Facial motion tracking company bought by Apple for unknown amount
Apple has confirmed it has acquired a Swiss facial motion tracking startup, a purchase that was rumored to have taken place in September. FaceShift, a Zurich-based company responsible for some of the motion capture technology used for visual effects in the latest Star Wars movie, was purchased for an undisclosed amount, with several of the startup's employees now working for Apple on the technology while remaining in Europe.
Hand-crafted with rich Corinthian voices for extreme effect
Episode 42 is, first and foremost, a gorgeous-sounding episode. It features Mike and Charles, a good connection, and a fair amount to talk about even in a slow news week. As is the norm with these two, they wander around to various topics, but among the things that are for sure discussed in the repairability (or rather, the lack of it) in the Apple Pencil (and whether anyone should care), what's up with MacUpdate.com, and more.
Nearly one in three Americans owns an iPhone, study finds
A new study (PDF) by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) claims that as of the end of September, more than 101 million iPhones were in use in the United States, a ratio approaching one iPhone for every three Americans. The study further found that of that number, 62 million units -- were recent models from either this year or last. The majority, 58 million, are 2014's iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, with only four million of the latest model sold in the US in the first weekend of availability before the end of the September quarter.
Rdio to file for bankruptcy, shut down service in the future
Pandora is acquiring aspects of a rival streaming music service for $75 million, as it attempts to improve its own audio offerings at the same time as lowering the number of players in the music streaming industry. As part of the deal, Pandora will take control of "several key assets" from Rdio, including technology and intellectual property, as well as absorbing some of the Rdio staff and Rdio filing for bankruptcy.
Acquisition will help Fossil add wearable technology to future watches
Wristwatch producer Fossil is expanding its wearable device holdings, by acquiring fitness tracker company Misfit. The purchase, totaling $260 million as a combination of cash and bank debt, effectively gives Fossil another route into the wearable device market, with the manufacturer said to be planning to integrate Misfit's technology with its own watches and accessories next year to produce fashionable wearable items.
New tablet could push revenue share back up, analyst predicts
On Monday, Apple debuted its first iPad TV ad since the initial blitz announcing the iPad Air 2, this time for the forthcoming iPad Pro. The ad, dubbed "A Great Big Universe," shows off a third-party app specially optimized for the new 12.9-inch tablet, Sky Guide. Separately, Adobe has released a video that shows artists using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil with iOS apps Photoshop Fix, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, and Illustrator Draw.
Says original judge, appeals court erred in framework used to determine guilt
Following on from its petition for certiorari (request for judicial review), Apple has formally requested that the US Supreme Court overturn the appellate court decision that found the appeals court mostly in agreement with Judge Denise Cote's original finding that Apple had conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books in an effort the iPhone maker (and the publishers) have repeatedly said was intended to open the market to competition and diversify the number of publishers by making the industry viable.
Macs hit all-time sales record of 5.7 million, Apple Watch growing
In today's quarterly results call for the company's fiscal fourth quarter, Apple revealed it had sold 48 million iPhones, a record for Q4. Strong sales in China and other developing regions helped boost the numbers, along with a short period of availability of the company's newest iPhones, the 6s and 6s Plus. Macs also set an all-time sales record of 5.7million units sold. The Mac figure was all the more remarkable given that the PC industry in general has seen an 11 percent decline.
Sets new record for fourth-quarter sales of iPhones, Watch, Macs
Apple revenues rose 25 percent year-over-year to $51.5 billion in its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended in September with just a week or so of availability for its latest iPhones, the company has announced. Profits were up 30 percent to $11.1 billion, while earnings per share climbed from $1.42 to $1.96, a 38 percent increase. The results beat consensus analyst estimates of $51.11 billion in revenue. International sales jumped to 62 percent of revenue, fueled by strong growth in China.
Consensus aiming to top upper end of Apple's guidance
A new forecast from analysts and a late prediction from investment firm Cowen and Company have combined to move the needle slightly upwards in terms of the optimism of guesses on Apple's earnings for its fiscal Q4 quarter, which will be reported later today (MacNN will, of course, have live coverage). Compared to a recent polling of analysts by Fortune magazine, the new consensus rises just over the top of Apple's guidance, now at $51 billion in revenue.
Rare quarterly profit beats Wall Street, stock price boosted by results
Amazon yesterday announced financial results for its third quarter that ended on September 30. Net sales increased 23% to $25.4 billion in the third quarter, compared with $20.6 billion in third quarter 2014. On the strength of that, and the massive growth from cloud service sales, the company posted a net income of $79 million, compared with net loss of $437 million in the third quarter of 2014.
Revenue down 12 percent from year-ago-quarter
Microsoft posted its first quarter earnings for fiscal year 2016 yesterday evening, and surpassed its own expectations, as well as those of analysts. The company posted $20.4 billion in revenue, down 12 percent year over year. Expected contraction in the company's Productivity and Personal Computing departments were offset by growth in cloud services, as expected. Operating income came in at $5.8 billion, with a net income of $4.6 billion.
Predictions of nearly 49 million units ahead of Christmas buying season
Apple will announce its fiscal Q4 results for the quarter that ended on September 30 this coming Tuesday, October 27, and ahead of that Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt has again rounded up some Wall Street and independent analysts and collected their respective guesses on how many iPhones Apple sold -- for most analysts, nearly the only Apple sales number that matters. The result is that the pundits believe Apple will have yet another record quarter, with sales up 24 percent year-over-year.
Cook announces range of new, greener options for Apple in China
Following a meeting in Beijing for the group he recently joined, Apple CEO Tim Cook is touring around China ahead of the October 24 opening of the latest Chinese Apple Store in Dalian. He posted a photo on his Sina Weibo account taken as he was hiking the Great Wall on Chongyang Festival, which he called "simply breathtaking," and said he was "happy to be back in China." In a later newspaper interview, Cook talked up the strength of the Chinese economy, despite some recent setbacks.
Multiple suitors arose for company, WD offer led pack
Western Digital and SanDisk today announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Western Digital will acquire all of the outstanding shares of SanDisk for a combination of cash and stock. The offer values SanDisk common stock at $86.50 per share or a total equity value of approximately $19 billion.
Next quarter expected to be worse yet for revenue
Chip design and manufacturing company AMD yesterday announced revenue for the third quarter of 2015 of $1.06 billion. With the loss of revenue, the company also noted an operating loss of $158 million, forcing a net loss of $197 million. Losses per share came to $0.25 per share.
Valuable employees across all company areas see 1,000-share awards
Apple CEO Tim Cook and the rest of the executive team have announced, in consultation with the Board of Directors, a new program that goes beyond the existing Employee Stock Purchase Plan currently available to all employee and optionally grants employees at all levels and areas of the company -- including non-executives and retail workers -- small amounts of Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), small stock grants intended to help retain the valuable workers.
Company hit low end of target range, on chip sale weakness
Intel Corporation yesterday reported third-quarter revenue of $14.5 billion, operating income of $4.2 billion, net income of $3.1 billion and earnings per share of 64 cents. The company generated approximately $5.7 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.1 billion, and used $1.0 billion to repurchase 36 million shares of stock. While the company met its own quarterly predictions, the 6.3 percent drop in income from a 19 percent drop in processor shipment volumes from the third quarter fell short of analysts' expectations.
Combined entity will have deep penetration into enterprise; VMware discrete
Dell and EMC Corporation today announced they have signed a definitive agreement under which Dell, together with its owners, Michael S. Dell, MSD Partners, and investment company Silver Lake, will acquire EMC Corporation, while maintaining VMware as a publicly-traded company. The deal is record-breaking, and is valued at $67 billion, the biggest technology company acquisition to date.
Company plans to hit ambitious 130-country goal by end of 2015
A range of new countries will be getting the either the Apple Watch or the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus for the first time across the month of October, part of Apple's plan to have the devices in as many countries as possible ahead of the holiday buying season this quarter. The company previously said it intends to have the new iPhones available in 130 countries by the end of the year. The Apple Watch is on a different and likely less-ambitious timetable, but Apple is bringing it to many new markets as well.
Exec has 44 years of experience heading Boeing financial services
Apple today announced that James A. Bell, former chief financial officer and corporate president of The Boeing Company, has been elected to Apple's board of directors. Bell brings more than four decades of experience in finance, strategic planning, and leadership in complex organizations. During his 38-year career at Boeing, he also oversaw Boeing Capital Corporation and Boeing Shared Services, and was interim CEO of The Boeing Company in 2005.
Companies clean up mess that began with Motorola Mobility, will work together
In a surprise move, Google and Microsoft have agreed to settle and dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between the two companies dating back to 2010, and say they have "agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers." The action will terminate some 20 active lawsuits filed in both the United States and Germany, though financial terms between the the parties was not disclosed. The action includes cases originally brought against or by Motorola Mobility.
Apple to announce fiscal Q4 results on October 27 at 2pm PT
Apple will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results in a conference call with analysts on October 27 at 2PM PT (5PM ET), the company has revealed. The quarter, which ends on September 30, will include two weeks of sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, of which Apple has already announced it sold more than 13 million units on opening weekend -- an increase of 30 percent from last year's iPhone 6 introduction. Wall Street, however, sees the gain as simply the addition of mainland China to the list of countries selling the new iPhone on its debut weekend.
New Nintendo president former head of Nintendo of America
Nintendo has installed a new president, following the passing of previous company president Satoru Iwata in July. Tatsumi Kimishima is being promoted to the role from his previous position as the head of human resources, with interim representative directors Genyo Takeda and gaming luminary Shigeru Miyamoto taking on new roles as Technology Fellow and Creative Fellow respectively at the Japanese gaming company.
Apple files for new $2.26 billion Euro debt offering for stock buyback, dividends
Apple is once again turning to the debt markets to finance its stock buyback and dividend payout programs, a new filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed. The iPhone maker will issue a new, €2 billion Euro (roughly $2.26 billion US) debt offering in order to continue to take advantage of extremely low interest rates. Only two notes will be offered, at €1 billion each, which will mature between January 2024 and the fall of 2027. The company last offered a Euro-based debt sale late last year.
Acquisition helps BlackBerry bolster cross-platform enterprise services
BlackBerry has attempted to bolster its enterprise services, by acquiring a competitor in the mobile security business. Good Technology is being bought by the mobile phone producer for $425 million in cash, with the purchase expected to help Blackberry shore up its own enterprise messaging and security platform by using Good's knowledge of iOS, Windows, and Android management and applications security.
Bonhams to auction early working model, expects $500,000 or more
Bonhams in New York City will auction another rare, fully-working Apple I computer said to be in "fantastic" condition in October, said to be one of the first 50 hand-constructed by Steve Wozniak and one of only six or seven units known to still be functioning. A number of the few remaining working units have been turned over at auction in recent years: Bonhams is expecting to fetch $500,000 or more for this latest unit, but others have sold for much more.
Apple avoids $533 million in penalties awarded by East Texas patent jury
US District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap has denied Apple a chance at a new trial to clear its name from charges that it willfully infringed on patents owned by patent troll Smartflash last February, but has decided to retain the dismissal of the original $532.9 million awarded to the company for damages, clearing the way for a damages retrial later this month. Judge Gilstrap reversed the jury's award, but not its findings of infringement, after he determined his own instructions on calculating royalties may have confused the jury.
New recruits may be involved in alleged 'Project Titan' work
Apple has recently hired some further new engineers from Testla Motors and others with automotive backgrounds, fueling rumors of further work in vehicle electronics (with less credible reports claiming Apple is working on its own car). Among the recent hires, who may or many not be working on the same projects, are a technologist involved with automotive algorithms, two engineers from Tesla, and a former operations manager at India's Tata Motors.
Award part of pre-arranged performance compensation package
[Updated with filing info for Eddy Cue] A pair of filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed that Apple CEO Tim Cook and SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue have been awarded a total of 910,000 shares of AAPL stock for differing reasons. In the case of Cook, the company's performance relative to other companies in the S&P 500 over the last two years merited the award. The combined gross value of the stock is nearly $94 million at current prices.
Requires vents to release small amount of water vapor, runs for a week
Users of smartphones are always complaining -- despite huge advancements in battery technology over the past few years -- about the need to recharge devices frequently. A new form factor from British firm Intelligent Energy could potentially change this to only having to recharge a phone on a weekly, rather than daily, basis. The company has placed a hydrogen fuel-cell battery into an iPhone 6 as a proof-of-concept, with only tiny changes to the casing for the device.
CEO seeks to reassure investors on China market strength, Apple growth
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has previously demonstrated a fondness for CNBC stock showman Jim Cramer, sent the host an email that Cramer subsequently made public in which Cook reassures Cramer and his audience that current worries about the Chinese economy (which have taken a substantive toll on the entire stock market, including Apple's stock) are fleeting, and that Apple's growth in the country continues apace.
Australian bond orders pass $1.2B in under 2 hours
Apple has launched a corporate bond sale in Australia managed by Goldman Sachs, Commonwealth Bank, and Deutsche Bank, marking its first such sale in Australian dollars. Launched as a "benchmark-sized" sale, one which would usually involve raising somewhere between AU$500 million and AU$1 billion ($365 million and $730 million) , the orders for this particular sale reached AU$1.2 billion ($877 million) within just two hours of being available to purchase.
Alphabet umbrella company headed by Sergey, Brin, with Pichai as Google CEO
Google has announced a major restructuring of its business, starting with it being under the control of a new holding company called Alphabet. In a letter to shareholders, also posted to the Google Blog and on the new organization's website, Google founder Larry Page writes that the change is being made in order to make the company "cleaner and more accountable" as a "collection of companies" headed up by Google itself.
Nokia sells Here mapping arm to car manufacturers for $3.1B
Nokia is selling its mapping business to a collection of German car manufacturers. The Here mapping arm is being picked up by Audi, BMW, and Daimler for €2.8 billion ($3.1 billion,) with the technology likely to be used in in-car navigation systems and to help self-driving research being performed by each of the manufacturers. Despite the sale, the Here team advises that the mobile app version will still be available, as it is likely to help car-based mapping systems and other markets.
Chinese maker Huawei overtakes Microsoft as Lumia sales drop by 50 percent
A new study by Strategy Analytics has confirmed Apple CEO Tim Cook's claim that iPhone sales were up a staggering 35 percent year-over-year, making Apple the smartphone maker with the second-highest mobile phone shipments overall, including "feature phones." The remaining-but-shrinking market for low-end smartphones and feature phones is what keeps Samsung in first, but Apple's marketshare rose to 10.9 percent share, compared to last year's 8.2 percent.
Reverses $63M loss from previous quarter, 8.3M devices sold
T-Mobile has managed to post a net profit of $361 million for the most recent quarter, reversing a $63 million loss from the previous quarter and almost reaching the $391 million it brought in for the same period last year. In its successful quarter, the carrier reports total revenue of $8.2 billion, up year-on-year by 14 percent, with the per-share loss of $0.09 from last quarter being switched for an earnings per share of $0.42.
Strong semiconductor results countered by poor Samsung Galaxy S6 sales
Samsung has endured yet another poor showing in its latest quarterly financial results, confirming warnings the manufacturer issued earlier this month. The Korean electronics giant achieved sales of 48.54 trillion won ($4.1 billion) in the second quarter, up from the previous quarter by 1.42 trillion won or 3 percent, but a drop from the 52.35 trillion won brought in for the same period last year, a fact reflected in other areas of the results.
Apple part of 13 companies taking the American Business Act on Climate pledge
On Monday, Apple was announced to be part of 13 companies joining a White House initiative headed by Secretary of State John Kerry, taking a new pledge called the American Business Act on Climate Change plege. Apple, which has already invested extensively in renewable energy resources and other environmental initiatives, joins tech companies Google and Microsoft in the project, which aims to reduce carbon pollution by six billion tons by 2030.
PCs outsold by iOS devices, AT&T/DirecTV merger, AAPL vs AMZN and more
Another interesting week at MacNN brings us plenty to talk about on Episode 25 of The MacNN Podcast, ranging from the FCC approval of the AT&T/DirecTV deal for no clear reason (but with a bunch of conditions), to our new column "My Stupid Fault." We also include a full report on Apple's fiscal Q3 and the uncalled-for drop in the stock, the results of our testing of Apple's new third-party SSD Trim support, and more.
Company must grow FTTP, provide low-income broadband, among others
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has conditionally granted approval of the transfer of control of licenses and authorizations from DirecTV to AT&T. The approval will allow AT&T to acquire DirecTV, and merge the two companies into one combined entity. However, the FCC has put numerous conditions on the deal, requiring AT&T to change many of its more anti-consumer practices and policies.
Investors react to Amazon result, passes Walmart market cap
Amazon has managed to achieve a surprise profit in the last quarter, with an operating income of $464 million and a net income of $92 million, amid skyrocketing sales. Both of these figures are a reversal of the operating and net losses of $15 million and $126 million for the same period last year, with the diluted earnings per share of $0.19 compared to the second quarter of 2014's $0.27 loss.
Quarterly results largely positive for AT&T
AT&T achieved consolidated revenues of $33.0 billion for the last quarter, a year-on-year increase of 1.4 percent, according to the carrier's latest financial report. The earnings per share is also up to $0.69, up from $0.61 for the same period last year, with AT&T beating the $0.63 EPS expected by analysts despite meeting expectations on revenue, in what could be described as an overall positive quarterly report.
Takes second place in profits, added $200B to market value
Fortune has published its annual Global 500 company rankings, again placing Apple at 15th place worldwide, behind mostly oil companies, two car companies, arch-rival Samsung, and the top choice Walmart. The survey, which analyses company performance from March to March for the magazine's "fiscal year" figures, pegged Apple's revenue at $182.8 billion, with profits at $39.5 billion -- up seven and six percent, respectively.
Region continues to offset normal summer sales doldrums
Although Apple's conference call with analysts on Tuesday was light on new information, a few facts and figures about China -- Apple's fastest-growing sales region by revenue, and currently buying more iPhones than the US -- came to light. In the most recent quarter, Apple's "greater China" revenues (which include Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Taiwan) jumped 112 percent from the year-ago quarter, to $13.2 billion. That's right, more than double. In a year.
CEO specifically debunks recent report of declining sales
Although Apple has declined once again to provide sales numbers on the Apple Watch in order to avoid giving valuable information away to competitors, CEO Tim Cook took time out Tuesday's conference call with analysts to specifically challenge a recent report by Slice Intelligence that claimed that Watch sales were declining, and had fallen 90 percent since its debut weekend. Cook said that in fact, sales in June were the highest yet.
Operating loss of $2.1B caused through $7.5B Nokia acquisition, other charges
Microsoft endured an operating loss of $2.1 billion for the most recent quarter, the software giant has revealed in its last financial results before the launch of Windows 10. The heavy loss, which works out to be a loss per share of $0.40, is largely accounted for by the $7.5 billion impairment charge relating to its acquisition of Nokia, and a restructuring charges of $780 million and $160 million, though the rest of the financials appears to be more positive for the company.
Foreign sales dominate as Apple shatters fiscal Q3 records
The enduring popularity of the iPhone 6 line -- particularly in developing and rapid-growing markets such as China -- has allowed Apple to again beat quarterly best-ever records with its most recent fiscal Q3 report. The company sold more than 47.5 million iPhones, lower than analyst predictions, but which represents 35 percent year-over-year growth. Macs sold 4.7 million units, another record for a fiscal Q3 and up seven percent year-over-year.
Live, up to the minute breakdown of Tim Cook and company's earnings call
While we're not expecting another question about an Apple television set, that doesn't mean that we can't cover the earnings announcement anyway! Starting at 5:00 EDST, join the MacNN team for a live breakdown of figures given by Cook and company, as well as the follow-up question and answer session. The live page found here is now closed, but still available for perusal.
Restructuring effort at Blackberry prompts more job losses
Two major employers in the tech industry are preparing to make significant cuts to its employee numbers in the near future, according to reports. BlackBerry will be shedding staff as it attempts to turn its financial fortunes around, while Qualcomm is reportedly planning to cull a considerable number of positions as part of a review of its current strategy, with up to ten percent of its workforce potentially facing the sack.