Apple Kicks Out Maps Executive, Richard Williamson

Richard Williamson, the Apple executive behind Apple Maps, was reportedly kicked out of the company two weeks ago according to The Wall Street Journal. When Williamson was with Apple, he primarily focused on Siri and Maps, two of the bigger flaws within iOS. His boss and senior vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall, got the boot in October. Williamson’s official title at Apple was Vice President of iOS Platform services.

Bloomberg has reported that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, was reportedly the one who let Williamson go. Cue is currently overseeing Apple Maps and is working to make it better.

Williamson and Forstall were both likely kicked out of Apple because of Apple’s rocky launch of Apple Maps with iOS 6. iOS 6 Maps has suffered from many flaws such misplaced location errors and is lacking both bike and public transportation maps. Apple has yet to comment on Williamson’s departure nor have they made his departure public like they did with Forstall’s.

Image Source: Yuya Tamai

How iPad is Changing Education Big Time

iPads have disrupted the way we do things for the better. It has changed the way we work, read, learn, game, and communicate. In fact, the device has also changed the way industries complete tasks. One prominent industry that has adopted the device is education. The iPad is helping students learn better, improve test scores, and making learning a better interactive experience. Creativity is inspired among students because they are now learning on a device that motivates them. The amount of features and apps the device offers also helps get them more engaged with the content. In addition, iPads have replaced bulky textbooks and lets students easily access content they need anywhere. They don’t need to carry cumbersome laptops or bulky backpacks anymore.

Even though the use of technology in the education system has been discouraged, that is quickly changing thanks to the iPad. Let’s take a look at how the device is disrupting the traditional ways of teaching:

Updated Textbooks

A major problem with paper textbooks is how quickly the material becomes outdated. Due to this, students are forced to learn old material instead of current material. Also, since paper textbooks are expensive to produce and costly for schools to buy, they aren’t purchased frequently within school districts. These books are also very costly for students. With some textbooks costing more than $100, the price tag adds up quickly. If a typical student has six different courses, then they could easily end up spending $600 on textbooks alone. Also, a typical class has more students than sets of textbooks. This doesn’t help teachers or students in any way. The solution for this? Apple’s iPad. The cheapest retail version now costs $329 made possible due to the iPad mini. Apple may offer a discount on iPads in the future for education, but that has not been revealed yet. The company already offers discounted prices for Macs in education. For example, the $999 iMac for education.

Through the iPad, teachers are able to provide updated information, stories, and research for each session instead of using outdated printed material. Apple’s iBooks textbooks are ensuring that digital e-books are developed for all levels of students. The biggest impact is being caused via the form of textbooks.

Mobility in education 

Until recently, students had no option but to carry extremely heavy loads of textbooks to school every day for completing homework or following coursework, but the iPad eliminates this issue. The device’s light weight and extremely portable design allows students to complete their homework and learn from anywhere. They are constantly tuned into learning. For teachers, iPad has made it much easier to carry their course work with them on the go. This has already become a trend. Jackson Christian School in Jackson, Tenn., has virtually paperless classrooms. Students no longer carry binders and textbooks and teachers test students on their iPads.

New ways to increase productivity and organization

A common issue among students is keeping their notes and homework assignments easily organized. Either the paper has somehow disappeared or got thrown away by accident. This is partially due to students having grown up in a digital age. They are used to having documents automatically being saved on a computer and having them accessible at time. Finding something is as easy as clicking a button these days.

Say good bye to the traditional paper planner and say hello to new applications like iStudiez Pro and other content organizer apps have made it is easier than ever before for students to keep track of schedules and deadlines, complete homework, and even find their assignments and task lists. In addition, it has revolutionized note taking inside and outside of the classroom. No longer do students have to spend a lot of time and energy copying notes. Oh, another bonus point? Notes are actually legible!

In fact, a teacher at Garden City High School in Garden City, Kan. was actually taught by one of her students on how to use Notability, an iPad app that enables the user to take notes, record lectures, and annotate PDFs. It is the power of the iPad combined with rich apps that make all of this possible.


iPads are quickly becoming a PC replacement in school districts and universities because they are more economical than laptops that offer similar options. It has been proven that providing students with iPads is much cheaper than purchasing a whole new set of textbooks for each student from kindergarten through 12th grade. iPads are already overtaking PC sales in schools and with the new iPad mini, adoption of the device in education will rapidly increase.

Customized Curriculum

Every student learns differently, but the education system currently imposes a one size fits all method. Now with the iPad, the student can be in control, choosing how they learn, where, and when. In addition, the power of technology and the device enables the option of an app to be developed that can help create a customized learning experience for individual students. Yes, this is a bit far off, but it is totally possible. Students who struggle on a certain topic can receive more guided practice and teachers can spend more time with them, while other students continue to work independently as they master the curriculum. Students can also easily collaborate with peers as they go through the curriculum. Courses can be fine tuned for each student as they make progress throughout the curriculum, which would lead to education becoming a truly personalized experience – something that does not exist as of today.


The education system is in desperate need of change and iPad is one of the ways it is disrupting the way students and teachers do things inside and outside of the classroom. Combine that with applications, open education sources, or an online school like Khan Academy and you have a modern day teaching and learning environment. It’s also creating a desire for lifelong learning and creativity among students rather than just learning information for a grade.


iTunes Digital Gift Cards Now Available Through Facebook

Today, Facebook announced that users can now purchase iTunes Store digital gift cards via Facebook’s Gifts platform. This makes it easier for users to send iTunes credit to their networks of Facebook friends. The digital gift cards are available for $10, $15, $25, or $50. In addition, upon purchase, Facebook users can suggest what music, video, or apps their friends should spend their iTunes credit on.

AllThingsD notes that this partnership increases visibility for the iTunes Store and gives Facebook a part of what is currently estimated to be a $260 million business in iTunes Store gift cards for third-party retailers.

Apple and Facebook have had a bit of a bumpy history, with the two companies failing to have reached an agreement to offer Facebook integration in Apple’s failed Ping social networking service for iTunes. However, the companies have been working more closely recently, with Facebook integration in iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion.

Apple Acquired ‘Lightning’ Trademark from Harley-Davidson

Patently Apple reports that Apple acquired the Lightning trademark from a motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson. Details of the trademark deal were made public in a filing with the European Union and it noted that the registered trademark for “Lightning” was originally owned by H-D Michigan, Inc, which is the intellectual property holding company for Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson originally owned the rights to the trademark across a wide range of product types: television sets, games, computer game programs, eye glasses, and eyeglass frames, in addition to motorcycle electrical parts, protective helmets and turn signals.

The Lightning connector was first introduced on the iPhone 5 in September, which replaced the 30-pin dock connector found on previous models. It is 80% thinner than its predecessor and also orientation independent.

American Kids Want Apple Products for Christmas

A new survey by research firm Nielsen reveals that  U.S. consumers aged 6-12 are very interested in purchasing Apple’s iOS products over the next 6 months. The new Nintendo Wii U claimed the #2 spot, but significantly fell behind the iPad. Apple’s iPod touch, iPad mini, and iPhone are rounded out the rest of the top 5 most wanted products for this age group. 48 percent of children surveyed showed interest in the full-sized iPad (up from 44 percent last year), and 36 percent in the new iPad mini.

Nielsen also surveyed people older than 13+ and discovered that the iPad also topped that list. However, the remainder of the 13+ year old list wasn’t as much in favor of Apple than the 6-12 year old group.

It sounds like it is going to be a massive holiday quarter for Apple.

AAPL Surging Following Extremely Positive Analyst Comments

Today, Apple’s stock price has surged nearly six percent, which is a large amount for any company. The rally is due to extremely bullish comments from Topeka’s Brian White. White believes that the recent drop in Apple’s share price has little to do with the fundamentals of the company and suggests that the stock is ready for significant growth.

In our view, the sell off in Apple’s stock over the past eight weeks has gotten to the point of being “insanely insane” given the depressed valuation (CY13 P/E of 7.6x ex-cash), new blockbuster products for the holiday season, the attractive long-term growth opportunities that lie ahead and the Company’s ability to distribute significant cash flow to investors. Those investors that have missed Apple or have been under-weight the stock, now have another opportunity to buy Apple before sentiment takes a turn for the positive during what has historically been the strongest quarter of the year for the stock.

Back in September, Apple’s stock price broke the $700 price mark for the first time ever, but has seen a significant fall since.


Apple Posts Black Friday ‘One-Day Shopping Event’ Teaser

Today, Apple has posted a teaser page on their  Australian online Apple Store for a “one-day Apple shopping event” on Friday, November 23rd.

The one-day Apple shopping event is Friday, 23 November.

Get ready to give. Shop online or visit your favourite Apple Retail Store.
We’ll help you make the most of the day, no matter how you shop.

In the US, the Friday after Thanksgiving represents Black Friday and it marks the start of  the Christmas shopping season. Apple’s international online and retail stores also participate in these sales.  Last year’s discounts for Apple’s products were (in USD):

iPad 2 – $41 to $61 Off
iPod nano – $11 off
iPod Touch – $21 to $41 off
MacBook Air – $101 off
MacBook Pro – $101 off
iMac – $101 off


Apple Discontinuing Messages Beta for Lion on December 14th

This Friday, Apple notified customers that the company will be  discontinuing the Messages Beta program for Lion on December 14th, 2012:

Dear [User],

The Messages Beta program for Lion will end on Friday, December 14, 2012. We hope you’ve enjoyed the opportunity to preview Messages.

If you’d like to continue using Messages, upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store. Messages is one of many great new apps and features built right into OS X Mountain Lion. Learn More.

Thank you for your participation in the Messages Beta program.

The email also mentions that in order to continue to use Messages,users must upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion. OS X Mountain Lion is available for $19.99 on the Mac App Store  [Direct Link].

Messages app is Apple’s iMessage client for the Mac. The client also replaces iChat in OS X Mountain Lion.

Samsung Not Interested in Settlement with Apple over Patent Issues

Recently Apple and HTC announced a settlement between their patent dispute. Following that announcement, a Samsung executive has hinted at that the company has no intention of agreeing to a similar deal. In a conversation with Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, Shin Jong-kyun, the head of Samsung’s mobile and IT division said that the company does not intend to negotiate “at all.”

“We have no such intention,” J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung Electronics’ mobile unit, told reporters on Wednesday when asked if Samsung would seek a similar settlement.

Samsung and Apple have engaged in a number of lawsuits in multiple countries around the world. In August, Apple saw its biggest victory against Samsung when a jury in California ruled that Samsung had violated Apple’s patented inventions. The jury suggested that Samsung should be required to pay Apple nearly $1.05 billion in damages.

Apple Again Tops U.S. Retail Chains in Sales

According to a new report from research firm Retail Sails, Apple’s retail stores have been ranked as the highest sales per square foot in the U.S.. Apple’s retail stores have been ranked number 1 for the second time in a row. This is more than double that of second-place Tiffany & Co, earning $3,017.

Besides Apple and Tiffany’s, no retailer was able to surpass $2,000 per square foot. The No. 3 chain lulu lemon athletic earned $1,936. Apple also made the top 10 retailers list with the highest overall sales per store. Apple came in at No. 9, behind wholesale retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club, as well as Neiman Marcus and Walmart. Retail Sail’s data comes from an analysis of more than 200 American retailers across 15 sectors.