Users of the NHS coronavirus app for England and Wales have reported receiving confusing notifications that the risk level in their area has changed in ways that contradict official government guidance.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said on Saturday it had identified and resolved the problem, which affected updates made to the app’s postcode alert system on Friday evening.
“Why have we all received an alert saying our risk level has changed due to ‘rising risk levels’ … yet it is now MEDIUM? This is very confusing.. what is it?”
Another user, who lives in Wakefield, complained of being told by the app on his iPhone that his area is listed as being medium-risk, but that it is considered high-risk by version of the app on his Android device. By Saturday, the iPhone had corrected itself, he confirmed.
Meanwhile, users in London said the alert on their app had still not changed from medium to high in accordance with the tier 2 lockdown restrictions which came into effect at midnight on Friday.
Ian Grundy, who lives in the London borough of Hillingdon, said his app indicates his area is both high and medium risk.
In response a flurry of complaints on Twitter, the app’s official account pointed to a “frequently asked questions” page on the NHS website. The FAQs page explains that postcode districts do not map exactly to local authorities, and so more than one alert level may apply to a particular postcode district.
On Saturday, it said users living in postcode districts where the alert level has been changed to reflect the latest government guidance would receive an alert during the course of the day notifying them of the change.
Previously the app had three alert levels: low, medium and high. These have now been updated to correspond with the medium, high and very high levels of the three-tier lockdown system introduced this week.
Jeremy Place, an information security specialist, told Sky News that as many as 4 million people could have been sent incorrect updates by what he described as “a fat-finger error”.
This probably happened when a blank file was accidentally sent to phones instead of an alert-level update, he said. Any phone receiving the empty file would have reverted to the old system, triggering a message saying “the risk level in your area has changed”.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue which impacted updates to postcode alerts for some app users this evening.
“This was identified and resolved within an hour and users’ phones will automatically update to show the correct local alert level for their area, along with new guidance.”
A man watching Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro, taken on March 6, 2020.
Future Publishing | Getty Images
LONDON — Netflix shares should be avoided if there’s a coronavirus vaccine or if lockdowns lift, according to media analyst Alex DeGroote, who owns DeGroote Consulting.
Speaking to CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Tuesday ahead of Netflix’s third-quarter results, DeGroote said: “I would have seen Netflix, frankly, as a stock to avoid, should there be, for example, a vaccine, or should lockdowns ease greatly.”
He added that the stricter lockdown initiatives being rolled out across Europe now “keeps people at home and that keeps them subscribing and less likely to churn.”
Competition in the streaming market has soared in recent months as other companies have launched their own offerings as part of an effort to capitalize on the pandemic. In addition to Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and YouTube Plus, there’s also new platforms like Disney+ and NBCUniversal’s Peacock service.
“The rule of thumb is the average household will take about three subscription services, but at the moment we have potentially up to eight services on offer,” said DeGroote. “There are just too many services for the budgets that most households have.”
DeGroote believes some streaming services may merge or get acquired next year, while others may shut down completely.
“I think probably into next year, things will start to get tough, and that’s when you might see M&A, or you might see some of the bigger operators, frankly pull their streaming services,” he said.
Discounts keep customers subscribed
Netflix recently changed its discounting policy from a one-month free trial in the U.S. and the U.K. to a 50% discount for the first two months.
DeGroote believes this was part of an effort to retain subscribers. “I would expect all the platform companies to be far more creative with their discounting over the next 12 to 18 months, as they try and strike a balance between critical mass, in terms of the subscriber base, and also frankly losing money,” he said.
“The reality is that for most streamers, these businesses are not yet profitable,” DeGroote added. “They won’t be profitable until they have subscriber bases of a certain size, paying a reliable monthly subscription. That’s probably a year down the line.”
Netflix shares have risen by more than 75% since March, which is when the coronavirus pandemic started to spread significantly in the West.
The company’s story has largely been about new subscriber growth but that may no longer be the case.
“In terms of Q3, the company has really quite skilfully guided down expectations,” said DeGroote. “The expectations over net new subs in Q3 are relatively low at about two and a half million so it is more about whether they can beat that number. For what it’s worth, I think they probably will.”
Patrick Armstrong, CIO of Plurimi Investment Managers, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Tuesday that technology companies “are going to be winners in this environment.”
Disclosure: Peacock is the streaming service of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.
Apple’s launch promotional material of the New iPhone12 Pro seen displayed on a mobile phone screen with an Apple logo in the background.
Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images
GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese consumers have taken a liking to Apple’s new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, according to data provided to CNBC.
The two devices in Apple’s new 5G flagship lineup became available for pre-order on Oct. 16. As of 9:30 a.m. China time on Tuesday, 152,737 iPhone 12 units had been pre-ordered, data from Chinese e-commerce site and authorized Apple reseller Fenqile showed.
Fenqile is also taking pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max, even though they’re not officially available until November.
Out of all the pre-ordered iPhones, nearly 43% are iPhone 12 models and over 28% are iPhone 12 Pro models. Just under 19% are iPhone 12 Pro Max orders and nearly 10% are orders for the iPhone 12 Mini, the device with the smallest screen in the lineup.
The Fenqile data comes after a new note from Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, known for his accurate predictions on Apple products and sales.
Indeed, on Apple’s official China website, the iPhone 12 Pro had a delivery time of three to four weeks, higher than the two to three weeks for the base iPhone 12 models. Delivery times for devices can often indicate which models are most popular.
Kuo also predicted that the iPhone 12 Mini wouldn’t sell well in China due to its smaller screen, in a market where larger displays are more popular. On Fenqile, the iPhone 12 Mini has the least amount of pre-orders.
“Consumers are looking for the best deal now, even before the pandemic. And both the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models could provide them favorable prices and screen size experience,” Will Wong, research manager at IDC, told CNBC.
“The iPhone 12 allows consumers to get the first 5G iPhone with more acceptable prices and specs, while iPhone 12 Pro could provide the ‘Pro’ experience to consumers with more affordable prices too.”
I have been trying to switch to Virgin broadband because it is by far the fastest in my area. The installation was booked for mid-August and, as at that point a full connection was not possible, we were connected to our neighbour’s cable with their consent.
Since then, Virgin Media claims it is unable to complete my installation or deal with problems with the service. Apparently its system shows the installation as complete and our account as active. In addition, the company has repeatedly failed to phone when promised, turn up in the agreed time slot, arrive at the right address or provide any explanation for anything. I am unsure what to do next, other than to send another complaint.
Virgin Media told us it had to wait for a permit, which delayed completion of the required works, but it should have communicated this to you. It has now done this and installed cables direct to your property so your broadband service is up and running.
Having checked the quality of your connection and where you had blackspots, it offered to send wifi boosters, but you have declined and plan to buy your own. The company has written to you to apologise and offered to credit your first three months’ worth of bills. In addition, it has offered you £30 credit as a gesture of goodwill for the time taken to resolve this issue, which you have accepted.
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We apologise to HB for her poor experience and the delay in installing her services. We have now completed her installation and credited her account as a gesture of goodwill.”We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at [email protected]. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions: http://gu.com/letters-terms