Tax-breaks for jobs: How Arizona attracted Apple to Mesa w/ tax breaks & perks for new Sapphire plant

Mesa-Arizona

If you were wondering why Apple chose Mesa, Arizona, as the location of its latest manufacturing plant in the U.S., a story today from Bloomberg explains that Apple, not shy about going after tax breaks, has taken advantage of many perks put in place by the suburb’s mayor:

So last year, when Apple was searching for a place to house a factory that makes a stronger glass for its gadgets, Mesa pulled out the stops. The city, which was ravaged by the 2007 housing crash, offered tax breaks, built power lines, fast-tracked building permits and got the state to declare a vacant 1.3 million-square-foot facility that Apple was exploring a foreign trade zone. With unemployment high, such are the lengths that towns are willing to go to to lure the world’s most valuable company.“Any time you have a company like Apple come in and invest in your area, especially with this type of operation, it’s significant,” said Smith, who triumphed late last year when Apple spent $114 million to buy the factory. The mayor celebrated by placing bowls of green and red apples in City Hall.

Smith added that original preparations were done before the city even knew it was Apple, but later Apple requested additional perks before moving in and even got construction permits expedited. Among the other advantages of choosing Mesa for Apple was a $10 million building grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority and an agreement with the city’s power company to build solar and geothermal installations and a new power substation for the plant: Read more

Apple regains lead over Samsung in US smartphone market thanks to new iPhones

If you jump back to calendar Q3 2013, Apple was falling behind Samsung in US smartphone marketshare with just 34% of the market compared to Samsung’s 38%. The theory at the time was that US buyers were holding out for the new iPhones that launched in September. Fast forward to last quarter, the three month period ended December 31, and that theory appears to be holding up. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) just sent over its latest reports showing Apple has once again taken the lead thanks to a strong holiday quarter of iPhone sales.  Read more

Behind the scenes look at Apple TV app development w/ the new Bloomberg channel

appleTV

Unlike its developer program and vast ecosystem of apps on iOS and Mac, there’s not much we know about Apple’s strategy for content on the Apple TV. There’s been a lot of talk that a much rumored refreshed Apple TV set top box— or perhaps even the rumored full-fledged TV set— might also come alongside a more open developer platform with app distribution.

For now, however, Apple is slowly and quietly behind closed doors making deals with select content partners that are building apps for the platform. How is Apple working with developers to build and approve these apps? Does it have an Apple TV SDK that could in theory be released to all developers? With Bloomberg TV today becoming the latest app to launch on the platform, we’ve talked with the people that built the app to get some insight into the Apple TV development process. Read more

Bloomberg launches on Apple TV globally with 24/7 live news stream, on-demand content, iOS integration & more

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Following Apple’s steady release of new content and features for its existing Apple TV platform in recent months, this week it adds yet another as Bloomberg becomes the first channel to live stream business news 24/7 to Apple TV customers. We spoke with Bloomberg’s head of mobile Oke Okaro who told us all about the new Apple TV app.

The majority of the content you’ll find in the new app is the same Bloomberg TV content you’ll find on its website and in its mobile apps but specifically optimized for the larger screen. That includes a live stream of business news, on-demand content with a mix of full TV show episodes and clips, and a special live stream that will appear only for events and breaking news. While there is similar news programming already on the Apple TV through apps like The Wall Street Journal and SkyNews, Bloomberg will be the first to have a 24/7 live stream of business news. That’s compared to the WSJ app which often only live streams content on certain hours throughout the day. It’s also going beyond the other news apps by offering all of its content for free in full-length form in addition to integration with its iOS apps coming in a future update. Read more

Apple Stores start selling Retina iPad mini to walk-in customers as regional carriers launch cellular models

iPadminiRD_4up_wHand_iOS7-PRINT

Regional carriers are starting to announce availability for cellular models of Apple’s new Retina iPad mini just as the company today started offering the device to walk-in customers.

Bluegrass Cellular announced today that it is now offering the iPad mini Wi-Fi Cellular models in-store and online. Available on the carrier’s website now starting at the usual $530 for the 16GB model, the carrier is also offering all three models (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) on its no-contract “Freedom, Expanded” plan. That allows customers to make 12 monthly payments to get the device they want with the ability to trade-in and upgrade to a new device after a year. That plan will run $26.50/month for the 16GB model on Bluegrass, $31.50/month for the $630 32GB model, or $36.50/month for the $730 64GB model. The carrier appears to only have Space Gray models of the device available, at least online, and the Freedom Expanded plans are only available in-store. Another regional carrier, C Spire Wireless, will begin selling the Retina iPad mini over the next week. UpdateU.S. Cellular has also begun cellular iPad mini with Retina Display sales today on its website.

In other Retina iPad mini news, we’ve just received word Apple has just started selling the device to walk-in customers in its retail stores following an initial launch for Personal Pickup orders only.

Read more

Apple continues to grow as top smartphone vendor in US during May

Research firm comScore is out today with its usual report covering U.S. smartphone subscriber market share for the three month period ending in May. Over the last three months Apple has gained in both categories including ‘top smartphone OEMs’ and ‘OS usage’, continuing its lead as the top smartphone manufacturer and growing its share of the market by platform.

The previous three month period had Apple at 38.9% of the market, making it the number #1 smartphone vendor in the US over second place Samsung. In May, Apple continues that lead by increasing its share 0.3 percentage points to 39.2% of the market. That’s significantly higher than the 23% Samsung grabbed despite growing 1.7 percentage points during the quarter. In a close race for third place is HTC with 8.7%, Motorola with 7.8%, and LG with 6.7%, all of which dropped less than a percentage point since last quarter.

When it comes to the market by OS usage, Android is still on top, growing 0.7 percentage points to 52.4% this quarter. Apple experienced slightly less growth at 0.3 percentage points to capture 39.2% of the market up from its 38.9% share last quarter. That means the majority of the growth, once again, comes at the expense of BlackBerry and Microsoft. Read more