Author Archives: Jordan Kahn

Apple announces $10K Product Integrity Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship for minorities in tech

Diversity

Continuing a number of recent initiatives related to promoting diversity at the company, Apple is now offering a new Product Integrity Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship offering “women, black/African American, Hispanic, or Native American university students” an opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship to help pay for their education in tech. The scholarship is named for Apple’s Product Integrity group that includes Hardware Reliability, Product Safety, Environmental Technologies, and Hardware and Software Test Engineering.

The Product Integrity Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship is an opportunity for women, black/African American, Hispanic, or Native American university students to win a $10,000 scholarship to help pay for their education in the technology field… To be eligible, applicants must be women, black/African American, Hispanic, or Native American students who are attending an accredited U.S. university and continuing their education in Fall 2015… Applicants must be in at least their sophomore year of college pursuing a bachelor’s degree, or enrolled in a master’s degree or PhD program in computer science or a related field.

Apple announced the new scholarship via two postings on its job listings site and explained how students can apply. One of the applications asks students to submit a proposal “describing the design of a test track for a vehicle that will transport astronauts on Europa (one of Jupiter’s many moons),” while the other asks applicants to envision adding a new sensor to an Apple product:

In addition to your resume, as part of your application you need to submit a detailed proposal describing the design of a test track for a vehicle that will transport astronauts on Europa (one of Jupiter’s many moons). Design the track and include renderings that show what materials, surfaces, and terrains you expose to the vehicle in order to ensure it will function while on Europa. Cost is no object. Use your imagination and design the test track to push the vehicle to the limits.

Last month Apple released its first diversity report for the company detailing the gender and ethnicity of its employees and other stats related to diversity at the company. Apple’s report showed that 7 out of 10 of its employees worldwide are currently male, while its workforce in the US is made up of 55% white, 15% Asian, 11% Hispanic, and 7% Black. Another 2% identify as more than one ethnicity and the remaining 9 percent chose not to declare. The company followed up with other recebt initiatives including internal events and a letter from Apple’s HR chief to employees earlier this week.

Apple will notify winners by January 31, 2015 and notes that it will automatically consider applicants for internship roles at the company.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, asian, Education, hispanic, minorities, native american, Product Integrity Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship, scholarship, tech, university

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Microsoft now offering monthly in-app subscriptions in Office iPad apps

Create-Office-subscription Office-subcription

Following updates today for Microsoft’s Office suite of apps for iPad, users can now purchase monthly subscriptions to Office 365, the service required for access to full editing features.

So starting today, you can buy a monthly subscription to Office 365 from within Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad. You can choose between Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home. Office 365 Personal is designed to help individuals who want to use Office on one PC or Mac and one tablet, while Office 365 Home is for households with up to five PCs or Macs, plus five tablets.

The monthly subscriptions are now available to purchase directly in the app for $6.99/month for the Personal plan and $9.99/month for Home. Microsoft added that “if you buy a monthly subscription on your iPad, you can switch to an annual subscription from your iPad, or from iTunes on your PC or Mac.” Yearly subscriptions to Office 365 offer savings over the monthly plans and are available for $69/year (Personal) and $99/year (Home).

Microsoft offered a chart showing what each of the plans get you within the Office apps vs free features:

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.23.18 PM

The updated Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for iPad are available on the App Store now.


Filed under: Apps

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Sony’s about to bring its interchangeable E-Mount lenses to smartphones w/ new QX accessory

SmartShot-ILCE-QX1_14_zpsa7ccef19

Sony is about to announce a new product in its QX camera accessory lineup that will make your smartphone compatible with any of its E-Mount lenses usually reserved for its line of NEX camcorders and mirrorless shooters. The report comes from the often reliable SonyAlphaRumors blog, which also shared the image above and below:

These are the first pictures of the ILCE-QX1 E-mount camera. The third QX camera after the QX10 and QX100 (here one Bay). But unlike the other two this hasn’t a fixed lens but is an E-mount module. It has an APS-C sensor (not sure yet but should have the same great A6000 24MP sensor with fast af), built-in flash

When Sony introduced its QX accessory for smartphones last year, there were mixed reviews on whether or not the lens-style camera attachment would catch on with consumers, but many praised the product despite not loving its original $300-$500 price point (which has since come down). More than just a lens attachment for your Android device or iPhone, the lens built in NFC, WiFi, battery, memory and a back-illuminated 18MP 1/2.3” Exmor R® CMOS sensor. This time around Sony is going ditch the fixed lens and let the accessory play nice with any of its E-Mount lenses, which could be a big draw for users that are already invested in the ecosystem.

Sony is expected to unveil the device during its IFA event in Berlin tomorrow on September 3. The new QX accessory will reportedly sell for 300 Euro for the body only and 450 Euro with a 16-50mm lens. The two current models are now selling for around $135 and $335 for the higher end model on Amazon. Update: Current model is now on sale for $84 shipped.

SmartShot-ILCE-QX1_4_zpsac0c2565 SmartShot-ILCE-QX1_5_zpse076dc0d SmartShot-ILCE-QX1_8_zps5ac07fbb SmartShot-ILCE-QX1_10_zpsc08ac894
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: accessory, attachment, carl ziess, e-mount, IFA, lens, QX, Sony

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Microsoft mocks Siri again in new commercial for Cortana & HTC One M8 (Video)

Microsoft, like Samsung, has been no stranger to directly going after Apple products in its latest TV commercials and online ads. Today, Microsoft has released yet another Siri-bashing ad comparing it to Windows own Cortana voice assistant feature on the HTC One M8.

Earlier this summer during its developer conference, Microsoft released its first ad going after Siri and comparing its functionality to the new Cortana personal assistant feature for Windows mobile devices. The previous commercial focused on the latest Nokia Lumia, while today’s ad highlights the recently announced Windows version of the HTC One M8.

Microsoft also taken on other Apple products in its recent ads including side-by-side comparisons of the MacBook Air and its Surface tablet in a commercial currently airing on TV.

Here’s to hoping Apple has some big Siri improvements up its sleeve that will come alongside the new iPhones later this month and possibly be at the heart of its wearable product also expected to be unveiled at its September 9 event.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS

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Review: Apple wireless keyboard for Logic Pro X from EditorsKeys

Logic-Pro-X-keyboard-02

There are a few companies that make skins specifically for Apple’s keyboards to add icons for the various shortcuts that pros use daily in apps like Logic Pro and Final Cut. I’ve tried a few in the past, but the benefits never seemed to outweigh the tradeoff of putting a clunky rubber skin over Apple’s masterfully built keyboard. The latest Logic keyboard I received in for review from EditorsKeys, however, has actually won me over and proven up to the task of permanently replacing my stock Apple keyboard.

The first thing worth pointing out about the new EditorsKeys Logic Pro keyboard is that it’s indeed an authentic Apple wireless keyboard that the company gets from Apple and mods itself. It’s also for the latest version of Logic, Logic Pro X, that Apple introduced last year. There are lots of companies out there that also sell Logic Pro X keyboards with shortcuts permanently overlaid on keys (opposed to a removable rubber overlay or stickers), but it’s not quite as easy to find a quality product that uses an authentic Apple keyboard and shortcuts for the latest version of Logic. 

The keys:

A deal breaker for me with these products is always how the keys feel. As you’d expect, it does change the feel of the keys slightly (not every key has an overlay though), giving them a slight eggshell-type finish compared to the smoother stock Apple keys. It took only a day or two to get used to and I think it’s only something that might bother the most meticulous of users. That’s the good news, because getting over the feel of the product is usually the reason I end up ditching these keyboards before I get to really take advantage of everything the shortcut keys offer. The company’s process is a bit of a secret, but it tells me its using a new machine for its latest keyboard that prints a plastic-like ink directly onto the keys. 

logic-wireless-02

The shortcuts:

I’m happy to report that keyboard shortcuts are quite an improvement over previous products I’ve reviewed as well.

Each key packs in two or three commands with everything written out in easy to read text. Lots of the competition just use an icon to represent shortcuts rather than descriptive text for each function and many only include one or two shortcuts per key. EditorsKeys also has light grey icons that sit behind the text on each key and represent its global command (the one that doesn’t require a modifier key).

I also had no complaints with the selection of shortcuts they’ve included (you can’t fit them all), and it doesn’t hurt that the company enlisted the help of around 50 Logic Pro users to design the latest keyboard. All the usual suspects are there for quick access to things like the mixer, hiding plug-ins, and navigating the timeline, but I also found myself learning and incorporating new shortcuts into my workflow that I never bothered to discover in all my years using Logic. 

A nice touch with the keyboard is that all shortcut text for each key is color coded to line up with the various modifier keys. Holding the red CMD key, for example, enables all the shortcuts written in red font on the keyboard. That’s enormously helpful for quickly learning the shortcuts and the four modifier keys.

Teaching Aid:

Logic-Pro-X-keyboardOne of biggest reasons I wanted to recommend this Logic Pro X keyboard is for users that maybe aren’t as familiar with the long list of keyboard shortcuts in Apple’s audio suite.

While I’m not surprised the company says pros have been loving the new keyboard, it’s perhaps most useful to those new to Logic that want to speed up their workflow and get a crash course in keyboard shortcuts. Having them in front of you while you’re working forces you to learn the shortcuts quickly. After a while you might even feel like you know them well enough to go back to a stock Apple keyboard, but having the visual cues will likely be something you wont wan’t to go without.

The keyboard I got in for review was Apple’s UK layout, but the company also mods the US version of Apple’s wireless keyboard and sells internationally through its website.

Should you buy it?

Your other options? Messy do-it-yourself stickers that you’ll have to apply yourself (and from my experience are much lower quality than whatever process EditorsKeys uses) or limited options for non-Apple keyboards, which of course isn’t ideal if you’re not ready to part with your Apple wireless keyboard. That’s why I’d be more than happy paying the $100 premium on Apple’s wireless keyboard to have the EditorsKeys, which puts it around the same price as inferior products I’ve tried that also mod authentic Apple keyboards.

The latest Logic Pro X keyboard from EditorsKeys actually provides the best of both worlds: a real Apple keyboard with a shortcuts overlay solution that doesn’t take away from the feel of the original keyboard design. Not only that, but it turns out the company did a pretty damn good job at designing the shortcut overlays compared to the competition. You can get one from the EditorsKeys site here for $179.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Reviews Tagged: Apple, Apple Keyboard, Apple Wireless Keyboard, Command key, EditorsKeys, Keyboard shortcut, Logic, Logic Pro, Table of keyboard shortcuts

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T-Mobile schedules Uncarrier 7.0 event for day after new iPhone unveiling: ‘This time it’s personal’

9to5-Tmob-invite

T-Mobile just sent out invites to press for its big upcoming Uncarrier 7.0 event scheduled for September 10. That’s a day after Apple is set to announce its new iPhones and possibly other products on September 9, so it’s possible T-Mobile will dedicate at least some stage time to iPhone related announcements.

Its tagline on the invite reads, “This time it’s personal,” but what exactly that means will be anyone’s guess until early next month. Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPhones the day before T-Mobile’s September 10 event, but it’s also expected to give us a look at its new, much-hyped wearable product

T-Mobile has been rolling out a number of new services and initiatives in recent months including its new Music Freedom Program in June and most recently an announcement it would double tablet data and introduce enhanced family plan lines. 


Filed under: iOS Tagged: Apple, event, iPhone, iPhone 6, iWatch, september 10, T-Mobile, uncarrier 7.0

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Popular iOS note taking app Notability comes to Mac

Notability 1.0 on Mac - Notes on all devices

Popular iOS note taking app Notability is today making its way to the Mac, allowing users to seamlessly switch between platforms with notes synced via iCloud.

The Mac app has been designed specifically for the desktop but features a familiar look and feel to users of the mobile apps. It also features automatic Dropbox and Google Drive backups, keyboard shortcuts, and other new features to optimize the experience for OS X.

Notability 1.0 on Mac - library open Notability 1.0 on Mac - note replay

In addition, you’ll find all the handwriting, audio recording, note replay, organization, and sharing features from the iPhone and iPad version.

Notability is optimized for Mac
- Quickly create notes by dragging documents, photos, or audio recordings from the desktop and dropping onto the library.
- Enhance notes by dragging photos, audio recordings, and PDFs from the desktop and dropping onto a note.
- Get more done with smart keyboard shortcuts.
- Handwriting and sketches can be scaled, transformed, free and constrained rotated, nudged (with arrow keys), and restyled.
- Notes look the same on Mac, iPad, and iPhone

Notability for Mac is available on the Mac App Store now for $10. The iOS version of the app for iPhone and iPad sells for $2.99


Filed under: Apps

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