Strong turnout for world’s first glimpse at Apple Watch

admin   •   April 10, 2015   •   2535

SYDNEY/SAN FRANCISCO | BY PAULINE ASKIN AND NOEL RANDEWICH

An Apple Watch is displayed at ‘Apple Watch at Isetan Shinjuku’ inside Isetan Shinjuku department store in Tokyo April 10, 2015.
REUTERS/ISSEI KATO

(Reuters) – Consumers in Australia flocked to Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) store in Sydney on Friday to get the world’s first up-close look at the tech giant’s smartwatch, which the company expects will be its next runaway hit.

The Apple Watch, CEO Tim Cook’s first new major product, was available for pre-order online and to try out in stores – but not take home.

On April 24, consumers will be able to buy it online or by reservation at retail locations including high-end fashion boutiques in Paris, London and Tokyo, part of Apple’s strategy of positioning the wearable computer as a must-have accessory.

On Friday morning Apple’s Australian flagship store in Sydney’s financial district was packed with those hoping to peek at the device, although just around 20 die-hard fans queued out front, modest by the standards of a major Apple launch.

Alexander Bock, a backpacker from Germany, stood outside the shop’s towering glass facade. He hopes to save enough money to buy the sports version of the watch, he said.

The Apple Watch sport starts at $349 while the standard version comes in at $549 in the U.S. High-end “Edition” watches with 18-karat gold alloys are priced from $10,000 and go as high as $17,000.

“I feel naked without a watch. I think I will buy the Apple watch with the sports band … I’m working very hard right now so I can buy this watch,” Bock told Reuters.

The watch marks the Cupertino, California company’s debut in a fledgling wearable technology market.

Based on recent customer interest at its stores, Apple expects demand for the watch, which allows users to check email, listen to music and make phone calls when paired with an iPhone, to exceed availability at launch, it said on Thursday.

Reviewers this week praised the watch, which also helps users monitor their health and exercise, as “beautiful” and “stylish” but gave it poor marks for relatively low battery life and slow-loading apps.

For women, the various sizes and wrist bands make this smartwatch more pleasing than earlier versions from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and others, said Kantar World Panel market analyst Carolina Milanesi, who has been wearing the watch for a few days.

At the Apple Store in Omotesando, a high-end shopping district in the heart of Tokyo, dozens of shoppers huddled around two glass displays, snapping pictures of the range of options available on the different watch models.

“I actually tried it on briefly, and it’s so light it doesn’t feel like it’s on my wrist,” 26-year-old salesman Yosuke Hosoi told Reuters.

NOT FOR EVERYONE

Sales estimates for 2015 vary widely. Piper Jaffray predicts 8 million units and Global Securities Research forecasts 40 million. By comparison, Apple sold nearly 200 million iPhones last year.

“Is it for everybody? No, but I don’t think any wearables are yet,” Milanesi said.

Apple’s watch is widely expected to outsell those by Samsung, Sony Corp (6758.T) and Fitbit, that have attracted modest interest from consumers. It will likely account for 55 percent of global smartwatch shipments this year, according to Societe Generale.

Underscoring its marketing strategy, Apple is selling the watch through a handful of high-end stores including Selfridges in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Isetan in Tokyo.

Still, experts said Apple’s offering was unlikely to displace the market share of luxury-brand watch makers.

“This is just Apple’s interpretation of the watch, I don’t think watch makers should be worried at all,” Stephen Fenech, editor of the Tech Guide website, told Reuters.

“This is just Apple’s expression where they’ve combined what they are good at with the fact that it’s a watch with style so I think there’s going to be room for everyone.”

JMP analyst Alex Gauna said he and others on Wall Street would be at stores this weekend to gauge consumer reaction.

But the typically long queues at its stores on product launch days could be a thing of the past as the company emphasizes online sales, according to a leaked internal memo from retail chief Angela Ahrendts, reported by Business Insider.

“The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers,” she wrote.

“This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order.”

A spokesman for Apple in Sydney declined to comment on the memo, citing company policy.

At an Apple Store in Hong Kong there was no queue, although half a dozen customers gathered near the shop door, cheering when it was opened. Demos were by online registration, after which a Reuters reporter received a demo without having to wait.

“I didn’t know it’s the first day. I am here to buy an iPad,” said a 26-year-old customer who gave her name only as Ms Jian, visiting from China’s Chongqing. “I will take a look at the watch later.”

Apple shares closed 0.76 percent higher at $126.56 on Thursday.

(Writing by Matt Siegel in SYDNEY; Additional reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bengaluru and Teppei Kasai in Tokyo; Editing by Bernard Orr, Dean Yates and Christopher Cushing)

Taiwan braces for typhoon Bailu, flights cancelled

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Boats are tied securely at a fishing port in Taiwan in preparation for the anticipated arrival of Typhoon Bailu.

Taiwan braced for Typhoon Bailu on Friday (August 23), prompting cancellations of domestic flights amid warnings of floods and high seas on the island.

Typhoon Bailu, categorised at the weakest typhoon level by Taiwan’s weather bureau, was expected to approach the island’s southeastern coast early on Saturday (August 24), weather officials said.

Bailu was carrying maximum winds of 126 km per hour (78 mph) as it approached Taiwan, the weather bureau said, adding that the storm could gain in strength and become the first typhoon to make landfall on the island in more than two years.

Thousands of people were moved to safety, most of them tourists on islands off the east coast, while dozens of domestic flights and ferry services were cancelled.

After passing over Taiwan, the typhoon is expected to cross the Taiwan Strait and hit the Chinese province of Fujian, forecasters said. (Reuters)

(Production: Fabian Hamacher)

Florida scientists induce spawning of Atlantic coral in lab for first time

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

(Courtesy: Florida Aquarium)

Scientists in Florida have artificially induced reproductive spawning of an endangered Atlantic coral species for the first time in an aquarium setting, a breakthrough they say holds great promise in efforts to restore depleted reefs in the wild.

The achievement, announced this week at the Florida Aquarium in Apollo Beach near Tampa, borrowed from lab techniques developed at the London-based Horniman Museum and Gardens and used previously to induce spawning of 18 species of Pacific coral, officials said.

Scientists plan to use their newly acquired expertise to breed new coral colonies that can one day repopulate the beleaguered Florida reef system, one of the largest in the world and one decimated by climate change, pollution and disease in recent decades.

The newly cultivated corals should make for even stronger populations than existing colonies because each individual will be bred with characteristics that may be better able to withstand damage, Keri O’Neil, senior coral scientist at the Florida Aquarium told Reuters.

Inducing corals to release their eggs and sperm in aquarium tanks involves controlling their artificial settings to mimic their natural ocean habitat over the course of a yearlong reproduction cycle.

That means carefully regulating water temperature changes from summer to winter, and using special lighting to imitate sunrise, sunset and even lunar cycles that serve as biological cues for the coral in preparing to spawn.

Collaboration between the Florida and London facilities on the project began in 2017 as the situation facing Florida’s reefs grew more dire because of the spread of a new coral affliction dubbed Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.

Atlantic pillar coral, which grows in colonies resembling finger- or column-like structures, has been particularly susceptible to the disease and is already classified as virtually extinct in the wild because remaining male and female colonies are too scattered to reproduce.

Corals are a type of marine invertebrate animal, typically living in colonies of tiny sac-like polyps that feed by filtering seawater through a set of tentacles surrounding a central mouth opening.

Corals are sensitive to major changes in water temperature, and the Florida Reef Tract, like other major reefs around the world, has been under pressure from climate change for years as the sea grows steadily warmer. (Reuters)

Bolsonaro says Brazil lacks resources to fight Amazon fires

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

The Brazilian government lacks the resources to fight a record number of wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest, President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday (August 22), weeks after telling donors he did not need their money.

Fires in the Amazon have surged 83% so far this year compared with the same period a year earlier, government figures show, destroying vast swathes of a forest considered a vital bulwark against climate change.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro said, without supporting evidence, that non-governmental organisations were behind the fires.

Questioned again on Thursday about those comments, he said he could not prove that NGOs, for whom he has cut funding, were lighting the fires but that they were “the most likely suspects.”

The firebrand right-wing president has repeatedly said he believes Brazil should open the Amazon up to business interests, to allow mining and logging companies to exploit its natural resources.

Brazil is facing growing international criticism over its handling of the Amazon, 60% of which lies in the country.

Earlier this month, Norway and Germany suspended funding for projects to curb deforestation in Brazil after becoming alarmed by changes to the way projects were selected under Bolsonaro.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on his twitter account the fires in the Amazon forest are an international emergency and should be discussed by the G7 summit that will begin on Saturday (August 24) in Biarritz, France.

Although fires are a regular and natural occurrence during the regular dry season at this time of year, environmentalists blamed the sharp rise on farmers setting the forest alight to clear land for pasture.

Federal prosecutors in Brazil said they are investigating a spike in deforestation and wildfires raging in the Amazon state of Para to determine whether there has been reduced monitoring and enforcement of environmental protections there. (Reuters)

(Production: Pablo Garcia, Leonardo Benassatto, Paul Vieira)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+63) 396-8688 (Tel)

(+63) 2 920.8336 (Fax)

info@untvweb.com (General inquiries)

support@untvweb.com

UNTV News and Rescue Emergency Hotlines:

LANDLINE (+63) 396-8688

ADVERTISE WITH US

(+63) 2 442.6244 Loc. 143, 144, 162, 164

advertising@untvweb.com

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.