New products, led by iPhone 6s and iPad Pro, provide small boost
The annual refresh cycle that this year introduced the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, along with the enterprise-oriented iPad Pro, has given Apple's gently-falling enterprise marketshare a boost ahead of the holiday buying season, with the iOS platform accounting for 66 percent of enterprise device activations in the quarter ending September 30 -- a rise of two percent from the quarter before, according to new statistics from BlackBerry's Good division (formerly Good Technology).
Stars composer Stevie Wonder, singer Andra Daye
Apple has revealed its 2015 Christmas ad, titled "Someday at Christmas" after a 1967 song by Stevie Wonder, on its YouTube channel. The spot stars Wonder and singer Andra Daye, who duet on the piece while portraying an African-American family at Christmas, with kids running around and holiday decorations deployed. Unlike most recent Apple ads, the TV commercial does not feature any product or service, though Wonder, who has been blind since early childhood, can be seen mixing the track on a MacBook, using VoiceOver in Garageband.
Preliminary agreement could lead to Apple Pay working on 5M UnionPay terminals
Apple is reportedly close to securing a deal with a Chinese card payment processor, which will help it launch Apple Pay across China. It is claimed Apple has reached a preliminary agreement with UnionPay, allowing Apple Pay to function through more than 5 million NFC-equipped point-of-sale terminals in the country, simplifying the rollout of the service and giving Apple a considerable head start for its expected February launch.
Bring extra power and pleasure to two OS X favorites
Back in the System 7 and Mac OS 8 (and 9) days, the word "extensions" brought a love-hate relationship to mind. Those extensions (small "e") or QuarkXpress' Xtensions (no "e") added powerful new abilities to the OS, but also brought with it the aggravating (and highly likely) possibility of "extension conflicts," due to the bolt-on nature of the extensions back in the day. Hurray for the wonderful world of the future, where Extensions are still add-ons that bring new abilities, only they are much better behaved now.
The iPad Pro is the future of mobile computing -- get used to it
It surprises me that a lot of people have been quick to highlight what they think are apparently major shortcomings with the iPad Pro, seemingly writing it off before most of them have even seen one in person. While it may or may not be another hit product from Apple, there are a couple of aspects about it that have been widely misunderstood. One centers around the question of whether or not it is a genuine notebook replacement, and the other centers around its "inability" to run full desktop versions of apps, like Adobe Photoshop, for example. Have people learnt nothing from Apple's recent history?
Facial motion tracking company bought by Apple for unknown amount
Apple has confirmed it has acquired a Swiss facial motion tracking startup, a purchase that was rumored to have taken place in September. FaceShift, a Zurich-based company responsible for some of the motion capture technology used for visual effects in the latest Star Wars movie, was purchased for an undisclosed amount, with several of the startup's employees now working for Apple on the technology while remaining in Europe.
iPad and Paper, iPhone, iPhoto and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discussed topics ranging from using the iPad with the Paper app to problems importing photos to an iPhone. This week the conversation continued in a thread titled "How to use Paper on iPad" which delves into the topic of using the iPad to create digital art.
Macs from $419
At Apple's online store today save big on refurbished Macs. Prices start at $419 for the refurbished Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive, now $419 after an $80 price cut. A $140 price cut is available on the refurbished MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 158GB hard drive, now $759.
Apple expanding Apple TV App Store with five new categories
Apple's latest addition to the App Store family, the Apple TV App Store, is growing again. On Tuesday, the company added five new categories to the store, including Games, Education, Entertainment, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, News, and Sports. The entire concept of categories in the store are new as of the beginning of this month, and are organized in the same manner as similar categories in the App Store or Mac App Store.
Alleged app said to provide help for common issues, book Genius Bar visits
Apple may be working on an app to help users self-diagnose problems with their iOS devices, before attempting to get help from employees. Supposed leaked images claim to show an app that will suggest to customers ways to fix their iPhone or iPad themselves using online guides and other support documents, before helping with contacting relevant support staff, organizing a repair, or a visit to the Genius Bar at the user's nearest Apple Store.
ARM-based microcontroller, venting lines in fabric, zero repairability
On the heels of teardowns of both the iPad Pro and its Apple Pencil accessory, iFixit has done a teardown of the Apple Smart Keyboard intended to go with the iPad Pro as well. The keyboard cover uses conductive fabric to cover the keys, and Retina MacBook-style dome switches under the keys. Among the minor discoveries was that the company uses the fabric for both power and data, and that the unit cannot be opened with breaking it.
Alleged Apple Pay launch could coincide with high-spending Chinese holiday
Apple is considering a launch of Apple Pay in China by February next year, according to reports. It is claimed Apple has signed deals with the four major state-run banks in the country, in theory allowing Apple Pay to be linked to user bank accounts, though it is suggested there may still be a number of regulatory hurdles Apple needs to overcome before being able to offer the payment platform in one of the world's most important markets.
Hand-crafted with rich Corinthian voices for extreme effect
Episode 42 is, first and foremost, a gorgeous-sounding episode. It features Mike and Charles, a good connection, and a fair amount to talk about even in a slow news week. As is the norm with these two, they wander around to various topics, but among the things that are for sure discussed in the repairability (or rather, the lack of it) in the Apple Pencil (and whether anyone should care), what's up with MacUpdate.com, and more.
Visa launches new TV advert to promote Apple Pay in the UK
On the heels of a new promotion from Mastercard that allows Apple Pay users to ride free on the London Underground, Visa Europe is kicking off a two-month ad campaign that intends to show users why using Apple Pay in the UK is safer, faster, and easier than the current EMV (chip and PIN) card-based payment system. Titled "Anticipation," the first ad very elegantly communicates the ease, speed and yes, thrill of using Apple Pay.
Working around the only problem with the new trackpad
It's not the cheapest thing you can buy, but Apple's new Magic Trackpad 2 is a superb device with, so far as we can see, just one tiny niggle which you'll see the first time you try to drag something. Try dragging anything, anywhere, and it doesn't budge: instead, you find yourself looking at a preview of the document or whatever it is. There's a reason for this, and there are solutions which, as so often with Pointers, we're telling you because we want to make a note of it for ourselves.
Free Fare Mondays refunds travel costs paid with MasterCard via Apple Pay
Apple Pay users with MasterCard-based credit cards will be able to travel across the London Underground at no charge on certain dates, as part of a new initiative. The "Fare Free Mondays" promotion will refund fares for the transportation network across the UK capital every Monday from today until December 14, but only for daily fares paid for with credit cards that use MasterCard via Apple's mobile payments platform.
Patent infringement lawsuit clears Apple, but fails invalidity bid
Apple has prevailed in a patent lawsuit concerning the sale and distribution of DRM-protected content, but did not win on all points. The lawsuit brought against Apple by ContentGuard has been dismissed after a jury found Apple did not infringe on five antipiracy patents, but at the same time the jury decided Apple did not do enough to prove the patents were invalid in court, meaning that other companies could still be sued over the very same patents in the future.
Developers warned of yearly iTunes Connect downtime
Apple will be holding its annual shutdown of iTunes Connect from December 22 until December 29, the same dates as last year, the company has confirmed. Announced over the weekend in a news update on the Developer portal, the downtime warning advises developers to get any new apps or app updates in order and submitted to Connect in a timely manner before that eight-day period, as they will not be accepted or approved over the holidays.
Apple finally releases first-party dock for Apple Watch
Although the Apple Watch was launched in April this year, Apple has only now released its own first-party dock for the device without any fanfare. Up to this point, Apple Watch users have been forced to look to third-parties for Apple Watch stands or docks, some of which we have taken a look at. Apple's approach differs from other offerings on the market, while the circular design of the new Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock has echoes of Apple's spaceship-like Campus 2, currently under construction.
Get up from the computer and go interact with humans
Today's Pointers suggestion is one I've been meaning to make for a long time, and the time is finally right: it's fall and turning quickly into winter, exactly the time when many of us tend to stay inside more often and go out less. So naturally, my suggestion is to get out of the house and join your a local Apple-oriented group. I can say that I have benefitted enormously from my long involvement in several such groups, and I am sure you will as well.
Apple music executive walks back remark about women and music searching
Following a new ad for Apple Music that features singer Mary J. Blige that is aimed at women, saying that the service's curated playlists are like "a boyfriend who makes you a mixtape -- in your laptop," Apple music executive Jimmy Iovine has apologized for remarks made on "CBS This Morning" where he appeared to infer that "women find it very difficult at times -- some women -- to find music" to suit their mood.
Personal Pickup expansion to UK follows recent Canada, Australia launches
Apple has expanded the reach of its Personal Pickup outside of the United States to the United Kingdom, in preparation for holiday shopping period. The service, only recently launching internationally after being in operation in the United States since 2011, will allow customers to order products online for later collection from a local Apple Store, with it potentially able to be picked up within an hour of ordering.
My MacNN tool belt
In the interest of keeping these stories both interesting and relevant, I am going to attempt to follow Charles' self-imposed rule to not cover any apps that have been previously mentioned. For those of you who are not familiar with me, I first began working here as a writer back in 2008, but since then have become something of a swiss army knife for the team. You will still find my writing around the site, however, you will also now find me contributing more in the way of graphics, audio, and video content. With this in mind, I am going to highlight a few apps that are vital to my day-to-day workflow.
Two different approaches to future-proofing the future
Microsoft, always that great predictor of the future, seems to have decided that mobile and desktop devices should, must, and will converge into one Windows-shaped thing at some point in the future. Apple, particularly its CEO Tim Cook, is so far denying any such seismic shift will happen with its mobile and desktop OSes, and all the company is looking for is love for Apple devices. This may seem like one of the bigger philosophical arguments of our unenlightened age -- but there is another way to look at the debate.
The iPad Pro Smart Keyboard gets better the more you use it
It was inevitable that Apple would make the Smart Keyboard peripheral for an iPad as large as the iPad Pro with its 12.9-inch display. People often forget that Apple released a full-sized keyboard accessory for the original iPad, but it held back on releasing a first-party keyboard cover accessory like those from companies like Logitech because, in portrait mode, the typing experience can be too cramped. With a display that supports Split View, allowing you to work with documents side-by-side, the iPad Pro is the ideal candidate for a first-party keyboard accessory.
Nearly one in three Americans owns an iPhone, study finds
A new study (PDF) by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) claims that as of the end of September, more than 101 million iPhones were in use in the United States, a ratio approaching one iPhone for every three Americans. The study further found that of that number, 62 million units -- were recent models from either this year or last. The majority, 58 million, are 2014's iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, with only four million of the latest model sold in the US in the first weekend of availability before the end of the September quarter.
Some units become unresponsive after full charge, require restart to work
Following reports earlier this week that some iPad Pro units have a tendency to become unresponsive after charging -- requiring a hard restart to overcome -- Apple has issued a statement saying it is investigating the issue, and suggesting the force-restart procedure as a temporary workaround for the problem. Reports have indicated the issue happens on all models of iPad Pro running iOS 9.1, with the software now becoming the lead suspect as the root of the issue.
SunPower to create 170MW of renewable power in Inner Mongolia with partners
California energy firm SunPower, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor, and an unnamed third partner said to be Apple have partnered to build three new solar farms in China that are intended to help Apple offset the power needs of its manufacturing and supplier operations in the country, which gets most of its power from coal-based plants. SunPower, which is already working on a 20-megawatt pair of solar farms for Apple in Sichuan province, said that the total output of all the solar farms, when complete, will top 210 megawatts.
Stylus designed for iPad Pro scores one out of ten from iFixit for repairability
The Apple Pencil is an impressive technical marvel, details revealed during an iFixit teardown of the accessory have suggested. While it includes the smallest logic board the technical outfit has ever seen, among other interesting aspects, the compact nature of the internals makes the Pencil an extremely unrepairable device, scoring one out of ten on iFixit's repairability, worse than the three out of ten scored by the iPad Pro.
Carbon fiber-reinforced roof a main feature of upcoming Apple Store project
Chicago's upcoming Apple Store will be influenced by "prairie style" homes constructed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in its external design, according to a recent publication of the company's plans. Using large amounts of glass for its entrance, the storefront will measure 14 feet high and will have a thin roof reinforced with carbon fiber held up by concrete columns, with the entranceway overlooking the nearby Chicago River.
Also, talk to your folks, it's important
What Christmas, Black Friday or Thanksgiving presents do you get for your family? We don't care. Partly because William Gallagher and Malcolm Owen are in the UK where for some bizarre reason Thanksgiving isn't a big deal. Also, speaking of big deals, Black Friday has come to Britain but this year one big retailer has said they're not doing it. So it's just Christmas left and frankly we can shop for the family later.
Apple nearing half Samsung shipments as Android leader stumbles
The latest report by analyst firm Gartner shows Apple's iOS platform increasing its worldwide share to 13.1 percent in the September quarter, an increase in percentage points of 0.6 year-over-year, while Samsung's larger share slipped 0.2 points to 23.7 percent. Though the Android platform as a whole continues to be dominant worldwide -- growing 1.4 percent over the past year to 84.7 percent share -- the rise is seen as having mostly come from Windows Phone losses.
Hints of long-awaited support for 'app folders' seen in 9.1 beta code
In addition to today's update of the iOS 9.2 beta, Apple has also released a developer-only third tvOS 9.1 beta. The upcoming update, expected to be released early next year, will add promised but thus far missing features such as Siri control of Apple Music (Apple has already added Siri control of general searches and iTunes Match support). Also found in testing was some support for "app folders" as seen in iCloud.
No new features uncovered as of yet, more fixes instead
A day "late" compared to last week's beta, Apple has launched a fourth developer and public beta of iOS 9.2. The new beta does not come with release notes indicating any new significant changes, but small incremental improvements have been implemented in previous betas of 9.2, including a change to the Safari View Controller for third-party apps, user interface tweaks to Apple Music, and other small changes.
Apple Stores now offering Space Black link bracelet option
Following on the heels of a new charging dock for the Apple Watch, the company has also quietly introduced a new Space Black link bracelet expansion kit option to match the Space Black stainless steel version of the Apple Watch. Previously, only the standard stainless steel bracelet had an expansion kit available. The kits offer extra links to expand the band, making it more comfortable for those with larger wrists. The kit, available in other styles as well, adds up to 40mm in additional links to the 42mm bracelet bands.
Smart home device purge removes non-HomeKit products from Apple Stores
A number of smart locks have been pulled from sale from Apple Stores, both online and offline, among other devices. The August Smart Lock and the Kwikset Kevo Wireless-Enabled Deadbolt Lock are no longer available to buy from Apple's online store, and though there is no official explanation for why they are no longer being offered directly through Apple, it is suggested the cause could be a lack of HomeKit support in the devices.
New charging peripheral expected to sell for $90
Overnight, Apple very quietly launched its rumored Magnetic Charging Dock. The device, spotted in international retail stores allows users of the watch to either lay the watch flat, or on its side in nightstand mode. While initially only spotted in the European retail arm, the peripheral has popped up on the US Apple Store online, and will be on the shelves of the US stores on November 20.
Explanation for security certificate-related errors provided in email to developers
Apple has sent an email to developers affected by an expired security certificate issue with the Mac App Store last week, apologizing and offering an explanation for what caused the problem. According to the email, a caching problem within the Mac App Store interfered with Apple's issuing of a new security certificate, one which caused a number of users to see a "damaged" error when using some of their apps, forcing a reinstallation in a number of instances.
Apple Maps, App Stores, iTunes affected by brief outage
Apple's online services endured another outage overnight, with a number of services becoming unusable for over an hour. Apple's system status page advises some users were affected by downtime for "multiple store services" and "multiple iCloud services" at around 10pm EST for just over an hour, with all users affected by a slightly briefer Maps issue for approximately half an hour at roughly the same time.
busted graphics, trackpad pains and more
Today in the MacNN forums, members try to assist Junior Member "Sebastian" with figuring out what to do with a busted graphics card in his 2009 iMac. Senior User "RobOnTheCape" has reported a strange fingertip pain and has determined that the cause must be the MacBook Air he is using, but wonders if anyone else has had a similar experience.
up to $300 off MacBook Pro
At Apple's online store today, take advantage of savings of up to $380 off refurbished MacBook Pro models. The refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.7GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB hard drive has been reduced to $829 for a savings of $270. A $230 discount lowers the cost on the refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.7GHz Intel core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage down to $1,269.
Public beta release likely to follow tonight or tomorrow
As has become the weekly ritual, Apple on Tuesday released a fourth developer beta of OS X 10.11.2 El Capitan, about a month after the release of 10.11.1. The new build, 15C47a, contains the same general notes as the other betas in the series, focusing on bug fixes and performance tweaks rather than introducing any new features. Apple has been in the habit of releasing an identical version for pre-registered public beta testers later the same day or the next day.
Photograph appears to show supposed Apple Watch accessory packaging
Apple may be planning to release its own dock for the Apple Watch soon, if a recently-surfaced photograph is genuine. The leaked image appears to show a pair of Apple Watch "magnetic charging docks" next to each other, displaying what is believed to be the front and back of the packaging, and giving a hint of what could be in store if Apple does decide to release the accessory for the popular wearable device.
Apple picks up second femtocell-related patent
Apple has been granted a further patent on Femtocell technology which is typically used in network base stations that use low-power cellular connections and are designed to be operated in homes and smaller businesses. This new patent, number 9,191,839, has been issued regarding methods of configuring Femtocells and it follows an August patent regarding access to wireless signals using the technology.
App Store searches get smarter, go beyond metadata or strict spellings
Developers over the last week have reported that the algorithm that powers App Store searches is evolving, now offering suggestions that go beyond simple title or keyword identification. The biggest changes appear to have debuted on November 12, but tweaks and other noticeable (to developers) differences in results have been happening all during November, and are continuing. The overall effect appears to be that searches are more intelligent, with for example "Tweetbot" turning up in a search for "Twitter" when it didn't previously.
Deal comes on top of further UK agreements
Apple has confirmed deals with 94 further banks in the United States to support Apple Pay. New additions include the Farmers State Bank, Northeast Credit Union and the Acme Federal Credit Union. Including today's addition of two more UK banks, this brings the worldwide total to 786.
Totally unbiased reasons why Mac is better than Windows
Yesterday, we covered five reasons why you should switch to Windows, and frankly it didn't take forensic science to see that we were biased toward the Mac. Give us points for finding real reasons, though, and arguing why they are important to some people, but take many of those points away for how we shook our heads a lot. Only, in looking at exactly how biased we were and are, we rather ignored the simple fact that we are biased. Something got us to this position.
Apple adds some Force Touch magic to its Magic Trackpad 2
Apple has eschewed touchscreen-based input on the OS X/Mac experience deliberately, as it does not see that approach as being particularly ergonomic for ongoing interaction with a desktop or notebook. It mastered multi-touch control of a desktop OS on its notebooks with its industry-leading trackpads, and has brought this same experience across to its desktop users variously through its multi-touch capable Magic Mouse 1 and 2, as well as its original Magic Trackpad. The new Magic Trackpad 2 , however, takes things up another level for desktop users, incorporating its vaunted Force Touch technology into the equation.
Tesco Bank, TSB latest two banks to support Apple Pay in United Kingdom
The number of ways iPhone owners can use Apple Pay has increased, with two more financial institutions in the United Kingdom offering support for the payments platform. At the same time, American Express has launched Apple Pay support for its cards in Canada, just as it confirmed yesterday, with support for Apple Pay in Australia expected to start up later this week on Thursday, again via American Express.
Samsung plummets to 11 percent as all other manufacturers continue losses
In the latest report from Canaccord Genuity, Apple is now taking 94 percent of profits in the smartphone sector, with archrival Samsung gaining only 11 percent of the profits (numbers add up to more than 100 due to accounting for losses by the other manufacturers). Although actual final sales to consumers of smartphones are difficult to judge from companies other than Apple, shipments in the September quarter totalled more than 320 million units, of which just 14.5 percent were iPhones.