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Apple's iWatch Could Come With IOS, Earn $6 Billion a Year 327

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-than-a-swatch dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's long-rumored "iWatch" could earn the company $6 billion a year, if an analyst quoted by Bloomberg proves correct. Citigroup analyst Oliver Chen estimated the global watch industry's annual revenue at $60 billion a year, with gross margins of roughly 60 percent. "This can be a $6 billion opportunity for Apple, with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod," he told the newswire, "something consumers didn't even know they needed." Meanwhile, The Verge reports that Apple has " chosen to rework the full iOS to run on the watch instead of building up the iPod nano's proprietary touch operating system," which has led to battery issues: while Apple would like the device to last "at least 4-5 days" between charges, the current prototypes give somewhat less. While an "Apple TV" long dominated the rumor mill as Apple's next big product, the frequency and detail of "iWatch" rumors over the past few weeks suggests that a timepiece could be the company's next big project."
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Apple's iWatch Could Come With IOS, Earn $6 Billion a Year

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:10PM (#43071687)

    Aside from the fact that the Apple logo alone will have people lined up outside of Apple stores across the country to buy this thin, I'm inclined to ask what this watch actually DOES (aside from the obvious "tells time").

    The screen is going to be way too small to type on. And if Apple claims that Siri won't run on even older iPhones, it seems unlikely that it's going to run on this watch. So that leaves only the simplest of input options.

    And the screen is going to be crazy small for much output, not that it will have much CPU or memory to do much anyway (unless the form factor is HUGE).

    The only thing I can figure is that this is going to be a blutooth front-end for an iPhone, but in that case, having a full iOS install seems like overkill.

    Has anyone actually seen a working prototype of this thing in action, who could maybe clue us in?

    • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:18PM (#43071795) Journal
      Almost all of the Siri processing is done at Apple's data center. Older iphones can be hacked to work with Siri but newer iPhones haves better DSP and noise cancellation. A hypothetical iWatch could have Siri, IF it had internet connectivity (native or bridged to your iPhone).
      • Most assuredly paired up over Bluetooth with a prerequisite iOS update to make it all work seamlessly.

    • by PoliTech (998983) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:27PM (#43071897) Homepage Journal
      The AppleCo iPIP (Personal Information Processor) is an electronic device manufactured by AppleCo, using ultra-modern super-deluxe resolution graphics, which coupled with its capability to store large amounts of information and transfer data to and from holodisks and from data tubes make it the obvious choice for the wandering explorer, the out-on-his-own newbie or the all-around survivalist expert.

      It displays information in bright green on its black 5" x 3" screen. It can record sound and video footage for later playback. It uses a simple but elegant form of sonar and satellite tracking (where service is available) to map out areas where its user travels. Though input is slow, a user can also hand-enter and edit text messages on their iPip

      The AppleCo iPIP also has a built-in radio and Geiger Counter, a built-in health monitor, motion sensor, and a unique program creating and editing tool, a light that illuminates the area around the user, (allowing them to see better in the dark), and also features a biometric lock that can only be opened by either the user or a skilled technician.

      Coming soon! The AppleCo iPIP-Pad is an experimental tablet-sized version of the AppleCo iPIP series.

    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:32PM (#43071955) Homepage Journal

      Aside from the fact that the Apple logo alone will have people lined up outside of Apple stores across the country to buy this thin, I'm inclined to ask what this watch actually DOES (aside from the obvious "tells time").

      I can tell you one thing it doesn't do, as of this writing:

      Exist.

    • by JeanCroix (99825)

      And the screen is going to be crazy small for much output

      You can bet that won't stop them from including HD for the iWatch 2, though. All glorious 1.5" of it. For use with iCokebottleglasses.

    • by alen (225700)

      biometric device to keep track of your pulse, blood pressure. why buy the single use devices from the drug store?
      bike computer for biking
      the functions of the Nike fuelband and similar devices
      remote control for iphone while you are running/biking to skip songs, change playlist, etc

      it will probably be for people who see the light of day outside of cold basements and 24x7 staring at computer screens

      • by pmontra (738736)
        Bike computers go on the handlebar where you can see them without effort.
        Biometric monitoring device, yes. Probably somebody will buy that.
        Remote control, maybe. Not for the phone but for some remote devices (lights? tv?)
        Alarms? Probably.
        Anyway I didn't wear a watch since the early '90s, I won't wear one now. I feel uncomfortable with something strapped to my wrist. I'll let other people handcuff themselves :-)
    • by exomondo (1725132)

      The screen is going to be way too small to type on. And if Apple claims that Siri won't run on even older iPhones, it seems unlikely that it's going to run on this watch.

      Product tying. It will require an iPhone to work, and I think it's pretty safe to assume the protocol for interacting with it will be locked down such that you can't use it with other devices.

    • The only reason the iPhone was as successful as it was is because the total cost in the US was concealed inside phone plans. If it had been for sale at the full price of $800-$1000 that carriers were paying it would have been a commercial failure in the US.

      The US market is highly price sensitive, a do everything product that everyone wants might not sell at all because it's $50 outside people's price threshold.

  • by sneezinglion (771733) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:10PM (#43071695)

    Say what? Exactly what was totally new about the ipod?

    I suppose you could say the design of the case was new, but MP3 players were out before the iPod.

    • As in it will be marketed like crazy, overpriced to make it seem "high tech", and almost no one in the media will give it the legitimate criticism it deserves for being a copycat?

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        When the iPod was introduced most portable music players stored about ten tracks. The iPad had enough capacity to store 1000 tracks. When everyone else was using slow USB 1.1 connections, the iPod used a fast FireWire connection.

        Yeah, totally overpriced.

    • by SilentStaid (1474575) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:30PM (#43071939)

      Exactly what was totally new about the ipod?

      It worked out of the box, as intended and easily for everyone from soccer moms to geeks and everything in between. It looked slick, the marketing campaign was tight and most importantly it fulfilled the needs of 'the majority' of consumers better than any other product on the market. Bash Apple all you want, but if you deny that I'd assume you're being deliberately obtuse.

      • Nope. Not obtuse at all.

        It was a great product, but it was not "totally new".

        • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:47PM (#43072107)

          It was "totally new" in terms of being the first commercially viable product of its kind. There were flash-based players that held a few songs, laptop-drive based players that held more music but were not pocketable, and even MP3-capable CD players with the same problem. And then there was the issue of connectivity - the iPod used a much faster 1394 connection which made it feasible to sync. Even the similarly-sized Toshiba that came out shortly after the iPod - using the same drive - used a horrid DRM that made the device extremely painful to use. It was not a new idea, but then neither was the first airplane, telephone, or lightbulb.

      • by Daetrin (576516)
        Okay, i just recently defended Jobs as being a brilliant marketer, a douchebag, but a brilliant marketer. So as much as i hate Apple i'm willing to give them credit where credit is due. And yes, making an "easy to use" "slick" device with a good marketing campaign is a GREAT business strategy. However that does not make the device in question totally new. Many companies have benefited from Second mover advantage [wikipedia.org]. All of them did a great job of taking a product that already existed, ironing out the bugs, add
        • However that does not make the device in question totally new.

          Why do you care so much whether a device is subjectively new, or subjectively not new. Do you have some "NEW DEVICE" stickers you need to distribute or something?

          What matters is if it's a good device that people want. THAT would be something new in the history of smart watches.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        It worked out of the box

        Not really. You had to install iTunes and connect it to a Firewire port. Then you had to carefully tag all your music because it didn't understand directories and file names.

        There were better products on the market, but no-one could match the Apple hype machine.

        • by hondo77 (324058)
          Huh? Apple was a tiny shadow of what it is now and the iPod originally only worked with Macs. Yeah, they were a big bad machine back then.
        • Not really. You had to install iTunes and connect it to a Firewire port

          The first Mac was Mac only, and Macs already had iTunes on. So you're wrong there.

          As music is ripped by iTunes, it gets the track list from an online DB. I didn't have to enter ANY tags. Clearly you did something stupid. Like perhaps ripping your music with an inferior music app that didn't do tags. Or stealing the music from others.

          There were better products on the market, but no-one could match the Apple hype machine.

          Bullshit. The iPod was an amazing and high quality machine. There was nothing like it on the market when it launched. And no "iPod Killer" ever caught up.

    • The vendor lock-in with ITunes is what was new....
    • by Grayhand (2610049)

      Say what? Exactly what was totally new about the ipod?

      I suppose you could say the design of the case was new, but MP3 players were out before the iPod.

      The interface and simplicity were new especially after they launched iTunes, I have a love hate relationship with iTunes. MP3s were really just solid state cassette players. iPods do have a different feel. In truth I never owned one until the Touches came out. 50% for me was being able to play movies. Watching my own choice of movie changed flying for me. The watch is risky. It's a little like when they started seeing how small they could make calculators. They hit insanity with calculator pens that needed

    • Say what? Exactly what was totally new about the ipod?

      I suppose you could say the design of the case was new, but MP3 players were out before the iPod.

      Seeing as how I was looking for an MP3 player at the time I'd say that's simple. Firstly the iPod had a proper interface, not some crappy LCD screen where you could hardly see more than the first few letters of the track name or simply no display at all just a set of buttons. Secondly it had storage space, lots and lots and lots of storage space. Competing players that were generally available where I was living at the time could hardly handle more than a few CDs. With the iPod had 5 and 10GB you could rip

    • by femtobyte (710429)

      Important relative to entry into the watch market, one new thing about the original iPod was convincing a large portion of the population to consider a $300 portable music player a must-have accessory (when previously a $100 CD-walkman was a stretch). Apple entering the watch market could mean that a whole lot of people --- who previously wore no watch, or a $30 Casio --- would start thinking it was "normal" to spend $250 on a watch that they will throw away in a few years for a newer model.

      • by kencurry (471519)
        You don't know the watch market. High end mechanical watches can easily fetch more that $10K. If Apple could get a high end digital design into play, and market it to the right people, they could do really well.
      • by pmontra (738736)

        No way. Watches died for me twenty years ago. They should invent something with very different functionality (they probably will) which doesn't have to be worn around wrists. Maybe something I keep in a pocket. Oh wait, my smartphone!

        Disclaimer: I know one person is not a statistical sample, I just hate things that wrap wrists and I know that Apple can sell anything to their cultists :-)

    • Exactly what was totally new about the ipod?

      The user experience.

      Apple isn't the company that comes out with the first primitive gizmo, that doesn't work right and nobody wants. Apple comes out with the first gizmo that does it right, and people want.

  • w/ an ever-increasing number of people just pulling out their cell phones as a latter-day pocketwatch.

    Not sure what functionality Apple can come up w/ to reverse this --- I really can't see people doing the Dick Tracy thing....

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by larry bagina (561269)
      Ever seen a hot chick with tight pants? Or a hipster with tight pants? Yeah, they need to lube up their pockets to get anything in and need the jaws of life to get anything out.
    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      I feel the same way about the Dick Tracy thing. Seems to me the google glass would be a better "next thing". I think I would rather have smart technology moved into my glasses, also I don't wear a watch.
    • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:26PM (#43071893)

      Came to say this.

      What we need is an iPocketwatch. Make it fit into old gold watch cases and work as a cell phone.

      I wouldn't buy one, but every suit in the world would be all over it. Hipsters perhaps, depends on how that herd stampedes next.

      • by Applekid (993327)

        Came to say this.

        What we need is an iPocketwatch. Make it fit into old gold watch cases and work as a cell phone.

        I wouldn't buy one, but every suit in the world would be all over it. Hipsters perhaps, depends on how that herd stampedes next.

        You woke up a few neurons I was trying to kill with alcohol.

        Apple products position themselves as trendy, luxury items that you can't live without, right? Isn't the trendy luxury watch market already crowded by fancy five-figure watches? I expect the iWatch to take as much of that market as the digital watch did.

  • by Algae_94 (2017070) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:12PM (#43071711) Journal
    I'm not sure how well traditional watch sales would convert to iWatch sales. traditional watches are really more of a jewelry piece, not a highly functional device, they just happen to have a couple of functions. At the same time, it is very much not clear if iWatch devices would cannibalize iPad/iPod/Iphone sales. To just estimate $6 billion of sales at a product we don't even know if its real sounds like analysts trying to pump up AAPL share price.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:28PM (#43071905) Journal

      Honestly, it seems like the 'analyst' pulled the number straight out of his ass even by financial analyst standards.

      Aside from the problem you note(today's watch spending is heavily skewed toward overpriced jewelry and 1$ quartz cheapies by the metric ton, which doesn't tell you how big the market for a 'far more expensive than a cheapie, far more powerful and less purely aesthetic than jewelry' product would be), why the focus on revenue?

      Apple doesn't give a damn about revenue, never has, they care about profit(so, theoretically, do all for-profit corporations; but Apple is particularly aggressive about simply ignoring segments whose margins don't excite them).

      In terms of Apple's ability to make a profit on watches, today's watch market tells us essentially nothing: the cheap seats tell us nothing because Apple would never hit those price points, the expensive seats tell us nothing because Apple doesn't do jewelry. As it stands, the market for 'smart watches' is vanishingly small, almost wholly irrelevant to the watch market generally.

      • >Honestly, it seems like the 'analyst' pulled the number straight out of his ass even by financial analyst standards.

        Came in here to say this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      traditional watches are really more of a jewelry piece

      iDevices are to some extent jewellery too. All the way back to the white headphones that came with the original iPod and all the posers with their original iPhones or talking to Siri in Starbucks.

  • Come On! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:12PM (#43071717)

    (Posting AC because I'm at work)

    Look, I'm a huge Apple fanboy, believe me, but come on! We're posting articles from FINANCIAL ANALYSTS now? When these nimrods have something valuable to say, it'll already have been old news for several months. His entire job is built on speculation and generating (or deflating) interest in a company. He does NOTHING OF VALUE! And we're going to put stock in his thoughts?

    Come on. I know the Slashdot of yesteryear is gone and dead but let's not post commentary from financial analysts, even if it is about Apple.

  • iWatch? 6 billions a year? I mean, seriously? Or is it some crazy Apple shareholder wanting to jump a ship and spamming like crazy all channels to get price up "back where it belongs"?

    Apple is history as supergrowth company. Niche products. No amount of hype will save it from fall. And this show screwed logic of public companies in US - it's all about "supergrowth", not profit.

    • Vaporware product could make vaporware profits.
  • This could be really cool if they were able to pack the functions of an iPhone into a stylish looking watch.

    However, until they've got the tech that well established, it's going to be a hard sell for most of us: we replaced our watches will cell phones and, in the interest of not carrying duplicate expensive devices, rely on the phone exclusively to tell time.

    • by tyrione (134248) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:18PM (#43071793) Homepage

      This could be really cool if they were able to pack the functions of an iPhone into a stylish looking watch.

      However, until they've got the tech that well established, it's going to be a hard sell for most of us: we replaced our watches will cell phones and, in the interest of not carrying duplicate expensive devices, rely on the phone exclusively to tell time.

      Watch sales are nearly $20 Billion, annually, so yes, ``someone still uses a fucking watch.'' http://www.fhs.ch/en/statistics.php [www.fhs.ch]

      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        Yeah, but most of that comes from one sale of the $15 billion "Rolex God" to a Saudi prince.

      • by Pecisk (688001)

        Most of them I would believe are either status symbol for elegant and rich people, or are presents which no one wears actually. iWatch don't fall in either of these categories.

        General public have really abandoned watches.

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:15PM (#43071761)

    I love watches: mostly purely mechanical (automatic) watches. I have a couple of them: ranging from hundreds of dollars to $2,000. I think they're great, and love the mechanical nature. I have a couple of digital ones because I think they're neat, but I don't wear them that often. The digitals are also cheap so when I wear them when I travel or something.

    That being said: I can't imagine myself getting this one. Sure, on one hand I guess it's interesting... but no.

    As it stands, a watch is pretty much just jewelry now-a-days... clocks are everywhere and most of us already have cellphones to check the time. Now to put an iOS device on your wrist instead of your pocket. No thanks.

    I mean, I could see wanting to get the Google Goggles more than this thing and THAT's saying something.

  • Put another way... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kenh (9056)

    If every number I made up turns out to be true, this product I know nothing about could represent $6BN in revenue for Apple.

    Seriously, it's speculation built on top of more speculation... Oh, wait, it's slashdot, never mind.

  • by getto man d (619850) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:23PM (#43071849)
    Definitely something for the atypical slashdotter, but if Apple can bring something to the market which combines iOS, the Nike+t [nike.com], the Fit Bit [fitbit.com], and/or the Suunto Core [suunto.com] they could potentially capture a good portion of the exercise watch / band market. Current options aren't truly versatile (e.g. hiking, running, backpacking, daily activity), but combine this with Apple's UI and they could produce a very interesting product that I'm likely to try.

    Yes, I've looked at Motorola's GPS watches and was far from impressed.
    • by narcc (412956)

      Apple's UI? Palm Pilot style grid of icons? Outdated home button?

      Maybe you mean multitouch? Yeah, that'll work great on a 1.5" display... How will use use Apple's very poorly designed suite of gestures? The laughably-bad four-finger swipe on a watch is going to take some impressive contortions! Will it come with sandpaper so users can file-down their fingers?

      I'm just going to go ahead and guess that you haven't put much thought in to how the UI will actually work, but assumed that Apple would come up w

  • by TheRedDuke (1734262) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:28PM (#43071909)
    I have a watch already. It's called a smartphone.
    I have a device that runs apps already. It's called a smartphone.
    I have a device with Bluetooth for my headphones. It's called a smartphone.
    etc. etc.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      I still wear a watch, old habit perhaps but it's also just a glance away when I'm in a hurry to catch the bus or whatever. With the current trend of smartphones growing to 4-5 inches they're soon approaching mini tablets at 7 inches, maybe people feel they want something smaller and more convenient again? I don't know, but I think you're being far to pessimist. If Apple can provide me with something that's more convenient because it's on my wrist than in my pocket, maybe something smaller that complements t

  • every chance I get. Is that going to cost me now?

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:45PM (#43072091) Journal

    Nobody wears watches anymore! We carry smartphones with time displays in our pockets. Or are those iPocketWatches?

    Hmmm let's see

    Step 1) Sell iPhone, with clock.
    Step 2) People stop wearing wristwatches, use iPhone to tell time.
    Step 3) Sell iWatch, with phone. No one carries iPhone anymore.
    Step 4) Sell iPocketWatch. It's just like the iWatch, but bigger! And goes in your pocket!
    Step 5) Go to step 3. Head assplodes.

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:47PM (#43072111)
    Just for the record, isn't this actually the first product line that Steve Jobs has had nothing to do with?
  • ...lame?

    I can see a market for these, but in this case it's not me. It would have to replace my phone to be "worth it". I wear a watch - it's a time piece, not quite jewelry. I'm particular about how my watch looks as a reflection of my style, but not in a way that is statusy. Quite the same for my phone - which does happen to be an iPhone - which I got because at the time I bought it it was easy to use, comfortable to hold and store, and had the apps I needed when other phones did not.

    It seems like a sol

  • "could earn the company $6 billion a year"...

    Other possible "could"s in an infinite Universe...

    "could tank big-time"
    "could be operated by monkeys"
    "could be operated by dolphins (as it's waterproof)"

    etc etc... speculation is always fun. http://xkcd.com/1158/ [xkcd.com]
  • I'm curious how this will be all that much different than an ipod nano mounted on a permanent wrist band. Outside of playing music and maybe voice based services such as maps or Siri (assuming cell data)I don't see the point over an actual iPhone based on screen size. Something that fits a wrist is not going to be great at reading text efficiently.

    Maybe they can ship a free iMonocle with it.

  • Sony does have an Android watch [sonymobile.com] that is been out for a year or more.

    But history will be rewritten so that Steve Jobs would be the pioneer of smart watches, and even doing so from his grave too ...

  • What is really needed is not an explicit watch, but an approximately nano-sized device that runs full iOS, and that can also couple to a bigger iOS device like a tablet or a phone, and is sold waterproof and you're not turning to some third party for a special coating. And an official Apple watchband for it, of course, as well as an armband, and anything else to which you might conceivably attach the thing.

  • by zelbinion (442226) on Monday March 04, 2013 @05:43PM (#43072803)

    I, too, think that the $6 billion figure for the possible size of an iWatch market to be completely fictional. Not going to happen, but I'd really like some of whatever these guys are smoking to come up with a number like that.

    As others have already said, a lot of people no longer wear watches because they now carry cell phones. Still others only wear watches as jewelry. Yes, I take the point others have made here that many/most/all Apple products are fashion statements, so you could argue an iWatch would still be jewelry, but in the world of watches, there seems to be generally two categories of "fashion" watches: watches that are "traditional jewelry" meaning that they are gold/silver/titanium, or made from other "traditional" jewelry materials, and watches that have an interesting/modern design (think the original "Swatch".) An iWatch can't compete against the traditional jewelry market and still have a touch screen. The two designs are pretty orthogonal -- I have a hard time thinking that the watch's function as something pretty/shiny/classic can be shared with something with a usable touch LCD screen and not fail at both. I can see how it might be possible to go after the modern/interesting style of "jewelry" watch with a stylish simple/elegant design -- again, think "Swatch" only with some ipod/iphone features included. (I realize the Swatch group now owns many luxury brands. I'm referring to the primarily plastic modern-looking watches like the original Swatch that came out in the 1980's) Anyway, a modern-styled plastic-case iWatch sounds really workable to me, but will that capture 10% of the market? Not bloody likely. Look at watch sales. Where is all the money being made? At the low-end plastic watches? Nope. The highest sales and margins are in the traditional jewelry-type watches. Something I can't see Apple competing with.

    So, if Apple is going for an iWatch, they can't target the high-end jewelry watch market, so that's out. They can't target the low-end quartz or digital watch market, because that is already saturated with low-margin products. Their only hope is to define a new market somewhere in the middle with enough margin to make money. So, what is this watch going to *DO* that will garner more than a yawn from the general population (certain Apple fanboys excepted.)

    You've got to do more than tell time. A cheap quartz watch will do that, and do it more stylishly.
    So, okay, add in an MP3 player, stop watch, and maybe GPS, and other features runners/cyclists might want.
    Yes, an iPhone/Smartphone can do those things, but they aren't as small/compact/portable. That's really all an iWatch might have going for it. -- size. Target the sports crowd so that you don't have to take your iPhone running with you. Otherwise, the crowd that already stopped wearing watches because they have a smart phone won't give it a second look.

    Could they pack the ability to make phone calls into a watch? Maybe. Generally the two things that eat power on a smartphone are wifi and the display. Take out wifi (or turn it off) and make the screen much smaller, and you might be able to shrink a cell phone into a watch. That might make an iWatch attractive. However, the nice thing about having a smartphone is all the other things you can do with it --things that are going to be hard on a watch (texting, web browsing, e-mail, playing games, etc.) So, if you buy an iWatch that can make calls, do you also keep your smartphone? Do you have two cellphone contracts? If that's the case, I'd rather just have one device and use (or not) a regular watch. The trend in smartphone screen size is going bigger, not smaller. So, the iWatch as a cellphone replacement doesn't seem to make sense.

    Really, the only market opportunity I can see for an iWatch is as a wearable ipod with more features (like GPS, maybe have it sync with your iPhone calendar to alert you to appointments, etc.) That could actually be kinda cool. Would I buy one? No. Will it grab 10% of the watch market? Um... probably not.

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