A hot potato: Many consumers who were excited about buying a PS5, Xbox Series X/S, RTX 3000-series, and other tech products have been disappointed by their lack of availability this season. It’s no secret that scalpers are behind a lot of these problems, but one UK group says it has “no regrets” facilitating the purchase of almost 3,500 PlayStation 5 consoles to resell at inflated prices.
The PS5’s availability has suffered more than most gaming hardware released recently. Referring to its console, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said that “everything is sold. Absolutely everything is sold.” The company later promised more stock before the end of the year following “unprecedented” demand, but much of it could be snapped up by scalpers, again.
While demand for these products was always going to be high, the pandemic has made them even more coveted—and scalpers are taking advantage. Business Insider spoke to some groups that use monitoring software and bots to secure vast quantities of PS5s before anyone else. One of these, CrepChiefNotify, which is made up of 12 core management staff, said its members purchased close to 2,472 consoles in recent weeks, plus “just under 1,000” when pre-orders first opened in September.
Congratulations to our members 🎉
In less than 24 hours of the release of the PS5 and our members have secured over 2,500 consoles this morning.
Stop missing out, reselling isn’t going away so jump in fast and maximise your profits. pic.twitter.com/WUTBFWNHfE
— CrepChiefNotify (@CrepChiefNotify) November 20, 2020
CrepChiefNotify charges $40 per month or $530 for a lifetime subscription so members can access its services. Like similar companies, its original targets were high-end sneakers such as Yeezys, but the group evolved when the pandemic hit.
“During the first Covid-19 lockdown, we noticed a huge shift in products that people were buying,” manager ‘Tom’ told Business Insider. “The focus shifted towards the most ridiculous things, like outdoor hot tubs. We noticed that these began selling out in stores, and reselling on eBay for a profit. So our developer wrote some site monitor software, and we tracked the stock of the sites selling hot tubs! Every time they pinged into stock, we would notify our members to buy it all.”
Right now, the only way to secure a PlayStation 5 is to buy one from eBay for a price that verges on the comical. The most expensive (on the US site) is $15,000, while the vast majority of those under that are at least $2,000.
With parents having to explain to disappointed children that they won’t be getting a new console this year, do the scalpers and those that facilitate their actions feel guilty? CrepChiefNotify certainly doesn’t. It writes (via Video Games Chronicle) that lots of its members have been furloughed, made redundant, or are somehow disadvantage due to the pandemic, though you have to wonder how they afford the monthly fee and the price of at least one PS5 console.
“These people have managed to cover their bills, put food on the table and supply Christmas presents to their children,” the company wrote.
“It may be unfortunate that a child wont [sic] wake up to a PS5 this Christmas, but another child may have woken up to nothing. We have no regrets.”
It also denies that bots were ever used to secure PlayStation 5 units, despite a manager suggesting to Business Insider that this was the case.
If you are planning to buy a PS5 from eBay, make sure to avoid the numerous listings for “photographs” of the console, which as the name suggests, are just photos and not the machines themselves. And you thought scalpers were bad.
“Merry Christmas, Jimmy. Here’s a photo of that console you wanted”
Tim Cook: Active install base of iPhones is now over 1 billion – Engadget
Last year the install base of active iPhones grew to over 900 million devices, and in Apple’s Q4 2020 earnings call, CEO Tim Cook revealed that after the launch of the iPhone 12 family, it is now over 1 billion. In an interview with Reuters, he pointed at Apple’s growth in China as a factor also, saying that upgrades set an all-time record in the region. In response to an analyst’s question, Cook said “we saw the largest number of upgraders that we’ve ever seen in a quarter.”
Apple CFO Lucas Maestri said on the call that its overall active installed base of hardware has topped 1.65 billion, showing what a large share is represented by just the iPhone family. Apple reported record results with over $111 billion in revenue for the quarter, with results from its Services category highlighting how it’s continuing to make money from that massive base of installed hardware.
Apple earns $100 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time ever – MobileSyrup
In the tech giant’s fiscal Q1 2021 earnings report, Apple revealed that it crossed the $100 billion USD (about $128 billion CAD) in quarterly revenue mark for the first time in the company’s history by bringing in $111.4 billion USD (roughly $142 billion CAD) in total, and $1.68 USD (about $2.15 CAD) per share.
This number also surpasses the company’s expected revenue, which was predicted to hit $103.12 billion USD ($132 billion CAD).
It’s important to note that quarterly earnings report includes iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max sales, which amounted to $65 billion USD (approximately $83 billion CAD) in revenue, another all-time record for the company. The previous highest iPhone revenue quarter was $61.58 billion USD (roughly $78 billion CAD) in the first quarter of 2018.
It will be interesting to see if the predicted “super cycle” of upgrading from older iPhones like the iPhone X series to the iPhone 12, which features 5G and the most substantial redesign to the look of the smartphone in years, continues later into 2021.
“This quarter for Apple wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless and innovative work of every Apple team member worldwide,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a recent press release.
“We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season. We are also focused on how we can help the communities we’re a part of build back strongly and equitably, through efforts like our Racial Equity and Justice Initiative as well as our multi-year commitment to invest $350 billion throughout the United States.”
Apple’s Mac sales also surged this quarter to $8.68 billion USD (roughly $11.1 billion CAD), likely as a result of more people working from home amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Q1 2021 Apple revealed a new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini powered by its own M1 processor. The company is expected to release a new version of its desktop iMac that features the M1, likely bolstering Mac sales even further.
On the services side of things, an area where Apple continues to shift into growth, the company earned $15.76 billion (about $20 billion) this past quarter. Services include platforms like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV Plus, Apple News+ and most recently Apple Fitness+, a fitness subscription service.
Apple says its big privacy change is coming in 'early spring' as conflict with Facebook heats up – CNBC
The long-awaited privacy update to Apple’s iPhone and iPad operating systems that could dramatically hurt mobile advertising is coming in “early spring,” Apple told CNBC on Wednesday.
To target mobile ads and measure how effective they are, app developers and other industry players currently often use Apple’s (IDFA), or a string of letters and numbers that’s different on every Apple device. But once this update rolls out, app makers will be forced to ask permission to access a user’s IDFA through a prompt. A significant portion of users are expected to say no, reducing the effectiveness of targeted ads.
Apple first announced the change last summer, giving advertisers and app makers ample time to prepare. But it’s become a major point of contention for ad-supported companies, who could lose revenue from the change.
Facebook in particular argues that the change will hurt the availability of free content on the open web and the ability of small business to place personalized ads. On Facebook’s Q4 2020 earnings call Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg slammed the change, calling Apple one of its biggest competitors and claiming that the change “threatens the personalized ads that millions of small businesses rely on to find and reach customers.”
The timing of Apple’s change has been the subject of intense speculation in the mobile industry. Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to speak Thursday about data privacy at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels. On Thursday, the company is also releasing new marketing materials, including an update to its website and a report on data usage to illustrate how companies track user data across websites and apps.
Apple told CNBC that the next beta version of iOS will require app developers to ask permission to access the phone’s unique identifier.
The current version of iOS is 14.4, which was released earlier this week. There currently isn’t a public beta version beyond that available to developers. Apple declined to provide additional timing details.
As companies prepare for the change, they’re letting partners and advertisers know how they plan to approach the change. Google on Wednesday said in a post that it will no longer use any information that falls under Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework for its iOS apps, and doesn’t plan to show the prompt on those apps.
Nominations are open for the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50, a list of private start-ups using breakthrough technology to become the next generation of great public companies. Submit by Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 pm EST.
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