Protesters stage brief but noisy demonstration at Apple Campus in support of contract workers

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Around 100 protesters organized by the United Service Workers West union and the Rev. Jesse Jackson yesterday staged a “brief but lively” demonstration at the Apple Campus, calling on the company to create better pay and conditions for low-paid contract workers.

Jesse Jackson last month wrote to Tim Cook urging the company to create “world-class working conditions” for contractors like security guards, who are not entitled to the same job security and perks as direct employees. He requested a meeting with Cook, which took place a few days ago …

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Rev. Jesse Jackson urges Tim Cook to take a lead in the treatment of low-paid contractors

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The Rev. Jesse Jackson has written to Apple CEO Tim Cook to urge the company to create “world-class working conditions” for low-paid contractors like security guards, requesting a meeting with Cook to discuss the issue, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

The paper reports a growing debate about the widespread use of contract workers by tech companies for low-paid roles, contract staff having none of the protections or perks afforded to direct employees …  Read more

Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine expected to become Apple executives as part of Beats acquisition

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Unveil Beats By Dr. Dre 2011 Holiday Product Line-Up

As part of the impending $3.2 billion Apple acquisition of Beats Electronics, Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will join Apple as senior executives, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal

But as Apple completes a deal to buy headphone and streaming-service company Beats Electronics LLC from Mr. Iovine and his co-founder, rap star Dr. Dre, both men are likely to take senior positions with the Cupertino, Calif., tech company, according to people familiar with the matter, commuting from the Los Angeles area to Silicon Valley—or meetings elsewhere—as needed.

The report does not seem to indicate that the two men will be full-time employees. Rather, it seems possible that the pair will commute and take meetings as needed. In the modern world of technology, working remotely is not a far-fetched possibility. If the deal closes, Iovine is also expected to resign as Chairman of Interscope, a record label…

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Apple M&A met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring, to partner in battery ‘Gigafactory’?

Those ongoing analyst predictions that Apple would buy Tesla may have been based on some sort of reality.  According the the SF ChronicleAdrian Perica, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.

A source tells The Chronicle that Perica met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last spring around the same time analysts suggested Apple acquire the electric car giant…

Six months before Ahmad’s letter, Musk met with Perica and probably Cook at Apple headquarters, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business relationships. While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer.

But it is unlikely that Apple wanted to buy the car company and even more unlikely that Musk would sell it. In response to the acquisition rumors at the time, he tweeted the following:

But it’s highly likely that Apple would want to buy into one of Tesla’s major upcoming projects.

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Video reveals how the Touch ID hack was performed – ‘trivial’ attack that took 30 hours

The German hacker who successfully defeated Touch ID using a fingerprint lifted from the back of an iPhone has posted a video showing exactly how it was done.

While the hacker – who goes by the nickname Starbug – described the attack as “very straightforward and trivial,” he revealed in an email interview with arsTechnica that it required 30 hours of work using a scanner, high-res laserprinter and a printed circuit board etching kit.

It took me nearly 30 hours from unpacking the iPhone to a [bypass] that worked reliably. With better preparation it would have taken approximately half an hour. I spent significantly more time trying to find out information on the technical specification of the sensor than I actually spent bypassing it.

I was very disappointed, as I hoped to hack on it for a week or two. There was no challenge at all; the attack was very straightforward and trivial.

Should 5s owners worry that, now that the technique is known, it could be replicated in 30 mins? The answer is ‘it depends, but probably not’ …  Read more

Ahead of 2013 launch, T-Mobile lights up iPhone-compatible high speed networks in Atlanta, Seattle and Minneapolis

factory-unlocked-iphone-4s-running-t-mobileAfter confirming a partnership with Apple to bring products to market in 2013 last week, T-Mobile today announced plans to bring its enhanced iPhone-compatible 4G network to even more areas. Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile USA Neville Ray announced on the company’s blog that the carrier’s enhanced network will now be available in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis. T-Mobile will also continue to enhance its network in Oakland, San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley:

Continuing our fast-paced work to strengthen our already competitive 4G experience in major metro areas across the country, we’ve just announced technology advancements in three additional major metro areas, including Atlanta, Seattle and Minneapolis. Additionally, we have continued to expand on enhancements made last month in Oakland, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley to cover more surrounding cities.

T-Mobile also pointed out: “Internal tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on our 1900 MHz network recorded on average 70% faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network.”

A full list of areas included are below: Read more

Apple breaks ground on Santa Clara campus set to hold 1,200 employees

Mercury News reported that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has broken ground on a Santa Clara campus that is set to be home to 1,200 employees. The location is just short of the city limits of Cupertino, and it is a 296,000 square-foot space set to be developed by Peery Arillaga. It is said to be a two six-floor building campus—not to be confused with the massive Spaceship-like campus Apple currently has plans for. Earlier this month, we highlighted a few other Apple land grabs, which many believe are temporary offices until the new campus that is set to hold 14,000 employees is completed in mid-2016. The first six-floor building at the new Santa Clara location that is 188,000 square feet will be completed mid-2014, while there’s no word on the second.

Source: Mercury News

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Apple didn’t buy Color, it bought 20 engineers for a few million

It turns out yesterday’s report about Apple buying Color for “high double digit millions” was mostly off base. At least that is according to AllThingsD:

What’s really happening is that Color’s engineering team — about 20 people, comprising almost the entire company — is being “acqhired” by Apple at what’s being called a “nominal” price of something like $2 to $5 million, according to multiple sources familiar with both sides of the situation. To repeat, there are no “double-digit” millions involved, according to many people familiar with the deal.

Apple is not buying Color’s technology, intellectual property, domain names or liabilities. Those are being left with the company, which still has considerable cash in the bank — something like $25 million — and is going to be wound down.

The engineers could help with Apple’s photo and video-sharing capabilities across devices, or maybe Apple is just getting a HR jump on the competition in the red hot Silicon Valley talent marketplace.

Color is said to be winding down, with the $25 million it has left in the bank going to investors. Read more

More than $60,000 worth of ‘computers and personal items’ stolen from Steve Jobs home

Update: List of items stolen (and returned)

According to a report from MercuryNews, suspects are now in custody for the recent burglary of the Silicon Valley home of Steve Jobs that contained more than $60,000 worth of computers and personal items:

The deceased Apple co-founder’s home on the 2100 block of Waverley Street in Palo Alto was burglarized July 17, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery, a member of the high-technology crimes unit…More than $60,000 worth of “computers and personal items” were allegedly stolen, but Flattery declined to say whether they belonged to Jobs, who died last year at the age of 56, or another family member.

Weeks after the burglary on July 17, police arrested Kariem McFarlin, 35, who is currently in jail on $500,000 bail, but other specific details regarding the crime are not available. We know that Laurene Powell Jobs and family were likely not living in the home at the time of the robbery, as during July the property was undergoing renovations with construction barricades and scaffolding surrounding the house. Forbes snapped photos of the property under construction (below) on July 4:

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Report: Judge who dismissed Apple’s case against Motorola disputes legal protection for tech industry

Reuters interviewed the U.S. judge today who dismissed Apple’s patent court case against Motorola, and the details behind the jurist’s reasoning for tossing the lawsuit are as interesting as they are controversial.

Richard Posner sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and disputes whether software and related tech industries should even have patents for their products.

“It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries,” said Posner, referring to the slew of features in smartphones that are legally protected. “You just have this proliferation of patents. It’s a problem.”

Posner, 73, argued the pharmaceutical industry better deserved protection for its intellectual property because of the, as Reuters coined it, “enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug.” He tossed Apple’s lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility last month and denied an injunction against the sale of Motorola devices using Apple’s patented technology.

The judge attributed Apple’s scramble to attack competitors allegedly using its technology to a “constant struggle for survival.”

“As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem,” Posner contended.

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Virgin America honors Steve Jobs with the ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ Airbus A320


Image: Virgin America

Steve Jobs’ recent passing on Oct.5 sparked intense reactions all over the world, ranging from musical tributes to moving gestures by competitors to tributes from fans and late night talk shows. More than two and a half months later, it is still heartwarming to see big brands pay respect to the values Jobs stood for and to his achievements.

Virgin America adorned the side of their Airbus A320 jet with the now famous “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” quote famously used in Steve’s 2005 Stanford University commencement address (from earlier quote from Stewart Brand, who used it in the farewell edition of the Whole Earth catalog in 1974 – thanks Josh). A spokesperson for the Silicon Valley-based airliner owned by British tycoon (and fellow entrepreneur) Richard Branson told MacRumors that it chose the quote “as part of an internal plane naming competition.” 

There are clearly legions of Steve Jobs fans at Virgin America, too.  Or at least one big fan.

The tail N845VA has been seen on the Orlando to SFO route, and it seems to be based in San Francisco.

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Evidence looks bad for Apple, Google and others in anti-poaching class action suit

It appears the U.S. Justice Department has some solid evidence against companies including Apple, Google, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intel.  TechCrunch obtained a document from the DOJ that is now posted to Scribd.  Among the pieces of evidence, include:

The DOJ settled with the six companies, but a class action lawsuit is pending.  The complaint regards entering into non-poach and no bidding war agreements. The above mentioned companies allegedly lowered employee compensation artificially while hindering mobility.

The plaintiffs seek damages for any salaried employee who worked for one of the defendants during a 4-year period in the late 2000s. That means a lot of Silicon Valley tech workers could receive a payout if the defendants lose or settle the case. The civil case will be heard by Judge Koh in San Jose starting January 26th, 2011

The defendants, including Apple, asked the case to be dismissed, stating that the DOJ found “no overarching conspiracy” and that these bilateral agreements were separate.
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