May 17, 2020

Coronavirus: Apple says work from home as iPhone sales drop

William Smith
2 min
Apple’s iPhone sales in China - a key market and the country most affected by coronavirus - have dropped precipitously
Apple’s iPhone sales in China - a key market and the country most affected by coronavirus - have dropped precipitously.

That's according to Reuters...

Apple’s iPhone sales in China - a key market and the country most affected by coronavirus - have dropped precipitously.

That's according to Reuters, which said over the course of February, only 494,000 iPhones were sold, compared to 1.27 million in February 2019. In January 2020, meanwhile, Apple sold some two million devices. The huge fall is down to restrictions on travel and other measures intended to lessen the spread of coronavirus. Indeed, Apple’s Chinese stores were shut for two weeks during February.

The news was not unexpected, with Apple having last month issued revised revenue guidance for the March quarter which it put down to a disruption in supply due to the slower than expected reopening of its facilities as well as a fall in demand due to the closure of its stores.


It’s not only Apple which has been affected, however. In total, only 6.34 million mobile phone devices were sold in February - a reduction of 54.7% compared to the same month last year, when 14 million were sold. That's equally impacting Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and Xiami, whose Android devices make up the bulk of the market.

According to Bloomberg, meanwhile, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has issued a worldwide memo encouraging those employees who are able to work from home to do so for the time being. Covering the entirety of this week. Cook was quoted as saying in the memo that Apple was “making a major effort to reduce human density and ensure those teams that are on-site can do their work safely and with peace of mind.”

The news dovetails with last week’s advice from the major tech companies to staff in California and Washington state, areas with particularly bad outbreaks of the virus, to stay away from the office. 

(Image: Apple)

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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