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Afternoon News Roundup - the January 6 ice-cold edition


With many parts of the US experiencing record-breaking ice-cold temperatures today (the high in Chicago today is minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit for those keeping score at home), here are some afternoon Apple news items to help keep you warm, or at the very least, distract you from the biting cold.

Critics say Apple needs more diversity on its board

Bloomberg reports that Apple faces pressure to add more females to its board of directors and to its executive ranks. As it stands now, Apple only has one woman on its board of directors and only one woman on the executive team, the recently hired Angela Ahrendts.

As a result of pressure to diversify its ranks, Apple changed its bylaws to include the following: "The nominating committee is committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which board nominees are chosen."

In Charts: Apple is much more valuable than both Amazon and Google

You just wouldn't know it if all you paid attention to were the folks on Wall Street, who seemingly like to punish Apple for its success and reward Amazon for its remarkable inability to generate a profit. Driving the point home, Apple, with annual EPS of $39.75, has a P/E ratio of 14. Amazon, with an EPS of $0.28, has a P/E ratio of 1,436.

Apple's iBeacon popping up in grocery stores

iBeacon may very well prove to be the most underestimated, or perhaps overlooked, new feature in iOS 7. Engadget reports that a few grocery store outlets have started using iBeacons to help shoppers find what they're looking for.

A handful of Giant Eagle and Safeway locations are now using a new marketing service, InMarket's Mobile to Mortar, that relies on Apple's iBeacon to send proximity-based notifications while you're wandering the aisles. In addition to offering on-the-spot coupons and rewards, the system can remind you what's on your shopping list at just the right moment. It can also send an alert when someone adds to the list; if the family runs out of juice while you're in the store, you'll know to buy another jug before you reach the checkout line.

Broadcom SDK eases Apple AirPlay implementation

More AirPlay for all! Broadcom on Monday announced a new SDK that will help make it easier for manufacturers to take advantage of Apple's AirPlay feature. You can check out Broadcom's press release over here.

AT&T announces new Sponsored Data feature for mobile users

AT&T today announced a new Sponsored Data feature wherein sponsored content consumed by users won't count against their monthly data limit.

The press release reads in part:

AT&T today unveiled a new way for eligible 4G customers to enjoy mobile content and apps over AT&T's wireless network without impacting their monthly wireless data plan. Similar to 1-800 phone numbers or free shipping for internet commerce, AT&T's new 'Sponsored Data' service opens up new data use options for AT&T wireless customers and customer-friendly mobile broadband channels to businesses that choose to participate as sponsors.

With the new Sponsored Data service, data charges resulting from eligible uses will be billed directly to the sponsoring company; the customer simply enjoys their content via AT&T's wireless data network. Customers will see the service offered as AT&T Sponsored Data, and the usage will appear on their monthly invoice as Sponsored Data. Sponsored Data will be delivered at the same speed and performance as any non-Sponsored Data content.

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