Tag: Starts

01
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Amazon’s palm reading starts at the grocery store, but it could be so much bigger

Earlier this week, Amazon unveiled Amazon One: new technology for its Amazon Go stores that lets shoppers pay for their groceries by scanning the palm of their hand. By analyzing the shape of your hand and the unique configuration of veins under your skin, Amazon says its technology can verify your identity the same way facial recognition does.

Although Amazon One will initially be used for payments only, it’s clear the tech giant has much bigger ambitions for this hardware. In the future, it says, Amazon One could not only be used for shopping but as a replacement for tickets at music and sporting events, and as an alternative to your office keycard, letting you scan in with a swipe of your hand. In other words, Amazon One isn’t a payment technology. It’s an identity technology, and one that could give Amazon more reach into your life than ever before.

Understandably, some experts are skeptical about Amazon’s claims of convenience, and worry about a company with a spotty track record on privacy becoming the controller of a new identity standard. Whether it’s Amazon’s use of biased facial recognition algorithms or its ambitions to grow a network of home surveillance cameras, this is an organization that has proved many times that individual privacy is not always its biggest concern. Is it a good idea if Amazon knows exactly who you are from the palm of your hand?

Let’s start by looking at the technology itself, which is blessedly straightforward. Palm scanning has been around for years, and although Amazon isn’t offering many details on its own implementation, it looks to be similar to examples of the tech we’ve seen before.

As the company explains on its FAQ page, the

30
Sep
2020
Posted in technology

Countdown To Earnings Season Starts

Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter has come to an end. We are now about two weeks away from the start of the earnings season in the US, and about four weeks from Apple’s earnings day – see Apple Maven’s coverage of last season for a refresher.

Today, I kick off the countdown to earnings day with a look at what Wall Street analysts expect to see regarding headline financial results. These estimates are likely to change over the next few weeks, as new reports come out. It will be interesting to watch the evolution from here to there and see how much more bullish or bearish experts may become until earnings day.

Expectations are set low

First, let me remind the reader that Apple has not provided guidance for its fiscal fourth quarter, as it used to do before the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, revenue and EPS estimates now range much more widely than usual, as was also the case last quarter.

The table below summarizes current expectations. Notice that, on earnings per share, consensus average of $0.70 would represent a decline of about 8% compared to the same quarter last year. Not everyone agrees, however. The more optimistic analyst sees EPS growing 13% to $0.86, while the more pessimistic of them bets on earnings dropping nearly 30% to $0.54.

When it comes to revenues, the story is not too much different. On average, experts currently expect to see a small year-over-year decline of 0.3% in total sales, which would be a stark contrast with last quarter’s 11% top-line increase. But the range of estimate is also very wide: from +10% to -18%.

First impressions

At first glance, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind:

  • Estimates appear to be overly de-risked at this moment. Should consensus be right about Apple’s