Team Lasso Heads to Washington and the Value of an Unopened iPhone

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Big tech does well post SVB collapse, Apple Retail may hit Mumbai next month, and Team Lasso heads to the White House.

Barron’s: Big Tech Fares Well Despite SVB and Other Banking Issues

As fascinating as I find financial news, there’s a lot about it that I don’t get. No expert am I — I’m just a guy who’s been watching this stuff for seventeen or eighteen years. And there is still plenty I do not get. 

With all of that in mind, there was an article in Barron’s (via Apple News) last week that I found interesting. You’ve no doubt heard about the very recent “bank blowups,” as that site refers to them. They have included the Silicon Valley Bank collapse and the closure of New York’s Signature Bank a little over a week ago, as well as the agreed upon takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS over the weekend. 

Not surprisingly, those led to a not so great week for the financial sector. Somewhat surprisingly, Barron’s says tech shares did pretty well last week. That’s despite the unsettling financial news starting with “the downfall of one of the sector’s favorite lenders,” SVB. Heading into last Friday, the piece says:

  • The NASDAQ was up 4% over the previous five trading sessions
  • The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund was up 4.1%
  • Apple was up 3.8%
  • Microsoft was up 9.9%
  • Alphabet was up 8.8%

What the what? The way Barron’s saw it last Thursday night:

…parts of big tech can look pretty defensive—especially relative to shakier regional banks or cash-hungry start-ups that are still chasing profitability. 

Apple’s got a lot of cash. Microsoft has a lot of cash. Alphabet has a lot of cash. While each can be battered #InThisEconomy, each seems more than likely to weather the storm. “Certainly,” reads the Barron’s piece:

…those companies aren’t immune to the broader economic environment: In a recession, fewer people might upgrade their iPhones or invest in new tech equipment or services. Nonetheless, few analysts doubt these firms’ long-term dominance and resilience. 

Report: Apple Retail Opening Mumbai Flagship in April

Apple’s long anticipated retail move into India may finally only be weeks away. Apple Must highlights a report from The Economic Times out of India saying, “The first Apple Retail store in India will open in Mumbai in April…” That’ll be followed by a second location in New Delhi, opening soon after. 

According to the report, “the flagship Mumbai store will occupy 22,000 feet at the Jio World Drive Mall.” Despite its mall setting, the piece says that store will have “the same high level design as Apple’s other flagship stores in the US, Europe, China, and UK.” 

The piece says Apple started staffing for both stores back in January. Both stores are also said to be finished as far as the buildout goes. “While the opening is imminent,” Apple Must says:

…the final dates are thought to depend on the availability of Apple executives. Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and People is very likely to host the openings, but it isn’t known if others will make the trip.

I’m not his travel coordinator, but it’s hard to imagine Tim Cook not tagging along. It’s a flagship store in a whole new country — one that Cook himself called “a hugely exciting market” on Apple’s most recent earnings call. Cook said on the same call that Apple would “soon bring Apple Retail” to India, lending credence to talk of retail kicking off there in the near future.

Boston, Mass. Gets Apple Maps’ Detailed City Experience

The Cradle of Liberty’s gotten a polish in Apple Maps. MacRumors says the maps app’s Detailed City Experience has taken over Boston, Massachusetts. The piece has Apple indicating that the updated experience:

…provides richer detail for road markings, buildings, commercial districts, marinas, land cover, trees, elevation, public transit routes, and more. Navigation is also improved with the additions of augmented reality walking directions and a road-level “windshield view” when approaching complex interchanges.

Oh, I do miss a good rotary. 

Would be wanderers get all of that, plus “custom-designed 3D models of popular landmarks,” like Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall Market Place, and the Hancock. 

To have a look around: Open Apple Maps, tap in Boston, MA, and go nuts. 

Unopened, Original iPhone Sells at Auction for ~$55K

What’s an unopened, original iPhone worth these days? Last week it was about $55,000. RR Auctions’ “Steve Jobs and the Apple Computer Revolution” auction concluded last week. Among the items up for bids was one of Apple’s original communicators — untouched by human hands, save the hands that put the thing together and put it in its box. 

They’re suddenly a hot-ticket item. Last year, according to a piece from MacRumors, one sold for $35,000 while another sold for $39,000. Last month one sold for a little over $63,000 — that was the one that was supposed to see proceeds go to opening a tattoo studio. The story may have helped that one hit its height. The one sold last week ended up going for $54,904.

I’ll tell you something that may not be so hot right now. Up for bids in the RR Auctions auction was a previously unknown Apple-1 Computer. While the MacRumors piece says that sold at auction for an undisclosed sum, another piece on the auction from Cult of Macsays that machine “did not sell.” Expected to go for $500,000 or more, the Cult figures the machine did not move “because bids didn’t reach their reserve price.” 

So — one site says the sale price was undisclosed. Another says the thing didn’t sell. Somebody’s wrong. Whatever the case — an unopened, original iPhone currently fetches just under $55,000. 

Apple TV+ Releases Short Featuring Hazmat Bunnies from Luck

Apple TV+ seems to be going for sort of a “minions” thing. Last week for St. Patrick’s Day, iLounge says the Cupertino-streamer released an animated short, “Bad Luck Spot!”, featuring the hazmat bunnies from the animated feature Luck. 

Though I’ve not seen the feature, the bunnies appear to do cleanup in the land of “Luck.” According to the short’s description, the “hazmat bunnies jump on a very important task that gets hilariously out of control.”

The easiest way to find the short is to find the feature Luck and scroll down. Both Luck and “Bad Luck Spot!” Are available now on Apple TV+.

‘Ted Lasso’ Cast Members Head to White House for Mental Health Awareness

And finally today, one Apple TV+ title is leaning into the whole “great stories can change the world” thing. 9to5Mac says members of the cast of the Apple TV+ hit “Ted Lasso” are due at the White House today. Citing a report from the Associated Press, the piece says:

…President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will host the Ted Lasso cast to “discuss the importance of addressing your mental health to promote your overall well-being.”

That has been a central theme of “Ted Lasso.” In season one, it was more of an attitudinal thing, though the second season did have a few characters addressing their mental health in a traditional therapist/patient structure. 

How starstruck will the president and first lady be? Eh… I mean, he is the president, so there’s that to consider. Also — doesn’t sound like he’d have a favorite episode, per se. According to the AP:

A White House official said the Bidens had seen some of the show and are familiar with its “message of positivity, hope, kindness, and empathy.”

Well, workers in the West Wing might be excited, anyway. Members of Team Lasso expected today include Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt, Toheeb Jimoh, Cristo Fernandez, and several others.

You’re bound to know this, but just in case you don’t — season three of “Ted Lasso” kicked off last Wednesday. You can catch season one, season two, and the first episode of season three now on Apple TV+. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I will talk about Ted Lasso’s trip to the White House and other great stories… Plus: Stuff we didn’t buy at the “Steve Jobs” auction and one piece of mail for Mailbag Monday… That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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