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The Technology Mysteries of 2013
August 5, 2013
There are a number of interesting mysteries in the technology world. Somehow someone in China was killed by an iPhone, and someone made up a nasty story about Lenovo and the Chinese government and got folks to pick it up during the U.S. NSA scandal. One of the most powerful and highly paid people in Apple quietly stepped down last month, possibly to lead a search for the next iPod.
Apple Hit With 2 Shameful Allegations
July 29, 2013
Pegatron, which is reportedly making a new, less-costly plastic iPhone, has become the latest Apple supplier to be accused of labor violations, in a report published by China Labor Watch on Monday. Pegatron has denied the allegations, and both it and Apple have announced they will investigate the claims. "CLW has uncovered myriad violations," maintained CLW Executive Director Li Qiang.
Australia May Tweak Copyright Laws to Knock Down IT Prices
July 29, 2013
Australia has recommended changes to copyright law that would allow Aussie citizens cheaper access to IT hardware, software and digital downloads after a parliamentary inquiry found no good reason for prices to be so high Down Under. The inquiry sought to unearth why IT prices were so much higher in Australia than elsewhere. The probe kicked off last year.
Apple Searches Haystack for Product to Move the Needle
July 24, 2013
Apple's upcoming new products will be the key to the company's emergence from its current doldrums, CEO Tim Cook told analysts during its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday. Asked by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster if there were any product categories big enough to move the growth needle for Apple, Cook responded: "We'll see, Gene. We're working up some stuff that we're really proud of."
Security Breach Knocks Apple for an Infinite Loop
July 22, 2013
Three days after Apple took down its developer website claiming it was performing unscheduled maintenance, the company emailed devs admitting the site had been hacked and some data may have been stolen. It also posted a message on the site stating that some developers' names, mailing addresses and email addresses may have been exposed, but that sensitive information could not be accessed.
Apple Taps Locationary to Get Maps in the Right Place
July 19, 2013
After suffering considerable backlash for the mapping technology it included in iOS 6, Apple has now brought in some expert help. Specifically, it has acquired Locationary, a startup that takes a crowdsourcing approach to map data. Locationary's Saturn technology uses Big Data to fill in the blanks in maps. In this case, the Big Data in question is provided by users.
Notes From the iPhone Rumor Trail
July 19, 2013
As rumors swirl about the next iPhone, the current models of Apple's popular smartphone may be selling better than expected. Sales of the iPhone for the quarter that ended June 30 will beat Wall Street expectations, according to a report released Wednesday by Morgan Stanley. Some 29 million to 32 million units were sold during the period, 10-20 percent better than the 26.5 million units expected.
Apple's E-Book Story Still Largely Unwrit
July 12, 2013
A federal court's ruling that Apple violated antitrust laws when it worked with the publishing industry to manipulate the price of e-books probably won't benefit consumers much. "I don't think we're going to see prices come down immediately as a result of this," said Yasha Heidari, managing partner at the Heidari Power Law Group. "What I do think you will see is some bona fide competition."
Apple Hit Upside the Head by E-Book Ruling
July 10, 2013
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Apple had violated antitrust laws by conspiring with several publishers to raise e-book prices. "The result is a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically," exulted Bill Baer, head of the DoJ's antitrust division. Apple has vowed to appeal, but it's widely expected that 33 states will seek damages in light of this ruling.
Apple to Build Solar Farm to Power Huge New Data Center
July 3, 2013
Apple, which has a mixed history on environmental issues, will build a solar farm to power its data center in Washoe County, Nev. "SunPower is working with Apple to design and build this project," said Ingrid Ekstrom, spokesperson for SunPower. "We will be building a SunPower C7 Tracker system at the site." The farm will reportedly generate 20 MW of electricity.
Apple Stock's Grip Slips
June 26, 2013
Apple's stock dipped below $400 this week -- the second time it has fallen so far since it peaked at $700 last fall. Investors have voiced concerns that the company has lost its innovative edge and that demand for the iPhone is waning. Apple execs addressed those rumblings head on at the Worldwide Developers Conference held earlier this month, where they unveiled a number of refreshed products.
Behind the WWDC Glitter
June 14, 2013
Going into WWDC I think Apple enthusiasts were so pent up for some Apple awesomeness -- myself included -- that we let the soft and low-voiced cooing of design knight Jony Ive lull us into a receptive state more akin to the wooing of a potential partner than a critical study of design principles. It's not like we had beer goggles on going into the iOS 7 portion of the WWDC keynote, but. . .
WWDC 2013: All About Managing Expectations
June 12, 2013
There was no shortage of news coming out of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week, including a glimpse at the next generation of iOS. On the hardware front, meanwhile, the company revealed it will launch a new desktop computer and a refreshed MacBook Air line. Then, of course, there was its new streaming radio application.
China Jumps the Gun on Cybersecurity Talks
June 6, 2013
This coming weekend's cybersecurity talks may have already started. China's state-run newspaper ran an article claiming that the government has "mountains of data" proving it has been the victim cyberespionage at the hands of the United States. The report precedes the upcoming landmark meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and President Obama; cybersecurity is expected to be a key talking point.
Apple Battles E-Book Charges
June 5, 2013
Apple's trial for alleged e-book price-fixing is under way, and the tech giant has said it is not going down without a fight. The suit, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice about a year ago, claims that Apple and five other major publishers engaged in a conspiracy to fix e-book pricing. The alleged conspiracy began in 2009, when Amazon released its Kindle.
US, China to Hold Regular Cybersecurity Chats
June 3, 2013
Increasingly testy rhetoric and increasingly legitimate concerns have prompted the United States and China to announce that they will hold regular high-level talks on standards of cyberbehavior. The announcement precedes a meeting between President Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping scheduled for Friday.
Apple to Give Pegatron a Slice of Its China Pie
May 31, 2013
Foxconn, a supplier that has occasionally embarrassed Apple, will no longer be the exclusive maker of the iPhone and iPad. More work reportedly will be funneled to another Chinese electronics firm, Pegatron. The shift of product to Pegatron began in 2011, when some iPhone business was awarded the company. Last year, Apple chose Pegatron to fill its retail channel with iPad minis.
Tim Cook's Lips Zipped on Apple's Next Big Thing
May 29, 2013
CEO Tim Cook took the stage for an interview at D11, reiterating his faith in Apple's direction without divulging any secrets or bold plans. Cook fielded questions about whether Apple has lost its touch recently, as it has been faced with a plunging stock price, increased competition from rivals, persistent patent and antitrust battles, and an investigation into its corporate tax policies.
Apple Stews in EU Pressure Cooker
May 29, 2013
The European Union reportedly is launching an antitrust investigation into Apple's iPhone sales tactics. Company CEO Tim Cook may have made it through last week's congressional hearings on the company's corporate tax policies relatively unscathed, but that doesn't mean the regulatory pressure is off for the tech giant. The EC last week sent several telecom operators a nine-page questionnaire.
European Commission Probes Apple's Tactics
May 28, 2013
The European Commission is taking a closer look at whether Apple is engaging in unfair sales practices. The EC, which is the executive branch of the European Union, sent a questionnaire last week to several European mobile network operators probing Apple's distribution terms -- specifically, whether those terms preclude rivals from offering a better sales deal.
Senators Piling on Apple's Taxes Are Missing the Point
May 23, 2013
So is Apple a tax-dodging evil company with a dark heart? No. The answer is no. However, Apple is certainly a corporation, and all corporations are driven first and foremost by profit -- no matter what the company says about the joy of making great products. Astoundingly passionate and driven individuals, who sometimes run corporations, might be driven by the joy of creation.
Amid Threats From Anonymous, Guantanamo WiFi Shut Down
May 22, 2013
Despite cries from the Left, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is still up and running. The same, however, can't be said for Guantanamo's WiFi. The U.S. military turned off wireless Internet service at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base amid threats from the hacker collective Anonymous. Officials have also nixed access to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, a spokesperson for the prison said.
Cook Plays Defense Against Senators Over Apple's Taxes
May 22, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook defended his company's tax policies in Congress Tuesday, after the Senate released a report that condemned it for tax policies that used global subsidiaries to avoid paying billions in U.S. taxes. Apple dodged taxes on as much as $44 billion in foreign income from 2009 to 2012, the report alleges.
Congressional Investigation Scopes Apple's Web of Tax Havens
May 21, 2013
A series of subsidiaries spanning numerous countries have helped Apple avoid billions in United States taxes, congressional investigators reported Monday. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., head of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is looking into Apple's suspected transgressions, said that Apple "sought the holy grail of tax avoidance."
China Bashes Apple for Tax Evasion
May 13, 2013
China has been having a good go at Apple lately, having slammed the company in March for substandard post-sale service and quickly following that up with charges of copyright infringement. The latest accusation: tax evasion. Oh, and pornography. Apple's online stores in China reportedly are not paying proper import taxes for software sold to Chinese customers.
India to Get a Smartphone for the Blind
April 25, 2013
A company in India has developed a smartphone for the blind. The device will be equipped to read text messages and emails, and it will then convert the text to Braille. It will utilize shape memory alloy technology, which exploits a metal's ability to "remember" its original shape. The phone's screen is not a screen so much as a grid of pins that move up and down to form Braille characters.
Cook Replacement Rumors Smolder
April 22, 2013
Steve Jobs left big shoes to fill, and rumors circulated this week that Apple CEO Tim Cook may not be living up to expectations. This comes as Apple's stock closed at a 52-week low last Friday. Adding to the company's misery, Apple reportedly has earned the nickname "Poison Apple" with some Asian suppliers who are finding its high standards and low price expectations somewhat hard to meet.
Icelandic App Aims to Prevent Accidental Incest
April 18, 2013
Before knocking boots, knock phones. Three software engineers at the University of Iceland have designed an app to alert people if a casual encounter might in fact be casual incest. By bumping their mobile devices together, the app lets users -- and potential partners -- instantly compare their lineage, showing the nearest common ancestors. If a close relative is detected, users are alerted via an alarm and text warning.
Apple Falls From Investors' Grace
April 18, 2013
Apple's stock took another hit on Thursday, sinking to a dismal $392.25 by the closing bell. Fears have been mounting about Apple's place in the world, and they were heightened earlier this week by a report from a key supplier, Cirrus Logic, which posted a disappointing revenue forecast. On Wednesday, Apple's shares dipped below $400 per unit for the first time in more than a year.
Can Apple's 'Genius' Sprout Far From the Tree?
April 17, 2013
Messianic tendencies are seldom healthy, but they can be doubly destructive in business, where a misstep, missed trend or messy product launch can turn last year's wunderkind into this year's washout. So it's interesting to consider why Silicon Valley -- along with much of the rest of IT -- is so fixated on "rock star" executives. If you think an industry that prides itself on innovation would be immune to self-indulgent behavioral clichés, you'd be wrong.
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Contact Center AI Explained by Pop Culture
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I'm still too worried about the pandemic to consider traveling this summer.