appleApple Surprises Skeptics with Strong Results; Plans Huge Stock Repurchase and Raises Dividend 

Apple has surprised the skeptics, posting second-quarter results showing revenue up 16 percent and EPS up 30 percent. Apple also announced a new $100 billion share repurchase authorization, and raised its dividend by 16 percent. 

This morning, CNBC reported that Apple's The iPhone X became the best-selling smartphone model in the first quarter of 2018. The phone had been the subject of numerous articles questioning its performance and raising the possibility that Apple might discontinue some versions of the phone. Apparently, the naysayers were mistaken, at least for now. 

"Apple shipped 16 million units of the iPhone X in the three months ended March 31, according to a study released by Strategy Analytics Thursday. It captured 4.6 percent market share of all models shipped in the quarter. The iPhone X was closely followed by Apple's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus which shipped 12.5 million and 8.3 million units, respectively. And then the iPhone 7 with 5.6 million units," writes Arjun Kharpal of CNBC.

Apple shares closed up last night, and seem poised for a modest rise in trading today.

fitbitFitbit Wants To Make It Easier to Share Data With Doctors   

Fitbit is teaming up with Google to make it easier for you to share personal data with your healthcare providers. The partnership leverages Google's Cloud Healthcare API. Additionally, Fitbit plans moving to the Google Cloud Platform.

The move "will help facilitate Fitbit's healthcare plans. Many Google Cloud products are already HIPAA-certified, and Google already knows how to meet the security and privacy needs of the healthcare industry," writes Valentina Palladino of Ars Technica. "Instead of building its own platform in compliance with healthcare industry standards, Fitbit can use Google's platform, where the regulatory work has already been done."

chinaThere's a Robo-Taxi in Your Future: VW and Didi Partnering to Build Fleet of New Vehicles for China

Volkswagen and Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-sharing giant, are working out an agreement to deploy a new fleet of "purpose-built" VWs. The new fleet would be made up of electric and autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen would also manage the fleet, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

"The deal would help Didi quickly scale up its autonomous driving technologies and maximize their revenue-generating potential. The ride-hailing behemoth - it counts over 400 million users - has been working on autonomous driving technologies for at least the last two years, and appears poised to finalize a technology stack sometime in 2019," writes Nicholas Shields in Business Insider.

hawkingsHawking's Last Paper: Big Bang Created 'Pocket Parallel Universes'  

Stephen Hawking died in March, but his genius lives on. His latest paper, published posthumously, posits the existence of "pocket universes" in which the laws of physics may or may not apply.

The new paper also gives "other researchers a pathway to potentially detect the presence of other universes by searching for cosmic microwave radiation that is left over from the Big Bang," writes Carol Kuruvilla in the Huffington Post.

Two more posthumous Hawking papers are still in the works, according to published report.