Heads rolling at Beats as Apple eliminating redundant positions, Ian Rogers & Trent Reznor to stay on

Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Apple, Beats Music, Code Conference

Update: Apple confirmed today with the following comment: “We’re excited to have the Beats team join Apple, and we have extended job offers to every Beats employee. Because of some overlap in our operations, some offers are for a limited period and we’ll work hard during this time to find as many of these Beats employees as we can another permanent job within Apple.”

As Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music nears completion this financial quarter, the Cupertino and Santa Monica, California-based companies have begun work on transitioning select employees and technology resources from Beats to Apple, according to sources briefed on the transition. Apple executives have visited Beats’ Southern California headquarters this week and last week to offer groups of employees positions at Apple and to notify some members of the Beats staff that they will not be included in the transition.

Many Beats employees in development and creative roles have been offered positions at Apple. Many of these employees will be offered space in Apple’s Cupertino offices, but Apple is said to plan to retain the Santa Monica offices, and select engineers on the Beats Music streaming service will continue working out of Southern California. An email from Apple CEO Tim Cook detailed earlier this year that Beats hardware employees would transition to Phil Schiller’s team in Cupertino, so it seems likely that the headphone and speaker makers will make up the majority of the new Cupertino staff…

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Apple profiled for renewable energy in sapphire factory, says supply-chain is now the focus

After showing more journalists around its solar-powered North Carolina data center (where it is building a third solar farm), Apple says that its new focus for renewable energy is its supply chain. The Guardian reports that the sapphire factory in Arizona forms part of this initiative.

The company is also moving to install solar and geothermal power at a plant in Mesa, Arizona that has been manufacturing sapphire glass. Apple would not directly comment on the Arizona factory but the state’s governor, Jan Brewer, has publicly praised the company’s decision to relocate there and to use solar and geothermal in manufacturing.

Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson said that the company is conscious that its supply chain cannot claim the same green credentials as Apple itself …  Read more

FreedomPop brings its free voice, text & data plans to tablets including a $319 iPad mini

 

FreedomPop, the carrier offering free and cheap data plans on Sprint’s network, today announced that it’s bringing its free voice, data, and text plans to tablet users starting with the iPad mini and Samsung Tab 3. Since LTE iPads only support data over their cellular connection, the carrier provides iPad users with Apple headsets with mics for making calls and an app that routes calls/texts through its own VoIP platform.

While there are competitors like Skype that enable VoIP calling on iPads already, FreedomPop has a couple things going for it. The company’s CEO Stephen Stokols notes that “unlike some apps, we actually provision a new unique phone number and enable voice mail, number porting, etc, on it” …  Read more

Apple support page also listed as yet unseen ‘mid-2014 iMac 27′

imac27-mid2014

The same Bootcamp support page that either reveals an upcoming Mac mini refresh or a misprint also listed an iMac 27-inch mid-2014′ model before the page was updated – spotted by French site Consomac.

The model was listed above the 21.5-inch mid-2014 iMac released last month. That model was a low-end one, with a 1.4GHz dual-core i5 processor and 500GB hard drive. That might suggest a new entry-level 27-inch iMac is on the way – though Apple doesn’t generally offer a low-spec version of the larger iMac …  Read more

Skype says free group video calling coming in the future to more platforms

Earlier this month, Microsoft-owned Skype rolled out a group video calling feature to Windows tablets. The free video calling allows for calls with up to ten people, and integrates with Skype on the desktop, which has supported group video calling since April.

Today, Skype tells us that the group video calling feature will be coming to all of its mobile platforms in the future, which likely includes iOS and Android:

We’re excited about Skype group video calling and are working to bring it to more of our platforms. In the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost

Unfortunately, the company could not yet provide a more specific rollout timeframe. Skype has been rapidly releasing new products over the past several months, with a major redesign of the Skype iPhone app arriving a couple of months ago.

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