MacBook Pro Is Being Rejected

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, April 26, 2017 | | 0 comments »

MacBook Pro and Tim Cook
The year may have not started well with Apple in its foray into the world of desktop and portable computers.

The annual survey by Laptop Mag has given Apple the top spot every year as the best laptop brand since 2010. Except this year. For its 2017 survey, Apple has plummeted down the charts to fifth place alongside Acer but behind Lenovo, Asus, Dell and HP.

From Laptop Mag’s editors:

"To pick the winners, losers and also-rans, we evaluated the 10 biggest laptop brands to determine which offer the best combination of quality products, cutting-edge innovation, helpful support, sleek designs and strong value. Because of its modest review scores, expensive products and lack of ports, Apple fell all the way down to fifth place after receiving top honors every year since the Best and Worst Brands debuted in 2010."
Notably, Apple’s lowest scoring category was 'Value and Selection'.

According to Ewan Spence, a Forbes magazine contributor, he doesn't think the issue is with selection. For many years Apple has focused on providing a 'good, better, best' portfolio with a limited number of machines and options. This has served them well and Spence thinks that the consumer market understands the principle.

It's the loss in the value one that will hurt the most inside Cupertino. Apple has always pushed the idea that an investment in a MacBook will provide a return over the lifetime of the device, but this latest releases in the MacBook range - including the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar - have broken that covenant.

Part of this could be down to the resetting of the MacBook cycle. Apple’s newly introduced hardware tends to start at a high price and as the years pass, and the component price drops thanks to Moore’s Law, the price tag drops. The Touch Bar enabled machines have to come in with the bar set very high to allow for the price to drop in the future and still maintain Apple’s high margin - a sound strategy but one that requires a very high initial price.

Unfortunately the 2016 refresh of the MacBook range did not add a huge amount of feature or functionality to the range to go along with the new price. Yes, the Touch Bar was added, but only to the top end models. The Bar creates a secondary interface on these machines but at the cost of removing the function keys. Developers cannot assume that a macOS machine running their code will have the Touch Bar, so anything in the Bar needs to be available in another part of the interface.

Apple also has to contend with the other laptop manufacturers coming to terms with the high-end market and bringing out designs that not only match, but surpass Apple’s choices with the MacBook range. HP’s Spectre 13 offers the thin and ultraportable experience that rivals the MacBook and MacBook Air, the hacker can pick up Linux machines like the Orion that work off the shelf and the gaming community (not particularly well served by Apple) has a mix of gaming laptops from the mainstream manufacturers and companies such as Razer.

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Ultrafast Dryer
For those who are planning to go into the laundry business, but find the waiting time tedious, there is a new invention just for you.

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have developed a dryer that could make doing laundry much quicker. Called the ultrasonic dryer, it's expected to be up to five times more energy efficient than most conventional dryers and able dry a large load of clothes in about half the time.

Instead of using heat the way most dryers do, the ultrasonic dryer relies on high-frequency vibrations. Devices called green transducers convert electricity into vibrations, shaking the water from clothes. The scientists say that this method will allow a medium load of laundry to dry in 20 minutes, which is significantly less time than the average 50 minutes it takes in many heat-based machines.

Americans spend a total of $9 billion each year — up to 4 percent of America's total residential energy use — on electricity to power dryers. If the ultrasonic dryer becomes commercially available, it could therefore save energy and money.

The drying technology also leaves less lint behind than normal dryers do, since the majority of lint is created when the hot air stream blows tiny fibers off of clothing. Drying clothes without heat also reduces the chance that their colors will fade.

The team has been working with General Electric and the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop the ultrasonic drying technology, a process that has thus far taken two years. The DOE has devoted US$ 880,000 in funding toward the project.

As of now, the researchers have created a working prototype, but the dryer won't hit the commercial market for at least a couple of years.

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Don't Blink ... Apple Stock Could Go Up

Posted by Kirhat | Monday, April 24, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Apple Stocks
Shares of Apple's stock may be near all-time highs right now, but don't be tempted to sell because Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi - typically an Apple skeptic - said it could go higher.

Sacconaghi hiked his price target on Apple shares to US$ 160 and reiterated his overweight rating last 21 March, according to FactSet. That's about 14 percent over Apple's US$ 140.50 price on the same day, just shy its all-time intraday high.

"We think the iPhone 8 cycle will be significant," Sacconaghi said on CNBC's " Fast Money: Halftime Report."

"We believe that users have been holding off — that the last two products have been relatively incremental and evolutionary, and that the iPhone 8 will be a significant form factor change."

Sacconaghi has said Apple's best days are behind it, and that it's unclear whether it will be a growth company in five years. But on Tuesday, Sacconaghi said Apple's stock is relatively cheap by some of Wall Street's measures.

Plus, he added, Apple is poised to benefit "significantly" from potential changes in the laws for bringing back foreign cash. Though Apple has long had a mountain of cash on hand, investors now see it as more valuable, Sacconaghi said.

"Apple might use repatriated cash to do a large buyback," Sacconaghi said. "I think Apple's instinct would be to bring it all back."

Apple announced a new app, Clips, that offers video filters similar to Instagram and Snapchat. While Snapchat plays in augmented reality, Apple's revenue opportunity in AR may look more like "Pokemon Go," Sacconaghi said.

"I certainly see it as an opportunity. I don't know if it is ultimately Apple's biggest opportunity," Sacconaghi said. "But what we could have with augmented reality is much more significant and immersive experiences, particularly in gaming. And what we've seen from Apple is the dominant driver of App Store growth — which has been significant and has very high margins — has been in gaming."

Still, Sacconaghi said Apple will need to continue adding new products to remain relevant. Despite raising his price target, Sacconaghi knocked 10 cents off his estimates for the March quarter, according to FactSet.

"Anything that increases the utility of a device, or can create the need for an upgrade, is positive for Apple," Sacconaghi said. "But longer term, I think Apple's fortunes are really going to be predicated on its ability to deliver products and services beyond the current portfolio."

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iPhone 8 Will Look Like Apple Watch?

Posted by Kirhat | Saturday, April 22, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Mac Otakara
Mike Wehner of BGR recognizes that the iPhone 8 — or whatever it ends up being called — will undoubtedly be the most hotly-anticipated smartphone of all time. This makes sense considering it'll be the tenth anniversary device in the most popular line of smartphones on the planet.

Pretty much the only thing many don’t really know about the device at this point is exactly what it will look like. Now, a new rumor out of Japanese Apple blog Mac Otakara suggests that Apple may have drawn design inspiration for its next smartphone from a rather unlikely source: the Apple Watch.

According to the site, the "iPhone Edition," which is one of several currently rumored names for the mythical iPhone 8, will feature a rounded metal frame made from a polished stainless steel akin to that of the mid-tier Apple Watch. The steel enclosure would be "sandwiched between glass plates," on the front and rear of the device, with the Touch ID sensor hidden underneath a section of the front display (this was disputed though).

The rumored design specs also support the theory that Apple will launch the iPhone 8 with dual cameras positioned vertically, and that those cameras will give the smartphone the ability to "take VR shots," though it’s also entirely possible the camera system exists with augmented reality in mind.

Mac Otakara claims to have gotten ahold of the iPhone designs thanks to the documents progressing through the engineering and design verification testing process, though as always these things should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

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Apple's iPhone Is Helping Some Companies Stay Afloat

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, April 20, 2017 | | 0 comments »

It cannot be denied that Apple was very successful with the iPhone. Nobody can overstate that more.

With over 1 billion iPhones sold over the last 9 years, Apple’s iconic smartphone not only revolutionized the way the world uses technology, it also helped transform Apple into one of the most influential and successful companies on the planet.

Along the way, the success Apple saw with the iPhone proved to be an absolute goldmine for an array of companies who happened to manufacture and supply integral components for the device. So while the iPhone helped some companies achieve record-breaking profits, relying too heavily on Apple is not without its fair share of risk, something which Imagination Technologies recently learned when its stock plummeted nearly 70 percent after Apple informed the company of its plan to design a brand new GPU architecture all by itself.

More recently, shares of Dialog Semiconductor fell by more than 30% amid reports that Apple might be interested in developing power management chips in-house.

All that said, Statista recently put together a fascinating chart which maps out which companies have businesses that rely primarily on their partnership with Apple.

"As our chart illustrates, many companies from different fields have their relationship with Apple to thank for more than 50 percent of their annual revenue. Relying on a single customer in such a way poses a big risk, which is why Apple’s publicly-listed suppliers often trade at lower multiples than similar companies with a more diverse customer base. It also puts Apple in a position of power in contract negotiations, where the iPhone maker can use its leverage to dictate terms and conditions."
As evidenced in the diagram, Dialog Semiconductor has reason to be paranoid at the slightest hint that Apple might be interested in designing its own power management chips. Still, it’s not as if every company on this chart has reason to worry.

It is not as if Apple has any plans or even interest in supplanting Foxconn as an iPhone manufacturer. Additionally, a recent analyst report noted that Apple similarly has no interest in trying to develop its own audio chips and, in the process, kick Cirrus Logic to the curve.

All in all, the chart above helps illustrate just how impactful the iPhone is across all spheres of the tech industry. And while Apple can help boost a company’s profits with a lucrative iPhone contract, it also has the power to pull the rug out from underneath those same company’s at a moment’s notice.

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Apple Is Neglecting Some of Its Products

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, April 19, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Apple's Neglect
Apple has let its most powerful and expensive Mac go 1,202 days without an update, then, early this month, Apple (AAPL) picked Tuesday to enlighten potential Mac Pro buyers about the future of its flagship desktop computer.

The Mac Pro will not, in fact, stay frozen in its late-2013 incarnation. Sometime after this year, Apple will finally ship a completely rebuilt version of the desktop. What’s more, the company’s iMac, which has gone 539 days without a refresh, will also see an update later this year.

Apple even said it was sorry for leaving its customers wondering if the Mac Pro had a future. But this gesture at transparency doesn't mean Apple will now be as public with its product road maps as, say, its environmental efforts. This company — like many others in the tech business — remains deeply devoted to parceling out information about its hardware on its own terms, as frustrating as that can be for its customers.

As Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber, TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, Mashable's Lance Ulanoff, Axios's Ina Fried, and BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski separately wrote after attending a Monday briefing near Apple’s headquarters, a reborn Mac Pro will sacrifice the current model’s titanium-trash-can style in favor of a design that eases storage and processing upgrades.

As an interim step, Apple has bumped up the specifications on the existing model and offered an uncharacteristic apology to customers.

"If we’ve had a pause in upgrades and updates on that, we’re sorry for that," Panzarino quoted Apple marketing vice president Phil Schiller.

The iMac, meanwhile, will get a less comprehensive update than the Mac Pro later this year. The five writers had fewer details to share about that desktop, aside from the hint that Apple will offer models geared toward professional users.

Apple's all-in-one iMac is also getting a refresh. Schiller also revealed that desktops still make up 20 percent of Apple's computer sales — a data point Apple last seems to have shared in 2012, when desktops held a 25 percent share.

There's still no word on Apple’s two other neglected computer lines — the MacBook Air, which has now gone 758 days without an update, and Mac mini, now neglected for 902 days.

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