This week featured some interesting stories in tech, including Amazon's (AMZN 0.37%) big success with its tech products, Alphabet's (GOOG -1.31%) (GOOGL -1.42%) strategy to respond to Amazon's growing smart-home ambitions, and a good reason for investors to expect a huge holiday quarter from Apple (AAPL 0.74%). Here's what you need to know.
Amazon's "Turkey 5" homerun
After previewing some of Amazon's aggressive discounts in last week's tech stock roundup, the e-commerce giant shared some interesting stats about the popular five-day shopping spree from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. "Amazon customers shopped at record levels during the Turkey 5, ordering hundreds of millions of products from toys to fashion to electronics and Amazon devices," said Amazon's Jeff Wilke, CEO of its worldwide consumer division.
But it was Amazon-branded tech products that stole the show. The company's Echo Dot, or its compact version of the original Amazon Echo smart speaker, was the top-selling product on Amazon globally over the weekend. Amazon's Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, the second-generation Amazon Echo speaker, and Amazon's Fire 7 tablet were also top sellers.
Alphabet to double down on Nest
Speaking of the popularity of Amazon's tech products, Alphabet is reportedly considering bringing its smart-home Nest Labs business into its core Google hardware team in an effort to battle Amazon's growing connected-home ambitions.
Not only did Amazon recently launch a handful of new smart speakers, but it even launched home security devices. The Amazon Key In-Home Kit includes an Amazon Cloud Cam, featuring 1080p footage for customers to check in on their front doors, and a smart lock for remote access control. The kit costs $249.99. Amazon also sells its Cloud Cam separately for $119.99, or in two and three packs for $199.98 and $289.97, respectively.
Since smart speakers work closely with other smart-home hardware like connected thermostats and locks, closer integration of Alphabet's growing lineup of smart speakers and Nest products could enable a more seamless customer experience, helping it compete with Amazon.
iPhone X supply is rapidly improving
Further supporting the case for a huge holiday quarter from Apple, improving shipping times of Apple's iPhone X suggest production of the device is ramping up quickly. Estimated shipping times for online orders of the flagship iPhone in the U.S. fell to under seven days at one point this week -- a huge improvement from shipping times of three to four weeks at the beginning of November, and one to two weeks, more recently.
Rapidly improving production and increasing iPhone X availability is good news for Apple shareholders. Thanks to the timing of Apple's annual iPhone launches and the impact of seasonality on smartphone sales, the tech giant's smartphone segment has a huge influence on the company's sales during the holiday quarter each year.
In its Nov. 2 fourth-quarter earnings release for fiscal 2017, Apple said it expected total first-quarter (coinciding with the fourth calendar quarter of the year) revenue to be between $84 billion and $87 billion, up significantly from its record revenue in the year-ago quarter of $78.4 billion.