Apple Fast-Tracks Plan to Move Some Production from China

The protests and riots in response to China’s restrictive COVID-19 policies have resulted in Apple accelerating plans to relocate a chunk of production in that country, according to news reports claiming that “turmoil” in a Zhengzhou area called iPhone City helped prompt the change. At peak output, the zone produced roughly 85 percent of the iPhone Pro lineup, according to The Wall Street Journal, which says the factory “was convulsed in late November by violent protests.” China has long been the primary manufacturing location for Apple products. Vietnam and India are reportedly high on Apple’s list of alternate sites. Continue reading Apple Fast-Tracks Plan to Move Some Production from China

Big and Small Players Support Matter Smart Home Standard

The global smart home device market is pegged at $41.2 billion in 2022, and is expected to hit $73.1 billion by 2026, according to Global Industry Analysts. That’s one reason companies like Apple, Google, Samsung and Amazon have established smart home platforms that enable mobile phones or Alexa to change thermostat settings or turn on the lights using apps that don’t require much fuss. But when it comes to interoperating among various devices and appliances, that’s where an industry standard comes in handy, and Matter, which debuts this year, expects to fill that niche. Continue reading Big and Small Players Support Matter Smart Home Standard

Apple Has a Record $123.9 Billion Quarter Despite Chip Crisis

Apple, the world’s most highly valued public company, hit an all-time quarterly revenue record of $123.9 billion for Q4, an 11 percent increase year-over-year. The company also saw profits up 20 percent to $34.6 billion for the quarter despite the supply chain issues that plagued the industry. “We are gratified to see the response from customers around the world at a time when staying connected has never been more important,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s earnings release, attributing the robust performance to “our most innovative lineup of products and services ever.” Continue reading Apple Has a Record $123.9 Billion Quarter Despite Chip Crisis

Adobe Analytics Reports a First Time Drop for Cyber Monday

Consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday, representing a 1.4 percent decrease compared to last year. The sales drop marks the first time that Adobe Analytics reported a decrease in spending on a major shopping day (the firm has been tracking e-commerce since 2012). Adobe still anticipates record-breaking online shopping activity through the overall holiday season. According to the web analytics firm, U.S. consumers spent $109.8 billion online from November 1 through Cyber Monday, marking an 11.9 percent jump over 2020 for the same period. Continue reading Adobe Analytics Reports a First Time Drop for Cyber Monday

Apple Turbo-Charges MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, Max Chips

Apple unveiled the long-awaited upgrade to its MacBook Pro, which comes in 14- and 16-inch display configurations with mini-LED screens (what the company calls Liquid Retina XDR). The new laptops are powered by Apple’s homegrown M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which the company calls “the first pro chips designed for the Mac.” Improvements such as stronger battery life, ports galore and eradication of the dreaded Touch Bar have been largely well-received by Mac bloggers. Apple says the 32 GPU cores on the M1 Max provide power that rivals the Nvidia RTX 3080 high-end gaming class laptop chip. The 14-inch model starts at $1,999 and the 16-inch at $2,499. Continue reading Apple Turbo-Charges MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, Max Chips

Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Apple’s WWDC annual week-long developer conference kicked off with a first peak at iOS 15 enhancements. That includes the next version of FaceTime, which will more closely resemble Zoom, including a grid view for group calls and spatial audio and voice isolation features. The company teased new software updates for AirPods Pro and AirPods, and a multitasking menu for iPadOS 15, coming this fall. The upcoming watchOS 8 will boost fitness, sleep and meditation features. Among numerous other announcements, the company showed data privacy improvements and revealed that HomeKit will now support Siri. Continue reading Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Apple Still Leads Wearables Market, Small Rivals Fuel Growth

IDC reported that 100+ million wearables — including smartwatches, fitness trackers and AR glasses — shipped in Q1, a record-breaking number, especially in what tends to be a slow period. Q2 this year has also seen a 34.4 percent increase in sales year-over-year. The research firm revealed that Apple leads the sector, with a market share of 28.8 percent, followed by Samsung at 11.3 percent, Xiaomi at 9.7 percent and Huawei at 8.2 percent. After that, the next player is India’s boAt, which has a market share of 2.9 percent. Continue reading Apple Still Leads Wearables Market, Small Rivals Fuel Growth

Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

Apple Music and Amazon Music are unveiling high-resolution audio to subscribers at no extra cost. Amazon Music had announced that its Amazon Music HD is available to all eligible Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers and Apple revealed that subscribers will be able to access Lossless Audio, “to hear the exact same thing that artists created in the studio.” Apple Music users will, based on their connection, be able to choose music resolution from CD quality (16 bit/44.1 kHz) up to Hi-Resolution Lossless at 24 bit/192 kHz. Continue reading Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

Electronics Manufacturers Consider Building Plants in Mexico

As the U.S.-China trade war heats up, Taiwan-based electronics manufacturers including Foxconn and Pegatron are considering opening new factories in Mexico, South America’s second largest economy. Sources said Foxconn would manufacture Apple iPhones in Mexico but will make a final decision later this year. Apple would not comment. Pegatron is “in early discussions with lenders” for a Mexico facility to assemble semiconductors and other electronic components. This “near-shoring” would move supply chains away from China. Continue reading Electronics Manufacturers Consider Building Plants in Mexico

Google Assistant Adds Read Aloud, Sensor Support Features

Read It is a new Google Assistant feature that reads web pages out loud in 42 languages. Accessible through browsers and Android smartphones, it is launched by saying “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page.” Users can adjust the reading speed, and the feature highlights words as they are read out loud. Buttons can be used to skip forward or backward in the text or pause the reading. Google also added native support for sensors in Google Assistant, and a special device type for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Continue reading Google Assistant Adds Read Aloud, Sensor Support Features

Apple Revenue Rises But China’s Virus Poses Uncertainties

With its latest iPhone, AirPods wireless earbuds and apps, Apple’s revenue rose 9 percent in the December quarter, to $91.82 billion. In response, the company’s shares rose 1.5 percent in after-hours trading. Apple’s flagship smartphone, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, rose 8 percent to $55.96 billion. China’s coronavirus outbreak poses uncertainty, since most of the tech giant’s products are manufactured there. Chief executive Tim Cook said Apple is limiting travel to China and reducing store operating hours in the country. Continue reading Apple Revenue Rises But China’s Virus Poses Uncertainties

CES: Bluetooth SIG’s Low Energy Audio Slows Battery Drain

At CES 2020, the non-profit standards organization Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced that LE (Low Energy) Audio would be incorporated into its technology, improving a standard signal’s ability to manage and share wireless audio streams between devices — without stressing the batteries. In fact, since 2012, Bluetooth has incorporated LE features, dubbed Bluetooth Smart and BLE, to allow wearables and sensors to stay connected and minimize battery drain. But it has had no impact on wireless audio devices, which LE Audio hopes to remedy. Continue reading CES: Bluetooth SIG’s Low Energy Audio Slows Battery Drain

Black Friday Experiences New E-Commerce Sales Records

Online sales boomed this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with record-breaking $4.2 billion in purchases on Turkey Day, followed by $7.4 billion spent on Black Friday. Although this was a new high — up $1.2 billion from last year’s Black Friday — it didn’t meet Adobe Analytics’ prediction of $7.5 billion. Salesforce reported $7.2 billion in sales, even lower than Adobe’s numbers. Of those numbers, $2.9 billion in sales were conducted on smartphones that day. Top-selling electronics included Apple laptops, AirPods and Samsung TVs. Continue reading Black Friday Experiences New E-Commerce Sales Records

Big Tech Companies Make Progress on AR Smart Glasses

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Magic Leap, Microsoft and Snap are among the Big Tech companies working on creating smart glasses that we can wear everywhere — and that may even replace our smartphones. Currently, glasses are too big (and expensive), but in time are expected to achieve a sleeker form factor and come down in price. Smart glasses promise to dramatically shift how we engage with the world, and some advocates believe we will eventually be able to replace every screen we use with a single pair of glasses. Continue reading Big Tech Companies Make Progress on AR Smart Glasses

Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today

Apple’s revenue climbed 1.8 percent to $64.04 billion, due to sales in wearables and services such as apps, mobile payments and streaming-music subscriptions. Meanwhile, iPhone sales fell 9.2 percent and profit fell 3 percent to $13.69 billion. The company’s operating expenses have also risen 9 percent as it embraced facial recognition for the new iPhone and increased R&D spending. In advance of the Apple TV+ debut on November 1, Apple held a gala event for “The Morning Show” at New York’s Lincoln Center. Continue reading Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today