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Will slow supply dampen Apple’s iPhone X dreams in India?

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New Delhi, Oct 31: After facing a lacklustre response to iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus globally, including in India, Apple has now placed its bet on successful delivery of “super premium” iPhone X that aims for a scheduled arrival on November 3.

In the past few days, several media reports have claimed that Apple is facing a huge supply gap primarily for two reasons: difficulties in assembling the new facial identification software and 3D camera, and “off the charts” pre-orders for iPhone X after the Apple fraternity didn’t make the expected beeline for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

The scenario suggests that people will have to wait long before they can grab an iPhone X. Analysts have already warned that the stock on hand is scarce, owing to constrained supply of key iPhone X components. The advanced depth-sensing camera system in iPhone X requires parts that only a few manufacturers can produce.

The iPhone X, which marks the 10th anniversary of the device, costs Rs 89,000 for a 64 GB model and Rs 1.02 lakh for the 256 GB variant.

According to Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems, Counterpoint Research, supply issues will have three main implications for Apple.

“Either the demand for iPhone X will shift to subsequent quarters or some part of the demand will be absorbed by iPhone 8 series if supply is delayed for long. In both the cases, it won’t have much impact on Apple as its user base will remain within the iOS ecosystem,” Pathak told IANS.

However, there is another scenario – where an Android premium user who wishes to shift to iPhone X decides instead to upgrade within the Android ecosystem due to unavailability of iPhone X.

“In that case, it will be an opportunity lost for Apple. However, in India where the super-premium segment (above Rs 50,000) is just 1.2 per cent of the market and with small user base, we don’t think it will have a major impact on Apple in terms of volumes,” Pathak said.

iPhone X brings a different design and an almost full-OLED (edge to edge) screen display.

“Many users who are on iPhone 6 and 7 for the past two-three years are eagerly waiting to upgrade to the entirely new 10th anniversary iPhone, which should help bring good demand for this new device,” Navkendar Singh, Senior Research Manager at IDC India, told IANS.

Earlier, smartphone users in India cited lack of innovation and high prices for holding their decision to buy iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Apple made iPhone 8 obsolete in a matter of minutes by announcing iPhone X with advanced features, they said.

“iPhone X will certainly help drive good volumes for Apple, more so after a very tepid and weak demand for iPhone 8 series,” Singh noted.

Apple has announced international warranty for iPhones bought from outside India.

“A large number of users will try to get their hands on the device from countries with lower pricing. Having said that, the only dampner for the demand can be supply issues that Apple is facing,” Singh added.

Ming-Chi Kuo, famed Apple analyst with KGI Securities, said earlier this week that it’s likely Apple “won’t repeat” the supply and production struggles it experienced with iPhone X with the new 2018 models.

“Shipments of the 2018 iPhone models will arrive on time and in stable supply during the late Q3 of 2018,” Kuo said.

Retailers in India who have seen huge iPhone X pre-orders are keeping their fingers crossed for the stocks to arrive before November 3, and also keep the stocks coming on to meet soaring demand.

“Considering that Apple enjoys a huge aspirational value and premium positioning, iPhone X will do well in the Indian market. The high price will not deter consumers from paying huge premium for Apple products,” Singh told IANS.

People normally upgrade iPhones in September/October but owing to the launch of iPhone 8 and iPhone X at the same time, they waited for X this time instead of upgrading to iPhone 8.

“The buyback offer from Reliance Jio will also help customers purchase iPhone X. Given the supply chain issue Apple is facing, Indian customers expect to face issues related to availability in the initial few weeks,” Satish Meena, senior Forecast Analyst, Forrester Research, told IANS.

IANS

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Google still allowing third-party apps read your Gmail: Report

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Washington, Sep 21: After facing a backlash over reports in July that third-party app developers can read your Gmail, Google has once again defended its policy to allow third-party apps to access and share data from Gmail accounts.

According to a CNNMoney report on Thursday, Gmail lets third-party developers integrate services into its email platform.

“Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data,” said the report, quoting from a Google letter sent to the US Senators.

Google also makes “the privacy policy easily accessible to users to review before deciding whether to grant access”, said Susan Molinari, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for the Americas at Google, in the letter.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that despite assuring users to “remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount”, the search giant is still allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts.

Gmail has nearly 1.4 billion users globally — more users than the next 25 largest email providers combined.

Later, Google said in a blog post that the company is continuously vetting developers and their apps that integrate with Gmail before it opens them for general access.

According to Google, it gives both enterprise admins and individual consumers transparency and control over how their data is used.

“We make it possible for applications from other developers to integrate with Gmail — like email clients, trip planners and customer relationship management (CRM) systems — so that you have options around how you access and use your email,” said Suzanne Frey, Director, Security, Trust and Privacy, Google Cloud.

Before a published, non-Google app can access your Gmail messages, it goes through a multi-step review process at the company, it said.

“It includes automated and manual review of the developer, assessment of the app’s privacy policy and homepage to ensure it is a legitimate app, and in-app testing to ensure the app works as it says it does,” Frey noted.

In 2017, Google had said its computers will soon stop reading the emails of its Gmail users to personalise their ads.

IANS

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This Alibaba robot will serve in China’s hotels soon

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Hangzhou (China), Sep 20: China’s e-tail giant Alibaba on Thursday unveiled a robot that will serve guests in the country’s hotels soon.

“The robotics industry is revolutionising the world and Alibaba Artificial Intelligence (AI) Labs is raising the stakes in this industry with the launch of service robots for hospitality sector starting October,” the company said at its annual Cloud Computing Conference 2018 being held here.

The robot was unveiled by Alibaba AI Labs, the AI product development arm, at the four-day tech summit in this scenic city where Alibaba is headquartered, about 180 km southwest of Shanghai.

“This robot will help bridge the gap between the guest needs and the response time they expect. It is the next step in the evolution towards smart hotels,” said the General Manager of Alibaba AI Labs, Lijuan Chen.

Guests staying in hotels will be able to communicate with the robot via voice command, touch and hand gestures. The robot will in turn respond to them through AliGenie, the software behind Alibaba’s smart speaker, Tmall Genie.

“The robot will be the ultimate assistant for hotel guests who want everything quickly at their fingertips,” added Lijuan.

With a multi-sensor data functionality, parallel computing for quick responses, autonomous navigation system to identify obstacles, communication systems to control elevators and identity verification through facial recognition technology, the one-metre tall robot can walk at a metre per second speed.

“After trial at a hotel, Alibaba AI Labs will assess its suitability for other areas, including hospitals, restaurants and office services,” the company added.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the global market for service robots is expected to grow from 20 to 25 per cent from 2018 to 2020.

The ninth edition of the tech conference is being held from September 19-22 here in the provincial capital of Zhejiang, featuring the latest trends in cloud computing, AI, Internet of Things and blockchain.

IANS

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Samsung Galaxy A7 launched with triple rear camera

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New Delhi, Sep 20: Tech giant Samsung Electronics on Thursday launched the pocket-friendly Galaxy A7 that comes with a powerful rear triple camera system.

The Galaxy A7 — to be priced below the Rs 30,000 price segment for India — will be available in select European and Asian markets from this fall and other markets in the near future, the company said in a statement.

The triple camera system comprises 24MP AF lens, an 8MP “Ultra Wide” lens (F2.4) and a 5MP “Depth” lens.

Coupled with the 24MP lens and Depth Lens, the Galaxy A7’s “Live Focus” feature enable users to control the depth of field by allowing them to adjust the “bokeh” effect for better pictures and experience.

“Samsung is committed to delivering meaningful innovation to all consumers across the Galaxy family, no matter who they are or where they are in the world” stated DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.

The Galaxy A7’s 8MP Ultra Wide Lens at the rear is placed at the same viewing angle as the human eye. The device ensures clear photos in both bright and low-light conditions.

“We’re excited to introduce innovative new features to the A series with the Galaxy A7, a practical but powerful device that is built to help make your everyday both convenient and extraordinary,” he added.

The device with 6.0-inch Super AMOLED display comes in three variants: 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage with a MicroSD Slot (up to 512GB); 4GB RAM and 128GB internal memory and 6GB RAM and 128ROM.

It runs Android 8.0 OS and houses a 3,300mAh battery.

Samsung is set to launch another “Galaxy A” series smartphone with a four rear-camera system device called A9 in Malaysia on October 11 that will be a premium device (above the Rs 30,000 price segment).

The company is refreshing its mid-price segment smartphones with flagship premium features for the rest of the year.

 

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