Technology

What's Up With Apple: Analyst Urges Bitcoin, Plant in India Reopens, and More

On the same day that Tesla revealed in an SEC filing that the company had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin, analysts at RBC Capital issued a research report claiming that the time is ripe for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to devise a mechanism for buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

If that were to happen, Apple almost certainly and instantly would become the world’s most important cryptocurrency exchange, if not the largest as well. According to RBC, Apple’s stock price could jump by 25% from Friday’s closing price of $136.76. The firm maintained its Outperform rating on the stock and raised its price target on Apple from $154 to $171, the highest target among Wall Street analysts, according to a report from Business Insider.

The RBC analysts argue that Apple Wallet is more likely to provide a near-term return for Apple shareholders than, say, an Apple Car, which has dominated coverage of the company for some time now. The cost of adding crypto services to Apple Wallet would be minimal, according to RBC.

Adding the capability to buy and sell cryptocurrency to the Wallet app could generate up to $40 billion in annual revenue, according to RBC. The analysts extrapolate that number from the $1.6 billion in revenue generated by Square and its 30 million active users. Apple has an installed base of some 1.5 billion users. Square’s entire research and development budget for a year is less than $1 billion.

Wistron, an Apple contract manufacturer based in Taiwan, closed its Narasapura, India, plant in December, following riots at the facility when thousands of workers demanded that Wistron pay them the money they were owed. In a statement issued Tuesday, Apple said that the plant has begun the process of restarting operations.

Apple also said that Wistron remains on probation as a supplier and that Apple will “monitor their progress closely … to make sure the necessary systems and processes are in place” at Narasapura. The plant assembles older model iPhones for the Indian market. By having the plant in the country, Apple’s iPhones avoid a 20% import tax on smartphones. Foxconn, another Apple contract manufacturer, assembles the iPhone 11 at its own plant in India.

In other news about Apple …

Bloomberg Businessweek has published a long article on how Apple CEO Tim Cook built the company he inherited from Steve Jobs into a $2.3 trillion “fortress that Tim Cook built.”

On Monday, Apple supplier Dialog Semiconductor was acquired by Japan’s Renesas Electronics for $5.9 billion in cash. The Japanese firm is one of the world’s largest suppliers of semiconductor chips to the auto industry. In 2018, Dialog sold its power management technology to Apple for $600 million.

We noted yesterday a claim by Intel that its Tiger Lake processor is faster than Apple’s new M1 chip was based on benchmarks that were cherry-picked. Tech finance and strategy website Digits to Dollars walked through what it calls “some of the tricks Intel used.”

Way back in the day, there was a saying about claims of CPU performance on benchmarks: “Peak performance is the speed that a computer is guaranteed never to run faster than.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.