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Tim Cook: Mobile Payments 'One of the Thoughts' Behind Touch ID

During Apple's earnings call today, CEO Tim Cook indicated that mobile payments were one of the driving forces behind the company’s decision to introduce Touch ID with the iPhone 5s.
The mobile payments area in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with. It was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID.
Cook went on to say that people love being able to buy digital content from their iPhones using Touch ID, because it's "incredibly simple and easy and elegant."

He added that while Apple is not planning on limiting Touch ID to digital purchases, the company had nothing specific to announce today, mobile payments are an opportunity that Apple has been "intrigued with" and there is a "big opportunity on the platform."

Tim Cook's comments on mobile payments follow a report last week that suggested Apple is currently working on developing a new mobile payment service that will allow the company to handle payments for physical goods and services in the future.

While Apple currently limits iTunes account holders to using their stored credit card information for purchases on Apple's online and retail stores through the Apple Store app, iTunes, and the App Store, stored information could be used in the future for other types of payments with Touch ID technology used to speed up and authenticate real world

Government to Allow Apple to Disclose More Data on Surveillance Requests

The United States Department of Justice today reached a tentative deal with Apple and other technology companies on data requests to allow the companies to provide more detailed disclosures on information requests from the NSA Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
As indicated in the Justice Department’s filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities. Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers.
The relaxed restrictions on data disclosures come following a concerted effort by Apple and other technology companies to achieve greater NSA transparency. In July, Apple teamed up with multiple firms to request that the government allow them to offer regular reports on security related requests. Apple CEO Tim Cook also met with President Obama and several other tech executives to discuss NSA surveillance methods in December.

The new disclosure terms will allow companies to give out general figures on how often they receive demands for data from National Security Letters or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, according to The Wall Street Journal. Companies are allowed to report each individual category in ranges of 1,000, so if a company receives 2,400 requests, they are able to report

Apple Reports Strongest Ever Quarterly Earnings: $13.1 Billion Profit on $57.6 Billion in Revenue in Q1 2014

Apple today announced financial results for the fourth calendar quarter of 2013 and first fiscal quarter of 2014.

For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $57.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $13.1 billion, or $14.50 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $54.5 billion and net quarterly profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin was 37.9 percent compared to 38.6 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 63 percent of revenue. Apple also declared a dividend payment of $3.05 per share, payable on February 13 to shareholders as of the close of trading on February 10. The company currently holds $158.8 billion in cash and marketable securities.

Apple had previously issued guidance for the quarter of revenues between $55-58 billion, with gross margin between 36.5 and 37.5 percent.

Apple sold a record 51 million iPhones in the quarter, up from 47.8 million in the same time period last year, and the company has now sold 472.3 million smartphones in total. It sold 26 million iPads, a new record, up from 22.86 million last year. Apple has now sold 195 million tablets. It sold 4.8 million Macs during the quarter, compared to 4.06 million in the year-ago period.
“We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, Software and Services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We love having the most satisfied, loyal and engaged customers, and are continuing to invest heavily in our future to make their

Nintendo's Mobile Push to Focus on Marketing Demos, Not Full Games

Earlier this month, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata indicated Nintendo was looking into a new business structure involving "smart devices" after the company experienced its third consecutive annual loss in light of increasing competition from mobile platforms.

While that statement was interpreted by some as an indication of Nintendo's plan to develop game titles for iOS and Android, it appears that the company instead intends to use smartphones to market its existing handheld and console hardware and game lineup.

According to a report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei [Google Translation] (via Dr. Serkan Toto), Nintendo will introduce a free app that includes information on new games, including videos and character profiles along with some smartphone mini games.
But Nintendo will not simply put Mario, Pokemon or other games on smartphones. According to the report, Nintendo plans to use Android and/or iOS devices (not confirmed at this point) to market its console games.

To be more concrete, The Nikkei writes that Nintendo wants to use smartphones to expand its potential user base by spreading information about new game releases, i.e. by using video to introduce future titles. (This will probably happen through some kind of official Nintendo app.)
Nintendo's mini games are said to be playable demos of console games, but full versions of the titles will only be available on Nintendo hardware like the Wii U and the 3DS. The idea is to give players a small taste of the gameplay in order to entice them to purchase content on the Nintendo platform.

Mobile

NSA Servers Collect Personal Data Sent by iPhone Apps

The U.S. National Security Agency specifically looks for data sent by mobile apps in order to capture personal data on targets, according to a new report from The New York Times and other news agencies.

Intelligence agencies can grab data as it travels across the Internet, looking specifically for data from smartphone apps including Google Maps -- searches within the app allow Governments to locate users to within a few yards -- and even Angry Birds. Much of the information being sent seems to be related to targeted advertising.
The secret report noted that the profiles vary depending on which of the ad companies — which include Burstly and Google’s ad services, two of the largest online advertising businesses — compiles them. Most profiles contain a string of characters that identifies the phone, along with basic data on the user like age, sex and location. One profile notes whether the user is currently listening to music or making a call, and another has an entry for household income.
In addition, apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all support sending some amount of location data and other information, allowing intelligence agencies significant opportunities to capture personal data in real-time on targeted persons without ever having access to phones, something that was part of a different intelligence strategy revealed in previous leaked documents.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal in his disapproval of some of the NSA's methods, meeting with the President to discuss NSA surveillance and more recently saying the NSA "would have to cart us out in a box" to

iPhone Replaces Hotel Room Keys in New Pilot Program

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is implementing a new pilot program that will see two key hotel locations in Manhattan and Silicon Valley allowing guests to enter their rooms with their smartphones, reports The Wall Street Journal.

After installing the Starwood Preferred Guest (SGP) App, guests will receive a virtual key on their iPhone, which can then be used to unlock a door with a tap using Bluetooth 4.0. The newer Bluetooth specification, first introduced with the iPhone 4s, has been used in a similar way for many home locking products like the Lockitron and the August Smart Lock, but this is the first time it's being used on a larger scale.


Starwood officials are betting that the technology will become the standard for hotels in the future, replacing traditional hotel check-in methods.
"We believe this will become the new standard for how people will want to enter a hotel," says Frits van Paasschen, Starwood's CEO. "It may be a novelty at first, but we think it will become table stakes for managing a hotel."
Bluetooth 4.0 (or Bluetooth LE) is being utilized in a number of innovative ways. In addition to being installed in multiple different home locking products, it has also been used to replace traditional password logins on Macs through the Knock app and to deliver car diagnostics in the Automatic connected car device. Bluetooth 4.0 is also the driving technology behind Apple's iBeacons, which are rapidly being implemented in retail stores and other locations across the world to deliver location-based notifications.

Two Starwood Aloft hotels, in Harlem, New York

OS X 10.10 to Feature 'Flatter' Look, but Not as Stark as iOS 7

OS X 10.10, the next version of OS X which carries the code name of "Syrah", will take a few cues from iOS 7 with a somewhat flatter look compared to OS X Mavericks, but the changes will not result in as stark a look as seen on iOS 7, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. The report comes on the heels of comments from Apple executives reiterating that convergence of iOS and OS X is a "non-goal" for the company.
Instead [of a complete iOS 7-like overhaul], I am expecting OS X 10.10 to have user-interface tweaks that will make the interface “flatter,” but not as stark as iOS 7′s look. I’d also expect some blur and translucency effects in a few places, but not in anyway that is central to the experience like it is on iOS. There will be a little bit more white space, more defined menu bars, and squared-off window controls, but I would not expect a full color palette change and redesigns for every single application and icon.
The report indicates that internal build numbers for OS X 10.10 are currently around 14Z109 and that new features could include improved notifications, cross-platform AirDrop support to and from iOS 8, and possible Siri integration.

Visitors to MacRumors.com via Apple's networks from machines running OS X 10.10
MacRumors has been seeing fairly low levels of activity coming from machines running OS X 10.10 from Apple's network, and that activity has unsurprisingly been beginning to ramp up this month following the holiday break. With Apple having accelerated its OS X release cycles over the past several major updates, a public release for OS X 10.10

Analysts Predict Apple Will Report Single-Digit Earnings Growth in 1Q 2014

Analysts predict Apple will return to growth when the company announces its quarterly earnings later today, reports Philip Elmer-Dewitt of Fortune. Growth will be in the single digits and will be an improvement over the negative earnings growth the company reported for the previous three quarters. Apple is not, however, expected to return to the 50% growth it achieved between 2010 and 2012.

The consensus estimates among the 47 Apple analysts we've heard from so far -- 29 Wall Street professionals and 18 Internet amateurs -- are for earnings of $14.36 per share on sales of $58.1 billion. That represents year-over-year growth of 4.0% for earnings and 6.6% for revenue.
Eighty percent of Fortune's surveyed analysts estimate Apple's revenue will fall within the company's guidance of $55 to $58 billion. Six analysts predict Apple will beat the street with revenue that tops $58 billion. Consensus estimates also predict Apple will sell a record 55 million iPhones and 25 million iPads in 1Q 2014.

Apple will report its quarterly earnings today after the close of trading, at approximately 4:30 PM Eastern / 1:30 PM Pacific. MacRumors will have full coverage of Apple's earnings release and the conference call taking place at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM

iPhone Market Share Dips Slightly as Android Increases Lead in Global Smartphone Race

Research firm Kantar Worldpanel has released a new report (via The Next Web) highlighting global smartphone sales over the October-December period, finding that while Apple's market share dip slightly in key markets, Google's Android devices increased their lead over other platforms during the end of 2013, registering year-over-year growth in various major markets.

Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “Android finished 2013 strongly, showing year-on-year share growth across 12 major global markets including Europe, USA, Latin America, China and Japan. Apple has lost share in most countries compared with this time last year, but importantly it has held strong shares in key markets including 43.9% in USA, 29.9% in Great Britain and 19.0% in China.
Apple's total market share in the U.S. hit 43.9% in December, and was overall lower in most countries compared to the same timeframe last year. However, Sunnebo stated himself in Kantar's prior report highlighting global smartphone sales over the August-October period that customers generally react more positively to "full" releases than incremental improvements such as the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c, which is the likely reason for the drop in market share.

Apple also continues to have strong presence in Japan, as the iPhone has held a steady market share in the months after the debut of the iPhone on the country's largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo:
In Japan, consumers’ desire for all things Apple continued into the final quarter of 2013, with iOS taking 68.7% share of

Original Macintosh Team Gathers to Celebrate 30th Anniversary with Stories, Demos and Laughter

Last night, over 100 members of the original Mac team gathered to celebrate the Mac's 30th anniversary in De Anza College's Flint Center, where Steve Jobs first introduced the Macintosh 30 years ago. The event was focused around three separate panels: the conception of the Mac, the building of the Mac and the third-party developers who built software for the Mac.

The evening began with video of both Jobs' introduction of the Macintosh in the Flint Center and a couple minutes of the 90-minute Macintosh presentation at the Boston Computer Society, which was made public for the first time last night. Master of Ceremonies and Apple employee #4 Bill Fernandez then introduced the first panel of the night: the conception of the Mac.

Steve Jobs' First Public Demonstration of the Macintosh, Hidden Since 1984

On January 24, 1984, Steve Jobs famously demonstrated the Macintosh for the first time at Apple's shareholders meeting at the Flint Center in Cupertino.

Less than a week later, Jobs again showed off the Mac. But this time, instead of showing it to Apple's investors, he showed it to his potential user base at the monthly general meeting of the Boston Computer Society.

This lesser known introduction actually comes off more polished than the January 24 version, which is viewable on YouTube.

The Boston Computer Society introduction, which runs for 90 minutes, has gone virtually unseen since it took place. Time reporter Harry McCracken managed to track down the tape, locating a Boston-area videographer who had the original tapes in storage on a now-obsolete format called U-matic.

According to McCracken:
Fortunately for posterity, the production values on the video version of the meeting are quite good — far better than what Apple managed for the shareholder meeting. (In Cupertino, the lighting had been so murky at times that the only thing you can see clearly is Jobs’ white shirt gleaming from inside his jacket.) Apple sprung for multiple cameras, one of which was manned by the BCS’s [videographer Glenn] Koenig. Moments with subpar camera work in the Cupertino video, such as when Jobs pulls the Mac out of its bag and boots it up, are nicely shot in this one.

As presented here, the video — which is a rough cut of the version which the Computer History Museum will preserve — has a few moments which have been reconstructed. The slides which Jobs shows are the same

The Argument for an 11.88-Inch Retina MacBook Air

In October 2013, DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh first revealed that Apple would be introducing a 12" Retina MacBook Air in 2014. The report was quickly corroborated by the reliable Ming-Chi Kuo.

It wasn't entirely clear at the time why Apple would choose to introduce a new 12" screen model, when their current lineup of MacBook Airs and Pros come in 11", 13", and 15" screen sizes.

Analyst Daniel Matte, however, lays out a convincing argument at his new blog on why Apple would choose that size. Matte believes that the new Retina MacBook Air will be exactly 11.88" in diagonal screen size, as that would allow Apple to offer a Retina Display (2732 x 1536, twice 1366x768) with the exact same PPI as the iPad Air (264 PPI). The full analysis is worth reading.
It would make sense for Apple to take advantage of the same display technology it has been utilizing for the 9.7” iPads by cutting their panels to this larger size.
Apple is quite deliberate in choosing screen sizes for their new products.

The earliest supply chain rumors of the iPad mini included the specific screen size of 7.9 inches. The reason for that particular size later became apparent as it similarly allowed Apple to use the exact same PPI displays that were used in original iPhone and iPod touch.

The main discrepancy in Matte's argument is that the original DisplaySearch report predicted a lower resolution (2304 x 1440). Also, in the past, we'd heard very specific display sizes from Apple's supply chain, such as the 7.9" iPad mini display rather than 8" iPad mini display. In this case, the early

Apple Looking to Develop Mobile Payment Service

Apple is looking to develop a new mobile payment service on the back of its hundreds of millions of iTunes Store accounts, most of which have credit cards already attached, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report claims Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president in charge of Internet Software and Services -- including the iTunes Store -- has met with other companies to discuss the company's desire to handle payments in retail stores and elsewhere.
Eddy Cue, Apple's iTunes and App Store chief and a key lieutenant of Chief Executive Tim Cook, has met with technology industry executives to discuss Apple's interest in handling payments for physical goods and services on its devices, according to people familiar with the situation.

In another sign of the company's interest, Apple moved Jennifer Bailey, a longtime executive who was running its online stores, into a new role to build a payment business within the technology giant, three people with knowledge of the move said.
Apple has been driving new payment technologies in its own retail stores, including the use of Bluetooth-based iBeacons and the ability to pay for smaller purchases through its Apple Store iPhone app, without the need to interact with a salesperson.

At the moment, Apple only allows accountholders to use their stored credit card information for purchases on Apple's online and retail stores through its app as well as the iTunes and App Stores. The new Touch ID technology could speed up and authenticate purchases if Apple were to integrate that with its mobile payment service.

Tim Cook said last

Reports of iTunes Radio Working in the U.K. After iPhone Restore

Over the past several months, iTunes users in the U.K. and several other countries have noticed the availability of the welcome screen of iTunes Radio on their devices, hinting at an upcoming release.

As of today, MacRumors has had a few reports from U.K. and Australian users that have been able to access and listen to iTunes Radio on their iPhones. While some MacRumors forum members in the U.K. have been able to access the service, others say that it is not yet available for them. Similar reports are coming in on Reddit and Twitter.

It appears that most of the users that are able to access and use iTunes Radio had recently wiped and restored their devices, which suggests that iTunes Radio may be accessible after an iPhone reactivates. MacRumors is not, however, recommending that users restore their devices, and it's not clear if this is a temporary glitch as Apple prepares for the U.K. launch.

Image courtesy of @Marcus1090
iTunes Radio, which was first announced in June at the Worldwide Developer's Conference and later became available in September alongside the launch of iOS 7, has thus far been limited to listeners in the United States.

In October, Bloomberg suggested Apple would expand the service to Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand by early 2014, but the service has remained limited to the U.S. throughout January. While some U.K. users receiving access after a restore could indicate an imminent release, a similar situation arose back in October with some users in Canada and the U.K. temporarily able to access the service.

According to

Commemorative Posters at Apple Campus List All Former and Current Apple Employees

Apple has debuted a number of posters at its Cupertino headquarters to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh, with every employee who has ever worked for Apple listed in the order of their badge numbers. Some employees have already located their names, including Engineering Project Manager Michael Jurewitz.

There are reportedly more than ten giant posters in the art installation, with tens of thousands of Apple employees named.

(Poster image courtesy @Jury)

iPhone with Sapphire Display Glass Reportedly in Trial Production

Earlier this week, an Apple patent application highlighted Apple's interest in potentially using sapphire as a display glass cover on future iPhones, and according to a new report [Google Translate] from Taiwan's Apple Daily, the company's assembly partner Foxconn has begun trial production on just such a device with an initial run of 100 units.

Furnaces for sapphire glass production
The report notes that while it is a small number of devices, the production does mark a significant step in experimentation with the material on a broader scale for Apple. The report also claims that Apple's sapphire suppliers Synopsys and Bern Optics have made significant investments in cutting machines and other equipment recently, fueling speculation that Apple is ramping up its sapphire usage. MacRumors has also heard unconfirmed word that Apple has been working with Swiss company Meyer Burger Technologies to obtain new sapphire cutting machines. Sapphire is currently used to protect the cameras on recent iPhones and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s, but expanding its use to include display cover glass would necessitate a massive increase in sapphire production.

Last November, it was revealed that Apple had struck a deal with GT Advanced Technologies to build a sapphire production facility in Mesa, Arizona. That facility is not yet operational, however, with Apple still hiring its own staff and GT Advanced Technologies recruiting employees to perform the bulk of the work at the facility.

Sapphire has been seen as a potential successor to high-strength glass for

Tim Cook Discusses Apple's Culture of Secrecy, Sapphire, and More in ABC News Interview

In honor of today's thirtieth anniversary of the introduction of the Macintosh, Apple CEO Tim Cook and executives Craig Federighi and Bud Tribble recently sat down for an interview with ABC News. ABC's David Muir was a guest on Good Morning America this morning, where he introduced a short preview of the interview, which airs in full tonight.

In the clip, Muir talked candidly to the trio of executives about Apple's culture of secrecy, the company's plans for its Arizona sapphire manufacturing plant and the iWatch. Cook was forthcoming in the interview about his work habits and Apple's rumored black curtains, but as usual he adeptly deflected questions about Apple's future product roadmap.

The full interview will air tonight at 6:30 PM on World News with Diane

Apple Celebrates Thirty Years of Macintosh with Homepage Tribute, Visual Timeline, 'Mac 30' Video

To celebrate the debut of the original Macintosh 30 years ago today, Apple has posted a tribute on the homepage of its website, and has also created a special "Thirty Years of Mac" section accompanied by a new "Mac 30" video looking at the past and present of its signature desktop computer.

Happy Birthday, Mac.

In 1984, Apple introduced the world to Macintosh.

It was designed to be so easy to use that people could actually use it.

And it came with a promise -- that the power of technology taken from a few and put in the hands of everyone, could change the world.

That promise has been kept.

Today, we create, connect, share, and share, and learn in ways that were unimaginable 30 years ago.

Imagine what we can accomplish in the next 30 years.
The special "30 Years" section of Apple's website allows users to scroll through a visual timeline of the Macintosh's history, beginning with the first Mac in 1984 all the way to the recently released Mac Pro. Each page in the timeline is introduced by a passage on the Mac's impact on an individual or entity, such as the Macintosh II's role in the creation of computational program Mathematica by Theodore Gray or the role the MacBook Pro played in helping create online coding tutorial platform Codecademy.

Pages in the visual timeline also include retrospective information on every Macintosh with photos, and are also followed by research about the most popular uses for a particular Mac. Apple also includes a page for users to input data about their first Mac, which asks questions about location and ownership.

Samsung Misses Earnings Estimates as Apple and Others Pressure Mobile Sales

Samsung's corporate earnings missed expectations and its mobile division saw flat growth year-over-year due to pressure from inexpensive rivals and Apple's new lineup of iPhones, according to an analysis of its fourth-quarter earnings by Bloomberg.

The Korean conglomerate reported net income of 7.22 trillion won ($6.7 billion), well short of the 8.2 trillion won that analysts were expecting. Operating income at the company's mobile unit, its biggest profit maker, was 5.47 trillion won, down from a record 6.7 trillion in the prior quarter, and roughly flat year-over-year.

The company also said it planned to cut its mobile marketing budget after heavy spending also impacted its fourth-quarter profits, reported Reuters. It will also look to make its marketing spending more efficient.

Analysts interviewed by Bloomberg blamed growth in Apple's iPhone line, which saw the iPhone 5s and 5c launch early in the quarter. Apple is scheduled to announce its earnings on Monday.

Samsung Galaxy S4 (5-inch display) with Apple iPhone 5 (4-inch display)
"Samsung’s two major challenges for 2014 are to maintain its mobile-phone leadership in China and the U.S., while simultaneously growing its tablet business quickly enough to knock Apple iPad from its perch," [Neil Mawston, an executive director at researcher Strategy Analytics,] said.

The company shipped 9 million units of the S4 in the fourth quarter, according to a Jan. 8 report from Daewoo Securities Co., lower than its earlier estimate of 13 million units, released on Dec. 23. In the third quarter, Samsung sold 17 million units,

Tim Cook Speaks With ABC News About Thirtieth Anniversary of Macintosh, Interview Airs Tomorrow

ABC News will air an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook on World News with Diane Sawyer tomorrow evening to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the introduction of the Macintosh (via 9to5Mac).

The interview, between ABC's David Muir and Cook, will air tomorrow at 6:30PM Eastern, though a small portion of the interview will preview on Good Morning America.

ABC has not shared many details about the interview, but based on the image shown above, the Mac Pro will be a point of discussion. "ABC News Anchor David Muir exclusively interviews Apple CEO Tim Cook on the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh and what is next for the company," ABC says.
In 2012, Tim Cook sat down with Brian Williams for a wide ranging interview that covered Apple's poor mapping debut, Apple's future in television and more. The interview is part of a larger media campaign by the company to promote the thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh's