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Apple unveils its latest tech, but is it worth the price tag?

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Apple unveils its latest tech at Apple Park, revealing new iPhones, Watches and AirPods

Well if you’re a die hard Apple fan, today is like Christmas. The tech giant has unveiled a whole host of new products from Apple Park. So at a glance, what can we get our hands on?

As expected, Apple revealed its new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Following these devices are the Apple Watch Ultra, the Apple Watch Series 8, the Apple Watch SE and redesigned AirPods Pro.

Apple launches the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

So let’s break it down for you, starting with the iPhone.

The iPhone 14 Pro is the company’s top of the range smartphone. There are two versions, the smaller 6.1 inch device and the premium ‘Max’ version sitting at 6.7 inches. But you’ll pay extra for that. The iPhone 14 Pro will starts at $999, and the bigger model starts at $1099, which is the same price as last year’s devices. In the U.S. at least.

Some new key features include an always-on display and a new low-power mode. They’re also powered by the A16 Bionic chip, have an incredible 48-megapixel camera and improved low-light photography. If you’re desperate to buy, don’t worry, you won’t have to wait very long. The phones will be available for preorder on Friday and will ship the following week.

AirPods Pro get an update

Next is the product many Apple fans have been crying out for. I’m of course talking about the redesigned AirPods Pro. The new model of the wireless earbuds with noise-cancelling capabilities comes at a cost $249 and goes on sale on Sept 23.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook says the new buds have better sound quality and clarity, thanks to the new Apple H2 chip and the noise cancelling is reportedly twice as good as before. They also sport touch control to adjust volume, longer battery life with up to 6 hours listening time and a speaker added to the case.

From an external perspective, the design is pretty much the same as before. The AirPods Pro have Apple’s signature stem and only come in white. There were also rumours this latest version would have  higher-resolution audio, but sadly this isn’t the case. Regardless, Apple says the updates are significant.

Say hello to the new Apple Watch line-up

Let’s wrap up today’s Apple launch with the famed Apple Watch. At the pointy end is the Apple Watch Ultra, which is a high-end device targeted towards outdoor athletes and go-getters. It has a new design, bigger screen, and titanium case.

The watch face also includes more information, including a compass, and even new orange “action” button for use while working out or wearing gloves. And if you like diving, don’t fret, it will also show you how deep you are when swimming. Pricing starts at $799 and the product will hit shelves on September 23.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Apple Watch SE, which is the low-cost version for those on a budget. It’s been redesigned to include a bigger screen, heart rate notifications and fall detection. It starts at just $249, making it an affordable entry-level device.

Finally there’s the Series 8. Apple COO Jeff Williams says it’s more durable and even has a new temperature sensor to help track women’s health, including ovulation.Coming in four unique colours in aluminium and three in stainless steel, there’s a big collection to chose from. Pricing starts at $399.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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Research shows daters are looking for solvent partners

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As the cost-of-living crisis continues to grip Australia, new research reveals a shifting landscape in the realm of dating preferences.

According to the survey conducted by eharmony, an overwhelming two-thirds of Australians are now keen to understand their potential partner’s financial situation before committing to a serious relationship.

The findings indicate a growing trend where individuals are becoming more discerning about whom they invest their affections in, particularly as the economic pressures intensify.

Read more: Why are car prices so high?

The study highlights that nearly half of respondents (48%) consider a potential partner’s debts and income as crucial factors in determining whether to pursue a relationship.

Certain types of debt, such as credit card debt, payday loans, and personal loans, are viewed unfavorably by the vast majority of respondents, signaling a preference for partners who exhibit financial responsibility.

Good debt

While certain forms of debt, such as mortgages and student loans (e.g., HECS), are deemed acceptable or even ‘good’ debt by a majority of respondents, credit card debt, payday loans (such as Afterpay), and personal loans top the list of ‘bad’ debt, with 82%, 78%, and 73% of respondents, respectively, expressing concerns.

Interestingly, even car loans are viewed unfavorably by a significant portion of those surveyed, with 57.5% considering them to be undesirable debt.

Sharon Draper, a relationship expert at eharmony, said the significance of financial compatibility in relationships, noting that discussions around money are increasingly taking place at earlier stages of dating.

“In the past, couples tended to avoid discussing money during the early stages of dating because it was regarded as rude and potentially off-putting,” Draper explains.

“However, understanding each other’s perspectives and habits around finances early on can be instrumental in assessing long-term compatibility.”

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US energy stocks surge amid economic growth and inflation fears

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Investors are turning to U.S. energy shares in droves, capitalizing on surging oil prices and a resilient economy while seeking protection against looming inflationary pressures.

The S&P 500 energy sector has witnessed a remarkable ascent in 2024, boasting gains of approximately 17%, effectively doubling the broader index’s year-to-date performance.

This surge has intensified in recent weeks, propelling the energy sector to the forefront of the S&P 500’s top-performing sectors.

A significant catalyst driving this rally is the relentless rise in oil prices. U.S. crude has surged by 20% year-to-date, propelled by robust economic indicators in the United States and escalating tensions in the Middle East.

Investors are also turning to energy shares as a hedge against inflation, which has proven more persistent than anticipated, threatening to derail the broader market rally.

Ayako Yoshioka, senior portfolio manager at Wealth Enhancement Group, notes that having exposure to commodities can serve as a hedge against inflationary pressures, prompting many portfolios to overweight energy stocks.

Shell Service Station

Shell Service Station

Energy companies

This sentiment is underscored by the disciplined capital spending observed among energy companies, particularly oil majors such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

Among the standout performers within the energy sector this year are Marathon Petroleum, which has surged by 40%, and Valero Energy, up by an impressive 33%.

As the first-quarter earnings season kicks into high gear, with reports from major companies such as Netflix, Bank of America, and Procter & Gamble, investors will closely scrutinize economic indicators such as monthly U.S. retail sales to gauge consumer behavior amidst lingering inflation concerns.

The rally in energy stocks signals a broadening of the U.S. equities rally beyond growth and technology companies that dominated last year.

However, escalating inflation expectations and concerns about a hawkish Federal Reserve could dampen investors’ appetite for non-commodities-related sectors.

Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel Corp., highlights investors’ focus on the robust economy amidst supply bottlenecks in commodities, especially oil.

This sentiment is echoed by strategists at Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets, who maintain bullish calls on energy shares, citing heightened geopolitical risks and strong economic fundamentals.

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Money

How Australians lose nearly $1 billion to card scammers in a year

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A recent study by Finder has unveiled a distressing trend: Australians are hemorrhaging money to card scams at an alarming rate.

The survey, conducted among 1,039 participants, painted a grim picture, with 2.2 million individuals – roughly 11% of the population – falling prey to credit or debit card skimming in 2023 alone.

The financial toll of these scams is staggering. On average, victims lost $418 each, amounting to a colossal $930 million collectively across the country.

Rebecca Pike, a financial expert at Finder, underscored the correlation between the surge in digital transactions and the proliferation of sophisticated scams.

“Scammers are adapting, leveraging sophisticated tactics that often mimic trusted brands or exploit personal connections. With digital transactions on the rise, it’s imperative for consumers to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding their financial assets,” Pike said.

Read more – How Google is cracking down on scams

Concerning trend

Disturbingly, Finder’s research also revealed a concerning trend in underreporting.

Only 9% of scam victims reported the incident, while 1% remained oblivious to the fraudulent activity initially. Additionally, 1% of respondents discovered they were victims of bank card fraud only after the fact, highlighting the insidious nature of these schemes.

Pike urged consumers to exercise heightened scrutiny over their financial statements, recommending frequent monitoring for any unauthorised transactions.

She explained the importance of leveraging notification services offered by financial institutions to promptly identify and report suspicious activity.

“Early detection is key. If you notice any unfamiliar transactions, don’t hesitate to contact your bank immediately. Swift action can mitigate further unauthorised use of your card,” Pike advised, underscoring the critical role of proactive measures in combating card scams.

As Australians grapple with the escalating threat of card fraud, Pike’s counsel serves as a timely reminder of the necessity for heightened vigilance in an increasingly digitised financial landscape.

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