Middle East Apple fans will not have long to wait for new iPhone models

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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
Updated 13 September 2018

Middle East Apple fans will not have long to wait for new iPhone models

  • Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone
  • As befits the hype, glitz and glamor of an Apple launch, the company revealed the details of its new smartphone models

CUPERTINO, California: Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on what the company are calling the “most beautiful and advanced” iPhones.
As befits the hype, glitz and glamor of an Apple launch, the company revealed the details of its new smartphone models and a new smartwatch in Cupertino on Wednesday.
And technology-lovers will only have a few days to wait before they can pre-order the latest incarnations of the world’s most popular phone, with orders being taken from Sept. 14 and shipping for Saudi Arabia and the UAE starting on Sept. 21. iPhone addicts in Oman and Bahrain will have a week longer to wait, with the iPhones arriving in the two countries a week later on Sept. 28.
At the launch, Tim Cook confirmed the names of the new models — which had been leaked earlier in the day — as iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, as well as revealing release dates for global regions.
The major changes from previous models will be greater gearing toward internal upgrades rather than design changes, with all models improved with the fitting of the advanced A12 chip.
The new piece of kit is 50 percent more energy-efficient and faster than the previous processor, with apps loading 30 percent faster, too.
The A12 Bionic chip has an 8-core design — allowing it to run more advanced machine learning. At the launch, Apple called it a “breakthrough.”
The largest screen Apple has produced represents the firm’s attempt to feed consumer appetite for watching and recording videos, as well as taking photos.
The biggest news for most smartphone users was the announcement of the new phone’s dual-Sim capability, meaning users will have access to two phone numbers on the same iPhone at the same time.
But the price-tag of the top model will again have even the most ardent Apple fan wincing, with the XS Max going for an eye-watering $1,100 — $100 more than last year’s iPhone X. In the aftermath of the launch, questions were being asked about how high technology firms can push the prices of smartphones before consumers kick back.
Apple launched the iPhone X last year, and for the first time in more than a decade sales did not go as well as analysts had anticipated. But with Apple boosting the average iPhone selling price by nearly 20 percent, it still meant a bumper year for the tech firm.
By manufacturing more expensive iPhones, Apple has been able to boost profits despite falling demand due to people upgrading their phones less frequently. iPhones fetched an average price of $724 during the April-June period this year, a 20 percent increase from a year earlier. This time around, the iPhone XS will stay at the $999 mark while the iPhone XR will use cheaper materials and sell for about $750.
Apple also announced a new Apple Watch, which will move further into medical device territory. It has a larger screen and a built-in sensor that can detect irregular heart-rates and perform an electrocardiogram, as well as detect when a user has fallen.


No more spending excuses for Merkel as investment bottlenecks ease

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures at her arrival for the government’s ‘Open Door Day’ in Berlin on Sunday Sam sit fuga. Et laut ute odi cum as elit. (Reuters)
Updated 18 min 23 sec ago

No more spending excuses for Merkel as investment bottlenecks ease

  • German leader urged to boost public investment by taking on new debt Sunducim velessunt alis plabore sernatur

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has fended off growing calls for more fiscal stimulus by citing the slow outflow of existing federal funds — but data suggests the money is indeed being used up as local authority bottlenecks gradually clear. With Europe’s largest economy on the brink of recession and borrowing costs at record lows, Merkel has faced pressure at home and from abroad to ditch her pledge to target balanced budgets and instead boost public investment by taking on new debt.
Merkel and her conservatives say Berlin has already earmarked billions of euros in investment for schools, nurseries and hospitals but that local authorities have spent only a fraction of this windfall.
But this excuse seems no longer valid: Figures from the Finance Ministry show that towns and municipalities are now tapping the federal government’s funds more actively, suggesting that planning and labor bottlenecks are easing.
Of €3.5 billion ($3.9 billion) earmarked in a municipal infrastructure fund for investment in schools, nurseries and hospitals (KInvFG I), local authorities have applied for nearly €3.4 billion, the data showed — roughly 96 percent of the overall amount on offer.
The fund was created in 2015 and initially meant to last until 2018. Due to the slow initial take-up, it was then extended to 2020.
Of another €3.5 billion put aside by the government in 2017 for school renovations (KInvFG II), authorities so far have tapped €2.4 billion, or 69 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

• German towns tap into federal funds more actively.

• Improved outflow raises pressure to provide more money.

• Coalition parties at odds over debt-financed stimulus.

“As you can see, the program is running very well,” a Finance Ministry spokeswoman said, adding that the take-up had jumped by nearly €2 billion over the past 12 months.
“The figures show that there is planning progress in most federal states and that financially weak municipalities welcome the financial aid from the federal government,” she added.
The improved flow of funds is important for Germany, where heavily indebted towns and municipalities historically manage a large chunk of public spending and many citizens are annoyed by run-down local infrastructure and closed public facilities.

Austerity
Years of austerity linked to the national debt brake — a constitutional amendment introduced in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008/09 to rein in public debt — have led to pent-up public investment needs in towns and municipalities worth a combined €138 billion, data from KfW Research shows.
“Towns and municipalities have been structurally underfunded for more than 20 years. They were forced to cut staff,” Gerd Landsberg, managing director of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, told Reuters.
“That partly explains the initial problems with the slow take-up of federal funds — it takes time to hire new staff and get the ball rolling,” Landsberg explained.
The latest figures show, however, that authorities are overcoming those staff-related planning bottlenecks, meaning most of the money should be used up soon, he said.
Landsberg called on the government to provide more funding lines and improve the design of its programs.
“Short-term investment funds alone do not provide sufficient planning and personnel security. We must secure the financial strength of towns and municipalities in the long term.”
Like Merkel and her conservatives, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz of the jointly governing, center-left Social Democrats (SPD) has shown little appetite so far to ditch the balanced budget goal and boost investments through new debt.
Eckhardt Rehberg, the chief budget lawmaker in Merkel’s conservatives, is also sticking to the line that billions of euros still sit unused in various special-purpose funds.
“The debate about debt-financed investment programs misses the point. The problem is not a lack of money, but the sluggish outflow of funds,” Rehberg said.
Authorities must hire more staff, cut red tape and speed up planning and approval procedures, he said. “In addition, the construction sector has already reached its capacity limit, which means it can hardly cope with more demand,” Rehberg added.
Nevertheless, members of both the SPD’s own left wing and of the Greens, an increasingly strong opposition party, are pushing for a fiscal U-turn. Even the influential BDI industry lobby group, traditionally close to Merkel’s conservatives, last week called for a debt-financed fiscal stimulus package.
Cansel Kiziltepe, a lower house SPD lawmaker specializing in finance, said Merkel and the conservatives should stop blaming local authorities and rethink their insistence on incurring no new debt in their budgets, a policy goal commonly known as the “black zero.”
“Especially in times of economic weakness and in light of improved outflow of funds, it’s high time to say goodbye to the fetish of the black zero,” Kiziltepe told Reuters.