January 23, 2015

Beijing News reports that Tim Cook has agreed to allow China’s State Internet Information Office to carry out security audits of Apple products sold in the country. Cook reportedly made the offer during his meeting with China’s Cyberspace Administration minister Lu Wei in December.

China has long expressed suspicion over the security of Apple products, seemingly resulting from frosty relations with the U.S. Government. A state-run TV station in China described the iPhone as a “national security concern” last July due to its location-tracking capabilities. Apple responded by pointing out that location data is stored on the phone, not on Apple’s servers, and is encrypted …  expand full story

If you were puzzled by the fact that the $73M compensation package paid to retail head Angela Ahrendts dwarfed those awarded to other senior Apple execs, including Tim Cook’s $9.2M, Apple explained that it was in large part to compensate her for unvested Burberry stock she lost by leaving the company …  expand full story

Apple extends sanctions-compliance in Crimea by blocking sales of all Apple products & services

Apple has ordered resellers to cease all sales of Apple products and services in Crimea as of 1st February. This follows the termination of agreements with app developers in the region earlier this week. Apple states that both moves are to comply with sanctions on the Crimea region of the Ukraine imposed by the US Government. The company informed retailers of the decision by letter.

With reference made to Section 5G, «Export Compliance» of Apple Authorized Service Provider Agreement dated 01.04.14, please be informed that in accordance with the new sanctions on the Crimea Region announced by the US Government on December 19, 2014 you shall not sell Apple products and/or provide services related to Apple products in the Crimea Region as of February 1, 2015.

The US joined the EU in imposing economic sanctions in protest at Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which legally remains part of the Ukraine. Google has likewise started to block AdSense and Adwords accounts in the region, and Google Play services will cease on 1st February.

TechCrunch notes that the political conflict could escalate, with the possibility that Russian government may retaliate by blocking the sale of US imports into Russia–an important market for many US companies, including Apple.

Apple recently responded to a dramatic fall in value of the Russian ruble by temporarily halting online sales before returning with a 35% increase in prices to reflect the current dollar exchange rate. It also increased the prices of apps in the Russian App Store.

January 22, 2015

Photos of what is claimed to be the lid and display for the upcoming 12-inch MacBook Air have been published by iFanr9to5Mac exclusively reported earlier this month that Apple was planning to launch a mid-size variant of its notebook computer lineup, and these photos seem to provide even further evidence of that being that the case.

The legitimacy of the photos has not been determined, but you can see several additional photos below, including shots comparing it to current Apple devices such as the iPad and existing MacBooks.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook pulled in a total of $9.2M during Apple’s fiscal 2014, over double his 2013 earnings, according to numbers in Apple’s just released proxy statement. The filing details executive compensation and new board member nominations, among other items of business, ahead of Apple’s upcoming annual shareholders meeting. expand full story

In a filing for shareholders today, Apple announced that Millard Drexler, a member of the eight-person Board of Directors, is retiring from the Board. Apple has not yet named a replacement. Drexler’s term will end in March upon the next official shareholder meeting.

On January 16, 2015, Millard “Mickey” Drexler, 70, who has served on the Board since 1999, notified the Board of his intention to retire at the end of his current term, which will expire at the Annual Meeting. The Board has not yet nominated an individual to fill the vacancy that will be created by Mr. Drexler’s departure from the Board. At the Annual Meeting, proxies cannot be voted for a greater number of individuals than the seven nominees named in this Proxy Statement. Each of the directors listed below has consented to serving as a nominee, being named in this proxy statement, and serving on the Board if elected. Each director elected at the Annual Meeting will serve a one-year term.

Drexler will be the second board member to retire within the last year. In mid-2014, former director Bill Campbell retired. He was replaced by BlackRock Founding Partner Susan Wagner, who, along with the rest of Apple’s board, is up for reelection in March. Apple has also disclosed 2014 salary information for most of its top senior executives.

Drexler has held key positions at J.Crew and Gap, and he was a close member of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’s inner circle. He was instrumental in the development of Apple’s original retail stores in the early 2000s. Drexler has been the longest-serving Apple board member, and that title will turn over to Arthur Levinson upon Drexler’s leave.

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