Ap­ple un­veils new prod­ucts in­clud­ing the $1,000 iPhone

Manila to fast track Chi­nese projects

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSI­NESS - Ben O de Vera Hay­ley Tsukayama

THE Philip­pine govern­ment has stream­lined the ap­proval process for the big-ticket in­fra­struc­ture projects to be funded by China in or­der to fast-track their im­ple­men­ta­tion, the Depart­ment of Fi­nance (DoF) said on Tues­day.

Dur­ing a week­end meet­ing be­tween the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion’s eco­nomic man­agers and a vis­it­ing Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion led by China Com­merce Minis­ter Zhong Shan, the two sides noted the “sub­stan­tial progress made in re­vi­tal­iz­ing and strength­en­ing eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween their two coun­tries”, the DoF said in a state­ment.

They at­trib­uted the closer eco­nomic ties to “fa­vor­able and en­abling en­vi­ron­ment fos­tered by their con­tin­u­ous ef­forts to fast-track the im­ple­men­ta­tion of in­fra­struc­ture projects that the Philip­pines has pre­sented to China for pos­si­ble fi­nanc­ing”, the DoF added.

Specif­i­cally, Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III and Zhong both “ac­knowl­edged the ef­forts of the two sides to stream­line govern­ment pro­cesses to speed up the prepa­ra­tions for and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the first bas­ket of in­fra­struc­ture projects pre­sented for Chi­nese fi­nanc­ing”, ac­cord­ing to the DoF.

The first batch to be fi­nanced by China in­cluded the 10.9bil­lion-peso ($214.2 mil­lion) New Cen­ten­nial Wa­ter SourceKaliwa Dam Project and the 2.7-bil­lion-peso Chico River Pump Ir­ri­ga­tion Project.

Dominguez dis­closed that “po­ten­tial bidders have al­ready been iden­ti­fied for the Chico Ir­ri­ga­tion and Kaliwa Dam projects”, but did not elab­o­rate.

“It is the first time in the his­tory be­tween our two coun­tries that we are work­ing this close and fast to­gether,” Dominguez noted.

For his part, Zhong said China’s Min­istry of Com­merce would spare no ef­fort to ac­cel­er­ate the con­struc­tion of all these key projects and “it is our sin­cere hope these projects can be started at an early date and will be com­pleted at an early date”. An ar­ti­cle in yes­ter­day’s is­sue,

in­cor­rectly iden­ti­fied Chip Mong Insee as a joint ven­ture be­tween Chip Mong Group and Siam Ce­ment Group. The com­pany is in fact a joint ven­ture be­tween Cam­bo­dia’s Chip Mong Group and Thai­land’s Siam City Ce­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (SCCC).

THE crowd at Ap­ple’s new “space­ship” head­quar­ters saw new smart­phones – in­clud­ing a premium ver­sion priced at $999 – as the com­pany com­mem­o­rated its 10th an­niver­sary of the iPhone.

Ap­ple opened the event ask­ing the au­di­ence to cover their screens as an au­dio clip of Steve Jobs played. Tim Cook, Ap­ple’s CEO, said that it was fit­ting that Jobs opened the theatre – named af­ter him – where the event is tak­ing place.

“His great­est ex­pres­sion of his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for hu­man­ity would not be a sin­gu­lar prod­uct, but rather it would be Ap­ple it­self,” he said.

The bar is very high for Ap­ple. Most of its rev­enue is gen­er­ated through the smart­phone. Cook promised that the com­pany’s new phones would make a splash by defin­ing the fu­ture of the smart­phone.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

About mid­way through Ap­ple’s event, Ap­ple’s head of mar­ket­ing Phil Schiller showed off the up­grades to the main iPhone line. Clad in an alu­minium and glass skin that comes in black, grey and gold, the new de­vices are speed­ier with sharper screens and bet­ter bat­tery ef­fi­ciency. The phones will also ac­com­mo­date wire­less charg­ing.

The new smart­phones have re­vamped cam­eras that will use a feature called “por­trait light­ing” that will au­to­mat­i­cally op­ti­mise the light­ing in your pho­tos. The cam­eras also have sub­stan­tially im­proved slo-mo video record­ing.

Schiller took some time to tout the smart­phones’ abil­ity to do more in aug­mented real­ity – ex­pected to be a key area of growth for video games and other apps. An app from Ma­jor League Baseball, for ex­am­ple, will dis­play live stats over play­ers when users look at the field through their iPhone screens.

Ap­ple is bump­ing up the base stor­age of an iPhone 8 to 64GB at a price of $699. The larger iPhone 8 Plus will start at $799. Both will be avail­able for or­der on Septem­ber 15 and ship on Septem­ber 22.

The iPhone X

Af­ter the iPhone 8 pre­sen­ta­tion, Cook re­took the stage to of­fer, in Jobs’s iconic words, “one more thing” – the iPhone X.

The phone, he said, was the “big­gest leap since the orig­i­nal iPhone”. (The com­pany is pro­nounc­ing it the iPhone ten).

The iPhone X will start at $999 – con­sid­er­ably more than the base price of pre­vi­ous mod­els. It will be avail­able for or­der on Oc­to­ber 27th, and ship on Novem­ber 3.

The iPhone X has an ad­vanced ar­ray of cam­eras for fa­cial recog­ni­tion, which al­lows the phone to be­come un­locked just by look­ing at it. The cam­eras can learn a user’s face and note grad­ual changes. And it can be used at night or day.

But Ap­ple promised it would not col­lect the data on those faces. The in­for­ma­tion would only be kept on the smart­phone, not sent to Ap­ple servers.

The fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy has other ap­pli­ca­tions. Ap­ple in­tro­duced “an­i­moji” – an­i­mated emoji that im­i­tates your fa­cial move­ments and lets you record an­i­mated mes­sages through texts.

The new high-end smart­phone has a 5.8-inch dis­play that cov­ers the en­tire surface of the phone. Un­like its cheaper sib­ling, the iPhone 10 comes in space grey and sil­ver and sports a “su­per” retina dis­play, which Schiller said was much sharper than any other iPhone be­cause it uses OLED dis­play tech­nol­ogy.

No­tably, there also is no home but­ton. Users must swipe and use ges­tures to close an app. Call­ing up Siri can now be done with a new side but­ton.

The iPhone X boasts up­dated cam­eras as well, with the same fea­tures of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, as well as the ca­pa­bil­ity to take bet­ter self­ies. Bat­tery life is two hours longer than the iPhone 7.

Ap­ple Watch 3

The first prod­uct up for dis­cus­sion was the Ap­ple Watch. The new Watch – called the Se­ries 3 – will have its own cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity. The Watch will be able to re­ceive calls – us­ing your iPhone’s num­ber – and can sup­port apps in­clud­ing Maps and WeChat. The new Ap­ple Watch will also be com­pat­i­ble with Ap­ple Mu­sic, mean­ing you can use it as a mu­sic player on its own. It can play up to 40 mil­lion songs us­ing Ap­ple Mu­sic. Siri also gets a boost on the watch. Con­ver­sa­tions with Ap­ple’s ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence can hap­pen with­out even lift­ing an arm.

DAVID PAUL MOR­RIS/BLOOMBERG

The iPhone X, which comes a decade af­ter the orig­i­nal model, is Ap­ple’s first ma­jor redesign since 2014 and rep­re­sents a significant up­grade to the iPhone 7 line.

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