Foxconn Says Pursuit of Toshiba Deal ‘Not Over’

The head of Taiwan’s tech giant Foxconn said Thursday its pursuit of Toshiba “is not yet over”, a day after the Japanese firm announced it preferred another group of bidders to acquire its prized chip business.

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai, is controlled by billionaire Terry Gou and reportedly had Apple as a financial backer in its multi-billion dollar bid for Toshiba’s memory chip unit, seen as crucial for the cash-strapped Japanese firm to turn itself around.

Toshiba said Wednesday it would hold exclusive talks with a consortium of US, South Korean and state-backed Japanese investors, dashing Gou’s ambitions.

But the Foxconn chairman vowed to keep pursuing the acquisition, saying the Taiwanese firm still has a chance.

“The Toshiba case is not yet over. It is very similar to the Sharp deal,” Gou told shareholders at an annual meeting in New Taipei City.

He was referring to his takeover last year of the Japanese electronics firm for $3.7 billion, a move he described as “really worth it.”

Foxconn Says Pursuit of Toshiba Deal 'Not Over'Gou is known for his aggressive dealmaking prowess, shown by his dogged determination to acquire Sharp despite concerns over the Japanese firm’s mounting losses.

“We still have a big chance,” he said at Thursday’s meeting of the Toshiba quest, adding there were still “a lot of variables”.

The inclusion of Japanese investors in the selected bidding group by Toshiba will ease reported government concerns about losing a sensitive technology to foreign owners.

But a Foxconn official criticized Japanese authorities for taking a protectionist approach.

“There’s no end to their corporate crisis if they are not able to open up,” said Tai Jeng-wu, who took over as president of Sharp after Foxconn’s buyout.

The Taiwanese firm is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and is best-known for assembling products for international brands such as Apple and Sony.

Gou said earlier this year he was mulling a $7 billion investment to make flat panels in the United States in a joint project with Japan’s Softbank.

He also said Foxconn aimed to increase investment in China this year to try to boost Sharp’s market share in the country.

Google Glass, Apple Newton, Nokia N-Gage Make It to ‘Museum of Failure’

Google and Apple are not synonymous with failure but in the risky business of innovation, anything is possible. At Sweden’s newly opened Museum of Failure, Google Glass and Apple Newton are two such devices that were either ahead of their time or the results of some bad ideas.

Founded by clinical psychologist Samuel West, the museum that opened on June 7 to the public has over 70 failed products and services from around the world.

“We know that 80 to 90 percent of innovation projects, they fail and you never read about them, you don’t see them, people don’t talk about them. And if there’s anything we can do from these failures, it’s learn from them,” West told CBS News.

The list has Nokia “N-gage” device, Orbitoclast Lobotomy (medical instrument), Harley-Davidson Perfume, Kodak Digital Camera, Sony Betamax and Lego Fiber Optics, among others, the information available on the Museum of Failure website stated.

Developed and marketed by Apple Inc starting 1987, Newton was one of the first personal digital assistants to feature handwriting recognition. Apple shipped the first devices in 1993.

Initially considered as innovative, Apple founder Steve Jobs directed the company to stop the production of Apple Newton devices in 1998.

According to reports, Newton devices ran on a proprietary operating system called Newton OS. The high price and early problems with its handwriting recognition feature limited its sales.

Google Glass, Apple Newton, Nokia N-Gage Make It to 'Museum of Failure'Google Glass, an eye-wearable device, created a storm when the company handed over a prototype to a few “Glass Explorers” in 2013 for $1,500 (roughly Rs. 1,00,000).

The optical head-mounted display became available to public in May 2014 but was discontinued in 2015 owing to privacy and safety concerns. The device, however, is now gaining momentum in the medical industry.

Nokia made “N-Gage” mobile device and handheld game system that ran on Series 60 platform on Symbian OS. The device, released in October 2003, was discontinued two years later. “N-Gage” suffered from a poor gaming library.

The Museum of Failure is open to the public in downtown Helsingborg.

Apple Adds Virgin to US Carrier Lineup as Virgin Ditches Android

Apple Inc will soon start selling wireless plans from Virgin Mobile USA, the first new carrier offered by the iPhone maker’s since 2013, the companies said on Wednesday.

Virgin Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Sprint that licenses its name from the Virgin Group co-founded by Richard Branson, struck the deal as part of a broader revamp of its business that will see it ditch Android phones in the coming years and become what it claims is the first iPhone-only network.

Virgin Mobile USA will first be offered in Apple’s stores then online. Apple currently offers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, the last of which was added in 2013.

Branson, wearing an Apple Watch on his left wrist and traditional watch on the other, told Reuters in an interview he sees similarities between the Apple and Virgin brands because both advocate for human rights and other social causes.

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts “has been tremendously supportive of this and loves the proposition,” Branson told Reuters before a launch event in San Francisco. “We were knocking on (an) open door.”

Apple Adds Virgin to US Carrier Lineup as Virgin Ditches AndroidVirgin Mobile USA piggybacks on Sprint’s network. Virgin customers pay full price for their phone upfront but are not locked into a contract.

Under the deal with Apple, customers who buy a new or refurbished iPhone from Virgin or Apple will get up to one year of service for $1 (roughly Rs. 65) a month, with service costing $50 (roughly Rs. 3,200) per month after that. The refurbished phones will come with an Apple warranty.

Because Virgin does not spend money on its own physical stores or big advertising campaigns to acquire customers, the company believes it can make a profit off much less revenue than larger carriers, Virgin Mobile USA CEO Dow Draper said.

“The amount of money we have in these customers from an acquisition standpoint is minimal,” Draper said. “Once they make one ($50) payment, we’re back in good shape. Because of the strategy with going through Apple retail and Virgin Mobile’s site, we’ve got a really efficient cost structure.”

Virgin Mobile USA also hopes the iPhone push will bring it in line with the rest of Virgin’s brands. Virgin Mobile USA is seen as downmarket because it offers pre-paid phones. Most of Virgin’s other business, such as airlines, hotels and wine clubs, target more upscale consumers.

Apple Music Now Has a Rs. 1,200 Annual Subscription; Android App Updated

Apple Music now has an annual subscription option at Rs. 1,200 in India, and $99 in the US. You’ll have to work a bit to get it, though. It seems Apple doesn’t want everyone to know about it, given the lack of an announcement despite it being available since a few months. Separately, the Android app has also been updated with performance improvements.

It’ll help you save Rs. 240/ $20 per year on the monthly individual subscription, so it’s worth the hassle if you’re committed to Apple Music. It’s also not available at first sign-up, so you’ll have to be an existing subscriber to follow these steps. Here’s how: open the App Store, scroll down to the bottom and click on your Apple ID.

Apple Music Now Has a Rs. 1,200 Annual Subscription; Android App UpdatedThen, you should see a total of four options: Individual (1 Month), Family (1 Month), Individual (1 Year), and Student (1 Month). The third option – Individual (1 Year) – is the new option, which should reflect Rs. 1,200 if you live in India. Unfortunately, there’s no annual plan for family or student memberships yet. Hopefully, that’s on its way soon.

Meanwhile, the Apple Music app on Android has received a minor update, which brings some “performance improvements”, according to the changelog on the Google Play listing. It follows the big April update that (finally) brought it in line with the iOS 10 redesign that hit iPhone and iPad all the way back in September 2016.

Apple Weighs Down on Clone and Spam Apps on the App Store: Report

Apple has been weighing down on dormant apps since last year, and has removed hundreds of them in a bid to clean up the App Store. Now, a fresh report claims that Apple is also focusing on clone and spam apps in the App Store, apart from dormant and 32-bit apps.

TechCrunch reports that a new rule 4.2.6 in the App Store Review Guidelines claims that “Apps created from a commercialised template or app generation service will be rejected.” While this would imply app assembly and development suites are under attack by the company, TechCrunch speculates that suites like PhoneGap and TapJet are safe, and that Apple is “not trying to kill app-creation tools that allow people to customise and publish apps without knowing or writing all of the code.” Instead, the company is aiming to go after apps that essentially clone another’s functionality or feature a near identical interface, the report speculates.

This means Apple will be on a lookout for clone apps like the ones made after Flappy Bird became a huge success, as well as other apps that copy others using a one-click template. Apple will weigh down on these apps and reject them.

Apple Weighs Down on Clone and Spam Apps on the App Store: ReportThe prevalence of cheap junk apps that use basic templates to create knock-off versions of paid or popular apps has gone off the charts in the past recent years, and Apple wants to be a bit more stringent about what is available on the App Store.

The report also talks about music app knock-offs that stream illegal content in order to make a quick buck. “There are hundreds of copies of music-streaming apps that shill pirated content to make it harder to track them down one by one and allow for single-shot bursts of revenue capture before they’re found out or retired.”

While there was always a ‘do not clone’ rule in the App Store Review guidelines, this new one is more explicit and tougher than before. The report claims that hundreds of thousands of apps that have been cleaned up from the App Store also include clone apps, apart from dormant and 32-bit apps as well.

Apple Reportedly Renegotiating With Music Labels to Reduce Streaming Revenue Share

Apple is reportedly in an ongoing discussion for revising its deals with music labels. The company is said to be looking to bag a discount on the streaming revenue cut charged by labels, now that Apple Music and iTunes both bring enough traction for music companies. Apple is reportedly looking to cut the profit revenue percentage of record labels from streaming, as their deals now expire by the end of June, and new deals need to be signed.

Bloomberg reports that Apple looks to bring its rate down to what competitor Spotify pays to its labels. In the initial days of Apple Music, the company reportedly overpaid record labels to get them on board. The music industry was vary that Apple Music would cannibalise their iTunes business – which was a major source of revenue. However, now that Apple Music has been live for two years, and hasn’t been as harmful to iTunes as expected, record labels are now warming up to the idea, albeit with reservations, the report adds.

Apple Reportedly Renegotiating With Music Labels to Reduce Streaming Revenue ShareThe report also claims that record labels are still asking Apple to push iTunes in countries where streaming isn’t such a big deal. In countries like Japan and Germany, music is still bought and heard, rather than streamed. In developing and emerging countries, people still prefer to download than stream music.

In the current deal, Apple gave 58 percent of revenue generated from Apple Music subscribers to record labels, while Spotify has now reduced that margin to just 52 percent. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report states, “The labels are open to a reduction in Apple’s rate — provided it’s also able to expand subscriber rolls and meet other requirements.”

Spotify was able to bargain as it promised a growth in subscribers, and Apple may be using similar tactics to get music labels on board with the negotiations, the report adds.

OnePlus 5 Camera Specifications Revealed, Press Render Leaks Ahead of Today’s Launch

After many leaks and teasers, the OnePlus 5 is set to go official on Tuesday. Hours before the launch, the leaks continue to flow, and we now have a full-fledged press render leak showing us the back and front of the OnePlus 5, revealing key design details. Furthermore, a video released by The Verge talks about the thought process gone in making the smartphone, and even confirms its camera specifications.

OnePlus 5 camera

The OnePlus 5 camera is at the centre of The Verge’s video on the smartphone, which includes executives talking about thought process gone into making the handset. The video starts with glimpses of the OnePlus factory in Shenzhen and how things work there. While competitors like Apple and Samsung are moving towards a bezel-less display, OnePlus says that it still lacks the resources to do that. Hence, it focuses on building a camera that competes with the best in the market.

While procuring the hardware for a dual camera setup was difficult, OnePlus managed to do so with the help of its sister company Oppo. The video confirms that the OnePlus 5 sports two rear sensors at the back – one main 16-megapixel Sony sensor with f/1.7 aperture and another 20-megapixel Sony telephoto lens with f/2.6 aperture. In the video, OnePlus claims that this is “the highest resolution dual-camera system on a smartphone today.” The company also notes that there is a portrait mode, and that 80 percent of the camera’s success is because of the work put into its software, and that this will be the differentiating factor for the smartphone.

Now coming to the press render leak, noted tipster Evan Blass has shared this latest image of the OnePlus 5. It is seen sporting a dual camera setup at the back with the OnePlus logo sitting in the centre. The antenna bands placement and the overall form appears to be heavily inspired by the iPhone 7 Plus design aesthetic. In the front, there is a Home Button seen at the bottom of the display, and this is where the fingerprint scanner will presumably be placed. There’s no bezel on the left and right edge of the smartphone, but the top chin is visible with the front camera and earpiece. The power key sits on the right edge of the smartphone while the volume and switch keys sit on the left edge.

OnePlus 5 Camera Specifications Revealed, Press Render Leaks Ahead of Today's LaunchOnePlus 5 launch event, specifications

The OnePlus 5 launch event will begin at 12pm EDT (9:30pm IST) on Tuesday. You can watch the live stream on the company’s US site. In India, the smartphone will launch at an event in Mumbai on June 22, and the smartphone looks set to be made available on the same day exclusively on Amazon India.

As for leaked specifications, the OnePlus 5 is expected to sport a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display – though a QHD display has also been rumoured in the past – with a range of DCI-P3 colours to ensure colour accuracy. 6GB and 8GB of RAM variants are expected, with their corresponding 64GB and 128GB inbuilt storage options.

At front, the smartphone has been tipped to come with a 16-megapixel sensor. OnePlus 5 has been tipped to house a 3300mAh battery and come with NFC and Bluetooth 5.0 support as well. In a series of tweets, the global Twitter handle of OnePlus has teased few more features like “always connected”, which could be a hint at dual-SIM support on the OnePlus 5. In another tweet, the company teased improved Dash Charge capabilities of the OnePlus 5. It wrote, “charging ahead.”

iPhone 8 May Have a Lot in Common With Google Glass: Report

Augmented reality is one of Apple’s big new areas of focus, which it highlighted earlier this month at its Worldwide Developers Conference. But how will Apple use AR, which involves using a screen to overlay digital objects onto the real world? A new report from UBS Securities analyst Steven Milunovich raises some interesting possibilities.

Apple has already shown at what AR can do – by demonstrating how to use an iPhone to overlay an interactive game board on a real table, for example. But Milunovich suggested 10 additional applications for Apple’s AR play, including some we’ve already seen come to life, such as games and retail. He also sees applications for job training, facial recognition, medical diagnoses and the ability to direct people to safety in case of emergency situations, similar to what Google Glass did to help firefighters find the fastest exits from a building.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Combining various applications could also be useful, Milunovich wrote. “Emergency first aid, a combination of remote healthcare and instantaneous education, could save lives. There are legal issues that would need to be overcome but seem solvable,” he said.

Further down the road, Milunovich said, there could be room for iGlass – that is, Apple’s take on a Google Glass-type headset. Could Apple succeed where Google failed? Advances in headset technology, plus some classic Apple design chops, could make the devices more appealing to the non-geek, Milunovich indicated.

iPhone 8 May Have a Lot in Common With Google Glass: ReportThe market for augmented-reality glasses is expected to grow over the next several years. International Data Corp. predicted this week that the market for AR and virtual reality will grow from 10 million headsets in 2016 to 100 million in 2021. AR will be slightly behind VR, the firm said, but analysts added that most consumers will probably get introduced to the concept through their smartphones.

The tools for augmented reality that Apple introduced earlier this month open up a range of possibilities to developers and highlight the tech giant’s interest in the area, which Apple chief executive Tim Cook once said was “a big idea like the smartphone.” Apple will need to impress with its 10th-anniversary iPhone, Milunovich said, and in a best-case scenario, a truly innovative iPhone would help the company reclaim its mantle for innovation.

But it could face some fierce competition. On Tuesday morning OnePlus announced its much-hyped OnePlus 5, which sports premium power and Android simplicity at $479 (roughly Rs. 30,000). If rumors are true, that’s about half the price of what we could see from the next iPhone. It’s also far cheaper than the iPhone 7 Plus, which sports the same size 5.5.-inch screen and starts at $769 (roughly Rs. 50,000).

Playing up the AR features for the iPhone – using Apple’s innovative design techniques – could be one way to further push Apple to the front of the pack, Miunovich said. The smartphone screen could become a tool for making users more aware of the wider world rather than distracting them from it.

“[We] can picture the phone looking like a clear piece of glass when looking through the camera,” he said in the note. “Rather than staring down at a screen while we walk across the street or stand in line, we would be far more engaged with the world around us.”

iPhone 8 Launch Has Firms Scrambling to Lock Up Memory Supply

Global electronics makers are scrambling to stock up on memory chips to keep production lines running as Apple’s new iPhone 8 launch later this year threatens to worsen a global squeeze on supply.

While heavyweights such as Apple and Samsung Electronics – which is also the world’s top memory chip maker – will not be seriously hit, industry sources and analysts say some electronics makers are paying a premium to lock into longer-term contracts.

Others are placing orders earlier than before to ensure their perilously low inventories do no dry up completely.

“After the supply shortages emerged we brought forward our procurement decisions … to ensure a stable supply,” smartphone and personal computer maker LG Electronics said in a statement, adding it had pushed up quarterly purchase decisions by about a month.

Chip manufacturing technologies are growing increasingly complex, raising investment costs yet providing less output growth as some suppliers struggle to improve yields. This has caused some chip prices to double or triple from a year earlier.

Some analysts say device makers could be forced to cut down on the amount of DRAM chips, which help devices perform multiple tasks at once, or NAND chips that are used for long-term data storage, on new products if the cannot get enough chips.

A chip supplier source told Reuters a handful of clients have moved to 6-month supply agreements, accepting higher prices than the customary quarterly or monthly deals, to make sure they get enough memory chips for their products.

“The problem will be more acute for the NAND market, where the iPhone remains a critical source of demand given the huge sales volumes and recent moves to increase storage capacity on the device,” said the source, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter.

iPhone 8 Launch Has Firms Scrambling to Lock Up Memory SupplyInventory squeeze
Signs of stress have already emerged: Huawei Technologies was criticised by consumers after it was discovered the Chinese firm used a mix of less advanced and powerful chips in its flagship P10 model that led to significant variations in performance.

Huawei did not respond to requests for comment on its memory procurement plans.

About 18 percent of the global annual supply of NAND chips is bought by Apple, analysts say. In recent years, electronics makers have typically built up inventory during the first half to avoid being squeezed by Apple, which generally unveils its latest iPhone model in September.

But the shortage of chips in the first half of the year has left many scrambling.

Should the US giant opt to push out more iPhones than usual or further increase the portion of high-storage models, that could further squeeze out other companies. Some analysts estimate Apple could ship as many as 100 million new iPhone 8s this year, compared with the 82.3 million iPhone 7s that Cowen & Co. estimates for 2016.

“For the iPhone 8 launch there have been specific references to this by customers and distributors as a reason for longer delivery times and shortages,” said Tobey Gonnerman, executive vice president at US-based component distributor Fusion Worldwide.

“Buying buffer stock and holding product in hubs to protect against anticipated delivery interruptions has certainly become more common in recent months.”

Apple declined to comment on its memory chip purchasing plans.

No relief in sight
Chipmakers have been allocating more capital in recent years to boost production of NAND chips, where the shortage has been acute due to strong demand for high-end data storage products. Samsung Electronics will start NAND production at a $14 billion South Korea plant in the second half, while SK Hynix will start making its new high-end NAND products in coming months.

But analysts say meaningful new supply is unlikely to materialize until 2018.

SK Hynix told Reuters in a statement it has been meeting delivery dates but acknowledged supply conditions were tight, noting its inventory levels were at an all-time low and unlikely to increase in the near-term given continued demand.

Samsung declined to comment on chip procurement for its electronic devices or inventory levels for its memory business.

Smartphone makers in China are also locked in an arms race to provide the most memory, which could further exacerbate the squeeze as they seek to counter the iPhone.

Some investors and analysts have voiced concerns about potential “de-speccing,” where product makers cut back on memory to cope with the shortages or margin pressures. IHS analyst Walter Coon said some firms were starting to prepare to offer products with lower memory content if market conditions remain tight.

But analysts also say manufacturers will be loath to cut back on memory as such a move would be deeply unpopular, saying the firms are more likely to just not upgrade memory on new models.

iPhone 8, iPhone 7s Plus Schematics Leaks Tip Design Details, Mass Production Reportedly Begins

iPhone 8 rumours refuse to stop even though the launch is still months away. Its design details, especially, are leaked regularly, sometime giving us contradictory information, and sometimes corroborating a strong rumour. Today’s leak does the latter. The ‘final schematics’ leak of the iPhone 8 shows the device from all angles giving us a fair idea of what the anniversary smartphone will possibly look like. Furthermore, the lesser leaked iPhone 7s Plus has also been tipped in a similar schematics leak giving away design information.

The fresh leaks come from none other than tipster Benjamin Geskin, who has earned a reputation for leaking most of the iPhone 8 related information this year. Apart from the schematics, Geskin also notes that mass production for the iPhone models launching this year has started, and that there will be three models this year. He has leaked schematics of two iPhone models – and the third iPhone, presumably be called the iPhone 7s , has not been leaked. However, he notes that the schematics will be similar to its predecessor iPhone 7.

Starting with the iPhone 8 schematic and render, the back of the device matches previous leaks to show a vertical dual camera setup, an Apple logo, and no fingerprint scanner. The front sports a bezel-less display and there is no Home Button in the front indicating that the fingerprint sensor will be embedded underneath the display. The bottom edge has a Lightning connector, dual speaker grille, an elongated power key sit on the right edge, and the volume and mute switch sit on the left edge. The dimensions mentioned are at 143.4×70.77×7.51mm, which are slightly different from the previously reported 143.59×70.94×7.57mm.

iPhone 8, iPhone 7s Plus Schematics Leaks Tip Design Details, Mass Production Reportedly BeginsThe iPhone 7s Plus retains most of the design elements from the predecessor, with a horizontal dual camera setup, and the dimensions are at 158.38×78.1mm. The front drawing is rather interesting, with no Home Button seen in the front, nor any bezel, but this is just a schematic drawing and the final product will presumably include both the elements.

Geskin, in a separate tweet, also notes that the Calculator app in iOS 11 will see a revamp in design, very much inspired by the one seen on OS 1 and 2 back in the day. Despite several past reports of a delay, Geskin seems confident that the iPhone 8 will launch in September itself.