Tim Cook marks anniversary of Steve Jobs's death, remembers a leader, mentor...

Oct 05, 2015 - 11:40 AM - by sparkyscott21

Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs, a solemn occasion remembered by Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook in an email sent to his company's staff, in which he recalled a "brilliant person" who left an undeniable impact on those around him.

"Today marks four years since Steve passed away," Cook wrote in the email, republished by The Telegraph. "On that day, the world lost a visionary. We at Apple lost a leader, a mentor, and many of us lost a dear friend."

Cook has also marked the annual occasion in years past with a company-wide email, asking employees to honor and remember Jobs. Last year, he told the staff to reflect on how the products created under Jobs have impacted not only the technology industry, but also the world.

Having become a close friend and confidant of Jobs before his passing, Cook frequently speaks openly about how much Jobs meant to him. In an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last month, Cook said that Jobs was "a joy to work with," and that he always demanded the best out of his employees.

"I miss him every day, Cook said.

In his latest letter sent out Monday, Cook recalled the legacy of Jobs, particularly in the team at Apple and the products that they create. He also spoke of the joy that Jobs brought to his family, and how important his children were to him.

Cook's full email is included below:


Today marks four years since Steve passed away. On that day, the world lost a visionary. We at Apple lost a leader, a mentor, and many of us lost a dear friend.

Steve was a brilliant person, and his priorities were very simple. He loved his family above all, he loved Apple, and he loved the people with whom he worked so closely and achieved so much.

Each year since his passing, I have reminded everyone in the Apple community that we share the privilege and responsibility of continuing the work Steve loved so much.

What is his legacy? I see it all around us: An incredible team that embodies his spirit of innovation and creativity. The greatest products on earth, beloved by customers and empowering hundreds of millions of people around the world. Soaring achievements in technology and architecture. Experiences of surprise and delight. A company that only he could have built. A company with an intense determination to change the world for the better.

And, of course, the joy he brought his loved ones.

He told me several times in his final years that he hoped to live long enough to see some of the milestones in his children's lives. I was in his office over the summer with Laurene and their youngest daughter. Messages and drawings from his kids to their father are still there on Steve's whiteboard.

If you never knew Steve, you probably work with someone who did or who was here when he led Apple. Please stop one of us today and ask what he was really like. Several of us have posted our personal remembrances on AppleWeb, and I encourage you to read them.

Thank you for honoring
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Apple set to land another spaceship in Sunnyvale

Oct 02, 2015 - 11:14 AM - by sparkyscott21

Apple has just signed a deal to take on a new innovative office building in Sunnyvale, a northern California community that the Cupertino-based company has been keen on inhabiting for a while now.

The agreement is with Landbank Investment LLC’s planned Central & Wolfe campus, a curvy building that’s planned to look out of this world when its 777,000-square-feet of office space on an 18-acre site is completed. It should, if Apple uses the current plan as is, also include 90,000 square-feet of rooftop garden spaces and over two miles of walking and bike paths on the ground level.

According to the Silicon Valley Business journal, people familiar with the matter have confirmed that the deal — started last month — has been completed with Apple leasing the land with an eye toward the project itself. Terms of the deal, as well as a timeline for construction, have not been reported.

Apple continues to need office space as it expands its reach globally, with massive new markets like China most likely playing a role, as well as Apple’s continued dominance in the industry it created.


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Defense bill passed by US House could allow easier contracts with firms like Apple

Oct 02, 2015 - 11:01 AM - by sparkyscott21

Major high-tech corporations like Apple could potentially reap new and easier military contracts under a bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

One part of the bill – negotiated by defense leaders in the House and Senate – would make it easier for the Department of Defense to buy commercial technology, Bloomberg reported. Companies like Apple, in turn, would not have to share any proprietary pricing information.

The bill may be unlikely to pass in its current state, however. Bloomberg noted that it still has to pass through the Senate, and President Barack Obama has threatened a veto, in part because it would enable $38 billion in one-time war funds as a way of circumventing a 2011 budget deal. Obama is pursuing a different budget arrangement that would raise the spending ceilings on both civilian and military programs.

In all, the present bill would cost the government and taxpayers $611.8 billion, much of which would be funneled towards contractors like Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop Grumman. A new version could be submitted in the coming weeks, if Congress and the Obama administration manage to negotiate a compromise.

Though the U.S. military occasionally uses Apple products, relatively few partnerships have been struck. Most recently Apple became a member of the FlexTech Alliance, a group of 162 organizations collaborating with the Pentagon on flexible electronics.


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Rumor: 'AirPods' trademark filings point to Apple wireless headphones

Oct 02, 2015 - 10:58 AM - by sparkyscott21

Multiple international trademark applications for an "AIRPODS" audio accessory, filed by what appears to be a shell company, suggest Apple might be working to bring a wireless version of its EarPods headphones to market.

A company based out of Delaware named Entertainment in Flight, LLC, filed the AIRPODS (potentially written as "AirPods") trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Sept. 22, weeks after setting up shop at the Corporation Trust Center, reports MacRumors. The firm does not appear to be directly tied to Apple, though its recent incorporation and subsequent lack of activity leave room for speculation.

Apple's tactic of setting up shell corporations to keep secret projects out of the public eye is well documented. Ahead of iPad's launch, for example, Apple registered the acronym I.P.A.D. under British dummy corporation "IP Application Development" (IPAD Ltd.).

As for AirPods, Entertainment in Flight designated the mark under International Trademark Class 9, a wide-ranging category covering electronics and scientific apparatus. The filing narrows down registration to U.S. classes 021, 023, 026, 036, 038, noting products and goods as:

Audio components and accessories; sound recording and reproducing apparatus; digital video recorders and players; remote control apparatus; audio speakers; earphones, headphones; microphones; voice recording and recognition apparatus; radios, radio transmitters, and receivers; handheld digital electronic devices and software related thereto; wireless communication devices for voice, data or image transmission; electrical and electronic connectors, couplers, wires, cables, chargers, docks, docking stations, interfaces, and adapters for use with all of the aforesaid goods

The document cites a Jamaican trademark application from March as AirPods' priority date. Jamaica is one of Apple's favorite jurisdictions in which to file, as evidenced by recent applications for "iWatch" and "Thunderbolt." Lending further credence to the theory are Entertainment in Flight's international AirPods applications which, as MacRumors notes, were handled by law firms known to do similar business with Apple.

With Apple Watch, wireless audio has taken on a more significant role in Apple's product lineup. The company already owns multiple patents for potential hardware iterations, including noise canceling and bone conduction technology, but has yet to bring a wireless headset to market.

While Apple subsidiary Beats fields a variety of Bluetooth-enabled headphones, Apple made it clear when it bought the company that there would be no hardware commingling. The iPhone maker currently markets two headphone versions in the free-with-purchase EarPods and dual-driver In-ear Headphones, leaving room for a wireless AirPods option.

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Apple stops iOS 8.4.1 and iOS 9.0 code signing as iOS 9.0.2 fixes lock screen exploit

Oct 01, 2015 - 1:44 PM - by sparkyscott21

After the release of iOS 9.0.2 on Wednesday, which fixed a number of bugs including a lock screen exploit, Apple stopped signing iOS 8.4.1 and iOS 9.0 firmware for compatible devices, prohibiting users who updated from downgrading.

As expected, Apple has taken steps to ensure iOS device owners have the latest and most stable version of its mobile operating system, and is no longer signing code for iOS 8.4.1 or iOS 9.0. The company is limiting compatible versions to iOS 9.0.1 and iOS 9.0.2, the latter of which as released earlier today.

With Apple no longer signing code, users who upgraded to the latest iOS 9 release can no longer revert to older iOS versions. Apple released iOS 8.4.1 in August with fixes for Apple Music and iCloud Music Library, while iOS 9.0 saw its debut two weeks ago.

In related news, the iOS 9.0.2 update issued today fixes a security issue that allowed malicious users to bypass a passcode protected lock screen and gain unfettered access to an iPhone's photos and contacts. The exploit was discovered in initial iOS 9 firmware and was left unpatched in iOS 9.0.1.


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Apple invents ring-style wearable device with voice control, haptics, cameras more...

Oct 01, 2015 - 1:38 PM - by sparkyscott21

It seems rumors that claimed Apple conducted research into an "iRing" wearable product were based in reality, as a new patent application reveals work on a finger-mounted device stuffed with microphones, motion sensors, a haptic feedback system, biometric sensors, cameras and even a small display.

The fairly comprehensive patent application, titled "Devices and methods for a ring computing device" and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, describes an advanced ring-style wearable that uses voice, motion and touch input to control and interact with larger computing devices.

In many ways, the claims read like an overview of Apple Watch, but distilled into a much smaller form factor. While there are disparities between Apple's ring computer and production hardware – front- and user-facing cameras among the most audacious – the document outlines a number of capabilities currently being marketed as tentpole Apple Watch features like heart rate monitoring and inductive charging. The application falls short of name dropping Watch, but notes the ring device might be used as a stand-in for a "smart watch" crown mechanism.

Interestingly, a good number of technological advances described in today's published paper were introduced with Watch, including Force Touch and the Taptic Engine, suggesting Apple was mulling an alternate design for its first foray into wearables. Topeka Capital Markets Brian White told investors about a very similar concept after taking a tour of Apple's East Asian supply chain in 2013, saying a ring device would serve as a remote control for a full-blown Apple television set. Both products failed to materialize.

As for the filing, Apple details what is basically a miniature computer crammed into a shell that wraps around a user's finger. Powered by an onboard processor, the device sports multiple input and output components, such as touch pads or touch screens measuring one to five centimeters on the diagonal. Using a mix of multitouch, voice and gesture input, wearers would use the ring to control a variety of products, like an Apple TV's onscreen UI or an iPhone.

When worn on an index finger, one could conceivably operate the ring's touch sensitive surface with a thumb, but to make things easier the document also describes a mechanism akin to Apple Watch's Digital Crown. Alternatively, built-in accelerometer and gyroscope modules are provisioned to accept gesture input with enough precision to facilitate handwriting capture. A user might even wear two rings to control multiple aspects of a host UI.

Also incorporated is a tactile feedback interface capable of responding to user input via audio cues and controlled vibratory pulses. Apple incorporates identical haptic feedback technology in its Taptic Engine, variations of which have seen implementation in Apple Watch, MacBooks and iPhone 6s. Closely tied to the Taptic
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