Sony shipped 4.5 million PlayStation 5 units worldwide in 2020, as revealed by information published alongside the company’s latest earnings report. The number highlights Sony’s current ability to mass-produce the console, which has been extremely difficult to buy since its launch in November.
Demand for the PlayStation 4 dropped dramatically year-on-year, with 1.4 million units shipped in the October-December quarter — a 77 percent decrease from the previous year. Sony actually managed to sell fewer PS4s in the holiday quarter than it did from July to September.
Sony’s gaming business overall performed much better than a year ago, with analyst Daniel Ahmad noting that it was actually the best quarter in PlayStation history. Revenue increased 40 percent to 883.2 billion yen ($8.4 billion), partly driven by PS5 sales. Operating profit was up by 50 percent to 80.2 billion yen ($763.3 million) because of higher game sales, PlayStation Plus subscriptions, and better margins on PS4 hardware.
Sony does note, however, that expenses related to the PS5 launch offset some of its profit gains, and also confirms that the PS5 hardware itself is being sold for less than it costs to make. A loss was incurred due to “strategic price points for PS5 hardware that were set lower than the manufacturing costs,” the company says.
There’s not much to read into PS5 sales numbers until people who want to buy one are actually able to do so. But at the very least, the console’s launch seems to be broadly comparable in size to the PS4’s; the PS4 also shipped 4.5 million units in its launch quarter.
Microsoft didn’t release specific sales figures for the Xbox Series X or Series S with its earnings report last week, but the company did say that Xbox hardware revenue was up 86 percent year-on-year.
New Apple ad targets data brokers – Yahoo Canada Finance
Apple is doubling down on raising consumer awareness of privacy risks in a new ad campaign, unveiled today, which puts the spotlight on how the data broker industry trades in mobile users’ personal data — from selling browsing history and shopping habits, to location data, contacts and plenty more besides.
The campaign also highlights a number of features Apple has developed to counter this background trade in web users’ information by giving iOS users’ tools they can use to counter tracking — such as Mail Privacy Protection, which helps users combat email trackers; and App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which lets them request that third party apps do not track their mobile activity.
The new 90-second ad spot will run globally this summer on broadcast and social media across 24 countries, per Apple, which also said the campaign will include related creative being splashed across billboards.
In a press screening of the ad ahead of today’s launch the iPhone maker said the goal is to show how features it’s developed can help iOS users protect their privacy by taking back control over their personal data.
The ad (which can be seen in the embedded video below) casts the data broker industry as a gaggle of “dubious” ‘human trackers’ — who the protagonist, a consumer called Ellie, whom we meet as she’s shopping for records, stumbles upon engaged in a backroom auction.
Shock horror! — or, well, zero surprise to those of us who are more than casually online — it’s her personal data that’s going under the hammer.
In the ad, the smirking audience of data brokers can be seen making bids for Ellie’s ‘digital items’ — including her drug store purchases, emails she’s opened, details of her late night messaging habits and the contact data of her nana (as well as, presumably, the rest of her address book). With mounting horror at the sale of her private information, Ellie is shown activating features on her iPhone, including the aforementioned Mail Privacy Protection — which result in the data brokers vanishing in a puff of smoke, until, eventually, the room has been cleaned out.
The advert makes a decent stab at trying to get consumers to understand — and thus care — about a murky trade that’s designed to strip away their privacy by tracking their daily activity and trading and triangulating different bundles of information gleaned about them to create highly detailed per-person profiles — which may contain thousands of inferred characteristics.
It does this by dramatizing what is undoubtedly an exceptionally intrusive trade as an in-person auction for a single consumer’s data. Of course the reality is that most tracking (and trading) is done at scale, with trackers invisibly baked into everyday services, both online (via technologies such as tracking cookies and pixels) and offline (data gathered via card payment firms can and is sold to brokers) — so it can be hard for consumers to understand the real-world implications of technologies like cookies. Or know there’s an entire data broker industry that’s busy buying and selling their info for a fat profit.
The ad is perhaps not as instantly powerful as an earlier tracking-focused ad — in which Apple depicted trackers as an ever-growing crowd of stalkers, who inserted themselves, rudely and without asking, into an iPhone user’s personal space — watching them and taking notes on their daily activity.
One narrative challenge for Apple with this latest privacy-focused ad is it can’t show Ellie using a rival device — which could help explain how come so much of her info is being tracked in the first place.
That said, many of Apple’s privacy features do require the user to opt in to obtain the slated protections — not all, though (Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature is on by default, for example) — so even iOS users need to take proactive action to get the best level of protection possible. Hence there’s value in Apple shelling out to drive awareness of privacy — both for existing iOS users, as well as in the hopes of encouraging Android users to make the switch.
The tech giant has made pro-privacy messaging an increasingly important plank of its brand over the past five years or so, leaning into blistering attacks on what CEO Tim Cook memorably dubbed the “data industrial complex” back in a major 2018 keynote speech.
It’s a stance that has become an essential differentiator for a premium brand in a world of commoditized mobile devices and services. But it also brings Cupertino into conflict not only with adtech giants like Google and Facebook — the latter’s revenue was reported to have taken a hit after Apple launched ATT, for example — but with developers themselves, many of whom rely on ads to monetize free apps and do that by being plugged into the tracking and targeting adtech ecosystem Apple is busy warning consumers against.
The company also risks straining relations with carriers — many of whom are themselves implicated in privacy-hostile tracking of users — after it debuted a VPN-like, network proxy encrypted browsing feature for iCloud+, called Private Relay last year. The feature, which is still in beta, is designed to prevent ISPs from loggings web users’ browsing data — and it’s notable that certain carriers (and countries) have been reported blocking access.
Private Relay does not feature in Apple’s new ad on data brokers. Asked about this Apple said it necessarily had to limit the number of features it focused on to fit the 90-second ad format. It also noted that as well as the feature still being in beta it needs in-region partners for it to work as smoothly as possible — which is a network Apple said it’s still building out.
Certain of Apple’s privacy flexes — most notably ATT — have also drawn attention from competition regulators, following ad industry complaints. So there are wider reasons for Cupertino to be keen for its pro-consumer actions to be viewed through a privacy (rather than an anti-competition) lens.
Earlier this year, an interesting research paper found that Apple and other large companies had been able to increase their market power as a result of the ATT feature giving individual users more control over what third parties could do with their data — linking better consumer privacy to more concentrated data collection. Although the researchers also found evidence of the tracking industry trying to evolve its tactics to circumvent a user denial of tracking.
Today’s ‘Wordle’ Word Of The Day #334 Answer And Hint: Thursday, May 19th – Forbes
It’s Thursday—again. No surprise there. Thursday typically falls just after Wednesday, and we just had one of those. Soon it will be Friday. Soon it will be the weekend and then another week and then another Thursday.
Wordle will be with us along the way, with just over six years of 5-letter answers left to solve for the daily word puzzle game. Kind of crazy to think about!
Wordle officially launched last October, but the very first Wordle word of the day was actually released on June 19th, 2021—a day before my 40th birthday. The very first answer for Wordle #1 was ‘cigar.’
This means that we’re actually exactly one month away from the game’s anniversary (and just about one month away from my 41st birthday!) on June 19th, 2022.
In any case, today we’re on Wordle #334. Let’s take a look at the hint and answer, shall we?
Today’s Wordle #334 Answer & Hint
Naturally, there spoilers in this post about the Wordle word of the day answer and hint. One spoiler is the hint. One spoiler is the answer. That makes two—two spoilers! Ah ha ha!
The hint: The type of house you probably shouldn’t throw things in.
And the answer is . . . .
My first guess is a ‘great opening word’ according to Wordle (if still inferior to crane, as always). Normally flare cuts down possible solutions to 98, but today it cut them down to 26.
Plant was a ‘solid choice’ and narrowed possible solutions to just nine, but Wordle Bot didn’t sound very enthusiastic when it told me this. Claim was just ‘pretty good’ despite cutting possible solutions down to just two. Guessing class would have been better—obviously in hindsight!—but I was going for maximum letter-elimination and a word with a double ‘ss’ seemed like a bad idea.
At this point, unbeknownst to your humble narrator, there were just two solutions left and I guessed the wrong one. Slash was “unlucky, but a smart guess” and it narrowed my remaining solutions to just one: Glass.
Which, by the way, is a truly terrible M. Night Shyamalan movie. I really liked Unbreakable and thought Split was also pretty good, but boy oh boy did he screw up the third movie in that sort-of-trilogy. Just a massive miss.
Anyways, have a terrific Thursday, oh my Wordlers! See you tomorrow!
Follow me on this blog for all your daily Wordles, game coverage and TV and movie reviews.
Huawei unveils new foldable phone, smartwatches, fitness band: All the details – Times of India
NEW DELHI: Huawei has unveiled its latest foldable smartphone and wearables at its global launch event. The company has launched the Huawei Mate Xs 2 foldable smartphone, Watch GT 3 Pro smartwatch and the Watch D with Blood Pressure and ECG monitoring and the Band 7 for global markets. All these devices were recently launched in China.
Huawei Mate Xs 2 specifications
Huawei Mate Xs 2 features a 6.5-inch OLED display with 1176×2480 pixel resolution when folded and a 7.8-inch OLED display when unfolded. The smartphone is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset paired with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB internal storage.
Huawei Mate Xs 2 runs HarmonyOS 2 and it comes with dual SIM support. The foldable smartphone features a triple rear camera setup with a 50MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide-angle and 8MP telephoto lens. There’s also a 10.7MP front camera for selfies.
Huawei Mate Xs 2 comes equipped with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and dual speakers. The smartphone is backed by a 4600mAh battery with 66W fast charging support.
Huawei Watch D specifications
Huawei Watch D comes with micro air pumps, airbags and not to forget the blood pressure measurement technology. The company has also incorporated a tension-resistant material in the strap and curved airbag with a butterfly buckle which creates pressure and measures the blood pressure accurately. Along with this, the wearable also comes with an ECG monitor that claims to generate ECG reports in real time.
The Huawei Watch D comes with a 1.64-inch HD display with 456×280 pixel resolution. The device supports Bluetooth 5.1 and it works with devices running HarmonyOS, Android 6.0 and above and iOS 12.0.
The smartwatch comes with IP68 rating which makes it water-resistant. The wearable offers GPS and NFC support. Huawei Watch D promises to offer 7 days of battery live on a single charge.
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro specifications
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro sports a 1.43-inch AMOLED display and is powered by ARM Cortex M processor. The smartwatch packs 4GB of RAM and 32GB internal stoarge.
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is compatible with HarmonyOS, Android and iOS. It comes equipped with an optical heart rate sensor, AI pressure sensor and temperature sensor. The wearable comes with Bluetooth calling functionality and sports a water and dust-resistant design.
The smartwatch offers more than 100 workout modes and can also keep track of your sleep and daily activities.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro comes in two sizes — 46mm and 42mm. The 46mm variant of the smartwatch is backed by a 530 mAh battery and promises to offer up to 8 days of backup on a single charge. On the other hand, the 42mm houses a 292 mAh battery which claims to churn out up to 7 days of battery life in a single charge.
Huawei Band 7 specifications
Huawei Band 7 supports Bluetooth version 5.0 and it is compatible with Android and iOS operating systems. The fitness tracker comes with a 1.47-inch AMOLED display with 194×368 pixel resolution.
The wearable sports a water-resistant design and offer 96 workout modes including 11 professional workout modes such as indoor and outdoor running, cycling, and rope skipping, and 85 more customized modes, including fitness, ball games, and dancing type.
The fitness tracker promises to offer up to 14 days of battery life in a single charge. The device also supports fast charging and with 5 minutes of charge users can enjoy two days of battery backup.
New Apple ad targets data brokers – Yahoo Canada Finance
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