But a month later, there are questions about how effective this strategy has been, particularly in regards to the iPhone 5C, the cheaper, colorful plastic counterpart to Apple’s higher-end iPhone 5S.
Though some observers see a long game in which the “fun” version of the iPhone will still prove popular, others are skeptical, based on some early signs.
Apple has not released figures breaking down sales of the 5C versus the 5S (An earnings report on October 28 may change that). But independent analysts estimate that the fancier 5S is outselling its candy-colored cousin by 3 to 1 or, in some cases, even more.
Localytics, an analytics and marketing platform creators say samples apps on 1 billion devices, says the 5S is winning 3-to-1 in the United States and a whopping 5-to-1 (72% to 28%) worldwide.
Reports from generally reliable sources in China say Apple has cut production of the phone there, less than a month after it went on sale. C Tech, a Chinese site that ran accurate photos of the iPhone 5C and 5S before they were released, quotes insiders who say daily production of the 5C has been cut in half — from 300,000 to 150,000.
Part of the problem, some analysts say, is the price.
Although the iPhone 5C starts at $99 with a mobile data plan, many had predicted that it would need to be even cheaper to appeal to buyers in emerging markets like China and India.
In China, where phones aren’t subsidized by mobile carriers, the 5C is selling for 3,500 yuan, or about $560.
And though its style is all new, the 5C doesn’t sport features significantly upgraded from the iPhone 5, which can be had for as low as $199. The two-year-old iPhone 4S can be had for free with a data plan.
Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, says that selling the more expensive 5S, which starts at $199, is good for Apple’s bottom line in the short term.
“But in the longer term,” she said, “it’s bad news.
“Apple needs new customers to keep growing, and the 5C was supposed to appeal to a new, more price-conscious consumer,” she said. “Turns out that acquisition is a lot harder than retention.”
Some retailers have responded by slashing prices on the 5C. This month, Best Buy ran a promotion offering the phone for $50. Walmart has discounted it to $45 through the holidays, and Radio Shack is giving customers who buy one $50 gift cards through early next month.
But some say it’s not quite time to write the phone’s obituary.
“Rumours on order cuts (or increases) from parts of Apple’s supply chain tell us absolutely nothing either way,” Benedict Evans, an independent analyst, wrote recently on Twitter. “Too many moving parts.”
In another post, he made light of people comparing iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C sales as an indicator of Apple’s success.
“iPhone 5S outselling 5C? Apple’s growth strategy a failure. Sell!” he wrote. “iPhone 5C outselling 5S? Cannibalisation and (revenue per user) collapse. Sell!”
This year, Apple CEO Tim Cook himself downplayed the amount of weight observers should place in supply-chain rumors.
“I suggest it’s good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans,” Cook said during an earnings call. “The supply chain is very complex, and we have multiple sources for things. … There is an inordinate long list of things that can make any single data point not a great proxy for what is going on.”
And there is something to be said for your top-end phone leading the way. The iPhone 5S has hit the streets to almost universally high marks from both reviewers and users. Apple announced last month that first-weekend sales of both phones combined topped 9 million, a record for the company.
Still, Apple does nothing accidentally. The iPhone 5C clearly was released to appeal to customers in a way that the iPhone 5S couldn’t. Only time will tell whether Apple will succeed, but it will need to see improvements before it does.
“Apple has more work to do to attract the next generation of iPhone customers,” Epps said. “The 5C isn’t resonating as Apple hoped it would.”
TODAY’S TOP TECH NEWS, NOV 29: EX-LAZADA EXECUTIVES’ STARTUP EASYSHIP RAISES US$4M
Easyship’s platform plugin and integrations enable stores to print labels, automate international paperwork, and display real-time courier rates
Hong Kong-based Easyship raises US$4M Series A [press release]
Easyship, a shipping platform for active SMBs to simplify and automate logistics, announced today it has raised a US$4 million in Series A round of funding from a slew of investors, including Maximilian Bittner, ex-CEO & Founder of Lazada and Senior Advisor of Alibaba Group; and Richard Lepeu, ex-CEO of global luxury giant Richemont and board member of Yoox Net-A-Porter Group.
Existing investors Lamivoie Capital Partners and Richard Lepeu, as well as Rubicon Venture Capital, One Way Ventures, Kima Ventures and Picus Capital, have also co-invested.
The startup was founded in 2015 by Tommaso Tamburnotti and Augustin Ceyrac (both formerly worked at Lazada), and Paul Lugagne Delpon. Easyship’s cloud-based platform helps e-commerce merchants ship worldwide. Its platform plugin and integrations enable stores to print labels, automate international paperwork, display real-time courier rates, and offer their customers dynamic tax and duties at checkout.
The startup has offices in New York, Singapore, Netherlands, Australia, and Hong Kong.
Singapore’s GIC backs EV charging network ChargePoint’s US$240M funding [DealStreetAsia]
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has joined a group of investors backing the US$240 million Series H funding in ChargePoint, a California-headquartered electric vehicle charging network, according to an announcement.
ChargePoint claims to have more than 57,000 independently owned public and semi-public charging spots and thousands of customers.
Other investors in the round include American Electric Power, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Chevron Technology Ventures, Clearvision and Daimler Truck & Buses. Quantum Energy Partners was the lead investor.
Korea’s blockchain casino project MECA Casino raises investment from ICON [press release]
South Korea-based blockchain project ICON has made a strategic investment in MECA Casino, a blockchain casino project.
MECA Casino is a DApp (Decentralised Application) of ICON and it is a reverse ICO project by Crypto Meca. MECA Casino has been developing casino games for more than three years and is ready to launch blackjack and baccarat table games. MECA Casino plans to open ‘the largest decentralised casino platform’ including sports betting solution by Q4 of 2019.
‘Master System’ of MECA Casino enables users to become ‘master’ who is an operator of casinos to be profitable from casino operation. ‘Masters’ can upgrade their casinos to attract more players, gain higher profits, and trade casinos with other potential Masters. Players can exchange MECA Coin (MCA) with MECA Chip (MCC) to play games in MECA Casino or trade casinos.
Revolut is ready to launch in Singapore and Japan [TechCrunch]
Fintech startup Revolut has been teasing Asian market expansions for more than a year, but it sounds like it might finally happen. The company has secured licenses to operate in Singapore and Japan. It now expects to launch its service in Q1 2019.
In Singapore, the company was granted a Remittance License by the Monetary Authority and a Stored Value Facility approval — these two things combined let Revolut users hold money as well as send and spend money. In Japan, the company has been authorised to operate by Japan’s Finance Service Agency. __ yahoo news
MICROSOFT WINS US$480MIL ARMY BATTLEFIELD CONTRACT
Microsoft Corp has won a US$480mil (RM2.01bil) contract to supply prototypes for augmented reality systems to the Army for use on combat missions and in training, the Army said.
The contract, which could eventually lead to the military purchasing over 100,000 headsets, is intended to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy”, according to a government description of the programme.
“Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defence to this new area,” a Microsoft spokesman said in an emailed statement.
The US Army and the Israeli military have already used Microsoft’s HoloLens devices in training, but plans for live combat would be a significant step forward.
HoloLens is one of the leading consumer-grade headsets, but a large consumer market doesn’t yet exist; a video made for the European Patent Office this spring said it had sold about 50,000 devices. That’s about half the number the Army expects to buy through its augmented reality programme, which is called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS.
With the contract, the Army immediately becomes one of Microsoft’s most important HoloLens consumers. It expects devices to vary from their consumer-grade counterparts in a handful of key respects. In a document shared with companies bidding on the contract, the Army said it wanted to incorporate night vision and thermal sensing, measure vital signs like breathing and “readiness”, monitor for concussions and offer hearing protection. It said the winning bidder would be expected to deliver 2,500 headsets within two years, and exhibit the capacity for full-scale production.
The contract went though a bidding process designed to encourage the Army to do business with companies who aren’t traditional defence contractors. Magic Leap, which makes the main competitor to HoloLens for the consumer market, also pursued the contract. In early August, the Army held meetings with 25 companies interested in participating in some way, including Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Raytheon Co. The technology industry’s cooperation with the US military and law enforcement has become increasingly tense over the last year, with employees at companies like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Amazon.com Inc pushing back against government contracts.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Microsoft workers signed a petition criticising a contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Microsoft had originally said included some of its AI software. In October, a blog post purportedly written by Microsoft employees urged the company not to bid on a multi-billion dollar US military cloud contract.
“Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war,” they wrote.
Later that month, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, said the company would continue to sell software to the US military. Smith wrote that employees with ethical qualms with projects would be allowed to move to other work within the company.
“Artificial intelligence, augmented reality and other technologies are raising new and profoundly important issues, including the ability of weapons to act autonomously. As we have discussed these issues with governments, we’ve appreciated that no military in the world wants to wake up to discover that machines have started a war,” he wrote.
But we can’t expect these new developments to be addressed wisely if the people in the tech sector who know the most about technology withdraw from the conversation.” – Bloomberg
TRUATA WINS PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL PRIVACY INNOVATION AWARD
Truata, the Dublin based data anonymisation and analytics company, has today been awarded the 2018 HPE-IAPP Privacy Innovation Award at the IAPP Europe Data Protection Conference in Brussels.
Truata was founded in early 2018 by Mastercard and IBM to deliver next-generation data protection and analytics to the marketplace. In awarding Truata with this honour, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has recognised the service that Truata offers to companies who want to continue to leverage their data to innovate and grow while respecting and safeguarding the privacy of their customers.
The Truata Anonymisation Solution is designed to deliver actionable insights to its customers who operate in multiple industries including financial services, telecommunications, hospitality, retail and travel. Truata independently anonymises a customer’s data, giving that customer the freedom to carry out analysis while protecting people’s personal data. Running on the IBM Cloud, the Truata solution is specifically designed to fully meet the high regulatory thresholds for anonymisation as the original source data and the anonymised data will not at any time co-exist in one organisation. This ensures that analytics can be conducted across a customer’s entire data set while only analysing the fully-anonymised versions of that data.
Based on the principle of privacy by design, and using the latest data privacy technologies developed by IBM Research, the Truata Anonymisation Solution benefits from innovative technological, structural, legal and organisational safeguards. It enables companies to both maximise their data analytics utility and minimise their risk of non-compliance with privacy regulations.
On receiving the award, Aoife Sexton, Truata Chief Privacy Officer said, “The changing regulatory environment is bringing about a real challenge for companies to understand how they can use data to foster innovation but do so in a legally compliant and ethical manner. We have developed a solution that addresses this challenge by allowing companies to continue to use their data for analytics – but in a responsible way that is compliant with the GDPR, respecting both the letter and the spirit of the regulation. We are grateful to the IAPP for recognising this new innovative solution.”
Felix Marx, CEO of Truata, added, “Post GDPR, companies still need to generate value and insights from their data through analytics if they want to innovate and provide their customers the services and products they want. The optimal way to do this, while respecting your customers’ privacy rights, is to have your data anonymised by an independent third party as part of an end-to-end service including world class analytics. Truata is the first to market with this solution.”
“In today’s global digital economy, organisations will play a critical role in furthering innovation and convenience, while handling data responsibly and ethically,” said JoAnn Stonier, chief data officer for Mastercard and Truata board member. “At Mastercard, we saw the GDPR as an opportunity to enhance our data practices and—with Truata —help other businesses do the same. This award from IAPP is a terrific honour and validation of the importance of finding a path that enables both data innovation and stringent privacy protections.”
Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and issued by the IAPP, the world’s largest information privacy community and resource with more than 32,000 members in over 100 countries, the much coveted Innovation Award recognises unique programmes and services in global privacy and data protection across both private and public sectors.
“The 2018 HPE-IAPP Privacy Innovation Award is presented to Truata, an exemplar safeguarding tool built on the principle of privacy by design. This award spotlights unique programs and services in global privacy and data protection; we are honouring Truata for practising fine innovation,” said IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes.