Vendor News

Apple Sells 1 Billion iPhones

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Apple Sells 1 Billion iPhones

Apple loves big numbers, and a recent employee meeting had it reveal a pretty big iPhone-related one-- iPhone sales have officially reached the 1 billion milestone.

"iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It's become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day," Apple CEO Tim Cook says. “Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day."

The announcement comes 9 years after the revelation of the first iPhone, and almost 5 years the death of the late, great Steve Jobs. It also comes at a perhaps not-so-great time for the smartphone, as fiscal Q3 2016 sees iPhone reach a historic low of 40.4 million, a -15% Y-o-Y decline from the 47.54m sold the previous year.

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Apple's Latest Money Maker: Pokémon Go

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Apple's Latest Money Maker: Pokémon Go

Nintendo and Niantic are not the only two companies profiting from the global craze that's Pokémon Go-- Apple also stands to rake in the billions from the the augmented reality game, brokerage Needham & Co says.

How come? The game is available for free from the App Store, but offers players a chance to purchase additional boosts and features through "PokéCoins," a virtual currency exchanged for very real money. The exchange rate stands at ?€0.90 for 100 PokéCoins, but can go up as much as ?€91.17 for a bundle of 14500.

The result, analyst Laura Martin says, is if Apple keeps 30% of PokéCoin transactions held through iDevices it stands to see an App Store revenue windfall of up to $3 billion.

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Apple Researches Better Cameras in France

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Apple Researches Better Cameras in France

French newspaper Dauphiné Libéré reports Apple is opening a research laboratory in Grenoble, France-- one with the aim to build better imaging technologies for iDevices.

The company already has a team of over a dozen researchers and engineers working in imaging R&D at the Minatec European research sensor. However, the new laboratory in Grenoble will allow it to increase researcher numbers, as well as offer specialised sensor development equipment.

The site reportedly spans 800 square metres and will host around 30 engineers as part of a collaboration with STMicroelectronics.

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Italy Gets iOS Developer Academy

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Italy Gets iOS Developer Academy

Apple will open the first iOS Developer Academy in Naples, Italy on October 2016, at the new campus of the University of Naples Federico II.

"We are thrilled to be working with University of Naples Federico II to launch the first iOS Developer Academy in Europe," Apple CFO Luca Maestri says. "Some of the most creative developers in the world come from Europe, and we are confident this center will help the next generation get the skills they need for success."

During the first year the academy will offer a 9-month course complete with both practical skills and app development training based on an Apple-penned curriculum. It is currently looking for both students and teaching staff.

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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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