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Apple seizing big opportunities, even if music appears confused

Apple (AAPL) on Monday laid out its software road map for the next year across its computers, phones and watches. Highlighted by a new subscription music service, the occasionally uneven 2-1/2 hour presentation lacked the big bang of some of Apple’s new product announcements and more focused keynotes of the Steve Jobs era.

None of the features or products announced had much immediate impact on investors’ views of the company. Apple shares, which have been stuck in a narrow trading range for months, were down 0.5% to $182.02 as the keynote presentation in San Francisco ended 28947429.

That’s not surprising. Improving the virtual digital assistant Siri, adding mass transit directions to the Maps app and creating a split screen view to see two apps at once on an iPad screen are all the kinds of small improvements that delight users, but don’t change Apple’s bottom line much right away. Some resembled copies of great features from Google (GOOGL) or Microsoft (MSFT) but those tweaks, and many others discussed, demonstrate that Apple is still iterating to improve its products, a key strength in its decade-long run of success.

Amid all of the many, many tweaks and minor improvements, several larger points should also emerge as the keynote fog clears.

1. Big opportunities 2946922

Two of Apple’s newest and most promising products, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch, got major improvements likely to attract more users and expand the company’s ecosystem in years to come. Both the watch and the payments service have the potential to make a significant impact even on Apple’s already massive bottom line. That’s because even if only 10% or 20% of iPhone users buy a watch or use Apple Pay, the dollars will add up quickly. With some 500 million or more iPhones in use, 50 million watches could bring in $25 billion of high-margin sales. And 50 million people using Apple Pay would cement Apple’s lead in the fast-growing mobile payments market that could reach $700 billion by 2018, according to Juniper Research.

For the watch, Apple as expected announced a major improvement for third-party apps. Outside developers will soon be able to create apps that actually run on the watch (not just on a linked iPhone) and access the watch’s sensors. That should make apps much faster and more capable 2047297, helping kick off the kind of positive feedback loop that boosted the iPhone — better apps bring more users, who attract even more developers and so on.

For Apple Pay, Apple agreed to allow retailers like Kohl’s (KSS) or Starbucks (SBUX) to integrate their loyalty rewards programs into the iPhone’s mobile payments app. That will give customers a much bigger incentive to pay with Apple’s service than before. Earning, tracking and spending rewards points can be tedious and complicated, but with Apple Pay the programs automatically just work with each transaction.

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2. Using large resources

Apple is now sounding more like the world’s largest tech company, with the resources to cover the full spectrum of promising markets. The keynote included further plans for Apple to integrate its ecosystem into cars and homes, for example. These areas are small today but have the potential to become huge as part of the growing “Internet of Things.”

Apple’s early efforts are low key — providing software to help carmakers and third-party home security and control device manufacturers. But as Apple learns what consumers want and how best to serve those needs, the company will be well-positioned to make its own foray into the hardware side.

After all, “the car is the ultimate mobile device,” Senior Vice President Jeff Williams quipped at last month’s Recode conference when he was asked about Apple’s rumored interest.

3. State of confusion

On the other hand, Apple may be reaching a point of confusion and loss of focus, to some degree, resembling the years before Steve Jobs rejoined the company. The presentation for the new Apple Music was rambling and hard to follow at times. Jimmy Iovine, the longtime music exec who joined Apple as part of the Beats acquisition in 2014, seemed uncomfortable and wooden explaining why the company developed yet another music service.

And the service itself seemed to lack several critical elements of popular platforms like Spotify — users can’t share or swap their playlists. A new 223259 24-hour global Internet radio service, called Beats One, seemed more appealing to music artists than to regular music lovers. Overall, the service reeked of the top-down, out-of-touch introduction of Jay Z’s competing offering, Tidal. It’s good that Apple has the resources to create new services on such a vast scale now, but the company also must keep in mind a key strength of the past decade: knowing when to say no 8628724.

Apple Finally Put Women Employees Onstage! But Don’t Celebrate Just Yet

Apple executive Jennifer Bailey during a presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference this year. (Photo: Getty Images)

Last year, a developer named Joe Kukura watched 16 hours of past WWDC keynote footage only to find that Apple has shown two real-life women onstage since 2007. When you consider that the company had 59 featured speakers over that period of time, that’s a straight-up pitiful track record.

On Monday morning, Apple finally did a little rectification. The tech company featured not one but two female Apple employees onstage during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote speech. They were Jennifer Bailey, a vice president of Apple’s online store and Apple Pay, and Susan Prescott, vice president of product management and marketing. Both of them have been at the company since 2003, according to their LinkedIn pages, meaning that both have long contributed to the success and failures of Apple products.

The two were professional and entertaining, just as comfortable on stage as any of the old-dudes’ guard that has come to dominate Apple’s highly publicized events. It was an important moment for any young woman with ambitions to go into tech. It was an important step in the tech sector’s diversity saga, but hopefully only the beginning of a what needs to be a much more inclusive industry.

As we’ve noted in the past, there’s nothing like a tech conference to remind the world that men are much more heavily represented in the industry than women. In response, major companies like Samsung and Microsoft have recently taken note of this disparity, putting women onstage alongside their male counterparts at major product launches 8098294.

Apple, meanwhile, had continued to lag: Even when the company used its Watch event in March to invite a woman onstage, the gesture backfired, because that woman was not a female Apple employee but international supermodel Christy Turlington. It was the worst possible way for the company to address the very apparent gender disparity onstage, inviting someone who is photographed for a living to celebrate the launch of the Watch over people like Prescott or Bailey, who have spent years dedicating their time in that very company to improve and develop its products 856979.

So, the appearances onstage of Bailey and Prescott today mean something. When a major company like Apple’s shows off a diverse workforce, it encourages people who are not white men to imagine themselves in the industry.

Women are only part of the equation. While Apple deserves praise for giving Prescott and Bailey the stage time they are due, it could also stand to bring more diversity to the mix. All of its presenters — aside from special presenter Drake and musical guest The Weeknd — were white. And if you think Apple’s numbers are bad when it comes to women in the workplace, the statistics for Hispanic and black employees are even worse.

Yes, Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged Apple’s need to diversify, writing last June: “We know we can do more, and we will.” And yes, Apple has partnered with 29478294 nonprofit groups like the National Center for Women & Information Technology, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to help increase the number of women and minorities in technology. These are great ways to lay the foundation for a better future.

But you know what else is? Hiring more women and minorities right now.

For Apple, Jennifer Bailey and Susan Prescott are a good start 20987846. It proves that Tim Cook is listening. But Apple still faces a long road ahead until things are right.

Why Has “Social” Failed In Fintech?

Finance is littered with the graves of startups that have tried to do social. Remember, Kaching, Cake Financial, Robinhood.io? Everyone has failed.

But this has not deterred a new crop of fintech entrepreneurs from throwing their hats into the ring. Venture capitalists again are pouring money into these startups. And it is likely to end in tears.
Network economics do work

Don’t confuse social with network economics or marketplaces. Finance has been at both for centuries. Look at banks building out branch networks or traders coming together at commodity and stock exchanges.

In the last 100 years, finance has combined network economics and technology to change the way we live for the better. Think of Visa’s network of partner banks or the brilliance of ATM machines.

Recently, fintech startups have embraced network economics to bring us peer-to-peer successes like LendingClub and Kickstarter. They have spawned hundreds of look-a-like firms in every country in the world. But none of these businesses are “social.” There is no Facebook of finance. There is no finance on Facebook.
Who’s in the graveyard?
Read More →

Inside GoPro’s Ambitious Plan To Connect Their Cameras To The Cloud

GoPro doesn’t want to be known just as a camera company. Instead, as I learned from GoPro’s CEO and Founder Nick Woodman, GoPro wants to be a lifestyle media company. To that end, the company is looking to cloud services to give owners an easier way to share all that rad action footage and build a new business based on content, not hardware.

GoPro cameras are designed to survive the harshest conditions possible. Yet they suffer from the same fundamental flaw as traditional cameras: content gets stuck on the SD cards inside the cameras. Smartphones address this problem by allowing pictures and videos to be shared instantly but users still have to go through several steps to share content, something Nick Woodman aims to reduce.
Read More →

Everything Apple Is Trying To Kill With iOS 9

Apple’s WWDC 2015 keynote didn’t include many surprises with its news of a new version of Mac OS X, iOS 9, Apple Music, watchOS and more. But combined, its announcements painted a picture of a company that’s gunning for a number of major technology competitors including Google, Microsoft, Spotify, PayPal, and others, as well as popular applications like SoundCloud and Flipboard.

Here are all the products and services that Apple is potentially shaking up with its news today.

Some opinions from people:

1. iTunes and Spotify Extreme (Premium) are very nearly the same in quality. Spotify uses 320kbps Ogg Vorbis, according to their site. Vorbis 320kbps to my usually pedantic standards is great quality, just like 256kbps AAC (iTunes) is. I only keep lossless FLAC where possible because hard drive space is much cheaper nowadays, but I wouldn’t pay twice the price of Spotify for lossless i.e. Tidal.

2. Apple Music isn’t planned to have a web player, doesn’t have any factors which truly set it apart from Spotify, doesn’t have a free model, and most importantly, wasn’t first to market. Those are some major barriers Apple needs to overcome; I’m not saying they can’t do it, but to state that it will ‘replace Spotify’ is invalid without any real reasons is a stretch at best. Sure, Apple music may beat Spotify to market in some smaller countries, but that’s small advantage considering that the willingness to pay in those markets is much lower (from a general standpoint).

3. I would love to see anyone actually bring a valid argument to the iOS vs Android discussion. Had both, they’re phones, they did things, they have different features. In fact the features of an android change from brands. One was made of plastic, one was made of metal. … at the end of the day… The general public doesn’t care, just an fyi, I use to, but I don’t cause it doesn’t matter. People who hate one company for some reason is usually because of a poor customer experience. I think my fav response to this has been, “you don’t have to be the first in tech”. VERY TRUE! First generation technology is often problematic. Yeah, Cortana may have some feature that Siri is coming out with… but if we are to compare who did it first… Who came first Siri or Cortana? Next question, whats it matter who did it first? Which one works better?

4. Maybe now, those app makers will think twice before kissing apple’s ass and prioritizing IOS before other platform. Anyway, Apple it’s again playing catch up, i’m not an iphone hater or anything but i start to get it why android users are calling ios users dumb.. You pay premium prices to catch up every year to the competition.

Messi aims to fill trophy void at Copa America

Lionel Messi has won everything possible with Barcelona but has been left staring at an empty shelf gathering dust for his Argentina honours.

And 20,000 Argentine fans will cross the Andes hoping that the jinx is ended at the Copa America starting in Chile on Thursday.

Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Juventus on Saturday provided Messi’s fourth Champions League crown in 10 years. He also has seven Spanish titles and two World Club Cups and has been world player of the year four times IUFKGKFEF.

But Argentina’s defeat to Germany in the World Cup last year extended a national title drought lasting back to the 1993 Copa America.

“Our aim is to win this year,” said Messi, who has nevertheless tasted Olympic gold with his country at the 2008 Beijing Games.

But while he was declared player of the World Cup, the Little Genius’s speed and jinking runs never seem the same on the international stage as they do when he pulls on a Barcelona shirt.

Messi scored 43 goals in 38 Spanish championship matches this season — behind eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo on 48 — and has the most goals in La Liga history with 286 and also a record 77 in the Champions League 785678GJH.

But the rate falls for Argentina, with 45 goals in 97 appearances.

Messi says he is always being asked why Argentina, who start this tournament again as one of the favourites, never win.

He wept uncontrollably after losing the 2010 World Cup quarter final 4-0 to Germany when Argentine legend Diego Maradona was the coach 89785869.

“It’s great to play with the national team, to wear the shirt and to be captain,” Messi said recently. “But getting a title would be the ultimate for me.” In 2007, Messi was part of the Argentine team that lost the Copa America final 3-0 to Brazil. In 2011, they lost to Uruguay in the quarter-finals on penalties when playing in his home province of Santa Fe.

Messi was jeered by Argentine fans for the first time in his career, according to his father Jorge 8759894.

786987 Argentina start this tournament against Paraguay in La Serena on Saturday and also play Uruguay and Jamaica in Group B JKHFIU.

ICI Paints Expands Operations In Boston Area

CLEVELAND, December 17, 2002 – ICI Paints, a leading provider of decorative paints, today announced that its North American division has acquired the architectural paint stores operating under the Hancock Paint banner in the Boston region.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The stores were previously owned by a subsidiary of Sico Inc. (SIC/TSE), headquartered in Quebec city. The expansion strengthens ICI Paints’ position in the greater Boston area, allowing the company to better serve the professional paint market in the area through additional service locations.

Glidden Dismissed from San Francisco Lead Paint Lawsuit

Dismissal Trend Continues in Lead Paint Cases

CLEVELAND, August 1, 2002 – Continuing a growing trend, The Glidden Company was dismissed from a lead paint lawsuit pending in San Francisco after plaintiffs’ counsel agreed to dismiss the company because it never manufactured or sold lead products for use in paint.

Within the past year, Glidden has been dismissed from 12 lead paint cases in California, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas. Seven other cases are still pending. The company remains confident that it will ultimately prevail in the seven remaining cases. The San Francisco case has been pending since August 2000.

Cleveland-based Glidden does business as ICI Paints.

ICI Paints Opens New Distribution Center in Woodland

New facility delivers paint to northwest states from California location

WOODLAND, Calif., September 18, 2002 – ICI Paints, a leading provider of high quality decorative and industrial paints worldwide, has opened a new 155,000-square foot distribution facility in Woodland to serve customers throughout the west coast and Pacific Northwest.

In conjunction with a grand opening event today, ICI Paints will donate paint to the Yolo Community Care Continuum to paint its new seven-bedroom safe harbor house for people with mental illness in the Woodland area.

“This new facility will play a key role in growing our west coast presence and providing outstanding service to our customers in this region,” said Peter Gibbons, Executive Vice President for ICI Paints. “In addition, ICI Paints is a strong believer in supporting the communities it serves. We are proud to support the local economy here in Woodland with this new facility and contribute this much-needed paint to such a worthwhile cause.”

“This new facility is yet another example of the outstanding location and services provided by the City of Woodland for companies that choose to locate operations here,” said Bryce Birkman, Executive Director, Woodland Economic Renaissance Corporation. “We congratulate ICI Paints on opening its facility here and look forward to a long standing relationship between the company and the city.”

“ICI Paints delivered exactly what we needed to take the next step in building our safe harbor house,” said Kate Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Yolo Community Care Continuum. “We welcome them to our community and thank them for immediately getting involved in this important project.”

The facility is managed locally by The Bender Warehouse Company and employs approximately 50 people. The warehouse facility was built by Panattoni Development Corporation, Inc.

El Paso, Texas School District Dismisses Glidden From Lead Paint Suit

CLEVELAND, October 14, 2002 – The Glidden Company, which does business in North America as ICI Paints, today announced that it has been dismissed from a lead paint lawsuit filed by the El Paso (Texas) School District because plaintiffs’ counsel agreed the company never manufactured or sold lead products for use in paint.

The El Paso School District filed the lawsuit on August 12, 2002, naming Glidden and a number of present and former lead pigment manufacturers. The complaint alleged that lead paint was a known hazard and that the defendants did nothing to prevent its use or warn the public of potential harm to children.

Glidden was quickly dismissed after opposing counsel found that the company never manufactured or sold lead products for use in paint and was therefore not responsible for lead-related health issues. The case remains pending against the other defendants.

This recent dismissal in El Paso followed the conclusion of the first phase of the landmark lead paint case in Rhode Island, where a jury failed to determine that old lead paint is a public nuisance. Glidden was dismissed from the Rhode Island case in February 2002 and therefore was not involved in the trial.

In the past year, Glidden has now been dismissed from 14 lead paint cases in California, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas.