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jerryking : smart_speakers   6

Tech innovation needs a level playing field
January 19, 2020 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar.

.........Creating an even playing field will require both monopoly scrutiny and a close examination of whether the pendulum in the patent system has swung too far towards benefiting tech companies that depend more on data and networks than patents, or have an interest in making it tougher to obtain patents.

Because their own products (for example, smartphones) require so many different bits of technology, the companies have an interest in keeping these inputs as cheap as possible. They can deploy legions of lawyers to protect any crucial IP of their own while “efficiently infringing” on the patents that belong to others (that’s the term for violations done knowingly by big companies as a cost of doing business).
......The US, in particular, has work to do there. “Our leadership on the global stage depends on our ability to promote and protect the innovations of American creators, engineers, and scientists,” said Democratic Senator Chris Coons, who has sponsored bipartisan legislation to strengthen America’s own IP protection. “I’m concerned that while our competitors — like China — strengthen their intellectual property regimes, we have been weakening our own innovation ecosystem.”
.......But the US has another problem — that of trying to compete with a state-run economy like China’s when it has no national innovation strategy. While large American companies are busy fighting each other in expensive legal battles to see who gets to set standards for smart speakers (or 5G, or AI, or a host of other areas), China is using its Belt and Road Initiative to roll out its own equipment, technology standards and interests across nations from Asia to Southern Europe. That’s not duplication. It’s just smart.
Big_Tech  China  cross-licensing  entrepreneurship  Google  industrial_policies  innovation  innovation_policies  intellectual_property  national_interests  One_Belt_One_Road  patents  patent_infringement  Rana_Foroohar  smart_speakers  Sonos  technical_standards  U.S.-China_relations 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
What will Apple do without Jony Ive?
June 27, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Bradshaw, Global Technology Correspondent.

Sir Jonathan prepares to move on from Apple to launch his own new venture, LoveFrom, after more than two decades at the Silicon Valley giant.....As a company worth nearly $1tn, Apple today is financially secure. But Sir Jonathan's looming departure will once again raise questions about its future. 

This is not the first time that Sir Jonathan’s role has evolved. In recent years, his design expertise has extended beyond crafting Apple’s pocketable devices. He helped retail chief Angela Ahrendts overhaul its stores, from fixtures such as its tree-lined “Genius Groves”, down to simplifying product packaging. 

More significantly, he oversaw the company’s long-planned move to its new headquarters, Apple Park, which was first conceived with Jobs back in 2004 and designed in partnership with British architects Foster + Partners.....Speaking at a Wired magazine event in 2018, he appeared to suggest that he was back for the long haul, saying: “There’s an awful lot to do and an awful lot of opportunity.” ....Apple Park...brought Apple’s entire design team together for the first time into one purpose-built studio, with industrial designers sitting side by side with font and interface designers......Perhaps the most important legacy that Jon Ive leaves . . . is the team.”.......By Apple’s outsized standards, the tight-knit group of people who work on product design is small. It runs to just a few dozen people out of an organisation that employs some 132,000 staff.....
Yet the team wields a disproportionate influence inside the Cupertino-based company. With an extensive array of tooling and fabrication equipment that is rarely found outside a manufacturing plant, the studio explores new product categories and the materials that might build them, from unique blends of aluminium to ceramics. 

They define not only a product’s appearance but how its software looks and feels, how it responds to gestures, even how an iPhone or Watch gently vibrates to give a user “haptic feedback”. 

“No group within Apple has more power than the industrial designers,” ......Jonathan Ive has thousands of patents to his name, encompassing the original iPod and iPhone to more obscure innovations, including the iPad’s magnetic cover, the Apple Store’s wooden tables and a lanyard used to attach an iPod to a wrist......Jonathan’s departure is likely to reopen a debate that has been simmering for several years — namely how will Apple come up with a new hit product that can match the unprecedented success of the iPhone, whose record-breaking profits propelled Apple to become the first trillion-dollar company last year........it may be that no single product ever will top the iPhone — for any tech company, not just Apple. It is a question that hangs over Silicon Valley as the industry casts around for a new platform, be it virtual reality or smart speakers, that might become as ubiquitous and essential as the smartphone.........Apple is also putting greater attention on an expanding portfolio of online services, including games, news and video........Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive have both pointed to healthcare as a potential new market for Apple, building on the Watch’s new capabilities for detecting heart irregularities.....Healthcare is just one example of how the battleground has changed for Apple in recent years. Despite pioneering virtual assistants with Siri, Apple found itself outflanked by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant in both sales of smart speakers and artificial intelligence capabilities.

New blood at Apple

Some analysts believe that new blood could invigorate Apple’s response to these challenges. Alongside the high-profile departures of Ms Ahrendts and Sir Jonathan, Apple poached John Giannandrea from Google to become its head of machine learning and AI strategy, as well as Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amberg from Sony Pictures Television to run its push into original video. 

“The apparent acceleration in the pace of change within Apple at the executive level reflects the paradigm shift the company is undergoing from a hardware-driven story to ‘Apple as a service’,....... the most significant concern for investors will be that Sir Jonathan’s departure will take away another arbiter of focus and product direction that Apple had already lost with the death of Jobs.....Jonathan’s focus is growing beyond the steel and glass borders of Apple Park, saying he wants to “solve some complicated problems”. .....“One defining characteristics is almost a fanatical curiosity,” he said. “But if you don’t have the space, if you don’t have the tools and the infrastructure, that curiosity can often not have the opportunity to be pursued.”

LoveFrom itself defies traditional categorisation. “I have no interest in creating yet another design agency,” he said firmly. “What’s important is the values and what motivates that collection of people …Small groups of people, I think as Apple has demonstrated over the years, can do some extraordinary things.”

 

 

 
Alexa  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Park  artificial_intelligence  breakthroughs  curiosity  design  departures  exits  Google_Assistant  haptics  healthcare  Jonathan_Ive  LoveFrom  new_categories  new_products  patents  services  Silicon_Valley  Siri  smart_speakers  subscriptions  teams  Tim_Cook  virtual_assistants 
june 2019 by jerryking
Apple’s Executive Shake-Up Readies Company for Life After iPhone
Feb. 18, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

Apple Inc. is shaking up leadership and reordering priorities across its services, artificial intelligence, hardware and retail divisions as it works to reduce the company’s reliance on iPhone sales......The primary reasons for the shifts vary by division. But collectively, they reflect Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies......Apple has also trimmed 200 staffers from its autonomous-vehicle project, and is redirecting much of the engineering resources in its services business, led by Eddy Cue, into efforts around Hollywood programming......The competitive landscape could complicate Apple’s efforts to diversify beyond the iPhone. Media services like Netflix Inc. and Spotify Technology SA have a head start and more subscribers; Google’s autonomous-vehicle initiative has logged more miles on the road; and Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo speakers have put Alexa into millions of homes.

Apple spent $14.24 billion on research and development last year, a 23% increase from the year prior........Though the iPhone still contributes about two-thirds of Apple sales, the company has encouraged investors to focus on a growing services business, which includes streaming-music subscriptions, app-store sales and mobile payments.....The services business also is key to preserving iPhone loyalty. Just as Amazon has used media and music offerings to increase the value of Prime membership, Apple executives view its mobile payments, music service and coming video offering as ways to encourage current iPhone owners to buy future Apple handsets.....Apple is also expected to lean on its artificial-intelligence team to personalize the services on people’s devices.
actors  Apple  App_Store  Apple_IDs  artificial_intelligence  autonomous_vehicles  celebrities  competitive_landscape  hardware  Hollywood  iPhone  leadership  mobile_payments  overreliance  priorities  R&D  retailers  services  smart_speakers  streaming  subscriptions  Tim_Cook 
february 2019 by jerryking
Amazon’s Alexa allies with Microsoft’s Cortana to take on Google, Siri
AUGUST 30, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | SUPANTHA MUKHERJEE AND MUNSIF VENGATTIL for REUTERS.

Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp have joined forces to let their voice-controlled virtual assistants talk to each other, offering users the ability to seamlessly tap into work, their homes and shop online.

The partnership is the first time two technology companies open up their artificial intelligence-powered virtual aides to each other, and will be aimed at outsmarting rivals Google Assistant and Apple's Siri.

The move in itself is rare as most virtual assistants are known to use data from their own ecosystems and not talk to one another......Not to be left behind, Alphabet Inc said on Wednesday Google Assistant will soon be available on third-party speakers and other home appliances. (http://bit.ly/2vERgEc)

"Starting later this year, with manufacturers like LG, you'll be able to control your appliances, including washers, dryers, vacuums and more from your Assistant on your smart speaker, Android phone or iPhone," Google said.
Siri  Alexa  Cortana  artificial_intelligence  Amazon  Microsoft  Google  Google_Assistant  LG  Apple  partnerships  smart_speakers 
september 2017 by jerryking
Among the iPhone’s Biggest Transformations: Apple Itself - WSJ
By Tripp Mickle
June 20, 2017

The iPhone was so revolutionary it raised expectations that the company would introduce radical new products regularly, said Patrick Moorhead, a technology analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “That’s what I call the leadership burden,” Mr. Moorhead said.

That has made innovation more difficult in some ways, former employees said. Apple developed products that were linked to the iPhone, such as the Apple Watch and AirPod headphones, but was late to pursue hot internet-connected home devices like Nest’s thermostat and an intelligent speaker like Amazon’s Echo.

“There was a real opportunity missed there,” said Mr. Cannistraro. Still, he said, Apple recognizes and supports innovative ideas internally and executes better than competitors. “The right ideas tend to be the ones that get through.”
iPhone  Apple  transformational  Amazon  breakthroughs  Echo  expectations  innovation  Nest  new_products  smart_speakers 
june 2017 by jerryking

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