What's Up With Apple: NFL Deal, Password Managers and More

At the end of the 2022 pro football season, the NFL’s contract for streaming rights to its Sunday Ticket games. Current rights holder, Verizon, pays a reported $1.5 billion to the league annually for the rights. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is rumored to have had early discussions with the NFL about acquiring the rights.

According to a report last Friday in The Information, any new deal for Sunday Ticket will come with a significant increase in price. Apple can certainly afford to pay more (a lot more) for the rights and it may have no other choice. Amazon has acquired the streaming rights to the NFL’s Thursday night games, Disney’s ESPN and ABC networks have NFL deals, as do Viacom and Fox.

For Apple, an NFL lineup could bolster its Apple TV+ subscriber base in a big way. Live sports programming remains a big draw for streaming content providers, and Apple may believe it has no choice but to compete for live sports events. If nothing else, an NFL deal (or the lack of one) could indicate the company’s seriousness about staying in the content game.

The Wall Street Journal had a story on Sunday that compared password managers, like the free ones that are available with browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox, with stand-alone programs like Dashlane and LastPass.

In general, security expert Jessy Irwin told the paper, “A browser password manager is better than no password manager at all, but it’s just not robust enough to help people manage the overwhelming number of credentials and secrets that come with our increasingly online world.”

But there is a gotcha. Google researcher Travis Ormandy characterizes the issue: “Many stand-alone managers rely on browser extensions to auto-fill passwords and other data, and these extensions could be potentially tricked.”

Dashlane’s chief technical officer responded, “No one can ensure zero risk. What matters from our perspective is that we rely on best practices of the industry to minimize the risk.”

A couple of nuggets from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman’s Power On weekend newsletter:

The new iPad mini should be a go for this fall. It’ll be the biggest redesign in the nine-year history of that product. Look for a design more similar to the iPad Air, complete with the latest processor and a larger screen with slimmer bezels. …

I absolutely still believe that a larger, redesigned iMac to replace the Intel 27-inch models is en route. Apple increasing the screen size of the smaller model from 21.5 inches to 24 inches seems to indicate that the 27-inch model could see a size increase as well. I don’t think, however, that Apple will launch the larger model with the same M1 chip that’s in the smaller model. It likely will be an M1X, the beefier version of the current M1, or an M2X.

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