Virtual Reality Coming to iOS Within 2 Years, Claims Gene Munster

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Apple plans to put iOS at the center of several forthcoming augmented reality and VR innovations set to launch within the next two years.

In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, Munster claims a timeline of recent purchases and hires by the company suggests that iOS support for „mixed reality“ applications could be set for launch as soon as 2018.

The analyst points to a LinkedIn search which reveals at least 141 Apple employees with a background in AR, although it should be noted that the same search returns 425 and 267 people with similar experience working at Microsoft and Google, respectively.

Of particular interest to Apple is the concept of „mixed reality“ wearables, or advanced optics that use embedded cameras and sensors to blend holographic imagery with real-life objects, claims Munster.

Intellectual property gained via research and development projects as well as strategic acquisitions, such as Apple’s purchase of 3D body sensing firm PrimeSense, are said to be behind the recent drive.

We believe 10 years from now Generation Z will find reality inefficient. We believe the concept of an ‘inefficient reality’ is evident through smartphone use today — the precursor to mixed reality — offering users the ability to find more information as needed.

The analyst goes on to suggest a natural progression in the personal technology market from smartphones to AR/VR and believes Apple is looking at VR as an iPhone peripheral, much like the Apple Watch. The prospect of Apple releasing hardware on this front in the near term is seen by Munster as unlikely, although by 2018 Apple may be ready to offer developers an official software framework for licensed third-party hardware solutions, similar to the company’s MFi Program for iOS devices.

Munster has made questionable assertions in recent years, with predictions such as Apple’s rumored television set having failed to materialize. Still, the note does follow a recent report by Financial Times claiming that Apple has built a „secret research unit“ in which hundreds of employees are experimenting with AR and VR technologies. The team is said to be made up of, among others, experts plucked from Microsoft and live-action VR company Lytro.

Apple’s interest in virtual reality has gained pace over the last few years, with the filing of multiple patents for VR-related products, like video goggles, motion-sensing 3D virtual interfaces for iOS devices, and 3D „hyper reality“ displays. More recently, Apple has made a spate of AR/VR-related acquisitions, including Metaio, Faceshift, Emotient, and image-recognition app creators Flyby Media. Last month, the company hired Doug Bowman, said to be one of the leading VR experts in the United States.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project
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Virtual Reality Coming to iOS Within 2 Years, Claims Gene Munster

iOS Keyboard Maker SwiftKey Acquired by Microsoft for $250M

SwiftKey, the company behind the popular third-party SwiftKey Keyboard for iOS and Android devices, is being acquired by Microsoft, reports Financial Times. Microsoft is said to be purchasing SwiftKey for $250 million in a deal that will be announced imminently.

The SwiftKey keyboard has been available on Android devices since 2010, expanding to iOS in January of 2014 through the SwiftKey notes app. When Apple included support for third-party keyboards in iOS 8, SwiftKey was one of the first companies to produce a keyboard replacement app.

SwiftKey’s keyboard is notable for its word prediction tools, incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning to make custom word predictions based on what a user has previously written. Microsoft will likely use SwiftKey’s technology to bolster its own AI-based products, including its Word Flow keyboard and virtual assistant Cortana.
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iOS Keyboard Maker SwiftKey Acquired by Microsoft for $250M

European Probe of Apple’s Irish Tax Policies Extended to 2016

A decision in the European Commission probe of Ireland’s alleged „sweetheart tax deal“ with Apple will likely be delayed until after the Irish elections in early 2016, as Financial Times reports the executive cabinet has now requested supplementary questionnaires in the lengthy investigation.

The European Commission began Apple’s Irish tax probe in June 2014, and the Brussels-based executive body formally accused the iPhone maker of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland in September 2014. A decision was originally expected earlier this year, but the additional information requested will likely cause further delays.

Apple’s tax policies have been scrutinized on numerous occasions over the past three years, as the company is said to utilize multiple subsidiary companies located in the Irish city of Cork to move money around without significant tax penalties. Apple continues to deny any wrongdoing, and Ireland vows to take the European Commission to court over any negative ruling, according to the report.

Apple’s Irish tax probe is part of a larger crackdown by the European Commission on possible corporate tax avoidance in EU countries. Earlier this month, the commission reportedly accused McDonald’s of „benefiting from arrangements that allowed it to pay no tax on European royalties in Luxembourg,“ and Fiat and Starbucks were ordered in October to repay up to €30 million in back taxes.

Tags: Apple, European Union, corporate tax, European Commission, Ireland
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European Probe of Apple’s Irish Tax Policies Extended to 2016

Slowing handset sales triggers Samsung firing spree

You know the way that Apple’s heroically struggling to build a new “spaceship” HQ capable of housing its army of brilliant worker ants who design the iPhone? Well, Samsung has an easier solution for its phone division: just fire a load of people. New statistics published courtesy of Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service underline the degree […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Slowing handset sales triggers Samsung firing spree

Apple stock is a Must Buy, according to Goldman Sachs

I’ll never cease to be amazed by how Apple can announce record-beating quarters and introduce hit product after hit product, only for Wall Street to turn around and channel the old disapproving parental message of, “We’re not angry, just disappointed.” Fortunately, Goldman Sachs has broken with tradition by issuing a note to clients with its […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple stock is a Must Buy, according to Goldman Sachs

Apple Pay goes live in Canada, coming soon to Australia

Apple Pay launches in Canada today — making the country of Tim Hortons, hockey and maple syrup the third place in the world to receive Apple’s mobile payments technology, following the U.S. and United Kingdom. Apple has also announced that the service is set to launch in Australia later this week, although a specific day has […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Pay goes live in Canada, coming soon to Australia

Tim Cook Addresses Privacy, Government Requests in New NPR Interview

Just days after Apple updated and expanded its privacy site to explain how it handles personal information, CEO Tim Cook sat down with NPR’s Robert Siegel to talk about how the Cupertino company protects user data and when and where it uses that information.

Image via NPR
Cook starts off by noting that Apple designs its products with privacy in mind after being asked about government data requests. Apple wants the user to control the data and who gets to see or use it.

However, we design our products in such a way that privacy is designed into the product. And security is designed in. And so if you think about it … some of our most personal data is on the phone: our financial data, our health information, our conversations with our friends and family and co-workers. And so instead of us taking that data into Apple, we’ve kept data on the phone and it’s encrypted by you. You control it.

The Apple CEO goes on to address his thoughts on a „back door“ that allows government agencies access to user data in an effort to pursue national security. Cook notes that if you leave an open door for the good guys in your product, there’s an opportunity for the bad guys to find and use the open door. He believes that everyone, including government agencies, are coming around to the idea that a „back door“ is a nonstarter and that encryption „is a must in today’s world.“

When asked whether Apple’s emphasis on privacy is a dig to competitors like Google or whether it would exist if Apple wasn’t a hardware company, Cook maintains that Apple’s views on privacy are born out of the company’s values.

Our values are that we do think that people have a right to privacy. And that our customers are not our products. We don’t collect a lot of your data and understand every detail about your life. That’s just not the business that we are in.

Cook also talked about how Apple uses user data, noting that he believes its fine for the company to know your purchasing history in iTunes or the App Store to recommend music and apps to customers. However, Cook draws the line at sharing data between apps, saying that he doesn’t believe the News app should know what music you buy, or whether the content of your emails should be used to sell a different product.

This marks the third major occurrence in which the Apple CEO has addressed the company’s stance on user privacy this summer. Two weeks ago, Cook spoke about privacy concerns regarding the new „Hey Siri“ feature in the iPhone 6s during a ride to Apple’s flagship 5th Avenue location in Manhattan. In June, Cook spoke about the importance of encryption and privacy at the Champions of Freedom event in Washington.

The entire interview can be listened to at NPR’s website.



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Tim Cook Addresses Privacy, Government Requests in New NPR Interview

6 deals on useful toys, tools and e-learning bundles ending soon [Deals]

The best things in life aren’t always free, but sometimes they’re heavily discounted. That’s basically what’s happening with these deals on essential lessons, tools, and tech toys that’ll you’ll kick yourself for missing. Surge protectors, financial education, bluetooth headphones, and maybe most impressive, a huge discount on lifetime access to Adobe-certified training videos ending in […]

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6 deals on useful toys, tools and e-learning bundles ending soon [Deals]