Apple Picks a Chief of People

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

Apple’s got a new people person, four guesses at Apple’s least-owned device, and Apple Pay Later and Apple Pay, later.

Apple Names First ‘Chief People Officer,’ Moving O’Brien to Retail-Only

Apple leadership has a new position, and a new person to fill it. 9to5Mac says the Cupertino-company has named its first ever “Chief People Officer.” Greetings and salutations to Carol Surface. New to Apple though not new to the people thing, the piece says Surface heads to Apple after 10-years at Medtronic, where she served as VP of HR. Before that it was three-and-a-half years as VP of HR at Bets Buy. Before that, it was “over a decade in human resources and personnel at PepsiCo,” according to the report.

Surface officially starts at Apple in March, leaving Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior VP of Retail + People, to focus exclusively on Retail. O’Brien had been Apple’s VP of worldwide sales and operations until 2017, which is when she was give the VP of People title. Two years later, when then head of Retail Angela Ahrendts left the company, Retail was added to O’Brien’s title. 

As for the new person over people, it’s not just experience that’s brought her to Apple’s big, round HQ. 9to5Mac says Surface has a BA in psychology from Castleton University. She’s also got a Ph.D. “in industrial and organizational psychology from Central Michigan University.” 

Apple Buchanan Street Becomes First Apple Retail Union in UK

I can’t help wondering to whom the whole retail union questions will fall. Deirdre O’Brien is head of Retail. Carol Surface is Chief People Officer, or will be next month. Meanwhile, the people (Surface) in retail (O’Brien) keep courting unionization. For the latest we go to Glasgow, where Engadget says the first union for an Apple Store in the UK is officially official. Months after voting to make it so, the site says:

Apple and the trade union GMB Scotland have signed a collective bargaining agreement that theoretically gives staff at the Buchanan Street store more clout when pushing for improved working conditions.

When the vote was held in November, workers were said to be seeking “better pay, increased wage transparency and improved shift scheduling.” No word on next steps between Buchanan Street workers and the Cupertino-company. 

Apple to Argue for Dismissal of UK Investigation Next Month

Staying in the U.K. — Apple’s got a date with a magistrate. Maybe. I don’t know. Lawyers will be involved. Mostly, I liked the rhyme. Anyway — Apple’s U.K. antitrust appeal has been scheduled. 

You may remember this one from a few weeks back. Late last month, MacRumors had Apple trying to stall an investigation in the United Kingdom against the Cupertino-company. Back in November, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the U.K. started looking into “cloud gaming and mobile browser restrictions” put in place by both Apple and Google. Apple’s lawyers say there was a set timeframe for the investigation and the CMA missed it. As a result, Apple wants the investigation tossed.

Now, a piece from 9to5Mac says that short, sweet show will go on. That site cites a report from Foss Patents that says “[t]he hearing of the application has been listed on 10 March 2023 (with a time estimate of one day).” 

Short and… well short, anyway.

CIRP: iPhone Tops and Mac Last in Apple Hardware Ownership Survey

Why did Apple drop “Computer” from its name? Probably the same reason Nathan Huffheinz changed his name

AppleInsider has word of new numbers from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). According to those, the Mac is the least owned Apple gear among people who own Apple gear. 

According to the firm’s findings, most people who own an Apple thing own more than one Apple thing. Not surprisingly, iPhone is tops among all of them, with 90% of survey participants packing one of Apple’s communicators. iPad is the second most owned, coming it at 73% or respondents. Apple Watch is third with 58% ownership. Finally we find the Mac in fourth-place, showing ownership at 50% among the survey respondents. 

Kind of weird, though not shocking I suppose. You use an Apple Watch with an iPhone. You can use an iPhone or an iPad either as standalone devices or in conjunction with a Mac or a PC. Lots of ways to make a little Apple ecosystem of one’s own — no traditional computer required.

As for people who own but one Apple device, the Mac comes in third. In fairness to the watch though, you can’t have just an Apple Watch since it requires an iPhone to work. As for ranking, it’s iPhone, iPad, then Mac for respondents who own one Apple device and one Apple device, only. 

That said, CIRP says a majority of Apple users own four of the company’s products, according to the report. 

‘Apple Pay Later’ and ‘Apple Pay,’ Later

Report: Apple Retail Peeps Get Testing Beta of ‘Apple Pay Later’

“Apple Pay Later” may be coming soon, while Apple Pay is apparently hitting South Korea later. First one first — MacRumors highlights a Bloomberg report that says Apple’s 80,000-strong retail workforce in the states has been given a beta to test for “Apple Pay Later.” In case you’ve forgotten, MacRumors says the service, announced last year during WWDC:

…is a “buy now, pay later” financing option that will let qualifying customers in the U.S. split a purchase made with Apple Pay into four equal payments over six weeks, with no interest or fees to pay. The feature will be built into Apple’s Wallet app on the iPhone and iPad.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has said in the past that the feature would fly with iOS 16.4.  For his part, Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC last week that “Apple Pay Later” will be launching “soon.” 

Apple Pay in South Korea May Be Months Away

It looks like it might be slow going for Apple Pay in South Korea. Earlier this week, TechCrunch said South Korea’s Financial Service Commission (FSC) had given the go-ahead for the service in that country. It still may take a while though — that’s according to the service’s first anticipated partner there. A piece from Nikkei has a statement from Hyundai Card saying:

We look forward to collaborating with Apple to introduce Apple Pay to S. Korea… We will share more details in the coming months.

UnitedHealthcare Offers Up to $1K for Fitness and Tech Metrics

And finally today, if you’re a UnitedHealthcare customer and a modern tech user, the one is offering rewards for sharing info from the other. AppleInsider says UnitedHealthcare Rewards is offering up to $1,000 “for eligible members, including spouses,” when they complete “various daily health goals and one-time activities.” Think Apple Watch Activity Challenges, but with cash. And no Apple Watch. The piece says, customers “can also use a smartphone capable of tracking health, such as an iPhone and Apple’s Health app.” 

Activities listed by the insurer include:

  • Hitting 5,000 steps or more each day
  • Completing 15 minutes or more of activity per day
  • Tracking sleep for 14 nights
  • Getting a biometric screening
  • Completing a health survey
  • Selecting paperless billing

And other stuff. “Additional qualifying activities will be added throughout the year,” according to UnitedHealthcare. 

Having laid that out, AppleInsider does bring up one sort of uncool caveat. The insurer:

…will need access [to] members’ Health data, such as sleep and exercise activity, that they might not have had before. As an insurance company, UnitedHealthcare could use the data in various ways, such as using it to make healthcare decisions.

The way the site sees it, paying $1,000 for such information may be a bargain for UnitedHealthcare. I will add, that might be especially true since you might not get the full $1,000, while the company will still get all of the information. 

Maybe it’s worth it. Just — please, go in eyes-open.

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast: 

TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I talk over Apple’s new hire over hires. Plus — there are better ways to track your dog than with an AirTag. Jeff will tell us a few. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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