Apple inks deal for first major office space in San Francisco

Jul 30, 2015 - 1:20 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple has reportedly signed a deal to lease 76,000 square feet of office space in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood, marking its first real push into the city's office market.

The deal is actually a sublease of two floors in a South of Market building occupied mostly by CBS Interactive, real estate sources told the San Francisco Business Times. The space is believed to be big enough for around 400 to 500 workers, but very expensive, since rents in the area are typically about $66 per square foot.

For Apple, though, the space may be a better way of accommodating and taking advantage of its San Francisco workforce. In 2013 the company said that about 14 percent of its employees lived in the city, but these people have either had to commute or ride Apple buses to outlying offices.

Earlier in July, the company leased 300,000 square feet in San Jose, where about a quarter of its workforce calls home. Apple headquarters is located in Cupertino – a small Bay Area city with a population close to 60,000.

Apple's plans for the San Francisco space are unknown, although several years ago Beats Music, bought by Apple in 2014, signed a lease for 26,000 square feet in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood. That lease is due to expire in 2017, and Apple could be aiming to expand office space dedicated to Apple Music, Beats Music's successor.

Alternately though Apple could simply want an office for San Francisco residents to work out of when needed, or to allocate the space for an unannounced project. The company is for instance believed to be working on an electric car, though those efforts may currently be centered in Sunnyvale.


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iTunes Connect down again – timing out for many

Jul 29, 2015 - 11:54 AM - by sparkyscott21

iTunes Connect is down for many. Attempting to connect here, it is giving a Gateway Timeout error. It’s only a little more than a week after many developers experienced a multi-day outage.

Apple’s system status page is not showing any issues at the time of writing, but commonly remains all-green for extended periods after outages are first experienced …

iTunes Connect is the system used by developers and publishers to upload and manage apps and iBooks. Similarly, Apple’s Knowledge Base support articles are offering a timeout error of their own currently. We’ll update when the situation changes.


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Supply chain evidence of 4-inch 'iPhone 6c' disappears, analyst says

Jul 28, 2015 - 11:10 AM - by sparkyscott21

Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri, one of the first to report on the possibility of a 4-inch "iPhone 6c," revealed in a recent note to investors that he can no longer find evidence that Apple is working on such a device for 2015.

In the note, picked up by Business Insider, Arcuri speculates Apple may have nixed the idea of a small-screened next-generation iPhone so as not to cannibalize sales of refreshed 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models widely expected to launch this fall.

"I think one of the reasons is because the iPhone 6 has sold so well," Arcuri said. "And they said, 'Look, why would we want to cannibalize? If we came out with an iPhone 6C, we would essentially cannibalize a price-reduced iPhone 6.'"

Arcuri first claimed Apple was mulling a return to the 4-inch smartphone form factor last December, saying it was "possible" that the device would be marketed as an alternative to refreshed "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" hardware. A number of longtime iPhone owners were dismayed when Apple decided to move away from the pocketable 4-inch screen size last year.

Follow-up reports, supposed parts leaks and industry scuttlebutt seemingly confirmed Apple was on track to introduce a third, smaller iPhone version this year, perhaps as a repackaged iPhone 5s wrapped in aluminum. Those rumors have since fizzled out.

It should be noted that Arcuri has a mixed track record when it comes to Apple predictions. In early 2014, he correctly identified a number of iPhone 6 features prior to its announcement in September, but incorrectly guessed the iPhone 6 Plus would come with a more powerful processor. However, the recent research note lines up well with predictions from the more reliable Ming-Chi Kuo, who in April said Apple is unlikely to launch a 4-inch model this year.

Apple might be waiting to unleash a new 4-inch model next year as part of iPhone's biennial overhaul. Reports in June claim AU Optronics won an order to supply 4-inch panels for an as-yet-unannounced iPhone model to be introduced in 2016.

With rumors now pointing away from a 4-inch "iPhone 6c," at least for 2015, Apple could be looking at a handset lineup anchored by a free-on-contract iPhone 5s on one end, two new "iPhone 6s" devices on the other and discounted iPhone 6 models in between.


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Police bust fake iPhone factory in China

Jul 27, 2015 - 6:46 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple business may be soaring in China, but not all of it is the legit kind!

According to a new report, police in Beijing have busted a factory which produced in excess of 41,000 fake iPhones, with a market value of around $19 million.

Nine people were arrested as part of the counterfeiting operation, with the main two being a 40-something-year-old man and wife from manufacturing city Shenzhen. The factory in question was disguised to look like a gadget maintenance shop — although it employed hundreds of workers making “iPhones” for export out of second-hand smartphone components.

The raid itself happened in May, although news is only emerging now. Beijing police were initially tipped-off by U.S. authorities, who managed to get their hands on a few of the fake devices. It’s not clear where the fake iPhones were eventually headed.

This isn’t the first time Apple has run into counterfeiting problems in China. Back in 2011, dozens of unauthorized Apple Stores popped up in the country — replicating the interior decoration and even employee uniforms of authentic Apple Stores.

While it seems that police are increasingly cracking down on this kind of behavior, it’s one of the prices of doing business in China — where Apple has been increasingly pushing its brand.

As of late, Tim Cook has created a Weibo account to communicate with Apple’s Chinese fans, committed to opening many new Apple Stores, and publicly acknowledged that new Apple devices are designed with the Chinese market in mind.

Now if the company could just find a way to solve the piracy problem.


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Apple Music hits 10M subscribers in four weeks, report says

Jul 27, 2015 - 6:37 PM - by sparkyscott21

A day shy of its one-month anniversary, Apple Music has reeled in more than 10 million subscribers on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and iTunes, a report said Monday.

Anonymous sources connected to major music labels provided the supposed adoption numbers to HITS Daily Double, saying the swift and substantial uptake is surprising even for Apple. The data reportedly comes directly from Cupertino, which is sharing streaming statistics internally with content owners.

The report's veracity is questionable – the site itself published the tidbit under a "Rumor Mill" banner – but 10 million subscribers in four weeks is within the realm of possibility for Apple's mammoth installed customer base. Earlier in July, for example, it was estimated that iOS 8.4 adoption hit 40 percent of compatible devices after just one week of availability. Apple Music launched at the end of June as part of iOS 8.4.

Lending credence to today's claims are remarks from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who last week during the company's third quarter conference call told investors that "millions and millions" have signed up for Apple Music's three-month trial. It remains to be seen whether trial users will make the jump to a paid single or family tier, or discontinue the service altogether.

The number compare favorably to competing streaming services like Spotify, which boasts about 20 million paying subscribers. Apple still has a ways to go before reaching Spotify's 75 million total active users or Pandora's 79.4 million. Unlike those services, which include metrics for free-to-stream tiers, Apple Music is completely subscription based.

Apple is rumored to be shooting for 100 million paying Apple Music subscribers, a lofty goal that would require not only new subscriber adds, but a significant number of switchers from other services.


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Apple wanted to use BMW i3 as basis for electric car project

Jul 25, 2015 - 12:55 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple’s been stealing top talent from automakers over the past few months to help it work on the company’s electric car project, but according to a new rumor, Apple wanted to steal the entire body of another luxury automaker’s car to get its project on the road.

Apple was interested in using BMW’s i3 carbon fiber body as the basis for its own electric vehicle, reports Manager Magazin. CEO Tim Cook supposedly met with senior managers from the i3 production team in Leipzig during a fall visit to BMW to discuss the possibility, however, negotiations to use the BMW i3 body have broken off.

While the BMW i3 hasn’t been as revolutionary as Tesla’s electric cars, the German-made car’s carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body shell has made it the most energy efficient vehicle sold in the U.S. BMW is already selling a higher percentage of plug-in vehicles in the U.S. than any other car maker though, so it’s not hard to see the appeal it’s had for Apple.

It’s unclear whether negotiations between Apple and BMW are still ongoing. The German magazine reports that negotiations were broken off last fall, but the two sides agreed to keep talking and to check in with each other’s views from time to time.

Apple’s electric car project supposedly got the greenlight from Tim Cook last year and the company already has hundreds of employees working on the project.


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