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[PHOTO] Remember When Apple Used to Crush Leaks with Ruthless Efficiency?

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Me Neither!

TMZ.com reports:

…We’re told the phone was smuggled out of a Foxconn factory in China … where the majority of iPhone models are manufactured.  The owner of the phone says the smuggler is his friend — an ex-employee —  who worked in Foxconn’s hardware department designing the outer casing for the new model…(read more)

 TMZ.com

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Apple’s $700 Million Bet: ‘Nobody has ever invested this much money on sapphire’

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“Manufacturing synthetic sapphire is costly, so the material has been used sparingly, to protect against extreme conditions in airplane windows or as a scratch-resistant cover for expensive watches.”

WSJ‘s Daisisuke Wakabayashi reports: Synthetic sapphire is designed to replicate one of the hardest minerals on earth but is costly to produce, Pictured, a 15″ diameter sapphire boule before it is cut into its final shape. GT Advanced Technologies

[Also see: Why Apple's iPhone 6 won't need a case]

Apple Inc. created the blueprint for a smartphone when it covered the touch screen of its first iPhone in glass, instead of plastic. Now, it is betting $700 million that sapphire, a harder and more expensive material, can replace glass and better protect future devices.

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The first sapphire display screens for the forthcoming larger iPhone and smartwatch are expected to roll off production lines this month at a Mesa, Ariz., facility that Apple opened with materials manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies Inc. At full capacity, the plant will produce twice as much sapphire as the current output from the nearly 100 manufacturers world-wide, says Eric Virey, a senior analyst at French research firm Yole Développement. Read the rest of this entry »


Siri Emerges from Beta: ‘Do You Use it to its Fullest or is it Still a Party Trick?’

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“What I discovered…Siri seems to be one of those things that polarizes views: people either loving it and using it every day, or dismissing it as a useless gimmick. Not too many people seem to fall between the two.”

Yesterday our Hong Kong Bureau Chief posted a tantalizing peek into the future of AI – “Real AI in Your Pocket” — and in the comments section, I posted an anecdotal description of a recent experience using the still-developing Siri, and it led me to wonder who’s writing what about Siri these days, and I landed on this. Though it confirms that most of what can be done with Siri is conventional, to the point of being disappointingly trivial, sometimes the smallest things can yeild daily benefits, and are easy to overlook. The question is valid: Is Siri just a party trick?

ben-lovejoy-macFor 9to5MacBen Lovejoy writes: When Siri lost its beta tag almost a year ago, I suggested it might be a good time for those who’d been frustrated with its early performance to give it another chance. What I discovered through your comments was that Siri seems to be one of those things that polarizes views: people either loving it and using it every day, or dismissing it as a useless gimmick. Not too many people seem to fall between the two.

But Apple has continued to work hard on improving the service, adding new capabilities as well as refining its ability to handle existing ones. It might not yet be as sophisticated as its creators envisage for the future, but a year on seemed a good point to revisit the topic and find just how many of its capabilities people are using … 

“Most people know Siri can read your mail, but again you can be much more specific than this…”

Everyone knows you can ask Siri to call someone, and that if you’ve identified contacts by relationship you can say things like “Call my girlfriend,” but you can also get more specific. “Call my father on his work phone,” for example, or “Make a FaceTime audio call to Phil.”

Similarly, with text messages, you can be casual in your phrasing: “Let Sarah know I’m running ten minutes late.” Calendar queries, too, can also be more specific than general enquiries about your appointments, such as “When am I meeting Barbara?”

Using Siri to tweet? You can ask for your location to be added, along with any hashtags: “Tweet, with my location, having a great night out, hashtag drinking.” And if you want to know what’s trending on Twitter, you can simply ask “What’s going on?”

Digital Life Tech Test Apple iOS 7 Software

Apple Maps may not have gotten off to the best of starts, but there’s a lot of location-based functionality built into Siri to make your life easier. Some are basic, like “Give me walking direction to Alison Smith’s work.” Others are more sophisticated like “Make a reservation for two at a romantic French restaurant around here tonight at 7pm.”

Or fancy a movie instead? “Where is Guardians of the Galaxy playing?” will show you nearby locations and times, together with the Rotten Tomatoes review. If you’re in the U.S., you can also ask Siri to buy tickets. Not sure whether the movie is the right choice? “Play the movie trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy.”

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Still got work to do in the meantime? “Show me the nearest WiFi hotspots.”

Location-based reminders are something without which I’d forget half the things I’m supposed to do. “Remind me to call Sam when I get home,” “Remind me to post the letters when I leave here” and “Remind me to buy milk when I’m at Tesco” are just a few examples. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple Tribute: ‘Remembering Robin Williams’

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Apple – Remembering Robin Williams


Apple agrees to $400 million settlement in ebook price-fixing case

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

Apple has agreed to an approximately $400 million settlement as part of the high-profile ebook pricing fixing case in federal court that would cover  consumer consumer damages and civil penalties for the 33 states involved.  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman made an announcement today detailing the settlement that was also discovered in documents filed with the courts. Schneiderman noted the amount that Apple will ultimately pay of the $400 million settlement will depend on the outcome of  Apple’s still pending appeal of “the court’s July 2013 finding that Apple violated antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy with five publishers to artificially raise E-book prices.”:

View original 304 more words


The Black Widow of Silicon Valley: Alix Tichelman’s Trail of Dead and Damaged Men

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Police hunted down the prostitute accused of watching a Google exec overdose—and found a trail of dead and damaged men in her past

For The Daily BeastMichael Daly reports: The detectives from the Santa Cruz police department could see an unmistakable injection mark in the arm of the deceased Google executive.Alix-cuffed
But the detectives could see no drugs and no syringe on the yacht where 51-year-old Forrest Timothy Hayes had been found dead from a heroin overdose. What the detectives did see was a pair of wine glasses on a table. They also noted that somebody appeared to have straightened up the cabin.

“We’re like, ‘Holy smoke, this isn’t her first rodeo.'”

The body had been discovered on the floor of the main cabin by the captain, who had been retained by Hayes after he purchased the 50-foot powerboat. Hayes had started out as an automotive executive in his native Michigan, which was in keeping with his decision to eschew eco-friendly sails such as were favored by other Silicon Valley types and buy a craft powered by big fuel guzzlers.

[Also see – Last Taste of Sugar: Escort Charged in Google Executive’s Fatal Heroin Overdose  [Hooker Business Booms in Silicon Valley]

But he had come West to take increasingly senior positions with Sun Microsystems and then Apple and finally with Google X, the research and development division whose projects included the perfect one for a one-time car guy: the self-driving auto. Hayes had become enough of a techie that he had installed a wireless surveillance camera system on his yacht. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Last Taste of Sugar: Escort Charged in Google Executive’s Fatal Heroin Overdose

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For the LATimesJoseph Serna reports: The woman accused of being a high-priced escort who administered a lethal dose of heroin to a former tech executive on his yacht in Santa Cruz will not be charged with murder in the case, but still faces manslaughter, prostitution and drug counts, prosecutors said Wednesday.

“Police identified her as a suspect after learning that she and Hayes allegedly had a relationship that began with the help of Seeking Arrangements, a website that caters to affluent clients seeking ‘sugar babies.'”

Alix Catherine Tichelman, 26, of Folsom was arrested Friday in connection with the overdose death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes, who worked for GoogleSun Microsystems and Apple.

[Also see - Hooker Business Booms in Silicon Valley] & [The Black Widow of Silicon Valley]

“Rather than trying to help or calling 911, police say, Tichelman packed up the drugs and needles and at one point stepped over the body to finish a glass of wine before leaving.”

Tichelman had been booked on suspicion of murder, but on Wednesday, Santa Cruz County prosecutors charged her with eight counts, including manslaughter, prostitution, destroying evidence and several related to administering and possessing heroin.

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Tichelman’s arraignment was postponed until July 16, but she remained in custody in lieu of $1.5-million bail.

Prosecutors said the charges could still change as the investigation continues. Read the rest of this entry »


Amazon Unveils ‘Fire Phone’

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone Associated PressAfter months of leaks and speculation, Amazon unveiled its ‘Fire Phone’ smartphone. The new phone has a 4.7-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera and unlimited photo storage in cloud, as well as a 3-D like effect where the images move where you do.

The phone will be available July 25, and sells for $649 to $749 with no contract…(read more)

Digits – WSJ

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone Associated Press


Analyst: Apple plans to release cheaper iMacs, 8 GB iPhone 5s at WWDC

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For 9to5Mac reports:

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a few more predictions about what we’ll see from Apple in the near future. According to a new KGI research note, Apple could potentially release cheaper versions of the iMac and iPhone 5s during its developer conference next week to accompany its software announcements.

Earlier today new references to an unreleased iteration of the the iMac appeared in an OS X developer preview, likely indicating the impending release of a new model. It’s quite possible that this could be the cheaper iMac referred to in the report. Read the rest of this entry »


4.7-Inch iPhone 6 Confirmed for Sept 2014 Release Date as Apple Orders 50M iPhones from Pegatron

More voices were added to the snowballing iPhone 6 discourse, its 2014 release date supposedly gaining more ground as a new render and fresh details defining the hotly-anticipated handset came out. (Photo: Nikola Cirkovic)

More voices were added to the snowballing iPhone 6 discourse, its 2014 release date supposedly gaining more ground as a new render and fresh details defining the hotly-anticipated handset came out. (Photo: Nikola Cirkovic)

For International Business TimesErik Pineda  writes: The iPhone 6 release date is fast shaping up to become real on September 2014 as mass production of the 4.7-inch version is reportedly already underway, according to new reports.

[See also: REPORT: APPLE ON VERGE OF BUYING BEATS FOR $3.2B]

Reports coming from Taiwan and Japan, which according to MacRumors were picked up by Industrial & Commercial Times and MacOtakara respectively, appear to indicate that Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron has started production activities for the tech giant’s 2014 iPhone thrust.

Pegatron is one of the iPhone maker’s two major mobile device assemblers from Asia. The one is Foxconn, which according to Apple Insider is slated to take up some 85 per cent of iPhone production duties this 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple’s CEO Puts Cronyism Over Profit

 

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Justin Danhof, Director of the Free Enterprise Project (and one of Tim Cook’s least favorite investors) joined the program to discuss his recent dust-up with the Apple CEO… Apparently, Cook thinks that return on investment isn’t nearly as important as pursuing “green energy” dollars from DC.

Click here to listen to Ransom Notes Radio live or for archives of previous shows.

Read the rest of this entry »


Reality-Based World to Tim Cook: ‘Screw You’

Tim Cook: Guzzling the climate-alarmist Kool Aid

Influenced by board member Al Gore? Apple CEO Tim Cook:  Guzzling the climate-alarmist Kool Aid

“If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

As Glenn Reynolds says “Duly noted”

At Apple shareholder’s meeting, Tim Cook tells off ‘climate change deniers’ | Ars Technica


Apple Stands Up to The Feds: Formally Appeals eBooks Antitrust Ruling, Asks for Monitor to be Suspended

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Apple has formally appealed the Department of Justice’s ebooks antitrust case, via the Associated Press. Previously, Apple has only officially complained about the power of the appointed monitor — now they are asking for the entire case to be re-evaluated.

Apple said that the ruling is a “radical departure” from modern antitrust law.

Apple claims it was ignorant of any inter-publisher price fixing and that Apple setup iBooks through legal arrangements without knowledge of any behind-the-scenes collusion.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple’s Merger Chief Met in Secret with Tesla CEO

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Sebastian Blanco  writes:  There’s no lack of connections between two of the most darling Silicon Valley companies, Apple and Tesla Motors. Most recently, the electric car manufacturerhired away Apple’s “Hacker Princess,” Kristin Paget, but it’s possible to look back as far as 2010 to see when Tesla hired the man who worked on the Apple Store experience, George Blankenshipto get the Tesla Stores in order (he left in late 2013). More recently, there’s been outside calls for the two to link arms, namely from banking analyst Adnaan Ahmad who said Apple should just up and buy Tesla (some have also predicted that General Motors could do just that in 2014) in late 2013. But nothing in this list ties the two companies together as strongly as a new report in the San Francisco Chronicle: Apple’s chief of mergers and acquisitions, Adrian Perica, secretly met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple releases a Beatles channel for Apple TV

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It’s no surprise that Apple is getting in on the landmark anniversary of Beatlesmania in the US. It’s launched a Beatles channel for the Apple TV with the Beatles’ initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show available for free streaming. It also promotes Apple’s release of the Beatles’ U.S. albums, which differ greatly from the UK versions in the early years.

It’s been 50 years since The Beatles made their way to the US and changed music forever, and now Apple is commemorating that with a special channel on the Apple TV. For a limited time, Apple TV owners will be able to view The Beatles’ back-to-back performances on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »


Steve Jobs wanted Sony VAIOs to run Mac’s OS

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UnknownJoseph Volpe reports:  If Steve Jobs had gotten his way, that VAIO in your lap could’ve been running OS X, Apple’s operating system. It sounds like fiction, but consider the source: former Sony president Kunitake Ando. The revelation, which stems from an interview Ando gave to Japanese journalist Nobuyuki Hayashi in 2011, highlights the close relationship Jobs reportedly shared with Sony’s co-founder Akio Morita — a relationship that led Jobs to make an exception to Apple’s walled off ecosystem. And according to Ando, it was on a 2001 golf trip in Hawaii that Jobs decided to surprise Sony executives with a version of Mac OS X running on a VAIO, four years before the Intel transition was made public.

As we all now know, that Apple/Sony partnership wasn’t meant to be. For Sony, the proposal was simply a case of bad timing, as it ran counter to not only the success the VAIO line was experiencing at the time, but also the wishes of its engineering team.

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After having spent so much time optimizing VAIO for Windows, Ando says Sony’s engineering team saw OS X on VAIO as a diversion of resources and were “opposed [to] asking ‘if it is worth it’.” It was because of these two factors that Sony never pursued the prospect of Mac-compatible VAIOs any further…

Read the rest of this entry »


Amazon Needs Heavyweight Content if It’s Developing a Games Console

amazon-logo-HTAmazon’s mystery set-top we keep hearing about like an elusive whale that surfaces distantly for moments before plunging into unlit nether regions is making a few new ripples off reports — rumors, to be sure — that the company’s still toiling and troubling to develop a game console that might compete with, well,everything.

It’s an obvious (if too often glossed-over) point, but the one that matters most in the end: If Amazon (or anyone else, Roku to Apple to Android-based game box X) wants to compete with established industry players like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, it needs what so many have tried and failed, deleteriously, to secure — broad, mainstream, third-party developer support.

Read the rest of this entry »


Disaster: How The Macintosh Failed (and Still Changed Computing)

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Chris O’Brien writes:  This morning much of the tech world is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original Macintosh computer.

It was Jan. 24, 1984, when a young Steve Jobs — sporting a goofy bow tie — stepped onto a stage in Cupertino, Calif., and unveiled the Macintosh. However deeply cynical we have grown about product launches, there is no doubt about how genuine the enthusiasm was in the auditorium that day.

Just watch the above video to the end and see the audience go completely bonkers. As a bonus, you get to see Jobs showing early signs of his stagecraft.

The event stands as one of Silicon Valley’s most mythic — a single moment that everyone can point to and say, “That was when everything changed.”

And that’s sort of true. But the reality, as always, is more complex.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple CEO Cook hands out autographed iPhones at China Mobile launch, says ‘great things’ coming

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From 9to5Mac:  As planned, iPhone sales have started via China Mobile, the largest carrier in China, today. The official iPhone China Mobile deal, which covers both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, was announced in December. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook promoted the event with multiple interviews, calling the partnership a “beginning.” Subsequent reports indicated that millions of iPhones have already been ordered through China Mobile…

Read the rest of this entry »


In rare TV interview, Tim Cook says he is ‘honored’ to be doing business with China Mobile

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In a rare TV interview, Tim Cook described this week’s launch of the iPhone on China Mobile as “a watershed day” for the company. While the soft-spoken Apple CEO is noted for the humbleness with which he speaks, it’s hard to imagine him describing Apple as being “honored” to do business with many other companies.

“I’m so honored to be doing business with … China Mobile. It’s a huge announcement…we’re incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them, and have had from the very first discussion that we’ve had together” …

Read the rest of this entry »


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