Apple Makes Additional Changes to App Store Commissions

To help businesses hold paid digital events during the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple stated that companies offering virtual events or digital classes via iPhone apps won’t have to pay the 30 percent commission fee ordinarily applied to App Store in-app purchases. This concession will extend through the end of June 2021. Apple will also reduce its commission for smaller developers. Meanwhile, Epic Games, which with other developers has been fighting Apple over its in-app commission fee, now has an ally in Nvidia. The GPU and gaming company is testing its GeForce NOW gaming platform on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. Continue reading Apple Makes Additional Changes to App Store Commissions

Global Competition Ramps Up in the Semiconductor Industry

In light of the U.S. ban on selling chips and chipmaking technology to China, that country has raised $38 billion so far this year with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, that number — achieved through public offerings, private placements and asset sales — is “more than double” the total raised in 2019. Corporate registration tracker Tianyancha stated that 50,000+ Chinese businesses related to semiconductors registered this year, four times the total five years ago. Meanwhile, Seoul-based Samsung is investing heavily in its own next-generation chip business, ramping up competition in the semiconductor sector. Continue reading Global Competition Ramps Up in the Semiconductor Industry

The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

Apple unveiled a new M1 microchip, designed in-house, which chief executive Tim Cook said is “by far the most powerful chip that we have ever created.” Aimed at offering faster performance and longer battery life, the company said that the M1 integrated into the new super-thin MacBook Air (priced starting at $999) will run 3.5 times faster than the past generation. Without a fan, the device will run silently. The M1 will also be installed in a 13-inch MacBook Pro, starting at $1,299, and the Mac mini, starting at $699. Continue reading The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

European Commission Files Antitrust Charges Against Amazon

After months of anticipation, the European Union, led by competition chief Margrethe Vestager, is finally filing antitrust charges against Amazon, with the belief it has enough hard evidence to charge the Big Tech company. The EU claims that Amazon used data to build copycat products that undermines independent businesses, especially in France and Germany. EU regulators also have an ongoing investigation into Amazon’s alleged practice of favorable treatment for its “Buy Box” and “Prime Label” features. Continue reading European Commission Files Antitrust Charges Against Amazon

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Receiving Positive Camera Reviews

The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a number of firsts for an iPhone: the largest ever display, at 6.7-inches; the biggest camera sensor ever; a 5G radio and a bigger battery. At the same time, it’s not much more expensive than the next level down, an iPhone 12 Pro, with an added $100 for every storage level. The size of the phone — not just the inches but also the heft and weight — might be a downside for some users, but the iPhone 12 also comes with more choices, starting with the compact iPhone 12 Mini. Continue reading Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Receiving Positive Camera Reviews

Advertisers Reinvent the Cookie to Better Track Streaming TV

Reaching viewers on streaming media is now a double-edged sword: advertisers want better metrics and the ability to target their messages even as the issue of privacy has also come to the fore. What’s becoming clearer is that any tools to provide metrics will need to obtain viewers’ consent. Until now, advertising has depended on tracking cookies and retargeting to follow people from website to website, which sparked the rise of ad blockers. Now, new privacy regulations in Europe and California are forcing a change. Continue reading Advertisers Reinvent the Cookie to Better Track Streaming TV

Increasing Demand for 5G Lifts Qualcomm Earnings, Revenue

A major supplier of 5G chips, Qualcomm predicted shipments of 450 million to 550 million 5G smartphones in 2021, a number at least double of what’s expected by the end of this year. Chief executive Steve Mollenkopf revealed that sales of smartphones was a significant part of the company’s latest quarterly earnings. He also noted that Qualcomm is already seeing benefits from Internet of Things devices and networking gear using 5G chips. In addition, Apple’s 5G-enabled iPhone 12 is expected to be a boon for Qualcomm’s modems. Continue reading Increasing Demand for 5G Lifts Qualcomm Earnings, Revenue

Hollywood VFX Experts Gravitate to AR/VR Jobs in Big Tech

Apple, Facebook and Google are among the Big Tech companies that are hiring technologists behind Hollywood movies like “Avatar” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” All three companies are developing headsets or glasses for AR/VR or so-called extended reality, and the most cutting-edge Hollywood visual effects create needed photoreal computer-generated characters and landscapes. VFX veteran Paul Debevec, now a professor at the University of Southern California, was recruited by Google four-and-a-half years ago. Continue reading Hollywood VFX Experts Gravitate to AR/VR Jobs in Big Tech

Comcast, Walmart Discuss a Potential Smart TV Partnership

Comcast and Walmart are discussing a partnership whereby the former would develop smart TV software, and the latter would promote the TVs, possibly under its own brand Onn, and get a share of recurring revenues. The TVs would be manufactured by a third party. Comcast, whose software would aim to help consumers navigate streaming apps, would be able to market its TVs nationwide. The Comcast sets would put it in competition with Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku, the dominant players in streaming platforms. Continue reading Comcast, Walmart Discuss a Potential Smart TV Partnership

Huawei, Apple Drop in Rankings of Top Global Phone Makers

After attaining a position as No. 1 in global smartphone shipments in Q2, Huawei Technologies ceded that position to Samsung Electronics in Q3, according to International Data Corporation. IDC added that Huawei’s global shipments fell by 22 percent, a sign that U.S. efforts to disrupt its supply chain are having an impact. All vendors without a license from the U.S. Commerce Department have been banned from selling chips and other components to Huawei since September 15. Huawei’s domestic sales also fell 15+ percent in Q3. Continue reading Huawei, Apple Drop in Rankings of Top Global Phone Makers

Big Tech Companies Report Strong Third Quarter Revenues

In an otherwise glum economic picture, Big Tech companies have boomed. The general economy is improving, while Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook are reporting profits that suggest they may be capable of generating the kind of wealth that a single industry hasn’t seen in generations. In fact, those four companies had a quarterly net profit of $38 billion, despite regulator scrutiny and other obstacles. Amazon saw an almost 200 percent rise in profits, and Facebook had a stupendous quarter, despite the advertiser boycott. Continue reading Big Tech Companies Report Strong Third Quarter Revenues

Apple Clips 3.0: New Interface, Multiple Aspect Ratios, HDR

Three years after Apple released its simple video creation app named Clips, the company is updating the app to Clips 3.0, now available in the App Store. Apple streamlined the interface with the intent of making it faster and easier to add effects. Also new are full-screen browsers on the iPhone to make it easier to record and include effects. Version 3.0 lets video creators access multiple aspect ratios, including vertical and horizontal, to accommodate Instagram Stories, Snapchat, YouTube and other popular platforms. Continue reading Apple Clips 3.0: New Interface, Multiple Aspect Ratios, HDR

Facebook Streams Free-to-Play Games via Its Cloud Service

After beta-testing with 200,000 users, Facebook debuted a cloud gaming service for Android and the web, providing smaller free-to-play games such as “Asphalt 9: Legends,” “PGA TOUR Golf Shootout,” “Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale” and “Mobile Legends: Adventure.” Over time, the social media giant plans to add more games, which can be found in its Gaming section. In conjunction and to remind people about the new games, Facebook is also introducing “cloud playable ads,” derived from games’ native code. Continue reading Facebook Streams Free-to-Play Games via Its Cloud Service

The Coalition for App Fairness Draws More Developer Interest

The Coalition for App Fairness, debuted last month by Epic Games, Match Group, Spotify and others t0 combat what they claim are excessive commission payments to Apple, is experiencing a sharp increase in membership. Thirteen members founded the group, which has grown to 40 members with more than 400 requests to join. Smaller developers that are dependent on the Apple App Store for survival have, until now, been too intimidated to speak up. Microsoft voiced support for the Coalition and adopted its recommendations for its own store. Continue reading The Coalition for App Fairness Draws More Developer Interest

Apple Debuts 24-Hour Live-Streaming Music Video Channel

On October 19, Apple premiered Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated live stream of popular videos including what the company says are “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests.” The new service will, at first, be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music and Apple TV apps. The service launched with a countdown of the top 100 “most-streamed” songs in the U.S. and held an all-day Bruce Springsteen special event on October 22. Continue reading Apple Debuts 24-Hour Live-Streaming Music Video Channel

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