Lack of Maps Updates in iOS 8 Said to be Caused by ‘Internal Politics’, Developers Leaving

Leading up to last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, various reports suggested that Apple would be significantly improving its Maps application in iOS 8, enhancing the underlying infrastructure that powers the application and adding public transit directions from acquired mapping companies HopStop and Embark.

However, while last week’s keynote included a lot of new information about iOS 8, Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi mentioned no improvements to Maps aside from enhanced maps in China and the addition of vector-based mapping.

Now, a report from TechCrunch sheds new light as to why iOS 8 does not feature significant improvements to Maps, with an inside source noting that „many developers left the company,“ as map improvements for iOS 8 were not finished in time. The source added that tasks were „very badly planned“, with developers having to jump from „project to project“.

The report also gives an account from another source at Apple:

It’s a take that is both contested and corroborated by our other source. “I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group,” the source said.

Apple originally introduced its Maps app in iOS 6 as it looked to move away from Google Maps. However, Apple’s Maps drew a significant amount of criticism over inaccuracies in mapping data, errors in locating points of interest, a lack of transit information, and bizarre 3D mapping. Apple CEO Tim Cook even issued a public apology to iOS owners over the ordeal, stating the company was „extremely sorry“ for the frustration it had caused and promised „non-stop“ work to fix the app.




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Apple Making Big Push to Attract Chinese App Developers

China has become a major focus for Apple in recent years, with the company seeing tremendous opportunities for growth in the region and working to build out China-specific software features to help attract users. These features occasionally also receive brief stage time at Apple’s media events, as with iOS 8 at this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, highlighting the country’s importance in Apple’s eyes.

Apple software chief Craig Federighi highlighting China-specific improvements in iOS 8
Apple is also working hard to attract Chinese app developers to its ecosystem, increasing its staff in the country and streamlining the customer experience, according to Bloomberg.

Since 2011, Apple has steadily beefed up its developer-relations team in China so new apps can be approved in the country, and it has opened a new office in downtown Beijing where the China App Store is operated. Apple has also smoothed the process for how customers buy apps in China, and built new Chinese-language-specific software to benefit developers.

The report highlights Apple’s fifth-place market position for smartphones in China as motivation for Apple’s initiative. Apple’s ecosystem in China has also been challenged by the fact that many apps designed for Westerners don’t translate well to the Chinese audience, with many developers not even making their apps available in the country. As a result, Apple’s Chinese App Store includes just 150,000 applications, far fewer than the over one million apps available in the U.S. store.

“On a scale of one to 10 in terms of importance in China, it ranks at about 11,” Ramon Llamas, an analyst for IDC who tracks the mobile industry, said of Apple’s app development. “Nobody buys a smartphone just for it to be a phone – the value of your device goes up with the more applications that you download on to it.”

Apple’s efforts to attract more Chinese developers do appear to be paying off, with the country now ranking number two behind the United States in App Store download volume and the number of registered developers in China doubling over the past year. Still, it’s clear there is much more potential left in the Chinese market for Apple, and the company is working hard to capture developers and users alike to boost its standing.




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Steve Jobs’ Infamous Temper Lives on at Apple in Bug-Wrangler Kim Vorrath [Mac Blog]

Steve Jobs was infamous for his temper, with a famous story about him blowing up at the MobileMe team following a rocky rollout of that service in 2008.

However, Jobs isn’t the only employee at Apple with a short fuse. A profile in The Information studies Kim Vorrath, Apple’s vice president in charge of „program management“ for both iOS and OS X. She supervises Apple’s thorough testing process to discover bugs and is the final arbiter of deadlines to ensure that software updates come out on time.

One story in particular, relayed by Business Insider, tells of Vorrath’s displeasure when she found out a co-worker was leaving work early before the launch of the first iPhone in 2007.

Ms. Vorrath, who has worked on all seven iOS releases, generally operates by asking lots of questions of engineers, sticking to the facts and getting them to explain in plain English why a particular feature should be included in the operating system. She’s easy to get along with, say former colleagues, who recall playfully mocking her 1990s feathered hairstyle and late 1980s fashion sense. But she isn’t known for chitchat and has been known to “blow up” on occasion when people miss deadlines or make excuses, colleagues say.

During a tense time before the first release of iOS software in 2007, Ms. Vorrath grew irate when a colleague was heading home early before another marathon weekend meeting. She slammed her office door so hard that the door knob broke, and she locked herself in. Mr. Forstall grabbed a baseball bat to try to break her out, people who worked at Apple at the time recall.

The Information says Vorrath has been working at Apple since 1987, starting as an intern and eventually becoming chief of staff for Scott Forstall. Now, she is said to be working directly beneath Apple executive Craig Federighi, who is in charge of Apple’s software engineering teams.




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Apple Working to Boost iCloud Integration with Preview and TextEdit Document Viewer Apps for iOS 8

Apple may be expanding iCloud in iOS 8 by releasing iOS versions of Preview and TextEdit that use iCloud for document retrieval and storage. It also is developing tools that will make it easier for developers to create iCloud-based applications. These improvements are expected to arrive later this year, reports 9to5Mac.

Apple is developing versions of the Mac operating system’s Preview and TextEdit applications that are optimized for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The applications are said to not be designed to actually edit PDFs, images, or text documents. Instead, the apps are built to serve as tools to view Preview and TextEdit files stored in iCloud by OS X. Apple added iCloud synchronization for Preview and TextEdit with OS X Mountain Lion, but has not yet released iOS counterparts to actually view the synchronized content.

These new Preview and TextEdit apps will be document viewers only and won’t include editing functionality. iPhone and iPad owners will be encouraged to use iWork applications to edit common document types and iBooks to manipulate PDFs.

These changes reflect a new development strategy championed by Apple Senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. Instead of two separate teams with one focusing on iOS and the other dedicated to OS X, Federighi has merged the teams so the same group of developers work on both the iOS and OS X versions.

Apple also is exploring ways to make iCloud app development easier for developers. Details are sparse, but Apple may provide new iCloud storage tools that allow developers to use iCloud as a file system for sharing data across iOS and OS X platforms.




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Apple Executives Receive More Than 30,000 Restricted Shares in Bonuses [Mac Blog]

Six Apple executives received more than 30,000 shares of stock in the form of restricted stock units or RSUs according to a series of filings with the SEC. RSUs are typically issued to employees to encourage them to stay with the company. They are awarded in a similar way to stock options, but convert directly into shares of stock upon vesting.

At current prices, the awards are worth as much as $12.1 million per executive.

In this case, the shares appear to have been awarded as part of the executives’ 2014 compensation package. Apple Senior Vice Presidents Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Dan Riccio, Phil Schiller, Bruce Sewell, and Jeffrey Williams all received equal bonus awards, with shares granted thusly:

– 22,738 RSUs with one-third of the units scheduled to vest into full shares of Apple stock on April 1 of 2016, 2017 and 2018.

– 6,626 RSUs scheduled to vest on October 1, 2015, with that number subject to adjustment based on Apple’s total shareholder return.

– 6,416 RSUs scheduled to vest on October 1, 2016 with the same adjustments as the 2015 award.

In June of 2013, Apple’s board adjusted the company’s executive compensation package to consider shareholder return, as compared to companies in the S&P 500, as part of senior management’s bonus scheme. In this case, Apple executives can see their award increased by as much as 100%, or decreased to 0, depending on the company’s performance.

Apple executives typically receive bonus awards every other year, with bonuses paid out over several years as part of the company’s overall executive retention package. Executives who leave the company see their unvested RSU’s expire. Tim Cook did not receive any awards as his compensation package is determined independently of his senior staff.




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OS X Mavericks Is Now Available For Free, So Get Downloading!

OS X Mavericks is Apple’s next major version of its desktop OS that has been in beta all summer, and today Apple announced that it’s ready to ship to the public. For the first time, Apple is offering the new…Read more ›

The post OS X Mavericks Is Now Available For Free, So Get Downloading! appeared first on Cult of Mac.




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Apple’s Jony Ive and Craig Federighi Discuss Their Design and Engineering Partnership

While Apple design guru Jony Ive and software engineering chief Craig Federighi were included in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story published today, much of the focus of that piece was on CEO Tim Cook and his thoughts about Apple and the competition.

Ive and Federighi now get some attention for themselves in an interview with USA Today in which the two discuss their partnership that led to the development of iOS 7.

„When we sat down last November (to work on iOS 7), we understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass, they didn’t need physical buttons, they understood the benefits,“ says Ive. „So there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way.“

Federighi goes on to note that the technological advances over the past few years have finally reached the point where Apple is able to tackle something like iOS 7.

„This is the first post-Retina (Display) UI (user interface), with amazing graphics processing thanks to tremendous GPU (graphics processing unit) power growth, so we had a different set of tools to bring to bear on the problem as compared to seven years ago (when the iPhone first launched),“ he says. „Before, the shadowing effect we used was a great way to distract from the limitations of the display. But with a display that’s this precise, there’s nowhere to hide. So we wanted a clear typography.“

Ive jumps in. „Yes, we wanted to defer to the content, and just get out of the way.“

The piece also includes a bit of a biography on Ive, discussing how he came to join Apple and the freedom and power he holds at the company. It also reflects on his focus on simplicity, with Ive pointing to the new Touch ID fingerprint scanning system on the iPhone 5s as an example of a feature that is useful but almost invisible in how it functions.

Teasing future products from Apple, Ive notes that he would „love, love, love“ to reveal what he and his design team have been working on, but that he would lose his job if he did.

Finally, Ive addresses the topic of competition, noting that his work is driven by Apple’s own tastes and those of its customers. He says that he keeps a close eye on what competitors are doing with their designs, but that their work does not influence his designs „at all“.




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Apple Posts First iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c Product Videos

Apple has released three new videos for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on its YouTube channel. The videos first debuted earlier today during the company’s iPhone media event in Cupertino, where the new iPhones were announced.

The first of the three videos introduces the colorful, lower-cost iPhone 5c, with Jony Ive explaining that Apple believes the iPhone „is an experience“ the company is continuing to refine.

The second video features Apple SVPs Dan Riccio and Craig Federighi detailing the improvements in both the hardware and software of the iPhone 5s’ new iSight camera, including Burst Mode, Slo-Mo video recording, and True Tone flash.

The final video depicts Ive and Riccio explaining the innovation behind the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor, detailing not only how much „care“ and „consideration“ Apple put into adding the sensor, but also the technology behind it.

Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available to consumers on September 20. Apple will begin accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5c on September 13, but will not accept pre-orders for the iPhone 5s. The 16Gb iPhone 5c will be available for $99 on a two-year contract while the 16GB iPhone 5s will be available for $199 on a two-year contract.




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Public Launch of iOS 7 Set for September 18 [iOS Blog]

Today at Apple’s iPhone media event, CEO Tim Cook announced that iOS 7 would be available for public on September 18.

Apple’s new mobile operating system will be available for the iPhone 4 and later iPhone models, the iPad 2 and later iPad models, iPad mini and the fifth-generation iPod touch.

Apple SVP Craig Federighi quickly ran down iOS 7 at the event, detailing iTunes Radio, the new user interface and more.

Apple’s iPhone media event is ongoing. MacRumors is providing live coverage.




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