TIME Apple

Apple’s Former Supplier Cuts 40% of Its Workforce

Apple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In Germany
Sean Gallup—Getty Images

Apple hired the company to produce sapphire screens for its iPhones

Apple’s former supplier GT Advanced Technologies is laying off 40% of its workforce after losing its deal with Apple and filing for bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2013, Apple hired the New Hampshire-based manufacturer, which previously manufactured industrial equipment, to produce sapphire screens for its iPhones at a Mesa, Ariz. plant. But the company struggled to produce screens that were at the quality Apple demanded, and Apple decided not to use sapphire screens at all for the iPhone 6.

The supplier filed for bankruptcy in October, less than a month after Apple revealed an iPhone version that used glass screens instead of the sapphire screens that GT Advanced Technologies attempted to produce. The supplier had spent $900 million to transform from a successful industrial equipment manufacturer to Apple’s partner—a decision that resulted in no revenues when Apple refused to buy.

GT Advanced Technologies has already laid off 700 employees. It stated that it had 1,000 when it filed for bankruptcy.

Apple plans to convert the factory, which was originally slated to produce 2,000 jobs, to a data center that employs 150 people. The failed plant was supposed to be the world’s largest artificial sapphire production facility.

TIME Apple

Apple’s Siri Will Give You Hints About the Upcoming iPhone Event

Apple Poised to Sell 10 Million IPhones in Record Debut
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

She doesn’t promise to be helpful

The tech world is on the edge of their collective seat in anticipation of Apple’s upcoming Sept. 9 event, when the tech giant is expected to unveil its newest iPhones.

If you’re like just about every tech blogger under the sun, and want the inside scoop on what Apple CEO Tim Cook will reveal at the event, you now have an option besides stalking the apple-obsessed blogosphere: just ask Siri.

Ask the robo servant to “give me a hint,” and you’ll be served with a variety of answers, from the admonishing to the playful, like, “look deep within yourself and you will find the answer. Especially on 9 September.”

These answers aren’t probably any more insightful that the predictions of Apple bloggers, but they will at least give you something to do before the big day.

TIME Apple

Here’s When Apple Is Unveiling the Next iPhone

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.

The company sent out event invites today

Apple just sent out invitations for a media event on Wednesday, Sept. 9. The company is expected to use the event to unveil the next iPhone, among other announcements.

Apple’s invite also teases something to do with Siri, the company’s digital personal assistant. It’s long been known that the next version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS 9, will pack big Siri improvements. But it’s also possible Siri is coming to an upgraded Apple TV set-top box, which some observers expect the company to unveil at the September event.

Meanwhile, here’s what happens if you actually ask Siri to give you a hint:

TIME Apple

Tim Cook Says Apple Is Fine Despite China’s Tanking Markets

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook.

China is a particularly important market for Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC Monday that the gadget maker’s performance in beleaguered China remains strong, comments that come as the company’s stock has tumbled into a bear market.

Part of why Cook perhaps felt compelled to weigh in: worries of a China-led global economic slowdown have kicked into high gear, with U.S. stocks also bruised. These fears have hit firms with great exposure to the China market especially hard. Apple’s shares have slid some 23% over the past month.

“As you know we don’t give mid-quarter updates and we rarely comment on moves in Apple stock,” Cook wrote in an e-mail Monday morning to CNBC host Jim Cramer.

But Cook went on to sound practically bullish about the market’s recent performance. He said Apple’s growth remained “strong” through July and August, with growth of iPhone activations accelerating in recent weeks. The App Store has also posted record growth the past two weeks, he said. Cook went on to tout the potential of the market, especially with the expanding middle class in China.

China is a particularly important market for Apple, with sales growth in that region outperforming the overall company’s performance. For the latest fiscal year, Greater China sales totaled $29.85 billion, up 135% from just three years earlier. The Greater China segment includes China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Apple has successfully outmaneuvered competitors in the market. Unit growth for iPhones surged 87% in the most recent fiscal quarter, while research firms have estimated the smartphone market expanded by only 5%. That means Apple has been easily stealing market share. Revenue has also been boosted by strong Mac sales and revenue from the company’s App Store.

TIME Apple

Why Apple Has Gone From the Market’s Biggest Winner to One of its Biggest Losers

Apple Reports Quarterly Earnings
Spencer Platt—Getty Images Are dark clouds gathering over Apple?

The tech giant is one of several big-name stocks getting hit hard by this market correction

Apple’s stock price has fallen 16% since it’s all time high of $134.50 reached in April, with the latest decline coming amid reports that smartphone sales declined by 4% over-year for the 2015 second quarter.

The closely watched stock is just one of dozens of big names that have notched sharp declines in their market capitalizations this year, according to a report in USA Today.

“There’s still denial going on, but this is what happens in late stages (of bull markets),” Ken Winans of Winans International, told the paper. “The darling stocks start to get hammered.”

Though data from China is helping to drive share prices lower, the stock has generally been in retreat since Apple reported its third quarter earnings, when it announced that it sold far fewer iPhones than analysts were expecting.

Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, told CNBC Friday that if iPhone unit sales remain subdued, Apple’s stock is likely to continue to tread water or underperform the market.

Investors would feel better if Apple had another product to fill the space, he added, and the Apple Watch and Apple Music are not likely to do that in the near term.

Shares of Apple jumped some 60% in the year prior to hitting that high in April, USA Today noted. Now Apple is up just 2% on the year.

TIME apps

You Can Now Use WhatsApp Web on Your iPhone

The service has been available on other mobile platforms since January

WhatsApp Web, the desktop browser version of the popular instant messaging app, is now available for Apple’s iOS operating system, meaning Apple users can pair the app with their computers like Blackberry, Windows phone and Android users are already able to.

The service has been available on Google Chrome since January, but was unavailable on the iPhone due to “Apple platform limitations.” However, iPhone users can now go to web.whatsapp.com and scan the automatically generated QR code to chat with people from their desktops.

TIME Apple

Apple Store’s New Look Demotes iPods From Tables To Shelves

FRANCE-US-TECHNOLOGY-BUSINESS-RETAIL
PATRICK KOVARIK—AFP/Getty Images

It now has to slum it with the accessories

Apple is making significant changes to its stores, including demoting the iPod from tables to shelves, 9to5mac reports.

Apple products that are valued more highly than others tend to be displayed on tables and stored in the back of the store, so the customer has to wait for someone to bring the product out to him or her. The iPod was once Apple’s biggest moneymaker, proudly displayed on a table. With today’s smartphone capabilities, a device that only plays music and video is essentially outdated.

Now the iPod will be displayed on shelves among the Apple accessories, such as headphones and cases.

At least customers who go in to buy an iPod will have a much more efficient Apple store experience since they won’t have to wait for a salesperson to retrieve it from the back room.

These changes will go into effect on Tuesday night so that customers going into stores on Wednesday morning will see the new, simplified look.

TIME Apple

Apple Wants to Put an iPhone in Your TV

Apple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In Germany
Sean Gallup—Getty Images

Expect some iPhone-like qualities to invade your television

Apple’s next big media event is on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and many Apple insiders are expecting the company to reveal its long-awaited Apple TV.

There have been reports of an Apple-branded smart television since last year, and the tech wunderkind had even planned to debut the new Apple TV hardware and software upgrades at the June WWDC. However, the company put off the reveal, saying it wanted to focus its resources on iOS9 development. And that’s the big hint as to what Apple may have in mind for its new television device.

The new Apple TV is expected to be the first television model to run a full-blown iOS core, reports 9to5Mac. It’s basically going to be an optimized, much bigger version of your iPhone (assuming it’s running iOS9). That will give it a range of extra benefits over the current Apple TV product, including Siri support, better search capabilities, and a new Apple TV App Store.

Read more about it at 9to5Mac.

TIME Nuance

This New Dictation App Is More Powerful Than Any You’ve Ever Seen

Apple Poised to Sell 10 Million IPhones in Record Debut
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A customer tries the Siri voice assistant function on an Apple Inc. iPhone.

Siri can't compete.

Nuance plans to launch its new Dragon Anywhere dictation app this fall on iOS and Android, the Verge reports.

Most of us already have basic dictation features that come with our phones, but this app is much more powerful than any of the features offered by Apple and Google. Those companies’ features require you to constantly stop and wait, and with varying levels of success. Dragon Anywhere, on the other hand, has proved to be “quite accurate.”

Users can also navigate the app using voice commands. They can move between entries, edit a document, and customize dictionaries and text shortcuts that can be synced between devices onto a Dragon desktop app.

Voice dictation apps aren’t in high demand for most people, especially since we already have the basic feature on our smartphones. However, Nuance believes that this app will be successful with professionals, such as doctors, service workers, and anyone else who constantly needs to fill out forms or record lengthy notes.

The only downside about this app is that it will exclusively be available as a subscription, the price of which has yet to be determined because running the servers to keep up with all the transcriptions will be expensive for Nuance. The desktop application will be sold at a flat rate.

TIME iPhone

This Man Is Alive Today Because Of Siri

Apple Poised to Sell 10 Million IPhones in Record Debut
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A customer tries the Siri voice assistant function on an Apple Inc. iPhone.

Apple just won a customer for life.

Sam Ray, an 18-year-old from Tennessee, told NBC that he is “thankful to be alive” after Siri saved his life by calling 911.

While trying to make repairs underneath his truck, a jack collapsed, causing Ray to be crushed by the vehicle. He was home alone and in an area in which he likely wouldn’t have been seen or heard by anyone until it was too late. But luckily, as the pressure from the 5,000 pounds crushed him, Siri activated on his iPhone, and he was able to command it to call 911.

Christina Lee, the Rutherford County dispatcher Ray was connected to, told NBC that Ray was yelling out his address, which was the “best thing he could have done” because the cellphone signal can only lead dispatchers to a general location.

Ray incurred fairly severe injuries including broken ribs, a bruised kidney, cuts, a concussion, and several burns. Chief of trauma and surgical care at Vanderbilt University, Rick Miller, said that Ray was lucky and injuries like his could sometimes be fatal.

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