Tag: apple

Apple faces watch attack

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 18.15.41If Apple thinks it will have the smart watch market to itself, it had better think again. Traditional vendors of watches are on the march.

According to Reuters, the Swiss watch industry is preparing itself to parachute into the smart watch sector, following Apple’s announcement of a range of glitzy wrist watches earlier this week.

The report said that a number of big players in the watch business are quietly preparing to introduce smart watches – including Swatch, Guess, Richmond and LVMH. Richemonte owns the Montblanc brand.

Apparently, the companies believe that Apple may ignite the taste of youngsters for watches and they hope to make sales off the back of the rush of publicity the Apple iWatch has generated.

Swatch publicly confirmed in January that it was ready for the smart watch and its device won’t be tied just to the Apple iPhone but will support the Android operating system too.

And, perhaps crucially, it will have much longer battery life than Apple’s offering.

Guess, too, has far advanced plans for a smart watch.

Perhaps more crucially, the traditional timepiece manufacturers have long established routes to market and unparalleled distribution know how.

Apple’s iWatch disappoints

tim-cook-glareOne thing that is weird about the Tame Apple Press is that if Apple makes a big cock up it really has nothing to say.

If Apple’s iWatch was even a little bit interesting, the press would have been over the top in its enthusiasm. There would have been a ton of coverage and lots of snaps of  the grimly smiling Tim Cook looking like an evil magician on his way to a baby boiling conference.

Sure there was the usual staged Nuremberg rally, where Apple staffers, fanboys and the Tame Apple Press cheered the arrival of the iPhone with the usual standing ovulation. But they would have done that anyway.

What was interesting was how muted the rest of the press coverage was. Warning signs tipped up when the Italian television news, which only reports bollocks like this,  gave the iWatch a token 30 seconds. Most of that 30 seconds was a free advert for the iPhone and hardly mentioned the watch at all. By contrast the iPhone 6 got 15 minutes when it launched and Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi smuggly umming and erring his way through a 20 minute speech was covered verbatim.

A search through the wires this morning showed the usual suspects giving an uncharacteristically muted coverage. The News Republic did not even mention the watch, and instead talked about Cook’s tweet about not sleeping before the launch.

So why the disappointed response? Apple’s iWatch has arrived nearly two years behind its rivals and it basically has nothing to offer for its huge price tag $350 price tag.

Apple to enter this limited market had to really wow people with new functionality and it simply didn’t. Jobs’ Mob’s first real “innovation” since the death of Steve was an overpriced copy of what was already on the market.

What could have improved the watch’s chances was a killer app involving health care readings, but beyond a basic heart rate meter Apple could not get it to go.

Another thing which could have made it more interesting was it being independent from its iPhone.
However the watch needs the phone to function, meaning that if you are Christy Turlington Burns and you take the thing on your run you have to lug your heavy iphone with you. If you are carrying the phablet version of the phone that is really heavy. It might make you a better runner to carry all that weight, but since most iPhone users are carrying a few extra pounds anyway it is probably not a good idea.

So if you want the watch for sport, the iWatch does some of what you want, less efficiently, for three times the price of a sports product.

If you want the watch to complement your iPhone then it fails there too. Why do you need something on your wrist that your iPhone already has in your pocket?

All this does not mean the iWatch will fail. In fact it is a screaming indictment of modern civilisation that the iWatch will probably sell in reasonable numbers. Apple might be able to save the product in version two by getting the health functionality going. But they are empty sales. They are people buying something they don’t need, because it has an Apple logo. You can only get away with that so often.

But this is not the sort of product that even the Tame Apple Press wants to peddle. Instead they are wandering away whistling, not daring to point out this Emperor has no clothes on in case Apple blacklists them.

But smarter minds, who are worried that Apple has run out of ideas, are selling their shares. A mate of mine who has had them since the iPhone, dumped the lot when he heard that Apple had removed a ton of health functionality from the product. He reasons that ultimately Apple will fail because it has become too big and run out of ideas. The iWatch proves it.

Apple launches Mickey Mouse watch

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 18.15.41A vast audience is watching Apple right now tell us how wonderful the iWatch is but it has to be linked to an iPhone.

An Apple watch will tell Uber that you’re around when you arrive at SFO, and you can send messages to your friends to tell them what’s going on, provided you have an iPhone.

An executive showed us live how the other world lives – when he arrives in New York he’s staying at the W hotel and he can unlock his door and his watch is his room key. We’ve stayed at the W New York – you need an LED torch to find your room, the place is so dark.

When he goes into his room, the executive can use his watch to find out what the music is playing in his darkened room.

The demo is delivering messages like there’s no tomorrow and we’re beginning to wonder how long the battery on the iWatch is going to last given all of this activity.

Apple is trusting the Internet of Things (IoT) will be an Apple thing

To rapturous applause, Apple showed off apps and told us that the iWatch can save us all time.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, looking very ultra cool said that when the developer community was unleashed, we will all be surprised. There are plenty of apps for the Apple iWatch.

He claimed the iWatch will work for 18 hours and “at the end of the day”.

Apple is announcing three collections – one with colourful bands – the aluminium used in one of its collections is not “run of the mill” aluminium. The Apple iWatch sport is actually an alloy as light as aluminium but 60 percent stronger, Apple claimed. It’s a magnesium zinc aluminium alloy. It starts at $350 and has loads of bands.

Apple is not using ordinary stainless steel, it is using extraordinary stainless steel, no doubt carefully extruded through the marketing department. Apple is offering lots of different SKUs and the pricing is almost impossible to figure out. It’s even doing a solid gold watch starting at $10,000. April 10th will be the day when it all starts to roll out…

We’ll have more on this tomorrow.

Apple wants iWatch owners to stay cool

fobwatchOne of the biggest obstacles to using an Apple watch when they’re released is that the battery life won’t be very long.

And that’s prompted Apple to tell its developers designing apps for the watch to design them to be viewed for only 10 seconds or so.

It’s also told watch developers to keep distractions to a minimum – such as notifications pushed to users, according to Bloomberg.

The range of Apple watches, expected to be formally announced next week, at an event in San Francisco.

Analysts have estimated that sales of the watches, which certainly aren’t cheap, could be between 14 and 15 million during 2015. To use an Apple watch, it has to be linked to an Apple iPhone.

However, the jury is still out on how well smart watches will do. Short battery life will certainly limit their appeal, while many people will not see the advantage of having a smart watch as well as a smart phone, which also tells the time as well as doing lots of other things.

 

Microsoft Freaks out over security

Microsoft campusSoftware giant Microsoft said that people using all versions of Windows could be affected by the recent Freak phenomenon.

Freak is a vulnerability caused by software engineers making encryption weaker in operating systems as a result of an order by the USA in the 1990s.

Previously, it was known that the Freak vulnerability affected devices such as Apple and Android operating systems.

Microsoft described Freak “as an industry wide issue that is not specific to Windows operating systems”.

Microsoft doesn’t believe that peoples’ computers have yet been publicly exploited.

Microsoft said it is working with its partners to give information to customers to help them secure their machines. The security advisory can be found here.

Apple puts big iPad on hold

new-ipadApple was originally going to release a 12.9 inch iPad this spring but now it appears the project will be put back to later this year, or even early in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal said that manufacturers of the iPad in the Far East have now been told that they can’t start production until the second half of this year.

Apparently it’s not just problems with the display panel – Apple is thinking about new features and wants enterprises to take tablets seriously. Late last year IBM and Apple signed a deal to cooperate on business apps.

The WSJ also reports that it may add USB ports to the new iPad, when it finally emerges.

Apple’s plans to release a 12-inch Macbook Air in the spring appear to be unaffected by the iPad news.

Church forced to buy thousands of dollars worth of iPhones

apple-disney-dreams-snow-white-Favim.com-142405A US church is scratching its head after it was charged for thousands dollars of iPhones , that it never bought.

It seems that God works in mysterious ways and is dropping the hint that the old religion is past, and Christians everywhere should be worshipping shiny consumer toys with an Apple on them.

A mysterious person used the Fountain of Life’s name to buy more than a thousand dollars worth of iPhones.

A man first tried to buy iPhones in the church’s name at Verizon, but was sent forth into outer darkness by the Apple staff who suspected he was not telling the truth. However when the man came back Apple staff realised he was a true believer and the buy  went through.

The Fountain of Life’s pastor, Preson Pitchford ,was shocked that someone would use the church’s good name to get the tools of a rival consumer based religion like that.

Wells was in her office at the church on the day of reckoning when she received the bill from AT&T.

The bill charged the church for 17 iPhones, all bought on separate days with different phone numbers.

“That just amazes me that somebody could get away with it not just once, not just twice, but multiple times,” Pitchford said. “We don’t use iPhones here at the church. We don’t even use AT&T.”

The suspect used the church’s address and a fake federal tax ID number. Police are still working to figure out if the phones were bought from a store or online.

Pitchford fears it could happen to another church.

“This guy is polished,” Pitchford said. “He’s done it before, and he will do it again.”

AT&T told church members they won’t have to pay the money, that it will be taken care of by the company’s fraud department.

Judges question Apple’s Samsung harm

Samsung Logo GrillworkApple received a shock in a US Appeals court when judges actaully questioned if it had been really financially harmed by Samsung stealing its ideas.

Apple told a US appeals court that rival Samsung should be barred from selling products that infringe on its smartphone patents, but the judges were skeptical.

Judge Kimberly Moore was skeptical that Apple was being harmed since it already licenses some technology to other companies. “You’ve already licensed these patents up the wazoo!” she said.

For those who don’t speak American, she was saying that it was difficult to claim you were damaged by the patent information being used, when you gave it to lots of other people for a small fee.

In the latest round, Apple is seeking an injunction against sales of some Samsung products it says infringe on its patents for technologies such as slide-to-unlock, auto-correct and quick links that can, for instance, send a telephone number from an email to the phone dialer.

Apple lawyer William Lee said Samsung could quickly design work-arounds for the patents but did not do so. He told the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington that Samsung was harming Apple.

Moore disagreed: “You’ve licensed them to everyone. So why is it irreparable harm if Samsung uses the patents?”

Judge Sharon Prost said she was “having a hard time getting past irreparable harm.”

Lee said other smartphone companies, like Google and Huawei had not licensed the technology.

To make matters worse, Samsung lawyer Kathleen Sullivan said the South Korean company had all but stopped using the patents, so no injunction was needed.

Moore lost his rag a bit and wondered then if Samsung had stopped using the patents, why were they still fighting it. “Why am I wasting my time?”

It is a good question. The so called thermonuclear war started by Steve Jobs when Samsung used his rounded rectangle design failed to do anything other than keep lawyers rich. Now it seems pointless to continue it. But it is a bit on the nose to expect Samsung to quit.

Apple, Google scramble to fix bug

330ogleBoth Google and Apple devices are vulnerable to a bug and the companies are rushing to create patches for people that have such devices.

The bug – named Freak – has been in devices for years and follows US government rules in the 1990s which forced tech vendors to offer weak encryption for devices being exported abroad. While the US government changed those rules, the vulnerability remained in later iterations of the software.

Google has apparently already fixed the bug, while Apple will push an update as early next week.

Freak stands for factoring attack on RSA-Export keys – and was apparently first discovered by French researchers, whose findings were later confirmed by other experts in the field.

Quite a few well known websites, including government websites, support the less secure encryption but Google has advised people to disable that support.

Apple fanboys get political

The late Steve Jobs with an iPadOwners of shiny expensive Apple gear are starting to use their phones to mount political campaigns.

According to the Guardian newspaper Apple fanboys are trolling their politicians with iMessage texts in protest over a law which would increase the length of time the government retains communications data.

Apparently the matter only interests Apple fans, either that or the Guardian can’t conceive of anyone in Australia other than iPhone users getting upset about what happens in politics.

According to the Guardian, Apple’s messaging service, built into iOS devices and the newest versions of Mac OS X, lets users send text, picture, voice and video messages through an SMS-style app or an email address.

Senator George Brandis, the Australian attorney general, was the first minister to be on the receiving end of Apple fanboy wit.

Users sent photoshopped pictures, Blade Runner quotes and questions to the senator, who has been at the forefront of pushing the data retention bill through the Australian legislature.

Journalist Lauren Ingram even messaged him the entire first chapter of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

What is strange about this story is not that internet users are trolling politicians, but that the Guardian has only named Apple users as doing it. Unlike usual Tame Apple Press advertising, it seems to be actually true.

It was only possible because the pair had taken part in Jobs’ Mob’s iMessage scheme and hooked up their government email as part of their attempts to be cool with the yoff of today.

Shortly after the iMessage bombardment began, Brandis unlinked his senate email address from the service – but other ministers didn’t move so quickly, and Buzzfeed News reports that Greg Hunt, the environment minister, had his iMessage account hooked up to his government email as well.

Intel loses the plot – analysts

Intel-logoA financial analyst said that an announcement made by Samsung at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona has thrown into sharp relief Intel’s inability to capture market share.

Mark Hibben, at Seeking Alpha, said that while the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, delivered a keynote at MWC, Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy S6 phone shows that the California company is way behind in its egregious goals.

Hibben said that Samsung is targeting Apple’s iPhone 6, “making it clear that Apple and Samsung completely dominate the mobile device world, leaving Intel with only aspirations”.

The Galaxy S6 smartphone uses a Samsung 64-bit processor, using the company’s 14 nanometre FinFET process.

He said this shows that ARM has leaped into the process lead over Intel, which only has its SoFIA on a 28 nanometre TSMC process, said Hibben. That, he thinks, makes Intel two generations behind process tech for smartphones.

He said companies like Apple and Samsung “can deploy staggering capital resources in the pursuit of non Intel Inside”.

Intel made a $4.2 billion loss in its mobile group in 2014.

 

Smartphone sold over a billion last year

smartphones-genericIn 2014, sales of smartphones to individuals reached 1.2 billion units worldwide, a rise of 28.4 percent compared to 2013.

Worldwide sales of smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2014 saw an increase of 29.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013, totalling 367.5 million units, according to Gartner.

And in the fourth quarter, Samsung lost its number one spot to Apple – as a result of product introductions in Apple’s case, and erosion of sales in Samsung’s case.

Samsung lost 10 percent in market share, according to Anshul Gupta, a Gartner analyst. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure,” said Gupta.

For the whole year, Samsung remained the leader, shipping 307,597 units worldwide, while Apple shipped 191,426 phones.

The top five vendors in the fourth quarter were Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi, according to Gartner. These last three vendors are all Chinese companies.

Enterprise to boost tablet sales

cheap-tabletsA report said that adoption of tales by commercial enterprises are set to boost sales in Western Europe.

IDC said the commercial market for tablets will reach over 11 million units by 2019 – that’s 130% CAGR.

The tablet market so far has largely been driven by home users, and by early adopters in corporations. Newer designs are lighter, better connected and have options including keyboards.

IDC said that devices are now shipping with features that IT departments like, particularly in security, and both Samsung and Apple have started to target the corporate market.

According to Chrystelle Labesque, a research manager at IDC, over two thirds of the enterprises IDC surveyed in Western Europe have already deployed tablets.

The main reason for their adoption in enterprises include price erosion, more features and increasing employee productivity.

The news couldn’t come any sooner for vendors selling tablets for personal use. All indications are that there is a degree of saturation in this sector.

 

LG and Samsung make iWatch screens

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picLG Display and Samsung Electronics are to supply screens for Apple smartwatches when the shiny toy finally hits the shops.

The Electronic Times reported that LG Display will be the sole supplier of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for the Apple watches that go on sale in April.

Samsung Display will also become a supplier for the next version of the smartwatch that is expected to go on sale either sometime in the second half of this year or early 2016.

No-one is confirming the rumour, but it makes sense and is probably true.

Apple has scheduled a special event on March 9, where it is expected to showcase Apple Watch. To have got this far in the production process, Jobs’ Mob should have sorted out its display supplier months ago.

The watch, which will let consumers check their email, pay for goods at retail stores and monitor personal health information, represents Apple’s only product introduction since the 2010 launch of the iPad.

The watch is likely to sell millions, but only because of the Apple logo. It has been shipped so late and with half of the promised healthcare enhancements dropped, because Jobs’ Mob could not get them to go.

Ericsson sues Apple

EricssonSwedish company Ericsson has taken Apple to court and also complained to the US International Trade Commission (ITC), it said today.

Ericsson claims that Apple refused its offer to have a court decide fair licensing terms that would be binding on both companies. And because of that, it has filed a complaint with the ITC seeking to exclude its products for infringing patents directly linked to 2G and 4G LTE standards.

It filed a second complaint with a Eastern district Court in Texas asking for damages and injunctions for “infringement of patents that are critical to many other aspects of Apple’s devices”.

This second instance related to 41 patents which Ericsson claims covers not only 2G and 4G/LTE standards, but other patents related to semiconductors, user interface software, location services and application and the iOS operating system.

Ericsson claims that by refusing its reasonable licensing offer used in both Apple smartphones and tablets, “Apple harms the entire market”.

Apple’s global licence agreement for Ericsson mobile technology apparently expired last month.