Here are the most read stories of the week.
Apple bets on artificial intelligence, augmented reality
Analysts said Apple Inc.'s June 5 product announcements held important insight into the direction the company will take as its legacy products mature. As Mizuho analyst Abhey Lamba said in a research note, "hardware upgrades were broad-based but incremental in nature." That said, notable updates to the company's product line include a new AI smart speaker to compete with similar offerings from Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc., and new platforms for virtual and augmented reality.
Disney film, parks segments' growth overshadowed by ESPN declines
For investors, fears about ESPN (US), part of Walt Disney Co.'s largest segment, are eclipsing blockbuster growth elsewhere for the media and entertainment conglomerate. Disney's corporate revenue growth has slowed along with its media networks segment, even as the company has seen stronger trends elsewhere, in studio entertainment, parks and resorts, and consumer products and interactive media.
Wireless consolidation: Killing competition or 'turbocharging' it
Executives from Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. have each spent the last couple of weeks making the case that a tie-up between the two companies would be good for competition and consumers. But some industry observers are not so convinced. David VanAmburg, managing director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI, noted that unlike other telecom categories where customer choice is limited, customer satisfaction in the wireless industry has continued to improve in recent years largely due to competition.
Streaming players up the programming ante in competitive summer season
Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. will join cable and broadcast networks in offering viewers an array of choices this summer. Netflix’s new summer series include "My Only Love Song," "Ozark," "Gypsy" and "Free Rein," and comedies "GLOW" and "Friends from College." Amazon's Prime Video will premiere animated series "Danger & Eggs"; comedic superhero show "The Tick"; and "The Last Tycoon," an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's final novel.
AMC Networks adding subscribers with traditional distributors
The traditional pay-TV universe continues to shed subscribers, but AMC Networks Inc. has been bucking that trend. AMC Networks CFO and Executive Vice President Sean Sullivan said the company's five networks are well-positioned with both traditional and virtual multichannel video programming distributors.