A Google Maps app for iOS is reportedly in development and could be released by year’s end, but sources at Google are “not optimistic” the app will be approved by Apple, according to a report from The Guardian. Sources say plans are only proceeding in “the unlikely event” of the app’s approval. A number of reasons are given as to why sources speculate Apple won’t approve Google Maps, from industry politics to the current App Store setup, which lacks any mapping app using Google Maps APIs in the “Find maps for your iPhone” section of the store. It’s also noted, however, that Google and Apple are still in constant communication, so an agreement between the companies could be made quickly.
Japanese display manufacturer Sharp is looking for investments from other companies, with Japanese media reports linking the company to Apple and Intel, according to a report from IDG News Service. Known for some time to be struggling, Sharp announced that there is “material doubt” about its ability to keep operating. The company is looking to cut costs and secure enough credit to survive, while placing more emphasis on its IGZO technology for mobile displays going forward. Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn agreed to purchase an 11 percent stake in Sharp earlier this year. Also, Sharp is already an Apple component supplier, and there’s been speculation that Apple will use IGZO technology in future devices, lending more credence to a possible Apple investment. [via 9to5Mac]
Research firm IHS reports that the iPad mini costs at least $188 to build, after its teardown of a Wi-Fi-only 16GB mini. Adding additional memory increases the cost only slightly while adding a fair amount of profit — an additional $90 in profit for the 32GB model, and $162 for the 64GB model. It’s important to bear in mind that this teardown only includes cost of materials; manufacturing, labor, research and development, and any other expenses are unaccounted for in analyzing the actual profit of the tested device, which sells for $329. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer notably mentioned during the company’s fourth quarter conference call that iPad mini has higher costs, and said that the gross margin is significantly below Apple’s corporate average, suggesting that manufacturing expenses are higher than usual. [via AllThingsD]
Apple announced it has sold three million iPads in the three days surrounding the launch of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad. The company did not mention how many of those sales were specific to the mini, versus the fourth-generation iPad and iPad 2; the company ceased sales of the third-generation iPad leading up to the new models’ release. CEO Tim Cook said in the statement, “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis.” Apple notes that the sales of the Wi-Fi-only models double the milestone of the third-generation iPad’s release, which featured 1.5 million Wi-Fi only iPad sales in its first weekend.
Apple has released its Lightning to Micro USB Adapter (seen in our First Look here) in North America. Priced at $19, the adapter was originally available only in Europe due to a European Union directive requiring Micro USB compatibility for smartphone charging. The new Adapter allows users to connect a Lightning connector-equipped iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to a computer or power source using a standard Micro USB connection, however it is worth noting that the adapter sells for the same price as Apple’s Lightning to USB Cable, making it a practical option only for those with a specific need to use a Micro USB connection.
Apple has lost the exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark in Mexico, according to a report from El Universal. The Mexican company iFone, which registered its brand in 2003, has been confirmed as the legitimate owner of the trademark. Apple originally sought to prevent iFone from using its name.* It’s unclear as of yet what the fallout from the decision will be, though iFone corporate lawyer Eduardo Gallástegui said iFone is entitled to compensation for damage to the brand. [via 9to5Mac]
* Updated: The Verge reports that the Mexican court’s ruling does not as yet prohibit Apple from using the iPhone name for its own products, but rather permits iFone to use its name as it was previously registered for a somewhat separate class of products, regardless of Apple’s opposition.
Apple’s first court-ordered print advertisement from its appeal loss to Samsung has appeared, and it certainly doesn’t resemble a typical Apple ad. Gizmodo UK posted a copy of the extremely plain and arguably difficult to read ad, which appeared on page five of The Guardian today. The ad dryly states that Samsung’s Galaxy tablet computers do not infringe on Apple’s “Community registered design No. 0000181607-0001” — the iPad is not mentioned by name.
Updated Nov. 5: Apple published the same advertisement on its U.K. website. The link notes that the previously published notice “...was inaccurate and did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.”
Alongside the user release of iOS 6.0.1, Apple has released iOS 6.1 beta to developers. The release supports a number of iOS devices, though the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini are absent from the list.
Apart from a change to a developer-side searching capability for Maps, other changes in the beta version are not immediately known. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has released iOS 6.0.1. The update contains various improvements and bug fixes, including:
* a bug that prevents iPhone 5 from installing software updates wirelessly over the air;
* a bug where horizontal lines may be displayed across the keyboard;
* an issue that could cause the camera flash not to go off;
* improved reliability of iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch when connected to encrypted WPA2 Wi-Fi networks;
* an issue that prevents iPhone from using the cellular network in some instances;
* consolidation of the Use Cellular Data switch for iTunes Match;
* a Passcode Lock bug which sometimes allowed access to Passbook pass details from lock screen; and
* a bug affecting Exchange meetings.
iOS 6.0.1 can be updated directly from your iOS device using Settings > Software Update, or downloaded from iTunes.
Updated Nov. 2: The iPad mini also has iOS 6.0.1, available now.
A notice of legal judgment posted by Apple on its U.K. website must be removed within 24 hours and replaced, Bloomberg reports. The court-ordered public “apology” from Apple to Samsung makes reference to Apple’s “cool” and “far more popular” iPad in comparison to the Galaxy tablet. U.K. judges criticized Apple’s notice as “untrue” and “incorrect,” and Samsung suggested that Apple’s reference to other courts’ decisions in similar cases was undermining the U.K. court’s authority. “I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this,” Judge Robin Jacob said. “That is a plain breach of the order.”
Apple lawyer Michael Beloff argued the notice’s “only purpose is to dispel commercial uncertainty,” not to punish or make Apple “grovel.” The company was required to post the notice after losing an appeal ruling to Samsung over tablet design infringement. An updated notice must acknowledge Apple’s inaccurate comments.
A new profile offers some in-depth observations regarding Apple’s Eddy Cue, the “master negotiator and product resuscitator” who’s taking over Apple’s Maps and Siri services. According to the Cnet story, Cue five years ago prevented a collapse in the relationship between Apple and the large record companies, as “the sides almost ‘went nuclear’ ” during a confrontation over song pricing. Cue also helped to transform the struggling MobileMe division into iCloud, and was in charge of keeping iPods, iPhones, and iPads packed with content.
The 48-year-old Cue was Steve Jobs’ “top troubleshooter and door opener with entertainment companies.” Interviews with executives from various industries reveal a tough but fair negotiator who seems to be well respected by virtually everybody, as well as a passionate fan of Duke’s Blue Devils basketball team.
Apple filed its annual 10-K report with the SEC on Wednesday, and the numbers include a significant increase in research and development expenses, growing $952 million—now $3.38 billion from $2.43 billion last year, an increase of roughly 40%. The company now has 72,800 full-time employees, and 390 retail stores averaging $51.5 million in annual revenue. It expects to open 30 to 35 new stores in 2013, “with approximately three-quarters located outside of the U.S.”
The report also reveals that Peter Oppenheimer was appointed Principal Accounting Officer of Apple. Former Senior VP of iOS Scott Forstall’s new position is officially titled Special Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer, similar to a title Tony Fadell was given before he transitioned out of Apple to start Nest.
Shots of the device and its packaging are included — in addition to photos comparing the iPad mini’s packaging to the full-sized iPad and its packaging. The Lightning cable can be seen as well, though there are notably no pictures of the power adapter, which has remained somewhat ambiguous since the device’s announcement.
iPhone 5 is closer to launching in China, as two models have been approved for use on Chinese mobile networks by State Radio Management, Chinese blog Sina Tech reports. The A1429 model can support the networks of China Unicom and China Mobile, while the A1442 model supports China Telecom’s network. There’s long been speculation that Apple could finally reach a deal with China Mobile — China’s largest mobile carrier. Once the iPhone 5 secures a network-access license, it can be sold in China. No launch date has been announced as of yet. [via CNET]
Apple’s major announcement late Monday that Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett were leaving the company has already led to early reports and speculation on what prompted the departures. A report from Fortune suggests that Forstall’s fate was sealed by his refusal to sign Apple’s apology letter for the launch of Maps, an iOS 6 feature that was met with worldwide ridicule after its launch. Ultimately, the letter to customers was only signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
It’s also said that Forstall didn’t get along with Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive, as well as other Apple employees. The New York Times reports that Forstall and Ive wouldn’t sit in the same meeting room together, and that Forstall would insert himself into product development beyond his role at Apple. Ive is now listed as chief of human interface at Apple — initial speculation suggests that Apple will move away from skeuomorphic design, which Forstall supported.
As Forstall transitions out of the company, he will remain an advisor to Cook until “next year.” As the Times noted, the mood at Apple was apparently positive regarding Forstall’s departure. GigaOM reports that “Forstall’s firing was met with a sense of quiet jubilation, especially among people who worked in the engineering groups.” It’s also noted that Forstall’s exit was “fairly last minute and not something he initiated.” Browett’s exit from Apple was not nearly as unexpected, given well-publicized issues with his leadership of the retail division, and the company searches for a new head of retail to take his place.
In a stunning and unexpected press release at the end of the business day, Apple has announced that Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett are leaving Apple, apparently as the result of issues that have been widely publicized over the past year.
A long-time Apple employee whose work with former CEO Steve Jobs dated back to their time at NeXT, Forstall was previously referred to as Apple’s “CEO in waiting,” in reference to his close relationship with Jobs, somewhat similar temperament, and focus on minute details of human interface design. Loosely attributed reports in business publications claimed that Forstall was difficult to work with, and suggested that a number of key Apple employees had departed the company following disputes with him. Additional reports noted that a battle was brewing inside Apple regarding the company’s modern, clean-lined hardware, and skeuomorphic software interfaces that were thought by some to be visually distracting or busy. Complaints regarding the reliability of Siri and Maps, two marquee features introduced by Forstall for iOS 5 and iOS 6, respectively, have also been widespread.
Browett was hired by Apple to lead the retail division following the departure of Ron Johnson, who left to become CEO of J.C. Penney’s. A veteran of British retail, Browett’s brief term was marked by complaints from retail workers regarding poor morale and short-sighted cost-cutting efforts that compromised the Apple Store experience.
According to Apple, Jonathan Ive will take on leadership and direction for human interface design across the company, adding former Forstall software “look and feel” responsibilities to his role as Apple’s industrial design chief. Eddy Cue will become responsible for Siri and Maps, apparently taking over those online services from Scott Forstall. Craig Federighi will become responsible for iOS and OS X, and Bob Mansfield will lead a new Technologies group, leading all of Apple’s wireless and semiconductor teams. Apple is now searching for a “new head of Retail,” and in the interim, the Retail team will report to CEO Tim Cook. The full Apple press release is reposted after the break.
As the East Coast of the United States prepares for Hurricane Sandy, Apple stores are attempting to limit possible damage from the storm. Stores in five states and Washington DC have been closed, according to ifoAppleStore.com, and roughly 50 Apple stores are within or near Sandy’s landfall precaution zone. Notably, New York City’s below-ground Fifth Avenue storefront has been lined with sandbags, and inside, the display table products have been wrapped in plastic. Some other stores in the landfall zone are being similarly protected.
Our best wishes go out to all the people who have already been impacted by the hurricane, as well as those who are currently in its path.
A Facebook post questioning AT&T’s restrictions on FaceTime over Cellular has gone viral, racking up more than 690,000 “likes” and more than 51,000 comments as of this writing. In a Facebook post directed at AT&T, a customer named Wynter Farmer notes her disappointment with AT&T forcing customers to switch to a more expensive, limited data plan in order to use FaceTime over Cellular on the iPhone 5. “In order for FaceTime to be used without WiFi a Family Share Plan is required. That plan has limited data. It took me a second to wrap my head around that,” Farmer wrote, noting that she currently has an unlimited data plan.
The post ends with Farmer writing, “If AT&T doesn’t delete this post please like it to show them you also think it is an underhanded, unfair and despicable way to treat their loyal customers.” The post was written on Oct. 14 and is still racking up comments and likes by the minute, illustrating that user anger over AT&T’s restrictions has not subsided.
Apple has increased the prices of apps sold in Europe due to exchange rates, ComputerWorld notes. The minimum price for an app purchased in the Euro zone is now €0.89 —about $1.15 — up from €0.79. Apple takes about 39 percent of each sale, while developers get roughly 61 percent. “From time to time Apple adjusts prices of products in countries due to changes in exchange rates,” Apple spokesman Alan Hely said in an email.
Also, more app buyers can now make purchases in their local currencies instead of U.S. dollars. Local currencies supported in the App Store now include Russian rubles, Turkish lira, Indian rupees, Indonesian rupiah, Israeli shekels, Saudi Arabian riyals, South African rand, United Arab Emirates dirhams, and Danish kroner.
Apple’s white and silver iPad mini is currently listed as available to ship in two weeks, according to Apple’s website. MacRumors noted that the white and silver mini’s shipping date changed to two weeks within the first 17 minutes of its release. The black and slate iPad mini is still listed for delivery on Nov. 2 as of this writing, at least within the United States.
Some customers of iPad minis with Wi-Fi and Cellular have seen a delivery date of Nov. 23 via standard shipping, according to 9to5Mac, while others report a delivery date of Nov. 21 with expedited shipping. Apple’s web site only lists the LTE models as shipping in mid-November, and the company originally noted that it expected to ship them a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi versions; it’s possible that the Nov. 21 and 23 dates come from second shipments.
Updated Oct. 29: The black and slate Wi-Fi iPad mini is also listed as available to ship in two weeks on Apple’s website after its first shipment sold out over the weekend. Both the black and white Wi-Fi versions of the new fourth-generation iPad are currently listed as available to ship in one week. The Wi-Fi and Cellular versions of the two new tablets still show shipping availability as “mid-November.”