Category Archives: Apple News

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Microsoft Releases Xbox LIVE app for iOS

Oh boy, what do we have here? Good news for iOS devices owners who also own a Xbox. First it was OneNote for iOS, now they have released an official Xbox LIVE app (free) in Apple’s App Store. This release comes just a day after the launch of a new Dashboard update to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console.

Xbox Live iOS

The new app brings a Windows 8 feel to it, which is nice, but it just doesn’t feel like an iOS app in my opinion. Xbox LIVE for iOS brings some of the functionality found on the Xbox 360 consoles besides gameplay. The app allows users to access friends lists, game data, and messages through three main menus: “Home,” “Social” and “Games.”  In addition, the user interface is a blend of iOS swipe functionality with the tiled UI from Windows Phone 7. Icons and UI animations fade in and out like Windows Phone and is smooth with transitions.

Read and send messages to friends
Manage your friends list, invite new friends
Read and Edit your full LIVE profile (name, bio, motto)
Change your avatar features/items with the avatar closet
View and compare your achievement progress with friends

Microsoft’s new app is also optimized for the iPad, and uses a similar layout. The iPad app shows more content and detail. While Google releases crappy WebView apps for iOS, Microsoft releases polished apps for iOS. Just sayin’…

Grand Central Apple Store Revealed for Press Ahead of Friday’s Opening

Earlier this year, it was  confirmed  that Apple is opening a new store in New York’s Grand Central soon, and it  looks absolutely  stunning.  The store is expected to occupy 23,000 feet (crazy!). It is also expected to  generate  half-a-billion in sales a year, which is probably more than all Microsoft stores combined.  That is assuming those stores generate any revenue. In fact, Microsoft has yet to reveal retail store numbers.  Last week, it was  reported    that store is to open soon, then, just a few days after it was confirmed that the store will open this Friday.

Apple Grand Central Store front
Main entrance (Source: Business Insider)
Apple Grand Central Inside
Genius Bar and display tables (Source: Business Insider)

Today, Business Insider reports that Apple has taken down the tarps covering the front of its soon-to-open Grand Central Terminal Store, which reveals the entrance to one of the company’s largest retail location in the world. The company also had its media preview of the store today and released a press release. Apple’s exterior signs for the store’s main entrance consists of lighted Apple logos mounted on glass panel  on each of the two landings for the main stairway, with a third lighted Apple logo mounted above the top of the stairs. Beautiful would be an understatement.

The Apple Store ® Grand Central, Apple’s fifth store in Manhattan, will open Friday, December 9, at 10 a.m., just in time for the holidays. This one-of-a-kind Apple retail store overlooks the historic Main Concourse from the East and North East balconies of the world-famous Grand Central Terminal, and has two Genius Bars for free tech support and advice.

Beyond the balcony overlooking the expansive Main Concourse, the Apple Store Grand Central offers rooms dedicated to some of our most popular services, including the largest area in the world dedicated to Personal Setup.

Fortune has also posted a video walkthrough of the new store. The interior photos of the store show that Apple has placed its stock on the sales floor, filling the many tables with Apple hardware for customers to try out. Free Wi-Fi courtesy of Apple is also provided. If a Microsoft Store is ever this beautiful and well planned out, color me surprised.

Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store will open to the public at 10:00 AM on Friday.

Apple Submits Revised Renderings for Apple’s New Campus

Apple's Spaceship campus comparisonOriginal rendering, left; Updated rendering, right. (image via AppleInsider)

Earlier this year, Steve Jobs  revealed  Apple’s plans for a massive new campus in Cupertino, CA known as the Spaceship. Then, a new report suggested that  the new campus is larger than the U.S. Pentagon and New York City’s Empire State Building (amazing). Yesterday, Apple submitted new renderings for the proposed spaceship. The new renderings reveal a brand new roof (which consists of a new dark-grey material), a jogging path, and changes to its fitness center.

Apple Spaceship Rendering

The City of Cupertino published  an update to the company’s “Apple Campus 2 Project”. Most of the new renderings are of higher quality and are better lit, but  some of the images also appear to show a darker color for the structure’s roof. In addition, minor changes have also been made. The revised application calls for an addition of parking plans for the corporate auditorium. Also, drawings for a private jogging path and a proposed expansion of the corporate fitness center from the original proposal of 25,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet have been made. Not only has Apple made requests for new additions, but has also removed a floor from the fitness center. The proposed new height for the fitness center is 18 ft versus the original 30 ft.

Apple’s new “Spaceship” campus will have an area of be 2.8 million square-foot  and house 13,000 employees. Back in June, Steve Jobs described the campus as follows:

It’s a pretty amazing building. It’s a little like a spaceship landed. It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle… It’s a circle. It’s curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s all curved. We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building… It’s pretty cool.

If everything goes as per plan, the company plans to break ground on the project next year and open the facility in 2015. Don’t know about you, but I would love to work at this future campus.

Steve Jobs Biography is Amazon’s Best Selling Book of 2011

Steve Jobs bio cover

Just last month Steve Jobs’s official biography was released, and it has been a massive hit since then. Data complied in November  revealed that  Walter Isaacson’s book, entitled Steve Jobs,sold a total of 379,000 copies in its first week in America. The biography outsold the next-best selling title,  The Litigatorsby John Grisham, by more than three to one.  In addition to being a top seller in hardcover  at Amazon, it has also been the No. 1 title on the company’s  Kindle platform, and on  Apple’s iBooks.

Today, MacRumors reports that  the biography has moved to the top of Amazon’s list of best sellers in 2011 this week. When “Steve Jobs” first debuted, it quickly rose to #13. By mid-November  the title had risen to #2 on the list, setting the stage for the top spot. This milestone is remarkable considering that the book did not debut until late October.

In addition,  Sony Pictures has  acquired the movie rights  to the authorized biography, and Aaron Sorkin is  “strongly considering”  writing the screenplay for the film. I’m not sure how I feel about a movie on Steve Jobs though.

Apple’s Secret iOS Code Names Inspired by Ski Resorts

Apple logo

Apple is known to be an extremely secretive company. However, sometimes tidbits from others regarding the company do get revealed somehow. The company has a habit of giving code names to its projects. For example, its rumored Oregon data center project is code named “Maverick.” Also, unlike with new builds of Mac OS X, where Apple makes the OS’s code name part of its branding, the approach for iOS is completely different. Apple uses a numeric approach to name its new iOS builds.

Turns out, the full list of iOS names has been published on TiPb after developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who we interviewed last month, tweeted the code names on Twitter. Apparently, the code names are named after ski resorts.  They begin with the first version of iOS in 2007, when version 1.0 was known as “Alpine,” in reference to California’s Alpine Meadows.

iOS 2.0 is internally known as “Big Bear,” in connection with Big Bear Lake, Calif. Another California resort, Kirkwood Mountain, also inspired the codename for iOS 3.0 and so forth. The entire list of iOS code names can be found below:

  • 1.0: Alpine
  • 1.1: Little Bear
  • 2.0: Big Bear
  • 2.1: Sugarbowl
  • 2.2: Timberline
  • 3.0: Kirkwood
  • 3.1: Northstar
  • 3.2: Wildcat
  • 4.0: Apex
  • 4.1: Baker
  • 4.2: Jasper
  • 4.3: Durango
  • 5.0: Telluride
  • 5.1: Hoodoo
Much better than being named after desserts, don’t you think? ;-)

US Judge Says Samsung Tablets Unlikely to Attract Apple’s Customers

Apple vs Samsung

From Apple suing Samsung to Samsung suing Apple, the news just don’t stop coming!  As we known by now, there are many legal disputes going on between Apple and copy-cat Samsung.  Lately, Apple’s been  trying to ban  Samsung’s Galaxy Tab from being sold in Germany and Australia. Just a few days ago, it was reported that  Samsung’s redesign of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet wasn’t enough to satisfy Apple. Got to love stubborn Apple! Yesterday, it was reported that Apple is trying to ban  sales of certain  Samsung Galaxy  products in the U.S. Unfortunately, the request was denied  District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose.

Now, more details have been revealed regarding the decision. According to a new report from Reuters, the decision was in part on the fact that Samsung’s sales were unlikely to tempt Apple’s customers and instead come at the expense of other Android makers. HA! Why would Apple owners switch to an inferior product in the first place? This reasoning was revealed in public courts documents that were not properly redacted. Reuters reveals that these documents were  edited to block certain details as intended by the court. Sounds fishy.

Koh’s 65 page decision that denied Apple a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s sales of Galaxy devices and tablets in the US included mention of studies by Apple that show that “existing customers are unlikely to switch from iPhones to Samsung devices.”  Once again, why would anyone switch from Apple to an inferior product?  Just goes to show that iPhone owners are receiving the best user experience and don’t care about the “openness” of a device.

Oh boy, the next part is hilarious. The report also revealed that Samsung’s argument against this was that if their devices were banned, Apple would not be able to keep up with the demand for smartphones in the market. Seriously copy-cat Samsung? I guess they forgot they are the ones who make the A5 chips for the iOS devices.  Koh regarded the argument as “dubious.”

Kapow! Apple countered by saying that  Samsung sells very few tablets (no surprise here) and is targeting Samsung due to its violation  of its iPhone and iPad patents. Clearly, Samsung isn’t copying Apple. Just take a look at the picture below.

Samsung copying Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Siri is Not Against Abortion

Apple’s much-hyped voice assistant, Siri seems to have no answers to questions related to abortions and birth control. Users are reporting that if you ask Siri an abortion related question like, Where can I go to get an abortion?or Where can I go for birth control?, it gave a straightforward answer – “I don’t see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that.”

After the New York Time happened to bring attention about this issue, Apple responded saying that Siri is technically running in beta and is not perfect.

“These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told the Times.

Siri Anti-abortion

Norman Winarsky, who co-founded Siri before Apple acquire it in 2010, stated that the problem caused could be due to the answers (or information) that Siri draws from third-party website like Yelp and Wolfram Alpha. He also  added,  although Apple made deals with Web service that provide information, they probably didn’t pay much attention to all the results obtained from Web services. However, Winarsky noted that he has no direct knowledge of what Apple has done with Siri since acquiring it.

NARAL’s president, Nancy Keenan, shot an email to Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook in which she complained: “In some cases, Siri is not providing your customers with accurate or complete information about women’s reproductive-health services.”

In reply to Nancy’s email, CEO Tim Cook stated the following –

Nancy,

Thanks for your note.

Our customers use Siri to find out all types of information and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always find what you want. These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks.

I appreciate you pointing this out.

Best Regards,

Tim

Siri functions by gathering information from Web services, including Yelp and Wolfram Alpha to give the user the best answers possible. Although the voice assistant is claimed to be help and assist its user, it has given a number of quirky and funny answers. We had earlier posted about the best funny responses by Siri.

Also Read:  Best and Funny iPhone’s Auto-correct Mistakes

The site SignOn.org, a product of activist organization MoveOn, has a petition created by social activists Nita Chaudhary and Shaunna Thomas. The petition to Apple states, “Stop promoting anti-choice extremists. If a user asks for family planning services, they should be directed to a group that offers full services, like Planned Parenthood – not to a hard-right clinic with an extremist agenda.”

It has gained a huge attraction, and more than 32,000 people have signed, so far. Their goal is to reach 40,000 signatures after which it will be sent to Apple’s CEO.

Judge Denies Apple Request to Ban Samsung Galaxy Sales in U.S.

Apple vs. Samsung

The hoopla between Apple and Samsung continues. As we known by now, there are many legal disputes going on between Apple and copy-cat Samsung.  Lately, Apple’s been trying to ban Samsung’s Galaxy Tab from being sold in Germany and Australia. Just a few days ago, it was reported that  Samsung’s redesign of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet wasn’t enough to satisfy Apple. Got to love stubborn Apple!  Now, Apple is trying to ban sales of certain Samsung Galaxy products in the U.S.

Unfortunately, on late Friday, it was revealed that Apple’s request for an early U.S. ban on certain Samsung mobile devices was not granted by  District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, reports  Reuters. Well duh! Why would they be granted such a request? Obviously, Samsung’s not copying Apple. Here is the proof!

Samsung copying Apple

Koh denied Apple’s request to ban the sale of the Droid Charge, Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the U.S. According to Koh,  “It is not clear that an injunction on Samsung’s accused devices would prevent Apple from being irreparably harmed.” Kristin Huguet,  spokeswoman for Apple, replied by saying that Samsung’s “blatant copying is wrong.”

Samsung’s litigation strategy has also been  under investigation  by the European Commission to determine whether it violates anti-competition laws.

Apple May Build a Huge New Data Center in Oregon

Apple Data Center

Early this year, Steve Jobs talked about what powers iCloud during his WWDC keynote  . It is a huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina that is 500,000 square feet and is about five times the size of the company’s existing Silicon Valley data center. Also, it costed $1 billion to build, which is  twice what Google and Microsoft generally invest in their cloud data centers. Then in October, after the iCloud announcement, it was reported that Apple started to build a solar farm across the gigantic data center.

Today, OregonLive.com reports that Apple is “nearing a decision” on whether or not to build a brand new data center in Oregon. Ironically, if they do, the new data center would be located  a quarter of a mile south of a Facebook server farm that opened earlier this year. Why is this ironic? Rumor has is it that Apple and Facebook have a love/hate relationship (ex: Ping lacking Facebook Connect integration).

The world’s largest tech company is nearing a decision on whether to build a large data center in Prineville, a quarter mile south of the Facebook server farm that opened earlier this year, according to two people with direct knowledge of Apple’s plans.

Those familiar with the discussions say that Apple’s Oregon plans have been in flux while it awaited word on whether there would be adequate electricity transmission in Prineville to meet its needs.

With transmission capacity expanding and other companies now looking elsewhere, a door opened for Apple.

Apple’s project is codenamed  “Maverick”, which is rumored to  include a 31-megawatt data center, with plenty of land available for future expansion. In addition, the electricity required for this data center has not been disclosed but sources have estimated    it in the range of 100 megawatts.

It seems to me that a lot of people are using iCloud and Apple needs more capacity to handle the data and other services. The company is also working on a small data center in Newark, California and has been building a minor additional data center in  in Santa Clara, California.

MTA on State Investigation of Apple Grand Central Terminal Deal: “Bring It On”

Normally when Apple announces a new store, no legal trouble is involved, but the Grand Central Terminal deal seems to be causing some trouble for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Apple. Why? Because Apple scored a unique deal with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). This deal goes to show how much retail power Apple actually has.  Just yesterday, Apple revealed that the company’s new store in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal will be opening on December 9th. In addition, it was reported that  the State of New York was investigating the deal.

Apple Store Grand Central

Today,  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which is in charge of leasing Grand Central Terminal’s retail space has  issued a courageous statement. The press release issued welcomes the investigation and expresses confidence  that it received the best possible deal for a difficult space that had previously been doing poorly.

With regard to any calls for an investigation into the lease, our comment is this: Bring it on. This is the best possible deal for the MTA, quadrupling the rent we receive and bringing foot traffic to Grand Central Terminal that will increase revenue from all of our retailers. We look forward to explaining the details of this competitively bid transaction to anyone who is interested.

The MTA also reveals that the space is difficult for retailers to deal with given the limitations due to the  historic preservation regulations for the open balcony space. In fact, Apple’s tenancy also required a $5 million buyout of Metrazur’s lease, which ran through 2019, and more than $2.5 million in improvements to the building infrastructure, including a new elevator, HVAC systems and other changes. Holy moly! Apple has a lot of money in the bank. While “competitors” are trying to play catchup with Apple, they are working on expanding their retail presence.

This is the best possible deal for the MTA. When all of the costs are included, Apple is paying more than $180 per square foot over the ten-year lease. As the competitive bidding process revealed, there are no other uses for this space that would generate the same revenue for the MTA given the up-front costs and limitations.

Apple’s store in Grand Central Terminal is supposed to occupy 23,000 feet and is expected to  generate  half-a-billion in sales a year.

Confirmed: Apple Store Grand Central Opens December 9th

Earlier this year, it was  confirmed  that Apple is opening a new store in New York’s Grand Central soon, and it  looks absolutely  stunning.  The store is expected to occupy 23,000 feet (crazy!). It is also expected to  generate  half-a-billion in sales a year, which is probably more than all Microsoft stores combined.  That is assuming those stores generate any revenue. In fact, Microsoft has yet to reveal retail store numbers.  Last week, it was  reported    that store is to open soon. Rumor had it that the store will opens on December 9th.

Apple Store Grand Central

Yesterday, some interesting tidbits regarding Apple’s contract  with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for its Grand Central Terminal retail store were revealed. These agreements just go to show how much retail power Apple actually has. Now, The New York Post reports that the State of New York is investigating the deal.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has launched an investigation into whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) gave Apple overly generous terms on its lease for the shop, which is slated for a splashy opening next week.

The article in the New York Post about the MTA’s contract with Apple in Grand Central Terminal is a cause for concern,DiNapoli said in a statement yesterday. This is a prime property, and I intend to make sure that the MTA hasn’t given away the store.

Today, in line with previous rumors, Apple has officially announced an opening day date for its massive store inside Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal. The store will be opening on Friday, December 9th.

[Image credit: MacRumors]

Disney CEO Buys $1M of AAPL Shares After Joining Board of Directors

Earlier this month, it was reported that  Disney  president and CEO, Bob Iger, had joined the board of directors at Apple.    Iger played an important role in rebuilding the partnership between Disney and Pixar after both the companies’ relationship turned away under the leadership of his predecessor at Disney, Michael Eisner. In addition to Iger joining the board, Art Levinson had been named the Chairman of the Board of Directors.  Levinson replaced Steve Jobs in the chairman’s role,  who was briefly named Apple’s chairman following his resignation as its chief executive.  Art Levinson was the former Genentech executive and has served on Apple’s board since 2000. He has also been the co-lead director since 2005.

Apple logo

Today, a new statement filed with the U.S.    Securities Exchange Commission reveals that  Iger purchased a total of 2,670 shares of Apple on Tuesday, as  noted by  MacRumors. Apparently, Iger divided the purchase into two separate    transactions of 1,370 and 1,300 shares each for a total purchase price of just over $1 million. Wow! Makes me wish I owned a $1 million in AAPL shares. In fact, it is the most undervalued stock in America.  The filing also revealed that  Iger’s wife owned 75 shares of Apple stock prior to his joining the company’s board.

In addition, according to MacRumors, non-employee Apple board members are typically paid $50,000 per year in compensation while they are on the board, plus an annual stock award in the form of RSU’s.

Apple Scored “Unique” Bargain for Grand Central Store

Earlier this year, it was  confirmed  that Apple is opening a new store in New York’s Grand Central soon, and it  looks absolutely  stunning.  The store is expected to occupy 23,000 feet (crazy!). It is also expected to  generate  half-a-billion in sales a year, which is probably more than all Microsoft stores combined. That is assuming those stores generate any revenue.

Apple Store Grand Central Display

Today, The New York Post reveals some interesting tidbits  on some of the details of Apple’s contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for its Grand Central Terminal retail store, and it just goes to show Apple’s power in retail. Normally, Apple would have to pay $200 per square, but they are only paying $60 per square foot for the property. Would this be the case if these stores weren’t bringing in a boat load of revenue and foot traffic? Nope. Other tenants, such as Shake Shack restaurant are paying more than $200 per square foot!

But while real estate insiders estimate the shop will rake in $100 million a year in sales, Apple won’t be sharing a nickel with Grand Central’s operator, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The tech giant is the only retailer in the fast-growing retail transit hub to have such a sweet lease.

Critics likewise note that Apple’s $60-a-square-foot lease is well below what many other tenants are paying — including a future Shake Shack burger joint that will be shelling out more than $200 a square foot, according to the leases, copies of which have been obtained by The Post.

The terms get even better for Apple. Unlike other merchants who rent space in Grand Central, Apple won’t have to pay a percentage  share of what it sells at the new storefront to New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The authority said that it agreed to allow Apple to keep all of its sales because the new store will “generate significant new traffic” for the 100 other retail tenants of Grand Central. Remember the time when Apple Stores were considered doomed? Well, now, this report goes to show that these once upon a time “doomed” stores give Apple a lot of retail power. Amazing isn’t it?

Last week, it was  reported    that store is to open soon. Rumor has it that the store will open on December 9th.

 

Motorola Blocked from Adding iTunes, iCloud and iPhone 4S to Patent Claim

A few hours ago, we reported an update on a lawsuit between Samsung and Apple. Well, now, we have an update on a lawsuit between Motorola and Apple. Oh boy, it never ends! Last week, it was reported that  Apple is also involved in a patent lawsuit with Motorola. Last April, Motorola originally sued Apple regarding MobileMe due to data synchronization patent. It was reported that if Apple claimed a potential injunction against the case, then it could result in a $2.7 Billion loss.

Apple vs. MotorolaToday, a new report reveals that Motorola has been blocked by a US court from adding iTunes, iCloud, and iPhone 4S to its patent infringement claims against Apple. HA! What goes around, comes around right? This is because of the supplemental infringement claims Motorola attempted to add to its case with Apple at the end of October in the Southern District of Florida after Apple filed a lawsuit against them, according to a  report  by Florian Mueller of  FOSS Patents.

Apparently, Motorola’s response to Apple’s lawsuit was filed too late for the court to accept, so as a workaround, the company tried to make the case that the its existing claims should be expanded to involve iTunes, iCloud and the new iPhone 4S.

 “Motorola seemingly would have to file an entirely new case against Apple to claim that these products infringe exactly the same patents at issue here.”

In fact, Motorola wasn’t just adding new products to its claim. Mueller points out that  the attempted expansion of the case by Motorola also “raised new issues with respect to certain originally-accused products.” Motorola has also incorporated claims against iCloud in its German litigation.  Tune in next week for another episode on mobile patent wars.

 

 

iTether App Offers Unlimited Internet Tethering On Your iPhone

Usually, Apple doesn’t allow apps in the App Store that allow users to unlimited tether for a one time fee, but it looks like Tether.com’s app has somehow been approved into the App Store. Their application is called “iTether“, which allows users to share their iPhone’s internet connection with their Mac or PC computer over USB.  iTether costs $14.99 and is available via the App Store.

iTether Screenshot

Tether offers applications for the Mac and PC; so the app should work on both platforms. Running the apps on your iPhone and your Mac allows your Mac to use your iPhone’s internet connection over a USB cable. With iPhone’s built-in tethering feature, users have the option to tether via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but this app currently does not support either.  Apple usually does not allow such applications to become available on the App Store due to agreements with carriers.

Nobody knows how long this app will be available via the App Store; so, grab it quick! Also, it should be noted that  AT&T is cracking down on unofficial iPhone tethering.

Update: The app has now been pulled.

[via  9to5Mac]