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Posts Tagged ‘Business Insider’

Bitcoin has been plummeting in value — but the world’s largest crypto exchange still expects to net up to $1 billion in profits

Changpeng Zhao YouTube
  • The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, expects to bring in as much as $1 billion in profit in the course of 2018, Bloomberg reports.
  • The exchange has netted $300 million in profits since the start of 2018 alone.

Bitcoin, ethereum, and ripple all plummeted in value earlier this year — but their sudden decline hasn’t hurt one key player in the cryptocurrency industry.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, expects to bring in as much as $1 billion in profits in the course of 2018 alone.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Binance founder Changpeng Zhao said his company has netted $300 million this year. Already, the company has 10 million users and turns over billions in cryptocurrency exchanges daily, Zhao said.

The success of Zhao’s company is largely unprecedented: Zhao founded Binance just last year in July 2017. It’s snagged the attention of cryptocurrency enthusiasts worldwide with its impressive transaction rates (Binance can handle as many as 1.4 million transactions per second) and emphasis on security.

In a February interview with Forbes— in which he was featured on the magazine’s cover — Zhao said, “No decentralized exchange today can handle our volume, and none are as secure as we are.”

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iPhone 8 iPhone X iPhone 8 Plus
The iPhone 8, the iPhone X, and the iPhone 8 Plus.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Apple is expected to release three new iPhone models in September.
  • One of them will use a lower-cost LCD screen part to keep the price down, according to a Friday report in The Wall Street Journal.
  • Electronics manufacturers say Apple expects the lower-cost LCD model to be the most popular.

Apple will release a new iPhone lineup this fall with three new models, according to a Friday report from The Wall Street Journal.

Two of the phones will be built around screens using OLED technology, the same type of display in the iPhone X. One will have an LCD screen, the type of display on the iPhone 8 and all previous iPhones.

The biggest question for investors is what the mix will be between the three devices. The iPhone X, which is the only phone with an OLED screen, starts at $999, making it one of the most expensive smartphones in the world.

That price tag is largely due to its screen technology. The OLED part costs $100, whereas LCD iPhone screens cost about $40, according to analysts cited by The Journal. If Apple sells more OLED iPhones, the iPhone will have a higher average price.

That’s part of the reason Apple may be shifting its production plans to make more LCD iPhones than OLED iPhones, The Journal reported, citing executives at parts makers with direct knowledge of the matter. They say Apple anticipates that the less expensive models will be more popular.

OLED screens can have better image quality than LCD displays, as well as darker blacks and lower power consumption.

Friday’s news corroborates other reports about the 2018 iPhone lineup from sources likeBloomberg and the well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

All three predict that Apple will launch three new iPhones this fall: an upgraded version of the iPhone X, a version of the iPhone X with a bigger screen, and the lower-cost LCD iPhone with facial recognition.

Kuo previously predicted that the LCD iPhone could be priced between $550 and $650. Here’s a graphic that shows what his iPhone-lineup prediction looks like.

2018 iPhone lineup

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The smartphone market’s growth has been at a near standstill for two years and is expected to experience more of the same in 2018; however, it could be revived by the arrival of 5G in late 2019.

As this chart from Statista shows, the largest spike the global market experienced in the last decade was in 2010, when the number of smartphone shipments went up 75% from 173.5 million units in 2009. Since then, the smartphone market has grown by progressively smaller increments, until 2016 when it only grew by 2.5%.

Last year, the smartphone market actually shrank (-0.1%) for the first time, and estimates from International Data Corporation (IDC) show the market research firm expects more of the same this year.

Next year, however, the data shows things will change for the smartphone market: The introduction of 5G, the next generation wireless technology, will drive more and more growth, and in 2022 the year-over-year change could be back to 2016 levels.

Chart of the day Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

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Now is the worst time to buy any MacBook laptop from Apple

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macbook pro 2017 Apple

It is currently the worst time to buy a new MacBook laptop directly from Apple.

By MacBook laptop, I’m not just talking about the lightweight and portable MacBook. I’m referring to any model that Apple currently offers on its main website. That includes the early 2015 MacBook, the early 2015 MacBook Pro, the mid-2107 MacBook Pro, and the 2015/2017 MacBook Air.

It’s not just a question of age, even though age is a major reason why it’s not a good idea to buy some of these laptops. Some of Apple’s latest models also have unreliable keyboards, and it’s not an easy or cheap fix to get it repaired once the warranty runs out.

Check out why it’s not a good idea to buy any of the laptops you can buy directly from Apple right now:

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The current MacBook Pro models have unreliable keyboards that could cost you a lot of money to repair.

The current MacBook Pro models have unreliable keyboards that could cost you a lot of money to repair. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Just about everything about Apple’s recent crop of 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros is great. The Touch Bar might be a little divisive, but you can buy models without the Touch Bar, or ignore it altogether. And the fact these models only come with USB-C ports is also a little divisive, but Apple isn’t likely to add all the ports from older models back onto its upcoming laptops.

The major thing that’s getting a lot of negative attention is Apple’s new “butterfly”- style keyboard on the newer 2016 and 2017 models. It’s a new design that lets Apple make thinner laptops, and it supposedly offers a better typing experience.

But some users – myself included – have reported that certain keys stop becoming responsive. AppleInsider also reported that the 2016 MacBook Pro keyboards with the butterfly-style keyboards were failing twice as often as older models.

In my 2016 MacBook pro, the “G” key became unreliable and would often skip when I pressed it. I brought it to the Apple store to get repaired, and thankfully it was still under warranty. Apple couldn’t simply replace the “G” key. It had to replace the entire top portion of my MacBook Pro, including the battery. An out-of-warranty repair can cost upwards of $700, according to AppleInsider.

Hopefully Apple fixes the keyboard issues in its next MacBook Pros. There’s no way of telling if they are, but if you’re looking for a new MacBook Pro now, it’s worth waiting until Apple comes out with new models to see if Apple resolves the keyboard issues.

The older MacBook Pro model you can buy, which has a better keyboard, is too old to justify its $2,000 price tag.

The older MacBook Pro model you can buy, which has a better keyboard, is too old to justify its $2,000 price tag. Apple

You can buy an older 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro from Apple for $2,000, which still has an older-but-reliable keyboard.

The problem with the 2015 model is that it’s from 2015. That means it’s running on parts that are almost three years old.

Now, that said, the three-year-old components in the 2015 MacBook Pro will work just fine, even in 2018. It won’t be as fast or future-proof as the recent models, but it’ll handle basic tasks well. But the other problem linked to the older parts is that the 2015 model still costs a whopping $2,000, which is a poor deal for an older computer, especially if you just want to run basic apps like a web browser, or if you plan on using the laptop for several years.

The MacBook Air is also too old, and there are rumors that Apple will soon announce an updated model.

The MacBook Air is Apple’s cheapest MacBook laptop at $1,000, but it’s an old and tired laptop in 2018.

The latest model that was refreshed in 2017 doesn’t actually have 2017 parts. It’s running on a 5th-generation Intel processor from 2014. To give you an idea, Intel is currently on its eighth generation of processors in 2018.

Even for $1,000 – Apple’s cheapest MacBook computer – the MacBook Air is bad value. It has a lower resolution display that basically looks fuzzy compared to Apple’s recent laptops with the company’s “Retina” display. The MacBook Air display also has comparatively poor color and contrast compared to the Retina displays on more recent MacBook laptops.

Plus, it’s rumored that Apple will soon release a new MacBook Air sometime in 2018. So, if you’re looking for a portable and capable machine like the MacBook Air, it’s worth waiting to see if Apple comes out with a newer model with better specs.

MacBooks are extremely light and portable, but they have the unreliable keyboard, and they’re expensive for their performance.

MacBooks are extremely light and portable, but they have the unreliable keyboard, and they're expensive for their performance. Apple

Apple’s MacBooks are incredibly light and portable, even more so than the MacBook Air. And that extra portability is reflected in its relatively high price tag.

But MacBooks also come with Apple’s butterfly-design keyboards and could potentially face the same issues as the butterfly-design keyboards on the recent MacBook Pros. Hopefully, Apple will redesign the butterfly-style keyboard to be more reliable.

For the price and despite their portability, MacBooks are also relatively underpowered and are only suited for basic productivity. They should only really be an option if you highly value their ultimate light weight and portability.

So what do you do if you need a new MacBook laptop right now?

So what do you do if you need a new MacBook laptop right now?
My refurbished 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

You can still buy Apple’s latest MacBook Pros, but you should go into the purchase knowing that several users have reported problems with the new butterfly-style keyboard. You may find that you’re one of the lucky ones that don’t encounter a problem.

Either way, I’d suggest you look at Apple’s refurbished laptops. They come in pristine condition and you can get a few hundred dollars knocked off the price of a new laptop.

As for the older 2015 15-inch models, I’d only recommend buying them from Apple’s refurbished Mac store, as you can get them at a better price that reflects their older innards than buying them new.

Same thing goes for the MacBook Air: Check out the refurbished Mac store. Better yet, wait until Apple releases a new model.

MacBooks? As I mentioned earlier, you could face similar issues that others faced with Apple’s butterfly-style keyboard. MacBooks are also expensive relative to their performance. But if you prize portability over everything else, MacBooks are the Apple laptops of choice. Again, I’d check out the refurbished Mac store to get a little discount.

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IT’S OFFICIAL: T-Mobile and Sprint are coming together to form a $146 billion new company to take on Verizon and AT&T

john legere t-mobile
T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
Steve Marcus/Reuters
  • It’s official: T-Mobile and Sprint have announced plans to merge, with a combined company valued at $146 billion.
  • John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO, is expected to serve in that role for the merged entity, which would retain the T-Mobile name.
  • The agreement marks the culmination of four years of on-again, off-again discussions.
  • The deal is likely to draw scrutiny from antitrust regulators, considering the Trump administration’s treatment of AT&T and Time Warner’s attempted merger.
  • Sprint dropped by 13% in premarket trading on Monday, while T-Mobile slid 2.4%. Follow live trading on Markets Insider.

The boards of T-Mobile and Sprint have put the finishing touches on a massive merger agreement that values a combined company at $146 billion.

T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, made the announcement on Sunday by tweeting a seven-minute video breaking down the merger and linking to a website that further explains the combination.

Deutsche Telekom, which owns two-thirds of T-Mobile, would control the newly formed company.

—John Legere (@JohnLegere) April 29, 2018 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed”>

Legere is expected to be the CEO of the combined entity, which would keep the T-Mobile name and have headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, and Overland Park, Kansas.

The deal, which would combine the third- and fourth-largest US wireless carriers, is expected to come under serious scrutiny from antitrust regulators, as the Trump administration has fervently opposed AT&T’s proposed mega-acquisition of Time Warner.

The agreement marks the culmination of four years of on-again, off-again discussions between T-Mobile and Sprint; this is the third time the two rivals have tried to merge.

With a combined 127 million customers, the two firms are expected to compete directly with Verizon, the US’s largest carrier, and AT&T.

“This isn’t a case of going from four to three wireless companies — there are now at least seven or eight big competitors in this converging market,” Legere said on Sunday.

The agreement involves T-Mobile exchanging 9.75 Sprint shares per unit of T-Mobile. Deutsche Telekom would own 42% of the combined company, while SoftBank, which controls 85% of Sprint, would own 27%. The public would hold the remaining 31%.

Sprint and T-Mobile discussed a deal in November, but talks broke down amid disagreement over who would control the new company. A Wall Street Journal report suggests that SoftBank’s founder, Masayoshi Son, may have since become more willing to give up control amid mounting pressure on Sprint to roll out 5G technology.

“This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience — and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own,” Legere said in an official statement.

Sprint’s CEO, Marcelo Claure, added: “We intend to bring this same competitive disruption as we look to build the world’s best 5G network that will make the US a hotbed for innovation and will redefine the way consumers live and work across the US, including in rural America.”

The all-stock transaction values Sprint at 0.10256 per T-Mobile share, or $6.62 a share, based on T-Mobile’s latest closing price, for a total of about $26 billion.

T-Mobile had a market value of $55 billion as of Friday’s close, and the two companies have roughly $60 billion of combined debt.

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People using their phones while driving is a huge problem, but a new iPhone feature is helping

Phone while driving Getty
  • 37% of trips include at least some significant phone usage while the car is moving, according to a new study.
  • But features like Apple’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving” can reduce phone use by as much as 8%.
  • The results show that small software changes on big platforms like Apple’s can nudge people to make safer decisions.

It shouldn’t be surprising that people love to use their phones while driving — if you commute in a car, you see it every day, either in your car or other people’s.

But it’s somewhat surprising how many people drive while distracted: there’s significant phone use during as many as 37% of trips logged by Everdrive, an app developed by car insurance company Everquote.

During those trips, people were using their phones for as much as 11% of the time, or about 3 minutes during a 29 minute drive on average, according to the Everdrive study released on Wednesday, which examined 781 million miles of driving data from sensors like your phone’s GPS and accelerometer.

But there is one silver lining to the study: Apple’s new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature designed to reduce distracted driving is working. Basically, if your iPhone detects you’re in a moving car, it will turn off all notifications and you can set an automatic text response to tell your friends and family you can’t respond because you’re behind the wheel.

Everquote found that 70% of people in its study kept the DND While Driving feature turned on after Apple released it last September. And between September 19 and October 25 last year, people with DND on used their phones 8% less, according to the study.

So it’s not a silver bullet, but it turns out a software update can reduce distracted driving.

Other interesting stats from the study:

  • States with laws prohibiting phone use while driving showed the least phone use while driving.
  • Drivers tend to make a hard brake on 25% of trips.
  • The states with the worst driving scores are Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
  • The states with the best driving scores are Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, and Idaho.

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A ‘Star Trek’ writer made a 1999 prediction that absolutely nailed what technology is like today

star trek screenshot/”Star Trek” (2009)
  • A column from 1999 went viral because its predictions are dead-on.
  • You have to read it to believe it.

An 18-year-old magazine column went viral over the past week because it’s just so good. The column effectively predicts the iPhone, Siri, and even Facebook’s privacy scandals — all the way back in 1999.

The prediction was made by science fiction author David Gerrold, who writes novels and used to write for “Star Trek.” It was shared this week by technology writer Esther Schindler. It was published in a now-defunct magazine called Smart Reseller, according to Fast Company.

Check it out:

—Esther Schindler (@estherschindler) March 28, 2018//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed”>

What makes this so special is that not only did Gerrold foresee smartphones, but he also clearly saw the privacy issues that have come with them.

If there’s one quibble with the prescient column, it’s that voice assistants — whether Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, or Amazon’s Alexa — can’t really do complicated queries the way Gerrold predicted. But maybe the prediction is still ahead of its time.

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