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A Year Later, Apple's Secret Supply Chain Seems Reined in With Cheesecloth
August 22, 2013
I'm trying to stay excited about Apple's Sept. 10 iPhone-revealing media ceremony, but instead I'm settling into the notion that we'll have a gold iPhone and a bunch of plastic entry iPhone models in vague fugly colors. I should have been more worried when Apple's master of design, Jony Ive, showed off iOS 7 with a palette of pastels at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year.
Is There Gold in Them Thar Cupertino Hills?
August 21, 2013
"They just gotta have that gold," warbled Jose Feliciano in the theme song to the 1969 movie Mckenna's Gold, but those very same lyrics might well be the theme for recent media coverage of the forthcoming line of iPhones. Speculation is rife that Apple will include a gold-colored iPhone, or at least one with champagne-colored trim, among its new lineup.
Icahn vs. Apple: When Did Extortion Become Legal?
August 19, 2013
What Carl Icahn has been doing with Dell -- and now with Apple -- is kind of like a protection racket. These were popular in the 1920s -- you paid the crime syndicate a fee if you wanted to say in business. I'm wondering if Icahn has found a legal way to extort money from companies in trouble. Icahn not only doesn't provide value for the "help" he gives -- he actually drains the firm's resources.
Icahn Salivates Over Apple's Cash Trove
August 16, 2013
Apple shareholders rejoiced when noted corporate raider Carl Icahn tweeted that he'd taken a large position in the company and said it was undervalued. Its shares closed at $497.91 on Thursday, down 59 cents from Wednesday's close. However, that was up 96 cents from Thursday's opening price. Trading was volatile on Thursday, with prices climbing above $500 at least once.
Steve Jobs Must Have Had the Worst Best Friend Ever
August 15, 2013
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison seems to think Apple is doomed now that Steve Jobs is gone. He essentially said so, publicly, to master interviewer Charlie Rose. He did it with a passively dramatic raising and lowering of his finger. My first reaction was that Ellison -- undeniably one of the most rigorous, ruthless and successful tech CEOs on the planet -- must not have known Steve Jobs all that well.
Apple Slurps Up Matcha for TV Search Tech
August 14, 2013
Apple has reportedly acquired Matcha.tv, a startup that closed its doors in May following its creation of an iOS app that offered a comprehensive overview of the content available on TV. News of the acquisition was first published in a Tuesday report that cited "a source with knowledge of the deal." Terms of the purchase have not been confirmed.
Apple's Not-So-Good Week
August 14, 2013
Uh oh, Apple. Carl Icahn -- the activist shareholder and spoiler of many corporate deals, the latest being Dell's attempt to go private -- has announced to the world that he has amassed "a large position" in your stock. This news came via a tweet from Icahn on Tuesday afternoon, touting not only his position in Apple but also his belief that the company is "extremely undervalued."
Desperately Seeking Innovation
August 07, 2013
Apple may have won the battle, but it is in danger of losing the war. The battle was last Saturday's veto by the Obama administration of the International Trade Commission's decision to ban certain Apple products that it found to have infringed Samsung's patents. As for the war, that would be Apple's long struggle to preserve its reputation for delivering startling innovation.
Apple Takes Charge of 3rd-Party Charger Problem With Special Offer
August 06, 2013
Owners of idevices who are using third-party USB power adapters can now trade them in for Apple adapters for only $10 or the equivalent in local currency -- almost half off the retail price. Users can get one adapter for each device they own, up to Oct. 18. The offer follows reports from China that at least one person died from electrocution when using a third-party USB power adapter on an iPhone.
Bad Apple: China Investigating Alleged Supplier Pollution
August 05, 2013
In what amounts to a serious environmental breach or a continuation of China's anti-Apple PR blitz -- or both -- Chinese regulators are scrutinizing a pair of Apple suppliers in China over pollution allegations. The factories in question, located in Kunshan, an electronics manufacturing hotbed about 40 miles west of Shanghai, are reportedly dumping large amounts of heavy metals into local rivers.
The Technology Mysteries of 2013
August 05, 2013
There are a number of interesting mysteries in the technology world. Somehow someone in China was killed by an iPhone, and someone made up a nasty story about Lenovo and the Chinese government and got folks to pick it up during the U.S. NSA scandal. One of the most powerful and highly paid people in Apple quietly stepped down last month, possibly to lead a search for the next iPod.
Apple Hit With 2 Shameful Allegations
July 29, 2013
Pegatron, which is reportedly making a new, less-costly plastic iPhone, has become the latest Apple supplier to be accused of labor violations, in a report published by China Labor Watch on Monday. Pegatron has denied the allegations, and both it and Apple have announced they will investigate the claims. "CLW has uncovered myriad violations," maintained CLW Executive Director Li Qiang.
Australia May Tweak Copyright Laws to Knock Down IT Prices
July 29, 2013
Australia has recommended changes to copyright law that would allow Aussie citizens cheaper access to IT hardware, software and digital downloads after a parliamentary inquiry found no good reason for prices to be so high Down Under. The inquiry sought to unearth why IT prices were so much higher in Australia than elsewhere. The probe kicked off last year.
Apple Searches Haystack for Product to Move the Needle
July 24, 2013
Apple's upcoming new products will be the key to the company's emergence from its current doldrums, CEO Tim Cook told analysts during its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday. Asked by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster if there were any product categories big enough to move the growth needle for Apple, Cook responded: "We'll see, Gene. We're working up some stuff that we're really proud of."
Security Breach Knocks Apple for an Infinite Loop
July 22, 2013
Three days after Apple took down its developer website claiming it was performing unscheduled maintenance, the company emailed devs admitting the site had been hacked and some data may have been stolen. It also posted a message on the site stating that some developers' names, mailing addresses and email addresses may have been exposed, but that sensitive information could not be accessed.
Apple Taps Locationary to Get Maps in the Right Place
July 19, 2013
After suffering considerable backlash for the mapping technology it included in iOS 6, Apple has now brought in some expert help. Specifically, it has acquired Locationary, a startup that takes a crowdsourcing approach to map data. Locationary's Saturn technology uses Big Data to fill in the blanks in maps. In this case, the Big Data in question is provided by users.
Notes From the iPhone Rumor Trail
July 19, 2013
As rumors swirl about the next iPhone, the current models of Apple's popular smartphone may be selling better than expected. Sales of the iPhone for the quarter that ended June 30 will beat Wall Street expectations, according to a report released Wednesday by Morgan Stanley. Some 29 million to 32 million units were sold during the period, 10-20 percent better than the 26.5 million units expected.
Apple's E-Book Story Still Largely Unwrit
July 12, 2013
A federal court's ruling that Apple violated antitrust laws when it worked with the publishing industry to manipulate the price of e-books probably won't benefit consumers much. "I don't think we're going to see prices come down immediately as a result of this," said Yasha Heidari, managing partner at the Heidari Power Law Group. "What I do think you will see is some bona fide competition."
Apple Hit Upside the Head by E-Book Ruling
July 10, 2013
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Apple had violated antitrust laws by conspiring with several publishers to raise e-book prices. "The result is a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically," exulted Bill Baer, head of the DoJ's antitrust division. Apple has vowed to appeal, but it's widely expected that 33 states will seek damages in light of this ruling.
Apple to Build Solar Farm to Power Huge New Data Center
July 03, 2013
Apple, which has a mixed history on environmental issues, will build a solar farm to power its data center in Washoe County, Nev. "SunPower is working with Apple to design and build this project," said Ingrid Ekstrom, spokesperson for SunPower. "We will be building a SunPower C7 Tracker system at the site." The farm will reportedly generate 20 MW of electricity.
Apple Stock's Grip Slips
June 26, 2013
Apple's stock dipped below $400 this week -- the second time it has fallen so far since it peaked at $700 last fall. Investors have voiced concerns that the company has lost its innovative edge and that demand for the iPhone is waning. Apple execs addressed those rumblings head on at the Worldwide Developers Conference held earlier this month, where they unveiled a number of refreshed products.
Behind the WWDC Glitter
June 14, 2013
Going into WWDC I think Apple enthusiasts were so pent up for some Apple awesomeness -- myself included -- that we let the soft and low-voiced cooing of design knight Jony Ive lull us into a receptive state more akin to the wooing of a potential partner than a critical study of design principles. It's not like we had beer goggles on going into the iOS 7 portion of the WWDC keynote, but. . .
WWDC 2013: All About Managing Expectations
June 12, 2013
There was no shortage of news coming out of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week, including a glimpse at the next generation of iOS. On the hardware front, meanwhile, the company revealed it will launch a new desktop computer and a refreshed MacBook Air line. Then, of course, there was its new streaming radio application.
China Jumps the Gun on Cybersecurity Talks
June 06, 2013
This coming weekend's cybersecurity talks may have already started. China's state-run newspaper ran an article claiming that the government has "mountains of data" proving it has been the victim cyberespionage at the hands of the United States. The report precedes the upcoming landmark meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and President Obama; cybersecurity is expected to be a key talking point.

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