Carl Icahn forecasts UltraHD Apple TV set in FY 2016

Apple TV products

Included in activist shareholder and investor Carl Icahn’s open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook requesting an increased stock buyback from the company is somewhat of a prediction about when Apple might release an actual Apple TV set, not just an updated set-top box. Icahn sees fiscal year 2016 as an opportunity for Apple to enter the home television market citing an upgrade cycle due to UltraHD displays.

As we highlighted in our previous letter, we believe UltraHD’s (ultra-high-definition television) superior picture quality in comparison to regular HD will drive a major TV replacement cycle as the price gap between them narrows. It should also be noted that Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has referenced UltraHD as a major catalyst for Netflix going forward, and while this is true for Netflix, we believe it is also true for Apple. Against the backdrop of this replacement cycle, FY 2016 represents an opportune time to introduce an UltraHD TV set.

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Majority of Apple Campus 2 foundation laid according to latest drone video

Apple-campus-2-drone-video

Apple’s Campus 2 project continues to make strides with the latest drone video (below) showing the majority of the foundation completed on the massive structure, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the ‘Greenest in the World’.  You can see the front 2/3rds of the structure is now cemented in with the rear third still dirt and subterranean walls also built along the sides.

The controversial structure which will house 12,000 staff in 2.8M square feet on 176 acres and is estimated to be completed in 2016. Interestingly, even though Apple is covering the construction site with a high green wall, it is updating the 3D flyover of the location in Apple Maps somewhat frequently. The latest looks like it was taken earlier this summer.

You can follow the progress in our Campus 2 story line here.

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Apple names Steve Dowling as interim PR head following Katie Cotton’s retirement

Tim Cook recently visited Palo Alto Apple Store alongside Steve Dowling

Tim Cook recently visited Palo Alto Apple Store alongside Steve Dowling

Re/code reports today that Apple has chosen longtime Apple PR deputy Steve Dowling to lead Apple’s public relations efforts as interim PR chief. The report notes that Dowling’s role as head of Apple PR is not yet permanent as Apple continues to look for candidates outside of the company.

Sources close to Apple tell Code/red that Dowling was tapped as interim head of public relations last week by CEO Tim Cook. […] Dowling’s appointment has been framed to employees as an interim one and I’m told Apple will continue to evaluate worthy outside candidates if one should pop up. That said, the fact that Cook has officially put Dowling at the top of Apple’s PR organization suggests he could remain there.

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Former Apple managers talk of the 24/7 work culture: “these people are nuts”

apple

With the extreme competition for senior jobs at Apple, it will come as no surprise that you’re expected to work hard and put in extra hours. But according to two former managers speaking in a Debug podcast, the demands are far greater than anyone realizes when they join, with immediate responses to emails expected even in the middle of the night.

Sunday is a work night for everybody at Apple because it’s the exec meeting the next day. So you had your phone out there, you were sitting in front of your computer, it didn’t matter if your favorite show was on […] You were basically on until, like, 2 o’clock in the morning …

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US attorney general latest gov’t official to challenge Apple on smartphone encryption

US Attorney General Eric Holder

United States Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced plans to resign earlier this week pending confirmation of a successor, has criticized Apple and Google for encrypting smartphone data beyond law enforcement official access, Reuters reports.

“It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said in a speech before the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online.

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FBI director says officials have been in talks with Apple, Google over device encryption policies

tim cook death stare

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey expressed his concern today over Apple and Google’s decision to encrypt information stored on smartphones, the Huffington Post reports, adding that FBI officials are pushing both companies to change their policies in order to allow law enforcement officials to access data in certain instances.

“I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

In the case of the iPhone maker, Apple CEO Tim Cook used the company’s privacy stance as a major marketing point on a number of occasions over the past month. Read more

Will Apple hit a Valentine’s Day 2015 target for the Apple Watch’s release?

 

Screenshot 2014-09-24 10.42.08

You may remember Apple CEO Tim Cook teasing major new product categories for Apple to be released in 2014. Technically, that will happen with Apple Pay next month, Apple’s first foray into the mobile payments category, but it is far more likely that Cook had been focusing his teases on the Apple Watch. Earlier this month, Apple debuted the fashion and fitness-oriented smart watch to the same crowd that saw the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While the Watch was demonstrated, it is obviously not a finished product: it’s not shipping until “early 2015,” according to Apple.

How early in 2015? Nobody knows for sure, but a new profile from The Information says “that Apple would be lucky to ship it by Valentine’s Day.” At 9to5, we’ve been hearing similar whispers. Valentine’s Day is in February, and this could be a great target for Apple to try to hit for the Watch’s launch. That Hallmark Holiday isn’t as strong as a shopping season as the December holidays, but it is still a time that many people seek out expensive or fashionable gifts. So why not the Apple Watch Edition, too? Apple has done product launches around that timeframe before, releasing new iOS device storage capacities and pink-colored models on multiple occasions.

Valentine’s Day aside, the bigger picture here is that many signs indicate Apple missed its own 2014 launch target. As The Information says:

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Talking Schmidt: Google’s executive chairman challenges Tim Cook on privacy citing Chrome’s ‘incognito mode’

Key Speakers At Global Investment Conference

In his letter on privacy shared last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook contrasted the business model of Apple against that of its competitors while strongly taking a shot at Google, Gmail, and Android without actually naming the company and services. The infinitely entertaining executive chairman of Google and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt was recently asked by ABC News about Cook’s open letter on the company and privacy.

In short, Schmidt, who is making the media rounds to promote his upcoming book How Google Works, said Cook’s description of Google and privacy is incorrect, which you would expect from the Google chairman. But his first shot at debunking Cook’s claim was sort of out of left field (okay, as you also might expect): Read more

Tim Cook says new Apple ‘Spaceship’ HQ will be the greenest building on the planet

Tim Cook Climate Week NYC

As we shared this morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook today participated in the Climate Week NYC environment-focused conference to speak on behalf of Apple and the company’s efforts on preserving the planet. During his interview, Cook stated that Apple’s new headquarters will be what he thinks is the greenest building on the planet:

“We’re building a new headquarters that will, I think, be the greenest building on the planet. It’ll be a center for innovation, and it’s something clearly our employees want and we want.

Cook’s comments came in the context of discussing Apple’s efforts to monitor the environmental impact of the supply chain behind Apple’s products, not just Apple-operated facilities and improving the carbon footprint of other facilities. Cook echoed past comments by saying that Apple will focus on the supply chain “in a major way.” Read more

Apple announces record 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales in opening weekend

iphone6

Apple has today announced that it sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in the first three days of sales. This includes the 4 million units sold in the first 24 hours of preorder sales. Apple’s newest iPhones have consistently been out of stock across the world, particularly the iPhone 6 Plus which is believed to have faced production issues, limiting the number of available devices for sale.

For comparison, Apple reported 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c sales in the first three days. This means the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus set a new record by over a million units. Apple is unlikely to give any more color regarding iPhone sales performance until its quarterly earnings call in October. As usual, Apple has opted to not share the breakdown of sales between the two new devices.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook to speak at WSJDLive conference in October

D11 Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to appear at a new technology conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal this October called WSJDLive. 

Apple executives including Steve Jobs have appeared at past “D” conferences hosted by former WSJ employees Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. WSJDLive appears to be a continuation of sorts of those conferences, although Mossberg and Swisher since left to form Recode.net and have also hosted Apple executives at the site’s new “Code Conference” in May. Read more

Tim Cook visits Palo Alto Apple Store for iPhone 6 launch as Angela Ahrendts welcomes Sydney

Apple’s leadership is out in full force today for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch across the globe.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been spotted at the company’s local Apple Store in Palo Alto, California, to be a part of the crowd and watch the new iPhone debut. Cook reportedly joked with the crowd saying he got the new iPhone several months ago. As evident by Twitter, the Apple CEO has shared in the excitement by taking selfies with the crowd.

On the other side of the world, Apple’s recently appointed SVP of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts helped kick off the new iPhones launch in Sydney, Australia, where the iPhone went on sale at 8 am local time several hours ago.

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