Giveaways now live at MacNN and Electronista
Over the course of the last couple of days MacNN and Electronista have been making it rain prizes. Maybe it was the turkey going to our heads, or the lack of news stories that drove us to this madness. Perhaps we were just feeling very generous. Whatever it was, we wanted to make sure that you knew about all the great prizes we had to offer. Below you will find a list of the giveaways that are going on right now.
lowest prices on Apple desktops
This year, like every year, Apple is running a Black Friday promotion, however this year if you are looking to save the most cash on a new Mac, the best bet is to look elsewhere. BestBuy.com has reduced prices on a wide selection of Macs. The 21.5-inch iMac with a 1.4GHz Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive has seen a $200 discount to $899, which is around $80 less than the lowest price found anywhere else.
iPad mini for $250, 4K monitor for $700, more
At Staples.com get the Space Gray iPad mini with Wi-Fi on sale for $199. That's a savings of $50 off the regular price of $250, and the best price we have seen on this configuration by more than $20. This iPad features a 7.9-inch LED-backlit display, A5 chip, 5MP iSight camera, built-in Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage. Included is Apple's one year limited warranty on parts and labor.
MBP vs. Air and Siri fails continue
This week in the MacNN forums there was much conversing early in the week, however with the holiday approaching things quickly quieted down. Forum goers continue to add opinions on which new Mac is the best to purchase; MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. New tales of Siri fails continue to be added to the conversation in the thread titled "Siri fails."
refurbished Macs from $769 and iPads from $309
Today at Apple's online store save on refurbished Macs as low as $769 and iPads from $309. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of solid state storage is available for $769 after a $130 discount. Priced at $309 after a $70 discount is the refurbished iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular for AT&T and 16GB of storage.
$200 gift bundles with the purchase of a new Mac
Right now at PowerMax.com get close to $200 worth of accessories with the purchase of select in-stock standard configuration new Mac from their online store. Three different bundles are available.
Apple's Black Friday 2014 event
It is now officially Black Friday and we wanted to get things started off on the right foot, so we have rounded up a selection of items from Apple's Black Friday sale. This year Apple has combined their Black Friday promotion with the World AIDS day promo announced earlier this week. With qualified purchases, customers will receive Product (RED) gift cards on everything from iPhones and iPads to iPods and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.
Win one of 10 copies of StreamToMe for iOS
This Thanksgiving we want to fill your plate with lots of giveaway goodness, so we are going to be giving away a bunch more prizes today, so keep checking back often. Next up we have 10 redemption codes for iOS media extender StreamToMe to give away.
New features allows voice messages to be sent in iOS 8 as MMS
Following a pair of new ads that debuted on Tuesday, Apple has followed it up with an unusual single additional ad in the current campaign, which again features Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and entertainer Justin Timberlake. In the new TV spot, called "Voice Text," the pair demonstrate the WhatsApp-esque Voice Text feature in iOS 8, which allows for easy recording of voice which is then sent as an MMS message or iMessage (depending on the recipient) for times when texting is too inefficient.
Only known official online premiere for latest entry in franchise
Apple has confirmed that the first official trailer for next year's new chapter in the saga, The Force Awakens, will debut online on Friday on iTunes. Disney, which now owns the rights to the franchise, had previously said that only 30 cinemas in the US would be screening the trailer on Friday, implying a wider release later. Rumors began shortly afterwards, however, that there would be an online debut as well.
Aborted 8.0.1 update made users gun-shy; 8.1 picks up pace
Apple's iOS 8 adoption rate has returned to normal levels following a brief stagnation in the wake of the botched 8.0.1 update that was only very briefly available but caused havoc for the thousands who downloaded it, and temporarily made users hesitant to upgrade. In an update on iOS 8 distribution posted to its developer website, Apple said 60 percent of users registered with the iOS App Store are now running some version iOS 8 (up four percent from two weeks ago), with 35 percent running iOS 7 (down five percent from the same period).
Would take on 'major' role
Actress Natalie Portman is in negotiations to join Universal's Steve Jobs biopic, according to Deadline. Who she might play is unmentioned, but the role is said to be a "major" one. Given Portman's age and the resemblance, that role is likely to be Lisa, Jobs' daughter.
iPhone's RAM, storage, and batteries could come from one supplier
Apple is turning to Samsung for more parts in future production runs of the iPhone 6, sources tell Business Korea. Beginning this week, new runs will reportedly use batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. More significantly, though, Apple is said to be considering replacing Toshiba TLC NAND flash storage with a Samsung equivalent. Toshiba NAND is currently believed to be the only kind used in 128GB iPhones, and some reports have linked it to occasional device crashes. Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix are allegedly producing the storage for 64GB models.
USWW looks to unionize guards at Cupertino campus
With the backing of activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Service Workers West is hoping to unionize the security guards working at Apple's Cupertino headquarters, and in the short term is urging the company to use a different security contractor, says the San Jose Mercury News. USWW is ultimately aiming to unionize guards across Silicon Valley, but beginning with Apple in the belief that it could set a standard for other tech companies. While the union would likely stand to benefit from dues, it notes that service workers in the Bay Area are often just scraping by financially, since the cost of living has been inflated by the salaries of high-tech workers.
Company didn't warn about dangers in Apple contract
A Louisiana lawfirm, Smith Segura & Raphael, has filed a class action lawsuit against GT Advanced on behalf of investors. The case alleges that GT "failed to disclose the significant risk" it would incur in its sapphire supply deal with Apple, which it announced on November 4th last year. Apple agreed to pay GT $578 million in four installments, with the expectation the latter would start paying it back in 2015. GT was unable to meet Apple demands though, which resulted in delayed payments, the withholding of the final one, and ultimately GT's bankruptcy on October 6th, followed by the company being delisted from the NASDAQ.
Apple not given what it wanted; Samsung appeals, Apple filing shortly
Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials has partially granted a motion by Apple, allowing the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on on-going sales of some Samsung devices -- but less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers data detectors and "slide to unlock," and specifically covers 10 products and others not demonstrably different than the accused.
Top pick Apple Watch is curious choice, but shows public anticipation
Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.
MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air
Today in the MacNN forums, Dedicated MacNNer "ClaraT" reported that her six-year-old MacBook is starting to have intermittent graphics issues where her screen will go black, and is now contemplating getting a new system; however, she is looking for advice on what to buy -- a MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air. Yesterday, Senior User "mkerr64" was considering upgrading the graphics card in his Mac Pro, and is wondering if the PSU has will be powerful enough.
Mac Pros and Accessories
At Apple's online store right now, save on refurbished Mac Pro models and accessories. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has been reduced by $450 down to $2,549. Save $600 on the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel six-core processor, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, now $3,399.
Companies look to exploit end of Google contract
Yahoo and Microsoft are courting Apple in hopes of becoming the default search provider for the Safari web browser next year, a report says. Apple renewed a mapping and search partnership with Google in 2010, but that contract is set to expire next year, which could give other companies an entry point. Both Yahoo and Microsoft executives are said to have approached Eddy Cue -- Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services -- about a potential deal. So far, though, there's no sign that Apple has made a decision, and indeed it could choose to remain with Google.
Pre-November record dates back to September 2012
Apple's market capitalization has temporarily surpassed $700 billion in early Tuesday stock trading, setting an all-time record for the company. The company's previous peak -- ignoring gains earlier this month -- was $658 billion, achieved in September 2012. Shortly after achieving the figure -- the first publicly-traded company to ever do so -- Apple stock prices dropped substantially and took some time to recover. At closing, it had been reduced to around $660 billion.
Continues series of ads with Fallon and Timberlake
Apple has premiered a pair of new iPhone 6 ads (below), continuing a series starring the voices of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. The first, "Gamers," depicts the pair playing the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) title Vainglory, used in some previous Apple marketing as well. The ad touts the speed of the A8 processor in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Buys rights from Sony for reported $30 million; Boyle still to direct
As a follow-up to a story we reported on last week, Universal Studios has officially bought the rights to the Steve Jobs biopic already in pre-production from Sony, which had placed the project in "turnaround" on Thursday. Universal is said to have paid Sony $30 million to transfer the picture to the latter's control, retaining director Danny Boyle and reportedly confirming actor Michael Fassbender to play the lead role. There is still no firm announcement on when shooting will commence.
Points out study did not use built-in car integration, ignored Apple recommendations
Apple has issued a statement criticizing a study conducted by the University of Utah for the American Automobile Association in October that rated Apple's Siri (and other naturalistic voice-command virtual assistants by proxy) as "the most" distracting in-car task compared to just driving, adjusting the car's radio or temperature, or using built-in car navigation or infotainment systems. In its response, Apple points out some serious flaws in the study, including the fact that it deliberately avoided using the driving-specific Siri Eyes Free or CarPlay options.
Photo shows continuing progress, structures taking shape; schedule unchanged
A new photo of the construction site of Apple Campus 2 has been posted to the City of Cupertino's official website for the project. Multiple structures can now be seen taking shape -- mostly support buildings, while infrastructure and progress on the "moat"-like tunnel system around or under the main building continues. There has been no update to the overall schedule for the project of late, suggesting that things are moving along on the revised schedule that will see the main building ready for use sometime late in 2016.
Band Bleachers shown using Apple Pay at variety of small businesses
Megabank Chase has aired a new TV commercial featuring the band Bleachers using a Chase Freedom credit account to purchase a variety of items and services ahead of a rooftop gig in Los Angeles -- with the difference being that the band members used their iPhones and Apple Pay instead of their credit cards. A representative from Chase told AdAge that representatives from Apple were involved in the creation of the ad, but asked mainly that the Apple Pay be shown in realistic situations.
Lack of central team blamed
The introduction of new features in iCloud is being hampered by "deep organizational issues" at Apple, claims the sometimes-reliable The Information. The primary example is said to be iCloud Photo Library, which was announced in June and was initially expected to debut with iOS 8 in September. It missed that target, and even iOS 8.1 only ushered in beta support. It's also allegedly yet to be integrated with the upcoming Photos app for OS X Yosemite.
Bank limits support to MasterCard for time being
Another financial institution, Commerce Bank, has implemented support for Apple Pay mobile payments. The bank operates chiefly in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado. It hasn't made an formal announcement, but is now listed in an official Apple Pay support document. Commerce customers who want to use Apple Pay are currently limited to personal MasterCards, even though the bank also offers Visa.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 24, 2014
Welcome to the second installment of Monday Deals, which we will be running throughout the holiday shopping period. While it is just four more days until shoppers become uncivilized and argue over who gets to buy the last of a heavily-discounted product, we are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid at a later reading, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post in the coming days, as more deals will be added as time goes on.
Proceeds from participating apps being donated to Global Fund
To mark the upcoming World AIDS Day on December 1, Apple has launched a trio of initiatives. On the 1st itself, Apple says it will donate "a portion" of its Black Friday sales at its online and retail stores to the Global Fund, which is mainly dedicated to combating AIDS but also tackles diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. On November 28, some random product purchases will include a Product (RED) iTunes gift card; any purchases made with the card in future will go to the Fund. From today through December 7, a program called "Apps for (RED)" will donate the sales from 24 iOS apps - and in some cases, special in-app purchases -- to the same cause.
CEO Lei believes Xiaomi can make the jump from third place, trades jabs with Apple
Last week, Xiaomi CEO Jun Lei said that he expects the smartphone manufacturer to take the number one sales spot in smartphones over the next decade. Lei had a chance to emphasize his belief at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen China, taking to a panel to accentuate the company's growth in smart devices. To do so, the Chinese company will need to overtake the number one and two companies Samsung and Apple, something that Apple Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Bruce Sewell believes won't be so "easy."
Many more merchants, banks planning to add support in coming weeks, months
In addition to today's announcement by Square that it will bring support for Apple Pay to its app and systems early next year, a number of other merchants have also unveiled Apple Pay support or are planning to soon. Venues that utilize Tickets.com as their online ticket provider, for example, have now adopted support for Apple's iPhone 6-centric payment method, and some apps will soon be offering an Apple Pay option for online purchases.
Home IP surveillance camera Spotcam launches
Cloud-based video system Spotcam, has announced the debut of its home surveillance system with remote access. Featuring a Wi-Fi-enabled camera with two-way audio, users can view live or recorded footage of their home or office to ensure that all is secure while away. The Spotcam system is accompanied by a free 24-hour loop of stored footage, aiming to provide an affordable alternative to more elaborate security systems. Spotcam's camera features 720p resolution and a 110-degree wide angle lens, with proficiency in low-light conditions as well as night vision capacity. Spotcam can be set up on both Android and iOS devices, with purchase of the camera system priced at $150 through Amazon. For larger footage storage, pricing begins at $4 per month for access to a three-day duration.
Judge Denise Cote approves 'unusual' settlement offer
[Updated with additional background information, details on "escape clause"] Federal court Judge Denise Cote has approved Apple's $450 million e-book suit settlement offer with US states. The agreement, proposed in June, will settle allegations made in 33 states and territories, with $400 million potentially reaching customers affected by the "price fixing conspiracy." The agreements only settles the states' complaints, with the publishers' settlements remaining discrete. However, Apple may have an ace up its sleeve on the deal -- in the form of a "vindication" clause.
Evernote for OS X releases updates for Yosemite
Evernote has released a major update for its OS X app, bringing support for Yosemite. Over-all performance speed has been improved, introducing a redesigned interface with a lighter color theme, and new icons. Users now have more control over tables they create, with new color and style customizations available. Notes can be searched for via OS X's Spotlight function, and sending notes to others can now be done while remaining in the app. Many bug fixes and crashing issues have also been resolved in the latest app iteration. Evernote is free to download, with premium subscriptions available.
Workaround: Use Firefox or Chrome, switch Safari ID to other browser
Users are starting to chime in on Google and Apple's support forums about a sudden incompatibility with video hosting service YouTube. Some users of OS X 10.10.1 are complaining that YouTube videos with leading advertisements either fail to load, play a discordant sound with no video, or crash Safari itself. Firefox and Chrome are not affected by whatever is causing the problem.
Siri fails and iOS 8.1.1 comments
This week in the MacNN forums, members share amusing tales of times that Siri has failed them, providing examples of how Siri doesn't always understand what is really going on. Comments are piling up faster than the snow in Buffalo about the latest update to iOS 8, with some saying it made things better while others aren't so sure it has helped much at all.
bargain priced Macs from $769
At Apple's online store today, find low prices on a selection of refurbished Mac models. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of PCIe-based flash storage is now $769, after a $130 discount. Priced at $849, after a $150 discount, is the refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage.
iPads, storage and more
At BestBuy.com this week, find low prices on previous-generation iPad Air configurations. The iPad Air with Wi-Fi and 64GB of storage has seen an $85 price break, dropping the cost from an already-reduced $500 down to $415. That makes this around $85 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. This iPad features a 9.5-inch multi-touch display with a A7 processor, 1.2MP front-facing camera, 5.0MP rear-facing camera, built-in Wi-Fi, and 64GB of storage space. It is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
French, Japanese among new translations
The iCloud edition of iWork has received a number of updates, primarily the addition of new languages. Pages is now usable in Arabic, Hebrew, French, German, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and simplified Chinese; Arabic and Hebrew are bidirectional. Keynote and Numbers, meanwhile, have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and simplified Chinese.
Strength of iPhone 6 demand, Apple Watch predictions to fuel growth, analysts say
Two leading investment and analysis firms have joined with others in raising AAPL target prices recently, in part because the stock has already outperformed most expectations on its most recent bull run. Longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray has raised his target from $120 to $135 on the strength of iPhone 6 demand, while Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty raised her view to $126 per share from the previous $115, which the stock has already surpassed. The two join a growing list of AAPL bulls.
New tactic addresses complaints of silent disabling of outdated versions
Apple is trying a different tack in the struggle to keep Macs secure by encouraging users to either disable the Flash browser plug-in outright, or to keep up-to-date with the latest version, which routinely fixes serious security issues found in the multi-platform media player. The latest maneuver by the iPhone maker, which debuted today, is a direct pop-up prompt to update to the latest version when users visit a page that requires Flash Player. The dialogue box takes users directly to Adobe's own page for updating Flash.
Larger iPhone 6 Plus at 16GB now listing 7-10 day shipping for US models
The US online Apple Store has recently revised the wait time for an online-ordered iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, just in time for the holiday buying season. The units are still very constrained, but are slowly catching up with demand, based on changes to ship times on Apple's website. The two higher-end iPhone 6 models now have a US ship time of seven to 10 days, while the 16GB model now has a five-to-seven day wait time. The larger iPhone 6 Plus has dropped to a seven-to-10 day shipping window for the 16GB model, but still has longer times on larger-capacity units.
First beta comes with known problem, but no focus areas for testing
Just days after issuing the OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 update that has reportedly fixed a raft of Wi-Fi and Mail issues (but not all of them), the company has seeded the first beta of 10.10.2 for developer. The new build, 14C68k, is now available through the Yosemite Software Update mechanism or Apple's developer portal. The release notes for the beta curiously do not mention any focus areas, but do warn testers of a known flaw in opening documents from iCloud Drive.
Exclusive client believed to be Apple
Foxconn's display unit, Innolux, will be spending about NT$80 billion ($2.6 billion US) during the next two years on a new Taiwanese factory meant to supply an exclusive but unnamed client, says Innolux PR representative Sophia Cheng. The statement was in reference to comments made by Innolux President Wang Jyh-chau at a press conference earlier today. Although Cheng says she isn't aware if such a deal has been signed, the client is elsewhere believed to be Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest contracts and possibly one of the few that could justify such an expenditure or demand such secrecy.
'Development unit' has space for 10 workers
Apple has moved into a new office in Lund, Sweden, property firm Vasakronan has confirmed. News agency Rapidus describes Apple's presence there as a "development unit" that moved in a few weeks ago. The office is said to have space for just 10 or so workers, but it may be significant thanks to the local firms Apple has acquired in the past few years.
New entities handling submissions of bulk location data
Apple has added 10 new companies to the list of those providing it with data for iOS and OS X Maps, reports say. The parties are mentioned in a new email to businesses, asking about submitting bulk location information. The added firms include DAC Group, Location3 Media, Marquette Group, Placeable, PositionTech, SIM Partners, SinglePlatform, UBL, Yext, and Yodle. Apple asks for bulk content to be submitted to one of the entities on its partner list, rather than directly.
Settlement should cover other companies such as Time Warner, Suddenlink
Cisco is said to be preparing to pay a $188 million pre-tax charge to settle a lawsuit brought against it by Rockstar, the Apple-led patent holding firm born out of the remains of Nortel Networks. The company recent mentioned a $188 million payout in an earnings call. The connection to the settlement can be made, as Cisco has asked the judge in the lawsuit to stay litigation because it has signed a "term sheet" with Rockstar.
Lack of production experience, ineffective leadership to blame for bust-up, Apple says
More details on the collapse of the GT Advanced Technologies deal with Apple were made available today, as sources have reported that a letter sent by Apple to other creditors in the GT Advanced bankruptcy case reveals more details on why the partnership collapsed. Included in the letter were pictures of defective sapphire boules produced by GT Advanced, pointed to by Apple as the main reason the company went under -- it contracted to produce high-quality boules of the material, but simply couldn't produce enough usable product.
Note-holders want settlement hearing postponed, access to internal documents
[Update: Judge has delayed settlement hearing until December 10] Other creditors left holding the bag after the surprise bankruptcy of GT Advanced Technologies are crying foul over the proposed settlement between Apple and the sapphire-making company, which is due to be ruled on at a hearing next week. Note-holders such as Aristeia Capital have complained to the court that charges from GT Advanced executives that claim a "bait and switch" arrangement from Apple that forced the company into bankruptcy require investigation, and "call into question the adequacy" of the proposed settlement.