Obama Stories April 7, 2016

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The White House will not be supporting draft legislation that would allow courts to force tech companies like Apple to help law enforcement hack into encrypted devices, reports Reuters.

The Senate Intelligence Committee in February announced plans to impose criminal penalties on companies that fail to comply with court orders like the one challenged by Apple and finally withdrawn by the FBI. Remarks by President Obama last month appeared to suggest he would support the proposed legislation, but it now appears this isn’t the case …

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Obama Stories April 4, 2016

President Obama still not allowed to use an iPhone, but White House tech update mean his aides now can

President Barack Obama has said in the past that he’s not allowed to use an iPhone for security reasons (though he does use a WiFi-only iPad) – but the NY Times reports that senior White House aides finally can. The change of policy comes as part of a major update to elderly White House technology.

Obama Stories April 1, 2016

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Apple alongside Amazon, Google and Microsoft today filed a joint amicus brief in support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan that aims to introduce new emissions regulations. The EPA had some major pushback on the plan, so now Apple and the others are lending their support:

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Obama Stories March 12, 2016

Tim-Cook-reading

The Apple and FBI controversy just barely makes it into our top stories again this week, but it’s overshadowed by Apple’s announcement of its upcoming March 21 iPhone SE event, a new OS X ransomware detected in the wild, the release of iOS 9.3 beta 6, and leaks related to the much anticipated iPhone 7.

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Obama Stories March 11, 2016

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The latest to speak out on the Apple and FBI controversy is none other than President Obama who earlier today attended a talk at South by Southwest Interactive. While the talk was about “civic engagement in the 21st Century,” the conversation not surprisingly turned to the government’s role in the high-profile Apple and FBI case.

Obama made it clear that he isn’t behind Apple in the case, saying that tech companies shouldn’t “take an absolutist view” on encryption and encouraging them to make concessions instead of forcing Congress to pass new law:

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Obama Stories May 18, 2015

President Obama borrows iPhone for first tweet, avoiding BlackBerry embarrassment

Last week potential Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush made headlines when he was spotted wearing an Apple Watch on the still-exploring-but-definitely-running campaign trail, using the press opportunity as a chance to dish out the zinger that its health apps were better than Obamacare.

The White House has given its own endorsement of Apple today, however, as President Obama launched his own personal Twitter account (not to be confused with the OFA-ran @BarackObama account) with a tweet that originated from an iPhone.

Obama Stories February 13, 2015

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We learned earlier this week that Tim Cook would be speaking at a White House cybersecurity summit today, and it now appears he will be the only tech CEO to do so. USNews is reporting that CEOs of other top tech companies all declined President Obama’s invitation, sending lower-ranking execs in their place.

Unlike Apple’s Cook, other top executives at key Silicon Valley companies declined invitations to the summit. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page will not attend amid the ongoing concerns about government surveillance. Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Zuckerberg is unavailable to attend and that Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan will speak during a panel at the event.

It’s believed other CEOs consider refusing to take part to be the best way to express their objections to increased government surveillance of electronic communications, while Cook takes the opposite view: that it is important to speak up in defence of user privacy …  expand full story

Obama Stories November 12, 2014

President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing (photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing (photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

A trade agreement reached between the U.S. and China looks set to reduce Apple’s manufacturing costs by removing import tariffs on components imported into the country.

Apple uses components from a number of countries around the world, notably Korea and Japan, which are imported into China for the assembly of iPhones, iPads and Macs. China currently imposes import tariffs on these components. The new deal would allow companies like Apple, Microsoft and HP to bring components into China free from these charges …  expand full story

Obama Stories February 5, 2014

President Obama uses iPad to take class videos during school visit [Videos]

President Obama, who has been seen on several occasions carrying an iPad, used one to take class videos during a visit to an Adelphi school to promote the ConnectED program.

The program, designed to bring high-speed Internet to 99 percent of schools within five years, is being supported by Apple, which is donating $100M worth of iPads and other equipment.

Obama has also been seen using a Mac (with a Presidential seal covering the logo), but says he is not allowed to use an iPhone for security reasons.

Obama Stories January 29, 2014

Blink and you missed the tech stuff in the State of the Union address

Technology got only the briefest and vaguest of mentions in last night’s State of the Union address, with little in the way of new commitments.

President Obama promised six more “hubs for hi-tech manufacturing,” adding to the two hardly anyone had heard of in Raleigh and Youngstown that “connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.” The government apparently kicked in $100M in funding for research into 3D printing and energy-efficient chips. Nothing was said about where the new hubs would be or what they would do.

Aside from that, there was a pledge to connect 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband over the next four years, which doesn’t seem an overly ambitious deadline for something so basic; generalised promises to reform the NSA; and a plea for Congress to reverse cuts to government research funding.

A one-line mention of possible patent reform, with no firm pledge. Nothing on net neutrality. ISP or carrier monopolies and collusion. Nothing on tightening rules on data security in the wake of large-scale credit card compromises. Not much on immigration reform, to help tech companies hire the people they need. And no specific pledges on limiting the powers of the NSA.

Is is just me, or is it odd to spend so much time talking about the economy and job-creation, but so little on steps to help the industry that is expected to drive much of that growth?

Apple did get a brief name-check, as one of the companies supporting the high-speed broadband initiative.

Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

In a statement to The Loop, Apple said that it was contributing hardware, software and expertise to the project.

We are proud to join President Obama in this historic initiative to transform America’s schools. Apple has a long history in education, and we have pledged to contribute MacBooks, iPads, software and our expertise to support the ConnectED project. We look forward to announcing more details with the White House soon.

Obama Stories December 17, 2013

Quick video: Tim Cook & other CEOs meet w/ Obama to discuss healthcare.gov, NSA surveillance, House of Cards

Update: Bloomberg caught up with Tim Cook on his way out of the White House today and reports Cook described the talk as “a great meeting.” Video report below.

Following yesterday’s announcement that Apple CEO Tim Cook along with other tech executives would be meeting with President Obama today, we now have some of the first images from inside the meeting.

While Politico’s report is light on details regarding what was discussed at the meeting, we get a brief video clip below showing Cook seated across from Obama (and next to Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings) as the President makes a joke about if Hastings brought advanced copies of Netflix show “House of Cards.”

“I’m just wondering if you brought advance copies of ‘House of Cards’?” Obama said to Netflix head Reed Hastings. The executive laughed and invited the president to show up for a cameo, according to a pool report.

“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” Obama said in reference to the show and its Machiavellian lead character. “This guy’s getting a lot of stuff done.”

It looks like cameras were asked to leave following the brief introduction, but on top of the expected discussions regarding the controversial launch of Healthcare.gov, the report also notes that “industry leaders made it clear they wanted to prioritize” issues related to NSA surveillance programs. The White House also announced today following the meeting that it has hired former Microsoft Office exec Kurt DelBene to oversee fixing issues that still exist with the Healthcare.gov website.

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Obama Stories December 4, 2013

President Obama: ‘I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone, but my daughters love it’

While he and many of his staff members use Apple’s iPads, United States President Barack Obama has revealed why he does not use an iPhone: “I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” the President said earlier today. Nonetheless, he says that his daughters both use iPhones. President Obama has stuck to his BlackBerry over the past few years because of its messaging and encryption capabilities. No word on if the iPhone will ever be suitable for a President, but Apple has been beefing up its smartphone’s security via hardware, software, and sensors in recent years.

Obama Stories October 8, 2013

Samsung-Gavel

With a U.S. import ban previously issued by the ITC set to lock out certain Samsung devices at midnight last night, Bloomberg reports that the company has failed to obtain a veto from President Barack Obama:

The Korean company had argued that the ban should be overturned on public policy grounds, especially since a similar order it won against Apple was vetoed by the administration in August. Samsung can now seek a delay in the ban from a U.S. appeals court that will consider the entire case on legal grounds.

“After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow” the import ban to proceed, Obama’s designee, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, said in a statement today.

In August, the US International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple and issued a sales ban on certain infringing Samsung devices in a long-running case that stemmed from a countersuit originally filed by Apple back in 2011. The news came shortly after the Obama administration’s decision to veto an ITC import ban on certain iPhone and iPad models that Samsung won in a separate case. Like Apple, Samsung was going to attempt to get a veto on the decision by the US President, the only person with the power to overturn ITC import bans.  expand full story

Obama Stories October 1, 2013

During President Obama’s live remarks addressing the government shutdown and Obamacare site outages today, the U.S President compared the issues with healthcare.gov to an Apple product launch (via WashingtonPost):

Now, like every new law, every new product roll-out, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix. I’ve been saying this from the start. For example, we found out that there have been times this morning where the site’s been running more slowly than it normally will.

And we’re going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all of this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected. Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t. That’s not how we do things in America. We don’t actively root for failure. We get to work, we make things happen, we make them better, we keep going.

He is of course referring to the release of iOS 7.0.2 last week, which brought fixes for a lock screen passcode bypass flaw and other small issues.

Obama is a confirmed iPad user and is frequently seen carrying around the device so perhaps he’s speaking from some 1st hand experience… expand full story

Obama Stories August 8, 2013

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U.S. President Barack Obama met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other technology company executives today to discuss government surveillance, according to a report from Politico. Earlier this week, according to the report, the President and his staff began holding confidential meetings about surveillance tactics and topics such as the recent NSA-related controversies with company executives and other members of pertinent organizations.

Those invited were mostly senior executives, including Cook, Stephenson and Cerf, as well as representatives of groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology and Gigi Sohn, the leader of Public Knowledge, according to three sources familiar with the meeting. Each declined comment for this story.

The report names AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and former Google Vice President Vint Serf as the other technology community members involved in the meetings. Serf recently was appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board, and Serf is also known as a pioneer of the internet…

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Obama Stories August 3, 2013

Apple ‘applauds’ veto of ITC iPhone/iPad ban, Samsung ‘disappointed’

Following the decision from the Obama administration from earlier today to veto an ITC product ban on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, first-generation 3G iPad, and 3G-capable iPad 2, both Apple and Samsung have responded.

Apple has praised the decision:

We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.

Samsung is not happy with the move:

We are disappointed that the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC’s decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license.

Today’s decision is not the first time in which the United States has sided with Apple over Samsung. Last summer, a California court granted Apple a $1 billion dollar verdict in a wide ranging case regarding Apple and Samsung’s mobile product design patents. Apple CEO Tim Cook called that win an “important day for Apple and for innovators everywhere.”

President Obama and Vice President Biden with an iPhone

President Obama and Vice President Biden with an iPhone

United States President Barack Obama and his administration have issued a veto on a potential ban for iPhone 4 and 3G-capable iPad 2 models in the United States. The news comes by way of a notice from the U.S. Government. The official ruling comes from Michael Froman, a trade representative for the United States:

In addition, on January 8, 2013, the Department of Justice and United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an important Policy Statement entitled “Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments” (“Policy Statement”).2 The Policy Statement makes clear that standards, and particularly voluntary consensus standards set by standards developing organizations (“SDO”), have incorporated important technical advances that are fundamental to the interoperability of many of the products on which consumers have come to rely, including the types of devices that are the subject of the Commission’s determination. The Policy Statement expresses substantial concerns, which I strongly share, about the potential harms that can result from owners of standards­essential patents (“SEPs”) who have made a voluntary commitment to offer to license SEPs on terms that are fair, reasonable, and non­discriminatory (“FRAND”), gaining undue leverage and engaging in “patent hold­up”, i.e., asserting the patent to exclude an implementer of the standard from a market to obtain a higher price for use of the patent than would have been possible before the standard was set, when alternative technologies could have been chosen. At the same time, technology implementers also can cause potential harm by, for example, engaging in “reverse hold­up” (“hold­out”), e. g., by constructive refusal to negotiate a FRAND license with the SEP owner or refusal to pay what has been determined to be a FRAND royalty.

The would be, no-longer affected Apple devices include the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 3G, and the original 3G-capable iPad. This ruling mostly affects the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 as those are the pertinent products that Apple actually currently sells in the U.S. The President’s block of the ITC ban is the first block of this kind since the 1987 Reagan administration.

Newer iPhone and iPad models, such as the iPhone 5 and 3rd/4th generation iPad, are not affected because they use a different cellular chipset design.

Both Apple and Samsung have both responded to the news. 

You can read the full letter from the government below:

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Obama Stories June 3, 2013

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The WSJ reports that after years of worsening patent legislation in the US, the Obama administration has finally decided to try to do something about it.

The president has taken a dim view of certain patent-holding firms. In February, he said some firms “don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea to see if they can extort some money out of them.”

Apple, depending on who you ask, is sometimes the agressor in patent cases but is often the victim of  frivolous lawsuits that often earn these patent holding companies millions and millions of dollars. These companies aren’t really companies at all; instead they are just shell companies built around a patent or a portfolio of patents, which are often overly broad or were never intended to be used in a particular way.

These lawsuits often take place in courts in Eastern Texas, where judges are notoriously friendly to trolling interests.

Some examples of companies who’ve questionably sued Apple or its interests: VirnetXPersonal Audio LLC, Lodsys, Motorola? etc.

The administration’s plans in 5 steps:

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Obama Stories March 13, 2013

Regional carriers supporting new cellphone unlocking bills in hopes of attracting iPhone customers

Earlier this month we told you that lawmakers were working on introducing new legislation to legalize cellphone unlocking following a statement from the White House confirming that it would support “narrow legislative fixes.” The new laws would attempt to reverse a decision was made by the Library of Congress in October to make the act illegal that resulted in a petition from consumers and prompted a response from the White House. We already knew that most of the big carriers including Verizon and AT&T are not in support of unlocking, but today Bloomberg reports smaller, rural carriers are backing new bills in hopes it will attract new iPhone customers:

“Smaller carriers have a very difficult time getting access to smartphones and handsets,” said Steven Berry, president of the Competitive Carriers Association, which represents such companies as U.S. Cellular Corp. (USM) and Bluegrass Cellular. “The unlocking is one way the consumer can make the decision that I can try someone else who has better coverage in the area where I live or play.”

While the Senate bills are “excellent first steps,” Congress needs to go further, Carri Bennet, general counsel for Rural Telecommunications Group, a Washington association representing rural carriers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, said in an e-mail.

Many of these smaller regional carriers, including Bluegrass Cellular, typically offer the latest iPhone for a price lower than Apple and the major carriers in order to attract customers. Bloomberg also reports that a number of lawmakers have committed to introducing or supporting bills to legalize unlocking phones:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and Charles Grassley of Iowa, the panel’s top Republican, introduced a bill March 11 to overturn the Library of Congress’s decision and direct the agency to consider adding tablet computers to devices that consumers can unlock.

Democratic Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have also introduced bills to unlock mobile phones. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, and John Conyers of Michigan, the panel’s top Democrat, have also announced plans to sponsor such legislation.

ChronicUnlocks.com has been a solid provider of iPhone unlocks for our readers and us for a while now if you are looking for a good place to unlock an iPhone

Obama Stories November 6, 2012

9to5Mac scoured Apple’s App Store and the Web for the most talked about, best-rated or just plain interesting apps related to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, the candidates and their respective campaigns, and general news coverage for election night. Check out the roundup below; we will continually update throughout the day.

Oh, and check out the newly published YouTube video above of a voting machine supposedly “altering votes” earlier this morning. Eeek. 

Campaign apps

1. Obama for America by the Democratic Party for iOS | Free More details on this official campaign app are available in 9to5Mac’s original coverage of its launch.

2. Romney-Ryan for iOS | Free The official campaign app aggregates the latest news and updates, offers folks a chance to donate, and it provides exclusive campaign information with sharing options friends and family.

Election apps

1. Super PAC App for iOS | Free Discover more about the presidential election ads on TV. The app identifies commercials from all political groups, including Super PACs, and the official campaigns.

2. 2012 Map: The Presidential Election App for iOS | $1.99 User can create, save, and share 2012 presidential election scenarios with this app that includes “Live” maps updated daily with the newest polling data and “Historical” maps that detail every election from 1789 through 2008.

3. Election 2012 Issues: Obama vs Romney in Their Own Words for iPhone | Free Answer arguments about candidate’s views with videos of them using their own words. This app is non-partisan and details both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s position.

4. Election Results 2012 for iOS | 99 cents Real-time election results for GOP primaries, Senate, Governor, House races, and the Presidential elections in November 2012.

5. VoterHub by AT&T for iPhone | Free This is a “non-partisan clearinghouse for information on the 2012 election season, and future elections, in all 50 states,” with options for checking voter registration status, registering to vote, finding local polling place, getting detailed information on each candidate, and aggregating the latest election news from The Associated Press, etc.

6. Campaign 2012 – Obama vs Romney US Presidential Election News for iOS | Free A source of up-to-date information about the 2012 U.S. presidential election with continually updated news, opinions, and analysis from many news sources. No subscription fees, either.

7. Electoral Vote Polls for iOS | Free Electoral-Vote.com tracks the poll numbers for upcoming Senate, House, and Presidential elections. The site is popular, but now folks can now stay informed on the latest poll numbers on an iOS device.

8. 270toWin for iOS | 99 cents According to the app’s description on the App Store: “It takes 270 electoral votes to win the White House. Make your predictions by starting with one of our many library maps. With one touch you are on your way to deciding which states will go to the Republican party, which ones will go to the Democratic party and which ones are leaning, likely or undecided.”  Maps will update on Nov. 6 as states are called.

9. Presidential Election Race 2012 for iPhone | 99 cents Follow the electoral vote scoreboard and state-by-state poll results, and monitor the swing states with alerts for new polls with the latest election news, a map of how each state is trending, the number of electoral votes for each state, and the history of each state’s voting record since 1940.

10.  Settle It! PolitiFact’s Argument Ender by TIMES Publishing for iOS | Free Resolve political disputes with this app that checks facts in campaign ads and tests users’ knowledge. Folks can also find fact-checks by searching name, keywords and subject, browse Truth-O-Meter ratings by person and subject, and share their findings by email, Facebook and Twitter.

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Obama Stories October 9, 2012

Former GE CEO Jack Welch uses an iPad to conduct business

Here is an interesting ‘footnote’ to this story on former GE CEO Jack Welch leaving Fortune Magazine, quitting over his harsh anti-Obama jobs Tweet coverage:

Apparently, the 20-year CEO and Chairman of GE conducts business on his iPad. So, there’s another notch in the “iPad is only for consumption” coffin.

Obama Stories July 27, 2012

Obama’s campaign dropping 72 percent more than Romney’s on Apple products

U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign spent over one-third of a million dollars on Apple products since the election began in 2011.

Obama for America forked over $353,000, according to official expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, and Dow Jones’ Joseph Walker promptly noted that amount could snag 1,780 new iPhones or 176 new MacBook Airs.

Romney’s campaign spent just $99,000 on Apple products during the same period.

Walker further correlated the campaign spending to donor contributions:

  • Overall, the tech community seems to be firmly in favor of re-electing Obama when it comes to opening up their wallets, according to contributor filings. Obama has raised $950,000 from the Big Five tech giants, compared to Romney’s $123,040. Apple employees seem to favor President Obama by a margin of 15 to 1. Campaign contributions from donors identifying themselves as Apple employees total $121,305, compared to the $8,175 donated to Romney.

Get the full report at FINS Technology.

Obama Stories January 24, 2012

President Obama is wrapping up his State of the Union Address right now. During the event, President Obama made many references to technology as a way to help with economic times. More specifically, President Obama had a pleasant mention for Apple’s late cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs with his widow Laurene Powell Jobs in attendance.

 “That means women should earn equal pay for equal work. It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk-tasker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.”

You may remember when Jobs had dinner with President Obama and other successful technology entrepreneurs in February of last year. The discussion revolved around getting people to collaborate and invest in American innovation to promote private sector job growth.

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Obama Stories October 20, 2011

The Huffington Post pulls some words that Steve Jobs had for president Obama from Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio.  On the meeting, Jobs insisted that Obama himself ask for a personal invitation.  They met in the Westin Airport hotel in San Francisco. It sounds like like Jobs is more of a Conservative than “hippy Liberal” in his incredibly blunt words to President Obama:

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.

Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.” Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.

That said, Jobs was still willing to help Obama’s re-election campaign… expand full story

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