Hello and welcome to Trending, Business Insider's weekly look at the world of tech. I'm Alexei Oreskovic, Business Insider's West Coast Bureau Chief and Global Tech Editor. Let's see how far we can get this week before mentioning TikTok.
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This week: Tim Cook has 2 trillion reasons to smile
After nine years in the top job, Apple CEO Tim Cook finally got his wings: He's now worth $1 billion.
Cook is a latecomer to the party, primarily because unlike fellow tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page, Cook isn't a company founder who started off with a giant stake. But Cook is leading the pack in another race. Apple is on track to become the first company to attain a $2 trillion market cap (at the end of Tuesday, Apple was worth $1.87 trillion).
You may be wondering:
- Aren't we still in a pandemic that's forced Apple to shut down retail stores around the world and to withhold its usual financial forecast?
- Wasn't Tim Cook just in the hot seat in Congress defending Apple's business practices (along with other Big Tech CEOs) from irascible lawmakers bent on breaking up giant tech corporations?
- Aren't we in an escalating tech "cold war" with China that puts companies like Apple in the middle of the crossfire?
- Didn't one of the most closely watched Apple analysts just predict that iPhone shipments could plunge as much as 30% because Trump's executive order banning WeChat could make the iPhone unappealing to Chinese consumers?
- And doesn't practically everyone who needs a smartphone already have one anyway?
The answer to all those questions is yes.
But... for Apple investors, only 4 words matter right now: 5G iPhone super cycle.
Super cycles — the magical moments that come every few years when everyone suddenly gets the urge to buy a new smartphone like it's 2009 again — have a way of not living up to expectations. But this is Apple, the Think Different company. So, as they say, maybe this time it's different.
Or maybe Apple investors are simply experiencing the same collective bliss that's driven the Nasdaq up 20% year-to-date despite the coronavirus, the recession, a looming election and so many other risks.
Surprise: IPOs are back!
It was only a few months ago that the IPO market was in the doldrums, laid low by the same virus-based malaise that afflicted the overall economy. But a little Lemonade and a hefty side-order of SPACs seem to have brightened the mood on Wall Street.
In the past few weeks we've seen BigCommerce — a Shopify rival — surge 292% on its first day of trading, and Oak Street Health pop 90% from its IPO price.
Next up is Airbnb, which, after postponing its IPO plans this spring, is now expected to file its IPO paperwork this month. Airbnb has seen a nice rebound in its home rental business (I stayed at an Airbnb just last week for a close-to-home summer getaway), but it's hardly out of the woods.
And Palantir, the secretive, military-loving big data company founded by Peter Thiel, should be opening its books en route to a public listing any day now.
While you wait for Palantir's S-1 filing to drop, I highly recommend Becky Peterson's latest exclusive reporting on the controversial company. Becky's story not only offers a great window into the culture of Silicon Valley's misfit startup, but it's also the best examination of Palantir's business that you'll get short of reading the company's forthcoming prospectus.
Read Becky's Palantir story:
Secretive Palantir Technologies is preparing to go public. But behind the cloak-and-dagger image, insiders and investors say, it's struggled to build a steady revenue model.
OK, now for some TikTok updates:
"I am still confused as to what pieces they can truly separate out to operate for different countries. I have heard a lot of the ByteDance technology is shared across products."
– Josh Elman, a board partner at VC firm Greylock, regarding the feasibility of hiving off a US version of TikTok from the rest of the social networking service owned and operated by China's ByteDance.
Elman, who has served stints as a product manager at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, was an early investor in Musical.ly, the startup that ByteDance acquired in 2017 and transformed into TikTok.
Snapshot: Just the bubble you've been waiting for
If you're a regular reader of this newsletter, you'll know how much we love space-age covid-wear. The BioVyzr looks like a solid choice if you need maximum protection from the pathogens of others ... and from yourself. Just try and touch your face when you've got the BioVyzr strapped on.
This $249 personal protective bubble, made by Toronto's Vyzr Technologies, could help soothe your nerves should circumstances require air travel. Who cares if someone's in the middle seat. They can't get close enough to breath on you, and they sure can't rest their head on your shoulder.
And if the makers of this face shield ever create a version with an augmented reality screen, you may never need to come out of your bubble again.
Not necessarily in tech:
OK, that's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.
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