Apple Reportedly Exploring Producing Original TV Shows

Apple has been having early discussions with Hollywood executives about producing original video programming in a bid to potentially compete against companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, according to a new report from Variety. Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif. colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.It's currently unclear how large Apple's ambitions and commitment to producing original video content are, as sources have told Variety contradictory things about the Cupertino company's plans. One source says Apple wants to create development and production departments that could create long-term content like Netflix does with original TV shows and movies. Another source says Apple is "flirting" with the idea, and launched an "unprecedented bid" to sign Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond when they left the BBC. However, Amazon ended up winning that bidding war. In recent years, Apple has hired independent film content experts to shore up iTunes Movies' independent offerings with exclusive windows on films and a broader selection of content, including offering movies available for rent before or during their theatrical runs. More recently, Apple has expanded into original content with its worldwide Beats 1 Radio station and music videos for artists like Drake, Eminem and M.I.A., which are reportedly produced in-house. With Apple's rumored live TV-over-the-internet service coming in 2016, it's likely the Cupertino company could be looking for original and exclusive content to lure customers to its service rather than its competitors. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • GT Advanced Laying Off 40% of Workforce Amid Bankruptcy Restructuring • Unreal Engine 4.9 Released With Improved Graphics, Remote Push Notifications and CloudKit Support • T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 7:09 pm

Samsung Announces Round 'Gear S2' Smart Watch

Samsung today unveiled its newest smart watch, the Samsung Gear S2, which is the company's first watch that includes a round display instead of one that's square or rectangular. Positioned as Samsung's seventh smart watch release, the Gear S2 comes in three varieties: Classic, standard, and 3G. The Classic version includes a black case with a black leather band, while the standard version includes a dark gray case with a matching rubber band or a silver case with a white rubber band. According to Samsung, the Classic model is for users "who prefer a more timeless watch design," while the standard model is "ideal for those who are on-the-go and have an admiration for minimal and modern design." The third model, the 3G Gear S2, features the same design as the standard model but includes a 3G radio to connect to 3G cellular networks. With dedicated 3G capabilities, the 3G Gear S2 can be used without a phone, unlike the Apple Watch and most other smart watches on the market."For the past several years, Samsung has pioneered and advanced the wearables category, bringing brave new concepts to the smart wearables market," said JK Shin, CEO and Head of Samsung's IT & Mobile Business. "The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung's most progressive innovation. It is the perfect complement for any occasion, easily taking you from day to night, from work to workout--and ensuring that you get more out of every moment in your day, by making it smarter and ultimately more personal and fun."Each of 11.4 millimeter thick Gear S2 watches includes a 1.2-inch diameter touch display with a resolution of 360 x 360 (302 pixels per inch), a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of storage space. It charges wirelessly, has two to three days of battery life, and includes NFC, WiFi, and Bluetooth. On the battery front it outshines the Apple Watch depending on use, but it has less storage space than the Apple Watch's 8GB. The bezel of the Gear S2 rotates, a feature that's used to navigate through the operating system to interact with apps, and it also uses dedicated Home and Back buttons. Samsung plans to release apps and watch faces designed specifically for the circular display of the Gear S2. Taking a cue from Apple, Samsung designed a new 24-hour fitness activity log for the Gear S2, which will let users view daily progress and get reminders to help them stay on track with fitness goals. Samsung's Gear S2 watch runs the Tizen operating system instead of Android, making it incompatible with the Android Wear app for iOS that Google launched earlier today. Samsung has not yet released pricing details on the Gear S2 or provided a release date, but the company plans to provide more information at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, which starts later this week. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • GT Advanced Laying Off 40% of Workforce Amid Bankruptcy Restructuring • Unreal Engine 4.9 Released With Improved Graphics, Remote Push Notifications and CloudKit Support • T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 4:38 pm

Apple TV Gains Updated NFL Channel With Game Pass Integration

The Apple TV's existing NFL Now channel was today revamped, changing the name to "NFL" and adding support for Game Pass subscriptions. Through the updated channel, NFL fans who have a Game Pass subscription can watch on-demand NFL games and live out-of-market preseason games on the Apple TV for the first time. In late July, the NFL did away with its existing NFL Game Rewind program, which previously gave customers in the United States access to on-demand NFL games after they aired on broadcast television. Game Rewind was replaced with Game Pass, with access being added to the Apple TV and the NFL Mobile app on the iPhone and the iPad. The prior NFL Now channel that was on the Apple TV was limited to historic videos, breaking news, and game highlights rather than complete games as the NFL's contracts with television providers have previously prevented it from showing full game content on the television through the Apple TV. Game Pass includes live access to most out-of-market preseason games, aside from those that are nationally broadcast, plus on-demand regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl games that are available after they air on broadcast television. Game Pass is available in the United States, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), and Mexico. An NFL Game Pass subscription is priced at $99.99 and access to content will last until July 31, 2016. NFL fans outside of the United States also have access to an international "Game Pass" service that offers up live games and on-demand content, which confusingly shares the same name as the new service available in the United States. (Thanks, Dale!) Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Unreal Engine 4.9 Released With Improved Graphics, Remote Push Notifications and CloudKit Support • T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 1:51 pm

University of Oklahoma Becomes First School to Accept Apple Pay Across Campus

As of this week, the University of Oklahoma will begin accepting Apple Pay across its entire campus, becoming the first university to widely embrace Apple Pay. Students attending the University of Oklahoma can use Apple Pay at any of the campus's 400 point-of-service locations, including bookstores, restaurants, and more.Starting this week, Sooners are now able to pay for items at any one of OU's 400 point-of-service locations -- everywhere from Couch Restaurants to the One University Store and the OU Bookstore. That's right: Buying textbooks, technology and food on campus has never been easier -- or more techy.In a quirky post announcing Apple Pay, the university created a list of reasons why "having Apple Pay campus wide is so awesome," ranging from being able to pay without a wallet to the security of the transactions. The University of Oklahoma appears to be the first college to begin accepting Apple Pay campus wide, but in the near future, more than 700 universities and colleges will adopt the payments service. Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement during the company's third-quarter earnings call, specifically naming the University of Oklahoma, the University of Kentucky, and Auburn University, Cook's own alma mater. Since its October 2014 debut, Apple Pay has steadily grown in popularity. Apple Pay works with hundreds of debit and credit cards in the United States and it is accepted at more than 1 million locations across the country. (Thanks, Joshua!) Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 1:35 pm

Apple and Cisco Team Up for iOS Enterprise 'Fast Lane'

Apple today sent out a press release announcing a new partnership with Cisco, which will see the two companies teaming up to create a "fast lane" for iOS business users through the optimization of Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps. The partnership will allow iOS devices to work more efficiently in workplaces that use Cisco technology. iOS is the world's best mobile platform, and nearly every Fortune 500 and Global 500 company today has put iOS at the center of their mobile strategy," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "iPhone and iPad have become essential tools for the modern workforce and are changing the way work gets done. Together with Cisco, we believe we can give businesses the tools to maximize the potential of iOS and help employees become even more productive using the devices they already love."Through the partnership, iOS devices and Cisco networks will be optimized to work together to enhance productivity for enterprise users. Apple and Cisco are aiming to make the iPhone a better business collaboration tool for use with Cisco's voice and video environments, "providing employees with a seamless experience between their iPhone and their desk phone." John Chambers and Tim Cook on stage! Long life to Cisco-Apple partnership! #gocisco! #CiscoGSX! pic.twitter.com/OSkAQ2LCMM— Jose Alfredo (JA) (@josealfredosouz) August 31, 2015 Cisco will create "experiences" tailored to iOS devices across mobile, cloud applications, and collaboration tools like Cisco Spark, Cisco Telepresence, and Cisco WebEx to improve collaborative interactions and "reinvent the meeting experience. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 1:18 pm

Apple Seeds Eighth Beta of OS X El Capitan to Developers, Sixth Beta to Public Testers

Apple today released the eighth beta of OS X El Capitan to developers for testing purposes, nearly two weeks after releasing the seventh El Capitan beta and more than two months after unveiling the operating system at its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. Today's update, build 15A279b, is available through the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Apple Developer Center. There's also a new sixth beta for public beta testers, which is identical to the eighth developer beta. It is not clear if this update will add any outward-facing changes to El Capitan, as many of the prior betas have focused on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes to optimize the operating system ahead of its public release, but beta 7 did add some minor cosmetic updates to El Capitan. 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 • T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 12:06 pm

Android Wear Now Compatible With iPhone, iOS App Launches Today

Google announced today that Android Wear is now compatible with the iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 8.2. An official Android Wear for iOS [Direct Link] companion app is rolling out on the App Store today worldwide. Android Wear for iPhone has several features familiar to Android users, including third-party watch faces, fitness tracking, notifications, Google Now and voice searches. Android Wear for iPhone will also have Google apps such as Weather and Translate preinstalled, but third-party iOS apps are not supported due to Apple's restrictions. Google has attempted to work around Apple's limitations, but Android Wear for iPhone still has some locked-down functionality compared to what is possible with a paired Android smartphone. Rich notifications, for example, are only supported for a handful of stock Google apps, while the selection of watch faces is limited due to the lack of third-party app support. Android Wear for iOS is compatible with the new LG Watch Urbane, upcoming Huawei Watch and Asus ZenWatch 2 and all future Android Wear smartwatches out of the box. Android Wear for iOS does not officially support existing Android Wear smartwatches such as the Moto 360 or Samsung Gear, but most users find that older models do work after a factory reset. The Verge has published an extensive hands-on of Android Wear for iPhone alongside the announcement. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 10:54 am

The Weeknd Stars in Two-Part Apple Music Ad During MTV VMAs

Apple debuted a new two-part Apple Music ad featuring The Weeknd during the 2015 MTV VMAs on Sunday night. The one-minute spots show The Weeknd walking backstage after performing at the VMAs, getting into a limo driven by actor John Travolta and listening to Beats 1 Radio while scrolling through his artist page on Apple Music Connect. The Weeknd then arrives at an VMAs afterparty with his single "The Hills" playing and shuffles through additional songs from an Apple Music playlist, followed by the tagline "It's all in your head. Create your own party. Unlimited music for $9.99." The Weeknd was one of the most played artists on Beats 1 since the radio station went live on June 30, alongside Drake, Disclosure, Fetty Wap, Jamie xx, A$AP Rocky, Years & Years, Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala and Major Lazer. Apple launched a worldwide advertising campaign for its new streaming music service earlier this month, with billboards, posters and other signage appearing in cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto and Mexico City. Later in August, Apple released three artist-focused Apple Music ads starring James Bay and Kygo. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature • First Poster for Upcoming 'Steve Jobs' Film Debuts

Posted by on 31 August 2015 | 7:02 am

Next-Generation Apple TV Said to Launch in October for $149 or $199

Apple's fourth-generation Apple TV will be released in October with a starting price of $149 or $199, according to 9to5Mac. The report claims that Apple will also continue selling the third-generation Apple TV for $69 as an entry-level device, although the set-top box is not expected to have support for an App Store or Siri. The report adds that Apple's much-rumored streaming TV service will be available "as soon as next year" through a software update for both the third-generation and fourth-generation Apple TV. The web-based TV service is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for around $40 per month. The new Apple TV is rumored to feature a dual-core A8 processor, an App Store with a native SDK for developers, Siri voice control, HomeKit integration, a new user interface and a redesigned remote control with motion sensors, a touchpad on the top, physical buttons on the bottom and a microphone. Apple is expected to announce the new Apple TV at its September 9th media event. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature • First Poster for Upcoming 'Steve Jobs' Film Debuts

Posted by on 30 August 2015 | 11:46 am

Apple TV Said to Have Motion Sensitive Remote Control Targeted at Casual Gamers

In a report corroborating several oft-rumored features of the next-generation Apple TV, including an A8 chip and a native SDK for creating apps, TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino has revealed that the set-top box will also have a motion sensitive remote control with multi-axis sensors, a touchpad on the top, physical buttons on the bottom and a microphone for Siri. Panzarino claims the redesigned remote control will likely be targeted at casual gamers:A game controller with a microphone, physical buttons, a touchpad and motion sensitive controls would be extremely capable. While Apple is likely going to target the broad casual gaming market, I would not be shocked to see innovative gameplay blossom from that type of input possibility. Think, for instance, of multi-player gaming with several people using voice input, or many popular genres of party games that would do far better on the TV than on an iPad or iPhone.A new Apple TV with an App Store and easy-to-use controller could lure a significant number of casual gamers away from competing platforms such as Nintendo, in the same way that smartphones have undermined other handheld gaming devices. Coupled with on-demand movies and TV shows, home automation and a streaming TV service, the new Apple TV could dominate the living room. Almost instantaneously, the Apple TV will no longer be Apple's "hobby" product.If Apple did indeed ‘delay’ the Apple TV from being released at WWDC, then it probably had a reason. And, if my sources are correct, that reason could well be polish, polish, polish. The experience of using it is said to blow away the types of junky smart TV interfaces we’ve had to deal with so far. This is the first real Apple TV product.Apple is expected to announce the new Apple TV at its September 9th media event. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature • First Poster for Upcoming 'Steve Jobs' Film Debuts • 'Astropad Graphics Tablet' App for iPad Expands to iPhone With New 'Astropad Mini' App

Posted by on 28 August 2015 | 2:11 pm

Currys and PC World Gearing Up to Sell Apple Watch in UK

MacRumors has learned that British electronics retailer Currys, which co-brands some locations as Currys and PC World, has added the Apple Watch to its internal inventory system as it gears up to begin selling the wrist-worn device. Currys and PC World has a large presence throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, with a combined 295 superstores and 73 high street stores in both countries. It remains unclear how many of those locations will be carrying the Apple Watch. When searching for the Apple Watch on the Currys website, a banner informs customers that the device is "currently not available at Currys and PC World" and advertises a range of smartwatches from Sony, Motorola, LG, Pebble and others. Apple has been expanding Apple Watch availability beyond Apple Stores over the past few months. Best Buy in the U.S. began selling the Apple Watch in early August, followed by Best Buy in Canada, Harvey Norman and Myer in Australia and Fnac in France. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature • First Poster for Upcoming 'Steve Jobs' Film Debuts • 'Astropad Graphics Tablet' App for iPad Expands to iPhone With New 'Astropad Mini' App

Posted by on 28 August 2015 | 1:00 pm

Intel's Skylake Processor Lineup for Retina MacBook Revealed

Following a closer look at Intel's upcoming Skylake processor lineup for the MacBook Air, CPU World has shared new details about sixth-generation Core M chips appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook. Intel reportedly may brand the low-power Skylake-Y chips as Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 based on performance. The low-end Core m3 6Y30 has a 900 MHz dual-core processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.2 GHz. The chip has 4MB of L3 cache, HD 515 graphics, a maximum GPU frequency of 850 MHz and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP). This chip would likely be suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 are similar chips with 1.1 GHz dual-core processors and Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz and 2.8 GHz respectively, 4MB of L3 cache, HD 515 graphics, a maximum GPU frequency of 900 MHz and 4.5 watt TDP. These chips would likely be suited for the high-end stock model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599. The high-end Core m5 6Y75 is a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz, 4MB of L3 cache, HD 515 graphics, a maximum GPU frequency of 1 GHz and 4.5 watt TDP. This chip would be suited for the top of the line 12-inch MacBook model that carries a $150 premium over systems with the high-end stock chip. CPU World shared further details about the processor specifications, noting that Core M chips can be run at 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz for the current 12-inch MacBook lineup.All chips have up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s ports, 10 lanes of PCI-Express interface, 6 USB2/USB3 ports and eMMC 5.0 interface. They support USB OTG and Rapid Storage Technology 14. The Core m microprocessors work with DDR3L-1600 and LPDDR3-1866 memory, and they are rated at 4.5 watt TDP and 3 watt SDP. They can also run at higher 7 watt TDP if needed.Last month, a leaked Intel slide deck revealed that "Y" series Skylake processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will have up to 17% faster CPU performance, up to 41% faster Intel HD graphics and up to 1.4 hours longer battery life compared to current-generation Core M architecture. Intel's sixth-generation Core M processors are expected to launch next month, possibly at the IFA Berlin trade show this September 4-9. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature • First Poster for Upcoming 'Steve Jobs' Film Debuts • 'Astropad Graphics Tablet' App for iPad Expands to iPhone With New 'Astropad Mini' App

Posted by on 28 August 2015 | 12:07 pm

iHome's iSP5 SmartPlug Is Far From Perfect, But It's a Cheap Way to Give HomeKit a Try

iHome's iSP5 SmartPlug is one of the first five HomeKit-compatible devices on the market, and it's the most affordable option for Apple users who are looking to try out the company's home automation platform. The SmartPlug is a simple device that plugs right into any outlet, transforming any appliance - from lights to fans - into an iPhone-controlled Siri-compatible smart product using WiFi. We tested out three of iHome's SmartPlugs, simulating what it might be like to control lights and fans across multiple rooms to turn an ordinary home with ordinary outlets into a smart home with a reasonable monetary investment and a bit of time. As with the Elgato Eve review I did earlier this summer, using the iHome SmartPlugs makes it clear that there are still a lot of issues that need to be resolved with HomeKit and Apple's HomeKit partner companies, but at the $40 price point, I can recommend the SmartPlug to anyone curious about HomeKit who has the patience to deal with bugs that can range from minor inconveniences to frustrations that make you want to toss your SmartPlug across the room in anger. Hardware Overview The iSP5 SmartPlug is a no-frills device that plugs into any outlet within the home to transform it into a WiFi-connected outlet. Each SmartPlug connects individually to a home's WiFi network, so a central bridge is not required. SmartPlugs are rectangular in shape and fairly compact -- small enough that two can be plugged in next to each other in a single 120v wall outlet. Setting up the SmartPlugs is as simple as plugging them in and downloading the iHome Control app. From there, a WiFi network needs to be confirmed within the app and the HomeKit code supplied with each SmartPlug needs to be entered to register the devices with HomeKit and an iCloud account. The SmartPlugs can support small home appliances that are up to 1800 watts, encompassing lamps, heaters, fans, home audio systems, window air conditioning units, humidifiers, and more. An unlimited number of SmartPlugs can be used within a single home, but the devices do not work with enterprise WiFi networks and thus won't be usable in corporate environments or colleges. When a SmartPlug is turned on and connected to a WiFi network, a small indicator LED on the device lights up so its status is clear at a glance, while power is indicated through a lit-up iHome logo. In well-lit rooms, the two LED lights are hardly noticeable, but in a dark bedroom, they're overly bright and can be distracting. A button at the top of the SmartPlug serves as a manual control for turning it off, and it's also used to initiate resets if there's a connection problem. I used the reset feature on a regular basis while I was testing the SmartPlugs as I continually ran into a problem where they would refuse to work with Siri. Resetting seemed to temporarily fix this issue, but it kept popping up. iHome App and Siri The iHome app offers a simple way to control the SmartPlugs and it has the standard HomeKit organizational features allowing devices to be grouped into Rooms and Zones, as well as labeled with a name. With Rooms, different SmartPlugs can be grouped by the room they're in, such as the living room or bedroom, while Zones groups rooms together, like upstairs or downstairs. Each SmartPlug is given a name, like "lamp" or "fan," which can be used along with the Room name or Zone name to control groups of devices. An individual SmartPlug can be controlled using its assigned name, but multiple SmartPlugs can be controlled by their Room or Zone names, e.g., "turn off the outlets in the bedroom" or "turn off the upstairs lights." The most efficient way to manage multiple HomeKit devices is through the use of Scenes and Rules. Rules are essentially timers and can be used to set devices to turn on or off at a specific time, with each SmartPlug supporting up to 10 Rules. Right now, Rules only work as timers, but in the future, that feature might expand with the addition of trigger events and other HomeKit options. It would be nice, for example, to be able to set up a geofence that turns on the lights when I get home, or triggers the bedroom light to come on from an attached door sensor, but those are not yet functions that are available in HomeKit. Scenes set up conditions for multiple devices that can be activated with a single Siri command. For example, I set up a "bedtime" scene in the iHome app that turned off the living room light, turned off the bedroom light, and turned on the fan. I set a similar "wake up" scene that turned on the bedroom light, turned off the fan, and turned on the living room light. All of the Scenes, Rooms, and Zones are accessible in the iHome app and can be controlled directly via toggles, but these labels are also used by Siri for voice commands. Here are some of the example commands showing the ways Scenes, Rooms, and Zones work for controlling multiple devices with Siri: - Turn on the light in the living room - Turn off the fan - Turn on the outlets in the bedroom - Turn on the outlets upstairs - Turn on the bedtime scene - Set my wake up scene - Is the light on? - Are the outlets in the bedroom on? As with my Elgato Eve review, asking Siri to perform these commands did not always work. There were multiple instances where I had to ask my questions two or three times after being told "Hmm, I couldn't get a response from your devices this time," even though the iHome app and manual device control was working fine. When I got this response, or its sister response "Sorry, I wasn't able to do that," there was nothing I could do. There is no way to troubleshoot HomeKit devices that aren't working because there's no further elaboration on why the connection is mysteriously non-functional. I can unplug the SmartPlugs and plug them in again, or reset my Internet connection, but that doesn't always fix the problem and I don't know why or what else I can do to make these devices work better. Siri also did not always understand my commands, with something like "Turn on the lights" or "Set the night time scene" occasionally bringing up a web search after working properly five minutes before. In the screenshot below, you can see my multiple attempts to get Siri to turn off the lamp. Every command was the same: "turn off the lamp," which, by the way, was not in the living room. Using Siri was never guaranteed to be reliable, and having to repeat myself multiple times took longer than it would to open the app or simply walk to the light and flip a switch. Siri was best at single commands: "Turn on the light," "Is the fan on?" "Turn off the fan," and worst at my custom named scenes and group controls: "Turn off the lights in the Living Room," or "set the wake up scene." Combined with the connection problems I had, controlling multiple devices via Siri was more of a chore than a convenience, and I often chose to open up the app. In addition to my issues with Siri, I had some problems with the iHome Control app that made using the SmartPlugs a more frustrating experience than was necessary. The iHome app logged me out every single day. I had to re-login into the app every morning, and sometimes more than once in a day, a process requiring a username and password (with no Touch ID support). I also could not get the iHome app to remember my scenes correctly. Every time I added a new device, it deleted the entire scene name, requiring me to enter information multiple times. Even after doing that, it sometimes wouldn't properly save what I'd put in, so I had to continually come back and redo scenes over and over again. There are also no bells and whistles in this app. It would be nice to be able to access SmartPlug controls from the Notification Center or through an Apple Watch app when Siri's refusing to cooperate, but my only option is to use the full app. Remote Access With the Elgato Eve line of accessories, I was not able to get remote access via the Apple TV working, and the same was true of the SmartPlugs. Despite using Apple's troubleshooting tips and logging in and out of iCloud multiple times, I was never able to use Siri to control the devices plugged into the SmartPlugs when away from home. Because they're connected to my WiFi, though, I was able to use the iHome app and the iHome cloud to remotely control appliances. Other iCloud-based features of HomeKit seem to work fine, so I'm not sure what's wrong with remote access. I'm able to control HomeKit devices using any of my iPads and iPhones that are signed in with the same iCloud account, but that doesn't extend to the Apple TV. When I reviewed the Elgato Eve line, it was not clear to me which of the bugs I encountered were the fault of Apple and which might be the fault of the Eve line, but after testing the SmartPlugs, I can say it seems to be HomeKit that's the problem. My Apple ID simply does not work for remote access and there seems to be no way to fix that issue beyond creating a new iCloud account, which is not a reasonable solution given how much is tied to an iCloud account -- photos, files, Apple Pay, and more. Multi-User Support Since I was installing the SmartPlugs in several rooms in my house, I had to give my husband access to them so he could also control the lights. Light switches can still be used to turn appliances plugged into the SmartPlug on and off, but there's a ~30 second waiting period before a device will turn on because the SmartPlug needs to reconnect with WiFi. In our living room, for example, I plugged our lamp into the SmartPlug. We could still use the light switch, but found it inconvenient that we sometimes had to wait up to 30 seconds before the light would come on after the switch was turned on. Setting up multi-user support required the second user's iCloud email address. On the first day I tried to set it up, I got error message after error message about my husband's iPhone being unreachable, despite it being right in front of me. On the second day I tried, it went through, letting him accept the connection request. I don't know why it worked one day and not another day or what I changed to get it to work because again, there's no way to troubleshoot any error in this system. Once his iCloud address was associated with HomeKit and the SmartPlugs, he was able to see them within the iHome Control app installed on his own phone and he was able to control them using Siri commands. As an average iPhone user with no particular interest in HomeKit, he wasn't impressed with the SmartPlug."I'm not going to open an app to turn a light on and off when the switch is right there, because it's easier to turn the light on when I walk past it. Also, I don't like talking with my phone. This seems like a micro optimization that doesn't improve my life."As a longtime user of smart home products like the Philips Hue and someone who's enthusiastic about the potential HomeKit has, I don't necessarily agree with his assessment, but it's true that HomeKit's limited automation options can make the SmartPlug feel like little more than a less convenient light switch replacement. In my office, I have Hue lights set up. They come on at 9:00 a.m., dim at sunset, and turn off at night. I'm also able to set up geofencing, set up alarms, automatically activate different scenes, and use them with services like IFTTT, all functionality that I can't replicate with lights plugged into the SmartPlugs. My only automation options are simple timers. Multi-HomeKit Device Support Apps for HomeKit products, like the iHome Control app, are designed to recognize all HomeKit devices, and not just those associated with the app. I was able to use the Elgato Eve Energy (another smart plug) in the iHome Control app right alongside the SmartPlugs I installed. I could use them in Scenes and Rules. Similarly, the SmartPlugs were all accessible to me within the Eve app designed for the Eve line of devices, so I was able to use either app interchangeably to control my devices. I had better luck with the SmartPlugs in the Eve app, because with the Eve Energy in the iHome Control app, I wasn't always able to connect to it. Bottom Line Having tested both Bluetooth-connected and WiFi-connected HomeKit devices with the Elgato Eve line and the iHome SmartPlugs, WiFi-connected HomeKit devices seem to be more reliable. In my experience, getting responses from Siri was faster with the SmartPlugs and I had fewer connection issues. As a WiFi-connected HomeKit device that's also relatively inexpensive, the iHome SmartPlug is probably the best HomeKit option on the market right now for folks who want to give HomeKit a try without a serious monetary investment. In general, I'd recommend waiting for bug fixes and until there are more HomeKit products available before making a HomeKit purchase, but if you want a HomeKit device now, the SmartPlug is a decent choice. It's far from perfect, but if you want to turn off the bedroom light without getting out of bed or turn on the fan while you're away from home, this is a way to do it. I do want to point out one shortcoming I haven't yet mentioned. Compared to other devices in this same space, the SmartPlug only turns power on and off. It doesn't have more advanced features like power monitoring, which Elgato's Eve Energy does have. As for using several SmartPlugs at once, getting Siri to understand commands isn't always reliable, but when it works, the way multiple HomeKit devices function together through Scenes and Rooms can make it simple to control a whole house with a few sentences. I couldn't always get Siri to help me get ready for bed, but being able to use the phrase "set up my bedtime scene" to turn off the lights in the living room and bedroom and turn on my fan was a time saver. Even when Siri didn't work, I could still rely on the iHome Control app to manage my lights and appliances. This method wasn't always more convenient than a light switch, but it was useful when I wanted to control a light without getting up or to make sure my lights were on when away from home (though iHome cloud, not Apple's remote HomeKit function). Anyone planning to purchase a SmartPlug or another HomeKit-enabled product should be aware that the platform is still in its early stages. There are a lot of lingering bugs and using HomeKit is far from a seamless experience with few options for troubleshooting problems. Testing multiple SmartPlugs for this review has taught me that HomeKit is in desperate need of a centralized Apple-designed app that can be used as a control hub for setup purposes and to give at least some information on networking problems. Third-party apps are used to control HomeKit devices and that's just not going to cut it in the future when our homes are cluttered with multiple HomeKit products from a range of different companies. Third-party apps look different, function in different ways, and can be buggy, making the setup process for HomeKit devices more frustrating than it needs to be. Additionally, the way HomeKit is organized right now, in Zones, Scenes, and Rooms, is just plain confusing and it's not going to get simpler as HomeKit expands. None of the apps I've used so far adequately explain how these features work and how to set them up for maximum benefit, nor do they explain how Siri works. That's not a problem for me because I'm familiar with HomeKit, but the average iPhone user may have more difficulty, especially when several HomeKit products are involved. Pros: - Inexpensive - Well-made - Transforms dumb objects into smart devices - Easy to set up - Remote access to devices is convenient - Multi-SmartPlug system lets multiple devices to be controlled with one command Cons: - App crashes - Have to re-login to app frequently - Loses connection - Siri is unreliable - Few in-app troubleshooting options - Limited automation options - On/off functionality only How to Buy The iHome iSP5 SmartPlug can be purchased from the iHome website for $39.99 or from Amazon.com for the same price. 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Posted by on 28 August 2015 | 9:02 am

Beats 1 Lead Executive Ian Rogers Leaves Apple

Apple Music senior director and former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers has resigned from Apple nearly two months after the launch of the streaming music service, the company confirmed to the Financial Times today. Rogers was among a group of executives that joined Apple last year when the iPhone maker acquired Beats for $3 billion. Rogers's official title was Senior Director of Apple Music, a position he held since August 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. Rogers, who served as Beats Music CEO between January 2013 and August 2014, departed Apple to join an undisclosed "Europe-based company in an unrelated industry" on the west coast. He is credited for hiring Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe, who worked at BBC Radio 1 from 2002 to 2015. Beats 1 is a 24/7 streaming radio station built into Apple Music, featuring a mix of the latest music and guest appearances from artists such as Drake, Dr. Dre, The Weeknd, Eminem, Pharrell Williams and others. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough • Belkin Launches MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain Chargers • Instagram Announces In-App Support for Portrait and Landscape Modes • Apple Partners With PayAnywhere for Universal Apple Pay Card Reader • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature • First Poster for Upcoming 'Steve Jobs' Film Debuts • 'Astropad Graphics Tablet' App for iPad Expands to iPhone With New 'Astropad Mini' App • 'Lara Croft GO' Launches Today on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

Posted by on 28 August 2015 | 6:38 am

Apple Invites Media to September 9 Event: 'Hey Siri, Give Us a Hint'

As predicted in August, Apple is planning to hold a media event on Wednesday, September 9 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. Media invites were sent out today, with Yahoo's Alyssa Bereznak sharing the first look at the artwork and tagline for the invitations: "Hey Siri, give us a hint." Image via The Loop This year's iPhone-centric event is expected to see the debut of the next-generation iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which, according to rumors, will include a reinforced body constructed from stronger 7000 Series aluminum, Force Touch, an A9 processor, 2GB RAM, and an improved camera. Rumors have also suggested Apple will use the event to unveil the next-generation Apple TV, a major update from the existing set-top box. It will include a redesigned chassis with an A8 processor, more storage space, and a touch-based remote control, along with a new software system that includes Siri support and a full App Store. We'll also get an update on the launch dates of iOS 9 and watchOS 2, and shortly after the event ends, we may see golden master software releases for the two software updates ahead of their final public launch. In line with past events, the September 9 iPhone unveiling will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Apple has not yet confirmed whether the event will be live streamed on its website and through the Apple TV, but it is likely details on a live stream will be announced a few days ahead of the event. Update: Siri itself is also getting in on the festivities with some witty responses. Update 2: Apple will be live streaming the media event on the web for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and PC users. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Workflow' for iOS Gains Today Widget, Syncing Feature • First Poster for Upcoming 'Steve Jobs' Film Debuts • 'Astropad Graphics Tablet' App for iPad Expands to iPhone With New 'Astropad Mini' App • 'Lara Croft GO' Launches Today on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone • Jony Ive and Jimmy Iovine to Speak at Vanity Fair 'New Establishment' Summit in October • Facebook Testing Siri Competitor 'M' Inside Messenger App • Pad & Quill Review: Classic Apple Watch Band Is Attractive and Affordable • HyperLink for Apple Watch Review: A Quality Stainless Steel Link Bracelet at Sport Band Pricing

Posted by on 27 August 2015 | 11:16 am

Confirmed: Apple Retiring 'One to One' to Focus on Free Workshops [Updated]

MacRumors recently learned that Apple's One to One training program for Mac, iPhone and iPad may be coming to an end soon, and we can now confirm that Apple Stores are holding meetings with retail employees about phasing out the membership-based service, which has been available under its current name since May 2007. One to One members should be informed about the changes in the near future. Apple is retiring One to One to focus on free public workshops such as Mac Basics, Personalize Your Mac, iPhone and iPad Basics, iCloud Basics and iPhone Photography. Group Training and Open Training will be discontinued immediately, while Personal Training will remain available for customers that recently purchased One to One until their membership expires, according to sources. One to One costs $99 per year and provides customers that purchase a Mac with individualized tutoring sessions from Apple retail employees related to Getting Started With Your Mac, Getting Started With Your iPhone, Getting Started With Your iPad, iCloud, Mail Contacts & Calendars, iPhoto, GarageBand, iMovie, iTunes, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Motion and Logic Pro. Update: One to One will be retired on September 28th per an internal memo obtained by 9to5Mac. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Astropad Graphics Tablet' App for iPad Expands to iPhone With New 'Astropad Mini' App • 'Lara Croft GO' Launches Today on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone • Jony Ive and Jimmy Iovine to Speak at Vanity Fair 'New Establishment' Summit in October • Facebook Testing Siri Competitor 'M' Inside Messenger App • Pad & Quill Review: Classic Apple Watch Band Is Attractive and Affordable • HyperLink for Apple Watch Review: A Quality Stainless Steel Link Bracelet at Sport Band Pricing • Philips Announces New Hue Wireless Dimming Kit • Apple Seeds Xcode 7 Beta 6 to Developers

Posted by on 27 August 2015 | 9:58 am

'iPhone 6s' to Feature Apple Watch-Like Motion Wallpapers

A new feature of the upcoming "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" will be a collection of improved animated wallpapers for the smartphones' lock screen, according to a few sources speaking with 9to5Mac. The designs of the wallpapers will be similar to the "Motion" watch faces seen on the Apple Watch, with the suggested hint that each animation will dynamically change and animate every time the user wakes their phone to interact with it. The new themes will range from fish in a koi pond to different color smoke clouds, the latter of which are suggested as becoming animated versions of the static backgrounds that got added in an iOS 9 beta update earlier in the month. The same sources do warn the feature could have been dropped at the last second, but a questionable leaked photo of a purported iPhone 6s Plus box -- which does in fact showcase a koi pond-like fish image -- could point to the feature's inclusion in the new line of iPhones. Apple introduced dynamic wallpapers in iOS 7, but the options were limited, with one theme stretching over seven different color choices. Today's report suggests the company could be going into as deep and obsessive detail of capturing unique and interesting lock screen images as it did for the Apple Watch. Including a few in-depth photos and videos shared with us, news and rumors surrounding the next-generation of iPhone have begun pointing towards a September 9 media reveal for the devices, with a launch a week-and-a-half later on September 18. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Astropad Graphics Tablet' App for iPad Expands to iPhone With New 'Astropad Mini' App • 'Lara Croft GO' Launches Today on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone • Jony Ive and Jimmy Iovine to Speak at Vanity Fair 'New Establishment' Summit in October • Facebook Testing Siri Competitor 'M' Inside Messenger App • Pad & Quill Review: Classic Apple Watch Band Is Attractive and Affordable • HyperLink for Apple Watch Review: A Quality Stainless Steel Link Bracelet at Sport Band Pricing • Philips Announces New Hue Wireless Dimming Kit • Apple Seeds Xcode 7 Beta 6 to Developers

Posted by on 27 August 2015 | 9:39 am

'iPhone 6s' Display Panel With Mystery Chip Is Slightly Heavier and Thicker Than iPhone 6 Version

Following our look at a partially functioning "iPhone 6s" built from parts earlier this week, we're now getting some more details on the iPhone 6s display assembly itself. While the part has been seen in a few leaks over the past several weeks, a source has now provided us with some new information and high-quality photos of the part. Display assemblies from iPhone 6 (left) and iPhone 6s (right) Numerous rumors have pointed toward the iPhone 6s including support for Force Touch, which will allow the device to sense how hard the user is pressing on the screen and present different interface options or functionality based on the amount of pressure. We've yet to see confirmation that such functionality is present in these display assemblies that have been circulating, but there are some tantalizing differences from the corresponding iPhone 6 part. Top portion of iPhone 6s display assembly with unknown chip The first is a small rectangular chip visible on the rear of the display. It has been seen in all leaked parts seen so far, and its function remains unconfirmed, but our source suspects it is indeed related to Force Touch. The chip is visible due to a cutout in the metal shielding behind the display. The cutout doesn't appear to be required for the function of the chip, and it simply seems to be a space-saving issue. With the chip making that area of the display thicker than the rest of the part, the cutout allows the shielding to cover the remainder of the display panel evenly without adding too much thickness. As noted previously, the metal shielding is now glued in place rather than screwed in as on the iPhone 6. Closeup of chip on rear of iPhone 6s display Our source also says the iPhone 6s display panel is slightly thicker than the iPhone 6 panel, a change that may be related to Force Touch support and contributing to the reported 0.2 mm increase in overall thickness for the device. Finally, along with the increase in thickness there is also a slight increase in weight for the display assembly, with the iPhone 6s part weighing 51.2 grams. A corresponding iPhone 6 part that also includes the front-facing camera and bracket (unlike the iPhone 6s part) weighs 49.4 grams. A portion of that increase in weight from the display assembly may be offset in the rear shell, which was previously found to be 2 grams lighter than the iPhone 6 shell. Bottom portion of iPhone 6s display assembly with home button Apple is expected to officially unveil the iPhone 6s in less than two weeks at an event rumored for Wednesday, September 9, perhaps at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. If Apple holds true to recent patterns, pre-orders for the new iPhone would begin on Friday, September 11 with the launch coming a week later on Friday, September 18. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Lara Croft GO' Launches Today on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone • Jony Ive and Jimmy Iovine to Speak at Vanity Fair 'New Establishment' Summit in October • Facebook Testing Siri Competitor 'M' Inside Messenger App • Pad & Quill Review: Classic Apple Watch Band Is Attractive and Affordable • HyperLink for Apple Watch Review: A Quality Stainless Steel Link Bracelet at Sport Band Pricing • Philips Announces New Hue Wireless Dimming Kit • Apple Seeds Xcode 7 Beta 6 to Developers • 'Trade Show' Plans at San Francisco Theater Spark Speculation of Apple Event Location

Posted by on 27 August 2015 | 8:57 am

IDC Estimates Apple Watch Sales Totaled 3.6 Million in Second Quarter

The latest data from market research firm IDC estimates Apple Watch sales totaled 3.6 million worldwide in the second quarter of 2015, making it the second most popular wearable device during the three-month period ending June 30. Apple was within striking distance of market leader Fitbit, which sold an estimated 4.4 million fitness trackers in the second quarter. IDC estimates that Chinese electronics maker Xiaomi trailed in third place with 3.1 million wearables shipped in the quarter, representing 17.1% market share. Garmin and Samsung rounded off the top five with 700,000 (3.9%) and 600,000 (3.3%) wearables shipped respectively, while all other vendors accounted for a combined 5.7 million shipments and 31.5% market share. Last month, Strategy Analytics estimated 4 million Apple Watch sales in the second quarter, so IDC's estimate is within close range. Apple has not disclosed Apple Watch sales numbers since it launched in April, instead grouping the wrist-worn device with iPod, Apple TV and Beats Electronics accessories under an "Other Products" category in quarterly earnings reports. Apple CEO Tim Cook vaguely mentioned that Apple Watch sales have "exceeded expectations" during an earnings call last month. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Lara Croft GO' Launches Today on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone • Jony Ive and Jimmy Iovine to Speak at Vanity Fair 'New Establishment' Summit in October • Facebook Testing Siri Competitor 'M' Inside Messenger App • Pad & Quill Review: Classic Apple Watch Band Is Attractive and Affordable • HyperLink for Apple Watch Review: A Quality Stainless Steel Link Bracelet at Sport Band Pricing • Philips Announces New Hue Wireless Dimming Kit • Apple Seeds Xcode 7 Beta 6 to Developers • 'Trade Show' Plans at San Francisco Theater Spark Speculation of Apple Event Location

Posted by on 27 August 2015 | 8:39 am

Sketchy Photo of Claimed 'iPhone 6s Plus' Box Surfaces Alongside Rumor of Smaller Battery

A new photo obtained by cnBeta [Google Translate] (via Mac Otakara [Google Translate]) allegedly shows off what appears to be the packaging of the upcoming iPhone 6s Plus. The photo depicts a standard white iPhone box, similar to what Apple has used as packaging for previous phones. The box is unfolded and has what appears to be a gold iPhone 6s Plus on the front, a gold Apple logo on the bottom and "iPhone 6s Plus" written on the side. The "S" is within a small square, as is standard on iPhone "S" packaging. The box also shows off what looks to be a brand new wallpaper featuring a black and gold fish or flower. Additionally, cnBeta says that the iPhone 6s' battery capacity will be down to 1715 mAh from the iPhone 6's 1800 mAh, while the iPhone 6s Plus will be down to 2750 mAh from the iPhone 6 Plus' 2910 mAh. Mac Otakara says they've also heard the battery capacity for both models will be lower, lining up with earlier rumors that the battery capacity in the phones would be smaller. If true, it likely indicates Apple has increased the battery efficiency of both "S" phone models in order to make up for the smaller battery capacity. However, it's unclear how authentic the photos of the iPhone 6s Plus packaging are. The material of the box appears to be a thinner material than current iPhone packaging and displays an unfamiliar wallpaper that has not appeared in any iOS 9 betas thus far. Apple is expected to announce both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus at a September 9 event. The Cupertino company is also expected to finally unveil its new Apple TV with a new touch-based remote and full App Store. New rumors indicate the event could be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Jony Ive and Jimmy Iovine to Speak at Vanity Fair 'New Establishment' Summit in October • Facebook Testing Siri Competitor 'M' Inside Messenger App • Pad & Quill Review: Classic Apple Watch Band Is Attractive and Affordable • HyperLink for Apple Watch Review: A Quality Stainless Steel Link Bracelet at Sport Band Pricing • Philips Announces New Hue Wireless Dimming Kit • Apple Seeds Xcode 7 Beta 6 to Developers • 'Trade Show' Plans at San Francisco Theater Spark Speculation of Apple Event Location • Apple Stops Signing iOS 8.4

Posted by on 26 August 2015 | 11:16 pm