Auburn University video with Jeff Williams, Bob Iger profiles Tim Cook in honor of Lifetime Achievement award

Tim Cook Auburn

(Photo via Auburn University)

Following Apple CEO Tim Cook being honored with Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Lifetime Achievement award last December, the university in Alabama from which Tim Cook graduated has shared a video profiling the Apple CEO and his impact at Auburn. While the video was first posted in March and surfaced today, it features commentary and interviews from other notable Apple figures including Jeff Williams, Senior VP of Operations, and Bob Iger, Disney CEO and Apple board member. Read more

Apple takes over hydroelectric plant project near its Oregon data center

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OregonLive notes that government filings from last week show Apple has taken over a hydroelectric project near its Oregon data center. Apple has previously reported that it powers its data centers entirely on renewable energy. The hydroelectric plant in Oregon will help maintain its 100% renewable energy rating. In fact, on Apple’s environmental website, the company notes that the Prineville site will source power from hydroelectric energy in addition to wind and solar.

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Wolff Olins Global CEO Karl Heiselman hired by Apple to take on new marketing role in May

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Following this week’s revelations that Apple SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller is unhappy with the direction of the company’s advertising and agency, and that Apple is considering hiring as many as four new digital agencies to further enhance its advertising efforts, it seems the company has added a formidable new member to its marketing team.

17_london-2012-olympic-logo-pink-blueAd Age reports that Apple has hired Karl Heiselman, who is currently the CEO of the Wolff Olins branding agency. Heiselman will take on an undisclosed role in the company’s marketing arm next month, he confirmed. This won’t be the executive’s first time in Cupertino. Heiselman previously worked for Apple in the ’90s as a design contractor.

At Wolff Olins, Heiselman headed up numerous high tech and high profile branding efforts including Product (RED) for Bono, the 2012 Olympics for London (right) and numerous Microsoft campaigns including the ill-fated Kin. The company also churned out “re-invention” for brands such as Aol, Sony, Skype, Belkin and Firefox… Read more

Amazon reportedly announcing first smartphone in June, will feature glasses-free 3D

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is planning to announce its first entry to the smartphone market in June. The possibility of an Amazon phone has been a long-running rumor, but recently sources claimed that the company had partnered with HTC to finally produce the device.

Following the launch of the Fire TV earlier this month, the Amazon phone will mark the second of Apple’s product categories the online retailer hopes to invade in 2014. With its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon has been attempting to position itself to compete with the iPad for a few years.

The Amazon device will reportedly feature a display capable of creating 3D images without the need for glasses, according to the WSJ report:

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Tim Cook calls on Congress to pass Employment Non-Discrimination Act

 

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Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter on Friday to voice his position on a potential new law currently being considering by the United States Congress. “The House should mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by passing ENDA,” Cook tweeted while mentioning members of Congress in leadership positions from both political parties. Cook also tweeted the quote “We shall overcome” and said “Much done but much left to do.” 

The law to which Tim referred, known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would prohibit companies with 15 or more employees from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender. The Apple CEO has previously expressed this position in a Wall Street Journal opinion editorial published last November. The bill has since been passed by the Senate, but has struggled to make it through the House of Representatives.

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App.io brings its HTML5 iOS app demos to interactive ads on mobile devices

I’ve covered App.io a few times in the past. The service, which allows app devs to deploy fully useable HTML5 demo versions of their native iOS apps on the web, first launched under the name “Kickfolio” back in 2012. The goal for the company was originally to let devs bring demos of their apps to promotional webpages and it eventually expanded the platform to include Facebook and other channels. Today, and around 2 million interactive app demos later, the company is announcing that it’s bringing those same app demos directly to mobile devices as interactive ads.

The ads go a step beyond the interactive app-like experience that Apple promised, but never quite delivered, with iAd, and allows users to play a demo of the app before deciding to purchase/download or even visit the App Store at all. The ad starts off as a banner or like any other ad but turns into a demo version of a native iOS app that is fully playable for a set period of time before prompting the user to visit the App Store. The company tells me in its initial tests it saw “3-5x higher conversion rates than normal mobile ads.” Read more

As rumors point to major iTunes renovations, Apple goes on hiring spree

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Amidst a flurry of reports and speculation regarding Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Radio strategy in the past few weeks, Apple has begun posting job listings indicating they are gearing up for major improvements to iTunes.

Four listings on Apple’s Jobs page show they are interested in hiring iTunes Software Engineers, a Senior Software Engineer for iTunes Radio, and an iTunes Recommendations Platform Software Engineer. From the descriptions:

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Apple says Heartbleed security flaw did not affect its software or services

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With an estimated half a million sites vulnerable to the “Heartbleed” vulnerability revealed earlier this week, which allows an attacker to access user details of websites previously believed to be secured by industry-standard SSL/TLS, your favorite social networks, stores, and other services around the web could potentially be handing out your password or other personal information to anyone who exploits the issue.

The bug exists in a library called OpenSSL, which is an open-source SSL implementation that many—but not all—web services use to secure sensitive traffic. If a website you use is affected by the bug, your personal data could be given to just about anyone. Unfortunately, changing your password on an unsecure site won’t even help unless the site’s owners have installed a fix (because the attackers can simply exploit the bug again to get your new password).

This serious issue affects a number of high-profile sites, but it seems your Apple ID is safe. Today, Apple gave the following statement to Re/code:

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Nike+ Fuel Lab opens to expand fitness tracking platform to third parties starting w/ RunKeeper, Strava, MyFitnessPal

Nike announced today that it is opening a Nike+ Fuel Lab in San Francisco that will help it grow what has become one of the leading fitness tracking platform among iPhone and mobile device users. Nike is hoping the new facility will help the Nike+ Fuel platform remain a leader as fitness tracking becomes more popular on wearables and mobile devices. It will use the facility to team up with app developers and integrate the platform into other products in the fitness tracking space. Last year Nike hosted a Nike+ Accelerator program that saw startups pitching ideas and demo products for the platform, and the success of the program inspired the more permanent Fuel Lab for similar efforts.

We are excited about evolving NikeFuel to deliver richer experiences that make it easier for all athletes to reach their potential,” said Stefan Olander, Nike’s Vice President of Digital Sport. “The demand for simpler data-powered experiences is soaring, and all-day sensing is more available on mobile and wearable devices than ever before. Nike is committed to broadening the use of NikeFuel through collaborations with industry leaders to create smarter products and services.”

The new Nike+ Fuel Lab will see the company working with app developers and other companies to integrate the NikeFuel platform into their products. That means Nike’s hardware— like the FuelBand fitness tracker and SportWatch— will then work with the partner apps and syncing data between the apps will become seamless. That’s a feature request you might have noticed in the majority of reviews for Nike’s FuelBand hardware in the past. Nike announced a few of the companies it’s teaming up with initially at the new Nike+ Fuel Lab and they include popular fitness tracking apps for iOS and web including RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal, and StravaRead more

T-Mobile offering LTE iPads at WiFi-only prices, free data through 2014

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A day after it announced cheaper plans with voice and data, T-Mobile is sharing more interesting news of upcoming promotions. Starting April 12th, T-Mobile will begin offering iPads and other tablets with LTE at the price normally offered by WiFi-only tablets. For instance, an iPad Air with only WiFi normally runs $499, while an iPad with WiFi and LTE for connecting to the Internet from anywhere normally runs $629. T-Mobile’s promotion will offer new iPads with LTE for the cost of a WiFi-only model for a limited time (saving you $130 in the iPad’s case).

T-Mobile is also offering customers a free 1GB of data use for the rest of the year. The carrier announced last fall that it already includes 200MB of data for tablet customers and today’s announcement adds to that free data offering. After the 2014 promotion, the 1GB of data usage for tablets will be $10 a month while the 200MB of data will remain free. T-Mobile also announced some news for people using tablets with mobile data from other carriers… Read more

Opinion: Could even Apple sell a smartwatch for “several thousands of dollars”?

iWatch concept: Gábor Balogh

Smartwatch concept: Gábor Balogh

One line jumped out at me immediately from KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s research note on his predictions for Q3:

The most expensive model of the iWatch line will carry a price tag of several thousand US dollars.

No research analyst has a perfect track record, but Ming-Chi Kuo is more reliable than most, so it’s a far more interesting claim than if it had come from some random source. The question that springs immediately to mind is: could even Apple succeed in selling a smartwatch for “thousands of dollars” … ?  Read more