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Jake Smith

November 12, 2012

There have been several reports that have noted ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall’s fiery relationship with several Apple executives like Jonathan Ive. Despite this, according to a former Apple senior engineer, Michael Lopp, firing Forstall was a mistake. Lopp posted his thoughts on his blog, and the theme of the post was that Apple will eventually be replaced by another company’s innovations (as most usually are). He wondered if the firing of Forstall is where the downslide will begin.

Lopp said Forstall “was the best approximation of Steve Jobs that Apple had left.” He added that several people chatting in Apple’s Caffe Macs cafeteria viewed Forstall as the only real successor to Jobs. Even though it appeared Forstall did not work well with several of his co-workers, being called an “asshole,” he was successful in what he did. Lopp said this is why he could have been the next Jobs.

With the executive shakeup, Apple said this would lead to more collaboration within the walls of Apple. Lopp said this is not necessarily a good thing:

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November 8, 2012

Borderlands 2 now available on Mac for $45

Update Nov. 20: Borderlands 2 is now available on Mac for $45.

Aspyr Media and 2k Games announced this afternoon that Borderlands 2 would launch on Mac Nov. 20. Borderlands 2, a Gearbox Software-made sequel to the original Borderlands, is being delivered to Mac gamers by publisher Aspyr later this month. The game was originally released to much fanfare Sept. 18 on Steam for Windows and for Xbox 360, and it has been called “a winner” by reviewers. Assumedly, the Mac version will be priced at $59.99 like its PC brethren.

In other Borderlands news, the iOS version of the Borderlands franchise was released at the end of October under Borderlands Legends. The iOS version isn’t exactly the full Borderlands you’re familiar with from consoles, but first impressions seem strong.

Apple releases Update 2.0 for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Apple released Update 2.0 for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro late this afternoon. The 127.07 MB update “recommended for all Mac notebooks introduced in June 2012” is available via software update or directly on Apple’s website, as always. Today’s update offers graphics performance, reliability enhancements, and improves compatibility with some USB devices, according to the folks in Cupertino. [Apple]

AT&T promotion offering $100 off LTE iPad with new two-year agreement

The nation’s largest carrier is out with a new way for customers to save money this holiday season. AT&T announced a new promotional discount, offering $100 off an LTE iPad (or any tablet) with a two-year contract agreement. A customer will be required to sign up for one of the data plans offered: 250MB for $15, 3GB for $30, or 5GB for $50 a month. Customers also have the choice to include the new iPad in their Mobile Share data plan for an extra $10 a month.

The promotion puts the base LTE 16GB model priced at $529, 32GB for $629, and 64GB for $729. To compare, Apple offers refurbished third-generation Wi-Fi + Cellular models at 16GB for $379, 32GB for $469, and 64GB for $579 on its website.

This is the first time we’ve seen a subsidized iPad, similar to how a phone contract works, from a carrier. Sprint and Verizon also offer the cellular iPad, but they make it available on a month-to-month basis. Of course, you do not have to sign the contract with AT&T by paying full price. A contract for a tablet is an interesting tactic that we hope doesn’t become the norm…

The full announcement is below:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom goes Retina

Adobe announced this afternoon that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has been updated with Retina graphics to support the Retina MacBook Pro. The update comes in the way of the Lightroom 4.3 Release Candidate — RV label indicating it’s being tested before going to the — available through Adobe Labs this afternoon. Additionally, Adobe added 13 new cameras and a slew of bug fixes in the update. We’ve listed them below:

Verizon Wireless says 4G LTE rollout to be completed by mid-2013

Speaking at a conference with investors this morning, Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shammo revealed that Verizon would roll out its LTE network completely by mid-2013. FierceWireless reported today’s timeline is six months earlier than previous estimates released by Verizon. Verizon’s LTE network will match its 3G CDMA coverage area once the rollout is complete. Additionally, Shammo commented on the early problems the LTE network suffered. However, he said with over 80 percent of the country’s population now covered, it is now stable. According to Big Red’s latest numbers, 14.9 million LTE devices are currently on the network.

In retrospect, the nation’s largest carrier AT&T plans to have 250 million people covered by the end of 2013, with a completed roll out of 300 million people planned by the end of 2014.

Shammo also revealed today that the company’s new Share Everything data plans introduced in late June now makes up 13 percent of current Verizon customers. The shared data plan allows customers to share data with up to 10 devices through a single account. [FierceWireless]

Update: While AT&T claims that the move was to safeguard its delicate infrastructure, two public advocacy groups (Freepress, Public Knowledge) are claiming the FCC is looming large. Seth submits a third postulate: The iPad Mini LTE  launch later this month will present a chance for AT&T to grab new tablet customers and AT&T doesn’t want to lose out to competitors with friendlier offers.

AT&T just announced you could now use FaceTime over cellular at no extra charge on the iPhone 5 and LTE iPad if it is on one of the network’s tiered data plans. Today’s announcement opens up FaceTime over cellular to a slew of new customers.

AT&T today announced it will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for iOS 6 customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan.  AT&T will also continue to offer FaceTime over Cellular to customers with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, as well as FaceTime over Wi-Fi, which has always been available.

Previously, FaceTime on AT&T’s network was only available for free if a customer was on its new Mobile Share Plans that became available Aug. 23. AT&T said the new set of users would be able to access FaceTime for free over cellular in “8-10 weeks”:

We expect to roll out this functionality over the next 8-10 weeks. In addition, we are informing our deaf and hard of hearing customers that, as of October 26, we began rolling out several new billing plans designed to allow them to make use of FaceTime. This is part of our ongoing commitment to our customers with disabilities, and it’s a commitment which is very important to us.

As for the competition, Sprint already announced that it will not hinder FaceTime over cellular, and Verizon is being forced not to mess with it because of a Net Neutrality promise.

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November 6, 2012

According to Bloomberg, Apple lost a lawsuit against VirnetX in a Texas courtroom late this evening and ordered to pay $368.2 million in damages. VirnetX sued Apple for infringing on its collection of network patents that Apple has been accused of incorporating into products like FaceTime. VirnetX was originally asking for upward of $900 million, but the jury decided on lesser damages this evening. Additionally, the patent holding company has similar cases pending against Cisco and Avaya. VirnetX successfully won $105.75 million from Microsoft in 2010.

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Apple adds Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Galaxy Note 10.1 to lawsuit against Samsung

The showdown between Apple and Samsung seems far from over. Bloomberg reported Apple made a motion today in a San Jose, Calif. courtroom to include the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (we’re not sure how TouchWiz factors in) into the lawsuit already existing between the two companies. Apple’s move today comes after a similar motion from Samsung in early October, where it filed claims against Apple’s hot-selling iPhone 5.

In August, a jury under Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Samsung infringed on several of Apple’s patents in a showdown that drew eyes from all around the world. Samsung was ordered to pay damages of $1.05 billion, and nonetheless, Apple has requested that additional damages be tacked on. The Galaxy Note 10.1 and Android 4.1 motion put forth by Apple today is scheduled for trial sometime in 2014. Additionally, there is a trial set for December to consider a U.S. ban on several Galaxy smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 10.1. [Bloomberg]

November 4, 2012

As iPad mini owners settled in with their new tablets yesterday, research firm IHS (via AllThingsD) was working hard to tear it down. The firm, previously known as iSuppli, found that the Wi-Fi 16GB base model costs roughly $188 for Apple to build, which it sells for $329. Furthermore, the 32GB and 64GB models cost an additional $31 and $62 to build, respectively.

During its Q4 earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced that the iPad mini gross margin is “significantly below” the rest of the products Apple is cranking out. “We’re unwilling to cut corners in delivering the best experiences in the world,” added Apple CEO Tim Cook. Presumably, Apple had to keep the price down to $329 to stay competitive with other products in the market, like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle lineup, but wasn’t able to go down to $199 like many hoped. On the call, Apple further stated that it would work to make iPad mini production more cost-effective.

In its report, IHS further looked at the components being used to build the iPad mini. It was found that LG Display and AU Optronics are supplying roughly $80 in display components for the 7.9-inch tablet. iFixit’s teardown released on Friday found that Samsung is making display components, too. Samsung was also found to supply the A5 chip in the iPad mini in IHS’ report. [AllThingsD]

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As it did for the iPhone 5, Apple has begun its Personal Pickup program for the iPad mini. Personal Pickup allows customers to buy a device on Apple’s website or mobile app between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. and pick it up in store the next day (or whenever inventory is available). There are a number of stores across the country sold out of the iPad mini, so Personal Pickup may be your best bet at getting the 7.9-inch tablet ASAP.  expand full story

November 3, 2012

Fourth-generation iPad shipping time now 3 – 5 business days

Apple has updated its online store this morning to show the fourth-generation iPad is now shipping in 3 – 5 business days. Earlier this week, the 10-inch device was at a week shipping time.

The iPad mini is still sitting at two weeks for all models and has sold out at many stores around the world.

FYI: Target is offeringfree $40 Target gift card with the purchase of a full size iPad. This deal appears to even be valid on iPad 2, bringing the effective cost down to $359.99. Deal is not valid on iPad Mini. The free gift card will automatically be added to your shopping cart with the iPad.

November 2, 2012

Apple’s stock has been on quite the dip this past month, losing 125 points in 41 days, and falling from a high of over 700 on iPhone 5 launch day. For those who took some analysts’ advice bought at October highs,that’s got to sting. Today, the stock sits at 576, unfathomably low for those left to deal with their stock having lost over $100B in market cap.

But is now the time to buy?

With holiday sales about to kick into full gear with Apple’s new product line, stock may shoot to 1000 sometime in 2013…or it may not.

BullishCross said yes on October 10th, when the share price was just a bit higher than today:

Apple has reached one of those very rare buy points. However, unlike our previous five recommendations, we do not necessarily believe that Apple has bottomed right here at $630 a share. We just believe that Apple won’t see much lower prices from here thereby making this a unique buying opportunity. It’s better to buy at $630 and accept a small potential drawdown than to miss the entire move. We do not believe Apple will see levels below $615 a share. Thus, anything between $615 and $630 is an extraordinary buying opportunity. Between $630 and $650, you have a great entry level.

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Apple Lightning to Micro USB adapter now available for $19 in the US

Apple has made the Lightning to Micro USB adapter available on its online store this afternoon for $19 in the United States. The adapter allows you to charge or connect your iPhone with any Micro USB cable, and considering how cheap the cables are, buying this adapter may not be such a bad idea. You can buy a 6-foot Micro USB cable for less than $2 giving you three more feet than Apple’s standard connector. Apple said the adapter ships in “1-3 days”. Seems perfect for the car, no?

The adapter was first available in the Europe after the iPhone 5 event as part of a standardization policy.

Earlier this week, we learned iOS chief Scott Forstall will leave Apple at the end of this year and has been moved to an advisory role to CEO Tim Cook until then. Giving us a look into the closed doors of Apple, Bloomberg noted this morning that Forstall and famed-Apple designer Jony Ive had a fiery relationship and couldn’t work together in the same room—nor be together during meetings. During the beginning design phases, Forstall was present in Ive’s iPhone meetings:

Even as Forstall oversaw the group responsible for the software that would run the iPhone, he didn’t participate in the meetings, according to people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because the meetings were private. Ive and Forstall were rarely in the same room, the people said.

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SquareTrade posted its drop test for the iPad mini to give us a look at how the 7.9-inch tablet fares if an accident regretfully occurs. The warranty provider found the iPad mini to withstand drop and water damage quite well. When dropped on its side, it received a little crack to its screen, and it remained functional when dunked in water. However, when the iPad mini was dropped flat on its face, the most damage was endured. Overall, I think it’s safe to say the iPad mini withstands more than the Nexus 7 and third-gen iPad. You can check out another drop test below.  expand full story

November 1, 2012

Apple updates Safari (6.0.2), iPhoto (9.4.2) and Aperture (3.4.2)

Along with the release of iOS 6.0.1 to the masses and 6.1 for developers, Apple released small updates for Safari, iPhoto, and Aperture this afternoon. To start, Safari hit version 6.0.2 and looks to just be security fixes, but several readers below are saying the update isn’t working.

As for iPhoto, there are new features in version 9.4.2:

• Photos now can be added to shared streams or My Photo Stream by dragging them to “Photo Stream” in the source list • Multiple email addresses can now be copied and pasted in the “Shared with” field for shared streams • When more than five subscribers “Like” a photo in a shared stream, their names are now displayed correctly • Contextual menu now includes an Import command to import all the photos contained in a shared photo stream • Addresses the reliability of Shared Photo Streams when switching between iPhoto and Aperture with the same library • Fixes an issue that could prevent Microsoft Outlook from being used to email photos from within iPhoto • Updated national holidays are available for use in printed photo calendars • Includes stability improvements

Aperture 3.4.2:

• Photos received via My Photo Stream or shared streams can now be added directly to other shared streams • Multiple email addresses can now be copied and pasted in the “Shared with” field for shared streams • When more than five subscribers “Like” a photo in a shared stream, all their names are now displayed correctly • The Info panel for a shared stream now includes an Unsubscribe button • The status line in the toolstrip now displays the number of new photos added to a shared stream • Faces are now properly detected on photos imported into a library from a shared stream

October 31, 2012

Apple has posted its 10k filing with the SEC this afternoon that features a slew of numbers and new title changes. CFO Peter Oppenheimer has been named the Principal Accounting Officer, taking over Betsy Rafael. Additionally, Apple has named Scott Forstall ‘Special Advisor to CEO Tim Cook’ on his way out of the company at the end of this year.

As for numbers, Apple says it has expanded its research and development section by $1 billion, has 72,800 full-time employees on staff (up 12,400 from last year), added 33 new retail stores this year, has 17.3 million sq. ft. of building space up 13.2 million last year, and spent $9.5B on manufacturing and tooling during the year. As for retail stores, the company now has 390 stores making $51.5 million per store. (via The Next Web) A bit on the company’s property:

The Company’s headquarters are located in Cupertino, California. As of September 29, 2012, the Company owned or leased approximately 17.3 million square feet of building space, primarily in the U.S., and to a lesser extent, in Europe, Japan, Canada, and the Asia-Pacific regions. Of that amount approximately 10.9 million square feet was leased building space, which includes approximately 4.1 million square feet related to retail store space. Of the Company’s owned building space, approximately 2.6 million square feet that is located in Cupertino, California will be demolished to build a second corporate campus. Additionally, the Company owns a total of 1,077 acres of land in various locations.

You can read more on Apple’s latest quarter here

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Despite being hit by the massive Hurricane that rocked the Northeast ealier this week, New York-based Apple reseller Tekserve is still chugging along in its W. 23rd St. store in downtown Manhattan. The store is without power, but since it didn’t suffer from any flood damage it opened up this morning for the first time this week.

We spoke to CTO Aaron Freimark over the phone this afternoon. “We’re on relatively high ground in Manhattan, so we didn’t really get any flooding. But the blackout was a really big deal for us,” he said. Of the 210 employees that are employed by Tekserve, only a fraction were able to come in. Not everyone was able to seek transportation to the store.

Freimark says the “skeleton crew” has been working through the day without power. Tekserve has sold a few computers, returned repaired devices, and  filled additional purchase orders. “We even did an iPhone 5 sale, which is really nice because they come charged,” Frimark said. The staff is doing what they can, but can’t diagnose problems with devices until the power comes back on. Frimark was boastful of his staff for coming in during such hard times for the city.

Tekserve doesn’t expect to get power until the weekend, but is trying to get a generator so customers and those passing by can charge their cellphone. It has set its store hours from 11am to 5pm in the mean time. In New York and have a need to get something Apple related? This is your spot.

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