You’d think after releasing the third-generation iPad, executives at Apple might get some rest over the weekend, but instead they issued a rare Sunday press release to announce a conference call to discuss its cash balance, which now amounts to nearly 0 billion.
Apple has announced plans to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program later this year, ahead of a conference call Monday morning with CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer. The news will be welcomed by investors and analysts, who have frequently been critical of the company hoarding nearly 0 billion in cash.
“Subject to declaration by the Board of Directors, the Company plans to initiate a quarterly dividend of .65 per share sometime in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2012, which begins on July 1, 2012,” the press release reads. “Additionally, the Company’s Board of Directors has authorized a billion share repurchase program commencing in the Company’s fiscal 2013, which begins on September 30, 2012. The repurchase program is expected to be executed over three years, with the primary objective of neutralizing the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employee stock purchase programs.”
“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure. You’ll see more of all of these in the future,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”
“Combining dividends, share repurchases, and cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs, we anticipate utilizing approximately billion of domestic cash in the first three years of our programs,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “We are extremely confident in our future and see tremendous opportunities ahead.”
Further details of these plans are being discussed at a conference call on Monday morning, with Apple warning analysts they “will not be providing an update on the current quarter nor will any topics be discussed other than cash” — which should squash any questions about how the new iPad performed.
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While a number of apps have been updated this week to take advantage of the new iPad’s Retina Display, more are still pouring into the App Store even as the tablet finally lands in customers’ hands. To help find them, Apple has added a new section to the App Store, highlighting many of them.
MacRumors is reporting that Apple has added a new section to iTunes and the App Store called “Great Apps for the New iPad.” The section currently highlights 27 apps which have received an update in the last few days to take advantage of the higher resolution display of the new iPad.
While we’ve already reported on some of the apps that got an early jump on an upgrade such as Tweetbot for iPad, Evernote and iStopMotion for iPad, other favorites include popular games such as Real Racing 2 HD (which seems to get a substantial upgrade with every new iOS hardware revision) and Infinity Blade II, RSS reader Reeder for iPad, Readability and even the ABC Player app, which also just became universal to add iPhone and iPod touch support.
There are also plenty of apps getting updated which aren’t being featured by Apple, including Cupertino’s best pal Vimeo and Evernote’s own Skitch for iPad. TechCrunch is also reporting that a number of others are expected to be approved by Apple soon, including Facebook, Flipboard and Wired — so keep refreshing that iTunes Store link to see what’s new!
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I was a little surprised to see this guy waiting for me on my desk this morning. Anyway, here it is! The new Apple TV! It looks…exactly like its predecessor. Even the ports on the back are the same. But it’s what on the inside that counts, right?
Let’s say you got your hands on some clearly marked beta software, and once you started using it, you find it’s a little buggy. Do you just stop using it until a new update comes out? Or do you try to get a refund?
If you are Frank M. Fazio of Brooklyn, you forego either of those choices and just sue instead. Sounds reasonable, right? No?
Cue the “dun dun” and let’s get into the annoying details.
Fazio vs. Apple
On March 6, 2012, Fazio filed a lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court, claiming that the Siri feature that came with his iPhone 4S didn’t perform like the commercials he saw on television. According to the lawsuit, when Fazio used the Siri beta software on his iPhone 4S, he sometimes found that either Siri did not understand what he asked, or “after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer.”
Apparently, the slick commercials that Apple produced for Siri didn’t demonstrate these occasional bugs that would eventually plague Fazio. According to the lawsuit, Apple “knew or should have known that the iPhone 4S does not perform in accordance with the advertisements, marketing materials, and warranties disseminated” and that Siri is “at best, a work-in-progress.” Also known as beta software.
So…in other words, Siri is beta software, right Fazio?
In summary, Fazio’s lawyers, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, are building a case that the Siri does not work; that the iPhone 4S is distinguished from previous versions of the only because of Siri; that consumers purchased the iPhone 4S over other smartphones specifically because of Siri; that the iPhone 4S cost more than other iPhones; and that this scam was perpetrated by Apple through an extensive nationwide marketing campaign.
The fact is, the iPhone 4S was a significant upgrade. The device shipped with a processor that was two-times faster, graphics that were seven-times the power, an upgraded 8-megapixel camera, 1080p video recording, an upgraded operating system, and of course, Siri. The much touted voice-activated software has indeed received a lot of hype, but Apple is very clear that Siri is still in beta, which universally means it may be a little buggy sometimes. Either way, to say the iPhone 4S is only or even predominantly distinguished from previous iPhones is just not accurate.
Consumers are generally aware of this, which is why they continue to buy each new Apple iOS device in record numbers. It is not just one app or a specific feature that continually brings Apple users to the holy alter of Cupertino for the latest technological blessing, it is faith in a superior product. Betas get updated, bugs get fixed, and one can safely assume that Siri will continue to improve as well.
Finally, the claim that the iPhone 4S cost more than previous iPhones is based on the fact that when Apple released the latest device, they discounted the previous version. Which was pretty cool. However, the price point of 9 has been consistent for the last few iPhone releases. Apple strives to consistently upgrade each of their products while keeping the prices the same (or less) for the consumer, and they once again succeeded with the iPhone 4S pricing.
Of course, if Fazio was truly disappointed with the product, he could have returned it. Instead, we have this hot mess of a lawsuit. And although he is seeking unspecified damages, the lawsuit clearly points out how much financial success Apple has had selling the iPhone 4S, and there can be no mistake what Fazio is after.
The courts don’t look kindly on high-profile, frivolous lawsuits. Here’s hoping Apple’s vaunted legal team brings their A-game and can knock this one out of the park. For Sirious, yo.
You already knew that Apple was releasing the new iPad on Friday, March 16, but now the company has confirmed what time their retail stores will open on that fateful day in the U.S. and nine other countries around the world.
Apple has announced that the new iPad will go on sale this Friday, March 16 at 8am local time in the company’s retail and online stores. In addition to the United States, the coveted tablet will also arrive simultaneously in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K. as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The new iPad features a stunning new Retina™ display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a five-megapixel iSight® camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video and still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life while remaining amazingly thin and light,” Apple’s press release reads. “iPad Wi-Fi + 4G supports ultrafast 4G LTE networks in the US and Canada, and fast 3G networks around the world including those based on HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA. Additionally, iPad 2 is available at a more affordable price starting at just 9.”
Apple’s press release also notes that the new iPad will roll out to another batch of international customers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden starting March 23.
U.S. customers will also have the choice of buying a new iPad at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart as well as direct from 4G LTE carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Those lucky enough to get their preorders in last week should be seeing a UPS or FedEx truck pulling up to their door sometime on Friday as well.
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Developers are starting to update their apps for the new iPad’s Retina Display, which both AT&T and Verizon have now announced will be available in their own retail stores this Friday. Can you feel the excitement? If not, chances are you decided to sit out the new iPad — or maybe you just don’t get that excited over objects made of glass and metal. In that case, sit back and read up on what else might be happening this Tuesday, March 13, 2012.
Report: Apple Subpoenaed in Google Federal Antitrust Probe
According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is beefing up its antitrust case against search giant Google, reportedly issuing subpoenas to onetime friend, current frenemy Apple Inc. “seeking information on how the computer maker uses the search engine on the iPhone and iPad.” Among the request are documents showing how Google was made “the preferred search engine on Apple’s mobile devices,” according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly or even be identified. “The subpoena indicates the FTC is intensifying its scrutiny of Google’s business practices,” the report reveals. “Details of the Apple-Google relationship may show whether Google is abusing its dominance of Internet search to boost revenue in the mobile phone advertising market.” Curiously, the move comes at a time when Apple seems to be shifting away from Google’s services, recently swapping their Maps service for an open-source service in the new iPhoto app, for example.
Tweetbot for iPad Goes Retina, Adds Streaming
If you’re waiting impatiently for that new Retina Display iPad to be delivered on Friday, you might want to kill some time in the App Store, where developers are already pushing out updates to your favorite apps to take advantage of the higher-resolution screen. Tweetbot is among them, with a new version 2.1 update for the iPad that beefs up the graphics as well as adding streaming, which will continually update your timeline while the app is open (but only via Wi-Fi, and it can be disabled in settings). That “new tweets” sound is likewise limited to mentions, direct messages and new tweets, but only when you pull-to-refresh. Tweetbot 2.1 also brings version number parity to the iPad edition along with TweetMarker improvements and the ability to double-tap on the timeline tab to view the last read tweet before jumping to the top of the screen. Tweetbot for iPad 2.1 is a 25MB download from the App Store, free for existing users but only .99 for everyone else. (The iPhone 2.1 version will be following soon.)
AT&T, Verizon Confirm Sales of New iPad Starting March 16
MacRumors is reporting that both AT&T and Verizon Wireless have been busy thumping their chests today, making sure everyone knows they’ll have their respective 4G LTE-equipped new iPads in stock on Friday, March 16 in case you want to skip the mobs at Apple’s retail stores and go directly to the carriers. While AT&T offers a much more limited range of 4G LTE coverage, the carrier does offer a cheaper .99 per month plan for 250MB of data, which also nets you free AT&T Wi-Fi Hotspot access at over 29,000 locations. For their part, Verizon is busy making sure you know that they’re the only iPad carrier currently offering Personal Hotspot, which is bundled free with any of their 4G LTE month-to-month plans and allows up to five other devices to share the high-speed goodness. Verizon is also the only one offering a 10GB plan for per month, which you might want to consider before you go sharing the LTE love with those around you.
Rdio Challenges Spotify with Desktop App, Social Updates
Spotify, you have been challenged. The Rdio Blog today announced “a new Rdio” service, touted as “faster, simpler and more social.” The new design is now available on both the Rdio.com website as well as the company’s desktop apps for all Web and Unlimited subscribers. A new look and feel cuts down on the navigation, keeping your music, playlists and network in one view, while entire albums can now be added to playlists, something the company claims is one of their most-requested features. If your friends have the same good taste you do, you can listen along to what they’re playing in real-time with just a click, or share your own tastes with friends on Facebook, Twitter or via email. About the only bad news is that the redesign isn’t yet available to moochers — er, free users — but the company says it “will be available in the near future.” In the meantime, you’re encouraging to cough up some dough and jump on the Web or Unlimited plans, should your curiosity be too much to bear…
Apple Moves to Deter iPad Scalpers in Hong Kong
As much as we love our Apple gadgets here in America, it seems the obsession runs far deeper in Asian countries. The Next Web is reporting that Apple has taken steps to ward off new iPad scalpers in Hong Kong come this Friday, posting notices around their flagship store at the IFC Mall that the tablet will not be available on a first-come, first-served basis the way it is here. “No staying or queueing up here,” the note reads in both Chinese and English, as first noted by Engadget China (and shown above). “Apple will not serve on a first come first serve basis for new iPad. Please refer to Apple’s official website for the detailed arrangement.” This “detailed arrangement” is simply the company’s Reserve and Pickup program, requiring a visit to the Apple website to first reserve the iPad prior to heading to the store to pick it up, a service that begins in Hong Kong on Thursday morning. No doubt the company hopes to avoid the chaos that erupted during the recent iPhone 4S launch in China, although the scalpers appear to be changing tactics by queuing up outside to offer cash for those iPads as they’re picked up. Good luck with that one, guys…
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(Image courtesy of The Next Web and Engadget China)
Confirming Friday’s report that new iPad preorder ship dates have slipped past this Friday’s launch date, Apple says that demand for the new tablet has been “off the charts” — with many eager buyers already lining up outside Apple retail stores to make sure they get one on March 16.
USA Today is reporting that Apple has now confirmed selling out their preorder stock on the new iPad. After slipping to a March 19 ship date on Friday, Apple’s online store is now showing ship dates of two to three weeks for all models and colors of this year’s edition, with the iPad 2 models shipping in one to three business days.
“Customer response to the new iPad has been off the charts and the quantity available for pre-order has been purchased,” Apple said in a statement. “Customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.”
With no more preorder units to sell, early adopters will now be forced to head to their latest Apple Store or authorized retailer come Friday, March 16 in the hopes of grabbing one. According to Cult of Mac, the new iPad is likely to once again have customers lined up around the block — particularly since some lines have already started to form five days ahead of time.
“There’s still just under four days to go until the third-generation device goes on sale, but that hasn’t stopped the lines from forming,” the report reveals. “Ali and Zohaib are the first two people to set up camp outside of Apple’s Regent Street store in London.”
Those plum spots are already highly coveted, too: The pair claims they were approached by a passer-by on the street who offered to buy their place in line for the cost of an iPad!
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(Image courtesy of CNBC)
Happy “new iPad” Day! It’s been a long day for those of us here at MacLife.com, pecking away at our keyboards until our fingers are mere nubs, all in the name of getting you, the dear readers, the latest and greatest Apple news as quickly as (in)humanly possible. But the new iPad and a new Apple TV aren’t the only surprises from Cupertino today — you’ll be busy this evening downloading lots and lots of updates, so here are the ones you’ll be looking for this fine Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
Apple Releases iTunes 10.6 with 1080p HD, iTunes Match Improvements
As usual for a day filled with so many Apple product announcements, the Mac and Windows software at the heart of it all — that would be iTunes — has also received some attention today. Shortly after today’s festivities in San Francisco wrapped up, Apple pushed a button (or maybe pulled a lever) in Cupertino to unleash the hounds and bring you iTunes 10.6. The marquee feature of today’s update is “the ability to play 1080p HD movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store,” but those of you ponying up .99 per year for iTunes Match may be more excited by a trio of other improvements. “This release also includes many improvements for iTunes Match, including improved song matching, improved album artwork handling, downloading and display and addresses an issue where songs may skip when playing from iCloud.” Those all sound like good reasons to head to Software Update — or the Apple website — and get your download on.
Apple TV Version 5.0 Brings Updated Interface to Second-Gen Model
MacRumors is reporting that Apple has begun pushing its new Apple TV Version 5.0 update to current users of the second-generation media box. The announcement of a new Apple TV today created some question as to whether or not the older model would see a software update with the new user interface, and Apple hasn’t wasted any time doing so. Owners of the older model won’t benefit from 1080p HD playback since the A4 processor can’t handle it, but you will receive the new icon-based UI as well as “other enhancements such as support for direct Netflix billing” to your iTunes account. If you’re currently enjoying a jailbroken Apple TV, the makers of aTV Flash are warning users to hold off upgrading until they’re able to tackle the latest update.
App Update Armageddon: Apple Coughs Up New Versions
Hey, we love our app updates — it gives us a giddy little boost to see that a new version of an app is available, even if we’ll just open it once to see what’s new and then never touch it again until the next update. But Apple is going hog wild with the updates today — and we’re not just talking about the new iPhoto or the previously reported Retina Display-friendly versions of iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers or Keynote. If you don’t believe us, just do an update check in iTunes right now — seriously, we’ll wait. While not all of Apple’s apps received an update today, you’ll definitely find new versions available for Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, iBooks, Remote and iTunes U, which is a pretty good chunk of the company’s iOS offerings. Most of the updates enable Retina Display support for the new iPad, but Remote also adds support for iTunes Match on the Apple TV, as well as the expected bug fixes and stability improvements, which are always welcome. The Mac also got a little love today, with new Xcode 4.3.1, iBooks Author 1.1 and iPhoto 9.2.2 updates — the latter adds the ability to delete photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream, so we’d stand by for a similar update to Aperture soon as well. They’re all free updates, and you know where to find them.
Apple Release iOS 5.1 Software Update
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users: To the software update cave! Apple made only the briefest mention of it at today’s media event, but iOS 5.1 is now available to make your existing device feel all fresh and new again. There’s a long list of changes, but the big ones include Japanese support for Siri, the ability to delete photos from Photo Stream (yay!), camera face detection now highlighting all detected faces, a redesigned Camera app for the iPad, Genius Mixes and playlists for iTunes Match subscribers and optimized audio for TV shows and movies on the iPad “to sound clearer and louder.” iOS 5.1 also promises to squash a few more battery life-related bugs, and read on to find out why AT&T users are suddenly upgraded to 4G. (Trust us, it’s worth the read!)
iOS 5.1 Brings 4G Status to AT&T iPhone 4S Users (Say What?!)
First noted by the folks over at Cult of Mac, iPhone 4S users might get a little surprise after installing today’s iOS 5.1 update — assuming you’re not on Wi-Fi all the time. That little “3G” icon in the upper left corner might just be replaced with a “4G,” depending on where you are in the country. Before you get excited, no, your device didn’t just magically gain the powers of 4G LTE through a simple software update — rather, the change reflects a connection to AT&T’s HSPA+ network. You’ll still get the same data rates that you did yesterday, but now you might feel a bit better about them from seeing that 4G icon. Of course, now that the new iPad has true 4G LTE — a likely sign that the next iPhone may gain the same superpowers — we won’t blame you for being super-confused in the meantime.
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