Apple yesterday published updated data on the diversity of their employees, for the second year in a row. Some of the news is good (Apple hired 65% more women in the last 12 months than they did in the previous year) but the picture is still bleak in other respects (only 22% of "tech" employees are female). Apple's updated Diversity webpage includes a letter from Tim Cook, in which he says:
Last year we reported the demographics of our employees for the first time externally, although we have long prioritized diversity. We promised to improve those numbers and we’re happy to report that we have made progress. In the past year we hired over 11,000 women globally, which is 65 percent more than in the previous year. In the United States, we hired more than 2,200 Black employees — a 50 percent increase over last year — and 2,700 Hispanic employees, a 66 percent increase. In total, this represents the largest group of employees we’ve ever hired from underrepresented groups in a single year. Additionally, in the first 6 months of this year, nearly 50 percent of the people we’ve hired in the United States are women, Black, Hispanic, or Native American.
You can view all the numbers on Apple's Diversity page, including some interactive statistics, the full letter from Tim Cook and information on what Apple is doing today to improve diversity at Apple, and steps they are taking to improve the numbers in the future.
Some people will read this page and see our progress. Others will recognize how much farther we have to go. We see both. And more important than these statistics, we see tens of thousands of Apple employees all over the world, speaking dozens of languages, working together. We celebrate their differences and the many benefits we and our customers enjoy as a result.
Apple launched a redesign of their website today, integrating the product presentation and shopping experiences into one and tweaking the navigation bar with different menu items and icons.
Notably, the separate store.apple.com website is no more, as it now simply leads to apple.com with store pages available at apple.com/shop/ URLs.
As John Gruber writes:
Knowing what I know about the old online store, this was a massive behind-the-scenes undertaking, but the result looks and works like what most people would have expected all along. (Someone should count the instances of “finally” in the headlines about this change.) The old two-site approach was like having separate rooms in a physical retail store — a showroom up front, and a sales room in the back. Now it’s just one room. (And in another subtle parallel to the physical Apple stores, the website now uses a shopping bag instead of a cart.)
Speaking to TechCrunch, an Apple spokesperson explained why the company decided to make this change:
“We redesigned Apple.com knowing that our customers want to explore, research and shop in one place,” said an Apple spokesperson in a statement. “The new Apple.com takes the very best of our existing site and our online store to give customers one simple destination to learn and buy without navigating between two different sites. We’ve also improved several of the site’s features to make shopping easier than ever for our customers.”
The updated website will likely make for an easier shopping flow – especially on smartphones – as there's less switching contexts between viewing and buying because everything's integrated. It'll be interesting to see if updating the store with new products will still require Apple to bring the store down, or if they will appear and propagate for everyone across the world like the new website did today. Probably a good change, but let's pour one out for Is The Apple Store Down.
Good story by Jason Koebler on KansasFest:
Every summer, about 70 people descend on Kansas City's Rockhurst University for KansasFest, a conference that can best be described as a 5-day sleepaway camp exclusively for fans of the Apple II, one of the first commercially successful personal computers. KansasFest started in 1989 as an Apple II developer’s conference—26 years later, it’s still entirely dedicated to the Apple II.
Apple has published their Q3 2015 financial results for the quarter that spanned from April to June 2015. The company posted revenue of $49.6 billion. The company sold 10.9 million iPads, 47.5 million iPhones, and 4.8 million Macs, earning a quarterly net profit of $10.7 billion.
“We had an amazing quarter, with iPhone revenue up 59 percent over last year, strong sales of Mac, all-time record revenue from services, driven by the App Store, and a great start for Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The excitement for Apple Music has been incredible, and we’re looking forward to releasing iOS 9, OS X El Capitan and watchOS 2 to customers in the fall.”
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today upheld 2-1 the 2013 verdict that found Apple and major publishing companies conspired to fix e-book prices.
As noted by Fortune, Apple's argument that the Department of Justice was misguided to target Apple when Amazon was dominant didn't convince the majority:
That argument, however, appears to have carried little sway with Judge Livingston who argued that Apple and the publishers could not rationalize their behavior on the grounds they were challenging Amazon:
“Plainly, competition is not served by permitting a market entrant to eliminate price competition as a condition of entry, and it is cold comfort to consumers that they gained a new ebook retailer at the expense of passing control over all ebook prices to a cartel of book publishers,” Livingston wrote.
There's no doubt that this is a complicated issue, fraught with many valid but opposing arguments. Ultimately though, I can't help but agree with the end result and this section was particularly persuasive to me, from page 98 of Judge Livingston's judgement (courtesy of The Wall Street Journal):
Because of the long‐term threat to competition, the Sherman Act does not authorize horizontal price conspiracies as a form of marketplace vigilantism to eliminate perceived “ruinous competition” or other “competitive evils.” Indeed, the attempt to justify a conspiracy to raise prices “on the basis of the potential threat that competition poses . . . is nothing less than a frontal assault on the basic policy of the Sherman Act.” And it is particularly ironic that the “terms” that Apple was able to insist upon by organizing a cartel of Publisher Defendants to move against Amazon — namely, the elimination of retail price competition — accomplished the precise opposite of what new entrants to concentrated markets are ordinarily supposed to provide. In short, Apple and the dissent err first in equating a symptom (a single‐retailer market) with a disease (a lack of competition), and then err again by prescribing the disease itself as the cure.
Apple could still appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, but it is not a certainty that the Supreme Court would agree to hear the case. In response to today's ruling an Apple spokesperson issued this statement to Fortune:
“Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and this ruling does nothing to change the facts. We are disappointed the Court does not recognize the innovation and choice the iBooks Store brought for consumers. While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps.”
Cook doesn’t subscribe to the idea that women just don’t want to be involved in tech — calling that argument a “cop-out.”
“I think it’s our fault — ‘our’ meaning the whole tech community,” he says. “I think in general we haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”
Christina Warren interviewed Tim Cook about Apple's diversity efforts, women and app development, and gender/racial equality in tech. As Cook suggests, it sounds like women will be on stage at Apple's WWDC keynote today – a “finally” is appropriate in this case.
I asked Cook about the lack of women at WWDC keynotes. he smiled. “Look tomorrow,” he said. “Look tomorrow and let me know what you think.
Speaking of which, Jean MacDonald is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for App Camp For Girls 3.0. This is an important mission and you can show your support here.
For nearly a decade, iLife was the heart and soul of the Mac. The original Apple Stores were laid out into sections revolving around music and photography. Third-party digital cameras and camcorders graced official Apple product photography, and the Mac slowly became the go-to machine for creatives of all talent levels.
Writing at iMore, Stephen Hackett remembers Apple's Digital Hub strategy. Looking back at all this, it's amazing to recall how much stuff we used to have that's been replaced by a phone with a bunch of apps. I'm glad that I got to witness this change.
Until now, Ive’s job title has been Senior Vice President of Design. But I can reveal that he has just been promoted and is now Apple’s Chief Design Officer. It is therefore an especially exciting time for him.
Inside the fabled design studio (cloths over the long tables hiding the exciting new prototypes from prying eyes like mine) Jony has two people with him. They too have been promoted as part of Ive’s new role.
In a profile at The Telegraph, Stephen Fry reveals Jony Ive's new role at Apple. Richard Howarth and Alan Dye (both profiled by Wired and The New Yorker earlier this year in their Apple Watch coverage) will report to Jony Ive and become VPs of Industrial Design and Human Interface, respectively. According to an internal memo published by 9to5Mac, the change will be effective starting July 1.
Later in the profile, Stephen Fry asked Ive about his new role:
When I catch up with Ive alone, I ask him why he has seemingly relinquished the two departments that had been so successfully under his control. “Well, I’m still in charge of both,” he says, “I am called Chief Design Officer. Having Alan and Richard in place frees me up from some of the administrative and management work which isn’t … which isn’t …”
“Which isn’t what you were put on this planet to do?”
“Exactly. Those two are as good as it gets. Richard was lead on the iPhone from the start. He saw it all the way through from prototypes to the first model we released. Alan has a genius for human interface design. So much of the Apple Watch’s operating system came from him. With those two in place I can …”
Ive is currently overseeing the design of future Apple retail stores and Apple Campus 2 on top of his existing duties in the Industrial Design and Human Interface groups. It'll be interesting to see what this leadership change will mean for Ive's participation in new Apple products going forward and if the role of Marc Newson (who joined Apple last year) will be altered as well.
In a press release from earlier today, Apple announced two new environmental initiatives in China. The first is a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to increase the amount of responsibly managed forests in China, aiming to protect as much as 1 million acres of forestland.
“Forests, like energy, can be renewable resources,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We believe we can run on naturally renewable resources and ensure that we protect—and create—as much sustainable working forest as needed to produce the virgin paper in our product packaging. This is an important step toward that goal and our commitment to leave the world better than we found it.”
The second initiative is a project to build two 20-megawatt solar farms that will generate up to 80 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. In its press release, Apple also provided an update on their renewable energy progress, noting that 87 percent of Apple’s global operations today run on renewable energy.
“We’ve set an example by greening our data centers, retail stores and corporate offices, and we’re ready to start leading the way toward reducing carbon emissions from manufacturing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This won’t happen overnight—in fact it will take years—but it’s important work that has to happen, and Apple is in a unique position to take the initiative toward this ambitious goal. It is a responsibility we accept. We are excited to work with leaders in our supply chain who want to be on the cutting edge of China’s green transformation.”
Today's announcement is just the latest in an increasingly long list of large projects Apple has undertaken to generate renewable energy and be environmentally responsible. I'd be fascinated to see if anyone in the renewable energy industry has done some research on just how significant Apple's efforts have been, compared to other multinationals and governments.