In today’s wrapup of technology news:
- Apple reportedly is ordering up to 80 million large-screen iPhones
- GE adds jobs in Mebane
- Netflix hits 50M subscribers
- Verizon ups its FiOS service
- Yahoo buys apps firm Flurry
- Report: Apple Orders Big-Screen iPhones
SAN FRANCISCO – Marketwatch, owned by The Wall Street Journal, is reporting that Apple is ordering its “largest initial production run” of iPhones as it gears to launch bigger devices with screens of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches.
“The Cupertino, Calif., company is asking suppliers to manufacture between 70 million and 80 million units combined of two large-screen iPhones with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays by Dec. 30, according to people familiar with the matter,” Marketwatch reported Tuesday.
For details, read the Marketwatch report online.
- GE Is Adding Jobs in Mebane
MEBANE – GE Industrial Solutions said Monday it is investing $5 million and will be adding some 60 jobs at its manufacturing operation in Mebane.
The facility is part of GE’s Power Equipment and Power Components, which has its headquarters in Cary.
“Industrial Solutions is investing heavily in its global business by tapping into North Carolina’s vast talent pool to accelerate its ability to deliver high-quality solutions to customers,” said Stuart Thompson, general manager of Power Equipment, GE’s Industrial Solutions business. “We have continued to add jobs and have increased our Cary team by more than 20 percent as part of our ongoing commitment to the area, revitalizing our product portfolio and bringing customers the best products faster than ever.”
The facility make lighting panels, power panels, low- and medium-voltage motor control equipment, switchgear and electrical vehicle charging stations.
- Netflix Tops 50M Subscribers as 2Q Earnings Soar
SAN FRANCISCO — Netflix’s second-quarter earnings more than doubled as new episodes from a hit series helped the Internet video service surpass 50 million worldwide subscribers for the first time.
The gains announced Monday include an additional 570,000 U.S. subscribers, slightly more than Netflix’s management predicted. The quarter is typically the company’s slowest of the year, as people spend more time outdoors instead of watching video.
Investors applauded the second-quarter results, pushing Netflix’s stock up $4.05 to $456 in extended trading. The shares have surged by 23 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased 7 percent.
The second quarter featured one of Netflix’s marquee attractions, “Orange Is The New Black,” which returned for its second season in early June. As with Netflix’s other original series, all 13 episodes of “Orange Is The New Black,” were released simultaneously so subscribers could watch the story unfold at their leisure.
- Verizon boosts FiOS uploads to match downloads
NEW YORK — Verizon is boosting the upload speeds of nearly all its FiOS connections to match the download speeds, vastly shortening the time it takes for subscribers to send videos and back up their files online.
Starting Monday, all new subscribers will get “symmetrical” connections. The cheapest plan will deliver 25 megabits per second up and down, an increase from 15 megabits down and 5 megabits up.
Current subscribers will see their upload speeds raised over the coming months, product manager Fowler Abercrombie said. He expects that 95 percent of Verizon customers will see higher speeds. For the rest, fully symmetrical speeds may not be possible for technical reasons.
With the speed increase, Verizon Communications Inc. is taking advantage of a technical ability that its all-fiber FiOS network has. Rival offerings from cable companies, for the most part, can’t match that because cables were originally designed to send video to homes, not the other way around. Cable upload speeds top out at about 35 megabits per second, while Verizon’s top tier now offers 500 megabits per second.
Those who share or upload big files will get the greatest use out of higher upload speeds. At the new bottom-tier speed of 25 megabits per second, uploading an hour-long, 3-gigabyte high-definition video would take 16 minutes, a fifth of the time it would have taken on the previous 5-megabit plan. At the highest, 500-megabit tier, the upload would take just 50 seconds.
Verizon’s marketing materials claim that higher upload speeds will also benefit online gamers and eBay shoppers. In real-life use, however, it would be very rare for these activities to see a boost from higher upload speeds.
Verizon has just over 6 million FiOS Internet customers.
- Yahoo Buying App and Analytics Company Flurry
NEW YORK — Yahoo is buying Flurry Inc., a startup that helps other programmers build better mobile applications and craft marketing campaigns for smartphones and tablets.
The deal announced Monday is the latest in a wave of mostly small acquisitions that Yahoo Inc. has made during the two-year reign of CEO Marissa Mayer as the company’s tries to attract more traffic on mobile devices.
The shopping spree hasn’t yet provided Yahoo with the means to boost its revenue growth at a time more advertising is moving to online services. The Sunnyvale, California, company last week disclosed another lackluster performance in the April-June period.
Yahoo didn’t disclose how much it is paying for Flurry, an indication that the price isn’t big enough to affect Yahoo’s finances.