Apple’s multi-billion dollar spend on gadgets you’ll never see

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Bloomberg claims to have some info on how Apple plans to spend some of the $10.5B it has set aside for capital expenditure over the next year, saying that the investments will span everything from lasers to robots.

Apple is spending more on the machines that do the behind-the-scenes work of mass producing iPhones, iPads and other gadgets. That includes equipment to polish the new iPhone 5c’s colorful plastic, laser and milling machines to carve the MacBook’s aluminum body, and testing gear for the iPhone and iPad camera lens …  Read more

A look at the hardcover catalog for Jony Ive’s Sotheby’s (RED) Auction

As we’ve been covering, Jony Ive and Marc Newson have teamed with Sotheby’s to host an auction for Bono’s Product(RED) Charity. The auction, which takes place on November 23rd, is highlighted by several items hand picked by the two world-famous designers. The auction includes one-of-a-kind items such as gold-plated Apple EarPods, an aluminum unibody Leica camera, and a red next-generation Mac Pro.

In addition to the images and online catalog of the products, we thought it would be interested to provide a look at Sotheby’s hardcover version of the catalog. As you can see in the images above, the book has an intriguing front and back cover design that showcase cartoon-like representations of both Ive and Newson. Inside, the catalog provides an in-depth look at the items on auction.

You can see our full gallery of images of the catalog below, courtesy of 9to5 reader Chris:

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After the (RED) Leica, the (RED) desk (in aluminum, of course)

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Following the interview in which Jony Ives and Marc Newson talked about their collaborative design of the one-off Leica M camera for the (RED) charity auction, the one-of-a-kind desk designed by the two has also been unveiled.

As you might expect, it’s made from machined aluminum, fabricated by renowned aluminum specialists Neal Feay Studio. The design is, though, not quite as minimalist as I’d expected, featuring a mosaic pattern on its surface. More photos below the fold …

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Jony Ive and Marc Newson talk collaboration and development of one-off Leica for (RED) auction

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Earlier this week, we reported on some details and photos of the one-off Leica camera designed by Apple’s Jony Ive and Marc Newson for the Product(RED) campaign. Leica originally shared some interesting tidbits about the functionality and development process of the camera, but now, Vanity Fair has published an extensive interview with Ive and Newson about the process. The report provides an interesting look into Apple PR’s process of organizing interviews of its executives: Read more

Original iPhone radio engineer details the heart (and Scotch) pounding moments that lead up to the Steve Jobs iPhone announcement

Fred Vogelstein, author of Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution, has published a massive, detailed account of the atmosphere around Apple in the lead up to the historic announcement of the original iPhone in 2007. This particular profile, which is entitled “And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone,’” appears in The New York Times Magazine and portrays the exceptional excitement and nervous energy that encompassed the people who worked tirelessly to deliver what we now love and know as the iPhone.

Vogelstein begins with describing how Andy Grignon, the senior engineer behind OS X’s Dashboard and iChat, felt terrified ahead of his boss Steve Jobs demoing the iPhone publicly to world, namely because Grignon was responsible for the iPhone’s radios and his work was facing the ultimate challenge of sink or swim in front of the entire world, and more particularly the press.

 Grignon and some colleagues would spend the night at a nearby hotel, and around 10 a.m. the following day they — along with the rest of the world — would watch Jobs unveil the first iPhone.

But as Grignon drove north, he didn’t feel excited. He felt terrified. Most onstage product demonstrations in Silicon Valley are canned. The thinking goes, why let bad Internet or cellphone connections ruin an otherwise good presentation? But Jobs insisted on live presentations. It was one of the things that made them so captivating. Part of his legend was that noticeable product-demo glitches almost never happened. But for those in the background, like Grignon, few parts of the job caused more stress.

Much of the piece illustrates the colorful gems of reality for the team behind the iPhone:

By the end, Grignon wasn’t just relieved; he was drunk. He’d brought a flask of Scotch to calm his nerves. “And so there we were in the fifth row or something — engineers, managers, all of us — doing shots of Scotch after every segment of the demo. There were about five or six of us, and after each piece of the demo, the person who was responsible for that portion did a shot. When the finale came — and it worked along with everything before it, we all just drained the flask. It was the best demo any of us had ever seen. And the rest of the day turned out to be just a [expletive] for the entire iPhone team. We just spent the entire rest of the day drinking in the city. It was just a mess, but it was great.”

Read on for more entertaining anecdotes and tales of what happened behind-the-scenes (and in the fifth row, in this instance) that made Apple’s tremendous announcement possible (and endurable). Read more

iWatch watch: a roundup of some of the more interesting concepts

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Some iWatch concepts are, well, just a bit silly. But this concept by Stephen Olmstead has the kind of restrained design one might expect from Apple. Sure, the hardware design doesn’t quite have the finesse and finish of something Jony Ive would create, but it strikes me as along the right lines. The matching colored wallpaper and straps are a good fit with both iOS 7 and what we’re expecting from the iPhone 5C.

Some of the screens look a little unrealistic – I don’t see anyone scrolling through apps one at a time like that, or hitting a date on a calendar of that size – but Siri, Weather and Compass all look good. And Facetime on the iWatch? Hell yeah: we’ve all been wanting wristwatch videophones since those SF programs we watched as a kid, right?

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Martin Hajeck always produces interesting work. While I’m not a fan of the rather chunky-looking hardware shown here (I’d hope Apple can create something sleeker), the colored, embossed leather straps look every inch the sort of thing you’d expect Apple to produce…. Read more