Apple today has updated the biography of Lisa Jackson on its executive leadership webpage, noting that she is now Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. Previously, Jackson was the VP of Environmental Initiatives only. The promotion will allow Jackson to take over leadership of all governmental affairs and public policy teams, according to Apple.
Tim Cook announced the change in a memo to employees, obtained by The Washington Post. In the memo, Cook explains that in her new position, Jackson will be even more able to work towards Apple’s central goal of leaving the world better than it was found.
Jackson’s executive bio on Apple.com also notes that she is now responsible for Apple’s policy programs when it comes to education, including its ConnectED program. The full addition to Jackson’s bio is below:
She is also responsible for Apple’s education policy programs such as ConnectED, its product accessibility work, and its worldwide government affairs function.
Earlier this year, Lisa Jackson was put in charge of boosting accessibility efforts, as well. Jackson originally joined Apple in 2013 having previously served as the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The executive reports directly to CEO Tim Cook and is centrally responsible for Apple’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment and be as green and eco friendly as possible.
The full memo from CEO Tim Cook to his team is below:
At Apple, we’ve dedicated ourselves to leaving the world better than we found it. And we are making real progress. I am proud and inspired when I see how our products and our people are improving lives around the world. This is what happens when we focus on putting our core values front and center in our products and operations.
Today, Apple is an industry leader in renewable energy, elimination of toxics and protecting working forests. As you know, Lisa Jackson joined us two years ago and we could not have come this far without her leadership on environmental initiatives across our company.
There’s much more to do, not just on the environment, but on other issues we value such as human rights, education, and accessibility of our products to those with physical or developmental challenges. Apple can and will play an important role in each of these areas. Already, we are actively working with 114 schools in the U.S. through our ConnectED program. We are putting more accessibility tools in the hands of our wonderful app developers. And we have made our voice heard on public policy issues that affect us including clean energy and equality. These issues are critical not only to us, but to our customers, our shareholders, and in the communities where we all live and work.
So I’ve asked Lisa to lead our work in these areas and to take on a broader role as vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. Lisa will apply her passion and her unique skill set to integrate teams across Apple and make our impact even greater. As part of her new role, Lisa will... [Read More]
iPhone 3G SIM card ejector tool
Apple renewed its license for exclusive use of Liquidmetal's bulk amorphous alloy technology in consumer products for another year, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing disclosed on Tuesday.
Liquidmetal Technologies' event filing, posted to the firm's investor relations webpage, notes Apple entered into an agreement to prolong rights to the exotic material on June 17. Effective dates have been extended from Feb. 5, 2015 to Feb. 5, 2016.
The licensing extension is the third amendment to Liquidmetal's dealings with Apple, which has held exclusive rights to material patents since striking an initial agreement in 2010. All patent dealings are now funneled through wholly-owned Liquidmetal subsidiary Crucible Intellectual Property.
MacRumors also reported on the filing today.
Despite having access to the exotic metal, and a growing cache of production patents, Apple has yet to conspicuously incorporate the material in a consumer device. The most notable product thus far has been a small SIM card ejector tool introduced with the iPhone 3G. Speculation holds that Apple could be machining internal device components from bulk amorphous alloys without advertising the fact.
In 2014, Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive said the company was working to incorporate new materials across a variety of new device form factors, sparking rumors of Liquidmetal-encased iPhones and iPads. With the introduction of Apple Watch, however, it is likely Ive was referring to strengthened 18-karat gold, sapphire and ceramics.
Liquidmetal, a commercial name for a class of amorphous, non-crystalline material, boasts properties appealing to electronic device manufacturers. For example, the material is 2.5 times stronger than titanium and 1.5 times harder than stainless steel commonly used in consumer products.
Spotted in Seattle
Weeks after officially confirming the existence of a real-world data collection effort designed to bolster its mapping service, Apple has updated its fleet of sensor-loaded minivans with branding that makes them more clearly identifiable.
The minivans now sport a simple "Apple Maps" decal along the rear quarter panels, with the address of Apple's Maps microsite below. Both decals appear to be set in Myriad, Apple's marketing typeface of choice for years.
Apple affirmed the program's existence earlier this month with a new website that explains the purpose of the formerly-mysterious vehicles that have been spotted around the world for months. The company says data collected "will be used to improve Apple Maps," and provides an up-to-date list of locales where data will be collected in the immediate future.
When the vans first appeared in February of this year, many believed they were acting as testbeds for a secretive Apple autonomous vehicle project. While AppleInsider has reported the existence of such a program in a Silicon Valley suburb, the vans are not used for that purpose.
Instead, as we outlined in February, the vans are designed to collect detailed three-dimensional mapping data that will likely be used to improve Apple's 3D Flyover feature with new capabilities akin to Google's Street View. Apple has continued to invest in new technology for Maps in recent months, acquiring high-accuracy GPS firm Coherent Navigation and augmented reality company Metaio in May.
South Korean display manufacturers are trying to persuade Apple to use flexible OLED screens for future iPhones, although the first such models might not ship until 2018, a report claimed on Wednesday.
Apple is "serious" about switching iPhones from IPS to OLED technology, as it would allegedly improve areas like accuracy, brightness, and saturation, an industry source told BusinessKorea. At the moment the only Apple product with a flexible OLED display is the Apple Watch, with a screen no larger than 42 millimeters.
"It is very likely that the first flexible iPhone may be introduced in 2018, as Apple's top-tier display suppliers are working on it," the source said, referring to Samsung and LG Display, both of whom are believed to be Watch panel suppliers.
LG Display is reportedly planning to switch one of the LCD lines at its Gumi plant over to OLED to expand its general OLED capacity, with the goal of mass production in 2017.
A move to flexible OLEDs could in theory allow Apple to produce curved iPhones, possibly in the style of LG's own G Flex2, or simply phones able to bend under pressure. That could reduce the likelihood of accidental damage, with or without a case.
Demand for Apple's flagship iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus remains extremely strong, even as the product cycle begins to wind down, while consumer interest in the Apple Watch is outperforming the first iPhone, new data reveals.
Morgan Stanley on Wednesday published the findings of its latest AlphaWise Trackers, the results of which were shared with AppleInsider. Analyst Katy Huberty revealed that the data shows demand for the iPhone is estimated at about 53 million units for the June quarter, with particularly strong interest coming from China.
Corroborating these figures are supplier estimates in Asia, which peg Apple to build about 54 million iPhones in the quarter. Huberty believes Apple is looking to add some channel inventory with excess units, as the company exited the March quarter at the low end of their 5-to-7-week range.
As for the Apple Watch, Morgan Stanley's data has found that demand for the wrist-worn device is stabilizing at a level 20 percent higher than the first-generation iPhone six weeks after launch. The AlphaWise survey compiles sell-through data using Web search analysis.
"Watch interest in the week of launch was about half that for the first iPhone, but the Watch has seen a much smaller deceleration since the initial spike," Huberty wrote. "Both products had limited distribution at the beginning – iPhone at AT&T and Watch on the Apple online store – but the Watch has seen more supply constraints due to some component issues and we believe likely conservative demand forecasts by Apple."
Looking forward to the anticipated "iPhone 6s" launch, Huberty said that Asian suppliers have indicated that build plans are roughly flat year over year when compared to the iPhone 6. But she believes that there might be considerable consumer demand for a cheaper iPhone 6, assuming it takes the $99 on-contract price point once a new model launches.
Regardless, investor expectations headed into the "iPhone 6s" product cycle are low, Huberty said, as most on Wall Street do not believe that Apple will be able to grow unit sales at a considerable clip in fiscal year 2016.
"While we anticipate iPhone growth will decelerate from (fiscal year 2015) and it could take some time for users and developers to find more compelling use cases for the Watch, our surveys and trackers have consistently showed stronger than expected demand for both products over the next few quarters," she wrote.
Morgan Stanley's "base case" for shares of AAPL sees them reaching $166, while the its more optimistic "bull case" forecasts a price of $195 per share. The firm has maintained its "overweight" rating for Apple stock.
... [Read More]
iPhones might eventually be able to detect the presence of a hearing aid
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple 52 patents today, including a notable patent for a new hearing aid technology that would make the iPhone an even better device for the hearing impaired.
This new hearing aid technology described in the patent could be implemented in a portable audio device, like the iPhone, in order to detect if the user has a hearing aid and then automatically adjust the audio signal so you don’t have to fumble with those little hearing aid volume knobs yourself.
Here’s how the patented technology could work: Say you’re grandpa who’s wearing a hearing aid gets a call. Instead of adjusting the volume manually, the iPhone would use proximity and magnetic field sensors to detect when the device is moved toward a hearing aid, and then amp up the volume. Theoretically, it could work in reverse as well.
Also, among the big batch of patents first reported by Patently Apple, is the description of a ‘Diamond Cutting Tool for Cutting Smooth Reflective Surfaces’ that’s used to give the iPhone a smooth, shiny finish. Apple’s been bragging about its diamond-cut chamfered edges since the debut of the iPhone 5.
There’s no guarantee that Apple will include the new hearing aid patent invented by Shaohai Chen and Ching-Yu Tam in the future, however the company has been a leader in regard to accessibility. Just last week it won a Helen Keller Achievement Award for its VoiceOver feature to help those with vision impairments use an Apple device.
More accessibility improvements are likely on the way in iOS 9 and the iPhone 6s. Hopefully the new hearing aid tech is one of them.
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