Posts tagged Apple

Apple Announces WWDC Dates, Institutes Lottery For Registration

Apple today announced the dates and registration for its World Wide Developer Conference. WWDC will be held at Moscone West in San Francisco this year from June 2 through June 6. Registration for WWDC begins today and lasts until April 7 at 10 a.m. PDT. 

Just like Google did with its I/O developer conference this year, Apple has changed the registration process for WWDC. In previous years, WWDC sold out in minutes, frustrating developers who did not the opportunity to sign up. Moscone West can only hold 6,000 people, making for limited seats and high demand. So this year Apple is using a lottery system for WWDC registration. Developers that sign up betweeen today and April 7 will be put in a pool and then be randomly selected by Apple. Those who score tickets will be informed by Apple by 5 p.m. PDT on April 7.

If chosen, tickets for WWDC will be $1,599 and purchase must be completed by April 14th. Interested developers need to sign in with their developer accounts and submit their information through the Apple developer portal. Only current iOS Developer Program, iOS Developer Enterprise Program, or Mac Developer Program may register and must have current Apple developer accounts as of the announcement of WWDC, 5:30 a.m. PDT April 3.

At WWDC this year Apple will likely show off the latest version of iOS, considered to be iOS 8. Health and fitness will be a big goal of Apple’s as leaks have shown it is working on a “Healthbook” app to be the de facto source of fitness information for iOS users. New versions of the Xcode integrated developer environment an Mac OS X will likely be on tap as well.

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Why Apple & Samsung Are Suing Each Other, Yet Again

You’re a parent looking over two unruly children. They are both large for their age and tend to push around the other kids on the playground with little regard for physical or emotional harm. The two children constantly bicker, extort each other for prominence and make broad exaggerated claims about what is rightfully theirs before attacking each other with claws and teeth, rolling around in the sand and fallen leaves, screaming bloody murder.

When you separate the two, they will both claim moral high ground and that the other is just an abusive bully that’s been stealing from the other for years. Between the two, they dominate the playground, creating an atmosphere where the other kids don’t get any attention and struggle to be heard. What do you do with these children?

These two children are named Apple and Samsung.

The battle is an ongoing curiosity to the rest of the technology industry, but the only tangible effect to be found in this latest standoff between the two corporate giants is pride and profit. Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets will continue to be made, as will iPhones and iPads.

Sitting in the corner, carefully watching and ready to step in, is big brother Google, looking to protect its own interests. 

New Patent Trial Pitting The Galaxy Against The iPhone

Today, Apple and Samsung begin another round of a tired story: a court trial where Apple is suing Samsung over patents found in smartphones. Apple has five software patents it claims Samsung to be infringing, while Samsung has a countersuit alleging Apple violated two of its own patents. The devices involved in the suit were released in 2012 and include the immensely popular Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.

Apple is asking for a settlement that would include $40 per device that Samsung sold, which could total about $2 billion. In an almost comical twist (and a game of legal maneuvering), Samsung is only asking for about $7 million from Apple. The jury trial will be officiated by Judge Lucy Koh in the U.S. District Court of North California in San Jose.

Of course, we have already been down this road. Apple and Samsung had a patent battle in 2012 in the same U.S. court where a jury awarded Apple a $1.2 billion settlement. A Samsung appeal trimmed that settlement by about $450 million before a jury retrial added $230 million or so back to the settlement. As it stands now, Samsung owes Apple about $930 million (and is still appealing). 

The Patents In Question

Apple has five patents on the line this time around, all of which fall into the “utility” category. This means the patents involve software that helps users navigate their smartphones and tablets. But this time, Apple will not use “design” patents (the general look of a device) as it has against Samsung in the past. 

Included in these patents is the ‘647 “data tapping” patent that has become Apple’s biggest stick against rival smartphone manufacturers. The ‘647 patent controls the ability to put a link on a screen and click (or tap) it to access other information. For instance, if there is a calendar invite in your email, you could click on it to take you to your calendar app to schedule a meeting.

The ‘647 patent was awarded in 1996, before Steve Jobs came back to Apple and brought the NeXT operating system with him that begat Mac OS X and influenced iOS, the software for the iPhone and iPad. The patent is so broad and ill-defined that Apple has been able to successfully use it against the likes of HTC in past court cases—and win. 

The other four patents include the ‘721 “slide-to-unlock” software, which Apple uses to activate the home screen on iOS devices; the ‘959 patent for universal search that Apple uses in Siri; the ‘414 patent that describes background syncing of data; and the ‘172 patent that covers predictive text for when a user starts typing a word on a smartphone or tablet.

Samsung’s patents named in the countersuit include features that speed up Wi-Fi and data connections.

The knock against Apple in this case is that they are putting a huge amount of weight on five patents that have, for the most part, been worked around at this point by the likes of Google (which is the primary contributor to the Android operating system that runs Galaxy devices) and manufacturers. Most smartphones these days have upwards of 200,000 patents that touch the technology inside, yet Apple thinks these five patents are so critical to its success that Samsung owes it billions of dollars. The farcical twist in Samsung’s $7 million damages request is to prove that any single individual patent has so little to do with the overall functioning of a smartphone that Apple’s request is an insult.

While the trial is ostensibly between Apple and Samsung, this particular suit touches closer to the heart of Android—and therefore Google—than previous suits.

The Proxy War On Google & Android

Except for the imbroglio between Google and Oracle over the use of Java in Android in 2012, no companies have really brought Google to trial over patents and software in Android. Yes, the Rockstar Consortium has filed patents against Google and several Android manufacturers, but the case is a bit dubious and has yet to go to trial.

Samsung’s primary defense this time around is to say that four of the five patents (outside of the slide-to-unlock patent) are part of the Android OS. The potential witness list features Google employees, including Android founder and former head Andy Rubin. Samsung will rely on Google to get it through one more patent trial against Apple with the hope that this will be the last time Apple comes with its lawyers.

Should Consumers Or Developers Be Concerned?

The fact of the matter about this case (and other patent battles like it) is that the people these devices touch—consumers, businesses and developers—are not really going to be affected. The devices mentioned in this case are two years old, even though the Samsung Galaxy S3 still maintains a healthy secondary market while Apple stopped shipping the iPhone 5.

In the last court case, Apple was unable to secure injunctions against the import of infringing devices, which means it’s highly unlikely that Samsung would face a ban of Galaxy devices should it lose this suit.

If Apple loses on all counts, it will limit its ability to wage war with its five primary patent weapons, including its dangerous, opaque and ubiquitous ‘647 patent. If Samsung loses, it will once again fork over a chunk of money to Apple. Either way, this case will go through several rounds of appeals and no tangible effect will be felt in the ecosystem until long after these devices are off the market.

Google and other Android manufacturers could stand to lose if Apple is successful, but it should be noted that the five patents in the case are able to be worked around. Android Linkify is one way that Google has avoided the ‘647 patent in the past, for instance. 

In the end, the mud, sand, fallen leaves, bruises and scratches will go to the reputations of Apple, Samsung and the U.S. patent system, which has long allowed for software patents that are so broad and ill-defined that it’s hard to see what it actually governs.

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Apple Applies For “Transparent Texting” Patent, Allowing Users To Safely Text And Walk by @mattsouthern

A recently published patent was discovered this week by AppleInsider that would make it safer for iPhone users to text and walk. The patent, applied for back in 2012, details a feature that would capture the environment ahead of the user with the iPhone’s rear camera and display it on the screen while the user is […]

Author information

Matt Southern

Matt Southern is a marketing, communications and public relations professional. He provides strategic digital marketing services at an agency called Bureau in Ontario, Canada. He has a bachelors degree in communication and an unparalleled passion for helping businesses get their message out.

The post Apple Applies For “Transparent Texting” Patent, Allowing Users To Safely Text And Walk by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Apple Broadening App-Store Search With Related Keywords

Mobile app discovery continues to be a challenge for most developers. Quixey (across platforms) and Google (on Android) are trying to address that challenge by indexing deep links within apps. For its part, Apple appears to be trying to broaden App Store search with related keywords. When entering…

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How I Moved Away From The Mac After Leaving Apple

After nearly 20 years, one of the first things I did upon leaving Apple in July 2004 was to have my area associate—who was still an Apple employee—order me an employee-discounted 15″ aluminum PowerBook. It was a natural thing.

Apple products began populating my desk starting in the summer of 1982 when I bought one of the first bundles of Apple II+ machines to arrive in Maritime Canada. But more than two decades later, in September 2004, just a month after getting my new PowerBook, I ordered myself a Dell Pentium desktop running Windows XP.

A Big Transition

There were three reasons for my decision to buy a Windows computer: I wanted a platform where I could do some GPS work, I thought I would need Windows experience for my next job, and I wanted to bring up a Linux system, which I did. (The first real foray into the GPS world would have to wait a few years for the arrival of Google and Android.)

Having a Dell system among the collection of Macs in my office was also a way to see how the majority of the computing world was surviving on a platform which I had sold against for years.

I needed to learn just how much of “the Apple story” (that had been my life up to that point) was reality, and what was hype. I had no intention of transferring all my work to Windows XP, so that December, I purchased a dual G5 from Apple. At $1,795, I thought it was the best product that I could get my hands on to focus on the graphics, web and photography work that had always been part of my life even as Apple’s director of federal sales.

Fast forward to late 2012—my office gets its latest technology refresh. The first product I buy is a first-generation Lenovo Yoga, the second is an I5 Lenovo desktop, and the third is a Mac mini, which is really more of a token Mac than anything else. It’s the only other functional Mac in the house besides that old dual G5 purchased way back when. My main laptop for office use was—and still is—a 15” I7 Lenovo laptop.

Spurning The Mac

My family of five once owned well over a dozen Macintoshes—not counting my collection of old Macs. Strangely enough, no one in my family owns an iPhone and the only iPods are relics stored in drawers.

So how did someone—who bled rainbow colors alongside his family for so many years, and led arguably one of the most successful enterprise sales teams in Apple’s history—end up using a Lenovo Yoga as his favorite travel computer?

(What’s even more amazing is my wife gave up her beloved 12″ aluminum Powerbook in February of 2010. Four years later, she remains quite happy with her Windows 7 laptop from 2010, even though she complains every once in awhile about the lack of a Mac address book.) 

There was no conscious effort to move away from Macs, at least in the early years; it’s been quite a long journey. When my Powerbook G4 died an early death roughly 18 months after I purchased it, I ordered an Intel MacBook in 2006 and a 26” I5 iMac in 2010.  I had good reasons for keeping Macs in my life.

Living With Windows

More than anything, the Mac’s fall from the top spot in my digital life was caused by jobs that took me deeper into a predominantly Windows world.

Windows was required by my job, and Apple’s machines were failing on me. Two of my Macs suffered premature hardware failures, and even though my faithful Intel MacBook eventually experienced total death, it still got me through the Windows Vista experience single-handedly.

Having a deeper understanding of Windows was inevitable with every job I had:

  • After Apple, I was a vice president at a small federal contractor that dealt a lot with large system integrators. While my sales team at Apple had a lot of success selling to the scientific community in the federal space, we had only started to touch the federal integration market, with products like Xserve, by the time my Apple career ended. But for the most part, federal integrators and contractors, including the one I worked for, were almost exclusively Windows users, so I bought a Dell laptop in 2005 so as not to be the only Mac user in a room of 50 people.
  • The following year, when I started my job as vice president of sales and marketing in an email services startup, I was the only one of 45 employees who used a Mac. The team there was far from old; there were only four employees, myself included, who were over 30 years old. Much of the software we used was web-based, but there were things that were easier to get done on Windows. I eventually ended up carrying two laptops for my work there: my Dell, and my Intel MacBook.
  • When I was ready for my next career switch—this time I would tackle the world of real estate—I had already donated my Dell laptop to my daughter so she could finish up her business degree. I was determined to use a Mac for real estate, and with the help of my home Pentium Windows XP system, I managed to do it for almost nine months. At one point, I felt like I was thriving in a Windows world with a Mac.   

By October 2007, the reality of living in a Windows-centric world had finally sunk in. Real estate forms were simply unavailable on the Mac, and that was huge for me. The Mac could also no longer print to our office printer—a software issue, no surprise. It simply didn’t make any economic sense to buy a more capable Mac laptop just for the sake of running Windows virtually.

One system I needed to use required running Internet Explorer and something called a “SecurID card.” I had my doubts I could get the system to work on my Mac unless I dual-booted it into Windows, but if I did that, I might as well own a Windows computer. So I bought an inexpensive HP laptop for my real estate needs.

For quite some time, I came to work with two laptops. Sometimes I would get a lot of work done while waiting for the HP loaded with Vista to boot; eventually, when Vista got better, I started noticing some problems that gradually eroded my loyalty to the Mac platform. 

The Windows Advantage

By early 2010, my wife’s 12” G4 PowerBook was so slow that even the Washington Post’s minimalist webpage wouldn’t load. I wanted to buy her a new laptop within a reasonable $1,300 budget, but my Apple friends kept assuring me that no company was actually shipping Intel’s new series processors in their laptops—I would just have to wait for a while.

I had no intention of buying my wife a premium-priced Mac with an outdated processor (the Intel Core 2 Duo), but around that time I saw a special at Staples for HP laptops with the new Intel processors. I was stunned—my Apple friends told me it wasn’t real. I ordered my wife a 14” I5 laptop, and got myself a 15” I7 laptop.

The two HP laptops together cost less than $1,500 and both computers showed up in a few days, even though Apple folks maintained the processors weren’t shipping in any products any time soon. It would take a few months before Apple could announce similar products—which, of course, were also priced much higher.

After a year, our Windows 7 experience was flawless. In February of 2011, I wrote a post where I said this:

First off Windows 7 is an exceptionally reliable operating system. It is just a few days shy of a year since my wife and I both started using Windows 7. There have been no problems either hardware or software related with the systems.  That is no as in none. That is a pretty heady accomplishment for a brand new operating system running on new processors. The systems have not crashed, locked up, or misbehaved in way that I have been able to determine.

That Windows laptop turned out to be such positive experience that I quit using my MacBook altogether, with the exception of iPhoto, thanks to its bigger hard drive and more robust memory.

The Apple addict I am, I eventually relapsed in the fall of 2010 and ordered an I5 iMac—I had started working on a project involving CAD and web development, so I felt I needed a Mac—but that particular computer is when the wheels really started coming off the Apple wagon.

The iMac and I never hit it off. I had to buy the huge 26″ model to get an I5 processor and I hated the positioning of the SD slot right under the DVD slot. Less than a year later, in summer 2011, problems with iPhoto caused me to pull the plug on my favorite Macintosh application, iPhoto, altogether.

In January 2012, I bought my first Lenovo—an I7 laptop with a 15″ screen, 8GB of RAM and Office—for under $1,000. That Lenovo laptop became my main computer in the face of my dying iMac. To this day, it is still a workhorse in my office. I eventually handed down my older HP laptop to one of my daughters, whose lampshade iMac was dying a slow and painful death at the time.

By spring of 2012, my 16-month-old iMac was not running well and none of my Apple system engineer friends could offer any solutions. It was not long before I was running the iMac off an external hard drive and I eventually ended up writing a ReadWrite article about the computer I called my “iLemon.” 

Striking A Balance

When I went to buy a travel laptop in late 2012, I could not find a Mac that had an integrated SD card for under $1,000. So, I bought an I5 Lenovo Yoga for $999 (which comes with a bonus—a touchscreen), as well as a $479 Lenovo desktop to run all of my photo editing tools and applications like Lightroom and Picasa.

I still use the Macintosh for certain things but I have to admit being a Mac user has become too much trouble. While my son and I recently resurrected my I5 iMac, we did so only so I could own a backup Mac system in case my Mac Mini fails. That computer, after all, experienced some challenges before OS X Mavericks came along, but my new job requires a system that runs Pages and Keynote—Apple’s answers to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, respectively—so I can’t rely on Windows completely just yet. 

My Modern Setup

If you look at my desk today, you’ll see the I7 Lenovo laptop, the Mac mini, and the Lenovo I5 desktop. On another table, you’ll see a hardly-used but newly-resurrected I5 26” iMac.

It is perhaps the ultimate irony that I now work for a company, WideOpen Networks, that is Mac-centric.  We create our proposals in Pages and our presentations in Keynote. 

Even though I’m back in a Mac environment, which is how I started my journey, there are still things I like better on Windows. Some of these things I’ll choose not to mention for fear of inciting the wrath of Mac users everywhere, since many of those people will refuse to believe anything can possibly be better in the world of Windows. 

My most recent Kindle book, 100 Pictures, 1000 Words, A Crystal Coast Year, was written and compiled in Microsoft Word on my Lenovo desktop running Windows 8.1. The images were all catalogued and edited using Lightroom on my Windows desktop. I still needed my Mac for a few things—I resized all my images on Pixelmator and edited the filtered HTML for the Kindle using TextWrangler—but many of these things could have been easily done on Windows. 

Obviously I am not your normal computer—check out these pictures of my desktop and you’ll see what I mean—but my transition from Mac to Windows was also affected, and hastened, by decisions made at Apple.

Apple makes high-quality products, I can’t argue otherwise. However, my personal experience with Apple products is that they’ve failed more than the Windows products I’ve purchased since leaving Apple. Call it luck of the draw, but the only Apple product I’ve owned in the last decade that hasn’t any problems is my dual G5 tower, which still works fine for a nine-year-old computer.

My career at Apple revolved around making customers happy, and keeping them that way. And even though I was challenged to solve some of the Mac problems that came to the attention of Steve Jobs, I’m still not accustomed to seeing Macs experiencing as many problems as they do.

Many of the issues I’ve experienced are specific and circumstantial, namely having to do with changes in the interface and efficacy of Apple’s photo apps for the Mac. But in general, for Web-centric people like me, Apple’s struggles to figure out the Web—from to .Mac, MobileMe and iCloud—have been frustrating to say the least. These changes have cost me a lot of time and work rescuing images and webpages that Apple decided that they could not longer host.

The other issue with Apple, to me, is its attitude. I would’ve felt better about my failing products if Apple was willing to repair the problems. When I was at the company, I held great expectations for our products and made certain that customers served by my team stood behind Apple’s products. Unfortunately, I am not certain I feel the same commitment from the new Apple. 

What’s worse is that Apple’s poor attitude towards hardware issues rubs off on its customers.

Amidst the series of problems that ensued with nearly every Mac I purchased over the years, I still hung to Apple’s platform. But for some reason, there are a number of Mac users out there that will blame you for the problem, regardless what it is, and heap shame upon you for suggesting the world’s richest company should solve a hardware/software problem that you caused. It is radically different mindset from the worlds of Windows or Linux, where most people tend to relate to your problems and end up blaming Microsoft, or perhaps the hardware manufacturer.

In the end, technology products are a bit like sausages and hot dogs. Most of us love to eat one now and then, but we’d rather not know how they’re made or what goes into them. I still remember how, at Apple, we met federal requirements for government laptops by having Powerbooks assembled and tested in China, but then taken apart and shipped to California for reassembly. Maybe I just know too much about Apple and its products to be able to enjoy the taste these days.

All that said, all is not lost for the Mac. I prefer Mavericks much more than the last two previous iterations of OS X, and like any technology company, Apple is always one magical product away from getting customers to forget their old problems and fall in love all over again.

Images by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite

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How iOS 8 Will Fix Apple Maps

When you think of “Apple” and “maps” in the same sentence, you usually think of that unmitigated disaster back in late 2012 when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own homegrown solution as the default navigation app in iOS 6. Boy, did that go wrong.

In the immediate aftermath of the “Maps” debacle—highlighted by an endless litany of bugs and laughable inaccuracies that directed traffic into rivers and onto airport runways—Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a sincere apology and the company fired the manager responsible for Maps in iOS 6, as well as longtime iOS chief Scott Forstall, in one big management shakeup

Two years later, iOS has mostly stabilized, but iPhone and iPad customers still feel the ripple effects from iOS 6 Maps. It’s still far behind offerings from Google and Nokia in terms of depth and breadth—but that might finally change this year with the release of iOS 8.

The Great Migration Back To Apple Maps

Two years ago, Apple Maps in iOS 6 was such a disaster that some reports at the time said the reintroduction of Google Maps to the iOS App Store later that year actually helped drive adoption of the controversial iOS update. 

Google Maps was leagues ahead of Apple Maps two years ago—and still is, in many respects—but recent studies show Apple is catching up in a big way.

According to the most recent insights from ComScore, Apple Maps gained 35 million regular users from September 2012 to September 2013, while Google Maps users across iOS and Android dropped from 81 million in 2012 to just 58.7 million in 2013.

On the iPhone, the numbers are stacked in Apple’s favor. Whereas Apple Maps gained 35 million new users in the last year, just 6 million iPhone users rely on Google Maps—and according to The Guardian, one-third of those individuals use Google Maps because they simply haven’t upgraded to iOS 6 or iOS 7.

In other words, Apple Maps is finally becoming the default app for most iPhone users. Still, despite the boost it received in iOS 7, Apple Maps still has a lot of growing up to do.

What Are Apple’s Cartographers Building In iOS 8?

Apple Maps has always looked pretty—especially with that 3D Flyover feature—but its navigation options have always left much to be desired. Apple Maps is great if you’re driving in a car, but if you hope to take a bike or a bus, train, or other means of public transportation from Point A to Point B, you’re simply out of luck.

Google Maps, among others, has Apple beat in terms of public transportation options, Street View and search functionality for local maps—but Apple is hoping to right many of these wrongs with this year’s release of iOS 8.

Apple had a busy year acquiring mapping companies in 2013, highlighted by a two-month spending spree over the summer. In July, Apple acquired Locationary, which focused on crowdsourcing location data for local businesses, and HopStop, which aggregated data from several hundred transit agencies to help mobile users commute via subway, bus, train, taxi, walking or biking. In August, Apple picked up Embark Inc., which owned 10 different iOS apps in the App Store that helped users navigate major cities’ transportation routes.

Months prior to its spree, Apple also dropped $20 million on a startup called WiFiSLAM, which allowed users to detect and navigate locations with pinpoint accuracy, including “step-by-step indoor navigation to product-level retail customer engagement to proximity-based social networking.” And based on “evidence and chatter from sources,” Apple may have also quietly purchased a mapping company called BroadMap, which prided itself on managing, sorting and analyzing mapping data.

If you’re keeping score at home, that means at least one-third of Apple’s 15 acquisitions in 2013 were for mapping companies. Clearly, Apple is serious about making its maps better—soon.

Areas Of Improvement

Apple Maps should see significant improvements in terms of more reliable data and more points of interest, but the one feature mobile users most crave is the ability to navigate from one place to the other via public transportation.

According to 9to5Mac, sources close to Apple say that in iOS 8, Maps will introduce public transportation options for buses, trains and subways for most major cities in the U.S.—including Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco—as well as highly-specific directions to and from major airports. Those same sources say users will also be able to choose if they want to get directions immediately, or if they want to receive directions for use at a later time.

Adding public transit options should help Apple better compete with Google Maps, which offers many similar options for planning public commutes either now or later. But two other areas Apple needs to improve on—local search and Street View—may also make an appearance in iOS 8.

Thanks to Apple’s various acquisitions, the company should have no trouble injecting its maps with more points of interest, but sources add Apple has tweaked the design of Maps to make the streets more visible and generally cleaner. With any luck, Apple has also improved the search function so you don’t need to type specific names of businesses to find whatever it is you’re looking for.

Apple may not have Google’s Street View—I don’t see cars with Apple logos driving around the city, do you?—but Apple might be working on a unique workaround for that problem. According to a patent granted to Apple in 2011, Apple might build augmented reality functionality for Apple Maps to allow users to see visible points of interest nearby using the compass embedded in every iPhone.

In other words, Apple’s version of Street View may look more like a 3D rendering of your town than photos of your actual town, but looking through your phone’s display should still help you understand what’s immediately around you just like Street View does.

And That’s Not All

Later this year, six different car manufacturers will begin depending on Apple Maps this year thanks to the company’s new integration with built-in car displays, called CarPlay. Originally dubbed “iOS in the Car”—promised as part of iOS 7—CarPlay can play music, make calls, receive messages, and most importantly, get directions.

CarPlay support finally arrived on Monday thanks to the arrival of iOS 7.1, but automakers should feel more at ease with Apple’s navigation platform once iOS 8 arrives later this year, since drivers will be primarily relying on that app for getting around, as well as finding local businesses. In fact, improving Maps for iOS 8 may have been the only way Apple was able to cut so many CarPlay deals in 2014.

This may be the first year Apple Maps finally appeases drivers and public commuters alike, but the new navigation app could also come with a few surprises. Apple might also use augmented reality to provide indoor maps for malls and buildings as well. Furthermore, Apple might also let other companies and apps integrate with Maps, which would not only provide additional visibility for Apple’s maps app, but would also make it the clear navigation app for iOS users and developers alike.

Besides improvements to Maps, iOS 8 is also expected to introduce an application called Healthbook, which is said to provide users with health information to better manage their fitness activity. Though Healthbook is a sure hint at Apple’s interest in wearable technologies (coughiWatchcough), integrating with Maps could allow users to visualize their fitness patterns throughout the day on a physical, interactive map.

It’s clear that Apple Maps will finally get the leg-up it needs to better compete with the longstanding navigation apps. But what remains to be seen is how the mapping and navigation incumbents plan on improving their own platforms this year to keep Apple at bay.

Lead image by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite; lower photos courtesy of Apple and Shutterstock

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Better Data, Public Transit Coming To Apple Maps In iOS 8

According to unnamed sources cited by 9to5mac, Apple’s forthcoming iOS 8 will see a number of improvements to its mapping product across platforms. The site says the next Apple mobile OS will offer: Better and more complete points of interest and business data Public transit information and…

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Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer Set To Retire

Apple’s chief financial officer and senior vice president Peter Oppenheimer will retire at the end of September this year after 18 years with the company. Oppenheimer, who has been the CFO of Apple for the last 10 years, will be replaced by Luca Maestri who is currently Apple’s vice president of finance and corporate controller.

Oppenheimer is best known to followers of Apple as the primary voice on Apple’s earning calls and as the lead for any financial statements that Apple makes. He started with Apple in 1996 at controller for the Americas.

Maestri joined Apple in 2013 after 25 years of experience. He was the CFO for the Nokia Siemens Network and Xerox. Maestri spent nearly 20 years in various financial leadership roles at General Motors and is known for his acumen in international finance.

Oppenheimer will begin to transition the job to Maestri in June before officially leaving at the end of September.

Image: Peter Oppenheimer via Apple

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CarPlay: Apple Finally Delivers iOS To Your Car’s Dashboard

On Monday, Apple reintroduced its “iOS in the Car” feature previewed last June. Now called CarPlay, Apple is giving vehicles the ability to serve as a second iPhone screen powered by Siri’s voice control functionality.

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo are currently exhibiting 2014 CarPlay-capable models at this week’s Geneva auto convention. According to Apple, just about every other car manufacturer will follow suit by 2015. 



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Apple Neglects Snow Leopard Again: It May Be Time To Upgrade

Apple has all but announced it will no longer support Mac computers running Snow Leopard, or OS X 10.6. 

On Tuesday, the company released an important update for Mavericks, or OS X 10.9, plus security updates for its two predecessors, Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7), but there was nothing for Snow Leopard or any other previously-released versions of OS X. All of the updates included a critical patch that resolved a major security exploit.

Snow Leopard hasn’t been issued an update since September 2013, which has led many to believe that the four-year-old operating system is being retired. Apple might be distancing itself from Microsoft’s tradition of supporting older operating systems for decades and beyond, a practice some call excessive. Microsoft’s Windows XP came out on October 25, 2001—more than 12 years ago—but Microsoft says it will continue supporting the system until April 8, 2014

Meanwhile, Snow Leopard has been around for just 4 years—since August 28, 2009—which explains why one in five Macs are still operating on that version of OS X. 

See also: Apple Celebrates 30 Years Of The Mac Computer

Perhaps Apple’s thinking is that there’s no reason for Snow Leopard users not to upgrade to OS X Mavericks, given that it’s now possible to upgrade directly from Snow Leopard to its latest OS—for free. Unlike previous $20 upgrades like Lion and Mountain Lion, Mavericks doesn’t cost a thing. 

Apple might have also retired Snow Leopard since it’s the last remaining operating system that supports 32-bit Macs, which contain first generation “Core” processors. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and all versions that followed, are 64-bit. (Apple’s newest iOS devices are also 64-bit.) 

It’s not the first time Apple has abandoned older machines after a major tech transition—ask anyone who has tried to upgrade the software on the older Mac Mini with a PowerPC processor. If you don’t own a 64-bit Mac, it’s now impossible to get upgrades. 

But the worst part? When Apple drops a platform, so does everyone else. Now it won’t be long until later versions of Chrome and Firefox no longer mesh with Snow Leopard. It’s just a shame how Apple customers are penalized if they haven’t purchased new Mac hardware since 2009.

Updated at 3:15pm PT on February 28 to clarify OS X Snow Leopard has not been officially retired, and removed the question about whether or not the recent OS X exploit exists in Snow Leopard (some ReadWrite commenters contend that it doesn’t).

Photo courtesy of Apple

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