Apple’s easy finance initiatives in India pay off as local revenue breaks a billion dollars – report

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Times of India is reporting that Apple is expected to have hit $1B in revenue in India in the financial year ended on 31st March – up 42% year-on-year, and a tripling of revenue over the past three years. India is one of the so-called BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) where Apple is expecting to see a large chunk of its future growth.

It had previously been reported that Apple sold half a million iPhones in the final calendar quarter of 2014, and Cybermedia Research estimates that it sold 1.3M phones in the full financial year. If true, “over $1B revenue is inevitable,” says the report …  Read more

App Store revenue likely to double by 2018, generating $20B – IDC/App Annie

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Data from IDC and App Annie suggested that both Apple and Google are likely to see their app store revenues doubling within the next four years, reports Re/code. Based on Apple’s 2014 total revenue of $10B, this would suggest that Apple is likely to hit total revenue of $20B in 2018, with developers seeing $14B of it.

“I would consider this projection conservative,” App Annie CEO Bertrand Schmitt said in an interview, noting that the company has consistently been revising its forecasts up over the past two years as revenue has exceeded expectations.

The study also suggested that the trend toward freemium apps, which derive their income from in-app purchases, will continue–though this model is more common on Android than iOS …  Read more

Apple building funky-looking R&D center in Yokohama, Japan, opening next year

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This render provides our first look at Apple’s plan to build a sizeable new R&D center in Japan. We first heard that Apple would be building a facility “on par with Apple’s biggest R&D centers in Asia” from the Japanese Prime Minister late last year.

Japanese news site NHK reports that the center will be built on the outskirts of Yokohama, the second biggest city in Japan after nearby Tokyo. The city’s mayor announced in a news conference that Apple had purchased the remains of a Panasonic factory on the site, and would be building a 25,000 square meter facility over four floors. The scale of the building would suggest that it could accommodate around several hundred employees, though Apple may of course be allowing for future expansion. Read more

FastCo interview: Tim Cook talks Apple philosophy/legacy, Apple watch skepticism, new Campus & more

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Fast Company has an extensive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, focusing on what has changed and what has stayed the same since he took over from Steve Jobs. The interview comes a day after FastCo published a sizeable excerpt from the book Becoming Steve Jobs, in which Cook criticized the portrayal of Jobs in Isaacson’s biography.

Cook said that while much has changed, the culture–the fundamental goal of the company–remained the same.

Steve felt that if Apple could do that—make great products and great tools for people—they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.

The company has never tried to be first to market, he said, but rather to “have the patience to get it right” …  Read more

AAPL’s performance & prospects make it a paradoxically difficult investment, say fund managers

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You might not think a stock outperforming the market and considered to have good future prospects would pose a problem for investors, but Reuters reports that it can prove challenging for fund managers.

The issue is that most diversified funds have rules or guidelines that state they shouldn’t hold more than 5-10% of their funds in any one stock. This, fund managers say, can pose three problems. First, there’s the obvious one: they may want to buy more of it than their own rules allow …  Read more

Snowden: The CIA has been working “for years” to break iPhone, iPad and Mac security

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The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted “a multi-year, sustained effort to break the security of Apple’s iPhones and iPads,” claims The Intercept, referencing new Snowden leaks of a document from the CIA’s internal wiki system.

A presentation on the attempts, focusing on breaking Apple’s encryption of iOS devices, was said to have been delivered at an annual CIA conference called the Jamboree.

Studying both “physical” and “non-invasive” techniques, U.S. government-sponsored research has been aimed at discovering ways to decrypt and ultimately penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware. This could enable spies to plant malicious code on Apple devices and seek out potential vulnerabilities in other parts of the iPhone and iPad currently masked by encryption.

One route reportedly taken by the CIA was to create a modified version of Xcode, which would allow it to compromise apps at the point at which they are created …  Read more

Tim Cook talks Snowden, Apple Car and Steve Jobs as the best teacher he’s ever had

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Tim Cook appears to be using his international tour, which so far includes Israel, Germany and the UK, to push a second product every bit as hard as the Apple Watch: privacy. In an interview with the German newspaper BILD posted yesterday (paywall), Cook went as far as to praise Edward Snowden for his role in prompting discussion of the issue.

If Snowden did anything for us at all, then it was to get us to talk more about these things. [Apple’s] values have always been the same.

The comments follow a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at which data privacy was reportedly a key topic. Cook also told the Telegraph last week that “none of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information.” Cook has in the past resisted FBI pressure to compromise its strong encryption, and was the only tech CEO to attend a recent White House cybersecurity summit.

In the BILD interview, Cook reiterated Apple’s stance on privacy, and also said that as Apple had grown larger, it had taken deliberate decisions to be less secretive about some aspects of its business …  Read more

Apple adds vehicles to its list of company activities in Swiss legal filing

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Apple has officially added vehicles to the corporate documents describing the company’s activities, at least in Switzerland. The company’s lawyers added the following paragraph, reports Swiss site ApfelBlog.

Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.

It’s common to add catch-all terminology to company activities, so nothing should be read into the inclusion of ships and aircraft, though we’re sure there will be a breathless headline somewhere soon about an Apple plane …  Read more

Apple’s growing presence in Israel geared to chip design, suggests WSJ

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The WSJ is suggesting that Apple’s growing presence in Israel is focused on expanding the company’s chip design capabilities, reporting that it has hired most of the local employees of a chip design company shut down by Texas Instruments and is advertising new positions in silicon and semiconductor design.

“Apple’s Israeli acquisitions and its expanding local workforce show that the company is becoming more and more independent on the chip level, where it once had to rely on external suppliers,” said Shlomo Gradman, chairman of the Israeli Semiconductor Club.

While the report contains more speculation than hard fact, we noted yesterday that Tim Cook–who is currently visiting the country–is accompanied by Johny Srouji, whose bio on the Apple website says that he “leads all custom silicon architecture and development” …

Read more

Opinion: Does the Apple Watch Edition signal future luxury-model iPhones, iPads and Macs?

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Back in April of last year, when a luxury model of the Apple Watch was still a vague rumor, I wrote an opinion piece in which I expressed the view that Apple could indeed pull this off. I went further, and suggested that it could even create an entire range of luxury versions of its existing products, from iPhones to Macs.

Ten months on, with the Apple Watch Edition now real, and the general expectation that it’s going to cost several thousand dollars at least, I thought it was time to revisit that idea. Is a luxury model of the Apple Watch a one-off, or does Apple see this as the first step toward Edition models of its complete product range … ?  Read more

Supporting payment infrastructure for Apple Pay will be in place in Europe by mid-April

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Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on. MasterCard has advised us that it already supports tokenisation globally.

Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.

Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available on the Visa network in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too …  Read more

Opinion: What we can expect from an Apple Car if it really goes on sale in 2020

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What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  Read more