Apple buys motion capture firm Faceshift

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 25, 2015

Apple has acquired a Zürich, Germany-based startup FaceShift which provides a proprietary technology for real-time motion capture that was used in the latest Star Wars film and in production of a number of high-profile video games. Apple has officially confirmed the deal in a prepared statement to TechCrunch.

Speculation is rife as to how Apple might be taking advantage of such a sophisticated motion capture technology in its own products, including potentially using it to power real-time avatars for FaceTime video chats. Read More


Activision Blizzard is buying Candy Crush Saga maker King Digital for $5.9 billion

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 3, 2015

Renowned games publisher Activision Blizzard is purchasing King Digital, the maker of the popular Candy Crush Saga videogame series, in a transaction valued at a whooping $5.9 billion, the two companies announced Tuesday.

Activision, best-known for the World of Warcraft, Diablo and Call of Duty videogame series, said ABS Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, will acquire all of the outstanding shares of King for $18 in cash per share, for a total equity value of $5.9 billion. Read More


Bloomberg: Apple’s penchant for secrecy slowing down its AI development efforts

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 30, 2015

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple’s artificial development efforts are being hampered by the company’s legendary penchant for secrecy as the company is finding it difficult to hire top engineers in the field.

While Apple researchers attended an artificial intelligence industry conference in Montreal last year, they kept a low profile and “didn’t say who they worked for unless asked.” Read More


Tim Cook issues email to troops commemorating fourth anniversary of Steve Jobs’s death

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 5, 2015

Steve Jobs succumbed to cancer and died of respiratory arrest on this day four years ago. To commemorate the fourth anniversary of his tragic passing, current CEO Tim Cook, whom Jobs suggested as his successor to the Board of Directors, issued a company-wide email to employees.

The message, a copy of which was obtained by The Telegraph, praises Jobs as a visionary leader, a mentor and “a dear friend.”

The internal message wraps up by suggesting that employees honor Steve by “continuing the work he started, and for remembering both who he was and what he stood for.” Read More


Former Boeing CFO joins Apple’s Board of Directors

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 1, 2015

Apple just announced that former Boeing Chief Financial Officer and Corporate President, James A. Bell, is joining its Board of Directors. James brings “a wealth of global, financial and industrial experience from his successful career at Boeing as corporate president and CFO,” said CEO Tim Cook.

“I am thrilled to welcome him to Apple’s board of directors and I look forward to working with him,” said Cook. Read More


The iPhone effect: Samsung laying off 10 percent of workforce at its headquarters

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 8, 2015

According to a report by Korean newspaper which was relayed Tuesday by Bloomberg, Samsung Electronics is about to lay off ten percent of workers at its headquarters in South Korea “as the world’s biggest smartphone maker loses sales to Apple and Chinese vendors.”

It is no secret that things have been tough for Samsung ever since Apple released its larger-screened iPhones. In addition, strong competition from China’s vendors like Huawei and Xiaomi, which build comparable phones that cost half as much as Samsung’s high-end devices, has contributed to Samsung’s diminishing sales in China. Read More


Apple finds it tough to recruit top minds in artificial intelligence and machine learning

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 7, 2015

Apple’s massive hiring effort in artificial intelligence and machine learning has hit roadblocks as the company is increasingly finding it tough to recruit top data scientists and AI experts due to its own strict privacy policies that prevent those engineers from retrieving valuable user data.

In other words, according to a Reuters report Monday, some of the brightest minds in artificial intelligence are increasingly not interested in working for a company that values and respects privacy of its users. Read More


Take a peek at Apple’s new Texas offices, its second largest operation in the world

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 7, 2015

Austin American-Statesman on Monday published a nice photo gallery providing our first sneak peek at Apple’s new offices in Austin, Texas.

The premises include a complete wellness center, a doctor’s office, restaurants, smoothie bars, exam rooms named after Texas parks and more.

The upcoming campus is located in Northwest Austin off Parmer Lane. When completed, it will consist of 1.1 million square feet of office space covering 38 acres.

In addition to the Austin facilities, Apple’s been building a new ring-shaped corporate home in Cupertino called Campus 2, also known as Spaceship. Read More


Crisp drone footage narrated by Steve Jobs offers a detailed look at iSpaceship progress

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 2, 2015

The Apple Campus 2 project, a future 2.8 million square foot home for approximately 12,000 Apple employees, is coming along nicely. The structure, affectionally dubbed the iSpaceship due to its ring-shaped design, was recently filmed from above by Silicon Valley-based videographer Duncan Sinfield who shared his footage with MacRumors.

The high-quality aerial video includes segments of Steve Jobs’ 2011 project pitch to the Cupertino City Council as a voiceover. The video is well worth watching as it gives details on the different buildings Apple is constructing while offering progress comparisons with the previous footage from early August. Read More


Have you checked out Google’s new playful logo yet?

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 1, 2015

As part of its massive restructuring effort, the Internet giant Google on Tuesday showed off its brand new logo. While the Mountain View company has refined its logo multiple times over the past seventeen years, today’s announcement marks the biggest visual change to Google’s brand identity thus far.

The new logo reflects the fact that people now interact with Google across many different platforms, apps and devices, the company argues.

Check out the new logo and identity family and tell us in comments how you liked them. Read More


Former Apple Music lead Ian Rogers joins French luxury multinational LVMH

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 1, 2015

Following his resignation from Apple, a move said to have left his colleagues scratching their head, former Apple Music executive and Beats 1 director Ian Rogers has joined LVMH, a French luxury goods conglomerate headquartered in Paris, Re/code said on Tuesday.

This is especially interesting considering Apple itself poached executives from LVMH, including the sales director for watch brand TAG Heuer in July 2014, Heuer Patrick Pruniaux. Read More


Lead Microsoft HoloLens audio engineer has been hired away by Apple

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 31, 2015

Talk that Apple could be working on an augmented reality project of its own intensified Monday with news that the iPhone maker poached Nick Thompson, the lead audio engineer for Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality project.

As noted by Piper Jaffray analyst Travis Jakel, Thompson’s LinkedIn page reveals he started working as an engineer at Apple this July. Before joining Apple, he was the HoloLens Audio Hardware Engineering Lead at Microsoft from September 2012. Read More


Beats 1 director Ian Rogers unexpectedly resigns from Apple

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 28, 2015

Ian Rogers, former Beats Music CEO and Apple Music’s Senior Director, has unexpectedly left Apple less than two months following the launch of Apple’s music-streaming service, according to The Financial Times newspaper on Friday.

The executive is credited with crafting Beats 1 Radio, Apple’s free of charge 24/7 Internet radio available in more than a hundred countries, and shaping its playlists. He was also instrumental in hiring away Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe from his post at BBC Radio 1. Read More


Google becomes Alphabet’s subsidiary, Sundar Pichai becomes CEO in massive restructuring

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 10, 2015

Sundar Pichai, Google Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome and Google Apps, is now officially the new CEO at the search company, which itself has now become a subsidiary of a bigger company called Alphabet, Inc.

Yeah, a lot has happened since you were away from your desk! According to a bombshell press release published on Google’s Investor website and sent out to media Monday morning, Google is undergoing a massive overhaul of its business structure.

With Pichai now taking the CEO reigns at Google, former Google CEO and company co-founder Larry Page will assume the CEO role at Alphabet. The other co-founder, Sergey Brin, is Alphabet’s President.

The Google brand will undergo some changes, too, and will focus on popular web properties such as Search, Gmail, Maps and Advertising. Other ambitious Google projects that have failed to gain traction will be broken out of the Google brand. Read More


Nokia sells HERE maps division to German carmakers Audi, BMW and Daimler

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 3, 2015

Nokia, once the dominant force in the mobile industry, has sold off its prized HERE maps division to a German carmaker consortium comprised of Audi, BMW and Daimler, technology blog Re/code reported this morning.

The $3.07 billion transaction (2.8 billion euros) is pending regulatory approval and should be completed in the first quarter of 2016. The deal is meant to “secure the long-term availability” of HERE maps as an open platform, as per a media release.

News of the deal arrives following months of speculation that a bunch of Silicon Valley technology giants were interested in a takeover bid, including ride sharing service Uber, as well as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Baidu and others. Read More


Samsung’s woes continue with yet another disappointing quarterly earnings

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 30, 2015

Surging iPhone demand on the high-end and plummeting sales of its feature phones that are getting squeezed out of the market by Chinese upstarts like Xiaomi are largely blamed for yet another disappointing quarterly earnings that Samsung posted Thursday.

The South Korean conglomerate reported an eight percent annual decline as profits decreased to 5.75 trillion Korean won, or approximately $4.9 billion, from 6.3 trillion won a year earlier. Analysts predicted 5.6 trillion won of net income. The results mark a fifth straight drop in quarterly earnings for the consumer electronics giant.

The bad news gets worse as Samsung’s mobile division, its bread and butter, reported a huge 37.6 percent drop in mobile operating income which fell from 4.42 trillion won in 2014 to 2.76 trillion won during the April-June period. Read More


Samsung bracing itself for another profit drop after miscalculated Galaxy S6/Edge demand

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 7, 2015

Samsung just can’t catch a break.

Although Korean investors thought the flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones would turn Samsung’s fortunes around, the financial freefall continued when the South Korean conglomerate said Tuesday it expected to report a decline in revenue and profits when its second-quarter results go public later this month.

As the Wall Street Journal noted today, the unfortunate development marks Samsung’s seventh straight quarterly profit decline. A source attributed worse than expected results to seemingly lackluster sales of Samsung’s latest flagship handsets and a gross miscalculation in demand for the Galaxy S6 versus the Galaxy S6 Edge. Read More


Apple to reveal June quarter earnings on July 21

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 30, 2015

Apple is going to release earnings for its third fiscal 2015 quarter on Tuesday, July 21, according to an update published last evening on the company’s Investor Relations webpage. A conference call to discuss third fiscal quarter earnings with Wall Street investors will be taking place on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern Time.

A live webcast of the conference call will be available here. Read More


Happy launch day anniversary, iPhone!

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 29, 2015

Today eight years ago, the original iPhone went on sale in the United States after a 6-month period of unprecedented hype triggered by its January 9, 2007 introduction. Like most other Apple products were panned as duds but went on to become smash hits, the Apple smartphone was universally dismissed.

Then industry heavyweights such as Nokia, RIM and Palm—with a little help from shortsighted technology press—ridiculed the device for its poor (by non-smartphone standards) battery life, multitouch interface, software keyboard and many other features that were ahead of its time.

In retrospect, rivals’ knee-jerk reaction to the iPhone, coupled with their risk aversion and stubborn insistence on old ways of doing things, contributed to their incredibly fast undoing.

Doomsayers notwithstanding, the device went on to sell hundreds of millions of units worldwide (726 million units to date, to be precise), becoming the de facto gold standard for smartphones. And while the iPhone is now common sight in all corners of the globe,  its beauty isn’t that it invented, but re-invented the hopelessly-out-of-touch (to quote T-Mobile CEO) industry.

It gave the sleepy, self-absorbed wireless carriers—and handset makers, their partners in crime—a much needed kick in their butt for not listening to consumers’ needs at all. Sure, there were smartphones before the iPhone but they looked like they were designed by committees (which they actually were) and one needed a user manual to master them.

There were phones with touchscreens before the iPhone but none implemented the sensation and immediacy of touch so elegantly and seamlessly as Apple’s device. There were also mobile app stores, of sorts, before the App Store. But none has offered the ease of use and instant gratification of tapping a colorful icon to have an app arrive wirelessly on your Home screen.

No smartphone other than the iPhone has managed to consistently earn highest customer satisfaction scores to this date. And as we’ve witnessed, in the process of doing so the iPhone has turned the largely written off, beleaguered computer maker from Cupertino into the most powerful corporation in the world, one that can easily sway whole multi-billion dollar industries with their decisions. Read More


Apple becomes Promoting Member of Bluetooth SIG, gains voting rights

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 23, 2015

Apple has become a Promoter Member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), a non-profit industry organization that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and the licensing of the Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.

As one of the biggest proponents of Bluetooth, the iPhone maker now holds a continual seat on the SIG Board of Directors and can influence future development of the standard even more than before. Read More

Page 112345...