Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

No Slackers

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Greetings from my South Austin bunker on a hill.

There’s an onslaught of relevant tech news this AM. First, let’s cover off the mo-nay situations.

Slack is expected to go public today, and it’s direct listing reference price has been set at $26. That would value Slack at roughly $15.7B

In case you didn’t know what a direct listing is, The Wall Street Journal explains:

In a

direct listing

, a company simply floats its existing stock onto a public exchange without raising any money or using underwriters. The company doesn’t choose an IPO price or who gets to buy in the night before trading begins, as is the case in a traditional IPO. Spotify Technology SA, which made its trading debut in April 2018, is the only other major company to go public via direct listing.

I think, therefore I Slack. All day, every day.

So, good luck, Slackers everywhere.

You know who’s not Slack? Apple, which, according to a report from Nikkei and as reconnoitered in The Verge, is looking at moving between 15 and 30 percent of its hardware production out of China and has apparently asked key partners like Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron to “evaluate the available options.”

The catalyst for the shift is the ongoing trade war between China and the US, which is expected to intensify at the end of this month with the

introduction of 25 percent tariffs

on devices including phones, laptops, and tablets. However, Apple reportedly wants to shift production regardless of whether the trade dispute gets resolved.

Florida’s Riviera Beach has decided to pay $600K in ransom to hackers that took over its computer system. It was a classic email spearphish attack that led to ransomware situation, and, according to a report from the AP, spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown “said Wednesday that the city of 35,000 residents has been working with outside security consultants, who recommended the ransom be paid.”

I guess that whole “We don’t negotiate with terrorists” thing is an outdated trope when it comes to the cyber realm, because it appears more and more municipalities are paying the ransom, as opposed to just saying “No.” Call me old fashioned, but just saying “Yes” simply invites more such attacks.

And yes, the payment is being made via Bitcoin.

Closing on a positive note. Fresno-based Bitwise Industries, which offers training for software developers, has raised a $27M Series A round led by Kapor Capital, which will allow the firm to potentially expand its training to other unusual suspect, underserved cities for tech (like El Paso, Texas, and Knoxville in Appalachia).

As James Fallows writes in The Atlantic:

“Some people have had opportunities by accident, and others do not,” she said [Irma Olguin, from venture firm New Voices Fund]. “We need to make those opportunities less a matter of chance and serendipity, and more a matter of deliberately creating opportunities and exposing young people to different possibilities for their lives.”

Written by turbotodd

June 20, 2019 at 10:52 am

Salesforce Acquires Tableau, Raytheon to Merge With United Technologies

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M&A Thursday has segued into M&A Monday: Salesforce is buying data visualization firm Tableau for $15.7B in an all-stock deal.

This just a few days after Google announced it was buying analytics startup Looker for $2.6B.

Somebody’s going to need a good analytics visualization tool to analyze all of these sudden big analytics M&A deals!

Also in AI news, network analysis and cyberattack AI firm Vectra has raised a $100M Series E round led by TCV, which brings the company’s total raise to $220M, according to a report from SiliconANGLE.

UK-based Privatar, a data privacy software provider for the enterprise, raised a $40M Series B round led by Accel.

Spacemaker, AI for architects, urban planners, and property developers, raised $25M in a Series A co-led by Atomico and Northzone.

And Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is preparing to do an “acquihire” of self-driving startup Drive.ai. That company has raised about $77M and last valued in 2017 at $200M.

Lest you think those are large deals, let’s not forget the giant merger in the aerospace and defense industries announced over the weekend, the combination of United Technologies and Raytheon.

Raytheon and United Technologies’ aerospace businesses produce a whole slew of aircraft and defense technologies, including Pratt & Whitney engineers, Tomahawk missiles, and the F-35 fighter jet.

If approved, the merger would become one of the biggest deals of 2019, and would leave a company with an estimated $74B in expected sales for the year…and a landscape with a much smaller short list of defense contractors (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon are at the top of that list).

Written by turbotodd

June 10, 2019 at 10:21 am

Apple Blah

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You know you’ve lost some enthusiasm about technology when the most excited you got at Apple’s “dub-dub” (WWDC) keynote was “dark mode.”

I’ve read lots of folks commentary on Twitter and parts beyond claiming this was the best keynote presentation since Steve Jobs left the stage.

Yeah, I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, it was competently done, but I saw a lot of nibbling around the edges and not nearly as much new innovation I would have expected.

But I’ve been around this industry for a wee bit, maybe I’m just jaded. 

Or maybe I’m just already pretty happy with the Apple technology I have.  

I do my daily work on a 2013 MacBook Pro, I have my own personal Macbook Air (circa 2011), an iPhone 7+ with a cracked screen that still works fine, a first-gen Apple Watch, and a first-gen iPad Air. I couldn’t be more of an Apple fan boy. 

But I also don’t like doing real work on the iPad (other than email and a little writing) because I miss not having a mouse too much (although Apple intimated that mouse action would be included in the iPadOS soon, and is already in beta), and I don’t like reading books on the MBP because for me, that’s what iPads and iPhones are for!

Last year, we heard at WWDC that Project Marzipan was going to result in a harmonic convergence of iOS and MacOS apps. This year Apple announced it was forking iOS into an iPad-specific system, and now “Project Catalyst” will help port apps over to the Mac.

Catalyst, Marzipan, where and when does this convergence train end?

CarPlay, which circa 2019 I would think be more important an opportunity than ever (for safety reasons, if nothing else), seemed stalled, save for some compatibility with third-party apps like Pandora and Waze.

But if you’re looking for a new Mac Pro, Apple will sell you its top spec new model for up to $35,000!

What I was most excited about?  

Again, I think for the industry and for developers, the interesting stuff comes in with dev toolsets like ARKit 3, which provides new tools to make AR development easier and allows third-party developers to develop really cool AR apps.

The Minecraft demo was cool, but I’m not a Minecrafter, so I’ll be keeping my iPhone peeled for new AR apps I can use.

In the meantime, let’s hope Apple gets back into the inner ideation sanctum and comes up with something new, and innovative, and soon. 

Plugging a thumb drive into my iPad is supposed to be an exciting Apple keynote announce? 

Puh-leez, Steve Jobs would be turning over in his grave.

Written by turbotodd

June 4, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Posted in 2019, apple, apple watch

Tagged with ,

Apple WWDC: The China Backdrop

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Happy Monday.  

It’s 6/3/2019, thirty years on from 6/3/1989.

The New York Times has published an editorial explaining why China cannot erase the truth of Tiananmen. And Ian Johnson’s analysis explains that thirty years on, someone always remembers despite the government’s efforts to make them forget.

In some ways, the world is interacting with a different China in 2019. In others, the tiger hasn’t changed its stripes.

And as its annual developer conference gets going in San Jose later this morning, WIRED reminds us that Apple could be a likely target for Chinese retaliation in the increasingly chilly U.S-China trade “Cold War.”

WIRED observes that many in China view the “aggressive US measures” on trade and IP as designed to prevent China from rising further, and the multipronged campaign against Huawei “is largely perceived in China as a naked attempt by Washington to kneecap a serious competitor in everything from mobile devices to networking equipment and especially 5G.”

But China could respond in a way that could take a big bite out of Apple’s profitability:

Beijing could respond by increasing tariffs on US imports into China and by making it more cumbersome for US companies to do business in China, through such moves as permitting delays and holding up shipments in customs. But if China is truly looking for revenge, it need look no further than Apple. The Cupertino company has a vast global business, but China represents a real vulnerability.

China represents 19 percent of Apple’s worldwide sales, with the iPhone making up the bulk of that. While China is not as fruitful a market for Apple’s burgeoning services business, it is and has been a strong and generally growing market for Apple’s devices—until the past year.

Already, without the government doing anything explicit, Apple’s China sales have slowed precipitously. It had 10 percent share of the smartphone market at the beginning of 2018; it now has barely 7 percent. Almost all smartphone makers have seen shipments decline in China. The exception? Huawei, whose market share and sales have modestly increased while its competitors, ranging from Apple to Samsung to Xiaomi, have fallen.

Or, WIRED goes on, the Chinese government “could simply ban the sale of iPhones in China using the same justifications that the US is using against Huawei: national security and data security.”

But with the Google/Huawei Android license dispute looming with an August extension of the original deadline, one imagines Apple could be safe through much of the summer if, for no other reason, they serve as a viable smartphone OS hedge for the Middle Kingdom

So with that as the backdrop, what, exactly, are we hearing that could be announced, shown, unveiled, etc at Apple’s biggest developer event of the year?

Topline: Possibly a new and improved MacPro on the hardware side. macOS 10.15 and iOS 13 on the iPad, with more possible convergence between the Mac OS and iOS through Apple’s Marzipan project (including confirmed new apps that include Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV).

Also expect updates on tvOS and watchOS, new AR, and likely pricing on the Apple Arcade service.

And oh yeah, a Dark Mode for iPhone owners. 

Will there be an upside surprise in today’s keynote or this week’s event?

Tune in a couple of hours and find out.

Written by turbotodd

June 3, 2019 at 10:11 am

Posted in 2019, apple, china, developers

Tagged with , , ,

Chasing Dragons and Developers

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Okay, Sanity Check. 

Were you more upset with the Kentucky Derby winner kerfluffle, or last night’s shocking GoT episode?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Spoiler alert: Daenerys is down to a single dragon, and her advisers are dropping like flies. And another nearly 90 minute episode? HBO definitely got its game on for the final season!

But it’s Monday, and it’s time for a tech sanity check as well.

We’re starting to get some sneak previews into coming developer confabs.

VentureBeat is reporting that this week’s Microsoft Build will feature lots of AI, assistants, and bots (Cortana), as well as lots of IoT. No shocker there.

Also expected to feature: Azure and the hybrid cloud, containers, serverless, blah blah blah.

And…MS 365, Windows 10, HoloLens, GitHub, Visual Studio, .Net…and Edge/Chromium.

And Apple’s WWDC? 

The Verge is counting out rumors, including the possibility of a new Mac Pro and a new external monitor (possibly as big as a 31.6-inch 6K screen using mini-LED backlighting to help with contast).

You know, so you can watch last week’s GoT’s “Long Night” episode over and over again in the dark and actually see movement.

Software-wise, expect an iOS dark mode, iPad apps on the Mac, Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts on the Macs, and updates to the iPad’s home screen and multitasking, among others.

And lest you forget, the 2019 Red Hat Summit kicks off officially tomorrow in Boston, MA.  

Follow @RedHatSummit and #RhSummit on Twitter for all the latest, and get the basic deets on the Red Hat FAQ page. 

And be sure to show off those newfangled Red Hat tattoos!

Written by turbotodd

May 6, 2019 at 10:50 am

When the Chips Are Down

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We now know more about the Apple/Qualcomm settlement.

It was all (or mostly) about 5G.

No sooner was the settlement announced that Intel announced it was pulling out of the 5G smartphone chip market.

Apple and Qualcomm’s six-year licensing agreement will help ensure the launch of the first 5G iPhone in 2020.

According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, the settlement included an undisclosed payment to Qualcomm by Apple, which "several weeks ago asked its suppliers to begin testing the chipmaker’s 5G modems."

Intel told Nikkei Asian in a statement that there was "no clear path to profitability and positive returns in the smartphone little business. That said, 5G remains a strategic priority across Intel and we continue to invest in our 5G network infrastructure business."

Apparently, Apple had long been concerned that Intel could not meet its 5G schedule, likely prompting the settlement with Qualcomm.

Nikkei Asian notes that Intel had been the sole modem chip supplier for iPhones since 2018, which, ironically, were due to Apple’s legal dispute with Qualcomm

What to do when the chips are down?!

Written by turbotodd

April 17, 2019 at 10:30 am

Apple, Qualcomm Settle

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Well I certainly didn’t see that one coming!

CNBC is reporting the Apple and Qualcomm has settled their royalty and patent dispute that was going to trial in San Diego this week.

According to the report, as part of the settlement all legal action worldwide between the two companies will be dropped, and Qualcomm said it expected a $2 increase in earnings per share as its stock rose over 15% on the announcement.

Apple shares were up less than 1%.

The trial started yesterday and was expected to last until May, according to the report from CNBC, and both sides were asking for billions in damages.

Their legal battle centered around modem chips and had been going on since 2016.

Apple had bought those chips from Qualcomm for years, but “chafed under Qualcomm’s prices and requirement that any company using its chips would also pay licensing fees for its patents.”

Here’s the lede from the Apple press release:

Qualcomm and Apple today announced an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm. The companies also have reached a six-year license agreement, effective as of April 1, 2019, including a two-year option to extend, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

Written by turbotodd

April 16, 2019 at 2:37 pm

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