New York Times profiles Apple University, Infinite Loop’s school for life after Jobs

The existence of Apple University, a college of sort for teaching the Apple way at Apple’s Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, California, is not a secret. But the details of how Apple University works and what the school teaches have been mostly hidden from the spotlight. Today, The New York Times has published a fairly extensive profile of Apple University, which is well-worth a read.

Unlike many corporations, Apple runs its training in-house, year round. The full-time faculty — including instructors, writers and editors — create and teach the courses. Some faculty members come from universities like Yale; Harvard; the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford; and M.I.T., and some continue to hold positions at their schools while working for Apple.

Apple University is run by former Yale business school dean Joel Podolny, and Podolny took a full-time role as Dean of Apple University earlier this year as he handed off his former Human Resources responsibilities to Denise Young-Smith. The New York Times’s profile discusses some of the classes. Courses range from those for the leaders of newly acquired companies to learn how to integrate their former businesses into Apple to courses about simplifying products.

In “What Makes Apple, Apple,” another course that Mr. Nelson occasionally teaches, he showed a slide of the remote control for the Google TV, said an employee who took the class last year. The remote has 78 buttons. Then, the employee said, Mr. Nelson displayed a photo of the Apple TV remote, a thin piece of metal with just three buttons. How did Apple’s designers decide on three buttons? They started out with an idea, Mr. Nelson explained, and debated until they had just what was needed — a button to play and pause a video, a button to select something to watch, and another to go to the main menu.

While Apple University teaches Apple employees some key lessons about Apple’s decision making processes that led to the company’s rapid growth and success over the past decade, the most important take away is that Apple has set up a unique and comprehensive experience for ensuring that the company continues to thrive in the immediate post-Steve Jobs era and beyond.

Tim Cook ‘actively’ seeking to add new directors to Board

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The Wall Street Journal today published a brief profile on Apple CEO Tim Cook as the Cupertino-based company continues to be shaped in the image of Cook rather than co-founder Steve Jobs. The profile has some interested tidbits, but it is otherwise light on new information aside from information regarding Cook’s plan for the Apple Board of Directors. According to the report, Cook is “actively” looking to add fresh faces to the Board:

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Jony Ive on new materials, software design, Tim Cook’s leadership

Jony Ive via Telegraph.co.uk

Following a few quotes from a Jony Ive interview with The New York Times appearing in a longer piece about Tim Cook over the weekend, the publication has now published a longer transcript from the interview. In the interview, Ive was asked about working with Cook, how things have changed post Steve Jobs, and he also gave some insight into his daily work routine.  We meet on average three times a week. Sometimes those meetings are over in his space, sometimes here in the design studio. We all see the same physical object. Something happens between what we objectively see and what we perceive it to be.”

Ive described his new role leading software design at the company as “some leadership and direction in terms of user interface – a subset of software,” and most interestingly seemed to hint at using new materials for products that the company hasn’t worked with before. Naturally, Ive would have loved to say more but couldn’t: I would love to talk about future stuff – they’re materials we haven’t worked in before. I’ve been working on this stuff for a few years now. Tim is fundamentally involved in pushing into these new areas and into these materials.” Read more

New leaked docs show NSA collects personal data from smartphone apps

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica detail how the NSA and its British counterpart can collect users’ personal data through smartphone apps. The reports specifically mention popular apps like Angry Birds, Twitter, Google Maps and Facebook and claim the NSA is capable of intercepting information ranging from location, age, and sex of users to address books, buddy lists, phone logs, geographic data and more:

The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services.

At least one of the app developers, Rovio, is not surprisingly unaware of any of the activity mentioned in the documents, but it will be up to the app developers, Apple, and Google to address the issue and clarify for users if their personal data is safe. In a recent interview with ABC, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the controversy over surveillance programs and promised he would press congress for more transparency: Read more

Websites begin exposing Safari push notification support as Mavericks nears public release

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With the launch of Mavericks imminent, a handful of major websites have begun supporting the Safari Push Notification feature. These sites include The New York Times, NBA.com and social network Pinterest. HTML 5 web notifications have been supported by all major browsers, including Safari, for a while. However, the HTML 5 native feature requires the page to be open for notifications to be sent, as noted by MacRumors.

Meanwhile, Safari Push Notifications mirror the user experience associated with native app push notifications. With user consent, a supporting website can send notifications to your Mac without the page (or even, Safari) being open. This is because this system uses Apple’s Push Notification Service servers — rather than the local client — to function. Because of this server-side integration, the utility of website notifications increases dramatically.

With major support already implemented by such big sites, it seems like this will be a big deal for end-users. More sites will undoubtedly roll out support in the coming days. For instance, CNN was used to demo the feature at WWDC but is yet to go live publicly. Mavericks is expected to launch by the end of the week. It is very likely Apple will confirm the OS’ launch date at its special media event later today. Read more

Clear + Leap Motion, Runtastic, DataMan Pro, Orbitz for iPad, Adobe Muse, deals, more

News:

Clear for Mac + Leap Motion: We’ve brought you a couple hands-on demos of the Leap Motion controller before, and today popular productivity app Clear for Mac announced it is working on bringing support for Leap Motion to Clear. There’s no timeframe yet, but Realmac Software provided the short preview above.

Updates:

Runtastic version 2.10.1: Personal fitness tracking app Runtastic gets a nice update today that brings more Sport types, improved Facebook integration, and number of other bug fixes and performance enhancements.

DataMan-ProDataMan Pro version 6.3: After some trouble getting by Apple review guidelines with its last update, DataMan Pro is back on the App Store today and is 50% off for a limited time to celebrate. The app has also been completely redesigned:

The resurrected DataMan Pro has been completely reinvented to feature a stunning new interface, an intelligent real-time data usage forecast, and most advanced app tracking… The powerful App Watch technology that users love is also back. You can see the usage statistics for all apps. This amazing capability empowers you to root out data-hungry apps… The new DataMan Pro includes Smart Forecast and the beautiful interface that were recently introduced in DataMan Next. Combined with precise real-time tracking, you can say goodbye to overage.

Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars 3.0: Yesterday Orbitz launched its first “fully native, in-app search and book experience” for the iPad with an update to its Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars app that brings support for the larger screen and new iPad-specific features:

Our award-winning app (App Store Editors’ Choice & Hall of Fame inductee) is now also optimized for iPad and iPad mini! iPad users enjoy *all* the same app features as iPhone users, plus iPad-exclusives like a dual list/map view of hotels and the ability to compare details of multiple flights, rental cars, or hotels from a single screen.

Adobe Muse: Adobe announced today that it is updating Adobe Muse with some highly requested new features: Read more

Here’s all of the public information on Apple’s watchmaking activity

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Since the old iWatch rumor reared its head again in December, there have been a few more reliable sources adding weight to the idea that we could see a smart watch from Apple this year. Over the weekend, The New York Times, which said essentially the same thing in 2011, followed up the rumors with a report that Apple is working on a curved glass watch prototype running iOS. The Wall Street Journal quickly followed with more information, claiming Apple and partner Foxconn are now testing wearable, watch-like devices.

While many have speculated what Apple might include in an iWatch, such as Apple employee #66 and founder of Apple’s Human Interface Group Bruce Tognazzini, all we get from reports is “curved glass” and “iOS”. Apple has clearly been testing wearable prototypes with several patents dating as far back as 2009, describing potential integration with wristwatches and iOS devices. By taking a look at the technology for watches that Apple is already experimenting with through the many publicly available patents, we put together a list of some of the features the company could very well include in an Apple-branded smart watch. Read more

The New York Times is back with the curved glass iOS iWatch story (U: WSJ too)

Image (5) iWatch.jpeg for post 22979According to a report from Nick Bilton from The New York Times, citing people close to the situation, Apple is currently in the process of developing a wristwatch that utilizes curved glass. This isn’t the first time Bilton has reported that Apple has wearable devices in the works, and there has recently been many rumors that Apple could indeed compete with a Bluetooth watch of its own. In December 2011, Bilton reported that a small group of people at Apple were “conceptualizing and even prototyping” wearable devices. The group was likely lead by wearable computer expert Richard DeVaul at the time, and it was said to be prototyping a “curved-glass iPod that would wrap around the wrist.” DeVaul jumped ship to Google in 2011, but Bitlon said Apple is pushing ahead with its bendable iOS wristwatch.

In today’s report, Bilton claimed the watch would run iOS and stand out from the competition due to Apple’s unique process of implementing curved glass in wearable form factors: Read more

New York City Mayor Bloomberg blames iPhones & iPads for increase in crime

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In September, we noted some statistics from the NYPD that claimed Apple-related crimes were increasing 10 times the 4 percent increase other crime in the city was experiencing. Today, New York City Michael Bloomberg is once again pointing to thefts of iPhones and iPads as the cause of the increase in the city’s annual crime index (via The New York Times):

Crime in New York City inched up this year, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Friday fingered the culprit: too many iPhones and iPads were being swiped.

As of Monday, the Police Department recorded 3,484 more crimes than for the same period last year. A full breakdown of the year’s crime statistics was not immediately available, but city officials were quick to focus on the Apple figure. The increase in Apple product thefts: 3,890.

“If you just took away the jump in Apple, we’d be down for the year,” said Marc La Vorgna, the mayor’s press secretary.

 

New report profiles better working conditions in Foxconn’s Apple factories (Video)

In January 2012, The New York Times published a lengthy report covering the problems with Foxconn’s plants in China. The piece caused uproar, and it pushed Apple to perform its own audit in the factories that make its products and work to address the issues the audit found. Close to a year after publishing its first report, the New York Times has followed up with a second piece that found working conditions are getting better. One of the first steps was in March, when top Apple executives met with Foxconn executives to reduce worker hours and increase wages in 2013. This is said to create a ripple effect that will benefit the entire manufacturing industry.

Past wages and hours, changes are also coming about within the plant. According to the New York Times, new safety measures like automatic shut-off devices and protective foam are now in place to protect workers when doing their difficult jobs of assembling various Apple products. The piece told a story of one worker receiving a wooden, sturdy chair more comfortable on her back than the green plastic stool she once used. Apple also tripled the staff at its California headquarters to ensure safe working conditions across the world.

The changes also extend to California, where Apple is based. Apple, the electronics industry’s behemoth, in the last year has tripled its corporate social responsibility staff, has re-evaluated how it works with manufacturers, has asked competitors to help curb excessive overtime in China and has reached out to advocacy groups it once rebuffed.

Earlier this year, CEO Tim Cook spoke a lot about worker safety while changes were underway. “We insist that our manufacturing partners follow Apple’s strict code of conduct, and to make sure they do, the Supplier Responsibility team led more than 200 audits at facilities throughout our supply chain last year,” said Cook in an email. “These audits make sure that working conditions are safe and just, and if a manufacturer won’t live up to our standards, we stop working with them.” Subsequently, Apple issued a statement to the New York Times this week on the recent changes:

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Apple Australia hit with $28.5M in back taxes after questionable use of tax havens

Days after executives from Google, Amazon, and others were grilled by regulators in the United Kingdom over the issue of tax avoidance in Europe, The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Apple’s Australian arm has been hit with a $28.5 million bill for back taxes in the country:

APPLE AUSTRALIA has been hit with a $28.5 million bill for back taxes, statements lodged with the corporate regulator in April show… News of the Tax Office bill comes as European governments put global technology companies under intense pressure over their complex ownership structures that rely heavily on a network of tax havens… Apple’s Australian arm reaped $4.9 billion in revenue last year through the sale of its computers, iPads and iPhones. The bill takes its total tax tab for the year ending September 24, 2011, to $94.7 million.

Earlier this year, The New York Times profiled how Apple uses tax havens, such as Nevada, Ireland, and Luxembourg, to sidestep taxes in both the United States and Europe. The U.K. isn’t the only country putting pressure on technology multinationals over tax avoidance schemes, SMH also noted the French government requested $252 million USD in back taxes from Amazon, a company that also uses Luxembourg as a tax haven for its Europe operations, earlier this week. Read more

Nokia to release free ‘Here’ maps app for iOS with voice-guided navigation, public transport directions, and offline

While a native Google Maps iOS app has yet to hit the App Store, Nokia said today it plans to release a new free maps for iOS under the “Here” brand in the coming weeks. “Here” is a cross platform effort for mapping applications that the company described as “the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.”

San Francisco, California – Today Nokia introduced HERE, the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere… To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. 

The new HTML5-based iOS app, also called “Here”, will arrive in the App Store in the coming weeks and feature “offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions.” Read more