Vendor News

The Next Apple Event: 9 September 2015

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The Next Apple Event: 9 September 2015

Apple sends out media invites for the now traditional September launch event, this time around bearing the legend "hey Siri, give us a hint" together with the familiar company logo.

As per the slogan, one can actually ask Siri for hints on the event, if only to get snarky replies such as "I bet you were one of those kids who snuck downstairs to open presents early, weren't you?" and "you're cute when you're desperate for information."

A lot of hearsay surrounds the event, although one can be certain of a few things-- such as the next generation of iPhone, one the grapevine suggests features body construction in stronger 7000 series aluminium, Force Touch capability, A9 processor, 2GB RAM and an improved camera.

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Apple Joins Pentagon Military Wearables Effort?

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Apple Joins Pentagon Military Wearables Effort?

Reuters reports Apple joins a Pentagon-funded consortium in the development of "flexible hybrid electronics," or sensor-packed electronic systems flexible for wearing by soldier or moulding on vehicle skins.

Dubbed the FlexTech Alliance, the consortium is formed by 162 companies, universities and other groups ranging from major names such as Boeing and Harvard to the more obscure Advantest Akron Polymore Systems and the Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

According to Reuters the Pentagon is looking "outside [its] 5-sided box" by looking into partnership with the private sector. Thus it is establishing a Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Hub in San Jose.

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Microsoft Shutters Finland Phone Site

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Microsoft Shutters Finland Phone Site

Microsoft confirms the closure of the former Nokia handset product development unit in Salo, Finland. The company also plans to slash up to 2300 jobs in the Nordic country, with around 1000 in Salo.

The company will retain Finnish mobile operations in two units, Espoo and Tampere. The Espoo unit will concentrate on high-end smartphone development while the Tampere unit is dedicated to the development of mid-range handsets and key technologies.

Salo housed one of the first Nokia factories, set up back in the 1970s. Until 2005 the factory employed 5000 people, and the closure leads to further resentment among Finns against the American company.

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Apple, (Self-Driving) Auto Maker?

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Apple, (Self-Driving) Auto Maker?

The grapevine has suggested Apple is working on a self-driving car for a while, and now The Guardian claims to "confirm" the company's plans, saying the project "appears to be further along than many suspected."

According to documents obtained by the newspaper Apple sets to turn a former WW2-era naval base near San Francisco into a "high-security testing ground for autonomous vehicles." Described as "the largest secure test facility in the world," the GoMentum Station comes complete with 32km of paved highways and city streets surrounded by military security so tight it refuses entry to foreign-born workers. In other words it sounds perfect for the ever so secretive Apple.

Reportedly Mercedes-Benz and Honda are already holding self-driving car experiments at the facility.

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Apple Merges Website, Online Store

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Apple Merges Website, Online Store

The Apple website gets a major redesign with the removal of the standalone "Store" tab and the "store.apple.com" domain, creating a streamlined main website combining product details with online retail.

As a result each product page offers purchasing buttons, with no need to "jump" to the online store. The site also offers a unified shopping bag following users wherever they go on the site.

Also streamlined is the buying experience, as one press on the buy button summons all choices up to including extended warranties and cases. However, other than such changes the website and product pages remains more or less identical to their former selves.

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9 September Date for Apple Event?

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9 September Date for Apple Event?

BuzzFeed News claims to have the date for the traditional September Apple event before the official company announcement-- 9 September, the same date as the 2014 event.

What to expect from such an event? September is usually the month for the next iPhone generation. Various sources insist 2015 will see Apple unveil an "iPhone 6S" armed with a pressure-sensitive Force Touch display, A9 processor, improved camera and even a faster and more power-efficient wireless chip.

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LG Display Adds to OLED Capacity

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LG Display Adds to OLED Capacity

LG Display invests nearly $1 billion in the building of a 4th OLED display factory, one doubling its production capacity of small- and mid-sized displays featuring the technology.

Work on the factory is to start on Q3 2015, before mass production kicks off from H2 2017. LG says the factory will use a 6th generation production process able to produce over 200 cuts of 5.5-inch displays from a single 1500x1850mm substrate sheet.

The company adds the investment will also pioneer future display technologies such as foldable and large auto displays through the use of plastic (rather than glass) substrate.

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Logitech Redesigns Brand

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Logitech Redesigns Brand

Logitech unveils what it claims is its "biggest brand transformation"-- dropping the "tech" in the name (making it just "Logi") and replacing the teal boomerang logo with a cleaner, sleeker design.

As the announcement release puts it, the rebranding signifies the Swiss company sells not just PC peripherals, but "products that have a place in every aspect of your daily life." As tablet covers, Bluetooth speakers and, well, PC mice tend to do, after all.

“Logitech has undergone huge changes, so we’ve created an identity that is an expression of who we are today and who we will be moving forward,” the company adds. "A company transformation of this magnitude should come with an equally bold transformation of its brand.”

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Apple Reaps (Nearly) All Smartphone Profits

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Apple Reaps (Nearly) All Smartphone Profits

Apple is nearly the only company profiting from the smartphone business, Canaccord Genuity tells the Wall Street Journal, as the iPhone maker records 92% of total Q1 2015 operating income from the top 8 smartphone makers.

The only other company accounting for any profit (15%) is Samsung, while all other companies either just manage to break even or record losses.

Such Apple results are a drastic increase from the 65% recorded on Q1 2014. Thus, the company plans to make a record number of new iPhones while Samsung braces itself for disappointing results, HTC reports quarterly losses and Microsoft writes down 80% of the value of the Nokia mobile device business.

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Monster Loses "Made for iPhone" License

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Monster Loses

Monster learns the consequences of going against Apple-- the Wall Street Journal reports Apple has pulled Made for iPhone (MFi) certification from Monster's range of Lightning charging cables and headphones.

The reason? Monster says it is retribution for a January 2015 lawsuit filed against the Apple-owned Beats accusing Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine of defrauding and "betraying" Monster CEO Noel Lee when the two companies parted ways in 2011.

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Samsung Boosts Tizen

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Samsung Boosts Tizen

Under increasing pressure from Android-based smartphone vendors, especially in China, Samsung is rumoured to be increasing its range of Tizen-based phones in an apparent attempt to take greater control of its platform.

Samsung was the only major smartphone vendor to experience declines in YoY shipments in Q1 2015, with IDC reporting a drop of 7%, from 88.5 to 82.4 million. This decline can be partly attributed to Apple, and the strength of its iPhone 6 launch and momentum, and partly to the plethora of Android-based phones from other vendors, in particular from China. These include Lenovo (now boosted by its acquisition of Motorola), Huawei and Xiaomi, as well as a growing number of strong regional players, such as India’s Micromax.

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