Apple Unbothered By Concerns Of Addiction To Product

Apple Inc investors have shrugged off concerns raised by two shareholders about kids getting hooked on iPhones, saying that for now a little addiction might not be a bad thing for profits.

Hedge fund JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) pension fund said on Saturday that iPhone overuse could be hurting children’s developing brains.

Some investors said the habit-forming nature of gadgets and social media are one reason why companies like Apple, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc added 630 billion dollars to their market value in 2017.

“We invest in things that are addictive,” said Apple shareholder Ross Gerber, chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management.

He also owns stock in coffee retailer Starbucks Corp, casino operator MGM Resorts International and alcohol maker Constellation Brands Inc.

“Addictive things are very profitable,” Gerber said.

Still, the investment community is increasingly holding companies to higher social standards, and there is some concern that market-leading tech companies could draw attention from regulators much like alcohol, tobacco and gambling companies have in the past.

Alphabet and Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. Facebook has said social media can be beneficial if used appropriately.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple said it has offered a range of controls on iPhones since 2008 that allow parents to restrict content, including apps, movies, websites, songs and books, as well as cellular data, password settings and other features.

“Effectively anything a child could download or access online can be easily blocked or restricted by a parent,” Apple said in the statement.

Apple shares fell marginally on Monday. CalSTRS holds 1.9 billion dollars in Apple stock, a sliver of the company’s nearly 900 billion dollars market value, while JANA declined to disclose the size of its smaller stake.

“Before Apple speaks, I think it’s too early to change the narrative” for investors, said Peter Jones, vice president of research for Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, which has about 350,000 Apple shares.

 

Apple’s CEO Must Fly Private Aircrafts For Security Reasons

Apple’s board has instructed chief executive Tim Cook to use only private aircraft “in the interests of security and efficiency” at the world’s most valuable company, regulatory documents show.

A filing with securities regulators during the week said the board determined that its CEO must use private aircraft for “all business and personal travel.”

The policy was implemented in 2017 “in the interests of security and efficiency based on our global profile and the highly visible nature of Mr. Cook’s role as CEO.”

The filing noted that the value of the private flights is calculated as “imputed taxable income” which is not reimbursed by Apple.

The filing showed Cook received some $12.8 million in compensation for 2017, including a salary of $3 million and incentive awards.

Cook took home far less than other top Apple executives including chief financial officer Luca Maestri and senior vice president Angela Ahrendts, who received some $24 million for the year.

Yet Cook’s previous stock awards vested in 2017 were worth an additional $89 million for the CEO, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The market capitalization for the iPhone maker has been hovering around $900 billion and is up nearly 50 percent for the year.

 

The One Thing You Must Do Before You Set Up Your New iPhone

Unwrapping a brand new smartphone can be a very exciting experience. All right, maybe not, but still it’s nice to take proud ownership of your new possession.

But once you’ve opened it, there’s the drudgery of setting it up. Well, there was, but things have just got a lot better in the world of Apple. So if you are getting your new iPhone here’s the one thing you must do:

Upgrade your current device to iOS 11.

Okay, you’re thinking, why should I bother, it’s only been out a few days and the new phone will come with it already installed, won’t it? Why do I need to do that?

Because of Automatic Setup (which really is as cool as it sounds), that’s why.

You may not have the option, of course, if you’re switching to Apple from an Android phone, in which case you need to launch Google Play (for possibly the last time!) and download an Apple app called Move to iOS.

Or maybe you have an iPhone that’s older than the iPhone 5s, which is the oldest phone compatible with iOS 11. You’re out of luck, but think of it this way, you’ve had that old phone a long, long time so a bit of effort now is long overdue.

 But if you do qualify, then definitely do update to iOS 11, and come back here when you have. All done?

Great. Now you can do Automatic Setup which is hands-down, hats-off, brilliant.

I tried it earlier this week when I was testing the iPhone 8 for review. It’s one of the things that sets iOS 11 apart and, once you’ve used it you realize it’s the thing you’ve been waiting for since the first time you switched mobiles.

When both your old and your new cellphone have iOS 11 on board, this is what you do.

Turn on the new phone and select your language. The next screen, called Quick Start, will appear and ask you to bring your old phone nearby. Do that and the old phone, as if by magic, will see the new phone is there and ask you to unlock it. The new phone will then display a sort of freckly, fizzing circle and when you hold the old phone in front of it, the camera will recognize this.

Then, you enter your passcode on the new phone.

And, er, no, that’s it. You’re done.

Just leave the phones to get to know each other, and the old phone will tell the new phone everything it knows and transfer everything to it. No setting a wi-fi password, nothing.

This is what switching from one phone to another should be like.

Good luck!

Apple To Use Passcode Or Facial Recognition On IPhone 8

Apple originally intended to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner into the display on its upcoming iPhone 8. Production difficulties, however, reportedly sidelined the effort and led some to believe that Apple would instead move the fingerprint scanner to the back of the device.

Now, we’re hearing that Touch ID is being abandoned entirely which, if true, is a disastrous decision.

Apple’s Touch ID helped popularize the use of fingerprints on mobile devices. The company wasn’t the first to implement such technology but it did have the distinction of working well (the same couldn’t be said about many early fingerprint solutions).

Sources familiar with the matter tell The Wall Street Journal that Apple is ditching the fingerprint scanner and will instead rely on either a traditional passcode or a new facial recognition feature for login and authentication purposes.

Reverting back to a passcode that must be entered manually every time you unlock your device seems asinine. Facial recognition – at least, what I’ve seen of it thus far – could easily be classified as little more than a gimmicky, unreliable feature. Unless Apple has been able to greatly advance facial recognition technology, it doesn’t sound like a suitable stand-in for Touch ID.

The misstep also reportedly cost Apple valuable production time that’ll translate to (additional) inventory shortages.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 8 on September 12 and release it on September 22.

Developers Portal Still Intact – Apple

Most of the iPhone app developers were quick to discover an unexpected change in their accounts that suggested Russian-based hackers may have breached Apple’s developers portal. However, Apple issued a statement saying that the error was caused by an internal bug that was soon fixed.

Many developers took to Twitter to express their concern when they discovered that their addresses were set to the same Russian-based address, complete with a spelling error that suggested this might be the work of a hacker.

The developer site was down for a few hours before Apple restored it. Initially, Apple did not explain why the site was taken down. But it then provided a statement to MacRumors and the affected developers explaining the situation.

“Due to a bug in our account management application, your address information was temporarily displayed incorrectly in your account details on the Apple Developer website,” Apple said “The same incorrect address was displayed to all affected developers. The underlying code-level bug was quickly resolved, and your address information now shows correctly. There was no security breach and at no time were the Apple Developer website, applications, or services compromised; nor were any of your Apple Developer membership details accessed by, shared with, or displayed to anyone.”

However, it’s unclear why the address changed to a Russian-based location.

But Apple would probably tell you if hackers breached its security. Back in 2013, the Developer Center was hacked, and Apple had to take it offline for several days to secure it. Apple said at the time that sensitive information was encrypted, but names, mailing addresses and email addresses may have been leaked.

Kylie Jenner Stars In Beats By Dre & Balmain Collaboration

Apple recently teamed up with French fashion house Balmain and reality TV star Kylie Jenner to launch a new line of  Beats by Dre headphones titled #BalmainBeats. This ultimate collaboration has led to the creation of highly stylish and fashion forward headphones. This special edition collection features Powerbeats 3 and Beats Studio Wireless headphones.

Kylie Jenner who looked great in the pictures said;

” Music means so much to me. I can put on a song and just escape. I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling. No matter what you’re going through, when you put on a song that you love, and that you just connect with, it can change your whole mood and just lift you up, even if it’s just for a few minutes… I love that escape music gives us”.

 

How To Watch The Live Stream For Today’s Apple WWDC Keynote

Apple is holding a keynote today at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, and the company is expected to unveil new updates for iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS and maybe also the iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro. At 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris), you’ll be able to watch the event as the company is streaming it live.

Apple is likely to talk about some new features for all its software platforms — WWDC is a developer conference after all. But Apple also usually holds a press conference in the spring. This year, Apple has stayed quiet, turning its usual WWDC keynote into a big deal. Rumor has it that Apple is about to unveil a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, as well as minor MacBook (Pro) updates. And maybe Apple could even unveil an Amazon Echo speaker competitor, but don’t hold your breath for this one. It’s going to be a packed event.

If you have the most recent Apple TV, you can download the Apple Events app in the App Store. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old events. Users with old Apple TVs can simply turn on their devices. Apple is pushing out the “Apple Events” channel so that you can watch the event.

And if you don’t have an Apple TV, the company also lets you live-stream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed only works in Safari and Microsoft Edge; the good news is that it works on macOS, iOS and Windows 10 — chances are you have at least one device running Safari or Edge.

Credit: Tech Crunch

Qualcomm Sues Apple

After Apple hit Qualcomm with a barrage of lawsuits earlier this year, the chipmaker is countersuing Apple right back. Qualcomm today filed its Answers and Counterclaims to Apple’s January lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of California. The full details of the suit can be read in a 139-page document (PDF) released by Qualcomm, but the company has five key complaints — including the claim that Apple deliberately didn’t use the full potential of Qualcomm chips in iPhone 7 phones so that they wouldn’t perform better than the modems provided by Intel.

Qualcomm says that Apple “chose not to utilize certain high-performance features of the Qualcomm chipsets for the iPhone 7 (preventing consumers from enjoying the full extent of Qualcomm’s innovation),” and when Qualcomm iPhones supposedly outperformed Intel iPhones, “Apple falsely claimed that there was ‘no discernible difference’ between” the two variants.

The company also says that Apple prevented it from revealing to customers “the extent to which iPhones with Qualcomm’s chipsets outperformed iPhones with Intel’s chipsets.” As part of its five core arguments, Qualcomm says Apple “threatened” it to keep quiet about the differences between Intel and Qualcomm iPhones, preventing Qualcomm from “making any public comparisons about the superior performance of the Qualcomm-powered iPhones.”

Other complaints in the countersuit include claims that Apple breached and mischaracterized agreements and negotiations with Qualcomm, encouraged attacks on the company in a number of markets by misrepresenting facts and making false statements, and interfered with Qualcomm’s existing agreements with other companies.

Apple’s original suit against Qualcomm was filed in January this year in the United States, and claimed $1 billion from the chipmaker, arguing that it had been drastically overcharging for the use of patents. That was followed up by two additional suits — one in China and one in the United Kingdom — that also focused on patents and designs. A case filed in Beijing claimed 1 billion yuan ($145 million) for Qualcomm’s abuse of China’s monopoly laws.

Tim Cook said that Apple had “no choice” but to sue Qualcomm, even after the two companies had worked together for many years, saying that he and his company “didn’t see another way forward.” According to Cook, Qualcomm was “insisting on charging royalties for technologies that they had nothing to do with,” collecting money on features like Apple’s TouchID fingerprint readers and cameras.

The Apple suits came after the Federal Trade Commission filed its own litigation against Qualcomm in January. The FTC also took umbrage against Qualcomm’s use of its patents: specifically, how it wouldn’t sell modems to companies who didn’t also agree to pay royalties on phones that didn’t use Qualcomm modems. As part of the FTC’s case, some of the chipmaker’s other behind-the-scenes deals also came to light — including a 2007 agreement with Apple that saw Qualcomm refund some patent royalties if Apple promised not to make a WiMAX phone.

In today’s countersuit, Qualcomm says it seeks — among other things — damages from Apple for “reneging on its promises in several agreements,” and to stop Apple interfering in deals with manufacturers for iPhone and iPad parts.

Source: The Verge

Apple’s Massive Spaceship Campus Will Open In April

Apple (AAPL, Tech30)’s massive new headquarters will open to employees in April, nearly six years after its late founder and CEO Steve Jobs publicly unveiled plans for the building’s “spaceship” design.
The 175-acre campus, which the company announced Wednesday is officially dubbed “Apple Park,” will include a 2.8 million square foot main building made from curved glass as well as a large fitness center, thousands of trees and an auditorium called the Steve Jobs Theater.

The campus will also be powered by 100% renewable energy, according to the company. Much of the project is being framed by Apple as a tribute to Jobs, who died in 2011.
Related: Apple under Tim Cook: More socially responsible, less visionary
“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement Wednesday.

Jobs told his biographer his goal was “to leave a signature campus that expresses the values of the company for generations.”
But that ambition didn’t come cheap. The cost for the Cupertino campus reportedly jumped from $3 billion to nearly $5 billion — though that’s still pocket change for a business with nearly $250 billion in cash sitting around.

The campus isn’t just for employees, however. Apple’s executives also have high hopes the campus, equipped with a visitor center and public cafe, will become a new tourist attraction in California.
“I really think it’s going to become like a national landmark,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO, said at a conference earlier this month. Maestri said the campus has already garnered “a lot of interest from tourists.”

Credit: CCN news

Apple To Tighten iPhone Security After FBI Breach

Apple Inc. said on Tuesday that it would increase security on its iPhones, following the breach by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after numerous weeks of back and forth engagements.

A court order by FBI had initially compelled Apple to create a backdoor for accessing the files on the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, the San Bernardino shooter who killed 14 people in the US in December 2015.

Apple refused to “obey” the court order, saying it would create a dangerous precedence and breach many iPhones across the globe.

In a statement by Eileen Decker, the top federal prosecutor in California, the Ministry of Justice said investigators had received the help of “a third party” in unlocking the sophisticated phone.

“It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails,” the statement read.

The Justice Department said it had “now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer required the assistance from Apple.

“Accordingly, the government hereby requests that the order compelling Apple Inc. to assist agents in search dated February 16, 2016 be vacated,” it said.

On the other hand, Apple said the FBI should not have made the demand in the first place.
“From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent.

“As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.”
Apple said it would “continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated”.
Apple is said to have patented one of the best security systems in the world.

Apple Goes Small For New iPhone, iPad

Apple went small on Monday — cutting prices as well as screen size — as it unveiled a new iPhone and iPad aimed at first-time buyers and customers in emerging markets.

The new launches came as the FBI moved to postpone a high-profile court battle with the US government on encryption and data protection, saying it may have a way to break into an iPhone at the heart of that case.

On Sunday, “an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking (Syed) Farook’s iPhone,” prosecutors said in a filing asking a federal judge in Southern California to delay a hearing set for Tuesday.

“If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple Inc. set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case.”

Apple chief executive Tim Cook stressed that protecting privacy is an obligation the tech giant “will not shrink from.”

A new iPhone SE will debut at $399 for US customers without a contract subsidy, a significant cut from the price of Apple’s larger iPhones.

Apple sold 30 million of its other small-screen iPhones in 2015, company vice president Greg Joswiak said, showing that many customers like the compact size — despite the trend toward bigger displays.

“Some people really love smaller phones,” Joswiak told the low-key event at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, unveiling the aluminum handset with upgraded specifications and other features including Apple Pay.

“In some countries like China, for a majority of these customers, it is their first iPhone.”

The new iPhone model has strong potential in international markets beyond China, particularly in India, according to Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin.

Even though the price tag is higher than low-cost Android handsets that dominate the market, it puts the cherished Apple brand within better reach to people in developing economies.

“It will be a good winner for them,” Bajarin said of the iPhone SE.

“While China is still growing, I think their next big market is India and this is a good first step toward an India focus.”

The iPhone SE will be aimed at first-time Apple buyers and those who want to upgrade from the iPhone 5S and 5C, which have not been updated in over two years. The iPhone 6S, the lowest-cost handset in the large-screen family, starts at $649.

Also unveiled at the event was a new iPad Pro that moves smaller — a 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) display compared with the 12.9-inch (32.8-centimeter) model on the original business-geared tablet.

“It is a large enough display to get all your work done, but easy to carry around,” said Apple vice president Phil Schiller.
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The smaller, new iPad starts at $599 for US customers, down from around $800 for the original.

Apple took direct aim at Windows-powered personal computers, noting the large number of machines that are five or more years old but still in use.

The iPad Pro has always been aimed at the business market, but “this is the first I have heard Apple say they were going after the PC crowd,” Bajarin said.

Apple will be taking orders Thursday for the new phone and tablet, with deliveries set for March 31, in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore, with more markets to be added in April.

Apple is seeking “to kickstart the upgrade cycles for both iPhones and iPads,” said Jan Dawson at Jackdaw Research.

“There’s considerable evidence that some of those who own smaller iPhones are holding onto them rather than upgrading to the new, larger iPhones.”

Dawson said in a blog post that he sees “significant pent-up demand within Apple’s base of iPhone owners who want a smaller iPhone with up-to-date specs and newer features.”

But he added that “this pricing doesn’t get the iPhone down to the kind of prices needed to really spur sales in emerging markets.”

Apple also announced it was cutting the entry-level price for its Apple Watch to $299 from $349 as it unveiled a new nylon band for the device.

Apple has not released sales figures for the smartwatch but analysts have said it has become the market leader.

Cook used the unveiling to reiterate his views on encryption and data protection.

“We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and our privacy,” he said.

“We believe strongly we have an obligation to help protect your data and your privacy. We owe it to our customers. We will not shrink from this responsibility.”

The US government said it may have found a way to crack the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers without Apple’s help, potentially averting a major showdown that could have wide ramifications on digital security and privacy.

A hearing had been set for Tuesday but a California judge granted the government’s request for a delay — with a status report now due April 5 — based on the new developments.

Apple, backed by a broad coalition of technology giants like Google, Facebook and Yahoo, has argued that the FBI is seeking a “back door” into all iPhones as part of the probe into the December massacre that left 14 people dead.

The US Justice Department argues that its “modest” demand could help reveal vital evidence in a terror case.