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Resource id #61Apple Defends 15-Year Development Plan for Irish Data Center Amidst Environmental Concerns
Over a year after announcing its plan to spend $2 billion on new data centers in Ireland and Denmark, Apple is now defending its decision for the former location amidst rising concern that its state-of-the-art facilities will have negative effects on local animal populations, and could lead to potential flooding concerns on a neighboring golf course (via Business Insider).

Irish planning body An Bord Pleanála managed to temporarily halt construction of the Ireland-based data center thanks to these concerns, which were brought to it by a number of individuals and organizations. Its biggest question was asking why Apple chose the middle of Derrydonnell forest in Galway County, Ireland as its planned site for the server farm, given that there are other places in Ireland designated specifically for data center construction.

apple_nc_data_center_solar
Solar panels at Apple's data center in Maiden, North Carolina

Apple's senior director of global data center services, Robert Sharpe, explained the vital nature of the European data centers as part of Apple's continued expansion and support for its various services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Sharpe said that Apple must pursue this phased development (the Derrydonnell Forest center would be constructed over 10-15 years) to continue to accommodate for more smartphones, more services, and more users expecting quality experiences out of both.
"Derrydonnell forest, the site of the proposed development, offers a combination of factors that make it uniquely attractive for a data centre," Sharpe said. "It is a large site, currently used for commercial forestry, which sits extremely close to two major high voltage power transmission lines in an area rich in renewable energy resources."
During the hearing, Sharpe also addressed the environmental concerns raised by locals of the county, claiming that there would be both limited visual pollution to the area thanks to the thickness of the forestry, and that Apple would replenish any wildlife it removed during construction.
"The site presents us with an ideal opportunity to develop a very large, sustainable data centre, which meets our projected needs over the next 10 to 15 years. The woodland will enable us to make the site largely invisible beyond the site and we are able to improve the overall biodiversity of the site by increasing the proportion of native broadleaf trees."
The site in Ireland is planned to consist of eight total buildings each housing thousands of servers for Apple's various online services. The company's original planning application -- which has now been halted by An Bord Pleanála -- is for just one of the eight buildings, so it will have to reapply for each future planned expansion over the next estimated 10-15 years. There was no word yet on the outcome of the hearing in Ireland.

Sharpe address the various concerns presented to Apple -- including flooding issues and water drainage plans -- in his full opening statement.


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Apple Shares Soar 9% on News of Warren Buffett Stake in Company
Apple shares have soared 9 percent since American business magnate Warren Buffett revealed his company's $1.2 billion stake in the company on May 16 (via Fortune).

Apple stock looked to be on the wane following Apple's earnings call at the end of April, when the company announced its first ever drop in iPhone sales and its first year-over-year revenue drop in 13 years.

WARREN BUFFETT
Shares of Apple subsequently fell below $90 for the first time in nearly two years amid investors' concerns over the slump. Later it was revealed that Apple investor Carl Icahn had earlier decided to sell his stake in the company due to concern over China's attitude towards Apple, while a second Apple investor, David Tepper, had also dumped shares as its value continued to lessen.

However, just over two weeks ago, a regulatory filing by multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway - which is run by Warren Buffett - revealed that as of March 31, the company owned 9,811,747 shares in Apple stock. Since then, shares of Apple have risen by 9 percent and breached the $100 mark, its highest point in a month.

Buffett has something of a reputation for being able to affect stocks, according to Fortune, which points to a dramatic 11 percent upturn of Kinder Morgan shares in February, shortly after Berkshire Hathaway disclosed its stake in the company.

However, Apple has also enjoyed a reversal of fortune in recently reported production targets for its next-generation iPhone 7, which is expected to launch this September.

Contradicting previous claims of projected weak demand for the upcoming device, Apple has reportedly asked its Asian suppliers to prepare for the highest iPhone production target in "about two years".

Apple investors also appeared unperturbed by news this week that the company's retail expansion in India may fall through, following a ruling from the Indian government that Apple must sell locally sourced goods if it wants to open stores in the country.

Apple remains eager to expand its business in India, where last quarter the company saw its revenue grow 56 percent, surpassing $1 billion. CEO Tim Cook's recent weeklong visit to the country garnered significant media attention and Apple will have regarded it as a positive step towards its global expansion goals.


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Pixelmator for Mac Gains New Selection Tools, Retouch Extension for Photos
Popular image editing app Pixelmator was today updated to version 3.5, adding two impressive new tools to improve selections and a new Pixelmator Retouch extension for the Photos app.

Pixelmator's new Quick Selection Tool, which is smarter than the existing tool, makes it much easier to select large areas of an image with a single brushstroke. The tool is designed to analyze color, texture, contrast, shadows, and highlights in an image to automatically detect an object that's being selected.

pixelmatorquickselection
"With the Quick Selection Tool, we wanted to create a totally unique experience for selecting objects," said Simonas Bastys, lead developer of the Pixelmator Team. "For more than 6 months, our team worked on developing a unique and incredibly smart algorithm, which used advanced machine-learning techniques to figure out for itself the best possible way to select objects. The results are stunning, and we're really happy to introduce this next-generation selection tool to all of our users."
Alongside the Quick Selection Tool, a new Magnetic Selection Tool is designed to automatically snap to the edges of an object being traced, so a detailed selection can be made much more quickly. According to Pixelmator's developers, the algorithm behind Magnetic Selection is based on A* Pathfinding and ensures a perfect outline around nearly any object.

pixelmatormagneticselection
For the built-in Photos app on the Mac, there's a Pixelmator Retouch extension that adds a number of retouching tools that can be used directly in Photos. With the extension, it's possible to remove objects, clone areas, adjust lightness and saturation, sharpen details, and more. Pixelmator Retouch was built to take advantage of Metal, Apple's graphics processing technology, so edits can be done speedily.

pixelmatorphotosextension
Other improvements in the new Pixelmator update include a new Stroke effect that's 15 times faster, improved Refine Selection performance, auto-adjusting brush size for the Distort extension, and content-aware outline smoothing for selections made via Color Selection, Paint Bucket, and Magic Eraser. A long list of bug fixes is also bundled into the release.

Pixelmator for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $29.99, and today's update is free for existing users. [Direct Link]


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Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 5 With Bug Fixes and Feature Tweaks
safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced on March 30. Apple uses Safari Technology Preview to test features that may eventually be introduced in the release version of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 5 includes a bug fixes and updates for JavaScript, CSS, web APIs, Web Inspector, media, security, networking, and accessibility.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes are available on Apple's Safari Technology Preview website.

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


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Kanex Launches GoPower USB-C Battery Pack for MacBook
Kanex has introduced a new GoPower rechargeable 15,000 mAh USB-C battery pack capable of delivering one full charge to the 12-inch Retina MacBook.

The slim aluminum battery pack also has a traditional USB port that can provide multiple charges to iPhones, iPads, and other USB devices.

Kanex-GoPower-MacBook
USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables are included for charging the GoPower itself. A four-LED status indicator lets users know the power level of the battery pack based on 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent, and 100 percent intervals.

Kanex has also included a built-in circuit protection board with priority charging detection technology that enables pass-through charging to plugged in devices when the battery pack itself is plugged into a power source.

K181-1010_V3
The battery pack's USB-C output is 5V at 3 Amps, while its USB output is 5V at 2.4 Amps.

GoPower retails for $99.95 on Amazon and Kanex's website.

Related Roundup: Retina MacBook
Tags: battery pack, USB-C, Kanex
Buyer's Guide: MacBook (Buy Now)

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Apple Releases First OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan Beta to Public Beta Testers
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming OS X 10.11.6 beta to public beta testers, just a day after releasing the first OS X 10.11.6 beta to developers and one week after releasing OS X 10.11.5, the fifth update to the OS X 10.11 operating system.

The new beta is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store for those who are enrolled in Apple's beta testing program. Those wishing to join the program can sign up on Apple's beta testing website.

elcapitanmacbook
Like many of the previous updates to the OS X 10.11 El Capitan operating system, OS X 10.11.6 appears to be minor in scale, focusing on under-the-hood bug fixes, security enhancements, and performance improvements. No obvious outward-facing changes or bug fixes were discovered in the first developer beta.

Related Roundup: OS X El Capitan
Tag: OS X 10.11.6

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Apple Releases Firmware Update 7.6.7 and 7.7.7 for AirPort Base Stations
airport_utility_iconApple today released a new firmware update for all of its 802.11n Wi-Fi base stations, including the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. According to Apple's release notes, the update includes bug fixes and is designed to improve the stability and performance of the products.
This update:
- Fixes an issue which may prevent communication between clients on the same network
- Improves performance with an extended guest network
- Addresses potential naming conflicts with Bonjour Sleep Proxy
Apple has also released a 7.7.7 update for its 802.11ac Wi-Fi Base stations, including the latest AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule models. It fixes the same issues.

The firmware updates can be installed through the AirPort Utility app for iOS or OS X.

Related Roundup: AirPort

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Review: Promise Technology's 'Apollo' Offers Private Cloud Storage for the Whole Family
Cloud-based services like iCloud and Dropbox are useful because they make documents, photos, and other media easily shareable and accessible anywhere, but there is a downside -- that content is stored offsite on an unknown server not under an individual user's control.

With Apollo, a new personal cloud device launching today, Promise Technology aims to combine the cloud's ease of use with the security of local storage. The Apollo, Promise Technology's first consumer-facing product, is also the first network-attached storage option for families and small businesses, designed specifically to allow for multiple individuals to share dedicated storage space.


The Apollo, priced at $299, is being sold exclusively through Apple.com and in Apple retail stores starting on June 7.

Design and Specs


Apollo is a 4TB network-attached storage device, which plugs into a router to connect to a home (or small business) Wi-Fi network. The Apollo is compact and sleek looking, with an aesthetic that easily matches Apple's own line of devices. Made from a clean white plastic, the Apollo measures in at 5.6 inches by 7.5 inches and it is 2.4 inches thick with a rectangular shape.


As seen in the photo below, it's not much taller than an iPhone 6s Plus, and it's similar in size to many home cable modems and routers. It includes a Gigabit Ethernet port, a USB 3.0 port (for plugging into a computer and for attaching an additional hard drive for backing up the Apollo), 1GB RAM, a 1GHz Marvell ARMADA 380 CPU, and the aforementioned 4TB SATA hard drive. In my testing, the Apollo was quiet during operation.


With its small size, the Apollo fits well on a desk, media stand, or shelf, allowing it to be discretely placed wherever a router is located. It is small enough that I was able to stash it behind my TV set where it wasn't visible.


The Apollo will need to be connected to a router through an included Ethernet cable and plugged into a power source. Setting up the Apollo was straightforward -- I plugged in the necessary cables and then followed a setup process through the iOS app that involved creating an account and establishing a connection. The Apollo can be set up using any of the available apps.

Functionality


Apollo is a network-attached storage device, which means the files uploaded to it are available anywhere an Internet connection is available, much like a full cloud-based service like Dropbox. Uploading and streaming content from Apollo is restricted by your home Internet speeds, so file transfer and streaming speeds are not always going to match speeds downloading from a cloud service.

The Apollo works across multiple platforms, with apps available for PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS devices, and it can be used to share, store, and back up any type of file. Video and music files can be streamed from the Apollo directly onto your devices, while photos and other files can be viewed or opened on compatible devices. For example, if I upload a Pages document to Apollo from my Mac, I can then access it on the Apollo app on my iPhone and open it up in the Pages iOS app for editing.


Apollo is perfectly functional for a single user, but it also supports up to 10 users, so it works as a cloud sharing platform for the whole family or for all of the members of a small business. Every person who uses the Apollo gets their own dedicated storage space, which can be set up through the app by the primary user, established as the first person that connects to the Apollo.

apollosettings
Every user is given completely private storage access and no one else can view or touch the files that are uploaded, including the Apollo's primary user, so it's just like each person having a personal Dropbox account, but stored locally. Apollo settings and account creation are controlled by the owner, but individual users have full access to everything else -- uploading files, downloading files, and sharing files. In my experience, the multi-user setup worked flawlessly.

All Apollo users can share files uploaded to the Apollo, either with other Apollo users through a private link or with any person (even a non-Apollo user) with a public link. When uploading a file and creating a public link, it can be messaged, emailed, or sent via AirDrop to any contact and it will be available for 30 days. Users will see a browser page with a link to a zipped file, and the Apollo supports public link file sizes up to 1GB.

apolloweblink
All file transfers to and from the Apollo are fully encrypted, using the same encryption built into Promise's professional line of storage devices. With shared files and folders, Apollo members can leave comments on files, making it ideal for sharing commentary on photos or collaborating on documents.

As mentioned above, file transfer speeds are limited by your home connection. I have a home connection that probably matches the speeds the average user has access to, with 120Mb/s for downloads and 6Mb/s for uploads. When sharing a file with someone from the Apollo, their download speed is limited by my upload speed.

With a 1GB test file, it took approximately two minutes to upload to the Apollo from my computer, but when I shared the link with a coworker, it took 40 minutes to download. Comparatively, it took me 30 minutes to upload a 1GB file to Dropbox, and only 90 seconds for my coworker to download. With Dropbox, downloads aren't hindered by my upload speeds once they're on the company's servers. As another speed example, it took just about 15 minutes to upload the entire camera roll from my iPhone, about 2,300 images.

There are a lot of network-attached storage systems out there, each with varying degrees of complexity. Apollo is designed to be as easy to use as Dropbox, with a simple setup process and apps that are straightforward and basic. Getting the Apollo set up and using it was definitely simple, so anyone who's savvy enough to use Dropbox or iCloud is going to be able to use Apollo.

It's not so simple that I could buy it for my mom, but it's not as complex as something like a Synology NAS, and Promise is offering 90 days of phone support, a 2-year warranty, and chat/online support.

Because it's designed to be simple, the Apollo is lacking in features. It's basically a place to dump, share, and store files. There's a feature that supports automatic camera roll backups from iOS devices for each user, but there are no other bells and whistles like tools for automatically backing up files on the Mac (there's no support for Time Machine), accessing content from a browser, editing files directly on the device, or setting up automatic file downloads or website hosting, all things that are possible with more advanced devices.

Software


The Apollo can do a lot of useful things, but it is hindered by the software Promise has designed to go along with it. I used the Apollo with a dedicated Mac app and an iOS app, both of which I thought were disappointing. Dedicated apps are the only way to access Apollo's content -- there is no web option.

The Apollo Mac app is a simple file viewer, displaying all of the content that's been uploaded to Apollo. It has four sections: Files, Favorites, Photos, and Videos, and that's the total extent of the organization on Apollo, aside from the folders you create yourself, and there are no options for sorting based on date, file size, file type, or other metric.

apollomainmacview
Every photo uploaded to Apollo, for example, is visible through the Photos section and organized in a grid by date, but there are no viewing options beyond that. I can't sort by file name, I can't scroll through photos, and I can't search for specific photos, making it impossible to find anything. Photos are organized on numbered pages and to sort through them, I have to click through each page. It's tedious, time consuming, and makes browsing through photos unpleasant.

apollophotosview
The same is true of the videos tab, and I'm not sure why, but there is no tab for music, so there's no simple way to aggregate all music files into one place except through user-designated folders.

When uploading content, there's a pop-up progress window, but it does have a tendency to freeze up when attempting to upload a lot of files at once. When that happens, there's no way to check syncing progress because once the window is closed, the app doesn't have another method for keeping tabs on transfers. There's also no time estimate for uploads on the Mac app. Everything I dragged to the Apollo Mac app uploaded successfully, with the exception of a 50GB folder that completely stalled. There is a 30GB size limit for each individual file uploaded to the Apollo, and folders can support up to 30,000 files.

apollouploadwindow
Apollo's iOS app is basically the same as the Mac app, with an identical layout. I can scroll through content on iOS, though, so the user experience is better despite the fact that there are still no organizational and sorting options for content. With the iOS app, there's an option to automatically back up the camera roll, syncing all files to the Apollo whenever they're taken. Camera roll syncing is one-way only - deleting files from the camera roll won't delete them from Apollo once uploaded.

apolloiosmainview
Both the iOS and Mac apps support multiple video and audio files, so content can be streamed in the app. I tested .MKV, .MOV, .MP4, and .MP3 files and most of these played well directly on my Mac or iPhone from the Apollo apps. Apollo officially lists .MOV, .MP4, and .M4V as supported on iOS devices.

Video controls are rudimentary, limited to pausing and fast forwarding/rewinding, but videos do play (both at home and when away) as long as you've got a decent Wi-Fi connection. This isn't my preferred method for watching videos when away from home, but it works in a pinch.

apolloiosphotoview
Apollo's Mac app also installs a sync folder accessible through the Finder. Files put into this folder will automatically sync to the Apollo, and all files added to the Apollo (from the iOS app, for example) will sync to the folder. Folders do not sync automatically, but can be set to sync through selective syncing options. Dropbox users will be familiar with the behavior of the syncing folder.

iOS 8 or later, OS X 10.8 or later, and Android 4.4 or later are required to use the various apps. On Windows machines, the Windows app is compatible with Windows 7, 8, Vista, and 10, and while basic at the current time, it is being updated with new features in the future.

Bottom Line


For small businesses and families that want the option to easily share files in a safe, secure way, the Apollo is a useful device. At home, it's a good way for multiple family members to share photos, music, videos, and other media types so that content is always accessible to everyone wherever they are, and it's an alternative to cloud services that are ultimately going to be more expensive. At work, it's useful for collaboration.


The Apollo is priced at $299 for 4TB of storage space, which is cheaper than Dropbox or iCloud after 2-3 years. Dropbox charges $99 per year for 1TB of storage space, while Apple charges $9.99 per month for 1TB. With 4TB of storage, there's plenty to share among several users.

Apollo is functionally identical to many online cloud storage services, so it's best to think of it as a private version of Dropbox or Box rather something like a NAS running DiskStation. It's going to meet the needs of someone looking for a cloud storage replacement or extra backup option, but if you want something beyond what Dropbox can do, the Apollo may be a disappointment.


During my testing, the Apollo worked well. It was easy to use and it did what Promise said it would. Aside from some hiccups when attempting to upload massive folders, file transfers were smooth, it stayed online, and my files were accessible through the Mac and iOS apps.

I was unimpressed with the Apollo apps, mainly due to the lack of search and the inability to sort and view my files in a useful way. Such a simple file system is fine for a small number of files, but when you have a couple of terabytes of content uploaded to the Apollo, it gets a lot more frustrating. Luckily, software is easy to fix, so I'm hopeful the Apollo apps will improve over time to meet customer needs.

Pros:

  • No storage fees

  • Easy to set up and use

  • Data transfers AES256 encrypted

  • Multi-user support

  • Public and private sharing available

  • Can back up Apollo through USB port


Cons:

  • Only 4TB capacity available

  • Functionality is basic compared to other NAS options

  • No search

  • Poor file organization

  • Software needs improvement in general


How to Buy


Apollo can be purchased from the Apple online store and from Apple retail stores for $299 on June 7.

Note: Promise Technology provided an Apollo to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.


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iPhones Too Expensive in India, Says Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that iPhones are too expensive in India, during an interview with Indian news channel NDTV on Monday, the last day of his weeklong visit to the country (via TechCrunch).

According to a recent report from Deutsche Bank, India is among the most expensive places in the world to buy an iPhone. Prices there average 31 percent higher than the U.S., with only iPhones in Sweden, Indonesia, and Brazil proving more costly.

tim cook ndtv
NDTV's Vikram Chandra broached the subject with Cook on air. "You've got an iPhone here which is more expensive than it is in the U.S., with less functionality than it would have in the U.S., and in a country where purchasing power is a fraction of what it is in the U.S.," Chandra said.

Cook acknowledged the disproportionate cost by suggesting that the iPhone was overpriced rather than too expensive. "The duties and the taxes and the compounding of those takes the price and it makes it very high. Our profitability is less in India, it's materially less — but still I recognize that prices are high," he said.

"We want to do things that lower that over time, to the degree that we can," Cook continued. "I want the consumer in India to be able to buy at a price that looks like the U.S. price."


Chandra's interview covered a few more topics, including how Apple saw itself investing in its Indian presence. "What we see here is talent," said Cook. "That means getting the development community moving on iOS. We're also using a lot of skills in India for maps – the maps facility will be several hundred million dollars worth of work."

Cook also said the company wants to bring all its existing services to India, including Apple Pay, and that if the need arose to offer something unique in the country, Apple would look at that too, although he acknowledged the possible cultural limitations: "I don't believe personally in trying to be something you're not. We are what we are. We're a California company."

The interview rounded off Tim Cook's weeklong trip to India, during which he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, mingled with Bollywood stars, watched a cricket game, visited temples, and attended business meetings in Mumbai.

Tag: India

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Airmail 3.0 for Mac Brings VIP Contacts, Smart Folders, and More
Airmail, the third party email client for Mac, has been updated to version 3, bringing some major new features to the popular application and a redesigned interface.

The new update adds Smart Folders for enhanced message filtering and organization, VIP contacts, OS X notifications, and support for the "send later" feature available to Gmail and Exchange account holders.

Airmail 3
The Mac update also means that Airmail for OS X now syncs account preferences across iPhone and iPad devices, syncing rules, VIP contacts, and Smart Folders over iCloud.

Airmail 3 supports multiple accounts including MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook.com, and Live.com.

Other new changes bring options for customizable menus, gestures, keyboard shortcuts, and folders, as well as calendar integration, rules for forwarding messages, Asana and Trello integration, primary inbox support for Gmail, and redesigned message threads.

Airmail 3.0 is available for El Capitan on the Mac App Store, priced at $9.99. [Direct Link]

Tag: Airmail

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Tim Cook Meets With India's PM Narendra Modi, Launches New App
Apple CEO Tim Cook continued his week-long visit to India today by meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss manufacturing and retail opportunities, as well as launch a new state mobile app (via The Times of India).

During the meeting at the Prime Minister's official residence, Modi explained his Digital India initiative and asked Apple to support its key objectives of e-education, health, and increasing farmer's incomes. The PM also reportedly raised issues with Cook regarding cyber security and data encryption in India.

tim cook pm modi India
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Image: PIB)

Cook took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the country's skilled younger generation and emphasized Apple's desire to tap into the talent of India's youth. Cook also commented on the potential for app development that exists in the country and highlighted the importance of the Map Development Centre that Apple is setting up in Hyderabad.

In addition, Cook helped launch an updated version of the Prime Minister's 'Narendra Modi Mobile App', which aims to offer a direct channel of communication with Indian citizens as part of a broader vision for participative governance.

The app contains a new feature called 'My Network', which is described as an online volunteering forum where app users can share views and ideas. Additionally, the app functions as a ministerial news service and logs the Prime Minister’s speeches, while users can also keep up with episodes of PM radio program 'Mann Ki Baat' and even write to the Prime Minister.

Modi took to Twitter to thank Cook for helping launch the updated app and urged followers on social media to get involved. Cook responded by thanking the PM and offered his best wishes for the app's success.



As part of the day, Cook also met Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, one of India's leading telecommunication companies which was the first to launch 4G in India and is set to offer the service countrywide.

The PM meeting is being reported as a high point for Cook's Indian visit and a strengthening of Apple's relationship with the country. In an interview with an Indian TV channel on Friday, Cook asserted that he was looking at India holistically and Apple was "here for the next thousand years".

Tag: India

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Uber Enters Race to Perfect Driverless Vehicle Technology
Uber has announced it is currently testing self-driving car technology with a view to completely remove the need for drivers from its ride-hailing service.

According to a statement by the company posted online yesterday, the initial testing phase is being conducted on the streets of Pittsburgh, using a hybrid Ford Fusion fitted with various sensors including radar, laser scanners and cameras.

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The test vehicle from Uber's Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) collects mapping data as it travels, while a trained driver monitors operations in the car at all times.

The driverless project is being carried out in partnership with Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. Uber says it is pursuing the goal of inducting autonomous vehicles into its fleet by 2020.
Real-world testing is critical to our efforts to develop self-driving technology. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world.  1.3 million people die every year in car accidents — 94% of those accidents involve human error. In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents. These goals are at the heart of Uber’s mission to make transportation as reliable as running water — everywhere and for everyone.
Uber joins an accelerating industry race for the mainstream introduction of self-driving cars, with Tesla already developing the technology and multiple Chinese firms also making headway.

There have been indications suggesting Apple is exploring autonomous vehicles for its own car project, codenamed "Titan", but sources say the first car it releases will not be driverless, with that functionality perhaps coming at a later date.

Tag: Uber

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Tim Cook and Lisa Jackson's India Trips Continue With Cricket Games, Bollywood Stars and 'Solar Mamas'
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Lisa P. Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, are currently in India on a multi-day trip meeting various business leaders, politicians, developers and more. Yesterday, Cook visited the famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai before proceeding to a series of meetings. Meanwhile, Jackson made her way to the Indian state of Rajasthan to meet the "Solar Mamas" at The Barefoot College.

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The Barefoot College trains rural women to assemble and manufacture solar lamps, earning the nickname "Solar Mamas", according to Yahoo India. The College connects rural communities to solar power and water. The college also uses iPads to teach the women, with Apple India having donated 20 iPads and 10 Macs earlier this year, reports The Better India.


Cook went to his first cricket game, a match from the country's Indian Premier League (IPL). Cook was interviewed on the sideline alongside IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, with Shukla noting that the league, from professional to junior levels, uses iPads to organize matches. After noting how excited he was to be at his first cricket match, Cook once again called India "a great marketplace," saying that he's optimistic for the future of the country because of how talented its people are.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukj Khan invited Cook to a private dinner at his home, which was attended by other big Bollywood stars, including Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai and filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, according to The India Times. Before the dinner, Cook was escorted around the movie sets of the upcoming Raaz 4 by Mukesh Bhatt, president of India's Film and TV Producers Guild. Bhatt said Cook was "keen to see how Apple could partner with the [Indian film industry]."


Cook's five-day India trip is set to wrap up shortly after he meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. Cook's conversation with Modi may include several subjects, including Apple's recent announcement of a maps development center in Hyderabad, plans to establish an iOS app and design accelerator in the country and the Indian government's decision to approve single-branded Apple Stores.

India has increasingly become important to Apple's business, with the company's revenue growing 56 percent in the last quarter and passing the $1 billion mark for the first time.


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Tweetbot for Mac Updated With 'Topics' Feature for Linking Multiple Related Tweets
Earlier this month, Tweetbot for iOS was updated with a new "Topics" feature designed to link multiple related tweets together in a cohesive way, and now the Tweetbot app for Mac has been updated with the same feature.

Topics are built around the Twitter feature that links conversations. Tweets composed as a topic in Tweetbot are linked together via Twitter's conversation threading mechanism and use the same hashtag, so "Tweetstorms" or tweets surrounding a single topic connected.

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Linking multiple tweets together is often desirable in situations where a single tweet doesn't suffice, such as a lengthy rant or live event coverage.
This release introduces Topics. A Topic is a way to let you quickly Tweet a group of related Tweets without having to manually reply to yourself and/or manually add the same hashtags over and over again. They are really great for rapid fire live Tweeting events.

You can access Topics by tapping the gear menu in the New Tweet screen. They are also stored in and require iCloud, so you can start a topic on your iPhone and easily continue it on your iPad and Mac.
Today's Tweetbot update also includes support for Collections, a way to save tweets linked together as a topic, and there are a number of feature improvements and bug fixes.
- Collections Support
- Improved Quote Preview in Compose Window
- Removed play/pause button from video playback. Clicking on the video will toggle play/pause.
- Fixed an issue where incoming DM's would play a sound even when notification center was set to 'Do not Disturb'.
- If you mute someone you don't follow, it now automatically mutes searches, mentions and lists.
- Fixed an issue with using the left-arrow key when in the timeline search field.
- Fixed an issue with tab jumping too many columns.
- Fixed an issue where you could drag additional images or video into a tweet that already had the max number of attachments.
- Fixed an issue where videos would fail to upload.
- Fixed an issue where .mov files could not be added as video.
- Fixed an issue where the progress spinner wouldn't disappear after loading.
- Fixed an issue where text could be cut off at the bottom after adding an image in the compose window.
Tweetbot for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $9.99. [Direct Link]


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OWC's Entire SSD Lineup for Mac Now Supports Boot Camp
OWC announced today that it has released new software drivers that expand Boot Camp support to its entire SSD lineup.

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The "Dual Boot Enablers" are available as free downloads on OWC's website for multiple previously unsupported SSDs, including the OWC Aura SSD for Mid-2013 and later MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro models, OWC Aura SSD for the 2013 or newer Mac Pro, and the Mercury Accelsior S and Mercury Accelsior E2.

Boot Camp enables Mac users to partition their SSDs or hard drives and install Windows directly on the machine, allowing for OS X and Windows to be run side by side. It differs from virtualization software like Parallels and VMware Fusion, which allow Windows to run within OS X itself as essentially a desktop app.

OWC's Dual Boot Enabler can be installed on Macs running OS X 10.6.8 or later.

Tags: Boot Camp, OWC

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Twitter Plans to Stop Counting Links and Photos in 140-Character Limit
twitterlogoTwitter has plans to stop counting photos and links within the 140-character limit allowed for each tweet, reports Bloomberg. Removing photos and links from tweets will allow tweets with media to contain more text.

At the current time, photos take up 24 characters and links take up 23 characters, eliminating 47 available characters when both are included in a tweet. Twitter is reportedly introducing the change to give Twitter users "more flexibility" after exploring methods that would allow users to include more text in tweets.

Twitter has made efforts to give users additional characters to work with in the past, implementing tweet quoting features, using link shorteners, and removing character limits from Direct Messages.

Twitter has included a 140-character restriction since it launched in 2006, put in place to stay within the limits of the standard 160-character length of SMS messages with 20 characters left as space for a username. Reports in January suggested Twitter was considering eliminating the 140-character limit and allowing tweets to contain up to 10,000 characters as part of a project it called "Beyond 140," but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later said the character limit would not be changed.

Twitter is expected to implement the change in the next two weeks.

Tag: Twitter

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Apple to Open First Apple Stores in India Within 18 Months
Following the Indian government's approval of Apple's request to open retail stores in the country, Apple is planning to launch three stores in India over the course of the next 18 months.

Apple will open Apple-branded retail stores in Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai before the end of 2017, according to a source that spoke to Indian website FactorDaily.

A team of more than 40 Apple executives and employees is said to be searching for ideal real estate locations for the three stores, each of which will span more than 10,000 square feet and will be located at "high street locations." Apple is planning on investing $3-5 million per store.

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At the current time, Apple has no retail stores in India and instead sells its products through third-party distributors in the country. India has decided to exempt Apple from a policy that requires foreign stores to source at least 30 percent of their goods from domestic suppliers, opening the door for the first retail stores.

While Apple will be able to open Apple Stores in India, a second request to import refurbished iPhones, which it could sell at lower price points, was recently denied. India, like China, is seen as a largely untapped market for Apple, and the company is eager to gain a stronger foothold in the country.

In addition to retail stores, Apple is planning to open a $25 million technology development site in Hyderabad, India, which will house more than 125 employees and focus on maps development. Apple is also said to be planning to unveil a startup accelerator in India, designed to incubate ideas for new iOS apps.

Tim Cook is planning to visit India this week, where he is expected to announce the accelerator and perhaps the new retail stores.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: India

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Apple's New Flagship Union Square Store in San Francisco Opens Saturday
Apple has announced that its downtown San Francisco store at 1 Stockton Street is closing on Friday, May 20 at 9:00 p.m. Pacific, ahead of the grand opening of its new flagship Union Square location on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific.

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Apple's new Union Square store in San Francisco under construction (Image: Curbed SF)

The new Union Square store at 300 Post Street, just three blocks down Stockton Street from the existing store, has been planned since 2013 and under construction for over two years. The store will feature Apple's next-generation store design adopted at its new and renovated retail stores like Brussels and Memphis since 2015.

Union Square is the focal point of San Francisco's high-end shopping district, located above the city's work-in-progress Central Subway project.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tags: San Francisco, Union Square

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Tim Cook to Visit India This Week Following Beijing
Tim-Cook-IndiaFollowing his trip to Beijing, China on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook will travel to India tomorrow to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week, according to Reuters.

Cook will be making his first-ever trip to India as CEO, as Apple seeks to increase its presence in the world's most populous country after China. He is also expected to hold meetings with employees and partners in the country.

It is unclear what Cook and Modi plan to discuss, but the conversation could revolve around the Indian government's recent decisions to approve single-branded Apple retail stores but deny the sale of refurbished iPhones in the country.

As growth in the Greater China region begins to slow, India is becoming an increasingly important market for Apple. Last month, the iPhone maker reported that revenue has grown 56 percent in the first three months of the year, while smartphone sales are projected to grow by 25 percent in the country this year.

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Cook and Modi first met in the U.S. last year (Image: The Financial Express)

Apple's growth in India has been dominated by lower-priced devices like the iPhone 5s, which has since been succeeded by the iPhone SE, but India's stance against Apple selling refurbished smartphones could make it more challenging for the company to grow its estimated 2 percent market share in the country.

Apple recently confirmed plans to set up a $25 million technology development center in Hyderabad, which will be focused on Apple Maps development and house over 150 employees. Apple partner Foxconn is also reportedly close to reaching a deal to open an iPhone manufacturing facility in Maharashtra.


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Berkshire Hathaway Discloses Nearly $1 Billion Stake in Apple
A regulatory filing by multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway -- which is run by Warren Buffett -- today revealed that as of March 31, the company owned 9,811,747 shares in Apple stock (via Bloomberg). Berkshire Hathaway's shares were valued at over $1 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2016, but given Apple's recent dip in stock value, it has subsequently declined to nearly $900 million.

WARREN BUFFETT
Berkshire Hathaway's stake in Apple appears to be a bet that the Cupertino company's stock will rebound, following its first ever year-over-year revenue drop in 13 years. The slump comes after Apple's April earnings call where it announced the first ever drop in iPhone sales in the 9 years that the smartphone has been on the market. Last week, shares of the company fell below $90 for the first time in nearly two years, but after Berkshire Hathaway's disclosure, Apple's stock price rose 2.2 percent to $92.50 in early trading Monday morning.

Earlier in April, Apple investor Carl Icahn decided to sell his stake in the company, explaining that he did so due to concern over China's attitude towards Apple's encroaching presence in the country. A second Apple investor, David Tepper, also dumped his shares of the company as its value continued to lessen. Tepper had 1.26 million shares that were valued at around $133 million.


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