Tag Archives: apple

Make Saudi Arabia Great Again

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The mass weekend arrests by Saudi Arabia could be due to both the stated purpose of cracking down on corruption and a power grab by the kingdom’s young, reform-minded crown prince who may soon take the throne, said Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to the kingdom.

On Saturday, 11 princes, including well-known billionaire investor Alwaleed bin Talal, and four ministers, including the one in charge of the National Guard, were arrested, according to various reports, along with a number of former ministers.

MDC says, Saudi Arabia’s arrest of Prince Alwaleed ‘would be like arresting Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos,  or Bill Gates’ in the United States. Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding has major stakes in Fox, Time Warner, Citigroup, Twitter, Apple, Motorola and many other well-known companies, as well as several satellite television networks that are prominent in the Arab world.

We would also like to add that our Duffus POTUS commented in tweets Monday evening, President Trump appeared to endorse Saudi Arabian King Salman’s decision to remove a prince who headed the National Guard and create a new “anti-corruption” committee on Saturday.

“I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing….” the president tweeted.

He completed the statement with a second tweet.

“….Some of those they are harshly treating have been ‘milking’ their country for years!” he wrote. MDC would like to add, Trump acts like a dictator and basically endorsed a dictator’s executive decision move.

The arrests happened hours after King Salman created an anti-corruption committee chaired by his 32-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. MBS, as the crown prince is known, could become king later this year or in early 2018 when his 81-year-old father abdicates the throne. wd9wuDb

At 11pm on Saturday, guests at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh got a rude awakening. Businesspeople and consultants who were staying in one of Riyadh’s most opulent digs, along with diners and visitors, were all told to assemble in the lobby with their bags. No one knew why.

As guests made their way to buses to be taken to other hotels in the Saudi capital, senior officials were making plans for new arrivals who weren’t prepared for a night away from home, let alone a spell in a five-star hotel. They were soon to become the highest-profile prisoners in the modern kingdom’s history. And the most pampered.

From midnight, buses arrived in the sprawling complex disgorging princes, business leaders, other royals, their guards and their captors. The arrivals marked the start of an extraordinary episode that exposed the kingdom’s elite to rare public scrutiny and showed that, even when accused of high crime, the powerful maintain privileges.

By dawn on Sunday, more than 30 of Saudi Arabia’s most senior figures, among them blood relatives of senior rulers, were locked inside the hotel, accused of corruption. Their ignominious arrests were the talk of the country, and so too was the fact that they were far from a prison cell, where most citizens facing similar charges could expect to find themselves.

 

MDC reviews Apple 

Aside from the new Apple Watch, Monday’s Apple keynote that excited me the most was the announcement of what Apple is calling ResearchKit, a new open-source iOS software designed to crowdsource volunteers for medical research studies.

MDC says, Apple users will become human data minions supplying their personal life for FREE. 

Using the tool, researchers can tap into Apple’s massive iPhone user base to recruit people for medical data-gathering. Users sign up with a digital signature, and can then instantly begin recording data.

While ResearchKit’s scope will definitely increase over time, for now it will focus on five diseases: Parkinson’s disease, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. Apple is working with top research institutes from around the world on this initiative, including the University Of Oxford and Stanford.

ResearchKit represents a Google-like dive into the power of Big Data for Apple, since this crowdsourced approach to medicine will help overcome perennial problems for scientists such as small sample sizes for data sets and inconsistent data collection. In keeping with its focus on user privacy, users will decide how they want to share their data, while Apple will see none of it.

ResearchKit itself won’t be available until next month, although the five apps described in today’s keynotes are available from today.

Given how successful and widely-adopted iOS 8’s HealthKit has been in top hospitals, ResearchKit has the potential to be enormously significant — not just for Apple but medical practitioners and, in turn, users.

MDC concludes that those medical practitioners will be receiving financial grants on your data while you receive zero on your monthly statement.

The Smartphone Map App Battle

MDC enjoys both map apps, but we feel having real-time satellite imagery creates certain privacy issues.

For a long time, Apple Maps was a laughing stock. Then it started getting better. Apple ironed out the glitches, began updating Apple Maps every day, and introduced Flyover, which gave you a 3-D view of major cities as they would look from the sky.

Now it’s taken that technology one step further in an effort to win the mapping war versus Google: Apple Maps is going real-time.

Thanks to a new update, London’s Big Ben clock tower will now show the real time, while the iconic London Eye will rotate. Those are the only real-time updates we’ve spotted so far, but Apple is reportedly looking to add more moving elements to cities over the following year.

Of course, in a real sense, Apple Maps isn’t real-time in the true sense of the word. What it has done is to cleverly map on (no pun intended) moving, animated elements onto the static images used by Flyover’s wireframes. This is something Apple hinted at in its original patent for the Flyover 3-D camera, but which we’ve not had the pleasure of seeing up until now.

Compared to real-time traffic updates and the like, it’s certainly a gimmick, but it’s a great one. It also opens up tons of possibilities for future expansions: such as days shifting in real-time from day to night, weather effects, or even seasonal changes.

Hey, it’s not totally crazy to think that Apple could use the technology for useful features like the aforementioned traffic updates: giving you an idea of congestion from a single glance.

For now, we’ll have to “make do” with watching the London Eye spin, but given Apple’s recent efforts at improving its mapping services thanks to the mysterious minivans (plus the numerous patents the company holds in this area), it’s a promising start to what could be a fantastic new feature.

Source: cult of Mac 

Apple Pay

Sure, Apple was quick to tout a surge of Apple Pay registrations, but how often are people actually using the iPhone-focused payment service? A fair amount, apparently. Whole Foods tells the New York Times that it racked up 150,000 transactions in the three weeks after Apple Pay became available. That’s not a lot in the grander scheme of things (just 7,143 payments per day), but it’s significant for a single store and a brand new service with limited device support. Other shops aren’t quite so forthcoming with stats, although they suggest that there has also been an uptick. Walgreens says its mobile payments have doubled, while McDonald’s says that Apple Pay now makes up half of its tap-to-pay purchases.

MDC says, google quietly closed their “google wallet ” division recently.

It’s not clear that Apple Pay will be successful in the long run; that depends on additional hardware support and cooperative retailers. Toys “R” Us notes that its boost in mobile payments doesn’t amount to much when cash and credit are still far more popular. Even if Apple Pay doesn’t pan out, though, there are hints that it’s helping others. Both Google and Softcard say they’ve seen increased usage in the past few weeks due to increased awareness of tap-to-pay services — that’s good news for mobile payments as a whole, no matter which smartphone you’re using.

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Apple IPO

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MDC says, history was made, 33 years ago . On December 12, 1980, the business Steve Jobs co-founded and eventually cultivated into the world’s most profitable company, went public.

Commemorating Apple’s Wall Street debut, EDN has published a comprehensive look back on the 33-year history of Apple’s historic run as a publicly traded company.

4.6 million shares of AAPL (priced at $22 per share) were sold on the first day of trade. The shares, EDN reports, sold out almost immediately. In fact, the IPO generated more capital than any IPO since Ford Motor Company (1956).

Instantly, about 300 millionaires, some 40 of which are Apple employees and investors, are created. That is more millionaires than any company in history had produced at that time. Steve Jobs, the largest shareholder, made $217 million dollars alone.

Three decades later, Apple is still going strong, having appreciated by more than 15,000 percent.

Apple and NSA

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Now-a-days, Apple is famous in the markets because its new iPhone 5S has a Fingerprint Sensor (Touch ID) as a security feature—everyone is getting amazed with that feature and eager to use.

That Fingerprint scanner has been hacked already by German Hackers group ‘CCC’ but one more thing to concern about that—’will Apple share that Fingerprint database with NSA’ and the answer is YES.

Tim Richardson, District Manager of Apple’s North America Marketing Department admits about the sharing of Database with NSA, he said to Jane M. Agni (A freelance writer in nationalreport.net.):

Absolutely the databases will be merged. This whole ‘fingerprint scan’ idea originated from someone in our Government. They just didn’t expect to be outed by Snowden, you know.”
NSA and FBI have been compiling a special database for over a year now to use with the new Apple technology. Fingerprints from all over the nation. Cold cases. Fugitives of the law. Missing persons, Richardson added.

When Mr. Richardson asked for a response to individual’s concerns about privacy, he told:

“Frankly, if a person is foolish enough to allow something as specific and criminally implicit as their fingerprints to be cataloged by faceless corporations and Government officials… Well, you can’t exactly blame us for capitalizing upon it, can you? Personally, I believe this effort will support a greater good. Some of the folks they’re hoping to apprehend are quite dangerous. Besides, it’s not like this is covered in the Constitution.”
If we talk about the constitution as Richardson added above, Apple and the NSA may be completely within their rights to use information volunteered by its customers but it is a Bitter Truth for some of the users.

One of the user told Jane—That’s not America and that’s not freedom…” but the user also stated, “I’m old. I’m not good at remembering passwords.” “I like the idea of easily being able to unlock my Apple device with a fingerprint. But I also shouldn’t have to worry about being tied to a string of murders I commuted in the 70′s.

According to the group Anonymous, Apple has worked very closely with U.S. government agencies and surveillance groups to bring Touch ID to market. As proof, they note that former AuthenTec director Robert E. Grady played a central role in the George W. Bush administration, and was also connected with The Carlyle Group.

Grady is currently a Managing Director at Cheyenne Capital, a $500 million private equity fund. Prior to this, he did work for AuthenTec and at other properties owned by The Carlyle Group.

Apple acquired AuthenTec in 2012 for $356 million. Its fingerprint technology is likely what powers Touch ID.

We also want to hear from you on this new technology discovered by Apple, comment below.

Apple wants your Finger

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I applaud Apple for trying to come up with much stronger online security than passwords and for introducing the Touch ID sensor with the release of their new Iphone 5S.

Apple has unveiled its smartphone’s latest weapon: a fingerprint reader it’s calling Touch ID.

With its move, Apple could end up making the technology commonplace, as rivals might feel compelled to follow suit. It could be only a matter of time before passwords and passcodes are relegated to yesteryear.In making the iPhone 5S one of the first mainstream smartphones in the Western market to include hardware security, Apple has not only declared war on passwords and weak security, but it has begun to reinvent the notion of device and online identity.

The iPhone 5S’ fingerprint reader will act as a first line of defense against would-be thieves and hackers — even intelligence agencies, to a degree — against identity and content theft, fraud, and surveillance.

The fingerprint data will be stored on the device, and will not be backed up to iCloud, Apple confirmed.

How secure is this new tech?

“If the fingerprint reader tests well, it may be more secure than a four-digit pin. But I’d caution right away, let’s see how it tests and what people come up with to break it,” says Kennedy. “I wouldn’t rely on it solely, just as I wouldn’t with any new technology right off the bat.”

A stolen phone, after all, is usually covered with its owner’s fingerprints, making the job of any would-be cracker much easier. Researchers have found plenty of methods for using lifted fingerprints to defeat commercial fingerprint readers before. One group at the University of West Virginia used sculpted Play-Doh and, in another experiment, cadaver fingerprints in 2002 to trick a variety of optical and conductivity-based sensors. A Japanese researcher copied fingers in gummy-worm like gelatin to fool the sensors of more than ten commercial products. And one episode of the Mythbusters television showdemonstrated that fingerprint readers could be bypassed by licking a piece of latex with a copied print, or even just showing a print-out of the swirl to the scanner on paper.

For now let’s say the technology really works and it becomes another huge innovation for online security. Yippee for security, but we did just learn that the NSA violated privacy rules for a number of years:

The documents, released at the DNI’s declassification Tumblr, detail a massive overhaul of the agency’s collection of phone metadata in 2009 following the discovery that the NSA was improperly checking phone numbers against the database.

Bloomberg reports:

The violations occurred between May 2006 and January 2009 and involved checks on as many as 16,000 phone numbers, including some based in the U.S., said two senior intelligence officials with direct knowledge of how the program operated.

Those checks came from a pre-determined list including numbers that should not have been included. Of the 17,000-plus numbers on the list, only about 10 percent met the necessary standard for inclusion. For a limited time, the FISA Court, which approves any surveillance by the NSA, mandated that any checks against the database be conducted on a case-by-case basis. That database contains data collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the phone metadata gathering that first came to light following the leak by Edward Snowden of a FISA Court document related to the collection of records from Verizon.

And we also know that the NSA has the power to crack pretty much anything out there if it so chooses. MDC says, the NYPD has a division that stores serial numbers into a database, just another tool to benefit law enforcement .

The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show.

What’s to stop the NSA from stealing our fingerprints off smartphones in the name of stopping terrorism, and then some other agency deciding it needs a helping hand for their cases? You may have never had your fingerprints in a database before, but with what we know now about the NSA capabilities, it could be you’re only a scan away from changing that forever.

Just something to think about –and another reason to demand the NSA be made to stop hacking all our personal data whenever they feel like it.

Apple and Koch

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This week Apple launched the new iPhone 5 which will hit stores on September 18. However, the debut was overshadowed by the news that Koch Industries are to buy the electronics company Molex for $7.2 billion – a company that is one of Apple’s component suppliers.

Such a move is a slap in the face for liberal Apple fans who will now be faced with the dilemma of filling the pockets of “left-wing hate objects” if they choose to buy their favorite Apple product, The Daily Beast reported.

Koch Industries, the giant conglomerate, owned by brothers Charles and David Koch, is known for dabbling in everything from oil to manufacturing to paper towels, and using their sky-high profits to directly fund projects for the sole purpose of engaging in “relentless political combat.”

“They have deployed their cash in campaigns against global warming, against renewable energy, against Obamacare, against President Obama and congressional Democrats and against all sorts of progress. If liberals and progressives like it, it’s a good bet the Koch brothers are against it,” The Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross writes.

Molex specifically is a company which specializes in vital devices like connectors, antennas and switches with many of its components found in Apple iPhone products. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales to Apple accounted for 14 percent of Molex’s $3.62 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30.

While the deal is unlikely to affect Molex employees or customers, it is likely to cause some ethical anguish particularly amongst those Apple-loving liberals opposed to Koch Industries and everything the conglomerate stands for politically.

Apple IWatch

 

MDC shares the Apple IWatch.

Apple is reportedly working with Intel on a Bluetooth smart watch. The iWatch (for want of a better name) will hook up to an iPhone or iPad and feature a 1.5-inch OLED RiTdisplay screen.

The news comes from Chinese website TGBus, which reports sources within the supply chain say the device is already in an advanced stage and that its launch is expected in the first half of next year. The sources have also revealed that it will sport a touchscreen front, much like the sixth-generation iPod nano.

Indeed, it may be Apple rethinking a move away from a small square-like device for its current iPod nano range that has prompted a move into thesmart watch market. Last year’s nano, after all, doubled nicely as a wristwatch, with many accessory manufacturers creating straps to house it. A dedicated Apple iWatch would keep the entire production of a similar device in house.

Something tells us, however, that an Apple variant would be extremely popular.

Apple vs Microsoft

 

MDC

Microsoft could be the better value. Not only is it cheaper than Apple relative to its earnings per share, but Microsoft’s business also has greater strengths, and better prospects, than the market appreciates.

Microsoft for the past decade also has paled in comparison as an investment. Someone who invested $10,000 in Microsoft stock 10 years ago and reinvested the dividends would have about $13,000 today, according to FactSet. The equivalent figure for Apple would be $700,000.

Sure, Apple enjoys wide profit margins: Trefis estimates that gross margins on iPhones currently are about 45%.

Yet neither the iPhone nor the iPad is as revolutionary as they once were. Touch-screen smartphones are now common, and tablet computers are flooding the market. Goldman Sachs Group (GS) forecasts a total of 117 million tablets will be sold world-wide this year, rising 44% next year.

In such circumstances, companies typically end up competing on price. Apple’s margins can’t remain completely immune.

Such worries have helped batter the stock. Apple shares have plunged in recent weeks from a record $705 to $515, due to fears of growing competition, an economic slowdown and a possible increase on capital-gains tax at year-end.

Today, Apple has a market value of $485 billion, the most of any company in the world. That looks sky-high. But it also holds about $90 billion net in cash, investments and liquid assets such as inventories, leaving an underlying value of about $395 billion. That is only about nine times the $43 billion in net income that Stifel Nicolaus & Co. forecasts over the next four quarters.

According to FactSet, the equivalent figure for the overall market is about 15 times.

Microsoft is even cheaper. At $26 a share, it has a market value of $220 billion, or about $180 billion net of liquid assets and debt. That is less than eight times its forecast $24.4 billion net income for the next four quarters. The stock also has a 3.3% dividend yield, or dividend payments divided by the stock price. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has a 2.4% yield, and Apple 2%.

Bottom line: You might want more than just Apples in your basket, and slow-and-steady Microsoft might not be a bad bet. They are called Mr.Softie for a reason .