Jordan Kahn

@JordanKahn

Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints at Jordan@9to5mac.com.  

Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for 9to5Google.com and the latest gear and deals on 9to5Toys.com.

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February 28, 2013

Apple today issued a press release to announce some big numbers for iTunes U (a billion downloads to be exact), but it has now also provided an update on iPads sales in the education market. In a statement to AllThingsD, Apple said it has sold a total of 4.5 million iPads direct to U.S. education institutions.

Apple previously announced around a million units sold to U.S. schools in Q2 2012. It later said sales for iPad 2 in the K-12 market doubled y-o-y in Q3 2012 thanks to a price drop to $399. It appears Apple has since been selling even more into the sector every quarter, and the iPad mini’s $329 price tag, as well as even further discounts to iPad 2, could very likely be driving growth. Like previous iPads, Apple is selling Apple 10 packs of iPad minis to education for a discount.

At Apple’s New York City education event in January 2012, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller provided some updates on education. He noted that around 1.5 million iPads were in use at U.S. education institutions, and this means Apple has sold around 3 million iPads to education over the past year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has reiterated several times during the company’s earnings calls that it plans to be “very aggressive” in the education market going forward.

Update: Apple has confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch that it has sold 8 million iPads direct into education institutions worldwide. That’s a total of 3.5 million outside of the US to date.

Real Racing 3: The highly anticipated third installment in EA’s Real Racing iOS series has officially arrived in the US App Store today (via 9to5Toys). Available now for free, the game’s new in-app purchase model is getting a little bit of negative attention, but otherwise reviews of the game have been quite positive.

Trailblazing new features include officially licensed tracks, an expanded 22-car grid, and over 45 meticulously detailed cars from makers like Porsche, Lamborghini, Dodge, Bugatti, and Audi. Plus, racing with friends gets kicked into another dimension with the reality-bending Time Shifted Multiplayer™ (TSM) technology.

AVP-Evolution-iconAVP: Evolution: Fox has released another app in the Alien vs Predators series with the release of AVP: Evolution. The game was developed by Angry Mob Games, makers of PREDATORS and Guerrilla Bob iOS titles, and takes cues from multiplayer modes in recent AVP console releases.

*Two distinct gaming experiences as you engage in the ultimate battle as both the Alien and Predator *Vicious attacks and brutal finishing moves give players a lethal arsenal to wreak havoc on the enemy

Socialcam-iOS-5.0Socialcam version 5.0: Autodesk is making some major improvements to its popular Socialcam app, which has now reached 20 million downloads, with the release of version 5 on the App Store today. The update should be hitting the App Store shortly and with it will come “a complete redesign of visual effects, 720p HD video, video High Dynamic Range (HDR), and a new icon for Socialcam.”

Major new features on the iOS platform include a complete redesign of visual effects, 720p HD video, video High Dynamic Range (HDR), and a new icon for Socialcam… Developed in collaboration with Autodesk’s expert professional video effects teams, the new 720p HD video and video HDR with one click real-time mapping and color correction enables Socialcam—with more than 20 million downloads—to continue to break through barriers to mobile video adoption by making it easy to express creativity and individuality wherever inspiration strikes—anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Day One version 1.10: The well reviewed journal/diary app known as Day One gets new features today including new options for PDF Export and Printing, historical weather reports for 30 days, a new reminder sound,  Sanchez font option, and improvements to HTML styling. There are also a number of performance enhancements include for startup time, Dropbox syncing, and more. An update for the Mac app is coming soon.

Cycloramic version 2.1: The app that received much attention for its unique use of the iPhone’s vibrating motor to snap hands-free 360 degree video gets new features today. Among them is the ability to “convert panoramic photos to 24 second panoramic HD movies.”

YouTube 1.2.1: Google updated its YouTube app for iOS bringing the Send to TV feature that it originally introduced on Android devices back in November. The app will allow users to send YouTube videos from their iOS devices to a Google TV, PS3, or Xbox and Google confirmed back in January that the feature would be coming to even more smart TVs this year.  expand full story

9to5toys 

url-1In line with an increased number of press releases issued this year, Apple has just announced via a press release on its website that iTunes U content has now reached 1 billion downloads. It also shared some stats on the service that is now “the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content.” According to Apple, more than 2,400 schools are currently hosting content on the service with some of the top universities enrolling over 100,000 students into iTunes U and around 250,000 students enrolled in total:

More than 1,200 universities and colleges, and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts host over 2,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more. Leading universities including Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT and Oxford continue to extend their reach by enrolling more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses, with Stanford University and The Open University each surpassing 60 million content downloads. The Ohio State University’s Matthew “Dr. Fus” Stoltzfus’ General Chemistry course enrolled over 100,000 iTunes U students in the first year it was offered.

Apple also said that roughly 60 percent of downloads of the iTunes U app are coming from users outside of the United States, while educators from over 30 countries now contribute content including the recent additions of: Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Korea. The iTunes U app is now available to download in 155 countries through the App Store.

Apple’s full press release below: expand full story

February 27, 2013

Apple’s annual shareholder meeting isn’t usually the source of much news, and this year isn’t much different. With a judge recently granting Greenlight Capital’s motion to block a vote on a proposal that would require a shareholder vote before issuing preferred stock, many expected Apple would address what it plans to do with the cash hoard that Greenlight proposed freeing up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much news about the proposal apart from CEO Tim Cook reiterating the company is “seriously considering” returning cash to shareholders.

One perhaps not so surprising comment from Cook was regarding new product categories (via CNBC):

“Obviously we’re looking at new categories — we don’t talk about them, but we’re looking at them,” Cook said.

As opposed to what? Not looking at new categories?

At the annual meeting, shareholders reelected all board members. They also voted against proposals for a human rights committee and an executive stock retention plan that would require 33 percent of stock to be held until retirement. According to CNBC, which live blogged the event, one shareholder made a comment about not reelecting Al Gore due to his sale of Current TV:

There is one comment about Al Gore, saying he should not be reelected. He is saying his sale of Current TV should disqualify him from serving on any “decent” company’s board.

Several board members also spoke out against Greenlight Capital in support of Apple. Cook made a comment about the company’s new Spaceship campus, noting that Apple is still on track to break ground this year and move in by 2016. Apple confirmed last year that it plans to open its new campus by mid-2016.

Cook on new campus: “We plan to bulldoze all the buildings on the new site, build one 2.8 million sq. foot building that will be the most collaborative work environment; I project that we will move in, in 2016.” Today, 80 percent of the site is covered in asphalt and concrete; when we’re finished only 20 percent will… Steve put a lot of work into this before he passed away and we’re continuing that …. We think we can get a third of our employees there by bus …. We hope to break ground later this year

In addition to a new Cloud Player app for iPad from Amazon and the roll out of iTunes in the Cloud features to new countries, below we have put together our usual list of notable apps and updates hitting the store today:

Spotify version 0.6.0: Perhaps the biggest update today goes to the Spotify iOS app which, on top of receiving a “shiny new interface” equipped with a sidebar, includes a “Now Playing” bar, a new Track menu, and a number of other new features and fixes:

• New: Shiny new interface. You can navigate around the app with a new sidebar. Check it out by swiping left-to-right, or by pressing the ≣ button in the top left of the app. • New: Now Playing bar. You’ll always see what you’re listening to along the bottom of Spotify. To switch tracks, just swipe along it. Tap or drag to see more information about the current track. Tap the cover art in the extended view to use AirPlay, and disable/enable shuffle and repeat. • New: Track menu. Tap the … button on any track to see a redesigned context menu. • Fixed: “Track only available online” issues. This would sometimes appear after start-up, or when you’d been offline for a little while. Not any more. • Fixed: Lock screen will now always display the correct track. • Fixed: Shuffle now switches off after you’ve used “Shuffle Play” on an album or playlist.

Waze version 3.6: Waze, one of Apple’s Maps partners and an app CEO Tim Cook recommended as an alternative during the iOS 6 Maps controversy, gets some nice new features today. Among the new features is real-time road closure reporting and routing, a refined map with only relevant road names, and much more:

✓ Report road closures in real time. Waze will close off the road and route others around it ✓ Report pins tilted on map to better indicate direction of event ✓ Reduced map clutter by showing only relevant road names ✓ New moods! ✓ New inbox with multiple message selection ✓ Update gas prices popup: When in gas station users prompted to update price (Europe only) ✓ Optimized performance and multiple bug fixes

PanoPerfect for iPad: We’ve told you about the PanoPerfect app before– an Instagram type experience designed specifically for sharing panorama shots. Today the developers have released its first iPad version of the app and also revamped the iPhone app.

PanoPerfect is a free, fun, and simple way to share beautiful panoramic photos on your iPhone. Find, follow, and share gorgeous panoramic photos with friends. Panorama’s go into a stream where you can comment and like your favorite ones.

Bad Piggies version 1.2.0:  Rovio’s popular Bad Piggies franchise gets updated today with 30 new “Flight in the Night levels,” 6 Road Hogs levels, new achievements and much more. The free apps and HD iPad versions receive the same update today.

Tweetbot version 2.7.3:  The iOS versions of the Tweetbot apps get a few tweaks. The iPad version gets the same update: expand full story

9to5google 

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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.

expand full story

electrek 

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

News:

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.

Updates:

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

[ooyala code=”9wc3FtOTpudZkeXdJrtb8gXF-WmHpm1i”]

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

9to5toys 

February 25, 2013

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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

9to5google 

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

electrek 

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