AWT News Update: December 28, 2016

Yum or Yuck? That is the question. Photo via Twitter @linecook

Yum or Yuck? That is the question. Photo via Twitter @linecook

Welcome back to the Apple World Today News Update podcast. We did not publish a podcast yesterday due to a remarkable lack of news, but today we have a few stories that you can listen to in less than 4 minutes:

  • Eating off of an iPad is something you can now do at a 3-star Michelin restaurant in San Francisco 
  • AAPL is underweight. We discuss what that means and why it may affect some large funds
  • Siri's doing a better job at responding to requests for medical help, but still has a long way to go

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for December 28, 2016. We did not publish a News Update yesterday due to a lack of news…and today’s podcast will be pretty short as well.

We’ve all become pretty accustomed to iPad-based menus and wine lists in restaurants, but there’s a Michelin 3-star restaurant in San Francisco that is taking the iPad to extremes. The Quince restaurant is now serving a dish called “A Dog in Search of Gold”, using an iPad as the actual plate on which the item is served. What is “A Dog in Search of Gold”? Quince describes it as “white truffle croquettes on iPads playing videos of water dogs on the truffle-hunt”. There are some concerns about this according to SFist; although it’s assumed that the iPads are cleaned between customers, there are probably no health code regulations ensuring that they’re cleaned as thoroughly as possible. This isn’t a new trend, by the way. Chefs in the UK have been serving dishes on iPads since at least 2015, so perhaps they have less stringent health regulations to follow.

People are sometimes described as underweight, but what does it mean when a stock is given that label? A research note from UBS says that AAPL is the most “underweight” stock in global fund management accounts. That means that most of these funds have a lower percentage of AAPL stock than you’d expect given the size and location of the company in financial indexes. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, since most financial analysts currently rate Apple’s stock a “BUY”, expecting the price per share to rise significantly in the next 12 months. Billionaire Apple investor and activist Carl Icahn was quoted last year as saying that “mutual funds will increasingly realize that being underweight shares of Apple will hurt their performance as the technology giant continues to innovate.” Those fund managers might be hedging their bets, though - both UBS and Oppenheimer are less than thrilled with Apple’s current strategy, with Oppenheimer predicting a “decade-long malaise.”

9to5Mac is reporting that researchers from several US universities say that Siri has improved its responses to medical emergencies and personal crises since 2015, but that more work is needed. Last year, a Stanford study showed that intelligent assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Samsung S Voice usually failed to recognize when someone needed help and would often respond with jokes or web search results. Since then, Siri has been improved, now recognizing the statement “I was raped” and recommending reaching out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline. 9to5’s Ben Lovejoy tested Siri with statements like “I think I am having a heart attack” and “I am depressed”, finding that Siri offered to call emergency services and provided links to the two nearest hospitals with the former statement, but only responding with “I’m very sorry. Maybe it would help to talk to someone about it” in response to the latter. Hopefully we’ll see further improvement in this aspect of Siri in 2017.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back on tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.