Technology Blog

Jun
13

Powerful New Siri Capabilities & Single Sign-On Coming to Apple TV

SAN FRANCISCO — June 13, 2016 — Apple® today announced powerful new Siri® capabilities, single sign-on for Apple TV® and many more great new features for users, making the entertainment experience in the living room even better. With expanded Siri capabilities, including searching across even more apps, YouTube search, topic search and tuning right into more live channels, customers can get to their favorite content even faster. The future of TV is apps, and with single sign-on customers can authenticate all the video channels from their pay-TV providers by simply signing in once to enjoy all of their network-TV apps.

“The future of TV is apps, and Siri on Apple TV has changed the way we interact with our television and these expanded features will continue to deliver viewers what they want to watch even faster,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “There are over 6,000 apps to enjoy on your Apple TV including over 1,300 video channels, which are even more fun to watch with the new Siri features combined with single sign-on.” 

New Siri Features & Functionality 
Since the launch of Apple TV, Siri has gotten more powerful, now searching over 650,000 TV episodes and movies. Siri is available in even more countries with expanded capabilities.

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Jun
13

Swift Playgrounds App Makes Learning to Code Easy & Fun

View a mobile-optimized version on Apple Newsroom

New iPad App Teaches Coding Concepts & Encourages Creative Experimentation

SAN FRANCISCO ― June 13, 2016 ― Apple® today introduced Swift Playgrounds™, an innovative new app for iPad® that makes learning to code fun and easy for anyone. Swift Playgrounds brings coding to life with an interactive interface that encourages students and beginners to explore working with Swift™, the easy-to-learn programming language from Apple used by professional developers to create world-class apps. Swift Playgrounds includes Apple-developed programming lessons where students write code to guide onscreen characters through an immersive graphical world, solving puzzles and mastering challenges as they learn core coding concepts. The app also features built-in templates to encourage users to express their creativity and create real programs that can be shared with friends using Mail or Messages or even posted to the web.

“I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code. It’s an innovative way to bring real coding concepts to life and empower the next generation with the skills they need to express their creativity.”

“The new Swift Playgrounds app from Apple is one of the most powerful, yet approachable, educational coding apps we’ve ever seen, and we can’t wait to incorporate it into our upcoming camp curriculum,” said Jean MacDonald, founder of App Camp for Girls. “It’s a fun and intuitive way for our students to learn the basic principles of coding using the iPad, and also become skilled in Swift, a language that can grow with them in whatever they choose to do.”

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Jun
08

A Primer On Cloud Management

By now, the benefits and simplicity of cloud computing are well understood, and the promise of benefits like cost-savings, greater efficiency, and increased application agility have inspired companies of all sizes to kick start their journey to the cloud. In fact, it’s expected that the cloud infrastructure and platform market will grow by 19% annually from 2015 to 2018, reaching 43 billion dollars by 2018.

Ultimately, the question these days is not “if” businesses will move to the cloud, but rather “when.” At the same time, as cloud functionality becomes more complex and IT professionals are increasingly relied upon to manage and deploy cloud services, many organizations struggle to manage their cloud deployment of choice — public vs. private — in a manner that produces the most efficiency and ROI.

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Jun
08

Moving Beyond The Cloud

As we move from the data center and transition into the cloud, what comes next? That’s the question on many CIOs’ minds as they contemplate how to increase customer experience and deliver an environment of true digital enablement where users are capable of conducting their jobs in an always-on, anywhere, anytime world. What they run into at the edge of the cloud is a hazy area — The Fog — where the Internet of Things (IoT) exists. This fog is going to become increasingly critical to both endusers and CIOs alike as smart and connected devices, meant to bring data from every point imaginable, become part of the enterprise.

We are defining the digitally enabled enterprise as an organization that embraces technology and services to improve the customer experience (CX) it delivers to both internal and external customers and, in doing so, often changes the nature of the organization itself. The alignment of and investment in technology and business models is critical to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the CX lifecycle. It doesn’t matter the type of business, where it’s located, or in many cases, how large the organization is; the focus on customer experience is pervasive and all consuming.

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Jun
08

Community Cloud: The Fourth Cloud Infrastructure Option

Cloud is the IT structure of the future due to its scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. But does the option of a public cloud, private cloud, or even a mix of these environments work for every organization? The simple answer is no. Companies in highly regulated industries such as financial services, health care, education, and government are often stymied by governance, risk, and compliance concerns related to data stored and accessed in the cloud. But all hope is not lost — there is the fourth option of the community cloud.

A community cloud is the lesser known version of cloud infrastructure, although it is relatively popular amongst particular industries. As defined by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), community cloud is an “infrastructure [that] is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of consumers from organizations that have shared concerns. It can be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations, in the community, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.” In essence, a community cloud is a subset of the public cloud, but tailored for a particular industry and may be offered as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Since the community cloud is personalized, it is adapted to fit the exact performance, security, and compliance requirements of the industry or community it serves.

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Jun
08

How To Make Mobile Part Of Your Digital Workplace Strategy

As everyday consumers themselves, today’s workforce has explicit expectations for mobility that mirror the demands of the customers they serve. In fact, more than 90% of IT decision makers (ITDMs) see enterprise mobility as the critical function for customer engagement, competitiveness, and operational productivity in 2016.1

Enterprise mobility plays a leading role in the digital workplace. However, the digital workplace is transforming how IT services are delivered to endusers. Employees want to access network resources from any device, at any time, and from any location. Not only is this good for employee morale, general satisfaction, and productivity, it also gives the business a competitive advantage, thereby enabling a fast response to market changes and customer needs more efficiently.

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Jun
08

Software-Defined Infrastructure from Intel

Intel® has released Xeon® processor E5-2600 v4 product family delivers the foundation for modern, software-defined clouds. New Intel® SSDs, including Intel’s first 3D NAND drives optimized for cloud and enterprise workloads, deliver fast, dependable data access.

Collaborations with leading cloud software and solution providers, new industry programs help accelerate businesses’ access to enterprise-ready, easy-to-deploy cloud solutions.

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Jun
08

Software-Defined Data Centers: Hype, Reality, And What's Next

The software-defined data center is either an overused buzzword for a sector filled with tire kickers, or the breakout trend of 2016, depending on which industry experts are quoted. Yet IT managers know there’s a profound transition taking place as control of data center gear shifts from hardware to software.

The latest data show they’re allocating budgets accordingly. According to an April 2016 survey, 66% of CIOs plan to expand their use of software-defined data center technologies this year.1 Spending for software-defined data centers is forecast to increase 14% in 2016, although present deployments represent just 21% of data centers surveyed in early 2016.2 For many enterprises, it’s not an option; Gartner estimated that by 2020 75% of organizations will need to implement a software-defined data center3 in order to support the DevOps approach and hybrid clouds they need as part of agile digital business initiatives.

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Jun
08

Cloud Suite from Red Hat

Red Hat, Inc. has announced the general availability of Red Hat Cloud Suite and Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8, helping to bridge the gap between development and operations teams at the scale of cloud computing. With today’s newly-available products, Red Hat now offers a complete, integrated hybrid cloud stack with a container application platform (OpenShift by Red Hat), massively scalable infrastructure (Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8) and unified management tools (Red Hat CloudForms), all available individually or via a single, easy-to-deploy solution with Red Hat Cloud Suite.

A growing number of organizations are building private clouds1, to give them massively scalable and modern infrastructure, while maintaining increased security and control. According to the Red Hat Global Customer Tech Outlook 2016, a global survey of Red Hat customers, private cloud deployments are expected to outpace public cloud by 6x. In addition, development teams are looking to streamline the creation and deployment of new cloud-native applications while IT leadership is hoping to meet growing business demands with cloud-based automation.

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May
19

Apple Union Square Highlights New Design Elements, Community Programs

SAN FRANCISCO — May 19, 2016 — Apple® today revealed its new store on San Francisco’s Union Square, offering many new features and services rolling out to Apple retail stores worldwide. The new store will open its signature 42-foot tall sliding glass doors to customers on Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. 

“Fifteen years ago today Apple opened its first two stores and we’re thrilled to mark the occasion with the opening of Apple Union Square in San Francisco,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. “We are not just evolving our store design, but its purpose and greater role in the community as we educate and entertain visitors and serve our network of local entrepreneurs." 

Apple Union Square’s glass doors open the store to Post Street and Union Square. The building’s unique position connects San Francisco’s most famous square to a rejuvenated plaza to the north, creating a beautiful gathering place for the community. The art-filled plaza offers seating, public Wi-Fi, a 50-foot tall “green wall” and regular acoustic performances. The store is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, including power produced by photovoltaic panels integrated into the building’s roof.

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May
19

Apple Opens Development Office in Hyderabad

HYDERABAD, India — May 19, 2016 — Apple® today announced the opening of a new office in Hyderabad that will focus on development of Maps for Apple products, including iPhone®, iPad®, Mac® and Apple Watch®. This investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4,000 jobs.

“Apple is focused on making the best products and services in the world and we are thrilled to open this new office in Hyderabad which will focus on Maps development,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations.”

Apple has been continually updating and adding new features to Maps, including 3D views, the Flyover® feature and tools to help customers find convenient places to shop, eat and explore nearby areas. With iOS 9 Apple added Transit, offering a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, which is already available for more than 300 cities around the world.

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Feb
25

Cloud Economics

Cloud vendors are quick to tout the benefits offered by on demand IT compared to traditional on premise IT service models. Their marketing materials offer many examples of the benefits realized from moving to the cloud for increased service agility, efficiency, and cost savings. The lure of cost savings generated by moving from a capital expenditure to operating expense based, on-demand service is often cited by IT leaders as a key factor in their decision to move to cloud service support.

Indeed many federal agencies have committed significant dollars to the promise of cloud efficiencies and IT cost savings. As of 2014, it is estimated that cloud investments represent 5% of total IT spending, the equivalent of approximately $3B annually (IDC Press Release from 9/16/14).

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Feb
25

Curing Data Mobility Once And For All

Hybrid clouds are complicated. When you’re moving workloads between public cloud, private cloud, or on-premises locations, you need to maintain management and control of your data, applications, and services to reflect a high standard of data monitoring, security, and authentication. One of the most chronic pains in any company’s journey to hybrid cloud comes from a fairly simple source: attempting to move a large amount of data from one location to another.

The amount of data in today’s enterprise landscape is huge and constantly growing. Organizations are hamstrung by the amount of the data they need to move. However, while other areas of cloud and networking technologies have made strides, data mobility remains one of the industry’s oldest and most frustrating problems. Many companies are currently facing the same bottlenecks they discovered when public clouds were first introduced to the market.

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Feb
25

A DevOps Approach to Hybrid IT Management

Cloud computing and adopting a cloud-first/cloud-native/born-in-the-cloud mentality continue to dominate data center conversations. However, although more and more businesses are taking advantage of the cloud’s benefits, the reality is that for organizations with cost and security considerations, which is most, a hybrid environment of on-premises and cloud services will continue to be the norm for the foreseeable future. Despite that, organizations are still able to realize the agility and efficiency that cloud-first organizations experience by embracing the core principles of a DevOps culture into their environments.

First, however, it’s important to distinguish between the two terms: DevOps is a process and culture more likely to be associated with cloud-native organizations —especially those in the business of developing software applications. Whereas hybrid IT is simply another method of delivering IT services to endusers. However, they are 100% compatible and DevOps’ core tenets of increased collaboration, continuous integration, and delivery of services (all with a greater focus on enduser quality) can and should be applied to hybrid IT.

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Feb
25

Customizable Cloud Model Fuels Business Of Today And Tomorrow

Over the past several years, conversations around cloud computing have shifted from “why cloud?” to “how can we best implement cloud?” As cloud computing continues to mature, organizations will move away from the “one size fits all” approach and leverage customized cloud solutions becoming more competitive and agile in adapting to the new way of working.

Customizable Cloud Model

No two businesses are exactly alike, each coming with its own set of unique challenges and opportunities. Why is it then that so many businesses accept a cookie cutter cloud model? Often times, businesses do it under the guise it will save them time and/or money. However in reality, a blanket cloud or infrastructure strategy can leave businesses restricted to the confines of the predetermined system, which ultimately costs more in the long run as their needs evolve.

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Feb
25

Boosting The Cloud Budget

Once a source of much confusion among the C-Suite, cloud adoption is now a question of the past. According to a recent IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study, almost 75% of organizations have applications or infrastructure in the cloud. That figure will only increase.

So, what comes next? Now that the majority of businesses have achieved some level of cloud deployment, it’s time for organizations to take it to the next level. IT departments and business executives must gear up to further integrate, scale, and simplify their company’s cloud investments.

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Feb
25

Reduce Risk, Time, And Cost Of Legacy Modernization

Many IT professionals believe if it isn’t broken don't fix it. A recent survey found that 50% to 60% of core processes in some verticals still run on mainframe systems using legacy, often poorly maintained software. After all, it still works.

Resistance to modernization does not come only from an “if it isn’t broken” attitude. Change brings risk, so it might appear prudent to delay major infrastructure changes. Also, many large organizations have sizeable investments in mainframes loaded with years of accumulated data and that data may have been incorporated into monolithic mainframe software applications.

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Feb
25

Baremetal Servers: The Next Big Thing In Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting has been in existence for 10 years. Going into its second decade, it’s time for something new. So, what’s the latest trend? Good old, plain dedicated servers — but rebuilt and reinvented.

Although it is not required by any definition of a cloud, virtualization has become part and parcel of cloud hosting — not because it is necessary for clouds, but merely because it is very convenient.

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Feb
01

Understanding TCO Cloud Economics

By now, we all know that cloud computing eliminates the need to purchase, deploy, and maintain IT assets. The primary selling point of cloud services is that the cloud vendor takes on full infrastructure responsibility for running hosted applications.

Gartner Research underscores the total cost of ownership (TCO) advantages by estimating that the annual cost of owning and managing software applications can be as much as four times the cost of the initial purchase. All size businesses are moving away from the general mindset that these numbers are merely a cost of doing business. The new mantra entails the notion of slashing expenses and still improving the agility, competitive advantage, and profitability of an organization through the reduction of capital expenses (CAPEX).

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Dec
02

The Evolution of Software-Defined Data Centers

The data center has been evolving from its mainframe days to the current software defined model in large part due to technology constraints and development, market forces, and business constraints. This has resulted in deployment architectures and operating models that are more complex (silos, sprawl, underutilization, etc.), with lower visibility into operational status. This evolution is illustrated in Figure 1.

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