Author Archives: Mark Gurman

OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 build 14B23 seeded to developers

Screenshot 2014-11-10 18.02.34

Apple today seeded the second beta of the upcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update to registered developers and participants in the AppleSeed program. The update is available for these users in the Software Update tab of the Mac App Store.

As with the first beta, Apple asks developers to focus their testing on WiFi-connectvitiy, Exchange accounts in the Mail app, and Notification Center. Apple has not indicated when OS X 10.10.1 will be released to the public, but the first point updates to OS X typically arrive within a month of the original version.

Filed under: Mac Tagged: App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, Apple Software Update, Mac App Store, Mail (application), Notification Center, Operating system, OS X, Wi-Fi, Yosemite National Park

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Upcoming Bluetooth Apple-branded Beats Solo2 headphones revealed by FCC

Screenshot 2014-11-07 15.27.30

Apple and its Beats by Dre group seem to be close to announcing a new pair of headphones: a Bluetooth version of their popular Solo2 headphones. Earlier this year, Beats launched the Solo2 wired earphones as a cheaper alternative to the Studio cans. Today, a wireless version has been revealed thanks to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) testing department.

As can be seen in the image above from today’s FCC filing, the design of the wireless model is akin to the wired model. The only difference appears to be the Bluetooth connectivity. The documents specify that Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy technology is utilized.

Interestingly, these documents indicate that these headphones are Apple-branded:

Screenshot 2014-11-07 15.33.19

Apple is specifically listed as the creator and tester of the new product, and the Apple brand is even stamped on the packaging of the product. The documents also reveal Apple’s request for confidentially for the testing.

While the new headphones have hit the FCC today, there is no indication for when an actual/official launch is planned. We also don’t yet know colors or pricing, but given the substantial markup on the existing wireless Beats headphones, they will be pricey.

We’ve embedded some of the FCC paperwork below:

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Android (operating system), Apple Inc, Beats Electronics, Bluetooth, Color scheme, headphones, Hello Kitty, iPhone, Los Angeles, Sanrio

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Amazon announces Echo, a dedicated, Siri-like speaker system for quick information

Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Siri but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one, lol), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Hey Siri,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage, but music should work fine via iOS.

The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone and delivery drones, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these untested things.

Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Amazon, Amazon Echo, Amazon Prime, Echo, Siri, speaker, Voice Assistant

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Textplus moves on to Nextplus, adds improved WiFi calling/texting, GIFs, and more

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Popular texting and calling app Textplus, which is a more affordable alternative to a standard carrier plan, branched off to a new app called Nextplus today. The new app still has the same texting and calling core, but is it now optimized for WiFi networks. The developers tell us that many people want to use unlocked older iPhones (without carrier plans) to text and make phone calls, so Nextplus is a solid alternative to signing up for a normal plan from a carrier.

The new app has also (finally) been modernized with GIF images and stickers support. The iPhone and iPad app is free to download and calling/texting between Nextplus/Textplus users is free. If you want to call a landline or a non-Nextplus user, Nextplus offers some competitive rates per minute, with calls to the U.S., U.K., Mexico, Canada, and Australia costing 2 cents per minute.

If you’re an iOS user, making calls between iOS devices via FaceTime Audio is a great solution, but Nextplus is a great option if you’re looking to talk affordably to landlines and other platforms.

Filed under: Apps Tagged: calling, Nextplus, texting, Textplus

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With Christian Bale bailing, Sony in talks with Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs film role


With Dark Knight star Christian Bale no longer in the running for the Steve Jobs role in the upcoming Sony-made biopic, producers are now in talks with Michael Fassbender for the top job. Fassbender, who looks sort of like Jobs depending on his shave, is known for his roles in X-Men and Inglorious Bastards. While Sony is still trying to lock down the main part, it appears that Seth Rogen is still set to take on the role of Steve Wozniak, while Danny Boyle is still in for director and Aaron Sorkin is in as screenwriter. It’s interesting that actors as well-versed as Bail and Leonardo DiCaprio have turned down the role to portray such an icon of the modern world.

Filed under: AAPL Company

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Apple seeds first iOS 8.1.1 beta: bug fixes and performance boosts for older devices

Screenshot 2014-11-03 23.23.45

Apple tonight has released the first beta of iOS 8.1.1 to developers. This update is packed with bug fixes, according to the release notes. Most notably, “this release includes bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4s.”

Apple plans Apple University in China, bringing Jobs’ vision to Asia


Tim Cook speaking at a conference in China

Apple is seeking to cement its business position in China for the long-term with an expansion of its Cupertino-based Apple University program to the region, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. Apple Vice President and Dean of Apple University Joel Podolny is currently interviewing candidates for a new Dean of Apple University position for China, according to the source.

Started in 2008, Apple University is an extensive and growing program within corporate Apple that trains mid-level employees and managers on the decisions made by Steve Jobs and other key executives throughout the company’s resurgence. Jobs created the program alongside former Yale School of Business Dean Podolny in order to keep the culture of Apple alive well beyond the lifetime of executives key to Apple’s early success.

The expansion of Apple University to China will mark a key step in Apple’s history as a global company. It will be the first time Apple has fully expanded the exclusive program to another region, indicating that it wants to extend its presence in China beyond mostly just sales and operations, like it has done in the United States. Apple has previously offered a minimal amount of courses in other regions and has flown-in professors. With many Apple suppliers headquartered in China, it is likely that a notable portion of the Apple University classes in China will be geared toward product engineering and manufacturing matters…

Podolny, previously also in charge of Apple’s Worldwide Human Resources division, reports directly to CEO Cook, while the Dean of Apple University China will likely report directly to Podolny. Earlier this year, Podolny handed over Human Resources responsibilities to Denise Young-Smith so he could focus his effort entirely on growing the Apple University program. Apple has also hired professors from other companies and notable business university programs to assist Podolny with developing courses.

Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed the plans to a small group of employees during a recent meeting with China retail operations staff, the source added. Cook reportedly said that the purpose of an Apple University in China is to teach the growing China base of Apple employees and managers about the corporation’s “heritage and culture.” He added that Apple is a “look forward organization, not a look back one,” and that the company “cannot afford a weak link” between its work in the U.S. and in China.

Apple currently employs approximately 5000 people across its retail, operations, marketing, and corporate divisions in China, according to the source. Apple currently has 12 stores in China and corporate offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Apple has also recently expanded its Research and Development efforts in China. Apple plans to also expand its retail footprint in China to the tune of 40 total locations over the course of the next two years. Cook is said to have told employees that the store count total could be much higher, but Apple wants to avoid spreading itself too thin.

Apple has been growing quickly in China over the past few years, selling millions of iPhones and iPads in short periods of time. Apple kicked off a deal with China Mobile earlier this year to expand its business in the region and CEO Cook frequently visits China to meet with employees, talk with government officials, and visit the Apple supply chain. Apple Senior VP of Retail Angela Ahrendts also acknowledged China as critical in her three-part plan to bring Apple retail into the future.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple University, Beijing, china, Dean, expansion, headquarters, human resources, Joel Podolny, Manufacturing, Operations, Shanghai, Tim Cook

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