Apple is Tops When It Comes to Computer Tech Support

In our latest reader survey of computer technical support, Apple bested its own scores from last year's survey and walloped other brand-name computer manufacturers.

The company scored far higher than the other big companies for the elements that make for successful online and phone support: ease of contacting staff, clarity of advice, technical knowledge, patience, and time for follow-up.

Apple's in-house technical support service, the Genius Bar, rated as high as support provided by phone or online. Whatever way readers asked for tech help—by phone (the most common way), online, or in person—Apple was also able to solve more computer problems. Independent shops that make custom computers came closest to Apple.

Clearly, there's room for improvement in tech support: 24 to 40 percent of respondents who sought phone or online help from makers of Windows-based computers said the staff's patience, knowledge, or clarity was fair at best.


What about makers of Windows-based computers? You'll find lots more information about our computer-tech-support findings in our survey Ratings chart for computer manufacturer tech support.

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference to Kick Off June 10 in San Francisco

CUPERTINO, California—April 24, 2013—Apple® today announced that it will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 10 through June 14 at San Francisco’s Moscone West. At the five-day conference, developers from around the world will learn about the future of iOS and OS X®, enabling them to create incredible new apps with innovative features. WWDC will also feature more than 100 technical sessions presented by over 1,000 Apple engineers, hands-on labs to help developers integrate new technologies, as well as the popular Apple Design Awards, a showcase of the most outstanding apps available through the App Store℠ and Mac® App Store. Tickets for this year’s WWDC go on sale Thursday, April 25 at 10 a.m. PDT.

“We look forward to gathering at WWDC 2013 with the incredible community of iOS and OS X developers,� said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Our developers have had the most prolific and profitable year ever, and we’re excited to show them the latest advances in software technologies and developer tools to help them create innovative new apps. We can’t wait to get new versions of iOS and OS X into their hands at WWDC.�

WWDC 2013 activities include:

  • More than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers on a wide range of topics for developing, deploying and integrating the latest iOS and OS X technologies;
  • more than 1,000 Apple engineers supporting over 100 hands-on labs and events to provide developers with code-level assistance, insight into optimal development techniques and guidance on how they can make the most of iOS and OS X technologies in their apps;
  • the latest innovations, features and capabilities of iOS and OS X, and how to enhance an app's functionality, performance, quality and design;
  • the opportunity to connect with thousands of fellow iOS and OS X developers from around the world—last year more than 60 countries were represented;
  • engaging and inspirational lunchtime sessions with leading minds and influencers from the worlds of technology, science and entertainment; and
  • Apple Design Awards which recognize iPhone®, iPad® and Mac apps that demonstrate technical excellence, innovation and outstanding design.
To purchase tickets, get updates and more information, developers can go to the WWDC website (developer.apple.com/wwdc).

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Press Contacts:
Christine Monaghan
Apple
cmonaghan@apple.com
(408) 974-8850

Tom Neumayr
Apple
tneumayr@apple.com
(408) 974-1972

© 2013 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, OS X, App Store, iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Apple Reports Second Quarter Results

CUPERTINO, California—April 23, 2013—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2013 second quarter ended March 30, 2013. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $39.2 billion and net profit of $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 37.5 percent compared to 47.4 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 35.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 19.5 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 11.8 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold just under 4 million Macs, compared to 4 million in the year-ago quarter.

“We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad,� said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.�

“Our cash generation remains very strong, with $12.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter and an ending cash balance of $145 billion,� said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.

Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2013 third quarter:

  • revenue between $33.5 billion and $35.5 billion
  • gross margin between 36 percent and 37 percent
  • operating expenses between $3.85 billion and $3.95 billion
  • other income/(expense) of $300 million
  • tax rate of 26%

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q2 2013 financial results conference call beginning at 2:00 p.m. PDT on April 23, 2013 at www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq213. This webcast will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

This press release contains forward-looking statements including without limitation those about the Company’s estimated revenue, gross margin, operating expenses, other income/(expense), and tax rate. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ. Risks and uncertainties include without limitation the effect of competitive and economic factors, and the Company’s reaction to those factors, on consumer and business buying decisions with respect to the Company’s products; continued competitive pressures in the marketplace; the ability of the Company to deliver to the marketplace and stimulate customer demand for new programs, products, and technological innovations on a timely basis; the effect that product introductions and transitions, changes in product pricing or mix, and/or increases in component costs could have on the Company’s gross margin; the inventory risk associated with the Company’s need to order or commit to order product components in advance of customer orders; the continued availability on acceptable terms, or at all, of certain components and services essential to the Company’s business currently obtained by the Company from sole or limited sources; the effect that the Company’s dependency on manufacturing and logistics services provided by third parties may have on the quality, quantity or cost of products manufactured or services rendered; risks associated with the Company’s international operations; the Company’s reliance on third-party intellectual property and digital content; the potential impact of a finding that the Company has infringed on the intellectual property rights of others; the Company’s dependency on the performance of distributors, carriers and other resellers of the Company’s products; the effect that product and service quality problems could have on the Company’s sales and operating profits; the continued service and availability of key executives and employees; war, terrorism, public health issues, natural disasters, and other circumstances that could disrupt supply, delivery, or demand of products; and unfavorable results of other legal proceedings. More information on potential factors that could affect the Company’s financial results is included from time to time in the “Risk Factors� and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations� sections of the Company’s public reports filed with the SEC, including the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 29, 2012, its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended December 29, 2012, and its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 30, 2013 to be filed with the SEC. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Press Contact:
Steve Dowling
Apple
dowling@apple.com
(408) 974-1896

Investor Relations Contacts:
Nancy Paxton
Apple
paxton1@apple.com
(408) 974-5420

Joan Hoover
Apple
hoover1@apple.com
(408) 974-4570

Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Customer Service for the Win?

Who doesn't love themselves some customer service? Well, as TMCnet reported last month, apparently quite a few people. In a study by Aspect (News - Alert) Software, four in 10 Americans admitted they'd rather go to the DMV than deal with customer service.

A great deal of the user frustration with customer service is the often totally whacko way companies implement it. A recent blog by Eric Robeson reviews some of the major problems.

Companies have a strange tendency of calling customers and leaving tantalizing, vague messages about the user's account, prompting a call back. When the mystified consumer calls back, they often face a labyrinthine maze of automated options. How can one pick the number corresponding to the service he/she needs if they don't know which service pertains to the voicemail?

So, a customer does what anyone who, not having not a clue what to do, would do: they dial “0� to get to an operator (not always a possibility), or they just pick a number, any number to get to a human being of some sort. What then ensues, typically, is a kind of relay tag (News - Alert) sport where the customer is the ball. The consumer is passed from representative to representative until one representative turns out to the right one and....score! Communication is established, if by then, the customer hasn't already hung up in an outburst of tears due to resurfaced abandonment issues the runaround has brought on.

Clearly, in these instances, the company providing the so-called customer “service,� is blatantly in the wrong, and there are tactics one can take to ensure a more pleasant, or at least, more organized experience for customers.

Robeson suggests that by keeping track and leveraging context of customer interactions through various engagement channels, companies can personalize customer service interactions and boost closeness with customers.

A company can still use automated systems; it just needs to do so in a personalized way. Robeson suggests that if he had received a call from a company with which he had an account, he'd have appreciated a automated answer that went something along the lines of “Thank you for calling us back, Mr. Robeson. We have a question for you about a recent purchase.�

As Robeson points out, customer satisfaction makes for customer loyalty. If a company has consistent branding across all channels, and it keeps track of its own consumer outreach, it can actually be inviting, or at least, not horrible. 

Edited by Rich Steeves

FrontRange Announces Upcoming Release of HEAT 2013 Service Management Solution

FrontRange, a provider of Hybrid IT Service Management solutions, unveiled the HEAT 2013, a service management solution that can support on-premise, multi-tenant cloud and/or hybrid deployments from a single, unified platform.

Udo Waibel, CTO of FrontRange, said, “FrontRange is committed to rapid and ongoing innovation and the development of our Hybrid platform is another example of how our product development roadmap responds to current industry trends and customer needs.�

Serving the needs of thousands of global customers, FrontRange’s HEAT service management platform is capable of integrating voice and workflow automation with client management applications. The services are optimally delivered on-premise and in the cloud.

The HEAT 2013, which will be available from end of May, 2013, will feature capabilities such as a new user interface that offers a streamlined and context-based user interface for improved analyst efficiency, and the ability to post messages directly to specified service teams, social groups and/or user profiles.

The My Watch List feature enables one-click access to recent work or accessed items enhancing service analyst’s productivity. The customizable UI helps organizations to adjust the look and feel in alignment with branding on a self-service and service analyst user interface (UI).

According to officials, the HEAT Cloud Connect feature will ensure tighter integration with external applications by triggering workflow advancement when jobs are created or when a specific object field is updated.

The new Web services APIs enable the ability to populate service requests and leverage advanced search capabilities. Also languages supported include German, Dutch and Portuguese besides English, French and Spanish.

Heat 2013 also features IE 10 support using which customers can migrate to and/or from a cloud or on-premise deployment. The configuration management tool simplifies set-up and configuration to ensure proper change management. The integrity of a customer’s existing configurations can also be transferred with FrontRange upgrades, added officials.

“HEAT allows customer application configurations to seamlessly migrate between cloud and/or on-premise delivery to provide customers the flexibility of choice, advanced capabilities and complete end-to-end service management offerings,� Waibel added.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Telenay’s Scout for Phones Updates Include 3D Buildings and Landmarks, Crowd-Sourced Traffic Information

Personalized navigation provider Telenay, Inc. recently revealed that it will add new features and updates to its free Scout for iPhones and Androids personalized GPS navigation apps later this year.

One feature to look forward to will be 3D buildings and landmarks. The 3D graphics, created using the screen space ambient occlusion technique mainly used in the gaming industry, will showcase nearby buildings and landmarks in major metropolitan cities throughout the United States. This will provide drivers with a better sense of where they are, especially if they are driving in a place they don't know.

"Our primary goal in adding 3D integration into Scout for Phones is to help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas," Ryan Peterson, director of product management, traffic and navigation at Telenav, said in a statement. "With that goal in mind, we are focusing on ease of use, realistic but subtle graphics, and intuitive views. It's about providing drivers with additional context on the road so they can better navigate their surroundings with just a quick glance."

On the topic of updates, drivers will be able to report traffic incidents such as accidents or road hazards as they happen, which will then be integrated into the app's traffic and congestion database so that other drivers can see and change their own routes accordingly. By incorporating crowd-sourced information and adding traffic and congestion information for arterial roadways, Telenay will be expanding its traffic coverage by five times its usual amount.

To provide a more comprehensive view of driving conditions, the app will also update drivers on upcoming traffic and offer faster alternate routes without drivers even having to touch the phone. Moreover, the app will update mid-route so that drivers can see traffic flow information for up to 15 miles ahead. In order to provide faster and clearer images and navigation information, the app will also be updated to include a vector-based traffic display.

"With more than 50 percent of American workers spending at least 20 minutes getting to work each day, traffic is a daily grind for a lot of people," Peterson said in the statement. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve our traffic data and how it's shared in the app. We hope to help alleviate some of the stress of daily traffic for our customers by implementing these updates this year."

Edited by Rich Steeves

SAP Enables Remote Access to Data-Driven Applications

By Arvind Arora, TMCnet Contributor

Data-driven applications are being trusted by more and more enterprises across the globe every day, as using them helps in analyzing the needs of customers in a better way, so that consumer concerns can be fulfilled in the best possible manner.

SAP (News - Alert) AG, a provider of enterprise application software solutions that enable both individuals and organizations to work together in a streamlined manner, revealed plans to introduce its data management and synchronization offering known as SAP Sybase (News - Alert) SQL Anywhere 16 suite.

With the help of the suite, enterprises can control their business transactions from remote office locations through communication with satellite server within the SAP Real-Time Data Platform. Further, database-powered applications can also be created within embedded, software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)), remote and mobile environments in relatively shorter spans of time as well. Vital data can be integrated from the “Internet of Things� right into the SAP Real-Time Data Platform leveraging the advanced data management and data synchronization features of the application.

“SAP continues to advance its real-time database capabilities by integrating key Sybase database technologies such as SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere into its comprehensive enterprise information platform,� commented Carl Olofson, research vice president for application development and deployment at IDC (News - Alert). “The new version of SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere includes key improvements such as expanded query optimization for faster response times, which makes access of enterprise data on a mobile platform more practical, and security enhancements for protection of critical business data, which helps put business managers at ease regarding the distribution of sensitive data to mobile devices. These technologies work in combination with solutions such as SAP HANA decreasing administrative complexity, allowing SAP to enable practical, easy to use enterprise data delivery to users anywhere, any time.�

Deploying the SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere suite and data management solutions by the company, enterprises are able to develop secure and strong applications for server, desktop, embedded and mobile devices. They can use it to run data-driven applications in a remote manner, and maintain sync within enterprise data saved at multiple locations with respect to any changes and updates incurred. A number of service and solutions providers bank upon SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere as it requires very less administration and offers trustworthy embedded database operations.

In August 2012, SAP AG announced the introduction of the SAP CRM rapid-deployment solution for citizen contact center. The new solution ensures faster implementation of government multi-channel contact center, which provides citizens with quality-based customer service while also ensuring optimized management of government organizations. 

Edited by Rich Steeves

UBIqube Announces SDN Organization Suite

Software defined networking promises to do for networking what virtualization did for servers, giving engineers a more flexible solution by abstracting from the physical hardware. UBIqube is poised to take advantage of the revolution with its SDN Organization Suite.

“The Software Defined Networking (SDN) vision is driven by the explosion of virtualization in the cloud, bringing a new demand for flexibility in control and management across the entire network,� said a spokesperson from UBIqube.

The suite builds upon its existing MSActivator OSS suite. It provides a multitenant, multivendor and multiprotocol network.

MSActiviator bridges the gap between cloud components, such as virtual appliances and hypervisors, and legacy network component.

The Object Based Management Framework (OBMF) provides an open mediation layer via an API that allows network components to interface.

The suite also provides an abstraction layer, allowing administrators to build pure SDN and hybrids between SDN and conventional networks.

Administrators can optimize network usage, improve workflow automation, rapidly deliver new network functionality, integrate new services and protocols, streamline orders, reduce operational costs and prepare for the future by implementing SDN now.

SDN has the full weight of major networking equipment providers behind it. A number of manufacturers, including Alcatel-Lucent, Arista Networks, Big Switch, Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and NEC, have joined forces to build the OpenDaylight platform, an open source standard for SDN networks. Having an open standard will certainly help SDN to grow.

“This is a rare gathering of leaders in the technology ecosystem who have decided to combine efforts in a common platform in order to innovate faster and build better products for their customers,� said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, said. “The world has learned that collaborative development can quickly drive software innovation, especially in fast moving markets. We are excited to be working with OpenDaylight and expect truly amazing things to come.�

For those who are interested in SDN, the SDN Zone Preconference will be held co-located with ITEXPO Las Vegas in August. For more information, click here.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Facebook Lands Former Apple Exec Richard Williamson to Further Mobile Initiatives

Facebook is a mobile company, and we're rapidly seeing how the increased focus on mobility at Facebook is changing the tenor of the company in terms of its actions and its hiring. To that end, Facebook brought in something of an unlikely new face, reportedly hiring Richard Williamson, not only part of Apple's original iPhone team, but also the man who spearheaded Apple Maps.

Williamson reportedly only joined Facebook within the last couple of weeks, according to reports from sources who requested anonymity. Williamson's role within Facebook, meanwhile, is said to be managing part of the mobile software group, which is rapidly expanding to suit Facebook's new status as a mobile company.

Williamson had been with Apple for over a decade, and had not only been in charge of building software for the iPhone, but also was in charge of replacing Google Maps with Apple's own map program for iPhone and iPad. Back in November, Williamson was let go as Apple's management shook up the team when the Apple Maps project proved to be less than effective. Many criticized the Apple Maps project for offering less than accurate directions and improperly located landmarks.

But Williamson isn't the only Apple alumn making his way to Facebook, as several of Apple's iPhone software people have made the move to Facebook in recent days, including names like Greg Novick, Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris. Novick had been involved in the development of the iPhone's touch interface, while Matas and Tsinteris were brought in following Facebook's acquisition of Push Pop Press. Reports indicate that Apple veterans had a big hand in developing Facebook's Home mobile product, and the secondhand Apple influence doesn't stop there, as Facebook also recently hired Rebecca Van Dyck, formerly of Apple, to serve as its head of consumer marketing.

Facebook's push into the mobile space is common knowledge and is showing up in a variety of ways. With Facebook somewhat on the decline among teenagers -- a terrible development for a social media company -- bringing in what is at least somewhat a new audience in the mobile field is a good way to help shore up its numbers. Keeping the numbers up retains appeal for advertisers, and in turn, allows Facebook to continue functioning.

The more advantages Facebook can put into play, the better the overall picture is for Facebook as a whole. With more social media options opening up, Facebook needs to keep itself sharp and vital to retain its current status and rebuild on some of its recent losses.

Edited by Rich Steeves

CanvasM Technologies to Feature Anite Wireless Device Testing Solutions in New NJ Lab

CanvasM Technologies has selected wireless device testing technology provider Anite to equip its new test laboratory in New Jersey with 2G, 3G and LTE conformance and interoperability test solutions.

Through Anite's solutions, CanvasM Technologies will be provided with the greatest number of unique GCF validated conformance test cases, customized interoperability and performance test cases, and a reduction in device testing time during the R and D phase though easy and quick issue identification and resolution.

“We have been successfully working with Anite for more than three years and their conformance and interoperability testing expertise led to their selection as the preferred testing supplier for our new laboratory," Sirisha Voruganti, chief technology officer of CanvasM Technologies, said in a statement. “Anite’s user-friendly solutions provide the latest functionalities and features that our customers require.�

Anite looks forward to providing its solutions to CanvasM Technologies' new lab, which was developed in response to an increasing customer demand for testing services due to mobile operators' rising LTE implementations and the production of more LTE capable devices.

“Anite is delighted to have been selected by CanvasM Technologies for their new U.S.

laboratory," Paul Beaver, products director of Anite, said in a statement. "Most tier one mobile operators and device manufacturers already use Anite’s conformance and interoperability testing solutions and a consistent utilization of test equipment across the device ecosystem ensures a quicker and smoother acceptance process.�

In related news, Anite recently won an Innovation Award during the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, recognizing the company as a leading vendor of wireless test solutions. The award mainly highlighted Anita's success in its SAS interoperability solution, which helped it become the first device test vendor to achieve the 80 percent validation target for GTI Priority-1 TD-LTE interoperability test cases for device functionality and performance in LTE.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey