Apple's decision to credit early iPhone buyers $100 toward the purchase of other Apple products in an attempt to alleviate anger triggered by the massive 33-40 percent price drop enacted just 10 weeks after the device's introduction represents an about-face in the company's stance on such rebates. In fact, in 2003, Apple argued a Microsoft settlement that "fewer than 25 percent of customers redeem these types of vouchers." That criticism concerned Microsoft's $1.1 billion antitrust settlement, which consisted of vouchers worth up to $29. Wired reports "The vouchers, which are still being paid off, could be converted to cash upon proof of purchase of most any computer device or software from any company. Details about Apple's rebate are expected soon. Will Apple issue its own 'vouchers?'"
Apple may be planning on bringing on movie rentals very soon, according new information found by a user when trying to report a problem about iTunes. In a screenshot taken by David Watanabe, the iTunes feedback/refund reporting system has severals options to report issues related to Movie Rentals -- specifically if you did not receive the movie, accidental purchase, content quality, duplicate purchase, wrong version, bad metadata, and other options were provided in the refund request menu. "I was trying to report a problem via iTunes, and this pop-up for selecting a reason contains some interesting/revealing strings," Watanbe wrote. "Looks like 'RentalMovies' will be coming to the iTunes store." Several users confirmed the presence of the options on iTunes, but the system appears to be down as of Saturday afternoon (PST).
Apple on Friday quietly released iTunes 7.4.1, a minor update to the company's jukebox software that is only available via the Web (38MB). Although the company has not specifically described the changes, some report that after the update they were no longer able to use circulating custom ringtone workaround, which allowed users to make any AAC file into a ringtone. Discovered soon after the initial release of iTunes 7.4, users were able to simply rename any AAC track to .M4R and load it into iTunes (by double-clicking, for example): on the next iPhone sync, users will automatically be able to use the ringtones via the iTunes ringtone tab. iTunes 7.4.1 allows previously renamed tracks to exists, but does not allow newly renamed files to show up as ringtones. Update: Users report that they can simply follow the original method and under iTunes 4.1 simple add another step: change the file extension from m4r file back to m4a and the newly renamed file will appear in the iTunes 7.4.1 sync list automatically.
A series of lawyers are claiming that the introduction of Apple's new iPods on September 5th reinforce antitrust claims against the company, partially because the new devices, like their predecessors, cannot playback Microsoft's competing Windows Media Audio, or WMA, format. The suit alleges that Apple's devices are capable of playing these files, but disables them with "crippleware" in order to force iPod and nano owners to buy songs from iTunes. Wired reports that Apple could license the WMA format from Microsoft for less than 2 cents per iPod, lawyers say, "which would make iPods and iPhones, old and new, compatible with music purchased online from rivals like Wal-Mart, Napster, Best Buy, Yahoo and others."
Apple may launch its iPhone campaign in Europe with a 3G-capable iPhone with enhanced storage, according to what appears to be a leaked ad from T-Mobile Germany. The ad promises a version of the handset with support for 3G-level cellular Internet access using both the US-friendly HSDPA format and typically Europe-only UMTS, with theoretical download speeds reaching the format's full 3.6Mbps. It also suggests that the device will carry 16GB of memory, representing the first storage upgrade to the device since its launch in June. Visual Voicemail and the 2-megapixel camera would remain the same as for the US version.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE