The penetration of mobile phones wasn’t fast enough in rural India during the early mobile days over a decade ago. However, the limited users of the handhelds were prompt enough to get carried away with the allurement of the web of free information. For them –long before they could figure out the technicalities of browsers –the gateway to connect with the universe was largely search engines especially Google. The iconic Google search --one of the classic examples of ‘humanisation of tech’, never ceased to entice its users all along. 

The scenario, however, has changed today. From an obtrusive shift in googling habit to domain-based search to an app culture, much has changed since then. People are more onto their apps than on web or online search. And the clear victim is Google. The universe of web –that people used to access primarily through Google Search, is gradually getting scrappy. The dark matter, which Google can’t crawl, index and present on search queries that users conduct, on the other side is gradually swelling at an astonishing pace. 

With 80% of the world information generated over the last two years alone, the web of crawlable information should have more diverse and democratic. However, the information entombed under social networks, single page architectures and most importantly the ever-growing apps is not only growing but also ushering in a new era where much of the information is getting locked for public access. 

With over four petabytes of data being generated by Facebook alone and over five lacs of new users joining the platform every day, the information appearing in search engine result pages (SERPs) isn’t in commensurate with the volume and variety of data being generated today. What happens when platforms such as Facebook and Twitter decide to be inaccessible to Search? After all, why would a reader conduct a web search when there is an app to do just that?

The threats to iconic Google Search

Dark Matter defeats the whole mission of Google which aims to put straight the world’s information and make it handy for everyone. On the flip side is the rise of domain-based search. 

The artificial intelligence team of Facebook has been working hard to ferret out the best search tactics for their platform. Lumos visual search system, developed by Facebook recently, can detect objects, scenes, animals, places, and clothes that appear in images or videos – and return relevant search results for users. 

With over 500 million tweets and 6,000 tweets every single second that are sent every single day, Twitter too has come up with several measures to filter out the noise and get the most relevant information you want. 

Forrester Research found that a third of online users started their product searches on Amazon, compared to 13 percent who started their search from a traditional search site. 

ComScore found that product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year, while shopping searches on Google have been flat. Indeed, when it comes to search and overall web traffic referrals, Google is still the top referral source. 

Facebook is now the top referral source for digital publishers. All this translates to severe implications for Google which is increasingly failing to catch up with the change recently. 

The search behemoth makes hundreds of changes in its search algorithm to improve search results for 1.2 trillion searches per year globally. Ironically, some of its major search enhancements were directed towards promoting its own products . The search giant has bought millions of its own ads to display their products atop search results, over those of ad-buying customers. On the business side, too, Google Search revenue saw a decline for the first time in 2016. 

From the usability perspective, the nature of ‘online search’ has changed. But Google search per se is still stuck with Blue Links –despite initiatives such as Hummingbird and Knowledge Graph have been largely useful for users. 

The big fight to be the king of app search

Mobile search and YouTube are still driving Google’s growth and most these revenues derive from mobile. The mobile era is ruled by two giants –Apples’ iOS and Google’s Android. However, with Apple marking a move into web and app search, the big challenge ahead for Google is to prove its relevance in mobile search. 

Apple, which did a revenue sharing agreement with its rival in 2014 and received $1 Billion, is now trying to get more app results in their search tools. Google’s desperation showed up when it released a series of enhancements to embolden search for mobile, including in-App indexing. 

Between October 2013 --when the search giant released app indexing for a limited set of publishers, and August 2016, the company released over 13 enhancements to augment the visibility of app content in search. But is it enough for Google to survive in the app era? Probably not! 

The last words: Is it time to reimagine search?

Amit Singhal –the then chief of Google Search, in an interview with Recode said, ‘Google will not only survive the transition to mobile apps, but will thrive in it.’ However, the story looks different today with new approaches of search coming up.Jelly Search --created by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and recently acquired by Pinterest, reimagines search as a social network which gets you answers from real people. 

When Google first launch semantic search, it was a major search breakthrough which was not only competent enough to decipher complex queries, it also helped users find the most relevant information. 

Can Google turn the tide for one more time before companies like Apple or any other disruptor makes a serious entry? Because ‘search’ will continue to flourish, even if there is no Google! 

Author : Mastufa Ahmed

Source : http://www.in.techradar.com/news/internet/web/whats-wrong-with-the-iconic-google-search/articleshow/57556216.cms

Categorized in Search Engine

Apple products have created major cottage industries for accessory makers over the years, but it always seems a little strange when a company makes an accessory for an Apple accessory.

That's the case with Pad & Quill's Leather Apple Pencil Grip, which is exactly what it sounds like: a leather cover for the Apple Pencil (for the iPad Pro). It not only allows you to get a better grip on Apple's electronic stylus but "solves every problem you never knew you had with your Pencil," according to the marketing materials for the product.

Pad & Quill, a small Minnesota-based company that makes swanky, handmade leather cases for iPhones and iPads, as well as leather Apple Watch straps, says it's been working on its latest accessory for a while.

The Leather Apple Pencil Grip features full-grain American leather, a hand-sewn baseball stitch closure, Lightning charger cap holder and a stainless steel carrying clip. It costs $50 -- or half the price of the Pencil -- and comes in three color options. It ships in early April.

Author : David Carnoy

Source : https://www.cnet.com/news/its-a-leather-apple-pencil-grip-yes-really/

Categorized in Science & Tech

When customers evaluate a product or service, they weigh its perceived value against the asking price. Marketers have generally focused much of their time and energy on managing the price side of that equation, since raising prices can immediately boost profits. But that’s the easy part: Pricing usually consists of managing a relatively small set of numbers, and pricing analytics and tactics are highly evolved.

What consumers truly value, however, can be difficult to pin down and psychologically complicated. How can leadership teams actively manage value or devise ways to deliver more of it, whether functional (saving time, reducing cost) or emotional (reducing anxiety, providing entertainment)? Discrete choice analysis—which simulates demand for different combinations of product features, pricing, and other components—and similar research techniques are powerful and useful tools, but they are designed to test consumer reactions to preconceived concepts of value—the concepts that managers are accustomed to judging. Coming up with new concepts requires anticipating what else people might consider valuable.

The amount and nature of value in a particular product or service always lie in the eye of the beholder, of course. Yet universal building blocks of value do exist, creating opportunities for companies to improve their performance in current markets or break into new ones. A rigorous model of consumer value allows a company to come up with new combinations of value that its products and services could deliver. The right combinations, our analysis shows, pay off in stronger customer loyalty, greater consumer willingness to try a particular brand, and sustained revenue growth.

We have identified 30 “elements of value”—fundamental attributes in their most essential and discrete forms. These elements fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact. Some elements are more inwardly focused, primarily addressing consumers’ personal needs. For example, the life-changing element motivation is at the core of Fitbit’s exercise-tracking products. Others are outwardly focused, helping customers interact in or navigate the external world. The functional element organizes is central to The Container Store and Intuit’s TurboTax, because both help consumers deal with complexities in their world.

In our research we don’t accept on its face a consumer’s statement that a certain product attribute is important; instead we explore what underlies that statement. For example, when someone says her bank is “convenient,” its value derives from some combination of the functional elements saves time, avoids hassle, simplifies, and reduces effort. And when the owner of a $10,000 Leica talks about the quality of the product and the pictures it takes, an underlying life-changing element is self-actualization, arising from the pride of owning a camera that famous photographers have used for a century.

The elements of value approach extends Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.”

Three decades of experience doing consumer research and observation for corporate clients led us to identify these 30 fundamental attributes, which we derived from scores of quantitative and qualitative customer studies. Many of the studies involved the well-known interviewing technique “laddering,” which probes consumers’ initial stated preferences to identify what’s driving them.

Our model traces its conceptual roots to the psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” which was first published in 1943. Then a faculty member at Brooklyn College, Maslow argued that human actions arise from an innate desire to fulfill needs ranging from the very basic (security, warmth, food, rest) to the complex (self-esteem, altruism). Almost all marketers today are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy. The elements of value approach extends his insights by focusing on people as consumers—describing their behavior as it relates to products and services.

It may be useful to briefly compare Maslow’s thinking with our model. Marketers have seen his hierarchy organized in a pyramid (although it was later interpreters, not Maslow himself, who expressed his theory that way). At the bottom of the pyramid are physiological and safety needs, and at the top are self-actualization and self-transcendence. The popular assumption has been that people cannot attain the needs at the top until they have met the ones below. Maslow himself took a more nuanced view, realizing that numerous patterns of fulfillment can exist. For example, rock climbers achieve self-actualization in unroped ascents of thousands of feet, ignoring basic safety considerations.

Similarly, the elements of value pyramid is a heuristic model—practical rather than theoretically perfect—in which the most powerful forms of value live at the top. To be able to deliver on those higher-order elements, a company must provide at least some of the functional elements required by a particular product category. But many combinations of elements exist in successful products and services today.

Most of these elements have been around for centuries and probably longer, although their manifestations have changed over time. Connects was first provided by couriers bearing messages on foot. Then came the Pony Express, the telegraph, the pneumatic post, the telephone, the internet, e-mail, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites.


The relevance of elements varies according to industry, culture, and demographics. For example, nostalgia or integrates may mean little to subsistence farmers in developing countries, whereas reduces risk and makes money are vital to them. Likewise, throughout history, self-actualization has been out of reach for most consumers, who were focused on survival (even if they found fulfillment through spiritual or worldly pursuits). But anything that saved time, reduced effort, or reduced cost was prized.

Growing Revenue

To test whether the elements of value can be tied to company performance—specifically, a company’s customer relationships and revenue growth—we collaborated with Research Now (an online sampling and data collection company) to survey more than 10,000 U.S. consumers about their perceptions of nearly 50 U.S.-based companies. Each respondent scored one company—from which he or she had bought a product or service during the previous six months—on each element, using a 0–10 scale. When companies had major branded divisions such as insurance or banking, we conducted separate interviews focused on those divisions. We then looked at the relationships among these rankings, each company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS)—a widely used metric for customer loyalty and advocacy—and the company’s recent revenue growth.

Our first hypothesis was that the companies that performed well on multiple elements of value would have more loyal customers than the rest. The survey confirmed that. Companies with high scores (defined as an 8 or above) on four or more elements from at least 50% of respondents—such as Apple, Samsung, USAA, TOMS, and Amazon—had, on average, three times the NPS of companies with just one high score, and 20 times the NPS of companies with none. More is clearly better—although it’s obviously unrealistic to try to inject all 30 elements into a product or a service. Even a consumer powerhouse like Apple, one of the best performers we studied, scored high on only 11 of the 30 elements. Companies must choose their elements strategically, as we will illustrate.

Our second hypothesis was that companies doing well on multiple elements would grow revenue at a faster rate than others. Strong performance on multiple elements does indeed correlate closely with higher and sustained revenue growth. Companies that scored high on four or more elements had recent revenue growth four times greater than that of companies with only one high score. The winning companies understand how they stack up against competitors and have methodically chosen new elements to deliver over time (though most of them did not use our specific framework).

Next we explored whether the elements of value could shed light on the astonishing market share growth of pure-play digital retailers. This, too, was confirmed empirically. Amazon, for instance, achieved high scores on eight mostly functional elements, illustrating the power of adding value to a core offering. It has chosen product features that closely correspond to those in our model. For example, in creating Amazon Prime, in 2005, the company initially focused on delivering reduces cost and saves time by providing unlimited two-day shipping for a flat $79 annual fee. Then it expanded Prime to include streaming media (provides access and fun/entertainment), unlimited photo storage on Amazon servers (reduces risk), and other features. Each new element attracted a large group of consumers and helped raise Amazon’s services far above commodity status. Prime has penetrated nearly 40% of the U.S. retail market, and Amazon has become a juggernaut of consumer value. That allowed the company to raise Prime’s annual fee to $99 in 2015—a large price increase by any standard.

Patterns of Value

To help companies think about managing the value side of the equation more directly, we wanted to understand how the elements translate to successful business performance. Are some of them more important than others? Do companies have to compete at or near the top of the pyramid to be successful? Or can they succeed by excelling on functional elements alone? What value do consumers see in digital versus omnichannel companies? We used our data to identify three patterns of value creation.

Some elements do matter more than others.

Across all the industries we studied, perceived quality affects customer advocacy more than any other element. Products and services must attain a certain minimum level, and no other elements can make up for a significant shortfall on this one.

After quality, the critical elements depend on the industry. In food and beverages, sensory appeal, not surprisingly, runs a close second. In consumer banking, provides access and heirloom (a good investment for future generations) are the elements that matter; in fact, heirloom is crucial in financial services generally, because of the connection between money and inheritance. The broad appeal of smartphones stems from how they deliver multiple elements, including reduces effort, saves time, connects, integrates, variety, fun/entertainment, provides access, and organizes. Manufacturers of these products—Apple, Samsung, and LG—got some of the highest value ratings across all companies studied.

Consumers perceive digital firms as offering more value.

Well-designed online businesses make many consumer interactions easier and more convenient. Mainly digital companies thus excel on saves time and avoids hassles. Zappos, for example, scored twice as high as traditional apparel competitors did on those two elements and several others. Overall, it achieved high scores on eight elements—way ahead of traditional retailers. Netflix outperformed traditional TV service providers with scores three times as high on reduces cost, therapeutic value, and nostalgia. Netflix also scored higher than other media providers on variety, illustrating how effectively it has persuaded customers, without any objective evidence, that it offers more titles.

Brick-and-mortar businesses can still win on certain elements.

Omnichannel retailers win on some emotional and life-changing elements. For example, they are twice as likely as online-only retailers to score high on badge value, attractiveness, and affiliation and belonging. Consumers who get help from employees in stores give much higher ratings to those retailers; indeed, emotional elements have probably helped some store-based retailers stay in business.

Moreover, companies that score high on emotional elements tend to have a higher NPS, on average, than companies that spike only on functional elements. This finding is consistent with previous Bain analysis showing that digital technologies have been transforming physical businesses rather than annihilating them. The fusion of digital and physical channels is proving more powerful than either one alone. That accounts in part for why E*TRADE has invested in physical branches and why retailers such as Warby Parker and Bonobos have launched physical stores. (See “Digital-Physical Mashups,” by Darrell K. Rigby, HBR, September 2014.) These patterns demonstrate that there are many ways to succeed by delivering various kinds of value. Amazon expanded functional excellence in a mass market. Apple excels on 11 elements in the pyramid, several of them high up, which allows the company to charge premium prices. TOMS excels on four elements, and one of them is self-transcendence, because the company gives away one pair of shoes to needy people for every pair bought by a customer. This appeals to a select group of people who care about charitable giving.

Putting the Elements to Work

These patterns are intriguing in their own right, and they illuminate how some companies have chosen to navigate upheaval in their industries. Ultimately, however, the elements must prove their usefulness in solving business challenges, particularly growing revenue. Companies can improve on the elements that form their core value, which will help set them apart from the competition and meet their customers’ needs better. They can also judiciously add elements to expand their value proposition without overhauling their products or services. 

Companies have begun to use our method in several practical ways, instilling a “hunt for value” mentality in their employees. Although many successful entrepreneurs have instinctively found ways to deliver value as part of their innovation process, that becomes harder as companies grow. The leaders of most large organizations spend less time with customers, and innovation often slows. The elements can help them identify new value once again.

Some companies have refined their product designs to deliver more elements. Vanguard, for instance, added a low-fee, partly automated advice platform to its core investment services in order to keep its clients better informed and, in many cases, to reduce risk. A chainsaw manufacturer that felt undifferentiated used the elements of value to identify specific ways of making future products distinctive. It focused on quality (defined as the results of using its products), saves time, and reduces cost. These three elements had the greatest effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty, and the company was able to build competitive advantage with them.

Other companies have used the elements to identify where customers perceive strengths and weaknesses. They start by understanding which elements are the most important for their industry and how they stack up on those relative to competitors. If a company trails in the crucial elements, it should improve on them before attempting to add new ones. A large consumer bank found that although it fared relatively well on avoids hassles and saves time, it did not score well on quality. The bank did extensive research into why its quality ratings were low and launched initiatives to strengthen anti-fraud operations and enhance the mobile app experience.

The broadest commercial potential of the elements of value model currently lies in developing new types of value to provide. Additions make the most sense when the organization can deliver them while using its current capabilities and making a reasonable investment, and when the elements align with the company’s brand.

Sometimes selecting an additional element is fairly straightforward: Acronis and other software providers added cloud backup and storage services to reinforce their brand promise of reduces risk for computer users. Another key element in cloud backup is provides access, because users can reach their files from any computer, tablet, or smartphone connected to the internet.

It’s not always so obvious which elements to add, however. One financial services company recognized that if it could attract more consumers to its retail banking business, it might be able to cross-sell insurance, investment advice, and other products. But how could it do that? The company arrived at the best answer through three largely qualitative research stages followed by a fourth, highly quantitative stage.

Structured listening.

Working with Bain, the company interviewed current and prospective customers across the United States, individually and in groups. The goal was to understand consumers’ priorities for a checking account, their frustrations, their compromises, and their reasons for using multiple institutions for banking services.

“Ideation” sessions.

We then used the elements to explore where improvements in value might resonate with consumers. Bain’s survey data had identified the elements that tend to reinforce customer advocacy in consumer banking, among them provides access, heirloom, and reduces anxiety. Those insights, combined with the consumer research, informed ideation sessions with a project team consisting of people from all customer-touching departments across the bank, not just marketers.

The sessions explored which elements might be used to form the nucleus of a new offering. For example, provides access and connects held appeal, because the bank might be able to provide access to mutual funds or connect consumers with financial planners. In the end, however, the team decided that neither element was feasible in this business, primarily for reasons of cost. Instead it developed 12 checking-account concepts that were built around reduces cost, makes money,and reduces anxiety. Reduces cost highlighted low fees, while reduces anxietyemphasized automatic savings. Reduces anxiety was particularly important, because most of the targeted consumers were living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to save money.

Customer-centric design of prototype concepts.

Each concept approved by the project team contained a different mix of product features, fees, and levels of customer service. Many of these new concepts could be delivered through an improved smartphone app that would increase customer engagement with the bank. Almost all the targeted consumers used smartphones for financial services (consistent with our earlier observations on the many elements of value delivered by these devices).

No other elements can make up for a significant shortfall on quality.

The financial services company then conducted further one-on-one interviews with consumers and got fast feedback that allowed it to winnow the 12 prototypes down to four concepts for enhanced value. Then, on the basis of the feedback, it refined them in the fourth, quantitative stage:

Rigorous choice modeling.

Having designed the four prototypes, the project team tested them with thousands of customers using discrete choice analysis, which requires people to make a sequence of explicit choices when presented with a series of product options. The researchers began by amassing a detailed list of the attributes for each prototype—ATM fees, overdraft fees, credit monitoring, customer service hours, and so on. They presented respondents with several sets of checking accounts that varied on these attributes, asking them to select which prototype from each set they preferred. This process was repeated several times, as attributes changed according to an experimental design, until the team derived the winning combination of attributes.

Two clear finalists emerged, which the bank recently launched in the marketplace. It will use customer demographics and the increase in demand to gauge the eventual winner.

Getting Started

The elements of value work best when a company’s leaders recognize them as a growth opportunity and make value a priority. It should be at least as important as cost management, pricing, and customer loyalty. Companies can establish a discipline around improving value in some key areas:

New-product development.

Our model can stimulate ideas for new products and for elements to add to existing products. Managers might ask, for example: Can we connect in a new way with consumers? Can our customers benefit from integration with other software applications? Can we add therapeutic value to our service?


Managers commonly view pricing as one of the most important levers in demand management, because when demand is constant, higher prices accrue directly to profits. But higher prices also change the consumer value equation, so any discussion about raising prices should consider the addition of value elements. Recall how Amazon’s judicious increases in value helped justify higher prices over time.

Customer segmentation.

Most companies have a formal method of segmenting their customers into demographic or behavioral groups, which presents an opportunity to analyze what each of these groups values and then develop products and services that deliver those elements.

Whenever an occasion to improve value presents itself, managers should start with a survey of current customers and likely prospects to learn where the company stands on the elements it is (or is not) delivering. The survey should cover both product and brand, because examinations of the two may yield different insights. For example, the product itself may deliver lots of value, whereas customers have difficulty getting service or technical support.

The elements of value have an organizational dimension as well: Someone in the company should be tapped to explicitly think about, manage, and monitor value. One pay-TV executive, lamenting the success of Netflix, told us, “I have a lot of people working on product features and service improvements, but I don’t have anyone really thinking about consumer value elements in a holistic manner.”

The concept of value remains rooted in psychology, but the elements of value can make it much less amorphous and mysterious. Abraham Maslow emphasized the bold, confident, positive potential of psychology. The elements can help managers creatively add value to their brands, products, and services and thereby gain an edge with consumers—the true arbiters of value.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2016 issue (pp.46–53) of Harvard Business Review. 

Author : Eric AlmquistJohn SeniorNicolas Bloch

Source : https://hbr.org/2016/09/the-elements-of-value

"I share your concerns," Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a staff memo. "We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company."

Google, Apple and other tech giants expressed dismay over an executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump that bars nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The U.S tech industry relies on foreign engineers and other technical experts for a sizeable percentage of its workforce. The order bars entry to the U.S. for anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

The move, ostensibly intended to prevent extremists from carrying out attacks in the U.S., could now also heighten tensions between the new Trump administration and one of the nation's most economically and culturally important industries. That's especially true if Trump goes on to revamp the industry's temporary worker permits known as H-1B visas, as some fear.

"I share your concerns" about Trump's immigration order, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a memo to employees obtained by the Associated Press. "It is not a policy we support."

"We have reached out to the White House to explain the negative effect on our coworkers and our company," he added.

Cook didn't say how many Apple employees are directly affected by the order, but said the company's HR, legal and security teams are in contact to support them. "Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do," Cook wrote — an apparent reference to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immigrant.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was forcefully blunt. "Trump's actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all," he wrote on Facebook. "Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe."

"It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity," he continued. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg criticized the order in similar, though more carefully couched, terms on Friday.

Technology investor Chris Sacca, an early backer of Uber and Instagram, said on Twitter that he would match ACLU donations up to $75,000 after the organization sued over the ban — and then decided to donate another $75,000, for a total of $150,000. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, the child of Iranians, complained that the order was "simple bigotry ."

Google told its employees from those countries to cancel any travel plans outside the U.S. and to consult with the company's human resources department if they're not currently in the U.S., according to a company-wide note described to the Associated Press. That memo was first reported by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in the note that at least 187 Google workers could be affected by Trump's order. It is not clear how many of those workers are currently traveling outside the U.S. "We've always made our views on immigration known publicly and will continue to do so," Pichai said in the memo.

Company representatives declined to discuss the memo or to answer questions about the affected employees. In an official statement, Google said: "We're concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S."

Microsoft also said it is providing legal advice and assistance to its employees from the banned countries, noting they are all working in the U.S. lawfully.

In some respects, the tech industry may be bracing for further immigration-related hits. Leaks of draft executive orders, still unverified, suggest that Trump might also revamp the H1-B program that lets Silicon Valley bring foreigners with technical skills to the U.S. for three to six years.

While the tech industry insists the H1-B program is vital, it has drawn fire for allegedly disadvantaging American programmers and engineers, especially given that the visas are widely used by outsourcing firms. Trump's attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is a long-time critic of the program.

Venky Ganesan, a managing director at venture capitalist firm Menlo Ventures, acknowledged that the program is "not perfect" and subject to some abuse, but noted that it provides an invaluable source of skilled workers and plays a "pivotal" role in the tech industry.

"If we want to buy American and hire American, we do that best by creating companies in America," he said. "Having the best and brightest from all over the world come and create companies in America is better than them creating companies in India, Israel or China."

Source:  http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7669985/google-apple-netflix-protest-trump-immigration-order

Categorized in News & Politics

Ten years ago, Steve Jobs went on stage and told an audience, ‘Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along and changes everything.’

That product was iPhone – and its 2007 launch kick-started the whole app economy, not to mention turning Apple into one of the wealthiest companies in history.

But with a billion iPhones sold, Apple is planning big changes this year.

Multiple reports from respected analysts and industry sources have suggested this year’s iPhone 8 – expected in September, as is traditional from Apple – will be a near-complete overhaul.

Here’s what to expect.

It’ll be nearly all screen – and slightly curved

Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – who has a long track record of accurate predictions of upcoming iPhone models – said that Apple is going to shake things up with a new ‘curved’ look in 2017.

The prediction has been echoed with rumours from within Apple’s supply chain.

Speaking to Nikkei Asian review earlier this year, source predicted that the next phone would be ‘equipped with a screen bent on the two sides’.

It’ll charge wirelessly

Picture Rex
Other smartphone brands such as Samsung already offer wireless charging – and Apple uses it in Apple Watch – so analysts believe the new iPhone will charge wirelessly.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities predicted wireless charging in at least one of the models on sale this year.

Instead of plugging phones into a cable, users will sit them on a dedicated charging pad to power them up.

It’ll ditch the Home button

As well as a larger screen dominating the front of the device, Apple may well ditch the Home button entirely – echoing rival Google, whose Pixel phone has no physical buttons on the front.

Manufacturing documents from Apple’s Asian supply chain suggest it’ll have a new ‘invisible’ home button, according to leaked documents seen by Apple Insider.

It’ll have a glass back

Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, Japanese business publication NIkkei said the new phone will come in three models – and all will have glass backs.

The look will be similar to the old ‘glass sandwich’ look on iPhone 4, analysts believe.

All three phones will have glass backs supplied by Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology in China.

‘Apple has tentatively decided that all the 5.5-inch, 5-inch and 4.7-inch models will have glass backs, departing from metal casings adopted by current iPhones, and Biel and Lens are likely to be providing all the glass backs for the new iPhones next year,’ the source said.

There might be a new, bigger model

Next year’s crop of iPhones could contain a mysterious high-powered new model – codenamed ‘Ferrari’ – according to leaked documents from Chinese manufacturers.

Apple Insider says that the leaked document hints at three handsets – titled D20, D21 and D22 – and that D20 and D21 will be the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus.

The third handset will be, ‘A completely redesigned high-end variant,’ according to the site.
They wrote, ‘Our idea was that if we could put people in a situation illustrating the possibility of their consciousness being outside of their body, then this would provide implicit evidence (but not necessarily explicit belief) that survival beyond the body is possible, and hence produce a reduction in fear of death.

Author : Rob Waugh

Source : https://ca.news.yahoo.com/five-big-surprises-to-expect-from-apples-total-redesign-of-iphone-this-year-171007863.html

Categorized in Others

(Preparation is key, says Harvard student Jessica Pointing.Jessica Pointing) 

Jessica Pointing knows how to interview.

The Harvard University junior received internship offers from companies including Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, McKinsey, Bain, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

A computer science and physics major, she has received offer letters for roles in software engineering, data science, product management, consulting, investment banking, trading, and quantitative finance.

How does she do it? She credits being prepared and relaxed with her string of successful interviews.

Pointing published her best interviewing tips on her blog, the Optimize Guide, which features educational and career advice for high school and college students. Business Insider has shared her tips below, with permission.

1. Do your homework

Pointing made sure to hit the books before interviewing.

"I treated the internship interviews as a class — I studied material from books and did practice problems before the test (aka the interview)," she said. "There is usually a go-to book for each industry." These books help prepare job candidates, covering likely interview topics and even featuring practice problems.

For example, for software engineering interviews, she recommends "Cracking the Coding Interview" by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, while people going for consulting gigs should brush up on "Case in Point" by Marc Cosentino.

2. Develop a structure for problem-solving

The stress of interviewing can make it pretty easy to blank when you're speaking to a hiring manager.

That's why Pointing says it's important to adopt a problem-solving mindset.

Here's the structure she used for answering questions in her software engineering interviews:

  • Repeat the question to make sure that you understand it and have all the relevant details.
  • Clarify the function input and output.
  • Check assumptions.
  • Give an approach to solving the problem.
  • Discuss the tradeoffs of the approach.
  • Code the solution.
  • Test the solution with a normal test case.
  • Test the solution with some edge cases.

She also broke down the approach she uses for consulting interviews:

  • Repeat the question to make sure that you understand it and have all the relevant details.
  • Explain the objectives of the case and ask if there are any more objectives.
  • Ask any clarifying questions.
  • Generate ideas and a solution.
  • Organize and structure the answer.
  • For calculations, give insight into what the calculated number means.
  • Summarize the case at the end.

"These structures ensure that I hit almost everything I need to mention for a successful interview," Pointing said. "In consulting, giving insights into a number you just calculated separates a good candidate from a great candidate."

3. Practice and strategize

"It is very important to practice in an interview setting before the interview," Pointing said. "If your college offers mock interviews, take them! Some companies offer mock interviews, too. There are other services out there, such as Refdash, that give you free mock interviews. Do a practice interview at every opportunity."

If at all possible, Pointing recommends scheduling your "dream interview" last. That way, all of your interviews before can serve as practice sessions.

4. Have a backup plan

Interviews can be pretty stressful.

So how can you keep your cool when the stakes are high?

Pointing advises having a backup plan in mind. You should always have an alternative path to pursue if your job or internship opportunity falls through.

"If you are interviewing for the summer and you go into an interview with no plan for the summer, then you will probably be way more stressed," Pointing said. "Instead, if you already have an offer or a vague idea of something you would do in the summer (e.g. travel), then the stakes for the interview aren't as high. The more options you already have, the more relaxed you will be in the interview and the higher your chances are for the job."

So take some pressure off yourself and make sure to sketch out a backup plan.

5. Invest time

The interviewing process isn't just about setting time aside to talk to a bunch of hiring managers. You'll need to devote time to reading, practicing, and perhaps even traveling.

"I traveled across the country more than six times in 12 weeks for my interviews and spent approximately 80 hours in planes," Pointing said. "Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to invest in your internship search process. You should dedicate a few hours each day practicing for interviews. I scheduled time in my calendar for interview practice for every morning (after my regular morning routine)."

6. Create a question bank

Pointing recommends that after each interview, job candidates write down interview questions and solutions, as well as their own strengths and areas they could improve on.

"In one of my software engineering interviews, I missed a particular data structure that would have allowed me to have given a more efficient solution, but I made a note of it, and in another interview later on, I ran into a question where I could use that data structure," she said. "After doing enough cases and problems, you will start to recognize patterns, and you will become more confident and quicker in solving problems."

Author: Áine Cain
Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/harvard-junior-received-internship-offers-202342580.html

Categorized in News & Politics

You might not have heard about it, but there’s been a huge amount of backlash over the new MacBook Pros that Apple announced in October. Most laptop users greeted the slick new hardware as they have with most computer upgrades, which is to say they took it in stride. But many of the most dedicated and vocal Apple devotees were not so subdued. With the new lineup of MacBook Pros, Apple is, in many ways, going a different route than it has gone in the past. It’s changing what a MacBook Pro is, and many Apple fans are not happy.

To understand their frustration, we have to understand what a MacBook Pro has represented up to this point and compare it to what Apple is offering this year. 

In the past, the MacBook Pro has always been a powerful laptop and Apple’s most capable portable computer. It’s always been the premier machine, a step ahead of the more consumer-level MacBook Air and standard MacBook. The word “Pro” in its name signaled its target audience: professional creative people who need powerful machines to do their work. Whether you needed to edit pictures, create videos, record music, write, develop apps, or work on high-end graphics, the Macbook Pro had your back.

The new MacBook Pros don’t quite line up with those ideals for creative professionals in 2016. Here’s where they fall short.

1. Power


The new Macbook Pro models all come with varying degrees of power | Thinkstock

The new line of MacBook Pros includes three separate machines: a 13-inch one, a 13-inch one with a Touch Bar, and a 15-inch one with a Touch Bar. We’ll get into the Touch Bar below, but the new models all come with varying degrees of power and pre-set upgrade options.

The thing is, they run on AMD’s Radeon chips. While the new chipset is an improvement over the previous MacBook Pros, it’s not competitive with the Nvidia chips that power many other pro-level laptops these days. As Colin Cornaby notes on his blog, “While AMD has improved their performance compared to their previous generation, they’ve failed to take the performance crown from Nvidia. Nvidia’s low end professional notebook GPU, the GTX 1060m, is still almost twice as fast as the Radeon 460.”

Then there’s the RAM issue. In all of the new MacBook Pro models, the maximum amount of memory you can upgrade to is 16GB. While that’s certainly enough for your average consumer, it’s not nearly enough for many of the creative types who have relied on Macs in the past.

2. Ports

The ports on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The new Macbook Pro doesn’t come with as many ports | Apple

Older MacBook Pros came with a wide array of ports that let you plug just about anything into them. They had a breakaway MagSafe port that made sure your computer wouldn’t careen to the floor if someone tripped over your power cable. They also had an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, a FireWire port, USB ports, a built-in SD card reader, and a headphone jack.

In the new MacBook Pros, the only ports you get are a handful of Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack. There’s nothing wrong with Thunderbolt 3 ports — they’re incredibly versatile. But taking advantage of their versatility requires you to buy a seemingly endless series of dongles, one for each thing you want to plug in. The headphone jack is curious, seeing as Apple made a big deal recently about removing that jack from the iPhone 7, so it’s surprising it made the cut.

3. Touch Bar

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar from above

The Touch Bar could be useful or gimmicky, we have yet to decide | Apple

The marquee feature of two of the three new MacBook Pros is the Touch Bar, a long touchscreen that replaces the row of function keys on the keyboard. The idea is that it displays unique touch buttons for whatever app you’re using.

The Touch Bar seems like Apple’s answer to the many competing notebooks that come with full touchscreens. The jury is still out on whether the Touch Bar will turn out to be a gimmick or something more useful, but it’s not a feature that seems immediately necessary. It’s not something that is likely to make up for the rest of the curious decisions Apple made in the new MacBook Pros.

4. Keyboard

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar from above

The new Macbook Pro keyboard isn’t as good as the previous one | Apple

As far as laptops go, typing on a 2012 MacBook Pro is as good as it gets. Each key has a fine, understated “clickiness” and a satisfying amount of travel that lets you feel each key as you press it. In other words, the old keyboard offered great feedback.

The new MacBook Pro keyboard is much more shallow, which means it offers much less feedback as you type. By all reports, there’s so little travel to the keys that it almost feels like you’re typing on a touchscreen. Apple invented this kind of keyboard in order to make the overall computer as thin as possible, but according to most people, the typing experience has suffered as a result. That’s a shame for anyone who writes or codes for a living, or anyone who has to deal with a hurricane of emails every day.

5. Price

Stacks of money

The new Macbook Pros are outrageously priced | iStock.com

MacBook Pros have always been pricy machines, but they’ve never cost as much as the new ones do. Compared to other similarly-specced laptops on the market, the MacBook Pro is downright overpriced. The entry-level one, the 13-inch notebook without a Touch Pad, starts at $1,500 and goes up from there. The most expensive one starts at $2,800 and goes all the way up to $4,300 if you upgrade it all the way. That’s a lot of money for a computer with less power than the more affordable competition.

6. Upgradeability

An opened hard drive

You won’t be able to upgrade the new Macbook Pro | iStock.com

Another thing Apple has given up in its quest for thinness and profits is upgradeability. In MacBooks made in 2012 and earlier, you could take a screwdriver to them and easily upgrade things like your hard drive and RAM. Those days are gone now, because those parts are now glued in. To get a bigger hard drive or more RAM, you essentially have to buy a new computer.

So much for anyone who wants the flexibility to make their machines more powerful as their needs change over time.

7. Priorities

Tim Cook stands in front of a MacBook

Tim Cook stands in front of a MacBook | Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Some of the new additions, like the Touch ID sensor that can let you skip typing in your passwords, will definitely be useful for Mac users. The Touch Bar could be extremely useful, though that remains to be seen. The problem is with Apple’s priorities.

The new MacBook Pros illustrate that Apple cares a whole lot about lightness, thinness, and battery life. These happen to be things most Pro users don’t care much about, since they tend to keep their machines on their desk most of the time. What Pro users care about is customization and versatility — things Apple has sacrificed in recent MacBook Pros. 

The kind of customer who would find the new MacBook Pro a solution to their needs isn’t a creative professional, it’s a regular consumer. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Apple targeting regular consumers; the problem is that Apple isn’t offering a replacement for people who need a powerful notebook to do their creative work.

It may not put much of a dent in Apple’s bottom line, but these shifting priorities are still making plenty of people angry and disappointed.

Author : Chris Reed

Source : http://www.cheatsheet.com/gear-style/why-people-are-pissed-about-the-new-apple-macbook-pros.html/7/

Categorized in Science & Tech

FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2007, file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. Jobs introduced the first iPhone a decade ago. Jobs' "magical product" reshaped culture, shook up industries and made it seem possible to do just about anything with a few taps on a screen while walking around with the equivalent of a computer in our pocket. 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Few people realized it at the time, but the world shifted fundamentally a decade ago when Steve Jobs pulled the first iPhone from Apple's bag of technological tricks.

"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," Jobs declared as he paced across a San Francisco stage.

It obviously wasn't an empty boast. We all know now that Jobs' "magical product" has reshaped culture, shaken up industries, put computers in billions of pockets and made it possible to do just about anything with a few taps on a screen. Besides its then 3.5-inch touch screen, the first iPhone featured a browser for on-the-go web surfing and built-in apps to check email and get directions.


Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since its debut, spawning millions of mobile applications and prodding other technology companies to make similar smartphones that have become like phantom limbs for many of us.

We use iPhones and their copycats to instantly share video and pictures with friends and family from almost anywhere. We use them to figure out where we are going. We use them to find the best deals while shopping in stores and to pay for stuff at the checkout stand. We use the phones to a hail ride, to tune instruments, to monitor our health and help find our next jobs.

Phones have gotten so smart that they even talk back to us via helpful digital concierges such as the iPhone's Siri and the recently introduced Assistant on Google's Pixel phone.

"IPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live," Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook, boasted in a retrospective that the Cupertino, California, company posted on its website.


The iPhone's revolutionary touch screen doomed the BlackBerry, another once-popular internet-connected phone. Mobile phones and their tablet cousins triggered a downturn in personal computer sales that is still unfolding.

An estimated 219 million desktop and laptop computers shipped worldwide last year, down from 264 million in 2007, according to the research firm Gartner Inc. Meanwhile, nearly 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped last year, up from 1.15 billion in 2007.

All told, Gartner estimates about 5 billion mobile phones are currently in use around the world compared to 1.3 billion PCs.

The eroding popularity of PCs spurred shake-ups at powerful tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, none of which adapted nimbly to the mobile world unleashed by the iPhone.

Then-Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer scoffed at Apple's glass-and-metal gadget, telling USA Today in April 2007 that "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance."

Microsoft wound up squandering the $7.6 billion that it spent to buy phone maker Nokia in a futile attempt to catch up to the iPhone. Ballmer stepped down as CEO three years ago and was replaced by Satya Nadella, who introduced versions of Microsoft's popular Office programs that worked on Apple's iPad — a tablet based on the iPhone.


The iPhone's success helped make Jobs a revered figure for many, and one whose October 2011 death was mourned around the world.

The device has established Apple as the world's most profitable company with earnings of $45.7 billion on sales of $216 billion during its latest fiscal year. (Prior to the iPhone's release, Apple posted an annual profit of $2 billion on sales of $19.3 billion.) Its stock-market value is hovering around $635 billion, thanks to a split-adjusted stock price that's risen by nearly a factor of 10 since the iPhone's debut.

Lately, though, the iPhone appears to be losing some steam. People are keeping older models for longer before upgrading or switching over to competing phones that run on Google's Android software.

Apple suffered its first-ever decline in iPhone sales in its last fiscal year, causing the company to miss its revenue projections and hitting Cook with a 15 percent pay cut.

Most smartphones now run on Android, partly because Google gives away the software. That has helped iPhone rivals woo price conscious consumers, especially outside the U.S., with phones that are much cheaper than the iPhone, whose latest models now cost more than $649 to $849.

In his statement, though, Cook promised the iPhone is "just getting started. The best is yet to come."

Author : Michael Liedtke

Source : http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Apple-proved-a-phone-can-change-the-world-in-just-10845999.php

Categorized in Science & Tech

Reports suggest that Apple will be introducing a brand new 10.5-inch screen size

Apple is expected to launch three new iPads this year, including a 'bezel-free' model.

It will also release a second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, along with a more affordable 9.7-inch model, according to new reports. 

The mid-range version will be a completely new size for Apple, at 10- to 10.5-inches, with the firm reportedly still experimenting with the exact dimenions.

"The new models will come in 12.9-inch, 10-10.5-inch and 9.7-inch versions", said analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities.

"We note the 12.9-inch model will be the second generation of the existing 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 10-10.5-inch model will be the high-end model equipped with a narrow bezel design, and the 9.7-inch model will be the low-priced option".

The analyst has a good track record with reporting on Apple product releases before they launch, with the latest leak being reported by 9to5.com .


Apple could be introducing a brand new 10-10/.5-inch model with a drastically reduced bezel (Photo: 9to5mac)

The two larger models are said to feature Apple's A10X processor, while the smaller version will come with an A9 chip made by Samsung LSI.

Kuo predicts that the low-priced 9.7-inch iPad will account for around 50-60% of new iPad sales.

Reports suggest that the new iPads could be unveiled as early as March or April.

Last month, it was reported that Apple could mark the 10th anniversary of its smartphone this year by launching the iPhone alongside the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus.

This supposed iPhone 8 is believed to be an even more powerful version of the phone and is being codenamed "Ferrari".

Leaked documents describe a high-powered "Ferrari" handset with wireless charging, an "invisible" home button and an AMOLED screen without any bezels around the side.


Source : http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/apple-launch-three-new-ipads-9589152

Categorized in Science & Tech

2017 will be a massive year for the ever popular and powerful Apple corporation, with the Californian company seeking to reinvigorate its product range. This is a critical 12 months in the history of Apple, as the consumer electronics giant has lost a little bit of momentum recently. At one time, AAPL’s share price was rising inexorably, while the improving fortunes of the company seemed relentless. Apple has been stunned by a little criticism and negative perception over the last year or so, and this could shock the company into serious action in 2017.

iPhone 8

Top of the list of Apple devices in 2017 will undoubtedly be the eighth generation iPhone. The iPhone 8 will mark the tenth anniversary of this iconic smartphone, and AAPL will undoubtedly wish to deliver something outstanding to acknowledge this occasion.

Early reports on the iPhone 8 suggest that Apple will significantly redesign the smartphone, and that an OLED display, possible curved screen and new sleek, glass-based design will be central to this process.

Several other innovations have been linked with the iPhone 8, and the overall feeling is that AAPL will produce a far more revolutionary release in 2017 than in recent generations, with the intention of particularly marking the tenth iPhone anniversary.

MacBook Pro 2016

Touchscreen MacBook

One of the intriguing rumors being linked with the AAPL corporation for 2017 is that it will produce a touchscreen MacBook. This would obviously combine the hugely regarded laptop computer with the touchscreen capabilities of the iPad range. Many consumers particularly desire this innovation, with the MacBook undoubtedly remaining hugely popular, but still in need of innovations according to some users.

This can be very much filed under rumors, as Apple has yet to confirm that it will indeed produce this device in 2017, but several analysts have suggested that it is on the horizon.

Siri-Powered Speakers

Another intriguing product which Apple has been linked with in 2017 is the release of Siri-powered speakers. The notion of a speaker system in the home with an integrated artificial intelligence program is not new, indeed both Amazon and Google have already released such hardware. But it would be a new product niche for Apple, and it is an area tipped for growth in the coming years. Siri-powered speakers would essentially contribute to the growing smart home niche, delivering high-performance far-field voice recognition.

The precise functionality which such a piece of hardware would deliver is not known as of yet, and also AAPL has yet to confirm the existence of the device, let alone any concrete release date. But there have been rumors of a Siri-powered speaker system for several months, rekindling memories of the Apple Watch, which was also rumored well ahead of its ultimate release. 

HomeKit hardware

HomeKit is also likely to be seriously updated in 2017, with the smart home market becoming increasingly important. It must be said that AAPL has struggled to encourage people to utilize HomeKit as of yet, but it is believed that this process will develop in the next twelve months with the corporation releasing hardware to accompany the existing software.

This would be a logical move for AAPL considering the fact that it already has a reputation for producing both proprietary hardware and software.

Augmented reality

Apple supremo Tim Cook has already made his enthusiasm for augmented reality clear over the last couple of years, which strongly implies that Apple will move into the augmented reality market sooner rather than later. It is possible that AAPL could embrace the iPhone as a source for delivering augmented reality, but a standalone device of some sort, either as an alternative or companion, is also possible.

Augmented reality is not to be confused with virtual reality, but there are obvious similarities between the two, and VR is already becoming part of the mainstream technology landscape.

apple black friday deals ipadImage Source: Apple.Inc

iPad range

Apple is also likely to update its iconic iPad tablet range in 2017, with an eighth generation of the computing series expected. Apple will probably release new 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models next year, as it attempts to restore growth to the tablet marketplace. It is no secret that tablets have stagnated significantly over the last couple of years, after the early iPad releases were hugely successful for AAPL.

Thus, Apple must demonstrate in 2017 that it can deliver something outstanding and truly innovative with the iPad range. It has attempted to diversify with the release of the iPad Pro in various screen sizes, attempting to essentially be all things to all tablet consumers. But it must do more than this in the coming months, if it is to convince people to invest in tablet computers once more.

4K 21.5-inch iMac

iMac 2017

Apple will also tweak the iMac desktop range in 2017. Arguably, the iMac is the most revered desktop computer in the world, not least due to its unparalleled, and instantly recognizable, design. The 5K resolution iMac in 2017 will embrace USB Type-C connectors and improved graphics chips, while there will also obviously be processor updates.

Apple Watch 3

Apple could also refresh its smartwatch range in 2017, with the Apple Watch 3 potentially hitting the market. AAPL has still to demonstrate that the Apple Watch can establish itself as a mainstream device, and it would love to do this in 2017. Considering that the forthcoming Google Pixel features circular faces, it is possible that AAPL could also consider producing a model of the Apple Watch with a round display.

Apple Car ConceptImage Credit: Automobile Italia/Flickr

Apple Car

Finally, the much vaunted Apple Car will obviously not appear in 2017, but there is the outside possibility that AAPL could finally acknowledge its existence. Failing that, we could be in line for more leaks from the Cupertino-based company which provide tantalizing details on this seemingly inevitable electric car release.

Author : Christopher Morris

Source : http://www.valuewalk.com/2017/01/apple-release-2017-list/

Categorized in Others

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