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APPLE PICKING SZN
Break out your camping gear, Apple stans. The tech juggernaut just unveiled its latest crop of gadgets on Tuesday, and blue-message-bubble smartphone users are going all “take my money.”
Let me guess, they’re the same as last year?
Not quite. This year, Apple is releasing three new smartphones. The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, which clocks in at a whopping $1,099 for a base model. Each of the new phones has the capability of taking wide-angle photos and comes with new chip tech that allows for longer battery life and increased performance … so Mark Zuckerberg can siphon your data even more quickly.
Apple’s announcement also included the Apple Watch Series 5, which features an “always-on” retina display so you can check how much time is left in that pointless meeting with HR much more discreetly. The new watch will run you $399 and does a hell of a lot more than a Rolex. The world will also get a new $329 iPad … for all those people out there who actually use iPads (read: your parents playing Candy Crush).
Is that it?
For hardware, yes. Yes, it is. On the services side, Apple finally announced the launch date and pricing for its streaming service, Apple TV+, and gaming service, Apple Arcade. Both services will set you back $4.99 per month each and be released on November 1st and September 19th, respectively. FYI, that’s cheaper than Netflix and Disney+.
In honor of the new iPhone release, Apple will reopen its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in NYC on September 20th, coincidentally the same day that all the new iPhones are available to the public. The store has been closed since January 2017.
Jack Ma, China’s richest man, will say goodbye (kinda) to Alibaba twenty years after founding it.
Yesterday, on his 55th birthday (because of course Jack Ma would retire 10 years early), he rocked out with his $38B c*ck out as 60k employees in a packed stadium sent him off with a rager that would make Sigma Chi’s Social Chair weak in the knees. Ma helped bring Alibaba from an eCommerce “project” with its humble beginnings in his apartment to China’s most valuable private company, worth nearly half a trillion dollars.
Effective yesterday, Ma turned over his chairman seat to Daniel Zhang, who’s been Alibaba’s CEO since 2015. But Ma’s work wife needn’t worry. He will still be around the office, as he’ll remain on the company’s governing board and will still be the controlling owner of Alibaba’s sister company, digital payment provider, Ant Financial.
A lot on his plate
Zhang will certainly have his work cut out for him. In addition to replacing a beloved titan in the industry, Alibaba has set some lofty targets in the coming years. By 2036, the Alibaba ‘economy’ plans to create 100M jobs, gain over 1.3B new global customers and support 10M profitable businesses.
Jack, on the other hand, will spend his time dedicated to philanthropic endeavors such as poverty and education … and presumably shredding guitar in a White Snake cover band/slaying groupies.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse … Uber and Lyft appear to be even more f*cked. California is adopting a law forcing companies to recognize “gig workers” as full-time employees. Both ride-sharing companies claimed that the bill would introduce new costs and logistical challenges that would be bad for the companies, and the workers themselves. Something tells me that Uber and Lyft contractors were not briefed prior to that statement. While the bill impacts the ride-share industry, it could also affect janitorial services, trucking, and music workers throughout the state.
- Uber also announced it is laying off another 435 employees after having cut nearly 400 back in July. Approximately 170 product managers and 265 engineering team members will be joining the aforementioned “redundant” marketing folks on the unemployment line. Uber indicated that this is part of a cost-saving initiative.
- McDonald’s DGAF about pressures to increase minimum wage. Why? Mostly because the company is working to outsource “would you like fries with that” to robots ASAP. The home of the Big Mac has already implemented ordering kiosks in many of its stores and is now looking to automate the drive-thru by purchasing artificial intelligence company Apprente. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but reports show that it could be in the neighborhood of McDonald’s $300M acquisition of Dynamic Yield earlier this year. The technology allows menus to change based on the time of day, weather, order history … and how high the customer is, all in the hopes of encouraging the drive-thru diner to spend more.
- WeWork is tanking. After SoftBank asked The We Company to “shelve” the IPO on Monday, Fidelity Investments announced that it has cut its stake in WeWork suggesting a reduction in the company’s valuation to $18.3B. Back in March, William Danoff, who runs Fidelity’s Contrafund trimmed the holdings of WeWork by 553k shares, leaving the fund holding a stake worth roughly $341.6M. Adam Neumann really wishes he kept that $6M for trademarking “We” right about now.
- Target is one-upping UPS in the seasonal worker department as the company announced plans to hire 130k “Santa’s little helpers.” That number is up from 120k last year. Workers will make $13 per hour to start, and that number will rise to $15 as Target has vowed to raise its minimum wage by the end of 2020.
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