E-payments giant PayPal ( PYPL ) announced Wednesday that it will release an updated mobile app for the Apple ( AAPL ) iOS and the Alphabet ( GOOGL ) Google Android operating system next month But it also offered further evidence that also-ran mobile operating systems from Microsoft ( MSFT ), BlackBerry ( BBRY ) and Amazon.com ( AMZN ) are obsolete. PayPal said in a blog post that users of its Apple iOS and Android OS mobile apps must update to version 6.0 between June 3-30. As for Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Amazon Fire, there’s no app upgrade. In fact, PayPal will discontinue apps for those services as of June 30, though they can still access PayPal via browsers. Windows Phone and BlackBerry have seen continued market share losses, with Windows Phone market share falling below 1%. Amazon, which uses a modified Android, killed its ill-fated Fire Phone, though its Kindle tablets remain numerous. “It was a difficult decision to no longer support the PayPal app on these mobile platforms, but we believe it’s the right thing to ensure we are investing our resources in creating the very best experiences for our customers, wrote Joanna Lambert, PayPal’s vice president of consumer product. Microsoft announced plans Wednesday to cut another 1,850 smartphone jobs.
Apple ( AAPL ) stock rose Monday as investors digested a positive iPhone 7 production report, along with a cautionary article that suggested Apple was at risk of becoming the next BlackBerry ( BBRY ). Apple stock was up 1.6%, near 97, in afternoon trading on the stock market today . Taiwan’s Economic Daily News reported Monday that Apple has ordered contract manufacturers to produce 72 million to 78 million iPhone 7 handsets this year, a record figure for a new iPhone and above analyst estimates of 65 million units. The iPhone 7 is expected to be released in September, with a slimmer design, faster processor and improved camera as compared to earlier iPhones. This 10th-generation iPhone might even sport a waterproof design for the first time. Apple Falling Behind In AI Meanwhile, influential tech blogger and Web developer Marco Arment on Saturday posted an article that argued Apple is falling behind Amazon.com ( AMZN ), Facebook ( FB ) and Alphabet ( GOOGL )-owned Google in artificial intelligence (AI), digital assistants and voice interfaces. He said Apple could miss the next big shift in computing, just as onetime cellphone giant BlackBerry missed the move to smartphones from email-centric feature phones. “Amazon, Facebook, and Google — especially Google — have all invested heavily in Big Data Web services and AI for many years, prioritizing them highly, iterating and advancing them constantly, accumulating relevant data, developing effective algorithms and attracting, developing and retaining tons of specialized talent,” Arment wrote. Arment says Apple is not putting the same emphasis on Big Data and AI as its rivals. “Becoming a major Big Data AI services company doesn’t happen completely in secret and suddenly get released to the world, completed, in a keynote,” Arment said. “It’s a massive undertaking, spanning many years, many people and a lot of noticeable interaction with the world. It’s easier to conceal the development of an entire car than a major presence in AI and services.” Analysts Keep Buy Ratings On Apple Stock Investors on Monday were more focused on the Economic Daily News article and a trio of reassuring analyst reports. Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves on Sunday reiterated his overweight rating on Apple stock with a price target of 123. “We believe concerns about a potential lack of innovation in the iPhone 7 underestimate the extraordinary growth in the user base over the past two years, which is likely to drive increased replacement volume and overall iPhone unit growth in fiscal 2017, almost regardless of the hardware,” Hargreaves said. BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long also is positive on Apple because of the potential for iPhone users to upgrade with the iPhone 7 cycle. “What we find most interesting is that we believe we are entering the iPhone 7 cycle with the highest percentage of phones in the installed base at least two years old, at about 26% (compared to 23% for iPhone 6),” Long said. “This translates to about 120 million phones. As a result, we believe the device will drive an improved replacement rate, even if it has lackluster features.” Also, the huge growth in used iPhone sales will increase the installed base of iPhone users and boost services revenue, Long said. He reiterated his outperform rating on Apple stock, with a price target of 117. Nomura analyst Jeffrey Kvaal maintained his buy rating on Apple with a price target of 120. He noted the success of Apple’s recent iPhone SE launch but cautioned that the lower-cost smartphone could cannibalize sales of iPhone 6S handsets. Apple chip suppliers Broadcom ( AVGO ), Skyworks Solutions ( SWKS ), Qorvo ( QRVO ) and NXP Semiconductors ( NXPI ) were up Monday intraday. Broadcom climbed 1.5%, Skyworks 2.4%, Qorvo 2.9% and NXP Semi 1.1%. RELATED: Apple Has Largest Cash Stockpile, Twice That Of Microsoft’s Apple Faces ‘Existential Threat’ From Messenger Bots .
Aiming to shoot past Apple ‘s ( AAPL ) CarPlay, Alphabet ’s ( GOOGL ) Google hopes to woo auto makers with its new Android N operating system, which can be used in infotainment systems, as well as smartphones. Google unveiled an “auto-centric” variant of Android N at its Google I/O developer’s conference on Wednesday. Google also announced that Android Auto will include the Waze traffic app as part of its navigation system. “This is very important, as the major screen projection systems (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) have relegated the user to only the native navigation Apple or Google map application, but the Waze application has tremendous popularity,” Egil Juliussen, an analyst at research firm IHS Automotive, said in a report. Apple and Google have revved up efforts to integrate their smartphone technologies with auto communications systems. QNX Software Systems, a subsidiary of BlackBerry ( BBRY ), has also pushed into Web-connected infotainment and telematics systems, along with AT&T ( T ). Apple and Google have faced challenges because of the lengthy design cycles for autos. While Apple’s CarPlay technology is built around its iOS software, some automakers have preferred open-sourced technologies, analysts say. At the developer’s conference, Google showcased the Android N software working in a Maserati Ghibli equipped with a 15-inch screen. Google said it has added Wi-Fi capability to “Android Auto,” a move Apple took in 2015. IHS Automotive says Android software has been built into infotainment systems on new Honda ( HMC ) and Renault vehicles. “ General Motors ( GM ) and Harman ( HAR ) announced a tie-up to build Android-based infotainment systems for GM vehicles,” said the IHS report. “This $900 million contract will (create) a new next-generation infotainment system powered by Android by the end of 2016 — it’s possible that those vehicles will be powered by this (Android N) embedded system.”