What’s that Sept. 8 “iPhone Killer” All About?

What's being teased for Lou Basenese's Digital Fortunes?

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, August 31, 2021

Today it’s a pitch from Lou Basenese that graces our pages here at Stock Gumshoe… he’s talking up an “iPhone Killer” idea, a notion we’ve certainly heard teased many times. This is how he gets the idea into our heads;

“Kill the iPhone, you say?

“Few companies have the guts to kill an iconic… admired… refined… brilliantly conceived… historically significant… multibillion-dollar business… ON PURPOSE….

“See, by strategically killing, say… an aging business model… a declining product… an outdated design… a tired brand… a fading trend… Sears, Dell, Blockbuster, America Online, Kodak, MySpace, and Yahoo could’ve stayed perched atop their kingdoms.

“It’s called ‘creative destruction.’

“If you’re an investor, I urge you to pay close attention.

“Because in the weeks ahead, Apple could do what Sears, Dell, Blockbuster and the others failed to do — if all goes as expected…

“Apple will commit the single greatest act of creative destruction ever…

“I believe Apple is planning to kill its iPhone, ON PURPOSE.”

This is an ad for what Basenese calls his flaghip publication, Lou Basenese’s Digital Fortunes (currently being sold at $99/yr, 30-day refund period), and it’s essentially a pitch about Apple’s long-rumored augmented reality glasses or goggles. Most rumors indicate that this is not going to be a big business for Apple anytime soon, but there are lots of people working on glasses and goggles and AR/VR projects at Apple, they have had some events to discuss those projects, and it’s possible that tests and prototypes will lead to products over the next few years.

I’d say that a product announcement about Apple Glasses (or whatever they’re called) in a week is extremely unlikely. It easy to read the bread crumbs and daydream about possible products from Apple, but Apple is not an innovator — they’re focused on perfection, not being first.

Still, augmented reality for the iPhone is also proceeding, and is enabled to a large degree by technology that’s already in the iPhone and that gets improved with each iteration, like better laser sensing and better cameras and displays, so we’re heaving toward AR/VR even if there isn’t necessarily a big event next month when that world will change dramatically.

So… what’s the stock that Basenese likes for this? Here’s more form the ad:

“I’ll reveal the best stock to own as Apple prepares to kill its iPhone. I expect a single share to go a long… long… long way… because it accomplishes something truly powerful…

“It grants you ownership in a company, but not just any company…

“I’m talking about ownership in a thriving company… a company radically expanding its customer base… a company hiring the best talent… a company on the leading edge of a revolution… a company growing profits every quarter… a company with 10-bagger potential… like I just said, a company exactly like Apple in 1980!”

OK, that’s a nice passel o’ hype, but not many clues… does he drop any hints for the Thinkolator?

“It’s a tiny company making an indispensable part for the iPhone Killer.”

Mmmkay, what else?

We get a bit about that secret meeting Apple had about “killing” the iPhone…

“Apple called a ‘secret’ meeting at its Cupertino headquarters.

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“A meeting that filled its on-campus, 1,000-seat, Steve Jobs Theatre to capacity…..

“Code-named ‘N421,’ credible sources believe the device’s highest purpose is…

“To kill the iPhone.”

That was an internal meeting back in 2019, reported by The Information and then re-reported by lots of others as the rumors spread, and all indications are that it was the first big internal meeting about their planned VR headset, which has been expected to come as early as 2022 if they can get it right, and the more important AR Glasses, which most people don’t think will be ready for launch until 2023 at the very earliest. Odds are pretty good, sez Bloomberg, that anything introduced in the next year or so will be a high-end virtual reality device that’s mostly a placeholder to allow software developers to create products and some early adopters to build interest (and, of course, since this is Apple the timeline could easily shift, and the product could be scrapped if it’s not good enough or not ready to wear the Apple logo). But almost all of the reporting is based on rumors and decisions not yet made, so who knows.

Back to Basenese:

“I expect Apple to be wildly successful in its creative destruction of the iPhone…

“And I also believe that ‘N421’ will replace it…

“Owning a few shares of Apple is both worthwhile and prudent.

“Yet Apple is only the tip of the spear.

“See, whenever a creatively destructive act is occurring — like Amazon replacing malls… Priceline replacing travel agencies… Wal-Mart replacing mom-and-pop shops… Home Depot replacing lumber yards… Uber replacing taxis… drones replacing tanks… or GPS replacing maps…

“The destruction has so much raw power….

“It tends to push every company in the industry to new highs… especially the smallest firms.”

So that’s what we’re being pitched here, some smaller company that has something to do with providing components or technology to Apple (and others) for AR/VR projects.

And yes, the immediate marketing push from Basenese is that “Apple will reveal its plan to launch the iPhone Killer… during its product event on September 8.” And that may or may not be true. Personally, I suspect there will be no such “reveal” during the next Apple iPhone 13 release event, which typically happens in September and could come as early as September 8, but has not been announced (and, like last year’s belated release, will probably be a virtual-only event given the resurgence of COVID and the fact that Apple has pushed back their original back-to-the-office timeline). Lots of folks expect Apple to improve its sensing technology with this latest iPhone, perhaps including improved LiDAR for 3D scanning, and it could well be that enhanced AR capabilities of the phone will be part of that product release… we’ll see. There are plenty of rumor summaries available online, including this one from Cnet yesterday. Those folks know and care a lot more than I do, but some of those rumors will be wrong, too.

What other hints do we get? Here’s more from the ad:

“… the iPhone Killer’s paradigm-smashing feature… the feature Apple thinks you want… you need… you’ll soon become dependent upon… and you’ll use for the rest of your life…

“I call it ‘spatial awareness’ — simply put, it’s N421’s ability to recognize and interface with everything happening around you… thus allowing for a fully immersive, visually-enhanced feedback loop.”

Basenese said that the augmented reality demonstrations Apple gave to employees in 2019, and the improved chips and better batteries they’ve developed since then, make it possible to take the next step to those “N421” augmented reality glasses, so this tease is most likely something to do with laser sensing or LiDAR or something similar.

More from the ad:

“I call it ‘Holo-Core’ technology… because it a) gives users a fully immersive, 3-D, hologram-like experience, and b) Tim Cook referred to the technology as ‘core’ to Apple’s future back in 2016.

“To be clear, Holo-Core isn’t a standalone device.

“It’s one of iPhone Killer’s seven main parts… yet it’s also iPhone’s Killer’s only irreplaceable part… and thereby it’s iPhone Killer’s most important part.”

And then we get some hints about the company itself, and, of course, a reminder that even if Apple isn’t first the technology is likely to keep moving foward:

“… even if Samsung… or LG… or Huawei… or whoever else… releases their own versions of an iPhone Killer,

“THEY’LL ALL require a ‘Holo-Core’ component to function properly….

“… the global leader in ‘Holo-Core’ technology — an absolutely essential component to every iPhone Killer — is a small company based in upstate New York.