Apple Officials Said to Discuss Duty Demands With Finance Ministry

Senior executives of iPhone maker Apple on Wednesday held detailed deliberations on their demand related to duty concession with officials of the finance ministry.

The meeting assumes significance as the revenue department has rejected the demands of the US-based technology major.

According to sources, the duty wish-list was discussed at the meeting, which was attended by key executives of the company.

Apple Officials Said to Discuss Duty Demands With Finance Ministry

Apple India has sought concessions, including duty exemption on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment. It also sought relaxations for consumables for smartphone manufacturing and service or repair for 15 years as it plans to set up a manufacturing unit in India.

These concessions would help the company get component makers to set up units in the country as it cannot source inputs locally.

India is gradually becoming a smartphone manufacturing hub, and there is a feeling that giving concession to a particular company could be difficult for the government.

In a communication to the government, the Cupertino-based technology major has asked for incentives from the Department of Revenue and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITy).

Apple also wants relaxation in the mandated 30 percent local sourcing of components.

It is also keen on reduction in Customs duties on completely knocked-down and semi-knocked-down units of devices that are to be assembled in the country.

In January, Apple had indicated to the government that it is ready with a blueprint to begin manufacturing iPhones in India, but wants fiscal concessions, including Customs duty waiver on import of components.

The company sells its products through Apple-owned retail stores in countries like China, Germany, the US, the UK and France, among others. It has no wholly-owned store in India and sells its products through distributors such as Redington and Ingram Micro.

Apple iPhone SE: Can it really be luring in more Android switchers?

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The new four-inch-screen iPhone SE might not have thrilled smartphone fans, but data on Apple’s online sales suggests it is reaching a new group of consumers.

Online sales of the iPhone SE on the first weekend of availability were muted compared with those following the iPhone 6’s launch, and to a lesser extent with those of the iPhone 6s, according to market research firm Slice Intelligence.

The firm produces figures for Apple’s online sales based on electronic receipts in the inboxes of its panel of four million online shoppers in the US. According to its opening weekend data on the new iPhone, sales amounted to about three percent of the iPhone 6’s figures in the equivalent period.

But as Slice Intelligence points out, iPhone SE buyers look different to the typical Apple fanboy — and are more likely to be switching from Android devices than iPhone 6 buyers were.

About half of iPhone 6s buyers had bought an earlier iPhone online in the past two years, while 10 percent bought an Android handset in the period. The equivalent figures for iPhone SE buyers are 35 percent and 16 percent respectively, which means more Android switchers for that device.

Also, 48 percent of iPhone SE buyers hadn’t bought a phone in the past two years, compared with 40 percent for iPhone 6s buyers. In other words, the new four-inch phone from Apple appears to be attracting more consumers who don’t conform to the usual two-year upgrade cycle.

A larger proportion of iPhone SE launch buyers are also older and male, compared with the average for all iPhone buyers.

“More than one fifth [21 percent] of SE buyers are in the 45-to-54 age demographic, versus 18 percent for all iPhone buyers; and 77 percent of SE buyers are men, versus 69 percent,” Slice Intelligence said.

Additionally, 15 percent of iPhone SE buyers were aged 65 and over compared with 12.8 percent in that age group for all iPhone buyers.

Slice Intelligence argues that this statistic shows the iPhone SE is attracting new consumers to the iPhone. It also highlights that 38 percent of iPhone SE buyers have a college degree, compared with 46 percent who pre-ordered an iPhone 6 or 6s.

The iPhone SE’s lower starting price may also be appealing to Chinese consumers. According to a report from CNBC on Tuesday, iPhone SE pre-orders at Chinese retailers have reached 3.4 million.

A JP Morgan analyst last week estimated iPhone SE sales would reach 17 million in 2016, giving Apple an additional $6.9bn in revenue.

Google to Oracle: Your $9.3bn Android Java damages claim is mad

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Google has filed a rebuttal to Oracle’s claim that it’s due $9.3bn in damages for unlicensed use of Java code in Android.

Google says its own damages expert “strongly disagrees” with the financial relief Oracle has demanded, ahead of the companies’ May district court retrial over claims that 37 Java SE application protocol interfaces in Android infringed Oracle’s copyright.

Oracle has argued that the Java APIs were necessary to get app developers on board with Android early, which helped Google net billions in profits through app sales and mobile advertising.

Oracle’s damages expert estimated that Google has made $8.8bn in “profits apportioned to infringed Java copyrights” and that those profits should be recovered from Google. Together with actual damages of $475m, the expert thinks Google should pay Oracle a total of $9.3bn.

Just a few months after Apple released Swift for iOS, the language has become one of the most popular for developers.

Unsurprisingly, Google’s own damages expert thinks Oracle isn’t entitled to the enormous sum because most of Android’s code base is Google’s own.

The company points out in a filing obtained by Business Insider that the 37 Java SE APIs amount to 0.8 percent of over 15 million lines of non-infringing code in Android.

The search firm has asked the court to strike from the record portions of an assessment by Dr James R Kearl, who was appointed by the court to respond to the damages experts put forward by Oracle and Google and assess the appropriate sum for “disgorgement of profits”.

Google objected to three methods that Kearl offered to calculate the disgorgement sums and wants them struck from the record because the jury might consider them plausible.

First, Google says Kearl wrongly bought Oracle’s argument that Java allowed Google to attract developers, which then brought users and profits to Android.

Second, Google says it was wrong to assume that companies such as Facebook and Uber would have avoided developing Android apps if Google had not copied the Java APIs.

The final idea that Google wants expunged is that there would be no Android were it not for the Java APIs, an idea Kearl entertained in one “alternate reality” scenario that could give a basis for the jury to award the whole $8.8bn to Oracle.

Separate filings by Oracle suggest Google is angling to limit damages to $100m.

Oracle originally filed its claim against Google in 2010. In 2014, the US Court of Appeals overturned a 2012 district court ruling that the Java APIs were not copyrightable, but that Google may be covered by “fair use”.

The Supreme Court last year knocked back Google’s request for it to review the decision, so the matter is headed back to the district court to decide on Google’s fair use defense.

Verizon planning $20 smartphone upgrade fee

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Verizon is planning to charge a $20 flat fee for customers to upgrade their smartphone, the company has confirmed to ZDNet.

“The upgrade fee helps cover our increased support costs associated with customers switching devices,” a spokesperson said. “Customers can pay the charge when they upgrade, bill it to their account or trade in an old device to offset the cost. The fee for upgrading on device payment is still half of the two-year contract upgrade fee.”

The pricing has been leaked in an informational flier from MacRumors.

The new program is said to start on Monday, April 4 and will cover any smartphone on a Device Payment financing plan, Apple’s new iPhone upgrade plan, or at full retail price.

Verizon is simply following its competition. AT&T, the second-largest carrier in the US and Verizon’s biggest competitor, charges $15 per smartphone added or upgraded, while Sprint charge up to $36 per smartphone.

Up and coming carrier, T-Mobile, does not have an upgrade fee.

Verizon’s new upgrade fee comes after several high-profile phone announcements, including Apple’s iPhone SE and Samsung’s Galaxy S7.

We have reached out to Verizon for more info.

iOS 9.3 most stable release from Apple, more stable than Android 6.0

According to a new report by app analytics firm Apteligent, Apple’s latest iOS 9.3 build is the most stable new release by the Cupertino-based company in years. The report revealed a 2.2% crash rate for iOS 9.3 in the past eight days.

Other major releases, including iOS 8, 9, and 9.2, had their crash rate cross the 3.2% mark in the same time-period. In addition, the report revealed that iOS 9.3’s rate of crash was also better than that of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which saw a crash rate of 2.6%.

It’s worth mentioning that iOS 9.3 has also had its own share of problems – it’s roll-out wastemporarily put on hold for some older models due to an issue with the update procedure.

Suppliers say iPhone SE sales probably won’t be enough to offset expected Q2 revenue drop

Apple’s new reboot of the 4-inch iPhone factor is doing pretty well. The pocket-friendly device has reportedly received 3.4 million registrations in China and is expected to sell between four and five million units in the second fiscal quarter. Its more affordable price point is also serving great in attracting Android converts, so, in a nutshell, the little handset can be considered an overall success.

However, industry supply chain sources have warned that the iPhone SE won’t manage to overcome the already expected 11% or so decrease in Apple’s revenue in Q2 this year. To quote the source itself:

Shipments for the new iPhone SE will be unable to offset the fall in shipments for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices in the second quarter … The shipment target for the SE in the second quarter is four to five million units

So why is this happening? Well, one possible reason has to do with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Back in 2014, Apple had some trouble in keeping up with demands after their release and a lot of sales were inadvertently put off for January. This has resulted in an inflated year-over-year figure to beat. Also, an endlessly increasing market value isn’t really possible and Apple has already over-exceeded market predictions in this respect.

In any case, we won’t know any market figures for certain before the official report becomes available on April 25.

Apple releases iOS 9.3.1 to fix crashes caused by tapping links

iOS 9.3 was released to the public on March 21, the same day as Apple’s big event where it unveiled the iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7 (both of which are now available, by the way). Yet here we are just 10 days later and the company has deemed it necessary to already issue an emergency update for its mobile operating system.

iOS 9.3.1 is now rolling out to supported iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch units across the world. Its only function is to fix a very nasty bug that somehow made the cut to the final version of iOS 9.3. This bug will render your Apple device useless after tapping on links in Safari and other apps.

Thankfully, after you update your device to iOS 9.3.1, the crashing and unresponsiveness associated with tapping on links in certain circumstances will happen no more. So clearly this is one update that you should apply as soon as possible, especially if you have been affected by this bug.

Nothing else is included in this iOS release, so you don’t get any new features or anything like that. Then again, iOS 9.3 itself comes with plenty of those, and it’s only been out for everyone since last week, so that makes perfect sense.

iOS 9.3 problems: Here’s how to fix the most common issues

iOS 9.3 problems: Here's how to fix the most common issues

Some people are experiencing a problem with iOS 9.3 that bricks their iPad 2, and we’ve got a solution to help bring it back to life.

Apple has now launched iOS 9.3, its latest update to the iOS 9 software that runs on most of the world’s iPhones and iPads. While the free update should go smoothly, you may find you’re encountering some problems with iOS 9.3 after (or even during) the update.

We’ve put together this guide covering the most common issues with iOS 9.3, and how to fix them, so if your iPhone or iPad isn’t behaving properly after the iOS 9.3 update, check out our list of issues below to see if there’s a solution.

If you’re experiencing a problem in iOS 9.3 that we haven’t solved, let us know in the comments and we’ll look into it.

iOS 9.3 problems: Here's how to fix the most common issues

No iOS 9.3 update is available

Apple has made iOS 9.3 available for free for devices running iOS 9, and the update should be waiting for you when you go to Settings > General > Software Update.

However, what can you do if the iOS 9.3 update isn’t showing on your device? The first thing is try updating it via iTunes on your Mac or PC.

Begin by making sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed, then connect your device to your Windows PC or Mac. Next, open up iTunes, select your device and click ‘Summary’ then ‘Check for Update’. The iOS 9.3 update should then display, enabling you to update through iTunes.

If you can’t get to a computer with iTunes you could visit an Apple Store and ask someone there to connect your device. It may also be worth waiting a few days for Apple’s servers to calm down after the initial rush of people downloading the update.

Also make sure your device has plenty of charge left in its battery, and that you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network before you attempt to download and install the iOS 9.3 update wirelessly.

Device freezes while updating

If your device stops responding while you’re updating to iOS 9.3, try resetting your device by holding the power and home buttons down at the same time for around 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo.

If that doesn’t work, plug your device into a power socket and let it charge for around 15 minutes. After it’s charged, reset the device again and hopefully it’ll return to a working state.

If that doesn’t work, plug your device into a PC or Mac running iTunes, click the iPhone or iPad icon and select either Restore iPhone or Restore iPad in the Summary section.

You’ll be given the option to back up your settings before restoring, which is advisable. Then, click Restore and iTunes will restore your device to a previous backup that you’ve saved either in iTunes or in iCloud.

Cannot install iOS 9.3

If you encounter problems while trying to install iOS 9.3 try the following. First make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your PC or Mac. Also make sure that whichever operating system you’re using is up to date.

Antivirus software running in the background may be causing problems, so temporarily pause or disable your security software – if you do this, make sure you remember to turn it back on once you’ve successfully updated to iOS 9.3.

Unplug any additional USB devices that are connected to your computer, leaving just your iOS device, and keyboard and mouse, attached.

Reboot both your computer and your iOS device. Now try updating to iOS 9.3 through iTunes.

Cannot activate iPhone or iPad

If you’re having trouble activating your device after upgrading to iOS 9.3, you’re not alone. Owners of older iPads, specifically the iPad 2, have reported iOS 9.3 authentication problems.

First, restart your device by pressing and holding the power and home buttons for 10 seconds, until the screen displays the Apple logo.

If after your device has restarted you still can’t activate, connect your device to a PC or Mac running iTunes and try updating.

Another way to activate your device is to first turn it off, then log in to the iCloud websitewith your Apple ID and password. Click on Find iPhone, then All Devices. Select the device you’re having trouble activating and click Remove.

Do not click Erase or Mark as ‘Lost’. Now turn on your device and try to activate it again. Hopefully that should work, and if it does, go into Settings and turn on Find My iPhone.

If you then see the ‘Cannot activate because the activation server is temporarily not available’ message, try again later, as it might be that Apple’s activation server has shut down due to high demand.

Reduced battery life

If you find that the battery life of your iPhone or iPad has noticeably reduced since upgrading to iOS 9.3, try resetting the device by pressing and holding the power and home buttons for around 10 seconds, until the Apple logo appears.

For more advice on improving the battery life of your phone, check out our comprehensive guide on how to improve iPhone battery life.

My iPad 2 has stopped working after updating to iOS 9.3

Many people with the iPad 2 have been complaining that their devices have stopped working after updating to iOS 9.3.

The issues have been serious – and numerous – enough for Apple to release a brand new build for iOS 9.3, known as 13E236.

This update should be rolling out to iPad 2 owners now, so check for the new update. If your iPad 2 is unresponsive – also known as bricked – then you can download the new build of iOS 9.3 by plugging your device into a PC and updating via iTunes.

This is the portablec you want, but probably can’t afford

Building a VR-ready PC on a budget requires carefully selecting compatible components that are powerful enough but don’t cost the earth. So what do you do when cost is an afterthought? Ian ‘8Pack’ Parry, one of the world’s top overclockers, set out to answer that question by building The Asteroid.

The latest machine in Stoke, UK-based Overclocker’s 8Pack range of high-end gaming machines, The Asteroid is a mini-ITX system that’s been designed from the ground up to eatVR games for breakfast while running silent and cool. And so it should, at £4,000 (around £$5,750 or AUS$7,500) – but at that price it’s certainly not going to be for everyone.

8Pack is no stranger to building crazy-powerful PCs powered by multiple Nvidia GTX Titan X cards, but his latest creation presented an altogether different challenge: squeezing tons of power into a chassis small enough to slip into a flight case and take on the road.

So, what level of engineering goes into a compact, LAN-friendly, VR-ready David among Goliaths? Techradar caught up with 8Pack at the Insomnia 57 gaming festival to find out.

How is The Asteroid different to your average gaming PC?

8Pack: We set out to make the most powerful rig possible in the smallest footprint. To do that we had to integrate a lot of the water-cooling to within the case itself, not using big reservoirs that you’d usually see in tubes but within the case panels instead. Because we could only fit one Nvidia GTX 980 Ti in there, we overclocked it to 1450MHz on the core and 1900MHz on the memory. There’s also a hyper-threaded quad-core Intel Core i7-6700K that we’ve taken from the basic clock of around 4GHz and pushed it up to at least 4.7GHz.

How does the case support water-cooling?

8P: The Asteroid has been designed in a way that uses the case’s plates to shuttle coolant fluid around the system’s water-cooling components to keep the GPU and GPU cool. The fluid is stored in a reservoir at the top of the case. This method saves a lot of space, as you usually have to use tubing with bends in it, whereas we’re using straight runs in the tubing – which also looks great.

TubeIn our review we highlighted the lack of an M.2 storage drive in the system. Can you explain why one wasn’t included?

8P: There’s no room on the inside for one, and no space on the motherboard for it. Checking out the machine it looks very uncluttered, but there’s actually no room on the motherboard to put anything. More importantly, The Asteroid uses a high-quality sound solution, which is more important to gamers than M.2. They want to be able to hear their opponents’ footsteps if they’re going to be shot in the back, and special effects going on around them, so we included the Supreme FX audio sound rather than upgraded storage.

Can anyone build a PC using this case?

8P: The case is generally not available. It’s a modded Parvum case that’s different to your usual aluminium model as it’s made out of custom acrylic panels.

How much do PC gamers care about design?

8P: A lot of people these days want a system that’s very individual to themselves in terms of the look, so giving The Asteroid a great aesthetic was key. You can tailor its color scheme, change the color of the panels, the cabling and the fluid, all that kind of stuff.

 

Could you have made the PC any smaller?

8P: Of course it’s possible, but the idea is to make it silent. It’s about achieving a balance. To shuttle away heat with silence you need a minimum of two 240-mil radiators, which we have housed in the base of the unit. To make The Asteroid smaller you would need to spin the fans faster and it would become noisier. When it’s not doing anything the fans shut off and stop spinning, so it’s completely silent. When you’re running games the fans are never spinning at more than 800rpm, which you can’t hear on the desk next to you.

 

How do you benchmark a machine like this and make sure it’s ready for VR?

8P: We’ve been doing the standard 3DMark Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme tests, along with the SteamVR benchmark. At the moment there are no real VR benchmarks, though FutureMark are bringing out their VRMark test soon, which we’ll use.

What VR headsets have you been testing it with?

8P: We tested it with the second version of the Oculus Development Kit, and the Vive that we have at HQ. All 8Pack systems are way above the minimum requirement of a single GTX 970, so they’re way above what’s needed to run VR.

The Asteroid

What else can The Asteroid do?

8P: It’s great at rendering, Photoshop, cinema-type stuff and video work, as the CPU is hyper-threaded, and the clock and memory speeds are high. You can upgrade the storage capacity and graphics card whenever a new one comes out too.

How portable is it?

8P: It’s tailored for LAN gaming being so portable, and it also comes in a flight case that has room for peripherals including a 22-inch monitor; you can also fit a keyboard, mouse and headset in there. The flight case is fully lockable – there’s no way to secure the system, as you’d have to start drilling holes through the case. That wouldn’t be so good for the aesthetics, and would make it difficult to customise the case.

How to migrate from an old Mac using Migration Assistant

How to migrate from an old Mac using Migration Assistant

You can upgrade to OS X El Capitan on Macs from as far back as 2007. In terms of software, you’ll need to be running at least OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – if you’re still running OS X 10.5 Leopard, then you’ll first have to buy an upgrade to 10.6 and install it before you can move to El Capitan (which itself is free).

You’ll also need an Apple ID to download the upgrade from the Mac App Store. In theory, all your settings and data will be preserved when you migrate. However, because theory and practice sometimes differ, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have an up-to-date Time Machine backup on an external drive or removable disk before you start. Check out our tutorial on how to set up and configure a Time Machine backup for more information.

If your Mac is set up to make regular backups, then all you need to do is check when the last successful one ran. Click the Time Machine status icon in the menu bar and choose Open Time Machine Preferences.

If the latest backup is older than today, run a new one; if your settings get wiped when upgrading, you’ll then be able to restore them from this backup.

Get the updates

You’ll also need to ensure that the most recent OS X updates are installed so that you can access the App Store, because this is the only way to get an El Capitan upgrade. Note that the update process will be different depending on whether you’re updating from 10.9, 10.8, 10.7 or 10.6.

In 10.6 Snow Leopard, go to the Apple menu, select Software Update and wait while it checks for new software. Once updates have been identified, choose Show Details to see which ones are available.

To save some time, you can opt to install only the Mac OS X Update Combined. Once all applicable updates have been downloaded and installed, you may need to restart your Mac.

Then, once you’ve made sure there’s a recent backup in place, go to the Apple menu, then open the App Store to get and install El Capitan. In OS X 10.9, 10.8 and 10.7, Click on the Featured tab and look for ‘OS X El Capitan’ a little way down under Quick Links on the right.

In this guide we’ll show you how to migrate data from another Mac, by connecting the two via a network cable. This might not be useful to you now, if you’ve got just the one Mac, but in the future when you upgrade to a new machine, you can use this method to transfer your data and ensure that nothing vital is overlooked.