Apple launches iTunes Pass in the US and other countries

By Cody Lee on Jul 17, 2014

On Tuesday, Apple launched a new service in Japan called ‘iTunes Pass.’ The service allows customers to purchase iTunes Store credit from an Apple retail store using Passbook, eliminating the need for physical gift cards and redemption codes.

At the time of launch, it was unclear if Apple intended to roll out iTunes Pass to other countries, or if it was merely just testing the waters for a bigger project. After 24 hours, that question was answered tonight when the service popped up in the US… Read More

 

Google Wallet updated with support for gift cards, free debit card transfers and more

By Cody Lee on Jul 16, 2014

Google today announced a significant update for its Google Wallet service. The new version brings about support for gift cards, money requests, and the ability to send money with your debit card for free, and it should be rolling out to iOS and Android apps shortly.

With the new gift card support, users will be able to save their electronic cards to Google Wallet, redeem them in-store, and even check their balances [only at participating merchants]. The Wallet app can even remind you to use your card when you are near stores… Read More

 

Sharp in talks with Apple to regain control of iPhone panel plant

By Cody Lee on Jul 11, 2014

Sharp is looking to regain control of its Kameyama plant back from Apple. Nikkei is reporting this afternoon that the company has proposed a deal to the Cupertino firm worth nearly $300 million, in an effort to diversify its customer base.

The Kameyama Plant No. 1 began operations in 2004 as a facility for manufacturing large panels for flat-screen TVs. But after consecutive years of profit losses, it called on Apple to help foot the bill to transition the plant to smaller panels… Read More

 

Samsung blames sluggish tablet sales, increased competition for Q2 earnings miss

By Cody Lee on Jul 8, 2014

Samsung today issued its earnings guidance for the second quarter of 2014, and in somewhat of an odd move, it attached a note to the document explaining why it will fall short of estimates. The company expects to see its profits drop for the third consecutive quarter.

The note details a number of factors, including the improving strength of the Korean won making exports more expensive, and exceedingly sluggish tablet sales. It also explains that it is running into greater competition in China from low-end device makers like Xiaomi… Read More

 

AT&T increases activation fees for customers with 2-year contracts

By Cody Lee on Jun 12, 2014

AT&T has increased its activation fees for customers who opt for two-year contracts. The increase is only a couple of dollars, from $36 to $40, but when you consider that you have to pay that for every device, every upgrade, it starts to add up.

The move is part of a larger effort by the carrier to push more subscribers away from the traditional contract/subsidy model, and towards Next. The upgrade program allows customers to get a new device every year for $0 down, and zero fees… Read More

 

Apple, Google and others pledge $2M to hold Super Bowl 50 in Bay Area

By Cody Lee on Jun 6, 2014

According to a new report from the San Jose Mercury News, Apple has joined Google and other tech companies who have pledged $2 million in cash and services to help offset taxpayer costs of hosting Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.

The Bay Area Super Bowl Host committee announced that is has raised $40 million for the event, which will be held at the 49ers’ newly-built Levi’s Stadium in 2016. The venue is less than 15 miles away from Apple’s Cupertino campus… Read More

 

Mobile hit ‘Candy Crush’ made more money than all Nintendo games last quarter

By Cody Lee on May 31, 2014

Critics have been saying for years that Nintendo should get into the mobile gaming business. It’s not just that the company’s hardware business is slipping, or that it’s losing money, but mobile games happens to be a very hot space right now.

Case in point is this recent report from research firm Newzoo, which ranks public companies by game revenue. According to the firm’s data, hit mobile title Candy Crush generated more money last quarter than all Nintendo titles combined… Read More

 

Luca Maestri officially begins work as Apple’s new CFO

By Cody Lee on May 30, 2014

If you don’t know the name of the guy in the picture, you should probably learn it. That is Luca Maestri, and he is Apple’s latest Senior Vice President. Maestri used to be the company’s Corporate Controller, and is now its Chief Financial Officer.

Apple announced in March that its long-time CFO Peter Oppenheimer would be retiring this year, and Maestri would be taking his place. And according to SEC paperwork filed today, he officially became Oppenheimer’s successor as of May 29th… Read More

 

Gazelle offering additional $10 on iPhone trade-ins right now

By Cody Lee on May 30, 2014

Folks with an old iPhone laying around may be interested to know that electronic buy-back service Gazelle is offering extra money for Apple’s handsets right now. In an effort to increase its inventory, the site says it will give you an additional $10 on your iPhone trade-ins.

For those unfamiliar with Gazelle, it’s an online storefront that will pay you money for virtually any used electronic depending on the make, model and condition it’s in. The transaction is done via mail, so essentially you send them your device, and they send you cash… Read More

 

Apple to announce $3 billion Beats acquisition this week

By Cody Lee on May 27, 2014

Apple has remained mum on rumors that it’s looking to acquire Beats Electronics, but it appears it’s finally ready to break the silence. The New York Post reports tonight that the Cupertino firm is expected to announce the acquisition within the next few days.

Perhaps even more interesting is that the Post says Apple has managed to trim some $200 million off the price tag during the past two weeks of negotiation. According to the outlet’s sources, the company has reached a deal to buy Beats for an even $3 billion… Read More

 

MOG founder suing Beats for more than $20 million

By Cody Lee on May 16, 2014

As Apple moves closer to finalizing its Beats acquisition deal, a new report is out on a recently-filed lawsuit against the headphone-maker. The plaintiff is David Hyman, founder of music service MOG (now Beats Music), and he feels that Beats owes him a lot of money.

In the suit, shared by The Wrap, Hyman claims that he was offered a stout compensation package when Beats purchased his company and made him the CEO of Beats Music, which he never received. So now he’s suing the firm for at least $20 million plus interest…  Read More

 

Apple’s new retail chief Angela Ahrendts awarded $68 million in stock

By Cody Lee on May 5, 2014

Talk about a signing bonus. After officially joining Apple last week, word got out today that Angela Ahrendts has already received 113 thousand units of restricted stock. At today’s prices—remember, APPL is back up around $600—the shares would be worth roughly $68 million.

This makes the company’s new SVP of retail and online stores one of the highest-paid executives in the industry, but of course, she’ll have to wait to cash in. According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the full amount won’t be available until 2018… Read More

 

ComiXology launches new read-only app following Amazon acquisition

By Cody Lee on Apr 26, 2014

ComiXology, the leading digital comics platform, has launched a new application for iOS today. The company sent out an email to customers this morning announcing that the old app is being retired, and a new one is now available. The biggest difference between the two, it seems, is that the new app does’t allow in-app purchases.

The change is noteworthy, as the ComiXology app has long been one of the top-grossing iPad titles in the App Store, and it comes shortly after Amazon acquired the comics platform. It’s not surprising though, as it’s the same strategy the e-commerce giant takes with its Kindle iOS app, in an effort to circumvent Apple’s 30% cut… Read More

 

Apple Q2 2014 earnings: 43.7M iPhones, 16.3M iPads, $45.6B revenue

By Cody Lee on Apr 23, 2014

As expected, Apple is out with its financial report for Q2 2014 this afternoon. In a press release issued just a few moments ago, Apple announced that it sold 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads, and pulled in $45.6 billion in revenue during its fiscal Q2.

Other than iPad sales, Apple beat the Street estimates by a wide margin. The Cupertino company also announced an accelerated strategy for its stock buyback plans, adding an additional $30 billion to the pot (for a total of $90 billion), as well as a 7-1 stock split…

Read More

 

Samsung expert says Apple should only get $38M for patent infringement, not $2B

By Cody Lee on Apr 21, 2014

The court battle between Apple and Samsung raged on in California today, with Samsung calling a damages expert to the stand. Judith Chevalier, a professor of economics at the Yale University School of Management, testified that if found guilty of infringement, Samsung should only have to pay Apple $38 million.

The figure, which is actually $38.4 million, is miles away from the $2.2 billion number that Apple’s damages expert called for last week. Chevalier argued that a reasonable royalty rate for Apple’s patents would’ve been $0.35 per patent, per device, and doesn’t think the company should receive damages for lost sales… Read More

 

Analysts make case for why Apple will launch mobile payment system

By Jake Smith on Apr 17, 2014

The Morgan Stanley Research group in Europe believes Apple has all the ingredients to cook up a proprietary mobile payment system, and makes a case for why the Cupertino-based company may launch it soon.

Primarily, Apple in a way is already the “de facto, in the mobile payment space,” given it has 400 million credit cards on file through its iTunes Store.

One Morgan Stanley executive makes a strong case, based on public information and not insider Apple information, on why it sounds likely:

Read More

 

Facebook reportedly aims to get ahead of Apple with new payments service

By Jake Smith on Apr 14, 2014

Get ready to pay for items using Facebook, as the social network is said to be planning a payments service that could launch before the rumored iWallet from Apple.

Facebook hasn’t officially confirmed the service, but it’s working to receive regulatory approval for it in Ireland, according to a report from the Financial Times. The service is said to allow users to store money and make electronic payments through the social network. Essentially, it will put Facebook in competition with Google Wallet, PayPal,  Isis, Square, and soon Apple, if the rumors are true… Read More

 

Apple calls in expert to explain why it deserves $2 billion in damages from Samsung

By Cody Lee on Apr 9, 2014

The high-profile patent trial between Apple and Samsung wages on, with Apple on Tuesday calling in a damages expert Chris Vellturo to speak to the jury. The MIT-trained economist’s job was to help the company explain why it deserved the damages it’s asking for.

For those who missed it last week, Apple is asking the court to award it $2 billion ($2.19B to be exact) in damages from Samsung for infringing on 5 of its utility patents. And according to Vellturo, that amount is fair based on a mix of lost profits and owed royalty fees… Read More

 

Sprint now offering up to $650 for new ‘Framily’ subscribers

By Cody Lee on Apr 5, 2014

Following in the footsteps of T-Mobile, Sprint announced this week that it is now offering up to $650 in equipment trade-in and early termination fee credits to new subscribers. The goal of the promo is to entice customers to switch over from their current carriers.

Folks looking to cash in on the ‘Framily Switching Bonus’ offer must port their existing phone numbers from another company to Sprint. They must also trade-in their previous handsets for new smartphones, and subscribe to one of the carrier’s new Framily rate plans… Read More

 

Tim Cook made $74M last year, the highest among all tech CEOs except Zuckerberg

By Cody Lee on Apr 4, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t have an easy job. Not only is he in charge of one of the largest companies in the world, but he has to do so in the shadow of one of the most highly regarded executives of our generation, amidst constant criticism from those that say Apple’s best days are behind it.

No need to worry though, Tim is well compensated. According to a new report, he took home $4.3 million in salary and incentives last year, and another $70 million in vested stock options. All told, Cook banked more than any other tech CEO in 2013 except for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg… Read More

 
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