Apple Appoints New Leader In China Amid Sales Downturn

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Apple Inc. announced on Tuesday evening that it has appointed Isabel Ge Mahe, currently Vice President of wireless technologies at the company, as new Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China, taking on a new role as leader of the company’s efforts in China, amid a sales downturn for the iPhone maker in the world’s most populous country.

New China Head

Isabel Ge Mahe, who worked in wireless technology at Apple for over nine years, will coordinate and lead teams across Apple’s China-based team in the newly created role, the tech giant said in a statement.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook also grabbed the opportunity of the announcement to emphasize its commitment to the China market.

“Apple is strongly committed to invest and grow in China, and we are thrilled that Isabel will be bringing her experience and leadership to our China team,” Cook said in the statement. “She has dedicated a great deal of her time in recent years to delivering innovation for the benefit of Apple customers in China, and we look forward to making even greater contributions under her leadership.”

Ge Mahe, who was born in Liaoning province, previously led Apple’s wireless technology and software engineering team for nine years. She said she was looking forward to digging out the team’s connections with customers, government and businesses in China to advance innovation and sustainability.

Mahe has worked closely with Apple’s R&D team and carrier partners to develop new China-specific features for iPhone and iPad, including recently announced iOS 11 features.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to represent Apple in China and work more closely with our incredibly talented team,” said Ge Mahe.

Apple’s China Sales Downturn

Apple sales in China have declined for five consecutive quarters after a 14% drop in the most recent earnings report, as Asian smartphone manufacturers have become more competitive in the region, putting out ever-cheaper, high-performing smartphones.

Apple’s huge successes in China have also left it more vulnerable to new rules that Beijing has set up to push back against foreign companies. Apple said this month that it would cooperate with a local company to build its own data center in the country, in part to satisfy the requirements of a new cybersecurity law. And experts say the law is just the beginning of further restrictions on foreign companies like Apple.

Apple Stock Performance

Apple shares were up 0.35% to $150.08 during its last session. The firm opened at $149.20 with a session high of $150.13 and a session low of $148.67. The stock has a market capitalization of $785.22 billion, a P/E ratio of 17.55, and a dividend yield of 1.68%.

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Qualcomm Faces Daily Fine Threat After Losing In EU Probe

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Qualcomm Inc. faces the threat of being fined daily of 580,000 euros ($665,000) after the U.S. chipmaker a court bid to block a European Union order requiring it to provide information for an antitrust probe into the chip company’s sales tactics, losing an appeal against the penalty in an EU court on Monday.

The U.S. chipmaker, which was charged by the European Commission of using anti-competitive methods to freeze out British phone software maker Icera, asked the Luxembourg-based General Court to suspend the order last month.

EU Probe

Qualcomm can’t keep not responding to regulators’ questions because it didn’t show that the EU demand put its business or financial health at risk, EU General Court President Marc Jaeger said in an order on the tribunal’s website.

While San Diego-based Qualcomm can keep up the fight over the issue, it must comply and hand over information to officials.

Qualcomm could be on the hook for penalties “in the range of several millions of euros” for resisting the call for the data, needed in the final stages of an EU investigation into predatory pricing of chipsets that aimed to crush a smaller rival, according to the court order.

The company said the EU competition authority’s demand involved enormous work and significant financial costs estimated at no less than 3 million euros as it involved more than 50 employees and 16 external advisers, according to its court filing. Court President Marc Jaeger dismissed the appeal in a July 12 ruling.

The risk of new fines adds another front to Qualcomm’s battles with regulators over its sales tactics as Apple Inc. ramps up a global dispute with the company, withholding billions of dollars in payments that’s forced Qualcomm to cut forecasts. Qualcomm has fought back by asking the International Trade Commission in Washington to stop versions of the iPhone that aren’t built with its chips from entering the U.S.

Qualcomm Stock Performance

Currently, Qualcomm shares are down 0.19% to $56.70 in today’s session. The firm opened at $56.73 with a current session high of $56.92 and a session low of $56.60. The stock has a market capitalization of $84.75 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.89, and a dividend yield of 4.02%.

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Apple and Cisco Team Up For Cyber Security Discount

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Apple Inc. is working with Cisco Systems Inc. to help businesses that primarily use gear from both companies to get a discount on cyber-security insurance premiums.

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a surprise guest appearance at a Cisco event in Las Vegas on Monday where he announced a partnership between the two companies to offer discounted cyber-security insurance.

Cook said the combination of gear from the two companies was more secure than the use of competing technology, such as the Android mobile operating system made by Alphabet Inc’s Google.

“The thinking we share here is that if your enterprise or company is using Cisco and Apple, the combination of these should make that (cyber-security) insurance cost significantly less,” Cook said. “This is something we’re going to spend some energy on. You should reap that benefit.”

The news comes one week after Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins announced what he called “the next era” for the company by the release of its a new AI-powered network.

Cisco gave few details about the effort, saying in a company blog post the two companies were “collaborating with insurance industry heavyweights … to offer more robust policies to our customers.”

The company also said it will create systems that allow for continuous security monitoring and for insurers to ensure that the systems are set up as planned.

Cisco, a networking company that has gradually moved into cyber security in recent years, highlighted several other joint efforts with Apple. It rolled out a new security app for iPhones aimed to protect against so-called phishing attacks, an email with a malicious link sent under the guise of being legitimate.

While Apple has been long known for its consumer devices, the tech giant has embraced business users in recent years, adding additional security features to its iPhones and iPads. In 2015, Cook said Apple was generating at least $25 billion a year in revenue selling to businesses.

Apple has also undertaken joint efforts with enterprise software firms IBM and SAP to encourage developers to write business apps for its mobile devices.

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Apple Introduces The New iOS 11

 

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Apple Inc. introduced the new iOS 11, taking the wraps off it as the world’s most advanced mobile operating system will power the next iPhone as well as the current and some past iPhone models with new features.

The new iOS update will be available in beta form next month and will probably be released in September. Also, updates to the software running Macs, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches such as watchOS 4 and MacOS High Sierra were also introduced, along with more integration of the company’s Siri digital assistant.

With iOS 11, stickers and iMessage apps are now more accessible with a redesigned App drawer feature, where there’s no need to tap multiple times to send a sticker, and conversations are automatically synchronized with iCloud and stay in sync across devices.

Apple Pay’s much anticipated new feature now allows users to pay one another within iMessage. The peer-to-peer payments can be made and verified via in-built fingerprint scanner and TouchID.

Siri probably has one of the substantial improvements in iOS 11, with a more natural male and female voices.  It can now make built-in real-time translations, starting out with English, French, German, Chinese, Spanish and Italian. It can also be used for task management, taking notes and scanning QR codes. Siri is used on 375 million devices every month.

The Camera has got an update as it now supports high-efficiency video coding, or HEVC, where it supports up to 2x better compression without changing the video quality. The update also supports editing of Live photos, where user can choose a different main still photo, and make live photos go back and forth or loop just like Instagram’s boomerang.

Apple also has its control center feature redesigned and refreshed in iOS 11 as it looks completely new and features a ton of buttons fitting on a single page with sliders and key functions. Using 3D touch, users can press for further details and more depth of options and information.

Apple has added a feature that when the user is driving, it activates the new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode. With this mode activated, it turns the user’s iPhone screen black and can send automatic message replies telling they are on the road.

More of iOS 11 updates are AirPlay 2, where the user can connect multiple speakers via Wi-FI, then a redesigned Apple Music app, which user can see recommendations from their friends, what they’re listening to, and a kit for developers to make alternative reality (AR) products for the iPhone and iPad, where users will be able to use the camera to see virtual content built on top of real-world settings for gaming, shopping or creative design.

Lastly, for the first time in its nine-year history Apple has redesigned its App store. The new-look download shop includes sections for featured apps and games, with articles and videos exploring more detail of their development, story and design.

Apple has become the world’s most valuable public company by designing phones and other devices that work seamlessly with software. It puts on a Worldwide Developers Conference each year to show outside developers the latest software so they can create new apps and services that make the company’s gadgets more useful.

Currently, Apple shares are at $154.68. Earlier today, Apple opened at $154.34 with a session high of $154.45 and a session low of $153.46. The stock has a market capitalization of $814.46 billion, a P/E ratio of 18, and a dividend yield of 1.64%.

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Apple Charges Qualcomm in Beijing Seeking 1 Billion Yuan

Apple Inc filed a complaint against Qualcomm Inc in Beijing, appealing 1 billion yuan ($145.32 million) in compensations, charging the chip supplier abused its clout in the chip industry, Beijing’s Intellectual Property Court stated in a statement on Wednesday.

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Apple Inc filed a complaint against Qualcomm Inc in Beijing, appealing 1 billion yuan ($145.32 million) in compensations, charging the chip supplier abused its clout in the chip industry, Beijing’s Intellectual Property Court stated in a statement on Wednesday.

Qualcomm is a main supplier to both Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd for “modem” chips that connect phones to wireless networks. Together, the  two companies accounted for 40% of Qualcomm’s $23.5 billion in revenue in its current fiscal year.

A second lawsuit was filed by Apple Inc against Qualcomm, which accused it of failing to live up to promises made to license “standard essential patents” widely and economically.

Qualcomm stated in an emailed statement that it had not seen the full complaint against it filed in the Chinese court. However, executive vice president and general counsel  of Qualcomm stated Qualcomm had offered Apple the same terms as other customers after a 2015 regulatory ruling in China and that his company would defend its business model in Chinese courts.

“These filings by Apple’s Chinese subsidiary are just part of Apple’s effort  to find ways to pay less for Qualcomm’s technology,” Rosenberg said in the statement. “Apple was offered terms consistent with terms accepted by more than one hundred other Chinese companies and refused to even consider them.”

The lawsuits follow a decision by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint on Jan. 17 in which it blamed Qualcomm of using anticompetitive strategies to uphold its monopoly of a key semiconductor used in mobile phones.

Apple followed with a corresponding complaint last Friday, It requested a federal court in California for $1 billion in promised rebates and alleged Qualcomm of overpricing for chips.

Qualcomm did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The firm previously stated that it would fight both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Apple complaint filed in the United States.

In additional, the chip creator faces legal trials across the world.

Oualcomm was fined by South Korea’s antitrust regulator for 1.03 trillion won ($854 million) in December for what it called unfair practices in patent licensing, a judgment the U.S. chip maker said it will contest in court.

In February 2015, Qualcomm paid a $975 million fine in China after  a 14-month probe, while the EU in December 2015 alleged it of abusing its market power to prevent rivals.

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Apple Publishes First AI Research Paper

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It was a huge surprise for the technology industry, particularly the field of Artificial Intelligence as Apple announced that it will publish its first AI research paper, but what caught the industry off-guard is the fact that the Cupertino giant actually did.

It is not news to all how meticulous and confidential Apple is when it comes to its operations and creation process that is why, people were skeptical when the tech frontrunner announced its attempt to release its own publication.

However, the paper titled ‘Learning from Simulated and Unsupervised Images through Adversarial Training”, which was submitted for review in mid-November, was eventually published on December 22 through the Cornell University Library.

This is another breakthrough for the company who used to bar its employees from publishing researches related to artificial intelligence.

The research was authored by Ashish Shrivastava, a University of Maryland PhD holder in computer vision, together with a team of engineers that include Tomas Pfister, Oncel Tuzel, Wenda Wang, Russ Webb and Apple Director of Artificial Intelligence Research Josh Susskind, according to appleinsider.com Tuesday.

The paper focuses on techniques on how to train computer vision algorithms to distinguish objects by the use of computer generated, or synthetic, images.

However, although compared to training models solely based on real-world images, those utilizing synthetic data are often more competent because computer generated images are usually labeled, the gap between synthetic and real image distributions may be a factor in the performance of synthetic image learning.

To address this, Apple has proposed a Simulated plus Unsupervised (S+U) learning, where the task is learning a model to improve the realism of a simulator’s output using unlabeled real data while preserving the annotation information from the simulator.

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The company has developed a method for S+U learning that uses an adversarial network similar to Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), but with synthetic images as inputs instead of random vectors.

Although it does not necessarily foretell future consumer technology, one point of interest in this breakthrough is that Apple designated the application of its modified GAN in gaze and hands pose estimation evaluation. The company also added its interest in moving beyond static images to video input when it comes to S+U.

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