Vendor News

Apple Pay Reaches Switzerland

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Apple Pay Reaches Switzerland

Apple Pay, the Apple mobile payments service, makes slow expansion into Europe as it reaches Switzerland, with initial support for Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

According to the company Bonus Card, Conrnercard or Swiss Bankers customers can also provision credit and prepaid cards for Apple Pay. However retailer support is fairly limited, since other than Apple Stores only Aldi, Avec, C&A, k kiosk, Mobile Zone, P&B, Spar and TopCC outlets accept Apple Pay transactions on launch.

Lidl says it will follow, if on a yet unannounced future date.

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Apple Plans to Buy Tidal?

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Apple Plans to Buy Tidal?

Apple looks to bolster its music streaming capability through an acquisition, the Wall Street Journal reports-- specifically Tidal, the Jay Z-owned service.

The reasons behind the interest in Tidal? One is a strong music catalog including the likes of Madonna, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kanye West and the late, great Prince, the result of close relationships with recording artists. And while Tidal has around 3 million subscribers (Apple Music subscriptions total 15 million), customers can pay up to $19.00 for high-resolution streaming, providing easy means to add a more premium offering to Music.

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Incipio Buys Skullcandy

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Incipio Buys Skullcandy

Accessory maker Incipio buys into audio with headphone vendor Skullcandy, in a deal worth approximately $177 million in cash.

The deal covers the two headphone brands owned by the company, Skullcandy and Astro Gaming.

“We have long admired Skullcandy’s culture of innovation and ability to create pioneering audio experiences with quality and style," Incipio says. "Skullcandy and Astro amplify our dynamic mix of products and brands, while bolstering the technical and operational capabilities that serve as the foundation of our platform. The team at Skullcandy and its international presence will also allow us to accelerate the global impact of our multi-brand offense.”

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Huawei Working on Own OS?

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Huawei Working on Own OS?

China's Huawei is working on two software projects , The Information reports-- a different look for the Emotion UI Android skin and, far more ambitiously, an own mobile OS.

Interestingly, according to the news story Huawei sets to fight criticisms of hardware and software design with an appearance all too similar to that of iDevices by hiring directly from the Apple stable. The employee in question is former longtime Apple designer Abigail Brody, who should provide the Emotion UI with an "own flair" able to grab the attentions of Western customers.

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Software Updates Galore at WWDC 2016

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Software Updates Galore at WWDC 2016

Software takes centre stage at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2016, as the company announces enhancements to to the operating systems its devices, namely the iPhone, Watch, Apple TV and, of course, the Mac.

Actually the humble Mac PC got some of the biggest news at WWDC-- mainly because the "OS X" monicker is no more. Replacing it is "macOS," a title more in line with current Apple OS nomenclature (tvOS, watchOS, iOS). The name change comes with the announcement Sierra, an OS update featuring a desktop version of Siri allowing users to use their voices to search for files, switch between apps, search the internet and even use the calculator.

Speaking of Siri, the second biggest piece of WWDC news involves the voice assistant-- Apple follows Amazon's example in providing developers with a Siri SDK, allowing them to freely incorporate it in apps. The conference had a few versions of Siri-enabled apps on show, including WeChat, Slack and WhatsApp, and more should be available once the next version of iOS rolls out.

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Nokia Brand Makes Smartphone, Tablet Comeback

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Nokia Brand Makes Smartphone, Tablet Comeback

The Nokia brand is to make a mobile device return-- a Finland-based company named HMD Global Oy (HMD) gets the exclusive global license for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.

In a simultaneous announcement Microsoft starts shedding its mobile phone ambitions through the sale of its feature phone business (including brands, software, design rights and a Vietnam manufacturing facility) to HMD and FIH Mobile, a newly created Hon Hai/Foxconn subsidiary. The deal is worth $350 million.

However Microsoft insists it is not giving up on Windows Mobile-powered smartphones, and will continue supporting such devices and OEM partners.

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Apple Working on Wireless Charging?

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Apple Working on Wireless Charging?

Will future iPhone models feature wireless charging? Multiple sources claim so, with the most recent being The Verge and a story claiming 2 engineers from wireless charging firm uBeam have went to Apple in the last 4 months.

Perhaps tellingly, at around the same time an anonymous former uBeam employee wrote a damning blog post comparing uBeam to disgraced medical startup Theranos, stating the company is still to have any technology fit for public demonstration. Spurred by this post The Verge did some poking around LinkedIn and found a number of former uBeam staffers have moved to Apple.

In total the site insists over 12 wireless charging experts have been hired by Apple over the past 2 years.

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Apple Invests in Chinese Uber Rival

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Apple Invests in Chinese Uber Rival

China is clearly still on Apple's mind as the company announces a surprise $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing, the chief Uber ride-sharing/taxi-hailing rival in the country.

Apple is famous for showing little interest in outside investments, since it usually tends to buy small startups outright. The investment in Didi is Apple's largest since the $3bn acquisition of Beats, and in typical fashion there is litle official elaboration on the hows and the whys.

“Didi exemplifies the innovation taking place in the iOS developer community in China,” Apple CEO Tim Cook states. “We are extremely impressed by the business they’ve built and their excellent leadership team, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow.”

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Q1 Losses Lead to GoPro Drone Delay

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Q1 Losses Lead to GoPro Drone Delay

Times are not so good for GoPro-- the action camera maker reports a -49.5% Y-o-Y decline on Q1 2016 revenues worth $183.5 million, leading the delay of the company's much awaited entry in the drone market, the Karma.

Previously set to launch sometime on H1 2017, the Karma will now hit the market on Q4 2016.

The company is clearly taking a hit from the improved video capabilities of the current crop of smartphones, since it also sees camera shipments drop by -47.8% Y-o-Y to 701,000 units. It also faces charges of around $8m related to excess purchase commitments, inventory write-downs and marketing development funds.

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Apple Loses "iPhone" Trademark in China!

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Apple Loses

Apple faces further woes in China as the Beijing Municipal High People's Court decides in favour of local firm Xintong Tiandi in a legal case over the use of the "iPhone" trademark on leather goods.

"We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People's Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights," Apple declares in reaction to the decision.

Such a case might not sound like much-- certainly not in terms of money-- but it symbolises the fact that not even one of the biggest companies in the world can enforce its trademarks in China, a nation infamous for its somewhat dim opinion on intellectual property rights.

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Rovi Buys DVR Maker TiVo

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Rovi Buys DVR Maker TiVo

Entertainment company maker Rovi acquires DVR STB maker TiVo for $1.1 billion-- creating a single company running under the "iconic TiVo brand" with Rovi CEO Tom Carson as leader.

"Rovi’s acquisition of TiVo, with its innovative products, talented team, and substantial intellectual property portfolio, strengthens Rovi’s position as a global leader in media discovery, metadata, analytics, and IP licensing,” Carson says. “It’s an exciting time as the media and entertainment landscape undergoes a significant evolution.... By working together, Rovi and TiVo will revolutionise how consumers experience media and entertainment and at the same time build value for our stockholders."

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