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Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 182: So Long, Jony; Sikh Truck Drivers; Rooney Golazo; Frolicking Beach Dogs

2019 06 30abstract

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

⚠️ Editor’s note: NN will be on summer holiday for the following few weeks. Expect the next edition July 21.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

🍎 1) Apple Design Chief Jony Ive to Depart, Ushering in New Era [WSJ]

“Apple Inc. said design chief Jony Ive will leave the company later this year to form his own independent design company, marking the end of an era at the iPhone maker as it shifts from an emphasis on product development to services.”

🎨 2) And, from 2015, a profile of Ive: The Shape of Things to Come [New Yorker]

“How an industrial designer became Apple’s greatest product.”

👂 3) Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students [ProPublica]

“‘It’s not clear it’s solving the right problem. And it’s not clear it’s solving it with the right tools,’ said Suresh Venkatasubramanian, a University of Utah computer science professor who studies how replacing humans with artificial intelligence affects decision-making in society.”

🦄 4) A Unicorn Lost in the Valley, Evernote Blows Up the ‘Fail Fast’ Gospel [NY Times]

“In a season of multibillion-dollar I.P.O.s for Slack, Pinterest, Zoom, Uber, Lyft and others, Evernote is nowhere close.”

🚚 5) Sikh drivers are transforming U.S. trucking. Take a ride along the Punjabi American highway [LA Times]

"‘You used to see a guy with a turban and you would get excited,’ says Pal, who is in his 15th year of trucking. ‘Today, you go to some stops and can convince yourself you are in India.’’

📚 6) San Francisco Will Spend $600,000 to Erase History [NY Times]

“All are fair game for censorship in a worldview that insists that words and images are to be judged based on how ‘safe’ they make people feel.”

⌨️ 7) 20+ Mac Productivity Hacks from CEOs, Artists, Developers, Youtubers and More [Boxy Suite]

“I’m always surprised by how many Mac hacks, tricks and workflows I keep finding out that boost my productivity and make my life easier.”

🗣️ 8) This map shows the most commonly spoken language in every US state, excluding English and Spanish [Business Insider]

German is the most commonly spoken non-English, non-Spanish language in nine states, with French most common in six states and D.C. Vietnamese was the most common language in six states.”

⚽ 9) Wayne Rooney GOAL from Beyond Midfield! [YouTube]

“Wayne Rooney scores from beyond the midfield stripe.”

😂 10) Water, water, OMG water! [Reddit]

💡 Quote of the week:

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training." – Archilochus

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👊 Fist bump from New Delhi – and happy summer!

Newley

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India Journalism Tech

Foxconn Looks Beyond China to India for iPhone Assembly

2019 01 23foxconn

That’s the headline on a story I wrote yesterday with my colleagues Yang Jie, Yoko Kubota, and Rajesh Roy.

It begins:

Apple Inc.’s largest iPhone assembler, Foxconn Technology Group, is considering producing the devices in India, people familiar with the matter said, a move that could reduce Apple’s dependence on China for manufacturing and potentially for sales.

Executives at Foxconn, a contract manufacturer that assembles a large portion of the world’s iPhones in China, are studying whether to include an India project in budget plans, one of the people said. Senior executives, possibly including Chairman Terry Gou, plan to visit India after next month’s Lunar New Year to discuss plans, the people familiar said.

Foxconn’s look at India comes as sustained friction between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology is pushing many companies to consider diversifying their supply chains away from China, a global center of assembly for smartphones, computers and other electronics.

Click through to read the rest.

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India Journalism Tech

iPhone Falls Flat in World’s Largest Untapped Market

IMG 0364  1

That’s the headline of my most recent story, which I wrote with my WSJ colleague Tripp Mickle. It’s on the front page of Wednesday’s print paper and online here.

It begins:

NEW DELHI–Amit Rajput, who runs a counter selling iPhones in a busy electronics shop here, cuts a lonely figure. He is lucky to sell one device a day, compared with the 10 or more smartphones his colleagues at desks for Samsung Electronics Co. , Nokia Corp. and China’s Oppo sell daily in the same store.

As customers walk past his display, he recalls a different time in 2013 when he sold as many as 80 iPhones a day. Now most people want to pay less than $300 for their devices—a fraction of what Apple Inc.’s newer models cost.

Smartphone makers, facing sputtering growth in the rest of the world, have looked to India to make up the difference. With 1.3 billion consumers, the country is the world’s biggest untapped tech market. Just 24% of Indians own smartphones, and the number of users is growing faster than in any other country, according to research firm eMarketer.

How has that worked out for one of America’s most valuable companies?

The number of iPhones shipped in India has fallen 40% so far this year compared with 2017, and Apple’s market share there has dropped to about 1% from about 2%, research firm Canalys estimates. The Cupertino, Calif., company posted revenues of $1.8 billion in India this fiscal year. That is less than half of what executives had once hoped to capture, said a person familiar with its targets.

“It’s been a rout,” said Ishan Dutt, an analyst at Canalys.

Click through to read the rest.

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Journalism

Why the iPhone Is Losing Out to Chinese Devices in Asia

2018 02 26 iphone asia

That’s the headline of my newest story, which ran last week.

It begins:

NEW DELHI—The iPhone X has set a new benchmark for smartphone prices and bolstered Apple Inc.’s bottom line, but its steep price may be hobbling its future in Asia’s biggest markets and allowing Chinese challengers to grab market share.

Buyers from India to Indonesia are opting for models from Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi Corp.—sometimes called “the Apple of China”—along with BBK Electronics Corp.’s Oppo and Vivo.

China’s manufacturers are increasingly churning out higher-priced devices that compete directly with Apple’s smartphones. They often have high-end features, but carry lower price tags than the iPhone X or even older iPhone models. They are targeting potential Apple customers by offering phones with robust hardware such as metal bodies, beefy batteries and unique features iPhones lack, including special cameras for taking better selfies.

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Our Facebook Live Video On Apple and India

Last week my colleague Eric Bellman and I conducted a live Facebook chat on Apple’s big gamble on India.

The video is embedded above and on The WSJ Facebook page here.

Eric and I discuss India’s promise as the second biggest smartphone market after China (hundreds of millions of people are getting online for the first time on low-cost smartphones), what Apple’s been doing to make strides here (assembling phones locally for the first time, working to open its own official stores, trying to boost the iOS ecosystem, etc.) and the challenges it faces (the biggest: price).

Enjoy.

And for more, see a couple of our recent stories:

Categories
Journalism Tech

Our Scoop Yesterday: Apple Manufacturer Assembles First iPhones in India

2017 05 18 apple india

The exclusive, which I wrote with my WSJ colleagues, begins:

NEW DELHI—An Apple Inc. manufacturer has completed a trial run of the first-ever iPhones assembled in India, in an important step in the U.S. tech giant’s push into the fast-growing South Asian market.

The manufacturing of Apple’s cheapest iPhone model, the SE, was handled earlier this month by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron Corp., which has an assembling unit in the southern state of Karnataka, a state official with direct knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple said in a statement that it has begun initial production of a small number of iPhone SE handsets in Bangalore and will begin shipping the Indian-made devices to domestic customers this month. The first devices could hit stores as early as this week or next, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A Wistron spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on “market rumors or speculation.”

With sales cooling in China—long an engine for Apple’s growth—the Cupertino, Calif., company has been looking for new ways to build its brand in India. Apple has sought concessions on the taxes it pays to import some components, government officials say.

The story was followed by may other outlets.

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Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 87: China vs. U.S. in India; Apple’s iPhone Plans; RIP Ashley :(

2017 04 09 NN

Edition 87 of my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, went out to subscribers Thursday.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them, enter your email address here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

Sorry to begin with some sad news, but even though it’s been a few weeks, it’s still top of mind…

WHAT I WROTE AT NEWLEY.COM

Ashley, 2008–2017 – Our beloved dog Ashley, whom we adopted in Bangkok in 2009, died last month. A and I are still recovering. We really miss her.

In the post linked to above, I shared the story of her sudden illness and posted some of my favorite photos from our nearly eight years with her. I still can’t believe she’s gone.

But: Onward and upward.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ:

Twitter Launches Leaner Service Aimed at India – The story begins:

Twitter Inc. launched a new version of its service in India tailored for users with slow and unreliable internet connections, hoping to encourage expansion in the South Asian market as growth stalls at home.

TLDR: Twitter wants to gain new users in emerging markets like India, where web connections are often patchy.

Amazon and Facebook Hit Unexpected Obstacle in India: China – A story about how Chinese tech firms like Alibaba and Tencent are backing Indian startups, which are themselves challenging U.S. tech titans.

Apple to Start Making iPhones in India Over Next Two Months – A scoop with my colleague Rajesh Roy that begins:

Apple Inc. will soon start assembling iPhones in India for the first time, say government officials familiar with its plans, boosting the company’s chances of gaining a foothold in the fast-growing market.

Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron Corp. will likely start making iPhone 6 and 6S models here in the next four-to-six weeks at its plant in Bangalore, said an official of the southern state of Karnataka where the tech hub is located. It will add Apple’s cheapest iPhone model, the SE, to its assembly line in about three months, the official said.

Apple is struggling to boost sales in India, and making its smartphones here would help bring down the cost of the devices here.

Uber Rival Grab Hits the Road in Myanmar – Grab, a ride-sharing startup focused on Southeast Asia, has launched in Myanmar.

5 ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Care about the communal good? Stop trudging up escalators. Research suggests that the system, often used in public transportation, in which riders stand on one side while others walk on the other actually creates congestion and slows things down for everyone. We’d all be better off just standing two-abreast and riding up together in one group, it seems.

2) Why are Japan’s white-gloved rail system staff always pointing at stuff? The answer, according to an interesting explainer at Atlas Obscura, has to do with ritualized safety checks:

Known in Japanese as shisa kanko, pointing-and-calling works on the principle of associating one’s tasks with physical movements and vocalizations to prevent errors by “raising the consciousness levels of workers”—according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Japan. Rather than rely on a worker’s eyes or habit alone, each step in a given task is reinforced physically and audibly to ensure the step is both complete and accurate.

3) Musical find of the week: Radiooooo.com, where you can explore popular music by world geography and decade. E. P. Licursi has the back story on this “hit tune time machine” in The New Yorker.

4) “Which Tech CEO Would Make the Best Supervillain?” Zuck? Elon Musk? Travis Kalanick? Jeff Bezos? Larry Page? Bill Gates? Peter Thiel? Click here to read more and decide for yourself.

5) Wondering how to quit social media? Here’s a round-up of several new books to help you unplug and explore the world around you. Among the titles: “Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World,” “The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit,” and “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative.”

What’d I miss? Send me links, rants, raves, juicy news scoops and anything else! My email: n@newley.com

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 81: Trump and H-1Bs, Apple in India, Silicon Valley Preppers, Full-Auto Crossbows

2017 01 26NN

Edition 81 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them, enter your email address here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Indian Outsourcing Firms Prep for Curbs on H–1B Visa Workers Under Trump. The story begins:

President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t take office in Washington until Friday, but he is already forcing firms in India’s mammoth $108 billion technology-outsourcing industry to rethink their hiring practices in the U.S., their largest market.

While Mr. Trump has chastised U.S. firms for offshoring American jobs, Indian outsourcing firms could be set to see renewed heat for doing the opposite—placing foreign workers in the U.S., mainly through a skilled-worker visa, known as the H–1B. Faced with the prospect of possible new curbs on those visas from a president who has pledged to ensure that Americans get their first pick of available jobs, outsourcers are ramping up hiring both on American college campuses and at home in India.

H–1B Visas: How Donald Trump Could Change America’s Skilled Worker Visa Rules. The story begins:

During his campaign, President Donald Trump assailed a skilled-worker visa program used to send foreigners to the U.S., and in his inaugural speech Friday he said the country would “follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American.”

Indian outsourcing firms are already preparing for potential changes to visa rules, which could present a challenge because they send thousands of workers to the U.S. every year via the H–1B program.

So how much, and how quickly, could Mr. Trump change the regulations?

A significant shakeup would likely need to be approved by Congress, though there are some steps Mr. Trump could take himself immediately, analysts say.

Apple Said to Be Near Deal to Manufacture Products in India. The story begins:

Apple Inc. is nearing a deal to manufacture its products in India, according to a senior government official, as the company seeks to boost its sales in a market that is home to more than 1.2 billion people.

A team of executives led by Priya Balasubramaniam, an Apple vice president, met with senior Indian government officials in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the firm’s proposals, the official said.

“It’s almost a done deal,” said the official, who has direct knowledge of the matter.

WHAT I WROTE AT NEWLEY.COM

Book Notes: The Innovator’s Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen. My notes from the 1997 business classic that gave rise to the term “disruptive innovation."

Is This Arsenal’s Year? Probably not. But still. One can hope, no?

The difference between saying something and actually doing it. Insprired by an interaction with an Uber driver here in New Delhi.

5 ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) A history professor analyzes the so-called “alt-right.” The Univeristy of Massachusetts Amherst’s Daniel Gordon says he discerns a “cluster of conservative principles that need to be understood if we wish to comprehend the terms of political debate that are going to endure in America for many years to come.”

Ignore the headline and read the whole thing. I haven’t had time to think too deeply about it, but it raises some interesting questions.

2) Trump will put American institutions to the test, but they will survive, Francis Fukuyama argues. He writes:

Americans believe deeply in the legitimacy of their constitutional system, in large measure because its checks and balances were designed to provide safeguards against tyranny and the excessive concentration of executive power. But that system in many ways has never been challenged by a leader who sets out to undermine its existing norms and rules. So we are embarked in a great natural experiment that will show whether the United States is a nation of laws or a nation of men.

3) Why do movie villains often have British accents? I’m not sure this piece answers the question, but it’s a thought-provoking look at perceptions and speech.

4) Rich people in Silicon Valley are girding for the apocalypse. Fun New Yorker story by Evan Osnos that will not surprise fans of the show “Doomsday Preppers.”

5) And finally, just because: This dude created crossbow that fires in full automatic mode. #Ingenuity.

NEWLEY’S NOTES SHOUTOUTS

– Thanks to longtime pal Wendy H., who last week tweeted:

“Anytime I learn a new use for square knots AND for viewing YouTube, I’m happy. Sign up for @Newley ’s Notes: http://www.tinyletter.com/newley

What’d I miss? Send me links, rants, raves, and anything else! My email: n@newley.com

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 77: Uber in India; Apple Scoop; OMGWTF: New ‘Bladerunner’?

Sunset 433626 1280

Edition 77 of my email newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox before I post them on Newley.com, enter your email address here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.


Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter in which I share links to my stories and various items I think are worth highlighting.

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday period. Best wishes for a happy new year.

My apologies: This week’s Newley’s Notes is a couple of days late due to holiday travel.

A and I just returned to Delhi after an excellent stay at Neemrana Fort Palace, about three hours by car south of here.

It’s a 15th century fort that’s been turned into a hotel. It’s quiet, the countryside is beautiful, and there’s even a fascinating stepwell nearby. I highly recommended it for a quick getaway from Delhi.

Okay. On to this week’s edition.

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Uber’s Drive Into India Relies on Raw Recruits – This is a story I’d been working on for some time, and I was happy with how it turned out. It begins:

NEW DELHI—How do you train a million new Uber drivers in a country where most people have never driven a car, tapped on a smartphone or even used an online map?

Uber Technologies Inc. faces that daunting task as it tries to avoid its fate in China, where it decided this year to sell its business to homegrown champion Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

The $68 billion San Francisco startup has plenty of cash and cutting-edge technology to bring to its battle in India. Also, the country hasn’t thrown up the kind of regulatory hurdles that have hindered Uber’s growth in other regions. So the company’s ability to find and teach new drivers could decide whether Uber can dominate this fast-growing market.

Click through for the rest of the piece, along with a video narrated by yours truly.

I also wrote a sidebar titled “5 Ways Uber Is Tweaking Its Strategy in India.”. These localizations include accepting cash payments, going app-less, using motorbikes and more.

Apple Is Discussing Manufacturing in India, Government Officials Say – A scoop with a colleague that was followed by Reuters and picked up by many outlets.

It begins:

NEW DELHI— Apple Inc. is discussing with the Indian government the possibility of manufacturing its products in the country, according to two senior government officials, as the company seeks to expand its sales and presence in the South Asian nation.

In a letter to the government last month, the Cupertino, Calif., firm outlined its plans and sought financial incentives to move ahead, the officials told The Wall Street Journal. Senior Trade Ministry authorities in recent weeks met to discuss the matter.

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

I’ve written, as you’ll recall, about Apple in India before. It’s a huge market for the firm’s potential future growth.

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) Wait, there’s a new “Bladerunner” coming? How did I miss this news?

Longtime readers will know the 1982 Ridley Scott sci-fi classic is one of my favorite films.

Well, “Bladerunner 2049” will be here in October. The trailer’s on YouTube here. Wikipedia sums up the plot this way:

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The trailer: meh. The idea of “Bladerunner” returning? A slightly more optimistic meh. I feel like I should be excited about this.

2) An analysis by Quartz of 36 best books of the year lists shows the title most mentioned has been Colson Whitehead’s novel “The Underground Railroad.”

I haven’t read it. Have you?

3) Jerry Lewis is a tough guy to interview.

In this seven-minute video, the famed, 90-year-old comedian had a remarkably cranky exchange with The Hollywood Reporter.

His mocking laugh is my favorite part.

4) If the less-than-robust Mosul Dam breaks, a million and a half people could perish.

That’s the thrust of this illuminating piece by Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker.

5) Was 2016 an especially bad year for celebrity deaths?

This week brought us news of George Michael’s death. Then Carrie Fisher. Then Carrie Fischer’s mom.

Snopes.com answers the question.

6) SPECIAL BONUS LINK: DESPITE WHAT YOU THINK, THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER. There was a lot of bad news in 2016, but these six charts serve as a reminder that the world is, in the aggregate, improving.

Over the last century, extreme poverty and child mortality are down drastically, while democracy, education, literacy, and vaccinations have flourished. More info here.

Thanks for reading. Happy 2017!

Love,
Newley

Categories
India Tech

Scoop with a Colleague: Apple Is Discussing Manufacturing in India, Government Officials Say

Apple

The story, which ran Tues., begins:

NEW DELHI— Apple Inc. is discussing with the Indian government the possibility of manufacturing its products in the country, according to two senior government officials, as the company seeks to expand its sales and presence in the South Asian nation.

In a letter to the government last month, the Cupertino, Calif., firm outlined its plans and sought financial incentives to move ahead, the officials told The Wall Street Journal. Senior Trade Ministry authorities in recent weeks met to discuss the matter.

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Making goods such as iPhones locally would allow Apple to open its own stores in India, helping build its brand in a country where it has less than a 5% slice of a booming smartphone market.

Our piece was followed by Reuters and picked up by many outlets:

AppleindiaTM

As I wrote on Facebook, subscribe to The WSJ to get such news before anyone else!