Apple job cuts; ‘ban’ on call forwarding and other top tech news of the week

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Apple has made the biggest job cuts since the Pandemic. The layoffs are reported to be the result of the company shutting down its car project. The government has announced a ban on USSD-based call forwarding. Realme and Motorola launched new smartphones. All this and more in Gadgets Now-Times of India Tech’s weekly news wrap.

Apple makes first significant job cuts since pandemic, teams impacted and more
Apple Inc laid off more than 600 employees in California as part of the decisions to end its car and smartwatch display projects, according to filings with the California Employment Development Department. Under California law, companies must give employees and state representatives a 60-day notice before a mass layoff event.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Apple filed eight separate reports to the state to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification or WARN programme. At least 87 of the people reportedly worked at an address corresponding to a secret Apple facility for its next-generation screen development, while the others were located at buildings related to the car project. Read the full story here


Apple becomes one of the largest job creators in India: IT minister shares numbers
The Apple ecosystem has employed more than 150,000 people directly under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme approval in 2021, IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, adding that this makes it the country’s largest blue-collar job creator.

Approximately 3,00,000 people have been indirectly employed, resulting in over 400,000 new jobs, he added. The minister attributed the developments to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PLI policies, highlighting the transformative impact of the rules.

“iPhone factories are set to hire more than 10,000 people directly in the peak June-September period,” Chandrasekhar posted on X.

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The FY24 production of iPhones exceeded Rs 1 lakh crore in February, with 70% exports and a total market value of Rs 1.6 lakh crore.

iOS app development now sustains more than 1 million jobs. Additionally, Apple has launched an education initiative focused on women’s health as part of its $50-million Supplier Employee Development Fund, according to the minister. Click here to read more


American IT company cuts 800 jobs across India and US to hire talent with these skills
EXL Service, a New York-based IT company, is restructuring its operations to meet the growing demand for generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). As part of this effort, the company is cutting 800 jobs or less than 2% of its workforce. The job cuts will mainly affect junior staff in data analytics and digital operations in the US and India. The company employs about 55,000 people globally.

At the same time, EXL Services is hiring skilled workers with expertise in advanced data, AI, and generative AI.

This change reportedly reflects the company’s new direction, which is evidenced by recent leadership changes. EXL CEO, Rohit Kapoor, has been promoted to the role of board chair, while two senior leaders, Vikas Bhalla and Vivek Jetley, are taking on expanded roles that include integrating data and AI-led solutions. Read the full story here

Government tells Flipkart, Amazon and other e-commerce companies to stop using this term
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has reportedly issued a directive to all e-commerce companies, emphasising accurate labelling for certain beverage categories. According to a report in the Economic Times, FSSAI specifically advises against referring to dairy-based, cereal-based, or malt-based beverages as “health drinks” or “energy drinks.” Read the full story here


Government to Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea: Suspend USSD-based call forwarding on smartphones
Smartphone users in India take note. The way Android phone and iPhone users manage call forwarding on their phones is about to change. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has ordered telecom

companies to stop using USSD codes (like *401#) to activate call-forwarding features. This change takes effect from April 15, 2024.


USSD codes are those shortcodes that mobile users dial on their phones to access various services, like checking their balance or phone’s IMEI number. While convenient, DoT has found them vulnerable to misuse in online scams and mobile phone-related crimes. Click here to read more


PhonePe takes UPI to Singapore, here’s how it’ll work
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and PhonePe have signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). As part of this partnership, STB and PhonePe will invest in joint marketing efforts across India and Singapore to promote the destination’s offerings and facilitate seamless UPI experiences across key tourism hotspots. Click here to read more


Government issues ‘high’ security risk warning for Android, Google Chrome and Firefox users
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has warned users of multiple vulnerabilities in Android OS which could allow an attacker to obtain sensitive information. As per the advisory, ‘Android 12, 12L, 13, 14’, are the affected software versions.

“Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow the attacker to obtain sensitive information, gain elevated privileges and cause a denial-of-service condition on the targeted system,” said the advisory by CERT-In, which comes under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology,

The agency says that these vulnerabilities exist due to flaws in the Framework, System, MediaTek components, Widevine, Qualcomm components and Qualcomm closed-source components. Click here to read more


Government issues important warning for iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watch and other Apple device users
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has issued a warning for several Apple products including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks running on various operating systems (OS), Apple Watch and other devices. The government body that deals with cyber security incidents said that several ‘high’ severity vulnerabilities have been found within different Apple operating systems. This could have allowed hackers to gain unauthorised access to the devices. Read the full story here


Motorola Edge 50 Pro with 50MP selfie camera, Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 SoC launched: Price, offers and more
Motorola Edge 50 Pro is here. Motorola has expanded its Edge series of smartphones with the launch of the Motorola Edge 50 Pro smartphone in India. The smartphone sports a pOLED display and is powered by a Qualcomm processor. The mid-range smartphone comes with an IP68 rating and houses a 50MP main camera. The smartphone features a metal frame design and a vegan leather finish back panel. Click here to read more


Realme 12x smartphone 45W charging support, MediaTek chipset launched: Price, specs and more
Realme 12x smartphone is here. Chinese smartphone maker Realme has expanded its 12 series of smartphones with the launch of Realme 12x in India. Successor to last year’s launched Realme 11x, the smartphone comes with 45W SUPER VOOC fast charging support and is powered by a MediaTek chipset. The smartphone houses a 50MP main camera and features a water-resistant design. Read the full story here


HP x360 14 laptops with Microsoft CoPilot button launched, priced at Rs 99,999
HP has expanded its convertible laptop lineup with the launch of Envy x360 14 laptops in the country. The HP Envy x360 is the company’s first laptop to come with a Microsoft CoPilot button on the keyboard to enable generative AI features such as assisted search, content generation and more. The laptops weigh 1.4kgs and sport a 14-inch OLED touch display. The latest Envy laptops are powered by Intel Core Ultra processors. Click here to read more


Sony launches slimmer, lighter PlayStation 5 ‘Slim’ consoles in India: Price, availability, and more
After launching it last year in the US, Sony has introduced its new redesigned PlayStation 5 model in India. It features a slimmer and lighter design, a detachable disc drive, and increased internal storage.

In India, the PlayStation 5 ‘Slim’ will be available from April 5. The digital edition will be priced at Rs 44,990, and the disc version will be priced at Rs 54,990. The console will be available through both offline and online retailers.

While the redesigned PlayStation 5 packs the same hardware as the standard PlayStation 5, it offers increased storage and a more compact design. Read the full story here


Honor MagicBook X14 Pro, MagicBook X16 Pro with 13th gen Intel processor launched in India: All the details
HTech has launched two new laptops in India – the MagicBook X14 Pro and X16 Pro. These laptops come with a 13th-generation Intel processor and are now available on Amazon starting at Rs 54,990. Click here to read more


WhatsApp sets new record in ‘account banning’ in India
WhatsApp announced that it banned more than 76 lakh accounts in India in February. According to the company, the accounts have been banned to combat abuse on the platform and in compliance with the IT Rules 2021.

The Meta-owned instant messaging app said that between the February 1-29 period, it banned 7,628,000 WhatsApp accounts and 1,424,000 of these accounts were ‘proactively banned’, which means that they were blocked before any reports from users, the company said in its monthly report it releases in compliance with the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Read the full story here

BGMI maker launch shooter mobile game Bullet Echo India: Availability, gameplay and more
Krafton India has partnered with ZeptoLab to launch its much-awaited new game – Bullet Echo India. The developers claim that the shooter mobile game is tailored specifically for Indian gamers. Bullet Echo India also promises an immersive gaming experience with unique features exclusively curated for the Indian gaming community.

Commenting on the launch, Anuj Sahani, India publishing advisor and head of Krafton India incubator programme said: “Bullet Echo India marks a significant milestone in the Indian gaming landscape, bringing a unique blend of tactical gameplay and strategic team dynamics to audiences. The launch represents another step in our ongoing commitment to elevate gaming experiences for the Indian community with localised content. We are excited to unveil a groundbreaking collaboration with BGMI, introducing an exclusive in-game skin. With Bullet Echo India, we aim to create a unique and unforgettable experience for gamers in the country.” Read the full story here

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