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  • Following Apple's decline, Foxconn reports first sales dip in 25 years

    As near as I can tell, Apple isn't the only company Foxconn deals with. Acer, Bell, Cisco, BlackBerry, Google and Microsoft are some of the American customers Foxconn has and there are numerous other companies from all around the world. I simply do not understand why they keep tying in Foxconn to only Apple as though Apple's fortunes are Foxconn's fortunes and vice-versa.  If Apple were Foxconn's only customer then there would be no doubt.

    If Apple is responsible for 50% of Foxconn's revenues, there's still the other 50% that could also be dragging down Foxconn's revenues and there's no way of telling for sure where the greatest damage is being done. Foxconn customers, Nokia, BlackBerry and Nintendo could seriously be hurting Foxconn due to poor product sales. It just seems rather lame to always be placing the blame directly on Apple unless Foxconn comes out and says that Apple is the company to blame for major lost revenue.
    Acer, Bell, Cisco, Blackberry, Google and Microsoft did not report significant sales declines, or never had significant volume to begin with. Microsoft in ended their mobile business in 2015, so there would have been no declines for them to report in 2016 to drag Foxconn down. Also, if Foxconn makes products for Google, I would like to know what they are. Google's primary hardware partners are HTC and Asus, along with whoever they get to manufacture Nexus products (which are generally branded companies like HTC, Asus, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei etc. and not the likes of Foxconn). Bottom line: if everyone else sold about the same volume or didn't have much volume to begin with as they did in 2015, AND if Apple, their highest volume by far, had a decline, then it is an easy correlation to make.
  • Apple saw twice as many mobile device activations this holiday as Samsung, data shows

    Context: Apple had 44% of activations for the Christmas period in 2016, but 49% of activations for the same period in 2015. A 5% drop, while not huge, is not insubstantial. 
  • Absent an Apple Siri alternative, Alexa hardware family tops Amazon holiday sales charts

    As Amazon refuses to sell Apple TV (or Chromecast) products that compete with the awful Fire TV, I am not certain that an Alexa competitor by Apple would have been sold by Amazon either. 
  • Apple seemingly removes Withings products from amid Nokia patent row

    I read somewhere along these lines: Nokia sued Apple over Apple using technology that Nokia developed in the pre-iPhone era to create the iPhone. They were one of several companies to do this. Nokia and Apple came to a voluntary license agreement and Nokia pulled their lawsuit. Again, this happened with several mobile tech companies. The licensing agreement expired. Nokia wants a new agreement similar to the old. Apple wants to either let the licensing agreement lapse entirely, or for the new agreement to result in their having to pay substantially less. Again, something that Apple has done before. In one such case, Apple originally agreed to FRAND terms as part of the license agreement, but for the new agreement, Apple argued that they should pay a substantially reduced per unit fee. The other company, I think Qualcomm, stated that they charged everyone who used their tech the same FRAND rate. Apple's position: well we sell a lot more smartphones and tablets than (for example) Sony and LG. So instead of charging us the same per device that you charge Sony and LG, you charge us a fraction of it, so in the end you will get the same amount of money from us as you get from Sony and LG. In other words, your tech is no more important to us than it is to LG, so it is unfair to make us pay more money for the same tech as LG does. In essence, Apple was attempting to make the claim that it wasn't REALLY the tech used to make the product that had value but rather the final end product itself. It was Apple's design etc. that made the iPhone a much better product than the LG G5, why far more iPhones sell than the LG G5, so basically it was Apple's design that really mattered, not Qualcomm's tech. Which ... of course .. is not how patent law is supposed to work. You see, some companies - lots actually - never actually make finished products. Their whole business is components, internals etc. and their patents are just important to their business as any other. But ultimately, it was just Apple doing their level best to create a landscape in their favor. Apple does very little basic research but excels at taking the breakthroughs of others and putting them together to create great products. It is in their interests to have a patent system where things like aesthetic design, trade dress, UI/UX etc. are emphasized but the value of the products that Apple takes to use to make their tech is devalued. Result: Apple would pay far less licensing costs - of which they would have to pay a lot since they develop very little of their own tech - but it would be financially prohibitive for Microsoft, Google, Samsung etc. to copy their designs, giving Apple very little competition with very low costs. A hole in this plan: if the basic tech companies whose breakthroughs Apple needs to build their products - and in fact who Apple needs to manufacture their products - go out of business (in no small part because Apple and the companies whose precedents Apple follows do not pay FRAND for the tech that these companies invested billions of R&D to develop) then where does the tech that Apple uses to make their products come from? And since a lot of these companies also make the components that Apple uses to make their devices, where do those components come from? Apple is not the only company that would be able to get away with paying practically nothing for the product of everyone else's R&D. Were Apple to win a court case or get a major supplier or licensor to agree, everyone else would use that precedent to pay peanuts too. There will never be a situation where there is one licensing/patent system for Apple and another for everyone else. So this is how this case is going to be resolved: Apple will either agree to FRAND terms with Nokia as they did in the past and Nokia will drop the lawsuit, or Nokia will sue Apple and a court will impose FRAND terms on Apple for the use of tech that Nokia developed and owns and Apple uses in its products. Those are the only two possible outcomes, and that is as it should be.Apple paid FRAND for this same tech in the past - in fact they still are at this second as the agreement that Apple signed in 2011 is still in effect at this time - and should in the future, as the value of these patents have not diminished with time.
  • Apple working with Consumer Reports on MacBook Pro battery findings, says Phil Schiller

    Consumer Reports is not into the "clickbait" thing. Also, they have no reason to target the MacBook Pro, which accounts for a very small percentage of PC sales. Note: this same fact is cited by an oped "No, Apple did not switch to USB-C on its new MacBook Pros to profit from dongle & adapter sales" down the page which points out that Apple switching to USB Type C on MacBooks is not some profiteering on accessories scheme with stating "Apple's best quarter ever for the Mac was the September 2015 frame, when the company sold 5.7 million computers." You may find fault with Consumer Reports' testing methodology, but the important thing to remember is that they use the same methodology to test devices from all manufacturers. Suggesting they adopt Apple's methodology for testing Apple devices or have Apple play a role in designing the test for them A) gives Apple an advantage that other manufacturers do not enjoy and B) would not necessarily be helpful in identifying something that Apple may have missed due to flaws in their own QA program, "tunnel vision" etc. I will state that Consumer Reports' methodology is not that different from the "benchmarking" tests that I see on a lot of sites. Add that to the fact that Consumer Reports is hardly a tech site i.e. AnandTech, so their testing is going to be more "general purpose" geared to the needs and use cases of the average user, just as they are not Motor Trend when it comes to their car reviews. AnandTech, ComputerWorld, Tom's Hardware etc. probably would have followed up the Safari tests with a bunch of different tests on a variety of applications, but that isn't really Consumer Reports' job. And yes, this is likely a software issue as opposed to a hardware issue. Consumer Reports' own review stated as much, and also stated that they are going to revise it later when the software issue is fixed. And as the notorious resource hog and bug magnet "platform-as-a-browser" application Chrome gave better results than Safari, then the problem is almost certainly Safari itself. Do not pretend as if Safari hasn't been a huge headache for years. Apple will release a patch for Safari to resolve this issue - or a patch in the OS that addresses whatever is causing the issue with Safari - Consumer Reports will revise the review and all this will be forgotten. If it takes more than a week, it will only be because everyone is on Christmas vacation. So no conspiracies, no nefarious attempt by Consumer Reports to undermine Apple or make money. (Funny, none of these accusations are made when these same companies give Apple good reviews and good PR ... and when they give bad reviews and PR to Microsoft, Samsung and the other competition.) This is just yet another "Apple PLEASE do something about Safari" in a long line of them. And please improve iTunes while you are at it.
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