First Batch of iPhone X Shipped Out From China

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, October 20, 2017 | | 0 comments »

iPhone X
There will be a few lucky buyers who will get their iPhone X on 3 November when the handset is set to launch in initial markets. The rest will have to wait weeks or even months to have one shipped to their door.

A new report says that Foxconn has started shipping the iPhone X, but only 46,500 units are included in this first batch that was just shipped out.

Quoting Chinese language site, Digitimes offered the supposed shipping details, saying this first batch is being shipped out from Zhengzhou and Shanghai to the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. The report is in line with recent stories that said Apple is still dealing with various yield issues concerning the TrueDepth camera, with the Face ID component proving to be a major bottleneck in the manufacturing process.

Digitimes also quotes the Chinese Commercial Times, which says the iPhone X will be the most difficult smartphone to find this year.

Foxconn has apparently ramped up iPhone X production from 100,000 units a week to 400,000 units a week, but that’s still not enough to meet demand. Given these numbers, it'll be interesting to see how many units Apple can sell in 2017.

Ming-Chi Kuo said recently that iPhone X shipments are likely to reach 30 million to 35 million units by the end of the year. But can Apple manufacture that many? If this latest report out of China is accurate, things aren’t looking good for the time being.

iPhone X preorders start on 27 October, and the phone will be released the following week on 3 November.

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Russia Will Soon Launch CryptoRuble

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, October 19, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Russia was reported to issue its own official cryptocurrency, the CryptoRuble, capping months of speculation about the country's approach to the technology. While in a way it indicates an embrace of the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the CryptoRuble is unlikely to share the truly decentralized nature of other coins.

The news, first reported by CoinTelegraph, cites local news reports, which in turn cite Nikolay Nikiforov, the Russian government's minister of communications.

Reports this summer suggested the country was looking into creating its own cryptocurrency, though the administration has also taken a hard line on other coins, calling them illegitimate replacements for the official currency.

Details are scarce, but according to the reports, the CryptoRuble cannot be mined, but will be issued and tracked by the government like ordinary currency. That does away with one of the primary draws of cryptocurrencies, of course: some would say that the entire point of something like Bitcoin is to free commerce from the fetters of government-run fiat currencies.

The CryptoRuble does appear to be blockchain-based, however, which gives it at least a veneer of decentralization and could help prevent things like online fraud. Rubles and CryptoRubles will be able to be freely exchanged, though how exactly is unknown — an official exchange seems likely, but unofficial markets are inevitable.

The idea is to stimulate the online economy in a way that doesn't rely on foreign money markets or third party transaction brokers, and allows the government to closely regulate and track it. Nikiforov also reportedly said that if Russia didn't do it, European authorities might beat them to the punch.

Upon exchange, CryptoRubles will reportedly require some kind of proof of origin, such as a documented retail transaction or service rendered. Obviously this is to deter money laundering and currency manipulation; however, because the government doesn't want to put a full stop to those popular activities, undocumented CryptoRubles will simply be exchanged with a 13 percent tax.

This tax will also be applied to any appreciation in value, although it's unclear how or if the coin will be tied to the fiat currency.

One might take this as the government tacitly encouraging and profiting from speculation and money laundering — but at the same time, it's a realistic way to keep the marketplace from devolving into a total melee. Crypto enthusiasts are unlikely to relish the idea of the Russian regime skimming off the top of a marketplace, but for now that seems to be the price to participate in what could be a major online economy.

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Will Apple Pay VirnetX $500 Milion?

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | | 0 comments »

VirnetX vs Apple
VirnetX's seemingly non-stop FaceTime patent lawsuit against Apple is almost over ... sort of. An Eastern District of Texas court has denied all of Apple's motions to end the case in a non-infringement ruling or retrial, leaving the tech giant with a final judgment that orders it to pay VirnetX US$ 439.7 million.

That's much more than the US$ 302.4 million Apple was told to pay last year. VirnetX, widely considered a patent troll, is unsurprisingly "elated" at having won its third jury battle against Apple. However, it can't really rest on its laurels -- that judgment isn't as final as it seems at first blush.

To begin with, Apple tells TechCrunch that it plans to appeal the final judgment. And it's no small matter that the USPTO has already invalidated all of VirnetX's patents. That doesn't stop the ongoing case, but the invalidation kicks in the moment all appeals have been exhausted. If Apple has better luck in court, VirnetX won't get a second shot - and it can't wield those patents in new lawsuits regardless of what happens with Apple.

The judgment could still raise concerns for companies affected by other VirnetX-held patents, as it might set a higher bar for payouts in future cases. Microsoft 'only' had to pay US$ 200 million, for example. However, VirnetX may have more trouble winning lawsuits going forward.

A Supreme Court ruling in May forced companies to sue in places where they're either based or do a large chunk of their business, preventing companies from cherry-picking court districts that tend to favor trolls (such as the Eastern District of Texas). While this doesn't rule out future VirnetX victories, the firm will likely face a slower legal process and courts that aren't quite so receptive to its demands.

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Microsoft Now Owns GE's Newest Irish Wind Farm

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, October 17, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Wind Farm
tech giant Microsoft signed an agreement with GE last 10 October to purchase every last bit of the wind energy from GE's brand-new 37-megawatt Tullahennel wind farm located in County Kerry, Ireland for the next 15 years.

This is a big deal on several levels. First of all, it means Microsoft will be using a clean energy source to power at least some of its cloud data centers in Ireland. That will likely result in a lower energy bill for Microsoft, while reducing the pollution related to running cloud services.

But this could have an impact beyond the data centers as Microsoft and GE are working on a battery technology that captures excess energy from each wind turbine. If there is excess capacity captured by this method, Microsoft and GE could give it back to the Irish energy grid.

Christian Belady, general manager, Datacenter Strategy at Microsoft says this is a continuation of the relationships Microsoft has built up in Ireland, and the agreement could bring multiple winners. "Our commitment will help bring new, clean energy to the Irish grid, and contains innovative elements that have the potential to grow the capacity, reliability and capability of the grid. This will make it easier to incorporate new clean power sources like wind energy, and that is good for the environment, for Ireland and for our company," he said in a statement.

One of the things about cloud computing is that there has always been a perception that it could be greener than other forms computing, but the fact is that really depends on the energy source. In recent years as the biggest companies from Apple to Facebook to Google to Microsoft have built new data centers, they have built them with energy efficiency in mind.

As an example, Apple signed an US$ 850 million agreement in 2015 to purchase 130 megawatts of solar power over the next 25 years. When Facebook was designing its data center in Prineville, Oregon, even back in 2011 it was thinking about energy efficiency.

It would be nice to think this is about some of the biggest companies being good corporate citizens, and that could be part of it, but the reality is that it's in their best economic interest to build green data centers that cost less to run. If they produce a smaller carbon footprint in the process, it's a happy outcome.

Microsoft's announcement today represents just a fraction of the company's 600 megawatt clean energy procurement worldwide.

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Wells Fargo ATMs Support Card-Free Access

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, October 13, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Wells Fargo ATM
International bank Wells Fargon is upgrading its ATMs. The bank announced tlast 12 October that more than 40 percent - or over 5,000 of its ATMs - will now allow customers to perform transactions without having to pull out their bank card.

Fron now on, users can take advantage of NFC - aka the "tap and pay" technology that powers mobile wallet systems like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, as well as Wells Fargo's own Wallet for Android app.

The bank had previously announced its plans to allow contactless ATM transactions earlier this year, but it initially rolled out one-time access code technology to allow for ATM access without a physical bank card. This worked in conjunction with the Wells Fargo Mobile Banking app, making Wells Fargo the first large U.S. bank to have a fleet of card-free ATMs, the company notes today.

That access code technology proved popular enough after its introduction this spring. Wells Fargo says it has seen nearly 3 million card-free transactions to date, thanks to its addition.

Now, customers can initiate an NFC-based ATM transaction instead by holding their phone or a wearable device (like an Apple Watch) near the ATM terminal.

The NFC-ready ATMs will have a "contactless symbol" decal on the front, so you'll know if the feature is supported. Then, customers will enter their PIN code as usual and complete their transaction.

With the launch of NFC-enabled transactions, the number of card-free transactions is likely to grow by quite a bit. Consumers today are already familiar with how tap-and-pay works thanks to NFC-based point-of-sale systems at checkout. Plus, mobile payments adoption may have also gotten a boost in the wake of the switchover to chip-and-PIN credit cards in the U.S., where these new chip card transactions often take much longer to process than the traditional swipe ever did. That makes mobile payments even more appealing.

Because mobile payments is already understood by many of Wells Fargo's over 20 million mobile banking and mobile wallet customers, few will need much education as to how to take advantage of the NFC-enabled ATMs.

The bank says it plans to upgrade the remaining 8,000 or so ATMs by next year to support NFC transactions.

Wells Fargo isn't the only bank prepping its systems for the contactless future. Bank of America also last year began offering NFC transactions at its ATMs, and Chase announced its plans here as well.

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Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" Goes To Apple

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, October 12, 2017 | | 0 comments »

Apple is now in the final stages of finalizing a deal to make 10 new episodes of Steven Spielberg's 1980s science fiction anthology series "Amazing Stories." This will give the tech giant a premiere Hollywood talent for its plunge into original TV programming, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.

The series would be produced for Apple by Spielberg's Amblin Television and Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal television production unit. "Amazing Stories" originally ran on the NBC broadcast network.

"We love being at the forefront of Apple's investment in scripted programming," NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said in a statement about the show's planned revival.

The deal is the first to be made public since Apple hired veteran Sony executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg in June to expand the iPhone maker's push into original programming, a field crowded with streaming services and traditional networks.

It is unclear how people will be able to watch "Amazing Stories" or when it will debut. Apple has not divulged if it will put its own TV series in the iTunes Store, where it sells shows made by other companies, or on another platform.

The deal with Spielberg fits with a strategy Apple executives have outlined in meetings with Hollywood executives. Apple has emphasized in the discussions that it wants prestigious programming and to work with A-list actors, producers and writers, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans.

The company already has placed bids on other projects, including for a comedy series about morning television starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, sources said.

"They are looking for really high-end premium stuff they feel is creatively in line with the Apple brand," one source said of Apple's strategy.

The technology company is competing with several established players that have hooked big name stars, such as Netflix and Time Warner's HBO, plus newer entrants like Facebook.

Apple has committed US$ 1 billion to start its programming push, the sources said. Netflix, by comparison, says it will spend up to US$ 7 billion on content next year.

The budget for "Amazing Stories" will be more than US$ 5 million per episode, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported that Apple had reached a deal for the series.

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