Apple increases iPhone, iPad prices in Germany over new content levy

Apple increases iPhone, iPad prices in Germany over new content levy

Apple raised the prices for hand-held devices in Germany at the start of the year, following a deal between the tech industry and content producers that will benefit a range of creative professionals including musicians, actors and pornographic filmmakers.

The Cupertino, California-based company confirmed in a statement Sunday to The Associated Press that the price increase affecting iPhones and iPads is linked to the new copyright levy.

Apple Inc., Samsung and others agreed last month to pay about 5-7 euros ($5.50-$7.70) for each smartphone or tablet imported to Germany. A basic version of iPhone 6s now retails for 744.95 euros ($811.03), compared with 739 euros last year.

The agreement matches similar arrangements already in place for other consumer electronics and consumables such as blank CDs. It is based on a 1965 German law that allows consumers to make private copies of sound, images or texts in return for a small surcharge when they buy the device.

Markus Scheufele, a copyright expert at the tech industry lobby group Bitkom, said the deal includes back payments for phones sold after 2008, and tablets sold after 2012.

In the long term, the industry wants to move away from adding a fixed surcharge on devices to subscription services and pay-per-use models, where consumers only pay for what they actually download, he said.

But Juergen Becker, a spokesman for the umbrella organization ZPUe that negotiated the deal on behalf of content producers, said past experience had shown that consumers would always find ways to copy material for free, without paying for it, making the up-front surcharge on devices fairer.

All forms of content are covered by the deal, meaning that proceeds from the new levy will also be shared with a group representing “creators, producers and acting artists of erotic and pornographic films.”

“Since it’s assumed that these are copied too, they get a share,” Becker said.

Apple iPhone’s App Store running slow? This simple fix could help you out

Apple iPhone’s App Store running slow? This simple fix could help you out

While Apple has been innovating rigorously in the past year in terms of software, it indeed seems to be ignoring issues like stability and performance and this even applies to its recent line up of devices. Users are also facing problems with Apple’s App Store in terms of browsing speeds and downloads, and this is where a quick fix that we came across onAppAdvice could help.

The author claims that opening the App Store on your iPad or iPhone and tapping any of the bottom icons (Featured, Top Charts, Explore, Search, Updates) ten times will clear the App Store’s cache that will speed up your browsing experience.

Apple App Store Quick Fix 1

Tapping any of the icons on the bottom row 10 times will clear the cash and this is indicated when the top bit of the Store goes blank as you can see from the screenshot below.

Apple App Store Quick Fix 2

We tried the trick out for our selves and we did notice a slight speed bump in terms of the browsing speeds. But don’t take our word for it, try it out yourselves and let us know if you noticed any improvements in the comments below.

In an update, the author also pointed out that the quick-fix works with the iTunes Store and the Watch App Store as well.

Apple iPhone sales to crash in 2016, says analyst; but Apple could easily prove it wrong

Apple iPhone sales to crash in 2016, says analyst; but Apple could easily prove it wrong

Apple’s long profitable ride is expected to hit a speed breaker. A drop for the first time as much as six percent, said analyst Katy Huberty in a research note over at Morgan Stanley that has now turned into the talk of the tech town.

This prediction isn’t surprising given that iPad sales saw a dip for the first time, lack of new innovation (read Apple Watch) and the fact that the company’s record-breaking cash registers are ticking owing to iPhones. Huberty believes that iPhones will see 218 million sales mark in 2016 which is a 5.7 percent decline.

Getting to figures, the year 2015 ending September, Apple recorded iPhone sales of 231.11 million units that was up by 34 percent compared to 2014. Despite the upward trend so far, the analyst believes the iPhone sales may not be stronger, owing to saturation in international markets, the 2-year upgrade cycle normally seen with Apple users coupled with Apple’s revelation about 30 percent Android switchers (the largest ever) for last year. Well, the points are valid, but this may not necessarily mean Apple’s upswing days are numbered.

Along with its premium, cutting-edge products, there’s ‘one more thing’ that gives Apple an edge over competitors – a loyal fan-following. So, the brighter side is Apple doesn’t have to worry about attrition or retaining costumers, and rather focus on adding more numbers to this loyal list. As Huberty points out saturating markets is the prime concern, but the company knows it better than all of us.

Firstpost-iPhone-5s-size-comparison-6s-6s-plus

Apple has swiftly moved from launching one model to two, and likely to launch three models of the iPhone in 2016. The expanding portfolio of iPhone clearly reveals that the company is poised to take its money minting iPhone to different price segments.

Unlike others, Apple hasn’t tapped on the potential of emerging markets like India. The company failed at building the cheaper iPhone 5c and the latest iPhone 6s models didn’t really take off due to sky rocketing prices. The company rather realise that India is a large market but an emerging one that swears by ‘value for money’ devices. By value for money, we don’t mean cheap and the fact that iPhone 5s was received better than the 5c will vouch for it. The company is playing along a similar game of keeping the prices for latest device high and slashing the prices of the older products. For instance, the iPhone 5s recently got a massive price cut, but is it really worth the buy? This would remind some of us about how the iPhone 4s was considered the best selling Apple device in India even after generation of leaps.

With the new device that is reportedly set for March launch, the company could possibly change this. The company’s alleged iPhone 7c – a mix of the iPhone 5s, 5c and 6s – will be positioned as a budget device and the company is likely to ship between 20 million and 30 million units by the end of the year, according to the chatter online. It is said to feature a 2.5D screen, along with a A9 processor, paired with 2GB RAM and dipped in gold, silver and black colour variants. If priced well, the company could reach out to the mid-rangers who will be willing to make the much required switch as Apple is considered a status symbol here.

Besides, the company has been gung-ho about the China market and over the time has learnt to not treat India as a trash bin. In the past we’ve seen Apple introduce buybacks, aggressive advertisements and more. In fact, it surpassed the 1 billion mark in India, wherein it doesn’t enjoy a good market share. Apple has become more flexible and open in the last couple of years. It has learnt to adopt and re-strategise, putting behind some stringent statements it made in the past. If the iPhone is driving force for revenue, then a well-priced iPhone for emerging markets will take its numbers further sky rocketing. The numbers Apple has been achieving by mere two models compared to the scores of Androids available there is commendable.

With Samsung’s sales sliding off a slippery slope, it is quite possible that there will be a fair number of switchers this year too, unless Samsung pulls out a device that will give others a run for its money. Moreover, the number of users adopting iPhone even after year ending September figures has been growing by leaps and bounds. For instance, the survey by the Yahoo-owned analytics firm Flurry showed Apple accounted for 49.1 percent of smartphones and tablets activated over the Christmas week, compared to 19.8 percent for South Korean rival Samsung. A lot had been said and written about Apple has a ‘falling empire ‘ after Steve Jobs death, but the company under the leadership of Tim Cook rose above all odds and turned profitable than ever before.

Apple shares off but weather US market selloff

Apple shares off but weather US market selloff

Shares of Apple Inc fell to their lowest since August following recent worries about potentially soft iPhone sales but fared better than a 2 percent drop in major indexes. At one point Apple was down 3 percent and weighed more than any other stock on U.S. indices in the first trading day of 2016 after weak Chinese economic data reignited fears of a global slowdown.

But the stock recovered much of that loss to trade down just 0.4 percent at $104.78 at midday, significantly outperforming slumps of more than 2 percent for both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, even after Korean rival Samsung Electronics said it expects a difficult business environment in 2016 due to weak global economic conditions and heightened competition in key businesses including smartphones.

Shares of Apple are down about 23 percent from record highs in April, reflecting recent worries that iPhone shipments next year could fall for the first time as fewer people replace their smartphones and following softer-than-expected demand for the most recent 6S and 6S Plus models.

“The bearish sentiment at this point has overshot,” FBR analyst Daniel Ives said. “The New York City cab driver at this point recognizes iPhone 6S Street estimates were too high, and now it’s all baked into the stock.”

Since early December, about one-third of analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters have trimmed their estimates for Apple. For fiscal 2016, Apple is now expected, on average, to grow revenue by under 4 percent, a far cry from the 28 percent revenue expansion it achieved in the fiscal year that ended last September.

Apple’s stock trades at 10 times expected earnings, its lowest since August, making the Cupertino, California company cheaper than Microsoft at 19 times earnings and only slightly more expensive that IBM at 7 times earnings.

Codenamed ‘Project Huckleberry’, Apple files permit for another data center in Reno

Codenamed ‘Project Huckleberry’, Apple files permit for another data center in Reno

Apple has filed for a permit to build another data center campus adjacent to its existing data center site, Prjoect Mills, at the Reno Technology Park in Reno, Nevada, finds this report. 

Codenamed ‘Project Huckleberry’, the plan entails a new facility with multiple data center clusters and a support building – similar to Project Mills. According to the report, Mills isn’t fully built yet but when completed, it will consist of 14 buildings that take up more than 400,000 square feet. The report adds that Apple applied for a permit to build a new 50 MW electrical substation at the site last year to support its growth in Reno. The campus is currently being served by a 15 MW feed from the utility NV Energy.

The Reno Technology Park is a site specifically built to house data centers. It spreads over 2,200 contiguous acres and is located along the I-80 ‘fiberway’ connecting NYC and Silicon Valley. It can support up to Tier 4 data centers.

Apple likely to cut iPhone 6S, 6S Plus production

Apple likely to cut iPhone 6S, 6S Plus production: Report

Apple is expected to cut production of its latest iPhone models by about 30 percent in the January-March quarter due to mounting inventories, the Nikkei reported, rattling the nerves of investors in the US giant’s Asian suppliers.

As inventories of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have piled up since they were launched last September, production will be scaled back to let dealers go through their current stock, the business daily reported.

The report prompted a 2.5 percent drop in Apple shares, which have lost about a quarter of their value from record highs in April, reflecting worries over slowing shipments. Shares in the mainly Asian makers of the iPhones’ screens and chips were also sharply lower on Wednesday.

“This is an eye-opening production cut which speaks to the softer demand that Apple has seen with 6s out of the gates,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said. “The Street was bracing for a cut but the magnitude here is a bit more worrisome.”

Among LCD panel makers, Japan Display Inc fell 4.7 pct while LG Display Co Ltd fell 3.4 percent.

Hon Hai Precision Industry was down 1.8 percent to trade around T$77.80, lows not seen in over four months. Hon Hai, which goes by the trade name of Foxconn, is a major assembler of Apple’s iPhones.

TSMC, the world’s largest chipmaker and which has supplied some of the chips used in Apple iPhones, was off about 1.1 percent to T$136.50, levels not seen since mid-November. Another Taiwanese assembler, Pegatron Corp, was off about 4 percent to trade around T$69.00, lows not seen in a year.

Other suppliers such as Japan’s Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd, Alps Electric Co Ltd and TDK Corp fell by 3 or 4 percent.

Production is expected to return to normal in the April-June quarter, the Nikkei reported.

However, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said he was a bit skeptical about the production cut reports.

“Apple has been gaining significant market share in pretty much every region, and I’m not seeing a global slowdown,” Moorhead said.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

The parts suppliers cited in the Nikkei report were not available for comment outside their regular business hours.

Tepid forecast by Apple suppliers such as Jabil Circuit, which manufactures casings for iPhones, and Dialog Semiconductor GmbH in December stoked fears that iPhone shipments could fall for the first time.

Wall Street has also tempered its view on the high-flying stock in recent months. Since early December, about a third of the analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters have trimmed their estimates on Apple.

For fiscal 2016, Apple is expected, on average, to grow revenue by under 4 percent, a far cry from the 28 percent revenue growth it achieved in the fiscal year that ended in September.

Apple could skip the 3.5mm headphone jack with its iPhone 7 this year

Apple could skip the 3.5mm headphone jack with its iPhone 7 this year

2016 has just begun and among the most prominent events we look forward to  is Apple’s yearly iPhone launch. Love it or hate it, everyone will be glued to their browsers to view it. And while the smartphone industry seems to be losing its stance on innovation, Apple last year did have something new to show off in the form of a 3D Touch display. This year however, the focus may be on audio (among other things) and while there have been plenty of rumours, it does seems like Apple may cull the 3.5mm headphone jack after all.

The news comes from a weibo account whose author supposedly knows people in Apple’s supply chain. The site claims that Apple will not just skip on the 3.5mm headphone jack that it has been using for years, but kill the jack altogether by introducing Bluetooth EarPods with the iPhone 7.

More importantly, all those who would still like to plug in their traditional 3.5mm headphones into an iPhone 7 will have to use an adaptor that fits into the lightning port.

While all of this may sound unbelievable, you have to take such news with a pinch of salt. While Apple has been producing some “unbelievable” accessories this year (Smart Battery Case), Bluetooth EarPods do sound like a reality.

Apple iPhone 7 Bluetooth EarPods

For those who aren’t aware, there are headsets available that offer a lightning port without any adaptors. But the cables for the same are pretty thick, as thick as the currently available data transfer and charging cables that Apple packs in with iPhone’s and iPads. And these don’t bend easy and are too stiff to roll up and slide in your pockets. So clearly, the lightning port is not the best way to go if your skipping on an essential audio port. Bluetooth however is.

Sony has been working with wireless audio as well, and this was since last year with the launch of the Xperia Z3+ and LDAC audio support for richer wireless audio streaming.

With Apple things only get simpler, more importantly, because well, that’s where all the music is, locked up in the iTunes music store, in a variety of formats. All Apple will have to do is flick the switch and convert the music and introduce a new wireless audio format in September. It did that with the Lightning port, and before that with the DVD drive that went missing on the MacBook Air (and now even on MacBook Pro models). Of course it can, this is Apple.

Apple registers automobile domain names, including ‘apple.car’

Apple registers automobile domain names, including ‘apple.car’

Apple has registered domain names related to automobiles, adding to speculation about the company’s plans to develop an automobile.

The iPhone maker registered the domain names, which include apple.car, apple.cars and apple.auto in December, according to domain information provider Who.is.

MacRumors had first reported the news on Friday, but said the domain names could be related to Apple’s CarPlay, which lets drivers access contacts on their iPhones, make calls or listen to voicemails without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

While never openly acknowledging plans to build a car, Apple has been aggressive in recruiting auto experts from companies such as Ford or Mercedes-Benz.

Car technology has become a prime area of interest for Silicon Valley companies including Google Inc, which has built a prototype self-driving car.

Recent reports said that Apple has designated building an electric car as a ‘committed project’ and has set a target shipping date for 2019. The project has been code-named Titan and its leaders have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, a previous WSJ report revealed, citing people familiar with the matter.

Apple paid CEO Tim Cook $10.3 million in 2015

Apple paid CEO Tim Cook $10.3 million in 2015

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s compensation rose 11.5 percent to $10.3 million (roughly Rs. 68 crores) in 2015, the company said a year when its sales grew 28 percent and profits by 35 percent but its shares fell for the first time since 2008.

Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri’s annual compensation rose about 81 percent to $25.3 million (roughly Rs. 169 crores) in 2015. In fact, Cook was the lowest-paid of the company’s top executives. Angela Ahrendts, the senior vice president for retail and online stores, was the highest paid, with a total pay package of $25.8 million (roughly Rs. 172 crores).

Cook’s base pay increased about 14.4 percent to $2 million (roughly Rs. 13 crores) last year, while non-equity incentive compensation rose about 19 percent to $8 million (roughly Rs. 53 crores), according to a regulatory filing.

Apple had a good year for the most part under Cook. Sales in China in the most recent quarter nearly doubled from the same quarter in the prior year, for instance, and the iPhone continued to see record sales.

The company hit a rough patch towards the end of 2015, with shares falling about 4.6 percent for the year, the stock’s first negative year since the global credit crisis.

As of September 26, Cook held about 3.1 million Apple shares that have not vested, potentially enabling him to earn over $310 million (roughly Rs. 2,071 crores) based on the stock’s Wednesday closing price.

The shares are expected to vest between August 2016 and August 2021.

Shares of the world’s most valuable company dropped below $100 for the first time in nearly five months on Wednesday before regaining some ground to close at $100.70.

Apple shares drop below $100 for first time since August

Apple shares drop below $100 for first time since August

Apple shares dropped below $100 for the first time in nearly five months on Wednesday following reports of slowing shipments of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, will cut working hours over the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, according to a person familiar with the matter, a rare move that analysts said could be a sign of softening demand for the iPhone.

Japanese daily Nikkei, citing parts suppliers, said output of the iPhone models would be cut by about 30 percent in the January-March time frame so dealers could offload stock.

“I don’t think anyone expects growth to accelerate from last year’s hyper growth. The only question that remains is whether they will grow at all in 2016,” said Walter Piecyk, an analyst with BTIG.

The iPhone accounts for the vast majority of Apple’s revenue and profits, and worries about slowing sales have weighed on the stock, which has fallen nearly 19 percent over the last six months.

“We were already conservative about the first quarter,” said analyst Kylie Huang at Daiwa-Cathay Capital Markets in Taipei, in response to Foxconn’s Lunar New Year plans. “It’s not just iPhone slowdown, but all of the Chinese economy.”

Apple did not return requests for comment.

Foxconn said in a statement that it was “in the midst of planning operational schedules for the Lunar New Year holiday,” but gave no details.

Since early December, about a third of analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters have trimmed their estimates on Apple. On average, they expect Apple to increase revenue this year by less than 4 percent, a far cry from the 28 percent achieved in the business year that ended in September.

“We can see per survey data that this decline in units is not a result of iPhone users switching away from the iPhone, but is simply due to the tough compare of the iPhone 6,” said analyst Nehal Chokshi from Maxim Group, a brokerage firm.

“There is really no way that they could have produced the number of incremental users that they did on the iPhone 6 cycle with the iPhone 6S cycle,” Chokshi added.

Lukewarm forecasts in December from suppliers such as Dialog Semiconductor GmbH and casing maker Jabil Circuit stoked fears that iPhone shipments could fall on an annual basis for the first time.

But some analysts questioned the extent of any slowdown.

“Apple has been gaining significant market share in pretty much every region, and I’m not seeing a global slowdown,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Apple’s shares fell briefly to as low as $99.87 in Nasdaq trading on Wednesday, their lowest level since Aug. 24, when the shares fell to $92 as the entire stock market suffered a brief ‘flash crash.’

Apple stock closed down nearly 2 percent at $100.70, amid a broadly lower stock market. The stock has not closed below $100 since Oct. 20, 2014.