Technology

Apple products missing a few parts


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Apple is set to announce new products next week, just as its biggest earner struggles to make its numbers for the year.

Bloomberg reports the company is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10m units, due to prolonged chip shortages. The company had expected to produce 90m of the new iPhone models in this final quarter, but it’s now telling manufacturing partners that its suppliers Broadcom and Texas Instruments are having difficulty delivering enough display and wireless components for the smartphone.

Like other phonemakers, Apple is keen not to be dependent on a single supplier. This week’s #techAsia newsletter reports China’s BOE Technology has been chosen by Apple to vie with Samsung Display and LG Display in providing iPhone screens. Beijing-based BOE began shipping a small number of organic light-emitting diode displays for the 6.1-in iPhone 13 in late September, says Nikkei Asia.

Apple announced a product launch event yesterday for this coming Monday, with MacRumors expecting redesigned 14in and 16in MacBook Pro models with faster processors to be unveiled. AirPods 3 could also be announced, but they’re unlikely to incorporate the health features that Apple appears to be planning. The Wall Street Journal reports it is moving beyond Watch to look at ways to make the earphones into a health device, including for enhancing hearing, reading body temperature and monitoring posture. The higher end AirPods Pro earbuds already offer features such as “conversation boost,” which was launched last week and increases the volume and clarity of people speaking in front of the wearer.

The Internet of (Five) Things

1. US bitcoin mining share boosted by China
The US overtook China as the world’s biggest source of bitcoin mining two months after Beijing banned crypto mining this year, new data have revealed. China’s share of the global hashrate — the computational power required to create bitcoin — fell from 44 per cent to zero between May and July.

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2. KKR closes on Kobalt deal
A KKR-led investor group is closing in on a $1.1bn deal to buy a song catalogue from indie music company Kobalt spanning hits from Lorde to The Weeknd, in the latest sign of a private equity-fuelled land rush for streaming music hits. Blackstone on Tuesday revealed it would back a fresh $1bn fund to buy music rights with Hipgnosis.

3. Science bodies question UK ‘superpower’ commitment
More than 30 leading science and technology bodies have urged the UK chancellor not to renege on plans to increase research and development spending to £22bn by the end of the parliament, as the government refused to recommit to the target date. Boris Johnson had pledged to turn the UK into a “science superpower”. Check out today’s Big Read on how the success of mRNA vaccines is opening the way to a new generation of drugs.

Diagram showing how cancer vaccines can be engineered to treat individual patients

4. Russia’s ransomware critic silenced
The arrest on treason charges of Ilya Sachkov, co-founder of Group-IB, which specialises in investigating cyber crimes, has sent a chill through the cyber security community in Russia, reports Max Seddon in Moscow. He had criticised the Kremlin over inaction on ransomware attacks. Lex has been looking at the boom in cyber security investment and valuations.

5. Zee founders fight shareholder revolt
The battle for control of Zee TV could change the way the entertainment sector in India works, our analysis suggests. This fast-growing but still fragmented market has big international groups, including Disney and Sony, streaming services and local rivals all jostling for position.

India's online video market is growing fast

Tech tools — iPhone 13

There may be shortages ahead, but How To Spend It’s Jamie Waters has got his hands on an iPhone 13 Pro and finds the design differs little from the 12. But he enjoys the camera improvements: “A cinematic mode enables you to focus on individuals while blurring the background, which makes for more sophisticated videos. What will be more useful for most people, though, are the photography upgrades. All phones in the series have much-improved light-gathering skills which means no scene is too shadowy to snap. There’s a “photographic styles” function that essentially allows you to apply a filter before you’ve taken a photo, and make adjustments in real time.” Read more

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