Jordan Kahn


Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

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Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for and the latest gear and deals on

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February 27, 2013


On top of just recently updating its At Bat 13 iOS app for Spring Training with a ton of new features, MLB announced at an event last night in New York that it will increase the number of stadiums accepting Passbook this season. According to a report from GigaOm, the number of stadiums accepting tickets through Apple’s wallet app will increase from just four to 13:

The teams that will start accepting Passbook tickets for the first time are the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs. The New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals, which began accepting Passbook last September, will again offer the service this season. MLB says there are three more teams that will enable iOS tickets this season, but that are not yet ready to make an official announcement.

CEO of MLB’s Advanced Media Office Bob Bowman told GigaOm that iOS users currently make up approximately 70 percent of all At Bat users and around 85 percent of paid subscribers. The updated iOS At Bat app includes a classic games video library archive, re-architected app navigation, and searchable video highlight library expansion to include access to complete video archives.

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February 26, 2013

Hong Kong-based labor watchdog Student & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour released a report on Tuesday that criticizes Apple for failing to properly monitor the labor practices of its suppliers. Despite performing a 72-percent increase over the number of audits it performed in 2011 following FLA audits, SACOM’s report claimed interviews with 130 workers from three Apple suppliers showed the company is failing to meet basic humane labor practices.

SACOM’s report outlined a number of violations reported by workers from three factories owned by Apple suppliers Foxlink, Pegatron, and Wintek. The three factories, located across China in Guangdong Province, Shanghai, and Jiangsu Province, are locations that Apple uses to produce and assemble various components of iPads, iPhones, and Macs. Among the complaints were allegations of unpaid work, excessive overtime hours, unachievable quotas, a rise in student interns, and other inhumane work conditions. SACOM also said workers reported accounts of potentially harmful chemicals, lack of  “basic human needs” like bathroom breaks, and verbal abuse and intimidation from staff members:

…to make sure workers meet the daily production targets, Apple suppliers resort to inhumane labor practices, even to the extent of denying workers’ basic human needs, such as allowing bathroom breaks, sufficient rest, and access to proper nutrition; these conditions partly contribute to the high labor turnover rate. Increasingly, Apple suppliers use student workers from vocational schools from all over China, under the guise of “student internships”… There is a rise in using student interns. Apple suppliers collaborate with vocational training institutions which require students to join a supplementary workforce for the factories, depriving students’ right to a quality education.

The South China Morning Post reported that SACOM, alongside the Confederation of Trade Unions, protested outside the Causeway Bay Apple store yesterday to bring attention to the new report. An Apple spokesperson provided a comment to the publication and denied the claims made in SACOM’s study: expand full story


We heard reports in October that the U.S. Department of Defense was preparing to approve a large number of iOS and Android devices for use on government networks. Those reports were followed earlier this month with news that CACI International Inc. was modifying thousands of iPads for use in U.S. government agencies. The Pentagon confirmed in a statement today that it plans to open its networks to 100,000 new devices from Apple and Google by February of next year:

The Pentagon said it wants employees to have the flexibility to use commercial products on classified and unclassified networks. It plans to create a military mobile applications store and hire a contractor to build a system that may eventually handle as many as 8 million devices.

The move comes as iPad and other iOS devices continue to be adopted by government agencies over BlackBerry. Documents from October revealed the U.S. Department of Defense planned to deploy up to 8 millions devices partially made up of iOS devices, while a number of other U.S. agencies also switched from BlackBerry to iPhones over the last year. As for the App Store and system for managing the up to 8 million devices, the DOD will select one or more companies by summer to develop the necessary software: expand full story


Clear for Mac + Leap Motion: We’ve brought you a couple hands-on demos of the Leap Motion controller before, and today popular productivity app Clear for Mac announced it is working on bringing support for Leap Motion to Clear. There’s no timeframe yet, but Realmac Software provided the short preview above.


Runtastic version 2.10.1: Personal fitness tracking app Runtastic gets a nice update today that brings more Sport types, improved Facebook integration, and number of other bug fixes and performance enhancements.

DataMan-ProDataMan Pro version 6.3: After some trouble getting by Apple review guidelines with its last update, DataMan Pro is back on the App Store today and is 50% off for a limited time to celebrate. The app has also been completely redesigned:

The resurrected DataMan Pro has been completely reinvented to feature a stunning new interface, an intelligent real-time data usage forecast, and most advanced app tracking… The powerful App Watch technology that users love is also back. You can see the usage statistics for all apps. This amazing capability empowers you to root out data-hungry apps… The new DataMan Pro includes Smart Forecast and the beautiful interface that were recently introduced in DataMan Next. Combined with precise real-time tracking, you can say goodbye to overage.

Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars 3.0: Yesterday Orbitz launched its first “fully native, in-app search and book experience” for the iPad with an update to its Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars app that brings support for the larger screen and new iPad-specific features:

Our award-winning app (App Store Editors’ Choice & Hall of Fame inductee) is now also optimized for iPad and iPad mini! iPad users enjoy *all* the same app features as iPhone users, plus iPad-exclusives like a dual list/map view of hotels and the ability to compare details of multiple flights, rental cars, or hotels from a single screen.

Adobe Muse: Adobe announced today that it is updating Adobe Muse with some highly requested new features: expand full story

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In the video above, Bloomberg West speaks with 72andSunny’s partner and creative director Jason Norcross about the thinking behind some of Samsung’s latest campaigns. 

If there is one person qualified to discuss the state of Apple’s current marketing efforts, it’s Ken Segall. Working alongside Steve Jobs’ creative team for more than a decade, Segall, the man who put the “i” in iMac, served as creative director at ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. He created some of Apple’s most iconic ads such as the legendary Think Different campaign. Segall took some time on his Observatory blog today to share his thoughts on how “momentum has been lost” for Apple’s marketing department at the hands of none other than the company’s biggest rival, Samsung:

While you can still argue that Macs and i-devices have a ton of appeal, you can’t argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising…The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung…Samsung has made remarkable inroads in a very short time, for two big reasons.

According to Segall, the two big reasons Samsung’s advertising has eclipsed Apple’s is due to Sammy’s massive advertising budget and willingness to “bash away at Apple, delivering ads that are well produced, well written and seem to be striking a nerve.” Specifically, Segall pointed to Samsung’s decision to run creative new ads at the Super Bowl and Oscars:  expand full story


February 25, 2013

Last time we checked in on the in-app purchase class-action lawsuit against Apple, courts refused Apple’s request to throw out the case brought on by parents arguing the iOS freemium model, i.e. in-app purchases, allowed children to easily rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars. Today, Law360 (via GigaOM) reported Apple has agreed to pay a settlement and will be contacting 23 million iTunes users that “made a Game Currency purchase in one or more Qualified Apps.”

According to the report, Apple will pay $5 in iTunes credit to those who claim in-app content was purchased by a minor without their permission. For purchases above $30, users will be able to request a full refund. However, credits will likely not get to users until early 2014 when the settlement meets regulatory approval: expand full story

Apple released iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 to developers just last week with enhancements to Maps in Japan, as well as the promise of a fix for the highly publicized Lock Screen bug. While we noted at the time that the update could fix exploits used for the recent evasi0n jailbreak, the evad3rs team has now had time to test the update and confirmed to Forbes that 6.1.3 breaks evasi0n. Team member David Wang, aka @planetbeing, explained Apple has patched one of the five critical exploits that evasi0n is currently using:

Wang tells me that he’s analyzed the 6.1.3 beta 2 update and found that it patches at least one of the five bugs the jailbreak exploits, namely a flaw in the operating system’s time zone settings. The beta update likely signals the end of using evasi0n to hack new or updated devices after the update is released to users, says Wang, who says he’s still testing the patch to see which other vulnerabilities exploited by the jailbreak might no longer exist in the new operating system.

Wang noted that the team could replace the one patched vulnerability, but it’s likely the team will be “starting from scratch” if Apple continues patching the known exploits: expand full story


Despite comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook last year about India remaining a lower priority than many other emerging markets, a report from Reuters today detailed how Apple is “aggressively pushing” the iPhone in India through payment plans and a new marketing campaign. Cook suggested last year that India wasn’t the biggest international focus for Apple and multi-layer distribution in the country “really adds to the cost of getting products to market.” According to Reuters, on top of an aggressive marketing campaign and payment plans, Apple also aims to increase the distribution channels Cook mentioned last year: expand full story

February 22, 2013

According to a report from Reuters, following a request from Greenlight Capital, a judge has blocked Apple from going through with a shareholder proposal that would require a shareholder vote before issuing preferred stock. The request by Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn followed a lawsuit that claimed Apple’s upcoming “Proposal 2” does not adhere to regulatory rules. Greenlight argued the proposal bundled three distinct proposals; the hedge fund manager backs two of them, but not the third proposal regarding preferred stock. Reuters reported today that U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan granted Einhorn a preliminary injunction that would block the vote on the proposal originally scheduled for Feb. 27 at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting.

A judge handed hedge fund star David Einhorn a victory in his court battle with Apple Inc on Friday, blocking the iPhone maker from moving forward with a shareholder vote on a controversial proposal to limit the company’s ability to issue preferred stock.

At the recent Goldman Sachs Technology conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook stood by Proposal 2 calling Greenlight’s suit a “silly side show”: expand full story


Due to an increase of crimes related to Apple’s iOS devices in New York City, the city has now assigned a dedicated team of police officers to recovering stolen Apple devices. This according to a report from the New York Post that detailed the process law enforcement goes through when an Apple device is reported stolen, which includes contacting Apple to get the location of the device:

Every time an Apple device is stolen, detectives attempt to get tracking numbers from the victim or online records… That number, known as the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity, is then shared with the officers in Police Headquarters who pass it on to Apple…The California-based company then informs the NYPD of the device’s current location — and it can track it even if it was reregistered with a different wireless provider.

The report also detailed accounts of police recovering devices—including an iPad tracked to the Dominican Republic and another involving a stakeout at a bus stop:
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February 21, 2013




Concept via Yanko Design

Color us a little skeptical on this one, but the U.S. Patent Office released Patent US 20130044215 filed by Apple (via Patently Apple) on Thursday that basically described a wristwatch-like device. According to the patent application, Apple is looking into methods that integrate flexible components into a bi-stable spring, slap on bracelet design. Apple even highlighted a number of use cases for the accessory that would talk to other electronic devices, i.e., iOS devices, such as viewing recent calls, responding to text messages, managing playlists, and viewing maps:

The bracelet goes far beyond being a wristwatch. Apple states that with a multitouch display, the user “can accomplish a number of different tasks including adjusting the order of a current playlist, or reviewing a list of recent phone calls. A response to a current text message can even be managed given a simple virtual keyboard configuration across the face of the flexible display.”… According to Apple, a larger display is also more desirable for map viewing. The arm mounted location makes map viewing a desirable function for such a device, as a traveler or explorer can easily reference the information with a flick of the wrist while exploring.

The patent application also described a number of methods of powering the wristwatch accessory including the use of a solar panel underneath the display that 9to5Mac discussed before. It also covered the possibility of using kinetic power sources similar to systems already used in wristwatches.

Apple states that the Kinetic energy gathering device noted above in patent figure 5A (# 502) has its advantages. Having the accessory device on an extremity is an ideal location for gathering kinetic energy. The simple motion of a user’s arm or leg allows the accessory device to harness some of that energy for charging battery. The Antenna in patent figure 5A (# 506) is for establishing and maintaining the connection between the bracelet accessory and a portable electronic device such an iPhone. The antenna can be configured to pass data over WiFi, Bluetooth or any other suitable wireless protocol.

Other possible features of the device mentioned in the application include using the device as a nighttime light for bike riding, edge lighting to configure a colored backlit border, and the ability to quickly view maps and high quality video streams. Apple also described an end-detection sensor to deactivate unused portions of the display for individuals with smaller wrists.

Another interesting aspect of the patent application is a method of using built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes as orientation sensors to make sure content is always visible and facing the user as the device—and user’s arm—is in motion.

With all the rumors that Apple is working on a smart watch, it’s hard to ignore a patent application that covers the form factor in such detail. However, it’s important to note many concepts make their way to Apple patents but never see the light of day, and this could very well just be one possible form factor that Apple has experimented with. You can learn more about today’s patent at PatentlyApple. Another image from today’s patent application below:

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