YouTube TV hikes prices for new subscribers, adds missing Turner channels like CNN & Cartoon Network

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Google’s YouTube TV on Wednesday announced the long-awaited addition of Turner networks to its lineup, though new subscribers will soon have to pay a higher monthly fee.
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Apple Once Again Hikes iPhone Prices in India Following Increase in Custom Duty

The iPhone X was already pretty expensive in India when it was first launched. Due to a hike in import taxes, Apple was forced to further increase the price of the handset in the country a couple of months after launch. Now, Apple has once again increased the price of the iPhone X and other iPhones in its lineup due to an increase in import taxes by the Indian government. Continue reading
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256GB iPhone X now costs a staggering $1,699 in India as Apple hikes prices yet again

The Indian government is essentially forcing Apple to set up local manufacturing.

Apple cannot catch a break in India. The government increased import duties from 10% to 15% at the end of last year, and with Apple yet to set up a manufacturing facility for most iPhone models in the country, it had to raise prices of its devices.

In its 2018 Union budget, the government announced that it is once again increasing import duties, this time to 20%. The doubling of the duties in under two months means Apple is once again hiking the prices of most iPhones models sold in India, with the 256GB iPhone X now retailing for an eye-watering ₹1,08,930, which comes out to an equivalent of $ 1,699.

To put things into context, the first price correction increased the cost of the iPhone X to ₹1,05,720 ($ 1,649), up ₹5,720 from its launch price of ₹1,02,000 ($ 1,590). With the latest price hike, the iPhone X is now ₹6,930 ($ 110) costlier than when it made its debut in the country at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, the 64GB variant of the iPhone X has also seen a similar hike, from ₹89,000 a few months ago to ₹95,390. That’s an increase of ₹6,390 ($ 100) over the course of two months.

The price hike isn’t limited to the iPhone X either, with all iPhone models costing 2% to 3.2% more. Here’s the breakdown of the new pricing:

Model Old price New price
iPhone 6 32GB ₹30,780 ₹31,900
iPhone 6s 32GB ₹41,550 ₹42,900
iPhone 6s 128GB ₹50,660 ₹52,100
iPhone 6s Plus 32GB ₹50,740 ₹52,240
iPhone 7 32GB ₹50,810 ₹52,370
iPhone 7 128GB ₹59,910 ₹61,560
iPhone 7 Plus 32GB ₹61,060 ₹62,840
iPhone 7 Plus 128GB ₹70,180 ₹72,060
iPhone 8 64GB ₹66,120 ₹67,940
iPhone 8 256GB ₹79,420 ₹81,500
iPhone 8 Plus 64GB ₹75,450 ₹77,560
iPhone 8 Plus 256GB ₹88,750 ₹91,110
iPhone X 64GB ₹92,430 ₹95,390
iPhone X 256GB ₹1,05,720 ₹1,08,930

Even the Apple Watch Series 3 wasn’t immune to the import duty hike, with the 38mm variant now set to cost ₹32,380 ($ 505), up from ₹29,900 ($ 465).

It is incredulous that the government is raising duties for the second time in as many months, effectively destroying Apple’s ability to compete effectively. Most Android manufacturers have set up local manufacturing facilities several years ago, so the move doesn’t affect the pricing of the Galaxy Note 8 or the multitude of phones Xiaomi sells in the country.

It’s clear what the hike in duties is designed to do: force companies to set up local manufacturing facilities. Apple has already committed to bolstering its efforts in this segment, but right now just the iPhone SE is assembled in India. With duties now at 20%, it’s no longer feasible for the company to import devices into India.

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India hikes import tax on cellphones, liable to hit Apple’s iPhone hardest

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The Indian government is raising import taxes on cellphones from 10 to 15 percent, which could put pressure on Apple to accelerate local iPhone manufacturing.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Apple hikes repair, replacement & AppleCare+ prices for iPhones

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Alongside announcing the iPhone 8 and X, Apple has also raised the cost of some AppleCare+ warranties, as well as out-of-pocket repair and replacement costs for every recent iPhone model.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Study Shows That Minimum Wage Hikes Put More Jobs at Risk of Automation

Benefiting Whom, Exactly?

The desire for a higher wage is pretty self explanatory. However, the impact a minimum wage increase could have on society is not so clear.

In an effort to shed light on this subject, researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) conducted a study, and they’ve concluded that a minimum wage hike might not necessarily lead to happier workers. In fact, it could lead to fewer workers as such an increase has historically resulted in the loss of more jobs to automation.

For this study, authors Grace Lordan of the London School of Economics and David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine looked at minimum wage changes in the United States from 1980 to 2015. They realized that these changes affected the number of so-called “low-skill” or minimum wage jobs — such as packing boxes or using sewing machines — in various industries in the country.

In other words, if a wage hike meant it would cost more to hire a human to do a job than it would to have a machine do it, employers often chose the machine.

“Based on [current population survey] data from 1980-2015, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become unemployed,” the authors wrote in the paper’s abstract.

The researchers determined that a $ 1 minimum wage increase led to a 0.43 percent decline in automatable jobs. Such a wage increase led to a full one percent decline in the case of manufacturing, and older, low-skilled workers employed in that industry were particularly likely to be negatively affected by the wage increase.

A loss of just .43 percent of jobs may not seem like much, but it translates to “millions of jobs across the entire U.S. economy,” according to MIT Technology Review.

The Cost of Automation

While the current federal minimum wage in the U.S. has remained unchanged since 2009 — $ 7.25 an hour — 30 states have higher minimum wage laws. These are, of course, meant to ensure that the “minimum wage” is the same as the “living wage” — the amount of money a person needs to earn to be able to afford such expenses as rent, food, and other necessities.

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However, as the NBER study showed, such wage policies should be carefully considered in the face of intelligent automation. Legislators must ask themselves if increasing the minimum wage would help workers keep their jobs or speed up losses due to automation.

Today’s automated systems are more intelligent than ever before, and machines are now capable of performing even higher-skill jobs thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. In short, today’s machines are far more advanced than the ones available to employers during the three decades covered in the NBER study.

A number of industries in the U.S. have already started feeling the effects of automation. From Amazon’s “employee-less” grocery store to the factories using autonomous vehicles to transport goods, workplaces that feature routinized tasks are already turning to automated systems.

Experts predict this trend will speed up over the coming years and decades. According to a recent study by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, 40 percent of jobs in the U.S. are at a high risk of being taken over by robots by 2030. In the U.K., some 30 percent of jobs are vulnerable, while Germany and Japan could lose 35 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

While troubling, studies like these serve a valuable purpose as they give us time to prepare for the future effects of automation before we’re actually living with them. As long as we pursue ways to mitigate the increased use of automated systems — perhaps through universal basic income (UBI) trials, retraining or education programs, or taxes on robots — the world will be able to benefit from the technology.

The post Study Shows That Minimum Wage Hikes Put More Jobs at Risk of Automation appeared first on Futurism.


US insurer hikes Tesla premiums due to ‘higher-than-average’ claim rates

National insurer AAA is raising its prices for Tesla’s Model S and Model X, citing higher-than-average claim rates and repair costs for the two cars. According to a report from Automotive News, AAA said it could raise its premiums by as much as 30 percent for the vehicles. Other large insurers including State Farm and Geico told the publication they couldn’t say whether or not they would also increase prices, but noted that data about claim frequency is always used to calculate insurance premiums.

Tesla itself disputes the move, saying the AAA has made its decision based on faulty information from the Highway Loss Data Institute. A spokesperson for Tesla told Automotive News: “This analysis is severely flawed and is not reflective of…

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