Tag - Arizona
Apple will be spending $2 billion over the course of 10 years to convert GT Advanced's failed sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona into a datacenter, according to an official announcement. The company claims that the project is "one of the largest" investments it has ever made, and should add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the area, though the facility will only have 150 permanent workers. It's also promising to use entirely renewable power, "much" of which will come from a future 70MW solar farm it's building.
MasterCard has partnered with a company called Prom Management Group to bring Apple Pay to at least one stop on the PGA Tour, according to an announcement. At the 16th hole of the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, people will be able to pay for food and drinks at concession stands through an Apple Pay-ready iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Other mobile payment systems (such as Google Wallet) could also be supported; while only Apple Pay is mentioned by name, the concessions are said to be generally "contactless enabled."
Apple has added a collection of new locations to its Flyover feature in Maps, and new countries to the list that can access movie listings through Siri. In the former category are Avignon, Biarritz, and Perpignan in France; the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater in Arizona; Devil's Tower in Wyoming, Dunedin in New Zealand, Royal Gorge in Arkansas, and finally Visby in Sweden. Apple has been slowly updating the number of areas with Flyover support since iOS 6 was released in 2012.
The sapphire manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona owned by Apple but currently occupied by the now-bankrupt GT Advanced Technologies will eventually be re-purposed by the iPhone maker, according to a report from Mesa City Manager Chris Brady. This could allow some employees, who are looking at possible layoffs as early as this month, to continue working at the facility. Currently, GT Advanced is being allowed to remain in the facility rent-free through the remainder of the year in order to wind down operations.
(Updated with Apple response, hints at future initiatives) GT has confirmed its split with Apple via a press release, offering further details on the terms. "GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple," the statement explains. "GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa [Arizona] and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its $439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF sales.
GT Advanced plans to lay off 727 workers at its sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, according to a mandatory Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification issued to the Mesa City Council. Affected people are said to include 524 in production, 108 in technical jobs, 70 in management, and 25 in administration. The move comes as GT is planning to "wind down" the Mesa plant, and despite Apple's promise that it would try to preserve jobs.
Apple's source for sapphire in Mesa, Arizona announced that its factory would be completing a conversion for "volume production" for its production machines shortly. GT Advanced Technologies announced the shift in their quarterly results, stating that the construction for the facility would be completed soon. Apple partnered with GT Advanced Technologies in November, investing in the company's expansion, which would in turn grant Apple exclusive supply rights.
Even though the core facility still isn't finished, Apple and GT Advanced are already planning to expand their sapphire factory in Mesa, Arizona, AppleInsider reports. The site claims that several companies have already stepped up with bids for the expansion. The plant and its grounds currently occupy 83 acres; the expansion may grow into land directly behind it, which records show are vacant and more than large enough to support a bigger complex.
Apple, which owns a manufacturing facility in Arizona to be used in the future for a key component-making factory, has voiced its opposition to the "turn away the gay" bill that has passed the Arizona legislature. The state -- long known for its inflammatory laws and actions against minorities -- passed a measure late last week that would legalize discrimination against gay people, provided the person or business owners had "strong religious views."
Both the city of Mesa and the state of Arizona acted aggressively to lure Apple and GT Advanced Technologies into building their sapphire plant in the Mesa area, according to a new Bloomberg report. The publication notes that since Arizona lost out on an Apple operations center that ended up in Austin, Texas, local government was eager to make concessions in order to attract the company's jobs and business. Apple is said to have received a $10 million grant from the state to support hiring and building improvements, as well a special designation for its land, slashing the company's property taxes by over 70 percent.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.18 ( + 1.54 )
BlackBerry video calling available on iOS
BlackBerry has made its video calling feature available to Android and iOS users. The company reports limited availability of the new cross-platform feature for now, citing "because this is the first time we're launching BBM Video calling, and we want to monitor performance, gather feedback, and iron out any kinks that may arise before we roll it out globally." http://blck.by/1ruu4pC
Apple loses iPhone brand exclusivity in China
Apple has lost its exclusive rights to the 'iPhone' brand in China, the Beijing Municipal High People's Court has ruled. According to Quartz, Chinese company Xintong Tiandi is now free to continue selling its non-smartphone "IPHONE" branded products, which include smartphone cases, among other leather goods. The Chinese court ruled that Xintong Tiandi, which registered the "IPHONE" trademark in 2007, could continue to use the trademark because Apple did not start selling the iPhone in China until 2009. Apple also could not prove that Xintong Tiandi's ongoing use of the trademark would cause Apple material harm. The latest ruling by the Chinese government follows its recent decision to shut down the iTunes Movies and iBooks Store. http://bit.ly/1SNhRmB
Bowers & Wilkins bought by EVA Automation
High-end UK audio equipment maker and fixture in Apple retail stores Bowers & Wilkins has been bought out by a California "smart home" tech firm, EVA Automation. Fomer Bowers & Wilkins owner Joe Atkins will continue as CEO of the joint venture, with EVA Automation founder Gordon Yu acting as executive chairman. The two companies said the merger will combine EVA's AV technologies and Bowers & Wilkins' acoustic engineering talents to grow the now-combined firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it is expected that the Bowers & Wilkins brand name will continue. http://yhoo.it/1SLt6zj
Micromat MacCheck released for free
Micromat, the developers of TechTool Pro, today announced a new troubleshooting utility called MacCheck. The new product can perform a series of critical tests on Macintosh systems, helping to isolate what might be wrong with a particular computer. The program quickly tests many of the critical systems in a Macintosh computer, including RAM, I/O, Volume Structures, Partition Maps, Batteries, and RAID systems. MacCheck is being offered free of charge and is available for download immediately from the Micromat website. http://bit.ly/1SKFwaV
Hyundai Sonata 2016 gains CarPlay
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata can now be upgraded to incorporate Apple's CarPlay mobile technology, which augments the built-in infotainment system in the car to incorporate many iPhone features, such as Apple Maps and Siri voice control of navigation and other smartphone functions. The upgrade is accomplished through an SD card owners can obtain from their local Hyundai dealer. Although not disclosed, the upgrade was said to cost "a small fee" when it was initially announced in December of last year. http://bit.ly/1TJzK8f
TimePorter carry tote for Apple Watch
Twelvesouth today began shipping TimePorter, a new travel tote and portable charging stand for Apple Watch that that carries a 6m Apple Watch charging cable, extra Watch bands, USB chargers and more. The case also incorporates the Apple Watch Charging Disc, converting your case into a charging and display stand. It is available for $50 in white or black. http://bit.ly/1SCQM4T
WaterField cycling ride pouches
WaterField's new cycling ride pouches are custom-fit to carry both in one compact kit and are ready for the summer cycling season. The Cycling Ride Pouch includes a clear window that allows basic phone access with the phone still safely within the case, and the Cycling Club Pouch incorporates a padded phone pocket to separate up to an iPhone 6 Plus-sized phone from the tool compartment. Both handsome pouches fit neatly in a back jersey pocket, with optimized surface area for comfort. The Cycling Ride Pouch sells for $80, with the Club Pouch retailing for $50. http://bit.ly/1rRqN4e