Archive for May, 2014

Apple may not buy Beats by Dre after all

Beats by Dre deal is taking longer than expected and now may not be finalised until late next week. Following on from our report last week about Apple acquiring the audio company Beats by Dre recent news is suggesting the deal may take longer than first expected.

Apple’s planned deal to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion may not be finalized until next week, according to people familiar with the transaction. That’s a longer timetable than some people expected as recently as a few days ago.

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Once the deal has been finalised it is expected that the Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will take up senior roles within Apple. It is not yet clear weather this bold move by apple is in order to inject the company with new ideas to attract a younger generation or if it is simply a deal to gain access to the Beats song library and royalty deals which would give apple preferential rates and an advantage in the streaming market for iTunes. On another note Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre are said to be making their first appearances as employees of apple in the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) later this year.

Heart Rate Monitoring Headphones?

heartrateearphonesA secret sharing website recently reported that apple might be exploring the possibility of headphones able to measure heart rate. The report was later confirmed to be a hoax however the technology to do this already exists, and is even available today in a product from LG.

Launched at CES in January, LG’s fitness-oriented Heart Rate headphones are designed to give real-time heart rate monitoring. The headphones use sensors in the earbud to measure blood flow, along with a small medallion that is strapped to the arm or attached to a waistband to track metabolic rate and maximum oxygen consumption, and all this while allowing users to listen to music!

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The medallion that connects to the headphones is designed to work as a data processing unit, sending the biometric information directly to the LG Fitness app or other popular third-party apps on an iPhone via Bluetooth. The headphones are said to have good sound and even include a built-in microphone for making calls using the device as a handsfree kit.

LG’s Heart Rate Earphones are designed to provide accurate heart rate data by measuring blood flow signals in the ear via PerformTek sensor technology while also delivering excellent sound. Because of the unique physiology of the ear, wearers can get more accurate health and fitness metrics with LG’s Heart Rate Earphones than with other devices, especially when engaged in physical activity. LG Heart Rate Earphones can be used alone or with LG Lifeband Touch.

The Heart Rate Earphones and the Lifeband Touch are available for pre-order and will will be officially on sale on the 18th May. The headphones are currently listed at £106.94 ($180), while the Lifeband Touch is £89.12 ($150).

Even though the report of Apple developing these headphones with sensors was fabricated, they have previously invested research into the concept, filing several patents on the subject and recently hiring Eric Winokur, a researcher who developed an ear-worn bio-signs monitor, likely for its wearable’s team. Despite all this evidence, there’s currently no indication that Apple is working on or even plans to work on their own headphones with sensors, but LG has demonstrated that the technology certainly exists should the company choose to go in that direction.

Will NFC make an appearance in the iPhone 6?

NFC-iPhone-6NFC (Near Field Communication) is reportedly going to make its way into the latest device from Apple, the iPhone 6. This has been on the cards since the iPhone 5 redesign however has not yet made it into production.

Integrating NFC (Near Field Communication) into an iPhone would be somewhat of a u-turn for apple as back in 2012 Phil Schiller said that the technology was not the solution to any current problem and so this meant it would not be something apple was perusing.

Apple is likely to incorporate a Near Field Communication (NFC) payment function in the next generation iPhone and has reached an agreement with China UnionPay on a mobile payment service, according to a source close to the matter.
In addition to NFC payment, the two companies will also work together on another mobile payment solution that can be used for purchases in Apple Stores.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last month that Apple would integrate NFC chips into the next-generation iPhone alongside a host of other features.

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The news also comes as Apple is apparently pursuing plans to develop a mobile payment solution, which will be linked to the Touch ID fingerprint sensor currently found in the iPhone 5s and reportedly headed for the iPhone 6 and next-generation iPads. It is also possible that Apple combines its existing Touch ID fingerprint scanner and NFC technology into the home button, as the company for a patent detailing such a system last September.

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 6 later on this year, possible around August or September if they follow previous trends.

Dr. Dre to take a senior role at Apple after Beats acquisition

The co-Founders of Beats by Dre Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine are set to take up senior roles within apple after the companies £1.8 million ($3.2 million) acquisition last week.

The pair are set to take up part time / advisory style positions and are said to be commuting from the Los Angeles area where Beats is based to meetings at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino and elsewhere as necessary.

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The role the two are going to actually play in influencing apples decisions is still unclear but it is thought that this may be either a move to entice younger generations or possible be a very clever decision with a view to securing deals with record labels.

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Apple is said to be re-designing iTunes in order to turn around the recent drop in music sales. The acquisition of the Beats Music streaming service along with a thriving hardware business and two experienced seasoned veterans of the music industry may help the company achieve this drastic revamp while introducing new ideas and hardware sales.

Apple to start its own Health & Fitness Platform

iwatch-concept-nikeApple is allegedly looking at doing more with the iWatch wearable device than first thought by creating a new health and fitness ecosystem modelled on its successful iOS App Store. Similar to the iOS App Store, this new platform may allow companies to develop their own mobile medical applications that could tie into Apple’s iWatch wearable device.

One mobile health executive, who asked not to be named, told Reuters he recently sat down with an Apple executive from the iWatch team. He said the company has aspirations beyond wearable devices, and is considering a full health and fitness services platform modelled on its apps store.

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Said to be launching as part of iOS 8 later this year, a new Healthbook app is expected to serve as a data-store for health-related information acquired from a variety of sensors on the watch such as resting heart rates, oxygen levels, distance & pace from GPS tracks of runs or activities and much more. Based on the vast amount of data the app appears to be able to track, it is unsurprising that Apple will be looking to open up the ecosystem to third parties to help users fill out all of the various content areas.

One company that could definitely benefit from an Apple health and fitness ecosystem is Nike, which has scaled back its own hardware development of the Fuelband to focus on expanding its software-based NikeFuel platform. Though Nike CEO Mark Parker would not directly comment on any specific plans with Apple, Parker did say in a recent interview that Apple is a long time partner and that he is “excited about where that relationship will go forward.”

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