Ted Cruz & Patrick Leahy slam Tim Cook for removing VPN apps from Chinese App Store

Earlier this year, Apple was forced to remove several VPN apps from the App Store in China due to regulatory reasons. At the time, Tim Cook explained that he would rather not remove them, but was forced to comply.

Now, United States Senators Ted Cruz and Patrick Leahy are pressing Apple for more information…

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In a letter sent to Tim Cook, Cruz and Leahy say Apple may be “enabling the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance of the Internet,” noting that China has an “abysmal human rights record.”

Specifically, Cruz and Leahy pointed to Cook’s acceptance of the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award. While receiving the award, Cook remarked that Apple “enables people around the world to speak up.” The senators, however, argue that Apple’s removal of VPN apps in China do the exact opposite of that:

While Apple’s many contributions to the global exchange of information are admirable, removing VPN apps that allow individuals in China to evade the Great Firewall and access the Internet privately does not enable people in China to “speak up.” To the contrary, if Apple complies with such demands from the Chinese governments, it inhibits free expression for users across China, particularly in light of the Cyberspace Administration of China’s new regulations targeting online anonymity.

The two senators also point to Apple’s past concessions to the Chinese government: removing the New York Times from the App Store and shutting down the iBooks Store and iTunes Movies.

Cook and Leahy outline a list of questions they want Cook to answer. The two ask for more details regarding how the removal of the VPN apps came about, as well as whether or not Apple has made formal requests with the Chinese government to bring the apps.

Cruz and Leahy also want Cook to “provide copies of any statements that Apple has issued either promoting freedom of speech in China or condemning the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance mechanisms.”

Following the removal of the VPN apps, Cook remarked that he is “hopeful” the Chinese government will loosen Internet restrictions:

“We would obviously rather not remove the apps, but like we do in other countries, we follow the law wherever we do business. We strongly believe in participating in markets and bringing benefits to customers.

We’re hopeful that over time the restrictions we are seeing are loosened.”

The full letter from Cruz and Leahy can be found here on Ted Cruz’s website. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if Cook responds.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks to Students at Oxford University

Apple CEO Tim Cook today headed over to Oxford University for the opening of The Oxford Foundry, a new “innovation space” that’s open to all University of Oxford students.

Cook was on hand to cut the ribbon at the new location, and afterwards, he sat down for a Q&A session with Oxford students alongside Oxford professors and administrators.



Because he was speaking to a group of students, Cook talked about his early life experiences, how he began to hunt for a job after leaving college, and his decision to join Apple. Early on, he said, his goal was to find a job that he loved. “I wanted to love the work I did,” he said. “I no longer have that goal.”

I realized the purpose of life wasn’t to love your job, it was to serve humanity in a broad way. And the outcome of doing that would mean you love your job. I realized I wasn’t in a place to do that, so sometime thereafter, I switched companies. […]

It was only after joining Apple where my values and my work aligned, and that has made all the difference for me.

Cook says it wasn’t an easy decision to join Apple. Everyone he talked to, his list of pluses and minuses, and his spreadsheets told him to stay where he was, but his intuition said something different, and he ended up going with intuitition. “That was one of the most important decisions of my life,” he said. “Maybe the most important.”

On designing products, Cook told students to “make products that you want to use” and the rest will follow.

You can bet if you love it, there are many other people out there that are going to love it too. That fundamental saying drives Apple.

Cook went on to explain that it’s important to “stick close” to customers, listening to them and making yourself accessible to them. Cook said that’s one of the reasons why Apple has retail stores, and it’s also the reason why he gets up at “ungodly hours.” “I like to spend my first hour going through customer emails,” he said. “Because I want to know what they’re saying. I want to know what they’re feeling.”

Cook said he takes inspiration from the artists, doctors, musicians, and others who use Apple products to change the world in some way. On failures, he says students just need to have faith that it will pass.

There will be times that you fail on a spectacular basis. I certainly have. You have to have the faith that it will pass. Look in the mirror and watch the person breathe. It didn’t kill you. You’re not dead. It’s not the biggest thing in the world. It will pass. And I do that many times a day sometimes. Do that for a while and you won’t have to remind yourself anymore. You’ll be able to take these failures… and in fact, you’ll view them not as failures but as things learned, and it won’t be so detrimental.

Cook’s interview, which can be watched above, also covered some of his thoughts on Steve Jobs, what he learned from working with Jobs, his view of augmented reality and the future, and his thoughts on who his heroes are.

Tim Cook touts the future of AR, says the technology isn’t there yet for AR glasses

During his current trip in Europe, Apple’s Tim Cook sat down with The Independent for a wide-ranging interview. The primary focus of the talk was on ARKit and how Apple has implemented it in iOS and where else it augmented reality could be useful…

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Cook explained that one of the biggest benefits of the iOS ecosystem is how Apple can do the “heavy lifting” by building a framework like ARKit, and then letting developers implement it throughout their apps.

“The way that you get lots of great ideas is for us to do the heavy lifting of the complexity of locational things and software, and put those in the operating system,” says Cook. “And then you have all the developers that are able to put their energy into their passion.”

The ecosystem further helps Apple when in competing with other smartphone manufacturers, Greg Joswiack says:

“Our competitors are trying to mimic what we’ve done,” says Greg Joswiack, Apple’s vice president for iOS, iPad and iPhone marketing. “But they just don’t have that scale we bring to it.”

Cook also noted that Apple has an advantage in that it controls both the hardware and the software o the iPhone, a level of control that competitors don’t have:

That gives Apple an especially strong position because its competitors “don’t control the hardware and software”, Cook says. “It goes to what Apple is about – the integration of those two things, with the App Store on the server side. I think it’s going to be hard for other folks.”

The conversation then shifted primarily to augmented reality in general. Cook likened AR’s affect to that of the App Store, saying that it will be just as “dramatic” as the App Store was for mobile technology. The Apple CEO also noted of how ARKit become “the largest AR platform” instantly because of the existing iPhone user base.

“If it were on a different device then you would never have a commercial opportunity, and without the commercial opportunity you’d never have 15 million people that say, ‘I want to design my passion with AR’.”

By putting it on iPhone, Apple was able to “instantly overnight become the largest AR platform”, Cook says.

Cook also vaguely addressed the rumors that Apple is building a pair of augmented reality glasses, saying that the technology to create such a product isn’t there yet, while noting that Apple doesn’t care about being first.

“But today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face – there’s huge challenges with that.

“The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it’s not there yet,” he says. And as with all of its products, Apple will only ship something if it feels it can do it “in a quality way”.

“We don’t give a rat’s about being first, we want to be the best, and give people a great experience,” he says. “But now anything you would se on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with. Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook visits France’s Eldim, the company providing iPhone X optical recognition technology

Before a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron today, Apple CEO Tim Cook made a surprise visit to a small company that’s providing crucial optical recognition technology for the iPhone X.

Eldim, based near the Normandy town of Caen, has been making various types of display technology for more than 30 years. More recently, this has evolved into making components that allow for “optical analysis of angular characteristics.” Apparently, a version of this technology is one of the critical components being used in the new Face ID system for the iPhone X.

Local reporters were invited to tag along for the visit, which they documented on Twitter and blog posts. A reporter for Ouest-France noted that executives said the two companies had actually been working together for almost a decade, mostly in an R&D capacity. It was only with the release of the iPhone X that the facial recognition system is being baked into a product, however.

Eldim CEO Thierry Leroux told reporters that working with Apple was “an incredible adventure,” but added that there have also been huge technical challenges over the years. “For us, it was a little like sending someone to the moon,” Leroux told reporters. Cook responded, “It’s great what you have done for us.”

The visit was no doubt a thrill for Eldim’s 42 employees. It was also likely a diplomatic move by Cook, who is scheduled to meet with Macron at 4:15 p.m. CET today. The official agenda for their meeting has not been disclosed, but it’s likely to cover the question of Apple’s tax payments in France, and in Europe in general.

While Macron has cultivated a pro-tech and pro-entrepreneur reputation, he also has been fiercely critical of American tech companies not paying sufficient taxes. Apple is facing a demand to pay $15 billion in taxes to Ireland following a European Union investigation that found the company’s tax structure there violated EU competition rules.

Macron is among the European leaders pressing the EU to develop a new taxation scheme for tech giants that would make it more difficult for them to duck taxes by creating elaborate systems of corporate shell companies.

Cook and other leaders have been eager to highlight the positive economic impact their companies provide in terms of job creation across Europe. The visit to Eldim serves as just one such example.

Cook got a little ribbing by the French on Twitter for this tweet.

It should read: “Bravo pour votre travail!” He deleted that one and posted a corrected version:

The French are pretty hardcore about this language stuff.

Apple iPhone X Has a ‘Value Price,” Tim Cook Says

Apple CEO Tim Cook says his company’s $999 iPhone X is available at a great price considering what buyers get for their money.

On Good Morning America on Tuesday, Cook said that the recently announced iPhone X has a “value price” based on all the technology that comes with the device. He also said that the option to pay for the iPhone X over time through carrier-offered installment plans makes the iPhone X even more affordable.

“Most people are now paying for phones over long periods of time,” Cook said. “And so very few people will pay the price tag of the phone initially. Also most people actually trade in their current phone, and so that reduces the price further, and some carriers even throw in subsidies and discounts.”

Apple’s iPhone X, announced last week, will be available in Nov. 3. It comes with a 5.8-inch screen that nearly covers its face and no physical home button. A new facial-recognition feature called Face ID can verify the users’ identities and their purchases via Apple Pay. The device is also compatible with wireless charging, eliminating the need to plug the phone in to charge its battery.

In addition to the base $999 iPhone X, Apple is selling a 256GB version for $1,149. That makes the iPhone X the most expensive smartphone Apple has ever sold.

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The iPhone X’s lofty price hasn’t gone unnoticed, and some critics have said it’s too expensive. Apple, however, has argued that the iPhone X the “future” of smartphones.

Apple, along with all four major mobile carriers—Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile—all offer trade-in programs that let iPhone X buyers get credits on their purchase by turning in old smartphones. Apple’s retail partners, like Best Buy and Walmart, offer similar options.

And by offering installment plans, Apple and its carrier partners can help customers spread the cost of an expensive iPhone over on or two years. But even installment plan aren’t cheap, with monthly payments starting at nearly $50 through Apple.

Apple, meanwhile, is said to be making a healthy profit off the sale of each iPhone X, excluding costs like assembly and shipping.

On Monday, market researcher Susquehanna International Group said the iPhone X’s components cost Apple $581. If correct, that suggests Apple will make a $418 profit on every iPhone X sold, excluding those extra costs.

So, whether the iPhone X is really a “value” is relative. And there are undoubtedly many people both in the U.S. and around the globe who may not share Cook’s thoughts about value.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Pledges Support to Employees Affected by DACA in New Letter

Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning sent out an email to employees following the announcement that United States President Donald Trump will phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program over the course of the next six months. Trump has called on Congress to replace DACA with new legislation by March 5, 2018.

In the email, Cook says Apple will work with members of Congress to advocate for a legislative solution that will continue to protect the children of immigrants, and he says Apple is working with impacted Apple employees to provide support, including access to immigration experts.

Team,

America promises all its people the opportunity to achieve their dreams through hard work and perseverance. At Apple, we’ve dedicated ourselves to creating products that empower those dreams. And at our best, we aspire to be part of the promise that defines America.

Earlier today, the Justice Department announced that President Trump will cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months if Congress does not act to make the program permanent.

I am deeply dismayed that 800,000 Americans — including more than 250 of our Apple coworkers — may soon find themselves cast out of the only country they’ve ever called home.

DACA recognizes that people who arrived in the United States as children should not be punished for being here illegally. It lets these Americans, who have successfully completed rigorous background investigations, go to school, earn a living, support their families, pay taxes and work toward achieving their dreams like the rest of us. They are called Dreamers, and regardless of where they were born, they deserve our respect as equals.

I’ve received several notes over the weekend from Dreamers within Apple. Some told me they came to the U.S. as young as two years old, while others recounted they don’t even remember a time they were not in this country.

Dreamers who work at Apple may have been born in Canada or Mexico, Kenya or Mongolia, but America is the only home they’ve ever known. They grew up in our cities and towns, and hold degrees from colleges across the country. They now work for Apple in 28 states.

They help customers in our retail stores. They engineer the products people love and they’re building Apple’s future as part of our R&D teams. They contribute to our company, our economy and our communities just as much as you and I do. Their dreams are our dreams.

I want to assure you that Apple will work with members of Congress from both parties to advocate for a legislative solution that provides permanent protections for all the Dreamers in our country.

We are also working closely with each of our co-workers to provide them and their families the support they need, including the advice of immigration experts.

On behalf of the hundreds of employees at Apple whose futures are at stake; on behalf of their colleagues and on behalf of the millions more across America who believe, as we do, in the power of dreams, we issue an urgent plea for our leaders in Washington to protect the Dreamers so their futures can never be put at risk in this way again.

Despite this setback for our nation, I’m confident that American values will prevail and we will continue our tradition of welcoming immigrants from all nations. I’ll do whatever I can to assure this outcome.

Tim

Over the weekend, Cook tweeted that Apple employs 250 “dreamers,” aka people who came to the United States at a young age when their undocumented parents immigrated to the country. “I stand with them,” said Cook in the tweet. “They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.”

Cook and 300 other business leaders also signed an open letter last week urging President Trump to preserve the program or to pass the bipartisan DREAM act or other legislation for a more permanent solution, but it went unheeded.

With DACA suspended, the government will not accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to defer deportation and offer work permits.

While the current 800,000 DACA enrollees are not expected to be immediately impacted and can renew their two-year permits until October 5, if a new solution isn’t offered by Congress, people who grew up in the United States and have lived in the country since childhood could face deportation to countries that are essentially foreign to them.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tim Cook Says 250 Apple Employees Are ‘Dreamers’ as Donald Trump’s Decision on DACA Nears

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Sunday tweeted that Apple employs 250 so-called “dreamers,” or individuals who were brought to the United States at a young age when their parents or guardians illegally immigrated to the country.

Image: Nicholas Kamm/Associated Free Press/Getty Images


“I stand with them,” said Cook. “They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.”



Cook’s tweet comes shortly before U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce whether he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program as he promised.

Last week, Cook and around 300 other business leaders signed an open letter urging Trump to preserve the program, and to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or similar legislation as a permanent solution.

DACA allows many illegal immigrants, who entered the United States at age 16 or under, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit in the country.

The program was created by way of an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

Trump vowed to end DACA during his presidential campaign, but he later admitted it would be a tough decision. Trump said young individuals enrolled in the program will be treated with “great heart.”

If the program is ended, nearly 800,000 undocumented young individuals that fall under its protections would have the right to work legally until their two-year work permits expire, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

“Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), also known as work permits, are generally valid until they expire or the government demands they be returned,” it said in an advisory posted to its website last week.

It’s unclear if U.S. immigration authorities would then target those individuals for deportation, but it’s certainly the feared outcome among those protected. Trump’s decision is expected to be announced by Tuesday.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tim Cook expresses support for the ‘Dreamers’ at Apple as Trump mulls ending DACA

Tim Cook this afternoon took to Twitter to express his support for the Dreamers that work alongside him at Apple. The company, according to Cook, employs some 250 Dreamers – children of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for a significant amount of time.

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Cook’s tweet comes after reports emerged claiming that President Trump was considering ending the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows for Dreamers who are registered with the Federal government to stay in the United States.

In his tweet, Cook said that he stands with the Dreamers at Apple and that “they deserve our respect as equals.” Furthermore, the Apple CEO said that a solution for DACA should be one that is “rooted in American values.”

250 of my Apple coworkers are #Dreamers. I stand with them. They deserve our respect as equals and a solution rooted in American values.

Earlier this week, Cook was among the tech CEOs who signed a letter urging Trump to not deport Dreamers. The DACA program was introduced by the Obama administration and gives children who were brought into the United States illegally the opportunity to remain if they’re registered and paying their taxes. The letter explained that DACA participants are generally highly productive:

All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce.

At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees […] Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.

Cook has opposed much of the immigration policy set forth by Trump, both publicly and in letters to Apple employees. Given his earlier views, this one shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise.


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Tim Cook Says Apple Has Raised Over $3 Million for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Apple CEO Tim Cook today sent out an email to Apple employees addressing Hurricane Harvey and the devastation that it’s wrought in areas of southeast Texas and Louisiana.

Cook says Apple has helped raise over $3 million for relief efforts, both through its own donations and donations from Apple customers.


Apple on Sunday began accepting donations from its website and iTunes Store, with the money going directly to the American Red Cross to support people affected by catastrophic flooding. Cook’s full email is below, courtesy of BuzzFeed.

As you know, Hurricane Harvey is having a devastating impact on Texas and Louisiana. Our thoughts are with our employees in the storm zone and the millions of people whose lives have been disrupted by rain, wind and floods. I want to update you on some of the things Apple has been doing to help, and ways that you can get involved.

On the ground, Apple’s global crisis management team is working to support our employees directly affected by the flooding in Texas. The team is in close contact with Apple employees in the Houston area, and they’re actively doing everything they can to assist, including moving some employees and their families to safety. Apple employees in the Houston area have generously been helping people displaced by the flooding by opening their homes to team members and their families, and in some cases, assisting in rescue operations. We’re also proud that the US Coast Guard is using Apple products in those efforts, with nearly two dozen USCG helicopters specially equipped with iPads to help coordinate search and rescue teams.

As Harvey was making landfall, we put in motion critical donation programs. Apple is making it easy for customers to donate directly to the American Red Cross through the App Store, iTunes and apple.com, and we’re matching employee donations two-for-one. Thanks to your generosity and that of our users, Apple has helped raise more than $1 million in just the past few days. That’s in addition to the $2 million Apple pledged to the Red Cross over the weekend.

Though our stores in the Houston area are still closed today, we’re working hard to get as many as possible open tomorrow to serve people who have been impacted by the storm. Our teams are eager to help with problems large and small, and they know there are lots of people in that area who need it.

I was in Austin the day before Harvey came ashore, and the team was already bracing for the storm and the long recovery. Today that work continues. At our Austin campuses, we are kicking off a donation drive in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank and Caffè Macs to collect food, diapers and personal hygiene items — all things that are critical in the aftermath of a storm of this magnitude.

Because Texas is home to more than 8,700 of our coworkers, the storm’s impact is felt by all of us. There’s still much to do, and Apple is committed to help.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday night and was initially classified as a Category 4 hurricane, but was downgraded to a tropical storm. Over the past few days, several areas in Texas and Louisiana have seen heavy rain and flooding.

Apple customers can continue to donate to the American Red Cross using Apple’s tools. Users can donate $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200, with donations processed as normal iTunes purchases.

Apple also donated $2 million to the Red Cross over the weekend, and is matching employee donations two-for-one.