Tim Cook officially comes out as gay in public essay about equality

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In an essay published on Bloomberg’s website, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly come out as gay. Although his sexuality wasn’t really a secret, this is the first time he has officially confirmed his sexual orientation. Cook says he has relaxed this aspect of privacy to help others as part of Apple’s efforts against discrimination. The essay can be read in full at Bloomberg Businessweek.

At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

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Apple talked HealthKit with insurance companies UnitedHealth and Humana

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Bloomberg‘s Adam Satariano has an interesting profile out this morning regarding the usage of wearable fitness devices in work environments. The report says that some companies are offering devices, such as the FitBit, in order to track the fitness of its employees. With that information, companies are able to slice costs off of insurance plans if employees hit certain fitness data thresholds:

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Bloomberg says new iPads (with anti-reflective coating) go into production

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While most of the Apple-watching world has its sights focused on the next iPhone, Apple has put next-generation versions of the iPad into production. That’s according to Bloomberg News, which says that the new full-sized iPad Air model will be announced later this quarter or early next quarter and that the new 7.9-inch model will hit the market by the end of the year:

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Apple defending its streaming technology used by MLB, ESPN, and others against patent dispute

Another day, another patent dispute. This time Apple is defending the use of its HTTP live-streaming service against Emblaze, Ltd., Bloomberg reports.

Specifically, the lawyer for Emblaze has accused Apple of pushing its video streaming technology on sports-related services like WatchESPN and MLB At Bat which support live streaming over apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and more.

Apple began working on its HTTP live-streaming service, or HLS, “no earlier than 2007,” demanding that services such as “At Bat” use the format to drive sales of iPhones and iPads — and inducing infringement of Emblaze’s patent, Pavane said.

“Apple’s HLS is nothing more than Emblaze’s patented solution under a different name,” he said.

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Bloomberg: Two iPhone 6 models will go into mass production in July, will go on sale at the same time

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Last night we noted a report from a Taiwanese news outlet which claimed in part that Apple would be putting the next-generation iPhone into production in July. Now, Bloomberg has confirmed that the company will indeed be starting production on two different models of the upcoming smartphone next month.

The iPhone 6 is expected to be available in two sizes: one with a 4.7-inch display and a larger 5.5-inch design. Both are larger than the current iPhone 5s which features a 4-inch display. iOS 8 has introduced useful changes for developers that seem to indicate a larger screen is coming (possibly with a resolution of 1704 x 960), and leaked dummies and parts have given us an idea of what the phone will look like when it officially launches. Both models will reportedly sport curved glass and rounded edges…

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Wall Street Journal corroborates new Apple TV incoming, but says content plans have been scaled back

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The Wall Street Journal has published a report that largely corroborates what Bloomberg said earlier; a new Apple TV is under development with Apple currently in negotiation stages for content deals, with at least Time Warner Cable. However, the Wall Street Journal adds some new information about what these talks entail.

Initially, it appears that Apple wanted an independent Apple TV product to offer TV shows and films exclusively over the Internet. However, now it appears that Apple is scaling back some of its ambition due to resistance from content companies.

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Bloomberg reiterates new Apple TV incoming, April introduction and Christmas launch

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Following our reports in recent months that Apple was looking to introduce a revamped Apple TV set-top box sometime around the month of March, Bloomberg is out with its own report today confirming much of what we’ve already reported. The report claims Apple is currently planning to launch the new Apple TV set-top box as early as April:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box as early as April and is negotiating with Time Warner Cable Inc. and other potential partners to add video content, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

In January we reported that Apple was working testing the new box that could include a revamped operating system and possibly app and game support for sometime in the first half of 2014. We also reported that Apple was testing upgraded hardware that included built-in AirPort Express 802.11ac router functionality and versions that include a built-in TV tuner to control existing cable boxes. Most recently we reported that code in recent builds of iOS 7 point to refreshed hardware, at least internally. Bloomberg today confirmed a couple of the same details including a new interface for navigating content. It also said the hardware will include a faster processor.

Bloomberg adds that a launch of the product is currently planned for Christmas but that might change if Apple isn’t able to nail down deals with content partners in time. Content from Time Warner has been rumored to be arriving soon for quite a while now, but negotiations are still ongoing according to Bloomberg’s report from today.

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Tax-breaks for jobs: How Arizona attracted Apple to Mesa w/ tax breaks & perks for new Sapphire plant

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If you were wondering why Apple chose Mesa, Arizona, as the location of its latest manufacturing plant in the U.S., a story today from Bloomberg explains that Apple, not shy about going after tax breaks, has taken advantage of many perks put in place by the suburb’s mayor:

So last year, when Apple was searching for a place to house a factory that makes a stronger glass for its gadgets, Mesa pulled out the stops. The city, which was ravaged by the 2007 housing crash, offered tax breaks, built power lines, fast-tracked building permits and got the state to declare a vacant 1.3 million-square-foot facility that Apple was exploring a foreign trade zone. With unemployment high, such are the lengths that towns are willing to go to to lure the world’s most valuable company.“Any time you have a company like Apple come in and invest in your area, especially with this type of operation, it’s significant,” said Smith, who triumphed late last year when Apple spent $114 million to buy the factory. The mayor celebrated by placing bowls of green and red apples in City Hall.

Smith added that original preparations were done before the city even knew it was Apple, but later Apple requested additional perks before moving in and even got construction permits expedited. Among the other advantages of choosing Mesa for Apple was a $10 million building grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority and an agreement with the city’s power company to build solar and geothermal installations and a new power substation for the plant: Read more

Behind the scenes look at Apple TV app development w/ the new Bloomberg channel

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Unlike its developer program and vast ecosystem of apps on iOS and Mac, there’s not much we know about Apple’s strategy for content on the Apple TV. There’s been a lot of talk that a much rumored refreshed Apple TV set top box— or perhaps even the rumored full-fledged TV set— might also come alongside a more open developer platform with app distribution.

For now, however, Apple is slowly and quietly behind closed doors making deals with select content partners that are building apps for the platform. How is Apple working with developers to build and approve these apps? Does it have an Apple TV SDK that could in theory be released to all developers? With Bloomberg TV today becoming the latest app to launch on the platform, we’ve talked with the people that built the app to get some insight into the Apple TV development process. Read more

Bloomberg launches on Apple TV globally with 24/7 live news stream, on-demand content, iOS integration & more

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Following Apple’s steady release of new content and features for its existing Apple TV platform in recent months, this week it adds yet another as Bloomberg becomes the first channel to live stream business news 24/7 to Apple TV customers. We spoke with Bloomberg’s head of mobile Oke Okaro who told us all about the new Apple TV app.

The majority of the content you’ll find in the new app is the same Bloomberg TV content you’ll find on its website and in its mobile apps but specifically optimized for the larger screen. That includes a live stream of business news, on-demand content with a mix of full TV show episodes and clips, and a special live stream that will appear only for events and breaking news. While there is similar news programming already on the Apple TV through apps like The Wall Street Journal and SkyNews, Bloomberg will be the first to have a 24/7 live stream of business news. That’s compared to the WSJ app which often only live streams content on certain hours throughout the day. It’s also going beyond the other news apps by offering all of its content for free in full-length form in addition to integration with its iOS apps coming in a future update. Read more

Apple prepares for court battle against California inventor over ‘smartphone patent’ for iPhone

(via Flickr)

(via Flickr)

Following a lawsuit filed three and a half years ago by NetAirus Technologies LLC, Apple is preparing for a legal battle in Los Angeles federal court over a patent regarding the iPhone and smartphone technologies, Bloomberg reports.

California man Richard L. Ditzik filed for a patent in 1997 that describes smartphone technologies and behavior, but Apple believes his claim should be invalidated based alone on capabilities of its Newton message pad three years prior.

“The technology at issue was so well known at the time NetAirus filed its patent, that independent patent watchdogs have made NetAirus’s patent a poster child in the movement to limit the proliferation of facially invalid patents,” Apple said in its July 2011 request to throw out the case. Read more

Bloomberg: Apple to introduce larger, curved screen iPhones in Q3 2014, enhanced pressure sensors for later models

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Concept render by Federico Ciccarese

Bloomberg is reporting that “sources familiar with the plans” say Apple is planning to release two new iPhone models next year with curved displays. The two phones would have 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch displays respectively, both substantially bigger than the 4 inch Retina Display currently offered in the iPhone 5s and more in line with Samsung’s S4 and Note 3.

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