 million to make. Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, The Irishman, reportedly cost Netflix around $140 million. The company was also in talks to buy a movie theater in Los Angeles. Netflix isn’t giving up on the US, but it’s essentially combining everything around the world for people. Executives are willing to spend an exuberant amount of money on securing tentpole features, top series, and creators in the United States as a way to stay ahead of the major competition that has back catalogs of fan-favorite movies and TV shows Netflix doesn’t.

All that adds up to an increased focus on international content, even for US users. That’s why subscribers in America are starting to see shows from Denmark or Spain promoted on their front page. People will start to see more Japanese anime and Indian originals, too. The investment Netflix puts into each country will be more difficult to assuage as everything gets looped together. But Netflix is reportedly spending more than $15 billion this year on content alone. The company wants to fight to keep your attention; it’s just clear from their earnings that fight is getting tougher than ever.

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Viral App, #FaceApp Now Owns Access To Over 150 Million People’s Faces And Names : Forbes



Face App

The viral app, FaceApp has been giving people the power to change their facial expressions, looks, and age but at the same time, people have been giving FaceApp the power to use their pictures and names for any purpose it wishes, for as long as it desires.

According to Forbes, ‘over 100,000 million people have downloaded the app from Google Play and FaceApp is now the top-ranked app on the iOS App Store in 121 countries, according to App Annie. While according to FaceApp’s terms of service people still own their own “user content” (read: face), the company owns a never-ending and irrevocable royalty-free license to do anything they want with it.

The FaceApp terms of use read; You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.

When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.

That may not be dangerous and your likeness may stay on Amazon servers in America, as Forbes has determined, but they still own a license to do whatever they want with it. That doesn’t mean the app’s Russian parent company, Wireless Labs, will offer your face to the FSB, but it does have consequences, as PhoneArena’s Peter Kostadinov says:

You might end up on a billboard somewhere in Moscow, but your face will most likely end up training some AI facial-recognition algorithm.

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Instagram Hides Number Of ‘likes’ On Post To Prevent Low Self Esteem




Social media platform, Instagram is hiding ‘likes’ count in various countries such as Australia and Japan to “remove pressure” on users.

The trial which begins today, Thursdays, 18th July, will see ‘Instagrammers’ just seeing a user name and “others” liking the post rather than seeing a username and a particular number of people liking the post.

However, users can view the number of likes on their own post.

This step has been taken because there have been concerns that social media platforms can contribute to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy in the youth.

In May, Instagram launched a similar trial in Canada and the new test is rolling out in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil, the company told the media.

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