April 23, 2014

Apple reports $10.2 billion second quarter profit

Apple on Tuesday announced a $10.2 billion profit for its fiscal second quarter on revenue of $45.6 billion. These results compare to revenue of $43.6 billion and profit of $9.5 billion, in the year-ago quarter.

“We’re very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market.”

International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter’s revenue, according to Apple.

Apple sold 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads, 4.1 million Macs and 2.7 million iPods in the second quarter.

Fender Musical Instruments Corp., one of the largest guitar makers in the world, said Wednesday it is closing its Ovation plant in New Hartford, where nearly 50 employees work, due to low sales and “market conditions.”

Very sad.

Federico Viticci did a nice job on bringing together some features he would like to see in the next version of iOS. One thing I’ve learned over the years is how different people’s wish lists for an operating system can be. Also, Viticci did a nice job on the site redesign.

Matt Haughey:

Like Steve Jobs, I grew up in California, and though I knew he attended (and dropped out of) Reed College in Portland, Oregon, I was surprised to read that Steve took frequent trips to an apple farm-slash-hippie commune near McMinnville, Oregon established by his friend (and Reed College student president) Robert Friedland.

The part that surprised me was I was sitting in my house in McMinnville, Oregon when I read that. McMinnville is a fairly small town about 35 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon, but thanks to farm roads and small two lane highways, it takes over an hour to get to Portland. Often people I meet in other parts of Oregon have never heard of it. It’s rare to meet anyone in California or beyond in any other US state that has heard of the city. When I read that Steve Jobs spent time near the place I’ve called home since 2003, I did some more research.

Interesting story about an area where Jobs spent a lot of time.

The Verge:

After weeks of playing defense against five Apple patents, Samsung this week went after Apple with two of its own patents: one it says is infringed when people make FaceTime calls, and another that covers the photo gallery feature found on iPhones, iPads, and some iPods.

Trouble is, the five Apple patents are actually Apple patents. Samsung’s two patents are both purchased patents, not Samsung innovations.

According to Apple’s attorneys, Samsung bought the pair of patents specifically for the case, instead of inventing them in-house. The original inventors on the video patent, for instance, originated in Oklahoma, and the gallery patent originally belonged to Hitachi. In the case of the video patent, Samsung disclosed that it paid $2.39 million to acquire it in 2010, the same year FaceTime debuted alongside the iPhone 4. Apple hopes that will stand in stark contrast with its five patents, two of which were filed the day the company introduced the iPhone, and all developed within the company.

Legal is legal, I get that. Samsung owns the two patents fair and square. But something about this just strikes me as skunky.

Fan of Game of Thrones? Either the series or the books? Check out this map. I’ve found it invaluable in understanding the different characters and their various interplay. There’s even a no-spoilers slider that let’s you mark how far into the series you are. Useful when one of your characters is killed off and you don’t know about it yet.

Clearly, this is worthwhile stuff. I think this will be incredibly difficult to implement, but I applaud the effort.

Have an Airport Extreme or Time Capsule? Grab the firmware updates and apply them.

I love the construction of this video. Lots of little pieces, all tied together to support Gigantic, by The Pixies. So well done. Be sure to check out Apple’s Powerful iPhone 5s web page, which showcases some of the apps used in the video.

Yum.

April 22, 2014

iTunes Radio adds new “First Plays” and “Ones to Watch 2014″

iTunes Radio is bulking up its content. On Tuesday the company added First Play’s of Ray LaMontagne’s new album “SUPERNOVA” and the new Damon Albarn album “Everyday Robots.” The new “Ones to Watch 2014” station has many acts including Betty Who, The 1975, Wild Cub, Mø, London Grammar, Courtney Barnett, Chet Faker, and SOHN.

I wasn’t sure about iTunes Radio at first, but with its customizable stations and ability to control the type of music it chooses, I’ve come to enjoy it. I’ve even purchased a few albums—strangely, some I thought I already had, but didn’t.

You can check out the new stations by bringing up iTunes Radio on your computer or favorite iOS device.

A huge update. I really like Marketcircle and its products—they work hard and care about what they do.

Apple opens OS X betas to the public

Big news today from Apple: the company is opening its OS X Beta Seed Program to its customers. In the past, you needed to be a developer to access beta builds of OS X, but as of OS X 10.9.3, released earlier today, customers can also apply for access.

“Join the OS X Beta Seed Program and help make OS X even better. Install the latest pre-release software, try it out, and submit your feedback,” reads Apple’s OS X Mavericks Beta page.

As a side note, you should always be careful when installing beta software. It’s beta because it’s still being tested, so don’t put it on any production machine.

Details of the new profile are available on Twitter’s Web site.

Om Malik wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the new Web site, but we’ll see how it goes.

Auto-Tune EFX 3’s new variable Retune Speed and Humanize controls provide an entirely new level of natural, realistic pitch correction. And with our unique Auto-Motion Vocal Pattern Generation, stunning new vocal effects are only a mouse click away.

I’ll be interested to see how the Humanize function helps.

Apple celebrates Earth Day around the world

Some great shots. Much respect, Apple.

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Apple releases iOS 7.1.1

Apple says there are improvements to Touch ID, a bug fix for keyboard responsiveness and a fix for using Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver. The update can be downloaded on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

This is so great.

Just as impressive is the amount of time the experts have spent on the case. Rinard said he had spent just over 800 hours on the case, for a total bill of $765,000, while Chris Vellturo, a damages expert who testified for Apple, revealed he’d been paid a stunning $2.3 million by Apple over the past few years for all his work on the case. That’s a lot of iPhones.

The jurors aren’t making quite as much money. The court provides them $40 per day with a raise to $50 per day after the 10th day of the trial.

Where do I sign up?

I must admit, the more I look at these, the more I like them.

The call is tomorrow at 2p PST. You can dial in or watch the live webcast.

Apple will provide live audio streaming of its FY 14 Second Quarter Results Conference Call using Apple’s industry-leading QuickTime® multimedia software. The live webcast will begin at 2:00 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq214 and will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter. The webcast is available on any iPhone®, iPad® or iPod touch® running iOS 4.2 or above, any Mac® running OS X 10.5 or above or any PC running QuickTime 7 or later.

Last time Netflix tried to raise their monthly rate, the company took it on the chin, hemorrhaging customers and taking a stock nose dive. This time they are being a little more cautious.

The company plans to raise streaming prices for the first time in nearly four years, with new members paying $1 or $2 more a month for the service, or as much as $10.

Netflix’s current plan includes all-you-can-eat movies and television shows for $7.99 a month. Existing customers will continue to pay the current prices for “a generous time period,” the company said.

The US has had a long, now-dwindling tax holiday for online sales. To me, the tax avoidance is unfair to the brick and mortar stores that have to collect the tax while Amazon did not. Not blaming Amazon. They play by the rules, collect when they are told to. But unfair is unfair. Interesting to see this impact on sales.

In states that have the tax, households reduced their spending on Amazon by about 10 percent compared to those in states that don’t have the levy. For online purchases of more than $300, sales fell by 24 percent, according to the report titled “The Amazon Tax.”

Huge impact.

Tim Cook narrates Apple’s “Better” environmental impact video

Tim Cook does a terrific job narrating this heartfelt video. You can feel the passion in his voice.

At Apple, we strive to reduce our impact on climate change, find ways to use greener materials and conserve resources for future generations. This video was shot on location at Apple Facilities. Now more than ever, we will work to leave the world better than we found it.

You’ll find the video on Apple’s environment page.

Amen, Tim.

If you’ve ever been to WWDC, give this a read. I feel your pain, James.

April 21, 2014

First person view of Blue Angels practice

I’ve always wanted to have a ride in an F/A-18 Hornet but not this close to other F/A-18 Hornets. That’s an 18-inch wing tip to canopy separation.

It’s a “freemium” pay model, or a “reverse paywall,” that adds features for subscribers rather than substracting them for nonsubscribers. But it still creates classes of haves and have-nots: those who have to click the “single page” button to see a story on a single page and those who don’t.

This is based on Slate’s new membership system.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environmental Initiatives, wrote a letter updating the public on the company’s progress.

The company has been meeting with potential applicants for two new positions at Apple focused exclusively on building a business around the hundreds of millions of credit cards it already has on file. Apple is seeking to fill head of product and head of business development positions, one of these people said.

The biggest thing that Apple has is trust—they have my credit card and have for years. I trust them with that information, so I would use its payment system.

Gazelle saw iPhone trade-in volumes drop 35% compared to where they were last year on the day the Galaxy S4 launched in the U.S. Interestingly, the Galaxy S4 didn’t even go on sale at all U.S. carriers on the same day last year, so the Galaxy S5 saw fewer trade-ins from a much larger group of potential customers.

So, current Samsung owners are trading up to the new phone, but they aren’t attracting iPhone customers to trade down.