THE Apple Event* and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

I wanted to preface this week’s news roundup with a commentary on the new Apple Watch but that commentary has ballooned into a full-blown post which I will most likely finish in the next few days. But that’s an Apple event for you, we can’t really stop at a few words to comment about it. At least for me anyway. But I also can’t let this week go by without saying anything about Apple’s newest products: the Apple Watch and the new MacBook.

First, the Apple Watch. Starting at $349 for the sport edition and starting at $10,000 for the Gold Edition (whaat?), reactions have ranged from excitement to contempt but the consensus seems to be that people will still most likely buy it.

But, enough about the watch for now though, I’ll save that for my full post. What about that Macbook? Only Apple could get away with sticking one port on a laptop with a $1299 price tag and then charge another $80 for each dongle for all other peripherals. Well, actually, we should probably be thankful. They could easily have gone with zero port, charge at least $200 for a wireless station for charging and make the laptop only work with Apple screens, Apple printers, Apple mouse, etc. But the most remarkable thing about this move? A new category of devices: a hybrid between a tablet and a laptop – tabtop?

Here are the most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. Valuations/Investments: Snapchat is now worth $15B after Alibaba‘s $200M investment; Lyft valuation at $3B after raising a new $530M round led by Japanese e-commerce giant, Rakuten
  2. Earnings: Intel slashes almost $1B from Q1 revenue forecast as desktop demand weakens; Box first earnings report since IPO beats revenue expectations but earnings miss hit share price, down nearly 14.71% on Wednesday
  3. Acquisitions: Amazon acquires Internet of Things startup 2lemetry; Google in talks to buy Indian mobile advertising startup InMobi
  4. Genetic testing startup 23andMe Inc. will now use its repository of genetic data to develop drugs
  5. Alibaba and China’s largest car maker by sales, SAIC Motor set up a $160M fund to develop Internet-connected cars

In retail:

  1. Apple Watch Event: Apple goes defensive in advertising purchase with Twitter to prevent social media hijacking during Monday’s keynote; Apple stores remove Jawbone UP24, Nike Fuelband from their shelves to make way for Apple Watch’s arrival on April 24
  2. Senators bring back online sales tax bill, the Marketplace Fairness Act
  3. Earnings: Urban Outfitters reports 12% increase in Q4 sales led by Free People and Anthropologie; Italian fashion house Valentino reports 36% gain in revenues, 57% increase in earnings for 2014
  4. Europe’s largest online fashion retailer, Zalando, is selling 7.3% stake valued at €434M ($465M)
  5. US largest shopping mall operator Simon Property Group in a $22.4B hostile bid for rival Macerich; deal will combine two of US’ three largest shopping mall operators

*If you have been a reader of this blog, you would know that when it comes to Apple products, I do veer between admiration and incredulous disgust quite a bit so needless to say, this title has a hint of irony to it.

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