Nike refutes reports of Nike FuelBand discontinuation

Sat, Apr 19, 2014

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fuelband icon iphone

CNET reported yesterday that Nike laid off its entire Nike FuelBand team and that the company was planning to get out of the hardware business entirely in order to focus on software.

The company informed members of the 70-person hardware team — part of its larger, technology-focused Digital Sport division comprised of about 200 people — of the job cuts Thursday.

Of those 70 employees, about 70 percent to 80 percent — or as many as 55 people — were let go.

News of the layoffs naturally sparked debate as to the underlying cause. While the ostensible conclusion was that Nike was making a purely economical decision, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Apple CEO Tim Cook has been a long-time board member at Nike and that Apple may be releasing an iWatch sometime later this year.

Still, Nike was quick to respond to the report, telling Re/Code that it plans to continue selling the Nike FuelBand and that it only laid off a relatively small percentage of employees.

The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business,” the company said in a statement emailed to Re/code. “We will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colors, and we will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future.”

The language does seem to leave a lot of room, however, for the possibility that the Portland athletic apparel giant won’t produce future products in the FuelBand line. One source with knowledge of the situation said that it could be that Nike wants to be able to run down its inventory of devices, or that it still has not completely decided to shutter the unit.

I suppose time will tell.

HTC reportedly hires the brain behind Samsung’s Galaxy brand

Sat, Apr 19, 2014

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HTC m8 smartphone

While Samsung and Apple remain the top two smartphone manufacturers on the planet, that hasn’t always been in the case. Indeed, it’s easy to forget amidst the deluge of Samsung advertising materials that appear at every step, but HTC, back in the early days of Android, used to be Apple’s stiffest competition.

These days, HTC smartphones are highly regarded, even if they don’t happen to sell as briskly as their Samsung counterparts.

That said, it’s rather interesting that HTC has reportedly hired Paul Golden, the man behind Samsung’s rather clever and successful Galaxy brand strategy.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

An spokeswoman for HTC confirmed Friday that Paul Golden, who helped create Samsung’s successful Galaxy brand, is now a consultant for Chairwoman Cher Wang.

The struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker has long admitted that marketing was its weak spot. Within the past few years, HTC has shuffled through three CMOs, and in recent months Ms. Wang has taken an active role in overseeing the company’s marketing plans.

With early reviews of the iPhone Galaxy S5 seemingly falling on the negative end of the spectrum, many have pointed out that Samsung, without a leader to garner ideas from, is somewhat lost, a dynamic which results in shoddy products that don’t often work as advertised. The fingerprint sensor on the S5, for instance, has been almost universally lambasted by reviewers.

So who nows, perhaps we’ll see HTC actually win back some of the marketshare it lost to Samsung just a few years back. One thing’s for sure, it can only go up from here.

Fifth-gen iPad slated for release in September

Mon, Jul 8, 2013

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AppleInsider reports:

The details were relayed by the usual supply chain sources to DigiTimes, a Taiwanese tech industry publication frequently skewered for its track record. On Monday, the publication said that a new 9.7-inch iPad is planned to debut in September with a slimmer bezel, as has been rumored.

In addition, the report said the number of LED tubes to backlight the Retina display has been reduced from two to one, and battery life of the device has also been improved.

Pilot production of the device is allegedly already able to satisfy demand for the initial launch. As such, suppliers reportedly indicated they expect Apple to give shipment estimates as soon as the end of this month.

The next-gen iPad Mini, however, may be delayed a bit as Apple, so the report goes, is still considering whether or not to add a Retina Display to the next-gen device.

Is this Apple’s low cost iPhone?

Mon, Jul 8, 2013

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MacRumors has the scoop over here.

Apple moves away from Foxconn, Pegatron steps up

Mon, May 13, 2013

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Cult of Mac reports via Reuters:

Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, has long been Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner, with around 60-70% of its revenue coming from the Cupertino company. But local rival Pegatron is hoping to change that.

By offering Apple more competitive prices and sacrificing its profit margins, Pegatron appears to be securing iPhone and iPad assembly orders that would have normally gone straight to Foxconn.

What’s more, it’s though that Pegatron will play a big part in manufacturing Apple’s rumored low-cost iPhone after the company announced it will increase its number of workers in China by up to 40% in the second half of 2013.

“Pegatron posts a long-term risk to Hon Hai because as it catches up on margins by supplying more components, it can provide more aggressive pricing,” Daiwa Capital analyst Birdy Lu told Reuters. “Hon Hai’s margin uptrend is not a guarantee.”

Notably, Pegatron is already an Apple partner, though much of its current work revolves around working on older Apple products, like the iPhone 4S. The company, though, is involved with iPad Mini manufacturing.

iWork is still alive and kickin’

Mon, May 13, 2013

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AppleBitch reports:

Despite many assumptions to the contrary, it seems that Apple hasn’t forgotten iWork altogether as the company has today posted a job advertisement looking for a software QA engineer to work on the next generation of iWork software. The position advertisement is specifying a software engineer who can ‘work on the next generation of Desktop, Mobile and Web application/services‘. The position appears to be focused on bug detection, isolation and reporting in the iWork suite.

What is Siri grateful for?

Wed, May 8, 2013

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Siri certainly is sassy these days. But on other days, she’s just glad to make it through the boring ole’ 9-5.

More reports that Apple iPhone 5S production will start this June/July

Wed, May 8, 2013

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Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley isn’t the only one with news of Apple’s plans to kick off iPhone 5S production this Summer. We also have a report from Nikkan which notes that displays for Apple’s next-gen iPhone will be manufactured by a trifecta of Sharp, LG, and Japan Display.

Sharp also begin in June the mass production of the next model for the liquid crystal panel of the (multi-function mobile phone) smartphone that Apple is planning on. Appears to have embarked on production readiness of consecutive holidays from May Kameyama Plant No. 1 of Apple smartphones LCD dedicated plagued by sluggish occupancy rate since the beginning of the year in (Kameyama, Mie Prefecture).

So the orders for the iPhone 5S are in, apparently, and now we play the waiting game.

Remember, though, that it was originally anticipated that iPhone 5S production would get going in March, all in time for a Summer release. Technical difficulties involving the iPhone 5S’s rumored fingerprint authorization sensor, however, apparently delayed that by quite a bit.

Apple to release multiple new iPhone models this Summer, says Morgan Stanley

Wed, May 8, 2013

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After returning from a trip abroad in Asia, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty recently wrote in a note to investors that Apple is planning to kick off production on multiple new iPhone models sometime in June or July. If this timeline is, in fact, accurate, that lends more credence to reports that Apple’s next-gen iPhone, and perhaps a low-cost iPhone, will hit store shelves sometime this Fall.

In addition to the anticipated iPhone 5 successor, Apple is also rumored to be working on a new low-end iPhone that would be targeted at customers who are not interested in carrier contract subsidies. Huberty’s note provided to AppleInsider on Wednesday suggested that Apple could achieve strong sales of a low-end iPhone in China, even if the device were sold for above the market “sweet spot” of about $160 U.S.

via AppleInsider

Bill Gates says iPad users are frustrated because they don’t have Office

Tue, May 7, 2013

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Oh Bill, you are a funny one.

Apple to release a number of low-cost iPhones – Rumor

Tue, May 7, 2013

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Electronista reports that Apple this Summer may not just release one low-cost iPhone model, but may in fact release a number of low-cost iPhone models. As has been reported previously, the devices will be geared for emerging markets where folks simply can’t afford the iPhone as is.

To save costs on its rumored low-cost devices, Apple will reportedly use cheaper plastic instead of metal to adorn the devices.

While the source provided no timetable for release, the rationale provided for Apple capitulating to the lower end of the market was said to be to buy time for the company while it works on the next revamp of the iPhone, which might presumably be called the “iPhone 6″ and would not be expected for more than a year. Apple is said to be particularly concerned with the Android platform’s success in the low end in countries with large prepaid customer bases, but has always steered budget-minded customers to its lower-cost-contract offerings such as the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. The company has seen demand for those older models increase substantially, particularly with the addition of some monthly-payment or “trade in” options in countries such as India.

via Electronista

Why do dinosaurs look so much scarier than creatures today?

Tue, May 7, 2013

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Great answer from Quora:

Three reasons.  They look scary because they’re unfamiliar; they look scary because they’re not accurate reconstructions; and they look scary because they were, in fact, scary.

The third part is pretty simple.  A multi-ton carnivore is a scary thing, and it would be scary if it was wearing big clown shoes and a red rubber beepy nose.  Although there were lots of small dinosaurs, there really were a lot of huge ones, and things that are that much bigger than us are dangerous.

The first point is also fairly clear, I think. Dinosaurs used different solutions to many problems than the animals we’re used to seeing, especially big animals, and we are jolted by those differences.

Finally, the reconstructions we see tend to be biased toward scariness. Dinosaur reconstructions tend to be done conservatively, meaning that muscle mass is minimized and the skin is stretched tightly over that mass.  Surface adornments and colors are not known, so they’re not added.

Check out the photos to boot over here. Interesting stuff.

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