Chinese maker challenging Samsung with low-end models, vaults into third place
A new report from IDC again places Apple and Samsung at the top of the heap for smartphone manufacturers as it has for years now -- but there is nonetheless notable change in the air. Samsung saw a significant drop in shipments for its smartphones, dropping 8.5 percent from the year-ago quarter. Apple, in second place, saw a 16.1 percent increase in shipments. Though Samsung was dominant with 78.1 million units shipped, a new challenger from China is beating the Korean company on its home turf of low-end smartphones.
Company lost $461M before bankruptcy filing, says it had to assume all risks
Daniel Squiller, the COO of GT Advanced Technologies who was among those slowly selling off his holdings in company over the course of 2014, has told the bankruptcy court that the company lost $461 million before it finally filed for bankruptcy, which he characterized as a last-resort measure to get out of "unsustainable" contracts with Apple. Squiller painted a picture that claimed that GT Advanced assumed all the risk in their joint venture, while Apple took none.
Pair blame attacks on 'challenging the status quo'
CurrentC governing company Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) held a conference call a bit earlier today. The company's lead executives took turns defending the company against some claims related to fines for merchants abandoning CurrentC, and also tried to explain away the email data breach it had suffered.
Prospect still dependent on passing through sanction limits
Apple is talking to Iranian distributors about the possibility of selling the iPhone in the country, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Senior Apple executives have reportedly met with the distributors at the former party's London headquarters. If the iPhone does become available in Iran, it will be through premium resellers, rather than Apple itself, which has no direct footprint to speak of. "Over a dozen" Apple employees -- including technical and marketing staff -- have been involved in the recent efforts, the Journal adds.
Versatile pixel color grabber offers 24 color formats
Visually creative professionals have long been in favor of using OS X to get their job done, in part because of simple, included utilities, like DigitalColor Meter. This utility allows users to magnify screen contents and copy the RGB pixel components, suited for those who seek a specific hue for their own design project - web, graphic or otherwise. This included tool is great, but for those who seek a more integrative alternative, we decided to check out ColorSnapper, priced at $5, to see if more features made a better pixel color picker.
Company working on improving appeal of service to clients
The iAd network is now available in another 70 countries, bringing the total up to 95, according to an Apple announcement to developers. The company hasn't identified which regions are new except for Australia, but says the remainder are spread across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The change should increase the potential reach of existing iAd campaigns and enable new ones.
Milestone comes far slower than it did for iOS 7 due to early-release glitches
As of October 27, iOS 8 was installed on 52 percent of eligible devices, Apple has announced in a posting on its developer website. While far slower than the take-up rate of iOS 7 last year, the milestone was achieved in a little less than six weeks' time -- still far faster than comparative figures for other mobile and desktop platforms. Early delivery and quality glitches in iOS 8 -- most notoriously the short-lived 8.0.1 bugfix release -- may have made the public more gun-shy about trusting later updates.
Now reads heart rate from devices, sends NikeFuel and workout data to Health app
Nike has announced a significant update to its Nike+ Running app for the iPhone, which now natively supports the resolution of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. In addition, the app now features cooperation with the Heath app included with iOS 8. The Running app itself can now also read from the M8 motion co-processor, including changes in elevation. It can now read heart rate data created by third-party hardware that is sent to the Health app, and can report NikeFuel and workout data to the Health app.
2011 Core i7 iMac vs Retina i5 iMac
After having some display backlight and logic board issues with an older iMac, Mac Enthusiast "Boochie" has decided now would be a good time to start thinking about a new iMac. A post they made in the MacNN forums sparked a debate about what would be a better choice, a 2011 iMac with a Core i7 processor, or a new Retina iMac with an i5 processor. Yesterday, one Forum Regular was trying to determine the best cable to use to connect a Mac mini to a Dell UltraSharp monitor, and asked fellow forum members for their thoughts.
Apple deals: displays and accessories
Apple's online store has dropped the price on the refurbished Apple 27-inch LED cinema display by $200, cutting the cost down from $999 to $799. This display offers 2560x1440 resolution, LED backlighting, 178-degree viewing angles and three USB ports along with built-in iSight camera, microphone and 49-watt speaker system. Quickly and easily set up a wireless network using an iDevice, Mac or PC and the refurbished AirPort Express. It has been reduced by $24 down to $75.
Apple failing to acknowledge video defect, suit says
Following up on earlier talk, lawfirm Whitfield Bryson & Mason has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple on behalf of owners of the 2011 MacBook Pro. For some time, users of the laptop have been complaining about visual artifacts, blank screens, and/or crashes, which appear to be linked to problems with AMD graphics hardware. Apple, though, hasn't offered to fix affected systems outside of warranty coverage without charging high fees, and using replacement parts that may cause the exact same trouble.
Blames distribution system, not code
Via Re/code's first annual Code/Mobile conference, Apple's VP for iPhone marketing, Greg Joswiak, has apologized for the botched iOS 8.0.1 update in September. "It wasn't the software itself it was the way it was distributed," he explains in an interview. "We're very sorry."
Apple could ask for millions or billions in claims, supplier says
GT Advanced Technologies has to settle legal disputes with Apple because "protracted litigation against one of the largest corporations in the world with over $100 billion of cash would be challenging and expensive," according to a court filing submitted late Monday night. Lawyers for the bankrupt sapphire supplier say that Apple is threatening to hit it with "numerous liquidated damages provisions in the Apple Agreements pursuant to which Apple would likely assert millions, if not billions, of dollars in secured and unsecured claims against certain of the Debtors."
NeoFinder releases update, supports iCloud Drive, OS X Yosemite
NeoFinder (formerly named CDFinder) has announced its release of a new version of its file organizing software. NeoFinder allows users to keep track of one's digital files, photos, songs, movies, fonts on hard disks, USB drives, DVD-ROMs, CD-ROMs and other media formats. Generating thumbnails and reading metadata during the cataloging process, NeoFinder assists in creating powerful searches, smart folders, albums and more.
Cook says CVS, Rite Aid will eventually need to do what customers want
During the service's first 72 hours, over one million credit and debit cards were activated on Apple Pay, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The executive made the comment yesterday at the WSJ.D conference in Laguna Beach, California. Cook moreover claims that Apple Pay already has more mobile wallets in the US than all other mobile payment platforms combined, despite the headstart of options like Google Wallet.
Company admits to sagging iTunes music sales
Apple's 2014 10-K filing, just published by the Securities and Exchange Commission, shows major increases in acquisitions and research spending. Even excluding its $3 billion Beats takeover, the company still managed to increase acquisition spending from $496 million to $957 million during the last fiscal year. Annual research and development spending has more than doubled during the past three years, rising from $2.4 billion to $6 billion.
Engineering effort to re-make low demand device would be 'massive'
Without much fanfare, Apple discontinued the hard drive-based iPod classic in September of this year. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal's WSJD conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a simple explanation for fans of the high capacity device -- lack of parts availability led to the demise of the last non-flash iPod.
iPad Air 2 is anything but an incremental update
Apple is heading into the holiday season with what it says is its "strongest holiday product line up ever." The arrival of the new iPads certainly helps to underscore the point. Most expected that Apple would bring the popular Touch ID feature to both models, while processor upgrades were also in the cards. With leaks increasingly taking some of the surprise out of Apple's product launches, it still managed to keep a few things secret until it took the wraps off the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3.
Claims public, business response to service 'overwhelmingly positive'
Apple has issued a formal response to CVS and Rite Aid blocking Apple Pay at their stores. "The feedback we are getting from customers and retailers about Apple Pay is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic," the company says. "We are working to get as many merchants as possible to support this convenient, secure and private payment option for consumers. Many retailers have already seen the benefits and are delighting their customers at over 220,000 locations."
Says 114 schools getting iPads, MacBooks, Apple TVs
Apple has launched a minisite promoting the company's involvement in the US federal government's ConnectED initiative. The program is concerned with getting better Internet access and computing equipment to underfunded schools, and Apple has pledged some $100 million. Newly revealed in the minisite is that Apple's grants have reached 114 schools in 29 states, and that 92 percent of the students at those schools "are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage."
Dodocase releases Flat Vernacular Classic cases for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3
Tech accessories producer Dodocase has released two case series for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. Its Flat Vernacular series features unique hand-drawn patterns from Brooklyn-based design company of the same name, and its Classic cases are available in black with different options for the inner cover. Both case series include a book-bound spine, an impact-resistant bamboo tray and folding back cover, either offering multi-angle folding options or the original cover.
Would bring tech beyond world of Apple Pay
Apple is hunting for new partnerships that will let it diversify the use of the NFC chip in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a new report claims. At the moment the chip is meant exclusively for retail Apple Pay transactions, particularly since the related API hasn't been opened to third-party developers. Apple is allegedly negotiating with companies like HID Global and Cubic regarding purposes such as building security and public transit ticketing.
Legere explains how each carrier approaches the use of the iPad SIM card
In light of the news that AT&T is locking down the Apple SIM card if used in its network, T-Mobile CEO comment on the complex relationship between carriers and the SIM. Legere issued a "tweetstorm" explaining how each of the four major carriers in the United States approaches the technology differently.
System blocking Google, Apple efforts; allows others to pass through
CVS has ceased accepting Near-Field Communication (NFC) payments from Apple Pay and Google Wallet at its stores, US-wide. The pharmacy issued the instructions to stores earlier this week, with shutdowns continuing through the weekend. CVS has mirrored Rite Aid, which shut down its terminals earlier this week. Both CVS and Rite Aid are about to join the nascent and poorly-regarded MCX CurrentC NFC and barcode payment solution, and the move is widely seen as an effort to squeeze out both Google's and Apple's payment solutions.
Boom audio boosting app increases file volume, optimizes OS X audio
The speakers included with Mac laptop and desktop systems and portable devices typically suffice for basic audio needs. For more power behind your sound, Global Delight offers its audio app Boom, a volume-optimizer for OS X. Boom's central functionality is that it can create "boosted" media files and playlists, so that audio is easier to hear when listening on a device's speaker such as iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. On an OS X system, Boom optionally includes a volume booster and equalizer for additional sound control. Priced at $7, does Boom effectively achieve its aims?
Both most recent OS releases caught on at double the pace of previous paid upgrades
Users are getting used to the idea of upgrading to the latest OS X versions very quickly after release, a new study from ad agency and trend analyst Chitika shows. The latest major OS X upgrade, 10.10 Yosemite, has already achieved a 12.8 percent share of all Internet-connected Macs -- slightly ahead of where last year's release, Mavericks, was at the same point, six days after release. However, both Mavericks and Yosemite have enjoyed adoption rates more than twice as high as the last paid upgrade, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in 2012.
Will replace bank-sponsored system with competing mobile wallet platform next year
Following reader complaints of Rite-Aid stores no longer accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments (following a brief period where both worked properly) and a "cone of silence" from PR representatives, leaked documents have revealed that the reversal by Rite-Aid on accepting NFC-based payments was deliberate, and that it may never accept Apple Pay, since it is planning to go with a rival mobile payments platform -- sometime next year.
Shorter leasing period, iPhone 5S inclusion in Sprint plan
Sprint is making changes to its iPhone for Life rental plan, just over a month after launch. The carrier is adjusting the plan to allow customers the ability to lease an iPhone and upgrade it after 12 months, though the existing 24-month period between upgrades will continue to be offered to users at a lower cost compared to the new plan option.
Details R&D buildings along North Tantau
Apple has a submitted revised plans for the second phase of its Campus 2 project in Cupertino, California. Next to the main "spaceship" complex, the company is looking to build three research and development-related buildings on opposite sides of North Tantau Avenue. It already has approval for the construction, but the updated plans reveal specific details.
Yosemite is a big win (or fail depending on who you ask)
With just a little over one week on the Mac App Store under its belt, OS X 10.10 Yosemite has been one of the hottest topics in the MacNN forums, with discussion topics ranging from claimed "unfixed bugs" and battery life issues to beefs with Dark Mode and tips for those who are just upgrading for the first time. Today, one Dedicated MacNNer was looking for help determining the cause of what appears to be USB power failure.
Mac desktops from $419
Right now at Apple's online store, take advantage of price cuts on a wide range of Mac desktops. The lowest-priced item on that list is the refurbished Mac mini with a 2.5GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, now $419. Right now, refurbished 27-inch iMac models start as low as $1,399 for a configuration with a 2.9GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive.
Mac mini from $494, 256 SSD for $135 and more
MacMall.com has already begun dropping prices on brand-new Mac mini configurations. The entry-level Mac mini with a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and Mac OS X Yosemite has seen a $5 price cut from $499 down to $494, making this the best price we have seen by the same price margin. As always, this Mac mini is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor, with an optional AppleCare extended warranty available.
Beats Music expected to be rebuilt, integrated into iTunes
Sales at Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent in 2014 so far, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. That represents a steepening decline, coming in the wake of a 2.1 percent dip in 2013. The trend is believed to be connected to the music industry's overall swing away from downloads, and towards streaming subscription services like Pandora and Spotify.
On paper, its not as strong as the 2012 model, but why worry?
After its release, we came out pretty strongly against Apple's new $499 Mac mini. We thought it to be underpowered, and despite some minor improvements, generally a step backwards. Time has passed, tempers have cooled a bit, and we've given it a second thought. While we're not saying that its a must-buy, there are some good use cases for it, and in some instances it trumps the 2012 model.
May signal gradual expansion
The Amazon Rewards Visa card has now been added to Apple Pay, some owners have noticed. The card wasn't initially compatible with Apple Pay when the service was launched earlier this week. Support for the card is notable because of its popularity, owing to users getting three percent back on Amazon purchases, two percent at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores, and one percent on all other purchases.
Effort still in earliest stages
For Apple, getting Apple Pay working in China is a major priority, CEO Tim Cook tells China's state-run Xinhua news agency. "China is a really key market for us," he says. "Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list." He adds, however, that the company still has to learn the steps needed to bring Apple Pay to China, and has yet to meet with local banks, merchants, and carriers.
Pocket Informant receives update, adds iOS 8 support, updated interface
Web Information Solutions has updated its iOS app Pocket Informant, a combined scheduling and task list manager compatible with built-in calendar data, Google, Toodledo, Evernote or Informant Sync. Free to download, by upgrading to its premium version ($15) users can sync with other calendars, utilize Rich Text Notes and Contact Management features, Task Smart Filters and more. Pocket Informant v4.5.1 integrates iOS 8 components like the Today Widget, TouchID Support, Alarm Actions, and the ability to create tasks and notes from Safari and the Notes app. Users can now log in to Google, Toodledo, or Informant Sync through the app using 1Password, and can now sync with Toodledo's latest API. Various fixes have been additionally included since the major update was launched. Pocket Informant requires iOS 7.1 or later.
Icahn endorsement, strong iPhone sales, coming holiday behind push
Apple's stock on Thursday hit a new all-time closing high, reaching $104.83 per share at the closing bell. While many are waiting to see if the company can close the week at that level or higher, others -- including activist investor Carl Icahn and CEO Tim Cook -- believe the stock remains undervalued. AAPL also set a new intra-day high of $105.05 during trading, and is up slightly from its close at this writing in after-hours trading. Stronger-than-expected iPhone numbers and the coming holiday season has helped fuel the rise.
Christian Bale to play Steve Jobs in biopic, according to interview
Christian Bale is set to play the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the forthcoming biopic film written by Aaron Sorkin. Previously considered for Leonardo DiCaprio, Aaron Sorkin said in Bloomberg interview that there wasn't a need for Bale to audition for the role due to being a good fit. The latest screenplay is comprised of three thirty minute scenes of backstage goings on prior to three keynote presentations.
Testing pool limited to 1,000 users per developer
Following a soft rollout to internal testers a few weeks ago, Apple has fully opened its TestFlight beta-testing service. "You can now invite up to 1,000 testers to beta test your iOS apps by simply sending them an email invitation through iTunes Connect," the company says on its developer portal. "Once they accept your invitation, testers can install your beta app on their iOS devices, get updated builds, and provide feedback, all within the TestFlight app."
Former sapphire supplier will keep control of Mesa assets
(Updated with Apple response, hints at future initiatives) GT has confirmed its split with Apple via a press release, offering further details on the terms. "GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple," the statement explains. "GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa [Arizona] and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its $439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF sales.
Argues China will become company's biggest market
As part of his trip to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has told local media that the company is planning to open 25 stores in Greater China during the next two years. "Greater" China includes not just mainland China but Hong Kong and Taiwan. So far there are no Apple Stores in Taiwan, but there are three in Hong Kong and a dozen on the mainland, most of those being split between Beijing and Shanghai.
Will use transport layer security for push notifications starting October 29
In a note to developers, Apple has announced that due to a serious security flaw in SSL version 3.0, the company will be dropping support for the protocol beginning Wednesday, October 29 for all of its push notifications, which are delivered through Apple's own servers. The company will switch to Transport Layer Security (TLS) for the service, and notes that developers will need to build in support for TLS in their apps to ensure uninterrupted push notification compatibility if they haven't already.
CEO as already met with Vice Premier Ma Kai over China iCloud attacks
Apple CEO Tim Cook has posted a picture from his latest trip to China on Twitter, showing him sharing a laugh with a factory worker named Zhang Fan, who helps assemble the iPhone 6 at a factory in Zhengzhou. While Foxconn's factories manufacture equipment for a wide variety of technology firms including Google, Microsoft and others, Cook is the only CEO to routinely visit the facilities and personally investigate conditions and safety at the plants. He called the meeting with Zhang "an early highlight" of the trip.
Company directly refers to plaintiff as 'patent troll,' calls for continued patent reform
Non-practicing entity GPNE, which had tried to sue Apple over alleged infringement of expired pager-related 3G wireless patents, has come away completely empty-handed after a jury exonerated Apple of all charges. The firm, which has attempted to sue or sued most other big-name tech firms over the same or similar patents, had sought $94 million in damages (which Apple had referred to as an "attempt to extort money" from the iPhone maker), but was awarded nothing.
Lack of antenna for NFC radio hobbles unit for Apple Pay retail buying
A new teardown of the iPad Air 2 has confirmed much of what was speculated about the device, but has also revealed some minor surprises. The team at iFixit have rated the new iPad a "two" on a scale of 10, with 10 being the most repairable. The company says that while the new "fused" display is better visually, and sturdier when opening up the iPad, it will also increase the cost of repair for a cracked screen. The teardown also revealed that the latest full-size iPad features a smaller battery and more RAM.
Takes second place in all-time high price paid for a personal computer
On the same day that Apple's stock closed at the second-highest price it has achieved in 2014, a new record-high price for its first computer -- the original Apple I -- has also been set, by a considerable margin. While an incredibly rare still-functional Apple I model (thought to be one of just six in such pristine condition) along with a letter from Steve Jobs was sold in May 2013 for $671,400, the latest auction in New York saw this latest unit -- one from the original first batch of 50 -- change hands for $905,000.
Marketing built into new OS
People using Chrome or Firefox within OS X Yosemite are seeing push notifications asking them to try Safari, accounts say. The messages tout Safari as "fast, energy efficient, and with a beautiful new design," and even include "Later" and "Try Now" buttons. They appear to be triggered by launching Chrome or Firefox for the first time after the Yosemite upgrade.
Option temporarily restricted to Wi-Fi models
Shoppers at Apple's online store now have the option of selecting Personal Pickup as a delivery option for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. When preorders opened last Friday, the company required all orders to be shipped. Notably, some stores are listed as having iPads ready for pickup today, even though Apple Store workers are saying they won't have tablets on sale until later this week, or even next week. Shipped orders are beginning to arrive on doorsteps however.
Improved graphic-focused website creator now more powerful
Just because you need a website, doesn't mean that the best option is to hire someone to create one out of whole cloth. The alternative is either learning HTML, CSS, and a host of other acronymic technologies, or seeking out all-in-one website design software that allows users to publish a website without requiring coding knowledge or a ton of design expertise. Realmac Software has announced the release of RapidWeaver 6, an upgrade to its longstanding website creation app, and we've had a chance to put it through its paces.