Use iPhones. Use Them Less Though.
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June 4, 2018
Dow Jones: 24,814 (+0.72%)
S&P 500: 2,746 (+0.45%)
Nasdaq: 7,606 (+0.69%)
Bitcoin: 7,498.95 (-2.75%)
10-Yr Treasury: 2.942%
"Hey, Alexa. Why can't you be more like Siri?"

A huge day of unveils from Apple powered the tech-heavy Nasdaq up to a record high for the first time since March. When Apple wins, (almost) everyone wins. Even Bieber.

1. Apple goes "anti-iPhone" at Developer Conference

It's an annual Bar Mitzvah... and everyone's getting a gift. Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is a yearly software tradition, but typically AAPL shares barely budge. This year Apple unveiled enough nerdy software to push its value by market capitalization to $943 billion. Next up is member #1 of the $1 Trillion Club.

Redheads and phone addicts won... The highlight was a new tool that tracks how much time you've spent on an app and lets you set a timer that'll shut the app off. It's like a calorie count, but for phone bingeing. Plus, we liked these wins:

  • Emojis: Newbies include T-Rex, koalas, and gingery-hair (finally)
  • Memojis: Custom emoji that creepily look kinda like you
  • Group FaceTime: So you can catch up and waste time with over 30 people simultaneously
  • Walkie-Talkie: Apple Watch's new tool to call... other Apple Watches
  • Mojave: A new Mac operating system (includes a black screen, instead of white, for doing stuff in the dark)

The takeaway... Facebook's the loser. That "Tech Addict Tool" was a response to shareholders who hated on Apple this spring (kids are iPhoning mid-bedtime). Analysts think its the non-productive apps that you enjoy in the bathroom that'll be hit the hardest -- and that's mainly Facebook's mindless newsfeed scrolling.

2. Vail Resorts expands ski empire

Summer ski much?... Vail Resorts announced it’s buying 3 more mountains to add to its financial view for $82 million: Crested Butte, Okemo, and Mount Sunapee. Plus, it’s getting a 4th mountain in Washington (Steven’s Pass) in a separate transaction, which'll bring the network of mountain resorts it owns to 17.

Weathermen/women are overrated… Vail invests in “weather mitigation” to ensure ski weekends are fun (or at least expensive). Its resorts' snowfall fell 55% last quarter from the year before, but revenue still grew 2%. And it's investing $35 million at these new resorts to “elevate guest experiences” = Better snowmaking, Après, and hottubs.

The takeaway… Subscription Models save skiing. Vail’s top priority is season pass sales. So it's adding mountains/benefits to its “Epic Pass” and jacking up prices for individual tickets. That price structure makes the choice becomes simple -- subscribe. With climate change, Vail needs to lock in loyalty and revenue early so it's not killed by lack of snow.

3. Starbucks founder quits (again)

The king of the baristas... is ordering a decaf and chilling. Starbucks fell on word founder Howard Schultz will step down as Board Chairman. He says it’s to write a book and do foundation work -- but isn’t ruling out a Dem presidential run (neither are Jamie Dimon and Mark Cuban, fellow CEOs with public prowess).

“Schultz-accino”… That’s the management style pioneered by Howie, mixing scale with social impact. Under Schultz, Starbucks jumped into politically sensitive anything: Paying off employee student debt, writing conversation starters on cups, and race issues. And the stock’s up 21,000% since its IPO (fun fact: Bill Gates' dad was the lawyer for store #1).

The takeaway... We’ve been here. Twice. Schultz first stepped down as CEO in 2000 to be Chairman. Then he came back because the coffee suffered. Then last year he gave up CEO-ship to be Chairman again. Now he just “wants to be of service to our country.” We just want affordable almond milk.

4. ESPN bets hard on new sports betting

20 bucks says you’ll read this… Disney-owned ESPN partnered with The Action Network to make its foray into sports gambling after the national ban was repealed last month. “I’ll Take That Bet” is a daily program now available on ESPN+ streaming service. Episode #1: "Where will LeBron play next year?"

Gambling's on a streak… Cannabis startups sprouted up as pot transitioned from illegal to quasi-legal to “Obama’s probably doing it, man.” We're seeing a similar rush of businesses into sports gambling, which has $150 billion of annual spending taking place right now through Vegas and illegal bookies.

The takeaway… What do Sports crazies want? That’s the question for programmers at ESPN+, the Netflix for ex-athletes. Casual fans won't want the $4.99/month service since it excludes NFL, NBA, and other big live events. Your buddy screaming “are you kidding, Warriors by 9 over Cavs?" will love it.

What's on the podcast today

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'SnackFact of the Day
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Tuesday

  • Zuck testifies before the US Senate
  • Earnings from GoPro
  • Day #2 of Apple's Developer Conference
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