All Articles Tagged "apple"

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

September 5th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Denys Prykhodov /

Denys Prykhodov /

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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Music Mogul Jimmy Iovine Says Bye To Interscope, Hello To Apple

May 30th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Most people think of Interscope Records and Jimmy Iovine, the man who co-founded the company 25 years ago, are synonymous. Now Iovine has announced he will step down as Chairman and CEO later this year, reports Damaging The Streets. The news comes on the heels of he and Dr. Dre finalizing a deal to sell their joint venture, Beats By Dre, to Apple for a whopping $3 billion.

With that kind of money, you’d think Iovine would retire and ride off into the sunset. But quite the opposite. While he is leaving Interscope, which was once home to Dr. Dre, Eminem and Gwen Stefani, Iovine will join Apple once they acquire Beats this September.  “The $3 billion deal, Apple’s biggest acquisition ever, will make Iovine and Dre senior advisors to Apple’s content division,” reports Time.

Meanwhile over at Interscope, Iovine will be succeeded by John Janick, who will take over Interscope Geffen A&M label (the label took on this new name in 1999 after a merger). Janick was previously COO and president of IGA. He joined the label group in 2012.

“John Janick has exactly what it takes to lead Interscope Geffen A&M: he started his own label, he understands the art of making records and the unique dynamic between a record label and artist, as well as the enormous responsibility that comes with representing one of the greatest artist rosters ever assembled,” Iovine said in a statement. “It’s always been so important to me to be able to identify and train the right successor, so I’m thrilled to have found John Janick. And during the last few years, as I was preparing John to take the reins, Lucian Grainge was transforming UMG, a transformation that made it possible for me to make this transition knowing that Interscope is in good hands.”

Janick’s label is called Fueled By Ramen. Interscope is the top US label.

It is an end of an era at Interscope, and the dawning of a new one at Apple.

Update: Apple Announces Beats Deal For $3 Billion

May 28th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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From left to right: Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Dr. Dre, Eddy Cue. via BusinessWire

Update: It’s official. Apple is buying Beats for $3 billion with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine joining Apple to work with Eddy Cue, Apple’s executive in charge of Internet services. Writes The New York Times“The Beats brand will remain separate from Apple’s and Apple will offer both Beats’s streaming music service and premium headphones.” Apple’s iTunes service will continue alongside these Beats offerings.

The deal is $2.6 billion in cash and $400,000 in stock. This is Apple’s biggest acquisition deal ever.

“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Iovine in a statement about the deal.


When we first heard Apple was in talks to buy Beats Electronics, the company owned by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, reports made it seem as though the $3.2 billion deal was imminent. Nearly three weeks later and still, nothing.

Now The New York Post says the deal will happen next week and the price has dropped just a touch to $3 billion.

Some wondered if the leaked clip of Dre and Tyrese Gibson was holding up the deal. Actually, the Post says, it’s the fact that Beats Music, the company’s streaming service, only had 111,000 subscribers in March. Spotify, to contrast, has 10 million paying customers and another 30 million who use it for free. One of the reasons Apple is said to have set its sights on Beats was for the streaming music possibilities, which has become increasingly popular with fans. That could have led to a renegotiation of the price.

Still, Beats is pulling in $1.3 billion in sales of its Beats headphones, so there’s great value to bringing it into the Apple fold.

Separately but related, there’s the matter of whether or not Dre will become “hip hop’s first billionaire.” If this story is true and the company sells at $3 billion, Dre would receive $750 million from the deal, given his 25 percent ownership of the company. Deduct taxes and take into account that Forbes has placed his earnings from the company in the $275 million range for the last couple of years, and Dre falls shy of the billion-dollar mark. We’re sure he’ll be fine.

Apple is trying to get its mojo back after a slump in innovation that has pushed it out of the top spot for most valuable brand in the world. (Google now occupies that slot.) The company is planning a new iteration of the iPhone with a larger screen and possibly a new smart home that will be introduced at the Worldwide Developer Conference on June 2. Dre and Iovine are expected to be there.

Google Boots Apple From The Top Of The List Of Most Valuable Brands

May 21st, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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google doodle anningGoogle brand value jumped 40 percent to $159 billion, pushing it above Apple and making it the most valuable brand in the world according to the BrandZ ranking. This breaks a three-year streak for Apple, which is now the second most valuable brand around.

Apple’s brand value slipped 20 percent to $148 billion.

“Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars,” Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor, told Ad Age. Millward Brown Optimor compiled the list.

Basically, Google has been out there inventing new things, applying its technology in new and novel ways and Apple has seemed stagnant. Sure, there’s a new iPhone on the horizon, but there’s been nothing game-changing for some time. They can use some fresh ideas and a brand boost, which is why some suspect the Apple/Beats deal came to be.

Rounding out the top five most valuable brands in order are:

-IBM, down from last year by four percent and valued at $107.5 billion

-Microsoft, up 29 percent and valued at $90.2 billion

-McDonald’s, down five percent and with a brand value of $87.5 billion

The BrandZ ranking, which is commissioned by marketing powerhouse WPP, is in its ninth year. The full list is available here.

Apple On The Path To Purchasing The Company Behind Beats By Dr. Dre For $3.2B, Dre Declares Himself Hip Hop’s 1st Billionaire

May 9th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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FayesVision/ Eddy/

/Judy Eddy/

Apple is close to announcing its largest acquisition deal ever: the $3.2 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, the audio and music company behind the wildly popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and the new Beats Music streaming service. The deal is expected to be officially announced next week, but reports say there’s still a chance the deal could fall apart.

With Apple’s financial fortunes in decline since the Steve Jobs heyday, the company is looking for a way to regain some ground. Investing in a streaming music service could be the way to do that. According to The Financial Times, the Beats headphones, now seen everywhere, would also help Apple regain a bit of cool.

“Apple executives have admitted that its brand is in need of a revamp. Internal emails released during its recent patent trial with Samsung showed that its marketing chief Phil Schiller considered changing Apple’s ad agency after the success of its Korean rival’s ‘next big thing’ campaign,” the article says.

Moreover, the music industry is moving to streaming services where Spotify, Pandora and Rdio are big players. Pandora has 75 million users. Apple only introduced iTunes Radio last year.

Beats was founded in 2008 by music executive Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre with the idea of pushing onto the market a set of headphones that have better sound quality. Since then, the high-priced headset (some models can reach $450 a pair) have been worn on celebrities in and out of the music industry and the average music lover equally.

According to The New York Times’ Dealbook blog, sales of all Beats products have reached $1.5 billion. And with an infusion of $500 million from investment company The Carlyle Group, the company is valued at $1 billion. The company is responsible for consistently placing Dr. Dre on Forbes’ list of highest paid entertainers.

Apple has been criticized lately for a lack of innovation, with items like a new model iPhone and a smartwatch in the works, but nothing recently that has wowed the way the iPad and original iPhone did when they were introduced. This would be a way of purchasing some innovation rather than creating it from scratch. Still, the company’s continued impact on the music industry shouldn’t be underestimated. It reigns supreme as a seller of downloaded music.

This would be the latest in a string of big tech deals in recent months, including Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for $16 billion-plus. Apple is said to have $159 billion in cash on hand, so $3 billion is just a drop in the bucket.

For Dre, the acquisition is definitely something to crow about. Tyrese Gibson uploaded a video to Facebook last night in which Dre can be heard saying, “The first billionaire in hip hop right here from the motherf***ing west coast.” Apple is usually very very quiet about its business moves, so don’t know how that’s going to go over. Tyrese says there have been some Heinekens passed around so maybe Dre can tell Apple’s CEO Tim Cook to blame it on the alcohol.

[h/t Mashable]

Which Smartphone Is Best Suited To Your Needs?

April 3rd, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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hand zen htc oneThese days, the average smartphone can do it all. It is a photo-taker, portable search-engine, organizer, newsmaker/slash social-media updater, an actual device for making phone calls (which we sometimes forget), and perform even more valuable functions. Many people rely heavily on their smartphones for day-to-day tasks; and, for many, these portable devices are the only means of connection to the Internet.

While Internet use is virtually universal among younger, college-educated adults and those with high incomes regardless of race, the gap is far greater when age and race are factored in, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. Figures show smartphone usage is nearly equal among Blacks and whites — 56 percent of African Americans and 53 percent of whites are smartphone users. Furthermore, African Americans have high rates of social networking site usage, over-indexing on Twitter. When it comes to younger African Americans, some 40 percent of African-American Internet users, ages 18-to-29, report they use Twitter, as opposed to 28 percent of whites of the same age.

With smartphones serving as the entry way to the world of digital for communities of color, MadameNoire takes a look at which handsets are best for some of our daily needs:

Health: Samsung Galaxy S5

Health tech has taken off, allowing users to monitor their caloric intake, sleeping patterns and activity levels. The Samsung Galaxy S5 takes it to another level. Users can select the heart-rate monitor icon from within Samsung’s S Health 3.0 application, which comes pre-loaded in the Galaxy S5, and place their index finger on the center of the flash module to the right of the flash. Holding your finger in place for a couple of seconds, you’ll receive your heart-rate info, which can be used to plot exercise and training regimens (viewing it in hours, days or months). Technically, you can use the iPhone 5S in the same manner if you download an appropriate app.

We can do without the plastic exterior, but you can’t beat the 5.1-inch display or amazing 16-MP rear camera either, or that it’s water resistant. The device goes on sale on April 11.

Stay Up to Date: HTC One (M8)

We love to stay connected and the newly released HTC One (M8) will satisfy your there’s-an-app-for-that needs. It’s Blinkfeed newsfeed app, which allows you to display your favorite content (thanks in part to HTC’s top-tier content partners like The Associated Press, MTV, and ESPN) and social updates  on your home screen.

It comes with more storage (ahem, the 2,600 mAh and Snapdragon 801 processor), so you can store more information on your device. Whether it’s pictures from the family reunion or business files, you’ll have them at your fingertips.

For more on the HTC One (M8), click here for our review.

Greater Photos: Nokia Lumia 1020

There so much talk of the iPhone 5S or the latest Galaxy devices that other brands get squashed. But don’t sleep on this Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is equipped with a great camera phone, boasting strong manual controls, a selection of photo Lens apps and a 21-MP sensor. Yes, you’ll get sharper photos and greater creative control. AT&T dropped the price of the Lumia 1020 from $299 to $199 on contract.

Cool Videos: iPhone 5S

It’s not a never-before-seen feature (you can definitely capture these on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S5 or phones with the SloPro app), but we’ll give it to them for now because there’s been some great videos captures with the device. Take a look for yourself.

Which is your favorite smartphone? We want to know how you use it and why it’s better than the rest?

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.