Williams tells Apple staff that company is improving labor conditions
In a new email memo to the company's UK workforce, Apple's senior VP of Operations, Jeff Williams, claims that he and CEO Tim Cook were "deeply offended" by a BBC Panorama documentary exposing labor abuses in the company's supply chain. Specifically Williams are Cook are said to have been "deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way;" Williams charges that "Panorama's report implied that Apple isn't improving working conditions. Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth."
Get Flash applications and videos onto your iPad -- if you must
Perhaps you don't know it yet, but you are already in one of the two camps over how Apple refuses to allow Flash to work on iPads. If you doubt this because you haven't even heard of the issue, then you're in the half of the population that has simply never noticed the problem. If you do know it and you're reading this because you know it, then you are getting this problem a lot -- and you have been searching forever for a solution. Photon Flash Player for iPad is a solution. It's a web browser, like Safari, but it comes with the ability to play Flash -- and you pay for that, in how its other functionality is weaker.
The iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, and Retina 5K iMac ship times all drop
In the past month, shipping times have been variable for some of Apple's most in-demand products. However, ship dates for the two new iPhone models, the 6 and 6 Plus -- along with the recently-introduced Retina 5K iMac -- have dropped just ahead of the final push of gift-buying for the holiday season. Both online ship times and same-day in-store pickup schedules have improved.
Clear out duplicates and manage your huge photo library better
Apple's professional photo manager, Aperture, had its advantages over its biggest rival, Adobe Lightroom -- and it is a shame the former been dropped (to be replaced with a new app, Photos for Mac, early next year). One thing Aperture was really good at was adding photos - so much so that we tended to do it over and over. Just not intentionally. One thing it was bad at, by contrast, was helping you find duplicates -- so a big photo library quickly became an unmanageably enormous one. Snapselect intends to fix this for users of Aperture, Lightroom, iPhoto -- and anyone who has tried to handle photos without using any of those programs.
Apple CEO looks to influence Southern politics
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a "generous personal financial investment" in Project One America, an LGBT rights effort run by the Human Rights Campaign, according to an announcement. Project One is concentrated on securing marriage and nondiscrimination rights for LGBT people in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. HRC says it's interested in "tearing down misperceptions and providing concrete protections for those who need it most." The organization also lauds Cook for being the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, calling it a "clear and powerful message" about it being acceptable to be gay.
Ethics of Pegatron factories, Indonesian tin supply questioned
Ahead of the airing of a Panorama documentary on the subject, the BBC has published a web piece revealing the outcomes of its investigation into Apple's supply chain. The network went undercover and charges that promises to protect the rights of workers were "routinely broken." In particular the BBC found violations of standards for work hours, ID cards, dormitories, meetings, and underage labor at Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.
New Xcode 6.2 beta also available
Apple has begun seeding a third beta of iOS 8.2 to developers. Significantly the code restores blood glucose tracking in the Health app, which was temporarily disabled earlier this year due to confusion caused by the app displaying data in mg/dL but accepting data from devices using mmol/L as well. In the new software, users can toggle between mg/dL or mmol/L.
Apple targeting 'Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa'
[Updated with Chinese job listing] A new job listing indicates that Apple is actively working on expanding Apple Pay worldwide, beginning with Europe. The company is seeking an Apple Pay intern who will work with a London-based team. The listing states that Apple Pay is "set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa," and that the London group will collaborate with "issuers, payment networks and merchants across Europe."
Apple allows Drafts app to retain Notification Center widget
Drafts 4, a note-taking app for iOS, has received an update bringing back its Notification Center widget, which was axed by Apple earlier this month. The widget allows users quick access to simple tools for opening up the app and create a new note. Drafts v4.0.6 also includes a "New from selection" option, found within the document-creation options, as well as URL action steps now having "URL encode tag output" option. Improvements to background refresh and sync handling are also present in the update. Drafts 4 is priced at $5, and requires iOS 8.0 or later.
Could raise costs in some regions
Apple has sent an email to iOS developers, notifying them of a change to the way it handles VAT (value-added taxes) at European App Stores. Currently the company charges a single VAT rate across the European Union; soon, though, it plans to charge on a per-country basis. The change is due to take effect on January 1.
CEO announces company's promotions have raised over $100 million since 2006
In a memo to all employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the recent (Product) RED campaign, which ran through app upgrade purchases, in-store items and online accessories during the run-up to World AIDS Day on December 1 raised over $20 million, which will be seeded to the Global Fund. The group fights HIV/AIDS, malaria and other health threats largely in Africa and other impoverished areas. Cook said that the promotion has thus pushed Apple's total contribution to over $100 million since 2006.
Open and save documents faster with a utility that remembers where you go
If Apple has its way, then one day we will never save another document -- and we will never think about where it went. It will just be there when we want to open it again. That's nice. Until then, we open and save documents nearly as often as we check Facebook. Which makes it a shame that OS X rather fights us. You can open a document from this folder on that network drive and you can then save it on that folder on this USB stick, but it is a pain. Not much of a pain, let's not get carried away here, but try doing it twice and see how you feel. That's where Default Folder X comes in.
Judge agreed video was witness testimony rather than evidence
As a postscript to Apple's unanimous win in a lawsuit brought by audio software company Real, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers on Wednesday turned down media requests to make public a videotaped deposition from Steve Jobs, in one of his final filmed appearances, that was presented during the trial. Jobs, who was quite ill at the time and just months from his resignation from Apple and later death, was videotaped answering questions about the case. Yesterday, a jury exonerated the iPhone maker from charges it had conspired to lock out competitors.
AutoFill, HTML5 video, notifications among testing areas
Apple is distributing three new Safari betas to OS X developers. Yosemite users are getting v8.0.3; v7.1.3 is available for Mavericks, while v6.2.3 is the equivalent for Mountain Lion. Some testing focus areas include AutoFill, web notifications, website and extension compatibility, HTML5 video playback on "popular video sites," and debugging sites via Web Inspector. Apple is also concerned with bookmark editing, and the read/unread state of Reading List items.
Updates to existing apps must switch by June
Apple has issued a new notice to developers, reminding them of two important deadlines concerning 64-bit support in iOS apps. As was previously announced, those submitting new titles to the App Store must implement 64-bit support -- and use the iOS 8 SDK -- by February 1st. Additionally, the company now says that updates to existing titles must meet the same standards as of June 1st.
Some material already in hands of Competition Bureau
The Federal Court of Canada has agreed to order Apple's Canadian division to turn over documents to the Competition Bureau, Reuters reports. Apple has already handed over some requested documents, but may not be handing over as much as the Bureau wants or needs. The Chief Justice for the court, Paul Crampton, is due to sign the order later today.
Christmas, like winter, is coming. Be prepared!
It's not too late, but its getting close. In fact its so close, that any helping hand might be welcome to help pick presents for the Apple-centric device lover in your life. Good news! We see every conceivable gadget all year -- use our knowledge to benefit you! This week, Electronista and MacNN have suggestions for the best gift options for the Apple fan in your life.
Manage all your videos in one speedy and convenient place
We all have more videos than iTunes Store ones, we all have more videos than we can ever remember getting. They're from our digital cameras, they're from our iPhones, they're Vimeo files we wish we could remember how to download again. However we got them, we have them now, we can't find them very easily and they are all clogging up our hard drives. Plus, we have to to somehow remember that this movie will play in iTunes but that one needs the extra VLC video player. Cinematica 2 does a smart job of solving this by giving you one place to see everything it possibly can.
Overall smartphone market shows growth, but top two leaders lose share
According to new quarterly figures from industry analysts Gartner, enormous growth by Apple's iPhone has eroded worldwide mobile phone share -- including both smartphones and feature phones -- from top seller Samsung and second-place Nokia, with Apple potentially taking the second spot from Nokia after this quarter's expected record-breaking iPhone sales are announced. For the most recent quarter, Apple was within one percentage point of matching Nokia in a market seeing strong overall growth.
Quick movie editor makes it easy to send video to social media
Try as you might, you're not going to revolutionize how video is edited: whatever application you're using, the process has been roughly the same since we ditched celluloid and razor blades. Equally, you're not likely to easily replace Apple's iMovie for ease of use, nor Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X for high-end professionals. Movavi Video Editor, an editor for Windows that has just made the jump to OS X, definitely aims at being very simple to use -- but it's also intended for the ever-growing number of us who just want to quickly get video out to people.
win a PowerSkin PowerStand!
Until Wednesday December 17 at 11:59PM ET, PowerSkin has a buy-one-get-one free offer on their popular PowerStand battery charger. To help get the word out, they have teamed up with MacNN to give away one of these portable battery chargers to one of our readers. Read on to learn more about this battery charger and other special offers from PowerSkin.
Local economy hit by falling oil prices, political concerns
Apple is temporarily shutting down its Russian online store while it reviews pricing, according to company spokesman Alan Hely. The value of the country's currency, the ruble, dropped 19 percent today despite attempts to stall a months-long decline using an interest rate increase. Apple's reaction is unusually sharp, given that the company normally just adjusts prices on the fly in foreign stores if there's a significant currency fluctuation. In November, it hiked the Russian cost of the iPhone 6 by 25 percent.
13-inch MBP unresponsive
This week in the MacNN Forums Moderator "Thorzdad" and fellow forum-members have been trying to determine why a 13-inch MacBook Pro has suddenly gone unresponsive. It won't boot, light up or make any sounds after failing to recharge two nights ago. With the holidays fast approaching, the debate continues about which phone is a better choice, the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6+ in a thread started shortly after the phone was released.
refurbished 27-inch iMacs from $1,489
Right now at Apple's online store take advantage of steep price cuts on 27-inch iMac models. The 27-inch iMac with a 3.2GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive has been reduced by $310 to $1,489. Save $340 on the refurbished 27-inch iMac with a 3.4GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive, now $1,659.
$200 off 11.6-inch MBA, now $900
This week at BestBuy.com save $20 on the current-generation 11.6-inch MacBook Air which has been discounted from $1,100 down to $900. That price break makes this the best price we have seen by around $80. Free 2-day shipping is included, and sales tax applies for residents of most states. This MBA features a 1.4GHz Intel 4th generation Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 256GB of solid state storage and comes with Yosemite pre-installed. Included is a 1 year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Decision reached in less than 24 hours
The jury for the iPod/iTunes DRM lawsuit has ruled that Apple didn't violate antitrust laws by blocking music from rival storefronts in iTunes software updates, Reuters reports. The verdict was rendered in less than a day, following closing arguments on Monday. Had the jury swung in favor of the plaintiffs, the company could have owed some $350 million in penalties.
May not reach public until January
Although it recently released iOS 8.1.2, and is well into development on iOS 8.2, Apple is also working on an interim v8.1.3 update, web traffic shows. The first hits from v8.1.3 devices appear to have come around December 8th, a day before v8.1.2 went live. Since then the number has increased, but just a "few dozen" have reportedly come from Apple's networks.
Google Drive for iOS adds cross-app upload functionality
Google's cloud storage platform app has been updated for iOS today, now offering the ability to upload files from other sources. As reported last week, Apple has reversed its course on a policy that disallowed an app to upload content to iCloud Drive unless a file was created within the app itself. Google Drive for iOS v3.4.0 includes bug fixes and performance improvements, and file uploading to Drive from other apps and sources (such as iCloud Drive) can be executed on devices running iOS 8. Google Drive for iOS requires iOS 7.0 or later to run.
Orlando Magic's Amway Center begins installing terminals
Apple has today issued a statement confirming the addition of 10 more banks to the list supporting Apple Pay. These include Associated Bank, BB&T, Black Hills FCU, Commerce Bank, Dupaco Community Credit Union, Idaho Central Credit Union, First Tennessee Bank, TD Bank North America, WesBanco, and UW Credit Union. Some of these, such as Commerce, TD, and UW were already quietly announced elsewhere, for instance through a list on Apple's website. The New York Times adds however that Amway Center in central Florida -- home to the NBA's Orlando Magic -- will be getting Apple Pay terminals as of Friday.
East coast-based chain adds personal, business debit and credit cards to Apple technology
TD Bank, the US-based subsidiary of Canada's similarly-named financial giant, will "soft launch" support for Apple Pay in the US starting today, in accordance with earlier reports. Customers can now add any TD Bank Visa-branded debit or credit cards to Passbook, and use them to make purchases at supporting merchants with an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. While customers will have to call their branch to verify some details, both consumer and business cards are now supported.
Apple, most big tech companies support Microsoft in Irish email case
This week saw the submission of ten amicus curae briefs filed from a combined 87 individuals, businesses, and associations in support of Microsoft's challenge to a US search warrant for an email stored on a data center in Ireland to the court. The fight between the US government and the Windows maker centers around US law's reach into a customer's private records when the records are actually stored in another country.
Amazon, Google Play, and Apple listed among the former employers of ideal candidates
The Algorithms & Cloud Experiences Group of Bose Corporation has posted an opening this week with the company, seeking a Senior User Experience Designer to work on "Cloud Music Services." It's unclear if the company intended to announce its intention to create a streaming music service or potential music "cloud locker" through the posting, but the move represents another attempt by Bose to compete indirectly against Apple, and to a lesser extent other streaming services.
Apple will get a little less, other creditors more in revised agreement
The judge in the New Hampshire-based bankruptcy court overseeing the legal wrangle between Apple and its former sapphire production partner GT Advanced Technologies has signed off on a revised agreement between the two companies that is intended to stave off additional court proceedings that could tie up the matter for years, from creditors who were concerned that Apple was getting paid first. The new deal doesn't change the fundamental tenets of the agreement, but allows other creditors more funds from the first sales of GT Advance's furnaces.
Claims Apple was taking on 'predatory pricing' by Amazon
At least one, and possibly two, of the three judges overseeing the appeal of the e-book antitrust verdict against Apple, have expressed strong doubt about the entire basis of the case against the iPhone maker - with Dennis Jacobs, was "openly hostile to the [US] government's case" on the first day of proceedings, says Agence France-Presse. Apple is accused of conspiring with book publishers to artificially inflate the costs of e-books, with a particular aim at undermining Amazon. Jacobs today argued, however that Apple was a "new entrant" into an established e-book world, "breaking the hold of a market by a monopolist who is maintaining its hold by what is arguably predatory pricing."
Carriers may have been discouraged from selling rival phones
More details have emerged on the Canadian Competition Bureau's investigation into Apple's carrier deals, Reuters reports. Most important may be the Bureau's specific goals, which are to learn if Apple has been discouraging carriers from offering discounts or other incentives for competing phones, or even offering those phones at all. "The contractual obligations [with the carriers] may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services," reads an affidavit from Vincent Millette, the head of the Bureau's probe.
May complicate troubleshooting in affected locations
As they have in the past, some Apple Stores are repurposing their Genius Bars to accommodate holiday sales, a report notes. The spaces may be used for things such as pick-up service, or extra room for products. Conversions are only happening as dictated by individual stores' needs and shopping traffic, and Geniuses should still be around, whether walking the floor or at tables in front of the Bars.
Airing Thursday in UK
At 9PM GMT on Thursday, BBC One will be airing a documentary on the working conditions in Apple's extended supply chain. The Panorama piece, titled Apple's Broken Promises, focuses initially on conditions at Chinese factories producing the iPhone 6. It also goes into detail on the sources of materials for Apple products, bringing cameras to an Indonesian tin mine where children are digging out materials by hand.
Pushes iPads, MacBooks, Apple ecosystem
Apple has launched a new Christmas-themed TV ad, "The Song" (below). Much like last year's "Misunderstood," the spot focuses on lifestyle branding rather than directly promoting Apple products. Its story has a girl discovering a record given from her grandmother to her grandfather in 1952, featuring the grandmother singing "Love is Here to Stay." The girl then uses a MacBook to help her learn and record a duet over the old recording; she leaves an iPad mini with a note attached for her grandmother to find.
Apple versus Real trial testimony concludes, jury deliberations begin next week
[Updated with additional context for Schultz' testimony] The Real versus Apple anti-trust trial continued on Friday, with an Apple engineer testifying that he worked on a project in 2006 that was "intended to block 100 percent of non-iTunes clients," though he later clarified that such actions were taken in the name of user security and OS stability. Former Apple engineer Rod Schultz was summoned by Real's attorneys unwillingly, and discussed his work on a project with the codename "Candy" which would "keep out third party players" who exploited flaws in the iPod's operating system.
Apple Store app, Hotel Tonight, Merchbar and others now supporting mobile pay tech
In addition to banks and credit unions adding support for Apple Pay to their debit and credit cards, app developers are also taking advantage of the service's other side -- using Touch ID to secure online payments, which may in fact outpace mainstream point-of-sale acceptance as online shopping continues to grow. Priceline announced earlier this week that it will support Apple Pay for "Express Deal" hotel reservations, and MLB Ballpark (formerly "At the Ballpark") now lets users pay for tickets from select teams.
Apple Support Community members' exhaustive testing rules out 1Password as cause
On November 1, a thread was started on the Apple Support Community regarding an intermittent and troublesome lag when using Apple's Mail, the default email program, in Yosemite. User 'Andrew-StL' kicked off the discussion, reporting the issue while composing messages after updating from Mavericks to the then newly-released Yosemite, noting that the lag was not experienced while entering text in any other application.
Company says rejection was misunderstanding
The newly-launched iPad version of Papers, Please has briefly been censored by Apple, reports note. Players assume the role of a passport control agent in the fictional Eastern Bloc country of Arstotzka. Later into the game players have access to a full-body scanner; in the original PC title, players could toggle whether this presented characters in full (but cartoonish and low-resolution) nudity or simply in their underwear. A version with both options was initially rejected from the App Store, forcing developer Lucas Pope to remove the nudity.
Timeline for final update up in the air
Apple has issued a third beta of OS X 10.10.2 to developers. The code is listed as build 14C81f, and follows 14C78c, released on the 4th. One significant change is that Mail and VoiceOver have been added as new areas for testing focus, suggesting an expanded scope for Apple's bugfixes.
Faulty soldering once again blamed
A second class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple over the 2011 MacBook Pro. The new case originates in Canada, specifically from a Montreal-based lawfirm, Lex Group Attorneys. Like the original US case, the new suit states that Apple shipped MacBooks with bad soldering of an AMD graphics chip to the logic board, and that this led to a variety of graphics problems. To get it fixed, some customers were forced to pay out-of-warranty repair costs that could scale up to $600, despite Apple apparently being at fault.
One dollar app ensures you don't hear the same song too often
There are at least several apps that come to mind that aim to accentuate your iTunes experience. One that we're taking a look at today is Altunenator, a budget-friendly, $1 app that ensures the listener isn't subjected to the same songs (or other media content) too frequently. Altunenator skips tracks for you based on preset parameters such the duration between the last time a song was played, which is particularly suited for playing a large playlist or your full library on shuffle. Is it worth checking out?
alleged iPhone instability
While this week has been relatively quiet in the MacNN forums, members discuss topics such as iPhone instability, software compatibility and more. After having his first iPhone for a short while, Mac Elite "jeff k" turned to the forums looking for explanations to problems he is experiencing. Yesterday one Fresh-Faced Recruit turned to the forums to ask if Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 and Yosemite work nicely together.
up to $600 off Mac Pros
Right now at Apple's online store chose from a wide selection of refurbished Mac Pro models with savings of up to $600 off the list price. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel Xeon quad-core E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash based storage is now $2,549 after a $450 discount. For $3,219 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz 6-Core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
Part of campaign by United Service Workers West, Jesse Jackson
About 100 protesters, organized by United Service Workers West and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, yesterday held a short demonstration at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, says the San Jose Mercury News. The group ultimately wants to unionize some contract workers at Apple's campus and across Silicon Valley, but during Thursday's protest, it simply asked Apple to provide better pay and conditions. Security contractors at Apple's campus are paid above the state average; the high cost of living in the Bay Area, though, means that some guards are having a tough time making ends meet.
Option already available on iTunes
Apple has begun accepting PayPal at its US and UK online stores, reports note. The option has been present for some time when making a purchase through iTunes, including the App Store and the iBookstore, but missing from Apple's websites. When checking out, PayPal is listed as the only alternative to a credit or debit card.
Only known surviving model sold directly by Steve Jobs to customer
A fully-functional Apple I original computer known as the "Ricketts Apple I" after the original owner, has sold at auction at Christie's for less than expected, fetching $365,000 rather than the estimated $400,000-600,000 range. The unit was the only known Apple I sold directly by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to an individual from his Los Altos family home. Another working Apple I was recently sold to the Henry Ford foundation last October for $905,000. While there are thought to be some 50 surviving Apple I units, only six are known to be functional.