UPDATE, 11:08 AM: Apple‘s part of today’s proceedings is over after Sen. Carl Levin finally drew blood. He hammered CEO Tim Cook and other Apple execs for creating business arrangements that ensured that the company’s “crown jewels” — economic rights to more than two-thirds of its worldwide profits — “are in three Irish companies that you control and don’t pay taxes.” Cook acknowledged that he has “no current plan” to bring that cash “home at the current tax rate.” Levin noted that this was entirely Apple’s choice: The arrangement in Ireland was signed by “three people working for Apple.” He also observed that the company repatriates profits from Latin America and Canada but not elsewhere. “We cannot continue a system where a multinational company as phenomenally successful as you can make a decision as to where the profits are going to flow. An American company where the R&D is 95% in the United States. You had R&D tax credits, all the benefits of living in this country, [including] protection of patents….You made a unilateral decision where these profits are going to be taxed or not taxed. Folks, that is not right.”
Related: Lawmakers Say Apple Exploits Loopholes To Avoid U.S. Taxes
PREVIOUS, 10:13 AM: Tim Cook seems to be in command so far in his appearance before the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to defend Apple against charges that it parks cash overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes. He began his testimony throwing down a gauntlet calling for “dramatic simplification” of U.S. corporate taxes. “Apple has always believed in the simple, not the complex,” he said adding that it should also apply to the tax code. He called for a revenue-neutral change that would lower corporate income tax rates and provide for “a reasonable tax”– which he said should be a single digit percentage — “that allows the free flow of capital back to the United States.” It would probably increase Apple’s U.S. taxes, he says, but “it would promote U.S. economic growth.” READ MORE »
The consumer electronics company has more than doubled its stock repurchase program with plans to buy $100B of its shares by the end of 2015. “This is the largest share buyback of any company in history,” Apple CFO … Read More »
UPDATE, 1:25 PM: Apple ended the day at $485.92, -3.2% — the stock’s lowest closing price since February 8, 2012. The performance stood in contrast to the slight rise in both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500. Investor concerns about how much and how quickly Apple can grow are sure to weigh on CEO Tim Cook as he prepares to talk with analysts on January 23, when the company releases its earnings for the last three months of 2012. Read More »
Wouldn’t it be swell if the studios and networks felt the same way about their own runaway production? Apple‘s chief Tim Cook took on his Bad Apple critics in interviews this week — one airing tonight on Rock Center With Brian Williams (see the video below) and the other with Bloomberg Businessweek. Now Cook is claiming a line of Apple’s Mac computers will be manufactured in the U.S. in 2013. Certainly the Cupertino company has met with terrible press recently on at least two fronts — those Chinese worker walkouts over allegations of oppressive Foxconn working conditions on the new iPhone 5, and The New York Times exposé about Apple using creative accounting and legal loopholes to deprive U.S. and California government coffers of billions in badly needed corporate tax dollars while the fiscal cliff looms. When Williams asked Cook why Apple isn’t Read More »
Apple reported disappointing Q4 results last week and shares were down about 9.5% over the last month as investors wondered whether the company can continue to fly high. On Monday, in its biggest management shake-up in … Read More »
This had to hurt. Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged this morning that his company’s Maps product — which replaced Google Maps in the new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 operating system — “fell short” of his company’s standards. “We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better,” he said in a public letter. Cook’s mea culpa follows widespread reports across the Internet from people who became lost after relying on the Apple app for travel directions. For example, New York Times writer David Pogue wrote this week that he used his iPhone to reach a speaking engagement, but “When the app told me that I had arrived, I was sitting in a random suburban cul-de-sac.” Cook says that “The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get.” But he added that, in the meantime, they can download map apps from competitors including Bing, MapQuest, Waze, Google, and Nokia.
Related: Will Apple Be Able To Keep Up With Demand For iPhone 5? Read More »
That has to be a real concern for the company today: Apple sold 5M units in the smartphone’s opening weekend in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK, it said today. That means demand for iPhone 5 already exceeds the supply. Some people who pre-ordered will have to wait until next month to receive them, Apple says. And production could slow after the phone’s manufacturer, Foxconn Technology Group, shut a factory today in China following fights that Bloomberg says involved as many as 2,000 workers with 40 people hospitalized. A Foxconn spokesman wouldn’t say whether the plant makes iPhone 5 parts. Meanwhile iPhone 5-mania is just beginning: The new smartphone will be offered in 22 additional countries beginning Friday, and will sell in more than 100 countries by year-end. Apple CEO Tim Cook says this morning that although “we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.” Read More »
Apple fanatics may find it hard to believe that the company could disappoint anybody. But the company’s stock is down about 5% in after-market trading following the release of fiscal Q3 earnings that failed to impress. … Read More »
UPDATED: Apple gave its fans a lot of news to chew on — including features coming this fall on iOS 6, applications for the Siri voice recognition system, iPhone maps with turn-by-turn directions, and a light new MacBook Pro with a Retina display. But the company’s presentation at its Worldwide Developers Conference disappointed investors who had hoped to hear more — possibly the unveiling of a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Apple’s share price began to drop once it became clear that CEO Tim Cook and his colleagues had a more modest agenda. Apple users probably will be less churlish about today’s hodge-podge of announcements. One of the most notable is a major upgrade to the maps app that will enhance the iPhone’s ability to act as a GPS. All of the cartography was done in-house. The system is integrated with the Siri voice recognition system and has turn-by-turn navigation. It also has real-time traffic info enabling the system to direct users around accidents and jams. There’s a Flyover view, giving users a 3D look at major cities. The maps app will continue to work from the lock screen, and will be included in the iOS 6.
Related: Apple Has Big Secret Surprises Coming Next Week – But CEO Tim Cook Won’t Detail Read More »
Problem is, Apple CEO Tim Cook won’t say what they are. He told the AllThingD conference tonight that he has never been so amazed as he is by “all the things I cannot talk about today.” In fact, Cook said the notoriously tight-lipped Apple would “double down on secrecy on products”. On the TV front, however, Cook made no secret of his enthusiasm for Steve Jobs’ pledge to change television with Apple TV like iTunes changed music. “We have a good relationship with the content owners,” Cook replied when asked about Apple and the Hollywood studios. “I’ve met with several of them recently; they were talking about what more we could do with them.” (Cook made a point of noting his respect for what Apple board member Bob Iger has accomplished at Disney.) Cook wouldn’t disclose what those discussions with Hollywood were about, except to say, “most people would say that TV is not an area of their life they are completely pleased with.” Read More »
UPDATE, 6:40 AM: Apple says the planned $2.65-a-share outlay will make the company one of the highest dividend payers in the U.S. The dividend will cost more than $10B in the first year while Apple spends $4B in the same period repurchasing shares, execs told analysts in a conference call. All told, it expects to return $45B from its domestic cash balance to shareholders over the plan’s three years. CEO Tim Cook says he wants the effort to attract new investors — without compromising the company’s ability to grow. “Innovation is the most important objective at Apple and we will not lose sight of that,” he says. For example, he says the company can still increase its investments in R&D, acquisitions, retail stores, and its infrastructure. Cook says Apple doesn’t plan to split the stock. That would lower the price of individual shares and attract investors who can’t afford to spend $585.57, Friday’s closing price. Still, he says, ”we are in a unique position at a unique point in time, so this is something we continue to look at.” Execs say that they are tapping their domestic cash holdings and grumbled that U.S. tax laws create an “economic disincentive” to repatriate cash Apple earns overseas. Cook declined to comment on other matters but did note that Apple had “a record weekend” for initial sales of its new iPad. “We’re thrilled with it.”
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UPDATE, 11:39 AM: The event is over to introduce what Apple CEO Tim Cook simply calls “the new iPad.” It will be available March 16. The Wi-Fi only version with 16 GB of memory will cost $499, same as the iPad2 — and models that accommodate its new 4G LTE capability on Verizon or AT&T will start at $629. Add $100 to each price to move up to 32 GB and another C-note for 64 GB of memory. No word on how much data plans will cost. The iPad2 will continue to be sold — and for $100 less (i.e. $399 with 16 GB of memory).
The battery on the new iPad will run 10 hours, but 9 hours on 4G. Users can dictate text and commands. The company says it will have a sharp Retina Display, with 3.1M pixels — more than an HDTV. It also will have more power than the current iPad: it will run on an A5X quad core graphics processor. Execs talked up the iPad’s new power to create and manipulate photos. It will have a 5 mega-pixel iSight camera on back, with auto exposure, auto-focus, and face detection. It also can record video in HD and will have software stabilization. The iMovie application gets an update: users can create trailers in addition to movies. New iPhoto application allows users to edit images and transmit them directly to other devices. It will accommodate photos up to 19 mega-pixels. With a new journal feature, users can mix photos with text, maps, and calendars. CEO Tim Cook says the company has sold 15.4M iPads. “We set out to create not just a new product, but a new category.”
He also said that the company will revamp its Apple TV with a new user interface. The updated device will be available next week and cost $99. Also, movies and TV shows in the iTunes store will be available in 1080P HD quality. Users can re-download content. Read More »
Apple CEO Tim Cook vigorously defended his company today from charges that it has enabled the Chinese companies that produce iPhones, iPads and other products to mistreat workers with low pay, long hours, and unsafe conditions. “No one in our industry is doing more to improve working conditions than Apple,” he told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. “We care about every worker.” Although he says “the supply chain is complex” he adds that every worker has a right to competitive wages as well as fair and safe working conditions. “Apple suppliers must live up to this in order to do business with Apple,” he says. He added that hiring of children is “extremely rare in our supply chain, but our objective is to eliminate it totally.” He called use of child labor “a firing offense.” Apple also says it has found violations to its rule capping work at 60 hours a week but has begun to “manage working hours on a very micro basis….We can do better and we’re taking the unprecedented step of reporting this monthly on our website so its transparent.” Read More »
Investors will be listening intently today when Apple CEO Tim Cook addresses the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. The tech giant’s stock is on a tear — it closed Monday at $502.60, a record high and up 24.1% so far in 2012. And Wall Street is trying to figure out: Is this run up just beginning, or is it time to sell? Cook could provide some clues in the way he handles questions about investors’ extravagant expectations for Apple’s efforts to introduce new or refreshed products this year. It’s widely believed that early next month it will unveil the iPad 3, with a sharper screen and the ability to tap Verizon and AT&T’s 4G wireless networks. Now it seems Apple also is testing a tablet with a smaller, 8-inch screen to take on rivals such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has a 7-inch screen, The Wall Street Journal reports today. Meanwhile bulls say that the iPhone will continue to be a big story this year with sales just beginning in China — and the widely expected release in the U.S. of a 4G-capable iPhone 5. Apple also is benefitting Read More »
UPDATE, 3:05 PM: Everyone wants to know what’s up with Apple’s plan to introduce its own TV set, but CEO Tim Cook offered no updates in a conference call with analysts. He’s still upbeat about the Apple TV box, which ports Internet video to TV sets, but refers to it as a “hobby.” He’s unconcerned about the growing competition to the iPad from new tablets. His view is that people who are interested in the iPad won’t settle for devices with fewer functions. Even the Amazon Kindle Fire, one of the hottest-selling electronic products this past holiday season, has had no “obvious impact” on iPad sales. Indeed, Cook says that the iPad probably cannibalizes more Windows PCs. On the iPhone 4S, Cook says that Apple “made a very bold bet as to what the demand would be, and we were short of supplies throughout the quarter.” He adds that the company is still short in some countries. “We could not be happier.” It was just introduced in China and “the demand there has been staggering.” The company expects fiscal 2Q revenues to come in at $32.5B with earnings of about $8.50 a share.
PREVIOUS, 1:40 PM: Shares are trading +7% after hours following an amazing report for the last three months of 2011: Apple revenues came in at $46.3B, up 73.3% vs the same period last year — and well ahead of the $38.9B that analysts expected. And the company had $13.1B in net income, up 117.6%. Here, too, the results at $13.87 a share were well ahead of the $10.08 consensus estimate. Read More »
Sluggish sales of iPhones during Apple’s fourth quarter contributed to revenue that was up more than 39% year-over-year at $28.27 billion but missed analysts’ estimates. Earnings per share were $7.05, less than the street’s $7.39 target — the first time … Read More »
UPDATE: Apple just wrapped up its press conference announcing the upgraded iPhone. Better hardware, new operating system, and available on Sprint as well as AT&T and Verizon — but not the revolutionary iPhone 5 that some predicted. Available Oct. 14, wireless subscribers will be able to score a 64 gig version of the iPhone 4S for $399, a 32 GB model for $299, and 16 GB for $199. But the price for the 8 GB iPhone 4 has been cut to $99 while the 3GS is free. The 4S will look a lot like previous iPhones but will have a dual core processor that handles graphics about seven times faster — good news for gamers. It will be a world phone, capable of handling wireless calls transmitted via GSM or CDMA technologies. The camera has been upgraded: 8 megapixels with more sensitive light processing and face detection. The company also talked up the speed; just a half-second lag between shots. It will handle 1080p high-definition video with image stabilization. Apple’s also excited about a new feature called Siri: It will answer verbal inquiries about, say, the weather, stock prices, and restaurant reviews — and handle tasks such as making appointments in your calendar. As expected, the company said that it will launch its iCloud service on Oct. 12. No talk about Facebook integration. Investors apparently expected more: The value of Apple shares declined during the presentation and are down about 4.7% about an hour before the end of the trading day.
PREVIOUS 2:10 AM: Super-secretive Apple e-mailed “Let’s Talk iPhone” invitations to a 10 AM PT media event at its headquarters in Cupertino this morning. But it’s the first major product unveiling that won’t be introduced by Steve Jobs. Instead, his successor Tim Cook is expected to present what may be the iPhone 5 and/or the iPhone 4S and/or Apple’s latest iOS mobile software — iOS 5. According to The AP, the latest iPhone will include wireless device setup and content syncing, a better 8-megapixel camera, as well as email and Web-browsing apps. But the new smartphone isn’t expected to look much different from the iPhone 4, though it could be thinner and have a bigger screen. Deadline’s sibling site BGR.com says some industry watchers had hoped for a brand new teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 with larger display, insanely thin design, and more. Now it’s looking like Apple might be set to introduce an upgraded iPhone 4 instead. Bummer, right? Not if Apple’s iPhone 4S is a pretty substantial bump as opposed to just an incremental update, as many are speculating. Some even think Apple is set to unveil about a dozen various iPhone models this week, ranging from a modest update on the cheap to a teardrop-shaped overhaul that will feature a 4-inch display and a unibody aluminum design.
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Wall Street is giving Apple’s post-Steve Jobs transition a thumbs-up, at least so far. The company’s shares rose 2.78% today to close regular trading at $411.63, an all-time high for Apple. The surge gives it a market valuation of $381.6B, … Read More »