Visa launches new TV advert to promote Apple Pay in the UK
On the heels of a new promotion from Mastercard that allows Apple Pay users to ride free on the London Underground, Visa Europe is kicking off a two-month ad campaign that intends to show users why using Apple Pay in the UK is safer, faster, and easier than the current EMV (chip and PIN) card-based payment system. Titled "Anticipation," the first ad very elegantly communicates the ease, speed and yes, thrill of using Apple Pay.
Apple music executive walks back remark about women and music searching
Following a new ad for Apple Music that features singer Mary J. Blige that is aimed at women, saying that the service's curated playlists are like "a boyfriend who makes you a mixtape -- in your laptop," Apple music executive Jimmy Iovine has apologized for remarks made on "CBS This Morning" where he appeared to infer that "women find it very difficult at times -- some women -- to find music" to suit their mood.
Nearly one in three Americans owns an iPhone, study finds
A new study (PDF) by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) claims that as of the end of September, more than 101 million iPhones were in use in the United States, a ratio approaching one iPhone for every three Americans. The study further found that of that number, 62 million units -- were recent models from either this year or last. The majority, 58 million, are 2014's iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, with only four million of the latest model sold in the US in the first weekend of availability before the end of the September quarter.
Solo2 wireless, urBeats headphones now offer 'rose gold' option to match iPhones
On Thursday, Apple updated two of its Beats line of headphones to offer a "rose gold" color option. The urBeats in-ear "earbud" headphones, as well as the on-ear Solo2 Wireless on-ear headphones, now match the faux-rose gold color scheme of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, as well as the Apple Watch Sport and the genuine rose gold option of the Apple Watch Edition. Both new color options are available immediately.
Hints of long-awaited support for 'app folders' seen in 9.1 beta code
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.
App Store searches get smarter, go beyond metadata or strict spellings
Developers over the last week have reported that the algorithm that powers App Store searches is evolving, now offering suggestions that go beyond simple title or keyword identification. The biggest changes appear to have debuted on November 12, but tweaks and other noticeable (to developers) differences in results have been happening all during November, and are continuing. The overall effect appears to be that searches are more intelligent, with for example "Tweetbot" turning up in a search for "Twitter" when it didn't previously.
First HomeKit smoke and carbon monoxide detector comes in two versions
First Alert Onelink is a new HomeKit-enabled smoke and carbon monoxide detector, the first to allow owners to use an iOS device to receive remote alerts, silence false alarms or test the unit. The Onelink comes in two versions: a battery-only unit that includes a non-removable battery pack that is rated for the entire 10-year average life of the unit, or a hardwired version that includes a nightlight feature. The unit features multiple alarms that can be set to signal what time of danger is present or where it is in the house.
Apple launches limited discount on Apple Watch in CA, MA stores
For a limited time, new iPhone buyers can receive a $50 discount on the Apple Watch Sport or regular models at select stores. The company is trying to incentivize buyers into picking up both devices at the same time with the small price break, though the fact that the promotional offer is only available for a limited time and only in a handful of stores in the Bay Area in California and in Boston, Massachusetts suggests that the program is a pilot for a possible national sale in time for the holidays.
Friend and family tracker now available on iCloud.com for greater access
Apple on Wednesday added its selective friends-and-family tracking service Find My Friends to its iCloud.com site, letting users sign in on any Internet-connected device to locate friends or loved ones who have the app on their mobile devices and have agreed to have their location revealed to the user. Participants can opt to change status at any time or enable (or disable) the tracking for select periods, such as when a family is visiting a theme park and wants to each go their separate ways.
Apple Pencil, iPad Pro get government OK ahead of November release
On Thursday, the FCC granted final approval to the forthcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the optional drawing stylus accessory, the Apple Pencil, ahead of a projected November launch. Previously, the FCC had issued approvals for the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2, but to date there's been no sign of paperwork for the Magic Trackpad 2. The iPad Pro-exclusive accessory the Smart Keyboard has also seen FCC approval, but Apple has recently noted that it will only be available in US format for the time being.
New official Apple channels on Google-owned service offer videos in local languages
Following some localized YouTube channels for Apple's videos in South Korea and Japan over the summer, four new official Apple channels -- for Spain, France, Germany, and Italy -- now offer local-language versions of Apple's recent and older videos for new products and services. Not counting the US-based "original" channel, the Japanese version has thus far proven the most popular, attracting more than 10,000 subscribers after less than three months. Of the four new European channels, France has about half as many subscribers as the others.
Testers impressed, not that screen has a textured feel to assist drawing
Artists and animators at Walt Disney's Feature Animation Studio have taken the iPad Pro for a spin, with one of them posting an account on Twitter and others broadcasting the event on Periscope. From the reports, the animators appeared to be very impressed with the iPad Pro as a drawing tool, noting that the surface has "tooth," or a bit of roughness on the surface, to aid in the tactile feedback of a traditional drawing tablet -- and that the Apple Pencil and palm rejection technology worked exceptionally well.
Users can now buy factory-unlocked, no-plan iPhone 6s, 6s Plus units in US
As usual, following a month of carrier exclusivity, Apple has now begun selling factory-unlocked, SIM-free versions of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at full retail price. The units have the advantage of allowing users to pick more customized plans that suit their needs, or change carriers at will, as well as be used in nearly any country globally with local providers. Broadly speaking, buying an unlocked iPhone outright is also generally the least expensive option in terms of total cost of ownership and highest resell value.
Ads show off different functions of the Watch in 15 seconds
A series of six new, 15-second ads from Apple debuted yesterday, showcasing some of the main features of the Apple Watch, ranging from Apple Pay to Maps to messaging. Coming on the heels of the debut of the Apple Hermes Watch as well as new "Made for Watch" band lugs, the ads are all studio-shot with pastel hues that focus on real-world uses for the device rather than the device itself. Two of the ads, "Sing" and "Date," focus on different ways to message people -- voice messages and receiving image and text messages.
Sydney, Boston transit directions added in first post-iOS 9 expansion
On Monday, Apple quietly added two new cities -- Boston, Massachusetts and Sydney, Australia -- to its list of cities that include full transit information and directions. The Feature Availability page for iOS now shows a total of 13 individual cities with full transit data, with a generic "China" label to signify transit data for some 300 cities in China. The data for transit includes route maps, station maps (a feature not found with Google Maps), departure times and platforms or stops for ferries, busses, and trains.
Westminster gives approval for makeover of London's first Apple Store
Calling the current Regent Street Apple Store's interior "tired and outdated," the City of Westminster has granted Apple authorization to make significant changes to the store, including a rare granting of permission to make some exterior modifications. The renovations are thought to be intended to bring the London store more in line with the latest design template, which has recently been showcased with a new Apple Store in Brussels. The company expects, according to plans put forth last May to remove double the size of the entrance, remove the front portion of the mezzanine, and change the current staircase from one into two, among other changes.
Apple to announce fiscal Q4 results on October 27 at 2pm PT
Apple will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results in a conference call with analysts on October 27 at 2PM PT (5PM ET), the company has revealed. The quarter, which ends on September 30, will include two weeks of sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, of which Apple has already announced it sold more than 13 million units on opening weekend -- an increase of 30 percent from last year's iPhone 6 introduction. Wall Street, however, sees the gain as simply the addition of mainland China to the list of countries selling the new iPhone on its debut weekend.
Check-in app bases guess on Apple Store foot traffic from previous debut days
Social app Foursquare is making a prediction that Apple will sell between 13 million and 15 million iPhones over its retail opening weekend, based on historical data it has of foot traffic to Apple Stores on the day new iPhones debut, correlated with how many sales resulted. Based on users who "check in" to Foursquare at an Apple Store on the day a new iPhone debuts, the site believes Apple will handily beat both analyst's predictions as well as its own 10 million unit record from last year.
Austria, Ireland, Denmark to have Apple Watch at retail on September 25
Three more countries will begin selling the Apple Watch at retail, following in the steps of Belgium, which opened its first-ever Apple Store (which included the Apple Watch) in Brussels earlier on Saturday. Austria, Denmark, and Ireland will begin selling the Apple Watch on Friday, September 25, the same day it will go on sale from US carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. Also gaining the Apple Watch in the coming weeks are Australia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Users can donate to American Red Cross to help European migrant crisis
[Updated with further details on Apple Company Store] Apple has set up a donation page in iTunes -- with a link to it from the main page of its website -- to help customers who wish to donate money to the American Red Cross to help ease the migrant crisis that is sweeping across the Mediterranean and Europe. The crisis, fueled by the Syrian civil war and other upheavals in the region, has put a strain on the resources of the host countries, and displaced nearly half a million people.
Apple India pushing HQ for new iPhone to arrive early ahead of Diwali holiday
Apple CEO Tim Cook will meet with the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, when Modi is visiting the US west coast in late September. The Indian PM may be meeting with Cook to help persuade Apple to invest in building or investing in manufacturing or R&D facilities in the country, which has a large and capable pool of tech workers and is an important developing market for the iPhone maker. Cook, for his part, may also be interested in bringing directly-owned Apple Stores to the country for the first time.
Apple files for new $2.26 billion Euro debt offering for stock buyback, dividends
Apple is once again turning to the debt markets to finance its stock buyback and dividend payout programs, a new filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed. The iPhone maker will issue a new, €2 billion Euro (roughly $2.26 billion US) debt offering in order to continue to take advantage of extremely low interest rates. Only two notes will be offered, at €1 billion each, which will mature between January 2024 and the fall of 2027. The company last offered a Euro-based debt sale late last year.
Bonhams to auction early working model, expects $500,000 or more
Bonhams in New York City will auction another rare, fully-working Apple I computer said to be in "fantastic" condition in October, said to be one of the first 50 hand-constructed by Steve Wozniak and one of only six or seven units known to still be functioning. A number of the few remaining working units have been turned over at auction in recent years: Bonhams is expecting to fetch $500,000 or more for this latest unit, but others have sold for much more.
Apple to build new 'next-generation' Apple Store in Germantown
Apple is planning to build one of its first "next-generation" standalone stores in the US in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, with the new design debuting overseas this fall, according to Apple Senior Director of Development Rick Millitello, who presented the plans for the new store to the Germantown Design Review Commission. The change will move the store slightly within its present Shops of Saddle Creek North location.
Data restore for recently-deleted documents, contacts, calendar edits
A new "data restore" option has appeared on iCloud.com allowing users to "roll back" recently-deleted documents, and Contacts or Calendar edits. The service now saves "snapshots" of recent states and lets users revert back to them, recovering files and changes accidentally deleted or changed. The "restore" options are fairly well-hidden at present, but are found in the Advanced Settings page of the web site.
Company investing in increasing diversity in tech with sponsorship
Following up on CEO Tim Cook's interest in diversifying the talent pool of the tech industry, Apple has become a platinum sponsor of a group called Code2040's fellowship program, and will hire 10 of the group's 80 students as paid interns. Apple VP of Worldwide Human Resources Denise Young Smith said the company was "excited" to be working with the group "toward our shared goal of more opportunities for in tech for young Latino, Latinas, and African-Americans."
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.
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.
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.
Podcast audience overwhelmingly on iOS, use default player
A new report by audio platform Clammr that pushes the notion that podcast listening is on the verge of breaking into the mainstream of American culture (due to popular podcasts such as Marc Maron's WTF and Welcome to Nightvale) reports that the vast majority (66 percent) of podcast listeners are on mobile devices, and that 82 percent of that audience are using iOS devices -- with 78 percent using the default Apple player.
Yokohama facility to focus on materials, vehicle and health markets
A recent new report on the Japanese research and development center currently under construction by Apple in Yokohama claims that the facility will mostly be devoted to working on new materials and metallurgy, as well as the automotive and health aspects of Apple's business. The company has recently made some breakthroughs in all three areas, with new metal alloys as well as health-tracking technologies in the Apple Watch, and CarPlay.
Mastercard, MLB team up to offer Apple Pay for food, merch, tickets
Mastercard and Major League Baseball have announced that the July 14 All-Star Game and the ongoing All-Star Fanfest, both taking place in Cincinnati, will accept Apple Pay for tickets, food, and merchandise at the two events. The Fanfest, which opened today and will run through to the day of the game, is being held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.
Apple now labelling ground-truth vans, promoting Apple Maps
Having initially triggered a way of often-silly speculation about driverless, solar-powered cars when its vans first appeared, Apple is now clearly labelling its ground-truth GPS data collection vans as being for use with Apple Maps, and promoting the service with a sign seen on vans now patrolling Seattle. The company recently confirmed that the vans were collecting real-world location data that will be "used to improve Apple Maps."
Five people injured at Apple data center due to likely water treatment incident
While details are sparse, five people were injured in a chlorine leak that occurred at the Apple data center in Maiden, North Carolina on Monday, according to local news reports. The leak was reported about 2:30PM ET, and may have been connected to a water purification system. The 183-acre facility, which Apple has run since 2010, is one of the largest data centers -- and renewable energy farms -- in the United States.
Vending machine automates process of allowing students to rent iPads
Vending machines that can serve up nearly anything have been popular in Japan for years, and most US airports and some malls now have "mini-store" type vending machines that can offer items like electronics or pet supplies. Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been renting iPads to students since 2013, but has now automated the process with a kiosk that offers up to 12 iPads available for rental to students.
Pioneer debuts second-generation NEX in-dash receivers with CarPlay, Android Auto
Auto audio accessories maker Pioneer has debuted a new series of second-generation NEX receivers that feature both CarPlay and Android Auto baked in, replacing earlier models that added CarPlay compatibility through a firmware update. Versions are available with either resistive touch or capacitive touch screens, ranging from $700 to $1,400 for aftermarket installation. The new models add support for Android Auto, and offer better touch sensitivity, brighter screens, and better color vibrancy.
Potential but unwieldy security threat to those running pre-iOS 8.1.1
A new device on the market costing $300 could be used by attackers to crack the PIN codes on iOS devices running system versions older than iOS 8.1.1. While the chances of it being used on someone's personal device are extremely low -- since it requires both physical access to the device as well as a great deal of time -- users can protect their devices and foil the so-called "IP Box" attack by moving to a more complex passcode.
Company adds 14 new merchants now supporting iPhone-based mobile payments system
After mentioning the addition of more merchants now supporting Apple Pay on Monday, Apple has updated its web page that keeps track of merchant partners with another 14 new vendors, ranging from Coca-Cola vending machines (specifically mentioned during the presentation) to Regal Cinemas and many other well-known brand names. Cook noted that Coca-Cola currently has 40,000 of the vending machines that accept Apple Pay active, with plans for 100,000 by the end of the year.
Evernote ends support for contacts management app Hello, flashcards app Peek
Productivity platform Evernote has announced that it will end support for both its Hello and Peek apps, as of February 7. Evernote will no longer be updating the apps, and has suggested for current Hello users interested in managing their contacts sign up for its main platform. Flashcards app Peek will also no longer be supported, with a proposed alternative being its partner app Study Blue.
Procreate for iPad creators debut Pocket version for iPhone
Savage Interactive has released an iPhone version of its illustration app Procreate Pocket, a scaled-down version of its iPad app Procreate. Intended for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Procreate Pocket is powered by a 64-bit Silica engine, offering a variety of drawing tools and 250 levels of "Undo." Among its features, its 18 layers of Blend Modes allow for versatile composition, and 1080p video recording option can document all stages of the drawing process without interruption. Priced at $3, Procreate Pocket requires iOS 8.1 or later.
Christian Bale to play Steve Jobs in biopic, according to interview
Christian Bale is set to play the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the forthcoming biopic film written by Aaron Sorkin. Previously considered for Leonardo DiCaprio, Aaron Sorkin said in Bloomberg interview that there wasn't a need for Bale to audition for the role due to being a good fit. The latest screenplay is comprised of three thirty minute scenes of backstage goings on prior to three keynote presentations.
Kids' mini remote-controlled drone debuts
Swann's has introduced a new toy to its remote-controlled Xtreem product range, the Mini Stealth RC Drone. The six-inch gadget is designed for kids of all ages, with a rotor diameter of three inches and a weight of under one ounce. Its 2.4GHz frequency allows the Mini Stealth Drone to fly with a strong signal indoors or outdoors of up to 330 feet, and its dual-blade rotors simplify flying for novice "pilots." The rechargeable Li-poly battery inside the helicopter provides up to seven minutes of continuous flight time, and the remote control is powered by six AA batteries. The Mini Stealth RC Drone is priced at $50.
Quora app for iOS now supporting iPad
Quora query-based platform has released an update for its iOS app, now supporting use on iPad. Quora provides space for users to ask questions and receive great answers about anything. Experts on particular topics are accessible as they share their knowledge, including "insider" participants such as those who produce popular TV shows. In addition to adding support for iPad, Quora v4.0 features improved loading speeds. Its new visual design aims to offer a more immersive read, and the format for asking questions has been restructured as well. Quora's new rich-text editor includes more options for how one's text appears on the social platform. Free to download, Quora for iOS requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Puzzle-adventure game Valiant Hearts: The Great War launches for iOS September 4th
Ubisoft has announced today that Valiant Hearts: The Great War will release on September 4 for iOS devices. Set during World War I, the puzzle-adventure game features characters whose narratives are interlinked. Players aim to survive the trenches alongside their canine companions. The new mobile version introduces intuitive touch controls that accommodate the format of mobile devices. Upon release, the game will be available through the App Store.
Softpress releases updated WYSIWYG web design software Freeway 7
Softpress has announced the release of its new Freeway 7 Pro web design software. OS X users can utilize the design tool for building and publishing website and email newsletters without the need for coding or HTML knowledge. Newly featuring responsive web design, Freeway 7 Pro can facilitate creating sites that adapt for mobile viewing. Navigation menus can be automatically generated, and search engine functionality is optimized, with the inclusion of social integration. Keyboard shortcuts have been added, so as to enhance user productivity. Priced at $150 for new users and $75 for existing users upgrading from Freeway 5+ Express and Pro, Freeway 7 can be downloaded online. Upon launch of Freeway 7, the Express version is now available for free.
Pioneer announces Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers, Elite SC series receivers
Pioneer has announced a new dedicated line of Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers and Elite SC series of home theater receivers. Dolby Atmos technology was first established for cinema use, and the collaboration with Pioneer aims to offer a multi-dimensional sound experience. Dolby's partnerships will not stop at Pioneer, with Dolby Atmos branded Blu-ray and streaming video services to be launched this fall.
Online code education platform announces new partnerships in five countries
Codecademy, an educational startup aiming to provide accessible learning of programming code, has announced expansion into five more markets -- the UK, France, Brazil, Estonia and Argentina. Agreements with educational and government groups have allowed Codecademy to be available on a localized level, with partnerships including work on customized programs, and non-English language content. Presently, Codecademy courses remain free.
Vimeo's Couch mode feature adds compatibility with Leap Motion controller
Video content platform Vimeo has announced that its Couch Mode feature is now compatible with the Leap Motion controller. The new addition allows Vimeo users to control their viewing with hand-based gestures, such as a circle gesture with one's finger fast-forwarding or rewinding a video, and tapping one's finger in the air engages playing or pausing. A swiping gesture plays the next video in queue.
Uber announces UberRush courier service, beginning exclusively in New York City
Ride service app Uber has announced the testing of its new courier service, UberRush. Beginning in New York City, UberRush will appear on users' home screens, allowing customers to have small goods delivered by bike or foot courier. As opposed to an on-demand delivery service that is based on an order, UberRush has couriers picking up objects from Uber users and delivering them to a specific address as determined by the customer. The base fare for deliveries is $15, with delivery zoning factoring in potential additional costs. UberRush will become available to users starting tomorrow.
WW2 combat simulation Combat Mision: Red Thunder released
Battlefront.com has released a major new title in its series of tactical WW2 combat simulations, entitled Combat Mission: Red Thunder. Set during 1944, when Operation Bagration took the Soviet forces from the swamps of Belarus to the gates of Warsaw, players can play out historical battles and campaigns or create customized quick battles. Combat Mission: Red Thunder is a standalone game, and features new game engine features such as backpack and vehicle flamethrowers, tank riders, hit decals, and more. The game is available for download for OS X (as well as Windows), priced at $55.