Supposed iCloud Voicemail service uses Siri to answer calls
Siri may one day answer phone calls and transcribe voicemail messages for its users, a report claims, a feature that could end up being more important than the introduction of Visual Voicemail. Employees at Apple are allegedly testing a service which will listen to voicemail messages, transcribe them into text-based versions, and then have them delivered to the user's iPhone, allowing for the content of the message to be quickly understood by the user, without needing to listen to the voicemail at all.
Apple CEO greets visitors to celebrate debut of Apple Watch in Turkey
Over the weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a surprise visit to Turkey on Saturday to be present at the two Apple Stores in the country's largest city, Istanbul, to celebrate the arrival of the Apple Watch to the country. The Apple Watch Sport starts at 1,249 Turkish Lira (TRY), which translates to about $450 US at the current exchange rate. The company now has two stores in Istanbul, a flagship store at the Zorlu Center mall, and another at the Akasya Shopping Center.
Tech mavens say Apple Music's implementation is bad. Does everyone?
We're a completely Mac and iOS household but it's my husband William who is the techie one. Look left a bit and there's me. Hello. I just want to use the stuff without understanding the innards. So MacNN asked me for a non-geek review of Apple Music.
Boost to color saturation in iMac display panels, processor upgrades touted
Apple will be refreshing its iMac range with a selection of new processors and better displays sometime in the third quarter, among other predictions from an analyst at KGI Securities. Ming-Chi Kuo suggests the new panels will use an LED phosphor material called KSF, said to provide a significant boost to color saturation and picture quality of the display, though there appear to be some issues with some of what the analyst suggests.
Windows 10 launches, Angry Birds 2, and very British problems
Hopefully you have had an enjoyable weekend, and are starting to wind down in preparation for the start of the working week, so why not relive the bits you may have missed. In this weekly discussion, we look at the stories that entertained us, informed us, or just plain tickled us in the course of the week. Yes, this does include talk of Windows 10, because it's just too important an item not to talk about here. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game.
Images of parts increase as next iPhone ramps up production for fall
As one might expect once the unit entered larger-scale production in anticipation of a September release, leaked images from factory workers in China of the next release of iPhones are increasing in frequency, and are increasingly likely to be legitimate. The images thus far have revealed little in the way of changes to the design or casing of the next iPhones, likely to be called the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus," despite rumors of significant new features.
Apple Music app or iOS makes playback unnecessarily complex
In response to Jim Dalrymple's troubles with Apple Music and its problematic integration with iTunes and iTunes Match, Marco Arment wrote a piece recently that provided a good explanation of why this seems to have reached a tipping point. While Arment highlighted a range of issues, one that he said he didn't want to get "started on" was the Music iOS app. In the absence of Arment's views, I have put forward what my issues with the Music app for iOS are here.
A literally complete handbook on keeping your iOS devices running smoothly
Today's Pointers column was inspired by a real-life incident in which an acquaintance asked me for help in picking out a new iPad. Knowing that they had a fourth-generation iPad -- not far removed from the iPad Air 2 that I have -- I asked why. "Doesn't work anymore," they grumbled resentfully. "Lots of crashes, some apps don't even launch now." I asked if it had ever been turned off. "Every night," they said. I said, "no, not put to sleep -- turned off." "You can do that?!" they exclaimed.
Chinese maker Huawei overtakes Microsoft as Lumia sales drop by 50 percent
A new study by Strategy Analytics has confirmed Apple CEO Tim Cook's claim that iPhone sales were up a staggering 35 percent year-over-year, making Apple the smartphone maker with the second-highest mobile phone shipments overall, including "feature phones." The remaining-but-shrinking market for low-end smartphones and feature phones is what keeps Samsung in first, but Apple's marketshare rose to 10.9 percent share, compared to last year's 8.2 percent.
21.5-inch Retina iMac?
This week in the MacNN Forums, members discuss their hopes and dreams that one day we will see a , with many saying that it's probably still a long way off. One Fresh-Faced Recruit is wondering if their MacBook from 2009 can actually handle 8GB of RAM, and has a few questions about Yosemite.
iMacs from $929
Currently at Apple's online store, there is a wide selection of refurbished iMacs on sale with prices starting as low as $929. A $170 price drop on the refurbished 21.5-inch iMac with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive makes the price $929. A $230 discount is offered on the refurbished 21.5-inch iMac with a 2.9GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive, now $1,269.
Apple TV update, SDK could be launched in next few months, report claims
The Apple TV may be the subject of a refresh in the near future, according to another recent rumor for the streaming set-top box. The latest version claims Apple is intending to unveil a next-generation Apple TV in September, alongside the launch of new iPhones, with it this time incorporating many updates, including an update to its operating system that allows access to the App Store, as well as voice control provided by Siri.
Follows same two-week schedule as iOS 8.4.1, release date unknown
Following an earlier release of a second beta of iOS 8.4.1 for developers, Apple late on Thursday released both the second developer beta and a public beta version of the next minor update to OS X Yosemite, 10.10.5. The new build, 14F19a, comes two weeks after the first beta, and has no new information on the usual assortment of tweaks and bug fixes such releases usually entail. The final version of the update is expected ahead of the next major release, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, which should appear in September.
Best Buy Canada to follow US stores by a week with Apple Watch sales
Following the US electronics chain Best Buy's announcement that direct Apple Watch sales would begin August 7, the Canadian branch -- which recently took over the existing Futureshop chain there -- has revealed that it will begin its own sales of the device starting one week later, August 14. The company says it will offer Apple Store-like "try-on" sessions at 20 stores, and sell the product at 50 store initially, as well as on the online site.
Company to take two floors of CBS Interactive HQ in high-rent district
Coming on the heels of a similar lease in Seattle, Apple has entered into an agreement to create office space out of two floors of a high-rise building in San Francisco, using a South of Market building that houses CBS Interactive and carving out some 76,000 square feet of office space, expected to accommodate around 400 to 500 engineers.
Bug fixes and updates in preparation for fall's launch of iOS 9
While attention and development focus continue on the upcoming iOS 9 major upgrade expected to be delivered in September or early October, Apple on Thursday also updated its ongoing iOS 8-based improvement set of updates with a second beta of iOS 8.4.1, now available through an update directly on iPhones associated with developer accounts or through the iOS Developer Resource Center.
Canton Road Apple Store continues aggressive Apple China expansion
Apple has opened up its latest Apple Store in China, with the Canton Road location in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui district being the fourth outlet for the city. CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to thank the "thousands of Hong Kong customers" visiting the new location and joining in the celebration of the store launch, with the 23rd Apple Store constructed in China being part of a major retail expansion in the country for the company.
MIB-II infotainment system also supporting Android Auto, VW app suite
As promised roughly a year after CarPlay was unveiled, German car maker Volkswagen is now shipping automobiles that include a next-generation infotainment system called MIB-II that includes support for both CarPlay and Android Auto along with its own proprietary suite of Car-Net apps, the latter of which requires a subscription. The company says that all but its entry-level models will feature the new MIB-II system.
Release is modeled on fifth developer beta, issued on Monday
About 48 hours after offering a fifth developer beta of this fall's OS X 10.11 upgrade, Apple has made a "public beta" version available to registered testers, just a week after the last public beta, suggesting that more-or-less weekly updates will continue to appear through the testing process, a significant increase from the Yosemite public beta releases. The latest beta has the same focus areas as the previous beta.
Tablets still reign in enterprise, education, but consumer market lagging
Although Apple CEO Tim Cook remains "bullish" on the future of tablets, Apple and the market generally for tablets is declining as consumers continue to favor large-screen smartphones for tablet-like functions, and as companies struggle to figure out what the replacement cycle for the still-popular devices is or should be, says research firm IDC. According to Apple, it sold 11.2 million iPads (with shipments of 10.9 million) in its fiscal third quarter, down from 13.7 million sold in the previous quarter.
Improves FaceTime compatibility with Boot Camp-based installs
In a seeming coincidence to being the day Microsoft has launched its latest version of Windows, on Wednesday Apple released a driver update for those running Windows 7 and Windows 8 on their 2015 series MacBook computers, including the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and the latest Retina MacBook. The update is a FaceTime Camera driver update that improves compatibility with Windows when using Boot Camp-based installations.
Boyle-Sorkin teamup will be centerpiece film, said to 'defy expectations'
The forthcoming major-studio Steve Jobs biography movie, simply entitled Steve Jobs, will get an early debut at the New York Film Festival on October 3, a week ahead of its October 9 national debut. The film has been given the prestigious "centerpiece" slot on the evening, with the film festival's director, Kent Jones, saying the movie is taking an "unconventional approach" to tell the story of the mercurial Apple co-founder.
Standing, walking, exercise all up from 'very satisfied' Activity app users
The Apple Watch's innovative combination of gentle reminding, motivation, goal setting, and its key visualization of activity and progress is actually working to help users lead healthier lives, a new study from Wristly concludes. Users in a study of Apple Watch early buyers report that 86 percent of them are still wearing the device on a daily basis, with another 12.3 percent wearing it "most days." Only three respondents in the survey of 1,000 users -- 0.3 percent -- said they no longer wear the device.
Themes of music, fitness, travel highlight devices ease of use
Apple has now added three new TV spots to its collection of ads for the Apple Watch, each with an emphasis on showing what apps look like on the device, and each with a theme: music apps, travel apps, and fitness apps. The commercials showcase mostly third-party programs, and showcase the amount of clear, useful information that can be gleaned on the small screen. Shazam, Yelp, and Nike+ Running are among the apps featured.
Mac minis as low as $419
Today at Apple's online store today find reduced prices on a wide selection of refurbished Mac mini configurations. Starting at $419 is the refurbished Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive. A $110 price cut is offered on the refurbished Mac mini with a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive, now $589.
Major banks add support two weeks after Apple Pay UK launch
Two more banks have started to accept Apple Pay transactions in the United Kingdom, two weeks after it launched in the country. HSBC and First Direct have joined the growing roster of UK financial institutions supporting Apple Pay, with their customers now able to make contactless payments in stores using the Apple Watch or iPhone 6, though there are still a few notable gaps in the collection of banks.
Release presages likely update to iOS 9, watchOS 2 betas
A day earlier than expected, Apple on Monday issued a fifth developer beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan to registered developer accounts. At present, there is no further public beta release apart from the second tester release, issued last Wednesday. The new beta 5 has the same focus areas as the previous beta.
Numbers during free trial mean little, conversion rate yet to be seen
In only its first month, some 10 million people have signed on to give the subscription-based Apple Music a try during its three-month free trial period, according to music industry sources that allegedly reflect a figure given to them by Apple itself. While the number doesn't mean much during the free trial period, if one assumed that the number of users trying it out will grow over the summer, established rivals may have reason to worry.
Apple part of 13 companies taking the American Business Act on Climate pledge
On Monday, Apple was announced to be part of 13 companies joining a White House initiative headed by Secretary of State John Kerry, taking a new pledge called the American Business Act on Climate Change plege. Apple, which has already invested extensively in renewable energy resources and other environmental initiatives, joins tech companies Google and Microsoft in the project, which aims to reduce carbon pollution by six billion tons by 2030.
Authorized Mobility Resellers to push iPhones in 12 cities
As part of an expanded push in one of its fastest-growing markets that recently saw the company advertising for a senior government manager, the iPhone maker is now in the final stages of executing a plan to increase its available resellers to around 500 outlets. There are currently around 100 resellers already on board, and the company plans to double iPhone sales in each of the next three years.
PCs outsold by iOS devices, AT&T/DirecTV merger, AAPL vs AMZN and more
Another interesting week at MacNN brings us plenty to talk about on Episode 25 of The MacNN Podcast, ranging from the FCC approval of the AT&T/DirecTV deal for no clear reason (but with a bunch of conditions), to our new column "My Stupid Fault." We also include a full report on Apple's fiscal Q3 and the uncalled-for drop in the stock, the results of our testing of Apple's new third-party SSD Trim support, and more.
The Terminator (again), Elon Musk and AI weapons, and more!
Yeah, its a day late because of some improvements on the site, but its now time for the weekly MacNN Week That Was column! Rolling into our second month, this is our weekly column on the stories that entertained us, informed us, or amused us in our patrols around the Internet during the week. We're not just highlighting our own writing -- anything that we've discussed behind the scenes here at MacNN is fair game. Read on for thoughts on the events of the week in the tech world!
Match-3 mechanics combine with RPG elements in this Adventure Time-themed game
So you may have noticed this by now, but we've got some serious love for the match-three genre. We especially like games that combine match-three elements with other genres of gaming. You also may have noticed that we're pretty big fans of Adventure Time, too. Well, thanks to Cartoon Network and D3PA, both of our loves are combined in Adventure Time Puzzle Quest, a match-three roleplaying game (RPG) that takes you into the Land of Ooo.
Suit alleged that Apple, Nike knew of FuelBand deficiencies, continued to sell
Apple and Nike have come to an agreement, potentially ending the class action suit against the pair about the Nike FuelBand. Suit BC509363 in the Superior Court of California alleged Apple and Nike of misleading customers on the tracking capability and monitoring accuracy of the Nike FuelBand in marketing materials.
Up to 300 Best Buy stores will sell Apple Watch by holidays
The Apple Watch is going to be easier to acquire in the United States, with major electronics chain Best Buy set to sell the smartwatches to customers from next month. An announcement from the retailer advises that it will be the first national retailer where the Apple Watch can be acquired, aside from Apple's own store network, with the first locations to put the wearable device on sale doing so from August 7.
Apple well aware of issues, blending of Apple Music and iTunes Match at issue
We reported last week on fellow Mac journalist Jim Dalrymple's particularly bad issues with iTunes 12.2 and later on the Mac, centered around the arrival of Apple Music and Apple's attempts to blend the paid service's ability to store songs for later streaming or offline use with some customers' existing or previous iTunes Match libraries, which appears to cause much confusion, ranging from mislabelled entries in the iTunes library to missing songs in some cases.
Apple gives 15-inch MacBook Pro a shot in the arm with Force Touch, new GPU
Apple's 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro continues to be a popular notebook with professional users and prosumers looking for the ultimate mix of performance and portability. The latest version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with some welcome upgrades, including Apple's new Force Touch trackpad, and one of AMD's latest mobile GPUs. Unusually, perhaps, there is no CPU bump on the new model, although that is the result of production delays faced by Intel in bringing its quad-core "Broadwell" processors to market. Nonetheless, the new 15-inch MacBook remains a strong performer, and is worth another look. We take a deeper dive into it in our full review of the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
MacBook Airs from $759
Today at Apple's online store, find savings on refurbished MacBook Air configurations of up to $260 off. Right now prices start at $759 for 3 different configurations. The first is a 2015 11.6-inch Air that offers a 1.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The next one is an 11.6-inch Air from April 2014 that has a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. A $140 discount drops the cost on the 13.3-inch Air with a 1.4GHz i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Apple increasing efforts in India with search for government affairs specialist
Apple is seeking a senior manager for its New Delhi-based offices that has experience with India's government procurement system, indicating a new pitch to improve sales of the iPhone to the government as well as find someone who can represent the company's position on policy issues that come before the government and "within trade associations," according to the hiring notice.
Company continues long-standing campaign for equal rights for workers
Apple this week is highlighting two areas of protection from discrimination in two separate actions; the endorsement of a new legislation motion to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act, and a spotlight celebrating the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act by showcasing a collection of accessibility apps. The company was recently recognized for its leadership in tech accessibility by the National Federation for the Blind.
Android Auto, CarPlay standard in three models of Accord
Car manufacturer Honda has dispelled any confusion about its CarPlay launch plans. At its Mountain View, CA research facility, the company revealed the new 2016 Accord, boasting support for both CarPlay and Android Auto. The new Accord is the first Honda vehicle to have CarPlay support, but the company says that it will have more vehicles in the 2016 line that supports the Apple connectivity standard.
Apple has confirmed the pull, but not the fairly apparent reason why
After months of speculation on the future of the product with Apple, the popular Nest smart thermostat co-developed by ex-Apple employee Tony Fadell and now owned by Google has been purged from both Apple's online store, and also the retail arm of the company. In its place is now the Ecobee 3 HomeKit thermostat.
Phantom adverts affecting data caps, defrauding advertisers
Over 5,000 fraudulent apps currently available for iOS and Android are displaying ads users cannot see, but which are causing problems, using up cellular data, and costing advertisers around $850 million per year, says online fraud research company Forensiq in a new report. The ads are not visible on screen, yet the volume of them contributes to an overal slowing down of iPhone or Android devices while stealing data from often-limited cellular data plans.
Wintel installed base still larger, but Apple sees expansion headroom still
Apple reached a new milestone with its most recent quarterly report, according to analyst Benedict Evans, in that the combined sales of iOS devices now match annual sales of all Windows devices made by various manufacturers. While not unexpected, the change demonstrates the changing nature of computing in the 21st century, which has become increasingly mobile-centric and cloud-dependent -- two trends that have had significant ripple effects through the entire PC industry.
Report claims Apple planning to provide Watch chargers under MFi program
Apple may soon allow producers of docks and stands for the Apple Watch to manufacture their products with a charger built into it. A report claims Apple is close to approving manufacturers under its Made for iPhone (MFi) licensing program and providing them with charger components, potentially resulting in third-party docks for the Apple Watch that already include the charging mechanism in a more covert manner than current releases.
Experience from long-time Mac fan voice confirms MacNN testing
Apple cognoscenti Jim Dalrymple posted a missive about his poor experience with iTunes and Apple Music yesterday, confirming ongoing MacNN testing of the issue dating back to just after the launch, and subsequent update of the Apple music player. The pundit notes that amongst other problems the loss of 4,700 songs that he has little hope of getting back, the service is selective as to which tracks are actually added to his Internet-accessible library, sometimes drawing from "greatest hits" albums, and not the actual source of the original recording.
App Store fees, restrictive rules affecting music services draws ire from critics
The terms and fees Apple imposes on other music streaming services using the App Store has come under attack from more sources. US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and advocacy group Consumer Watchdog have both written to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urging them to investigate whether or not Apple is "engaging in anticompetitive behavior" with regards to Apple Music and its App Store policies.
Mac mini excluded from promotion at Apple Retail, online education store
Apple has launched its Back To School promotion for 2015, at least in part. For this year, the company is giving away a pair of Beats Solo2 headphones with any Mac purchase other than a Mac mini. Alternatively, customers can pay an additional $100 to upgrade to the wireless Beats headphones.
Takes second place in profits, added $200B to market value
Fortune has published its annual Global 500 company rankings, again placing Apple at 15th place worldwide, behind mostly oil companies, two car companies, arch-rival Samsung, and the top choice Walmart. The survey, which analyses company performance from March to March for the magazine's "fiscal year" figures, pegged Apple's revenue at $182.8 billion, with profits at $39.5 billion -- up seven and six percent, respectively.
Fixes issue with flash storage that could cause data corruption
Apple on Wednesday issued a firmware update for the recently-released "mid-2015" MacBook Pro Retina 13- and 15-inch models. The update, aimed at only the MacBook Pro models with the Force Touch trackpad as a distinguishing feature, fixes a problem with flash storage that could, in rare cases, cause data corruption, according to Apple. The 1.9MB file is available directly from Apple and the Mac App Store's update section.