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Apple’s 36% Boost in Research and Development Spending Points to Strong Product Pipeline

Posted by | July 23, 2014.
iwatch-concept-nike

Apple made a significant investment into research and development this past quarter, increasing spending in the category by 36 percent over the same quarter last year, reports Financial Times. As noted by BTIG Research analyst Walt Piecyk, Apple’s $1.6 billion quarterly investment represents 4 percent of sales, the highest percentage of spending in R&D since 2006, the year before Apple released the first iPhone.

This huge increase supports rumors the company is investing significantly in more than just new iPhones, iPads, and Macs for its upcoming product pipeline. Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly confirmed the company is preparing to enter new product categories, with Cook saying Apple is working “really great stuff.” Apple’s Internet Software and Services chief Eddy Cue also enthusiastically noted that Apple’s planned products for 2014 are “the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.”

iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton

The highlight of these new products is likely the iWatch, a fitness-oriented smartwatch rumored for release later this year. The sensor-laden wearable device is expected to sync with the iPhone including via a new Health app for iOS 8 and may Continue Reading

iPhone Camera Supplier Sony Investing $345 Million to Boost Image Sensor Production [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 23, 2014.
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As hinted at in an earlier report from Nikkei, Sony today confirmed it is investing 35 billion yen ($345 million) to increase the production of image sensors for smartphones and tablets, reports Reuters.

The electronics firm will use the 35 billion yen to boost production of stacked CMOS sensors at two factories in Kyushu, Japan as well as complete work at a factory it recently purchased from Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics. This investment will increase manufacturing by 13 percent, allowing Sony to produce up to 68,000 wafers a month by August 2015.

Sony is a leader in the imaging sensor market, supplying camera modules for major mobile phone and tablet manufacturers, including Apple and its iPhone since the iPhone 4s. Sony is rumored to be supplying Apple with a 13-megapixel Exmor IMX220 rear camera sensor and possibly the front-camera module for the iPhone 6.

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OS X Yosemite Public Beta Launches Tomorrow, July 24

Posted by | July 23, 2014.
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In a coordinated release today, a number of publications have released official overviews of the latest OS X Yosemite beta build alongside word of Apple’s plans to open up the public beta tomorrow, July 24. As noted by The Loop, the public beta of Yosemite will be the same build released to developers on Monday.

The public beta version of OS X Yosemite is the same version released to developers on Monday, so to start off, consumers and developers will be running the same software. However, the developer version of Yosemite will be updated more often over the next few months than the public beta version. This is so developers can continue to test their software with the latest operating system available. Consumers really don’t need updates that frequently.

As far as the overviews designed to bring members of the public beta up to speed as the program launches, the general feeling is positive. Some note, however, that many of Yosemite’s best features involve integration with iOS 8 and will be inaccessible during the public beta as the program covers only OS X. Here are a few snippets:

Dana Wollman, Engadget

For anyone who thought OS Continue Reading

Apple Addresses iOS ‘Backdoor’ Concerns by Outlining Legitimate Uses for Targeted Services

Posted by | July 23, 2014.
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Earlier this week, forensic expert Jonathan Zdziarski attracted attention for his disclosures of what appeared to be “backdoors” in iOS that could allow for covert data collection of users’ information from their devices. While Apple issued a statement denying that anything nefarious was involved, the company has now posted a new support document (via Cabel Sasser) offering a limited description of the three services highlighted in Zdziarski’s talk.

Each of these diagnostic capabilities requires the user to have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer. Any data transmitted between the iOS device and trusted computer is encrypted with keys not shared with Apple. For users who have enabled iTunes Wi-Fi Sync on a trusted computer, these services may also be accessed wirelessly by that computer.

The three processes include:

com.apple.mobile.pcapd: Diagnostic packet capture to a trusted computer, used for diagnosing app issues and enterprise VPN connection problems.

com.apple.mobile.file_relay: Used on internal devices and can be accessed (with user permission) by AppleCare for diagnostic purposes on the user’s device.

com.apple.mobile.house_arrest: Used by iTunes for document transfer and by Xcode during app development and testing.

Security experts will undoubtedly have additional questions Continue Reading

iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite May Launch Separately Despite Integration Features

Posted by | July 23, 2014.
continuity

While iOS and Mac OS X have traditionally followed different release schedules, Apple’s recently announced Continuity features suggested it was possible for Apple’s two operating systems to debut at the same time. However, Apple is planning to stagger the releases of both iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, reports 9to5Mac, citing sources with knowledge of Apple’s plans.

iOS 8 is expected to launch in September alongside the iPhone 6 while OS X Yosemite will not launch until October. Apple used the same release schedule last year, launching iOS 7 alongside the iPhone 5s in September and OS X Mavericks one month later in October.

Continuity allows users to work seamlessly between iPhone, iPad and Mac, with the ability to start emails on one device and easily finish it on another, or using Macs and iPads to answer phone calls and “green bubble” text messages. Because iOS and OS X have never been designed to work better together than with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, many saw a dual release as a good opportunity for Apple to cross-promote both its iOS devices and Macs with a stand-out new feature like Continuity.

Apple is planning on Continue Reading

Apple Facing Class Action Lawsuit From 20,000 Employees Over Alleged Labor Code Violations

Posted by | July 23, 2014.
apple_retail_employees

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit in California over a number of alleged Labor Code violations, with the company being accused of not providing timely meal breaks, timely rest breaks, and timely final paychecks, reports TechCrunch.

Plaintiffs bring this Class Action against Defendants to recover for, among other things, failure to provide meal and rest periods, failure to furnish accurate itemized wage statements, and failure to pay timely wages on the end of employment, interest, attorneys’ fees, penalties, costs, and expenses on behalf of themselves, the Plaintiff Class, and the Plaintiff Subclasses.

Originally filed in December of 2011 by four former Apple retail and corporate employees in San Diego, the lawsuit was certified as class action yesterday and could affect up to 20,000 current and former Apple employees in the state of California.

According to the filing, which demands a jury trial, employee complaints cover a wide range of possible labor code violations. One complaint, for example, cites employees having to work for five hours straight without a meal break, while another complaint suggests that Apple took several weeks to send out a final check to multiple employees.

The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages and restitution of all Continue Reading

AT&T, Apple Begin Paying $40 to U.S. iPad 3G Purchasers After Unlimited Data Lawsuit [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
settlementcheck

AT&T and Apple have begun sending out payments to consumers in the United States who purchased an original iPad 3G, following the culmination of a long-running class action lawsuit over unlimited data.

Originally settled in September of 2013, the lawsuit covered a $29.99 no-contract unlimited data plan that Apple and AT&T offered with the original iPad — a deal that Steve Jobs advertised on stage when the tablet was revealed in January of 2010.

In June of 2010, AT&T stopped offering the plan and replaced it with a 2GB for $25/month plan. AT&T did grandfather in users who had an unlimited plan prior to June 2010, but the company also began throttling unlimited users in October of 2011.

The class action lawsuit accused Apple and AT&T of using bait-and-switch tactics, selling iPads that advertised unlimited data without actually providing unlimited data. The lawsuits also suggested that without the prospect of an unlimited data plan, consumers had overpaid for their tablets. Apple and AT&T’s settlement, which called for the companies to send out $40 checks to all affected customers, was finalized in February. As noted by 9to5Mac, checks are now arriving to customers.

Enclosed is Continue Reading

Apple’s EFI Firmware 2.9 Update for 2011 MacBook Airs Appears Bugged, Some Users Unable to Install [Mac Blog]

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
efiupdatetroubles

Apple’s recent EFI Firmware 2.9 update for 2011 MacBook Air models appears to be causing trouble for several MacBook Air users, according to a thread on the Apple Support Communities.

Released on July 15 to fix sleep/wake issues and a bug that caused fans to run at full speed after waking from sleep, the EFI update has caused some MacBook Air machines to shut down completely for several hours and on other machines, the update is still listed in the App Store after being installed.

Multiple users have said their machines turned off and did not reboot for several hours after attempting to install the update, while others have been unable to install the update at all. Some users have also reported completely bricked machines even after several hours.

One user attempted to install the update multiple times with no luck, while another user took his machine to the Apple Store where employees were also unable to get the update to install.

I had the same issue. The machine simply shuts off and doesn’t restart so the firmware update is never applied. The power button stopped working and the machine would not turn on at all. Continue Reading

iPad Sales Total 225 Million Units Since 2010 as Apple Claims ‘Significant Innovation’ Coming

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
ipad_air_family_20136

During today’s earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared new information on the state of the iPad, including details on overall sales since the product launched a little over four years ago, recent growth in different markets, and hints at future plans. It was revealed earlier that sales of the iPad were down for the second straight quarter in a row, as the company sold a total of 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Cook said that iPad sales have totaled to 225 million units since 2010, as the current iPad Air and iPad mini have hit 98% and 100% customer satisfaction, respectively. According to recent market studies, 63% of customers planning to buy a tablet are planning to buy an iPad, while half of all iPad buyers were planning to buy their first iPad.

Additionally, Apple noted that 2.5 iPads are being sold for every Mac, as the tablet now holds an 85% share of the U.S. education market. Internationally, the iPad also experienced a 50% growth in China and 60% growth in the Middle East year-over-year.

In reaction to iPad sales being down, Cook noted “significant innovation can be Continue Reading

iTunes by the Numbers: $4.5B Revenue, Billings up 25% Year-Over-Year, $20B Paid to Devs, 75B App Downloads [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
ituneslogo.jpg

During its financial results call covering the third fiscal quarter (second calendar quarter) of 2014, Apple shared details on the success of its iTunes Store, which has become an increasingly important revenue source for the company in recent years, mainly due to the ever-growing popularity of the App Store.

For the first fiscal nine months of the year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said iTunes software and services were the fastest growing part of Apple’s business. iTunes billings grew 25 percent year over year to an all time quarterly high, largely due to the App Store.

In the third quarter, iTunes generated $4.5 billion in revenue, an increase of 12 percent year over year. There have been 75 billion cumulative App Store downloads, and Apple has now paid a total of $20 billion to developers. In January of 2014, Apple had paid out $15 billion, meaning $5 billion of that total has been paid out in 2014 alone.

During the call, Tim Cook said that he expects iOS 8 with more than 4,000 APIs and the company’s new developer language, Swift, to result in significant growth and improvement for apps and the App Store.

Overall, Apple Continue Reading

Apple Acquired 29 Companies Since Fiscal 2013, Including Five Since April [Mac Blog]

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
beats.png

During today’s third quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has purchased a total of 29 companies since fiscal 2013, including five new companies after the end of the March quarter. Of the 29 companies purchased, some are known but many remain unknown.

Only three of Apple’s newest acquisitions have been revealed, including LuxVue Technology in early May, Beats Electronics in late May, and Spotsetter in June, leaving two unknown acquisitions. The acquisition of Beats marked Apple’s most expensive purchase to date at $3 billion.

Earlier in 2014, Apple acquired SnappyLabs, a company that produced a burst-mode photo app, and Burstly, the company behind the Testflight iOS beta testing platform.

Including BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, and WiFiSlam, along with other notable additions like 3D company PrimeSense and Novauris, a speech recognition company.

The technology from Apple’s acquisitions will undoubtedly make its way into future products and updates. For example, significant mapping updates are expected sometime after the launch of iOS 8, adding transit directions and improved indoor mapping techniques.

During the company’s April earnings call, Tim Cook said Apple was “on the prowl” for additional companies Continue Reading

China Drove Big iPhone And iPad Sales For Apple During Q3 2014

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
apple-store-china

Apple‘s earnings are out, and there’s a narrative contained therein of the emerging importance of China and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries in general – the company revealed to the FT that iPhone sales are up 55 percent year over year in the BRIC nations, and Chinese iPhone sales are up 48 percent, with the iPad sales in that country rising 51 percent year… Read More
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FXNOW Channel With Simpsons World Content Coming to Apple TV [Mac Blog]

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
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The Apple TV may gain a new FXNOW channel that includes Simpsons World content, according to TV writer Jason Lynch who tweeted the news yesterday (via iLounge). Lynch said the FXNOW channel will come to the Apple TV, Roku, and other devices within the next 12 months.

FXNOW is the on-demand portion of the FX, FXX, and FXM television channels, all of which are owned by the Fox Entertainment Group. The FXNOW Apple TV channel will reportedly include content from The Simpsons, branded Simpsons World, which offers all 552 episodes of The Simpsons along with additional content. Simpsons World, debuting in October, will allow fans to search for and watch any episode or clip of The Simpsons on demand on FXNOW.

According to reports, Simpsons World will also allow users to create playlists of episodes and share favorite scenes, features that will likely make their way to the Apple TV version of the channel. FXNOW with Simpsons World currently requires cable authentication and is limited to FXX subscribers, and the Apple TV version will require a cable subscription as well.

Currently, supported cable providers for the existing FXNOW channel include AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, Continue Reading

Apple Reports Q3 2014 Results: $7.7 Billion Profit on June Quarter Record $37.4 Billion in Revenue [Live Blog]

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
Apple Logo

Apple today announced financial results for the second calendar quarter and third fiscal quarter of 2014. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $37.4 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $35.3 billion and net quarterly profit of $6.9 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 59 percent of revenue. Apple also declared an upcoming dividend payment of $0.47 per share, payable on August 14 to shareholders of record as of August 11. The company currently holds $164.5 billion in cash and marketable securities.

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Quarterly iPhone unit sales reached 35.2 million, up from 31.2 million in the year-ago quarter, and the company sold 13.3 million iPads, down from 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 4.4 million Macs, up from 3.8 million in the year-ago period.

“Our record June quarter revenue was fueled by strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem, driving our highest EPS growth rate in seven Continue Reading

Apple Sold 35.2M iPhones, 13.3M iPads And 4.4M Macs In Q3 2014

Posted by | July 22, 2014.
hero_hardware

Apple has released its latest quarterly earnings report, and the hardware story is one that you might have heard before: For the most part, the company sold more devices year-over-year, with the notable exception of the iPad, which continues to see slight declines as it did last quarter. By the numbers, Apple sold 35.20 million iPhones, 13.27 million iPads, 4.41 million Macs and 2.96… Read More
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