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Apple's Racial Discrimination?; iPhone Location Tracking; and the iCloud's Newest Forecast

A look at the ways our favorite backyard tech giant has made the news this week.

Every week,  makes news with technology developments, business deals and, more often than not, controversies.

That’s where our weekly "Core Bytes" column on Apple comes in. We’ll relay the past week’s news highlights from our favorite backyard tech giant.

Controversies
•Two African-American men have sued a Manhattan Apple store over racial discrimination on Thursday. Brian Johnson, 34, and Nile Charles, 25, are claiming that a white employee in their 50s told them in December that “I don’t want your kind hanging around here.” The suit also alleges that the head of security ignored the men’s request to speak with a manager about the incident.

•Dear Steve Jobs: Please include privacy policies in your mobile apps. That was the gist of a letter that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) sent both Jobs and Google CEO Larry Page as a follow-up to a recent hearing where company representatives testified about how they store location information.  

•The SEC broke procurement law in 2008 when it bought $1 million worth of Apple products without proper testing. The move came to bite them in the, um, foot as the equipment immediately failed to work, according to a report released by the agency inspector general this week.

•Tough luck, Samsung. San Jose Federal Court Judge Lucy Koh asked the company to provide Apple with samples of its unreleased tablets and and smartphones as part of an ongoing patent dispute.

New Products
•On Thursday, Amazon launched a Mac-specific application store-- a direct challenge to Apple’s five-month old app store. Amazon’s newest techy gold mind quietly launched on Thursday, dubbing itself "Mac Software Downloads.”

Business Deals and Developments
•Here’s the latest forecast on iCloud: The long-awaited digital music locker will scan users’ libraries and mirror them in the cloud, but the service reportedly won’t be free. Label executives are currently negotiating for profits on the cloud, and some predict that Apple could incorporate the service with MobileMe, which currently costs $99 a year.

•Apple iPads are flying high to success. Alaska Air Group announced on Friday that it will use Apple iPad tablets in lieu of flight documents in order to cut down on the weight of required documents. The iPads, which will be distributed in June, weigh 1.5 pounds compared to the manual’s traditional 25 pounds.

•Should you purchase Apple stock now? At least one prominent Wall Street analyst thinks so. Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray predicts the stock will continue on an upward trajectory--and not like those salmon that struggle to make it upstream. No, it will be smooth sailing, as Jaffray foreshadows the introduction of even more nifty new products, and Apple’s entry to the hi-def TV market.

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