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#TBT: Apple Watch debuts; smart whiskey labels; Canada’s one-day spectrum auction … this week in 2015

#TBT: Apple Watch debuts; smart whiskey labels; Canada’s one-day spectrum auction … this week in 2015

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Hello there, Apple Watch
Apple is clearly hoping to redefine the luxury watch category in much the same way that the iPhone redefined the smartphone market. Today the company provided more details on its long-awaited Apple Watch, as well as iOS 8.2, a new notebook computer and a series of medical research projects. Three models will be available beginning April 24, online and in Apple retail stores, with pre-orders starting April 10. The Apple Watch Sport has colorful bands reminiscent of the iPhone 5C. It will retail for $349 sporting a 38-millimeter screen, and $400 for the 42-millimeter version. The midlevel Apple Watch is made of custom stainless steel in space gray or silver, and will sell for $549 to $1,100 depending on the size and the materials chosen. Finally, the Apple Watch Edition is an 18-carat gold version that starts at $10,000 and is only available from select retailers.
“The Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “It’s not just with you, it’s on you.” … Read more

Public safety’s concerns over comms towers
Fourth-quarter financial results for most tower companies have come and gone, and now with NATE Unite wrapped up as well, there’s been a lull on the national/international tower stage. However, that doesn’t mean nothing’s going on. Mobile World Congress has been happening this week in Spain, and of course there’s plenty of action on the local and regional levels. Usually the following story would just be tucked away amongst the smaller news items, but with the available space, it seems compelling to discuss this week. Back in November, it was reported that FirstNet would get funding to create a dedicated wireless network for first responders so vital communications would not potentially get lost or bogged down in the usual network traffic. Counties and cities receive government funding to build the network in their respective area. Some of this network is hoping to exist on pre-built commercial towers, but for those that still need to be built, a logical place for erecting the municipal-/county-owned towers would be on their own property, such as police and fire stations, near the people who will be using them. … Read more

Smart whiskey labels at MWC
BARCELONA, Spain – Do you like delicious whiskey? Do you like knowing that your delicious whiskey is fresh? Well, Thinfilm and Johnnie Walker have partnered to equip bottles with smart labels designed to detect whether your whiskey has been unsealed or stored in unappropriate environmental conditions. Jennifer Ernst, CSO of Thinfilm, showcased the new technology during Mobile World Congress 2015. Ernst explained how Thinfilm uses an innovative method to print near-field communication sensors onto labels and other flat surfaces. When a Thinfilm label is placed on a product, a consumer can scan it with a smartphone and receive different sorts of data and content. … Read more

Did Cali kill the cable (merger) star?
This has been a week filled with news – Mobile World Congress, analyst conferences and the normal course of business – and regulatory conjecture. I have decided to stop trying to figure out what fine-tuning the Federal Communications Commission is doing between the vote last month and the final release of the Report and Order. They issued a blog post last Tuesday trying to explain the lag and it only raised more questions with analysts and media alike. One novel idea I think the FCC should consider is to follow the lead of “Unfinished Business,” a movie currently in theaters, and offer free photo stock for all communications services providers to insert into their PowerPoint presentations. Imagine a presentation on sponsored data with Commissioner Mignon Clyburn showing a quizzical (or downright skeptical) look; a thumbs-up from Chairman Tom Wheeler; or the disapproving furrowed brow of Commissioner Michael O’Rielly. It would bring some fun back into boardrooms everywhere. … Read more

GOP decries net neutrality
In releasing its long-awaited rules regarding net neutrality, some at the Federal Communications Commission were unhappy with the decision. One of those was Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai, who stated, “Read my lips. More new taxes are coming.” Commissioner Pai was not alone among Republicans in voicing his dissatisfaction with the FCC ruling. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement that: “Despite the Federal Communication Commission’s partisan action to approve a 317-page power grab over the Internet, the fight to keep the Internet unburdened from regulatory overreach is far from over. As parties line up to challenge this action in court, it will soon be time for Congressional Democrats to review the situation and decide if they are prepared to join a bipartisan effort that brings real certainty to American consumers and provides the necessary protections to the Internet. Only action by Congress can fix the damage and uncertainty this FCC order has inflicted on the Internet.” … Read more

Apple bumps AT&T out of the Dow
In a historic move, AT&T is set to be bumped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in favor of Apple. AT&T has reportedly been part of the Dow for most of the past 100 years. The NYSE is the world’s largest stock exchange by market capitalization, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is one of its key barometers. The Dow should be bolstered by Apple’s (AAPL) current $737 billion in total market capitalization when it joins on March 18. AT&T (T), by comparison, has a current market capitalization of $174 billion. The move leaves Verizon Communications as the only telecommunications operator trading amongst the Dow 30 companies. Verizon’s (VZ) market capitalization currently sits at just over $200 billion. Apple recently reported record-breaking quarterly sales and profits, boosted by the late 2014 launch of its latest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices. AT&T, on the other hand, reported flat company profits impacted by legacy operations and pricing pressure in the mobile industry. … Read more

Canadian auction: Now you see it, now you don’t
Canada’s AWS-3 spectrum auction came to a quick end after one day of bidding saw 39 of the 42 licenses up for bid find takers. In total, those 39 licenses generated 2.1 billion Canadian dollars ($1.67 billion) in bids, with five of the 10 qualified participants walking away with licenses in the 1.7/2.1 GHz band. The auction’s big spender Telus, which accounted for nearly 75% of the auction’s total proceeds in picking up 15 licenses for CA$1.5 billion. Bell Mobility was a distant No. 2, putting down nearly CA$500 million for 13 licenses; followed by Wind Mobile at CA$56.4 million for three licenses; Videotron at CA$31.8 million for four licenses; and Bragg Communications investing CA$10 million for four licenses. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.

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