Apple

Apple gets ready for life after the iPhone with services push

On Monday, Apple will do something it has never done when making a product announcement — focus largely on other companies, not itself. Apple is expected to launch two services on March 25, including its rumored video streaming service, at an event in Cupertino, Calif. that will be attended by Hollywood celebrities such as JJ Abrams and Jennifer Aniston. This is in stark contrast to past events, which have largely featured tech journalists, Wall Street and industry analysts. As part of the video streaming service, Apple is expected to place a heavy emphasis on selling others’ services for them, according to a report in Recode. It will work similar to the App Store and Amazon’s successful Amazon Channels initiative, in that it will sell the services for them and take a cut of the transaction. Apple is also likely to unveil some of its own content, some of which stars Aniston as well as Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell and others. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that five of the first shows that Apple has funded as part of its big content push have already been completed. Apple, which has not yet given a name to the service, is also said to be wooing other cable companies, such as HBO, Starz and Showtime ahead of the launch, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this week, Apple unveiled new iPads, new iMacs and new AirPods. They were all introduced with simple press releases and without the usual fanfare Apple has given its products in the past, a stark reminder that Apple sees itself as more than just a consumer electronics company. CEO Tim Cook, who has become increasingly active in touting the company’s business outside of its iPhone, has previously said the company would double its service revenue by 2020 from 2016 levels. Revenue attributed to its Services-related business totaled $10.9 billion in its most recent quarter, up 19 percent year-over-year. To effort this along, Apple is said to be spending at least $1 billion on content, a venture that has been marred by reports of intrusion from Apple executives wary of content that might be considered overly graphic or anti-technology. Earlier this month, The New York Post reported that Cook has been seen on the set on one of the Apple-funded shows “See,” a futuristic sci-fi drama starring “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa. Several of the company’s top brass, including Cook himself, have given notes to writers and showrunners, a process that has been deemed “intrusive,” according to the Post’s sources. Apple’s push into television and movie making is being led by two executives it hired away from Sony, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who were responsible for shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “The Goldberg’s.” Monness Crespi analyst Brian White, arguably Apple’s biggest supporter on Wall Street, believes the event will kick into high-gear the mindset that Apple is trying to shape how it is viewed. Apple is no longer just about iDevices, but rather a ubiquitous and indispensable part of everyone’s lives, White believes. “In our view, Apple’s digital ecosystem remains a major differentiator, developing hardware, software and services to create a unique experience with devices working seamlessly together on Planet Apple,” White wrote in a note to investors. White added that Apple, which had more than 1.4 billion active devices at the end of its most recent quarter, will be well-positioned as more devices become a computer, allowing it to sell more services. “As more ‘things’ become a computer, we believe Apple is well positioned to benefit and unveil even more new services,” White continued.

For more, click on the text above.

Apple to patch FaceTime privacy bug

Apple Opens a New Window. said on Monday it will issue a fix for a bug that lets iPhone Opens a New Window. users hear audio from users who have not yet accepted a FaceTime video call. The software patch will be issued by the end of the week. The bug allows an iPhone user placing a call using Apple’s FaceTime video-calling feature to hear audio from the recipient’s phone even if the recipient has not yet picked up the call, according to Reuters. In certain situations, the bug also broadcast both video and audio from the recipient’s phone, the technology news website the Verge noted. Apple’s group FaceTime was temporarily made unavailable due to an ongoing issue, according to Apple’s system status webpage. The Cupertino, California-based company was not immediately available to comment on the update on its system status page. Apple announced the feature last summer, but then removed it from early test versions of its iOS 12 operating system. The company launched the feature in October. Apple will report its fiscal first quarter results after the markets close on Tuesday.

Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?

The iPhone is arguably the most valuable product in the world, representing the backbone of Apple Inc.’s AAPL -1.03% half-trillion-dollar hardware business and undergirding its software-peddling App store. It remains the envy of consumer-product companies world-wide. If history is any indication, though, America’s favorite handheld device will someday take up residence with the digital camera, the calculator, the pager, Sony’s Walkman and the Palm Pilot in a museum. Although it’s hard to imagine the iPhone dying, change can sneak up rapidly on contraptions that are deeply entrenched in American culture. Consider it was as recently as the mid-1990s when I spent an hour a day during my senior year in high school in a room full of electric typewriters learning to type. Today, I spend most of my working hours using that skill to bang away on a keyboard, but I have rarely touched an actual typewriter in 25 years. “Over time, every franchise dies,” said Nick Santhanam, McKinsey’s Americas practice leader in Silicon Valley. “You can innovate on an amazing mousetrap, but if people eventually don’t want a mousetrap, you’re screwed.” Kodak, Polaroid and Sears are all examples from the recent past of companies that held too tightly to an old idea. Today’s tech giants, ranging from Netflix (having already reinvented itself to be dependent on advertising-free streaming video) to Google parent Alphabet Inc. (counting advertising as 86% of revenue), should take note of those painful demises to avoid the same fate. Apple’s mousetrap is anything but broken. Representing 60% of Apple’s revenue, the iPhone outsells 96% of the companies on the Fortune 500. The phone carries the bulk of the $545 billion valuation that Morgan Stanley assigns to Apple’s wider hardware business. Apple, for the better part of the 2000s, was the master of the next big thing: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone. Apple wasn’t always first, but its products were easier to use, thinner, cooler. With the success of the iPhone since it arrived on the scene, the next big thing has been harder to find. Apple has had no breakthrough on TV, a modest success with its watch, a stumble in music and a lot of speculation concerning its intentions for autonomous cars or creating original programming. Now, as in a comic-book movie, we’re all left to wonder whether Apple’s greatest strength could be its biggest weakness? Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook acknowledges the latest iPhone delivery trends indicate his company faces a potential inflection point. “Apple has always used periods of adversity to re-examine our approach,” Mr. Cook said in a Jan. 2 letter to investors. Apple has a legacy of invention, Mr. Cook says. That’s something the Cupertino, Calif., company is eventually going to need. In a CNBC interview Tuesday, he pointed to rapid growth in services and “wearables”—such as watches or ear buds—as reason for optimism. Someday, Apple will be known more for its contribution to health care than its sleek gadgets, Mr. Cook says. Whatever shape it takes, Apple’s evolution will be closely watched if only because reinvention is so hard to pull off. A decade ago, Nokia’s dominance in handheld devices evaporated after executives failed to create a compelling operating system to make their pricey smartphones more user-friendly. Finnish executives have told me on several occasions that Nokia knew it needed to rapidly change, but lacked the urgency and resources to do it. There are success stories, to be sure. The Model T almost entirely underpinned Ford Motor Co.’s rise a century ago, when the Detroit auto maker owned roughly half of the U.S. car market. Without “The Universal Car,” Henry Ford likely would have been forgotten. A closer parallel to Apple is Microsoft Corp. Its best-known product, Windows, was so dominant that it drew extreme regulatory scrutiny while vaulting the Seattle software company atop the personal-computer market before cloud computing existed. Both Ford and Microsoft adapted and survived. Iconic vehicles like Ford’s Mustang coupe or F-150 pickup prove companies can live a productive life after the initial hit product fades. Microsoft’s transition to cloud computing with its Azure product, meanwhile, has vaulted the company back near the top of the race for the title of world’s most valuable company. Still, it’s a slog. “It’s hard to be a two-trick pony,” former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told me Thursday. “It’s amazing to do one. It’s super amazing to do two. Doing three? I have a lot of respect for a company that can do three tricks. … It’s just hard to come up with concepts that can make that happen.” He said Apple’s line of Mac products is one trick and the so-called i-Series (iPhone or iPod) was a second. “If they had stopped with the iPod, where would they be?” They succeeded because “they pushed beyond” with a phone. By all accounts, the iPhone’s run—nearing the dozen-year mark—has been remarkable, especially when you consider the average company in the S&P 500 remains in the index for only 15 years. Mr. Cook’s legacy, however, hinges on how well he pulls off Apple’s next act.

Indeed…  Thanks to John D. Stoll for that reality check.

Apple’s next iPhone may have a ‘secret weapon’

Apple’s next iPhone could feature powerful camera technology built by rival Sony. The so-called “3D camera” would turn the real world into a video game – using revolutionary augmented reality (AR) tech. Apple is tight-lipped about this year’s iPhone 11, to the point where we don’t even know the gadget’s real name. But a new report suggests Apple has shown interested in a three-lens camera system that could debut on this year’s iPhone. According to Bloomberg, Sony is “boosting production of next-generation 3D sensors”, which could revolutionize phone cameras. Apparently, this is “after getting interest from customers, including Apple.” The report notes that Sony will kick off mass production “in late summer”. Apple typically launches new smartphones in September, so the production timeline could work for a new iPhone. So what’s the big deal with Sony’s new camera tech? Smartphone makers are investing heavily in augmented reality, which overlays computer-generated images onto the world around you. Common examples include Snapchat filters, or the Pokémon you see in the Pokémon Go app game. To achieve high-quality AR, cameras need to be able to work out depth – understanding how far objects are away from each other. This makes it possible to place CGI objects much more accurately, so they seem more realistic. Sony’s system uses a “time of flight” method that sends out invisible laser pulses and measures how long they take to bounce back. This can create more detailed 3D models are a distance of up to five meters. With very accurate AR, it would be possible to turn the real world into a convincing video game. One example included a game where phone owners could use hand gestures to cast magic spells in a virtual game. Sony regularly supplies camera hardware for lots of rivals in the smartphone industry. It counts Apple, Google and Samsung among its customers, and controls about half of the camera chip market. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Apple will use any of this new camera tech in its next iPhone model.

Ready Player One…coming to an iPhone near you

Apple spending $11B on Texas campus, data centers

Apple has announced that it is putting its cash pile to work. The technology giant will invest $1 billion to build a new campus in North Austin, Texas and another $10 billion for new data centers. It is all a part of a five-year investment aimed at creating 20,000 jobs in the United States. The Cupertino-based company said on Thursday it would also to set up new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California and expand operations in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years. “Apple is proud to bring new investment, jobs and opportunity to cities across the United States and to significantly deepen our quarter-century partnership with the city and people of Austin,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Talent, creativity and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or zip code, and, with this new expansion, we’re redoubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationwide.” Apple has faced increasing political pressure to ramp up investments at home since 2016, when then presidential candidate Donald Trump targeted the company for using Asian factories for the bulk of its manufacturing. Data centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada are being expanded. The new Austin campus will be located less than a mile away from its existing facilities, Apple said. Apple’s technology rival Amazon.com last month ended a months-long search for new headquarters, picking locations in New York and Virginia.

Great news!!   🙂

Apple Watch can now detect your irregular heart rhythms and other problems: Here’s how it works

Apple Watch users can now take a reading of their heart’s electrical signal by holding a finger on the crown of the device. On Thursday, customers with the Apple Watch Series 4 who install the latest software update can access a new feature to identify atrial fibrillation, a common form of an irregular heart rhythm, as well as opt in to more passive monitoring. Anyone over age 22 can use these new heart health features, although not all them are designed for people who have already been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, by their doctor. All of this has been in the works for years. Apple got a first-of-its-kind clearance for its electrocardiogram app from federal regulators in September after conducting a preclinical study with 2,000 people. It also did a clinical trial with 600 other participants to ensure it could distinguish between a normal heartbeat, or sinus rhythm, and atrial fibrillation. The company released data on its new features in a white paper, published on Thursday, as well as a physician-facing website. Click here for more

If you’re an Apple Watch Series 4 owner, and have heart concerns, you really need to read this article.  Just click on the text above for more.   This is excellent!    🙂

Independent media rallies behind Alex Jones

Things move very quickly in the media realm, and in quirky ways. Despite the fact that Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify banned controversial broadcast host and “InfoWars” creator Alex Jones, he still led the national trends on Twitter throughout Monday. Such is the irony of social media. Certain content producers are banished from busy sites for violating “community rules” about the nature and tone of content — then the public can’t wait to talk about them. And talk they did. All that aside, the Texas-based Mr. Jones bypassed both traditional news and social media sites and immediately produced a “world exclusive” outlining his response from “being banned from the internet,” then streamed the statement from his own website, and on Twitter, where he still has a presence. Though they may not agree with Mr. Jones’ work or philosophy, many observers are troubled by the banning. “It is a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets,” said Media Research Center founder and veteran media analyst Brent Bozell. “This is part of a disturbing trend. In recent months top conservative congressmen have been shadowbanned on Twitter. Pro-life and pro-gun posts and videos are often removed on several platforms. Liberal journalists even objected to one conservative outlet attending a meeting with Facebook. Several conservative organizations like Live Action, the NRA and even the Christian satire site Babylon Bee have complained they had posts removed or censored,” Mr. Bozell continued. “Social media sites are supposedly neutral platforms, but they are increasingly becoming opportunities for the left and major media to censor any content that they don’t like,” he said, warning that the ban on Mr. Jones is “just the beginning.” Some other media forces were also at work. On Monday the Drudge Report led with Mr. Jones’ story — which is a monster-sized mention. The proverbial Drudge “hit” yields huge readership. Consider that in the last 24 hours alone, 29 million people visited Drudge, which is formatted like straightforward, old-school news. There are terse, pertinent headlines — lots of them — and all are immediately accessible, the provided links leading to the original content. Some heavy thinkers also stepped forward to have a say on Twitter, some characterizing Mr. Jones’ experiences as something right out of communist nation of yore. “Whether you like @RealAlexJones and Infowars or not, he is undeniably the victim today of collusion by the big tech giants. What price free speech?” asked British broadcaster and political analyst Nigel Farage. “Alex Jones is now an unperson, straight out of the plot of George Orwell’s 1984. Regardless what you think of him and Infowars, this is the equivalent of digital book burning and sets a horrifying precedent for mass censorship by Big Tech,” tweeted Mark Dice, an author and independent media analyst.

Agreed!!  This censorship by big tech is beyond outrageous.  Shame on ALL of them!!  For more, click on the text above.  And, if you are curious to see what all these tech companies don’t want you to see, just go to:  http://www.infowars.com   and you be the judge.