App economy at work: App Store created 500,000 jobs in Europe and other highlights

Apple today released a plethora of freshly-updated stats and pretty charts that paint a rosy picture of the company's positive contributions to the European job market and the continents's economy as a whole.

The so-called app economy is now sustaining half a million jobs across Europe, with a total of 629,000 jobs created or supported by Apple in Europe. Apple paid out $6.5 billion to European app developers so far, representing nearly out-third of the $20 billion the company paid to developers globally.

I've include additional stats and key charts right after the break...

Apple hiring ‘Buzz Marketing Manager’ to beef up its presence in Hollywood

Historically, Apple has spent far less than Samsung and other competitors on stuff like marketing and advertising. Things like product placements and celebrity endorsements came easily for devices like the iPhone and iPad, due to their initial popularity and slight competition.

But competition has stiffened over the years, and with Samsung forking out millions of dollars to get its products into the hands of Lebron James and selfie-taking celebrities, Apple needs to step up its game. So it's looking for a new 'Buzz Marketing Manager' to give it a boost...

Apple looking to beef up its iTunes team amid ‘overhaul’ rumors

According to recent reports, Apple is looking at various ways to remedy declining music sales, and better combat the competition. Billboard says the company is considering everything from launching an on-demand streaming music service, to giving its iTunes Store a dramatic overhaul.

And it certainly appears Apple is working on something big in regards to the media manager. A number of iTunes team-job listings have popped up on its website this week calling for iTunes Software Engineers, Senior Software Engineers, and an iTunes Recommendation Platform engineer...

New job listings call for Apple TV content partner and software engineers

While it seems like everyone is focused on Apple's rumored iWatch, and the various features it could offer, the company is believed to be quietly working on another major project: a TV device. Not the television set we used to hear rumors about, but a new set-top box.

Adding to recent reports from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal regarding the project are a pair of job listings recently discovered on Apple's website. They call for a Content Partner Engineer and Software QA Engineer—both of which will work on the Apple TV team...

Job ad confirms Apple testing health/fitness wearables

A new job ad discovered on Apple's website Thursday has pretty much confirmed that the firm is working on and testing some kind of a health and fitness related wearable device. It's the first semi-official confirmation of the rumored iWatch project if I ever saw one. I'm not sure if this is an unintentional slip up and why Apple would want to make this particular call for job applicants public.

Regardless, it's now clear that Tim Cook & Co. have been staffing up with a lot of wearable experts from medical, fitness and biosensing fields. The job description mentions expertise in such health activities as cardiovascular fitness and energy expenditure, including “calories burned, metabolic rate, aerobic fitness level measurement/tracking” and more...

Job listings suggest Apple’s working on new iPod product

During the latest Apple earnings call, CEO Tim Cook commented that his team has known for a while that the iPod is a declining business. Sales for the nearly 15-year-old product line have essentially been on the decline since 2008.

As you can imagine, this coupled with the fact that the iPod line hasn't received any major updates since 2012, has led to speculation that the mp3 player is on its way out. But a few recently-discovered Apple job listings suggest otherwise...

Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Jobs’ biopic now available in iTunes

For those of you who were unable to see it in theaters, Ashton Kutcher's much talked about 'Jobs' film is now available for purchase. You can either buy it or rent it in iTunes, and then of course it's available in Blu-Ray and DVD as well.

After months of rumors and a lengthy delay, 'Jobs' opened to mixed reviews on August 16. It stayed in theaters for just 7 weeks, and only pulled $35 million worldwide. It was considered by many to be a flop, but now you can be the critic...

Apple job post tips off next-gen payment platform

A punditry consensus has been forming for some time that Apple of California is planning on entering the mobile payment space with a service of its own. Conventional wisdom has it that such a product would tap into more than half a billion iTunes accounts with credit cards on file.

In between Apple's purchase of smart sensor maker AuthenTec and the company's iWallet shopping app patent, Apple has done little to indicate that a branded mobile payment solution is in the works, until today.

An Apple job listing now indicates in black and white that Apple's management is in the process of hiring experts who will "help build a next-generation payment platform" to help its retail "enter new markets"...

Apple hiring software engineers to help bring transit data to Maps

When Apple replaced Google Maps in iOS 6 with its own software last year, one of the biggest user complaints was that the new app didn't have public transit data. For folks who take the bus or train to work everyday, it was a big deal.

The good news, though, is that the company does appear to be working on adding the feature. In addition to acquiring transit experts like HopStop and Embark, Apple has been hiring software engineers for its 'Transit Routing' team.

Apple Maps team hiring Web UI designer for ‘secret project’

Apple has posted a new job listing today, calling for a Maps Web User Interface Designer. The inquiry asks that applicants be able to design, develop, and maintain complex front-end code for a new 'secret project.'

The position is located in Santa Clara Valley, California. And according to the listing, it's part of a smal team that is working on an advanced web platform that will be the backbone of many future Apple services...

Apple’s top lobbyist nominated for State Department post

President Obama announced today his intent to nominate four new people to key Administration posts. Among them is Catherine Ann Novelli, Apple's Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs.

Her title is a fancy combination of words which in clear English means she's Apple's chief lobbyist, a job she's held since 2007. Catherine Ann Novelli is nominated for Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Department of State...

Job posting suggests Apple is working on solar-powered mobile devices

Apple is in search of a thin films engineer for its Mobile Devices team, according to a recent job posting. More specifically, it's looking for an engineer with extensive experience with thin-film technologies in either semiconductor processing or solar industries.

The posting suggests Apple is investigating a viable alternative energy source for future mobile products. And the fact that it says this position will work with suppliers to deliver scalable manufacturing processes means they may be coming sooner than later...