What’s this “Apple-Fi” Business from Ray Blanco?

What's being hinted at by Technology Profits Confidential?

The inbox is overflowing with story requests today, but we’re going to start things off with the most-requested teaser pitch of the last few days, Ray Blanco’s “Apple Fi” ad for Technology Profits Confidential ($49/yr).

At first I thought this was just another rewording of his older “Halo-Fi” pitch, which was about the OneWeb satellite constellation (that’s still a private company, but my best guess was that he was primarily recommending Softbank, OneWeb’s largest investor — and OneWeb scrapped a bunch of launches over the past year or so and just filed for bankruptcy in March, so we get yet another black mark on Softbank’s ledger).

That ad ran for almost three years and still pops up every now and then with a new invented “deadline” for the day you’d be able to buy $7/month internet from these satellite folks… but this new ad is different… and not just because SpaceX has apparently eaten OneWeb’s lunch.

The general idea is the same, that you’ll be getting your internet access from satellites, but this time Blanco’s saying you’ll be accessing a network run by Apple that covers the globe, and that Apple will be charging you only $4.99 a month.

Don’t hold your breath on that, the technological challenges for delivering a high-bandwidth satellite data service to everyone on earth are pretty wild and I expect progress will move a lot more slowly than Blanco is hinting… but we’ll dig into the details and try to figure out just what he’s talking about this time, and which stocks he’s hinting at as plays on this new Apple satellite network (which, to be clear, does not exist at the moment).

Here’s a little taste of the ad, which has Blanco taking credit for urging investment in 5G back in 2011 but says that this next big thing is going to be the “5G Killer”…

“Please pay very close attention to what I’m about to share with you.

“Because as you’re about to see, anyone buying 5G stocks could soon get burned.

“That’s because a much bigger new technology — one I call the ‘5G Killer’ — could soon make 5G technology obsolete.”

And as these ads so often like to do, presumably because it makes the newsletter seem super smart for looking up stuff that most people don’t understand, they also trot out an image of a US Patent…

“What you’re looking at is Patent No. 20130271317.

“Filed on behalf of Apple, Inc., this patent reveals one of the biggest tech breakthroughs of our time…

“One that could put giant service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and others out of business…

“And, more importantly, make 5G technology obsolete overnight.”

That sounds like a bit of a stretch, to be kind… yes, an Apple employee did get issued this patent in 2015, but it seems primarily focused on testing systems for satellite navigation in devices — so in Apple’s case, testing how the GPS on your iPhone works. I am not an expert on this at all, so maybe I’m missing something (you can see the patent here if you’re curious) … but the patent seems to be just a little flair thrown in to build the excitement in the ad and provide some gravitas.

Blanco lays it on pretty thick, too, telling us that this news of “Apple-Fi” will be coming soon…

“Apple, Inc. may be just days away from announcing plans for an entirely new era of modern internet…

“One that will deliver high-speed internet to everyone worldwide…

“Without requiring a modem, towers, cables, or anything like that…

“… almost nobody else in the world knows about Apple’s top-secret project yet.

“But on June 22, I believe this ‘5G Killer’ will be revealed to the world…

“And when it is, it could go down as one of the biggest market stories of 2020….

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“Mark My Words: What’s Coming Next Is a Radical New Internet, Powered Directly By Apple, Inc.”

And, of course, this secret news is about to make you filthy rich — and Ray Blanco is the only one who knows about it…

“I’ll be showing you the undeniable proof in just a moment…

“I’ll even show you exactly how to get in front of this ‘Apple-Fi’ revolution…

“Potentially turning one small investment today into the kind of wealth most people only ever dream of.”

And he even gets really detailed about what’s going to be offered…

“What is ‘Apple-Fi’?

“In short, Apple will soon cut out traditional wireless networks and internet providers…

“And beam fast, reliable, unlimited internet through the air… directly to your device.
No more cell towers… and no more routers….

“Whether you’re walking down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan or in a remote rural cabin,
you’ll always be connected to high-speed internet.

“The most shocking part of all this?

“Well, judging by similar Apple products…

“Like Apple TV, which costs $4.99 per month… and Apple Arcade, which again, costs $4.99 per month…
‘Apple-Fi’ may cost you just $4.99 per month.”

Did you tilt your head at that last part? This global satellite data network for always-on connectivity might cost you only $4.99 per month! And why did Ray Blanco settle on that specific price point? Um, because some of Apple’s other products cost that much. That’s kind of like saying Ford will sell me a new car for $29, because that’s what my local dealer charges for an oil change.

But he lays it on even thicker:

“While other internet services like Verizon and AT&T charge an average of $132 or more per month…

“Starting just days from now, you — and everyone else around the world — could be able to slash your bill down to as little as $4.99 per month.”

So what’s going on here?

Yes, it’s true that Apple has what I’d characterize as probably a “skunk works” project doing something with satellite communications. And that division generated a fair amount of attention back in December, because