All Articles Tagged "apple"

Apple Purchases HopStop App, Makes Its Nigerian Inventor A Very Rich Man

May 26th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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(Photo via Twitter)

(Photo via Twitter)

Nigerian entrepreneur Chinedu Echeruo just became a billionaire, thanks to Apple. Echeruo created an app called HopStop, an international navigation service. Apple has reportedly been acquired the company for a whopping $1 billion as part of the tech giant’s efforts to improve its web and mobile mapping infrastructure, reports PC Tech Magazine.

While the amount is not confirmed, Forbes says the sale was in the “billion dollar range.”

The Wall Street Journal blog  “All Things Digital,” was the first to report the HopStop acquisition, which insiders say is Apple’s response to earlier acquisition of a similar service by Google. They paid a little more than $1 billion for Israel-based mapping startup Waze. Many compare HopStop to Waze.

Echeruo launched the site back in 2005 to solves the problems he had navigating through New York City while he was working on Wall Street. The mapping service provides directions and helps people find nearby bus stops and subway stations. HopStop can be used with iOS and Android mobile devices and now covers over 300 cities across the world, including San Francisco, Toronto, London, and Paris. The app adds mass transit directions to Apple’s repertoire, a service that the company had previously relied on Google for.

Echeruo grew up in the eastern part of Nigeria and worked as an analyst at various hedge funds and investment banks before creating HopStop. “The Syracuse University and Harvard Business School graduate worked for a number of years in J.P. Morgan Chase’s Mergers & Acquisitions and Leveraged Finance groups. He also worked with AM Investment Partners, a $500 million bond arbitrage hedge fund,” reports Financial Juneteenth.

Currently, Echeruo is a partner and principal investing group chief at a West Africa-based investment bank called Constant Capital through which he wants to help small businesses in Africa grow.“There is no reason why every entrepreneur should have to reinvent the wheel every single time in all the countries in Africa,” Echeruo said in a 2012 TED Talk. “My idea is to essentially have one place where a budding entrepreneur can access a template for starting a business, and then customize it to suit their own situation; essentially, a business-in-a-box.”

Apple Watch Debuts, But Pre-Orders Are Shipping In Summer

April 10th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Apple Watch is finally here. Well, sort of. The tech giant was right when it predicted it would sell out of its new watches.

Pre-orders for Apple’s wearable device began on Friday, but, as many Apple Watch hopefuls are discovering, shipping time frames have extended to June for several models. While it may still be possible for customers to get their hands on some models that are listed as shipping within four-to-six weeks, many current fall within the mid-range price offerings. It’s sent several customers to eBay where the wearable tech item is being offered for well above $1,000.

Orders poured in at 3:01 am ET, and the anticipated in-store pick-up or home delivery on April 24 quickly turned into extended wait times. This after the release of the company’s first consumer product in five years.

Apple Watch is available in three versions: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and the pricey Apple Watch Edition. With that being said, you can choose from over 50 selections. The watch will cost from $349 (aluminum case, rubber band) to $17,000 (18 karat gold case, leather band with brass buckle).

One startup, San Francisco-based Lumoid, is offering consumers the chance to rent an Apple Watch. Let’s say you wanted to rent the Sport edition, it’ll cost you $45 for one week. If you then wanted to purchase it, $25 would be applied to the final purchase. The 18-karat gold watch, which runs for around $10,000, isn’t available for rent.

Customers are able to try the device on at the Apple Store after making an appointment. Don’t expect to place one on your wrist unless you’ve secured a 15-minute slot through Apple’s concierge service online, or the Apple Store app on your iOS device. You won’t be able to test out the Apple Watch Edition in most stores.

So, what can we expect from sales?

“We believe the watch is going to be a huge category—10 plus percent of Apple’s business—but it’s going to take six quarters to get there,” says Gene Munster, a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, on CNBC’s The Tech Bet. 

It’s difficult to measure Apple Watch demand given that the exact supply figures aren’t available. However, it is safe to say that the demand for Apple Watch is there. Analysts believe the initial financial impact will be moderate. As developers begin to launch apps for the newest wearable tech gadget, greater financial opportunities will arise.

Do you plan on purchasing/renting the Apple Watch? Let us know in the comments section. 

Rejoice! Apple Finally Releases Racially Diverse Emojis In iOS 8.3 Update

April 8th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Earlier today, we reported on a new app named WeMoji that featured Black and Hispanic emoticons. Although WeMoji was hosted in the Apple app store and received good reviews, Apple has revved up the competition by releasing the official racially diverse emojis for the Unicode Consortium keyboard earlier than expected.

Via its iOS 8.3 update, Apple has released 300 new emojis on its Yosemite 10.10.3 for OS X users. Besides emojis, our homegirl Siri can now speak in Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Apple also claims there has been a host of bug fixes to improve product performance.

Of the new improvements, Apple users have been rejoicing or lamenting the changes on Twitter:

In order to see the more diverse emojis, pick the emoticon that you want to use, hold it down and a variety of options will appear.

Do you like the emoji keyboard update?

Don’t Change That Channel! Apple Launching Online TV Service

March 17th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Chukcha /

Chukcha /

What isn’t Apple into? Now, the tech giant is launching its own online TV service.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple wants “to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall.” Apple already lets users watch television and Netflix shows through its Apple TV device, but this new move could revolutionize the industry. In fact, same experts say it could actually kill cable television.

It is rumored that Apple’s subscription service may offer “about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS, and Fox, and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV.” While Apple won’t include content from NBCUniversal due of a dispute between Apple and NBC parent Comcast, the company is also talking to the likes of  like Walt Disney and Fox about content. It is speculated the service will cost $30 to $40 per month.

Right now Apple TV is only viewed as a supplement to existing TV service for most users.

In addition to the potential service, it seems Apple may also be developing its own television hardware, reports Business Insider.

Would you watch TV on your Apple device?

Apple Donating $40 Million To Thurgood Marshall Fund To Bring Diversity To The Tech Industry

March 11th, 2015 - By Tonya Garcia
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Apple CEO Tim Cook debuting the Apple Watch. via Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook debuting the Apple Watch. via Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Apple is partnering with a number of nonprofit organizations — and putting $50 million on the table — to increase the number of women, veterans and minorities in the tech industry. The goal, according to head of HR Young Smith, is to make Apple the first stop in the long careers of minority candidates.

The lion’s share, $40 million, is going towards the effort to reach Black college students. The company tells Fortune magazine that it’s partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports students enrolled at public HBCUs like Grambling State (where Apple’s Smith graduated from in 1978) and Howard University. Out of 100 HBCUs, 48 qualify. About 20 percent of HBCU graduates come from these schools.

“What differentiates this partnership with Apple is that it hits on everything that we do—it is the most comprehensive program ever offered to an HBCU organization,” said Johnny Taylor, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

A database of computer science majors at these schools will be created and an internship program launched.

A $10 million partnership with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) aims to increase the number of women in tech professions. That program will not only reach college-age women, but aims to target 10,000 middle school girls.

Additional efforts (and, most likely, dollars) will also be invested in reaching military leaders with information for veterans.

In addition to this huge announcement, Apple introduced the Apple Watch (above), which will be priced between $350 and $18,000, with diamonds. And the company’s shareholder meeting is taking place this week.

‘True Blood’ On Your Cell: New HBO Now Service To Be Offered On Apple Devices

March 10th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Twin Design /

Twin Design /

Fan of  “Game of Thrones” but don’t have the package of premium TV channels that gets you HBO at home?  Don’t worry any longer, now you can get HBO by itself on your phone. This will be the first time the premium cable network will be offered directly to customers–if you have an Apple device, that is.

Called HBO Now, the service is a $14.99-a-month service that will launch next month on Apple devices.

This move may change the television industry as together with sports, “HBO long has been considered part of the glue that holds the pay-TV bundles together,” reports The Los Angeles Times. Before the introduction of HBO Now, TV viewers couldn’t get immediate access to HBO programming without signing up for a package of pay-TV channels that typically costs more than $100 a month.

“This is a transformative moment for HBO,” Richard Plepler is Chairman and CEO of HBO said.

Under the HBO-Apple deal, which has been in the works for about a year, Apple will have a three-month period to exclusively offer HBO Now on its iPhones, iPads or Apple TVs. Following this, HBO is expected to offer the service to users of other devices.

HBO joins CBS, the Tennis Channel, and Nickelodeon, which have already debuted stand-alone services during the past year. There’s also Satellite TV giant Dish Network’s new Internet-delivered Sling TV, a package of TV channels including ESPN and TBS, which launched in January.

HBO Now costs much more than the fees charged by competing streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, but HBO did so to maintain its long-standing relationships with pay-TV operators.

Said Plepler in an interview, “We are going to continue to have big partnerships with our current providers as well as big partnerships with technology companies like Apple. And all of this will benefit consumers who will have access to our programming.”

“No Natural Hair Emoji?” Consumers Not Pleased With Apple’s New Black Emojis

February 24th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Apple's New Black Emojis


Over the past year, MadameNoire has reported on if the Unicode Consortium (the corporation who creates emojis) will diversify them. The next update of emoji  symbols will be available in six different skin tones reports CNN Money.

Once an emoji keyboard user taps and holds down on an emoji person or icon, the variations of skin complexions will be shown. In order for Unicode to develop the new skin tones, the corporation used the Fitzpatrick scale that has been used by dermatologists to help classify skin types. Besides updating the skin types of the emoji characters, Unicode has also developed same-sex family icons and added 32 new country flags.

Buzzfeed notes, Apple will release the new emojis on its devices in the next iOS and OS X update, scheduled later on this year. Although this is the moment we have been waiting for, the new emojis have received mixed reviews. Some were underwhelmed with how “yellow” the Asian Emojis were depicted. Others wished for Black female emojis with natural hair or weave. Of course these reactions were documented by Twitter users who added their two cents on these issues:

Even though they didn’t please everyone, an Apple spokesperson said, “Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us.”

Are you feeling the new emojis?

Apple Picks Minority Firms To Handle Multi-Billion Dollar Debt Offering

February 6th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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: Vytautas Kielaitis /

Vytautas Kielaitis /

Apple reached out to minority firms to assist in handling its recent multi-billion debt offering. Investment banking firm Williams Capital and Ramirez & Co. were selected along with four others, reports Black Enterprise.

Even the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been pushing tech companies to become more diverse, was impressed. In a press statement he said, “Apple is making a major statement with the inclusion of minority financial services firms in this transaction is a major breakthrough for the business of diversity. The good news is that empowers minority firms, and is value added for Apple.”

And it was a major deal the two firms took part in. Despite having announced a record-making profit for the holiday quarter of $18 billion, Apple sold $6.5 billion in bonds, according to Bloomberg. It was a tax saving move.

 “Most of Apple’s cash hoard is held offshore. Apple can defer taxes on that cash until it decides to bring it back to the US,” reports Business Insider.
A small but significant move towards diversity.

According To Apple’s Quarterly Earnings Report, The Company Can Afford To Pay Everyone $556!

January 29th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Songquan Deng /

Songquan Deng /

Apple has crushed the competition with record-breaking quarterly earnings. We’re talkin’ a profit of $18 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The tech giant, already the most lucrative on the stock market, shoved oil companies ExxonMobil and Gazprom — who were the previous record-setters — out of the way and came out on top in the third quarter. Thanks to a whopping 74.5 million iPhones sold over the holidays, Apple’s profits jumped by 38 percent.

Apple now sits on $178 billion in cash and investments. To put it in perspective, the iPhone masterminds can now pay everyone — and I mean everyone — in the United States $556, as pointed out by Howard Silverblatt of S&P Dow Jones Indices. Whew!

The gadget juggernaut is brilliant at enticing legions of consumers to queue up and sign up, every two years, for expensive contracts for costly phones. Most importantly, Apple’s profit margins are incredible. Though the company is hush-hush about the manufacturing costs of the iPhone, speculators believe that the iPhone 6 costs $200 to make, as per Time. If this is true, the device, which costs $649 sans contract, has a profit margin of 69 percent. And in theory, Apple makes a little over $400 for every iPod sold.

Sixty-five percent of the tech giant’s sales came from abroad, according to WSJ Digital. Apples biggest consumers came from China; they were up 70 percent. Sales in Europe and America were up 20 and 23 percent, respectively.

“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to The Guardian. “…[T]he execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”

So what does Apple have in store for us next? According to PC Advisor, stay tuned for an Apple Watch between now and March. Rumor has it that Apple is also working on the “slimmest MacBook yet.”

Are you excited to see what Apple has planned for the future?

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

November 28th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Songquan Deng /

Songquan Deng /

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.