Apple’s iPod touch revival is the company’s most immediate solution to diversifying revenue (AAPL)

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Apple launched the next-generation iPod touch on Tuesday, marking the hardware’s first update in nearly four years.

While the new iPod touch, which starts at $199 for the 32 GB model, looks similar to the previous version, the most important upgrades are those under the hood: It boasts the A10 Fusion chip — first introduced with the iPhone 7 series — which offers up to two times faster CPU performance and up to three times faster graphics than the A8 chip from the previous model. This addition enables support for Apple’s ARKit augmented reality (AR) apps and Group FaceTime calls. Apple Quarterly Revenue Share, by Product Type

Here’s what it means: Apple’s been facing more pressure than ever to deliver on another successful product that can help diversify its revenue beyond the iPhone and serve as a cynosure for its services ecosystem — and the iPod touch appears to be Apple’s most immediate solution.

Apple’s positioning the new affordable iPod touch as a big driver of its Services segment. As the company continues to face a downturn in smartphone shipments, it’s becoming increasingly important for Apple to make its revenue less dependent on the iPhone and more dependent on other devices that leverage its services, as that will allow it to drive value across its business and secure future growth. 

The company’s stressing its new services offerings — spanning news, gaming, music, and video — that provide a continuous stream of revenue as the key use cases for the new iPod touch. Nevertheless, gaming is highlighted the most for the new device; let’s dig into Apple’s efforts to optimize the device for gaming: 

  • The enhancements that arise from the A10 Fusion chip are incredibly important to the mobile gaming experience. The faster CPU and graphics performance will enable support for iOS developers’ bigger and more detail-rich mobile games on the device. It also opens up a new category of games and experiences previously unavailable on the iPod — AR games.
  • The iPod touch will house the upcoming Apple Arcade subscription service. Apple Arcade, which is launching this fall with 100+ new and exclusive games and is said to be a “Netflix of gaming,” is anticipated to bring the best of the App Store — which is already the world’s largest gaming platform. 

The bigger picture: The new device is a move to keep iOS adoption and usage growing without totally pivoting away from Apple’s strategy of rolling out premium, higher-priced devices.

Apple has historically had issues pushing into emerging markets due to the asymmetry of the cost of an iPhone and the average price of a smartphone in these regions — but the new iPod touch can alleviate this issue, at least for now.

That’s because the device serves as an option for consumers who desire iOS applications but don’t want — or can’t afford — an iPhone. And since the new iPod touch still works like a phone but relies on Wi-Fi instead of cellular connectivity — meaning users don’t have to pay for a monthly data plan — it’s an even cheaper way to access everything iOS offers.

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Opinion: If the US is serious about the race for 5G leadership, the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint should move forward

Alex Gellman

  • Alex Gellman is the CEO and co-founder of Vertical Bridge, the largest private owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure in the US.
  • In this opinion piece, he writes that there are a variety of very good reasons why the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers, should move forward.
  • The most pressing is the significant impact a combined T-Mobile/Sprint would have on America’s standing in the race for 5G leadership.
  • 5G represents a quantum leap forward in terms of both technology and the potential to spur economic growth — and many people believe that 5G will spur the next industrial revolution.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s been over a year since T-Mobile and Sprint, the nation’s third and fourth largest wireless carriers, announced plans to merge. While some people have expressed concerns that the combination will limit competition (based on an outdated method of analyzing only subscriber numbers), there are a variety of very strong reasons why this merger should move forward. Most important and most pressing is the significant impact a combined T-Mobile/Sprint would have on America’s standing in the race for 5G leadership.

The federal government and private sector have both stated that 5G leadership must be a priority. But to get there, significant investments in 5G networks ‒ including infrastructure ‒ are an imperative, and that won’t happen until there is more formidable competition in the wireless sector. This merger will enhance competition in wireless, not reduce it.

AT&T and Verizon have a commanding lead in the marketplace while Sprint has been losing subscribers and recently admitted it is unlikely to survive as a standalone entity. T-Mobile, while steadily gaining subscribers, still had approximately half of either Verizon or AT&T’s subscribers as of Q3 2018. As a combined entity, T-Mobile and Sprint would be a more formidable competitor to AT&T and Verizon ‒ one with the resources and ability to invest in building out a 5G network.

Competition = 5G leadership

Real competition in a capital-intensive sector can only occur among players that are relatively equal, and the current wireless ecosystem is made up of relatively unequal players. In fact, major disparities exist in terms of the size and capabilities of the top carriers, which in turn limits competition in the sector.    

A healthy carrier that is predominantly focused on wireless would spur everyone in the sector to invest in 5G. Over the past five years, AT&T and Verizon have acquired or built out their non-wireless business units such as Time Warner, Direct TV and Yahoo. Now, they both have a number of significant assets competing for allocation of their capital. T-Mobile and Sprint, however, have said that if combined, they would focus capital investments predominantly on wireless, including actively investing in a 5G network. A relatively equal-sized competitor that is focused on investing in its wireless network would put pressure on AT&T and Verizon, and be a compelling reason for the carriers to begin making similar investments in their networks sooner than they might otherwise have done so.  

And, as the top three carriers start to invest in wireless and build out 5G networks, it would also force the rest of the industry to ante up and follow suit, including a number of new players (e.g. Comcast, Dish, etc.) who own spectrum that can be used for 5G but have yet to decide what to do with it.

5G’s impact on the US economy

To say that the impact of a fully-developed 5G network on the US economy will be significant is a gross understatement. It is predicted that 5G will drive $275 billion in new investments, contribute $500 billion in economic growth and add three million jobs to the US economy. Given these figures, it’s no surprise that 5G is being viewed as both a strategic and economic priority.

5G represents a quantum leap forward in terms of both technology and the potential to spur economic growth. While previous generations of wireless technology were driven by voice (3G) and content (4G), 5G will be driven by applications. Indeed, 5G will not only enable technological advancements that until now have only been talked about ‒ from autonomous vehicles to true smart cities ‒ it will also drive a wide range of applications that have yet to be imagined. Many people believe that 5G will spur the next industrial revolution, incorporating automated machinery in real time with human interactions and artificial intelligence.

Read more:  The DOJ reportedly pours cold water on Sprint and T-Mobile’s merger

To win the race for 5G, and reap its economic and technological benefits, we need strong wireless carriers that can make the significant investments that 5G requires. Perhaps that is why the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint is receiving far less criticism from those in the wireless sector, including analysts, infrastructure providers, investors and even the FCC, than from those outside of the industry. Just last week FCC Chairman Ajit Pai formally backed the merger, stating a combined T-Mobile/Sprint would help meet two of the FCC’s top priorities: bringing broadband to rural areas and advancing the US’s leadership in 5G.

If the US wants to remain a technology leader, now is the time to get serious about supporting 5G. This requires commitment, investment and an urgency that can only come from healthy competition. Approving the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is a step in the right direction in large part because it would put considerable pressure on the whole sector to invest faster and deeper in 5G deployment.  

Just as 4G led to the proliferation of companies like Uber, which in turn have created tens of thousands of jobs, 5G will also spur the development of new technologies and businesses. However, none of this will be possible without the right investments in wireless networks, and that can only happen in a competitive environment where the players are relatively equal in both size and capabilities, and therefore able to spur each other to greater heights.

Alex Gellman is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Vertical Bridge, the largest private owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure in the US.

SEE ALSO: THE FIXED 5G DISRUPTION REPORT: Verizon and T-Mobile are setting their sights on Comcast as they attempt to disrupt the $80 billion home internet market

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here Comes 5G — The Technology That Will Make Your Smartphone Nearly 50 Times Faster

An arrest, a debutante ball, and 2 marriages: Inside the lives of the super rich Huawei dynasty

Annabel Yao at le bal Paris 2018

  • The secretive dynasty behind Chinese tech giant Huawei is under the spotlight, thanks to the US putting the company on a trade blacklist and its claims that the company is a conduit for Chinese spying.
  • The company was founded by the usually press-shy Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer with the Chinese army. It is thought to have grown out of close financial ties to the Chinese state.
  • Ren has tried to defend his company’s reputation in recent months by giving multiple media interviews, opening up about his family for the first time.
  • Business Insider took a look into the lives of Ren’s family, who are Chinese business royalty.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US action against Huawei, such as the arrest of its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, and a trade blacklist has thrust the Chinese mobile and telecommunications firm into the Western spotlight.

Most people know Huawei in the US and Europe for its well-produced line of smartphones that compete with Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s flagships, and Google’s Pixel line.

The firm also sells mobile network equipment to global telcos, and it’s that element of the business that has raised alarm bells in the US. Fearing the firm is a conduit for Chinese spying, the US has placed the company on a trade blacklist, effectively locking it out of the US.

All of this has resulted in CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei granting multiple interviews to try and defend his company. Ren rarely gave interviews previously, nor did he speak much about his family. Huawei’s CFO, awaiting extradition, happens to be his daughter. He has a reputed wealth of $3.2 billion.

Ren has married twice, and he’s produced a brood of children. Not all of them are quite so press-shy. Here’s his youngest daughter, Annabel Yao, appearing at a debutante’s ball in Paris in November 2018:

A post shared by Annabel Yao (@annabelballerina) on

Here’s a window into the lives of these crazy rich Asians: 

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei was born in 1944, and came of age just before China’s Cultural Revolution began. Zhengfei is his first name, as surnames come first in China.

Ren was born in China’s poorest province, Guizhou. He told the BBC in 2015 that he came from a humble background. “We had salt to cook with so we were considered wealthy,” he said.

The BBC show is no longer available, but you can read a summary here.

In a 2019 interview with the Chinese media, Ren said: “I was nobody. I had nothing but good academic performance. My family was poor and my father was locked up in a ‘cow shed.'”

At the age of 30, Ren joined China’s military as an engineer — a connection that still provokes questions about Huawei’s ties to the army and the government.

Ren has denied that the Chinese government has ever asked Huawei to spy.

Ren told Chinese media that he has been married twice. Little is known about his first wife, Meng Jun, but he described her in a 2019 interview as “very tough.” He explained that she had been a political commissar of the Red Guards, Mao’s volunteer paramilitary movement.

After they married, the couple had a daughter, Meng Wanzhou, in the early 1970s, and a son, Ren Ping.

Meng Wanzhou, also known as Sabrina or Cathy Meng, took her mother’s surname while a teenager and worked her way up to become Huawei’s CFO. She was arrested in Canada in December 2018.

Little is known about her brother Ren Ping, also known by his mother’s surname as Meng Ping, except that he works for a Huawei subsidiary and appears to have little interest in taking over the business his father founded, according to The New York Times.

The US authorities feared Meng was involved in covering up links between Huawei and a company that sold Huawei’s kit to Iran, violating US sanctions.

China has reacted furiously to Meng’s arrest, demanding the US withdraw its arrest warrant.

Ren has recently opened up about having two young children while serving in the Chinese army. He said he only saw them every 11 months.

Ren Zhengfei retired from the Chinese army in 1983 at the age of 39, according to his official biography, and after a stint working in oil set up Huawei in 1987. That’s 12 years after its main rival in mobile, Apple, was founded.

Ren’s children were still young, and he has said that he still saw little of them while putting in 10-hour workdays at the newly established Huawei. He told Chinese media in 2019: “To enter the international market and prove that Huawei’s success was not built on corruption, I stayed overseas for a few months in a row and had little contact with my children.”

Ren added that his children had formed their own personalities. “They have become who they are through their own efforts, and they demand a lot of themselves.”

The long hours paid off financially. Huawei went on to become the biggest electronics brand in China, and Ren Zhengfei is thought to be worth $3.3 billion.

Ren divorced his first wife after 20 years, and remarried. His current wife is called Yao Ling, who he has described as “very gentle and capable.” He told Chinese media that Yao and his ex-wife get along “quite well.”

Yao Ling keeps out of the spotlight, but she did appear in photos taken by the French magazine Paris Match in 2018.

Yao Ling and Ren have a daughter, Annabel Yao.

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Judging by her Instagram, Yao is a fashionable socialite.

 

21-year-old Annabel Yao lives the life of a Chinese princess, attending the prestigious Harvard to study computer science. She’s also passionate about ballet and fashion. But her father has also described her as extremely hard-working and academic.

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It seems like Ren has a particular soft spot for Annabel, describing her love of dancing in interviews and agreeing to an intimate family photoshoot in Paris Match. “We felt it would be much better to support her in doing whatever she wants to do,” he said.

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Ren said Annabel danced 15 hours a week while at school, and would then do her homework late into the night.

Shortly before her half-sister Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada, Yao was attending a high-fashion debutante ball in Paris.

 

 

Le Bal des Débutantes is usually attended by children of the super-wealthy and famous. Previous guests include the daughter Ryan Philippe and Reese Witherspoon, and Silvio Berlusconi’s daughter.

Little is known about how Ren spends his wealth, but a 2018 Paris Match article outlined the family posing in a luxurious ‘palace’ in Shenzen built to receive Huawei visitors. According to Paris Match, Annabel Yao persuaded her father to pose in the photoshoot to celebrate her appearance at the debutante ball.

Ren says this of being persuaded into the photoshoot: “When she brought up the idea of taking a family photo, I was the first to support her and allowed her to post it online. Her mother had thought that I would decline this request, but I didn’t. I owe my children, and the least I can do is support them, so that my daughter can focus on her studies and take control of her own destiny.”

There are rumours in the Chinese media that Ren married a third time, marrying his former assistant Su Wei. But in 2019 interviews, Ren continues to refer to Yao Ling as his current wife.

This is Ren with the UK’s former chancellor, George Osborne.

Although Ren has softened his stance on his kids in recent media interviews, he once issued his two elder children a tough rebuke. He reportedly once said neither possessed the right qualities to lead Huawei in future.

Running Huawei would require vision, determination and a long-term view, he wrote in an email seen by Sina Tech.”None of my family members possesses these qualities; therefore, they will never be included in the sequence of successors,” he reportedly said.

Meng Wanzhou seems to have proven her father wrong to some extent, joining Huawei in 1993 and rising through the ranks to become its CFO. She replaced her father as vice chairman in March 2018.

Taking after her father, Meng appears to be relatively private and little is known about her personal life. Her family is thought to own this palatial property in British Vancouver in Canada.

According to Chinese media reports, Meng has two children.

Her arrest has triggered international tensions between the US and China, which has demanded her release.

Meng Wanzhou has appeared in court several times in Canada. Her lawyers are fighting her extradition to the US.

In court, Meng’s lawyers have revealed that she suffers several health problems, including hypertension, struggling to eat solid food, and trouble sleeping.

She also offered to put up several multimillion-dollar homes as bail collateral.

Meng has written to Huawei’s 188,000 employees, assuring them she is well. She wrote in the letter: “My inner self has never felt so colorful and vast.”

You can read the letter, a show of defiance to the US, here.

Ren Zhengfei told Chinese media that he expects jail time for his daughter.

He also said she would probably work to get a doctorate in jail.

Neil Gaiman on the emotional making of Amazon’s ‘Good Omens’ and keeping ‘the promise that I made to my friend who died’ (AMZN)

Good Omens cast and crew

  • Cult fantasy author Neil Gaiman is debuting his most personal project to date, the series “Good Omens,” on Amazon on May 31. 
  • The TV adaptation of the 1990 novel fulfills a promise that Gaiman made to his “Good Omens” cowriter, the late Terry Pratchett, to turn their beloved book into a TV show. 
  • Gaiman served as a showrunner on the series — a first for him after more than two decades working in TV and film — so he could control the elements of the book that went into the show.
  • “I’m going to make a ‘Good Omens’ for Terry that Terry would love,” Gaiman told Business Insider.
  • The production involved two years of script writing on Gaiman’s part, 120 days of filming with more than 200 speaking parts, and a laborious 11 months of post-production. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Cult fantasy author Neil Gaiman is one of the most-adapted contemporary authors with at least six TV shows and movies based on his literary works, such as the movie, “Coraline,” and the TV shows “American Gods” and “Lucifer.”

His latest mini-series, called “Good Omens,” was his most complex and personal adaption, Gaiman told Business Insider, in an interview alongside series director Douglas Mackinnon.

“Good Omens,” which debuts on Amazon on May 31, is a fantasy series about the Antichrist who brings the end of the world, based on the 1990 novel by Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett. It’s one of the most ambitious projects to premiere from Amazon Studios, which is working on bigger, genre series including a “The Lord of the Rings” TV show. The production was also emotional for Gaiman, who adapted the book — which centers on an angel and a demon who are best friends — to fulfill the last wish of his friend, Pratchett. The author died in 2015, before “Good Omens” was picked up by coproducers Amazon and BBC Studios.

Good Omens on Amazon

“I got to make something incredibly personal,” Gaiman said. “I got to take the biggest thing the BBC Studios has made, the biggest thing on Amazon today, and come through on the promise that I made to my friend who died that I would make a television show that he would like and be proud of.”

Making a TV adaption that stays faithful to the book

Gaiman, who wrote and executive produced the series, also served as the showrunner — a first for him over more than two decades of writing for and working in TV and film. He oversaw every piece of the production, from budgeting to post-production, so that he could control the elements of the book that went into or were cut from the series.

“He wanted to see it before he died,” Gaiman said of Pratchett. “Then he died. So I’m going to make a ‘Good Omens’ for Terry that Terry would love.”

Amazon — which produced “Good Omens” along with BBC Studios, Gaiman’s The Blank Corporation, and Pratchett’s Narrativia — backed Gaiman’s vision for the version of “Good Omens” that Pratchett would’ve wanted to see, Gaiman said.

Gaiman and Mackinnon usually treat TV and film adaptions as different beasts than the books they are based on. “You’re making something else,” Mackinnon, who has directed episodes of TV adaptations including “Outlander” and “Sherlock,” said. “You have to admit that.”

But, with “Good Omens,” Gaiman did not want to compromise. The TV show stays true to the novel. Gaiman, Mackinnon, and the rest of the cast and crew committed to bringing the version of the book that Pratchett would have wanted to life, with its quirky characters and casual cups of tea in between plot points.

“I’m not sure if the word adaptation actually covers it,” Mackinnon said. “We just made ‘Good Omens.’ It’s like ‘Good Omens’ Plus.”

Behind the scenes on the making of “Good Omens”

The production started with Gaiman, who wrote the entire series himself. “For the first two years, it was basically me and a copy of the novel,” he said.

In 2017, after Gaiman had the six scripts and the series was picked up by BBC Studios and Amazon Studios, the show went into pre-production. Gaiman and Mackinnon had only a couple of months for pre-production, a fraction of what they should have had, Mackinnon said, because the show’s all-star cast was only available for a tight window. Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Jon Hamm, Miranda Richardson, Nick Offerman, Frances McDormand, and Benedict Cumberbatch were in the series. There were more than 200 speaking parts overall.

“Good Omens” started shooting in London in September 2017, and filmed for a total of 120 days.

Post-production, which Mackinnon called the hardest post-production process he’s ever been a part of, took about 11 months. Gaiman and Mackinnon sat side by side in a London studio, staring at screens day in and day out, while overseeing the editing and visual effects.

Some days started at six in the morning with pickups, or scenes shot after principal photography to flush out the production, and ran until 10 at night or later. Others started at 8 a.m. and went on until 2 a.m. the following day. Those days involved editing and coordinating with actors — who, by that point, were all over the world working on other projects — on looping, or replacing the dialogue in scenes. Gaiman or Mackinnon might nod off during those long nights, and the other would take control.

“It was a fatal flaw and our grand plan for the two of us just to do it together,” Mackinnon said. Series usually have more than one director and several producers, he said. “But, if ‘Good Omens’ is distinctive at all, that’s because we did it. The very thing that is the tough thing is the original thing.”

Read more: ‘This is a big swing’: A New York Times exec explains the company’s push into prestige TV that starts with ‘The Weekly’ on FX and Hulu

On Friday, the series, which has gotten positive reviews from a solid share of critics, premieres on Amazon — six months before it airs weekly on BBC Two. It brings to an end Gaiman’s years-long journey to make “Good Omens.”

Two hundred and fifty members of the cast and crew reunited in London on Sunday to screen all six episodes of the finished product, many months after their involvement in the series wrapped. Gaiman and Mackinnon consider it a testament to how much the production touched those who worked on it.  

“It’s a bit dreamlike actually, a bit unreal,” Gaiman said of Friday’s series premiere. “We did it and that feels amazing.”

SEE ALSO: Inside The New York Times’ unique deal with FX and Hulu for its TV show, ‘The Weekly,’ which could be a blueprint for others in the industry

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 16 clues that foreshadowed Arya’s big moment at the battle of Winterfell in ‘Game of Thrones’

Arnold Schwarzenegger on starring in Stan Lee’s final project and if he’s sore from that drop-kick that went viral

Genius Brands   Superhero Kindergarten 2

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger will star in his first-ever animated show when he voices the lead character in “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten.”
  • On Tuesday, Lee’s POW! Entertainment and Genius Brands International announced the launch of the series, which marks the last project Lee created before his death last year.
  • Schwarzenegger plays Arnold Armstrong, a former superhero who, after decades defending the world, is now working undercover as a kindergarten teacher who is tasked with teaching 5-year-olds with newly discovered super powers how to use them for good when they grow up.
  • Lee came up with the idea from his love for “Kindergarten Cop” and conversations with Schwarzenegger in which the actor said he wanted to do more kid-friendly projects. 
  • Business Insider spoke with Schwarzenegger about the animated series, plus his excitement about doing another Terminator movie, and that video of him being drop-kicked that went viral.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger built his career on being the biggest and baddest action hero on the planet, and though he is still The Terminator (he stars in “Terminator: Dark Fate” later this year), the 71-year-old is now showing his softer side by being the face of Stan Lee’s last project.

On Tuesday, Lee’s POW! Entertainment announced the launch of the action-adventure animated series, “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten.” In it, Schwarzenegger plays Arnold Armstrong, a former superhero who, after decades defending the world, is now working undercover as a kindergarten teacher who is tasked with teaching 5-year-olds with newly discovered super powers how to use them for good when they grow up.

If it sounds a little like Schwarzenegger’s 1990 classic “Kindergarten Cop,” it’s because that’s how Lee got the idea for the show. After numerous talks Lee had with Schwarzenegger, in which the actor opened up about wanting to do something kid-focused, the mind behind such iconic Marvel characters as Spider-Man and the Hulk created the series before his death in 2018.

“Superhero Kindergarten” currently does not have a deal with any network or streaming company to air it, but there should be interest, as along with names like Schwarzenegger (who is also a coexecutive producer) and Lee attached, it has cocreator of “Deadpool,” Fabian Nicieza, scripting the series and Genius Brands International — which is behind the Baby Genius brand, “Llama Llama” on Netflix, and “Rainbow Rangers” on Nick Jr. — coproducing with Lee’s POW!

Business Insider spoke with Schwarzenegger about doing something geared toward kids for the first time in his career, as well as why “Terminator: Dark Fate” will get his beloved franchise back on track, and his reaction to that surprise drop-kick he got while attending his sports festival in South Africa

Jason Guerrasio: Before we get into “Superhero Kindergarten,” I have to know: Any after-effects from that drop-kick that went viral?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: To me, it’s still kind of stunning. I thought some kid kind of tripped and fell onto me or something like that. I almost didn’t feel it, it was kind of a push. And since then, everywhere I go people are asking if I’m okay. Thousands of people are writing to me. It’s pretty crazy the way this stuff works. 

Guerrasio: It’s never a dull moment for you.

Schwarzenegger: But if I would get that kind of attention for fighting, say, gerrymandering I would be happier. 

Guerrasio: So you and Stan Lee got to talk about “Superhero Kindergarten” before his passing, right?

Schwarzenegger: Oh yeah, years before his passing. It was a coincidence. We would get together every so often and talk about ideas and projects. And he asked me, “What is your ultimate dream project?” And I said beside doing more “Conan” and “Terminator” movies, the movie that I always wanted to do a sequel of was “Kindergarten Cop.” And he said that he loved that movie. I told him I would love to do more shows for the kids.

Stan + ArnoldIt was always difficult for me. When I was the action hero in the ’80s and ’90s, they wouldn’t allow me to do any comedy or anything for kids. They were like, “No, we know we are going to make money with you if you do action movies.” So literally for “Twins” I took no salary, I just wanted to give it a shot. And it just happened to be my first movie to make $100 million domestic. So they realized that it works, Schwarzenegger can cross over. 

So I told Stan that story, and that I was always frustrated that I couldn’t do more kids shows and cross over more. And there was a look in his eyes. I could see him daydreaming for a few seconds. 

Guerrasio: The wheels were turning.

Schwarzenegger: Exactly. But he basically said, “Let me think about that, maybe I can come up with something.” And that was it. And then I didn’t hear anything for a long while and one day he called me back and he said, “I have an idea that’s exactly what you’re talking about, but how about putting my spin on it?” And I said, “What’s that?” And he went, “Arnold, c’mon, you know, superheroes!” And he told me how I would play someone that no one knows was a superhero and I’m a teacher, just like in “Kindergarten Cop,” but my kindergarteners have super powers and they are going to grow up and be the protectors of the planet. My character has to teach them all the important lessons. I told him it was fantastic, and he said, “Well, you’re talking to Stan Lee.” [Laughs.] 

It was crazy Stan passed away and didn’t see this last idea that he had really flourish. So we now have to do it justice. 

Genius Brands   Superhero Kindergarten Artwork 1_edited 1

Guerrasio: I was thinking back, is this the first time you’ve done an animated show?

Schwarzenegger: It’s the first time I’ve done a TV animated show, the whole show. It’s also the first time that I’ve done something that is directly for kids. Most of my comedies are kind of geared to adults too, like “Twins,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Christmas in Connecticut” (which Schwarzenegger directed), “Jingle All the Way,” “Junior.” This is specifically for the kids audience. 

Guerrasio: Though you haven’t been able to do a lot of kids-focused projects, you have had a focus on physical fitness for the youth going all the way back to H.W. Bush being in office. With your decades of knowledge, what does a show like this need to get through to not just kids but adults about the need for their kids to be active and not always on devices and playing games?

Schwarzenegger: That’s what George Herbert Bush was talking about, “the couch potatoes,” and how do we get the family as a whole off the couch? So this show will be about fitness but it will also have action and discipline, being inclusive, different things that I stand for. Teaching them how to use their powers for good. Indirectly there will be a message, but it will be very entertaining.

It’s like when James Cameron did the second “Terminator” movie, he didn’t go and say this will promote women power, he wrote it that way and by the end you could tell that Sarah Connor was the force that beat the Terminator. So you can get a message across without forcing it down people’s throats. 

Read more: The Elton John biopic “Rocketman” is a worthy celebration of his music and a look at his troubled past

Guerrasio: And it sounds like Stan Lee is going to make a cameo in every episode?

Schwarzenegger: Yes. 

Guerrasio: How did that work? Did he do the voice work before he died?

Schwarzenegger: Well, as you know it’s a tradition in the Marvel movies of him showing up, and sometimes you needed to see it a few times to realize that was Stan in the background. So that’s how this is going to be. He wanted his appearances here for this to be very subtle. 

terminator dark fate paramount

Guerrasio: Last we talked you said that the interest in still doing The Terminator character all these years later is its vulnerability when facing the newer forms of Terminators. Will that vulnerability be present in “Dark Fate”?

Schwarzenegger: You will see it. But I don’t want to get too much into that at this point. I think the studio has learned from the last time that they gave too much away of the story, so they want to keep it more under wraps this time around. What I will say is I play a great T-800 again and it was fun to have Linda Hamilton back. The new team was willing to do the work in preparing. They worked their asses off in the gym, I helped them with their training, a lot of them. I was happy the trailer that came out had a huge impact and people responded positively.

Guerrasio: And James Cameron is back as a producer!

Schwarzenegger: Cameron was a fanatic about this. He wanted to make sure we were bringing it in the right direction. He’s a control freak. 

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Amazon pulled a dozen books promoting toxic ‘MMS’ bleach as a cure for autism — but it had been warned months ago

MMS Red Cross video 2012

  • Amazon on Tuesday confirmed to Business Insider that it removed at least a dozen titles promoting MMS, a type of toxic bleach proponents say can cure malaria and autism. 
  • Internet companies have in recent months come under increasing pressure to remove anti-vaccination content and the promotion of fake cures from their platforms.
  • Amazon was approached by journalists reporting on MMS as long ago as March, when they removed two books and defended selling others with “a variety of viewpoints.”
  • After major pressure on pro-MMS content on Facebook and YouTube (which Business Insider investigated in depth), Amazon took the decision to remove more of the books.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon has removed more than a dozen books promoting a type of toxic bleach proponents call “MMS” as a cure for illnesses including autism and malaria, a spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider Wednesday. 

The move comes as internet companies come under increasing pressure to act against anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists and those promoting quack cures on their platforms.

Recently, Business Insider exposed a huge network of MMS advocates promoting the substance on YouTube, leading to the removal of hundreds of videos and channels.

Jim Humble

NBC News first reported the removal of the titles from Amazon on Tuesday.

The outlet reported that the titles removed contained instructions on how to mix component chemicals to create what advocates call Miracle Mineral Solution, or MMS.

The mixture in reality creates chlorine dioxide, a form of industrial bleach. The US Food and Drug Administration warns that MMS has no medical benefits, and causes nausea, severe dehydration and vomiting if ingested in large doses.

The removal marks a shift in position from Amazon, which was contacted as long ago as March about the pro-MMS content for sale on its platform.

In response to an investigation by WIRED, Amazon initially defended selling books offering “a variety of viewpoints.” Two days later, NBC reported that two books had been removed from sale.

MMS Facebook post

This week — around two-and-a-half months after the WIRED story — NBC reported the further removals.

NBC said they include two titles by Jim Humble, a former Scientologist and founder of the Genesis II church, who claims to have discovered the curative benefits of MMS. 

Humble’s account was among those removed for violating YouTube’s policies against promoting harmful content.

Humble did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the removal of the titles from Amazon. 

Facebook has also removed accounts and groups in which MMS was promoted, after pressure from media outlets and lawmakers. 

Amazon has been accused of being slow to remove harmful medical misinformation from its platform.

Amazon declined to explain the book removals in depth to Business Insider. It did not say whether they were part of a wider effort to remove medical misinformation from the platform. 

The site in March referred Wired to its public guidelines for book publishers, which state that “as a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable.”

“That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content, such as pornography or other inappropriate content.” 

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How to Shop for Classic Menswear Online

Where once, “back in the day,” we’d have to make an excursion to the haberdashery, in today’s time-starved world, most of us do at least some of our shopping online, even for classic menswear and tailoring. But how can you make sure you’re using online resources effectively? Read on for our tips. How to Shop […]

AMC Theatres now has over 50 million people using its Stubs program thanks to free benefits and a movie-ticket subscription (AMC)

AMC AP

  • AMC Stubs, the membership program for AMC Theatres, has surpassed 20 million households.
  • According to the chain, more than 50 million moviegoers in the US are using Stubs.
  • The three-tier program is made up of the $15-a-year Stubs Premiere; Stubs Insider, which is free; and Stubs A-List, its movie-ticket subscription platform, which starts at $19.95.
  • A-List on its own recently crossed 800,000 subscribers.
  • The growth of Stubs has led to AMC sending out more than 1.5 billion personalized e-mails, text messages, and mobile app notifications in 2019 so far.
  • “That’s the basis of our whole marketing platform,” Stephen Colanero, Chief Marketing Officer at AMC, told Business Insider. “Get people to sign up for AMC Stubs, see what movies they see, get them personalized messages based on that, which gets them more excited to see movies in the future.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

 

AMC Theatres’ AMC Stubs program has surpassed 20 million households, the chain divulged to Business Insider ahead of the announcement of the milestone, which will be released Tuesday.

According to the company, more than 50 million moviegoers in the US are using Stubs.

The chain’s popular three-tier membership program has been in the news more often since the launch of Stubs A-List, AMC’s movie-ticket subscription program. A-List costs $19.95 a month (or $21.95, or $23.95 a month in various regions of the country) and lets you see three movies per week. A-List, which launched in June of 2018, recently crossed 800,000 subscribers to become the largest movie-ticket subscription service. Business Insider reported in April that A-List rival MoviePass dropped from over 3 million subscribers to around 225,000, according to leaked internal data.

But the growth of Stubs as a whole isn’t just from the popularity of A-List.

The Stubs program launched in 2011 to little fanfare as the only option was Stubs Premiere, a $15 yearly membership with perks ranging from free popcorn and soda refills to the waiving of online ticketing fees. In 2016, Stubs was relaunched with the inclusion of a second tier, Stubs Insider. And unlike Premiere, it was free to sign up for.

The Stubs Insider perks included a free large popcorn on your birthday, discounted tickets on Tuesdays, and online ticket fees waived when you ordered four or more tickets.

“It really gave access to people who weren’t willing to spend in the initial program,” Stephen Colanero, Chief Marketing Officer at AMC, told Business Insider. “Creating a free tier gave people the basic benefits and really grew our numbers.”

Since 2016, Stubs has seen 700% membership growth. That growth has helped AMC build a way to specifically connect with customers and keep them up-to-date on the kind of movies they like to see. The chain said in 2019 alone, it has already sent out more than 1.5 billion personalized e-mails, text messages, and mobile app notifications.

avengers endgame disney“That’s the basis of our whole marketing platform,” Colanero said. “Get people to sign up for AMC Stubs, see what movies they see, get them personalized messages based on that, which gets them more excited to see movies in the future.”

To give an example of the power of Stubs’ membership base, Colanero pointed out the day “Avengers: Endgame” tickets were available online. AMC’s online ticketing service (as well as many other chains) crashed trying to handle the onslaught of online tickets being purchased, and he noted that a big reason for that was Stubs subscribers.

“Our Stubs members were ready to go when the tickets went on sale and they hit us pretty hard,” Colanero said with a laugh looking back on it now. The opening weekend of “Endgame” was the best ever for AMC as it broke records for tickets sold as well as food and beverage.

Read more: How “Booksmart” went from a 2009 script collecting dust to this year’s must-see movie of the summer

“Our guests are prepared and know what’s coming because we have been feeding them all along what to expect,” Colanero said.

Among the three big movie chains in the nation, AMC has the most robust membership program. Cinemark offers two tiers with its Movie Rewards: Movie Fan is the free option, which offers perks like popcorn and drink refills, along with access to advance screenings; while Movie Club is its $8.99-per-month movie-ticket subscription plan for one ticket per month (unused tickets roll over) and no online ticket fees. Regal’s Crown Club is a program where you earn 100 credits for every $1 spent, which you can use for free movies and concessions once you build enough credits.

Colanero was mum on any new additions to AMC Stubs in the future, but there are new features for all AMC customers expanding this summer to many of the chain’s theaters in the US.

Since Memorial Day, reserved seating has been available at all theaters (except AMC Classic theaters), and more AMCs are introducing the option for customers to order food or drinks before they get to the multiplex. Those are two things Colanero said should make Stubs members happy.

“They are the vast majority of people who order online and order ahead,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Meet the power players at Netflix leading the streaming giant’s defense against Disney and other rivals

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Regulators can’t decide how much training pilots need to fly the Boeing 737 Max, and it could result in even longer delays to the aircraft’s return

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019.  REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

  • Regulators are debating the level of training that Boeing 737 Max pilots will need before the plane can return to service.
  • Aviation authorities around the world are attempting to decide if pilots need training on expensive flight simulators, or just an online course.
  • Flight simulator training could delay the return of the 737 Max to the skies even further.
  • Regulators outside the US could also disagree with the FAA’s criteria, which would mean the plane could return to service in some regions sooner than in others.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Regulators in the US and around the world are debating the level of training needed by pilots of Boeing 737 Max aircraft before the plane can be approved to fly again after two fatal crashes.

Regulators are considering whether pilots need to fly on a simulator or just complete computer-based training, and the decision could determine when the 737 Max, already a source of frustration for airlines who have have had to ground the plane for the last two months, can return to the skies.

Regulators from 33 countries met with the US Federal Aviation Administration last week to ask about Boeing’s software update to the planes, which has been completed but not submitted to the FAA for approval.

Read more: Even more airlines are demanding payback from Boeing for its 737 Max disasters — here’s the full list

But at the meeting regulators were also conflicted over whether pilots should train in a simulator, which could leave the plane grounded for the months to come, The New York Times reported after the meeting. 

The timeline for when the plane will return is unclear, with Boeing and the FAA eager to return the plane to the sky, but concerned that both their reputations have already taken a hit. 

Ethiopian Airlines boeing 737 Max crash

Sources told Reuters that the FAA told members of the UN’s aviation agency that the plane could return to service as early as late June. But Daniel Elwell, the acting administrator of the FAA, said last week that he could not outline a clear timeline.

“We can’t be driven by some arbitrary timeline,” he said on Thursday. “I don’t have September as a target, I don’t have June as a target.”

Read more: Boeing dismissed fears of a 2nd 737 Max crash when confronted by pilots after the plane’s first disaster, leaked audio reveals

Prior to the disasters, 737 Max pilots were not trained on simulators, and the FAA said in April that pilots would not need simulator training

But experts told the Financial Times that the FAA appears to be changing its stance in light of concerns by other regulators. 

FAA house transportation committee daniel elwell

Elwell told global regulators last week that simulator training is a possibility, the FT reported.

A representative of an unnamed large US pilots union told the FT that Elwell is “trying to be responsive to what other countries are feeling — and they may be feeling political pressure. That’s why he’s vacillating.”

Different regulators could have different requirements

Elwell signaled last week that it would benefit the FAA if other regulators approved the 737 Max at the same time.

“If they unground relatively close to when we unground, I think it would help with public confidence,” he said.

But Europe has outlined its own demands that must be met before the plane can return, including that the crews flying the planes are “adequately trained.” The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) did not outline what that training would entail.

Read more: Europe has outlined its own demands for letting Boeing’s 737 Max return to the skies, instead of relying on the US

And Canada, which also said it would have its own requirements, said last week that simulator training was a “possible option” for 737 Max pilots.

Pilots were not trained on simulators before the two deadly crashes

Training with a simulator is expensive and time-consuming, with the FT reporting that the simulators can cost up to $15 million and an hour’s training can cost up to $1,000. 

Boeing 737 Max 8 cockpit

Pilots unions told CNN that 737 Max pilots were trained with a self-administered online course that took a maximum of three hours and was conducted on iPads.

The lack of simulator training was initially seen as a benefit for Boeing, which designed the plane with a minimum of changes compared to other 737 models in an attempt to appeal to airlines that didn’t want to undertake expensive and time-consuming pilot training.

Read more: Taped conversation shows Boeing execs downplaying importance of absent safety feature on 737 Max

The preliminary investigations into the two crashes identified an issue with the planes MCAS software system. In both the Lion Air crash in October 2018, which killed 189 people, and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019, which killed 157 people, the nose of the plane repeatedly pointed down and could not be controlled by pilots.

Pilots say they were not informed about this system in training, a move that Boeing defended after the first crash by telling pilots that “we try not to overload the crews with information that’s unnecessary.”

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg also defended the communication about the system after the second crash by  saying it was “embedded” into the way pilots handled the plane, and so “when you train on the airplane, you are being trained on MCAS.”

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg

“It’s not a separate system to be trained on,” he said.

Pilots from the union representing American Airlines pilots told Boeing after the first crash that they wanted more information about MCAS and the 737 Max, a recording shared with Business Insider by the union showed.

“We flat out deserve to know what is on our airplanes,” one pilot said. 

Boeing says that it is working with closely regulators and that the plane will be one of the safest planes ever to fly when it returns.

Do you work at Boeing or the FAA, or are you a pilot? Got a tip or a story to share? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +353 86 335 0386 using a non-work phone, or email her at sbaker@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM her at @sineadbaker1.

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A Wall Street firm has sorted out how much Apple will make from its new credit card with Goldman Sachs

Apple Card credit card

  • The new Apple Card launches this summer, and it could reap as much as $1 billion in annual revenues for the Apple within a few years, according to estimates from Alliance Bernstein.
  • To reach the $1 billion mark, the Apple Card would have to become one of the largest credit cards in the industry, rivaling the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum.
  • That’s a tough hurdle, but it’s plausible given Apple’s hundreds of millions of iPhone users, brand cachet, and the card’s value proposition.
  • “This revenue should be almost pure profit to Apple, as Goldman Sachs bears all of the operational and credit risk for the program,” Bernstein wrote in a research note.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

This summer, Apple is launching its much ballyhooed credit-card, in collaboration with Goldman Sachs. Within a few years, the card could reap as much as $1 billion in annual profits for the tech giant, with little downside risk. 

That’s according to new estimates from Wall Street research shop Alliance Bernstein, which analyzed the potential profit prospects of Apple Card and other new business lines against plateauing sales of the iPhone and slowed growth from existing services like iTunes, iCloud, and Apple Care.

Apple Card doesn’t represent the largest revenue opportunity of the recently announced services — that distinction goes to the advertising and TV programs, according to Bernstein — but the card could wind up being some of the easiest cash Apple ends up pocketing.

Here’s how the math breaks down.

The revenue split

There are several ways the fee-free card will make money — primarily via swipe fees and interest payments from customers who carry a balance — and if Apple’s co-brand partnership is in line industry standards, the iPhone maker will take a percentage of the revenues. 

Typically, this figure is in the 5% to 10% range, but as Bernstein points out, Apple is a premium brand and Goldman is a newcomer to the credit-card business, so the terms were likely sweeter for the tech company. Apple was also more intimately involved the technology behind the card, which integrates with the iPhone and Apple Wallet. 

That notion is further reinforced by the fact that there were several bidders for the Apple Card partnership, and that Citigroup backed out after advanced negotiations over fears the card’s consumer-friendly, anti-fee framework would make it a money loser, according to a report from CNBC.

“The split is likely more in favor of Apple given its relative negotiating leverage over Goldman Sachs,” Bernstein wrote in the research report. 

But how much revenue can the card generate? Bernstein notes that the two largest rewards cards today, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum, each likely earn in excess of $4 billion in annual revenue. 

The analysts think it’s plausible for the Apple Card to match this over time, though they’re aware that doing so for a brand-new card “is obviously a high hurdle.”

Millions of iPhone users and unmatched brand cachet give Apple an edge

What the Apple Card has going for it, Bernstein notes, is seamless integration via the iPhone and thus a massive cache of easy-to-reach customers, as well as “brand cachet” among those customers that “is obviously unmatched.”

Bernstein estimates there will be roughly 935 million installed iPhones in circulation worldwide by the end of 2019.

Much of that user base is outside the US — only 42% of Apple’s revenues came from the Americas region in 2018, according to financial filings — and the credit card will only be available in the US to start with. But the US alone still represents vast and wealthy group of customers. 

Moreover, the instant cash-back feature along with a competitive 2% cash-back rate for digital purchases should make it popular with low- to middle-income customers. 

If adoption is strong, the card could make Apple as much as $1 billion annually within the next three to five years, but Bernstein thinks “hundreds of millions” is a more likely scenario.

“This revenue should be almost pure profit to Apple.”

Even if Apple takes 20% of the revenues — double the high end of the traditional co-brand range — that’s $800 million a year if the card matches the success of the Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum. 

By comparison, Amazon’s co-brand credit cards likely earn the firm $500 million to $1 billion annually, Bernstein estimated.

But the kicker for Apple is this revenue stream comes with with very little work or risk going forward.

Goldman Sachs is essentially paying Apple for access and marketing to its lucrative customer base. The bank will do all the work of operating the credit-card — assessing and managing credit exposure, dealing with angry or confused customers, and collecting bills from delinquent cardholders. 

“This revenue should be almost pure profit to Apple, as Goldman Sachs bears all of the operational and credit risk for the program,” Bernstein wrote in the note. 

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Amazon’s pitch deck shows why it could be better positioned than other video streaming services to help marketers reach rich consumers

Amazon Fire TV

  • Amazon has been making a big push into OTT advertising and says in a recent pitch deck for advertisers that 80% of Amazon Fire owners are Prime members, implying it reaches a wealthy audience.
  • Amazon also claims that 69% of Amazon Fire owners are college-educated and another 44% are homeowners.
  • The pitch differs from those of rivals Roku and Pluto TV, which have recently indicated that people may be getting subscription fatigue.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The rise in premium, ad-free video services like Netflix and HBO has some marketers worried that they won’t be able to find enough high-income consumers. Amazon says that its audience bucks that trend.

Amazon is building an OTT advertising business to rival Roku, Hulu, and other ad-supported services through Amazon Fire, its streaming video hardware. Amazon sells ads in publishers’ OTT apps as well as in FreeDive, IMDB’s ad-supported streaming service. The company also sells spots during live-streamed broadcasts of sports games like the NFL’s Thursday Night Football.

According to a recent pitch deck that Amazon has been using to pitch OTT ads to advertisers, Amazon viewers are lucrative. 80% of consumers who own an Amazon Fire TV device are Prime members, showed one slide in the pitch deck, citing internal numbers. The slide also cites research from eMarketer finding that Fire TV owners are more likely to have a household income of more than $100,000. (The slide didn’t give a comparison point.)

Amazon says that 34 million people use its Fire TV streaming devices every month.

Read more: Amazon wants to take on OTT heavyweights like Roku for advertising dollars. Here’s the pitch deck it’s using to sell marketers video ads.

Prime memberships come with perks like two-day delivery, access to ad-free original video programming and deals, and are increasingly becoming mainstream in the US. According to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners survey published in January, more than 100 million people use Amazon Prime benefits, representing 62% of Amazon shoppers. At a cost of $119 a year, Prime also represents a high-income consumer.

Amazon OTT advertising pitch

Another slide cites additional internal data that 44% of Fire TV owners have children in the household while another 69% are home owners. Amazon claims that 62% of Fire TV owners are college-educated and 66% of its audience is 25 to 54 years old.

Amazon OTT pitch

Amazon’s audience represents a hard-to-reach and wealthy audience for marketers. As consumers increasingly pay to avoid advertising or download ad blockers, some of Amazon’s OTT rivals like Roku and Pluto TV are taking a different tack in pitching themselves to advertisers.

According to a pitch deck published by Digiday last year, Roku claimed that 87% of its users “are not willing to pay any amount to avoid ads,” suggesting that its consumers are not open to a subscription plan.

Other players like Viacom-owned Pluto TV says that people are getting subscription fatigue. In an interview with Business Insider after acquiring Pluto TV for $340 million in January, chief financial officer Wade Davis said that the streaming service is a billion-dollar business that relies on a large group of consumers watching ads for free.

“There is a segment of the market that doesn’t want to pay for anything, and we can be their video and entertainment choice,” he said.

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Apple is catching up with Huawei and Samsung after winning another patent for a foldable iPhone

Tim Cook

  • Apple successfully secured a patent for a folding device display on Tuesday.
  • This isn’t the first patent Apple has filed to do with folding phone tech.
  • Samsung’s flagship folding phone the Galaxy Fold has been beset by major issues, while Huawei has had its own problems as it prepares to launch the Mate X.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Fold hit by major technical problem and shipping delays and Huawei embattled by the US government, another major smartphone producer is making progress the folding phone race.

Read more: Samsung is canceling pre-orders of the $2,000 Galaxy Fold if it doesn’t ship by the end of May

Apple successfully secured a patent for a device with a folding display on Tuesday, which focuses on the display and cover layer of the phone. Previously patents have revealed Apple working on other elements of folding devices, such as the hinge.

Apple folding phone patent

This doesn’t mean Apple is suddenly or even definitively getting ready to release a folding iPhone. The patent was submitted in January 2018, and many tech companies file patents which never materialise into actual products.

Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives told CNN the new patent shows at least that folding devices are “something on its [Apple’s] roadmap.” Ives added that Apple is still “well behind” Samsung on folding tech “but one advantage is that Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has had technical issues as well as expensive pricing.”

Samsung had to postpone the shipping of the $2,000 Galaxy Fold after a number of journalists experienced technical problems with their review models, including bulges and screen malfunctions.

Meanwhile, Huawei, which unveiled its 5G folding phone the Mate X at Mobile World Congress in February, has been placed on a blacklist by the US government — which might seal off any future phones (including the Mate X) from Google’s Android operating system.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s wildly ambitious $2,000 folding phone is a disaster for the smartphone giant — here’s what happened

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NOW WATCH: I tried the $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold and it’s impressive for a first-generation foldable phone, though far from perfect

VR isn’t just for gamers — here’s how Audi, Lowe’s and Macy’s are using it to boost sales and employee training (M, WMT, AUDVF, LOW, UPS)

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

FORECAST: Global Enterprise VR Hardware and Software Revenue

Virtual reality (VR) offers immersive experiences in which users can hear, see, and interact with 360-degree digital environments using head-mounted displays (HMDs) and handheld motion devices. The technology has been historically associated with consumer-facing gaming, but it’s been gaining traction in the enterprise over the past year.

In fact, companies such as Macy’s, Lowe’s, Walmart, and UPS, among others, have all launched new VR programs since 2017. And as more businesses look to tap the technology, this will drive enterprise VR hardware and software revenue to jump 587% to $5.5 billion in 2023, up from an estimated $800 million in 2018, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates.

This shows that retailers and brands should look into implementing VR as early as possible to better compete with other industry players who’ve started to use the tech, especially in three key areas: sales, employee training, and product development. All of the companies mentioned above are using VR to in at least one of these areas, enabling them to increase product sales, reduce product design costs, or speed up employee training processes, for instance.

In the VR In The Enterprise report, Business Insider Intelligence explores how VR can provide value to retailers and brands in three areas: sales, employee training, and product development.

The report begins by discussing potential pain points the technology addresses for each use case, examining in-depth case studies to illustrate how companies have implemented the technology, and outlining the broader takeaways each use case presents for brands and retailers.

Finally, it looks at some of the potential barriers to further enterprise adoption and how both companies and VR incumbents are actively addressing those obstacles.

The companies mentioned in the report are: Audi, Lowe’s, Macy’s, McLaren Automotive, Walmart, and UPS, among others.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • VR enables consumers in brick-and-mortar stores to make more informed purchases, which could increase sales conversion rates.
  • Brands and retailers looking to ramp up their employees quicker should consider bringing VR into their training processes.
  • The tech can shorten brands’ and retailers’ product development life cycles by cutting down on the time associated with building expensive physical prototypes.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies key VR vendors and device form factors for businesses to consider.
  • Discusses key benefits the tech brings businesses for their sales, training, and product development processes.
  • Illustrates those key benefits by discussing real-world case studies from companies and the takeaways from those implementations.

 

SEE ALSO: When it comes to VR hardware, consumers are balancing price point and experience

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‘We are more digital-first’: An NBC News exec explains how the broadcaster is taking on ABC and CBS to win millennials on streaming services

NBC News Now set

  • NBC News is launching a live-news streaming service, NBC News Now, aimed at young news junkies who are shunning traditional TV.
  • It’ll start at 8 hours each weekday, with a goal of becoming 24/7.
  • ABC and CBS already have live news services, but NBC News’ Rashida Jones says Now will boast more original content and a bigger media organization to pull from.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Add NBC News to the list of media companies jumping on the live news bandwagon to lure young cord cutters.

Today it’s launching NBC News Now, a new streaming service aimed at young news junkies. People will access it through NBC News’ existing news app on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as NBC News’ own site. It’ll be free to viewers and ad-supported; Citi will be one of the first advertisers.

“There’s finally a digital-first news product for people who are news junkies but don’t necessarily have broadcast or cable,” said Rashida Jones, SVP of specials for NBC News/MSNBC and the executive in charge of NBC News Now.

Read more: ‘This is a big swing’: A New York Times exec explains the company’s push into prestige TV that starts with ‘The Weekly’ on FX and Hulu

It’s possible NBC News’ strategy with Now might change once its parent company NBCUniversal launches its own streaming media service, which is set to come in 2020. Jones said NBC News wanted to launch Now immediately to capitalize on the fact that people are flocking to over-the-top streaming, and that it wanted to be ready for the highly anticipated 2020 election.

NBC News’ rivals already have 24/7 streaming services

NBC News is entering a space populated by rivals CBS and ABC, which have 24/7 streaming news networks already, while NBC News will start with eight hours a day on weekdays, with a goal of becoming 24/7. There also are several born-on-digital streaming news services like Altice’s Cheddar, E.W. Scripps’ Newsy, and Bloomberg’s TicToc.

The three big networks will need to adapt their institutional voice to appeal to young viewers — and each argues they have distinct advantages.

Jones pointed out that NBC News already has an OTT presence, so it’s been learning what its audience wants. NBC News also has experience with placing bets on news for young people; its Snapchat news show “Stay Tuned” has averaged as many as 35 million viewers each day. Jones contended that NBC News Now will have more original content than its competitors and a bigger media organization to pull from, with properties like the “Today” show and CNBC.

“We are more digital-first,” she said.

In terms of programming, she said NBC News Now will emphasize explainers and behind-the-scenes taped pieces, stories that go longer than a traditional TV broadcast, and topics of interest to young viewers. Examples include pieces on how SXSW is becoming a key stop on the Presidential campaign trail; and “weird details” about the college cheating scandal. It’ll explore having a full-time host for the show this summer.

But EVP and GM of CBSN (CBS’ streaming news service), Christy Tanner, said that four-and-a-half-years’ experience with live streaming news on apps gives CBSN a big advantage. By getting in early, it’s learned to make the stream work on different platforms and mobilize its entire news team fast when news breaks. CBSN also has been launching local versions of its national broadcast in big cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“I wouldn’t underestimate the technical expertise of CBS News and Interactive,” Tanner told Business Insider. “We know how to react when a big story breaks. Being able to own a breaking story across all platforms is something we’ve had practice at. We’re comfortable and nimble.”

ABC News Live said it differentiates with its content that’s tailored to people in their 20s and 30s. To do that, it frequently splits the screen with its year-old streaming service when there’s breaking news so viewers can see the live streams alongside scheduled programming. It’s also developing series about topics of particular interest to young people and is about to introduce a new headline show that’s updated every half hour.

In this way, Colby Smith, SVP of content & partnerships, ABC News, maintains that ABC News is the No. 1 streaming news channel in America — even if he can’t prove it because of measurement limitations.

“If someone’s coming to our channel, we want them first and foremost to see live moments — it’s nice to have fresh programming,” Smith said.

News is a big draw for live viewers

Media companies have long used news as a way to attract and keep people’s attention and that they’ll continue to have to do so today in the race to grab viewers as they migrate to streaming services, a new research paper from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center argues. A survey by Vimeo and New York magazine found news was the most popular live content, watched by 56%, followed by conferences and concerts at 43%. 

The pie is likely to keep growing as the rate of cord-cutting increases and connected TV advertising scales up, as eMarketer has predicted.

“News is a critical vertical for all streaming services,” Smith said. “If you want to stand up a streaming service, you’ve got to have robust news coverage, and that’s because millennials and Gen Z, the people who are turning to streaming services, they have never been more interested in news and politics than previous generations have been.”

That’s why insiders like Smith think the field is still open.

“Right now, there’s opportunity for everyone to win new eyeballs because the market is going to grow for the foreseeable future,” Smith said.

SEE ALSO: ‘The industry is killing itself’: Critics say TV is stalling in its efforts to get its advertising act together

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You’ll soon be able to use your iPhone to get on the New York City subway — here’s how to set it up (AAPL)

Apple Pay Express Transit

  • New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is launching a new pilot program that will make it possible to use your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay for subway fare.
  • As part of the program, new contactless readers have been placed at select stops along New York’s 4,5,6 line and Staten Island buses.
  • The launch comes after Apple said in March that it would bring contactless public transit payments to cities such as New York, Portland, and Chicago.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

New York City’s subway system is getting a big upgrade that will allow passengers to pay for subway fare with a simple tap rather than a swipe.

On May 31, patrons taking the 4, 5, and 6 trains — a popular subway line that stops at busy stations like Grand Central Terminal, Wall Street, and Barclays Center — will be able to enter the subway by holding their smartphone or wearable device near a reader rather than swiping a Metro Card.

It’s the beginning of a pilot program for the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s new OMNY contactless fare system, which will accept digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay as well as contactless credit cards from major companies such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

For Apple device users, that means you’ll be able to board the subway by holding your iPhone or Apple Watch near the reader, similar to the way you can digitally scan your boarding pass for a flight through Apple’s Wallet app. The feature, which Apple is calling Apple Pay Express Transit, works very much like the standard version of Apple Pay.

Just choose the card you’d like to use to pay for subway fare, and your Apple device will know to charge that card specifically when your phone or Apple Watch is held near one of the MTA’s contactless readers. You don’t have to wake your phone or watch in order for this to work, just holding it near the reader will do the trick.

The launch comes after Apple announced in March that it will soon make its Apple Pay service compatible with public transit systems in New York, Chicago, and Portland. 

As part of this pilot program, the service will be available at 16 stops along the 4,5,6 line between Grand Central terminal in Manhattan and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will also be present on all Staten Island buses.

The new fare system currently only supports single fare tickets, but will eventually support other options as well. After the public pilot ends, the MTA is aiming to roll out the new readers to the rest of the 4,5,6 line and additional buses in 2020. 

It’s a notable step forward for New York’s public transit system, which will join other major cities such as London and Sydney that already offer contactless payments for their respective transit systems.

Here’s a look at what Apple device users should do to get started. 

SEE ALSO: These 9 Gmail features will help you get the most out of Google’s popular email service

First, make sure your iPhone is running the latest software.

To do this, open your iPhone’s Settings menu, select General, and then tap Software Update. Your device must be running on iOS 12.3 or higher to use Apple Pay Express Transit.

Make sure your Apple Watch is up to date, too.

Open the Watch app on your iPhone, select the General option, and choose Software Update. Your Apple Watch must be running on watchOS 5.2.1. 

Then, open your iPhone’s Settings menu and choose Wallet & Apple Pay.

If you’ve ever added a credit card to your iPhone, it’s the same menu option. 

Choose “Express Transit Card” and select the card you would like to use.

The Express Transit Card feature is different from the regular Apple Wallet because it doesn’t require your passcode or Face ID to work.

Then, authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode to confirm that this card will be used for Express Transit.

That’s it! You’re ready to ride. 

China drops heavy hint it is about to pull the trigger on its most powerful weapon in the trade war

trump xi

  • The US heavily relies on China for rare-earth materials, which are 17 elements widely used in products like batteries, smartphones, electric cars, and fighter jets.
  • Beijing appears ready to weaponize those exports in its trade war with Washington.
  • China’s top economic planning commission and state media suggested this week that the country might restrict rare-earth exports to the US.
  • Restricting Chinese rare earths to the US could cripple the American tech, defense, and manufacturing industries.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

China has dropped its most obvious hint yet that it might restrict exports of rare earths to the US as a strategy in the trade war, a move that could cripple the American tech, defense, and manufacturing industries.

Rare-earth materials — which consist of 17 elements on the periodic table — are one of the most important Chinese exports to the US, as they are found in products such as batteries, smartphones, electric cars, and fighter jets. The minerals are used in tiny amounts but can be crucial to the manufacturing process.

China is the world’s largest supplier of rare-earth materials — accounting for 90% of global production — and the US relies on China for 80% of its rare-earth imports, according to Bloomberg.

There had been speculation that Beijing would weaponize rare earths in its trade war with Washington since last week, when Chinese President Xi Jinping and his top economic adviser, Vice Premier Liu He, made a highly publicized visit to a rare-earth factory in eastern China.

Read more: Xi Jinping may have shown how he plans to cripple US tech and defense giants in the trade war with a visit to a Chinese magnet factory

xi jinping rare earth factory visit

Beijing officials further fueled the flames this week by mentioning rare earths again in a series of state media articles and comments on social media.

The National Development and Reform Commission, which oversees the country’s economic policy, said in a Q&A published in the state-run People’s Daily on Wednesday: “Do you suggest that rare earths will become a part of China’s countermeasures against the US’s unwarranted pressure?”

“What I can tell you is that if someone wants to use our rare earths to manufacture products and use them to curb China’s development, then the people of the revolutionary soviet base and all the Chinese people will not be happy,” it continued.

“There are no winners in the trade war,” the NDRC added.

Read more: US companies pay ‘almost entirely’ for tariffs on Chinese products, new IMF study shows — blowing a massive hole in Trump’s favorite justification for the trade war

Trump Xi dinner

Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the nationalistic, state-owned Global Times tabloid, also tweeted on Tuesday night: “Based on what I know, China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the US. China may also take other countermeasures in the future.”

The Global Times suggested last week that Xi’s visit to the rare-earth factory “has been widely viewed as a form of leverage for China in the trade war with the US.”

Stocks in Chinese rare-earth companies have skyrocketed ever since Xi’s visit.

rare earth

The US and China have levied billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on each other’s goods since March 2018.

Washington raised tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on May 10, and Beijing said three days later that it would raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods starting June 1. Hours after that, the US drew up a list of prospective tariffs on another $300 billion worth of goods.

The US did not include rare-earth materials in either list of tariff targets, illustrating its reliance on China for them.

Global stocks fell Wednesday as traders braced for further escalation in the trade war. But Ryan Castilloux, the managing director of the rare-earths consultancy Adamas Intelligence, tweeted on Wednesday that there was “still a low probability” that China would withhold rare earths to the US, “as it would quickly (and painfully) escalate tit-for-tat.”

SEE ALSO: China’s biggest chipmaker has applied for ‘voluntary delisting’ from the New York Stock Exchange amid the trade war and Trump’s crackdown on Chinese tech

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Huawei: Blacklisting us could put tens of thousands of Americans out of work

Huawei Song Liuping

  • Huawei’s chief legal officer said Wednesday that the US government’s blacklisting of the company could cost Americans jobs.
  • Song Liuping said 1,200 US companies would be directly harmed, with “tens of thousands” of American jobs put at risk as a result.
  • This is the latest barb in the escalating tensions between the Chinese tech giant and the Trump administration.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Huawei is fighting back against US President Donald Trump’s administration by saying that blacklisting the company will hit US industry hard.

Huawei has locked horns with the US government after the Department of Commerce placed the company on an “entity list,” preventing American firms from doing business with Huawei without first seeking government permission.

Read more: “No gun, no smoke, only speculation”: Huawei ups its legal battle against the US over federal ban

At a press conference in Shenzhen on Wednesday, Huawei’s chief legal officer, Song Liuping, upped the ante against the US government, warning that the ban would hurt billions of users and could put Americans out of work.

“This decision threatens to harm our customers in over 170 countries, including more than 3 billion consumers who use Huawei products and services around the world,” Song told reporters, according to the BBC.

“By preventing American companies from doing business with Huawei, the government will directly harm more than 1,200 US companies,” he added. “This will affect tens of thousands of American jobs.”

At the same conference, he announced that Huawei was ramping up efforts in a lawsuit it filed against the US in March objecting to a government ban on military and official personnel using Huawei devices. Huawei argues it is unconstitutional.

SEE ALSO: Huawei’s CEO says he would ignore Trump if he tries to negotiate a trade deal: ‘If he calls me, I may not answer’

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This graph shows that time spent on Facebook is flatlining, with no growth in sight

Mark Zuckerberg.JPG

  • A new report from eMarketer showed that Facebook users in the US are spending less time using the social network.
  • The average daily time spent on Facebook fell by 3 minutes last year to 38 minutes a day, and is expected to drop to 37 minutes in 2020.
  • Facebook has also seen user growth rates stall in the US in recent years.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

People are spending less time on Facebook.

That’s according to a new report from eMarketer, which found that the average daily time US adults (those aged over 18 years old) spend on Facebook fell by 3 minutes in 2018 to 38 minutes a day.

eMarketer is expecting this number to flatline in 2019 and drop to 37 minutes by 2020.

Facebook

“Facebook’s continued loss of younger adult users, along with its focus on downranking clickbait posts and videos in favor of those that create ‘time well spent,’ resulted in less daily time spent on the platform in 2018 than we had previously expected,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst.

A spokesperson for Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

It supports a gloomy trend for Facebook. The platform had its slowest 12 months of user growth since its 2012 IPO last year, with the rise in daily active users falling below 10% for the first time. Facebook had 2.32 billion daily active users in 2018.

Read more: We can see what it looks like when Facebook and Snapchat stop growing

Meanwhile, a set of charts that were shared its most recent earnings showed how daily active users in the US and Canada have flatlined for the past two years; monthly active user data followed a similar pattern in 2018. Most of the growth during the quarter was reserved to countries outside of the US, Canada, and Europe.

It was not all bad news for Facebook, however. Instagram was a bright spot for the company after users spent more time with the social network, according to eMarketer. It is also taking share from its competitors such as Snapchat.

“Features like Stories, influencer content and video are all contributing to more engagement and a slow but steady uptick in time spent on Instagram,” Williamson said.

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‘No gun, no smoke, only speculation’: Huawei ups its legal battle against the US over federal ban

Huawei chief legal officer song Liuping

  • Huawei escalated its legal battle against the US government on Wednesday, saying it has filed a summary judgment calling on the US courts to rule that the federal ban of the Chinese tech giant is unconstitutional.
  • In March, Huawei announced it had filed a lawsuit against the US government over recent legislation which bans government agencies from buying or using Huawei equipment.
  • The suit zeroes in on a provision in a law known as the The National Defense Authorization Act which prohibits the use of equipment or services explicitly from Huawei to any federal agencies or their contractors.
  • Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, said in a press conference in Shenzen on Wednesday that the US is using legislative action against the company in an attempt to put it out of business, and urged the courts to rule against the federal ban.

Huawei escalated its legal battle against the US on Wednesday, calling on the US courts to rule that the federal government ban of the Chinese tech giant is unconstitutional.

Huawei has become ensnared in mounting trade tensions between the US and China. US officials have long voiced concerns that Huawei technology could be used as a backdoor for Chinese government espionage — allegations that Huawei has repeatedly denied.

In March, Huawei filed a lawsuit against the US government over recent legislation which bans US government agencies from buying or using Huawei equipment.

The suit zeroes in a law known as the The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which specifies the annual budget and policies of the US Department of Defense and the agencies which operate under it. A provision known as Section 889 was signed into law by President Donald Trump in August, and prohibits the use of equipment or services explicitly from Huawei to any federal agencies or their contractors.

Read more: Here are the Huawei products at risk thanks to Trump’s ban and the brewing tech Cold War

Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, said in a press conference in Shenzen on Wednesday local time that the US is using legislative action against the company in an attempt to put it out of business.

“Politicians in the US are using the strength of an entire nation to come after a private company,” Song said during the conference. “This is not normal. Almost never seen in history.”

He added that the US has not provided evidence to back up claims that Huawei poses a national security threat. “There is no gun, no smoke. Only speculation.”

During the press conference, the company announced that it filed a motion for summary judgment of its case against the US, seeking a ruling that Section 889 of the NDAA as unconstitutional. According to CNBC, the motion was filed in the Eastern District of Texas court.

Huawei also called on the US to “halt its state-sanctioned campaign” against the company, stating that a US ban will do nothing to increase American cybersecurity.

Friction between the Trump administration and Huawei heightened this month, after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist, which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval. The move could have a dramatic effect on Huawei’s operations, as the company relies heavily on US parts.

Song addressed the US trade blacklist, which has been postponed for 90 days, in his comments to the press, saying that the move sets a “dangerous precedent” for other companies and industries.

The placement of Huawei on the US trade blacklist has led to many major US tech companies and suppliers — including Google — to cut its ties and a flow of critical software to the company.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei responded to the clashes between Huawei and US tech companies, telling Chinese media that the company is “fully prepared” for a clash with the US, which he considers inevitable as the company works towards becoming a global tech leader.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Giant Shorts Are Finally in Fashion (Really)

You know the look. You fear the look: the giant khaki short. The pair that skims the lower reaches of your kneecaps, perhaps even hitting high on your shins, like a hot divorcée’s capri pants—only comically wide instead of enviously slim. They are cousins to the Bermuda short, and yet slightly…un-human. Inhumane, even. Maybe they have a pleat. Maybe they are even so big that they flare out a little bit at the hem, like an obsolete medieval instrument that’s played when a really mediocre overlord acquires more land.

These shorts fly in the face of all that is stylish. Some might say that, as shorts make their way back into cool guys’ wardrobes, these shorts represent everything well-dressed men have left behind. But in this golden age of men’s fashion, these shorts are still here—except now they are $550, and made by the European minimalist design house Jil Sander.

While high fashion has sprinkled its fairy dust over everything from fleece jackets to cargo pants to (formerly) embarrassing sneakers, big shorts have somehow remained the last faux pas. “I think that there was this kind of taboo for a long time around men showing their legs,” says Peter Haury, a men’s merchant at the fashion bellwether stores Totokaelo and Need Supply. Eon Huntley, a brand specialist at The Row at Barneys Madison Avenue, adds: “Shorts have become synonymous with things like cargo shorts, or styles that men who are not necessarily the most fashionable people wear. So I think that it’s hard for men to separate that thinking as well.”

But now some of the most exciting innovators in fashion are doing some of their best work in shorts. There’s Jil Sander, which since the fall of 2017 has been led by former Supreme designer Luke Meier and his wife, Lucie Meier, the former head designer at Dior. But there’s also the Japanese stalwarts—Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto—as well as younger brands reinventing tailored basics like Ludovic de Saint Sernin. This season Totokaelo has roomy, almost louche shorts from all these designers, but not just because guys are more willing to fork out the big bucks for casual clothing. The advanced short suit has arrived—and it’s not whatever you were forced to wear for your fraternity brother’s wedding on Martha’s Vineyard (#AShortThingALongMarriage, or whatever). “We’re seeing so much creativity in suiting and what that can mean—the versatility around how a man can dress,” says Haury. “Shorts are a nice option that you can layer in there.” For brands in the Comme family, like Miyake and Yamamoto, “we have a jacket and then a matching short and a matching pant.”

Even at Mr. Porter, which carries a slightly more conservative offering of menswear, there are jumbo board shorts from Blue Blue Japan, Dries Van Noten, and Loewe, and crazy prints from Needles and Wacko Maria.

But this is not just about “any” old funky short. The desired silhouette is voluminous, almost anti-cool. It borrows from both the squareness of the dad khaki and the coolness of swishy mesh basketball shorts. There is also this Issey Miyake pair in the designer’s classic plissé (the schmancy French word for micropleats), and Yohji Yamamoto’s take on Bermuda shorts, with an asymmetrical apron wrap at the front. Rick Owens has been here the whole time, of course.

This particular wave began with Comme des Garçons’ Spring 2018 collection, which put sequined and animal-print jackets and oversize shirts together with big, bad sequined shorts in the-Candy-Man-can colors: royal blue, Prince purple, springy green, and pungent cotton-candy pink. They were glittery and swingy, offering the freedom of a skirt and the sure-dude tranquility of lacrosse shorts. A few pairs weren’t in sequins but instead were juiced up with pannier-like compartments—cargo pants for the French Revolution. Volume was everything!

That show, in which models danced to disco music as neon lights swirled overhead, reasserted that shorts are fun, and easy, and casual. And if that didn’t convince you, perhaps Frank Ocean on the cover of 032c a few months later did. Marc Jacobs began his ascent to full-on fashion-influencer-slash-archivist by buying the sequined suits in nearly every color, and Ocean continued to wear them on his own time, advancing the dressed-up-basketball-short vibe.

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Future's Son Got a $29,200 Rolex For His Birthday

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Rap superstar Future’s son is named—what else?—Baby Future. And Baby Future celebrated his fifth birthday last weekend, officially turning the age when you get to hold up all your fingers while announcing, “I’m this many.” As his birthday present, Future Sr. gave his son a brand-new Rolex Datejust that costs almost $30,000. Many people treat watches of this caliber like heirlooms, holding onto them until their children can truly appreciate an object meant to be treasured forever. But Baby Future received his Rolex before he even hit the first grade. He took it all in stride, offering up a polite, “Thanks” in response to the gift. Also this week: Drake’s collection of Richard Mille pieces expands in less horny directions and Virgil Abloh wears a more traditional Patek Philippe.

Baby Future’s 31-millimeter Rolex Datejust

Baby Future’s teensy Datejust was purchased at Eliantte, high-grade jeweler to the stars, Future’s stylist Bobby Williams tells us. The watch is just small enough to fit on the grade-schooler’s wrist and should make for the best item to turn up at a show-and-tell someday soon.

Virgil Abloh’s Patel Philippe Nautilus 3700

Virgil Abloh caught our attention a couple of weeks ago when he wore a customized completely matte black Patek Philippe. The designer is typically dead set on tweaking designs ever so slightly to make them undeniably his. Not the case with the Patek Philippe he wore while presenting his new “sound installation” in Paris. If there’s an object perfect enough that even Abloh would leave it as-is, it makes sense it’s this vintage Patek Philippe Nautilus with a black dial and 18-carat gold case.

Drake’s Richard Mille RM 11-03

To watch the double-overtime thriller between his beloved Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks, Drake wore yet another Richard Mille watch. Over the past couple months, Drake’s worn a blinged-out lady’s piece as well as one featuring panels printed with erotic phrases (“Let Me Kiss You Tonight” is one PG example), both from Richard Mille. Drake’s newest piece from the brand is the RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph with a dial that appears to have been ripped directly from the dash of a Formula One car.

DJ Khaled’s Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph

DJ Khaled, the father of Asahd, appeared on Jimmy Fallon wearing a diamond-encrusted Patek Philippe Nautilus (presumably a major key). The Nautilus is already a watch-guy fave, the rare piece dudes willingly wait on lists for almost a decade to buy. But DJ Khaled built his career on a version of pop hedonism where one A-list name is never enough for a single track. Why just Beyonce when you can get her plus Future and Jay Z? Think of this watch the same way: Why just wear a simple Patek when you can smother it with diamonds?

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Plus, Jay-Z gave his $2.5 million Richard Mille a night off in exchange for an equally special piece.

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Rei Kawakubo Just Wants Us To Do Our Best

Rei Kawakubo: “I don’t think I have that much in common with Ralph Lauren.”

If you’re reading this, Rei Kawakubo is probably your personal god, the deity you pray to at night as you fall into your gentle slumber punctuated by dreams of avant-garde clothing you hope to one day own.

That means you must read High Priestess of the Designer Q&A Bridget Foley’s interview with Kawakubo, a 45-minute tour de force on the occasion of the Comme des Garcons’ designer’s reception of an award at the Noguchi Museum in Queens. Any interview with Kawakubo is always a process of course correction—the interviewer suggests, proposes, and pushes, and Kawakubo, speaking through her husband and translator, Adrian Joffe, carefully reshapes their ideas. Like: Foley asks whether Kawakubo’s most recent womenswear collection, in which models in black gathered in a circle, was a reference to “Salem and the idea of a witches’ coven.” And Kawakubo replies, “No. It just looked like that.” Which is both the simplest answer and the most complex one of all! She refers to lots of things as accidents: her famous perfume, her first job in the fashion industry, even her career as “a designer.”

The whole process isn’t rude, though—Kawakubo is simply adamant about the purity of her ideas. Take her pristine response to Foley’s question about what she shares with Ralph Lauren, who’s also been at the helm of his business for half a century: “I don’t think I have that much in common with Ralph Lauren.” Print that on a T-shirt (with a little Comme heart)! A few minutes later, speaking about her creative process, which is the kind of topic that might require cerebral and deeply technical reflection, as a “daily grind.” And yet!!! When Foley asks her whether it’s a great time for fashion, she replies that “we just have to do our best…. Because without that kind of search for creation, there can be no progress in humanity.”

Brooks Brothers Has So Many Ways To Wear Sweaters

Summer is just heating up, which means it’s time to tie your sweater in a hundred different ways. That’s the news from Brooks Brothers, at least, which had its Fall/Winter 2019 show in Tokyo on Thursday. The show of 61 looks featured sweaters styled in ways both instinctive and baroque, from “literally as a sweater, with your arms through the sleeves etc.,” to around your neck like a scarf, tied across the chest (aka the “skater bow”), and even one around your neck and one around your waist. Two sweaters at once: the prep revival sinks its teeth in further to punctuate the very heart of functional fashion.

“Tailored Clothing” Is Making “a Comeback”

Streetwear, like a train without coal, or a pot of water without a flame beneath it, or something else that proves I took a science class, is “losing steam.” In its place, says WWD, is “a more dressed-up aesthetic.” Did the men’s lacrosse team write this???

Nike, Converse, and Salomon Have Sneaker Drops to Check Out Right Now

It’s the end of the work week, and that means a fresh batch of new sneaker drops is upon us. There are plenty of white-hot sneaker releases, including a collaboration between the biggest name in basketball and a GQ favorite designer. (That’d LeBron James and John Elliot, respectively.) There’s also a duo of shoes from the masters of hi-tech Salomon and Parisian retailer The Broken Arm. Plus, a pair of perfectly off-kilter sneakers from Converse and Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist. If you’re looking to add some fresh new kicks to your rotation for summer, now is the time to do it. Here are the three sneaker drops worth checking out.

Nike LeBron x John Elliott Icon

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Nike LeBron x John Elliott Icon

Nike (releases May 25)

$250

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The latest sneaker in the ongoing collaboration between basketball legend LeBron James and beloved designer John Elliott is finally here. This time, the shoe gets an all-black colorway, complete with the LeBron 8’s full-length Air tooling and a unique translucent upper featuring court-inspired embroidery. It’s a LeBron sneaker that’s a little low-key but will still look just as stylish on you as it does the man himself.

Salomon x The Broken Arm

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Salomon x The Broken Arm Trail Pro

The Broken Arm

$182

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Salomon, the Italian mountaineering brand behind the ultra-technical sneakers that have been widely embraced by menswear’s inner circle, has teamed up with the French boutique The Broken Arm yet again. The brand’s Trail Pro model gets a sleek colorway of brown and beige with pops of lime green. (A weird combination of colors that sounds odd on paper but looks excellent in execution.) The duo also teamed up on a version of Salomon’s RX Slide, a half-sneaker half-sandal that’s fashion-forward and dad-like in just the right ways.

Converse x Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist

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Converse x TheSoloist Jack Purcell Zip Low Top

Converse

$110

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This is the second collaborative collection from Converse and designer Takahiro Miyashita’s The Soloist. Miyashita has taken the sneaker brand’s iconic Jack Purcell and given it his trademark left-of-center touch. That means mismatched graphic patterns, vertical utility zippers, and asymmetrical lacing. All in, it’s the perfect mix of timeless and weird—just the type of sneaker that will be a worthy addition to any closet.

Indian PM Narendra Modi’s reelection spells more frustration for US tech giants

Amazon and Walmart’s problems in India look set to continue after Narendra Modi, the biggest force to embrace the country’s politics in decades, led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a historic landslide re-election on Thursday, reaffirming his popularity in the eyes of the world’s largest democracy. The re-election, which gives Modi’s government another […]

Facebook releases community standards enforcement report

Facebook has just released its latest community standards enforcement report and the verdict is in: people are awful, and happy to share how awful they are with the world. The latest effort at transparency from Facebook on how it enforces its community standards contains several interesting nuggets. While the company’s algorithms and internal moderators have […]

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