United States Stories March 30, 2015

In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.

expand full story

Want to work for Apple in the US? Here are the five main jobs for which foreigners are hired

If Apple’s recently-revamped jobs site has tempted you to consider a move to the US, data from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification may provide a guide to your chances. Applications for H-1B visas–those allowing overseas workers to accept job offers in the US–reveal that top tech companies like Apple mostly sponsor the visas for five main roles, reports TechCrunch.

By examining the most common professions among H-1B applicants for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, five consistent career paths emerged across each company. Software engineers, systems software engineers, financial analysts, computer systems analysts and marketing managers make up a large part of H-1B visa applications.

The salary data shows that the average salary paid to foreign workers employed in the USA by the five tech companies is highest at Facebook, at $135k, with Apple sitting in the middle of the pack at a little over $120k.

Tim Cook has written an op-ed in the Washington Post describing legislation permitting businesses to bypass anti-discrimination laws on religious grounds as “very dangerous,” and in fundamental opposition to the founding principles of the United States. In it, he referenced the ugly days of racial segregation, which finally ended only in the 1960s.

Men and women have fought and died fighting to protect our country’s founding principles of freedom and equality. We owe it to them, to each other and to our future to continue to fight with our words and our actions to make sure we protect those ideals. The days of segregation and discrimination marked by “Whites Only” signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past. We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone.

Apple has previously spoken out against religious discrimination in Arizona, and Cook tweeted on Friday to express Apple’s “deep disappointment” at a new law in Indiana …  expand full story

United States Stories March 26, 2015

patriot-act-reform

Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  expand full story

United States Stories March 3, 2015

Obama weighs in as China demands access to data services provided by U.S. companies

President Obama has publicly criticized China’s plans to expand ‘security’ policies that would effectively prevent U.S. tech companies like Apple selling their products in China without completely compromising data security.

Reuters reports that the Chinese government plans to require foreign tech companies to host in China all data servers used by their products, and to allow the government access to the data. As this would include iCloud backups, this would provide the Chinese government with complete access to all data stored on iPhones and iPads sold in China.

In an interview with Reuters, Obama said he was concerned about Beijing’s plans for a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security “backdoors” in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access … 

United States Stories February 26, 2015

What will the Apple Watch Edition cost? Jewelry and watch people weigh in

[Ed. Note: Rob Bates, is a senior editor for JCK, and blogger/writer about the diamond and jewelry industries—this post originally posted here]

When we first started talking about the Apple Watch, some predicted that the highest-end model—the 18k gold Edition—could retail for more than $1,000. Now that seems almost quaint. Apple-focused blogs such as Daring Fireball now regularly bandy about numbers like $10,000—and sometimes far more.

The jewelry and watch sources I spoke with all think a price tag of $6,000 or more is reasonable, maybe even probable. “If it’s under $5,000, it will shock me,” says Michael Pucci, founder of the Los Angeles–based Abbiamo Group, marketing and sales consultants for jewelry and watches. He thinks the price tag will fall between $6,000 and $10,000, but not likely much more than that.

The 18k gold is, of course, the watch’s most valuable component. While it’s difficult to judge gold content from photos—given questions about thickness, etc.—industry experts believe the watch and accompanying case will use about 1 ounce of gold (currently trading for around $1,200).

The Apple Watch Edition.

Yet, you can’t just value the gold by weight, argues Torry Hoover, president of Hoover & Strong, the metals refiner.

“These can’t be mass-produced,” he says. “You can machine parts of it, but it will take a fair amount to make a case. There is still a lot of handwork that has to be done with it.”

That’s because gold’s properties sometimes make the metal ill-suited for assembly lines, says Jason Wilbur, a Los Angeles–based watch designer.

“We all know how soft gold is. It’s tricky. It moves around a little more than other metals. You have a lot of sharp edges and soft materials and little connection points, so you can’t just use manufacturing tools. The lugs may end up snapping off. One little pockmark on this thing will show up. You can’t just use the same tools as the other models and throw some gold in there, and there is your watch.”

Apple claims it’s using a company-developed metal that’s “up to twice as hard as standard gold.” Of course, saying “up to” gives it a lot of leeway, and no one I spoke to thinks it will introduce anything truly radical.

“There are always different alloys, but I think that’s more marketing than anything else,” says Morris Chabbott, managing director of New York City–based Morét Time. “I’ve been in the gold business, and there are many different things you can do with it. Apple is about making the best technology, so if they are making gold they may want a little edge to it.”

Powered by WordPress.com VIP