Attorney general wants to quiz Tim Cook about Apple Watch privacy

Sep 16, 2014 - 10:54 AM - by sparkyscott21

Connecticut attorney general George Jepsen wants to know just closely Apple Watch will, err, watch you.

Tim Cook may have been on the receiving end of welcoming notes from other watchmakers now the Apple Watch has been announced, but not every note has been so friendly.

On Monday, the office of Connecticut attorney general George Jepsen revealed that he had sent an open letter to Tim Cook noting concerns about the privacy implications of Apple Watch, particularly related to the handling of health data.

In his letter, Jepsen requests a meeting with Apple to discuss how this information will be stored and safeguarded, perhaps partially provoked by concerns lingering from the recent iCloud hacking incident.

Jepsen wants to know whether personal and health information will be stored on the Apple Watch itself or on Apple servers. He says that he is not accusing Apple of anything, but rather trying to open up a dialog.

While the company has reportedly yet to respond, Jepsen may well find Apple agrees on many of his concerns. Recently the App Store’s Review Guidelines were updated, letting developers know that HealthKit data must not be stored on iCloud, and that apps are barred from sharing HealthKit data with third parties without user consent.

Tim Cook has also been outspoken about Apple’s difference from Google as a company — noting that Apple is not a business built on monetizing user data.

“You are not our product,” Cook said during his recent interview with Charlie Rose. “I think everyone has to ask, ‘How do companies make their money?’ Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried and you should really understand what’s happening with that data.”

George Jepsen’s letter to Tim Cook, dated Friday 12th, can be read here.



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Square reportedly turned down $3 billion offer from Apple

Sep 12, 2014 - 10:24 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple put mobile wallet payment platforms like Google Wallet, Square and PayPal on notice this week with the reveal of Pay, but before Cupertino decided to launch its answer to the wallet, sources tell TechCrunch the company was eyeing an acquisition of Square.

Square’s simplistic payments platform seems like it would have been the perfect fit for Apple and would have added “Next Steve Jobs Nominee” Jack Dorsey to its loaded executive ranks, but after Apple executives failed to put enough cash on the table, Square walked away from negotiations.

“Apple wanted the company to come aboard, according to one source, but the discussed price was a sticking point: The tipster held that Apple wanted to buy Square for less than half of the $6 billion valuation it eventually would raise at (around $3 billion). Square, valued at the time at a firm 66 percent delta to that price point, declined to accept.”

After getting rejected, Apple went on to announce its competing mobile service, Apple Pay, that will allow iPhone 6 and Apple Watch users to pay for physical goods at retail locations with one simple tap. Instead of using Square to power the mobile payments, Apple has turned to Stripe as its partner for payments processing.

The report also notes that Apple showed Square a software register, booking services, and payment systems for iPhone, but Square’s people weren’t exactly thrilled about Apple’s enthusiasm to get into financial sector, as they felt the products would possibly outshine and out compete their own offerings.

Square recently raised a new $100 million of funding bring its valuation to $6 billion as the company is rumored to be heading for an IPO in the near future.



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Cook says Apple working on products that 'haven't been rumored about yet'

Sep 12, 2014 - 10:19 PM - by sparkyscott21

In an upcoming PBS interview with Charlie Rose, set to air Friday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the company's current product lineup, Beats, Apple TV, Steve Jobs' legacy and hints at new product categories that "no one knows about."

When asked about Apple's future product pipeline, Cook admitted that there are a lot of things the company has interest in, but a focus on execution prohibits the number of devices it can work on at any given point.

"There are products we're working on that no one knows about, yes. That haven't been rumored about yet," Cook said.

On the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Cook trumpeted praise for the latest handsets, gushing about the Retina HD displays, thinness and speed. Cook pooh-poohed a question asking whether Apple was playing catch-up with Samsung in releasing new 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.

"No, we — honestly, Charlie, we could have done a larger iPhone years ago. It's never been about just making a larger phone," Cook said, adding, "It's been making — it's been about making a better phone in every single way."

The Apple chief also talks about Apple TV, reiterating that television is an area of "great interest" for the company. As usual, not much was shared in the way of details, though Cook did reveal a few things he would like to

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Rumor: Apple could launch new 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display this fall

Sep 12, 2014 - 11:43 AM - by sparkyscott21

The next Mac to receive a high-resolution Retina display could be the all-in-one desktop iMac, according to a new report, which alleges that Apple is planning to have a new 27-inch model sporting a 5K display released in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The details come from LCD researcher WitsView, which was cited by Taiwanese tech industry publication DigiTimes, which has a poor track record in Apple-related rumors, but typically with regard to its own sources. In this case, the sources are apparently those of WitsView, which expects to see a 5K Apple iMac launching by the end of the year.

Additional details about Apple's alleged iMac with Retina display were not revealed. The Friday report suggested that Apple's iMac would join a number of other "Ultra HD" panels set to arrive before the end of the year.

If Apple does launch a 5K iMac, it may not be cheap: The report said the average price of a 28-inch Ultra HD monitor was $630 in August. Apple currently uses a slightly smaller panel size of 27 inches for its larger iMac, while the base desktop sports a 21.5-inch display.

Signs of a potential Retina display iMac were first spotted in June in Apple's beta release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite. A string of code in the unreleased operating system pointed to scaled display resolutions reaching up to 6,400-by,3,600 pixels, which could be scaled down for a Retina-caliber panel.

Rumors of an iMac with Retina display have been around for years, but as of yet the only Macs with high-resolution panels are the company's MacBook Pro lineup. The company is also rumored to be working on a redesigned 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display.



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Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his kids become iOS addicts

Sep 11, 2014 - 12:20 PM - by sparkyscott21

Being Steve Jobs’ son or daughter would surely mean a never-ending supply of new high-tech devices to play around with, right?

Not according to a New York Times article by Nick Bilton, who claims that Jobs set out to purposely limit the amount of time his kids spent using their iPhones and other gadgets — even going so far as to stop them using Apple’s latest must have-devices altogether.

Bilton recalls being “[chewed] out” by Steve Jobs after writing about one of the iPad’s perceived shortcomings in 2010. After Jobs had cooled down, Bilton asked Jobs what his children thought of the then-newly released iPad, to which Jobs informed the stunned journalist that they hadn’t tried it yet because, “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

The subsequent story describes how this actually isn’t all that uncommon a practice for the kids of technology CEOs and the like – many of whom spend less time with the latest tech product than your average person. Bilton backed his conversation with Jobs up by contacting biographer Walter Isaacson to check Jobs was telling him the truth.

“Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” Isaacson says, his knowledge coming from having spent plenty of time in the Jobs household. “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”

A recent article in Newsweek claimed that U.S. children spend more than 7.5 hours each day using smartphones and other electronic devices: something attributed to making them inept at reading social cues due to the lack of personal interaction.

Steve Jobs definitely realized the value of personal interaction (for better and worse) so perhaps it’s no surprise he would want his kids to be the same.

But it’s still a startlingly honest revelation from a person who did such a great job of selling the latest must-have device to the rest of us.



  1 Reply

Apple exploring new ways of melting and feeding Liquidmetal for manufacturing

Sep 11, 2014 - 12:07 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple is still working to perfect methods of manufacturing Liquidmetal parts, according to a new patent application published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with the company moving on to processes for melting the unique metal alloy and feeding it to casting and processing equipment.

The application, entitled "Methods of melting and introducing amorphous alloy feedstock for casting and processing," shows a number of ways in which amorphous alloys like Liquidmetal can be melted and injected into manufacturing equipment. It was filed in May of this year.

Apple's methods simplify the containment and pouring system necessary to transfer molten alloys. One method adds an additional "branch" to a tradition cold chamber, which contains the metal using water-cooled "fingers" containing a non-wetting surface — surface tension prevents the metal from moving until the fingers are retracted.

A second method uses a system not unlike a traditional hot glue gun, holding a solid piece of feedstock in place by a constriction in the feed tube. The feedstock is melted at the constriction point, then flows into the cold sleeve.

Apple says that parts formed with these methods have nearly endless application in consumer electronics, from internal parts with dimensions measured in millimeters to full outer casings. The applicaiton specifically mentions mobile phones, portable music players, streaming devices, laptop and desktop computers, and watches.

Though Apple's latest iPhone 6 models and the Apple Watch are not known to contain Liquidmetal parts — the iPhone 6 features an outer case made of aluminum, while the Apple Watch is available in stainless steel, aluminum, and 18-karat gold — it is possible that some internal components have been fabricated from the material.

Apple credits Theodore A. Waniuk, Joseph Stevick, Sean O'Keeffe, Dermot J. Stratton, Joseph C. Poole, Matthew S. Scott, and Christopher D. Prest with the invention of U.S. Patent Application No. 0140251568. As usual, the application is assigned jointly to Apple and Crucible Intellectual Property, a subsidiary of Liquidmetal's parent company that exclusively handles Apple's license.



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