iPhones Could Get Hit By Tariffs…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week


Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Apple falls after Trump suggests iPhones could get hit by tariffs.

After President Trump suggested that 10% tariffs could be placed on mobile phones and laptops made in China, Apple Inc. shares lost about a fifth of their value.  Earlier in the same week, Apple briefly moved to Number 2 as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company when overtaken by Microsoft Corp. (Source: Bloomberg)

Why this is important for your business:

Don’t worry, Apple will be fine. But the tariffs – if they do take effect – will have an impact on your technology purchases in 2019. Your best bet is to buy early before they begin to kick in. Consider financing your planned tech purchases now rather than later as even the added costs of interest will be still be less than potential price increases.

2 — Amazon opens its internal machine learning classes to all for free.

Amazon announced that it would offer for free the same machine learning courses that it uses to train its own engineers. The company’s general manager of deep learning and AI said there are more than 45 hours across 30 different free courses that developers, data scientists, data platform engineers and business professionals can take. The coursework helps consolidate best practices and demonstrates how to get started on a range of AWS machine learning services. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’ve been a reader of this column then you’re well-aware that the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence technology has been exploding. You might have an internal person working on AI solutions for your applications or maybe you’re outsourcing. Regardless, you can cut costs and learning time by leveraging off of the free educational materials Amazon is now offering.

3 — A reusable coffee cup has contactless payments built in.

Since less than 1% of disposable coffee cups used for takeaway coffee in the U.K. are being recycled, a soon-to-be subsidiary of Coca-Cola called Costa has proposed a solution. It’s launching a reusable cup with its own detachable contactless chip powered by Barclaycard’s payment technology.  Customers can top up the £15 ‘Clever Cup’ using Barclay’s bPay app and then use it to buy a large fill of coffee, tea, caramelized orange hot chocolate, or whatever else they want. (Source: engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

Clients often ask me how Internet of Things will impact them, both personally and professionally. Well, here’s an example: a coffee cup with a brain that will record transactions and can be tracked. Now think how this can be applied to your products and inventory.

4 — Ohio will be first state to allow businesses to pay taxes with bitcoin, which has risen to over $4,000.

Ohio will become the first state that allows businesses to pay state taxes with bitcoin. After registering at OhioCrypto.com, business owners will be able to use the third-party service BitPay to process payments. They can currently pay 23 taxes through the program, including withholding tax, sales tax, and tax on tobacco products. (Sources: Gizmodo)

Why this is important for your business:

This news surprised me, given the volatility of the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency. However, the government of Ohio has recognized that, in order to collect their money, as many payment choices as possible should be provided to taxpayers. Given the currency’s potential for losses I’m not recommending doing business in bitcoin to my clients. But the more entities – like the state of Ohio – that accept it, the less volatile it will become over time and the more seriously it should be considered by your company.

5 — Ericsson: 5G will have fastest rollout ever, going mainstream in 2020.

Ericsson—one of the industry’s leading providers of 5G infrastructure hardware—published a report saying that, due to chipset improvements, 5G is going to have the fastest rollout of any cellular generation in history and will go mass market in 2020. The company says this is only the beginning of a major technology shift, and there are many challenges ahead. But they add that anticipation for 5G is ‘much greater’ than what was seen ahead of the launch of 4G/LTE 10 years ago. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

By all accounts, 5G will not only come but come quick in 2019 and most mobile networks providers and mobile phone makers will adopt these chips quickly. The good news is that networks and phones will be faster and able to handle more complicated transactions and video. The downside is that your phone will be immediately obsolete and you’ll be shamed into upgrading in order to take advantage!

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