Tim Cook talks Snowden, Apple Car and Steve Jobs as the best teacher he’s ever had

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Tim Cook appears to be using his international tour, which so far includes Israel, Germany and the UK, to push a second product every bit as hard as the Apple Watch: privacy. In an interview with the German newspaper BILD posted yesterday (paywall), Cook went as far as to praise Edward Snowden for his role in prompting discussion of the issue.

If Snowden did anything for us at all, then it was to get us to talk more about these things. [Apple’s] values have always been the same.

The comments follow a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at which data privacy was reportedly a key topic. Cook also told the Telegraph last week that “none of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information.” Cook has in the past resisted FBI pressure to compromise its strong encryption, and was the only tech CEO to attend a recent White House cybersecurity summit.

In the BILD interview, Cook reiterated Apple’s stance on privacy, and also said that as Apple had grown larger, it had taken deliberate decisions to be less secretive about some aspects of its business …  Read more

Apple adds vehicles to its list of company activities in Swiss legal filing

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Apple has officially added vehicles to the corporate documents describing the company’s activities, at least in Switzerland. The company’s lawyers added the following paragraph, reports Swiss site ApfelBlog.

Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.

It’s common to add catch-all terminology to company activities, so nothing should be read into the inclusion of ships and aircraft, though we’re sure there will be a breathless headline somewhere soon about an Apple plane …  Read more

Apple Watch ‘pop up’ stores prognosticated for Paris, London and SXSW

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Over the past week, we’ve heard rumors that Apple planned “pop up” stores for displaying the new Apple Watch inside high end stores in both Paris Galeries Lafayette and London Selfridges (pictured above). Now the Austin Statesman notes that Apple has participated in SXSW in a number of ways over the past few years and it would almost be surprising if the Apple Watch wasn’t displayed in some capacity to the international SXSW Interactive audience there. Apple set up a pop-up shop for the iPad 2 during its spring launch in 2011 (pictured right).

inside-apple-pop-up-austinApple has used the festival in the past to showcase a new product (like the iPad 2) or to promote its services (like the iTunes Music Festival last year). SXSW Interactive is the perfect audience of early adopters for a product like the Apple Watch and it wouldn’t be surprising if the company offered a preview of the device there.

SXSW is an annual Music/Film/Interactive conference that runs March 13th-22nd this year, the week following the March 9th event and before the Apple Watch goes on sale in April. One SXSW event Apple Watch enthusiasts may want to check out: Wearables and the Happiness Quotient.

A possible counter-argument to an Apple Watch presence that Apple has focused on Fashion audiences and not Tech audiences for the Apple Watch launch.

Apple also plans another showcase of the Apple watch outside of the Yerba Buena Center where it will hold its Spring Forward event on March 9th.

Tim Cook: Apple Watch will replace car keyfobs, reward exercise, filter messages

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In an interview with the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Tim Cook said that while people might see limited reasons to want an Apple Watch today, they will soon find lots of other uses for it. The interview took place during a London stop in Cook’s international tour.

This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons.

One of those reasons, he said, would be to replace your car keyfob …  Read more

Ericsson asks ITC to block iPhones from U.S. market in patent negotiating tactic

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Ericsson, an early pioneer in cellphone technology, has upped the ante in a patent dispute with Apple by asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to block the import of iPhones into the country.

Ericsson owns patents to a number of fundamental technologies used in all cellphones, including LTE, and Apple had been paying royalties for these up until mid-January when the license fell due for renewal, reports Bloomberg …  Read more

Apple’s growing presence in Israel geared to chip design, suggests WSJ

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The WSJ is suggesting that Apple’s growing presence in Israel is focused on expanding the company’s chip design capabilities, reporting that it has hired most of the local employees of a chip design company shut down by Texas Instruments and is advertising new positions in silicon and semiconductor design.

“Apple’s Israeli acquisitions and its expanding local workforce show that the company is becoming more and more independent on the chip level, where it once had to rely on external suppliers,” said Shlomo Gradman, chairman of the Israeli Semiconductor Club.

While the report contains more speculation than hard fact, we noted yesterday that Tim Cook–who is currently visiting the country–is accompanied by Johny Srouji, whose bio on the Apple website says that he “leads all custom silicon architecture and development” …

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Tim Cook: Apple Watch will be showerproof, Apple Pay goal for Europe is “end of the year”

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French site iGen is reporting that Tim Cook told an employee in the Kurfürstendamm Apple Store in Berlin that he wears his Apple Watch all the time–”even in the shower.” While Apple has previously mentioned water-resistance, and stated that the S1 innards are “completely encapsulated in resin,” this is the first time we’ve had a specific indication on what that means in practice.

In line with expectations that the watch will only have one day of battery-life, Cook confirmed that he removes it every night to charge …  Read more

Opinion: Does the Apple Watch Edition signal future luxury-model iPhones, iPads and Macs?

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Back in April of last year, when a luxury model of the Apple Watch was still a vague rumor, I wrote an opinion piece in which I expressed the view that Apple could indeed pull this off. I went further, and suggested that it could even create an entire range of luxury versions of its existing products, from iPhones to Macs.

Ten months on, with the Apple Watch Edition now real, and the general expectation that it’s going to cost several thousand dollars at least, I thought it was time to revisit that idea. Is a luxury model of the Apple Watch a one-off, or does Apple see this as the first step toward Edition models of its complete product range … ?  Read more

On what would have been Steve’s 60th birthday, imagine an Apple where he’s still in charge

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Almost everything Apple has done since the unfortunate passing of Steve Jobs has been met with comments about what the company would or wouldn’t have done had Steve still been here – even though his marching orders for Tim Cook were to never ask what he would have done.

But things certainly would have been different. The flattened user-interface of iOS 7 versus the skeuomorphic approach of the Jobs era. Would have it have happened at all? Would he have stopped it going quite so far? Would Apple have gone in a different direction.

What about an Apple Television? Steve said years ago that he “finally cracked it,” suggesting that he had a design and user-interface he was happy with. If the hold-up now is the content, would Steve have been able to bulldoze through the necessary deals to have launched it by now … ?  Read more

Supporting payment infrastructure for Apple Pay will be in place in Europe by mid-April

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Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on. MasterCard has advised us that it already supports tokenisation globally.

Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.

Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available on the Visa network in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too …  Read more

Siri learns Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai and Turkish for iOS 8.3 beta 2

In addition to Wireless CarPlay, more diverse Emojis, and improved logging in for Google services, iOS 8.3 adds a major new feature: several new languages for Siri. Over three years following the initial Siri beta in 2011, iOS 8.3 adds support for the following languages in Siri: Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and English for India…

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Apple announces $1.9B European plan for two of the world’s largest, clean energy data centers

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Apple has announced that it will be spending €1.7B ($1.92B) on two new European data centers, each of which will be among the largest in the world at 166,000 square metres (1.8M square feet)–three times larger than the company’s North Carolina facility.

One will be in Ireland, the other in Denmark, with each set to begin operations in 2017. Apple says that the facilities will provide online services across Europe, including the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Apple Maps and Siri.

We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date.”

As with all of Apple’s data centers around the world, the new centres will be powered entirely by clean, renewable energy …  Read more