New interview discusses pressures of leadership, higher profile of colleagues
On Thursday, Fortune magazine named Apple CEO Tim Cook to the top spot of its "World's 50 Greatest Leaders," which largely refers to business and industry leaders rather than government officials. The honor came with a new interview with Cook as well as some of those who work with him, and addresses many of Cook's and the company's successes (and a few missteps) in the lengthy profile.
Amazon expands Prime Now one-hour deliveries to Dallas
Amazon Prime Now, the retailer's high-speed delivery service, is opening up in Dallas. Just as with its other Prime Now locations, Prime subscribers in the fourth location will be able to use a mobile app on iOS and Android to place orders for groceries and household goods, between 8am and 10pm seven days a week, with TechCrunch reporting it still costs $8 for one-hour deliveries, while two-hour deliveries are free.
Beats integration, iTunes overhaul likely to be on agenda for WWDC in June
A new article in The New York Times describes in some detail the alleged transition plans Apple is undertaking to transform both iTunes and Beats Music, it's acquired subscription streaming service. Among other details, the report assigns roles to iTunes Radio chief Zane Lowe, who until recently was a top BBC Radio 1 DJ, and describes musician Trent Reznor as a "point man" on an iOS Music app overhaul.
Recent Amazon drone authorization was for obsolete model
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is speeding up the process for commercial drone operators to be provided exemptions allowing them to fly. The change in policy comes amid complaints from Amazon over the application process, which it claims is so slow that its recent FAA approval it received was for a drone that has since become obsolete.
Bill giving tech companies tax incentives seemingly excludes Google Fiber
Google has revealed Salt Lake City, Utah will be joining the roster of seven other cities as Google Fiber locations. The announcement of the eighth Google Fiber location comes alongside news that Google is unlikely to bring its high-speed fiber Internet service to Portland, Oregon anytime soon, as a bill designed to draw the service to the city has seemingly backfired.
Acquisition of rival carrier by Three owner could create largest UK mobile carrier
The owner of British carrier O2 has agreed to sell the company to Hutchison Whampoa, the result of negotiations between the two owners which started in January. Telefonica, the owner of O2, has confirmed it will be handing over the carrier for £10.25 billion ($1.53 billion), with the deal still to receive regulatory approval before it can close completely.
Raid in 2013 first step in hunting down diverted Apple profits
The Italian government has concluded its investigation into Apple's tax practices in the country, and diversion of profits generated in Italy to its Ireland operation. The investigation's completion, which spans tax years 2008 through 2013, paves the way for the Italian government bring Apple to trial in Italy with nearly $1 billion in taxes owed at stake, though it is unclear if the government found enough evidence of any malfeasance to bring the case forward.
As expected, ISPs banding together under common trade group
The battle in the US court system to scuttle the new Open Internet regulation as approved by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun. Filed yesterday in Washington DC, trade group US Telecom has petitioned the courts on behalf of AT&T, Verizon, and a few others to block the Title II and net neutrality imposition, calling it "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion."
Apple launches web page offering free Apple Pay decal kits for businesses
A new webpage is offering merchants who support Apple Pay compatibility free decals and a guide to placement to help them make customers aware that they accept Apple's mobile payment technology. The free kit offers both window and smaller register decals, can now be ordered online for quantities up to five. For larger orders, merchants must call a special toll-free phone number.
Kansas City Google Fiber customers get highly localized TV advertising
Google's technology for targeted online advertising is being tested out for use with television advertising. The installation of Google Fiber in Kansas City will be trialling targeted TV advertising, providing local companies with a way to advertise their business to nearby customers in existing commercial breaks alongside national advertisers.
Combination of larger screens, Apple Pay, Apple Watch intriguing Android users
Investment firm Cowen and Company has opted to raise its year-end target price on Apple stock to $135 following a survey it conducted with existing smartphone owners around the world. After polling some 3,000 people in various regions, the firm discovered that 25 percent of all iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus sales are coming from Android switchers, who are persuaded not just by the larger displays.
Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes
The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.
Lack of emergency services in California costs Verizon dearly
Verizon is agreeing to pay a fine of $3.4 million to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over an outage of emergency 911 services in multiple states last year. While the entire outage affected over 11 million people and at least 83 emergency call centers in seven states last April, the FCC centered its investigation over a lack of communication by the carrier during the outage in California.
FCC agrees with read of Title II, denies smaller companies fees from AT&T
AT&T continues to use Title II regulation as a tool to escape lawsuits and fees, while publicly deriding the mandate. In a court ruling this week, the telecommunications giant utilized its Title II status with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to escape fees from Great Lakes Comnet (GLC) and Westphalia Telephone Company (WTC) imposed for " interstate access services under an unlawful tariff."
Will be able to run selected iOS apps, offer storage, HomeKit support, more
Citing unnamed "sources familiar with the company's plans," a new report claims that Apple's long-awaited Apple TV revamp is finally about to appear, with the company allegedly planning to show off the new device at the Worldwide Developer's Conference this June. According to the report, the set-top box would see an increase of storage, its own dedicated App Store and SDK, a revised interface, and more.
Ex-CEO Peter Chou remaining in inventive role
Attempting to reverse sliding fortunes, electronics manufacturer HTC's board of directors has appointed co-founder Cher Wang as the company's new chief executive. She replaces Peter Chou, who is headed for a role as the leader of the company's new HTC Future Development lab, and will focus on future growth for the company. Over the last two years, Wang had been increasingly involved in the running of various aspects of the business.
Restrictions of FAA certificate only for local testing of Amazon Prime Air drones
Amazon's plan to bring drone-based deliveries to the United States has taken another step to becoming reality, thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The regulator has examined Amazon's request to test its potential service, and has granted the online retailer with an "experimental airworthiness certificate," allowing it to perform testing outdoors.
Downloads still king of market, but falling alongside overall music revenue
A new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) finds that revenue from music streaming services such as Beats Music, Pandora, and Spotify have now in total beaten out revenue from CD sales in the US, capitalizing on the latter's continued fall from grace (largely thanks to excessively high CD pricing). Both formats are still well behind download sales as the top revenue stream, but even that format is gently declining.
OnePlus alters price of One smartphone in Europe over exchange rate changes
OnePlus is raising the prices of its OnePlus One smartphone in Europe, due to euro exchange rate changes causing the smartphone to be sold at a slight loss. While accessories will cost the same as before, the 16GB Silk White edition of the smartphone will increase to €299 ($320), while the 64GB Sandstone Black model will cost €349 ($370), with the new pricing kicking in from March 25.
Microsoft to provide PCs in China running pirated Windows with free upgrade
Microsoft may end up allowing more people to use a free version of Windows 10 than previously thought. One report claims Microsoft is going to be trying to make it easier for Android users to switch to a Windows mobile device by transforming their existing smartphone, and some pirates may also end up being able to upgrade their existing Windows installation to the new release.
Company discovered breach seven months after intrusion
Washington state-based healthcare provider Premera has suffered a massive cyberattack, which has potentially led to the theft of 11 million customers' data. More than six million people affected by the breach live in Washington state, with many employees of Microsoft and Amazon at risk. The initial attack happened on May 4, 2014, with the realization that the system had been breached not occurring until January 29, the same day fellow provider Anthem realized that they had been attacked.
NVLink, higher memory bandwidth expected in Pascal release next year
Nvidia has outlined what to expect from its graphics cards in 2016, by detailing its upcoming GPU architecture refresh. Following on from the Maxwell architecture used in today's graphics card launches, Pascal promises to provide a performance increase of up to ten times that of current generation cards, making it more useful for supercomputing and intensive processing tasks.
Adobe Document Cloud includes touch-enabled apps, file synchronization
Adobe is attempting to update the way documents are handled between users and devices, by launching a cloud-based service. Adobe Document Cloud is a collection of online services which can be used to manage various forms and other documents, with the entire system basing itself on the company's prevalent Adobe Acrobat software, refreshed and rebranded as Acrobat DC.
Lawsuit alleged every Apple mobile device abused assortment of ex-Nokia patents
Late Monday, a jury ended a legal battle with a patent licensing firm. A jury in Texas' "rocket docket" declared that Apple did not infringe on five patents held by Conversant owned Core Wireless Licensing SARL, who was seeking $100 million in damages, and a portion of Apple's device sales going forward, some of which may have been paid out to Microsoft.
Company building facility devoted to Apple Watch inside Tokyo department store
In a previously-unannounced move, Apple is creating a store dedicated to just selling the Apple Watch (and accessories) as part of an existing upscale department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The "store-within-a-store," borrowing from previous Apple retail concepts, could be come a permanent display for the fashionable Apple Watch if sales merit it. The department store, Isetan, is placing the mini-shop near its main entrance.
Our panel still talking about 'Spring Forward' event ramifications
The MacNN Podcast episode six is now available (later than normal -- sorry about that), and this week we looked at the new MacBook and weigh up its pros and cons; talk about Apple Watch pricing and some new details that have come out since last Monday; delve into ResearchKit, which is already making big waves in the medical community; discuss Samsung's Galaxy S6 and the line's fading status as an "iPhone killer" (though still likely to be a very successful competitor); and get into the actual meat of the FCC's net neutrality and Title II proposal.
Solid state battery technology can offer double battery life of lithium-ion
An investment by British vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson could lead to an increase in battery power for other devices. The company has signed a joint development agreement with battery startup Sakti3, as well as investing $15 million, with the ultimate aim of commercially producing lithium-ion batteries that can store double the energy of existing versions.
Drone videos on YouTube may be considered as commercial use by FAA
Owners of drones flying with cameras may need to be careful what they do with their footage after the flight. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has sent a cease and desist letter to one drone user, ordering Jayson Hanes to stop posting videos taken from flights to YouTube, as the administration believed that these classed the drone flight itself as "commercial use."
Option to download from networked PCs, other systems found in leaked Windows 10 build
Microsoft may be using a peer-to-peer file distribution system for system updates in Windows 10, a report claims. A leaked build of Windows 10 is said to include an option to "get updates from more than one place," suggesting Microsoft may be shifting away from its existing direct-from-server system to a more modern system that is closer to BitTorrent and other similar file-sharing services.
AT&T claims new FCC ruling exempts it from FTC oversight
AT&T is utilizing the US Federal Communications Commission net neutrality and Title II to escape a federal lawsuit by another federal agency, despite having vociferously objected to the proposal and still promising to file a lawsuit to prevent its implementation. Citing its new status as a "common carrier," AT&T argued in court yesterday that since it falls under FCC jurisdiction, the Federal Trade Commission's suit about throttling unlimited data plans was improperly applied as a result, and should be tossed out.
Investment firms believe Apple sold well north of 54 million units
Two investment analyst firms, Barclays Capital and UBS, have issued their first predictions on the number of iPhones Apple is likely to sell in its fiscal second quarter, which concludes at the end of March. The firms disagree on the exact number of units, but are within 10 percent of each other, ranging from 54 million to 58 million units. UBS' Evidence Lab is predicting higher numbers, but Wall Street estimates remain conservative.
New Nvidia mobile GPUs fill out 900-series collection
Nvidia has rolled out two new graphics processing units for notebooks. The GeForce GTX 960M and 950M follow the release of the similar GTX 960 GPU from January, and just like the desktop card is in comparison to the higher-powered cards in the GTX 900-series range, the new chips are being offered as a lower-cost, lower-specification alternative to the GTX 980M and 970M that still stand to offer decent visuals to users.
Company expects $12.8 billion plus or minus $300 million
Intel has released new financial guidance, cutting its revenue prediction dramatically. Noting lower demand for desktops and declining inventory levels at retail of non-tablet computers, the company has reduced its first quarter revenue estimate to $12.8 billion, versus the $13.7 billon it was expecting, and informed investors of the changes that will now be made in its last quarterly earnings report.
No surprises; Title II a light touch, debate terms bandied about defined finally
The US Federal Communications Commission has published its new Open Internet order, also known as net neutrality and Title II order, in full. The document spells out specifically which aspects of the 80-year-old Title II concept will be applied to Internet Service Providers, as well as specifics of the net neutrality order.
Company adds 14 new merchants now supporting iPhone-based mobile payments system
After mentioning the addition of more merchants now supporting Apple Pay on Monday, Apple has updated its web page that keeps track of merchant partners with another 14 new vendors, ranging from Coca-Cola vending machines (specifically mentioned during the presentation) to Regal Cinemas and many other well-known brand names. Cook noted that Coca-Cola currently has 40,000 of the vending machines that accept Apple Pay active, with plans for 100,000 by the end of the year.
Currys PC World hosts first Google-branded store in UK
Google has taken inspiration from the retail efforts of other tech companies, including Microsoft and Samsung, in opening its first "store within a store" under the Google brand. Called "The Google Shop," the store is located inside a branch of national retailer Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road in London, and will be used to showcase a selection of Android devices, Chromebooks, and the Chromecast.
Donation announced on same day as call for African-American on Apple's board
Even as Reverend Jesse Jackson was calling on Apple CEO Tim Cook to name a person of color to Apple's board of directors to replace the retiring Mickey Drexler at its annual shareholder's meeting, the company announced that it would invest some $50 million in grants to various organizations aimed at raising the profile and diversity of minorities, women, and service veterans in the technology industry. The money will fund the first stage of a multi-year effort, the company said.
Company complains that antitrust monitor overreaches, abuses position
Judges hearing two separate cases brought by Apple against (respectively) Judge Denise Cote's appointment of an unqualified personal friend as an antitrust monitor, and an appeal of the whole of Cote's ruling against the company in the Department of Justice e-book "price fixing" lawsuit appeared to find sympathetic ears in the Second US Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday. At least one judge said the court's monitor was grossly overpaid, while another panel appeared to agree with Apple's arguments with Judge Cote's ruling.
Marvell first silicon vendor to offer the SDK, drivers for chipset for Apple's IoT
Chip manufacturer Marvell today announced that it is the industry's first silicon vendor to develop a fully-supported SDK for HomeKit. HomeKit from Apple is a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user's home. Marvell's SDK for HomeKit is available on its EZ-Connect Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, including Marvell's 88MC200 microcontroller and Avastar 88W801 Wi-Fi system-on-chip (SoC).
CEO Tim Cook reveals details, apps for Apple's latest hardware category
On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives spent the majority of their time during the press event held today talking about the forthcoming Apple Watch. The company finally iterated pricing for the device, one of the biggest mysteries concerning the debut, by saying the Sport version would start at $349 ($399 for the men's model), while the regular model would begin at $549 to $1,040 ($50 more for the 42mm men's watch size), and the deluxe Edition version, which features a solid 18-karat gold body, would be available from $10,000. The Apple Watch will officially open for pre-orders at retail on April 10, and demos are available at Apple Stores. It will debut on April 24 at retail.
Upcoming UK Budget to include tax proposal to fight offshore fund diversion
The United Kingdom government is still planning to charge large technology companies a hefty tax bill if they divert funds abroad in tax-avoidance schemes, a report claims. George Osborne, current Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to announce the 25-percent "Google Tax" as part of the UK Budget announcements, due to take place later this month, with companies involved also being subject to more stringent monitoring of their finances.
T-Mobile invites media to event on March 18
T-Mobile has sent invitations to the media for an event in New York City on March 18. The only clue included in the invitation is "This one's a real piece of work," which could point towards something for enterprise use rather than consumers. While this event does not bear the "Uncarrier" branding T-Mobile has used for a number of its major events, Uncarrier 8.0, the most recent event in the series held in December, involved the launch of Data Stash, a rollover data plan for consumers.
Move comes just days before Apple Pay comes to Apple Watch
In the wake of erroneous reports in the mainstream media that Apple Pay was in some fashion vulnerable, compared to our more accurate analysis of the issue, they at least got one point right -- many banks had light security on Apple Pay card account establishment. Over the course of the week, and in light of the negative publicity, this appears to be changing. Reports are coming in that some of the more vulnerable banks are tightening up Apple Pay account establishment, with multiple identification steps required, where there may have previously only been one, poorly-secured, method of adding credit cards.
Product debut build-up resulting in rare access to CEO and design chief
A new interview with Apple design head Sir Jonathan Ive and recent remarks by CEO Tim Cook are shedding some light (and building up hype) for both the Apple Watch and the current outlook of the company and the men who run it. Ive, in an interview with London's Financial Times, explains the rationale behind the development of the Apple Watch, while Cook expanded on his view on privacy, and Apple's industry leadership. In other news, a forthcoming Apple Watch app has already set the bar to a new low.
Facility will open next year, ensure steady LCD display supply for iPhone
Japan Display, a company created by three Japanese tech firms in 2012, has agreed to a deal with Apple to help build a $1.4 billion new display manufacturing facility that should increase its overall LCD capacity by 20 percent. The company already supplies Apple with some 50,000 raw-material Retina display panels per month at present, and the investment by Apple in the new facility could guarantee a steady supply in the future.
Move happens March 18 at close of trading
Apple stock is going to supplant AT&T's on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. After market close on March 18, Apple will be listed on the average, with the low-performing AT&T being pulled. The move was precipitated by a Visa four-to-one stock split, effective on the same date. Apple's seven-to-one split last summer brought the stock price down closer to the median price in the DJIA.
Bill floated by TN lawmaker, who previously sought to stop municipal broadband
Legislation has been filed opposing the US Federal Communication Commission's Title II and net neutrality vote. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is driving the "Internet Freedom Act" which if passed will block the FCC from implementing its net neutrality proposal, including Title II, and strip the agency of the ability to issue a new rule on the matter. The move is similar to one she took in July, trying to strip the FCC of regulatory powers, over a slightly different matter. Ironically, Blackburn represents a district that enjoys high competition, above-average speeds, and dramatically lower pricing than average.
Not necessarily related to rumored Apple 'iCar,' but with eye on collaboration
Two major auto manufacturers are said to be in talks with Apple about a variety of possible partnerships, from Continental's hopes that it could participate in any rumored Apple Car creation to BMW's desire to collaborate with the iPhone maker about bringing some its existing and future car technology to its auto lineup. BMW went out if its way, however, to specifically deny that its talks with Apple have anything do with developing or building a car.
Channel would not require existing cable or satellite subscription
According to a new report, Apple is in talks with movie and original program service HBO to bring its streaming service, called "HBO Now," to Apple TV as a standalone subscription service that does not require an existing cable or satellite connection. The deal, if it goes through, would bring some flexibility to users who would like HBO programming, but don't want to pay for a higher-priced bundle that cable companies often force on customers. The service might launch in time for the Game of Thrones premiere on April 12.
Apple files notice with judge that it is in talks with battery tech company
After our recent story two weeks ago about litigation being brought against Apple for poaching battery engineers and scientists from A123 Systems (an automotive and vertical-market energy research firm), Apple has informed the judge in the case that it is seeking a settlement and is in talks with the company. Apple had recruited former A123 Chief Technical Office Mujeeb Ijaz, who then helped Apple poach several of his former colleagues from A123.