5 things to know today ….
1. Demand for Apple’s iPhone SE is outpacing supply, according to RBC analyst Amit Daryanani. He thinks Apple will sell about 40 million SEs this year, and that 15 million of those will be incremental sales, meaning that those buyers would not have chosen another iPhone if the SE were not available.
RBC’s forecast comes less than a week after another equity analyst, KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo, wrote that “initial demand for the iPhone SE following the announcement has been significantly lower than that of past new models.” The iPhone SE is not a new flagship device for Apple; instead it offers the functionality of high-end models packed into a smaller form factor with a lower price.
2. BlackBerry reportedly plans to launch two new smartphones, one with a keyboard and one with a touchscreen. CEO John Chen said the new phones will have lower price points than the BlackBerry Priv, which has not been a strong seller. Just over half a million Priv smartphones were sold during the first quarter.
Chen came to BlackBerry after successfully turning around Sybase, a software company, and some analysts and investors hoped he would focus on BlackBerry’s security software instead of on smartphones. Chen has worked to grow BlackBerry’s software business, but is clearly not abandoning hardware.
3. Yahoo is reportedly giving potential buyers another week to formulate their bids for the company. Verizon is expected to try to buy Yahoo, and at this time the carrier appears to be the frontrunner as no other bidders have publicly expressed an interest.
4. BMW will launch a car service to compete with Uber, according to Bloomberg. The German luxury carmaker has owned a stake in a service called RideCell since 2014, and this year will start offering car service through a mobile app, beginning at select times in Seattle. The fleet will include 370 vehicles, some of which will be i3 electric cars.
5. The California Public Utility Commission is opposing proposed state legislation that would set a timeline for AT&T’s sunsetting of wireline telephone service in parts of the state. The five member commission voted 3-2 to oppose the bill, which is making its way through the state legislature.
The bill sets a number of requirements that AT&T would have to meet before discontinuing service, but if those requirements are met AT&T would not have to continue investing in its wired infrastructure in parts of California that do not have the population to support service. People there would instead rely on wireless service for Internet and telephony.
Even if the bill passes, wireline customers will not lose their service for another four years. The bill states that “withdrawal of any voice grade single-line telephone service will not take place prior to January 1, 2020.” By that time, commercial deployments of 5G technology are expected to be underway, bringing faster wireless networks with more bandwidth. Of course there is no guarantee that less populated areas will get 5G service.
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