AirPods Are a ‘Runaway Success’, Says Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook fielded questions during a tour of New York Stock Exchange with his nephew on Wednesday, and he provided a non-answer around the initial success of AirPods.

AirPods Are a 'Runaway Success', Says Apple CEO Tim CookAsked by a CNBC reporter of the early response towards the product, and how they were unavailable in most places around New York, Cook called AirPods “a runaway success” and added that Apple is “making them just as fast as we can” to refill stocks and meet demand from holiday buyers.

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If you go by Apple’s own website, that seems to hold true. Anyone who ordered a pair of AirPods a day after their launch would have to wait six weeks for them to ship, and that still seems to be the case. Store pickups are no better, with no available date in sight until mid-February around the US.

Unfortunately, that hardly tell us anything. The availability of a product depends not just on how many people are buying one, but more so on how many a company can manufacture ahead of release, and keep up the production in response to the buzz around it. Cook’s comments on the success of the AirPods hardly contribute to what we could glean ourselves, and a generic statement such as his is something you expect an executive to make after the launch of any product.

There are no concrete numbers to back up his “runaway success” claim, and knowing Apple – which puts everything from the iPod and Apple Watch to the Apple TV and Beats headphones in one category called “Other Products” – it seems AirPods will be included there as well. That makes it hard to decipher which product contributed more or less compared to the previous quarter’s earnings, and as a result it becomes highly unlikely we’ll ever get any proper numbers on that front.

Doing so allows Apple to try out products, such as Apple Watch, that aren’t as big a draw as the iPhone and Mac lineup, while noting to investors that the same products don’t matter heavily in Apple’s global success. To note, “Other Products” only accounted for 5 percent of the company’s revenue in the latest reported quarter.

If the company does decide to release numbers in the future, that will only be when AirPods hit a worthy milestone. Without that, it’s down to market analysis and research firms.

Amazon India Now Lets You ‘Sell as Individual’

Amazon has just launched a new service called Sell as Individual, which allows you to sell your used goods. The service is currently only available in Bengaluru. With Sell as Individual, you can sell products locally in your city, and Amazon offers doorstep pick-up, packing, and delivery of used goods you’re selling.

Amazon India Now Lets You 'Sell as Individual'To sell a product, just go to the Sell as Individual page, and you have to fill in a small form, where you choose the category of the product, add a photo, price, and the pickup details. Although there is a city selector in a drop-down menu, Bengaluru is the only option in that menu for now.

Once you’ve made your listing, the product is listed on (as a used product), at the price you have listed. Other customers can now shop for it as usual, and make the purchase. Amazon will then email you once the product is sold, and schedule a pickup.

It will then come, collect the product, package it, and ship it to the buyer. In case the product it returned by the buyer, Amazon will ship it back to you, at no charge. Once the sale is completed, Amazon will transfer the money to you – minus a small fee.

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Its charges seem pretty reasonable – for items under Rs. 1,000 the fee is Rs. 10, for up to Rs. 5,000 it becomes Rs. 50, and for items of greater value, the fee is Rs. 100.
To promote the service, Amazon is also offering Rs. 1,000 as Amazon Pay balance, if you sell five books, video games, movies, or music; or, if you sell one mobile phone, tablet, or laptop.

Interestingly, the FAQ, terms and conditions, and other links on the Sell as Individual page lead you to links on the Junglee website. On Junglee too, there is now a banner ad for Sell as Individual, and the sell button in Junglee’s navigation takes you to the same sell page.

Amazon had launched Junglee in 2012 before its entry to India, as a price comparison website that helped discover sites across different e-commerce platforms.

In 2014, Junglee and Quikr partnered to show pre-owned product listings, and then in June 2016, Junglee launched a pilot to directly facilitate the sale of used goods. It would appear that the company is now folding this part of the business into Amazon, though we’re seeking official confirmation of this point from Amazon.

Windows Scoop Fans in India to Get Exclusive Updates, Invitations to Events, and More

The Windows Insider Team is extending the deadline for submissions to enter the Windows Scoop Fans programme to January 5. First announced earlier this month with a December 25 deadline, Windows Scoop Fans is designed for Windows enthusiasts and runs alongside the Windows Insider programme. It brings together all Windows brand (Home, Surface, Gaming on Windows) fans as part of the Windows community.

Windows Scoop Fans in India to Get Exclusive Updates, Invitations to Events, and MoreAs members of Windows Scoop Fans, users will get exclusive updates to news on Windows, including the latest apps and devices, after they are granted access to a private Facebook page. The Windows Insider Team says that, “member will also get valuable tips and tricks, invitations to Windows fan events and more.”

To become a member, interested Windows fans in India need to send an email to (from the same email address used for Facebook) answering the question ‘Why I’m the biggest fan of Windows’. Microsoft says users can make submissions about a favourite feature, a Windows app they created. or how helpful Windows has been to get work done, among other things. Windows fans can also attach photos and videos with the email to support their story.
As we mentioned, the Windows Insider Team has set a deadline of January 5 for submissions and selected Windows Scoop Fans participants will receive a confirmation by January 15.

Samsung Unveils Wireless Speaker, Sound Bar, UHD Blu-ray Player, and Robot Vacuum Ahead of CES 2017

CES 2017 doesn’t arrive until next week – it’s got the next year in its name as a clue – but that hasn’t stopped a whole bunch of companies, including Samsung, from announcing some of their products ahead of the trade show. For the South Korea-based electronics giant, that involves a new wireless speaker, a new soundbar, a new UHD Blu-ray player, and a new robot vacuum.

Samsung Unveils Wireless Speaker, Sound Bar, UHD Blu-ray Player, and Robot Vacuum Ahead of CES 2017With its audio-visual products, Samsung claims to have found the “future of audio”. The company is referring to its proprietary audio upscaling technology called Ultra High Quality audio, or just UHQ. With it, any 8- to 24-bit source can be converted into a 32-bit stream, which Samsung says “much closer in quality to the original recording than existing HD audio”.

This isn’t the first time Samsung itself has peddled its UHQ tech, with the Galaxy Note 5 fitted with a similar setting back in the day. Moreover, in an age where most people get their music via streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, it begs to be asked if the average consumer even cares about the difference between 8-, 24- and 32-bit streams of audio, or can even tell them apart.

Another one of Samsung’s algorithms include Distortion Cancelling, which the company claims “can intelligently predict a woofer’s movement, control it, and play more solid and stable sounds at a low pitch”.
As for the products, the Samsung H7 wireless speaker, as it’s called, looks like a streamlined version of an old-school stereo. It’s not at all retro when it comes to music playback though, with the speaker’s wheel letting you select playlists from streaming services. The MS750 sound bar, meanwhile, brings “subwoofer performance directly into the primary unit”, says Samsung.
Then there’s the M9500 UHD Blu-ray player, which Samsung says is optimised for HDR content. The new player looks at the source – be it HDR, Atmos, or DTS-X – and adjusts both video and audio for “optimal” performance. Plus, its ‘Private Cinema’ viewing mode lets you send audio to a pair of Bluetooth headphones instead the TV.

Rounding up the lot is the VR7000 robot vacuum, which stands less than 4-inches tall. That’s a notch thinner than all of the existing products in the iRobot lineup, except the Roomba 770 which comes in under 3.5-inches. But Samsung’s new vacuum trumps Roomba with its Alexa support, which means you can control it using an Amazon Echo.

It’s still technically not CES, so naturally Samsung is withholding detailed specifications, pricing, or availability on all the above products. Expect more information early next week.

Mercedes-Benz Servicing- How Much Will It Cost?

Maintaining your luxury car often depends on many factors. Factors like the model of your car, working condition of the car play a deciding role. Some high-performance cars flaunting engines like V8AMG Engine and the V12 engine has high maintenance, compared to cars of C and E class models which has got six-cylinder power plant.

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Coming to the topic of servicing, it is advised that you service your car every 10000 miles once a year. If your car doesn’t travel 10000 miles a year, then also you should take the car to servicing every year. Since, luxury cars are a big investment, taking care of luxury cars are important. Mainly, servicing of Mercedes-Benz consists of two parts, namely, A Service and B Service or minor and major services respectively. While you take your Mercedes-Benz for servicing, the experts will take a look at your car, and will advise you to do a A or B servicing depending on the condition of the car. The minor servicing or the A service, will typically cost you about 200$ and it includes an inspection of your car and an oil servicing. The major service or the B servicing includes the minor servicing and computer checking with filter reset and will typically cost you about 400$. Sometimes you might need a spark plug replacement depending on the model of your car, after you have drove 100,000 miles. For a newer model, experts suggest that, a transmission servicing should be done at every 40000 miles.

Some luxury car users haven’t got time to go for servicing every once in a while. If you are allergic to servicing your car, you may do a brake servicing every once in a while, which will make your car run in good condition without servicing. Brake servicing is required because, proper brake rotors and brake pads are required for the smooth running of the car. You should be well aware that the brakes of every luxury car is different, and therefore a brake servicing may cost in between 50$ and 250$. Advisors from the Mercedes-Benz staunchly says to avoid the cheap Mercedes-Benz service centers, since they may ruin the efficiency of your Mercedes-Benz.

The total cost of the Mercedes-Benz servicing depends on many factors like, the age of the model, number of repairs and obviously, the type of servicing needed for the car. Most of the users need minor repairs, and get away with it. Minor repairs like spark plug replacement, oil leak repairs and vacuum leaks may take some hours to complete and costs something in the vicinity of a few hundred dollars. If you own a Mercedes-Benz luxury car, and you really care about your car, take it for servicing once a year. If you need to see the doctor once a year, and minor checks need to be done in your body, then your Mercedes-Benz is no different. A reputed and reliable service center will not charge extra money, or will not hamper the condition of your car.

Hare Motors in west Yorkshire, is one of the best places to get your luxury Mercedes-Benz repaired. They are one of the most reputed and reliable service centers for stock Mercedes-Benz cars. Contact them to get a quote.

Super Mario Run Hits 40 Million Downloads in Four Days: Nintendo

Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Run has hit 40 million downloads in four days. This comes after several third-parties weighed in on the potential of the game and the company releasing a new feature in Friendly Run.

Super Mario Run Hits 40 Million Downloads in Four Days: NintendoAccording to the data collected by Apptopia, Super Mario Run saw 2,850,000 downloads in its first day on the App Store. The numbers dwarf Pokemon Go’s 900,000 downloads on its first day. Another firm called App Annie recorded 3.5 million downloads just in the US for day one, going to 10 million downloads globally on its launch day.

Yesterday App Annie claimed that Nintendo clocked in 37 million downloads. Considering that we’re yet to see an Android release of the game, it puts Nintendo in a commanding position, at least from a standpoint of having an install base.

What it does with this captive audience — in terms of new content or monetisation possibilities, remains to be seen. Hopefully, they relax the always online requirement needed to play the game.
Though keep in mind, without any revenue figures, we can’t quite gauge the impact of several decisions such as its high price and lack of microtransactions being beneficial or not. Nor do we have an idea of how many Super Mario Run uninstalls after little use. Then again, with the company using mobile platforms to gain traction for its own games on its own devices such as Pokemon Go benefitting Pokemon Sun and Moon, we won’t be surprised to see a repeat of the same agenda.

More Entry-Level Smartphone Players Will Quit Indian Market in 2017: Counterpoint

With mounting revenue losses amid too many players fighting to grab a pie, exits will surpass entrants in the Indian smartphone market in 2017, analysts said on Thursday.

More Entry-Level Smartphone Players Will Quit Indian Market in 2017: CounterpointThere are nearly 250 million unique smartphone users in the country and by the end of 2016, there will be 280 million Indians with these devices.

“With declining margins amid cut-throat competition, we predict some smartphone players will call it quits in 2017. We estimate that number of exits in the smartphone market will exceed number of entrants in the next year,” Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at New Delhi-based Counterpoint Research, told IANS.

“While some signs of this trend already started happening, we predict it will only intensify in 2017 and lead to consolidation in smartphone market,” Pathak added.

Most of the exits will be seen at the entry-level smartphone segment, involving regional players which were unable to generate volume and, at the same time, were unable to scale up their portfolio.

As tech companies strive to connect the next billion, India will lead the way in 2017 where new disruptive start-ups will emerge and regional knowhow and strength in developing vernacular apps to entice first-time mobile users will be the key, analysts said on Thursday.

“10K-20K smartphone was the fastest growing smartphone segment (+86 per cent) in 2016 and is likely to be the fastest in 2017 too owing to users upgrading from sub-10k category to mid-end segment,” said Karn Chauhan, an analyst with Counterpoint Research.

With replacement rate of smartphones increasing and new launches happening more frequently, the experts also see refurbished and hands-down smartphone market to grow in 2017.

As Samsung ramps up its OLED production with other players also setting up manufacturing plants for OLED production, the competition for OLED screen size with sharper and narrow bezels is likely to intensify in 2017.

“Apart from this, we will also see Dual camera, Front flash and quick-charge technology leading from the specification perspective in India,” Chauhan noted.

India handset manufacturing will continue to evolve from assembly towards end-to-end manufacturing.

“As per a Counterpoint Research-IIM Bangalore study, the local value addition in India during 2016 was 6 per cent which is estimated to grow to 10 percent in 2017,” Pathak told IANS.

Demonetisation has given strong momentum to the adoption of digital payments via smartphones – a trend which is likely to be more significant in 2017, the experts noted.

Bill Gates Becomes This Redditor’s Secret Santa, Gifts Her a Box Full of Goodies

In line with his annual tradition of being a secret Santa on Reddit, Bill Gates has sent out his box full of gifts for an extremely lucky Redditor named Aerrix. Needless to say, when world’s richest man becomes your Secret Santa, no Christmas stocking in the world is big enough to hold what he has to offer.

On her profile, Aerrix has written:

Bill Gates Becomes This Redditor's Secret Santa, Gifts Her a Box Full of Goodies“I’m a 30-year-old female who loves all things Internet and video games! I absolutely love the Legend of Zelda series and everything Mario, I just love Nintendo in general. I also LOVE the The Little Mermaid, Harry Potter, League of Legends…video games!!”

Understandably, Gates decided to send Aerrix a Zelda blanket, Zelda slippers for her and her dog, and a Zelda picture frame (with a picture of Aerrix and her husband, as well as Gates photoshopped into it).

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Following her other interests from her profile description, Microsoft’s co-founder sent out an Xbox One console (Minecraft edition), two games (Halo 5: Guradians and Rise of the Tomb Raider) and three special edition controllers, as per the post by Aerrix on
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Interestingly, Gates – the founder, board member, and former CEO of Microsoft – didn’t stick to just his own company’s products and also sent out an NES Classic Edition video game console as well.

Among other gifts in the box was a Cajun cookbook, a replica of the Master Sword from “Skyward Sword”, and copies of three of Bill Gates’ favourite movies – The Martian, The End of the Tour, and Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story.

If there is a sense of envy towards Aerrix is already developing within you after reading the article, please try and understand that you are not alone.

Uber Launches First Electric Car Fleet in Madrid

Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies launched in Madrid on Thursday its first fleet of electric cars.

Uber Launches First Electric Car Fleet in MadridIn Spain’s capital city, as elsewhere, Uber’s service of matching private car owners with passengers has prompted anger among the heavily-regulated taxi sector.

The company hopes the introduction of cleaner cars will help improve its image in a city governed by left-wing, environmentally-conscious mayor Manuela Carmena, said Carles Lloret, managing director of Uber for southern Europe

Madrid’s city administration in November unveiled new measures at combating pollution, from limiting private traffic in the centre to tightening speed limits on access roads.

“We want to do things that are in line with what the town hall wants,” Lloret said.

Regulation and hostility from local taxi firms drove Uber off Spanish streets at the end of 2014 after a Spanish judge ruled the company did not comply with the country’s laws and represented unfair competition.

But it returned to Madrid in April with UberX which, unlike its previous UberPOP service, used professionally licensed drivers. The fleet of electric cars form a part of its premium UberONE service, which offers extras such as in-car Internet connections.

Uber operates in Madrid with restrictive licences which it says impedes expansion. It hopes the launch of the environmentally service may encourage a liberalisation of the car-sharing sector.

“We would love to see more licences awarded in the future, perhaps for greener cars so there could be more in circulation,” said Lloret.

Founded in 2009, Uber Technologies Inc. has expanded exponentially worldwide but has come up against opposition from traditional taxi drivers and faced court injunctions in several countries, including Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands as well as Spain.

EU’s Highest Court Delievers Blow to Britain’s ‘Snooper’s Charter’

The European Union’s highest court has ruled as illegal “general and indiscriminate retention” of emails and electronic communications by governments, media reported on Wednesday.

EU's Highest Court Delievers Blow to Britain's 'Snooper's Charter'The judgement by the European Court of Justice comes as a blow to Britain’s new Investigatory Powers Act – the so-called snooper’s charter, said a report in the Independent.

Britain’s Investigatory Powers Act passed into law in November, granting the government powers to indiscriminately hack and store data relating to Internet use.

Only targeted interception of traffic and location data in order to combat serious crime is justified, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in Luxembourg, boosting the case against the sweeping collection of emails, text messages and Internet data.

The case was brought to the European court by Brexit Secretary David Davis and Labour Party’s deputy leader Tom Watson over the legality of British intelligence and security organisation GCHQ’s bulk interception of call records and online messages.

The duo had already won a high court victory on the issue, but the government appealed and the case was referred to the ECJ.
The decision could prove inconsequential after Britain withdraws from the EU, when the European Court of Justice will no longer have jurisdiction over the government.

“This ruling shows it is counter-productive to rush new laws through Parliament without proper scrutiny,” said Watson.
“At a time when we face a real and ever-present terrorist threat, the security forces may require access to personal information none of us would normally hand over.”

“That’s why it’s absolutely vital that proper safeguards are put in place to ensure this power is not abused, as it has been in the recent past,” he said.

Martha Spurrier, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: “Today’s judgement upholds the rights of ordinary British people not to have their personal lives spied on without good reason or an independent warrant.”

However, the British government vowed to appeal against the decision.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the judgement and will be considering its potential implications.”

“Given the importance of communications data to preventing and detecting crime, we will ensure plans are in place so that the police and other public authorities can continue to acquire such data in a way that is consistent with EU law and our obligation to protect the public,” the spokesperson said.