A new report suggests that prepaid smartphones are becoming more popular among consumers. According to research from NPD Group, 32% of all smartphones sold in the first quarter were prepaid devices, up from 21% during the same period in 2012. Samsung was found to be the most popular vendor of prepaid smartphones, accounting for 32% of sales in the first quarter. Handsets from LG made up 22%, Huawei 11%, and Apple and HTC tied at 8%. Prepaid iPhone sales were found to have increased fourfold in Q1 though, while sales of LG smartphones doubled year-over-year.
“Prepaid has proven to be a real winner for national retailers,” said Baker. “The easy purchase cycle and grab-and-go nature of the product play into the strength of large-format stores. Certainly, companies like AT&T recognize this shift in purchasing as they ramp up their focus on prepaid phones with their recently announced ‘Aio’ product branding initiative.”
The research firm notes that consumers have become more interested in finding the best value for their dollar, rather than getting caught up in today’s mobile spec race. Consumers opted for older devices such as the Galaxy S II and iPhone 4S, which were found to be two of the top five prepaid smartphone models in Q1 2013, and were among the top-selling postpaid phones a year earlier.
Steve and Laurene Jobs together at the 82nd Academy Awards back in 2010
When Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, he left behind a wife and four children. His widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, has stayed hidden from the public sphere for years, but now she is starting to receive more recognition as an influential philanthropist.
She is passionate about a host of social issues, including education and immigration policy. As the world’s ninth richest woman, her platform to effect society has only grown larger in the wake of Jobs’s death.
The New York Times published a big profile of Laurene today that explains some of her philanthropic efforts:
While some people said Ms. Powell Jobs should have started a foundation in Mr. Jobs’s name after his death, she did not, nor has she increased her public giving.
Instead, she has redoubled her commitment to Emerson Collective, the organization she formed about a decade ago to make grants and investments in education initiatives and, more recently, other areas.
“In the broadest sense, we want to use our knowledge and our network and our relationships to try to affect the greatest amount of good,” Ms. Powell Jobs said in one of a series of interviews with The New York Times.
Jobs was notoriously tight when to came to giving. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook created a matching gift program for charitable donations within the company not long after he got promoted.
After inheriting Job’s fortune, Laurene Powell Jobs has an estimated net worth of $11.5 billion, making her the ninth richest woman in the world. Much of her worth is tied to Apple stock and being the largest single shareholder in Disney.
Laurene recently appeared on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams to talk about a new film she made to promote the DREAM Act, a bill that aims to give the children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. She created College Track, a big program that helps students from poorer communities get prepared and pay for college.
Make sure to read the whole NYT profile for a closer look at Laurene’s accomplishments.
While not a major topic of discussion, the Apple chief told Politico that Apple's upcoming domestically-made computer will not be a new product, but a revision on an existing machine. The news is to be expected, as Apple is not rumored to be working on a new addition to its current desktop and laptop lineups.
What little was revealed about the upcoming Mac was enlightening, however, as Cook said many of the machine's components will also be made in America, with companies from Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and Texas making contributions.
“We’re going very deep in this project,” Cook said.
AppleInsider was first to report in April that Apple is expanding its operations in the Orlando, Fla., area. The company has been hiring engineers to design, build, and test custom chips for future devices.
In December, Cook first announced that Apple plans to bring some of its Mac production back to U.S. shores, saying the company will invest $100 million in the endeavor.
"We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013," Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg. "We're really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it's broader because we wanted to do something more substantial."
Details of the project are scarce, though some analysts believe Apple will rely heavily on U.S.-based plants of partner supplier Foxconn.
As for the specific model to be built in America, previous rumors speculated a revamped Mac mini as the likely choice.
When the "Made in USA" Mac finally arrives, it will be the first Apple computer since 1994 to be built domestically. That year, the company began contracting device manufacturing to overseas firms, subsequently closing its Elk Grove and Fremont, Calif., facilities.
Yesterday Politico reported that Tim Cook will appear before Congress next week to testify in a hearing regarding how the company is handling its overseas finances and domestic taxes, and today Politico has published a brand new interview with the Apple CEO.
Tim Cook and Apple tend to avoid any public discussion aside from comments during quarterly earnings calls, but it seems the company is on a PR offense leading up to next week’s public hearings.
“We don’t have a large presence in Washington, as you probably know, but we care deeply about public policy and believe creative policy can be a huge catalyst for a better society and a stronger economy.”
Cook went on to defend Apple against any accusations that may come its way next week.
“I can tell you unequivocally Apple does not funnel its domestic profits overseas. We don’t do that. We pay taxes on all the products we sell in the U.S., and we pay every dollar that we owe. And so I’d like to be really clear on that.”
The Apple CEO also noted the company’s $100 million project to produce a Mac line in the United States this year, which the company says will add jobs to the economy.
Cook says that Apple is one of the largest tax payers in the US, citing the company’s current tax bill of $6 billion in 2012 and an expect $7 billion this year.
Cook will address Congress and its concerns on Tuesday, possibly suggesting solutions for what many believe to be fundamental problems with the current corporate tax model designed by Washington.
“I hope to make some clear recommendations, and I trust there will be receptive parties there.”
Photo taken at Quanta in California
Cook also noted that many of the internal components of the future Made in USA Mac line will also be sourced from the U.S.:
“We’re going very deep in this project,” Cook said, noting that not only will the final product be manufactured in the U.S., but so will many of its components. Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida and Kentucky are among the states he mentioned as having parts and assembly located.
Update: Apple has also granted The Washington Post an interview just before Mr. Cook goes to Washington.
“If you look at it today, to repatriate cash to the U.S., you need to pay 35 percent of that... [Read More]
A new Mac malware has been found in the wild that allowed attackers to steal data and install unauthorized apps on a compromised machine. What makes this malware different than other recent Mac malware, though, is that it breezes right past Gatekeeper… and the people behind it might have been gunning for the life of their malware victim.
Known security researcher and privacy activist Jacob Applebaum discovered the malware — which is being called OSX/KitM.A by Finnish antivirus firm F-Secure — on the laptop of a human rights activist at the Oslo Freedom Forum earlier this week.
KitM.A got on the machine as a result of a spear phishing attack, which is a phishing attack in which specific individuals (instead of a wider range of victims) are targeted. The malware takes screenshots of what is happening on the Mac amd sends them to servers in the Netherlands. It can also download and install other malware, executing commands on behalf of attackers and manipulating the network activity monitor so that its presence remains undetected.
What’s so interesting about this specific malware is that it was signed by a valid Apple Developer ID. This means that it just blew past Gatekeeper, OS X Mountain Lion’s anti-malware firewall that is supposed to keep out just this sort of program. But it also means that Apple can just revoke the app’s certificate, killing it instantly on all computers with Gatekeeper turned on. And hopefully, it means that the attackers behind this particularly insidious form of malware can be tracked down and prosecuted, because they’ve left a signature: their own Apple Developer ID.
Applebaum said that he may publish more details on the attack once he ascertains the threat to the victim’s life. Someone was gunning for him, after all, and given what’s going on in Angola these days, that’s a sensible precaution.
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