Money Weekend’s Technology FutureWatch 14 September 2013

The Worst Apple Launch Since 1983

It would be remiss of us to not cover the much-hyped but little-anticipated Apple event this week. It’s more than likely you’ve heard about the not-so-exciting release of the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C.

The most innovative thing Apple has in the ‘all-new’ 5S is a fingerprint scanner. You can read more about why this is a disaster in ‘Why Apple is Doomed’.  But importantly, everyone at Google, Microsoft, Samsung — even Blackberry — must be sniggering on the sidelines. And here at FutureWatch we’re calling this the worst Apple launch since the Lisa in 1983.

In a nutshell, this new update by Apple is an unmitigated disaster. It could be the beginning of the end of Apple

A verbal exchange between your FutureWatch editor and his significant other exemplified how Apple is going…

Sam: ‘Apple just released a new iPhone, it’s the 5C.’

Hayley: ‘And…’

Sam: ‘It’s pretty much a tricked out iPhone 4S or a poor-mans iPhone 5. But it comes in different colours.’

Hayley: ‘If I wanted an iPhone in different colours wouldn’t I just buy a phone cover for my current iPhone instead of a new one?’

Sam: ‘Good point.’

And that’s pretty much sums up where Apple is at. They pumped up a ‘cheap’ iPhone with different colours as its major selling points. But at well over $700 there’s nothing cheap about it.

If Apple was trying to win back market share, they’ve failed. You will see droves of smartphone users migrate to Samsung from this one.

Right now the smartphone market is going through a significant change. With Nokia devices now owned by Microsoft, that’s one big player down. Blackberry has been teetering on the edge of extinction for a while and looks to be going private again.

HTC is battling beyond belief due to the fact that their products just aren’t that good. And now it seems Apple’s phone business could be on its deathbed too.

Wearable tech is gaining momentum. Watches, glasses, bands and trackers are all part of the shifting landscape. And we continue to connect to our surroundings through technology.

Maybe the mobile phone, the smartphone, is en-route to extinction?

We’ll always need to contact each other, so the phone in its most basic sense will always exist. But instead of a thin rectangle that sits in your pocket, soon the functionality of a smartphone will simply exist on our person. It will be completely immersive technology.

Die Zukunft liegt in Elektro-Autos

The Frankfurt Motor Show has been on all week. It’s one of the biggest car shows in the world. And being in Germany it’s fair to say ‘Ze Germans’ are always keen to put on a cracking hometown show.

That’s why the likes of Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Volkswagen pull out the big guns when it comes to their major announcements.

And there’s no doubt this year is following a continuing trend of the ‘Decade of Electric Vehicle (EV)’. It’s EV heaven in Frankfurt this year. And it’s the aforementioned companies leading the charge.

You get the feeling they might have been spooked by Tesla’s recent run of success with the Model S. Tesla has aimed straight at the Big Four German carmakers and it’s bang on target.

Tesla’s Model S is a luxury car with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a six-figure car. It’s also chalking up sales with estimates of 12,050 Model S sold year to date. To give some comparison, the Chevy Volt, which is the highest selling EV, has sold 14,994 cars year to date. Consider that the Volt is half the price of the Model S. Now you get a gauge on the success of Tesla so far.

What’s worth noting is the Big Four Germans are still yet (except for BMW’s i3 just recently) to bring a proper EV to the mass market. But now they’re warming up to the fact that EVs are the future of cars.

In Frankfurt Volkswagen has on display their ‘e-Golf’ and ‘e-Up’. Audi have their ‘A3 e-tron’ up and about. Fiat has the 500E. BMW of course has the i3 and now the i8 (although the i8 is technically a hybrid). And speaking of hybrids, Porsche has the 918 Spyder Hybrid supercar.

The point to all this is every carmaker in the world is on the EV bandwagon. And what this means is the future is rosy not just for the EV makers, but also for the whole supply chain.

You see the real potential is in the supply chain technology companies. There will be an increase in demand for lithium ion batteries, composite materials and rare earth metals. And the good thing is with the right kind of breakthrough companies there are opportunities to cash in on the ‘Decade of EV’.

If Only Apple Had Come Up With the Eye-Phone

When you combine medical practice with technology you can get some truly amazing outcomes. We’ve covered many in FutureWatch, and the good news is there will be an endless supply of more.

As microchips get smaller, more powerful and faster we will be able to fuse technology with our lives on a level unheard of. And as great minds come together, collaborate and create we will see more software and hardware designed to help those in need.

And a new piece of hardware designed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is the next in a long line of humanitarian innovations.

The ‘Eye-phone’ is a smartphone with a lens to scan the retina and record the data. It’s thousands of dollars cheaper than normal ophthalmic equipment and easy to use.

As reported by Discovery News, the inventor, Dr. Andrew Bastawrous said of the need for the device in Kenya, ‘For a country with a population of more than 40 million, there are only 86 qualified eye doctors, 43 of whom are operating in the capital Nairobi.’

The difficulty exists for those that don’t live in Nairobi and who can’t get to see eye doctors. Often they simply live with their conditions, unable to receive the proper treatment or ongoing care. And village doctors simply cannot afford the required equipment.

But this new solution brings hope not just to those in Kenya, but across the world. The World Health Organization estimate 285 million people are visually impaired, with 75% of those affected by refractive errors and cataracts. This means these people often cannot work, farm, or even sustain a normal lifestyle.

Innovations like the ‘eye-phone’ in the hands of regional and rural doctors around the world will help put a big dent in those numbers. And if even just a small percentage of those receive the right treatment, or preventative treatment, it will have a huge impact on communities around the world.

Sam Volkering+
Technology Analyst, Revolutionary Tech Investor

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Sam Volkering is an Editor for Money Morning and its small-cap, cryptocurrency and technology expert. He’s not interested in boring blue chip stocks. He’s after explosive investments; companies whose shares trade for cents on the dollar, cryptocurrencies that can deliver life-changing returns. He looks for the ‘edge of the bell curve’ opportunities that are often shunned by those in the financial services industry. If you’d like to learn about the specific investments Sam is recommending in either small-cap stocks or cryptocurrencies, take a 30-day trial of his small-cap investment advisory Australian Small-Cap Investigator here, or a 30-day trial of his industry leading cryptocurrency service, Sam Volkering’s Secret Crypto Network here. But that’s not where Sam’s talents end. Sam specialises in finding new, cutting edge tech and translating that research into how the future will look — and where the opportunities lie. It’s his job to trawl the world to find, analyse, research and recommend investments in the world’s most revolutionary companies. He recommends the best ones he finds in his premium investment service, Revolutionary Tech Investor. Sam goes to the lengths of the globe and works 24/7 to get these opportunities to you before the mainstream catches on. Click here to take a 30-day no-obligation trial of Revolutionary Tech Investor today. Websites and financial e-letters Sam writes for:

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