Apple Launches ‘Better’ Environmental Campaign, Shares Glimpse of New Nevada Data Center

In advance of Earth Day, Apple revamped its Environmental Responsibility website with new content that reconfirms the company’s dedication to operate its business in a way that is best for the environment. The updated website features a new “Better” video narrated by Apple CEO Tim Cook that explains the company’s environmentally friendly values.

Keeping with this Earth Day theme, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives, also recently gave Wired an exclusive tour of Apple’s newest data center in Yerington, Nevada. Apple is close to powering all its facilities entirely with renewable energy, with its corporate office and data centers now at 94 percent and climbing.

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Apple’s data center in Sparks, NV. Photo: David Calvert/WIRED

Though Jackson can’t take credit for Apple’s renewable initiative, she monitors its progress and, perhaps even more important, spreads the word that renewables aren’t just for tree-huggers, but are serious energy sources that can take on the biggest jobs. “No one can ever claim again you can’t have a data center that runs on 100 percent renewable,” says. “Once those proof points are out there, it makes it easier for policies to follow.”

Though the company uses wind and hydroelectric power in its other facilities, Apple is relying on solar power in it Nevada facility. This design mirrors its Maiden, NC data center, which uses two 100-acre solar fields to produce a total of 50 megawatts. Apple is now building out these solar arrays in Nevada on a 134-acre field, which will generate approximately 20 megawatts of power when it is completed in 2015. The remaining power for the plant will be supplied by geothermal energy.




A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime Channels Added to Apple TV

Apple today has added new channels from A&E Networks to its Apple TV, including A&E, The History Channel and Lifetime. Select Apple TV owners will be able to watch episodes from popular TV shows such as Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, and Project Runway.

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These new channels on the Apple TV offer a preview to all users, but full content is only available to cable television subscribers. Currently, the service is available to customers who subscribe to DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, and Cablevision Optimum, with support for additional providers coming in the near future.

The addition of these channels is part of a larger push by A&E Networks to expand their content beyond broadcast TV. Earlier this month, the network updated both its A&E [iTunes Link] and History Channel apps [iTunes Link], letting iOS owners stream live episodes of popular shows to their iPhone or iPad. Similar to the Apple TV, this iOS-based live streaming requires a valid cable subscription.




Apple and Google Vying for Exclusive Games from Developers With Promotional Perks

A new report from The Wall Street Journal today highlights the increasing competition between Apple and Google to gain exclusive games for their respective iOS and Android platforms. According to the report, both companies have been offering developers promotional perks, such as premium placement on their app store home pages, in exchange for the first rights to a title.

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For instance, the popular title Cut The Rope 2 was reportedly part of an exclusivity agreement between Apple and and developer ZeptoLab:

ZeptoLab’s sequel to its popular puzzle game “Cut the Rope”, introduced in December, reflected a similar pattern. The company and Apple agreed to about a three-month window of exclusivity for Apple’s App Store, in exchange for the store prominently promoting the game, one person familiar with the matter said. ZeptoLab launched an Android version in late March.

The report also notes a promotional agreement between Apple and EA to launch Plants VS. Zombies 2 on iOS two months before its release on Android. This is in line with a story from Giant Bomb last September that shared similar details. However, while both companies denied the claims and stated that no money was exchanged as asserted by the original story, The Wall Street Journal notes that Apple doesn’t offer money for game exclusives, but rather just marketing and promotional assistance.

Plants VS. Zombies 2 was prominently featured by Apple during the week of its release, as it was mentioned on the App Store Facebook page and featured in top banners on the App Store itself.

Amazon has also carried out similar practices, offering promotional spots on its Amazon Appstore in order for the rights to launch games on its Kindle family of devices. An Amazon spokeswoman corroborated these claims, stating that the company “works with many developers to bring their apps to the Amazon Appstore.” The company’s new Fire TV media streaming box, which was released earlier this month, contains dedicated support for games, even offering a $39 wireless Fire game controller.

The news also comes as the amount of money spent by consumers on mobile content grows. According to the results of a study done by research firms IDC and App Annie, mobile games accounted for $16 billion of app sales, jumping 2.3x over the past year.





Apple Offering Some Developers Second Chance to Buy Unclaimed WWDC Tickets

Apple is offering some developers a chance to buy unclaimed WWDC tickets, according to a report from 9to5Mac and several Twitter users. Apple has emailed certain developers to offer them WWDC tickets, giving them 24 hours to pay the $1,599 ticket fee.

This year, because of nearly immediate ticket sellouts in past years, Apple decided to offer WWDC tickets to registered, paid iOS and Mac developers through a lottery system. Developers who won the ticket lottery had until April 14 to complete their purchases.

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Now Apple is reportedly reaching out to developers who didn’t win the lottery and offering them a chance to buy unclaimed tickets. Some developers are starting to get phone calls from the company informing them that they have been randomly selected to buy one of the tickets that winners failed to claim before the 14th.

It is unknown how many WWDC tickets went unclaimed by lottery winners, nor how the company is choosing developers to receive a second chance at tickets.

The annual Worldwide Developers Conference will be held from June 2-6 at the Moscone West convention center in San Francisco