Today

AAPL: 98.98

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The South China Morning Post reports that iPhone maker Foxconn has replaced more than half of its workforce with robots since the launch of the iPhone 6. The figures were provided by the local government in Kunshan, where the company is based.

“The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs,” said the department’s head Xu Yulian … 

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After an initial Amex-only launch last month, Apple Pay is seeing a full roll-out today in Singapore, with Visa, MasterCard and five major banks on board. This makes Singapore the sixth country to get Apple Pay, after the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and China.

Apple Pay vice-president Jennifer Bailey told The Straits Times: “Now, almost everyone can leave their wallets at home. Apple Pay will be a natural extension of what users have been doing at payment counters” […]

Citibank, HSBC, ANZ and Maybank still do not work with Apple Pay [but] Ms Bailey said Apple is working to bring more banks on board.

Singapore was a good target for Apple, as contactless payment is already extremely well-established in the country …

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Ten months after Microsoft wrote-off its Nokia acquisition, the company has now announced that it is effectively out of the consumer phone business. It is cutting 1,850 jobs, and setting aside almost a billion dollars to cover the costs of exiting the business.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million […]

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

The company recently saw its market share fall below 1%. While Microsoft is – for now – insistent that it has a future in the corporate smartphone business, the reality seems doubtful …

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Yesterday

AAPL: 97.90

1.47
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Many people have been eagerly waiting for Apple to refreshed its entire MacBook Pro lineup with a thinner design, faster internals, Siri support, and more. A report yesterday said all of that is coming later this year in Q4, but added an additional detail: an OLED touch bar above the keyboard that would replace the row of function keys.

This is a new idea that hasn’t really been suggested for Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup before, but it has a variety of interesting possibilities. But with a significant change like that comes a steep, steep learning curve. The quick shortcuts we’ve all become accustomed to using throughout OS X would have an added twist, but could they potentially become easier to access in the long run? In the end, however, it would all come down to whether or not the OLED touch bar improved navigation enough to warrant a few weeks of relearning how to use your MacBook Pro’s keyboard.

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Even though Apple’s fight over the San Bernardino iPhone is essentially over, the overall debate regarding encryption versus national security remains. In an effort to continue to beef up security options on consumer devices, Reuters today reports that Apple has rehired well-respected security expert Jon Callas. News of this hire comes as we’re hearing from sources that Apple is in the midst of entirely overhauling its security team.

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