Category: News


Starting this June, Apple employees who have been working at the company for longer than 90 days will be able to buy a Mac and / or an iPad at a considerable discount, CEO Tim Cook has confirmed.

After reporting the stellar financial results for Q1 2012, Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook, scheduled a meeting yesterday in the Town Hall auditorium on Apple’s campus in Cupertino, CA.

Apple employees received the notice via email. Cook’s message suggested that staffers could either attend in person, or via the company’s web portal.

Addressing the entire Apple organization, Cook said “Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we’re off to a great start in 2012. Last week in New York we launched a groundbreaking initiative for education with iBooks textbooks, and today we reported the strongest quarter in Apple’s history.”

“Please join me tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. in Town Hall. We’ll review our record-setting results and discuss some exciting new things going on at Apple,” he added. “The meeting will be broadcast live to many sites in Cupertino and other Apple locations. Please check AppleWeb for details.”

The meeting yielded one particularly interesting announcement, according to people familiar with the matter.

Specifically, Cook confirmed that starting this June, people who have worked at Apple longer than three months will be able to purchase a new Macintosh computer or iPad tablet at a discount, and a substantial one at that.

Staffers will purchase their next Mac $500 cheaper, and the iPads will have $250 slashed off their price tags for Apple employees. Not too shabby, but the deal is only valid once every three years for every guy or gal on Apple’s payroll.

At the moment, all Apple employees have a 25% discount on Macintosh computers.

Apple is widely expected to unveil a new iPad in the coming months, and at least one of the many Macs Apple produces (MacBook Pro / Air / Mac Pro) will be refreshed by summer. This gives staffers the perfect opportunity to get the newest stuff at a huge discount.

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According to the latest report from Strategy Analytics, Apple has now overtaken Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume. Apple achieved 23.9% market share during Q4 2011, narrowly beating out Samsung’s 23.5% share.

In addition, Apple shipped 37 million units in Q4, again going neck-and-neck with Samsung and its 36.5 million units shipped during the same time.

However, notes Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, “while Apple took the top spot in smartphones on a quarterly basis, Samsung became the market leader in annual terms for the first time with 20% global share during 2011.” Apple’s annual share, meanwhile, was 19%.

In other words, Apple won the quarter, not the year.

Smartphone global shipments reached nearly half a billion units in 2011 (488.5 million units), the firm found, turning the smartphone battle into a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung in terms of units shipped.

Nokia, the one-time smartphone leader, is still holding onto a top spot, in position #3, with 19.6 million units shipped during Q4 and 77.3 million shipped during 2011. But Nokia’s global share has been halved from 33% in 2010 to just 16% in 2011, indicating its ongoing decline.

Although Strategy’s numbers paint the Samsung vs. Apple battle as a tight race between mobile giants, there’s a big difference between the numbers being reported here. As MacRumors points out, Samsung no longer reports its mobile phone sales numbers, while Apple discloses its units sold each quarter. That means analysts are estimating Samsung’s numbers, but Apple’s numbers are provided by the company itself. It could be that Apple’s lead is even greater than what’s seen here.

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It was 2 years ago when Apple unveiled to the world its addition to their line of revolutionary mobile gadgets, the iPad. Most critics at that time immediately mocked and derided the potential of the new product to create new market.

With less than the blink of an eye, the critics were proved wrong. Apple’s new iPad sold out quickly becoming the fastest-selling mobile gadget of all time. The iPad instantly became an icon of the modern tablet market.

The iPad’s revolutionary technology has transformed media like no other person would have imagined. Its influence on education, entertainment and publishing reached new heights. It has become adopted widely across various types of people in different countries.

Apple’s iPad is considered to be the very first gadget that demonstrated what can happen when the TV and the computer is mashed together. Steve Jobs unveiling of the iPad two years ago was a commencement of the future!

Many have envisioned creating a product like Apple’s iPad however, no one was able to replicate or match the success. The Kindle Fire, Android, Windows 8, and the Metro UI all have eaten just a tiny part of the market. The iPad’s success will continue to become an industry by itself as tablet manufacturers still haven’t found a way to establish a tablet market.

Apple’s latest iOS update suggests the possibility for quad-core processing support on the next iPhones and iPads. While this is not a confirmation from Apple, sources from 9to5mac.com have uncovered evidence on Apple’s current testing for quad-core A6 chips.

Beneath the iOS 5.1 beta is a processing-core management software that explains support of the quad-core CPU chips. A hidden panel in the iOS software describes the cores being supported by the iOS device: “/cores/core.0” refers to single-core A4 chips and “cores/core.1” refers to dual-core A5 chips. Surprisingly, a new label surfaces which hints for a quad-core CPU.

/cores/core.3” appears on the iOS 5.1 beta core management. If you do the math based on Apple’s core management labeling, this translates to quad-core processing. The presence of a quad-core CPU in an iOS device is simply powerful. This would mean extra horsepower, operating system navigation enhancement, and faster execution of apps. Moreover, the potential to support extremely high-resolution displays as well as support for Final Cut Pro is promising.

Let’s just hope this will come be released as soon as possible. Even before iPhone 5 is released. This surely would take iPhone a mile ahead of its closest competitor, the Android.

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HTML5 is the new lingua franca of the internet, but games that are written in the format tend to run too slow.

The platforms that run HTML5 faster are likely to have an advantage in running a whole new wave of applications and games. So Spaceport.io, the cross-platform mobile game development tool maker, ran a study to find out whether iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) is faster than Android at running HTML5 games. Hands-down, iOS won.

If HTML5 games run sufficiently fast, then a lot of benefits accrue. For instance, a game could be written in HTML5 for one platform and then work perfectly fine in another.

iOS performed three times better at running HTML5 games than Android, according to the new study. Spaceport.io created a benchmark dubbed PerfMarks to test performance at running HTML5 code.

The benchmark tested a device’s ability to animate image movement – a key measure of game performance. The report measures the number of moving images on a screen at 30 frames per second (FPS), a frame rate which provides a near-native user experience.

Repeated tests show that iOS performed far better at running animations than Android. The newest iPhone 4S scored 252 PerfMarks and the iPad 2 score 327. That compares to just 53 for the iPhone 3GS from 2009. By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone scored 147 and the Kindle Fire scored only 25.

The iPad 2 beat every single Android device tested. The newly released Android Galaxy Nexus was the only Android smartphone that could handle images at 30 frames per second.

Some Android tablets performed poorly despite their powerful hardware. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 scored 65.

Both iOS 5.0 and Android 4.0 (the latest iterations) have registered massive improvements – about 100 percent – in running HTML5 games. Android has become a much more viable environment for HTML5 development with Ice Cream Sandwich. But all Android 3.0 devices and under were unable to perform adequately under these tests.

“HTML5 is getting faster over time, as seen in the latest OS updates across Android and iOS. Although this is a welcome trend, there is still a long way to go,” said Spaceport.io founder Ben Savage. “We hope the spaceport.io PerfMarks report will act as a bellwether for mobile browser and operating system creators who hope to better serve the HTML5 game development community.”

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Apple has lost an appeal in the Italian courts, must pay up on a $1.2M ( 900,ooo) fine and add a notice to AppleCare packaging. The issue at stake is that Apple was charging for its AppleCare warranty, which covers products for up to two years, without informing Italian consumers that the law in that country already afforded them two years of coverage.

The fine was levied by the courts late last year, after which Apple appealed the decision, which was the result of an investigation that was begun last may.

The company can still re-appeal the ruling, and the court did suspend part of the original punishment, which gave Apple only 90 days to add a notice that purchasers of the AppleCare plan already have a 2 year warranty on their products. The (rough) Google Translation of the Repubblica.it article on the appeal says that the arguments were two-fold:

First they would not have informed “in an appropriate way consumers on rights of free assistance provided by the biennial consumer code, impairing their exercise and limiting ourselves to recognize the manufacturer’s standard warranty of 1 year “, and secondly, the” information given on the nature, content and duration of support services to additional payment applecare protection plan, coupled with the lack of clarification on the existence of the legal guarantee two years, were such as to induce consumers to sign an additional contract when the ‘cover’ of service Payment overlaps in part to the legal guarantee provided free by the Consumer Code.

Basically, Apple didn’t accurately inform users that they didnt need to buy the AppleCare warranty unless they wanted its additional benefits, above and beyond the already mandatory two years of defect coverage. Apple has also come under fire from 11 EU consumer organizations over misleading AppleCare warranties. The minimum warranty for products sold in the EU is already two years.

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Yes, the new iPad runs warmer than its predecessor. But it’s no hotter than your average laptop, and not extreme enough to change our overall opinion of the device.

The new 2012 iPad runs warmer than the iPad 2, but it’s no hotter than many laptops under similar conditions.

That’s the conclusion after hours of testing in CNET’s San Francisco and New York Labs, all of which are detailed below.

We’re continuing to test a variety of aspects on the iPad, including heat output, wireless performance, and other features. But-so far, at least-the operating temperature is no reason for CNET to change its buying recommendation (the new iPad is currently the highest rated tablet on our site, and an Editors’ Choice).

As always, there are myriad variables here-how you hold (or don’t hold) the iPad, whether you use a case, what apps you run, and for how long.

If you’re a prospective buyer and concerned about the issue, we’d suggest giving the iPad some hands-on testing in a retail store before committing to a purchase.

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With more than half of all US households reportedly owning at least one of its products, Apple is a company that is continually topping satisfaction surveys in America and the world over. Today, the company has been named the top consumer brand in Japan, an accolade that it holds for the first time.

Apple not only topped the list with 90.5 points (out of 100) for total brand power, with its iPad and “two other key products” making the list for the top-40 brands.

The company ranked second behind Toyota in a separate survey of businesspeople, highlighting the effectiveness of the company’s products in the enterprise, as employees increasingly bring their own devices into the workplace.

Earlier in the month, we reported that for the seventh time in a row, Apple topped the US-based J.D Power Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, beating HTC and Samsung into first place, with consumers warming to the ease of operation and features of its products.

Polling 7,080 smartphone owners, J.D Power’s rankings showed that Apple scored 839 points from a 1,000-point scale, with HTC obtaining a rating of 798 points and Samsung following with 769 (lower than the industry average).

The consumer study, commissioned by Nikkei BP Consulting Inc., polled over 52,000 people between November and December 2011, collating data on 1,000 consumer market brands and 500 business brands to provide overall brand power scores for each company.

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Apple’s having a pretty good week. After reporting what can only be described as blowout earnings yesterday, its stock price made a huge recovery today. The company also set another record, selling out its annual developers conference in less than two hours.

But it won’t be this good forever warns Forrester Research chairman and CEO George Colony in a blog post today.

“Apple’s momentum will carry it for 24 to 48 months,” Colony said. “But without the arrival of a new charismatic leader it will move from being a great company to being a good company, with a commensurate step down in revenue growth and product innovation.”

The example company Colony props up is Sony following the tenure of its CEO Akio Morita in 1994, as well as Apple right after Jobs was ousted, and Disney post-Walt.

Who would such a leader be for Apple then? Dismissing CEO Tim Cook, as “a proven and competent executive to succeed Jobs,” but with a “legal/bureaucratic approach” that’s a “mismatch for an organization that feeds off the gift of grace,” Colony points to two people who are already inside Apple.

“Without knowing them personally, I would look to Apple executives Jon Ive or Scott Forstall to be CEO,” Colony wrote. “From on far they appear to have some of the charisma and outspoken design sense to legitimately lead the company.”

Colony, of course, is not the first person to suggest that either of those two execs as potential successors would be a good fit at Apple’s top spot. The big question of course is where this idea that Cook is seemingly not fit for duty came from, and why that’s the question to ask now?

Forrester is a large, and well-respected market research company, and its reports hold sway in technology and beyond. Yet, in many respects, these are exactly the kind of claims that came out immediately after Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO, and shortly after his death last year.

Colony, to a great extent, is following the classic formula of the provocateur:

# Find a hook: Apple just had one heck of a quarter: the company blew past estimates on both earnings and how many iPhones it sold, while breaking other quarterly records in iPad and Mac sales.
# Find something contrarian to say: Sure, things look good, but the fun times won’t last. He even puts a time frame on it.
# Add a touch of obviousness: Everyone knows it’s a risk that Jobs no longer runs Apple. That’s hardly something people don’t know. The obviousness gives it credibility. Can you say that concern hasn’t crossed your mind?
# Add some context: Hey folks, bad things happen when the founder leaves a tech company. Look at Apple when Jobs left the first time around. Microsoft hasn’t been the same since Bill Gates stepped down. Hewlett and Packard. The list goes on. Other than Intel, it takes some time to think of a big tech company that continued to thrive after the founder or founders left.

In this case, Colony points to the centralized Apple organizational chart inside Adam Lashinsky’s book “Inside Apple,” which was published earlier this year. That title, which followed Walter Isaacson’s authorized Jobs bio – but did not include Apple’s participation – made the case that Jobs was the ultimate decision maker in all matters, but that he also planned for the company’s future with its university program, set up to create internal case studies and teach other skills. Colony dismisses that notion, pointing instead to the words of sociologist Max Weber.

“Charisma can only be awakened and tested, it cannot be learned or taught.”

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Another Apple employee has left for J.C. Penney. Benjamin Fay, who was Apple’s senior director of retail real estate, design and development, will head up that department with J.C. Penney. Fay had led the design team responsible for upholding Apple’s brand image at its retail stores.

Fay’s new boss will be former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson. Both men were noted on the recent issue of a patent for the Shanghai Apple Store design. Last fall, it was reported that Johnson was looking to bring over more Apple employees as he works to repair J.C. Penney’s battered brand.

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