Apple Once Again Taking Extended Thanksgiving Break as Tim Cook Applauds Employees' Work

As it is has done in past years, Apple is once again giving its corporate employees the entire week of Thanksgiving week off with pay, offering additional vacation days of Monday, November 25 through Wednesday, November 27 beyond the typical Thursday-Friday holiday period. 

Retail and customer support employees will not have the week off as those divisions will need to continue operating, but they will be able to take their extra days off at staggered times. International teams will also be able to take their extra time off at times more convenient for their schedules...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Tim Cook Posts Letter to Chinese Apple Customers Announcing Changes to iPhone 4/4S Warranty Policies

Over the past several weeks, state-run media and other outlets in China have criticized Apple over the company's warranty practices in the country.

The company had posted a letter to customers defending its practices as going above and beyond requirements of Chinese law, but as noted byBusiness Insider, Apple has now posted a newletter from CEO Tim Cook [Google translation] announcing changes to its warranty policy. From the Google translation:

We are aware that, due to the lack of external communication in this process and lead to the speculation that Apple arrogance, do not care or do not attach importance to consumer feedback. We express our sincere apologies for any concerns or misunderstandings this gives consumers.

In order to further improve the level of service, we are implementing the following four major adjustment:

- Improved iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S repair policy
- Provide a concise and clear on the website of the official Apple repair and warranty policy statement
- Increase the intensity of the supervision and training of Apple Authorized Service Provider
- Related issues to ensure that consumers can easily contact Apple Feedback Service

Apple's previous policy for iPhone 4 and 4S warranty repairs had frequently involved issuing customers new handsets but swapping their existing back plates onto the new hardware, with the replacement handsets carrying warranties lasting 90 days or until the expiration of the original one-year warranties from the customers' initial purchases.

The policy had received criticism from those arguing that the replacement devices essentially amount to brand-new hardware and should carry longer warranty coverage. Under Apple's revised policies announced today, the company has heeded those complaints and when it swaps out customers' devices for replacement ones, they will be entirely new devices and carry fresh one-year warranties.

Apple has also made it more clear to customers what its standard repair policies are in China, with main parts such as motherboards receiving two-year coverage while other components receive one-year coverage. In addition, Apple has increased training for authorized service providers in China in order to ensure that they are fully aware of Apple's new and continuing warranty policies. Finally, Apple has also rolled out a new feedback form to provide a simpler mechanism for Chinese customers to contact Apple about service concerns.

[Source: MacRumors]

Cheap iPhone 4 demand 'surprised' Apple, Tim Cook says

Apple boss Tim Cook today admitted that the firm was caught off-guard by the popularity of its cut-price iPhone 4, but remained elusive about possible plans for a new, cheaper mobile.

Speaking at Goldman Sachs' Technology and Internet conference, Cook spoke of Apple's "surprise" at demand for the iPhone 4, which saw its price cut to £319 following the release of the iPhone 5the Wall Street Journal reports.

"We lowered the price for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, and in the December quarter, we didn't have enough supply of iPhone 4, so it surprised us as to the level of demand we had for it," Apple's head honcho is quoted as saying.

Cook's comments follow continued speculation that Apple is plotting a cheaper version of theiPhone 5 to be released this year -- a device that recent rumours peg as ditching pricey materials in favour of wallet-friendly plastic.

During the talk Cook gave little away however, offering, "Our North Star is a great product. When everyone comes to work every day, they're thinking about that front and centre. We wouldn't do anything we wouldn't consider a great product.

"There are other companies that do that," Cook said -- possibly a sly dig at Samsung's galaxy of cheaper smart phones -- "and that's just not who we are."

Cook also reportedly commented that when Apple tried to make a cheaper Mac, it wound up making the iPad instead. So you never know, perhaps we'll see the company crafting something completely new for the budget-conscious crowd -- maybe that rumoured wristwatch?

[Source: CNET]

Tim Cook Congratulates Apple Employees on Record Quarter, Announces Town Hall Meeting Today

Following yesterday's record-breaking earnings numbers for the first fiscal quarter of 2013 that still fell short of analyst expectations, Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent out an email to employees (via 9to5Mac) congratulating them on the performance and announcing an employees-only town hall meeting scheduled for today.


We’ve just reported another record setting quarter, thanks to everyone’s incredible hard work and focus. We sold over 75 million iOS devices in the holiday quarter alone, which is a testament to the strength of Apple’s innovation. Please join me for an employee communications meeting tomorrow at 10 a.m. Pacific time in the auditorium of De Anza 3. We’ve created a space on AppleWeb where you can submit your questions in advance, and we’ll do our best to answer as many of them as we can during the meeting. The meeting will be broadcast live throughout Cupertino and at many other Apple locations. Please check AppleWeb for details. 


Apple has held similar meetings in the past, with discussion at last year's meeting reportedly focusing on the company's philanthropy and also including an announcement of a new hardware discount program for company employees.

[Source: MacRumors]

Tim Cook on the Urgency of Solving Problems, Unpredictability of Apple, and Industry Disruption

Following yesterday's announcement that Apple CEO Tim Cook had been named to the shortlist for TIME's annual Person of the Year feature, the magazine has published a lengthy profile of Cook today covering his runner-up status. 

Much of the information in the profile has been discussed in other settings, but it offers a good overview of Cook and his time at Apple. The piece also offers a few fresh quotes from Cook about his perspective and his role in leading Apple. The report touches on Cook's combination of calm demeanor and intense focus, noting that he can just as easily lighten the mood with his manner as light fires under others to spur them to action.

[Source: MacRumors - Click here to read more]

Tim Cook to give first TV interview on Rock Center Dec. 6

NBC will air the first televised interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook next week on Rock Center with Brian Williams. The interview was filmed today at the Grand Central Apple Store in New York City.

The network hasn't divulged the focus of the discussion, but it will be just one of three segments on the episode which is also slated to feature a chat with The Hobbit director Peter Jackson. After filming of the interview with Cook wrapped, Rock Center's Twitter account tweeted the above photo of Williams and the Apple CEO in front of the cameras.

Cook's spot on Rock Center with Brian Williams will air next Thursday, December 6 at 10 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. CT on NBC.

[Source: TUAW]

Apple's Tim Cook sees Microsoft Surface as a 'fairly compromised, confusing product'

Anyone wondering what Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks of Microsoft's new Surface tablet didn't have to wait long to get an answer. Cook offered a fairly blunt assessment of the device on the company'squarterly earnings call today, saying that while he hasn't personally played with one, "we're reading that it's a fairly compromised, confusing product." He went on to say that "I think one of the things you do with a product is make hard trade-offs. The user experience on the iPad is absolutely incredible," adding, "I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but I don't think it would do all of those things very well. When people look at the iPad versus competitive offerings, I think they'll continue to want an iPad."

As for Apple's own new tablet, the iPad mini, Cook dismissed the notion that it would cannibalize other iPad sales. "The way that we look at this," Cook said, "is that we provide a fantastic iPod touch, an iPad, and an iPad mini. Customers will decide which one, two, three or four they want, and they'll buy those." He went on to add that "we've learned over the years not to worry about cannibalization of our products. The far bigger opportunity is the 80 to 90 million PCs shipped each quarter. I think a great number of those people would be better off buying an iPad, or a Mac. That's a bigger opportunity for Apple. Instead of looking at cannibalization, I see an incremental opportunity."

[Source: Engadget]

Tim Cook's apology shows that Apple cares, but still needs to fix problem

Last week I wrote an article criticizing Apple's new Maps capability explaining why it was a deal-breaker for me and why I was leaving the iPhone. That article generated hundreds of comments (in agreement and disagreement), tweets, and emails to me and TUAW, some going so far as calling for me to be fired. Since that article was published, the criticisms of Maps have exploded, so much so that Tim Cook released a rare public apology from Apple and pointed users to mapping apps from competitors. While that may help stem the bleeding until Apple can figure out how to fix its Maps mess, there are two things about Tim Cook's statement I want to address.

The first is that Cook's apology shows that Apple truly cares about its users. You know those times you mess up and realize how hard it is to apologize for your mistake? It's usually pride or embarrassment that gets in the way of apologizing. Either way, it's still incredibly hard to admit you were wrong. Now multiply that feeling by a million, knowing that your apology -- the admission that you were wrong -- will be reported by every major newspaper and tech blog in the world.

[Source: TUAW - Read the full story there]

One year of Tim Cook as CEO of Apple

Exactly one year ago today, Tim Cook took over the leadership of Apple from Steve Jobs. CNET's Josh Lowensohn reports that his first year at the company has been a huge success.

Not everyone believed that Cook, who had filled in for Jobs twice during his battle with pancreatic cancer, would keep the company on its incredible journey. When the announcement of his appointment as CEO was made, Apple's stock dropped more than $6 a share. But now the stock is up 44 percent over its value at this time in 2011 and Apple was recently named the most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization.

During Cook's first year, the company continued to see revenue growth outpacing the rest of the industry during a worldwide recession, continues to fight patent battles against rivals in court to assure that Apple (in the words of Cook) "not become the developer for the world," and has released follow-ons to its highly successful products.

However, some Wall Street analysts believe that Apple's future is bleak without the charisma of Jobs at the helm. Forrester CEO George Colony was quoted in April as saying that "Apple's momentum will carry it for 24 to 48 months, but without the arrival of a new charismatic leader it will move from being a great company to being a good company."

[Source: TUAW - Read more here]