Posts tagged with "apple"

Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Keep Search Bar on iPhone

Joel Rosenblatt, reporting for Bloomberg:

Google Inc. is paying Apple Inc. a hefty fee to keep its search bar on the iPhone.

Apple received $1 billion from its rival in 2014, according to a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle Corp.’s copyright lawsuit against Google. The search engine giant has an agreement with Apple that gives the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue Google generates through the Apple device, an attorney for Oracle said at a Jan. 14 hearing in federal court.

It's not surprising at all that Google is paying Apple for the benefit of being the default search engine on iOS, but this is the first time it has been confirmed, and a dollar figure provided. But it is also an awkward revelation for Apple, which has recently started to more aggressively position itself as the company that protects its user's privacy. Remember Tim Cook's note on "Apple's commitment to your privacy"?

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

Apple's subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) privacy dig at Google looks a bit absurd and hypocritical in light of this court transcript. Apple may not build a profile on its users to sell to advertisers, but it lets Google do that (by default) and then profits from Google's actions.

Unsurprisingly, Google and Apple weren't happy about the disclosure by an Oracle attorney and sought to seal and redact the transcript. As Bloomberg reports;

The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple,” Google said in its Jan. 20 filing. “Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”

The transcript vanished without a trace from electronic court records at about 3 p.m. Pacific standard time with no indication that the court ruled on Google’s request to seal it.


Apple Opening Europe’s First iOS App Development Center in Naples, Italy

Interesting announcement from Apple this morning: the company will open the first iOS App Development Center in Europe – the second globally, as noted by VentureBeat – in Naples, Italy:

Apple today announced the creation of Europe’s first iOS App Development Center in Italy, to give students practical skills and training on developing iOS apps for the world’s most innovative and vibrant app ecosystem.

The iOS App Development Center, to be located at a partner institution in Naples, will support teachers and provide a specialized curriculum preparing thousands of future developers to be part of Apple’s thriving developer community. In addition, Apple will work with partners around Italy who deliver developer training to complement this curriculum and create additional opportunities for students. Apple expects to expand this program to other countries around the world.

Details are scarce at this point, but according to Repubblica, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi lauded Apple's commitment to innovation for "over 600 people" (a figure only Renzi shared) and announced he is going meet with Tim Cook tomorrow to discuss the initiative.


Apple Acquires AI Company Emotient

The Wall Street Journal, reporting on Apple's latest acquisition of AI company Emotient (confirmed by Apple):

Apple Inc. has purchased Emotient Inc., a startup that uses artificial-intelligence technology to read people’s emotions by analyzing facial expressions.

It isn’t clear what Apple plans to do with Emotient’s technology, which was primarily sold to advertisers to help assess viewer reactions to their ads. Doctors also have tested it to interpret signs of pain among patients unable to express themselves, and a retailer used it to monitor shoppers’ facial expressions in store aisles, the company had said.

As I argued in a section of my iOS 9 review last year, my experience with Apple services is that, when it comes to intelligence, they've consistently been less proactive and slower than Google's. Two examples: I can search for photos by subject in Google Photos, and the Google mobile app sends me time to leave alerts that actually make sense.

The differences in intelligence between Google and Apple come with separate sets of trade-offs. The question for Apple should be: are there more ways to leverage AI to provide useful services while still prioritizing user privacy? How can Siri and iOS' Intelligence features expand without comprising on Apple's vision? Is that even possible without having to rely on cloud-based deep learning for user data in the long term? Is Apple considering new approaches that are somewhat in the middle?

It's from such standpoint that I consider Apple's AI acquisitions (Perceptio, VocallQ, and now Emotient), and it'll be interesting to see what iOS 10 holds in this area.


Apple Names Jeff Williams Chief Operating Officer, Phil Schiller Adds App Store Responsibilities

This morning, Apple announced some major changes to its executive team:

Apple today announced that Jeff Williams has been named chief operating officer and Johny Srouji is joining Apple’s executive team as senior vice president for Hardware Technologies. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, will expand his role to include leadership of the revolutionary App Store across all Apple platforms. Apple also announced that Tor Myhren will join Apple in the first calendar quarter of 2016 as vice president of Marketing Communications, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Jeff Williams has been with the company since 1998 and has overseen the entire supply chain since 2010. Johny Srouji joined Apple in 2008 to lead the development of the A4, the company's first system on a chip.

Also of note, Phil Schiller is now taking additional responsibilities for the App Store:

Cook continued, “In addition, Phil is taking on new responsibilities for advancing our ecosystem, led by the App Store, which has grown from a single, groundbreaking iOS store into four powerful platforms and an increasingly important part of our business. And I’m incredibly happy to welcome Tor Myhren, who will bring his creative talents to our advertising and marcom functions.”


With added responsibility for the App Store, Phil Schiller will focus on strategies to extend the ecosystem Apple customers have come to love when using their iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Phil now leads nearly all developer-related functions at Apple, in addition to his other marketing responsibilities including Worldwide Product Marketing, international marketing, education and business marketing. More than 11 million developers around the world create apps for Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — as well as compatible hardware and other accessories, and customers have downloaded more than 100 billion apps across those platforms.

The App Store has long been criticized by the developer community for lacking proper accountability and a public figure in charge of the platform. It'll be interesting to see how the App Store platforms will evolve and adapt following Schiller's extended role.


A Transcript of Apple’s Q4 2015 Earnings Call

Serenity Caldwell and Jason Snell, writing for iMore, have already put together a transcript of Apple's Q4 2015 earnings call. This is where you want to go to get all the details shared by Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri earlier today, such as this tidbit on the iPhone Upgrade Program:

Rod: On the Upgrade Program, can you envision a time ever, maybe in the U.S. or elsewhere, where you would not have to come into an Apple Store to take advantage of the upgrade? You might be able to do that somewhere else?

Tim: That's a really good question. We actually solved that problem back in 2007, but then quickly had to change it in order to scale in a major way. And so that is something that we is always in our mind, that one day from a customer experience point of view, we would like to make things as easy as possible for the customer. And to some degree, you can already do that with buying online. But there are many different plans and so forth that people buy that they have to come in for. Yes, over time we'd love to have that automated, working with our partners with service providers.


Apple Q4 2015 Results: $51.5 Billion Revenue, 48 Million iPhones, 9.8 Million iPads Sold

Apple has just published their financial results for Q4 2015, which covered the three months from July to September 2015. The company posted revenue of $51.5 billion. The company sold 9.8 million iPads, 48 million iPhones, and 5.7 million Macs, earning a quarterly net profit of $11.1 billion.

“Fiscal 2015 was Apple’s most successful year ever, with revenue growing 28% to nearly $234 billion. This continued success is the result of our commitment to making the best, most innovative products on earth, and it’s a testament to the tremendous execution by our teams,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are heading into the holidays with our strongest product lineup yet, including iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple Watch with an expanded lineup of cases and bands, the new iPad Pro and the all-new Apple TV which begins shipping this week.”

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Christina Warren Interviews Jony Ive

Mashable's Christina Warren sat down with Jony Ive, Vogue's Anna Wintour, and Costume Institute Curator Andrew Bolton earlier this week to discuss fashion in the age of technology, Apple Watch, and more. From the interview:

Ive made an interesting observation about form and function. "What I've noticed is if something works but emotionally you don't feel a connection — it's ugly — you'll use it, but you'll use it begrudgingly and you'll change at the first opportunity and you'll build no relationship with the brand or the people behind it. And so you really have to be successful in both."

Last week, Apple announced they will sponsor the 2016 'Fashion in an Age of Technology' Met Gala.


Apple Opens @AppleMusicHelp Twitter Account to Answer Support Questions

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9to5Mac:

Apple is continuing to expand its presence on social media services, today launching a brand new @AppleMusicHelp Twitter account to answer queries and support questions live over Twitter related to its Apple Music service. The account is manned each day of the week from 6 AM – 8 PM Pacific Time. Apple representatives will watch the account’s mentions timeline and try to help resolve people’s problems.

Good to see Apple valuing Twitter as a fast and efficient support system. There's something to be said about the simplicity of asking a support question via Twitter versus opening a ticket or sending an email.


iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Opening Weekend Sales Hit a Record 13 Million

Apple announced this morning that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has sold more than 13 million units over its opening weekend. The new iPhone went on sale last Friday in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the UK.

“Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can’t wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on October 9.”

13 million units sold over the opening weekend is a new record for iPhone sales. Last year Apple sold 10 million units of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, whilst in 2013 Apple sold 9 million units of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. In fact, Apple has consistently beaten their opening weekend iPhone sales every single year.

Second Wave of iPhone 6s Launch Countries Announced

Apple also announced today that the second wave of iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus launch countries will get the device on October 9 and 10. Over those two days, the new iPhones will launch in 42 countries in this second wave, including Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Taiwan.

The full list of countries:

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will roll out worldwide to more than 40 additional countries and territories beginning October 9 including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan. On October 10, countries include Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

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