Apple Watch gets new features as launch approaches
Apple has quietly added standalone functionality to the list of Apple Watch features ahead of its impending launch. According to the dedicated Apple Watch section on the Apple website providing an overview of its capabilities, Apple Watch users will now be able to leave their iPhone behind when going for a run and will be able to use the Apple Watch itself for music playback. While the feature is not uncommon in some competing smartwatches, the pre-launch Apple Watch event held last year by Apple did not include any mention of standalone functionality, instead suggesting that iPhone was a mandatory requirement for the Apple Watch in all usage scenarios.
AppleCare now handling support for Beats Music, Apple Pay for Business
Apple will now handle support for Beats Music customers, along with businesses offering Apple Pay, through its AppleCare division, according to reports. Previously, Beats Music support was handled by an outsourced firm, but has now been moved in-house after the company was acquired by Apple last year. The move to offer support to businesses implementing Apple Pay will encourage more companies to do so. There is also a specific Merchants support hotline for Apple Pay for those already using the system.
Product debut build-up resulting in rare access to CEO and design chief
A new interview with Apple design head Sir Jonathan Ive and recent remarks by CEO Tim Cook are shedding some light (and building up hype) for both the Apple Watch and the current outlook of the company and the men who run it. Ive, in an interview with London's Financial Times, explains the rationale behind the development of the Apple Watch, while Cook expanded on his view on privacy, and Apple's industry leadership. In other news, a forthcoming Apple Watch app has already set the bar to a new low.
importing address book from Outlook to iCloud
This week in the MacNN forums, Senior User "Chinasaur" was asking fellow forum-goers how they would go about importing a .csv file from Outlook.com to iCloud as they have accidentally erased their contacts and this is the only backup they have. So far a solution has yet to be found. Members continue to discuss reasons why someones Mac might have hard system crashes.
up to $600 off Mac Pro
At Apple's online store today, save on a wide selection of refurbished Mac Pro configurations. The refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe-based flash memory has been reduced by $450 to $2,549. For $3,219 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of PCIe-based flash storage.
Facility will open next year, ensure steady LCD display supply for iPhone
Japan Display, a company created by three Japanese tech firms in 2012, has agreed to a deal with Apple to help build a $1.4 billion new display manufacturing facility that should increase its overall LCD capacity by 20 percent. The company already supplies Apple with some 50,000 raw-material Retina display panels per month at present, and the investment by Apple in the new facility could guarantee a steady supply in the future.
Move happens March 18 at close of trading
Apple stock is going to supplant AT&T's on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. After market close on March 18, Apple will be listed on the average, with the low-performing AT&T being pulled. The move was precipitated by a Visa four to one split, effective on the same date.
Small batch of iPhones may have short-lived battery
A battery exchange program for some iPhone 5 users has been extended into from this year into 2016. Initially limited to "two years after the first retail sale or until March 1, 2015, whichever gives longer coverage" the language on Apple's website for the program was quietly changed to run through January 2016.
Timing for overhaul set for around WWDC; Android version might continue?
Apple is now aiming for a revamp of its Beats Music streaming service, which will see the offering tied in more closely to both iTunes and other Apple products and services, to happen in June -- right around the time of the expected Worldwide Developers Conference, which is likely to happen on June 8–12, according to sources familiar with current plans. In addition to retaining the personalization and hand-curated recommendation features, Apple may be planning to lower the monthly cost.
Not necessarily related to rumored Apple 'iCar,' but with eye on collaboration
Two major auto manufacturers are said to be in talks with Apple about a variety of possible partnerships, from Continental's hopes that it could participate in any rumored Apple Car creation to BMW's desire to collaborate with the iPhone maker about bringing some its existing and future car technology to its auto lineup. BMW went out if its way, however, to specifically deny that its talks with Apple have anything do with developing or building a car.
SF's Yerba Buena Center gains Apple signage for the 'Spring Forward' event
Crews are putting up banners, signs, and other decorations to transform the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco into an Apple auditorium for the March 9 "Spring Forward" event, where Apple is expected to offer a general update on its various initiatives as well as formally debut the Apple Watch, which will arrive in stores some time in April. As reported earlier, Apple is also building on an extension to the center that will likely serve as a showcase room for the press to try out the new Apple Watch.
Channel would not require existing cable or satellite subscription
According to a new report, Apple is in talks with movie and original program service HBO to bring its streaming service, called "HBO Now," to Apple TV as a standalone subscription service that does not require an existing cable or satellite connection. The deal, if it goes through, would bring some flexibility to users who would like HBO programming, but don't want to pay for a higher-priced bundle that cable companies often force on customers. The service might launch in time for the Game of Thrones premiere on April 12.
Improved processor, upgraded graphics appear to be sole changes in latest edition
A Chinese site has posted images not of the forthcoming refreshed MacBook Air itself, but of its specifications gleaned from the "About this Mac" dialog. The images are said to be from a soon-to-be-released low-end MacBook Air produced by Foxconn, according to Feng.com, and reveal that the 13-inch unit will sport an Intel Broadwell Core i5-5250U dual-core processor set at 1.6GHz (with turboboost when required) and an Intel HD Graphics 6000 video chipset, along with 4GB of RAM.
Company modifying tented area for showroom ahead of Apple Watch debut
Apple is making modifications to a tented annex that is an extension of the main Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, where it plans to formally unveil the Apple Watch to the press and public on March 9. The expansion construction is shrouded so as to obscure what the company is up to, but the most likely explanation is to have an additional showcase area for the product so as not to cut into the seating capacity of its "Spring Forward" event next Monday.
Apple files notice with judge that it is in talks with battery tech company
After our recent story two weeks ago about litigation being brought against Apple for poaching battery engineers and scientists from A123 Systems (an automotive and vertical-market energy research firm), Apple has informed the judge in the case that it is seeking a settlement and is in talks with the company. Apple had recruited former A123 Chief Technical Office Mujeeb Ijaz, who then helped Apple poach several of his former colleagues from A123.
Institutions having to redouble efforts to guard against traditional fraud, identity theft
The security built into Apple Pay is so resistant to tampering, reports the UK newpaper The Guardian, that criminals are focusing more than ever on traditional bank weaknesses surrounding common fraud and identity theft techniques, exploiting the lax identity requirements some banks employ for users who are adding credit cards to Passbook, which stores the data so that Apple Pay can later utilize it. So far, the fraud has racked up millions of dollars from stolen credit cards added to Apple Pay.
Jury proclaims forthcoming timepiece 'already an icon,' wins one of 47 gold awards
Apple's forthcoming Apple Watch -- expected to be formally unveiled at a press conference on March 9 -- is already an "award-winning" product that the jury called "a delightful product offering a holistic user experience" and deemed it "already an icon." Picked from among over 3,200 products vying for world-class recognition from International Forum Design, the Apple Watch took home one of only 47 Gold awards, and one of only two given to telecommunication products.
Austin-based music fest app will rely on 1,000 iBeacons to offer location-based info
The official SXSW music fest app for iOS and Android, SXSW Go, will tie into a network of 1,000 iBeacons placed around the festival's various venues to help users connect to friends, ensure they are at the right location, and let them know what events are scheduled at the venue they are in now, among other helpful information. Non-attendees can also use the app to view video feeds from various events.
Harnessing the iPad as Mac graphics tablet
Professional creation apps often feature built-in support for drawing tablets, though many users never get the chance to take advantage of this, due to the high cost of these input accessories. Astro-HQ, a new company formed by two former Apple engineers, is looking to solve this issue with the release of Astropad, a new tool that turns nearly any iPad into a sketch board for any OS X app. Consisting of a free iOS app and a $50 desktop companion, Astropad looks to be a great option for a graphics artist on a tight budget.
New report partially reiterates earlier IDC analysis on record holiday quarter
While significantly disagreeing on the shipment or sales numbers of its rivals, analysis firms IDC and Gartner have agreed that Apple surpassed all expectations in a number of areas with its record-shattering calendar Q4 performance, with Gartner awarding Apple the crown of top smartphone seller in the world. An earlier report by IDC had Apple barely missing the top spot, claiming that Samsung shipped 75.1 million units, despite a sharp drop in profits and revenue.
Revenue from iOS makes up 10 percent of gross revenue, UBS claims
Being the default search engine option in iOS is such an important position that losing it could cost Google around 10 percent of its gross annual revenue, according to a new analysis by investment bank UBS. The advertising giant is at risk to lose upwards of $8 billion if it should lose the default search engine position, a real possibility with the deal between Google and Apple coming up for renewal. Investors are worried that Apple will refuse to renew the arrangement.
clean installs, contact access and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, one Fresh-Faced Recruit was asking other members how they might go about doing a clean install of the OS on a 2010 MacBook Pro that they don't have a system install disc for. A discussion about giving Apps access to contacts was started by Mac Elite "jeff k" earlier this week, after he asked about a specific app that was requesting such access.
Macs from $419
Today at Apple's online store, find big savings on refurbished Macs with prices 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 discounted by $80, to $419. A $130 discount is available on the refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, now $769.
New offer exceeded judge's recommendation at last settlement refusal
Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California offered little opinion on a revised settlement, which would end the Silicon Valley worker poaching class-action suit. The $415 million counter-offer is $90 million more than the older deal, and exceeds what the judge asked for to approve the deal. Focusing dissent on what attorneys and a objector asked for individually, Judge Koh has set the next hearing for July 9, which should end the case once and for all.
Jobs, Cook, Powell-Jobs, colleagues feature in tech-savvy portrait of former CEO
Although there is an official biography of Steve Jobs, made with Jobs' cooperation before he died in 2011, another tome on the life and thoughts of the mercurial Apple co-founder will be published later this month, titled Becoming Steve Jobs. The book is noteworthy due to Jobs' posthumous involvement, along with new interviews with Jobs' family, Apple CEO Tim Cook, design chief Sir Jonathan Ive, and former Apple and Pixar colleagues galore.
Code name, new features, availability outside of US comes to light
As the publicity machine shifts into high gear in preparation for the public debut of the Apple Watch on March 9, new details and additional features, applications and other bits of information are making their way into the press. The codename for the project, for example, was "Gizmo," reports The New York Times. Among other revelations are the role that former Adobe Flash chief Kevin Lynch played, power-saving and style details, and the news that the watch will also launch abroad in its first month.
Switching keys, attitudes, and getting the input of the masters of the house
Recently, staff writer and long-time Windows user Malcolm Owen returned to the Mac following a five-year absence. Back to the Mac is a series of posts where he charts his progress in introducing Apple to his computing environment again. In this installment, Malcolm recounts his first full working week with on the Mac mini.
Switching between two different ways of using an item or working can be tough to do. Long-established patterns are difficult to break, and altering the way you navigate a computer in the short term could, for people resistant to change, be akin to giving up an addiction. I hate change.
Samsung pay makes compromises for compatibility, Apple Pay not widespread
At yesterday's keynote to the Mobile World Congress, alongside the Galaxy S6 family of phones, Samsung revealed Samsung Pay, a competitor to the Apple Pay service. Not much was said about the new offering, derived almost entirely from the recent purchase of LoopPay -- but more information has come to light, including why Samsung noted in press materials that the phone could be remotely wiped to secure Samsung Pay information if lost.
First public release of Photos does not replace iPhoto, Aperture
A little over a week after the second developer beta of OS X 10.10.3, which includes the first public peek at the forthcoming Photos app, Apple has made a new version public for pre-registered beta testers. Build 14D87p is the first public beta of 10.10.3, and includes the Photos app for public testing for the first time (developers had been able to to use the application in the previous two betas). The public version appears to be identical to the second developer beta, numbered 14D87h.
Apple Environmental VP Jackson adds accessibility software to role
Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a reply to a London Apple Store worker who asked about increased accessibility in the company's latest projects, reportedly said that Apple Environmental Vice President Lisa Jackson has been tasked with helping Apple increase its focus on accessibility. "In every product we do, we want it to be accessible for everyone," Cook said, adding that the Apple Watch will gain some accessibility features over time in addition to the ones it has now.
Advisor Alerts, Passenger Care, Dynamic Buy added to MobileFirst for iOS collection
IBM and Apple have used their partnership to release three more iOS apps for enterprise, under the IBM MobileFirst for iOS initiative. The new apps, called Advisor Alerts, Passenger Care, and Dynamic Buy, will join the existing 11 apps already brought out under the partnership, with more enterprise-specific apps expected to launch in the coming years.
Amendment intended as catch-all, includes motorbikes, ships, aircraft, more
According to a Swiss enthusiast site, Apple has amended the corporate document filings it maintains with the government in that country to include "vehicles" among its activities. The statement, added to official documents that classify the company for tax and licensing purposes, is incredibly broad -- covering any sort of product for any sort of moving vehicle, from wheelchairs to airplanes -- but is notable in light of recent speculation that Apple is developing a car of some type.
The MacNN Podcast for March 2, 2015
The MacNN Podcast hits its fourth airing and touches on the hot button issues in the tech world! Join this week's hosts, MacNN Editor Charles Martin, alongside staff writer Michelle Elbert, and Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele as they discuss the events that got our attention, needed further discussion, or just plain tickled our fancy.
Get more from Apple's deceptively powerful word processor
You probably own Apple's Pages, and you may even have opened it. If you did, what you think depends on what you're used to: new users just dive right in and start typing, while we've heard Word users complain that it simply isn't powerful enough for them. This is an odd one: they are actually right, but not in the ways they expect. Pages does lack some of the very heavy-lifting word processor functions that Word has, but few people use those. What Word fans think is missing from Pages is the more general day-to-day features that in fact it has, and has very well.
Small file utility makes big difference to OS X
Back in the day, the first thing we learnt on Macs was to point and click. Then it was how to drag and drop. We've never gone back: even the most keyboard-obsessed of us still end up clicking on a file and clicking or dragging to do something with it. FilePane just watches for the click and drag before stepping in with options.
Man claims battery spontaneously exploded, lit his leg and pants on fire
An iPhone has reportedly exploded in a Long Island, New York man's pocket, sending him to the burn ward for 10 days. Erik Johnson was given a swath of third-degree burns on his left thigh after he bent over to get keys, when he heard a pop and, according to Johnson's claims, the battery burst and caught on fire, burning the man severely. An iPhone 5c belonging to a MacNN editor isn't seeing any bulging or any signs of problem, nor have we heard any previous claims for this model, but Johnson has photographic proof of the explosion.
Apple Watch, abilities will expand over time, replace car keys as well
In a new interview with the UK newspaper the Telegraph, Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed a few new tidbits about the forthcoming Apple Watch, as well as some of the larger vision behind such innovations as the watch, and Apple Pay, and Touch ID -- an all-out attempt to reduce the ephemera people need to carry with them, from wallets to car keys. In the same report, Cook also confirmed that Apple will "tweak" its retail look to accommodate Apple Watch buyers, who are likely to be even more upscale than average Apple customers.
trouble pasting text into mail, cleaning App cookies and more
Recently one Fresh-Faced Recruit turned to the MacNN forums looking for help figuring out why they were having trouble pasting text into Mail. A solution has yet to be found. A discussion about how to clear out cookies that are generated by iPhone Apps is under way in the thread titled "cleaning iPhone App cookies" that was started last week.
retina MacBook Pros from $999
At Apple's online store today, take advantage of discounts on refurbished MacBook Pro models that start as low as $999 for the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage. A $290 discount is offered on the refurbished 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of flash storage, now $1,409.
Rare situation where two future iOS betas were in circulation at the same time
Ending an unusual scenario where two iOS betas were being tested by developers simultaneously, a new report suggests that iOS 8.2 is likely to be released next week, possibly as early as Monday. Apple has been testing both iOS 8.2 and the forthcoming iOS 8.3, the latter of which is now on its own second beta version. While Apple released a total of five betas for iOS 8.2, the same report claims that iOS 8.3 will only have a maximum of four betas.
Ericsson source of latest barrage, court filings made in Eastern District of Texas
On February 26, Ericsson filed two complaints with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and seven complaints in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Apple, asserting 41 patents covering many aspects of Apple's iPhones and iPads. The patents include standards-essential patents related to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards, as well as other patents that are critical to features and functionality of Apple devices, such as the design of semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system.
Apple adds gas station location info, school data to Maps app
Apple has added GreatSchools and GasBuddy to its list of sources for data in its Maps program. The latter company is said to be supplying Apple with gas station locations, exact business names and what major gasoline producer they are affiliated with, rather than the gas pricing spot-check that the company is known for. GreatSchools is likewise likely to be providing school locations information rather than specific school information.
Windows Phone holds steady at one percent; BlackBerry not counted in survey
The latest Good Technology Mobility Index Report on the mobile enterprise space, based on a survey of Good's customer base for its own enterprise-level email services, shows iOS gaining ground by taking away share from Android in calendar Q4 2014, with the former growing by four percentage points to hit 73 percent share of global enterprise activations. Android fell by the same amount to 25 percent, while Windows Phone held steady at one percent.
Mac and Windows users alike need only an Apple ID to use web versions of productivity apps
PC users that have been curious to try out Apple's suite of productivity programs, formerly known collectively as iWork, are now able to do so from the main iCloud.com website, the feature having been taken out of Apple's beta.icloud.com lab. Earlier this month, Apple made a free 1GB account available to any users who wanted to sign up but did not have an Apple device, but only within the beta site. Now the applications (in their web versions) are available free for anyone with an Apple ID to use.
No official details have been given by Apple for the Yerba Buena Center event
Apple has today invited the media to an event on March 9. The "Spring Forward" event is taking place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and is likely discussing firm release dates, and details of the final shipping version of the Apple Watch. The title of the event makes reference to time, suggesting the upcoming change in most first-world nations that sees clocks moved forward an hour -- in effect, a brief leap into the future.
Thirty models planned, ranging from $10,000 to $70,000
Despite the Apple Watch not yet shipping, design company Brikk has unveiled the Lux Watch product line. Their new collection includes 30 precious metal-plated, diamond encrusted luxury models across three lines of the upcoming wearable from Cupertino.
Cisco, Citrix also banned; government cites security concerns
A weekend move by China has stricken Apple, Intel, Cisco, Citrix, and McAfee from approved vendors for governmental purchase. Ostentibly to protect national security interests, the move appears to be more about giving state run and other Chinese companies a leg up on procurements in the country, similar to regulations inside the US government that does the same.
Samsung grabs lion's share of shipments, but Apple takes 90 percent of profits
Based on shipment data, analyst firm IDC has determined that Apple and Samsung have effectively gained full control of the smartphone market, splitting 96.3 percent of all smartphones shipped -- up nearly a full percentage point from the same period last year. All Android phones combined account for 81.5 percent in 2014, a slight increase from 2013. The percentages flip, however, when talking about money rather than units -- with Apple said to get 90 percent of the profits in the industry.
Apple CEO allegedly overheard telling German Apple worker he can shower with it
While the Apple Watch will make its first US cover debut in the March issue of lifestyle and health magazine Self, the US edition of fashion magazine Vogue features a 12-page ad for the Apple Watch in the current March issue -- and a video version of the ad for the iPad edition. The new ads continue Apple's theme of positioning the Apple Watch -- or at least some versions of the forthcoming product -- to the fashion market. As is customary, the print ad features some images of the product at full size.
Visits with German Chancellor, Israeli President for former president
Fresh from his trip to Germany, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple VP of Hardware Technology Johny Srugi -- the latter a graduate of Israel's Technion Institute of Technology -- have made their way to Israel for meetings and to attend the opening of a new set of Apple R&D offices in Herzliya. Along with the announcement of a nearly $2 billion investment in two new data centers to be located in Europe, Cook and Srugi met with various Israeli officials, including President Rueven Rivlin and former president Shimon Peres.