Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Apple TV Could Be the Key to AAPL Stock’s Future

The Apple TV will become an all-in-one device for the Internet of Things

Today, Apple (AAPL) officially opened the door for preorders of the much-touted fourth-generation Apple TV.

After the early-September reveal of the upgraded device, many AAPL fans have waited anxiously for the opportunity to jump in and place their order.

Who can blame them? The Apple TV is more than just a streaming television device — much more. AAPL has seemingly created a device that combines the best aspects of a number of other products on the market.

In true Apple fashion, the company has taken what competitors have developed and added its own AAPL flair, releasing a device that is more capable and, frankly, slicker than the rest.

So far, in the war for your living room, the undisputed leader has been Roku. Since 2002, Roku has released several iterations of its streaming set-top box, allowing users to cut the cord and free themselves from a unanimously hated evil — the cable company.

Over the past 13 years, Roku has perfected those little purple boxes, offering free access to thousands of channels, as well as access to a number of paid content providers such as Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Variable Annuities vs. Mutual Funds

Breaking down the similarities and differences between two common investments

Source: TaxCredits.net
Variable annuities and mutual funds are some of the most common investment vehicles for retirement savings. While both products contain a number of identical features that often make it challenging for inexperienced investors to distinguish between the two, they are actually quite different.

Understanding these differences is essential to ensuring that your future financial situation is given the best possible opportunity to thrive.

Both types of investments involve participation in existing portfolios of stocks, bonds, or other securities.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tesla Is the Newest Competitor in the Driverless Car Arena

Welcome Autopilot, Tesla's self-driving upgrade!

Last week, Tesla (TSLA) announced the release of Autopilot, the company’s first official autonomous driving software update. In the high-tech fashion that Tesla has become know for, the Autopilot feature -- which costs $2,500 -- can be downloaded via an over-the-air update to properly-equipped Model S and Model X vehicles (“Tesla’s Autopilot only works on vehicles equipped with radar and camera systems that have been applied since 2014”).

Tesla CEO Elon Musk specifically described Autopilot as in beta status, stating “It works almost to the point where you can take your hands off, but we won’t say that. Almost.” Musk went on, alluding to the notion that the only thing preventing fully autonomous highway operation of Tesla vehicles is a slew of regulatory hurdles. He explained, “Regulators need to see clear evidence that the reliability is there.”

Monday, October 12, 2015

TWTR Video Ads Won’t Save Twitter Stock

Twitter’s six-second pre-roll video ads won’t do much good

Earlier this week, Twitter (TWTR) announced a new feature to help marketers better monetize videos posted on the social media site: six-second pre-roll advertisements. This means that Twitter users will begin seeing brief marketing messages before chosen videos actually play, much the same as what’s seen on Google’s (GOOGL, GOOG) iconic video property, YouTube.

Considering that YouTube is the Internet’s most popular video-sharing website, and has been displaying pre-roll ads for years, Twitter’s implementation isn’t likely to shock or surprise the social media site’s members.

With video being the new golden goose of Internet marketing — until now — Twitter’s massive 300 million active subscriber base represents a treasure trove of marketing potential.

There’s no doubt that the company’s newly-expanded Amplify partnership program, which began in mid-2013, will attract more partners and advertisers, and generate significant revenue.

Pandora Stock: Is Ticketfly Really a Perfect Pick-Up?

Will Pandora’s Ticketfly be able to sell concert tickets to listeners?

Pandora Media Inc (P) last week announced intentions to acquire Ticketfly — which provides software to sell tickets to roughly 1,200 concert venues throughout the U.S. — for $450 million in cash and stock.

The news sent Pandora stock down a few percent, and for good reason.

Management believes Pandora is well-positioned to take advantage of Ticketfly’s capabilities and generate additional revenue by selling concert tickets to listeners.

Pandora’s previous experience with ticket-selling experiments gave management the confidence to proceed with the Ticketfly acquisition. Considering the plethora of information Pandora has amassed about its listeners and subscribers, a well-designed campaign could easily put concert ticket advertisements in front of the right crowd.

In a press release, Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews said:
“This is a game-changer for Pandora — and much more importantly — a game-changer for music. Over the past 10 years, we have amassed the largest, most engaged audience in streaming music history. With Ticketfly, we will thrill music lovers and lift ticket sales for artists as the most effective marketplace for connecting music makers and fans.”
As the current leader in the music streaming arena, Pandora stock certainly looks set to hit the ground running with the company’s new ticket sales feature. But there’s one caveat that can’t be ignored.

Most people listen to the radio.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Porsche Doesn’t Trust Google, Opts for Apple CarPlay

Google's Android Auto wants too much info for Porsche's liking

Earlier this week, news broke that the 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera would carry Apple (AAPL) CarPlay, rather than Google’s (GOOGL, GOOG) Android Auto. MotorTrend’s Senior Features Editor, Jonny Lieberman, first reported the news after a visit with Porsche in Germany last month.

At first, you might think that Porsche’s decision to install Apple CarPlay rather than Android Auto was probably motivated more by money than anything else. However, money apparently had nothing to do with it.

According to Lieberman, at the “deep background seminar” he’d attended, Porsche explained that the reason for choosing CarPlay over Android Auto was simply because Apple’s product required only one piece of data: whether the car was moving or stationary.

Conversely, Google’s Android Auto arrangement would require Porsche to hand over quite a bit of data about the vehicle. Details such as speed, temperature, throttle position, and RPMs would be collected and delivered to Google HQ. “Basically Google wants a complete OBD2 dump whenever someone activates Android Auto,” Lieberman said.

Elon Musk Makes Driving Fun Again With the Model X

TSLA stock's CEO is today's greatest automotive industry innovator

Elon Musk, self-made billionaire and CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla (TSLA), has — once again — raised the bar and set a new paradigm in the automotive world with this week’s reveal of Tesla’s first SUV, the Model X.

Its falcon wing doors and “ludacris” engine performance mode (an upgrade to prior years’ Model S “insane” mode) are enough to make even the mildest car lovers giddy.

For the audio enthusiasts among us, the Model X radio volume controls go up to 11, not 10 as in Tesla’s other models.

But the most talked-about feature by far is the Model X’s bioweapon defense mode. According to Musk, “If there was a bio weapon attack, all you would need is to get inside your car.”