January 2017

Surging sales: Apple sees record revenue, sells its most iPhones ever

Why it matters to you

Apple’s growing App Stores and iTunes revenue could mean larger investments in original content.

Apple is back in business. The Cupertino, California-based phone maker reported record revenue in its first quarter to the tune of $78.4 billion, which beat earnings of $75.9 billion in the same period last year. It walked away with a profit of $17.9 billion, reversing a three-quarter trend of year-over-year sales declines.

“It was a dynamite quarter,” CEO Tim Cook said during a call with investors.

More: If iOS 9.3 bricked your iPhone or iPad, download this update from Apple[1]

The iPhone sales are largely to thank. Apple shipped 78.29 million iPhones in the period from November to January, beating projections of 77.42 million. Cook credited particularly strong sales of the iPhone 7 Plus, the pricier of Apple’s two top-tier smartphones. But Apple’s Services division contributed, too. Revenue from the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud hit $7.17 billion in the first quarter. Purchases in the App Store alone hit a record $3 billion and revenue double that of the Google Play store.

During the earnings call, Cook said he expects the size of services revenue “to be equivalent to a Fortune 100 company” this year and said Apple plans to double Services revenue within the next few years.

When it comes to smartphone sales, Apple beat the market trend. In September, analysts at Gartner projected that global growth phone shipments would slow to seven percent after 14.4 percent growth last year. It blamed a combination of factors, including saturation in major developed markets and lengthening upgrade cycles.

More: Apple iPhone 8 rumors and news[2]

Apple experienced no such decline, but noted a dip in China. Sales were $16.2 billion, down 12 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Analysts blame stiff competition from local manufacturers like Huawei, Oppo, ZTE, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

And the company’s other ventures were just as successful, more or less. Apple said Apple Watch revenue hit a record this past quarter despite a year-over-year decline in its “Other products” category, which includes the company’s Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats headphones, and other accessories.

Despite the dip in sales, Cook called the AirPods “magical,” and said they were “off to a good start.”

More: Could Apple’s next iPhones be made in the USA?[3]

Sales of the company’s Mac computer line, meanwhile, stayed relatively steady. Apple shipped 5.4 million units, up slightly from the 5.3 it sold in the year-ago quarter. And iPad sales continued a long decline, falling 20 percent to 13.1 million units from 16.1 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri stressed that customer satisfaction with iPads, and especially the iPad Pro, was “very high.” He predicted strong growth going forward.

The future is looking a little dimmer, unfortunately. Apple is projecting revenue of $51.5 billion to $53.5 billion, slightly below analysts’ expectations. Despite those gray clouds on the horizon, though, Apple ended the quarter with $200 billion in cash. Company stock is currently up 2.7 percent in after-hours trading.

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Polycom Lowers Videoconferencing Costs with RealPresence

The latest Polycom systems feature a new customizable TelePresence-type experience and a new camera with advanced video production features, but for less cost.

Cisco Systems launched its TelePresence real-time enterprise video conferencing system back in October 2006. I remember that day well; I sat with CEO John Chambers during the demo and was impressed at the technology I was witnessing. After all, there were people in various countries around the world seemingly sitting at one table across from each other, lifesize, but on screens.The high-quality video and audio was something that had to be experienced to be believed. When a man in London in the TelePresence meeting sneezed, I remember automatically turning away slightly, as a person might in such “close quarters.”These types of near-in person meetings have proved to be valuable for large corporations that can afford to set up an entire TelePresence room with high-end cameras, servers, customized furniture and specialized staff to run it all.

Costs a Major Factor for High-End Videoconferencing

But these rooms are not in the cards for a majority of enterprises, so Polycom has come up with an alternative: RealPresence.

The latest Polycom systems, introduced Jan. 31, feature a new customizable TelePresence-type experience and a new camera with advanced video production features, but for much less of an investment, Polycom Senior Product Marketing Manager Brian Phillips told eWEEK.

Just to be sure we’re all on the same page, we’re talking $189,000 for Polycom versus more than $300,000 for a Cisco Systems IX5000 system, Phillips said. There’s also a lower-end version of RealPresence that’s price-tagged a $149,000, Phillips said.  “We’re bringing by far the best visual and audio experience in Telepresence industry,” Phillips told eWEEK. “It’s an intuitive across-the-table experience; you don’t need training to use it, and the new 3D voice we have added makes the audio so much more lifelike.”

Feels Like You’re in the Room with Others Far Away

When one walks into a Polycom Immersive RealPresence room, it feels as if he/she is sitting directly across the table from colleagues, whose images are life-size, crystal clear on screens and leave no question as to which direction their voice is emanating.The Immersive Studio Flex can be customized to space and budget and offers Microsoft Skype for Business functionality at a 37 percent lower cost than other leading solutions, such as the Cisco IX5000, Phillips said.Like other Polycom Immersive systems, the Immersive Studio Flex combines high-definition audio and an 18-foot video wall with three 4K UltraHD display screens, which makes virtual meetings as comfortable as sitting in a home theater and as collaborative as being in the same room, Phillips said.Also part of the new videoconference packages is Polycom EagleEye Director II camera, which automatically enables closeups of the person talking at the time. The EagleEye has built-in intelligence to recognize from which person the voice is coming and focuses on that person until someone else begins speaking.

EagleEye Director Focuses on the Speaker Automatically

Without the need to manually adjust or to use a remote, the camera automatically zooms in on and frames the active speaker from 32 feet in less than three seconds, panning out when the discussion includes more than one person.A picture-in-picture display of the room means you see the reactions and body language of everyone in the room while you’re focused on the speaker.The camera runs on the new Polycom Group Series 6.1 release, the engine that drives Polycom’s voice and video technology.The RealPresence Immersive Studio Flex and EagleEye Director II, available in select countries starting in February, are the first products to be announced following the company’s acquisition by Siris Capital Group, LLC and transition to a private enterprise.Polycom services more than 400,000 customers globally.

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Super Bowl LI (2017) ads and teasers: Intel, Mercedes, Budweiser, GoDaddy, and more

Ahead of the New England Patriots facing off against the Atlanta Falcons, tonnes of big-budget adverts have begun hitting the air.

The Pats beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship game, while the Falcons beat the Packers in the NFC Championship game. Now, the two teams are headed to the Super Bowl LI on 5 February. This will be the Falcon’s second Super Bowl appearance, where as the Pats are on their ninth. Every year, many Super Bowl commercials release ahead of the game, but most premiere during the game on Sunday.

Here are some of the better adverts that companies have spent millions on for the Big Game. Keep in mind some of them are teasers meant to get you pumped for the actual commercial’s release (because, apparently, there’s people who get excited about that). If you want to know when and where you can watch the action unfold in real-time, check out Pocketlint’s Super Bowl LI guide[1].

Best Super Bowl LI commercials and ads

Avocados From Mexico

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Bud Light

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Buffalo Wild Wings

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Mr. Clean

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Yellow Tail

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  1. ^ Pocketlint’s Super Bowl LI guide (www.pocket-lint.com)
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Microsoft Reports Some PDF Documents Hiding Phishing Scams

DAILY VIDEO: Microsoft warns of emails bearing crafty PDF phishing scams; Toshiba to spin off Flash business after financial scandal; Americans resigned to insecurity of personal data, Pew survey finds; and there’s more.

Read more about the stories in today’s news:

Today’s topics include Microsoft’s warning to email users about new PDF phishing techniques, Pew Research’s finding that the majority of Americans do not trust social media sites or the government to protect their personal data from cyber-threats, Toshiba’s financial decision to spin off its Flash data storage business and Microsoft’s Azure cloud business revenue nearly doubled in its fiscal second quarter.

On the heels of a disturbingly convincing Gmail phishing scam, Microsoft is warning email users of other crafty schemes, this time involving PDF attachments. PDF, short for the Portable Document Format pioneered by Adobe, is a popular method of distributing content online.

Cyber-attackers are banking on its ubiquity, particularly in the workplace, to ensnare office workers. The latest phishing attempts may slip through antivirus software’s defenses.

“Unlike in other spam campaigns, the PDF attachments we are seeing in these phishing attacks do not contain malware or exploit code,” blogged Alden Pornasdoro, Microsoft Malware Protection Center team member.

Americans have become resigned to the fact that the security of their data is beyond their control.

In a study released on Jan. 26, Pew Research found that 64 percent of Americans have personally experienced a data breach, including fraudulent charges on their credit cards, received notifications that their email or social media accounts have been hacked or warned that their personal information had been exposed.

As a result, 51 percent of U.S. citizens do not trust social media sites to protect their information and 49 percent do not think the government can secure their data.

“People feel that they have lost control of their personal information in a lot of ways in the modern information environment,” Aaron Smith, associate director of Pew Research, told eWEEK.

Toshiba, which invented NAND flash memory in the late 1980s that is now being used in virtually all servers, smartphones and tablet PCs, is being forced to spin off a highly profitable segment of its IT hardware business due to serious problems impacting its financial future.

The Japan-based conglomerate revealed Jan. 27 that its flash memory business will be spun off into another business entity so that it will have “more operational flexibility and stronger fundraising ability,” market research firm DRAMeXchange said Jan. 27. The process will be completed by March 31, Toshiba said.

Microsoft has reported strong second quarter fiscal year 2017 earnings, laying to rest any doubts that the software giant could make a successful transition to a cloud computing company.

Azure revenues climbed a whopping 93 percent, or 95 percent. “These results show continued strength in the cloud and especially Azure business,” Dave Bartoletti, principal analyst at Forrester, told eWEEK.

“While Microsoft does not break out Azure from the broader Intelligent Cloud category (which also includes some server products, cloud services, and enterprise services), the Azure business nearly doubled year-over-year (as it did last quarter), and usage continues to double year-over-year,” continued Bartoletti.

“Basically, Azure is more than twice the size it was at this time last year, and the growth trajectory is consistent,” he said.

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New Photos from Snatch TV Series

The series premieres on March 16, 2017.

By Alex Gilyadov[1]

Crackle has released a new trailer and a few photos for its upcoming Snatch[2] TV series.

Both the images and trailer provide a decent look at some of the major characters in the series, including Ruper Grint (Harry Potter film franchise) as Charlie Cavendish, Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl) as Sonny Castillo, and Luke Pasqualino (Snowpiercer) as Albert Hill.

This TV series is loosely based on director Guy Ritchie’s 2000 film of the same name. The story, inspired by an actual heist, follows a group of up and coming hustlers who enter the world of organized crime when they accidentally find a truck load of stolen gold bullion. As a result, the group have to watch out for international mobsters and rogue cops while learning how to navigate London’s seedy underworld.

Along with Westwick, Pasqualino, and Grint (who’s also serving as executive producer), the rest of the main cast includes Dougray Scott (Fear the Walking Dead), Lucien Laviscount (The Bye Bye Man), Phoebe Dynevor (Dickensian), and Juliet Aubrey (The Infiltrator).

Snatch will debut exclusively on Crackle on March 16, 2017, with the first season consisting of 10 one-hour episodes.

Alex Gilyadov is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter[3]


  1. ^ Alex Gilyadov (people.ign.com)
  2. ^ Snatch (uk.ign.com)
  3. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
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