Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Google Glass

Google has garnered a lot of attention for its Google Glass product: Wireless glasses that project online information and can video record the world around the wearer. Now there’s a new minor furor. The $1,500 (90,000 INR) product reportedly contains only $80 (4,800 INR) in parts.

Website Teardown.com took a Google Glass unit apart and estimated the prices. With the most expensive component running $13.96, the device had a total cost of $79.78, including a charge for assembly and testing. That would appear to make Google Glass a highly profitable product. But there is more going on than a simple list of parts.

$13.96 – OMAP 4430 processor
$05.66 – Camera
$03.00 – Display
$08.18 – 16GB Flash Memory from Toshiba
——
$30.80 – Total Cost of Major Parts

Tear-downs, in which someone takes a device apart and estimates the cost of parts and sometimes even manufacturing, have become a near sport in high tech. Whenever a new high-profile product hits the market, you can bet that it will be only a short amount of time until someone has torn it down to investigate the ins and outs and publish a manufacturing cost estimate. Such an analysis draws a lot of attention.

What makes this tear-down noteworthy is the wide disparity between the cost of materials — known in manufacturing as the bill of materials — and the price of the final product. Even an Apple (AAPL) iPhone, easily one of the highest gross margin products in consumer electronics, offers nowhere near the gap between the cost of components and the final price of a single unit.

But tear-downs usually occur on mass market products, in which as many as hundreds of millions of units are ultimately made and sold. The cost of creating a product goes well beyond the price of parts. Usually such expenses, including engineering, design, and start-up manufacturing costs, are hidden because they are amortized across so many units.

Google has not revealed how many units it has sold, but up until a one-day sale in April, sales estimates were in the 10,000 range. If it cost $10 million to develop the product and start up initial manufacturing, that would be $1,000 per unit, and the engineering and design costs could run much higher. Tear-downs also don’t reveal how much a company might have to pay to license the intellectual property rights that it doesn’t directly own.

So, the chances are unlikely that the company is getting rich on sales of Google Glass. However, if sales hit the millions within the next couple of years, as BI Intelligence estimates, there could be a good chunk of change flowing into the corporate coffers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a letter to employees, has said that 2014 will be a big year for the company and customers will love its new products. Many in the tech community have taken this as a hint that Apple will finally unveil big-screen iPhones and iPads. And a recent report gives credence to this speculation.

Chinese technology website Digitimes, which has leaked Apple gadgets accurately in the past, has reported that the big-screen iPhone is scheduled for a May launch. This upcoming model will have a 20nm chipset made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

It has long been rumoured that Apple is working on two big-screen iPhones – one with a 4.7-inch display and the other with a 6-inch panel.

The report also says that a big-screen iPad, with display sizes measuring 12.9-inch or 13.3-inch, will be unveiled in October next year. It is likely that Apple will pick the 12.9-inch screen size for final production; this falls in line with an earlier report that Apple will launch a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 4K resolution in October.

Apple is working with Taiwan’s Quanta Computer to manufacture this upcoming tablet. This large-screen iPad will replace the 11-inch Macbook Air, says the report, citing sources.

The troubled mobile phone maker BlackBerry still has at least one very loyal customer: US President Barack Obama.

At a meeting with youth to promote his landmark healthcare law, Obama said he is not allowed to have Apple’s smartphone, the iPhone, for “security reasons,” though he still uses Apple’s tablet computer, the iPad.

Apple was one of several tech companies that may have allowed the National Security Agency(NSA) direct access to servers containing customer data, according to revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The companies deny the allegation.

Obama fought to keep his BlackBerry after coming to the White House in 2009, though he said only 10 people have his personal email address. Neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton used email during their presidencies.

BlackBerry, a Canadian company formerly known as Research In Motion, virtually invented the idea of on-the-go email, but lost its market stranglehold as rivals brought out more consumer-friendly devices, like Apple’s iPhone and phones using Google’s Android software. The company recently halted plans to be sold and is trying to chart a new course by focusing on large business and government clients.

Encouraged by public response to its Passport Sewa mobile app for Android phones, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has now launched the application for Windows and Apple iOS platforms.

The app provides passport-related information on the smartphones. The MEA had released the android version of the app in March this year.

This is an extended service of the Passport Seva Project, executed in Public-Private-Partnership mode with IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

mPassport Seva provides a wide variety of services such as status tracking, locating a passport office and other general information, TCS said in a release.

The application provides information on various steps involved to obtain a passport related service and related phone numbers in case of queries or concerns, it added.

The users will also be able to search for a Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) or District Passport Cell (DPC) in a district where a passport application can be submitted. This can also be searched based on PIN code. For certain states and districts, the users can search for police stations as well.

Citizens residing overseas who apply for a passport service in Indian Missions/Posts abroad can also utilise this facility for searching address and other relevant information.

The fee calculator feature of the app enables users to find out the applicable fee based on the service and mode of submission. Users can track the status of their passport applications by providing the file number and date of birth. In case the passport has been dispatched, delivery status can also be tracked.

myVegas Slots smartphone game

myVegas Slots smartphone game

PlayStudios on Tuesday blurred the line between online and real-world gambling with the release of myVegas Slots smartphone games that let players cash in on perks at Sin City casinos.

Free-to-play versions of myVegas Slots released for Apple or Android smartphones let people test their luck on virtual one-armed bandits such as those found in the Mirage, Luxor, New York New York or other MGM Resorts International properties and then use payouts to get VIP treatment in Las Vegas.

“In Las Vegas there are literally 50 tiers of service levels that few people know exist; that is the way Vegas works,” said PlayStudios founder and chief executive Andrew Pascal.

“We let people engage in content that is fun, and their level of loyalty can win them the kind of access that few people get.”

Troves of virtual chips can be cashed in for prizes ranging from buffet meals to show tickets, lodging, swimming with dolphins at the Mirage, or selecting music for the dancing fountain display outside the Bellagio.

PlayStudios has tested its social casino gaming model online and boasted that 1,00,000 players have cashed in on more than $10 million worth of real world rewards to date.

The game’s success has led to new partners including celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and Cirque du Soleil, which stages an array of elaborate and alluring performances in Las Vegas.

MGM has been so impressed by the ability of the game to bring back old players to casinos and attract new visitors that it has ramped up resources devoted to promoting its brands in myVegas, according to executive director of corporate marketing Chris Gumiela.

“It is a big driver for us; we absolutely see more people showing up at our properties,” Gumiela said. “It is not just the gambling that makes up the Las Vegas experience, it is really the other opportunities.”

The myVegas game sidesteps the heavily-regulated world of gambling in the United States by paying players off with being treated like high-rollers in Las Vegas, while leaving the cash-betting games of chance to the casinos.

“We are not in the real-money gambling space, and frankly it is not in our mandate,” Pascal said.

“If you want to gamble, go to Vegas. A lot of people might characterize online gaming as the Holy Grail; we don’t. We think it should be left to people who understand that industry.”

The online version of the game tested for less than a year already has hundreds of thousands of players at Facebook, according to PlayStudios.

California-based PlayStudios plans to make its money from players willing to pay for extra chips to level-up faster in the overarching “meta-game” that involves virtually progressing along the famed Las Vegas strip.

“Candy Crush doesn’t have real places that you work through; we have MGM,” Pascal said, referring to a sensationally popular colour-matching game played on smartphones or tablets. “The great thing about Las Vegas is that everybody has a romantic notion of what it stands for.”

With the new model is being referred to as iPhone 6, it had briefly surfaced some new features.

iPHONE 6 SCREEN
It’s pretty safe to assume that the iPhone 6 is going to have a larger screen size than the existing iPhone 6. Most of the rumours are that the iPhone 6 will have a 4.8in screen (4.5in and 5in screen sizes have also been put forwards), which would make the phone similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. At this screen size, Apple could then move to a Full HD (1,920×1,080) resolution or even go beyond.

While Apple has not previously made a large-screen phone, upping the screen size for the iPhone 6 makes a lot of sense. It means it can compete with the large-screen phones from other manufacturers and keep the iPhone 5S as a smaller alternative, giving iPhone users more choice.

Tim Cook has said, “Some customers value large screen size, others value other factors such as resolution, colour quality, white balance, brightness, reflectivity, screen longevity, power consumption, portability, compatibility with apps and many things. Our competitors had made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display. We would not ship a larger display iPhone while these trade-offs exist.”

What that statement says, to us, is that Apple won’t ship a large-screen iPhone until it’s managed to iron out all of the trade-offs. A thinner screen, to make a lighter phone, could well be the right way to go, then.

It’s no wonder, then, that Apple may also be considering the screen technology that it uses, with a Sharp IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) screen top of the list. This new technology allows for screens that use less power and are considerably thinner. Rumours certainly picked up when the Sharp IGZO technology was demonstrated at CES 2013.

iPHONE 6 GAZE DETECTION
A bigger screen requires more power, so any technology that can increase battery life has to be good. For the iPhone 6 Apple could be about to revisit gaze detection technology, where the phone can tell if you’re looking at the screen or not. If you were to look away, the phone could pause a video playing and turn the screen off. Patently Apple has dug up the full information on how the technology is likely to work.

Given that Samsung has similar technology in its Galaxy S4 smartphone, we’d say there’s a high chance that Apple will follow suit and implement its own version.

iPHONE 6 iOS 7
We already have iOS 7, so it makes sense that this operating system will be used for the iPhone 6. It’s possible, given that the iPhone 5S has features specific to it, that the OS will be updated to introduce new features with the new handset. For example, it could enable NFC is Apple decides that it wants the technology to use for mobile payments; we wouldn’t bet on it, though, as it seems steadfastly against it.

iPHONE 6 CAMERA
For the iPhone 5S Apple upped the physical size of its 8-megapixel sensor, meaning that each pixel gets more light. In addition, it upgraded the lens from an f/2.4 model to an f/2.2 model, increasing low-light performance again. Combined with the A7 SoC, the camera has a couple of neat modes, including a 10fps burst mode that goes on until the phone’s memory is full, and a 120fps slow-motion mode.

It would make sense if Apple was to use this sensor in the iPhone 6, although, given it’s a bigger phone, with more room inside for components, it could well up the pixel count, with a 12- or 13-megapixel on the cards.

iPHONE 6 STORAGE
In terms of storage, 64GB has been the top model for a couple of years, and continues to be so for the iPhone 5S. We’re not expecting this to change for the iPhone 6, although we know that the Apple can make a 128GB model, thanks to the recent launch of a 128GB iPad 4.

The new model doubled the maximum capacity of the previous high-end iPad (64GB). This update was said to be about increasing the variety of uses for the tablet, with Apple stating that more storage was good for large files for use in applications such as CAD and music production. It’s also a more useful amount of storage for photos and videos.

iPHONE 6 TOUCH ID
Touch ID, the fingerprint reader, was the one of the big talking points for the iPhone 5S. Recent rumours suggest that Touch ID will also come to the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2, so we’d really expect it on the iPhone 6.

Touch ID works brilliant and encourages people to be more secure, as using it requires a passcode to be set. At the moment, Touch ID can only be used to unlock the iPhone and to authorise iTunes and App Store payments, but it would make sense for Apple to be thinking about new applications for the technology. We can easily see a future where banking apps, for example, are authenticated through the phone.

For the technology really to be taken seriously, we’d expect to see it in as many mobile devices as possible, which obviously includes the iPhone 6. The only real question is, will we see Touch ID open up any new features? If Apple was to include a NFC chip, then Touch ID could be used to authenticate payments. We’re not necessarily expecting NFC, though, as Apple has so far been dead set against including it.

iPHONE 6 A7 SoC
Apple has just released the A7 SoC chip for its iPhone 5S, which is proving to be very fast. It’s got some great custom features, too, including the Image Signal Processor for the camera, which lets the iPhone 5S shoot fast bursts and slow motion video. Given that this 64-bit chip is brand-new, we can’t see Apple completely changing it for the iPhone 6.

Instead, we may get an upgraded version for the iPhone 6. This could include more cores, perhaps moving from dual-core to quad-core, and perhaps a faster graphics core, similar to how the current iPad has an A6X processor, which is the iPhone version with quad-core graphics.

Leaked shots, before it was released, of the iPhone 5S correctly showed that it had a brand-new processor, the A7.

iPHONE 6 PRICE
Apple typically releases its new models at the same price as the old ones. If that holds out, then, and assuming that the 16GB model is dropped, we’d expect the 32GB model to cost £529, the 64GB model £599 and the 128GB model £699. However, if the company continues to sell the iPhone 5S, we could be in for some new pricing, with the iPhone 6 a premium model that sits above it, in which case all bets are off and we have no idea how much it will be.

Apple used to be the clear smartphone leader with its iconic iPhone series thanks to a combination of outstanding hardware and software to match. Now, Android-based phones are arguably as good, if not better, with the likes of the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4, not necessarily in that order, giving the once-unmatchable Apple a run for its money.

Apple, needless to say, is not sitting back on its haunches, and promises a rivetting fightback with products that promise the moon.

The current position in the fight revolves around the smashing hit that Samsung Galaxy S4 has become and everyone is waiting for what Apple will do to its next in line smartphone – the so-called iPhone 6. Here is a peak at the dates and the direction Apple may well have taken to beat rivals.

While the new model is being referred to as iPhone 6, it had briefly surfaced some time ago as the iPhone Math – the screen is reportedly 4.8 inches. Also, with HTC One having come up with an outstanding camera, iPhone too is playing catch up and is reportedly targetting trotting out a special one of its own.

Release Date

The glimpse into the working of Apple Inc was given by Citi Research analyst Glen Yeung who revealed that a ‘big-screen iPhone 6’ is likely to be launched in first quarter of 2014.

But on the other hand history repeats itself people, so guess what? That’s exactly where we are going to look for a first clue as the when we might see the iPhone 6.

iPhone 1st gen   June, 2007
iPhone 3G     July, 2008
iPhone 3GS     June, 2009
iPhone 4      June, 2010
iPhone 4s      October, 2011
iPhone 5      September, 2012
iPhone 5s/5c    September, 2013

While the history books suggest that there will be an new iPhone 6 release date around September/October 2014, we have a gut feeling that Apple might – just might – shake things up a little bit and launch an iPhone 6 earlier than expected, just like it did with the iPad 4, which was launched just eight months after the iPad 3 (previous iPads were release 11-12 months apart). But for the record, the smart money goes on an iPhone 6 release date of September/October 2014.


The report alleged the phones were crashing due to faulty memory chips and criticised its repair policies.

Samsung, which generates nearly 14% of its overall revenue from China. said it would provide free repairs for the seven models mentioned in the report.

In a separate development Samsung was also fined by Taiwanese authorities.

Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission levied a fine of fined 10m Taiwanese dollars ($340,000; £210,000) over allegations that Samsung had paid money to people to criticise rival’s products.

Growing scrutiny
China is the world’s second largest economy and the most populous country,

The combination of a growing economy, rising income levels and a large consumer base has made it a key market for leading global firms.

However, as foreign companies continue to grow their business in China, they have come under increased scrutiny.

Samsung, which is the latest foreign firm to be criticised in the Chinese media, said in statement that it “sincerely apologises” to Chinese consumers for inconveniences caused by the company’s “management problems” and that it welcomed the media scrutiny.

The models mentioned in the China Central Television (CCTV) report on Samsung, which was aired earlier this week, include the Galaxy S3 and the Note2 phones.

Earlier this week, a separate report on CCTV claimed that Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, was charging higher prices in China than in other major markets.

It alleged that Starbucks earned higher margins in China due to its pricing.

In April, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook apologised to Chinese consumers following two weeks of criticism by state-owned media over its repair and warranty policies,

The media accused the firm of arrogance, greed and of “throwing its weight around”.

Taiwan trouble
The fine in Taiwan came after an inquiry by the Fair Trade Commission alleged that Samsung had hired the services of an advertising firm, OpenTide Taiwan, to help it with online marketing.

Sun Lih-Chyun, vice chairperson and spokesman, told the BBC’s Cindy Sui in Taipei that its investigations had indicated that OpenTide had hired students and bloggers to post remarks about Samsung and also criticise rivals’ products.

He added that OpenTide gave weekly and monthly reports to Samsung, on online remarks, which indicated that Samsung was fully aware of what was going on.

OpenTide was also fined 3m Taiwanese dollars by the commission for its role.

The allegations had first come to light in April this year.

At that time, Samsung had called the incidents “unfortunate” and said they had gone against the company’s “fundamental principles”.In early 2013, Samsung was fined by Taiwanese authorities for an advert that misled consumers about the camera on the Galaxy Y Duo.

Apple took design cuesits smaller iPad mini and made the larger format tablet thinner and lighter, renaming it iPad Air. It also revamped the iPad mini with Retina display.

The new iPads have a number of small internal improvements which were seen in the recently launched iPhone 5S.

At an event in California US, on Tuesday, the company launched its new crop of products, including the two new iPads and Macbook Pro laptops, while also announcing the availability of its latest operating system OSX Mavericks as a free download.

The latest iPad Air and the new iPad mini with much-awaited Retina display come at a time when the Cupertino-based iPhone and iPad maker is facing a growing challengethe Google Android-based tabletsmanufacturersSamsung, LG and Asus.

However, given the pricing of the iPads, it is obvious Apple does not want to compete in non-premium tablet category as it does in the smartphone business with iPhones.

iPad Air is 20% thinner, 28% lighter and has 43% smaller bezels than last year’s iPad 4, which has curiously been stopped by Apple even as it will continue to sell the earlier generation iPads. The 9.7 inch iPad Air with Retina display resembles iPad mini a lot. It is 7.5mm thick and weighs 1 pound. Apple claimed it is the thinnest full-sized tablet in the world.

iPad Air uses the same 64-bit A7 chip and the M7 motion co-processor that was introduced recently with the iPhone 5S. It can open files and render graphics twice as fast as the iPad 4, while still promising the same 10-hour battery life.

The new model will hit the shelves on November 1 and come in Space Grey and Silver colours. It will be available at $499, $599, $699 and $799 for the 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB Wi-Fi models respectively. The Wi-Fi and 4G models will cost another $130 over and above that in case of each model.

iPad Air comes with a disappointing 5MP rear iSight camera, but a 1.2MP front-facing HD camera for FaceTime with improved backside illumination sensors features larger pixels for better low-light performance. It is powered by iOS 7, which is the latest version of the software and brings featuresrevamped search, notifications, control centre and the iCloud Keychain password manager.

Curiously, while Apple phased out last year’s iPad 4its portfolio, it has retained in its lineup the iPad 2, which was launched two years ago. The fourth-generation iPad was launched last October.

Apple also unveiled the new iPad mini with Retina display which was much-awaited. The Retina iPad mini has twice the screen resolution than the first model at 2048x1536p in the same 7.9-inch display. It also runs on the 64-bit A7 chipset, a huge upgrade over the A5 chip used in the previous version. The new iPad mini too will be launched in November and come in Silver and Space Grey colours.

The mini-tablet also runs iOS 7 and comes with the same 5MP iSight and 1.2MP front camera for FaceTime. The Retina iPad mini will cost $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for 16GB Wi-Fi and 4G variant. The 32GB, 64GB and 128GB Wi-Fi models have been priced at $499, $599 and $699, while their respective Wi-Fi and cellular variants cost another $130 over and above for each model.

The company has also retained the iPad mini launched last year, but cut its price by $30,$329 to $299. Apple also showcased two covers for the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini priced at $69 and $79, respectively.

Both new iPads feature two antennas to support Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, bringing nearly twice the Wi-Fi performance with data rate possible of going up to 300Mbps. Cellular models too will have better LTE coverage as these will support more LTE networks worldwide. Apple has sold over 170 million iPads and now has 4,75,000 iPad-exclusive applications in the App Store.

Apple has released the OSX Mavericks update for its Mac line of computers. This update is available for download free of cost starting today. Want to know what’s new in Apple’s latest operating system? Here are eight features that OSX Mavericks will brings your Mac…

iBooks, Maps integration
Apple has integrated its iBooks and Maps app in Mavericks operating system. You can zoom into locations, check out Flyover view and get real-time traffic conditions. Addresses given in emails, calendars and contacts can be opened directly in Maps app on the desktop.

With the addition of iBooks library in OSX, you will be able to access booksiPads and iPhones right on the desktop. You can open multiple books in the app simultaneously.

Finder
The Finder will be available in full-screen mode, showingFinder tabs in a single window. The layout will be customizable and files can be moved between tabs with a simple drag-and-drop move.

Notifications
The Notification menu in OSX Mavericks will allow you to perform tasks without opening the specific application. You can reply as well as to messages and emails, attend FaceTime callsthe Notification Centre. You can also sign up for web updatesauction alerts, news, sports scores etc rightthe Notification Centre, without opening the browser.

Multiple displays
While multiple displays had been supported in previous versions of OSX, the Mavericks update brings more functionality to them. Instead of one display acting as primary and the other as secondary, Mavericks OS brings the menu bar to both of them.

You can also run multiple apps in both displays or use a single app in full-screen mode and use several apps in the other one. Apps can also be moved between the two displays via AirPlay in the new operating system.

iCloud Keychain
iCloud Keychain will rememberyour passwords, credit card numbers, contact information etc acrossApple devices running on iOS 7 and Mavericks operating system. It will fill forms automatically and suggest hard-to-crack passwords as well.the passwords are encrypted by 256-bit AES encryption for data security.

Safari
Safari browser is faster in Mavericks, while consuming lesser power and RAM than previous versions. The browser also gets a redesigned Sidebar, which has three tabs – Bookmarks, Reading List and Shared Links.

While the first two are similar to the versions seen in OSX Mountain Lion, the third feature is new. Justin iOS 7, Safari in Mavericks aggregatesthe links shared by people and pages you follow on Twitter in one pane. It integrates the links shared by LinkedIn contacts too.

Tags
You can tag files in applications as well as iCloud with OSX Mavericks. If you are working on a project, you can markthe documents, videos, photos etc with the same keyword to easily locate them via Finder.

Lower energy consumption
Apple says that Mavericks operating system is more power efficient than predecessors despite being faster than them. It compresses memory for faster response time, slows down processing of apps that you are not currently using and groups low-level operations so that the CPU enters low-power mode more frequently to conserve battery life.