Apple Requires Comcast and Charter to Sell iPads and Apple TVs as Part of iPhone Deal

As part of the deal allowing cable companies Comcast and Charter to sell iPhones for their respective mobile services, Apple has required them to also sell large numbers of other devices, reports CNBC.

Both Comcast and Charter have wireless services as part of an MVNO agreement with Verizon. Comcast offers Xfinity Mobile with approximately 1.5 million subscribers, while Charter offers Spectrum Mobile with approximately 300,000 subscribers.



The two cable companies wanted to be able to offer the iPhone in an effort to better compete with the four major carriers in the United States — Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile — and as part of the deal allowing Comcast and Charter to sell iPhones, Apple made them agree to sell other devices too.

The iPhone’s popularity made it impossible for Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile to compete without offering it, according to CNBC‘s sources, which meant Apple had “ample leverage” in deal negotiations.

Specific terms of the two deals are not known, but Comcast is required to sell a certain number of iPads, which CNBC says is in the thousands, at a subsidized cost. Comcast is required to pay the difference between the discounted price and the retail price.

Comcast offers the cellular 6th-generation iPad for $422.99, a discount from the standard $459 price. Comcast also sells cellular versions of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Air, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini, all at discounted prices.

Subscribers are promised a $15 per month credit applied to their monthly statement for any iPad purchased.

Charter’s deal is different and involves the Apple TV, which Charter offers as an alternative to a traditional cable box.

Charter sells Apple TVs at $7.50 per month for 24 months – or $180, the retail cost of an Apple TV. Alternatively, a customer can lease a Charter set-top box for $7.50 per month. In other words, Charter offers an Apple TV at the same price as a Charter set-top box, but a customer ends up owning the Apple TV and returning the Charter box. Charter has become the largest third-party seller of Apple TVs because of the agreement, two of the people said.

According to CNBC, there are benefits in these deals for Comcast and Charter beyond being able to offer the iPhone. iPads and Apple Watches “enhance the value” of the Comcast wireless service, and the Apple TV offers a better navigation interface for Charter customers.

Many of Apple’s carrier partners around the world also sell Apple devices other the iPhone, much like Charter and Comcast.

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This article, "Apple Requires Comcast and Charter to Sell iPads and Apple TVs as Part of iPhone Deal" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Here’s what an Apple TV and Alexa look like on an old TV and record player cabinet

Apple TV on a vintage TV cabinet.

Consumer and household tech obviously looks quite different today than it did years ago—there’s a significant analog and digital divide, for one thing. Among other things, bridging that gap makes integrating the latest tech with tech from a few decades back a real challenge. But it’s not impossible.

Facebook user Thomas Martin Lewins V proved that last point by getting a modern Apple TV box to work with his gigantic, archaic console television and by integrating analog speakers, radios, and record players throughout his house with Amazon Alexa. He posted a couple of videos online as proof, which Boing Boing picked up recently.

First up: the Apple TV setup. This allows him to view Netflix and Hulu shows on that old TV. Here’s what he wrote to introduce the clip:

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rep. Will Hurd to keynote Black Hat draws ire for women’s rights voting record

A decision to confirm Rep. Will Hurd as the keynote speaker at the Black Hat security conference this year has prompted anger and concern by some long-time attendees because of his voting record on women’s rights.

Hurd, an outspoken Texas Republican who has drawn fire from his own party for regularly opposing the Trump administration, was confirmed as keynote speaker at the conference Thursday for his background in cybersecurity. Since taking office in Texas’ 23rd district, the congressman has introduced several bills that would aim to secure Internet of Things devices and pushed to reauthorize the role of a federal chief information officer.

But several people we’ve spoken to have described their unease that Black Hat organizers have asked Hurd, a self-described pro-life lawmaker, given his consistent opposition to bills supporting women’s rights.

An analysis of Hurd’s voting record shows he supports bills promoting women’s rights only two percent of the time. He has voted against a bill that would financially support women in STEM fields, voted in favor of allowing states to restrict access and coverage to abortions, and voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Many of those we spoke to asked to be kept anonymous amid worries of retaliation or personal attacks. One person who we asked for permission to quote said Hurd’s voting record was “simply awful” for women’s rights. Others in tweets said the move doesn’t reflect well on companies sponsoring the event.

Black Hat says it aims to create an “inclusive environment,” but others have questioned how a political figure with views that cause harm to an entire gender can be considered inclusive. But at a time when women’s rights — including right to access abortions — is being all but outlawed by controversial measures in several states, some have found Hurd’s selection tone-deaf and offensive.

When asked, a spokesperson for Black Hat defended the decision for Hurd to speak:

“Hurd has a strong background in computer science and information security and has served as an advocate for specific cybersecurity initiatives in Congress,” said the spokesperson. “He will offer the Black Hat audience a unique perspective of the infosec landscape and its effect on the government.”

Although previous keynote speakers have included senior government figures, this is the first time Black Hat has confirmed a lawmaker to keynote the conference.

Although abortion rights and cybersecurity are unrelated topics, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate social issues from technology and gatherings. It’s also valid for attendees to express concern that the keynote speaker at a professional security conference opposes what many will consider a human right.

Hurd’s office did not return a request for comment.

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VMware announces intent to buy Avi Networks, startup that raised $115M

VMware has been trying to reinvent itself from a company that helps you build and manage virtual machines in your data center to one that helps you manage your virtual machines wherever they live, whether that’s on prem or the public cloud. Today, the company announced it was buying Avi Networks, a six-year-old startup that helps companies balance application delivery in the cloud or on prem in an acquisition that sounds like a pretty good match. The companies did not reveal the purchase price.

Avi claims to be the modern alternative to load balancing appliances designed for another age when applications didn’t change much and lived on prem in the company data center. As companies move more workloads to public clouds like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform, Avi is providing a more modern load-balancing tool, that not only balances software resource requirements based on location or need, but also tracks the data behind these requirements.

Diagram: Avi Networks

VMware has been trying to find ways to help companies manage their infrastructure, whether it is in the cloud or on prem, in a consistent way, and Avi is another step in helping them do that on the monitoring and load-balancing side of things, at least.

Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager for the networking and security business unit at VMware sees, this acquisition as fitting nicely into that vision. “This acquisition will further advance our Virtual Cloud Network vision, where a software-defined distributed network architecture spans all infrastructure and ties all pieces together with the automation and programmability found in the public cloud. Combining Avi Networks with VMware NSX will further enable organizations to respond to new opportunities and threats, create new business models, and deliver services to all applications and data, wherever they are located,” Gillis explained in a statement.

In a blog post,  Avi’s co-founders expressed a similar sentiment, seeing a company where it would fit well moving forward. “The decision to join forces with VMware represents a perfect alignment of vision, products, technology, go-to-market, and culture. We will continue to deliver on our mission to help our customers modernize application services by accelerating multi-cloud deployments with automation and self-service,” they wrote. Whether that’s the case, time will tell.

Among Avi’s customers, which will now become part of VMware, are Deutsche Bank, Telegraph Media Group, Hulu and Cisco. The company was founded in 2012 and raised $115 million, according to Crunchbase data. Investors included Greylock, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Menlo Ventures, among others.