Despite its manufacturing-laden business model, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) occasionally makes a splash in tech -- and this was one of those weeks. The electric-car maker showed off some futuristic new vehicles with some mind-boggling specifications.
But more traditional tech companies had some interesting news this week, too. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) surprisingly delayed its first smart speaker. And Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) launched an app specifically for creators.
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Here's what investors missed.
Tesla's "hardcore smackdown to gas cars"
Despite all the hype leading up to Tesla's semi-truck unveiling on Nov. 16, the electric-car maker still managed to impress. Not only did its semi-truck meet the most bullish expectations, but Tesla also announced a surprise supercar after the event appeared to be over.
Tesla's new all-electric semi sports up to of 500 miles highway range when it is hauling a max 80,000-pound load. And, of course, it features the quick acceleration Tesla is known for, able to accelerate from 0 to 60 in five seconds without a load, and in 20 seconds with a max load, something that would take a traditional diesel semi-truck about a minute.
Boasting a 0-to-60 time of 1.9 seconds and highway driving range of 620 miles, the new Roadster represents a "hardcore smackdown to gas cars," Elon Musk said. With a starting price of $200,000, the Roadster clearly isn't intended to be a high-volume car. But it certainly makes a statement.
Tesla's Semi won't start production until 2019, and the new Roadster will be available in 2020, Musk said.
Don't expect a HomePod from Santa
In a surprise announcement, Apple said its new HomePod smart speaker won't be ready for the holidays after all. Initially scheduled to launch in December, Apple told the media this week that it needs more time to work on the device before it's ready for customers. Apple didn't say what is specifically holding the device's launch up.
The Apple HomePod will join a growing race from other tech giants to release smart speakers to complement their streaming music services and to expand their product ecosystems as artificial intelligence becomes more integral to the customer experience. Investors will hope the new HomePod can provide another catalyst for Apple's fast-growing "other products" segment. Apple's other products segment has benefited from rapidly rising sales of AppleWatch and AirPods.
Facebook invests in creators
In Facebook's most recent earnings call, the social network said it plans for big investments in video to play a key role in driving operating expenses sharply higher next year. Management anticipates operating expenses to rise 45% to 60% year over year in 2018. Facebook also said in its third-quarter earnings call that it hopes its revenue share with creators and businesses who post content will be the primary way Facebook invests in content. So, it was no surprise when Facebook announced a new app specifically for Creators this week.
"We're announcing two initiatives to help creators unleash their creativity: an app that helps creators manage their presence on Facebook and a central destination where creators can get the resources they need to improve and grow," said Facebook product manager Chris Hatfield on Thursday.
The app includes a live creative kit to help creators make better content, a community tab to easily distribute and connect with fans across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, metrics and insights to help inform content creation, and more.
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