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Updated: 52 min 23 sec ago
Apple has announced the all-new Mac Pro will be available to order starting Thursday, December 19. The Mac Pro features the latest Intel Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, PCIe-based flash storage, and ultra-fast ECC memory. Designed around a unified thermal core, the Mac Pro packs unprecedented performance into an aluminum enclosure that is 9.9 inches tall and one-eighth the volume of the previous generation. The Mac Pro is available starting at $2,999.
Apple announced that BEYONCÉ has become the fastest selling album ever on the iTunes Store worldwide with an unprecedented 828,773 albums sold in just its first three days. BEYONCÉ also broke the US first week album sales record with 617,213 sold and proved to be a global success, going to number one in 104 countries. The self-titled BEYONCÉ is the fifth solo studio album from Beyoncé and was made available exclusively worldwide on the iTunes Store on December 13. It is the artist’s first visual album and it represents Beyoncé’s biggest sales week ever.
To stage a Broadway show, director and choreographer Jeff Whiting has to keep track of dozens of dancers and thousands of steps. He’s found that iPad is the best tool for the job. Whiting uses a “show bible” to chart and organize every step of a production. “Before iPad,” Whiting says, “we had to document all the choreography and staging manually, by drawing on pieces of paper.” This could add up to thousands of sheets of paper. Whiting developed Stage Write, an exclusively iOS app that digitizes the entire process. “iPad frees me up to focus on the creativity, rather than the practicalities, of staging a Broadway musical,” he says.
To keep wind turbines running smoothly, Siemens Energy-Wind Service technicians work in tight spaces high above the ground, and often in extreme weather conditions. Now iPad makes their job a lot easier. Before iPad, technicians needed over a thousand pages of binders, manuals, and electrical plans to help them perform repairs. All these documents are now stored on iPad, which makes accessing information much simpler. Technicians also use iPad to troubleshoot, take photos, and collect data. “What wind service technicians do is critically important to the wind power industry,” says Jennifer Dillon, Siemens manager of business improvement. “We want to make their work as effective and as easy as we can. iPad helps us do that.”
As a part of Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15), code.org is organizing a worldwide campaign to get 10 million students of all ages to participate in the Hour of Code. It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics of programming. “The ability to code and understand the power of computing is crucial to success in today’s hyper-connected world,” says former Vice President Al Gore. Apple Retail Stores will also host one-hour workshops for children and teens throughout the United States on Dec. 11. Find a store and sign up today.
Apple has rolled out iBeacon technology at its 254 Apple Stores in the U.S., enabling shoppers to receive iPhone notifications about products and services via the Apple Store app. As the Associated Press reports, iBeacon transmitters use Bluetooth wireless technology to sense a shopper’s exact location inside an Apple Store and send messages based on the aisle or product a user is near. For example, customers walking by an iPhone table could receive messages offering to help them check their upgrade availability or see if they can get money for trading in an old phone. iBeacon technology is moving into other venues as well. The AP reports that Major League Baseball plans to use it next year to offer features like coupons and videos based on a user’s location in a ballpark.
Mark Post, the owner of Riviera Racing, uses iPad to get up to speed for thousand-mile off-road endurance races such as the Baja 1000. Preparation is complicated, and logistics can be daunting. During the race, the MotionX GPS HD app on iPad keeps the team’s support crew coordinated without the need for paper maps, charts, and checklists. An endurance race is a huge team effort, Post says. “There’s no chance to get the race right again. There’s no hitting replay. That’s why using iPad for our prerace logistics is critical.”
Azteca — one of Mexico’s leading broadcasters — produces some of that country’s most popular soap operas, known as telenovelas. To help satisfy growing worldwide demand, Azteca recently rolled out a fast-paced, all-digital video workflow based on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. Because of the large number of shows produced, editors ingest huge amounts of footage and must make fast turnarounds — and Final Cut Pro X makes the workflow quicker and more efficient. Encouraged by the rollout, Azteca is looking to take Final Cut Pro X beyond telenovela production and into other divisions. “We’re a really big corporation,” says Azteca’s Rubén Centineo. “So we’re looking to establish an all-digital workflow that other groups can use as well. And the products that Apple is offering today are the products we need to get there.”
After an almost decade-long absence, world-class speedskater Bridie Farrell is preparing for a comeback, and iPad is helping her in a big way. Farrell’s coaches are using iPad and the Dartfish Express app for in-depth video analysis of her performance. They evaluate her form, aerodynamics, and body language, and provide frame-by-frame feedback. iPad also simplifies the video recording process. “We’d have to lug around a laptop and camcorders, and so many wires and connections,” says trainer Robyn Mason. “With iPad, you don’t need to worry about any of that. It’s so much easier, so much more accessible.”
In a new video, Bloomberg.com reports that Apple has teamed up with Sportstec, a software program that provides quick edits of basketball game footage on an iOS device. The program lets players and coaches, who are provided with iPads, look at footage during a game or during halftime and make adjustments. “You can literally break down every single possession, who shot the ball, where on the floor, what was the result of the play,” says Sportstec vice president Anwar McQueen. Sportstec, whose program works exclusively on iOS devices, partners with 28 of the 30 NBA teams as well as many NCAA teams and the Olympic basketball teams.
The Procter & Gamble Company — a Fortune 500 firm that makes products such as Tide, Ivory soap, Pampers, and Crest — is using iPad and iPhone to improve its productivity and sales all around the world. The company has developed over 50 custom apps for use with its more than 25,000 iOS devices. In particular, sales teams utilize a suite of in-house apps to better manage sales processes worldwide. This has helped Procter & Gamble expand its thriving business operations in China, where its products reach 1.5 million stores. “iPhone and iPad enable our sales force globally to take a step ahead in productivity,” said Bob Fregolle of Procter & Gamble. “Our people are more productive, they’re enjoying their work more, and they’re connected in new ways.”
Tech columnist Ed Baig took to the court to test a new “smart basketball” equipped with nine sensors that communicate with an iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth wireless technology. The 94Fifty basketball and associated iOS app, made by InfoMotion Sports Technologies, tracks performance by measuring speed and pressure applied to the ball. It also coaches aspiring hoops stars with voice feedback. Users can work on drills or challenge other players. “My two small kids were engaged, and they were excited when they improved their scores,” Baig reports.
In a CNET article, author Chris Matyszczyk discusses a survey that puts iPhone at the top of young people’s holiday gift list. The survey, conducted for shopping website Ebates, asked 12- to 17-year-olds which gadget they most crave, and iPhone came in first. “These kids know their brands, and only 12 percent of them were most desperate for a Samsung Galaxy phone, as opposed to 32 percent for Apple’s offering,” Matyszczyk writes. “Indeed, the second most desired gadget was another Apple product: the iPad.”
The first iPad Air reviews are in from The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, and others. And the reaction is overwhelmingly positive. Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal says iPad Air is “raising the bar,” calling the redesign a “feat of design and engineering.” He notes the battery test “far exceeded Apple’s claim” and “blew me away.” Ed Baig of USA Today declares iPad Air the best yet and “better than its already best of breed predecessors, superior still to each and every rival big screen slate that I’ve tested. Apple dominates the tablet apps ecosystem. Its tablet remains the easiest to use.” Damon Darlin at The New York Times writes, “Compared with the other tablets on the market, Apple still holds the edge.” He highlights many of iPad Air’s key features including size, battery life, processing power, storage, and Wi-Fi with MIMO. On his blog, David Pogue is impressed with the battery life, speed, and design of iPad Air, stating, “Somehow, Apple was able to put the iPad on such a radical diet without sacrificing any of its features.”
Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results; iPhone Sales Grow 26 Percent to Set New September Quarter Record
Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter ended September 28, 2013. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $37.5 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.5 billion, or $8.26 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $36 billion and net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 37 percent compared to 40 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue. The Company sold 33.8 million iPhones, a record for the September quarter, compared to 26.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 14.1 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 14 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.6 million Macs, compared to 4.9 million in the year-ago quarter.
In a recent Los Angeles Times story, technology reporter Chris O’Brien highlights examples of how businesses are using iPad and describes how the device is becoming a force in the workplace. He notes that iPad “helped Apple stake out a commanding lead for mobile devices in business markets long dominated by PCs and laptops running Microsoft’s Windows.” O’Brien talks to industry analysts including IDC’s Tom Mainelli, who says, “Apple has become the de-facto standard in a lot of commercial enterprises in terms of tablets.” Companies are creating their own apps, too. According to one report, O’Brien writes, “90 percent of custom tablet apps created by businesses for internal use or for their customers were written for the iPad.”
MacBook Pro with Retina Display Updated with Latest Processors, Faster Graphics, and Longer Battery Life
Apple today updated MacBook Pro with Retina display to include fourth-generation Intel Core processors, the latest graphics, longer battery life, faster flash storage, and next-generation Wi-Fi. Starting at a new lower price of $1,299 (US), the updated MacBook Pro with Retina display features a stunning high-resolution display, an amazing thin and light design, and the latest technology to power through the most demanding projects. “We’ve made the world’s best pro notebook even better by adding more performance and even longer battery life,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “MacBook Pro with Retina display continues to redefine the pro notebook.”
Apple today announced iPad Air, the latest generation of its category-defining device, featuring a 9.7-inch Retina display in a thinner and lighter design and weighing just one pound. Apple also announced a new iPad mini with Retina display, bringing all the pixels from the 9.7-inch iPad to its 7.9-inch screen, delivering razor sharp text and detail in the same thin and light design. Both new iPad models feature the powerful and power-efficient Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, ultrafast wireless with faster built-in Wi-Fi and expanded LTE cellular connectivity, and iOS 7 featuring hundreds of great new features. “iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is.”
Apple today announced that its groundbreaking iWork productivity apps and award-winning iLife creativity apps have been completely redesigned to take full advantage of OS X Mavericks and iOS 7. Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand have been updated to 64-bit, include iCloud integration, and are loaded with hundreds of new features that let you do more than ever across your Apple devices. In addition, iWork and iLife are now free with the purchase of every new Mac or iOS device. “This is the biggest day for apps in Apple’s history,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “These new versions deliver seamless experiences across devices that you can’t find anywhere else and are packed with great features like iMovie Theater, Drummer and a new unified file format for iWork documents across all your devices.”
Apple today announced that OS X Mavericks, the 10th major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, is available for free from the Mac App Store. With more than 200 new features, OS X Mavericks brings iBooks and Maps to the Mac, includes a new version of Safari, enhances multi-display support, introduces Finder Tabs and Tags, and delivers new core technologies for breakthrough power efficiency and performance. “We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free.”