OS X, iOS betas open to registered beta testers, but no focus areas listed
In addition to the company's fiscal second quarter results released on Monday, the second betas of OS X, iOS, and Xcode were all released as well. Although each is the second beta offered to developers, in the case of iOS and OS X the release is the first offered to pre-registered beta testers -- though as with the first beta, no release notes indicating focus areas or known issues were released. The OS X and iOS betas come one and two weeks, respectively, after the most recent release.
Buyback program will add another $50 billion, dividend set at $0.52
On Monday, Apple announced major increases in dividends, as well as an increase in both the share buyback program and total capital return to investors. Apple will expand its buyback program to $140 billion, an increase of $50 billion over the current program. Dividends will increase starting with fiscal Q2, rising to 52 cents per share from 47 cents per share -- and the company has reiterated that there will be more dividend increases annually.
Apple Watch debut doesn't materially affect debut, China growth up sharply
Unexpected strength in Mac sales along with the previously-predicted strong staying power of the iPhone 6 line has helped Apple see record-breaking performance for a fiscal second quarter this year. The company sold more than 61.17 million iPhones, about 80 percent of the number sold during the holiday quarter, which is usually followed by a drop of about 40 percent. Macs sold 4.56 million units, another record for a fiscal Q2 and up 10 percent year-over-year.
Series of earthquakes leave 3,600 dead, aid urgently needed in stricken country
Following a major earthquake and series of aftershocks on Saturday in the small nation of Nepal, Apple has set up a special iTunes page for donations to the American Red Cross to aid in disaster relief. Visitors can donate in denominations ranging from $5 to $200, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the charity to help survivors and the families of the estimated 3,617 who have been reported as killed by the quake.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 27, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, sales, offers, and bundles for you, the discerning reader. Since it is the start of a week, the deals slate has been wiped clean for new items, with the additions including the Google Chromecast, a Tascam digital audio recorder, and a Samsung 4TB external storage drive.
Spotlights on The Feature Thief mini-series, Amazon's sustainability, Deliveries app
If podcasts were eggs, The MacNN Podcast would be ready to deliver in a cardboard carton! We're up to episode 12, and we take a look at the top stories of the past week, including the retail debut -- such as it was -- of the Apple Watch, where a few select high-fashion stores did actually have stock to sell to walk-in customers. We also chat about the big industry news of the Time Warner-Comcast merger collapse, Randy Ubillos' retirement, and more.
Apple's office software gets a rebuild, with the previous one still functioning
Welcome to The Feature Thief, a mini-series of columns where we take a look at some of Apple's rollercoaster of change when it comes to software -- from apps that got a makeover to a sex change, or even some that just got tossed out entirely. Each day this week, we'll take a fairly recent example of each of the three types of sometimes-painful change users have been subjected to when Apple gets a new idea, what to do about it, and where to look for alternatives if necessary.
Thin, light, new keyboard, new trackpad, USB-C. Is it missing anything?
It is an exciting time for consumer technology, with gadgets and devices that once used to the stuff of dreams now coming to fruition. Currently, the focus and excitement is largely around mobile and wearable devices, but the stunning and groundbreaking Mac Pro (Late 2013) showed that Apple still has a keen interest in pushing the development and innovation of its computer product lines right to the edge of the design envelope. Although the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display might look, at first glance, like a natural evolution of an Apple ultraportable MacBook, it packs a full suite of technical and design innovations that we feel make it the definitive statement of what's next in the state-of-the-art in notebook design. Read our full review for our analysis.
Analysts expect continued monster iPhone sales and pressure on iPad's share
Last month, Apple announced that its financials for fiscal Q2 2015 would be released on April 27. Just one day before the conference call, analysts are rushing to get their predictions out regarding what is very likely to be another monster quarter for Apple. The short version is that the iPhone will continue to drive the lion's share of revenue and grow sales from the year-ago quarter, while the downward pressure on earnings from the iPad will continue -- and nobody's really sure what's going to happen with the Apple Watch.
Designer pair speak at luxury conference, but make case for mass-market quality
Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive and fellow designer Marc Newson appeared at the first Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy on Wednesday and gave an interview to International Vogue editor Suzy Menkes, during which they reiterated the standard speaking points on Apple's overall design philosophy and missing, but also discussed the Apple Watch in the context of the strata of the luxury market, and the meaning of craftsmanship in the 21st century.
Zhizen turned loose patents into Siri clone, then sued Apple as copycat
After two legal defeats, Apple has won its case on appeal in a lawsuit brought by Zhizhen Network Technology that dates back to 2012. The Beijing Higher People's Court has ruled that Apple did not violate any patents held by the Shanghai-based Zhizhen, and thus no infringement has occurred. Apple first attempted to have the Zhizhen patent, which covered only "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," invalidated, but later sued the government and the company when authorities ruled in favor of Zhizhen.
Campaign focuses on real-world usage and impact rather than features
Celebrating the launch of the Apple Watch, the company has posted three new ads showcasing its newest device -- complete with Apple's signature style of illustrating everyday use of the Watch ahead of explaining features or giving the product a false image equating it with power, sex, or glamor. The three ads -- "Us," "Up," and "Rise" -- offer dramatized but realistic normal uses for the Apple Watch, with differing emphasis.
In push to move forward, beloved bits and pieces sometimes fall to the wayside
Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple takes one of its key software applications, radically changes it, losing important features along the way. Existing users say Apple has dumbed down an app that was perfect, while new users say this is fantastic, they can finally understand the application. Flash forward a few months, and Apple has stealthily added back some or all of the features. We've seen this with iMovie and Final Cut Pro, we saw it with Pages, we are seeing it now with iPhoto turning into Photos. It is a well-worn path by Apple, and if we're not fans of the way they go about it, we are often fans of how these new applications turn out ... eventually.
New iMac problem, jpg editing on iPod Touch, more
Today in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular "Harvey" explained some troubling behavior with their 8-month old iMac and wonders if anyone else has experienced anything else like this on Yosemite. Also today one Mac Elite was trying to figure out how to edit jpg files on his new iPod Touch, and fellow forum-members began suggesting apps to use.
up to $600 off Mac Pros
At Apple's online store this week save big on refurbished Mac Pro models, with savings of up to $600 off. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced to $2,549 for a savings of $450 off the list price. Priced at $3,219 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel 6-core E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 24, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search online and offline retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on an array of hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today, we cover the still-active deals from throughout the week, while the new deals list includes a sub-$300 960GB SSD, the Pure Jongo T2 wireless speaker, and the Garmin Vivofit fitness band.
Few locations have some actual selling stock, but mostly demos rule on former retail debut
While Apple has since abandoned its former April 24 retail launch day for the Apple Watch due to a global sellout, a few select stores -- almost entirely third-party fashion boutique sellers who secured allotments early -- are said to have or have had actual stock of Apple Watches to sell. Customers hoping to score one today are lining up outside these shops, even as Apple Retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts spent the day in China.
Watch battery replaceable relatively easily, in-store watch CPU upgrades unlikely
As is the norm for the iFixit crew, a teardown of a new Apple device has been accomplished -- this time, the 38mm Apple Watch Sport is on the disassembly bench. Alongside the breakdown, the company has disclosed the chipsets accompanying the watch, with a mix of new and old technologies combined in the device. In addition to well-known components, a couple of new discoveries were made.
Recent models could freeze when viewing large JPEG files in Finder, Preview
Apple has issued an update for selected 2013 and later model iMacs that fixes a graphics issue that caused the machines to freeze after viewing large JPEG files in either Finder or Preview under OS X 10.10.3. The problem specifically affects the late-2013 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, as well as the late 2014 27-inch 5K Retina iMac. The problem could, in some circumstances, trigger kernel panics or force a restart.
Engineering chief invented modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto
As if on cue, Apple on Thursday announced a bug-fix update to its consumer video-editing program, iMovie, on the same day that the head of Apple's photo and video software teams, Randy Ubillos, announced his retirement. Ubillos, who has been with Apple for the past 20 years, has been the key engineer behind the modern versions of iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iPhoto, and Aperture -- and before joining Apple, was one of the team that created the Premiere video editing suite for Adobe.
Early pre-orders now shipping as Apple confirms UPS tracking numbers, status
There are an indeterminate number -- possibly as high as a couple of million -- very early pre-order customers who are very excited today, having received confirmation from Apple that their order for the Apple Watch has shipped. Various forms of evidence, from emails from the company notifying buyers of the status change to UPS alerts with tracking numbers has confirmed that a number of customers who got in early should be receiving their Watch order on or about April 24, the original planned public debut day.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 23, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, that time of the day when the staff of MacNN and Electronista search the Internet for sales, discounts, and offers, compiling the more notable items into a single post. The usual recap of still-active deals is joined by a Sony Action Cam, a 3D scanner, a Seagate 4TB NAS, and a new way to discover deals for yourself.
Revamped iOS version could make integration easier, but sale seems unlikely
Apple and a number of other companies -- including Facebook, Amazon, Sirius XM, and China-based services Alibaba and Baidu are among many other firms being targeted by Nokia as it prepares to sell off its Here mapping service and technology. While Apple has periodically purchased map technology that can be integrated with its Apple Maps service in the hopes of eventual public transit data, Nokia may be overvaluing the deal.
Apple is three-quarters to previously-unthinkable all-time world record
Although it is well-known that Apple is the world's most profitable and most highly-valued publicly-traded company, most of the public and even many investors are unaware that its market valuation of nearly $750 billion now puts it 75 percent of the way to world record that has been a dream of investors for decades: the world's first company valued at $1 trillion. A Virginia-based investment bank now believes Apple will reach that goal by 2016.
Short videos illustrate functionality and look in actual-size screen demos
After releasing the videos in drips, Apple now has completed its set of 10 "guided tour" videos covering the main functions of the Apple Watch. The last three, dealing with Apple Pay, the Activity tracker, and the Workout app were posted on Wednesday, joining videos covering the core user interface of the device and specific functions ranging from phone calls, to customizing the watch face, to sending "digital touch" messages.
Apple plans store in Cologne, Germany, hangs mural for new Miami store
Apple appears to be constructing a second, but thus far unannounced, Apple Store in Cologne, Germany, report enthusiast sites Macerkopf and Apfelpage. Photos taken from a building opposite the proposed site on Schildergasse appear to show the company's trademark long wooden tables and some remaining renovation work for the forthcoming glass staircase. The store would not be expected to open until this fall.
Select high-end fashion stores to carry Sport, Watch models, no Edition
Most likely due to orders having been filled ahead of the April 10 pre-ordering debut of the Apple Watch, a handful of select high-end boutique outlets will actually have some Apple Watches for sale on April 24, as the company originally planned for its own stores. The boutiques are said to be receiving pre-alloted shipments of the Sport and Watch models, but the gold Edition version continues to be unavailable anywhere at retail.
Pre-order buyers near major distribution centers may get their goodies a bit earlier than estimated
[Updated with Apple confirmation] In addition to reader reports of the first wave of Apple Watch pre-orders moving from "processing" to "preparing for shipment" -- a sign that the delivery will be taking place soon -- some customers who ordered non-Sport or other Apple Watch models who initially were given 6-8 week shipment windows have reported that their credit cards have been charged and their order status also changed to "preparing to ship," though the estimated delivery dates have not yet been amended. Those who have ordered custom Retina MacBook models are also reporting charges.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 22, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, offers, and sales for you, the discerning reader. A recap of still-active deals from earlier in the week follows the new batch, including a Core i7 notebook from HP, DJ headphones from Technics, and a pile of SSDs
Apple's default browser remains tops in mobile, captures 10 percent of US desktop
A new study by analytics firm StatCounter has shown that Chrome and Safari are virtually neck-and-neck as the top mobile browsers, but that Safari was the clear winner in both North America and Europe. In particular, in the US Safari holds a 55 percent share of mobile browser use, with Chrome at 30 percent and generic Android browsers with 9.5 percent. In addition to just edging out Safari worldwide to be the top mobile browser, Chrome is also the dominant desktop browser worldwide, with a 52.6 percent share.
Retina 12-inch MacBook can hang during first setup, workaround posted
A new tech note from Apple details a flaw that can occur during the initial setup of the new 12-inch Retina MacBook that causes the process to stop temporarily -- sometimes for a prolonged period -- before finishing. According to the new tech note, Apple recommends that if users experience the issue they can restart the initial setup process by restarting, and can opt to disconnect from the Internet in order to allow the setup to proceed, and then connect to the Internet afterwards. The problem appears to center around Apple ID setup or iCloud account creation.
Developers can sign up for single Sport model, shipping guaranteed by April 28
A new email being sent to developers from Apple is offering them the opportunity to buy a specific, single Apple Watch model -- and, importantly, guarantees shipping by April 28. The company is trying to ensure that developers either actively working on Apple Watch applications or are planning to develop apps for that platform have a test model they can use to confirm and troubleshoot their work. Apple is offering a single variation in the pitch to developers: a Sport model (42mm) with the aluminum casing and a blue sport band.
the new MacBook, disk rattling and more
With the new MacBook arriving in stores and in peoples homes, MacNN forum goers have been giving their first impressions of this latest addition to the Mac family in the thread titled "MacBook Returns". Late last week one Fresh-Faced recruit was looking for some help figuring out the cause of rattling noise they hear in their startup disk when they boot up.
up to 22 percent off MBA
At Apple's online store today, find savings of up to 22 percent off refurbished MacBook Air models. A $120 discount is offered on the 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, now $679. The refurbished 11.6-inch MBA from June 2013 with a 1.3GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced by $240 to $809.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for April 21, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, that time of the day when we search online retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on hardware, software, and gadgets for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Yesterday's still-active deals are joined by a Toshiba notebook, a bundle for the PlayStation Vita, and a $350 3D Printer
Announcing expanded gaming news, examining the LA School iPad debacle, more
Another week, another roundup on the week in tech through the eyes of our MacNN and Electronista staffers! This week, The MacNN Podcast takes a poll on backup strategies among our writers, while Managing Editor Mike tells campfire tales of data loss from his days as a network consultant. We spend some time talking about our own expanded gaming coverage, adding more Mac game reviews and coverage as well as doubling our overall industry news. We dissect what's getting chipmaker AMD down, try to figure out the LA School District's iPad waffling, and more.
Impact not growing in relation to sales, however, with many factors out of Apple's control
The 2015 edition of Apple's annual Environmental Responsibility Report covering calendar 2014 is out, and as usual highlights the company's efforts to reduce, reuse, or mitigate its use of rare materials and its carbon footprint. While it points out that all of the company's data centers are now powered by renewable energy resources and reduced its greenhouse gas emissions during product use by 61 percent over the past seven years, Apple admits there are still areas, most of which are out of its direct control, where more could be done.
Fortunate minority expected to receive devices on or before original April 24 debut
Some of the estimated 2.3 million who were able to order an Apple Watch on the first day of availability before the global inventory sold out in mere hours may soon be getting their order. Reader reports of cards being charged and emails that report the Apple Watch order as "preparing for shipment" went out on Monday for some customers, while many who ordered just minutes into the process are still being told their orders should ship within four to six weeks.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 20, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista trawl the Internet for discounts, offers, and sales on electronic goods for you, the discerning reader. Since it is the start of a new week, all old deals have been removed from the list ready for new items, including discounts on the Apple iPad Air 2 Retina, Lenovo ThinkPad Edge, and the Kindle Fire HD 7.
Unannounced folding UK charger shown by athlete and Ive friend Will Carling
As reported previously, a few Apple executives and designer were in Milan this weekend to show off the Apple Watch, including Sir Jonathan Ive and designer Marc Newson, as well as SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. Photos from the event, and a post from a friend of Ive's, confirm that a number of unannounced Sport Band colors were on display at the Salone del Mobile design event. A number of notable VIPs also received Apple Watches as gifts.
Your Mac and iOS devices come with a great dictionary
Some people collect dictionaries, some have never bought one in their lives -- but we all have them at our fingertips right now. If you have a Mac, an iPhone or an iPad, you've got a dictionary, and it is a good one. It's good enough to replace most concise dictionaries you can buy, and it's easier to look up than a book. We're not saying it's arduous looking things up a in book, but the fact that you have to turn away from what you're reading is reason enough that many of us pile on with a soon-forgotten vow that we'll look it up later. Here's an easy way to look up the definition of a word right there on your Mac -- and then if that isn't enough, we've an even easier way to do it at your fingertips.
Former iOS chief acts as advisor to Snapchat, helps fund Broadway play
Following more than a year of silence, former iOS software chief Scott Forstall has re-emerged into the public eye in one intentional way, and one unintentional way. Leaked emails from the Sony Pictures data breach note that Snapchat paid Forstall in stock for services as a "special company advisor," while Forstall himself debuted his Twitter account by announcing his role as a co-producer of an upcoming Broadway musical Fun Home, based on an autobiographical graphic novel by noted cartoonist Alison Bechdel.
Yosemite-only patch seemingly does little to mitigate Rootpipe-based attacks
Researchers from security firm Synack have determined that Apple's latest patch for the "Rootpipe" privilege escalation flaw remain mostly unfixed, even on OS X 10.10 "Yosemite." Ex-NSA staff member Patrick Wardle examined the new patch, and found a new path around Apple's security fix, leaving the computer unprotected from hostile users with physical access. In other developments, the malware is loose in the wild and has been for some time, but is a discrete app and still not a remote attack.
Company currently in negotiation with country's six major banks
A new report suggests that Apple is currently in negotiations with Canada's six major banks to bring Apple Pay to the country as early as November. With UnionPay negotiations with China currently stalled, Canada could be one of the first countries outside the US to get Apple Pay. The six major banks -- BMO, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, ScotiaBank, and TD Canada Trust -- account for 90 percent of retail bank accounts, and are also the primary banks behind the country's Interac debit card system, and Interac Flash contactless payment system, which Apple Pay would have to support.
Sold-out conference will cost winners $1,600, Apple increases diversity scholarships
On Friday, lucky recipients started receiving emails that they had been selected at random in a ticket lottery to register for the company's annual Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco, which will start on June 8. The ticket lottery was required due to the incredible growth of Apple's iOS and OS X developer programs, which have nearly-instantly sold out over the last few years, and the company's desire to continue the conference at Moscone West, which allows for a total of 5,350 attendees, not counting press or the 1,000 Apple engineers who will be on hand.
Android gains 70 percent of downloads, iOS gains 70 percent of revenue
A new report by analytics firm App Annie has revealed that Apple and Google, as the progenitors of iOS and Android respectively, are locked in a roughly stalemated battle when it comes to revenues from apps versus app downloads. Google's Android enjoys the majority of app downloads, as it has for some time -- but continues to be unable to catch Apple in terms of being able to reward developers for their work. In a set of charts from the analytics firm, Apple's revenue from app sales is about 70 percent higher than Google Play, while Google's downloads outpaced Apple's by 70 percent.
Win 1 of 5 copies of DiRT 3 racing
Earlier this year Feral Interactive released their latest racing game, DiRT 3 for Mac. We got our hands on a copy for review a few weeks back and had some fun taking this off-road racing game through the wringer. The fun doesn't stop there though, we have 5 Steam redemption codes to share with 5 lucky winners.
Stores to offer workshop on Apple Watch starting April 24, despite shortages
Although the unexpected sellout of the Apple Watch will put a crimp of unavailability in the works, Apple is going ahead with new "Apple Watch Basics" workshops at some of its retail stores beginning April 24. The lucky relative few who will receive their pre-orders on or near launch day, along with those who are still waiting, are likely to be the chief participants in the workshops, which will run through May 8 in the US only. The classes will run approximately 60 minutes in order to cover all of the many key features of the new device.
OSX compatibility, iPhone screen replacements and more
This week in the MacNN Forums, Moderator "andi*pandi&" recently scored a white MacBook and discovered they are able to upgrade the OS for free, but wonders if 10.10 would "run like a dead horse" on that machine, or if it would be alright. Yesterday one Dedicated MacNNer announced the breaking of his wife's iPhone 4 screen, and has a few questions about buying a replacement.
iPods, iPads and accessories
At Apple's online store right now, take advantage of price cuts on refurbished iPods, iPads and Apple Accessories. The 5th generation refurbished 16GB iPod touch is now only $149 after a $30 price break, but for even more bang for your buck, get the 32GB 4th generation Touch for only $10 more, now $159. The 4th generation 64GB Touch is also a steal at $209 after a $120 discount.