It was announced on Wednesday that Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver George Washington University's commencement address at the school's graduation ceremony in May, where he will also receive an honorary doctorate of public service.
In its announcement, the Washington, D.C.-based university said students selected Cook for the role during a nominations process and noted Apple's products are ubiquitous on the school's campuses.
"I am delighted that Tim Cook has accepted our invitation to give this year's Commencement address on the National Mall," said Steven Knapp, President of George Washington University. "I know our graduating students will be inspired and enlightened by his reflections on the lessons he has garnered from his distinguished career as a highly effective leader at the forefront of technological innovation."
To mark the occasion, GW prepared a short promotional video done up in the style of Apple's hallmark iPhone ads. The spot shows a staged iMessage conversation between Cook, referred to as "Commencement Speaker," and a school representative, who goes over details regarding the upcoming event. The ad aired during the halftime of a GW men's basketball game tonight and can be seen here.
GW cited Cook's contributions to human rights efforts, including the improvement of workplace conditions in China, and an ongoing quest to keep Apple environmentally friendly through its use of renewable energy sources.
Cook is no stranger to public speaking and most recently delivered a memorable address on civil rights issues at his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor in October. As part of that speech, Cook came down on his home state's slow progress on equal rights for the LGBT community, which he likened to the country's struggle with racial and gender equality.
Alongside Cook, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, and alumna Carole M. Watson, former acting chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), are to receive honorary degrees at GW's commencement. Cook's address to students is scheduled to take place on May 17.
Xidan Joy City Apple Store in Beijing, China
China has blacklisted Apple and a number of other big name U.S. technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, leaving local companies to fill the resulting void, according to a report published on Wednesday.
Reuters reports that China's Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) struck products and services made by foreign companies from its approved state purchase lists, while at the same time approving thousands of products made domestically. The change is thought to be motivated by concerns over Western cybersurveillance operations.
Over a two-year span from 2012 to 2014, the CGPC added more than 2,000 new products to its list, which dictates spending by central state ministries, bringing the total to nearly 5,000. That increase was largely thanks to local vendors, however, as foreign brand presence dipped by one third over the same period.
Apple, Cisco, Intel, McAfee and Citrix Systems were all culled from the lists, the report said. Cisco Systems appears to be the biggest loser in China's recent policy shift, as the network hardware firm saw its share of approved products drop from 60 in 2012 down to none by late 2014.
Citing an unnamed official within CGPC, the publication said any number of reasons can be attributed to the list change, including assurances from domestic firms that their products are more secure than foreign solutions.
The new Chinese regulations come on the heels of revelations regarding U.S. cybersurveillance activities run by the National Security Agency, brought to light by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Following allegations of Apple involvement in a secret NSA spying program last year, China Central Television aired a report that called iOS location tracking "a national security concern." To help alleviate concerns, Apple moved Chinese users' iCloud data to servers within China.
Apple in January reportedly agreed to subject its consumer products to security audits by the China's State Internet Information Office. The move was supposedly intended to persuade Chinese regulators that rumors of software backdoors and third-party data sharing were false.
Apple has scheduled its first major event of the year for March 9th, where we’ll definitely get some news on the Apple Watch but may also get some other intriguing new products, including the new 12-inch Retina MacBook Air. The title of the event is simply called “Spring Forward” and Apple predictably gives us no details about what it’s going to discuss.
Since the Apple Watch is going to start shipping in April, we’re sure that Apple will give us some more details on the product at its upcoming event. Recent reports have claimed that Tim Cook told Apple employees at a store in Berlin that the Apple Watch is now water resistant enough to shower with, so that could definitely be a new feature the company will tout.
The upcoming 12-inch Retina MacBook Air is definitely another candidate to be shown off at the event. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman earlier this year leaked out major details about Apple’s newest laptop, which means it’s a pretty good bet that it’s very close to being ready for market.
One final possibility that we consider to be more remote is that Apple will show off its long-rumored giant iPad, which has alternately been referred to as the “iPad Pro” or the “iPad Air Plus.” Since there have been comparatively few leaks about this new tablet lately, we figure that it’s the least likely to get a mention at the event.
We won’t know for absolute certain until Apple tells us everything it has in store in just two weeks, of course.
Audio software developer Camel Audio announced in January that it would be shutting down for good and removing its software from sale, but no one knew quite why. However, it now appears that the company has been acquired by Apple.
Today Camel Audio updated some of its corporate information, including its address and directors, as listed on the UK government’s Companies House website. The new address is 100 New Bridge Street in London, which also happens to be the address of Apple’s UK offices.
As highlighted by MacRumors, Camel also updated its board of directors (seen in some of the filings below), removing all directors and replacing with just one person: Heather Joy Morrison, a member of Apple’s legal team.
Camel Audio was responsible for popular audio software such as the award-winning Alchemy synthesizer for desktop and mobile platforms, as well as sound libraries and effects plug-ins. The company’s team will likely be put to work on Apple’s music apps, GarageBand for iOS and OS X, and Logic Pro X. Camel will also continue supporting its own products until the first week of July.
Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on.
Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.
Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too–at least for Visa cards …
While Apple has not yet announced a date for introducing Apple Pay to Europe, bank sources have suggested that the UK launch will be in the first half of this year. A job listing revealed last year that Apple had a London-based team working on rolling out the service across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa.
Visa Europe has not confirmed that Apple will be using the service, but has strongly hinted that this is the case in a statement to Reuters.
“Apple and Visa (Inc) have an agreement around what has happened,” spokesman Steve Perry said. “I am as excited as anyone, but we have to wait,” he said.
Visa had earlier announced plans to roll out tokenization for other mobile and online payment services, including Visa Checkout.
Within the U.S., Apple Pay is now supported by more than 80 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. If yours isn’t listed, you can check out our rolling list of banks which have promised to introduce support for Apple Pay, together with the stores and apps where the service can be used.
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