The Apple effect: on Sprint, PayPal, watchmakers

We’ve rounded up some news about how Apple’s product launches and announcements this week are affecting/may affect other companies:

• Sprint shares are up more than 6 percent today, and more than 20 percent since it announced this week an “iPhone for life” promotion that would allow its customers to upgrade to new iPhones every two years. At least one analyst upgraded the stock of the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. after the announcement, and its website is feeling pressure.

• Analysts are optimistic about the chances of Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payments service, in a space no one has conquered yet, our own Julia Love wrote this week. For one thing, Apple has signed up many partners. (Although major retailers Walmart and Best Buy aren’t on board.) Apple, of course, has tremendous reach; the volume of pre-orders reportedly caused Apple website problems last night.

What will Apple Pay mean for mobile payments provider PayPal? There is speculation that mighty Google may take a stake in PayPal parent eBay (something eBay denies), perhaps to help battle Apple. But an analyst points out that Android’s reach is greater than the iPhone’s, so Apple Pay may not be as great a threat as people think. Still, Cantor Fitzgerald’s Youssef Squali says Apple Pay’s launch could put more pressure on eBay to spin off PayPal.

• Finally, at least for today, watches. What does Apple Watch mean to other watchmakers? Probably not much to makers of very expensive luxury timepieces. “Smartwatches may be a useful tool to some, but really we find collectors coveting fine timepieces,” Reginald Brack, international head of retail for watches at Christie’s in New York, told Bloomberg. And Jean-Claude Biver, chairman of Hublot, a Swiss brand owned by LVMH, tells the Economist that smartwatches are an “information tool” that can quickly become obsolete, while Swiss watchmakers are selling “eternity in a box.”


Photo: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus on Sept. 9, 2014 in Cupertino (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


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