Tor Myhren Officially Joins Apple as Vice President of Marketing Communications

tormyhrenFormer Grey Group chief creative officer and New York president Tor Myhren has officially joined Apple and has been added to the company's Executive Profiles webpage. Apple first announced Myhren's plans to join the company back in December of 2015, when it announced new roles for Jeff Williams and Phil Schiller.

According to his profile, Myhren will lead a creative team focused on Apple's advertising, internet presence, package design, and other consumer-facing marketing. Myhren is replacing Hiroki Asai, who is retiring after spending 18 years handling marketing communications and graphic design at Apple.

Myhren has overseen popular Grey ad campaigns like the ETrade talking baby and a series of commercials for DirecTV starring Rob Lowe.
A two-time TED speaker, Tor has been named to Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, Fortune's 40 Under 40, AdAge's Creativity 50 honoring the world's 50 most influential creative minds, and was inducted into the Advertising Federation of America's Hall of Achievement.
Like all Apple executives listed on Apple's Executive site, Myhren will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Review: Griffin's BreakSafe Cable Provides Handy Magnetic USB-C Charging, but With a Few Drawbacks

Although Apple recently refreshed its 12-inch MacBook lineup with a faster SSD, new sixth-generation Skylake processors, and longer battery life, the Retina Macbook's USB Type-C input remains the notebook's single port, apart from a 3.5mm headphone jack. Similar to the launch of the first generation device in 2015, many fans lament not only the inability to use traditional USB 3.0 inputs without carrying around an adapter, but the safety issues present in a charging cable lacking Apple's trusty MagSafe technology.

To that end, at CES this year Griffin Technology introduced a third-party solution to the lack of a magnetic charging cable on the 12-inch MacBook, called the BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable. The $39.99 kit comes with a six-foot cable and small metal dongle, which is about 3/4 of an inch long. Setup is simple: the cable is capped by a USB-C output, which users plug into Apple's packaged-in wall outlet brick. The dongle is plugged into the USB-C slot on the MacBook, so users can then charge the notebook using BreakSafe's quick-release magnetic connection.

Griffin BreakSafe 1
Similar to MagSafe, BreakSafe's purpose is largely to prevent the MacBook from tumbling down off of furniture -- or kicked along the floor -- when something snags the charging cable connected to a wall outlet and the computer itself. The messaging is focused on computers (and charging power only, as data and video are not supported), but the company does note that the idea transfers to USB-C supported smartphones and tablets as well.

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Related Roundup: Retina MacBook
Buyer's Guide: MacBook (Buy Now)

iMovie for Mac Updated With Fast Project Creation, Other New Features

imovie.pngApple today updated its iMovie app designed for the Mac, adding several new features and design tweaks aimed at speeding up the video editing process.

Fast project creation allows editing to begin with a single click, while an easier to find "New Project" button has been added to the Projects browser. Larger product thumbnails, designed to bring the look of iMovie for Mac in line with the iOS version, have been added.

Clicking a video clip will now select the entire clip instead of a range, and there's a keyboard shortcut that enables selecting a range within a clip. There's also support for App Preview resolutions for the iPad Pro and the Apple TV, along with performance improvements. A full list of the changes is below:
- Easy to find New Project button in the Projects browser
- Larger project thumbnails that match the look of iMovie for iOS
- Fast project creation lets you begin editing with a single click
- Clicking a video clip selects the entire clip, instead of a range
- Keyboard shortcut to select range within a clip in the browser and timeline (hold down R key while dragging)
- Support for App Preview resolutions for iPad Pro (1600 x 1200) and Apple TV (1920 x 1080)
- Improves stability
iMovie can be downloaded from the App Store for $14.99. [Direct Link]

Tag: iMovie

Indian Government Approves Single-Branded Apple Retail Stores

The Indian government is set to approve Apple's request to open its own retail stores in the country and exempt the company from its domestic sourcing policy for foreign businesses.

Apple currently has no wholly-owned stores in India and sells its products through a number of distributors. Back in January, the company sent an application to the country's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for approval of several planned Apple retail outlets.

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According to The Times of India, a committee led by DIPP secretary Ramesh Abhishek will this week recommend exempting Apple from a state ruling that requires single-brand foreign stores to source at least 30 percent of their goods from domestic suppliers.

"The committee has found that the company's products are cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art," said sources familiar with the matter. "It has recommended to exempt them from the local sourcing norms."

The source's wording is significant, since under the rule, restrictions may be waived for retailers selling "state-of-the-art" and "cutting-edge technology" if local suppliers are unavailable. Since Apple manufactures most of its products in China, the precondition had thus far been an issue for the company as it tries to make headway into the Indian retail market.

Last summer, Apple announced its Authorized Mobility Resellers program in India, which focused on opening 500 retail store locations across 12 cities in the country. Apple CEO Tim Cook has praised India's business environment and stated that the company is putting more energy into the country, which has the third largest smartphone market in the world with over 200 million users, despite only one third of the population being smartphone owners.

Tag: India

Police Investigating Death at Apple's Cupertino Campus

Apple LogoOn Wednesday morning at approximately 8:35 a.m., the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department was called to Apple's 1 Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino after a body was found in a conference room, according to several news reports.

There is no official word on what happened and Apple has not commented on the situation, but a sheriff's spokesperson has confirmed the deceased individual was an Apple employee and that no one else was involved. The employee's death has been described as an "isolated incident" with "nobody else on campus or in the public at risk."

Update: Apple has issued a statement on the situation.
"We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of a young and talented coworker," Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends, including the many people he worked with here at Apple. We are working to support them however we can in this difficult time."
Update 2: According to the Santa Clara Country Medical Examiner's Office, the Apple employee who died yesterday was 25-year-old Santa Clara resident Edward Mackowiak. Cause of death was suicide caused by a gunshot wound to the head.

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 3 With Extensive Tweaks and Bug Fixes

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser that launched on March 30. Release 3 includes a long list of feature tweaks and updates to JavaScript, CSS, Web APIs, Web Inspector, Accessibility, Rendering, Media, and Networking, plus bug fixes.

Release notes are available on Apple's Safari Technology Preview website.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser.

Apple's goal with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development ahead of launch. Safari Technology Preview can be run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while aimed at developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Crowdfunding Campaign Aims to Shed Light on 'The Secret History of Mac Gaming' in New Book

Journalist and author Richard Moss has launched a crowdfunding campaign for his book The Secret History of Mac Gaming. Moss' work will describe the story of a community of gamers and developers who crafted gameplay experiences that would later serve as influential backbones of modern games, gaining little credit for their place in the history of video games in the process.


Among major influences, Moss mentions that gaming on the Mac brought ideas like "mouse-driven input, multi-window interfaces, and even online play" into popularity with gamers around the world. The book will delve into that history and include over 60 interviews with individuals who were there at the height of Mac gaming, all the way back to the 1980s. The description mentions that it should run about 304 pages long in a standard hardback form, with Mac gaming evangelist Craig Fryar contributing in a co-author role in some chapters.
Mac gaming led to much that is now taken for granted by PC gamers, including mouse-driven input, multi-window interfaces, and even online play. The Mac birthed two of the biggest franchises in videogame history, Myst and Halo, and it hosted numerous "firsts" for the medium.

The Secret History of Mac Gaming is the story of those communities and the game developers who survived and thrived in an ecosystem that was serially ignored by the outside world. It's a book about people who made games and people who played them — people who, on both counts, followed their hearts first and market trends second.
Among many topics and chapters that aim to "cast a narrative around the people behind the games," Moss will include stories like Apple's original intention to acquire Bungie games. That, of course, never came to pass due to Microsoft's own acquisition of the studio in 2000, eventually leading to the now massively successful multi-media franchise Halo. Microsoft's cherry picking of "the premier Mac game developer" out from under Steve Jobs didn't sit well with the former Apple CEO, and was one of the first of many stepping stones that led to the less-than-stellar Mac gaming landscape seen today.

secret history of mac games
The book is currently on the crowdfunding site Unbound, which deals exclusively in getting independent stories off the ground thanks to the monetary input of interested users. As of the time of writing, The Secret History of Mac Gaming needs about 500 more pledges to be successfully funded. Unbound is based in London, but the site offers international exchange rates for customers interested in pledging who live outside of the United Kingdom. There's also a £14 ($20) international shipping charge for most physical rewards.

The initial £10 ($14) reward tier will get pledges an eBook version of the book, while those who are into physical books will need to pledge £30 ($44). Higher rewards include your name listed in the front of the book, exclusive art, a meet-up with the authors and, at the highest £2,000 ($2,900) tier, a "unique dust jacket" created solely for the user who donates on that tier. Every contributor to the campaign will get their name in the back of the book.

Check out the campaign page here to browse all of the rewards, and even read an except from The Secret History of Mac Gaming.

Deadpool Runs Riot in iTunes Store

Gleefully profane antihero Deadpool has invaded movie pages and posters in the iTunes Store to celebrate the release of his frequently fourth-wall-breaking comedy action film.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.58.30
The rogue Marvel Comics character's latest act of defiance appears to involve defacing or photobombing posters and preview pages in the Movie section of the Store, with everything from 127 Hours to Taken getting the snarky Deadpool treatment.

Deadpool iTunes Store
Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as the former Special Forces operative turned freakishly self-aware superhero. The movie has set a record for highest-earning R-rated movie ever, earning a total of $746 million globally. A sequel is currently in production.

Deadpool movie
Deadpool can be purchased on the iTunes Store in HD for $14.99 which includes access to iTunes Extras. The movie will be available to rent from May 10.

Apple Forecasts Another Revenue Decline Next Quarter

Apple-downApple today reported its first year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue since 2003, and its guidance for the third quarter of the 2016 fiscal year suggests that the downward trend is likely to continue.

Apple expects third quarter revenue of between $41 billion and $43 billion, which would be up to 18 percent lower than the $49.6 billion in revenue it posted in the year-ago quarter.

The company also expects a gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent, operating expenses between $6 billion and $6.1 billion, other income/expenses of $300 million, and a tax rate of 25.5 percent.

Apple's first revenue decline in thirteen years is largely attributable to the first ever year-over-year decline in iPhone sales, which dropped to 51.2 million from nearly 61.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

iPad and Mac sales also declined to 10.25 million and 4.03 million respectively in the March quarter, compared to 12.62 million and 4.56 million respectively a year ago.

Meanwhile, Apple experienced growth in both its Services and Other Products categories, the latter of which totaled $2.19 billion and includes sales of iPods, Apple TVs, Beats Electronics, and Apple-branded and third-party accessories.

Quarterly revenue from the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, iBooks Store, AppleCare, Apple Pay, licensing, and other services amounted to nearly $6 billion, up from $5 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The Americas remain Apple's largest market with $19.1 billion in revenue, followed by China where revenue fell rather sharply to $12.5 billion compared to $16.8 billion in the previous March quarter.

Microsoft Debuts Skype for Business Preview on Mac With Outlook Integration

Microsoft today announced the launch of its Skype for Business Mac Public Preview, bringing expanded Skype capabilities to its Mac business users. The Public Preview of Skype for Business for the Mac follows the launch of Skype for Business on iOS.

Skype for Business will be released in three stages leading to the public launch of the app during the third quarter of 2016. Starting today, Skype for Business Mac users will be able to see meetings in the Skype business client through built-in Outlook calendar integration, joining them with a click. Full screen video, content viewing, in-meeting chat, and the ability to invite additional people to the meeting are all supported features.

skypeforbusinessmac
In the second phase of the Public Preview, Microsoft plans to add instant messaging, presence, and contacts, which will come in the early summer. Phase three, which will include telephony features, will be available later in the summer.

Skype for Business, designed for corporate users, supports up to 250 people per call and it includes enterprise-grade security features and employee account management.


Microsoft's commercial customers can request an invite to test the Skype for Business Mac Public Preview through the Skype for Business website. Microsoft plans to begin issuing invites to IT administrators to download the client with a gradual expansion of the preview coming in the current weeks.

Dropbox's 'Project Infinite' Introduces Cloud Storage to Free Up Hard Drive Space

dropbox logo 3At Dropbox Open London today, the company announced "Project Infinite," a new feature of the popular document transferring app that will save space on a user's local hard drive thanks to the implementation of a new cloud storage feature.

With Infinite, both cloud files and locally saved files will cohabitate in the traditional location within Finder on Macs, letting users decide which take up storage space and which stay in the cloud.

Documents saved in the cloud will be marked with a tiny icon referencing their storage location, but there won't be any kind of laborious download process if a user needs to quickly gain access to anything not directly saved on their computer. Cloud files will sync on demand when a user clicks on them, displaying them in the same way as locally stored files. If a file will be needed in a location lacking an Internet connection, users can choose to "Save local copy" and download the cloud file for later.

In Project Infinite's introduction video, the company gives the example of a shared company Dropbox folder with upwards of 10 terabytes of data synced inside. On the desktop of one user, however, the folder is taking up just 28 megabytes of data thanks to the inclusion of cloud storage.


The company also mentioned that Project Infinite supports all platforms that Dropbox is available on, and even includes backwards-compatibility "on any computer running Windows 7 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.9 and up." So a file saved by a team member on Windows 8, for instance, can be viewed as a placeholder cloud file on another user's iMac, and then downloaded to their hard drive.
Project Infinite will enable users to seamlessly and securely access all their Dropbox files from the desktop, regardless of how much space they have available on their hard drives. Everything in the company’s Dropbox that you’re given access to, whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud, will show up in Dropbox on your desktop. If it’s synced locally, you’ll see the familiar green checkmark, while everything else will have a new cloud icon.
Dropbox's aim for Project Infinite appears to be enterprise focused, but the company's blog post mentioned that it has "more product announcements to come throughout the year," following the launch of its new storage-saving cloud feature. Project Infinite is currently being tested among a select number of Dropbox sponsors, but no word has yet been given regarding a specific wide launch.

Tag: Dropbox

Apple 'Reevaluating' Recruiting Efforts, Reportedly Lays Off All Contract Recruiters

Apple LogoApple has been cutting down on its recruiting team over the last few months, reports VentureBeat. According to a source that spoke to the site, Apple has laid off all of its contract recruiters and has started to lay off some of its full-time recruiters. Up to 100 employees could be affected by Apple's decision to prune its recruiting team if the rumors are true.
Essentially the recruiting engine inside Apple has slowed down and the company is reevaluating its activities in that area, the source said.

"You always need to have something new coming out to justify hiring," the source said.
Apple has also implemented a new incentive structure for recruiters, dropping bonuses from 40 percent of a newly recruited employee's base salary to 10 to 15 percent. In the future, the inside source believes bonuses could be eliminated entirely. Apple is also not hiring recruiters through its jobs website at this time.

The reason behind Apple's potential recruiting scale back is not known, but VentureBeat points towards ongoing cutbacks in smartphone production and an imminent Q2 2016 earnings report that's expected to see a year-over-year decline in iPhone sales and overall revenue.

Despite the reports of recruiting cuts, Apple has, in recent months, been hiring aggressively for its rumored car project, taking on employees from companies like Ford, Tesla, GM, MIT Motorsports, General Dynamics, Samsung, and more.