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Apple Pay Bank of America customers experiencing double-charges

  • October 22, 2014
  • Apple,

Only two days into its rollout, some Apple Pay users are already reporting a problem with the service. Some Bank of America customers have seen two charges for the same purchase on their credit card statements after using Apple Pay to make transactions, as reported by CNN. The issue is said to be affecting “hundreds of customers.” A Bank of America representative told CNN that the issue was on Apple Pay’s end, but the bank was ultimately able to refund the money after some back-and-forth between Apple and bank representatives. A fix for the problem is expected to be released at some point today.

iPad Air 2 unboxing and comparison gallery posted

iLounge has posted an unboxing gallery for Apple’s new iPad Air 2. In a full photo gallery, we take a closer look at both devices, along with comparison photos.

More pictures will be added as the day progresses, and be sure to check back for our full review of both new models coming soon.

Apple’s new Maps Connect lets businesses manage listings, request iBeacon indoor mapping

  • October 22, 2014
  • Apple,

Apple has launched Apple Maps Connect, a new online portal to allow local businesses to add or edit their business listings for the Apple Maps service. Targeted at small business owners or their authorized representatives, the service is free and allows users to quickly and easily add content directly into Apple Maps. Users can sign in with their normal Apple ID and password, or can create a new Apple ID if they don’t already have one, or would prefer to use a different one for business purposes. The service is available only for U.S. addresses for now, but Apple says that it has plans to add additional countries “soon.”

Apple reportedly begins in-store sales of iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3

Following last week’s launch of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, the new models are reportedly now available for sale in at least some Apple Retail Stores, and initial shipments have begun arriving for customers who pre-ordered the new models. Unboxing videos have already started appearing from customers in the UK and Australia who have received their pre-ordered devices, and a number of sources are reporting that the new tablets are now available for purchase online and in-store — although strangely, an Apple customer service representative responded to an inquiry stating that the new models are not yet available in-store. During last week’s launch event, Apple announced that pre-orders would begin October 17, but did not specify an actual retail availability date. [via MacRumors]

Cook discussing security with top Chinese official

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been in recent discussions with a top Chinese government official concerning security, Reuters reports. The meeting comes following a report that Apple users in China have been targeted in a “sophisticated and widespread” attack by hackers looking to access private user data stored in iCloud. The report was released by Chinese web monitoring group Greatfire.org, which has also claimed that the Chinese government is involved in the hack—a claim strongly refuted by the Chinese government. Cook and Vice Premier Ma Kai met Wednesday in Zhongnanhai to discuss “protection of users’ information” and “strengthening cooperation and in information and communication fields,” according to the official Xinhua news agency. Apple also appears to have rerouted user data on Tuesday to circumvent the hack, Greatfire told Reuters.

GT and Apple to part ways ‘amicably’

  • October 22, 2014
  • Apple,

GT Advanced Technologies has signed an agreement with Apple for an “amicable parting of the ways,” The Wall Street Journal reports. GT’s attorney, Luc Despins, told a U.S. Bankruptcy court that as part of the agreement, the two companies have agreed to file a revised explanation for GT’s sudden bankruptcy filing earlier this month — the companies will also withdraw court papers from the public record that outlined what went wrong in the partnership.

Earlier this year, Apple had financed a new factory in Arizona for GT Advanced Technologies to the tune of $578 million, and entered into a multi-year agreement to set the company up as a supplier of sapphire material for Apple products. GT’s bankruptcy filing earlier this month came as a surprise to Apple. Shortly after the filing, GT began asking for court documents in the bankruptcy proceedings to be sealed due to confidentiality agreements, and then later requested that the court void its agreements with Apple entirely. Although this latest news suggests that the two companies are working toward a peaceful resolution, court documents and proceedings in the case remain sealed, at least while the two companies continue to pursue their settlement.

Apple Pay can be used internationally with U.S.-based cards

  • October 21, 2014

Following yesterday’s roll-out of Apple Pay in the U.S., a number of users are reporting that the service also works with standard NFC terminals in other countries, provided of course that the user has registered a credit card or debit card from a participating U.S. bank. NFC terminals that accept VISA payWave or MasterCard PayPass cards will also apparently accept payments from an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus setup for Apple Pay with a U.S. card. Although Apple has only announced partnerships with specific U.S. retailers, Apple Pay unsurprisingly appears to use standard NFC payment technology, effectively allowing it to work with the NFC payment systems that are already extremely common outside of the U.S.

This suggests that the key to rolling Apple Pay out internationally will require integration with banking systems rather than point-of-sale retail systems in most countries, although Apple is likely involving retailers to ensure a commitment to supporting NFC technology in general and benefit from marketing the Apple Pay service as a practical consumer feature. Apple for its part has made no specific comments about rolling out Apple Pay internationally beyond a statement by Apple CEO Tim Cook during yesterday’s earnings call that “we can’t wait to sign up more retailers and extend it around the world.” [via 9to5Mac]

Notes from Apple’s Q4 2014 earnings call

  • October 20, 2014
  • Apple,

Apple’s conference call after announcing its Q4 2014 financial results kicked off with Apple CEO Tim Cook discussing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay, Apple Watch, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, the new iMac with a Retina 5K Display, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.

Getting to the financial results, Cook announced that Apple saw its strongest growth rate in seven quarters, with a new record for Apple’s September quarter revenue. “Fuelled by the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and strong demand for previous iPhone models, we set a new September quarter record for iPhone,” Cook said. He also noted that they set an all-time record for App Store revenue, which grew 36% since last year, and cumulative app downloads have now topped 85 billion.

Cook spoke with enthusiasm about the landmark partnership Apple forged with IBM to bring its Mobile First solutions to enterprise customers, with solutions launching across six sectors next month: banking, government insurance, retail, travel, and telecommunication.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri talked about how Apple exceeded its guidance range due to better than expected sales of iPhones and Macs due to customer demand growing year-over-year. iPhone sales grew over both developed and emerging markets, with 17% growth year-over-year in the U.S., and growth of over 50% in Latin America and the Middle East. Maestri went on to note that iPhone demand in the enterprise market remains strong, with 75% of surveyed corporations planning to purchase iPhones in the coming quarter. Referring to lower iPad sales, Maestri indicated that channel inventory was reduced in anticipation of the new iPad releases, and sales were consistent with Apple’s expectations, and sales increased in Japan year-over-year. iPad also continues to lead in the education market with a 90% share.

Apple also announced that it would be changing how it reports revenue categories beginning in Q1 2015, with the new categories being iPhone, iPad, Mac, Services, and Other Products. Apple Pay revenue will be reported under “Services” alongside iTunes content and App Store apps. iPod and Apple Watch revenue will now be grouped into “Other Products” alongside the Apple TV and iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other accessories manufactured by Apple.

Apple Q4 2014: 39.3M iPhones, 12.3M iPads, 2.6M iPods, $42.1B revenue

  • October 20, 2014
  • Apple,

Apple reported its fourth quarter 2014 financial results today, selling 39.3 million iPhones, 12.3 million iPads, and 2.6 million iPods. The company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share. In Q4 2013, Apple had revenue of $37.5 billion and net profit of $7.5 billion, or $1.18 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 37 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”

“Our strong business performance drove EPS growth of 20 percent and a record $13.3 billion in cash flow from operations in the September quarter,” Apple CFO Luca Maestri said. “We continued to execute aggressively against our capital return program, spending over $20 billion in the quarter and bringing cumulative returns to $94 billion.”

Despite the year-over-year increase in iPhone unit sales, the results notably included a year-over-year decline in iPad and iPod sales. iTunes/Software/Services and Accessories categories both posted healthy gains of 8 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Apple releases Apple TV Software Update 7.0.1

  • October 20, 2014

Apple has released Apple TV Software Update 7.0.1, the latest feature and content update for its set-top box. Apple has yet to update its release notes, so it’s unclear exactly what has changed in this latest update, it seems likely that it includes general bug fixes and performance improvements as well as changes related to the release of iOS 8.1 earlier today.

Apple releases iOS 8.1

  • October 20, 2014

Apple has officially released iOS 8.1 to the public. Announced last week during Apple’s iPad Event, iOS 8.1 brings support for Apple Pay to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, enables SMS Continuity between iOS 8.1 devices and Macs running OS X Yosemite, enables iCloud Photo Library for all users and brings back the much-requested Camera Roll that was removed in iOS 8.0 to be replaced with a “Recently Added” album. A number of other smaller fixes and improvements are also included. iOS 8.1 is available other as an over-the-air update or by updating via iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Update: iOS 8.1 also resolves issues when using AirPlay mirroring from an iPhone 6 Plus to a second- or third-generation Apple TV. iPhone UI mirroring looks noticeably cleaner and completely fills the screen when the iPhone is in landscape mode.

Apple launches iCloud Photos Beta Web Client

  • October 20, 2014

Apple has quietly launched the web version of its iCloud Photo Library client in advance of today’s expected release of iOS 8.1. Users who have enabled iCloud Photo Library on their iOS devices can log in at beta.icloud.com where a new “Photos” icon should appear. The iCloud Photos web client generally mirrors the iOS 8.1 Photos app, allowing users to browse by Moments or Albums, select a moment or individual photo, and favorite, delete, or download individual photos or groups of photos. Notably, there does not appear to be any way to upload photos via the web client, and while all user-created albums appear in the web interface, only the All Photos, Favorites and Videos predefined albums appear here; other categories such as Slo-mo, Time-lapse, Bursts, and Recently Deleted continue to be available only on the iOS side. iCloud Photo Library is expected to be available to all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users with the release of iOS 8.1 later today.

Apple working to cut music subscription prices

A new report from Re/code reveals that Apple is working to get the price of its subscription music services down to as low as $5/month. Apple was reportedly asking the labels to cut prices to pave the way for a cheaper Beats music subscription, and is suggesting that top iTunes buyers spend about $60/year on music downloads, which equates to about $5/month. On a $5/month subscription model, the music labels would therefore not lose any revenue as a result of those download buyers switching over to a streaming model, and would in fact potentially gain more revenue in the form of new subscribers who may not otherwise spend as much on downloads. The Re/code report also notes that Spotify has just made changes to its streaming plan, offering a “family plan” price of $5/month for additional accounts beyond the first account, suggesting that some room exists in the label agreements for lowering pricing. It’s also worth noting that competing streaming service Rdio has been offering a similar “family plan” for about two years now.

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Apple Store returns, begins taking iPad pre-orders


After being offline for the past several hours, the Apple Store has returned and begun taking iPad pre-orders. When Apple unveiled the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 at yesterday’s event, the company announced that pre-orders would begin today, October 17th. While Apple did not specify at what time pre-orders would begin this time around, products have become available for pre-order as early as 12:01 PT, and pre-orders are usually available by the beginning of the business day. While it is unclear exactly why the Apple Store was down this morning, it seems likely that some technical issues prevented pre-orders from being available as early as Apple would have preferred.

Apple updates Pages, Numbers, Keynote for iCloud Drive


Following yesterday’s release of OS X Yosemite, Apple has released updates to its three iOS iWork apps—Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—adding support for iCloud Drive and the new iOS 8 and Yosemite Handoff feature. The updates also include support for third-party storage providers in iOS 8 and note “updated file formats” that make it easier to send documents via services such as Drobox and Gmail. Additional new features have also been added such as more color options with a custom color mixer in the iPad versions, the ability to take photos and videos directly from within the apps, and accessibility, usability, and language improvements. Keynote also introduces a feature that allows users to pair with nearby iOS devices using Multipeer Connectivity.

Belkin announces QODE keyboards for iPad Air 2

Belkin has announced that it’s bringing its line of QODE keyboard cases to iPad Air 2. The line includes the QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 ($150), QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 ($130), and QODE Slim Style Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 and iPad Air ($100) — the last of which is an already existing product that can fit the newer iPad Air. The updated keyboards have already been released for the first iPad Air — see our reviews for the original Ultimate Pro case here and the Ultimate and Slim Style cases here. While the QODE Slim Style Keyboard Case is already available, QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 and QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 will be available in December.

Apple introduces Apple SIM, multi-carrier cellular SIM card

  • October 16, 2014

Buried in other announcements today, Apple has introduced Apple SIM, a single pre-installed SIM card that “gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK right on your iPad.” Pre-installed on Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Apple SIM provides a list of participating national carriers—currently only AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States, with EE in the UK—that the user can choose from without having to swap SIM cards. Verizon apparently does not yet support Apple SIM.

Additionally, although the feature is currently quite limited, Apple suggests that some international data plans will be accessible with the Apple SIM when users travel: “you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip.”

New iPad Smart Cases, Covers shown for iPad Air 2

  • October 16, 2014

Alongside today’s announcement of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Apple has updated the prior $39 iPad Smart Covers and $69-$79 iPad Smart Cases. Apple’s iPad Air Smart Cover now comes in seven colors—blue, red, yellow, green, black, white, or red—each made from polyurethane, and compatible with the iPad Air and iPad Air 2. By comparison, the leather iPad Air 2 Smart Case comes in five different colors, namely black, white, brown, blue, or red, and covers virtually the entire Air 2 when closed. It is not compatible with the original iPad Air.

Apple unveils iPad mini 3, renames Retina iPad mini to iPad mini 2

Apple has debuted the newest edition of its 7.9” tablet, which it’s calling iPad mini 3. The new iPad mini 3 includes Touch ID, and it comes in silver, space gray, and gold. It notably continues to have an A7 processor, not an A8 or A8X, and does not include any of the wireless or camera upgrades found in the iPad Air 2.

iPad mini 3 starts at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, $499 for 64GB, and $599 for 128GB. Cellular + Wi-Fi models add $130 to each model. Like iPad Air 2, preorders for iPad mini 3 start Friday, Oct. 17, and the tablet ships by the end of next week.

Additionally, the former “iPad mini with Retina display” has been renamed “iPad mini 2” to more clearly differentiate it from its predecessor and successor. It will be offered in 16GB ($299/$429) and 32GB ($399/$529) models.

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