Title: Back to the future
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Apple celebrates 30 years of Mac with live concert at company HQ
Capping off a day of festivities celebrating the Mac’s 30th anniversary, Apple on Friday held a party at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where employees and guests were treated to a live concert performed by OneRepublic.
At the special event, which happened to coincide with one of Apple’s regular “beer bashes,” Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage with a short speech recognizing the importance of the Mac milestone. Blogger Mindy Hu recorded a video clip of Cook’s address and uploaded it to Instagram.
“We don’t spend a lot of time looking back,” Cook said to the huge gathering. “We spend all of our time looking forward and working on the next big thing. But we’re making an exception for today, because 30 years ago today, the Macintosh was born.”
Along with Cook, other high-ranking Apple executives like SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, SVP of Internet Software and Service Eddy Cue and VP of Applications Roger Rosner were confirmed to be in attendance.
Cook himself posted three tweets wishing Mac a happy birthday and directing followers to Apple’s Mac 30 mini site which launched early Friday morning.
The concert came at the tail end of a slew of interviews and press coverage for what Apple has dubbed “Mac 30.” On Thursday, for example, MacWorld sat down with Schiller, SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi and VP of Software Technology Bud Tribble to discuss the past, present and future of the Mac platform.
They also had a poster with ALL employees names on it in employment number order.
Apple rings up record Q1 iPhone sales, but still disappoints Wall Street
Record iPhone sales just aren’t enough.
Apple on Monday reported record revenue for the fiscal first quarter as it sold more iPhones and iPads than ever. However, the company sold fewer iPhones than Wall Street analysts expected, and it also projected weak revenue for the current period.
“Our objective has always been to make the best and not the most,” CEO Tim Cook said during a conference call with analysts. “We feel like we’re doing that.”
The Cupertino, Calif., electronics giant said it sold a record 51 million iPhones, but analysts had expected 55 million. Apple also sold a record 26 million iPads, better than analysts’ estimates for 25 million, and Mac sales of 4.8 million topped the Street view for 4.6 million.
For its next quarter, which runs through March, Apple expects to generate $42 billion to $44 billion in sales, with a gross margin between 37 percent and 38 percent. The revenue is lower than the $46 billion Wall Street expected ahead of the report. Analysts also expected a gross margin of 37.3 percent.
The guidance sent the company’s stock down 8.2 percent.
Apple’s Tim Cook hints at expanded mobile payment strategy and more for Touch ID
While stopping short of announcing an comprehensively outlined strategy for facilitating mobile payments, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook linked the concept with iPhone 5s’ Touch ID system.
“The mobile payments area in general is one we’ve been intrigued with,’ Cook stated in the company’s earnings conference call with analysts today, adding, “It was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID.”
Apple introduced Touch ID as a feature to make it easy and convenient to unlock a smartphone, but also made it optionally possible to verify mobile purchases made via the company’s own iTunes Store.
It hasn’t enabled any other online merchants to use the hardware device to verify purchases, nor has it opened up third party access to Touch ID’s fingerprint scanner or the A7’s Secure Enclave verification computing resources for any other purpose.
Cook reported a favorable public response to the existing functionality offered by Touch ID, stating, “we’re seeing that people love being able to buy content, whether it’s music or movies or books, from their iPhone, using Touch ID.” He described the ability to verify iTunes purchases via Touch ID as “incredibly simple and easy and elegant.”
And while he was quick to note that Apple currently has nothing specific to announce about the future features of Touch ID, he did state that “it’s clear that there’s a lot of opportunity there” in mobile payments.
“You can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers, and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition, that it’s a big opportunity on the platform a big opportunity on the platform,” he stated.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal rather safely claimed Apple was “laying the groundwork” for a mobile payments systems for goods and services.
However, while hinting at an interest in developing support for Touch ID authentication of digital transactions outside of the iTunes Store, Cook also noted that “we’re not limiting ourselves just to that,” suggesting that there were additional uses of Touch ID beyond the seemingly obvious extension of existing purchase verifications in iTunes.
Prior to Apple acquiring AuthenTec as the cornerstone of its Touch ID strategy, the firm described its fingerprint scanner hardware as “the world’s smallest authentication/navigation smart sensor in a durable package,” and detailed its ability to work as a highly precise trackpad capable of recognizing subtle gestures.
AuthenTec specifically described its sensor as being able to function as a “precise cursor control for text editing,” with support for “360 degree mouse navigation,” “optical joystick emulation,” or as a “unique turbo-scroll feature for rapid browsing of long emails, contact lists or websites,” according to public information released by the firm prior to Apple’s acquisition of the firm and its intellectual property.
Starwood Hotels pilot program lets guests use Apple’s iPhone as room key
Two boutique hotels belonging to international hospitality chain Starwood will soon allow travelers to bypass the check-in counter and unlock their room by using digital keys sent to a special application available for Apple’s iPhone.
The locks will use Bluetooth proximity keys, similar to the Bluetooth-based consumer lock sets such as Kwikset’s Kevothat have hit the market in recent months. Two of Starwood’s Aloft hotels — one in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood and another in Apple’s native Cupertino — will be pilot sites for the new program, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Starwood’s system will be compatible with Apple’s iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, and 5c as well as recent Android devices. It was developed in conjunction with major access control vendor Assa Abloy AB of Sweden, the same company that owns lock brands like Yale and HID.
Starwood CEO told the publication that the company believes the new smartphone-enabled self-service technology will be an important selling point for hotels in the future.