Apple organized a team in 2008 to crack down on the spread of knockoff iPods and iPhones in China, according to a new report. Citing a September 2008 memo from the Beijing embassy that was published online by WikiLeaks, CNN reports that despite Apple’s move, progress has been slow, as gadget piracy isn’t a high priority for the Chinese government. The report states that members of Apple’s global security team were recruited from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer after it executed a series of crackdowns on counterfeit Viagra production in Asia, and that former Pfizer security chief—and former FBI agent—John Theriault leads the team. It goes on to say that China’s Guangdong province has become a hub for manufacturing and selling counterfeit Apple products, as Apple manufacturing parter Foxconn operates factories there. According to the report, the Chinese counterfeit ring is also responsible for supplying knockoff goods to India, where officials had discovered shipments that came from China through Hong Kong.
Apple has made a beta version of its new iTunes Match cloud music service available to developers. The service, announced in June, allows users to pay $25 a year for the ability to match songs on their personal library with songs in the iTunes Store library—and upload any songs that can’t be matched—for cloud access from any Mac or iOS device. The service limits the total number of songs at 25,000, and iTunes Store purchases do not count against that total. In the email announcing the beta release, Apple states that beta subscribers will receive an additional three months free with their paid 12 month subscription, and advises users to maintain a local backup of their iTunes library, as well as any music they upload to iCloud. “Apple will periodically reset your iCloud library during the beta and it is critical that you backup your music regularly,” the email states. “Some features and optimizations of iTunes Match will not be available during the beta.” In support of the service, Apple has released iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1, which is now available to registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Insanely Great Mac has posted a video walkthrough of the new service showing that it is capable of not only allowing for downloads to iOS devices—which is how the company’s current “iTunes in the Cloud” service works—but also streaming, integrating the customer’s iTunes Match library into the Music application, and letting the user choose between downloading or streaming each song. Apple is expected to officially launch iTunes Match later this fall. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: Apple has posted a notice on the iTunes Match signup page noting that “beta testing has begun with an initial set of developers. Over the next days, we will continue to expand our testing.”
Update x2: Apple has informed AllThingsD that the new iTunes Match service isn’t technically streaming songs, but is instead offering a simultaneous listen and download feature that, on the surface, appears quite similar to streaming.
Apple has pulled, at least temporarily, all of its 99-cent TV show rentals from the iTunes Store. The option to rent individual TV episodes from participating networks has disappeared from both the second-generation Apple TV and the iTunes Store on the Mac and PC, and, as noted by AppleInsider, Apple has also removed a support document entitled “iTunes Store: How to rent TV shows” from the web, as well as all mention of 99-cent TV show rentals from the Apple TV product page. Apple earlier this month enabled streaming of previously-purchased TV shows directly from the Apple TV, paving the way for such a move; it is also possible that lack of network support for the rental initiative led to its demise.
This week’s resignation announcement from Apple CEO Steve Jobs came as a shock to many, despite his widely-publicized medical leave. While many people have registered their opinions on Jobs as a man and as a CEO, we decided to take a fresh approach and ask some prominent members of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac ecosystems what their feelings were about the end of the Jobs era.
“Steve Jobs is a pioneer whose unsurpassed vision has established Apple as a world-class company, and has truly impacted the way we experience the world we live in. Due to his extraordinary success millions of jobs have been created, a true blessing for his legacy. The exceptional team that he has built will carry Apple’s success well into the future.” - Ezra S. Ashkenazi, President and CEO, iHome
“While Steve Jobs’ resignation announcement came as a surprise to the industry, we believe his decision was well calculated and in the best interest of the company and its shareholders. In his new position, I expect Steve to remain an integral and inspirational part of Apple and the products it creates. Steve Jobs over the years has redefined Apple and has set the company on a path that is poised for continued success and innovation. We wish Steve the best of health and look forward to many more years of his inspiration.” - Andrew Ackloo, President and CEO, iSkin
“Steve Jobs and Apple have done something that no company has ever been able to do; weave itself into the very fabric of society on a global scale. He has been an inspiration to me and my team. We look at Apple both as a standard in which to be measured from a business prospective as well as a cultural one. Apple has raised the bar in business both in product innovation as well as social responsibility. We at Incipio wish Mr. Jobs the best in his new role and welcome Mr.Cook into his new position as CEO. We are eager to continue our focus on Apple accessories.” - Andy Fathollahi, CEO of Incipio
“We are very pleased to hear that Steve Jobs will be continuing on as chairman of the Board and wish his successor the best at continuing to lead an incredible organization that has helped changed the way people live. We’re looking forward with excitement as Apple continues on their path of making technology so easy to use for everyone, the “one more thing” that Apple always has in store. We look forward to a bright future of working with Apple and will never stop thinking of how we can elegantly make the experience of using one of their products even better.” - Nils Gustafsson and Erich Huang, Co-Founders, Just Mobile
“Steve Jobs’ resignation announcement affects me on several different levels. Personally, there is no person on the planet, other than friends and family, that has affected my life more than Steve Jobs. Professionally, Steve and Apple are not only the ‘target’ of Twelve South’s product efforts, they ‘inspired’ the creation of the company in the first place. Many people can say this, but without Steve Jobs, my life would be radically different than it is right now. For that, I will always be eternally grateful.” - Andrew Green, Founder, Twelve South
We’ll continue to add to this article as additional reactions come in.
Apple is working on a new video delivery service, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has also been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service. While it fails to offer any more specific information, the report as a whole takes a look at the broader challenge facing new Apple CEO Tim Cook as he tries to negotiate deals with new media partners in the video and publishing fields, an area where his predecessor Steve Jobs was highly proficient.
Comex, founder of the browser-based jailbreak tool JailbreakMe and major figure in the jailbreak community, has announced that he will soon be starting an internship with Apple. “It’s been really, really fun, but it’s also been a while and I’ve been getting bored,” he wrote in a Twitter update. “So, the week after next I will be starting an internship with Apple.” It’s unclear what type of position the coder might hold with Apple, but given his background, it seems likely that his expertise may be used to discover and plug vulnerabilities in iOS and in mobile Safari in particular. [via 9to5Mac]
The upcoming biography of Steve Jobs entitled “Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson” will include details of Jobs’ resignation from Apple, according to a new report. Tracey Guest, a spokesperson for the book’s publisher Simon & Schuster, told PCMag that the book will include details of yesterday’s announcement from Jobs’ point of view. The book will be the first such biography to receive Jobs’ approval and cooperation, and author Issacson “speaks to Jobs regularly and is still working on the final chapter of the book,” according to Guest. “Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson” is scheduled for release on November 21.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs plans to play an active role in Apple’s future from his position as Chairman of the Board, according to a new report. Citing a person close to the former CEO, Bloomberg reports that Jobs was at Apple’s headquarters for a full work day yesterday, and attended a regularly scheduled board meeting, at which he told the board of his intention to be an active chairman. According to the same report, Jobs then held an emotional meeting with his executive team; his resignation is said not to be indicative of a sudden downturn in his health. In a separate report, Bloomberg cites a person with knowledge of the matter in claiming that Jobs will remain on the board of directors at Walt Disney Co., a position he has held since the company’s acquisition of Pixar Animation Studio in 2006.
Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook has sent out an email to the company’s employees, reassuring them of the company’s future as it moves on without co-founder Steve Jobs as chief executive. Ars Technica has published the full email, which it received from a trusted source, and which is reprinted below.
I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity of serving as CEO of the most innovative company in the world. Joining Apple was the best decision I’ve ever made and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve’s optimism for Apple’s bright future.
Steve has been an incredible leader and mentor to me, as well as to the entire executive team and our amazing employees. We are really looking forward to Steve’s ongoing guidance and inspiration as our Chairman.
I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.
I love Apple and I am looking forward to diving into my new role. All of the incredible support from the Board, the executive team and many of you has been inspiring. I am confident our best years lie ahead of us and that together we will continue to make Apple the magical place that it is.
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, has resigned his post as the company’s CEO according to an Apple press release posted on the company’s website this evening. Jobs will be replaced as CEO by current Apple COO Tim Cook, who has been running the company during Jobs’ extended medical leave, which began in January. Jobs will remain involved with the company as the Chairman of the Board; Cook will also join the board as a Director.
“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple’s Board. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”
“The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” added Levinson. “Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”
Below is a letter penned by Jobs to Apple’s board and the community.
“To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
Apple has already started production on its first iPhone 5 television ad spots, according to a new report. Citing a person familiar with the matter, AppleInsider reports that filming for the ads is taking place in Los Angeles in conjunction with the company’s long-time ad agency TBWAChiatDay. While some reports have suggested that Apple would announce its next-generation handset in late September, a second person cited in the report said the production schedules for the first-run campaign isn’t slated for completion until the first week in October, making it unlikely that Apple could preview the ad at its announcement event, something it has done numerous times in the past with different products.
A judge in Netherlands’ The Hague has ruled that the Samsung Galaxy S, S II, and Ace infringe on an Apple patent, and has banned their sales in any EU country where the patent in question is valid. iPhoneclub.nl (Translated Link) reports that the ban will take effect in mid-October, and is related to European patent number EP 2058868, which describes scrolling through a picture gallery using finger gestures on a touch screen. Notably, the ban does not include Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablet computers.
Samsung has filed its opposition to Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the United States, and in doing so has cited a sci-fi classic as evidence that the iPad’s design existed well before Apple’s patent covering it. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents reports that in its briefing, Samsung cited a pair of devices shown during Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as valid prior art for a certain iPad-related design patent. “In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers,” the briefing reads. “As with the design claimed by the D’889 Patent, the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.” While the actors are seen interacting with the tablets as they would static video screens, the scene does not show the devices running an OS, applications of any sort, or otherwise performing other tasks one would associate with an iPad. The clip is available for viewing below. [via MDN]
Apple has released iTunes 10.4.1, the latest update to its digital media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, the new version fixes a problem where the media keys on some third-party keyboards would work inconsistently, addresses issues with adding artwork to songs and videos, resolves an issue which may cause iTunes to become unresponsive when purchasing an HD movie, fixes a problem where iTunes may take longer than expected to open after waking your Mac from sleep, and addresses issues with VoiceOver support. iTunes 10.4.1 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a free download from apple.com/itunes.
Apple has dropped its pricing on refurbished first-generation iPad units, offering them for as low as $299. As of the time of this writing, 16GB Wi-Fi only refurbished units are priced at $299—although currently out of stock—while 32GB units sell for $399 and 64GB models are priced at $499, with the latter pair listed as in stock and shipping within 24 hours. Wi-Fi + 3G models are also available and sell for a $100 premium over their Wi-Fi only counterparts.
Apple has released the sixth beta version of its upcoming iOS 5 operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Listed as build 9A5302b and available exclusively to paid iOS developers, the release does not appear to include any major changes from prior versions, and is once again accompanied by matching beta versions of the iOS 5 SDK, iTunes 10.5, and Apple TV Software. iOS 5 beta 6 is now available to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has quietly removed the “Back Up to Disc” feature in iTunes 10.4, as indicated in a recently updated Apple Support article. First introduced in iTunes 7, the Back Up to Disc feature allowed users to backup all or a portion of their iTunes library to optical media such as CD or DVD, preserving library metadata such as playlists, play counts, and ratings in the process. This feature is no longer available in iTunes 10.4, with Apple now suggesting that users instead backup their iTunes Library manually to an external hard drive or that Mac OS X users can rely on Time Machine to provide this capability. It appears that iTunes 10.4 will continue to read backup media created with this feature in prior versions of iTunes, but is unclear whether this support will continue in future versions.
Apple has been sued in China by customers who claim to have been given refurbished iPhone 4 units after paying for brand new devices. Citing a report from Chinese-language Sina Tech, M.I.C. Gadget reports that at least six customers who purchased iPhone 4 units from Beijing Apple stores reported that their registered warranties were less than the full year promised by Apple, and that their supposedly new units had scratches, leading them to believe that Apple had sold them refurbished units.
Two customers filed lawsuits, both claiming that they purchased 16GB black iPhone 4 units from the Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing on July 9, 2011, complete with a receipt. One of the customers claims to have discovered that her iPhone 4 carried a warranty expiration date of January 28, 2011, just over six months from the date of purchase. Upon making this discovery, the women supposedly called counterfeit goods activist Wang Hai, who subsequently filed the lawsuit on their behalf.
Apple’s VP of Mobile Advertising Andy Miller will soon leave the company to join a venture capital firm, according to a new report. Citing sources close to the situation, AllThingsD reports that Miller will become a general partner at Highland Capital, a Boston-based venture firm. Notably, it was Highland that back Quattro Wireless, the mobile advertising company co-founded by Miller in 2006 and acquired by Apple in early 2010. The report states that Apple will search for a replacement for Miller, and that the staff was told of his departure today.
Apple’s online stores have been hit with an extended outage today, leading to speculation as to what might be behind the downtime. According to various reports and iLounge observations, the U.S. online store went down sometime prior to 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time this morning, and is still down at the time of this posting. Additionally, Apple’s normal placeholder image—“We’ll be back soon”—is rarely being seen, as the site is not loading at all for most users. As most online Apple Store outages feel carefully structured, coinciding with anticipated product launches, the disappearance of the Store this morning suggests that Apple may be facing data center or network problems, or that a significant backend overhaul is taking place. We’ll update this story when the store reappears to report on any changes.
Update: The store is back up in some areas and appears to be loading faster than before, but no other changes are immediately noticeable.