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Report Claims iPhone 6 Will Feature Curved Display, All-Aluminum Rear Shell
Apple's next-generation iPhone may feature rounded edges and a curved glass display, according to a new report from Mac Otakara [Google Translate].

squair_curvaceous_bumper
The Squair Curvaceous Bumper

Citing "reliable sources", the publication notes that the iPhone 6's cover glass will sit flush with the device's rounded corners, departing from the straight edges seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5s. The report likens the device's profile to the Squair Curvaceous Bumper, a Japan-made aluminum bumper for the iPhone that features a rounded housing.

The report also claims that Apple will do away with the rear glass antenna breaks found on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5s in favor of an all-aluminum design. Such a move would likely mean that Apple is incorporating significant changes to its overall antenna layout, perhaps positioning current radios in different locations.

Throughout the past few months, variousreports have indicated that the iPhone 6 may feature slightly rounded edges. However, only a few reports have claimed that the device will feature a curved glass display, with Bloombergnoting last December that the company was working on two iPhones with large curved screens for this year. That account however was contrasted by The Wall Street Journal this past January, which said that Apple would not be using a curved display in its devices.

iphone6
Renderings of the iPhone 6 (4.7'') and iPhone 6 (5.7'') based on leaked schematics

Apple will likely unveil the iPhone 6 later this year in two different sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. It is also likely that the smaller 4.7-inch version of the phone will ship first in the third quarter of this year, while the larger version is estimated to ship later due to challenges with the device's display technology and battery life.

In addition to a larger display, both versions of the iPhone 6 are expected to include a thinner, bezel-free design, faster A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and an upgraded camera with optical image stabilization. The device is also expected to debut with Apple's latest iOS 8 mobile operating system, which will likely feature enhancements to Maps, Siri, and iCloud in addition to a new "Healthbook" app. Apple is also said to be negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.


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iPhone 6 Size Compared to Galaxy S5 and Other Android Phones
With a large bulk of the rumors for the iPhone 6 revolving around its purported increased screen size, there have been a healthy amount of iPhone 6 renderings exploring what the phone could look like and how big it would be compared to the current iPhone 5s.

MacRumors forum member deuxani decided to take it a step further and compared the 4.7" iPhone 6 to its Android-based competition.
If the rumors are true, at least one model of the iPhone 6 will contain a 16:9 4.7” screen. When you think about it realistically the iPhone 6 will have a home button with a finger print scanner the same size as the iPhone 5S. Also will the top and bottom bezels have the same height for symmetry. The side bezels will be smaller than the iPhone 5S, but they will not be non-existing.
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First, deuxani compared the rumored iPhone 6 to the Motorola Moto X and LG G2 Mini, two 4.7-inch Android phones, that were actually smaller despite having the same screen size. This is largely because of of the rounded Touch ID sensor on the bottom and the need for the top and bottom bezels to be symmetrical due to Apple's design philosophy.
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Compared to the 5" Nexus 5 and the 5.2" LG G2, deuxani found the iPhone 6 could be as tall as either phone with less screen real estate.

And finally, when compared to this year's flagship 5" HTC One (m8) and Samsung Galaxy S5, deuxani found that the Android devices were larger in every way.
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In conclusion, deuxani found that the iPhone 6 could find it difficult to impress in screen size alone when compared to its Android competition. However, the iPhone 6 may stand out in thinness, which was highlighted in a video earlier today comparing an leaked iPhone 6 case to other devices.

Apple has been rumored to release two larger sized iPhones this fall. The rumored sizes are 4.7" and 5.5", though the 4.7" version is thought to arrive first as Apple is allegedly having a difficult time finding a thin enough battery to place in the 5.5" model. A recently released Apple slide revealed that the company acknowledged that consumers wanted larger screened phones, which Apple couldn't provide them at the time.


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iPhone 6 Case Compared to iPhone 5s, Nexus 5 and Galaxy Note 3 in New Video
We've seen several examples of cases designed for the rumored 4.7-inch version of the upcoming iPhone 6, and in a new video, Unbox Therapy compares a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 case to the iPhone 5s, the Nexus 5 and the Galaxy Note 3, giving us an idea of how the iPhone 6 might look next to other large-screened devices.

The 4.7-inch case is depicted next to the 4-inch iPhone 5s, the 4.95-inch Nexus 5, and the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3. The case is closest in size to the Nexus 5, which gives the best representation of how a 4.7-inch iPhone may feel in the hand. The iPhone 5s looks quite a bit smaller than the case, while the Galaxy Note 3 looks significantly larger.


Along with a size comparison, the video points out some of the design features on the case, which may translate to design changes on the iPhone 6. As has been pointed out in other case and part leaks, the sleep/wake button has been moved from the top right of the device to the right side.

Rumors have suggested the sleep/wake button might be relocated in order to improve one-handed use on a larger device, and the volume buttons might be altered as well, gaining a rectangular iPad-mini-style shape rather than the existing circular buttons on the iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 6 case is also noted to be quite thin, which is in line with previous rumors about the device. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 6 could be significantly thinner than the existing 7.6mm iPhone 5s at 6.5–7.0mm and it may also have a narrower bezel.

iphone-6-side
Rendering of the iPhone 6 in both 4.7 and 5.7-inch sizes

Apple is expected to ship the iPhone 6 in two different sizes, the 4.7-inch version described in the video and also a 5.5-inch version that has reportedly seen some production delays. While the 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 may make its debut as soon as September, the 5.5-inch version may not ship until 2015.

Along with a thinner profile, multiple sizes, and a narrower bezel, the iPhone 6 might include a sapphire crystal screen, an A8 processor, and camera improvements in the form of optical image stabilization.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook: It 'Means More to Us to Get it Right' Than to Be First
During the question and answer portion of today's financial earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained why the company has been slow to put products out in 2014, pointing towards the company’s attention to detail and its desire to "perform at a really high level of quality" that Apple's customers expect.

Cook noted that Apple did not ship the first MP3 player, smartphone, or tablet, but he said that the company did release the first "acceptable" and "modern" smartphone, tablet, and MP3 player when it launched the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

iphone5s5c
"We care about every detail and it takes us a bit longer to do that. That's always been the case," he said. "It means more to us to get it right than to be first."

Cook pointed towards examples in the marketplace where the clear objective was to be first, possibly referring to Samsung and its poorly received Galaxy Gear smart watch. Apple customers "want great, insanely great," said Cook, and "that’s what we want to deliver."

According to Cook, Apple has many products in the pipeline that the company is excited about, but it is not yet ready to "pull the string on the curtain." He did say, however, that Apple has expanded the number of things the company is working on behind the scenes.


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Apple Acquired 24 Companies Over Last 18 Months, 'We're On The Prowl' for More
Applelogo.pngDuring today's second quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has purchased a total of 24 companies over the last 18 months, some that are known and some that remain unknown.

Just over half of Apple’s acquisitions have come to light, which means the company has purchased a number of additional companies that have not been disclosed. So far in 2014, Apple acquired SnappyLabs, a company that produced a burst-mode photo app, and Burstly, the company behind the Testflight iOS beta testing platform.

2013 saw Apple acquire several different mapping apps, including BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, and WiFiSlam, along with other notable additions like 3D company PrimeSense and Novauris, a speech recognition company. Back in October, Tim Cook noted Apple had completed 15 strategic acquisitions in 2013, pointing towards a number of new acquisitions already in 2014.

The technology from Apple’s acquisitions will likely make its way into future products and updates. For example, all of the mapping acquisitions are expected to be put to use in iOS 8, which will see the addition of transit directions and possibly improved indoor mapping techniques.

During the call, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that investing in research and development along with hardware, software, and services were top priorities, and that the company was "on the prowl" for new companies to acquire.


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Former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to Join Apple Next Week
During today's second quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company's new retail and online leader, Angela Ahrendts, will be joining Apple next week.

Ahrendts first resigned from British luxury fashion house Burberry in October of 2013, but was contractually obligated to stay on with the company for another six months as it transitioned to new CEO Christopher Bailey. As of April, Ahrendts fulfilled her obligations and became free to leave Burberry to join Apple.

angelaahrendts.jpg
Earlier this month, rumors suggested Ahrendts might stay on with Burberry until June in order to pick up a two million pound performance bonus, but it appears that she will not be staying with the company in order to collect the payment.

Ahrendts will join Apple as the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, a position that has seen significant turnover over the past several years. In 2011, Ron Johnson left Apple for J.C. Penney, after building up Apple's retail presence during his 11-year tenure. Johnson was then replaced by Dixons CEO John Browett, who served less than a year at Apple. Since Browett's departure, the position has been empty.


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Apple Reports Record March Quarter Results, Splits Stock 7-for-1, and Boosts Share Buyback
Apple LogoApple today announced financial results for the first calendar quarter and second fiscal quarter of 2014. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $45.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $43.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 39.3 percent compared to 37.5 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 66 percent of revenue. Apple also declared an increased dividend payment of $3.29 per share, payable on May 15 to shareholders as of the close of trading on May 12. The company currently holds $150.6 billion in cash and marketable securities.

In addition to the increase in the dividend payment, Apple said it will dramatically increase its share repurchase authorization to $90 billion from $60 billion and will execute a 7-for-1 stock split as of June 9. The company says it expects to spend over $130 billion in cash under its capital return program by the end of 2015. Apple is now paying $11 billion per year in dividends to shareholders.

Apple previously had a 2-for-1 stock split back in 2005.
q22014linechart
Quarterly iPhone unit sales reached 43.7 million, compared to 37.4 million in the year-ago quarter, and the company sold 16.35 million iPads, down from 19.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 4.1 million Macs compared to just under 4 million in the year-ago period.
“We’re very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market.”
Apple's guidance for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 includes expected revenue of $36-38 billion and gross margin between 37 and 38 percent.

q22014piechart
Apple will provide live streaming of its fiscal Q2 2014 financial results conference call at 2:00 PM Pacific, and MacRumors will update this story with coverage of the conference call highlights.

Conference Call and Q&A Highlights are available in reverse chronological order after the jump.

- 2:58 pm: The call is complete.



- 2:58 pm: A: Reason that I stripped off hobby label, when you look at sales of the Apple TV box itself, and the content that was bought directly off Apple TV, for 2013, that number was over $1 billion. It didn't feel right to me to refer to something that's over $1 billion as a hobby. From an investment point of view, we continue to make the product better and better so it doesn't feel right from that POV either. We have HBO Go already on Apple TV and you have to authenticate in order to use it, but you have to do that with Amazon's service as well from my brief read of their announcement. From that, they got some older content from HBO to put on there and I haven't had a chance to evaluate exactly what it is and don't have a personal POV of that. Look broadly, compares extremely favorable to the content that is on the Amazon box. Sold about 20 million Apple TVs and we have a pretty large installed base there. I'm feeling quite good about that business and where it can go.



- 2:56 pm: Q: Apple TV is no longer a hobby, why did you make that distinction. Interesting to hear your feedback on HBO/Amazon announcement today and what you think that means in terms of content partners being able to work with players like yourself.



- 2:56 pm: Looking at this data and deciding to continue investing in a big way. Plan to triple number of Apple Retail Stores in China over next two years, continuing to build out channel, expand online. 40,000 points of sale on iPhone. even 40k is low number considering broad land mass and number of folks in China. I feel like there's still loads of opportunity there and feel really good about how we're doing.



- 2:55 pm: A: All-time revenue record in Greater China, $9.8 billion. iPhone up 28% versus IDC market forecast of 20% growth. Gained share. Mac units were up double digit, up 13%, far outpacing IDC PC market forecast of negative 8%. Gained share there as well. iTunes software and services, more than doubled it year over year in triple digits, look at iPad, take out channel inventory ins and outs, look at demand instead of sell-in, grew by 6%. IDC expected flat tablet market in China. Literally did well in every single area in China. Wasn't just because we were able to come to an agreement with the world's largest carrier, that was key but as you can tell there are other things going on. Also, I had mentioned this briefly, if you look at some of the numbers we're seeing on first time iPhone buyers, people that bought the ipHone 4s, 85% were first time iPhone buyers. The 5c, 69% were first time iPhone buyers. These are extraordinary. As you expect, these are heavily android switchers. 62% of people who bought 4s switched, 60% who bought 5c switched from Android.



- 2:52 pm: Q: China Mobile is a driver in China, but can you talk about other carriers or products in China?



- 2:52 pm: A: Lot of moving parts, lot of acquisitions, lot of people giving up to a degree. At the end of the day, we see it as, the part of the market that we're interested in, the market of people who really want the best smartphones. They're not all at the high end of the price band. We have smartphones that go down to an affordable price with the 4s, we're proud to ship that product. I think that this quarter, if you were unsure, hopefully this quarter demonstrates to you that we can do well in a number of geographies, from emerging to developed markets. Some of the numbers we've experienced, through the first half of 2014, Brazil up 61%, Russia up 97%, Turkey up 56%, India up 55%, Vietnam up 262%. I could go on. The point is, there are an umber of markets out there where we're beginning to really catch on to a number of customers. I am particularly proud of the results in these markets because these have not been historic strong pints for Apple. We've been working at China for a while and we've learned a lot. I'm proud of what we've done there. Some of these other numbers that I've read show we've had success outside of there as well.



- 2:50 pm: Q: Some competitors are cutting prices quickly on smartphones, there's a lot going on with competitors. How are you seeing the market?



- 2:49 pm: So many examples out in the marketplace where it’s clear the objective was to be first. Apple customers want great, insanely great, and that's what we want to deliver. That's the way we look at it. From an acquisitions point of view, we have done 24 in 18 months. We're on the prowl. We look for companies that have great people and great technology and that fit culturally. We don't have a rule that says we can't spend a lot. It's important to us that strategically it makes sense and that it adds values to our shareholders. Not in a race to spend the most or acquire the most. Want to improve products. To the extent that they do that, we will continue to acquire. We will seem to keep some quiet and some of them are impossible to keep quiet.



- 2:48 pm: A: Stay focused on things we do best and focus on high level of quality that our customers expect. Feel comfortable in expanding things we're working on, doing that in the background but we're not ready to pull the string on the curtain. Have great things we're working on that I'm proud of and excited about. For us, we care about every detail. When you care about every detail and about getting everything right, it takes a long time to do that. That's not new. We didn't ship the first MP3 player, nor the first smartphone, nor the first tablet. In fact, there were tablets being shipped a decade or so before then. We shipped first successful modern tablet, smartphone and MP3 player. It means much more to us to get it right than to be first.



- 2:46 pm: Q: Is there something about Apple's product set that keeps Apple focused on hardware rather than making TV shows or whatever that the company might have the money to do?



- 2:46 pm: In the Enterprise, we're seeing virtually all -- 98% of the Fortune 500 using iPad -- latest data says 91% of activations of tablets on Enterprise were iPads. Astonishing number and many of those enterprises are writing apps that are key proprietary apps for running that business. This is great for that company because they're more productive. Once again, just like in education, what we have to do in Enterprise is focus on penetration. needs to be deeper and broader but int terms of having people write apps we're doing a good job. If you look at US as a proxy in retail, NPD, we had 46% share. Embedded in that 46%, there's a lot of things in there that I wouldn't put in the same category as iPad that are weighing the share down. Not a market we would play in in a type of product you would never see an Apple brand on. Feel like we're doing well there. Office, I believe, does help. Very unclear to say how much. If it would have been done earlier, it would have been even better for Microsoft frankly. Lots of alternatives out there from productivity point of view. Some of which we brought to market, some brought by other developers. Is a key franchise in Enterprise, having it on iPad is good and I wholeheartedly welcome Microsoft the App Store to sell Office. Customers responding well. Customer sat is 98% on iPad. Nothing in the world with 98% customer sat. 2/3 planning to buy a tablet planning to buy an iPad. Usage numbers are off the charts, far and exceeding Android. 4x exceeding web traffic of Android combined. When I back up from all of these, I feel great. Every 90 days it won't be a number that everybody is thrilled with, but over the arc of time, iPad looks very very good. iPad has a great future. The thing that drives us is the "next" iPads, the things that are in the pipeline. The things we can do to make the iPad even better. No shortage of work going in on that, nor any shortage of ideas. I can't help but be extremely excited about where we are and I think we did a reasonable job of explaining what the disconnect between what we expected (we hit it, the high end of our expectation) and the street's view of it. I believe the vast majority is just channel inventory. We should have been even clearer on last quarter, but I am very bullish on iPad.



- 2:41 pm: A: When I back up from iPad, here's what I see. It's absolutely the fastest growing product in Apple's history. Its the only product that we've ever made that was instantly a hit in three of our key markets, consumer to business including enterprise, and education. If you look at it, 4 years after launching the first iPad, sold 210 million. More than we or I think anyone thought was possible. Interesting to note that that's twice as many iPhones as we'd sold in a comparable period of time. 7x as many iPods as we'd sold in that period of time. Important to put into perspective. Have come a long way very quickly. Looking at by market, by education market, we have 95% share. Focus in education is on penetration. Getting more schools to buy. My belief is that the match has been lit and its very clear yo the educators that have studied this, student achievement is higher with iPad in the classroom than without it.



- 2:39 pm: Q: I understand the iPad is not as weak as it appears on a sell through basis but relatively flat year over year. Can that accelerate with Office on the iPad?



- 2:39 pm: Most important thing that we do is to make great products that really get our users excited to want the next one. That will always be the case. You can bet that's where the vast majority of our attention is there. In terms of BOM pressure of any new product, you've seen in the past that it exists. We also have a way of working down the cost curve. That was key in achieving the 39.3% gross margin for this past quarter. As I said before, we price things at a level that is fair for the value that we're providing. We're certainly not stuck on certain price points, we price at value that are fair for the value that we're delivering.



- 2:38 pm: A: On iPhone 4 question, we sold a very, very low, single digit percentage of those. Had extremely minimal impact on results on the quarter. In terms of general upgrade or installed base, some of the programs that the carriers are running, may serve to increase the upgrade cycle. Some areas where customers can pay a bit more in the beginning and have the ability to essentially upgrade each year. Some that work that way, some that work the way that more of the way that you're leaning. How these balance are very difficult currently to conclude. Regardless of how those balance, what I see as the bigger opportunity for Apple, the smartphone market is only a billion or so units. Will eventually take over the entire mobile phone market. We've seen our ability to attract new users to iPhone to be very significant in the emerging markets. We were seeing new to iPhone numbers on the iPhone 4s sales in the 80%’s in certain large geo's. This gives us great comfort that we can continue to grow and we may not be able to attract some of those buyers to our top phone because of price point, but if we can get them in on the entry iPhone, it gives them a great product and a great value and gets them into the ecosystem. As you know, our ability to keep customers is very good and our ability to show other products that Apple produces to a family that's buying Apple products is also very good. At the macro level, I see the opportunity of the market and getting more people into the Apple ecosystem much larger than any of the noise around the different carrier plans. Some of which, I think, help, and some of which work the opposite way. Unclear to me how those net. Also important to know that the bulk of the things that you're seeing in the US are not occurring in many other geo's in terms of upgrade policies and so forth. Each country has its own cadence associated with this. The US is in the 30% of our business, not 100% so it's important to weigh it with the proper perspective.



- 2:34 pm: Q: If you could talk about how you think about replacement cycles generally for the iPhone, over the longer term. US carriers have started introducing plans that may ultimately encourage people to keep their phone longer than two years because their total price paid is less. One could argue and I'd like your opinion about that pushing out replacement cycles. The imperative for Apple to continue to introduce great products to encourage people to upgrade with great frequency, introducing great products puts pressure on BOM and pricing. In order to make a great phone, it costs more to do so, managing that margin pressure?



- 2:32 pm: A: When you look at $41 in decline, about half of that was driven because we have continued to do very well in emerging markets with the 4s. I've mentioned that there are a lot of markets where we have grown very strongly. Half of that decline came from stronger sales of the 4s. Other half was as we move away from the quarter when we launch the product, we have lower capacity mix.



- 2:32 pm: Q: On iPhone ASPs this quarter, they were down $40. Largest sequential decline that we've seen in history. Can you help us understand what drove that? Mix? Good growth in each of three models. were you seeing strong growth in 4s? How significant, if any, was selling older generation iPhone 4?



- 2:30 pm: A: We saw some pressure in the quarter because of stricter enforcement of upgrade policies, primarily in the US. If you really look at iPhone, the strength was very broad based. As I had mentioned, we gained share in a whole host of markets. From developing like US/UK/France/Germany, to more emerging like China/Vietnam, and had the largest total sales of iPhone in BRIC countries than we've ever seen.



- 2:30 pm: Q: Looking at iPhone upside for March quarter, China was a key driver. Within the US, did you see as much pressure in US carrier upgrade policies that you saw in holiday quarter? Is this headwind behind us now?



- 2:29 pm: A: March quarter was very good, three reasons: better volume, better costs, favorable mix in both products and services. Q3, as you've seen from our revenue guidance, we are expecting some loss of leverage from sequential decline in revenue. Expecting less favorable mix. This is something typical that happens to us as we move farther away from the quarter when we launch a new product. To offset, it's a partial offset, we will have some cost improvements.



- 2:28 pm: Q: Can you walk through key drivers of June quarter margin upsides?



- 2:28 pm: A: We believe things should be priced at a fair price for what they deliver. We make decisions when we're closer to market.



- 2:28 pm: Q: Question around iPhone ASP. Looking at trend, iPhone 5s demand has surprised the upside this cycle. Does that give you confidence that Apple could charge more for highly innovative products in the future or does the strategy remain to keep innovation at the same price as current products?



- 2:27 pm: A: In that category, there are several things not just App Store revenues. If you look at App Store only, it would look a little different. In terms of your question, I do believe that we can monetize more than we are from a services POV in existing areas and in new areas. I'm encouraged when we look at the App Store, the strength was broad-based. Growth was in the triple digits in China.



- 2:26 pm: Q: 800 million accounts is big jump, yet iTunes software and services growth decelerated. What's your view on better monetizing installed base in the future?



- 2:25 pm: We wish him all the best in his approaching retirement at the end of September. Would also like to recognize him, that he has never missed guidance in his 10 years as CFO which must be an all-time record for CFO's.



- 2:25 pm: Tim: Peter Oppenheimer transitioning from CFO role in June. Peter has been Apple CFO for 10 years. Apple is 20x the size it was when Peter became CFO. "Expertise, leadership and incredibly hard work have been instrumental to Apple's success."



- 2:24 pm: Taking 7:1 stock split to make Apple more accessible to more investors.



- 2:23 pm: Expect revenue between $36-38 billion, compared to $35.3 billion YoY. Gross margin between 37 and 38%



- 2:22 pm: To repatriate foreign cash under current US tax law, would incur significant tax consequences. Don't believe this would be in best interest of tax holders. Encourage streamlining of tax code. To execute capital return program, intend to access debt markets again.



- 2:21 pm: Domestic cash down to $11 billion this year. Will hold sufficient domestic cash to ensure liquidity.



- 2:21 pm: Apple one of the largest dividend payers in the world, paying $11 billion per year.



- 2:20 pm: Have delivered on intention to return capital to shareholders at fast pace. Spend $66 billion of total $100 billion program announced last year.



- 2:19 pm: By end of March 2014, spent $46 billion in $60 billion share repurchase authorization.



- 2:17 pm: Among people planning to purchase a tablet within 90 days, 2/3 plan to buy an iPad.



- 2:16 pm: iPad generated 4x mobile web traffic than all Android tablets combined.



- 2:15 pm: Strong performance from MacBook Pro and MacBook Air



- 2:14 pm: Cumulative app downloads top 70 billion.



- 2:14 pm: iTunes Stores generated $5.2 billion in billings, up 24% year over year.



- 2:13 pm: Luca Maestri is taking over the role of current CFO Peter Oppenheimer on the call. He will be promoted to CFO later this year when Oppenheimer retires.



- 2:12 pm: iPhone increase of 6.3 million iPhones from last year, 17% growth. China Mobile drew strong growth.



- 2:10 pm: Dividend is important, increasing for second time in two years. Planning for annual dividend increases going forward.



- 2:10 pm: Think deliberately about how much, and in which way to return cash to shareholders. Vast majority of capital return to share repurchase because believe current stock price is below value.



- 2:10 pm: Able to return significant capital to shareholders. Began 2 years ago, more than doubled program last year. Increasing size once again adding $30 billion. $130 billion in total return. Size and pace is unprecedented, and expect to complete by December 2015.



- 2:09 pm: We appreciate all input from shareholders. Will continue to seek input going forward, and will update conclusions around this time each year. Continually evaluate return of capital in light of most current information. Enables us to be thoughtful about size, mix, pace of program.



- 2:08 pm: Acquired 24 companies in past 18 months. Must maintain financial flexibility.



- 2:08 pm: Update to capital return program. Guiding principles for capital allocation, and conclusion on changes making for this year: Apple created tremendous value for shareholders by creating great products that enrich people's lives. That will always be our top priority and driving force. Invest in R&D, investing in hardware, software and services, supply chain, global presence with retail stores, marketing and distribution, expanding products and services into new categories and "we are not going to underinvest in this business".



- 2:07 pm: Strong halo effect we've seen over and over again in our history. Customers that have a great experience with their first Apple product become strong and loyal owners.



- 2:06 pm: Two-thirds of people registering an iPad in the last six months were new to iPad. Half of people registering iPhones were new to iPhone.



- 2:06 pm: Total revenue of over $103 billion in first 6 months, earnings per share growth close to double digits.



- 2:06 pm: Investing in retail stores, opened first stores in Brazil and Turkey, stores in 15 countries. New retail and online leader Angela Ahrendts will be joining Apple next week.



- 2:05 pm: Strong results in Greater China, all-time quarterly revenue record, approaching $10 billion. Japan, revenue up 26% in spite of foreign exchange headwinds and where smartphone market share reached 55%.



- 2:05 pm: Continue to believe tablet market will surpass PC market and that Apple will be beneficiary of this trend.



- 2:05 pm: iPad sales came in at high end of Apple's internal expectations. Realize they were lower than analyst expectations. Almost all of the difference can be explained by two factors: in March 2013 quarter, significantly increased iPad channel inventory. This year, significantly reduced it. Second, ended December quarter 2012 with substantial backlog of iPad mini that was shipped in the March quarter. Ended December this year in supply/demand balance.



- 2:04 pm: Gained share in computer market, defied industry trends by growing while industry contracted.



- 2:03 pm: Have 800 million iTunes accounts, most with credit cards attached.



- 2:03 pm: New all-time record for sales in BRIC countries. (Brazil, Russia, India, China)



- 2:03 pm: Gained share in US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Vietnam and Greater China.



- 2:03 pm: Demand for each iPhone model stronger than its predecessor.



- 2:03 pm: Best gross margin percentage since September 2012. iPhone was key in driving stronger than expected results, 44 million iPhones, a March quarter record.



- 2:02 pm: Tim Cook: "Very strong results we're reporting for the March quarter." Is a new March quarter record and strongest non-holiday quarter ever.



- 2:01 pm: Apple CEO Tim Cook on the call with CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Corporate Controller (and future CFO) Luca Maestri.



- 2:00 pm: Apple's earnings call will begin momentarily.



- 1:56 pm: Apple's stock price is up significantly after hours, up nearly 7.5% to $563 from $525.



- 1:47 pm: The second quarter earnings call will begin in approximately 10 minutes.




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Apple Leaves Users Vulnerable By Not Fixing iOS and OS X Security Issues Simultaneously
Notable computer security researcher Kristin Paget, who worked on Apple's security team before leaving for Tesla in early 2014, has taken to her blog (via Ars Technica) to criticize Apple for fixing more than a dozen security flaws in iOS weeks after patching them in OS X.

mavericksios7
iOS 7.1.1, released yesterday, patched multiple WebKit vulnerabilities that were initially fixed in OS X with the release of Safari 7.0.3 on April 1. The delay between fixes, says Paget, alerted hackers to serious flaws potentially exploitable on Apple's mobile operating system and then gave hackers ample time to exploit the vulnerabilities.
Is this how you do business? Drop a patch for one product that quite literally lists out, in order, the security vulnerabilities in your platform, and then fail to patch those weaknesses on your other range of products for weeks afterwards? You really don't see anything wrong with this?

Someone tell me I'm not crazy here. Apple preaches the virtues of having the same kernel (and a bunch of other operating system goop) shared between two platforms – but then only patches those platforms one at a time, leaving the entire userbase of the other platform exposed to known security vulnerabilities for weeks at a time?
Addressing Apple, Paget goes on to write that Apple needs to sit in front of a chalkboard and write out "I will not use iOS to drop 0day on OSX, nor use OSX to drop 0day on iOS."

In addition to the WebKit vulnerabilities that were patched out of sync, Apple also recently exposed a major OS X flaw when patching the same flaw in iOS. Back in February, with the release of iOS 7.0.6, a major SSL connection verification vulnerability came to light. Known as the "goto fail" bug, it left iOS and OS X users vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks where hackers could pose as a trusted website to intercept communications or acquire sensitive information.

Apple launched iOS 7.0.6 on a Friday, fixing the vulnerability on iOS but leaving OS X users vulnerable to attack until the following Tuesday, when it released OS X 10.9.2 to patch the security flaw.


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GameStop Expanding Beyond Video Games with Aggressive Growth Plans for 'Simply Mac' Stores
Major video game retailer GameStop is making a significant push to broaden its business, expanding its retail operations with new brands and stores that will focus on Apple gear and AT&T Mobility products, reports The Star-Telegram.

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While the diversification will include a move into AT&T mobile services through GameStop's acquisition of Spring Mobile, of more interest for Apple users is GameStop's plans for Simply Mac, a chain of authorized Apple resale and repair shops that focuses on smaller markets where Apple has not shown interest in opening its own stores. Founded in 2006 in Utah, Simply Mac grew to eight stores by October 2012 when GameStop acquired a 49.9 percent stake in the Apple reseller. In November 2013, GameStop exercised an option to purchase the rest of Simply Mac, which now includes 23 locations focused in the western half of the United States, and GameStop has plans for a significant expansion of the Simply Mac network.
[GameStop CEO Paul] Raines said GameStop’s confidence in rapid growth at the small chains, acquired for about $110 million last year, is buoyed by their strong ties to industry leaders AT&T and Apple.

Steve Bain and Jason Ellis, the executives who built Simply Mac and Spring Mobile, continue to run the operations for GameStop and see strong growth opportunities. After opening 23 stores this year, Bain said, the company plans to open 50 more Simply Mac stores in 2015.
While its stores are smaller and lower profile than many of Apple's retail stores, Simply Mac's push to open nearly 75 stores through the end of 2015 appears to dwarf Apple's own plans in the United States. Apple typically opens around 30 stores per year, but at this point the majority of those are outside of the United States.
The “transformation,” as CEO Paul Raines dubbed it, is intended to keep GameStop growing and leverage its expertise in store operations and buying and selling used devices. He said he envisions GameStop as a “family of specialty retailers that make your favorite technologies affordable and simple.”
As GameStop expands into the lucrative mobile phone and Apple device market, the retailer plans to downsize its video games operations by closing up to 130 of its 6,400 GameStop stores sometime this year. Though video games will remain its primary focus, GameStop CEO Rob Lloyd believes the company's new technology brands could generate up to $1 billion in revenue and contribute up to 10 percent of GameStop's revenue by 2016.

This move into Apple's retail segment comes at a time when Apple is in the middle of a retail transition. The company is awaiting the arrival of retail head Angela Ahrendts, who is completing her transitionary period at Burberry. Apple also is rumored to be working on a mobile payments system under the leadership of Jennifer Bailey, who allegedly left her executive role in online retail to spearhead this new mobile initiative.


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References to Siri for Apple TV Found in iOS 7.1 Code
Amid persistant rumors that Apple is developing a revamped Apple TV set-top box, new code appearing in iOS 7.1 indicates that the company is indeed working on building in support for Siri voice input on the Apple TV, as highlighted by 9to5Mac. The references are included in both iOS 7.1 and iOS 7.1.1, but not in earlier releases such as iOS 7.0.6.

siri_apple_tv_assistant
The file is a supporting property-list resource for Assistant (Apple's internal name for Siri), containing information about the feature. The UIDeviceFamily array declares what platforms are compatible with the feature.

As shown by Apple’s documentation, '1' and '2' represent the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad families. The '3' represents the Apple TV family.
References to a new Apple TV model were previously found in iOS 7 builds, and today's information suggests that voice input and feedback are likely to be included on the new device.

Apple's launch plans for a new Apple TV box remain unclear, with rumors of a late 2013 launch giving way to reports centering around an introduction in March or April of this year. Those rumors were then quashed by The Loop's Jim Dalrymple, leaving uncertainty about Apple's television plans. A recent product roadmap prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated that the new Apple TV could arrive around September or October of this year.


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Apple's New 'Powerful' iPhone 5s Micro-Site Profiles Apps from Latest TV Ad
Apple today unveiled a new section on its website dedicated to the "Powerful" ad that made its prime time television premiere on Tuesday. The commercial promotes the message that with the capabilities of the iPhone 5s "You're more powerful than you think."

powerful-website-apps
The accompanying website continues this "Powerful" theme that promotes the iPhone 5s as having the power "to create, shape, and share your life. The power to do everyday things in extraordinary ways, and to do extraordinary things every day." The new page includes both a high-definition version of the television commercial as well as links to all the apps showcased in the advertisement. The apps include Star Walk [iTunes], Instant Heart Rate [iTunes], Word Lens [iTunes], AmpliTube [iTunes], Luminair [iTunes] and Pacific Rim [iTunes].

The "Powerful" ad features "Gigantic" by the Pixies [iTunes] playing in the background while iPhone 5s owners use their iPhone to play music, create art and even launch amateur rockets. This new television advertisement follows the company's earlier "Your Verse" campaign that showcases how individuals are using the iPad in amazing ways.


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Sprint to Make All Devices Launched After February 11, 2015 Unlockable
sprint_logo-250x124 In an updated unlocking FAQ found on its website (via Android Police), Sprint has stated that it will make all of its devices released after February 11, 2015 unlockable for use on other domestic networks such as AT&T or T-Mobile.

The move is a part of the agreement that the five major U.S. wireless carriers and the Federal Communications Commission signed in December in order to allow customers to unlock their devices and switch carriers if they wish.
I've been told by another carrier that Sprint needs to unlock my SIM slot in order to use my phone on the other carrier's network.

For eligible devices, Sprint will unlock the SIM slot, to the extent that a device SIM slot is capable of being unlocked. It is important to note that not all devices are capable of being unlocked, often because of the manufacturers' device designs, and that even for those devices capable of being unlocked, not all device functionality may be capable of being unlocked. Specifically, devices manufactured with a SIM slot within the past three years (including, but not limited to, all Apple iPhone devices), cannot be unlocked to accept a different domestic carrier's SIM for use on another domestic carrier's network. Sprint has no technological process available to do this. In accordance with Sprint's voluntary commitment contained within CTIA's Consumer Code for Wireless Service (“Unlocking Commitment”), Sprint is working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015 are capable of being unlocked domestically.
Last year, the Library of Congress ruled that it was illegal for certain mobile phone owners to unlock their phone unless given permission by their wireless carrier. However, the Obama administration filed a petition with the FCC last September asking that carriers be required to unlock mobile devices, which was then followed by the agreement [PDF] between the FCC and the five major U.S. carriers.

Sprint's move to implement domestic unlocking in all of its future devices will likely be followed by similar moves from other U.S. carriers, as all wireless providers pledged last December to implement the changes within 12 months.


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Apple Fixes FaceTime on Older Versions of OS X, iOS 6 Still Not Working
facetime_ios_iconApple tonight released an update for FaceTime on OS X [Direct Link], which resolves connections issues and is recommended for all FaceTime users currently running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The connection issues are presumably related to the problems reported last week which affected both older versions of OS X and iOS 6 versions of FaceTime.

Apple, however, has not yet addressed the problems with FaceTime that are in iOS 6. While it is encouraging that Apple released an update for FaceTime for OS X 10.6, Apple support's recommendations for iOS 6 users has been to upgrade to iOS 7. One user has quoted Apple support as saying that the only fix for iOS 6 is to upgrade to the latest version of iOS 7, with no current plans to release a fix on iOS 6 or iOS 5.

According to Apple's updated FaceTime troubleshooting page, users who are still having trouble with the application are recommended to update to the latest version of iOS or OS X.


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Apple Debuts New 'Powerful' TV Ad Focusing on iPhone 5s [Updated]
Apple has debuted a new TV ad alongside Marvel's Agents of SHIELD tonight on ABC called "Powerful". The ad, which was first spotted by 9to5Mac, showcases iPhone 5s owners using the device to enhance their lives in multiple ways.


With "Gigantic" by the Pixies [iTunes] playing in the background, the app has users using the iPhone 5s to check their health, check for directions, create short monster movies, record videos, create art installations and more, including a band preparing to play a song. The ad ends with the tagline "You're more powerful than you think".

Apple has not aired an iPhone 5s ad since the seasonal holiday ad "Misunderstood", which has since been removed from its YouTube channel. In the meantime, Apple has instead focusing its advertising efforts on the iPad's "Your Verse" ad campaign.

Update 8:31 PM: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the ad as "Gigantic". It has been corrected to its proper name, "Powerful". Apple's official YouTube video for the ad has also been swapped in.


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iWatch May Ultimately Replace iPod, No iPod Updates Expected in 2014
A research note (via Barrons) from Christopher Caso, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, reiterates previous analyst reporting about the iWatch, saying Apple is looking to enter production with a pair of screen sizes in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Caso says Apple has production targets of 5-6 million units, but believes the iWatch will "essentially replace the iPod in the consumer portion of AAPL's product lineup" and will see lowered iPod sales as a result of customers choosing the iWatch instead. The note says the iPod is not expected to be updated this year.

Ipodfamily
Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this year that the iPod "is a declining business", with sales dropping to under $5 billion in 2013, down from a peak of more than $8 billion in 2008. Apple's iPod lineup has not seen a significant update since Fall 2012, other than a minor color change to match the rest of Apple's portable offerings. The iPod Classic has not been updated in several years.

Apple has worked hard to have products at a variety of price points, from the $49 iPod Shuffle up to the 128GB iPad Air at $799, and then to the various Mac products.


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Google Covering Defense Costs and Damage Awards for Four Patents in Apple/Samsung Case
Google is covering lawyer fees and potential damage awards with regards to four patents in the ongoing Apple/Samsung patent case, according to a report from Re/code, quoting deposition testimony from a Google attorney that Apple introduced in court today.

Google's contractual obligations to defend Samsung relate to a "Mobile Application Distribution Agreement" between the two companies related to the distribution of Google applications, including Gmail on Samsung's Android devices. Samsung called several Google employees as witnesses as part of its defense.

The case between Apple and Samsung is seen by many as a proxy for the larger battle between Google and Apple over the company's respective mobile operating systems.

apple_samsung_logos
Apple played deposition testimony from Google lawyer James Mccoun, who verified e-mail in which Google agreed to provide partial or full indemnity with regards to four patents as well as to take over defense of those claims.

A Samsung representative said he could not immediately say which if any claims in the case for which Google is in fact providing the defense and indemnity.
Yesterday, Samsung argued that, if it lost at trial, it would only owe Apple $40 million in damages, substantially less than the $2 billion that Apple says it is owed for infringement of five of its patents.


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Apple Allowing Non-Developers to Apply for OS X Beta Program
Alongside iOS 7.1.1, Apple has introduced a new OS X beta program that will see non-developers given an opportunity to download OS X betas before they are released to the public. Previously, participating in OS X betas required a developer account, priced at $99 per year.

betaseedprogram
Join the OS X Beta Seed Program and accept the Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement. Apple will provide a Beta Access Utility for your Mac, which gives you access to pre-release versions of OS X in the Mac App Store Updates panel.
Users can apply to join the beta program on Apple's new Appleseed Beta website, which allows users to apply using an Apple ID.Apple requires everyone who signs up to sign a confidentiality agreement, which prevents users from disclosing, publishing, or disseminating confidential information to anyone not also enrolled in the Appleseed program.

After agreeing to keep beta information confidential, Apple asks users to make a backup on their Macs before downloading a special Beta Access Utility App which allows a Mac to be enrolled for beta software updates. All updates will be delivered via the Mac App Store, similar to standard OS X updates.


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iOS 7.1.1 Now Labels Apps with 'In-App Purchases' in Top Charts and Featured Sections
As part of iOS 7.1.1, released earlier today, Apple has implemented some minor changes to the iOS App Store to make it more clear which apps offer in-app purchases.

Apple has provided an "Offers In-App Purchases" disclosure on individual app detail pages since March of 2013, but now the App Store has been updated to include a small "In-App Purchases" notification for apps in Top Charts listings and on specific featured apps listings, such as in the "Great Free Games" category.

inapppurchases711
Old Top Charts view on left, new Top Charts view with in-app purchase disclosure on right

This expanded in-app purchase view allows users to determine which apps on the Top Free, Paid, and Grossing charts offer in-app purchases. The disclosure is also available on top category listings as well.

Apple's new in-app purchase warnings come following a January settlement with the FTC that saw Apple providing $32 million in refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items. Apple was also required to obtain express consent from consumers before billing them for an in-app purchase, a measure that it initially implemented with iOS 7.1.

In-app purchases have long been an issue for Apple, first landing the company in hot water with the FTC in 2011 after multiple parental complaints over children over-spending within apps. Apple has made many updates to its in-app purchase policies since that time, including requiring a separate passcode entry for initiating an in-app purchase and providing multiple notifications before a purchase is made.

Along with changes to the App Store, iOS 7.1.1 also includes improvements to Touch ID, Safari support for top-level domains such as .photo, and a few bug fixes. It can be downloaded over-the-air via the Software Update tool in the Settings menu.

Update 3:40 PM PT: Apple has notified developers that it is also adding new app content descriptions to the App Store.
You can now use the following descriptions: Medical/Treatment Information, Gambling and Contests, and Unrestricted Web Access (for apps that permit navigating and viewing web pages, for example with an embedded browser).
There are also new territory specific restrictions based on rating.


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Apple Releases iOS 7.1.1 With Touch ID Improvements, Bug Fixes
Apple today released iOS 7.1.1 to the public, a month and a half after releasing its first major update, iOS 7.1. While iOS 7.1 included several visual tweaks along with the addition of CarPlay, Siri improvements, and Touch ID enhancements, today's minor update focuses only on bug fixes.

iOS 7.1.1, labeled as build 11D201, offers additional improvements to Apple's Touch ID, fixes a bug that impacts keyboard responsiveness, and fixes a bug involving Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver enabled. The update also includes Safari support for new top-level domains like .photo and .camera.

711
This update contains improvements, bug fixes and security updates, including:

- Further improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition
- Fixes a bug that could impact keyboard responsiveness
- Fixes an issue when using Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver enabled
iOS 7.1.1 can be downloaded via the software update tool in the settings menu on iOS devices.

Apple has also released a 6.1.1 update for the Apple TV.


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Apple's In-Store Reuse and Recycling Program Now Offering Trade-In Credit for Used iPads
As part of a larger green initiative to help consumers recycle old iOS devices, Apple is now expanding its Reuse & Recycling program in the U.S. and Canada to include the iPad, reports 9to5Mac. Apple also is making it easier for consumers to purchase new devices with more flexible terms for applying in-store credits obtained when recycling an iOS device.

apple_recycling_program
Previously, Apple's in-store Reuse & Recycling program accepted only iPhone models, which customers could trade-in for a store credit that could be used to purchase a new iPhone. Under this new plan, Apple will accept either an iPad or an iPhone for trade-in and will issue a credit that can be used towards a new purchase.

Customers may apply this credit towards a new iPhone or iPad, regardless of which device they are trading in, and they can even combine iPad and iPhone credits (with a limit of one of each device type) to apply toward the purchase of a new device. For example, a customer could trade-in an iPhone 5 and an iPad 2 to receive credits that can be combined to purchase a new iPad Air.

Apple yesterday confirmed it was expanding its Reuse & Recycling program to include all devices, regardless of their condition. Besides the iPad, Apple will accept for free any broken or older model Apple product providing customers with a way to easily recycle the device responsibly. If a recycled iPhone or iPad has some remaining value as determined by in-store Apple Specialists, Apple will issue a store credit.

apple_green_banner
This expansion is part of Apple's Earth Day celebration that began with the company's "Better" environmental campaign, which highlighted Apple's environmental efforts across its supply chain, its data centers and in its new Apple Campus 2 project. Apple also is commemorating Earth Day at its retail stores by placing a green leaf on its traditionally white Apple logo and issuing green t-shirts to its retail employees.


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Apple May Be Using 'Brightflash' Shell Company to Pursue iWatch Trademark Protection
Following our report yesterday about Apple expanding its trademark protection to use the "Apple" name in association with jewelry and watches in a number of countries, MacRumors has discovered that Apple may be quietly continuing to pursue trademarks on the "iWatch" name itself.

Evidence of Apple's interest in the iWatch name surfaced last June as the company began registering for trademarks on the "iWatch" name in a number of countries. Several major countries including the United States were not included in that list, and it was unclear whether Apple was holding off due to conflicts with pending trademark applications in those countries or if there were other issues in play.

At the time, reports mentioned several of those conflicting applications in the United States, but we now believe that one of those applications may in fact be Apple itself operating in disguise using a shell company by the name of Brightflash USA LLC. While MacRumors has yet to discover a smoking gun linking Apple to Brightflash, there are several pieces of circumstantial evidence pointing in that direction, thereby suggesting that Apple is indeed continuing to quietly lay the groundwork for an iWatch launch.

- Timing: Brightflash filed its iWatch trademark application in the United States on June 5, 2013, alongside the surge of applications by Apple in other countries during the span of June 3-5. While it is possible that the timing is a coincidence or the result of a separate company moving extremely quickly to apply for the mark after news of Apple's applications in other countries started breaking on June 5, this would appear to be unlikely.

- Concealed company structure and location: Brightflash is registered in Delaware, a common location for incorporation due to the state's business-friendly laws. According to state records, Brightflash was formed on June 27, 2012 and the company uses the Corporation Trust Center in Wilmington, Delaware as its address. That building serves as the home of hundreds of thousands of companies, streamlining the process of locating in Delaware and providing a level of anonymity for companies registering using the firm's services.

brightflash_corp_listing
- Few leads on company representatives: Efforts to determine Brightflash's executives and representatives have proven difficult as well, with the initial trademark application using attorney John Sullivan at the same Corporation Trust Center address. Last month, Brightflash filed a change of attorney form with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office listing a David Harris also at that address, with that document signed by a manager "J. Yori". It is possible that this is Joan Yori, an executive with Stewart Management Company, a firm offering services for establishing so-called special purpose entities.
SMC offers a full service domicile management package including office space, employees, officers and directors, accounting services, and coordinates services with recommended local legal and banking providers.
- Legal links from Ecuador: As we noted yesterday, Apple filed for a trademark on the "Apple" name in Class 14 (jewelry and watches) in Ecuador last December, and the attorney who facilitated that application was Alejandro Ponce Martinez, a principal attorney with Quevedo & Ponce in Quito. Ponce has helped Apple with a number of other trademark applications, including recent filings for iOS 7 icons and iPad Air, and just weeks prior to the Apple jewelry filing he helped Brightflash file its application (PDF: page 164) for the "iWatch" mark.

In an initial response to Brightflash's U.S. application for the iWatch trademark, the examiner cited several prior pending applications from other firms that would potentially be confusing with Brightflash's desired usage. As a result, Brightflash late last month filed its own response requesting that its application be put on hold until the other pending applications were either granted or abandoned. Last week, the patent examiner issued a letter granting the suspension of Brightflash's application for the time being. If Brightflash is indeed Apple, the company would very likely make an effort to acquire the rights to any of the other trademarks if they are granted.

Brightflash continues to file trademark applications in other countries, including Australia and Macau. And just last month, United Kingdom and Denmark were added to the list, indicating that the firm is indeed still interested in protecting the iWatch name. As noted by French site Consomac [Google Translate], Brightflash is pursuing registration of the iWatch name in at least four dozen countries around the world.

Brightflash is also attempting to trademark the "Brightflash" name itself in a number of countries, and it is unclear whether this is simply part of the process of pursuing the iWatch mark or if there is an additional feature or product that could use the Brightflash name.

In the background of any efforts by Brightflash or Apple to secure a U.S. trademark on the iWatch name is a years-long battle between Swiss watchmaker Swatch and New York firm M.Z. Berger. MZB applied for a U.S. trademark on the iWatch name back in July 2007 and the application was nearly approved before Swatch opposed the mark on two fronts: potential confusion with the Swatch brand and a lack of intent by MZB to actually use the iWatch name.

An appeals board has ruled that MZB should not be awarded the trademark on the basis that there is no evidence of MZB's intent to use the iWatch name at the time of filing, although Swatch's claim of potential confusion was not found to be warranted. Both parties appealed the respective decisions against them late last year, and the case remains unresolved.

Apple's potential use of Brightflash as a shell company to hide its efforts to protect intellectual property would certainly not be the first time the company has engaged in such tactics. Last November, the company created an entity by the name of CarPlay Enterprises to file a U.S. trademark application on the term "CarPlay", which last month became the new name for the previously named iOS in the Car feature in iOS 7.1.

In an earlier example leading up to the launch of the iPad, Apple used a shell company by the name of Slate Computing to protect "iSlate" and "MagicSlate" while using a separate firm under the name IP Application Development to secure the "iPad" name.


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Apple Reportedly Delaying Launch of 5.5-Inch 'iPhone Air' Due to Battery Issues
According to Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times [Google Translate, via G for Games] Apple's larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 has been delayed and will launch in 2015. The report notes that the company is struggling with finding a sufficient battery that measures 2 mm or less to fit in the device's "very thin" profile.

iphone6
Renderings of iPhone 6 (4.7'') and iPhone 6 (5.7'') based on leaked schematics

The report also notes that Apple suppliers are referring to the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 as the "iPhone Air", which has not been finalized as an official name for the device. If the claims are true, however, an iPhone Air would join Apple's MacBook Air and recently released iPad Air in carrying a similar name and delivering a product with a slim chassis.

Past reports have indicated that Apple's 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will launch first this fall, and have shared similar details about the 5.5-inch version being delayed due to production issues. A report from Reuters last month noted that Apple was having issues with in-cell production technology in the 5.5-inch version's display, with Japan Display, LG Display, and Sharp set to produce screens for the device.

In addition to a larger screen and thinner design, Apple's next-generation iPhone is expected to include a new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an upgraded camera featuring optical image stabilization. Apple is also said to be negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.


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Apple Takes Jab at Samsung in Full Page Earth Day Newspaper Ad
Apple is honoring Earth Day in a new ad found on newspapers across the UK that appears to also include a jab at rival Samsung, reportsCNET.

The ad, which comes with a headline stating "There are some ideas we want everyone to copy," includes two paragraphs that allude to the company's ongoing patent trial with Samsung. Apple notes that there is "one area" where the company "encourages others" to imitate, calling for initiatives that are similar to its recent environmental efforts.

apple_earth_day_ad
There's one area where we actually encourage others to imitate us. Because when everyone makes the environment a priority, we all benefit. We'd be more than happy to see every data centre fuelled by 100% renewable energy sources. And we eagerly await the day when every product is made without the harmful toxins we have removed from ours.

Of course we know we can continue to do better. We've set some pretty ambitious goals for reducing our impact on climate change, making our products with greener materials and conserving our planet's limited resources. So the next time we come across a great idea that can help leave the world better than we found it, we look forward to sharing it.
Apple and Samsung are currently in their second legal battle over accusations of patent infringement, with the former requesting$2 billion in damages from the latter. In its defense, Samsung stated that it only owes Apple $40 million, as the trial is expected to conclude and head into jury deliberations sometime this week.

The ad is one part of Apple's "Better" environmental campaign launched yesterday ahead of today's Earth Day event, which included a video about the ecological efforts of its Apple Campus 2 project and the expansion of its recycling program to include all products at its stores. Apple will be updating its store logos with green leaf accents and encouraging its employees to wear commemorative green shirts, as an event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California is also planned.

Update: The newspaper ad is also appearing in Australia, and presumably other countries as well.


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Apple Now Accepting All Products for Recycling at Retail Stores
apple_green_logosApple will now begin accepting old products for recycling at all of its retail stores worldwide, reportsThe Associated Press. While the company has had a recycling program for quite some time, the terms for trading in a product would vary by device category.

For instance, those looking to trade in a Mac or iPad for recycling were limited to filling out an online form and shipping it with a prepaid label, while those looking to drop off an iPhone or iPod could bring it into an Apple Retail Store or ship it to a recycling center.

Now, customers are welcome to bring in all products to any of its retail locations, where the company will recycle them for free. While all devices will be accepted for recycling at no charge, those who bring in products that are in fair condition will also receive a store gift card.

Apple made changes to its recycling program in 2011, expanding the program to include more devices and older computers. Last year, Apple also introduced an iPhone trade-in program that allowed customers to trade in a device for a gift card that could be used toward the purchase of a new iPhone, which has since expanded to multiple countries.

The move comes as Apple launched its "Better" environmental campaign yesterday ahead of Earth Day, which included a video detailing the environmental efforts of its Apple Campus 2 project. Apple will celebrate Earth Day at its retail locations around the world by giving its logos green leaves and having its employees wear special green shirts. The company will also reportedly hold an event at its main campus in Cupertino, California.



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Apple Retail Store Logos Gain Green Leaves in Honor of Earth Day
In celebration of Earth Day, which takes place on April 22, Apple has started updating the logos of some of its retail stores with green leaf accents, a departure from the standard white logo.

For example, Apple's massive Nanjing East retail store in Shanghai has been updated with the green Earth Day logo, as it is just after 8AM on April 22 in China.

greenapplelogo
Image courtesy of Instagram user znnina

As noted last week by 9to5Mac, Apple is planning to celebrate Earth Day at multiple retail locations around the world, changing its logo and encouraging employees to wear special green shirts. The company is also planning to hold a special event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Earlier today, Apple launched its "Better" environmental campaign, highlighting its efforts to lower its carbon footprint. Included in the campaign was a video detailing the construction of Apple Campus 2, which will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources.

(Thanks, Nina!)


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MacRumors
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