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Cook rails against ending ‘green’ projects; profiled in book

Apple CEO Tim Cook was “visibly angry” during Friday’s shareholder meeting after a group asked Apple to stop using money on green energy projects that weren’t profitable. The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank and Apple investor, was rebuked by Cook, who said Apple did “a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive.” Addressing the NCPPR representative, Cook said, “If you want me to do things only for ROI (return on investment) reasons, you should get out of this stock.” The Apple CEO also said, “When we work on making our devices accessible to the blind, I don’t consider bloody ROI.”

A recent excerpt from the upcoming book “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs,” provides some insight into Cook’s hidden intensity. Though Cook is described as Jobs’ “polar opposite,” author Yukari Iwatani Kane writes, “To some, Cook was a machine; to others, he was riveting. He could strike terror in the hearts of his subordinates, but he could also motivate them to toil from dawn to midnight for just a word of praise.” Another paragraph notes that, “Meetings with Cook could be terrifying. He exuded a Zenlike calm and didn’t waste words.” Cook is also described as being “relentlessly frugal” and as having “inhuman” stamina, but also generous and charitable. [via The Independent, Wall Street Journal]

Apple on Asian hiring spree to speed up production

Apple is hiring “hundreds of new engineers and supply-chain managers in China and Taiwan” as the company pushes for “faster and more frequent product launches,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The company is hiring engineers from Taiwanese tech firms, including rival HTC. Apple reportedly needs more engineers to develop components for upcoming iPhones and iPads; the company has already added “several hundred new engineers and operations staff in China” during the past two years. According to one recruiting email obtained by the WSJ, “Apple is building an engineering team in Taipei to drive new iPhone product development.” It’s previously been reported that Apple will launch two iPhones with larger screens later this year.

Apple CFO named to Goldman Sachs board

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed to financial firm Goldman Sachs’ board of directors. His appointment brings the Board to 13 directors, 10 of whom are independent. Commenting on the appointment, Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEP Lloyd C. Blankfein said, “Peter’s 25 years of broad experience across important industries will add a valuable perspective to our Board of Directors. We appreciate his willingness to serve as a director and look forward to benefitting from his judgment and counsel.”

Apple to charge out-of-warranty users for online chat support

  • February 28, 2014
  • Apple

Apple will soon charge out-of-warranty device users for online chat support, 9to5Mac reports. The charges will be collected using a new web payment system developed by Apple. It’s possible the system could launch by next week. It appears Apple will charge $20 for each incident of online tech support and troubleshooting. The report notes users will be able to request an exception for the charge, though further details about how that might happen are unknown.

Cook: Apple TV earned $1B revenue in 2013

Speaking at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple TV made more than $1 billion of revenue in 2013. Cook has often referred to the set-top box as a “hobby,” but said today, “It’s a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days.” The news comes amid a recently announced deal on current Apple TV models that has fueled speculation regarding an upcoming Apple TV hardware update. Cook also said during the meeting that 40 billion iMessages are sent daily, along with 15 to 20 million FaceTime calls. [via Reuters]

Apple details A7, Touch ID security in document

An updated Apple security document on the company’s “iPhone in Business” site provides more information on security details regarding the iPhone’s Touch ID feature and A7 chip. The document describes the A7 chip’s Secure Enclave coprocessor, which uses encrypted memory and a hardware random number generator to securely store user credentials and communicate with the Touch ID sensors. “Each Secure Enclave is provisioned during fabrication with its own UID (Unique ID) that is not accessible to other parts of the system and is not known to Apple,” the document notes. The Secure Enclave processes fingerprint data from the Touch ID, which is encrypted in the Touch ID sensor and authenticated with the Secure Enclave using a device-specific key. Apple has also updated the document to include more info about security in other areas, such as iCloud Keychain, AirDrop, iMessage, and FaceTime. [via TechCrunch]

Apple appeals e-book antitrust ruling

  • February 26, 2014
  • Apple

As expected, Apple has filed an appeal disputing a July ruling that the company conspired to raise e-book prices. Apple told a federal appeals court the ruling “is a radical departure” from modern antitrust law, and warned it would “chill competition and harm consumers,” the Associated Press reports. The company seeks to either overturn the ruling, or be granted a new trial with a different judge. Apple was recently given a brief reprieve from an antitrust monitor assigned to watch over the company; a court ruled soon after that appointed monitor Michael Bromwich could remain on duty.

Apple releases iBeacon specification

  • February 25, 2014
  • Apple

Apple has released an iBeacon specification through its MFi program, as noted by Beekn. If manufacturers meet certain established criteria, they will be able to brand their devices with the iBeacon name. In addition to bearing the name, official iBeacons will broadcast Bluetooth LE to Apple’s standards. Applying to the program is free. Though the specification will give Apple more control over the iBeacon name, it’s notable that there are no restrictions which would make an iBeacon incompatible with other phones, such as Android phones.

Apple sapphire partner expects orders in ‘latter part’ of 2014

  • February 25, 2014
  • Apple

Apple sapphire partner GT Advanced Technologies recently announced its 4Q 2013 fiscal results, noting the company “now expects equipment orders from investments to be received during the latter part of 2014.” GT expects “meaningful revenue recognition” will start in early 2015. “We expect to return to profitability during the second half of 2014,” Tom Gutierrez, president and CEO of GT said. These comments appear to allude to a fall 2014 launch of one or more new Apple products containing sapphire, making a summer or earlier launch of such products extremely unlikely at this point.

Apple urges veto of Arizona anti-gay bill

  • February 25, 2014
  • Apple

Apple has asked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a “religious freedom” bill that would allow businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians, the Associated Press reports. Company spokeswoman Kristin Hueget confirmed Apple “had reached out to Brewer and urged a veto,” according to the report. Apple announced plans in November to build a sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona. Just a few days before that announcement, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed piece in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, noting that Apple prohibits discrimination against LGBT employees. Brewer has five working days to veto or sign the bill.

Report: Apple sues Chinese gov’t agency, company over Siri

  • February 24, 2014
  • Apple

Apple is reportedly suing a Chinese government agency and a Chinese company over patent rights for Siri, according to the Xinhua news agency. The Cupertino company has targeted Shanghai’s Zhizhen Network Technology, which “developed software similar to Siri,” and the State Intellectual Property Office, which controls Chinese patent rights protection. Apple was previously denied a request by the agency to declare the Zhizhen patent invalid, the report claims. The case will be heard on Thursday; Apple declined comment. [via AFP]

Apple iPhone trade-in program coming to Canada soon?

Apple’s in-store iPhone Reuse and Recycling trade-in program will launch in Canada in “the coming weeks,” 9to5Mac reports. A source indicated Canadian Apple Store employees would begin training for the program soon. The iPhone Reuse and Recycling program already exists in the U.S. and U.K., and Apple also has a more limited version of the program in India.

Apple acquires TestFlight parent company Burstly

  • February 21, 2014
  • Apple

Apple has acquired Burstly, the parent company of mobile app testing platform TestFlight, according to TechCrunch. Burstly also makes SkyRocket, an in-app management platform for ads. Notably, TestFlight recently announced it would be terminating Android support. Apple, which confirmed the acquisition with Re/code, could be looking to improve its own beta testing platform with the purchase.

Apple releases iOS 7.0.6

Apple has released iOS 7.0.6 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The 35.4 MB security update provides a fix for SSL connection verification.

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iOS 7.0.6 is available now over-the-air.

Update: Apple has also released Apple TV Software Update 6.0.2. According to the company’s support page, this update addresses SSL issues as well. Apple TV Software Update 6.0.02 is available now for second- and third- generation Apple TVs via the Software Update feature of the Apple TV’s Settings menu.

Steve Jobs postage stamp arriving in 2015

  • February 21, 2014
  • Apple

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs will be the subject of a commemorative USPS postage stamp in 2015. A list of stamps obtained by The Washington Post reveals a Jobs stamp is coming next year. The stamp is already in design development, according to the obtained document.

Apple ID two-step verification comes to Canada, France, more

Apple has introduced two-step verification for Apple IDs in a number of countries today, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain. The countries that can currently use the optional two-step verification feature for Apple IDs are listed in an Apple support document. Two-step verification can be activated via the My Apple ID website. Apple first debuted the service last March. [via 9to5Mac]

Tesla CEO Musk verifies Apple meeting; acquisition ‘unlikely’

  • February 20, 2014
  • Apple

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed in a Bloomberg interview that his company did meet with Apple’s acquistions chief, but said a sale of Tesla was “unlikely.” A recent report noted Apple’s mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica met with Musk. “We had conversations with Apple, I can’t comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition,” Musk said. He said any acquisition of Tesla could distract the company from focusing on creating a compelling mass market electric car, which would make a sale unlikely. 

Musk noted any scenario that would make it easier to produce such an electric car could make a Tesla acquisition possible, but he doesn’t foresee such a development. When asked what he would tell Apple if the Cupertino company wanted to make cars, Musk said, “I’d probably tell them that I think it’s a great idea.” Tesla recently confirmed plans for its battery “Gigafactory” — there’s speculation that Apple could partner with Tesla in the new battery plant. [via GigaOM]

Apple bringing iTunes Festival to US

Apple has announced it is bringing the iTunes Festival to the U.S. for the first time. The event — which previously has only taken place in London — will be held at SXSW in Austin, Texas, from March 11-15, at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Pitbull, Keith Urban, and ZEDD have already been announced as acts. All five nights of the event will be able to watch as a free stream on the iTunes Store, and the iTunes Festival app will offer HD streaming to iOS devices and Apple TV.

Reports: Apple has talked with Tesla, Basis Science

According to recent reports, Apple has spoken to a few companies, possibly regarding acquisitions. Apple’s mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica reportedly spoke to Tesla CEO Elon Musk “last Spring.” Both Tesla and Apple declined comment, though it has been speculated that the companies might collaborate in some way on a domestic rechargeable battery production facility. The same report noted that Apple is exploring “sensor technology that can help predict heart attacks.” Apple audio engineer Tomlinson Holman, the inventor of THX and 10.2 surround sound, is “exploring ways to predict heart attacks by studying the sound blood makes as it flows through arteries.” Such a technology would likely come into play in Apple’s iWatch, if at all — a recent report suggested that iWatch sensors won’t be as advanced as some expect.

Another report notes Basis Science, maker of the Basis Health Tracker Watch, has spoken to companies including Apple and Google about a potential sale. Considering that Apple is working on its own fitness tracking watch, if the company had any prospective interest in Basis, it would likely involve incorporating the watch’s tracking technology into its own upcoming device. A Basis representative said the company doesn’t comment on “rumor or speculation.” [via San Francisco Chronicle, TechCrunch]

Patents: Apple, Samsung can’t agree; Schiller to be witness

  • February 14, 2014
  • Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Samsung mobile chief JK Shin last week about settling the companies’ legal battle over intellectual property, but ZDNet Korea reports the executives failed to reach an agreement. There was a February 19 deadline for mediation talks; it’s unlikely any further negotiations will occur before that date. The two companies are expected to return to court next month, and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller will be called to testify again, according to a report. Samsung may also call on former Apple SVP of iOS Software Scott Forstall to testify. [via The Verge, PC World]

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