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T-Mobile Riding High, Adds Customers And Beats Revenue Forecast

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile US Inc, the No.3 U.S. wireless carrier, has reported higher-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit as its promotional offers aided in adding new customers.

T-Mobile had a number of promotional offers in the fourth quarter, including a free iPhone 7 offer with eligible trade-in around Black Friday.

Riding on the success of these offers, the company gained market share from rivals Verizon Communications Inc, AT&T Inc and Sprint Corp in an oversaturated U.S. wireless market.

T-Mobile said in January that it added 933,000 postpaid phone subscribers, or those who pay monthly bills, on a net basis, in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Chatter around a deal between T-Mobile and Sprint Corp resurfaced in December after Masayoshi Son, whose SoftBank Group Corp is a majority shareholder in Sprint, pledged a $50 billion investment in the United States.

Asked last week about a renewed merger bid with T-Mobile, Son said he was keeping his options open about Sprint.

T-Mobile’s total revenue jumped 23.4 percent to $10.18 billion.

The company’s net income rose to $390 million, or 45 cents per share, for the quarter from $297 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 30 cents per share and revenue of $9.84 billion for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

 

Is The iPhone 8 Going Qi?

February 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Long-standing rumors surrounding the possibility of wireless charging being a hot feature in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 this year are now receiving some confirmation, thanks to the company’s recent decision to join the 213-member Wireless Power Consortium group.

Based on the wireless industry group’s website last week, Apple has been officially listed as one of the latest members to take part in and promote the widespread adoption of the Qi wireless interface standard, which has been used for wireless charging across a number of products.

Early last year, we wrote that the company had filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (July 2015) describing a near-field magnetic resonance (NFMR) power supply arranged to provide wireless power to a number of devices over 1 meter in distance. With the basic concept in physics being that the efficiency of power transfer decreases with distance, the company was said to be developing an aluminum casing for its upcoming iPhone devices that would allow RF waves to pass through from the wireless charging receiver and through a window made from a non-conductive material.

Qi wireless charging more likely than long-range RF for upcoming iPhone 8

But with recent developments in the industry, the possibility of long-range RF charging coming to this year’s iPhone now seem more distant as the company is more likely to adopt the Qi inductive coupling method instead. During CES, a source within Apple’s supply chain partnered with Energous, a company that develops RF-based charging solutions, and this was the first evidence that the more long-range solution featuring transmitters for the home, car and office would make its way into the hands of consumers in 2017. Unfortunately, Energous then announced that plans changed after a “key strategic partnership” was made with another partner, which will now be the first to ship the technology inside its own mobile devices.

While it appears Apple was indeed focused on developing a long-range charging method for its mobile devices, some analysts now point out that it needed to bring a practical solution to the market sooner in order to avoid a potential missed feature that has become standard in the Android community for at least 24 months.

“The success of wireless charging adoption from Apple’s competitors is something that Apple can no longer ignore,” says analyst Vicky Yussuff at IHS Technology. “Consumer survey data shows over 90% of consumers want wireless charging on their next device.”

Although Apple already uses the Qi standard in its watch, which was released in Q4 2015, it is unclear whether the upcoming iPhone will use the full specifications of the technology, as its smartwatch currently uses a modified version that only works with its own chargers.

Nevertheless, the fact that Apple is now an active member of the Wireless Power Consortium allows it to participate and contribute knowledge and ideas to a community responsible for developing some of the world’s more readily available wireless charging standards. The company says “it looks forward to working together with the WPC and its members,” according to a statement given to BusinessInsider.

Courtesy-Fud

Did Apple Really Have A Banner Quarter?

February 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple may have spun its results last week so that the Tame Apple Press thought that it had done much better than was expected.

When Apple published its results, we were surprised as we expected the company to be in a somewhat poorer state due to slumping iPhone 7 and Tablet sales.

Imagine our surprise when Apple announced that it made record profits. After all we knew that Apple had actually contracted its supply of its iPhone’s twice and tablets were a mess – how was it possible to be making even more money? The Tame Apple Press reported that everything was alright and Jobs Mob was back seemingly without coming up with a new product.

We were not the only people who smelt a rat. Jason Snell and the Under pass also thought there was something wrong and delved into the figures. Before the lawyers complain that we are calling Apple liars there is no proof that lied, it just failed to point out that the Tame Apple Press was wrong.

Most Apple fiscal quarters are 13 weeks long. Occasionally, however, they have a 14-week quarter. Apple’s Q1 2017 was a 14-week quarter, for the first time since Q1 2013. This means that Jobs Mob could add in the results of an extra week’s profit.

Snell said that even a rubbish week would add enough to counting stats to push it well above the year-over-year quarter, which was 13 weeks long. In fact, if you knock off a week from the results Apple’s sales and profits fell exactly like we expected.

He said it was possible to make the numbers tell the story you want to tell, with charts to match, and slice it nine different ways.

Part of the issue which the Tame Apple Press failed to spot was that Jobs’ Mob finances were based on its financial statements—and that means the quarters as Apple defines it. In this case Apple, has defined an extra week of sales that it won’t get again for another few years.

To make matters worse it was a windfall week that next year’s year-over-year holiday-quarter comparison will not be able to match.

But that was not the only thing Apple did. A huge settlement benefit hit the first quarter of FY16, which makes Services look even better (but doesn’t change the overall net) so everything is artificially inflated.

So where are the analysts pointing out that Apple might not be the investment that people claim? When this happened in 2013, the Tame Apple Press did exactly the same thing and Philip Elmer-DeWitt wrote a brilliant headline “Apple analysts: Stupid or lazy?” This time they did the same thing and few people have batted an eye lid.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Publishers Missing The Billion Dollar Opportunity Of eSports?

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

The traditional sports ecosystem is dominated by three models of organisation. The most decentralised sports, like the PGA Tour or NASCAR, consist of largely independently organised competitions, which are sanctioned and governed by an administrative body and are open to any qualifying athlete. From there, we have typical leagues like the NBA or Premiership, which have a set number of recurring teams and players, and are extensively managed by a league front office that’s owned by each team.

eSports are quite different. If you choose to race without NASCAR or play basketball without the NBA, there’s nothing – and no official body – that can prevent you from replicating the experience. No one ‘owns’ racing or basketball, but someone does own Overwatch, and if you want to play you essentially have to go through that company. If you wanted to create your own eSports league, your ability to market or represent it would be entirely dependent on the legal team of the game’s publisher. Furthermore, the core experience is fully controlled by that publisher.

“No one ‘owns’ racing or basketball, but someone does own Overwatch, and if you want to play you essentially have to go through that company”

Leagues that are operated or endorsed by publishers can do unique things – e.g. item drops, exclusive/first-release capabilities, bundled original content – and offer unique monetisation opportunities. Three months before The International, the annual world championship for Dota 2, Valve sells interactive in-game items that directly contribute to the tournament prize pool. This model has been so successful that, in 2016, the prize pool reached $19.17 million.

Most tier-one publishers also handicap the data streams that the public can leverage. Whereas in traditional sports there are multiple providers of a firehose of sports data, game publishers offer barebones APIs that allow access to little more than character information and select match data. Valve offers an open API but, as events this year have demonstrated, it can shut off access and change policy at any time. On the platform side, Twitch is miles ahead of its competitors in terms of creating an external ecosystem thanks to its two year head-start and passionate developer community, but it maintains an ever more precarious balance between build vs. buy.

Because of these walled gardens, the investible opportunities within eSports often end up being features not products, which set them and their investors up for more of an acquihire than a Twitch-esque exit. There’s a strong argument to be made to publishers that working with third-party developers will lead to a stronger overall bottom line, foster innovation and provide defensibility.

Economics 201

It’s no secret that being a top publisher is a lucrative business. Activision reported $1.57 billion in revenue for Q2 of 2016 and EA $1.271 billion. It’s rumoured that Valve’s 2015 revenues reached $3.5 billion in 2015, and Riot Games’ over $1.6 billion. It’s not hard to see why partnerships with third parties and external API infrastructure aren’t a priority with so much money flowing, but that’s shortsighted. As publishers start thinking about how to monetise beyond game licenses and IAP, every moment not spent developing the ecosystem is a wasted one.

This isn’t unparalleled, and we can see examples of where large platforms in other verticals have made the decision to invest in their future, often early on in their company lifecycle. Salesforce, an enterprise software company, has a market cap of $50 billion. A report last year by IDC put the opportunity front and center: the AppExchange currently generates 2.8x the revenue of Salesforce itself and is expected to grow to 3.7x the size of Salesforce.

“As publishers start thinking about how to monetise beyond game licenses and IAP, every moment not spent developing the ecosystem is a wasted one”

Slack, the enterprise collaboration tool darling, also gets it. Even before raising money in April 2016, at a $3.8 billion valuation and boasting over 1.25 million paying users, they announced the Slack fund in December 2015 - an $80 million investment into supporting new integrations. Slack and Salesforce could have gone the closed route and developed these integrations and products internally, but they understood that the immediate revenue trade-off was well worth the ability to focus on creating the best core product possible, in addition to leveraging minimal company resources.

Now to everyone’s favourite eSports comparison : traditional sports. During the height of the daily fantasy sports craze in 2014/15, the NBA entered a multi-year partnership with FanDuel that gave it an ownership stake. The NFL expanded its partnership with Providence Equity in 2013, investing $300 million to participate in, “media and technology deals where it believes the league could help play a strategic role.” And these are just a few examples. Partnering with and investing in new properties allows older, larger establishments to participate in the upside of nascent industries quickly and cheaply.

Publishers are thinking about the shelf-life of games.  The NFL and NBA will both be around in 25 years, but what about League of Legends or Counter-Strike? Opening up the ecosystem not only benefits players and fans by allowing them an outlet to interact with their favorite IPs, but ultimately enhances the core value of those IPs and gives publishers an opportunity for additional exposure through revenue share, API fees and strategic investments.

In addition to commercial benefits, let’s look at network effects. Valve is the publisher of both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (25 million+ copies sold, 8.2 million+ players in the last two weeks), and Dota 2 (87 million+ times downloaded, 11 million+ active players in the last two weeks.) While the titles have richer histories than virtually any other competitive esport, Valve’s open API, developer tools and hands-off approach has contributed to their sustained success and status as two of the top eSports titles.

ELeague, FaceIt Esports Championship Series and Gfinity, ESL One and IEM. These streams of revenue have contributed to a high demand for professional CS:GO players, leading to lucrative contracts and opportunities.

3: The most lucrative has been the in-game skins economy, which allows players to purchase crates that contain different cosmetic versions of CS:GO weapons or Dota 2 items. During major tournaments, Valve has offered exclusive stickers that generate up to high six-figures for qualified teams. Valve has also allowed free reign on opening up use cases within this skins economy, which led to wagering, gambling and marketplaces (Bloomberg estimated yearly transaction volume to be >$7 billion.) Variations of this model have since been followed very conservatively by multiple franchises, including Call of Duty, Halo, H1Z1 and Overwatch.

On the platform side, Twitch’s dominance in livestreaming can largely be credited to going all-in on eSports first, but Twitch also has numerous native or platform exclusive features for its users. Diving deeper, this experience is powered by a blend of features that were built in-house or created by third parties. Examples include:

Bits, preceded by Streamlabs and StreamTip: direct donations from viewers are one of the foundations of a streamer’s income.

Clips, preceded by Oddshot, Plays.tv and Forge: allows viewers and creators to efficiently capture highlights and share to different social media channels.

Subscriptions / Partner Program and 3rd-party services (Revlo, Gamewisp and Curse/Discord integrations): subscriptions are another big source of income for streamers, and the third-party services all add further value to a sub and reduce churn.

TwitchPlays: what started out as a fun social experiment (TwitchPlaysPokemon) is now its own category to interact with potential customers for publishers.

Chatbots (Moobot, Nightbot and Xanbot): automated assistants that help moderate chat to prevent spamming and inappropriate behaviour.

Stream+ currency: Twitch’s new currency announced at TwitchCon 2016, which will allow developers to integrate monetisation options directly into games.

Facebook Live has launched to much fanfare, and given the massive distribution channel it will always be a huge threat. However, until it can get to feature parity Facebook Live will need to rely on traditional media partnerships or viral hits to create consistent content. These types of partnerships don’t scale when we’re talking about the individual streamers and professional players that have played a large part in getting Twitch to 100m+ MAUs, although the signing of G2 and Heroes of the Dorm is a good first step. YouTube Gaming is farther along and is doing a great job of starting to launch some analogous features.

How, then, should publishers look to partner with entrepreneurs and third parties? I’d like to see publishers create a vehicle, individually or collectively, in the model of Disney Accelerator, to offer mentorship, funding and support to kick-start the next generation of eSports businesses. Publishers should be developing their games as platforms, not individual entities - tons of data are being generated and archived and there is a treasure trove of use cases for them.

I’m confident that we’re slowly moving in the right direction. One day we’ll see a truly open ecosystem with publishers and third parties living in harmony.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is Apple Losing In Some Aspects Of The Hardware Space?

January 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has really dropped the ball when it comes to hardware and is rapidly losing ground to rivals.

Jobs’ Mob’s Mac sales dropped roughly 10 per cent amid a declining market which fell 5.7 per cent for the year. But Apple’s rivals seem to have benefited from Apple’s failure. Bloomberg analysts Anand Srinivasan and Wei Mok noted that Apple’s rivals grew.
Dell saw the most growth at just over 10 per cent.

Apple was pushed to number by with ASUS overtaking it. The top four vendors are now Lenovo, HP, Dell, and ASUS.

These four make up 65.2 per cent of the overall market and each grew year- over-year. All this happened while Apple lost ground by declining to 7.1 per cent. The other 27.7% of the market is comprised of more than 200 vendors.

Bloomberg predicts that the market will consolidate. Samsung and Fujitsu are reported to be in discussions to sell their PC businesses to Lenovo.

Apple has even been losing ground to Microsoft which has been pouching customers so that they switch from the Surface clone that Apple created to the much better real thing.

Srinivasan and Mok suggest that Apple needs to find new markets with their high priced computers to continue growth. They might find an easy mark with the growing middle class in China but they are still in the high price-range relative to other PCs. While
American buyers are that dumb enough to fall for Apple’s marketing, the Chinese are a little more cost conscious. Any Chinese buyer looking at the spec will be aware that they are paying too much for the logo on the clam shell.

Apple needs its US and developed countries in Europe, to improve. These represent 63 per cent of its market and are where people have more money than sense.

Courtesy-Fud

Qualcomm Gives Samsung Exclusivity

January 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

According to the latest report, it appears that Samsung managed to secure an exclusive deal with Qualcomm, scoring the latest and fastest Snapdragon 835 SoC for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, which means that other flagships will have to settle for Snapdragon 821.

According to a report from Forbes, citing industry insiders in Asia, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 SoC “won’t be available in large quantities until after the Galaxy S8 launches”. This means that flagships coming before the Galaxy S8, like the LG G6 or the HTC U Ultra, will be sticking to Snapdragon 821 SoC.

In case you missed it, Snapdragon 835 SoC is based on the 10nm FinFET manufacturing process, has a quad-core Kryo 280 cluster paired up with quad-core Cortex-A53 cores, working at 2.45GHz and 1.9GHz and comes with Adreno 540 GPU.

The Snapdragon 821 SoC is based on the 14nm FinFET process but comes with two quad-core Kryo 200 CPU clusters and Adreno 530 GPU.

The Snapdragon 835 SoC also comes with a fancy new X16 Gigabit LTE modem, capable of 1000/150 Mbps, Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ad WiFi and Quick Charge 4.0.

As wrote earlier, Qualcomm is promising a 27 percent faster SoC with 40 percent lower power consumption, so it is obvious that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone will have an upper hand.

Hopefully, more details will be available as soon as Mobile World Congress 2017 starts on February 26th, despite the fact that Samsung already confirmed that its smartphone won’t be unveiled there.

Courtesy-Fud

New Samsung Galaxy S Smartphone Launch May Be Delayed

January 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has hinted that its latest flagship Galaxy S smartphone may be delayed as it pledged to enhance product safety following an investigation into the cause of fires in its premium Note 7 devices.

Wrapping up its months-long probe, the world’s top smartphone maker said faulty batteries from two suppliers were to blame for a product failure that wiped $5.3 billion off its operating profit.

Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said procedures had been put in place to avoid a repeat of the fires as the South Korean firm prepares to launch the Galaxy S8, its first premium handset since the Note 7’s demise.

 “The lessons of this incident are deeply reflected in our culture and process,” Koh told reporters at a press briefing. “Samsung Electronics will be working hard to regain consumer trust.”

Koh said the Galaxy S8 would not be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona beginning Feb. 27, the traditional forum for Galaxy S series launches. He did not comment on when the company planned to launch the handset, though analysts expect it to start selling by April.

Investors have said Samsung needs to reassure consumers that it is on top of the Note 7 problem and can be trusted to fix it.

Samsung’s reputation took a hammering after it announced a recall of fire-prone Note 7s, only for reports to emerge that replacement devices also caught fire. Images of melted Samsung devices spread on social media and airlines banned travellers from carrying them on flights.

The handset, Samsung’s answer to Apple Inc’s iPhones, was withdrawn from sale in October less than two months after its launch, in one of the biggest failures in tech history.

Samsung said later on Monday it has not decided whether to reuse parts in the recovered Note 7s or resell any recalled phones. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters reselling some Note 7s as refurbished phones was an option.

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.

Will The Snapdragon 835 Beat Its Predecessor?

January 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm shared with us a few interesting facts about the Snapdragon 835. You can expect that many high-end smartphones will end up with this chip inside, as industry players are very interested. 

Keith Kressin, senior VP of product management at Qualcomm,  mentioned that the Snapdragon 820 and 821 scores combined more than 200 design wins. It is obvious that Snapdragon 820 will get replaced by the Snapdragon 835 due to its 25 percent less power, new CPU with eight cores, divided into two clusters, as well as the new GPU that is 25 percent better.

Let’s not forget that the 25 percent better battery will result in slimmer phones, larger batteries and we care about later much more as the bigger battery means better longevity. With Quick Charge 3.0 you can get five hours of talking time with just five minutes of charging.

The Snapdragon 835 SoC with its brand new DSP, 1Gbit modem, new CPU and GPU, definitely looks great and the fact that Qualcomm did this in 10nm and packed all three billion transistors in this tiny SoC, is quite amazing.

The fact that Qualcomm got to 10nm a few quarters ahead of Intel means that there is a big shift of power in the industry. To cut Intel some slack, the company is making a chip that aims for very high TDPs while Qualcomm SoC is looking for very small TDPs and focuses on  battery life.

The Snapdragon 835 will power a lot of AR and VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) solutions and you can expect to see some notebooks based on this SoC toward the second part of the year.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 A Beast In The Making?

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A new AnTuTu benchmark for Snapdragon 835 has been leaked online ahead of Qualcomm’s announcement at CES 2017.

If the figures are correct the new 10nm FinFET chip, which is being produced by Samsung will have 27 percent better performance, and 40 percent less power consumption than its predecessor.

ATuTu Benchmark gives the Snapdragon 835 scores 181,434 which is a significant jump over the existing Snapdragon 821 chip.

The unnamed device on which this benchmark score is achieved sports a 5.9-inch 2K display, with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage running Android 7.0 Nougat. The Snapdragon 835 is shown (below) as an octa-core processor with an Adreno 540 GPU.

But what the Tame Apple Press is not telling you is that the 835’s score has left Apple’s much quoted peak score of 172,644 for its A10 chipset for dead. This is the chip which is in the iPhone 7 Plus.

Qualcomm is expected to get many design wins for this chip and many of them will end up in phones which are much cheaper than Apple’s iPhone 7. This could mean that for most of next year, Apple will be trying to flog a phone which is slower and sucks up more battery than its lower priced rivals.

This week Apple announced that it was reducing orders for its iPhone 7 by ten percent because it had too much inventory. Given that Apple is believed to have ordered 30 per cent less iPhone’s in the first place means that it looks like the iPhone 7 will sell 40 per cent less than the iPhone 6 range.

Meanwhile Qualcomm will be sticking the new chip in the new Galaxy S8 series of phones, as well as other flagships, Microsoft recently announced that full Windows 10 would run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, and the firm even demoed Photoshop on a device using a Snapdragon 820.

Courtesy-Fud

Do OLED TV’s Suffer From Burn In

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Bad news for everyone who wanted to get an OLED TV soon; some industry experts have told Fudzilla that current generation OLED TVs suffer from a built in defect and that the companies are seeing a lot of TVs being returned after a year of use.

It looks like Quantum dot or Sony Backlight Master Drive LED technology might be your best bet at least for a little while because OLED TVs are still expensive, and the fact that they might get burn in after a while makes them less attractive. There is always good old LED TV, a technology that is predominantly available and manages panels larger than 55 inch at reasonable prices.  

This burn in problem could cause some major recalls at some point in the near future but our industry source, who wants to remain unnamed, did mention that there might be a solution in 2018 for the problem. Unfortunately, the solution will happen with the next generation of OLED panels.

So, getting great color levels and black that doesn’t not looked washed up have their downsides too. The same problem didn’t affect the small panels such as the ones in phones and tablets –  it occurs when on large panels only. Samsung and Sony are sticking with alternative technologies for the time being while LG has been pushing for OLEDs for a while.

Courtesy-Fud

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

It Appears That The Video Games Market Had A Bang-Up Year

December 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

Games generated $91 billion worldwide in 2016, according to a report from beancounters at SuperData Research who have been adding up some numbers on Christmas Party napkins.

Most of the cash was made in the mobile game segment some $41 billion (up 18 percent), followed by $26 billion for retail games and $19 billion for free-to-play online games.

Beancountrs at SuperData said that the new categories such as virtual reality, esports, and gaming video content were small in size, but they are growing fast and holding promise for next year. Hardware firms like Sony and HTC to take the lead in 2017. Still,

VR grew to $2.7 billion in 2016. Gaming video reached $4.4 billion, up 34 percent.

Mobile gaming was driven by Pokémon Go and Clash Royale. The mobile games market has started to mature and now more closely resembles traditional games publishing, requiring ever higher production values and marketing spend. Monster Strike was the top mobile game, with $1.3 billion in revenue.

The esports market generated $892 million (up 19 percent) in revenue. A string of investments in pursuit of connecting to a new generation of media consumers has built the segment’s momentum, as major publishers like Activision, Riot Games, and EA are exploring new revenue streams for selling media rights, according to the report.

Consumers increasingly download games directly to their consoles, spending $6.6 billion on digital downloads in 2016 which has helped improve margins.

PC gaming continues to do well, earning $34 billion (up 6.7 percent) and driven largely by free-to-play online titles and downloadable games. League of Legends together with newcomers like Overwatch are driving the growth in PC games.

PC gamers also saw a big improvement with the release of a new generation of graphics cards.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Apple Still In The Self-Driving Car Arena?

December 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has written to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claiming that was still interested in making self-driving cars.

Jobs’ Mob got a black eye in its self-driving car plans when it found that car makers were not the push over it expected. Jobs’ Mob arrived on the scene expecting car makers to fall over themselves to make Apple their partner. It made a list of demands about the way it was going to turn out and the car makers just laughed.

As a result, Apple appeared to give up on Project Titan, which was supposed to make the car, and reallocated all its staff to other projects or fired them.

Now this letter to the NHTS has Apple claiming to be “investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”

The letter is Apple’s official comment on the federal government’s automated vehicle guidelines, released last September, which has already drawn feedback from many companies working on autonomous cars like Google and Ford.

The federal government is continuing to collect feedback from tech companies and car manufacturers on its recently released automated vehicle policy. It would appear that Apple still wants into the program. Although how this will be possible without a product, or staff capable of making such a product is strange.

The letter is signed by Steven Kenner who is the man in charge of what is left of Project Titan.

“Apple agrees that companies should share de-identified scenario and dynamics data from crashes and near-misses. By sharing data, the industry will build a more comprehensive dataset than any one company could create alone.”

A cynic would suggest that Apple is hoping that other companies will share data which it can use to create its own product.

Apple also wants the government allow for “regulatory flexibility” to encourage innovation. This means that the government should keep the guidelines voluntary and avoid passing any concrete rules or mandates so Apple can do what it likes.

Courtesy-Fud

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