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Entries in Apple (277)

Monday
Jun032013

Apple's App Gap May Disappear

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple faces challenges on two fronts in the near future -- from Google and in the courts.

The tech company’s big competitive advantage may soon disappear. Within months, Apple may no longer be the world’s most popular platform for smartphone apps.

The Financial Times reports Apple “has used its superior apps presence to retain a competitive edge over smartphone rivals.” But with recent gains in popularity for Samsung and Google-owned Motorola phones more developers are creating new apps for Android devices.

About 50 billion apps have been downloaded for Apple’s mobile devices. Last month, Google reported an all-time total of 48 billion downloads for Android phones and tablets.

Additionally, the government and Apple are set to square off over accusations of e-book price fixing. The Justice Department sued Apple last year, claiming it conspired with five major book publishers to raise prices for electronic books shortly before the introduction of the iPad in 2010.

The government says comments from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs help prove their case. Apple lawyers argue the allegations are based on “faulty assumptions and unfounded conclusions.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun032013

Report: Apple Streaming Music Service Set to Launch

Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple seems to be getting closer to giving the streaming music services like Spotify, Rdio and Pandora, a run for their money.

According to The New York Times, Apple is pushing ahead with licensing deals with music companies so it can introduce its free streaming music and radio service at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week. Over the weekend, say the Times’ sources, Apple signed a deal with Warner Music Group. According to The Verge, Apple has already locked a deal with Universal Music. The company is still in talks with Sony Music.

The radio service is expected to have more in common with Pandora and Slacker than on-demand streaming services such as Spotify or Rdio. The radio service is expected to stream different music based on ones’ tastes and previous purchases. It is rumored to be free and supported by advertising.

Apple declined to comment on its streaming music plans when reached by ABC News.

Google announced its All Access Music streaming service at its developers conference in May. The service, which costs $9.99, allows users to listen to songs on demand through the web and Android apps. Google announced last week that it would release an iOS app very soon.

Apple’s iTunes music store recently celebrated 10 years in business. The rumored iRadio service, would reportedly drive users to buy and download more songs from the iTunes store. Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference begins next Monday, June 10 in San Francisco. There, Apple will preview the next version of its iOS and Mac OS X operating systems, Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week.

ABC News will be at the conference reporting live.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Apple Files $53 Million Settlement over Water Damage Policy

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple Inc. has filed a $53 million preliminary class settlement agreement in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California, potentially allowing $200 refunds to iPhone and iPod Touch customers who claim they should be covered under warranties, but were not because of liquid indicators in their devices.

A group of four class representatives were upset over Apple's liquid damage policy prior to Dec. 31, 2009, in which the company would deny coverage under the standard warranty and purchased AppleCare Protection Plan for an iPhone whose headphone jack or dock connector was pink or red, indicating water contact, and for an iPod Touch with the same description before June 30, 2010.

Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users who were covered under a warranty, brought in devices before those dates and were denied repairs or replacements because of a pink or red indicator will be able to go to a website for class members after judicial approval is given.

Jeffrey Fazio, an attorney representing two of the four class representatives, said he expected judicial approval in the next 30 days.

"They're both delighted, as are we," Fazio said of his clients. "We think it's a very good settlement. We think people will get real money and real relief."

Requests for comment to Apple and its attorneys were not returned.

The company has not acknowledged any wrongdoing in the settlement.

The movement to build a class started in April 2010 when Charlene Gallion filed a lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court. She and her attorneys proposed that they represent all purchasers of iPhones and iPod Touches in the country.

Apple's former liquid damage policy was changed around December 2009 for iPhone and June 2010 for the iPod Touch. The company then said that a warranty claim should not be denied based solely on a triggered headphone jack or dock liquid contact indicator.

Fazio said the issue with Apple's former policies was that company employees would allegedly base the decision to repair or replace a device based on the indicator without fully inspecting the device.

"If then they find after inspecting them internally, as we allege they should have done from the beginning, they find water damage, frankly, we don't find anything wrong with it," Fazio said.

Now, company employees first ask customers if a device has been damaged by water, then inspect the device, Fazio said.

So far, Fazio said, there are about 150,000 identifiable people who have made claims.

"They'll remember. I guarantee it," Fazio said of the potential claimants. "People who spend that much on a device and have to buy another one for reasons they don't believe were valid -- they tend to remember."

Depending on the final number of claims, people could receive about $200 from the $53 million settlement. If the fund is not fully utilized by claimants, the remaining funds will go to non-profit groups and consumer organizations, Fazio said.

Public records show that the agreement was filed on Tuesday, after an initial copy of Apple's agreement was leaked by Wired magazine last month.

According to the document, "liquid contact indicator" is the name Apple used from Dec. 22, 2009 to describe a water contact indicator tape it purchased from the 3M Company and installed in iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

"They weren't designed to detect damage to an electronic device," Fazio said of the indicators. "What they were designed to do is alert a company that there may be a problem. And if they saw that, opened the device and inspected it and actually found a problem, we wouldn't have filed suit."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
May042013

Apple Offering $10K Prize for 50 Billionth App Download

Image Credit: Apple(NEW YORK) -- Apple is celebrating its approach of the 50 billion App Store download milestone with a big contest.

Be the lucky user to download the 50 billionth app and Apple will send you an App Store gift card worth $10,000. The very next 50 app downloaders after number 50 billion will each get a $500 App Store gift card.

Before you Apple users go app download crazy, know that the contest will only register 25 entries per account per day. To be eligible, users must also be at least 13 years old.

Now the big question is: how would you spend a $10,000 App Store gift card?

There’s obviously plenty of music, movie, and book content to sift through, but if you need app suggestions, Business Insider put together a list of some of the most expensive apps available for iPhone and iPad.

Among the pricey apps are BarMax CA, priced at $999 and created by a group of Harvard alumni as a study app for law students preparing for the California bar exam and DDS GP Yes!, a graphic presentation app for dentists to educate their patients on dental procedures, for $499.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May012013

Apple's Upcoming iOS 7 May Have New Look

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Speculation is rampant about what visual changes Apple may work into the latest version of its mobile device software, iOS 7, set to be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, June 10-14.

Sources familiar with the changes in the software that powers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch have said Apple is moving away from a realism look -- the way elements and apps have been built to replicate real life with three-dimensional layering and faux texturing -- and introducing a simpler, “flatter” design, according to Bloomberg News. A report by 9to5Mac corroborates this report, citing sources that said the new elements in iOS 7 will be moving in the direction of Microsoft’s Windows Phone “Metro” UI.

The event invitation for WWDC is even being sniffed for clues. “Apple’s WWDC 2013 logo, the art for the conference in which iOS 7 will be announced, has sparked speculation about flat interface design with its modern, lightweight text and other elements,” 9to5Mac posted.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, a known Apple speculator, has also commented on an “apparently rather significant system-wide UI overhaul” for the newest version of Apple’s mobile OS. He posted that Apple employees have been asked to use polarizing filters on their iPhone displays, making it difficult for observers see the design changes ahead of the iOS 7 announcement.

These purported software changes are attributed to the new oversight of software design by Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design. Ive, head of the team responsible for the lauded iPhone and iPod hardware, has been given extended influence over mobile software design after the Apple Maps blunder and exit of former senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall, Bloomberg News reported.

The general look and style of Apple’s iOS has remained the same since being introduced in 2007. Since then, Google’s Android has been visually revamped a number of times, most recently under the supervision of Palm WebOS convert Matias Duarte. New designs have also been brought to market by Microsoft with Windows Phone offerings and by Blackberry with the latest line of Blackberry 10 devices.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar222013

Sources: Google Working on Smartwatch, Too

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The year of the smartwatch is upon us. According to rumors, Apple has a team of 100 working on a watch that works with the iPhone, and Samsung has confirmed that it is working on a watch of its own. And now sources tell The Financial Times that Google is developing a watch to work “as an extension to the smartphones using [Android].”

According to a “person briefed on the project,” Google’s Android team is developing the smartwatch. The source also said that “the [Android] project is separate from Samsung’s efforts.”

When asked about the smartwatch rumor, a Google spokesperson told ABC News that the company “doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

The watch, like other smartwatches, will likely pair with an Android phone and allow one to view messages and incoming call notifications right on the watch’s display. Google did file for a patent describing a “smart-watch including flip up display” in 2011. This patent was approved late last year.

The wearable gadget space seems to be drawing the interest of many companies. Pebble, the smartwatch that works with the iPhone and Android, beat all the odds on Kickstarter, receiving more than 85,000 orders for the watch and more than $10 million from people who wanted to back the company. Many companies have also joined the fitness tracker market, including Nike, Motorola and Jawbone.

Of course, Google is no stranger to wearable computing items right now. Google Glass, those futuristic, Internet-connected eyeglasses that show digital data right before your eyes, is now undergoing testing, and Google plans to release a version by the end of the year. Google is expected to talk more about its Glass project and its next versions of Android at its annual Google I/O conference in May.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar022013

CEO's Severance Will Include iPads, iPhone, No Cash

Courtesy of Apple(NEW YORK) -- The former CEO of insurer Marsh & McLennan will receive an unusual severance package that included his company-issued iPads, iPhone and Blackberry, but no cash.

Brian Duperreault, 65, announced in September that, after five years as CEO and one month as chief financial officer, he will retire at the end of the year. The financial documents investigative website, Footnoted, found the details in an exhibit of the 312-page document Marsh & McLennan filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

His most recent employment agreement indicates that he won’t receive any severance in the form of cash, however, spokeswoman for the company confirmed that Duperreault will not receive any cash severance.

According to the 10-K document, after retirement, Duperreault will have access to to a Bloomberg terminal subscription, which is worth about $1,500 a month through Feb. 2014, says Footnoted.

“As a courtesy, MMC did agree to provide Mr. Duperreault with post-retirement transitional support in the form of administrative support, an office at the Company’s office where he is domiciled and access to his existing technology support for one year,” she said.

But don’t feel bad for Duperreault. He will get an office and administrative support at the company’s offices in Bermuda through the end of the year and his third tranche of 400,000 stock options granted in 2008, which Footnoted points out are trading at about the same price today as when they were granted.

Shares of Marsh & McLennan closed at $37.24 on Friday, up 0.27 percent.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb222013

Judge Grants Hedge Fund’s Injunction Against Apple Inc.

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A federal court judge in New York Friday granted a request by hedge fund Greenlight Capital to block Apple Inc. from including a measure on its shareholder ballot that would limit the iPhone maker’s ability to issue preferred stock.

Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, whose firm owns more than 1.3 million Apple shares, sought the injunction after complaining that Apple was hurting shareholder value by holding too much of its $137 billion cash hoard, the most of any firm.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan granted the preliminary injunction stopping the vote on that proposal, set for Feb. 27 at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting. He ordered the two sides to submit briefs outlining the next steps in the case.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended the company’s use of its cash: “We do have some cash, but it’s a privilege to be in this position …where we can seriously consider returning additional cash to our shareholders,” he told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

“Apple doesn’t have a depression-era mentality” about cash, he said. The company, he added, makes “bold bets,” investing $10 billion in research and development last year.

Cook said Apple will “thoroughly consider” a proposal by Einhorn, who wants the company to issue preferred shares that pay a high dividend.

“Apple must examine all of its options to unlock the growing value of its balance sheet for all shareholders,” Einhorn said.

He’s urging Apple shareholders to vote down a proposal to eliminate preferred stock and sought a federal court order to bar the firm from certifying votes cast in favor the proposal. Preferred shares often pay a higher dividend than common shares.

Cook had called the Einhorn suit a “silly sideshow” that detracts from Apple’s real mission of creating top products. “Our north star is great products. When everyone comes to work every day they think about that.  We wouldn’t do anything we don’t think is a great product,” he said.

A Greenlight Capital spokesman had said in an email in response to Cook’s comments, “If Apple thinks the lawsuit is a waste of resources, it could simply end the matter by complying with existing law and filing a new proxy that unbundles the proposed changes to the charter so that shareholders can express their views on each matter separately.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

Apple Stores 'Aren't Big Enough,' Says CEO

Apple, Inc.(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Apple CEO Tim Cook made an appearance Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, emphasizing the importance of Apple's retail stores.

"Some of our stores aren't big enough," Cook said according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's a privilege to have this kind of issue."

Cook told those in attendance that Apple is shutting down 20 stores and moving them elsewhere so that they can be expanded. The company will also open 30 stores in new locations, most of which will be located outside the United States.

Apple's 400 stores see almost 10 million people per week with an average of $50 million in annual revenue.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

Apple Reduces Price on MacBook Pro with Retina Display 

Apple, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- President Obama mentioned Apple's plans to make some Mac computers in America during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, and on Wednesday Apple followed up that Mac momentum with an announcement that it is lowering prices on some of its MacBooks.

The MacBook Pro with Retina Display, which was first introduced last June, is being refreshed with new processor options, and the smaller, 13-inch version is now $200 cheaper.

Some consumers criticized the $1,699 starting price of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina when it was released in November. Now, the 128GB version will start at $1,499, and the version with a faster 2.6GHz processor and 256GB of storage will cost $1,699.

Apple is also dropping the price of the 256GB 13-inch MacBook Air to $1,399 from $1,499.

The price of the larger 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina display has not been lowered -- it still starts at $2,199 -- but it will be getting some internal tune ups. It will be available with a faster 2.4GHz and 2.7GHz quad-core processors and up to 16GB of memory.

According to Ben Bajarin, a principal analyst at Creative Strategies, Apple's decision to lower prices on the computers has to do with the falling prices of components -- RAM, flash storage, etc.

"When prices of components come down, they are willing to lower prices when they can," he said. "We don't expect Apple to make the cheapest products on the market, but they are committed to being affordable in the market."

In its last quarter, Apple reported lower sales of Mac products (4.1 million, down from 5.2 million in the same quarter the year before). Tim Cook attributed the drop off to component supply and the iMac hitting shelves later in the quarter than he would have liked. He also said that Apple was aware that the iPad was cannibalizing part of the Mac business.

"I think cannibalization is a huge opportunity for us," Cook said on an Apple earnings call. "Our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it… We know iPad has cannibalized some Macs, and that doesn't worry us."

Bajarin said he doesn't believe the price drops on the Macs have anything to do with those Mac earnings, however.

"I don't think they looked at their last Mac quarter and started freaking out," he said. "The PC business is in decline; they know no one is going to turn that around."

Last month, Apple announced a $799 version of the iPad with a 128GB flash drive, which gives the tablet as much storage as some laptops. Apple, unlike Microsoft with its Windows 8 operating system, continues to keep its laptop and iPad lines separate, even though some iPad features have made their way over to the Mac. Cook has famously said converging the two would be like trying to combine a refrigerator and a toaster.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio