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Apple has officially named long time director of public relations Steve Dowling as its new Vice President of Communications, as noted on the company’s executive bios webpage. Dowling succeeds former Apple Communications head Katie Cotton, who left Apple in 2014 following Apple CEO Tim Cook choosing to take Apple in a new direction PR-wise. Dowling has led Apple’s Communications division for several months following Cotton’s departure, and he was internally named interim head of PR last October. Following the departure of Cotton, Apple’s PR strategy has been more open, with the company commenting more frequently on various news matters and seeding product review units to more news organizations. Dowling has been seen alongside Cook at various media appearances across the world. Last year, we published an extensive profile of Apple’s PR, Communications, and Marketing department, noting that Dowling would likely become Katie Cotton’s official successor in the near future.
Apple is preparing to launch its NFC-based mobile payments service in Canada this fall, a Friday report says, marking the first time Apple Pay would be officially offered outside of the United States.
Apple is reportedly in discussions with Royal Bank of Canada,Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada, according to the Wall Street Journal. That group makes up the top six largest banks in Canada.
The iPhone maker is said to be targeting a November launch, but negotiations have not gone smoothly. Canadian banks have balked at Apple's "onerous" fee-sharing proposals, and are worried about customer authentication problems that have plagued their U.S. counterparts.
Apple could be asking for fees as high as 25 basis points per transaction, compared to the 15 basis points it takes from partners in the U.S.
To address security issues, the Canadian banks have banded together and asked consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to identify new account security options that could include "secondary authentication" mechanisms. Many U.S. banks have adopted similar provisions — such as requiring users to log into a mobile app or enter a PIN code when adding a card to Apple Pay — while others require customers to call the bank's contact center personally.
Apple is also believed to be pursuing a deal to launch Apple Pay in China, but is reportedly running into similar issues.
In a separate report, the Journal indicated that banks may also be worried about so-called "disintermediation." They feel that Apple may usurp their relationships with their customers, making retention more difficult.
The pope’s iPad was a 32GB iPad 4 WiFi + Cellular. Who knew?
We all know that the pope has an iPad, but even popes upgrade. While we normal, unblessed humans tend to simply pass our old iPads down to a family member or sell them on Craigslist when we upgrade, the pontiff’s old iPad went straight to auction, where it sold for a staggering $30,500.
The auction was conducted earlier this week, and the money raised went to a school in Uruguay for disadvantaged children. The buyer is anonymous, although he is known to be from Argentina. According to the auctioneer, “I believe he is very Catholic,” which is a good guess.
As for the pope iPad itself, it wasn’t so special, except for being touched on a daily basis by the emissary of god himself. Before he upgraded (to an iPad Air no doubt), he used an iPad 4 with Retina Display, model number MD526TY/A, which translates to a 32GB WiFi + Cellular model in white. Apparently, the pope thought maxing out his iPad was not proper behavior for a holy man.
The iPad came with a certificate of authenticity and was engraved with the words “His Holiness Francis” on the back. It also came with a Logitech keyboard. Apparently the pope just didn’t care for predictive typing.
Well-informed KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has in the past proved accurate in predicting Apple's moves, estimates Apple Watch preorders will exceed 2.3 million units, though production bottlenecks relating to the device's haptic vibrator and advanced OLED screen are restricting rollout.
In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo said mass production of Apple Watch started in March and should reach output of 2.3 million units by the end of May, taking current delivery times into consideration.
By model, Kuo estimates 85 percent of orders will go to Apple Watch Sport, 15 percent to stainless steel Apple Watch versions and 1 percent to pricey solid gold Apple Watch Edition iterations.
Considering Apple's current supply chain capacity and future expansion plans, the analyst is targeting production at 2 to 3 million units per month, with output potentially topping out at 2.5 million units in June.
Existing limitations could hinder accelerated manufacture, however. Currently, Apple is seeing restricted supply of vibration motors from Hong Kong-based manufacturer AAC and flexible AMOLED screens from LG Display, which is said to be Watch's sole display supplier. Powering Apple Watch's Taptic Engine, AAC's motors must meet stringent operating requirements that require a smaller form factor than iPhone vibrators, while being more accurate. Technical hurdles for LG include AMOLED panel color accuracy and life span.
With iPhone shipments currently pegged between 50 to 60 million units per quarter, Kuo believes less than ten percent of Apple handset owners preordered Apple watch. However, preorder estimates indicate Apple Watch is seeing better shipments momentum than competing devices.
Given supply chain bottlenecks and time to ramp up consumer demand, Kuo estimates Apple to ship between 15 and 20 million Apple Watches in 2015, well below Street consensus of 20 to 30 million units.
Apple and The Conservation Fund are partnering to purchase more than 36,000 acres of vulnerable forestland in Maine and North Carolina, and will use the land to sustainably harvest materials that can be used for paper and packaging.
In a press release from The Conservation Fund published Thursday, the organization and Apple revealed that more than 32,400 acres on the Mattawamkeag River in Maine, as well as over 3,600 acres of pine and hardwood forest in Brunswick County, North Carolina, will be preserved. In all, the total land area is larger than the city of San Francisco.
The commitment made by Apple will provide the company with a steady supply of sustainably harvested timber for paper and pulp mills. The "working" forestland will enable Apple to make its product packaging even more environmentally friendly.
Lisa Jackson, Apple's head of environmental initiatives, penned a piece on Medium with Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund, in which the two explained the intent behind their agreement.
"Apple believes that paper, like energy, can be a renewable resource," they wrote. "So Apple is striving to supply 100 percent of the virgin fibers used in its paper and packaging from sustainably managed forests or controlled wood sources."
Reed Forest in Maine features wetlands, rivers, and upland forest that provide refuge for Atlantic salmon, bald eagles, northern goshawks and Canada lynx.
The Reed Forest project builds on a broader landscape of more than a million acres of conserved lands and interconnected forest habitat that stretches beyond the border into New Brunswick, Canada. Reed Forest will remain a working forest, ensuring continued fiber production and protecting jobs and recreational opportunities.
As for Brunswick Forest in North Carolina, the land is adjacent to the 17,00-acre Green Swamp Preserve, which builds connectivity and halts fragmentation for the National Natural Landmark. With high-quality pine savannas and striking and unusual plants and flowers, it has long been a conservation priority.
Apple's initiative protects forestlands through The Conservation Fund's Working Forest Fund (WFF). Pioneered by the Fund in the late 1990s, the program is an entirely new model for acquiring and permanently protecting ecologically significant portions of America's last, large, intact privately-held forests.
"Apple is clearly leading by example—one that we hope others will follow," Selzer said. "By all accounts, the loss of America's working forests is one of our nation's greatest environmental challenges. The initiative announced today is precedent-setting."
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