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Angela Ahrendts takes over as Apple head of retail

Angela Ahrendts has officially taken over as Apple’s new head of retail. Her official title is Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, as seen on Apple’s leadership website. Ahrendts was previously CEO of Burberry, and had executive roles at Liz Claiborne and Donna Karan International prior to that. Prior to hiring Ahrendts, Apple was without a retail chief since late October 2012, when John Browett left the company.

iOS 8 features may be pushed to iOS 8.1; Apple TV update still in the works

Apple may push a number of notable features originally planned for iOS 8 back to iOS 8.1, 9to5Mac reports. Some of these features could possibly include Healthbook, an updated Maps app, a standalone iTunes Radio app, VoLTE calling support, and TextEdit and Preview apps, among other additions. Resources are being allocated to the upcoming OS X operating system 10.10 and other projects, which may be the cause of the delayed push to iOS 8.1 for some features, sources said.

It’s also noted that Apple may give “a larger presence” to OS X operating system 10.10 at its Worldwide Developers Conference over iOS 8. iOS 8 could take advantage of a new processor from Apple, referred to as A8 — the successor to its current 64-bit A7 chip.

The report also notes that though Apple planned to introduce a new Apple TV in the first half of this year, it appears obvious that date has been pushed back. It’s possible that Apple’s discussions with Comcast could have contributed to the delay. Apple is reportedly working on both new hardware and revamped software for the Apple TV, but the two things are “not specifically tied together,” and could arrive at different times.

Apple, Samsung make closing arguments in patent trial

Apple and Samsung have made their closing arguments in the latest patent trial between the two companies, with the jury starting deliberations expected to continue throughout today. While Apple is seeking $2.2 billion in damages for alleged patent infringement by Samsung, Samsung is only asking for $7 million from Apple. According to an Apple attorney, failing to award the Cupertino company a large sum for damages would validate Samsung’s “illegal strategy” of copying the iPhone, the Wall Street Journal reports. “We don’t think we owe Apple a nickel,” Samsung lawyer John Quinn said. “They’ll be dancing in the streets of Cupertino if you give them $100 million.”

Lawyers hammered home their key points on Tuesday, with Apple claiming Samsung had to copy the iPhone to make up ground in the smartphone market. “Where was Samsung before the iPhone? You know the answer to that one. They didn’t even have a smartphone,” Apple attorney Harold McElhinny said. Samsung claims it relied on developments by Google that were being developed before the iPhone’s debut.

Apple security hole allowed access to personal developer info

A recent security hole in Apple’s website allowed anyone to access personal information for all registered iOS, Mac, or Safari developers, 9to5Mac reports. The issue was reportedly discovered by developer Jesse Järvi, and 9to5Mac says that the hole was quietly patched Sunday night. A flaw in Apple’s internal Radar application allowed Järvi to access the information — which included cell phone numbers — from the full roster of developers. Information belonging to a number of high-ranking Apple executives was also accessible. Apple will reportedly be issuing a statement in the near future.

Re/Code conference to feature Apple’s Cue, Federighi

Re/Code has announced that its upcoming Code Conference will feature interviews with Apple executives Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. Apple SVPs Cue and Federighi will speak on the conference’s second night, May 28. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the conference’s predecessor of sorts, All Things D’s D11 conference, following a tradition of Apple CEO appearances. Cook remained mum on new products at the time. It’s unlikely that Cue or Federighi will reveal anything groundbreaking during the interview, but the report notes the two will talk about “a range of things” going on at Apple, “especially in the important mobile sector.”

Apple offers to replace faulty iPhone 5 sleep buttons

Apple is offering to replace faulty sleep/wake buttons on qualifying iPhone 5 units. The company has set up a website for the replacement process, noting that models manufactured through March 2013 may have an issue where the sleep/wake button stops working or works intermittently. Users with faulty buttons can type in their iPhone 5 serial numbers on the site to see if they qualify for replacements. The replacement program is already available in the U.S. and Canada; it will become available in other countries on Friday, May 2.

Additionally, 9to5Mac is reporting that customers who make a Genius Bar appointment for the issue have the option of trading in their device, which could net up to $350 — $80 more than what Apple is offering for non-affected devices. It’s noted that Apple employees “have been instructed not to present this option” unless a customer specifically asks about upgrading to a new phone.

Apple, others settle poaching antitrust suit

Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe have agreed to settle an antitrust lawsuit regarding no-hire agreements, Reuters reports. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Former employees of the companies were reportedly seeking $9 billion in lost wages, alleging the companies agreed not to hire each other’s employees. The trial was scheduled to start in May.

Some iOS 6 users must upgrade to iOS 7 to fix FaceTime

A new Apple support document reveals that some iOS 6 users must upgrade to iOS 7 in order to get FaceTime to work properly. Those iOS 6 users who have seen FaceTime call issues pop up after April 16, 2014 may be affected by a bug “resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date.” The only course of action to fix FaceTime is to update to iOS 7. People using iOS 7.0.4 or later or iOS 6.1.6 won’t be affected by this issue. [via MacRumors]

Cook: New products ‘closer,’ mobile payments ‘really interesting’

Apple CEO Tim Cook again hinted at upcoming new products without revealing anything concrete in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. He said the company’s strong fiscal quarter might silence critics, while adding, “Maybe it will take some new products.” In the interview, Cook again stressed the importance of getting things right — not being first. “I feel great about what we’ve got coming. Really great and it’s closer than it’s ever been,” he said.

Cook also called mobile payments “really interesting,” noting that most iTunes accounts — which now number about 800 million in total — have credit cards attached. He said: “We already have people using Touch ID to buy things across our store, so it’s an area of interest to us. And it’s an area where nobody has figured it out yet. I realize that there are some companies playing in it, but you still have a wallet in your back pocket and I do too which probably means it hasn’t been figured out just yet.”

Notes from Apple’s Q2 2014 earnings call

Apple’s conference call after the company’s reported Q2 2014 earnings started with CEO Tim Cook calling the results “very strong.” The results were Apple’s “strongest non-holiday quarter ever,” Cook said.

Cook pointed out that iPhone sales were strong in the quarter. Apple’s smartphone market share is now 55 percent in Japan. There are now 800 million iTunes accounts, “most of them with credit cards,” Cook noted. iPad sales were at high end of Apple’s expectations, though below analyst explanations — Cook spoke about why there was a difference between the two.

Apple announces 7:1 stock split, increased share buyback, dividends

Apple today announced a seven-for-one stock split, with shareholders receiving six new shares for every one they own at the close of business on June 2, 2014. This is the first split since 2005. The company’s share repurchase program will be increasing from $60 billion to $90 billion, and has raised its dividend to percent%. This puts it at $3.20 per common share, payable on May 15, 2014.

Apple Q2 2014: 43.7M iPhones, 16.3M iPads, 2.7M iPods

Apple reported its second quarter 2014 financial results today, as the company sold 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads, and 2.7 million iPods. The company also reported $45.6 billion in quarterly revenue, and a quarterly net profit of $10.2 billion. Revenue is down from the record of Q1 2014, but up from Q2 2013. Gross margin was 39.6 percent in Q2 2014, compared to 37.5 percent in the year-ago quarter.

For its fiscal third quarter, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $36 billion and $38 billion, and gross margin between 37 percent and 38 percent. Apple’s conference call on the results will take place at 5 p.m. EST and can be heard on the company’s investor website.

“We’re very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market.”

“We generated $13.5 billion in cash flow from operations and returned almost $21 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the March quarter,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said. “That brings cumulative payments under our capital return program to $66 billion.”

Former employee says Apple left iOS users vulnerable

Apple left iOS users vulnerable by not fixing security weaknesses in iOS at the same time as in OS X, former Apple employee Kristin Paget wrote in a blog post. Paget points out that an OS X fix included a number of the same issues which popped up about three weeks later in Apple’s recent iOS 7.1.1 update. “Is this how you do business?” Paget wrote. “Drop a patch for one product that quite literally lists out, in order, the security vulnerabilities in your platform, and then fail to patch those weaknesses on your other range of products for *weeks* afterwards? You really don’t see anything wrong with this?” Paget asks readers to compare previous updates of iOS and OS X to see how security patches differ over time between the two operating systems. [via Ars Technica]

Google covering some Samsung defense costs in Apple case

Google has agreed to take over defense of some of Samsung’s claims in Apple’s current patent lawsuit, also agreeing to indemnify Samsung on potential losses from those claims, Re/Code reports. Though Google agreed to cover four patents, two were dropped from the case before the trial — remaining are the ‘414 and ‘959 patents, involving background synchronization and universal search. The information was revealed through Google attorney James Maccoun’s deposition testimony. As the report notes, “this was the first evidence shown to the jury that Google is playing a central role in the defense.”

Changes introduced to Apple’s app content rating system

Apple has sent an email to developers about recent changes that may affect the content rating of certain apps. A new rating system has been instituted in Brazil to meet local regulations — the rating is determined by an app’s existing content description. Territory-specific restrictions in the Brazil, Korea, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia app stores have also changed. Additionally, developers can now use new descriptions for apps: medical/treatment information, gambling and contests, and unrestricted web access.

Apple releases iOS 7.1.1

iOS 7.1.1, an update to Apple’s mobile operating system, is now available for download. The update lists improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition, the virtual keyboard, and Bluetooth keyboard usage.

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While complaints regarding iOS 7.1’s keyboard space key have been fairly widespread, the update appears to address keyboard responsiveness issues rather than design.

Apple Reuse & Recycling program expands to iPad

Apple has expanded its in-store Reuse & Recycling program to iPad, 9to5Mac reports. Previously, only iPhones could be traded in for credit toward other iPhones. Now, iPads can be traded in for credit, and credit from iPhones and iPads can be applied to a newer version of either device. It’s noted that Apple is less lenient on used iPad conditions — for example, stores won’t accept an iPad with a cracked screen, but will accept an iPhone in the same condition. Apple won’t accept trade-ins of its newest current devices — iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina display, and iPhone 5s and 5c — or its retired devices.

Apple offering free recycling of used products in stores

Apple is now offering free recycling for all of its used products in its retail stores, the Associated Press reports. Previously, only some devices could be recycled in-store. The company will still give out gift cards for devices with monetary value. Apple’s recycling policy change coincides with Earth Day and the company’s new environmental campaign.

Apple interviewing candidates for mobile payment service

Apple has been interviewing senior payments industry executives as the company looks to move forward with its own mobile payments service, Re/Code reports. The company is looking to hire for two new positions — head of product and head of business development — concentrating “exclusively on building a business around the hundreds of millions of credit cards it already has on file.” Apple executive Jennifer Bailey is reportedly leading the initiative — a prior report noted Bailey was in a new role. A source said on the plans, “their ambitions are very, very serious.” While this report claims that the initiative is now further along, rumors of an iTunes-based mobile payment service have been circulating for long enough that it’s hard to imagine the company is just staffing up for this purpose now.

Apple launches environmental responsibility campaign

Apple has launched a new environmental responsibility campaign with a revamped environmental webpage on its site. The new site includes a short film, “Better,” narrated by CEO Tim Cook. “But now, more than ever, we will work to leave the world better than we found it,” Cook says. The page includes information on how Apple is reducing its impact on climate change, and how the company is conserving resources and reducing toxins in its products. Environmental reports are also included for each current Apple product.

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