Apple revealed on Tuesday their plans to build a new data center in Prineville, Oregon on a 160-acre plot of land that it purchased for $5.6 million. Last December, sources close to Apple indicated that the company was "nearing a decision" to build a server farm in Oregon and was in discussions over the location, and a week ago Apple publicly confirmed that it has been developing the project, which is known as "Project Maverick."
"We purchased the land and it’s for a data center,” said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet, adding that the facility will be "green." Earlier this week, the company revealed in a Facilities Environmental Report that its massive server farm in North Carolina will utilize the largest end-user-owned onsite solar array and the largest non utility fuel cell installation in the U.S., making it the only facility in its class to earn LEED Platinum certification.
Apple has published its 2012 Environmental Update and Facilities Report detailing company’s environmental footprint and contributions. The company said it recorded 5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in energy savings in 2011.
Reuters reports on Fair Labor Association’s initial impressions as it conducts its independent audit of working conditions at Foxconn's manufacturing facilities at Apple’s request.
According to the Auret van Heerden, the president of Fair Labor Association, Foxconn’s manufacturing facilities seems to be "first-class" compared to the garment factories which are typically monitored by the association. He also suggests that boredom and monotony connected with repetitive assembly tasks might be among the main threats to employees’ health at the facilities.
Last week, Apple was said to be facing a potential fine of approximately $38 million as a result of a trademark dispute in China between Apple and Proview Technology, which claims to have held ownership of the "iPad" trademark there since 2000. Noteworthy, Proview is seeking as much as $1.6 billion in damages. Apple believed that it had acquired the rights to the iPad trademark in China in an earlier $55,000 deal with Proview's parent company that also included European rights. But the Chinese arm of the company now claims that the Chinese rights could not have been part of the deal because those rights were not controlled by the parent company.
Now DigiCha and China.com. report that China authorities have begun taken steps related to the trademark issue, confiscating iPads from retailers' shops. DigiCha reports:
Apple today announced that it would support Paul McCartney's new album release. The company plans to steam a special free video of the live concert on Thursday, February 9 via iTunes on Mac and PC. The video will also be available directly on users' Apple TVs, signalling new efforts by Apple to increase the utility of its set-top box.
To celebrate the release of Paul McCartney's latest album — available now — we're streaming his exclusive performance at Capitol Studios on February 9 at 7 p.m. (PST). Watch the concert on iTunes on your computer, or stream it on your TV using your Apple TV — just choose iTunes Live from the Internet menu.
In a message posted to Apple's Developer site today Apple has warned App Store developers against using promotional services that seek to increase the visibility of their titles by automating sales to inflate their apps' apparent popularity or by posting phony reviews, threatening to terminate their accounts if they do.
"Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it. However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership. Get helpful tips and resources on marketing your apps the right way from the App Store Resource Center."
In 2010, Tristan Schaap, who now serves as a Core OS engineer at Apple, published a Bachelor thesis on his 12-week stint as an intern with Apple's Platform Technologies Group, a subdivision of the Core OS department. The thesis revealed that the former Apple intern had been working on the secret project to port Mac OS X Snow Leopard to the ARM architecture.
According to the paper, Schaap worked with the group to get Darwin, the "lower half" of Apple's Mac OS X operating system, to boot onto an ARM processor from Marvell. During the course of the project, he achieved his goal of "booting into a multi-user prompt," though some issues still remained due to a "poor implementation on the debug hardware."
Apple's A5 System on a Chip incorporates noise reduction technology by Audience, Inc., which optimizes the performance of Siri voice recognition on iPhone 4S.
Audience explains that by "imitating the complex processing that occurs from the inner ear to the brain, Audience's intelligent earSmart technology distinguishes and interprets sounds as people do naturally. In a mobile device, the earSmart processor effectively isolates and enhances the primary voice signal and suppresses surrounding noise--for both transmit and receive--to enable clear conversations nearly anywhere."
The company notes that "far-field uses are more vulnerable to background noise interference and poor voice quality given the speaker's distance from the device," an issue that has previously been noted in regard to rumors that Apple might deploy TV systems incorporating Siri voice technology.
Last year we reported some interesting rumors concerning Apple’s plans on the ARM (A5) based MacBook Air. The ARM processor is the same one that is used in the iPhone and iPad. An ARM-based MacBook Air, however, would raise a number of questions about what kind of device it might actually be. The use of ARM processor would allow reducing power requirements, but with a corresponding drop in computing power.
Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner who was able to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer on Thursday reports:
Today European Commission announced the launch of an investigation to determine whether Samsung has violated EU antitrust laws in its legal agreements with competing companies. The European Commission will focus on patents that must be licensed on FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms.
Apple has set up an interesting system to combat scalpers who marred a recent launch of iPhone 4S in Mainland China. A newly created page on Apple online store in Hong Kong has a kind of a lottery system for iPhone reservations that seems to target scalpers using bots for snapping up all the iPhones. Instead of reserving their devices on a first-come-first-served basis, buyers are currently required to supply full details, including government-issued photo ID card matching the ID number and the name.
Wisconsin State Journal has reported that Wisconsin is buying 600 iPads this spring and plans to buy another 800 this fall. The state will pay for the tablets using the funds of the state's settlement with Microsoft related to consumer lawsuits claiming the company overcharged customers for its software. The Journal also presented rather strong argument that the tablets are simply cheaper, more portable and easier to use than conventional computers.
The new iPads will enable students to wirelessly share their work and enable schools to replace textbooks with digital apps or ebooks, referring to Apple's recent announcement related to iBooks 2, iBooks Author and digital textbooks as a "significant development."
District deputy superintendent Sue Abplanalp noted that Madison administrators had been impressed by the results of an iPad trial by Chicago Public Schools, which found the tablets were successful in keeping students more engaged in the classroom.
Wireless operators in Singapore are preparing for the launch of an iPhone with removed cameras to market the device to military personnel. Such persons are not allowed to bring camera-equipped smartphones to army camps. And if taking in account that male citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 are obliged to do a 24-month military service, so it is quite large target audience.
One of Singapore's three major wireless operators (M1), confirmed work on a "Non Camera" iPhone 4S last week when it temporarily posted product pages for the modified device, as noted by CNet Asia (via The Verge). The device would sell for S$49 ($38) more than its camera-equipped counterpart. Depending on the monthly plan chosen with a two-year contract, the no-camera iPhone 4S was listed as selling for between S$49 and S$679.
According to The London Evening Standard’s report, Apple is requiring that cable manufacturer Volex will invest up to $6 million in retooling its production lines in order to eliminate halogens from the USB and power cables used in Apple’s products.The retooling will allow producing cables that will be less harmful to the environment on disposal.
Citing component makers in Taiwan, DigiTimes reported on Friday that the so-called "iPad 3" will launch in March with a high-resolution Retina Display, while an "iPad 4" will arrive in October of this year to counter a rumored Google-branded tablet as well as touchscreen devices running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.
Apple will ship the so-called "iPad 3" with a full HD display in March and then "iPad 4" - named so by its component suppliers - with killer applications in October, according to industry sources in Taiwan. [...]
But a true battle for market share will arrive in the second half of the year when Apple ships its iPad 4 in October, about the time when Microsoft releases its Window 8 and Intel unveils its Clover Trail-W platform, the sources commented.
The 9.7-inch iPad 4 is expected to come with much upgraded hardware specifications and integrated applications so as to compete with an array of Android-, Wintel- or WoA (Windows on ARM)-based tablet PCs to be released in the fourth quarter, said the sources.
Finally, Digitimes suggests that Apple will continue to sell the current iPad 2, but will drop its price to $399, much like Apple currently does with older iPhone models, to counter lower priced tablets that are available, such as the Kindle Fire for $199.