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April 2018

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All predecessor models of the MacBook Pro incorporate Apple’s iconic Chiming startup sound

Last week, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled a refreshed line of MacBook Pro, which incorporates significant upgrades over its predecessor versions. Interestingly, the new models of the MacBook Pro are engineered to automatically startup when the devices’ lids are lifted.

This process effectively eliminates the traditional startup chime sound that has been present in every previous-generation MacBook Pro. MacBook Pro users have become accustomed to the startup chime sound associated with the device, which might make it difficult for some to accept the sudden change introduced by the Cupertino-based tech giant.  

Pingie.com was the first to report removal of the traditional chime sound for the new 13-inch and 15-inch models of the MacBook Pro. Both new models of the MacBook Pro are designed to boot when users open the devices or if the devices are already plugged into a power source. Hence, this reengineering of the new MacBook Pro has effectively made the traditional Chime startup sound a surplus to requirement.

Interestingly, the iconic startup chime sound was developed by Apple as an indication to confirm that there are no software or hardware issues found by the diagnostic tests incorporated in the system. The company has implemented a similar chiming startup sound in majority of its Mac boot sequences since the early 90’s. Apple’s most recent “F-sharp” chord chime sound was implemented in its iMac G3 which was released way back in 1998. Apple engineer Jim Reekes originally recorded a “C-major” chord using a Korg keyboard back in 1991, and what most Apple computer users mostly hear these days is a pitch-shifted version of the original recording.

There is no doubt that the Chiming startup sound on the previous-generation Apple computers has created a significant association with the device, which is why it is not easy to accept such a sudden change. However, the new and improved boot process introduced by the Cupertino-based company can go a long way in convincing users to make the shift to the latest-generation MacBook Pro. Comment and let us know how you feel about the sudden removal of the iconic startup chime sound in the new MacBook Pro.

Seems like there are going to be challenges for the merger as President Donald Trump opposes it

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) had announced to acquire entertainment giant Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) for an amount of $85.4 billion. It has come into news that 13 senators have asked the telecommunication company how it managed to conclude that the merger is in te public’s interest.

The telecommunication giant had said earlier in a filing that it plans to go around the Federal Communication Commission in its acquisition. It is aiming to face only the review conducted by the Justice Department. In order to comply with the requirements of omitting the FCC review, AT&T will not acquire the Atlanta TV station which has a license of the FCC. If it acquires the TV station as well, it would become mandatory for the FCC to review the deal.

Democratic senators have, in a letter, asked both the companies to submit their replies to how their merger is in public interest by the 17th of next month. The letter states that the information should serve answers to the question: “detailing how you plan to ensure that the transaction benefits consumers, promotes competition, remedies all potential harms, and further serves the public interest.”

AT&T has said that it is open to answer all the questions related to the merger and will fulfil all the legal requirements. It further said that it will produce millions of documents as part of the Justice Department Hart-Scott-Rodino review process.

There can be challenges for both the companies as newly-elected President Donald Trump has opposed the merger. He has, in a recent interview, told the website Axios that there is no change in his stance and he wants to keep the competition.

AT&T shares gained 0.07% through the last session as they closed at $41.39. However, Time Warner stock lost 0.65% to closed down at $95.72.

Alphabet’s subsidiary has been fined yet again by another European country

Tech giant Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been fined $6.75 million in Russia reagarding an antitrust clause that lets smartphones manufacturers pre-install apps on their devices. Android devices are by far the most used devices in Russia and this led local search engine rival, Yandex, to file a complaint against Google for abusing its position.

The fine, however, is a small amount for Google, as Recode reports that the search engine giant makes more money than that in an hour. The decision by Russian authorities, on the other hand, shows that Google is still despised in most European countries as the search giant continues to try to establish a stronghold in the region.

Google has been under fire over the last few months from the European Union, which also has similar claims. The EU claims that one of the antitrust claims filed by the union speaks against how Google has abused its position and forced Android manufacturers to install the company’s services on their devices.

Google is still losing out to Yandex in Russia, as the local search giant has 60% of the total market. However, with users switching to mobile, Yandex is worried that it might just lose out in its race against the company.

Google isn’t the only company that is coming under fire from Russian authorities. Russian antitrust watchdog, the FSA recently stated that it is investigating Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as it is believed that the company is resposnbile for price-fixing for the company’s latest iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The claim states that the price for the new iPhone stayed the same for a long time through Apple and sixteen other retailers within the country. The agency was also quoted as saying: “The FAS believes that such a coincidence could be the result of a coordination of the pricing of Russian resellers by the Apple group of companies.”

Now you can finally root your Samsung SM – J700P

In the news, all you hear about are the newest and best flagships from all sorts of manufacturers, and mid-range phone like the Galaxy J7 get no love at all. In fact, actually phones like these sell the most. The most popular phone of this year as noted by GSM Arena was the Galaxy J7. The mid-range phone is a stellar and capable device, and with root access, you can unlock its true potential. 

Other variants of the device have had a root for a while but it was only this week that the root for the Boost/Virgin Mobile variant of the device was released. Today, we’re going to show you how to root the SM – J700P. 

What You Need 

A Samsung Galaxy J7 with an unlocked bootloader. You can unlock it by enabling OEM Unlocking in Developer Options  USB Debugging enabled on device  CF – Auto Root ZIP. Download here Odin. Download here  Samsung USB Drivers 

Step 1: Download and extract the ZIP file to your computer. Install Odin and launch it. 

Step 2: Next, you need to place your device into Download mode. To do it, first power off your phone. Press and hold Menu + Volume Down + Power Up until the device boots into download mode. 

Step 3: Connect your phone to the computer. In Odin, click on the AP button. You’ll be presented with a file selection prompt. Select the tar file extracted in Step 1. 

Step 4: Press Start. 

Odin will now flash the root file to your device and then reboot it. Once your phone reboots, it will be in a rooted state.

Next year is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple seems to have big plans for it

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is tipped again today to launch an iPhone, for the first time, without its signature Home button in 2017. The Home button is as old as it gets for Apple’s mainstream signature touches to its products, but it looks like the Home button’s time might be up as Apple gears up to launch its first iPhone with Organic Light Emitted Diode (OLED) display technology next year. According to a latest report by the Bloomberg, Apple seeks to design the next iPhone so that it looks like a “sheet of glass” on the front.

The Home button would, of course, be an obstacle in the way of making the next iPhone look like a sheet of glass on the front, which is why Apple is rumored to be doing away with its long-standing Home button. However, as a consequence of this step, the fingerprint scanner would then have to be integrated into the display itself.

Some of the other changes tipped for next year’s major iPhone refresh are an OLED display, introduction of the magnetic Smart Connector, and for the first time, an iPhone with a curved display. An all-glass form-factor has also been spoken of in some rumors, further solidifying the case for Apple’s reported complete redesign of iPhone for 2017.

In other news, Bloomberg has also reported that Apple could include Sony’s FeLica chip in its next iPhone that would allow users to pay for their mass-transit fee using their iPhone.

The Country Caller takes a look at why investors aren’t impacted by the negative news

The Oklahoma-based natural gas company, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) received a blow on Wednesday as the credit rating agency, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the stock’s credit rating. The downgrade by the credit rating agency was made from ‘CC’ to ‘SD’ or Selective Default.

The downgrade for the natural gas company comes after it decided to settle its non-convertible senior notes earlier. S&P did not take the development favorably calling it a distressed transaction. In addition to these early settlement notes the agency also downgraded its ratings on 6.625% notes due 2020, 6.875% notes due 2020, and 5.75% notes due 2023 to ‘D’ from ‘CC’.

As reported by the Street Insider, S&P regarding the issue said, “The downgrade follows the early settlement of accepted nonconvertible senior notes tendered prior to the early tender date (Aug. 25, 2016) of Chesapeake’s $800 million tender offer for its nonconvertible senior notes. We view the tenders on the 6.625% notes due 2020, 6.875% notes due 2020, and 5.75% notes due 2023 as a selective default because investors received a material discount to par on these notes.”

In addition to the downgrade from S&P, the company also came under the radar when the reputable investor Carl Icahn in a 13 D statement revealed that he had cut his stake in the Oklahoma based company. According to the latest reports, Mr. Icahn had reduced its stake from 9.4% or 73 million shares to 35.4 million shares or a 4.55% stake representing a decline of almost 5 percentage points.

Despite the downgrade and the reduction in stake by Carl Icahn, the stock for the company seems to be up and running. Investors in our opinion are still impressed by the company’s upcoming ventures, which they disclosed in the Barclays CEO conference. In the last one year, the company has done well to reduce debt and improve liquidity.

The e-commerce retail giant announced three additional fulfillment centers to be opened as it moves towards operational excellence

Cantor Fitzgerald reaffirmed a Buy rating on Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) with $800 price target, following Amazon’s recent cost-reducing measures in fulfillment centers (FCs). According to the analyst, the cost control will boost Amazon’s operational strength in comparison to off-line and online competitors and improve margins.

As the retail giant’s product offerings rise at double the pace of overall e-commerce industry, it yesterday announced the opening of three additional fulfillment centers — two in Canada and one in North America. The facilities are divided between smaller customer items and larger customer items’ picking, packing, and shipping operations.

Amazon is using surge pricing for its FBA offering to manage timing and volume of 3P inventory brought to its FCs. The move seems to aim at avoiding an escalation similar to the $200 million in incremental costs due to large 3P inventory inflow seen in 4QFY15. Amazon’s SFP program, implemented since last year, should also lessen the FBA peak season burden and the proprietary air cargo network build-out should further assist in reduced delivery cost and time.

The stock, with its $794.67 consensus PT, remains in green since yesterday’s news. The retail business soared almost 68% YoY in value and is expected to continue growth of up to 83.10% going into 2017. The revenue and EPS estimates are $29.57 billion and $1.10 for the June quarter while $130.07 billion and $5.34 for FY16.  Sales growth is estimated at 27.5% and 25.30% for the current quarter and the full year, respectively.

The bullish sentiments are also reflected by the recommendations of total analyst covering stock: 11 rate AMZN a Strong Buy, 28 rate it a Buy, four suggest a Hold, while none rate the stock a Sell.

The Country Caller discusses the two e-commerce companies and their doings with a technical analysis

Bellevue based Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Guangzhou based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) are two of the biggest names in the e-commerce industry. Both these giants have successfully catered to the needs of customers and have been growing phenomenally in the industry. Jack Ma’s Alibaba recently broke the sales records earlier this month in Singles Day. However, the Beijing based retailer is under scrutiny by regulators in relation with the accounting policies of the company.

On the other hand, e-commerce giant Amazon is undergoing its Black Friday sales and has put up a lot of exciting deals. However, the company’s discounts are a lot lesser than competitors such as Macy’s Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which may create a hurdle in reporting impressive sales numbers. Nonetheless, the company is still expected to report some positive developments in the event. The Country Caller discusses the two e-commerce companies with an indepth technical analysis.

Amazon currently appears to be approaching an overbought region, as indicators such as RSI and oscillators suggest. However, the bull/bear indicator suggests that the bulls are in power. Although the stock seems to have picked up from its 5-day moving average, it has followed a downtrend from its 50-day moving average.

Major price level for Amazon today is $783.78, a break above which will further lead to $787.44 and $796.43 levels, respectively. Major support resides at $774.79, a break below which will further plummet to $769.46 and $760.47 levels, respectively. The Country Caller remains cautious about the stock’s performance today.

Alibaba stock has been trading in the low ranges recently over investor concerns about Singles Day probe. Indicators such as RSI and oscillators hint bear dominated conditions, while the bull/bear indicator confirms to these views. The e-commerce giant is currently trading below its 50-day moving average.

Major price level for Alibaba today is $93.80, a break above which will lead to $94.58 and $96.53 levels, respectively. Major support resides at $91.85, a fall below which may further depress to $90.68 and $88.73 levels, respectively. The Country Caller remains bullish on the stock.

CVS Health stock is relatively inexpensive and presents a buying opportunity

CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) is going to appreciate considerably in the year 2017, says Guggenheim analyst John Heinbockel. According to the sum-of-the-part analysis performed by the analyst, the shares of CVS Health Corp trades at a discount and have considerable upside potential. The initial guidance provided by the company for the next month implies significant upside potential.

CVS Health Corp is expected to host Analyst Day event on December 15. According to Mr. Heinbockel, the company’s risk reward profile is extremely favorable and the number of headwinds in both – near term and long term – is very limited. The analyst recommends the stocks to investors for near and long-term profitability and growth. He believes that going into the Analyst Day, the company has a lot of positive.

Mr. Heinbockel expects investors to have a positive change in sentiment following the Analyst Day and recommends buying the stock as it might gain significantly in the aftermath of the day. The risk associated with the company in terms of profitability during the year 2017 has been eliminated for the most part.

The shares of the company currently trade at 13 times the price to earnings ratio of the business, which is extremely cheap considering the peers in the industry. The company expects the management to provide a clear and concise path to 10% secular EPS growth, which Mr. Heinbockel believes, is very possible given the current situation of the stock. Growth of only 5% in the company’s EBIT will be enough to conform to this goal given the strong FCF generation capabilities of the business.

The analyst reaffirmed Buy rating along with price target of $90. The ratings for CVS Health Corp are 10 Buy, 9 Outperform, and 5 Hold. The stock currently trades at a price of $80.08.

Watson Element will be the first ‘MobileFirst for iOS’ education app in collaboration of Apple and International Business Machines

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) initiated a partnership in 2014 under the “MobileFirst for iOS” title. Ever since then, the companies have rolled out more than 30 apps useful in various different industries. However, this is the first time the tech giants are launching a collaborated app in the educational arena. This app will be called IBM Watson Element for Educators.

The app is designed especially for iPads and will track the academic performances of students. It will also oversee students’ interests, hobbies, accomplishments, and behavioral attributes. The teachers will be allowed to add notes to students’ profiles such as important soccer matches or recitals or any injury or allergy of the student. These notes will be available for other teachers to see so they can keep a better check on important events, health and traits of the specific student.

This app facilitates educators further by linking to IBM web app, Watson Enlighten, aimed at lesson planning. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recommend customized lessons to individual students according to their limitations or hobbies. For instance, it can customize a more visual approach to mathematics for a dyslexic student.

Watson Element is being used with Coppell Independent School District in Texas. Apple will assist in the complete acceptance of the app by encouraging it as a part of its school package. In 2014 when Apple and IBM joined hands, they had aimed to develop 100 apps and cloud services. After the partnership, IBM has started to distribute and support Mac for other organizations. Now, IBM has become the largest Mac deployment as IBM employees are offered Macs as an official part of their jobs. It is revealed that IBM is deploying 1,300 Macs per week and aims to hit the number to 10,000 by 2017.

This collaboration between tech rivals has certainly proved fruitful for Apple, IBM, and various industries for which Apple and IBM are developing apps. If tech giants come together as partners and not rivals, they can benefit themselves and the human race.