Apple Beats Expectations, but Profits Dip for First Time in Decade

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Apple has posted its first drop in profits in a decade, but still beat Wall Street expectations for its second quarter of 2013.

The iPhone maker reported a net profit of $9.5 billion (or $10.09 per diluted share) on its quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion. Wall Street had predicted the firm would post revenue of $42.3 billion.

In the same quarter last year, Apple reported revenue of $39.2 billion and a net profit of $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per diluted share.

Despite a lower net profit, the company enjoyed strong iPhone and iPad sales in the quarter. Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones compared to 35.1 million in the same quarter last year. Apple also sold 19.5 million iPads compared to 11.8 million in the same 2012 period.

Apple this year sold 5.6 million iPods and slightly less than the four million Macs sold in the year-ago quarter.

“We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.  “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

During a conference call with analysts, Cook added that Apple has “introduced and ramped up production on an unprecedented number of new products.” These “amazing” products are slated for release this fall and into 2014.

Cook also pointed out that although Apple’s earnings have slowed since last year, its first half revenues still “grew about $13 billion.” That, he said, is like “adding the total first-half revenue of five Fortune 500 companies.”

Meanwhile, Apple has also given a healthy shot in the arm to its to program to return capital to shareholders.

Apple plans to use $100 billion of its stockpiled cash “under the expanded program by the end of calendar 2015,” according to a company press release.

The move represents “a $55-billion increase to the program announced last year and translates to an average rate of $30 billion per year from the time of the first dividend payment in August 2012 through December 2015.”

The board of directors also has approved a 15 percent increase in Apple’s quarterly dividend and declared a dividend of $3.05 per common share will be paid to all shareholders of record as of the close of business May 13.

“We are very fortunate to be in a position to more than double the size of the capital return program we announced last year,” Cook said in a press release.  “We believe so strongly that repurchasing our shares represents an attractive use of our capital that we have dedicated the vast majority of the increase in our capital return program to share repurchases.”

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer added that the firm continues “to generate cash in excess of our needs to operate the business, invest in our future, and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities.”

Apple’s shares rose 1.87 percent to close at $406.13 Tuesday evening. The stock dipped 0.54 percent in after hours trading to $403.95

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Apple Beats Expectations, but Profits Dip for First Time in Decade

Technology News Briefs — April 24, 2013

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Google Glass Not Available Until 2014: Report

Google Glass, which was expected to be released to the general public before year’s end, likely won’t make it to store shelves this year after all, Google chairman Eric Schmidt told the L.A. Times.

Before Google’s futuristic, titanium-framed $1,500 spectacles can be made available to consumers at large, Schmidt said, the search engine firm must first send out developer versions of the device followed by versions to winners of Google’s contest. Based on the feedback Google receives after these limited editions, the company will make some last-minute modifications before releasing the final product.

Schmidt’s comments are bound to disappoint technology buffs but, if it results in a better product, it is unlikely the delay will hurt the company.

Google Glass project head Babak Parviz has said in past interviews the search engine company’s research team is continually working on new ideas for the device.

Google officially unveiled the glasses during its I/O conference last summer. At that time, the headset, which was controlled by head movements, had video and audio capability and a built-in compass and accelerometer. A lot of improvements have been made since then and, when Glass goes on the market in 2014, consumers can expect to see a lot of improvements and additions to the device.

Apple Issuing $15 ‘Antennagate’ Cheques

Apple has begun the process of issuing $15 cheques to those who joined the iPhone 4 class action lawsuit nearly three years ago.

The lawsuit accused Apple of “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale and servicing of its iPhone 4 — particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”

A settlement was reached last February that promised a $15 payout to all iPhone 4 owners who had not previously received a free bumper for their “defective” iPhone antenna.

According to 9to5Mac, iPhone 4 owners are now receiving their settlement cheques.  A letter sent to the technology news site indicates the first cheques were issued April 17 and are only good through July 16.

Those who have not already filed a claim have missed their opportunity.

Google’s Street View Now Boasts 50 Cities

Google’s Street View feature in its Maps app has reached its 50-city milestone with the addition of Hungary and Lesotho to the fold.

Google has also “significantly” expanded its coverage in Poland and Romania as well as “other locations around the world,” according to a Google Maps blog post.

The technology titan is describing the change as “the largest single update of Street View imagery we’ve ever pushed, including new and updated imagery for nearly 350,000 miles of roads across 14 countries.”

France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore and Thailand also received Street View updates.

Street View, which began with five U.S. cities in 2007, allows users to “navigate more than five million miles of the world, without ever leaving home.”


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Technology News Briefs — April 24, 2013

Top 40 SEO Myths You Should Know About – Part 1

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Myth #1: Only the First Rank Matters

Many ebooks and other resources that business owners use will place an important emphasis on the need to be at the top of search results, whether that be on Google Search, other engines, or even in places like social media. But surveys have shown that people quite often will look at other results and they will scroll down through the page. Being on top of a second page, for example, can be quite beneficial for traffic. Also, search ranking is only one part of the puzzle. Now Google places other results on the page like social recommendations and local results as well, which means there are many more avenues open to you, and being in first place is no longer as crucial as it once was.

Myth #2: You can do SEO Without Outside Help

Doing SEO simply means that you follow a set of techniques and procedures to improve the chance that web users will go to your site. It is true that anybody can learn these techniques, and, if you are a web site owner and you want to do your own SEO, then you can spend the time to learn and apply those techniques. But SEO can be complex and touches many areas such as marketing online, coding, technical aspects and PR skills. Most business owners simply do not have everything required to do a great job at SEO, and that is why so many agencies exist that offer help. An IT worker or online marketer is often not enough if you want truly good results.

Myth #3: META Tags are Very Important

It used to be that every page on your site needed Meta tags in order to rank well. Those are small pieces of code that would give Google a list of keywords and a description. The search engine would use those to find out what your web site was about. Now however, those do not affect your ranking at all. Both Google and Bing stopped caring about META tags awhile back. However, Meta tags are not useless. For example, the description tag is the text that often appears next to the link that shows up in the search results, so it still serves a useful function.

Myth #4: Keyword-Rich Domain Names are Ranked Higher

Back in the dotcom days, it used to be that the URL you used was very important. Google placed a lot of importance on the domain name, and if you could get a name that had your keyword in it, you would gain a big advantage over other sites. This is why a lot of companies in the late 90′s bought domain names for a lot of money. But now, the indexing process only looks at the actual content of your pages, and not the domain name. The domain name is still important, because people still get to see it, but it will not give you a higher rank.

Myth #5: You have to Submit Your Site to Google or Other Search Engines

All search engines used to have URL submission forms where you could send your site to Google and others. In fact, they still do, but that process is unnecessary. The crawlers that these engines use now are sophisticated enough that any new site will be found in a matter of days, if not hours. The only time you would have to worry about submitting your site is if for some reason it was not indexed automatically after a couple of days.

Myth #6: Submitting a Sitemap will Boost Your Rankings

Google offers a webmaster interface and from there, you can submit a sitemap, which is a XML file containing links to every page on your site. Some site owners take the time to submit such a file every time they make a change, but that is not necessary. Submitting a sitemap does not change your rankings. All it does is add pages which may not have been indexed already. If your site is typical and has links to all your pages, then it is not needed.

Myth #7: SEO has Nothing to do with Social Media

Before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, SEO was the one and only technique to get traffic in an organic way. But now, social media is everywhere, and the line is quickly blurring between the two. While some marketers still consider SEO and social media to be different beasts, the truth is that they are very closely linked. For example, Google now places their own social network, Google Plus, into its search results. If you can get enough influential people to talk about your product and link to your site, then their recommendations will show up in any Google search result that their friends do. This clearly affects SEO. On the flip side, Facebook has also entered search, by recently introducing their Open Graph engine, which searches based on friends and interests. So the two spheres are closely linked, and they are becoming closer all the time.

Myth #8: Google does not read CSS Files

The Google bot used to be fairly primitive and only saw text, which is why many people concentrated on the text part of their web site. But now that engine is very sophisticated and reads JavaScript, CSS, and more. The crawler can definitely see whether your site’s presentation is appealing to users or not. For example, if someone searches on a mobile device and you have no mobile layout on your site, you may be missing out.

Myth #9: You Need to Update Your Home Page All the Time

Some people think that by updating their home page content all the time they will rank higher, or by not updating it their ranking will drop. In most cases that is not the case, because if you have a sales page that offers a product, then there would be no reason to update that page unless something about the product changes, and Google expects that.

Myth #10: The H1 Header has Greater Value than the Rest of Your Text

The structure of your page is seen by Google and other engines, but you have to realize that many sites are structured very differently. As such, no one specific tag has more value than another. An H1 tag is simply a header that corresponds to a CSS entry in order for the user to see your page a certain way. It does not make Google rank your page any differently if you use H2 tags instead, or if your keywords are mostly in the text and not in a specific CSS tag.

Myth #11: Linking to Other Highly Ranked Sites Helps Your Ranking

Some sites try to link to many other high authority sites in order to help their rankings, but that does not help at all. Google uses PageRank to decide how your site will rank, and that algorithm is based on how useful your site is to others, and as such it will only look at how many other people link to you. Whether you link back to them is of no importance. Otherwise, any site could rise to the top simply by linking to millions of sites, which is simply not the case.

Myth #12: Using Automated SEO Methods is Always Spam

Many people use automated SEO methods that do not fall into the spam area. Many companies have very big sites and they use automated scripts to do a lot of the grunt work of SEO. Whether or not a method is spammy is based on what the result is, not on how automated it is.

Myth #13: PageRank is the Only Factor that Matters

The algorithm that Google uses to rank sites is PageRank, which determines how useful a site is to others. But according to Google, search result rankings are also affected by hundreds of other inputs. Some of these inputs are easy to see, like having your site being recommended by others on Google Plus. This proves that not only PageRank matters. The company is staying tight-lipped on how many inputs there are and how important each is, but it is clear that there is more going on than just PageRank. With that said however, it is still widely believed that PageRank is the most important factor, and a PR10 page is always better than a PR3 page.

Myth #14: The Title Tag is Hidden from Search Engines

Most of what Google sees on your site is the text that is visible to users, such as what appears on the screen and is rendered in a web browser. As such, it would be easy to think that the title is not picked up. However, your title is very important for SEO, because it is the text that appears on the link people will click on. Not only is Google using it to help your ranking, but people will also see it when they go to click on your site.

Article by Mikhail Tuknov. – Internet marketing company specializing in Search Engine Optimization and responsive web design solutions.

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Top 40 SEO Myths You Should Know About – Part 1

Five Steps to Build Opt-In Circles on Google+

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Trying to start cold with people online is not a fast way to get more conversions. It can actually do more harm than good to start pitching your content to others when they haven’t shown even the slightest interest in what you’re giving them.

One way to get more promising leads is to create opt-in circles on Google+. Circles are a great way to make contacts and build stronger relationships with people through social media. Start with opt-in circles and, as your relationship grows, you can start moving people further into your inner circles where you can have more sales-oriented conversations.

When you have people opt-in for your content, they are more likely to connect with you and share your content within their own network. This is one of the best ways to see your content go viral.

Setting notifications for those who opt-in helps bring more awareness to the content than if it just pops up in someone’s news stream, where it is often overlooked. This is a better way to get attention.

Here are five steps for building opt-in notification circles for your Google+ profile or business page:

1. Create New Circles for new engagers — Anytime you see new interaction from a person on Google+ you can add them to a new circle that you have designated specifically for new engagers. This can be for any level of interaction, like giving your posts or page a +1.

You can choose to add people to the same circle or break it down to those who gave you a +1, those who shared content, or those who left comments, etc.

2. Set up notifications — After you have about 50 people in a circle, you can set up notifications for your posts. When you select “notify by e-mail about this post,” a direct message will be sent to each person to let them know about the latest piece of content.

While this is a powerful tool to use, you don’t want to go overboard with it. If you are posting several times a day, you don’t want to start pestering people in your circles. Instead, notify only when you have an important piece of content that you want to call attention to.

3. Share publicly — It is also a good idea to let people in your circles know if you are going to be adding them to other circles that will be shared publicly. Many people will not mind when it happens, but there can be some who do not want to call any attention to what circles they are in, especially if your products or services are more sensitive in nature.

4. Offer direct notifications — You can ask the people in your circles if they would like to opt-in to notifications for posts. If they do, you will also want to see how often they would like to get those notifications. This goes back to No. 2 where you don’t want to become a nuisance by over-notifying the people in your circles. Find a happy medium for everyone and stick with it.

5. Create notifications circle. Once you know which people would like to be notified on a regular basis, you can add them to a new circle just for people to send messages to when you post new content. This makes it easy to click and share.

Google+ only allows you to notify up to 100 people. If you have more people to notify, keep those extra people in a separate circle to add in later on. Then, you can look for any people who are in the notifications circle and are not active and swap them with someone who might be.

Allowing people the choice of whether or not to be notified about your posts helps to create a stronger bond with them. You don’t want to overwhelm them with content, but you also don’t want to have your content missed by those who will get the most benefit from it.

Create opt-in circles on Google+ and you will have an easy way to keep up with leads without having to send out cold content.

Do you use circles on Google+ to group prospects? How else can you use circles to find more promising leads?

Dawn Pigoni of Be Social Worldwide is a certified social marketing specialist and a social media virtual assistant. Dawn offers superb social networking, social marketing and social bookmarking to WAHMs, small business owners, Internet marketers, affiliate marketers, and coaches who desire to bring stunning Internet presence through social networking to their businesses. Get Dawn’s free report, Social Networking today and see how she can assist you with being social worldwide.

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Five Steps to Build Opt-In Circles on Google+

Increase Productivity with New Google AdWords Bulk Upload Feature

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Are you ready to save even more time when adding, removing and editing bulk keywords in AdWords? You’re in luck. Google just released a new bulk keyword upload feature that builds on its November 2012 release of the bulk keyword editor.

Add, Edit and Remove Keywords on a Large Scale

The new bulk upload feature makes editing and processing changes to keywords on a large scale much more efficient. Changes to your keywords can now be made directly from a downloadable report in spreadsheet format, instead of using another tool or going back into AdWords to enter them from the spreadsheet to the AdWords user interface.

Senior AdWords product manager Jon Diorio explained in an official announcement, that the new feature “provides a new level of flexibility and automation by allowing you to use standard spreadsheet functions and logic to manage your keywords.”

In its expanded bulk uploading tutorial on AdWords Help, Google does an excellent job at providing a real world example to demonstrate just how efficient the new tool is:

“Amy is an online retailer who sells sporting equipment. She has thousands of keywords spread across dozens of ad groups. In the past, she used spreadsheets and a proprietary formula to make changes to her bids, which she entered manually into her AdWords account. Now, with keyword bulk uploads, she can download an editable keyword report, change her bids by applying her proprietary formula to the spreadsheet, and then commit these changes by uploading the same sheet directly into her AdWords account.

This way she can make hundreds of changes at once, saving her time. Once she uploads the edited report, AdWords will tell Amy how many changes were successfully committed, and how many, if any, had errors that prevented individual changes from being committed. Should she have any errors in her upload, she can then download a version of her report detailing those errors, fix them, and then upload that report, ensuring that all her changes happen.”

Are you convinced it’s worth a shot? I know I am.

How to Test and Use Keyword Bulk Edit Uploads

To test or use the new feature, navigate to the keywords tab for your selected campaign and click the “download report” icon. In the “download and schedule report” window, you can now click the box next to ‘editable?’ to download an editable version of the keyword report.

Before you start editing your keyword spreadsheet, you should familiarize yourself with all of the variables involved in editing keywords in an uploadable document. This will guarantee that your changes translate accurately back to your AdWords campaigns. Here are a few key points to keep in mind that I’ve summarized from the AdWords tutorial:

  • Leave the first three spreadsheet rows intact (report info, parameters, column names);
  • Always enter a value in the “Action” column or the row will be ignored;
  • Avoid using symbols like [ ] or ““ to specify keyword match type; identify this by typing “broad,” “exact” or “phrase” in the match type column;
  • To delete keywords, don’t delete the row in your spreadsheet program – type “remove” in the “Action” column of that row;
  • Even if you don’t use AdWords in English, some information displayed and edited must remain in English to ensure proper changes upon upload; those values are listed on the AdWords help page.

Once you download your report and complete your edits, save the file in CSV, TSV or Excel formats. To implement the changes, navigate to the ‘reports and uploads’ tab on the left AdWords sidebar and then click ‘uploads.’

Beware: There’s No Turning Back

If you decide to use the bulk keyword upload feature, be sure to back up your original downloadable report before making edits. This is important because once you upload your edited document; there is no way to reverse your changes.

To ensure that you can switch back to your settings pre-bulk upload, save your original report with a different file name before you start to make edits. This extra step will save you just in case you realize you made an error or need to view your previous settings after you’ve completed the bulk upload.

Adrienne Erin does a lot of social media marketing and analytics monitoring for her day job, promoting clients such as Oil Scams, which is dedicated to preventing oil investment scams.

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Increase Productivity with New Google AdWords Bulk Upload Feature

Voice-Activated Texting While Driving Just as Dangerous as Manual Texting, Study Finds

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If you are using voice-to-text apps in the name of safety while behind the wheel, don’t bother.

Voice-activated texting is just a hazardous as its manual cousin when driving, according to a new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).

The study compared the results of 43 volunteers, first while driving without distraction, then driving while texting and then driving while using voice-activated texting.

After driving the course without using a cellphone, participants were then asked to travel the same route three more times performing a series of texting exercises — once using each of two voice-to-text applications (Siri for the iPhone and Vlingo for Android), and once texting manually.

Researchers assessed the time it took for each volunteer to complete the tasks and made note of how long it took for each person to respond to a light which came on at random intervals during the exercises.

The findings were:

• Driver response times were notably delayed with all three texting methods. In each case, drivers took approximately twice as long to respond to what was going on around them as they did when their full focus was on the road.

“With slower reaction times, drivers are less able to take action in response to sudden roadway hazards, such as a swerving vehicle or a pedestrian in the street,” the study noted.

• The time spent looking at the roadway ahead was considerably less when drivers were texting both manually and with voice-activated.

• For most tasks, manual texting necessitated a little less time than the voice-to-text method, but driver performance was similar with both.

• Participants said they felt safer when using a voice-to-text app over texting manually, even though their performance suffered equally with both methods.

TTI Associate Transportation Researcher Christine Yager, who managed the study, says while the findings offer new insight, only a part of the knowledge that’s needed to improve roadway safety was revealed.

“Understanding the distracted driving issue is an evolving process, and this study is but one step in that process,” she says. “We believe it’s a useful step, and we’re eager to see what other studies may find.”

The study’s results are being published during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Another TTI study, that is now in progress, is probing the motives and attitudes of distracted drivers. Results from the focus groups and a 3,000-driver survey are expected out in late summer. It will include a look at which demographic groups are most likely to be distracted behind the wheel.


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Voice-Activated Texting While Driving Just as Dangerous as Manual Texting, Study Finds