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.
Latest 1Password improves Touch ID support, adds iPhone 6 Plus support
A new version of password manager 1Password has been released for the iPhone and iPad, offering support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the form of 3x higher resolution images and improved icons. The update also improves Touch ID support to be more reliable, and simplifies the app's security settings. A new option has been added to disable third-party keyboards inside the 1Password app (since theoretically such keyboard could transmit keystrokes), and users can now create tags to help sort data. The app itself is free, but a "pro" in-app purchase to unlock additional features costs $10.
Device accidentally sent by Verizon, seller claims
A seller on eBay is auctioning what is claimed to be a functioning, 64GB iPhone 6 prototype. The person says that they were accidentally sent the device when renewing their contract with Verizon. The unit is running test software, rather than iOS 8, and lacks FCC markings or even a model number. Another point of interest is the Lightning port, which is surrounded by a red lip not present on finished iPhones.
Clip marks first attempt at iOS-based video editing
Adobe has updated its suite of iOS apps, launching several new ones in the process. The most significant of these may be Premiere Clip, the company's first effort at mobile video editing. The title can be used independently, or in tandem with Premiere Pro CC; projects started on iOS can be automatically synced with Premiere Pro by way of Creative Cloud.
Wi-Fi scanning and graphing tool for OS X receives update
Koingo Software has announced the release of AirRadar 3, a Wi-Fi scanning and graphing tool for OS X. AirRadar lets users set up a scan frequency to search for available wireless signals, and have new open or closed networks have their name spoken, play alerts, or display notifications. Featuring enhancements that cater to Yosemite, the latest version has been overhauled and includes improved graphing, the ability to join Enterprise networks, 802.11ac support, and more. Users can access more personalization options, and can tag found networks as Favorites or filter them out. Upgrades are free for buyers who have ordered AirRadar 2.x within the past six months, with upgrade outside of this policy priced at $7 and $10 for entirely new users.
iOS and 'free-to-play' game blamed
A 15-year-old from Antwerp, Belgium has managed to accumulate over 37,000 euro ($46,000) in iTunes charges on a credit card through in-app purchases, according to local publication Nieuwsblad. The teenager was reportedly playing a free-to-play iOS game called Game of War: Fire Age; several months in, his mother asked him to buy some e-books using her credit card. The boy then discovered he could buy virtual gold in-game using real money, greatly accelerating his progress. The title even has a casino minigame.
Mac OS X optimization utilities, iPhone 6, iOS 8
This week has been rather slow in the MacNN forums, however debates rage on about the new iPhone 6. Conversations continue about problems with iOS 8, and of course our helpful forum-goers assist with troubleshooting. One Fresh-Faced Recruit has recommended some good Mac utilities to use for optimizing OS X. In the thread titled "iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+," members continue to debate the usefulness of each device, and why they would pick one over the other.
6 Plus proving unusually popular
Chinese reservations for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are already over the four million mark, reports Tencent. The devices hit the 2 million mark just a few hours after reservations opened and have now doubled after a full day. The new data is said to have been culled directly from companies processing the reservations for carriers and retailers.
Private beta should allow early testing
Apple Pay will indeed launch alongside iOS 8.1, and Apple is currently targeting an October 20 date for the firmware, sources say. The people add that hidden code should allow Apple Pay testing via the 8.1 beta. It's not clear whether that includes NFC functions, or simply online-only transactions. Either way, testing will allegedly start early this month, supported by code rolling out to developers.
New iPhone wins handily despite half the number of CPUs, RAM
Though it has often been said that "specs aren't everything" when it comes to buying electronic devices, many consumers are still swayed by things like RAM or processing speed alone when considering device purchases. A new speed test by enthusiast site PhoneBuff, however, may convince many buyers to re-think the importance of the spec sheet. The new iPhone 6 was tested against the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8), and won the race handily.
Marks first practical support for platform
Pioneer has issued long-delayed firmware updates, bringing support for Apple's CarPlay platform to several of its NEX receivers. These include the AVH-4000NEX, AVIC-5000NEX, AVIC-6000NEX, AVIC-7000NEX, and AVIC-8000NEX, which range in cost from $700 to $1,400. CarPlay is also an option on the new $600 AppRadio 4. To leverage of the technology, users must have an iPhone 5 or better, running at least iOS 7.1.
Most shoppers going for 64GB models
Carriers and retailers have booked over two million reservations for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, in just the first six hours of the option becoming available, according to local news sources ITHome and Sina. Most of the initial reservations are said to be for 64GB models of the phones, even though both are far more expensive than their counterparts in the US. A 64GB iPhone 6 in China costs the equivalent of $991, while a 64GB 6 Plus is $1,122. In the US -- without a contract -- the same hardware is $749 and $849.
Malware entry vector not yet identified; may capitalize on jailbreak compromise
In an almost unheard-of claim, Lacoon Mobile Security has said that it has discovered a new spyware attack that targets both iOS and Android devices and which appears to be aimed specifically at Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. Lacoon says it made the discovery while investigating the Android version, but did not clarify how the malware might be installed, or overcome the security built into iOS that has, thus far, kept it largely immune to serious malware or viruses.
Users can enter IMEI to learn more; technology is on by default in iOS 8
Users who are unsure if their iOS device has the anti-theft feature Activation Lock turned on can now easily check through a new page based on Apple's iCloud site. While the page is currently not linked to the main menu on iCloud.com -- suggesting it may still be undergoing testing -- it offers users a chance to input the devices serial number or IMEI identifier, and returns information on whether the device is protected.
Editor issues open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple has dropped a German publication, Computer Bild, from receiving review units or covering company events, according to the publication's editor-in-chief, Axel Telzerow. Like some other websites, CB recently decided to produce a video testing whether the iPhone 6 Plus can be bent more easily than other phones. The clip (below) has managed to gather over 510,000 views so far on YouTube; its popularity apparently caught the attention of Apple, which contacted CB to revoke press privileges.
Apple developing fix
The current versions of iOS 8 is creating problems for people who pair their iPhones with Bluetooth devices, particularly car audio systems, according to complaints. In the case of cars, devices with the firmware may refuse to pair, fail to play audio, or disconnect when a phonecall comes in. The problem can't be solved with iOS 8.0.2, and is affecting many automotive brands, including BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, and others.
Apparently tied to iOS 8
A bug involving the iOS App Store is causing it to display inappropriate apps under the various Kids categories, according to complaints. Browsing those categories' Top Charts sections, users can currently spot many apps that would normally fall under the All Categories umbrella. This includes obvious mistakes, such as gambling and dating apps.
Solves unusual bureaucratic obstacle
Apple is now allowing people to participate in its iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program even if they've had their phone's display fixed using third-party components, according to a notice on the company's private website for service providers. Apple's previous position was that it wouldn't replace batteries in phones that may have seen damage, and as such it required broken displays to be fixed first. If someone fixed a display on their own, though, Apple would deny them a new battery.
Demand for larger sizes, increase average selling price drive analyst interest
Apple is not the only company that believes the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not only drive a bigger upgrade cycle, but also bring at least some switchers from the Android platform. Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra has reiterated his "overweight" rating for AAPL and raised the price target to $125, along with encouraging investors to buy the stock in a new memo to clients. He also published optimistic estimates for both the September and December quarters in terms of iPhone sales.
Apple may have unjustly denied repairs for older iPhones, iPods
Participants in a class action lawsuit regarding liquid damage indicators for the iPhone and iPod touch are beginning to receive settlement checks, accounts say. In April 2013, Apple agreed to pay $53 million to compensate people who may have been denied warranty coverage because of the indicators. Their maker, 3M, admitted that they could be tripped simply by humidity. Apple later adjusted its policies to require additional checks before blocking repairs, but the lawsuit continued.
Yosemite coming soon, contract confusion and more
With the release of the golden master candidate of Yosemite to developers, there has been renewed interest in the MacNN forums about when this next update will be out of beta and in the App store for everyone. Forum Regular "webraider" was attempting to purchase a contract free factory unlocked iPhone 6, but has run unto some problems and wonders if anyone has an answer.
Assembly line work no longer as attractive
Foxconn has embarked on an aggressive hiring campaign for its Shenzhen and Zhengzhou factories, hoping to improve production of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, according to Digitimes. The site indicates that because assembly line work isn't as attractive as it used to be in China, Foxconn is having a hard time recruiting enough people to staff its factories. As a solution, it has been staging hiring events to keep up its workforce.