Author Archives: Mike Beasley

Accessory maker LunaTik teases water-resistant Epik protective kit for Apple Watch



Accessory maker LunaTik today teased a new protective product for the upcoming Apple Watch. Not many features of the Epik Apple Watch Kit have been revealed, but the case is said to provide a level of water resistance that should allow you to use it while swimming, showering, or engaging in many other water-related activities.

Of course, Tim Cook recently said that the Apple Watch will be showerproof, which means the device may already have a similar level of water resistance. All will be revealed when all of the watch’s details are revealed on March 9th. The Apple Watch will go on sale in April, but no date has been given for the Epik kit.

Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: Apple watch, epik, lunatik

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Former Apple retail chief joins online retailer Nasty Gal, leads $16 million round of funding


Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson is getting back into the fashion game. The man who helped shape the Cupertino company’s retail arm made the jump to become CEO of JCPenney after exiting Apple in 2011, but was eventually removed from his position there as well.

The undeterred Johnson announced today that he would be leading a $16 million round of funding in online women’s retailer Nasty Gal. Johnson has also been appointed to the retailer’s board of directors. Nasty Gal is currently in the process of launching its own physical stores, though it currently only has one location in Los Angeles.

Apple’s ex-exec recently helped raise $30 in funding for online shopping startup Enjoy, and was reported in late 2014 to be working on a gadget delivery service.

Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: nasty gal, Ron Johnson

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Chinese government removes Apple from list of approved tech companies for state purchases


The Chinese government has removed several prominent US tech companies, including Apple, from its list of approved vendors for state purchases, Reuters reported today. The change is hardly unexpected following the government’s response to accusations several years ago that the US National Security Administration had been using backdoors in Apple products to spy on users.

Some sources cited by Reuters say that the change may not necessarily have anything to do with security, and may instead be designed to help local companies pick up a larger portion of the government tech market. By cutting off competition from big foreign competitors, the government effectively makes local choices the only choices for many products. The security concerns, among others, could in fact be a smokescreen to cover the Chinese government’s true intentions.

Other companies dropped from the list include Intel, McAfee, and Cisco Systems. In the process of updating the list, China has allowed state purchases from many local companies, with the total number of approved vendors rising to nearly 5,000. Overseas tech companies on the list, however, were cut by a third, lending credence to the idea that this was a move to help bolster local business.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: china, NSA, PRISM, spying

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Tim Cook to give commencement address at George Washington University in May

Tim Cook White House Summit

Apple CEO Tim Cook will give the commencement address at George Washington University’s graduation ceremony this May, the school announced today. Cook, who will receive an honorary degree during the event, was selected after being suggested by GWU students.

The commencement will take place on May 17th on the National Mall. The full GWU press release is included below.

Apple CEO Tim Cook to Deliver George Washington University Commencement Address

Anthony Fauci and Carole Watson to Receive Honorary Degrees

WASHINGTON (Feb. 25, 2015)— Apple CEO Tim Cook will deliver the George Washington University’s Commencement address before graduates on May 17. He will also be awarded an honorary doctorate of public service from the university. Mr. Cook, whose invitation was suggested by GW students during the nominating process, has led the world’s most admired company since 2011 and overseen the development of Apple products, which are ubiquitous on GW’s campuses and in the lives of its students.

“I am delighted that Tim Cook has accepted our invitation to give this year’s Commencement address on the National Mall,” said George Washington University President Steven Knapp. “I know our graduating students will be inspired and enlightened by his reflections on the lessons he has garnered from his distinguished career as a highly effective leader at the forefront of technological innovation.”

Mr. Cook recently announced the next chapter in Apple’s story with new service and product categories, including Apple Watch, Apple’s most personal device ever and one that instantly captured the world’s imagination. He has continued to help improve conditions for workers who make the company’s products, advance human rights and increase charitable giving, and he is overseeing a company-wide effort to use 100 percent renewable energy at all Apple facilities.

Mr. Cook was the Financial Times’ Person of the Year for 2014, and in 2012 he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He joined Apple in 1998, and prior to being named CEO he served as chief operating officer. Previously, he was an executive at Compaq, now part of Hewlett-Packard Co., Intelligent Electronics and IBM. Mr. Cook earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and an M.B.A. from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar.

In addition to Mr. Cook, both Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, and Carole M. Watson, Ph.D. ’78, former acting chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), will receive honorary degrees at GW’s Commencement.

Dr. Fauci is an internationally recognized HIV/AIDS researcher and infectious disease expert. He serves as an advisor to the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues and emerging infectious disease threats. He has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body’s defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections. Dr. Fauci has been director of NIAID since 1984 and has lectured at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences multiple times. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2008.

Dr. Watson, an alumna of GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, held various roles at NEH across several decades. In 2014, Dr. Watson organized “Standing Together,” an NEH initiative to help Americans understand the experiences of service members as they return to civilian life. Dr. Watson is also recognized for her participation in a 1958 sit-in at Dockum Drug Store in her hometown of Wichita, Kansas, which led to the desegregation of the entire chain to which the store belonged.

GW Commencement is held on the National Mall and this year’s ceremony will take place on the grounds of the Washington Monument. In addition to the all-university Commencement ceremony, individual schools and colleges will hold ceremonies May 14-17.

Previous GW Commencement speakers include award-winning actress and alumna Kerry Washington; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; First Lady Michelle Obama; Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama; former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton; and humanitarian and world-renowned chef José Andrés.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: George Washington University, Tim Cook

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‘Modern Family’ producers reveal how they filmed an entire episode with iPhones and MacBooks

Last week it was announced that an upcoming episode of the ABC sitcom Modern Family had been filmed using only iOS devices, and the entire story would play out on the screen of a MacBook. Today the producers of the show provided BuzzFeed with a look at how the episode was shot.

In order to make it look like the actors were actually holding the devices—without actually handing them iPhones, which they would then misplace—the crew decided to have a cameraman manage the phone, while cast members kept one hand on the cameraman’s at all times to create the illusion that the phone was actually in their own hands.

Executive producer Steve Levitan also revealed in the segment that the show has previously worked iPhone footage into its episodes, usually in the absence of an actual TV camera. It seem the best camera really is the one you have with you.

Modern Family’s all-Apple episode will air Wednesday night.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: iPad, iPhone, MacBook, Modern Family

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Apple ordered to pay out $532.9 million for gaming-related patent infringement

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A Texas jury has ordered Apple to pay out just under $533 million in a patent infringement case brought by Smartflash LLC regarding technology that the company said iTunes used without permission. Apple had attempted to argue that the patents were invalid. The court ruled in Smartflash’s favor, but chose not to award the entire $852 million the software maker was seeking.

The patents in question were related to “data storage and managing access through payment systems,” according to Bloomberg. Several game developers who took advantage of the tech settled out of court last year, leaving Apple to stand against Smartflash alone.

Apple tried to get out of paying any royalties at all by arguing that the infringed features weren’t the reason people bought iPhones, saying, “People do not buy cell phones for the sole purpose of using apps.”

Smartflash isn’t just going after Apple, though. Now that this case has concluded, the company is reportedly planning to go after Korean smartphone manufacturer Samsung. The company owns only seven patents, the licensing fees for which constitute its only income.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Lawsuit, Patent, SmartFlash

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Chase says it has activated 1 million Apple Pay users since launch

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.55.41 PM

During a conference call with JPMorgan Chase investors today, executives announced that Chase Bank has activated over one million Apple Pay accounts since the service launched last year (via AppleInsider). The bank revealed some statistics about who’s using Apple Pay with their Chase cards, and how they’re using it.

Chase found that the average Apple Pay user is nine years younger and makes 21% more money than its average customers. Apple Pay users also used their credit cards more often, and were more likely to add a credit card than a debit card to their account.

Earlier this month Apple added support for 19 new banks, bringing the total number of financial institutions supporting Apple Pay to over eighty. Just a few weeks before that 15 additional banks were added to the lineup.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple pay, chase

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