January 8, 2016 Last Updated 7:48 am

Markets calm down at end of rough week; Tribune Publishing issues bug fix app updates

Morning Brief: Two more suppliers confirm a slowdown in work related to the new iPhone, while Sprint follows other carriers in getting rid of the two-year contract option

Two stock market crashes in one week is apparently enough. Chinese market rebounded today, with the Shanghai index rising nearly 2 percent. But European and other Asian markets are not so sure the worst is over, with many stock markets flat or slightly down today. US markets are set to open modestly up when trading begins.

Then Monday will come and we will see just how investors really feel (Mondays are traditionally the most dangerous day of the week for stocks to crash.)

One thing that might sooth the US markets is the December jobs report, due out an hour before the bell today. Expectations are for at least 200K in new hires for the month. Update: it was a blow-out report, with employers adding 292,000 employees to their rolls in December. The report is strong enough that some critics of the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates, thinking that the move was premature, may now be convinced that the economy is on the right track and the hike in rates justified.

ChiTrib-replica-iPadSince the holidays the pace of app updates has been rather slow as developers worked to have their new and updated apps approved before the break, and now there is a bit of a lag.

But Tribune Publishing today releases big fix app updates for their newspaper apps which include the Orlando Sentinel, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun. This series of updates is the first since October when the apps were updated to provide support for iOS 9 which had just recently been released.

These apps are plain jane news apps, not attempts to create a true digital edition such as La Presse+, or even the tablet edition of The New York Times. The only Tribune Publishing app that attempts to deliver a digital edition of the print newspaper is the replica edition app for the Chicago Tribune. That app obviously means little to the company as it was last updated April 9, 2013.

Zinio updated its digital newsstand app today, its first of the year. What the update introduces, though, is a mystery as the developers have cut and pasted the old app description onto this update, the third time they have done this since the update from November said that the app had been optimized for the just released iPad Pro.

The Washington Post whined today that President Obama penned an opinion column on guns for The New York Times. The Post let Callum Borchers do the whining, a young reporter whose LinkedIn profile still lists him as being a business reporter for The Boston Globe, but may be used now as resident hitman for the Post whenever it feels slighted.

Two stories seem obviously related to me.

iPhone6s-175First, CNBC is reporting that two more iPhone suppliers have cut their forecasts, possibly confirming that iPhone sales are falling short of last year’s torrid pace. Second, according to <strong>Android Central, Sprint is killing off two-year contracts for most purchasers, only offering the two-year option for a select group of customers.

Next, Sprint is doing what the other carriers have also done. But many, many US iPhone customers have been buying their new iPhones using two-year contracts for a while now, allowing them to upgrade every two years while paying about $200 for their new phones.

Because of this, I’m sure a number of customers have balked at the current options available to them: paying in full at purchase, or having installment payments placed on their bills.

To be clear, no matter what option to choose you are paying the full price for your phone, but the move away from the standard way to pay for a new iPhone may be enough to convince many buyers to hold off.

Just before Christmas I needed to upgrade three iPhones and went about it in a way that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: I paid in full. That is a very expensive way to buy new cell phones, but it meant that all three phones would be unlocked, and they could be financed at zero percent interest if put on a store credit card. I’m quite sure most buyers would hesitate buying three new iPhones using this strategy.

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