To Keep Winning Customers, Apple Breaks Its Own Taboos

As it nears a size and scope never before approached by a technology company, Apple is doing things its executives said it never would.

Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, once announced that using a stylus with a computing device was passé. But guess what? The company is now offering a stylus, called Apple Pencil, for $100 (roughly Rs. 6,700).

And in a move sure to make Apple old-timers squirm, the newest version of the iPad, which has an optional keyboard that attaches to the tablet, is even imitating some of the features of Microsoft’s Surface.

Together, the tablet, stylus and keyboard make for a combination computing device that Apple executives had long said that they wouldn’t create.

(Also see:  iPad Pro With 12.9-Inch Display, Apple Pencil Stylus Launched)

But the center of this ever-expanding Silicon Valley giant is still the iPhone, which accounts for 56 percent of Apple’s profits. And in a presentation that lasted more than two hours on Wednesday at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium here, Apple executives emphasized several new iPhone features that – despite other announcements, ranging from an improved version of the company’s television controller to chic watchbands – are still the key to Apple’s success.

“Investors have been rewarded by assuming Apple can continually push the envelope on what a phone and the company can do,” said Michael A. Sansoterra, the chief investment officer at Silvant Capital Management, which owns Apple stock.

Apple will hit this holiday shopping season with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which include an upgraded, 12-megapixel camera and a new capability called 3D Touch. It can sense how hard a user is pressing a button, allowing for easier access to different menus and information. It also gives users tactile feedback when they touch their screens. Pressure-sensitive touch screens are already available on the Apple Watch and in the track pad of the new MacBook.

(Also see: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus With 3D Touch Display Launched)

The phone’s touch ID sensor has been upgraded, and the phone will feature iOS 9, the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

The new iPhone 6s will cost $200 (roughly Rs. 13,000), and the iPhone 6s Plus will cost $300 (roughly Rs. 20,000) with a phone contract.

The new phones will be available in 12 countries, including the United States, on Sept. 25. They will be available for preorder starting Saturday.

© 2015 The New York Times News

Apple iPad Pro Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Pro Wi-Fi

Display

12.90-inch

Processor

Apple A9X

Front Camera

Yes

Resolution

2732×2048 pixels

RAM

OS

iOS 9

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

8-megapixel

Battery capacity

See full Apple iPad Pro Wi-Fi specifications
Apple iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular

Apple iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular

Display

12.90-inch

Processor

Apple A9X

Front Camera

Yes

Resolution

2732×2048 pixels

RAM

OS

iOS 9

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

8-megapixel

Battery capacity

Apple watchOS 2 to Release September 16, New Watch Sport Models Launched

Apple on Wednesday announced its OS update for its Apple Watch devices, watchOS 2, will be available as a free update to all Apple Watch users starting September 16, the same day when iOS 9 starts seeding to compatible devices. Additionally, Apple at its keynote on Wednesday also revealed the new Apple Watch Hermes collection which includes new leather bands from Hermes, including the Single Tour, Double Tour and Cuff. It also showed off new Gold and Rose Gold variants of the Apple Watch Sport.

(Also see: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus With 3D Touch Display Launched)

At its Wednesday event, Apple repeated much of what it had said during WWDC. It stressed that the new watchOS 2 makes “apps faster and more fluid” by running natively on the Apple Watch. The company also revealed new watch faces alongside announcing ability for third-party apps to display information on the watch face as complications.

Touted as the “first major software update for Apple Watch,” the watchOS 2 brings ways to customise new watch faces including Photo, Photo Album, and Time-Lapse.

(Also see: iPad Pro With 12.9-Inch Display, Apple Pencil Stylus Launched)

watchOS 2 includes new communication features such as the ability to respond via Mail with dictation, smart replies or emoji, and Digital Touch which offers more creativity with multiple sketch colours.

The ability to show third-party app details in complications opens a variety of options for developers. For users, the new third-party app integration will mean they can see news headlines, upcoming flight times and more. The Time Travel feature allows users to conveniently explore events in the future by scrolling the Digital Crown. The company also announced that developers can now take advantage of key hardware and APIs to create native third-party apps for the Apple Watch. Giving an example, the company notes, “playing back video in the CNN app, using the speaker and microphone in iTranslate or measuring heart rate while cycling with Strava.”

(Also see: Apple Overhauls Apple TV With App Store, Siri Search)

To recall, Apple Watch comes in two different sizes, 38mm and 42mm, and is also available in three collections, Apple Watch Sport, starting at $349 (approximately Rs. 23,250) in the US; Apple Watch, starting at $549 (approximately Rs. 36,500); and Apple Watch Edition prices starting at $10,000 (approximately Rs. 6,66,350).

apple_watch_hermes_collection_official.jpgAdding style quotient to its Apple Watch, the Cupertino-based company unveiled the new Apple Watch Hermes Collection on Wednesday.

Apple Watch Hermes collection starts at $1,100 (approximately Rs. 73,000) in the US for the 38mm stainless steel case with the Single Tour strap; $1,150 (approximately Rs. 76,600) for the 42mm stainless steel case with the Single Tour strap; $1,250 (approximately Rs. 83,000) for the 38mm stainless steel case with the Double Tour strap, and $1,500 (approximately Rs. 99,900) for the 42mm stainless steel case with the Cuff. The new Apple Watch Hermes Collection will be available at select Apple retail stores apart from select Hermes store starting October 5 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

The company also added two new Apple Watch Sport cases – in Gold aluminum and Rose Gold aluminum colours.

To refresh, the Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus running iOS 8.2 or later

Apple Accused of Not Paying $71 Million in Chinese Taxes

A Chinese subsidiary of US tech giant Apple failed to pay CNY 452 million in taxes (now roughly Rs. 471 crores) due at the end of 2013, Beijing’s finance ministry said.

Apple has already paid the back taxes, along with late fees totaling CNY 65 million, the ministry said on its website.

California-based Apple’s products are hugely popular in China and the country is increasingly one of its most important markets.

Apple’s infraction – it included maintenance costs in pretax deductions – was detailed as part of a larger report posted Wednesday on finance ministry inspections into a variety of Chinese and foreign companies.

The audit found Apple Computer Trading (Shanghai) Co under-reported revenue by CNY 8.79 billion and over-reported profit by CNY 5.35 billion.

The company also understated costs of CNY 3.45 billion, the report said, along with unspecified “violation issues”.

Apple representatives in China could not immediately be reached for comment.

Long queues of buyers have often besieged Apple outlets in the country when a new gadget is launched.

But it has sometimes been targeted by state media, with vehement attacks on its customer service and returns policies in 2013 prompting an apology by chief executive Tim Cook.

Apple’s iPhone sales have surged 85 percent in Greater China which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan with revenue from the region more than doubling to $13 billion (roughly Rs. 86,400 crores) for the latest quarter ended June 27, according to the company.

Misfit Shine, Flash, and Link Activity Trackers Launched in India

If the recent IDC report wasn’t evidence enough that the market for the wearable gadgets is heating up, let the aggressive expansion of wearable companies into new markets serve as another affirmation. On Thursday, Misfit announced that it is entering the Indian market. The company has partnered with Snapdeal to sell three smartbands: Misfit Shine, Misfit Flash, and Misfit Link. These activity trackers do not require charging, but you would have to replace the battery every three-four months.

The Misfit Shine is an activity tracker, which as the company touts is made of aircraft-grade aluminium. It provides the wearer with insights about their movements as well as sleep cycle. It can withstand water up to 50m. It is available for Rs. 5,499.

The Misfit Flash also tracks movements and sleep metrics and comes shelled in a soft-touch plastic in several colour options. It also has bright LED display which can help one keep track of their personal goals. The Misfit Shine is largely same as the Shine, except that since it is made of plastic, it costs less. It is priced at Rs. 2,499.

Which leaves us with the Misfit Link. The Misfit Link lets one take selfies from their phone camera app, and is also able to control music. One can also use it to control a presentation. It is priced at Rs. 1,999.

“India is one of the fastest growing markets for consumer technology worldwide and is a hotspot of new tech and trends,” said Misfit CFO and COO Christy Le at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Bangalore. “We’re excited to share our products with this growing, enthusiastic, and tech-savvy audience.”

Earlier in September, Jawbone announced that it is debuting into the Indian market, launching a range of fitness trackers.

iPad mini 4 India Price Details

Apple hosted a big event in San Francisco on Wednesday where the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV were the stars. The one new launch that perhaps got the least amount of airtime at the event as well as in subsequent media coverage was the iPad mini 4.

Sporting internals similar to the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 4 is Apple’s newest 7-inch flagship tablet.Apple announced US pricing for the iPad mini 4 at the event, but there has been no information about the India price of the new tablet. Until now.

NDTV Gadgets has learnt that the iPad mini 4 will be priced in India starting at Rs. 28,900 for the Wi-Fi only 16GB variant. The 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 4 will be available at Rs. 35,900, with the 128GB variant available at Rs. 42,900. The 16GB Wi-Fi + cellular iPad mini 4 will set you back by Rs. 38,900, 64GB by Rs. 45,900, and the 128GB variant by Rs. 52,900. However, there’s no word yet on when the tablet will start shipping in the country.

The iPad mini 4 Smart Cover by Apple – available in Charcoal Gray, White, Midnight Blue, Red, Stone, Blue, Orange, Pink, Lavender, and Turquoise colours – will cost Rs. 2,900 in India. The iPad mini 4 Silicone Case (available in the same colours as the Smart Cover) is priced at Rs. 4,900.

The iPad mini 4 comes with a 7.9-inch 2048×1536 resolution display but it is powered by the second-generation A8 chip, compared to the A8X chip on the iPad Air 2. Rest of the internals are similar to the iPad Air 2. The iPad mini 4 is the successor to the iPad mini 3, which has now been discontinued.

(Also see: iPad mini 4 vs. iPad Air 2)

Apple also announced a price cut for the iPad mini 2 aka iPad mini with Retina Display in the US. The tablet, which used to start at $299 for the 16GB Wi-Fi variant, now retails at $269 in Apple’s backyard. However, NDTV Gadgets understands this price cut is unlikely to be passed on to customers in India at this point.

Apple iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi

Apple iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi

Display

7.90-inch

Processor

Apple A8

Front Camera

1.2-megapixel

Resolution

1536×2048 pixels

RAM

OS

iOS 9

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

8-megapixel

Battery capacity

See full Apple iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi specifications
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Apple iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular

Apple iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular

Display

7.90-inch

Processor

Apple A8

Front Camera

1.2-megapixel

Resolution

1536×2048 pixels

RAM

OS

iOS 9

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

8-megapixel

Battery capacity

Infosys, ATP Announce Strategic Partnership

Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing and next-generation services, and ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, announced on Thursday a strategic partnership to leverage the latest technological advances in mobility, cloud and analytics to transform the experience of tennis fans and players the world over.

As part of this partnership, Infosys will become the Global Technology Services Partner and Platinum Sponsor of the ATP World Tour, as well as the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, for the next three years, according to a media release.

Infosys will leverage its expertise in cloud, mobility and analytics to manage, analyze and interpret large volumes of tennis data (both historical and current) and present insights and predictions through interactive platforms for ATP fans, players, partners and the media.

Under this partnership, Infosys will work on several key initiatives for the ATP World Tour. These will include creation of an exclusive Infosys ATP Scores and Stats Center to revolutionise engagement with tennis fans by providing unprecedented insights and predictions about every tournament, every match and every point.

The Scores and Stats Center will be powered by the Infosys Information Platform (IIP), an open-source data analytics platform for data visualization and data analysis.

That apart the partnership envisages an ATP Player Zone, a next-generation player engagement platform and mobile app, to elevate the experience for players and enable them to register for tournaments, review travel information, connect with other players, and stay up-to-date on all ATP World Tour news.

Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys, said: “As a fan personally of tennis, it is really exciting to think about how we can invent great new and engaging experiences for fans.

“Great experience for tennis fans is what ATP has always stood for, and we can now take this to even greater heights with our work together.

“Fans will soon have the opportunity to get completely immersed in the action, and feel the passion and intensity in every match, and more.

“This partnership will enable us to bring new experiences in new ways to fans worldwide and will also serve to inform many new types of consumer engagements in other walks of life.”

Chris Kermode, ATP executive chairman and president, said: “We are delighted to be launching this new partnership with Infosys. The opportunities surrounding technology, statistics and data in men’s professional tennis are vast.

“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the ATP as we welcome an industry leader in Infosys and take an important step towards exploring new opportunities in this area. We look forward to developing a number of exciting initiatives as part of the partnership.”

Videocon Starts Manufacturing Mobiles at Kolkata Unit

The Videocon group today started manufacturing mobile handsets at its Salt Lake facility in the city.

“We have started manufacturing of mobile handsets at our Salt Lake factory from today. This will be the first mobile handset manufacturing unit in the entire eastern region”, Indrajit Ghosh, COO, of KAIL Limited (Videocon group) told PTI.

KAIL Limited is a part of the Videocon group which also manufactures white goods such as refrigerators, ACs and LED TVs, among others.

Ghosh said this would be the group’s second mobile manufacturing plant after Aurangabad inMaharashtra. To start with, the Salt Lake facility would be manufacturing feature phones, which makes up almost 40 percent share of the mobile phones market, Ghosh said, adding that the unit would also make smartphones and tablets.

With an initial investment of around Rs 50 crore, the production capacity here would be three million units per annum.

Production of smartphones is expected to start during the Pujas, he said.

In future, the facility would also manufacture mobile handsets of other companies as well.

The group had also set up a smartphone design centre at Shenzhen in China.