January 27, 2012

Tim Cook Offers Apple Employees $500 Off Macs, $250 Off iPads [Rumor]

Tim Cook Offers Apple Employees $  500 Off Macs, $  250 Off iPads [Rumor]

It’s a great time to be an Apple employee. Not only is it the most successful company on the planet right now, but it’s also slashing the price of some of its most popular products as a thank you to its employees. According to one report, the Cupertino company’s CEO, Tim Cook, announced at an internal Town Hall meeting that staff could enjoy $ 500 off a new Mac, and $ 250 off a new iPad.

The discount program will kick off this June, according to a 9to5Mac report, but it does have a few restrictions. The discount won’t be available to employees at any time, but once every three years. In order to be eligible, staff must have be working for the company for at least 90 days.

The $ 500 discount will not apply to the Mac mini, according to the report, which is little over $ 500 anyway. But it is significantly more than the 25% employees usually get off Mac purchases.

With rumors that the iPad 3 is set to launch this April, starting the discount program in June gives Apple two months to deal with customer demand before employees can start snapping up the third-generation device for themselves with $ 250 off.

[via 9to5Mac]

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also writes for TechnoBuffalo. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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Cult of Mac

Rumor: Apple woos top Sony Ericsson exec to head Latin America division

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 02:10 AM EST (11:10 PM PST)
Although there has been no official announcement, Apple is said to have lured Sony Ericsson’s top dog in North America away to head its Latin American operations, making it the first time the Cupertino, Calif., company has placed someone in charge of the fast-growing region.

According to his Linked In profile, President of Sony Ericsson U.S. and Head of Americas Region Anderson Teixeira joined the Mac maker earlier this month, and has been appointed “Head Latin America at Apple”

Teixeira, a native of Brazil, was part of the soon-to-be-defunct Sony Ericsson joint venture since its inception in 2001 and managed various world regions for the Xperia handset maker. After overseeing Latin America and Western Europe, he was put in operational control of the entirety of North America as President of Sony Ericsson U.S.

Sony is said to be taking over full control of the Sony Ericsson moniker in February following dismal earnings and a falling share of the market.

Until now, Apple has never had an official Latin America division manager, but the region’s growing middle class is spending an increasing amount on technology which could be a potential windfall for the company. During Apple’s fourth quarter conference call in October, CEO Tim Cook said Brazil showed “great promise” after sales rose 118 percent year over year to surpass $ 900 million.

As Apple gains momentum in the Latin American market with December’s iPhone 4S release and iTunes Music Store rollout, the company looks to strengthen its base and has been rumored to be planning a flagship Apple Store in Brazil.

Adding to the tech giant’s presence in the region is product manufacturing partner Foxconn’s new iPhone and iPad plant, which was reportedly a $ 12 billion investment for the Chinese company.

Pending an official announcement, Teixeira is thought to be working out of Apple’s Florida headquarters in Coral Gables, which is near his old Sony Ericsson base that was also located in Miami.


Apple Is Set To Adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit Wi-Fi This Year [Rumor]

Apple Is Set To Adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit Wi-Fi This Year [Rumor]

Apple is set to roll out support for 802.11ac “Gigabit Wi-Fi” this year to a range of devices including its Apple TV, MacBooks, Time Capsule, and possibly even its iOS devices, according to a new report. The new specification offers speeds around three times as fast as the existing 802.11n wireless technology, with speeds of over 1 Gigabit per second.

AppleInsider reports:

The new 802.11ac standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than the existing 802.11n specification (in use on the latest Mac, AirPort and iOS devices) by using 2 to 4 times the frequency bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz), more efficient data transfers through sophisticated modulation, and more antennas (up to 8; existing standards support up to 4, while Apple’s Macs currently use up to 3).

While the specification is yet to be finalized as an official standard, manufacturers — particularly Apple — have been known to adopt new wireless technology before it receives its final certification in the past. Back in 2003, the Cupertino company adopted the 802.11g standard six months before it received its official certification, and in 2006, it adopted the 802.11n standard long before it was formally ratified.

But despite its lack of certification, Broadcom, which already supplies wireless technology to Apple, has announced a family of components supporting the 802.11ac standard which could make their way into new Apple devices this year.

[via MacRumors]

Cult of Mac

Apple Set To Open Retail Store Within London’s World Famous Harrods Department Store [Rumor]

Apple Set To Open Retail Store Within London’s World Famous Harrods Department Store [Rumor]

Apple seems to be pushing its “store-within-a-store” concept this year. The Cupertino company has already established stores within Best Buy in the U.S., and it has plans for a further 25 to be installed within Target stores. But it seems the concept is going international, with plans for an Apple retail store within the world famous Harrods department store in London.

According to sources within Harrods, who have been speaking to 9to5Mac, Apple has plans to take its store-within-a-store concept to London and the U.K.’s largest department store. Harrods occupies over five acres of land in the swanky borough of Chelsea, and boasts over one million square feet of retail space.

There’s plenty of room to take on an Apple store, then. 9to5Mac reports:

The Apple Store will feature most of what makes an Apple Store an Apple Store, like wooden tables and signage, but it will lack one critical element: the Genius Bar. The reasoning is not clear, but the Harrods sources speculate that it may have something to do with Apple wanting to keep that marquee aspect of the retail operations exclusive to its standalone locations. The store will be small in physical size compared to Apple’s other notable stores, but it will be much larger than the typical Apple SIS at Best Buy, for example.

Those of you who are in the U.K. may be thinking that we already have Apple stores within stores. For example, the likes of PC World, Currys, and John Lewis all have dedicated Apple sections. But there is a slight difference. These particular sections are run by the stores themselves, and not Apple. The store set to open within Harrods will be run by Apple and Apple retail staff.

Cult of Mac

Apple Will Announce Pages ’12, iBooks 2 & Textbook Rentals At Today’s NYC Event [Rumor]

Apple Will Announce Pages ’12, iBooks 2 & Textbook Rentals At Today’s NYC Event [Rumor]

Apple’s education event in New York City this morning may see the launch of a new version of the company’s Pages word processor which will feature support for iBooks publishing, and an iBooks application that will allow us to read our favorite titles on our Macs. Furthermore, we could also see the launch of textbook rentals.

According to ZDNet’s Jason O’Grady, who cites unnamed sources, today’s event will see Apple’s iWork lead, Roger Rosner, announce Pages ’12, its next-generation word processor which will feature one important feature: support for publishing content to the iBookstore.

Apple Will Announce Pages ’12, iBooks 2 & Textbook Rentals At Today’s NYC Event [Rumor]

It is rumored that Apple is working to make it easier for authors to publish their content as eBooks, and so the ability to launch content from directly within iBooks certainly sounds plausible.

Alongside Pages ’12, we could also see iBooks 2 that won’t just support iOS device, but also Macs as well. The new version of iBooks will reportedly support textbook rentals, allowing students to borrow the content they need for their studies.

O’Grady is treating the rumor as pure speculation at this point, so we’ll have to wait and see what Apple’s event brings this morning. We’ll be live-blogging the whole event so be sure to stay tuned!

[via 9to5Mac]

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also writes for TechnoBuffalo. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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Apple’s Secret Textbook Project Code-Named “Bliss,” Inspired By Al Gore [Rumor]

Apple’s Secret Textbook Project Code-Named “Bliss,” Inspired By Al Gore [Rumor]

As the last-minute leaks about Apple’s education event tomorrow come in, a code name for the company’s secret textbook project has surfaced: “Bliss.” According to anonymous sources for AppleInsider, the digital textbook technology is also inspired by Apple board member Al Gore’s Our Choice eBook app.

Following a report from The Wall Street Journal about Roger Rosner overseeing the secret project, AppleInsider believes that it has accurate information about what to expect tomorrow.

The person said the internal code-name for the project is “Bliss,” and said the software will allow publishers to make textbooks more interactive.

One of the primary sources of inspiration for the project was said to be an e-book released by former U.S. vice president and Apple board member Al Gore. Last year, he and Push Pop Press released “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” on the iOS App Store, and the interactive title was met with a great deal of praise.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about interactive textbooks from Apple. Steve Jobs himself told Walter Isaacson that he envisioned digital textbooks that could be updated over the internet with new content and teacher comments.

The app that has reportedly influenced the design of Apple’s textbook project is called Our Choice. It won Apple’s Design Award last year at WWDC for its beautiful interface. The company behind the app, Push Pop Press, was acquired by Facebook last year.

Cult of Mac

Rumor: Apple to hold ‘iPad 3′ & iOS 5.1 event in early February

By Katie Marsal

Published: 11:58 AM EST (08:58 AM PST)
A new rumor suggests Apple is planning to hold an earlier-than-expected special event in early February to introduce its third-generation iPad running iOS 5.1.

Japanese website Macotakara reported on Tuesday that the unveiling of a so-called “iPad 3″ along with iOS 5.1 will occur in February, citing both an Asian supplier and a source in the U.S. Despite a rumored early February introduction, the report claims that the new iPad would still launch in early March, much like the iPad 2 in 2011.

Last year, the iPad 2 was introduced in a media event held on March 2, and the device went on sale just 9 days later on March 11. But Tuesday’s rumor would suggest that Apple could have a longer wait time in between the unveiling of a third-generation iPad and its sale date.

That delay would be at least in part because Chinese factories will be shut down to celebrate that country’s New Year. This year’s festival is earlier than usual, and runs from Jan. 23 through 28.

Recent reports have suggested that Foxconn and Pegatron will begin shipping the first “iPad 3″ units in early March. Rumors leading up to the anticipated iPad unveiling have generally pointed toward a March launch of the device, but a monthlong wait time between the unveiling and sale of a new iPad would be a change from Apple’s approach in 2011.

Rumors have generally agreed that the next iPad will support a new high-resolution, Apple-branded “Retina Display” akin to the screens currently found on the iPhone and iPod touch. There have also been claims that Apple will continue to sell the current-generation iPad 2 at a reduced price.

Macotakara has a mixed track record with Apple rumors in the past, accurately reporting that Apple would introduce its second-gen iPad in March and push out the release of the fifth-generation iPhone until much later in the year, but also incorrectly claiming that Apple would release new MacBook Airs with high-speed 400MBps flash memory and that a fifth-generation iPhone would feature an aluminum back.

An anticipated iPad 3 event is not to be confused with a confirmed education-related event that Apple is set to hold on Thursday in New York City. That media briefing is expected to relate to digital publishing and e-books, and will not showcase any new hardware.


Apple Will Announce The iPad 3 In Early February [Rumor]

Apple Will Announce The iPad 3 In Early February [Rumor]

The iPad 3 is widely anticipated to hit store shelves in March, about a year from the date that the iPad 2 first debuted. Apple’s next-gen tabled it expected to pack a 2048 x 1536 Retina Display, an A6 SoC and (possibly) 4G LTE support. Now a new report suggests that we’re just a few short weeks away from getting our first look at the iPad 3.

According to a report from Japanese blog Macotakara, the iPad 3 launch event will take place in early February, citing sources in the U.S. and Asian supply chains saying the iPad 3 will go on sale in early March.

Last year, Apple announced the iPad 2 in early March, putting it on sale roughly a week and a half later. Why would Apple need a longer announcement window this time?

Simple. Because Apple’s jumping the resolution of the iPad 3 to Retina Display quality, Apple wants to give developers enough time to make their existing iPad apps compatible with the iPad 3 so there’s a library Retina Display apps available at launch.

When the iPad 3 goes in sale in early March, it is also anticipated that the iPad 2 will undergo a price cut, similar to the price cuts Apple makes with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, in order to compete with less expensive tablets like the Kindle Fire.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Apple To Announce “GarageBand For eBooks” During Thursday’s Education Event [Rumor]

Not much is known about Apple’s upcoming event on Thursday, January 19th. The entire industry seems to agree that Apple is ready to lead the way into a new frontier of digital textbooks through the iBookstore. Others suggest that the announcement will focus on making the world of digital publishing more attractive to authors — think “GarageBand for eBooks.”

Apple has reportedly been working with multiple publishers for months in preparation for its top secret event this week. Publishing house McGraw-Hill is expected to be one of the publishing houses present at the announcement at the Guggenheim museum in New York City.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

McGraw-Hill Cos., Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are among the education-publishing companies most likely affected by an Apple textbook announcement. The companies have experimented with interactive approaches, such as allowing students to take quizzes as they read and hear audio for foreign-language study, but many digital textbooks have looked a lot like their physical counterparts.

McGraw-Hill has been working with Apple on its announcement since June, a person familiar with the matter said. It wasn’t known whether Pearson and Houghton Mifflin also would participate.

Details are very scarce on what Apple has planned, but a hardware announcement doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Pundits have hinted that the announcement will be a big deal for Apple in the long run, with our own Mike Elgan prophesying that the Cupertino company is set to school Amazon on self-publishing.

According to Ars Technica’s sources, Apple will unveil “GarageBand for eBooks” on January 19th.

At the same time, however, authoring standards-compliant e-books (despite some promises to the contrary) is not as simple as running a Word document of a manuscript through a filter. The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.

Our sources say Apple will announce such a tool on Thursday.

Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted to revolutionize textbooks and publishing for the digital age. According to his biography, Jobs wanted to make books “digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time.” We’re going to see that vision unfold in three days.

Cult of Mac

Rumor: Sharp’s IGZO display didn’t make the cut for Apple’s third-gen iPad

By Sam Oliver

Published: 12:04 PM EST (09:04 AM PST)
A new report claims Sharp will not be supplying display panels for Apple’s third-generation iPad, suggesting its touted IGZO technology will not appear in this generation of devices.

Instead, displays for the iPad 3 will be provided exclusively by Samsung and LG, KoreaIT News said it has “confirmed” in a report published this week. It added that while Sharp was in fact developing display panels for a so-called “iPad 3,” the company “failed in initial supply.”

Mass production of third-generation iPad panels reportedly began in late 2011. That production is said to have begun with Samsung, while LG picked up full capacity at the beginning of 2012.

The report reiterated rumors that the next iPad will feature a XQGA high-resolution 2,048-by-1,536-pixel display. Production of the new iPad will occur at Foxconn and, as with last year, the new model will go on sale soon after it is announced.

Sharp has been working on its own oxide material for LCD displays made of indium, gallium and zinc, known as IGZO. Recent reports claimed that Apple planned to switch to Sharp’s IGZO displays for its next iPad.

Adopting IGZO technology could allow Apple to make the iPad even thinner while still sporting a 330 dots-per-inch screen resolution. Non-IGZO displays may require dual-LED light bars to illuminate a “Retina Display,” which could add thickness to the touchscreen tablet.

The latest news out of Korea claims that Sharp’s oxide semiconductor TFT panels “failed to pass Apple’s approval process for mass production.” With Samsung and LG as its primary suppliers, Apple reportedly plans to purchase more than 65 million LCD panels for the third-generation iPad this year.

Apple is expected to unveil its third-generation iPad in March, matching the timeframe with which the iPad 2 was unveiled in 2011. Apple will hold an event next week to make an education announcement, but numerous reports have indicated that no new hardware will be unveiled at the New York City media briefing.