Apple today announced that it will launch the iPhone 4S in Hong Kong, South Korea, and 13 other countries on Friday, November 11, with pre-orders beginning this Friday, November 4. The complete list of countries also includes Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, and Romania; pre-orders will not be available in Albania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malta, Montenegro, and Panama. According to the announcement, the iPhone 4S is currently available in 29 countries and will be available in more than 70 by the end of the year.
Apple plans to allow customers to check themselves out via the company’s retail store iOS app, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source, Mac Rumors reports that the option will be available for purchases of accessories and other shelf-stocked items at the company’s stores, and that the purchases will be charged to the customer’s iTunes Store account. Although details of the post-purchase experience are vague, it is expected that customers would be able to show an emailed receipt to any employee as a proof-of-purchase upon leaving the store. The report notes that high-value items such as Macs, iPhones, iPads, and iPods are kept in the stockroom and will still require employee assistance for purchase, but that smaller items such as cases and cables will be available for purchase without the need for employee interaction. The report also claims that Apple is expected to update its online store to allow for single orders to be routed to multiple shipping addresses, allowing customers to make all holiday purchases in a single transaction, and have then shipped to different recipients.
Apple has acquired 3D mapping company C3 Technologies as part of its ongoing effort to build an in-house mapping solution, according to a new report. Citing unnamed sources, 9to5Mac reports that Apple has purchased the company, and that C3 Technologies CEO Mattias Astrom, CFO Kjell Cederstrand, and Product Manager Ludvig Emgard are all now working within Apple’s iOS division. It is said that this leading trio, as well as most of the former C3 team, is still working together in Sweden—where the company was based prior to Apple’s purchase—under the division name “Sputnik”. Spun off from aerospace and defense company Saab AB in 2007, C3 specialized in creating high-quality, incredibly detailed photo-realistic 3D models of the real world, seamlessly integrating “traditional 2D maps, satellite images, street level photography and user generated images.” Prior mapping-related Apple acquisitions include mapping service Placebase and online 3D mapping firm Poly9; the report suggests that Apple may introduce a new mapping solution based in part on technology from all three companies in iOS 6.
Over the weekend, Apple started to air three new television ads for the iPhone 4S. Entitled “Siri, Snow Today”, “iCloud”, and “Camera”, the ads focus on the iPhone 4S’ Siri virtual assistant feature, iCloud integration for iTunes purchases, documents, iBooks, and Photo Stream, and the advanced optics and on-board editing and sharing features of the iPhone 4S’ eight-megapixel camera, respectively. All three ads are available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
Apple has released its Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) as an open-source project. Debuted in 2004, ALAC is “a data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file.” The project, released yesterday, contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder, an example command line utility, and a description of a “magic cookie” for use based on the ISO case media file format. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec sources are available under the Apache license.
Apple has released an update to its iAd Gallery application adding support for Push Notifications. Described as a “celebration of advertising,” iAd Gallery is a free app that allows iOS device users to access and preview an on-demand collection of iAd campaigns running on Apple’s in-app advertising network. Users can browse through the complete list of campaigns, search by advertiser, category or iAd feature, learn more about the features ads and agencies behind them and create a list of their favourite iAds. Version 1.1 introduces support for Push Notifications for advising users when new iAd campaigns are available. iAd Gallery is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Apple has launched new iTunes Store movie content in a number of new markets. Citing reader reports as well as iTunes Store checks, Mac Rumors reports that movies are now available in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Slovenia, with Romania strangely left out. According to the report, Apple has yet to add dedicated navigation bar tabs for movies in the new markets, but the content is showing up in search results.
Apple has sent out an email notice to registered iOS developers, informing them that the company will be deleting all iTunes Match libraries later today. “To continue to improve the overall quality and reliability of iTunes Match, we will be deleting all current iCloud libraries on Thursday, October 27,” the message reads. It also reminds users to turn off iTunes Match on all their computers and iOS devices ahead of the scheduled deletion. 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. Apple said at its “Let’s talk iPhone” event that the service would be available at the “end of October.”
Permits issued to Apple by Catawba County, North Carolina, have revealed that the company plans to build a solar farm across from its data center in Maiden, NC. The Charlotte Observer reports that the company has been approved to reshape the slope of some of the 171 arces it owns opposite its massive data center. Notably, the permits offer no details about the farm itself, including its exact size and position, and the county has yet to be asked to approve a building permit for the property. Citing the Hickory Daily Record, Mac Rumors adds that local residents have been upset by the smoke from fires set to help clear the land. Apple’s website touts the company’s commitment to using sustainable energy when possible, as its facilities in Austin, Texas, Sacramento, California, and Cork, Ireland, are 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
Apple has been awarded a patent for its iOS devices’ “slide to unlock” feature. BBC News reports that U.S. patent number 7657549 states, “A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device.” As noted in the report, the broad language of the patent would appear to cover not only Apple’s unlocking method, but those used by rival platforms, including Android and Windows Mobile. The patent was originally filed in June 2009, and lists Apple senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall as one of the seven inventors.
Jeff Robbin, vice president of consumer applications at Apple and veteran of both the iTunes and iPod teams, is heading the company’s HDTV efforts, according to a new report. Citing three people with knowledge of the project, Bloomberg reports that although it it’s not guaranteed that Apple will release a television, if released, it would likely allow users to seamlessly search for a show or movie, integrating various sources such as Netflix, iTunes, and potentially even cable or satellite, removing the need to check separately for content across multiple sources. Late Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to create an “integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” and that it “would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.” ‘“It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Jobs said. “I finally cracked it.” Robbin was a developer of SoundJam, the program which Apple purchased and subsequently hired him to turn in to iTunes. Apart from his work on the iTunes team, Robbin was also heavily involved in the development of the iPod.
Apple has released Apple TV software 4.4.2, its latest update to the set-top box. Arriving on the heels of last week’s 4.4.1 update, which reportedly “bricked” some units and was pulled for some time, Apple has yet to detail what upgrades or enhancements 4.4.2 might bring with it, but does note in a Support document that Apple TV devices running software version 4.4 and 4.4.1 have an issue with updating software to later versions. According to the document, users may need to go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings before upgrading to 4.4.2, and notes that if you apply the update without resetting all settings first, the updater will do so for you. Once it has been reset, the unit can then be updated via the Update Software option in Settings. “We recognize that this is an inconvenience and apologize,” reads a statement at the end of the page. Apple TV software 4.4.2 is available now.
Apple is preparing to roll out a new pilot program that will allow customers to pickup orders placed through the company’s online store at their local retail store, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, Mac Rumors reports that the program, known as Sherwood, will include any product available through the online store, including custom-configured Macs, engraved and gift-wrapped products, and a full range third-party accessories. The report claims that customers placing online orders will be offered the local pickup, and that standard configurations will generally be available for pickup the same day, while other items may take a few days to be delivered.
It is said that proof-of-purchase and an ID will be required for pickup, and that customers may designate one additional person as eligible to pickup the order, should they want to do so. Beyond order pickups, the report suggests that with the rollout, Apple’s retail stores will also begin accepting returns of eligible online orders. The program will reportedly be initially available through select retail stores only, with plans to expand it across the entire chain in the future.
Update: Apple has since launched the program in San Francisco on a pilot basis.
Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ official biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, is now available on the iBookstore and through other retailers. Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over the last two years of his life, as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, competitors, and contemporaries, the book spans Jobs’ entire life from his younger days growing up in Mountain View, CA, to his decision to step down as the CEO of Apple earlier this year. As expected, the book also holds several surprises, as Jobs spoke openly of his thoughts regarding competing products — Android in particular — and of the inner works at Apple; we’ve collected a few such anecdotes here. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is priced at $17.
Apple has updated its iPad Smart Cover lineup heading in to the holiday shopping season. According to the iPad Smart Cover product page on Apple’s online store, the company has nixed the orange polyurethane smart cover, replacing it with a dark gray model, and has also added a detail referring to “color-matched microfiber lining” on both models. Curiously, the company has yet to update its standard Smart Cover webpage, which still shows the orange version as part of the lineup. Apple’s iPad Smart Covers sell for $39 for polyurethane models and $69 for the leather versions. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has posted a video of its special event celebrating the life of Steve Jobs. The video, which runs over 80 minutes in length, was recorded at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, CA on October 19, and features speeches and remembrances from Apple CEO Tim Cook, former Apple employee and Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell, former U.S. Vice President and Apple board member Al Gore, and Apple senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive, and musical performances by Norah Jones and Coldplay.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.