(Reuters) – Chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue, helped by strong demand for its analog and embedded chip products from the automotive and industrial markets.
Released this morning, iOS 10.3 is the third major update to the iOS 10 operating system. Its main feature is a new “Find My AirPods” mode for locating lost AirPods, but the update also includes many other smaller changes and feature tweaks.
There’s a new profile option in the Settings app, iCloud usage is broken down more clearly, SiriKit has been updated to include bill paying functionality, and there’s a new file system implemented when first installing iOS 10.3. Check out the video below for a quick rundown on all the new features introduced in iOS 10.3, and make sure to read the rest of the post for even more detail.
iCloud storage breakdown – In the iCloud section of the new Apple ID Settings feature, there’s a visual breakdown of how iCloud storage space is being used. It’s more immediately clear how much space photos or iCloud backups are using. Tapping on the new storage option opens the standard iCloud management options. This section also lists all apps that use iCloud and includes the settings for Keychain, Find My iPhone, and iCloud Backup.
Find My AirPods – Find My AirPods is a new option available in the “Find My iPhone” app. It keeps track of the last known location where AirPods were connected to an iOS device over Bluetooth, making a misplaced AirPod easier to find. It also allows users to play a sound to locate a lost AirPod. It does not work when the AirPods are in the case and its functionality is somewhat limited because AirPods have no connection of their own.
SiriKit – SiriKit, the iOS 10 feature that lets third-party apps access Siri, is being updated with new features that will let Siri be used to pay bills, check on the status of payments, and schedule future rides from services like Uber.
CarPlay – CarPlay has been updated with shortcuts for launching the most recently used apps and the location of EV charging stations.
Maps – In the Maps app, there’s now an option to 3D Touch on the weather icon to see a weather forecast and other weather-related details for your current location.
HomeKit – HomeKit has gained support for programmable light switches.
Apple File System – When installing iOS 10.3, the iPhone’s file system will be updated to use Apple File System (APFS). Apple recommends making a backup before downloading the new update. Announced at WWDC last year, APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage and includes features like strong encryption, space sharing, copy-on write metadata, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, and more.
App icons (developer) – Developers will be able to update the icons for their apps at any time, with an update no longer required to push out new icon artwork.
Analytics – The “Diagnostics and Usage” option in the Privacy section of the Settings app has been renamed to “Analytics” in iOS 10.3. It continues to allow users to decide whether or not to send usage information to Apple to help the company improve its services. There’s also a new “Share iCloud Analytics” section that allows analytics of usage and data from an iCloud account. Apple uses differential privacy to protect user information.
iPad keyboard – Hidden in iOS 10.3 is a setting for a one-handed floating iPad keyboard layout that can be used on a 9.7-inch or smaller iPad. The feature, discovered by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, is not currently available.
iOS 10.3 is currently only available for developers, but Apple will likely release a public beta for public beta testers in the near future. iOS 10.3 will likely remain in testing for a couple months before it sees a public release, so it could launch in March or April.
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If precedent plays out at TransAlta Corp., the company’s plan to offer holders of about $1 billion of its preferred shares a higher income stream in return for not getting the full return of their principal may require some work.
Over the past year at least three issuers have been forced to either revise the terms of a proposal they made to their pref shareholders — or to engage in more explanation and still not achieve the desired result.
The most recent example involved RONA Inc. to purchase its outstanding preferred shares: investors balked at the original $20 a share offer but endorsed a $24 a share offer made a few months later — in part because Fidelity Investments got involved.
At the end of 2015, Dundee Corp. was forced to amend the terms of a preferred share exchange transaction because it “has heard from a broader group of beneficial shareholders, including large institutional holders, who have expressed concern.” After a bump in consideration, the plan was supported.
The third situation involves Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, which near the end of 2015 offered to exchange Class A Series 5 pref shares for a higher coupon preferred unit. That offer was extended twice (under the same terms) before the issuer indicated that holders of a mere 41.22 per cent of the seven million shares outstanding agreed to the offer.
All of which brings us to TransAlta which held a conference call Tuesday on its offer to consolidate its five existing classes of preferred share into one that comes with a higher dividend (6.50 per cent), a higher reset spread and a minimum reset yield.
The only rub is that if the deal is approved by shareholders next month (and two-thirds support is required), TransAlta will be able to reduce the “notional capital balance of preferred shares by approximately $300 million” That reduction “strengthens the balance sheet and improves certain financial ratios.” One year back, TransAlta slashed its common dividend while last March DBRS added a negative trend to its BBB credit rating.
Some financial advisers, and at least one portfolio manager, argue the higher yield and better terms aren’t enough to make up for the potential capital loss investors are being asked to take.
James Hymas, portfolio manager at Hymas Investment Counsel said, “that’s the crux of the issue. The reduction in the effective redemption price (from $25), is an incredibly major change, an incredibly valuable feature to be given up, and TransAlta is not even close to matching that value on the income side.”
Noted one adviser who tuned in: “They should withdraw the offer before they endure further embarrassment.” The adviser’s reasoning runs this way: in return for slightly higher annual income the capital value of the prefs falls substantially.
The $300 million matter did arise in the conference call when one questioner asked whether TransAlta “was benefitting more” than the pref shareholders from the transaction.
In response, the company said it didn’t “believe there was more benefit to one party versus the other. We worked with PWC (the firm retained to provide a fairness opinion on the transaction), which issued its fairness opinion for all the series (of prefs). That was important to us,” added the company, which noted the market, has responded favorably to the news because trades have been done at higher prices.
“We believe that when you combine all the benefits, the higher cash dividend, the protection because of the minimum floor it’s a very attractive offer for the pref share holders,” it added.
In an emailed statement, Donald Tremblay, TransAlta’s chief financial officer, said the proposed transaction was structured “to be fair for the preferred shareholders and to achieve our goal of strengthening our balance sheet. There certainly are benefits to TransAlta from this proposed transaction however as we reviewed the alternative structures we were very cognizant of the existing preferred shareholders and the existing trading value of the preferred shares.”
Tremblay said that “we believe the transaction fairly compensates the existing shareholders by providing benefits,” including a premium to the trading prices on the day the deal was announced, the increased cash dividend and the minimum floor feature.
Tremblay noted that the preferreds par value of $25 “is theoretical in the sense that prior to the announcement of the transaction these shares were trading at or below $0.50 on the dollar; Management would never have utilized the call option on the Preferred Shares,” he said.