One of the noisiest outfits in the world has decided to invest in a bloke who knows a lot about the sounds of silence.
Apple has recruited Dolby executive VP Mike Rockwell and the word on the street is that he will be working out ways to make the overpriced toys sound and look a little better.
Rockwell has been involved in Dolby Vision which has been described as “state-of-the-art color display technology” is rather interesting and like we said, could end up helping Apple to improve upon its display technology in its product lineup.
Despite what the Tame Apple Press is claiming, he can’t take that technology over to Apple when he changes offices. Instead he will have to help the Apple genii come up with something themselves.
Apple has been hiring sound experts, including THX’s pioneer Tomlinson Holman along with some notable audio engineers it poached from Sony.
Apple is saying nothing of course, to admit it is hiring people from outside to help boost its sound quality is an admission that things are far from perfect. At the moment audio-nuts think that Sony is still running the best mobile sound and has been the leader since the Walkman.
Search engine Google is rumoured to be signing up for Samsung’s 3D NAND in its data centres in a move which is similar to its rival’s Amazon.
Samsung’s 3D NAND is currently used in Kaminario K2 all-flash arrays and is being tipped for MacBooks.
Neither Google nor Samsung have commented but if it pans out then it means that stacking 32 layers of planar 2D NAND built using 39-30nm-class cell geometry in a die, is the way forward. It also means that Samsung must have a better price and performance advantage over other flash fabricators.
Samsung’s 3D NAND is generally available while its rivals are still at the sampling stage with GA late this year or in 2016. SanDisk is sampling a 48-layer chip, but Samsung is expected to match that soon.
Since it has signed big supply deals with Amazon, Apple and Google, Samsung clearly has its foot in the door. It also means that these big data centre operators will be buying less planar NAND than otherwise from the other flash suppliers.
Hon Hai – a Taiwanese firm also known as Foxconn, said that its fourth quarter profits rose to $1.8 billion on the back of the success of Apple’s iPhone.
Hon Hai makes most of Apple’s iPhones and has been criticised in the past for harsh employment practices.
But Bloomberg estimates, based on yearly results filed on Taiex – the Taiwanese bourse today – is far higher than financial analysts originally estimated.
Bloomberg claims the profits have been generated by iPhone 6 phones, which saw a surge in sales since their launch in Autumn last year. It believes half of Foxconn’s revenues are generated by Apple business, although there’s no hard and fast evidence for that.
But while Hon Hai may have turned in a rather healthy profit, its operating margin was only about 4.2 percent. Generally speaking, Taiwanese manufacturers of electronic devices have very slim margins indeed – not anything like the kind of margins Apple itself generates.
Although Foxconn’s Terry Gou had forecast growth of 10 percent in its full financial year, the actual growth was only 6.6 percent, Bloomberg reports.
Chinese CEO and billionaire Jia Yueting, has created a storm by comparing Apple to the Nazi Party.
For those who are not in the know, Jia Yueting is the chairman of Leshi Television, one of the China’s most popular online video sites. Jia’s private Leshi Holding (Beijing) invests in film and TV show production.
In a weibo post, Yueting compares the attributes of the Android and iOS ecosystems as “Crowdsourced, freedom vs arrogance, tyranny”, painting Apple as the villain.
He goes on to say, “Under the arrogant regime of iOS domination that developers around the world love yet hate, we are always carefully asking, ‘is this kind of innovation okay?'”
It might be that he is wanting a reasonable debate between closed and open source, he does not seem to want to make many friends by starting the debate by invoking Godwin.
The Tame Apple Press of course is spitting blood about the comments claiming that it must be some promotional move by LeTV to enter the smartphone industry. After all the only reason people need to criticise something as perfect as Apple is for click bait or marketing,
LeTV has already announced it will be creating an electric and autonomous vehicle as well, so to the Tame Apple Press that means that Yueting wants to be Apple.
“It is rather ironic that LeTV would use the Nazi Party as a symbolism of closed source systems, when modern day China is perhaps a more usable source, with Mainland China banned from seeing anything outside the “Great Firewall” and US companies regularly attacked by Chinese regulators,” hissed David Curry on Betanews .
He then attacks Xiaomi for copying Apple’s store layouts and TV designs, perhaps forgetting that Xiaomi is not LeTV.
The UK Court of Appeal has turned down an attempt by Google to overthrow a previous verdict that allowed people to sue it over privacy settings.
The case, according to the BBC, centres around allegations that Google got round security settings on the Apple Safari browser and threw advertising cookies on people’s websites to advertise stuff.
Google said it wasn’t pleased with the court’s decision. It had attempted to get the courts to prevent peole suing it because it claims people didn’t suffer financially.
But the judges said that the allegations raise serious problems which do merit a trial.
They continued: “The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused. They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and coalition of information.”
Google’s motto is it does no evil. It claims it hasn’t done anything wrong.
But the US Federal Trade Commission has already fined Google $40 million, while 38 US states also fined the search giant.
The head of the Apple Cargo Cult, Tim Cook has said that he will do something that Steve Jobs never did – give away his fortune.
Fortune magazine cited the head of the world’s largest technology corporation as saying he planned to donate his estimated $785 million fortune to charity – after paying for his 10-year-old nephew’s college education.
“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change,” Cook told the magazine.
Fortune estimated Cook’s net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, at about $120 million. He also holds restricted stock worth $665 million if it were to be fully vested.
He will join billionaire financier Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg who have all pledged to give at least half of their wealth to charity.
While Cook has not made nearly as much as Gates, the Apple CEO told Fortune he hopes to make a difference.
Recently Cook has become more outspoken on issues ranging from the environment to civil rights. Cook, who recently revealed he was gay, spoke out against discrimination of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities during his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honour last year.
He told Fortune he has started donating money to unspecified causes quietly and is trying to develop a more “systematic approach” to philanthropy that goes beyond writing checks.
When Jobs was asked to participate in the scheme he said no.
While Forbes claimed that Steve Jobs did not have to give a cent to charity because he filled the world with lots of nice looking gadgets made in factories were people were dying to get out, his motives for not giving money to charity was generally questioned.
The New York Times said Jobs did not have to give away any of his fortune because millionarres only did that to buff their image and Jobs was perfect . He also was charitable in that he paid his staff a wage to work for him.
It is nice to see that Apple has finally got someone at the top who sees helping other people as being important.
Biometric systems, particularly in relation to smartphones, look like they’re going to boom during this year.
ABI Research, a market analysis company, said that worldwide revenues for such systems will deliver $3.1 billion this year.
The systems will be targeted not only at home users but at authentication systems for the enterprise market, according to ABI.
Algorithms linked to cloud computing are set to give better user authentication, with applications for mobile payments, bring your own device (BYOD) systems.
The research said that the leaders in the biometric pack are Apple and Samsung but there are other players who are introducing voice and face recognition into the equation.
We reported elsewhere today that Apple is rumoured to be brining out three more iPhones this year that incorporate fingerprint recognition.
Dimitrios Pavlakis, digital security research analyst at ABI, said: “Biometry is moving rapidly into the security ecosystem and its adoption by CE devices will jumpstart this phenomenon.”
It appears that Apple is set to release three more iPhones in the second half of this year.
Informed sources have leaked details of the models to Taiwanese wire Digitimes.
It reports that the phones will be the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S Plus and a four inch device currently codenamed the iPhone 6C.
Each of the phones will use Corning Gorilla Glass come with LTPS panels and while the 6S series will use Apple’s A9 chips, the 6C will use A8 microprocessors. They’ll all be kitted out with NFC as well as fingerprint scanners.
Digitimes also reports that Taiwanese firms Wistron, Foxconn and Pegatron will manufacture the handsets.
Meanwhile the same wire reports that chip foundry TSMC will fabricate the chips for the 6S and 6C.
Fruity cargo cult Apple thinks that the best way for punters behind the bamboo curtain to keep buying its expensive products is if they can trade them in like a car.
Jobs’ Mob plans to introduce a trade-in program for iPhones in China in association with Foxconn.
Under the deal, people will be able to exchange older iPhones at Apple stores in China for credit against the company’s products starting March 31.
Chinese demand for larger-screen iPhones helped fuel Apple’s record profit of $18 billion in the final quarter last year.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said China is poised to overtake the United States as the company’s biggest market, and he is working to about double the number of stores in Greater China by the middle of next year.
The only problem is that most of Apple’s potential customers will have to sell a kidney, or body part to get enough cash to buy a phone.
Under the China programme, Foxconn will buy the iPhones directly, without Apple taking ownership, and repair the devices if needed before selling them on its e-commerce websites such as FLNet and on Alibaba’s online store.
Foxconn, a key Apple supplier, is also in talks to sell the older iPhones in physical stores and may take the trade-in program online in future.
Apple has a similar scheme in the US, where the company has started accepting non-Apple devices, Bloomberg reported.
Major US wireless carriers including Verizon Communications and Sprint last year offered subscribers schemes under which they could trade in their old iPhones for new ones.
Members of Parliament are to be given iPad Air 2s worth around £500 apiece after the general election in May.
The Times reports that parliament’s administrative body, the House of Commons Commission, thinks that the 650 members having an Apple device “will save money”.
The total bill of £1 million will be paid for by taxpayers.
MPs without ministerial jobs get paid £67,000 a year.
In addition to the iPads, MPs will also get spanking new laptops although it’s not clear which lucky vendor will get the order.
The iPad Air 2s come with 16GB of memory, wi-fi and Cellular iPad Air 2.
But an opposition cabinet officer, Chi Onwurah, said MPs should not use Apple iOS. Most of his constituents can’t afford the luxury of an Apple iPad, he said.
A research company believes that Samsung will be the number one smartphone vendor in 2015, taking the lead over Apple.
Digitimes Research (DR) said the top 10 vendors this year will be Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Huawei, Xiaomi, Microsoft, TC, Coolpad and Oppo.
HTC, which only a few years ago was top of the smartphone pops, doesn’t appear to get a lookin at all. Last week, Cher Wang, chairman of HTC, took on the CEO duties too, displacing former CEO Peter Chou to head up a new products division at the Taiwanese firm.
DR estimates that Samsung will ship over 330 million units and Apple will manage to ship 230 million.
But Lenovo appears to be edging upwards in the smartphone league. This year it will ship 64 million units, while LG will ship 67 million units, just ahead of Huawei.
DR estimates that Android phones supplied by the top 10 Android smartphone vendors willl represent over 70 percent of the total units shipped this year.
Italian police are about to finger the collar of the fruity cargo cult Apple which owes the Italian government nearly a billion dollars in unpaid tax.
Italian prosecutors have wrapped up an investigation into allegations US tech giant Applefailed to pay corporate taxes to the tune of $964 million.
The investigation apparently now has enough evidence to ask a judge to drag Apple kicking and screaming into a court room.
The investigations, covering the period 2008-2013, involve two managers from the Italian subsidiary of Apple operations and one from its Irish-based subsidiary Apple Sales International, the sources said.
The probe claims that by having profits generated in Italy booked by the Irish subsidiary, Apple reduced its taxable income base and saved just under 900 million euros in the period, the sources said.
Apple said it was one of the largest tax payers in the world and paid every euro of tax it owed wherever it did business. Although that is a stretch of the truth. It might be obeying tax law by funnelling funds through Ireland or Luxemburg but it is certainly not paying every cent it should be paying.
It said the Italian tax authorities had audited Apple’s Italian operations in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and confirmed it was in full compliance with the OECD documentation and transparency requirements.
“These new allegations against our employees are completely without merit and we’re confident this process will reach the same conclusion,” it said.
Tax authorities have pledged to crack down on domestic and multinational companies in moves that could help shore up stretched public finances and sort out the country’s financial problems.
Mickey Mouse outfit Disney hushed up Steve Jobs illness even though it was aware of it a month before it bought his Pixar studio.
Walt Disney Co CEO Bob Iger discovered that Jobs’ cancer had returned less than an hour before Disney announced it was buying Jobs’ Pixar studio in 2006.
However he kept the Apple co-founder’s condition a secret for three years.
Iger told the authors of yet another biography of Jobs, “Becoming Steve Jobs,” he thought about the implications of keeping such a secret at a time when regulators were calling for more disclosure and holding executives more accountable to their fiduciary duties.
The $7 billion deal to buy Pixar made Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder and put him on the entertainment company’s board. Iger decided that Disney was assessing the transaction on the value of Pixar, not Jobs, and his medical condition did not need to be disclosed, the biography said.
Jobs told Iger that the cancer had returned while they were on a private walk at Pixar’s Emeryville, California, campus about 30 minutes before the deal was to be announced. “Frankly, they tell me I’ve got a 50-50 chance of living five years,” Iger quoted Jobs as saying.
According to the book, Iger said he told Jobs: “You’re our largest shareholder, but I don’t think that makes this matter. You’re not material to this deal. We’re buying Pixar, we’re not buying you.”
It would have been interesting if his shareholders agreed. Most people at the time thought Jobs’ involvement was a divine blessing on a company and had news of his death leaked out, the value of Pixar might have fallen.
Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2003 and underwent surgery the following year. The tumor returned and he had a liver transplant in 2009. Jobs died in October 2011.
Apparently the new book is supposed to be “more sympathetic” than the 2011 biography by Walter Isaacson, who dared to say that Jobs was not that nice at certain times and was a bit messy in his personal life.
There’s more bad news for the PC market as it appears that Google Chromebooks are taking market share in the low end and the education markets.
ABI Research said Chromebooks, which rely heavily on the cloud, start up much faster than Windows PCsand are pretty affordable too, have “gained traction” in the North American market.
And it’s not just home users who are buying them – organisations are buying them too, with shipments close to five million last year.
Analyst Stephanie Van Vactor said that cloud services and the collapse of economies worldwide were the impetus for designers and developers to create cheap and cheerful devices, like the Chromebook.
“Chromebooks were the result, and the ‘anytime anywhere” access to content is a mobile-centric game changer,” she said.
The education market in particular has a yen for Chromebooks, mostly because of Google Apps for Education, she said. The business and the education sector together accounted for 62 percent of Chromebook shipments.
Another factor is the price. The average selling price for a Chromebook is $226 in the States, while it’s $420 for a tablet – presumably an Apple iPad.
“Google has taken to heart the popularity of mobile devices and developed a personal computing device that is a functional solution,” said Van Vactor. She said: “This style of computing works for the on the go lifestyle people are becoming accustomed to and will continue to impact the future of computing as the market shifts and changes.”
Ever eager to join the fashion bandwagon, chip giant Intel has joined up with TAG Heuer and Google to create a smart watch which they will launch before the end of the year.
TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver told a press conference at a Swiss watch trade show that the deal is a “marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility”.
The watch will use the Android Wear platform and use Intel chips but it’s unclear quite how much it will cost when it’s released.
Intel suit Michael Bell, who is the general manager of Intel’s new devices group, said that making a luxury watch in collaboration with TAG Heuer and Google brings the vision of wearable technology that bit nearer.
The Google man, David Singleton, said that the Swiss watch has inspired generations of artists and engineers. And Google. He said that Google can now imagine a better, beautiful and smarter watch.
Apple releases its range of smart watches next month, and much will depend on whether that is a flop or a success. Intel has never been particularly brilliant at creating reference designs that have long battery lives and its other ventures into consumer technology have all, without exception, been damp squibs.
TAG Heuer doesn’t make cheap watches, so you probably have to have a chunk of disposable income to impress – or alternatively depress, your friends.