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It’s almost a decade since I first suggested that we might one day see an Apple Bank. Given that not even Apple Pay existed back then, I’ll be the first to admit that it seemed a pretty out-there idea at the time.
By 2023, it seemed significantly less of a stretch, and yesterday’s billion dollar news brought us even closer …
I can’t take much credit for the 2013 piece, given that it was 1st American Card Service’s CEO who alerted me to the Secure Enclave tech behind Touch ID being tailor-made for a secure payment service.
Brian Roemmele, CEO of 1st American Card Service, said that Apple’s attempt to solve the problem of how to develop a truly secure access system goes all the way back to a patent application in 2008, but it was only through the A7 chip – specifically created by ARM with mobile payment security in mind – that the company finally had a gold-standard solution. And its applications will go far beyond iPhone unlock and iTunes purchases.
“There are dozens of applications and use cases on the roadmap,” he wrote, “and I am certain a developer economy will build around this amazing technology. One that is very clear is retail payments and Apple will have quite a number of unique ways they will solve real problems for merchants and iPhone users. I can say this aspect of Touch ID will be more magical then what we have seen thus far.”
I simply extrapolated from there.
Since then, of course, Apple has made quite a few moves in this direction.Apple Pay
Launched a year later, in 2014, Apple Pay immediately became the leader in the mobile wallet space, with more than a million cards added in the first few days. Its main competitor, CurrentC, closed its doors just two years later. By 2023, Apple Pay was accounting for 5% of the world’s card payments.
Once Apple Pay launched, it seemed to me that things were unlikely to end there, and the iPhone maker would move further and further into the financial world. I listed seven reasons why I thought Apple might become a bank – even if I was optimistic on timing.Apple Cash
Apple quickly started successfully competing with the established players – Square, Venmo, and PayPal.Apple Card
2023 saw the launch of the Apple Card. Other cards offered better cashback deals, but it still proved incredibly popular thanks to Apple branding, the world’s simplest and fastest sign-up process, and great account management through the Wallet app.
By early 2023, with the card still only available in the US, the Apple Card hit almost 7M users. One report suggested that 60% of cardholders use it as their primary card.
2023 saw two further financial product launches …Apple Pay Later
First announced last year, and set to launch later in 2023, the Apple Pay Later service was delayed until this year. It began a gradual rollout a little over a month ago.
As with the Apple Card, Apple Pay Later didn’t offer the best short-term financing option out there, but again brand-name, painless sign-up, and instant access made it appealing.
More on this in a moment.Apple Card Savings Account
Launched last month, the Apple Card Savings Account offers 4.15% interest, compounded daily – an attractive rate for an instant-access account. But again, the branding and ease of account opening plays a significant role in take-up.
Which was … significant! It reportedly attracted deposits of $400M on its first day, and had hit almost a billion dollars just three days later.Apple now has some banking licenses
With Apple Pay, Apple Card, and the Apple Card Savings Account, the Cupertino company partnered with existing banks and finance companies. Apple was essentially the brand for services actually offered by other companies.
There were many who thought this would always be Apple’s model – use its branding and ecosystem to acquire customers, take a cut from its partners, while avoiding the need for any kind of banking or credit license. Plenty of profit, zero risk, zero legislative bureaucracy.
But Apple Pay Later took a different approach. Here, Apple created a financial subsidiary – Apple Financing LLC – and this company obtained the necessary licenses to operate some banking services directly.Increasing focus on Services
A related development over the course of the past decade has been the growing importance of Services to Apple’s bottom-line.
Yes, Apple may be a hardware company first and foremost, but its Services are now a massive business on their own. Services brings in more revenue than each of Mac, iPad, and Wearables.
And sure, banking generally isn’t a very profitable business. But neither is the smartphone business, nor the PC business. If there’s one company which knows how to turn a profit when others can’t, it’s Apple.Today, an Apple Bank looks much less of a stretch
“The reality, of course, is that it will never happen. Apple is extremely cautious about venturing into other areas. I would think that Apple buying Tesla is 50 times more probable than Apple becoming a bank.”
“I don’t see it happening. The level of government scrutiny and regulation that goes with banking isn’t on line wth Apple’s MO. Apple enjoys innovation and free thinking which is difficult to do is such a regulated industry.”
“All your arguments are rock solid but there’s one big reason why this will never happen: Apple isn’t interested in becoming a bank. Apple has become really successful because of one thing only: razor sharp focus.”
Still, even then, some 41% of you agreed that Apple would at some point become a bank, with only 30% dismissing the idea.
It’s now clear that Apple wants to move cautiously, step by step, product by product, so my five-year timescale was overly ambitious. But now more than ever, it does seem to me that this is the logical end-point of an ever-growing portfolio of financial products – with Apple Pay Later proving that the company is unafraid of getting involved with banking licenses and regulations.
So I stand by my view that Apple will one day become (or, better stated, include) a bank, though I do now expect the pace to be slower than I’d once imagined. I fully expect the company to follow the same strategy it does for hardware products – target premium customers, and only engage in the most profitable banking activities – but it won’t be the first full bank to do that. Becoming a bank legally doesn’t mean you have to offer all banking activities, nor offer accounts to anyone.
Oh, and as was pointed out in 2023, Apple Inc (or Apple Financing LLC) might need to come to some sort of arrangement with the New York-based Apple Bank for Savings.
What say you? I didn’t include a poll in 2013, but by 2023 the poll results were (combining ‘Within 5 years’ and ‘Later’):
Photo: LYCS Architecture/Unsplash
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Microsoft’s Halo is one of the biggest series in gaming, with all eyes on the upcoming announcement of Halo Infinite. But perhaps just as intriguing is Microsoft’s attempt to revitalize the legacy of the series. Join us as we take a look back on how long it’s taken, and what you can expect from this new rerelease of the classic game.
Halo 3’s Road To PC
Halo 3 was originally released for the Xbox 360 back in 2007, where it remained until Microsoft decided to bundle all the mainline games together for a comprehensive series collection for their new upcoming console. The Master Chief Collection originally came out only on Xbox One in 2014, serving as a collection of all the prior games in the series updated with improved visuals and performance. It was plagued with a host of technical issues, big and small, with some of the biggest problems being tied to the stability of the multiplayer experience. There were a few updates to attempt to minimize these issues, but it didn’t rise to the level of polish that you’d expect from a major games publisher’s flagship series, at least not until much later.
We’ve already seen Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2: Anniversary release on PC, plus Halo Reach, but for many Halo 3 will be the one they’ve been waiting for. Technically Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 have already had PC ports years ago, with the Gearbox developed port of the original game released back in 2003, and Halo 2 getting a Windows Vista exclusive port under the Games For Windows Live banner back in 2007. These ports had their own shortcomings but were for the most part serviceable and functional versions of those games, that many people played and enjoyed back in the day. For people who have never played Halo on Xbox, that’s where the story ended, since, until these recent releases Halo 2 was the last mainline Halo game on PC.
There had long been rumors of some kind of version of Halo 3 coming to Steam, with files alluding to Halo 3 being found on the Steam backend as early as 2013. Developer Certain Affinity, who have been a support studio on most of the mainline Halo games, was coy when they were asked about their involvement in porting Halo 3 to PC back in 2013, opting to plead the 5th.
@vipespienaar We plead the 5th 🙂
— Certain Affinity (@CertainAffinity) June 24, 2013
For whatever reason, the port from 2013 that appeared to be in the works at some point never surfaced. It’s not uncommon for projects to be started and then abandoned when you’re looking at corporations like Microsoft, although it sure would be interesting to hear what their thinking was at the time.
What Can We Expect From This New PC Release?
Where Do Microsoft Stand With PC Gaming, In General, These Days?
Microsoft has for many years made a lot of noise about how they are truly committed to PC gaming. For the longest time that felt like just hot air. By keeping their flagship series away from the PC, they were undermining their own statements. Now with initiatives like Game Pass becoming available on PC, the vast majority of their first-party games coming to Steam, the return of series like Age of Empires and Flight Simulator, it no longer feels like PC gaming is just an afterthought for Microsoft. They’ve also had PC focused initiatives like Gears Tactics which is currently only on PC, and the Minecraft RTX functionality targeting high-end GPUs on PC. I think they’ve shown that they can actually deliver on their potential in the area of PC gaming, and I hope that it long continues.
One of the strengths of the PC platform is that games can very easily find a second life given the right circumstances. In some cases, this can even be used to revitalize a particular game series. Titanfall 2 eventually made it to Steam, and now it has more players than ever before. I wonder if Microsoft is hoping that one bonus of doing a good job of releasing the prior Halo games on PC will boost the level of interest in the upcoming sequel Halo Infinite. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we can all enjoy a classic shooter making its way to PC.
In today’s digital culture, something that is rapidly created everyday is data. Hence, let’s accept that data is ubiquitous. Numerous organizations have already started harnessing the power of data and have leveraged data insights for their benefits. If you are not using data analysis, you are probably left behind. Hence, the demand forStory Teller
While the essential skills for data analysts are gathering, cleaning and drawing insights from data, the most effective data analysts can tell a story using data. To deliver a meaningful report, the best analysts will first see significant patterns in the data. At the very basic level, data is used to find insights and infer trends that organizations use to recommend to their clients. Reporting constantly, for example, weekly or monthly, can help a data analyst to identify key patterns in the data. All these patterns when accumulated together can picture a trend over time.Fast Coders
While top skills for data analysts include coding, the most effective data analysts are ones that code extremely fast. With this, they can rapidly surf huge datasets, harnessing insights faster than any other specialist. Such rapid insights can help businesses to act fast on the necessary ones and let go the least important ones. Decision-makers can quickly send such insights to ML engineers that saves them a lot of time on tedious mathematically impressive excavations.Collaboration
Good communication is definitely one of the skills required to become a data analyst. Nonetheless, did you know data analysts have to collaborate with other team members a lot for effective data handling and processing? Data analysts deal with a lot of data every day. Nonetheless, not all data is perfect and of good quality. Some data has a lot of holes in it. In such a situation, data analysts have two options -either keep hunting for further data or create artificial information to patch the holes in data. Best data analysts will collaborate with other team members such as a machine learning engineer or data engineer for further insights. Majorly, data analysts can analyze data on their own but huge datasets are beyond their range of abilities. Hence, for massive data sets, machine learning processes are required to process and analyze it. For this, data analysts have to often collaborate with other team members. They help in creating algorithms based on their AI or machine learning experience and data analyst’s analytics expertise.Data Analysts are Key Decision-Makers
If you are wondering what are CEOs and CTOs for if data analysts are key decision-makers, read on to get your answer. With so many essential skills for data analysts, people tend to forget the basic responsibility of a data analyst. They are there to tell you what’s in your data, which is then explained by a statistician to the leaders of your company. To help you understand better, machine learning engineers basically feed data to algorithms, run them and repeat this until appropriate results are produced. But, machine learning engineers cannot see the hidden insights in the data. Without insights, are algorithms even fruitful? That’s where a data analyst comes into the picture. They help ML experts and specialists see and tell them what is there in the data and what problems are to be solved. If data is summarized by a data analyst, half the job of taking a data-driven decision is already done. Hence, they play an important role in decision-making.
In today’s digital culture, something that is rapidly created everyday is data. Hence, let’s accept that data is ubiquitous. Numerous organizations have already started harnessing the power of data and have leveraged data insights for their benefits. If you are not using data analysis, you are probably left behind. Hence, the demand for data analysts is likewise growing. But ever wondered what are the skills of a data analyst? You may probably know the skills required to become a data analyst, but do you know the extraordinary data analyst key skills? So much information on the web talks about the skills needed for data analysts such as programming, data gathering, data cleaning, and processing the data to draw meaningful conclusions. These, of course, are required, but we will be talking about the less-talked skills of a data analyst. While the above-mentioned skills somewhat overlap the skills and responsibilities of a data scientist, many people get confused between a data scientist and a data analyst. But to give you a clear distinction, data scientists should have a strong maths and statistical foundation, and business acumen. On the other hand, for data analyst job skills, you need a moderate level of maths and statistical, and coding skills. Let’s dive into the less-talked skills of a data analyst.While the essential skills for data analysts are gathering, cleaning and drawing insights from data, the most effective data analysts can tell a story using data. To deliver a meaningful report, the best analysts will first see significant patterns in the data. At the very basic level, data is used to find insights and infer trends that organizations use to recommend to their clients. Reporting constantly, for example, weekly or monthly, can help a data analyst to identify key patterns in the data. All these patterns when accumulated together can picture a trend over time.While top skills for data analysts include coding, the most effective data analysts are ones that code extremely fast. With this, they can rapidly surf huge datasets, harnessing insights faster than any other specialist. Such rapid insights can help businesses to act fast on the necessary ones and let go the least important ones. Decision-makers can quickly send such insights to ML engineers that saves them a lot of time on tedious mathematically impressive chúng tôi communication is definitely one of the skills required to become a data analyst. Nonetheless, did you know data analysts have to collaborate with other team members a lot for effective data handling and processing? Data analysts deal with a lot of data every day. Nonetheless, not all data is perfect and of good quality. Some data has a lot of holes in it. In such a situation, data analysts have two options -either keep hunting for further data or create artificial information to patch the holes in data. Best data analysts will collaborate with other team members such as a machine learning engineer or data engineer for further insights. Majorly, data analysts can analyze data on their own but huge datasets are beyond their range of abilities. Hence, for massive data sets, machine learning processes are required to process and analyze it. For this, data analysts have to often collaborate with other team members. They help in creating algorithms based on their AI or machine learning experience and data analyst’s analytics chúng tôi you are wondering what are CEOs and CTOs for if data analysts are key decision-makers, read on to get your answer. With so many essential skills for data analysts, people tend to forget the basic responsibility of a data analyst. They are there to tell you what’s in your data, which is then explained by a statistician to the leaders of your company. To help you understand better, machine learning engineers basically feed data to algorithms, run them and repeat this until appropriate results are produced. But, machine learning engineers cannot see the hidden insights in the data. Without insights, are algorithms even fruitful? That’s where a data analyst comes into the picture. They help ML experts and specialists see and tell them what is there in the data and what problems are to be solved. If data is summarized by a data analyst, half the job of taking a data-driven decision is already done. Hence, they play an important role in decision-making. Did you know about any of these skills of a data analyst before? It’s time to hire more data analysts as they can be the possible fix of all problems just like the last jigsaw piece that completes the entire puzzle structure.
I’m sure most of us have at some point had Windows- and Android-using friends ask us why we pay the ‘Apple tax’ – the price difference between an Apple product and what they perceive to be an equivalent competitor product.
A large part of the answer, of course, is that the competitor product isn’t equivalent at all. You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display. No more than you can compare an iPhone with a budget ‘droid. When you do genuine like-for-like comparisons with truly equivalent products, the Apple premium shrinks considerably.
But to get an accurate idea of the effective purchase cost, you also need to take into account both the replacement cycle and resale value …
Today’s CIRP data on replacement cycles confirmed what Apple users already knew: Apple kit remains useful for many years. It’s not unusual to use a Mac for four years, and when we do finally replace it, the old one is likely to be either passed on to a family member, or sold for a decent proportion of the purchase cost.
As a somewhat extreme example, I have an old iMac in my kitchen. When I say old, I mean it: it’s an iMac G5, a 2004 PPC machine. Admittedly I’m not using it for anything demanding – it is mostly used as a recipe book and a kitchen music system (hooked up to a pair of speakers and streaming music from a shared library on my main machine). But it’s a ten-year-old desktop computer, it’s still working perfectly and it’s still doing something useful.
A new one today costs $999, so your effective purchase cost for the replacement is $499. Another way of looking at it is your cost of ownership was $143 a year. That Best Buy special Windows laptop someone bought for $300 three or four years ago is, in contrast, now basically worthless.
It’s a similar story with other models. For example, this 2009 iMac – that’s a five year old desktop computer – went for $650.
A new one today costs $1299, so effective replacement cost is $649 – or an annual cost of ownership of $130. Again, a five-year-old Windows desktop machine will barely be worth the hassle of selling.
Same deal with an iPad. Here’s a bottom-of-the-range iPad 2, three years old, which went for $255.
Replace it with the iPad 4 at $399, and your effective replacement cost is $144, or an ownership cost of $48 a year. Opt for the lovely iPad Air, and it’s instead $499, giving a replacement cost of $244 or an annual ownership cost of $81. It’s a similar story with iPhones.
But I think the point stands, and matches my own experience when I upgrade my own kit. The resale value of an iPhone, iPad or Mac is a high percentage of the purchase cost because the useful lifetime of the device is far longer than is typical for competitor products.
So yes, we spend more on our kit than friends who buy cheap Windows laptops and cheap Android phones; yes, we do pay a premium for what we get; but the Apple tax is significantly smaller than many suggest.
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The 12 months of 2011 were an exhilarating ride for Apple of Cupertino, Calif. It went through a major leadership transition after the company lost its cofounder Steve Jobs and op-chief Tim Cook took the reigns and appointed several new executives. The iPhone 4S became a huge success and pushed Apple’s market capitalization above the half a trillion-dollar valuation.
Editors at Fortune magazine did not have second thoughts when ranking Apple first on its annual list of World’s Most Admired Companies due to the company’s impending iPad 3 unveiling, off-the-chart sales, and beautiful new retail stores like the upcoming Amsterdam outlet. Seasonal product refreshes and new rumored gizmos (of which an Apple-branded HD TV television set is conceivably everyone’s favorite) helped Apple garner the spot, as well. Mind you, Apple earned this coveted title for five years in a row.
To say it was another big year for Apple would be a gross understatement. With the passing of Steve Jobs, questions swirled around the company’s future. But under new CEO Tim Cook’s guidance, Apple continues to prosper. The company’s annual revenues climbed to $108 billion, led by an 81% increase in iPhone sales — a jump that doesn’t factor in the runaway success of the iPhone 4S — and a 334% spike in iPad sales, due in no small part to the revamped iPad 2. Increased sales across the board explain why shares soared 75% during the company’s fiscal year to $495.
Following Apple’s trail is the second-ranked Internet giant Google (No. 1 in Internet Services and Retailing last year). It is another Silicon Valley darling that went through a transition in 2011 as Eric Schmidt passed the CEO reins to cofounder Larry Page in April. Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin and quickly re-instituted startup mentality that calls for “moon shots” while streamlining the company’s operations.
Google made several acquisitions, spending $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility and $125 million for Zagat, among others. Consumer-facing services like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Reader saw significant updates, and the company finally unveiled its social network, Google+. Android also continued to dominate. According to Andy Rubin, SVP of mobile, 700,000 Android devices are now activated every day.
Here’s Fortune’s methodology:
The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. Our survey partners at Hay Group started with approximately 1,400 companies: the Fortune 1,000 (the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue), non-U.S. companies in Fortune’sGlobal 500 database with revenue of $10 billion or more, and the top foreign companies operating in the U.S.
They then sorted the companies by industry and selected the 15 largest for each international industry and the 10 largest for each U.S. industry. A total of 698 companies from 32 countries were surveyed. (Due to an insufficient response rate, the results for 11 companies in the scientific, photographic, and control equipment industry were not published. In addition, due to the distribution of responses, only the aggregate scores and ranks for the 10 companies in the oil and gas equipment/services industry were published.) To create the 58 industry lists, Hay asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate companies in their own industry on nine criteria, from investment value to social responsibility. This year only the best are listed: A company’s score must rank in the top half of its industry survey.
To arrive at the top 50 Most Admired Companies overall, the Hay Group asked 3,855 executives, directors, and securities analysts who had responded to the industry surveys to select the 10 companies they admired most. They chose from a list made up of the companies that ranked in the top 25% in last year’s surveys, plus those that finished in the top 20% of their industry. Anyone could vote for any company in any industry. The difference in the voting rolls is why some results can seem anomalous—for example, although FedEx is one of the top 10 Most Admired Companies, it is second in the Delivery industry behind top-ranked UPS, which ranked 29th on the top 50 overall.
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Following Apple’s earnings release yesterday, Tim Cook expectedly teased new products on a conference call with Wall Street analysts and investors. Hints of new gadgets were also dropped in Apple’s media release announcing the earnings.
“We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market,” Cook was quoted as saying in Apple’s press release.
And now responding to pressure from analysts who demand new-category devices, Cook sat down with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday to reflect on Apple’s development process, touch on such subjects as mobile payments and explain why Apple isn’t rushing out new stuff to market just to please investors…
In the interview, Cook admits that it will take new blockbuster products to revert the notion that the company is declining, quipping that “Maybe it will take some new products.”
Here’s your money quote:
You want to take the time to get it right. Our objective has never been to be first. It’s to be the best. To do things really well, it takes time. You can see a lot of products that have been brought to market where the thinking isn’t really deep and, as a consequence, these things don’t do very well.
We don’t do very many things so we spend a lot of time on every detail and that part of Apple isn’t changing. It’s the way we’ve operated for years and it’s the way we still operate. I feel great about what we’ve got coming. Really great and it’s closer than it’s ever been.
As for mobile payments, this is what Cook had to say:
I think it’s a really interesting area. We have almost 800 million iTunes accounts and the majority of those have credit cards behind them. We already have people using Touch ID to buy things across our store, so it’s an area of interest to us.
And it’s an area where nobody has figured it out yet. I realize that there are some companies playing in it, but you still have a wallet in your back pocket and I do too which probably means it hasn’t been figured out just yet.
Discussing Apple’s earnings yesterday with the NBC, Cook reiterated that the firm’s “laser focus” separates it from the competition.
“I think some companies decided that they could do everything,” he said, alluding to Samsung’s strategy of throwing enough mud at the wall to see if some of it will stick. “We know we can only do great things a few times, only on a few products.”
“We are not ready yet to pull the string on the curtain but we have got some great things that we are working on that I am very, very proud of and I am very, very excited about,” he also said in a question-and-answer session with Wall Street analysts following the earnings release.
And yes, Apple is embarked on entering some new categories.
“We currently feel comfortable in expanding the number of things we are working on,” he said. “So we have been doing that in the background.”
“When you care about every detail and getting it right, it takes longer to do that,” said the CEO. “That has always been the case. That is not something that just occurred.”
If you ask me, Cook thus far has mentioned phrases like “laser focused” and “exciting new stuff in the pipeline” too many times to be dismissed automatically as PR talk.
Naysayers be damned, Apple is of course working on new stuff as we speak.
“There is no shortage of work going in on that nor any shortage of ideas,” he said.
This process is taking time and the company will delight us with exciting new innovation when its management feels that products in development are up to Apple’s high standards, not when crazypants analysts in their wet dreams think they should be ready.
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