September 12, 2017 Last Updated 8:40 am

Apple’s iPhone X likely to test the market for luxury cellphones; US media begin paying attention to growing crisis in Catalonia

Morning Brief: Ted Cruz’s Twitter ‘Like’ prove a welcome distraction for political reporters from news of the Mueller investigation, natural disasters, international crises, and more

You know the news cycle has settled back down when stories involving adults and sex are leading the news. The US media loves stories where an older woman is caught with a younger man, a celebrity goes topless on a European beach, or in this case, when a Texas senator accidentally (moist likely) taps “Like” on a tweet from a salacious account.

It is probably just the idea that prudish Ted Cruz may like to look at porn that has many reporters twitterpated. Frankly, it would have been a more interested meme this morning had it been Mike Pence, but whatever gets you going in the morning…

…and, of course, Cruz’s staff claims that the senator’s Twitter account was hacked. Sure, Ted.

Today, is the annual Apple iPhone event and the only real drama is whether the company is really set to go all Tiffany and price the newest iPhone past the $1000 mark. I think they will.

What we will then see is a split in the tech reporter folks: one half will believe that consumers will reject the idea of spending so much for a cell phone, the other half will do what they always do an whoop and holler when given the signal from Apple.

I have my doubts about the direction of the cellphone market. I grew thanks to the every two year cycle that was established that allowed buyers, for around $200, to get a new phone on a regular basis. Now the market is split between those that have signed up for a regular upgrade program, or folks like me who wanted an unlocked phone and were willing to spend more for it… but will now be upgrading far less often.

Also expected to be unveiled today is a new Apple TV that will play catch up to its rivals, a date for the release of both iOS 11, the new macOS and HomePod, as well the debut of ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality framework (expect much of the event to be about this as the app demos will be impressive).

The event starts at 1pm ET, 10am PT, with streaming available here. A number of tech sites still live blog the event for those who can’t be seen watching video at their desks during working hours (how barbaric is that?).

The Verge, Vlad Savov:

Apple’s iPhone X will stand for ‘exclusive’

The newest iPhone, whose name has already leaked out as iPhone X, will be like the original in that it will be higher in price than most people are used to paying for phones, it will be constrained in availability due to the difficulty of its manufacture, and it will serve as a status symbol for its owners. Some will purchase it to signal their wealth, many will acquire it as a totem of their Apple fandom, and almost all will desire it simply by virtue of its limited availability and exclusivity…

…A good way to think of the iPhone X is as a sort of technology preview. Reading through all the leaks and off-the-record Apple reports, a picture emerges of the iPhone X as a radical redesign that strains at the edges of what can be done with current tech. It’s a break from Apple’s traditionally circumspect approach in one key way: the company is relying solely on Samsung to provide the requisite OLED displays, whereas it usually favors a diverse pool of component providers to minimize risk. Maybe for Apple internally, the iPhone X means as much “experimentation” as anything else. The company can’t afford to take many chances with the hundreds of millions of iPhones it sells every year, but a limited-edition model can serve as the proving ground for new technologies.

TIME, John Patrick Pullen:

Why a $1,000 iPhone Isn’t as Crazy as It Sounds

his time around, however, Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone will probably be more expensive than in years past. In addition to trumpeting an exciting array of new features, the rumor mill has been spinning claims that Apple’s next must-have handset could cost as much as $1,000. That’s 147 pieces of avocado toast! And like that mortgage-busting breakfast option, the question everyone has about the new iPhone is: Will it be worth it?

Here, absent final specs, are four reasons I think it will be, and one reason it won’t…

…When I told my wife how much money I was squirreling away for this purchase, she replied, “That’s wrong.” And you know what? She’s right.

$1,000 is a lot of money for a computer these days, let alone a phone. In real world terms, the new iPhone will cost the equivalent of seven weeks of groceries for my family, a half month of daycare for my kids, four months of minivan payments for the missus, or nearly 12 seasons of the Red Sox on MLB.TV. Try as I may, it’s hard to argue with those numbers.

Although it is still not front page news, it looks like many US media people are beginning to pay attention to what is going on in Catalonia.

Yesterday was Diada — Catalonia’s national day, and police estimate that over a million people took to the streets of Barcelona. That impressed many, but still there were Spanish reporters who write for US media outlets eager to downplay the turnout (on a Monday) as actually disappointingly small.

This is serious stuff, and it all could lead to violence. It most certainly will lead to arrests of some Catalan politicians and officials, but how it all turns out I do not know. This, though, I do know: supporters of independence are naive to think things will go smoothly, that a vote will be held, and by sometime in October a new European nation will emerge. Opponents are naive to believe that their side represents democracy, and that there will not be serious repercussions from stopping the vote.

As the crisis deepens, it is important to keep something in mind: few media outlets send their American born reporters to Spain to cover the news, they depend on freelancers or bureau chiefs who are, themselves, Spanish, and will have their own biases. Think what would happen if a London newspaper used a freelancer to cover the Civil War in America, how they would report would be heavily influenced by whether they were from the North or the South. Being objective in the midst of civil war is damn near impossible.

The New York Times, Rafael Minder:

Catalonia Independence Bid Pushes Spain Toward Crisis

The accelerating battle over Catalonia’s status hit warp speed this week…

…If it all sounds like a recipe for an unpredictable and chaotic political crisis that threatens to push Spain into uncharted territory, it is.

“This has gotten out of control,” said Javier Solana, Spain’s former foreign minister and a former secretary-general of NATO. “We’re no longer in a normal situation of political conflict, where the politicians fight but at least respect the rules of the game.”

Catalan News:

Prosecutor orders Catalan police to “confiscate” ballot boxes in the wake of one-million-strong rally

The political storm continued the day after Catalonia’s National Day one-million-strong pro-independence demonstration. Catalonia’s prosecution office, a branch of the Spanish one, ordered the Catalan police chief, Josep Lluís Trapero, to confiscate ballot boxes and other material in order to stop the vote. The prosecutor met him and the chiefs of Spain’s police and Guardia Civil corps to give them instructions on how to stop the vote.

The Catalan police is in the eye of the storm but the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, believes that the police will not take action against the vote. “Between removing ballot boxes and guaranteeing the people’s security, there are priorities in this life,” said Puigdemont, responding to what the Catalan police might do on October 1. Trapero received a letter from the Spanish Constitutional Court a few days ago warning him that taking any step towards the vote might result in criminal charges.

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