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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for January 30, 2016

Moving Your iTunes Library to a New Mac and burning iTunes play list to a CD
How to Reset Apple's Thunderbolt Display
Use this clever trick to see your iPhone's true signal strength
4 email apps that are better than the one that comes with your iPhone
Apple asks FCC to recognize Made For iPhone hearing aids to encourage accessibility innovation
Let’s get this out of the way first: Despite what you may have heard, the iPhone is not dying. Neither, by extension, is Apple.
But if Apple is now hitting a plateau, it’s important to remember that it’s one of the loftiest plateaus in the history of business. The $18.4 billion profit that Apple reported on Tuesday is the most ever earned by any company in a single quarter.

So this column will try to do something tricky: explore what’s ailing Apple without going off the deep end. Here’s my ice-cold take: Apple is doing quite O.K.
Here’s why the news about Apple is so bad

The author has confidence in this bad-news forecast, but NOT because he has any special insight into Apple’s business. It instead derives from the all-too-predictable ways in which Wall Street analysts revise their forecasts: A downward revision is far more likely to be followed by another downward revision than it is by an upward one.

research has shown that analysts are both slow to react to new information (especially bad news) and loath to deviate far from the consensus of their fellow analysts. Both factors conspire to make it look as though analysts are piling on when bad news begins to mount.

Needless to say, this avalanche of downward revisions causes a stock to decline even further. And that, in turn, often leads analysts to downwardly revise their forecasts yet again. The picture that emerges is of a downward spiral of bad news, downward revisions and price declines.

you're going to see a lot of tech pundits spewing doom and gloom over the next few days now that Apple's most important, profitable product is no longer growing the way it used to. 

But the iPhone is far from in trouble ...... because of iOS.
Developers make more money by making and selling apps for iOS than for Android.
Tim Cook: Apple Seeing 'Extreme Conditions Unlike Anything We've Experienced Before' in the Global Economy

What’s keeping Tim Cook up at night?  The economic challenges all over the world.
“Notwithstanding record results, we began to see some signs of economic softness in Greater China earlier this month, most notably in Hong Kong,” he said.
Tim Cook, who last week told Wall Street that the company’s sales growth is being constrained by “an environment now that is dramatically different from a macroeconomic point of view” than a year earlier. Apple’s forecast for revenue this quarter was about $4 billion below what analysts had been expecting. “It is clear that the economic piece is large” as a factor in Apple’s outlook, Cook said. 

Unfortunately, Apple’s customers, people who buy iPhones, are probably the last ones to realize global economic weakness is spreading. Cook’s remarks simply confirmed what everyone has known or suspected for months—namely, there’s a breakdown occurring in commodity-dependent economies and a broad repricing of currencies.
The path to prosperity doesn’t lie in resigning the company to being a dividend payer. Tech companies that do so end up becoming irrelevant. Nor is it the business of a company to engage in dubious M&A for the sake of appearing to do something in order to satisfy people who are impatient and scared. 

The true job of Apple, or any technology company, is to use components such as chips and software to solve complex problems, and by so doing make the world a better place. That is their mission, and that is all that matters. Profit, and stock price appreciation, dividends, and buybacks, flow from that and only that.

Apple: The Beginning Of The End
The author places Apple in the category of iconic growth stocks covering the past 50 to 60 years. 
The author names several other companies that had meteoric runs of a decade or more.
He then wrote:
The takeaway is nothing lasts forever. Academics rightly point out that the average lifespan for a growthie is 5 years.
Then he wrote about how many “iconic" companies eventually flamed out.  Nearly all of them.
Nobody wants to face clear indicators of market saturation of the worldwide iPhone market.
But this author is still very optimistic about Apple.  He wrote:
I own Apple stock because it's a Revolutionary Company. And that's why we go back and think about why the Apple Platform/Ecosystem is so key to the long-term.
Apple's earnings report covered just the last 90 days and their guidance is for the next 90 days ... 90 days. We're here to build our portfolios over the next 10,000 days.

Enterprise, Cloud, App Store, iTunes, Software Services revenues are a large part of why I've long said that Apple and Google are a couple of the best ways to invest in the App Revolution.
Facebook has officially made its live-streaming feature available. It improves upon Periscope by being directly integrated into Facebook, as opposed to Periscope being a separate app.
The guy in the video says its another way to keep you still annoyed with Facebook.

Facebook's best-kept secret is a second website that's amazing for talking to your friends
Facebook launched back in April. But almost no one seems to know it exists.

A Computer Has Beaten a Human Champion at Go. What Next?

On May 12, 2014, Wired magazine ran an article headlined “The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win.”

At that time, computer experts said it would take 10 years to make a computer better than the human world champion.

Go is a board game that’s orders of magnitude more complex than chess.

On January 27, 2016, Google announced that AlphaGo, a program built by its DeepMind artificial intelligence lab, had defeated the European Go champion, without a handicap, in a five-game match last October. The score: 5-0.

The next test will come in March, when AlphaGo challenges the world champion, Lee Sedol, in a five-game match in Seoul.

Go is a constrained environment (as is Chess), albeit a vast one, in which both contestants have access to perfect information, albeit too much information to fully process, and share the same perfectly defined goal. Real life is not a game, and no algorithm yet devised could begin to approach the mental flexibility required to navigate it in the way that humans do.

Even the best antivirus likely can't save your files from a ransomware infection

One of the most prevalent forms of malware out there right now is called ransomware, a virus that encrypts a user's files, leaving them scrambled unless the victim pays for the decryption key.

It’s a criminal business model that has proven extremely profitable.

NSA's Hacker-in-Chief: We Don't Need Zero-Days To Get Inside Your Network
many security experts have suggested that the role of "zero-day vulnerabilities" in government-sponsored hacking has perhaps been overstated.

Including, now, the head of the NSA's most elite and secretive hacking unit.

In an unprecedented talk on Thursday at the USENIX Enigma security conference in San Francisco, Rob Joyce, chief of NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO), downplayed the importance of zero-days and the degree to which nation-state hackers like those in his unit depend on them.
“I will tell you that persistence and focus will get you in, will achieve that exploitation without the zero-days,” he said.  “There's so many more vectors that are easier, less risky and quite often more productive than going down that route.”
Joyce suggests that the more powerful weapon in the NSA's hacking arsenal isn't some stockpile of secret bugs, but superior resources and patience.
NSA’s top hacking boss explains how to protect your network from his attack squads

“If you really want to protect your network you have to know your network, including all the devices and technology in it,” Rob Joyce said. “In many cases we know networks better than the people who designed and run them.”
“Well-run networks really do make our job hard,” Joyce said.

Once you use a cloud company you are essentially handing your data over to them and relying on their security, so he warned due diligence is even more important than usual.

AW comment:  That includes even Apple’s iCloud.

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