News | iLounge

News

Browse News by Category:

Notes from Apple’s Q2 2017 earnings call

Opening Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of numbers for Q2 2017, CEO Tim Cook described the results as representing a “strong March quarter” that accelerated revenue growth and earnings per share up by 10 percent over last year. Cook noted that iPhone sales were in line with Apple’s expectations and demand for the iPhone 7 Plus continued to be strong. He explained that the installed base of iPhones grew by double-digits year-over-year and that based on the latest IDC data, the iPhone gained market share in nearly every country.

Cook went on to outline how services revenue topped $7 billion in this quarter, with a deep level of customer engagement across all services. The number of App Store developers increased by 26% over last year, and Apple Music subscriptions and iCloud storage also saw double-digit revenue growth. The total number of paid subscriptions, both for Apple’s own services and third-party content offered on the App Store, now exceed 165 million.

Apple Q2 2017: $52.9B revenue, 50.8M iPhones + 8.9M iPads sold

Apple reported its second quarter 2017 financial results today, with 50.8 million iPhones and 9.8 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $52.9 billion and quarterly earnings of $2.10 per diluted share. In Q2 2016, Apple had revenue of $50.6 billion and earnings of $1.90 per diluted share.

For Q3 2017, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $43.5 billion and $45.5 billion, and gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website. We’ll have a recap shortly after.

Report: Apple’s Siri-enabled home control hub may debut at WWDC (Update: KGI agrees)

Tech blogger Sonny Dickson claims Apple is “finalizing designs” for its answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, MacRumors reports.

Dickson says the device will “carry some form of Beats technology” and that “someone inside Apple” described the shape as “fat” like the Google Home, with a concave top for the controls and speaker mesh coving most of the device’s surface. A report from last September claimed the device will go beyond simply providing a basic “Hey Siri” interface for home and device control, possibly also adding a camera with facial recognition technology to detect who is in the room to allow it to more proactively apply HomeKit rules and other actions. Dickson said the device is expected to run some variant of iOS and could be revealed as early as the WWDC in June.

Apple now withholding royalty payments to Qualcomm as dispute escalates

Apple has now suspended all licensing payments to Qualcomm related to the iPhone amidst the legal dispute between the two companies, Bloomberg reports. The battle between the two tech firms began earlier this year when Apple filed lawsuits accusing Qualcomm of withholding $1 billion in patent royalties, allegedly as a punishment in response to Apple’s cooperation with Korean antitrust regulators. A subsequent lawsuit filed in Beijing by Apple claimed that Qualcomm had abused its position in the chip industry and failed to deliver on its promises to inexpensively license “standard essential patents.” Qualcomm followed those filings up its own countersuit earlier this month, accusing Apple of breaching its contract and asking for an unspecified amount in damages.

According to Qualcomm, Apple has now stated that it will be withholding all future payments until the legal matters between the two companies are resolved. Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg added that “While Apple has acknowledged that payment is owed for the use of Qualcomm’s valuable intellectual property, it nevertheless continues to interfere with our contracts,” and that “Apple has now unilaterally declared the contract terms unacceptable; the same terms that have applied to iPhones and cellular-enabled iPads for a decade.” In a statement to The Financial Times, an Apple spokesperson responded “We’ve been trying to reach a licensing agreement with Qualcomm for more than five years but they have refused to negotiate fair terms. Without an agreed-upon rate to determine how much is owed, we have suspended payments until the correct amount can be determined by the court. As we’ve said before, Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own.”

Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.3.2

Only three days after the release of iOS 10.3.2 beta 4, Apple has already rolled out a fifth beta of iOS 10.3.2 to registered developers. The release notes appear to be basically unchanged from the prior beta, listing SiriKit, VPN, and Siri fixes and a few outstanding notes on managed and shared devices, openURL, WebKit, and SOS (which continues to be supported only in India).

Report: Apple’s Jimmy Iovine still has ambitious video plans for Apple Music

Apple Music impresario Jimmy Iovine is continuing to take a slow and steady approach to developing the popular streaming music service into a cultural centre point that goes beyond being merely “a bunch of songs and a few playlist.” In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Iovine touched on several of the projects that he’s working on with various artists and Hollywood moguls, from already announced projects like “Carpool Karaoke” and “Planet of the Apps” to several documentaries, suggesting that Apple could release as many as 10 original series by the end of the year. While Iovine didn’t go into details on any unannounced projects, sources suggest that two will about the legendary hip-hop labels Bad Boy Records and Cash Money Records, while another is about Clive Davis.

I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans. We have the freedom, because it’s Apple, to make one show, three shows, see what works, see what doesn’t work until it feels good.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering his roots, Iovine remains focused on music-related projects at this point. A possible sequel to R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” is said to be in the works, and Iovine is developing another show “loosely based” on the life of Dr. Dre. However, Iovine notes that he eventually does plan to go beyond music and has already had discussions with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer and director J.J. Abrams. As Iovine describes it, “Apple music is nowhere near complete in my head,” but emphasizes that he plans to grow the service slowly “no matter what,” much like how he founded and built Interscope back in 1989, beginning with a couple of lesser-known artists and slowly growing into one of the world’s most successful record labels.

 

Apple executive talks using AI to boost human memory

Apple executive and AI expert Tom Gruber told the crowd at the TED conference that he sees artificial intelligence providing a boost to human memory in the future, Axios reports. He was hesitant to make predictions about the specific technology that would be involved, but Gruber said in the near future computer intelligence could help people clearly remember everything from people they met only once to food they ate years ago. While privacy would be a key concern with preserving such a massive amount of very personal information, Gruber said the benefits — especially for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s — could make a huge difference in quality of life in a person’s later years. He added that a friend of his who is blind and quadriplegic is already enjoying the life-changing benefits of AI, using Siri to meet other people online. “Here’s a man whose relationship with AI helps him… with genuine human relationships,” Gruber said.

Apple rolling out ‘Today at Apple’ educational courses starting in May

All of Apple’s 495 stores will begin featuring ‘Today at Apple’ educational sessions focusing on a wide range of topics starting sometime in May, the company announced today. While most will be led by Apple employees, the company also teased that in select cities participants will be treated to sessions from “world-class artists, photographers and musicians.” The free programs will focus on activities centered around Apple devices, like iPhone photography, drawing with the Apple Pencil and coding classes for kids that teach the company’s Swift programming language. For more advanced users, Pro Series courses will also provide “a deep dive into Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X with sessions on color correction and grading to post production, or audio mixing to editing for emotion, and more.”

Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1

Apple has rolled out a fourth set of iOS 10.3.2, tvOS 10.2.1, and watchOS 3.2.2 betas to registered developers. The iOS 10.3.2 beta 4 release notes list SiriKit, VPN, and Siri fixes, while tvOS 10.2.1 beta 4 fixes an issue that caused the Apple TV to sometimes wake from sleep with an AirPlay error.

Apple works on alternative power sources, new uses for waste heat in Denmark data center

Apple’s latest data center in Denmark will be powered by renewable energy, some of which will come from local farm waste, MacWorld reports. Apple is working with Aarhus University to create a system that uses agricultural waste products to generate methane, which can then be used to power its data center operations. The reaction also produces a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be returned to the farms, a “mutually beneficial relationship” according to Apple’s recent environmental report. The heat generated by the data center will also be captured and rerouted to the local district’s heating system to warm homes in the community. The Danish facility and another in Ireland expected to be partially powered by energy generated by ocean waves will come online this year.

Training documents reveal safety details about Apple’s self-driving car system

Internal Apple documents have provided the first real look at the company’s self-driving car system, Business Insider reports. The documents, obtained from the California DMV, claim that the system is “capable of sending electronic commands for steering, accelerating, and decelerating and may carry out portions of the dynamic driving task.” Images included in the document show that the three Lexus RX450h SUVs approved for California roads have all been outfitted with Logitech steering wheels and pedals to turn on the autonomous “drive by wire” mode. While the automated system “uses hardware and software to monitor surrounding objects and events,” the document also focuses on how the human occupant can regain control of the car if necessary.

Apple recruits two Google Satellite Executives

Apple has hired two top Google satellite executives for a new hardware team that it is creating, Bloomberg reports. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report notes that Apple has recently hired John Fenwick former lead of Google’s spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, who headed up satellite engineering at Google. Both now allegedly report to Greg Duffy, the Dropcam cofounder who joined Apple in January. Speculation on Duffy’s hire earlier this year suggested that he was “likely to be leading a special project at Apple that is operating like a startup within the company” but no further details were available at the time as to what such a project would be; the two most recent hires, however, suggest that Apple is pursuing another entirely new line of research and development.

Apple releases JavaScript API for playing Live Photos on the web

Apple has unveiled LivePhotosKit JS, a new JavaScript API that will allow web developers to incorporate support for playback of iOS Live Photos into their web pages. The API presents the player as a DOM element in a similar way to an image or video tag, and can be customized with photo and video resources and developers can choose to either control playback programmatically or provide controls to the end user. The new API is also relatively easy for web developers to implement, requiring only that they embed the JavaScript in their webpage and then enable JavaScript strict mode; an NPM installer is also available. Inline players are then added to HTML blocks using declarative markup. The new LivePhotosKit JS player is supported by most modern browsers, including Safari and Chrome on iOS and macOS, Chrome and Firefox on macOS and Windows, Edge and Internet Explorer 11 on Windows, and Chrome beta on Android devices.

Nike unveils new Nike-exclusive ‘Apple Watch NikeLab’

Nike has unveiled Apple Watch NikeLab, a new limited edition version of the Apple Watch Nike+ that debuted last fall. The new neutral-toned Apple Watch is essentially just a design change, pairing up a space grey Apple Watch Series 2 with a black and white sports band, and otherwise continues to include the same features of the other Nike+ models, integrating the Nike+ Run Club app with the standard Apple Watch hardware and watchOS 3. The new model is expected to be available on April 27 via nike.com, at NikeLab stores, and at an Apple Tokyo pop-up store in Isetan. Notably, the limited edition model will not otherwise be sold directly by Apple, either online or at retail. Pricing has not been announced.

Apple releases 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report

Apple has released its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report, outlining details throughout fiscal year 2016 on the company’s efforts in making all of its operations more eco-friendly. In addition to Apple’s continued push toward completely renewable energy sources, this year’s report highlights a new ambitious area of environmental focus for the company — to end reliance on the mining of finite resources altogether in favour of using only renewable resources and recycled materials.

Apple releases third betas of iOS 10.3.2, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1

Apple has rolled out a third beta of iOS 10.3.2 to its registered developers, along with new betas of watchOS 3.2.2 and tvOS 10.2.1. This latest betas all appear to include only bug fixes and security improvements.

Apple granted permit to test self-driving car in California

Apple has been granted the necessary permits to test self-driving cars in California, Business Insider reports. Apple’s autonomous vehicle project has been the company’s biggest open secret for years, but on Friday the California DMV added Apple’s name to a list featuring 29 other companies testing self-driving cars. “The permit covers three vehicles, all 2015 Lexus RX450h, and six drivers,” a DMV spokeswoman said, backing up previous reports that Apple is now focused more on the self-driving component than in building its own vehicle from the ground up. Apple declined to comment on the story in its usual fashion, pointing to its previous statement that it is “investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems.”

iTunes Podcasts gets rebranded as ‘Apple Podcasts’

Apple has announced a full rebranding of iTunes Podcasts to “Apple Podcasts,” complete with a new “Listen on Apple Podcasts” logo and even a renaming of the company’s official Twitter account for podcasts. The announcement came this morning via Twitter from Steve Wilson of Apple’s Podcast marketing team.

In his tweet, Wilson provided an example of the new marketing badge, along with a link to Apple’s Podcasts Identity Guidelines page covering the guidelines for podcasters’ use of official Apple assets and materials to promote their podcasts. The change brings the branding more in line with Apple’s other media services such as Apple Music, although it’s unclear whether this is the first step in a broader rebranding of Apple’s media services to move away from the “iTunes” focus or is merely a case of separating free and subscription content from media sold on the iTunes Store.

NYU student documents 6 weeks working on iPhone assembly line

New York University grad student Dejian Zeng spent his 2016 summer vacation inside Pegatron’s ChangShuo factory — a facility that produces iPhones for Apple — and he shared some of his experiences on the factory floor with Business Insider. When he started, Zeng was in charge of connecting iPhone 6s speakers to the back case and putting one screw in to hold it in place for more than 12 hours a day (including overtime). Two-hour stretches of work were punctuated by 10 minute breaks where many people try to catch any sleep they can, sometimes choosing to close their eyes over going to the bathroom for a drink of water. “It becomes a struggle when you’re very sleepy but also you need to drink some water,” Zeng said. “You can only do one thing. It’s just go to the restroom or come back and take some sleep.” The 50-minute lunch break in the middle of the day is also a popular time to sleep, with employees flocking to sofas scattered through a lounge area. But the factory has its own peculiar protocols for these naps as well, mandating that employees are allowed to sleep, but not allowed to lay down. “There are people walking around. If they see you lay down, they will swipe the ID and take a record of it,” Zeng said. “And they put the record in your profile. And then they will publish it to your whole assembly line, so your manager would come and yell at you later. Sometimes if it happens multiple times, they deduct money.”

Qualcomm countersues Apple, seeks damages for breach of contract

Qualcomm is counter-suing Apple in the companies’ ongoing patent dispute, claiming Apple breached its contract and asking for an unspecified amount in damages, CNET reports. In the filing, Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, admits Apple has played a key role in bringing mobile technology to the masses, but argues “Apple could not have built the incredible iPhone franchise that has made it the most profitable company in the world, capturing over 90 percent of smartphone profits, without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.” In its lawsuit, Apple claims Qualcomm is charging excessive royalties “despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards” and asked the court to declare Qualcomm’s patents invalid or reduce the royalty amounts the company is able to charge for their use.

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2017 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy