Some people with tattoos are reportedly having trouble with sensors in the Apple Watch, as noted in a recent Reddit thread. Apple had previously noted that the watch’s wrist sensors — which rely on green LED and infrared lights being reflected into light-sensitive photodiodes — may not work properly for everyone, and it seems that large patches of dark ink over the area of skin where the watch makes contact with a user’s wrist is causing problems. One commenter said putting the watch on over his black tattoo caused it to lock every time the screen went dark, prompting him for his password and not delivering notifications. When the user held the watch over a patch of non-tattooed skin on his hand, the watch stayed unlocked and functioned as expected. Disabling wrist detection allowed messages to be delivered to the watch instead of the user’s iPhone, but left him unable to use Apple Pay from the watch. The user informed an Applecare specialist of the issue, which was referred to Apple engineers. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple sold more iPhones in China than the U.S. for the first time in Q2, Reuters reports. Apple’s revenue in the country was up 71 percent to $16.8 billion over the quarter, fueled by gift buying around Chinese New Year. Apple sold 61.2 million iPhones overall in the quarter, up 40 percent from last year’s Q2, but down from the previous record-breaking holiday quarter. The larger-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have proven popular with customers worldwide, helping Apple overtake Samsung in global smartphone sales last quarter.
Kicking off Apple’s conference call announcing its record-breaking numbers for Q2 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported that the company had its strongest March quarter ever, with 27 percent revenue growth overall, and 55 percent year-over-year growth in iPhone revenue. Cook also noted that Apple has seen a higher rate of user switching to the iPhone than in previous iPhone cycles. He cited strong success of the iPhone in emerging markets with 63 percent year-over-year growth, and noted that the App Store had its best quarter ever with a record number of customers making purchases, driving a new record for App Store revenue.
Cook also touched on Apple’s successes in other areas, noting that Apple Pay has had great momentum, with the number of merchants accepting Apple Pay having tripled. More than 60,000 iPhone users enrolled in ResearchKit in only the first few weeks of its availability, and thousands of researchers have contacted Apple expressing interest in the technology for their own studies. Naturally, Cook also spoke on the Apple Watch debut, noting that the response to the Apple Watch has been positive and that more than 3,500 apps that are already available have added to “the surprise and delight” of Apple Watch. Cook expressed his thanks to third-party developers, customers, and Apple employees in making the Apple Watch launch a success.
Apple reported its second quarter 2015 financial results today, selling 61.1 million iPhones and 12.6 million iPads. The company posted quarterly revenue of $58 billion and quarterly net profit of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share. In Q2 2014, Apple had revenue of $45.6 billion and net profit of $10.2 billion, or $1.66 per diluted share. Gross margin was 40.8 percent compared to 39.3 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 69 percent of this quarter’s revenue.
For Q2 2015, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $46 billion and $48 billion, and gross margin between 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website.
Apple has released its second beta of iOS 8.4 to developers, a release that continues to focus on Apple’s new Music app introduced in the original iOS 8.4 beta. Featuring a build number of 12H4086d, the release is also accompanied by a new Xcode 6.4 beta to support the new APIs and development environment. The release notes for this latest beta indicate both improvements and limitations in App Extensions, CarPlay, App Store, iTunes Store, MFi GPS accessories, Videos, and WatchKit, as well as with the new Music app. Notably, the list of limitations in the Music app remains the same as in the first beta, suggesting that the development process may be proceeding more slowly than expected.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has turned on access to HeathKit data for more than 80,000 patients, the largest integration yet for Apple’s move into the health industry, Bloomberg reports. Patients can now allow Cedars-Sinai’s My CS-Link app to access HealthKit’s monitoring of weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, steps taken and many other kinds of data, passing that information along to the patient’s doctors. How that information will be used in diagnosis and treatment is still up for debate, Darren Dworkin, chief information officer at Cedars-Sinai, said in an interview. “This is just another set of data that we’re confident our physicians will take into account as they make clinical and medical judgments,” Dworkin said. “We don’t really, fully know and understand how patients will want to use this and we’re going to basically stand ready to learn by what will happen.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the company’s high hopes for use of HealthKit data by doctors during a conference in February, but was careful to point out that all sharing of HealthKit data would be at the patient’s discretion. My CS-Link users will have to manually select which HealthKit data is reported to the hospital, a process detailed on Cedars-Sinai’s instruction page for use of wearable devices. While HealthKit collects a massive amount of information about users, only the data that users specifically select will be reported automatically to the hospital. Aside from setting up the configuration for HealthKit to let My CS-Link to access specific data, the hospital won’t require any added patient consent beyond the general My CS-Link sign-up process. “Rather than turn it on as sort of an opt-in, we’ve basically enabled it for all of our patients,” Dworkin told Bloomberg. “The opt-out is just don’t use it.”
Apple’s last holdout among the major American credit card companies will be joining Apple Pay this fall, Discover announced. Discover members adding their card to Apple Pay will be assigned a unique Device Account Number to avoid storing their actual card number on the device, but cardholders using Apple Pay will still receive all of the usual benefits of using their card, including Cashback Bonus and the Freeze It security tool for stopping transactions on lost cards. Discover Network will also enable Apple Pay for Discover Debit cards issued by “eligible financial institutions,” but didn’t specify what makes an issuing financial institution eligible. “As the mobile payments landscape matures, Discover remains committed to giving card members secure options for using their cards and mobile devices,” Discover’s President of Payment Services Diane Offereins said in the release. “Discover’s focus on simplicity and value for our card members aligns well with the way Apple Pay makes purchases easy and convenient.”
Apple is accepting Red Cross donations via iTunes to help survivors of the Nepal earthquake that claimed more than 3,000 lives last week. The link is featured prominently on the iTunes home screen, leading users to a simple page soliciting donations of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200. Apple assures users that 100 percent of the money raised will go to the American Red Cross, but since Apple is keeping the donations anonymous, users won’t get any communication from the Red Cross confirming the donation. The transaction will show up on credit card statements as an iTunes transaction, making it impossible to claim as a tax deduction.
Apple has turned to the open-source Mesos platform to run the third generation of its Siri app, the Mesosphere blog reports. Apple engineers said the company’s first move away from traditional infrastructure has made Siri more scalable, reduced latency and made it easier for engineers to deploy services that the app uses to answer questions from millions of iPhone and iPad users each day. The new Siri consists of around 100 different services organized in a Mesos cluster spanning thousands of nodes, making it one of the largest Mesos clusters in existence. Apple announced the change last week during a meeting at its Cupertino, California headquarters, adding that they’re calling Siri’s new Mesos scheduler Just A Rather Very Intelligent Scheduler, a nod to Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S. computerized assistant in Marvel’s Iron Man movies. An attendee posted photos of the presentation, one of which shows a simplified description of the Mesos layout. [via 9to5Mac]
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iLounge has posted an unboxing gallery for the Apple Watch. In a full photo gallery, we take a closer look at the device, along with some comparison photos between the 38mm and 42mm Sport models.
We’ll be putting the device through the paces throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back for our full review on Monday.
Australian site FoneFox has posted a YouTube video demonstrating the water resistance capabilities of the Apple Watch Sport. The video begins by showing general splash tests — which the Apple Watch unsurprisingly survives — and then moves on to taking the Apple Watch through a two-minute shower, dunking it in a bucket of water, and then swimming with it in a pool for 15 minutes. While the Apple Watch was not usable while underwater due to the capacitive touchscreen, the device survived the experience and was able to be used normally when emerging from the pool.
Apple has stated that the Apple Watch is IPX7 certified, meaning that it is certified as withstanding submersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Apple’s Watch page describes the device as “splash and water resistant but not waterproof,” suggesting that the water resistance is suitable for exercise, use in the rain, and while washing hands, but that submerging the Apple Watch is “not recommended.” Apple also notes that the leather bands are not water resistant.
iFixit has already begun its expected teardown of Apple Watch, this time posting the results in real-time as the site proceeds through each step. While the teardown is still ongoing, iFixit has already made some interesting observations by examining the innards of Apple’s new wearable device, including the nature of the device’s construction, how tightly integrated and packed in the circuitry is, and the likely proprietary nature of the inductive charging system. Notably, iFixit also reports that the heart rate monitor in the device is “actually a plethysmograph,” suggesting that it can be used as a pulse oximeter, despite Apple not advertising this feature; the report speculates that this may be due to FDA regulations on health monitoring devices. After finishing up with the Sport Edition, iFixit has now begun tearing down the Stainless Steel model, and is promising to report back later with more details on that one.
Apple has posted the Apple Watch User Guide online in an advance of tomorrow’s public release of the new device. Designed as an interactive web guide, the site provides instructions on how to use the features and built-in apps on the Apple Watch, ranging from the basics of getting started and telling the time to using the wearable device as a remote control for an Apple TV or iPhone camera. The guide provides some insight into the details of many of the features on the Apple Watch.
Apple may be gearing up to release a new iPod touch model this year, according to a new report from Apple Insider. Citing “a source familiar with Apple’s future product plans” the report indicates that a new iPod touch would likely be a fall release, and may retain the same four-inch screen size as the current model, although that part of the information was less definitive. Based on the previous iPod touch release, it seems likely that a new iPod touch would feature specifications in line with older iPhones, rather than breaking new ground, although it’s unclear whether Apple would choose to align it with the 2013 iPhone 5s or the 2014 iPhone 6 in terms of design, features and capabilities.
While the first three iPod touch models saw annual updates, the fourth-generation iPod touch was released in 2010 alongside the iPhone 4 — and with the same A4 CPU — but received only the addition of a white model the following year when the iPhone 4S debuted. The fifth-generation iPod touch, originally released in 2012 at the same time as the iPhone 5, mimicked the general design and screen size of its iPhone counterpart but used the A5 processor from the prior year’s iPhone 4S. Apple made an unusual addition to the lineup in 2013 with a less-featured 16GB version, but then reversed course the following spring, releasing a new 16GB model that had feature parity with the larger capacity models, while dropping prices across the board. Throughout this, however, the basic specs of the fifth-generation iPod touch remained the same as when it first debuted, despite many hoping that a larger capacity model would appear, particularly in light of Apple’s elimination of the iPod classic and release of 128GB capacity iPhone models last fall.
As Nokia is looking to sell off its struggling maps business, Bloomberg reports that the company has been approaching Apple and several other big name technology firms on the matter. In addition to Apple, Nokia is said to have been in contact with Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, Sirius, Chinese search engine Baidu, a group of German carmakers, and some private-equity firms. Nokia is seeking more than 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) from a sale of the division, with first-round bids due at the end of next week. Nokia’s mapping assets, purchased in 2008 for $8.1 billion, have depreciated to about 2 billion euros according to last year’s financial reports from the company. Nokia’s highly-rated maps app, HERE, is again available on the App Store after being pulled in late 2013 due to changes in iOS 7.
With the first pre-orders of the Apple Watch expected to arrive in customer hands tomorrow, Apple has posted more Guided Tours for the new device, covering topics such as Apple Pay, activity tracking, and workouts. Meanwhile, those customers who pre-ordered the Apple Watch immediately after it became available in the early hours of April 10 have begun receiving shipping confirmation emails suggesting that their devices will arrive tomorrow. Despite tomorrow being the “launch day” for the Apple Watch to become available to the public, the device will still not be sold directly in most stores, outside of a few “select destination fashion boutiques,” according to The New York Times.
Researchers at Skycure have exposed an SSL certificate security flaw allowing them to create a ‘No iOS Zone’ where most apps on iPhones and iPads running iOS 8 will crash while connecting to the Internet, even crashing the devices themselves in some cases. While the exploit is normally triggered by users manually joining these rogue Wi-Fi networks, hackers can also take advantage of the WiFiGate vulnerability to create fake Wi-Fi networks with names that iOS devices on some carriers will automatically join — for example any iPhone on AT&T will join any nearby Wi-Fi network with the name “attwifi” without requiring any user interaction. Once the device is connected, either automatically or manually by the user, apps attempting to make a secure connection with a server will crash. Heavy use of the device while it is exposed to the fake Wi-Fi location can even cause the device’s OS to crash. In some instances that crash led to a repeatable boot cycle, rendering the device useless while within range of the fake Wi-Fi hotspot. Users can avoid the problem by disconnecting from the offending Wi-Fi network and generally avoiding connecting to suspicious free Wi-Fi networks, although in the case of carrier-defined Wi-Fi networks, the user may be required to move out of range of the Wi-Fi network entirely, as many of these carrier settings cannot be overridden. Skycure has reported the problem to Apple and speculates that iOS 8.3 may have fixed some of the underlying issues. [via 9to5Mac]
About 1,500 iOS apps have an HTTPS vulnerability leaving them open to attack, according to analytics service SourceDNA. The flaw stems from a weakness in version 2.5.1 of AFNetworking, an open-source code which provides networking capabilities for apps. Apps containing the code may not properly validate SSL certificates, leaving users of apps like Movies by Flixster with Rotten Tomatoes and Citrix OpenVoice Audio Conferencing vulnerable to spying over public Wi-Fi networks. AFNetworking has updated version 2.5.2 to fix the issue and companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and Uber have already issued fixes for affected apps. The full list of vulnerable apps still using version 2.5.1 has been kept private, but SourceDNA provides a search tool allowing users to see which of their apps might be affected. [via Ars Technica]
Google has announced that the YouTube app will cease to function starting in May for iOS devices running an OS older than iOS 7 — this likely refers to the older Apple-developed YouTube app that was discontinued in iOS 6. The change also impacts second-generation and older Apple TV units, which won’t be able to access YouTube starting in May unless Apple chooses to provide a software update for the older model. Users of the YouTube app on these older devices are already seeing a video notifying them of the change, but the app is still functional for now. In early May, users will only see the notification video, and will be unable to access any video content through the app. Google’s support page has directed users of older iOS versions to visit YouTube’s mobile site to view videos. Notably, Google’s official YouTube app for iOS remains listed as compatible with “iOS 6.0 or later”, so it’s unclear why iOS 6 users may be unable to access YouTube unless Google simply plans to drop iOS 6 support in the native iOS app.