BusinessInsider Stories June 27, 2012

Former iAd exec Lars Albright on why his new company beats Apple’s ad platform

There were reports last year that Apple’s former Director of Publisher Partnerships at iAd—and co-founder of Quattro Wireless (which Apple acquired in 2009 for $275 million)—was leaving to start a new reward-based ad company called “SessionM.” Lars Albright is one of many iAd execs that recently left the company. Former Vice President of Mobile Advertising Andy Miller departed last year, while Senior Manager Mike Owe left just this month for a new role at AdColony. In case you were wondering about Albright’s motivation for leaving Apple to work with other ad companies, he talked to BusinessInsider today about why SessionM will have the upper hand on iAd:

But Albright demurs. “We’re incremental to iAd or Millennial Media. We’re not replacing banners.” Rather, he argues, SessionM’s reward ads reach a consumer when they’re already engaged in an app, and the action is taking a natural break (such as a reload between levels).

That, he says, solves the main problem with mobile display banners of the type served in the iAd environment: While the branded content that iAds trigger may be incredibly rich, they’re limited by the small, unappealing size of the initial iAd banner that users must click to generate them.

“The limitation is the entry-point,” Albright says of the medium he pioneered. “It’s not going to provide engagement, it’s not going to provide rewards.”

BusinessInsider Stories June 18, 2012

Did Apple just give every one of its retail employees a $4 raise? (Update: Nope)

Update: BusinessInsider issued the update below confirming our doubts:

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that all Apple Store employees were getting a raise of at least $4 per hour. This is what we were told by a single source at an Apple Retail store. But other Apple Retail store employees say this is not true. It is possible that only employees at one store are getting raises. We don’t know the full story, and we never should have written a story that indicated we did. It was an overreach, and we sincerely apologize for misleading readers.

While we find it a little hard to believe, BusinessInsider reported that a source said all Apple retail employees would receive a $4-per-hour raise starting July 20:

A source tells us that every Apple retail employee will get a $4-per-hour raise… This is based on an internal review process called NetPromoter that lets Apple employees critique the company… It seems that enough Apple employees thought they were underpaid that the company decided to spread some money around.

It is definitely possible that some retail employees will get the $4 raise, but we will wait for confirmation from Apple about all of its nearly 30,000 retail employees seeing the increase in pay. We talked to four different Apple employees from varied locations, but they have not heard anything about a raise. We previously reported that Apple’s recently appointed Senior Vice President of Retail John Browett has promised retail employees a three month advance on raises originally expected in September. We will keep you updated.

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BusinessInsider Stories May 2, 2012

Inventor says Apple several years away from large Liquidmetal products

Last month, there were rumors claiming Apple planned to use the Liquidmetal amorphous metal alloys it obtained the rights to in 2010 for an upcoming iPhone. Speaking with BusinessInsider, one of Liquidmetal’s inventors, Atakan Peker, said Apple is still a few years away before we will see Liquidmetal used in a large scale—at least for MacBooks. Although, he does think a breakthrough product made of the material is in the cards for Apple.

A few highlights from the interview are below:

How long did it take to perfect Liquidmetal?

I would not say Liquidmetal was perfected. This is a technology that has yet to be matured and perfected both in manufacturing process and application development. I should note that this is a completely new and different metal technology. Therefore, there is no suitable manufacturing infrastructure yet to take full advantage of this alloy technology.

For example, I estimate that Apple will likely spend on the order of $300 million to $500 million — and three to five years — to mature the technology before it can used in large scale.

I’ve heard rumors that future MacBooks from Apple could use Liquidmetal casing, what would that be like? Is it likely to happen?

Given the size of MacBook and scale of Apple products, I think it’s unlikely that Liquidmetal casing will be used in MacBooks in the near term. It’s more likely in the form of small component such as a hinge or bracket. A MacBook casing, such as a unibody, will take two to four more years to implement

How does Liquidmetal compare to the metal, glass, and plastic used in mobile devices now?

Each material has its own advantage and disadvantages. Plastics are low cost to manufacture into complex shapes but not strong enough. Metals are strong but difficult to produce into complex shapes. And glass feels and looks beautiful but is highly fragile. Liquidmetal can combine these advantages and remedy some of these shortcomings.

Is there anything else relating to mobile gadgets and Liquidmetal that you think people should know about?

I expect Liquidmetal application in two ways: First evolutionary substitution of current materials and secondly, and more importantly, in a breakthrough product made only possible by Liquidmetal technology. Apple’s exclusively licensing a new material technology (specifically for casing and enclosures) is a first in the industry.

This is very exciting. Therefore, I expect Apple to use this technology in a breakthrough product. Such product will likely bring an innovative user interface and industrial design together, and will also be very difficult to copy or duplicate with other material technologies.

You can read the full interview at BusinessInsider.

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