Tim Cook: ‘This month has been one for the record books’, employees get Thanksgiving week off

Tim Cook Apple Store iPhone 6

This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to all employees to recognize Apple’s September accomplishments and the products still in the pipeline. Cook also announced that Apple employees will receive extended vacation time for the November Thanksgiving holiday, which is an offer that Cook has extended in previous years. “This month has been one for the record books,” Cook wrote in the email, highlighting the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iOS 8, Apple Pay, and the preview of the Apple Watch.

“Each of these introductions represents years of innovation and hard work by teams all across Apple,” according to Cook. “Many of you have put the best work of your lives into these amazing new products, which bring together world-class hardware, software and services in the way only Apple can,” he added. Cook also acknowledged the teams working on Apple’s efforts in user privacy, the environment, climate change, and improving educational materials and services for students.

With all that in mind, Cook tells employees that “without you, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. Our people are the soul of our company, and we all need time to refresh and renew.” So, he’s “happy to announce that [Apple is] extending the Thanksgiving holiday this year. [Apple] will shut down with pay on November 24, 25 and 26 so our teams can enjoy the whole week off.” Of course, while many Cupertino-based employees will get the week off, retail and AppleCare assets will need to be on call. So, those teams will get the same days off at a later point.

The full email from Cook to employees is available to read below:

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Poll: Does the malleability [#bendgate] of Apple’s iPhone 6/Plus concern you?

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The Internet recently exploded with reports of the iPhone 6 Plus’ bendable body. Unofficially dubbed “Bendgate” this problem seems to occur when the device is in pockets and other tight areas that apply pressure on the chassis of the iPhone 6 Plus. This is probably a small issue when you look at the big picture and ones that other metal phones including previous iPhones also experience. Over 10 million iPhones have been sold since its Sept. 19 launch, but we’ve only seen a handful of legit Bendgate issues in the wild. The question is, does this actually bother you?

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Will Apple hit a Valentine’s Day 2015 target for the Apple Watch’s release?

 

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You may remember Apple CEO Tim Cook teasing major new product categories for Apple to be released in 2014. Technically, that will happen with Apple Pay next month, Apple’s first foray into the mobile payments category, but it is far more likely that Cook had been focusing his teases on the Apple Watch. Earlier this month, Apple debuted the fashion and fitness-oriented smart watch to the same crowd that saw the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While the Watch was demonstrated, it is obviously not a finished product: it’s not shipping until “early 2015,” according to Apple.

How early in 2015? Nobody knows for sure, but a new profile from The Information says “that Apple would be lucky to ship it by Valentine’s Day.” At 9to5, we’ve been hearing similar whispers. Valentine’s Day is in February, and this could be a great target for Apple to try to hit for the Watch’s launch. That Hallmark Holiday isn’t as strong as a shopping season as the December holidays, but it is still a time that many people seek out expensive or fashionable gifts. So why not the Apple Watch Edition, too? Apple has done product launches around that timeframe before, releasing new iOS device storage capacities and pink-colored models on multiple occasions.

Valentine’s Day aside, the bigger picture here is that many signs indicate Apple missed its own 2014 launch target. As The Information says:

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iPhone 6/Plus cameras ranked joint 1st in highly-respected DxOMark Mobile tests

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The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cameras have taken joint first place in the influential DxOMark Mobile ranking of smartphone cameras – three points ahead of the two Android smartphones which previously headed the list, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z3.

DxO Labs tests the image quality of literally thousands of cameras from entry-level smartphones to professional DSLRs, and is considered by many in the photography field to be the definitive database. The company said that Apple has “set the gold standard for smartphone image quality” …  Read more

Hack test shows Apple improved security and reliability of (still not perfect) Touch ID sensor in iPhone 6

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You may recall that the Touch ID sensor was successfully hacked last year, using a technique where fingerprints were lifted from the phone’s casing followed by sophisticated lab techniques used to create artificial copies of the print to activate the sensor.

The bad news is that the sensor in the iPhone 6 is vulnerable to the same methods – the good news is that security researcher Marc Rogers found the iPhone 6 version to be both more secure and more reliable …  Read more

Apple tops American Customer Satisfaction Index for 11th year running despite dropping three points

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Apple has once again retained its top spot in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index in the personal computers category – though three points down on its 2013 score. Apple has now held top billing for eleven straight years.

The ASCI continues to lump computers and tablets into the same category, so the scores reflect satisfaction with both Macs and iPads. Scores reflect customer expectations pre-sale, perceived quality, perceived value, customer complaint incidents and customer loyalty …  Read more

Can’t wait for Photos for OS X? Photos app likely coming to iCloud.com for desktop viewing

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With Photos for OS X not being released until early next year, it seemed like there would be no way to view your photos backed up in iCloud Photo Library away from an iOS device for Mac customers. However, screenshots and error messages from iCloud.com show that a Photos app is in development for the website, so that users could access their pictures in some fashion on a computer. This will likely act as a stopgap before the official native client is ready.

The above screenshot is captured from an Apple help page, clearly showing a Photos app in the menu, which is currently absent from the public site. The app features the same icon as the Photos app, but its unclear what exact functionality it will bring. Poking around a bit, we discovered something that means it is unlikely the screenshot is simply a Photoshop mistake.

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Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus gets put through ‘bend test’ in new video

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With recent reports of the iPhone 6 Plus suffering from a bendable body while in pockets and other tight places, YouTuber Lewis from Unbox Therapy decided to put together a proper “bend test” and see what all of the fuss is about. Obviously this is going to be an extreme situation, but as others have specified it doesn’t take much to bend Apple’s new phablet…

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2013 Apple TV revision gets its first exclusive feature: iOS 8’s Peer-to-Peer AirPlay

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When Apple released Apple TV software update 7.0 earlier this month, it came with support for new iOS 8 features including the new Peer-to-Peer AirPlay feature. First announced when Apple unveiled iOS 8 earlier this year, Peer-to-Peer AirPlay allows users on iOS 8 and the upcoming OS X Yosemite release to stream content to an Apple TV without having to connect to the same wireless network. What we didn’t know at the time, however, is that the feature is limited to only the latest Apple TV hardware: Read more

Former Apple Retail SVP Ron Johnson reportedly working on gadget delivery service

Ron Johnson (l.), George Blankenship, Jerry McDougal

Ron Johnson (left) with George Blankenship (center) and Jerry McDougal (right)

The information published a report today with details about a new startup former Apple Retail SVP Ron Johnson is building. The report shares that Johnson is launching a new delivery service focused on tech products following his brief run as CEO of retailer JCPenney:

Ron Johnson, who left Apple in 2011 for a controversial stint as the CEO of J.C. Penney, is launching a high-end, on-demand delivery service for gadgets, according to several people who have talked to him about it. And he has recruited some former Apple employees, including one-time Apple VP executive Jerry McDougal, to help.

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