Opinion: Should AAPL stockholders be worried about Jony Ive’s more backseat role?

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The Apple world this morning seems divided between those who seemingly haven’t grasped the implications of Apple’s ‘promotion’ of Jony Ive, merely taking Cook’s memo at face value, and those switching into full-on ‘Apple is doomed’ mode. The reality is, I think, a little more nuanced.

It seems pretty clear that this move is, as Seth outlined earlier, about Ive taking more of a backseat role – and especially being able to spend a lot more time back in England. Apple’s decision to announce the news on a day when the US markets were closed was obviously not coincidence.

Apple didn’t want to see a knee-jerk panic reaction on Wall Street setting its stock diving. But is there reason to panic? Or is it all much ado about nothing? Or something between the two … ?  Read more

Ex-iOS SVP Scott Forstall ‘delighted’ by Apple continuing to launch ‘great and beloved products’

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Scott Forstall, former Senior Vice President of iOS and one of the main creators of the iPhone and iPad, has finally spoken about Apple for the first time since leaving the company in the fall of 2012. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal primarily centered around his work on Broadway, Forstall briefly commented on Apple:

Asked about the split, Mr. Forstall said he was “so proud of the thousands of people I worked with [at Apple] and with whom I remain friends. I am delighted that they continue to turn out great and beloved products.”

Forstall’s admiration for Apple remains following a very public breakup between the executive and the company following problems with iOS 6 Maps application and the iPhone 5 launch. Since Forstall’s departure, Apple has publicly poked fun at skeuomorphic design, which was a cornerstone of Forstall’s iOS and OS X releases.

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Ex-Apple SVP Scott Forstall is now a producer on a Broadway musical

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Less than 24 hours after a report surfaced revealing Scott Forstall began serving as an advisor to Snapchat last year, the former iOS chief has announced via his Twitter account an unrelated project: a Broadway musical.

I’m thrilled to be co-producing the Broadway musical Fun Home opening this Sunday. Bravo to the phenomenal team!

The announcement is especially notable as it marks the first time the former Apple executive has surfaced in public since his ousting at Apple under current CEO Tim Cook in late 2012. Read more

1Password for iOS updated w/ Touch ID lock screen improvements & more

Apple SVP Craig Federighi featuring 1Password at October Apple event

Apple SVP Craig Federighi featuring 1Password at October Apple event

Apple gave a prominent shoutout to the 1Password secure wallet app earlier this month when Craig Federighi, who leads the OS X and iOS teams, mentioned the password management app’s support for Touch ID in an iOS 8 review on stage. AgileBits, the developers behind 1Password, mentioned the shoutout in their latest release notes for an updated version of the iPhone and iPad app which brings a list of new improvements.

The latest version of 1Password for iPhone and iPad brings an improvement to the app’s lock screen when using Touch ID. Specifically, 1Password now moves the lock out of the way when using Touch ID as seen on stage in Federighi’s demonstration. This change means users unlocking 1Password to access stored passwords using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner can see more of the lock screen artwork. The update also brings speak improvements to the lock screen as well as folder syncing improvements for iCloud users and additional improvements.

1Password for iPhone and iPad is available for free on the App Store (a $9.99 in-app purchase unlocks pro features), and you can read the latest change log below. Read more

Apple developing iOS 8.1, 8.2, & 8.3 in shift for 2015 launches

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Starting with iOS 5 in 2011, Apple has released a major new iOS version each fall and a notable follow-up update early in the following year. For example, iOS 6 launched in September 2012 and was updated to iOS 6.1 in January, and iOS 7, which was launched in September 2013, was updated to iOS 7.1 with CarPlay and interface improvements in March 2014. But starting with the recently released iOS 8, it appears that Apple has a different development schedule for 2015 and perhaps beyond. According to sources, Apple is already hard at work on three major follow-up versions to iOS 8: iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3.

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We’ve confirmed that these major new versions are in development via two means. First, a developer of a major hardware-connected iOS application has shared with us their analytics, and this data indicates that all three versions are in testing by Apple employees in or around Cupertino, California. Second, and much closer to home, our own Google Analytics for 9to5Mac.com show that iOS users are visiting our website via iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3 devices. iOS 8.1 hits to 9to5Mac.com started appearing even months before iOS 8.0 launched, but 8.2 and 8.3 visits only started picking up following iOS 8’s release in mid-September.

8.3 9to5iOS 8.3 visits to 9to5Mac

While Apple works on several iOS features and enhancements over the course of several years, it typically only begins wholly testing major new releases close to the ship dates of the preceding release. Apple working on three significant follow-ups to iOS 8 is a shift from the usual development cycle, one which would normally indicate Apple to be working on just iOS 8.1 as well as iOS 9.0. It’s possible that iOS 9 is also in the works, and of course Apple is always working on nominal bug fix (x.x.1 or .2 or .3) updates, but the fact that 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 are all in simultaneous development raises some interesting possibilities:

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Live blog: Apple’s Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine interviewed at Code Conference

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Cue on the right, Iovine on the left

Earlier today, Apple announced that it has acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music for a total of $3 billion. Tonight, two of the masterminds behind the deal will be interviewed about a range of topics at the Code Conference. Apple Senior Vice President of Software and Services Eddy Cue along with Beats co-founder and music mogul Jimmy Iovine will be interviewed by Re/code’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Previously, Cue was scheduled to be interviewed alongside Apple Senior Software Vice President Craig Federighi, but it appears that the acquisition’s announcement changed up the plans. We are on hand for the interview and we will be providing live coverage below. The interview starts around 8PM Pacific/11PM Eastern Standard time:

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Apple confirms WWDC 2014 keynote to be held Monday, June 2nd at 10 AM PT; new hardware likely

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Apple’s Craig Federighi (Getty)

This morning, Apple revealed the schedule for next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference. To start things off, an Apple keynote will be held from 10AM to 12PM on Monday, June 2nd at Moscone West. Apple typically holds keynote addresses to kick off WWDC, but this schedule serves as the first direct confirmation from Apple. The event will likely be led by Apple CEO Tim Cook with assistance from Senior VPs Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue, who have some new software and services announcements, respectively…

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iOS 8: Apple considers Notification Center + Messages tweaks, removing Game Center app

iOS 8 App Tweaks

Besides adding new Maps, Healthbook, and iTunes Radio applications, Apple plans to enhance and refine the functionality of some of its current pre-bundled applications and features for iOS 8. Here is a list, provided by sources, of some of the refinements Apple is considering for select applications and system functions in iOS 8:

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iOS 8: Apple polishes Maps data, adds public transit directions service

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Apple is readying an upgraded version of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Maps application for the next major release of iOS in an effort to battle Google for mobile maps supremacy, according to sources briefed on the plans. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Senior Vice Presidents Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi, and Maps head Patrice Gautier are using the new app to move toward fulfilling a promise to users that the iOS Maps application will eventually live up to the “incredibly high standard” of Apple’s customers…

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Top Apple execs each awarded 35,000 shares, worth up to $19M at today’s price

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An SEC filing reveals that six of Apple’s top execs were each awarded 35,000 Restricted Stock Units (shares that cannot be immediately traded), with a current value of more than $19M. Of this, $12M is awarded outright, subject only to remaining with the company until at least April 2018, with a further $7M dependent on Apple’s stock performance.

The bonuses were awarded to Senior VPs Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Dan Riccio, Phil Schiller, Bruce Sewell and Jeffrey Williams. It’s likely that Jony Ive will receive the same, though his stock awards do not have to be reported to the SEC …  Read more

Analyst suggestion of converged iOS/OS X device flies in face of Apple statements

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CNET reports that JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz forecasts that Apple will release a converged iOS/OS X device he has dubbed the iAnywhere.

While not a new idea, our global tech research team believes Apple could be on the cusp of introducing a new category with iAnywhere, a converged MacOS-iOS operating system that allows an iPhone or iPad to dock into a specially configured display to run as a computer

This is a variation on earlier claims that a larger iPad – widely dubbed the iPad Pro – could also run both operating systems. I’ve written at length about this idea, so won’t rehearse the arguments again here, I shall simply counter with a few quotes from Apple …  Read more

Apple execs say iOS and OS X won’t merge, and 10.10 will prove that

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Among the hoopla surrounding the 30th anniversary of the Mac last week, Macworld‘s Jason Snell had an excellent interview with Apple’s Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Bud Tribble about both the past and the future for the Mac. While the entire interview is well worth a read, the talk from Apple executives about iOS and OS X convergence being a “waste of energy” stood out to me the most.

“It’s obvious and easy enough to slap a touchscreen on a piece of hardware, but is that a good experience?” Federighi said. “We believe, no.”

“We don’t waste time thinking, ‘But it should be one [interface]!’ How do you make these [operating systems] merge together?’ What a waste of energy that would be,” Schiller said. But he added that the company definitely tries to smooth out bumps in the road that make it difficult for its customers to switch between a Mac and an iOS device—for example, making sure its messaging and calendaring apps have the same name on both OS X and iOS.

Of course, it appears that the Apple executives are taking shots at Microsoft, Windows 8, the Surface line of products, and Google’s new Touch-enabled Chromebooks. Microsoft is well known to believe that computer operating systems should be the same regardless of devices. On the other hand, Apple has two complete different operating systems: one for the iPad and iPhone, and the other for the Mac. Federighi explains why:

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