All Articles Tagged "apple"

Apple Announces Black Friday Sales; Urged To Deal With Organized Labor Issue

November 28th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

You might want to add Apple products to your Black Friday shopping list.  Your purchases will help fight AIDS.

The company has launched a two-week (RED) campaign in conjunction with its Black Friday deals to help fight AIDS. The effort will involve Apple’s retail and online stores as well as app purchases.

You’ll also benefit. “On Black Friday, customers who buy an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus will receive a $50 Apple gift card,” reports The Los Angeles Times. Buying a qualifying Apple TV, iPod and/or Beats product will get you a $25 card.

The company will also donate an unspecified portion of retail and online sales to (RED), which is an international nonprofit founded by U2’s Bono. There is a catch: Products must be bought on either Black Friday (Nov. 28) or Cyber Monday (Dec.1).

“The purchases you make during our holiday shopping events and through Apps for (RED) can create a lasting impact on the future of millions,” Apple said on its website.

And, for the next two weeks, Apple’s App Store will feature a special section called Apps for (RED) and it will offer 25 apps with exclusive content. With these purchases all of the proceeds will go directly to fight AIDS.

“For eight years, our customers have been helping fight AIDS in Africa by funding life-saving treatments which are having a profoundly positive impact,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a statement. “This year we are launching our biggest fundraising push yet.”

In other Apple news, the firm is being pressured by the Rev. Jesse Jackson to become an example for other tech firms on the hot-button issue of contract workers of Silicon Valley. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Apple is being pushed to “set a standard” for the security guards who protect the high-ranking workers of Silicon Valley.

The United Service Workers West (USWW), a local branch of the Service Employees International Union, wants to unionize security personnel in the Bay Area of California. And it’s reached out to Apple change contractors until the current dispute is settled.

“The USWW, alongside activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, is pushing hard for better working conditions in the campaign and has apparently set its eye on Apple, as it believes it should set an example for other tech companies to follow,” reports Business Insider.

Vice president of USWW, Samuel Kehinde, said, “Apple can be the leader. They can decide how life should be for this class of workers in the valley.”

In a letter Rev. Jackson reportedly sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, he urged Cook to “take a stand,” and look into how security guards are treated by Security Industry Specialists (SIS), which contracts them out.

Organized labor has been making headway in Silicon Valley. This month, Facebook’s shuttle bus drivers voted to join Teamsters union; and in October, Google said it would create in-house security staff who’ll get equal benefits as the rest of its staff, reports Business Insider.

Update: No Emojis Without Representation! Do Black People Need Black Emojis?

November 4th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
Share to Twitter Email This
Apple/ Black Emoji LLC

Apple/ Black Emoji LLC

 

Update Business Insider reports in the upcoming version of Unicode, emojis will be updated to reflect characters of all skin tones. The Unicode Consortium addressed the need for more diverse emojis in their latest report. The organization stated:

“People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone. The Unicode emoji characters for people and body parts are meant to be generic, yet following the precedents set by the original Japanese carrier images, they are often shown with a light skin tone instead of a more generic (inhuman) appearance, such as a yellow/orange color or a silhouette.Unicode Version 8.0 is adding 5 symbol modifier characters that provide for a range of skin tones for human emoji. These characters are based on the six tones of the Fitzpatrick scale, a recognized standard for dermatology (there are many examples of this scale online, such as FitzpatrickSkinType.pdf). The exact shades may vary between implementations.”

This tech report debuted yesterday, November 3, so we will keep you updated once Black emojis become officially available.

Original story: March 28, 2014

IPhone users adore them. Android users feel some type of way when they cannot see them on texts. They illustrate our feelings. Most importantly, they made their first music video debut to re-create Beyonce and Jay Z’s “Drunk In Love.” They are emojis, the cute cartoon icons you can download for free from Apple’s app store.

The other day, my childhood friend tagged me in a post about Black emojis. Although I majored in Black Studies and work at an online magazine for black women, I never gave much thought about the lack of diversity in the world of emojis. I thought the post would turn into a moment of hilarity shared among black people but quickly realized I was wrong. According to The Los Angeles Times, Apple received an email from MTV to make emoji icons more racially inclusive after a tweet from actor Tahj Mowry.

tahj mowrey tweet

The email was sent to  Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook. Apple’s vice president of worldwide corporate communications, Katie Cotton responded:  “There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

The Unicode standard is used by various programs and allows apps/platforms to display text or icons the same as one another. Unicode is controlled by a consortium and not by Apple. Therefore, Apple cannot automatically issue an update. For there to be black emojis, the Unicode consortium needs to accept changes to the standard. In other words, until the emoji creators decide to update the icons, users who want a more diverse set emojis are better off using Black Emoji by Black Emoji LLC. Beware though, it’s not free.

MadameNoire did a quick unscientific survey of a group of college-educated people for their thoughts about their representation in the emoji world.

Black Women Share Their Thoughts On Purchasing Black Emojis:

“I would use them but I wouldn’t pay for them. I can speak my feelings for free.” -M. Ogbeab

“Def wouldn’t pay for them. The other emojis are free, so why should the black ones cost money? I would most certainly use them, as long as they aren’t offensive. They could also get some Caribbean/African flags up there too.”- D. Brissett

“Why should I have to pay for the black emoji while the white emoji is free. No I don’t think so. I would use them if it was free. The black emoji has to be natural too!! But I still won’t purchase it.”- T. Cudjoe

“I’m not paying to be discriminated against! Where are the emojis that represent the caramel colored? Black isn’t just one shade! Why are all the black female emojis looking less than enthused? Black women aren’t ever happy?” – M. Bunbury

“Black people have many things to worry about and emoji representation is on the lower end of the spectrum of our worries. Would it be nice to see black emojis-YES. Would I (or should I) pay for them, when other emojis are free-NO. However, it is 2014, the NEW WORLD has been discovered. Other people exist, besides white people. Why is it so hard to have emojis that represent POC (People Of Color) period?” – C. Hairston

“More Caribbean flags. I really don’t have a preference on the race of the emoji. Lol aren’t they yellow! And besides, the ones that look like people could be light skin! Lol. But you know, one with dreads wouldn’t hurt lol!” -N. Bourne

“I literally say this all the time. Where are the POC emojis?! I can’t identify with the white ones. Fyi I would totally use the emoji of the guy with the beard. My
Bf looks like that.” – J. Bautista

“People always want to make a profit off of the Black identity.We are usually misunderstood and underrepresented as is… Then you want to charge? Ha!”- F. Harvey

What Do White People/Asians Think About This Issue?

“Yes I would use them but don’t think I would pay. I love emojis and think they are fun and can enhance writing (especially considering how much I communicate via mobile typing these days), but don’t use the people emojis much because they don’t feel inclusive.” – Z. Teague

” I would never pay for an emoji, unless it was one of a Bills jersey and we were going to the superbowl–which will never happen, so no.  I didn’t even know there were little white people, but I say yes, make them for all races and ethnicities. Some of my family is black and some Hispanic… but I’m white, so would I send them one that looks like them or me? Depends I guess lol. I would not be surprised if someone makes an app with generic faces and bodies and you click which color to fill it. And I bet no one chooses yellow! And can we get a polish flag or a pussywillow too? Dyngus day is our one holiday!” – C. Skrzypek

” I personally feel as if a middle eastern/south Asian line of emojis existed, i’d feel more inclined to use them. I’m guessing for many the same holds true when it comes to black emojis. Paying for them is wrong though. I say the emojis for your skin color should come standard on your phone and if you must pay for them it ought to only be for emojis of other skin colors or those crazy animal emojis.” – A. Ghuman

Regardless of what you think, this issue allows for conversation about how black people are represented in the media. We hope the new black emojis made will not be offensive or stereotypical, like the ones we found during research today.

Let us know your thoughts:  Do you think black people need black emojis? 

 

Leave Your Credit Cards At Home: Apple Pay Offers A Virtual Payment Process

October 21st, 2014 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This

The just-debuted Apple Pay may replace your wallet. But it will definitely change the way retailers and restaurants in the United States do business.

Apple Pay is the tech giant’s mobile payment product and it works on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for online as well as brick-and-mortar store purchases. Industry experts say this could mean the end of physical credit cards. Already, checkout counters in more than 220,000 stores, such as Whole Foods, McDonald’s and Chevron, are expected to soon be equipped with readers.

To use Apple Pay, you have to position the iPhone near one of the readers at a store, hold your finger on your Touch ID and the item paid for. “A vibration and a beep will let users know that checkout was successful. There’s no need to do anything else,” reports ABC News.

As far as security concerns with Apple Pay, neither Apple nor merchants will see or store any of your private data. So need to worry about the current rash of security breaches that have plagued many major retailers.

You merely take a photo of your credit card and add it to their phone’s Passbook. Once you do this, the card is assigned a unique device account number, encrypted, and stored in the phone’s Secure Element Chip.

And at check out, “the device account number and a dynamic security code are used to complete the transaction. Apple will never know what you purchased, the company said, and you’ll still get rewards points on the credit cards you use,” reports ABC News.

You can also use Apple Pay with the two new iPads that hit the market last week — the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3. Users add their debit or credit card info from their iTunes account or take a photo with the tablet’s camera. When users want to pay for something, they tap the home button and the transaction is complete.

Apple Pay also works such apps as Target, Uber and OpenTable.

Apple Unveils Two New iPads, Two New Desktops, New Software

October 17th, 2014 - By Rhonesha Byng
Share to Twitter Email This

On October 16th, Apple had another one of it’s much talked about and hyped about announcements. This time wasn’t as awe-inducing as the iPhone announcement but there are quite a few interesting updates, new devices, and an official roll out of some features we’ve been expecting. Here’s a rundown of the highlights from Apple’s latest announcement.

Apple’s New Operating System iOS 8 Debuts Today

September 17th, 2014 - By Rhonesha Byng
Share to Twitter Email This
Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Get ready! Because iOS 8 is coming to an iPhone near you! iPhone users won’t need to purchase the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus to get in on all the amazing new features and updates from Apple. Today at 1 PM EST the new software update equipped with all the features we’ve been waiting for will become available.

Back in June, the company announced the new software that includes better photo editing options, a way to duck out of those pesky group chats, and a smart keyboard with predictive typing. The HealthKit is part of the update, to help you keep track of your fitness goals and health needs. There’s a continuity feature to help your work flow, allowing you to start an email on your phone and finish it on your computer, or even start a phone call on your phone and pick it up on your computer. For a quick refresher of the features to expect in this latest update, check out our full breakdown by clicking here.

To get the update, go to Settings > General > Software Update and hit “Download and Install.” It’s best if you make sure your phone is plugged in while doing this. If you don’t have enough space on your phone to do the update wirelessly, simply plug in your phone to iTunes and complete the update through your laptop. The update is available to iPhone 4S, 5, 5C and 5S owners. iPads are also included (with the exception of the first generation versions). iPod Touch 5th generation editions will also be eligible for the update.

This software update is  great for those who are missing out on getting their hands on the new iPhone’s set to hit stores this Friday, September 19th. This year iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus pre-sales broke records, selling four million phones within 24 hours.

Following Settlement Rejection, Apple & Google Return To Talks With Disgruntled Tech Workers In Hiring Class Action

September 5th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

Apple’s already getting enough bad press over the celebrity nude photo hack. Maybe by settling a mega class action lawsuit, they can help redeem themselves.

Tech companies have finally returned to the table to resume talks with suing workers over a hiring lawsuit. The companies — Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe — have returned to mediation talks with tech workers in a high-profile lawsuit over Silicon Valley hiring practices, according to a court filing.

The companies were accused of conspiring with each other to avoid hiring each other’s employees. The talks are continuing following a rejection by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, of a proposed $324.5 million settlement in the class action case. Koh said it was too low, and that due to the strength of the case the plaintiffs deserve more.

“Tech employees alleged that the conspiracy limited their job mobility and, as a result, kept a lid on salaries,” reports The Chicago Tribune.  The case has been going on since 2011 and it has been followed closely because it could open the gate for other lawsuits. A class-action lawsuit over the lack of diversity in hiring the tech sector should probably have been expected given the industry’s acknowledged issues with hiring women and minorities.

The current case is based mainly on emails in which Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, former Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, and some of their rivals came up with a scheme to avoid poaching each other’s prized employees, especially the engineers.

According to Koh, Jobs was probably the mastermind of the plan. She said when she rejected the settlement, that there was “substantial and compelling evidence” that Jobs “was a, if not the, central figure in the alleged conspiracy.”

A hearing is set for Sept. 10.

Only 7 Percent Of Apple’s Employees In The US Are Black

August 12th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
Share to Twitter Email This
Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Apple is the latest company to announce its diversity numbers in the US and, hold on to your hats (just kidding), most of the people working at the company in this country are White men.

According to the report, released just today on its website, 55 percent of the company’s employees are White, 15 percent are Asian, 11 percent are Hispanic and seven percent are Black. The figures are similar when you look only at the staffers in tech positions — 54 percent White, 23 percent Asian, seven percent Hispanic and six percent Black — and those in non-tech positions — 56 percent White, 14 percent Hispanic, nine percent Asian and nine percent Black.

Seventy percent of staffers are male and 30 percent are female.

Apple has 98,000 staffers around the world.

“Let me say up front: As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page,” writes Tim Cook in a memo accompanying the numbers. “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.”

The website makes a point of showcasings people of different ethnicities and sexual orientations to highlight the company’s commitment. Cook also calls out one staffer in particular, Kim Paulk at a store in Manhattan, who has a condition that has resulted in diminished sight and hearing. She works with a service dog Gemma that people have taken to calling a “seeing iDog.”

It’s clear that Apple has a broader definition of diversity. But the numbers don’t lie. Apple is one of the last big digital companies to reveal its diversity numbers, though they tell the same story. At the moment, diversity in STEM professions is a hot topic. But the solution will require a long-term commitment. The company gets that also.

“Beyond the work we do creating innovative tools for our customers, improving education is one of the best ways in which Apple can have a meaningful impact on society. We recently pledged $100 million to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative to bring cutting-edge technologies to economically disadvantaged schools. Eighty percent of the student population in the schools we will equip and support are from groups currently underrepresented in our industry,” the memo continues.

h/t Business Insider

The 250 New Emojis Are Not What We Were Expecting

June 17th, 2014 - By Rhonesha Byng
Share to Twitter Email This
via Unicode

via Unicode

Unicode Consortium (the company that regulates the presentation of text across software platforms and devices) officially released version 7.0 that comes with close to 250 new characters including: shopping bags, a bed, a camera with flash, and the highly sought after “back of envelope.” Needless to say, this is not quite the update we were expecting. The good news is, you can now officially give people the finger via text. The Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended is among the new emoji characters set to come in this new update. The bad news is the only hand that we’ll see will still look like a white person’s hand.

After Apple received an email from MTV about the lack of diverse emoji characters, Apple responded. However, since Apple does not create or control the emojis, they’re actively working with the Unicode Consortium to update the standard and create more diversity amongst the emoji characters.

Celebrities like Tahj Mowry and even Miley Cyrus agree that there needs to be more ethnicities and races reflected in our emoji symbols, but since this new update doesn’t quite add brown hands or faces to the character set we will have to continue to wait and see. While the Consortium released their update yesterday, the new emoji characters will not be available on your phones until a software update is issued that would allow your phone to support Unicode 7.0, which some predict will arrive sometime in July.

You can check out the full list of new emoji characters here.

Hello, iOS 8: This Is The Apple Update You’ve Been Waiting For

June 5th, 2014 - By Rhonesha Byng
Share to Twitter Email This
Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It looks like Apple may have been listening to us after all. Consider some of the most annoying features on your iPhone, or things you wish you could change (like too many group chats, text messages interrupting an Instagram post or a tweet). Well it’s likely that many of those concerns are addressed in the newest software update from Apple.

Earlier this week, Apple introduced their latest operating system, iOS8. Set to become available to iPhone users this Fall, (around the same time the rumored iPhone 6 is speculated to make its debut) it brings a host of welcome additions and improvements. The updates and upgrades seem to be a combination of  features borrowed from 3rd party apps in addition to features already available on Android phones. Nonetheless, Apple is taking major strides in the smarthome space and the health space. Better late than never, right?

Here are the new features part of iOS 8.

Apple Introduces New iOS 8 System & OS X Yosemite

June 2nd, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
Share to Twitter Email This
Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple introduced its latest operating system, the OS X Yosemite, and the iOS 8 system at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWCD), with NBC News reporting that the new system creates “a more uniform experience across Apple’s laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones.” Both systems come with a number of new features that have been hinted at and asked for.

As previously mentioned, the smart home app is coming, and it will be able to do things like dim your lights. Healthkit will compile information like the calories burned and the steps taken by the app’s user. There’s going to be more Siri, and a version of the “Swype” keyboard function that’s currently available on Android devices will be on the new devices. The new systems will be available in the fall.

Both systems are also offering an upgrade to its Dropbox-like storage system, iCloud. Mashable says that, on Yosemite, “Storing and editing documents in the cloud — with different kinds of apps — is enabled through the service, and it’s compatible with Windows devices, too.” While offering more space, the price is also dropping  on this service. The iCloud Photo Library will offer a similar system for all of your pictures. The version available on Yosemite won’t be ready until 2015.

Welcome messaging upgrades have also been made on the mobile iOS system, including an option to turn a note from audio to text. And if you’re one of the many people who wanted a Family Sharing option, here it is, offering the ability to share items bought on iTunes and a notification if one person tries to purchase apps.

“Until recently, Apple benefited from being the first choice of app developers to build programs on its devices,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “However, as Android’s share has grown globally, to roughly 80% of phones sold last year, more developers are creating apps for both platforms at the same time or for Android first.”

The Journal also reports that Apple is seeing some dollars and cents benefits of late after a number of financial moves, including improved earnings. But this WWCD is also the opportunity to build some buzz around what’s coming. Now we wait for the tech critics, early adopters and various gurus to have at it and let us know if it’s worth the excitement.