Author Archives: Mark Gurman

Apple seeds first beta of OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 & Safari 7.0.6/6.0.6 to developers

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Apple today provided a few new seeds to developers. First on the list is the first beta build of the upcoming OS X 10.9.5. The build is labeled as 13F7, and it will likely come as the final update to OS X Mavericks, which will be succeeded by OS X Yosemite in October. The update is available for Mavericks users signed up for pre-release updates in the Software Update section in the Mac App Store.

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It also now available on the official Developer Center. Apple asks developers to focus on Safari, USB, USB Smart Cards, and Graphics for this update…

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Apple has also provided developers with new seeds of Safari 6.0.6 and Safari 7.0.6 for OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Mavericks, respectively. Apple recently also seeded Safari 6.1 and Safari 7.1 to developers, but it appears that the 6.0.6 and 7.0.6 updates are more nearer term Safari web browser bug fix releases. Apple says that the 6.0.6 and 7.0.6 updates include improved extension and general website compatibility.


Filed under: AAPL Company

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Apple re-releases MacBook Air EFI 2.9 update after bugs discovered

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Earlier this month, Apple released a MacBook Air EFI update (version 2.9) with fixes for issues with the laptop waking from sleep. Approximately a week ago, the firmware update was removed by Apple because of bugs causing MacBook Airs to crash.

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Today, Apple has re-released the update with fixes as version 2.9.1:

This update replaces EFI Firmware Update 2.9 and is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models.

The update can be found for mid-2011 MacBook Air owners in the Software Update section of the Mac App Store.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: 2011 MacBook Air, Apple, Apple Software Update, Firmware, Mac App Store, MacBook, MacBook Air, update

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Heads rolling at Beats as Apple eliminating redundant positions, keeping developers and creatives in LA

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Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Apple, Beats Music, Code Conference

As Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music nears completion this financial quarter, the Cupertino and Santa Monica, California-based companies have begun work on transitioning select employees and technology resources from Beats to Apple, according to sources briefed on the transition. Apple executives have visited Beats’ Southern California headquarters this week and last week to offer groups of employees positions at Apple and to notify some members of the Beats staff that they will not be included in the transition.

Many Beats employees in development and creative roles have been offered positions at Apple. Many of these employees will be offered space in Apple’s Cupertino offices, but Apple is said to plan to retain the Santa Monica offices, and select engineers on the Beats Music streaming service will continue working out of Southern California. An email from Apple CEO Tim Cook detailed earlier this year that Beats hardware employees would transition to Phil Schiller’s team in Cupertino, so it seems likely that the headphone and speaker makers will make up the majority of the new Cupertino staff…

Beats employees in certain overhead positions, however, are said to not be so lucky. Beats’ support, finance and HR departments are said to have already been largely dismantled, with some workers being laid off in the past few weeks, a few offered definite positions in Cupertino, and others being offered positions until the end of January 2015. Apple is said to have this week set up a dedicated phone hotline for Beats employees to speak with Apple Human Resources staff about severance packages or transition plans.

Besides the transitioning of employees, Apple has begun work on transitioning the Beats Music technology to its own iTunes infrastructure. According to sources, the Beats technology is not easily compatible with Apple’s existing servers, so it is likely that parts of Beats Music will need to be re-architected in the near-future.

As for Beats’ top executive brass, both co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have committed to working at Apple in some capacity for the foreseeable future. However, there is still some uncertainty regarding the fate of Beats Chief Creative Officer Trent Reznor, and Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers has not indicated if he will or will not join Apple once the impending transaction is complete. Apple and Beats announced their merger earlier this year with the goal of improving Apple’s music services. Apple currently offers the Pandora-like iTunes Radio service, the iTunes Store, and iTunes Match, but as services like Spotify and Rdio continue growing in popularity, it is important for Apple to move forward with a true streaming service such as Beats by way of bringing on the best possible personnel and technology resources.

Seth Weintraub contributed to this report. 

Top image via Re/Code.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Beats, Beats Electronics, Cupertino, Cupertino California, Dre, iTunes, Jimmy Iovine, Layoffs, Seth Weintraub

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Heads rolling at Beats as Apple eliminating redundant positions, keeping developers and creatives in LA

Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Apple, Beats Music, Code Conference

As Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music nears completion this financial quarter, the Cupertino and Santa Monica, California-based companies have begun work on transitioning select employees and technology resources from Beats to Apple, according to sources briefed on the transition. Apple executives have visited Beats’ Southern California headquarters this week and last week to offer groups of employees positions at Apple and to notify some members of the Beats staff that they will not be included in the transition.

Many Beats employees in development and creative roles have been offered positions at Apple. Many of these employees will be offered space in Apple’s Cupertino offices, but Apple is said to plan to retain the Santa Monica offices, and select engineers on the Beats Music streaming service will continue working out of Southern California. An email from Apple CEO Tim Cook detailed earlier this year that Beats hardware employees would transition to Phil Schiller’s team in Cupertino, so it seems likely that the headphone and speaker makers will make up the majority of the new Cupertino staff…

Beats employees in certain overhead positions, however, are said to not be so lucky. Beats’ support, finance and HR departments are said to have already been largely dismantled, with some workers being laid off in the past few weeks, a few offered definite positions in Cupertino, and others being offered positions until the end of January 2015. Apple is said to have this week set up a dedicated phone hotline for Beats employees to speak with Apple Human Resources staff about severance packages or transition plans.

Besides the transitioning of employees, Apple has begun work on transitioning the Beats Music technology to its own iTunes infrastructure. According to sources, the Beats technology is not easily compatible with Apple’s existing servers, so it is likely that parts of Beats Music will need to be re-architected in the near-future.

As for Beats’ top executive brass, both co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have committed to working at Apple in some capacity for the foreseeable future. However, there is still some uncertainty regarding the fate of Beats Chief Creative Officer Trent Reznor, and Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers has not indicated if he will or will not join Apple once the impending transaction is complete. Apple and Beats announced their merger earlier this year with the goal of improving Apple’s music services. Apple currently offers the Pandora-like iTunes Radio service, the iTunes Store, and iTunes Match, but as services like Spotify and Rdio continue growing in popularity, it is important for Apple to move forward with a true streaming service such as Beats by way of bringing on the best possible personnel and technology resources.

Seth Weintraub contributed to this report. 

Top image via Re/Code.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Beats, Beats Electronics, Cupertino, Cupertino California, Dre, iTunes, Jimmy Iovine, Layoffs, Seth Weintraub

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Skype says free group video calling coming in the future to more platforms

Earlier this month, Microsoft-owned Skype rolled out a group video calling feature to Windows tablets. The free video calling allows for calls with up to ten people, and integrates with Skype on the desktop, which has supported group video calling since April.

Today, Skype tells us that the group video calling feature will be coming to all of its mobile platforms in the future, which likely includes iOS and Android:

We’re excited about Skype group video calling and are working to bring it to more of our platforms. In the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost

Unfortunately, the company could not yet provide a more specific rollout timeframe. Skype has been rapidly releasing new products over the past several months, with a major redesign of the Skype iPhone app arriving a couple of months ago.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: calling, group calling, group video, group video calling, Messaging, Microsoft, Skype, social, video, video calling

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Apple confirms acquisition of Swell as website and app shut down

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Apple’s acquisition of talk-radio service Swell appears to now be a done deal: the start-up’s App Store app and website shut down this morning. The website now provides the following message:

Thank you for using Swell over the past year. We wanted to let you know that the Swell service is no longer available. We’ve been inspired by the opportunity to create quality products that positively impact users’ lives, and we are grateful to all our listeners. Thank you everyone for your support!


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Acquisitions, Apple, Podcasts, radio, recommendations, shut down, swell, talk radio

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Apple Stores to soon open up iPhone sales via AT&T Next, T-Mobile JUMP, & Verizon Edge

iphone

Apple is preparing a significant expansion of its iPhone sales capabilities in its official retail stores, according to sources. Late in August, many Apple Stores in the United States will kick off a pilot program for customers to be able to purchase a new iPhone via the latest carrier upgrade programs: AT&T Next, T-Mobile JUMP, and Verizon Edge. Currently, iPhones bought at Apple Stores must either be purchased on a two-year deal, or at full-price (unlocked) with no contract…

 

AT&T Next allows customers to upgrade to a new phone every 12 or 18 months with no down payment upgrade fee, activation, or financing fee. The price of the phone is rolled into the monthly service bill. T-Mobile JUMP allows customers to upgrade to a new smartphone at their leisure, and the price of the phone is also packed into the monthly phone bill. Verizon EDGE is similar is similar to the T-Mobile and AT&T programs, and it allows the price of the phone to be paid off over the course of 20 months. Sprint also has a similar One Up program, but sources did not have any information on Apple supporting those (yet).

This new pilot program will likely be rolled out to Apple Stores later in 2014 after the initial kinks are worked out in the test markets, a source said. It’s also no coincidence that the program is rolling out just ahead of the iPhone 6 launch in September. As part of Tim Cook’s plan to dramatically boost iPhone sales in his own stores, Cook does not want to miss any iPhone 6 sales opportunities in Apple Stores, and supporting the latest carrier upgrade programs will help ensure that. Apple will be introducing a 4.7-inch iPhone around mid-September, with a larger 5.5-inch model to hit the market later this year.

Apple Stores will be training extensively for this new program between August 10th and August 28th, we reported yesterday. We also noted that Apple is working on improvements to Genius Bar customer service. This iPhone sales expansion will mark the second improvement in recent months. In June, Apple began allowing iPhones to be purchased through its stores on month-to-month and pre-paid plans. It is possible that Apple decides not to go through with the pilot testing as yet-to-be-launched initiatives can always be cancelled late in development. We’ve reached out to Apple, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and AT&T for comment on this story, and we’ll update if we hear back from any of those companies.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple Store, AT&T, Droid-Life, iPhone, T-Mobile, United States, Verizon Communications, Verizon Edge

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