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Greedy Billionaire Investor Dumps Entire Apple Portfolio

May 3, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Billionaire activist investor and Apple cheerleader Carl Icahn has dumped his entire stake in Apple because he thinks the writing is on the wall for the tech company.

Icahn has been a big fan of Apple since he started investing three years ago. He has also made a fortune out of his investment.  But he said that Apple’s glory days could be over because the company has become too dependent on the whims of the Chinese government.

Icahn, who owned 45.8 million Apple shares at the end of last year, said China’s economic slowdown and worries about how China could become more prohibitive in doing business triggered his decision to exit his position entirely.

He said that there was nothing wrong with Apple’s management and it was still a great company, “but you worry a little bit, maybe more than a little, about China’s attitude.”

He said that the Chinese government could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there,” Icahn said.

Earlier this month, China shut down Apple’s iTunes movies and iBooks stores within the country, following Beijing’s introduction of regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms.

Icahn said that Apple stock is still pretty cheap but China could be a shadow for it.  He would have to look closely at what was happening in China before he bought another Apple share.

To be fair Icahn said that he had made $2 billion off the Apple trade and got a 48 percent to 50 percent total return which is not bad.

Apple shares have now declined more than 10 percent this week.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Are Tablets Dead?

May 3, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

There more evidence that tablets were never the game-changer that Steve Jobs tried to peddle them as, and were just the keyboardless netbooks we said they were.

IDC siad that for the first quarter of 2016, overall worldwide tablet shipments fell to 39.6 million, a 14.7 percent drop from the same period a year ago,  However the only part of the segment which did ok were tablets with keyboards – or as we used to call them, netbooks.

IDC said that the decline of ordinary tablets was partly due to traditional first-quarter slumps but also a complete lack of interest on the part of customers.

Traditional tablets accounted for 87.6 percent of all tablet shipments. But tablets that come with detachable keyboards increased of more than 4.9 million units last quarter. That was a gain of 120 percent from the same period last year and an all-time high for tablets with detachable keyboards.

Tablets are dying because more people are buying big-screened phones as an alternative. You remember Fablets? They were what Steve Jobs claimed would never work because they prefered smaller smartphones or bigger tablets. In fact he was talking rubbish and was trying to keep his keyboardless netbook idea going.

IDC said that the newer tablets don’t offer enough new features to entice people to upgrade. After all tablets were always looking for an app which made them useful, which never arrived.

To counteract the downturn, more manufacturers are turning to tablets with detachable keyboards that can thus serve as laptops – on otherwords returning to the netbooks that the Tablets were said to replace.

“With the PC industry in decline, the detachable market stands to benefit as consumers and enterprises seek to replace their aging PCs with detachables,” IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement.

Apple saw its shipments and market share drop but remained in first place. Apple’s latest 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the new 256GB storage option for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro are “healthy additions” to the lineup, IDC said. Samsung also saw its shipments and market share decline. Though the Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup is still popular, its detachable TabPro S is dead in the water thanks to its $900 price tag.

Amazon has found success with its starting-at-$49 Fire, showing that consumers will still buy bargain-priced tablets. Missing from the list was Microsoft in spite of the popularity of its Surface Pro products, which start at $900.

IDC said:

“The Surface line is great. But it’s tough to drive volume in the first quarter. Prices of Surface products are fairly high, but Microsoft is in the top five list for tablets with detachable keyboards. The top five for tablets as a whole is a tougher nut to crack given the large slate volumes compared to detachables.”

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple Optimistic About iPhone SE Sales

April 28, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

After experiencing its first-ever drop in iPhone sales, Apple Inc sought to reassure investors by saying its latest and cheapest model was in strong demand after being launched in late March. Some retailers and suppliers in Asia aren’t so sure.

In a Reuters survey of 10 retailers in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, seven – including four Apple Stores – reported solid early demand, but three third-party retailers said sales were weak. Two suppliers of components for Apple phones, including the new iPhone SE, said they were seeing lower orders.

“I’ve been dealing with iPhones for five to six years now. This current quarter for Apple feels weak,” said an executive at a Taiwan-based company whose components are used in iPhones including the SE model, which markets for $399. “Our current shipment situation for Apple is not like the last two years. There are more iPhone models, but the total volume of iPhones is falling.”

Such a mixed outlook from Greater China, its most important market after the United States and generator of a quarter of the company’s revenue, could be a major cause of concern for Apple.

The company’s revenue from the region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, dropped 26 percent in the March quarter, making it the weakest region in the world.

“iPhone is still popular but sales have dropped because… there’s no new model and the SE is similar to 5C. So it doesn’t sell well,” said Zhu You Peng, a salesman at Apple product reseller Xiongyu in Shenzhen. The 5C was Apple’s last attempt to produce a cheaper phone, back in 2013.

Zhu said it sold around 300 iPhones per month last year but the number has dropped to around 100-200 this year.

That view contrasts with upbeat comments about the phone from Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri on Tuesday.

“The situation right now around the world is that we are supply-constrained,” he told Reuters, referring to the iPhone SE. “The demand has been very, very strong.”

The iPhone SEs are sold out in Apple’s own stores in mainland China and customers have to wait about three weeks to get the product delivered by Apple, according to Apple’s websites. The size of the original supplies to the stores is unclear.

 

 

 

Sirin’s Ultra High-end Smartphone To Retail For $20,000

April 26, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

A British-Israeli start-up is making plans to offer a mobile phone next month that will provide users unprecedented levels of technology and security — and retail for close to $20,000.

Sirin Labs AG said on Monday it had raised $72 million in private funds to launch the device, which would be aimed at executives. It plans to open its first store, in London’s Mayfair, in May.

“(Our) smartphone …brings the most advanced technology available – even if it is not commercially available – and combining it with almost military-grade security,” said Sirin co-founder and president Moshe Hogeg.

The phone will be based on the Android operating system and run otherwise unspecified technology two to three years in advance of the mass market, he said.

Hogeg told Reuters the phone would sell for less than $20,000.

He believes thousands of executives in the United States and Europe will pay that sort of price, since the cost of being hacked could be more expensive in terms of information lost.

Hogeg put the value of the global luxury phone market at about $1.1 billion, a fraction of total mobile phone sales. Most top end phones sold are more for status – regular phones with gold and diamonds.

Britain’s Vertu sells phones in that category from $10,000 to $300,000, while Apple’s iPhone 5 Black Diamond sold for $15.3 million.

Sirin’s financing came from Israeli venture capital fund Singulariteam – which Hogeg co-founded and included backing from Kazakh investor Kenges Rakishev – and Chinese social networking company Renren.

The idea for the start-up came about after Rakishev’s phone was hacked in 2013. He asked Hogeg why he couldn’t find a mobile phone that would ensure privacy and why new technology seen in tech shows and publications was not available in consumer devices.

“There were no good solutions that combined high-end technologies with maximum security,” Hogeg said.

 

Did Researchers Create Batteries That A Lifetime?

April 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) have accidentally – yes, accidentally – discovered a nanowire-based technology that could lead to batteries that can be charged hundreds of thousands of times.

Mya Le Thai, a PhD candidate at the university, explained in a paper published this week that she and her colleagues used nanowires, a material that is several thousand times thinner than a human hair, extremely conductive and has a surface area large enough to support the storage and transfer of electrons.

Nanowires are extremely fragile and don’t usually hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, or cycling. They expand and grow brittle in a typical lithium-ion battery, but Le Thai’s team fixed this by coating a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and then placing it in a Plexiglas-like gel to improve its reliability. All by accident.

The breakthrough could lead to laptop, smartphone and tablet batteries that last forever.

Reginald Penner, chairman of UCI’s chemistry department, said: “Mya was playing around and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it.

“She discovered that just by using this gel she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”

The battery-like structure was tested more than 200,000 times over a three-month span, and the researchers reported no loss of capacity or power.

“The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” Thai said. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”

The breakthrough also paves the way for commercial batteries that could last a lifetime in appliances, cars and spacecraft.

British fuel-cell maker Intelligent Energy Holdings announced earlier this year that it is working on a smartphone battery that will need to be charged only once a week.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Will nVidia’s Mid-Range Pascal Processor Debut In Q3?

April 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

According to the latest report, Nvidia plans to launch next-generation mainstream segment graphics cards, based on GP106 GPU, in Autumn, or late Q3/early Q4 2016.

According to a report coming from Sweclockers.com, Nvidia’s mainstream graphics cards, which will be based on a GP106 Pascal GPU, should be coming in Autumn, and be ready for sales by the time for a Christmas shopping season.

Meant to replace the currently available Maxwell-based GTX 960 and GTX 950 graphics cards, the upcoming mainstream Geforce graphics cards, most likely named as the GTX 1060 and GTX 1050, could end up with two enabled graphics processing clusters (GPCs), which means that SKUs could end with up to 1280 CUDA cores.

While the upcoming GP104-based graphics cards should cover the higher-end consumer market, the mid-range market is mostly the cash-cow for companies so having that segment on store shelves before Christmas shopping season is quite important.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple To Pay Nearly $25M In Siri Patent Lawsuit Settlement

April 22, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple has agreed to shell out $24.9 million to a patent holding firm to resolve a 5-year-old lawsuit accusing Siri of infringing one of its patents.

Apple will pay the money to Marathon Patent Group, the parent company of Texas firm Dynamic Advances, which held an exclusive license to a 2007 patent covering natural language user interfaces for enterprise databases. Marathon reported the settlement in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

In response to the settlement, Magistrate Judge David Peebles of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York dismissed a lawsuit against Apple filed by Dynamic Advances and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where the natural language technology was created.

A trial had been scheduled to begin early next month in Syracuse, New York. Dynamic Advances first filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in October 2012.

A “portion” of the settlement will go to RPI, Marathon said in its SEC filing. The company believes “other voice recognition services also infringe patents involved in the settled action,” it said in the filing.

The natural language technology covered in the patent was invented by Cheng Hsu, then a professor of decision sciences and engineering systems, and Veera Boonjing, then a doctoral student at RPI, according to an amended complaint filed in June 2013.

The patent covers “novel methods” for processing natural language, wrote lawyers for the plaintiffs. The technology gives computer and smartphone owners “the ability to input search queries or commands in language they would use in conversation with another person,” they wrote in the complaint.

Apple’s Siri voice-enabled digital assistance service encourages users to use technology that “processes natural language inputs” as claimed in the patent, the complaint said. Since the first lawsuit in 2012, “Apple has known that, or has been willfully blind to the fact that” its customers are infringing the patent, the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote.

 

 

Is AMD Getting In Bed With Sugon?

April 22, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Our sources are confident that AMD is about to announce a joint venture deal with China-based Sugon company.

Sugon might not be a name you’ve heard much about, but the company has now made a direct deal to manufacture server-based hardware for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In their own words:

“Sugon Information Industry Co., Ltd. (Sugon for short) is a national high-tech enterprise established on the basis of the major scientific research achievements of the National High Technology Research and Development Program (the 863 Program) with the vigorous promotion by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”

The company specializes in R&D and manufacturing of high-performance computers (HPCs), enterprise servers and datacenter products, and they also do some software design and system integration as well. Between 2009 and 2014, they were on China’s TOP 100 supercomputer list consecutively by market share.

Sugon made news recently with its Nebula high-performance computer that managed to get ranked second place in the 35th Global Supercomputer TOP 500 Competition. The supercomputer they built topped a 3 petaflops per second system peak and a 1.271 petaflops times per second measured Linpack speed. These numbers easily made it the third supercomputer in the world with performance measuring over a petaflop (PF).

AMD is about to announce a joint venture with this company, and if the deal includes any cooperation with future next-generation products such as AMD’s Zen x86 high-end CPU, then the Silicon Valley company might be on the right track here. The performance of AMD’s server-based Zen products plus the potential use of Tarnhelm Zen meets AMD’s Greenland APU server product, which sounds like a great idea. Fudzilla has mentioned the existence of up to a 16-core Zen APU with Greenland HMB 2.0 GPU, DDR4 support and a super fast interconnect with coherent fabric more than a year ago.

According to an interview from Inside HPC with Dr. Qing Ji, Deputy General Manager of the HPC Division at Sugon, the overseas company plans to expand to the western market.  Is this a Coincidence?

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is the Apple SE A Hit?

April 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Remember when some analyst  told us that the world wanted to go back to small phones and that the iPhone SE would be a money spinner? It turns out that we were not the only ones who thought that idea was rubbish – Apple does not believe it either.

Apple has continued to have a limited production run of iPhones in the quarter ending June. According to the  Nikkei business daily this will be the second quarter that Apple will run reduced production of its main bread and butter – the iPhone. Practically it means that not is well behind Apple’s Walled Garden of Delights. It also suggests that the iPhone SE is as pants as we expected.

For those who came in late, Apple re-released its iPhone 5C with a slightly better chip and called it the SE. This old design was tiny in comparison to later models and clearly out-of-date.  This has been a bad time for Jobs’ Mob the Nikkei reported in January that the technology giant was expected to cut production of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models by about 30 percent in the quarter ended March, but production was expected to return to normal in the current quarter. Clearly it didn’t and the SE failed to interest anyone.

Apple’s shares fell 1.8 percent to $110.05 and some of its partners went the following way. The production cut could last longer than the one it implemented in 2013, when Apple cut production orders for its cheaper iPhone 5C a month after its launch.

Apple has told parts suppliers in Japan and elsewhere that it will maintain the reduced output level in the current quarter, the Nikkei report said.

In January, Apple said it expected a fall in revenue for the quarter ending March – its first forecast for a revenue drop in 13 years – as the critical Chinese market showed signs of weakening. It also reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple Said To Be Re-branding OS X To ‘MacOS’

April 19, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple may be gearing up to rebrand its OS X operating system as MacOS, according to a since-altered page on the Cupertino, Calif. company’s website.

The page, which touted Apple’s environmental efforts, used “MacOS” rather than “OS X” to label the Mac’s operating system. The Apple-focused website 9to5Mac noted the use of the new name late Thursday.

Apple has changed that page, which now refers to “OS X.”

The rebranding would put the Mac’s operating system more in sync with the nomenclature of Apple’s other OSes, including “iOS,” “tvOS” and “watchOS.”

OS X as a brand originated in 2000, when it was officially designated “Mac OS X.” But “Mac OS” was used before that, notably during the span of 1995 through 1997, when Apple licensed third-party OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to build and sell Mac clones. Co-founder Steve Jobs ended that strategy shortly after he returned to Apple in 1997. Apple retains U.S. trademark rights to “Mac OS;” those rights were last renewed in 2015. No active trademarks for “MacOS” were found in a search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database.

Prior to Mac OS, Apple simply dubbed the Macintosh operating system as “System.”

OS X is currently at version 11, and carries the moniker “El Capitan,” in line with Apple’s 2013 switch to California place names.

Because Apple traditionally announces the year’s OS X upgrade at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), any rebranding to MacOS would likely occur there.

 

 

Will HMB 2.0 GPUs Show Up This Year?

April 19, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Our well-placed industry sources have told us that we should not expect to see the HMB 2.0 based GPUs shipping anytime soon. Nvidia Pascal and AMD Polaris 10 / 11 will stick with GDDR5 memory for the time being.

The 2nd generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM 2.0) for high-end GPUs might happen in very late Q4 2016 but realistically it probably won’t ship until 2017 in any volume.

The first card that we expect supporting this feature might be the Greenland, a card that AMD might end up calling Vega. Even according Radeon Technology Group’s official GPU roadmap, Vega / Greenland now look like a 2017 product, or at very best, late 2016 card. Nvidia might make the HBM 2.0 version of the Titan card, but we don’t expect to see a Geforce GTX based on Pascal GPU and HBM 2.0 coming to the market this year.

We managed to talk to some of the memory manufactures and they told us that HBM 2.0 is very limited in supply, and limited supply makes things expensive.

It seems that GPUs of 2016, including the new AMD Polaris and the new Geforce, will be stuck with GDDR5 and in best case scenario with GDDR5X from Micron. The word on the street is that both Geforce GTX based on Pascal and AMD/RTG’s Polaris 10 / Ellesmere and Polaris 11 / Baffin might launch at Computex during last days of May or early June 2016.

Courtesy-Fud

 

EU Seeks Greater Transparency In Web Search Results

April 18, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The European Union’s digital chief wants search engines such as Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft’s Bing to be more transparent about paid ads in web search results but ruled out a separate law for web platforms.

European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, who is overseeing a wide-ranging inquiry into how web platforms conduct their business, said on Friday the EU executive would not take a horizontal approach to regulating online services.

“We will take a problem-driven approach,” Ansip said. “It’s practically impossible to regulate all the platforms with one really good single solution.”

That will come as a relief to the web industry, dominated mainly by big U.S. tech firms such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, who lobbied hard against new rules for online platforms and what they saw as an anti-American protectionist backlash.

“We praise the Commission for understanding that a horizontal measure for all platforms is practically impossible,” said Jakob Kucharczyk, director of the Computer & Communications Industry Association which represents the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon.

“While a lot of online platforms enable economic growth, their business models differ widely.”

However Ansip said he was worried about how transparent some search engines are when displaying ads in search results.

The Commission is also looking into the transparency of paid-for reviews as well as the conditions of use of services such as Google Maps, Apple Inc’s IoS mobile operating system and Google’s Android.

“Maybe it’s not too much to ask for more transparency talking about search engines,” Ansip said.

The EU executive is looking into making rules on taking down illegal content clearer and more effective without making hosting websites such as YouTube directly liable.

“Now musicians ask, please, take it down and keep it down,” Ansip said. “We want to make those rules more clear.”

But the Commission will not change a provision where websites such as Amazon, eBay and Google’s YouTube are not held liable for illegal content that is uploaded on to their systems. They do, however, have a responsibility to take it down once they are notified of it.

The Commission will publish a communication detailing its plans on web platforms in June.

 

 

Apple Decides To Extend iPhone Production Cut

April 18, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc will maintain its reduced production of iPhones in the quarter ending June in light of sluggish sales, the Nikkei business daily reported, citing parts suppliers notified of the plan.

Apple apparently does not plan to make enough of the newly launched iPhone SE model, the Nikkei report said.

The company’s shares fell 1.8 percent to $110.05. Shares of some Apple suppliers also fell following the report. Skyworks Solutions Inc was down 1.4 percent, Broadcom Ltd fell 2.4 percent while Jabil Circuit lost 1.7 percent. The Nikkei reported in January that the technology giant was expected to cut production of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models by about 30 percent in the quarter ended March, but production was expected to return to normal in the current quarter.

The production cut could last longer than the one it implemented in 2013, when Apple cut production orders for its cheaper iPhone 5C a month after its launch, the Nikkei said.

Apple has told parts suppliers in Japan and elsewhere that it will maintain the reduced output level in the current quarter, the Nikkei report said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In January, Apple said it expected a fall in revenue for the quarter ending March – its first forecast for a revenue drop in 13 years – as the critical Chinese market showed signs of weakening. It also reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments.

Global smartphone sales in 2016 are expected to grow at their slowest rate – in single digits in percentage terms, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

 

Facebook Gives Its Live Streaming Service A Boost

April 14, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is increasing its focus on video with a new tool that will help hardware makers build devices to stream live to the social networking service.

The new Facebook Live API will let publishers and hardware makers build tools that connect with the social network’s live video streaming feature. That means broadcasters will be able to stream video from hardware that integrates with the service like DJI drones and the new Mevo camera, along with broadcast software like Livestream, ffmpeg and Xsplit.

It’s a move to help video producers bring live video to Facebook without having to do something extreme like strap an iPhone to a camera rig, which is what they currently have to do. With the new tool, Facebook also makes it easier for developers and broadcasters to bring higher quality video to Live, too.

Users will also have the ability to share a live broadcast with members of a group, or people who are registered for an event, in addition to broadcasting to their friends or to the world at large. People watching a live broadcast can add live emoji reactions, similar to adding reactions to a news feed.

The functionality is a push by Facebook to compete with other live streaming services like Periscope, which is owned by rival social network Twitter. With the rise of pervasive, high-speed mobile connectivity, live streaming is becoming more prevalent. Facebook is likely feeling the pressure from its competition, but it’s in a strong position, according to Forrester analyst Nick Barber.

“Paired with its active users and algorithm, Facebook stands to create a new revenue stream with live events,” he said in an email. “It makes Facebook a one-stop shop for users who want to consume news, live events and connect with family and friends.”

Improving live streaming may make the platform more appealing to people who know they want to stream their event to the Web somehow, but haven’t yet decided how to do it. If Facebook can become the de facto home for live broadcasts from celebrities and big brands, that could put the company in a lucrative position.

“Recorded video is very engaging on social channels, and live creates even more opportunities for brands and individuals,” Barber said.

 

 

 

Will Samsung Use Iris Scanners In Phones?

April 13, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

It is looking certain that Samsung phones are getting Iris security scanners.

Iris scanning technology has been a long-standing rumour with Samsung flagships even as long ago as the Galaxy S5. However nothing actually happened and it was always rumoured as being in the next model,

Now Galaxy Club spotted a tracking entry in Zauba indicates something called an IRIS CAM has been shipped from South Korea to India. This could be indicative that Samsung is already busy testing the technology in its local R&D department.

It would be reasonable to assume that it might actually be ready in the Galaxy Note 6. Of course this could be another disappointment, but at least this time there has been paperwork seen that such a device exists.

Courtesy-Fud