Whole Foods, McDonald's, Walgreens seeing biggest jump in usage
A study by research firm ITG suggest that Apple Pay -- introduced only last month -- is already accounting for one percent of all digital payments. The firm also noted that those using Apple Pay increased spending using mobile payments, and tended to use the technology frequently -- resulting in a jump in sales at top merchants that accepted Apple Pay, such as Walgreens, Whole Foods and McDonald's. Each of the three retailers grabbed double-digit shares of the Apple Pay pie.
Apps now almost double 2013 prices
Apple is increasing the prices of both apps and in-app purchases at the Russian App Store, according to a new memo issued to developers. An app that would normally be $1 in the US, for example, is now 62 rubles. That indicates that apps have almost doubled in cost in Russia during 2014, though the increase is largely due to recent currency pressures.
The iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, and Retina 5K iMac ship times all drop
In the past month, shipping times have been variable for some of Apple's most in-demand products. However, ship dates for the two new iPhone models, the 6 and 6 Plus -- along with the recently-introduced Retina 5K iMac -- have dropped just ahead of the final push of gift-buying for the holiday season. Both online ship times and same-day in-store pickup schedules have improved.
New Xcode 6.2 beta also available
Apple has begun seeding a third beta of iOS 8.2 to developers. Significantly the code restores blood glucose tracking in the Health app, which was temporarily disabled earlier this year due to confusion caused by the app displaying data in mg/dL but accepting data from devices using mmol/L as well. In the new software, users can toggle between mg/dL or mmol/L.
Potential fine of up to $105 million by FCC the latest in a crackdown on 'cramming'
Mobile phone service provider Sprint could be facing a fine of as high as $105 million or other disciplinary actions from the FCC after a study by the agency concluded that the carrier was willfully participating in a practice called "cramming," in which users are often tricked into signing up for "premium" services (such as ringtones or special messages) from a third-party, which then adds monthly charges to the user's bill. Like AT&T and T-Mobile before it, Sprint has run afoul of authorities for taking a cut of these scams, and thus having an incentive to allow them to continue, despite customer complaints.
Updates to existing apps must switch by June
Apple has issued a new notice to developers, reminding them of two important deadlines concerning 64-bit support in iOS apps. As was previously announced, those submitting new titles to the App Store must implement 64-bit support -- and use the iOS 8 SDK -- by February 1st. Additionally, the company now says that updates to existing titles must meet the same standards as of June 1st.
Leather wallet case for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus now available in gray
Mujjo has introduced its Leather Wallet Case line-up for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in gray, as part of its Desaturated Collection. The wallet case is designed to hold two to three essential cards without sacrificing a thin profile. The case is available in two styles for iPhone 6 - one with the card slot angled upright and the other with an 80 degree angle pocket - and the 80 degree angle pocket case is available for iPhone 6 Plus. Pricing for the Desaturated Collection begins at $40, and cases can be purchased through Mujjo.
Some material already in hands of Competition Bureau
The Federal Court of Canada has agreed to order Apple's Canadian division to turn over documents to the Competition Bureau, Reuters reports. Apple has already handed over some requested documents, but may not be handing over as much as the Bureau wants or needs. The Chief Justice for the court, Paul Crampton, is due to sign the order later today.
Christmas, like winter, is coming. Be prepared!
It's not too late, but its getting close. In fact its so close, that any helping hand might be welcome to help pick presents for the Apple-centric device lover in your life. Good news! We see every conceivable gadget all year -- use our knowledge to benefit you! This week, Electronista and MacNN have suggestions for the best gift options for the Apple fan in your life.
Touchscreen interaction in the dead of winter, without freezing hands
It shouldn't be a secret that normal, cheap knit gloves actually don't contain enough fabric to prevent a persons finger from interacting with a capacitive screen. This means that, yes, normal knit gloves are technically touchscreen gloves but normal cheap knit gloves also don't contain enough fabric to keep a persons hands warm in most cold weather. That's where Refined Touchscreen Gloves by Mujjo come in - promising to let us interact with all our touchscreen devices while keeping our hands toasty.
Overall smartphone market shows growth, but top two leaders lose share
According to new quarterly figures from industry analysts Gartner, enormous growth by Apple's iPhone has eroded worldwide mobile phone share -- including both smartphones and feature phones -- from top seller Samsung and second-place Nokia, with Apple potentially taking the second spot from Nokia after this quarter's expected record-breaking iPhone sales are announced. For the most recent quarter, Apple was within one percentage point of matching Nokia in a market seeing strong overall growth.
May not reach public until January
Although it recently released iOS 8.1.2, and is well into development on iOS 8.2, Apple is also working on an interim v8.1.3 update, web traffic shows. The first hits from v8.1.3 devices appear to have come around December 8th, a day before v8.1.2 went live. Since then the number has increased, but just a "few dozen" have reportedly come from Apple's networks.
Carriers may have been discouraged from selling rival phones
More details have emerged on the Canadian Competition Bureau's investigation into Apple's carrier deals, Reuters reports. Most important may be the Bureau's specific goals, which are to learn if Apple has been discouraging carriers from offering discounts or other incentives for competing phones, or even offering those phones at all. "The contractual obligations [with the carriers] may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services," reads an affidavit from Vincent Millette, the head of the Bureau's probe.
Book Browser iPad-only for now
Amazon has issued a major update to the Kindle app for iOS, v4.6. Central to the update is the Book Browser, a feature that lets people search through text and audiobooks hosted on Kindle Unlimited. Tapping on a book's cover provides information, such as a description and customer reviews. People subscribed to Unlimited can download a title immediately; the Browser is, however, restricted to the iPad.
Airing Thursday in UK
At 9PM GMT on Thursday, BBC One will be airing a documentary on the working conditions in Apple's extended supply chain. The Panorama piece, titled Apple's Broken Promises, focuses initially on conditions at Chinese factories producing the iPhone 6. It also goes into detail on the sources of materials for Apple products, bringing cameras to an Indonesian tin mine where children are digging out materials by hand.
Leather wallet case for iPhone 6 now available through TwelveSouth
TwelveSouth has announced the release of its Bookbook wallet case for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Comprised of genuine leather, the wallet case additionally functions as a hands-free stand, and disguises one's iPhone to look like a vintage book. The Bookbook features a removable shell that protects the enclosed iPhone from damage. Priced at $60, the Bookbook for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is available in black and brown.
SwitchEasy announces Camos, Boombox cases for iPhone 6, Numbers case for iPhone 6 Plus
SwitchEasy has announced the upcoming release of three new iPhone cases: the Camo and Boombox for iPhone 6, and Numbers for iPhone 6 Plus. The Camo is created by way of 3D printing, and features a camouflage aesthetic. Aiming to protect an iPhone from wear and tear without adding additional bulk, the Camo case is priced at $20 and will be available in blue, yellow and orange.
New cases must survive 1m drops
Apple has instituted a new rule for Made for iPhone (MFi) licensing, requiring all cases to protect against drops of at least 1m (3.3 feet) over hard surfaces, sources say. That also includes any orientation, even in the direction of the display. Similarly, cases for all iOS devices must now offer a buffer of at least 1mm between the display and a flat surface when the device is upside-down. To achieve that, they can either cover the display glass completely or use a lip around the edge.
Could open up iCloud Drive-related functions in apps
Apple has quickly reversed course on a policy that broke "Send To" commands in the FTP app Transmit for iOS, app developer Panic now says. The company writes that it got a "nice call from Apple" on Wednesday, and it has resubmitted Transmit to the App Store with Send To restored. This includes the "Send to iCloud Drive" command that formed the basis of Apple's complaint.
Complaints say contracts may have been anti-competitive
The Canadian government's Competition Bureau is investigating complaints that Apple used anti-competitive clauses in the contracts it signed with phone carriers, Reuters reports. Although the Bureau stresses that it has yet to uncover any wrongdoing, it has only this week asked for a court order that would force Apple to turn over necessary documents. The organization hasn't said if it's pursuing similar orders for the carriers, which include Bell, Rogers, and Telus.
Some Maps content directly integrated
Google has released a major update of its eponymous iOS app, v5.0.0. The software has been "completely rebuilt," according to Google, and now sports the "Material Design" central to Android Lollipop and a growing collection of other apps. Users can access a Recents list to return to previously-visited pages, and start a new search anywhere in the app by tapping the Google logo.
Health & Fitness syncs with HealthKit
Microsoft has launched a collection of new MSN apps for iOS, including News, Money, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink, and Sports. A sixth, Weather, is due to go live sometime in the near future. News gathers feeds from websites like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Money tracks financial information, and provides some basic tools to go with it.
Attorneys argue that video was entered as witness testimony, not evidence
Apple is opposing a media request to the court hearing the lawsuit between audio software maker Real and Apple that seeks to release a video deposition made by Steve Jobs, near the end of his life, on behalf of the case. The iPhone maker is opposing the request, saying that the video was part of witness testimony and not entered into evidence, and therefore can't be released as that would constitute a recording of a portion of the trial, which has not allowed cameras or video.
Options still missing from Apple online orders
People wanting to take advantage of Sprint's Easy Pay or iPhone for Life financing and leasing options should soon be able to do it at an Apple Store, a report says. Training is currently said to be underway, and some stores may in fact be ready to process the plans today. Neither option is available through Apple's website, but previously shoppers angling for an iPhone or iPad purchase under one of the two plans had to order from a Sprint company store or reseller.
Device will serve several purposes
United Airlines has signed a deal with Apple that will see it equip over 23,000 flight attendants with the iPhone 6 Plus in 2015, according to an announcement. The phones will initially let attendants process onboard credit-card transactions, as well as access United email, the airline's intranet, and internal safety, service, and policy information. Distribution of the phones is expected to begin in the second quarter.
No significant changes noticed so far
Apple has begun seeding a second beta of iOS 8.2 to developers, build 12D445d. The first beta, build 12D436, was released on November 18. As of this writing, there don't appear to be any feature changes, suggesting the new beta is mostly intended to eliminate bugs.
Options cover finance, retail, telecoms, other sectors
Apple and IBM have unveiled the first iOS apps produced through their partnership announced in July. Available under the "MobileFirst for iOS" banner, the apps target clients in air travel, retail, insurance, banking/finance, government, and telecommunications. Some initial clients include Citi, Air Canada, Sprint, and Banorte.
Apple approaching goal of 500 banks and credit unions supporting system by year's end
Another two financial institutions have added support for Apple's mobile-payment iPhone technology, Apple Pay. Fremont Bank, based out of Fremont, California, and the National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union are now supporting the Touch ID-secured payment system, with the former supporting Apple Pay for both personal and small-business debit cards, while the NIH FCU is currently only supporting personal debit cards, though support for personal and small-business credit cards is coming soon.
Couples option offers unlimited everything, four-line plan splits 10GB data bucket
Starting December 10, T-Mobile will offer unlimited talk, text and data for two lines in a new $100 per month plan -- or 10 GB of total data with unlimited talk and text for four-line plans at the same price, Electronista has learned. The move comes backed up by a poll of cell phone subscribers which claims, among other things, that 81 percent of those polled said they found promotions offered by providers such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to be confusing. T-Mobile President and CEO, John Legere, described the two new offerings as being "simple and saner" alternatives to the competition, although they're not without caveats.
Users directed to URL to restore missing files
Apple has released iOS 8.1.2 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners. The firmware is a minor update, dealing mainly with a glitch which removed ringtones bought through the iTunes Store. People wanting to get those files back are being pointed to a special URL, which in turn redirects visitors to a new page at the Store.
'Send to iCloud Drive' option at root of dispute
The latest version of FTP program Transmit for iOS has lost all share sheet-based uploads because of an Apple policy regarding iCloud Drive, says developer Panic. Until now, the FTP app has exploited iOS 8's Extensions function to let people upload files to several storage services, such as iCloud Drive or Dropbox. Panic explains that it was informed that Apple rules dictate that an app can't upload content to iCloud Drive unless a file was created within the app itself; the developer insists that there is nothing about this restriction on iCloud Drive in Apple's iOS Data Storage Guidelines.
Dodges legal issues that blocked first add-on
The creators of the Typo keyboard case have returned with a new model, the Typo2. The accessory has been redesigned not only to accommodate the iPhone 6, but to avoid the legal troubles the company has encountered with BlackBerry. Although a lawsuit is still pending, BlackBerry won a sales injunction against the first-generation case.
Sentencing takes place over three years after guilty plea
Former Apple supply manager Paul Devine has been sentenced to a year in prison -- and repaying $4.5 million -- for accepting kickbacks, says the Associated Press. Devine actually pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering in 2011, but wasn't handed a sentence by a San Jose federal court until last week. No explanation for the delay has been given.
Top iPad apps previously promoted by Apple
Apple has introduced its annual "Best of 2014" list at the iTunes Store, promoting content in different media categories. The top iPad app, for instance, is Pixelmator, the image editing app Apple also highlighted during its recent press event for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The top iPad game is Monument Valley, an Apple Design Award winner from WWDC.
Keypad uses Bluetooth to bring Apple-matching style to numeric entry
Most of the OS X machines Apple sells these days are laptops with the built-in keyboard that includes no number pad. The vast majority of the remainder are iMacs -- also most with an abbreviated keyboard. Despite Apple's minimalist design, users sometimes could use a dedicated numeric keypad. Accessory manufacturer Newertech has a wireless solution -- a Bluetooth Wireless Aluminum Keypad. MacNN has lived with one for a while.
Australia, France, Germany among new countries with movies
Apple has added a collection of new locations to its Flyover feature in Maps, and new countries to the list that can access movie listings through Siri. In the former category are Avignon, Biarritz, and Perpignan in France; the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater in Arizona; Devil's Tower in Wyoming, Dunedin in New Zealand, Royal Gorge in Arkansas, and finally Visby in Sweden. Apple has been slowly updating the number of areas with Flyover support since iOS 6 was released in 2012.
Target date may be December 18th
The US division of TD Bank is aiming at a mid-December launch of Apple Pay support, a source says. The company is reportedly training workers on both Apple Pay and tokenized Visa transactions. That training is scheduled to end late next week, in time for a launch currently targeted around December 18. To verify cards, the company is expected to use a system similar to that of institutions like Bank of America, which have people call their bank after adding a card through Passbook.
Significant use may take years
Foxconn's new assembly robots are proving too imprecise to manufacture Apple products, claims Chinese site Jiemian. First-generation robots have been assigned tasks involving larger components and tightening screws. The robots are said to have an accuracy of 0.05mm, however, this is not up to the 0.02mm threshold demanded for Apple hardware.
Starbucks mobile payments limited to Portland until next year
Two companies, Square and Starbucks, have launched new iOS options for food orders. Square has introduced a free app for Caviar, the delivery service it bought out in August. Caviar users can have food delivered from partner restaurants in select areas. So far the list of regions includes San Francisco and the Bay Area, plus Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington DC.
User content, such as MP3s ripped from CDs, never at risk
Day two of the Real versus Apple trial over Apple's FairPlay DRM and alleged anti-trust actions potentially taken by the Cupertino manufactured concluded yesterday, after hyperbole from both legal teams. Real's attorney Patrick Coughlin claimed that Apple gave users the "worst possible experience" and would "blow up" music purchased from unauthorized stores. Apple defended itself, saying that the obtuse warning that iTunes gave when detecting hacked files didn't need to be more specific, and it was only protecting users from an array of attacks plaguing the device.
Overall, consumers still prefer smartphones under five inches in size
In less than eight weeks, Apple's iPhone 6 Plus has already grabbed a 41 percent share of all US "phablet" (5.5 inches or larger in display size) sales, and is continuing to struggle to meet demand. A new study published by Kantar World Panel reveals that, despite much more publicity, phablets continue to make up only a small minority of smartphone sales -- but the category is growing fast. The finding is another blow for the struggling Samsung, whose Galaxy Note phablets now account for only five percent of such sales in the US, and only eight percent of phablets in China.
Supporting merchant list also expanding as holidays near
Apple Pay, the iPhone maker's new system for mobile payments secured by Touch ID technology, has gained more acceptance as banks and credit unions continue to add support for it. Specifically, two new credit unions -- L&N Federal Credit Union and UW Credit Union -- are now allowing their cards to be used with Apple Pay, and M&T Bank has authorized its small business debit cards to be compatible with the system. A host of other institutions have already announced they will be supporting Apple Pay soon.
Marks reversal in policy towards browser engines
An iOS version of Firefox is in progress, according to comments by two Mozilla managers. On Tuesday, a Firefox project manager, Lukas Blakk, wrote on Twitter that "we need to be where our users are, so we're going to get Firefox on iOS;" it's believed that he was quoting Firefox VP Jonathan Nightingale at an internal Mozilla event in Portland. The company's manager of data science, Matthew Ruttley, later tweeted a photo from the event showing a slide with an iPhone 6, captioned by Ruttley with "Firefox for iOS!! Let's do this!!!"
Targeted emails outpace Google ads or search for merchant results
A new study that monitored US holiday shopping from mobile devices between Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday showed results exactly in line with similar surveys from last summer, noting that Apple iOS devices accounted for about 78 percent of orders, with Android accounting for only 21.6 percent of online sales from mobile devices. Analytics firm Custora noted the consistency between holiday and non-holiday buying patterns, with iOS and Android showing the same respective percentages last summer as well.
Security concern based on apparently false newspaper article
A member of the center-left Fair Russia party and State Duma lawmaker is proposing a bill that would recommend that all Russian parliament members stop using iPhones and iPads to protect themselves from foreign eavesdropping, based primarily on what appears to be a false report that the Russian military has done the same. The Defense Ministry has since denied the report from the newspaper Izvestia, but the bill has again opened the question of whether foreign-made smartphones and tablets are secure.
Jobs testimony calls Real 'hackers' in 2004, surprised that Real existed in 2011
In the first day of testimony in the anti-trust Apple versus Real Networks trial, the promised pre-recorded testimony from Steve Jobs was trotted out by both the plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys. When queried about the threat from Real, and what Apple's response should be in 2004, Jobs said that the statement should say that "we are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod." At stake in the trial is $350 million, as well as other antitrust actions that could possibly be applied against the Cupertino manufacturer.
Posts proof it notified Apple in September
A Chinese smartphone maker, Digione, is claiming that the iPhone 6 may violate a phone design patent. The patent was submitted to China's State Intellectual Property Office in January, and approved in July. On Monday, the company took to Sina Weibo to post proof that it sent a letter to Apple in September, notifying it about the issue and suggesting that "a communication with goodwill would contribute to solving potential legal disputes." So far, Apple appears to be remaining silent.
Low stock could be contributing to looming financial collapse
RadioShack outlets across the US are suffering from extremely low iPhone stock, despite the critical holiday shopping season, according to Seeking Alpha. Most models aren't on shelves, and in many cases stores lack any iPhones to speak of, forcing people to use a "Ship to Store" option that takes several days. RadioShack doesn't sell the iPhone on its website, which simply directs iPhone shoppers to physical outlets.
Real seeking $350 million in damages, declaration by Apple about decade-old issue
The Apple versus Real anti-trust trial centering around Apple's use of FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) to prevent piracy (or block other music stores, as Real claims) has begun, as expected. Lawyers for the complainants continue to claim that changes in iTunes blocking other companies' music stores from functioning on the iPod allowed Apple to raise prices. Real's attorneys seek $350 million in damages in the long-postponed suit that dates back nearly a decade. The trial, expected to last three weeks, is being held in the Oakland, California federal courts.
MacNN and Electronista deals for Cyber Monday 2014
Welcome to the third installment of Monday Deals, the place where we list various deals and offers for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today is Cyber Monday, the day retailers are supposed to offer Black Friday-style deals online, though admittedly the majority have been doing just that for a week already. As usual, the deals are accurate at the time of writing, but check first before purchasing, and come back later for more deals as we will be adding more as the day goes on.