Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski seeks greater use of portable electronic devices during airplane flights,The Hill reports. In a letter to FAA acting chief Michael Huerta, Genachowski wrote the FAA “should enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices.” The FAA recently formed a committee to reconsider its policies on in-flight device use, and sought public comments on the matter. “This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives,” Genachowski wrote.
With over 3,300 votes from iLounge readers, our most recent poll—“Are you ordering an iPad mini?”—has ended. Readers were asked whether they had purchased or were planning to purchase an iPad mini, either as their first iPad device or in addition to or replacing another iPad device, or were not interested in the current iPad mini, due to plans to purchase a different iPad model, wait for the next model, or not purchase any iPad at all.
Only 35 percent of respondents indicated that they had ordered an iPad mini, with 18 percent purchasing one in addition to their current, full-size iPad, 9 percent purchasing one to replace an existing full-size iPad, and 8 percent buying the iPad mini as their first iPad device. The majority of respondents, however, expressed no interest in purchasing the current iPad mini, with over one-third stating that they were satisfied with their current full-size iPad, and 8 percent of readers indicating that they were planning to purchase a full-size iPad instead. Eleven percent of respondents noted that they are awaiting a future iPad mini model, seven percent indicated that they are happy with their iPhone or iPod touch, and three percent expressed no interest in owning any iOS devices at all.
Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn is looking to expand its manufacturing operations in the U.S. as customers request more American-made products, Bloomberg reports. “We are looking at doing more manufacturing in the U.S. because, in general, customers want more to be done there,” Foxconn spokesman Louis Woo said. Currently, the Taipei-based Foxconn has factories in California and Texas that make partially-assembled products, such as servers. Almost certainly related is today’s news from Apple CEO Tim Cook that Apple plans on investing more than $100M in expanding U.S. production. Further specifics of Foxconn’s plans are unknown at this time.
T-Mobile USA will finally sell Apple products starting next year, as the company and Apple have reached an agreement. Deutsche Telekom COO Rene Obermann made the announcement at an investors conference, Engadget reports. The news was also buried in the fourth paragraph of a Deutsche Telekom press release: “In addition, T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013.” No specific devices have been announced as of yet, but Apple sells the iPhone and iPad on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint; Apple has partnered with Deutsche Telekom to sell iPhones outside the United States for years.
Highly recommended to Apple watchers, CEO Tim Cook’s lengthy interview with Bloomberg Businessweek covers a large range of topics, including some interesting insights into how Cook sees his job, relative to the famously bold and confident former CEO Steve Jobs. “…I love being CEO of Apple, I love it. It’s just something I have to, and continue to, adjust to. If you have some ideas there of how I can do it better, I would love to hear it,” he laughingly said, while noting that he receives hundreds or thousands of e-mails each day with comments from users.
Cook curiously mentions Apple’s “few” products. “I mean, if you really look at it, we have four iPods. We have two main iPhones. We have two iPads, and we have a few Macs. That’s it,” he said. Oddly, the CEO seems to be leaving out various products — likely the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2, perhaps shedding light on which products Apple truly cares about, while the Apple TV isn’t mentioned at all. New products seem to be the emphasis, and he proudly makes a point about Apple’s willingness to refresh its product lines later in the interview: “Eighty percent of our revenues are from products that didn’t exist 60 days ago. Is there any other company that would do that?”
The interview provides further insight into the company’s internal strategic planning, with Cook noting that an executive team meeting is held at 9 a.m. every Monday, and four hours are spent talking about “everything in the company that’s important — everything.” Every Wednesday, a subset of the executive team meets with each product division — Mac one week, and iPhone the next, for instance. Discussions illuminate the debates that go on within Apple as to current and future products, their roadmaps, and overall strategy.
Also discussed is Cook’s transition into the full-time CEO of Apple. Cook notes that Steve Jobs formalized plans for the transition in the summer of 2011 — Jobs resigned in August, and died in October. “Of course, we had talked about me being a successor before, so it wasn’t the first time I had heard that, but the conversation occurred at a period of time when I felt Steve was getting better, and I think he felt this way as well,” Cook said. “So from that point of view, I was a little surprised.” The timeline suggests that despite Jobs’ departing statement that the company had clearly been planning for the succession, the most critical detail was left ambiguous to even Cook until very late in the process.
Samsung has filed a redacted version of the Apple-HTC settlement into the public record, revealing that each company will get nonexclusive rights to a number of the other’s patents, although Apple’s design patents seem to be expressly excluded. Apple has agreed not to sue HTC over certain products, the names of which were redacted. HTC will remain liable for any products that “clone” an Apple product — whether or not a product is “cloned” will be determined by an arbitration process. A ruling earlier this week determined that the list of patents in the settlement can’t be sealed. [via AllThingsD]
For the first time, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly hinted that Apple might be taking active steps towards making a television set, according to quotes from an NBC News interview with Brian Williams. “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said, using language that moves beyond Apple’s gentler prior “hobby” and “pulling the string” descriptions of its TV-related initiatives. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.” While it’s possible that Cook was speaking about the existing Apple TV, it would be curious to allude to an existing product in such a way; at the very least, Cook’s comments could suggest a major push, update, or redesign for Apple TV. Cook’s full interview on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams” airs at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the company will bring “some production to the U.S. on the Mac” in 2013, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek interview, which notes that the company will invest more than $100 million in the U.S. production of Macs. “We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it’s broader because we wanted to do something more substantial,” Cook said. Speaking on existing American-made Apple products, Cook also noted the processor for the iPhone and iPad is already made in the U.S., and the glass for the devices is made in Kentucky. Assembly, however, has been handled substantially in Asia by partners such as Foxconn.
Cook also mentions the American-made Mac line on tonight’s episode of NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” saying, “Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States.” The full interview airs at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight.
Philips has announced four Lightning connector speaker docks for Apple’s latest devices, including some designs that look familiar from prior products—and notably no prices, as of yet. The large, boxy Lifestyle Music System features a retractable Lightning dock, a CD player, and an FM radio, while the smaller egg-shaped Portable Docking Speaker is a compact speaker that promises eight hours of battery life.
Philips’ platform-styled Bedroom Docking Speaker features a clock display that automatically syncs with an iOS device, and a USB port is included on the back of the speaker to charge an additional device. Finally, the mid-sized, pill-shaped Room to Room Docking Speaker rounds out the group. According to the company, the speakers will be available this month, though it’s unclear as to how widespread their distribution will be and when prices will be announced.
A previous iTunes feature that located duplicate songs will be restored to iTunes 11 in an update, according to AllThingsD, which also mentions that some album covers were missing in album view—a “rare bug” that Apple said it has solved and will fix in an update. Another bug preventing Apple TV users from streaming cloud-based movies to their TVs will be fixed. Cover Flow, however, is not coming back to iTunes, as Apple said “too few users considered it useful.”
The rumored Apple streaming radio service appears unlikely to launch in the very near future, according to a CNET report. Though the article focuses on Pandora, it’s mentioned that Apple’s rumored competing service isn’t ready to launch, as sources note a deal with all the major record labels “is nowhere near to being completed.” All reports have indicated Apple is negotiating directly with record companies to secure music rights for the service. A previous report noted Apple planned on releasing the service in the first quarter of 2013; it’s unclear if that is still feasible, though possible that the company could launch with limited support and add companies later.
Google has released an update to its YouTube app for iOS adding support for the larger display on the iPhone 5 as well as a native iPad user interface. The new version also provides direct support for streaming videos via AirPlay without requiring AirPlay Mirroring to be enabled, allows quicker access to the user’s channel guide and the ability to add and remove videos from playlists. Additional improvements include clickable links in video descriptions and improved VoiceOver support for accessibility.
Apple has released a set of updates to its iWork apps for iOS devices, adding improved compatibility with iWork for OS X and Microsoft Office documents. Pages 1.7 adds the ability to use change tracking to collaborate on documents while Numbers 1.7 adds support for hiding and unhiding rows and columns and importing and exporting Numbers for Mac spreadsheets with filters. Keynote 1.7 improves import and export for Microsoft Powerpoint and Keynote for Mac presentations with support for expanded slide sizes as well as well as presentation themes, master slides and preset styles; users can also now play back all Keynote action builds including move, rotate, scale and opacity.
Zensorium has announced Tinké ($119), a legacy Dock Connector accessory that monitors cardiorespiratory health and stress levels. Tinké uses optical sensing technologies to record blood volume changes from a user’s fingertips, and creates indexes for cardiorespiratory health — monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen level — and stress levels. The indexes allow for daily and monthly monitoring.
A free Tinké app lets users share their results on Facebook, add friends to the Tinké network, and compare scores with other users globally. Coming in blue, pink, gray, or white, Tinké is now available.
The list of patents included in Apple and HTC’s recent settlement can’t be sealed, according to a California judge’s ruling. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh wrote that while pricing and royalty terms can be sealed for “compelling reasons” regarding future negotiations, the list of patents “does not meet the ‘compelling reasons’ standard” and that “there is nothing in the remainder of the agreement that presents a sufficient risk of competitive harm to justify keeping it from the public.” While Samsung was already given the right to view confidential details of the agreement, the public will now be able to see if Apple included any of its rarely shared “user experience” patents in the settlement. [via CNET]
The Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, “jOBS,” will premiere in Park City, Utah at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 27 as the independent festival’s closing night film. A short synopsis notes “the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life” will be chronicled in “jOBS.” A promotional photo released shows Kutcher replicating the pose of a young Jobs.
Also starring Dermot Mulroney, Matthew Modine, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, “jOBS” is directed by Joshua Michael Stern. It is not to be confused with the script Aaron Sorkin is writing about Jobs for a different film that Sorkin says will only consist of three scenes, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Following reports of an iTunes-centric event to be held tomorrow in Moscow, users in Russia are reporting seeing the iTunes Store going live. Similar reports are coming out of Turkey, another country where Apple’s digital content has yet to be made available for purchase. It is unclear as of yet what content is available in these countries or if it is appearing elsewhere in the region. Presumably official details will be announced by Apple at tomorrow’s event. [via MacRumors]
Updated Dec. 4: Apple has announced the launch of the iTunes Store in 56 countries today, including Russia, Turkey, India, and South Africa. A full list of countries was not released by Apple, though the press release noted that “movies are available today in Russia, Turkey, India, and Indonesia, and will be available in select additional countries.”
Apple has seeded developers with a third beta version of iOS 6.1. The update is available to registered iOS developers as an over-the-air software update via the Settings app, however as of this writing it is not yet available on the main developer site. It is unclear what changes may be contained in the release, however past releases reportedly focused on internal improvements to the Map Kit framework for third-party apps. [via 9to5Mac]
Tony Fadell, former senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, and widely credited as the “father of the iPod,” says Apple’s own mythology of the iPod being built as a knowing precursor to the iPhone is “revisionist history.” In an interview with The Telegraph, Fadell claims Apple was mainly focused on the Macintosh at the time, as what came to be the iPod team spent “the day job” building the Macintosh. He says Apple is a “visionary company” that enabled the success of the iPod, but “there was no vision of taking everything to a world of iPhones and iPads.”
“We built the iPod in weeks,” Fadell says. “It had to be what I thought it was going to be because there wasn’t time for endless refinements.” Fadell is now founder and CEO of Nest.
The Daily will cease publication on Dec. 15, according to AllThingsD. News Corp.‘s attempt at an iPad-based daily newspaper existed as an app, and lasted less than two years following a high-profile debut event in New York City that Apple participated in. News Corp. said that “Technology and other assists from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into” the New York Post — about 120 employees work for The Daily. News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a press release, “From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term.” iLounge’s review of The Daily noted major problems with both the user interface and content, mentioning that “[p]recious little in The Daily is written to appeal to college-educated people, and in the first two editions, a surprising amount of it had been written or edited into a mush of junk.”