Russia investigates Apple over Kaspersky kids app block

BACK IN APRIL, Apple was in hot water over claims it was taking a strange new interest in rivals’ kid protection apps after its own Screen Time …

BACK IN APRIL, Apple was in hot water over claims it was taking a strange new interest in rivals’ kid protection apps after its own Screen Time software launched on iPhone. Apple initially denied that it was hobbling others to promote its own app, but eventually softened its absolute ban on Mobile Device Management (MDM) being used in parental-control apps. It was still frowned upon, but accepted in some circumstances.

That, it turns out, isn’t the end of the story. While previously Apple was just dealing with some ticked off app developers, now it has Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog – the FAS – on its tail.

The FAS says it is looking into why the latest version of Kaspersky Lab’s Safe Kids app has been blocked from the App Store, noting that version 12 of Screen Time seems to offer plenty of feature overlap with Kaspersky’s product.

For its part, Kaspersky noted that the official guidelines allow limited use of MDM, but couldn’t find a way to get the go-ahead from Apple’s app guardians.

When Reutersapproached Apple for comment, the company pointed the news agency back to its statement from April. The one that says certain apps were removed because “they put users’ privacy and security at risk.”

At the end of that post, it’s worth remembering that Apple categorically denied the removal of apps had anything to do with them sharing functionality with home-grown products. “In this app category, and in every category, we are committed to providing a competitive, innovative app ecosystem,” the statement read.

“There are many tremendously successful apps that offer functions and services similar to Apple’s in categories like messaging, maps, email, music, web browsers, photos, note-taking apps, contact managers and payment systems, just to name a few. We are committed to offering a place for these apps to thrive as they improve the user experience for everyone.”

We’ll have to wait and see as to whether the FSA reaches the same conclusion. µ

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Opinion: Cold feet? 7 reasons to buy Apple stock now

And bigger picture, underperforming tech stocks like Nvidia NVDA, +1.46% and Google parent Alphabet GOOG, +0.47% GOOGL, +0.45% show that …

After Apple posted earnings that topped Wall Street expectations, the tech giant’s stock price has crested its April peak and is steadily closing in on a new 52-week high.

However, some investors are starting to get cold feet regarding Apple AAPL, -2.57% and talking about taking profits off the table — that is, presuming you have meaningful profits. Over the last 12 months, the stock is up a measly 3% even after this week’s run and has slightly underperformed the S&P 500 SPX, -1.02% return of about 6% in the same period.

It’s also worth noting that despite the earnings beat, Apple’s flagship iPhone segment posted a 12% sales decline compared with last year in the latest sign that the device has reached maturity. And bigger picture, underperforming tech stocks like Nvidia NVDA, -2.65% and Google parent Alphabet GOOG, -0.71%GOOGL, -0.75% show that Big Tech is far from a sure thing right now; Alphabet is flat across the last 12 and once-surging Nvidia is down an ugly 30%.

But it would be a big mistake to give up on Apple here, or see this post-earnings pop as a fluke. Just because Apple isn’t posting the kind of jaw-dropping numbers we saw roughly a decade ago after the initial iPhone launch doesn’t mean this near-$1-trillion stock is no longer a powerhouse well worth holding on to, or perhaps even adding to your portfolio.

Here are seven reasons why:

Return to growth. After two straight quarters of declining sales, Apple turned things around with a return to growth. That proves that declining iPhone sales aren’t a death knell. The specifics included strong services revenue — a foundational arm of the business that offers utility-like reliability for revenue going forward — as well as big growth in wearables like the Apple Watch that show the company is still a powerful brand. As MarketWatch’s Jon Swartz recently pointed out, it’s the first time in almost seven years that Apple booked less than half its revenue from the iPhone. A more diversified business is categorically a good thing.

iPhone scale. While many folks focus on flatlining iPhone sales, it’s important to also talk about current scale instead of growth rates alone. Consider that in January, Apple said that there were 900 million iPhones in use. The company didn’t update that figure in its latest report, but did mention in its earnings call that device use hit a new all-time high. As Apple approaches 1 billion smartphones in operation worldwide, growth is less important than simply deploying its scale to good use — as proven by its services strength.

Beating forecasts. We can moralize about the pace of growth now vs. previous years of brisk expansion. But the bottom line is that Wall Street is an expectations game, and Apple topped forecasts on both the top and the bottom line. Even better is that Apple’s guidance also beat analyst expectations. That should provide confidence, too.

China progress. Bears on Apple have long lamented its struggles in China, but the company posted significant improvement in Greater China sales as it turned around a 22% decline in revenue in its previous report to a decline of just 4% for the June quarter. CEO Tim Cook said on the earnings call that when you exclude Taiwan and Hong Kong and just focus on mainland China sales, Apple actually returned to growth.

Tons of cash. While the nearly $1 trillion market capitalization is a thing to behold, the real example of Apple’s size comes in the form of cold, hard cash. Apple boasts over $210 billion in cash and investments, making it one of the best capitalized enterprises on the planet. Last year, it topped $77 billion in net operating cash flow. These are almost ridiculous numbers that provide an incredible backbone for the basic value of Apple’s stock.

Share repurchases. One of the things Apple has been doing with that cash is sucking up outstanding shares. In its most recent report, diluted shares stood at 4.57 billion. That’s down almost 9% from 5.0 billion a year ago. Longer term, the figure is down almost 30% from 6.52 billion shares at the end of 2013. Simply by eliminating supply, Apple has ensured strong demand for its stock among investors. And with a massive $75 billion repurchase plan in place, you can be sure this trend will persist.

Valuation. When you compare Apple with other stocks, even those outside of the tech sector, it looks at worst fairly valued and at best seems to be a substantial bargain. Apple boasts a forward price-to-earnings ratio of less than 17 at present, compared to a forward P/E of 18 for the S&P 500 at large and 22 for the tech-heavy Nasdaq COMP, -0.90%. And that’s including the copious cash on its balance sheet; subtract that from Apple’s market cap and value its profits alone, the company trades for just over 13 times forward earnings.

Now read:Apple’s new modem business could become a giant money pit

Jeff Reeves writes about investing for MarketWatch. He holds no investments in any companies mentioned in this article.

Why Jeff Williams May Not Be the Next Apple CEO—Data Sheet

“This happens naturally as companies get bigger,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote to his staff in an email obtained by Bloomberg. That’s one way to …

This is the web version of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

A trio of tech snippets—with my take—to start your day:

* Bloomberg Businessweek’s estimable Apple reporter Mark Gurman has a piece in the current issue that calls Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams the heir apparent to his longtime boss, Tim Cook. It reminded me of the feature I wrote in Fortune in 2008 calling Tim Cook the most likely replacement for Steve Jobs. I quoted an unnamed source in that article—still a prominent Silicon Valley personage—calling Cook’s ascension “laughable.” While old-school Apple aficionados will similarly argue vociferously that Williams shouldn’t succeed Cook, Gurman makes a textured and forceful argument why he will. The reason: Smooth operations and profitable services define Apple today more than nifty products and outside-the-box thinking. If I were placing bets, I’d guess that Apple’s board will not choose the next CEO in the mold of the current one, though, just as Cook couldn’t have been more different than Jobs. Seeing as Cook doesn’t appear to going anywhere, the argument seems to be more parlor game than urgent analysis. Apple reports earnings this afternoon.

* An IBM government-affairs official has published a post supporting changes to the key legislation that allows Facebook, YouTube, and others to avoid being regulated and otherwise legally treated like the publishers that they are. (Policy wonks will recognize the law in question as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.) IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has spoken favorably on this topic before, including in a meeting with journalists in San Francisco in February. Breakingviews has a good take on the nuances of IBM’s position.

* We’ll look back one day on the era when travelers paid extra for a service that allowed biometric identification to unlock special access to get through airport security. But for now Clear is a game-changing offering, and my only fear about it is that it will become too popular—because I love it. As mentioned in Monday’s Data Sheet, there were two pieces of great news for coast-to-coast United customers (like me!): discounted memberships for United frequent flyers and the expansion of Clear to Newark.

Adam Lashinsky

On Twitter: @adamlashinsky

Email: adam_lashinsky@fortune.com

NEWSWORTHY

Hand in the cookie jar. A former Amazon software engineer was arrested on Monday in Seattle for hacking into credit card companyCapitol One’s servers and stealing consumer data from tens of millions of credit card applications. Paige A. Thompson, aka the hacker Erratic, was charged with computer fraud and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Disruption in aisle three. Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Amazon is “quietly exploring” creating another grocery chain alongside Whole Foods that would shake up the industry with a greater focus on pickup and delivery options, The New York Times reports. Amazon declined to comment.

The real world. Now a public company and facing greater pressure to, I don’t know, turn a profit some day, Uber on Monday cut its marketing department by one-third, laying off 400 people. “This happens naturally as companies get bigger,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote to his staff in an email obtained by Bloomberg.

That’s one way to stop leaks. Google pre-announced that its forthcoming Pixel 4 phone would have a face unlock feature much like current iPhones and will use a form of radar to pick up a user’s control gestures made in midair, above the device.

Fly me to the moon. Researchers at the University of California Berkeley built a solar-powered drone with lighter, more efficient photovoltaiccell technology that could transform the industry. The new thermophotovoltaic cells could eventually power a house with a generator the size of an envelope, the researchers said.

I’ll be your server for this evening. With more companies following a so-called hybrid cloud strategy, seeking to keep some data and apps on local servers, Googleis getting closer to VMware. Google’s cloud service will start supporting VMware Cloud Foundation, used by companies who set up hybrid cloud arrangements. Elsewhere in enterprise computing land, Microsoftacquired startup BlueTalon, which helps companies control data sharing, for an undisclosed sum. And AT&T won a 15-year, $1 billion contract to provide communications services to the Justice Department.

ON THE MOVE

My kids use an expression that was new to me: yeet. It means to leave, to bug out, to fly the coop. So let this be the yeeting edition of On the Move…Jon McNeill, who was hired last year to run Lyft’s operations, is leaving the company. His responsibilities will be distributed to others…the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission‘s cyber unit, Robert Cohen, is stepping down next month…Expedia president Aman Bhutani, who oversees the company’s online travel businesses, is leaving for another opportunity…We do have one joiner. Former Homeland Security Advisor and U.S. cybersecurity chief, Tom Bossert, started at start-upTrinity Cyber as chief strategy officer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

As the debate around Facebook’s Libra digital currency proposal stirs, it’s interesting to recall the history of paper money, itself a wild invention that nearly broke the global financial system. John Lanchester has a wide-ranging recounting of the history of money, filled with plenty of interesting digressions, in The New Yorker. The first paper money was used in China in the 13th century, as explorer Marco Polo discovered.

Marco Polo was right to be amazed. The instruments of trade and finance are inventions, in the same way that creations of art and discoveries of science are inventions—products of the human imagination. Paper money, backed by the authority of the state, was an astonishing innovation, one that reshaped the world. That’s hard to remember: we grow used to the ways we pay our bills and are paid for our work, to the dance of numbers in our bank balances and credit-card statements. It’s only at moments when the system buckles that we start to wonder why these things are worth what they seem to be worth. The credit crunch in 2008 triggered a panic when people throughout the financial system wondered whether the numbers on balance sheets meant what they were supposed to mean. As a direct response to the crisis, in October, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever he or she or they might be, published the white paper that outlined the idea of Bitcoin, a new form of money based on nothing but the power of cryptography.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The Top 10 U.S. Cities for Tech JobsBy Anne Fisher

Blockchain Launches ‘Fastest’ Crypto Exchange in the WorldBy Jeff John Roberts

What CEOs, Bankers, and Tech Execs Think About a Coming RecessionBy Robert Hackett

Amazon’s TV Bosses Want to Remind You (Again) Why They Are Not NetflixBy Stacey Wilson Hunt

The Bond Market Is Betting Tesla Is in TroubleBy Erik Sherman

NBA 2K League, Tencent Team up to Bring the Phenomenon of e-Sports Basketball to ChinaBy Lisa Marie Segarra

Here’s What Analysts Expect From Apple’s Upcoming EarningsBy Aaron Pressman

BEFORE YOU GO

It ain’t my fault that I’m out here makin’ news, so goes the super-catchy new tune Juice by Lizzo. The multi-talented singer visited NPR on Monday and spent some time in the network’s “Tiny Desk” studio playing some of her new hits. Worth a listen (many expletives in use, however).

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.

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Apple will launch 3 new iPhones with 5G compatibility in 2020, according to a reliable Apple-watcher

Apple will launch three iPhone models with 5G support in 2020, according to an updated note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cited by MacRumors.

iPhone XSKirsty O’Connor – PA Images/Getty Images

  • Apple will launch three iPhone models with 5G support in 2020, according to an updated note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cited by MacRumors.
  • Kuo, a reputable Apple-watcher, had originally said two of the three upcoming iPhones would support 5G, but said Apple would now add the capability to all the new devices.
  • According to Kuo, Apple also has greater resources for developing 5G on iPhone after buying Intel’s modem business in a $1 billion deal.
  • It’ll also make Apple more competitive against cheap Chinese Android phones with 5G capabilities.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple is expected to launch three new iPhones with 5G support in 2020, according to an updated note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, cited by MacRumors.

3 Cheap Phones Worth Getting On A Telstra Plan

Vodafone was the first to do this a couple of years ago, and last month Telstra followed suit. The good news here is that if would prefer to get a cheaper …

For the longest time, it didn’t make sense to buy a cheap phone on a plan. If you were going to commit to a 24-month contract, the common advice was to get the latest and greatest device.

But phones have gotten A LOT more expensive and telcos have started separating the cost of your plan from the cost of your phone in a much more transparent way. Vodafone was the first to do this a couple of years ago, and last month Telstra followed suit.

The good news here is that if would prefer to get a cheaper smart phone on a plan, it now makes a lot more sense to.

Here’s a look at three of the cheapest you can get from Telstra.

The Best Telstra Network Providers That Aren’t Telstra

If you want access to the Telstra network, Telstra isn’t your only choice. There are plenty of other smaller telcos powered by the Telstra network; some who you’ll be familiar with, some who you won’t. These providers tend to offer the same basic service as Telstra, but often at a cheaper price. And given Telstra’s new plan range, they could be more compelling than ever.

Read more

But first, here’s an example of how big a difference the handset cost now makes on the new plan system.

If you’re looking at picking up a 64GB iPhone XS on Telstra, it will add $68 per month to your bill over a 24-month repayment term. For comparison, an iPhone 7 will add just $25. That’s a difference of $43, or more than 60 McNuggets per month.

If you extrapolate, you end up saving $1,032 over the course of two years. That’s a lot of nugs.

It’s also worth noting that Telstra’s new plans are technically contract free, on the basis that if you want to leave early, you can just pay out the remainder of your handset fees. The cheaper phone, the lower your “exit fee”.

Now, onto the cheap phones!


Motorola Moto G7 Power

The Moto G7 Is So Close To Budget Perfection

For years Motorola has had a stranglehold on the budget phone market, especially in the U.S where phone buyers don’t have quite the same access to all the low-cost handsets available overseas. It’s gotten to the point where it’s as if you could just change the headline on previous reviews, update a few numbers and specs and call it a day.

Read more

If you’re after a phone with a battery measured in days rather than hours, Motorola has you covered. Rocking a massive 5,000mAh cell, the Moto G7 Power can give you as much as three days of juice per charge. It’s a veritable Energizer bunny.

Battery life is the clear drawcard, but the Moto G7 Power has some decent hardware under the hood, considering it’s the cheapest phone in Telstra’s family. Key specs include a 6.2-inch 720p+ display, a mid-tier Snapdragon 632 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage. Not bad for $336 outright.

That works out to be a $14 per month repayment on your chosen Telstra plan, if you’re after a 24-month term.

Here are Telstra’s Moto G7 Power plans:


iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7 Review: Ready Or Not, This Is The Future

At a glance, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus might both be confused for their predecessors, the 6s and 6s Plus. It’s deceptive. The iPhone 7 is perhaps the most drastic revision of the phone since it was first released nearly a decade ago. It’s not just the missing headphone jack. There are several other big ideas, including a new dual camera system (on the 7 Plus), a new touch sensor home button, and mercifully, newly added water resistance. These are substantial changes, and they hint at what we can expect from the future of Apple phones.

Read more

Old tech always has a bit of stigma to it. After all, it’s easy to worry about buying a device that’s not the “latest and greatest”. While this a fair concern, there are older phones around that are still worth buying. Such as the iPhone 7.

The iPhone 7 might be more than two years old, but it’s still a good phone. It’s still fast, it’s still water-resistant, and it’s still getting software and security updates. Based on previous iPhone lifecycles, the iPhone 7 should still get the update to iOS 14 next year.

There’s also a couple of older features worth pointing out. The display is 4.7-inches, which makes the iPhone 7 ideal if you’d prefer a smaller phone.

The back is aluminium rather than glass, which could be a plus if you’re a bit of klutz. And it still has a physical home button, which is great if you’re not down with facial recognition.

Best of all, the iPhone 7 is $600 outright through Telstra. That’s a $149 saving based on what you’d pay direct through Apple. This works out to be a $25 per month repayment on your chosen Telstra plan on a 24-month term.

Here are Telstra’s iPhone 7 plans:


Telstra Tough Max 2

Durable smartphones like the Telstra Tough Max 2 bring out my inner sadist. As soon as you put “Tough” in your product’s name, I take it as a challenge. Put “Max” in there too, and you’re going to awaken some kind of sick smartphone torture fetish. Somehow, one that the Tough Max 2 survived.

Almost.

It survived multiple impacts onto carpet and concrete. It survived extended drops down a stairwell. It even survived being run over with a pushbike. It didn’t fare quite as well when we ran it over with a car, but it still worked. The screen was just a little cracked. Every trial added a scar, but the it just wouldn’t die.

Tough smartphones are obviously a tad niche, with obvious pitch being towards tradies, construction workers, and farmers. And if you can handle the chonkier than normal design, it’s not a bad option if you’re just a bit clumsy, or even for as a smartphone for kids.

While the Tough Max 2 isn’t the most powerful device on the market in terms of pure specs, it’s more than adequate for day-to-day usage, even if the camera is a bit of a letdown. But that might not be too much of an issue given the outright price of $432. That’s equivalent to an $18 per month repayment on your chosen Telstra plan if you’re after a 24-month term.

Here are Telstra’s Tough Max 2 plans:


Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.


As Gizmodo editors we write about stuff we like and think you’ll like too. Gizmodo often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

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