Michael Grothaus

    European Editor

    I cover the stories behind the people and companies that make news in the tech world. I have a keen interest in any tech relating to digital publishing, personal health, books, and the effects of mass media on our psyches. Outside of TUAW I'm a novelist, journalist, published author and former screenwriter. I'm represented worldwide by The Hanbury Literary Agency in London.Read more about me at michaelgrothaus.com and on LinkedIn and be sure to follow me on Twitter @michaelgrothaus where I always say profound and life changing things.

  • No BlackBerry keyboard for you, and other news for March 31, 2014

    Sorry folks, it looks like those of you who dreamed of having a BlackBerry-type keyboard for your iPhone will have to just keep on dreaming. The company has won a court order against Ryan Seacrest's Typo iPhone keyboard. The Typo had been expected to go on sale this Spring, but once BlackBerry got wind of it they filed a lawsuit against Seacrest's company in January. As Reuters reports: U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco said that the Canadian mobile phone maker had established a "likelihood" of proving that Typo infringed its patents, while mentioning that Typo had not sufficiently challenged the patents in question. The preliminary injunction prohibits Typo from the sale of its keyboard, which is a part of the relief sought by Blackberry. "BlackBerry is pleased that its motion for a preliminary injunction against Typo Products LLC was granted. This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo's blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology," a spokeswoman for BlackBerry said in an email. Typo said it was disappointed and plans to appeal the decision. In other news: Square has begun notifying customers that can get a new card reader for free. Apple has sent out a new letter to residents in the area of the Campus 2 HQ notifying them of updates on its construction. New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella seems pretty pleased about Office for iPad's App Store rankings. iTunes apparently still dwarfs subscription streaming services.

  • Office Mobile goes free for the iPhone, and other news for March 28, 2014

    Amid all the hoopla about Microsoft Office finally coming to the iPad (even Tim Cook tweeted about it) was a little bit of information that was missed by many: Microsoft has made its Office Mobile for iPhone suite free, and home users can edit their documents even without an Office365 subscription. (Business users still need the $9.99/month license for Office that covers a combination of Mac, PC or iPad usage for up to five devices -- but if you hurry this morning you might get a free year.) The single app lets you access, view, and edit your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on your iPhone. Previously the app required an active subscription to Office 365 to use. Announcing the news, Microsoft said: Just like Office Mobile for Windows Phone, we are making Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones free for everyone. With Office Mobile, you have the ability to view and edit your Office content on the go. Office Mobile is available in the App Store and Google Play. You can read everything about Microsoft's big news of the day, Office for iPad, in our live blog here. In other news: The MLB.com At the Ballpark app has received a major update. Version 3.0 now supports automatic check-in at select ballparks (beginning opening day) using iBeacon technology. Philips is expanding their HUE LED lighting system to include white lights, 3D printed light art pieces, and a wall-mountable control system. Roku's CEO had some harsh words for the Apple TV. At the Code/Media event he said, "Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple. If you're losing money, why would you want to sell more?"

  • A rack mount for the Mac Pro and other news for March 27, 2014

    It's been a rather quiet morning, but here are three stories we found for you. Sonnet Tech has announced a 4U rack mount for Apple's cylindrical Mac Pro. The so-called xMac Pro Thunderbolt 2 PCIe Enclosure rolls off the tongue and includes three PCIe single-width expansion slots; Thunderbolt 2 compatibility, as the name indicates; and hardware for mounting additional storage. The whole thing comes with a 300W power supply and a 75W PCIe power connector. BusyMac Software has announced new software BusyContacts. They call it a "complete replacement" for Apple's built-in Contacts app and its design resembles that of iTunes. BusyContacts offers sync support for iCloud, Google Contacts, Exchange, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A public beta is now open. Mavericks adoption is chugging along at a nice pace. The folks at Chitika note that Mavericks now generates nearly 40% of all North American OS X-based web traffic. They also note that Mountain Lion was at 26.8% after seven months. It's important to note here that Mavericks is free, of course.

  • Here's what Apple's first hacked-together iPhone looked like, and other news for March 26, 2014

    Yesterday we told you the Wall Street Journal posted its interview with one of the original iPhone engineers about the creation of the iPhone. But now Apple has share an image of what the first hacked-together "iPhone" looked like. As you can see above, the first "iPhone" was a PowerMac G3 with an old Cinema Display monitor converted to a touch screen. As Apple noted when it supplied WSJ with the photo: This is a system Apple rigged together to run early prototypes of its iPhone software in 2006. It tethered a plastic touch-screen device – code-named "Wallaby" – to an outdated Mac to simulate the slower speeds of a phone hardware. In other news: A Tokyo court has ruled Apple didn't infringe on Samsung patents. Facebook has announced it now has over 1 billion users on mobile devices, many of them on the iPhone. Guitar Hero for iOS will be removed from the App Store at the end of the month. If you want it, be sure to pick it up now.

  • Apple offering refunds for unauthorized in-app purchases, and other news for March 25, 2014

    Apple has sent an email to users who have made recent in-app purchases (IAPs) announcing they can receive a refund for any unauthorized IAPs "made by a minor." The refund initiative is part of a consent decree Apple struck with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Users who wish to get IAP refunded must submit their request by April 15, 2014. The full email is below (via MacRumors): Dear iTunes account owner, Apple is committed to providing parents and kids with a great experience on the App Store. We review all app content before allowing it on our store, provide a wide range of age-appropriate content, and include parental controls in iOS to make it easy for parents to restrict or disable access to content. We've heard from some customers that it was too easy for their kids to make in-app purchases. As a result, we've improved controls for parents so they can better manage their children's purchases, or restrict them entirely. Additionally, we are offering refunds in certain cases. Please follow the steps to submit a refund request: Find your in-app purchase records. Check your email for iTunes receipts or use a computer to sign in to your iTunes account and view your Purchase History. Use this link to submit your refund request to Apple. Provide the requested information and enter "Refund for in-App Purchases made by a minor" in the Details section. Apple will review your request and contact you via email about your refund status. All refund requests must be submitted no later than April 15, 2015. In other news: Google has announced Google Now notifications are now available for Chrome users on desktops, including Macs. Pictures have leaked suggesting the long delayed flagship Apple retail store may be opening soon in Hanover, Germany. Apple has patented a new graphical interface for the visually impaired. Booq has released the Booqpad for iPad Air, a thin folio-type case that also includes a paper notebook. It's available starting at $60. It's amazingly flexible, using magnets for magic.

  • UK App Store and iTunes Store pricing may increase 20% in 2015, and other news for March 24, 2014

    Last week British Chancellor George Osborne introduced the UK's annual budget for the year ahead. It included, among other things, a change that may affect the price of apps and media in the UK App Store and iTunes Store by up to 20%. As The Guardian reports: George Osborne's latest budget could spell an end to 99p song downloads by closing a tax loophole that meant consumers were paying VAT at very low foreign rates on online purchases of books, music and apps. The chancellor will bring in new laws making sure that internet downloads are taxed in the country where they are purchased, meaning web firms such as Amazon and Apple will have to charge the UK's 20% rate of VAT. At the moment they are allowed to sell digital downloads through countries such as Luxembourg, where the tax rate is as low as 3%. In a little-noticed announcement, Osborne said he would used this year's finance bill to impose the new law from 1 January 2015. As The Guardian notes, the new tax is a way for the UK government to reclaim the taxes that large companies currently avoid by basing regional headquarters in low-tax countries. MacRumors also notes that apps could be less affected than other media, as apps are already taxed at a 15% rate, meaning their prices may only increase 5%. In other news: Apple has added Flyover views in Maps for Perth, Australia, Saint-Tropez, France, and Cordoba, Spain. Final Cut Pro fanatics have pushed the Mac Pro to its limits by creating a video timeline that runs for 558 days. Apple, like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, reserves the right to read customers' email (in Apple's case, iCloud email) if need be.

  • Apple features new "Indie Game Showcase", and other news for March 21, 2014

    Apple has rolled out a new section on the App Store called "Indie Game Showcase." It's dedicated to spotlighting stunning games by independent iOS developers. As Apple describes the new section: Often made up of just a few dedicated members, independent studios prove that what really matters is the size of your dream. In each Indie Game Showcase, we celebrate a popular game and its creative team, highlighting the developer's titles along with their favorite games from other studios. The move will no doubt be a welcome one for many independent developers who often feel that it's hard to compete against the might of bigger developers and the coverage -- and resulting spots on the top app charts -- they get. The first game to be featured is Device 6, and action-thriller from developer Simogo. In other news: The redesigned Starbucks iPhone app has been released. It has had an iOS 7 makeover and offers digital tipping plus the ability to review rewards from the dashboard. Apple has released an update for GarageBand which adds the option to export songs as an MP3. Jony Ive is one of the 10 finalists for The Drum Design Award. You can vote for him to win if you want.

  • World's first Apple reseller to close after 37 years, and other news for March 20, 2014

    The first Apple reseller is closing its doors next week after 37 years in business. Minneapolis-based FirstTech's last day of business will be March 29th with a going-out-of-business sale beginning today. The company (originally known as Team Electronics) began selling Apple computers in the late 1970s, becoming Apple's first reseller in the process. FirstTech's owner says he's closing up shop because the independent reseller can no longer compete with national chains. As TwinCities.com reports: Evans attributes FirstTech's demise to market forces, including shrinking hardware margins amid competition from a growing number of aggressive national vendors. These vendors have "basically been willing to sell the computer equipment below cost to go after the national service business," he noted. It became increasingly difficult for "a brick-and-mortar to offer personalized service when we can't make any money off the product you're selling. "It has been a dramatic change in that regard, the last couple of years in particular," Evans said. FirstTech actually predates Apple by a good thirty years, opening in 1941 selling radios, televisions, and phonographs. The company has seen a lot, so it should be no surprise they have an interesting bit of Apple history to tell: The company's entry into the Apple business is legend. Apple was so new to computer selling, it did not have its own paperwork for consummating deals, Evans said. So FirstTech grabbed one of its older contracts, removed the customer name from it and added Apple's name. Pete Paulsen, who sold the company's first computer shortly afterward, went on to become FirstTech's general manager. "The person who bought that first Apple II also bought our first Lisa (computer) and our first Macintosh," Evans said. "To this day, he is still our customer." In other news: Imagination Technologies has announced a new version of its PowerVR graphics architecture that enables lifelike transparencies and reflections. Since the company's tech is used in iPhones, it's like the next iPhone could see a big graphics boost for games. Apple has filed a patent for a touch sensitive stylus. GE has teamed with Quirky to release the Aros -- the "Nest thermostat" of smart air conditioners.

  • Here's the most popular colors in the App Store, and other news for March 19, 2014

    The App Store offers more than a million apps, and the first thing a shopper sees while browsing is their icons. That first impression is important, and developers often spend a good chunk of time and money on designing a good one. Icons aren't only used to identify their apps. Apple has created mosaics and other arrangements to great effect in marketing materials, cascading their colors together. But have you ever wondered about the most popular color of app icons in the App Store? Brandisty has, and the results have been analyzed and sorted by category: So we crawled the iOS app store and grabbed the top 5 app icons in each category and ran a histogram analysis on each one to find which colors were used most often. What we found was very interesting. Blues and reds seems to be the most popular, but orange is hanging in there as well. In other news: Apple has been named the most valuable "billion dollar brand." I'm shocked, too. OS X 10.9.3 beta is in developer's hands and with it, iTunes version 11.1.6. The beta release of iTunes features the return of the ability to sync contacts and calendar information (without resorting to iCloud, Exchange or Google's cloud services) to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from your Mac. The Sega classic Crazy Taxi is free for iOS today only. For all those business analytics fans out there, the Roambi data analysis and visualization service (and the accompanying analytics iPad app and Roambi Flow presentation app) are getting a new BFF today: Box.com's enterprise cloud storage now has a direct connection to Roambi for quick and seamless graphing and PDF presenting on the go. Data sources on the Box side (or, with Box Sync, on your Mac or PC) can automatically update the analytics display within the Roambi app.

  • Apple launches 8 GB iPhone 5c and relaunches 16 GB iPad 4, and other news for March 18, 2014

    As we mentioned this morning, Apple has officially launched an 8 GB version of the iPhone 5c. As of the time of this writing the 8 GB iPhone 5c still hasn't shown up in the US online store, but it is available in all European stores. In the UK store the 8 GB iPhone 5c has a price tag of £429, which is £40 cheaper than the 16 GB model. The 8 GB iPhone 5c is available in all colors. In addition to the release of an 8 GB iPhone 5c, Apple has also taken the step of re-releasing the 16 GB iPad 4, replacing the three-year-old iPad 2 as the low-price member of the full-size iPad family. The iPad 4 is now available in all online stores, retailing for US$399 for the Wi-Fi model and $529 for the Wi-Fi+Cellular model. The availability of both of these devices was rumored yesterday. The release of the new entry-level iPhone 5c is a sign that Apple is trying to boost sales of the device while also appealing to people who want an iPhone at a lower price point. The re-release of the iPad 4 coincides with Apple pulling the three-year-old iPad 2 from sale. As MacRumors notes: Meanwhile, the iPad 4 has been brought back into Apple's lineup after being removed in favor of the iPad Air last October. However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted in February that the company would shift from the iPad 2 to the iPad 4, as the latter sports Apple's A6X chip and 1GB memory compared to the former's A5 processor and 512 MB of memory. In other news: Google has updated the YouTube app with support for sharing entire playlists and improved commenting features. Facebook has updated its app with an updated design that makes it easier to post and share on the iPad. The Dropbox app has also received an upgrade. New features include improved illustrations and improved SSO for Dropbox for Business customers.

  • Jony Ive talks design with The Sunday Times, and other news for March 17, 2014

    The Sunday Times in the UK has published a lengthy five-page article in its magazine about Jony Ive, including an exclusive interview. The article delves into Ive's work practices, among other things. The article is behind a paywall, but for Apple (or design) fans, it's worth a read. Ive holds no punches when he says Samsung using Apple's designs for inspiration was "theft." The article also looks at Ive's design process, including the great lengths he goes to to source the right materials: Ive starts a new project by imagining what a new kind of product should be and what it should do. Only once he's answered those questions does he work out what it should look like. He seeks advice in unlikely places. He worked with confectionery manufacturers to perfect the translucent jelly-bean shades of his first big hit, the original iMac. He traveled to Niigata in northern Japan to see how metalworkers there beat metal so thin, to help him create the Titanium PowerBook, the first lightweight aluminum laptop in a world of hefty black plastic slabs. In other news: Apple has updated the Apple Store for iPad app with the ability to purchased gift cards ranging in value from $25 to $2000 USD. More revelations from a new book about Apple says Steve Jobs said Apple would never build a TV. Apple's iPhone is capturing 80% of the coveted "premium" smartphone market in China. Need 128 GB of RAM for your new Mac Pro? Transcend has you covered.

  • Apple expands Tumblr ads to other sites, and other news for March 14, 2014

    Apple has expanded its iPhone 5c ads first seen on Tumblr to other sites. The campaign is called "Every color has a story," and comprises five 15-second videos with color themes corresponding to the iPhone 5c and its colorful cases. The ads feature animated dots, which represent the dots of the iPhone 5c cases, moving to regional or period music. Visitors to Yahoo.com and The New York Times will see the ads. As MacRumors reports: Apple has approximately 17 different animated iPhone 5c ads that are being displayed on the web, both on Yahoo's properties and on The New York Times site earlier this week. According to a Times representative, Apple's grid-based ad was a customized format offering "a transparent overlay to depict a rich brand experience" that was indeed designed by the company though it featured a Sprint logo.... It appears that the campaign on the Times website may have ended, but it is likely that Apple will expand the animated advertisements to other websites as well in an effort to further market the iPhone 5c to a wide range of consumers. In other news: Apple has seeded the second build of OS X 10.9.3 to developers. TinyCo has released images of the first screenshots from the upcoming Family Guy game. Apple has added a "selfie" section to the App Store.

  • United Airlines launching in-flight iOS movie service, and other news for March 13, 2014

    United Airlines is about to launch a brand new in-flight entertainment services for iOS users. The service will let anyone with an iPhone or iPad launch the United app in-flight and get immediate access to over 150 movies and 200 TV shows. The news first appeared on PatentlyApple: Starting this April, United Airlines will roll out a new personal device entertainment system onboard select aircraft for Apple's iPhone and iPad running iOS 7 exclusively at launch time. With the new service United Airline customers will be able to choose from over 150 movies and nearly 200 TV shows and watch them free of charge. According to United, "Most planes will be equipped with the new system very soon, and we'll have it installed on most domestic aircraft by the end of 2014. We'll begin on Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 747-400 and select 777-200 aircraft, followed by additional fleets. In the end, all United-operated flights will have some form of entertainment. On the smartphone side of things the program will only support iOS devices at launch, but fliers with both Mac and PC laptop will also be able to access the new in-flight entertainment system via a browser plugin. The United Airlines app can be downloaded now, although the new functionality will not launch until April. In other news: The new Apple TV software update released earlier this week also allows for AirPlay discoverability over Bluetooth. The Nation and Green America have launched a campaign to get Apple to eliminate more toxic chemicals from its products and improve factory workers' conditions. Microsoft has launched a new iOS app: My Apps – Windows Azure Active Directory.

  • Here's the iPhone that saved a soldier's life from a suicide bomb explosion, and other news for March 12, 2014

    KSL.com has an amazing story about how a Utah soldier's iPhone 5 saved him from a suicide bomber's blast in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Shaun Frank was helping others in his unit overturn another unit's vehicle when he was approached by a teenager who stood just feet away. The teenager detonated a suicide bomb and Frank was hit with metal ball bearings shrapnel. Fortunately, the shrapnel didn't get past Frank's left front pants pocket. Behind that area lie major arteries and the only thing that stopped a ball bearing hitting there was Frank's iPhone 5: "They did tell him when he got back to base that that iPhone probably saved his life," said Frank's sister, Alisha Lantz. "He wanted to go overseas and fight and be part of fighting for our country," Lantz said. Frank was just weeks into his second tour of duty last fall when his family got the call every military family dreads. Frank had been injured. ... "He had his iPhone in his pocket. The iPhone stopped a few of the ball bearings as well," Lantz said. There isn't much left of the phone. It doesn't work now, but it's something Frank wants to hang onto. "He really wanted to keep it as a memento," Lantz said. Annoyingly, when he got back to the States and sent the iPhone to Apple to see if it was covered under their accidental damage insurance, the company told Frank they could give him a new iPhone, but would need to keep the old one. After three months -- and Frank's story airing on KSL -- Apple finally relented and gave him the original phone back. In other news: The popular Speedtest.net app has been updated with universal support. It now supports iPads. Concerned about who's snooping in on your calls or mobile data? Vodafone in Germany is now selling encrypted SIM cards that work in iPhones. PonoMusic's PonoPlayer "iPod killer" surpassed US$1.1 million in pledges on Kickstarter...in one day.

  • iPhone 4 sees speed improvements with iOS 7.1, and other news for March 11, 2014

    When iOS 7.0 launched last fall, the minimum device required to run it was the iPhone 4. However as many iPhone 4 owners immediately found out, iOS 7.0 ran both slow and lacked many of the features of iOS 7 that newer devices had. But with the release of iOS 7.1 yesterday Apple has managed to rectify at least part of those issues. Shortly after iOS 7.1 was released, reports started appearing that the latest iOS seemed to run much faster and smoother on the aging iPhone 4. Now Ars Technica has pulled together some solid data showing just where those speed improvements can best be felt as seen in their chart above. As Ars notes: There's a measurable improvement over iOS 7.0 across all of these apps, some more noticeable than others. In a few instances, iOS 7.1 very nearly catches up with iOS 6.1.3, which is impressive given the gap between the two operating systems in some of these apps. It's not a complete recovery from the original iOS 7.0 release, but it's about as good as Apple can do with hardware this old. The small speed improvements are present throughout the operating system, and this makes the iPhone 4 feel more responsive than it did, if not always as responsive as it once was. iOS 7.1 also helps with the UI jerkiness that was all over the place in 7.0. It's easiest to capture the difference in video-actions like launching apps or pulling up the Control Center shade are always visibly jerky in iOS 7.0, but they're smooth (or at least smoother) in the new update. While speed improvements in iOS 7.1 will no doubt be welcome, especially among iPhone 4 owners, it should be noted that it's entirely likely iOS 7 will be the last new major new iOS revision to run on the iPhone 4. In other news: Apple has updated its Logic Remote app with a new streamlined interface. The Logic Remote app is an iPad companion app for Logic Pro X, MainStage 3 and GarageBand on the Mac that allows you to use the iPad's touchscreen to record, mix, and play instruments. Macworld has some great tips on how to cut a SIM card for the iPhone 5 and 5s. Wired has an interesting article on how one of its writers tracked Apple's commuter buses going by his house.

  • Apple launches revamped iTunes Festival channel on Apple TV, and other news for March 10, 2014

    Apple has launched a revamped iTunes Festival channel on the Apple TV in preparation for the iTunes Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014, which begins this Tuesday, March 11th. As for the channel itself, there's not a lot new besides the design graphics. Currently users can view lineups of the artists performing at the iTunes Festival as well as artist bios and showtimes of their performances. The SXSW iTunes Festival will be the first iTunes Festival held in the United States. The iTunes Festival originated in London several years ago and is held at the Roundhouse in Camden annually. The new Apple TV channel will let you watch the show. Who's playing? Tuesday, March 11: Coldplay / Imagine Dragons / London Grammar Wednesday, March 12: Kendrick Lamar / ScHoolboy Q / Isaiah Rashad Thursday, March 13: Soundgarden / Band of Skulls / Capital Cities Friday, March 14: Pitbull / ZEDD / G.R.L Saturday, March 15: Keith Urban / Willie Nelson / Mickey Guyton Viewers can also catch the iTunes Festival via the official app. In other news: According to analytics firm Mixpanel, the iPhone 5s is about to break 20% penetration of all iPhones in use. The iPhone 5c, however, isn't doing that well. T-Mobile has added more data (starting at 1 GB) and no-cost international texting on its Simple Choice Plans. Not to be outdone, AT&T has launched a new single-line data plan giving users 2 GB of data and unlimited texts and calls for US$65/month.

  • OS X 10.9.3 beta features native Retina resolution for 4K displays, and other news for March 7, 2014

    Yesterday Apple released the first beta of OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 to developers. At the time of its release Apple didn't note any changes in the beta beyond asking developers to concentrate on Graphics Drivers and Audio. However, now devs have found that OS X 10.9.3 offers support that enables all 4K displays to run at a native Retina resolution. The news of native 4k Retina support doesn't necessarily mean Apple is getting ready to drop its own 4k display. The company could very well only be addressing the aggravations of third-party 4k display owners. Prior to this update, 4k displays suffered from hard-to-read text in OS X Mavericks, with noticeably small UI elements and menu items. The new Retina display option was first found by Twitter user @KhaosT, who posted the above screenshot. It should be noted that Apple sometimes does test and then pull new features in beta builds of OS X, but those that own 4k displays are no doubt happy Apple appears to be working towards better support for the advanced format. In other news: For those interested in seeing a peek inside Apple's meeting rooms, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu YouTube page has posted a video of his meeting with Tim Cook at Apple's HQ. Pixelworks has revealed in an SEC filing that it supplies Apple with components for an undisclosed device. Given that they company manufactures high-resolution displays, it's likely that the company contributes Retina displays to Apple's iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Amazon has released the Amazon Seller app for iPhone. The new app allows third-party Amazon sellers to manage their accounts from their iPhones.

  • Apple execs rewarded with stock bonuses worth $12 million each, and other news for March 6, 2014

    Apple has awarded a total of 30,000 shares totaling US$12.1 million to six company executives, according to MacRumors. The news came from required filings with the SEC. As MacRumors explains: The shares appear to have been awarded as part of the executives' 2014 compensation package. Apple Senior Vice Presidents Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Dan Riccio, Phil Schiller, Bruce Sewell, and Jeffrey Williams all received equal bonus awards, with shares granted thusly: - 22,738 RSUs with one-third of the units scheduled to vest into full shares of Apple stock on April 1 of 2016, 2017 and 2018. - 6,626 RSUs scheduled to vest on October 1, 2015, with that number subject to adjustment based on Apple's total shareholder return. - 6,416 RSUs scheduled to vest on October 1, 2016 with the same adjustments as the 2015 award. In other news: AdAge says Apple is going to roll out full-screen video ads later this year as part of its iAd program. Azoi has released the Wello iPhone case, allowing users to track heath metrics like blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. Australia is angry at Apple after uncovering a profit-shifting scheme that saw the company move $9 billion in funds to Ireland.

  • Roku takes on Apple TV, Chromecast with new Streaming Stick, and other news for March 5, 2014

    Roku has released a new Streaming Stick that aims to take on Google's Chromecast and, to a lesser extent, the Apple TV. The new iOS-compatible Roku Streaming Stick features a design that's similar to Google's Chromecast and, like the Chromecast and Apple TV, allows the user to stream content from an iOS or Android device right to their television. The Roku goes a bit further in the content department, however, as it offers over 1000 channels of entertainment including movies, TV shows, news, sports, and more. While the Streaming Stick looks relatively sleek with its HDMI plug-and-play connection, the design is a bit deceptive. It also requires the user to plug the Streaming Stick into their TV's USB port as well, making connectivity to the TV a bit cumbersome. However, the Streaming Stick does offer an advantage over Chromecast by coming with a physical remote control. As for how it stacks up against the Apple TV, the Streaming Stick is US$50 cheaper, but it does not, as of this time, offer Apple TV's additional benefits, like being able to AirPlay your Mac desktop to your TV. In other news: ABC says RadioShack is closing over 1000 stores due to slowing sales. Facebook has updated Paper to allow sharing of article via Facebook Messenger. Logitech has unveiled the Harmony Smart Keyboard for Macs and connected smart TVs.

  • Apple Campus 2 designer says new HQ was inspired by Stanford campus and London squares, and other news for March 4, 2014

    Norman Foster, the designer behind Apple's "Spaceship" Campus 2, has given a wide ranging interview to Architectural Record about the inspirations and design process behind Apple's future HQ. In the beginning stages, Foster planned the look and feel of Campus 2 with Steve Jobs, who has a love of the Main Quad on Stanford's campus. With that as a starting place, Foster began searching out other areas that incorporated open green spaces in their planning, notably the famous squares of London where houses encircle a green space in their center. As Foster tells Architectural Record: We did a continuous series of base planning studies. One idea which came out of it is that you can get high density by building around the perimeter of a site, as in the squares of London. And in the case of a London square, you create a mini-park in the center. So a series of organic segments in the early studies started to form enclosures, all of which were in turn related to the scale of the Stanford campus. These studies finally morphed into a circular building that would enclose the private space in the middle-essentially a park that would replicate the original California landscape, and parts of it would also recapture the orchards of the past. The car would visually be banished, and tarmac would be replaced by greenery, and car parks by jogging and bicycle trails. Apple's Campus 2 is expected to be completed sometime in 2016 and will house 12,000 Apple employees. In other news: Yesterday Goldman Sachs announced Apple's Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer will be joining Goldman's board of directors, effective immediately. That was followed shortly by today's announcement that Oppenheimer will leave Apple this September, after 18 years with the company, and be replaced by Luca Maestri, Apple's vice president of Finance and its corporate controller. Pandora has issued a statement to MacRumors acknowledging it was not included in the first round of third-party apps that are CarPlay compatible, but it still considers Apple a "valued partner." The Verge says Microsoft wants to expand Xbox Live across multiple devices platforms, including iOS and Android, to become a Game Center-like hub for gamers. AppleInsider points to a new Apple patent that would allow iPhone users to screen live voicemail messages as they are being left in the user's voicemail.