Apple to Use 100 Percent Renewable Energy for Manufacturing in Japan

Apple said it has partnered with component supplier Ibiden to power all of its manufacturing in Japan with 100 percent renewable energy.

To meet the commitment, Ibiden will invest in more than 20 new renewable energy facilities, including one of the largest floating solar photovoltaic systems in the country.

Apple to Use 100 Percent Renewable Energy for Manufacturing in Japan

“We are proud to partner with suppliers like Ibiden who recognise that renewable energy investments are good for the environment and good for business,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said in a statement this week.

Ibiden’s products help bring together the integrated circuitry and chip packages in Apple devices.

Their renewable energy projects will produce over 12MW of solar power, more than the energy they need for Apple manufacturing and support Japan’s nationwide efforts to limit its carbon emissions.

“Our products help Apple devices run smarter, and now we are powering our operations with smarter energy too. We are pleased to partner with Apple and lead the way in helping Japan meet its clean energy goals,” said Kyoichi Yamanaka, Managing Director of Ibiden’s Environment Group.

Apple and its suppliers will be generating over 2.5 billion kilowatt hours per year of clean energy for the manufacturing of Apple products by the end of 2018, equal to taking over 400,000 cars off the road for a year.

“As we continue our push to power our global operations with 100 per cent renewable energy, it is more important than ever that we help our manufacturing partners make the same transition to cleaner sources, and set an example for other companies to follow,” added Jackson.

Apple has taken significant steps to protect the environment by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Today, the company is powering 100 per cent of its operations in 23 countries and more than 93 per cent of its worldwide operations, with renewable energy.

Apple Sees Decline in China Smartphone Shipments, Oppo Leads: IDC

Corporation (IDC) has revealed.

According to IDC’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, Apple dropped from 58.4 million iPhones in 2015 and Xiaomi from 64 million Mi phones, drops of 23 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

Apple Sees Decline in China Smartphone Shipments, Oppo Leads: IDC

Oppo, which shipped 78.4 million phones – more than double the 35.4 million it shipped in 2015. Huawei came in at second, shipping 76 million phones, while Vivo managed to almost double its shipments, going from 35 million in 2015 to 69 million last year.

“Increased dependence on mobile apps has led to consumers to seek phone upgrades, thus helping drive the large growth in fourth quarter of 2016. In lower tiered cities, there was a similar demand by consumers, which Oppo and Vivo met by aggressively pushing mid-range smartphones in these cities,” said Tay X iaohan, Senior Market Analyst, IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team, in a statement.

Despite the decline, IDC does not believe Chinese vendors have actually eaten away Apple’s market share. Most Apple users are expected to be holding out for the new iPhone that will be launched this year, and that will help the brand to see a growth in 2017.

Apple’s 10-year anniversary iPhone will also likely attract some of the high-end Android users in China to convert to an iPhone.

“The smartphone market in China saw a 19 percent year-on-year growth and 17 percent quarter-on-quater growth fourth quarter of 2016. For the full year of 2016, the market grew by nine percent with top Chinese smartphone vendors taking up a larger share of the market,” the findings showed.

At present, out of the top three Chinese vendors in China, Huawei is the most successful with half of its shipments coming from markets outside China in fourth quarter of 2016.

Apple AirPods Pack a Tiny 93 Milliwatt Battery and Are Durable Against Impact and Water, Tests Reveal

Apple’s AirPods will start shipping Wednesday but the durability tests and teardowns have already been performed on the product and are available on the Internet. Surprisingly, the durability tests have revealed that the wireless earphones from Apple are able to withstand falls from several feet above the ground as well as shows resistance to water. The teardowns have further revealed that AirPods come with a tiny 93 milliwatt battery and pack the components in a very compact manner inside.

Apple AirPods Pack a Tiny 93 Milliwatt Battery and Are Durable Against Impact and Water, Tests RevealEven though Apple has not marketed the AirPods as water resistant earphones, they were able to come out unscathed from a washing cycle inside a washing machine, as shown in the video posted on YouTube channel EverythingApplePro. As per the tester, even after being through the washing cycle, the AirPods sounded just as good as they did before.

In the durability tests, the pair of earphones were dropped, with and without the case, from several different heights but apart from a few scuffs on the case, the falls couldn’t seemingly damage the AirPods in any way. The tester claimed that there was no noticeable difference in the sound from earphones after the drop tests were performed.
In the meanwhile, in an iFixit teardown of the AirPods that also reported the earphones are difficult to recycle, it was found that the wireless earphones come with a tiny 93 milliwatt battery. The circuit board, which includes a W1 chip among other components, is located at the rounded part of the earpiece.
The teardown of the case for AirPods further revealed that just like the ear-pieces, the case comes with jam-packed components as well. As components are glued together in an extremely compact manner, iFixit gave AirPods a repairability score of zero out of ten to indicate that its virtually impossible to repair the wireless earphones if they get damaged.

Notably, even though AirPods showed durability during the tests, they popped out of their case and bounced-off the ground several times during the tests. This indicates that it might be fairly easy to lose them if they do fall from users’ pocket.

Apple edges past Xiaomi to grab No. 6 spot in India’s top 30 cities

Apple edges past Xiaomi to grab No. 6 spot in India's top 30 cities
Apple, which was upstaged by Xiaomi in the world’s largest smartphone market China last year, has struck back in the world’s fastest-growing market.

The maker of the iconic iPhone has grabbed the No. 6 spot in market share in India’s top 30 cities, which make up 51% of the smartphone market, edging past Xiaomi after taking rapid strides in the highly competitive market.

Apple captured the No. 6 slot even in the price-sensitive tier-2 and tier-3 cities, which are the traditional strongholds of Indian vendors, according to data for the October to December 2015 period from US market research firm International Data Corporation, which was reviewed by ET.

Apple topped the premium price segment of $300 (Rs 20,000) and above, with an over 42% share across the 30 cities following the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in the first half of the quarter and subsequent price drops of its earlier 5s, 6 and 6 Plus models, analysts at IDC said.

“Apple leads in top 30 cities in the premium segment, and in tier-2 and 3 cities, it has considerably narrowed the gap with the competition,” said Navkendar Singh, senior research manager at IDC India.

IDC classifies Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru as tier-1cities and the remaining 25, including state capitals, as tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Apple held a 4.6% share in the 30 cities, with Samsung Electronics and Micromax Informatics continuing to be top two players. I

In the tier-2 and 3 cities, Apple was sixth with a 2.8% share. Xiaomi had a 4.5% share in all 30 cities. “Smartphone consumers in tier-2 and tier-3 cities are becoming more aware and demanding devices with latest features, specifications, affordable prices and convenient buying options,” said Jaideep Mehta, managing director for IDC South Asia.

These lower-tier cities make up 21% of the Indian smartphone market, the second-largest after China by unique users, and constitute more than two-thirds of the sub-$100 (Rs 6,800) segment.

Apple, which didn’t consider India a major market until a few years ago, is now placing long-term bets on the country with plans to set up its own stores while offering buybacks, discounts and upgrades to get more users.

Lenovo-Motorola secured the No. 3 spot overall, followed by Intex and Lava. Intex was No. 3 with a 9.1% share in the lower-tier cities, ahead of Lenovo-Motorola and Lava. Apple and Xiaomi were not among IDC’s top-five companies by sales volumes for the entire Indian smartphone market.

iPhone encryption: Turing Award winners side with Apple in fight against FBI

Turing Award winnder Whitman Diffie and Martin Hellman said they are sympathetic to the plight of FBI director James Comey, but said giving the FBI what it wants would unleash "huge" consequences that could not be contained.This year’s $1-million AM Turing Award goes to a pair of cryptographers whose ideas helped make internet commerce possible, and who now argue that giving governments a “back door” into encrypted communications puts everyone at risk.

Whitfield Diffie, a former chief security officer of Sun Microsystems, and Martin Hellman, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University, introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures in 1976. The concepts are used today to secure all kinds of communications and financial transactions.

Their award, from the Association for Computing Machinery and mostly funded by Google, is named for British mathematician Alan Turing and is one of the most prestigious prizes in computing.

The honour comes amid a fight between the FBI and Apple, which is resisting government pressure to help the government hack into the iPhone of a gunman in the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in December.

Hellman told The Associated Press that he’s sympathetic to the plight of FBI director James Comey and those investigating the attack in which an Islamic extremist couple killed 14 people before dying in a gun battle with police.

But Hellman said giving the FBI what it wants would unleash “huge” consequences that could not be contained.

“The problem isn’t so much with this first request, it’s the precedent that it would set and the avalanche of requests that would follow,” Hellman said, adding that many likely would come from less democratic governments such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Hellman said he will sign onto one of the many “friend of the court” briefs backing Apple in the case. Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter have pledged to participate as well.

Diffie also has advocated against giving “back doors” to law enforcement, co-authoring a paper with other prominent cryptographers last year that urged the US government to carefully consider the risks.

Hellman said the encryption technologies he and Diffie invented didn’t make them popular with the government. Before their research, encryption had mainly been the realm of government entities such as the NSA. Their work allowed it to spread to the private sector.

Apple should not try making a car on its own

US technology giant Apple should collaborate with carmakers to make avehicle and use the expertise already available rather than attempt to do it on its own, Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne said.

A source told Reuters last year that the California-based maker of phones, computers and watches was exploring how to make an entire vehicle, not just designing automotive software or individual components.

Speaking to journalists at the Geneva auto show, Marchionne said there was sufficient capacity available among car makers to deal with Apple’s requirements and it would make more sense for them to partner with a car manufacturer rather than become an actor itself in such a “complex business.”

“If they have any urges to make a car, I’d advise them to lie down and wait until the feeling passes,” Marchionne told journalists. “Illnesses like this come and go, you will recover from them, they’re not lethal.

iPhone encryption: Privacy groups urge US judge to support Apple

The ACLU argued that the FBI's request would undermine the privacy and security of Americans by forcing a private firm to act as its investigative agent.
Digital privacy advocates have called on a US federal judge to approve Apple Inc’srequest not to be compelled to build software to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attack.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Access Now and the Wickr Foundation laid out arguments in amicus briefs released on Wednesday ahead of a March 22 hearing in which Judge Sheri Pym will review Apple’s appeal of a court order demanding it help unlock a phone used by Rizwan Farook.

Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc also plan to file similar briefs, Twitter, Microsoft and people familiar with the plans of the other two companies said last week.

The ACLU argued that the FBI’s request would undermine the privacy and security of Americans by forcing a private firm to act as its investigative agent, seeking information that it does not already possess.

“Law enforcement may not commandeer innocent third parties into becoming its undercover agents, its spies, or its hackers,” according to a draft of the brief obtained by Reuters. Access Now and the Wickr Foundation, which both advise activists on digital privacy, said in a joint brief that complying with the order would undermine human rights around the globe.

“In some countries reliable security tools such as encryption can be the difference between life and death,” their brief says. “The relief sought by the government endangers people globally who depend on robust digital security for their physical safety and wellbeing.”

The U.S. government has said the December 2 attack in San Bernardino, California, was inspired by Islamist militants, and the FBI wants to read the data on Farook’s phone to investigate any links with militant groups. Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 others before they themselves were killed in a shootout with police.

We are working with most tier-I auto makers on self-driving cars: TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn

We are working with most tier-I auto makers on self-driving cars: TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn
What kind of work does the Pune centre do for TomTom?
We make digital maps — we have our own personal navigation devices (PND) and also do licensing work for other companies like Apple. The team here works on engineering and map operations. They build the tools which will be used to build the maps, as well as work on building the maps themselves. All our network operations are also monitored from here, as well as internal IT services.

What kind of work do you do for Apple and Uber?
Apple uses our maps and data for providing location-based services, as well as real time traffic information in 50 countries. Our maps are on all Apple devices, except in China and Japan. We licence our maps to other automobile makers as well.

What new areas is TomTom working on?
We are working with most tier-I auto makers on self-driving cars. We are creating maps which are different from the traditional maps, with a higher degree of precision, which will be used to keep the car on the road. There would be sensors through which the car can see other objects on the road as well as positioning technology, accurate to up to five centimetres. There will also be technology in the cars to measure if the road data is still accurate or if the road has changed. While self-drive cars are still a few years away, we could see this technology on the roads soon, used either for enhanced safety features or cruise control.

What are the main business areas for you globally?

We are present in three areas — consumer (PND and wearables), licensing technology to companies like Apple and auto firms, and telematics or fleet management. These contribute 50, 40 and 10% to our revenue respectively, and all segments are growing well for us. After a few slow years, we grew in 2015 and expect this momentum to continue.

How big are your India operations and what are the challenges of creating maps for India?
The current market is small, but we see opportunities for navigation and wearables. There is increased awareness and demand for health and fitness trackers and we are building the market here. Mapping has its challenges and we’ve come up with a sophisticated system to overcome it. Through Mapcode, each location is assigned a number which can be used for navigation purposes. We are also in talks with the Pune administration for helping with real time traffic management using our data as part of their Smart City initiative.

Apple’s new San Francisco office could be a tool in tech talent wars

Apple's new San Francisco office appears to be "just a small adaptation" to some tech workers' disdain for the commute of at least 90 minutes to the South Bay, said former company executive Jean-Louis Gassee.From Apple’s earliest days, executives insisted that employees work from its headquarters in sleepy suburban Cupertino.

The thinking, championed by Steve Jobs, was that a centralized campus would put the CEO “within walking distance of everyone,” said Steve Wozniak, who founded the company with Jobs.

That stance may finally be softening as Apple prepares to open chic new offices in San Francisco’s high-rent South of Market neighbourhood, which has spawned scores of promising startups.

Apple’s decision to plant a flag in San Francisco, 46 traffic-choked miles north of its headquarters, comes years after similar moves from rival tech firms such as Google andLinkedIn and marks a turning point in Apple’s willingness to accommodate workers, according to recruiters and former employees.

The move is one sign of the intensifying war for tech talent – and of the overwhelming preference of younger tech workers to live and work in the city, with its vibrant nightlife and public transportation. The two floors Apple has leased in a building mostly occupied by CBS Interactive offer abundant open space and exposed ceilings, the preferred tech aesthetic.

As Apple’s Silicon Valley rivals dangled perks to woo workers in the latest tech boom, theiPhone maker mostly held firm – the company still does not offer free lunch, and it was among the last companies to operate shuttles to and from the city.

Those company-paid charter buses to the valley appeased workers for a time, but the novelty has faded, said recruiter Andy Price of executive search firm SPMB.

With rising competition for talent from a new wave of private companies with sky-high valuations – such as Uber and Airbnb – Apple must do more, recruiters and former employees say.

“Apple’s attitude has always been that you have the privilege of working for Apple, and if you don’t want to do it, there’s someone around the corner who does,” said Matt MacInnis, a former Apple employee who worked on the company’s education business and is now CEO of Inkling, an enterprise technology company.

Now, MacInnis said, “they have to compete.”

Apple spokesman Colin Johnson declined to comment.

Urban outpost

Apple’s footprint in San Francisco until now has come largely through acquisitions of companies already based there, including Beats Music and Topsy Labs, a social media analytics firm.

After Apple acquired Topsy in 2013, workers were surprised that the company did not move those employees to the valley, a former Apple employee said. Topsy’s space was large enough for about 75 workers, but other Apple employees soon began dropping in to work from the city, crowding the office.

The iPhone maker’s new office will be in about 76,000 square feet of rented space at 235 Second St.

Apple’s presence in San Francisco will remain modest, especially compared to rival Silicon Valley firms such as Google and LinkedIn. The new office is big enough for about 500 workers.

Apple has said that it had more than 25,000 employees in the Santa Clara Valley, where it is headquartered.

Apple could opt to move some employees already in San Francisco into the new space, such as those from Topsy or Beats. The company has advertised for a variety of jobs in the city for workers in machine learning and big data — two of Topsy’s specialties — and digital music, Beats’ domain.

The space is currently under construction, suggesting Apple might be ready to move in late summer, real estate experts say.

Demand for desks there could be intense. After established tech firms open up shop in San Francisco, they often have more workers wanting space there than they can accommodate, said broker John Lewerenz of real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Google has struggled to keep workers from swarming its San Francisco office, particularly on Fridays. The company quickly leases additional floors in its main San Francisco building when they are vacated by other tenants, Lewerenz said.

Commuting and recruiting

Apple’s new San Francisco office appears to be “just a small adaptation” to some tech workers’ disdain for the commute of at least 90 minutes to the South Bay, said former company executive Jean-Louis Gassee.

But some former employees say an official Apple office of any size in San Francisco was once unthinkable – even though the city is home to 14% of its workforce, second only to San Jose, according to a 2013 company report.

Apple’s stance on centralization turns off some job seekers, said recruiter Amish Shah, founder of Millennium Search, who has run across some candidates who rule out the company because of the commute. Younger tech workers, he said, put a high premium on quality of life.

San Francisco residents now have more options to dodge the commute with a growing number of tech companies in the city, recruiters say.

“If companies want to stay competitive and have a shot at hiring the best available talent, they’re going to have to be flexible,” said Jose Benitez Cong, a former Apple recruiter who is now launching a startup.

Before leaving Apple in 2009, MacInnis spent three hours a day commuting from San Francisco to Apple headquarters. Now he uses Inkling’s location in the city to his advantage, systematically recruiting San Francisco residents tired of long commutes to the valley.

Russ Heddleston, co-founder and CEO of document sharing company DocSend, says he has also found an edge by planting his startup in San Francisco. He previously commuted to the valley to work for Facebook, a notable exception to the trend toward satellite offices in San Francisco.

“They have the social clout to get people to commute,” he said. “But if they weren’t as cool, could they afford to have their office in San Jose and get talent to come in? It’s a real problem.”

Suburban sprawl

Another factor may be that the company has little room left to grow in Cupertino: It occupies about 70% of the office space in the city of about 60,000, said Angela Tsui, the city’s economic development manager.

The sheer size of Apple’s work force has prompted the company to grab space in neighbouring towns such as Sunnyvale and North San Jose.

The diffuse office structure has dimmed the allure of commuting to the South Bay, said one former employee, who requested anonymity to protect professional relationships.
“The old appeal was if you were an engineer at the mother ship, you could go to the cafeteria, and there’s Steve Jobs ordering sushi,” he said. “Those days are gone now.”
In Wozniak’s view, spreading out the teams could infuse new creativity into the company. In a recent interview, he recalled being a lonely voice of dissent on the company’s philosophy of centralization.
“I was the executive who always opposed that,” he said. “I felt that you should distribute your divisions… and let the teams think more independently.”

Amazon to set up its second largest global delivery centre in Hyderabad

Amazon to set up its second largest global delivery centre in HyderabadGlobal e-commerce giant Amazon has decided to set up its second largest global delivery centre outside the US in Hyderabad, which could attract a large portion of its proposed investments of $2 billion into India.
The move comes a year after the Seattle-based online marketplace firm’s decision to build one of its largest Indian fulfilment centre (warehouse) over an area of 2,80,000 sq ft near Hyderabad.
The development also comes close on the heels of Apple choosing Hyderabad to set up its largest technology development centre outside the US and Google announcing to set up a huge campus in the city. A senior Telangana bureaucrat said the state government has allotted a 10-acre land to Amazon where it proposes to build 2.9 million square feet development centre to house a 13,500 member strong team. The current headcount at Amazon development centre at Hyderabad is around 1,000 across multiple offices.
Indicating a keen interest in the Indian market, Amazon currently has a 30,000 square feet area of office space rented out at ONE BKC Mumbai and a 1.2-million square feet office space leased out in Bengaluru.
“The land for the facility (at Hyderabad) is currently under a long-lease with the Government of Telangana,” said Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana’s IT Secretary. A senior government official said Amazon would lay the foundation stone for the proposed global delivery centre on March 30, where its senior VP David Zapolksy and vice president John Morgan are likely to attend.