Technology

What's Up With Apple: $6.5 Billion Bond Sale, WatchOS Fix and More

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced in 2018 that the company was setting a goal to become net cash neutral within several years. What that means is that Apple’s net cash would be equal to its net debt. For investors, this is good news because the primary ways to balance cash and debt is to buy back stock and boost dividends.

In an SEC filing on Thursday, Apple revealed that it planned to offer four tranches of new debt. In a later filing, the company offered details. This is the company’s fourth bond offering since May 2020.

  • $2.3 billion in 1.400% notes due 2028 yielding 1.434% annually
  • $1.0 billion in 1.700% notes due in 2031 yielding 1.746% annually
  • $1.8 billion in 2.700% notes due in 2051 yielding 2.705% annually
  • $1.4 billion in 2.85% notes due in 2061 yielding 2.855% annually

At the end of the June quarter, Apple reported a total cash hoard of $194 billion and total debt of $122 billion. The note offerings increase the company’s debt by about $6.5 billion. Shareholders can expect more of this over the next few years as Apple pursues its net cash neutral goal. Apple also can redeem the notes at any time by paying back all the principal plus interest accrued

On Thursday, Apple released an updated version of its watchOS for Apple Watch Series 3 and later. According to a report in 9to5Mac, watchOS 7.6.1 fixes a flaw that “could have been actively exploited to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.”

Earlier this week Apple also released security updates for iOS 14.7 and macOS Big Sur 11.5. All three updates were characterized by Apple as “important security updates.”

Apple is again trying to crack down on people who leak “information” about unreleased products. The scare quotes are meant to indicate that most leaks have only a passing resemblance to what eventually may appear in a product.

According to Motherboard, Apple sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Chinese company that makes cases for the iPhone. The company argued in the letter that unreleased products harm consumers “because when the products actually get released, they won’t surprise the public, which the letter says is part of the company’s ‘DNA.'”

That’s pretty weak tea. Apple doesn’t like leaks because it wants to surprise consumers. Well, okay.

Apple also argued that “third-party accessory manufacturers may develop and sell mobile phone cases and other accessories that are not actually compatible with the unreleased products.” If a third party invests in making a product like a case based on unverified leaks and the leaks turn out to be incorrect, the manufacturer can either throw out all the useless products or just dump them on the market and let consumers be surprised when they find out that the product is junk.