National NewsApple margin concerns fade, focus shifts to iPhone launch
(Reuters) - A rise in margins has raised hopes that Apple Inc may be able to hold the line on pricing ahead of the launch of new iPhones later this year. Apple's shares rose 3.3 percent to a 22-month high of $97.88 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. Apple's gross margin rose to 39.4 percent in the third quarter from 36.9 percent a year earlier, and the company forecast current-quarter margins of 37-38 percent. "With (gross margins) stabilizing (year-on-year) and core demand trends solid, we think investors will want to own Apple stock (going) into bigger-screen iPhone 6 and ecosystem-expanding iWatch/iBand launches," Evercore Group analysts wrote in a note.
Canada's BCE to take Bell Aliant private in $3.7 billion deal
By Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's largest telecom company, BCE Inc BCE.TO BCE.N, said on Wednesday it will pay C$3.95 billion ($3.68 billion) to take regional telecom Bell Aliant BA.TO private, buying the 56 percent stake it does not already own to cut expenses and bolster its offerings in Atlantic Canada. "Privatizing Bell Aliant within BCE supports our dividend growth model and capital investment strategies," Siim Vanaselja, BCE's chief financial officer, said in a statement, adding that BCE will also maintain its investment-grade credit ratings following the expected close of the deal in late November. BCE, which already controls about 44 percent of Bell Aliant, said the deal values the remainder at C$31 a share, a premium of 10 percent to the stock's close on Tuesday. Shares in BCE were up 0.8 percent at C$49.39 at midmorning on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while Bell Aliant shares jumped more than 10 percent to sit just above BCE's offer price at C$31.17.
Sony invests in image sensor production amid 'selfie' boom
Sony Corp said on Thursday it would invest 35 billion yen ($345 million) to increase production of image sensors for smartphones and tablets, as the company courts handset makers to get more orders for front-facing camera sensors, used to take selfies. The Japanese firm said it will increase production of stacked CMOS sensors at two factories on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, while completing work on a factory in northwestern Japan it bought from Renesas Electronics Corp for a total investment of 35 billion yen. Sony, which currently supplies image sensors for the main camera in Apple Inc's iPhone said the investment will allow it to raise production by 13 percent to 68,000 wafers a month by August 2015, a step closer to its mid-term goal of 75,000. Imaging sensors are an area of strength for Sony, which leads the market ahead of Omnivision Technologies Inc, whose sensors are mostly used in front-facing smartphone modules that typically have lower specifications than the main rear camera.
StubHub was victim of cyber fraud ring; arrests to be announced
By Deepa Seetharaman and Jim Finkle SEATTLE/BOSTON (Reuters) - eBay Inc's StubHub online ticket resale service said it was the victim of a massive international cyber fraud ring, the details of which authorities plan to disclose on Wednesday as they announce arrests in the case. StubHub's head of global communications, Glenn Lehrman, told Reuters late on Tuesday that his firm has been working with law enforcement around the world for the last year on the case. Lehrman said he could not say how much money was involved or how many people were being charged ahead of announcements planned by authorities in several countries on Wednesday. Fraudulent charges were posted after hackers obtained user credentials by hacking into other sites, then used them to log in StubHub, he said.
EBay plans to expand in Russia despite sanctions
Internet auction site eBay Inc said it planned to expand in Russia, still its top priority among emerging markets even though the country faces increasing Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The United States last week imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia, its toughest since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, and has put pressure on the European Union to ratchet up measures to punish Moscow over the downing of a Malaysian airliner, which Kiev and the West blame on pro-Russian rebels. EBay's statement also came even though Russia recently passed a law forcing Internet companies to store personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia and as the government prepares to lower the threshold for duties on cross-border parcels to support local online retailers. EBay Vice President Wendy Jones, who oversees its global expansion, told a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday that the company still hoped to grow aggressively in Russia.
TalkTalk attracts 185,000 new customers to its family TV offer
By Paul Sandle LONDON (Reuters) - British broadband provider TalkTalk added 185,000 subscribers to its TV service in its first quarter, taking its base to more than 1.1 million and helping revenue rise 3.1 percent to 434 million pounds ($741 million). The company, which serves the value segment of the market, is selling more services such as TV and mobile to the 4.1 million broadband customers on its network to boost revenue. Chief Executive Dido Harding said the strategy had delivered a sixth consecutive quarter of revenue growth and, although net broadband adds rose by a relatively modest 10,000, it was the seventh consecutive quarter of growth on that measure as well. Its bigger rivals BT and BSkyB, both of which are using premium sports programing to boost broadband subscribers, are expected to report net additions of 100,000 and 90,000 respectively when they post numbers over the next eight days, analysts at Jefferies said.
Here’s why many people want their BlackBerrys back after switching to iOS and Android
Following the release of the original iPhone in 2007 and the subsequent launch of Android, many people with work-issued phones spent years asking for their employers to switch away from BlackBerry smartphones to more modern devices. Finally, as Apple and Google increased their focus on security and BlackBerry hit dire straights a few years ago, workers began getting what that wanted and bring your own device (BYOD) policies became more common. More recently, however, an interesting trend is being observed: Workers want their BlackBerrys back. FROM EARLIER: BlackBerry says its square phone is already stealing back iOS and Android users CIO’s Tom Kaneshige reports on an interesting phenomenon that we’ve heard rumblings of in the past. At companies where employees were permitted
iOS 8 beta 5 to be released August 4th, beta 6 on August 15th
According to our sources, Apple is nearing the end of the beta testing cycle for iOS 8. We are told that the company plans to seed iOS 8 beta 5 to developers on August 4th, and a final version of the OS, iOS 8 beta 6 on August 15th. After that we most likely are going to have a lull of several weeks until Apple is ready to release the iOS 8 GM (this is the final version, barring any unforeseen emergency fixes / problems). The latest version of Apple’s upcoming mobile software, iOS 8 beta 4, is the most stable and smooth out of all the releases so far, and it also incorporates new design and user interface tweaks, bug fixes and feature
Here's the first teaser art from the new 'Fight Club 2' comic book series
Chuck Palahniuk's long awaited sequel to Fight Club is coming in the form of a 10-issue comic book series, and today we're getting our first idea of what that will look like. Set ten years after the events of Palahniuk's novel, the comic book will apparently feature the wedding of Fight Club's narrator — who now goes by the name Sebastian — and Marla. Tyler Durden is also featured in the artwork; Comic Book Resources spoke with Cameron Stewart, who's handling interior artwork for the comic series, about the pressures of following up on the cultural phenomenon that Fight Club became.
Digify helps you protect your data by sending self-destructing files
The next age of Foursquare begins today
In mid-May, Foursquare decided to split itself in two. The second half is the forthcoming Foursquare 8.0, a complete redesign of the company’s existing app that has until now been kept secret. In the words of CEO Dennis Crowley, the new Foursquare is the app he always wanted to build — an exploration app unhindered by the check-ins that previously held center stage. Foursquare’s new wordmark is bold and grown-up instead of a playful doodle.
Report from solid source points to iPhone 6 release in mid-September
Reports surrounding Apple’s impending iPhone 6 announcement keep rolling in. 9to5Mac reports that Apple is “tentatively” planning to host a keynote address in mid-September to announce the iPhone 6 and everything we need to know about the full version of iOS 8. According to the sources, the event will most likely be held during either the second or third week of September, but manufacturing issues could delay Apple’s schedule. FROM EARLIER: Ultra-thin iPhone 6 design posing technical difficulties to component makers The sources also believe that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will make an appearance at the event, but Apple has not yet made a final decision regarding the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 phablet. More internal testing has gone into the 4.7-inch model than the
Jon Stewart announces $10 billion parody Kickstarter to buy CNN
Jon Stewart has a long, playful, and antagonistic history with CNN, but his relationship with the 24-hour news channel could change dramatically if Stewart's latest plan pans out: raising $10 billion to buy the network. Stewart isn't actually trying to buy CNN — "Keep in mind," he says, "we need ten-billion dollars" — but he did announce a fake Kickstarter campaign to do so on his show last night, even launching a website in support of it. Fans of Fareed Zakaria and party drugs will also be interested. Stewart's parody campaign comes in response to Rupert Murdoch and 21st Century Fox's attempts to purchase Time Warner.
4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego
eBay's ticket site StubHub says it's the victim of a 'global fraud ring'
How to Get Apple's OS X Yosemite Beta Now
About 1 million people can get access to the next version of Apple's OS X starting tomorrow (July 24). This marks the first time in about a decade that Apple has allowed a public beta program of its OS before full release. You'll need to make sure you're signed up first by going to Apple's OS X Yosemite beta website.
Want to start using OS X Yosemite before it launches this fall? Here’s how you can
Developers and people with access to developer accounts have already been able to try out the OS X Yosemite in beta form for more than a month, but soon Apple will make the beta version of its new OS available to a much wider audience. As promised at WWDC 2014, Apple will roll out a free Yosemite public beta release this summer, so anyone who’s interested in running Apple’s latest operating system on a Mac can test drive it before it’s released this fall. The company told The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple that the public beta will be released on Thursday, July 24th. FROM EARLIER: Why it makes sense for iOS 8 and Yosemite to launch separately Regular Mac owners will get the
Microsoft Merging All Windows Into One Mega OS
Microsoft is trying to find ways to make the desktop and mobile versions of Windows more seamlessly integrated, and according to CEO Satya Nadella, we could soon see a single version of Windows across all platforms. During the company's quarterly conference call, Nadella confirmed Microsoft's commitment to create a Windows OS that works the same whether you're on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. While Microsoft hasn't made an official public statement about creating a single Windows for all, there were a few hints of this vision at this year's Build 2014 developer conference.
The 31 biggest things to look for at Comic-Con 2014
In just a matter of hours, 150,000 rabid comics fans of all stripes will descend on San Diego for Comic-Con 2014. This year’s event is a bit different, though: with movies like the new Star Wars and Avengers coming out, 2015 and 2016 already promise to be the biggest years in film history, and Comic-Con could very well be Ground Zero for a pop culture singularity. Expect to hear plenty about Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy, and potentially some details on five of Marvel’s upcoming films, including Doctor Strange and Captain America 3. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies will conclude the second epic Middle Earth trilogy this December, and Peter Jackson will be on hand in San Diego this week to get everyone excited one last time.
Get unlimited access to over 13,000 Marvel comics for 99 cents
Marvel is opening up its massive vault of digital comics for only 99 cents this week to coincide with San Diego Comic-Con. A subscription to Marvel Unlimited — which offers immediate access to over 13,000 comics — normally runs $9.99 per month or $69 if you pay for an entire year up front.
5 awesome iPhone and iPad tricks you won’t believe you ever lived without
Smartphones have completely changed the ways we work and play, but a problem has developed over the years: there are so many features and so much functionality packed into these nifty devices that it is impossible for anyone to remember it all. As a result, many of the features we might find incredibly useful often go undiscovered. Here at BGR, we try to help as often as we can but offering tips and tricks of our own, and also by bringing things to your attention when other sites offer useful tips — and here’s one we couldn’t pass on sharing. FROM EARLIER: 5 awesome tricks that will make your iPhone run much smoother Cult Of Mac’s Joshua Smith recently put together a quick
LittleBits' latest module lets you connect your creations to the internet
The fate of Colorado's weed industry rests on these chocolate bars
Bob Eschino’s Denver-based company, Medically Correct, makes a line of tasty looking white- and dark-chocolate bars called Incredibles that come in flavors like cookie crumble and toffee. Since pot went legal in Colorado last December, two deaths have been linked to an over-consumption of marijuana confections, and a raft of bad press has shone a spotlight on the surprisingly powerful punch such treats pack for the novice user. The issue isn’t that the pot goodies themselves can kill, but rather, as the recent, infamous New York Times op-ed by Maureen Dowd illustrates, they can make you scarily high: "I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours." These types of stories, coupled with reports of children accidentally eating pot treats and being rushed to Colorado emergency rooms, have sounded alarm bells in the industry. Regulators in Colorado and Washington are requiring new, stricter packaging requirements for edibles.
The latest new Google Maps feature might seem annoying, but it’s actually terrific
Advertisements can certainly be annoying, but they’re not always a bad thing. Problems arise most often when ads are intrusive or irrelevant, and when they do more to pester us than inform us. In the case of Google Maps, ads can actually be quite helpful in many scenarios, and Google just announced a few changes for the ads it serves in its Google Maps mobile app that might actually enhance users’ experiences. Google on Tuesday night posted a new note on its Google+ page for ads that explains a few key changes made recently to ads in the Google Maps mobile app. “Recently, we began showing search results for places like restaurants and hotels in a list view below the search
You can finally play the incredibly addictive 'Hearthstone' card game by yourself
If there's been one thing missing from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, the incredibly addictive digital card game from Blizzard, it's a true single-player component: up until now you've only been able to play online or against computer-controlled bots in a training mode.
Mac OS X Yosemite Preview
Hackers accessed over 1,000 StubHub accounts and used them to buy tickets
The ticket resale site StubHub had thieves access more than 1,000 customer accounts when it became the target of an international cyber fraud ring, according to Reuters and the Associated Press. The thieves reportedly acquired StubHub users' account details from breaches on other websites and used those accounts to fraudulently purchase tickets. StubHub was able to detect the unauthorized transactions and refund them last year, and it's reported that arrests have now been made in the case.
Dropbox for Business lets you limit your coworkers' access to shared files
Why it makes sense for iOS 8 and Yosemite to launch separately
Apple’s new operating systems for mobile devices and computers will not launch simultaneously, 9to5Mac has learned from sources familiar with the matter, but that’s not necessarily surprising, even though iOS and OS X will be tied together more than ever once iOS 8 and Yosemite are released. Apple is said to launch iOS 8 in September, followed by Yosemite a month later, according to the publication. Sources revealed that Apple’s OS X update required additional resources from the iOS team this year, in order for Yosemite to be completed by fall. In 2013, iOS 7 and Mavericks launched a month apart because Apple called up OS X engineers to work on its mobile OS, according to the publication. While one of
Airware raises $25 million to build the operating system for drones
Lots of different industries are interested in the potential for drones to improve their businesses, from agriculture to mining to merchants like Amazon. Today it announced it had raised $25 million in a round led by Kleiner Perkins to grow its staff and launch its product to the wider public. "We have ironed out the product, the business plan, the customers we expect to ship to," says Airware founder and CEO Jonathan Downey. Initially Airware set out to create the software package companies would need to fly their craft.
One million people are getting early access to Apple's Mac OS X Yosemite this week
For the first time in more than a decade, Apple's allowing any Mac user to test the latest version of OS X before its full release. This is a big shift for Apple, which has taken a number of steps toward working more in public: Apple will be updating the beta frequently (though not as often as it pushes new features to developers), giving users a window into the development process. Yosemite won't be out officially until the fall, and Apple is careful to note that the new OS isn't finished yet. If you're going to install Yosemite, there are a couple of tips and cautionary measures Apple recommends:
Apple's public beta for OS X Yosemite begins tomorrow
OS X Yosemite preview: the Mac gets a major makeover
Apple Patent Diagrams Plans for 'iTime' Smartwatch
A patent Apple filed in July 2011 has become public and in case all the rumors weren't enough, this one states that Apple is registering a "wrist-worn electronic device." via U.S. Patent Office. Unlike previous speculation that it would be called the "iWatch," this filing includes drawings which say "iTime." Still, considering Apple has given the public no information about the device or its name, and this was filed in 2011, there is no guarantee it will be called either of those names. In U.S. Patent 8,787,006, Apple states "the invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch," but it doesn't give away much more than that. In the patent, Apple writes,
Apple denies intentionally compromising iOS security, explains ‘backdoor’ features
Following an extensive security report from an iOS forensic and security expert that questioned some of Apple’s iOS tools when it comes to the user’s security and privacy (see his questions in the image above), Apple has taken another step to address “backdoor” concerns on top of stating that it’s not working with anyone to include backdoors in any of its products. Researcher Jonathan Zdziarski said in his paper that certain tools available in iOS will allow governmental spying agencies and other third parties to remotely control an iOS device and install silent malware that could then be used to spy on an unsuspecting user. Apple has published a new support document on its website, offering some explanations on how
The majority of Brits are disabling government-backed porn filters
This is your best chance yet to get your hands on a OnePlus One… but you’d better hurry
Among Android enthusiasts, the OnePlus One is easily the most desirable new smartphone of 2014 so far. It doesn’t have the 2K display from LG’s G3, the gorgeous metal build from the HTC One (M8) or the massive marketing budget backing Samsung’s Galaxy S5, but it’s a cutting edge smartphone powered by the highly hackable CyanogenMod software. What’s more, it’s shockingly affordable. The only problem, of course, is that it’s still almost impossible to buy one. But thankfully, OnePlus just gave hopeful prospective One owners their best chance yet to get their hands on one. “To celebrate the announcement of our Bamboo StyleSwap Cover, we are giving away 5,000 invites to those who haven’t received invites thus far,” OnePlus said
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