Tag Archives: supply chain

Stock buy-back, MacKeeper, Russian Ruble, Broken Promises


You don't need Mac Keeper, although many have been persuaded otherwise.
You don’t need Mac Keeper, although many have been persuaded otherwise.

Apple bought back $56 billion of its own stock in 2014 — Apple is no stranger to stock buybacks so its no surprise that the trend continued in the 2014 fiscal year. According to a new report for FactSet, Apple spent over $56 billion buying back stock this year. That’s $36.8 billon more than IBM who took the second for most spent on buybacks with $19.2 billion.

How to uninstall MacKeeper from your Mac — Some people have found MacKeeper useful, others not. [Here’s my take: if you leave your Mac on all night sometimes, it does all the same things as auto-run routines, and if you also run Repair Permissions – my Help link above tells you how to do that – you’re amply covered. MacKeeper is nothing but a well-advertised rort. You don’t need it at all. So if you got suckered and you want to follow this advice, here it is, but hey, you might be happy having some agency over the processes, in which case leave it on.]

Apple raises prices in Russian App Store amidst Ruble meltdown — Apple has raised the price of apps in the Russian App Store in the midst of a meltdown in the value of the Russian ruble. The move follows Apple’s decision earlier in the week to stop selling iPhones in Russia because of the volatility.

You can now watch the BBC’s Panorama documentary Apple’s Broken Promises — On December 18 the BBC’s Panorama aired a documentary called Apple’s Broken Promises which questions if Apple is doing enough to protect the people who makes its products. The already controversial film utilises undercover reporters and hidden camera footage to show what life is like for workers in a Chinese supply chain factory. In the second portion of the documentary reporter Richard Bilton travels to an Indonesian tin mine, where he seeks to discover if the metal being mined is actually being used in Apple products. You can watch the docco here.

Apple Watch 489 ~ Through a lens darkly


Tim Cook, the Apple Watch and the issue over sapphire glass (image from ABC news).
Tim Cook, the Apple Watch and the issue over sapphire glass (image from ABC News).

The actual Apple Watch, which has been announced, shown off and will be available next year, will no doubt just be a fancy, show-off watch to some people, but with HealthKit it can be a lot more. The real promise of the Apple Watch is in health monitoring apps.

Other things it’s supposed to be able to do is act as a remote for your iPhone and Apple TV. Actually, it won’t even work without an iPhone, so some people will have to buy both at once if they want the most fashionable tech time piece (once available) so far.

And ‘fashionable’ appears to be exactly what Apple is aiming for. Long before the actual object’s arrival, Apple has displayed prototypes at the Paris Fashion Week and the wrist device will appear on the cover of the November issue of Vogue China.

Apple approached Vogue China’s editor-in-chief with the (usual) Apple angle of the clever combination of technology, style and functionality.

It looks like Apple is trying hard to market its Apple Watch outside of the normal male 20-somethings that make up the majority of those launch-day queues, as Gizmodo points out. This means new markets.

Meanwhile, Apple devices have become so secure the FBI is complaining. Seems fantastical, right? It turns out it’s not impossible for police to look at the data on iDevices, it’s just more difficult.

The fantastically named Ronald T Hosko, former Assistant Director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division, published an opinion piece in The Washington Post that proclaimed law enforcement anger at the changes. Gizmodo has an opinion piece going into personal security and personal privacy.

Meanwhile, Apple has been dealing with all the usual rubbish that gets written about them whenever the Californian giant releases anything. Bendgate was ridiculous: Apple sold 10 million phones in four days and 9 of the bigger ones got bent. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who puts c$1000 phone in their back pocket and then sits on it deserves trouble, or at least a bargain-basement head-examination. For goodness sake, if you go for the bigger iPhone 6, put a good case on it (Apple’s cases are available now and many third party ones are appearing) and don’t put it in your back pocket – or a bench vice!

Meanwhile, you may have heard that Apple’s Sapphire supplier (it’s the material for the high-tech, super-tough lens in the two iPhone Sixes) has filed for bankruptcy. How could they, with an Apple supply contract?

GT Advanced Technologies’ bankruptcy filing continues to take strange turns. A day after signalling its intention to wind down operations and presumably sell whatever assets remain, a report from MacRumors relayed that GTAT filed court documents seeking to free itself from the executed contracts it signed with Apple, calling the terms of the deal “oppressive and burdensome.” GTAT plans to be fully wound down by December. You have to wonder why Apple doesn’t just buy it and run it properly if it wants Sapphire.

The somewhat unforeseen and unseemly demise of this supplier has turned up some interesting facts. GT Advanced revealed it could have had to pay a US$50 million fine if it leaked information about Apple products. This showed up in court documents, according to the Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw.

You might recall that current Apple CEO Tim Cook was the supply chain expert who made everything work like clockwork – a big part of the rise of Apple over the last decade. Apple has been criticised for its incredibly stringent supply chain conditions before, but this time it’s in the US, so I expect this issue will get a bit more exercise in the press.

At the same time, a report has emerged about the crazy work culture at Apple. Former Apple managers Don Melton and Nitin Ganatra got together and discussed, amongst a slew of other fascinating topics, the hectic and always-on work schedule that comes with being a manager at Apple in a Debug podcast. During the podcast, Melton says “there is no way you can cruise through a job at Apple. That just does not happen for anybody I’ve ever seen.” Melton adds “… these people are nuts”.

You can read more, along with a link to the podcast, at TUAW.