Apple (AAPL) Announces $50 Billion in Buybacks and Dividend Increase After Earnings Slipped

  • Apple has announced $50 billion in buybacks and a boost in quarterly dividends after announcing a slip in earnings.
  • Company has declined to provide a financial forecast, citing uncertainty in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple (AAPL) earnings have dipped in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the company has promised $50 billion in buybacks and a dividend increase.

According to a report by Marketwatch, Apple has declined to provide investors with a financial forecast in response to COVID-19 and said profits slipped slightly despite a bump in sales.

Apple’s earnings and revenue report topped analyst expectations for the March quarter. However, the company has decided against providing a forecast for the current quarter, citing uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple announced it would be boosting its buyback program by an additional $50 billion, down from an increase of $75 billion and $100 billion in 2019 and 2018, respectively. The company also announced it would increase its quarterly dividend by 6 percent to 82 cents a share, up from 5 percent the year before.

The report cites Apple’s supply and demand issues which emerged in China during February, before becoming a global issue in March. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said the company’s production was “back at typical levels toward the end of March,” but claimed foot traffic to stores in China had not yet risen to pre-lockdown levels.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com

Michael LaVere

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Source: Apple (AAPL) Announces $50 Billion in Buybacks and Dividend Increase After Earnings Slipped

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April 23 (Bloomberg) — Apple reported its first profit decline since 2003 and forecast revenue that missed analysts’ estimates amid slowing iPhone sales growth and accelerating competition from Samsung. Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson and Jon Erlichman speak with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg) — For more “Street Smart” videos: http://bloom.bg/WoangQ — Subscribe to Bloomberg on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/Bloomberg

The World’s Best Employers 2019: Alphabet Takes Top Spot, Followed By Microsoft And Red Hat

For the third year in a row, Alphabet is ranked first on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of the World’s Best Employers. The tech juggernaut and Google parent company is followed by Microsoft, which is ranked second, and open-source software producer Red Hat, ranked third. Apple and SAP round out the top five.

To create the 500-company ranking, Statista analyzed 1.4 million recommendations sourced from a global poll and several regional surveys. Among other questions, respondents around the world were asked to rate their own employer and the likelihood that they would recommend this employer to a friend or family member. They also rated other employers they admired.

Though this methodology put Alphabet at the top of the list, it doesn’t account for what in many ways was a tumultuous year for the company. Google employees made headlines last November after they organized a series of high-profile walkouts in response to the company’s handing of sexual harassment claims. Thousands of employees participated. In a letter published by New York magazine, the organizers of the walkouts said they demanded “an end to the sexual harassment, discrimination, and the systemic racism that fuel [Google’s] destructive culture.” Google vowed to improve its policies in the wake of the massive protests.

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Google’s treatment of its temporary and contract workers has also drawn scrutiny this year. In April, the company announced that it will require that these types of workers receive a $15 minimum hourly wage and comprehensive healthcare benefits.

As of October 18, 2019, Alphabet had a market cap of roughly $870 billion. More than 100,000 employees work under Alphabet’s umbrella, and according to a recent SEC filing, the majority of the company’s new hires last quarter were engineers and product managers. The company reported revenues of $38.9 billion last quarter—an increase of 19% versus the same period last year.

Open-source and cloud software provider Red Hat, a newcomer to the list, was acquired by IBM this summer for a whopping $34 billion. After the deal closed, IBM chief vinancial officer James Kavanaugh said that the company had hired 1,000 new employees to cope with growing demand.

While the top spots on this year’s Best Employers list are dominated by tech companies (including Cisco at No. 8, Amazon at No. 10 and IBM at No. 11), the finance and banking industry was the best-represented on the list as a whole. Fifty-two regional banks made the top 500, including Switzerland’s Banque Cantonale Vaudoise at No. 30 and India’s HDFC Bank at No. 119. Thirty-two investment services companies also made the cut, including Berkshire Hathaway at No. 26 and the Japan Exchange Group at No. 38.

Just like last year, companies from the United States accounted for nearly two fifths of the list, including seven of the top ten. Seventy-one companies from China and Hong Kong were featured on the list, though just one company from that category broke the top ten (China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology, at No. 7). Employers from India accounted for the third-largest category, with 33 companies represented, including construction services firm Larsen & Toubro (No. 29).

This list is based on the 2019 Forbes Global 2000 list, which tracks the world’s largest public companies. Last year, companies on the list accounted for more than $40 trillion in annual revenue and upwards of $186 trillion in global assets.

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I’m an assistant editor on Forbes’ Money team, covering markets, fintech, and blockchain. I recently completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Source: The World’s Best Employers 2019: Alphabet Takes Top Spot, Followed By Microsoft And Red Hat

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Apple Accidentally Reveals Stunning Apple Watch Series 5 Upgrade

Apple Watch Series 5 is almost certainly going to be unveiled next month alongside the new range of iPhones. It looks highly likely that Tuesday, September 10 will be the big day.

An Apple Watch in titanium or ceramic finish? Oh, yes please.

An Apple Watch in titanium or ceramic finish? Oh, yes please. And a new leak has just confirmed that the smartwatch will be available in different finishes from the current range.

I say confirmed because the leak comes from an unimpeachably good source: Apple.

In an exclusive report by iHelp BR, Filipe Esposito has spotted something very interesting in the watchOS 6 operating system developers’ beta.

It was Esposito, by the way, who spotted the date of September 10 in Apple beta software, too, effectively confirming when the keynote will be.

Here, though, the information comes from an animation which appears when you set up an Apple Watch. If you’ve ever done this, you’ll know that it’s a pretty cool procedure. As you start the pairing, a circular pattern starts fizzing on the Watch screen, like a planet coming into existence or something like that, or am I being too poetic?

When your iPhone recognizes it’s looking at a Watch, the screen resolves into an elegant fret worked pattern with an Apple logo and descriptive writing specifying the size of the Watch and the metal in the case.

Now, it seems that hidden in the watch OS 6 software are animations which resolve themselves with details never seen before.

First of all, there’s a return of a ceramic case for the Apple Watch. How do we know this isn’t just left over from an earlier version of the Watch, you may ask?

After all, although there was no Series 4 ceramic watch, there was an Apple Watch Series 2 model in white ceramic, and Series 3 had white and grey ceramic options, all of which looked spectacular, by the way.

Well, we know this is all-new because it gives the size of the case as 44mm and 40mm, neither of which were the sizes of the previous ceramic models (which were 42mm and 38mm).

This is pretty intriguing news, and there’s more.

As well as an animation announcing the return of ceramic is another which presages a whole new metal finish: titanium.

Well, the new Apple Card is made of titanium so maybe Apple feels it should make a Watch to match.

What’s not clear is whether titanium will replace the stainless steel Watch or sit alongside it in the range.

Esposito advises caution, however, in assuming that these new Watches will be for Apple Watch Series 5. After all, the assets are found in the operating system which will run on Series 4 Apple Watch, so could these new versions be for a new look that will appear on current Series 4 timepieces?

I see the logic of this, but it just doesn’t feel quite right to me. Apple has never refreshed an existing Apple Watch in a new metallic livery, but has always saved its new designs exclusively for its latest models.

And I find it unlikely that Apple would want to create a Watch with a new outside and not refresh the insides as well. It’s true that the company has in the past added an extra color to the iPhone, specifically PRODUCT(RED), but never this late in the annual cycle, so I find it doubtful that that’s what’s happening here.

My guess is that we’ve just had a glimpse of what the next Apple Watch is going to be made of. Of course, exactly what it will look like is still to be revealed, but this is a juicy piece of information which promises something exciting is about to be unveiled.

Not long now…

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Follow me on Twitter.

I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am always struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to regular repetitiveness. My areas of specialty are wearable tech, cameras, home entertainment and mobile technology. Over the years I’ve written about gadgets for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Metro, Stuff, T3, Pocket-lint, Wareable.com and Wired. Right now most of my work away from Forbes appears in the Independent, the Evening Standard and Monocle Magazine. Parenthetically, I also work as an actor, enjoying equally the first Mission Impossible movie, a season at Shakespeare’s Globe and a stint on Hollyoaks. Follow me on Instagram: davidphelantech, or Twitter: @davidphelan2009.

Source: Apple Accidentally Reveals Stunning Apple Watch Series 5 Upgrade

 

Apple Confirms Striking New iPads Due This Fall

The current iPad range, the most comprehensive yet. So, what's coming next?

Apple’s next iPads are coming and the company may be about to break with its current pattern of releasing an updated entry-level iPad in the spring (though not every year) and a Pro or two in the fall. New evidence spotted by MySmartPrice suggests that there may be as many as seven different variants later this year, including a new entry-level tablet with a whole new design.

How do we know this?

The Eurasian Economic Commission is the place that Apple leaked the information. Of course, Apple really doesn’t care to leak anything but for regulatory reasons it has to place details with the commission some months before a product can go on sale in the five countries it works across: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

No surprise that the company reveals not one scintilla more information than it absolutely has to. Earlier this month, Apple filed certification documents for five model numbers. These, if you like this kind of statistical completeness, were: A2068, A2197, A2198, A2228 and A2230.

In the last few hours, there have been two more certifications, A2200 and A2232.

Apple iPad as released in Spring 2018. Is it about to get a radical makeover?

Apple iPad as released in Spring 2018. Is it about to get a radical makeover?

Apple

How do we know they’re iPads?

Well, there’s a little more information in the filing. The latest ones have a line which states:

Product Name Full Tablet computers of the trademark ‘Apple’ models A2200, A2232 (iPad OS software version 13)

That’s pretty clear, right?

So what are these seven iPads?

It’s likely that there will be refreshes of the two iPad Pro models released last October, in the same screen sizes of 11in and 12.9in. These may be the five numbers discovered earlier in the month.

Apple iPad Pro, as released last October.

Apple iPad Pro, as released last October.

Apple

What, five new iPad Pros?

Unlikely. There will probably be two codes for 11in models, one for wi-fi, one for wi-fi plus cellular. Another two for the 12.9in model. Since the commission works across multiple territories it may be that different code numbers are needed for different regions, though exactly what the fifth code is for isn’t clear.

The current Apple iPad Air with Smart Keyboard.

The current Apple iPad Air with Smart Keyboard.

Apple

So what’s the radically different iPad?

Glad you asked. In Spring 2018, Apple refreshed its entry-level iPad, bringing Pencil compatibility to the most affordable tablet in the range. But there was no design change and no compatibility with the Apple smart keyboard.

That iPad remains phenomenal value but it’s true that the design is beginning to look a little dated.

This year was the turn for the next level up of iPad to appear, the new iPad Air, based on the design of the earlier iPad Pro 10.5, complete with keyboard compatibility as well as Pencil functionality. An updated iPad mini also appeared.

Since it’s been well over a year since the basic iPad has been updated, and since the design is ageing, this would be the perfect time to completely redesign the lowest-priced iPad.

The latest iPad mini, released in Spring 2019.

The latest iPad mini, released in Spring 2019.

Apple

A new design, then?

In fact, it would arguably be the first major design shift since the original iPad Air, released back in late 2013, on which the current chassis is based.

The rumors that have been doing the rounds for some months now are that the next iPad will be the very first time an entry-level tablet will have a display size that’s anything other than 9.7in.

Apparently, the next iPad will come with a 10.2in display. In other words, not quite as big as the current iPad Air, but noticeably bigger than any entry-level tablet the company has made before.

What does it look like?

There are no leaked images for us to look at but I believe the next iPad will be very similar in size to the last model but with narrower bezels, especially at the top and bottom.

I believe it will still use Touch ID, rather than the Face ID on the current iPad Pro models.

Still, a bigger screen on a tablet likely to be the same weight or lighter, and the same size or smaller when compared to the iPad now, is intriguing.

The current Apple iPad Air with its 10.5in screen, plus Smart Keyboard.

The current Apple iPad Air with its 10.5in screen, plus Smart Keyboard.

Apple

How do you know it won’t be a 10.5in screen?

Well, I don’t except that’s the size of the screen for the current iPad Air and it the new entry-level device has the same size display as the significantly pricier Air, then that’s the end of one big reason to choose the iPad Air. It’s possible, of course, but I don’t think so.

When will it go on sale and how much?

The usual order for things is that a new iPhone or three will be revealed in September and any tablet will pop up at a separate launch event either later in September or, more likely, October.

Apple has traditionally priced its entry-level tablet very keenly – it’s currently $329 (£319 in the U.K.) and I don’t expect this will change.

As more details emerge I’ll be updating this feature, so please check back, here at Forbes.

__________

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Follow me on Twitter.

I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am always struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to regular repetitiveness. My areas of specialty are wearable tech, cameras, home entertainment and mobile technology. Over the years I’ve written about gadgets for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Metro, Stuff, T3, Pocket-lint, Wareable.com and Wired. Right now most of my work away from Forbes appears in the Independent, the Evening Standard and Monocle Magazine. Parenthetically, I also work as an actor, enjoying equally the first Mission Impossible movie, a season at Shakespeare’s Globe and a stint on Hollyoaks. Follow me on Instagram: davidphelantech, or Twitter: @davidphelan2009.

Source: Apple Confirms Striking New iPads Due This Fall

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This $69 Dongle Could Fix Apple’s AirPower And I/O Problems

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A product shot of the Miizer Hub simultaneously charging the iPhone X and the Apple Watch.

Apple’s hardware has been generating as much negative press as positive in the past few months. While the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram feature—which recently launched in Hong Kong—is deservedly praised, the Wall Street Journal wrote a scathing, and amusing, takedown of the MacBook laptops’ terrible keyboards, for which Apple was forced to issue an apology.

Being the largest and most influential tech brand in the world will invite more scrutiny than usual, I suppose, but the recent abrupt cancellation of the long-announced AirPower wireless charging mat is a major black mark for a company that prides itself on innovation.

Personally speaking, I never cared much for the AirPower charging mat, whose only benefit over regular wireless charging pads is that it can top up the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. And though I, too, find the MacBook Pro’s keyboards frustrating to use, my bigger gripe with Apple’s laptops is the lack of ports other than USB-C, which forces every user into something the tech industry have dubbed “dongle hell.”

I edit a lot of videos for work, and every time I need to transfer video files from a memory card to a MacBook, I need to plug in a card reader dongle. And if I want to pair a mouse with the MacBook? I’ll need a dongle for that, too, because most mice on the market have not made the switch to USB-C. Then, when I want to back up my videos to an external hard drive, guess what? Yes, another dongle.

A Shenzhen startup named Miizer is hoping to alleviate that problem to some degree with its all-in-one dongle, simply named the Hub. Not only does it offer virtually all the I/O connectivity one would need for personal computing, it also doubles as a wireless charging base that can charge smartphones and the Apple Watch at the same time.

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The Hub has two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports.

It still can’t charge the AirPods, but other than that, the Miizer Hub does the same thing as the failed AirPower.

I recently tested a pre-production unit of the dongle, and found that it works as advertised. It’s worth noting that the entire gadget is a bit chunkier than usual dongles, shaped almost like the original iPhone but double in thickness.

But that extra bulk is put to good use because the Miizer Hub offers more ports and features than any dongle I’ve seen before. In terms of ports, it has two USB-C ports that handles power and data transfer, two traditional USB-A ports, slots for Micro SD and standard SD memory cards, an ethernet port; and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The dongle is mostly made of plastic, except for the glass top plate off which devices will charge wirelessly. The Miizer Hub can also recharge devices the traditional way via an interchangeable charging head.

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The interchangeable charging head connects via pogo pins, but the different heads (lightning, USB-C, Micro-USB) are sold separately.

Ben Sin

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The Hub can output to 4K monitors.

From my testing, all the ports worked well. I was able to transfer 4K video files from a MicroSD card to my laptop at peak speed, and the HDMI port can output to external monitors at 4K resolution at 30Hz.

As a wireless charging station, I find the overall canvas a bit small to charge even one phone, let alone a phone and the Apple Watch, but with some juggling, it is possible. Ultimately, I would much rather just top up my phones with a wired cable as the wireless charging speed, at 10W, is a bit slow and my phone kept slipping off the Miizer Hub’s small surface. Topping up the Apple Watch is no problem, however, as the small battery negates the need for faster speeds and the Watch itself is small enough to sit comfortably on the Hub.

This dongle is best used for laptops lacking in crucial ports, most notably the MacBooks, but will work with any USB-C device. For example, when plugged into a recent Huawei smartphone, it does activate Huawei’s desktop mode. This means that if I also plug in an HDMI cable to a TV or an external monitor, I can use a Huawei device as a desktop computer. Though I’d also need an external keyboard and a mouse, which makes the entire set-up more clunky than just using a laptop.

Still, the Miizer Hub, which has been successfully backed on Indiegogo and selling at $69 a piece, does offer a solution for those suffering from Apple’s dongle and cancelled AirPower problems.

 

I’ve started a YouTube channel in an effort to provide multi-media coverage of gadgets I come across. If you’re interested, please subscribe.

I’m a Chinese-American journalist in Hong Kong, covering consumer tech in Asia. Before focusing on this exciting beat, I was a general culture writer and editor with byl…

Source: This $69 Dongle Could Fix Apple’s AirPower And I/O Problems

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