Segment constitutes more than a quarter of entire smartphone base
A study in China by app and mobile advertising analytics firm Umeng shows that Apple's consistent smartphone strategy of leaving the low end of markets to others (what CEO Tim Cook calls "junk devices") and targeting affluent users as influencers has again resulted in high profitability and potentially surprising share in the face of a flood of competitors. Despite having only recently emerged to a full national presence on all the top carriers in China, Apple is said to already account for 80 percent of the $500-or-more segment of the Chinese smartphone market.
First beta bumped 4K support to 60Hz from 10.9.2's 24Hz
Apple has begun seeding the second beta of OS X Mavericks 10.9.3, again asking developers to focus testing on graphics drivers and audio, the same areas mentioned in the first beta release. The new build, 13D17, continues to include the enhanced 4K monitor support found in the first beta, which raised the refresh rate of 4K monitors considerably, offered a pixel-doubling scaling option for external monitors, and expanded the range of supported monitors.
Apple seeks to boost slow growth of mid-range iPhone offering
As previously reported, a series of animated iPhone 5c ads that focused on the colorful plastic-covered metal casings that began as a Tumblr page (and got promoted to "sponsored posts" to increase exposure) has now expanded, appearing in The New York Times website and on the homepage of search giant Yahoo. The campaign showcases the uses of the phone tied to color choices, inviting the user to "find your colors."
Snow Leopard and later included, adds support for new models
On Thursday, Apple refreshed its printer drivers covering Epson and Xerox printers -- likely to be the first of a fresh batch of printer and scanner driver updates -- for Macs running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and later. Though the company is slowly winding down support for 10.6, the four-year-old OS continues to get selected security, iTunes/QuickTime and printer driver updates for the time being. Today's release both updates existing drivers and adds support for new models.
iCloud storage tools might not ship
[Updated with alleged icons] If the ports are finished in time, iOS 8 may include versions of OS X's Preview and TextEdit apps, according to claims by questionable sources say. Unlike their Mac counterparts, the iOS apps reportedly won't be able to actually edit images, PDFs, or text documents. They are, however expected to support viewing OS X documents stored in iCloud; for management and editing, people will be directed toward existing apps like iBooks and Pages, says the rumor.
Only works with iOS 7.1 at present, Mavericks support likely ahead
The recently-released Apple TV 6.1 update that arrived on Monday has an undocumented new feature that allows AirPlay sessions to be initiated using Bluetooth rather than Bonjour, a change that should make third-generation (1080p-capable) Apple TV units friendlier to complex networks such as those found in institutional and enterprise environments. The system can still scan using Bonjour as well, but will work with Bluetooth if the initiating devices are running iOS 7.1.
Fault is likely due to hacker attack rather than Apple-originated issue
[Update: attack over] Users around the world -- particularly those who rely on Google DNS or Speakeasy to provide their DNS connections -- were seeing some (but not all) of Apple's websites blocked. In particular, the attack seems focused on Apple.com and iTunes, with other services such as iMessage and Game Center seemingly unaffected. The attack is now over, but it remains unclear if Google DNS was the source of the issue or just the first to propagate the bad DNS entries.
May hint at more camera design coming in-house, leveraging PrimeSense tech
In an unusual move, Apple has greatly expanded its call for specialists and engineers connected to camera, lens, sensor and other aspects of digital imaging in recent job postings. The iPhone maker has added 15 want ads related to camera and digital imaging over the past two weeks, joining nine other listings posted last month. Camera technology has been a major selling point in Apple's mobile devices but is also a key part of its desktop and notebook offerings.
Would be attempt at boosting usage
Apple is testing the idea of moving iTunes Radio into a dedicated app for iOS 8, sources say. At the moment, iTunes Radio is just another option in iOS 7's Music app. This may be hurting its adoption, since third-party rivals like Pandora and Spotify are separate apps and hence more visible. As a distinct entity, iTunes Radio would likely still come pre-installed with iOS 8.
Brings iPhone in line with other Apple products
Apple has reduced the no-questions return window for iPhone buyers from 30 calendar days to 14, sources and new terms on Apple's US website reveal. The change is technically only due to take effect tomorrow, March 13th, but Apple's website has already made the new policy standard. As usual, returned phones must have been bought directly from Apple -- online or offline -- and include all their original box contents.
Long-delayed outlet ready to begin construction
Following preliminary approval last month, Apple has received final approval to build its upcoming Union Square store from the San Francisco Planning Commission and the city's Board of Supervisors. "We are thrilled that the city of San Francisco has given its final approval to begin work on our new store and public plaza, which will make a wonderful addition to Union Square and create hundreds of local jobs," says Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette. "Our Stockton Street store has been incredibly popular, welcoming over 13 million customers since it opened nine years ago, and we look forward to making a new home on Union Square."
Samsung appeals verdict: Apple appealing damages retrial, inter-trial orders
Days after the final judgements were rendered in the post-trial matters related to the first Apple-Samsung US patent trial from 2012, Samsung filed an appeal of the jury's decision. Now Apple has done the same, filing an appeal on selected decisions made during the trial -- including some of Judge Lucy Koh's orders (specifically her two decisions refusing to implement product bans on 23 violating Samsung devices) and the limited damages retrial.
Samsung-made graphics chips at issue, used in both iOS and Android devices
Audio-Visual products manufacturer Creative Technology, through their ZiiLabs (formerly 3D Labs) subsidiary, is suing Samsung and accusing the Galaxy maker of infringing on 10 patents used in graphics system-on-chip designs for mobile and desktop devices. Both Apple and Samsung are named in the suit, as Samsung provides or formerly provided some of its own SoC components to some of Apple's devices.
Small shops will focus on 'entry-level' iPhones, iPads to boost overall sales
A new report on Tuesday highlights a potential new approach for Apple in India -- a market where the smartphone giant has been struggling -- by combining its usual high-end approach in premium stores and resellers with a new "neighborhood shop" franchise of stores that would focus on selling "entry-level" devices -- the iPhone 4 (still available in India), the iPhone 4S, the iPad mini and the full-size iPad 2.
Rapid take-up rate matches that of 7.0.6 security fix, adds speed, more
One day after Apple released its latest update to iOS, the latest version is now running on more than six percent of active iOS devices in North America, an analysis from mobile ad aggregator Chitika finds. While iOS 7.1 also contained security fixes, its major focus was adding a few new or enhanced features and squashing bugs, whereas the rapid adoption of the previous update -- 7.0.6 -- was credited to a major security patch.
iOS 7.1 is out
This week saw the introduction of iOS 7.1, and yesterday Moderator "P" took to the MacNN forums to get the conversation started, saying that he hopes this fixes the issues some iPad owners have had with iOS 7 Safari. "Will Apple release a 4K Thunderbolt Cinema Display soon?" asks one Fresh-Faced Recruit who is wanting to replace their 10-year-old Apple Cinema Display.
iMacs from $1,049
At Apple's online store today, save up to 22 percent off refurbished iMacs. At the low end of the pricing scale is the refurbished 21.5-inch iMac with a 2.7GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, which has been cut by $250 to $1,049. A $300 discount lowers the cost of the 21.5-inch iMac with a 2.9GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive down to $1,199.
MacBook Pros, SSDs and more
At MacMall's St. Patrick's Day blowout sale, save $449 on a 15.4-inch Retina MacBook Pro, which has been cut from $2,199 down to $1,750. That beats the next lowest price by $330. This MBP features a 2.4GHz Intel quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, with both Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics and the Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
May better compete with Google Maps
Apple is working on a number of major improvements to Maps for iOS 8, sources say. These include using assets picked up through acquisitions of companies like BroadMap, Embark, and HopStop to make data more reliable. Apple is in fact said to be planning to insert more points of interest, and new labels, making it easier to find places like airports, parks, bus stops, and highways. The look of maps has reportedly been cleaned up in general, making streets easier to spot.
Could keep older Apple devices relevant for longer
Apple has won rights to a new US patent, Modifying operating parameters of a device based on aging information. The concept would bake aging detection circuitry into a device, set to react if parameters fall outside of a predefined scale, or using data collected from other users. As a device gets older, the circuitry could help optimize performance and extend battery life.
Institutional and volume buyers now get better price break
Organizations and enterprises that spend more than $5,000 a year on Apple products will be seeing an increased discount on volume buying of Apple hardware. Apple as of last week has improved its hardware volume purchasing discount, and added the unlocked iPhone and Apple TV to the program for the first time. The improvement in discount ranges from one to three percent, depending on the level of annual spending on Apple products.
Close to capturing second, but still far behind reigning champ Pandora
Barely six months after it debuted, Apple's iTunes Radio has already eclipsed Spotify and Google Play All Access (and others) to become the third most popular music streaming service in the US, according to a new report from Statista. While long-time veteran Internet radio station Pandora continues to maintain a clear lead over all rivals, it has taken 14 years for the latter service to reach its current level of 70 million active listeners (as of last April) and it continues to struggle with profits.
Apple first among smartphone makers, fourth when all mobile phones counted
Specific (and more importantly, accurate) country-by-country statistics when it comes to smartphones and "feature" cellphones are often hard to come by, but not in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The country keeps detailed records on its telecom providers, providing complete records of mobile phone statistics. Apple has emerged as the top smartphone seller, though it runs far behind Nokia when all types of cellphones are counted.
Ironically patches loopholes that allowed Evasi0n jailbreak to work
In a backhanded compliment, the security notes accompanying today's release of iOS 7.1 thank the jailbreaking hacker team known as Evad3rs -- known for their jailbreaking software, Evasi0n -- for finding several security flaws, which iOS 7.1 patches. Ironically, these discoveries are also what made the Evasi0n jailbreaking software work, and thus iOS 7.1 "breaks" the software and un-jailbreaks any iOS devices using Evasi0n.
Highlights main features of new version, showcases CarPlay
Apple's release earlier on Monday of iOS 7.1 is considered significant enough to prompt the company to create a dedicated page for it, showing off some of the new features and improvements made in the release. The page covers the major "marquee" features of iOS 7.1, including support for CarPlay (in supported automobiles), automatic HDR selection, better control of Siri, changes to the Calendar and phone icons, and a bevy of bugfixes, along with improved performance for iPhone 4 users and other more subtle and optional tweaks.
Remote gains Apple TV upgrades
(Updated with Logic Remote news) In the wake of iOS 7.1 and Apple TV 6.1, Apple has released updates to Remote, Podcasts, and GarageBand for iOS, as well as Xcode and iAd Producer for desktops. While the Podcasts and GarageBand updates merely include bugfixes, Remote can now control iTunes Radio on an Apple TV. Apple TV owners have also gained the ability to browse purchased video through the app.
Bypasses Parental Controls menu
In tandem with iOS 7.1, Apple has released new firmware for the Apple TV, v6.1. While a relatively minor update, the code adds the ability to hide unwanted apps, a frequently-requested feature. It was previously only possible to change visible apps by blocking them through the Parental Controls menu. 6.1 can be downloaded through the Apple TV Software Update system.
Available for all iOS 7-compatible devices
After a lengthy development and testing period, Apple has released the finished version of iOS 7.1 to the public. The code makes a number of improvements to iOS 7, for instance enabling CarPlay support in yet-to-be-launched vehicles. Siri will now let users hold down the Home button to decide how long a device should listen, instead of having to wait for the system to decide no one is talking. More naturalistic voices have been supplied for Japanese, British and Australian English, and Mandarin Chinese.
Company so far focusing on small buyouts
A new Apple job listing is calling for an "acquisition integration analyst." The successful candidate will help to "deliver the successful integration of acquired companies," Apple writes, and "drive multiple integration work streams, identify issues and drive decisions while coordinating with experts throughout Apple," acting as a "central point of contact for integration information." The person will presumably report to the company's Mergers & Acquisitions head, Adrian Perica.
Initiative making gradual international expansion
As anticipated, the iPhone Reuse and Recycling program has been introduced at Canadian Apple Stores. The option lets people trade in an old iPhone for a gift card, usually to put towards the purchase of a new phone. In Canada, Apple is promising "up to $275" for previous devices.
First time the event has been held in the US, will stream live on web, iOS devices
Just a few days ahead of the beginning of the first US iTunes Festival, being held as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, Apple has now re-added its iTunes Festival channel back to Apple TV, where concerts will be streamed live. Currently the channel also offers information on the concert schedule and background on the various acts, as well as a history of the festival -- which has previously only been held in London.
Case shrinks dramatically as Apple, Samsung agree to avoid SEP disputes
The second patent trial between Apple and Samsung, scheduled to start on March 31, took a dramatic turn late on Friday as the two companies filed a stipulation with the court dropping some of the claims and counter-claims to be debated in the second trial. Samsung, perhaps fearing further investigations over its improper use of standards-essential patents (SEPs) as legal weapons and bargaining tools, has agreed to drop all SEP claims from the case, leaving it with only two claims on two patents, down from its original five.
Agreement with Apple requires $28 million in marketing as well
After not carrying the iPhone for nearly four years because of a dispute about sales guarantees, Russia's second-largest carrier Megafon signed a new deal with Apple late last year to return to selling the popular smartphone. The new deal requires the carrier to buy at least 750,000 iPhones over the course of three years, and spend at least $28 million in marketing the smartphone. While not a high number compared to the US, the figure was called "reasonable" by Russian financial analysts.
Report confirms speculation that 5s outselling 5c by 3:1
A new report from mobile ad analysis firm Mixpanel has reinforced some speculation about the iPhone 5s, even as it has dispelled other rumors about the iPhone 5c. In its latest report, the company says that the iPhone 5s is set to top the popular iPhone 4s in user share, with the newer model currently accounting for about 19 percent of all active iPhones.
Apple likely to appeal portions as well, renew fight for product ban
With surprising speed, Samsung has now officially filed a notice of appeal over the final judgement in the first Apple vs. Samsung patent trial from 2012. The last ruling in the case was handed down yesterday, when Judge Lucy Koh ruled in Samsung's favor that sales injunctions on the products it was found guilty of infringing Apple patents with were not warranted in the interests of competition. Apple is likely to appeal that portion of Judge Koh's rulings.
the future of Mac OS X debate continues
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to debate what the future of Mac OS X will hold, with some forum-goers noting that Microsoft is attempting major redesigns and customers are rejecting it. On another topic, "Can I delete apps without having to enter ID?" asked Mac Elite "jeff k" yesterday.
Mac Pro and Mac mini
This week at Apple's online store, find a wide selection of refurbished Mac Pro and Mac mini models. The refurbished 2012 Mac Pro with a 3.2GHz Intel quad-core Xeon processor, 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive has seen a $360 price cut down to $2,139. A $560 discount is available on the refurbished Mac Pro with dual 2.4GHz six-core Xeon processors, 12GB of RAM and a 1T hard drive, bringing it down to $3,239.
iMacs, MacBook Pros and more
MacMall.com has reduced the price of a 27-inch iMac from $1,799 down to $1,349 with instant savings and a $100 mail-in-rebate, amounting to $449 in total discounts. That makes the deal about $50 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. This iMac features a 2.9GHz Intel core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive with Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M graphics, two Thunderbolt ports, and OS X Mavericks comes pre-installed. Included is an Apple wireless keyboard, Magic Mouse and one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
iPhone still most popular device
Apple grew its share among US smartphone owners during the last quarter to 41.6 percent, according to new comScore data. Data polled between October and January shows that Apple advanced 1 percentage point. The company's main rival, Samsung, grew ownership by 1.3 points, but remained firmly in second place at 26.7 percent. LG's share rose just 0.3 points to 6.9 percent, presumably on the back of the G2 and the Google-branded Nexus 5.
ProtectCell report highlights iPhone, iPad desirability; tablet thefts rising
Third-party insurance firm ProtectCell has issued a report based on its two million policies with various mobile device owners, saying that while iPhone users are 46 percent less likely than other platform smartphone owners to need a replacement device due to accidental damage, they are 65 percent more likely to have their device get stolen or go missing than other groups.
Short video clip made available by Israeli PM's office
As reported previously, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple headquarters as part of a California-driven initiative to strengthen commercial ties between the state and Israel. In a short video posted to the prime minister's official YouTube channel, Netanyahu can be seen touring Apple's headquarters and posing with Cook ahead of a lunch meeting.
Users move to 7.0.6 quickly to avoid threat of SSL and VPN-based attack
Following the discovery of a dormant but serious flaw in iOS 6 and iOS 7's handling of VPN and SSL security and the release of a patch by Apple to handle the issue, advertising and content-presentation company Onswipe estimates that more than 50 percent of the entire iOS userbase has already moved to iOS 7.0.6 as of March 3, under two weeks since the update became available. The transition has set a record for the fastest in iOS history.
New Flagship store in San Francisco gains final approval
All obstacles have been cleared, and the long-planned Union Square flagship Apple Store has finally received final clearance from the San Francisco City Council to demolish the current standing building and begin renovations and construction on the new store. The new building will be a two-story structure with an all-glass frontage facing Union Square, utilizing a cantilevered design that features a patio and waterfall behind the store.
Graphics, audio requested as areas of focus in new build
Slightly less than two weeks after the public release of OS X 10.9.2, which brought FaceTime audio calling, Mail improvements and an important security fix to Mavericks, Apple is seeding the first beta of OS X 10.9.3, build 13D12, to developers. The brief release notes mention that developers are requested to focus on audio and graphic drivers in their testing. The previous update was released after approximately 14 weeks of testing across seven betas.
App visible in US, but downloads may be broken
[Updated: US version of the app now downloading normally] Apple appears to have released an updated iTunes Festival app, v5.0, with content support for next week's SXSW concerts in Austin, Texas. So far, though, mostly people outside the US have successfully downloaded the software; Americans trying to download it via iTunes are encountering errors saying the app is "unavailable." Likewise, the title doesn't appear in US App Store searches.
Changes could be wedged into iOS 7.1
Apple is "scrambling" to make changes to the way in-app purchases work ahead of an FTC deadline, a source tells ZDNet. As a part of its $32.5 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission, Apple must fix flaws in the App Store that have allowed people -- mostly children -- to inadvertently rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in iTunes charges. The deadline for those changes is just a few weeks from now, March 31st.
Repackaged iPhone doing poorly next to iPhone 5s
Due to poor sales, unsold inventory of the iPhone 5c has amassed to more than three million units, anonymous Taiwanese supply chain sources claim. Production of the phone is said to have been cut completely towards the end of 2013. Regardless, manufacturer Pegatron allegedly is said to have two million or so units in stock, with the remaining phones being held by carriers and distributors.
May be supplying tech related to Retina displays
A company specializing in image processing semiconductors and software, Pixelworks, has revealed itself as an official Apple supplier through a new filing with the SEC. In 2013 Apple is said to have accounted for more than 10 percent of Pixelworks revenue. The news has sent the latter company's share price surging, boosting it by about 53 to 54 percent in Thursday trading, or more than $2.58 per share.
Majority of shares due to vest in three intervals through 2018
Newly-published SEC filings reveal that on Wednesday, Apple awarded six top executives 35,780 restricted stock units each. Recipients include senior VP of Operations Jeffrey Williams; general counsel Bruce Sewell; senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller; senior VP of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio; senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi; and finally, senior VP of Internet Software and services Eddy Cue.
Company failed to prove harm caused by Samsung patent infringement
A California court has denied Apple a renewed motion it sought for a permanent injunction against Samsung, according to reports. In December 2012, US District Court Judge Lucy Koh made the initial denial of a permanent injunction against 23 Samsung devices. Apple won a partial appeal of the ruling at the Federal Circuit, which affirmed the denial of trade dress (design) patents, but handed back an injunction over software patents to Koh for review.