AWT News Update: February 15, 2017

Security camera footage from a Madrid Apple Store showing a thief in action

Security camera footage from a Madrid Apple Store showing a thief in action

Today's Apple news comes from all over the map, literally and figuratively:

  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bet big on Apple in the last quarter of 2016, a bet that has already paid off
  • Members of a Madrid, Spain gang with sharp teeth made off with some iPhones before getting caught
  • Comcast announces a new app that will turn your Apple devices into more TVs on which you can watch most of Comcast's content at no extra cost

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for February 15, 2017.

We’ve had a few stories lately about the rise in Apple’s share price and the outlook for the company in 2017. Well, at least one big investor — Berkshire Hathaway — is taking notice. Berkshire Hathaway is the holding company run by multibillionaire Warren Buffett, and an SEC filing yesterday showed that the company has increased its holdings drastically. Before May of 2016, Berkshire held very few Apple shares because Buffett didn’t see a future in the company. Then in May, it bought 9.8 million shares worth a little over $1 billion. In the last quarter of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway has pumped up its holdings from 15.2 million shares to 57.4 million shares, increasing the value of its Apple holdings to $6.64 billion by the end of December. With the recent rise in share price, Berkshire Hathaway’s Apple stock is now work about $7.74 billion provided it hasn’t sold off some shares. This news is notable because Buffett has always been skeptical of Apple, saying in 2011 that when it comes to Apple shares, Berkshire “held very few in the past and we’re likely to hold very few in the future.” It looks like Buffett and his team have moved past that former bias.

Here’s one for the record books! Police in Madrid, Spain have arrested 10 people for stealing 24 high-end iPhones from an Apple Store over two months. The phones, worth about €23,000 or $24,350 were attached to tables with security cables, but that didn’t stop the gang. One member of the team would bite and chew on the security cable until it was damaged enough to be ripped apart. As soon as the iPhones were free, they’d be passed between gang members to the store exit, where a final thief would remove it from the store. The juvenile members of the group are now incarcerated, and the two adults were issued a restraining order banning them from being within 100 meters of the store. I think Apple needs to design some chew-proof security tethers.

Although I’m not fond of my ridiculously high Comcast bill each month, the company does some things very well. For example, the X1 set-top box brought Siri-like searching and browsing to TV, and in my opinion — that and $5 will get you a coffee at Starbucks — it does it much better than the 4th-generation Apple TV does. Today, the company announced a new free app that will be available on February 28. Xfinity Stream lets subscribers watch their entire TV lineup on phones, tablets and laptops (and presumably desktops as well) in the home or on the road, watch 200 live channels, access and program their DVR,s and watch 40,000 on-demand shows and movies. The idea is that Xfinity Stream gives subscribers additional screens on which to watch their media and moves those screens outside of the home if desired. Xfinity Stream will supersede the existing Xfinity TV app, and for those who are currently using that app, the app will be automatically updated to Xfinity Stream on February 28.

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