AppleTV+, the free perk for iPhone buyers

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

I got free Apple TV+ when my mom got an iPhone upgrade

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Hey Snackers,

Our thoughts go back to 18 years ago. September 11th is also a day of service — here are 4 ways to act on that.

Markets were distracted Tuesday, scrolling through blog updates on Apple's big product event as stocks nudged up.

Today's Snacks: Apple unveils iPhone 11 — Ford gets downgraded to "junk" — NextDoor is the anti-Facebook social network.

1. Apple reveals iPhone 11 — then ends its always-raising-prices streak

The Touch screen. The no-headphone-jack. Siri... Apple has evolved over the course of its annual new iPhone product unveils. The stage and dark lighting haven't. Here's what we get with the new iPhone 11:

  • Size and colors: Pastels for days with the new lavender, soft green, and honey yellow. Both the regular and Max versions are slightly bigger than the previous ones.
  • A "Pro": $999+ gets you three cameras (the starter, a backup, and 3rd-string, just in case), which create quite a bulge. Your move, Pixel 4.
  • The "Slofie": Sloooow-mooootion videoooo getssss addedddd to the front-facing camera, too.

Forget iPhone — Apple TV+ is the star... and it arrives Nov. 1 at a ridiculously low-priced $4.99/month. Netflix ($12.99), HBO Now ($14.99), and even Disney+ ($6.99 starting in November) aren't happy about this price war aggression. Tim Cook also showed off original Apple TV+ shows (there aren't many of 'em, but they star Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon) and a $4.99/month video game "Arcade" pass.


Apple's thinking about the whole customer... New colors, a 3rd camera, and the A13 chip aren't forming fanboy lines outside glass-plated Apple Stores anymore. So it's focusing on prices: Lower some prices, offer some freebies, and hope to make $$$ on sales every few years (with monthly service subscriptions in between):

  • iPhone 11 starts at $699 and the Pro version at $999 (iPhone X started at $999 when it debuted in '17).
  • Apple Watch 5 is the same price as the previous ones and its Watch 3 is a Fitbit-ish $199.
  • Apple TV+ costs a Venti Latte per month at $4.99, or free for a year when you buy a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

An $11B makeover... Ford wants one. It's all part of the car company's aggressive turnaround plan to become more sexy, electric, and self-driving. So to pay for the new look, Ford issues billions in IOUs (bonds). Before you invest in bonds, a credit ratings agency jumps in:

  • Ratings agencies evaluate the likelihood a bond-issuer (like Ford) will pay you back.
  • Based on the company's financial health, the ratings agency sticks a rating on it.
  • AAA, AA, A, BBB — Anything BB or lower is considered "junk." Ford just got downgraded to that.

Ford was created in 1903... But this situation goes back to 2009. The Big 3 Detroit car companies needed a bailout — except Ford. It even gave its blue oval logo as collateral for a loan to stay bailout-free. Since surviving the car-pocalypse, Ford's bonds have been rated "investment grade." Then it fell behind rival GM's innovation and Ford is now worth less than Tesla. Junk happens.


"Junk" makes almost everything Ford does more expensive... Even though Ford's enjoying huge profits ($22B over the past four years), the credit ratings agencies are worried about where Ford will be 10 years from now. Because of this downgrade, investors will demand a higher interest rate from Ford because its debt is considered riskier.


Her majesty, queen of internet... Venture capital icon Mary Meeker just handed an internet company a $170M check. Must be nice, Nextdoor. The SF-based app is now worth $2.1B as it scales across continents neighborhoods. By connecting you with humans who live nearby, it introduces people online who might meet up offline.

  • The business model: Get people to join the localized social network, then stick ads into the feed (sounds like Facebook).
  • The verification: To join one of Nextdoor's 247K neighborhoods, you have to prove you are who you are and you live where you live (the opposite of Facebook) — they call you when you download the app to confirm.
  • The connections: Hyper-local. Does anyone have a ladder I can borrow? Anybody want lasagna (don't want to throw it away)? Who's down for a game of Madden 2018? Alert - burglar spotted on Gough Street -- lock your doors.

Who might acquire Nextdoor?... It's selling shares at a healthy unicorn valuation and could IPO someday, like its roll-ish model Facebook did. Or business could turn south and it could fail. Or... it could get acquired. Here's how Nextdoor could have strategic value to a bigger buyer.

  • Google: You open Maps like 3 times a day. Adding juicy neighborhood details could boost engagement
  • IAC: The internet startup collector owns Handy, and could partner the handyman gig platform with Nextdoor.
  • Yelp: Local reviews should include references for that nice guy who mows lawns.

Tweet us who you think could acquire Nextdoor @RobinhoodSnacks

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Served: Brex is the $2.6B unicorn granting credit cards to startups, but now it's opening a restaurant
  • Done: Alibaba's legendary founder and Chairman — Jack Ma aka "The Bezos of Beijing — officially retired yesterday from Alibaba (and remains the richest man in China)
  • Hangry: Chipotle falls after NYC sues the chain for "labor law violations"
  • Out: Uber fires another 435 employees to "stay nimble" (it laid off 400 last July)
  • Situation: Altria, the cigarette giant, is facing questions for its investment in Juul after a 6th vaping-related death
Snacks Daily Podcast

Chewing more on Apple's event, Ford's "junk," and NextDoor's fundraise


Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own shares in Alibaba and Amazon


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