Apple is not only an innovative company in the technology field, but in the business sector too. Recently, senators have been vividly attacking Apple’s tax policy, accusing the company of not submitting to the US tax law. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee found that the tech giant apparently managed to dodge the holy American duty of paying taxes. The total sum has been calculated to $9 billion and applies to the year 2012.
Tim Cook has appeared before the Subcommittee in an attempt to shed some light on the situation. He argued that his company is a major taxpayer and last year $6 billion have been pledged to the U.S. government.
“We expect to pay even more this year. We play all the taxes we owe”, stated the Apple CEO.
Leaving this official testimony aside, mister Cook was pretty well received in Capitol Hill. Even head chairman Carl Levin who presided the case against Apple, admitted he owns an iPhone and is very happy with it. In fact he called it “a terrific instrument”.
Other senators approached Cook to ask some tech specific questions instead. For example, John McCain asked the Apple CEO to explain the necessity for constant app upgrades. Cook replied very politely: “Sir, we try to make them better all the time.”
The Apple boss also met New Hampshire Republican Senator, Kelly Ayotte, who was thrilled to make his acquaintance and confessed she too owns an Apple device – this time, an iPad. So, as far as we can see, Apple might find a lot of supporters amongst the Senators in Capitol Hill that could help with resolving the tax issue.
If you are an iPhone owner, then you’re most likely very happy with your device and you don’t regret buying it. Nevertheless, a new American Customer Satisfaction Index claims that in terms of customer happiness, the smartphone market dropped 2 percents compared to 2012.
Even so, Apple managed to come up on top of the "food chain" again, surpassing its competition yet again. The company scored 81 out of 100 when it comes to its iconic device, the iPhone.
Coming in at number two after Apple, is Motorola who has managed to score 77 this year. This represents a positive transition for the company, which added another 5% to its customer ratings. But by far the most impressive advancement was experienced by Apple’s arch enemy – Samsung. The Korean giant managed to increase with 7% the satisfaction of those who purchased Samsung smartphones. However, the company needs to keep up the trend if it ever hopes of catching up with Apple. The recent release of its latest handset the Galaxy S4 might have helped Samsung’s cause, so more results will probably start showing up.
Another company that managed to maintain a positive feedback from customers was Nokia. BlackBerry remained in the same place as in 2012, scoring the same 69 points for overall customer satisfaction. The companies that experienced losses in percents were HTC and LG Electronics.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index represents a massive endeavor which includes polls applied to 70,000 people throughout the country that deal with 43 different industries and 10 economic sectors.
May 21, 2013 - 4:28 PM - by Maura
Apple as a brand continues to go from strength to strength if this story on AppleInsider today is anything to go by! According to the report, BrandZ has just published its yearly ranking of the most valuable corporate brands in the world, and Apple has come out on top, ahead of the likes of Google in second place, IBM in third place, and McDonald’s in fourth place. The survey found that Apple has a brand value of $185.1 billion, which is over 60% more than nearest rival Google’s brand value. As AppleInsider points out, Apple topped the BrandZ index previously in 2011 and 2012. Its brand value may only have grown by 1% from last year, but at least it’s still going in the right direction! BrandZ reckons that Apple’s continued high brand value is all down to the strength of the brand and the loyalty of its consumers. AppleInsider adds that Apple also recently topped the Superbrands business survey, and came just behind Rolex in the Superbrands consumer brand survey.
Source: Apple still by far the world's most valuable brand name
May 21, 2013 - 3:07 PM - by iDan
Microsoft just announced their new sucessor to the Xbox 360, and it is not called the Xbox 720. It's called the Xbox One and it absolutely blew us away! From the fantastic specs to the rich and amazing feature-set, this new Xbox One is poised to take the home entertainment world by storm. The Xbox One will hit retail shelves later on this year and just might transform the way we think about games, movies, music, Skype video calling and more.
We are so excited we just had to start a new forum for this white hot device! We wanted to share it with you guys to give you an opportunity to join in on the discussions just begninning. Please check it out at the Xbox One Forums!
Apple stores are well known popular destinations for tech lovers and not only. But exactly how popular? According to a report from analyst Horace Dediu, posted on his Asymco blog, the correct answer to the question is: extremely popular!
In his post relating sales per square foot in Apple retails stores, he claims that the Cupertino tech giant just set another record in Q1 of 2012. He apparently calculated the exact amount of revenue per customer and he came up with $57.60. The revenue generated per location was situated at $13 million for the months between January and March. The whole survey showcased that Apple is still above its competition when it comes to sales per square foot. It even beat popular clothing and jewelry mogul Tiffany & Co.
Foot traffic within Apple stores also increased quite nicely with 7%. In translation, your average Apple store probably saw the average traffic of 250,000/per store/per quarter. Dediu tries to find a reason for this trend, stating:
“The reason for this might be the increase in floor space of newer stores and the renovation of older stores. The new store throughput rate might be an upper bound due to fire regulations.”
On the other hand, I feel like more and more people have started having access to high quality technology and, as a result, of course they visit the Apple store to look at possible purchases, asking for help at the Genius Bar or just to see what’s new. And I’m not even counting the futuristic architecture of most of the Apple stores, so a trip there, might be considered just for that.
May 20, 2013 - 1:19 PM - by Maura
Yahoo’s Small Business Advisor writes today that Philips has just launched an intelligent LED light bulb called the Hue 1.1, and has partnered with Apple in order to distribute the light bulb to early adopters by selling it in Apple stores. So what exactly are the main features of a “smart” light bulb? According to Philips, Hue has a geofencing feature meaning that it can be programmed (via an iOS app) by the user to change colour, or turn off or on when you enter or leave your home or office. In fact, Philips says that owners of Hue light bulbs, “don’t ever worry if [they’ve] switched [their] lights off or not. Just walk out the front door and they’ll switch themselves off.”
Yahoo explains that the smart bulb also has an alarm feature, whereby it can be set to wake the owner up naturally by slowly becoming brighter at your chosen wake-up time. As you might expect, Hue has many other timer features, such as turning itself off, or flashing, or changing its colour at set times. Hue bulbs can even be configured to change colour for certain set events, such as letting you know when it’s raining (this one would be on all the time in the UK!), blinking to show when your sports team that you follow is starting to play, and you can even change the colour randomly via text message. Although this all sounds like fun, Hue bulbs have some practical uses too, such as flooding a room with bright light automatically if someone is moving around inside the house in the early hours of the morning, for example. This could be used to startle a burglar and alert the householder of their presence, or stop an elderly person from falling over and hurting themselves in the dark.
As you might expect from all that, the bulbs are pretty pricey, with a starter set costing $200, and each Hue bulb costing $60. This price is expected to halve by 2020, however, and by 70% in the next 10 years.
Source: Philips Partners with Apple on Smart LED Bulb - Yahoo! Small Business Advisor
May 17, 2013 - 3:10 PM - by Maura
If you’re an avid iOS gamer, then AppleInsider has some great news for you today, reporting that two of Gameloft’s very popular games are available to download for free for a short time (no idea for how long). The games in question are Gangstar Rio: City of Saints, and N.O.V.A. 3, and both usually retail for around $6. There’s no denying that Gameloft’s games are often a little similar (cough) to other games such as Grand Theft Auto, but this doesn’t make them any less fun to play. Gangstar Rio sees the player controlling a customizable gangster in Rio, across more than 60 missions, wielding lots of weapons, and even flying with the aid of jetpacks! N.O.V.A.3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance is the latest edition to this incredibly popular FPS series of games from Gameloft, where the player takes on the role of an armoured shooter on a mission to save the earth. You can even indulge in 12-player multiplayer battles using live chat. So if all that sounds enticing to you, then click on the links below, but be warned, both games are very large to download, with N.O.V.A.3 weighing in at 1.69GB, and Gangstar Rio taking up 878MB.
Click here to download N.O.V.A. 3 - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/n.o....474764934?mt=8
Click here to download Gangstar Rio - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gang...453051448?mt=8
Source: Gameloft's Gangstar Rio, N.O.V.A. 3 go free on iOS for a limited time
In a new interview with Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini admitted that he had the chance of being part of the iPhone story from the beginning. According to him, the Cupertino tech giant proposed that Intel manufacture the chips for the first smartphone it released. Strangely enough, Intel passed on the opportunity, taking its business elsewhere. The decision was based upon Apple not being willing to pay the price Intel proposed for its chips.
"We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we'd done it.”
That’s basically how the complicated partnership between Samsung and Apple kick started back in those early days. Apple is trying to break the bonds it has created with the Korean competitor now, but at first, the Cupertino tech giant used Samsung ARM system-on-chip design. However, with the advent of the iPhone 5, Apple introduced its homemade ARMv7.
Otellini, who is retiring this week, went on to explain that back then, the iPhone was an obscure brand and Apple had a set budget in mind when chip production was concerned.
“"At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn't see it. It wasn't one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought."
We bet that Otellini regrets his decision now, seeing how popular all the devices branded by Apple have become, but history has been written.
Most people purchase smartphones and tablets for one simple reason. They love to play games and the mobility such technology offers. Keeping this in mind, Google has just launched a new interesting Chrome Experiment.
And it’s all about gaming. In this particular example, racing. The game, called Racer, allows users to play the same scenario on multiple devices such as iPhones, iPads or Android devices and even share screens. So, for example, if you join together two devices, the vehicle in the game will continue to move from one screen to the next one. Did we get your attention yet?
Sadly, eager players have to wait a while until they can try Racer for themselves. The experiment is not yet available for the general public, but Google has performed a quick demonstration of it and it looks really interesting. There’s also a video available online which showcases users playing Racer and swiping around the screen to direct the car from one screen to the next. We’re wondering why Google decided to design a game and not an application per se, but the result is pretty great nevertheless.
However, users interested in playing the game will have to have installed the mobile version of Chrome on their tablet or smartphone.
Overall, this Chrome experiment stretches away, covering more possibilities of gaming. It’s especially great for people who love multiplayer mode. The results are quite awesome, as players can enjoy all varieties of games – with friends and family.
Source: Google Chrome Racer
May 16, 2013 - 10:57 AM - by Maura
Google made lots of announcements at its Google I/O developers’ conference yesterday, including launching a new standalone version of its Hangouts app for iOS. According to AppleInsider, the new app has been designed by Google to integrate Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and the original Hangout video chat feature. As AppleInsider notes, this revamp represents a move by Google to more effectively organise its diverse chat and comms services, in order to compete with the likes of Facebook, and the incredibly popular iOS app, WhatsApp. The reason WhatsApp is so popular is because it enables you to very easily chat amongst a group of people and add all sorts of media to the chat to make it really fun. The integrated app also acts as Google’s answer to popular Apple services such as FaceTime and iMessage, although unlike FaceTime and iMessage (but just like WhatsApp), Hangouts will be usable across all platforms, which could give it a distinct advantage over the Apple services.
Click here to download the free app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hang...643496868?mt=8
Source: Revamped, cross-platform Google Hangouts app competes with Apple's iMessages, FaceTime [u]
May 16, 2013 - 7:42 AM - by Maura
Google is currently holding its Google I/O developer conference, where, AppleInsider reports, it has just announced that it will be giving Google Maps for iOS a facelift, in a bid to make it the number 1 Maps app for iOS. The newly announced revamp includes a redesigned interface, giving a “cleaner” look, and this will be not just in the mobile version, but also the desktop one. And with Google having acquired the Zagat rating system, ratings will now be five-point instead of four-point. Improved live incident coverage for both transit and traffic has also been added, with the app updating continuously with new traffic incidents, even suggesting alternate routes. The BBC feature on the update notes that advertisers will have their businesses more clearly displayed on the maps too. iPad owners will be particularly interested to hear that Google is also launching a tablet-specific version of Maps, with larger, richer content, as well as suggestions for things to do in the area of interest, and user interface that capitalises on the bigger screen size provided by a tablet.
Source: Reworked Google Maps for iOS, Android gains better search, tablet compatibility
BBC News - Google Maps revamp promotes ads and personalises details
Do you own an iPhone? Well, in case you ever want to get rid of it, you have a better chance of selling it for a good price, than if you owned a Galaxy model from Samsung. At least, according to Piper Jaffray Gene Munster’s resale value index, which was just posted this week.
The report analyzed resale prices posted on popular shopping site eBay for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and Galaxy III/Galaxy Note II. The final index showcased that even if the iPhones are generally more expensive than the Samsung devices, their price margin remains steadier. For example, depreciation for the iPhone 5 during the 8 weeks when the data was calculated, was set at 11.2%, while the Galaxy’s was 13.7%. The all time winner of the study was weirdly enough, the iPhone 4S. Apparently, it doesn’t matter than Apple put out a new smartphone already, the value of the 4S has dropped only with 7% during the time the research was conducted.
For example, the average iPhone 4S price was situated at $349 in March, but by May it dropped to $312. To compare, the iPhone 5 on the other hand went from $535 to $465. In Android camp, the Galaxy S III dropped from $360 to $320, while the Galaxy Note II was the biggest loser, from $550 to $444.
Last but not least, Munster predicts that the iPhone will experience more depreciation as the iPhone 5S is being readied for release.
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