NSA accessing Google, Facebook and Apple user data

US National Security Agency (NSA) allegedly has direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US firms

It has been alleged by the Guardian newspaper that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet players. The access is reportedly part of a broader programme, called PRISM, which allows the agency to collect search history, email contents, file transfers and live chats of internet users.

Is Apple losing its grip on MNOs?

In 1Q13, gross margin fell from 44.7 per cent to 38.6 per cent, meaning that Apple's net profit stayed flat at $13.1bn

Apple’s quarterly profits took a dip last week and, so universally is the company renowned, even my dad asked me if the firm’s latest numbers heralded the beginning of the end.

Tele2 CEO slams Apple

Mats Granryd become president and CEO of Tele2

The CEO of Swedish mobile operator Tele2 has been quoted by a Swedish business newspaper voicing frustration at his company’s dealings with Apple.

Peaks and troughs


It was an overwhelmingly numbery week this week, as Q1 financials deluged the Informer’s inbox. Over the weekend the mainstream press were all aflutter about the fact that Apple was going to report a drop in quarterly profits. This duly happened, but fluctuations are relative and when your profits are plummeting all the way to $9.5bn for the quarter, it’s hardly a catastrophe.

Apple posts first profit dip in a decade, analysts expect comeback

Apple has posted its first quarterly drop in profit in ten years

Device giant Apple has posted its first quarterly drop in profit in ten years, with $9.5bn 2Q13 (January to March) net profit marking a more than 18 per cent decline on the $11.6bn generated in 2Q12. Quarterly revenue grew year on year however, to $43.6bn from $39.2bn a year ago. Gross margin was 37.5 per cent compared to 47.4 per cent in 2Q12.

EE defends Apple’s LTE policy, urges more to do the same

EE’s CEO Olaf Swantee believes that Apple’s policy is good for the industry

UK operator EE has defended Apple’s policy of preventing mobile operators from offering the iPhone 5 as an LTE device until it has tested the performance of their LTE networks. The operator launched its 4G network in September 2012, with the iPhone available at launch as an LTE device.

Mobile device price drop sees tablets outsell PCs

Worldwide devices are on pace to total 2.4 billion units in 2013

The number of tablets sold globally will surpass the number of PCs sold by 2017, according to analyst firm Gartner. Sales of Android smartphones are also expected to triple between 2012 and 2017, the firm forecasted.

Motorola recruits Apple evangelist

Guy Kawasaki signs for Motorola

In a bid to revitalise its recently acquired handset business, Google has called on Apple’s former chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki to act as an advisor at Motorola Mobility. Kawasaki’s role at the firm will be focused on product design, user interface, marketing and social media.

UK retailers recommend Samsung products ahead of Apple

Samsung is the retailers choice

According to the latest research from Informa Telecoms & Media, sales staff at leading UK retailers are more likely to recommend a Samsung device ahead of an Apple one despite Apple’s widespread marketing and advertising campaigns.

Parallel universe


Today the Informer feels like he has woken up in a parallel universe; one in which Apple is being vilified for its quarterly financial performance, while Nokia recorded an actual profit.

“Strange” Apple LTE policy omits Asian and Russian networks

There are still networks out there waiting for LTE approval from Apple

Apple will next week add another 36 networks to the selection of carriers that are permitted to offer the iPhone 5 with LTE support enabled. Tim Cook, CEO of the handset vendor, made the revelation as part of the company’s earnings call earlier this week. However, the expanded list does not extend to carriers in parts of Asia and Russia.

Apple posts flat profit as competition builds

In 1Q13, gross margin fell from 44.7 per cent to 38.6 per cent, meaning that Apple's net profit stayed flat at $13.1bn

Despite posting another quarter of sustained growth in sales, Apple’s profit remained flat in the first quarter of 2013 highlighting competitive pressure and concerns over innovation.

Apple launches instalment scheme in China

Apple has started offering instalment plans for its products in China

In a bid to compete with its smartphone rivals in the largest mobile market in the world, Apple has started offering instalment plans for its products in China, the first OEM in the country to do so when selling its own products directly. According to reports, the company has taken this step because it has been struggling to shift its products, which are typically more expensive than those of its competitors. Regardless of the near-term competitive environment Apple faces in China the instalment plans are a bold and innovative way for Apple to make the iPhone more attractive to consumers who are used to buying smartphones from local rivals such as ZTE for much less.

BT launches VoIP smartphone app

BT is has launched an app offering customers cheaper calls from their iPhones

UK fixed line incumbent BT is looking to take a slice of mobile operators’ revenues with an app that it has launched today. The BT SmartTalk app allows customers to make calls over a data connection from their iPhones,in a similar way to over-the-top solutions providers such as Skype and Viber, billed at the same rates that they are charged for calls from their BT landlines.

Why wifi is enough for most Christmas iPad shoppers

Apple's next devices are likely to support 802.11ac wifi, according to Xirrus' Correll

They sold out of wifi-enabled iPad mini tablets at 8.30am this morning at the flagship Apple store in Regent Street, London. It has been a similar story every day this week. The nice Apple lady in the shop told me that the queues were now starting at around 6.00am.

It’s tough at the top


It’s a lament often made by those at the heady heights of their careers, but who is it tougher on: the bright stars or the team they work with?

The great dictator


The revelation that Apple is vetting operators’ LTE networks focused the industry once more on the power struggle between carriers and leading device vendors.

China Mobile readying TD-LTE for Hong-Kong

China Mobile's converged Hong Kong LTE network is expected to be launched in a matter of weeks

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator will launch LTE in Hong Kong on 18 December, according to reports. Hong Kong is already well served for LTE with all four other operators, Hutchison, PCCW and CSL and CMHK, offering 4G services. The move however, has larger significance in that it indicates that China Mobile is readying a wider TD-LTE–based launch in mainland China.

Apple LTE policy likely to hit smaller networks hardest

How do operators get approved?

Apple’s decision to vet operators’ networks for LTE performance before allowing the iPhone 5 to function as an LTE device is likely to hit smaller, unaffiliated operators hardest, according to Dimitris Mavrakis, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

Testing times


Back in October a chum of the Informer’s from one of the big infrastructure vendors told him that Apple was auditing LTE networks before allowing operators to offer the iPhone 5 as an LTE device. The Informer made a few calls to people in the know and was told the story was true, although Apple maintained a stony silence and nobody else, operator or vendor, would go on the record. Until now.