Tag: apple

2015 brings is crunch time for smart watches

Swiss Watches the BrandApple releases its watches this year and that’s led CCS Insight to propose that this year is make or break time for the relatively new category.

It estimates that shipments of wearables will reach 75 million in 2015, a 158 percent increase compared to last year.

And the Apple watch will account for over a quarter of wearables that ship this year, it believes.

Analysts at the company believe that Apple will sell about 20 million watches by the end of this year. But if Apple is wrong – and the jury is still very much out on the future of such devices, it’s likely to hurt the entire wearables category of technology.

Right now, it’s fitness bands that are driving growth with products from companies like Fitbit and Jawbone.

It thinks that sales of these devices will double in 2015 to 40 million units.

It also says action cameras was the second biggest category in 2014, with six million of them selling in 2014.

 

Tablet shipments set to slump

gala_appleApple is likely to hit a pothole for sales of its iPad this year with one report estimating shipments will slump by 40 percent in this calendar quarter.

But it won’t just be Apple that will be hit by the slump, according to a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes.

All manufacturers are likely to see a fall as shipments of large screen smartphones – so called phablets – start to erode the tablet market.

Digitimes quotes its own intelligence unit saying that shipments of tablets worldwide will be 244 million this year, a drop on last year of something like 11.8 percent.

The tablet market also faces competition from low end notebooks which are to some extent being subsidised by Microsoft and other vendors.

Tablets are not generally seen by people as products that need upgrading. Apple will have to rethink its strategy on the sector as it prepares to launch more iPad models this year.

Apple wants to build legendary nightmare

Titans were nightmare monsters from Greek legend.

Titans were nightmare monsters from Greek legend.

The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell of a yarn which claims that Apple wants to get into the automotive industry and make self-driving cars named after legendary nightmares. 

Apparently, the numbers people have looked up the numbers and concluded that there is a gap in the market for outrageously priced cars which need to be replaced every year because some ridiculously trivial “update” has been added.

Of course the news has not come from Apple,  it is leaving that announcement to its unpaid press officers – or journalists, as they like to call themselves.  Steve Jobs wanted an iCar so apparently it will happen.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has hundreds of people working on a top secret project: an electric minivan.   Apparently, this job is “massive” and is codenamed Titan – named after the godlike beings who tried to destroy the world.

The project is expected to last years, and it’s entirely possible that Apple will say “sod this for a game of soldiers” lets go back to making expensive toys.

However for the next 20 years you can expect lots of sittings of cars which the Tame Apple Press will try to convince you are the prototype.  Gizmodo, for example said

“Recently, a janky-looking Dodge Caravan outfitted with what appears to be self-driving car technology has been spotted around the Bay Area. However, it’s worth noting that that minivan might just be doing work for Apple Maps.”

So in other words, every souped up van a reporter sees for the next 20 years might be Apple’s self-driving van.  We are not sure that we can put up with it.

Icahn tries to talk up Apple shares

Carl_IcahnThe Tame Apple Press has teamed up with Apple shareholder Carl Ichan to see if they can talk up the price of Jobs’ Mob shares.

Icahn who owns pots of Apple shares thinks that they should be making him pots more cash – and what better way to do that than claim that they are undervalued.

Of course a shareholder thinking he should get more money for his stash is not news, but the Tame Apple Press seems to have decided to give him a leg up while promoting the value of their favourite toymaker.

Reuters, which is set to eclipse the New York Times as Apple’s favourite Public Relations expert, actually ran a story this morning where Ichan claimed that the iPhone maker’s stock should be trading at $216, far above its record high of $124.92 yesterday.

“At $216 per share, Apple – already the world’s most valuable company – would be worth about $1.3 trillion, or about the size of South Korea’s gross domestic product,” Reuters’  breathlessly said.

The company is valued at just over $700 billion currently.

Icahn said Apple should be trading at 20 times earnings per share, which taken together with net cash of $22 per share works out to $216 per share.  He didn’t say why he thought that, other than the fact that if he can convince enough thicko’s out there he is right, the share price will go up and he will be laughing all the way to the bank.

He added that if Apple introduces a TV in FY 2016 or FY 2017, we believe this “20X multiple is conservative.”   Apple TV, the Tame Apple Press had not heard that one.  It is also unlikely to be a big money spinner. The TV market is down the loo at the moment and there are plenty of nice looking Tellies out there sitting on shelves.  Jobs Mob is also yet to come up with a future proof idea since its Tablet fad started to die out.

To be fair Icahn, who is  Apple’s top 10 investors, does not only think he can convince people that the shares are worth more.  He thinks Apple should buy back more shares and raise its dividend.

Apple had cash reserves of about $178 billion as of December 27 and said last April it would return more than $130 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015.

Still Ichan’s alliance with the Tame Apple Press did make him a little richer.  Apple shares closed 2.3 percent higher at $124.88.

ARM does better than expected

ARM-Cortex-A15-chipIt seems that the British chip designer ARM has done a lot better than the cocaine nose-jobs of Wall Street have predicted.

ARM posted a 25 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, ahead of expectations, helped by a strong year end in companies licensing its technology and growing royalty revenues.

The Tame Apple press  claims that the ARM success has all been down to Apple’s iPhone 6, although ARM powers most of the world’s smartphones.

ARM reported pre-tax profit of 118.9 million pounds on revenue of 225.9 million pounds, up 19 percent.

Licensing revenue was up 27 per cent on the year mainly based on 53 licences signed for processors.

“We anticipate that total group dollar revenues for Q1 will be up about 10 percent year on year, based on strengthening royalty revenue growth, and our expectation of the profile of license revenue through the year,” the company said.

Analysts were predicting pre-tax profit of £113 million, according to a consensus compiled by Thomson Reuters.

 

Dating applications expose businesses

1930s-couple-620x400Big Blue is warning that millions of people using dating apps on company smartphones could be exposing their employers to hacking, spying and theft.

IBM security researchers said 26 of 41 dating apps they analysed on Google Android mobile platform had medium or high severity vulnerabilities.  Curiously the IBM team did not look at dating applications on Apple gear, probably because the company signed a deal to push Apple gear in the workplace.

Unfortunately IBM did not name and shame the vulnerable apps but said it had alerted the app publishers to problems.

Apparently Tinder, OkCupid and Match have become hugely popular in the past few years due to their instant messaging, photo and geolocation services. In 2013 it was estimated that 31 million Americans have used a dating site or app.

IBM found employees used vulnerable dating apps in nearly 50 percent of the companies sampled for its research. By using the same phone for work and play or “bring your own device,” it means that companies are wide open for such attack vectors.

Am IBM report said that while BYOD was seen as a way that companies could save cash by allowing employees to use their home gear on corporate networks , if not managed properly, the organizations might be leaking sensitive corporate data via employee-owned devices.

IBM said the problem is that people on dating apps let their guard down and are not as sensitive to potential security problems as they might be on email or websites.

If an app is compromised, hackers can take advantage of users waiting eagerly to hear back from a potential love interest by sending bogus “phishing” messages to glean sensitive information or install malware, IBM said.

A phone’s camera or microphone could be turned on remotely through a vulnerable app, which IBM warned could be used to eavesdrop on personal conversations or confidential business meetings. Vulnerable GPS data could also lead to stalking, and a user’s billing information could be hacked to purchase things on other apps or websites.

Strangely, despite its dire warnings to Android users, IBM said it had not so far seen a rash of security breaches due to dating apps as opposed to any other kind of social media.

Meanwhile, it recommends that dating app users limit the personal information they divulge, use unique passwords on every online account, apply the latest software patches and keep track of what permissions each app has.

Biometric spending on the up

fingerprintRevenues for biometric identification to access computer systems will be worth as much as $13.8 million this year.
So said market intelligence company ABI Research.
Spending on biometric technology is because both consumer and enterprise segments are rapidly catching up with spending by governments.
A growing perception of terrorist threats in both Europe and the USA are also accelerating sales of biometric identification gear.
Fingerprint identification remains the dominant type of system and is more acceptable to people than other methods, although it is not the most accurate type of system.
Demand from enterprises and the use of smartphone and wearable technology is also increasing the trend.
3M Cogent, MorphoTrak and NEC are the leaders in the field but Apple and Samsung are also prominent as companies that will support these kind of technologies.

 

Samsung edged out by Chinese vendors

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picA report said Samsung faces increased competition from mainland China.
And that will affect Apple’s bottom line too, according to a survey by Taiwanese market research company Trendforce.
It published figures that showed that in 2014 home grown companies Huawei, Xiaomi and others managed to ship 453 million units – nearly 40 percent of total smartphone shipments worldwide.
Samsung is being squeezed by Apple as well as Chinese smartphone brands but Apple itself is showing signs of losing the brand loyalty it largely depends on.
The company predicts that during 2015 the Chinese branded smartphones will account for shipments of 531 million units. That will be a growth, year on year, of 17.2 percent.
But the Chinese brands showed a growth last year of 54.8 percent.
One of the reasons for the smaller growth is because Chinese telcos have been cutting subsidies, making handsets more expensive.
But that is also likely to affect Samsung and Apple too.
When Samsung released its financial results recently, it reported smaller profits on its smartphone devices in the face of increased competition from Apple and others.

 

Intel thinks it has Apple by the short and curlies

Intel Q4_14_ResultsIt is rare that a company claims to have control of Apple, but it seems that Intel believes that it has Jobs’ Mob wrapped around its little finger.

After ten years working with Apple, there are rumours that Jobs’ Mob is considering ditching Chipzilla and will start making its own Mac chips.  After all Apple already creates its own chips for the iPhone and iPad based on designs from ARM and then has manufacturers like Samsung build them.

The Tame Apple Press thinks that eventually Apple’s ARM chips will be so powerful, Apple won’t need Intel anymore.

But in an interview with Business Insider, Intel’s CFO Stacy Smith brushed off those concerns and  claimed that Intel is so far ahead of the competition when it comes to PC processors that Apple – and just about every other PC maker – has no choice but to use Intel chips.

Smith said that Apple was a  “great partner of ours” and like Intel they like bringing really cool stuff to the market.

Intel’s leadership over the rest of the industry is extending. We’re not delayed relative to the industry. Intel is ahead of the industry, Smith said.

For Jobs Mob that means that if it abandons Intel it will have to lose lots of performance in its new Macs.

Intel thinks that Apple customers would have to take such a big step off performance if Jobs’ Mob abandoned Intel it is not worth it.

Of course, Smith fails to understand that if Apple decided to walk away from Intel, it would simply tell its customers its solution was better and the Tame Apple Press would agree with it. Apple has never been about performance, it has always been about the design and the Apple logo.

 

 

Tablet makers rethink their plans

cheap-tabletsDisappointing shipment numbers for tablets last year are forcing vendors to contemplate their marketing navels and come up with new ideas.
According to Digitimes, one way vendors want to turn the market round is to persuade their suppliers to slash the cost of their components so they can cut prices on production.
And Apple, the wire reports, had disappointing sales of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, which were launched last autumn.
Sales of HTC products and Xiaomi products haven’t been that brilliant either.
Apple is rumoured to be introducing a 12-inch iPad that it hopes will cause waves of excitement.
The problem is that once you have a tablet, there isn’t much desire to get a new one that’s shinier unless you’ve more money than sense.
Apple appears to believe it can launch all sorts of new applications for the 12-inch iPad when it appears.

It’s the internet of everything

Internet of ThingsSome call it the internet of things (IoT), some call it the internet of everything (IoE) and some even call it the internet of fangs (IoF).
These terms are not, as yet, perfectly defined and there is a complete lack of standards defined, just like in the “cloud” space.  But there’s one thing for sure, and that is it’s going to be worth a lot of money so as many vendors as possible are getting on board the gravy train.
Future Market Insights (FMI) prefers the IoE and said that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4 percent between 2014 and 2020.
It will be the Asia Pacific market which will kick off the growth, synched to the arrival of big data. That’s because there will be investment in so called “smart cities” and smart grids, financed by the Indian, Chinese and Japanese governments.
FMI divides the market into business to business (B2B) and IoE vertical markets.
The verticals include manufacturing and public sector, but the health care sector will grow by 20.6 percent CAGR during the period, followed by utilities.
The major players in the market are Cisco, Samsung, IBM, Apple and Accenture – these vendors had over 50 percent market share in 2013.

 

Swatch gets into the smart watch market

Swiss Watches the BrandIf Apple thinks it will have its own way in the smart watch category this year, it had better think again.
Swatch is planning to introduce a smart watch in the next three months and it’s going to have some advantages over the Apple device.
According to Bloomberg, the watch can communicate with the internet without needing to be charged, will work with Windows and Android and will let you make mobile payments.
Swatch has something of an advantage over Apple too in that it’s been in the market for decades and has had touch screens since the end of the 20th century.
It also knows its market and has distribution deals that Apple cannot possibly match.
Further, attempts by companies like Intel and Google to launch TV services haven’t exactly been the dish of the day.
While some analysts are predicting huge sales of smart watches, others are more sceptical.  Young people, by and large, don’t tend to wear watches and use their smartphones for telling the time.
People need to be convinced that spending money on duplicate functions makes any sense at all.

 

Apple PCs make a dent in the marketplace

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseWhile the conventional Windows PC market continues to decline, it appears to be losing market share to Apple’s range of PCs.
That’s the conclusion of Taiwanese vendors who have told local wire Digitimes that global PC shipments are expected to fall by over three percent during 2015.
Apple, on the other hand, is set to do much better, with growth of between 10 and 15 percent during 2015, amounting to shipments of between 20 and 23 million worldwide.
Apple is gaining additional traction from more competitive prices and Digitimes said it expects the company to drop prices on its 11 inch and 13 inch notebooks when it launches a 12-inch Macbook Air this year.
While traditional PC sales have been hit by smartphones and tablets to some extent, Microsoft’s delays in shipping Windows 10 will also not help sales.
Microsoft is responding to vendors’ complaints about the excessive price of licensing its operating system by introducing aggressive pricing in a bid to boost the market during 2015.

 

Lenovo pips Amazon at the tablet game

cheap-tabletsApple continued to be the market leader for tablets in 2014 but it, in common with other vendors, showed a drop in sales.
A report from Trendforce said that the tablet industry has no reached the maturity point with shipments globally totalling 192 million units. That’s a fall of 2.2 percent compared to 2013.
Apple fared rather worse, it shipped 63.4 million units, a drop of 13.6 percent.
Number two in the pack was Samsung, but its shipments at 41 million units dropped only 2.5 percent.
Lenovo beat Amazon to take third place, and now has 5.6 percent market share.
Both Amazon and Google trailed behind, and Microsoft hasn’t really hit the numbers with its Surface Pro 3.

 

Some analysts believe that not only has the market reached maturity, but it’s hard to persuade people to upgrade.  Others think that tablets are being squeezed on the one hand by larger screen size smartphones and others by low cost notebook PCs.

Apple transforms sapphire plant into a cloud

1338_16131017563Fruity cargo cult Apple wants to invest $2 billion to convert a failed sapphire glass plant in Arizona into a data centre.

Apple set up the plant with GT Advanced Technologies in Mesa in 2013 to manufacture scratch-resistant sapphire screens for Apple’s shiny toys.

However, GT Advanced filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October and closed the plant, after what appears to be a case of Apple shafting its partner by leaving sapphire glass was left out of Apple’s newest iPhones.

Since Apple owned the plant, it wants to turn it into something more useful. The $2 billion investment will stretch over 10 years with a 30 year commitment from Apple to keep the facility running.

But Apple does not really need another data centre. We have written before that it is hugely over capacity now. Jobs’ Mob said that the facility will be a data centre as well as a command centre for managing Apple’s other data centres and networks, which handle traffic from services like iTunes, iCloud and Siri.

It claims it will create 600 engineering and construction jobs at the data centre and the whole lot will be powered by solar energy.

As it wound down its Sapphire production in October, GT Advanced said it was laying off about 650 employees at the plant.