Author Archives: Mark Gurman

Apple seeds OS X 10.9.3 build 13D43 to developers

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Approximately one week following the previous beta release, Apple has provided build 13D43 of the upcoming OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 to developers. The update is available in the Mac App Store Software Update section for those on earlier betas and can also be found on the Mac Developer Center website. Apple has not announced when 10.9.3 will be publicly released. Indications from those using the beta point to the update providing improved support for 4K external displays and improved syncing with iTunes. Thanks, D!


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Apple releases Xcode 5.1.1 with bug fixes

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After seeding the golden master build to developers last week, Apple has released Xcode 5.1.1 to everyone for free via the Mac App Store. The update is a bug fix release with the specifics shown in the screenshot above.


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Apple seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 build 13D38 to developers

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.00.52 PM

Approximately one week following the previous seed, Apple has provided developers with OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 build 13D38 to developers. The new version of OS X, which is yet to have an announced release date, will bring improved support for 4K monitors and syncing through iTunes. Thanks, D!


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Apple seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 build 13D38 to developers

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.00.52 PM

Approximately one week following the previous seed, Apple has provided developers with OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 build 13D38 to developers. The new version of OS X, which is yet to have an announced release date, will bring improved support for 4K monitors and syncing through iTunes. Thanks, D!


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Jony Ive shakes up Apple’s software design group, iPhone interface creator Greg Christie departing

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Following friction between top Apple Human Interface Vice President Greg Christie and Senior Vice President Jony Ive, Apple’s hardware and software design is being dramatically shaken up, according to sources familiar with the matter. After adding human interface design direction to his responsibilities in 2012, Ive will soon completely subsume Apple’s software design group, wresting control away from long-time human interface design chief Christie, according to sources briefed on the matter. Previous to this shakeup, all Apple software design has been led by Christie, who has reported to Craig Federighi, and Ive has been attending interface design meetings and providing instruction…

The design shakeup at Apple will result in Christie soon leaving the company, with all software designers now working directly under Ive with the rest of his industrial design team instead of within Federighi’s engineering group. Sources say that Christie’s upcoming departure is significant and stems from a falling out with Ive.

When Ive tasked Apple’s Human Interface team with redesigning iOS 7 to include an entirely new look, Christie and Ive reportedly clashed over design direction, after which Ive is said to have circumvented Christie’s leadership of the team during the new operating system’s development.

Christie’s impending departure comes in the months ahead of significant updates to both iOS and OS X. While iOS 8 will retain the same overall design as iOS 7, OS X 10.10 will be revamped with a flatter look that loses the textures that Christie utilized to make the iPhone the most popular gadget on the planet.

Christie is also known to App Store software creators as the herald of Apple’s design aesthetic as he frequently held application design sessions and user-interface review meetings with developers at Apple’s WWDC conferences.

Christie’s exit from Apple also comes amidst the encore for Apple and Samsung’s high profile trial in San Jose, California. While Christie has long worked under the shadows of Apple’s most senior executives, the original iPhone designer was given stage time last week as a key witness for Apple in court and Christie was made available for interviews with the Wall Street Journal and NPR. The interviews position Christie as critical to the iPhone’s success, making his departure a significant loss for the Cupertino-based company.

Christie also has hundreds of Apple patents in his name such as the iconic “Slide to Unlock” patent that is crucial to Apple’s patent infringement claims against Samsung. It is unclear at this time if Christie plans to join another company or retire from the industry completely.

Christie has been a part of Apple and the technology industry long enough to have worked on the first Newton and the transition of Mac OS to OS X and its Aqua interface in the early 2000s. Both Apple PR and Christie did not reply to multiple requests for comment on the matter.

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Christie’s upcoming leave from Apple will mark one of the most significant design exits in several years and represents a complete changing of the guard for Apple’s software design style. Over the past two years, Scott Forstall and Christie will have both exited Apple, and Ive will have secured his position at Apple as the central product design decision maker for the foreseeable future in the post-Steve Jobs era.

While Apple’s executive shakeup in 2012 unlocked the silos separating hardware and software, this latest change will completely remove any internal boundaries between Apple’s hardware and software design and will likely result in even more well-integrated products. (Top image by Michael Steeber).

Update: Apple has confirmed to the Financial Times that Christie is leaving Apple.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Tagged: Apple, Departure, design, Greg Christie, human interface, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Jony Ive, OS X, Scott Forstall, Steve Jobs

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Comcast/Time Warner filing with FCC says Apple exploring new set-top box

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There has been no shortage of indicators that a new version of the Apple TV set-top box is incoming. We reported last year and earlier this year that Apple is progressing on new Apple TV hardware that will include new content, such as an App Store or “Game Store,” references to a new model have appeared in iOS 7 code, and numerous other reports have said that a new box is incoming from Apple.

Today, a filing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable pitching their planned merger to the FCC references Apple’s development of a new set-top-box. Here’s the notable quote from the filing (via Daisuke Wakabayashi):

Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas.  Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box.  Microsoft just announced that it will feature ads on the Xbox One, creating a new video advertising platform.  And just last week, Amazon announced its own set-top box while it continues to leverage its unequaled sales platform and family of competitive tablets to promote its burgeoning Prime Instant Video business.

The bolded portion (emphasis ours) of the above quote says that Apple is exploring development of a new set-top box. The quote comes in context of the cable behemoths explaining why their merger is important amidst growing content competition from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. While it is possible that the companies are just speculating based on rumors about the next version of the Apple TV, several reports have indicated that Apple has been in direct talks with Time Warner Cable and Comcast regarding a new set-top box…

Last month, a report from The Wall Street Journal indicated that Apple is talking about a new box with Comcast, and several reports over the past year from Bloomberg have indicated that Apple is talking to Time Warner Cable. Given the proposed merger, it would make sense that executives from both cable companies have been sharing their future plans and talks with potential partners (like Apple).

Apple has planned to debut a new Apple TV this year, with the recent Bloomberg report indicating the possibility of an April unveiling. However, with Apple already announcing its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference event and no more solid indicators of an imminent Apple TV announcement, perhaps the new set-top box could have been pushed back while the cable companies work on their merger.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, apple set-top box, Apple TV, Comcast, FCC, set-top box, Time Warner Cable, time warning

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Amazon A9′s VP of Search heads to Apple to fix up Maps search

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Benoit Dupin, Vice President of Amazon A9′s Search Technology group, has left the high-profile search technology firm to take up a job with Apple. Dupin’s profile from Amazon A9′s executive management website disappeared this week, and his LinkedIn profile has been updated to reflect that he began his position as a director at Apple this month.

Amazon A9 is Amazon’s Palo Alto, California-based subsidiary that focuses on developing Amazon’s marquee search and advertising functionality. While Amazon has become popular in the tablet, eBook reader, and now set-top-box worlds, its core business has, of course, been Amazon.com, and Dupin’s work on search powers the heart of the online sales giant…

According to his former profile on Amazon A9′s website, Dupin joined the company in 2007 and worked on search infrastructure, experience, and relevance before taking the more demanding Vice President of Search Technology role. Earlier in his career, Dupin held various positions at HP, Easyplanet, and Canon.

Dupin is not the first high-profile Amazon A9 executive to leave for Apple: in 2012, then-CEO of A9 Bill Stasior departed to head up Apple’s Siri division. While Stasior left for Siri, Dupin, according to a source close to the matter, will be working on Apple’s search technology team for Maps, the iTunes Store, and the App Store. It seems likely that Dupin will be filling in for Cathy Edwards, the former CTO of Chomp, upon her departure later this month.

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At the heart of Apple’s Maps, iTunes Store, App Store products is search. Customers search for songs, movies, apps, and locations constantly, and ensuring that search is reliable is critical to the experience of using those Apple products. Apple’s Maps app is notorious for unreliable search results, and Apple users have criticized the App Store for having an unwieldy search process.

Of course, Apple is taking steps to alleviate these problems: Maps will be improved significantly with iOS 8 this fall, and the App Store has been receiving search tweaks in recent weeks. With Dupin’s experience in search technology on a massive scale, it seems likely that Apple’s web-based properties will receive even more enhancements and improvements to search over the next few years.

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Amazon A9 explains some of its search technology on its website:

One of A9′s tenets is that relevance is in the eye of the customer and we strive to get the best results for our users. Once we determine which items are good matches to the customer’s query, our ranking algorithms score them to present the most relevant results to the user.

Our ranking algorithms automatically learn to combine multiple relevance features. Our catalog’s structured data provides us with many such relevance features and we learn from past search patterns and adapt to what is important to our customers.

We strive for continuous improvement of our ranking algorithms. We continuously evaluate them using human judgments, programmatic analysis, key business metrics and performance metrics.

Of course, it seems plausible that Dupin’s management and engineering experience in search can be translated over to Apple. Perhaps the quote from Dupin on his old A9 profile sums up his potential benefit to Apple best:

A9 Product Search is a small group of remarkably smart people handling complex problems at scale, and enjoying it. We have a major impact on the search experience of millions of customers worldwide, as we help them find what they need.

As for A9, it does not appear that a successor to Dupin has been appointed. Dupin joins VP of Online Stores Bob Kupbens on the 2014 list of executives who have jumped to Apple from other major companies.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: a9, Amazon, App Store, benoit dupin, iOS 8, iTunes, maps, search

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