Fast Company is on the cusp of concluding an extensive feature story titled “An Oral History of Apple Design.” The story has interviews from many interesting figures throughout Apple’s recent history, revealing a number of details that were little-known or unknown before. As the piece notes, very few designers have left the design team of Apple Senior Vice President Jony Ive — “Two quit; three died.” Fast Company interviewed the two designers who quit, along with a number of other Apple veterans. The series is set to end tomorrow, and it’s a recommended read for anyone with a remote interest in Apple design. We’ve highlighted a few interesting tidbits and revelations within the expansive article.
The feature starts in 1992. It notes that Ive personally tailored the design studio’s every facet to make former Apple CEO Steve Jobs comfortable, ranging from the clothing people wore to the music they played, to the rule that people had to slowly move away from where Steve was when he came in. It became the CEO’s “happy place.” Apple designers chose translucent plastic for the iMac because it gave “the feeling that there was something intelligent” inside the computer, which were all previously opaque beige boxes, a design theme that carried over to the iPod.
Keep reading for many additional interesting details.
Apple is being sued by an Ohio man who claims he’s owed $22.99 for not receiving all 16 episodes in the iTunes Season Pass for Breaking Bad — the fifth and final season of which was split into two parts by AMC. The suit claims Apple engaged in false advertising, as the Season Pass page notes that viewers will get “every episode in that season,” but Apple only provided the first eight episodes with the pass. The suit makes the case that the last 16 episodes of the show have always been referred to by show creators as “Season 5.” The class action suit seeks either $14.99 or $22.99 depending on whether viewers purchased the Season Pass in standard or high definition. [via GigaOM]
- September 9, 2013
Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive has teamed up with U2’s Bono and designer Marc Newson to create special items for The Global Fund in an upcoming auction, including a pair of 18-karat solid rose gold Apple EarPods. Ive and Newson customized the EarPods for the (RED) Auction, which takes place on Nov. 23 at Sotheby’s in New York. The two also designed a customized Leica Digital Rangefinder camera for the auction. The Global Fund is an organization dedicated to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. [via AppleInsider]
China Mobile will carry Apple’s iPhone 5C, according to a tweet from Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Sherr. It’s been speculated that China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, would carry the iPhone — especially after Apple announced its Sept. 11 event at Beijing’s China World Trade Center. Apple and China Mobile have long been in negotiations for the carrier to sell the device. Sherr did not report any additional information about any other iPhone models China Mobile might sell; given the carrier’s long-time interest in an iPhone model catering to price-conscious customers, it’s possible that China Mobile could only carry the iPhone 5C.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has issued an injunction against Apple for its involvement in fixing e-book prices, Reuters reports. Cote barred Apple from entering any agreements with the five major publishers — Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette — that would impede its ability to reduce e-book prices or offer discounts. Judge Cote also said an external monitor would be appointed for two years to prevent antitrust behavior from Apple. The terms will expire after five years, but the judgment could be extended in one-year increments. As expected, no App Store changes were included in the injunction.
Additionally, GigaOM notes Apple may not enforce most-favored-nation clauses in any e-book publishing contracts for five years. The company must also stagger new contract negotiations with the five major publishers in an order set by the judge. Apple plans to appeal the injunction. “Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market.”
Apple is reportedly testing new iPhones with screens ranging from 4.8 to 6 inches, according to The Wall Street Journal. Suppliers say Apple has tested larger iPhone screens recently, and the company has been “particularly interested” in testing a 4.8-inch screen. As the report notes, Apple eventually adopted a multi-size approach to its iPod — it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the company take a similar path with the iPhone in the future. Sources indicate Apple is “more willing” to move in that direction than it was before.
Reportedly involved in producing the iPhone 5C, Apple supplier Jabil Circuit has been accused of numerous labor violations by China Labor Watch. The watchdog group has alleged that Jabil Circuit’s factory in Wuxi, China has engaged in infringements including millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages, more than 100 hours of monthly mandatory overtime, more than 11 hours of daily standing work with no rest other than 30-minute meal breaks, hiring discrimination, and inadequate pre-work training. The full report can be found on the China Labor Watch website. Notably, the company is based in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- September 4, 2013
A new report claims that Apple is working on a new 17-Watt power supply for a new product. The new product would require around 40% more wattage than the current iPad, but considerably less power than the 11” MacBook Air. Apple has reportedly started to obtain components for the 17W adapter, which could belong to a “portable product which could launch within the next 12 months.” The report notes that the new adapter would not upgrade any existing Apple products, and it’s possible that such a power supply could be for a new, larger iPad; a July report claimed Apple is testing tablet screens “measuring slightly less than 13 inches,” following rumors of a 12.9” iPad prototype. [via AppleInsider]
Three recent shipments of “set top boxes” received by Apple in August could signify a new upcoming version of its Apple TV. A blog post citing bills of lading documents notes that Apple received a 35,000-pound shipment from Shenzhen, China on Aug. 25 described as “Set Top Box with Communication Function.” An Aug. 18 shipment with the same weight was described as “Set Top Boxes,” and an initial 15,000-pound shipment of set top boxes was received another week earlier on Aug. 11. The large shipments came from Apple supplier BYD; a previous shipment of “set top boxes” from Apple partner Hon Hai/Foxconn in December 2012 contained prior-generation Apple TVs. It’s possible Apple could reveal a new TV product — a refreshed Apple TV or something else — at the company’s Sept. 10 event, which is believed to be focused on iPhones and iOS 7. If not, a later expected event for new iPads could bring news of a new TV-related product. [via Panjiva]
Apple has invited Chinese media for a second special event, set to be held at Beijing’s China World Trade Center on September 11. Scheduled to start roughly six hours after the conclusion of Apple’s American iPhone event on September 10, it’s speculated that Apple will use the Beijing venue to announce a deal with China Mobile to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest carrier. Apple CEO Tim Cook met with the chairman of China Mobile about a month ago, and negotiations have been ongoing for some time. The official Apple event will be the first of its kind in China. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has started to invite members of the media to a special event on September 10 at 10:00AM Pacific Time, one week from today. Scheduled to be held at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, the event’s invitation includes the phrase, “This should brighten everyone’s day.” It consists of an Apple logo atop a collection of dots, brightly colored similarly to tones seen in both iOS 7 icons and leaks of the iPhone 5C.
The event will almost certainly include the formal announcement of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, as well as the final release of iOS 7—at the very least, for iPhones and iPod touches. Reports have suggested that Apple will use a separate event, most likely in October, to debut new iPad models.
Macmillan and Penguin — two publishers that agreed to settle in the Apple e-book price-fixing case — now have a website detailing the distribution of a $162.25 million settlement fund. Customers eligible to receive a settlement payment are already being contacted. U.S. customers who purchased one or more e-books from Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, or Hachette between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 — including their divisions — are included in the settlement. Those who bought e-books through Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo will not be required to fill out a claim — Amazon customers will receive an automatic credit, while those who used the other e-bookstores will be notified to activate a credit. Though the exact payment amounts are unknown, the website estimates customers could receive $3.06 for each New York Times bestseller e-book, and $ .73 for non-NY Times bestsellers. This settlement will not affect any customer rights that may come from the conclusion of the ongoing Apple e-book lawsuit.
Apple TV is experiencing an unusual outage that is preventing users from accessing the TV Shows features of the devices. As of this writing, the TV Shows icon has been missing for over an hour.
A number of users have tweeted about the issue within the past hour, and our devices are not seeing the icon, either. Apple has yet to comment on the outage.
Updated: The TV Shows app returned to U.S. Apple TVs after a roughly five-hour outage.
Apple will soon launch its AppleCare+ extended warranty program in Europe, according to a French report. AppleCare+ was introduced for the iPhone in the U.S. in 2011, and later expanded to include the iPad in addition to launching in Canada and Japan. Despite rumours of a U.K. launch last year, AppleCare+ was never made available in Europe, which continues to offer customers the standard AppleCare Protection Plan. AppleCare+ is an enhanced version of the standard AppleCare plan which provides iPhone and iPad users with coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to handling. No exact timeline or specific countries were mentioned in the report. Notably, Apple has had issues involving properly informing customers about warranty rights in a number of European countries. [via iGen.fr (translated link)]
The judge who found Apple guilty of fixing e-book prices doesn’t want the government’s proposed remedies to drastically affect Apple’s business, reports the Associated Press. “I want this injunction to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business,” U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said. Cote believes any provisions that would affect the App Store — such as allowing third party apps to link to their own e-bookstores — are unnecessary. “The App store (sic) was only an incidental part of this trial,” she said. Cote also said she would likely limit the authority of a monitor that would be assigned to prevent antitrust behavior at Apple. A trial to determine damages is still set for May 2014.
- August 28, 2013
Apple has acquired AlgoTrim, a Swedish company that specializes in compression algorithms for mobile phones. AlgoTrim “developed algorithms for lossless compression of processing instructions in operating systems and applications,” according to a Swedish news service. The compression techniques allow for faster processing and reduced use in flash memory. AlgoTrim’s software was found in about 100 million phones by the end of 2011, with the company previously focusing on Android phones. Apple has made five known acquisitions in recent weeks, most recently acquiring transit app developer Embark. [via Rapidus]
Despite recent speculation, it’s unlikely that Apple’s iPhone 5S will actually contain a 64-bit chip, according to a new report. ARM Ltd’s first 64-bit mobile processor cores aren’t expected to appear in smartphones until 2014, and a shift from 32-bit to 64-bit architectures would only yield an 8 to 10 percent performance boost on its own, suggests ARM’s James Bruce. Bruce also said the industry will move to 64-bit mobile chips “over the next four years,” starting with the Cortex-A53, ARM’s first 64-bit mobile processor. The report concludes with the assumption that Apple is indeed pursuing and testing 64-bit chips, but such tests can’t be taken as definitive evidence that such a chip is forthcoming this year. [via Network World]
Apple’s new iPhone trade-in program, the iPhone Reuse and Recycle Program, will roll out in select Apple stores this Friday, August 30, according to 9to5Mac. The program will roll out on a larger scale in September. Apple store employees will offer a value for an old iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S or 5 based on display and button quality, hardware and liquid damage, engraving, and if the device powers on and works normally. When trading in the device, customers will receive a gift card with the determined value amount to go toward the new iPhone. Customers will receive the old SIM card and employees will offer to setup the new iPhone.
As was reported in June, BrightStar will handle shipping and processing. Non-functioning iPhones with no worth will also be recycled through BrightStar. It’s also noted that “trade-in pricing for the iPhones is slightly below the competition.” An unlocked, undamaged 16GB iPhone 5 could net about $279, and an AT&T version of the same iPhone will be worth around $255, both below current Gazelle rates. A GSM 8GB iPhone 4 “will be worth between $120 and $140,” while the CDMA version will be closer to $80.
Update (Aug. 30): Apple is rolling out its in-store iPhone trade-in program nationwide today, according to a CNBC tweet. It was initially reported that Apple would roll out the program in select stores before a larger rollout, but it now appears the company is launching the program in all U.S. Apple stores.
- August 27, 2013
Apple has responded to the U.S. Department of Justice’s revised remedies in the e-book price-fixing case, claiming that the proposed remedy is biased in favor of Amazon. Apple said in a court filing, “Plaintiffs are seeking a remedy that would give Amazon significant competitive advantage over Apple — an advantage it is neither entitled to nor deserves.” According to a report, Apple is “vehemently opposed” to Amazon and others providing links from e-book apps to their own bookstores without paying Apple. The company also takes issue with the proposal of an external monitor, and is still seeking new remedies from the DOJ. Apple and the DOJ are scheduled to meet in court today. [via AllThingsD]
- August 27, 2013
Apple has launched a redesigned AppleCare support website, alongside 24/7 chat support for both iOS devices and Macs. The new site offers a number of options to help users, including live online chat and phone calls from Apple Support — users can see wait times for both options.
The streamlined site also offers suggestions to resolve frequent support issues, sorted by device. A recent report noted that Apple would soon be introducing these revamped online support options. [via 9to5Mac]