Apple Pay Now Supports HSBC and First Direct in the UK

Apple Pay today expanded its participating issuers list within the United Kingdom, adding support for both HSBC and First Direct customers. Both banks were announced as starting partners for the UK branch of Apple Pay, but were delayed until late July at the last minute. HSBC and First Direct join a list of UK Apple Pay partners that includes: American Express, MBNA, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank. Still listed as coming soon are: Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank and TSB. Although Barclays has confirmed "imminent" support for the contactless payment service, the bank has yet to be listed on Apple's Apple Pay UK site. Along with the announcement of HSBC and First Direct support, customers using Apple Pay in the UK will also be able to start taking advantage of the service at both Five Guys restaurants and Wilko stores across the country. UK support of Apple Pay launched on July 14, and has been steadily expanding its roster of retail partners and financial institutions in the subsequent weeks. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Music Exclusively Debuts Keith Richards 'Trouble' Video • Apple, Google, and Microsoft Among Companies Signing New White House Climate Pledge • Apple to Expand Retail Presence in India With 500 Authorized Mobility Resellers • Beijing Police Shut Down Large-Scale Factory That Made Over 41,000 Counterfeit iPhones • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch

Posted by on 28 July 2015 | 7:09 am

Apple Debuts Three New Apple Watch Videos Highlighting Music, Fitness and Travel Apps

Apple today introduced three new Apple Watch videos on its YouTube channel, highlighting third-party apps designed for the wrist-worn device. Each of the three videos focuses on a different subset of apps, covering music, fitness, and travel. The videos all depict a single Apple Watch that displays a series of apps on the screen, with a selection of app icons in the surrounding space. Icons are enlarged to denote which app is on the screen. In the "Music" video, for example, music discovery app Shazam, DJing app Pacemaker, and ticket-purchasing app StubHub are shown in quick succession. The "Fitness" video highlights the Nike+ running app, the WaterMinder hydration tracking app, and sports scores provided by the MLB.com At Bat app. The third and final video, "Travel," gives a brief glimpse of travel app Expedia, transportation requesting app Uber, and recommendation app Yelp. Apple's newest short advertisements are the company's first that put third-party apps for the device directly in the spotlight. Previous ads have focused on showing off the different use cases for the device, including four videos released last week that depicted the Apple Watch being used in daily life while traveling, working out, and communicating with friends and family. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Music Exclusively Debuts Keith Richards 'Trouble' Video • Apple, Google, and Microsoft Among Companies Signing New White House Climate Pledge • Apple to Expand Retail Presence in India With 500 Authorized Mobility Resellers • Beijing Police Shut Down Large-Scale Factory That Made Over 41,000 Counterfeit iPhones • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch

Posted by on 27 July 2015 | 8:40 pm

Apple Seeds Fifth OS X El Capitan Beta to Developers

Apple today released the fifth beta of OS X El Capitan to developers for testing purposes, less than one week after releasing the fourth El Capitan beta and nearly two months after unveiling the operating system at its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. Today's update is available through the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Apple Developer Center. It is not clear if this update will add any outward-facing changes to El Capitan, as the past few betas have focused on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes to optimize the operating system ahead of its public release. We'll add new features and bug fixes in beta 5 to this post should any tweaks be discovered. As an update complementary to OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan builds on the myriad features introduced last year. Behind-the-scenes improvements in El Capitan make a number of apps and processes on the Mac faster, and the introduction of Metal makes system-level graphics rendering 40 percent more efficient. El Capitan introduces a new system-wide font, a revamped Mission Control feature, a split-view feature for using two full-screen apps at once, deeper functionality for Spotlight, and improvements to Safari that include Pinned Sites and a universal mute button. OS X 10.11 El Capitan is currently available to both registered developers and public beta testers. Apple plans to release El Capitan to the public in the fall. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Music Exclusively Debuts Keith Richards 'Trouble' Video • Apple, Google, and Microsoft Among Companies Signing New White House Climate Pledge • Apple to Expand Retail Presence in India With 500 Authorized Mobility Resellers • Beijing Police Shut Down Large-Scale Factory That Made Over 41,000 Counterfeit iPhones • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch

Posted by on 27 July 2015 | 6:16 pm

Parallels 11 With Windows 10 to Allow Mac Users to Access Cortana on OS X

When Windows 10 is released to the public later this week, Windows users will have desktop access to Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant designed to compete with Apple's Siri. It appears Mac OS X users may also be able to access Cortana on OS X, using an updated version of the Parallels Windows virtualization software. For those unfamiliar with Parallels, it's software that's designed to let you run Windows and Windows apps on your Mac. According to a now-deleted leaked site that details upcoming features in Parallels 11, the software is gaining a new Windows 10 feature that will let Cortana be accessed on OS X while Windows 10 is running in the background. As explained by Neowin, who shared the leaked site over the weekend, that means Cortana can be accessed with the "Hey Cortana" command while using other applications on the Mac. It is not clear if all of Cortana's functionality is available when run this way, but in Windows 10, Cortana has a wide range of useful features. The virtual assistant can search the web, find installed files and apps, monitor calendar appointments, access the weather, and more. Like with Siri, Cortana can be asked fact-finding questions like "What are the latest NBA scores" or "What's going on near me this weekend?" Announced last year, Cortana is a digital assistant named for an AI character in the popular Halo video game series and voiced by Jen Taylor, who also did the AI voice work. Cortana, which has a distinctly female personality, is powered by the Bing search engine and differs from Siri based on the ability to ask questions about users and monitor their activity to learn more about them. Cortana has a "notebook" that stores information on each user's interests, favorite places, preferred music, relationships with people, appointment dates, preferred quiet hours, and more. When Cortana debuted, Microsoft described this feature as "her view of you," designed to let Cortana perform functions a wide range of personalized functions. While Windows 10 is set to be released this week on July 29, there is no word on when Parallels 11 with full support for Windows 10 and the new Cortana feature will launch. Parallels 10, the current version of Parallels, has been updated with experimental support for Windows 10 preview builds, but it is not currently compatible with the release version of Windows 10 or Microsoft's Windows 10 upgrade program. In addition to being available on Mac OS X through Parallels 11, Cortana is also coming to the iPhone. Microsoft plans to launch a Cortana app for iOS later this year. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Music Exclusively Debuts Keith Richards 'Trouble' Video • Apple, Google, and Microsoft Among Companies Signing New White House Climate Pledge • Apple to Expand Retail Presence in India With 500 Authorized Mobility Resellers • Beijing Police Shut Down Large-Scale Factory That Made Over 41,000 Counterfeit iPhones • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch

Posted by on 27 July 2015 | 3:29 pm

Apple Appears to Have Ditched Plans for 4-Inch 'iPhone 6c' in 2015

While several reports since last December claimed that Apple was planning to release a new 4-inch "iPhone 6c" as a low-cost option alongside the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" later this year, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri recently told investors that supply chain evidence of the rumored smartphone has seemingly disappeared since around March. Arcuri, in a research note obtained by Business Insider, speculates that Apple may have delayed or dropped plans to release the "iPhone 6c" due to concerns that the budget smartphone would cannibalize the iPhone 6, which has experienced record-breaking sales and could continue to be a hot product for Apple if given a price reduction alongside the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" in September."I think one of the reasons is because the iPhone 6 has sold so well," Arcuri said. "And they said, 'Look, why would we want to cannibalize? If we came out with an iPhone 6C, we would essentially cannibalize a price-reduced iPhone 6.'"Arcuri believed that the "iPhone 6c" would essentially be iPhone 6 hardware shrunken down to the size of an iPhone 5s, including an all-metal unibody that would differentiate itself from the plastic iPhone 5c released in 2013. Investment banking firm Jefferies predicted in late June that a 4-inch metal "iPhone 6c" will be released in early 2016, but that timing appears questionable. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a note to investors in April that claimed a new 4-inch iPhone was unlikely in 2015, and a few weeks later said that Apple is instead likely to release a new 4-inch iPhone with Apple Pay compatibility in 2016. Kuo said that Foxconn will be the primary manufacturer of the low-cost handset, but Apple's product roadmap could have changed since that time. Apple frequently tests new products and services internally that are never released, so it is entirely possible that the company never planned to make the "iPhone 6c" available to the public. Sketchy rumors and leaked images of the purported "iPhone 6c" shell -- notably plastic -- began picking up in December, but few concrete details about the rumored smartphone have surfaced since that time. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple, Google, and Microsoft Among Companies Signing New White House Climate Pledge • Apple to Expand Retail Presence in India With 500 Authorized Mobility Resellers • Beijing Police Shut Down Large-Scale Factory That Made Over 41,000 Counterfeit iPhones • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch

Posted by on 27 July 2015 | 10:54 am

iPad Mini 4 Rumored to Be Smaller Version of iPad Air 2, A9-Based iPad Air 3 Still Possible for 2015

Apple's fourth-generation iPad mini could be a miniaturized version of the iPad Air 2, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. The report claims that the iPad mini 4 will adopt some of the same features and specifications as the iPad Air 2, including an 8-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera, ultra-thin 6.1mm design and possibly a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating. Mac Otakara claims that Apple may release the new iPad mini alongside an A9-based iPad Air 3, contrary to a sketchy report last week from Taiwan's Economic Daily News that said no new iPad Air will be released in 2015 and that the iPad mini 4 could be Apple's last 7.9-inch tablet as the company focuses on its larger-sized iPad Air and much-rumored "iPad Pro" in the future. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a respectable track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, recently issued a note to investors that also claimed the iPad mini 4 will essentially be a smaller version of the iPad Air 2. Kuo did not make any predictions about the iPad Air 3 or the "iPad Pro" in his note, but he has mentioned the latter 12.9-inch tablet in previous notes to investors. Apple releasing a trio of new iPads later this year -- the iPad Air 3, iPad mini 4 and "iPad Pro" -- could help the company rebound from five consecutive quarters of declining iPad sales. Moreover, while Mac Otakara has a respectable track record reporting about Apple, there is not enough substantive evidence at this time to firmly suggest that all three tablets will actually be unveiled this autumn. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple to Expand Retail Presence in India With 500 Authorized Mobility Resellers • Beijing Police Shut Down Large-Scale Factory That Made Over 41,000 Counterfeit iPhones • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS

Posted by on 27 July 2015 | 8:41 am

Apple Maps Vehicles to Begin Surveying France and Sweden in August

Apple has announced that its fleet of vehicles collecting street-level mapping data in multiple countries will begin surveying France and Sweden throughout August. The vehicles will be driving through the Malmö and Stockholm metropolitan areas in Sweden and Île-de-France region of Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne in France. Apple Maps vehicles will also begin surveying Tennessee later in August, raising the total number of U.S. states that Apple has driven through to 30. Apple began collecting street-level mapping data in 13 more U.S. states this month, including Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wyoming. Apple confirmed in June that it is driving vehicles around the world to collect data to improve Apple Maps, and the mapping imagery is almost certainly being used to create a Google Maps "Street View" competitor. Apple Maps vehicles are also taking photos of businesses and storefronts in major metropolitan areas to replace current imagery provided by third-party sources such as Yelp. Apple has posted a complete list of new areas in the United States, France, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom it will be surveying throughout August on its Apple Maps vehicles website, including extended coverage of unmapped areas in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Utah and Washington. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data

Posted by on 27 July 2015 | 6:54 am

Best Buy to Begin Selling Apple Watch on August 7

Best Buy today announced it will begin selling the Apple Watch in some its U.S. retail stores and online on August 7, marking a substantial expansion of retail availability for the device. Starting with 100 stores and expanding to 300 over the next few months, he company will offer 16 models from the aluminum Apple Watch Sport and stainless steel Apple Watch collections, as well as nearly 50 accessories including stands and watch bands. Starting Aug. 7, Best Buy will be the first national retailer, other than Apple Stores, where customers can buy the Apple Watch. It will begin to arrive in more than 100 Best Buy stores and will also be available on BestBuy.com. Another 200 of our stores will have the Apple Watch in time for holiday shopping. “The Apple Watch is an important addition to an emerging product category, and we know our customers want it,” said Jason Bonfig, senior category officer at Best Buy. “We are excited to bring Apple Watch to more consumers, especially with the holidays coming up.”Apple has provided a statement to iMore, noting the focus on expanding availability for the holiday shopping season."Customers love Apple Watch, and we are thrilled to begin offering it at Best Buy locations across the U.S. starting August 7," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "More than 300 Best Buy stores will carry Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models in time for the holiday shopping season."The Apple Watch is currently available in 19 countries with Apple gradually expanding availability as supplies have allowed, and an additional three countries — New Zealand, Russia, and Turkey — will be added to the list this coming Friday. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Class Action Lawsuit • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data

Posted by on 26 July 2015 | 10:04 pm

New Report Says Apple Was in Talks to Use BMW i3 as Basis for Electric Car Project

Apple and BMW were in negotiations to use the German car manufacturer's car platform for its electric i3 for Apple's rumored car project, code-named "Project Titan", according to a new report from German business magazine Manager Magazin [Google Translate]. The Cupertino company was interested in the body of the i3, which is a small hatchback that has a shell made out of carbon fiber, helping keep the car light. The two companies began talks in autumn 2014, but broke off talks before committing to check in with each other and their plans periodically. The report also states that Tim Cook and Apple senior managers made a trip to BMW's factory in Leipzig, Germany to take a look at the production of the i3. This isn't the first time BMW and Apple have been linked to be working on a car. In March, a report from German automotive magazine Auto Motor und Sport claimed the two were in close negotiations to turn the i3 into an "Apple Car". However, BMW denied the claim to Reuters hours after the report surfaced. Earlier this week, Apple hired Doug Betts, former Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group and the global head of operations leading product service and quality, continuing the company's hiring of automotive experts. Additionally, Apple hired Paul Furgale, a researcher with a specialization in autonomous vehicles. While details on Apple's car project have been scarce, there have been reports of Apple recruiting talent from the automotive industry, including poaching employees from Tesla, Ford and GM, and that the company has hundreds of employees working on its car project. Rumors suggest Apple is aiming to produce a car by 2020, but because Apple often works on projects that never see the light of day, it's possible the company could delay or shelve the project if it's not happy with its progress. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States

Posted by on 24 July 2015 | 9:13 pm

Apple Launches 'Why There's Nothing Quite Like iPhone' Web Campaign

Building on a series of recent ads centered around the "If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone" tagline, Apple today rolled out a new web campaign for the iPhone under the theme of "Why there’s nothing quite like iPhone." The new campaign is highlighted on Apple's main home page as well as its iPhone pages, and it includes a scrolling feature page drawing attention to a number of aspects of Apple and the iPhone that make the device stand out from its competitors.Every iPhone we've made – and we mean every single one – was built on the same belief. That a phone should be more than a collection of features. That, above all, a phone should be absolutely simple, beautiful, and magical to use.The page proceeds to highlight the iPhone's integration of hardware and software, camera capabilities, breadth of available apps, resistance to malware, and Apple's commitment to privacy and security with Touch ID and Apple Pay. The campaign also highlights how Apple includes a variety of built-in apps and tools to make text, audio, and video messaging free and easy, track fitness and activity, and control devices around the home, all with accessibility features to make the iPhone's features available to as many people as possible. Finally, Apple points to its support network, from its retail stores to AppleCare phone and chat support. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States

Posted by on 24 July 2015 | 3:47 pm

First Trailer for 'Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine' Documentary Released

Magnolia Pictures has shared the first trailer and movie poster for Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine with Mashable, just over four months after the film premiered at SXSW 2015 in Austin, Texas. The upcoming documentary, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, portrays Jobs as both a tech visionary and unapologetic leader throughout his career at Apple. Apple senior executive Eddy Cue expressed disappointment in the documentary following its debut, describing the film on Twitter as "an inaccurate and mean-spirited view of my friend" and "not a reflection of the Steve I knew." Cue added that the best portrayal of Jobs is in the book Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, which he describes as "well done and first to get it right."Very disappointed in SJ:Man in the Machine. An inaccurate and mean-spirited view of my friend. It's not a reflection of the Steve I knew.— Eddy Cue (@cue) March 16, 2015 Universal previously released the full-length trailer for its aptly named Steve Jobs movie, starring Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels, earlier this month. The trailer mainly consists of a single shot of Fassbender as Jobs, with cast voiceovers providing snippets and teases of conversations regarding Jobs' true legacy at Apple, which he co-founded with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1974. Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine opens in select theaters on September 4. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States

Posted by on 24 July 2015 | 12:45 pm

Apple Pay Rival CurrentC Launching in Limited Trial Next Month as Exclusivity Expires

The Merchant Customer Exchange's contactless payment system, CurrentC, is gearing up for a limited trial run next month in the stores of the companies that began backing MCX in 2012, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, according to unnamed sources speaking with Bloomberg. The service is backed by a large roster of retailers, from Sears to Wendy's, who support the platform as a way to avoid losing integral shopping data to an increasingly competitive market thanks to the likes of Apple and Google. CurrentC is different from Apple Pay however, using barcodes and RFID scanners in place of NFC terminals Apple took advantage of with Apple Pay. As Bloomberg points out, it also has a major hurdle regarding the signing of deals with major credit card companies, something it has yet to do. While MCX is getting closer to releasing its app, there are plenty of hurdles. It hasn’t signed deals with major credit-card companies like Visa to use bank-issued card accounts within the app. That means a shopper wouldn’t be able to use, say, a Visa debit card from JPMorgan Chase & Co. This can be done with competing products like Apple Pay. Instead, users of MCX’s app will be limited to private-label store cards, like Target’s REDcard, or they’ll have to give MCX their checking-account details. Also worrisome for MCX is the three-year exclusivity contract each retailer signed when the company began talks of the CurrentC system back in 2012. Those contracts -- which prohibited partnering with other mobile payment services -- begin to end next month, alongside CurrentC's soft launch in August. The company has already felt the weight of this, as Best Buy announced back in April it would begin supporting Apple Pay within its mobile app, with in-store support gearing up for later in 2015. Not long after, MCX's CEO at the time, Dekkers Davidson, left the company, with a spokeswoman telling press that Davidson's exit had nothing to do with the announcement made by Best Buy days before. Payments security analyst Julie Conroy spoke on the subject to Bloomberg, reiterating on the public's trust issues with the company following a hack last year and stating simply, “I’m increasingly skeptical of their chance to really make a dent.” Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States

Posted by on 24 July 2015 | 11:20 am

Intel Skylake Processors: Up to 20% Performance Boost, 41% Faster Graphics and 30% Longer Battery Life

Less than two weeks before Intel announces new desktop Skylake processors, likely to be used in future Macs, at the Gamescom trade show in Germany on August 5, FanlessTech has leaked an Intel slide deck that offers a closer look at some of the performance enhancements the next-generation processors will deliver for both desktop computers and notebooks. The leaked slides reveal that Skylake processors will provide a 10%-20% CPU performance boost in single and multi-threaded applications, with lower power consumption, and 30% faster Intel HD integrated graphics performance on average compared to current-generation Broadwell processors. The improved energy efficiency will also result in up to 30% longer battery life. The specific performance improvements to the four main Skylake families are outlined below based on preliminary data, with the MacBook model appropriate for each chip listed in parentheses: - Y-Series (MacBook): Up to 17% faster CPU, up to 41% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life - U-Series (MacBook Air): Up to 10% faster CPU, up to 34% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life - H-Series (MacBook Pro): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 16% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 80% lower silicon power - S-Series (iMac): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 28% faster Intel HD graphics, 22% lower TDP (thermal design power) Apple refreshed the MacBook Air and 13" Retina MacBook Pro with the latest Broadwell processors in March, but the refreshed 15" Retina MacBook Pro released in May remains powered by two-year-old Haswell architecture due to the lack of quad-core Broadwell processors appropriate for the notebook at the time. Given that Intel announced a trio of Core i7 processors appropriate for the 15" Retina MacBook Pro just weeks later, and both the iMac and Mac mini still have Haswell processors, it is plausible that Apple has chosen to skip Broadwell processors entirely and release Skylake-based Macs in late 2015 or early 2016 -- and the jump from Haswell to Skylake would deliver an even higher performance boost. Taiwanese blog DigiTimes, which has a hit-and-miss track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, says that Intel is planning to launch 18 new Skylake processors for notebooks in the fourth quarter, starting in October. The mid-range and high-end processors could be used in the next-generation 12-inch MacBook, MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • YouTube App Updated With Fullscreen Playback for Vertical Videos • App Store Promotion Offers 100 Apps and Games at a Discount • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States

Posted by on 24 July 2015 | 10:49 am

Apple Ceases Selling Nest Products Online and In Stores

Apple has stopped selling the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Smoke Alarm in its stores and has confirmed to Mashable that it will no longer be carrying Nest products. The Nest thermostat was still available online earlier this month, but a search for the Nest thermostat or smoke alarm now redirects customers to other HomeKit products. Apple's decision to stop offering Google's Nest products in its retail stores and online comes just over a month after the first HomeKit-compatible products became available for purchase. In early June, Lutron, iHome, Elgato, Ecobee, and Insteon began offering a range of smart lights, plugs, thermostats, room monitors, and more, all of which work with HomeKit. The HomeKit-compatible Ecobee3 smart thermostat is a direct competitor of the Nest, so it's no surprise Apple has opted to stop offering Google's products in order to highlight accessories that are compatible with its own smart home platform. This isn't the first time Apple has stopped offering products that directly compete with its own product offerings. Last year, the company stopped selling Fitbit activity tracking devices ahead of the launch of the Apple Watch and also culled several other activity trackers from its store earlier this year. Apple's decision to stop selling the Nest thermostat comes as the company is working to revamp accessory lineups in its retail stores, cutting back on the number of accessories offered and packaging many of them in boxes that match its own design aesthetic. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States • Apple Releases Flash Storage Firmware Update for 2015 MacBook Pros • Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks

Posted by on 23 July 2015 | 6:00 pm

Honda Introduces 2016 Accord With CarPlay and Android Auto Support

Honda today at its high-tech research facility in Mountain View introduced its new 2016 Accord with support for both CarPlay and Android Auto, reports Re/code. The ninth-generation sedan will be the first Honda vehicle to support CarPlay as the Japanese car maker aims to expand the iPhone-based dashboard system across its vehicle lineup throughout 2016 and beyond. Honda's new 2016 Accord supports CarPlay (Image: Mercury News/Dai Sugano) CarPlay will come standard on 2016 Accord EX, EX-L and Touring models. Honda opted to announce the mid-sized vehicle in Mountain View, as opposed to traditional auto hotbeds such as Detroit and Los Angeles, because of Silicon Valley's growing importance to the auto industry, particularly as vehicles become more connected with CarPlay and other modern technologies. Apple has listed Honda as a CarPlay partner on its website for several months, but the car maker has not been entirely clear about its launch plans until today. GM is also committed to supporting CarPlay in 2016 across its Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC vehicle brands, while Kenwood recently began shipping its lineup of aftermarket CarPlay and Android Auto systems. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States • Apple Releases Flash Storage Firmware Update for 2015 MacBook Pros • Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks

Posted by on 23 July 2015 | 5:50 pm

'iPhone 6s' Front Panel Depicted in New Photos, Said to Be in Production

An image said to depict the front panel of the upcoming "iPhone 6s" has been shared by French site Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] this afternoon, giving us our first glimpse at the screen for the device. According to the site, the front panel images were shared by an informant who also said that the iPhone parts are currently in production and ready to be shipped to iPhone 6s assembly lines for use in the Silver and Gold iPhone 6s. As an "S" upgrade, the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus are not expected to feature physical design changes, so as is expected, the front panels said to be for the iPhone 6s look identical to front panels for the iPhone 6. Previous iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus part leaks have also confirmed that the casings for the device carry the same design as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but there may be small design improvements and material changes to bolster strength and durability. Nowhereelse.fr mentions that its source could not confirm if the panel included sapphire crystal or hints of Force Touch support. While the addition of Force Touch has been widely rumored for Apple's next-generation iPhones, sapphire crystal displays are not expected and the devices are likely to continue using Gorilla Glass. While there were a few rumors hinting at the possibility of sapphire for the next-generation iPhones, rumors about such a feature have not picked up and no new sapphire deals have become apparent. Along with Force Touch, the next-generation iPhones are rumored to include an improved 12-megapixel camera, an A9 processor, better Touch ID support, 2GB RAM, and a new rose gold color option. Mass production of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is rumored to be beginning this month, with early production having started in late June. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • A Look at Third-Party Bands for Apple Watch • 10 Things the Digital Crown and Side Button Do on Apple Watch • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States • Apple Releases Flash Storage Firmware Update for 2015 MacBook Pros • Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks

Posted by on 23 July 2015 | 4:25 pm

Apple Backs Federal Non-Discrimination LGBT Equality Act of 2015

Apple today declared its support for the Equality Act of 2015, introduced by members of congress this afternoon. The Equality Act would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the legislation that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin. In a statement to the Human Rights Campaign, Apple echoed sentiments on equality that it has shared several times before:At Apple we believe in equal treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. We fully support the expansion of legal protections as a matter of basic human dignity.The Equality Act will ensure full federal equality for all LGBT Americans, including those who live in the 31 states that do not currently have non-discrimination legislation, protecting LBGT citizens from discrimination when seeking jobs, housing, public accommodations, education, and more. During Apple CEO Tim Cook's tenure, Apple has taken a strong position on inclusion and equality. Earlier this year, Apple joined 378 other companies urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality, and the company has participated in the San Francisco Pride Parade for several years running. Cook himself has made several impassioned speeches on non-discrimination and equality and has publicly opposed harmful religious freedom legislation. Last fall, Cook became the first Fortune 500 CEO to publicly come out as gay, an announcement he made in an effort to "bring comfort to anyone who feels alone" and to "inspire people to insist on their equality." Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS • Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125 • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States • Apple Releases Flash Storage Firmware Update for 2015 MacBook Pros • Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks • Apple's Strict Bluetooth LE Security Requirements Slowing Rollout of HomeKit Accessories • Microsoft Introduces 'Send' iOS App for Quick, 'In-and-Out Email'

Posted by on 23 July 2015 | 2:21 pm

Apple and Samsung Combined for Over One-Third of Smartphone Sales in Second Quarter

The latest numbers from research firm IDC reveal that the premium smartphone market continues to be a largely two-horse race between Samsung and Apple, which accounted for 21.7% and 14.1% market share in the second quarter respectively. The rival tech companies combined for 35.8% quarterly market share, finishing well ahead of emerging Chinese competitors Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo during the three-month period ending June 30. IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that smartphone vendors shipped a total of 337.2 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter, an 11.6% increase from the 302.1 million units shipped in the year-ago quarter. The growth was driven by not only premium devices sold by Apple and Samsung, but also the growing number of affordable handsets available in emerging countries such as China and India. Apple increased 2.4 percentage points to 14.1% during the second quarter compared to its 11.7% market share in the year-ago quarter, while market leader Samsung experienced a year-over-year decline as its market share slipped from 24.8% to 21.7%. Apple closed the gap on the continued strength of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with the company announcing it sold 47.5 million iPhones in the third quarter of the fiscal year earlier this week. Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the smartphone operating system race, trailed by Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo with 8.9%, 5.3% and 4.8% market share in the second quarter respectively. All other smartphone makers accounted for a combined 45.2% quarterly market share. Overall mobile phone shipments in the second quarter reached 464.6 million units worldwide. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States • Apple Releases Flash Storage Firmware Update for 2015 MacBook Pros • Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks • Apple's Strict Bluetooth LE Security Requirements Slowing Rollout of HomeKit Accessories • Microsoft Introduces 'Send' iOS App for Quick, 'In-and-Out Email' • AT&T Activation Fee for Contract Customers Rising to $45, New $15 Fee for 'Next' Customers • App Store Sees Best Quarter Ever With 24% Revenue Growth

Posted by on 23 July 2015 | 10:54 am

Apple Launches 2015 Back to School Promotion, Offers Free Beats Solo2 Headphones With Mac Purchase

Apple today launched its annual Back to School promotion, offering a free pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear headphones to qualifying students, parents of students and educators that purchase an eligible Mac, including the iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Pro. As usual, the Mac mini and refurbished Macs are excluded from the deal. iPhones and iPads are also absent from this year's promotion. Apple will apply an instant credit in the amount of $199.95 to cover the full cost of the Beats Solo 2 On-Ear headphones in gloss black, white, red, blue, gray or pink. Apple is also offering the option to upgrade to Beats Solo2 Wireless On-Ear Headphones in space gray, silver or gold for $100 extra, which is the remaining balance after the $199.95 credit is applied. Apple's Back to School promotion offered up to a $100 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a qualifying Mac, iPhone or iPad in past years, including the 2014 and 2013 promotions, but the iPhone and iPad are not included in this year's deal. Apple has outlined the full eligibility requirements for the program in its terms and conditions for the United States [PDF] and Canada [PDF] on its website. Apple has traditionally launched its Back to School program during June or early July, with the second Tuesday of July being the target date for several years in a row, but this year's launch has come later in the month than expected. Apple has also moved away from offering free Apple Store or iTunes gift cards for the first time since offering a free iPod touch with a qualifying Mac in 2010 and prior. Apple's Back to School promotion runs from today through September 18, 2015 at Apple Retail Stores, and between August 6, 2015 and September 18, 2015 on the Apple Online Store, in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Apple has not yet officially announced the promotion in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark or several other European countries that have offered the deal in previous years. Juli Clover contributed to this report. Update 9:30 AM Pacific: Apfelpage.de and iFun.de report that the same promotion will be offered in Germany starting August 6. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States • Apple Releases Flash Storage Firmware Update for 2015 MacBook Pros • Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks • Apple's Strict Bluetooth LE Security Requirements Slowing Rollout of HomeKit Accessories • Microsoft Introduces 'Send' iOS App for Quick, 'In-and-Out Email' • AT&T Activation Fee for Contract Customers Rising to $45, New $15 Fee for 'Next' Customers • App Store Sees Best Quarter Ever With 24% Revenue Growth • 'Square Dashboard' Gives Businesses Ability to Track Sales in Real-Time

Posted by on 23 July 2015 | 8:26 am

Apple Expanding Made for Apple Watch Program to Include Stands With Integrated Chargers

While the release of the Apple Watch has seen a boom in third-party docks and stands for the device, those accessories have needed the stock charger that Apple supplies to charge the Apple Watch. However, Apple will soon allow manufacturers to make official third-party Apple Watch docks and stands with integrated chargers, according to 9to5Mac. Mophie's Watch Dock with non-integrated Apple Watch charger The change is coming for manufacturers in Apple's Made for Apple Watch program, which is similar to the Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad program, known more simply as the MFi program. This will allow manufacturers to obtain the charging pad at the end of the Apple Watch charging cable so that they can install them in their dock and stand accessories. Previously, users had to insert their own charging cables into third-party stands and docks, making those products a little complicated to set up. However, the charging components are currently only available in "sample quantities" and official plans for accessories with integrated chargers cannot be submitted for approval. It's unknown when the first Apple Watch docks and stands with integrated chargers will be available. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Releases Flash Storage Firmware Update for 2015 MacBook Pros • Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks • Apple's Strict Bluetooth LE Security Requirements Slowing Rollout of HomeKit Accessories • Microsoft Introduces 'Send' iOS App for Quick, 'In-and-Out Email' • AT&T Activation Fee for Contract Customers Rising to $45, New $15 Fee for 'Next' Customers • App Store Sees Best Quarter Ever With 24% Revenue Growth • 'Square Dashboard' Gives Businesses Ability to Track Sales in Real-Time • Instagram Brings Search to the Web for the First Time

Posted by on 22 July 2015 | 8:01 pm