August 29, 2017 Last Updated 8:34 am

World markets show concern over latest North Korean launch; NYPD dumps Windows phones for iPhones after only 1 year

Morning Brief: The date for the next iPhone event seems to be set — Sept. 12 — the event should also feature the launch of a new Apple TV model, one supporting 4K streaming

There has been so much news coming out of Washington these days that it rarely is surprising enough to move the markets much. The big concern going into September is the debt ceiling, of course, but it seems unlikely even the craziest GOP member would risk stopping aid to Texas over the issue (though, I suppose, showing one’s crazy bonafides might be reason enough to push for a government shutdown).

But yesterday’s firing of yet another missile, this one which flew over Japan, has the markets rattled. Markets in Asia fell slightly, European markets pretty hard. Dow futures point to a sharply lower open, though it is hardly a rout.

Update: It seems as though the Finns were less than impressed with the new US president yesterday and are bailing on US stocks (see third story below).

This is hardly the first missile launch by North Korea, so why would markets get rattled. It may be simply that no progress is being seen in either dampening North Korea’s program, while the credibility of threats from the president declines daily.

Reuters, Danilo Masoni:

North Korea missile and strong euro sink European stocks

World stocks tumbled and safe-haven assets soared on Tuesday after North Korea fired a missile over northern Japan, fuelling worries of fresh tension between Washington and Pyongyang. The risk-off move spread from Asia to Europe and a rally in the euro to above a key level chipped in to put regional stocks on track for their biggest-one day loss in 11 months.

The pan-European STOXX index fell as much as 1.7 percent to their lowest in six months before paring losses, while Wall Street futures pointed to sharp losses at the open. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 hit a four-month low before paring losses to end 0.5 percent down and South Korea’s Kospi <.KS11 shed as much as 1.6 percent before ending down 0.2 percent.

“The North Korean escalation has triggered a significant risk-off move,” Alessandro Balsotti, head of asset management at JCI Capital Limited, said in his daily note to clients. “However … observers believe it won’t be enough to trigger a material reaction from the United States-South Korea axis. It wouldn’t be surprising, then, if investors take advantage of this geopolitical fear to buy the dips.”

Bloomberg, Rosalind Mathieson:

Balance of Power: This North Korean Missile Launch Was Different

Missile launches from North Korea have become almost routine, but the one fired this morning was a little different.

For starters it was lobbed right over Japan, between two islands to splash down off its eastern coast. North Korea has tested rockets over Japanese airspace before but only a handful of times, and today’s launch appeared to have been one of its more advanced intermediate ballistic missiles.

If Kim Jong Un intended to send Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a message, or the route was designed to test certain aspects of the flight, his actions elevate Japan’s role in the tensions. It could harden Abe’s stance, making it more difficult to get agreement on the need for talks with Pyongyang.

Bloomberg, Kati Pojanpalo:

‘No President in the U.S.’ Leads $53 Billion Fund to Sell Stocks

A leadership vacuum in the world’s biggest economy has driven the largest private-sector pension fund in Finland to cut the weight of U.S. stocks in its 45 billion-euro ($53 billion) portfolio.

“It seems as if there is no president in the U.S.,” Risto Murto, chief executive officer of Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Co., said in an interview in Helsinki on Wednesday. “If I look at what is the moral and practical power, there is no longer a traditional president.”

“The lesson from 2008 is that if we have a problem in the U.S., then we all have a problem,” Murto said. He described Trump’s response to demonstrations in Charlottesville as a “breaking point if you look at how business leaders reacted,” retreating from association with the president.



The news from NYC that the NYPD will be giving up its Windows phones should not come as much of a surprise. When the decision was announced last year many media observers questioned the decision to buy Lumia 830 and Lumia 640 XL phones.

In retrospect, it should have a bigger deal than it was.

“You read that right. Life and death situations rely on outdated phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone software,” CNET’s Alfred Ng wrote last year.

“You may knock the unpopular Windows Phone platform, which commands less than 1 percent of the phone market, but the NYPD believes Microsoft was the most appropriate way to go. The department looked at Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, but picked Windows Phone for its security features and the ability to remotely manage the thousands of devices in the hands of officers.”

Now, the department is looking to replace the phones as Microsoft gave up on them and so they cannot be updated, so the department will move to iPhones. Honestly, I’m not so sure about this decision, either. Sure, iOS is a bit more secure than Android, but Apple has signaled a desire to become more of a luxury brand. I would have thought going with Android phones would offered the department more variety in its model choices and ultimately saved it money. Oh well.

NY Post, Tina Moore:

NYPD needs to replace 36K useless smartphones

The NYPD has to scrap the 36,000 smartphones it gave cops over the past two years because they’re already obsolete and can’t be upgraded, The Post has learned.

The city bought Microsoft-based Nokia smartphones as part of a $160 million NYPD Mobility Initiative that Mayor Bill de Blasio touted as “a huge step into the 21st century.”

But just months after the last phone was handed out, officials plan to begin replacing them all with brand-new iPhones by the end of the year, sources said.

BGR, Yoni Heisler:

The NYPD finally realizes that Windows Phones are awful, plans switch to iPhones

As the old adage goes, sometimes you get what you pay for…

…ll in all, it’s an inglorious end to a program that was ushered in with endless waves of optimism.

“We must have 21st century tools to deal with 21st century threats, and this infusion of new resources will arm our officers with the technology and information they need to fight crime and protect the City against terrorism more efficiently and more effectively,” De Blasio said of the Windows Phone initiative just a few years ago.

Alas, the smartphone market these days has long been a two-person race involving Apple’s iPhone and Android.



Speaking of iPhones…

It looks like the date has been set for the next iPhone event: September 12.

As I mentioned recently, the two logical dates would have been September 6 because that match last year’s event date (two days after Labor Day), or September 12 (which would give Apple an extra week). It looks like they went with the extra week.

There have been reports of production glitches associated with the latest model — but, to be honest, there are always such reports. The big question really is how will Apple price its next models. New iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus models will likely be priced at current levels, with small improvements seen in hardware. But Apple is said to be launching an iPhone 8 model which is now said to be priced at $999. We’ll see, but it would be nice if Apple actually surprised us — it has been a long time since the company’s events ended with a wow.

Apple is likely also going to introduce a new Apple TV, one that finally will stream 4K. The hold up, beyond bad management planning, was probably that Apple was not supporting the H.265 codec, so while many will likely pass right over the technical part of the presentation of a new Apple TV model, I will be interested to see what they have to say in this regard.

Dow Jones, Tripp Mickle and Drew FitzGerald:

Apple to Hold Product Launch Event on Sept. 12

Apple Inc. has scheduled a product announcement event on Sept. 12, according to people briefed on its plans, reinforcing expectations that the technology giant will release new iPhones and a smartwatch well ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The company is expected to unveil three iPhones, according to other people familiar with its plans. Those include a showcase iPhone to mark the product’s 10th anniversary that is larger and pricier and features an edge-to-edge display and facial-recognition technology, as well as updates to the two iPhone 7 models that started selling last year.

MacRumors, Mitchel Broussard:

Apple Wants to Sell 4K Movies for $20 in iTunes, While Film Studios Want $25 to $30

Apple is said to be “scrambling” to strike deals with movie studios in Hollywood regarding the exact prices of 4K movies in the iTunes Store, taking places just weeks ahead of the rumored debut of the new 4K Apple TV in mid-September.

While the talks have been ongoing for some time, discussions have been recently hampered by disagreements over the pricing of 4K movie purchases, according to sources close to the talks. Apple wants to charge $19.99 for 4K movie purchases in its digital iTunes Store, the same price it currently charges for newly-released HD films.

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