Apple’s Longtime Public Relations VP Retires [Mac Blog]

May 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Katie cottonAs announced earlier this month, Katie Cotton, head of Apple’s public relations department and an 18-year veteran at Apple, has left the company, reports Re/code.

Cotton is known for having been fiercely protective of Apple executives, particularly Steve Jobs, serving as gatekeeper for all media access and shepherding executives through their formal and informal meetings with the press.

Given Apple’s penchant for secrecy, Cotton has long been tasked with keeping a tight rein on the company’s PR operations, managing Apple’s image and contributing to the company’s presentations.

In a touching farewell piece, Re/code‘s Kara Swisher recounts Cotton’s successful take-no-prisoners strategy:

But, despite what many of her detractors have written since the news of her departure came, I was never “scared” of her, any more than I fear any of the other hard-charging PR and communications execs I have encountered over the many years I have covered tech.

Was she aggressive? Sure. (So is Facebook’s Elliot Schrage.)

Did she sometimes ice our reporters out, ignore calls or reply with newsless answers? Sometimes. (Please meet Yahoo PR for much of my time covering it over the last 20 years, especially under the current administration, which does not return any of my calls.)

Did she try her hardest to showcase Apple and its products in a way that benefited it? Yep. (Paging Andreessen Horowitz’s Margit Wennmachers!)

Was she vocal when she did not like something we did? And how. (So are Microsoft’s Frank Shaw and Google’s Rachel Whetstone, both of whom can throw a decent uppercut at me when they are not happy with something we have written.)

So what? That kind of hard driving is part and parcel to the business, even if she was harder driving and, because of that, more successful than most. As she once told me when we talked about her outsize reputation in the tech press: “I am not here to make friends with reporters, I am here to put a light on and sell Apple products.”

Swisher goes on to note that many negative comments made about Cotton might not have been made about a man in such a powerful position, saying that reporters who “did not get any PR love” from the company should “grow up.”



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First OS X 10.10 Banner Goes Up at Moscone Featuring Yosemite

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple is continuing to decorate the Moscone Center ahead of its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, and following the addition of outside banners and the first iOS 8 banner, the inaugural OS X 10.10 banner has just appeared, with a photo courtesy of The Verge.

osxClick to view larger
The mountainous background of the banner suggests OS X 10.10 will be receiving a land-related name to complement the water-based name given to OS X 10.9, possibly Yosemite or El Cap, as the image appears to feature the state park’s El Capitan rock formation. We detailed some of the names Apple has apparently filed for trademarks on back in April. Some trademarked land-themed names include Yosemite, Redwood, Mammoth, California, Diablo, Miramar, El Cap, Redtail, Condor, Grizzly, Tiburon, Skyline, Shasta, and Sierra.

Because OS X Mavericks only introduced minor visual changes, OS X 10.10 is expected to feature a more drastic redesign, adopting a “flatter” look and taking on some iOS 7-style design elements. While little is known about the operating system at this point, we will get our first glimpse of the operating system on Monday June 2 at 10 AM Pacitic Time, when Apple kicks off the Worldwide Developers Conference with its keynote presentation.

Apple will be live streaming the event both on the web and on the Apple TV. MacRumors will also provide a live blog, live tweets via the MacRumorsLive Twitter account, and a spoiler free page for those who want to watch the full keynote at a later time.



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Healthbook, HealthKit, and iResearch Names Revealed in Trademark Filings

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

healthbook_singleOne of the major new features expected in iOS 8 is “Healthbook”, a system for keeping track of and providing at-a-glance access to various types of health and fitness information. The system would be ideal for interfacing with Apple’s rumored iWatch with built-in biometric sensors, but even before that device’s introduction would also be useful for collecting data from sensors within the iPhone and third-party health accessories.

MacRumors has now discovered several trademark applications related to the Healthbook name, and while information on the applications available online does not directly link them to Apple, circumstantial evidence suggests that they are indeed Apple’s filings. The filings were made earlier this year in Trinidad and Tobago, one of Apple’s favored early trademark filing locations.

First is a pair of filings protecting Healthbook itself and a two-word variation of Health Book. Rumors and a leaked screenshot have indicated that Apple has been planning to use the one-word variation, but it is understandable that Apple would want to protect both versions. The applications were filed on February 3 of this year, just days after the name was publicly revealed.

Supporting the notion that these are Apple filings is the fact that two different trademark applications for “Apple CarPlay” were filed on the same day, roughly a month before iOS in the Car was publicly announced as having been renamed CarPlay.

Just one day later, another series of trademark applications were filed for several other terms, including HealthKit, iResearch, and iReasearch. Again, while these can not be directly linked to Apple, the timing and other circumstantial evidence suggests that these are in fact Apple’s applications.

It is not entirely clear what these terms are intended to describe, although HealthKit could be a set of developer tools for Healthbook integration in much the same way Apple has named other kits such as UIKit and GameKit. The focus of iResearch is even less clear, and iReasearch could simply be a typo that was quickly corrected with another filing.

All of the new health- and research-related trademark applications are filed under four international classes: 9 (computer software), 10 (medical apparatus), 14 (jewelry and watches), and 42 (computer hardware and software development services).



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Future OS X Names Could Include Sequoia, Mojave, Sonoma and Ventura

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

With the shift from OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion to OS X 10.9, Apple opted to switch from naming its desktop operating system updates after big cats to naming them after distinct California landmarks or “places that inspire us,” as Craig Federighi explained during the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Mavericks, a popular surf spot, was the company’s first choice, and as we approach the initial preview of OS X 10.10, there’s a lot of speculation about which landmark Apple will choose next. Back in April, several possible naming choices were discovered in the form of trademarks that Apple applied for on California-related terms including Yosemite, Redwood, and Mammoth.

osxyosemitefallAn OS X 10.10 mockup image
MacRumors has now discovered an additional set of names that appear to be linked to Apple, which trademarks were filed for on March 11, 2014 in Trinidad and Tobago, a favorite early filing spot for the company. The terms, all of which could be slated for future OS X releases, include OS X Sequoia, OS X Mojave, OS X Sonoma, and OS X Ventura, as well as the individual names Sequoia, Mojave, Sonoma, and Ventura.

While Sonoma and Ventura are major California cities known for vineyards and beaches, respectively, Mojave refers to the state’s Mojave Desert while Sequoia likely refers to the Sequoia National Park famous for its giant sequoia trees. All of the names represent well-known California landmarks and are suitable for Apple’s new OS X naming scheme.

At this point, the full list of known trademarks Apple has registered for includes Yosemite, Redwood, Mammoth, California, Big Sur, Pacific, Diablo, Miramar, Rincon, El Cap, Redtail, Condor, Grizzly, Farallon, Tiburon, Monterey, Skyline, Shasta, Sierra, Mojave, Sequoia, Ventura, and Sonoma.

It is unknown which name Apple is leaning towards for OS X 10.10, but an iOS 8 banner currently hanging at the Moscone Center ahead of WWDC featured an underwater theme, which may hint at the company’s OS X plans.

Along with the trademarks for several OS X terms it filed for on March 11, Apple also appears to have applied for trademarks on the terms “Apple Watch” and “Watch,” continuing its long trademarking spree of iWatch-related terms, which included several new filings under shell company Brightflash back in April.

OS X 10.10’s official name will be unveiled this coming Monday, during the keynote presentation of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The event will take place at 10 AM Pacific Time.



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Buyer’s Guide: iMac and 13-Inch Retina MacBook Pro Discounts Ahead of WWDC [Mac Blog]

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) kicks off on Monday, but a few retailers have some larger than normal discounts on some current Mac models.

imac-mbp
The 21.5″ 2.7GHz current generation iMac is seeing a $149 discount at Adorama and Best Buy. The iMac, however, is near the end of its refresh cycle and while we probably won’t see the new low-cost iMac debuted at WWDC, it does seem imminent. So, we recommend you wait on buying any new iMacs.

The 13″ Retina MacBook Pro with 512GB SSD, however, is seeing a $199 discount at both Amazon and B&H Photo, bringing the price from $1799 to $1599.99. That’s the lowest price we’ve seen. The buy recommendation for the Retina MacBook Pro is more complicated.

The Retina MacBook Pros were last updated in October 2013, according to our Buyer’s Guide and receives a “Caution” rating. Current MacBook Pro rumors place the next update in between Q3 and Q4, so approximately 4 months from now. That is enough time that if you are on the market specifically for the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, a $199 discount may be enough to pull the trigger.

B&H Photo and Adorama only charge sales tax in NY and NY/NJ, respectively.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.



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First iOS 8 Banner Appears at Moscone Ahead of WWDC

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple is beginning to decorate the inside of the Moscone Center ahead of WWDC, adding banners for OS X 10.10 and iOS 8. A photo of the iOS 8 banner has been supplied by BusinessInsider‘s Jay Yarow, depicting a simple “8” on what appears to be a watery background.

ios8
Apple’s iOS 8 is expected to retain the same general look as iOS 7, offering polish along with several new features including a health-aggregating “Healthbook” app, new TextEdit and Preview apps, and possible improvements to both Siri and Maps.

We will get our first glimpse of iOS 8 on Monday during Apple’s WWDC keynote, which kicks off at 10 AM Pacific Time. Apple will be live streaming the event and MacRumors will also provide a live blog, live tweets via the MacRumorsLive Twitter account, and a spoiler free page for those who want to watch the full keynote at a later time.



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Apple to Bolster iTunes Radio With Localized Ads, Content

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple has plans to add both targeted local advertisements and broadcast radio stations to its iTunes Radio music service in the coming months, according to a report from The Information. The move will boost its advertising efforts and introduce new content on iTunes Radio, better positioning it to compete with market leader Pandora. Apple is also expected to begin advertising its own iTunes content through the iAd network.

In a move that strikes at the heart of Pandora’s advertising business, iTunes Radio is expected to enable locally targeted advertising later this year, according to ad buyers who have spoken to Apple. Apple may begin promoting iTunes with “house ads” on its iAd mobile advertising network, an unusual move for the company.

Apple has reportedly contacted broadcasters like Cumulus Media, the second largest operator of radio stations in America. Cumulus serves approximately 150 million listeners in 110 metropolitan areas and could potentially bring multiple local stations to iTunes Radio. Apple made its first moves towards introducing local content on iTunes Radio earlier this year with the launch of the National Public Radio (NPR) channel, which will eventually include local stations offering a mix of live and taped news.

itunes_radio_hero2
Since the launch of iTunes Radio, Apple has had a renewed focus on advertising, redirecting its iAd team to monetize iTunes Radio through advertising sales. While the company has signed deals on a national level with several high profile companies like McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble, local ads are new territory.

The addition of local ads could significantly boost the revenue iTunes Radio pulls in, which is a major threat to Pandora. Pandora currently focuses heavily on local ads with sales teams located in more than 35 markets around the United States.

In April, Apple moved towards expanding into Pandora’s local advertising territory by making it easier to create and buy iAds on its network. While a developer account was previously required to create an ad campaign, that restriction has now been removed, making it simpler for advertisers large and small to create ads for the platform.

Apple’s efforts to bolster its iTunes Radio revenue through local content come as the company works to acquire Beats Music, a paid streaming music service that delivers content on demand. With both iTunes Radio and Beats Music, Apple is hoping to boost its overall music sales, which have waned in recent years.



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