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GameStop Plans to Lessen Focus on Video Games; Greatly Expand Mac Stores

GameStop, the popular video game retailer and reseller, is apparently getting into the Mac business in a big way. And not just for games; as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (via MacRumors), the company’s looking to expand the operations of “Simply Mac” stores across the United States to provide Apple products to (increasingly few) locations that still don’t have access to an Apple retail store.

GameStop has owned a 49.9 stake in the company since 2012, but the company extended that to full ownership in November of 2013. Currently Simply Mac only has 23 locations scattered throughout the western United States, but GameStop would like for that number to grow much larger. Indeed, the expansion comes hand-in-hand with a new focus on AT&T’s mobile services in the wake of GameStop’s acquisition of Spring Mobile.

Source: GJMole

According to the article, “GameStop’s confidence in rapid growth at the small chains, acquired for about $110 million last year, is buoyed by their strong ties to industry leaders AT&T and Apple. Steve Bain and Jason Ellis, the executives who built Simply Mac and Spring Mobile, continue to run the operations for GameStop and see strong growth opportunities. After opening 23 stores this year, Bain said, the company plans to open 50 more Simply Mac stores in 2015.”

Such a total would bring the total to 73 stores, which marks a substantial leap over Apple’s own domestic retail growth. The shift comes as the gaming retailer is in the process of closing down 130 of its 6,400 GameStop locations, and as the company attempts to diversify its offerings. CEO Paul Raines wants the GameSpot brand to be seen as “the family of specialty retailers that make your favorite technologies affordable and simple,” and believes that the new Apple stores could represent 10 percent of the company’s revenue by 2016.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Apple Reports Record Quarterly Earnings; Announces 7-for-1 Stock Split, New Retail Chief

Today marked the delivery of Apple’s latest quarterly earnings results, as well as the latest time that the Cupertino company has exceeded Wall Street expectations. Most analyst predictions forecast that the iPhone maker would bring in only $43 billion…

Apple Opens OS X Betas to General Users for Free with New Seed Program

For all of Apple’s strengths, it’s usually not a company that’s associated with letting us do things for free. Judging from last year’s news about OS X Mavericks and the followup news about the iWork suite, that may be changing. Indeed, as The Loop rep…

Apple Takes Thinly Veiled Jab at Samsung in New Environmentally Focused Ads

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Apple employ the same competitive snark that we see in advertising from its rivals, but the Cupertino company today played a rare hand in the form of a full-page ad lightly poking fun at its ongoing legal battle with Samsung. The ads chiefly appear overseas (for now), and read “There are some things we want every company to copy.”

Cnet lists the ads as appearing in British papers such as the Guardian and the Metro, but since then others have been spotted in Australia, Germany and numerous other countries. The ads are meant to highlight Apple’s commitment to its green energy programs and new sustainable architecture, but with a not-so-subtle nod toward its biggest smartphone competitor. The full text reads as follows:

Source: Cnet

“There’s one area where we actually encourage others to imitate us. Because when everyone makes the environment a priority, we all benefits. We’d be more than happy to see every data centre fuelled by 100% renewable energy sources. And we eagerly await the day when every product is made without the harmful toxins we have removed from ours.

Of course we know we can continue to do better. We’ve set some pretty ambitious goals for reducing our impact on climate change, making our products with greener materials and conserving our planet’s limited resources. So the next time we come across a great idea that can help leave the world better than we found it, we look forward to sharing.”

The ads were designed to complement Apple’s new “Better” campaign that was launched yesterday in preparation for today’s celebration of Earth Day.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Video Highlights the Environmental Friendliness of Apple's 'Spaceship' Campus

Remember those days when environmentalists used to jump on Apple all the time for its practices? Those days seem long behind us, indeed, this morning Apple unveiled its “Better” campaign to demonstrate its contributions to making the world a better place — aside, you know, from dependable and intuitive tech. To celebrate the initiative, YouTube’s “Unofficially Apple” released a video on YouTube showcasing the environmentally friendly nature of Apple’s new campus.

The video is narrated by Norman Foster, the chief architect behind the project, and he notes that Steve Jobs’ love of Stanford University and the Bay Area led to the design. More poignantly, in the words of David Muffly, it’s intended to “bring California back to Cupertino.” Duffly is actually the project’s chief arborist, and as such he’s charged with filling the campus with the appropriate flora.

   

In accordance with previous news we’ve heard, the video plays up the energy efficiency of the project and its 100 percent reliance on renewable energy resources. Space also plays a major role in the building’s design. “Just under 80 percent of the site will be open space, populated by more than 7,000 trees — including more than 6,000 newly planted shade and fruit trees,” the video says. “Drought-tolerant plants will be used throughout the landscape to minimize water use.”

The video was originally shown to the Cupertino City Council last October, but this marks the first time that it’s been shown to the public. (It’s probably a good idea to watch it now in case it’s pulled.) Apple expects that the massive “spaceship” campus will be complete sometime in 2016.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Fueling 'iWatch' Rumors, Apple Extends Trademark Coverage to 'Jewelry and Watches'

In one of the surest signs that the so-called “iWatch” is on its way and not just a rumor, Apple recently attempted to extend its corporate trademark to provide coverage for “Class 14″ objects, which include jewelry, clocks, and, yes, watches. MacRumor…

Concept Images Suggest How Apps Might Look on 'iPhone 6' in Light of Rumors

It’s all but a given now that the next iPhone will come in two larger screen sizes, but that extra real estate raises the important question of how Apple plans to handle the resolution. As a user named “Pi is exactly 3″ on The Verge’s Apple forums note…

Apple's Income Exceeds That of HP, Google, Intel, and Cisco Combined

We already know that Apple makes incredible profits, but it’s sometimes dizzying to realize just how profitable the iPhone maker is. According to the San Jose Mercury News (via Cult of Mac), the Cupertino company generates more income than Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Cisco combined.

The Mercury News revealed the data in its Silicon Valley 150 list, which categorizes tech companies based on information from Bloomberg and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

0412sv150_175.pdf

Apple’s total annual revenue comes in at $174 billion a year, which means it manages to rake in more revenue than the combined efforts of second-place holder Hewlett-Packard and Google in third. The statistics are even more impressive for sheer profit, as Apple brings in more profits than the other companies ranked in the top five together.

As Cult of Mac notes, a recent infographic showed that the iPad maker brings in around $325,000 per minute.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Apple Allegedly Negotiating with Reluctant Carriers to Raise Price of iPhone 6 By $100

We’ve heard a lot of good things about the so-called iPhone 6, but the word from Peter Misek, an analyst from Jefferies, is that Apple is trying to get carriers to raise the price of the device by a full $100, up from its base cost of $199. At the mome…

Amazon Reportedly Planning 3D Smartphone Launch in September

The smartphone war has focused on the two superpowers of Apple and Samsung as of late, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon might open a third front later this year. The Journal reports that the massive e-tailer has been showing prototypes …

The Week's 10 Hottest Apple News Stories, April 11

Sooo, just the biggest internet security problem in EVER this week, but no biggie. Lucky for Apple users, many of their services were safe, though it’s not like you can’t have been affected. Plus, iWatch rumors heating up this week, so we’re moving int…

The Week's Best Deals for Your Mac and iOS Device, April 10

With reports that Retina Display is in the mix for the latest round of MacBook Airs, maybe that’s what you’re saving up for, or maybe that is just gonna prove too pricey or you need a machine yesterday. Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve got some swee…

Apple UI Chief Greg Christie Leaving Apple, Allegedly Following Clashes with Jony Ive

Something is rotten in Cupertino. After more than 20 years with Apple, Greg Christie, who played a key role in the development of the original iPhone and other major Apple products, is allegedly leaving the company due to “friction” (to use 9to5Mac‘s word) with design chief Jony Ive. As a result, Ive will have even more direct control over the design of Apple’s software.

Christie’s involvement with the iPhone runs deep: he is, for instance, the man responsible for the signature “slide to unlock” design of the iPhone’s home screen, along with around 100 other patents associated with Apple.

Lately Christie has been working on software under the leadership of Craig Federighi, but 9to5Mac reports that this will end because Ive and Christie haven’t been getting along. According to the report, all of the software designers formerly under Christie will now work directly for Ive on the latter’s industrial design team rather than on Federighi’s engineering team.

If you disliked the changes made with iOS 7, Christie’s apparently with you. This radical overhaul of iOS was allegedly the main cause of all the headbutting, although the exact details of what caused the split currently aren’t known. It’s hard to see this as good news for Apple on any level, as Christie has been on the Apple team since 1996 — way back in the days when the Newton came out.

Apple released a statement to the Financial Times this afternoon acknowledging the split in neutral language. “Greg has been planning to retire later this year after nearly 20 years at Apple. He has made vital contributions to Apple products across the board, and built a world-class Human Interface team which has worked closely with Jony for many years.”

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Israeli Startup Claims It Can Charge Smartphone Batteries to Full in 30 Seconds

The charging times for the iPhone have steadily gotten better over the last few years, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, it’s possible that you’ll be able to plug the device in and charge it from 0 percent to 100 percent in just under a minute. A…

Samsung in 2011: 'Beating Apple is #1 Priority'

We knew the rivalry between Samsung and Apple was bad, but it’s sometimes surprising to see just how deep it goes. As a part of the latest patent trial between the two juggernaut tech companies, internal Samsung documents dating from 2011 have emerged …

The Week's 10 Hottest Apple News Stories, April 4

Well, Apple’s future is getting close to becoming clear as the date for WWDC 2014 has finally been let loose. Looks like some tech journalists are going to be revamping any early summer vacation plans. Meanwhile, it feels like it’s been so long since M…

Pixar President Claims Studio 'Transformed' Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs tends to get a bad rap on account of his near-insufferable nature and his demands for perfection, but a new book by Pixar president and co-founder Ed Catmull demonstrates how the famed animation studio partly changed the Apple co-founder for the better (via MacRumors).

Indeed, in his Creativity, Inc., Catmull reportedly describes a Steve Jobs who was highly interested in his employees’ “value as contributors to the creative process,” as well as (get this) their personal feelings. Gizmodo has published an excerpt of the book, which details Jobs’ last two decades in relation to the company.

Jobs, Catmull says, was inspired by the “nobility of entertaining people” in the last years of his life, and praised the abilities of movies to “dig for deeper truths.” Pixar was a place where Jobs could “play a little,” he says, although the Apple co-founder reportedly delivered his signature brand of constructive criticism to the Pixar team as well.

In Catmull’s words, “Jobs’ experience with Pixar was part of this change. Steve aspired to create utilitarian things that also brought joy; it was his way of making the world a better place. That was part of why Pixar made him so proud—because he felt the world was better for the films we made. He used to say regularly that as brilliant as Apple products were, eventually they all ended up in landfills.”

Pixar, indeed, changed him a bit, and arguably for the better. “While he never lost his intensity, we watched him develop the ability to listen,” Catmull says. “More and more, he could express empathy and caring and patience. He became truly wise. The change in him was real, and it was deep.”

Catmull’s Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration is scheduled for release on April 8, and it’s available for preorder over at Amazon.com. Again, be sure to check out the chapter on Steve Jobs over at Gizmodo.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Apple's Contributions to (RED) to Fight AIDS Reach $70 Million

With a tweet today, Product (RED) revealed that Apple has raised even more money to fund the ongoing battle against AIDS, bringing the iPad maker’s total contributions up to $70 million. That’s a $5 million improvement on the $65 million U2 frontman Bo…

Speech Recognition Company Novauris Reportedly Bought by Apple

Sometimes important acquisitions by Apple make big news; other times, months by go by before anyone even knows about it. (It’s a pity it seemingly can’t achieve that same secrecy with the iPhone anymore.) As TechCrunch reports, it appears that the iPhone maker acquired staff from Novauris Technologies last year to assist in improving Siri, thus all but confirming Apple also acquired the company at the same time.

Accumulated evidence highly suggests this is the case. The LinkedIn page for Yoon Kim, the CEO of Novauris, now lists him as a manager for “Siri at Apple.” TechCrunch also contacted Novauris’ operations in the U.K. and learned that from an unnamed employee that, yes, the company is now under Apple’s wing.

Novauris boasts an uncommonly talented staff, as it was founded by the creators of the speech recognition pioneer Dragon Systems (best known as the creators of Dragon NaturallySpeaking). In an interesting twist, Apple uses some of the technology produced by Nuance, Dragon’s current parent company, to assist with Siri’s speech recognition.

Novauris’ specialization is, shall we say, a little more nuanced. It focuses on using speech recognition to access information both on local devices and on external servers — exactly, in other words, the purpose for using Siri on the iPhone. The company’s website also states that it’s able to handle multiple voice requests at once, partly by focusing on syllables and complete phrases.

In the words of Novauris’ website, “NovaSearch doesn’t carry out recognition at the word or sequence-of-words level, but rather identifies complete phrases from start to finish by matching them against a potentially huge inventory of possible utterances. This enables it to assemble information about what has been spoken over utterances of virtually any length and take near-optimal decisions.”

Apple made a ton of other acquisitions last year, including the public transit navigator HopStop, the digital mapping companies BroadMap and Locationary, and the indoor GPS outit called WifiSLAM. The iPhone 6 is alleged to contain many significant improvements for iOS 7 in general, and thus it’ll be interesting to see how fruitful these acquisitions were after the coming launch.

Update: Apple sent a confirmation (of sorts) to TechCrunch, merely passing along its usual line about how “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Greenpeace: Apple Has Most Environmentally Friendly Datacenters in Tech

We’ve come a long way from the days when critics at Greenpeace used to accuse Apple of espousing environmentally unsound policies. Indeed, just two years ago, the environmental group slapped the Cupertino company with poor scores for its reliance of fo…

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