AWT News Update: January 6, 2016

Nikon KeyMission 360

Nikon KeyMission 360

It's CES time so the news isn't all Apple...

  • The VR space heats up with announcements from Nikon and Speck
  • Things are going crazy in the wearables and connected health markets, with Fitbit getting slapped with a class action suite, Misfit announcing two new products, and Withings joining the fun with a new wearable and a connected thermometer
  • Tim Cook made a little over $10 million last year, and his executive team did even better
  • If you're a supporter of Apple World Today on Patreon or through PayPal, you'll be getting a new benefit starting tomorrow - a patron-only podcast

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Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for January 6, 2016.

As you’d expect, today I’ll be mainly covering CES announcements since the only thing newsworthy about Apple is that the stock price is down again.

It’s probably no secret that I’m a big fan of VR, especially producing your own VR content, and by that I don’t mean games — I mean full, immersive videos with stereo sound. I bought a rather inexpensive spherical camera called the Ricoh Theta S last month, and have uploaded my images to Google Street View, where they now have about 373,000 views. Well, Nikon upped the ante on VR content yesterday with a camera that will compete not only with the Ricoh device, but probably with the GoPro line as well. The oddly-named KeyMission 360, which we haven’t heard the price of yet, shoots 4K spherical video and is shockproof and waterproof as well. On the website you’ll see a post about a product from Speck called Pocket VR, which will let you view a lot of Google Cardboard compatible content. You just slip an iPhone 6 or 6s into a case, attach the viewer, and you’re up and running.

In the wearables and connected health world, Fitbit of course announced their $200 Blaze — I say “of course” because I mentioned it on the podcast a few days ago. That company was also hit with a major class-action lawsuit yesterday, with consumers from California, Wisconsin, and my home state of Colorado alleging that the heart rate tracking in the Charge HR and Surge is significantly inaccurate. Misfit, the company that was co-founded by none other than former Apple CEO and the guy whose claim to fame was firing Steve Jobs — John Sculley — has announced a couple of wearables. The first is almost more jewelry than fitness tracker, and that’s the $99 Misfit Ray. The next is a combo of a fitness tracker and Bluetooth headset called Misfit Specter. Finally, longtime connected health company Withings came out with a connected thermometer, just the thing for tracking your temperature during a bout of flu. The big shock was that they also came out with a tiny tracker called Withings Go that features an e-ink screen, 8-month battery life, and connectivity with the rest of the Withings ecosystem. We’re sure to hear more announcements in this area in the next couple of days.

Tim Cook’s compensation was revealed today in an SEC filing that shows that he took home $10,281,327 last year, with a $2 million salary, non-equity incentive compensation of $8 million, and other compensation of $280,000. Senior Executives Angela Ahrendts, Bruce Sewell, Dan Riccio, Eddy Cue and Luca Maestri all earned more than $25 million in compensation, most of that being in stock awards and non-equity incentives in addition to their $1 million salaries. Considering that the executive team generated a total of $233.7 billion in sales during the 2015 fiscal year, I’d say that compensation was well-deserved.

If you’re a backer of Apple World Today, we have something coming for you tomorrow — a new half-hour podcast. For site backers only (those of course are the people who support us with their dollars), the show will feature me, Dennis Sellers, and in the future a variety of guests. We still don’t have a name for the podcast, but that’s something else we’re going to let the patrons decide on.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another edition of the AWT News Update.