Архив метки: John Biggs

Sprint Confirms It Will Still Serve Unlimited Data To The Next iPhone

Sprint_TVad

Sprint plans to offer unlimited data on the next iPhone even if it’s LTE. This would make the carrier the only one in the U.S. with the pairing. Verizon and AT&T went away from unlimited plans before the iPhone 4S launched in 2011 leaving just Sprint with both unlimited data and the iPhone.

Unlimited data plans used to be the norm. Now, in the age of the ubiquitous smartphone, most carriers have moved away from that model as their networks strain under the load of Netflix, Facebook and Spotify. But not Sprint. The third most popular carrier in the U.S. just confirmed that it will still offer unlimited data for the next iPhone.

This comes from a CNET interview where Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, “I’m not anticipating the unlimited plan would change by that point.” He added, “That’s our distinctive differentiator. Frankly, [the iPhone and unlimited data] a marriage made in heaven.” Hesse is right. The two go together like John Biggs and pie.

The iPhone is a huge seller for Sprint and accounted for 44% of its new activations during its last quarter. The carrier reportedly spent big bucks getting the rights to the iPhone and it seems to be paying off. But it still needs to offer something different from the market leaders of AT&T and Verizon, and that’s unlimited data.


Sprint Confirms It Will Still Serve Unlimited Data To The Next iPhone

iPad Sales May Reach 66 Million In 2012

ipadnew

Following Apple’s announcement yesterday of the new iPad’s record weekend, which saw 3 million devices sold in three days, analysts are upping their predictions for the tablet’s market share growth over the course of the year. In a note to investors, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says the firm is now forecasting as many as 66 million sales of the new device in 2012, up from the earlier prediction of 60 million. Meanwhile, Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee is now predicting 60 million, up from 55 million.

Regardless of the final outcome, the bottom line impact the device will have on the market was summed up in Munster’s bullish note: ”we believe the unprecedented ramp of the iPad over the past year is evidence that the tablet market will be measurably larger than the PC market,” he said.

Munster is also forecasting that Apple will ship 12 million iPads this quarter alone to reach 66 million by year-end. By 2015, that number will reach 176 million, he says.

Those figures stack up with other trends in the so-called “post-PC” era (a misnomer, really – it doesn’t mean “no PC,” as many assume). For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted during the iPad’s launch that Apple sold more iPads in Q4 than any single manufacturer sold in PCs. Gartner later released figures showing that PC shipments were on track to grow just 4.4% in 2012 to 368 million units, as consumers would prioritize buying smartphones and tablets over desktops and laptops. And let’s not forget that last month, Canalys dubbed Apple the largest “PC” maker if you were to count iPads as PCs.

In addition, IDC also recently raised its tablet shipment estimates for the year, up from 87.7 million to 106.1 million, in advance of the iPad’s launch.

What Will Windows 8 Bring?

However, IDC released new data today on PC shipments, which saw a slight bump by year-end (1.8% growth on the year…still, ouch). And analysts there seem cautious to hand the iPad the crown just yet. Explains IDC’s VP of Clients and Displays, Bob O’Donnell, the industry doesn’t know the impact Windows 8 may have when it arrives.

“Many consumers are holding off making PC purchases at the moment because tablet devices like Apple’s iPad are proving to be a powerful distraction,” he notes. “However, end user surveys tell us that few people consider media tablets as replacements for their PCs, so later this year when there is a new Microsoft operating system, available in sleek new PC form factors, we believe consumer interest in PCs will begin to rebound.”

You may either vehemently agree or disagree with that statement, depending on where your biases lie. But Windows 8, which TechCrunch’s John Biggs described as “on the cusp of getting things right,” when launched, is still a big question mark in terms of reception. And until it arrives, predictions for where the iPad/PC/tablet market is headed are just that – predictions.

To make matters worse, it’s becoming increasingly confusing to differentiate between tablet operating systems and “desktop” versions, as features from one another cross over to both sides. This is true both for Windows 8, which shares things in common with Windows Phone and Apple’s OS X, which has iOS-inspired additions.

When Steve Jobs referred to this shift in computing as the “post-PC” era, it was a clever way to promote the iPad as the future of computing. That’s accurate, to some extent, but really, we’re headed to a time when PCs are ubiquitous – whether desktop, laptop, portable, tablet or mobile. “PC everywhere” is a more apt description.


iPad Sales May Reach 66 Million In 2012

Apple Releases List Of Its Suppliers, Discloses Labor Violations

Apple

Apple has, for the very first time, released a report of its suppliers. There are 156 suppliers listed in the PDF the company published (available here), including big names like Sony, Intel, Samsung and Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.), which dragged Apple’s name into the light over questionable labor practices, when fourteen of the company’s workers plunged to their death at the Foxconn factories in 2010.

Since then, the company has been under increased scrutiny, with critics saying it should to be more transparent about the working conditions throughout its supply chain. Today, Apple appears to have answered its critics’ calls.

For more on Foxconn, read John Biggs’ four-part series, “The Future of Foxconn,” here.

With the newly released series of reports from Apple, there’s not only a listing of suppliers, there are also details of Apple’s supplier audits over the course of the past year. In its 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report, Apple says it found fewer labor violations in 2011 than in 2010, based on 229 audits it conducted last year. That’s an 80% increase from 2010. From 2007 to 2010, in fact, the company had only conducted 288 total audits.

The report examines all areas of the supply chain, from components to assembly. There were, as you may expect, several labor violations. These included pay violations, issues with employee benefits, environmental hazards, and even some incidents of child labor.

A few standout numbers:

  • Apple suppliers were in compliance with the max 60-hour work week 38% of the time
  • 93 facilities had records showing that over 50% of their workers had exceeded a 60-hour week (in at least 1 week of the 12-week sample period)
  • 108 of the 229 companies didn’t pay proper overtime as required by law
  • AT 90 facilities, over half the records showed that employees had worked more than 6 consecutive days at least once per month
  • 37 facilities lacked controls to ensure workers got at least 1 day off every 7 days
  • 5 facilities used child labor in 6 cases
  • There were 13 historical cases of underage labor
  • 68 didn’t provide benefits (insurance, free physical exams) as required by law
  • 49 didn’t provide employees with paid leave or vacation
  • 56 facilites didn’t have procedures to prevent discrimination towards pregnant women; 24 conducted pregnancy tests
  • 18 facilities screened for Hepatitis B; 52 didn’t have procedures to prevent discrimination based on those tests
  • 3 facilities lied to auditors or gave them misleading answers and records regarding payroll and workers’ hours; 1 blocked Apple’s efforts to obtain payroll records
  • 112 weren’t storing, moving or handling hazardous chemicals properly
  • 112 facilities were not properly storing, moving or handling hazardous chemicals
  • 69 weren’t recycling or disposing of hazardous waste properly; 74 lacked management procedures on recycling and disposal
  • The improper handling of combustible dust led to deaths and injuries at 2 facilites (one has corrected their procedures, the other is shut down); Foxconn lost 4 employees, and 18 were injured while Ri-Teng (a subsidiary of Pegatron) injured 59

Despite these numbers, disturbing as they may be, Apple says things are improving.

For comparison purposes, in 2010, there were 91 underage workers found working in 10 facilities, Apple disclosed. This year, the company says it found “no instances of intentional hiring of underage labor,” and that facilities simply didn’t have sufficient enough controls to verify age or detect fake documents.

Apple is also opening up access to an independent team of auditors from the Fair Labor Association (FLA), to review its ongoing performance in these matters. The results of those reports will appear on FLA’s website.

The company also expanded its Apple’s Supplier Employee Education and Development (SEED) program to all final assembly facilities. This program, which allows workers to take free finance, computer, English and other classes, has already been taken by over 60,000 workers.


Apple Releases List Of Its Suppliers, Discloses Labor Violations

Fly Or Die: Path 2.0

path 2.0

The new Path app has been out on the iPhone for about a week, and it’s been getting good reviews among the early-adopter set. In this episode of Fly or Die, John Biggs and I go through the pros and cons.

Pros: The app’s design is gorgeous, with elegant little flourishes like the various status updates pop up in a quarter circle on the lower left of the screen when you hit the “+” button or the timestamp clock that hovers over each item as you scroll through your feed. The app has moved beyond photo-sharing to broadcast where you are, who you are with, what music you are listening to, status updates/thoughts, and even if you are awake or asleep. “It has all the best features of all the best apps that I use,” gushes John.

Cons: It’s still a mostly-private network, although you can share specific photos and other updates to Twitter, Facebook, or Foursquare on an individual basis. The private default could also be a pro in that you feel more comfortable sharing things to a small circle that you wouldn’t otherwise. But many people will still encounter the empty-room problem of not knowing too many other people on Path yet. The other con is that it might be trying to do too much (photos, videos, location, music, status updates, sleeping patterns), and is competing for mindspace with some other already-dominant apps like Instagram and Foursquare to soem extent.

Overall, this is a very well-designed app with a lot of promise. They’ve built it. Now, will users come?


Fly Or Die: Path 2.0

Fly Or Die: Flipboard For The iPhone

Flipboard iPhone

Last night, Flipboard released its long-awaited iPhone app. The app is a companion to its popular iPad reader which renders feeds and realtime streams into a magazine-like experience. The iPhone app is already so popular that it took down Flipboard’s service earlier today.

In this episode of Fly or Die, John Biggs and I take the iPhone app through the paces. (You can watch our episode on the original iPad app here from last January). The iPhone app is gorgeous, as you would expect from Flipboard. Biggs thinks it’s more busy than beautiful. It’s certainly not the most efficient way to go through your information streams, but that is not the point.

It strips down the iPad app and presents it on the smaller screen. You flip vertically through your stories, headlines, and Tweets instead of horizontally and there is a promising new feature called Cover Stories that attempts to pull together the best stories from all your feeds.

Cover Stories, I confirmed after the taping, is based on the relevance-matching technology Flipboard acquired with Ellerdale in 2010. (Ellerdale’s founder, Arthur Van Hoff, is now Flipboard’s CTO). It is based on reader interactions with stories in Flipboard—these would include likes, retweets, and stories from sources you tend to read—and there may be some manual curation involved as well. This is one of the first steps Flipboard is taking to try to filter the stream.

If Flipboard’s iPhone-only Cover Stories can bring you the best stories, photos, videos, and tweets in your social streams, it will become as addictive as the iPad app. But if you don’t like big pictures adorning your tweets, like John and maybe two other people, maybe this app isn’t for you.


Fly Or Die: Flipboard For The iPhone