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Killexams : Apple Certification approach - BingNews Search results Killexams : Apple Certification approach - BingNews Killexams : Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk Both Have Problems With Apple's App Store Controls

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken a stand against Apple's control of its App Store — echoing complaints made by newly-minted Twitter owner Elon Musk.

L: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds I Getty Images || R: Win McNamee | Getty Images

During an interview at the New York Times' DealBook Summit on Wednesday, Zuckerberg took issue with Apple's control over its App Store. "I do think Apple has sort of singled themselves out as the only company that is trying to control like unilaterally what what apps get on a device," he said, "and I don't think that's a sustainable or good place to be."

Zuckerberg continued, "I do think it is problematic for one company to be able to control what kind of app experiences get on the device."

His comments come in the wake of similar criticisms from Elon Musk. In a series of tweets that also addressed what he claimed was Apple's reduced Twitter ad buys, Musk called Apple's control over the App Store "a serious problem." The billionaire also said Twitter could be kicked out of the App Store without giving a reason.

Zuckerberg didn't address Musk's words about Apple, but his criticisms of the company's policies aren't new. Two years ago, he accused Apple of blocking competitors and charging "monopoly rents" in the App Store. Musk also blasted Apple's App Store fee—the company takes 15% to 30% of all iOS in-app purchases.

In 2021, Apple changed its privacy policy, preventing social apps like Meta's Facebook from targeting users with ads. As a result, companies relying on digital advertising profits have seen revenues fall, with Meta's profits plummeting by 50 percent.

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 13:22:00 -0600 Steve Huff en text/html
Killexams : Apple picks 'Slow Burn' as podcast Show of the Year

The makers of Slow Burn

AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

The Apple Podcasts Award winner for 2022 is "Slow Burn," a non-fiction show, which won for its coverage of Roe v. Wade.

Made by Slate, "Slow Burn" originally ran as a a four-episode season that explored the events up to the original 1973 Supreme Court decision. It was launched in June 2022 as background to what would become the decision to overturn the landmark ruling.

"Apple Podcasts is where users discover new shows, enjoy their favorites, unlock premium listening experiences, and support the creators who make them possible," Oliver Schusser, Apple's vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said in a statement.

"Podcasting plays an important role in our lives — helping us stay informed, keep entertained, and get inspired," he continued, "and we're pleased to honor the Slate team with this recognition."

"I wanted to make this series because I was really discouraged by how polarized and stuck the conversation around abortion was, and it seemed incredibly timely and important," host and Slate executive editor Susan Matthews said. "We set out to tell this story in a way that helped expand and challenge what people understood about this subject."

"We decided the way to approach this season was to go back to the early 70s, when the abortion debate was still up in the air and your party affiliation didn't correlate with your views on the issue," she continued. "I am so honored that Apple Podcasts saw something special in this season."

"I hope people come to it with an open and curious mind, and appreciate listening to it as much as I did making it," said Matthews.

To coincide with the announcement, the makers of "Slow Burn" have now released six further editions called "Slow Burn Extras." These are exclusive to Apple Podcasts, and include extended interviews plus a roundtable discussion about Roe v. Wade.

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 00:32:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : I Went Scuba Diving With the Apple Watch Ultra. Here's How It Works The Oceanic Plus app aims to turn the Apple Watch Ultra into a dive computer. Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET The Oceanic Plus app aims to turn the Apple Watch Ultra into a dive computer. Eryn Brydon/CNET

The $799 (£849, AU$1,299) Apple Watch Ultra was made with adventurous types in mind. Its rugged construction and extended battery life will appeal to trail runners, marathon runners and mountain climbers. Since the Ultra is Apple's first foray into dive tech, the Cupertino-based company partnered with Huish Outdoors on the $10-a-month Oceanic Plus app. 

The app aims to make the Apple Watch Ultra your ultimate dive companion and compete with standalone dive computers, which are a key tool for any diver. Dive computers measure depth, duration-at-depth and make calculations to help divers stay safe from the dangers of decompression sickness.

I tested a prerelease version of the Oceanic Plus app with three dives off Catalina, California. I'm a relatively green diver and stayed well within my own limits, and those of the Apple Watch Ultra. I used the Ultra and Oceanic Plus app for predive planning, tracking my genuine dive and the post-dive data summaries. My take: There are a lot of advantages to using the Ultra as a dive computer, but a few things about it aren't so good and others are just plain quirky.

The full version of Oceanic Plus is now available for get in Apple's App Store. Snorkel mode is free and the scuba features can be unlocked for $80 a year, $10 a month or $5 a day.

Apple Watch Ultra: Predive planning 

You can plan a dive with the Oceanic Plus app from either the Apple Watch Ultra or your iPhone. The watch offers a No Deco Dive Planner, which calculates how long you can stay at various depths without a decompression stop. You simply enter your air mix and time until your next dive.

The No Deco Planner on the Apple Watch Ultra. Jesse Orrall/CNET © Provided by CNET The No Deco Planner on the Apple Watch Ultra. Jesse Orrall/CNET

The iPhone app also offers a location planner where you can enter the dive site, or drop a pin, to get weather, water temperature and tidal information up to three days in advance.

Location Planner on Oceanic Plus iPhone app. Oceanic © Provided by CNET Location Planner on Oceanic Plus iPhone app. Oceanic

In the Oceanic Plus app dive settings, you can add alarms for dive time, target depth, low No Deco time, and minimum temperature. You can also add various shortcuts, called complications, to the watch face itself. These take you directly to various parts of the Oceanic Plus dive app.

To compliment the Ultra and Oceanic Plus app, Apple made an elastomer watch band specifically for water-sports called the Ocean Band. It's well-engineered, secure, comfortable and fits well over a wetsuit or gloves. However, if you set up the Ultra with a passcode like I did, the sensor on the back might not detect your wrist through the wetsuit or gloves, prompting you to unlock the watch anytime you need to do anything. This wasn't a huge problem since the Oceanic Plus and Depth App can be set to launch automatically, but it did become inconvenient in one particular situation, which I'll explain later.

The Ocean Band on Apple Watch Ultra. James Martin/CNET © Provided by CNET The Ocean Band on Apple Watch Ultra. James Martin/CNET

What it's like to dive with Apple Watch Ultra

Before my dive, I set the Ultra to automatically launch scuba mode on the Oceanic Plus app when submerged. Scuba mode displays your depth and No Deco Time at the top of the screen, except in the case of warnings and alarms, which briefly cover that information when they first pop up. Sometimes, the dive session started automatically when submerged, but other times I was prompted to press the orange action button on the side of the watch to confirm that I was "fit and ready to dive" before starting.

Sometimes scuba mode launched automatically, other times I had to confirm I was "fit and ready to dive" by pressing the action button. Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET Sometimes scuba mode launched automatically, other times I had to confirm I was "fit and ready to dive" by pressing the action button. Eryn Brydon/CNET

The Ultra has the biggest screen in the Apple Watch lineup, but compared to other dive computers it's quite small. This might be why the dive information is spread across multiple screens:

  • First screen: dive time, minutes to the surface and water temperature
  • Second screen: max depth, ascent speed and battery level
  • Third screen: compass
  • Fourth screen: air information, conservatism, gas mix and other parameters set during predive planning
The Oceanic Plus app displays information on the Apple Watch Ultra while diving in scuba mode. Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET The Oceanic Plus app displays information on the Apple Watch Ultra while diving in scuba mode. Eryn Brydon/CNET

Scrolling through the various screens with the digital crown was doable in gloves, but I accidentally scrolled past the screen I wanted a few times. I wish I could use the Apple Watch Ultra's physical side buttons to "press and hold" and toggle through the different dive screens.

The 360-degree style compass is intuitive to use. You set a heading by pressing the action button. Blue arrows on either side of the compass show how far off you are from that heading. Some dive computers can't display both a compass and depth information at the same time, so having both visible was convenient. The watch's depth data appeared to be accurate compared to other depth-measuring devices.

Navigating underwater with Oceanic Plus' compass screen. Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET Navigating underwater with Oceanic Plus' compass screen. Eryn Brydon/CNET

I set a target depth for some of the dives, and was able to feel the notification buzz through my gloves. The yellow notifications for Target Depth and Safety Stop take up most of the screen when they first pop up, but reduce in size after a few seconds. At one point, during a safety stop warning I noticed that when I moved my hand down below 19 feet, the safety stop countdown automatically turned itself off because I was too deep. When I raised it back up to 19 feet, it turned on again, keeping track of how much time had elapsed before turning off. Other dive computers simply prompt you that you're too deep for your safety stop and need to ascend.

There are also warnings for minimum temperature and to slow your ascent. As you ascend, the onscreen depth gauge gets increasingly red as you approach the excessive ascent rate limit. I triggered it once by accident and felt the Ultra buzz. But by the time I stopped ascending to check the watch, the warning was gone.

The Oceanic Plus app's target depth warning. Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET The Oceanic Plus app's target depth warning. Eryn Brydon/CNET

The beta version of the Oceanic Plus app I was using automatically provided post-dive data immediately after surfacing, which is a nice idea in theory. On my second dive, however, I must have triggered the post-dive data summary before actually descending, perhaps when I let the air out of my buoyancy control device to descend. At depth, I realized the watch wasn't in scuba mode and showed a post-dive summary instead. 

Because the Ultra's water lock disables the touchscreen, I had to surface, undo the water lock, and then use the touchscreen to launch scuba mode manually. Since the watch didn't register as being on my wrist due to my gloves, I had to enter a passcode to unlock the touchscreen with wet gloves which miraculously worked. I wouldn't want to have to try that in choppier waters.

Trying to launch a dive manually after getting stuck in a post-dive summary. Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET Trying to launch a dive manually after getting stuck in a post-dive summary. Eryn Brydon/CNET

According to a video by Oceanic, a five minute timer is supposed to pop up once you reach the surface before the dive automatically ends. You can also end it yourself by pressing the action button. I never saw this screen (pictured below) while diving so hopefully this is something that's fixed in future updates.

Surface screen timer on the Oceanic Plus app Oceanic © Provided by CNET Surface screen timer on the Oceanic Plus app Oceanic

On my third and final dive of the day, I compared the Oceanic Plus app to a wrist-worn dive computer as well as the dive computer built into my regulator. You can see below how the same information is displayed in different ways across devices.

The Apple Watch Ultra (right) compared to a Peregrine dive computer (left). Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET The Apple Watch Ultra (right) compared to a Peregrine dive computer (left). Eryn Brydon/CNET Apple Watch Ultra (left) compared to the dive computer built into my regulator (right). Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET Apple Watch Ultra (left) compared to the dive computer built into my regulator (right). Eryn Brydon/CNET

The Apple Watch Ultra shows plenty of post-dive details

Divers log dives to track their experience, and the Oceanic Plus app makes this easy by creating post-dive summaries with all the information you could want. As with the dive planning, the post-dive info on the watch is simpler than the detailed version in the iPhone app. The watch shows a depth graph and your basic stats. The iPhone app has graphs for depth, temperature, ascent speeds and No Deco time. You can leave detailed notes in the iPhone app about visibility, surface conditions, current, gear used, dive buddies and more.

Apple Watch Ultra: Go Big, or Go Home

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My logbook included extra false or accidental dives due to my aforementioned "dive summary" debacle which were easy to delete after the fact. The Oceanic Plus app also calculates your no-fly-time, because flying at high altitudes after scuba diving can cause decompression sickness just like ascending too fast can.

The Apple Watch Ultra and its titanium casing held up well after a day in the ocean, even though it got bumped up against the rest of my scuba gear. After 15 hours and three dives, the battery was still half full.

Apple Watch Ultra snorkeling mode vs. the Depth app

The Oceanic Plus app also has a free snorkeling mode which I tested alongside the built-in Depth app at my apartment complex pool. Snorkeling mode displays max depth, the snorkeling session duration, length of last dive, number of dives and water temperature. The built-in Depth app displays depth, dive time and water temperature, which can also be found in the Health app following your dive. You can access snorkel mode data in the Oceanic Plus' logbook, which also saves your snorkel or scuba location.

Snorkel mode in the Oceanic Plus app. Jesse Orrall/CNET © Provided by CNET Snorkel mode in the Oceanic Plus app. Jesse Orrall/CNET

The free snorkel mode is a nice way to track dives and get a glimpse of how the Oceanic Plus app works, but it doesn't offer a whole lot more than the Apple Watch Ultra's built-in Depth app. The star of the Oceanic Plus app is clearly its scuba features.

Can the Apple Watch Ultra replace a dive computer?

It's clear that the Apple Watch Ultra and Oceanic Plus app are designed to be used alongside backup devices. This is likely part liability management and part common sense. Experienced divers will tell you that backups are always important to have when diving.

Casually checking my Apple Watch Ultra Eryn Brydon/CNET © Provided by CNET Casually checking my Apple Watch Ultra Eryn Brydon/CNET

During my mostly shallow dives, the Ultra definitely felt like a smartwatch, which sometimes made it difficult to use as a dive computer. For example, most other dive computers don't have a touchscreen or a water lock, and they don't require a passcode. I'd be interested to see if and how Apple and Huish Outdoors address shortcomings in future updates to the Oceanic Plus app. I'd also like to see if other dive computer tools could be added to the Oceanic Plus app. I'd be particularly interested in seeing wireless air integration, which tells you how much air you have left, since Huish Outdoors already makes dive computers with that feature.

Thanks to my dive support team: Eryn Brydon, Keline Kanoui, BlueHolic Scuba and the crew of the Sundiver Express. Without them, this day of diving would not have been possible.

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 04:44:04 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Apple's AR/VR Headset: What Could Be Coming in 2023 Taking a look at Apple's other wearable devices could point to where Apple is heading with augmented reality and virtual reality. Scott Stein/CNET © Provided by CNET Taking a look at Apple's other wearable devices could point to where Apple is heading with augmented reality and virtual reality. Scott Stein/CNET

Apple has been integrating augmented reality into its devices for years, but the company looks like it will leap right into the territory of Meta, Microsoft and Magic Leap with a long-expected mixed-reality headset in 2023. 

The target date of this AR/VR headset keeps sliding, with the latest report in early December from noted analyst Ming Chi-Kuo suggesting an arrival in the second half of 2023. With an announcement event that could happen as soon as January, we're at the point where every Apple event seems to feel like the one where it could pull the covers off this device at last.

2023 looks like a year full of virtual reality headsets that we originally expected in 2022, including the PlayStation VR 2 and Meta Quest 3. Apple has already laid down plenty of AR clues, hinting at what its mixed-reality future could hold and has been active in AR on its own iPhones and iPads for years. 

As far as what its device could be like, odds are strong that the headset could work from a similar playbook as Meta's exact high-end headset, the Quest Pro, with a focus on work, mixed reality and eye tracking onboard.

Here's what we're expecting.

Is its name Reality Pro? Is the software called xrOS?

The latest report from noted Apple reporter Mark Gurman at Bloomberg suggests the operating system for this headset could be called "xrOS," but that may not indicate the name of the headset itself. Recent trademark filings reported by Bloomberg showed the name "Reality" showing up a lot: Reality One, Reality Pro and Reality Processor. Apple's existing AR software framework for iOS is named RealityKit, and previous reports suggested that "Reality OS" could be the name for the new headset's ecosystem. 

No one really expected the Apple Watch's name (remember iWatch?), so to some degree, names don't matter at this point. But it does indicate that Apple's moving forward on a product and software, for sure.

One of several headsets?

The headset has been cooking for a long while. Reports have been going around for several years, including a story broken by former CNET Managing Editor Shara Tibken in 2018. Apple's been building more advanced AR tools into its iPhones and iPads for years, setting the stage for something more.

Whatever the headset might become, it's looking a lot more real lately. A detailed report from The Information earlier this year discussed likely specs, which include what Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says is Apple's latest M2 chip. According to another report from Bloomberg earlier this year, Apple's board of directors have already seen a demonstration of the mixed-reality headset.

The expected arrival of this headset has kept sliding for years. Kuo previously predicted that Apple's VR-AR headset would arrive in the fourth quarter of 2022 with Wi-Fi 6 and 6E support. But this VR-type headset could be the start of several lines of products, similar again to how Meta has been targeting future AR glasses. Kuo has previously predicted that Apple smart glasses may arrive in 2025.

Apple could take a dual headset approach, leading the way with a high-end AR-VR headset that may be more like what Meta has done with the Quest Pro, according to Bloomberg's Gurman. Gurman also suggests a focus on gaming, media and communication on this initial first-wave headset. In terms of communication, Gurman believes FaceTime using the rumored headset could rely on Memoji and SharePlay: Instead of seeing the person you're talking to, you'd see a 3D version of their personalized Memoji avatar. 

Eventually, Apple's plans for this headset could become larger. The company's "goal is to replace the ‌iPhone‌ with AR in 10 years," Kuo explained in a note to investors, seen by MacRumors. The device could be relatively lightweight, about 300 to 400 grams (roughly 10.5 to 14 ounces), according to Kuo. That's lighter than Meta's Oculus Quest 2. However, it's larger than a normal pair of glasses, with early renders of its possible design looking a lot more like futuristic ski goggles.

Read more: The Metaverse is Just Getting Started: Here's What You Need to Know

The headset could be expensive, maybe as much as $2,000 or more, with 8K displays, eye tracking and cameras that can scan the world and blend AR and VR together, according to a report from The Information last year. That's to be expected, considering the Quest Pro costs $1,500 and AR headsets like the Magic Leap 2 and Hololens 2 are around $3,000.

It's expected to feature advanced processors, likely based on Apple's recent M2 chips, and work as a stand-alone device. But it could also connect with Apple's other devices. That's not a surprising move. In fact, most of the reports on Apple's headset seem to line right up with how VR is evolving: lighter-weight, with added mixed-reality features via more advanced pass-through cameras. Much like the Quest Pro, this will likely be a bridge to future AR glasses efforts.

Previous reports on Apple's AR/VR roadmap suggested internal disagreements, or a split strategy that could mean a VR headset first, and more normal-looking augmented reality smart glasses later. But exact reports seem to be settling down to tell the story of a particular type of advanced VR product leading the way. What's increasingly clear is that the rest of the AR and VR landscape is facing a slower-than-expected road to AR glasses, too. 

What Apple's expensive 8K VR headset could be like

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VR, however, is a more easily reachable goal in the short term.

Apple has been in the wings all this time without any headset at all, although the company's aspirations in AR have been clear and well-telegraphed on iPhones and iPads for years. Each year, Apple's made significant strides on iOS with its AR tools. It's been debated how soon this hardware will emerge: this year, the year after or even further down the road. Or whether Apple proceeds with just glasses, or with a mixed-reality VR and AR headset, too.

I've worn more AR and VR headsets than I can even recall, and have been tracking the whole landscape for years. In a lot of ways, a future Apple AR headset's logical flight path should be clear from just studying the pieces already laid out. Apple acquired VR media-streaming company NextVR in 2020 and it bought AR headset lens-maker Akonia Holographics in 2018. 

I've had my own thoughts on what the long-rumored headset might be, and so far, the reports feel well-aligned to be just that. Much like the Apple Watch, which emerged among many other smartwatches and had a lot of features I'd seen in other forms before, Apple's glasses probably won't be a massive surprise if you've been paying attention to the AR and VR landscape lately.

Remember Google Glass? How about Snapchat's Spectacles? Or the HoloLens or Magic Leap? Meta is working on AR glasses too, as well as Snap and also Niantic. The landscape got crowded fast.

Here's where Apple is likely to go based on what's been reported, and how the company could avoid the pitfalls of those earlier platforms. 

Apple declined to comment on this story.

Launch date: Looks likely for 2023

New Apple products tend to be announced months before they arrive, maybe even earlier. The iPhone, Apple Watch, HomePod and iPad all followed this path. 

The latest reports from Kuo point to possible delays for the release of the headset to the second half of 2023, but an event announcing the headset could happen as soon as January. That timeframe would make a lot of sense, giving time for developers to understand the concept well ahead of the hardware's release, and even possibly allowing for Apple's WWDC developer conference (usually in June) to go over specifics of the software.

Either way, developers would need a long head start to get used to developing for Apple's headset, and making apps work and flow with whatever Apple's design guidance will be. That's going to require Apple giving a heads-up on its hardware well in advance of its genuine arrival.

Facebook's Oculus Quest 2 is a self-contained VR headset on the road to AR glasses. Could Apple follow a similar path? Scott Stein/CNET © Provided by CNET Facebook's Oculus Quest 2 is a self-contained VR headset on the road to AR glasses. Could Apple follow a similar path? Scott Stein/CNET

An Apple headset could be a lot like the Meta Quest, but higher end

There's already one well-polished success story in VR, and the Quest 2 looks to be as good a model as any for where future headsets could aim. Gurman's report makes a potential Apple VR headset sound a lot like Facebook's stand-alone device, with controller-free hand tracking and spatial room awareness that could be achieved with Apple's lidar sensor technology, introduced on the iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro.

Apple's headset could end up serving a more limited professional or creative crowd. But it could also go for a mainstream focus on gaming or fitness. My experiences with the Oculus Quest's fitness tools feel like a natural direction for Apple to head in, now that the Apple Watch is extending to subscription fitness training, pairing with TVs and other devices.

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The Oculus Quest 2 (now officially the Meta Quest 2) can see through to the real world and extend some level of overlap of virtual objects like room boundaries, but Apple's headset could explore passthrough augmented reality to a greater degree. I've seen impressive examples of this in headsets from companies such as Varjo. It could be a stepping stone for Apple to develop 3D augmented reality tech on smaller glasses designs down the road.

Right now, there aren't any smart glasses manufacturers able to develop normal-looking glasses that can achieve advanced, spatially aware 3D overlays of holographic objects. Some devices like the nReal Light have tried, with mixed success. Meta's first smart glasses, Ray-Ban Stories, weren't AR at all. Meta is working on ways to achieve that tech later on. Apple might take a similar approach with glasses, too.

The VR headset could be a 'Pro' device

Most existing reports suggest Apple's VR headset would likely be so expensive -- and powerful -- that it will have to aim for a limited crowd rather than the mainstream. If so, it could target the same business and creative professionals that more advanced VR headsets like the Varjo XR-3 and Meta Quest Pro are already aiming for.

I tried Varjo's hardware. My experience with it could hint at what Apple's headset might also be focusing on. It has a much higher-resolution display (which Apple is apparently going to try to achieve), can blend AR and VR into mixed reality using its passthrough cameras, and is designed for pro-level creative tools. Apple could integrate something similar to its lidar sensors. The Quest Pro does something similar, but in a standalone device without as high-end a display.

Varjo's headset, and most professional VR headsets, are tethered to PCs with a number of cables. Apple's headset could work as a standalone device, like the Quest 2 and Quest Pro, and also work when connected to a Mac or iPad, much like the Quest 2 already does with Windows gaming PCs. Apple's advantage could be making a pro headset that is a lot more lightweight and seamlessly standalone than any other current PC-ready gear. But what remains unknown is how many apps and tools Apple will be able to introduce to make its headset feel like a tool that's truly useful for creators.

Controls: Hand tracking or a small wearable device?

The Information's previous reports on Apple's headset suggest a more pared-down control system than the elaborate and large game controller-like peripherals used by many VR headsets right now. Apple's headset should work using hand tracking, much like many VR and AR headsets already enable. But Apple would likely need some sort of controller-type accessory for inputs, too. Cracking the control and input challenge seems to be one of the bigger hurdles Apple could face.

Recent patent filings point to a possible smart ring-type device that could work for air gestures and motion, and maybe even work with accessories. It's also possible that Apple might lean on some of its own existing hardware to act as inputs, too.

Could that controller be an Apple Watch? Possibly, but the Apple Watch's motion-control capabilities and touchscreen may not be enough for the deeper interactions an Apple headset would need. Maybe iPhones could pair and be used as controllers, too. That's how Qualcomm is envisioning its next wave of phone-connected glasses.

North Focals' smart glasses design prototype. North was acquired by Google in 2020. North © Provided by CNET North Focals' smart glasses design prototype. North was acquired by Google in 2020. North

Future AR smart glasses may also be in the works

Getting people to put on an AR headset is hard. I've found it a struggle to remember to pack smart glasses, and find room to carry them. Most of them don't support my prescription, either. Developer-focused AR glasses made by Snap that I tried at home show what everyday AR glasses could look like someday, but they're still a work in progress.

Qualcomm's plans for AR glasses show a wave of devices arriving between 2023 and 2025, but at this point no one has been able to crack making a perfect pair. Software, battery life and even common cross-platform interfaces remain a big challenge.

Kuo's prediction of AR glasses coming a few years after a VR-AR goggle-type headset would line up with what other companies are promising. The challenges with AR glasses are a lot greater than VR. No one's figured out how wearing them all the time would work, or how you'd interact with virtual objects: Hand tracking? A watch or a ring? Voice? Neural inputs?

Apple always touted the Apple Watch, first and foremost, as a "great watch." I would expect the same from its glasses. If Apple makes prescription glasses and makes them available, Warby Parker-style, in seasonal frames from its Apple Stores, that might be enough for people if the frames look good. Apple's VR headset, according to Gurman, will also offer prescription lenses. That could be a stepping stone to developing glasses later on.

Google acquired smart glasses manufacturer North in 2020, which made a prescription, almost normal set of eyewear. North's concept for glasses might be too similar to Google Glass for Apple's tastes, but the idea of AR glasses doubling as functional glasses sounds extremely Apple-like. More recently, Vuzix's planned smart glasses for 2021 show how far the tech has shrunken down, but even those planned glasses won't have the ability to spatially scan the world and overlay augmented reality: They'll be more like advanced glasses with heads-up displays and 3D audio.

A report from The Information in 2020 said new AR lenses were entering a trial production phase for Apple's AR hardware (9to5Mac also broke the report down). These lenses sound much closer to normal glasses than current AR headsets allow, but when would those be ready?

Could Apple make its first smart glasses something more basic, letting Apple slowly add more AR features over time and let newcomers settle into the experience? Or would Apple try to crack the AR challenge with its first pair of glasses? Augmented reality is a weird concept for eyewear, and potentially off-putting. Maybe Apple will aim for subtlety. The original Apple Watch was designed to be glanced at for just 5 seconds at a time. 

A exact patent filing also showed Apple looking to solve vision conditions with adaptive lenses. If true, this could be the biggest killer app of Apple's intelligent eyewear.

David Carnoy/CNET © Provided by CNET David Carnoy/CNET

Are the AirPods Max a sign of how expensive a headset could be?

The business-focused HoloLens and Magic Leap cost thousands of dollars. Current VR headsets have trended towards $500 or more.

The latest price reports suggest something between $2,000 and $3000, which is in the territory of business-focused AR headsets like the HoloLens 2, or business-creative VR headsets like those from Varjo. An analysis from TrendForce published in February also estimates that an Apple headset's hardware would cost in the thousands, and it predicts that Apple would employ a "monthly subscription-based software solution."

Apple's headphones, the AirPods Max, indicate that the pricing could climb high. At $549, they cost more than a PlayStation 5. And those are just headphones. A pair of smart glasses, or an advanced VR headset, would be a lot more advanced.

iPhone-connected, too?

Qualcomm's AR and VR plans telegraph the next wave of headsets: Many of them will be driven by phones. Phone-powered glasses can be lighter and just have key onboard cameras and sensors to measure movement and capture information. Meanwhile the phone does the heavy lifting and doesn't drain headset battery life. 

Apple's star device is the iPhone, and it's already loaded with advanced chipsets that can do tons of AR and computer vision computation. It could already power an AR headset right now; imagine what could happen in another year or two.

Apple could also have its own high-end dedicated chip in its first wave of VR and AR headsets, as reports suggest, but they'll also undoubtedly dovetail with more advanced processors in Apple's phones, tablets and Macs. Over time, this could mean smaller glasses that lean on connecting to other Apple devices, or the cloud.

Apple's iPhones are likely to be the engine. Angela Lang/CNET © Provided by CNET Apple's iPhones are likely to be the engine. Angela Lang/CNET

How Apple could blend the real world with AR and VR

Apple already dabbles with AR overlays with real world locations: QR code and NFC-enabled App Clips can launch experiences from real-world locations with a tap or scan. These micro apps are made to work with AR, too: With glasses or an AR headset, they could eventually launch interactions at a glance.

Maybe QR codes can help accelerate AR working in the "dumb" world. Apple's iPhones also have a U1 chip that can be used to Strengthen accuracy in AR object placement, and also to more quickly locate other Apple devices that have the U1 chip, too.

Apple's AirTags arrived in 2021 with features similar to Samsung's SmartTags Plus that use similar ultrawideband technology. These tags could be seen via an iPhone app using AR, which could possibly extend into Apple's future VR or AR headsets. If all Apple's objects recognize each other, they could act as beacons in a home. The U1 chips could also be indoor navigation tools for added precision.

Microsoft's collaborative mixed-reality platform, Mesh, shows how meetings with people in virtual spaces could happen instantly and in work-like environments. Apple already enables multiperson AR in real places, but a necessary next step would be to allow a platform for collaboration in AR and VR like Microsoft is developing.

Apple's depth-sensing hardware is already here

Apple is already deeply invested in camera arrays that can sense the world from short and long distances. The front-facing TrueDepth camera, which Apple has used on every Face ID iPhone since the X, is like a shrunken-down Microsoft Kinect and can scan a few feet out, sensing 3D information with high enough accuracy to be used for a secure face scan. Apple's lidar technology on its exact iPhones and iPads can scan out much further, several meters away. That's the range that glasses would need. 

Apple's existing lidar technology, combined with cameras, is already good enough to scan environments and 3D objects. Add to this the wider-scale lidar scanning Apple is doing in Maps to enable overlays of real-world locations with virtual objects via a technology called Location Anchors, and suddenly it seems like the depth-scanning Apple is introducing could expand to worldwide ambitions.

Apple's new Mac chips already point toward VR-AR compatibility

Apple's M1-enabled Macs and those since are technically a lot more capable of the power needed to run AR and VR, and they share similarities to how iPhone and iPads handle graphics. Developing a common groundwork across devices could allow a headset to feasibly run on an iPhone, iPad or Mac, making it a universal Apple device accessory.

That would be essential if Apple intends on its VR or AR headsets to have any role in creative workflows, or be used for games or apps. It's one of the limitations of existing VR headsets, which need to run off particular Windows gaming PCs and still don't play that well with iOS or Android phones.

AirPods went from absurd to essential. Can Apple do the same for smart glasses? Sarah Tew/CNET © Provided by CNET AirPods went from absurd to essential. Can Apple do the same for smart glasses? Sarah Tew/CNET

Look to AirPods for ease of use -- and audio augmented reality

I've thought about how the AirPods' comfort -- and weird design -- was an early experiment in wearing Apple's hardware directly on our faces -- and it was a success. It proved that doing so could be accepted and become normal. AirPods are expensive compared to in-box wired buds, but they're also utilitarian. They're relaxed. If Apple's working on AR or VR headsets, they'll need to feel the same way.

The AirPod Pros' spatial audio, which AirPods Max and AirPods 3 also have, points to where future ideas could head. Immersive audio is casual, and we do it all the time. Immersive video is hard and not always needed. I could see AR working as an audio-first approach, like a ping. Apple glasses could potentially do the world-scanning spatial awareness that would allow the spatial audio to work. In the meantime, Apple's already developing the spatial audio tech that its VR headset would need.

The HoloKit X, a pair of goggles with a reflective visor that turns an iPhone into an AR headset. It can work with an Apple Watch and AirPods. Could this be Apple's strategy too? Scott Stein/CNET © Provided by CNET The HoloKit X, a pair of goggles with a reflective visor that turns an iPhone into an AR headset. It can work with an Apple Watch and AirPods. Could this be Apple's strategy too? Scott Stein/CNET

Apple Watch and AirPods could be great companions

Apple's already got a collection of wearable devices that connect with the iPhone, and both make sense with glasses. Its AirPods can pair for audio (although maybe the glasses have their own Bose Frames-like audio, too), while the Watch could be a helpful remote control. The Apple Watch already acts as a remote at times, for the Apple TV or for linking up with the iPhone camera. Apple's future headsets could also look to the Watch and expand its display virtually, offering enhanced extras that show up discreetly, like a halo. Or they could use the Watch as some sort of controller.

The Apple Watch could also provide something that it'll be hard to get from hand gestures or touch-sensitive frames on a pair of glasses: haptics. The rumbling feedback on the Watch could lend some tactile response to virtual things, possibly.

There's already a low-cost pair of phone goggles, the HoloKit X, that explores these ideas. It uses an iPhone for the headset's display and cameras and can channel spatial audio to AirPods, and use an Apple Watch for gesture controls. Apple could do the same.

Could Qualcomm and Apple's reconciliation also be about XR?

Qualcomm and Apple are working together again on future iPhones, and I don't think it's just about modems. 5G is a key feature for phones, no doubt. But it's also a killer element for next-gen AR and VR. Qualcomm has already been exploring how remote rendering could allow 5G-enabled phones and connected glasses to link up to streaming content and cloud-connected location data. Glasses could eventually stand on their own and use 5G to do advanced computing, in a way like the Apple Watch eventually working over cellular.

Qualcomm's chipsets are in almost every self-contained AR and VR headset I can think of (Meta Quest, HoloLens 2, a wave of new smart glasses, the latest version of Google Glass, Vive Focus). Will Apple's tech dovetail at all with Qualcomm's cross-device platforms?

There are other AR devices out there, like the nReal Light. Apple needs to open up iOS to work with them, like fitness trackers and smartwatches. Sarah Tew/CNET © Provided by CNET There are other AR devices out there, like the nReal Light. Apple needs to open up iOS to work with them, like fitness trackers and smartwatches. Sarah Tew/CNET
Mon, 05 Dec 2022 23:19:47 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Meet the Slovenian fitness tracker that won the Apple Watch ‘App of the Year’ award

Amongst the 2022 Apple Store Awards winners, Gentler Streak emerged as the Apple Watch App of the year. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the app — designed for iPhone and Apple Watch use — is a workout and fitness tracker that comes with a twist: a self-compassionate approach to exercise.

Gentler Streak is the first product of Gentler Stories, a Slovenian-based mobile app studio that specializes in solutions for a sustainable lifestyle. The women-led company was founded in February 2021 by three Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni and one alumnus of Y Combinator, a startup accelerator.

The app was launched in September 2021, and although it’s been out for a little over a year, it has been steadily gaining popularity.

In essence, Gentler Streak is a fitness app, which means it helps users track workout activities, distance, heart rate zones, and activity stats, among others.

But what’s really unique about it is its gentler approach that also focuses on recovery time.

Gentler Streak app
Credit: Gentler Streak

Unlike Apple’s Workouts app for instance, rest days on Gentler Streak don’t break your exercise strike. In fact, the app’s goal is to promote a healthy activity level without causing pressure to compete against day-to-day goals that don’t really correspond to the body’s genuine needs or daily circumstances (injury, or sickness for example).

Gentler Streak
Credit: Gentler Streak

According to research by the University of Galway, fitness apps can be a double-edged sword, as some users may develop obsessive tendencies or maladaptive perceptions of exercise and burnout in the long run.

Gentler Streak aims to transform types of maladaptive fitness behaviors into viable lifelong habits.

To do that, it responds to the users’ individual fitness status and proposes optimal exercise levels through a personalized Activity Path. Users can also make use of the Go Gentler feature which monitors workout intensity and alerts them to step up or slow down, taking into account rest and active recovery sessions.

Gentler Streak
Credit:Gentler Streak

Since its launch, the app is being continuously tweaked with some of the latest updates including social media sharing and the addition of the Spanish language.

Commenting on the app’s quick rise to success, Tom Henriksson, General Partner at early-stage European VC firm OpenOcean, noted: “Gentler Streak emerges from a strong tradition of software startups from smaller European countries punching above their weight.”

As he explained, this corresponds to a wider trend in Eastern Europe, which has emerged “as a hotbed of technological innovation” —  where numerous brilliant ideas and tech founders can be found.

“Gentler Streak looks to have won over the judges with its solution-oriented approach to development,” Henriksson added.

“Instead of trying to battle larger competitors on performance or design alone, the developers have fashioned a highly rated Apple Watch fitness app that understands users’ readiness and balances nicely between training and rest.”

The app is free to get on the App Store, but requires a subscription to take full advantage of it. The premium monthly price is $7.99 and the premium yearly is $24.99.

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 21:39:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : With Emancipation for Apple TV+, Will Smith reminds us that he's an actor who can make any movie better

In any other year, the spectacle of a gaunt and grizzled Will Smith headlining a $120 million slavery epic – in which the Hollywood superstar also manages to wrestle an alligator – would feel like an event, a sure-fire swing at Oscars glory come March. But this, of course, has been no ordinary year for the newly minted best actor winner.

By the time the media cycle around The Slap had run its course – rarely has there been so much tiresome, clueless moralising from armchair psychologists – Smith's carefully curated, decades-in-the-making public persona had all but unravelled.

He was expelled from the Academy, and has spent the last nine months apologising in exile.

Smith's new Apple TV+ movie Emancipation, in which he plays a slave who defies his captors to lead a chase across the American South, might not add any new trophies to his collection, but it's a reminder of the one thing that the year's indignities can't take away: He's still a movie star – one of the last of a vanishing breed that can enrich even a lacklustre film.

Looking battered and dusty, with grey-flecked hair and a face pockmarked with scars, Smith plays Peter, a Louisiana slave determined to free himself from the shackles of a railway chain gang upon learning of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

The character is loosely based on the true story of so-called "Whipped Peter", the subject of the notoriously confronting photograph depicting a slave whose back is a tangled mass of scars – an image that was widely circulated as evidence of the horrors of slavery.

In Training Day director Antoine Fuqua's bleak and brutal movie telling, drawn from a screenplay by William N. Collage (Assassin's Creed), Haitian-born Peter is given – in typical Hollywood fashion – an imagined backstory involving a wife and children on a plantation, an already inhuman existence from which he is ripped away to something impossibly worse. But with Union troops bearing down on his Confederate chain-gang captors, Peter seizes a shovel and the chance to escape – and is soon cutting a path through the Louisiana marshland, with a rapacious tracker (Ben Foster) and his posse in remorseless pursuit.

Shot in an unusual de-saturated style by Quentin Tarantino's go-to cinematographer Robert Richardson (The Hateful Eight; Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), Emancipation deals in the kind of sombre imagery and heavy historical themes that seem to mark it as a classic piece of awards-hungry, prestige movie making.

But this is also a movie in which Will Smith gets snapped on the butt by an alligator, runs in heroic slow-motion through the forest, and tangles with snakes, vicious dogs, and a white hunter whose sneering villainy arrives straight out of a B-movie.

This lean and lurid genre mode is where Emancipation works best, with Smith growling and grimacing through an unpretentious chase movie that allows his considerable presence to hold an audience in thrall without saying much – and when he does, it's in a pretty good, movie-star approximation of a Haitian accent.

Fuqua, meanwhile, swoops over his subject with drone-mounted cameras and sprints alongside his duelling parties with kinetic tracking shots, his action-movie style creating an uneasy dissonance with harrowing images of heads on stakes and bodies hanging from trees.

Whether or not the film's subject matter lends itself to this kind of adrenaline-charged survivalist action is a debate that will no doubt rage on.

The question is further complicated by notions of who has the right to tell these stories, especially given producer Joey McFarland's bizarre red carpet blunder at the movie's premiere – in which he, a wealthy white man, boasted of owning the original photo of Whipped Peter in his "collection", and promptly fished the image out of his pocket to prove it.

Fuqua seems more attuned to the gung-ho blaxploitation approach favoured by Tarantino in Django Unchained (also shot by Richardson) than he is with interrogating the period's moral complexity, and Emancipation is on less certain footing whenever it takes on conventional historical drama – a subplot involving the plight of Peter's wife (Australian actor Charmaine Bingwa), for example, fails to carry the weight of the protagonist's journey into isolation and fear.

Emancipation, as a result, can often feel adrift between these modes, never fully committing to the adventure movie in which Smith battles beasts and bad guys, nor convincing as a tale of human resilience in the face of historical evil.

The constant – and the reason to watch – is Smith, who manages to hold it all together with the power of that face, which only occasionally shows signs of the famous smirk under the layers of tragedy.

There's a haunted quality to Smith here, betraying the accumulated weight of a career that's crept into many of the star's exact performances – from the patriarch in his Oscar-winning King Richard, who laboured to prove his worth in a culture of doubters, to the eerie post-human assassin of Gemini Man, forced to stare down both professional obsolescence and the spectre of his own youth.

Though Emancipation was filmed last year, it's not hard to watch Smith's performance and see a simmering rage that's about to boil over, the kind of energy that finally exploded, in a heated exchange that led to physical violence, on the Dolby Theatre stage in front of a global audience of millions.

The movie might ring hollow as an exploration of one of American history's darkest chapters, but as a snapshot of Black movie superstardom – and one of its most famous faces – it makes for an often fascinating study.

Emancipation is streaming on Apple TV+.

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 07:01:19 -0600 en-AU text/html
Killexams : Apple To Buy Manchester United? A Futuristic Buy
Apple Watch Available at Retail Locations

Eric Thayer

A couple of days ago it was reported that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be in the race to acquire football club Manchester United (NYSE:MANU). I own an iPhone, I watch football matches when I can and at this moment while writing this report I have a livestream opened in one tab watching the World Cup match in Qatar between Belgium and Morocco. While I have followed Apple product developments for years and I have been raised with football, it is really hard to rhyme Apple with buying Manchester United. Maybe there is something we are missing.

Unrest at Manchester United

Right now seems to be a horrible moment to acquire Manchester United. Iconic footballer Cristiano Ronaldo recently left Manchester United. His time at the club can be described as unlucky with frequent clashes with coach Erik Ten Hag who successfully led Ajax to three consecutive titles in the Dutch competition. While taking players Antony and Lisandro Martinez with him to Manchester United, he has not been able to consistently Strengthen performance of Manchester United and the animosity between Cristiano Ronaldo and Erik Ten Hag further added to the unrest while Manchester United occupies the 5th spot in the Premier League, just one spot higher than last season's ending. The unrest climaxed with an interview from Ronaldo where he said he had no respect for the trainer and that the gap with the competition is bigger than expected.

Lack of success

The Glazer family took control of Manchester United in 2005, but big successes have remained absent. From a club such as Manchester United, winning the Premier League is a must along with success in the Champions League, the biggest and most prestigious football tournament for clubteams. Initially, there have been successes as Manchester United won the Premier League in three consecutive rows from 2007 until 2009 and after that in the season 2010-2011 and 2012-2013 with success in Europe with winning the Champions League in 2007-2008 and the Europa League in 2016-2017, but that is not enough for a club such as Manchester United. The club hasn't won the Premier League since 2014 and successes in European competitions were booked years ago. So, for the sporting successes you don't have to buy Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo also slammed Manchester United stating that the training facilities had not changed since he left Manchester United for the first time more than a decade ago. Looking at financial performance, Manchester United is not quite successful either.

Manchester United annual results

Manchester United annual results (Manchester United)

The company has seen its adjusted EBITDA decline since 2017, the year in which it won the Europa League. It's commercial revenues seem to be hitting a peak at roughly £275 million and in the pandemic years 2020 to 2022, revenues declined and unsurprisingly earnings also declined. So, Manchester United is a story of no success on the pitch and no success in the books.

Apple… why?

So, the big question is why would Apple be interested in Manchester United. Maybe the question that should be asked first is: why would anyone want to own a football club? The reason for many wealthy owners is: prestige. I tend to write mostly about airlines and aerospace and for airlines there is the saying about how you can become a millionaire in the airline industry: "Start out as a billionaire". The joke likely originates from Richard Branson who took over the airline we now know as Virgin Atlantic. A similar thing holds for football clubs. People with wealth don't buy football clubs because it is easy money. Often times, it is the prestige element that convinces them to own a football club pumping in millions of dollars that often do not quite pay themselves back especially for large football clubs.

Right now, we are seeing that the owner of Inditex, which owns fashion chain Zara, is interested in acquiring Manchester United but Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also interested in acquiring Manchester United and former football player David Beckham is also said to be interested in Manchester United via a consortium. All three individuals have one thing in common, they have experience with owning a football club. Amancio Ortega from Inditex owns Deportivo La Coruña active in the third division in Spain, David Beckham owns Inter Miami active in the MLS together with the Mas brothers and Ares Management while Ratcliff owns OGC Nice active in the Ligue 1. None of these owners has any experience with owning a club such as Manchester United, but Ratcliffe's plan of bringing OGC Nice to the European tournaments is running one season ahead of schedule. It is said that he normally eyeballs a three-year pay off for investment. With Manchester United likely costing around $7 billion that is unlikely to happen, but Ratcliffe has previously shown interest to acquire Chelsea after sanctions against Russia forced a change of ownership. Long story short, football clubs are often pet projects and more often than not they do fail to pay off their investment.

Apple is really the odd duckling in the group and one can wonder why they would be interested in Manchester United. Apple has an annual revenue of nearly $366 billion, so the business results that Manchester United shows is not at all interesting to them. The twelve-month trailing cash flow from operating activities is over $122 billion with $48.3 billion in cash so the tech giant can easily buy Manchester United, but one can wonder why they would even be interested in doing so.

For an answer, we have to look into Apple's diversification. In 2019, Apple launched its streaming service Apple TV+ and while Apple has no experience owning a football club this is where a big answer to Apple's potential lies. In June, Apple announced it would be streaming MLS games starting in 2023 for 10 years. This is where acquiring Manchester United could fit in: Expanding the Apple TV+ sport offering. MLS games will cost $99 per season and it is estimated that the company has 20 million to 40 million subscribers. The revenue potential for streaming games from Manchester United would be around $200 million to $400 million. That is of course assuming that everyone subscribes which will not be the case, but it serves as building block for Apple streaming services in Europe.

Inside World Football Brand value and strength Manchester United Apple

Brand value and strength (Inside World Football)

But Manchester United has something that other teams do not have. For years Manchester United was the most valuable football brand in the world, but absence of success in Europe and the Premier League cost them that number one spot as they are now surpassed by Real Madrid. So, if you want to have a strong brand, you need success. So, in some sense owning Manchester United is not interesting at all to Apple because the team does not perform well. However, being masters of brand value and strength Apple knows one thing and that is that Manchester United is extremely popular in Asia where there is a lot of potential for Apple TV+ streaming services. Manchester United was one of the first football clubs to strengthen its brand value in Asia and they continue doing that with training tours in Japan, Thailand and China. So, Manchester United can add appeal to Apple TV+ for people in Europe as well as Asia. Especially in Asia people feel strongly connected to brands especially Western brands, so that is where a lot of value can be unlocked.

So when it comes to streaming, there is some value in expanding the product offering but most value is likely based on expansion of the subscriber base in Europe and Asia using a strong sports brand.

Does it make sense to pay $7 billion to own Manchester United in order to expand? Hard to tell. Let's say that acquiring Manchester United will help Apple expand the subscriber base by 20 million doubling from the lowest estimate for Apple TV+ subscribers, then we would have around 7 euros in monthly revenues or $7.25 per subscriber or $1.74 billion in annual base subscription revenues plus $2 billion for a total annualized revenue of $3.72 billion. Assuming no costs, which is unrealistic, this would mean that within 2 years the $7 billion that Manchester United would cost is earned back. Assuming 25% margins, it would take 8 years. I wouldn't really consider acquiring Manchester United as an attractive deal solely for its potential to add to streaming revenues.

Is there something else that could make Manchester United attractive? One would think that some sort of Manchester United flavored Apple gadgets would do it, but I don't see Apple as the brand that would be opting to go that way as they benefit more from separated brands each with their own strengths. I also don't believe they are extremely interested in buying Manchester United to have a prominent placing on the shirt. Where I do see opportunities are with healthcare and fitness and embedding smart systems and health monitor in a closed loop with smart homes.

Smart stadium sport Manchester United Apple


These days a lot of tech is involved in the highest branches of sport and Apple could be interested in applying that to the top sport level. There are talks about Apple funding a new stadium and Cristiano Ronaldo did mention that the Carlington training complex is obsolete. Tech infusion from Apple could create a sport tech complex and stadium where healthcare and fitness monitoring could be built into smart home or smart complex. That is the kind of integration that seems futuristic, but might be highly interesting. This new approach to top sport could be valuable to Manchester United but even more so to Apple, which could derive smart home fitness solutions, new consumer fitness devices and potentially set up something that would look a lot like smart training centers that could be applied in gyms but also in healthcare, medical rehabilitation and physiotherapy. It is extremely farfetched, but in some sort of healthcare oriented route with seamless smart integration with the surrounding is what I think could for Apple provide most value.

Conclusion: An odd buy for Apple with futuristic opportunities

If you look at the combination of Apple and Manchester United, it sounds like something that never will work, but maybe it is more like chocolate and mint… some people like it, some people don't see the point of it and despise it. To me, Apple acquiring Manchester United is something that has a high degree of uncertainty of success, but I could see value in acquiring Manchester United for its brand value to expand the streaming services in Europe and Asia and increase the product offering of the streaming services. Furthermore, data in top sport and data insights in fitness has become increasingly more important over the years and, while it might sound somewhat far-fetched, Apple could be using a new stadium and training complex infused with technology and smart integration to test and develop a healthcare smart home/surrounding integration as well as new software and products.

If Apple is not interested in either developing its streaming services or strengthening its healthcare and fitness products and services, they better do what Cristiano Ronaldo did, and that is to leave Manchester United for what it is… an underperforming sports team.

Sun, 27 Nov 2022 23:13:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Google: One Of My Top Picks Before 2023
Google Announces EUR 1 Billion Investment In Germany, Including Renewable Energies

Sean Gallup

Investment Thesis

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), is one of the top picks before 2023 due to its reasonable valuation with limited downside, and strong economic moat that can protect its cashflows throughout 2023, amidst the macroeconomic uncertainty that lead to shrinking advertising budgets.

Data by YCharts

A Global Shift To Retail Media & CTV

Alphabet's advertising business is not immune to macroeconomic growth risks as exact ad pricing weakness could slow growth to around mid to high single digits in its $150 billion core-search business in 2022. In addition, network-ad sales face pressure amid the removal of cookies, while Play store segment sales struggle with lower take rates. Last but not least, Data-privacy regulations pose a risk to the ad business.

On the contrary, a shift in global advertising budgets to retail media and connected TV (CTV), the fastest growing segment of the $600 billion-plus digital-ad market, may support Alphabet and Amazon (AMZN) more than social media companies, since Snap (SNAP) and Meta (META) may continue to face headwinds to top-line growth in 2023 amid stiffer competition from TikTok and Apple's (AAPL) privacy changes.

Strong Balance Sheet To Navigate A Crisis

Alphabet's balance sheet, measured by its cash position, is the strongest among peers, including Apple, Microsoft (MSFT), and Amazon, a lead that will likely be maintained in 2023. Despite an increase in shareholder returns, Alphabet's more conservative financial policy relative to peers has kept its cash and liquid investments position to $116 billion.

Alphabet's cash position has continued to climb over the past decade and could be mildly higher if share buybacks don't grow beyond its current $70 billion authorization. However, while potential regulatory fines or M&A could reduce Alphabet's excess cash, the company differs from peers via a conservative capital structure with much less debt than Apple, Microsoft, or Amazon. In addition, unlike Apple, which has a net cash-neutral target, Alphabet hasn't disclosed balance sheet targets.

Data by YCharts

Google Search Resilience

In the earnings call of the Q3 2022 results, the firm highlighted resilience in search ads, supported by solid spending from customers active in retail and travel. The management attributed the significant slowdown in the search revenue growth pace primarily to currency effects and the lapping of last year's strong performance.

However, there have recently also been pullbacks from some advertisers, such as those active in financial services, in areas like insurance, mortgages, and crypto sub-categories. In addition, a decline in user engagement in gaming after the surge during the pandemic also has adverse effects. It is not only resulting in lower commissions captured by the Play store (Play revenues again declined in the quarter, also impacted by last year's cut in fee rates) but also adding pressure to advertising sales. As a result, the management has seen lower spending on ads to promote gaming apps in all its advertising activities; search, the Google advertising partner network, and the YouTube platform.

As many firms are faced with demand uncertainty, advertisers may shift more of their spending to search ads. Search ads are bought to spur online sales and stimulate offline retail activity and purchases of services. Moreover, search ads are known for their greater direct effectiveness than other formats, which can also be measured well. This advantage recently became larger due to the trend of users switching to stricter privacy protections, to which policy changes of Apple may continue to contribute. Due to the rising attention to privacy, many rivals have a weaker ability to use personal data for effectively targeting and measuring their ads.

Considering the lapping of extraordinary growth in 2021, Q3 Search results validated that advertisers are more inclined to allocate budgets to mature platforms such as Google Search, where performance is more predictable in a soft environment, as opposed to other platforms of more experimental nature.

YouTube & Shorts Update

The pullback in advertising also hurts YouTube, and the video platform is confronted with the growing success of TikTok, the app of Chinese origin that pioneered short videos. YouTube's response to TikTok, Shorts, is quite successful, with currently 30 billion daily views and 1.5 billion users who log in every month to watch the new format. Shorts compete head-to-head with TikTok in terms of average time spent per day, with only 2 seconds difference in favor of TikTok.

In the near term, the shift in user engagement to Shorts will hurt revenues, but exact initiatives may help YouTube to improve the trend. In September, introduced a revenue-sharing model for Shorts creators, a first for the short video format and announced the launch of Shorts ads in 2023. As a result, YouTube remains well-positioned to attract advertisers that want to target a relatively young audience that hardly watches linear TV but spends significant time-consuming video and music content across various devices.

Alphabet, Google, GOOG, META, SNAP, YouTube, TikTok


Cloud Remains The Key To Upside Growth

The only activity with improved sales growth in Q3 2022, 38%, versus 36% in the prior quarter, was the Google Cloud unit, which produces almost 10% of total sales. The COVID 19-crisis has boosted online learning and remote working, benefiting the usage of many services and products.

Growth continues to be driven by increasing cloud adoption and cybersecurity needs as businesses look to reduce IT costs and digitalize. Google Cloud's infrastructure and platform services still have a small scale compared to the businesses of cloud leaders Amazon and Microsoft.

However, adopting hybrid and public cloud services by enterprises and public institutions is still in the early phase. Alphabet is well positioned, supported by its advanced technical infrastructure and strength in data analytics, to capitalize upon the sizeable structural growth potential of enterprise cloud services.

Alphabet, Google, GOOG, META, SNAP, YouTube, TikTok


Continued Efforts To Sustain Profit Margins

Google's Operating income came in at $17 billion, 13% below expectations due to revenue shortfall and OpEx growing higher than expected. Going forward, the pace of cost cuts appears to be similar to statements made last quarter, which is to slow down hiring, but the impact would be more apparent in 2023. While Alphabet remains committed to its long-term investments, such as AI, YouTube, and cloud, management will adopt a more cautious spending approach.

Given the attractive opportunity set within Search and YouTube (Shorts and CTV in particular), the company will continue to invest in those high-potential segments to drive long-term results, which could create ongoing pressure on near-term margins. As part of its effort to Strengthen operating performance, Alphabet will significantly slow hiring in Q4 2022 (management expects QoQ addition of less than half of Q3's) and 2023.

As a result, while the company's profit margins would remain under pressure going forward in 2023, the overall margin impact could be potentially offset by the company's slow hiring (headcount addition in Q4 is expected to slow to less than 50% of the number added in Q3) and potential headcount reductions. Google's CEO recently said that he hopes to Strengthen efficiency by ~20%, alluding to potential cuts.

Concluding Thoughts

Despite the macroeconomic uncertainty and shrinking advertising budgets that directly affect Alphabet's business, the conglomerate remains well-positioned to navigate an economic downturn in my view. Alphabet can utilize its massive cash surplus for more M&A activity in 2023 at cheaper prices, and more buyback activity to generating economic value for investors.

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 00:46:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Can Apple Watch Ultra really replace a dive computer? We asked an expert diver null © Torben Lonne/Divein null

The Apple Watch Ultra is billed as a watch that can support you throughout your adventuring highs and lows – sometimes literally. Designed to withstand temperatures from -4F / -20C to 130F / 55C, and with a built-in altimeter and compass, and water-resistance to 50 meters, this is wearable that promises to be an essential companion whether you're up a mountain or beneath the waves. 

We weren’t able to test the watch to such extremes in our initial Apple Watch Ultra review, but even so, Apple's top-of-the-line Watch has already earned its place on our list of the best Apple Watches. We have a sneaking suspicion that most Ultra buyers won’t be taking full advantage of the watch’s abilities either: it’ll mostly be on the wrists of weekend warriors who might jump at the chance to do a 10K trail run, or surf in the winter (like me), but aren't planning on going on a multi-day hike in the Andes (unlike TechRadar's own Michelle Rae Uy).

However, Apple has taken the next steps to make the Ultra a true adventurer’s partner. In collaboration with Huish Outdoors, it's released the Oceanic+ app for the Apple Watch Ultra, which effectively turns the Ultra into a dive computer. The app's free plan allows scuba divers to calculate their position with undersea GPS tracking, and features a diver’s logbook, depth gauges, picture sharing, and alerts if you reach your maximum depth. 

The paid subscription plan adds more sophisticated diving tools, such as the ability to calculate your no-decompression limit – that is, the time a diver will be able to spend at a given depth without the risk of suffering decompression sickness, aka the bends, were they to return directly to the surface without performing decompression stops. 

Tide predictions, a UV index, and weather forecasts are also included in the paid plan, which costs $79.99 / £81.99 / AU$129.99 annually. If you’re an irregular diver, you can pay per month for as long as you need the app, or just use the free version, but serious divers will need to shell out if they want to get the most from the Ultra and Oceanic+. 

Dive watches are nothing new, but they’re usually intricate analog watches or purpose-built digital models, rather than an app loaded onto an (albeit feature-rich) smartwatch. So can the Apple Watch Ultra, teamed with the Oceanic+ app, replace dedicated dive computers made by the likes of Garmin – as promised by launch footage of divers using the Ultra – or is it all a bit of a gimmick? 

To find out, TechRadar asked Torben Lonne, co-founder of diving and adventure website Divein and a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, about his experiences with the Apple Watch Ultra. 

“[To test the Ultra] we dived with the dive computer on the wrist, with a second dive computer mounted on the other wrist,” said Lonne. “The second dive computer will work as a reference for the dive time, depth and no decompression limit. Afterward, we mount a series of comparable dive computers on a rack to check that readings are the same, look at the brightness and readability of the screen, and see when and how alarms are displayed.

“The Apple Watch Ultra has the brightest screen of any dive computer we have tested, making it easy to see the data in any condition. The information is displayed nicely in an easy-to-read format. There are clear visual, haptic, and audible alarms whenever the diver reaches a limit, gets to a safety stop, or ascends too fast.”

That's good news for divers, so far, with the Apple Watch Ultra’s updated retina display and 2000 nits of brightness allowing it to shine in the undersea murk. The more prominent digital crown and Action Button, meanwhile, are designed to allow divers, as well as athletes and outdoor adventurers, to operate the watch in a basic capacity while wearing gloves. 

“Usability-wise, it's clear to see that it's an Apple product,” says Lonne. “Out of the box, I could use this dive computer as easily as I can the Garmin Descent MK2i I've been using for the last two years.” 

Although the Oceanic+ app's dive computer software is good, spending a premium on a watch and then paying extra for additional diving features is a high barrier to entry. However, the Garmin Descent MK2i Lonne mentioned above retails for almost double the price of the Apple Watch Ultra, so if you're set on getting the Watch Ultra anyway, the extra subscription is a somewhat affordable alternative for casual divers.  

Lonne believes the Watch Ultra and Oceanic+ combo won’t replace a dedicated dive computer for serious divers, but, as we'd though would be the case, he thinks it’s a nice alternative to hobbyists who might otherwise rent a computer when they pick up the rest of their gear. 

“It won't be used by ultra-divers seeking depth or advanced diving; therefore the ‘Ultra’ name might be a miss for the diving parts of it,“ he says. “Still, I see a lot of divers using it, the ones that are diving for a few weeks or months a year. These are the divers that would typically rent a dive computer in the dive center.”

So, the Oceanic+ app appears to be a worthwhile addition to the Apple Watch Ultra's already-impressive array of hardware and software. It works as intended; it's easy to use; it shows the necessary information; and it's comprehensive enough to impress a professional diver. Sure, the Ultra's all-in-one approach is better suited to dilettantes and jacks-of-all-trades rather than enthusiast divers or professionals, but Apple knows this is where the demand is. For most of us, it's enough to wear the Ultra and use it as a running watch, safe in the knowledge we could dive with it if we ever wanted to. And we might… but we probably won't. 

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 19:26:19 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Forget smartwatches, consumers are snapping up these quirky alternatives

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In 2015, the same year Apple introduced its smartwatch, a Kickstarter campaign launched for a very different kind of wearable device: a wellness-tracking gadget called the Oura Ring.

Seven years later, the Apple Watch is the most popular wearable device while other similar products from Google and Samsung also dominate the wearables market. But something notable is underway: products like the Oura Ring, which look and sometimes function markedly different from more mainstream wearables, are gaining renewed traction.

The Oura Ring ($399) experienced a spike in sales during the pandemic, and has seen continued momentum this holiday season, CEO Tom Hale told CNN Business. It provides sleep tracking data without needing to wear a smartwatch to bed and can detect subtle changes in body temperature. It also has no screen. Earlier this year, the company announced it had received a $2.55 billion valuation and has since rolled out partnerships with Gucci, Strava and other brands.

The ring is among a small but increasingly buzzy group of alternative wearable devices that people are gravitating toward right now, including a fitness band tracker with no screen and headphones that don’t need to be put in the ear. Some of the demand stems from shifts during the pandemic, as consumer interest in health monitoring surged. People turned to activity trackers, smartwatches and other devices to keep tabs on their steps, vital statistics and more. Many were also willing to experiment with different form factors, as long as they provided accurate data and were still comfortable – a trend that continues today.

© Provided by CNN The Oura rings - Oura

“The funny thing is that most of these devices have been around for a while but have slowly built a name for themselves in exact quarters,” said Ramon Llamas, a research director at IDC Research. “But it takes time for word of mouth to spread.”

The devices may also tap into a desire to get the benefits of wearable trackers without necessarily having a screen or device on their body at all times.

Take the WHOOP band, a health tracker without a screen that first came out in 2015. It has a very specific focus on workout recovery, resting time, training and coaching. Founder and CEO Will Ahmed told CNN Business this year’s Cyber Monday was its largest sales day ever.

“It wasn’t that long ago that people only wore a health monitor if something was wrong. Now, we’re seeing people take a much more proactive approach to their health,” he said. “This trend has continued even as the pandemic subsides.”

Like the Oura Ring, the WHOOP is a subscription-based device and targeting a more niche audience. It’s pricy, too: $480, including a two-year subscription plan.

© Provided by CNN The WHOOP band - WHOOP

“The challenge is that most of these devices are vying for single-digit market share behind the market leaders, [such as Apple and Samsung],” Llamas said. “That’s why it is key to have a well-differentiated segment that you can serve almost exclusively. Companies like WHOOP have been successful because they focus on athlete rest and recovery so well, and those are key factors for many athletes today.”

Ahmed said the product is evolving to support this growing interest in health by adding new features related to pregnancy, stress and deeper biometric monitoring. In August, WHOOP announced it raised $200 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, giving the company a valuation of $3.6 billion.

Health tracking devices continue to take on new shapes and sizes, too, including some that don’t require being worn at all. In September, Amazon showed off a non-wearable sleep tracking monitor, Halo Rise, which sits on a nightstand and tracks breathing patterns while the user is asleep. Meanwhile, some companies like Withings let users slip sensors under the mattress to collect sleep data.

There’s also a shift in demand for what is arguably one of the original wearables: headphones.

Bone conduction headphones, which like the Oura Ring have been around for years, are also “having a moment,” according to Steve Konig, head of the research department at the Consumer Electronics Association. Rather than sitting inside or on top of the ear canal, bone conduction headphones rest in front of the ear, leaving it uncovered. They transmit audio along the user’s bones and jaw to the ears instead of directly into the ear canal. The headphones also feature a soft band that runs behind the upper portion of the neck to secure it in place and minimize sound distortions.

© Provided by CNN Bone conduction headphones by Shokz. - Shokz

At the same time, the exposed ear allows users to pick up on sounds and the environment around them, crucial for safety when doing activities such as riding a bike or jogging. Unlike earbuds, there’s also less concern about it popping out of your ears.

Shokz ($125) pioneered bone conduction headphones, but the market has since expanded with other brands offering similar designs. Open earbuds – such as ones designed by Sony and Bose – feature a similar design that leaves the ear canals completely open so that the user can hear the outer noise. But some audiophiles say the sound quality on bone conduction headphones and open earbuds is less than stellar.

“In the past 10 years, audio innovation in general has soared because of the introduction of new features, such as noise cancellation technology, built-in wireless capabilities and more,” Konig said. “Now, people own multiple pairs of personal listening products for different locations and use cases; some leave them at the office, others prefer bigger, beefier ones on airplanes. They also make a great holiday gift because, in the grand scheme of gift giving, they’re fairly reasonable to buy.”

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Fri, 02 Dec 2022 23:16:29 -0600 en-US text/html
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