Parliant releases voice announcement software for Mac users
Parliant has announced the release of its new voice messaging product for Mac users, Echoes. Functioning on a local network, users can contact other Macs running Echoes and send a voice message instantly, without the need for "dialing" like Skype or FaceTime. To send a voice announcement, one selects "Announce" from the Echoes icon found in the menu bar. Users can announce to both individuals or groups and quickly reply to the sender of the last received announcement. Keyboard shortcuts for sending and replying can be set, and the last announcement made can be re-sent without re-recording. Priced at $10, Echoes is available through the App Store.
Averages 2.3 days to process and deliver, beating Amazon, clothing stores
Customer service analytics company StellaService has released a new report that ranks Apple as number one for online delivery speed, up from an eighth-place ranking in April. The iPhone maker captured the top spot for the first time in June with an average processing-and-delivery time of just 2.3 days, beating mostly online clothing outlets such as Abercrombie, Zappos, Nike and others. In a separate study that ranked all aspects of customer service, Apple was topped by J. Crew and Mr Porter.
Analyst talks of iOS 'everywhere,' Cook's bold strategies
Six weeks after it rebutted a New York Times editorial that cast doubt on Apple's CEO, investment firm UBS has again praised Tim Cook's vision and leadership of Apple in a note to clients. In particular, analyst Steven Milunovich was taken with Cook's plans to expand iOS to automotive, gym, medical and home markets through its CarPlay, HealthKit and HomeKit initiatives, as well as the continuing growth of the entire OS X and iOS eco-systems, which the company refers to as "the Applesphere."
Previous update caused system crashes, unstable or unbootable machines
Apple released a new update for MacBook Air EFI firmware today, updating to version 2.9.1 for "Mid-2011" models of the notebook. The company states that the update fixes a few updates for owners facing problems with waking from sleep and fans running at full speed in a specific instance. The update replaces a previous version that caused a number of problems for owners.
Testing concentrates on Safari, USB, graphics bugs
Apple has started seeding the first beta of OS X 10.9.5 to developers. The code is listed as built 13F7, and available through the Developer Center. Users are asked to focus testing on just a handful of areas, including Safari, graphics, and USB, including smart cards.
Cable deals, Comcast/Time Warner merger interfering
Apple is indeed working on a new set-top that will let people will watch both live and on-demand TV, but won't have it ready until sometime in 2015, a source indicates. Engineers at the company are allegedly being told not to expect to ship the device this year, and working along that timeline. The issue is claimed to be cable companies "dragging their heels," and the possible Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, which together are interfering not only with the device but a matching TV service.
Developers, creative workers being kept
Although the takeover has yet to be fully approved legally, some workers and technology resources are already being shifted from Beats to Apple, sources say. Apple executives have allegedly visited Beats' California headquarters this week and the last, offering some workers new positions at Apple while telling others that their jobs will be cut. Many Beats employees in creative or development roles are being offered work at Apple; many of these are allegedly headed to Apple's Cupertino's headquarters, but the company is keeping both the Santa Monica offices and some engineers associated with Beats Music.
Struggling chain attempting to reinvent itself to survive the modern market
In an interview, electronics retailer Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly believes that the day of the tablet may be over. Citing observations at his stores, the CEO claims that the company has "actually had a revival of the PC business at Best Buy" giving credit to Microsoft for discontinuation of Windows XP and Apple for continuing to innovate for consumers.
Companies will likely be hesitant to comply
The Russian government has proposed that two Western companies, Apple and SAP, grant access to their source code so it can determine whether or not products are tools for spying on state organizations and/or the public, Reuters reports. Russia's communications minister, Nikolai Nikiforov, is said to have made the request when he met last week with Apple's local general manager, Peter Nielsen, and SAP's local managing director, Vyacheslav Orekhov. In an official Communications Ministry statement, Nikiforov comments that "Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 and US intelligence services' public statements about the strengthening of surveillance of Russia in 2014 have raised a serious question of trust in foreign software and hardware."
Eligible products may vary from state to state
Apple has updated a promotional page to let shoppers know about tax holidays coming up in nine US states between August 1st and the 3rd. The states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee. During the holidays, Apple has said it will drop sales tax charges for qualifying purchases made online or at retail. Although taxes will still appear during online checkouts, proper totals should appear in email confirmations.
iPad Air is a more capable productivity tool than some might expect
The question of how much productivity you can get done on the Apple iPad is one that has persisted since its introduction. Even if the question is not an easy one to answer, it seems almost irrelevant to even ask when one looks at how massively successful the iPad has been since its introduction. The question also depends on what one defines as being 'productivity,' when it has been clear for some time that plenty of people can and do use iPads for getting work done, particularly in creative endeavors. The recently announced partnership between Apple and IBM in enterprise, coupled with the arrival of Microsoft Office for iPad suggests that the iPad's capability in the workplace will be properly tested given that IBM also becomes an official Apple reseller and will help to shift many more units into the workplace.
WaterField updates Outback Solo and Indy satchel bags for refreshed MacBook Pro Retina laptops
WaterField has announced the release of new sizes for two of its bags, designed to fit the upcoming refreshed MacBook Pro Retina laptops. The new 15-inch Outback Solo will fit the larger upgraded MacBook Pro Retina, and the new 13-inch Indy leather satchelfits the smaller Retina.
Apple shows significant year-over-year growth while Samsung drops
On the release of its first set of statistics following last month's report of a two percent drop in Mac sales (that turned out to be a 16 percent gain), IDC has made the term "shipments" more prominent in its latest report on smartphone share worldwide. Although its reports have always been based on shipment data rather than on sales to end-users, the company emphasized the term in its latest set of numbers, and noted that both Apple and Samsung lost share to smaller Chinese smartphone makers.
Retailer holds e-book authors hostage in standoff for lower profits for publishers
Painting itself in an altruistic, pro-consumer light, Amazon in a post posing as an "update" on the Hachette standoff -- that has prevented customers from buying print or e-book editions from the publisher because Amazon refuses to fill orders -- explains that it is putting pressure on Hachette (and other publishers soon to follow) to lower the wholesale price of e-books to where Amazon can make a profit on them selling them at $10 or less. Amazon argues that e-books "must stay competitive" against all other forms of media.
'Global' switchover will cost nothing extra over normal replacement cycle
Automaker Ford has announced that it will transition at least 9,300 corporate employees from BlackBerry models and flip phones to iPhones over the next two years. The change, which will cost the company nothing above the normal cost of a replacement cycle, is a blow to BlackBerry, but the Canadian smartphone maker can take solace in the fact that Ford chose BlackBerry's QNX for its next-generation Sync infotainment system, replacing a previous Microsoft-based one.
Value of deal kept secret
As rumored yesterday, Apple has indeed bought Swell, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal's Daisuke Wakabayashi. The company has refused to provide any other information, issuing a standard statement that "we buy smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Monday's claims put the value of the takeover at $30 million.
Overdue update may happen soon
A "mid 2014" Mac mini is now listed on an Apple support document for Boot Camp. The page makes no mention of other details about the computer, other than it only supporting 64-bit Windows 7 and 8 versions of the Boot Camp utility, which allows Macs to run Windows on a separate partition. The Mac mini has been one of Apple's most neglected products, having last been updated in late 2012. Even the Mac Pro was refreshed in December 2013.
A smash-and-grab robbery took place at the Southpoint Apple Store in Durham, North Carolina on Monday night, a report notes. The thieves smashed their way in via one of the store's glass panels, then proceeded to take an unknown number of MacBooks on display. The outlet has been closed on Tuesday as a result.
Yosemite Beta pros and cons
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss the things they like and dislike about Yosemite now that the beta version has been released to the public in a thread started last week by one Mac Elite who wondered why no one seemed excited about this update to the OS. "Does anyone know how much amperage the iPhone 6 will require?" asks one Fresh-Faced Recruit to the forums.
Up to $710 off refurbished rMBPs
Right now at Apple's online store, find new lower prices on refurbished Retina MacBook Air models. The refurbished 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage has seen a whopping $640 discount down to $1,059. A $500 discount drops the price on the 15.4-inch Retina MacBook Pro with a 2.3GHz Intel quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage down to $1,599.
Mac mini for $490
Currently, BestBuy.com is offering a $110 discount on the Mac mini, dropping the price from $600 down to $490. That discount makes this around $60 less than buying it anywhere else, and it's nearly $10 less than what Apple charges for a refurbished model. They also have it in open-box condition from $465. This Mac mini features a 2.5GHz Intel core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. Included is a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Bulk of content locked to cable subscriptions
Apple has added a pair of new app channels to the Apple TV, CNBC and Fox Now. The former is NBC's business network, while the latter offers access to shows like Glee, Family Guy, and The Following. In both cases, viewers must have a cable subscription to unlock the full range of content. Otherwise, people are limited to a much smaller selection of clips and episodes.
2013 models start slightly higher at $1,019
In addition to launching new MacBook Pros, Apple has also updated prices for refurbished models. The cheapest Retina option is now a $999 October 2012 system, with a 13.3-inch screen and a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 processor. That signals the first time a refurbished Retina machine has been below $1,000.
Expansion campaign continues
In keeping with expansion efforts made during the past year, Apple has brought its AppleCare+ plans for the iPhone and iPad to Mexico and Sweden. Mexican plans cost 1,599 pesos, or about $123. Swedish plans are 799 kronor, or $117. In the US AppleCare+ coverage is $99.
Apple's portable line external design unchanged, internals boosted
As predicted, Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display product line. Both sizes of the model have an unchanged external design, but now boast faster processors, with some models seeing a doubling of RAM as standard. Surviving the upgrade is the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which also remains unchanged apart from a price cut.
Program expected to be operational in time for next iPhone arrival
Traditionally, iPhones bought from Apple Stores come in two varieties: locked to an individual carrier with a two-year contract, or completely unlocked but at full retail price. Last month, the company began allowing sales of iPhones on pre-paid plans, and now appears to be poised to allow Apple Store sales of iPhones to existing (and eligible) AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, T-Mobile Jump, and possibly Sprint EasyPay customers, who have the freedom to upgrade their phones more often in exchange for a slightly higher monthly charge.
Now offers Tune Your Taste, verified accounts, song history, more
As the process of Beats Music's acquisition by Apple continues, the iOS app for the subscription-based Beats Music service has received an update to both make playback better and more reliable as well as to improve the overall user experience. The new version 2.2.0 gives users the ability to customize the services's "Just For You" recommendations by changing artists and genres with a new feature called Tune Your Taste. In addition to some other changes, Beats reports that it has "fixed a ton of bugs."
Bid for sales ban against 23 copying Samsung products had been denied twice
Two years after the first Apple-Samsung patent trial, the big winner in that case -- Apple -- has dropped a motion to cross-appeal a portion of Judge Lucy Koh's final verdict. The action means that the company has officially given up hope of seeing any product bans on the 23 Samsung products found guilty of copying Apple technology, though the matter is largely moot as none of the products are still offered for sale anyway. Despite the clear victory in the jury trial, Judge Koh twice refused to issue sales injunctions on the infringing Samsung products.
Apple technology will be used by Swirl, Motorola Solutions to deploy in Canadian, US stores
HBC Department Store Group, which owns both the Lord & Taylor and Hudson's Bay department store chain, has announced it will be using indoor iBeacons leveraging Apple technology, manufactured by Motorola Solutions and powered by software from Swirl Networks across more than 130 of the corporation's stores in Canada and the US. The move follows in the footsteps of Macy's, which did a similar deployment of iBeacons last November in stores in New York City and San Francisco.
Could give iOS Pandora-like podcast feeds
Apple is on the verge of buying out Swell, a radio and podcast streaming app for iOS, sources say. The deal is reportedly worth $30 million, and if completed should result in the shutdown of the app's services sometime this week. While Swell has a dedicated fanbase, it's also said to have had trouble finding users beyond that group. An Android app was in beta testing but never released.
Clears major legal obstacle
The European Commission has authorized Apple's $3 billion takeover of Beats, according to an official statement. The organization was tasked with scrutinizing any possible antitrust concerns in the deal. In its judgment, the Commission notes that while both Apple and Beats sell headphones in Europe, even their combined marketshare is low, and the companies aren't in close competition. Their headphones are said to "differ markedly in functionality and design."
200MHz faster i7 chips, 16GB RAM standard, Iris Pro graphics among improvements
A sign spotted by a Mac user at the new Paradise Walk Apple Store in Chongqing , China may have leaked the changes coming to the next lineup of 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, with the most dramatic being the bump up to 16GB of RAM as standard on all models, even the low-end unit. Assuming the sign is correct, all three models of Retina MacBook Pro will bump around 200MHz in speed, with the line jumping to 2.2GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.8GHz, respectively. It is assumed that the RAM in the Retina models remains non-upgradeable.
Application for 'foldable pouch mobile cradle' uses art from Apple's Smart Cover
A new patent application from Samsung has surfaced, in which the company is seeking to claim a patent on a new type of sleeve for tablets. While that would not be cause for concern in most cases, some of the art in the application makes a direct call to a familiar cover for Apple's iPads. In the filing, Samsung - which has been repeatedly accused by Apple and others of "slavishly copying" the iPhone maker -- introduces prior art in the form of Apple's Smart Cover.
Stats double literally overnight to 0.57 percent of all Mac web traffic
Though the increase is insignificant in the larger picture of overall global Mac web traffic, new numbers from GoSquared suggest that the release yesterday of the Yosemite (OS X 10.10) public beta, limited to a pool of one million Apple ID holders already running Mavericks, doubled the number of people using the forthcoming new update on the web literally overnight. According to GoSquared's live analytics page, use of Yosemite jumped from 0.26 percent on Thursday to 0.57 percent on Friday.
Boise-based company dubbed 'the Pandora of books' sold for $10-15 million
On Friday, Apple revealed that it had purchased book analytics and discovery company BookLamp for an undisclosed sum, though TechCrunch estimated the sale between $10-15 million. While it acknowledged the deal, the iPhone maker's only comment on the deal was its standard "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans" line. The company is likely to use BookLamp technology in its iBookstore to help readers discover new content.
Total of $28B spent in fiscal 2014, average price $85 per share
Regulatory filings with the SEC have revealed that Apple spent another $5 billion during the June quarter as part of its share-repurchase program to retire an additional 58 million shares of stock at an average (split-adjusted) price of $85.23 per share, still well below the current trading average, and about the same price per share as well CEO Tim Cook first announced the buyback plan just over two years ago. The recent expenditure is less aggressive than seen in quarters where the share price was lower, signalling reduced buyback activity.
Why isn't anyone so excited about Yosemite?
This week in the MacNN forums, Mac Elite "PeterParker" asks "Why isn't anyone excited about Yosemite?", to which a variety of answers ranging from "I'm ecstatic" to "Yosemite is...eh" have been provided. Dedicated MacNNer "gregfripp" is trying to fix something in his dock, but is unable to do so, and has turned to the forums looking for advice.
budget priced Macs from $719
Today Apple's online store has a variety of refurbished Mac models on sale, starting as low as $719. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.3GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage has been reduced by $130 to $719. A $150 discount drops the price on the refurbished Mac mini with a 2.3GHz Intel quad-core i7 processor, OS X Server, 4GB of RAM and dual 1TB hard drives down to $849.
$300 off 15.4-inch rMBP
This week at B&H.com, save $300 on the 15.4-inch Retina MacBook Pro which has been cut from $3,099 down to $2,799. That discount makes this nearly $160 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. Included is a free copy of either Parallels Desktop 9 or LoJack. This MBP features a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 (Crystalwell) processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Apple now on the hook in another patent infringement case
In a court filing discovered today, Bose is suing Beats over noise cancellation headphone technology. Bose claims that Beats has knowingly infringed on 50 years of "signficant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design" on the technology, with the Beats lineup for sale now using "36 US patents and applications" that Bose now owns or has filed for.
App to be discontinued
Beginning with iOS 8 beta 4, Apple is warning owners of iPhoto for iOS that some features may not make the transition to its replacement, at least at first. Much as with iPhoto on the Mac, users will eventually be migrated over to an all-new, native Photos app, a huge overhaul of the existing iOS Photos app. When trying to run iPhoto in the current beta of iOS 8, an error message now appears stating that iPhoto isn't supported; instead, people are offered the choice to migrate data to Photos, with the exception of "layouts and text added to Books, Journals and Slideshows."
Company ramps up ahead of fall launches
Data from Apple's 10-Q filing with the SEC indicates that Apple spent $15.4 billion on manufacturing and components during the June quarter, a 22 percent increase quarter-over-quarter, notes Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. Apple put another $5.6 billion towards other commitments including advertising, R&D, Internet/telecommunications, and product tooling/manufacturing equipment. Combined the company's commitments totaled $21 billion, a 36 percent increase quarter-over-quarter, and 46 percent year-over year. The former is said to be the highest sequential growth for any Apple Q3 since the build up to the iPhone's launch in the summer of 2007.
Black facade appears in middle of mall
Apple is building its first-ever "open-air" provisional store in Switzerland, a local report says. Macprime notes that as far back as March, it learned that the Glattzentrum Apple Store in Wallisellen, just outside of Zurich, is expanding into a neighboring space formerly occupied by Läderach. Within the past several days though, an area in front of the shop -- but separate -- has been surrounded with a black facade, and even a curtain so that people wandering Glattzentrum's upper floor can't see in.
Apple pushes iTunes 12 beta as optional update for OS X Yosemite beta
Apple is pushing OS X Yosemite public beta users access to the new iTunes 12 beta. Developers were granted access to the iTunes 12 beta earlier in this week, and similarly OS X Yosemite public beta users will receive a notification via the Mac App Store software update function to install the optional update. iTunes 12 comes with a redesigned interface along with new features. Like the OS X Yosemite beta, the software is not finalized for release and may not alway work as expected, but gives Mac users an opportunity to provide Apple with feedback ahead of its official introduction.
Doesn't like possibility Apple will pay nothing if found innocent on appeal
In an unsurprising move, US District Court Judge Denise Cote hinted that she may overrule a settlement worked out between Apple and the attorneys general of 33 states and territories along with consumer groups over e-book pricing, expressing "concern" that one of the terms of the deal allows Apple to pay little or nothing if they are ultimately found innocent on appeal. She also objected to another agreed-upon aspect that allowed Apple to pay no interest on the monetary damages while the appeal was in process.
If legitimate, would be first tangible evidence of 5.5-inch model
A new set of pictures from a Taiwanese enthusiast site could provide the first evidence of the existence of a 5.5-inch iPhone if legitimate. The images, showing flex cables for the volume-mute button as well as the wake-sleep control, also include an unknown longer flex cable previously unseen in an iPhone model, as well as a set of micro-SIM trays. All are said to be for a 5.5-inch iPhone which has been long-rumored, but to date little credible evidence exists for its production.
iTunes and App Store difficulties already resolved
[Updated with spreading service issues] Apple online services have been affected by a pair of problems on Thursday, the company's system status page indicates. Still ongoing is a glitch with iCloud Mail, resulting in "slower than normal response" for some users. Trouble appears to have begun shortly after 2PM Eastern.
Accessible only to Beta Program participants
As promised earlier this week, Apple has begun seeding the first public beta of OS X Yosemite. Access is limited to the first million people entered into the OS X Beta Program. That requires having both an Apple ID and a Mac running OS X Mavericks.
Apple, Samsung give up share to Lenovo, ASUS, others
Although Apple's iPad is still the leading tablet globally, the company is continuing to lose marketshare, according to new IDC shipment data. Year-over-year, Apple's June-quarter tablet share fell from 33 to 26.9 percent, based on shipments of 13.3 million iPads this quarter versus 14.6 million in Q2 2013. The company's next closest competitor, Samsung, saw its share slip from 18.8 percent to 17.2.
Announcement follows quickly after Chongqing
Apple will open its next Chinese store in the city of Wuxi on August 2nd, at 10AM, according to an official listing. The outlet will be based at the Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, and operate from 10AM to 10PM every day. Wuxi is on the east coast in the cluster of cities near Shanghai, which already has several Apple Stores.