Apple Inc’s discounts on the iPhone 11 in China and the release of a new low-price SE model have put the company in a better position than rivals to weather a coronavirus-related plunge in global smartphone demand.
While China, which accounts for roughly 15 per cent of Apple’s revenue, appears to be a rare bright spot, investors will be keen to get a picture of global demand when the Cupertino, California-headquartered company reports second-quarter results on Thursday.
The iPhone maker has shut retail stores in the United States and Europe following the COVID-19 outbreak, and China is the only major market where it has been able to reopen all shops.
Consumer spending is expected to be muted as the pandemic has crippled economies and Apple, the world’s second-most valuable tech company, is better armed with the launch of its new price-conscious iPhone model, analysts said.
“Apple is better positioned than most to experience a rapid recovery in a post COVID world,” Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani said in a research note. “We see demand as pushed out, not canceled.”
He added that the launch of the $399 iPhone SE suggested that Apple’s supply chain was getting back on its feet after weeks of shutdown earlier this year.
Analysts expect Apple to report a 6 per cent drop in revenue and an 11 per cent fall in net income in its fiscal second quarter, according to Refinitiv data.
On the other hand, Chinese brands such as Oppo and Vivo who have steadily moved to offer high-end models to challenge iPhones, stand to lose marketshare as bargain hunters choose Apple.
Earlier this month, several online retailers in China slashed prices of the iPhone 11 by as much as 18 per cent – a tactic Apple has used in the past to boost demand. And while initial social media reaction to the new iPhone SE was muted, analysts said they were seeing a pick up in demand.
The cheaper iPhone SE could tempt iPhone owners to opt for a newer device, something they might have otherwise delayed in a weak economy, said Nicole Peng, who tracks the smartphone sector at research firm Canalys.
“People want to avoid uncertainty in a downturn,” she said. “Having a brand like Apple that can showcase quality and make people less worried about breakdowns or after-sales service can bring in buyers.”
CHEAP IS GOOD
Early data suggests that the Chinese smartphone market is recovering rapidly in the aftermath of the virus, and Apple has emerged relatively unscathed.
Sales of iPhones in China jumped 21 per cent last month from a year earlier and more than three fold from February, government data showed, meaning March-quarter sales in the country were likely to have slipped just 1 per cent.
To be sure, a recovery in Chinese demand won’t offset sales lost in the United States and Europe. And the company is yet to launch a smartphone enabled with 5G wireless technology like those offered by Asian rivals, a disadvantage for Apple so far.
But those same expensive 5G models may not sell well in the current climate of frugality, analysts said.
“If there are no massive subsidies (in China), I doubt there will be many smartphone users who will be eager to upgrade to 5G,” said Linda Sui, who tracks the smartphone sector at research firm Strategy Analytics.
Sui expects iPhone shipments in 2020 to be down 2 percentage points at the most, versus double digit declines at Chinese firms.
Apple also has revenue from its services business to fall back on. It has leveraged its large iPhone customer base to boost services revenue from music, apps, gaming and video. “Apple’s Services segment should remain resilient in today’s work-from-home environment, thereby demonstrating the durability of Apple’s model,” Cowen analyst Krish Sankar said.
Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.
OnePlus inadvertently disables ‘X-Ray’ filter with an update sent to its global phones – The Verge
OnePlus accidentally pushed an over-the-air update that disables a filter that can see through some thin black plastics and, in certain cases, clothes.
Though OnePlus said on May 19 that it would temporarily disable the filter in the Chinese version of its operating system in an update, the company hadn’t planned on removing the filter from its global software. Instead, OnePlus said it would update the filter. The recent update removed the filter for people outside of China anyway.
The filter, called “Photochrom,” creates an X-Ray-like effect by using the infrared sensors built into the OnePlus 8 Pro to capture light that’s not visible to the human eye. The feature was intended to be used to create interesting-looking photos. But it came under scrutiny once people realized that it could sometimes see through clothing.
You can get a good look at how the filter sees through black plastic in the photos at the top of this post, taken from a video shared by Ben Geskin on Twitter. And you can get an idea of how the filter can see through a thin black T-shirt in this video by Unbox Therapy.
The Verge also experimented with the feature, finding that “it only works on very thin black plastic that’s already a little see-through in the right light” and that it’s “hit or miss” with clothing.
The Photochrom filter was “temporarily removed for adjustment,” according to update notes seen by XDA Developers. The notes also said the filter was expected to return “around June,” without disclosing an exact time, according to XDA Developers. A user on OnePlus’ forums reported seeing similar update notes. Android Police installed the update, and confirmed that the Photochrom filter had been removed.
“This OTA inadvertently went out to a limited number of devices,” said a OnePlus spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. It will be re-enabled in the next over-the-air update, the spokesperson said. OnePlus also shared this statement on its forums.
Ford Announces Return of the Mustang Mach 1 for 2021 If the Mach 1 proves to be a step up from the Bullitt it’s more or less replacing, we can expect some fireworks – Auto123.com
After much speculation, the Ford Mustang Mach 1 is officially back. Ford made the announcement today, adding some extra sunshine to the upcoming weekend for fans of the model.
And according to Dave Pericak, Mustang program director, we’re in for “the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever.” Considering how well the Mustang GT Performance Pack 2 has been received, that’s a bold statement. However, the company confirms the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will be the range-topping 5-litre Mustang next year.
Note, however, that it will be sold in limited quantities.
Beyond that, few other details have been divulged at this point. The model was seen – and photographed by Ford – on the test track test, but the front and rear ends were camouflaged. Still, some differences were discernible, the most obvious being the circular air intakes of the Mach 1, located inside the grille where the headlights were placed… back in 1969. In addition, the upper and lower grilles have a unique honeycomb mesh pattern.
At the rear, we can see massive exhaust pipes and a spoiler that looks a lot like that of the Shelby GT350. In addition, like the latter, the Mach 1 is fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, with 305/30R19 ultra-grip rubber up front. Brembo brakes come as no surprise.
The most persistent speculation is that this Mach 1 will replace the Bullitt in the range as a limited-production model. This could mean that the Mach 1 will be equipped with the Bullitt’s 5.0L V8 engine, a block that develops 480 hp, or 20 more than the standard GT version – all thanks to an intake manifold derived from that of the GT350.
As for price, nothing was announced today. Going by precedent, we can expect a price tag somewhere between that of the GT and Shelby models. This could mean that the Mach 1 will be priced similar to the Bullitt. Also, if the other rumour about the GT350 version being removed from the catalogue is confirmed, it could leave Ford more leeway in terms of performance and price.
A lot remains unknown, therefore, but one known known is that a lot of folks’ ears have just perked up.
The next generation of the Mustang is expected somewhere in 2022, probably as a 2023 model, unless Ford decides to move it up a year ahead of schedule.
Spaced desks, one-way halls, voice technology — your post-COVID-19 office will look much different – TheChronicleHerald.ca
The Office is Over
is a collection of Post stories looking at the how the pandemic has changed the view of the office.
As Canadians gear up to return to work, employers are putting into place a wide range of safety protocols to protect their workplaces from the threat of COVID-19.
As a result, offices in a post-pandemic world could look very different from before, experts say. And they might stay that way.
“There’s going to be a forced evolution at the office,” said Evan Hardie, who researches the future of work at Canadian workplaces.
Returning employees could see a host of changes, including spaced desks, personal lockers, voice-automated technology, staged areas for elevators and one-way hallways, Hardie said. They may also have to follow new protocols such as varying shifts, cleaning surfaces after usage, and wearing PPE to the office.
Some employees may never return to the office again, Hardie said, as companies who have been forced to develop technology for remote work during the pandemic may not be able to afford the new cost of renovating their spaces.
Yet all this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the traditional office tower, according to Lisa Fulford-Roy, vice president with Toronto commercial real estate giant CBRE. “I think this is going to shine a lens on how can we be smarter about the spaces we’re creating for people to occupy safely and healthily and productively,” she said.
According to experts, the biggest challenge for firms will be having to redesign spaces that have been in place for decades, to allow for physical and social distancing rules.
Since the last economic downturn, companies have been following an open office trend, where “essentially everybody’s sitting really close to each other,” Hardie said, to allow for more communication. “I think we’re going to see a change there, where you’re going to have employees spaced out, they won’t maybe be facing each other in the office too.”
To maintain physical distancing rules, companies are considering spaced desks, one-way hallways, and the reconfiguration of common areas like kitchens, utility rooms and staging areas for elevators. Gensler, an American architecture firm, has released ‘ReRun,’ a tool which reconfigures your office’s existing floor plan to optimize physical distancing conditions, using computer algorithms.
Under new set-ups, workers may also be asked to come into the office at different times and bring their own equipment.
“Keyboards, mice, headsets, those things are going to be personal accessories now,” said Hardie. “So you’ll have either a locker at the office that you can lock yourself or you’re hauling it back and forth every day.”
Many workplaces could follow in the path of major tech companies and restructure their work environments from headquarters to hubs. “Rather than having a head office where the majority of their workforce is in one central location, firms may opt for regional hubs,” Hardie said.
Christian Paquette, a labour employment lawyer, said he’s gotten many questions from companies. These range from how to implement policies on shared rooms, to the nitty gritty details around personal garbage bins, ventilation systems, eating utensils, and desired cubicle heights.
“I think, ironically, one challenge for employers might be that some may not have sufficient space anymore because of social distancing,” he said. “They may need to find more space in some cases, or put an emphasis on some parts of their workspaces and less on others.”
At the beginning of May, Paquette and a colleague released a list of
for employers looking to incorporate COVID-19 requirements into their work policies.
“There needs to be clear lines of communication,” said Paquette. The article recommended that employers form a “dedicated, multi-disciplinary team” to monitor the workplace reopening and conduct risk assessments; create a contingency plan in case of a shutdown; and open a communication channel keeping employees informed of the measures being put in place and any changes thereafter.
Employers also need to develop a procedure to address attendance issues and work refusals, such as those for “employees who are afraid to return or may face special circumstances” such as compromised immunity or child or elder care obligations.
Abdoli-Eramaki, who teaches occupation health and safety at Ryerson University, emphasized the need for a system that monitors individuals, to identify those at risk of spreading the virus.
“The issue with COVID-19 is that it’s not identifiable,” he said, which in turn makes it difficult to determine certain hot spots in a workplace where exposure to the virus is increased. Ergo, “there should be a system in place where (the individual) monitors (themselves) … and if (they) don’t follow the policy, someone else does (monitor them).”
Paquette said it ultimately comes down to the level of risk each employer faces.
“For instance, (if) you have a proven outbreak in a work environment, that may justify different measures than an office space where people are not in close quarters (and) where other types of measures can really be put in place that are much less intrusive, like social distancing and self-reporting,” he said.
The pandemic has forced several workplaces to hastily upgrade and/or invest in technology to allow for people working remotely. On one hand, for those coming back to the office, employers might continue to make investments to keep the office accessible and safe, such as voice and automation technology.
“The ability to not have to touch everything in the office, to have technology that steps in, either through automation or through your voice, allows you to take your hands off a lot of things that you would have been touching in the past,” said Hardie. Companies looking to track employee movements could do so via keycard access, or by using technology that produces heat maps and monitors social distancing.
On the other hand, companies who have already invested in technology that supports remote work may find the additional investments too costly. “They may well say, okay we’ve made this major investment on ramping everybody up for home office, so maybe we’ll wait until we figure out a good plan of attack for the actual office itself’,” explained Hardie.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE OFFICE
For employers who have successfully adapted to working from home during the pandemic, there may no longer be a need for an office anymore, said Allison Cowan, director of capital of the Conference Board of Canada.
“They are seeing advantages in the long term, such as real estate savings, benefits from commuting, benefits for employee heath,” she said. Several large companies such as Twitter and
have already asked staff to continue working remotely indefinitely, while others like BMO have confirmed they are looking into hybrid schemes that would combine the office with remote work opportunities.
For some companies, that might mean rethinking their current spaces, for others it might mean letting go of their leases entirely and opting for flexible alternatives, i.e., rentable co-working spaces.
Kevin Penstock is the CEO of The Profile, a Vancouver company that offers rental co-working spaces. He said he’s been receiving a lot of calls. “There’s no question (that demand for these spaces will go up),” he said. “People are going to try and figure out how to get all their staff in their offices downtown, half the people will be stuck at home, these companies are going to need this type of select space.”
Penstock has rolled out a
for the reopening of his spaces, which includes modified shared spaces (two-person tables instead of five), the phased return of members, physical distancing signage, health screenings and a new cleaning regimen.
The challenge, he said, will be catering to demand despite the limits on the number of people per shared space, as well as monitoring those who flout the rules. “We can ask people to start doing some shift work,” he said. “Then we’re going to have to start sharing the space in a way that’s a bit different than we’re used to.”
However, while the demand for traditional offices may go down, it won’t entirely disappear, according to Fulford-Roy of
CBRE. That’s because
people miss the social element that comes with working at an office.
“There may be subsets of employees or departments where (working remotely) might be suitable”, she said. “But I think, for the most part, we’re missing our colleagues, we’re missing the interaction.”
“It’s going to be less about changing the landscape of engagement and productivity. (Instead) it’s going to be a lens of how do we do that safely?”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020
OnePlus inadvertently disables ‘X-Ray’ filter with an update sent to its global phones – The Verge
SpaceX's Starship rocket prototype explodes on Texas test pad – Windsor Star
Students upset as some Canadian universities hike tuition fees – CTV News
- Media24 hours ago
Trump threatens to remove ‘shield’ protecting social-media giants from liability for online content
- Media21 hours ago
Creators of 6ixBuzz possibly doxed via social media
- Media14 hours ago
Creators of 6ixBuzz possibly doxed via social media – inbrampton.com
- Media5 hours ago
Denmark and Norway create travel bubble
- Sports22 hours ago
Trophy Tracker: Vezina – NHL.com
- Art19 hours ago
Senior art now being showcased by Allied Arts Council of Spruce Grove – Goderich Signal Star
- Investment16 hours ago
COVID-19's Impact on Telecoms Worldwide, 2020 – Macro Level Impact, CapEx Investment, Supply Chain, Enterprise Demand, Green Shoots – GlobeNewswire
- Politics8 hours ago
Age Versus Politics in Determining Virus-Related Attitudes