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Will Apple Release Three New Tablets This Year?

January 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has decided that the reason that people are not buying its tablets is because they don’t have enough over-priced versions available.

To fix this problem Apple is planning to release three more tablets which contain all the same features you can find in cheaper Chinese Tablets at half the price.

According to Digitimes Apple will release three new tablets for 2017, a 9.7-inch iPad, a 10.5-inch iPad, and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch model expected to enter mass production in the first quarter followed by the other two in the second.

It is odd really as Apple was thought to want to kill off the 9.7 inch pad and replace it with the 10.5-inch iPad. However not it seems that it wants to make the 9.7-inch iPad become an entry-level device. It can then flog these to corrupt or stupid school managers who don’t know that they can save their schools cash by going elsewhere .

There will be a few supply changes too. Apple will also procure components from its secondary suppliers for its new 9.7-inch iPad and Korea-based Seoul Semiconductor will supply LED for the device instead of the existing 9.7-inch iPad’s supplier Nichia.

The 10.5-inch iPad and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will get an A10X processor, but that is pretty much anyone knows for now. Our guess is that it will look pretty much like a tablet, have a similar price tag and be even more ignored than the current batch.

Courtesy-Fud

Anticompetition Charges Looming For Qualcomm

January 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Qualcomm coerced several phone manufacturers into accepting unfavorable technology licensing terms while giving Apple a break in exchange for exclusivity, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has charged.

The company used its dominance in baseband processors, which manage cellular communication in mobile devices, to force vendors to pay elevated royalties for Qualcomm technologies, the FTC charged in a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court.

At the same time, Qualcomm gave Apple favorable terms so it could supply the baseband chips for all iPhones from 2011 to 2016, according to the FTC. Among other things, in 2007 it got Apple to agree not to use WiMax, the original 4G system used on Sprint’s network, in any iPhones, the complaint said. WiMax was promoted by Intel, Qualcomm’s archrival.

Qualcomm’s actions hurt competition and effectively imposed a tax on some products that was passed on to consumers, the FTC said. It’s seeking a court order to undo and prevent the company’s allegedly anticompetitive practices.

 In a statement, Qualcomm said the complaint was based on a flawed legal theory and inadequate evidence.

“Qualcomm has never withheld or threatened to withhold chip supply in order to obtain agreement to unfair or unreasonable licensing terms,” the statement said. The company said the FTC rushed out the complaint before the new presidential administration takes office on Friday. Only three of the five seats on the commission are filled, and member Maureen Ohlhausen dissented from the complaint.

Qualcomm has a vast portfolio of mobile technology patents, and licensing them is a big part of its business in addition to selling chips. Its licensing practices have come under fire before. Last month, South Korea’s antitrust agency fined the company $853 million for allegedly violating that country’s competition laws.

By threatening to cut off phone makers’ supplies of baseband chips, Qualcomm got them to accept royalties and other license terms they wouldn’t otherwise have accepted, the FTC alleged. This weakened other baseband chip makers and raised costs for consumers, it said.

In addition, the company has refused to license its patented technology to other chip makers even when those technologies were essential to industry standards, the FTC said. Standards groups commonly require patent holders to license anything that’s part of a standard on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.

In her dissent, Commissioner Ohlhausen said the complaint never alleges that Qualcomm charged more than reasonable royalties because the commission lacked the evidence to say that.

China Introduces New Rules For Mobile App Stores

January 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

China had mandated that all app stores operating in the country register with its Cyberspace Administration in an effort to combat malware but also to tighten control over uncensored content.

The rules took effect Monday, in a country where domestic third-party app stores — not from Apple or Google — are serving billions of downloads to Android smartphones. Chinese internet companies such as Baidu, Tencent and a host of smaller, shadier local app stores have been feeding the demand, at a time when Google has largely pulled out of the market.

The government, however, has problems with the proliferation of app stores and the lack of industry oversight, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on Friday. Some app stores have been offering products that violate users’ rights, contain security vulnerabilities or spread “illegal information,” it said.

The new rules intend to force the stores to better audit their products. Cyberspace Administration officials will keep records on the app stores and investigate those that fail to register or which are found falsifying information.

 The new rules are hardly a surprise. China has been heavily censoring the internet for years. Foreign websites such as Facebook and Twitter have been blocked from the country, and local internet services are often required to delete comments or shut down user accounts found posting antigovernment content.

However, in some cases, apps have provided one way for users to circumvent the strict controls. That happened with The New York Times, whose main website was blocked in the country in 2012.

Despite the censorship, the company’s news app was offered on Apple’s app store until China ordered its takedown earlier this month.

Third-party app stores in China have also been known to spread malware. Last year, a mobile Trojan likely sourced from the country managed to infect millions of devices across China, India and Indonesia by imitating Android apps.

The country has over 650 million mobile internet users, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. The huge user base has made its app stores some of the biggest in the world.

Will Apple’s Supposed Jump In AR Be A Game Changer?

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The super-cool and innovative tech power house Apple is rumored to have come up with some game-changing glasses which superimpose information and pictures onto reality.

Dubbed AR, no other technology company has come up with the idea before and it is believed to be the brain child of Tim Cook himself. Of course, it is all top secret because other companies will steal the idea before Apple gets it to market.

However, word on the street is that Apple is working with the German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses.

The rumor comes from tech evangelist Robert Scoble who thinks the project could be announced as early as this year. Apparently it has been confirmed by a Zeiss employee, Scoble wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearing users in new and exciting digital worlds, AR tends to overlay images and data atop the real world. This is the sort of idea which was shown with Pokemon Go.

To show how in advance Apple is over companies like Microsoft and Google Cook told ABC News that he saw bigger possibilities for AR than VR in September! That is long before anyone else came up with the idea and pours cold water on the idea that Apple has run out of ideas, can only update its ten-year-old smartphone technology and that it is always getting beaten to the punch issuing technology years after everyone else.

The company has filed several patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office that deal with augmented reality because, you know, no one else is doing AR.

Courtesy-Fud

LG Going Totally Wi-Fi

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

LG says that all its products will ship with Wi-Fi connectivity from this year.

LG marketing VP David VanderWaal says that “starting this year” all of LG’s home appliances will feature “advanced Wi-Fi connectivity”.

One of the flagship appliances that will make good on this promise is the Smart Instaview Refrigerator, a webOS-powered Internet-connected fridge that among other things supports integration with Amazon’s Alexa service.

While this might be a good thing in cases of flagship devices but just sticking Wi-Fi in everything is going to create a security nightmare. After all how are LG or anyone planning to update their appliances? Most people who don’t use the Wi-Fi are never going to bother connecting to anything and that is just going to be an open port sitting waiting some hacker’s attention.

What is also a problem is that if your whole house gets a virus you are going to have a hell of a job finding out what the source was and what you are supposed to unplug.

Also, there is the small matter of some appliance makers might be a little naughty about using their smart devices to serve up ads or give audio or video recordings to law enforcement.

LG might be more likely than most to know what it is doing, but the life of a fridge or washing machine is a lot longer than a computer. Our fridge is 15 years old and works fine, what will be the state of computer security in 15 years’ time? Many are going to find that their fridge is running the security equivalent of Windows XP.

Courtesy-Fud

IBM Is Still The Patent King

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is still trying to spin Jobs’ Mob as the most innovative in the world, the crown belongs to the outfit that Steve Jobs mocked – IBM.

IBM received the most patents for the 24th year in a row and broke the US record in 2016.

It had 8,088 patents granted to its inventors over the 12 months covering areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, cloud, health and cyber security.

No other company in US history has managed to get 8,000 patents in a single a single year. And to put that in perspective, that means that IBM invents 22 new things a day.

It also owns a third of the patents relating to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing alone. The details were released by Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO who said:

“We are deeply proud of our inventors’ unique contributions to discovery, science and technology that are driving progress across business and society and opening the new era of cognitive business.”

There are nine other innovative companies in the top ten list and guess what? Apple does not even make the top ten.

The list goes IBM, Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, Google, Intel, LG, Microsoft, TSMC and Sony.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Apple PC Division Faltering?

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is doing its best to claim that Apple will replace Microsoft as the world’s leading OS, it appears to be covering a story which shows that the fruity cargo cult is losing ground in in PCs.

According to web analytics vendor Net Applications,  it has found that Apple’s desktop and notebook operating system — formerly OS X, now macOS — powered just 6.1 percent of all personal computers last month.

This is a significant fall from the seven percent it held this time last year and down from seven percent and the unlikely peak of 9.6 percent in the middle of the year. In fact, last year, the Tame Apple Press was telling us that Apple now had control over the notebook market.

The Mac’s 6.1 percent user share in December was the lowest mark recorded by Net Applications since August 2011 – more than five years ago.

In October, the company reported sales of 4.9 million Macs for the September quarter, a 14 percent year-over-year decline and the fourth straight quarterly downturn. In other words, Apple’s sales slide during the past year has been steeper than for the personal computer industry.

So why did Apple do so well last year and now it appears to be falling spectacularly this year? It looks like Apple clawed ahead after Microsoft made a huge stuff up with Windows 8 and OEMs were putting out cheap junk. Even Linux was doing comparatively well in the same time reaching 2.3 percent, causing some to announce 2017 to be the year of the Linux desktop. While this is a New Ritual along with bringing coal into the house, both OSx and Linux were basically doing well on Vole’s cock-up. The fact that neither could capitalise on Microsoft’s failure shows the sad state of both movements.

As Microsoft started to claw back users with Windows 10, Apple thought it would be a wizard move to put out products which were years out-of-date and aimed at its consumer users rather than the business users.

Courtesy-Fud

HMD Global Debuts The New Nokia Smartphone

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

HMD Global, the Finnish company that owns the rights to market Nokia’s brand on mobile phones, debuted on Sunday its first smartphone, targeted for Chinese users with a price of 1,699 yuan ($246).

The launch marks the first new smartphone carrying the iconic handset name since 2014 when Nokia Oyj chose to sell its entire handset unit to Microsoft.

The new device, Nokia 6, runs on Google’s Android platform and is manufactured by Foxconn. It will be sold exclusively in China through online retailer JD.com, HMD said.

 “The decision by HMD to launch its first Android smartphone into China is a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world… it is a strategically important market,” HMD said in a statement.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones, and then chose Microsoft’s Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

After the 2014 deal, Microsoft continued selling cheaper basic phones under Nokia’s name and Lumia smartphones under its own name, but last year, it largely abandoned both businesses.

HMD in December took over the Nokia feature phones business and struck a licensing deal that gave it sole use of the Nokia brand on all phones and tablets for the next decade.

It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD. Nokia Oyj is currently focused on telecom network equipment business and technology patents.

HMD CEO Arto Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, told Reuters last month that HMD aims to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business where it faces tough competition from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players.

Ford Gives Amazon’s Alexa Expanded Role In Vehicles

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Ford Motor Co  is expanding the use of Amazon.com Inc’s Alexa personal assistant in its automobiles to allow drivers to talk to their cars – demanding anything from a nearby cheeseburger to a weather forecast – marking a leap by the Detroit automaker to incorporate a technology initially targeted for home use.

The expanding alliance between Ford and Amazon, announced on Wednesday at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, underscores the importance to both automakers and internet commerce companies of connecting consumers on the move to a richer array of digital services.

Don Butler, Ford’s executive director of connected vehicle and services, told Reuters the technology represented the “deepest integration of any OEM (carmaker) inside a vehicle with Alexa.”

 The two companies are talking about how to take the Alexa partnership further, according to Butler. “Digital assistant is one tool that is increasingly prevalent in the industry,” he said.

Rival General Motors Co  plans to roll out IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence software in its OnStar system early next year in order to market services to drivers in their cars.

Similarly, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz will use Alphabet Inc’s Google Assistant, a rival product, to let car owners interact with their vehicles from home via Google Home.

Ford’s move follows its October announcement that it would use Alexa in three of its vehicle models by the end of 2016 to allow drivers to communicate with their smart home devices, such as heaters, lights or security systems.

Automotive personal assistants are being studied by every major automaker, according to Gartner research director Michael Ramsey, who said: “There’s a lot of vetting going on.”

One company that stands to benefit is Nuance Communications Inc. The supplier to Ford, GM and other carmakers provides natural language speech command technology to allow drivers to speak more or less conversationally to digital assistants.

Nineteen percent of the 160 million cars that use Nuance’s technology over the past 15 years have come out just in the past year, said Fatima Vital, Nuance’s senior director of marketing automotive.

One major decision auto companies must make is whether to give consumers a version of the smartphone systems they already use – Apple Inc’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto – or a third option. By using their own systems, carmakers can retain full control of valuable data that otherwise could be captured by Apple and Google from vehicles.

Intel Acquires Stake In Digital Mapping Firm HERE

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. chip maker Intel plans to purchase a 15 percent stake in German digital mapping firm HERE, it said on Tuesday, as it looks to build its presence in automated driving technology.

A filing to the German cartel office on Tuesday showed Intel has sought approval to buy a stake in the company, which is controlled by German carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen.

Intel and HERE said in a statement that they had also signed an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly- and fully-automated driving.

Intel did not disclose how much it would pay for the stake but said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.

The deal highlights a shift in the dynamics of research and development in the car industry, which until recently saw automakers largely dictating terms for suppliers to manufacture their proprietary technologies at specified volumes and prices.

Now carmakers are increasingly striking partnerships with technology firms using open technology standards, seeking to harness their expertise in areas including machine learning and mapping as they race against Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Tesla and Apple to develop driverless vehicles.

Last month two Chinese companies and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in HERE and in July, BMW teamed up with Intel and Mobileye to develop self-driving cars by 2021.

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen bought HERE for 2.8 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in 2015 from mobile equipment maker Nokia  of Finland.

Last September, HERE said it would introduce a new set of traffic services allowing drivers to see for themselves what live road conditions are like miles ahead using data from competing automakers, an industry first.

Apple Waning, Cutting iPhone Production

January 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc will put into place a reduction in production of iPhones by about 10 percent in the January-March quarter of 2017, the Nikkei financial daily is reporting, citing calculations based on data from the smartphone’s list of  suppliers.

The company had slashed output by 30 percent in January-March this year due to accumulated inventory, the paper said.

Apple’s shares were down 0.84 percent in midday trading, in line with the Nasdaq stock index.

 An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Will Apple Cut iPhone Production This Quarter?

January 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple is expected to cut back its production of iPhone devices by about 10 percent in the first financial quarter of 2017 due to slower than expected sales, according to a Nikkei daily report filed on Thursday.

The information is based on the latest number data from the company’s suppliers, which says the decreased production output is a result of slower sales in the Q4 FY2016 financial quarter ending September 24th. Yet despite a slowdown in sales, the fruit-themed toymaker still managed to top the charts in terms of overall device activations at 44 percent, while Samsung was placed second at 21 percent. The rest of the top global smartphone vendors placed below five percent, with Huawei in third at three percent.

In 2016, the company reduced iPhone production output between January and March by 30 percent due to accumulated inventory levels of the iPhone 6S at the end of the previous holiday season.

This year, the problem appears to be convincing customers that new features on the iPhone 7 and flagship iPhone 7 Plus are enough to justify a purchase at off-contract price or paying off their existing device’s installment plan. Over the past few years, carriers have pushed customers to switch from fixed upgrade cycles over to installment plans or, bringing the length of device ownership to an average of 29 months, up from the typical range of 24 to 26 months during the previous two years.

While Apple is expected to announce a significant iPhone overhaul this year with its 10th anniversary design, the company still must navigate the new service plan trends set by wireless carriers in order to get a significant number of loyal customers to maintain its profit margins.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Wearable Market In The U.S. Slowing?

December 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The market for wearable devices including smartwatches and fitness trackers in the US is progressing along at a rather slow pace of just 25 percent year-over-year, according to the latest industry estimates.

The folks at eMarketer published an updated forecast this month revising their estimates of wearable device users in the US, saying the market will only grow 24.7 percent in 2016 as usage continues to be limited to early adopters.

In October 2015, the market research company estimated that 63.7 million US adults would use some type of wearable device with Internet connectivity at least once per month. The forecast was revised downward this month to 39.5 million adults, still a large sum of the entire US adult population at around 15.8 percent. Within three years, the wearable device adoption rate is projected to increase to 21.1 percent of the entire US adult population by 2020.

Lack of new hardware accounts for Q3 decline

A year later, IDC published a report showing “significant” declines in wearable shipments last quarter at just 2.7 million units, down 51.6 percent from the 5.6 million units that shipped in same timeframe last year. Meanwhile, Apple managed to sell just 1.1 million Watch units compared to 3.9 million during the same period the previous year. Another market performance indicator seemed to be the overall lack of new hardware, as Google has delayed its Android Wear 2.0 platform until early next year.

On the other hand, young adults between ages 18 and 34 make up the dominant market share of wearable users at an estimated 17.6 percent this year. This number is projected to increase significantly to 30 percent in 2017, comprising the largest fraction of the overall market’s slower 25 percent annual growth rate.

One of the current concerns for device manufacturers seems to be a significant overlap of features in comparison to most modern smartphones. Prior to the launch of the Apple Watch last spring, eMarketer claimed that most consumers were interested in buying wearables simply for the purposes of fitness tracking and health metrics. But with most base prices for iOS and Android Wear smartwatches running between $149 and $369, consumers have reported high price sensitivity given the lack of a clear use case over simpler health and fitness tracking devices.

More females will be wearable users by 2018

Additionally, the report estimates that a gender shift will occur among wearable users within the next two years, as the earliest adopters tended to be male. Most young adults will enter the market by purchasing traditional fitness trackers, yet the majority of users are expected to be female.

Courtesy-Fud

Do The Apple Airbuds Have a Design Flaw?

December 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

air-budsApple’s overpriced Airbuds might have shipped before Christmas after all but they are proving to be a disaster for users and the environment.

Users have been complaining that the design of the earbuds – like two tiny devices hanging from your ear, do not appear to sit well in the human ear, which was what most Apple fanboys were equipped with. As a result, they tend to fall out, which means either finding them, or shelling out a lot of dosh to get a replacement.

The Tame Apple Press has been doing its best. The reviewer at the Verge blamed his ears for the problem. I guess it is easier to blame your parents, or God for your ears than it is to blame your favourite technology company for letting you down. At no point, did Sean O’Kane think “hang on, other headphone designs manage to stay in my ears, but something about Apple doesn’t.” Given the amount of cash you pay for the things you would think that having the ability to stay in your ear would be a key design feature, before the Apple fanboy’s wade in below and say “but Apple makes huge profits, so what do you know?” that statement does not nullify the argument, it just proves you think it is OK to be a victim and are proud of the company doing it to you.

We think we got where O’Kane was coming from when he wrote: “I’ve tested a lot of wireless earbuds so far and my biggest takeaway is that they’re only as good as the case they come with.” Yeah right, if you have a $55,000 Sennheiser Orpheus headphones you often find their sound quality is totally dictated by the box they arrived in.

Meanwhile iFixit has said that if you buy a pair of Airpads you are lowering the standards of the world and helping to kill off polar bears.

That is because Apple made sure that it was practically impossible to recycle the AirPods. Apple decided, in its wisdom to glue the tiny lithium batteries to the casing of the headphones. This means that if you recycle them in the traditional way by meshing them you will get a fire at your recycling factory.

Apple insists that the $159 AirPods can be returned to the company for recycling but what happens to them next is unclear. It is too expensive for them to be broken down by hand so it is pretty obvious they are going to end up in a landfill somewhere, probably China, where they will contribute to the generally running down of the environment and ultimately the extinction of fluffy baby polar bears.

Courtesy-Fud

Nokia Strikes Back At Apple With Latest Patent Lawsuits

December 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

nokia-hq-150x150Nokia Corp said it has filed a number of lawsuits against Apple Inc for violating 32 technology patents, striking back at the iPhone maker’s legal action targeting the one-time cellphone industry leader a day earlier.

Nokia’s lawsuits, filed in courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, Germany, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, cover patents for displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding.

“Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products,” Nokia said in a statement.

 Apple on Tuesday had taken legal action against Acacia Research Corp  and Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc, accusing them of colluding with Nokia to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly from Apple.

“We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to license their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with.”

Acacia and Conversant did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Nokia was not immediately available to comment on the Apple lawsuit.

The legal action by Nokia and Apple appear to mark a revival of the “smartphone patent wars” that began five years ago, when Apple filed a series of patent infringement cases against Samsung Electronics  around the world, with wins and losses on both sides.

Apple’s lawsuit against Acacia, Conversant and Nokia was filed only one day after Ottawa-based Conversant named Boris Teksler as its new chief executive. He had worked as Apple’s director of patent licensing and strategy from 2009 to 2013, the latter half of his tenure overlapping with the lawsuits against Samsung.

Acacia is a publicly traded patent licensing firm based in Newport Beach, California. One of its subsidiaries sued Apple for patent infringement and was awarded $22 million by a Texas jury in September.

Similarly, Conversant, which claims to own thousands of patents, announced last week that a Silicon Valley jury had awarded one of its units a $7.3 million settlement in an infringement case against Apple involving two smartphone patents.

Nokia, once the world’s dominant cellphone maker, missed out on the transition to smartphones triggered by Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

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