Trade-up program for older iPhones expected to kick off March 31
According to reports, Apple is set to launch an iPhone trade-in program in China on March 31, joining several existing programs in other countries around the world, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and a number of European countries, among others. Users will be able to bring in older iPhone and trade it in for store credit towards a newer model. The program has been shown to boost sales.
Portable storage for all your mobile devices
It seems like no matter how much internal storage is included today's mobile devices, we, as users, will always find a way to fill them up. This is where Seagate's Wireless can come in handy, especially now that more devices are making the move away from removable media. The 500GB drive can be accessed wirelessly, meaning users can store photos, videos, and music that would normally take up precious space off of their mobile device. On paper, the Wireless seems like a very useful tool, so we managed to get our hands on one, fill it with data, and take it on vacation to see just how well it really worked.
Combination of larger screens, Apple Pay, Apple Watch intriguing Android users
Investment firm Cowen and Company has opted to raise its year-end target price on Apple stock to $135 following a survey it conducted with existing smartphone owners around the world. After polling some 3,000 people in various regions, the firm discovered that 25 percent of all iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus sales are coming from Android switchers, who are persuaded not just by the larger displays.
Potential but unwieldy security threat to those running pre-iOS 8.1.1
A new device on the market costing $300 could be used by attackers to crack the PIN codes on iOS devices running system versions older than iOS 8.1.1. While the chances of it being used on someone's personal device are extremely low -- since it requires both physical access to the device as well as a great deal of time -- users can protect their devices and foil the so-called "IP Box" attack by moving to a more complex passcode.
CEO vows to improve quality, says collaboration is why Apple is better
Following an excerpt from the forthcoming biography called Becoming Steve Jobs about the mercurial co-founder and former CEO of Apple, the company's current leader Tim Cook was interviewed by Fast Company about what has changed -- and what has stayed the same -- since Jobs' untimely death in 2011. In the wide-ranging conversation, Cook owns up to some growing pains, but says the spirit of Jobs lives on.
Apple hints that Apple Watch has received FCC approval
Apple on Tuesday removed disclaimer language from its Apple Watch web page, signalling that it has obtained approval for sale of the device in at least the US, if not all the major countries where Apple is currently planning to launch the Apple Watch at retail beginning April 24. The Watch will be available for preview and pre-ordering -- but not for sale -- at Apple Stores beginning April 10 in select countries.
Updated travel app is very impressive if it covers your city
The best way to see any city is on foot. The cheapest way to see it is by public transport. The most expensive way to check out the sights is by taxi. Travel app Citymapper, now updated to version 5.01, shows you the best routes for all three, and does so very well. Mind you, it's useless if you aren't going to one of the cities it includes.
Lawsuit alleged every Apple mobile device abused assortment of ex-Nokia patents
Late Monday, a jury ended a legal battle with a patent licensing firm. A jury in Texas' "rocket docket" declared that Apple did not infringe on five patents held by Conversant owned Core Wireless Licensing SARL, who was seeking $100 million in damages, and a portion of Apple's device sales going forward, some of which may have been paid out to Microsoft.
Our panel still talking about 'Spring Forward' event ramifications
The MacNN Podcast episode six is now available (later than normal -- sorry about that), and this week we looked at the new MacBook and weigh up its pros and cons; talk about Apple Watch pricing and some new details that have come out since last Monday; delve into ResearchKit, which is already making big waves in the medical community; discuss Samsung's Galaxy S6 and the line's fading status as an "iPhone killer" (though still likely to be a very successful competitor); and get into the actual meat of the FCC's net neutrality and Title II proposal.
Report claims non-Apple device trade-in program starting in coming weeks
Owners of Android smartphones may soon be able to earn some money by trading in their old devices, this time via Apple. A report claims Apple is looking to start accepting non-Apple devices in an upcoming refresh of its recycling and trade-in program, with the program providing Android switchers with gift cards that can then be used to purchase iPhones.
Investment firms believe Apple sold well north of 54 million units
Two investment analyst firms, Barclays Capital and UBS, have issued their first predictions on the number of iPhones Apple is likely to sell in its fiscal second quarter, which concludes at the end of March. The firms disagree on the exact number of units, but are within 10 percent of each other, ranging from 54 million to 58 million units. UBS' Evidence Lab is predicting higher numbers, but Wall Street estimates remain conservative.
Turn your iOS devices into a smart remote
Universal controllers for entertainment systems have been around for a while, but a basket full of remotes is still a common fixture in many homes. The Pronto smart remote is here to replace all of those remotes with an iOS app and a little black monolith. With the Peel iOS app, the user connects to the Pronto via Bluetooth and sends out infrared (IR) commands to various entertainment system components in the room. We liked the ability to reduce multiple controllers down to a single app on a device we usually have on hand while we're watching TV anyway, but it wasn't without its issues.
Apple Maps is underrated, except when it isn't
Well, this is awkward: I'm about to enthuse at you about how and why Apple Maps is very good, but the impetus came when my wife Angela offered to pick me up from a meeting in Kings Heath, Birmingham (in England, for those not familiar with the place). I shared my location with her over Messages and was just thinking how handy this was, how straightforward and easy it was -- when she texted back "why are you in Stechford?"
Details of Apple Pay on iPhone 5 family revealed
Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue made an appearance at Oakland, California's Oracle Arena, and showed off the Apple Watch's Apple Pay functionality -- and took a veiled swipe at a competitor at the same time. Sporting the stainless steel model of the Watch, Cue showed how the device functions with the iPhone 6 series family, as well as confirmed an important detail of how the Apple Watch will bring Apple Pay to the iPhone 5 series of phones.
Facility will open next year, ensure steady LCD display supply for iPhone
Japan Display, a company created by three Japanese tech firms in 2012, has agreed to a deal with Apple to help build a $1.4 billion new display manufacturing facility that should increase its overall LCD capacity by 20 percent. The company already supplies Apple with some 50,000 raw-material Retina display panels per month at present, and the investment by Apple in the new facility could guarantee a steady supply in the future.
Small batch of iPhones may have short-lived battery
A battery exchange program for some iPhone 5 users has been extended into from this year into 2016. Initially limited to "two years after the first retail sale or until March 1, 2015, whichever gives longer coverage" the language on Apple's website for the program was quietly changed to run through January 2016.
New report partially reiterates earlier IDC analysis on record holiday quarter
While significantly disagreeing on the shipment or sales numbers of its rivals, analysis firms IDC and Gartner have agreed that Apple surpassed all expectations in a number of areas with its record-shattering calendar Q4 performance, with Gartner awarding Apple the crown of top smartphone seller in the world. An earlier report by IDC had Apple barely missing the top spot, claiming that Samsung shipped 75.1 million units, despite a sharp drop in profits and revenue.
clean installs, contact access and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, one Fresh-Faced Recruit was asking other members how they might go about doing a clean install of the OS on a 2010 MacBook Pro that they don't have a system install disc for. A discussion about giving Apps access to contacts was started by Mac Elite "jeff k" earlier this week, after he asked about a specific app that was requesting such access.
Man claims battery spontaneously exploded, lit his leg and pants on fire
An iPhone has reportedly exploded in a Long Island, New York man's pocket, sending him to the burn ward for 10 days. Erik Johnson was given a swath of third-degree burns on his left thigh after he bent over to get keys, when he heard a pop and, according to Johnson's claims, the battery burst and caught on fire, burning the man severely. An iPhone 5c belonging to a MacNN editor isn't seeing any bulging or any signs of problem, nor have we heard any previous claims for this model, but Johnson has photographic proof of the explosion.
A series of circular key sets that claim to save three feet every tweet
Hero Keyboard by Corey Stone is a keyboard app that arranges the letters based on the frequency of use in the English language, to make it easier for the user to type with both of their thumbs. The keyboard consists of three concentric rings surrounding a circular "space" button. More frequently-used letters displayed larger and more centrally than less popular letters. As a result of this configuration, the letters at the top of the first ring spell out "HERO," hence the name of the keyboard.
That's Remind Me At, not Remind Meat
Deep in the recesses of Southern California is a path, in a park, that splits to the left and the right. The left path leads to a duck pond, and the right does not. Once upon a time there was a child, who would always get her family lost in the park, because every time she would forget they had to go left to get to the duck pond. Every. Single. Time. She would think, "this time, I'll get it right. This time we go right!" And every time, she was wrong. If only smartphones existed back then, she could have used RemindMeAt to set up a note that would appear when she arrived at the park, reminding her to go left.
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
Fittingly enough for a racing game, let's get this out front: AG Drive ($4) is a Wipeout clone. That isn't a strike against it – the developer admits it, the Wipeout series has plenty of fans, and many worthy titles have followed the same template. But a game can hew close to that template or build a unique identity, and execution, ultimately, is everything.
Daily deals for Friday February 27, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the time when we search for deals, offers, discounts, and sales on hardware, software, and other technology for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Alongside our usual recap of still-active deals, the new batch of offers include an omnibus deal on Rosetta Stone, a battery case for the iPhone 6, and a heads-up on the OWC garage sale.
Ericsson source of latest barrage, court filings made in Eastern District of Texas
On February 26, Ericsson filed two complaints with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and seven complaints in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Apple, asserting 41 patents covering many aspects of Apple's iPhones and iPads. The patents include standards-essential patents related to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards, as well as other patents that are critical to features and functionality of Apple devices, such as the design of semiconductor components, user interface software, location services and applications, as well as the iOS operating system.
Windows Phone holds steady at one percent; BlackBerry not counted in survey
The latest Good Technology Mobility Index Report on the mobile enterprise space, based on a survey of Good's customer base for its own enterprise-level email services, shows iOS gaining ground by taking away share from Android in calendar Q4 2014, with the former growing by four percentage points to hit 73 percent share of global enterprise activations. Android fell by the same amount to 25 percent, while Windows Phone held steady at one percent.
Chain has had NFC compatibility previously, will upgrade new locations as well
In addition to sandwich chain Panera Bread and Subway, and fast food king McDonald's, some 860 branch locations of sub sandwich chain Firehouse Subs will now officially begin accepting Apple Pay starting today. Apple Pay allows users to pay for food by simply holding the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to a terminal while holding the Touch ID button on the devices. The franchise is hoping to more than double the number of locations it has in the US to over 2,000 by 2020.
Ridiculously easy way to edit relationship data into Contacts
This week's Pointers tip is short and sweet, and one of those head-slapping "of course!" moments. It's a far simpler way of adding your family into Siri so that she (or he) will understand who you mean when you say "send a text to my wife" or "read me the last email from my father." You can do this manually in Contacts (or the previous version, known as Address Book), but its a bit labor-intensive that way. Using this easier method, you can eliminate the dreaded "which John did you mean?" when you know more than one, and meant the one you're related to.
Samsung grabs lion's share of shipments, but Apple takes 90 percent of profits
Based on shipment data, analyst firm IDC has determined that Apple and Samsung have effectively gained full control of the smartphone market, splitting 96.3 percent of all smartphones shipped -- up nearly a full percentage point from the same period last year. All Android phones combined account for 81.5 percent in 2014, a slight increase from 2013. The percentages flip, however, when talking about money rather than units -- with Apple said to get 90 percent of the profits in the industry.
Current boost to stock may render estimates irrelevant even as they are published
A number of analysts revised their expectations for Apple's stock last week -- only to watch those year-end estimates melt in the face of the stock's current performance, which ended trading on Monday at yet another all-time high of $133 per share. The combination of much better-than-expected sales in the holiday quarter and the increasing interest in Apple's other initiatives -- ranging from Apple Pay to forthcoming products like the Apple Watch and a possible-but-far-off car design -- has sent the stock skyrocketing.
Redesigned calculator app gets excellent new features
You need a pretty compelling reason to ditch the calculator that Apple supplies on iPhones -- and the new Calcbot 2, from TapBots, offers several. Weirdly, Apple still doesn't provide a default calculator on the iPad, so at some point you're going to want one, and when you eventually need it, you'll find this app compelling.
Move possible, but would require re-think by Apple of existing OS security
According to "sources familiar with the matter," Apple is intending to launch more public beta releases of upcoming system software, starting with a revision to iOS8 in mid-May. The move may be intended to help deflect criticism of recent, high-profile bugs in releases of both Apple's iOS, as well as in its desktop operating system, OS X.
Move could be temporary, with iPhone 6 permission coming from Sprint
While other Sprint mobile network resellers -- such as Ting and Straight Talk -- are preparing to finally be allowed to offer the latest iPhone 6 models, one company appears to have gone in the opposite direction. Virgin Mobile USA, which has continually had inventory issues with its current offerings of iPhone 5/5c/5s models since the launch of the iPhone 6, has now removed all mention of Apple products from its online storefront -- though this could be a temporary measure.
false accusations, trash warnings and more
This week in the MacNN Forums, members have been giving useful advice and helping others solve a variety of problems. Yesterday one angry Fresh-Faced Recruit turned to the forums to seek an explanation for a situation where the Apple store has allegedly falsely accused them of tampering with their iPhone, and refuses to fix it under warranty.
Apple expected to shoulder $1.7 billion construction cost of new facility
Manufacturer Japan Display is reportedly in advanced discussions with Apple to bring more of its screens to Apple devices, beyond the 50,000 raw-material panels it supplies now. As part of the deal, the Japanese company is asking Apple to bear most of the $1.7 billion it would take to build a new plant, with a requirement of screen production in 2016. The iPhone maker may be a little gunshy on the deal, given how badly its financing arrangement for the GT Advanced sapphire-producing plant turned out.
Beats headphones, iOS devices, MacBook all leaders in their respective categories
A new survey measuring customer loyalty and engagement has picked several categories of Apple products as the best in their field, at least in the minds of consumers. Beats headphones were the top most-liked headphone brand, the combined MacBook lines took best laptop, and the iPhone and iPad unsurprisingly won best smartphone and tablet, respectively. The Consumer Loyalty Engagement Index measures how well a product meets -- or exceeds -- consumer expectations.
win 1 of 2 copies of Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut
Late last year, Harebrained Schemes released their latest title Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut. This RPG game features 17 missions, intuitive touch interface, team customizations options and more. Last week, our staff completed a Hands On review, and also obtained two iOS App Store redemption codes to give to our readers.
Company's iPhone 6 lineup took country by storm, reflecting other markets
Research firm IDC has reported that the established order of dominance in the Chinese smartphone market has crumbled, with Apple's iPhone 6 lineup pushing the Cupertino manufacturer into second place in the market, a doubling of its position from 2013. Low-cost Chinese maker Xiaomi took first place with just slightly better performance than Apple, while Samsung -- previously the unchallenged top seller -- fell to fifth place in marketshare.
Re-engineering of keyboard apparently not enough for Canadian phone maker
As widely expected, BlackBerry has launched another lawsuit over Ryan Seacrest's Typo keyboard, this time versus the second iteration of the product. A new complaint, filed yesterday, claims that the iPhone keyboard manufacturer has yet again "slavishly copied down to the smallest detail, including the layout of the keyboard itself, the shapes of the keys, and the surface sculpting of the keys" in the new version of the clip-on keyboard.
The handiest To Do tool you're not using
The very best To Do apps on iPhone don't want you spending time using your To Do app. Get in, see what's next or add a new task, then get out and actually, you know, do things. This makes iOS 8's Notification Center a boon -- yet its handy features come with constraints that developers are having to overcome. We're looking at three main apps that use significantly different approaches: Apple's own included Reminders, OmniFocus and Things.
win 1 of 5 copies of Workflow 1.1
What is Workflow 1.1? Is it really an "essential" tool to add to your tool kit? What's new in version 1.1? Last week MacNN explored these questions in a complete Hands On review. We discussed who this software title would be good for, and who it might not be so good for. We also secured five promo codes to give away copies of this software to our readers.
The MacNN Podcast for February 16, 2015
The MacNN Podcast hits its second episode and engages on a wide variety of topics! Join this week's hosts, MacNN Editor Charles Martin, alongside staff writer Michelle Elbert, reviewer William Gallagher, and news writer Malcolm Owen as they discuss the events that got our attention, needed further discussion, or just plain tickled our fancy.
Initiative launches in September, massive transaction volume expected
At today's Cyber Security conference at California's Stanford University, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage. As part of the appearance, the White House and Cook announced that Apple Pay would be enabled for users of federal payment cards, including all benefits that are paid out through debit cards. Additionally, the Apple payment service would be accepted at National parks and similar venues.
Making the fiddly easy
Look, we're writing this as much for ourselves as for you. Every time we hanker to add a new sound effect to our text messages or a whole new ringtone to our iPhones, we sweat through the steps and end up seriously wondering if Apple deliberately makes this hard. So that you and we have one place we can look up when we want to do this, here's this Friday's Pointers tutorial on making yourself wish you'd never bothered -- we mean on getting through this as quickly as you can.
Airline becomes first to take mobile payment system for in-flight purchases
JetBlue has announced that, starting next week, passengers will be able to pay for items such as food and beverages in-flight using Apple Pay. Items range from amenities like headsets and food items, to upgrading to a premium seat. The service will begin with cross-country flights between New York and California, then expand to other routes. Flight attendants will use Apple's iPad mini, which will be specially encased to take credit cards as well.
FreedomPop, Ting, Virgin Mobile, more preparing to offer iPhone 6, latest Androids
New reports indicate that Sprint has dropped a previous requirement that resellers of its network -- FreedomPop, Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, Virgin, and some others -- wait more than a year before offering support for the latest models of Android and iOS devices. The change allows the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to immediately begin offering the current iPhone 6 line from Apple, the top-selling smartphone worldwide.
Carriers must now unlock consumer's cellphones, with caveats
The deadline for wireless carriers to fully comply with the CTIA's consumer code regarding cellphone unlocking, mandated by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has arrived. Starting today, carriers must unlock consumers' devices on request, assuming certain provisions on ownership time or contract fulfillment have been completed.
Initiative praising Apple, Samsung for strides in anti-theft measures
Smartphone thefts have precipitously declined in three major cities that spearheaded an anti-theft initiative that they claim has driven industry trends. According to a joint press release from New York, San Francisco, and London, iPhone thefts alone have fallen 25, 40, and 50 percent, respectively -- the law enforcement group claims that device "kill switches," known in the Apple world as "Activation Lock" and "Remote Wipe," are credited for the drop in stolen devices.
Bringing your 'brains' with you, safely and efficiently
You may have noticed that people rarely use the term "getting away from it all" when they talk about vacations anymore. Unless you are going camping in the middle of absolutely nowhere, or trying to do a cruise ship on the cheap, chances are you are in fact bringing some of "it" with you -- probably in the form of your iPhone, iPad or Mac (or all three) and a connection to the Internet. As jet-setting journalists, we have come up with a few tips for this over the years, which we now pass on to you.
Predictions hardly fearless, new devices likely to have improvements annually
Analyst firm KGI has published a new report, expecting to see a revised Apple-equipped Touch ID module, as well as a dramatic increase in Touch ID sensors shipped, before the end of the year. Additionally, the firm believes that while there are patent filings for touchscreen integration with thumbprint ID sensors, that the technology is not likely to be seen in 2015 in Apple devices.
Bluetooth stylus brings pressure sensitivity to iPad
Bluetooth styluses are a relatively new development for the iPad. They all offer some level of pressure sensitivity, ranging from 16 in the very cheap ones, to thousands of levels in the more expensive models, sometimes running well over $100. Seeing a market, big name developers like Wacom have entered the arena to design accessories to work with tablets. We checked out FiftyThree's Pencil -- one of the earlier entries into the field, and designed to go specifically with the company's Paper drawing app, though it can be used elsewhere.