Apple Unveils New iPhone Line, Watch Ultra and AirPods Pro

Apple revealed its highly anticipated 5G-capable phones this week during its annual September product event. While all four models — including the iPhone 14 and larger iPhone 14 Plus — offer improved cameras and new safety features, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first to utilize Apple’s new A16 Bionic chip, built on the new 4-nanometer process. Apple calls it “the fastest chip in a smartphone.” All four models have satellite connectivity to send emergency messages in areas without cell coverage. The company also debuted the Apple Watch Ultra, aimed at high-performance athletes, and the AirPods Pro. Continue reading Apple Unveils New iPhone Line, Watch Ultra and AirPods Pro

Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Meta Platforms is joining forces with Qualcomm to develop a next-generation extended reality chipset for its Meta Quest 2 and other headsets. The multi-year agreement, announced at the IFA 2022 consumer electronics show in Berlin, will focus on virtual reality and augmented reality applications. While the deal leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR platforms, engineering and product teams from each company will collaborate on “core technologies to accelerate a fully realized metaverse,” Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon announced from the stage at Friday’s IFA keynote in which he was joined remotely by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

YouTube Shorts Will Be Available on Living Room TV Screens

YouTube is laying the groundwork to bring its YouTube Shorts to Google TV and Android TV. While the company’s take on TikTok’s vertically framed, quick-hit content has been enormously successful — racking-up as many as 30 billion views in one day on mobile devices this year — there is as yet no dedicated TV support for the phone-first format. That’s about to change according to reports filtering out of an internal partner event. While the meeting centered on Alphabet’s own smart TV formats, as a content-provider YouTube’s past practices have tended to platform agnosticism. Continue reading YouTube Shorts Will Be Available on Living Room TV Screens

Pew: YouTube Most Popular with Teens, Followed by TikTok

YouTube is the most popular social media platform among teens, with 95 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds saying they use the service, according to the Pew Research study “Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022.” TikTok is currently ranked second, with a 67 percent teen buy-in, according to the study, followed by Instagram (62 percent) and Snapchat (59 percent). While neither YouTube nor TikTok were on the Pew ranking when the previous survey was released in 2015, Facebook fell precipitously — from first to fifth place — with 32 percent of teens onboard in 2022, versus 71 percent seven years ago. Continue reading Pew: YouTube Most Popular with Teens, Followed by TikTok

Samsung Unveils Its Latest Folding Phones, Earbuds, Watch

Samsung believes foldable phones will play a key role in the future of mobile, and the company has unveiled two high-end models, available later this month. The $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold4 becomes the equivalent of a small tablet, opening like a book to a 7.6-inch diagonal internal display with a 6.2-inch outer screen. The $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip4 has a main display measuring 6.7 inches when opened vertically. It closes to about half the size of the average smartphone, with a mini exterior screen on which text messages and alerts can be viewed. Samsung also unveiled its Galaxy Watch5 Pro and Galaxy Buds2 Pro this week, Continue reading Samsung Unveils Its Latest Folding Phones, Earbuds, Watch

Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

President Biden signed the expansive $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act into law yesterday. The legislation includes $52.7 billion in subsidies and tax credits to help strengthen U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce development. In addition to revitalizing domestic manufacturing efforts, the package intends to “create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future,” explains the White House. The measure is also part of larger effort by the federal government to combat the growing influence of China, especially involving tech sectors and the potential impact to security and privacy. Continue reading Biden Signs Bill to Boost Chip Production and Supply Chains

Apple Posts Record Third Quarter but Major Decline in Profits

Surmounting inflation and supply chain delays, Apple posted revenue of $83 billion, up 2 percent year-over-year and a record for the company’s third quarter. However, profit declined 11 percent to $19.4 billion, the worst performance since 2020. Sales of iPhones were strong, generating $40.7 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 2.8 percent increase over the same period in 2021. But wearables did not prove as resilient, with revenue down 8 percent to $8.1 billion. On the earnings call to discuss Apple’s fiscal 2022 third quarter ended June 25, CEO Tim Cook said the results were “better than we expected.” Continue reading Apple Posts Record Third Quarter but Major Decline in Profits

Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

China’s troubled Tsinghua Unigroup chip conglomerate is about to get an $800 million infusion from Taiwan’s Foxconn in the consumer electronics giant’s bid to expand its electric vehicle activity. Battery-powered cars generally require more semiconductors than those that run on gas, and analysts say Tsinghua Unigroup is attractive to Foxconn — which makes everything from iPhones to Xboxes — for its mobile chipset and memory expertise. In 2021, Foxconn secured a deal with U.S. automotive startup Fisker to jointly manufacture electric cars with automotive chips Foxconn plans to develop with Stellantis. Continue reading Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

Netflix Expands Global Approach to Password-Sharing Tests

The latest step in the paid password-sharing strategy Netflix began testing earlier this year allows users to purchase add-home subscriptions in select countries. Expanding on the “add extra member” feature previously deployed in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, subscribers in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will begin in August to be able to “add a home.” Members on the Basic plan are permitted to add one extra home, Standard up to two extra, while Premium may add three. Each additional home subscription includes travel access via tablet, laptop or smartphone. Continue reading Netflix Expands Global Approach to Password-Sharing Tests

Instagram Targets a Pro Broadcast Look with ‘Live Producer’

Meta Platforms is testing a new tool called Instagram Live Producer, designed to help creators achieve a more professional look from their desktops using streaming software, with initial support for Streamlabs, OBS Studio and StreamYard. The company says this new integration “opens up production features outside the traditional phone camera, including additional cameras, external microphones and graphics,” and is currently only available to “a small group of partners.” Previously, creators could only broadcast live video on Instagram Live from smartphones. Instagram Live Producer enables functionality more like Twitch or YouTube. Continue reading Instagram Targets a Pro Broadcast Look with ‘Live Producer’

U.S. Firms Chase China’s WeChat in Bid to Build Super Apps

U.S. tech execs are experiencing app envy, with companies from Uber to PayPal and billionaires Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey setting their sights on building one-size-fits-all “super apps” to rival Tencent’s WeChat in China and SoftBank’s LINE in Japan. Where typical apps are built to do one thing really well, so-called super apps are generalists, which in theory means people will use them more often. Spotify and Snap have also expressed interest in super solutions, which have been popular in Asia since 2020 and are sparking new interest in the West. Continue reading U.S. Firms Chase China’s WeChat in Bid to Build Super Apps

Smartphone Maker Oppo Delivers ‘Assisted Reality’ Air Glass

BBK Electronics’ Oppo brand is garnering notice for Air Glass, natural-looking wireless glasses that sync to the company’s smartphones to serve-up augmented reality experiences. Though still in limited release, with no plans for distribution outside of China, the $745 glasses offer a hint of things to come even as Oppo is readying a next-gen version. Weighing in at just 30 grams, Air Glass is positioned as a basic device that delivers practical information, including navigation, weather, time and fitness tracking. Oppo characterizes the functionality as “assisted reality,” and its limited ambitions appear to be a strength. Continue reading Smartphone Maker Oppo Delivers ‘Assisted Reality’ Air Glass

Funding for Startups Faces Downturn After 10-Year Bull Run

Following a decade-long boom, funding for startups is in decline, according to PitchBook, which says investments in fledgling U.S. tech firms has dropped by 23 percent in Q2 to $62.3 billion, the biggest fall since 2019. In another dire indicator, startup sales and IPOs have fallen to $49 billion the first six months of 2022, plunging 88 percent compared to the same period in 2021. The slump comes amidst an overall stock market downturn that has seen the technology sector take a particularly brutal hit that appears to have affected private startup valuations. Continue reading Funding for Startups Faces Downturn After 10-Year Bull Run

Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

A slump in PC sales and crashing cryptocurrency markets appear to be tempering a demand for semiconductors spurred by COVID-19 era supply chain shortages. Inflation is another mitigating factor, as sales of laptops and high-end GPUs for gaming and cryptocurrency mining slacken. Research firm Gartner predicts global PC shipments will contract by 9.5 percent in 2022, with consumer demand projected to decline by 13.5 percent. Enterprise sales are also expected to drop, by 7.2 percent, according to Gartner. Those numbers align with the 10 percent PC sales decline Micron Technology has forecast. Continue reading Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

HTC is launching its Desire 22 Pro smartphone, which emphasizes VR and AR integration centering around HTC’s own Vive ecosystem and the open-source metaverse platform it calls the Viverse. The Desire 22 Pro’s preloaded Viverse app lets users access and manage NFTs and cryptocurrencies and other metaverse content. In February HTC announced the Viverse, where people can attend meetings or concerts, build avatars and play games. Optimized for HTC’s 5G products and Vive VR devices, users can join the Viverse from any phone, tablet, PC or VR headset. Continue reading HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse