Apple Readies $1 Billion War Chest for Hollywood Programming – Tripp Mickle Aug. 16, 2017 5:00 a.m. ET


Company immediately becomes a considerable competitor in crowded market for original shows

DJs Simihaze at the launch party for Apple Music’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ on Aug. 7 in West Hollywood, Calif. Apple plans to spend $1 billion on original video content in the next year.

DJs Simihaze at the launch party for Apple Music’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ on Aug. 7 in West Hollywood, Calif. Apple plans to spend $1 billion on original video content in the next year. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

By

Tripp Mickle

Apple Inc. AAPL 1.09% has set a budget of roughly $1 billion to procure and produce original content over the next year, according to people familiar with the matter—a sign of how serious the iPhone maker is about making a splash in Hollywood.

Combined with the company’s marketing clout and global reach, that immediately makes Apple a considerable competitor in a crowded market where new media players and traditional media companies are vying to acquire original shows. The figure is about half what Time Warner Inc.’s HBO spent on content last year and on par with estimates of what Amazon.com Inc. spent in 2013, the year after it announced its move into original programming.

Apple coulddd acquire and produce as many as 10 television shows, according to the people familiar with the plan, helping fulfill Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue’s vision of offering high-quality video—similar to shows such as HBO’s “Game of Thrones”—on the company’s streaming-music service or a new, video-focused service.

Apple declined to comment.

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Qualcomm is trying to ban iPhones from being sold in the US – by Jacob Kastrenakes Jul 6, 2017, 5:20pm EDT


In the latest escalation of its global legal fight with Apple, Qualcomm is asking the US government to ban new iPhones from coming into the country. It also wants sales halted on iPhones that have already made their way in.

Qualcomm says that Apple is violating six patents that have to do with extending a phone’s battery life. None of the patents are essential to a standard, Qualcomm says, which means it isn’t required to license them — as it is with the other patents the two companies are in disagreement over.

The complaint is being filed with both the the US International Trade Commission and the US District Court for the Southern District of California, where the two companies’ other claims are being hashed out.

“Qualcomm’s inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies or cellular standards,” Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, says in a statement. He also says, “Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it.” Qualcomm even put together an infographic to explain what the six patents are used for.

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Life and death in Apple’s forbidden city – Brian Merchant Sunday 18 June 2017 04.30 EDT


an assembly bench at foxconn longhua plant where iphones are made
An assembly bench in Foxconn’s Longhua complex in Shenzhen, China, where iPhones are manufactured. Photograph: Tony Law/Redux/eyevine

The sprawling factory compound, all grey dormitories and weather-beaten warehouses, blends seamlessly into the outskirts of the Shenzhen megalopolis. Foxconn’s enormous Longhua plant is a major manufacturer of Apple products. It might be the best-known factory in the world; it might also might be among the most secretive and sealed-off. Security guards man each of the entry points. Employees can’t get in without swiping an ID card; drivers entering with delivery trucks are subject to fingerprint scans. A Reuters journalist was once dragged out of a car and beaten for taking photos from outside the factory walls. The warning signs outside – “This factory area is legally established with state approval. Unauthorised trespassing is prohibited. Offenders will be sent to police for prosecution!” – are more aggressive than those outside many Chinese military compounds.

But it turns out that there’s a secret way into the heart of the infamous operation: use the bathroom. I couldn’t believe it. Thanks to a simple twist of fate and some clever perseverance by my fixer, I’d found myself deep inside so-called Foxconn City.

It’s printed on the back of every iPhone: “Designed by Apple in California Assembled in China”. US law dictates that products manufactured in China must be labelled as such and Apple’s inclusion of the phrase renders the statement uniquely illustrative of one of the planet’s starkest economic divides – the cutting edge is conceived and designed in Silicon Valley, but it is assembled by hand in China.

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Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on Making an Autonomous Car System – by Alex Webb June 13, 2017, 3:00 AM PDT


After years toiling away in secret on its car project, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has for the first time laid out exactly what the company is up to in the automotive market: It’s concentrating on self-driving technology.

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook said in an interview on Bloomberg Television on June 5. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.”
“We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects,” Cook said in his most detailed comments to date on Apple’s plans in the car space. “It’s probably one of the most difficult A.I. projects actually to work on.”

 

The prospect of self-driving cars has seen a slew of technology companies push into the auto industry, which is estimated to be worth $6.7 trillion by 2030, according to McKinsey & Co. Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit has signed partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Lyft Inc. to develop the technology. And carmakers from BMW AG to General Motors Co. have opened sizable Silicon Valley offices and dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire autonomous vehicle startups.

Apple had initially been seeking to build its own car, before recalibrating those ambitions last year to prioritize the underlying technology for autonomous driving, Bloomberg News reported. The iPhone maker had hired more than 1,000 engineers to work on Project Titan, as the car team is known internally, after it started in 2014.

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Samsung, Apple Intensify Battle for Smartphone Users -By  Timothy W. Martin and  Tripp Mickle March 31, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET


Owners of Apple and Android phones rarely switch brands—but this year offers a rare chance for industry leaders to win (or lose) fans

D.J. Koh, Samsung's mobile chief, shows the Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones on Wednesday in New York.

D.J. Koh, Samsung’s mobile chief, shows the Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones on Wednesday in New York. Photo: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

It’s shaping up to be a big year in the smartphone wars.

Samsung Electronics Co.  fired the first shot this week with the unveiling of its newest flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, which won strong initial reviews. That comes about six months ahead of Apple Inc.’s launch of a 10th-anniversary model of its iPhone, which analysts expect to be its most innovative handset in years.

The new devices are coming as the industry’s boom times have faded. Brands in recent years have struggled to develop impressive new features, and consumers are holding on to their devices longer. Global sales growth has fizzled and most phone buyers stick with the brands they know, meaning Apple, Samsung and others generally have been competing over a relatively small share of consumers whose loyalties are up for grabs.

“There are fewer new customers and you’re having to fight to get your customers to upgrade,” said Jan Dawson, an independent technology analyst with Jackdaw Research.

But in 2017, several factors are creating a rare chance to siphon away—or lose—consumers.

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China’s Uber-slaying ride hailer is now Apple’s new neighbor – by Zoey Chong March 10, 2017 1:13 AM PST


Didi Chuxing last year toppled Uber in China, and now it’s setting up an office in Silicon Valley.

Didi Chuxing

After last year’s Uber acquisition and Apple‘s $1 billion investment, Didi Chuxing has journeyed to the mecca of tech, Silicon Valley.

The Chinese ride hailer officially opened its first US-based research and development lab in Mountain View, California this week, according to a statementreleased on Wednesday.

Helmed by Dr Fengmin Gong, Didi Labs will scour for engineering talents and focus on developing “AI-based security and intelligent driving technologies.” Charlie Miller, an automobile security expert perhaps best known for remotely hacking and controlling a journalist’s car, is also on board as part of the team.