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AAPL Stock: 96.13 ( + 0.53 )

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Beats, Apple post self-deprecating video celebrating union

Features Beats Pill speakers, Siri in jokey self-congratulatory message

A brief video has been posted by new Apple employee Dr. Dre on the Beats Twitter account that both celebrates and pokes fun at the union of the two companies. The video, which features animated versions of the Beats Pill speakers and the disembodied voice of Siri, will remind some of the "talking car" Chevron advertisements done by Aardman Animation, makers of Wallace & Gromit in its style of animation and light humor between "Mikey" and "Tina."

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Apple retail chief Ahrendts issues memo, visits Grand Central store

Says first 90 days with the company 'amazing,' praises retail workers

Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Dame Angela Ahrendts dropped by the Grand Central Station Apple Store this afternoon to talk with workers and learn more about the operation there. She is continuing a tour of flagship stores, having previously been seen at the grand opening of the Omotesando store in Japan and other locations. Ahrendts also released a memo with a Q&A section talking about her vision and her early experiences as head of retail.

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Apple updates Epson drivers, Yosemite Feedback Assistant

First incremental update for OS X 10.10 includes Public Beta users

On Thursday, Apple updated its supported drivers for Epson printers and scanners for all OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10.8) and Mavericks (10.9) users, and also added an update intended only for those testing the forthcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta (either developers or members of the Beta Seed Program). The latter is just a small incremental update to the Feedback Assistant used to send Apple data on issues with the beta, and is available to all Yosemite testers.

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Apple confirms Beats layoffs; 200 people expected to lose jobs

Some may still find work at Apple

Apple has confirmed reports of job losses at Beats as a part of its $3 billion acquisition. "We're excited to have the Beats team join Apple, and we have extended job offers to every Beats employee," says Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr. "Because of some overlap in our operations, some offers are for a limited period and we'll work hard during this time to find as many of these Beats employees as we can another permanent job within Apple." Sources say that last week, about 200 out of Beats' 700 employees were told that their positions are now temporary, and will be cut within the next few months.

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Apple environmental chief expanding green power efforts

Data centers, some stores already off the grid; suppliers next

In a new report for the UK newspaper The Guardian , Apple Senior VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson has acknowledged that the company needs to do more to facilitate more use of renewable energy by its suppliers and partners as well as itself. The iPhone maker has had tremendous success in converting its data centers to renewable energy, and has implemented similar measures in 120 of its stores. The next target, the paper says, is its Arizona sapphire glass plant .

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Major layoffs impacting Beats during Apple takeover, sources say

Developers, creative workers being kept

Although the takeover has yet to be fully approved legally , some workers and technology resources are already being shifted from Beats to Apple, sources say. Apple executives have allegedly visited Beats' California headquarters this week and the last, offering some workers new positions at Apple while telling others that their jobs will be cut. Many Beats employees in creative or development roles are being offered work at Apple; many of these are allegedly headed to Apple's Cupertino's headquarters, but the company is keeping both the Santa Monica offices and some engineers associated with Beats Music.

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Russia asks Apple, SAP to turn over source code as anti-spy measure

Companies will likely be hesitant to comply

The Russian government has proposed that two Western companies, Apple and SAP, grant access to their source code so it can determine whether or not products are tools for spying on state organizations and/or the public, Reuters reports. Russia's communications minister, Nikolai Nikiforov, is said to have made the request when he met last week with Apple's local general manager, Peter Nielsen, and SAP's local managing director, Vyacheslav Orekhov. In an official Communications Ministry statement, Nikiforov comments that "Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 and US intelligence services' public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware."

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Crowdfunding Critic: Modbook Pro X

Third iteration of modified Apple tablet heads to Kickstarter

Last week, we launched the Crowdfunding Critic here on MacNN and Electronista , and promised that every Tuesday and Thursday we'd highlight a new campaign. While we were working on yesterday's selection, we got wind of this -- the Modbook Pro X , by Modbook, Inc., a modification of Apple's 15.4-inch MacBook Pro into a massive pen-enabled tablet. Based on it, we decided to do our second article in the series a day late, but we think this one is worth the wait.

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Opinion: iPad Air + Logitech Folio + Office for iPad = Productivity?

iPad Air is a more capable productivity tool than some might expect

The question of how much productivity you can get done on the Apple iPad is one that has persisted since its introduction. Even if the question is not an easy one to answer, it seems almost irrelevant to even ask when one looks at how massively successful the iPad has been since its introduction. The question also depends on what one defines as being 'productivity,' when it has been clear for some time that plenty of people can and do use iPads for getting work done, particularly in creative endeavors. The recently announced partnership between Apple and IBM in enterprise, coupled with the arrival of Microsoft Office for iPad suggests that the iPad's capability in the workplace will be properly tested given that IBM also becomes an official Apple reseller and will help to shift many more units into the workplace.

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Ford Motors to replace BlackBerry with iPhones for over 9,300 workers

'Global' switchover will cost nothing extra over normal replacement cycle

Automaker Ford has announced that it will transition at least 9,300 corporate employees from BlackBerry models and flip phones to iPhones over the next two years. The change, which will cost the company nothing above the normal cost of a replacement cycle, is a blow to BlackBerry, but the Canadian smartphone maker can take solace in the fact that Ford chose BlackBerry's QNX for its next-generation Sync infotainment system, replacing a previous Microsoft-based one.

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Apple confirms buyout of radio/podcast app Swell

Value of deal kept secret

As rumored yesterday , Apple has indeed bought Swell, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal 's Daisuke Wakabayashi. The company has refused to provide any other information, issuing a standard statement that "we buy smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Monday's claims put the value of the takeover at $30 million.

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Apple updates MacBook Pro line with faster processors, more RAM

Apple's portable line external design unchanged, internals boosted

As predicted , Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display product line. Both sizes of the model have an unchanged external design, but now boast faster processors, with some models seeing a doubling of RAM as standard. Surviving the upgrade is the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which also remains unchanged apart from a price cut.

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Apple drops cross-appeal against Samsung, gives up injunction

Bid for sales ban against 23 copying Samsung products had been denied twice

Two years after the first Apple-Samsung patent trial, the big winner in that case -- Apple -- has dropped a motion to cross-appeal a portion of Judge Lucy Koh's final verdict. The action means that the company has officially given up hope of seeing any product bans on the 23 Samsung products found guilty of copying Apple technology, though the matter is largely moot as none of the products are still offered for sale anyway. Despite the clear victory in the jury trial, Judge Koh twice refused to issue sales injunctions on the infringing Samsung products.

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European Commission approves Apple acquisition of Beats

Clears major legal obstacle

The European Commission has authorized Apple's $3 billion takeover of Beats, according to an official statement. The organization was tasked with scrutinizing any possible antitrust concerns in the deal . In its judgment, the Commission notes that while both Apple and Beats sell headphones in Europe, even their combined marketshare is low, and the companies aren't in close competition. Their headphones are said to "differ markedly in functionality and design."

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Yosemite public beta launch doubles presence in web traffic

Stats double literally overnight to 0.57 percent of all Mac web traffic

Though the increase is insignificant in the larger picture of overall global Mac web traffic, new numbers from GoSquared suggest that the release yesterday of the Yosemite (OS X 10.10) public beta, limited to a pool of one million Apple ID holders already running Mavericks, doubled the number of people using the forthcoming new update on the web literally overnight. According to GoSquared's live analytics page , use of Yosemite jumped from 0.26 percent on Thursday to 0.57 percent on Friday.

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Apple buys book analytics site BookLamp to aid iBookstore discovery

Boise-based company dubbed 'the Pandora of books' sold for $10-15 million

On Friday, Apple revealed that it had purchased book analytics and discovery company BookLamp for an undisclosed sum , though TechCrunch estimated the sale between $10-15 million. While it acknowledged the deal, the iPhone maker's only comment on the deal was its standard "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans" line. The company is likely to use BookLamp technology in its iBookstore to help readers discover new content.

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SEC: Apple bought back another $5 billion in stock in June quarter

Total of $28B spent in fiscal 2014, average price $85 per share

Regulatory filings with the SEC have revealed that Apple spent another $5 billion during the June quarter as part of its share-repurchase program to retire an additional 58 million shares of stock at an average (split-adjusted) price of $85.23 per share, still well below the current trading average, and about the same price per share as well CEO Tim Cook first announced the buyback plan just over two years ago. The recent expenditure is less aggressive than seen in quarters where the share price was lower, signalling reduced buyback activity.

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Bose suing Beats over infringement of active noise reduction patents

Apple now on the hook in another patent infringement case

In a court filing discovered today , audio equipment maker Bose is suing headphone rival Beats over noise cancellation headphone technology. Bose claims that Beats has knowingly infringed on "50 years of signficant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design" on the technology, with the Beats lineup for sale now using "36 US patents and applications" that Bose now owns or has filed for.

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OS X Yosemite public beta includes iTunes 12 beta access

Apple pushes iTunes 12 beta as optional update for OS X Yosemite beta

Apple is pushing OS X Yosemite public beta users access to the new iTunes 12 beta. Developers were granted access to the iTunes 12 beta earlier in this week, and similarly OS X Yosemite public beta users will receive a notification via the Mac App Store software update function to install the optional update. iTunes 12 comes with a redesigned interface along with new features. Like the OS X Yosemite beta, the software is not finalized for release and may not alway work as expected, but gives Mac users an opportunity to provide Apple with feedback ahead of its official introduction.

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OS X Yosemite public beta now available

Accessible only to Beta Program participants

As promised earlier this week , Apple has begun seeding the first public beta of OS X Yosemite. Access is limited to the first million people entered into the OS X Beta Program . That requires having both an Apple ID and a Mac running OS X Mavericks.

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First public beta of OS X Yosemite to go live on July 24 [U]

Developer betas to get more regular updates

The first public beta of OS X Yosemite will be made available on Thursday, July 24, Apple has revealed in a meeting with The Loop 's Jim Dalrymple. The public release will be the same code seeded to developers on Monday . To get it, people must sign up for the OS X Beta Program, which is limited to the first million participants.

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Mid-2011 MacBook Air EFI update causing crashes, other issues

Can sometimes fail to install, leaving computer unusable

A firmware update , issued on Monday for "Mid-2011" MacBook Air models running OS X 10.9.2 and later, apparently has a bug in either the code or the downloaded file, which is causing reports of system crashes and occasionally a failure to install properly, leaving MBA owners unable to boot the machine. The purpose of the firmware update was to correct two "wake from sleep" issues that affected only "mid-2011" MBAs running 10.9.2 or later. Some users have found that an SMC reset can restore the units to functional status.

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Cook: iPhone 5c, not 5s, was fastest-growing phone in June quarter

Colorful iPhone model continues to be among best-selling smartphones

One of the most surprising things analysts heard on Tuesday in Apple's quarterly earnings conference call that was low on surprises was that year-over-year growth of the iPhone 5c is strong -- so strong, in fact, that its share gain outpaced that of its previous-year rival in the mid-tier "slot" in Apple's lineup, the iPhone 4S, at the same point in the previous cycle. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts that it even outpaced the growth rate of the iPhone 5s vs the iPhone 5, and the 4S versus the iPhone 4, each in their respective tiers.

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Apple reaps $37.43 billion in third-quarter revenues

iPhone and Mac units rise, iPad takes a hit

Apple revenues rose 6 percent year-over-year to $37.43 billion in its third fiscal quarter, which ended in June, the company has announced. Profits were up 12.3 percent to $7.75 billion, while earnings per share climbed from $1.07 to $1.28 when adjusted for the recent 7-to-1 stock split . Gross margin increased from 36.9 percent to 39.4 percent.

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New commercial debuts for MacBook Air, entitled 'Stickers'

Offbeat ad shows human affection for MacBooks, 'the notebook people love'

An new ad by Apple that debuted on Monday takes something of a different approach than the company's recent iPhone and iPad commercials -- both in that it features a Mac (in this case the MacBook Air) and that shows off clearly-used equipment featuring user's methods of customizing their Air models mostly through the use of stickers, giving the ad its name. Using a stop-motion approach, dozens of customized MBAs are shown at one point even "playing" a game of Space Invaders on the lid.

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Several backdoors included on every iOS device, researcher says [U]

May enable collection of private data by Apple, governments

[Updated with rebuttal from Apple] Apple's iOS platform contains several backdoors that may allow for Apple and/or governments to collect private data, according to a forensic scientist, Jonathan Zdziarski. Presenting at the recent Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference, Zdziarski said that that there are several conspicuous design gaps -- and some deliberately-included forensic services -- that make it possible to extract data using forensic tools. The services have names such as "lockdownd," "pcapd," and "mobile.file_relay."

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Apple issues EFI update for mid-2011 MacBook Air running Mavericks

Fixes an issue that caused fans to ramp up, also cures wake-from-sleep issues

On Monday, Apple posted an EFI update specifically aimed at the mid-2011 model MacBook Airs that are running OS X 10.9.2 (Mavericks) or later. The update addresses two wake-from-sleep issues: one in which the computer would take longer than expected to wake from sleep, and the other (more rare) issue of cooling fans ramping up to full speed on waking from sleep. Owners must meet both conditions (mid-2011 MBA, and running Mavericks 10.9.2 or later) for the update to apply.

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Apple to again wipe CloudKit database for iOS 8, Yosemite betas

Will delete photos, videos stored in iCloud Photo Library, email attachments, more

Apple has informed developers testing both of the forthcoming Apple platform releases, iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, that it will again delete content stored on the CloudKit database serving both platforms tomorrow, July 22. Although details were not listed this time, the effect is expected to be the same as the previous "wipe" of the database, which took place on July 7. Anyone testing the iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library or Mail Drop attachment features will see their cloud-stored data destroyed.

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Apple seeds fourth preview betas of iOS 8, OS X Yosemite [u]

OS X gets iTunes 12, iOS 8 gets new Tips app

(Updated with other beta releases, more Yosemite changes) Apple is now seeding its fourth betas of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite to developers. Perhaps the most significant change is in the latter, which includes the first beta of iTunes 12. The updated media player uses a flatter, streamlined design more in keeping with Yosemite, and is the first version to support Family Sharing, something also present in iOS 8. While Yosemite is still only accessible to developers, sources claim that the first public beta could go live later this month, after Apple has put more polish on it.

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Apple announces 2014 iTunes Festival lineup, ticket lottery

Blondie, Pharrell Williams, Beck, Sam Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer among artists

Apple has revealed some of the lineup of its iTunes Festival 2014 , which will again take over London's Roundhouse for 30 days and nights this September, and feature more than 60 bands. The month-long event , which is streamed live over a dedicated Apple TV channel, the iTunes Festival app on iOS devices and iTunes, offers free tickets won by lottery for fans in London by entering ballots on iTunes, while fans everywhere can win them through competitions run by local media partners.

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