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Augmented reality could be opportunity for Apple

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An augmented reality feature shows the finished Apple Park at the Apple Park Visitor Center on November 17, 2017 in Cupertino, California.

Amy Osborne | AFP | Getty Images

An augmented reality feature shows the finished Apple Park at the Apple Park Visitor Center on November 17, 2017 in Cupertino, California.

Apple‘s move into augmented reality could boost iPhone and App Store sales, resulting in as much as $8 billion in revenue for the tech giant, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“We think AR apps will command a price premium,” Wamsi Mohan, senior equity research analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “We reiterate our Buy on strong capital returns, continued strong growth in Services revenues and AR providing yet another competitive advantage.”

The bank increased its price target from $225 to $230, about $40 above where the stock was trading Tuesday. Shares of Apple are up more than 30 percent year over year and 12 percent so far this year.

Augmented reality, or AR, puts virtual objects in the real world using a phone or iPad’s camera and lets users interact with those objects through their screen. One popular example was Nintendo’s 2016 Pokemon Go video game, which let users chase video game characters projected on their phone screens throughout city streets and other public areas.

Mohan says the “revenue opportunity” is for $6 billion to $8 billion in additional revenue from now until 2020 with $1 billion of that coming from AR apps and the rest coming from increased iPhone sales due to the new technology. If Apple were to introduce AR-specific eyewear, which is not factored into the bank’s current model, the revenue upside could be as much as $11 billion, he said.

More than 1 billion Apple devices are already equipped for augmented reality apps, which Mohan said makes iOS a logical and “extremely attractive” option for those developers.

It’s not just video game makers capitalizing on AR. The BofAML analyst highlighted retailers such as Lowes and Home Depot already using AR to help customers picture how countertops, floors, blinds or paint might look in their homes before buying them. The technology can also be used to market hotels and travel experiences, Mohan said.

Apple began shipping its first set of tools for developers to build augmented-reality apps on iPhones and iPads, known as the ARKit, last fall. Apple’s third version, the ARKit2, was released in early June. Google is also working on AR and released its own kit for developers called ARCore around the same time as Apple.



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Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following ‘pedo guy’ claim

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Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk apologized after making the baseless claim that a British diver involved in the Thai cave rescue mission was a pedophile.

The apology comes after the spelunker, Vern Unsworth, who was involved in the early days of efforts to save the now-rescued boys’ soccer team, threatened legal action against the billionaire executive over the comment.

Musk said on Twitter late Tuesday that he had made the claim out of “anger” because Unsworth had criticized his idea to rescue the boys with a “mini-submarine” made out of a SpaceX rocket part.

“Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader,” Musk said.

“The fault is mine and mine alone.”

Musk got involved in efforts to rescue the group of 12 boys and their soccer coach earlier this month — mere days before their rescue. The boys had gotten stuck in the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai after venturing through it with their coach.

He and a team of engineers from SpaceX and The Boring Company brought over the vessel — a cylinder made out of the liquid oxygen transfer tube of a Falcon rocket — to Thailand, and met with government officials there about the possibility of using it to help.

But Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the command center during the rescue, did not welcome the idea, saying the sub was “technologically sophisticated” but “not practical” with the rescue mission.

Musk then hit out at reports referring to Osottanakorn as “rescue chief,” noting that he was the former provincial governor of Chiang Rai and claiming he was not the “subject matter expert.” Osottanakorn stepped down from his role to join the initiative.



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European Union is expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android: Reports

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Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google

Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google

European Union regulators will slap Alphabet-owned Google with a $5 billion antitrust fine for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system, according to reports.

The case relates to the dominance of Google’s Android operating system, which is one of the world’s most popular mobile software systems, competing fiercely against Apple’s iOS. The Android OS controls more than 80 percent of smartphones globally.

The EU has scrutinized that dominance, arguing that Google should look to make competition fairer and allow smaller players in the market to flourish. It is widely expected to fine the firm a record levy on Wednesday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that fine will amount to 4.34 billion euros ($5.06 billion). The Journal, citing an official familiar with the matter, said the decision is not expected to be discussed at a meeting between EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and other officials.

Shares of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, shed more than 1 percent during U.S. premarket trading.

You can read the full Wall Street Journal report here.



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Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament

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Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn plays poker at the World Series of Poker's "Big One for One Drop."

Joe Giron | World Series of Poker

Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn plays poker at the World Series of Poker’s “Big One for One Drop.”

Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn busted out of a $1 million buy-in poker tournament just short of taking home prize money, Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

Einhorn and 26 other businessmen and poker players each ponied up $1 million to enter the World Series of Poker’s “Big One for One Drop” tournament.

Einhorn survived two days of play and came into the third day with the fifth most chips of the 6 remaining players.

But, while other players were doing all they could to avoid getting eliminated, Einhorn didn’t seem to mind playing aggressively.

For his sixth-place finish Einhorn receives no prize money. Fifth place would have paid out $2 million.

Einhorn has been a regular at the World Series of Poker for years, always giving his winnings away to charity.

This year he played sporting a shirt that said “Service Year,” a charity that allows people to serve in the community for a year, and be paid for it.

Simply playing in the tournament was a charitable endeavor as $80,000 from each entry goes to the charity One Drop, an organization dedicated to sustainable access to safe water.



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