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Apple inflation: iPhone, iPad, and Mac prices all surge amid new launches

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In the past two months, Apple has launched the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPad Pro, Mac mini, and MacBook Air. The common thread? Apple is testing how much it can raise prices — and the prospect has Wall Street analysts salivating. Tech buyers may not be so happy.

Must read: Apple’s new iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini: Can features, specs retain business momentum?

If we’ve learned anything about Apple in recent months and years, it’s that the company has pricing power. While Samsung customers may choke on higher prices and push the company into more of a value-oriented pitch, Apple remains the luxury device maker.

We’re about to find out just how far Apple can push price increases. To be fair, commodity costs have risen, and China tariffs are going to hit at some point. In many ways, Apple is just part of a broader inflation trend in the US economy. In other words, Apple isn’t the only company looking to raise prices to preserve margins.

Another point to ponder is that Apple has raised premium device prices, but offered other devices like the iPhone XR to appeal to those of us that don’t want to go higher than $1,000 for a phone.

Are Apple prices justified? Think the iPhone is expensive? The iPad Pro has it beat | Apple’s storage pricing oddities | Your old $99 Apple Pencil is now junk | iPhone XS Max: How much profit does Apple really make on each one sold? | iPhone XS Max teardown: Here’s what $1,249 flagship costs Apple in parts | Apple’s iPhone XS Max price tops out at $1,449 — and 8 other keynote takeaways | Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro (2018): Impressive performance at a premium price

Nevertheless, Apple’s higher prices are hard to miss. Jefferies analyst Timothy O’Shea outlined the price increases following the iPad Pro and MacBook Air launch. He could hardly contain himself over the prospect of higher average selling prices boosting revenue.

O’Shea outlined what many of you are finding out as you configure Apple devices:

Hardware prices continue to rise across product lines. Starting at $799, the new 11-inch iPad Pro is 23 percent more expensive than the previous model’s $649. Starting at $1,199, the new MacBook Air is 20 percent more expensive than the previous model’s $999. And starting at $799, the new Mac Mini is a whopping 60 percent more expensive than its predecessor at $499. iPhone prices have risen 13 percent and 19 percent during the last two years.

O’Shea also noted that Apple has “clear pricing power in the near term” and is “clearly flexing its muscle here.” The other wrinkle here is that accessory prices are going higher, too. The Apple Pencil costs $129, or 30 percent more than the first gen. The Smart Keyboard Folio starts at $179, 13 percent more than the older version. “Bottom line, after you spend 23 percent more for this year’s iPad Pro, you also spend more on pricier accessories,” he said in a research note.

Also: Best Apple iPad Pro alternatives you can buy right now

It’s a nice gig, if you can get it. In technology, Apple is one of a few companies that can maintain pricing power. Analysts aren’t going crazy raising their revenue projections for Apple, but they are likely to as soon as the company reports earnings on Thursday.

Apple is expected to report fourth quarter revenue of $61.57 billion and net income of $13.48 billion. For fiscal 2018, Apple is expected to report net income of $58.91 billion on revenue of $264.03 billion. And that windfall is before the full effect of Apple’s hardware refresh and price increases are seen. Here’s a look at Apple’s historical as well as projections for the future via Thomson Reuters.

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Apple’s financials — historical and estimated. (Source: Thomson Reuters)

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Does Elon Musk really even want to buy Twitter? – TechCrunch

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When The New York Times got its hands on some of Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter, a company that he is in the process of purchasing, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Musk knew what he was buying.

Per the Times’ reporting, we learned that Musk expects to bolster Twitter’s revenue to “$26.4 billion by 2028, up from $5 billion last year,” while growing the company’s user base from “217 million at the end of last year to nearly 600 million in 2025 and 931 million six years from now,” boosting average revenue per user by nearly $6 over the same time frame.


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Those numbers might have made SPACs blush, but they showed something critical in the Musk pitch: that Twitter had huge amounts of value that he, Musk, could unlock with his plan.

Since then — the Times broke the Musk investor pitch 11 days ago — matters between Musk and the social media company have become tenuous as its potential acquirer took to the company’s service to complain, prod, and backtrack.

Musk’s displeasure with Twitter has centered around the issue of bots. Not all bots on Twitter are malicious or bad; some are even entertaining. But too many bots, or even the wrong sort, matter because they can dilute the user experience on the social service by spamming real users, and inflate the company’s advertiser-focused metrics.

On May 13, Musk threw the financial world into a frenzy by stating on Twitter that his deal to buy the company was “on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.” Whether he was able to make such a decision is not clear based on the deal documents.

Although he said he was still “committed” to the deal, Musk ran an experiment involving a set of 100 users to see how many were bots.

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Musk says Twitter deal is dead unless CEO can prove spam stats – TechCrunch

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In a new tweet fired at Twitter before market open, Elon Musk has reiterated that his $44BN deal to buy the social media platform is on hold over the issue of spambots.

But now he’s tacitly accusing the company of lying over the proportion of fake/spam accounts on the platform, claiming its CEO “publicly refused to show proof of <5%”.

Musk has also set what sounds like an outright ultimatum — writing: “This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

He further suggests the platform could have more than 20% fake/spam accounts, linking to a report on comments he made in Miami on Monday saying he believes a fifth of Twitter accounts are fake/spam bots.

The tweet looks designed to pile yet more pressure on Twitter’s management which has already suffered the indignity of having Musk tweet a poo emoji at CEO Parag Agrawal (see our earlier report) in very public discussion about the spambot issue, among other Musk-generated ‘noise’.

With this latest Twitter CEO-targeting tweet, the shitposting billionaire may be engaging in more trollfaced bullyboy tactics — by seeking to drum up more negative publicity (on Twitter) that’s intended to hammer Twitter’s stock price — in a bid to force the company to accept a lower offer, if only to get him to shut up.

Or, well, he’s looking for a way to exit the deal entirely.

At the time of writing Twitter’s share price was down a further 2.75% pre-market. The stock has slid in recent weeks as Twitter grapples with Musk-shaped bumps in the road, from a high of around $50 at the time his offer was accepted to a low of around $37 now.

Let’s hope the mafia isn’t taking notes from Musk’s playbook on ‘the power of a social media megaphone platform’.

It’s notable that the Tesla CEO waived his right to do due diligence when he agreed to buy Twitter last month — presumably to encourage Twitter to accept what he’d couched as his “best and final offer” after its board initially sought to evade the takeover. So whinging about the percentage of bots he’s buying now is either stupidity or calculated stupidity. 

Although his urging that Twitter open itself to “external validation” on the bot detection issue could at least endear him to the independent research community.

Musk also agreed to a non-disparagement clause as part of the deal to buy Twitter. But apparently he doesn’t understand what that word means. Or, else, he continues to act as if binding legal agreements simply don’t apply to him.

Twitter was contacted for comment on Musk’s latest accusations. At the time of writing it had not responded but Bloomberg has just tweeted that the company told it it remains “committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable”.

The company has also filed a preliminary proxy statement on the acquisition, further suggesting it’s committed to the deal as agreed.

In its recommendation to shareholders, the board writes:

“The Twitter Board unanimously recommends that you vote: (1) “FOR” the adoption of the merger agreement; (2) “FOR” the compensation that will or may become payable by Twitter to our named executive officers in connection with the merger; and (3) “FOR” the adjournment of the special meeting, from time to time, to a later date or dates, if necessary or appropriate, to solicit additional proxies if there are insufficient votes to adopt the merger agreement at the time of the special meeting.”

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Hinge’s latest feature aims to help users spark conversations about self-care – TechCrunch

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Dating app Hinge is introducing a new “Self-Care Prompts” feature that is designed to inspire initial conversations between matches about self-care priorities. Hinge’s in-app prompts are conversation starters that users answer as part of their profiles and are displayed to potential matches. The prompts are designed to allow users to showcase their personality instead of having a generic bio. With this latest launch, users can now select up to three new self-care prompts to spark conversations about mental health awareness.

There are 15 new self-care prompts that users can answer and add to their profiles. The prompts include “My last journal entry was about…,” “The last I cried happy tears was…,” “My friends ask me for advice about…,” “To me, relaxation is…,” “I feel most supported when…,” “A boundary of mine is…,” “When I need advice, I go to…,” “I hype myself up by…,” “My cry-in-the-car song is…,” “My self-care routine is…,” “I wind down by…,” “Therapy recently taught me…,” “My therapist would say I…,” “My happy place is…” and “I get myself out of a funk by…”

hinge self care prompts

Image Credits: Hinge

Hinge says it hopes these prompts will make it easier for users to share their wellness journey early on in conversations. The company says it found that 97% of Hinge users want to date someone who actively takes care of their mental health, but only 9% feel comfortable bringing up therapy on a first date.

“Talking about mental health has gone from an “oh no” to a must-have in modern dating,” Hinge’s director of relationship science, Logan Ury, said in a statement. “People have been working on themselves and want to be with someone who’s done the same. By adding Self-Care Prompts, Hinge is helping singles show that they prioritize their mental health, and are ready to connect in a deeper, more authentic way.”

The new self-care prompts join the existing prompt packs on Hinge, including, “About Me,” “Story Time,” “Let’s Chat About” and “Voice First.” Hinge’s “Voice First” feature, which rolled out last fall, went viral on TikTok as users shared their experiences with the feature. Voice Prompts allow users to answer a prompt through a 30-second voice recording, which allows for some funny stories to be shared in a more personal way.

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