- September 12, 2014
On the heels of the historic free iTunes exclusive release of Songs of Innocence earlier this week, a recent Billboard interview with U2 manager Guy Oseary suggests that the partnership between Apple and U2 is expected to continue as “long relationship” between the two companies. Oseary revealed that U2 is “working on other things as well with Apple that have to do with how music is heard and innovation” and suggests that there are still a lot of interesting things to come from the partners hip to take music beyond just the “MP3 file.” The interview also revealed that Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine played a big part in the deal due to his existing relationship as “a big part of the U2 family” and somebody they look to for “support and guidance.” [via 9to5Mac]
Our newest video review takes a look at Logitech’s new Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 (reviewed here). The keyboard can switch between multiple iOS devices using Bluetooth, and a built-in stand holds the devices, as well. Be sure to check out our past video reviews, including last week’s Grace Digital Ecostone and iHome iBN6 waterproof Bluetooth speakers.
New information found on Apple’s page on iOS 8 Continuity suggests that the company may be delaying the activation of the iOS 8 SMS Continuity feature until some time in October, possibly to coincide with the expected release of OS X Yosemite. Originally announced and demonstrated at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, SMS Continuity will allow users with an iPhone and other iOS or OS X device to send and receive traditional SMS text messages from their iPad or Mac. While the feature seems to have worked reasonably well with earlier iOS 8 and Yosemite betas, iLounge readers and editors have noted that the feature no longer seems to function in the iOS 8 GM, and Apple’s iOS 8 Preview Page now shows it as “Coming in October”; a discussion thread at Macrumors reveals several other users having similar problems, with suggestions that the feature may in fact have been disabled on Apple’s servers sometime in the past couple of days.
Apple is planning to bring its new Apple Pay mobile payment service to China, MarketWatch reports. The company will be working in conjunction with China’s UnionPay to bring the service to the country. UnionPay, a state-backed bank card association, has agreed to let Apple use its cards in Apple Pay, the report claims. Apple Pay will be available this October in the U.S., but it’s unknown when the service will launch in China.
- September 12, 2014
- Apple Watch,
Apple is planning to release future Apple Watches with more health features and additional sensors, according to a Reuters report. Of course, the first Apple Watch won’t hit the market until early 2015, so it’s unclear what the timeline would be for a second edition of the smartwatch. Numerous reports have claimed the Apple Watch would include many health features and sensors — one report said the watch would have more than 10 sensors — so it’s not surprising that Apple still has more extensive plans for the watch. The upcoming Apple Watch has a built-in heart rate sensor and accelerometer. Healthcare professionals interviewed for the article seem intrigued by Apple Watch’s health possibilities, but also seemed to share the same sentiments as MyFitnessPal CEO Mike Lee, who said the watch’s current sensors weren’t “revolutionary.”
Attempting to pre-order Apple’s new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus this morning was an exercise in frustration for many customers, as Apple’s online store, which was scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. PT today, didn’t actually open for more than two hours after the announced time. By then, many customers had started pre-ordering the new iPhones on the Apple Store app — also a hit-or-miss proposition for some. Inventory seemed to change suddenly, if accessible at all. Carrier websites seemed to have similar issues. Some customers received notifications that an iPhone was reserved, complete with a reservation number, but Apple said it would email back later with instructions on how to complete the order.
When Apple’s online store did come back up some time after 2:00 a.m. PT, the iPhone 6 was available, but all capacities, colors, and carriers for the iPhone 6 Plus were showing shipping times of 7-10 days. As of this writing, there appears to be no shortage of iPhone 6 units in Apple’s online store, while the iPhone 6 Plus now won’t be available to ship for 3-4 weeks. It was expected that there could be a supply shortage for the iPhone 6 Plus.
Following this week’s announcement of iOS 8, Apple has sent out notifications to existing paid iCloud storage customers notifying them of new, reduced prices for their existing storage plans, along with pro-rated refunds for the balance of the reduced plan price. Customers who have already purchased iCloud Storage under the old annual pricing model retain whatever storage capacity they purchased, at a price now reduced to the next-lowest tier available. For example, a customer who had previously purchased the 25GB storage plan for $40/year will have their price reduced to $11.99 annually, roughly equivalent to the new 20GB plan now available for $0.99/month. Customers will be able to retain these plans at the new annual subscription prices, offering a slight storage bonus over the new plans that are now available on a monthly basis.
Update: Several readers who were on the smaller 10GB/$20 plans have reported also having their storage increased as part of this transition. Presumably, since 20GB is now the smallest capacity available under the new iCloud Storage plans, these users get bumped up to the 20GB plan for $11.99/year, also receiving a pro-rated refund of the difference between plan prices.
Apple is reportedly changing the way it runs its in-store launch system for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Stores will be moving on from the old paper card system in favor of a new digital queue system called Reservation Pass, 9to5Mac reports. The system will sync with inventory information to ensure Apple hands out the proper amount of product reservations — reservation cards will be sent to customers via email or SMS. Notably, receiving a reservation will allow customers to return at any time during the day to make the purchase.
- September 11, 2014
Apple has informed Chinese mobile providers that it won’t release the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the country on the expected date of Sept. 19, The New York Times reports. The company offered no explanation for the delay, but it’s reported that the phones may have not yet been approved for sale by Chinese regulators. A manager at China Telecom was apparently told by an Apple rep that some details were not ready. “Apple completely let us down without prior notice,” said the manager. As of now, it’s unclear when the new release date in China will be. Apple’s Chinese website only claims the date will be updated.
Following past precedent, Apple also announced today that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders will begin on the Apple.com web site at 12:01AM PT Friday. Past online pre-orders have often been marred by problems with Apple’s web site, sometimes attributed to issues with cellular carrier systems, so it will be interesting to see whether the iPhone 6 process has been improved from prior years.
Update: It appears Apple will give pre-order customers the option of picking up the new iPhones in store, instead of having the devices shipped. A representative told 9to5Mac the option will exist for most stores “while supplies last.”
- September 10, 2014
While Apple failed to address the Apple Watch’s battery life during Tuesday’s presentation, a source indicated to Re/code that the device’s battery currently lasts for “about a day.” Apple is working to improve the battery ahead of launch, but judging by the comments of Apple spokeswoman Nat Kerris, we wouldn’t expect much more. “There’s a lot of new technology packed into Apple Watch and we think people will love using it throughout the day,” she said. “We anticipate that people will charge nightly which is why we designed an innovative charging solution that combines our MagSafe technology and inductive charging.” Another recent report noted the battery could disappoint.
Apple has introduced three new features for iOS Developers allowing them to more easily distribute, test, and promote their apps on the App Store. App Store Bundles will allow developers to bundle up to 10 of their apps into a single-priced bundle that users can purchase together at a reduced price. App Bundles can be purchased with a single tap, and all of the apps will appear individually on the customer’s device. A “Complete My Bundle” feature will also be available that will credit customers for any apps they’ve already purchased, allowing them to purchase the bundle and pay only the price for the remaining apps.
With the introduction of App Previews, developers can now include a video preview to demonstrate the features and user interface of the app that users can watch right on the App Store page. Previews can be between 15 and 30 seconds long and will be displayed as the first image on the product page, followed by the standard app screenshots. Developers will also be able to capture real-time app footage directly from their iOS device using iOS 8 and Yosemite.
Following Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight earlier this year, the company has now incorporated TestFlight Beta Testing into its own tools for iOS developers, and will allow up to 25 internal testers to access beta builds on up to 10 devices each. External beta tester access is said to be coming soon which will allow up to 1,000 users to be invited to beta test an app using only their e-mail addresses.
- September 10, 2014
- Apple Watch,
More information on Apple Watch has surfaced after the product’s debut on Tuesday. A Yahoo Tech report reveals a number of details, including the fact that Apple Watch is water resistant, but not waterproof — you shouldn’t wear it in the pool or the shower. You can make phone calls from your wrist, using a wireless connection to your iPhone. Watch apps are loaded from the iPhone, and the watch has a feature referred to as “Ping My iPhone,” where you can hit the button to make your phone beep. It’s also noted that the Apple Watch Edition — the 18-karat gold model that will certainly be the most expensive Apple Watch — comes with a jewelry box that doubles as a charger. Apple hasn’t decided yet how pricey the most expensive Apple Watches will be, according to the report.
For left-handed people who wondered about the Digital Crown on the right side of the watch, Slashgear reports that Apple Watch can be set up for orientation on the right wrist, which will place the Digital Crown on the lower left side of the device. Additionally, a tweet from Re/code’s Ina Fried noted the watch will be able to use Apple Pay, play music, track activities, and run some apps while offline. For more overlooked details about Apple’s new watch, read our Editors’ Notes article from Tuesday.
Philips has debuted the first Lightning connector headphones, Fidelio M2L. According to Pocket-lint, Philips claims the headphones can deliver high-quality 24-bit audio using built-in DAC and amplification. The Fidelio M2L headphones use two 40mm speaker drivers and are said to offer noise isolated audio with dynamic bass. Philips’ Fidelio M2L will be available in December for €250 (about $323).
- September 10, 2014
As part of its new payments system, Apple will be collecting fees from banks, Bloomberg reports. A number of banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, and Citigroup have all agreed to integrate their cards into the system, and Apple has apparently reached individual deals with various banks to collect a fee for each transaction made through Apple Pay. Neither Apple nor any of the key banks have commented on the specific arrangements, although Apple has said that it won’t be charging users, merchants, or developers for transactions, logically leaving the banks themselves as the only remaining revenue stream from which Apple can benefit. Apple has already made partnerships with the three major U.S. card networks—VISA, MasterCard, and American Express—and Discover tweeted that it is also in discussions with Apple to add support for its cards to Apple Pay.
- September 9, 2014
During today’s official unveiling of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch, Apple ran through a large number of details on each product, but did not discuss several others. Here are a few items that you might not have heard during the Apple Event.
The Apple Watch will come in 38mm tall and 42mm tall case sizes. Silver 316L stainless steel, DLC (diamond-like carbon) space black stainless steel, silver aluminum, space gray aluminum, 18-karat yellow gold and 18-karat rose gold versions will be available—two finishes for each material. Apple is calling the glass in the aluminum versions “strengthened Ion-X glass,” while both of the other versions use sapphire crystal. No specifications have been released for the Apple Watch display, besides a reference to it being “Retina” with “incredibly high pixel density.” An Apple press release notes that in addition to NFC wireless support for Apple Pay transactions, “Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.”
Apple has also posted a set of developer documents covering building apps for the new iPhone models and iOS 8 features, including programming guides for Touch ID, PhotoKit, HealthKit, HomeKit, CloudKit, Handoff, and more.
- September 9, 2014
Apple appears to have quietly discontinued its venerable iPod classic following today’s event. The iPod Product and iPod Apple Store pages no longer show any references to the older device, nor does it appear on Apple’s refurbished iPod listings. The iPod classic was originally released in 2007 and last updated in 2009, and although it has remained on sale until now, it has been almost entirely ignored by Apple, and raised questions each year as to when Apple would ultimately decide to discontinue the device. While other traditional iPod models such as the nano and shuffle remain, the demise of the iPod classic spells the end of the iconic Click Wheel iPod era.
Apple has released its Gold Master seed of iOS 8 to registered developers. Listed as build 12A365, the GM build is normally the last to be seeded prior to the software’s official launch, expected on September 17, and as such can be used to submit iOS 8 applications to the App Store for review. It is unclear whether the iOS 8 GM seed will be made available as an over-the-air software update, as has been the case with past iOS beta releases, however Registered Developers can download the iOS 8 GM seed and the accompanying SDK from the iOS Dev Center now.
- September 9, 2014
During today’s event, Apple CEO Tim Cook and U2’s Bono jointly announced that Apple and U2 will be distributing the bands’ latest album, Songs of Innocence, to all 500 million iTunes customers, entirely free of charge. Cook noted that this is the largest album release of all time, with a simultaneous launch in 119 countries. Users should be able to find the new album in their iTunes Music library and also available on iTunes Radio and Beats Music. The new album will also be available exclusively with Apple through mid-October.
- September 9, 2014
Briefly mentioned at the end of today’s official announcement of the Apple Watch, Apple has set the “starting” price of the wearable device at $349, noting that it will come in three different versions, each with two sizes, and with six watch band options.
The two different sizes will enable Apple Watch to be worn fashionably by men (generally larger) and women (generally smaller), while the three versions differ in the metal and glass used. An aluminum and glass Apple Watch Sport will presumably be the most affordable, while Apple Watch will be made with stainless steel and sapphire crystal glass, and the 18 karat gold Apple Watch Edition will use a gold alloy claimed to be up to twice as hard as standard gold.
Apple has also announced six detachable straps for Apple Watch: the plastic Sport Band, three leather versions called Leather Loop, Leather Modern Buckle, and Leather Classic Buckle, and two metal versions—the Stainless Steel Link Bracelet, and the fine chain-linked Milanese Loop. It’s likely that the Apple Watch Sport will come with a Sport Band, but unclear which versions will come with the other watches. It’s possible that customers will get to choose bands for the higher-end watches at the time of purchase.