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February 27 2014


February 26 2014

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February 13 2014


Apple’s 2014 Supplier Responsibility Support Earns Greenpeace Praise On Conflict Materials

Apple has released its annual Supplier Responsibility report, detailing its monitoring of supply partner labor practices, compliance with regulations and Apple’s standards of business, the environmental impact of its product components and more. Apple highlighted its ongoing education investments in the report, detailing the growth in its worker rights and skills training up top.

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Other highlights from Apple’s report include a new program that extends Apple’s monitoring of worker rights to intern students provided by vocational schools that Apple works with; 95 percent compliance on average with its 60 hour work week program; 451 audits of the supply chain overall conducted in 2013, which is many more than the 298 conducted in 2012; and more transparency about which suppliers and facilities provide its raw metals and materials, including lists of which have been verified as conflict free and which are still in need of future verification.

That last effort has caught the attention and earned the praise of environmental watchdog and activist agency Greenpeace. The organization provided TechCrunch with the following statement regarding its appraisal of Apple’s newest report, from Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Tom Dowdall:

Apple’s increased transparency about its suppliers is becoming a hallmark of Tim Cook’s leadership at the company. Apple has flexed its muscles in the past to push suppliers to remove hazardous substances from products and provide more renewable energy for data centers, and it is proving the same model can work to reduce the use of conflict minerals.  Samsung and other consumer electronics companies should follow Apple’s example and map its suppliers, so the industry can exert its collective influence to build devices that are better for people and the planet.

That’s high praise from the group, and a sign that Apple is indeed doing things right when it comes to sourcing the basic elements involved in making the parts for its products. The name-and-shame tactic will put pressure on suppliers to improve their practices, and make it so that competitors who don’t follow their lead will look like they’re shirking their duties by comparison. Apple took a step in this direction last year by joining the Public Private Alliance on Responsible Minerals Trade, and it’s nice to see them progressing their efforts even further.

Apple Files Patent For Automated Disposable Email Addresses To Help Handle Spam
trackback-spamA new Apple patent application published today (via AppleInsider) details a system for heading off email spam and tracking its source. The tech automates a process many people now use manually, setting up temporary email addresses to be used for web service signups, which can then be thrown away when compromised by a spammy service, and provide clues as to which provider betrayed your trust. The system would automatically generate disposable email addresses based on the service you want to use it with, and possibly contain an identifier in its construction to let you know where spam is coming from. So, for instance, if you signed up for Service X, the email might be “” Managing said email addresses and dealing with cutting off the ones that are subject to spam can be done through web and app graphic user interfaces, as described in the patent, too. Spam is a problem that only increases the more we use email and the web, and addresses not diligently maintained can quickly become overwhelmed with inbound communications from services not necessarily being responsible with your shared information. Apple may seem like an odd candidate as someone trying to tackle this problem, but the company has iCloud and acts as an email provider as part of that product’s suite of cloud services. It’s in the company’s best interest to minimize spam and help pare down on email address churn – if users can manage to keep one permanent address safe from spammers, they won’t have to change their main contact info frequently, which has benefits in terms of protecting the integrity of iTunes and Apple ID accounts.
Tags: TC Apple spam email

February 08 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook Says iPhone Expansion Plans Include 50 More Carriers This Quarter
Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 2.55.49 PMIn an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained his views on topics ranging from smartphones to cash return to shareholders. To understand how Apple will make decisions in the future, it’s important to parse his words and thoughts. Briefly below we’ll look at the financial and the strategic comments made by the technology executive. Strategic As has been recently pointed out by ZDNet’s Ed Bott, Apple generates more than half its revenue from the iPhone line of smartphones. No other product group at Apple breaks the 20 percent mark. Given that reality, Apple’s work to expand the carrier base that it can sell iPhones into is key for the company. According to Cook, Apple will pick up 50 new carriers globally this quarter alone. That’s nearly breakneck pace. For the company, the Chinese market is a key growth opportunity. Apple is working with China Mobile to drive adoption of its iconic iOS smartphones in the country. Still, according to Cook, “even with adding China Mobile, we still only present our products to two-thirds of the subscribers in the world.” Next, the PC. Cook claims that Apple is still investing heavily in its Mac line of PCs. Said the CEO: “we haven’t given up on the Mac. A lot of people are throwing in the towel right now on the PC. We’re still spending an enormous amount on really great talent and people on the Macs of the future. And we have some really cool things coming out there. Because we believe as people walk away from the PC, it becomes clear that the Mac is what you want if you want a PC.” So post-PC? Perhaps not yet. Financial Apple is more than open to potential acquisition deals that top the billion-dollar mark, its CEO TIm Cook disclosed. While rival firms, such as Google, have been using extra cash to reel in firms for sums in the 10-figure range, Apple has sat out. Ironically, almost, given that it has the most cash of any technology firm. Despite its lack of participation in this particular dance, Cook said that his firm has “zero” issue spending more than a billion dollars on a smaller company, provided that the deal is “in the best interest of Apple in the long-term.” With cash reserves north of the $100 billion mark, Apple could afford a grip of such deals. Google recently purchased

February 07 2014

OpenIDFA, A Solution To IDFA-Related App Store Rejections, Debuts
iPhone-5s-front-appsFollowing Apple's crackdown on mobile apps' usage of IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) - that is, it's rejecting apps which are pulling the identifier for non-advertising related purposes - Appsfire is proposing an alternative solution. Called "OpenIDFA," the technology allows for the type of tracking use cases that Apple's ban could prevent, while still protecting end user privacy by offering built-in expiration that prevents the possibility of long-term tracking.
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