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.
Chinese government so far denying involvement
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China's Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss man-in-the-middle attacks against iCloud users, according to Reuters and China's state-run Xinhua news agency. Reuters notes that the Chinese government has so far denied allegations of involvement, which in particular tied the attacks to the state firewall used to censor Internet access in the country. As for the meeting, Xinhua says only that the pair shared views on "protection of users' information" and "strengthening cooperation and in information and communication fields."
Company uses restricted stock units, conditional on performance, as incentives
In its latest SEC 10-Q filing, Apple has revealed certain company details -- including the fact that it still spends a small fraction of the money other tech firms do on Washington lobbying, and that it continues its practice of awarding its executives restricted stock units (RSUs) that could be worth millions if they stay with the company and it continues to do well. CFO Luca Maestri and Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Dame Angela Ahrendts both received their first executive bonuses as part of the disclosure.
Now at $45 billion in buybacks for the year, double its 2013 buying spree
During its conference call to analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned that the company had spent $17 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter on further stock buybacks, the largest amount since the March quarter and bringing the total spent across the fiscal year to $45 billion. About half of the money was spent buying shares on the open market rather than through banking partners, an unusual move for a large corporation. The stock came close to another record high on Tuesday, but has yet to crack its $110 all-time (adjusted for both splits and buybacks) share high.
Retina iMacs beat Mac Pros in single core tests, but lags in multi-core
Early benchmarks of the new iMacs show the Retina 5K iMac as having high enough performance to beat the 2013 Mac Pro in some tasks, suggesting that in some cases it may be better to buy the new high-end iMac than a base-level Mac Pro. Results for the range, appearing on the 64-bit Geekbench 3 benchmark, has the high-resolution 5K iMac's 4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor option dominating the board for single and multi-core performance when compared to previous iMacs, and it manages to also put up a good fight when compared to configurations of last year's Mac Pro.
If approved, GT will sell sapphire furnaces to pay back Apple loan
After much bickering in court during bankruptcy proceedings that took Apple and Wall Street by surprise, former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has worked out an agreement with the iPhone maker that will let it pursue its plan of winding down operations at its Mesa, Arizona plant and laying off nearly 700 employees. Though Apple had initially said it would work to preserve the jobs involved, the deal instead offers incentives to certain employees to help wind down the plant, and provides a way for GT to pay back the money it owes Apple.
Involvement of Chinese government uncertain
Apple is aware of "intermittent organized network attacks" against people trying to sign into iCloud.com, says Dow Jones. It insists, however, that iCloud servers haven't been breached, and that people using iOS or the latest version of OS X -- Yosemite -- should be unaffected. The company doesn't specifically mention China, which is where the browser hijacks are taking place.
New Civilization title demands Yosemite, i3 processor
The latest installment of the Civilization franchise from developer Firaxis, Civilization: Beyond Earth, today has a slightly-narrowed release date for OS X as well as declared hardware and OS requirements. While the PC release is scheduled for October 24, the Mac version will ship in time for the holiday season. Civilization: Beyond Earth will require OS X 10.10 Yosemite, an Intel Core i3 processor or greater running at 2.2GHz or more, and 4GB of RAM. Minimum GPU specs are the Nvidia GeForce 640M, ATI Radeon HD 5750, or Intel Iris Graphics with 256 MB.
Some units could ship as soon as October 23rd
Apple is beginning to ship the earliest preorders of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 bought at its online store, accounts say. Notifications are being sent out today. Some orders are scheduled to ship on October 23 specifically, while other people have been given a broader 23rd-27th timeframe.
All iOS apps must support 64-bit code??
One headline on MacNN this week has caused a bit of a stir in the forums, when Mac Elite "WizOSX" pointed out that Apple has announced that all iOS apps must support 64-bit code by February. One Fresh-Faced Recruit is having trouble playing video with their Windows notebook computer, and is wondering if the MacBook Air would be able to handle it better.
17-inch iMacs from $1,399
Apple's online store has been slashing prices on refurbished 27-inch iMac models in the wake of last week's unveiling of their current-generation 5K model. The 27-inch iMac with a 2.9GHz quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive is now $1,399 after a $400 discount. A $310 discount is offered on the refurbished 27-inch iMac with a 3.2GHz Intel quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, now $1,489.
$120 off 13.3-inch MacBook Pro
Right now at B&H.com, get the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro notebook on sale for $1,280. That's a savings of $120 off the regular price of $1,400, and it is $109 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. Also provided is a free gift of either security software LoJack or Windows virtual environment software Parallels. This MBP features a 2.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
Country's first location with more conventional design
Apple's second store in Turkey is launching this Saturday at 10AM, the company has announced. The outlet is situated on one of the middle floors of Istanbul's Akasya Shopping Mall. It will be open from 10AM to 10PM seven days a week, and the company is already beginning to accept reservations for appointments including workshops and Genius Bar service.
Emphasizes user privacy through short-lived session IDs
While it may sound like a report from the Department of the Obvious, the new version of Spotlight included in Yosemite includes searching beyond the local drive, and consequently gathers and sends to Apple some information on what users are searching for, their (city-level) location -- if Location Services is turned on -- and what Spotlight Suggestion was selected. That one needs to get certain data to perform a web search has apparently come as a surprise to some, and thus Apple has released a statement clarifying exactly what data is gathered, how it is used, and reminding users of how to turn it off if desired.
Shows example apps made using Swift, notes colleges adding the language
Continuing its effort to promote its own streamlined object-oriented programming code Swift, Apple has followed up from its Swift blog with a full-blown mini-site on Apple.com. The new site takes a similar approach to Apple's dedicated mini-sites for education and business, highlighting some of the many apps now built using swift and featuring case studies, profiles and links to tutorials and free resources. The new promotional mini-site is in addition to the regular Swift developer site.
MLB was early adopter of Passbook app, iBeacons; MLB app will gain Touch ID functionality
Major League Baseball, which has taken the role of unabashed cheerleader for several of Apple's financial and retail technology initiatives including Passbook and iBeacons, has announced another embrace -- this time, Apple Pay. Both of the two MLB stadiums involved in this year's World Series will be accepting Apple Pay for concessions starting with the event, which begins on Tuesday. San Francisco's AT&T Park and Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium will both have the hardware on hand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users.
Cook announces new trip to Beijing for worker meeting that will be posted online
As is his habit, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday released a company-wide memo to employees recapping much of the sales and growth data from the analyst conference call given earlier that afternoon. He referred to the expectation-beating results as "Apple's highest September quarter revenue ever, and our strongest growth rate in seven quarters," adding that this was made possible "by your hard work and dedication." He also noted the big jump in Mac sales, beating industry averages significantly.
Desktop publisher offers tools suitable for beginner and experienced users
Standalone desktop publishing software fills a need for those who want to create a variety of printed projects, particularly if seeking a structured, template format. Launched earlier this year, Printworks for OS X is an all-purpose page-layout and desktop publishing app that offers templates for a wide variety of documents, as well as the option to design a document from scratch. A comprehensive app currently available for $30 (regularly priced at $50), Printworks' attention to detail throughout the creation process of a document is suitable for personal use or for small businesses who are seeking software specifically for this purpose. Is it worth the pricetag?
Emerging markets, price cuts, back to school seen as key factors
In what CEO Tim Cook called the "best ever" quarter for the Mac, Apple's Mac lineup overall jumped a remarkable 25 percent in a single quarter to 5.52 million units. Making the event more noteworthy is the fact that the growth was achieved prior to any notable refreshes. Instead, what appears to be driving the increase in Mac sales is volume in emerging markets, such as China - where Macs were up 54 percent year-over-year. Price cuts and great back-to-school sales also contributed to the jump.
Dropbox adds TouchID, support for iPhone 6, 6 Plus
Dropbox has released an update for its iOS app today, featuring new features for iOS 8 and support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The cloud storage service allows users to access and share their remotely stored files, including photos, documents and videos. Dropbox v3.5.0 features new support for TouchID, with fingerprint unlocking now available within the app. Also included is a fix for previewing RTF files on iOS 8, and general stability and performance improvements. Free to download, Dropbox for iOS requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Company's performance generally healthy
In the wake of its official announcement, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its Q4 financial results. On a regional basis the company did well in most cases, for instance increasing Americans revenue 17 percent year-over-year to $16.247 billion, and European revenue 19 percent to $9.535 billion. "Greater" China -- including Hong Kong and Taiwan -- advanced 1 percent to $5.778 billion, and Japan was up 5 percent to $3.507 billion. Only the rest of the Asia Pacific region saw problems, with revenue dipping 3 percent to $1.923 billion. Global retail sales rose 15 percent to $5.133 billion.
iPad shipments see decline
Apple pulled in $42.12 billion in revenues during its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended in September, according to an announcement. That figure surpasses the $37.47 billion the company posted in Q4 2013, as well as consensus expectations of $40 billion, and Apple's own guidance in the last quarter. Net profits rose year-over-year from $7.5 billion -- or $1.18 per diluted share -- to $8.5 billion and $1.42 per share. Gross margins increased from 37 to 38 percent.
Should improve performance on more recent devices
As of February 1st, all new or updating iOS apps must not only be based on the iOS 8 SDK, but contain 64-bit code, Apple is informing developers. At the moment developers are still being allowed to submit 32-bit-only apps or universal binaries. The problem is that more recent iOS devices -- namely those based on 64-bit A7, A8, and A8X processors -- have to load extra resources into memory to handle 32-bit code, taking a toll on performance.
Relative handful of third-party apps currently showing support
The official Apple Store app has been updated to v3.1, enabling support for online Apple Pay transactions. Shoppers can now also make NFC-based payments at the company's retail outlets, but this doesn't require an app update; in either scenario, users must have a compatible device running iOS 8.1, which was released earlier today. Online payments are supported by the iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. Only the 6 and 6 Plus can be used at retail.
Includes delayed SMS Relay tech, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fixes
As planned, Apple has released iOS 8.1 to the public. The main addition is support for Apple Pay, but a number of other important features are present. These include beta support for iCloud Photo Library, and the return of the Camera Roll to the Photos app. SMS Relay enables SMS/MMS messaging via a nearby Mac or iPad, and people can now force a device to use 2G, 3G, or 4G for data, instead of it selecting networks automatically. A minor photo-related improvement generates alerts whenever there's too little storage to start a timelapse video.
Company claims discount could attract more subscribers
In preparation for relaunching Beats Music next year, Apple is currently pushing record labels to allow lowering monthly subscription fees from $10 to $5, sources say. The company's marketing pitch is allegedly that even Apple's best iTunes customers typically spend about $60 per year, or $5 per month. As such anyone switching from downloads to streaming would generate an equal amount of revenue, and more importantly the potential subscriber pool would increase thanks to more affordable fees.
Many Apple partners missing compatible terminals
The lion's share of early Apple Pay transactions will probably be in-app, rather than ones made at retail stores, admits Apple's senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue. Over the weekend Cue spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the service, which launches today. In fact many of Apple's merchant partners have yet to receive point-of-sale terminals compatible with Apple Pay, but the company is expecting them to upgrade within the next year.
Dual-core Haswell processors may limit refreshed Mac mini usefulness
The refreshed Mac mini may offer a significant dip in performance compared to earlier iterations, a report claims. A blog post from the Geekbench benchmark suite suggests that, though the new Haswell-based systems may have slightly higher single-core performance scores than the Ivy Bridge-based counterparts from late 2012, their multi-core performance will apparently suffer considerably.
Tumblr releases OS X app, features full screen viewing, easy posting
Blogging social platform Tumblr has released a native OS X app. A microblogging service, Tumblr lets users share media ranging from text, photos, music, links, video and more. Tumbler's app for OS X features a full-screen viewing option, and additionally allows posting to Tumblr from anywhere on one's Mac that has a Share button in its window. Free to download, the new Tumblr app requires OS X 10.10.
Socketed CPU, same components as previous model shown in breakdown
Apple repair purveyors iFixit have given their regular disassembly treatment to Apple's new 27-inch 5K iMac. As the machine has re-used the chassis from the last generation of iMac, and has only minor changes to the internals apart from the display, the repairability score remains the same at a five out of 10. Notably, the company has found a larger display data connector, with the fused LCD and taped-down display hindering repair efforts.
Apple A8X chip in iPad Air 2 set to smoke the competition
Apple's demo for the iPad Air 2 during its latest keynote event was hugely impressive. As the company often does during its live presentations, it invited two developers on stage to highlight not only their apps, but also the power of the new iPad Air 2. Although all the technical details are not yet fully known about the powerful new custom 64-bit A8X chip, Apple did reveal some impressive numbers. But numbers aside, if you ever held any doubts about the benefits of Apple going 64-bit for the iPhone and iPad, the performance capabilities of iPad Air 2 as demonstrated should put them to bed.
Rewards and other perks will remain the same as if physical card had been used
Financial services and credit card issuer American Express has posted a new web page on its site, extolling the benefits of Apple Pay and instructing users on how to add their cards to the Passbook-based payment system. The mobile payment system is designed for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (now expanded to include the latest iPads for online or in-app purchases only) and will be formally rolled out on Monday, alongside the release of iOS 8.1.
Hard drive can be upgraded, possibly RAM, but voids warranty to do so
Server farm and hosting provider Macminicolo has posted its preliminary findings on the latest edition of the Mac mini, noting that the RAM in the unit is not user-accessible as was the case in previous models. This does not completely preclude the possibility of it being upgraded, but doing so would void the warranty on the machine. The 5400rpm hard drive included in the 2014 models is upgradeable, but again only through a warranty-voiding procedure.
Comes despite companies settling lawsuit
In spite of the two companies settling a lawsuit over noise cancellation patents, Apple has gone ahead and removed Bose headphones and speakers from its online store, visitors note. Rumors surfaced a week ago that Apple was planning to remove Bose products from its stores. Why it would want to was uncertain, but one point of speculation was animosity because of the lawsuit.
Could hit local area hard
GT Advanced plans to lay off 727 workers at its sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona, according to a mandatory Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification issued to the Mesa City Council. Affected people are said to include 524 in production, 108 in technical jobs, 70 in management, and 25 in administration. The move comes as GT is planning to "wind down" the Mesa plant, and despite Apple's promise that it would try to preserve jobs.
Time for a new iMac?
Since yesterday marked the release of the new 27-inch iMac, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with chatter about this latest addition to the Mac family, and finally there is an answer to the age-old question "is it time for a new iMac?" and it looks like that answer is a resounding "yes." The official OS X 10.10 Yosemite thread was started yesterday by "Eden Aurora," where users can share their experiences and first impressions.
iMac and Mac mini from $499
With the unveiling of the new iMacs and Mac minis yesterday, Apple also has cut prices on refurbished iMacs and Mac minis. The refurbished Mac mini with a 2.5GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive has been reduced by $80 to $419. For $929, after a $170 discount, is the refurbished 21.5-inch iMac with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.
$382 off new Retina 27-inch iMac
It's hard to believe, but Expercom has already managed to secure lower pricing on the brand new 27-inch Retina iMac with a 3.5GHz quad-core i5 processor, 32GB of RAM, 1TB Fusion drive and AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB video card. This configuration retails for $3,349 from Apple, but is priced at only $2,942 with $25 for shipping. That's a savings of $382. The only difference is the wait time of 10 days to 3 weeks before it ships, versus Apples' 3-5 day shipping time. As always, this item is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
Encryption of smartphones hampers security efforts, claims FBI head
The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked for companies to back away from encrypting consumer devices by default. Echoing similar comments made last month, Director James Comey spoke to the Brookings Institute yesterday about the issue, which is claimed will make it difficult for law enforcement officials to collect evidence from mobile devices.
Software already bundled into OS X Yosemite
Following its debut for the Mac alongside OS X Yosemite, Apple has released the Windows version of iTunes 12. The software brings with it a radically different look, borrowing design cues from Yosemite. One of the major interface changes is the relocation of categories like Music, Apps, Podcasts, and Movies to buttons in a new menu bar, where a second set of fluctuating options makes it easier to jump to associated items like playlists, app updates, a specific section of the iTunes Store, or iTunes Radio.
In-store pickup options only listed as 'coming soon'
Apple has officially opened up preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 at its online store. In the US, Apple is currently promising delivery sometime between October 23rd and the 27th. Delivery in fact appears to be the only option, as in-store pickup is quoted as "coming soon."
Claims decision contradicts statutes, Supreme Court precedent
Patent holding firm VirnetX has filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, requesting a rehearing of a September decision tossing a $368.2 million verdict against Apple, and asking it to reinstate a District Court's damages award in full. In a press release, VirnetX says the decision was "contrary to the patent statute and Supreme Court precedent." It also asserts that it should receive damage payments on the basis that the District Court properly construed the claim term "secure communication link."