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AAPL Stock: 567.08 ( + 42.33 )

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Apple tops 2014 JD Power rankings for smartphone satisfaction

Samsung follows close behind

Apple has topped a 2014 JD Power ranking of customer satisfaction among US smartphone owners. Each smartphone maker is scored according to metrics for performance, physical design, features, and ease of use, and relative to each of the four major US carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Apple is in first place with all four carriers, but trailed closely by Samsung.

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Cook answers analyst questions on China, carriers, Apple

CEO delves into details to add color to Apple earnings announcements

Beyond the "big story" about Apple's analyst-beating earnings, profits and surprise stock split, financial analysts got a chance to ask some probing questions during Wednesday's Apple conference call discussing the company's fiscal Q2 results . In a Q&A session accompanying the announcements, Apple CFO Lucas Maestri and CEO Tim Cook revealed some details and their thoughts on diverse areas of the business, ranging from specifics on China to the changing US smartphone landscape.

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Good numbers of note: 800M iTunes accounts, 20M Apple TVs, more

Apple products still finding new audiences even as leading lines mature

With the exception of iPads and the declining iPod , the numbers coming out of Apple's conference call with analysts mirror the title of Pixar's best movie: Up . Of primary importance to analysts were the better-than-expected iPhone sales , but Mac sales were also up from the year-ago quarter. Other numbers revealed in the course of the call were also positive; growth in China and Japan, strength in developing markets and new revelations on Apple TV and iTunes numbers.

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Cook: iPad sales actually better than expected, figures are misleading

Blames channel inventory imbalance for most of year-over-year decline

On paper, the sales of the iPad in Apple's fiscal second quarter look bad: a 16 percent drop from the year-ago quarter, rumors of which already had pundits and business sites wondering if the iPad had peaked . Statistics, however, can sometimes be misleading -- and in an unusually proactive explanation, Apple CEO Tim Cook took time at the start of his conference call with analysts to explain that changes in channel inventory accounted for most of the "lower" sales.

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Apple announces historic 7:1 stock split, increases buyback program

Dividends also to go up on an annual basis in moves to increase stock value

In a surprise announcement, Apple will do a 7:1 stock split on June 6, giving stockholders of record as of June 2 an additional six shares for every one share of stock they currently hold. Trading will resume on June 9 at the split-adjusted price, which CEO Tim Cook has said the company wants to be more affordable so that smaller investors can get into the stock. Given today's closing price of $524.75, the average price of a share would drop to $75 if the split were happening now.

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Apple touts $45.6 billion in Q2 2014 revenues

Records 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads

Apple has posted $45.6 billion in revenues in its second fiscal quarter, up from $43.6 billion the same period a year ago. Net profits rose from $9.5 billion to $10.2 billion, or from $10.09 per share to $11.62. The company sold 43.7 million iPhones, an increase from the 37.4 million in Q2 2013. iPad sales came in at 16.3 million units, below a Wall Street consensus forecast of 19.7 million. The company also recorded 4.1 million Macs.

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Apple vs Samsung, Day 10: The home stretch

Apple defends against Samsung charges, discloses secret deal

The biggest news in today's Apple vs Samsung patent trial was the previously-reported revelation of a secret deal between Google and Samsung in which the search and advertising giant not only agreed to indemnify Samsung if it lost on two of the patent claims in this trial, but that Google -- not Samsung -- was to "direct and control" litigation and defense on Samsung's behalf. The revelation, which Samsung had previously denied in court , will be used to diminish the Samsung claim that the case is really about Android.

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Apple's 'Powerful' new TV commercial showcases iPhone 5s

Spot features Pixies' song, array of apps and users

A new Apple ad premiered tonight on Disney-owned ABC, called "Powerful." The 90-second spot (now available on Apple's YouTube channel ) is the first this year to spotlight the iPhone 5s rather than the iPhone 5c, and features a band performing the Pixies song "Gigantic" while an array of apps -- beginning with musically-oriented ones, then branching off in other directions -- is shown. Like most recent Apple ads, the focus is on enabling people to do interesting things using their iPhones.

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Apple updates iOS Pages, Numbers, Keynote versions

Quick update may have connection to earlier Airport OpenSSL patch

Among other updates issued on Tuesday, Apple has further updated the iOS versions of Pages , Numbers and Keynote -- formerly known collectively as iWork apps -- to version 2.2.1, just three weeks after its last update . The previous version introduced new features and restored old ones, but today's update lists only unnamed "stability and bug fixes," which might hint that the change is related somehow to an OpenSSL patch for 2013 Airport Extremes and Time Capsules issued earlier today.

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Apple releases OpenSSL fix for 2013 Airport Extreme, Time Capsule

Company mostly untouched by Heartbleed bug, with one exception

On Tuesday, Apple -- which had previously said none of its key software, operating systems, websites or web services had been affected by the Heartbleed OpenSSL security flaw -- issued a patch to its 2013 (only) Airport Extreme and Time Capsule products that support 802.11ac to fix the issue. The 2013 Airport Express is not affected by the bug, and does not require the update. The patch boosts the firmware version on the Extreme and Time Capsule to 7.7.3 and "provides security improvements related to SSL/TLS."

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Malware steals Apple IDs from jailbroken iPhones, iPads

Works on 32-bit devices only for now, takes advantage of same flaws jailbreak uses

As has been predicted for some time , a new malware threat exploits the same flaws in iOS that jailbreaking tools use in order to install itself on older jailbroken iPhones and iPads. The malware, likely to be found in devices where the user has installed third-party customizations, scans for the Apple ID and password of the user, then transmits it to remote servers. Current, 64-bit iOS devices like the iPhone 5s, iPad Air or second-generation iPad mini -- and un-jailbroken iOS devices of all sorts -- appear to be immune so far.

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Apple opens OS X betas to non-developers via Beta Seed Pprogram

Users must have Apple ID, signed confidentiality agreement

For the first time, access to OS X beta releases has been opened to non-developers. Apple has introduced the Beta Seed Program , which requires only that a person have an Apple ID and sign a confidentiality agreement. The agreement blocks people from sharing information to anyone not also registered to receive betas.

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Apple releases iOS 7.1.1 to fix Touch ID, keyboard problems

Minor maintenance update

As anticipated , Apple has released iOS 7.1.1 via iTunes and iOS' over-the-air update mechanism. The code is simply a maintenance release, primarily fixing keyboard responsiveness, as well as glitches when using Bluetooth keyboards while VoiceOver is on. For iPhone 5s owners, the patch improves Touch ID fingerprint recognition.

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iPad joins Apple Reuse & Recycling program

Credit from iPad, iPhone trade-ins interchangeable

As an extension of Apple's new recycling intiatives , the iPad is now eligible for the same Reuse & Recycling program as the iPhone. People trading in an older iPad at an Apple Store can get credit towards a new model. Notably, that credit can also be applied to an iPhone; accordingly, iPhone credit can be applied towards an iPad. An iPhone and an iPhone also be traded in together towards a single purchase, but people can't bring in two iPhones or two iPads.

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Samsung vs Apple, Day Nine: Billions or merely millions?

Samsung rests its defensive case, says it didn't infringe but Apple did

On Monday, Samsung -- which has devoted some 21.5 hours of its 25-hour limit to defending itself against charges that it copied five specific Apple patents -- finally rested its defensive case and began its offensive case late in the day, alleging that Apple is infringing on two patents it owns (but did not create -- they were purchased from others). Several expert witnesses for Samsung had to walk a strange line of saying Samsung had not infringed any of Apple's patents -- but even if it did, they were only worth a total of $38.4 million, not almost $2.2 billion.

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Apple now accepts all used Apple products for recycling at all stores

Non-functioning units will be recycled, recent working units can be exchanged for gift cards

Continuing its multi-pronged and environmentally-minded publicity push on Monday, Apple has also initiated a new program that will turn all Apple Stores into recycling centers , accepting all used Apple devices either for free (in the case of non-functional and older devices) or in exchange for a gift card (for newer, functional units). The new plan is part of an effort to reduce the company's "footprint" in terms of manufacturing pollution, and keep more of its electronics out of landfills.

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Report: Intel's next-gen Thunderbolt to double throughput, cut power

Dubbed 'Alpine Ridge,' technology could appear as early as next year

Continuing to keep one step ahead of reported improvements in next-generation USB technology, Intel is said to be working on a third-generation Thunderbolt system that would double throughput to 40 gigabits (Gb) per second and yet reduce power requirements by as much as 50 percent, though the new connector would support up to 100 watts of charging power. The revised plug, which is backward-compatible with an adapter, will be about three millimeters (0.12 inches) in width, down from the current 4.5mm height.

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Eighth OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 beta seeded to developers

Latest release has minor tweaks, same focus on testing

Just six days after the previous release , Apple has pushed out the eighth beta of OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 to developers for testing. Other than minor tweaks and fixes, the only thing different about the latest version is its build number, 13D45a -- just two build versions older than the previous one, and with an "a" appendix for unknown reasons. The numbering suggests that the update is nearing "golden master" status, with no known issues listed.

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Apple looking to hire senior execs for mobile payment technology

Plans described as 'very, very serious'

Apple has been conducting interviews of senior payment industry executives in a bid to build up a mobile payment platform, sources say. The company is allegedly talking to candidates for two positions, one as head of product and another as head of business development. Apple's e-commerce chief, Jennifer Bailey, is indicated to be spearheading payment system efforts and meeting with the candidates in question. "Their [Apple's] ambitions are very, very serious," one of the sources comments.

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Apple promotes 'green' efforts via interview, new Cook-narrated video

Company says almost half of US stores powered by renewable energy

Apple today embarked on a new campaign to advertise its environmental protection efforts. The company's CEO, Tim Cook, narrates a video simply titled "Better" (below), in which he talks about initiatives such as renewable energy for datacenters, and efforts to use recyclable materials in products and reduce the amount of packaging Apple products come in. The company's VP for environmental concerns, Lisa Jackson, has meanwhile given an interview to Wired on the topic.

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Apple, Google offering game developers incentives for mobile

Platforms now in more equal competition

Apple and Google are each offering game developers special incentives to prefer their app store over their rival's, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal . The prime example given is EA's Plants vs. Zombies 2 , which Apple promised to advertise prominently at the App Store. In return, EA was expected to keep the game an iOS exclusive for two months, which pushed the Android release into October. Another developer, ZeptoLab, agreed to three-month App Store exclusivity for Cut the Rope 2 in order to get better advertising. Asphalt creator Gameloft says it was offered exclusivity, but decided that a simultaneous iOS/Android release made more financial sense.

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Apple vs. Samsung, day eight: Pushing the judge's boundaries

Experts say conjoint studies flawed, patents worthless as Samsung begs for time

The eighth full day of the Samsung-Apple patent trial went through another raft of witnesses as Samsung struggles to make its case inside its allotted limit of 25 hours -- a problem that hounded the company in the last trial as well. Lead attorney for Samsung John Quinn was forced to read transcripts of declarations to save time, hustle through witnesses and plead with Judge Lucy Koh for more time. An expert that the Galaxy S5 maker paid $1,000 an hour for refuted a colleagues' studies as "kind of biased."

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Nike fires entire wearables division, cuts planned FuelBand revision

Company to focus on software; surprise move may hint at Apple partnership?

In an unexpected move , Nike has opted to fire as many as 70 members of its Digital Sport division who were focused on hardware development and will not release a now-cancelled new version of the FuelBand fitness tracker that was expected this fall. The company will continue to support the existing FuelBand SE , but is otherwise planning to exit the wearables market just as it is gaining mainstream traction. The company plans to focus on software going forward -- possibly signalling a partnership with a hardware maker.

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Apple now offering unclaimed WWDC tickets to developers

Second lottery for chance to attend June 2-6 conference in San Francisco

Following the lapse of the deadline for Worldwide Developers Conference ticket lottery winners to pay for their entry, Apple has begun emailing other developers with a chance to purchase unclaimed tickets . The emails are likely also determined by lottery, though the company hasn't said. Reserved slots from the original lottery were held until April 14 at 5pm Pacific time, and it is thought that most of the lottery winners accepted the invitation to attend, which costs $1,600.

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Analysts: Low iPhone growth now, but good times ahead in 2014

Expected new products and updates, larger screen sizes will boost AAPL

Historically, investment and Wall Street analysts have had a poor track record predicting Apple's fortunes ahead of time. However, as Apple's guidance has gotten more accurate, and as supplier leaks and blatant manipulation of the market grow, predictions are getting more accurate. As it traditionally does, Fortune magazine has rounded up the predictions of various investment houses and independent analysts, which show slow growth in iPhones this quarter, but expectations of boosts ahead.

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Deals: RadioShack dropping price on iPhone 5s, Pixelmator price drop

Shack cuts up-front cost in half, iPhone 5s drops to free when trading in an iPhone 4S

Although there have been a number of good deals in recent months on both the iPhone 5c and 5s, a new deal kicking off tomorrow from RadioShack may be the one iPhone 4S holdouts have been waiting for. Starting April 18, new or upgrading customers using AT&T, Verizon or Sprint can buy the 16GB version of the iPhone 5s for $99, half of its usual $199 up-front cost. The deal, which is available both online and in stores, gets sweeter if users trade in a working iPhone 4S or newer.

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Macworld gems: The Roost MacBook stand, iMacompanion USB port

Charming, surprising, intriguing finds now available or coming to market soon

Continuing our look at some of the more interesting devices and services we ran across at Macworld in San Francisco last month, MacNN and Electronista staffers will periodically write about items and vendors that caught our eye at the show that we thought our readers would like to know about. Today's focus is on two successfully-funded Kickstarter campaigns: The Roost stand for notebooks, and the iMacompanion USB port from Wiplabs.

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Report: Apple to partner with Shazam for song recognition in iOS 8

Song-identification technology may be enlisted for Siri, iTunes Radio

Citing unnamed sources "with knowledge of the product," Bloomberg is reporting that Apple may enter into a partnership with song-identifying app Shazam to bring the music-matching feature to iOS 8. Users could, for example, ask Siri "what song is playing?" as they listen to iTunes Radio or other streaming music services, with the voice assistant enlisting Shazam's services to return an answer after a short identifying pause. This in turn would produce a link to the song on iTunes.

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8GB iPhone 5c reaches 14 more countries

Model still not available in US

The 8GB iPhone 5c is now on sale in 14 more countries, checks show. When the 8GB option first became available last month , it launched in just a handful of regions. The model is newly available in the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Spain, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Switzerland.

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Apple vs Samsung, Day Seven: You can't infringe an invalid patent

String of Samsung witnesses find that Apple's patents are all invalid

Not only did Samsung not infringe on Apple's patents, a parade of witnesses for Samsung told the jury today in the Apple-Samsung trial, those patents aren't valid even if Samsung did copy them. With some help from Apple's very light cross-examination, Samsung again flew through a lengthy list of experts who testified on the relative worthlessness of Apple's patents for "data detectors" (also referred to as "quick links"), universal search, autocorrection and the "slide to unlock" concept.

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