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.

Opinion: Is the case for Apple ending its patent battles with Samsung stronger than ever?

Men are silhouetted against a video screen with Apple and Samsung logos as he poses with Samsung S3 and Samsung S4 smartphones in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica

Steve Jobs famously declared back in 2010 that Android was a stolen product, and he was willing to “go thermonuclear war” in order to “destroy” it.

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Back in April, I suggested three reasons it might be time for Apple to settle its Android disputes and move on. The relatively small damages award in the most recent case (and which now looks set to be further reduced) provided a fourth reason not long after I wrote that piece. But I think the case today is even more compelling …  Read more

Steve Jobs had plans to make free, shared Wi-Fi the norm to improve iPhone experience

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There were lots of hints that Steve Jobs was interested in changing the way we all access the internet on the devices he helped create. Back in 2011 there were reports that Apple considered developing its own network for the original iPhone that could potentially replace traditional carrier services using Wi-Fi spectrum. Before that rumours claimed Jobs was interested in Fon, a WiFi sharing service that encourages users to share wireless internet access with others. Today, Walt Mossberg from ReCode shares another story about Jobs’ interest in a world of shared Wi-Fi, describing a conversation between the two where Jobs shared his vision of making free Wi-Fi the norm: Read more

Architects hate Apple’s spaceship design, but Pixar president says they don’t understand

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Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt says that even at an international conference of 6,000 architects, he couldn’t find a single one who liked the spaceship design of Apple’s new campus building. Though if the single quote given is representative of the quality of the critiques, this may not be saying much.

“Does it have to be a spaceship?” asked an official at the American Institute of Architects.

Pixar president Ed Catmull wrote in his book Creativity Inc that they are failing to understand a key feature of the building, derived from a lesson Steve Jobs learned when leading the design of Pixar’s headquarters …

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Apple & AT&T begin sending $40 checks to original 3G iPad buyers

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Apple and U.S.-based wireless carrier AT&T have begun sending out $40 checks to buyers of the original iPad WiFi + 3G in the United States over a “bait-and-switch” regarding the device’s data plan. The backstory is that when Steve Jobs announced the 3G iPad in January 2010, he announced a deal with AT&T for a $30/month unlimited iPad data plan.

When the 3G iPad launched in late April 2010, this plan was available, but AT&T eliminated the plan just about one month later in early June 2010. Lawsuits followed in the months and years following the shift in data plan strategy claimed that customers overpaid for the 3G iPad believing that they would be able to use the device to access unlimited amounts of data.

In September 2013, Apple and AT&T settled and agreed to pay $40 to each affected iPad buyer. For iPad buyers who had not yet purchased an unlimited data plan, a discount on the replacing 5GB plan was offered. The two companies began sending the checks out late last week, and they began arriving today. You can view the entire check stub and letter from the payout fund below:

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Steve Jobs’ favorite analytics company acquired by Yahoo

If you’re a long-time Apple watcher, you may be familiar with Flurry Analytics as Steve Jobs’ favorite analytics firm. The video above sums up his opinion well on the topic. Today, Re/code breaks the news that Yahoo’s prolific Mergers and Acquisition department will be acquiring Flurry for “hundreds of millions of dollars” later today. TechCrunch pegs the price at roughly $300 million. As for Apple, the Cupertino-based company will be launching its own iOS analytics software this fall alongside iOS 8.

Update: The purchase is now official:

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