What's Important in the Financial World (1/9/2013)

Internet gadgets
Internet gadgets

Cheaper iPhones

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) may not be risking much if it releases a new, cheaper version of the iPhone, which according to rumors will happen in the third quarter. If the smartphone were to be on the market in the developed world, particularly the United States, it might cannibalize sales of more expensive models. However, the lower priced handset probably will be destined for poorer and less developed nations, where expensive versions of the iPhone are unlikely to catch on. According to DigiTimes:

Some sources claimed that they have seen the sample of the low-cost iPhone, which will come with a larger display, meeting the prevailing trend for the adoption of 5-inch displays for high-end models. They added that the low-priced iPhone will also have a brand new exterior design.

Iranian Hackers

Several websites of the consumer divisions of large U.S. banks have been down intermittently. The source of the problem was believed to be hackers, but it was not clear if they were a small, unorganized group or something more sinister. It turns out the "more sinister" is probably the source - hackers set up by people with a relationship to the Iranian government, operating with the support of the regime there. And the attacks might well continue. According to The New York Times:

The skill required to carry out attacks on this scale has convinced United States government officials and security researchers that they are the work of Iran, most likely in retaliation for economic sanctions and online attacks by the United States.

"There is no doubt within the U.S. government that Iran is behind these attacks," said James A. Lewis, a former official in the State and Commerce Departments and a computer security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Shell Oil Rig

Problems with a Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) drilling rig that broke loose several days ago and drifted to shore have created bigger headaches for the oil firm than it might have expected, given that the situation was isolated. However, the Department of the Interior sees the incident, and several others, differently. Because of this incident, some Shell production could be slowed or even halted. The Interior Department reported:

As part of its continued commitment to rigorous oversight of oil and gas activities in the Arctic, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the Department has launched an expedited, high-level assessment of the 2012 offshore drilling program in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas to review practices and identify challenges as well as lessons learned. The review, which is expected to be completed within 60 days, will pay special attention to challenges that Shell encountered in connection with certification of its containment vessel, the Arctic Challenger; the deployment of its containment dome; and operational issues associated with its two drilling rigs, the Noble Discoverer and the Kulluk.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, RDS-A