Apple poaches top Sony TV executives to boost video content

 

Erlicht and Van Amburg, responsible for hit shows like ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul,’ will join newly created positions to oversee all aspects of programming

Apple Inc. has hired two long-time Sony Pictures Television executives to expand the iPhone maker’s push into original television programming, plunging deeper into a field crowded by Hollywood studios and online streaming services.

Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, responsible for hit shows such as “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” and “The Crown,” will join Apple in newly created positions to oversee all aspects of video programming, the technology company said in a statement on Friday.

“Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

“There is much more to come,” Mr. Cue said of Apple’s video effort.

The new hires demonstrate a serious commitment by another deep-pocketed technology company to produce quality television shows. Mr. Erlicht and Mr. Van Amburg have served as senior Sony television executives since 2005.

But Apple did not elaborate on its strategy, leaving investors guessing how many shows it plans to distribute, how much it will spend and where the programming will be available.

The company is playing in an increasingly competitive field. Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. have invested billions of dollars in award-winning comedies and dramas featuring A-list Hollywood stars. And social media company Facebook Inc. has signed deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment creators, including Vox and BuzzFeed, to make shows for its upcoming video service.

Apple began its move last week with reality program “Planet of the Apps,” an unscripted show about developers competing for venture capital funding. The series is available only to subscribers to Apple Music, a $10-a-month streaming service.

Viewer data

Apple has one huge advantage compared with other companies — 1 billion iPhones, iPads and other devices that run Apple’s mobile operating system and offer a broad distribution platform. The company has widely promoted “Planet of the Apps” across iTunes, the App Store, Apple’s website and elsewhere.

As tech companies push further into the content business, pressure mounts on traditional media outlets that do not have the same amount of data on viewers or the ability for content to be a loss leader, said Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG.

“These companies do not need to make money off video because they can make money other ways,” Mr. Greenfield said. “And they are going to have tons of data on their viewers.”

It is more cost-effective for Apple to pay for original content and secure licensing deals on its own than to buy a content company, said Moody’s analyst Gerald Granovsky.

“From a credit perspective, we’d much rather see Apple overpay to deliver original content than pay $50 billion to buy Netflix and basically compete for the same content,” he said. “They’ll definitely get a better bang for their buck by focusing on their Apple TV product.”

Mr. Greenfield said news of Apple’s hires should put to rest rumours that Apple might acquire another content company, Walt Disney Co.

For Sony, the departures come as the Japanese conglomerate revamps its movie and television studio under new Chief Executive Tony Vinciquerra. In a memo to staff, Mr. Vinciquerra suggested Apple could be a buyer of Sony programming.

“While we are sad to see them go, we are excited by the opportunity to work with them as partners in the future,” he said.

4 Reasons Why Apple Could Well Go The Way Of BlackBerry

 

My sister thinks that I am almost primitive for not having switched to an iPhone. She was even more surprised when she saw my reluctance to make this switch when she recently bought an iPhone7 for all family members while visiting us recently from the US of A.

Till about a year back I was terribly happy with a BlackBerry (BB), until it became clear that many convenient apps did not make versions compatible with this device. So, I switched to Android. As I mentioned in one of my posts that went viral, BB lost the plot when it failed to take a few significant decisions in its product lifecycle. Even while Apple is likely to be the first company ever to achieve a US$ 1 trillion market cap, its fate might be similar to BB if it doesn’t change course.

If you see someone struggling with a tangle of battery packs and wires, you can bet they are iPhone users.

It’s a given that until recently Apple used to make the most beautiful phones and laptops on the planet and yet a statistic that I came across pleasantly surprised me. Give or take, Apple has less than 20% market share of the smartphone industry but pockets 90% of the entire profits of the smartphones sold across the planet.

And that’s why the smartness and iconic status of Apple in every aspect makes it the most talked about brand in the world.

But here are some buts.

Product efficiency must be far better than the rest of the competition

If you see someone struggling with a tangle of battery packs and wires, you can bet they are iPhone users. It’s hard to imagine that Apple hasn’t been able to get its battery right. And on top of that they aren’t even apologetic about it. If someone was to have a long working day from 5am to midnight, Apple would probably pack up by noon sans assistance. It’s a shame to see iPhone users nervously struggling with chords and chargers. Apple must do something about its batteries or it’s in trouble.

 

For one-sixth the cost of an iPhone, [a] Chinese brand gave me far superior efficiency in terms of interface, battery and response.

Further to substantiate my belief I used a US$200 Chinese phone along with an iPhone7 for a fortnight. For one-sixth the cost of an iPhone, the Chinese brand gave me far superior efficiency in terms of interface, battery and response.

A position of supremacy can neither be taken for granted not can it last forever

A brand like Apple must consolidate its present position and try and capture a much larger market share. Customers are conscious and no brand in this ever more connected and efficient world can charge a 4X premium for just a little more beauty and efficiency.

The saga of success that started in early 2000s, when iPods took over the world, must continue into a new product or invention. For how long can Apple continue to play with just different sizes and shapes of the iPhones? Customers will eventually wise up to the fact that it’s vinegary old wine in a sleek new bottle.

Product evolution in line with customers’ demand/desire

Every other phone comes with a two-SIM slot that is really the most practical functionality to have for people who travel and are sometimes in need of alternate numbers (or simply want to have separate work and personal numbers). Apple has conveniently avoided providing this most desired functionality. If India and China with multiple GSM service providers at multiple GSM frequencies are to be Apple’s next serious countries of growth, it must start providing two-SIM phones sooner rather than later.

A starter two-SIM phone costs as little as US$40, and it’s terribly surprising that Apple hasn’t thought of it as its top priority while singing paeans to its India and China potential.

Greed is good but put a stop somewhere

As Gordon Gekko says – Greed is good and Apple has brilliantly realised its greed to an extent that its cash reserves of US$250 billion are more than the GDP of many countries in the world, But all of it can quickly disappear if the most powerful engine of this growth feels short-changed—and that engine is the customer.

All it would take is a few quarters for Apple’s castle to come crashing down. It will happen if the customer—who is king—realises, what a “Charlie” Apple is making out of them.

Microsoft strategically and conveniently allowed piracy of Windows in all second and third world countries for the longest period of time but captured a significant market share. The only sustainable ecosystem of programs and software across the planet is aligned to Windows. The world today is reluctant to switch off from Windows even if there are better and cheaper alternatives available. Apple seems to be losing this plot somehow.

Forget the profits and the success and the iconic status of Apple as a company—with just 20% market share at five-six times the price of similar products, all it would take is a few quarters for this castle to come crashing down. It will happen if the customer—who is king—realises, what a “Charlie” Apple is making out of them.

WhatsApp wouldn’t have existed today if BlackBerry had opened its

 

Apple Seeks ‘Siri Event Maven’ to Keep the Assistant Up-to-Date on Culture

 

HIGHLIGHTS
Apple is looking to hire human assistant, to be named as Siri Event Maven
It will help Siri assistant stay updated on the non-traditional holidays
It will also scan social media to inform Siri about them
Apple is looking to hire a person to help its Siri assistant stay updated on all the non-traditional holidays, trending cultural happenings, and events that people might ask about.

The human assistant, to be named as the “Siri Event Maven,” will work with the engineers and designers working on Siri “to provide strategic awareness of cultural happenings in the collective zeitgeist,” Apple was quoted as saying to 9to5mac.com, on Tuesday.

“We’re looking for someone to help us keep Siri up to date on all the various events happening around the world,” according to the job description posted by Apple.Apple Seeks 'Siri Event Maven' to Keep the Assistant Up-to-Date on Culture

The human assistant would join the Siri team to “scour” social media for trends and happenings that Apple’s voice assistant doesn’t know about.
The role will also work with its analytics team to “understand current behaviour” and “identify events we may have missed,” Apple noted.

Although Apple’s Siri popularised voice assistants when it was first released on the iPhone in 2011, it has since lagged behind competitors like Google Assitant, and continues to face competition from new rivals like Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung’s Bixby Voice software.

But, with Apple looking to launch its new HomePod speaker – its first standalone Siri device – the iPhone maker wants Siri to be more up to date on pop culture and events, as it will bring the personal assistant into the living room.

 

Amazon, Apple, Google And Other Tech Stocks Did Not Crash: Just A Glitch

 

Share prices for Apple, Google parent company Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft all appeared at $123.47, which would’ve marked a whopping crash if it were true. Amazon’s opening price, for instance, is $972.79 per share — it’s a long way down to $123.47 and would’ve been catastrophic.

For Amazon, for instance, it would’ve marked a catastrophic drop from its opening price of $972.79 per share. The dubious share prices were due to a glitch and affected roughly 16 stocks, but not all of them negatively. For Zynga, the ailing Facebook game maker that was once on the roll, the glitch gave the impression that it’s once again successful.

Tech Stocks Crash Glitch: What Happened?

In a statement to the Financial Times, Nasdaq explained that the whole issue stemmed from “improper use of test data” that third-party financial data providers picked up.

As the U.S. market closed early Monday before the 4th of July holiday, traders got alarmingly wrong stock prices for several companies, including some of the largest and most successful technology companies. Amazon’s and Alphabet’s stock prices appeared to show a staggering drop of more than 80 percent.

Third-party data providers pushed the wrong prices after the early market close, as the exchange operator was testing its pricing data feed. Some providers such as Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and Bloomberg LP showed the fake changes in share prices. Nasdaq spokesman Joe Cristinat says the test data is sent on a daily basis, but the fact that third-party providers distributed it was a glitch and the changes never really happened. Nasdaq is reportedly working with providers to solve the matter.

No Nasdaq Technical Issue

On the bright side, at least the wrong prices appeared on a holiday when the market had closed. Such mistakes would have a greater impact when the market is open. Christinat highlighted that Nasdaq itself did not have any technical issue and it didn’t make any trades at the wrong prices. Third-party data providers simply took the test data and improperly distributed it as if the figures were real. The stock prices on Nasdaq’s official website showed the real figures, unaffected by the glitch that third-party data providers experienced.

“We can confirm that our third-party finance data partner was providing some inaccurate information, which they received from Nasdaq,” Google told Financial Times. “This is currently being fixed and we hope to update our stock price data shortly.”

 

Apple iOS 10.3.2 Is Causing New Problems

Apple AAPL +0.38% iOS 10.3.2 is a deceptively important update, but unfortunately it also carries a serious problem – and Apple has just made it a lot worse…

What Apple has done is what it normally does after an iOS release: it stopped signing the previous version. This means users running iOS 10.3.2 can no longer downgrade (eg to iOS 10.3.1) because the ‘sign off’ an upgrade looks for on Apple’s servers before installing will no longer be given.

Why is this a problem? Because of both iOS 10.3.2’s importance and its problems.

Apple iOS 10.3.2 update is important, but can also potentially cause problems

Apple

Apple iOS 10.3.2 update is important, but can also potentially cause problems

As explained in my upgrade guide, iOS 10.3.2 addresses multiple, serious security flaws. In fact Apple’s iOS 10.3.2 security page lists 23 categories of exploit with over 20 related to WebKit (aka Safari browsing) and two in iBooks which lead to the execution of arbitrary code that can take over your device.

So you should install iOS 10.3.2, but equally you may need to uninstall it promptly because the upgrade contains a serious battery problem which can kill iPhone battery life in well under an hour.

I exclusively reported this back in May and I’ve been contacted by numerous users and witnessed a lot of complaints across both social media and the official Apple Support Communities website (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20… you get the picture).

 Apple iOS 10.3.3 is coming soon

Of course it is impossible to scientifically gauge the true global scale of the bug (I know iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users are unaffected), but putting more meat on the bones for me is reader Kamlesh Parmar, a technical support lead at a major enterprise services specialist.

He told me his affected iPhone 6 would even lose 10-20% within minutes of unplugging from a full charge and then switch off with up to 40% charge still remaining: “I’ve spoken to friends and they all report the same issue. I did a factory reset and then restored my iPhone, however I still have the issue.”

The only cure? Yes, you’re ahead of me: downgrade to iOS 10.3.1.

Apple iOS 10.3.3 is coming soon

As such Apple’s decision to stop signing iOS 10.3.1 causes a lot of problems. Those wary of upgrading because of the battery issue will not now try the update and gain its critical security fixes because of the lack of an escape route if they are affected. While those already affected on iOS 10.3.2 can no longer downgrade and escape it – great.

But there is some good news: iOS 10.3.3 may not be far away.

Today Apple released iOS 10.3.3 beta six to both developers and the public. That’s an unusually high number of betas for a minor point release (some have no beta testing at all) and suggests Apple knows the importance of getting this update right. Surely one of the things on its hit list is addressing the battery problems of iOS 10.3.2.

As such, while I think Apple should not have stranded users on iOS 10.3.2 before the release of iOS 10.3.3, a solution may not be far away. And if your iPhone has been running out of battery within an hour or two since iOS 10.3.2 was released in May, that can’t come soon enough…

 

iPhone 8 does NOT exist, new Apple leak reveals

 

The iPhone 8 does not exist.

Apple will not launch a next-generation smartphone with the long-rumoured iPhone 8 branding this September, it has been claimed.

Instead, the new flagship phone will be marketed as iPhone Edition, according to a new report from reliable Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

The iPhone Edition brand would reportedly be used to signal that the smartphone is a higher-end model, similar to the top-of-the-range Apple Watch, which also carries the Edition moniker. Previous rumours suggest iPhone Edition could start at an eye-watering $1,000, roughly £820.

The latest report from Mac Otakara also claims Apple is still testing a number of different prototypes for the new flagship iPhone.

Apple iPhone 8 will debut a brand-new all-glass look, with a curved OLED display and no physical Home Button

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different display technologies and materials.Prototypes being tested in Cupertino include some iPhone Edition models with an LCD display, while others use an AMOLED panel.

Other prototypes are being passed around the Apple campus with and without physical Home Buttons, the report adds.

Apple is also believed to be experimenting with glass, aluminium and white ceramic chassis for the device.

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different materials, including an all-glass bodyIMRAN TAYLOR • BEHANCE

Apple is purportedly experimenting with a number of different materials, including an all-glass body

In fact, the other features Apple is reportedly certain of are the new five-inch display size, wireless charging and dual camera set-up.That display size refers to the primary touchscreen area, which will be around 5.15 inches, according to the latest whispers from Cupertino.

Meanwhile, the rest of the touchscreen – which will reportedly bleed to the very edges of the phone – will be reserved for a row of virtual on-screen buttons.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the overall footprint of the smartphone will be similar to that of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7, which all have a 4.7-inch LED display.

Concept artists reveal the new Function Area at the bottom of the five-inch touchscreenDRIBBLE • ALHASAN HUSNI

Concept artists reveal the new Function Area at the bottom of the five-inch touchscreen

Apple purportedly plans to debut an edge-to-edge display in an effort to keep the physical size of the device down, while simultaneously increasing the size of the display.Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is reportedly designing the phone so that it resembles “a single sheet of glass”.

Apple is hotly-tipped to ditch the physical Home Button from the front of the smartphone, so that it can reduce the bezels around the display.

But the dramatic changes planned for the next iPhone will not just be surface-deep.

According to a new research note from UBS, Apple has put together a team of more than 1,000 engineers working on Augmented Reality (AR) technology ready for the iPhone.

Augmented Reality sees artificial elements – like video footage, CGI animation or GPS data – placed on-top of real-world elements.

The so-called iPhone Edition will have a curved display and smaller physical footprintIMRAN TAYLOR • BEHANCE

The so-called iPhone Edition will have a curved display and smaller physical footprint

Pokémon Go is probably the best known example, which lets players use the camera to search for CGI monsters within the world around them.Apple CEO Tim Cook is very interested in AR and has spoken at length about the potential for the technology.

“I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone,” Mr Cook said in an interview earlier this year.

“The smartphone is for everyone, we don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic or country or vertical market: It’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge.”

According to Business Insider, Apple now “may have over 1,000 engineers working on a project in Israel that could be related to AR”.

The same UBS research note claims Apple will include Augmented Reality technology inside its best-selling smartphone as early as the iPhone 8, or iPhone Edition.

If Apple keeps to the same schedule as previous years, the new iPhone will be launched in September.Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims Apple will incorporate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, usually located in physical Home Button, beneath the glass display in the next iPhone.

According to Kuo, the current system Apple uses for its fingerprint recognition functionality will not allow for its revolutionary all-glass design.

Instead, Mr Kuo claims, the new fingerprint sensor will require optical sensors to read the print resting on the display.

The complicated new display set-up, which presumably will still need to incorporate the pressure-sensitivity debuted with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, will require a number of new, custom solutions from the panel manufacturers.

However the KGI Securities research report states that Apple has enough clout within the industry to get the system built ready for the new iPhone.

Alongside the new fingerprint recognition technology, the iPhone Edition could also see Apple introduce facial tracking sensors into its flagship smartphone, Mr Kuo has claimed.

These could be used to scan users’ faces to help verify identification.

Concept images reflect Apple's rumoured decision to drop the iconic Home ButtonREDDIT • FLOCKMANN • CONCEPTSiPHONE

Concept images reflect Apple’s rumoured decision to drop the iconic Home Button

Mr Kuo believes the fingerprint recognition system will “ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system” in an effort to make the iPhone even more secure.”However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution,” he writes.

Elsewhere, Apple is reportedly looking to distance itself from the curved aluminium design language it has used for the past three generations of iPhone, first introduced with iPhone 6.

With the Home Button gone, Apple can extended the display to the bottom of the phone – reducing the chunky bezels around the screen, and shrinking the overall footprint of the device.

Apple is expected to debut its new industrial design language early next year with a refresh of its iPad range.

 

Apple found guilty of Russian price-fixing

 

Russia’s competition watchdog has found that Apple fixed the prices of certain iPhone models sold in the country.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (Fas) said that Apple’s local subsidiary told 16 retailers to maintain the recommended prices of phones in the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 families.

Non-compliance with the pricing guidelines may have led to the termination of contracts, it found.

Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment.

At the time of the investigation, Apple denied that it controlled its products’ pricing, telling Reuters that resellers “set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world”.

The regulator said Apple had now ended its price-fixing practices but has not said whether the company faces a fine.

The FAS claimed that Apple Rus monitored the retail prices for the iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus.iphone 6s Plus out of box

“In the case of the establishment of ‘inappropriate’ prices, the Russian subsidiary of Apple sent emails to resellers asking them to change,” the watchdog said.

The deputy head of the FAS, Andrey Tsarikovsky, added that “Apple actively co-operated” with the investigation and that the company had “adopted the necessary measures to eliminate violations of the law”.

That included training employees in the “anti-monopoly legislation norms” in Russia.

In May, the FAS found that Google used its dominant position to force its own apps and services on users and fined it £5m ($6m).

And, in November, the regulator opened an investigation into whether Microsoft abused its position in the security market with Windows 10, following a complaint from Moscow-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky.

 

A win for Apple in Beijing as court overturns iPhone patent ruling

 

Apple has bigger fish frying in the world of intellectual property. But it must be a relief that an IP court in Beijing has handed the smartphone pioneers a win. On Friday, the courts overturned a May 2016 ruling that said Apple had violated design patents of a small, and now defunct, Chinese company called Shenzhen Baili.

The disputes were over the exterior design of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, which Shenzhen Baili claimed were a copy of their 100C smartphones, curved corners and all. The company “barely existed” at the time it filed the suit. And its 100C smartphones were impossible to find.

Initially, Apple was handed an injunction to stop selling its iPhone 6 line in Beijing, but it quickly filed an administrative appeal and was permitted to sell the phones there again until further review by the court. Damage was likely minimal. Apple was switching up  to iPhone 7 when this IP drama first arose, as TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez noted at the time.

Since the Friday decision, iin press interviews, Shenzhen Baili’s legal team has said it plans to appeal. Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Apple has lost market share in China in recent years to up and coming device makers from Xiaomi to BBK Electronics’ brands Oppo and Vivo more recently. However, it has remained the most profitable player in the market. Specifically, as the Motley Fool reports, “In 2016, Apple captured an incredible 79% of global smartphone industry profits with just 14.5% market share.”

The latest IP decision indicates that China courts will not always rule in favor of home town businesses, at least. Another ruling had raised concerns over protectionist precedents.

Last spring, a court allowed leather goods makers Xintong Tiandi to continue making bags using the “iphone” and “IPHONE” trademarks in China. Xintong Tiandi had registered to use the brand name in 2007, while Apple’s smartphones did not go on sale in China until 2009. Apple hadn’t registered the brand specifically to cover leather goods.

 

Apple Makes an Uncharacteristic Move

 

Apple decided to let reporters in on a secret this week: a new Mac Pro is coming sometime next year. ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES

Apple is famously tight-lipped between product announcements, preferring to let fans merely speculate about what’s to come.

The company made an exception Monday, when its marketing chief Phil Schiller invited a group of reporters to the hallowed grounds where the company develops Mac prototypes.

The conversation focused on the Mac Pro, according to Tech Crunch, which attended the meeting. The current version of the computer, casually known as the trash can for its cylindrical shape, hasn’t been a particularly strong seller. Apple loyalists have questioned whether the company was going to abandon the professional market altogether.Apple decided to let reporters in on a secret this week: a new Mac Pro is coming sometime next year.

“We are in the process of what we call completely rethinking the Mac Pro,” Schiller said. That means a new Pro and a new external display — just not in 2017. Apple last updated the Mac Pro in 2013. The new machine, though, won’t have a touch screen, as Microsoft’s pro computer, the Surface Studio, does.

Apple also said that it would be coming out with new iMacs later this year that would have better specs — presumably making them more appealing to customers who use a lot of professional apps.

Is this a signal that Apple will be more forthcoming in the future? Probably not. While the company pointed out that its Mac business is close to having the revenue of a Fortune 100 company, desktops just don’t move the needle much in this iPhone world. We expect Apple to stay quiet on the big stuff.

Big Picture: Apple offered a rare view into its upcoming Mac plans.

 

Apple Malware Appears to Be Skyrocketing

 

If you’re a Mac user, you might want to look out for an increase of unwanted advertisements popping out from your web browsers.

Security firm McAfee released a report this week that showed a big jump in 2016 regarding malware hitting the Mac operating system. The McAfee report said there were 460,000 malware instances affecting the Mac OS in the fourth quarter of 2016, an over 700% jump from the previous year during the same quarter.

McAfee’s new report confirms similar research by other cybersecurity firms in recent years that show an increased prevalence of malware affecting Apple computers. Essentially, as more people buy Apple (AAPL, -0.19%) computers, there are more possibilities for malware to infect the machines.Image result for Apple Malware Appears to Be Skyrocketing

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But while an over 700% surge in malware may sound frightening, it should be noted that “the big increase in Mac OS malware was due to adware bundling,” the report’s authors wrote. Adware refers to software that automatically displays online advertisements to users when they surf the web.

Adware, while annoying and obtrusive to some users, is considered by security researchers to be relatively harmless compared to the kinds of computer viruses that can help criminals hack into people’s machines.

One way people can protect themselves from accidentally downloading adware is by only downloading apps from Apple’s approved online store instead of installing software from less reliable sources.

In January, cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes said that it discovered a new type of malware that could freeze Apple computers.