Apple reveals triple-camera iPhone; $5 monthly streaming TV undercuts Disney

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Apple's Stan Ng talks about the new Apple Watch series 5 during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. (AFP)
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Stan Ng speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. (AFP)
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An attendee looks at the new Apple iPhone 11 Pro during an Apple special event on September 10, 2019 in Cupertino, California. (AFP)
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Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 11 Pro during an Apple special event on September 10, 2019 in Cupertino, California. (AFP)
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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. (AFP)
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Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O'Brien speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. (AFP)
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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019.(AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Apple reveals triple-camera iPhone; $5 monthly streaming TV undercuts Disney

  • Apple said the seventh generation of the iPad will start at $329 and be available to order starting Tuesday and in stores on Sept. 30

CUPERTINO, California: Apple Inc. caught up with hardware rivals on Tuesday by revealing a triple-camera iPhone, and it rolled out a streaming TV service priced at $5 a month, undercutting Disney and Netflix.
The announcements came at the company’s biggest marketing event, where it unveils its top products for the year ahead, and showcased an aggressive Apple ready to battle on price.
The long-awaited Apple TV+ streaming television service will be available in over 100 countries, starting in November. The service will not be available in China when it launches, nor will the Apple Arcade video game subscription.
Buyers of an iPhone, iPad or Mac will get a free year of streaming TV, potentially drawing hundreds of millions of viewers to the service. That catapults the new service into a rarified group of companies.
“I think the pricing on the Apple TV service was definitely a positive surprise,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “That’s why you’re seeing the hammering in some of the other video service-related names like Netflix, Amazon and Roku. Clearly, that was a positive that people were happy to hear.”
There was no bundle with Apple Music or other services as some analysts had expected. But Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said the TV service, a $5 a month “Arcade” gaming service and the base model iPhone 11, seem designed to draw in users for the longer term.
“We weren’t expecting Apple Arcade and particularly Apple TV to be priced as aggressively as they were,” Bajarin said. “They know once consumers get into their ecosystem, they don’t leave.”
Apple said its new iPhone 11 will come with two back cameras, including an ultra wide-angle lens and the next generation of microchips, the A13. Prices start at $699, down from last year’s new iPhone that started at $749.
The more expensive iPhone 11 Pro will have three cameras on the back — wide angle, telephoto and ultra-wide. It can create videos with all three back cameras and the front camera at the same time and starts at $999. The iPhone 11 Pro Max with a bigger screen starts at $1,099. The new phones are available to order Friday and will start shipping Sept. 20.
Rivals including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. already sell phones with three cameras on the back. While Apple once tested the upper limits of what consumers would pay for a phone, it is now giving ground on prices, even making older models available at significant discounts to the latest technology.
“Consumers absolutely still care about cameras. That’s why it was surprising over the last couple of years that Samsung and Huawei got the jump on Apple,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “Apple was playing a bit of catch up, but Apple did bring their game, particularly on the video side of the camera, where I do think they’ll have the leg up.”
Analysts expect Apple will sell around 200 million iPhones in the next year, in addition to other devices, and while many of those will be in China, it ensures at least tens of millions of potential viewers for the subscription service.
Hal Eddins, chief economist for Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel, said Apple’s lower priced iPhones “aren’t exciting on the surface, but the low streaming price may suck in some new subscribers.” Apple shares gained 0.8%.

CROWDED FIELD
With streaming content, Apple is entering a crowded field dominated by Netflix Inc. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2N6OB2j)
Walt Disney Co. will launch on Nov. 12 a $7-per-month service that will contain that firm’s iconic children’s content. Apple is also trying to beat HBO Max with its hit shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Friends” and “The Sopranos.”
Apple’s challenge is to persuade consumers that its family of devices, from its set-top box to phones, are the best one-stop place to watch shows.
“The roll-out of new subscription-based services by Apple paves the way for the introduction of new business models akin to the all-you-can-eat bundles like Amazon Prime,” said Paolo Pescatore, analyst with PP Foresight. “In the future we might even see users pay for a service bundle and receive a new iPhone every year.”
Apple also unveiled an updated watch, the Series 5, with an always-on display, starting at $399, while keeping the older Series 3 starting at $199. Moorhead said the older model would drive “tremendous” business.
Apple said the seventh generation of the iPad will start at $329 and be available to order starting Tuesday and in stores on Sept. 30.


Pentagon awards United Launch Alliance, SpaceX launch contracts

Updated 09 August 2020

Pentagon awards United Launch Alliance, SpaceX launch contracts

  • The two companies lay claim to billions of dollars in lucrative military contracts for a span of five years

WASHINGTON: The US Air Force said it awarded United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Elon Musk’s SpaceX $653 million in combined military launch contracts under the Pentagon’s next-generation, multibillion-dollar launch capability program.

The contracts are for launch service orders beginning in 2022 and allocate $337 million to ULA, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp., and $316 million to SpaceX for the first missions of roughly 34 total that the two rocket firms will support through 2027.

ULA will receive a contract for approximately 60 percent of those launch service orders using its next-generation Vulcan rocket, while Musk’s SpaceX, using its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, will receive approximately 40 percent, the Air Force’s acquisition chief Will Roper told reporters on Friday.

The awards are part of the Pentagon’s 2014 mandate from Congress to curb its dependency on rockets using Russia’s RD-180 engine and transition to US-made rockets for launching Washington’s most sensitive national security payloads to space.

The program, called National Security Space Launch Phase 2, is aimed at “building a competitive industry base that we hope doesn’t just help military and national security missions, but that helps our nation continue to compete and dominate in space,” Roper added.

“Today’s awards mark a new epoch of space launch thatwill finally transition the Department off Russian RD-180 engines,” Roper said in a statement.

The two companies lay claim to billions of dollars in lucrative military contracts for a span of five years that competitors Blue Origin, the space company of Amazon.com Inc. owner Jeff Bezos, and Northrop Grumman also competed for.

Blue Origin Chief Executive Bob Smith said in a statement he was “disappointed” in the Pentagon’s decision, adding that the company will continue to develop its heavy-lift New Glenn rocket “to fulfill our current commercial contracts, pursue a large and growing commercial market, and enter into new civil space launch contracts.”