Tim Cook tells employees Apple has ‘big plans’ for 2014 that ‘customers are going to love’

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This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a lengthy memo to employees as a reflection of the soon-ending 2013 and the upcoming year of 2014, according to multiple sources. In the letter, Tim Cook discusses people experiencing Apple products this holiday season, the Apple products launched throughout 2013, and corporate initiatives. “This holiday season, tens of millions of people around the world, from all walks of life, are experiencing Apple products for the first time. Those moments of surprise and delight are magical, and they’re all made possible by your hard work,” Cook says in the beginning of the email.

Cook notes Apple’s new manufacturing process for the Assembled in the USA Mac Pro and calls iOS 7 an “extraordinarily ambitious project.” “We extended our lead in the smartphone market with iPhone 5s; launched iOS 7, an extraordinarily ambitious project; released OS X Mavericks for free to our customers; introduced the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display; and this week began shipping the Mac Pro from a manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas,” Cook told employees. Cook also notes his pride over Apple reaching 50 billion App Store app downloads this year. Apple reached this milestone in approximately five years…

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Black Friday: The best Apple deals on iPhone, iPad, Macs, & Apps all in one place

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It can be hard to keep up with all of the great Apple related deals available this Black Friday weekend, so we thought we’d make it easy for you. Here are all of the best deals available this weekend on Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, iPods, iTunes gift cards, and a ton of great apps for both iOS and Mac. As always, 9to5Toys is tracking all the best Black Friday deals on other products as well as the latest discounts as they get announced.

Mac |

Best Buy: Retina MacBook Pro up to $200 off, iMac $150 off, MacBook Air $150 off
MacMall: Black Friday Begins Now at MacMall: MacBook Airs $100 off, iPads $40 off, more
B&H: Some of the best deals on Macs if you want AppleCare included.

iPhone |

Best Buy: Best Buy offering iPhone 5s for $75 off all models on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon
Walmart: Walmart will credit YOU $30 to get an iPhone 5c on contract this Black Friday
T-Mobile: T-Mobile, regional carriers offering iPhone 5s and 5c for $0 down on Black Friday

iPad |

Apple iPad Deals: iPad Air w/ $100 Target GC $479, iPad mini $249, iPad 2 $300, more

Apple TV |

Apple TV + HDMI Cable: $72.49 shipped
Apple TV 3rd generation 1080p $85 shipped (Reg. $99)

iPod |

Black Friday iPod Discounts: iPod Touch/iPod Nano $50 off, more

Accessories |

Where to find the best Black Friday deals on iPhones, iPads, Macs, & Apple accessories

iTunes |

Discounted iTunes Gift Cards: Save up to 20% on future apps, music, movies, more. $100 gift card for $85 or $50 gift card for $40.

Apps |

Black Friday App Store sale guide: The best deals on iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps

Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 12 combo: $70 shipped

Adobe launches Black Friday deals up to 60% off on Photoshop, Lightroom, and more

VMWare sitewide Black Friday sale, VMWare Fusion 6: $38.99 new or $32.49 for an upgrade

How Google manages over 40,000 Macs…without much help from Apple

During a talk at the LISA ’13 conference in Washington D.C earlier this month, a couple members from Google’s Macintosh Operations team explained how the company has been forced to develop its own set of tools to manage its fleet of roughly 43,000 Macs. The reason, according to Google engineers Clay Caviness and Edward Eigerman, is that Apple isn’t doing a great job at supporting its enterprise management tools. As the first slide of the presentation (pictured above) puts it, “While Apple won’t do much for you, there are tools out there you can use to keep your machines secure, up to date and useful.”

“We don’t use any of Apple’s tools to manage the Macs. Apple arguably produces two tools, Mac OS X server… and Apple Remote Desktop. It kinda breaks down when you get it over 50, 100, 200 machines that you’re managing… we’ve sort of lost their attention as far as enterprise management tools.”

During one slide (pictured above, right), Google uses the red line to represent the release of the iPhone while noting Apple’s remote desktop “hasn’t had a major revision to it since 2006.” To avoid using Apple’s management tools, Google has either developed its own tools or is using open source tools for everything from configuration, to package management, monitoring system levels and more. Google announced during the talk that one of the imaging tools it developed, CanHazImage, will soon be hitting open source.  Read more

Tune in Oct. 22 for new iPads, Mac Pro details, MacBook Pros, and Mavericks

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Apple’s next event is upon us, and it’s likely to be action-packed. As Apple says: it has “a lot to cover.” So besides the speculation that rings in from the word cover (new Smart Covers, anyone?), Apple has some new tablets, computers, and software to discuss. Read our full roundup of what to expect (and not expect) on Tuesday, October 22nd, from Apple:

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