On this episode of Futurum Tech Podcast, the new iPhone and the new Apple Watch, crypto-tourists, are they ruining crypto-currencies? EU policing the internet, big finds coming up and AI saving lives, that and a lot more on FTP.
Our Main Dive
Apple had its big special event on September 12, and predictably, the company had exciting news about brand new products. Sure, this basically describes every major Apple event ever, but this time, it was different! Okay, it was actually about the same as usual. Basically, the company unveiled the new iPhone Xs and iPhone XR, as well as the Apple Watch Series 4—which is a wearable watch that is mainly marketed toward seniors trying to track some of their medical stats.
One of the features of the watch is a better heart rate monitor that can detect low heart rate and AFIB. You can even use the watch to conduct a self EKG. Sounds amazing, right? But the main question here is how well does it work? With some wearables, if the information is inaccurate, your steps or calories may be a little off. The stakes are a bit higher for someone who is depending on this Apple watch to keep an eye on any heart issues! Granted, no one should replace tried and true medical equipment with an Apple watch, but it sounds like Apple is slowly moving into this space, testing the waters with more than a basic heart rate tracker.
Bottom Line: Is Apple really ready to take on health at this level? Or is this just really good marketing at work? After all, Apple is awesome at marketing, maybe even better than it is at inventing cool products. So is it just as good at monitoring your health? That remains to be seen! You can start placing orders for the Apple Watch Series 4 this fall. Let’s give it some time for real people to try it out. Maybe we’ll hear some tales about how it improved someone’s health or even saved a life…or at least kept really good tabs on someone’s average heart rate.
Our Fast Five
We dig into this week’s interesting and noteworthy news:
- The FCC is slowly working on merging Sprint and T-Mobile. But as with any $26 billion deal that takes the number of major wireless carriers from four to three, it’s slow going. After all, there are antitrust issues to consider, so the FCC is hitting pause on the 180-day clock it has for the review.
- AI has been getting a lot of good press lately, and this week was no exception. It turns out doctors are now using AI to pair kidney donors with the people who need these organs, which is a pretty fantastic use of technology.
- The shared economy took a bit of a hit in the press this week when a couple found a hidden camera in a Toronto Airbnb. Apparently the camera was pointed at the bed and could also view the living room. Oddly enough, Airbnb responded that homeowners are supposed to disclose cameras—nothing about not being allowed to have one! So maybe consider this possible lack of privacy next time you book an Airbnb.
- Facebook is releasing a new algorithm, called Rosetta, that can analyze images for hate speech. If it finds it, Facebook can quickly remove the image and ban the person who posted it, minimizing the number of shares that images with hate speech can get.
- Then there’s the European Union, which is taking serious steps to stop terrorist content on major platforms. There’s a proposal that states that if someone posts terrorist content to platforms like Facebook or Twitter, these companies have one hour to find and remove it. If they don’t, they face massive fines that equal up to four percent of their revenue—so we’re talking millions or even billions of dollars for major social media platforms. It’s still just a proposal, but if it comes to fruition, it could force these companies to be more responsible for the content users post.
Our winner of this week’s “Tech that Bites” award is cryptocurrency. It’s lost more than 75 percent of its value since January, as it’s below 200 billion now. So why is this? It seems like the casual investors who jumped on the bitcoin train have lost interest. Essentially, the crypto-tourists have realized it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme at all, and they no longer want to participate.
Crystal Ball: Future-um Predictions and Guesses
Our Crystal Ball this week features Apple, of course. With its new watch’s many capabilities, should other players in the wearable space be worried? Both Garmin and Fitbit dropped a bit when Apple started talking about tracking heart rate and such, but they recovered pretty fast—probably because they were quickly reminded that they’ve been doing this longer than Apple!
So, sure, Apple might have a good Christmas selling its new watch and phones, but in the long run, these products probably won’t change much. The same people who always buy Apple products will continue to do so, while the people who prefer Samsung, HTC, etc. will keep buying from those companies.
And there you have it, this week’s Futurum Tech Podcast.
Fred McClimans: Welcome to today’s Apple event edition of FTP the Futurum Tech Podcast. I’m your host today, Fred McClimans. I am joined by Olivier Blanchard, and Daniel Newman of Futurum Research, as am I. Gentlemen, welcome to today’s podcast.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, I’m super excited to be here, I had to step away from watching the live feed. And we caught almost all the way up to the end, so we’ll be able to cover this pretty completely, Fred, but really stepping away from the Twitter feed, as I was having massive success poking fun at the launch today. But in all seriousness, lots of good stuff here to discuss!
Fred McClimans: Olivier, welcome.
Olivier Blanchard: I’m glad to be here. I’ve been enjoying the live cast as well, and the live Tweeting from Dan, it’s blowing up the internet today.
Fred McClimans: That’s an interesting aspect of social. Today, we see the event, we experience the event, not just through the event itself, but through the almost instantaneous feedback that we see on social media, which in some cases is entertaining. In other cases, it’s very helpful; it’s enlightening. You see things that you may have missed during the event itself. Today, we’ve got, of course, Apple on the docket. We will also be running through our fast five, our tech bites segment, and our crystal ball prediction of the week. So, before we launch off here, I just need to remind everybody that while we will talk about Apple and other companies and equities in this podcast, the podcast itself is for informational and entertainment purposes only. We’re not providing stock advice, and you should not interpret anything we say as stock advice.
So gentlemen, Apple. Today is September 12th. It is Apple’s big event, their annual event, where they launch everything wholesome and goodness about Apple, and just throw it out there on the stage. Today’s event started with a somewhat predictable Mission Impossible themed introduction, which was kind of cute, I suppose. Digging into the meat of this, there are really two things that have been the core focus of the Apple event, so far.
The first is the Apple Watch. The second: the iPhone. So, let’s dig a little bit into the Apple Watch first. The new S4, I’ve got to say, I’m impressed by what they’re doing. For a long time, we’ve talked about Apple’s lack of innovation in products that they’re doing, and their shift from being sort of that break through innovator that they were with the iPhone and with the Mac, way back before that, to more of an incremental innovation. One of the areas that we’ve been looking for them to step up into is health tech. The S4, in my mind, kind of takes us square there.
They have positioned the S4 Watch, as sort of that must-have, wearable, if you are a casual fitness buff, not certainly a professional athlete, but a casual fitness buff as well as…and I’m trying to think of the right way to define this segment. Elder care? Informed individuals, the people that have a medical need to actually track their health on an ongoing basis, or maybe in an at-risk situation.
So, some of the really cool features that they announced today in the S4 which will be available for order later this fall…the improved heart rate monitor, the ability to detect AFIB and low heart-rate. I thought it was particularly interesting, as well as, the FDA approved ability to offer a self-EKG, through the S4. In my mind here, this kind of takes them and puts them squarely into that insurance covered type of medical wearable device, that a lot of people I think will gravitate toward. Dan, I see you kind of gearing up with something here. What are your thoughts on the new S4 announcement?
Daniel Newman: I think the FDA approval is an interesting move, to put them on a different level than a lot of consumer wearables that offer the same thing. I’m not sure that gaining FDA approval for similar technologies is innovation as much as it is marketecture. It was an intelligent partnership to position themselves that way. I also don’t know, based on pricing, if that makes them an effective solution for people who have legitimate heart conditions. I mentioned in the pre show to you both, you know my wife had an arrhythmia, and she had to wear a monitor from time to time in order for the doctor to know if she was going into some sort of arrhythmia with her heart, so that they could determine the exact diagnosis, and they used a wrist based device. But even then, with a true medical grade FDA-approved wrist device, they said it was only really useful in exploring some of the more extraordinary events that took place.
So, I’m very interested in how the Apple Watch is going to truly set them apart from medical grade devices that have been available for a long time, that doctor’s question. Everyone really knows that for people that have real heart issues, it’s a chest strap. Or for athletes, it’s a chest strap, and a wearable, in some combination that needs to be worn in order to get the most reliable data.
So, is it a market gimmick, or is it a real solution? That’s to be seen. One other note about the S4, is just until I see it in comparison, side by side, because of the timing of the show, I haven’t had a chance to see the new Snapdragon processor, that’s being utilized that was, you know…Qualcomm announced a whole plethora of innovations and their IOT capabilities for smart watches, just a few weeks ago. If side by side, if Apple can truly say they’ve pulled themselves apart in some areas, I’ll pull back on all my negativity and I’ll give them the props they deserve. But, at this point, I still think they’re better at marketing than they are an innovator.
Fred McClimans: Well, you know, when you look at the S4, I think you’re right. There are features that, while very good for the market, and I think there’s some solid market demand for these features, it’s not going to replace that chest strap. It’s not going to replace the in-facility EKG equipment. But the unit itself, same battery life as before, 18 hours. It’d be great if that got up to 24. It has a larger watch face, it’s customizable, it’s thinner than the prior version. Another feature that really jumped out at me, you know, when you start to think about this from the consumer space, the “help I’ve fallen and can’t get up” feature, which I’m sure has a better name for it than that…but the ability for the iWatch to detect that a wearer has fallen, slipped, tripped, or something that has taken them to the ground and detect that as separate from somebody simply dropping the watch, and then to automatically alert emergency responders, if the person isn’t mobile afterward. So I think there are some interesting aspects to this that kind of targeted directly at a fairly sizable demographic out there. That I think with what they’re doing now, it’s incremental, but they’re doing it. And from my perspective, I’m glad to see it.
I’ve got the same concerns you do, and I’m sure Olivier has some concerns as well. As well as, something from the performance and athletics side, you know the GPS tracking, the heart rate monitoring, not necessarily something that you might wear for your four or five hundred marathon bike rides.
Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, no. So let me preface my commentary by saying I think this is a really good mousetrap. I think Apple was clever to go after the older market—what cynics might call the geriatric market—essentially the sand pipe or retirement community market. So this Christmas, I expect, or at least I think that’s the gamble or the bet that Apple is making, that’s late millennials, or I’m sorry early millennials, and Gen X-ers will be buying Apple Watch Series 4 for their parents, and their grandparents. That’s probably gonna be a huge tech gift for grandpa, grandma, and mom and dad this Christmas, because of the gimmicks that were introduced today. However, in real practice, in the real world, like Dan said, any kind of ECG or EKG system that you’re gonna carry with you requires a chest strap or electrodes to capture consistent and reliable signals. You’re not gonna be able to achieve that with a wrist watch, or a wrist wearable. It’s just not gonna happen.
So it’s not useless, but it’s not reliable, and if it’s not reliable, then I don’t know if it’s really all that helpful. To some of the features that you were just talking about, like the accelerometer feature that allows the watch to detect if you’ve fallen and you haven’t gotten up, that’s great. I mean we’ve had medical alert bracelets and pendants for a long time. We’ve all seen the infomercials for 30, 40 years. I think the issue with that is the automated alert system isn’t necessarily going to be all that great, if you get a lot of bad readings like the watch just happens to fall out of your pocket, for instance, or you’ve just kind of laid down on the couch a little bit too quickly, just kind of flopping down in your bed. 911 isn’t gonna show up at your door.
So, I think that more of a manual system to alert authorities would make more sense than an automated one. There’s just a lot with this watch that’s very gimmicky, that sounds good on the surface. It’s a really good marketing gimmick, but in the real world, I just don’t see the value. And some of this stuff, like even the low heart rate alert, or the heart rate zone alerts, Polar, Garmin, all those companies that have been making heart rate monitors for athletes and for medical patients for decades, had this available before the year 2000. I mean, this is like 20-year old features that we’re talking about that have finally made it to an Apple Watch? And we’re supposed to be excited by this? It’s not even just a question of incrementalism now. I’s almost a parody of itself. It’s like Apple went backwards instead of going forward. I’m not seeing where this is going honestly.
Daniel Newman: I’ll jump in. The processing power, the improved battery life, these are all true incremental innovation, you can call them. But to your point, I think some of the things they are selling, they’re sort of repackaging the old and calling it the new and trying to get us really excited about it. Fred, I’m going implore you, because I know we could spend a ton of time, but our show does have some limit. So, let’s get on to the excess here, because let’s face it: nobody bought the Apple Watch anyway.
Fred McClimans: No. According to Apple, the Apple Watch is the largest selling watch of any kind in the world. And I will point out that last year, Aetna started a pilot program where they were giving away 500 thousand Apple Watches, and maybe that’s where Apple gets that, you know, best-selling watch. But they were giving out 500 thousand Apple Watch devices to their customers, because they believed it could help them reduce their insurance costs. So there’s something here. Incremental, absolutely. Are they repackaging old features that have been around in other devices? Absolutely, but, I do think Apple’s in a position where they can get some good market penetration out of this, and if that’s marketing that’s what it is, but we’ll see how this plays out.
So now, on to the Apple XS and the Apple XS Max. A lot of performance upgrades into Apple iPhone this year. Most notable for me: the core machine learning, the core ML function, and the neuro net improvements there. They have, I think, stepped up in that game. They have introduced the first seven nanometer chip inside the iPhone, and probably most importantly, for me personally, the IP68 shock and waterproofing for the iPhone. I am notorious for losing and destroying phones—several a year—so this’ll save me some dockets, I’m sure moving forward here.
The iPhone XS, the screen size, that really jumped out to me, especially the XS Max, where they’re delivering a significantly larger screen size than they have in the past. And I’m an Apple 8 Plus user. I love the large screen. I’ve got to raise my hand and say, “Yeah, that larger screen on the Max, I’m probably going to take the plunge and dive in.” Olivier, the iPhone…what’s your take?
Olivier Blanchard: Well, I haven’t really … I haven’t had a chance to review it yet. I expected the incremental improvements. I’m a little bit disappointed in Apple that they just went with 10 or X, however you decide to pronounce it.
Fred McClimans: The nomenclature.
Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, the nomenclature’s a little bit weird. They just added an S to it, so it’s definitely … even the branding of the product spells incrementalism. And even though everybody knew the 8 … Apple’s processors, A11, the A12, they’re always great. There’s not an issue with those. It’s actually one of the really good things about the iPhone and one of the things that I have no complaints about. But Snapdragon 855 to Daniel’s point earlier, entered production, I think two months ago in June, so we’re gonna start seeing them possibly on the Pixel 3 I think. It’s been rumored that the 855’s gonna be in there and I think the Samsung S10 and Note 10 will also have those next year. It’s, at the very least, going to be equivalent to the A12, so I don’t think that Apple really has developed anything that’s really that far ahead of the competition. They’re pretty much neck and neck with the processor with [inaudible 00:13:16] on that one.
But yeah, what bothers me about the event or at least the portions of the event that I was watching earlier, before we jumped on, was that these Apple events have kind of turned into a parody of themselves. The vocabulary, the scripting, the delivery even, of just … the kind of overemphasized emotion in every half sentence about how gorgeous everything is and how beautiful and space grade this, mayonnaise and mustard, space grade colors. The whole thing just kind of, it sounds like an SNL skit. It’s just Apple rehashing its own vocabulary and its own incrementalism over and over again to the point where it’s really predictable. That’s the bigger issue I have with today’s event, not so much with the event, but just with what Apple is doing and how it’s marketing itself at this point.
Fred McClimans: The applause every time the speaker pauses, that doesn’t add to it. I saw one tweet out there, somebody comparing it to an episode of Friends. Dan, I know you’re a fan of Friends, and an avid watcher of the reruns, so go ahead, connect Friends to the Apple event here and the iPhone.
Daniel Newman: I was more eager to connect a Donald Trump rally to the Apple event, and I may upset some people out there, this isn’t even a partisan issue, this is just the use of terms like: amazing, remarkable, most gorgeous, most amazing, I have the greatest chip ever. Kind of like when he knows the greatest people. Well, they have the greatest product. And they were not afraid to say it today. Apple, to their credit, it is marketing, and I’ve said this is in past episodes of this show. They are the best marketing company on the planet, so if it offends people, then you know what, it is what it is. I see through it, and I think the biggest problem is, is when you become a skeptic and cynic, you start to see things that most of the world may see one way in a completely different light.
Does their product work well? Yes. Will most people who buy it be happy? Yes. Is the product going to incrementally be better than the version they are going to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to upgrade from? Yes. Is it a device that people use 24/7, all day long? Yes and that’s why people are not afraid to spend $1,000, but I’ll leave you with one little thought. I tweeted this and I asked it, and people seem to really like this question: Which one of these new models is gonna support 5G?
Fred McClimans: And I think that’s a great question. We’ve been talking a lot about 5G both on and offline here, and that was something that did not go unnoticed. You know, here’s to 5G actually making its way in, but again, 5G many would consider that to be an incremental improvement over the technology.
Daniel Newman: Only Apple people.
Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, by the way, I just want to go back to one more thing, I’m pretty sure the Snapdragon 855, and I should probably check this, I’m right in front of my computer, but I’m fairly certain it’s also a 7 nanometer CSE, just like the A12. And again, they’ve entered two months ago, so when Apple says that they’ve had this breakthrough, they might want to check the Googles on that before they make that claim.
Fred McClimans: So, just sort of one final thought here, it’s incremental but the machine learning capability and the neuro net processing, the ability to go nine times faster at 1/10 the power? It may be incremental, but I like it. I like where it’s leading to and I like the features and the expansion that that affords to developers using the AR kit for augmented reality.
With that, our fast five. And we’re gonna roll through these here. Dan, you are up first in the fast five. What’s going on here?
Daniel Newman: Yeah, so, I got a pretty quick and a fast one, but the FCC is taking their time with the merger between the two mobile giants, T-Mobile and Sprint. They want to look more closely at any antitrust issues that this merger between these two big companies may have. I think it’s really, really interesting that they’re gonna want to hold this up for a while. Not a lot more news on the exact why’s and where’s and how’s just yet, but they want to give themselves more time to make sure that they are not violating any rules, and I say, applaud the activity and the action on behalf of the FCC, but at the same time, I really don’t see with competitors like Verizon and ATT still in the market, how they could look at this and really try to stop this in any meaningful way.
Fred McClimans: Yeah, it’s interesting to see them take their time for once, to kind of step back, and I’ve got to wonder if there isn’t some type of political agenda kind of percolating off on the side with that. So with that, Olivier, you’ve got an interesting tale for us here today.
Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, so I ran into a story, actually a really good feature on Quartz of all places. So it wasn’t Business Insider, it wasn’t Bloomberg, it’s Quartz, so you should definitely look for it. It’s a piece on how AI is changing organ donations in the US. Essentially, what they’re looking at is organ transplants in particular, can be pretty difficult, especially living transplants. So they looked at how AI is now being used by doctors to pair kidney donations in the US and how they’re on the rise, that AI is actually saving lives by helping pair people who need kidneys with people who are kidney donors or organ donors in general.
That’s a really positive development with the technology and one that’s gonna have huge ramifications I think-
Fred McClimans: That’s great. Any time we see technology being applied to really solve fundamental problems, I applaud. Speaking of problems, we’ve talked a lot about privacy, that was something that came up during the Apple event this morning, where they were talking about all the data being thrown off or captured by the new iWatch … it’s not the iWatch, it’s the watch, I gotta put an I in front of everything Apple. But one of the features they have there is the ability to expressly limit what data people individually share that’s generated off the watch. I think that’s a … it’s an incremental step, but it’s a good step forward. But from a different perspective, one of the things that the shared economy, the collaborative economy, the Ubers, the Airbnbs of the world have brought us is the ability for individuals to step up and provide services that were formerly provided by large establishments or corporations. Sometimes the trust factor that we have with those large corporations doesn’t translate or transfer to individuals.
Case in point, a couple visiting an Airbnb location in Toronto were surprised to find that the owner, their host, had placed a hidden camera in the room, capable of picking up activity in the main living area, and the bedroom. Airbnb of course says, “Hey look, that’s outside of our policy. If you have a camera,” and I love this part, “If you have a camera, you have to disclose it first,” not, “We don’t allow cameras,” but you have to disclose.
This is one of those things that we just run into all too often and there’s a trust factor that when we step into the shared economy. You have to be really careful as a consumer properly vetting who you’re actually sharing with here.
Dan, back to you. Facebook and Rosetta Stone? What’s going on?
Daniel Newman: Not Rosetta Stone. It’s just their new algorithm, which is an optical character recognition system that Facebook put out this week, and it’s really interesting. Basically, the idea is to help them more quickly find and determine if there’s hate speech in the images that people are posting on Facebook. This goes to a little bit of what Olivier was talking about earlier about companies being potentially in trouble if they don’t quickly remove that kind of content from their website. Well, this new algorithm, they’re calling Rosetta, can look at billions of pictures and basically determine rectangular areas in the photos where text might exist and it can determine what the text is, and the algorithm can determine then if it’s some sort of hate speech, where then it can be banned, blocked, removed or acted upon as necessary. So it’s interesting and positive development for Facebook, especially given all the not so positive coverage we’ve had to give them lately.
Fred McClimans: It sounds a bit similar to the Google Translate AR app that I’ve used when traveling overseas. You point your phone at a road sign or a menu and it translates on screen what you’re seeing into your language. Very cool stuff there.
In that same vein, Olivier, there’s an issue coming up in Europe involving terror propaganda in companies like Facebook and Google.
Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, so what Dan was just talking about, we always have these long conversations pre show. The pre show is actually longer than the actual show. So my tech bite that I was discussing earlier was a proposal by the European Union to impose massive fines on companies like Facebook and Alphabet, or any kind of social media company for not promptly removing terrorist content from their platforms. So, let’s say a terrorist organization decides to publish a video through Twitter or Facebook, or what have you, these fines would … or at least this proposed law would require these companies to remove that content. So first of all to identify it and then to remove it within an hour, because that first hour is deemed by the European Union to be the timeframe in which that content most harmful, if the content is not removed within an hour, they could be fined for up to four percent of their worldwide revenue, which, for the previous year, which means that for Alphabet or Google, that would be about four billion dollar fines, for not removing that content within an hour. And for Facebook, it would be somewhere around 1.6 billion dollars. So, it’s not a law yet, it’s just a proposal, that’s one of the things that the European Union is considering right now, to try to clean up the internet a little bit.
Fred McClimans: Yeah, that’s steep by anybody’s standards. Probably needed, but still steep. I’ve gotta think there’s perhaps a better way to solve the issue, than simply attack it through a pure fine type mechanism. Our tech bites segment today, speaking of tech bites, Olivier, our tech bites involves cryptocurrencies, and something called crypto-tourists. Now, we’ve talked about bitcoin and some of the various cryptocurrencies and the block-chain technology underlying all of those, on the podcast before. But we’re to the point now, where due to a number of different circumstances, bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies are losing value, and it’s not just a little value that they’re losing. What we see here, is a situation where, if you look at the total value of crypto in the marketplace, in January of this year, it hit a high of 832 billion dollars in value. That’s all your coins put together. How much money do we actually have here?
Fred McClimans: Today, it’s down below 200 billion. That’s lost over 75 percent of its value, just since January, and one of the reasons behind this is, it appears as if a lot of the casual investors, the retail investors, are losing interest in bitcoin. They’re losing interest in cryptocurrencies. We’re flooded with ICOs, initial coin offerings, from companies left and right, and that may be glued in the market a bit here. But, at the end of the day, any time you have a market, a particular product out there, that loses 75, 76 percent of its value in eight, nine months? That has to raise alarms here. Dan, what are your thoughts on this situation?
Daniel Newman: Well, it’s like any investment that rapidly gains popularity with the common folk, is you probably know it’s just about to implode. Kind of like all the people that started investing in real estate, and flipping homes, in 2006, in 2007. By the time the really great deal gets to the average consumer, it’s way too late. And so, when the cryptocurrency rage came on, and that’s what they’re talking about, these crypto-tourists, it was all these people that thought it was a get rich quick, and it’s not, it was like every other investment and in fact, maybe even more so a highly volatile. Unknown area, where people that had no business getting into this market, got into this market, and they got into in big ways because of market manipulation, because of lots of bitcoin enthusiasts, creating all kinds of stirs of opportunity.
Daniel Newman: You walk up to the craps table, right? And, someone’s on a heater, and they’re throwing the rock, and you watch, and you watch, and everyone made money, and they made money, and they made money. This is what was happening for the last two, three, four years, around cryptocurrency with the early investors and those that were really truly investing, following the market. This year, around that time in January, it was when that person who watched all that time, stepped up, put their last 100 dollar chip, put it straight away, and then that person crapped out on the next roll. That’s what happened, that’s where this is going, much like I predicted for a lot of the block-chain, it’s just not gonna be what people think it is. Don’t have time to argue it with you guys right now, but we’ll have to have that discussion later.
Fred McClimans: Yes, we will. Olivier?
Olivier Blanchard: Nothing to add. It’s exactly how I feel, and I hate being right all the time.
Daniel Newman: You hate when I’m right all the time, you mean. [crosstalk 00:25:54]
Fred McClimans: We hate it as well. Twinning.
Olivier Blanchard: Yeah. I’m absolutely not surprised by this. It’s not the last we’ve heard of crypto. Obviously it’s gonna go up and down, but everything that Dan said, it’s kind of like this crazy gold rush, where everybody thought they were gonna make a ton of money, they were somehow gonna beat the market with their awesome idea to do what everybody else was doing, it’s just silly.
Fred McClimans: Yeah, well this show is not for intended to be investment advice.
Olivier Blanchard: I do advise nobody to buy crypto.
Daniel Newman: Get it? Get it?
Fred McClimans: This is very consistent with the trend that we saw earlier this fall, involving the at-home bit coin miners, kind of pulling back. We saw this with Nvidia, the demand for their GPUs that were targeted at that market, just tanked. It’s not surprising to see that trend kind of continue here.
Our crystal ball today, gentlemen, since it is Apple event, September 12th, I’ve got to pose the question out there. We’ve already seen in the case of Fitbit, as soon as Apple stood up and started talking about the health tech market place, as soon as they started talking about pulse, as soon as they started mentioning EKG, or sorry, ECG, Fitbit drops, drops fairly big. Right now they’re down a little over six percent, in the wake of this. Garmin had a similar little drop down, until everybody realized, “Oh wait, GPS, pulse-tracking, we do that already.” They’re fine. But for other companies out there, other competitors of Apple, and specifically I’m looking at people like Samsung, you’re looking at other competitors, Huawei, out there that are offering phones into the market place…your take: does this event impact Apple’s competitors on a large scale or is this just kind of an incremental, “Oh well,” Dan?
Daniel Newman: Well, of course, it’s always gonna create a huge spike in demand for new products. Apple knows this. This event hasn’t changed anything; it’s not gonna change anything. The Apple loyalists that were and are committed to Apple are going to continue to buy Apple, just like yourself. That little bit of an incremental improvement in the screen size, you’ve said yourself, “I’m gonna go buy this device.” So, this will happen to a lot of people. I think the Huaweis and Samsungs and HTCs and other companies that are in this space are gonna continue marching forward. Google, with their Pixel, I think they’re gonna continue on, I think they’re gonna continue to become more competitive, product and feature-wise. The problem is all those companies together, and this is where, no matter how much negativity I might put towards Apple, I have to give them kudos, all those other companies put together do not have the marketing prowess of Apple, and they cannot create the excitement. Because, if they could people would actually realize that the Android platform doesn’t do much less or different than the Apple platform, and they would also realize that a lot of the other features and functionalities of those devices may in fact actually be better. And by the way, they’ll support 5G.
Fred McClimans: Well, you know one point there, on that. And you’re right, the 5G support will be a big factor here, but when you look at Android versus Apple, in terms of consumer adoption and consumer use, I just saw something out, in fact it was earlier this morning, citing that something north of 75, 80 percent of Apple users are on the current OS, compare that to Android platforms, it’s down around 25, 30 percent at best. So, Olivier, your crystal ball prediction, does this impact Apple’s competitors? Or do they just kind of up the bar and keep moving?
Olivier Blanchard: It doesn’t impact anything. I mean any day like today with big announcement is gonna cause some minor market fluctuations, and if Apple had really something, really, that redefines the market, that’s really a threat to anybody, or that’s a radical step forward, or innovation, we’d be having a different discussion. But, this is just iterative, so as was already mentioned earlier, Garmin has been doing this better than Apple for a lot longer. They have devices out there, a plethora of devices for different uses, that on average, cost less than an Apple Watch anyway. So, on the device end, I think Apple’s gonna see really good sales this Christmas, I suspect, but it’s not going to impact any of the other device makers.
On the phone side, like I said, it’s the Snapdragon 855, 5Gs coming, everything that I’m seeing from Samsung, everything I’m seeing from chip maker Qualcomm, everything I’m seeing from even just the Pixel 3 that’s gonna come out soon. Everybody’s really excited about that, more so than Apple. And anecdotally, so I have no data to back this up, but everyone I talk to, used to be on the Apple platform, all former iPhone users, are all switching to either the Pixel or the Note 9. It’s crazy. I went to Verizon a few days ago and the guy that I was talking to there, couldn’t wait for Pixel 3 to come out. He was giving me all these specs. Nobody is shifting from Android to iPhone anymore. And, a lot of people are staying with iPhone. A lot of people are also, who are diehard iPhone fans for years, are now switching to Samsung and Pixel. It’s going in one direction, not the other.
So, if anything, the impact of today, will be long term, or at least in the next five to six months. Good for Apple and neutral to non-existent or for everybody else.
Fred McClimans: Very good. Yeah, we’ll see how big that wave of migration is from Apple to Android. Personally, I think they’ve got enough of a market share here, that they can afford to lose a few people, that shift over to the other platforms, but I’m certainly also intrigued by the 9 and the upcoming Pixel.
Olivier Blanchard: Yeah, and something that people should also realize is, there’s something in the Android ecosystem called Rich Communication Services, or RCS. Which is kind of like a unified messaging standard, that Android is trying to push across to all of the phone makers, and also the carriers, and it’s been kind of a dream, it’s been a little bit out of reach for some time. But, we just found out, just I think today, that Samsung is actually on board to help the Android ecosystem develop and adopt this. So, that’s a really big player jumping into this. So, we could actually have a unified and very rich messaging system across the Android platform that we haven’t seen before, and that would rival iMessage.
Fred McClimans: Well, that sounds like a great topic for an upcoming podcast, and our main dive. Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time today, and your insights. It’s time to get back to Apple, and to all other things, offline here. I’d like to thank our listeners for listening to today’s podcast. Please like, subscribe, comment, tell us what you think about the podcast, and what you’d like to see moving forward. And, with that, it’s a wrap.
Outro: There will be plenty of more tech topics and tech conversations right here on the Futurum Tech Podcast. FTP. Hit that subscribe button, join us, become part of our community. We would love to hear from you. Check us out, FuturumResearch.com, or Futurum Tech Podcast, Daniel Newman, Fred McClimans, Olivier Blanchard, we’ll see you later.
Fred is an experienced analyst and advisor, with over 30 years of experience in the digital and technology markets. Fred launched the equity research team at Samadhi Partners and provides marketing strategy through the Wasabi Rabbit digital agency. He previously served as an EVP and Research Vice President at HfS Research, launching its Digital Trust practice and coverage of emerging “trust-enabling” technologies. Read Full Bio.