Tag Archives: Apple
Late last week, Tumblr’s app disappeared from Apple’s App Store with no explanation of why. Now we know.
As first reported by CNET late Monday, the cause was the fact that people were able to upload photos of child sexual abuse to the image-sharing service. The publication noted that the lack of explanation at the time of Tumblr’s removal was likely due to necessary coordination with law enforcement.
Tumblr has now updated its issue page for the iOS app’s removal with a statement saying it has “a zero tolerance policy when it comes to media featuring child sexual exploitation and abuse.”
The service, which is owned by Verizon subsidiary Oath, said it works with industry peers and authorities to actively monitor the images uploaded to it.
“Every image uploaded to Tumblr is scanned against an industry database of known child sexual abuse material, and images that are detected never reach the platform,” it said. “A routine audit discovered content on our platform that had not yet been included in the industry database. We immediately removed this content.”
At the time of writing, Apple was yet to restore Tumblr’s app to its iPhone and iPad repository.
Tumblr has been involved in several cases of child sexual abuse material being posted online. A recent example included an Ohio police sergeant who used the service to share an image of a naked boy.
VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s AMS (AMS.S), which makes facial recognition technology, became the latest Apple supplier to cut its revenue forecast, adding to growing evidence that the latest iPhones are not selling well.
The logo of the multinational semiconductor manufacturer AMS (Austria Mikro Systeme) is seen during a annual news conference, in Zurich, Switzerland February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Moritz Hager
The Swiss-listed group cut its fourth-quarter revenue outlook by 15 percent and pushed back its medium-term targets, blaming “recent demand changes from a major customer”.
AMS, which specializes in sensors, did not name Apple as the customer, but analysts estimate that the U.S. giant accounts for 40 percent of the Austrian group’s sales.
Apple (AAPL.O) shocked investors two weeks ago with a lower than expected sales forecast for the Christmas quarter, prompting suppliers including U.S. firm Lumentum (LITE.O), British chipmaker IQE (IQE.L) and screen maker Japan Display (6740.T) to issue warnings that pointed to weakness in new iPhone sales.
Like Lumentum, AMS supplies Apple with software components needed for its FaceID technology.
Anglo-German chip designer Dialog Semiconductor (DLGS.DE), which struck a $ 600 million deal with the U.S. tech giant last month bucked the negative trend when it said late on Wednesday it does not see a drop in demand from Apple.
Dialog justified this by pointing out that it supplies many more products than the latest iPhones.
For the past year, investors had largely been willing to overlook stagnating unit sales of the iPhone because average selling prices kept rising. But Apple now faces fierce competition from mid-priced phones from makers such as Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK).
The California-based firm started selling its latest phone generation, the iPhone XS and XS Max in September and the XR model last month.
The new AMS guidance suggested between 11 and 18 million fewer iPhones would be produced in the fourth quarter than an initially estimated 77-82 million, Credit Suisse analysts said in a note to customers.
“This is largely in-line to read from recent Lumentum warning,” they said, adding the Lumentum guidance would have implied an impact of 15-20 million iPhones.
AMS shares gained as much as 6.4 percent to 29.65 Swiss francs after a steep drop in early trade.
They have lost nearly 30 percent since Apple’s latest earnings release and are down 70 percent since the beginning of the year and some investors see a buying opportunity, said traders.
AMS expects revenue to come in between $ 480 million and $ 520 million in the three months to Dec. 31, compared with the $ 570-$ 610 million it forecast last month.
The adjusted operating margin for the quarter is expected to reach the low to mid-teen percentage range after previous guidance for the margin to rise to 16-20 percent.
AMS also abandoned its 2019 revenue target of more than $ 2.7 billion, saying it now expects annual double-digit revenue growth for the coming years.
It still aims for a 30 percent adjusted operating margin but no longer gives a specific time frame. It had already postponed the target to 2020 from 2019 in July, at the time due to order delays from a major customer.
“These guys have no visibility any more,” said Mark Taylor, senior sales trader at Mirabaud Securities’ Global Thematic Group.
AMS, which has invested heavily in research and development and in production expansion, is now seeking to address underutilized facilities, increasing competition and its reliance on Apple.
Although a number of analysts have cut their recommendations recently, many target price recommendations are still above 40 Swiss francs. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see (the stock) rally,” said Taylor.
additional reporting by Helen Reid in London; Editing by David Goodman and Keith Weir
With the new app, Spotify users can use an Apple Watch to control music, favorite songs playing on a connected iPhone, and choose which device to play songs on. Some features are still missing, however, such as downloading songs to play offline. And Apple Watches with built-in 4G LTE can’t stream music to wireless headphones, a feature that would appeal to music-loving runners.
Part of the appeal Apple imagined the Watch having was to avoid having to pull a smartphone out of a pocket to control an app’s functions. Streaming music is tailor-made for such a device, as listeners frequently want to change volume, switch tracks, or move around playlists.
“With this new app, users can enjoy an improved experience with better control and the ability to seamlessly connect to your speakers or devices,” Spotify said in a statement announcing the app. “The new integration with Apple Watch makes accessing your recently played songs simple, even with your phone in your pocket.”
Spotify is the most popular music app, with more than 190 million users. Apple Music has been growing quickly, however, having a user base of more than 50 million users. Releasing a Spotify app for the Apple Watch may strengthen the music service’s appeal among Apple’s loyal customers.
Spotify said it will be rolling out the new app to Apple Watch owners during the coming week. Spotify users will need to install the latest iPhone version of Spotify from the App Store.
Its iPhone sales grew by 20% in the quarter, while services revenue increased to $ 9.6bn.
Apple said revenue in its wearables product line, which includes the Apple Watch, Air Pods and Beats, had grown to $ 10bn over the past four quarters.
The company said Apple Pay was now available in 24 markets, supported by 4,900 bank partners, while its services segment, which includes digital content and services, AppleCare, Apple Pay, licensing and other services, reported revenue of $ 9.6bn, up 31% compared with the third quarter of 2017.
In a transcript of the earnings call posted on the Seeking Alpha financial blogging site, Cook claimed that the Apple App Store for IoS apps was more profitable for app developers than Google’s Android Play store. The Apple App Store, which launched a decade ago with the company’s first iPhone, has earned developers $ 100bn, he claimed.
When asked about how frequently existing customers were replacing their iPhones, especially given that cheap iPhone batteries are now readily available, Cook admitted some replacement cycles were lengthening.
“The major catalyst for that was probably the subsidy plans becoming a much smaller percentage of total sales around the world than they were at one time, so some are lengthening. But I think for us, the thing that we always have to do is come out with a really great innovative product, and I think iPhone X shows that when you deliver a great innovative product, there are enough people who would like that and it can be a really good business, so that’s how to look at that.”
Development efforts to enhance user experience
One of the areas Cook discussed during the earnings call was how Apple was working to make application development on MacOS more closely aligned with iOS, to stimulate application compatibility and support a similar user experience across Macs, iPads and iPhones.
“We want to empower our developers to bring their innovative apps from the iOS ecosystem to the Mac with minimal effort,” he said. “Though iOS and MacOS are different, they’ve shared common foundations from the very beginning, so we’ve taken key frameworks from iOS and adapted them to specific Mac behaviours like using a mouse or trackpad, resizing windows, copy and paste, and drag and drop.”
Cook also highlighted some of Apple’s development efforts to speed up the coding of machine learning (ML) and augmented reality (AR) applications.
“Developers will be able to build even more intelligent apps with just a few lines of code using the power of machine learning with Core ML 2 and Create ML,” he said.
Cook also introduced the third release of its ARKit augmented reality coding framework.
“We believe AR can enable profound experiences. With ARKit 2, iOS 12 will provide an even more powerful platform to make dynamic AR apps, integrating shared and persistent AR experiences, object detection and image tracking,” he said.
Cook claimed Apple was unlikely to be affected by the US trade tariffs on steel and aluminium being put in place by the Trump administration and the risk of a trade war, but he said the company was assessing the potential impact of another proposed tariff.
“The fourth tariff, which includes goods valued at $ 200bn, also focuses on goods that are imported from China. We’re evaluating that one. It’s a tedious process, because you not only have to analyse the revenue products, but you also have to analyse the purchases you’re making through other companies that are not related to revenue,” he said.
Losing market share to Huawei
Although Apple posted a record quarter, analyst Canalys said Apple had dropped to third place in terms of market share. The second largest smartphone maker is now Huawei, while Samsung is the market leader.
Mo Jia, a Canalys analyst based in Shanghai, said Huawei’s strategy had evolved significantly over the past six months. It shipped seven million of its latest flagship products – the P20 and P20 Pro.
“Huawei has accelerated its adoption of new technologies this year, focusing on AI [artificial intelligence] with its NPU chipsets and on imaging with its triple-camera setup,” said Jia. “Its efforts have paid off. The P20 and P20 Pro sold faster than their predecessors in their launch quarter. Outside of China, the P20 and P20 Pro more than doubled the shipments of the P10 and P10 Plus.”
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese regulators on Wednesday said Apple Inc (AAPL.O) may have breached antitrust rules by forcing mobile service providers to sell its iPhones cheaply and charge higher monthly fees, denying consumers a fair choice.
The FTC, which began looking into Apple’s sales practices in 2016, did not punish Apple as the U.S. company had agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers, it said.
Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Yoshiyasu Shida; Editing by Ritsuko Ando
Warren Buffett said the following:
I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing. You stand at the plate, the pitcher throws you General Motors (NYSE:GM) at 47! U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) at 39! And nobody calls a strike on you. There’s no penalty except opportunity lost. All day you wait for the pitch you like. Then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it.”
I distinctively remember Apple (AAPL) at around $ 90 a share back in 2016. Sentiment was on the floor, commentary was circulating on mass that iPhone growth was history. Fast forward a couple of years and shares have more than doubled. I suspect few would have thought that AAPL would have recovered so quickly. However as the chart illustrates below, AAPL also suffered a steep decline in 2013 but came roaring back to life soon thereafter. Why didn’t investors “trust” the charts instead of one or two disappointing earnings reports? Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
Then we have Gilead (GILD). Shares collapsed to close to $ 60 a share last year and have been very slow to gain momentum since then. Granted Gilead’s shares collapsed more than Apple’s and over a much longer time frame, but you can be sure that many investors doubled down on their positions or bought at levels much higher than the present share price. Apple and Gilead before these share price declines relied mostly on one product which was obviously the iPhone in AAPL and HPC cures for Gilead. So why did one stock bounce back strongly whereas the other flattered to deceive?
I think these articles are helpful because it is at these inflection points where the most fortunes are made. With AAPL, for example, you had the likes of Buffett joining the party, but then you had the likes of Carl Icahn who ran for the exit. Now both of these billionaires made a lot of money but Icahn as we can see now sold far too early.
Buffett also has stated.
“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”
The problem though is that everything is so easy in hindsight. AAPL’s top line sales have come roaring back to currently stand at $ 247.41 billion over a trailing 12-month average. Gilead’s top line sales growth has deteriorated to currently stand at $ 24.69 billion (almost $ 8 billion down from its 2015 high).
Many newsletters got Gilead wrong which is why one should always make their own investing decisions. Why? Because an opinion backed by research and hours of study usually means one will stand by the position even if the going gets tough for a while. Gilead never rebounded because it ultimately cured hepatitis C. I wrote more about this here but many were caught out on this at the time.
Here though was the skinny compared to Apple. Although Gilead was generating strong cash flows from the likes of its HCV and HIV divisions, there was absolutely no link between the two segments. These two diseases are totally different and one cannot “lift up” the other, so to speak, when the likes of HCV is struggling.
We cannot though say the same about Apple. I remember its March quarter in 2016 when revenue collapsed by 13% to print the worst top line quarter since 2003. The main culprit was of course iPhone unit sales which were down 16% over a rolling quarter basis. However there were a number of reasons for the decline both in dollar amount sales and iPhone unit sales. Softness in China, currency headwinds plus also a poor product mix led to the disappointing quarter. Shares headed toward $ 90 as investors ran for the exit. However the launch of the iPhone 7 in September kept the purists hopeful.
However it wasn’t that model that turned the tide for AAPL. It was the fact that smartphone growth was still in an uptrend (still is to this day) and Apple was working really hard in the background to both coax customers from Android (through the likes of the iPhone SE) while also tie in customers more and more into its ecosystem of products. Just remember the strength of AAPL’s ecosystem today will dictate the strength of sales in the future. Gilead never had this competitive advantage and its results demonstrated this.
So when the next blip occurs, we will look at the strength of that ecosystem to see how growth rates are faring in other products. It’s all about engagement and loyalty going forward. These metrics are probably the best ones to measure when the inevitable happens and iPhone growth slows once again. As for Gilead, there still seems to be no catalyst in the cards to help growth. AAPL despite its valuation and snap back rally continues to look a far better long contender here.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the latest renders of the new iPhone X for 2018, the hardware that wasn’t announced at WWDC, why iOS 12 stands for stability, the renewed focus on iPhone security, the disappointment of no new MacBooks at WWDC, and all the spoof products announced on the internet.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
First Renders Of The New iPhone X
As part of Apple’s push to expand the iPhone line-up (and increase sales of the iPhone family after years of declining share), the geekerati are expecting a budget version of the iPhone X (not to be confused with an update of the iPhone SE). What will it look like? Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reveals new renders of the budget iPhone X:
What Hemmerstoffer’s images and video (embedded below) show, is a 6.1-inch design which blends the chassis of the iPhone 8 and a single rear camera with the fascia of the iPhone X, complete with Face ID facial recognition module and the distinctive notch. On the flipside, this means no Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
…Hemmerstoffer notes this currently unnamed budget iPhone X (my naming bet is simply ‘iPhone’), will also pack wireless charging, stereo speakers and a new A12 chipset. So this is basically a single-camera iPhone X for over $ 200 less.
What Wasn’t Announced At WWDC
Lots of news to come out of this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference from Apple, but before we get to what did appear, it’s important to realise what was not on show. Apple refused the opportunity to show off any new hardware. No iPads, no Macs, no MacBooks, no peripherals, and perhaps most importantly, no mid-range iPhones to replace the iPhone SE. And WWDC was the best time to announce this upcoming smartphone, as I discussed earlier this week:
Assuming Taniyama-Shimura, there are enough signs in the supply chain that an update to the iPhone SE is coming. So the question becomes not of ‘will it arrive’ but ‘when will it arrive.’
…its non-appearance at WWDC tells us a lot about the handset. iPhone sales this year need a boost. The iPhone X has not delivered the super-cycle it promised and sales are flat to slightly down year-on-year. Market share is approaching single figures, and relying on high-end handsets with high margins may be delivering financial success… but it doesn’t provide for growth or entry into new markets. The iPhone SE 2 can help balance the equation of revenue and market share by offering a low-priced gateway into Apple’s world of smartphones.
Twelve Stands For Stability
Almost all of the focus at WWDC was on software, and the vast majority of that focus was on iOS. There have not been any major changes or additions, Apple has focused on the stability of the code to rebuild the bulletproof perception of the iPhone’s operating system. Zach Epstein is glad the new release is just ‘meh’:
It’s no secret that iOS 11 has been a complete mess for Apple. It’s not the travesty that whiny anti-Apple bloggers would have you believe, of course, but there’s no question that Apple made some big mistakes in iOS 11. It has had more security holes, annoying bugs, and performance issues than any version of iOS from recent history, and many of those problems still exist in iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.4 now, more than 8 months after the software’s initial release.
We learned many months ago that performance and overall user experience were going to be Apple’s main points of focus in iOS 12. In fact, insider reports stated that Apple decided to delay the addition of several big new features in iOS 12 and push them back to subsequent releases, or maybe even until next year’s iOS 13 update. This way, Apple’s various iOS engineering teams could focus on improving performance in iOS and on refining the user experience, rather than on integrating complex new features.
Next: Security is key, a requiem for macOS, and Conan O’Brien’s new iPhone…
North Korea has been cited by several governments and organizations for its hacking activities. Now, a new study of network data shows much of the technology North Korea employs for hacking comes from the U.S.
Despite trade sanctions, North Korea’s government has found a way to obtain products from Apple, Microsoft, and Korea-based Samsung to carry out cyberattacks around the world, researchers at cybersecurity intelligence company Recorded Future revealed on Wednesday. The company found that North Korea is using Windows 10, Apple’s iPhone X, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus, among other technologies, to conduct operations. However, most of the technology North Korea is using is older. For instance, Recorded Future found an iPhone 4S and Windows 7, among other products, still in use.
North Korea has been isolated from the rest of the world for decades. During that time, the country’s economy has suffered and the U.S., among others, has imposed sanctions that limit a company’s ability to export to and sell in North Korea.
To circumvent those sanctions, according to Recorded Future, North Korea has engaged in a variety of activities to obtain access to U.S. and Korean technologies.
In its report, Recorded Future said that North Korea has created fake addresses and names to sidestep sanctions — and also used shell companies and aliases outside of its borders to obtain equipment and bring it back. North Koreans living in countries where equipment from Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung can be obtained legally also play a role in the effort, according to the report.
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“Technology resellers, North Koreans abroad, and the Kim regime’s extensive criminal networks all facilitate the transfer of American technology for daily use by one of the world’s most repressive governments,” Recorded Future wrote in its report.
In other cases, however, North Korea has obtained equipment legally. Since 2002, in fact, the U.S. has exported nearly $ 484,000 in computers and electronics to North Korea.
But, since that’s hardly enough for all of the ruling party, hacking efforts, and “elites” in the country who need the technology, North Korea has employed the other schemes, Recorded Future said.
The data sheds some light on the secretive country and could explain to some degree how it’s been able to pull off some major cyberattacks. North Korea’s hackers have previously been linked to the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers around the world. North Korea was also accused of hacking Sony in 2014.
“Unless there’s a globally unified effort to impose comprehensive sanctions on the DPRK, and multilateral cooperation to ensure that these sanctions cannot be thwarted by a web of shell companies,” Recorded Future wrote, “North Korea will be able to continue its cyberwarfare operations unabated with the aid of Western technology.”
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Dialog Semiconductor said Apple now planned to source the main power management chips (PMICs) for one of its three new iPhone models from two suppliers instead of just from the German chipmaker.
That means that Apple will order 30 percent fewer of the chips from Dialog this year than it had initially expected, Dialog said in a statement on Thursday.
The news sent its shares 3.9 percent lower in late Frankfurt trade. Dialog’s stock has lost more than half of its value over the past year on investor concerns that Apple is working on its own battery-saving chips for iPhones.
Analysts reckon Dialog derives more than half its revenue from supplying Apple with PMICs.
The reduced order volume for the PMICs will shave 5 percent off the chipmaker’s 2018 revenues, but Dialog said it still expected its 2018 revenues to grow year-on-year.
The impact on 2019 revenues is likely to be similar, Chief Executive Jalal Bagherli told analysts on a conference call.
He said Apple had not provided a reason for the change in its sourcing of chips.
“If you think about the fact that we are qualified for all three phones, that means there is no performance-related issue. It might be a statement of intent to reduce risk on having one supplier and have an alternative source,” he said.
He also said Apple had not told him who the second, new supplier of the main PMICs was but said he saw it as very likely that it was an in-house source at Apple.
Apple did not change the projected order volume for the other power management chip that Dialog is supplying for the new iPhone models – the sub-PMIC – nor for all other PMICs, including those for tablets, wearables and notebooks.
Dialog said it would continue to explore new mixed-signal opportunities outside of power management for future Apple products.
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Adrian Croft and Alexandra Hudson
Apple didn’t need to do anything to meet the stringent requirements of the new EU law, called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on May 25 – it already practised such good privacy hygiene that its existing precautions already passed the new obligations. However, it took the opportunity to comprehensively rethink its privacy standards, as the new privacy page reveals on the Apple website.
I mean, it’s no surprise that Apple should take privacy seriously. It’s forbiddingly secretive about its products and internal workings and it has long proclaimed that it believes that privacy is ‘a fundamental human right’.
To make this work, there’s plenty it doesn’t know about us. For each Apple Pay transaction, Apple doesn’t track who you’re paying and has no idea who you’re paying for. FaceTime conversations, iMessage threads and so on are end-to-end encrypted. Apple had asked itself why it would need to know who was saying what to whom and concluded it was none of its business.
Even journeys made on Apple Maps are encrypted so that nobody getting hold of information could work out where you go regularly or whatever. It does this by, among other things, dropping the first and last 500 or so yards from each journey once it’s completed to blur the details. And though some data is held for a time, it’s deleted after 30 days or so.
And before these new changes, Apple had recently introduced a recognisable page which warned you when data was being collected, so you were always in the loop. It’s a stark contrast to most other companies and is made easier by the fact that Apple, as it might say, owns all the pieces of the jigsaw from hardware to software.
Anyway, Apple’s response to GDPR is interesting, and sets a standard which others must strive to meet. What’s more, though it only needs to make sure its GDPR response applies to European users, Apple has said it’s going to roll it out worldwide.
First up, Apple has made it easy to find out exactly what data of yours is on its servers, from purchase history to photos on iCloud to emails and so on. With a few clicks you can download everything (apart from TV shows you’ve bought on Apple TV, for instance). If some sections turn out to be many gigabytes in size, it’ll split them into more manageable bites.
But the more interesting bits come next. First of all, if any of your data is inaccurate, you can request a correction.
You can also delete your account, if you wish. That’s not new. But there’s a new, less drastic course of action you can take where you deactivate your Apple ID account temporarily.
Why would you do this? Well, if you’re going away for a few months, perhaps or, (and please whisper this in the earshot of Apple fans), if you’ve bought an Android phone and so all that Apple data is no longer needed, once you’ve transferred it to your new phone. But, hey, maybe you’ll go back to Apple when the next, irresistible iPhone is released.
If that’s a possibility, then the temporary suspension, called deactivation, may appeal.
But bear in mind that you won’t be able to download iBooks you’ve bought from Apple while the account is deactivated. Nor can you use services which require your Apple ID like Messages and FaceTime. If you have a repair scheduled at an Apple Store, say, that will stay active but upcoming appointments in an Apple Store will be canceled.
If you pay for iCloud storage, that will continue until the next billing period after which you must review whether to keep paying or not.
Your data is not deleted but nobody, and here’s an important thing, not even Apple, can access it.
With this in mind, you’re sent a reactivation code. Lose it and, well, you’re in trouble because even Apple can’t get it back. So you can’t save it in an iMessage or Apple email. You need somewhere else safe to keep this code. All deactivations are verified, which can take up to seven days.
The Privacy section is live now and provides tools which range from useful to downright fascinating. It’s done with the obsessive detail you might expect from Apple. If you’re in the EU, you can access the new tools now and they’ll be rolled out to all users around the world in the coming months.
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