SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 IBM ranks as top dog in software-defined storage platforms niche Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:00:01 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__7184608691IDC has just published its second quarter 2014 Worldwide Storage Software Qview survey, ranking IBM Corp., as the world’s top supplier of Software-defined Storage Platforms (SDS-P).

According to the analysts, SDS-P is described as ”a new functional market added to the total storage software market that covers block, file, object, and/or hyper-converged software offerings that enable the creation of a storage system.” In other words, it’s a platform that provides a full suite of storage services via a software stack running on commodity hardware built using off-the-shelf components.

IDC noted storage software is also raking in plenty of cash these days too – almost $3.8 billion in the second quarter, which is a 6.3 percent increase from the same period last year. However, while IBM is shifting more SDS-Ps, EMC Corp. remains ‘the daddy’ when it comes to overall storage software revenues. EMC led the way with a 25.9 percent market share, followed by IBM at 16 percent and Symantec at 13.3 percent.

Several categories of software are tracked in IDC’s report, including “Data protection and recovery”, which is valued at $1.45 billion for the quarter, a rise of 10.2 percent year-on-year. It also tracks the “Storage and device management” market, which is worth some $708 million, up 4.1 percent; “Storage infrastructure”, worth $448 million, up 10.8 percent; and “Software-defined storage platforms”, worth $133 million, up 15.7 percent during the last quarter.

IBM has a number of products in the SDS-P segment, including Elastic Storage (its rebranded GPFS parallel file system); San Volume Controller (SVC); and its Virtual Storage Center, which comes with SVC and adds capabilities like backup, restor and visual administration for storage management.

“IBM Software Defined Storage capabilities are providing clients with the kind of scalability and fast data access their customers, employees and partners are not just demanding, but expecting,” said Jamie Thomas, general manager, for Storage and Software Defined Systems at IBM.

Looking ahead, if Server San, object storage software and hyper-converged system storage revenues all keep on rising like this, the SDS-P segment could soon become one of the most hotly contested areas in SDS.

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EMC will “wipe user data” with XtremIO firmware 3.0 upgrade Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:13:48 +0000 Continue reading ]]> small__4864842353EMC has apparently made a bit of a balls up with its XtremIO firmware. There’s a rumor going around that upgrading to XtremIO v3.0 will delete all of the data from the flash array, and that users will therefore need to back everything up first.

The rumor came from Andrew Dauncey on The Odd Angry Shot blog. XtremIO firmware v3.0 is supposed to add speed performance and inline compression, but for reasons unknown it will also cause all data to be lost.

“One of the guys told me an issue with the array I didn’t believe, so I went to verify it from other sources. The ‘rumour’, was that to upgrade from the current 2.4.x firmware, to version 3.0, the data would be lost, and there’d need to be a complete backup/restore. My first thoughts were “that’s crazy”.”

“On returning from VMworld, I passed the news onto my employer, for them to follow up with the integrator and EMC.  The news came back that in fact it was true. I was stunned.”

“To clarify, firmware 3.0 has NOT been released, but is scheduled for release at the end of September, beginning of October. The upgrade process will require all data to be moved off the array, as all data will be wiped during the upgrade process.”

The Register investigated these reports further, speaking to “a source close to the situation” who apparently confirmed data will indeed be lost, claiming “It’s probably due to some major disk format change in XtremIO firmware 3.0”. It also spoke to XtremIO’s VP Josh Goldstein, who said the update would include inline compression that could deliver a fourfold increase in capacity – which is obviously a major bonus for anyone using XtremIO.

Goldstein advised users to back up their data before updating, though he assured The Register it would be “seamless for a customer”. He said EMC Professional Services were working to ensure the update would be impact-free.

Goldstein’s comments come across as a denial of Dauncey’s claims. But if that’s what it is, Chad Sakac, SVP of Global Systems Engineering at EMC, seems to be contradicting him on his own personal blog:

“Disruptive upgrades affect all persistence architectures, all vendors at times,” he writes. “If you’re curious about the engineering reasons why – helpful to predict whether any future upgrade of any stack will likely be NDU or DU – as well as more on this particular XtremIO upgrade (and some more roadmap) read on!”

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Comcast: “We haven’t banned Tor, in fact we use it too” Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:30:53 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Tor-logo-2011-flat.svgComcast yesterday denied allegations it’s threatening to cut off customers who use the anonymous Tor web browser.

Jason Livingood, VP of internet & communications engineering at Comcast, penned a blog post which insisted, “Comcast is not asking customers to stop using Tor, or any other browser for that matter.”

The post explains that Comcast doesn’t have any official policy towards any kind of browser or software, let alone Tor. “Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website, use any app, and so forth,” continues Livingood. “Our customers can use Tor at any time, as I have myself. I’m sure many of them are using it right now.”

Comcast’s denial comes after allegations it was anti-Tor surfaced on the blog DeepDotWeb. The site published a complaint from a customer who claimed he’d received a warning about using Tor from a Comcast customer service rep called “Kelly”.

“Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the Internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal,” the customer was apparently told. “We have the right to terminate, fine or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules.”

Not surprisingly Netizens went ballistic over the allegations. It’s worth noting that Comcast generally has a poor customer satisfaction rating, and it’s recently been subject to some close media scrutiny in light of its perceived role in the net neutrality debate and its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable.

The company was further embarrassed last July when Ryan Block, a VP of product at AOL, recorded a telephone conversation with a Comcast representative as he tried to close his account. The rep was adamant he could not, refusing to take no for an answer. Comcast later said it was very embarrassed and apologized, but also admitted the rep was only following company protocol.

In the wake of that episode, numerous customers began recording their calls to Comcast, highlighting its poor level of customer service. What with all this negative publicity, the outcry over its alleged policy on Tor was hardly surprising.

This time though, Comcast says the original complaint is based on nothing more than “anecdotal chat room evidence”, adding that it doesn’t monitor customer’s “browser software, web surfing or online history”.

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iPhone 6 smashes pre-order records, which means delayed shipments for you Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:45:28 +0000 Continue reading ]]> iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 PlusPre-orders for Apple Inc.’s latest handsets, the iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, started at 3am ET on Friday, September 12th. By the same time the following day, over four million iPhones had been sold. Apple announced the record breaking first day sales figures for its two new phone models, but didn’t specify how many units of each model were sold. Both versions of the iPhone 6 are significantly larger than the iPhone 5, which received two million orders within the first 24 hours of its pre-order launch in 2012.

Customers who woke up early and placed orders as soon as Apple began accepting them will receive their phones on Friday, September 19th. Pre-order sales greatly exceeded Apple’s supply, so some customers won’t have their orders fulfilled until sometime in October. Limited supplies of both models will be available on Friday at Apple Stores, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and select Apple Authorized Resellers. If you intend to score an iPhone 6 on launch day, you might want to consider heading to REI and picking up a nice tent and sleeping bag, so you can set up camp in front of your retail store of choice tonight. Or search on Craigslist for “iPhone 6 line sitters” and hire someone to do it for you. The Apple product launch line sitting business is a burgeoning industry.

The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus start at $199 and $299 respectively, with a two year phone carrier contract. If you aren’t eligible for an upgrade, the full retail price starts at $649, and goes all the way up to $949 for the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus. Think of it as an investment. You can always sell it on ebay, where bids on several iPhone 6 auctions are more than twice the retail cost, despite the fact that the phone isn’t even available yet. Big screen mobile phone aficionados who don’t have the patience to wait for the iPhone 6 Plus to be readily available will soon have an alternative in the Galaxy Note 4, which is expected to launch in October.

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Google courts developer community with $100,000 cloud credit and analytics package Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:03:32 +0000 Continue reading ]]> cloud ladder reach growGoogle Inc. hopes to increase its standing among developers with new contributions that take aim at two of the hottest trends in the industry.  The gesture that should make the search giant the most fans in the community is the introduction of an onramp initiative that offers startups a massive $100,000 worth of credit to redeem against cloud services and round-the-clock support to go along.

Google technical infrastructure head Urs Hölzle debuted the program at the company’s entrepreneur summit in Dublin today, less than three months after it treated every attendee at its flagship I/O Conference to a $500 infrastructure-as-service voucher.  Both giveaways serve the purpose of driving exposure for Google Compute Engine (GCE), but the new  Cloud Platform for Startups initiative takes the charitable publicity campaign to a whole new level.

The company plans to make the cloud credit available through more than 50 incubators and other partners around the world,  a number that is expected to increase, wrote GCE developer relations head Julie Pearl on a blog,  The program is accepting early-stage teams that have not yet turned five and that make less than $500,000 in annual revenues, Pearl went on to write. There is apparently no limitation on how much capital a participating firm can have in the bank.

The only catch is that the $100,000 credit is valid for just one year, after which participants will have to pay for the cloud resources they consume just like everybody else. That serves as an incentive for startups to be mindful of profitability, which the venture capital firms participating in the program no doubt appreciate. Google could use the graphical polling service it just obtained through the acquisition of Polar Inc. to find out.

The launch of Cloud Platform for Startups comes hot on the heels of another contribution the search giant is making to the community in the form of CasualImpact, an open-source package that measures correlations between actions and outcomes. The module implements a Bayesian algorithm to estimate the impact of one event on another in the absence of a control sample, a capability that can be useful in analyzing advertising impact, for example.

CasualImpact is meant to let analysts avoid having to reinvent the wheel and instead focus their time on more productive endeavors. The release marks the latest in Google’s efforts to take on a bigger role in the developer scene, following three months after the launch of Kubernetes, an open-source edition of the Omega system that powers the search giant’s data centers. It’s all fine-tuned to the needs of advertisers, which Google no double hopes many of the startups it’s incubating will become.

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Preorder the Moto X, and Motorola’s non-douchey bluetooth headset this Tuesday Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:04:56 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Motorola HintIf you’re excited about any of Motorola Mobility’s new product announcements, Tuesday, September 16, is the day you can put your money where your mouth is. Motorola will begin accepting pre-orders for the all new Moto X, and for the Moto Hint, on the 16th at 12pm ET. Additionally, the Motorola Turbo Charger will be available to purchase, and the Moto 360 smartwatch, which sold out the day it was introduced, will be restocked.  If you need a reminder of why you want to place orders for Motorola’s highly customizable flagship phone and the most elegant smartwatch on the market, refer to SiliconANGLE’s previous coverage of the Moto X and the Moto 360.

The Moto Hint is a re-imagened bluetooth headset that was designed to solve an important problem: It’s next to impossible to wear a  bluetooth headset without looking like a douchebag. Voice recognition interactions and services on mobile devices, such as Siri on the iPhone, Google Now on Android, and Cortana on Windows Phones, are becoming more and more sophisticated. The inconvenience of holding your phone up to have a conspicuous conversation with it, is, for most consumers, preferable to the stigma of wearing a bluetooth headset in public.

The Moto Hint lets you have your cake, and eat it, too. It’s discreet, and tremendously useful. The wireless earbud, as Motorola calls it, is about the size of a jellybean. Slip it into your ear, and it automatically turns on. It has passthrough audio technology, so the world around you won’t sound distorted when it’s worn. Once connected to your phone, it becomes the voice and ears of your phone’s digital assistant software. You talk to it, and it whispers back to you. Ask about the weather, or about new movie releases, or for directions to the nearest Starbucks, and the Hint will respond intelligently.

It works with any bluetooth enabled phone, but it’s particularly friendly with the Moto X, due to the always-listening Moto Voice technology. Users can expect a little more than 3 hours of talk time, but its carrying case uses conductive charging to provide two extra charges. The Moto Hint comes in a variety of materials, like wood grain and leather, in light and dark hues, which makes it look more like fashion than technology. If this all sounds familiar, it might be due to the striking similarities between the Moto Hint and the wireless earbud worn by Joaquin Phoenix in the Academy Award winning film Her. The Moto Hint sells for $149, and is expected to ship later this year.

The Motorola Turbo Charger uses Qualcomm Inc.’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology to power up devices up to 75 percent faster than regular chargers. Motorola claims that, with the Turbo Charger, Moto phones can receive up to 8 more hours of battery life in only 15 minutes. It works with all certified Quick Charge phones, including the Moto X, the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the HTC One M8. It goes on sale this Tuesday for $34.99.

Image via Motorola
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Can Tableau scale that “startup” feeling? | #data14 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:23:03 +0000 Continue reading ]]> cloud growth ladder scale startup businessTableau Software, Inc. is well-equipped to navigate the tech marketplace in the coming years, said John Furrier and Jeff Kelly, reflecting on their learnings from the first day of the Tableau Data 14 conference. Tableau has experienced rapid growth, and is in the process of figuring out how to maintain its customer-centric reputation while continuing to expand.

As Tableau grows, it adds members to its ecosystem of partners and increases its software capabilities. Kelly pointed out that this growth may change how Tableau relates to its customers. There are a few ways these changes might ruffle Tableau customers’ feathers:


1. Tableau markets itself as platform that doesn’t need specialized training to use.

As Tableau’s capabilities expand, using the tools may get more complicated and require Tableau’s partners to step in and offer education as to how business users should navigate new aspects of Tableau products.


2. Tableau is widely know as a customer-centric company.

As it grows, it will be harder and harder to maintain the level of interaction to which customers have been accustomed. It may fall to the partner ecosystem to pick up the reins.


Tight integration, Kelly said, will be essential in order to keep customers happy as Tableau grows.


Read more after the video.

Tableau’s place in the market


Commenting on Tableau’s rapid growth, Furrier observed that “Tableau is in a good position.” The company is keeping its “nose to the grid stone,” he said, trying to stay humble as it amasses partners and clients. Furrier asserted that despite the company’s attitude, Tableau is aware of its potential and the “sweet spot” it occupies in the market. Kelly concurred with his fellow host, expecting Tableau will try to maintain “that startup feeling” in order to continue attracting customers based on its culture of innovation and openness.

Furrier suggested that open culture has a lot to do with why the Tableau founders have stayed with the company. Furrier said that Tableau CEO Christian Chabot knows when to reach out for help. It’s about self-awareness, Furrier observed: “You gotta know what you don’t know.”

Both hosts agreed that there are several markers of Tableau’s potential: their huge growth, great reciting, employee retention, and the fact that many of Tableau’s customers eventually come to work for the company. They also touched on conference attendance, citing that it’s grown by about 2,00 people since the previous year.

Tableau leads the business intelligence revolution


One of the themes both Furrier and Kelly said they’d encountered at the conference was people “betting their careers on Tableau.” Because the software company offers tools that are so different from established enterprise-level data analytics, it can be a real risk for businesses to adopt the “new thing.” The rampant rate of adoption, Kelly said, suggests customers have “a lot of faith in Tableau,” said Kelly. And, so far, trends at the Tableau Conference suggest that those risks are paying off.

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HGST takes aim at Server SAN with Flash Fabric | #LongLiveData Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:47:04 +0000 Continue reading ]]> flash heart light art dark outlineWith the rise of the client-server model, storage was separated from the compute layer and consolidated into a distinct part of the corporate network to accommodate the rapid growth of digital content. Now, an exceptionally sharper increase in unstructured information is shifting capacity back into the server to create a new paradigm of data center design Wikibon has termed Server SAN, a spin on the traditional storage-attached network that provides better performance with more manageability.

SiliconANGLE theCUBE hosts Dave Frick and Stu Miniman sat down with Wikibon founding CTO David Floyer at the recent HGST Press & Industry Analysts Briefing (full video below) to find out how Western Digital Corp.’s enterprise subsidiary is adjusting for the new reality of enterprise storage. From a product standpoint, they agreed, it’s doing quite well.

Despite drawing only a limited attendance and proportionally tiny partner presence, the one-day event featured a well-rounded roster of product announcements worthy of any full-scale industry conference. To Floyer, three in particular stood out: new helium-filled disk drives pegged as denser and more efficient than alternatives, an upgraded archiving solution HGST said packs five as much capacity into the same space as previous generation solutions and, most notably, a homegrown variation of the Server SAN architecture.

Named Virident Space after the vendor on whose software it’s based, the platform makes it possible to group server-side flash cards into a shared pool that can be accessed from any point in the data center.  It represents Western Digital’s answer to the accelerating adoption of solid-state memory, which is kicking into high gear now that the cost of the technology is low enough for traditional enterpises to afford it.

“For active data, flash is about equivalent [to disk] in price per gigabyte,” Floyer noted. “If you add on compression and deduplication, it actually becomes better. So we’re very much a tipping point where active data is moving very rapidly to flash.” That transition is enabling organizations to address the rapid growth of unstructured data far more effectively than they could with disk.

There are no moving parts to solid-state memory, which Floyer explained means that the density of flash drives should continue to increase unhampered and eventually even surpass mechanical storage, all while the price per gigabyte  keeps going down. Plus, SSDs are fast enough to support data visualization, which eliminates the need to create a dedicated copy of a file for every application that uses it, thereby greatly reducing storage requirements.

HGST is staying on top of trend. The company  is “being very sensible in doing two things:first of all separating flash from the drives, not going down the Seagate route – I think that’s exactly right,” Floyer told Frick and Miniman. “And the other thing is that they’re doubling down to enter the flash market in a big way” with acquisitions such as Virident Inc. and flash drive supplier sTec Inc., he added.

The deals have helped put HGST in a position to directly target the revenue lifeline of its biggest competitor, SeaGate Technology PLC, which rose to a leadership role in the enterprise through a partnership with EMC Corp. to supply the drives for the storage stalwart’s market-leading SAN solutions.  Virident Space takes the fight to their home turf.

The platform is a “straightforward replacement to SAN, so they’re tearing into that marketplace where they’re going to be much more of a provider to a broad marketplace through partners and OEMs,” Floyer explained, noting that HGST is following EMC up the stack in pursuit of  new revenue opportunities. “So they’re gonna have to do a delicate dance between being an OEM supplier and trying to get into some of the higher-end levels. Time will tell how successful that strategy will be.”

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What you missed in the Smart World: Anti-glasshole gadgets, all-seeing robot vacuums Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:00:21 +0000 Continue reading ]]> google glass user glassholeThe past week in the Smart World saw the launch of an all-seeing robot vacuum, several new health gadgets including the Apple Watch, and a Wi-Fi guard against glassholes.

For those who missed last week’s Smart World Series, here’s a chance to catch up on the exciting developments in the connected world.  Each week, SiliconANGLE rounds up the top news regarding smart homes and cars, smart data centers and IT, smart infrastructure and all things related to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Robots will take over our homes, furniture included

Harris Interactive Inc., the company behind Harris Poll, conducted an online survey on behalf of Lowe’s Companies Inc., which determined that 52 percent of the 2,000 survey participants see smart home innovations as somewhat important. However, the majority also stated that the costs associated with installing these connected devices play an important role when deciding on whether to upgrade their own dwellings.

Some of the connected home innovations consumers can look forward to include semi-automatic systems for vehicles, a robot vacuum that sees everything, smart lights and even smart couches.

Find out more about the survey and these interesting innovations in our Smart Living roundup.


People want gadgets to reflect personality, not health status

In the past couple of weeks we’ve seen a number of companies launch new wearable devices such as Garmin Inc.’s Vivosmart, Apple Inc.’s Watch, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s Gear S and Intel Corp.’s MICA, to name just a few. Some of them look great and have great potential to motivate healthier lifestyles, but most of these wearables have yet to take fashion trends into account. The problem with devices that are aesthetically unappealing is their lack of consumer draw, as the wearer could feel like a health monitoring device that doesn’t blend in with their fashion tastes could signal to others that they’re ill.

Find out more about what people want from wearable tech and connected health devices in our Smart Health roundup.


A weapon against Google Glass spying and safer city pipelines

If you own a business and are worried about the privacy of your patrons because of all these connected wearable device such as Google Glass or Epiphany Eyewear that can be used to intentionally or unintentionally capture impermissible data, here’s some good news: there’s a device to block those sly devices from connecting to your business’ Wi-Fi network.

Called the Cyborg Unplug, this device is able to detect these types of devices and uses the Aircrack-NG to impersonate the network to deauthorize and disconnect WiFi connectivity. Don’t let those tricky glassholes drive your patrons away.

Find out more about Cyborg Unplug in our Smart City roundup.


Tune in next week for more interesting stories, discoveries and innovations in the world of smart and connected things.

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Apple Watch: 3 key points of interest for developers Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:15:34 +0000 Continue reading ]]> apple-iwatchDevelopers, start your engines. The announcement of Apple, Inc.’s first smartwatch this week opens up a whole new avenues of application development. Dubbed the Apple Watch, this new device has unique features, functions, and a compact interface that means developers will need to design for an even smaller screen and respond to different types of input and points of interaction.

Here are three key aspects of the Apple Watch that developers should keep in mind about the device that’s oh-so-much-more than a timepiece.



Anticipating a malestrom of applications for their new wearable technology, Apple set up a third party developer platform, WatchKit.

According to Karissa Bell of Mashable, WatchKit allows developers to “create everything from customer interactive watch faces to new versions of the app.” There are already new versions of Facebook, Pinterest, Nike, and American Airlines applications for the iWatch.

But app developers shouldn’t fear being pushed out–Katy Huberty, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, says that since the product demo introduced the Apple Watch as a tool with a “Swiss Army knife” of functions, there’s still plenty of room for the little guy to get in with a “killer app” at the ground level.

The WatchKit SDK has yet to be publicly released (and exists under NDA), but information and answers are already building up at Quora for interested developers.

Apple Watch sensors


The Apple Watch has the ability to collect its users personal body information. Among other pieces of data, this includes heart rate, number of steps taken, and calories burned.

Theoretically, this functionality will give developers more to work with. Although, as Bloomberg‘s Olga Kharif comments, since Apple’s own Activity and Workout apps come baked-in to the Apple Watch, which may cut demand for third-party workout and pedometer apps.

However, not all app developers share her concern. Kharif reported that Christopher Glode, Under Armor’s head fitness applications, believes that the more wearable devices, the better chances will be that more users will start using fitness applications of all sorts. Kharif also suggested that the Apple Watch may potentially be useful for apps that remotely monitor the vital signs of medical patients or the chronically ill.

Apple Pay


Another key feature of the Apple Watch is Apple Pay, which digitizes banking info to allow Apple Watch wearers to make purchases without needing to fumble with wallet or phone. Large stores such as Whole Foods and Macys are already on board.

Seth Fiegerman of Mashable reported that the Apple Pay announcement has forced quite a few mobile payment providers to reexamine their current approach. Many mobile payment providers, including Square, Clinkle, and Softcard, said they are eager to adopt to Apple Pay and work with the tech giant to enable their payments through Apple Watch and the new iPhone.

But can it make a phone call?


Boasting convenient features and encouraging new app development, the Apple Watch is an exciting new piece of Apple technology. It’s important to note, though, that its umbilical cord to the iPhone is pretty firmly attached.

Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi commented that “the majority of the Watch’s functionality is dependent on the presence of an iPhone.” Just as well, Rob Cihra of Evercore explained that while the Apple Watch has WiFi and Bluetooth built in, it requires an iPhone for essential abilities, like using GPS or making a phone call.

Image credit: Apple, Inc.
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