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Two top Apple execs leave company

Two Apple executives have left the company recently, as e-commerce executive RJ Pittman has been hired by eBay to be the website’s newly created chief product officer of its eBay Marketplaces business. As his LinkedIn profile notes, Pittman was in charge of the design, product management, operations and growth of Apple’s e-commerce platform. He was with the company since March 2010. AllThingsD notes Pittman’s departure is unrelated to Apple’s recent hiring of Angela Ahrendts as head of retail.

Suzanne Lindbergh, whose LinkedIn profile refers to her position as worldwide director of buzz marketing at Apple, has reportedly left the company for Jawbone. Lindbergh was in charge of product placement of Apple products in movies and TV shows, a topic the company discussed little over the years, but disclosed during a recent trial was critical to the company’s extended, high-profile visibility in Hollywood productions. Jawbone hasn’t verified Lindbergh’s hiring. [via Apple Insider]

USPTO confirms all claims of ‘Steve Jobs patent’

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently confirmed all 20 claims of Apple’s U.S. Patent 7,479,949, commonly known as the “Steve Jobs patent.” A multitouch patent for a “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics,” the USPTO tentatively ruled the patent invalid last December. However, that action was non-final, and the patent has now been strengthened due to the most recent finding. The confirmation of this key patent gives Apple a more secure position in the iPhone patent wars, and makes things trickier for the company’s rivals. [via FOSS Patents]

New iPhoto, GarageBand icons suggest iOS 7 redesigns

Redesigned icons for Apple’s GarageBand and iPhoto appeared briefly today in iCloud storage management, seemingly alluding to an impending redesign of the two apps. It’s possible the icons weren’t meant to be uploaded yet, as they have disappeared.

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As would be expected, the new icons are flatter and more basic, matching the look of iOS 7. While Apple may solely have changed the icons, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a revamped GarageBand and iPhoto debut at next week’s iPad event, as Apple historically debuted those apps alongside iPads before adding smaller-screened iPhone support. iMovie, another of Apple’s iLife apps, could also receive a similar makeover. [via 9to5Mac]

WSJ: Apple cuts iPhone 5c orders, boosts 5s

Apple is reducing orders of its iPhone 5c for the fourth quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal. The article echoes recent analyst reports, and questions the lack of demand and pricing strategy for the 5c. Assemblers Pegatron and Hon Hai/Foxconn were both told orders would be cut — sources say Pegatron was told a 20 percent cut would be forthcoming, while Hon Hai was told orders would be slashed by a third. Another supplier was reportedly notified of a 50 percent cut in part orders for the device. Meanwhile, executives at Hon Hai said Apple has increased iPhone 5s orders for the fourth quarter, lending further credence to a recent survey that found the iPhone 5s was outselling the 5c by more than two to one.

Steve Jobs believed he was WWII fighter pilot in past life

Steve Jobs believed himself to be a World War II fighter pilot in a past life, according to a new memoir by Chrisann Brennan, the mother of Jobs’ oldest child Lisa. The New York Post published an explosive excerpt from Brennan’s upcoming “The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs,” including a number of intimate details about Jobs’ personal life, including spiritual discussions and bedroom habits. Brennan dated Jobs during his earliest days at Apple, and describes herself as his first girlfriend. According to the excerpt, Jobs told Brennan that while driving, he “felt a strong impulse to pull the steering wheel back as if for takeoff.” Brennan also writes that Jobs’ behaviors didn’t “improve” with Apple’s success, rather, “they changed from adolescent and dopey to just plain vicious,” as she details how he would savage restaurant waitstaffs and humiliate people, sometimes without their knowledge. The memoir will be released Oct. 29.

Apple sends invites to Oct. 22 iPad event

Apple has officially sent out invites to media members for its previously-rumored October 22 event, under the tagline, “We still have a lot to cover.” It’s expected that Apple will introduce its redesigned fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini with Retina display at the event; additional rumors have suggested an Apple TV update and a number of Mac-related announcements will take place there, as well.

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The event will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. [via AllThingsD]

Apple intros Burberry CEO Ahrendts as head of retail

Apple announced that Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts will be the company’s new head of retail, joining Apple in the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores. As the title suggests, Ahrendts will both oversee Apple retail and online stores, taking her position in the spring. The hiring has ended a long vacancy at the position — former retail chief John Browett left in late October 2012 following a brief but tumultuous run, and the position has been open until now.

Apple offers iTunes credit to recent iWork, iLife customers

Apple has sent out emails offering iTunes credit to certain customers who bought iPhoto, iMovie, or the iWork apps — Keynote, Pages, and Numbers — on Sept. 1 or later, before the company’s recent iPhone announcement. Those customers must have also purchased a new iOS device after Sept. 1. During the September iPhone announcement, Apple said they’d be offering those apps for free. Customers who purchased any of those apps on or after Sept. 1 are now being offered credit, based on the apps they purchased. The credit can be used toward any iTunes purchase. [via MacRumors]

Apple’s Jony Ive and Bono settled U2 iPod deal

In a new interview, Vanity Fair talks to both Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design in Jony Ive and designer Marc Newson before their upcoming Sotheby’s (RED) auction, in which the designers have teamed with Bono to benefit The Global Fund. The two discuss design, and Ive’s work with Apple is discussed, but the biggest revelation comes from Ive’s previous work with Bono. Bono approached Steve Jobs to offer U2 for inclusion in an iPod commercial, and the eventual deal included the U2 special edition black-and-red iPod. The deal seemed like it might fall through at one point, but “Ive was dispatched in person to take the prototype black-red iPod to Bono at his home in Dublin.” Ive and Bono reportedly hammered out all remaining issues in the deal while drinking in a pub. “Jony makes some of his greatest decisions while having a drink,” Bono said.

Report: Apple to expand iPhone trade-ins to U.K.

Apple is preparing to launch its iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in the United Kingdom, according to a report that notes the program will debut “in the coming months.” The report suggests that Apple may also debut the program in other European countries after the UK launch. The recycling program launched in late August in the U.S., ahead of the iPhone 5c/5s launches. [via 9to5Mac]

Update: The trade-in program has launched in the UK, 9to5Mac reports.

iPhone 5c, 5s hit 25+ countries Oct. 25, more Nov. 1

Apple announced that the iPhone 5c and 5s will be coming to more than 25 countries on Friday, Oct. 25. On that day, the phones will be released in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, French West Indies, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Island, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.

The two phones will also be available in more than a dozen countries a week later, on Friday, Nov. 1. That day, the iPhone 5c and 5s will hit Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Colombia, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE.

Apple to hold iPad event Oct. 22

Apple will hold its new iPad event on Oct. 22, AllThingsD reports. The event will feature “the latest updates to the company’s iPad line” — the report mentions the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini — as well as Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks. AllThingsD states that the iPad mini will indeed receive a Retina display and A7 chip, while the full-sized iPad will be redesigned with an A7 chip and improved camera. The location of the event is unknown at this time. Apple declined on-the-record comment on the report.

Leica reveals Ive-designed Leica M camera

Leica has revealed the Leica M for (RED) camera, which was redesigned by Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive and designer Marc Newsom. As reported earlier, the camera was created for a Nov. 23 Sotheby’s auction to benefit The Global Fund. Leica claims the design team went through 561 models and made nearly 1,000 prototype parts while designing the camera over a span of 85 days.

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The camera features “a laser machined aluminum body and an anodized aluminum outer shell.” It packs a full-format CMOS sensor and a new Leica APO-Summicron –M 50mm f/2 ASPH lens.

iTunes Radio to launch in U.K., Canada in early 2014

Apple’s iTunes Radio is expected to launch in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in early 2014, Bloomberg reports. A source noted that Nordic countries were “being targeted in the same time frame.” Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue recently said plans are to bring iTunes Radio to more than 100 countries. It appears the streaming radio service will beat Pandora to launch in both the U.K. and Canada, as Apple has already negotiated agreements for international rights with record companies. Pandora doesn’t have similar agreements, instead relying on “rights granted by government entities.”

Apple to release Q4 2013 earnings on Oct. 28

Apple has announced on its investor website that it will release its fourth quarter 2013 fiscal results on Monday, Oct. 28. As usual, a conference call discussing the results can be found on the same website at 5 p.m. Oct. 28. The call will likely feature Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer discussing sales of the iPhone 5c and 5s, among other results. It’s possible that Apple may also comment on iPad releases, which may be announced before the conference call.

Apple criticized for pulling private browsing app in China

Apple has drawn criticism for pulling an app from China’s App Store that circumvents firewalls and allows access to restricted sites. OpenDoor, which is still available in other markets, is a free app that uses a randomized IP address to browse anonymously. It was removed from the Chinese App Store for containing “illegal content,” CNN reports. The app’s anonymous developer said Apple provided no notification of pulling the app — the developer learned the news from customers. After the app was pulled, a number of Chinese users of microblog site Weibo accused Apple as showing too much loyalty to the Chinese government.

SEC ends review of Apple’s tax policies

The Securities and Exchange Commission has closed its review of Apple’s finances, AllThingsD reports, as Apple has apparently been cleared of wrongdoing regarding its tax policies and its handling of overseas cash. The company has taken heat for its tax policies since a U.S. Senate subcommittee accused Apple of tax avoidance in May. But the SEC sent a letter to Apple in September stating its review had been completed. Apple’s disclosures were apparently sufficient enough to avoid SEC action.

Apple aims to open stores in small India markets

Apple plans to enter smaller India markets by opening a number of new stores, according to The Economic Times. The company is looking to enter the “top 50 tier II and tier III markets” by selling iPhones, iPads, and iPods in 100 exclusive standalone stores, and other stores-within-stores. Apple reportedly plans on setting up the stores within this fiscal year. The company has recently upped its presence in India, increasing the size of its executive team in the country. Earlier this year, Apple introduced incentives to make the iPhone more affordable in India.

NY Times mag publishes iPhone launch revelations

A number of revelations behind the original launch of the iPhone in 2007 have been published in The New York Times Magazine. Fred Vogelstein, author of the upcoming “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution,” profiles a number of Apple employees at the time, including Andy Grignon, senior manager in charge of all radios in the original iPhone. Grignon tells of the tense moments leading up to launch, as the iPhone suffered from numerous bugs prior to the unveiling. During rehearsals, Grignon “had rarely seen Jobs make it all the way through his 90-minute show without a glitch” — including dropped calls, lost Internet connections, freezes, and unprompted shutdowns. A “golden path” was pre-determined to keep the iPhone from crashing through the numerous known issues, but backups on stage were ready in case of a failure.

The report notes that “software in the iPhone’s Wi-Fi radio was so unstable that Grignon and his team had to extend the phones’ antennas by connecting them to wires running offstage so the wireless signal wouldn’t have to travel as far.” AT&T brought in a portable cell tower to boost phone reception, and Apple rigged the on-screen cellular strength indicator to show 5 bars at all times, even if the phone’s radio crashed and restarted. But the biggest problem involved memory, as the iPhone often required a restart when multitasking. Jobs usually had a backup plan, but not this time. “It was Apple TV or the iPhone,” Grignon said. “And if he had gone to Macworld with just Apple TV … the world would have said, ‘What the heck was that?’ “

Jobs initially resisted making a phone, and Apple designed and built three early versions of the iPhone in 2006, putting inordinate pressure on employees in the process. Employees were pulled from other areas at Apple and told that they would work on something amazing, but that it would be the hardest work they had ever done. Other insights in the piece include the challenges of shrinking OS X, developing capacitive multitouch, and some incredible details on the lengths of Jobs’ obsession with secrecy surrounding the launch—including a squashed plan to keep contractors sleeping at the venue the night before the unveiling to avoid leaks. The successful iPhone demo ended with Grignon and the iPhone team drunk from scotch snuck into the keynote event.

Company offers iOS 7-cracked Lightning cables

A Hong Kong company, E-Ser Electronic Co., claims to have completed Lightning cables compatible with both iOS 7 and allegedly new Lightning authentication chips found inside the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. The claims haven’t been verified, but are still notable, as non-certified Lightning accessories began to invoke warnings and charging malfunctions after iOS 7 was released.

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