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Apple’s IBM Deal Marks the Real Beginning of the Post-PC Era

Mashable

When you look at the landscape of powerful players in the enterprise, a few names tend to stand out: IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Apple.

Wait, Apple? A decade ago, it was rare to see Apple products in the enterprise. Sure, an executive here and there might have had a MacBook — maybe the graphics or marketing division used OS X — but everyone else worked on Windows and carried a BlackBerry.

Fast forward to today. Consumers have shifted away from the desktop-and-laptop world and more to the cloud, streaming media and mobile devices, and business and enterprise have, too. Today, iOS is in 98% of the Fortune 500.

Seemingly overnight, Apple — the consummate consumer company — is a big player in the enterprise.

That reality became crystalized on Tuesday when Apple announced that it would be partnering with IBM to focus on “transforming enterprise.” The deal will pair Apple’s mobile and tablet hardware with IBM’s services, which include its Big Data, cloud and security infrastructure.

How exactly did this happen?

Falling into enterprise

The original iPhone wasn’t designed for business users. You could use a custom email setup, but there was no Exchange support, no VPN and no built-in productivity apps. With the iPhone 3G and iOS 2.0, Apple started adding more enterprise-friendly features, largely at the behest of businesses. Executives bought iPhones and wanted to use them in the office.

But it was the iPad, first released in 2010, that really changed the game. The portable nature of the tablet, coupled with a growing library of custom or publicly available third-party apps made the devices an instant hit in the office and in schools.

The iPad came along at the perfect time. Big enterprise customers were already starting to shift to cloud-based solutions for CRM and document management, which made it easy for an iPad to step in for a laptop on sales calls or in meetings.

Phil Buckellew, IBM’s vice president of enterprise mobile, says enterprise customers are constantly asking — demanding, really — more mobile solutions that are easy to use.

Why? It’s simple. People use an iPad at home and want to have that same experience at work. Users are accustomed to solutions “just working.”

Historical enterprise companies such as Microsoft and BlackBerry have struggled to adapt their technologies for the modern consumer, but by virtue of its consumer-friendly user experience, Apple seems to have almost accidentally fallen into enterprise.

Post-PC for the office is coming

Back in 2010, Steve Jobs famously discussed the emergence of a Post-PC world. Much hand-wringing and rationalizations about how the PC is still relevant has followed, but the reality is, Jobs was right. For most users, the PC is no longer the center of their digital lives, that center is now a smartphone (or even a tablet).

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World Tech Update- July 24, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU Facebook reports huge sales, Apple patents a smart watch and a space robot gets some updates.

 

What businesses need to know about Touch ID and iOS 8

CITEworld

Apple introduced Touch ID along with the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 last fall. At launch, the technology was limited to two purposes – acting as a shortcut for a user’s passcode to unlock the device, and acting as an alternative to a user’s Apple ID and password when making purchases from Apple’s iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore.

With iOS 8, Apple is expanding the capabilities of Touch ID significantly by giving developers the APIs needed to use Touch ID as an authentication/authorization method in third-party apps. This is a powerful expansion of the technology, and one that could be applied to a wide range of different types of apps.

It’s easy to see the value of Touch ID in mobile commerce apps, as well as in mobile banking apps - PayPal was one of the first companies to express an interest in integrating Touch ID into its app and services. Password managers like 1Password from Agilebits are also prime uses for the technology. Apps that store confidential or sensitive information — like health and medical apps — can also benefit from integrating Touch ID.

Business and productivity apps, especially those designed to provide secure access to a company’s corporate resources and cloud services, are also areas where Touch ID could be implemented. That raises questions for IT leaders in many organizations to ask themselves:

  • Is it a good idea to build Touch ID into our internal apps?
  • Should we allow, encourage, or support Touch ID in apps from cloud storage and collaboration vendors?
  • Are there reasons to avoid Touch ID, either in enterprise or third-party apps?

Given that it seems almost certain that Apple will expand the well-received TouchID to any additional iOS devices launching later this year, these aren’t hypothetical questions. They’re questions that organizations will likely face as soon as Apple releases iOS 8 this fall.

Touch ID and the Secure Enclave

At a hardware level, Touch ID includes two primary components: Touch ID Sensor, the fingerprint scanner built into the device’s home button, and the Secure Enclave, a coprocessor that is integrated into Apple’s A7 chip. The Secure Enclave is connected to the Touch ID Sensor and is responsible for processing fingerprint scans. Each Secure Enclave has a unique identity (UID) provisioned during the A7′s fabrication process that cannot be accessed by other iOS components, and that is unknown even to Apple.

Touch ID is actually just one function of the Secure Enclave. Additional functions like cryptographic protection for data protection key management were identified in the iOS Security Guide that Apple released in February. Additional details were discussed during the Keychain and Authentication with Touch ID session at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, which can be streamedfrom Apple’s developer site (and a PDF of the presentation slides from the session is also available). Going forward, it seems clear that the Secure Enclave will be a key part of iOS security functions, beyond merely handling fingerprint identification.

It’s also worth mentioning that although the Touch ID Sensor is currently only available on the iPhone 5s, the additional functionality of the Secure Enclave is built into any iOS device with an A7 chip, which currently includes the iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina Display in addition to the iPhone 5c, opening the door for more security features down the line.

Touch ID and a user’s passcode

Apple hasn’t envisioned Touch ID as a standalone biometric authentication system (or part of a multi-factor authentication solution). That means that it isn’t a replacement for a passcode. An iPhone 5s user must supply a passcode to enable Touch ID and once enabled, Touch ID is effectively a shortcut or pointer to a passcode.

The value that Touch ID offers is that it boasts the benefits of a complex passcode without the hassle of typing it dozens or hundreds of times a day – it makes a complex passcode easier to use.

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Wall Street Beat: Transition to mobile, cloud hits tech earnings

IDG News Service

With Google, IBM, SAP, Intel and other tech titans reporting earnings this week, the focus is again on mobile and cloud technology. The general trend appears to be that the further a tech vendor has moved away from its legacy desktop-oriented products, the better its earnings are.

IBM has launched ambitious cloud and mobile initiatives—but the resulting products are not quite fully baked. IBM officials themselves acknowledge as much, with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty talking about “positioning ourselves for growth over the long term” in the company’s earnings release Thursday.

Earlier this year, IBM announced a global competition to encourage developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by its Watson supercomputer platform. Just this week, IBM and Apple said they are teaming up to create business apps for Apple’s mobile phones and tablets.

But such projects have a ways to go before they reach fruition. Meanwhile, IBM revenue growth is flagging. Its second-quarter revenue was US$24.4 billion, down 2 percent year over year. Profit jumped 28 percent year over year, to $4.1 billion, but that was mainly because it compares to a quarter when net earnings were unusually low due to a billion-dollar charge the company took for workforce rebalancing.

Though both revenue and profit beat analyst forecasts, at first blush investors appeared disappointed, driving down IBM’s share price overnight. IBM shares gained back ground Friday but in early afternoon trading were still down by $0.60 at $191.89.

SAP seems to be riding the transition to cloud while incrementally boosting revenue. The company Thursday reported that, though software revenue continued to decline, cloud-based sales rose.

The maker of ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) software reported that revenue rose by 2 percent year over year to €4.2 billion (US$5.7 billion) in the quarter. SAP’s cloud subscription and support revenue was €241 million in the quarter, up 52 percent. Due to provisions for its patent dispute with software maker Versata, however, its net profit dropped year on year by 23 percent to €556 million.

As usual, Google was the earnings star of the week, reporting Thursday that its core advertising business fueled a 22 percent year-over-year increase in sales, to $15.96 billion. Profit was $3.42 billion, up almost 6 percent year over year.

It’s hard to say how much of this is due to mobile, since Google does not break out numbers for mobile and desktop ads. However, Google has been working on a range of projects designed to get its software on mobile devices. Many of those projects are years away from contributing significantly to the company’s bottom line, so for now the company essentially runs on its tremendous ad business.

One issue is that ads on mobile devices cost less than ads for other platforms and as a result, even as the company successfully makes the transition to mobile, the average cost-per-click of its ads went down by about 7 percent last quarter. Google officials say that as mobile computing becomes more imbued with work and recreation, ads on mobile platforms will become more remunerative.

Investors seem to agree, as Google shares rose Friday by $21.09 to hit $601.90 in afternoon trading.

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Apple’s IBM Deal Marks the Real Beginning of the Post-PC Era

Mashable

When you look at the landscape of powerful players in the enterprise, a few names tend to stand out: IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Apple.

Wait, Apple? A decade ago, it was rare to see Apple products in the enterprise. Sure, an executive here and there might have had a MacBook — maybe the graphics or marketing division used OS X — but everyone else worked on Windows and carried a BlackBerry.

Fast forward to today. Consumers have shifted away from the desktop-and-laptop world and more to the cloud, streaming media and mobile devices, and business and enterprise have, too. Today, iOS is in 98% of the Fortune 500. Almost in spite of itself, Apple has become a force of nature in the enterprise.

Seemingly overnight, Apple — the consummate consumer company — is a big player in the enterprise.

That reality became crystalized on Tuesday when Apple announced that it would be partnering with IBM to focus on “transforming enterprise.” The deal will pair Apple’s mobile and tablet hardware with IBM’s services, which include its Big Data, cloud and security infrastructure.

How exactly did this happen?

Falling into enterprise

The original iPhone wasn’t designed for business users. You could use a custom email setup, but there was no Exchange support, no VPN and no built-in productivity apps. With the iPhone 3G and iOS 2.0, Apple started adding more enterprise-friendly features, largely at the behest of businesses. Executives bought iPhones and wanted to use them in the office.

But it was the iPad, first released in 2010, that really changed the game. The portable nature of the tablet, coupled with a growing library of custom or publicly available third-party apps made the devices an instant hit in the office and in schools.

The iPad came along at the perfect time. Big enterprise customers were already starting to shift to cloud-based solutions for CRM and document management, which made it easy for an iPad to step in for a laptop on sales calls or in meetings.

Phil Buckellew, IBM’s vice president of enterprise mobile, says enterprise customers are constantly asking — demanding, really — more mobile solutions that are easy to use.

Why? It’s simple. People use an iPad at home and want to have that same experience at work. Users are accustomed to solutions “just working.”

Historical enterprise companies such as Microsoft and BlackBerry have struggled to adapt their technologies for the modern consumer, but by virtue of its consumer-friendly user experience, Apple seems to have almost accidentally fallen into enterprise.

Post-PC for the office is coming

Back in 2010, Steve Jobs famously discussed the emergence of a Post-PC world. Much hand-wringing and rationalizations about how the PC is still relevant has followed, but the reality is, Jobs was right. For most users, the PC is no longer the center of their digital lives, that center is now a smartphone (or even a tablet).

Continue reading

Delay Of Large iPhone Is The Best Possible News For Samsung

Business Insider

Until yesterday, Samsung’s worst nightmare was coming true.

Sales are down 10%, in large part because cheap Chinese Android knockoffs are cannibalizing the low end of Samsung’s mobile-phone shares. Apple’s sales are accelerating while Samsung’s are faltering. And Samsung’s one advantage over Apple — the fact that it offers two large-screen phones in the high-end market where Apple has none — is about to be wiped out by Apple’s new iPhone 6 phablet, expected in September.

And some consumers are likely holding off on buying large-screen phones as they wait to see what Apple will unveil in its fall launch. Samsung has cut its orders for parts for its Galaxy line in Q3 2014.

In short, Apple had Samsung exactly where it wants it: Losing sales, poised to lose share, and with consumers hesitant about buying a new Samsung until they see what iPhone 6 looks like.

But then last night we learned that Apple may not, after all, have a 5.5 inch version of the iPhone 6 ready to go. The 4.7-inch version is still coming, but the super-size iPhone 6 looks like it’s on hold.

As the comparison chart above showing the iPhone lineup next to Samsung’s products tells, a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 (reportedly is ready for launch) is only a tad larger than the iPhone 5S. It’s significantly smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 3. If Apple only launches a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in September, then Samsung will remain as the premier phablet maker for people who want large screens.

Apple was poised to deliver a killer blow to Samsung. But now it seems Samsung has gotten a reprieve.

The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is delayed because it is turning out to be harder to manufacture because of touch-sensitivity issues near the edge of the phone. The phablet iPhone 6 may not arrive until next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. That explains why, for months, we’ve been seeing leaked iPhone 6 parts for a 4.7-inch phone but not a 5.5-inch phone.

This, basically, is the best news Samsung could have hoped to hear. It now has an extended window to persuade people who need to upgrade their phones that in fact, for maybe as much as the next six months, if you want a big phone you gotta go to Samsung — because Apple doesn’t have a really big phone.

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The Four Most Surprisingly Useful Features In iOS 8

Fast Company

It’s tempting to think of iOS 8 as a more polished version of iOS 7; when you first install the update, there’s no visual cue that anything is different. But iOS 8 packs a long list of new features, some of which we’re still digging up weeks later. But what else is really new and worthwhile here? After thoroughly testing out the new OS, there were four such features that really stuck out.

1) Audio Messaging

I’m not fond of dictating my texts, yet I find the new quick audio feature in Messages to be addictive.

Activated by holding down the microphone icon, the feature immediately starts recording an audio message, which is then sent by sliding your finger up on the screen. If you misspoke (or are having second thoughts about drunk voice-texting your ex) you can use the familiar leftward swipe gesture to delete it before it sends. I suspect that once people try it, the tap, hold, and flick-to-send routine will become familiar.

Sending audio text messages isn’t for every situation–it’s still awkward to dictate messages while standing in line at Chipotle–but there are a lot of lazy situations in which it’s perfect. I found using it around the house, audio being a lot more convenient when doing chores. And because it doesn’t transcribe the note into text like Siri, there’s no need to correct spelling, which is especially nice when you’re behind the wheel.

2) Predictive Texting

Making texting even easier is the predictive text capabilities of the new keyboard. It’s one of the most noticeable new additions, thanks to the hard-to-miss row of words it appends right above the keyboard.

The QuickType feature–which lets you a few letters and tapping a word, typing a few more letters and selecting another–is a toss-up. Some might like it, while others might ignore it in favor of the way they’ve always typed on iOS. The place really comes in handy, however, is when replying to incoming messages.

For example, my wife sent me a few questions from the store and instead of having to type the answers, the choices were pre-populated. For the times messages are utilitarian in nature, the predictive text will be your best friend. Answering questions will be a delight, plus the predictive element learns how you speak to different contacts and tailors the responses accordingly. In this regard, messaging with iOS 7 will feel like a huge chore once you’ve used iOS 8.

3) Better App Store

After six years the App Store has seen its fair share of criticism. It’s also pretty clear the App Store is too big too do a good job and make everyone happy. The updates made to it in iOS 8, however, are pretty nice.

Visually, icons are bigger and items are spaced a little better, but overall it remains similar. The biggest complaint–which Apple is trying to address–is discoverability. Third-party apps make the iPhone experience. In iOS 8, surfacing new apps in the App Store feels a lot easier.

Google’s Play store has a similar problem: Once you highlight dozens of apps in different ways, the results can be overwhelming for users. One way the iOS 8 App Store tries to change this is by making it easier to drill down into specific interests.

There’s a new “explore” button now which combines previous efforts into one area. Front and center under explore is apps “Popular Near Me,” while the categories underneath help to separate the sub-division out more. Tapping “Music,” for example, produced a long list including “Apps For Learning Music,” “Lyrics,” and “Radio.” All very different types of apps that still fall under the broad music category.

Another subtle, but helpful addition is under the search button. Without typing anything, the first thing you see is a list of trending searches. This has already proved useful, not to mention interesting. Revision: Once you search for something, the store displays a list of items related to your query, further improving app discovery.

The tweaks might seem small, but they could be enough to help people find apps they might not have otherwise.

4) Spotlight

Spotlight finally feels like it’s reached the level of maturity it was destined for since its introduction. Integrating things like App Store searches, iTunes music, nearby places, and news rounds out thesearch box nicely.

In practice, it’s the first time I feel like I have a go-to place on iOS to quickly type things and at least get close enough to what I’m looking for. I was concerned Safari had too many desktop metaphors to be a useful mobile browser, but in combination with Spotlight’s new capabilities, the two work well together.

Spotlight in iOS 7 often came up short, focusing mostly onlocal search. Now in iOS 8, if I search for an app I need, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the phone or not because Spotlight will find it on the app store if it’s not local. Same for music, it doesn’t matter if a song is in my library or not because searching will still find it in iTunes.

The important improvement in Spotlight is that I don’t have to think about whether I need to search online or locally on my phone because the two are much more intertwined now.

I’d still love to see more refinement and work on Spotlight going forward, but in practice it’s much more useful than it’s ever been before.

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Microsoft, Apple, and Google battle for the mobile enterprise

CITEworld

The past three months have seen a whirlwind of announcements for enterprise mobility. MicrosoftApple, and Google all had their respective developer conferences. It’s never been clearer: All three are positioning themselves to battle for dominance of the mobile business market.

Although BlackBerry also squeezed in an announcement about its new partnership with Amazon that will bring the Amazon Appstore to BlackBerry 10 devices, the company is struggling for relevance as consumers continue to eschew the platform. While BlackBerry will continue to be a player in high-security markets, it’s unlikely to recapture a dominant position in the overall enterprise space now that end users have much choice and control over what devices they want to use at work.

What’s interesting is that Microsoft, Apple, and Google are all approaching the enterprise market in different ways. Each is playing to its strengths.

The incumbent

Apple has already managed to secure much of the enterprise mobility market. There are many factors that led to Apple’s dominance, but some key ones include Apple’s early introduction of enterprise security features in iOS, an ongoing expansion of those features, having a more mature platform on the market sooner than Android and Windows Phone, a closed ecosystem that resists malware, and the premium user experience that has been the hallmark of Apple for the last decade or more.

Apple has another big advantage: It’s always retained complete control of iOS as a platform. Apple has strict control over the hardware, OS, and app ecosystem that defines iOS. Microsoft and Google have both relied on third parties to create devices that run their platforms. Although both companies are, in their own ways, taking some steps to rein in the platform fragmentation that this has created, minimizing the impact of that fragmentation isn’t going to happen overnight.

Even if Google’s efforts with Android L succeed in tamping down security-related fragmentation, Apple may still have an edge here in terms of end user support. There have been just eight iPhone models ever made (likely to become ten this fall) and just seven iPads. That makes things much easier for helpdesk and other support professionals to troubleshoot than the wide swath of Android devices that BYOD users may bring into the office.

Windows tablets and phones may fare better than Google from a support perspective because many IT departments already support and troubleshoot Windows PCs and transferring those support skills onto mobile devices may be easier and more efficient.

Being the incumbent in the race, Apple also has the advantage of inertia — organizations that have managed to standardize around iOS are likely to see an advantage in staying the course. Part of that is because the institutional knowledge and solutions to secure and integrate iOS are already present, which means generally lower overhead in mandating or preferring iOS over other platforms.

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Impatient iPhone users switching to larger-screened Samsung Galaxy S5

The Guardian

Apple users are losing patience waiting for a larger-screened iPhone. New data showing that 26% of British buyers of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 in the three months to the end of May switched from the iPhone – compared to 12% the year before, according to Kantar ComTech’s Worldpanel.

Though the effect was not as marked across Europe, Kantar’s data still shows that 17% of Galaxy S5 buyers there had switched from the iPhone. In the US, the figure was just 8% – indicating, said Kantar, higher brand loyalty to Apple in its home country.

With larger-screened iPhones not expected before September, Apple may see more defections as Samsung presses its advantage. Samsung has begun cutting the price of the Galaxy S5, only two months into its launch.

But Samsung’s satisfaction in capturing switchers may be tempered by the fact that its Galaxy S5 was only the third best-selling phone in the UK – behind Apple’s iPhone 5S and 5C.

Update: The 5C was best-selling with 11.1% of all sales, the 5S next with 11%, said Kantar. The Galaxy S5 had 9%, and its year-old Galaxy S4 7.4%. The Moto G had 6% of all sales. Together those five handsets had 44.5% of all sales.

The month of May included the first full month of sales for Samsung’s new flagship phone, which has a 5.1in screen – substantially larger than the 3.5in screen of the iPhone 4 and 4S, and the 4in screen of the iPhone 5 and successors.

Think big

Apple’s need for a larger-screened phone was indicated as a perceived weakness by an internal sales presentation unveiled in its recent trial with Samsung in the US. That dated to April 2013 – since when the company has been working on designing the phones due for release this year.

A growing amount of claimed leaks from Apple’s supply chain, as well as new software functionality included in its forthcoming iOS 8 release,suggest that the iPhone maker will be releasing at least one and possibly two larger-screened iPhones in the autumn, when it usually releases new phone models.

Overall, Kantar’s data showed a surge in the share of sales for handsets running Google’s Android for the three months to the end of May 2014. In the US, its share of sales rose to 61.9%, the first time they have been above 60% since August 2012. Apple’s share of sales was 32.5%, its lowest since October 2011 when the iPhone 4S was launched.

In Germany, Android sales passed 80%, for the first time; iPhone sales were 12.1%, the smallest since September. Windows Phone sales fell, to 5.9% of sales.

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The great tech lull of 2014

CITEworld

One of the things that really struck me about Google I/O this year was how much of it felt like a retread of old ideas.

Android TV? That sounds like the resurrection of Google TV, which wasannounced at the 2010 show. Android Wear and Nest? Recall the connected-everywhere vision of Android @Home, the big deal of the 2011 show. Android “L” is just the next version of Android — it’s got a lot of important new design elements and promised enterprise security features, but it’s an incremental release of an already immensely successful product. Google’s new attention to providing cloud infrastructure to third-party developers, while useful, is simply following down the same path Amazon pioneered with AWS a few years back.

I had a similar sense watching Apple’s developers’ conference earlier this month. Our writer Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry drew a lot of flak for his criticism of WWDCand how he thought it reflected on Tim Cook’s leadership as operations guy rather than visionary. I have a lot more admiration for Cook — his reorganization of Apple to be more open and less controlling, and able to concentrate on multiple huge complicated projects at once, are remarkable changes that bode well for the company’s future.

But I understand what Gobry was getting at. What’s the big vision? How does Apple see the future, and what products will it create or enable to help bring us into that future? This is the company whose last three hit products revolutionized the recorded music industry, created the smartphone industry, and threatened the consumer PC industry with irrelevance. (Not to mention, Apple was arguably the inventor, or at least the great popularizer, of the personal computer in the first place.) Instead we got a bunch of disparate ideas and some connective tissue that may or may not be used to construct products that we may or may not want.

Part of the “meh” comes from a misunderstanding of what these conferences actually are. Because Apple and Google have done so much to revolutionize technology for everybody, we sometimes forget that these are conferences for developers — the people who build the next generation of products that will wow and delight us. They’re not for the rest of us, really.

But still. There’s a sense right now that big technology companies and startups alike are casting around for the next big thing.

Everybody seems to agree that the next wave of computing will involve a bunch of previously dumb devices becoming smarter with new kinds of sensors and processing power provided largely by cloud services, and getting connected up in some fashion. This data will be collected and compiled and used to provide custom-tailored services, even to the point of anticipating your desires before you have them.

This is what’s behind Apple’s HomeKit and CarPlay, Google’s acquisitions of Nest and Dropcam its new connected car and TV initiatives, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s talk of “ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence,” and Internet of Things and big data efforts by enterprise giants from Cisco to SAP to Salesforce. Not to mention hundreds of startups.

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