Can Google and HTC crack the Apple-Samsung smartphone duopoly?

Bing is partnering with HTC’s Pixel division in order to shore up Google hardware. (Reuters)

Google late Wednesday announced it would pay $1.1 billion for workers from HTC’s smartphone unit, prompting waves upon waves of speculation by what might come next out of this partnership.

However I get one hope: that Google’s clout and HTC’s design can provide us something to challenge Apple and Samsung.

Now, allow me to be obvious. I am not against either Apple or Samsung — both of them make nice phones. I am also not to imply there’s not other smartphone companies available, since there are. But while you will find firms doing interesting things — Essential, LG, even Google’s former acquisition Motorola — it certainly seems like this really is Apple’s and Samsung’s market and we are all just residing in it.

Getting more players can also be great for innovation. “Two is preferable to one. But three is preferable to two,” stated Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.

Yes, both Apple and Samsung face pressure globally from smartphone makers, specifically in China, where cheaper smartphones from companies for example Huawei are becoming better. But it is still not to say Apple and Samsung are at the very top when, combined, they create up 74 percent from the U.S. smartphone market, based on comScore, in addition to  94 percent from the global industry’s profits, based on Strategy Analytics.

Many have attempted and unsuccessful to a minimum of be a viable third player for that smartphone world. Microsoft and Nokia connected and, for some time, released interesting phones that ultimately did not capture consumers’ hearts. Google’s purchase of Motorola would be a obvious attempt to defend myself against the iPhone and Samsung. As well as HTC appeared as if it’d a go at being a viable third player, with unique phone designs and quality that made its phones stick out from the fairly boring pack of black (or silver) slabs.

But, obviously, it wasn’t intended to be. HTC only agreed to be not large enough, after attempting to shore up sales by getting into the growing market of low-finish smartphones, it lost a number of its sheen around the high-finish.

Google has additionally unsuccessful to create a major dent looking for hardware generally. It will good enough using its own phones — first the Nexus, the Pixel — however they aren’t a primary focus for the organization and haven’t damaged out beyond a far more limited market of Android enthusiasts. Google’s transfer to hardware using its Nest acquisition continues to be effective somewhat, but additionally fraught with insider drama. There has been newer successes, like the Chromecast and also the Google Home, but they’re more the exception compared to rule.

An optimist could see this partnership, which puts a large number of HTC’s engineers underneath the supervision of Google’s hardware heavyweight Ron Osterloh, and state that getting these lenders together will permit them to concentrate on an item and iterate rapidly. With Google’s checkbook and also the secrets of the Android operating-system, there’s possibility of an Apple-like unification of software and hardware design.

A pessimist could state that there is no need to believe that these businesses, which happen to be cooperating on Pixel, can accomplish an objective neither have accomplished individually.

To succeed at cracking Apple’s and Samsung’s grips will need a transfer of Google’s priorities like a company — and we have had some indications of this, but we have been lower this road before. As Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research stated inside a Thursday note to investors, Google’s “hardware acquisitions seem like undesirable orphans which have no enterprise being a member of Google. Google has yet to exhibit any sign it is familiar with in the mistakes, but better late than never.”

Google to purchase a part of HTC’s smartphone operations for $1bn

Google has announced an offer to get a part of Taiwanese firm HTC Corp’s smartphone operations for around $1bn.

The offer won’t involve purchasing an immediate stake and HTC continuously run its remaining smartphone business.

Google has searched for to strengthen its hardware capacity with deals and product launches, and this past year hired Ron Osterloh, an old Motorola executive, to operate its hardware division.

“For Google, this agreement further reinforces its dedication to smartphones and overall purchase of its emerging hardware business,” looking giant stated inside a statement.

HTC shares were on the buying and selling halt on Thursday. HTC is really a lengthy-time partner of Google and manufactures the united states firm’s latest Pixel smartphone.

Google’s technique of licensing Android free of charge and benefiting from embedded services for example search and maps makes Android the dominant mobile operating-system with 89% from the global market, based on IDC.

However it has lengthy been annoyed by the emergence of numerous variations of Android and also the sporadic experience which has created. Pushing its very own hardware will probably complicate its relationship with Android licensees, analysts stated.

“HTC is past its prime when it comes to as being a leading hardware design house, due to the fact of methods much it’s had to lessen through the years due to declining revenues,” stated Ryan Reith, an analyst at research company IDC.

“Unless Google desires to control hardware because of its other companies like Home and Chromebooks additionally to smartphones, i then don’t check this out like a bet that takes care of.Inches

HTC, which once offered one out of 10 smartphones globally, has witnessed its share of the market dwindle dramatically when confronted with heated competition from Apple, Samsung and Chinese rivals.

Its share cost has additionally endured steep declines in the last few years. The stock has fallen 12% to date this season and the organization may be worth around $1.9bn.

HTC’s worldwide smarpthone share of the market declined to .9% this past year from the peak of 8.8% this year, based on IDC. Google’s Pixel also had under 1% share of the market because it premiered last year, by having an believed 2.8 million shipments, IDC estimates.

Chips Off the Old Block: Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

SAN FRANCISCO — We expect a lot from our computers these days. They should talk to us, recognize everything from faces to flowers, and maybe soon do the driving. All this artificial intelligence requires an enormous amount of computing power, stretching the limits of even the most modern machines.

Now, some of the world’s largest tech companies are taking a cue from biology as they respond to these growing demands. They are rethinking the very nature of computers and are building machines that look more like the human brain, where a central brain stem oversees the nervous system and offloads particular tasks — like hearing and seeing — to the surrounding cortex.

After years of stagnation, the computer is evolving again, and this behind-the-scenes migration to a new kind of machine will have broad and lasting implications. It will allow work on artificially intelligent systems to accelerate, so the dream of machines that can navigate the physical world by themselves can one day come true.

This migration could also diminish the power of Intel, the longtime giant of chip design and manufacturing, and fundamentally remake the $335 billion a year semiconductor industry that sits at the heart of all things tech, from the data centers that drive the internet to your iPhone to the virtual reality headsets and flying drones of tomorrow.

“This is an enormous change,” said John Hennessy, the former Stanford University president who wrote an authoritative book on computer design in the mid-1990s and is now a member of the board at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. “The existing approach is out of steam, and people are trying to re-architect the system.”

The existing approach has had a pretty nice run. For about half a century, computer makers have built systems around a single, do-it-all chip — the central processing unit — from a company like Intel, one of the world’s biggest semiconductor makers. That’s what you’ll find in the middle of your own laptop computer or smartphone.

Now, computer engineers are fashioning more complex systems. Rather than funneling all tasks through one beefy chip made by Intel, newer machines are dividing work into tiny pieces and spreading them among vast farms of simpler, specialized chips that consume less power.

Changes inside Google’s giant data centers are a harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the industry. Inside most of Google’s servers, there is still a central processor. But enormous banks of custom-built chips work alongside them, running the computer algorithms that drive speech recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence.

Google reached this point out of necessity. For years, the company had operated the world’s largest computer network — an empire of data centers and cables that stretched from California to Finland to Singapore. But for one Google researcher, it was much too small.

In 2011, Jeff Dean, one of the company’s most celebrated engineers, led a research team that explored the idea of neural networks — essentially computer algorithms that can learn tasks on their own. They could be useful for a number of things, like recognizing the words spoken into smartphones or the faces in a photograph.

In a matter of months, Mr. Dean and his team built a service that could recognize spoken words far more accurately than Google’s existing service. But there was a catch: If the world’s more than one billion phones that operated on Google’s Android software used the new service just three minutes a day, Mr. Dean realized, Google would have to double its data center capacity in order to support it.

“We need another Google,” Mr. Dean told Urs Hölzle, the Swiss-born computer scientist who oversaw the company’s data center empire, according to someone who attended the meeting. So Mr. Dean proposed an alternative: Google could build its own computer chip just for running this kind of artificial intelligence.

But what began inside data centers is starting to shift other parts of the tech landscape. Over the next few years, companies like Google, Apple and Samsung will build phones with specialized A.I. chips. Microsoft is designing such a chip specifically for an augmented-reality headset. And everyone from Google to Toyota is building autonomous cars that will need similar chips.

This trend toward specialty chips and a new computer architecture could lead to a “Cambrian explosion” of artificial intelligence, said Gill Pratt, who was a program manager at Darpa, a research arm of the United States Department of Defense, and now works on driverless cars at Toyota. As he sees it, machines that spread computations across vast numbers of tiny, low-power chips can operate more like the human brain, which efficiently uses the energy at its disposal.

“In the brain, energy efficiency is the key,” he said during a recent interview at Toyota’s new research center in Silicon Valley.

Change on the Horizon

There are many kinds of silicon chips. There are chips that store information. There are chips that perform basic tasks in toys and televisions. And there are chips that run various processes for computers, from the supercomputers used to create models for global warming to personal computers, internet servers and smartphones.

For years, the central processing units, or C.P.U.s, that ran PCs and similar devices were where the money was. And there had not been much need for change.

In accordance with Moore’s Law, the oft-quoted maxim from Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, the number of transistors on a computer chip had doubled every two years or so, and that provided steadily improved performance for decades. As performance improved, chips consumed about the same amount of power, according to another, lesser-known law of chip design called Dennard scaling, named for the longtime IBM researcher Robert Dennard.

By 2010, however, doubling the number of transistors was taking much longer than Moore’s Law predicted. Dennard’s scaling maxim had also been upended as chip designers ran into the limits of the physical materials they used to build processors. The result: If a company wanted more computing power, it could not just upgrade its processors. It needed more computers, more space and more electricity.

Researchers in industry and academia were working to extend Moore’s Law, exploring entirely new chip materials and design techniques. But Doug Burger, a researcher at Microsoft, had another idea: Rather than rely on the steady evolution of the central processor, as the industry had been doing since the 1960s, why not move some of the load onto specialized chips?

During his Christmas vacation in 2010, Mr. Burger, working with a few other chip researchers inside Microsoft, began exploring new hardware that could accelerate the performance of Bing, the company’s internet search engine.

At the time, Microsoft was just beginning to improve Bing using machine-learning algorithms (neural networks are a type of machine learning) that could improve search results by analyzing the way people used the service. Though these algorithms were less demanding than the neural networks that would later remake the internet, existing chips had trouble keeping up.

Mr. Burger and his team explored several options but eventually settled on something called Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or F.P.G.A.s.: chips that could be reprogrammed for new jobs on the fly. Microsoft builds software, like Windows, that runs on an Intel C.P.U. But such software cannot reprogram the chip, since it is hard-wired to perform only certain tasks.

With an F.P.G.A., Microsoft could change the way the chip works. It could program the chip to be really good at executing particular machine learning algorithms. Then, it could reprogram the chip to be really good at running logic that sends the millions and millions of data packets across its computer network. It was the same chip but it behaved in a different way.

Microsoft started to install the chips en masse in 2015. Now, just about every new server loaded into a Microsoft data center includes one of these programmable chips. They help choose the results when you search Bing, and they help Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-computing service, shuttle information across its network of underlying machines.

Teaching Computers to Listen

In fall 2016, another team of Microsoft researchers — mirroring the work done by Jeff Dean at Google — built a neural network that could, by one measure at least, recognize spoken words more accurately than the average human could.

Xuedong Huang, a speech-recognition specialist who was born in China, led the effort, and shortly after the team published a paper describing its work, he had dinner in the hills above Palo Alto, Calif., with his old friend Jen-Hsun Huang, (no relation), the chief executive of the chipmaker Nvidia. The men had reason to celebrate, and they toasted with a bottle of champagne.

Xuedong Huang and his fellow Microsoft researchers had trained their speech-recognition service using large numbers of specialty chips supplied by Nvidia, rather than relying heavily on ordinary Intel chips. Their breakthrough would not have been possible had they not made that change.

“We closed the gap with humans in about a year,” Microsoft’s Mr. Huang said. “If we didn’t have the weapon — the infrastructure — it would have taken at least five years.”

Because systems that rely on neural networks can learn largely on their own, they can evolve more quickly than traditional services. They are not as reliant on engineers writing endless lines of code that explain how they should behave.

But there is a wrinkle: Training neural networks this way requires extensive trial and error. To create one that is able to recognize words as well as a human can, researchers must train it repeatedly, tweaking the algorithms and improving the training data over and over. At any given time, this process unfolds over hundreds of algorithms. That requires enormous computing power, and if companies like Microsoft use standard-issue chips to do it, the process takes far too long because the chips cannot handle the load and too much electrical power is consumed.

So, the leading internet companies are now training their neural networks with help from another type of chip called a graphics processing unit, or G.P.U. These low-power chips — usually made by Nvidia — were originally designed to render images for games and other software, and they worked hand-in-hand with the chip — usually made by Intel — at the center of a computer. G.P.U.s can process the math required by neural networks far more efficiently than C.P.U.s.

Nvidia is thriving as a result, and it is now selling large numbers of G.P.U.s to the internet giants of the United States and the biggest online companies around the world, in China most notably. The company’s quarterly revenue from data center sales tripled to $409 million over the past year.

“This is a little like being right there at the beginning of the internet,” Jen-Hsun Huang said in a recent interview. In other words, the tech landscape is changing rapidly, and Nvidia is at the heart of that change.

Creating Specialized Chips

G.P.U.s are the primary vehicles that companies use to teach their neural networks a particular task, but that is only part of the process. Once a neural network is trained for a task, it must perform it, and that requires a different kind of computing power.

After training a speech-recognition algorithm, for example, Microsoft offers it up as an online service, and it actually starts identifying commands that people speak into their smartphones. G.P.U.s are not quite as efficient during this stage of the process. So, many companies are now building chips specifically to do what the other chips have learned.

Google built its own specialty chip, a Tensor Processing Unit, or T.P.U. Nvidia is building a similar chip. And Microsoft has reprogrammed specialized chips from Altera, which was acquired by Intel, so that it too can run neural networks more easily.

Other companies are following suit. Qualcomm, which specializes in chips for smartphones, and a number of start-ups are also working on A.I. chips, hoping to grab their piece of the rapidly expanding market. The tech research firm IDC predicts that revenue from servers equipped with alternative chips will reach $6.8 billion by 2021, about 10 percent of the overall server market.

Across Microsoft’s global network of machines, Mr. Burger pointed out, alternative chips are still a relatively modest part of the operation. And Bart Sano, the vice president of engineering who leads hardware and software development for Google’s network, said much the same about the chips deployed at its data centers.

Mike Mayberry, who leads Intel Labs, played down the shift toward alternative processors, perhaps because Intel controls more than 90 percent of the data-center market, making it by far the largest seller of traditional chips. He said that if central processors were modified the right way, they could handle new tasks without added help.

But this new breed of silicon is spreading rapidly, and Intel is increasingly a company in conflict with itself. It is in some ways denying that the market is changing, but nonetheless shifting its business to keep up with the change.

Two years ago, Intel spent $16.7 billion to acquire Altera, which builds the programmable chips that Microsoft uses. It was Intel’s largest acquisition ever. Last year, the company paid a reported $408 million buying Nervana, a company that was exploring a chip just for executing neural networks. Now, led by the Nervana team, Intel is developing a dedicated chip for training and executing neural networks.

“They have the traditional big-company problem,” said Bill Coughran, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital who spent nearly a decade helping to oversee Google’s online infrastructure, referring to Intel. “They need to figure out how to move into the new and growing areas without damaging their traditional business.”

Intel’s internal conflict is most apparent when company officials discuss the decline of Moore’s Law. During a recent interview with The New York Times, Naveen Rao, the Nervana founder and now an Intel executive, said Intel could squeeze “a few more years” out of Moore’s Law. Officially, the company’s position is that improvements in traditional chips will continue well into the next decade.

Mr. Mayberry of Intel also argued that the use of additional chips was not new. In the past, he said, computer makers used separate chips for tasks like processing audio.

But now the scope of the trend is significantly larger. And it is changing the market in new ways. Intel is competing not only with chipmakers like Nvidia and Qualcomm, but also with companies like Google and Microsoft.

Google is designing the second generation of its T.P.U. chips. Later this year, the company said, any business or developer that is a customer of its cloud-computing service will be able to use the new chips to run its software.

While this shift is happening mostly inside the massive data centers that underpin the internet, it is probably a matter of time before it permeates the broader industry.

The hope is that this new breed of mobile chip can help devices handle more, and more complex, tasks on their own, without calling back to distant data centers: phones recognizing spoken commands without accessing the internet; driverless cars recognizing the world around them with a speed and accuracy that is not possible now.

In other words, a driverless car needs cameras and radar and lasers. But it also needs a brain.

iPhone X: even an awkward launch glitch can’t knock Apple from the top

2010 iPhone launch event hit a rocky patch when Apple executive Craig Federighi visited demonstrate the iPhone X’s facial recognition technology, Face ID, which replaces the fingerprint scanner like a security mechanism.

iPhone have been revealed with huge fanfare, caused a brief crash in Apple’s market price. The stock soon rallied, however, as analysts described 2010 launch event as putting Apple within an “extraordinarily strong” position.

Held the very first time inside a 1,000-seat auditorium within the company’s recently-built “space ship” campus, Apple Park, the annual product showcase unveiled three new iPhones, our prime-finish iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, plus an upgraded Apple Watch and 4K Apple TV.

Prior to the product bulletins, there is a extended portion of the keynote focused on Apple’s retail strategy, where the company’s mind of retail Angela Ahrendts stated the organization no more describes its shops as “stores” but “town squares”. This, she stated, was simply because they host a lot of occasions and workout sessions they have become “gathering places”.

Best of luck attempting to hold a protest or picnic during these corporate “town squares”.

The iPhone X was brought to the crowd by Chief executive officer Tim Prepare while using “one more thing” format that former Chief executive officer Jobs accustomed to surprise and delight people throughout his keynotes. Regrettably for Prepare, hardly any within the announcement was surprising because of major leaks within the preceding days.

“If there hadn’t been all of the leaks there will be a large amount of big surprises and individuals might have leave amazed. The leaks required the advantage from the bulletins, but we’ve still seen a really strong group of items that re-establish Apple’s lead in many groups,” stated Apple analyst Jan Dawson.

The iPhone X includes some striking features, such as the an advantage-to-edge screen, no desltop button (since the screen now spans the whole front from the device), and also the infrared-powered facial recognition system that Apple states is 20 occasions safer than Touch ID (when it’s working). Face ID isn’t just employed for unlocking the telephone, but additionally paying and logging into banking apps.

“The iPhone is locked until your perception also it recognizes you,” stated senior vice-president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, adding it recognizes the face even though you improve your hair do or are putting on glasses or perhaps a hat.

New iPhone models on display at the Apple launch event in Cupertino, California. New iPhone models displayed in the Apple launch event in Cupertino, California. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters

Plus the iPhone X, Apple launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which have a more effective processor, better, bassier loudspeakers as well as an upgraded camera with portrait lighting to match better images of people. All the phones could be billed wirelessly utilizing a Qi standard charging pad.

Additionally towards the iPhones, the Plastic Valley titan unveiled a brand new form of its smartwatch, Apple Watch Series 3, with cellular connectivity, and that means you may take calls without getting to pair it having a phone, enhanced fitness monitoring and training tools, and streaming service Apple Music.

Additionally, it upgraded its TV streaming box, Apple TV, with 4K resolution – a business standard Apple continues to be slow to consider.

Analysts noted that Apple continues to be heavily dependent on the iPhone for the majority of its revenue, but acknowledge that the organization is diversifying into spaces including health, home automation and content.

“The iPhone will be the headline,” stated Dawson. “Everything else hangs off it.”

Nevertheless, analyst Geoff Blaber from CSS insight stated that Apple is within “an extraordinarily strong position”.

“In hardware terms, it’s really towards the top of the smartphone market. Samsung is really a fierce competitor but Apple is constantly on the lead and differentiate in the way the hardware, software and services get together. That is why Apple is constantly on the define the.Inches

The $1tn question: what lengths can the brand new iPhone 8 take Apple?

Apple’s stock exchange value is heading perfectly into a new milestone and it is latest affiliate marketing on 12 September could push the tech giant nearer to becoming the very first ever $1tn (£760bn) company.

In the finish of a week ago, their market capitalisation hovered around $830bn, ongoing a ten-year run which has generally headed upwards since a minimal of $69bn in The month of january 2009, throughout the economic crisis. Tuesday’s event, using the iPhone 8 the star attraction, will make an effort to meet investors’ – and customers’ – vaulting expectations.

What will Apple tempt users with to warrant Wall Street’s belief in the future profits? An Apple spokesman declined to go over what’s going to be revealed in the event within the company’s $5bn, spaceship-formed Cupertino headquarters. However, although Apple is definitely tight-lipped, this season leaks from the suppliers, and from the organization itself (through details baked into an application update) have told us much about what’s coming.


The smartphone marketplace is more competitive than ever before, with sophisticated devices readily available for much under the rumoured £900 price of the iPhone 8. Most rivals are swallowing losses by cutting prices to win sales but Apple is heading upmarket to safeguard the iPhone, that is essential to its success.

Three new models are anticipated: two updating its present 7 and seven Plus models (most likely known as the 7S and 7S Plus), and something entirely new – the iPhone 8. Internally referred to as “D22”, its screen will unlock via facial recognition, potentially replacing the fingerprint unlock system used since 2013. The screen may also cover a lot of front, allowing the display to visit to the perimeters. And also the screen uses a technology purchased from Samsung – known as Amoled, or active matrix organic light-emitting diode – which provides better colours. It might also mean the brand new phone have a longer battery existence since it doesn’t need to be backlit, unlike the LCD screens Apple uses presently.

But none of them of those technological tweaks are cheap – therefore, the £900 cost tag, when compared to £719 beginning cost from the bigger iPhone 7 Plus.

Apple’s share cost

The brand new phone is a tricky sell, states Jan Dawson, who runs US-based tech consultancy Jackdaw Research. “It has to obtain the balance perfect, providing people with an engaging upgrade within the successors towards the iPhone 7 and seven Plus, whilst offering up a greater tier,” he explains. “It has to achieve that without alienating individuals who can’t afford or justify spending the greater cost for that new device, but shouldn’t accept the second best.Inches

The final time Apple were built with a “second best” phone, the plastic iPhone 5C in 2013, its sales were slower than expected, while interest in the very best-finish 5S outstripped supply. Apple must avoid that occuring again, states Dawson: “It needs to give you the new premium phone in sufficient figures to ensure that if there is a big demand shift in the standard models towards the brand new one, it doesn’t finish up depressing overall sales while you will find supply constraints.”

Apple appears confident. For that current quarter, it’s forecast revenues of $49bn-$52bn, which may represent development of between 4% and 11% from last year, and produce its performance to 2015 levels. Dawson expects that iPhone sales will grow year-on-year within the October-December and The month of january-March quarters: “Much from the timing of this growth is determined by the availability constraints.”


A couple of years back, “wearables” – the marketplace sector covered with digital watches and Fitbits – were viewed as the following technology hit. However the first Apple Watch, released in April 2015, underwhelmed many reviewers.

None the less, early adopters loved it the study company IDC reckons 28.8m had offered through the finish of This summer this season. Though Apple doesn’t release unit sales or revenues, it’s certainly the world’s most widely used smartwatch, while Google’s rival Android Put on business has unsuccessful to consider off.

Now Apple is readying a version that may use 4G phone systems. This means individuals who’ve bought an Apple Watch out for fitness reasons – the watch’s greatest subscriber base – can stream music or podcasts when they run and exercise, in addition to making FaceTime video or audio calls, getting map directions, and receiving and replying to messages. Based on Bloomberg, the 4G version is going to be on purchase in the four US mobile carriers, and perhaps through European systems too.

Apple’s wearables strategy doesn’t visit the timepiece: its wireless in-ear AirPods earphones, that have been an issue since their launch this past year, have delighted individuals who were able to get hold of them. With supply improving, they may be a Christmas hit.

The Apple Watch: liked by its owners. The Apple Watch: loved by its proprietors. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for that Protector


Using the smartphone market now well-established, the house is the brand new battlefield for that big tech companies. A couple of years back many people expected that Microsoft will be a serious contender because its Xbox console was set up in countless living spaces.

But rather Amazon . com has had a lead, getting offered an believed 15 million of their voice-controlled Echo and Us dot devices, which could provide weather, news and traffic reports and be a musician, in addition to controlling digitally connected lights and other alike devices around the house. Google became a member of in this past year using its Google Home device. Now Apple is pitching along with HomePod, a higher-quality music speaker controlled by its Siri voice assistant. As you may guess, it’s pricey, having a reported price of around £349 within the United kingdom.

Also expected is definitely an update to Apple TV, their set-top box, to let it stream greater definition pictures. By itself, that may not seem much. But the organization has big ambitions in america market, where countless homes are abandoning costly monthly cable-TV contracts and choosing cheaper services for example Netflix. Apple always really wants to succeed of individuals broader digital trends. Now it aims to get an alternate TV service, supplying a la carte programming if you purchase its hardware.

However, TV systems won’t license their programmes cheaply because they would like to support the viewers who consequently watch the adverts that offer their revenues. So Apple is getting to create its very own. Eddy Cue, the manager behind this drive, is well-armed for that fight. In addition to hiring TV and movie executives, he’s bought the legal rights to James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke and it has a $1bn warchest for creating original content. Although that’s a lengthy way from Netflix’s $6bn annual spending, or Amazon’s believed $4.5bn, Apple is ambitious.

Tim Cook Tim Prepare: leading Apple into film and television production. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images


An iphone 4g means a brand new form of Apple’s iOS software, that will update about 500m existing devices in addition to running around the new items. With iOS 11, iPhone and iPads can run “augmented reality” (AR) apps, which could overlay The Exorcist spaceships, or map directions, or geolocated information, onto an active camera view on screen. AR apps are forecast to spark a brand new application boom a number of them will struggle, but it takes only one success to validate the whole field. And Apple may have a benefit over Android, where AR is only going to focus on a couple of million devices through the finish of the season.


Within the last seven quarters, and 12 of history 19, the quickest-growing a part of Apple continues to be its “services”. Most lately generating $7.2bn – greater than either iPad or Mac sales – it offers Apple Music charges, the 30% cut of payments and subscriptions on countless apps within the Application Store, and payment for iCloud storage (where just the first 5GB is free of charge).

reported that Apple is focusing on such glasses what’s unclear, as always, may be the timescale. Several weeks? Years? We can’t make sure until Tim Prepare shows them back on stage.

Having a $1,000 Cost Tag, Apple’s iPhone Crosses a Threshold

Bay Area — When Apple unveils its new top-of-the-line iPhone on Tuesday, it’s not just likely to offer features like infrared facial recognition and wireless charging the very first time.

The organization may also enter new territory on cost: The most recent phone will begin at approximately $1,000, in contrast to the $769 minimum because of its current top phone, the iPhone 7 Plus.

“It’s another threshold,” stated Debby Ruth, a senior v . p . in the tech talking to firm Frank N. Magid Associates. I truly do think it’s will make people pause.”

In the iPhone’s introduction about ten years ago, Apple has always priced it as being reasonably limited product — a far more refined and polished option to the legions of cheaper smartphones available for sale.

However this time, the organization is pushing into luxury territory. The brand new phone will definitely cost around their entry-level MacBook Air laptop. “They’re doubling lower on their own strategy: They’re going a lot more towards the high finish,” Ms. Ruth stated.

Apple declined to comment prior to the product bulletins scheduled for Tuesday. (On Saturday, Steven Troughton-Cruz, a developer who combed with the iOS 11 software, found references indicating the new high-finish phone is going to be known as the iPhone X.)

Investors are betting that Apple’s progress the cost ladder pays served by much greater profits, particularly in mature markets such as the U . s . States and The European Union, where most of the buyers is going to be people upgrading from older iPhones. Their stock has risen by nearly 50 % in the last year as anticipation has generated concerning the 2017 models.

Apple’s strategy carries risks, however, particularly in developing countries where smartphone sales are increasing quickly nevertheless its share of the market is really a blip in contrast to devices running Google’s Android software.

Interactive Feature The way the iPhone Is Faring Against Android Around the world

In South america, for instance, Apple devices will take into account just 8 percent from the 125 million active smartphone subscriptions this season, based on Forrester, an investigation firm.

Steep taxes, greater retail income, and added costs from the botched attempt for building iPhones in South america have pressed the cost of the iPhone 6s, a 2-year-old model, to greater than $1,000 at Casa Bahia, an outlet within the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. At the end of August, the store was selling Apple’s most fundamental smartphone, the iPhone SE, in excess of $600, while a Samsung Universe J1 Small, which runs Android, only agreed to be $136.

At another Rio store lately, Vanessa Perreira, 25, a college student, was browsing the 65 models displayed, searching in the choices from Samsung and LG but ignoring the six from Apple. She once owned an apple iphone, she lamented, but tend to not manage to continue buying them. “Price is an essential factor for me personally,Inches she stated.

Still, the iPhone is coveted by wealthier Brazilians, a lot of whom purchase the phone on a trip abroad to prevent their country’s expense. “There will be users in South america that’ll be thinking about purchasing it,Inches stated Tina Lu, a senior analyst with Counterpoint Research.

China’s reception towards the $1,000 iPhone is going to be much more essential to Apple. The Higher China region, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, contributed $8 billion to Apple’s revenue last quarter, but sales happen to be sluggish.

Interactive Feature Ask Us The Questions You Have About Apple’s New iPhones At Apple’s function commemorating the tenth anniversary from the iPhone, the organization is anticipated to announce upgrades for that iPhone, together with a premium model costing around $999, and also the Apple Watch, which might soon include cellular connectivity.

Apple’s share of the market has declined slightly in China in the last year, based on Counterpoint. High-finish phones from Chinese brands like Huawei and Oppo have acquired ground, partly by undercutting Apple on cost.

The brand new iPhone can reverse that trend. Greater than every other tech product, the iPhone has lengthy denoted status in China. If an iphone 4g looks identical to the previous one — and will not be identified by others as new — it frequently doesn’t sell well.

“If the phone’s appearance changes, I believe people will be in love with it, because you’ve seen the iPhone having a similar search for this type of lengthy time now,” stated He Peihuan, a Shanghai-based financial analyst.

Apple has additionally faced pressure in the Chinese government. Condition-run media outlets have known as focus on an element that tracked a user’s most generally visited locations as well as belittled their after-sales policies. And government employees and leaders at condition-run companies avoid being seen using foreign technologies such as the iPhone.

For those that, Zhang Xiang, a telephone reseller and repairman in Shanghai, stated he still expected strong interest in the brand new iPhone. “I think when individuals are able to afford it and wish a higher-finish phone with higher features, they’ll still decide to buy an apple iphone,Inches he stated.

An important factor offsetting the following iPhone’s expected high cost may be the growing prevalence of financing choices for buyers around the world. Within the U . s . States, most phone carriers allow people to spread the price of a brand new phone over 2 yrs, and also the new phone would add under $10 per month towards the payments a person will make with an iPhone 7 Plus.

“There’s not too much improvement in the fee every month you spend,Inches stated John Blau, a technology analyst at Gartner, an investigation firm.

Similar installment purchase plans are emerging in China, South america along with other countries, making Apple’s products less expensive there.

“I’ve seen some banks supplying installment plans for that iPhone with really low, or perhaps no interest, so ordinary people might get an apple iphone this way,Inches Mr. Zhang stated.

Neil Cybart, a completely independent Apple analyst who writes to begin Above Avalon, stated he could be searching to determine what Apple states about lower-priced models . Analysts already expect the organization to announce two phones which are upgrades from the existing iPhone 7 and seven Plus and will also be costing similar levels to individuals phones’ current prices. But when the organization also provides one below $400, specifically in developing countries, that may help lure a brand new generation of users to the iPhone platform, he stated.

That will play into Satish Meena’s theory of iPhone adoption in developing countries.

Mr. Meena, a senior forecast analyst at Forrester who’s located in New Delhi, stated that in places like India and South america, where countless new smartphone users are entering the marketplace, the very first phone that individuals buy is really a cheap Android. The 2nd is commonly a fancier Android. Finally, they upgrade for an iPhone.

“The iPhone is the dream phone,” he stated.

The iPhone is 10. Where does Apple move from here?

When Apple leader Tim Prepare steps to the stage Tuesday introducing its tenth anniversary iPhone, tech enthusiasts and business analysts alike is going to be searching for any peek at Apple’s future.

It’s a high-stakes moment for an organization ten years after it released that which was its most revolutionary product from the century: the initial iPhone. This iteration can be an evaluation of their consumer tech dominance because it faces a group of challenges: Samsung appears to possess started again its smartphone momentum using the new Universe Note 8, Apple trails competitors like Google in your home hub space, Siri’s artificial intelligence isn’t as advanced as others, which is losing to Amazon . com being an entertainment innovator.

For Apple and Prepare, many are wondering: Is that this as soon as they reclaim the mantle as tech’s top innovator?

Apple’s disruptive status was famously first forged by Cook’s predecessor Jobs, whose showmanship switched such product bulletins into glimmering spectacles of consumer technology. Indeed, Prepare will speak within the Jobs Theater on Apple’s new $5 billion campus.

“It is a huge deal,” stated Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Off-shore Crest Securities with a rating much like a hang on Apple’s stock. “They have this spaceship new campus where they’re holding the big event. It’s the tenth anniversary. It’s said to be probably the most innovative phone they’ve come forth with in a long time. When they dissatisfy, it will likely be an indication on him.”

Tim Prepare, the job interview: Running Apple is ‘sort of the lonely job’]

It’s close up to 60 % over this time this past year, headed in to the event, and also the company’s stockpile of money capped $250 billion this season. Revenue for Apple’s services business in the last four quarters, including sales in the iTunes and Application stores, arrived at $27.8 billion — how big a lot of money 100 company. And Apple has witnessed its wearable devices — including earphones and watches — become as large as a lot of money 500 company in just a few years.

But Apple fans, who desire the days when the organization altered the planet with revolutionary products, are wanting to see much more of individuals industry-disrupting ideas. To date, despite a recognition from the enormous task of repeating the iPhone’s runaway success, analysts say nothing under Cook’s watch has fit that bill yet for any wide swath of shoppers.

“Everybody still wonders if there’s likely to be a Jobsian twist so we just haven’t seen it,” stated Scott Anthony, managing partner from the talking to firm Innosight, that was founded by Clayton Christensen, a master in disruptive innovation. “It’s difficult to denigrate somebody who has grown Apple the way in which he’s grown it, however i think the planet hungers to have an Apple that is constantly on the truly surprise and delight us.”

Anticipation would be that the tenth-anniversary edition from the iPhone will offer you that. That phone, 1 of 3 predicted to become announced now, is anticipated to obtain a design overhaul. Analysts expect wireless charging along with a almost all-screen front without any home button, which can make the telephone appear a lot more like a sheet of glass — both features that Samsung has incorporated. One premium feature they aspire to see is advanced cameras for facial recognition, which among other uses could put Apple one step ahead on offering innovative financial transactions.

But Apple’s greatest splashes haven’t always originate from being first with new technology — and aren’t always recognized immediately for his or her impact. Many have struck a chord with consumers due to their polish and industrial design, like the chocolate-colored imac desktop or even the sleek ipod device, stated Tim Bajarin, a longtime Apple analyst from Creative Strategies. A brand new design, Bajarin stated, gives Apple an opportunity to show the evolution of the organization in the last decade — and forecast where it’s headed next.

An area where Apple does appear to become creating a mark is within augmented reality (AR), which lets developers make use of the phone’s camera to combine digital and physical worlds. In June, Apple unveiled its ARKit, some tools for developers, and Prepare has touted it as being an issue: Inside a recent earnings call, he stated, “I think AR is very large and profound, which is certainly one of individuals huge stuff that we’ll think back at and marvel on the beginning of it.”

For example, a designer can use an application to remotely map the contours and sq footage of the room and provide a quote for that cost without getting to go to the house, stated Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures along with a longtime Apple analyst. That could be something the painter could be prepared to pay, he suggests, $100 annually for, assisting to increase revenue from your Application Store that has a tendency to more typically offer one-time $3 purchases.

Quite simply, Munster sees the expected move toward AR technology as getting a symbiotic relationship by having an more and more critical — if less sexy — a part of Apple’s business design: its services business. It will not only be necessary to maintaining downloads of apps which will more and more feature AR tech, however it presents an chance for greater value apps and subscriptions that may further drive that revenue growth.

Whether it works, Munster stated, it will likely be an enormous moment for Apple. “I think people won’t recognize it had become a defining event until most likely 2 yrs from now,” he stated. The big event might be being held in the new headquarters — perhaps the final product Jobs, who created from the campus, ever produced — but “I think more broadly it’s type of appropriate that Apple starts lower this road of really innovating themselves beyond their core business within this new campus.”

Though a small sector of Apple’s overall revenue, just 12 %, its services business continues to be growing in a double-digit rate recently, and can take into account an believed 35 % of Apple’s revenue growth this season.

That’s had payoff for that stock. Investors like stability as opposed to the variability that is included with new technology cycles, Munster stated. More sustainable revenue from services may help increase the stock cost. Probably the most exciting expected features for that new, high-finish iPhone — the screen, the facial recognition, the brand new cameras — serve the double reason for offering cutting-edge hardware which supports Apple services for example streaming video or Apple Pay.

Not everybody thinks about AR’s potential. “It’s unclear in my experience whether AR is a huge game-changer that may drive software sales or Application Store sales for any lengthy time period,Inches Hargreaves stated.

However the steady approach Munster describes fits using the company’s management by Prepare, who as chief operating officer built the logistics and offer chain system that helped to make the iPhone the hit it’s now. And analysts expect that Prepare is going to do his best Tuesday to make use of the following iPhone to tie together past and future, home runs and base hits.

What’s going to matter most is whether or not consumers, who’ve slowed their pace of purchasing new iPhones within the last 2 yrs, obtain the message, stated Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research. “If they’re in a position to launch new iPhones in a few days that slowly move the needle when it comes to rate of growth, it is going a lengthy way toward answering individuals criticisms about Cook’s capability to lead Apple.”

Even though Jobs may always cast a shadow on Apple, that does not need to be a poor factor, Bajarin stated.

“Steve’s legacy isn’t disappearing,Inches he stated. “They’ll still drive the organization around Steve’s vision. However this is, increasingly more, becoming the organization of Tim Prepare. For this reason for the reason that sense they are able to make use of the tenth anniversary like a critical juncture. It requires on much more of Cook’s vision and personality — led by Steve Jobs’s vision.”

What we should expect in the new iPhone

● Three types of the iPhone, most concentrate on reasonably limited
tenth-anniversary version

● Premium model envisioned having an exciting-screen front,
without any home button

● tenth-anniversary model can also get a brand new camera,
able to advanced facial recognition —
possibly to be used with Apple Pay

● Wireless charging, potentially on all purchases

● Suitable for augmented-reality apps

Tech Fix: The Smartphone’s Future: It’s By pointing out Camera

Tech Fix

By John X. CHEN

Bay Area — Everyone knows the drill. During the last decade, smartphones have become thinner and faster and thinner and faster and, well, you see what i mean.

But it’s too early to create off our smartphones as boring. The gadgets continue to be evolving with technology. As well as for an idea in regards to what the smartphone for the future might seem like, turn your focus on the device’s cameras and also the software and sensors which make them tick.

Here’s a look into the way the camera may come up: Once you get your gadget, it’ll help you and know you’re the owner and unlock the screen. Overseas, you’ll be able to suggest your camera in a restaurant menu to translate products to your native language. When looking for furniture, you are able to point your phone camera at the family room floor and put an online rendering of the table lower to determine the way it looks and move about and look beneath it.

A number of this futurism has already been beginning to occur.

The following month, Apple intends to hold an occasion introducing some new iPhones, together with a premium model that may scan 3-D objects — as well as your face. Samsung, no. 1 phone maker, also lately introduced the Universe Note 8, highlighting its fast dual-lens camera because the signature feature. And rivals will quickly try to meet up with Samsung and Apple.

“2018 would be the year in which the smartphone camera requires a quantum leap in technology,” stated Philip-James Jacobowitz, an item manager for Qualcomm, a nick maker that gives components to smartphone makers.

Mr. Jacobowitz added that emerging camera technologies will be the answer to more powerful security measures and applications for thus-known as augmented reality, which utilizes data to digitally manipulate the physical world when individuals examine a smartphone lens.

Here’s a rundown on which all of this method for the way your next smartphone works.

Face Checking

During the last couple of years, we’ve become familiar with unlocking our smartphones by checking our fingerprints or entering a passcode. However when Apple shows its new iPhones the following month, together with a premium model having a beginning cost of $999, the organization will introduce infrared facial recognition like a new way of unlocking the unit.

Wouldso would the brand new iPhone do this exactly? Apple declined to comment. But Qualcomm’s Spectra, a so-known as depth-sensing camera system, is a illustration of how face checking works.

The Spectra system features a module that sprays an item with infrared dots to collect details about the depth of the object in line with the size and also the contortion from the dots. When the dots are smaller sized, then your object is farther away if they’re bigger, the item is closer. The imaging system may then stitch the patterns right into a detailed 3-D picture of the face to find out if you’re indeed who owns your smartphone before unlocking it.

“You’re seeing the contours from the mind — it isn’t only the front from the face as you’re typically considering,Inches stated Sy Choudhury, a senior director of product to safeguard Qualcomm.

Due to the uniqueness of the person’s mind shape, the probability of bypassing facial recognition using the incorrect face is one in millions of, he added. That compares having a false acceptance rate of just one in 100 for previous facial recognition systems, which in fact had inadequate security.

Older facial recognition systems labored simply by while using camera to consider a photograph of yourself and evaluating by using a picture which was stored around the device. All a crook will have to do in order to fool the machine was hold a photograph of the face while watching camera — which many people already did with Samsung’s facial-recognition feature.

You will find, however, limitations to infrared-checking technologies. For instance, objects that you simply put on, just like a hat or perhaps a scarf, might mess up your camera, based on Qualcomm. Additionally, experts stated infrared light could possibly get drowned out by vibrant sunlight outdoors, so face checking might work less reliably around the beach.

It remains seen exactly how face checking works within the next iPhone. But Apple is familar with depth-sensing camera technologies. In 2013, the iPhone maker acquired PrimeSense, a business that developed sensors for Microsoft’s Kinect, a depth-sensing camera system that allow Xbox players control games using body movements. Analysts expect some rendition of PrimeSense’s technology to look later on iPhones.

Augmented Reality

Depth-sensing cameras might be essential to enhancing augmented reality, a jargony industry term that most likely makes your vision glaze over. But bear beside me for just one moment: Augmented reality may have major implications for future mobile phone applications.

I know full well that Apple is bullish about augmented reality. Inside a recent financial earnings call, Timothy D. Prepare, Apple’s leader, known as augmented reality “big and profound,” with major implications for gaming, entertainment and business products. This fall, Apple will release iOS 11, its next mobile operating-system which includes support for applications created using ARKit, something package for application developers to simply create augmented-reality applications.

ARKit uses a mix of the iPhone’s camera and motion sensors, such as the accelerometer and gyroscope, to allow people lay digital objects on the top from the real life and communicate with all of them with precise movements.

I acquired a demo of ARKit from Ikea, the furnishings maker, using its coming application Ikea Place. I placed an Ikea bed on the ground and could move about and appear beneath it. This kind of application could be helpful to get a feeling of how a product looks and fits alongside other furniture inside a space before putting in an order.

The Ikea Place application that utilizes ARKit.

Video by

“This is sort of a real application that real people may use to create real-existence decisions,” stated Michael Valdsgaard, the mind of digital transformation at Ikea.

However the limitations from the Ikea Place application underscore what’s missing from ARKit. For putting virtual objects, the application can identify horizontal surfaces, just like a table surface or even the ground, however it cannot yet identify walls.

Vertical planes like walls are trickier to identify since they’re less smooth as floors — with doorways, home windows and movie frames getting into the right path. Depth-sensing cameras make wall recognition much simpler for future iPhones, stated Blair MacIntyre, an investigation researcher who’s focusing on augmented reality for Mozilla, the business which makes the Firefox internet browser.

All of the tech giants are betting big on augmented reality. For a long time, Microsoft continues to be developing HoloLens, an augmented-reality headset. In April, Facebook announced Camera Effects Platform, an atmosphere for software developers to construct augmented-reality apps for Facebook. Now, Google unveiled ARCore, an augmented-reality tool package for Android devices, as a result of Apple’s ARKit.

Mr. MacIntyre stated augmented reality has huge potential if this matures. He envisioned people having the ability to have a tour of the natural-history museum, pointing their smartphone cameras in a fossil exhibit to create a dinosaur to existence.

But he stated that augmented reality on smartphones would be a stopgap towards the inevitable: putting on data before the face whatsoever occasions through some type of headset.

“If you appear at sci-fi, a variety of it has this sign of being always on and serendipitous,” he stated. “You obtain a lot nearer to that when you are getting a mind-mounted display.”

Until that occurs, smartphones have to do with to get much smarter.

Samsung heir sentenced to 5 years in prison after corruption conviction

A bribery and cronyism scandal which has already toppled a South Korean president claimed a significant business scalp following a court sentenced Lee Jae-yong, the acting chairman of Samsung, to 5 years imprisonment for crimes including offering bribes and perjury.

The millionaire, South Korea’s third-wealthiest man and heir towards the sprawling Samsung empire, have been charged with making large donations to foundations operated by a detailed friend and confidante from the deposed South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, to acquire political favours.

A legal court stated Lee provided bribes anticipating support from Park, who had been still president at that time, based on South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

Lee’s lawyers stated they’d appeal. “As an attorney I am unable to possibly accept the juridical decisions and acknowledged details active in the verdict,” the Samsung attorney Song Woo-cheo stated outdoors a legal court.

“We appeals from the decision and i’m certain within the appellate trial all of the charges is going to be ignored.”

Samsung lawyer criticises Lee Jae-yong verdict – video

Lee’s situation could finish up being made the decision through the country’s top court, possibly the coming year.

Lee demonstrated no reaction because the court found him responsible for bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealing make money from criminal functions and perjury.

Earlier, South Korean TV adopted him on his journey from the detention center towards the court. He emerged from the justice ministry bus in handcuffs, with white-colored rope round his jacket, and transporting an envelope of documents.

There is huge public pressure in the game to provide a guilty verdict following the wide-varying scandal swirling around Park led to her impeachment this past year and requires Columbia to deal with decades of collusive ties between senior politicians and family-run conglomerates, or chaebol.

As the 49-year-old, who’s also referred to as Jay Y Lee, was able to escape the 12-year term required by prosecutors, his sentence may be the longest provided to any South Korean chaebol leader.

Four some of the best Samsung executives were also charged and received sentences as high as 4 years.

Lee’s conviction may also have effects for Park, considering that their cases are extremely carefully linked. Park faces a potential existence sentence whenever a ruling in her own situation is offered later this season.

Supporters of South Korea’s ousted president Park Geun-Hye wave national flags during a protest demanding the release of Lee Jae-Yong in Seoul on Friday. Supporters of South Korea’s ousted president wave national flags throughout a protest demanding the discharge of Lee Jae-yong in Seoul on Friday. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Greater than 400 people requested the 30 seats within the public gallery to witness what South Korean media billed because the “trial from the century”.

Outdoors, countless riot police were deployed to avoid confrontations between critics and supporters of Lee and Park, an old dictator’s daughter who had been elected South Korean’s first female president at the end of 2012 and required office in Feb 2013.

Despite claims by his legal team that Lee had little participation within the day-to-day running of Samsung, a legal court ruled he had approved donations to Park’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, to acquire securing government support for that contentious merger of two Samsung affiliates that will strengthen his control of the audience.


What exactly are chaebol and what makes them questionable?


Chaebol companies would be the massive, family-run conglomerates that dominate South Korea’s economy and revel in close links towards the country’s political elite.

They emerged when South Korean businessmen required within the assets of colonial-era Japanese firms after world war ii, and rose to prominence underneath the industrial policies of President Park Chung-hee within the 1960s.

The chaebol are questionable because many South Koreans view them as exemplifying too cosy rapport between business and government. 

The connection was largely tolerated as the chaebol spearheaded rapid economic growth, however a rising earnings gap, youth unemployment and-profile cronyism scandals including that which brought lower former president Park Geun-hye have fuelled public anger. Moon Jae-in, elected to exchange Park captured, ran on the platform of reforming the chaebol. 

Since his arrest in Feb, Lee has was adamant the instalments were created to Samsung without his understanding, with no expectation of favours in the Park administration.

Lee, the scion of South Korea’s wealthiest family and it is greatest company, have been charged with offering $38m (£30m) in bribes to four entities controlled by Choi, with whom Park frequently switched for advice and allegedly gave use of government documents despite the fact that she was without security clearance.

Choi is purported to have setup the principles to aid Park’s policies. Samsung hasn’t denied donating money towards the foundations, but stated it had been forced to do this by Park.

Samsung seemed to be charged with individually giving Choi vast amounts of won to finance her daughter’s equestrian career in Germany. In exchange, Lee allegedly searched for government approval for that $8bn merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 – moving that will cement his charge of the Samsung group. The merger was opposed by many people shareholders, but experienced after it had been authorized by the national pension fund, a significant Samsung shareholder.

The situation has at the minimum placed on hold Lee’s tries to exert total control of the Samsung group, which he’s been the de facto mind since his father endured cardiac arrest in 2014.

Investors are worried that his enforced absence can create a leadership vacuum at Samsung – that has a large number of affiliates and assets of $322bn (£250bn) – and harm being able to make key proper decisions.

Samsung hasn’t openly reacted to Friday’s ruling, but employees in the firm were apparently “dumbfounded” and anxious because of its future.

“We were shocked as he was arrested in Feb,” one Samsung insider told Yonhap. “But his conviction originates like a bigger shock. The organization has been around emergency mode because of the leadership vacuum. And Lee’s conviction means the emergency situation continues for any lengthy time.”

Other business figures to possess was trial in Columbia have typically received light sentences, fueling critique that chaebol leaders are given unwarranted leniency through the courts.

They incorporated Lee’s father, Lee Kun-hee, who had been charged of tax evasion in ’09 coupled with a 3-year sentence suspended, with idol judges citing his contribution to South Korea’s economic success and the “patriotism through company from job creation”. He was pardoned four several weeks following the final ruling.

Park Sangin, a professor of financial aspects at Seoul National College, stated shortly prior to the verdict: “Chaebol leaders used to obtain the same sentencing each time. There is a saying known as the ‘3-5 law’ – 3 years sentencing, five years’ probation.

“If Lee gets to be a heavy sentence, it may be viewed as the shattering from the ‘too-big-to-jail’ trend of history.Inches

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, won a landslide victory in May pledging to control the chaebol and clamp lower on white-colored-collar crime involving corporate tycoons.

Pound rallies against dollar on tight-lipped Yellen speech; oil prices climb ahead of Hurricane Harvey

Drillers battening down the hatches in the US ahead of Hurricane Harvey pushed up crude prices and the UK’s blue-chip oil producers in London yesterday to stop the FTSE 100 sinking into the red as the pound rallied against the dollar late on.

Rigs in key US oil producing hubs were abandoned as the category two hurricane, which could become the most powerful storm to hit the US coast since 2005, approached the mainland. Brent crude, the UK benchmark oil price, climbed as high as $52.68 per barrel as oil majors in Texas and the US Gulf of Mexico curbed production.

The FTSE 100’s oil giants moved in lockstep with the price increase with BP gaining 2.35p to 445.5p and Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’, the more commonly held type of the company’s shares in the UK, pushing up 10.5p to £21.73.

Robust metal prices on expectations of tightening supply in China helped blue-chip miners dominate the FTSE 100 leaderboard. BHP Billiton advanced 20p to £14.37 while rival Rio Tinto climbed 15.5p to £36.61.

The commodity stocks’ huge weighting stopped the wider FTSE 100 from reversing all of its gains as US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s speech at the Jackson Hole central banking conference disappointed news-hungry traders to send the dollar sliding against the pound.

Sterling’s afternoon bounce towards the $1.29 mark lampooned blue-chip companies’ solid early gains with the UK’s benchmark index closing 5.6 points lower at 7401.46.

Hopes that the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management will breathe new life into newly-formed Standard Life Aberdeen helped it climb 5.3p higher to 441.6p. Upgrading it to “buy”, Citi analyst Haley Tam said that the company could benefit from synergy savings and a recovery in its Asia Pacific and emerging market franchises.

Amazon announcing that it will begin slashing food prices at newly-acquired Whole Foods stoked expectations of a new player in the supermarket price war to pull down London-listed grocers. Tesco slumped towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 leaderboard, shedding 3.3p to 184.2p, while J Sainsbury dipped 1.1p to 236.1p.

On the FTSE 250, engineer Weir Group inched up 24p to £18.13 after broker Peel Hunt bumped up the Scottish firm to its “buy” list, citing improved “book-to-bill” figures in its minerals and oil and gas departments.

Analyst Harry Philips said that the two business were driving Weir’s momentum and that the revival of the shale industry in the US as the price of crude rises had proven that Weir can generate “substantial” profit growth in the $50 per barrel oil price environment.

Finally elsewhere on the mid-cap index, IT services provider Computacenter soared 137p to £10.18, a 16pc surge, after upping its full-year earnings guidance as it posted a 66pc rise in pre-tax profit. Bucking the industry’s gloomy outlook, the company’s chief executive Mike Norris said that he had “never been more optimistic about the market’s potential”.


Markets wrap: US Fed chair Janet Yellen speech at Jackson Hole disappoints; ECB’s Mario Draghi up next 

Mario Draghi is due to speak this evening at the Jackson Hole conference

The dollar weakening following Janet Yellen’s disappointing speech at the Jackson Hole central banking conference has pulled down equity markets in Europe this afternoon. Weakened by the euro and pound’s renewed strength against the greenback, the big exporters pared early gains with stock markets across Europe slipping into the red.

The FTSE 100’s fall was softened by the oil and mining giants gaining on robust commodity prices with Brent crude rising to as much as $52.68 per barrel as production is curbed in Texas and the US Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Harvey.

ECB president Mario Draghi is up next at Jackson Hole but again few hints over the central bank’s next moves on monetary policy are expected to be teased out of the Italian. Traders will hang onto to every word nonetheless and, as has been seen from Ms Yellen’s speech this afternoon, markets will move on what’s not said as well as what is.

IG’s chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp said this on today’s action at Jackson Hole

“As the week winds down in London, it’s one down and one to go in terms of today’s big central bank speeches. Janet Yellen has given the dollar a shove lower in her speech, but a lack of hawkish commentary and no excursions into the realms of monetary policy will leave dollar bulls disappointed.

“Little is exactly what we expect from Mr Draghi too, especially given that he, arguably, faces an even more divided committee of policymakers than Ms Yellen.”


Yellen speech sinks European equities

The FTSE 100 sunk as the pound rallied against the dollar

While equities in Europe held up for a little while against the effects of the pound and euro rallying on the dollar, they have since plunged as Janet Yellen’s speech ripples through the markets.

The FTSE 100 has now nearly pared all of today’s gains. After rising as much as 0.4pc in today’s session, the blue-chip index has now sunk into flat territory.

Has that speech ruined Janet Yellen’s chances of a second term?

Ms Yellen’s defence today of the post-financial crisis regulation, which Donald Trump has vowed to rip up, could have scuppered her chances of a second term but the US president may have nowhere else to turn.

His chief economic advisor Gary Cohn has been favourite to take the role but tensions between him and Mr Trump have risen since the events in Charlottesville. It has been reported this afternoon that Mr Cohn had drafted but never delivered a resignation letter due to Mr Trump’s limp criticism of the white supremacists behind the violence.

Here’s Capital Economics’ chief US economist Paul Ashworth’s take on what this means for Ms Yellen’s future.

“It is still possible that Trump could choose a third candidate. But he has already made plain his preference for someone who will keep interest rates low, so that would seem to rule out many of the more conservative Republican candidates.

“Most of the debate surrounding Yellen versus Cohn focuses on how they would differ on monetary policy. But, to be honest, we suspect that the differences between the two would be minor, not least because the Chair only has one vote on the FOMC. Arguably the much bigger difference is between their attitudes to regulation.”


Dollar sinks following Yellen speech; Hurricane Harvey shuts down US oil production

Stocks in the US has largely dismissed Janet Yellen’s quite dull speech at Jackson Hole with the Dow Jones climbing 0.4pc and S&P 500 jumping 0.6pc early on. As in Europe, oil and gas stocks are leading the way as the price is pulled up by the production shutdown in Texas with Hurricane Harvey on it way to the US coast.

The dollar has been the main loser from the Fed chair’s speech with the pound now heading towards the $1.29 mark against the greenback, a 0.7pc rise today.

Was that the final hurrah from Ms Yellen with Donald Trump soon deciding her future?

Here’s a little snippet from her speech:

“We can never be sure that new crises will not occur, but if we keep this lesson fresh in our memories–along with the painful cost that was exacted by the recent crisis–and act accordingly, we have reason to hope that the financial system and economy will experience fewer crises and recover from any future crisis more quickly, sparing households and businesses some of the pain they endured during the crisis that struck a decade ago.”


British supermarkets knocked after Amazon slashes prices at Whole Foods

Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods was approved last night

Fresh fears about Amazon’s assault on the grocery landscape has knocked shares in Britain’s food retailers after the online giant announced that it would start slashing prices at Whole Foods as soon as next week.

Just two months ago Amazon announced its biggest ever takeoverwith an audacious £10.7bn swoop on upmarket grocery chain Whole Foods and the online giant is wasting no time in using the deal to propel its near-decade long push into groceries.

Whole Foods, which is known for its organic produce and fresh, natural produce, has more than 460 shops with the bulk of stores in the US and Canada and seven in the UK. 

Amazon has announced that upon closing its takeover on Monday it will start lowering prices of Whole Foods’ staple groceries. Industry experts say the move will broaden Whole Foods’ appeal to more customers and threaten supermarket rivals. 

Read Ashley Armstrong’s full report here


Yellen speech at Jackson Hole disappoints; dollar sinks

Janet Yellen gave little away in her speech at Jackson Hole

Janet Yellen’s speech has just been released to the press and it has largely disappointed traders on the currency markets. Nothing much in there on monetary policy. Her speech entitled ‘Financial Stability a Decade after the Onset of the Crisis’ was about, well, financial stability.

The main message coming out of the speech is that any changes to financial regulations should be “modest”.

Tight-lipped Yellen has sunk the dollar on the forex markets with the pound rising 0.5pc to $1.2857 against the greenback, its highest level in three days, in response to the disappointment.

I’ll try and pick out some highlights from the speech for you all. That’s if I can find any.


US durable goods orders distorted by Boeing figures

Boeing’s huge haul in June distorted the overall figures

There’s a tiny bit of economic news eking out of the United States ahead of Janet Yellen’s speech but it comes with a large caveat.

Durable goods orders in the US dived by 6.8pc in July, a sharp drop from the 6.4pc increase the previous month. Analysts have been quick to point out, however, that Boeing’s bumper 184 aircraft order haul in June thanks to the annual airshow in Paris has completely distorted the figures.

Excluding the transportation sector, orders actually rose above expectations to 0.5pc from 0.1pc in June.


Samsung heir jailed for five years on corruption charges in bribery scandal

Lee Jae-yong, pictured on Friday, has been detained since February

A South Korean court has sentenced the billionaire Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong to five years in prison after finding him guilty of offering bribes to the country’s former president and other crimes.

It said Lee was also guilty of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealing profit from criminal acts and perjury.

The court said Lee hoped bribes for Park Geun-hye at the time she was president and her close friend Choi Soon-sil would secure government support for a merger that strengthened Lee’s control over the Samsung empire and its flagship Samsung Electronics at a crucial time. Park and Choi also have trials under way.

Read the full report here


US Fed chair Janet Yellen to speak soon; Trump to decide her fate soon

Janet Yellen is not expected to give much away regarding monetary policy

With US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen due to speak at 3pm, let’s have a quick look at what we can expect.

One’s suspects given the title of the speech, ‘Financial Stability’, that the hype building around today’s two appearances from central bank heads might end up being much ado about nothing.

But the surprise split at the Federal Reserve in its latest policy minutes over whether inflation is strong enough to withstand another rate hike before the end of the year gives a slight edge to proceedings. 

Reports that US president Donald Trump will soon decide whether Ms Yellen will have a second term as chair (they don’t get on famously) has added a little more intrigue to the speech.

UBS’ US chief economist Seth Carpenter commented, however, that there was “really no need to skip lunch” over Ms Yellen’s speech.

He commented:

“We suspect that Chair Yellen will take this opportunity to discuss the distinction between financial stability considerations and financial conditions more broadly. She will take stock of the signal from historically low interest rates and the forces that determine those rates.

“She will likely reiterate that post-recession regulation has made banks safer. She will allow for some adjustment of that regulation, but she will push back against the idea of wholesale financial deregulation. She will likely avoid discussion of monetary policy, as she will see no need to further communicate the FOMC’s intentions at this point.” 

Derek Halpenny, European head of global markets research at MUFG, is a little more optimistic that something a little more substantial on monetary policy can be teased out of Ms Yellen:

“Yellen’s speech is on financial market stability and given the reference to asset valuations in the minutes from the July meeting, which Fed Staff concluded had increased from “notable to elevated”, Chair Yellen may expand on this.

“Yellen may believe the markets need reminding that the Fed remains on course to raise the federal funds rate one further time this year. This would merely be a repeat of current Fed communication and hence is unlikely to prompt any major lift for the US dollar.”


Germany achieves near record budget surplus of €18.3bn

The figures are a boost for Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term as chancellor

Germany achieved a near record budget surplus of €18.3bn (£16.8bn) in the first half of 2017, according to government figures released on Friday.

The timing of the figures could not be better for Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term as chancellor in elections next month.

The surplus is the second largest Germany has recorded since reunification in 1990. The country recorded an even bigger surplus of  €28.8bn in the second half of 2000, but that was boosted by a government windall from the sale of mobile phone licenses.

By contrast, the surplus for the first half of 2017 was fuelled by higher tax revenues than expected, as the German economy continues perform strongly.

Read Justin Huggler’s full report here


Lunchtime update: Rising oil and metal prices lift FTSE 100

Hurricane Harvey approaching the coast of Texas has prompted US drillers to shut off production, raising oil prices

Investors have thrown caution to the wind ahead of the Jackson Hole central banking conference with European stocks rising into positive territory after a hesitant start to trading.

Ahead of the key speeches by US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and ECB president Mario Draghi, the FTSE 100 has pushed up 0.4pc with troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial clawing back another 19pc after announcing a shake-up in its struggling home credit division.

Tightening supply lifting oil and base metal prices has helped the FTSE’s oil majors, BP and Shell, and mining giants, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, rise towards the top of the index. 

Brent crude has risen 0.6pc today to $52.37 per barrel as drillers in Texas shut off production ahead of Hurricane Harvey.

With little economics data to move currency markets, the pound is taking advantage of a nervy dollar and euro ahead of Jackson Hole, rising to $1.2837 and €1.0862 against the two currencies.

Here’s Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell’s take on today’s currency markets:

“As for the forex markets, the pound continued to be the main beneficiary from the euro and dollar’s pre-Jackson Hole reticence, rising 0.2% against both. To be fair to those currencies, they can afford such a meagre decline – against the euro sterling is still loitering near 8 year lows, while cable has seen its early summer growth rapidly unravel across August.”

Here’s the current state of play in Europe: 

FTSE 100: +0.39pc

DAX: +0.38pc

CAC 40: +0.28pc

IBEX: +0.38pc


Fiat Chrylser tries to again kill speculation of Chinese takeover

Fiat Chrysler shares have surged despite denials of a deal

Fiat Chrysler has again attempted to end speculation that it could sell part of its portfolio with a statement made at the behest of the Italian financial regulator in the wake of a surge in the Italian-American car manufacturer’s share price. 

Milan-listed FCA’s shares have risen almost 20pc in the past week as rumours swirled that Chinese car company Great Wall Motors wanted to buy the Italian-American group’s Jeep brand.

On Monday Great Wall said it had “an intention to make the purchase”, but soon reversed away from the statement, adding it had “not generated concrete progress as of now”.

FCA, headed by Sergio Marchionne, released a statement later that day saying it “had not been approached by Great Wall relating to Jeep or any matter relating to its business”, adding it was “fully committed” to its long-term business plan.

However, FCA’s shares have continued to rise despite the denials of a prospective deal, prompting the release of this latest statement.

Read Alan Tovey’s full report here


The effects of the ECB tapering its quantitative easing programme

Mario Draghi defended the central bank’s QE programme at his speech in Lindau, Germany, earlier this week

ECB president Mario Draghi has been heavily criticised for the central bank’s huge monthly asset purchases to boost growth but the central bank head vehemently defended quantitative easing at a speech in Lindau, Germany, on Wednesday. 

But how would Mr Draghi and the ECB signalling the winding down of its €60 billion-a-month quantitative easing programme affect stocks and companies?

Central banks snapping up government bonds from investors through QE has the effect of forcing them to put their money into riskier assets such as corporate bonds and stocks.

Buying large amounts of government bonds also has the effect of lowering interest rates, making borrowing cheaper and stimulating the economy, which should boost companies’ growth and thus push up their share prices.

The central bank is now beginning to believe that the currency bloc’s economic performance is strong enough to withstand removing this stimulus although Mr Draghi will likely steadily unwind the programme to avoid shocking the market, trimming purchases of bonds rather than selling off any of the existing stock of assets bought under the QE scheme.

There is also the unknown effect of removing such stimulus on market confidence, hence Mr Draghi’s very cautious approach which is expected to continue today.


Draghi boxed into a corner for Jackson Hole speech

Mario Draghi is expected to be tight-lipped over monetary policy

Expectations that today’s speeches at Jackson Hole will be game-changing are low but central banking figures have thrown a few surprises to the market this summer.

ECB president Mario Draghi is, however, boxed into a corner over signalling any changes. To do so would lift the euro and thus would then weigh on inflation to hold back the ECB’s plans to tighten monetary policy.

Despite buoyant growth in the eurozone of late, inflation has remained persistently weaker than the central bank’s target rate and the figures picking up is considered a key prerequisite to tapering the ECB’s quantitative easing programme.


Miners rise as base metals head for strongest week of gains in 11 years

Miners have been lifted as base metals head for their best week of gains in over a decade

London’s global miners are taking up many of the top spots on the FTSE 100 leaderboard with dual-listed BHP Billiton jumping 2.2pc and Anglo-Australian rival Rio Tinto following just behind, rising 1.7pc early on.

The miners have been lifted by base metals being on course for their strongest run of weekly gains in 11 years underpinned by strong demand and incoming supply curbs in China.

Troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial has continued to rally with this morning’s shakeup in its home credit division being cheered by investors. Shares have jumped 21pc, propelling it to the top of the FTSE 100 for a third consecutive day. 

That still leaves it 48pc lower than its closing price on Monday, however, just before its profit warning.


Spotify moves closer to listing as it strikes deal with Warner Music

Daniel Ek, chief executive officer and co-founder of Spotify

Spotify has taken a major step towards a public listing after agreeing a long-term licensing deal with Warner Music Group.

The music streaming service’s agreement with Warner, one of the world’s biggest record labels, follows more than two years of negotiations.

“It has taken a while to get here,” said Warner’s chief digital officer Ole Obermann. “But it has been worth it, as we have arrived at a balanced set of future-focused deal terms”.

Spotify has now struck deals with leading record labels Sony, Universal and Warner, and could float on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the year. It has been reported that the company will not have an initial public offering when it does go public.

Spotify continues to grow ahead of rivals Amazon and Apple, and last month reached 60m paying customers.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here


German GDP confirmed at 0.6pc; consumer spending grows at joint-fastest since 2011

Strong economic growth is key for chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of next month’s federal elections 

The highlight of a very light economics schedule this morning was final German GDP figures, which confirmed that Europe’s engine room grew at 0.6pc in the second quarter.

One of the more interesting takeaways from this morning’s data is that Germany’s quarter-on-quarter consumer spending grew at 0.8pc, its joint-fastest since 2011 and a stark contrast to the UK’s measly 0.1pc spending growth shown in yesterday’s ONS release.

Pantheon Macro’s eurozone economist Claus Vistesen provided this analysis of this morning’s figures:

“Leading indicators suggest that domestic demand will continue perform strongly in the second half of the year, but we think the quarter-on-quarter run-rate in headline GDP growth will slow to 0.4%-to-0.5% quarter-on-quarter. Full year growth of above 2.0%, however, is a very good bet. “


Provident Financial shares bounce back after management shake-up

Provident Financial chief executive Peter Crook quit following the profit warning

Shares in Provident Financial jumped by more than 17pc in early trading as the troubled FTSE 100 company announced a shake-up in management and the return of a former managing director.

Chris Gillespie, who stepped down from the company in 2013, has been appointed as the managing director of the Provident home credit business, replacing Andy Parkinson.

Provident said it has begun a business review as it looks to “stabilise” after shares plunged more than 66pc earlier this week.

The fall, which followed a fresh profit warning, the scrapping of its dividend and the departure of chief executive Peter Crook, wiped around £1.7bn off Provident’s value.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here


Yellen vs Draghi better than Mayweather vs McGregor?

Will Yellen vs Draghi be as explosive as Mayweather vs McGregor 

Traders have locked onto speeches by US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and ECB president Mario Draghi as the big market movers of the day. Unfortunately for European markets, Mr Draghi’s speech at Jackson Hole comes long after the closing bell on stock markets over here.

Reports last week indicated that Mr Draghi will not signal a major shift in policy at the central banking conference even though it was initially thought that he would use the event to announce the winding down of the ECB’s €60bn-a-month asset purchasing programme. 

Mr Draghi gave little away at a speech in Lindau, Germany, earlier this week but his tight-lipped dovish press conference following the latest ECB policy decision still managed to stir currency markets. Traders on the forex markets will latch onto to any hints from the ECB president.

For Henry Croft, research analyst at Accendo Markets, today’s dual for market attention between the two heads of central banks is even more tantalising than Mayweather vs McGregor.

He said:

“Key speeches from Federal Reserve Chair Yellen and ECB President Draghi will likely drive sentiment heading into the elongated weekend for UK traders, with markets looking for clarity on both central banks’ efforts to reduce accommodative policy. The US dollar and Euro be subject to increased price movement as a result.”

I agree Henry but I’m not sure today’s Jackson Hole conference will be quite as big a box office hit.


Agenda: Markets turn their attention to Draghi and Yellen speeches at Jackson Hole

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is due to speak at 3pm (BST) at Jackson Hole

A mixture of August inertia and investors turning their attention to the Jackson Hole central banking conference held stock markets roughly in flat territory yesterday. The FTSE 100 was an exception, climbing 0.3pc, and this morning it has inched up a little further with Provident Financial rising 6.4pc after reorganising its troubled home credit unit.

The markets’ tunnel vision has narrowed even further today with US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen due to speak at 3pm (BST) and the much awaited appearance by ECB president Mario Draghi a little later at 8pm. 

Neither are expected to hint at major policy shifts, despite early indications that the latter speaker would lay out the ECB’s plans to wind down its quantitative easing programme. Nonetheless, traders will be hanging onto their every word for any subtle deviations in the rhetoric. It is August after all.

Traders’ obsession with the central banks isn’t being helped this morning by a dearth of economics data. Nonetheless, sterling has moved higher against the euro, nudging up to €1.0868, while against the dollar, the pound has held its position at just over $1.28 overnight.

Interim results: Henry Boot

AGM: Sysgroup

Economics: Durable goods orders m/m (US), Revised UoM consumer sentiment (US), Revised UoM inflation expectations (US), Final GDP q/q (GER), Ifo business climate (GER)