Steve Dowling's Role as Apple PR Chief Now Permanent

Longtime Apple public relations veteran Steve Dowling was today added to Apple's executive page, marking his official promotion to Vice President of Communications.

The role has been open since Katie Cotton retired in 2014, but Steve Dowling has been serving as the interim head of public relations for several months now. His position was initially temporary as Apple searched for other high-profile external candidates, but it appears Apple could not find a suitable external candidate to fill the role.

stevedowlingprchief
Following Katie Cotton's departure from Apple, Tim Cook was reportedly searching for a "friendlier" PR chief with a "more approachable face" to take over, to continue on with Apple's trend of being more open under Tim Cook's leadership.

Dowling has worked for Apple for twelve years and before taking over Cotton's former role, he served as the senior director of corporate public relations at the company. Before that he worked at CNBC's Washington Bureau for eight years.

Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall Serving as Snapchat Advisor

forstallAfter being forced out of Apple in 2012 following a major Maps debacle and clashes with other execs, former Apple Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott
Forstall has kept a low profile, largely staying out of the public eye.

He hasn't taken on a major role at any company, but in late 2013, news surfaced suggesting he had been spending his time advising startups and becoming involved in philanthropical causes. As of today, news has leaked about one of the startups Scott Forstall is involved in -- Snapchat.

A leaked email from the late 2014 Sony Pictures hack discovered by TechCrunch suggests that Scott Forstall has been serving as an advisor to popular ephemeral photo sharing app Snapchat, earning himself .11% of the company's stock. Forstall's shares in the company vest over the course of 24 months and could be worth approximately $16.5 million at Snapchat's current $15 billion valuation.

When TechCrunch questioned Snapchat about its relationship with Scott Forstall, the company did not deny that he was an advisor, stating "we have a number of advisors, but we don't comment on the specifics of their relationship with the company."

Scott Forstall first fell in league with Apple in 1992, when he took on a job at Steve Jobs' company, NeXT. When NeXT was acquired by Apple in 1997, Forstall stayed on, working on the Macintosh user design team. He was promoted several times and in 2005, he began working on iOS. Forstall has been largely credited with the skeuomorphic design present in the early years of the operating system, an aesthetic that eventually led to disagreements with other executives at the company following Steve Jobs' death.

Apple Partners With SunPower Corporation to Build Two Solar Power Plants in China

Environmentally conscious solar panel manufacturer SunPower Corporation today announced a partnership with Apple that will result in two solar power projects totaling 40 megawatts in the "environmentally-preserved" ABA Region of China's Sichuan Province.

Currently under construction, the projects will be split across two sites both eventually totaling 20 megawatts each. The first site, located in Hongyuan, is already generating 2 megawatts of power thanks to technology that includes single-axis tracking with rows of parabolic mirrors that reflect light onto SunPower's "Maxeon" cells, "which are the world's most efficient commercially available mass-produced solar cells." The second project is located in Ruoergai County.

silver-sunpower
As the first solar powered projects deployed in the ABA Region, the combined sites are expected to churn out up to 80 million kilowatt-hours each year. Upon completion, each project will be co-owned by Apple and Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co., Ltd, SunPower's project development joint venture. Work on both sites is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Speaking with The Associated Press, Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president for environmental initiatives, discussed the new China-focused solar power project, suggesting the company's partnership with SunPower in the region is only the start of a bigger environmentally-focused push by Apple.
"It's important to us to tackle climate change everywhere we are," Jackson told The Associated Press. "When you talk about China, you're talking about manufacturing partners. We're looking to bring the same innovation there. This is the start."

"Before we go somewhere else and start asking and eventually requiring clean energy, you want to make sure you show folks how to do it," said Jackson, who was U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator during President Barack Obama's first term.
Apple and SunPower have collaborated stateside in the past, with six plants ranging from California to Nevada and North Carolina. Today's announcements mark the first international solar power partnership between Apple and SunPower.

Tag: SunPower

Apple Partners With The Conservation Fund to Protect Working Forests, Ensure Paper Supplies

The Conservation Fund today announced that it has partnered with Apple to acquire over 36,000 acres of working forest in Maine and North Carolina, a move that will ensure both the continued health of the forests and Apple's paper supplies.
“Apple is clearly leading by example—one that we hope others will follow,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “By all accounts, the loss of America’s working forests is one of our nation’s greatest environmental challenges. The initiative announced today is precedent-setting.”

The forests that Apple and The Conservation Fund are protecting are larger than the land area of the City of San Francisco. Through its commitment, Apple can ensure a steady supply of sustainably harvested timber to paper and pulp mills.
Apple vice president for environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson tells BuzzFeed that the move is the company's latest effort to ensure the sustainability of its supply chain.

apple_conservation_fund_forest
“Imagine if every time you opened a package from a company you knew that it came from a working forest. And imagine if companies took seriously their paper chain and made sure that was renewable, just like energy. And imagine if they didn’t just buy renewable paper, but took the step of ensuring that they would stay working forests forever.”
Apple has worked very hard over the years to exert as much control as it can over its supply chain in order to create a competitive advantage and ensure consistent supplies and pricing. With more recent forays into renewable energy production and now even paper, Apple is proving able to both secure its supply chain and demonstrate its commitment to environmental responsibility.

Update 7:56 AM: Jackson and Selzer have written a blog post on Medium addressing the partnership.
This partnership is mutually beneficial. Apple is quantifying the virgin paper footprint from its packaging. Apple is committed to zeroing out that impact by using paper more efficiently, increasing recycled paper content, sourcing paper sustainably, and conserving acreage of working forests around the world equivalent to its virgin paper footprint. The Conservation Fund is committed to identifying and conserving those acres in the U.S. Through conservation easements, they will ensure these lands remain forests in the future. This helps preserve the supply of raw materials for paper while providing permanent environmental protection and fighting climate change.


Coppertino Launches New VOX Music Player for iPhone, LOOP Music Locker With Limited Time Discount

Last month we shared news of Coppertino's upcoming VOX Music Player for iPhone and its new LOOP music locker, and some MacRumors readers helped beta test the new products. As of today, Coppertino is launching the new LOOP music storage service, updating its Mac app, and releasing its new iOS app.

Coppertino has had a VOX Music Player app for the Mac since 2013, but today's iOS app release marks the company's first expansion to Apple's mobile devices. Like the Mac app, the iOS app is designed to play any type of music file, including high-quality FLAC files.

voxforiphone
VOX for iPhone's key features include:

- Support for nearly all lossless (FLAC) and lossy (MP3) file formats;
- Full quality playback with no downscaling or converting;
- Proprietary BASS engine delivers crystal clear audio and even makes and MP3 sounds amazing;
- Easy iTunes integration including playlists;
- Soundcloud, Last FM and other third-party integration.
Along with the iOS app, Coppertino is also debuting its cloud-based music locker service, LOOP. LOOP is built into both the VOX Music Player for Mac and the new iOS app, offering users unlimited cloud-based storage for all of their music files. Songs stored in LOOP can be streamed in full quality to any device using the VOX Mac and iOS apps, and songs can be cached for offline playing.

Unlike many popular music lockers like iTunes Match and Google Play Music, LOOP is able to support any type of audio file, including FLAC, playing songs natively through the VOX apps with no transcoding. VOX Music Player for iOS and Mac are free, but using the LOOP cloud music storage service requires a subscription that's priced at $49.99 per year or $4.99 per month.

voxloopformac
Key LOOP features include:
- Infinite storage space for nearly any audio file, from FLAC, CUE, WAV, MP3 and more;
- High-quality playback on iPhone or Mac;
- Manage, organize and play your entire music collection on iPhone or Mac;
- Unlimited offline playback and cache for music on the go.
MacRumors readers who beta tested the LOOP music service have the option to purchase a subscription at the discounted price of $34.99 to thank them for their help, but Coppertino is also providing all MacRumors readers with a $10 discount. Any MacRumors reader who subscribes to the LOOP music service between 10 a.m. Eastern Time and 5 p.m. Eastern Time on April 15 will be able to get a year of LOOP service for $39.99 instead of $49.99. Anyone wanting the MacRumors discount must purchase LOOP directly from Coppertino using this link.

VOX Music Player for Mac with the LOOP music locker integration can be downloaded from the Coppertino website. The Mac App Store version of the app will be updated in a few days.

The new Vox Music Player app for iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store for free and should be rolling out now. [Direct Link]

Microsoft Updates Office 2016 for Mac Preview with Updated Look and New Features

Microsoft today updated its Office 2016 for Mac Preview, just over a month after it first launched, with an updated look and new features. Word received the most new features while OneNote received no new features. Visual updates include a colored top bar and a more refined bottom bar for Word, Excel and PowerPoint; Outlook and OneNote did not receive visual updates.

word159
The new look of Microsoft Word in Office 2016

The new version of Word received scrolling performance improvements, new user information settings in preferences, support for the most popular Word keyboard shortcuts, improved support for VoiceOver and other performance enhancements and bug fixes. New features include "custom dictionary" and "exclude dictionary" support, a new search feature for online document templates and a new Macro recording feature.

Outlook's improvements include networking enhancements for Exchange accounts, bug fixes and a new feature called Propose New Time. Meeting attendees can propose a new time for a meeting and the meeting organizers can view the proposed time and modify meeting proposals and then send updates to all of the attendees.

Word158
The older look of Microsoft Word in Office 2016

The additions to Excel include a new Analysis Toolpack, a new feature called "Solver" and improved support for VoiceOver and bug fixes. Finally, PowerPoint received improved VoiceOver support and known bug fixes.

Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac Preview is available at no cost for all Mac users running OS X Yosemite. Microsoft has plans to officially launch the software in the second half of 2015, following this beta testing period.

Update: Microsoft has also released Office Delve for iPhone, enabling Office 365 users to find and discover shared documents from work colleagues.



Rare Working Apple-1 Computer With Cassette Interface Board Hits eBay

A rare functional Apple-1 Personal Computer has popped up on eBay this week after its owner decided to downsize his Apple collection. The Apple-1 computer, called the Copson Apple-1 by its current owner, is one of less than 50 known machines in existence. Apple-1 computers are popular with collectors as they were the first computers produced by Apple and were sold by Steve Jobs out of his parents' garage in 1976.

Originally retailing for $666.66, the Apple-1 in the auction was purchased by Joey Copson and held in the same family for more than 36 years. Bob Luther, who was writing a book on a separate Apple-1 computer, came across the Copson Apple-1 during his research and purchased it from Copson's family.

copsonapple1
According to the auction, the Apple-1 was recently serviced and turned on by computer historian Corey Cohen, and it includes an Apple-1 Cassette board accessory. It comes with a date-stamped keyboard and a clam shell case supplied by the original owner. The Copson Apple-1 was originally placed up for auction in 2012 in a non-working condition where it didn't meet the minimum bid, but was later refurbished and repaired.

"The Copson board is an 8 out of 10..." and, "Late in 2014, I was asked to bring the Copson Apple-1 setup back to working state. In the process of my evaluation, the Copson Apple-1 board was chemically stabilized and cleaned. I took extreme care to keep all the discrete components on the board original by performing some minor repairs instead of replacing components unnecessarily, maintaining its originality. The Copson Apple-1 has no cuts, repairs or modifications to the PCB board.

The Datanetics keyboard was completely refurbished, the original Apple Cassette Interface was refurbished and the original power supply made safe and operational.

The Copson Apple-1 is unique due to the futuristic custom plastic case that Joe Copson placed it in. The case appears oddly similar in design to what would be used later by the early Apple II. The distinctive jumper wiring also performed by Joe Copson when he later purchased the Apple Cassette Interface, can also be used to uniquely identify and confirm this is the Copson Apple-1 board from other early Byte Shop Apple-1s that also predate the Apple Cassette Interface's availability."
The Copson Apple-1 is labeled as 01-0022, suggesting that it's potentially an earlier build than other Apple-1 machines that have sold for more money, including a working Apple-1 that sold for $905,000 to the Henry Ford Museum back in October. That machine was numbered "01-0070."

There's no reserve price on the Apple-1 auction, but bidders must be pre-approved. The current bid is at $20,600 and the auction ends in eight days.

Luther is also auctioning off a few other rare Apple items, including an early production Apple II computer. 10 percent of the proceeds from the auctions will go to the ALS Association.

Tag: Apple-1

Synology Launches New DiskStation DS1515 and RackStation RS815 Storage Solutions

Synology, known for its Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions, today announced the addition of two new devices to its existing DiskStation and RackStation product lineup: the DiskStation DS1515 and the RackStation RS815.

The DiskStation DS1515 is the first 5-bay solution in Synology's Value series lineup that offers a quad-core CPU. Along with a 1.4GHz AL-314 quad-core CPU from Annapurna Labs, it has 2GB of RAM and four Gigabit LAN ports with link aggregation support. The DS1515 is able to offer read/write speeds of up to 403.7MB/s and 421.8MB/s, respectively, using a RAID 5 configuration with Windows. With its hardware encryption engine, it offers encrypted data transmission speeds of 296.54MB/s (read) and 150.04 MB/s (write).

ds1515
Like all of Synology's products, the DS1515 runs Synology's DiskStation Manager software, and it's scalable up to 15 drives with two Synology DX513 expansion units for up to 90TB of total storage 30TB maximum without the expansion units). Synology's DS1515 is designed to be energy efficient, with hard drive hibernation and two 80 x 80 mm fans to keep it running cool, and it has a noise dampening design that lets it run quieter than PCs.
"The DS1515 and RS815 offer excellent value for growing companies that need easy scalability, with on-the-fly plug and play expansions," said Synology Product Marketing Manager Jason Bonoan. "Plus, work groups can use these NAS with Cloud Station and sync their files when they are on the go."
Synology's RackStation RS815 is a 4-bay rackmount NAS that's designed to be compact and able to fit easily in smaller server rooms. Aimed at businesses that need to store large amounts of data, the RackStation RS815 is 12-inches deep and smaller than its predecessor.

rackstationsynology
Synology RackStation RS815 is a compact and scalable 4-bay rackmount NAS, which is designed to help businesses effectively store, protect and share data. In terms of size, RS815 is nearly half the depth compared to its predecessor. Running on Synology's award-winning DiskStation Manager, RS815 enjoys rich features and stability in situations with limited space and budget.
The RS815 includes a dual-core CPU and 1GB of RAM. It's able to deliver speeds of up to 111.5MB/s (read) and 108.7MB/s (write) in a RAID 5 configuration. It's got dual LAN failover support to keep it connected to the network at all times, plus two USB 3.0 ports and support for an optional storage expansion unit (up to 48TB of space). As with the DS1515, the RS815 runs the DiskStation Manager Software.

The Synology DS1515 and RS815 are available for purchase today for $649.99 and $599.99, respectively.

Tag: Synology

How Photos for OS X Handles Content and Metadata Migration from iPhoto and Aperture

Last week, Apple released OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 with support for the new Photos for OS X app, the company's replacement for both iPhoto and Aperture; Apple also removed both apps from the Mac App Store shortly after Photos was released. Today, Apple released a support document detailing exactly what users can expect when they migrate their content from Aperture and iPhoto to Photos.

Photos for OS X
When iPhoto content (photos and video) and metadata are migrated over to Photos, they do so without changes. Images migrate over with the adjustments that were applied within iPhoto. Users will not be able to alter the images, but they will be able to revert to the original photo before adjustments were applied. Slideshows and Albums are both preserved in Photos with a few exceptions. Slideshows that use themes not available in Photos have the default theme attached to them, while Smart Albums where none of its Smart Album criteria are supported by Photos are not migrated over.

Keywords are preserved in Photos, and most metadata is migrated over, but there are some exceptions. Some IPTC metadata like Copyright are still attached to works, but they won't be visible within Photos. They can still be viewed in programs that recognize and display the select IPTC data, like iPhoto and Aperture. Finally, Events are transferred to an album called iPhoto Events in the Album View section of Photos for OS X.

Aperture's migration of content and metadata works similar to iPhoto, but with a few significant differences. Aperture projects and subfolders migrate to folders called Aperture Projects and iPhoto Events, both of which are available to view in the Album View section of Photos. Photo books also migrate to the Album section of the app. Captions are preserved in Photos, but star ratings, flagged images and color labels are turned into keywords. For example, a one-star rating shows up as "1 star" keyword, flagged images have "flagged" keywords attached and the green color label turns into a "green" keyword. Finally, custom metadata fields to not transfer to Photos.

The entire support document is helpful for those worrying about transferring their content over to Photos and can be viewed on Apple's website.

List of Apple Stores With 12-Inch Retina MacBook Display Models

Following our own list of Apple Stores carrying the Apple Watch Edition that we published last week, we now have a crowdsourced list of Apple retail locations that have 12-inch Retina MacBook display models set up in the United States, Canada, China, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and United Kingdom. Given how quickly this list will likely change, we will not be updating this article and recommend keeping tabs on the MacRumors discussion thread instead.

retinamacbookkeyboard2
Since this is a crowdsourced list by MacRumors forum members, only some locations have been independently verified by us to have new MacBook display models in store. Apple Stores that did not have new MacBooks available on launch day should receive them in the near future, as many retail employees confirmed to us that Apple was expected to be delivering display models soon. Keep in mind that this list covers display models only and not in-store stock of new MacBooks available for purchase.

United States
  • Hawaiian Village (HI): Not displayed, not available
  • Easton (Columbus, OH): Not displayed, not available (Possibly April 13)
  • Beavercreek: Not displayed, not available (Possibly April 13)
  • Tyson's Corner (Washington DC): Displayed, not available
  • Pentagon Mall (Washington DC): Displayed, not available
  • West 14th St. (New York, NY): Displayed, not available
  • Boston: Displayed, not available (Possibly April 24)
  • Frisco (TX): Displayed, not available
  • Naperville (IL): Displayed, not available
  • Oak Brook (IL): Displayed, not available
  • Broomfield (CO): Not displayed, not available
  • Highland Village (Houston, TX): Displayed, not available
  • Boulder (CO): Not displayed, not available
  • Evergreen Walk (CT): Not displayed, no info about availability
  • Valley Fair (Santa Clara, CA): Displayed, not available
  • Walnut Creek (Bay Area, CA): Displayed, not available
  • Grand Central (New York, NY): Displayed, not available
  • Ala Moana (Honolulu, HI): Displayed, not available
  • Scottsdale Quarter (Scottsdale, AZ): Displayed, not available
  • International Plaza (Tampa, FL): Displayed, not available
  • Galleria (Houston, TX): Displayed, not available
  • Penn Square (Oklahoma City, OK): Displayed, not available
  • Burlingame (CA): Displayed, not available
  • Albuquerque (NM): Displayed, not available
  • Stanford (CA): Displayed, not available
  • Bethesda (MD): Displayed, not available
  • Bethesda (MD): Displayed, not available
  • San Antonio (TX): Displayed, not available
  • Towson (MD): Displayed, not available
  • Willow Bend Mall (Plano, TX): Displayed, not available
  • La Jolla (CA): Displayed, not available
  • South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa, CA): Displayed, not available
  • Burlington (MA): Displayed, not available
  • Short Pump (Richmond, VA): Displayed, not available
  • Park Meadows Mall (Lone Tree, CO): Displayed, not available
  • Cherry Creek Mall (Denver, CO): Displayed, not available
  • Crabtree Valley Mall (Raleigh, NC): Displayed, not available as of April 10 morning

Canada
  • Halifax Shopping Centre (Halifax, NS): Not displayed, not available
  • Place Ste-Foy (Quebec, QC): Not displayed, not available
  • Eaton Centre (Toronto, ON): Not displayed, not available
  • Mapleview Centre (Burlington, ON): Not displayed, not available

China
  • Shenzhen (Southern China): Displayed, not available (In stock in 4 weeks)

France
  • CAP 3000 (Nice): Not displayed, not available (No availability announced) Confluence (Lyon): Not displayed, not available

Germany
  • Jungfernstieg (Hamburg): Not displayed, not available
  • Alstertal (Hamburg): Not displayed, not available
  • Kö-Bogen, Königsallee 2 (Düsseldorf): Not displayed, not available

Netherlands
  • Amsterdam: Not displayed, not available
  • The Hague: Not displayed, not available
  • Haarlem: Not displayed, not available

Spain
  • Paseo de Gracia (Barcelona): Not displayed, not available (No availability announced)
  • La Maquinista (Barcelona): Not displayed, not available (No availability announced)

United Kingdom
  • Watford: Not displayed, not available
  • Brighton: Not displayed, not available
  • Covent Garden: Not displayed, not available
  • Kingston: Not displayed, not available (Possibly April 24)
  • Exeter: Not displayed, not available
  • Edinburgh: Not displayed, not available
  • Birmingham Bull Ring: Not displayed, not available
  • SouthGate (Bath): Not displayed, not available
  • Regent Street (London): Not displayed, not available
Apple's 12-inch Retina MacBook became available to purchase in silver, space gray and gold on April 10, the same day that Apple Watch pre-orders began in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and United Kingdom. The notebook starts at $1,299 for the base 256GB configuration, while a 512GB model with a slightly faster processor is available for $1,599.

The 12-inch MacBook, positioned at the lower end of Apple's notebook lineup, paves the way for the future with an ultra-thin design, one USB-C port, redesigned keyboard with an all-new butterfly mechanism, Force Touch trackpad, fanless architecture and all-day battery life. Initial reviews of the new MacBook found the notebook to have major design appeal, but too many key compromises.

Related roundup: Retina MacBook , Tag: Apple Store

Apple Wireless Keyboard Now Ships in 1-2 Weeks, New Backlit Model Possible

Apple Wireless Keyboard shipping times have slipped to 1-2 weeks on the Apple Online Store in the United States, prompting speculation that Apple may refresh the keyboard in the near future. Meanwhile, the wireless keyboard is still listed as in stock or available to ship within 1 business day in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, so this could also be a regular fluctuation in stock on the U.S. storefront.

Apple Wireless Keyboard 1 to 2 Weeks
Images of an Apple Wireless Keyboard with backlight keys and a power button briefly appeared on the Apple Online Store in Czech Republic and Hungary last month, with an identical Arabic version appearing on the U.S. storefront. The addition of backlight controls on the F5 and F6 keys leads us to believe that Apple could be planning to release a new backlit wireless keyboard, although when remains unknown.

The current Apple Wireless Keyboard has gone largely unchanged since receiving a major redesign with an aluminum enclosure in August 2007. A revised two-battery model was released in October 2009 and became the standard keyboard that shipped with iMacs, and Apple updated the keyboard again in 2011 when it added a new label on the Exposé key and changed the Dashboard key to a Launchpad key.

Apple Keyboard Czech
Apple Wireless Keyboard with backlight keys that briefly appeared on the Apple Online Store in Czech Republic and Hungary last month

A number of other Apple products have also seen their shipping times slip from "in stock" to "1 business day" on the Apple Online Store in the United States, including the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iPhone, iPad Air, iPad mini and Apple TV. Many of those product lineups have been updated within the past six months, so supply constraints due to the Apple Watch is the more probable cause than something major.

Aperture and iPhoto Removed From Mac App Store Following Photos for OS X Launch

Following Wednesday's release of OS X 10.10.3 and the new Photos for OS X app, Apple has, as promised, removed Aperture and iPhoto from the Mac App Store. Apple warned that development would stop on the two photo editing apps in the middle of last year, and put notices in the Mac App Store a couple months ago to let users know the apps would be pulled from sale following the launch of Photos.

The two apps remained available for download from the Mac App Store for approximately a day after Photos for OS X was released, but attempting to access them via search now gives no results and clicking through from an external Mac App Store link gives an "Item Not Available" message.

itemnotavailableaperture
Apple has ceased development on Aperture and iPhoto to concentrate its resources on Photos for OS X, its new photo editing software that integrates with the Photos for iOS app and iCloud Photo Library to let users access their complete set of photos on any device.

Photos for OS X has been described by many as an excellent replacement for iPhoto, as it includes more advanced tools and it runs much faster. Aperture users may find Photos for OS X lacking, however, as it does not have advanced tools like a loupe or brushable adjustments. It also does not support plugins.

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