On Tim Cook’s Coming Out Letter

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While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

So that finally happened. I’d generally stay clear of commenting on someone coming out of the closet but considering this is Tim, and considering he chose to do it in a public manner, I don’t think that he’d mind me sharing my thoughts.

First things first, this is a great thing. Tim definitely comes across as a rather private person and the fact that he felt he needed to do this, that he needed to publicly acknowledge his sexual orientation is an indicative to me that the society is still by and large not where it needs to be, in their outlook towards diversity. He goes on to talk about what made him give up his privacy –

I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

There are people who feel that Tim didn’t need to come out publicly, claiming that they don’t care what Cook’s sexual orientation is, as long as Apple continues to make great products. I think that these people are missing out on the reason behind why Cook decided to come out. This letter has nothing to do with the “Apple” part of Cook’s life. That is why he published the letter on BusinessWeek and not on Apple’s website.

This isn’t about Apple. This is about the LGBT community and this is about Tim Cook wanting to give back, make a contribution, towards social development.

A forum member (yg17) on MacRumors summed it up pretty well –

It’s important because there are so many gay kids out there who live in West Bum****, Alabama and are told by their parents and everyone else they know that they’re sinners, they’ll never amount to anything, and they’ll burn in hell for being gay. And then after finding absolutely no support amongst the people who should love them, they kill themselves.

Now they can see Tim Cook, who is gay, grew up in West Bum****, Alabama, and went on to become the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world and perhaps the most powerful person in the industry. It might give some hope to these kids out there who thought there was nothing for them in life.

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Apple Registered 1 Million Card Activations During First 72 Hours of Apple Pay

Apple CEO, Tim Cook took the stage at the WSJ.D conference today. During his interview with Gerry Baker, Cook revealed that during the first 72 hours that Apple Pay was available, Apple saw more than one million credit and debit card activations.

This number might seem small compared to the 500 million plus iTunes accounts that have a credit or debit card associated with them. That being said, to have 1 million early adopters within 3 days is definitely an impressive achievement.

Apple launched Apple Pay in the US last week, and the response Apple has received has been more or less positive. Most people who have used the service have said that it is very easy to finish a transaction and haven’t faced major issues.

Apple Pay can be currently used in more than 220,000 retail locations in the US and Tim Cook said he himself has been using Apple Pay to shop at Whole Foods. On the topic of retailers dropping support for Apple Pay, Cook had the following to say – “Over the long arc of time, retailers will have to do what shoppers want.”

Cook also went on to suggest that the key differentiator for Apple Pay will be its focus on ensuring user privacy.  “We’re not Big Brother,” we’re not collecting your data. “We’ll leave that to others.”

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All Things Apple Weekend Update – 26th October 2014

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Weekend Update is a weekly dose of All Things Apple. We curate the best Apple related articles that have been published throughout the week. These include news pieces, guides, editorials and even reviews. Here is this weeks curation of Apple related articles, by us and others that you cannot afford to miss –

All Things Apple Weekend Update – 26th October 2014

Apple Releases iOS 8.1

The iPad Air 2 (And a Few Cursory Words Regarding the iPad Mini 3) – Daring Fireball

This is Tim: Apple’s CEO answers the analysts – Six Colors

Apple Reports Q4 2014 Year-End Results: $8.5 Billion Profit on $42.1 Billion in Revenue [Call Concluded] – MacRumors

Local man uses Apple Pay to buy groceries – Six Colors

Thoughts on Yosemite’s Look and Feel – Subtraction

Last Year’s New Tech – Shawn Blanc

Review: 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display – Six Colors

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Apple Releases iOS 8.1

iOS 8 Released

Yesterday, while me and the rest of the eastern hemisphere was asleep, Apple released iOS 8.1 which brings support for Apple Pay, enables Yosemite users to access Continuity features like SMS relay and Instant Hotspot, offers all iOS 8 users access to iCloud Photo Library, fixes several bugs, and more.

Here’s the complete change-log

  • Apple Pay support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (U.S. only)
  • Photos include new features, improvements, and fixes
    • Adds iCloud Photo Library as a beta service
    • Adds Camera Roll album in Photos app and My Photo Stream album when iCloud Photo Library is not enabled
    • Provides alerts when running low on space before capturing Time Lapse videos
  • Messages includes new features, improvements and fixes
    • Adds the ability for iPhone users to send and receive SMS and MMS text messages on from their iPad and Mac
    • Resolves an issue where search would sometimes not display results
    • Fixes a bug that caused read messages not to be marked as read
    • Fixes issues with group messaging
  • Resolves issues with Wi-Fi performance that could occur when connected to some base stations
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent connections to Bluetooth hands-free devices
  • Fixes bugs that could cause screen rotation to stop working
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where videos would sometimes not play
  • Adds an option to select between 2G, 3G, or LTE networks for cellular data
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where videos would sometimes not play
  • Adds AirDrop support for Passbook passes
  • Adds an option to enable Dictation in Settings for Keyboards, Separate from Siri
  • Enables HealthKit apps to access data in the background
  • Accessibility improvements and fixes
    • Fixes an issue that prevented Guided Access from working properly
    • Fixes a bug where VoiceOver would not work with 3rd party keyboards
    • Improves stability and audio quality when using MFi Hearing Aids with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
    • Fixes an issue with VoiceOver where tone dialing would get stuck on tone until dialing another number
    • Improves reliability when using handwriting, Bluetooth keyboards, and Braille displays with VoiceOver
  • Fixes an issue that was preventing the use of OS X Caching Server for iOS updates

As always, the update can be downloaded Over the Air (OTA), or through iTunes on your Mac or PC.

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All Things Apple Weekend Update – 19th October 2014

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Weekend Update is a weekly dose of All Things Apple. We curate the best Apple related articles that have been published throughout the week. These include news pieces, guides, editorials and even reviews. Here is this weeks curation of Apple related articles, by us and others that you cannot afford to miss –

All Things Apple Weekend Update – 19th October 2014

Olive: An Intelligent Bracelet That Helps You Manage Stress

Apple’s iPad Event 2014: Hopes & Expectations

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite

Key Numbers from Apple’s iPad Event

The Retina iMac versus the Mac Pro, on paper – Marco

OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The Ars Technica Review – Ars Technica

Yes, Apple Rocks Design. Rocks Communication Even More! – Avinash Kaushik

iCloud Drive: What Is It, How It Works & Its Fundamental Problem – MacStories

First thoughts: iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iMac with Retina – LoopInsight

How One Boy With Autism Became B.F.F.’s With Apple’s Siri – NYTimes

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Key Numbers from Apple’s iPad Event

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Apple events have now almost become as mainstream as The Grammy’s or the Oscars, and Apple has been live-streaming them for the past few occasions. As a result of this, we decided not to cover Apple events starting with WWDC 2014. The rationale behind this decision was that since most of our readers are now watching the event along with us, it doesn’t make sense covering it live. For a few of those who didn’t, we think that the best place to find out what was introduced, is through Apple’s very own website.

As part of our coverage, we will be sharing some after thoughts within a couple of days of the event, and we will also be sharing information that you won’t find on Apple’s website. To get us started, here is a collated list of key numbers from today’s keynote.

Key Numbers from Apple’s iPhone & Apple Watch event

  • Apple sold a record breaking number of iPhone’s during the first month
  • 500 new banks supporting Apple Pay
  • WatchKit SDK to be available in November
  • A million users signed up to be a part of the Beta Program for OS X

iPad 

  • 225 million iPads sold
  • Retina iPad Mini scored 100% in customer satisfaction
  • 675,000 iPad apps
  • The iPad Air is 18% thinner than the 1st generation iPad Air at 6.1mm
  • The iPad Air has 3 billion transistors
  • It is 40% faster than the 1st generation iPad Air and has 2.5x faster GPU
  • The iPad Air 2 is 12x faster than the original iPad
  • The graphics performance on the iPad Air 2 is 180x faster than the original iPad
  • The iPad Air delivers 2.8x faster WiFi performance
  • The iPad Air supports 20 LTE bands with speeds up to 150 Mbps (more than any other tablet)
  • iPad Air 2 to cost $499 for the 16GB, $599 for the 64GB, and $699 for the 128GB WiFi variants
  • The cellular versions will start at $629 for the 16GB, $729 for the 64GB, and $829 for the 128GB variant
  • Pre-orders for both the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 begin tomorrow

Mac

  • Mac YoY growth was 18% in comparison to the (1%) growth shown by the PC industry
  • The new 27 inch Retina iMac will feature 14.7 million pixels. That is 5120 x 2880 pixels
  • There are 7 times more pixels on the Retina iMac than a normal HD screen
  • 67% more pixels than 4k
  • The new iMac uses 30% less energy
  • The new iMac is 45% faster than its predecessor
  • The 27 inch Retina iMac will start at $2499 and will ship starting today
  • The Mac Mini is now the World’s most energy efficient desktop
  • The Mac Mini will retail for $499 and will also start shipping today
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Apple Releases OS X Yosemite

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As expected, Apple has just announced that it will be releasing the final version of OS X Yosemite later today. Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi took the stage to demo some of the new features introduced in OS X Mavericks and iOS 8, including – the completely new UI in OS X Yosemite, iCloud Drive, and Continuity features such as HandOff, Instant Hotspot and more.

OS X Mavericks will be available for free via the Mac App Store.

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Apple’s iPad Event 2014: Hopes & Expectations

Apple’s annual iPad event is just around the corner and there is a fair bit of anxiety about whether the event will be just about the new iPads or if Apple will make other announcements as well. Here are my hopes and expectations for the event –

New iPads

I am expecting Apple to update both the models in its iPad lineup – including the ultra-thin iPad Air and the iPad Mini. The major new feature would have to be TouchID if you ask me. I am guessing that if Apple does add TouchID to the iPads, they might just bring NFC compatibility as well. I am also expecting the new iPads to be significantly faster than their predecessors. It is safe to assume that the new iPads will run on the A8 chip, and I am fairly confident that Apple will bump up the RAM to 2GB.

In terms of cosmetics, I am expecting the new iPads to have the same form-factor as their predecessors. That being said, expect a “gold” variant of the iPad Air.

OS X Yosemite & New Macs

Apple first demoed OS X Mavericks during WWDC, and had stated that they would be releasing it in October. I am guessing that they will do a quick recap of whats new in OS X Mavericks, and announce that they will release it the same day(23rd Oct).

I am also expecting Apple to partially revamp its Mac lineup by introducing updated models of the – Mac Mini and the iMac. According to multiple reports, the new iMacs are expected to ship with a high-resolution 4k Retina Display.

I am expecting Apple to update the Mac Mini –  their smallest and cheapest desktop computer. I am expecting the new models to be upgraded with more storage and the latest Intel processors.

Apple Pay

When Apple unveiled Apple Pay during the keynote last month, the company had promised that the platform would launch in the US in the month of October. I am expecting that Apple will announce Apple Pay going live at hundreds of stores around the country on Thursday.

What Not to Expect

I wouldn’t keep my hopes high for the iPad Pro, any sort of new product in the “television” segment, or a 12inch Retina Macbook Air just as yet.

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Olive: An Intelligent Bracelet That Helps You Manage Stress

A couple of days back I came across an interesting campaign on Indiegogo called Olive, which is an intelligent bracelet that aims at helping you monitor and manage stress. The bracelet uses several sensors and technologies to do this including an optical pulse sensor, a skin conductance sensor, skin temperature sensor, ambient light sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, haptic feedback, a Li-Po battery, and Bluetooth 4.0.

It monitors your stress by –

  • Tracking physical indicators of stress based on changes in heart rate, reactions in your skin, and trends in skin temperature
  • Analyzing habits that contribute to stress like your physical activity, sleep, and exposure to light
  • Talking with your smartphone to understand your lifestyle through your calendar, your location, and other available data

Once the bracelet senses an increase in stress levels, it will notify you by giving a nudge (using haptic feedback) or by illuminating LED lights on the bracelet. If you are feeling fine, you can simply swipe to ignore it. If you need help to calm down, you can swipe the other way to launch an exercise.

I have personally struggled to deal with stress during the past couple of years, and I am extremely intrigued by this product.

Read more about Olive and back the campaign by going here.

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All Things Apple Weekend Update – 12th October 2014

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Weekend Update is a weekly dose of All Things Apple. We curate the best Apple related articles that have been published throughout the week. These include news pieces, guides, editorials and even reviews. Here is this weeks curation of Apple related articles, by us and others that you cannot afford to miss –

All Things Apple Weekend Update – 12th October 2014

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to Launch in India on October 17

Apple Named World’s Most Valuable Brand in Latest Interbrand Rankings

Young technologists love lock-in? – Scripting News

Apple’s Jony Ive on the Lessons He Learned From Steve Jobs – Vanity Fair

Editor’s Note – The Magazine

iPhone Encryption and the Return of the Crypto Wars – Schneier on Security

Apple sends out invites for Oct. 16 special event –  The Loop

iOS 8 Apps I’m Trying This Week – MacStories

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