Apple Inc Stories October 21, 2018

I was recently in Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, and I visited the Microsoft store, the Apple store, and a pop-up Amazon shop. As I wandered through all three of them, I began to ponder the state of each company when I look ahead to the next generation of consumer technology. As I walked through each of them, this thought kept popping into my head: do Apple products warrant their premium price? Are Apple products a premium experience, or is it all about the Apple brand?

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Apple Inc Stories June 13, 2016

iphone-foxconn

With two Presidential candidates saying that Apple should be making more of its products in the USA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has done the sums to see just how practical it would be for Apple to manufacture iPhones in its home market.

The question, of course, isn’t a simple one: you first need to define your terms. Does it just mean assembling iPhones here rather than in China, or does it mean sourcing components from the U.S. too? The MIT analysis considered both scenarios, starting with assembly-only …

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Apple Inc Stories June 3, 2016

WWDC-Wallpaper-2016

Recently departed (but still friend of the site!) Mark Gurman went on the Jay and Farhad Show podcast this evening and gave his predictions for WWDC 2016 and beyond. Most of the conversation material was either posted previously on 9to5Mac or elsewhere but there were certainly some new “whispers”… expand full story

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Update: I referred to the rather misleading headline the Guardian had chosen, and Segall has now posted on his own site that “the Guardian chose to give it a click-bait headline that contradicted my point of view.”

Ken Segall, the former Apple ad consultant who coined the iMac name, wrote the copy for the famous ‘Think different’ campaign and authored the book Insanely Simple, says that Apple is beginning to lose touch with its heritage of simplicity. He gave his assessment of Apple’s ‘state of simplicity’ in a piece for the Guardian.

Though Apple’s customers remain fiercely loyal, the natives are getting restless. A growing number of people are sensing that Tim Cook’s Apple isn’t as simple as Steve’s Apple. They see complexity in expanding product lines, confusing product names, and the products themselves.

While the Guardian‘s headline makes the piece seem entire critical, it’s actually very balanced …

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Apple Inc Stories May 19, 2016

iphone-gartner

Apple’s falling sales coupled to strong growth from emerging Chinese brands saw the iPhone’s worldwide market share drop just over three points from 17.9% in the first quarter of 2015 to 14.8% in the same quarter this year, according to Gartner.

Although a saturated smartphone market is part of the challenge faced by Apple, global smartphone sales did continue to grow, by 3.9% to 349M units.

Market leader Samsung also saw its share fall in the same period …

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Apple Inc Stories May 17, 2016

aapl-v-goog

Google may have last week managed to overtake Apple as the world’s most valuable company for the second time this year, but as was the case last time, it didn’t last long. As Philip Elmer-DeWitt noted in his blog, Apple has quickly regained its number one slot …

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Apple Inc Stories May 16, 2016

Mac Software Bundle: Pick any 10 of 50 solid apps +$22 credit for $22

From 9to5toys.com:

Bundlehunt offers any 10 out of a choice of 50 Mac Apps for a total price of $22 bucks. Even better, Bundlehunt gives you $22 to spend at $5.50 increments over the next year making the bundle somewhat ‘free’.

There are a significant amount of notable apps from a wide variety of categories, many of them which retail above the $22 asking price alone, including:

 

Swift Publisher

Versatile desktop publishing app with many templates.

$29.95
 

Paragon – NTFS for Mac 14

$19.95
 

Paragon – Camptune X

Resize Mac’s Boot Camp volume with ease.

$19.95
 

Tonality CK

Professional-grade monochrome image editor.

$69.99
 

Commander One PRO

Dual-pane file manager

$29.95
 

Focus

Block distracting websites and apps.

$19.99
 

Intensify CK

Create clarity and intensity in your photos.

$59.99
 

Aer

Web site and server management.

$59
 

Morph Age

Morph faces, warp images.

$49.95
 

Paperless

Digital documents manager.

$49.95
 

TidyUp

$29.99
 

Deliver Express -Standard

Automated file delivery with hot folder processing (up to 50 destinations)

$79.95
 

Records

A full-featured and powerful personal database app for the Mac

$29.99
 

HyperPlan

Simple Visual Planning, Scheduling and Tracking Software

$40
 

MacBooster 3

Maintains and optimizes your system (release candidate).

$39.95
 

Mellel

The word processor for scholars, writers, and long document writing.

$39
 

Periscope-Pro

Watch your home, kids, and pets from anywhere!

$19.99
 

Total Video Player Pro

Video player with extended functionality.

$19.99
 

PhotoStitcher

Create panoramic images from your photos.

$19.99
 

YummyFTP Watcher

Automated FTP/S + SFTP + WebDAV/S client.

$19.99
 

Elmedia Player PRO

Multi-format media player, Pro version available.

$19.95
 

FilePane

Empower drag-and-drop on your Mac.

$6.99
 

Lab.Fone for Android

Recover deleted data from Android devices.

$55.95
 

StoryMill

Novel-writing software.

$29.95
 

Super PhotoCut

Separate photo foreground from background.

$19.99
 

Quick Print

Print selected Finder items without opening native applications.

$9.99
 

Contact Page Pro

Create contact sheets of pictures with captions.

$59.99
 

DupHunter

Duplicate image finder

$19.99
 

Pixelstyle Photo Editor

Design alternative to PhotoShop.

$29.99
 

Montage

$29.95
 

Android Assistant

Backup and Manage Android data on Mac.

$34.95
 

Smart Trash

Enhances Mac OS X Trash functions.

$10
 

X-Mirage

Mirror your iOS devices on your Mac.

$16
 

Mobile Transfer

Transfer all data from one mobile phone to another

$34.95
 

Image Smith

Process ton of images all at once.

$14.99
 

PDF Encrypter

Encrypt any PDF file with the user or owner password

$29.95
 

Data Recovery for Mac

Find back all your lost data from Mac and various external disk easily.

$69.95
 

Data Recovery for iPhone iPad iPod

An all-in-one tool to help Mac users recover lost or deleted data from iDevices quickly.

$59.95

Apple Inc Stories March 31, 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook stops into Palo Alto Store to meet iPhone SE/iPad Pro buyers

As is becoming a tradition, Apple CEO Tim Cook stopped by the Palo Alto Apple Store close to Apple’s Campus today to meet and greet folks buying up Apple’s latest releases, the iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7. While the store wasn’t quite packed, it does appear that Cook got to meet and get some ‘facetime’ with both employees and customers.

The Palo Alto Store isn’t the closest to Apple’s campus but it is the one that Steve Jobs used to show up to unannounced frequently and is one of the more open layouts in the area.

Cook wasn’t the only CEO greeting customers buying up a new product today.

Video via CNBC follows:

Apple Inc Stories March 30, 2016

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With Apple rumored to working on sleeker versions of its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models in time for a possible reveal at WWDC, designer Martin Hajek has provided one possible take on how the new machines might look. His mockups essentially scale up the 12-inch MacBook design, the above image contrasting with the existing design.

The renders also incorporate a rather lovely OS X concept created by Andrew Ambrosino, the UX designer behind the standalone Apple Music app concept we showed you last year. The same duo also teamed up for a beautiful Apple TV concept.

You can see more renders below …

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Apple Inc Stories March 29, 2016

fbi

See italicised updates below, with statements from both the Department of Justice and Apple.

The battle between the FBI and Apple over accessing a work phone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists started as headline news and ended in a rather anti-climactic fashion.

The high-profile congressional hearing was due to be followed by a big showdown in court. Instead, the FBI asked that the hearing be vacated, and later quietly announced that it had, with help, managed to gain access to the phone. Nothing to see here, move along.

But while this particular case may be settled, it’s extremely unlikely that this will be the end of the matter – for two reasons …

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iphone5c

While the FBI has successfully accessed the data on the iPhone 5c in the San Bernardino shootings, and the court battle is over for now, the government says that it may not accede to Apple’s demand to be told the method used.

The White House said back in 2014 that the government would consider the pros and cons of disclosing vulnerabilities discovered by its various law enforcement agencies. ArsTechnica asked whether the FBI would reveal the method used in this case, and was told that it wasn’t saying one way or the other …

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Apple Inc Stories March 28, 2016

iphone-se1

CNBC report claims that Apple has received more than 3.4M pre-orders for the iPhone SE through retailers in China. The report says that gold was the most popular color, accounting for 1.3M orders, with rose gold close behind at 1.2M. If the numbers are correct, adding in orders direct from Apple and in other countries could see some very impressive sales numbers …

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As Apple resists creating a ‘GovtOS’ in the U.S., Microsoft already wrote one for China

Update: A source close to Microsoft tells me the software – which is not yet complete – will be used only by public sector agencies. No information was provided as to how the software differs from the standard Chinese version of Windows 10.

While Apple has strongly resisted building a special ‘GovtOS’ to provide the U.S. government with access to iOS devices, it appears that Microsoft has no such qualms. TechInAsia reports that Microsoft has created a special version of Windows 10 for China, called Windows 10 Zhuangongban, which includes “more management and security controls.”

Apple Inc Stories March 24, 2016

main

At a time when Apple has just launched its cheapest ever iPhone, and when Phil Schiller caused a few raised eyebrows over what some interpreted as an elitist remark, Apple seems to be aiming for a more egalitarian image where the Apple Watch is concerned.

Apple has quietly revamped the Apple Watch section of its website, rendering the Edition almost invisible unless you specifically go looking for it. In addition, we’re hearing reports that Apple’s most expensive Watch is also being removed from some retail store displays …

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Apple Inc Stories March 23, 2016

cellebrite

Israeili YNetNews reports that the so-far unnamed “third party” which has offered to help the FBI try to break into the San Bernardino iPhone is Cellebrite, a mobile forensics company based in Israel.

The FBI has been reportedly using the services of the Israeli-based company Cellebrite in its effort to break the protection on a terrorist’s locked iPhone, according to experts in the field familiar with the case. Cellebrite has not responded to the report. But if it is indeed the “third party” in question, and it is able to break into the terrorist’s iPhone, it would bring the high-stakes legal showdown between the government and Apple to an abrupt end. Cellebrite, considered one of the leading companies in the world in the field of digital forensics, has been working with the world’s biggest intelligence, defense and law enforcement authorities for many years. The company provides the FBI with decryption technology as part of a contract signed with the bureau in 2013.

Cellebrite declined to comment officially, and no information was given as to the method the company plans to use. One unlikely source claims to know …

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Apple Inc Stories March 22, 2016

iphone-se

I argued a couple of months ago that ‘peak iPhone’ was likely a temporary phenomenon, but that Apple might have to be willing to accept lower margins if it is to continue to grow its sales.

I think it will also need to learn to be a little more flexible when it comes to its profit margins, especially in growth markets. That ~40% markup has served it well for a great many years, but I don’t think it can necessarily expect to maintain it indefinitely.

Yesterday, the company indicated its willingness to do just that. For the first time, Apple’s entry-level phone is a brand-new device that offers close to flagship specs at a price level close to the previous-generation phone. That will hit Apple’s margins on the device for sure, but the company is looking to the long-term …

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privacy

With Apple making very clear how strongly it feels about the privacy of customer data through the FBI case, it’s no surprise that the issue is a hot-button within the company. A Reuters piece shows just how serious Apple is when it comes to guarding personal data.

Any collection of Apple customer data requires sign-off from a committee of three “privacy czars” and a top executive, according to four former employees who worked on a variety of products that went through privacy vetting […] The trio of experts […] are both admired and feared.

One former employee said that debates over whether or not customer data can be used to improve a service usually take at least a month to settle, and some privacy issues are debated for more than a year before a final decision is reached. Key privacy issues are escalated all the way to Tim Cook.

It was a refusal to compromise on privacy that killed one of Apple’s products, says the piece, while others needed to be substantially reworked to achieve privacy sign-off …

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ipad-pro-schiller

One remark Schiller made during yesterday’s launch event raised a few eyebrows. In noting that the majority of 12.9-inch iPad Pro customers had actually switched from Windows PCs, he pointed to the huge potential switchers market still out there for Apple. There are, he said, over 600 million PCs more than five years old.

What he said next generated laughter in the room, but may not have gone down quite so well with those owners.

This is really sad. It really is.

Now, he may be right. A Windows PC more than five years old is going to be creaking somewhat by now. But it seems to me that there are three types of owners of old PCs, and the remark may well offend all of them …

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Apple Inc Stories March 21, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 1.37.44 PM

Apple earlier today officially took the wraps off of the oft-rumored iPhone SE. While the device is set to go up for pre-order on Thursday, March 24th and ship a week later, a handful of cases are already available for the device. While the device is largely identical to the iPhone 5/5s in terms of design, many companies are announcing new cases specifically for the latest 4-inch smartphone.

We’ve put together a roundup of some of the best choices to protect your iPhone SE below…

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imessage

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found a vulnerability in iMessages that allowed them to decrypt both photos and videos sent via the service. Apple said that iOS 9 provided a partial fix – making the attack method more difficult – while it is fully fixed in iOS 9.3.

The Washington Post reports that the team advised Apple of the flaw, and will publish a paper as soon as iOS 9.3 has been officially released, expected for later today. The team has, however, explained in outline how their attack worked …

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apple-ceo-tim-cook-fighting-fbi-on-terrorism

A detailed behind-the-scenes look by Bloomberg at the showdown between Apple and the FBI details how it had been on the cards for years before the San Bernardino shootings. Among the details revealed are that Apple provided the FBI with early access to iOS 8 so that the agency could understand the impacts ahead of its introduction.

The government’s concern about Apple’s increasing use of strong encryption dates back to 2010, said one source.

Long before iOS 8 was launched, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies had fretted about Apple’s encryption, according to a person familiar with the matter. In 2010, the company introduced the video-calling app FaceTime. It encrypted conversations between users. The following year, the iMessage texting application arrived; it, too, featured encryption. While neither of these developments caused a public stir, the U.S. government was now aware how much of a premium Apple put on privacy.

It was around this time, says the piece, that the FBI started pushing the White House to introduce new legislation which would guarantee law enforcement access to data on smartphones and other devices. These attempts were reportedly abandoned when the Snowden revelations changed the public mood …

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Apple Inc Stories March 18, 2016

Apple may need to find new WiFi chip supplier as Broadcom reportedly scales back production

Apple may be left needing to find a new supplier of WiFi chips if a Digitimes report is accurate. The report claims that Broadcom is scaling back its WiFi chip production in favor of more profitable products.

As is often the case with Digitimes reports, the report is unclear, the opening stating that Broadcom is ‘looking to phase out its WiFi chip business’ while a quote ascribed to unnamed sources says instead that it plans to ‘significantly reduce resources allocated to its Wi-Fi chip business.’

Either way, though, Apple may need to find additional or replacement suppliers as it relies on the company’s chips across almost its entire product range. It’s reported that competitors MediaTek, Realtek Semiconductor and RDA Microelectronics have all received last-minute orders from Broadcom customers. It’s not known whether this includes Apple.

Photo: Broadcom WiFi Airport Card for Retina MacBook Pro (Aliexpress)

Apple Inc Stories March 17, 2016

aapl

When the celebrity nudes story broke back in 2014, it was headline news in the mainstream media. The story was that ‘iCloud had been hacked.’ The truth, of course, was a little different. As we suspected at the time, and Apple later confirmed, the ‘hack’ wasn’t really any such thing. A combination of two techniques were used to gain access to the iCloud accounts.

First, phishing: sending emails designed to look like they were from Apple asking the celebrities to login to their accounts, and directing them to a fake website made to look like the real thing. Second, guessing the answers to security questions – something easier to do with celebrities given the amount of biographical information available in the public domain.

That’s not to say Apple was entirely blameless. iCloud did not, at the time, offer two-factor authentication. Given that an iCloud backup is a near-complete copy of all the data stored on an iPhone, that was something which should have been included from the start. But the bottom-line is that iCloud itself wasn’t really hacked in any meaningful sense of the word.

It was this week confirmed that phishing was the approach taken by the main offender in this case. In other words, nothing whatsoever to do with iCloud security. This news hasn’t resulted in a single headline in the mainstream media. The average non-tech person out there still believes ‘iCloud was hacked’ …

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Apple Inc Stories March 16, 2016

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Fight for the Future, the protest group that organized demonstrations in support of Apple outside its retail stores, plans to hold a demonstration outside the next Apple/FBI court hearing on March 22nd. Re/code reports that the group has created a website inviting people to voice their support for secure iPhones, comments from which will be displayed outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Riverside, California.

The FBI wants to force Apple to weaken the security measures that keep all of us safe. This is misguided, and dangerous. On March 22, when Apple goes to court, we’ll display thousands of statements from Internet users outside the courthouse.

Fight for the Future has so far had mixed success with its protests …

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