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Businesses

Swatch Co-Inventor Predicts Apple Will Bring an 'Ice Age' To Swiss Watch Market 389

Posted by samzenpus
from the got-to-have-one dept.
MojoKid writes It seems that these days everything Apple touches turns to gold, hence why the company was able to post an $18 billion profit for its fiscal first quarter of 2015. Be that as it may, can Apple popularize the smartwatch market as others have been unable to do so far? Not only is that the expectation, but according to Swatch watch co-inventor Elmar Mock, Apple is going to bring about an "Ice Age" to the Swiss watch market. Elmar noted that he expects the Apple Watch to quickly reach sales of 20 million to 30 million units per year. For the sake of comparison, Switzerland exported 28.6 million watches in 2014, none of them with smart capabilities. "Apple will succeed quickly. It will put a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland...I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us," Elmar said. Analysts for Barclays noted to investors that the Apple Watch launch could result in a 6 percent annual decline in Swatch Group AG's revenue. To keep up with the times and fend off Apple, there are at least three Swiss watch companies planning to make smartwatches, including Swatch Group, which will unveil a smart model sometime this year.
China

Knock-Off Apple Watches Hit the Chinese Market Less Than 24 Hours After Launch 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the that-didn't-take-very-long dept.
schwit1 writes Fake versions of the Apple Watch can be bought for as little as £25 — despite the fact the real thing will set you back more than 10 times that. The flagship new product was only launched in San Francisco yesterday but knock-offs are already available in China. According to CNN Money, they can be found at Huaqiangbei electronics market in the southern city of Shenzhen, and others are being sold nationwide via popular e-commerce websites. Right down to the digital crown, the fakes mimic the design and style of Apple's new offering.
Businesses

Reactions to the New MacBook and Apple Watch 450

Posted by Soulskill
from the wrist-not-hip-enough dept.
As the dust settles from Apple's press conference yesterday, there have been a broad variety of reactions around the web. Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic says Apple's $10,000 watch demonstrates the company has lost its soul. "The prices grate. And they grate not because they’re so expensive, but because they’re gratuitously expensive. ... To many commentators, this is unsurprising. It’s good business sense, really. Apple has made its world-devouring profits by ratcheting up profit margins on iPhones. There is no better target for these massive margins than the super-rich. But high margins do not a luxury brand make." Others suspect the high-end watches are targeted more at rich people in China.

As for the less expensive watches, perhaps they're around not so much to become a new major sales category for Apple, but rather to drive more iPhone sales. Meanwhile, the redesigned MacBook may signify a bigger change for the laptop industry than people realize: "We don’t need all those other ports, Apple says. We are living in a wireless world now, where we can connect most of our peripherals without cords." The new MacBook has also fueled speculation that Apple could be working on a more powerful tablet, something that could compete with Microsoft's Surface Pro line.
Cellphones

CIA Tried To Crack Security of Apple Devices 119

Posted by timothy
from the hey-fellas-we-were-expecting-you dept.
According to a story at The Guardian passed on by an anonymous reader, The CIA led sophisticated intelligence agency efforts to undermine the encryption used in Apple phones, as well as insert secret surveillance back doors into apps, top-secret documents published by the Intercept online news site have revealed. he newly disclosed documents from the National Security Agency's internal systems show surveillance methods were presented at its secret annual conference, known as the "jamboree."
Networking

Does USB Type C Herald the End of Apple's Proprietary Connectors? 392

Posted by timothy
from the u-stands-for-physically-incompatible dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Verge has an interesting editorial about the USB Type C connector on the new Macbook, and what this might mean for Apple's Lightning and Thunderbolt connectors. The former is functionally identical to USB Type C, and the latter has yet to prove popular in the external media and "docking" applications for which it was originally intended. Will Apple phase out these ports in favour of a single, widely-accepted, but novel standard? Or do we face a dystopian future where Apple sells cords with USB Type C on one end, and Lightning on the other?
Businesses

Apple's "Spring Forward" Event Debuts Apple Watch and More 529

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-what-happened dept.
samzenpus (5) writes There was a lot of news at Apple's Spring Forward keynote today. Here's a list of some of the most eye-catching announcements.
  • HBO Now standalone streaming service coming to Apple TV and iOS apps in early April for $14.99 a month.
  • Lowered price of Apple TV to $69.
  • Apple Pay accepted at up to 100,000 Coca-Cola machines by the end of the year.
  • ResearchKit Announced: Is open source and allows medical researchers to create apps, and use the iPhone as a diagnostic tool.
  • New MacBook: Lightest ever at 2 pounds, 13.1mm at its thickest point. 2304x1440 display, consumes 30% less energy. Fanless, powered with Intel's Core M processor. 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0. and 9 hours of web browsing battery life. Supports many protocols through one connector USB-C. Ships April 10, starting at $1,299.
  • iOS 8.2 is available today
  • Apple Watch: Accurate within 50ms of UTC. Read and delete email, built-in speaker and mic so you can receive calls. It tracks your movement and exercise. Use Apple Pay, play your music, use Siri and get any notification you get on iPhone today. 18 hour battery life in a typical day. Sport model starting at $349, stainless steel price: $549-$1049 for 38mm, 42mm is $599-$1099, and gold edition starting at $10k. Pre-orders begin April 10th, available April 24th.
Desktops (Apple)

Classic Mac Icons Archive Bought By MOMA 61

Posted by timothy
from the I-already-thought-of-them-that-way dept.
mikejuk writes Susan Kare is the artist responsible for many of the classic Mac icons that are universally recognized. Now her impact as a pioneering and influential computer iconographer has been recognized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She designed all of her early icons on graph paper, with one square representing each pixel. Now this archive of sketches has been acquired by MoMA, jointly with San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, and has gone on show as part of a new exhibition, This is for Everyone: Design Experiments For The Common Good. So now you can think of the smiling Mac, the pointing finger and scissors as high art.
Businesses

Apple, Google, Bringing Low-Pay Support Employees In-House 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the come-on-into-the-house dept.
jfruh writes One of the knocks against Silicon Valley giants as "job creators" is that the companies themselves often only hire high-end employees; support staff like security guards and janitors are contracted out to staffing agencies and receive lower pay and fewer benefits, even if they work on-site full time. That now seems to be changing, with Apple and Google putting security guards on their own payroll.
Advertising

That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was 201

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity dept.
journovampire writes with this interesting bit about the fallout of U2's partnership with Apple. "Remember U2's album giveway with Apple at the end of last summer? And how the world seemed to become very annoyed that its contents had been "pushed" to their devices without permission? Well, the naysayers might have been loud – but that hasn't stopped the stunt having a lasting effect on the band's popularity. That’s according to new research from retail insight experts Kantar in the US, which shows that nearly a quarter (24%) of all US music users on iOS devices in January listened to U2, nearly five months after Songs Of Innocence was released for free onto 500m iPhones across the world. In a survey of iOS users, Kantar found that more than twice the percentage of people listened to U2 in January than listened to the second-placed artist, Taylor Swift (11%)."
Robotics

Foxconn Factories' Future: Fewer Humans, More Robots 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-cares-if-a-robot-jumps-off-a-building dept.
jfruh writes: Foxconn, which supplies much of Apple's manufacturing muscle and has been criticized for various labor sins, is now moving to hire employees who won't complain because they're robots. The company expects 70 percent of its assembly line work to be robot-driven within three years.
China

It's Official: NSA Spying Is Hurting the US Tech Economy 270

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
An anonymous reader writes China is backing away from U.S. tech brands for state purchases after NSA revelations, according to Reuters. This confirms what many U.S. technology companies have been saying for the past year: the activities by the NSA are harming their businesses in crucial growth markets, including China. From the article: "A new report confirmed key brands, including Cisco, Apple, Intel, and McAfee -- among others -- have been dropped from the Chinese government's list of authorized brands, a Reuters report said Wednesday. The number of approved foreign technology brands fell by a third, based on an analysis of the procurement list. Less than half of those companies with security products remain on the list."
Patents

Jury Tells Apple To Pay $532.9 Million In Patent Suit 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-remit-821,110-iphones dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Smartflash LLC has won a patent lawsuit against Apple over DRM and technology relating to the storage of downloaded songs, games, and videos on iTunes. Apple must now pay $532.9 million in damages. An Apple spokesperson did not hesitate to imply Smartflash is a patent troll: "Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented. We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system." The trial happened in the same court that decided Apple owed VirnetX $368 million over FaceTime-related patents back in 2012.
Google

Google Teams Up With 3 Wireless Carriers To Combat Apple Pay 186

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-together dept.
HughPickens.com writes AP reports that in an effort to undercut Apple's hit service Apple Pay, Google is teaming up with three wireless carriers by building its payment service into Android smartphones sold by AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA. Besides trying to make it more convenient to use Wallet, Google also is hoping to improve the nearly 4-year-old service. Toward that end, Google is buying some mobile payment technology and patents from Softcard, a 5-year-old venture owned by the wireless carriers. Financial terms weren't disclosed but Apple Pay's popularity probably helped forge the unlikely alliance between Google and the wireless carriers. Google traditionally has had a prickly relationship with the carriers, largely because it doesn't believe enough has been done to upgrade wireless networks and make them cheaper so more people can spend more time online.

The biggest challenge however is one that both Apple and Google face: Only a small fraction of the 10 million or so retail outlets in the U.S.–220,000 at last count–have checkout readers that can accept payments from either system. Both wallets use a radio technology called Near Field Communication to send payment, and it's expected to take years for most stores to be upgraded. What's at play? The big tech companies and carriers seem convinced that our phones will eventually replace our wallets. For carriers, that could make mobile wallet technology table stakes over the next few years as they compete for consumers.
Businesses

Apple To Invest $2B Building Green Data Centers In Ireland and Denmark 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the going-green dept.
stephendavion writes Amid deeper investigations into how Apple may be using its operations in Ireland as a means for tax avoidance on tens of billions of dollars in profit, the iPhone maker has announced that it will spend nearly $2 billion (€1.7 billion) to develop two new 100% renewable energy data centers in Europe. The centers — which will use wind power and other green fuel sources — will be located in Athenry, Ireland, and Viborg, Denmark. Apple said that they will power services such as apps in the App Store, Siri and iMessage. Both locations will run on 100 percent renewable energy and Apple said they will have the 'lowest environmental impact' of its data centers thus far. It will also be following in the footsteps of companies like Facebook, which has also built sustainable data center operations out in Europe.
Cellphones

Apple Will Let Users Test iOS Beta Versions For the First Time 54

Posted by timothy
from the go-ahead-take-a-bite dept.
9to5 Mac reports that In an effort to eliminate bugs from upcoming iOS versions ahead of their general releases, Apple plans to launch the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, according to multiple people briefed on the plans. Following the successful launch of the OS X Public Beta program with OS X Yosemite last year, Apple intends to release the upcoming iOS 8.3 as a public beta via the company’s existing AppleSeed program in mid-March, according to the sources. The article goes on to say Like the early iOS 8 developers builds, the public betas will include a dedicated app that allows users to report bugs to Apple. The main goal of the iOS beta program will be a more reliable and widely tested operating system by the time of the wider consumer launch, as Apple has come under fire for lack of quality control in iOS 8. Launching public beta versions of iOS will also reduce the demand for unauthorized sales of beta downloads from developer accounts, which enabled some consumers to test-drive future iOS features.