Apple is Not Learning From its Mistake: 3 iPhone Models in 2019

Apple could be en route to replicating the same mistakes it made in 2018 which ultimately led to a 10 percent stock price plunge on January 4.

According to a report released by The Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning to release three iPhone models in 2019. The problem is that many loyal customers of Apple are not compelled to upgrade to newer models because of the strong performance and specifications of previous models.

Is Apple in Trouble?

Apple has not officially disclosed its plans to release three new models in 2019. But, if it does pursue the development of new iPhone models, following a lackluster reception of the iPhone XS and XR, it may spell trouble for the already struggling $720 billion giant.

This week, Chinese retailers have started to sell the iPhone XR model with a 17.1 percent discount, slashing its price from $1,036 to $858, due to a lack of demand for newly released iPhone models.

While Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, attributed the company’s poor performance in the fourth quarter of 2018 to the potential tension between China and the U.S., analysts have said that the trade war and the decline of the Chinese economy had minimal impact on the sales of iPhone.

Rather, local analysts have reported that the demand for cheaper alternatives such as Huawei that match the specifications of the iPhone has started to increase rapidly.

The magic of Apple in previous years was its ability to revolutionize design and technologies in mobile phones to manufacture next-generation smartphones. As the growth curve of the mobile phone sector plateaued, it has become challenging for mobile phone manufacturers to differentiate newer models from previous models and drive consumers.

As a prestigious Japanese institution Waseda University professor Atsushi Osanai said:

What we want from Apple is something that makes us emotional, even unconsciously—say, truly beautiful and sophisticated design that we can’t resist. Beefing up functional value, like expanding camera features, isn’t attractive because everyone else is doing the exact same thing.”

Immediately after the public letter of Tim Cook was released on January 2, The Verge social network columnist Casey Newton also added that as mobile phone companies reach a stalemate in technological development and the level of innovation companies can employ year after year declines, the desire for consumers to purchase new models on a yearly basis will naturally drop.

“This was the first year in five that I didn’t upgrade my iPhone. Two reasons: – iPhone X was really, really good, and battery life is still great – The 2018 models were functionally identical to the iPhone X,” Newton said.

Not Exclusive to Apple

Samsung, LG, and many major mobile phone manufacturers are struggling to deal with the same problem with Apple, and as competition in the likes of Huawei and Oppo continue to emerge by providing better value for money to consumers, key players in the mobile phone market could risk seeing a decline in dominance.

Price Charts from TradingView.


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Author: P.H. Madore 
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2019: The Year Digital Securities Offerings Become the New ICOs

Carlos Domingo is the founder and CEO of Securitize, an end-to-end platform for issuers seeking to tokenize assets. He is also the founder and crypto capitalist of SPiCE VC.

The following is an exclusive contribution to CoinDesk’s 2018 Year in Review

2018 was a tumultuous year for cryptocurrencies, but for those of us who work in digital securities, also known as security tokens, our enthusiasm for the blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) has never been stronger.

Digital securities are not theoretical concepts anymore, but rather a foundation for real applications on the blockchain. A nascent industry poised to fundamentally evolve global capital markets, it’s just now getting started.

The digital evolution of legacy securities

It is amazing to think that just a few decades ago, the New York Stock Exchange would shut down every Wednesday just to process trades and settlements via couriers on bikes physically carrying stock certificates between buildings on Wall Street every time a stock changed hands.

This lead to the “Paperwork crisis of the 1960s” in 1968 when the volume of stocks traded rose threefold to 15 million shares per day. Following the crisis was the creation of the Depository Trust Company in 1973 and the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) in 1976, which later merged in 1999 to create the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

This signified that the digital era had come to Wall Street.

Today, DTCC holds trillions of dollars in shares and settles more than $1 quadrillion in trade value. However, the sector failed to truly digitize the end-to-end process. Pre-trade order routing and electronic trading of securities had become extremely low cost and frictionless, but the same improvements have not arrived similarly to clearing, settlement and custody.

Blockchain-based digital securities have emerged to solve these problems and enable low risk management, proxy votes, liquidity and seamless dividend distributions among other features. First, they allow for individual ownership of the digital shares through tokens. Second, they enable instant settlements so there is no counterparty risk, eliminating billions of dollars in intermediary fees. You trade you own, not like today.

They also help to enhance transparency measures by providing visibility for an almost real-time cap table for the issuer. And finally, digital securities can simplify governance processes through voting or payout distribution, which could also be done using smart contracts and stablecoins to improve efficiencies and reduce the processing fees.

Paving the way for digital securities

Blockchain technology has pulled the rug out from under legacy financial systems.

For all the trouble ICOs may have inflicted and still might on investors, issuers and regulators, one fact remains – they proved that blockchains, coins and tokens were a phenomenal system for successful fundraising.

Anyone with patience and a computer could list their idea for investment and any inclined investor could buy an interest in a company or community and then trade that interest with an instant settlement for fiat currency or another coin on the blockchain. Suddenly there was a way for investors to invest in private companies and startups and to have instant liquidity in global markets. And the market responded with resounding attention.

Blockchain technology is so good at raising money that the crypto markets lost their minds. One study – which examined over 4000 ICOs – found that within four months of issuing a token, more than half of the projects launched had already failed.

ICOs may have tainted the narrative around cryptocurrencies, but digital securities are helping to shift the conversation to show the wider public that blockchain technology can help to power compliance, too.

BUIDL-ing the foundations

In mid-2017, we saw the blockchain technology’s potential to digitize securities. The technology could be used to automate and provide transparency to the process of purchasing, owning and transferring a security between investors.

By end of 2017, three funds, had successfully raised funds and issue tokens representing digital securities on the Ethereum blockchain, first Blockchain Capital, then Science Blockchain, then Protos. They represented early attempts at creating digital securities that followed rules and regulations associated with securities.

Following in their footsteps, I had begun to work on SPiCE VC, a blockchain technology venture capital firm, in March 2017, which would eventually become the fourth digital security ever issued. At that time, the market was still heavily focused on ICOs and there was no platform that could provide the level of compliance to security tokens that we wanted for the issuance and lifecycle management of SPiCE VC, so we built one and launched it in September 2017.

By that time, the SEC had issued the DAO report saying that the infamous leaderless ICO, which raised $50 million in crowdfunding, was actually a security offering.

Secondly, many prominent people in the industry started discussing how tokenizing securities on the blockchain was a way to improve private securities and was a big deal beyond just making ICOs legal since it is a much larger market. For context, there were $1.7 trillion private placements in capital raising in the U.S. alone in 2017 as opposed to a few billion dollars in ICOs worldwide according to a 2018 SEC report.

We saw the opportunity to provide a compliant security issuance platform for others and spun it off as a new company called Securitize, which we launched in January 2018.

Along with other key players in the space like Polymath and Templum, we knew that eventually regulators would catch up with ICOs. The digital security offering (DSO) is already taking over as the preferred, complaint way to raise capital and issue debt on the blockchain and not only for blockchain companies but for other type of operating business or even real estate or art.

Transforming the securities landscape

2019 needs to be the year of increased liquidity of digital securities. This can be done via the emergence of regulated trading platforms for tokenized securities like Open Finance, which just launched this year.

Right now, there are several companies looking to tokenize assets but few individuals wanting to invest in the tokens themselves. As other regulators begin outlining the rules and guidelines around how transactions should take place, investor confidence will grow.

Public perception on digital securities is evolving too as the ecosystem is maturing. The drop in the cryptocurrency market has helped to consolidate the industry and cut out the unnecessary projects in the space. Mainstream financial media publications are covering the digital securities industry more frequently too, which is a great indication that the masses are beginning to recognize the benefits of cryptocurrency.

Digital security industry community building efforts are emerging with more to come in 2019. The first dedicated conferences and associations, like the Security Token Academy, are starting to gain momentum helping to stimulate meaningful dialogue in the industry.

The key action point for 2019, for the industry, is to start communicating the advantages of digital securities to traditional financial markets and investors to encourage them to enter the market. Once this starts to happen, we are optimistic that we will see a wave of DSO adoption.

Have an opinionated take on 2018? CoinDesk is seeking submissions for our 2018 in Review. Email news [at] coindesk.com to learn how to get involved.


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Author: Carlos Domingo
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Crypto 2019: Experts Predict Adoption But Also Losses

Investors will have more realistic expectations.

 

2018 was a thin harvest, but leaders of the crypto space are forecasting a bumper year in 2019. Leading executives at several blockchain startups expect adoption replacing speculation in the coming year, with regulatory clarity bringing in institutional players to create a stable market.  That said, some cautioned that the good harvest would only come after a harsh winter.

Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa, a Singapore-based blockchain platform, expects cryptocurrencies to find use in a diverse range of use cases. There will also be the opportunity to find solutions for operational pain-points, such as scalability, he says.

We will see a wave of widespread use cases in 2019 as organizations looking to implement and develop blockchain applications become more focused,” Dong told Crypto Briefing via email. “[It] may indeed be the year we address the existing challenges, see traction for the technology beyond the testnet phase, and welcome many far-reaching dApps.”

“So it is very likely that we will see some compelling use cases emerge,” he added.

Institutional adoption

Predictions at the start of 2018 had been particularly bullish. In a period of intense market euphoria, analysts were quick to forecast a trillion-dollar crypto market; Tom Lee from Fundstradt even predicted that Bitcoin (BTC) could trade for $25,000.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen, and a series of slides took the market down by approximately 84%, at the time of writing.

But price may not count for as much next year. “2018 has been a rollercoaster of a year for blockchain and crypto, with the focus being very much on market movements and the need for increased regulation in the space,” said Gabriele Giancola, CEO and Co-founder of qiibee, a blockchain-based loyalty project. “Moving into 2019, and further down the line, I believe we will begin to see a separation between hype and reality.”

Many see 2019 as the year institutional players make their move. Max Kordek, co-founder and CEO of Lisk (LSK), a blockchain platform, said that technological progress will mean blockchain can be slowly accepted by big business and governments. He believed that increasing adoption will lead to a change in views;  cryptocurrency will be treated less like a pariah and more as an alternative asset.

This was reflected by Craig Mc Gregor, CEO of the DSTOQ exchange, who argued cryptocurrency could become an ideal independent store of value. With greater regulatory clarity and a mature market, institutional investors could see cryptocurrencies as an ideal investment opportunity.

“Investors are looking for alternative opportunities to make profits and need alternative asset classes. This is why, the new asset class and technology is an attractive opportunity,” Mc Gregor said. “We see many big projects form some of the biggest players in the pipeline and expect 2019 to be a major year for cryptocurrencies as well as blockchain in general.”

Crypto 2019: It’s not all positive

Many figures see cryptocurrencies moving from the generalized function of ‘one coin to rule them all’, to a more industry-specific utility. Roger Lim, head of NEO Global Capital, said sophisticated projects will begin to target specific industries. But he also said there would likely be a cull: “With competitiveness rising, the blockchain industry is bound to undergo some sort of consolidation and the projects best equipped with a “survival of the fittest” mentality are the most likely to succeed,” he said.

Lim was not alone in emphasizing that the coming year will be mostly uphill. “Contrary to popular opinion, 2019 will not be about exciting new ways to use blockchains,” said Decred co-founder Jake Yocom-Piatt. “It will be about which cryptocurrencies get the fundamentals right, organize their collective intelligence, and can endure the gyrations induced by ignorant prospecting. Just like during the dot com bubble, endurance matters.”

Some businesses are already suffering from the extended bear market; Binance halved its profit forecasts to $500m. As Crypto Briefing extensively reported, ETCDev – the core developer for Ethereum Classic (ETC) – ceased operations last week by keeping all its assets in virtual currencies.

2018 was a transformative year for cryptocurrencies. Expectations have been lowered but long term, this will be beneficial. The sector doesn’t need hubris; it needs tangible products. Otherwise, what’s the point?


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Author: Paddy Baker
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