Tag Archives: Motorola

Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

Activation-Lock-02

Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:

-A remote-wipe feature (like the one included with the Find My iPhone service)

-A remote-lock feature (like the PIN code setting included with Find My iPhone)

-A restore-blocking feature that can prevent unauthorized attempts to wipe the phone and use it (like iOS 7′s Activation Lock)

-And the ability to restore the original owner’s data upon recovery of the device (such as from an iCloud or iTunes backup)

As you can see from the points above, Apple’s Find My iPhone and Activation Lock services are already in full compliance with the agreement. These security measures must be included with the phone at the time of purchase, or available for download from the App Store or a similar software market.

The following companies that have agreed to this program, as per the CTIA announcement earlier today:

Apple Inc.; Asurion; AT&T; Google Inc.; HTC America, Inc.; Huawei Device USA;Motorola Mobility LLC; Microsoft Corporation; Nokia, Inc.; Samsung Telecommunications America, L.P.; Sprint Corporation; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless.

The program is voluntary (for now), though legislators have previously tried to enforce such requirements by law.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Activation Lock, Apple, AT&T, CTIA, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon

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Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

Activation-Lock-02

Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:

-A remote-wipe feature (like the one included with the Find My iPhone service)

-A remote-lock feature (like the PIN code setting included with Find My iPhone)

-A restore-blocking feature that can prevent unauthorized attempts to wipe the phone and use it (like iOS 7′s Activation Lock)

-And the ability to restore the original owner’s data upon recovery of the device (such as from an iCloud or iTunes backup)

As you can see from the points above, Apple’s Find My iPhone and Activation Lock services are already in full compliance with the agreement. These security measures must be included with the phone at the time of purchase, or available for download from the App Store or a similar software market.

The following companies that have agreed to this program, as per the CTIA announcement earlier today:

Apple Inc.; Asurion; AT&T; Google Inc.; HTC America, Inc.; Huawei Device USA;Motorola Mobility LLC; Microsoft Corporation; Nokia, Inc.; Samsung Telecommunications America, L.P.; Sprint Corporation; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless.

The program is voluntary (for now), though legislators have previously tried to enforce such requirements by law.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Activation Lock, Apple, AT&T, CTIA, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon

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Straight Talk offers $7 nano SIMs for iPhone 5s, 5c and Moto X

Mobile virtual network operator Straight Talk started offering nano SIM cards for service in Apple’s iPhone 5s or 5c and Motorola’s Moto X handsets on Thursday. The cards can be ordered directly online from Straight Talk or at WalMart retail stores. With the right SIM card for your AT&T or T-Mobile handset, you can get service from Straight Talk for $45 a month.

Straight Talk nano SIM

I have looked at Straight Talk’s plans in the past, finding they offer a solid service and a good value, but there is one caveat. While you do get unlimited voice minutes and text messaging for your $45, the “unlimited” data is actually only 2.5 GB per month. If you hit that limit in a billing cycle, Straight Talk will reduce your mobile broadband speeds until the next billing cycle starts.

Aside from that, there’s little downside provided you can follow the easy instructions to configure your phone. Straight Talk uses the same networks as the major carriers so you’re getting the same service as if you were with T-Mobile or AT&T, for example; It simply offers the plans as a bring-your-own-phone approach.The company has even added support for 4G LTE data if your phone supports it; something it didn’t offer when I reviewed the service nearly two years ago.

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NPD confirms it: Apple’s iPhone is the affluent consumer’s device in the US

The U.S. smartphone market grew by 21 percent in 2013 and the big sales winner was Apple with 45 percent of the market. The NPD Group shared the annual data on Thursday, noting that the iPhone maker experienced a small boost over 2012′s U.S. market share of 44 percent. Samsung and LG also grew U.S. sales at the expense of HTC and Motorola.

iPhone 5s M7 processor

And speaking of expenses, those who can afford more of them generally bought iPhones. NPD broke out smartphone market share by consumer income levels and found that Apple rules the roost for customers with $60,000 or more in annual income.

"Unit Share by Income"
Source: The NPD Group/Mobile Phone Track

Save for device refreshes, the real U.S. growth continues to be in the lower income segments, with those earning less than $60,000 in income accounting for 56 percent of the U.S. smartphone sales market. And sales growth for those earning less than $30,000 a year in the U.S. jumped to 31 percent in 2013 from 21 percent in 2012.

The situation could bode well for HTC, which has strung together eight quarters of slowing sales by trying to compete with both Apple and Samsung at the high end. Earlier this month, the company said it would be looking harder at the lower- to mid-range smartphone segment. I’m still leery of the company turning things around quickly however: Motorola has already introduced a fantastic low-cost phone in the $179 Moto G; Samsung too competes well in this space.

Moto G display

As for Apple, having the top overall market share in its home country is a good problem to have. And until something disruptive comes along that’s not from Apple, there’s little reason to suggest the company will have problems staying atop the market.

Even so, it’s clear that Apple is trying to branch out in other markets and segments. Getting the iPhone on China Mobile, which has more than 750 million subscribers, opens the door to potentially massive sales there. And this is the first iPhone cycle I can remember where we saw near-immediate retail discounts on the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, which could help boost 2014 sales for those with less disposable income.

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Pebble Steel in pics: Too small, too big or just right?

I’ve been wearing a Pebble Steel on loan for the past few days. I find it comfortable, well designed and far more attractive than the original plastic smartwatch model. The internals of the watch are the same on both versions and both can use the new Pebble appstore. So the question I’m getting over and over again is based around size. That’s fair, as most smartwatches have tended to be bigger and bulkier than their traditional counterparts.

pebble steel and other watches

I actually collect mechanical watches, although I’ve only recently begun and have a small collection. But these watches, as well as some older smartwatches can help answer the question of size when it comes to the Pebble Steel. Obviously, different people have different sized wrists so I can’t say if the Pebble Steel will fit you well. I can, however, show it relative to other watches I wear or have worn.

For reference, I’m 5′ 5″ tall, weigh around 130 pounds and have a 6.5″ wrist. I wear a Large Fitbit Force and fasten it on the second to last holes.

The Pebble Steel doesn’t completely cover my wrist although it’s about as big as I would prefer. Here is it next to my Fitbit Force and a mechanical Mondaine watch for scale. The Mondaine watch case is 35 millimeters in diameter while the rectangular Pebble Steel case is 46 millimeters x 34 millimeters. I wear the Mondaine comfortably on a regular basis.

pebble steel fitbit and mondaine

The Pebble Steel is smaller than the original Pebble, which measures 52 millimeters by 36 millimeters; a noticeable difference.

pebble steel, pebble and mondaine

For a few years I wore a Motorola MotoACTV smartwatch. I still do from time to time but less so due to its bulk. There’s simply no comparison here; the Pebble Steel is much easier to wear.

pebble steel and MotoACTV

The Samsung Galaxy Gear is certainly smaller than the MotoACTV but I don’t find it comfortable. The Pebble Steel is again noticeably smaller than the Galaxy Gear, which measures 56.6 millimeters by 36.8 millimeters.

pebble steel and galaxy gear

The largest watch I comfortably own and wear is a Hamilton automatic with a 44 millimeter case diameter. With my relatively small wrists, wearing this watch is a stretch; I really couldn’t go bigger. But the Pebble Steel works for my wrist because when measured from the lugs — where the strap attaches on a watchface — it’s actually smaller than the Hamilton. It’s also not as wide.

pebble steel and Hamilton

Of course thickness also plays a part when it comes to wearing a watch. The Pebble Steel is again slimmer than its predecessor in this area, measuring in at 10.5 millimeters thick compared to 11.5 millimeters on the older model.

pebble steel and pebble thickness

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is even thicker, which contributes to the bulky feeling I get when wearing it. Officially, Samsung says the Galaxy Gear is 11.1 millimeters thick, but it looks even bigger than that when compared to the Pebble Steel.

pebble steel and gear thickness

And that Hamilton that I often wear? It’s about the same thickness as the Pebble Steel and most other watches I own save for the Mondaine, which is a super slim Quartz model.

pebble steel thickness hamilton

Having a thin, very flat crown helps the Pebble Steel when it comes to thickness. Look in the picture above and you can see the glass crown of my Hamilton extending above the watch case; fairly common for all traditional watches.

So is the Pebble Steel the right size for you? Again, it’s impossible for me to say.

What I can tell you is that the new Steel model is more comfortable to wear and is smaller than its predecessor. It’s also similar in size to other mechanical watches I wear, which is a design win. Could Pebble whittle the size down even more in the future? Sure it could, although I’d be careful not to reduce the battery size. Ultimately, the size of both the screen and the battery will continue to be limiting factors in future smartwatches as the internal sensors and chips themselves will likely grow smaller.

Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True. 

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Apple loses key iPad, Mac operations VP Rita Lane to retirement

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 8.45.55 AM

Rita Lane, Apple’s vice president of operations for the iPad, Mac desktops, and Mac accessories, has retired from the company, according to her public LinkedIn profile. As vice president of operations, Lane was in charge of the supply chain and manufacturing for iPads, computers like the iMac, and Apple’s Mac accessories.

Due to her position, Lane was likely instrumental in the iPad’s rapid growth as a product and emergence in society over the past few years, making the departure a significant loss for Apple. However, the company likely has other experienced operations managers who could fill Lane’s role. Her exact successor is unknown…

Apple CEO Tim Cook brought Lane over from Motorola in 2008 ( where she served as Senior Vice President of that company’s supply chain). Lane was previously profiled by Business Insider as a “Tim Cook disciple” and one of Apple’s highest ranking women. Lane was also mentioned in a Fortune article regarding Tim Cook’s impact on Apple. Prior to working at Motorola, Lane was a supply chain executive at IBM.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 8.36.03 AM

Lane is not the only Apple executive to retire in recent months. Late last year, we reported that Apple’s head of iOS engineering retired from Apple. Apple employee retention has been a popular topic as of late, but it appears that the recent Apple executive departures have been pure cases of retirement, rather than situations in which the high-ranking employees defected to Apple competitors.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, iMac, iPad, Jeff Williams, Mac, Macintosh, Motorola, Operations, Rita Lane, Tim Cook

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Tim Cook discusses Google selling Motorola, says iPhone hasn’t hit a ceiling, and more from full WSJ interview

Tim-Cook-WWDC-02

After posting excerpts last night, in which Tim Cook announced Apple’s share buyback of $14 billion in the last two weeks, The Wall Street Journal has now published the full interview with Apple’s CEO.

The interview repeats many of the comments Cook has made to investors in the past, reaffirming that new product categories under development, but does contain some new, interesting tidbits. For instance, Wakabayashi asked Cook about Google’s disposal of Motorola. Cook says he “wasn’t surprised” that Google sold it off, saying that software and hardware integration is what makes Apple unique as a company.

WSJ: What did you think of Google selling Motorola to Lenovo?

Cook: I wasn’t surprised. It seems like a logical transaction. Google gets rid of something that’s losing money, something that they’re not committed to. I think it’s really hard to do hardware, software and services and to link all those things together. That’s what makes Apple so special. It’s really hard, so I’m not surprised that they are not going to do that.

The Journal also pressed Cook on the share buyback program. Although snippets of Cook’s reply were in the article from last night, the full response puts Cook’s answers in better context.

We recognize that we have more money than we need to run our business and invest for the future and invest in new products and acquire new companies and invest in capex, etc. We fully recognized that. We even said after we more than doubled it that we’re going to look at this thing every year. And each time we do this, we go back out to shareholders and listen to them. They’re owners of the company. We’re looking at tax policy. It’s a fairly complex set of things to consider. It’s not a simple thing.

But we also wanted a program that’s flexible. We wanted to take advantage of opportunities that came our way. Those opportunities may be acquisitions. In the last 15 months, we’ve acquired 21 companies. We’re doing it low-key. We’re not making big announcements about these. It shows that we’re looking a lot. I think we’ve made smart purchases.

On bigger iPhones, Cook did not dismiss the idea. As before, Cook says that all aspects of smartphone screens need to be considered, not just the physical size. Regarding Apple’s product pipeline in 2014, Cook said that new products are under development, but stressed that they have not hit the ‘ceiling’ on their current products yet either. Clearly, Cook wants to set expectations that he does not see Apple at the end of the road for the current products. He said Apple can grow with “great improvements and new products on its existing category of products”.

He also reiterated his comments on ‘making the best, not making the most’, but qualified this by saying that market share is still a significant factor for Apple’s business.

I don’t view that as being satisfied with being small or however you want to define it. It’s not saying that market share is irrelevant or not important. I’ve never said that. I just always tried to say that the macro thing for us is to make a great product and we must do that.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, Cook, Google, iPad, iPhone, iWatch, Motorola, Wall Street Journal

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