VIDEO: ‘R2-D2’ pleased at new Star Wars films

The actor who played R2-D2 has welcomed plans to release three new Star Wars films. He explained the franchise’s lasting appeal but said his metal robot suit was “not very comfortable”.

UPDATE 1-Tesoro earnings fall on refinery disruptions

HOUSTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Western U.S. refiner Tesoro Corp
said on Wednesday that third-quarter earnings fell from
the same period a year ago on supply and production disruptions.

Apple’s 2012 Annual Report: More Employees, More Office Space, More Sales

NewImageApple today filed its 2012 annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the document reveals a few interesting tidbits of information:

– Apple now has 72,800 “full-time equivalent” employees, up from 60,400 last year. The company also went from employing 2,900 “full-time equivalent” temporary employees and contractors to 3,300. 42,400 “full-time equivalent” employees are in the retail division, up from 36,000 last year.

– Apple went from 357 stores at the end of fiscal 2011 to 390 stores at the end of fiscal 2012, up 33 from the year prior. Apple earned an average of $51.5 million per store, up from $43.3 million last year. The average number of “full-time equivalent” employees per store grew from 100.8 to 108.7. Apple expects to open 30-35 new stores in 2013, with 75% of those located outside the US.

The Company’s headquarters are located in Cupertino, California. As of September 29, 2012, the Company owned or leased approximately 17.3 million square feet of building space, primarily in the U.S., and to a lesser extent, in Europe, Japan, Canada, and the Asia-Pacific regions. Of that amount approximately 10.9 million square feet was leased building space, which includes approximately 4.1 million square feet related to retail store space. Of the Company’s owned building space, approximately 2.6 million square feet that is located in Cupertino, California will be demolished to build a second corporate campus. Additionally, the Company owns a total of 1,077 acres of land in various locations.

As of September 29, 2012, the Company owned a manufacturing facility in Cork, Ireland that also housed a customer support call center and facilities in Elk Grove, California that included warehousing and distribution operations and a customer support call center. The Company also owned land in Austin, Texas where it will build office space and a customer support call center. In addition, the Company owned facilities for research and development and corporate functions in Cupertino, California, including land for the future development of the Company’s second corporate campus. The Company also owned data centers in Newark, California; Maiden, North Carolina; and Prineville, Oregon. Outside the U.S., the Company owned additional facilities for various purposes.

– As this document is designed mainly for prospective and current investors in the company, Apple also lists a number of risk factors that could affect investments in the company. These include “[Apple] could be found to have infringed on intellectual property rights”, the ability to “successfully manage frequent product introductions and transitions”, “the Company’s ability to obtain components in sufficient quantities”, and numerous more.

– Unlike last year, when Apple said it had no plans to pay a dividend,
the company now “expects to pay quarterly dividends in the future.”

The document is thick with financial information, including breakdowns of all sorts related to how the company makes money, invests its money, and pays taxes, among other things.


UPDATE 4-Potash eyes ICL takeover as a road to China, India

JERUSALEM/WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Potash Corp
, the world’s No. 1 fertilizer producer, is ramping up
efforts to buy Israel Chemicals Ltd so it can shore up its
leverage with China and…

Numerous iCloud Services Down for Up to 8% of Users [iOS Blog]

icloudstatus According to Apple’s iCloud System Status page, 8% of iCloud users cannot currently use any iCloud service except mail or iChat. The site gives no suggestion of a cause for the outage, nor a timetable for fixing it — other than to say services will be restored as soon as possible. On Tuesday, iCloud experienced a widespread FaceTime, iMessage and Game Center outage that lasted nearly two hours.

Update: It appears the outage is now limited to Documents in the Cloud only.