Apple Inc is designing its own main power management chips for use in iPhones as early as in 2018, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday, triggering slide of over 20 percent in shares of Dialog Semiconductor Plc.
If confirmed, the move would reduce Apple’s dependence on the Anglo-German chipmaker, which itself is heavily reliant on the smartphone industry and has been trying of late to diversify its customer base. Dialog stock was trading down 16 percent in Frankfurt trading at 31.01 at 1420 GMT on Thursday.
Investors are especially jittery after Apple said earlier this year it planned to replace another supplier, Imagination Technologies, a maker of graphics chips, sending the London-listed stock down 70 percent in a single session.
Following the collapse of its share price, Imagination put itself up for sale and it was sold off in two separate deals. In the past dozen years, Apple has dropped several smaller chip suppliers, forcing them to eventually merge with bigger players.
Responding to the Nikkei report, which quoted unnamed sources, a Dialog spokesman said its business situation had not changed.
“The level of visibility into the design cycle of our leading customers remains unchanged and the business relationships are in line with the normal course of business,” the spokesman said.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
“Based on Apple’s current plan, they are set to replace partially, or around half of its power management chips to go into iPhones by itself starting next year,” a source said, according to Nikkei. (s.nikkei.com/2Al5nSl)
A second person cited by Nikkei said that Apple was indeed developing power management chips for iPhones but that a rollout may be delayed until 2019.
Further, the Apple-designed chips would be solely manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co , according to industry sources cited by the newspaper.
TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, has been Apple’s sole supplier of core processor chips for iPhones since 2016 and it also makes Dialog’s power management chips.
Apple just launched a blog focused on machine learning research papers and sharing the company’s findings. The Apple Machine Learning Journal is a bit empty right now as the company only shared one post about turning synthetic images into realistic ones in order to train neural networks.
This move is interesting as Apple doesn’t usually talk about their research projects. The company has contributed and launched some important open source projects, such as WebKit, the browser engine behind Safari, and Swift, Apple’s latest programming language for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. But a blog with research papers on artificial intelligence project is something new for Apple.
It’s interesting for a few reasons. First, this research paper has already been published on arXiv. Today’s version talks about the same things but the language is a bit more simple. Similarly, Apple has added GIFs to illustrate the results.
According to this paper, Apple has had to train its neural network to detect faces and other objects on photos. But instead of putting together huge libraries with hundreds of millions of sample photos to train this neural network, Apple has created synthetic images of computer-generated characters and applied a filter to make those synthetic images look real. It was cheaper and faster to train the neural network.
Second, Apple tells readers to email the company in its inaugural post. There’s also a big link in the footer to look at job openings at Apple. It’s clear that Apple plans to use this platform to find promising engineers in that field.
Third, many people have criticized Apple when it comes to machine learning, saying that companies like Google and Amazon are more competent. And it’s true that the company has been more quiet. Some consumer products like Google’s assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are also much better than Apple’s Siri.
But Apple has also been doing great work when it comes to analyzing your photo library on your device, the depth effect on the iPhone 7 Plus and the company’s work on augmented reality with ARkit. Apple wants to correct this narrative.
Apple released a news-aggregator app called Apple News in 2015, and nearly two years later, it may be gaining substantial traction.
ComScore ranks it the 15th-biggest app by audience reach across both iOS and Android, with 47 million monthly users, Ad Age reported on Wednesday. In January 2016, Eddy Cue, Apple’s online-services boss, said the app had 40 million monthly users. It’s available in the United States, the UK, and Australia.
It’s reportedly a big traffic driver for some publications. But so far, there hasn’t been a good way to draw revenue from their readers on Apple News.
Publishers can run ad campaigns in Apple News, and there are ways to publish sponsored content as well, but it has been a clunky and time-consuming process. To solve this problem, Apple may be planning to allow publishers to use their own ad-campaign technology, such as Google’s DoubleClick, Ad Age reported.
Publishers using their own ad technology would make it easier for them to make money off their readers in the Apple News app.
Other plans Apple may have for its news aggregator include micropayments, according to the report. Apple News loosely competes with Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP, neither of which allows publishers to use their own ad technology.
Among the big tech companies, Apple is the most vocal about its distaste for online advertising. Apple is including a content blocker in the latest version of its browser, Safari, and CEO Tim Cook has frequently emphasized that Apple makes its money when a consumer buys its products, instead of by providing low-cost services and targeting ads, as Google and Facebook do.
“I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information,” Cook said in 2015. “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”
That would seem at odds with Apple letting publishers choose which tracking technology they want to use. But publishers won’t invest in Apple News unless they see a way to make money, and Apple needs publishers to entice users to come back day after day.
Publishers aren’t happy with the deal platforms are cutting them. Now, the Guardian has dropped both Facebook’s fast-loading Instant Article format and will no longer publish content on Apple News.
The publisher had gone all-in on Instant Articles, running every single Guardian article via the format for the last year. It was one of first U.K. media owners to adopt the Facebook format, alongside BBC News in the spring of 2015. The Guardian was also among the first publishers to join the Apple News app when it launched in the U.K. in October 2015. It ran all its articles in the app.
A Guardian News and Media spokesperson confirmed the removal, and issued the following statement to Digiday: “We have run extensive trials on Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News to assess how they fit with our editorial and commercial objectives. Having evaluated these trials, we have decided to stop publishing in those formats on both platforms. Our primary objective is to bring audiences to the trusted environment of the Guardian to support building deeper relationships with our readers, and growing membership and contributions to fund our world-class journalism.”
The publisher ceased running content through both Apple News and Instant Articles today. The move is a clear sign of displeasure in how these platform-publishing initiatives have treated the business needs of the Guardian. Many publishers have complained the money they make off visits to IA pages, for example, do not measure up to what they get on their own sites.
The Guardian isn’t the only publisher that has lately cooled on Instant Articles, with several publishers are running far fewer articles within that format, according to analysis by NewsWhip. BBC News, National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal barely seem to be using Instant Articles either. The New York Times has pulled out altogether.
Plenty of publishers remain on IA, of course, but the loss of marquee publishers like The New York Times and the Guardian is not exactly a great sign of health. Other publishers are likely to take a hard look at where their interests intersect with Facebook’s. The same goes for Apple News, although signs point to many publishers seeing promise there.
The draw of Instant Articles was that they load much faster than the Facebook links that take readers back to most publishers’ own sites. Engagement is also supposedly higher on those articles than regular Facebook links. But Instant Articles keep people within the Facebook app, rather than sending readers through to a publisher’s own sites, where they can monetize them more effectively, and have better control of reader data.
The Guardian, under pressure to cut costs and boost revenue, is pushing forwards with its paying membership scheme, and for it to keep building that successfully it must prioritize driving readers back to its own site, where it can ask them to donate or become a paying member, as well as serve advertising.
It has notched up 200,000 paying members, and over 100,000 one-off donations in the past year. The goal: to reach 1 million paying subscribers by 2019. Although the Guardian hasn’t confirmed the specific revenue made, 200,000 members paying the minimum price tier of £5 a month (£60/$76 a year), would equate to £1 million ($1.3 million) a month, £12 million ($15 million) a year. If the million paying supporters paid the minimum membership of £60 ($77) a year, that would create £60 million ($77 million) in revenue.
Meanwhile the Guardian’s use of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, the rival to Instant Articles, seems to be going strong. In March the Guardian presented at AMP Conf, a two-day conference hosted in New York, where it revealed that 60 percent of the Guardian’s Google-referred mobile traffic was coming via AMP.