Posts tagged Apple

Apple rolls out Search Ads for the App Store

Ads go live October 5 — Apple is offering $100 credit toward the first campaign.

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SearchCap: Google iOS app, broken AMP & Apple results

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Apple now has public place pages — but what exactly are they for?

Apple places URLs appear to be for the purpose of sharing with non-Apple users.

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Is the self-driving car just too much for Apple?

apple-autonomous-car

Earlier reports of a potential shift in focus at Apple’s self-driving car division, from hardware to software and services, have been confirmed by anonymous sources speaking to the Associated Press.

While the article doesn’t declare the iCar—the name chosen by most onlookers for Apple’s car—dead, it does suggest the iPhone maker is more open to collaboration with automakers.

See Also: Did Apple miss the mark on innovation this week?

The division has seen a few key changes and talent hires in the past 12 months. Apple veteran Bob Mansfield has taken over operations and Dan Dodge, the founder of operating system QNX, joined sometime in the past six months.

QNX is the operating system that powers a considerable amount of car infotainment systems. Apple is keen to expand in that area, after unveiling CarPlay last year.

AP’s source gives the impression the team wasn’t worried about the difficulty of building an automobile at the start, but as development grew, the issues started to become more visible. The automobile industry is highly regulated as well, another factor that soured Apple’s car goals.

A hardware business that Apple wants to leave?

The report says Apple might look to license the software to automakers, though that seems unlikely. Apple’s scripture declares that it must build the hardware, software, and services to provide a meaningful experience.

A more likely arrangement would be Apple partnering with a specific automaker that manufactures the car, following Apple’s design instructions. This would be a similar arrangement Apple has with Foxconn, which manufactures the iPhone and iPad.

Apple would then stuff the car with a self-driving system and infotainment and sell it.

Another option, one that might be prudent now that the European Union and other organizations are looking into Apple’s tax structure, could be an automotive acquisition.

It has enough money to purchase Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo and still have $75 billion on hand, if you take the three company’s market cap and add 10 percent. Apple hasn’t been the biggest spender in Silicon Valley however, so it would be a grand statement of where it’s future profits lie if it made a huge purchase in the next few years.

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Did Apple miss the mark on innovation this week?

An apple with and iPhone headset plugged into it.

Apple whipped the smartphone world into frenzy this week when it announced the iPhone 7 would no longer carry a standard headphone jack. In addition to that news Apple unveiled AirPods, two truly wireless earbuds that retail for $159 this October. AirPods look as if someone simply snipped off the wires to its current earbuds. It’s actually a pretty bold move but to put things mildly, people have concerns.

There has been no shortage of backlash this week. Do a simple search for “remove headphone jack” and you can read criticism from just about every tech and business media outlet, in all its glory.

If you really want to blow your hair back, take in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s post on Apple’s headphone jack fiasco, “Analog: the last defense against DRM.”

The 48-hour coverage conversation about how Apple’s wireless earbuds will get lost or stolen on the subway isn’t all that interesting. It’s definitely news and we’re right to put Apple’s products under this microscope, but these concerns don’t go to the real lost opportunity of Apples announcement.

See also: Apple jacks the jack and walks the watch at annual event

Can you really blame Apple for making this move? According to NPD Group in June of this year, Bluetooth headphone revenue overtook non-Bluetooth for the first time, accounting for 54 percent of headphone dollar sales and 17 percent of unit sales in the United States. The movement to truly wireless earbuds has already begun of course, but Apple will escalate the adoption of this form factor more than anything we’ve seen.

So, given that we are all heading this way, why was Apple slammed so hard this week?

The definition for what’s innovative has changed

With the Airpods announcement Apple is leaning on what I call “traditional innovation.” Technology is always pushing the “innovation” agenda. That’s how we in technology make hay. We build something different. It makes your life better. You buy it.. With the death of your beloved headphone jack, why is nobody talking about how one of the companies we unabashedly root for, may have lost at the opportunity to build something truly innovative by today’s definition? So what do I mean by “today’s definition?”

Our expectations for what’s innovative have changed. As a maker today innovation carries a hefty workload, but also a worthy one. If you look at Apple’s excellent track record with “traditional innovation” as a backdrop, it’s home run after home run. The iPod – which remember was all about the headphone jack with those cool white wires – was innovative. The iPhone? So innovative it made you pause. The iPad? I remember the first day I flipped it open, instantly merging phone and laptop experiences. iOS and the app store? Innovating an entirely new software business.  

But innovation today has different expectations altogether. Innovation for Apple – and everyone else – used to go like this: Apple invents the iPhone and it is glorious. This makes our ability to get really cool stuff and be constantly entertained much easier. We are amazed. It was not affordable but who cares (again, entertainment), the phone would get smaller each year, and let us take better and better pictures. That’s the sequence of events Apple has come to expect with innovation. But, Apple is getting chastised this week because they’re trying to innovate by pushing a device more suited to deliver entertainment, when people expect substance. So why did Apple miss the mark?

What innovation today looks like: more human

Innovation today should be squarely focused on improving the human condition and improving the quality of our lives. All the great innovators have this theme embedded in their business model.

Despite the recent setback with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that exploded in Florida, we are re-imagining space exploration for the daring purpose to find another sustainable planet if not an entirely parallel species. Innovation in the current form is colonizing planets and facing the reality that Earth has a finite time of existence.

Farmbot is humanity’s first 100 percent open-source CNC farming machine. Think about that for a minute; people have built a machine that allows individuals, communities, and families the ability to grow the exact amount of food need to self sustain. This reduces your grocery bill, and your carbon footprint at the same time. And it just makes you a smarter human. This project is incredible.

Turning human waste into clean drinking water? This is the type of innovation we expect.  Did you know that at least two billion people use latrines that aren’t properly drained? And this waste contaminates drinking water for millions of people with devastating consequences. And outside places like the United States getting clean drinking water is actually a huge problem.

How can the elimination of a headphone jack, and push to wireless earbuds that don’t honestly offer the human condition any improvement compare? It can’t.

Where Apple’s jack deletion really falls short

Quite simply, Apple falls short not because it removed the headphone jack, but because it built a dumb wireless earbud and is telling you it took courage to do so.

Truly wireless devices for the ear must be built to deliver much more than music and phone calls. Innovation is no longer about pushing devices that deliver better entertainment, building smaller form factors, or more powerful cameras.  They are really just “nice to haves.”

Innovation is about augmenting and controlling one of the five senses — in this case, hearing. That’s a huge task. Being able to hear intelligently, to give the consumer control of how they hear the world around them for a significantly enhanced human experience, is why Apple’s announcement missed the mark this week.

Because hearing is hard

I understand that Apple is not a hearables company of course, they have bigger markets to serve. But hearing is hard. Building intelligent, truly wireless earbuds requires a unique blend of acoustics, RF technologies, highly miniaturized electronics, sophisticated speech processing, state of the art software and sleek industrial design. But most of all it requires a laser focus on a consumer problem and how best to solve it.

And hey, the innovators in the hearables space have struggled with product quality so far – ear-to-ear connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity to the phone, over-engineered user interfaces, and poor sound quality, just to name a few. To date, truly wireless earbuds have not lived up to their hype. We know Apple’s news will help change this.

The disappearance of the headphone jack in iPhones pushes the truly wireless earbud to the forefront of the innovations conversation. Left to innovations from the hearing aid companies, our ears will now be the focus for new companies who see them as a platform for innovations that improve our lives in fundamental ways. We are entering a time when our ears will not be forgotten and your earbud charging case will be just as important as your glasses case.

The author is co-founder of Nuheara.

Disclosure: Nuheara is one of the startups from our accelerator partner, Wearable IoT World.

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Apple jacks the jack and walks the Watch at big event

new-apple-watch-wow

Another year, another September event, another iPhone.

Apple’s key event met all the criteria, although the lack of MacBook, iPad, and “one more thing” segment might have upset some fans that were hoping for surprises.

iPhone 7

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The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were unveiled at the event, with a slight design tweak, upgrade to the camera, and internal boost.

Starting with the design, Apple announced two new color options, jet black and ‘black’, which replace space grey. Jet black is the only glossy finish out of the options, which also include rose gold, gold, and silver.

Apart from that, the design changes are very minimal. The camera lens is bigger (dual-lens on 7 Plus) and the antenna lines have been moved to the top and bottom of the device. Speakers are now located on the top of the device, as well as the bottom, for a “stereo” experience.

The Home button click has been removed from the iPhone 7, replaced with taptic feedback. Apple has also added IP67 water and dust resistance to the smartphone—finally.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will come in 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options. Jet black and black will only be available in 128GB and 256GB configurations.

apple-iphone-camera

Cameras are the major upgrade on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Both receive a new 7MP FaceTime camera and a higher aperture lens on the rear. On the 7 Plus, Apple has added a dual-lens, which provides two times optical hardware zoom and 10 times software zoom.

Internally, the A10 fusion powers the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The chip is 40 percent faster and 50 percent faster in the graphics department. Apple also promised one hour of extra battery life, compared to the previous iPhones.

Lighting connector

Apple removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, as rumors had suggested for months. There’s been ferocious debate over the headphone jack online, but Phil Schiller ultimately put it down to bravery and progress.

Apple will bundle a pair of lightning connector earpods for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus customers, alongside a lightning to 3.5mm jack adapter.

Wireless earpods

apple-earpods

Apple also showed what it hopes to be the future of audio: wireless. The new wireless earpods use a homebrew wireless solution, hopefully better than Bluetooth, to keep a stable connection. The wireless earpods cost $170.

Users will be able to talk to Siri and answer calls through the earpods, but fitness tracking, which Bragi Dash or Samsung’s Gear IconX wireless earphones provide, will not be available. Beats Electronics have launched three new wireless headphones to go alongside Apple’s first venture.

While it seems revolutionary to abandon the jack, it may not be innovation, says one next-generation earphone maker. “Apple eliminating the headphone jack is great news for hearables makers racing to ship product, but it does very little in terms of pushing true innovation,” says David Cannington, co-founder of Nuheara. “Truly wireless earbuds are about so much more than just music, phone calls, hearing live concerts, or biometrics.” 

Apple Watch series 2

apple-watch-series-2

Its been two years since the original Apple Watch launched, to mixed reviews from critics and consumers. Some of the complaints were fixed with the announcement of Watch OS 3.0, which goes live later this year, but others have been mended with Series 2.

Internally, the new Apple Watch comes with a dual-core processor that offers 50 percent higher performance than the original. The display is also 50 percent brighter and higher resolution.

Apple has added built-in GPS, which gives hikers and runners the ability to monitor location without a connected smartphone. The new Watch is also waterproof for up to 50 meters, great news for swimmers.

An LTE version was not announced at the event. Rumors suggest Apple is worried about battery life, if it added an LTE chip.

apple-watch-nike-series-2

Nike unveiled its own Apple Watch at the event, using the familiar Nike+ design aesthetic. It is supposedly perfect for runners and workout junkies.

The original Apple Watch will receive the dual-core processor upgrade and start at $270. Series 2 will start at $370, as will the Nike+ edition. It announced a new ceramic version, which will cost more, and the Watch Edition has also been updated.

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Is Apple launching a fitness tracker alongside Watch 2?

apple-watch-fitness-health

Apple might enter into the fitness tracker market in 2017, according to new rumor from Economic Daily News, who suggest the company has been working on a health device for two years.

The wearable is aimed at people that want more fitness and health data from their device. It includes heart-rate and blood sugar level monitoring, alongside other health data, according to the report.

See Also: Apple self-driving effort shifts from hardware to software

Jay Blahnik, the fitness expert Apple picked up in 2013, has apparently been working on the device for two years. Blahnik has been working on ‘special projects’ for Cupertino since joining the company.

3D touch might be a major feature on the fitness tracker, possibly due to the screen limitations. Macotakara, a Japanese blog, said Apple has found an innovative method to charge the device.

Foxconn, TSMC, and a few other suppliers have supposedly been in discussions about the fitness tracker.

Apple rolling out more health functionality?

Original rumors about the Watch suggested that it would have next generation health functionality, but that didn’t arrive in the final version. Some said the FDA had forced Apple to remove some of the health features, though that has not been confirmed by either party.

We might see the revival of these features with the fitness tracker, but the company would need to show proof that its analytics and sensors work if it plans to add medical level functionality.

Pricing should be competitive with Fitbit, we would assume, though it may price higher as is typically the case. We have no date for when it will launch in 2017, we might see it at the start of the year at the March event or alongside the iPhone 7S in September.

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Apple self-driving effort shifts from hardware to software

land

Inside Apple’s secretive car division, the focus is starting to shift from building an all-electric, autonomous car to developing software and services that would work inside the prospective car, according to people familiar with the iPhone maker’s plans.

In a Bloomberg report, Mark Gurman states that the company has “increased emphasis on developing self-driving technology” and hired several automotive software developers from BlackBerry.

See Also: Apple Watch sales more than halved so far this summer

Dan Dodge, the founder of QNX—the operating system used by BlackBerry in its smartphones prior to the Priv—is one of the new employees reportedly working on car infotainment services.

QNX is used primarily in automotives for Volkswagen, Daimler, and Ford nowadays, making the pickup of Dodge all the more intriguing.

To make it more obvious that Apple is on the hunt for automotive software developers, it recently opened a research and development center in Kanata, Ontario, home to some of BlackBerry’s R&D facilities.

Apple not totally giving up on hardware

Apple is not giving up fully on the goal of hardware, software, and services all under one roof, but the lack of focus has caused talent to leave and upper-management disagreement.

To that end, Apple veteran Bob Mansfield has been brought in to try and re-focus the team. Mansfield reports directly to CEO Tim Cook, unlike his predecessor Steve Zadesky, showing the growing importance at the company that the autonomous car is a success.

Apple still has 2020 as the date for completion, but growing competition from Tesla, Uber, and Google, alongside previous dormant automakers starting to enter the market, may force Apple to speed up its development and reveal early previews of its tech.

Then again, the autonomous market is still very fragmented with Google not providing any commercial strategy and Uber, General Motors, and Ford only just starting to get to grips with what an autonomous future means for transport and ownership.

Apple may wait for a more cohesive vision on what the future of automotive means before publicly revealing its hand. That way, it won’t be labelled a failure if consumers heavily reject loaning or ridesharing arrangements that Uber, Lyft, and Google attempt to launch.

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Apple Watch sales more than halved so far this summer

apple-watch2.JPG

Apple has been unable to keep interest in its smartwatch high during the summer season, according to new smartwatch sales data from IDC.

The report claims that Apple Watch sales fell to 1.6 million in the second quarter of 2016, a 55 percent decline from the 3.6 million sales recorded in the same quarter last year.

See Also: Apple drives wearables to $6 billion in first quarter sales

Part of the reason for the decline, according to IDC, may be rumors of the Apple Watch 2 launching this fall. Buyers may be waiting for the improved second edition, which is expected to feature a faster processor, higher resolution display, and a FaceTime camera.

Apple is still ahead of the pack in the smartwatch market, even at 1.6 million quarterly sales. Samsung came second with 600,000 sales, a slight increase on the 400,000 sales last year.

Apple Watch strap on market loosening?

That said, Apple’s hold on the smartwatch market is starting to dwindle. It went from 72 to 47 percent market share in the past year, as more devices from Lenovo, LG, and Garmin hit the market.

“Despite a down quarter, Apple remains far and away the market leader in smartwatches,” said IDC in a press release. “Apple faces the same challenges as other OEMs, but the pure exposure of the device and brand through tactical marketing gives it a leg up on the competition.”

Apple introduced a host of new updates to the Watch at WWDC 2016 last month, including a much faster load time that pleased app developers. That, bundled with the upgraded specs, may be enough to keep investors and wearable fans happy.

In the wearable market, the Apple Watch is a big player, but does not control the market like it does with smartwatches. It remains firmly behind Fitbit and Xiaomi, both sell a range of fitness trackers.

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Apple drives wearables to $6 billion in first quarter sales

apple watch store display Flickr Shinya Suzuki.jpg

Wearables continue to display strong growth in the first quarter of the year, reaching $6 billion in revenue on a 133 percent yearly growth.

The main factor for pushing wearables passed the $6 billion mark is the Apple Watch, which is already the most successful smartwatch on the market, despite being less than a year old.

See Also: Ericsson sees a wearable future that’s easy to swallow

Value per wearable grew at a rate of 50 percent yearly to $218, according to research firm Futuresource Computing, another potential factor of the Apple Watch growth in the first quarter.

If reaching the top of the smartwatch market wasn’t enough, the Apple Watch has also supposedly passed Casio, Citizen, and Fossil. Major watchmakers Swatch and Rolex are still ahead, but the insurgence of a non-watchmaker into the market may change in the industry’s perception on smartwatches.

Competition drives down fitness tracker prices

Activity trackers from wearable manufacturers like Fitbit and Jawbone surpassed 10 million in sales, but only noticed 18 percent growth in volume and an average price slump of 40 percent from 2014 to 2015.

That is mostly due to the Xiaomi Mi Band, sold in China for less than $30, alongside Fitbit, Jawbone, and other fitness providers expanding wearable options to include more economical options.

Due to the slump in wearable average price, spend in this area only grew by two percent in 2015 and Futuresource expects similarly underwhelming figures in 2016.

What we are seeing from market leader Fitbit leads us to believe that smartwatches with central fitness functionality may be the future. It launched the Surge last year, a fitness tracker with basic smartwatch functionality, and the Blaze is a continuation of this trend.

Despite the lack of spend in the fitness and health tracker realm, we are seeing large acquisitions take place in the industry for talent and tech. Nokia acquired Withings, the French wearable health firm, for $191 million; Fitbit acquired Coin for an undisclosed amount.

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Is NVIDIA outpacing Apple, Google with its self-driving tech?

audi-bmw-mercedes

As the race to master self-driving car technology accelerates, some investors say Tesla Motors partner NVIDIA Corp. may have the edge over competitors Apple and Google.

According to Investors Business Daily, Wedbush Securities analyst Betsy Van Hees sees Santa Clara, Calif.-based NVIDIA as nearing a breakthrough that will bring autonomous vehicles to the next level.

Van Hees boosted her stock price target for NVIDIA partly on optimism that Nvidia’s technology could allow Audi and other automakers to create autonomous consumer cars within a year. She added that this tech will be incorporated into Audi’s A8 model next year.

The firm’s technology, which uses graphics processing unit (GPU) technology, launched its Drive PX 2 system for autonomous driving this winter. The company stated that it expects consumers will begin purchasing cars equipped with Drive PX 2 within a year.

“It will most likely be used in an autopilot function,” predicted Van Hees in a report.

On the automation scale for self-driving cars, autopilot is seen as “Level 2,” which allows feet-off and hands-off driving. Google is reportedly working on “Level 4” automation, which allows driving with no human assistance.

And no one is sure what level of automation Apple’s “Titan” project is tackling, for the tech giant is staying tight lipped about what is widely assumed to be its own self-driving car initiative.

The Drive PX 2 system produces a 360-degree visual using ultrasonic sensors. Over the next five years Nvidia said it anticipates incremental adoption of the technology.

Van Hees maintained her outperform rating on the strength of the firm’s self-driving technology advances, as well as on the company’s strong PC gaming sales and on new uses for its GPUs.

NVIDIA leads now but isn’t the only game in town

Meanwhile, NVIDIA is facing increasing competition in the race to develop the technology that the next phase of autonomous vehicle development is based on.

For example NXP Semiconductors launched its BlueBox self-driving engine last month. The firm has said it is targeting 2020 as the year it develops complete vehicular autonomy.

But where NXP bases its technology on a central computing engine, NVIDIA’s use of GPUs could give it an advantage, says MKM analyst Ian Ing.

GPUs can better handle “homogeneous and repetitive computing” which autonomous vehicles will likely demand in great quantity. This type of computing has previously been used by Nvidia processors to rapidly render images for PC gaming.

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SearchCap: Apple Maps, AdWords spend & SEO trends

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Apple brings Siri to Mac, new exposure for non-Google search engines

Soon, you will finally be able to search the web from your Mac desktop — and Google won’t be a default provider.

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SearchCap: Apple news, successful PPC managers & technical SEO

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Apple Maps becomes a platform with new extensions for third-party apps

The move parallels Apple’s decision to open up Siri and Messages to developers.

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Apple to introduce search ads to its App Store

In what seems like a stark contrast to Apple’s backing away from its longstanding mobile ad marketplace, iAd, the company will instead be getting back to the ad business, allowing app developers to pay for ads to appear on top of search results in the lucrative Apple App Store.

Taking note from both Google and Facebook, Apple is making many moves to make its ad offering more open and accessible than ever.

Search Ads   App Store   Apple Developer

In the meantime, it is filling holes in its previous iterations of iAd, starting with a self-serve, second price auction-based platform with no initial minimum spends.

Apple’s plan to open up APIs for campaign creation, management, and reporting shows how the tech giant is serious about giving advertisers the tools to make a more automated and simple manual process.

Another smart move to create efficiency is Apple’s Search Match feature, which is similar to Google AdWords Universal App Campaigns in allowing an advertiser who is either more novice or strapped for time to set up a basic campaign in fewer steps.

Basic features such as age, gender, location and OS targeting are available, but they will still be much more limited than Google, Facebook and even Twitter’s capabilities.

app store search ads

Apple’s offering also include two areas that seem more limited than others: creative use and data measurement.

It seems like Apple will initially limit creative use to the assets that are already approved within the App Store. This will handcuff advertisers who are used to developing, testing and driving optimizations through custom designed creative ad iterations.

Apple’s stance to keep tight controls over its user data, however, is not surprising.

Although the company is allowing advertisers to track “clusters of users” by implementing “a few lines of code,” it is unclear if Apple will be partnering with standard third-party app attribution companies, such as TUNE, AppsFlyer and Adjust that would offer more sophisticated ad tracking to an individual user level.

Nevertheless, App marketers will now be able to fully capture search intent in both major app stores and promote their apps across both iOS and Android systems.

Though Apple Search ads will not officially launch until the fall, brands and marketers should immediately opt-in for the beta from Apple’s developer portal given participation is free and free downloads can be garnered now.

Along with Google’s announcements of updates to Google Adwords’ new features a few weeks ago, advertisers should also actively assign their agency partners to develop a smart App Store search strategy that takes advantage of all that both Google and Apple has to offer.

Tim Villanueva is the Head of Media Partnerships at Fetch and a contributor to Search Engine Watch.

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Google beats Apple to become world’s most valuable brand

Since 2011, Google and Apple have been competing to be the most valuable, according to Millward Brown Digital’s annual report. This year, Google is back on top.

For the last 11 years, Millward Brown Digital, the market research division of London agency WPP, has been analyzing financial and market data, in addition to interviews with customers, to determine the world’s most valuable brand.

In 2006, the first-ever BrandZ Top 100 ranking, that brand was Microsoft. Google was ranked seventh, skyrocketing to first place the following year and staying there until 2011. Since then, it’s been back and forth between Apple and Google, which just reclaimed the top spot.

Last year, Apple was valued at nearly $247 billion, up 67% from the previous year, while Google only jumped 9% to $173 billion. Apple’s value has since decreased 8% to $228 billion. Meanwhile, Google has had a resurgence in value, propelling 32% to $229 billion.

Microsoft remained in third place, though the next spot has seen a significant shakeup. Like Apple, IBM’s value decreased 8% year-over-year, dropping from fourth place to tenth. It’s not a significant decline; it’s just that other brands have experienced particularly explosive growth since 2015.

most-valuable-brands-2016

“The brands that thrive, regardless of sector, are those that behave like challengers and and adopt disruptor models and mindsets,” says David Roth, chief executive (CEO), EMEA and Asia, of The Store WPP. “They’re shaking up other categories with innovation that goes beyond new products or technologies, transforming the way a service is delivered, enhancing the consumer experience or changing a format.”

For example, Amazon upped its delivery offerings and started creating its own content, while Facebook began hosting publishers’ original content. Facebook and Amazon – the value of which grew by a respective 44% and 59% – both made the top 10 for the first time. Facebook placed fifth; Amazon, seventh.

“By stretching their brands in innovative ways and expanding into new categories, the strongest brands in the Top 100 are increasing their penetration and their relevance in people’s day-to-day lives,” says Doreen Wang, Millward Brown’s Global Head of BrandZ.

Like Amazon and Facebook, Starbucks saw a big spike. Its value is up 49%, jumping from 28th on the list to 21st, in part because of its recent focus on ecommerce. Rounding out the top 10 were AT&T, Visa, Verizon and McDonald’s, all four of which maintained their spots from last year.

starbucks-app

Since then, Google has invested heavily in video and mobile, making Android increasingly more competitive with the iPhone. At its recent I/O conference, the search giant also announced a greater focus on artificial intelligence, an area Apple hasn’t improved much upon since the initial launch of Siri. (Though that may change soon.)

Once again, tech and telecommunications dominated the top of Millward Brown’s list. However, apparel is the fastest-growing industry. Since last year, the sector has grown 14% to $114 billion. Nike was the highest-valued apparel brand, ranking 24th; last year, the sportswear giant placed 28th.

Another bit of history repeating itself was the increasing value of Chinese brands. There was only one Chinese brand listed during the initial study, a number that has gone up significantly over the past few years.

While no Chinese brands made the top 10, there were three in this year’s top 20: Tencent, China Mobile and Alibaba. Three of the list’s seven newcomers – alcohol brand Moutai, insurance company AIA and electronics retailer JD.com – also hail from China.

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