If you’ve been waiting for Apple to open their own stores in India, your wait might have just gotten shorter, according to The Times of India:

On Tuesday, the iPhone and iPad maker made a presentation before a committee headed by industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek where it made a case for use of the special provision. Sources told TOI that Apple was a fit case for relaxing the norms. “Their products certainly meet the requirement for waiving the local sourcing clause,” said a source, adding that a final decision will be announced in a few days.

There have been reports that the Indian government was considering relaxing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since November last year, which were quickly followed by the government’s official announcement later that week. Following that, Apple had submitted their request for approval in January this year, but had to re-submit because “certain gaps [were] found in the initial proposal”.

After Tuesday’s presentation, I don’t think an announcement is all that far away.

Yoink for Mac
Yoink - simplify and improve drag and drop on your Mac.

Serajul Quadir, reporting for Reuters:

Bangladesh’s central bank was vulnerable to hackers because it did not have a firewall and used second-hand, $10 switches to network computers connected to the SWIFT global payment network, an investigator into one of the world’s biggest cyber heists said.

The lack of sophisticated switches, which can cost several hundred dollars or more, also means it is difficult for investigators to figure out what the hackers did and where they might have been based, he added.

Like stealing candy from a baby…

The Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenberry has an insightful take on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s wider color gamut and DCI-P3 standard, seen also in the latest 5K iMacs.

After using this iPad for a couple of weeks, I’ve realized it’s like the advances of Retina in an important way: I never want to use a lesser display again. And as with higher density, I think it’s obvious that Apple will eventually update all its products to use this improved screen technology. I can’t wait!

We’re quickly reaching a point where more pixels don’t make better photos. Think about how much Apple likes to tout the camera and how better saturation improves photos. These new displays are the first step in a process were wider gamuts become a part of the entire iOS photography workflow. The number of places where your code assumes everything is sRGB will be both surprising and painful.

I haven’t been able to decide if I should be shelling out INR 49,900 on a new iPad, especially considering I’m still using the iPad Mini 2 (without Touch ID) and so far, it seems like Apple’s winning.

I missed this yesterday when I posted about the new 12″ MacBook Lineup. Apple has also announced the dates and venue for its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) held in San Francisco. And they also have a really cool website this time for it.

WWDC this year will be held between June 13th to 17th, with the Keynote being held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on the first day and sessions, labs are more being held at Moscone West. There’s also the Bash scheduled on Thursday, June 16th again at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

wwdc-2016

I love the colorful site this year, with what looks like a monospace variant of San Francisco (the font).

If you’re looking to attend this year, you can register now, but attendees will be chosen via a draw like last year.

Apple Updates MacBook with Latest Processors & New Rose Gold Option [with India Pricing]

new-macbook-lineup-2016

Apple has today announced that it has updated the MacBook lineup, bringing along faster processors, improved graphics performance, faster flash storage and one hour longer battery life. Today’s refresh also introduces a new “Rose Gold” color option, taking the lineup to four color variants.

“MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac we have ever made and it’s our vision for the future of the notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are going to love this update to MacBook, with the latest processors, faster graphics, faster flash storage, longer battery life and a beautiful rose gold finish.”

The new MacBook now features the latest sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors that go up to 1.3 GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz. You also get faster 1866MHz onboard memory, Intel HD 515 Graphics that are up to 25 percent faster than previous generation as well as longer battery life that can take you up to 10 hours of usage.

Apple has also increased the pricing for MacBook in India. Previously, the 12″ MacBook was launched at ₹99,900, with the second model coming in at ₹1,19,900. The new lineup is priced at ₹1,06,900 and ₹1,29,900 respectively, which means India Pricing has gone up by ₹7000 for the base model and ₹10,000 for the top model.

Update April 19th, 2016 20:29: It should be noted that the price increase happened last year, not particularly with today’s announcement.

Sony’s New FE 50mm F/1.8 Prime and FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS Zoom Full Frame E-Mount Lenses

I completely missed Sony’s recent announcement 15 days ago about the launch of their new Full Frame Lenses — the 50mm f/1.8 Prime and the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS Zoom.

50mm f/1.8 aka SEL50F18F

This new Prime is designed as a lightweight (192 grams) and cheaper alternative to the the 55mm f/1.8 Zeiss lens that Sony has been selling so far. The lens features a plastic body with a solid metal mount.

sony-50mm-18-prime

Compared to the $900 price tag for the Zeiss, Sony plans to sell this new lens at just $250 starting in May. You can pre-order it today on B&H.

70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS aka SEL70300G

This is Sony’s “longest reaching E-mount lens to date”. With a minimum focussing distance of just 3 feet and maximum magnification of 0.31x, the 70-300 makes for an ideal telephoto lens, especially considering the built in Optical SteadyShot (Sony’s term for Image Stabilization).

sony-70mm-300mm-45-56-zoom

This too will be available in the US starting May at $1200. You can pre-order it today on B&H.

Details about the India release for both these lenses are still not known.

Yesterday, a report was published by DNA that quoted “sources” claiming that Uber was looking to buy a controlling stake in rival OLA by buying out all of its stake holders, including promoters Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, except for SoftBank.

“Uber is buying a controlling stake in Ola, where all the shareholders, except SoftBank, is being bought out. The enterprise valuation is being estimated at $4billion,” said the source.

OLA rebuffed this report as baseless and today, has clarified on the official blog:

We would like to state that the article, attributed to an ‘unnamed source’ is completely false, misleading, malicious and planted in the said newspaper with the intent of causing harm to the Ola brand and creating confusion among our stakeholders.

We are shocked and dismayed at the lack of journalistic ethics in carrying the story, despite our repeated denial to the reporter and the publication’s editorial representatives. We also had received a verbal confirmation that the report shall not be carried given the company’s denial.

We will initiate appropriate legal action and seek redressal and compensation for the damage caused to us by this irresponsible reporting from DNA.

Yikes!

Michael Zhang from PetaPixel referencing a WSJ report:

[…] Yahoo sent out letters to potential buyers in recent days, asking that they submit bids over the next two weeks for Yahoo’s businesses and holdings.

There are reportedly about 40 companies interested in snatching up part or all of Yahoo. Potential buyers include Verizon, Time, Microsoft, IAC/InterActiveCorp, private equity firms, and more. Yahoo originally acquired Flickr back in 2005 for around $25 million.

Yahoo has completely botched Flickr in recent times. They’ve made some crazy stupid decisions in the past, including making the Desktop Auto Uploadr a Pro feature.

sigh

Baiju Kalesh & Deepali Gupta, reporting for The Economic Times:

Vodafone India has signed a pact to buy YOU Broadband for around Rs 400 crore and has sought approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, said two people familiar with the transaction.

YOU Broadband has been an interesting ISP available in Mumbai, but they’ve stayed away from my area for years now, with no immediate plans to lay fibre here anytime soon.

I don’t expect Vodafone to change that either.

Nitrozac and Snaggy have this hilarious take on Apple’s iPhone product lineup over at The Joy of Tech.

For the uninitiated, this is a reference to the Abbott and Costello sketch, Who’s on First.