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Siri co-founder Kittlaus leaves Apple

Siri co-founder and CEO Dag Kittlaus has left Apple, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, AllThingsD reports that Kittlaus made the move—which was both amicable and planned for ahead of time—due to his family still residing in Chicago, a desire to take some time off, and an interest in new entrepreneurial ideas. Kittlaus led Apple’s internal speech recognition efforts since the company acquired Siri in April 2010, and had served as Siri’s CEO since 2007. The report claims that other key executives from Siri are expected to remain with Apple.

iPod announced 10 years ago today

Ten years ago today, Apple announced the original iPod, an early step in the computer maker’s evolution into a consumer electronics giant. Designed solely to store and play music, the first iPod was distinguished by its unusually small size for a then-considerable 5 Gigabytes of storage space, enough to hold roughly 1,000 songs. With a clear and white plastic face and a mirror-polished stainless steel back, the iPod used a physically moving Scroll Wheel and four physical buttons to navigate black text menus on a white backlit screen.

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At the time of its introduction, the original $399 iPod was embraced by some Apple Macintosh computer fans, but derided by others—and much of the existing PC marketplace—as overpriced and lacking in features. iLounge’s founder Dennis Lloyd immediately fell in love with the minimalist design and created this site to gather information about it, launching around the iPod’s November 10, 2001 release date. By the end of its first year, only 125,000 iPods had been sold, but the numbers began to climb the next year as PC-compatible iPods were released, and then jumped considerably in 2003 with the introduction of more affordable, USB-compatible models with Dock Connectors. The iPod family continued to grow in popularity and market dominance as Apple added color screens with support for photos, videos, games, and apps, combined with lowered prices, and the evolution of the original Scroll Wheel into various types of touch interfaces.

 

This video shows the unveiling of the iPod at Apple’s headquarters on October 23, 2001. No one, including then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs, had any idea just how successful the iPod would eventually become. As of today, over 300 million iPods have been sold. The DNA of the iPod resulted in the iPhone, Apple TV, and iPad, while influencing the design of Apple’s Mac hardware and software. Elegance and simplicity were taken to new levels in the Apple products that followed the original iPod, leading to a widespread perception that Apple’s offerings were uniquely capable of catering to users of any age and skill level. The iPod’s “halo effect” led Apple to change its name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc., reflecting its shift into consumer electronics, and eventually to Apple’s valuation as one of the largest companies in the world. Yet the iPod family has recently received comparatively modest attention from Apple as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac have continued to surge in sales; even today’s anniversary has proceeded without a mention on the forward-looking company’s web site.

If you’re reading this or listening to something on an Apple device right now, there’s a pretty good chance that the iPod’s success is at least partially responsible for that. And we wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for the little music player that could. Happy 10th anniversary, iPod!

Steve Jobs biography leaks, quotes appear online [Updated]

As is common with many literary releases, several copies of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ authorized biography—Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson—have leaked out prior to the book’s official launch on Monday. As expected, early reports of the book have found a number of substantial, interesting quotes and anecdotes within. As it is likely that more stories related to content within the book will be forthcoming over the next several days, we are creating this story as a catch-all for information from the book, and will update it as appropriate when new information emerges.

According to The Associated Press, which purchased a copy of the book yesterday, Jobs considered Google’s copying of iPhone features for its Android OS to be equal to “grand theft.” “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” He also told then Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a subsequent meeting, “I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”

The same report notes that Jobs called Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive his “spiritual partner” at Apple, and told Isaacson that Ive had “more operation power” at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself, and that no one in the company can tell him what to do, which, Jobs says, is “the way I set it up.”

The New York Times, which also obtained a copy of the book ahead of its release, reports that Jobs spent the first months after he was diagnosed with cancer trying fruit juices, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other treatments in an effort to avoid surgery, a decision that infuriated family and friends. “The big thing was that he really was not ready to open his body,” Jobs’ wife Laurene Powell said. “It’s hard to push someone to do that.” When Jobs did decide on medical treatment, he did so with his trademark passion, studying and deciding on each treatment, and becoming one of only 20 people in the world to have all the genes of his cancer tumor and his normal DNA sequenced—at a price of $100,000—so as to allow doctors to tailor and target the drugs he was prescribed. Jobs later told Isaacson that he would either be one of the first “to outrun a cancer like this” or be among the last “to die from it.”

The Huffington Post also obtained a copy of the book, and recounts Jobs’ interactions with current President of the United States Barack Obama. “You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of a meeting between the two men in fall 2010. Jobs told Obama that the administration needed to be more business-friendly, citing “regulations and unnecessary costs” which make it more difficult to do business in the U.S. as opposed to foreign countries such as China. Jobs later offered to help create Obama’s political ads for his 2012 reelection campaign, telling Isaacson that he wanted to do for Obama what the “morning in America” advertisements had done for former President Ronald Reagan during his reelection campaign of 1984.

Jobs is also said to have had lingering doubts about his contemporary Bill Gates. While Gates described Jobs as “fundamentally odd” and “weirdly flawed as a human being,” Jobs said that Gates would be “a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger,” adding that “Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”

Update: According to The Washington Post, which reviewed the biography, Steve Jobs suggested to Isaacson that he had been working on an Apple-branded television set. “He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant,” Isaacson wrote in the book. “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’” While it is unclear whether such a device would be dependent on a currently unannounced streaming service or current a la carte programming as offered on iTunes, rumors of such a set have persisted for years, and would be an obvious extension of Apple’s current Apple TV set-top box.

We will update this story with further details as they become available.

Apple airs first iPhone 4S TV spot

Apple has aired its first TV commercial for the iPhone 4S. The new 30-second spot focuses on the iPhone 4S’ Siri virtual assistant, and shows a variety of people interacting with Siri, making statements such as “we have a flat tire” or “I’m locked out,” asking it to make meetings, bring up directions, send a text, make a reminder, or play music, asking it about the weather, or asking general questions. At the end, voiceover says, “Say hello to the most amazing iPhone yet” while the iPhone 4S and Apple logos appear onscreen. The ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.

Apple announces iOS 5 Tech Talk Word Tour

Apple has announced plans to hold an iOS 5 Tech Talk World Tour, offering developers around the world a chance to learn more about Apple’s latest mobile operating system. According to Apple’s developer Tech Talk page, the tour will hit nine cities—Berlin, London, Rome, Beijing, Seoul, São Paolo, New York City, Seattle, and Austin—with dates ranging from November 2, 2011 to January 23, 2012. “We’re taking iOS 5 on a world tour and we want you to come along for the ride,” the page reads. “Learn from Apple experts as you take your apps to the next level with the exciting new technologies in iOS.” The talks will be for all registered iOS developers, however, space is limited, and priority will be given to developers who already have an app available on the App Store. For more information, such as specific dates and talk agendas, see Apple’s website.

Samsung overtakes Apple for Q3 smartphone lead

Samsung has overtaken Apple for the title of world’s largest smartphone manufacturer in Q3, according to a new report. Citing a person familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung shipped more than 20 million smartphones in the quarter ending September 30, substantially more than Apple, which revealed earlier this week that it sold over 17 million iPhones in the quarter ending Sept. 24. Apple stated that handset sales slowed noticeably over the second half of the period due to the intensification of speculation and rumors surrounding the then-unannounced iPhone 4S. Both companies surpassed former market leader Nokia, which shipped 16.8 million smartphones during the period.

Apple adds iTunes Match setting to iOS 5 ahead of launch

Apple has added a toggle for turning iTunes Match on and off to the Music section of iOS 5’s Settings app, suggesting an imminent launch for the service. Announced in June at WWDC, iTunes Match is a $24.99/year service that matches tracks in a user’s iTunes library with tracks stored on the company’s iTunes Store servers, uploading any tracks it can’t match, and offering users full access to all their music — up to 25,000 tracks — from any of their devices. The appearance of the toggle — which currently activates an alert stating that “You are not currently subscribed to iTunes Match. Use iTunes on your computer to subscribe” — has some suggesting that the service may launch ahead of Apple’s “end of October” estimate, however, the service does require iTunes 10.5.1, which is currently in developer beta and not available to the public at large. [via Mac Rumors]

Apple launches ‘Remembering Steve’ tribute webpage

Apple has updated its prior Steve Jobs tribute page with a constantly updated page that highlights messages from people all over the world. Entitled “Remembering Steve”, the page reads, “Over a million people from all over the world have shared their memories, thoughts, and feelings about Steve. One thing they all have in common — from personal friends to colleagues to owners of Apple products — is how they’ve been touched by his passion and creativity. You can view some of these messages below.” The page also notes that readers still have a chance to share their own messages by sending an email to [email protected]

Notes from Apple’s Q4 2011 Conference Call

During Apple’s fourth-quarter 2011 financial results conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and COO Peter Oppenheimer made a number of comments related to Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad businesses. As noted by Cook at the beginning of the call, it was the company’s first after the passing of the company’s co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs. Cook repeated a message posted on the company’s website following Jobs’ death, expressing gratitude for the condolences and expressions of support the company has received, and reassuring listeners of the company’s dedication to “continuing the amazing work that he loved so much.”

Directly following Cook’s brief statement, Oppenheimer gave his opening remarks, touting new all-time quarterly records for Mac and iPad sales, and a new September-quarter sales record for iPhone. He said that while iPod sales were down year-over-year to 6.6 million, they beat the company’s internal expectations, as the iPod touch continues to account for more than half of all iPods sold, and the iPod continues to be the top-selling MP3 player in most countries the company tracks. Oppenheimer also briefly discussed the iTunes Store, which produced nearly $1.5 billion in revenue—a record result—and has seen over 16 billion song and 650 million TV show downloads, and the iBookstore, which has seen over 180 million downloads thus far.

Apple Q4 2011: 6.62 m iPods, 17.07m iPhones, 11.12m iPads

Reporting its fourth quarter 2011 financial results today, Apple said it sold 6.62 million iPods during the quarter—a 27 percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Apple sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, a 21 percent increase year-over-year, and down slightly from the 20.34 million units sold in the third quarter. Apple also sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, up 166 percent from 4.19 million units in the year-ago quarter. The unit sales of iPhones, iPods, and iPads bring the cumulative unit sales for the three device categories to 145.96 million, 321.18 million, and 39.85 million, respectively. The company posted revenue of $28.27 billion and net quarterly profit of $6.62 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share, in Q4 2010.

“We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline.”

“We are extremely pleased with our record September quarter revenue and earnings and with cash generation of $5.4 billion during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 14 weeks rather than 13, we expect revenue of about $37 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $9.30.”

Apple nixing $69 iPhone AppleCare for $99 AppleCare+

Following a series of conflicting reports from AppleCare representatives, iLounge has confirmed that Apple intends to phase out its $69 AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone in favor of the $99 AppleCare+ for iPhone, a change that will have major implications for future iPhone customers. As of today, the $69 plan may still be purchased during the iPhone’s one-year standard warranty period—unlike the new AppleCare+ plan, which must be purchased at the point-of-sale—but only for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, not the iPhone 4S.

According to AppleCare representatives, AppleCare will be “phased out” or “discontinued” for iPhones, remaining an option for customers who purchased their phones prior to the introduction of the AppleCare+ plan, until all potentially eligible customers have exhausted their one-year warranty periods, sometime on or near October 13, 2012. Notably, AppleCare+ is currently not available in all countries, and the prior AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone is still promoted as the primary option for customers where AppleCare+ is not available. In the United States, Apple’s AppleCare page for iPhone now lists only AppleCare+, while no mention is made of the $69 plan.

Introduced in July 2007, the original AppleCare Protection Plan extends the iPhone’s one-year of defect- and battery-related repair coverage to two years. The new AppleCare+ plan goes beyond this by adding coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to handling, each subject to an additional $49 service fee. The difference in the packages means that customers will need to pay more up front, and immediately, as the AppleCare+ plan must be purchased with a new iPhone. Additional charges may apply down the road, depending on how fortunate the user is in preventing damage to the handset. Previously, AppleCare representatives had the option to repair an accidentally damaged iPhone one time without charge to the user, a customer satisfaction policy that we have been told will no longer be permitted with AppleCare+‘s introduction.

Apple releases, pulls Apple TV Software Update 4.4.1

Apple released Apple TV Software Update 4.4.1 for its second-generation set-top box less than one week after the release of 4.4, only to pull the update—at least on a temporary basis—shortly thereafter. According to Apple’s release notes, the 4.4.1 update “addresses an issue that required a small number of Apple TV units to be connected to iTunes in order to complete the update.” Shortly following the update’s release, some users reported that the 4.4.1 update “bricked” their units, requiring connection to iTunes for a restore, according to Mac Rumors. The update has since been pulled, at least on a temporary basis.

Apple offers ‘limited time’ discounts on refurb iPads

Apple is offering “special limited time” pricing on refurbished first-generation iPad units. The refurbished iPad page of the company’s online store shows several models in stock, including 64GB Wi-Fi units for $399, 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G units for the same price, and 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G units for $499, a substantial savings off the original $829 price. All of Apple’s refurbished iPads come with a new battery and outer shell, all manuals and accessories, and the same one-year warranty as new models.

ITC judge sides with Apple in HTC patent row

An administrative law judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled in Apple’s favor in an early decision on HTC’s patent infringement claims. Reuters reports that the judge found “no violation” by Apple of four HTC patents related to power management and phone dialing. The full commission will decide whether to uphold or reject the judge’s decision next February; HTC said in July that is was “open to having discussions” with Apple in hopes of reaching a settlement in the various ongoing patent infringement cases between the two companies.

Over four million iPhone 4S units sold during first weekend

Apple this morning announced that the iPhone 4S saw sales of over four million units over the launch weekend. In the announcement, it also revealed that over 25 million customers have updated their iOS devices to iOS 5, and more than 20 million have signed up for iCloud. The iPhone 4S is available now in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK, and will launch in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland on October 28.

“iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend—the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “iPhone 4S is a hit with customers around the world, and together with iOS 5 and iCloud, is the best iPhone ever.”

iPhone 4S launches at 8:00 am Local Time

Apple is preparing to launch the iPhone 4S today at 8:00 am Local Time, or less than 20 minutes from now for those of our readers on the East Coast. With a record-setting number of units being pre-ordered, it is unclear whether crowds at today’s brick-and-mortar launches will be as large as they have been for prior iPhone launches; however, as evidenced by the photos below, taken by iLounge editor Nick Guy at the Walden Galleria Apple Store, there are plenty of people waiting to get their units before the delivery trucks start arriving for pre-order customers. Interestingly, Apple appears to be reusing its old iPhone 4 window displays for the iPhone 4S, as the oversized units show the prior GSM antenna positions.

BusinessWeek profiles Apple exec, iOS father Forstall

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has posted a lengthy profile of Apple’s senior vice president of iPhone Software Scott Forstall which is to be its cover story in this week’s print edition. Calling Forstall a “sorcerer’s apprentice,” the article points out a number of ways in which Forstall resembles his long-time mentor Steve Jobs. In particular, Forstall is known for keeping a fairly consistent wardrobe across media event appearances, sporting a Jobs-like jeans and black top—a zippered sweater, instead of a turtleneck—and for his taste for the Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, the same car Jobs was known to drive.

Apple in talks to add movies to iCloud

Apple is in talks with Hollywood studios to add movie streaming to its iCloud service. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the Los Angeles Times reports that Apple representatives have been meeting with studios to finalize deals that would allow customers to stream movies purchased on the iTunes Store to any Apple device. As noted in the report, the moves comes at a time when a majority of the major studios—all but Disney—are preparing to rollout a similar initiative called Ultraviolet, in which consumers purchasing select DVD or Blu-ray titles will also have access to digital copies that can be streamed to Internet-connected TVs, smartphones, and tablets; Apple is not one of the companies currently participating in the initiative. Regardless, the report suggests that the studios may be amenable to adding Apple on, as it accounts for 66 percent of online movie sales and rentals, and thus building a cloud-based movie business without its support could prove difficult.

While the report suggests that Apple’s devices could be made Ultraviolet compatible via Apps, it appears that a more sensible approach—especially given iTunes’ current handling of digital copies included with physical releases—would be to allow iTunes to store the copy of the film and handle streaming in the same way it will for traditional iTunes purchases.

Apple releases Cards

Apple has released Cards, its new app designed to allow users to create and mail their own personalized, professionally crafted cards directly from an iPhone or iPod touch. Announced last week during Apple’s iPhone Event, Cards is a free app whereby users can choose to create their own personalized, physical greeting cards from a selection of 21 different designs. Users add personalized messages and photos from the camera or iOS photo library and then choose a recipient from their iOS Contacts and submit the order to Apple which then prints the greeting card and mails it out to the recipient. Printed cards use a professional letterpress technique and are crafted from 100 percent cotton paper with an elegant debased design.

Available card designs are grouped into six themes for different occasions: Thank You, Holiday, New Baby, Birthday, Love and Travel. Location integration can automatically fill in the users’ current location when choosing a card from the Travel category or insert the location that a photo was taken when adding a photo to a card. Cards mailed to U.S. addresses can be tracked via the U.S. Postal Service Intelligent Mail barcode system and push notifications are used to provide the user with delivery status and other tracking information. A history of cards is also saved automatically making it easy to send the same card to more than one recipient. Cards is available from the App Store as a free download; users are charged via in-app purchase to send individual cards at $3 per card for U.S. destinations or $5 per card for international destinations.

Apple releases iTunes Movie Trailers for iOS

Apple has released iTunes Movie Trailers, a new iOS app that allows users to access new and exclusive movie previews in HD on their device. Users can browse trailers, clips and featurettes for both major Hollywood films and independent cinema along with high-resolution photos, a year-long calendar of movie releases and location-based showtime info. The application also allows users to purchase movie tickets directly from their iPad or iPhone. Favorite movies and theatres can be saved for quick access and images can be saved to the iPad photo gallery to use as desktop wallpapers or share with friends. AirPlay is also supported allowing users to view trailers on their Apple TV, and favourites can be pushed to multiple iOS devices via iCloud.

iTunes Movie Trailers requires iOS 4.3 or later and an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2 or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch. iCloud sync requires iOS 5 or later and a valid iCloud account. iTunes Movie Trailers is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

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