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Apple Cuts Revenue Guidance Because of Slow Sales in China

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SAN FRANCISCO — A significant sales slowdown in China, partly fueled by trade tensions with the United States, has forced Apple to reduce revenue expectations for its most recent quarter.

The company said Wednesday that it expected revenue of about $84 billion in the quarter that ended Saturday, down from a previous estimate of $89 billion to $93 billion. That would be a nearly 5 percent decline from the same quarter a year ago.

Apple’s surprise announcement added to concerns about the ability of American companies, particularly its technology giants, to navigate an increasingly uncertain economy and a continuing trade war between the United States and China.

“While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in greater China,” Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, said in a letter to investors. “We believe the economic environment in China has been further impacted by rising trade tensions with the United States.”

With more than 40 stores and hundreds of millions of iPhones sold in the country, Apple is arguably the most successful and highest-profile American company in China. It has become Apple’s third-largest market in recent years, mostly because of iPhone sales.

Apple shares dropped more than 7 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday evening.

Mr. Cook said the sales decline in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan would most likely exceed $4.3 billion, which would be roughly equal to the company’s overall drop in revenue.

“As the climate of mounting uncertainty weighed on financial markets, the effects appeared to reach consumers as well, with traffic to our retail stores and our channel partners in China declining as the quarter progressed,” he said.

Growth in iPhone sales has been slowing for years as the global smartphone market has become saturated. Late last year, investors became worried that the trend was about to worsen when Apple said it would stop reporting how many iPhones it had sold.

Apple’s announcement, which appeared to be the first time the company had revised its financial guidance since 2002, affirmed those worries. Mr. Cook said a slowdown in iPhone sales accounted for all of the revenue shortfall. The company’s other revenue sources, including iPad, Mac and software sales, together increased nearly 19 percent in the quarter.

While China and other emerging markets accounted for most of the sales drop, Mr. Cook said iPhone owners in developed markets were also holding on to their devices longer.

Apple has long tried to entice customers to buy new, more expensive iPhones every few years. But those efforts have been stymied. Wireless carriers have cut back on the subsidies they provide to customers, and more people are replacing their batteries instead of their entire device, Mr. Cook said.

That wound was in part self-inflicted. Apple cut the cost of a battery replacement to $29 from $79 in response to criticism of older batteries slowing down in its phones. The price of a new iPhone can often top $1,000.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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