Tag - Australia
Smartwatch producer Pebble is bringing a function that allows the wearable device to respond to text messages received on an iPhone to more users, both within the United States and outside. Initially launched in a trial on AT&T in November last year before spreading to Verizon, the iOS Text Reply function is going to be available to subscribers of T-Mobile in the United States along with Pebble owners based in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Apple has raised A$1.425 billion (just over $1 billion in US dollars) through the sale of Australian bonds on Friday. This was the second such bond sale Apple has held in Australia, with a sale from last summer raising about $1.642 billion -- and setting a record for a non-financial sector bond sale in that country. Apple has taken to using bond sales as a way to raise money for its US-based investments and payouts, such as share buybacks and investor dividends, rather than "repatriating" some of its staggering $200 billion in foreign cash reserves.
Apple is preparing to issue bonds in the Asia Pacific region, in order to raise funds for a number of shareholder-related actions, according to a report. It is claimed Apple will be selling bonds in Taiwan and Australia so it can raise between $3 billion and $4 billion in debt, which it can then use to fund dividend payments and share buybacks, all without touching any of its large cash reserves it mostly holds outside of the United States.
Negotiations between Apple and some Australian banks over Apple Pay have recommenced, prompted by the first bank to enable the payment platform's apparent success. ANZ Banking Group started offering payments via Apple Pay from late last month, but the customer response and a sudden surge in applications for bank accounts and credit cards has apparently forced competing financial institutions to reconsider whether or not to accept Apple Pay transactions.
Streaming services are helping drive music revenues in Australia, echoing similar industry changes in other regions, a recent report has claimed. Services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, is being credited by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for helping push music revenues for the country to $333.8 million, a 5 percent year-on-year increase, and the first upwards trend in the annual wholesale figure for the region's music industry since 2012.
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look back at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Sony is said to be thinking about making PlayStation VR work with PCs, Konami and Tencent tease Contra Mobile, and Valve's Steam store faces two issues stemming from a vulnerability and an Australian court's ruling over refunds.
The lack of support for Apple Pay by Australian banks has forced regulatory bodies to examine the reasons behind the slowness. The Reserve Bank of Australia has been called upon to look into alleged anti-competitive behavior in the card-free payments market, over claims banks are not signing up for Apple Pay support in favor of using their own systems, something which is said to damage customer choice for mobile payment services.
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.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has responded personally to the allegations of racial discrimination in the Melbourne, Australia Apple store. Saying that "none of us are happy with the way this was handled" the CEO reminded all Apple employees that "Apple is open" and that "this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores."
An Apple Store in Australia has come under fire this week, for allegedly racially profiling a group of teenagers. A video has been posted online showing a member of staff at Melbourne's Highpoint Shopping Centre store telling six students to leave the store on Tuesday, under the grounds that security guards at the store are "just a bit worried about your presence in our store," and that the students could potentially "steal something."
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE