$50,000 buys you a cup of coffee…with Tim Cook at Apple HQ

Tim-Cook-Charity-Buzz-auction

Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to be offering up his services to charity auction site Charitybuzz in hopes of raising an estimated $50,000 to support the The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. By services we mean the winning bidder will get the opportunity to have coffee with Apple’s top exec at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The auction listing notes that it was “Donated by: Tim Cook” and after opening earlier this morning currently has two bids of just over $5,000.

The estimated value for the auction is set at $50,000, and the winning bid will get two lucky individuals the chance to sit down with the CEO for 30min to 1 hour. However, bids don’t include travel or accommodations and Cook’s guests will also be “subject to security screening” before hand to weed out the crazies. (via @Ihnatko)

If you can’t afford Tim Cook, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is available for less than half the price (via). Read more

Aspyr Media talks porting games to OS X, Mac App Store & the future of Mac gaming (+ Borderlands 2 giveaway!)

Aspyr-Borderlands2-Interview

The introduction of the Mac App Store, at least for the Mac’s biggest game publisher Aspyr Media, hasn’t been entirely smooth. Aspyr recently outlined some issues with bringing multiplayer to Mac games due to Game Center and sandboxing restrictions of the Mac App Store, and developing separate versions of games for Steam and the Mac App Store continues to be a hurdle. An example is Borderlands 2. It took Aspyr just two months to ship the Mac version, but the Game Center multiplayer won’t arrive until sometime early this year. However, executives at the company promise Apple’s enthusiasm toward gaming on Mac is stronger than ever thanks to the Mac App Store. Aspyr also said it has much planned for 2013 in Apple’s store and remains platform agnostic, despite running its own competitive GameAgent store.

9to5Mac recently had the chance to speak with Aspyr Vice President of Publishing Elizabeth Howard, with input from CEO Michael Rogers and other execs, about the process of porting games to the Mac App Store, the company’s relationship with Apple and publishers, and the possibility of bringing iOS titles to OS X.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Aspyr is one of the biggest Mac game publishers bringing PC and console titles to OS X. It regularly leads many of the top paid and grossing charts on the Mac App Store thanks to high-profile releases such as Borderlands 2, RAGE, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and much more. Go below for the full interview and a chance to win Borderlands 2 for Mac. Read more

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s full NBC Rock Center interview [Video]

NBC just posted official clips from its exclusive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier today. The interview aired at 10 p.m. ET tonight, and now the full video of the interview has already made its way to YouTube. In the interview, Cook talked about product design, Apple’s plans to bring production of some Macs back to the United States in 2013, his thoughts on Apple, being CEO post-Steve Jobs, and his “intense interest” in TV. We’ll update this post when the official high quality versions hit the web. Part 2 of the interview is continued below:
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Apple’s Tim Cook takes TV project from hobby to ‘intense area of interest,’ says the industry is 20- to 30 years behind

Tim Cook NBC interviewApple CEO Tim Cook’s much hyped NBC interview is set to air tonight at 10 p.m. EST, but we are already learning much of what will be discussed during the conversation that took place in, among other places, Apple’s Grand Central retail store location in New York. Earlier today, a profile from Bloomberg revealed Cook’s plans to bring at least some production of the Mac back to the United States in 2013, but he also hinted that the company has big plans for a next-generation Apple TV product. According to a preview of the interview on NBC’s website, Cook referred to the project as an “intense area of interest”—opposed to the “hobby” that the company has considered the product since its inception:

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Phil Schiller: App Store is more democratic than traditional retail, Passbook is not a direct payment service

In a recent story about growing concerns among app developers who want better ways to promote their apps in the App Store, The Wall Street Journal published quotes from an interview with Apple’s Vice President for Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller about the “tremendous amount” of work Apple does to help new apps get discovered. Schiller also talked about how things will improve with the redesigned App Store, Facebook integration, and new user tracking tools for developers in iOS 6:
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Live blog: Tim Cook interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at D10

We are about 30 minutes away from Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first major public interview, which takes place at AllThingsD’s D10 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. If I were a betting man, I would say this talk will focus on Apple after Steve Jobs, current issues at Apple’s manufacturing partners, and the latest Apple products. Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher will sit down with the chief to hammer out the information we all want to here. It should be a doozie.

That’s a wrap! The full archive is below: Read more

Tim Cook to appear as opening-night speaker at D10 conference

AllThingsD just announced Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook would appear as the opening-night speaker at this year’s D10 conference. The 10th D: All Things Digital conference will be Cook’s first time speaking at the event, and AllThingsD noted this is his first-ever appearance onstage at a non-Apple event since becoming CEO last year. Past D conferences were notably a stage for many in-depth discussions and interviews with Steve Jobs. Jobs last appeared at the event at D8 in 2010.

Walt Mossberg and I could not be more thrilled to announce that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, will be the opening-night speaker at our 10th D: All Things Digital conference.

The D10 conference is slated for May 29 to May 31, 2012 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
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Google CEO Larry Page says Steve Jobs’ fury over Android was just to rally troops

In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page talked at length about his new role as chief and his plans for the future of Android, Motorola, and the rest of the company. Much the interview revolved around Android and Google’s relationship with other companies, and Page was asked about his relationship with Steve Jobs toward the end. He was also asked about the state of Android tablets and his thoughts on Apple’s recently announced dividend.

When the interviewer mentioned Google and Jobs had their “differences” about Android, presumably referring to Jobs’ claims that Android is a “stolen product,” Page claimed Jobs’ anger toward Android/Google was “actually for show”:

I think the Android differences were actually for show. I had a relationship with Steve. I wouldn’t say I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I saw him periodically. Curiously enough, actually, he requested that meeting. He sent me an e-mail and said: “Hey, you want to get together and chat?” I said, “Sure, I’ll come over.” And we had a very nice talk. We always did when we had a discussion generally… He was quite sick. I took it as an honor that he wanted to spend some time with me. I figured he wanted to spend time with his family at that point. He had a lot of interesting insights about how to run a company and that was pretty much what we discussed.

He continued when encouraged to elaborate on his “for show” comment:
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FLA president says Apple/Foxconn agreement raises bar, but will it raise prices?

The results of the Fair Labor Association’s investigation into Apple’s suppliers beginning with three Foxconn facilities officially published yesterday. While finding excessive working hours and many violations of Chinese labor law, Foxconn and Apple agreed to reduce workweek and overtime hours within Chinese law to 49 hours per week and 36 overtime hours per month based on the FLA’s recommendations. Foxconn will also hire tens of thousands of new employees and implement a compensation package to make sure workers’ salaries remain the same amid reduced working hours.

In the interview above with Reuters, head of the FLA Auret van Heerden talked about the investigation and noted the agreement could set a new standard for working conditions throughout China. One unanswered question is whether the agreement will lead to higher prices for consumers (which is not necessarily a bad thing)…

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Photographer Doug Menuez on his three years with Steve Jobs at NeXT

The man in the interview above with RT is photographer Doug Menuez. He spent three years capturing Steve Jobs after the legendary chief executive officer was forced out of Apple in 1985 and began work at NeXT computer. In the interview, Menuez gave first-hand accounts of how Jobs worked with engineers and his team at NeXT, and he spent an almost four-year period photographing Jobs and the company. Menuez did not keep in contact with Jobs following those years, but thousands of his pictures currently reside in Stanford’s Apple Collection archives.

Menuez told RT how the project to photograph Jobs initially began:

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Sprint CEO: iPhone users are more loyal, use less data

Reports from the Wall Street Journal last October revealed Sprint’s Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse convinced the company’s board to take on a staggering commitment of approximately $20 billion to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over four years. At the time, Hesse said Sprint “would likely lose money on the deal until 2014. ″ He also claimed not having the iPhone was “the No. 1 reason customers leave or switch.” In an interview with Mobile World Live (via BGR), Hesse defended the decision and claimed, among other things, that iPhone users are “more profitable than the average smartphone customer.”

 Subsidies are heavy for the iPhone. This is the reason why a high percentage of new customers is important… But iPhone customers have a lower level of churn and they actually use less data on average than a high-end 4G Android device. So from a cost point of view and a customer lifetime value perspective. They’re more profitable than the average smartphone customer.”

Hesse went on to claim that Sprint was “pulling a lot of customers” from AT&T and Verizon during the fourth quarter by noting four out of every 10 iPhones the carrier sold were new customers. According to Hesse, that is around double the rate of the other carriers.
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Another publication investigates Foxconn: CNN interviews an iPad assembler, Apple responds

After The New York Times published a lengthy two-part piece covering the controversial working conditions of Apple’s supply chain within Foxconn factories in China, other publications are doing their own investigative work to find out more informtion. The NYT’s second installment brought us the backstory of Foxconn worker Lai Xiaodong leading up to his death at a factory explosion in Chengdu. Today, CNN published a video of journalist Stan Grant who recently sat down for an interview with a current Foxconn employee and iPad display assembler:

“I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday was like, I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It became my daily routine and I almost felt like I was some kind of animal.”

The video starts off with Grant showing “Miss Chen,” who requested her name be changed for the interview, and the finished iPad she helps assemble on a daily basis but has never used. Miss Chen told CNN her Foxconn bosses informed her not to talk with media or “criminal liability shall be investigated according to law.” Chen, a poor Chongqing university student, said she took the one-month job with no experience on promises of “great benefits and little overtime.” Chen described her experience upon arriving at Foxconn:
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