Category Archives: Apple Inc

L.A. Unified School District may sue Apple for “millions of dollars” over failed iPad project

la-unified-ipads

The Los Angeles Unified School District is exploring the possibility of litigation against Apple over the failed project intended to provide every student with an iPad, reports the LA Times.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is seeking to recoup millions of dollars from technology giant Apple over a problem-plagued curriculum that was provided with iPads intended to be given to every student, teacher and administrator.

The project ran into early problems when students figured out how to bypass the restrictions designed to ensure the devices could be used only for school work, shortly before the district was accused of having miscalculated the cost of the program. The program was suspended last year, and later abandoned after deciding iPads were the wrong device. This was far from the end of the story, however … 

The FBI was called in to investigate the possibility of corruption, and a federal review declared that the whole project had been doomed from the start.

The deal signed with Apple included bundled Pearson software for use in English and math lessons. A three-year license for the software added $200 to the cost of each iPad. The school district later complained that the interactive content was subject to constant interruptions and did not meet the needs of many students.

The school district’s general counsel David Holmquist has written to Apple telling the company that it “will not accept or compensate Apple for new deliveries of [Pearson] curriculum.” Holmquist said he wanted to put both Apple and Pearson on notice that it was dissatisfied with the product, and that “millions of dollars” could be at stake.

 


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Apple Inc, Board of education, Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, iPad, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, Pearson Education, Student

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No Apple Watches in store until June, Ahrendts tells staff, but online-only orders is a one-off deal

apple-watch-availability

Angela Ahrendts has told Apple Store staff that the Apple Watch is unlikely to be available for in-store purchases before June – but they should expect the usual ‘blockbuster launches’ in retail stores for future products.

In a memo to retail store staff, Apple’s retail head thanked staff for making the try-ons “unforgettable,” told them customer feedback had been “overwhelmingly positive” and that the online-only ordering period was likely to continue throughout May.

Many of you have been getting questions asking if we will have the watch available in stores on April 24 for walk-in purchases. As we announced last week, due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I’ll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May.

Ahrendts said that the decision to do things this way had not been an easy one … 

She said that the approach of in-store previews with online orders had been taken because the watch was not just a new product but an entirely new category for the company.

There’s never been anything quite like it. To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect—and that we expect from ourselves—we designed a completely new approach. That’s why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping. 

The number of watch and band permutations also meant this approach would “get customers the model they want earlier and faster.”

But if you were worried that Apple might take the same approach with future iPhone launches, Ahrendts had some words of reassurance.

Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days—and there will be many more to come.

Help will also be available in-store when customers receive their watches, including personal setup to sync Apple Watches to iPhones. The full text of the memo, which was acquired by iGen, can be seen below.

In a tacit acknowledgement that few of those who have ordered an Apple Watch will receive them by the official launch date of April 24th, Apple quietly removed the date from its website last night. KGI estimated that pre-orders will top 2.3 million by next month, after it was earlier estimated that first-day orders in the USA alone were close to a million.

Team,

On behalf of Tim and the rest of the executive team, I want to thank you very much for making last Friday’s debut of Apple Watch unforgettable. The Previews going on in our stores and support from our Contact Centers are unlike anything we have done before.

The feedback from customers is overwhelmingly positive. They are excited about Apple Watch, and your teams are creating fantastic experiences for them. Customers who pre-ordered will start receiving deliveries next Friday as planned, and I know you will do a great job helping them get set up.

Many of you have been getting questions asking if we will have the watch available in stores on April 24 for walk-in purchases. As we announced last week, due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I’ll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May. It has not been an easy decision, and I want to share with you the thinking behind it.

It’s important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us. There’s never been anything quite like it. To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect—and that we expect from ourselves—we designed a completely new approach. That’s why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping. 

Apple Watch is also our most personal product yet, with multiple case and band options because it’s an object of self-expression. Given the high interest and initial supply at launch, we will be able to get customers the model they want earlier and faster by taking orders online.

I know this is a different experience for our customers, and a change for you as well. Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days—and there will be many more to come. They’re the moments where you, our teams, shine. And our customers love them as well!

Apple Watch is an exciting new product and we are at the start of a very exciting time at Apple. You’re the best team on earth and you are doing an amazing job.

For customers who want to buy a watch, please continue to help them place their order online. Also make sure they know that, wherever they buy, Apple will provide them with a great Personal Setup experience — either online or in our stores. This includes syncing their Apple Watch with their iPhone and teaching them about all the incredible features of their new Apple Watch.

Thank you very much again, and I look forward to seeing you soon.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Angela Ahrendts, Apple Inc, Apple Retail Store, Apple Store, Apple watch, Pre-order

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Apple boosts WWDC scholarship numbers in bid to increase diversity

wwdc-2015

Apple has told Re/code that it is increasing the number of scholarship places offered at this year’s WWDC from 200 to 350 as part of its work to create greater diversity amongst developers. Those selected get a free ticket to the developer’s conference.

The Cupertino technology giant said it will extend […] scholarships to students age 13 and older and members of organizations working to promote science, technology, engineering and math education for young women, blacks and Latinos. The National Society of Black Engineers, App Camp for Girls and La TechLa are among 20 organizations whose members would be eligible for a scholarship.

The company last year published its first ever diversity report, showing that the company is fairly typical of tech companies today: 70% male, 55% white. CEO Tim Cook said then that he was not satisfied with the numbers, and was doing “meaningful and inspiring” work with women’s and minority groups to bring about change.

Let me say up front: As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page. They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them. We are making progress, and we’re committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing our products

Cook said during last month’s shareholder meeting that he would work on equality “until my toes point up.”

Apple has, however, refused to make its full federal workforce diversity data public, believed to be on the basis that the job classifications are a poor match for actual roles in the tech sector. Microsoft, Twitter and Amazon also refused.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Developers Tagged: Apple Inc, Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, diversity, San Francisco, worldwide developers conference, Worldwide Developers Conference 2015, WWDC, WWDC 2015

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It’s MacBook teardown day, as iFixit’s version provides better photos & commentary

macbook-teardown

Just a few hours after the first teardown of Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, iFixit has done its usual excellent job in providing clear photos and commentary on what it found inside the new super-svelte machine … 

No surprise that iFixit gives the machine the lowest possible rating of 1 out of 10 for repairability.

Proprietary pentalobe screws continue to make opening the device unnecessarily difficult, and new cable routing makes the procedure even trickier. The USB-C port is secured by tri-wing screws, and buried under the display brackets, complicating replacement. Also, being the only port, it will experience more use and wear than a typical single-purpose port.

The battery assembly is entirely, and very solidly, glued into the lower case. The Retina display is still a fused unit with no separate, protective glass. If the display needs replacing, it’ll cost a pretty penny. The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board.

The company does a nice job of identifying many of the chips on the diminutive double-sided logic board. As a space-saving measure, the 256GB SSD comprises two 128GB chips, one on either side of the logic board.

logic

Replacing glued-in batteries is never a trivial job, but in this case the precision alignment of the layered cells (which Apple achieves using high-speed cameras) “doesn’t bode well for the ideas of battery replacement,” says iFixit, with such delightful understatement I felt like declaring them honorary Brits.

battery

We also got a closer look at the Force Touch trackpad, which is even slimmer than the one found in the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro.

trackpad

Check out the full tear-down over at the iFixit site.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Mac Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, 12-inch MacBook iFixit, 12-inch MacBook teardown, Apple Inc, iFixit, Mac, MacBook, Retina Display

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Chinese Apple Pay launch delayed by stalled bank negotiations, maybe UK too

apple-pay-china-uk

The launch of Apple Pay in China, originally expected to be part of iOS 8.3, has been delayed by stalled negotiations with both the state-owned card processor UnionPay and Chinese banks, reports MarketWatch. Developers had originally been told that iOS 8.3 would support UnionPay, but found that support was missing when the update rolled out last week.

A UnionPay employee who declined to be named said the company has not reached any agreements with the U.S. tech company, and no timetable for cooperation has been set […]

Those sources also say Apple has not made any breakthroughs in talks with Chinese banks, which would also have to agree for the Apple Pay system to work.

The banks are reportedly unhappy about the cut Apple takes from each transaction … 

In the U.S., card processors typically charge 2% for each credit card transaction, and Apple takes 0.15% from that slice. While the percentage is small, high transaction volumes mean that the total sums involved are substantial.

Chinese banks argued those charges were too steep, an employee of a large bank said. Many large banks that are already part of mature point-of-sale networks do not want to lose such a large percentage of their profits in a deal with Apple Pay, he said.

While Apple could begin the Chinese rollout with a limited number of banks, it cannot do so without UnionPay as the payment processor has a monopoly on card processing in the country.

There have been reports that Apple has hit similar issues with UK banks, meaning that Apple Pay will not launch in the UK in the first half of the year as had been widely expected.

The rollout of Apple Pay in the U.S. continues, with more than 180 banks and other financial institutions on board, and the payment method accepted at a total of 68 merchants.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple Inc, Apple pay, banks, china, China UnionPay, UK, UnionPay

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Opinion: I’ve seen the future of Apple’s online/offline retail experience, and it’s magic

watch-01

‘Seen’ is something of an exaggeration, but ‘had a small glimpse of’ would have made for a rather lengthy headline.

Despite the fact that I’d placed my Apple Watch order online within a few minutes of pre-orders opening, I also made a same-day appointment for a try-on. This was partly because I wanted to handle the watch right away: Apple PR does not smile on a website that consistently reports upcoming product information, so we are firmly crossed-off the list of invitees to launches. But it was also partly because I was curious how the watch would be presented by store staff.

But let me begin by backing up a step or two … 

To borrow a phrase, I love humanity, and I love my family & friends, but I hate people. By which, of course, I mean that individual people are lovely; not so much people en-masse. Crowds of people. Throngs of people. Queues of people. The experience of people, in short, that you typically have in a busy Apple Store.

To be fair, my distaste for crowded stores is nothing Apple-specific. I’m an equal opportunity hater of crowded stores. Anything I can buy online, I do buy online. Amazon loves me.

Apple store

But Apple’s London stores are a good – or bad – example. Every time I’ve been into one, they’ve been packed. This is not Apple’s fault. The Covent Garden store was, until recently, the largest Apple Store in the world. There are three floors, and it’s almost warehouse-sized. Regent Street, above, is also very large.

But both are always rammed. I visit them only under duress. The last time I did so was to replace an iPhone that had suffered a slight wine-related incident. The staff were great. Getting a cut-price replacement for a phone I’d killed through my own clumsiness was great. But the part of the experience that stood out above all else was having to first fight my way through the crowds.

So usually when I buy an Apple product, I buy it from the online store. A few clicks, and a few days later the desired item is mine. No crowds, no fuss.

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But Friday’s Apple Watch try-on appointment was a rather different experience. I walked into an only moderately crowded store. On the day that not just one, but two new products were launched! I approached the first member of staff I spotted, told them I had an Apple Watch appointment and was taken to the guy doing the check-ins. I waited there all of ten seconds before I was taken to meet the man who would be handling my try-on.

When he pulled up my appointment on his terminal, he could see the two watches I had favorited on the Apple website, and immediately pulled the first of these out of the drawer: the stainless steel with black classic buckle.

I was instantly impressed. It had always previously felt like the retail stores and online store were entirely separate worlds, but here the two were seamlessly integrated.

While I tried on the first watch, my host was already readying the second.

watch-21

The watch you try on is running a video demo, so you can’t interact with it. I told him (quite truthfully) that I’d watched video demos but still wasn’t entirely clear how the user interface worked. When did you use the crown, the button, swipes on the screen?

He immediately (if not entirely accurately – see comments) removed a good third of my confusion by explaining that the button did one thing, and one thing only: it displayed a list of your favorite contacts. From there, you could call, text or … I guess we don’t yet have a verb for watch-to-watch taps or drawings … that contact.

Since I couldn’t interact with the watch I was wearing, he pulled over one of the interactive demo units: an iPad wirelessly linked to a demo watch. When I opened a screen on the watch, the iPad displayed information about that screen, telling me what I could do and explaining how to do it. Any questions, the store employee was there to fill in the gaps.

watch-15

It was perfect. My initial slight annoyance at not being able to interact with the watch on my wrist disappeared as I saw that this was a much better approach. Website-store integration followed by watch-iPad integration, with employee as backup.

When I reported the memo Angela Ahrendts sent to store staff encouraging them to direct customers to the online store for purchases, I initially saw it as a fire-fighting measure. Trying to remove the unsightly mess of people camping outside the store for product launches, many of them scalpers. An attempt to reduce the crowds.

But no. It’s about more than that. It’s about, as she wrote, a change in mindset. The online store there to provide a convenient route to purchase, the retail stores there primarily as a showroom, geared to helping people figure out what it is they want, and how to use their chosen product.

What initially seemed a rather small matter – suggesting that people are more likely to get what they want online – is, I think, the first step to something much bigger. Integrating online and retail stores in a way that allows each to do what they do best. And between them, delivering a better customer experience of what, for the first time, can be considered a single entity: the Apple Store.

This reinventing of what the Apple Store means is why Ahrendts was hired. There had been some mutterings about how long she might remain in post if the Apple Watch launch turned out to be chaos. But if the rumored million-ish sales in the first 24 hours are true, and if my experience is typical, I think her job is very safe.

If you haven’t yet made it to a try-on appointment, check out Dom’s great video – and also this insight into an Edition appointment.

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Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: AAPL, Angela Ahrendts, Apple Inc, Apple Retail Store, Apple Store, Apple watch, Opinion

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Polling data suggests the Sport made up 55-60% of all Apple Watch sales to date

apple-watch-sport

With estimated Apple Watch preorders getting close to a million, a number of polls suggest that the Sport made up between 55% and 60% of these. Our own poll, by far the largest of those featured in a Fortune roundup, put Sport sales at just under 56% based on 11,865 responses at the time.

A second poll of just over 5,000 responses showed a slightly higher number of 59%, while a pre-sale poll of purchase intentions put the number at 60%. Only one poll differed markedly from this range, but that was based on a much smaller number of respondents so is likely to be less reliable … 

Slice Intelligence – which analyses email receipts from panel members – put the number a little higher at 62%, though its data is based on US sales only.

Our poll showed that 78% of readers were able to get the model they wanted, with 13% opting to wait and 9% compromising on their first choice in order to get their Apple Watch sooner rather than later.

It’s possible that Apple may release total sales numbers today, though as it doesn’t release model by model breakdowns for iPhone numbers, it is extremely unlikely to do so for the Apple Watch.

You can still take part in the polls – the main one below, the others here.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Apple Inc, Apple watch, Apple Watch models, Apple Watch orders, Apple Watch sales, Apple Watch sales by model, Apple Watch Sport, smartwatch

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