Elgato announces Eve home automation integrated with Apple’s HomeKit, Avea smart LED lights and Smart Power batteries

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Everything has pretty much stopped in North America for Labor Day (except for perv hackers), but IFA 2014 is ramping up in Germany and Elgato is using this event to debut a new lineup of smart accessories. The announcement encompasses three major new products: Eve, Avea, and Smart Power.

Elgato Eve is easily the most compelling new product in this lineup. Through the use of several sensors, Avea monitors your home’s “air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy and water consumption.” These Bluetooth connected sensors report back to your iPhone or iPad via the Elgato Eve app. And here’s the best part, it will be fully compatible with Apple HomeKit…
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Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media

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Apple CEO Tim Cook with former VP of Worldwide Communications Katie Cotton

“Beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”

“Feature for feature, it’s identical to iPad Air in every way.”

“Just avoid holding it in that way.”

Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company. Before customers get their first chance to see or touch a new Apple product, the company has carefully orchestrated almost every one of its public appearances: controlled leaks and advance briefings for favored writers, an invite-only media debut, and a special early review process for a group of pre-screened, known-positive writers. Nothing is left to chance, and in the rare case where Apple doesn’t control the initial message, it remedies that by using proxies to deliver carefully crafted, off-the-record responses.

Except for a few big exceptions, such as the memorably off-pitch quotes above, Apple’s “tell them what to believe” PR strategy has worked incredibly well for years. But it has also created tensions between the company and the people who cover it, as well as within Apple itself. The company’s long-time head of PR, Katie Cotton, left the company earlier this year as CEO Tim Cook openly sought to make a major change in the way Apple interacted with the press and its customers. As the hunt for Cotton’s replacement is still in progress, and the depth of Apple’s commitment to change remains unclear, we look today at the techniques Apple has used to quietly manipulate its coverage over the years.

You can navigate between the chapters, below:

- Part 1) Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets

- Part 2) Introducing the Teams: How PR Is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop

- Part 3) Strategies: The “Art of Deep Background” and Controlling the Press

- Part 4) The Departure of a “Tyrant”

- Part 5) Two Heads In Place Of One

- Part 6) Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires

- Part 7) Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer’s Guides

- Part 8) Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases

- Part 9) A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?

Two months in the making, this article is the product of over a dozen interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR professionals, including many who have worked at Apple.

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Apple announces special event for September 9th: ‘Wish we could say more’

Apple has just sent out press invites for its latest event, via The Loop, where the company is expected to announce the iPhone 6. The event is scheduled for 10 AM Pacific Time on September 9th. Atypically, Apple is holding the event at a new venue, the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino. This is the same venue that Apple introduced the original Mac, over 30 years ago. Apple has constructed a ‘three-story structure’ at the site, which may be used as the hands-on area after the presentation is over. Usually, Apple’s demo areas are only the size of a large room and do not span multiple floors.

Yesterday, Recode reported that Apple will also show off its new wrist wearable device (‘iWatch’) at the September 9th event. Unsurprisingly, the invite does not reveal specifics about what Apple will announce, bearing a rather bland image of the Apple logo coupled with the slogan ‘Wish we could say more’. Feel free to speculate what you think will be announced in the comments. A full screenshot of the email is after the break. Read more

BioShock for iOS brings the classic console shooter to the small screen

Earlier this month, 2K Games announced that it would be bringing its landmark horror-shooter BioShock to the iPhone and iPad. Tonight, the game finally arrived on the App Store in most of its original glory. The story, game mechanics, level design, and audio have all be ported to the mobile devices, though the graphics have been toned down to make it run on phones and tablets.

BioShock is set in the underwater would-be utopia of Rapture, which has been overrun by its own psychotic, drug-addled citizens on one especially-unfortunate New Years Eve. Players take on the role of Jack, who arrives in Rapture after a plane crash that leaves him stranded in the middle of the Atlantic, and must utilize a selection of upgradable weapons and genetic enhancements to track down Andrew Ryan, the madman running what’s left of the city.

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Apple on Campus program reportedly no longer available in Belgium or Switzerland

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Mac4Ever is reporting that Apple has confirmed that the Apple on Campus program, allowing students to buy significantly discounted Macs and accessories via their college, is no longer available in either Belgium or Switzerland. The confirmation was provided in a one-line response by Apple Switzerland.

Yes, Apple on Campus was stopped. However, the Apple Education Store discounts are obviously still valid …

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Apple’s iPad business at-a-glance as CEO Tim Cook plots breaking out of “speedbump” slump

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Tim Cook hinted at significant developments to the iPad line in describing the recent 16 percent drop in year-on-year sales yesterday as “a speedbump” in an interview with Re/code.

“We couldn’t be happier with how we’ve done with the first four years of the iPad. I’d call what’s going on recently a speed bump, and I’ve seen that in every category” …

He made that same comment before during the last earnings call and obviously that’s not the whole story…

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Thinner MacBook to launch later this year or early 2015, according to report

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Digitimes is claiming Apple will launch a new model of MacBook soon, potentially by the end of 2014. According to the report, component production has already begun in small quantities. The current MacBook Air tapers from 0.3 cm to 1.7cm, so it is unclear in what form the new product will be thinner. Although the report is not specific, the report could be referencing the long-rumored 12 inch Retina MacBook Air.

Digitimes’ report lacks any specifics aside from the release window. KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo first mentioned the idea of a brand new Retina Air in 2013, predicting a launch in Q3 2014. The Air is expected to feature a radical new design, high-resolution display and a buttonless trackpad.

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LA Unified School District’s “iPad for every student” plan suspended, may be abandoned

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A plan by the LA Unified School District to provide an iPad for each of its 640,000 students by the end of this year has now been suspended, and appears likely to be abandoned altogether.

Apple proudly announced the plan in June of last year, but it wasn’t too long before the arrangement came into question. Rollout was temporarily halted last September, when it was found that students were able to bypass restrictions designed to ensure they were only used for school work when taken home. A month later, it was suggested  that the school district might have gotten its sums wrong, with the true cost significantly higher than budgeted. It was then suggested in June of this year that iPads might not be the right devices …  Read more

Tim Cook pays a visit to VA hospital in Palo Alto where doctors use iPads to treat veterans

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Tim Cook took some time to visit a VA hospital in Palo Alto today, accompanied by Rep. Anna Eshoo of the CA-18 congressional district, according to a photo the executive tweeted. The Palo Alto VA hospital is one of many medical facilities around the country using Apple’s iPads to help treat members of the U.S. armed forces.

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Report claims next-gen iPad Air will double RAM amount to 2GB

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A new report from Asian site TechNews.tw claims information from the Apply supply chain points to the next generation iPad Air doubling up on RAM from 1GB to 2GB. The additional memory would benefit system performance, especially during multitasking, when more memory-intesive tasks like browsing multiple websites in Safari and using other apps requires more RAM to function smoothly.

While most of the parts and component leaks out of the supply chain have centered around the next generation iPhone, which is expected to debut at an Apple event next month, the new report that the next generation iPad Air will double its memory follows a Bloomberg report earlier this month that new iPads with an anti-reflective coating over the display have entered production. Read more

New videos and photo of purported reversible Apple USB to Lightning iPhone 6 cable

We raised the possibility yesterday of the iPhone 6 including a redesigned USB to Lightning cable that allows the USB end of the cord to be inserted into a USB port in either direction. In other words, like the Lightning connector, the next Apple USB cable could be reversible. Leaks of the purported cables have been flowing quickly out of Asia-based areas surrounding the Apple supply chain, and now Sonny Dickson has shared a video of the cable in action. While the video does not show the iPhone actually syncing with the new USB cord, the video does show the cable being inserted in both directions into a standard USB port. This lines up with a recent Apple patent, which is for a USB connector that can be inserted in either direction into currently existing USB hubs.

You can watch the videos and see the new photo below:

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