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September 2018

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Tesla generates $12-14 million in Tesla Energy revenue during 1QFY16 via delivering 25MWh of energy storage

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) reported financial numbers for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016 (1QFY16), beating the consensus estimate and announcing a new production plan; though, the management’s future plans were too ambitious for Street analysts.

While everyone was focusing on the company’s automotive divisions after it generated about 400,000 Model 3 pre-orders, many probably missed out that Tesla Energy put on a great performance during the quarter. Tesla posted sales number for its battery-storage arm for the first time in 1QFY16 Shareholder Letter.

During the quarter, the automaker successfully delivered more than 2,500 home-battery systems the Powerwall and roughly 100 commercial batteries the Powerwall in four continents: North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The total sales represented more than 25 MWh of energy storage.

Although the company did not reveal the contribution of Tesla Energy to its “Services and other” revenue stream, we can find an estimated revenue number from the product’s tag prices listed on TeslaEnergy.com.

We already know that the company has been only offering the 6.4kWh Powerwall system which is priced at $3,000. An overwhelming demand for the Powerwall version encouraged the company to solely focus on it. Thus, Tesla discontinued its 10kWh Powerwall system. With over 2,500 unit sales, it is safe to assume that Powerwall generated revenue of at least $7.5 million during 1QFY16.

Powerpack revenue computation is a bit complicated because it can be customized by customers in any way between 2 Powerpacks and 54 Powerpacks, along with bi-directional inverter and cabling and site support hardware. Here’s  the complete pricing and other details related to the commercial battery system.

Since we have no idea about the number of Powerpacks customers for those 100 units and their customized orders, we are taking into account the price of a unit which is $47,000. Excluding inverters and cabling/hardware, Tesla Energy generated $4.7 million from Powerwall sales. Including other equipments, the revenue sold increased to $6-7 million.

Thus, Tesla Energy revenue should be between $12 million to $14 million for the first quarter, which does represent strong start for the new business division. Merely four months after Tesla Energy unveiling in March 2014, the company had 100,000 reservations worth $1 billion for its battery systems.

The management expects the division’s strong momentum will “continue to build” and ensured analysts during the recent earnings call that the segment is not being constrained by Tesla’s vehicle requirement at the Gigafactory.

CEO Elon Musk sees more potential in the battery storage arm than the automotive division, as he stated: “And I think the growth rate of Tesla Energy is on a percentage basis only going to be far greater than the growth rate in cars.”

 

 

The new driver will be available by this week

As promised by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) earlier this week, we have received an update on the upcoming Crimson driver that will fix the power draw issue of Radeon RX-480. AMD has issued a public statement which you can read up here.

AMD has promised that the upcoming Crimson driver 16.7.1 will address the PCI-E power issue that spiked up as a hot new topic among hardware enthusiasts and those who own the new GPU. The driver will address the issue by lowering the current RX-480 draws from the PCI-E slot. Additionally, AMD has implemented a new mode that will reduce the total power the GPU draws but the performance hit will be minimal. This is sort of an added protection and is disabled by default.

To give our readers some backstory, AMD launched RX-480 last month and while the GPU fared positively well across every review, it was discovered that there is a potentially dangerous issue with the RX-480. The GPU was noted to draw more power from the PCI-E slot than the specified 75W which caused stressing on the motherboard, leading to issues with on-board audio to even severe cases where the PCI-E itself stopped working. Out of the box, the issue wasn’t a cause for concern but many owners overclocked the GPU which led to issues mentioned before.

While AMD believes the reported power draws do not present a risk of damage, they wanted to address the growing concerns and lay them to rest for once and for all. As per the statement, the new driver will be released in the next 48 hours.

On top of addressing the issue, there have been performance improvements for the GPU that will see 3% boost in several games. AMD believes the new performance increases will offset the performance hit should users decide to use the new power mode.

Amazon has rolled out its music streaming service, Amazon Music Unlimited, in the UK

Speculation confirms that retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has finally launched its Amazon Music Unlimited service in the UK. Since tech giants like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google seem to be busy perfecting their respective streaming services, it is apparent that Amazon is hoping to join the race.

Amazon rolled out with its streaming service back in October for the US, getting its customers’ hopes up around the world. Since the trend of music streaming is rapidly rising, thanks to the advent of platform like Apple Music and Tidal, Music Unlimited brags that its library comprises of 40 million soundtracks. Subsequently, the service will cost users’ approximately £9.99 per month.

However, UK is not the only country welcoming Amazon’s streaming service. After it originally rolled out in the US with its launch, Amazon has today also expanded the service to Germany and Austria. While the company has not disclosed any plans or details regarding the platform’s release in other countries yet, there is a very strong likelihood that Amazon will not risk wasting too much time.

This is mainly because platforms like Apple Music, which launched a year back, is already well on its way of bagging more than 15 million subscribers. However, this is not the only factor contributing to Amazon’s worries. While the iPhone-maker’s music platform may be doing well, it is evident that the streaming markets are mostly dominated by Spotify.

With 40 million paying users and an even larger proportion of “freemium” users accessing the service to make use of its free streaming benefits, Spotify’s threshold in markets has made it extremely difficult for emerging streaming platforms to steal the spotlight. Now, with Amazon’s music service available in the UK, there is a chance that retail giant’s efforts to expand to other countries may pay off.

What’s more interesting is that the company has created its streaming platform with support for its Bluetooth speaker, the Echo device. Powered by its virtual assistant, Alexa, the Echo works as a smart-home controller for a wide range of devices. Here’s what even more important: the Echo owners will be able to access the streaming service for an even cheaper rate, at £3.99 per month.

We believe that Amazon’s deicison to bring Echo support to the new streaming service is mainly to promote both its divisons. Considering that the trend of smart-speakers has risen drastically thanks to the Echo’s debut, there is a high probability that users in the UK will jump at the opportunity of controlling and navigating through the new Amazon music platform by simply using their voice-commands. This not only helps Amazon to join the race with Apple and Spotify in the front, but it also increases chances that the company may give its streaming rivals a run for their money.

Is the new Apple iPhone an improvement worth buying over its predecessor?

After Apple’s March 21 event, there has been a lot of talk about whether or not the iPhone SE meets expectations. So far, the iPhone has proven itself to be a worthy upgrade to its predecessor, but nothing more.

In order to come to a better conclusion and to see whether the iPhone SE holds its ground, it is necessary to compare it to its predecessor, the iPhone 5S, a device that has been in the market for as much as 2 ½ years and counting.

For starters, both phones have the same screen size and resolution, each of them has a 4-inch screen and sport a Retina resolution of 1136 x 640. Additionally, its screen-to-body ration is the same, while both devices support multi-touch support. In other words, there is really no difference between the iPhone SE and 5S when it comes to the display.

Unlike the iPhone 5S, which has three variations: 16GB, 32GB and the 64GB, the latest iteration has two: 16GB and the 64GB. The iPhone SE may have disappointed some hardcore fans of the iPhone 5 form factor, but Apple insists that storage is not that much of a problem considering how optimized apps are nowadays when it comes to their data footprint, along with the inclusion of the iCloud and the significant growth that one can see of cloud-based services and applications.

The real difference between the two devices lies within their chipset, CPU, GPU and RAM. The iPhone 5S has an A7 chipset with 1.3GHz dual-core Cyclone processor, while the iPhone SE has an A9 chipset with a 1.84GHz dual-core Twister processor which is as much as 2 times as fast as its predecessor. The iPhone 5S comes equipped with 1GB of RAM and a PowerVR G6430 quad-core GPU, while the iPhone SE has 2GB of RAM and has a PowerVR GT7600 six-core GPU instead. There is no doubt the iPhone SE has better specs in comparison to its predecessor, but seeing how Apple’s devices are highly optimized and coupled with the fact that support for iOS 9.3 runs all the way to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone SE, while an impressive upgrade is hardly a game changer when it comes to processing throughput with its older sibling having at least a year or more of life in it even with its aging chipset.

In conclusion, as mentioned earlier, the real difference between the iPhone SE and the 5S is that it has better hardware internals, and it seems as though Apple is reselling the same product all over again, with the iPhone 6S in the shell of an iPhone 5S in general. Though the iPhone SE does boast a better 12 megapixel rear camera in comparison to iPhone 5S’s 8 megapixel rear camera, the iPhone SE is essentially targeting a different market niche.  It is safe to say that the iPhone SE is a selective investment at best, and most iPhone users would fare better waiting for the iPhone 7, which, if it follows patterns, should be available around the 3rd quarter of 2016.

Federal authorities now believe that they can unlock the iPhone that they previously wanted Apple’s help for

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) spat with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the San Bernardino iPhone encryption case has been well-publicized, the climax of which was scheduled for March 22. However, the government has now achieved staying orders on the Department of Justice’s demand to Apple to unlock the device in question, as they now believe that the authorities are capable of breaking into the iPhone belonging to the chief suspect of the San Bernardino shootings.

An iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, believed to be the prime suspect in the December shootings, has been in FBI custody for more than a few months. After attempting to unlock the suspect’s device by themselves, and failing to do so, the authorities pursued a court order compelling Apple to create a backdoor to the iOS device which would grant access to the authorities by bypassing the device’s software security.

Apple had then rejected the court’s demands, citing the potential misuse of any such “govtOS” created to decrypt an iPhone’s security protocol, after which the matter was taken to court. March 22 was the date given for the showdown between what has since become a Government vs Silicon Valley tug-of-war.

However, after security firm Trail of Bits described a method in its blog post which could potentially override the security put in place by Apple on iPhones, the authorities have rushed to get staying orders over the impending court hearing in the matter.

According to the Trail of Bits blogpost, Apple could create a version of its firmware without the passcode interval and auto-erase mode on the iPhone, which could be used to override the existing firmware in DFU mode.

This could mean one major complication for Apple: instead of insisting that it is simply not able to assist the authorities in unlocking the device, the company would have to successfully argue that it should not do so on solid grounds.

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We ourselves are of the view that Apple is absolutely right in taking a stand against the government in this impending legal battle over iPhone, protecting internet and online security. However, the FBI’s failure to explore all avenues of extracting the information that it needs from late Mr. Farooq’s iPhone is what has caused this drag in the matter. Now, after engaging the rest of the Silicon Valley and law enforcement agencies, and engulfing the whole country in this debate, the FBI feels there is one more option that it should look into before going to court against Apple. We believe this is extremely careless on FBI’s part, not to mention absolutely unnecessary.

Testing of the feature is set to begin from July 11, before rolling out to the rest of the users

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is reported to be working on an offline video option that would allow users in India to download and save videos for viewing later, in a bid to conserve data and tackle abysmal Internet connections.

Facebook sent an email to select publishers on the platform stating that users would be able to download videos when browsing on an Internet connection that is good enough, and they would be able to watch them later without incurring extra data charges or having to face hurdles like little or no connectivity. Facebook also mentioned in the email sent to publishers that in a country like India, people suffer from having to use their services on slow connections that are often responsible for issues with streaming on the platform. This offline video feature would seek to address those issues by allowing users to download them on a device when connected to a faster connection.

That is not to say that Facebook is enabling an option to download its videos to the device storage; the offline video content would be saved to the Facebook app, which would also help to prevent privacy. It is important to note the difference here between downloading the videos and saving them; in this feature, videos on Facebook would be streamed when on a proper connection and made ready to view later without an active connection. No files or data would be saved to the device.

This is another feature from Facebook that hopes to address Internet issues in emerging markets, especially where connections are slow and users are option to use the services on mobile. Facebook Lite and Free Basics were services also aimed at improving the experience for the same users, and the video saving feature in India is another one in the series.

Based on positive supply chain data, the firm believes Apple shares have a 15% upside for the coming 90 days

Just a month ahead of Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) annual September 9 event where it reveals the new iPhone every year, research firm Maxim Group has updated its thesis on the stock. The firm has reiterated its Buy rating and $173 12-month price target on the stock, which reflects 60.18% upside potential over its last close.

Nehal Chokshi, the analyst at the research firm, said that he expects at least 15% more upside for the stock over the coming 90 days. He explained that the factors which led him to this conclusion included positive supply chain data and results of a proprietary survey the firm conducted. Mr. Chokshi explained that he expects the iPhone 7 unit cycle to trend up 16% from last year, which is quite better than the Street’s flattish unit profile.

Quoting results from Maxim’s survey, the analyst said that it appears Apple’s revenue for the December quarter would rise 15% year-on-year, 19% ahead of the Street’s estimate. “The combination of our higher-than-consensus iPhone 7 cycle unit year-over-year growth projection (about 1,600 basis points) and a timing difference between when year-over-year growth peaks (We see December quarter versus consensus at the June quarter), which results in a December quarter revenue estimate 19% higher than consensus,” he added.

The analyst said his 12-month price target of $173 was derived from a 15x enterprise value/net income multiple on his $9.75 EPS estimate for the coming 12-month period. He also said his survey data indicated iPhone unit sales through fiscal year 2018 would rise 11% YoY, marking two consistent years where the company reported growth in iPhone units sales.

The analyst also said that the iPhone 7 and the next iPhone would be much like the fifth-generation iPhones, i.e. the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S. He pointed out that the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 did not have a major change in form factor, except for the phone length. However, the fifth-generation cycle still delivered 63% more unit growth than the fourth-generation iPhones. Based on that, Mr. Chokshi said he estimates the seventh-generation iPhone unit sales to grow 20% higher than those of the sixth generation.

The space services provider is working hard to resolve its problems and to restart its operations in November, as it has more than 70 missions in its backlog

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, SpaceX, recently received a setback from a pad blast earlier in the month but it is now aiming to resume its flights by November. This news came in after the recent launch pad fire destroyed its Falcon 9 rocket along with a communication satellite belonging to Israel.

The Israeli communications satellite was due to lift to the orbit as a part of the launch. The company suspended its services for Falcon 9 as a result of investigations about the fire caused by the satellite accident. 

In conference held in Paris, President Gwynne Shotwell stated: “We’re anticipating … being down for about three months, getting back to flight in the November timeframe.” The company, however, was not clear to the press on the repairs needed by the rocket to return back to the operations in November.

Moreover, Mr. Shotwell did not give any details on how damaged the launch pad damaged really was, and what was the damage to the support equipment at the ground. However, it did destroy $200 million satellite that was owned by the Israeli Space Communication.

Furthermore, SpaceX announced that its launch site at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre located in Florida is expected to finish in November. The launch pad was last used by NASA to launch space shuttles about five years ago. NASA stated that it had no reservations with SpaceX using the Kennedy space centre. The space agency is confident that SpaceX would come out of this accident and would recover from everything it went through.

Moreover, sources have stated that there were no changes made to the implementation and planning activities. The first flight to take place from this launch pad would be of Falcon 9 rocket and not previously scheduled introduction of Falcon Heavy. Moreover, the first Falcon Heavy flight is scheduled for first quarter of FY17. Falcon Heavy is considered as 27-engine version of its nine-engine Falcon 9. The customer to take part in the return flight mission remains unknown.

Moreover, Vandenberg site has also extended its support to aid the launch in November. Prior to the accident, the company had planned to launch another rocket in September. It currently has 70 missions or more in its backlog, worth $10 million. Therefore, SpaceX needs to resolve its problems soon. Earlier, 27 flights have successfully taken place using Falcon 9, while only one flight failed to meet its endpoint.

Yum reported Q2 earnings beat yesterday, resulting in a stock rally during after-hours trading

Yum! Brands Inc (NYSE:YUM) reported its financial performance for the second quarter of this year yesterday when the market closed. As the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell reported an earnings beat, the shares of the company surged about 4.56% during the after-market trading hours.

The Louisville, Kentucky based fast food chain reported revenue of about $3.01 billion during the second quarter of the current year, which rose by 3% across the globe as compared to the same quarter of the prior year. However the company’s 2QFY16 revenue fell short of Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $3.09 billion, as per the consensus estimate gathered by Thomson Reuters. In addition to this, the system wide same store sales also remained flat for the quarter ended June 30, 2016.

Yum! Brands posted earnings of around 75 cents per share, which translates into a 9% rise in comparison to the previous year’s same quarter. The fast food chain also beat the Wall Street analysts’ consensus estimate of 74 cents.

The company’s Chinese business segment was a major focus of attention in the second quarter earnings report. Yum China reported an even same store sales growth for the recent quarter, while excluding the foreign currency impact resulted in an increase of 3% in the comparable store sales. When compared to the same three month period of 2015, the improvement appears to be immense as the same store sales during the prior year’s same quarter shrank by 10%.

The Chief Executive Officer at Yum! Brands, Greg Creed highlighted in the earnings release yesterday that the challenging industry conditions in United States were a major factor resulting in soft sales results. However, he said: “We’re confident in our plans to drive second-half sales improvement led by a continued focus on innovation, value and our core products.”

At current levels, Yum! Brands stock trades between the 52-week range of $64.58 and $92.16 and has a Price to Earnings multiple of about $28.26 times.

The stock is covered by 27 Wall Street analysts and of these, 11 analysts rate the stock as a Buy, 15 analysts rate the stock as a Hold while the remaining analyst recommends a Sell.

According to the company’s statement released on Wednesday, it aims to drill more than twenty four exploration wells

Aead of the OPEC meeting with other oil producers last November ending on a positive note, oil and gas prices showed a slight rally resulting in energy companies to up their exploration and production programs. Being in the same league, Norwegian energy major Statoil ASA (ADR) (NYSE:STO) aims to boost and fast pace its drilling plan.

According to the company’s statement released on Wednesday, it aims to drill more than twenty four exploration wells. The latest move comes in the wake of Norway based STO’s exploration program. Tim Dodson, Executive Vice President for the company, stated that the company plans to drill near thirty exploration wells, where not only would it act as the operator but would also be the partner.

The planned number of exploration wells means a 30% rise from the wells that the company drilled last year when the oil prices persistently extended their declines, remaining to trade below $50 per barrel for the most part of the year.

According to Mr. Dodson, “The upcoming well program is balanced between proven, well known basins and new frontier opportunities.” He however stated that the drilling aims are highly based on availability of permiting rigs as well as securing of regulator and government approvals.

Russia, Brazil and Turkey are viewed as suitable options for the company to carry out drilling plans. The Country Caller believes that the drilling plans of the company would immensely contribute to the company’s production, helping it to cover up the losses it made amid the oil downturn last year.