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Apple Likely to Slash iPhone 12 5G Shipments in 2020, May Sell Only 15 to 20 Million Units

Apple is reportedly planning to ship 15-20 million units of 5G iPhone 12 this year. Supply chain estimates previously tipped Apple’s 5G iPhone, likely to be called iPhone 12, to ship between 30-40 million units. This estimate has now been revised massively, “with expectations now reportedly only set at between 15 and 20 million units, a 50 per cent reduction,” reports DigiTimes.

The main reason for the lower shipments than the previous estimation is vague at the moment. It could be possibly due to the pandemic as the world economy has tanked in recent months. The “iPhone 12” range is expected to consist of four models, all with 5G connectivity.

Meanwhile, Apple is also likely to delay the launch of new iPhone 12 series by at least two months which may take place in November instead of the usual mid-September time-frame. According to a report by investment bank Cowen, Apple’s second-quarter production is expected to be 35 million units, down 5 per cent from the first quarter and down 13 per cent from the same period last year.


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Microsoft Launches New Digital Skills Initiative to Help 25 Million People Worldwide

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

The initiative provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, GitHub Learning Lab and more.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 1, 2020, 11:58 AM IST

Microsoft announced a new global skills initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills by the end of the year. The announcement comes in response to the global economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Covid-19 has created both public health and an economic crisis, and as the world recovers, we need to ensure no one is left behind,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during a digital event.

“Today, we’re bringing together resources from Microsoft inclusive of LinkedIn and GitHub to reimagine how people learn and apply new skills — and help 25 million people facing unemployment due to COVID-19 prepare for the jobs of the future.” Expanded access to digital skills is an important step in accelerating economic recovery, especially for the people hardest hit by job losses.

This initiative includes immediate steps to help those looking to reskill and pursue an in-demand job and brings together every part of the company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft. This includes the use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them, free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require, and low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.

This is a comprehensive technology initiative that will build on data and digital technology, Microsoft said. It starts with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph. The initiative provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couples those with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools.

These resources can all be accessed at a central location, opportunity.linkedin.com, and will be broadly available online in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish. In addition, Microsoft is backing the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organisations worldwide assist the people who need it most.

One-quarter of this total, or $5 million, will be provided in cash grants to community-based nonprofit organizations that are led by and serve communities of colour in the United States. Microsoft also pledged to make stronger data and analytics — including data from the LinkedIn Economic Graph — available to governments around the world so they can better assess local economic needs. Microsoft will use its voice to advocate for public policy innovations that will advance skilling opportunities needed in the changed economy.

The tech giant also announced it is creating a new learning app in Microsoft Teams designed to help employers skill and upskill new and current employees as people return to work and as the economy adds jobs. “The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “Unemployment rates are spiking for people of colour and women, as well as younger workers, people with disabilities and individuals with less formal education. Our goal is to combine the best in technology with stronger partnerships with governments and nonprofits to help people develop the skills needed to secure a new job.”


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Amazon Announces Special One-time Bonus of $500 Million For Its Covid-19 Frontline Workers

Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it would spend $500 million on one-time bonuses to its front-line employees and partners working through the coronavirus crisis. Employees and partners who have been with the e-commerce company through June will receive bonuses ranging from $150 to $3,000, the company said (here) in a blog post.

The world’s largest online retailer, which delivers about 10 billion items a year, has been facing intense scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and unions over whether it is doing enough to protect staff from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in the day, workers at six Amazon sites in Germany decided to go on strike in protest over safety after some staff at logistics centres tested positive for coronavirus, labour union Verdi said on Sunday.


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Telegram Consents to Pay $18.5 Million Penalty to Settle Digital Token Dispute

Image for Representation (File Photo)

Image for Representation (File Photo)

The settlement announced over the weekend comes after Telegram in May announced its decision to withdraw its cryptocurrency-focused subsidiary, Telegram Open Network or TON.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 3:22 PM IST

Telegram has agreed to return more than $1.2 billion to investors and to pay an $18.5 million civil penalty to resolve the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s charges that the instant messaging platform’s unregistered offering of digital tokens called “Grams” violated the federal securities laws.

The settlement announced over the weekend comes after Telegram in May announced its decision to withdraw its cryptocurrency-focused subsidiary, Telegram Open Network (TON), due to problems it faced as a result of the US SEC scrutiny. Telegram engineers had been working on the blockchain platform called TON and a cryptocurrency they were going to name Gram for the past two-and-a-half years.

On October 11, 2019, the SEC filed a complaint against Telegram, alleging that the company had raised capital to finance its business by selling approximately 2.9 billion Grams to 171 initial purchasers worldwide. The SEC sought to preliminarily enjoin Telegram from delivering the Grams it sold, which the regulator alleged were securities that had been offered and sold in violation of the registration requirements of the federal securities laws.

On March 24, 2020, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction barring the delivery of Grams and finding that the SEC had shown a substantial likelihood of proving that Telegram’s sales were part of a larger scheme to unlawfully distribute the Grams to the secondary public market.

“New and innovative businesses are welcome to participate in our capital markets but they cannot do so in violation of the registration requirements of the federal securities laws,” Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, said in a statement. “This settlement requires Telegram to return funds to investors, imposes a significant penalty, and requires Telegram to give notice of future digital offerings.”

Telegram Founder and CEO Pavel Durov said in May that “a US court stopped TON from happening”. Durov urged others to keep fighting for decentralisation, balance and equality in the world. “You are fighting the right battle. This battle may well be the most important battle of our generation. We hope that you succeed where we have failed,” he said.


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Google Loses Appeal Against Online Privacy Breach Case in France Worth 50 Million Euros

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

France’s data watchdog, CNIL, in January last year ruled that information provided by Google to Android users was not sufficiently clear.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 20, 2020, 3:07 PM IST

In a setback for Google, the search giant has lost an appeal against a 50 million-euro ($56 million) fine imposed by France’s data watchdog last year for violating European Union’s rules on online privacy. France’s top court for administrative law on Friday upheld the decision that accused Google of not making it very clear how it processes personal information of Android users, TechCrunch reported.

France’s data watchdog, CNIL, in January last year ruled that information provided by Google to Android users was not “sufficiently clear”. It implied that Google did not legally obtain user consent for using their data for targeted ads, according to CNIL.

The decision was based on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force in 2018. “The Council of State confirms the CNIL’s assessment that information relating to targeting advertising is not presented in a sufficiently clear and distinct manner for the consent of the user to be validly collected,” the court wrote on its website.

Although the fine is a small fraction of Google parent Alphabet’s global revenue, it remains the largest GDPR fine on a tech giant till date, TechCrunch reported. “People expect to understand and control how their data is used, and we’ve invested in industry-leading tools that help them do both,” a Google spokeswoman was quoted as saying in a statement. “This case was not about whether consent is needed for personalised advertising, but about how exactly it should be obtained. In light of this decision, we will now review what changes we need to make.”.


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Snapchat Says Over 170 Million Users Engage With Its AR Tools Daily

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(Image: Reuters/Eric Thayer/File Photo)

Image for Representation

(Image: Reuters/Eric Thayer/File Photo)

Snapchat recently launched a new safety notification that prompts Snapchatters to review their list of friends and make sure they only are friends with people they know.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 13, 2020, 10:33 AM IST

Snap which is the parent company of Snapchat, has announced the new camera and Augmented Reality (AR) experiences for developers, creators and more than 170 million Snapchatters who engage with AR daily for nearly 30 times. One of such features ‘Local Lenses’ enable a persistent, shared AR world built right on top of your neighbourhood.

“Snapchatters and their friends can step into this virtual space together to decorate nearby buildings with colourful paint and experience a new dimension of AR,” the company said during its virtual Snap Partner Summit 2020 on Thursday. Snap introduced new Scan partners like PlantSnap that would help Snapchatters identify 90 per cent of all known plants and trees.

“In partnership with Dog Scanner, point the Snapchat camera to recognise almost 400 breeds,” informed the company. Scan can also enable compelling experiences for brands. Soon, users can scan the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram to be transported into the inspiration behind their latest collection.

Additionally, Snap introduced Voice Scan which offers Snapchatters Lens results based on voice commands. Powered by a partnership with SoundHound, users need to press and hold on the camera screen to tell Snapchat what kind of Lens to display.

For developers, Snap introduced Snap Minis, a new way to bring experiences inside Snapchat while leveraging the social power of the platform. Snap Kit and Snap Games offer developers new ways to easily build with Snapchat.

“More than 800 apps have integrated with Snap Kit, and nearly 150 million Snapchatters are engaging with these integrations every month,” informed the company. Since its launch in April 2019, more than 100 million Snapchatters have played Snap Games. Snapchat also launched a new safety notification that prompts Snapchatters to review their list of friends and make sure they only are friends with people they know and trust in real life.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Pledges $100 Million Towards Racial Justice and Equality

File photo of Apple CEO Tim Cook.

File photo of Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Recently, Apple updated Siri to respond differently to the phrase “all lives matter,” which has become a common retort to “Black Lives Matter” in the US and elsewhere.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 12, 2020, 10:38 AM IST

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced a $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative to promote racial equality as a time when several US states are facing protests over the death of African-American George Floyd. The initiative would be led by Apple Vice President Lisa Jackson.

“The unfinished work of racial justice and equality call us all to account. Things must change, and Apple’s committed to being a force for that change,” Cook tweeted on Thursday. “Today, I’m proud to announce Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, with a $100 million commitment,” he said, adding that the initiative will challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exists for communities of colour and particular for the Black community.

Cook said the initiative will lead to “changes that touch just about everything we do.” He earlier stressed that right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of the nation and in the hearts of millions. “To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism,” Cook said in a recent memo to employees.

“That painful past is still present today e not only in the form of violence but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination,” he added. Cook said that there has been progress since America he grew up in, “but it is similarly true that communities of colour continue to endure discrimination and trauma”.

“At Apple, our mission has and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. “For all of our colleagues hurting right now, please know that you are not alone and that we have resources to support you,” Cook noted. Apple has also updated Siri to respond differently to the phrase “all lives matter,” which has become a common retort to “Black Lives Matter” in the US and elsewhere.



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5G Subscriber-base in South Korea Tops 6.34 Million, New Data Reveals

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(Image: AFP Relaxnews)

Image for Representation
(Image: AFP Relaxnews)

South Korea’s three carriers — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp — rolled out the commercial network last April and aggressively promoted their new service.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 2, 2020, 10:47 AM IST

More than six million South Koreans were subscribed to 5G mobile networks as of April, a year after the country adopted the service, government data showed on Monday. The number of 5G users in the nation reached 6.34 million as of the end of April, up 7.8 per cent from a month earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The nation’s three carriers — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp — rolled out the commercial 5G network last April and have aggressively promoted their new service for premium smartphones.

SK Telecom’s 5G customers accounted for 45 percent as of April, trailed by KT with 30.3 percent and LG Uplus with 24.7 percent, the ministry said. The number of mobile subscribers between 2G and 5G came to 69.35 million as of the end of April, reports Yonhap news agency.




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Indian Gaming Industry Attracted $350 Million VC Between 2014-2020; To See 41% Growth Annually

Representative Image.

Representative Image.

By 2024, the gaming industry in India is set to be valued at USD 3,750 million, the report further added.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: May 28, 2020, 11:38 AM IST

India’s gaming industry has attracted about USD 350 million in investments from venture capital firms between 2014 and first few months of 2020, growing at a CAGR of 22 percent, a report by Maple Capital Advisors said on Tuesday. The report titled ‘Gaming – India Story’ said the Indian gaming industry currently valued at USD 930 million and is expected to grow at 41 percent annually. By 2024, the gaming industry in India is set to be valued at USD 3,750 million, it added. This increase will be fuelled by the growth of digital infrastructure and a substantial rise in quality and engaging gaming content, it said.

Some of the big investments include USD 100 million investment in Dream11 by Tencent and Steadview Capital (2016), USD 41 million investment in Mobile Premier League by Sequoia and Times Internet (2019), and USD 20 million in Paytm Games by One97 and AG Tech holdings (2020). The three key segments of online gaming are – Real Money Games (RMG), Mobile-centric/casual games and E-sports.

“We have seen growing investment traction in gaming with over USD 350 million of investments. With growing internet penetration, compelling economics, usage statistics and increasing ecosystem of entrepreneurs and developers focusing on this space we expect good growth in investments which are likely to at least double in this space in the next 1-2 years,” Maple Capital Advisors Managing Director Pankaj Karna said.

He added that marquee VCs have begun meaningful investments and it is likely that private equity will enter gaming in a more meaningful way going forward. “Gaming is at inflexion stage in India with a rapid rise in consumption expected and investments likely to accelerate…We also expect select consolidation by larger platforms to add categories and fill gaps,” he said. The report noted that there are over 400 gaming startups in India.

The fantasy sports landscape in India has witnessed a significant transformation and the number of fantasy sports operators have increased by seven times over 2016-2018, whereas the number of users has grown by over 25 times from June 2016 to February 2019. E-sports has shown strong user growth but lags on profitability. There is also increasing traction towards multiplayer games that has been observed post the onset of PUBG in India.




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Apple Sold 3.9 Million iPhones in China in April as it Reopens All Retail Stores in the Country

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(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

In April, overall smartphone shipments in China was up over 94 per cent in comparison to March and reached 40.8 million.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 10:59 AM IST

Apple bounced back in April in China after a dull March owing to lockdowns, selling 3.9 million iPhones which is nearly 160 percent increase from the previous month. In April, overall smartphone shipments in China was up over 94 percent in comparison to March and reached 40.8 million, reports CNBC. Apple closed all its retail stores outside Greater China in March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. All the Apple stores in Greater China are now open.

According to the IDC, Apple has always had a significant share of smartphones in use in China because iOS-based iPhones have a longer replacement cycle than Android phones. In 2019, Apple continued to have the largest user base among smartphone vendors in China, with iPhones in use accounting for 18.9 percent – representing a slightly lower percentage than in 2018 – of all smartphones in use in China.

The mid-range smartphone segment in which the new iPhone SE falls ($400-$600 exclusive of tax) experienced a contraction in China throughout 2019 as vendors gradually shifted away from the segment to the mainstream price range emphasizing performance to price and to the high end.

“The new iPhone SE has a clear target audience, i.e. users of older iPhone models. It is therefore not so much an attack as a defense amid increasingly intense competition for users in the domestic market as Apple attempts to keep existing iPhone users in the iOS fold,” according to Xi Wang, research manager at IDC China.

According to the latest report from Counterpoint Research, smartphone sales in China experienced the roughest March quarter in recent memory, dropping by 22 percent compared to Q1 2019 values. The iPhone 11 was the best-selling device for the January–February period, marking the seventh consecutive month it reigned supreme. Apple also managed to increase its market share. “Consumers continued to purchase iPhones from e-commerce platforms despite the shutdown of Apple stores across China during February,” said Ethan Qi, senior analyst at Counterpoint.




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