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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Factory will require government investment
Apple's chief assembly partner, Foxconn, is hoping to gain orders for iPhone displays by building a new factory in Zhengzhou, China, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The company is allegedly in talks with Zhengzhou's government about getting financial help for the factory, which could cost up to 35 billion yuan, or about $5.7 billion. One of the topics under discussion is how much money local government would have to invest in the project.
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.
Fix for card images in progress, sources say
Although the service appears to be working in general, some banks supporting Apple Pay are encountering some early technical problems. One issue is that in some cases, the correct card designs aren't being displayed in Passbook. Affected cards will show generic logos for their associated institutions, and possibly lack descriptions as well, which can make numbers the only way to distinguish between them when a person has multiple cards from the same firm. Sources claim that a fix for the bug is already underway.
Said to support latest iPhones, iPads
The Pangu jailbreak team has developed a new hack for iOS 8 and 8.1 devices, reports and the team's website note. The initial release is said to be intended strictly for app developers, since it doesn't install Cydia or other services designed to make jailbreaking simple and practical. The public version is in fact waiting on those services being brought up to speed for iOS 8.
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.
Demand may have pushed up schedule
A loyalty program for Apple Pay may be ready to go in time for the holidays, says Bank Innovation. Some retail sources had previously suggested this was unlikely, in part because of doubt about the prospects of a large shift in customer behavior happening right before the holiday season. Real-world market demand may be pushing up the timetable for a loyalty offering, however.
Phablet car-mount brings hands-free to larger format mobile devices
Simple, stylish and effective, the Kenu Airframe + portable car mount is the latest addition to Kenu's lineup. Released earlier this year, the Airframe + takes the same basic design of the Airframe and gives it a little extra stretch in order to hold larger six-inch phones. In our review, we thoroughly put the Airframe + to the test to see what exactly it is that puts the "plus" in this portable car mount.
Devices must also be set to US region
Even though Apple Pay -- launched yesterday with iOS 8.1 -- is nominally supposed to be US-only at the moment, it's already working overseas, anecdotes indicate. In particular, the service is functional in Australia, as long as a person is using both US credit cards and region settings on their iPhone. The region toggle is needed to make Apple Pay show as an option.
Chinese launch weighting phone's demand
Apple may, for a second time, have to adjust the ratios of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus production to more equally favor the Plus, sources tell Digitimes. Earlier this month, the company is said to have noticed that global demand for the Plus was stronger than expected, and adjusted accordingly. After last weekend's launch in China, though, the company is said to have discovered strong demand there, too. Chinese buyers wanting a regular iPhone 6 can reportedly buy one without much trouble, but face a long wait if they opt for the bigger phone.
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.
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.
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.
Features also available to iPad, iPod owners
Although OS X Yosemite is out and most Continuity and Handoff features should already work, two important ones -- Instant Hotspot and SMS Relay -- won't function until iOS 8.1 is released on Monday, notes AppleInsider. The former automatically tethers a Mac, iPad, or iPod touch to an iPhone, while the latter lets people receive SMS/MMS messages from an iPhone on the above devices. Instant Hotspot requires the paired devices to be on the same Apple ID and the iPhone to have tethering enabled by a carrier.
Preorder system, midnight carrier debuts credited
The Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing, one of the company's most important in China, was witness to a "low-key" iPhone 6 launch Friday morning, says the Wall Street Journal. As close as an hour before store opening, just a handful of people had lined up, even less than the 24 security guards Apple had on site. The line grew to around 100 people by launch, but composed entirely of preorder customers with assigned pickup times. People without preorder reservations simply waited for their turn to get in line.
PowerSkin PoP'n 2 power pack for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
Now that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are in the hands of millions of loyal Apple fans, many people are starting to look at useful accessories that third party manufacturers have to offer. One awesome addition to the list of "must-haves" is the PowerSkin PoP'n 2 portable battery pack. We have two of these battery packs to give away to our readers. Find out more about what makes this mobile charging solution different, and how you can enter to win.
Email client Mailbox for Mac now available as public beta
Mailbox has officially released its beta versionemail client for OS X this week, now available to all. Mailbox for iOS arrived last year, offering a simplistic interface that aims to improve inbox organization. Mailbox for Mac is similar in design, and features controls to archive and delete email, as well as create lists and enable a "snooze" functionality. The app includes swipe gesture and hotkeys options. Those interested in downloading the beta version of Mailbox for Mac can do so for free through Mailbox.
Said to be heavily involved in chips for iPhone 6
Taiwanese supplier TSMC has secured orders to produce a processor for an "upcoming next-generation iPad expected to be released in early 2015," according to Digitimes sources. The chip is said to be "tentatively" codenamed the A8X, and be based on the same 20nm manufacturing process as the A8. TSMC is said to be producing A8 chips for the iPhone 6, and even a variety of related chips, including Dialog power management ICs, Qualcomm baseband chips, Synaptics LCD driver ICs, InvenSense gyroscropes, and Apple's own fingerprint sensors.
If you want the best smartphone experience you can have, only iPhone can deliver it
Making the decision to buy a smartphone needs to take into account more factors than simply the hardware specifications of the device. While this might be a starting point, there is a lot more to the contemporary smartphone experience than the device itself. There needs to be an overall balance between the hardware, software, services and overall system integration - and on each of these counts, Apple and its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus continues to lead the competition.
Who is the target audience for the Apple Watch?
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, one long-time member made some interesting points about the most likely clientele for the premium editions of the Apple Watch that could be priced above $500, stating that a watch is really the only piece of "jewelry" a man can pull off with style, so some of the higher-end models would likely be very appealing to watch aficionados. More suggestions for the best free iOS 8 keyboards have been coming in one thread started late last week.
Rudiments already present in iOS 8.0.2
Siri will have at least some commands related to Apple Pay, according to sources "close to Apple" cited by Bank Innovation. The site says that it has confirmed this to an extent itself; on an iPhone 6 with iOS 8.0.2, telling Siri to "open my Bank of America credit card" will open up Passbook, rather than a Bank of America app. Doing so also prompts users to enter their passcode or Touch ID.
Paper, mobile phone industries in Finland damaged by iPhone, iPad, leader claims
Apple may be partially responsible for the economic troubles of two major industries in Finland, the country's Prime Minister has claimed. Alexander Stubb suggests Apple's products have impacted its mobile device and paper industries to such a level that it caused an economic downturn, and also caused the Nordic country to endure a sovereign debt rating downgrade.
Expansions due on 17th, 23rd, 24th, 30th, and 31st
Although some launches were previously announced, Apple has today confirmed that 36 more regions will be getting the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus throughout the month. China, India, and Monaco are leading the new wave of expansion beginning October 17. Israel is due on the 23rd, while the Czech Republic, French West Indies, Greenland, Malta, Poland, Reunion Island, and South Africa are scheduled for the 24th.
Official announcement expected at Oct. 16th press event
A leaked internal memo from US pharmacy chain Walgreens suggests that Apple Pay will launch this Saturday, October 18. The memo asks store managers to prepare workers for questions from the public. It also suggests that people will "only need to tap their iPhone 6 to the upper portion of the pinpad" to make a purchase. In truth the technology is slightly more complex, requiring a person to have a digit on their Touch ID sensor, and Apple Pay pre-configured with the card(s) they intend to use.
Nearly $250M in accessories sold after iPhone 6 debut, up 43 percent
According to a new report from sales analyst NPD, mobile phone accessories in the US hit a new record in the two weeks immediately following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Accessory sales were seen to be 43 percent higher than the two weeks before the launch, and far better than the 17 percent increase seen in the same period after the release of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s last year. The new total for accessories in the fortnight was $249 million, topping last year's $195 million.
One week prior to official roll-out, China carriers seeing US-like levels of demand
Official pre-orders for the iPhone 6 finally went live in China early Friday morning, with more than a million orders being taken in the first six hours of availability. The new pre-orders would be different from the more than nine million "reservations" taken by other carriers and resellers, meaning that opening weekend sales -- which are scheduled to open in China on October 17 -- could easily surpass the combined first-weekend sales of the nine countries the iPhone 6 line debuted to in September.
Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile updated for iOS
Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile has released an update to its iOS app, offering a thorough overhaul from its previous versions. A professional-grade painting and drawing app, SketchBook v3.0.1 features pencil and brush tools that aim to deliver a realistic drawing experience. Its redesigned user interface and improved "paint engine" allow users to apply the same workflow to devices with a range of screen sizes, thereby eliminating separate tablet and phone editions of the app. The app's interface is fully customizable to fit the user's working preferences.
All models contract-free
Sprint-owned Boost Mobile has announced it will begin selling the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on Friday, October 17. Since Boost is a prepaid carrier, buyers will have to pay for a contract-free device -- but the company is slashing $100 off the price of each model. A 16GB iPhone 6 will therefore cost $549, for example, and an equivalent iPhone 6 Plus will be $649. The 64GB and 128GB options will also be available.
Increases small number of CarPlay options
As hinted at earlier in the year, Alpine has joined Pioneer in introducing CarPlay-compatible in-dash receivers, beginning with the iLX-007. The unit has a 7-inch WVGA touchscreen, and three 2V preouts as well as aux and Lightning inputs. Drivers with rear-view cameras can connect those as well.
Other sources say sapphire company has filed motion to wind down operations
More details continue to be dug up in the unexpected filing of bankruptcy by Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies, with the Wall Street Journal reporting for the first time that the failure of the company in meeting Apple's contract requirements stems directly from a failure to deliver sapphire glass in quantities intended to be used for the iPhone 6 line. The paper does not clarify if the sapphire glass was not up to par, or the company simply couldn't make enough to meet demand.
iPhone 6 Plus could be the device that converts you into a phablet lover
Apple has certainly made life difficult for would be iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers. This year, it revealed not one, but two high-end iPhones that are both highly desirable making it the first time buyers have been faced with such a choice. Unsurprisingly, early tracking data from Mixpanel shows that the iPhone 6 is outselling the iPhone 6 Plus at a ratio of about 4.5:1. However, there are a few compelling reasons that you might want to consider before you choose the iPhone 6 over the iPhone 6 Plus.
First definite timeline for platform
USAA will begin supporting Apple Pay on November 7, says the bank's assistant VP, Vikram Parekh. Customers will be able to enter MasterCard and Visa cards into their iPhones. The announcement marks the first time a financial institution has given a specific timeline for Apple Pay.
Suppliers prioritizing iPhone 6, 6 Plus demand
Apple is indeed working on a 12.9-inch 'iPad Pro', but production of the tablet probably won't start until 2015, say supply chain sources in contact with the Wall Street Journal. "The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones," one source says. "The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory. It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger-screen iPad now."
SoundFocus announces Amp speaker case for iPhone
Audio products company SoundFocus has announced the pre-ordering availability of Amp, a "smart" sound system case for iPhone. Comprised of two speakers with a main audio engine, the Amp features personalized audio akin to the technology behind hearing aids. The Amp case is capable of learning a person's hearing pattern and musical preferences, and adapt settings to a changing environment, thereby continually remastering the audio output from one's smartphone. The audio output from the Amp can be heard both through the case's speakers, and through headphones plugged into the headphone jack.
Indicates iPads won't get retail purchase functions
As anticipated, the second iOS 8.1 beta includes more elaborate Apple Pay content. Coder Hamza Sood demonstrates that while the content isn't visible to the average user, it can be made to appear. The new material includes setup screens explaining what Apple Pay is and offering fields to enter credit/debit card details into Passbook. Those details can be entered manually, or by scanning a card with a device's camera.
Price may be key factor in low interest, but regard for Apple generally still growing
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has revealed more of the results of his semi-annual survey of teenaged buyers, which recently showed the iPhone and iPad as continuing to dominate teen buying choices when it came to smartphones and tablets. The latest data unsurprisingly showed that teenagers are lukewarm about the forthcoming Apple Watch.
pigment ink vs dye ink printers
This week in the MacNN forums, members debate the the differences between pigment ink and dye ink in printers, after one Mac Enthusiast started a thread trying to determine which kind of ink was ultimately better. Good news coming from the forums on iOS 8 today, as one Professional Poster reports that they have not found any bugs so far in iOS 8.0.2 on an iPhone 6.
Technology too complex, non-intuitive, company says
Even though Apple's Siri is meant to simplify smartphone commands and in some cases enable hands-free control, it's in fact a severe distraction for drivers, according to a study from the AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety. The group studied 45 drivers, asking them to accomplish various tasks using native in-car voice systems as well as Siri. Real and simulated cars were used; for Siri, people were given an iPhone 5 with iOS 7, as well as a microphone. Siri users were asked to make phone calls, send and receive texts, update Facebook and Twitter, and check their calendar. Other voice systems were tested with tasks like adjusting the radio, listening to and composing messages, and navigating simple and complex menus.
Could enable Apple Pay testing
Apple is seeding a second beta of iOS 8.1 to developers, users note. The contents of the code are unknown, but it likely builds out upcoming Apple Pay support, references to which were found in the first beta. If recent rumors are true the new beta may enable Apple Pay testing, and prefigure a public launch of v8.1 on or around October 20th.
Figure just 1 percent higher than post-iPhone 6 launch data
Adoption of iOS 8 has slowed dramatically, having only gained a single percentage point between September 21 and October 5, according to new App Store tracking data from Apple. The company's iOS 8 and iOS 7 are now in equal use. In fact, use of pre-iOS 7 firmware has somehow increased from five to six percent, even though Apple no longer supports it on any substantial level.