Why Apple Can Take a Bigger Stand Against Trump Than Its Rivals

Why Apple Can Take a Bigger Stand Against Trump Than Its Rivals
Whatever happens at the Republican National Convention next month, one thing is clear: It won’t be brought to you by Apple. The firm won’t be providing any funding or support for the convention, according to news reports.Apple has been more outspoken on public policy issues than many of its peers in Silicon Valley. A report from Politico said that its latest move is because of the rhetoric of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Many of Trump’s positions, particularly on immigration, clash with the political stances of tech firms.

Apple, which declined to comment on the reports, is arguably in a unique position among tech companies to take big political stands. Not only does its size insulate it against some backlash, but it is also protected because expressing political opinions does little damage to the reputation of its products.

That’s not true for many other tech titans. Facebook learned emphatically this election cycle that the appearance of impartiality counts. After the controversy with “Trending Topics” and accusations of conservative censorship – accusations, it should be said, Facebook denies – it makes sense that the firm would tread lightly to maintain a sense of neutrality. So, despite the fact that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has taken a pretty clear and public swipe at Trump, Facebook itself is sticking to the central path.

“Facebook will support both the Republican and Democratic conventions in a similar manner and without endorsing any one candidate, issue, or political party,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president of US public policy, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We believe encouraging this ongoing conversation is important because an informed debate about the candidates and the issues is essential to the democratic process.”Meanwhile, Google is in a similar position with its search engine. The firm has strenuously denied reports that it biases its search engine results to favor Hillary Clinton. Google will provide the technology to live-stream the Republican and Democratic conventions, but has not commented on whether it plans to sponsor events or make other donations.

Apple, however, is still largely a company that makes phones and the personal stuff that comes with them, rather than dealing in information. Although Apple is making inroads into the publishing business with Apple News, its platform doesn’t have nearly the reach of Facebook or Google – and therefore, people don’t look to it to be an arbiter of information in the same way. And so, despite the growing activism of Apple chief executive Tim Cook, there are still plenty of people who use iPhones and don’t agree with Apple’s stances on political issues.

There’s also certainly no love lost between Apple and the Trump wing of the Republican Party. Trump has repeatedly criticized Apple for its reliance on foreign labor as well as for its stance – widely supported in Silicon Valley – to oppose FBI demands to unlock the phone of San Bernardino, Calif., shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Still, it does seem as though Apple is committed to making friends on both sides of the aisle – Cook will host a fundraiser for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., according to a separate Politico report.

Trump does seem to be the sticking point for Apple, as seems to be true for other companies as well. Apple’s decision also falls in line with a broader campaign from the political action committee for advocacy group ColorofChange, which has asked several companies to divest from the Republican convention to protest Trump’s remarks.

Among tech firms, Hewlett-Packard has also said that it will not make cash donations to the convention. Microsoft has said it will significantly cut back its participation. Motorola has said it will not donate to either convention.

Non-tech firms that have said they will either not participate or cut back their participation in the Republican convention include Coca-Cola, UPS, Ford, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Organizers for the convention did not respond to a request for comment.

ColorofChange spokesman Rashad Robinson said that his group has focused on tech firms to take a stand because they deal in the business of being forward-looking — and, his group believes, Trump’s rhetoric is not. This is not a campaign that the group plans on running every four years, he said, but one that it felt it needed to run to combat comments that Trump has made about women, Muslims and immigrants.

The advocacy group has directed ads at tech company employees — targeting the IP addresses of prominent firms – to drum up popular support among Silicon Valley’s rank and file.

“Tech companies in many ways are signals of the future,” Robinson said. “They’re creating the innovation and the tools of what we will use in the future. And if you think about the America that Donald Trump is attacking, it’s the America of the future.”

And although he said he understands that firms such as Facebook and Google have to be careful about appearing biased, he also thinks that it would be possible to take a stand by denying financial donations without compromising their neutrality.

“We understand the role of those platforms have for covering events,” he said.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: Apple, Apple News, Apps, Donald Trump, Encryption, FBI, Facebook, Google, Hillary Clinton, Internet, Laptops, Microsoft, PC,Tim Cook, Wearables
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Is Apple Really at the Risk of Becoming BlackBerry?

Is Apple Really at the Risk of Becoming BlackBerry?
Noted developer Marco Arment said in a blog post this weekend that Apple is on track to fall into the same trap as BlackBerry.Cue the sirens. As tech industry burns go, that’s a biggie. If there’s been a company that’s acted as shorthand for what a tech company doesn’t want to be – fairly or not – it’s been BlackBerry. To be compared to BlackBerry is to be told that you’re a bad combination of short-sighted, delusional and content to rest on your laurels.

The Canadian firm was on the top of the world as recently as 2007 and then lost it all (in terms of market share for phones, at least) after seemingly ignoring the signs of the iPhone revolution. In hindsight, it all seems so obvious that an Apple-led smartphone revolution with apps, rich messaging, full Web browsing and more would drive the old idea of a “smart” phone into the ground. Right now, BlackBerry’s in the midst of a self-described turnaround effort. Turnaround efforts are great, but it’s better to have weathered shifts in the market such that you don’t need one.

Now, Arment and others see a similar shift on the horizon and, they say, this time the dominant player ripe for a fall is Apple itself.It should be said that Apple and BlackBerry are very different companies, with different histories and cultures. And Apple, at its peak, has hit much higher heights than BlackBerry ever did. Yet comparing the two is not exactly like comparing apples and, well, blackberries either. There are certain similarities to consider. Apple now, like BlackBerry then, is on the top of its game but being criticized for not innovating as much or as visibly as its competitors. In an era that admires moonshots – heck, even Microsoft’s got crazy chatbots and the HoloLens – Apple is looking downright staid. It’s possible that the firm, known for its perfectionist pursuits, is keeping something enormous and exhilarating under its hat until it’s ready.blackberry_duo_blog.jpgIt’s also clear from a recent rash of analyses as well as Apple’s own earnings reports that the iPhone just isn’t growing like it once did. That’s not necessarily the fault of Apple, but it’s still not comforting in the near- to mid-term. Much of it comes from the fact that there are just only so many people in the world and only so many of them want new smartphones right now.

Apple’s been managing to make large enough changes to the iPhone to keep sales up. Bumping the screen size up, for example, gave it an extra boost. Apart from that, however, it doesn’t seem to consumers like there’s a lot of exciting things happening at Apple right now. The engineering challenges of making a phone lighter and thinner are substantial, but changes like that don’t really rock innovation-hungry consumers. And that makes them willing to hold on to their phones for longer.

It is also true that if Apple has a plan for moving out of an era where the iPhone turns in massive profits, it’s been awfully quiet about it. Sure, there has been a greater focus on other projects – Apple TV, the iPad line, the Apple Watch – as well as whispers about VR headsets and an Apple-branded car. Every time there’s even a hint that Apple could revolutionize an industry such as entertainment, autos or music, there’s a lot of excitement over the fact.

But to date, the really big revolutions have yet to happen. And the company is just as reliant as ever on the iPhone for its profits. So Apple, which will host its annual developers conference June 13 – 17, is under increasing pressure to deliver a vision of its future.

Meanwhile, Apple’s other bread-and-butter service, the App Store, is showing its age, even if it’s by no means yet outdated. But, really, how many more apps do we all want to download? It’s clear that Apple’s competitors, as Arment notes, are looking to replace the app with AI bots. The idea is that, soon, you won’t need an app for that. You’ll just talk or text a bot that will get you whatever you need off the internet, including movie tickets, a restaurant reservation or flowers for your mom. All of Apple’s major competitors – Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon – are racing to lead in this area, as is evident from their recent product launches and developers conferences.

There’s also another interesting reason why Apple may not be going quite as hard into some of the areas that its competitors are: its devotion to privacy. Apple simply doesn’t collect data in the same way that Google or others do, by design. Consumers offer a lot of information already to services to make them better – for maps, recommendations, etc. – and software assistants that can manage our schedules, hack our commutes and control our homes will require a lot of pooled data. But perhaps the most interesting part of Arment’s analysis is the footnote in which he says that he doesn’t find this a very good excuse.

“It’s possible to build tons of useful services and smarts by just using public data, like the web, mapping databases, business directories, etc., without any access to or involvement from the user’s private data,” he said. In other words, Apple’s getting outstripped on even the non-creepy services.

Now, it’s worth remembering that this whole AI thing is a big, risky bet. It’s not known whether it will work as well as advertised or will be embraced by consumers. Yes, it’s great from a potential standpoint. So was the Segway. Natural-language processing is a hard thing to get right, and it could take a lot of time before it gets to a workable, simple-enough state for the everyday person. Smart money may currently be on AI eating the world, but there’s always a chance that smart money is wrong – or, at least, that Apple still has time to catch up.

What’s more, the app economy has been wildly successful to this point, and its revenue is growing. That kind of consumer investment in apps gives Apple a way to hold on to its customers better than BlackBerry ever had. And Apple has an enormous, record-setting pile of cash at its disposal. So Apple still has a lot going for it in a way BlackBerry never did.

Finally, it’s also worth noting that Apple has a distinct advantage that BlackBerry did not – it already knows what happened to BlackBerry. In fact, it should know that lesson better than anyone – given that it hastened BlackBerry’s downfall. Not to mention, it’s never good to count Apple out. This is, after all, a company once left for dead in the 1990s, right before Steve Jobs came back to the company and unveiled the iPod.

But whether it’s already heeding the warnings about Blackberry or will hear them too late remains to be seen.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: Android, Apple, Apple Watch, Apps, BlackBerry, Laptops, Mobiles, PC, Tablets, Tim Cook, Wearables, iPad, iPhones, iTunes
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Apple’s iOS 10 Beta Hints at Lots of Change – Not All of It Welcome

Apple's iOS 10 Beta Hints at Lots of Change - Not All of It Welcome

Apple is releasing a new version of its mobile operating system this fall, bringing the company up to a nice round number: iOS 10.

Ahead of launch, Apple is allowing anyone to test the software and give their feedback. First, I would not recommend that most people download this beta. Bugs are par for the course with all early software and could try the patience of those who don’t test imperfect things for fun. Many apps behave strangely with the beta since it hasn’t gotten its final polish yet.

That’s particularly true with this system. After a week with the beta, I’m confused about where Apple is heading with this update. It’s true that this build is, by definition, not ready for primetime and it would be unfair to fully review it. But it is still basically the same software that will hit millions of devices in just a few months and is just not as good as I’ve come to expect from Apple.

(Also see: How to Download and Install iOS 10 Beta on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch)
There are many things I like. Apple has enhanced the Health functions to track sleep, among other new data. This system also lets you erase icons for some of the pre-installed apps (Tips, Watch, etc.) that many relegate to a permanently unused folder on their phones anyway.

Apple has also done some work on Messages, that makes it easier to send music, sketches, .gifs and photos. You can also send very large emoji. It’s sort of silly, but definitely fun.

The features are welcome changes. That can’t be said of other tweaks to the system overall, which seem to move away from the logical, simple design that make Apple stand out in the first place.

Many menus and navigation screens have gained extra panels in iOS 10, which have the effect of making each individual pane more simple, but complicate navigation overall. For example, the control center that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen now has two sections — one with the Bluetooth, brightness and other familiar panel controls, plus a second just for music and volume.

These controls used to be on one screen, and there was no real reason to add a second. In fact, it took me a couple days to even realize the volume control was there at all.

These menus look a lot like the bubbly, almost empty layout you see on notifications for the Apple Watch. But sparse design makes sense on that small of a screen. While it’s understandable – even admirable – for Apple to want to unify the look of its systems across devices, it hasn’t been done in a user-focused way. That’s unusual for Apple.

(Also see: iOS 10 Features: 10 Big Ones Unveiled at WWDC 2016)

Apple has also changed the lock screen so that richer notifications can be accessed on their own screen with a simple swipe to the right, in addition to being accessible by dragging down from the top. You can also search for apps from this new section on the lock screen. That’s a win for convenience, but not for privacy. I changed the widgets that I put in my notifications screen because they felt more exposed in the new layout.

Others may want to turn off the ability to get the notification center on their lock screen altogether, through settings in the Touch ID and Passcode menu.

Many of these complaints may sound like small cosmetic gripes, and admittedly some of them are. Others, though, are more serious. And all illustrate my genuine puzzlement about why Apple is changing the feel of a system that has helped propel it to such great heights.

There’s still time for the company to squash the bugs and refine the software — something that will definitely happen. But if the rough sketch of the beta is anything to go by, users will have to prepare for changes that may confuse them once the fall comes.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: Apple, Mobile Operating System, iOS, iOS 10, iPad, iPhone
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

iOS 10.1, macOS 10.12.1, watchOS 3.1, tvOS 10.0.1 Released: Here’s What’s New

HIGHLIGHTS

  • iOS 10.1 introduces Portrait Mode for iPhone 7 Plus
  • macOS 10.12.1 Sierra improves Apple Watch unlock feature
  • watchOS 3.1 resolves Apple Watch 2 charging issues

Apple has released iOS 10.1, macOS 10.12.1 Sierra, tvOS 10.0.1, and watchOS 3.1 updates commercially, after running them in beta for more than a month. These updates bring bug fixes and improvements across entire Apple’s product lineup, most notably the Portrait Mode support for iPhone 7 Plus users.

iOS 10.1
The iOS 10.1 update finally brings Portrait Mode (in beta) for the iPhone 7 Plus to create the much talked about ‘bokeh’ effect during the keynote. This mode creates a shallow depth of field effect to sharpen the main object, while blurring the background. iOS 10.1 also introduces improvements in Maps and iMessage apps. For instance, Maps brings all major public transport support in Japan, and also lets you compare fares between various modes of transport to pick the best suited for you.

iMessage now has the option to replay Bubble and Screen effects, and also lets you play them in a new ‘Reduce Motion’. Apart from other fixes, it also solves pairing issues with Android Wear, and the issue that caused Photos to quit for some users when turning on iCloud Photo Library. The update is available for free to all users running on the latest version of iOS 10.To download the update, ensure that you have good Wi-Fi strength, and your device is charged up to 50 percent at least. Don’t forget to backup your iOS device before you download and install the update. to download and install it directly on your iOS device, go to Settings > General > Software Update, and tap Download and Install. When the download is complete, tap Install and tap Agree when Apple shows you its Terms and Conditions. Your device will the restart and install the update. To download iOS 10 via iTunes, first install iTunes, open it, and then connect your iOS device to your PC or Mac. In iTunes select your device’s icon on the top bar, Click the Summary tab and then click Check for update. Now, click Download and update. At this point, you should follow the simple on-screen instructions to install iOS 10.

macOS 10.12.1
Coming to macOS 10.12.1 Sierra, the update focuses primarily on bug fixes and improvement. It brings support for the portrait mode feature introduced in iOS 10.1, and has enabled a new smart album in Photos. It brings improvements in the auto unlock feature with Apple Watch, and overall brings stability and more security in Safari browsing. The new Mac lineup expected to be unveiled this Thursday, and could run on this latest version out-of-the-box. The update is available to download via the Mac App Store.

watchOS 3.1
As mentioned, watchOS 3.1 is also available for download for all Apple Watch, and Apple Watch 2 users. This update also focuses on improvements and bug fixes, and also brings the option to replay Bubble and Screen effects in iMessage. It resolves an issue that prevented the Apple Watch Series 2 from fully charging as well. It also fixed an issue that prevented Force Touch options from appearing in some third-party apps. You can download the latest update through the Apple Watch app by heading to General -> Software Update. Ensure that you have 50 percent battery, and are running on iOS 10 or later on your iPhone to be able to download the update. Refer Apple’s website for detailed instructionson how to update your Apple Watch to the latest OS.

tvOS 10.0.1
Finally, tvOS 10.0.1 update is also available, and is pegged as a minor update with bug fixes and improvements in the OS. The update is only compatible for the fourth-gen Apple TV, and to launch the update manually, head to Settings app > Navigate to System > Software Updates > Update Software.

Tags: iOS 10.1, macOS 10.12.1, watchOS 3.1, tvOS 10.0.1, Apple, Apple Update, iPhone 7 Plus, Mobiles
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Google’s Standalone Mixed Reality Headset Will Integrate Eye-Tracking: Report

Google's Standalone Mixed Reality Headset Will Integrate Eye-Tracking: Report

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Google’s alleged new headset to include eye-tracking tech
  • The headset is also said to pack sensors
  • The VR headset won’t require any phone

Google has been rumoured to be working on a high-end standalone VR (virtual reality) headset which is said to blur the lines between virtual reality and augmented reality for a while now. Now a latest report claims that Google’s upcoming mixed reality headset will integrate eye-tracking features and both motion and positional awareness.

Engadget citing some people familiar with the matter reports that the new VR headset will also use “algorithms to map out the real-world space in front of a user.” The mixed reality headset from Google will be also able to augment the reality in front of the headset which means it will be capable of showing digital objects, and also use sensors to map out the real world around the user.

The report adds that Movidius is currently providing chips that will help in tracking motion and positional awareness. Notably, Movidius is a machine vision firm in the process of being acquired and also powers Project Tango. The report again stressed that the standalone headset will not require any other hardware including a desktop or mobile to run. The upcoming Google VR headset is said to compete with the likes of HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

The new report also goes in-line with Google acquiring Eyefluence, which is working to enable eye movements to control digital screens. The new Google-acquired company began its journey in 2013 and worked on coming up with ways to interact with augmented and virtual reality displays. The company is currently working on advanced eye-interaction technology.Earlier this month, Google unveiled the new Daydream View VR headset which it claimed was designed and developed by it and was the company’s first Daydream-ready headset and controller. The Daydream View comes with an auto-alignment system for compatible phones as well. The Daydream View controller sports sensors and is capable of understanding movements and gestures.

Tags: Augmented Reality, Daydream, Google, VR, Wearables
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Xiaomi Mi VR Headset With 9-Axis Inertial Motion Controller Launched

Xiaomi Mi VR Headset With 9-Axis Inertial Motion Controller Launched

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Xiaomi’s Mi VR headset supports ‘ultra-low latency’
  • It comes with a motion controller that supports touch controls
  • It’s priced at CNY 199 (roughly Rs. 2,000)

At its ‘Curved to Impress’ event on Tuesday, Xiaomi launched its flagship smartphone Mi Note 2 with dual curved glass, that looks somewhat like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. But there was a bunch of other products that were showcased in the event – a concept phone named Mi MIX and Xiaomi’s latest VR headset called Mi VR. Xiaomi’s new virtual reality wearable Mi VR is priced at CNY 199 (roughly Rs. 2,000).

Back in August, Xiaomi brought its rumoured Mi VR headset into reality that comes with ‘two-way zipper design’ and a launch for beta tester. Now it has launched an upgraded version, with what the Chinese tech giant called ‘a whole new world of VR’. Xiaomi has launched its new virtual reality headset with 16 millisecond ‘ultra-low latency’, which means that the delay between a user’s action and the response to what they see in virtual reality is really short and is presumably less detrimental in terms of motion sickness.

The Mi VR headset has 9-axis inertial motion controller that supports touch-controls as well, and a built-in dedicated motion sensor. It couples with the user’s Xiaomi smartphone’s system level optimisations to yield higher performance, that in turn results in Xiaomi’s ‘ultra-low latency’ feature. It will support only a select Xiaomi handsets for now – Mi Note 2, Mi 5s, Mi 5s Plus, and Mi 5 in the Chinese region.Xiaomi also says that there would be less inconvenience caused to the VR user related to motion sickness. The Mi VR headset has its own user interface with Xiaomi’s own VR store that consists of many Chinese games and China’s YouTube-like video streaming website, Youku’s VR app.

Tags: Xiaomi, Xiaomi Mi VR, Mi VR, Wearables
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Smartwatch Sales Tumble in Q3 2016, Dragged Down by Apple: IDC

Smartwatch Sales Tumble in Q3 2016, Dragged Down by Apple: IDC

Global smartwatch sales slid 51.6 percent in the third quarter, amid a steep decline for the Apple Watch ahead of its updated device, a market tracker said Monday.

The IDC survey said total smartwatch volumes were 2.7 million units, less than half the level of a year earlier. Apple, the largest smartwatch vendor, saw its sales down 71.6 percent.

But IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said the decline is not as ominous as it appears – because many consumers were waiting for the new version of the Apple Watch and upcoming Android devices.

(Also see: Apple Watch Nike+ Edition Price in India, Release Date Revealed)

“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning,” Llamas said.

“Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September.”Llamas added that Google’s decision to hold back the Android Wear 2.0 operating system has also limited sales.

“Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at (the trade show) IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers.”

Nonetheless, the market is showing limited growth, according to IDC.

“It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone,” said IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani.

“Having a clear purpose and use case is paramount, hence many vendors are focusing on fitness due to its simplicity.”

Despite its sharp sales drop, Apple maintained the top position with an estimated 1.1 million units sold and a 41 percent market share, according to IDC. Apple does not release sales figures for its smartwatch.

Garmin was the number two brand with sales of 600,000 and a 20.5 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 400,000 and a 14.4 percent share, according to IDC.

Tags: Apple, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 2, WatchOS, Android Wear, Samsung Gear S3, Smartwatch, Wearables, Android
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Apple Sees Drop in Profit, Revenue as iPhone Sales Slump

Apple Sees Drop in Profit, Revenue as iPhone Sales Slump

Apple’s quarterly profit slumped on a widely expected drop in iPhone sales, but gains in services offered some optimism on the company’s efforts to curb dependence on its smartphone.

The company said Tuesday that profit fell 19 percent to $9 billion (roughly Rs. 60,134 crores) in the fiscal quarter ending September 24. Revenue fell nine percent to $46.9 billion (roughly Rs. 3,13,655 crores) from $51.5 billion (roughly Rs. 3,44,403 crores) a year earlier.

The results were largely in line with market forecasts and showed sales of the iPhone – Apple’s biggest revenue and profit driver – down five percent from a year ago to 45.5 million units.

The quarterly update only provided limited information on the reception of the newest iPhone models, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which were released in early September, and was likely to benefit from the woes of rival Samsung, suffering from a massive recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 phone.

Analysts were expecting declines in iPhone sales with many smartphone markets saturated, a situation that has led Apple to focus on new products like the Apple Watch and services like mobile payments, Apple TV and streaming music.Chief executive Tim Cook welcomed what he called “our strong September quarter results,” saying they “cap a very successful fiscal 2016 for Apple.”

“We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, as well as the incredible momentum of our Services business, where revenue grew 24 percent to set another all-time record,” he said in a statement.

The world’s largest company by market value closed out its fiscal year ending September 24 with a net profit of $45.7 billion on revenues of $215.6 billion, both figures lower than the prior year.

Apple shares fell 2.7 percent in after-hours trade following the release.

“Previously, Apple was able to rely on strong sales of phones, tablets and computers to drive up revenue and profit across all geographies. This is no longer the case,” said Neil Saunders of the research firm Conlumino.

Still, Saunders noted that “Apple is being judged by its own incredibly high standards,” and that “even with the dips in growth it remains a phenomenally successful business that is far from running out of steam.”

More than device maker
Frank Gillett, a Forrester Research analyst, said the results show Apple is making progress in diversifying its mix of products and services as smartphone sales stagnate.

“The rise of services shows they’re more than a device maker,” Gillett said.

“It’s indicative of the depth of engagement of their customers.”

The more consumers use Apple applications and services, “the less likely they will switch to a rival,” Gillett said.

Apple’s results showed a six percent drop in iPad unit sales and a 14 percent decline in the number of Mac computers sold.

While iPhone sales accounted for more than half of revenues, services revenue grew to $6.3 billion as the company expanded services such as Apple Pay and its enterprise offerings.

In the key “Greater China” market, Apple said revenues were down 30 percent from a year to $8.8 billion. But the company noted a 10 percent rise in revenue from Japan and cited gains in other global markets.

Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said Apple “met most expectations but didn’t have a great quarter” with sales of its main products lower.

“I’m suspecting there may have been availability issues on the iPhone 7 and Watch,” Moorhead said.

Still, Apple “had a banner quarter in services” which is a positive sign, according to the analyst.

“It’s important the investment community take a long view versus looking at short-term growth estimates as a knee-jerk Apple response would only work against the company and the stock price,” Moorhead said.

On a call with analysts, Cook declined to comment on what Apple has in the pipeline but did indicate the company was investing in “products in the development phase which have not yet reached the market.”

Asked to explain the sharp rise in research and development spending, Cook said, “We’re confidently investing in the future.”

Tags: Apple, Home Entertainment, Wearables, PC, Laptops, Internet, Apps, Tablets, Mobiles
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Dell, Lenovo, HP to Launch ‘Affordable’ VR Headsets Alongside Windows 10 Creators Update

Dell, Lenovo, HP to Launch 'Affordable' VR Headsets Alongside Windows 10 Creators Update

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Headsets to come with support for ‘Creators Update’
  • Company showcased its Holographic UI during its Surface event
  • Update to roll out in early 2017

Microsoft showcased its Holographic UI in its full glory during its Surface event on Wednesday and from the looks of it, the company might have given us a glimpse of our ‘mixed reality’ computing future. The demonstrations given by the company were quite impressive but more importantly, the Redmond-based company announced that it has partnered with companies like Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and HP to make affordable VR headsets that are capable of mixed reality and will launch alongside the Windows 10 Creators Update in Spring 2017.

The Redmond giant says the new VR headsets will have a starting price of around $300 (roughly Rs. 20,100). In a blog post, the company added, “And these accessories will be the first and only with inside-out, six-degrees of freedom. Unlike every other virtual reality headset in the market today, there will be zero need for a separate room and complicated setup.” The company says the headsets, apart from being affordable compared to the $500 headsets in the market today, will be designed to work with affordable laptops and PCs.

In order to produce content for these VR headsets, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 Creators Update, which will include a 3D framework designed around Microsoft’s HoloLens and other VR experiences. The Creators Update will allow developers to create content for VR with ease, and will be available in early 2017.The company also showcased its Microsoft new, revamped Paint 3D app, which was leaked recently. The revamped app includes tools for importing and handling 3D artwork, as well as integration with a new online community–Remix3D that allows users to share their creations or search other people’s creations. As reported by us earlier, the community is integrated with the massive 3D Warehouse, a repository for Trimble’s popular SketchUp software, and already contains millions of 3D objects.

Holographic UI was first unveiled by Microsoft last year in January and was presented as a device that allows users to enter a virtual world, through a headgear, and interact with the virtual objects present in it.

Tags: Windows VR Headsets, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, Wearables, Microsoft
[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Apple Announces Unified ‘TV’ App for Apple TV, iPad, iPhone

Apple Announces Unified 'TV' App for Apple TV, iPad, iPhone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The new app will be available for free by the end of 2016
  • Siri can be used to jump to a show or channel immediately
  • Human-curated lists will show recommended new shows

Apple’s new MacBook Pros with Touch Bar controllersmight have stolen the show at its Cupertino event today, but there was also a significant update to the company’s TV ecosystem. A new app, simply called TV, will be coming to Apple TV, iPad and iPhone for free later this year, and will unify the content that users buy and subscribe to across multiple services.

The interface might hold clues to what Apple was often rumoured to be working on, though the company was earlier expect to launch its own TVs. With the new app, shows, movies and even live events are sorted and organised within the TV app’s interface. You can use Siri to launch into a video just by its name, or by the name of a channel or service, or even by the name of a sports team. A queue called Up Next will show what you’ve been watching recently, and will automatically sync across devices. Recommendations curated by human agents will also be visible.

Apple also showed off interactive content in a demonstration by Twitter which merged real-time conversations and reactions with content playing live. Twitter will be bringing sports matches, general news and special election coverage to users for free, in partnership with BuzzFeed and Bloomberg, among others. Users can jump into conversations, vote in polls, and experience TV in a whole new way.Services in the US include Hulu, Starz, HBO Go, DirecTV, Dish network, and of course iTunes. Users will be able to rent or buy content within the interface.

In another announcement, Minecraft will be coming to Apple TV. In total there are now over 8,000 apps currently available in the Apple TV app store, including 2,000 games and 1,600 content apps.

Apple also showed off improved iOS functions for Japan, such as detailed transit information in Maps including fares comparison and local signs. CEO Tim Cook pointed out that iOS 10 is now running on 60 percent of compatible Apple devices, whereas the latest version of Android has barely 1 percent penetration and won’t even be available on the majority of Android devices.

Finally, it was reiterated the Apple Watch Nike+ will go on sale tomorrow, with India in the first wave of launch countries. It will be priced at at Rs. 32,900 and Rs. 34,900 for the 38mm and 42mm versions respectively. This variant of the Apple Watch Series 2 integrates the Nike+ Run Club app which features workout guidance, and also has unique Sport Bands and watch faces.

Disclosure: Gadgets 360’s travel and hotel for the event in Cupertino were sponsored by Apple.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]