Steve Jobs’ 1973 job application fetches $174,000 at auction

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Enlarge (credit: RR Auction)

A handwritten job application from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has sold for more than $ 174,000, according to auction house RR Auction. The company told Reuters that the winning bidder is an Internet entrepreneur from England who doesn’t want to be publicly identified.

The single-page document, dated to 1973, doesn’t identify what job Jobs was applying for. But it provides a window into how Jobs—who would have been 17 or 18 at the time—saw himself.

Jobs identifies himself as an English literature major at Reed College. He officially dropped out of Reed after a single semester in the fall of 1972, but he continued staying with friends on campus and auditing classes in 1973.

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Apple’s App Store mysteriously went dark in Iran yesterday

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Enlarge / Tehran, the capital city of Iran. (credit: A.Davey via Creative Commons)

Yesterday, users in Iran lost access to Apple’s App Store. When users attempted to connect or download apps, they received a message saying that the App Store was “unavailable in the country or region” in which they resided. The cessation of services began around noon GMT yesterday, and services resumed around 5:00am GMT this morning, according to social media posts and sources who spoke with Bleeping Computer. A virtual private network (VPN) could still reach the App Store normally.

Media coverage and social media posts were quick to speculate that the store’s downtime was an Apple-imposed ban driven by US economic sanctions against Iran, as Apple is based in the US. However, we are not yet aware of evidence to support this. An accidental outage is also possible, as is a block imposed by Iran’s government—Iran has previously blocked the Google Play store, though that block was later lifted. Apple has not responded to our requests for clarification.

Because of US sanctions, Apple has no formal presence or operation in Iran, and its App Store is not officially supported there. The company does not sell phones there, nor does it work with any vendors that do. It nevertheless had an 11-percent market share in the country as of last year, as Iranians have purchased millions of iPhones smuggled in from other countries. Iranian app developers have published apps to the App Store for use by Iranian iPhone owners.

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Students and teachers are the focus of Apple’s surprise March 27 event

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Enlarge / The 10.5-inch iPad Pro. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

On the heels of opening up registration for its annual WWDC event, Apple will hold an education-focused event on March 27 that will highlight “creative new ideas for teachers and students,” multiple reports indicate.

Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago will host the event at 10am CDT on March 27. Apple’s last education event took place all the way back in 2012 in New York City. In typical Apple fashion, the event’s invitation doesn’t offer any details about the impending announcements.

Apple has hosted hardware events during springtime before, and there are a number of rumored devices that could come out of this event. Gossip says Apple might be about to reveal a new 9.7-inch iPad for a special education price of $ 259. New iPads have been rumored for later this year as well, but it’s unlikely that an education-focused iPad would include the new and expensive FaceID camera. A new iPad with Apple’s high-end camera, which enables FaceID, Animoji, and ARKit features, may debut later this year.

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Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review: The high price of tunes on a runner’s tool

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Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Music, not activity, highlighted the debut of Garmin’s Forerunner 645 Music at CES year. The $ 449 fitness watch is the first Garmin wearable to have onboard music storage, a feature slowly becoming standard on smartwatches of all kinds.

Since the Forerunner family appeals to serious runners, onboard storage for music is a logical feature to include. But since the Forerunner family is quite niche, some potential users might have overlooked it. With the inclusion of onboard storage, it sits closer to competing with all-purpose smartwatches than ever before—those who have considered the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Ionic, and similar devices may now consider Garmin’s new device, too. While more expensive than the base models of its competitors, the Forerunner 645 Music is designed for runners for a reason—and some runners might be willing to drop nearly $ 500 for this device.

Design

Garmin has finally found its design stride after years of making wearables that were comfortable but not the most attractive accessories to wear. The Forerunner 645 Music takes after the Vivoactive 3 with its round case, quick-release 20mm bands, and 1.2-inch, 240 x 240 display surrounded by a stainless steel bezel.

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Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference begins June 4

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Enlarge (credit: Apple)

This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple’s annual software-focused event, will run from June 4 to June 8. Like last year’s WWDC, 2018’s conference will take place at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

Members of Apple’s Developer Program and its Developer Enterprise Program can apply for conference tickets now through March 22. Tickets will be issued through a random selection process. Other attendees will have to pay $ 1,599 per ticket, the same as a ticket was to last year’s WWDC.

This is the second year that Apple will host WWDC at the McEnery Convention Center. In previous years, the company held the conference in San Francisco at the Moscone West Convention Center. The number of people attending WWDC has grown so much over the years that Apple needed to move it to a larger location to accommodate all the attendees.

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Apple is acquiring the Netflix of magazines

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Enlarge (credit: Texture)

Apple announced today that it signed an agreement to acquire the digital magazine service Texture, which serves articles from more than 200 magazines digitally on iOS, Windows, Amazon, and Android devices for a flat monthly fee.

Apple has acquired the entire company, including staff, and has assured users that the Android version of the app will still be supported. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.

Texture was founded in 2010 and was formerly called Next Issue until it rebranded in 2015. It was chiefly founded and owned by a group of major magazine publishers, but it also raised $ 50 million from other investors. It launched during a time when the magazine industry harbored some optimism that the iPad and other tablets would be popular platforms for premium subscriptions as an alternative to the Web, which was dominated by tech companies like Google. As digital magazines like News Corporation’s The Daily folded, it became clear that future wasn’t panning out.

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There’s a currency miner in the Mac App Store, and Apple seems OK with it

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Enlarge / A version of Calendar 2 downloaded on Sunday from the Mac App Store.

Resource-draining currency miners are a regular part of the Google Play market, as scammers pump out apps that covertly harness millions of devices, in some cases with malware so aggressive it can physically damage phones. A popular title in the Mac App Store recently embraced coin mining openly, and so far Apple gatekeepers haven’t blocked it.

The app is Calendar 2, a scheduling app that aims to include more features than the Calendar app that Apple bundles with macOS. In recent days, Calendar 2 developer Qbix endowed it with code that mines the digital coin known as Monero. The xmr-stack miner isn’t supposed to run unless users specifically approve it in a dialog that says the mining will be in exchange for turning on a set of premium features. If users approve the arrangement, the miner will then run. Users can bypass this default action by selecting an option to keep the premium features turned off or to pay a fee to turn on the premium features.

Feels like the first time

If Calendar 2 isn’t the first known app offered in Apple’s official and highly exclusive App Store to do currency mining, it’s one of the very few. The discovery comes as sky-high valuations have pushed the limits of currency mining and led to a surge of websites and malware that surreptitiously mine digital coins on mobile devices, personal computers, and business servers. Calendar 2 is slightly different in the sense that it clearly discloses the miner it runs by default. That puts it in a grayer zone than most of the miners seen to date.

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Gear Sport review: The only fitness watch for Samsung die-hards

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Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Despite recent watchOS dominance, Samsung hasn’t given up on Tizen. The OEM’s wearable operating system continues to power a bunch of devices made exclusively by Samsung, including the $ 249 (originally $ 299) Gear Sport. Introduced last year, the Gear Sport is the successor to the Gear S3 and the smartwatch cousin of the Gear Fit 2 Pro band.

It’s easy to forget about Tizen since it’s not as well known or well marketed as Android Wear or watchOS. But considering the Gear Sport can connect to both Android and iOS devices, users shouldn’t rule Tizen out of their smartwatch buying decisions. While the Gear Sport isn’t drastically different from the 2016 Gear S3, its updates make it a viable competitor to the top Android Wear devices and the latest Apple Watch.

Design

Here’s a controversial opinion: the Gear Sport is more attractive than the Apple Watch. From a pure design point of view, Samsung’s smartwatch looks more like a traditional watch than Apple’s wearable does, and Samsung did a good job marrying elements of regular timepieces and advanced smart wearables in one device.

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Netflix may sign the Obamas in exclusive content deal

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(credit: White House)

Although he has kept a low profile since leaving office, former President Barack Obama may soon have a new high-profile project on his hands. According to a report by The New York Times, both Barack and Michelle Obama are reportedly in “advanced negotiations” with Netflix to produce exclusive content for the streaming service.

While the types of shows or number of episodes are currently unknown, people familiar with the matter claim the Obamas may produce shows about “inspirational stories.” Other possible show ideas include one in which the former President moderates discussions about topics including health care, climate change, and voting rights, and one in which Michelle Obama highlights topics such as nutrition, something that she emphasized during her time as First Lady.

It’s also reported that Apple and Amazon are also interested in “talking to Mr. Obama about content deals.” It’s unclear if the Obamas would sign content deals with multiple streaming services, but the prospect seems unlikely. The Netflix deal in question emphasizes that content produced by the Obamas would be exclusive to its streaming service, only available to Netflix’s nearly 118 million subscribers around the globe.

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In an audit of supply chain partners, Apple found increased labor violations in 2017

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Enlarge / An iPhone assembly worker works with Apple supplier Pegatron in an image distributed by Apple. (credit: Apple)

Each year, Apple releases a report called the Supplier Responsibility Progress Report detailing its audits of the labor practices of its suppliers around the world. Apple reports violations it finds at various categories of severity and gives its suppliers ratings based on how they treat their workers.

The 12th annual report was released this week, and in it, Apple says it found more violations than it did last year, at least in part because of new suppliers and partners added to supply chain.

Out of 757 suppliers included in the audit across 30 countries, 197 were being audited for the first time. Apple found twice as many “core violations” in 2017 as it did in the previous year. Core violations are those that Apple “considers the most serious breaches of compliance” and for which it claims to have “zero tolerance.”

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