Tag: apple

Apple and Facebook spend a fortune lobbying Trump

Facebook and Apple set their record high for spending in a single quarter. Facebook spent $3.2 million lobbying the federal government in the first months of the Trump era.

During the same period last year, Facebook spent $2.8 million which sounds rather a lot but it is actually 15 percent less than it spent this year.

The company lobbied both chambers of Congress, the White House, and six federal agencies on issues including high-tech worker visas, network neutrality, internet privacy, encryption, and international taxation.

Facebook was the 12th-highest spender out of any company and second-highest in tech.

The Fruity cargo cult Apple spent $1.4 million, which is just $50,000 more than during the final months of the Obama presidency, when it set its previous record and the most it has ever spent in a single quarter.

Apple lobbied on issues including government requests for data, the regulation of mobile health apps, and self-driving cars.

Google, once again, outspent every other technology company. It was tenth overall, tallying $3.5 million.

While the search giant decreased its lobbying spending compared with this time last year, Amazon, Microsoft, and Uber all boosted their beltway budgets for the first three months of 2017.

Amazon spent $3 million on lobbying, behind only Facebook and Google, and was 17th out of all companies including ones outside of tech. Amazon met with government officials to discuss net neutrality, drone air cargo, drone privacy, and the flow of data across borders, among other issues. Microsoft claimed $2.3 million as the fourth-biggest spender in tech and 27th overall.

Apple forces suppliers to shred gear

Apple’s Environmental Responsibility Report reveals some rather nasty tricks that the company does to kill off the life span of its products.

While the Tame Apple Press has been singing praises of Apple’s environmental record based on the report it is choosing to ignore some very important environmental misses.

While Apple said that its aim is to make iPhones and computers entirely out of recycled materials by putting pressure on the recycling industry to innovate, that is mostly a moonshot plan and not as important as Jobs’ Mob actually doing something itself.

The most important is Apple’s current practices prevent recyclers from doing the most environmentally friendly thing they could to salvage phones and computers from the scrap heap and reuse them.

Apple rejects current industry best practices by forcing the recyclers it works with to shred iPhones and MacBooks so they cannot be repaired or reused — instead, they are turned into tiny shards of metal and glass.

After sorting, the materials are sold and used for production stock in new products. No reuse. No parts harvesting. No resale.

While this is great for Jobs’ Mob, it means that users are forced to buy new gear, which places a strain on the environment.

Woz predicts dystopian future with Apple still there

The founder of Apple is predicting a dystopian future where Jobs’ Mob, Google and Facebook rule a world which lives in deserts.

The theme of next weekend’s Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC), “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?” Woz, who predicted the rise of portable laptops said that in 58 years, Apple will be still around.

“Apple will be around a long time, like IBM (which was founded in 1911). Look at Apple’s cash ($246.1 billion, as of the end of its last fiscal quarter). It can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around (in 2075). The same goes for Google and Facebook.”

Other areas will not be great either. There will be new cities in deserts which could be ideal locations for cities of the future, designed and built from scratch. People will shuttle among domed structures. Special wearable suits will allow people to venture outside, he said.

AI will be ubiquitous, Wozniak says. Like a scene straight from the movie Minority Report, consumers will interact with smart walls and other surfaces to shop, communicate and be entertained. Medical devices will enable self-diagnosis and doctor-free prescriptions, he says. “The question will be ethical, on whether we can eliminate the need for physicians,” he says.

Woz is convinced a colony will exist on the Red Planet. Echoing the sentiments of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose Blue Origin start-up has designs on traveling to Mars, Wozniak envisions Earth zoned for residential use and Mars for heavy industry.

Wozniak says there is a “random chance” that Earthlings will communicate with another race. “It’s worth trying,” he says, “but I don’t have high hopes”.

Qualcomm swings handbag at Apple

Chipmaker Qualcomm has replied to the fruity, tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple’s allegation that it has been playing monopoly by swinging a handbag of its own.

It claimed that the iPhone maker breached agreements with the firm and encouraged regulatory attacks on its business in various jurisdictions around the world by making false statements.

Apple had filed the lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of overcharging for chips and refusing to pay some $1 billion in promised rebates. The lawsuit came days after the US government accused the chipmaker of resorting to anticompetitive tactics to maintain a monopoly over key semiconductors in mobile phones.

In a statement, Qualcomm said that Apple has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable licence terms from Qualcomm.

Qualcomm filed counterclaims to Apple’s lawsuit with the US District Court for the Southern District of California.

The chipmaker said in the statement that Apple interfered in its agreements with licensees that manufacture iPhones and iPads.

Qualcomm also said Apple threatened it in an attempt to prevent it from making any public comparisons about the superior performance of the Qualcomm-powered iPhones, and misrepresented performance differences between iPhones using Qualcomm modems and those using competitor-supplied modems.

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm in Beijing, alleging the chip supplier abused its clout in the chip industry and seeking $145.32 million in damages.

Android phones vulnerable to booby trapped wi-fi signals

 Android phones are vulnerable to attacks that use booby trapped wi-fi signals to achieve full device takeover, a researcher has demonstrated.

The vulnerability resides in a widely used wi-fi chipset manufactured by Broadcom and used in both iOS and Android devices. Before anyone claims it was poor Android programming, the Fruity Cargo-Cult Apple was also vulnerable to the hack but patched the vulnerability with Monday’s release of iOS 10.3.1.

The Google Project Zero researcher Gal Beniamini who discovered the flaw said that an attacker within range may be able to execute arbitrary code on the wi-fi chip.

In a highly detailed blog post Apple said that the flaw  allowed the execution of malicious code on a fully updated 6P “by wi-fi proximity alone, requiring no user interaction”.

Google is in the process of releasing an update in its April security bulletin. The fix is available only to a select number of device models, and even then it can take two weeks or more to be available as an over the air update to those who are eligible.

Company representatives didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment for this post. The proof-of-concept exploit uses wi-fi frames that contain irregular values.

The values, in turn, cause the firmware running on Broadcom’s wireless system-on-a=chip to overflow its stack. By using the frames to target timers responsible for carrying out regularly occurring events such as performing scans for adjacent networks, Beniamini managed to overwrite specific regions of device memory with arbitrary shellcode.

Beniamini’s code does nothing more than write a benign value to a specific memory address. Attackers could obviously exploit the same series of flaws to surreptitiously execute malicious code on vulnerable devices within range of a rogue access point.

Apple orders 70 million bent OLED screens from Samsung


Apple has ordered
more than 70 million OLED screens from Samsung and it is believed that the curved screens will go into its coming iPhone 8

Nikkei Asian Review cited sources close to Apple’s supply chain, has no other details about the order, but says the screens will be used in a phone.

Apple will launch three new iPhones this autumn: Two with a regular, LCD screen, and a “premium” variant that will have a curved OLED screen.

Previous reliable rumours had claimed that Samsung Display will manufacture a total of 160 million OLED panels for Apple which suggests that Apple might not be expecting to sell so many of the pricy phones as it thought.

According to the outlet, all three new iPhones will come with wireless charging, and all three will be waterproof. Furthermore, at least one model will have 3D sensors with built-in facial recognition.

This is all a bit of a snooze really, as it is the sort of tech which adds little to the phone.

Nikkei claims the two LCD-screened iPhones will be 4.7- and 5.5-inches big – just like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, while the premium variant will have a 5.2-inch OLED screen.

Apple has Brexit on Imagination tech

Fruity tax-dodging cargo cult Apple has told British graphics maker Imagination it will stop using its graphics technology in the iPhone and other products with two years’ time.

Imagination had been leaning heavily on Apple lately and depends on it as its biggest customer. It is also unclear what Apple is going to do about its graphics technology.

It looks like Apple is trying to slash costs by bleeding its suppliers. It is widely expected to see interest in its iPhone declining and has been putting the thumbscrews on its suppliers to keep its margins and profits up.

Apple paid Imagination license fees and royalties totalling £60.7 million for the year to the end ofApril 2016, half of its total revenue, and is expected to pay about £65 million pounds for this year, Imagination said.

Imagination said Apple had not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer need Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information.

Apple’s notification had triggered talks on alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement.

Apple stops Aussie banks negotiating together for mobile payments

 

Apple has managed to stop banks from banding together to negotiate a better deal for Apple Pay, at least in Australia.

The banks did not want to agree to Apple’s outrageous transaction fees for its mobile banking service and instead wanted to band together to force Apple to agree to something cheaper create something that would not cost them so much.

Apple, of course said no, and complained to the regulator that the banks were ganging up on it.

Australia’s competition watchdog agreed and said that the banks could not work together to introducing their own mobile applications on iPhones and Apple Watches that could be used for contactless payments instead of the Apple Wallet.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman (ACCC) Rod Sims said: “If others need to think it through … we’ve at least got something out there which they can kick off from.”

If the four Aussie banks won two-thirds of the nation’s credit card market, would have given them more negotiating power, and could have sparked similar appeals to regulators for access to Apple’s systems in other jurisdictions around the world.

This would have given Apple a huge headache as it has been running a divide and conquer system all over the world forcing each bank to negotiate for access to Apple gear individually.  If it had to deal with the Aussie banks as a group they could have simply told it to go forth and multiply.

But the Australian watch dog was concerned that giving the banks bargaining power could reduce competition by forcing Apple to act more like Google which owns the more open Android operating system that allows contactless payments from individual apps.

An Apple spokeswoman said it was a great decision for Australians who wanted the “easiest, most secure and private payment experience possible with Apple Pay”.

It is now thought that Apple will extract a pound of flesh from the banks that dared to oppose it by making them pay more for not doing its bidding early.  Although quite why the banks should even bother with Apple Pay is open to question.

Apple’s App store’s days of glory have passed

It was only a matter of time, but Apple’s App Store is no longer the mobile market leader it once was.

For years Jobs’ Mob has bragged that it has the most apps and makes the most money from its app store making it important that developers make sure their code is represented.  However analytics firm App Annie said that all that is slowing down.

The App Store will fall second to the amount of revenue generated by Android app distributors, predicts. In 2017, the App Store will generate $40 billion in revenue, which is not bad, but is being outclassed by Android app stores run by Google and other parties which will generate $41 billion.

The gap will widen in 2021, with Android app stores generating $78 billion in revenue and Apple’s App Store fall to $60 billion.

The surge in revenue for Android comes from a growing number of consumers in China who are buying Android phones and are willing to pay for apps. In 2021, App Annie expects there to be eight Android smartphone users to every single iPhone user in China.

 

Galaxy 8 out today and the Tame Apple Press is terrified

The Tame Apple Press is doing its best to rain on Samsung’s Galaxy 8 parade as early indications suggest that it is going to be far better than what Apple is going to release in October.

Apple’s favourite news agency Reuters  took time out of its busy day to warn users of the dire “fire-prone Note 7” smartphone and demanded to know why the company was not focusing the launch on battery safety rather than concentrating on things like functionality and what the phone does.

It quoted a Los Angeles-based Eric Schiffer, a brand strategy expert and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants saying that highlighting the safety issue at this point will cause the other narrative to be recycled, “so they have elected to suppress and hope”.

To be fair to Samsung, only the Tame Apple Press thinks that the Samsung Galaxy 8 will catch fire. Reuters was finding it hard to dredge up a tame expert who would say that the batteries were a problem. Lewis Larsen, president of Chicago-based battery technology consultancy Lattice Energy said that Samsung had taken measures that should certainly improve battery safety and durability. “These are most definitely not just cosmetic steps ‘for show.'”

But that did not stop Reuters hacks interviewing their word processors to talk about how the new quality measures “can’t guarantee there will be no future problems”.

They even hinted that it did not matter if the failure rate was low at first, in the long term they would catch fire. Of course, they have no way of knowing that and if we were Samsung we would have sued them.

At the heart of the story is that analysts are going on record to say that the S8 will outsell the Galaxy S7, which was Samsung’s best seller in its first year from launch.

Reuters is recommending people not to buy it and to wait a few months to see if it does not catch fire. If people were stupid enough to listen to that advice then it would mean that it would give Apple a chance to release new iPhone as competition.

To put this into perspective, when Reuters covers iPhone launches it bangs on about how anticipated the phone is and focuses on its “game changing” technology, even when the iPhone’s tech has been unchanged for years with incremental changes to the chips, thinning down slightly, and the inconvenient loss of the headphone jack.