iPhone

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 investors urge tech giant to help curb iPhone addiction among kids

Two of Apple’s biggest investors sent an open letter to the tech giant on Saturday urging the company to take prompt action to curb what they see as a growing smartphone addiction among children. Amid numerous reports about a mounting health crisis – both physical and mental – related to the entrancing qualities of smartphones, activist investor Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System have asked Apple to create new ways for parents to restrict children’s access to their iPhones. “There is a developing consensus around the world including Silicon Valley that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies need to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility,” the letter said. “Apple can play a defining role in signaling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do.” The two investors collectively control $2 billion worth of Apple shares. Among their proposals to Apple: establish an expert committee including child development specialists; offer Apple’s vast information to researchers; and enhance mobile device software so that parents have more options to protect their children’s health. The letter cited various studies and surveys on how the heavy usage of smartphones and social media negatively affects children’s mental and physical health. Examples include distractions by digital technologies in the classroom, a decreased ability of students to focus on educational tasks, and higher risks of suicide and depression. The letter from investors comes at a time of mounting criticism about the long-term health impact of heavy usage of smartphones and social media – especially among children. While tech companies like Apple have remained mum about the addictiveness of their products, many Silicon Valley insiders have started to speak openly about the issue.

I think I feel dumber for having read that piece courtesy of the lazy and liberal Associated Press (AP).  How on earth is it Apple’s responsibility and/or fault if a kid is addicted to their iPhone?!?  Here’s a novel thought…  How about parents step up to the plate and be, well.. parents?!!  It is the PARENT’S responsibility to ensure their little rug rats are becoming zombies and wasting away their youth with iPhones, XBOXes, and so on.  The article suggested that Apple can’t “outsource” the responsibility.  Of course it can.  It can outsource it right back to the actual responsible parents.  Unreal…   Anyway, if you wish to read more of this mind-numbing article, and maybe lose a few IQ points in the process, click on the text above.

iOS 11 will make it impossible for cops to force you to unlock your phone

The rollout of iOS 11 is fast approaching, and with the beta version of the new update already in the hands of many testers we were bound to discover things that Apple had kept secret. One of those things happens to be an absolutely incredible privacy feature that lets you automatically disable Touch ID in just a few seconds, securing your device and preventing anyone (including law enforcement) from forcing you to access your iPhone by using your fingerprint. The new feature is activated by pressing the lock button five times in a row. When you do this, the phone enters an emergency mode that brings up a second screen with the SOS button that, if toggled, alerts your emergency contacts to your location. What it also does, regardless of whether you tap the SOS button, is lock down your device and disable Touch ID until you verify your identity with your passcode. With plenty of controversy surrounding the rights of citizens and the legal implications of police forcing individuals to unlock their phones with their fingerprints — or even using a person’s prints against their will — it’s an extremely powerful feature. Apple hasn’t spent any time talking about the new privacy tool, but with iOS 11 expected to hit iOS devices sometime in September, it’ll be available to millions and millions of people in just a few weeks. Apple has proven to be extremely bold when it comes to user privacy, refusing to unlock iPhones of suspected criminals due to the precedent it could set for the future. An easy way to disable Touch ID definitely fits with that theme, and it’ll be interesting to see how (or if) law enforcement agencies react.

iPhone audio trick goes viral

Social media users are going crazy about a little known iTunes trick that can let you jack up the volume on your audio. It involves changing the equalisation setting while playing audio on your device. In sound recording and reproduction, equalisation is the process commonly used to alter the frequency response of an audio system using filters. On your iPhone the EQ setting is set to ‘off’ by default. However you have the option to change it to a whole raft of different settings such as Bass Reducer, Flat, Vocal Booster or Late Night — if you want to get a little more oomph from quieter parts in music or movies.

Very cool!!  To read the rest of this informative article, click on the text above.    🙂

Apple mulls moving iPhone production to US, report says

Could Apple start making iPhones in the United States? According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, the Cupertino-based company requested that Foxconn and the other iPhone manufacturer explore moving their smartphone production stateside. “Apple asked both Foxconn and Pegatron, the two iPhone assemblers, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S.,” a source told Nikkei. “Foxconn complied, while Pegatron declined to formulate such a plan due to cost concerns.” But the change wouldn’t come cheaply, according to the report. “Making iPhones in the U.S. means the cost will more than double,” Nikkei’s source said. President-elect Donald Trump has said that he wants Apple to move manufacturing to the United States, and he has also called China a “currency manipulator” and said he would impose tough trade tariffs on their exports. A Chinese publication, the Global Times, recently warned that a trade war between the two countries would, among other things, harm iPhone sales in China. “US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted,” should there be a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to America, the Global Times said. “China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US.” Apple declined to comment on the Nikkei story. “Apple is responsible for creating more than 2 million jobs across the United States, from engineers, retail and call center employees to operations and delivery drivers,” an Apple spokesman said in an email..

Definitely something to keep an eye on..  This story is developing..

Evidence suggests Apple is working on the biggest mobile game-changer since the original iPhone

Apple hasn’t yet managed to keep up with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus demand, suggesting that the company’s new iPhones are a hit. In fact, iPhone sales in the September quarter came in slightly higher than Wall Street was expecting, even though supply of both new models was severely constrained. But even though Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have been so far, demand for next year’s new iPhones is expected to dwarf this year’s models thanks to a massive iPhone redesign that Apple fans have been waiting for. As exciting as next year’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus sound, however, new evidence suggests that Apple is working to bring an exciting new feature to its iPhone lineup that could be the biggest smartphone game-changer the world has seen since the first iPhone was released nearly a decade ago in 2007. According to a number of solid early reports, next year’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are going to feature huge improvements in a number of key areas. First, they’ll sport the first big iPhone redesign since 2014, when Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Since then, Apple has used roughly the same design on 2015’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, as well as on the new iPhone 7 series. In 2017, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will supposedly feature a fresh new design with a glass front and back that are connected by metal around the edges. The display, which is believed to be an OLED screen for the first time ever on an iPhone, will reportedly take up much more of the iPhone’s face thanks to the removal of the home button on the front of the phone. A next-generation Touch ID fingerprint scanner will then be embedded beneath the display, and 3D Touch gestures will take care of the rest of the home button’s functionality. Apple’s upcoming new iPhones are expected to feature plenty of other enhancements as well, such as better cameras and a new A11 Fusion processor that is even faster than the A10 Fusion chip in Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. But mounting evidence suggests that the company is working on the biggest game-changer that the smartphone industry has seen since the very first iPhone was unveiled nearly 10 years ago at the Macworld convention in January 2007.