The iPhone 6 has been one of Apple’s biggest product introductions in years. Here’s a closer look at the device’s main features.
Following Tim Cook's announcement that is gay, here is a look back at the many successes of the Apple CEO.
Congressional inaction has resulted in a patchwork of state legislation that’s left big gaps across the country where being LGBT can be cause for termination
On Thursday, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook confirmed what had long been believed: he is a gay man.
In coming out in Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook wrote, “Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.”
That last statement is accurate, not just because of the prejudice that gay individuals face in their personal lives, but because of the lack of protections against the discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the workplace.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, in 29 states workers can still be fired for saying exactly what Cook wrote Thursday. They include:
Congress has failed to pass federal legislation that bans discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and transgender identity outright. But politicians in Washington have introduced legislation known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for two decades. And, for two decades, it has failed to pass.
Congressional inaction has resulted in a patchwork of state legislation that’s left big gaps across the country where being LGBT can be cause for termination.
“When I talk about hot topics, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is front and center. The President and The White House are making incremental steps to move us in that direction because there is no federal protection,” says Selisse Berry, founder and chief executive officer of nonprofit advocacy organization Out & Equal.
In June, President Obama signed an executive order banning workplace discrimination based on employees’ sexual orientation and gender identity among federal contractors. In September, the EEOC filed its first lawsuits on behalf of transgender employees under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The business community in the U.S. is also doing its part to combat LBGT discrimination. Company by company, businesses have put sexual orientation and gender identify protections into their codes of conduct. “That way, people can come out at work and not be worried about being fired,” Berry says.
“Ninety-one percent of Fortune 500 companies include sex orientation protections. Seventeen years ago, it was 5%. People weren’t really talking it,” she says. Today, 61% of Fortune 500 companies include protection against gender identity bias.
The situation overseas, however, is significantly different. “There are 17 countries where [LGBT people] can be married,” Berry notes, “but 75 where we can be imprisoned or killed as LGBT people.”
After he came out as gay Wednesday morning+ READ ARTICLE
When Tim Cook took the helm at Apple in 2011, many saw the Alabama native and former company chief operating officer as a somewhat boring Steve Jobs stand-in. Wall Street worried whether Apple could continue its remarkable growth under a new boss, while Apple fans wondered if they could expect the same astronomical advancements in consumer technology they’d grown to love.
In the intervening three years, Cook has impressed doubters with new products like the Apple Watch and the iPad Air, and wowed shareholders as Apple’s stock price continues to rise (a six-month hiccup in 2012-2013 aside).
We’ve learned things about Cook’s personality and life, too. He’s not the terrifying, volatile firecracker that Jobs was. But the instinctively private Cook has gradually revealed a more personal side as he’s accrued successes. Cook’s most personal revelation came Wednesday, with his formal acknowledgment that he is gay, an oft-rumored fact that the Apple chief had never publicly confirmed.
In the spirit of getting familiar with the CEO of one of the world’s most iconic companies, here are 6 things to know about Tim Cook:
He’s a working-class kid from the Deep South
Cook grew up in southern Alabama near the Gulf Coast, and worked at a paper mill in the state and an aluminum plant in Virginia. His father was a shipyard worker. Cook earned his degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University in his native Alabama.
He wakes up at 3:45 every morning
By all accounts, Cook is a dogged worker. He told TIME in 2012 that he wakes up every morning before 4 a.m., spends an hour on email, then goes to the gym, then Starbucks, then heads to work.
He’s a keen manager
Cook got his start managing Apple’s complex supply chains, closing warehouses and instead employing contract manufacturers. He pushed hard for stable supplies of product parts. “You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business,” he has said. “If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem.” Cook is also able to coordinate fluidly with Apple’s different departments. After Jobs’ death, he broke down structural walls between design and software engineering segments, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last month.
Though Cook doesn’t often chatter about his hobbies (“I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy,” he says), Cook enjoys hiking and cycling. He included a shot of Yosemite National Park on his Twitter page, and he’s reportedly an avid cycler as well as a self-admitted “fitness nut” — a reason, perhaps, that Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch is being marketed towards the fitness-obsessed.
His sexuality hasn’t gotten in the way at Apple
Being gay has never been a problem for Cook at Apple, he said in his column for Businessweek. “Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me,” said Cook. “Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.”
He’s a listener
Unlike his predecessor, Cook’s managerial style is markedly collaborative. When a group of investors visited Apple’s campus in 2012, Cook did what would have been unlikely for Jobs: he showed up, listened to his CFO’s presentation, and answered questions. Cook has showed that for the first time in years, not only Apple employees have the CEO’s ear, but investors do, too.
That's a whole lotta Candy Crush
U.S. adults spend nearly two days per month using apps or web browsers on their phones, according to Nielsen research.
Americans age 18 and up spent an average of 43 hours and 31 minutes per month using apps or web browsers on their phones during the second quarter of 2014, a sharp rise from the 33 hours and 48 minutes per month during the same period last year, according to Nielsen’s second-quarter 2014 Cross-Platform report.
Yet for how much time Americans spend on their phones, they’re using a surprisingly low number of apps. Mobile phone users have installed on average about 42 apps, but the vast majority of them say they’re using fewer than 10 apps on a daily basis, according to Nielsen’s Mobile Apps Playbook. About half claim they’re using only one to four apps on a daily basis.
So what are those apps? According to comScore, the most popular apps in the U.S. in June 2014 were Facebook, YouTube, Google Play, Google Search and Google Maps.
His essay didn't minimize the importance of his sexuality. Instead, he acknowledged how being gay has changed his life and worldview+ READ ARTICLE
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has spoken publicly about his sexuality in a Bloomberg Businessweek op-ed, writing: “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” It’s the most forceful declaration of self we’ve seen by a gay person in recent memory — one that presents being gay as something legitimately different from being straight, and no worse for that. It’s an inspiring new way to come out.
To be fair, Cook’s sexuality has been such an open secret that it’s legitimate to question if this is even a coming-out. The hard lines around “coming out” — traditionally the process by which someone tells the world for the first time that one is gay — have been eroded by the openness of the press and the relaxing of stigmas around homosexuality have made it far less taboo to write about a person’s sexuality before their explicit say-so. This is the first time Cook has spoken so openly about being gay; that has hardly stopped the press from, without evident malice or homophobia, including him on an Out power list of gay celebrities, or, at the time of his appointment as Steve Jobs’ replacement, calling him “the most powerful gay man in America.” Though the mainstream press has been more reticent, with a New York Times article this May asking where the openly gay CEOs were, some segments of the press covered Cook’s sexuality as they would his race or gender, as an unremarkable fact about him.
Other coming-outs, like that of Anderson Cooper in 2012, have followed a similar script: that the public figure’s sexuality is unremarkable, neither here nor there, worthy of acknowledgment solely as a biographical detail. Cooper, a CNN anchor, wrote in a public letter to the blogger Andrew Sullivan: “In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted.” In his declaration of his sexuality, there was a strong undertone of reluctance: this shouldn’t be necessary, as it had little to do with Cooper’s identity. Even in coming out, Cooper spent far more time describing his life as a journalist, which he insisted was not colored by his life experiences, than he did acknowledging his sexuality. So, too, did Neil Patrick Harris, in 2006, express his annoyance at the “speculation and interest in my private life and relationships” even while finally discussing them with the press. In her 2013 speech at the Golden Globes, Jodie Foster acknowledged her former partner while framing any and all inquiries into her private life as forcing her into the position of “Honey Boo Boo Child,” a reality-show entertainer.
Tim Cook has set a new paradigm, describing his sexuality as not merely a small aspect of himself that he needs to get through talking about, but as central to his identity. “Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day,” writes Cook. “It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life.”
Some will likely grouse that Cook’s silence for so long dulls the impact of his coming out now, at age 53. And his own essay presents the same privacy arguments we’ve heard before, before explaining that this was, indeed, a difficult choice. Past celebrity coming-out declarations have had a certain breeziness to them, as though the stars decided they might as well finally entertain the press’s endless inquiries. Cook’s desire not to acknowledge his sexuality, he writes, stemmed from his fear that it would overtake all other aspects of his persona in the public eye. “I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things.”
But it’s a sign of how much society has changed even since 2012 that Cook is finally able to present the somewhat revolutionary idea that being gay is not just the same as being straight — that it is not a simple aspect of one’s makeup. It changes the way one views the world, as Cook writes. It also compels one forward to take part in a cause larger than oneself. As Cook writes, citing the civil rights legacies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy: “We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.”
Changes are in the air with Apple’s new desktop operating system
On the screen and behind the scenes, Apple’s new desktop operating system, OS X Yosemite, is packed with new features large and small. From a graphical overhaul that even changes the Mac’s longstanding fonts to reconfigured apps that sling data back and forth from your computer to your iDevice, it’s a big leap for Apple.
Here’s what you need to know before you download Yosemite:
Who Can Use It:
This rule isn’t confirmed by Apple, but if your Mac’s body is made of aluminum, it can probably run Yosemite. That includes iMacs dating to mid-2007, MacBooks from late 20008, Macbook Pros going back to mid-2007, all the Macbook Airs, Mac Minis from early 2009, and Mac Pros since 2008.
Whats It Does:
In a word, lots. On the surface, a redesigned interface that stretches all the way down to the toolbars serves as window dressing for great new capabilities and some under-the-hood improvements. Some of these visual enhancements, like a dark menu bar, are simple but have been in demand by users for years. Meanwhile, other graphical add-ons, like the “Today” panel in the Notification Center, which displays dynamic information pertinent to the user, are real productivity boosting time-savers.
But Yosemite’s biggest and most innovative new feature is called Continuity, a technology that allows your Mac to connect with your iPhone and/or iPad to do some very useful things. For example, you can answer phone calls (streamed from your smartphone) on your computer, you can quickly connect to your Mac to your mobile device to use it as an Internet hotspot, and you can start work on one device (say, writing an email on your iPad) and pick up where you left off on another. Its a fluid technology that makes workflows actually flow.
There’s also an abundance of enhancements to the Mac’s default apps. For instance, Safari has undergone a huge overhaul, with security enhancements like stronger cookie blocking and integration of the non-tracking DuckDuckGo search engine, along with improved video performance that makes Macs more energy efficient Netflix machines. Continuity integration makes it possible to receive SMS messages in iMessage and to make a phone call on your iPhone (or from the FaceTime app) simply by clicking on an icon in the computer’s Contacts app. It’s improvements like these make Yosemite a bold first step towards unifying Macs and iDevices into one seamless supercomputer.
Why You Should Install It:
While these latest features provide plenty of reasons to run the newest Mac operating system, the simplest Yosemite justification is that the download is new and free. But beyond having the latest and greatest capabilities for a song, it’s almost always advisable to update any software as soon as upgrades are available, because newer versions patch security holes while older versions are vulnerable to being hacked.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that after upgrading her Mac, your cousin’s best friend’s daughter wasn’t able to log into her email anymore — but issues like these are generally few and far between. If you want to hear more horror stories, search the web for “OS X Yosemite problems,” just keep in mind that people typically don’t post comments online when things work great (which is most of the time).
And along those lines, this operating system is better than most first builds that Apple has released previously. That’s because prior to launch, OS X Yosemite had a widely-released public beta (a user-friendly practice that Apple only began doing recently), which helped make the software stable and functional. However, there is one caveat: if your computer is one of the older compatible Macs, it might be wise to decline the install — especially if you’re planning to upgrade your hardware soon, anyway. Then you’ll be upgraded by default, because all new Macs ship with Yosemite already installed.
How to Get It:
For the rest of us, Yosemite is available for download on the Mac App Store, for free. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, the 5.16 gigabyte file could take a while to copy to your computer, so make sure you have the time and storage space necessary to run the updater. Apple requires that your computer have at least eight gigabytes of storage and two gigabytes of memory available, as well as Mac OS 10.6.8 or a newer operating system already installed. And as with any operating system install, we recommend you back up all your files in advance. It’s not just a good practice for now, but in case something happens next week, month, or year.
It's Microsoft's new foray into the wearables market+ READ ARTICLE
Microsoft is joining the parade of tech companies flooding the crowded wearable health space with a big bet that it can make its way not only to consumers’ desks and laps, but onto their wrists, too.
Microsoft Band works much like a Fitbit or a Jawbone Up: throughout the day, it tracks your heart rate, steps, calories burned and the quality and length of your sleep. It contains a GPS device, so it tracks distance traveled, too. The Band feeds data back to your Microsoft Health app, which works on Microsoft phones as well as Android and Apple.
The Band does things some other wearables can’t: it notifies you when you receive a text message or a call and allows you to monitor your email. It also lets you interact with Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistant, Cortana, provided you have a Windows Phone. Microsoft also touted Microsoft Health’s coordination with its HealthVault program, which can share information with doctors. And at $199, The Microsoft Band is considerably cheaper than the cheapest Apple Watch will be when that launches early next year at a $349 starting price.
“We don’t think there’s any other device with this level of functionality,” Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft vice president, said according to the New York Times in a demonstration of the device on Wednesday. Microsoft released the Band after it apparently leaked early in some app stores.
The big question for the Microsoft Band is whether it’ll hold users’ interest. In a recent survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers found about a third of respondents said they no longer use their wearable device or do so infrequently just a year after purchasing one.
The mobile payment battleground is currently in chaos, with customer loyalty programs, retailer apps and Apple Pay each marshaling troops, attacking supply lines and forming shaky—sometimes short-sighted—alliances.
Just weeks after launch, consumers seem to like the Apple Pay experience best, with its one-tap simplicity and strong privacy features. Unfortunately, three hurdles stand in Apple Pay’s way.
Apple Pay requires NFC (near-field communication) to work, and some retailers don’t have the technology built in. This is the least of Apple’s worries, however, as stricter credit fraud laws will compel most big stores to add NFC by October 2015.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Apple Pay keeps payments anonymous—so anonymous that retailers will lose some valuable information about shoppers: what they’re buying, what they’re returning, what they might be interested in next. It’s why customers who are paranoid about privacy love Apple Pay, but data-driven retail marketers can’t stand it. Even Apple-friendly brands like Starbucks have been hesitant to fully implement Apple Pay for this very reason. The Starbucks iOS app lets the coffee shop understand individual customers and offer them relevant promotions. A full-fledged Apple Pay solution would cut out the flow of customer data.
The biggest Apple Pay antagonist, CurrentC is a mobile payment system supported by dozens of America’s biggest retailers (including three of biggest: Walmart, ExxonMobil and CVS). CurrentC is nirvana for retailers. The app connects directly to shoppers’ bank accounts, cutting out those 2-3% per transaction fees from the likes of VISA and Mastercard. It can also offer promotions and customer loyalty rewards, a crucial part of most big retailers’ customer retention strategies.
Unfortunately, CurrentC is also clunky to use. For a given purchase, customers must take out their phones, unlock them, open the CurrentC app, open their cameras, then point their phones at one of those blocky QR codes, which validates the transaction. You can debate whether swiping a credit card or using Apple Pay is faster, but as it stands, CurrentC is easily the slowest, most awkward method.
If CurrentC maker MCX can overhaul the app’s user experience, the payment system has a great chance to be successful. After all, it’s already got a lot of big players backing it. But if it remains in its current state, it’s hard to imagine consumers getting on board.
So what would it take for consumers’ most popular method—Apple Pay—to truly become the payment system of the future? At FindTheBest, we took a close look at America’s top 100 retailers by sales volume to see who’s out, who’s in, and who Apple has a shot of winning over.
Today, we’re focusing on the big brands: the majors and generals, not the captains and lieutenants. With apologies to smaller companies like Petco and Panera Bread, here were the brands we picked from (sales estimates from FindTheBest’s Companies topic):
We’ll start by reviewing Apple’s key partners and biggest opponents, then count down the fence-sitters. Again, this isn’t a comprehensive list—just the biggest brands.
The Apple Core
- Whole Foods
- Toys R Us
Apple has at least some representation among four critical industries: gas, drug stores, fast food and clothing. The weak point here is grocery stores. Whole Foods is a decent start, but Kroger, Safeway and Publix are all either ambivalent or anti-Apple Pay, which could spell big trouble for the service.
The Lost Causes
- Best Buy
- Rite Aid
The biggest CurrentC advocates of all, these companies have actively disabled Apple Pay. Having bet heavily on MCX’s mobile payment solution, they’ll likely make big sales sacrifices before caving to the iPhone and Touch ID.
From here, however, we move into the “remotely possible” categories. We’ll start with least likely.
- The Gap Inc.
All six of these players are CurrentC supporters, but they’ve been less vocal in their distaste for Apple Pay. Unfortunately, several are likely tied up in CurrentC exclusivity contracts, which would mean that they can’t legally implement Apple Pay as long as they want to support the CurrentC app. Still, if Apple Pay were to really take off, you might expect a few of these to betray the CurrentC faithful and start accepting payments through Apple.
- Home Depot
- JC Penney
None of these businesses have been particularly receptive toward Apple Pay, but they’re not aligned with CurrentC either, which means that either faction could win them over. Both Home Depot and Nordstrom seem like natural fits. The former would love to build back customer trust after its recent, infamous credit card breach—and security is one of Apple Pay’s best features. Meanwhile, the latter matches Apple’s customer base well: an upper-middle class, “affordable luxury” brand.
The Fickle Friends
Both retailers have half-heartedly embraced Apple Pay, with mobile apps that will integrate with the new Touch ID-authenticated feature. But neither features the simple, one-tap-to-pay experience, which will likely be critical for Apple Pay adoption. Starbucks would still need to add the NFC technology across its 20,000 stores, and a true Apple Pay solution might cannibalize its popular (and successful) iOS app. Apple may need to prove it can win over friends before it starts flipping enemies.
- Pizza Hut
- Taco Bell
They’re not as big as the above retailers, but they could each help sell Apple Pay through brand association. Taken together, these companies could win Apple more users in a crucial young demographic, the sort of customers that could create a long-term foundation for the new mobile payment service.
- – -
Apple has the technology and user experience nailed. Now it’s time to win over these 16 brands. If the company chips away at the CurrentC stronghold, even one retailer at a time, it’ll be in a much better position to win not only the current battle, but the larger mobile payment war.
This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.
More from FindTheBest
She even declares Colbert a feminist+ READ ARTICLE
The maker of a feminist video game who has faced vitriol from some members of the “GamerGate” online movement stopped by The Colbert Report on Wednesday and handily schooled the host’s fake gamer persona.
“I’m saving the princess, and I’m supposed to let the princess die? Is that what you want?” Colbert asks Anita Sarkeesian incredulously.
“Well maybe the princess shouldn’t be a damsel and she could save herself,” Sarkeesian replies, drawing cheers from women in the crowd. (“I didn’t know you brought a posse,” Colbert jokingly responds.)
The GamerGate movement, named after the Twitter hashtag that has fueled its growth, purports to challenge poor ethics in video-game journalism. But it has also unleashed a wave of sexist comments and threats against women in the overall gaming industry.
Sarkeesian, who has publicly criticized video-game culture for its portrayal of women, canceled a talk at Utah State University earlier this month after the school received an email threat of a shooting massacre. While the school considered it safe for the talk to continue, Sarkeesian decided to pull out of the event because the school was barred by state law from disallowing legal guns on campus during the event.
“They’re lashing out because we’re challenging the status quo of gaming as a male-dominated space,” Sarkeesian says. By the end of the interview, she even declares Colbert a feminist after he asks if he’s allowed — as a man — to be one.
See the full interview below: