Apple Hires Former NV Energy VP to Serve as Renewable Energy Manager [Mac Blog]

Apple hired former NV Energy VP Bobby Hollis as its Senior Renewable Energy Manager earlier this month, according to Hollis’s LinkedIn page. Hollis spent five years at electric company NV Energy in Nevada, where he served as the Vice President of Renewable Energy and Origination.

According to Mike Taylor, Director of Research at the Solar Electric Power Association, Hollis also served on the association’s board before leaving NV Energy and was recently named one of Las Vegas’s 40 Under Forty business leaders.

„A VP at a large utility is a pretty big position. His capabilities and experience is greater than the title at apple would belie. He was on our association’s board before leaving NVE.“

Hollis’s duties at NV Energy included leading renewable energy efforts and creating energy supply contracts the company. It’s possible he worked on contracts with Apple while still serving as VP of NV Energy, as Apple and the electric company have partnered up to build a solar panel farm next to Apple’s Reno data center. The solar array, which will generate approximately 18–20 megawatts of power, is expected to be completed sometime next year.

Renewable energy is a key part of Apple’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact. All of the company’s data centers run on 100% renewable energy, as do 75% of its corporate facilities. Greenpeace featured Apple as a „Green Energy Innovator“ back in early April as a result of its renewable energy policies.

Apple recently overhauled its Environmental Responsibility website and introduced a new „Better“ video explaining its commitment to environmentally friendly values. The company also hired former EPA chief Lisa Jackson as its vice president of environmental initiatives back in May of 2013.




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Apple Hires Former NV Energy VP to Serve as Renewable Energy Manager [Mac Blog]

U.K. iTunes Radio Competitor Bloom.fm Shutting Down After Being Blocked From iAd [iOS Blog]

London-based streaming music service Bloom.fm is shutting down following the withdrawal of its main investment partner, TNT, a Russian television channel. TNT withdrew its funding following an organizational change, said VentureBeat.

In a blog post, the Bloom.fm team said the withdrawal of funding was a surprise and that the company has no time to find new investment.

We’ll keep this short because we’re pretty shell-shocked.

It’s game over for Bloom.fm.

Our investor, who’s been along for the ride since day one, has unexpectedly pulled our funding.

It’s come so out of the blue that we don’t have time to find new investment. So, with enormous regret, we have to shut up shop.

This is a poetically crappy turn of events as our young business was showing real promise. Our apps and web player are looking super-nice and we had 1,158,914 registered users in a little over a year. Yep.

A massive thanks to everyone that helped us get this far. We’re absolutely gutted. But it’s been a real pleasure.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Bloom.fm had been blocked from using Apple’s iAd advertising service to gain new users because it competed too closely with Apple’s own iTunes Radio service, which is preparing to launch in the United Kingdom.

It’s unclear whether the iAd blocking had anything to do with the removal of funding, but it was likely a blow to the company regardless.




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U.K. iTunes Radio Competitor Bloom.fm Shutting Down After Being Blocked From iAd [iOS Blog]

Significant Discounts on 2013 MacBook Airs Following Refresh [Mac Blog]

With the release of updated 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air models, multiple retailers have begun dropping the price on older versions of the MacBook Air. Because the only upgrade to the 2014 MacBook Air is a slightly improved processor, the lower prices on 2013 MacBook Air models are appealing to consumers looking for a deal.

We’ve gathered up some of the best price cuts ($200 off) on Apple’s 2013 MacBook Air lineup, which can be seen below. Note that the $200 off represents the discount from the 2013 prices. Apple discounted the new 2014 MacBook Airs by $100, which gives you a $100 savings for a new 2013 MacBook Air that performs nearly on par with the new 2014 models.

11-inch 1.3GHz i5 MacBook Air, 4GB RAM & 128 GB flash storage (MD711LL/A):

$799, B&H Photo
$799, Best Buy
$844, MacMall

11-inch 1.3GHz i5 MacBook Air, 4GB RAM & 256 GB flash storage (MD712LL/A):

$999, B&H Photo
$999, Best Buy
$1,044, MacMall

13-inch 1.3GHz i5 MacBook Air, 4GB RAM & 128 GB flash storage (MD760LL/A):

$899, B&H Photo
$899, Best Buy

13-inch 1.3GHz i5 MacBook Air, 4GB RAM & 256 GB flash storage (MD761LL/A):

$1,099, B&H Photo
$1,099, Best Buy
$1,144, MacMall

Some of the lowest prices on Apple’s older products come from Apple itself – in the online refurbished store. Currently, the store lists an entry-level 2013 11-inch MacBook Air for $719, and an entry-level 2013 13-inch MacBook Air for $799, but stock is always limited and these deals often go quickly.

Apple has been selling a 2012 11-inch MacBook Air for as low as $599, but all models are currently sold out. The best way to get a deal from the refurbished store is to check stock on a regular basis.

For those looking for one of the newly updated MacBook Air models, those start at $899 for the 11-inch version and $999 for the 13-inch version, with stock available directly from the Apple Online Store. Sales tax will vary depending on which vendor you order from. B&H Photo, for example only charges sales tax in New York.

MacRumors is affiliate partners with some of these vendors




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Significant Discounts on 2013 MacBook Airs Following Refresh [Mac Blog]

Sapphire Production Underway in Arizona, Small Quantities Shipped to Apple Partners

Apple’s sapphire crystal partner GT Advanced has begun sapphire production and has even shipped small quantities of the material to an Apple partner in China responsible for making sapphire covers, according to a report from analysts at UBS Research.

Sapphire production is said to have begun last month, in March, but it appears the facility is not yet running at full capacity. GT Advanced reportedly shipped 2,200kg of sapphire, the amount produced by approximately 100 furnaces.

The company is said to be on schedule to install another 400 to 500 furnaces in the first quarter of 2014 and an additional 900 to 1,000 in the second quarter, significantly ramping up production towards the end of the year ahead of the release of both the iPhone 6 and the iWatch.

We estimate GT’s shipment to China was only about $1M worth of sapphire last month. We believe this Apple partner needs to be receiving sapphire totalling about $50M+ per month to confirm that the GT Arizona fab is running at close to full utilization.

GT Advanced’s sapphire production plant, which is financed by Apple, uses large capacity furnaces that emphasize lower cost, higher volume sapphire manufacturing. While Apple currently sources sapphire from a number of other suppliers for use in iPhone elements like the protective cover over the cameras and the home button of the iPhone 5s, GT Advanced’s operation will produce much higher quantities of the material, leading many to believe Apple has big plans for sapphire.

Thus far, rumors have suggested that Apple may be planning to use sapphire crystal displays in its upcoming iPhone 6, due to the superior durability and scratch resistance of the material. A recent report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested supplies could be limited, however, resulting in only some models of the iPhone 6 produced using sapphire.

Sapphire may be a key component of Apple’s upcoming smart watch, as it could prevent the device from becoming scratched even with heavy use. Many high end luxury watches also use sapphire crystal displays.

Reports have indicated that GT Advanced has purchased enough sapphire furnace and chamber systems to produce between 100 and 200 million sapphire displays, enough for its entire line of devices should it continue to meet its production timeline.




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Sapphire Production Underway in Arizona, Small Quantities Shipped to Apple Partners