Apple Pay debuted in Canada today and will arrive in Australia later this week for some American Express cardholders, The Financial Post reports. Retailers in both countries are ahead of the U.S. in adoption of the tap-to-pay technology necessary to use Apple Pay, but so far in Canada, only non-bank issued American Express cards will work with the digital payment system, since the company hasn’t finalized a deal with any major Canadian banks. Apple is having similar problems locking down a deal with banks in Australia, making it likely that only non-bank American Express cards will be usable when Apple Pay launches there as well.
Some users of the new iPad Pro are finding the device becomes unresponsive after being charged for a lengthy period, requiring a hard restart to restore functionality, MacRumors reports. Dozens of MacRumors forum users claim that the large tablet appears frozen after overnight charging, forcing them to restart the device. The issue has affected 32GB and 128GB versions running iOS 9.1 and is present in both Wi-Fi and cellular models. Users have speculated that restoring from an iCloud backup may be contributing to the freezing issue, but Apple’s support team has been giving customers varied suggestions for a fix, suggesting the exact cause of the problem is still unknown. After days of testing, we at iLounge haven’t seen this particular behavior exhibited in our iPad Pro, but other users have had some success getting around the issue by restoring the iPad to factory settings using iTunes or force restarting the device by holding the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons down at the same time.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office is investigating Apple’s agreement for distributing audiobooks from Amazon, Reuters reports. The inquiry comes a little more than a month after Apple rid itself of a court-appointed antitrust monitor put in place by a 2013 ruling over the company’s conspiracy with publishers to fix e-book prices. The German investigation focuses on Apple’s long-term agreement to sell audiobooks from Amazon’s Audible business through iTunes. “The two companies have a strong position in the digital offering of audiobooks in Germany. Therefore, we feel compelled to examine the agreement between these two competitors in the audiobooks in more detail,” cartel office chief Andreas Mundt said in the statement. Both Apple and Amazon declined to comment.
Customer service representatives for American Express have confirmed the company is making Apple Pay available to its customers in Canada starting tomorrow, iPhone in Canada reports. American Express will be the first supported Apple Pay partner in Canada as there is still no word when the country’s major banks will make the digital payment method available. TD Canada Trust jumped the gun last month by publicly linking to a section of its website containing Apple Pay information, but has since offered no updates on when Apple Pay will be available to its customers. Sources have indicated that “dragging” negotiations with Canada’s banks resulted in Apple’s partnership with American Express, which is also set to lead Apple Pay’s push into Australia later this year. [via MacRumors]
Improvements to the App Store’s search that Apple has rolled out in the past few weeks are producing more intelligent and relevant returns, TechCrunch reports. Where past updates to the store’s algorithms have focused on changes to the way apps are ranked within Top Charts and various categories, the new changes appear to affect how results are returned when users search for apps using a keyword. The improved search now ranks apps using contextual keyword matches or partial matches, and goes beyond the text found in an app’s title or “keyword” slot, expanding the usefulness of the search in finding apps that serve a function which might not be explicitly stated in the app’s name. The new search puts more emphasis on the main features of the app and returns a better range of similar and competing apps. A search for “Twitter,” for example, now returns results for Twitter clients Tweetbot and Twitterrific, where both apps were recently not displayed in those search results at all despite serving the same basic function as Twitter’s own app. Apple hasn’t commented on the change, and how the move will affect app downloads and sales is still unclear.
While Apple CEO Tim Cook has touted the iPad Pro’s ability to replace a traditional laptop or PC in recent interviews, he told The Independent that Apple sees plenty of life left in its Mac line and has no plans to build a MacBook and iPad hybrid. “We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad,” said Cook. “Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.”
First Alert’s Onelink alarm, released this week, is the first HomeKit-enabled smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Owners can use their iOS device to receive alerts in the event of an emergency, remotely silence false alarms or test the detector. Multiple alarms can also be synced up to sound alerts as one, and programmed to communicate what the specific danger is and where it’s located within the house. The Onelink alarm is available in a battery-only version ($110) that features a non-removable battery pack estimated to last the entire 10-year life of the alarm, or a hardwired version ($120) that adds a nightlight feature not available in the battery-only version. Both are currently available online through Lowe’s and are coming soon to Apple Stores, Amazon and other retailers. [via The Verge]
Following news that Apple is looking to expand Apple Pay to allow person-to-person payments, sources who have discussed the program with Apple said iMessage could end up being the method the company will use to facilitate those transfers, Quartz reports. The messaging client is one of the most-used apps installed on the iPhone by default and is especially popular with the demographic currently making the most use of person-to-person payments. People with knowledge of the Apple program said the company finds using iMessage and partnering directly with banks particularly beneficial since the move would let Apple avoid obtaining the money transfer licenses that companies like PayPal, Venmo and Facebook already have. There’s also plenty of precedent for the successful pairing of messaging and payments, with messaging apps already a popular means of making payments and money transfers in Asia, and Facebook reportedly attempting to add payment capabilities to its Messenger app for its U.S. user base.
In a post on the Beats Music support blog, Apple said it’s shutting down Beats Music on Nov. 30 and urged users to move their picks and preferences over to Apple Music before it’s too late. Apple has been encouraging Beats Music users to switch to Apple Music since launching the new service in June, but those users still paying for Beats Music will see their subscriptions canceled at the end of the month. The “related articles” section attached to the post features links to newly updated user guides for migrating from Beats Music to Apple Music for both iOS and Android, making it possible that Apple was waiting until the Android app’s release earlier this week before finally pulling the plug on Beats Music.
Google has released its new YouTube Music app for iOS in the U.S. App Store, following the company’s announcement last month that it would arrive following the debut of its new YouTube Red subscription service. YouTube Music is focused on allowing users to watch and listen to the entire catalog of music videos available on YouTube, with discovery features that allow users to tap on tracks they love and explore from there. Users can listen to music online for free, with ads, while YouTube Red subscribers get the ability to watch ad-free videos and listen to music offline, in the background, or without having to load the video. Users will automatically receive a free fourteen-day trial of YouTube Red upon signing into the YouTube Music app.
Apple is reportedly having discussions with U.S. banks about expanding Apple Pay to support person-to-person payments, according to The Wall Street Journal. The service would allow users to send and receive money with other users directly from their iPhones, and the report notes that it would likely be similar to Square Cash or PayPal’s Venmo platform, which has become popular among a younger demographic that uses it for features such as splitting tips, pitching in on gifts, and sharing rent and other household expenses among roommates. Some of the banks Apple has been talking with include J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Capital One Financial Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp, although it does not appear that any of the firms have yet come to an agreement with Apple, with key details still to be worked out. While a launch isn’t imminent, one industry source suggested such a service could debut as soon as next year.
iFixit has posted its teardown of Apple’s iPad Pro, revealing some interesting insights into the approach that Apple took when designing its new larger tablet. The teardown notes that the logic board has been relocated to the center of the unit, and while the battery takes up a substantial amount of space in smaller iPad models, the iPad Pro leaves a significant amount of space for speaker enclosures — about half as much space as the battery — to support its new four-speaker self-balancing audio system. Apple clearly made some tradeoffs here in balancing battery capacity, weight, and sound quality. A look at the speaker design revealed a driver and caped resonance chamber, with back volume chambers machined directly into the iPad Pro enclosure, with foam filling that is likely used to amplify the speaker volume. Apple has made claims that this new design will provide up to three times more audio output than prior iPad models.
The teardown also revealed that the new iPad Pro uses many of the same components found in the iPad Air 2, including the same front and rear facing camera hardware, ambient light sensors on the 3.5mm headphone jack, and MIMO technology in the Pro’s antennas providing 866 Mbps 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds and 150 Mbps LTE support. The teardown also reveals the internal 3.77V battery is labeled with 10307 mAh of capacity, bringing it to 38.8 Wh — a 40 percent increase over the iPad Air 2. Drawing comparisons to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 tablet, iFixit notes that the iPad Pro has a slightly larger display at 12.9” but despite this, it comes in at about 2.5 ounces lighter and 1.55 mm thinner than the Surface Pro 4.
We’ve just gotten our hands on the new iPad Pro and have posted a first look at the Apple’s new mega-sized tablet with an unboxing and comparison gallery. The images highlight the contents of the new iPad Pro packaging along with differences between the new device and its smaller brethren, the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, as well as a 13” MacBook Air. Look for our full iPad Pro review next week once we’ve had a chance to put it through its paces.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive explained the pains Apple has taken create a totally new drawing experience with the Apple Pencil accessory for the iPad Pro. The pencil’s sensor-filled tip gives the device capabilities no other stylus has, making it able to deliver a bold dot when pressed down hard on its tip or produce a lighter fanned effect when gently brushed on its side, just like a real pencil. But creating a device sophisticated enough to deliver those abilities created other challenges since, unlike a traditional stylus, the Apple Pencil needs to be charged. Ive admits plugging the pencil into an iPod through its Lightning connector removes some of the natural and intuitive feel the company worked to maintain with the device, but said his team endeavored to make it as simple as possible. “We don’t like to have to charge multiple devices and manage them either so one of the things we’ve worked extremely hard on is the actual process of charging.”
Apple is adding 1,000 new jobs at its office in Cork, Ireland, Reuters reports. The company is currently under investigation by the European Union over whether the tax breaks it enjoys in Ireland are legal, but Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the new hiring shows the controversy “hasn’t affected their enthusiasm for Ireland.” The company already employs 5,000 workers at the Cork facility and announced the construction of a new 850 million euro data center earlier this year.
Apple opened online orders of the new iPad Pro today, and many Apple Stores across the US are showing the item is available for in-store pickup for those who don’t want to wait. The in-store pickup option currently doesn’t appear when placing an order from Canada. Those opting for shipping when they place an order online can expect to get their device Monday free of charge or Friday if they’re willing to pay an extra $19. Canadian orders don’t appear to offer the expedited shipping option either, with only free delivery arriving Monday listed as an option. And regardless of where customers are shopping, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories for the new device are showing 3-4 week delays for availability, so be prepared to wait for the full experience.
Apple has announced a new series of developer tech talks for those interested in developing apps for the new fourth-generation Apple TV. The new Apple TV Tech Talks series will begin in Toronto on Dec. 7 and then move on to Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, Cupertino, Berlin, London, New York, Tokyo, before finishing up in Sydney on Feb. 3, 2016. Each talk will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions, with the morning covering tvOS and the capabilities of the new Apple TV for general app and user interface development and the afternoon session providing a deeper dive into graphics, gaming, and media streaming applications. Developers can apply now; the deadline is Nov. 13 at 10:00 a.m. PST. Due to limited capacity, Apple notes that priority is being given to teams who already have apps on the App Store.
Apple is continuing its more rapid iOS development cycle, now releasing its third beta of iOS 9.2 to developers. Sporting a build number of 13C71, the beta again features sparse release notes that focus on minor fixes to UI and developer API issues. Registered iOS developers can download the latest iOS 9.2 beta from Apple’s Developer site.
A beta version of the Apple Music app for Android is available in the Google Play Store today, making Apple’s subscription music service publicly available on Android devices for the first time. Betabound invited its users to take part in a beta test of the Android app in September, but Apple Music’s appearance in the Google Play store is the first official Android release accessible to the average user. The app still has major limitations, with music video playback still unavailable and an inability to handle family plan sign-ups from within the app. Users can use their family plan account with the Android app, but will need to register for it using a Mac or iOS device until promised fixes for the sign-up process are rolled out to Android, making adoption of the music service a complicated proposition for users who only own PCs and Android devices. The app is free to download, but will require the same subscription as Apple’s in-house app after the three-month trial period for new users expires. The app requires Android 4.3 or up and 29MB of space to install. [via 9to5Mac]
On his tour of London this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook pushed the idea that the new iPad Pro is as versatile a product as the company has ever made with features that appeal to a broad range of users. In his interview with The Telegraph, Cook said the new tablet has the screen and speakers to give the average media consumer a much more robust viewing and listening experience, but when paired with the company’s keyboard case the device is powerful enough to replace a user’s notebook or desktop computer and challenge the PC’s dominance in the workplace. “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?” Cook said.
When paired with the Apple Pencil, Cook said the device is the first of its kind to give creatives a true alternative to putting pencil to paper for sketching. Addressing criticism that the Apple Pencil is a stylus that users don’t need since their finger can do the same job, Cook told The Independent that the Apple Pencil has won over artists by going far beyond what a stylus can do. “The traditional stylus is fat, it has really bad latency so you’re sketching here and it’s filling the line in somewhere behind. You can’t sketch with something like that, you need something that mimics the look and feel of the pencil itself or you’re not going to replace it,” Cook said. “We’re not trying to replace finger touch, we’re complementing it with the Pencil.”