Apple CEO Tim Cook Will Move His Office to Apple Park

Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to work out of Apple Park, the official name for Apple's second spaceship-shaped campus, according to information obtained by The Chronicle.

Cook will presumably move his office from Apple's Infinite Loop campus to Apple Park when it opens for employees in April of 2017. Apple announced its plans to open Apple Park in April in a press statement released this morning.


Apple Park will eventually house more than 12,000 employees, who will move to the campus over a period of six months. While Apple Park will open in a little over a month, smaller construction projects and landscaping will continue into the summer.


In addition to the main ring-shaped building, Apple Park includes a visitor's center with a full Apple Store and cafe, a fitness center for employees, auxiliary research buildings, underground parking structures, a cafeteria, and a theater named "Steve Jobs Theater" after late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The entire campus is powered by 100 percent renewable energy and features huge swathes of greenery suitable for the California climate, with more than 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees.

First conceived in 2011 by Steve Jobs, Apple Park has been under construction since 2013 and is rumored to have cost Apple upwards of $5 billion.

Latest Chrome Canary Build Includes Support for MacBook Pro Touch Bar

The newest build (58.0.3020.0) of Chrome Canary, Google's experimental browser, includes support for the Touch Bar built into the 2016 MacBook Pro, indicating Touch Bar support will soon be added to the Chrome browser.

On the Touch Bar, the current Chrome Canary build offers a search/URL bar, forward and back buttons, a refresh/stop option, a button for opening a new tab, and a button for adding a new bookmark.


It's much a simpler implementation than Touch Bar support in Safari, which includes preview tabs for quickly switching between windows. There are also no controls available for video or music playback in the browser.

Features are tested in Canary before being added release builds of the Google Chrome browser, so Touch Bar support is expected in Chrome 58, set to be released during the week of April 25th.

Those who want to give Touch Bar support a try ahead of the release of Chrome 58 can download Chrome Canary from Google.

Tags: Google, Chrome

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 24 With User Timing and Link Preload

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 24 includes fixes and improvements for Web API, JavaScript, CSS, Web Inspector, Rendering, Accessibility, and more. Both User Timing and Link Preload are new experimental features in this version of Safari Technology Preview.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Apple's Presence in Cambridge Office Confirmed, Reportedly Centering on Siri Research

Over two years ago it was reported that Apple was planning on opening a new R&D office in Cambridge, England, and after that multiple reports suggested that the company was primarily working on Siri research at the location.

Besides a few job posts Apple never formally admitted to being the occupant at 90 Hills Road in Cambridge. This week, however, Cambridge News has spotted confirmation of Apple's presence in the city, in the form of the Apple logo appearing on signage outside of the office building.

For the last two years Apple has been tight-lipped about its office in Cambridge, but now it seems the iPhone maker is ready to come out of the closet.

The tech giant has repeatedly refused to confirm it is operating out of 90 Hills Road, next to the entrance of the Botanic Gardens. But now its iconic logo has appeared on signage outside the building.
News of the office in Cambridge began in November 2014, and then one year later in November 2015 Cambridge News reported that Apple was hiring staff in the area to work on Siri. That rumor came in the wake of Apple's acquisition of the UK-based startup VocalIQ, which specializes in speech technology and finding ways for users and computers to have a more natural dialogue.

Now, it is believed that more than 30 employees -- including former staff from VocalIQ -- are at work at the Cambridge office. Today's report states that the workers at 90 Hills Road are "developing new versions of Siri to compete with the likes of Amazon and Google." Last month, industry sources stated that Apple is working on "enhanced Siri" capabilities for future iPhones, citing another Apple acquisition (machine learning startup Turi), while also mentioning the company's desire to best its competitors in the AI assistant space.

Tag: England

Apple Names its New Campus Auditorium 'Steve Jobs Theater'

Apple today announced that the 1,000-seat auditorium at its new Apple Park campus will be named the "Steve Jobs Theater" in memory of the company's late co-founder, who would have turned 62 years old on February 24.


Steve Jobs Theater, a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder with the world's largest freestanding carbon-fiber roof, is situated atop a hill at one of the highest points of the 175-acre campus, overlooking meadows and the main building.

Apple CEO Tim Cook:
“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved the most energy-efficient building of its kind in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”
Jobs' widow Laurene Powell Jobs:
“Steve was exhilarated, and inspired, by the California landscape, by its light and its expansiveness. It was his favorite setting for thought. Apple Park captures his spirit uncannily well,” said Laurene Powell Jobs. “He would have flourished, as the people of Apple surely will, on this luminously designed campus.”
Apple design chief Jony Ive:
“Steve invested so much of his energy creating and supporting vital, creative environments. We have approached the design, engineering and making of our new campus with the same enthusiasm and design principles that characterize our products,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. “Connecting extraordinarily advanced buildings with rolling parkland creates a wonderfully open environment for people to create, collaborate and work together. We have been extremely fortunate to be able to work closely, over many years, with the remarkable architectural practice Foster + Partners.”
Apple Park will be ready for employees to begin occupying in April, and the Steve Jobs Theater will open later this year.

Apple Updates Logic Pro X With Minor Bug Fixes and Feature Improvements

Apple today updated Logic Pro X, its software for audio professionals, to version 10.3.1. The new update introduces a few bug fixes and refines two previously implemented features.

According to Apple's release notes, Logic Pro X 10.3.1 fixes a bug that caused regions to behave unexpectedly when moved, and it fixes an issue that could cause regions on Track Alternatives to get deleted.


As for feature additions, global edits cutting or inserting time are now also applied to inactive Track Alternatives, and projects that use sample rates other than 44.1kHz can be shared to GarageBand for iOS.

Today's 10.3.1 update comes just over a month after Apple released Logic Pro X 10.3, a major update introducing a refreshed interface, Track Alternatives, and Touch Bar support for the new MacBook Pro.

Logic Pro X is available for purchase from the Mac App Store for $199.99. [Direct Link]

Apple Releases Third macOS Sierra 10.12.4 Public Beta for Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update to public beta testers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the second public beta and one day after releasing the third 10.12.4 beta to developers.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will receive the third 10.12.4 macOS Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

macos-10-12-4-beta
Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to both iOS and macOS Sierra betas. Betas should not be installed on a primary machine due to the potential for instability.

macOS Sierra 10.12.4 brings iOS's popular Night Shift mode to the Mac, allowing users to cut down on blue light exposure in the evening. Believed to affect sleep by upsetting the body's circadian rhythm, blue light is thought to be more harmful than yellow light.

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With Night Shift, the Mac's display automatically shifts from cool to warm at sunset and then shifts back at sunrise. Users can also set custom times for the display's colors to shift, or toggle the effect on manually. A Toggle to turn Night Shift on is available in the Notification Center, and Siri can also be used to activate the feature.

macOS Sierra 10.12.4 also includes Shanghainese dictation support, cricket scores for Siri, improved PDFKit APIs, and iCloud Analytics options.

Related Roundup: macOS Sierra

Apple Comes Fifth, Amazon Ranked Top, in Company Reputation Poll

Apple is the fifth most reputable major company active in the U.S. according to an annual poll that gauges public perception of 100 consumer brands (via The Korea Herald).

The Reputation Quotient Ratings from the 2017 Harris Poll are based on an online survey completed by over 30,000 adults in the U.S. The survey analyzes brand reputation across six gauges: social responsibility, vision and leadership, financial performance, products and services, workplace environment, and emotional appeal.


The Reputation Quotient Ratings saw Apple fall three places from the previous year, losing ground to Wegmans, Publix Super Markets, and Johnson & Johnson. Amazon meanwhile maintained its 2016 position at the top of the table, but the effects of the exploding Note7 phone debacle saw Samsung slump to 49th after last year ranking at seventh.

Other companies in the top ten include Google, which slipped from fifth in 2016 to eighth, and Tesla Motors, which was not included in last year’s rankings. Netflix and Microsoft both ranked in the top 20 (18th and 20th, respectively), with Facebook sitting at 66th.

According to Harris Polls, the biggest risks to a company's reputation are illegal actions by corporate leaders and lies about products or services. The poll was carried out between November 28 and December 16 of last year, so just before Consumer Reports denied Apple's new MacBook Pro line-up a buyer recommendation, based on perceived battery life issues. Consumer Reports later revisited the issues with Apple's input, and ultimately decided to award the laptops a recommendation in January.

Samsung meanwhile will be eager to resuscitate its brand in 2017 after some of its Galaxy Note7 phones caught fire, leading to the discontinuation of the model in October. However, the company had a setback last week when Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong was arrested over his alleged role in an influence-peddling scandal that has led to the South Korean president's impeachment.

Apple Shifts Towards Digital and Regional Ad Campaigns

Apple's shift towards regionally-focused digital and social media campaigns, and away from translating broader TV-focused campaigns for global markets, has led to layoffs and reorganizational efforts at its longtime global advertising partner TBWA\Media Arts Lab, according to Adweek.


The agency's translation and transcreation teams were naturally among those hardest hit by the downsizing, the report claims. The exact number of employees laid off was not revealed, but the staff reductions are said to have occurred at TBWA's Los Angeles headquarters and other offices around the world.

Nevertheless, the report said TBWA expanded other departments, most prominently digital and social media. The agency said its new operating model will allow it to "keep pace with the way people consume media and content," which increasingly involves platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube.
“TBWA\Media Arts Lab is reorganizing and introducing a new operating model to keep pace with the way people consume media and content,” an agency spokesperson told Adweek. “This will result in a reduction in areas such as localization and further investment in areas such as digital, social, data analytics, content creation and a more diverse set of strategic skills. We will also have greater integration with media partners at OMD.”
A recent example of Apple's regional work is "Meu Bloco na Rua," a Brazilian Carnival-focused video promoting Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus. Apple shared the 90-second spot on its YouTube account in Brazil last week ahead of the Carnival beginning on the afternoon of February 24.


Apple has also shared an increasing number of social-friendly 15-second ads on YouTube for products such as the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. Just two days ago, Apple launched a series of new ads in which it promotes the iPad Pro and its features by responding to real tweets printed on large posters.


Apple will continue to work with TBWA\Media Arts Lab in tandem with its growing in-house marketing team, the report said.

Tags: Apple ads, TBWA

Adobe Issues Critical Security Update for Flash Player on Mac

Adobe this week released Flash Player version 24.0.0.221 to "address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system," including Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS.

Mac users with Flash Player version 24.0.0.194 or earlier installed should immediately update to the latest version using the built-in update mechanism. The update is also available from the Adobe Flash Player Download Center.

Flash Player users who had enabled the option to "allow Adobe to install updates" will receive the update automatically. Likewise, Google Chrome will automatically update Flash Player to version 24.0.0.221. Select "About Google Chrome" under the Tools menu to verify the browser is up-to-date.

Adobe said the critical security update resolves integer overflow, memory corruption, type confusion, heap buffer overflow, and use-after-free vulnerabilities that could lead to code execution. The vulnerabilities were reported by security teams from Google, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, and Trend Micro.

Safari on macOS Sierra deactivates Flash by default, only turning on the plug-in when user requested. Chrome, Firefox, and most other modern web browsers also have web plug-in safeguards in place due to repeated security risks. Adobe has released fifteen Flash Player security updates over the past year.

In 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs shared his "Thoughts on Flash," in which he favored open web standards such as HTML5 over Adobe Flash. Jobs said Flash Player was "the number one reason Macs crash," while criticizing its performance on mobile devices. "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice," he opined.

Apple Store in Sydney, Australia Reopens After Temporary Closure Due to Alleged Bomb Threat

The Apple retail store located on George Street in Sydney, Australia was closed for a brief period of time today due to "a police operation," although the exact reasoning behind the closure remains unclear. Some customers evacuated from the store tweeted claims of hearing employees discussing a "bomb threat," while workers in nearby buildings are referencing some kind of workplace accident responsible for the closure (via Gizmodo Australia).


The only information confirmed by the local police force referenced "a police operation" that was ongoing on the corner of King and George streets between 1:36 PM and 1:50 PM local time today. A police dog was also seen entering the Apple Store, but once it left and the police appeared finished at the scene at around 2:24 PM, a line was allowed to queue back on the street for re-entry into the store.
Shoppers were evacuated from the store as around six police cars appeared at the building in the city’s CBD. Officers and a police dog were seen entering the store as a crowd gathered outside.

Ashley, one of those evacuated, tweeted that he “heard store employees talking about a bomb threat, not a drill” and police were “very firm in telling people to leave immediately.”
Since customers have now been allowed to re-enter the location, it appears that the officers didn't find anything of potential harm in the store.

Touch Bar Support in Microsoft Office for Mac Rolls Out to All Users

Starting today, Microsoft Office users who own one of Apple's new 2016 MacBook Pro models can update their Word, Excel, and PowerPoint software to gain new Touch Bar integrations.

Touch Bar support for Microsoft Office was first announced at Apple's October keynote event where the updated MacBook Pro with Touch Bar debuted. At that time, Microsoft outlined the Touch Bar's capabilities, highlighting unique capabilities for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

In Microsoft Word, the Touch Bar can be used with Word Focus Mode, which hides all on-screen ribbons and commands to put the focus on your work. The Touch Bar puts "the most relevant Word features" at a user's fingertips, allowing for quick style changes.


In PowerPoint, the Touch Bar makes it easier to manipulate graphic elements. A Reorder Objects button creates a graphical map of all the layers, so users can quickly find an object and move its position. There are also special controls that are available in Slideshow View.


With Excel, the Touch Bar displays the most recently used functions when the equals sign is typed into a cell, so it's quicker to do things like sum a range of numbers. The Touch Bar also provides access to borders, cell colors, and recommended charts.


Microsoft has also added new capabilities to the Touch Bar during its testing period. The Touch Bar can also be used to insert comments, photos, and hyperlinks into Word, it includes view-specific controls in PowerPoint, and there's an object rotation slider for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Last week, Microsoft previewed Touch Bar support, providing it to its "Office Insider" beta testers, but now the service is ready to roll out to all Office users.

Touch Bar support is currently only available for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but Microsoft also plans expand it to Outlook and Skype for Business in the near future.