Top pick Apple Watch is curious choice, but shows public anticipation
Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.
Amount ranges up to $550
Beginning on December 1st, BlackBerry will be offering up to $550 for people willing to trade in an iPhone towards the purchase of a Passport. Shoppers will be able to trade anything from an iPhone 4S through to an iPhone 6, and receive a $150 "top-up" in addition to the phone's actual estimated value. Hitting the $550 mark requires a mint-condition iPhone 6 valued at $400.
Continues series of ads with Fallon and Timberlake
Apple has premiered a pair of new iPhone 6 ads (below), continuing a series starring the voices of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. The first, "Gamers," depicts the pair playing the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) title Vainglory, used in some previous Apple marketing as well. The ad touts the speed of the A8 processor in the 6 and 6 Plus.
Moleskine unveils iPhone 6 case that features its iconic notebook style
Moleskine has announced the release of an iPhone 6 case, featuring style attributes of its simple notebook. The black case features a book style cover, held closed by a Moleskine elastic band, and its inside front pocket can store an extra small Moleskine Volant journal, as well as business cards, credit cards and more. Its interior includes padded suede lining, and inner rubberized shell keeps the iPhone 6 protects while still allowing access to all ports, buttons, speakers and cameras. Priced at $37, the Moleskine iPhone case is available online.
Band Bleachers shown using Apple Pay at variety of small businesses
Megabank Chase has aired a new TV commercial featuring the band Bleachers using a Chase Freedom credit account to purchase a variety of items and services ahead of a rooftop gig in Los Angeles -- with the difference being that the band members used their iPhones and Apple Pay instead of their credit cards. A representative from Chase told AdAge that representatives from Apple were involved in the creation of the ad, but asked mainly that the Apple Pay be shown in realistic situations.
Bank limits support to MasterCard for time being
Another financial institution, Commerce Bank, has added support for Apple Pay mobile payments. The bank operates chiefly in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado. It hasn't made an formal announcement, but is now listed in an official Apple Pay support document. Commerce customers who want to use Apple Pay are currently limited to personal MasterCards, even though the bank also offers Visa.
iPhone buyers likely grabbing 'vital' apps
App Store downloads surged to a record 7.8 million per day average for the top 200 free iOS apps in October, says mobile marketing firm Fiksu. That represented a 42 percent increase from September, and a 39 percent jump year-over-year. The firm says it expects the trend to continue into the holiday season. It appears to have been kickstarted by sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which first launched on September 19, but which has been been gradually rolling out to more and more countries.
Many more merchants, banks planning to add support in coming weeks, months
In addition to today's announcement by Square that it will bring support for Apple Pay to its app and systems early next year, a number of other merchants have also unveiled Apple Pay support or are planning to soon. Venues that utilize Tickets.com as their online ticket provider, for example, have now adopted support for Apple's iPhone 6-centric payment method, and some apps will soon be offering an Apple Pay option for online purchases.
Evernote for OS X releases updates for Yosemite
Evernote has released a major update for its OS X app, bringing support for Yosemite. Over-all performance speed has been improved, introducing a redesigned interface with a lighter color theme, and new icons. Users now have more control over tables they create, with new color and style customizations available. Notes can be searched for via OS X's Spotlight function, and sending notes to others can now be done while remaining in the app. Many bug fixes and crashing issues have also been resolved in the latest app iteration. Evernote is free to download, with premium subscriptions available.
Siri fails and iOS 8.1.1 comments
This week in the MacNN forums, members share amusing tales of times that Siri has failed them, providing examples of how Siri doesn't always understand what is really going on. Comments are piling up faster than the snow in Buffalo about the latest update to iOS 8, with some saying it made things better while others aren't so sure it has helped much at all.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 21, 2014
Black Friday is just one week away, and veteran shoppers are probably dreading the prospect of facing off against a deal-seeking mob shouting at each other over discounted electronics in the near future. Today's Friday Deals post, just as with previous Fridays and now every Monday until the end of the year, aims to provide you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, early deals from retailers from the comfort of your home, without going near the intimidating (and likely plague-ridden) mass of shoppers. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid at a later time. We're going to update this post many, many times over the next three days. Check back often!
Strength of iPhone 6 demand, Apple Watch predictions to fuel growth, analysts say
Two leading investment and analysis firms have joined with others in raising AAPL target prices recently, in part because the stock has already outperformed most expectations on its most recent bull run. Longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray has raised his target from $120 to $135 on the strength of iPhone 6 demand, while Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty raised her view to $126 per share from the previous $115, which the stock has already surpassed. The two join a growing list of AAPL bulls.
Larger iPhone 6 Plus at 16GB now listing 7-10 day shipping for US models
The US online Apple Store has recently revised the wait time for an online-ordered iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, just in time for the holiday buying season. The units are still very constrained, but are slowly catching up with demand, based on changes to ship times on Apple's website. The two higher-end iPhone 6 models now have a US ship time of seven to 10 days, while the 16GB model now has a five-to-seven day wait time. The larger iPhone 6 Plus has dropped to a seven-to-10 day shipping window for the 16GB model, but still has longer times on larger-capacity units.
Photo gallery app by Dropbox now supported on iPad
Photo gallery and sharing app Carousel has received an update, now supporting iPad users. The Dropbox-made app provides a private way to share, store and organize image and video content, and instantly back up files to one's Dropbox account. In addition to now being iPad-compatible, the latest version of Carousel also supports integration with Instagram and Whatsapp. Free to download, Carousel requires iOS 7 or later.
Number of supporting financial institutions nearing 20
Another bank, America First Credit Union, has announced support for Apple Pay. Beginning today, customers will be able to register AFCU's Visa card, and use it to make mobile payments. Apple Pay requires an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus at retail; for app-based payments, people can also use an iPad Air 2 or an iPad mini 3. Early next year, the Apple Watch will become another retail option.
May be response to complaints about free-to-play apps
Apple has today made a small change at the App Store, renaming the "Free" button for zero-cost downloads, particularly those that feature in-app purchases to "Get." Paid apps continue to show the purchase price. It's not clear why Apple decided to make the change, but it may be a response to ongoing complaints about marketing of free-to-play/"freemium" apps.
Service likely to be rebranded under iTunes name
Apple is planning to bundle Beats Music as a native iOS app early next year, sources tell the Financial Times. The shift is expected to happen in the form of a firmware update, that could debut as soon as March. The Times has little other information, but argues that it's likely Apple will rebrand the service under the iTunes moniker, as other reports have suggested.
Bypasses Fitbit's own lack of HealthKit support
A new third-party iPhone app, Sync Solver, has been released to sync data from Fitbit trackers with iOS 8's Health app. Fitbit has said that it has no current plans to support Apple's HealthKit platform, even though other makers of fitness trackers are doing so. The Health app unifies data from first- and third-party sources, and makes it visible in a central location.
Pre-ordering breakfast, early Xmas shopping included in 'magical' checkout experiences
Rich DeMuro, a tech reporter for Los Angeles TV station KTLA, met up with Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue for a televised segment that aired Monday night, showing the two men shopping around town for various items and paying for them with Apple Pay. The spree, which took place in Santa Monica, included pre-ordering and paying for breakfast from Panera Bread using the app before the men even arrived at the restaurant, and later buying items from various retailers, including the Apple Store.
Device might allegedly reach 'DSLR-quality imagery'
The next-generation iPhone may represent Apple's "biggest camera jump ever," says Daring Fireball's John Gruber. In a recent podcast episode, Gruber explains that "a birdie of a birdie" tells him that the camera will adopt a "kind of weird two-lens system where the back camera uses two lenses and it somehow takes it up into DSLR-quality imagery." That could imply a camera similar to the one in the HTC One M8, which uses an extra lens to provide more image data and enable post-processed focus shifts.
8.2 release enables testing of Apple Watch apps
Apple is now seeding two important releases to developers, beginning with the first iOS 8.2 beta. The only mentioned addition is support for the Apple Watch, granting Watch apps the ability to access data from a paired iPhone. "You can also enhance your Watch app by providing two optional Apple Watch interfaces that give users timely, high-value information: A Glance provides a screenful of meaningful information related to a Watch app," Apple's release notes read. "As its name implies, a Glance displays information that users can absorb instantly, without interaction; in fact, tapping a Glance on Apple Watch launches your Watch app.
Ecobee3 gains shelf space alongside Honeywell smart thermostat
Starting on Monday, Apple Stores are now carrying at least one rival to Google-owned Nest's self-titled smart Learning Thermostat. The Ecobee3 offers an advantage over the Nest in terms of multi-room support, utilizing sensors that can be bought separately to bring more intelligent energy management to the full home rather than relying on a single point of reference. Like Nest and Honeywell's rival entry, the smart device can be managed through a smartphone app from anywhere with a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. The Ecobee3 sells for the same price as the Nest, $250.
Allows simple user-to-user transactions
Payment service Square has partnered with Snapchat on a new feature in the latter's mobile apps for iOS and Android, called Snapcash. Users can quickly transfer money between each other by joining a chat, typing in the amount preceded by a dollar sign -- for instance "$3.50" -- and then hitting a green button. Prior to this, a person must register a debit card, the data for which is stored on Square servers.
Yosemite update fixes serious Wi-Fi issues
Apple has released simultaneous updates for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. OS X 10.10.1 for Mac copes mainly with significant bugs, such as a glitch with Wi-Fi that would cause a system to repeatedly disconnect. It also solves problems with sending Mail messages, displayed updates at the Mac App Store, Mac minis not waking from sleep, and disappearing items like Actions, sharing services, and Notification Center widgets.
Release of new OmniGraffle 6.1 includes Yosemite update, new tool options
The Omni Group has released its latest version of OmniGraffle, a graphic document editing app for OS X. Allowing users to create graphic documents efficiently, lines stay connected to shapes even when they're moved in the new version, while style and organization tools finish off a diagram that is simplistic or technically in-depth. OmniGraffle 6.1 offers a new user interface, as well as the ability to detach inspectors into their own floating panels. New fill effects, stroke and shadow types, and support for the Visio 2013 format are all included. Requiring OS X Yosemite to run, OmniGraffle is priced at $100.
Studio, Skinny Pro line of tablet covers extends to new iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3
STM Bags announced that two models of its existing tablet covers are coming for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The STM Skinny Pro snap-on case is getting a slight refresh to fit both of the new iPad, coming in blue, black, red, and urban camouflage. The cover features an instant on/off feature, along with the ability to fold into different viewing or standing options. The inside of the cover is lined with micro suede, while the exterior is polycarbonate and polyurethane. The STM Skinny Pro can be ordered on Amazon now for $40, but shipping time is listed from one to three months out.
Walgreens, others say Apple payment system is now most popular NFC payment method
Just a month after its debut, Apple Pay appears to be dominating NFC payment systems where it is available, according to reports, with the public quickly accepting the new checkout method due to its ease of use and speed. McDonald's recently noted that 50 percent of its contactless payments are now coming from Apple Pay, while Walgreens reports similar figures -- saying that the number of mobile transactions it has processed since Apple Pay's debut has doubled.
5s and 5c still selling in small amounts
Within the first 30 days of the phones' availability, the iPhone 6 outsold the iPhone 6 Plus by a margin of almost three-to-one, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The iPhone 6 accounted for 68 percent of all iPhone sales in that window, whereas the 6 Plus took home a little over 23 percent. The 5s and 5c -- which are still being manufactured -- together accounted for the remaining fraction.
iPad mini rants, Siri fails and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Grizzled Veteran "chasg" needed to rant about how he is beginning to hate his iPad mini for a variety of reasons, and a few others have chimed in with some advice on how to reconcile the relationship, and make things right again. Forum-goers continue to discuss which of the new iPhones are best in the thread titled "iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus?"
Defenses relatively simply, agency says
The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a formal alert warning people about the Masque Attack security hole discovered in iOS. Although mostly reiterating claims by research firm FireEye, DHS describes the hole as allowing malware "under a limited set of circumstances," and sets forth three basic steps for dodging problems. These including avoiding apps from outside the iOS App Store or a person's own organization, not clicking "Install" on third-party webpage pop-ups, and tapping "Don't Trust" if launching an iOS app spawns an "Untrusted App Developer" warning.
Companion app allows for Camera Roll backups or media steraming
SanDisk has today introduced the iXpand, a new USB flash drive aimed at iOS devices. Unlike most, it incorporates a secondary Lightning connector, allowing owners to plug it directly into an iPhone or iPad. A companion app can be toggled to automatically backup photos and videos from a device's Camera Roll. The app can moreover stream music and videos directly from the drive; compatible movie formats include AVI, MKV, MP4, MOV, and WMV.
Offer open to current subscribers as well as new customers
Until the end of the year, AT&T is offering a $50 bill credit when current subscribers upgrade to a new iPhone under Next program. Buyers who get a new iPhone from either the online or retail Apple Stores under AT&T's Next installment payment plan (and keep the line active for at least 45 days after doing so) will see a $50 bill credit"within three billing cycles," according to the terms of the deal. The carrier is reserving the right to end the promotion prematurely, though its expected to stay in place through 2014.
Error in 'wrapping' of update caused cellular, Touch ID issues, he says
An interview of Apple's VP of iPhone, iPod and iOS Produce Marketing Greg Jozwiak conducted last month at a Re/code conference has been posted online. In the 34-minute session, "Joz" defended the company's quality-control procedures even in the face of some recent minor -- and one major -- software snafus for the mobile platform. The talk also covered many of Joz's responsibilities, including Apple Pay, the new Apple SIM, iOS and more.
All 1,400 US locations ready, retailer says
Business supply chain Staples has begun accepting Apple Pay at all of its 1,400 US retail locations, according to an announcement. Retail shoppers must have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The company has also begun accepting Apple Pay through its iOS app, however, where people with an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 can also make purchases.
EMV tech becoming standard in US by end of 2015
Retail payment service Square has opened up preorders for a new version of the Square Reader, designed to scan chip-based credit and debit cards. It supports older stripe-based cards as well, and the company is promising end-to-end encryption, as well as active tamper detection. It's compatible with iOS and Android, requiring only the appropriate apps and an account with Square for paying service fees.
Budget retailer to host three short-term 'events'
Walmart will be including Apple products in three different US Black Friday sales "events," the retailer has announced. The first event, actually scheduled for November 27 starting at 6PM local time, will include a 16GB non-Retina first-gen Wi-Fi iPad mini for $199 ($50 less than Apple's price), bundled with a $30 gift card. Customers also be able to buy a set of Beats Wireless headphones for $149, $130 below normal retail price.
STM releases Flip folio case for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
Accessory maker STM has announced its Flip wallet case for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Utilising two micro-suction cups, the front cover attaches to the phone's screen, and also features two card slots. Foldable, the Flip case can act as a stand for propping the phone up for a viewing position. Available in charcoal, black and red, the Flip Folio can be purchased for $35 through Radtech.
Predicts overall 190 million units for iPhone 6 models, Plus to be a hit in China
Financial analyst Steve Milunovich from UBS has raised that firm's target price on Apple stock by $10, to $125, based on a survey showing strong demand for the iPhone 6 Plus in China and other countries. Polling some 4,000 respondents across the US, UK, Italy and mainland China, Milunovich found strong demand for the larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in all the countries, but particularly in China. The 64GB model appeared to be the most popular choice among potential buyers, which included a third who are current Samsung phone owners.
New iPad Air 2 sees $100 discount, Macs get up to $200 off
The "doorbuster" deals for Best Buy's Black Friday event have been published, and reveal that the chain will offer discounts on various Apple products, among other items. Of particular interest is a $100 discount on all models of the new iPad Air 2, reducing the entry-level model's price to just $400 but also applying to all other capacities, including the Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Macs, iPods, iTunes gift cards and even Beats headphones will also see discounts.
Company didn't warn people about obstructions
Apple will have to face a lawsuit charging that it didn't warn people they would lose text messages if they switched away from the iPhone, US District Judge Lucy Koh has ordered. The plaintiff in the case, Adrienne Moore, says that iOS' poor handling of text messages interfered with her contract with Verizon, which she kept after switching from an iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S5 in April. Koh argues that Moore has the right to show that Apple disrupted the contract and broke California's unfair competition law, and that she doesn't have to claim an "absolute right to receive every text message." The judge has, however, dismissed some claims linked to another state consumer protection law.
Activations of iOS devices jump two percent, Android drops one in corporate environments
Even though the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were only available for two weeks at the end of the most recent quarter, the latest iPhones appear to have reversed some gains by the Android platform in enterprise buying, reports Good Technology. The business software company says that Apple's share of the corporate mobile device market is up to 69 percent, two percentage points higher than in the previous quarter. The Android platform, which had gained four percentage points (in part at BlackBerry's expense) in the June quarter saw a drop of one percent in the September quarter. Remarkably, the iPhone 6 models accounted for 17 percent of total smartphone activations.
Rare hole in iOS security
A serious vulnerability in iOS, dubbed "Masque Attack," could result in malicious apps being installed, says security research firm FireEye. The flaw is said to have been discovered in July, and stems from iOS not enforcing matching certificates for apps with the same bundle identifier. This means that a person could theoretically be lured into installing an app that replaces and/or mimics an original -- even borrowing that app's local data -- and accidentally give up personal information, or even root access privileges.
SwitchEasy announces new kickstand cases for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
Mobile accessories designer SwitchEasy has announced two new cases for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus entitled Rave. Composed of a combination of faux leather and thermoplastic polyurethane, the Rave case is reflective, and shimmers when it catches the light. Its folding design allows the phone to be propped up into a kickstand, ideal for watching videos. The Rave joins SwitchEasy's line of cases for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and will be available online, with pricing starting at $30.
Plus currently in hands of Foxconn alone
One of Apple's key suppliers, Pegatron, is increasing production capacity to produce more iPhone 6 units, and may soon add the 6 Plus to its assembly lines, says Japanese business publication Nikkei. The company is a secondary iPhone 6 manufacturer, assisting Apple's main partner, Foxconn. The latter is in fact the sole firm building the 6 Plus, and Nikkei notes that it's only rumored in Asian media that Pegatron could follow suit.
Supports all recent iOS devices
Pangu's iOS 8.x/8.1 jailbreak tool has been successfully ported to the Mac, its creators have announced. As with the original Windows edition of the jailbreak, it supports all iOS 8-capable devices, including even the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. The Pangu team cautions that people should backup a device before beginning, and also restore if they've downloaded any over-the-air firmware updates.
Copes with serious glitch encountered by former iPhone owners
Apple has launched a new web tool for deregistering a phone number from iMessage. When a person begins using the Messages app on an iPhone, it links their phone number with an iMessage account so that conversations are seamless whether messages are being delivered via SMS or Apple's own network. The trouble is that if that person decides to switch from an iPhone to a different cellphone, such as an Android or Windows device, other iPhone users trying to message them can end up sending those messages into the ether.
Is the 1,000 app limit storage size or quantity of file related?
Ever since reports of issues with large libraries on Apple's new iPhone 6 Plus surfaced, rumors have been flying around -- all claiming to know the true source of the problems, and Apple's future intentions for the iPhone and iOS. MacNN began some tests about a month ago to try and nail down the root cause of the issue -- and as we alluded to last week, we believe that the "problem" lies in the iOS, and not a hardware flaw related to NAND cells. Read on for our methodology, as well as our specific findings.
Basic editing now open to users without Office 365 subscriptions
Microsoft has updated its previously iPad-only iOS Office apps with iPhone support. Although the iPhone interfaces are said to have full feature parity with the iPad, Microsoft has made various changes to accommodate a smaller screen. Chief among these is the "vertical ribbon," designed to keep editing tools within thumb reach at the bottom of the screen. In addition, Microsoft has decided to drop the Office365 subscription requirement previously needed to do anything more with the suite than read Office documents.
Move by Apple limits iOS infections to jailbroken devices
Apple has responded to the reports of the "WireLurker" malware infecting users in China. After revoking the certificate being used to install malware through enterprise provisioning, Apple confirmed that the malware existed, and noted that it has taken steps to rectify the situation.
New page suggests that official rollout coming soon, partnership going public
Following on from the partnership announcement Apple and IBM made in July, Apple has posted a new page to its website announcing a new AppleCare for Enterprise package that includes on-site hardware support from IBM, alongside a fleet of specially-developed apps for vertical markets. The new page is the most prominent sign that Apple and IBM's plans for enterprise are taking shape, built on a bed of strong on-site hardware support, software support and business services.