Amazon buys Twitch for $970M, pushes into video streaming market

Aug 25, 2014 - 4:43 PM - by sparkyscott21



Amazon on Monday grew its digital media presence with the purchase of gaming-centric video streaming service Twitch, which agreed to a $970 million buyout that will take effect later this year.

In a letter posted to the company's website, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear confirmed the Amazon takeover, framing the acquisition as an opportunity for further growth.

"We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster," Emmett wrote. "We're keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon's support we'll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch"

As noted by TechCrunch, Amazon confirmed the acquisition at $970 million in cash.

Twitch started life in 2011 as an offshoot of former live Internet broadcast site Justin.tv, itself cofounded by Shear in 2007, and was recently rumored to be in acquisition talks with Google and Yahoo. Over the past three years, Twitch has amassed a huge following that the company recently pegged at 55 million active users.

With its latest buy, Amazon makes further inroads into digital media content creation and hosting. The Internet retail giant is in the process of backing original TV shows to be served up on its Fire TV set-top streamer, which launched in April. The Apple TV competitor sports hardware capable of playing games via optional game controller, including a title created by the newly-formed Amazon Game Studio.






8-25-14


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A video first look at Apple’s new iPhone charger and fully reversible Lightning cable

Aug 25, 2014 - 1:16 PM - by sparkyscott21



Over the past week, two new leaks from abroad have given us new details about what accessories will be coming with the iPhone 6. The first leak suggested that the iPhone 6 would ship with a Lightning cable with a fully reversible USB plug; the second leak — which came just this morning — suggested that the iPhone charger was also getting a redesign.

We now have video of both the new fully reversible Lightning cable and the new iPhone 6 charger in action. They look great, but unfortunately, there’s at least one disappointment: while the charger will indeed ship with the iPhone 6, our source says that USB Lightning cable won’t be available until next year.

Writing to Cult of Mac, Cyril Chang of Moca.co, an MFi-certified vendor for Apple, says they have the inside scoop on the new Lightning charger:


We are informed by the Official Appointed Manufacturer of Apple that the new Reversible USB Cable will not be released together with upcoming iPhone 6 and Apple has not placed any order with them yet. Apple fans will not be able to get the MFi version of this revolutionary cable from Apple this year but that is not the end of the story.


As disappointing as that is, Moca.co says the iPhone 6 charger, at least, is good to go. But it will cost more than existing chargers, with Moca.co estimating an MSRP of $20-$25.


The announced power adapter is indeed the new power adapter design for upcoming iPhone / iPad but during released Apple will be selling it at a high price est. $20~$25… It is only slightly bigger than the old 5W power adapter but with the power output of 2A.


That should, theoretically, make the new iPhone charger slightly quicker at juicing up an iPhone than its predessor.

According to Moca, they will be selling their own third-party version of the fully reversible Lightning cable this year, beating Apple’s to market. In addition, they will offer a cheaper version of the squatter iPhone charger for those who don’t want to pay Apple’s $20-$25 price.

We can’t vouch for Moca’s reliability, so take all of this with a grain of salt. But if Moca’s information is right, truly reversible knock-off Lightning cables might be ubiquitous before Apple’s even hits store shelves.






8-25-14


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Report: TSMC Running Ahead of Schedule With 16nm Technology for Apple’s A9 Chip

Aug 25, 2014 - 1:07 PM - by sparkyscott21




China’s Economic Daily News claims Apple partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is ahead of schedule with its next-generation 16nm process for chip production. [Google Translate, via Digitimes]

The Chinese-language report claims TSMC will begin 16nm volume production in Q1 2015, a full quarter earlier than its originally projected Q2 2015 start. This advancement may pave the way for TSMC to supply Apple with the future A9 processor that would be used in the late 2015 iPhone.

TSMC is reported to be installing 16nm capability in its plants. This will give them a monthly output potential of 50,000 wafers. This may give TSMC a leg up against Samsung in the battle to be the go-to supplier for Apple’s A-Series processors for use in the company’s iPhone and iPad mobile devices.

It has been previously reported that Samsung, GlobalFoundries and TSMC would share production of Apple’s A9 chip in 2015. However, TSMC’s accelerated program may tip the scales in their balance if this report proves accurate.






8-25-14


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Tim Cook’s Three-Year Report Card At Apple: B

Aug 24, 2014 - 12:35 PM - by sparkyscott21



Tim Cook stepped up as the CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011. The soft-spoken Southerner, who has worked at the Cupertino company since 1998, had previously acted as interim CEO when Steve Jobs stepped down to battle cancer.

Cook’s ascent to the permanent CEO position marked a sea change for Apple. Once called the stage manager to Steve Jobs’ star, he’s now running the show. After endless speculation about whether Cook’s rule marked the end of Apple or signaled a bright new era, going by the numbers, it looks like he’s earned a solid B.

Here’s a look at his first three years as the head of Apple, a job he got paid $4.25 million to perform in 2013.


Overall financial health: B-

There are dozens of financial metrics to evaluate a company – we’re going to sum that all up with whether you should own stock in it. The answer from the experts who crunch the numbers on revenue, earnings, profit margins etc. is, uh, yeah. Get a piece of Apple.

Morningstar, which rates Apple stock 3/5 stars, notes that the maker of all iThings has far outperformed the industry average in the last three years. After the 7-1 stock split in June, stock price soared past the previous record just in time for Cook to celebrate his time running the company. If Cook missed the mark by any measure, it may be that his knack for innovation is still in question.

“So is Apple making an impact? I’d say they are sustaining their position rather well and if that’s all there was, Tim Cook deserves a B,” industry analyst Horace Dediu told Cult of Mac. “But to be truly impactful still requires a successful new product that “makes a dent in the Universe” which has not happened in the last few years. In that sense, he has not yet completed his thesis and the grade today is therefore an Incomplete.”


Environmental Responsibility B-

Less than a decade ago, Greenpeace singled out Apple as one of the least environmentally-friendly tech companies on the planet. Apple has since turned over a new leaf, embracing environmentalism as something every bit as central to the company as the latest iPhone. Cook underlined this when he spoke about Apple being a “force for good” during an earnings call this year.

“Previously Apple would have scored a D in environmental responsibility,” Elizabeth O’Connell, campaign director for Green America told Cult of Mac. The 80-strong group of environmental and human rights organizations fired off a 17-page letter to Apple’s vice president of environmental affairs Lisa Jackson back in June as part of its “Bad Apple” campaign. Some 23,0000 signatures later, Apple responded that it would stop using those harmful chemicals in the iPhone manufacturing process.

“In the past few years, Apple has instituted policies to reduce its corporate facilities’ reliance on fossil fuels, make its products more energy efficient, reduce the amount of toxins in its products, and make it possible to easily recycle old Apple
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Apple’s new replacement program will fix the bad battery in your iPhone 5

Aug 24, 2014 - 12:31 PM - by sparkyscott21



Apple has launched a new iPhone 5 battery replacement program for a “small percentage” of iPhone 5 devices that “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.”

If that sounds like you and you bought your iPhone 5 between September 2012 and January 2013, you might be eligible for a free replacement. The program is currently only available in the U.S. and China, but more countries will be added on August 29th.

To find out, visit Apple’s website and enter in your iPhone’s serial number. Apple will run a check and see if you fall within the affected batch of devices. If so, you can take your iPhone 5 to any Apple store, online tech support, or authorized reseller for a battery swap.

The rest of us have to just suck it up.






8-24-14


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Coin 'connected credit card' for Apple's iOS devices delays launch to 2015

Aug 24, 2014 - 12:23 PM - by sparkyscott21



The makers of Coin — a Bluetooth-enabled "connected card" designed to allow users to store magnetic stripe information for multiple credit and debit cards on a single device — on Friday announced that they would delay a full launch until next year, but would begin sending out 10,000 "beta" units to pre-order customers sooner.

Coin's executives cited manufacturing issues when explaining the delay, according to CNET. The device, announced last November, had been slated to ship this summer.

At least 1,000 customers have already been issued preproduction Coin units, and the company will now expand that to at least 10,000 in lieu of a full launch. Backers should receive emails allowing them to claim their beta device in the next few days.

Coin works by loading card information using a companion smartphone application and dongle which connects to the Coin via Bluetooth. Each Coin can store up to eight cards at a time in its onboard memory, and pressing a small button switches between cards and displays the currently-selected card an embedded e-ink screen.

The device drew equal parts applause and skepticism when it was announced. The possibilities for increase convenience are apparent, but many pointed out possible security implications — including the possible financial harm thieves could do to a person by swiping a single Coin, rather than being forced to try for a full wallet.

Additionally, others panned Coin for the lack of support for the emerging chip-and-signature standard that has begun to expand among U.S. card issuers. Coin CEO Kanishk Parashar said that the company has yet to begin exploring the addition of a chip, and is instead focused on launching its first version.

"What we'll do is that once we get through this first shipment of Coins, we'll be able to have enough resources to do an R&D project," he told CNET.






8-24-14


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