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Morning Report: L.A. iPad Deal Nixed, Typed for Mac, Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Typed for Mac

December isn’t off to a particularly great start for Apple, with news that a lucrative contract with the L.A. Unified School District is being abandoned. Find out why in our Wednesday Morning Report, along with details on a pair of new Mac products to help you write better and expand the horizons of those Thunderbolt 2 ports. It’s all just a click away!

L.A. School District Ditches iPad Contract Amid Federal Scrutiny

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that a lucrative contract with Apple to provide iPads to every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has come to an end now that the .3 billion deal is under investigation by the FBI. On Monday, Feds seized 20 boxes of documents from LAUSD related to the bidding process that sealed the deal between Apple and former L.A. superintendent John Deasy, who resigned in October amid accusations that the educational initiative favored the iPad maker as well as publisher Pearson.

“We’re not going to use the original iPad contract anymore,” current superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said in a statement yesterday. “I think there have been too many innuendos, rumors, etc., and based on my reading of a great deal of material over Thanksgiving, I came to this conclusion. As CEO and steward of a billion-dollar operation, I have to make sure things are done properly so they are not questioned.”

Deasy also announced a suspension of the Apple contract back in August, but never followed through. The deal would have LAUSD spending upwards of 0 million on iPad hardware and accompanying curriculum to run on the devices, plus another 0 to provide improved wireless broadband, additional staff, and other expenses. LAUSD are now eyeing Google’s Chromebooks, which would be purchased under an entirely different contract.

Realmac Software Releases Markdown Editor Typed for Mac

There are plenty of writing apps for the Mac, but how many of them offer a unique “Zen Mode” to help minimize distractions and help you focus on getting words onto virtual paper? Realmac Software announced Tuesday the release of Typed, a new solution designed for any kind of writing, with a special focus on support for Markdown, one of the most popular ways to write for the web.

The app includes a complement of keyboard shortcuts as well as full syntax highlighting that promises to help anyone become a better writer. Typed is available now from the Realmac website for a special launch price of .99 for a limited time (normally .99), with a downloadable demo also available.

Elgato Debuts New Thunderbolt 2 Dock for Mac

Thunderbolt 2 hasn’t been adopted much faster than the first iteration, but at least it’s not taking quite as long for third-party accessories to appear on the scene. The latest is Elgato’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock, which offers a pair of high-speed ports in addition to three USB 3.0 ports, one of which is conveniently located on the front alongside separate jacks for microphone and headphones. The USB ports can even be used to charge high-powered devices like the iPad which won’t work with traditional hubs, as well as enabling support for the Apple SuperDrive.

Elgato’s latest dock also includes a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet port as well as an HDMI port capable of driving up to 4K resolution displays, all from the same box. Thunderbolt 2 Dock is now available from the Elgato website, priced at 9.95.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Morning Report: 12.2-Inch iPad Mockup on Video, Steve Jobs iPod Testimony

iPad Pro mockup on video

How big is too big for an iPad? Our Tuesday Morning Report has a followup on yesterday’s iPad Pro news, complete with a video comparing what such a device might look like compared to current iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro models. Steve Jobs is also making headlines again, as is his successor Tim Cook, who popped into Georgetown yesterday to commemorate World AIDS Day. Click to read all the details!

Rumored Larger iPad Sized Up Against Current Apple Devices

Yesterday, we reported on the publication of potential schematics for a so-called “iPad Air Plus” or “iPad Pro,” reportedly a 12.2-inch edition of Apple’s popular tablet that could debut as early as next spring. On Tuesday, MacRumors reported that a YouTube user named Canoopsy actually went to the trouble of not only creating a mockup of just such a device, but also showing how it might look next to current-generation iPads, and even a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The minute-and-a-half video reveals such a super-sized tablet would easily dwarf existing iPhone 6, iPad Air, and iPad mini models, but nearly matches the screen size of the MacBook Pro. The video also rightfully questions why Apple would even consider a tablet estimated at 12 ins. x 8.7 ins. x 0.28 ins., which is rumored to feature a new A9 processor and dual top and bottom speakers for improved stereo sound.

iPod Class Action Suit Makes Steve Jobs a Star Witness

Tuesday marks the beginning of yet another class action lawsuit against Apple, this time over older iPods capable of only playing music ripped from CDs or purchased on the iTunes Store, which plaintiffs say violated antitrust laws. According to The New York Times, attorneys plan to use emails and a videotaped deposition from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to help make their case.

“We will present evidence that Apple took action to block its competitors and in the process harmed competition and harmed consumers,” explained Bonny Sweeney, the lead attorney for the plaintiff.

The potential damages could wind up costing Apple upwards of 0 million thanks to damning emails from Jobs such as a now-public 2003 missive where the late CEO questioned how the iPod maker could keep content purchased from up-and-coming services like Musicmatch off its coveted music players.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Visits D.C. Store for World AIDS Day

Apple really, really wanted to raise awareness on Monday for World AIDS Day, so Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook hit the streets of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., where he made an appearance yesterday at the company’s retail store there. According to 9to5Mac, Cook was accompanied by (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan, and both of them tweeted photos of the event on their respective Twitter accounts to celebrate.

Dugan noted that Apple has raised million (“and counting”) for the cause thus far, although that number reportedly dates back to June, well before the ongoing (RED) campaign for the holidays. Apple also sent a rare push notification to iOS devices on Monday with a brief message to “get great apps and help (RED) fight AIDS,” which caused some users to complain the iPhone maker was abusing the system to send unwanted, opt-out spam.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of YouTube and Canoopsy)

 

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Morning Report: “iPad Air Plus” Schematics, Chromebook vs. iPad, World AIDS Day

iPad Pro schematic

Happy Cyber Monday! Your eyes aren’t deceiving you: Apple retail stores are seeing (RED) today in support of World AIDS Day to wrap up a campaign launched last week. Our first Morning Report for the month of December also has details on how the Chromebook is racking up educational sales at the expense of iPad, as well as what we might expect next year from a super-sized version of Apple’s tablet. Kick off the month by clicking ahead!

12.2-inch iPad Air Plus Rumored for Q2 2015 Launch

Much like the iPad mini before it, the rumor mill continues to beat the drum for a so-called “iPad Air Plus” or “iPad Pro,” a super-sized edition of Apple’s popular tablet that is rumored to include a larger 12.2-inch or even 12.9-inch display. According to MacRumors, schematics for just such a device have popped up in the pages of Japanese publication Mac Fan (via Mac Otakara), which compares the rumored tablet against current iPad models and even the iPhone 6 line.

Reportedly featuring an all-new A9 processor with dual top and bottom speakers for “improved stereo audio,” the larger device is said to measure 12 ins. x 8.7 ins. x 0.28 ins., and are expected to launch sometime between April and June of next year. The same report also prognosticates the arrival of an iPad mini 4 sometime in 2015, featuring a thinner design powered by an A8X processor.

Chromebook Shipments to U.S. Schools Narrowly Beat iPad

Financial Times reported Sunday that Google has scored a quiet victory over Apple’s iPad in the U.S. educational market — but the celebration has nothing to do with the search giant’s Android-powered tablets. Instead, it’s the low-cost Chromebooks manufactured by Samsung, HP, Dell, and Acer that are making waves, and with good reason: They sell for as little as 9.

According to newly released data from IDC, Google Chromebooks racked up 715,500 shipments to schools in the United States, narrowly beating out the iPad with 702,000 units sold during the same period. The milestone marks the first time Chromebooks have outsold the popular tablet since stalling out of the gate two years ago, although it should be noted the two devices are not necessarily direct competitors.

Powered by Google’s fledgling Chrome OS, Chromebooks are essentially a souped-up web browser in the guise of an internet-connected laptop. Only higher-end models offer the same sort of touchscreen functionality as the iPad, although a built-in keyboard is considered an attractive part of the Chromebook.

As of mid-2014, Apple has sold more than 13 million iPads to the educational market, and Cupertino touts more than 75,000 apps made specifically for teachers and students. Google still has a long way to go to catch up to the slim tablet, or for that matter, Apple’s MacBook line, which continues to be more popular in many schools and colleges.

Apple Store Logos Go Red for World AIDS Day

AppleInsider reported Sunday that Apple isn’t just seeing (RED) on its website — the iPhone maker is also adorning the logo of its iconic brick-and-mortar retail stores with the same shade of crimson in support of World AIDS Day on Monday. This marks the third year in a row Apple has adopted the color in support of the symbolic event, which commemorates 26 years in 2014. The gesture is part of a worldwide effort to raise awareness and support for the estimated 34 million people currently affected by the disease, as well as the more than 35 million who have fallen victim to the virus thus far.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of Mac Fan and Mac Otakara)

 

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Starwood Hotels CEO Credits iPad for Improved Productivity

If you’re one of the few people who still thinks the iPad is primarily an entertainment device, Starwood Hotels CEO Frits van Paasschen wants you to put that mindset away right now. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal today, van Paasschen states that he no longer uses a proper desktop computer at his job thanks to Apple’s tablet.

“I thought, you know what, I actually don’t use [my desktop computer],” van Paasschen says in the interview. “I do all of my work via mobile so essentially my office is wherever I go, and I can be much more productive.”

That doesn’t mean he spends all his time tapping away on the touchscreen. Instead, the CEO makes extensive use of Bluetooth keyboards when he’s on either his iPad or even his iPhone. The shift has actually made him more productive, he says. The e-mails he sends are shorter, he’s banished paper from Starwood meetings, and he sometimes conducts performance reviews via FaceTime. He also refuses to open hefty spreadsheet files.

Source: Wall Street Journal

“When I get the massive file, the first thing I’ll do is send it back and say tell me the key points that I actually need to understand,” he says.

Still, van Paasschen reportedly admits that you still need a standard desktop unit for certain jobs. Nonetheless, the efficiency of his work lately has already inspired other executives at the company. Chris Holdren, one of Starwood’s senior vice presidents, uses his iPad for everything as well.

Starwood is something of an Apple champion. Back in January of this year, Starwood was the first hotel chain to experiment with using iPhones as replacements for room keys in its Aloft hotels in Manhattan and (yes) Cupertino. Following the success of Starwood’s venture, other chains such as Hilton started implementing iPhone room keys as well.

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

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Intel’s Android Subsidies to Fight iPad Have Reportedly Cost It $7 Billion

Intel made an enemy out of Apple back in 2010 when it helped create the so-called “UltraBook,” which was powered by Windows but looked an awful lot like the MacBook Air. Partly in response, Apple started making its own A-series chips (with more than a little help from frenemy Samsung), and now the chip giant is reportedly paying for its “backstabbing style of partnership.” According to an extensive report from AppleInsider, Intel’s move has cost it around billion in losses.

In the meantime, Intel has been paying the makers of Android tablets to take its x86 Atom chips over ARM chips from both Qualcomm and NVIDIA. That subsidizing has been responsible most of the low prices we’ve seen with Android tablets, but now the word is that Intel plans to “phase out these generous incentives,” which could cause the price of iPad rivals to shoot up. And the worst part of it for Intel? Even after dumping all those billions into subsidies, Apple remains the world’s leading tablet vendor.

The Asus Ultrabook. Look familiar?

The numbers spring from two consecutive years of losses. Intel itself reported that it had lost billion in 2013, and now Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore suggests that Intel’s on track to lose another billion this year. Apple’s market dominance no doubt is the biggest factor in the decline of Intel’s fortunes, but Microsoft surprisingly had a hand in it as well. Back in 2011, the Redmond giant started using the more efficient ARM chips for its Windows RT devices.

Intel’s not out of the fight yet, as it plans to introduce new “SoFIA” chips that won’t be available at subsidized prices. Again, though, that means that Android tablet makers may find it difficult to keep their tablets at their current prices, which ultimately should work in Apple’s favor even in the context of an overall declining tablet market.

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

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