Default outside carrier's stores now becomes Next installment program
AT&T, one of the US' largest carriers, has opted to make a significant change to its arrangements with third-party resellers of its services, including franchises and agents such as Apple, Walmart, and others. All non-company stores will be restricted from offering any two-year contracts in the traditional format with an up-front down payment, though AT&T company stores and its own online site will continue to offer contracts. Instead, retailers will have to offer the AT&T Next option, where buyers pay the cost of the phone alongside the monthly service plan fees.
Apple Game Roundup for May 22
On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. In today's entry we look at the release date for Telltale's Game of Thrones Episode 4, the launch of Heroes of the Storm's public beta, a progress update for Shadowrun: Hong Kong, a new Surprise Attack game collection from Humble Bundle, and the latest character video for Overwatch.
MacNN and Electronista deals for May 22, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, offers, sales, and bundles on hardware, software, and gadgets for you, the discerning reader. Our last recap of the week follows after the new batch of deals, including a 1080p home theater projector, a $130 Chromebook, and the Logitech UE Mini Boom speaker.
15-inch MBP updates, wireless mouse problems and more
This week in the MacNN forums, members discussed the recent updates to the 15-inch MBP in a thread started by Moderator "P" in which he points out some of the changes that have been made. Today Mac Elite "rotuts" turned to the forums looking for help figuring out why his Logitech mouse is not working with his new iMac.
Macs from $419
Right now at Apple's online store, save big on refurbished Macs, with prices starting as low as $419. The refurbished Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive has been cut by $80 to $419. Priced at $679, after a 120 discount, is the refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage.
Sales at 2.5 million units, estimated sales of 30,000 per day, says Slice Intelligence
Figures extrapolated from some 14,000 online shoppers who use Slice Intelligence's services suggests that the Apple Watch is selling approximately 30,000 units a day, following an unsurprising initial rush of over 2.5 million pre-orders. While some analysts will inevitably portray this as a slump, the drop-off is typical of new products, and puts the Apple Watch on pace to have outsold all existing smartwatches on its first day or two of pre-ordering, and outselling the early days of the iPhone and iPad.
Win your choice of Apple prize with MacNN Deals
Do you have your eye on an Apple product that you'd like to acquire, but don't feel like spending the money to buy it? MacNN Deals is giving you the opportunity to win your choice of prize from a selection of Apple products in the latest easy-to-enter competition, which can net you an Apple TV, an iPad, an iPhone 6, or even an Apple Watch if you want one.
MacNN and Electronista deals for May 21, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search the Internet to find bundles, discounts, offers, and sales on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. The last few days of still-active deals are accompanied by a new set, including a 2TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive, the Nintendo 2DS, and an Asus Transformer notebook.
Some enterprise-level apps from Apple, IBM now offer Apple Watch support
On Thursday, Apple updated its enterprise app solutions web page to announce updates to some of the MobileFirst for iOS apps, developed in partnership with IBM, to offer Apple Watch support. Three of the 22 current MobileFirst apps -- Field Connect, Incident Aware, and Hospital RN -- now include Apple Watch versions of the apps, with push notifications, iBeacon support, notifications, and weather conditions, among other information available to front-line workers.
Accidental image could be Photoshop error, or hint at wider Apple Pay rollout
Among the promotional photos released in connection with the new Apple Lightning Dock designed for the iPhone 6 line (but which also works with the older iPhone 5 family) is an image that appears to show an iPhone 5c equipped with a Touch ID sensor rather than the normal home button. While the image could be a simple Photoshop gaffe, it raises the possibility that Apple might refit and freshen the iPhone 5c to be able to handle Apple Pay as part of a larger, multi-country rollout of the mobile payments service.
Worldwide issue disrupting most areas of iCloud services, slowing response time
[Update: Apple says all services now restored as of 9:30AM ET] Some of Apple's iCloud services have been suffering a global, widespread slowdown or outage, beginning around 2:30AM Eastern time and continuing into mid-Thursday morning. The problems have reached into 11 services from Apple's online cloud offering, including iCloud Drive, iCloud Keychain syncing, iCloud Mail syncing, Documents in the Cloud, iCloud Backup, Back to My Mac, Photos, Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod touch/Mac, iMovie Theater, iCloud sign-in, and the iWork for iCloud beta.
Powerful replacement for Apple's Email
It used to be that free trumped everything, especially when that free was something built by Apple or Microsoft. When literally every Mac or Windows user has a particular type of software provided right there with their computer, it used to be that rivals simply died. Now we seem more open to persuasion, or at least to considering alternatives, and for some people Postbox 4 is going to be so ideal they'll wish they bought it two versions ago.
New model seemingly intended to expand line, lower prices
Accessory purveyor OWC has unboxed and torn down the new 2015 Retina iMac. In a blog post, the company has noted that the new model has retained the 2-lane PCI-e SSD upgrade slot "whether ordered with a SSD or not," can take 32GB of RAM. Additionally, the 3.3GHz model uses a Radeon R9 M290 GPU, versus the M290X in the faster models.
Gain extra utility with lesser-known functionality in the Dock
The Dock is one of the many features of OS X that is taken for granted -- and often underutilized. Sure, a fair number of users eventually figure out that the can take things off the dock -- usually by accident, resulting in some considerable alarm -- but it has come to our attention that shockingly few users really leverage the Dock as Apple intended. In this installment of Pointers, we'll go over some of the "hidden" powers of the Dock that turn it into a real productivity tool.
MacNN and Electronista deals for May 20, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for sales, bundles, discounts, and offers on hardware, software, and gadgetry for you, the discerning reader. A recap of still-active deals follows the new batch, which includes $300 off a Lenovo notebook, the Logitech UE Boom speaker, and the Sony AS30 HD Action Camera
Maps to continue to use TomTom data for navigation with renewed contract
TomTom, the Dutch mapping data company that has been one of the key partners in Apple Maps since day one, will continue to supply the iPhone maker with geographic and street-level data, despite rumors of a wholly revamped Maps service in the works. TomTom is one of several partners Apple uses to collect location data for Maps, but has been one of the most important, even as Apple has spent much of the last three years acquiring other GPS-related companies.
Agency joining with Apple, AT&T in opposing sale of cell phone customer data
Following a similar move by Apple last Thursday filed with the Delaware bankruptcy court handling the sale of some RadioShack assets, the US Federal Trade Commission has sent the court a list of conditions for the sale of the electronics retailer's assets that would be needed to protect personal privacy of cellular service customers who bought their equipment and/or service from RadioShack. Neither Apple, nor fellow filer AT&T, are seeking to block the overall sale.
MacNN and Electronista deals for May 19, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where we search online for offers, sales, bundles, and discounts on hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. New deals follow after a recap of still-active deals from yesterday, with today's additions including a wide discount on Dodocase products, a 4K monitor from Dell, and a 3D printer and scanner for $600.
Mac minis from $509
At Apple's online store right now, save big on Mac minis priced as low as $509. Starting at $509 is the Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive. A $110 price cut drops the cost on the refurbished Mac mini with a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive, now $589.
First software update for Apple Watch adds emoji, offers bug fixes, more
On Tuesday, Apple issued its first-ever software update for the Apple Watch, nearly a month after its abortive retail debut. The popular device, still facing overwhelming demand and supply shortages due to a now-worked-out part issue, can be updated through the paired iPhone to Watch OS version 1.0.1, which brings the usual "performance improvements and bug fixes" to the device, adds more than 300 new emoji characters, and updates language support.
Years-long erroneous assumption illustrates double-edged sword of rumor reporting
There's no question that news sites often lean on the rumor mill as the basis for stories (though we are careful to note that rumors are exactly that -- rumors). Sometimes the speculation is fearless, sometimes it amounts to nothing more than an educated guess. Sometimes -- less often than you'd think -- rumors turn out to be true, but we've found that only the ones closest to the actual product release have much veracity. We've turned away from heavy rumor reporting lately -- but they're always in our feeds, or in the MacNN email box. There's a certain cycle to rumors that we've seen, generally from "analysts" with no better sources than we have -- and here's why we don't always report on them.
Single dock should also work with most iPhone cases
Following the release of the updated 15-inch MacBook Pro, Apple on Tuesday also debuted its first official iPhone Lightning Charging Dock specifically designed for the iPhone 6 line. The $39 accessory works with both the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 as well as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, and thus features a new design that features a raised Lightning connector, making the unit able to work with other Lightning-equipped iPhones, and without having to remove most third-party iPhone cases.
Nearly 300 US financial institutions now offering mobile payment options
Apple has again updated its list of Apple Pay partners by adding another 30 credit unions and banks, and is continuing to focus more lately on credit unions in the latest additions as it has done with recent updates. Personal and branded cards from the financial institutions can be added to Apple Pay in most cases, though small-business and sub-branded speciality cards may not always be compatible. Since its launch last fall, Apple Pay has nearly instantly become the most popular of the various mobile-payment services, despite only being available on the iPhone 6 (and now, Apple Watch).
New iMac model introduced alongside reduction in high-end iMac price
Apple today updated the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display with the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, longer battery life and faster discrete graphics, delivering even more performance and capabilities to the MacBook Pro line. Apple also today introduced a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, quad-core processors and AMD graphics, and lowered the price of the top-end iMac with Retina 5K display to $2,299.
Still using BlackBerry for personal phone, new account designed to be passed on
US President Barack Obama, still well known for using a specially locked-down BlackBerry as his personal smartphone, used a White House Executive Office-registered iPhone to post the first tweet on Twitter from his own @POTUS account. Improvements in security made to the iPhone starting with iOS 8 have apparently made the device worthy of being used by the President. Unlike other official presidential Twitter channel, Obama himself will tweet from the @POTUS account.
First UAE store will be 50,000 square feet, planned for August opening
A new report from Dubai indicates that Apple will build the world's largest Apple Store in the country's Mall of the Emirates that should open this summer. The facility will be some 50,000 square feet in total, and will be the first Apple retail store in the United Arab Emirates and Middle East, though a second one is said to be in the planning stages. The country has had an online Apple store since 2011, but the new brick-and-mortar store is expected to open in August of this year.
MacNN and Electronista deals for May 18, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, offers, sales, and bundles for you, the discerning reader. The deals slate has been wiped clean of last week's sales, with the new batch including a 512GB SSD from Samsung, a $400 Mac mini, and an Altec Bluetooth Speaker for $30.
Patent infringement damages upheld, but trade dress conviction tossed
A US Court of Appeals has "split the baby" in a decision that preserves Apple's victory against Samsung in its first patent-infringement trial, but will also result in a likely significant reduction of damages due from the Korean company. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in California has upheld the jury's finding that Samsung copied design and utility patents from Apple, but has tossed the same jury's finding of guilt regarding "trade dress" violations.
Company continues to collect navigation- and map-based companies
On Sunday, Apple confirmed that it had acquired precision global positioning company Coherent Navigation, a small business that worked on military-grade precision navigation systems, robotics, and autonomous navigation technology. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Coherent, which was founded in 2008, "focused on creating commercial navigation services based on partnerships with companies like Boeing and Iridium, the satellite network operator," according to the former CEO's LinkedIn page.
MacBook Pro seems likely, iMac renewal less probable
Rumors, supported by long ship times on some MacBook Pro models and a discontinuation notice from one large retailer, are claiming that Apple will update its 15-inch MacBook Pro this week. The model, left behind in March's refresh of the 13-inch model is expected to see a processor bump to fifth generation "Broadwell" processors, a GPU improvement, as well as the Force Touch trackpad.
Cook discusses meeting famous and influential men throughout his life
This past weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the commencement speech to The George Washington University graduating class of 2015. In it, he discussed his first trip to Washington, DC at the age of 16 in 1977, as well as the 1998 meeting with Steve Jobs that convinced him to join Apple, as part of Jobs' efforts to save the then-floundering company. Cook also expressed his thoughts on the importance of human rights, and the ability of individuals to affect positive change, even in the workplace.
No foul play suspected; organic peroxide spill at FedEx facility ruined package
Four Apple retail workers at the Del Monte store in Monterey, California were hospitalized on Wednesday after a package intended for delivery to the store was contaminated at a FedEx depot with a high level of organic peroxide in what appears to be an accidental spill. The odor, rather than any direct contact, caused the workers to become ill, and forced the evacuation of the Apple Store and several nearby areas. A dozen people in total, mostly Apple workers, were nauseated by the chemical.
MacBook vs. MacBook Air
This week in the MacNN forums, members continue to discuss the differences between the new MacBook and the MacBook Air with members trying to figure out which option is really a better ownership proposition. Forum Regular "imdipped" is "tired of waiting for Apple to make Pages equal to or better than Pages '09" and wonders if there are any alternatives that are easy to use.
Macs from $759
Right now at Apple's online store, take advantage of low prices on refurbished Macs. The 13.3-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage has been reduced by 15 percent, dropping the price down to $759. For $809, after a $240 discount, is the refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.3GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage, now $809.
New FCP X update fixes crash-on-launch bug, returns AVCCAM support
An update to Final Cut Pro X issued yesterday is minor by technical standards, but crucial to users who were experiencing a crash-on-launch bug, which affected some users. Apple on Thursday issued version 10.2.1 for Final Cut Pro X to fix the issue, as well as restoring support for Panasonic's AVCCAM video format at 25p and 30p frame rates. The update also increases accuracy as users select a range in the Timeline by dragging.
Pro tip: bellowing at your wrist won't work
If you've got an Apple Watch, you've said 'Hey Siri' to it and it hasn't worked. It seems to fail the most whenever you try to show it off to someone but really, it fails enough that you stop using what is really a superb feature of your Watch. Just do this: lift the watch up and –– most important –– wait until the screen wakes, then begin 'Hey Siri' immediately followed by whatever you want to ask.
Forced to reveal hand early by erroneous Fortune report of delays
While Apple has never formally announced a specific launch date for HomeKit, its home-control automation technology, Fortune magazine claimed earlier on Thursday that unnamed sources "participating in the program" said the launch had been pushed back to August or September from an original May-June time frame. In refuting the report, Apple has acknowledged that the first HomeKit accessories will be coming to market next month.
Apple files brief to protect customer data from sale in RadioShack bankruptcy deal
New device could be more attractive to thieves than iPhone, though harder to steal
While the Apple Watch contains a number of security features designed to protect users' data in the event of theft or misplacement, it lacks an "Activation Lock" type feature as seen on the iPhone (and more recently, other smartphones), which makes the device more attractive to thieves, according to a new report. Although Apple is likely to add additional security features to the device moving forward, at present a thief could reset the device and pair it to a new iPhone easily.
Users can choose to be updated on artist activity, comment on posts
Sources familiar with plans for Apple's new streaming music service, supposedly now to be called "Apple Music," have revealed that the service will have a deep social networking aspect for artists, but will not be the same as Apple's previous attempt at fusing social and music together, dubbed "Ping." Artists will have their own page that can be used for posting samples, concert and tour information, photos, and other messages that fans can comment on and "like."
Only owners of Monochrom Typ 246 affected; company recommends Lightroom for now
A bug in the DNG files created by the B&W camera the Leica Monochrom Typ 246 can cause the new Photos app from Apple to crash and corrupt the existing Photos library, potentially putting every photo in that library at risk. Any attempt to load the DNG-formatted RAW files from the camera will cause the Photo library to "crash continuously on loading," said the company in a service advisory. Until the fix for the issue is released, Leica is suggesting users use Adobe Lightroom instead.
Space Gray, Space Black Watch models, link bracelet band now shipping
After pushing back expected delivery dates till June, Apple appears to be slowly catching up with demand on certain models. Customers report receiving "preparing for shipment" notifications on pre-orders of the Space Gray or Space Black versions of the aluminum Apple Watch Sport, even including the link bracelet or modern buckle band options. In addition, Sport models also pre-ordered on the first day of availability are continuing to be delivered.
Former battery tech company went bust after key employees left for Apple
A battery technology company that suffered an exodus of key employees to Apple has now told a court that it and Apple are in the final stages of working out a settlement. A123 Systems filed suit against Apple in February after the iPhone maker recruited A123's former chief technical officer, Mujeeb Ijaz, who then allegedly led a poaching effort that persuaded a handful of very key scientists and engineers to jump ship to Apple as well -- leading A123 to halt several research projects due to the brain drain.
Apple achieves only perfect score in ranking of tech companies' use of renewable energy
Apple, once routinely criticized and protested by environmental activist group Greenpeace, has topped the organization's poll of tech companies using renewable energy, and was the only tech company to achieve a perfect score. Citing the company's statement that 100 percent of its US operations and 87 percent of its global operations now use renewable resources (as of the end of 2014), the group says Apple has been "the most aggressive" and transparent about renewable energy use.
This week in the MacNN Forums, members try to assist one Fresh-Faced Recruit with getting to the bottom of a problem they are having with Yosemite hogging up resources and becoming slow. Today Forum Regular "porrid" wanted to know what the last version of the MacBook Pro can run Snow Leopard.
At Apple's online store this week, find big savings on refurbished Retina iMacs. Save $380 on the 27-inch Retina iMac with a 3.5GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB Fusion Drive, now priced at $2,119. For $2,339 is the 27-inch Retina iMac with a 4.0GHz Intel quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB Fusion Drive.
May strike deal with Alibaba ahead of long-stalled Union Pay to move forward
[Updated with Tuesday meetings information] In a move to underscore the importance of the rapidly-growing Chinese market, Apple CEO Tim Cook has opened a social media account on Sino Weibo, and has told the Chinese press that negotiations with regional banks and credit card partners in China to bring Apple Pay to the country continue. The iPhone maker has had trouble reaching an accord with UnionPay, the largest credit-card issuer in the country, but may be bypassing the stalemate by striking a deal with Alibaba.
First approval doled out by Apple for third-party HomeKit SDK
Chip maker Broadcom today announced its Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) software development kit (SDK) has been certified by Apple for full HomeKit support. The company is the first vendor to offer HomeKit's specs for Wi_Fi and Bluetooth Smart communications.
Discoveryd issues, Apple Watch giveaway, Origin PC review, more
It's time for episode 14 of The MacNN Podcast, which this week includes a new guest: Bradley, our music provider for the show, who is also a keen reviewer of Bluetooth Speakers and, now, the Origin PC gaming computer. We also do our usual thing of going over the big tech stories of the week, cracking some terrible jokes, talk about some new features on the site, make gratuitous pop-culture references, and even squeeze in an overview of Apple Watch third-party apps.
It doesn't work quite how you'd expect
One of the many fine things about Apple Watch is how it can show you what your next appointment is. Right there on the watch face, you can choose to see what's coming up next for you. It is gorgeous and handy but there is a whole Calendar app on Apple Watch and that's not as completely, entirely, totally wonderful. It's limited as you might imagine but the problem is that it doesn't do things quite the way you expect. Here's how it does what it does – and how to get the most out of it.