Apple announced that it will release the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 36 more countries and territories by the end of the month. The new iPhones will be available in a total of 69 countries by October’s end, and Apple claims more than 115 countries will have the new iPhones by the end of 2014 — the fastest iPhone rollout ever. Starting on Friday, October 17, the phones will launch in India, Monaco, and China, while rolling out to more countries over the next few weeks. Chinese site Tencent claims more than 20 million preorders for the new iPhones have already been processed in China.
- October 10, 2014
Apple is preparing to completely remove all Bose audio products from its retail stores, MacRumors reports. While no reasons were given for the move, the report speculates that Apple’s acquisition of Beats may have caused Apple or Bose to “end their retail relationship.” It’s notable that Bose now has an exclusive deal with the NFL that prohibits players from wearing other branded headphones during televised interviews, and Beats headphones have long been popular with NFL players. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was fined $10,000 by the league this week after wearing Beats headphones during a post-game interview. Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal with Beats, was wearing pink headphones for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Bose also sued Beats over noise-canceling patents in July.
- October 10, 2014
Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has asked the court for permission to close its manufacturing plant, Re/code reports. GT Advanced filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week, and Apple said publicly that it was “surprised” by the filing.
As noted by the Wall Street Journal and disclosed by court documents, GT failed to produce sapphire for Apple’s iPhone displays. A court hearing on GT’s request to wind down operations will be heard on Wednesday, Oct. 15. While reports have suggested GT’s problems won’t affect production of the Apple Watch — other suppliers could be used for the sapphire sizes needed for the watch — Apple may have to adjust its plans for using sapphire in future iPhones.
- October 9, 2014
Following its bankruptcy filing earlier this week, GT Advanced Technologies has asked for non-disclosure in its pending bankruptcy proceedings, stating that it cannot disclose the details surrounding its Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to “an unspecified confidentiality agreement.” A lawyer for the company told a U.S. Bankruptcy judge that the agreement in question prevented the company from disclosing the cause of the bankruptcy, or any plans it has for dealing with the bankruptcy. The court was also asked by GT to seal specific documents referencing a third party, and asked that the proceeding be closed to the public to avoid violating “existing confidentiality agreements” that could make the company liable for potential damages of up to $50 million per violation. Since Apple is known for its strict confidentiality clauses, and was working closely with GT Advanced Technologies, it seems extremely likely that Apple is the unnamed third party in this case, although the larger company was reportedly surprised by the bankruptcy filing earlier this week.
Apple is pushing back mass production for its planned larger iPad into early 2015, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sources said the company was prepared to start production this December, but overwhelming demand for the new iPhones has become the top priority. A previous report also claimed that the device would enter production in the first quarter of 2015. It’s still expected that the new iPad — often referred to as “iPad Pro” — will have a 12.9” display. The actual release date for the product is still unknown, especially considering a production timeline that is apparently evolving based on other factors.
- October 8, 2014
Following news earlier this week that Apple’s sapphire supplier GT Advance Technologies had filed for bankruptcy, Reuters reports that Apple has stated it was “surprised” by the news and is now considering its next steps. An Apple spokesman noted that the company “focused on preserving jobs in Arizona following GT’s surprising decision and we will continue to work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps.” GT has still not provided any real explanation as to its sudden bankruptcy filing, however the company has stated that it will clarify the situation during its first Chapter 11 bankruptcy court hearing, set for Thursday, Oct. 9.
- October 8, 2014
Apple has sent out invitations to its upcoming event on Thursday, Oct. 16. “It’s been way too long,” says the invitation. As usual, the event will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific time. The company is expected to introduce its new iPads at the event, in addition to new iMacs.
- October 6, 2014
Apple’s sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has announced that its has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company expects the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire to authorize GT to continue “business as usual” while focusing on reorganization. GT Advanced had approximately $85M in cash as of Sept. 29; the company is now hoping to obtain debtor-in-possession financing for a boost in funds. “GT has a strong and fundamentally sound underlying business,” GT President and CEO Tom Gutierrez said. “Today’s filing does not mean we are going out of business; rather, it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet.”
It’s unclear what the bankruptcy filing means for GT’s working relationship with Apple. Not only does Apple use sapphire for its Touch ID sensors and iPhone camera covers, but the stainless steel and 18-karat gold models of its upcoming Apple Watch will feature sapphire screen covers. There were reports that Apple would use sapphire more extensively in the newest iPhone 6 models, including front screen covers, but the parts never materialized. Reports have variously suggested that the sapphire screen covers missed shipment deadlines to be included in the iPhones, or that they failed damage tests prior to being included.
- October 3, 2014
Apple will hold its next special event on Thursday, Oct. 16, according to Re/code. The company will unveil “the latest updates to its iPad line” at the event, in addition to new iMacs and the public release of OS X Yosemite. This time around, the event is being held at Apple’s Town Hall Auditorium in Cupertino. It’s expected that we’ll see new, faster iPads with Touch ID, possibly with a gold color option.
Many users are having issues with Bluetooth connectivity following the update to iOS 8 earlier this month, as noted in a recent report from MacRumors. Reports from numerous users on the Apple Support forums and MacRumors forums indicate problems with connecting not only to car audio systems but also headphones, speakers, headsets, and more. Some have reported that Apple support is aware of the incompatibility issue with “some car/navigation Bluetooth” systems, pertaining at least to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and has said it is working on a fix. The problem with car audio systems appears to affect a wide variety of models, including Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Toyota, Ford, and more. iLounge’s editors have experienced problems with the iPhone 6 Plus but not older iPhone models, although there are reports that other users of older devices are in fact experiencing similar problems. There have also been developer reports that Apple may have already addressed this issue in the iOS 8.1 beta released earlier this week.
Apple has released a new beta for iTunes 12. We took an in-depth look at the first iTunes 12 beta in late July, and we’ll update this story with changes found in the new edition. The latest beta includes a few more cosmetic changes, such as simplifying certain Preferences screens, adding media categories with keyboard shortcuts to the View menu, and improving support for viewing sync settings when multiple iOS devices or iPods are connected.
- October 2, 2014
Apple has appointed Steve Dowling as its new interim head of public relations for the company, Re/Code reports. A long-time member of Apple’s PR team, Dowling has been chosen to lead corporation communications following the retirement of Apple VP Katie Cotton earlier this year. Although a June report indicated that Apple had been looking for a “high-profile external candidate” to fill the position, it seems the company has decided to promote internally, at least for the time being—the Re/Code report notes that the company “will continue to evaluate worthy outside candidates if one should pop up.”
Apple has filed a patent application titled “Browsing remote content using a native user interface,” describing ways in which an iOS application could serve as a second screen controller for an Apple TV. In contrast to Apple’s existing Remote app, this design would present the user with a more full-featured Apple TV or iTunes interface. The specific interface would be determined by the Apple TV and simply rendered by the iOS application in a manner appropriate to its own screen, effectively allowing for the UI to be presented in a variety of different ways appropriate to the content being browsed, searched for, or viewed. The patent application also suggests that users could simultaneously control the media device and search for or browse information from other sources “not available to the media device,” such as the web, and transmit information from the remote to the Apple TV — for example, users could visit an external web page featuring trivia for a movie currently being viewed, and then send that information back to be displayed on the Apple TV. The application also suggests ways in which iCloud or “other network-accessed sources” could store information or user interface templates specific to different devices, and ways to sync such information across multiple devices.
Apple will add a new gold color option to its newest iPad Air likely to be unveiled this month, Bloomberg reports. The gold color, which has been an iPhone color option since last year’s iPhone 5s, is reportedly being added to the lineup to boost sales. Interestingly, the report makes no mention of whether the next iPad mini will also come in gold. Apple declined comment.
- September 30, 2014
Apple has announced that it will release its Q4 financial results on Monday, October 20. The company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. ET that day. For the third quarter, Apple previously provided guidance for Q4 of revenue between $37 billion and $40 billion, and gross margin between 37 percent and 38 percent. As always, iLounge will provide live coverage of the results.
- September 30, 2014
Europe’s best-selling computer magazine, Computer Bild, has been blacklisted by Apple PR after posting a video of an iPhone 6 Plus being bent by one of its journalists. In a response to an inquiry from the magazine regarding the build quality of the iPhone 6 Plus, a manager from Apple’s German PR branch responded by telling Computer Bild that they will no longer receive any testing devices nor invitations to Apple events. While the video in question appears to be showing an excessive amount of force being applied to bend the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple’s punishment is a harsh response, particularly considering that the company has been openly addressing multiple publications testing for iPhone build quality issues. However, such a response is consistent with Apple PR’s unfortunately heavy-handed approach to media relations, and blacklisting is not an uncommon response to publications that even briefly present Apple or specific products in a less-than-ideal light.
Computer Bild has responded with an open letter to Tim Cook, questioning Apple’s response and suggesting an attempt at intimidation by the company, while promising to retain its independent judgment when testing and reviewing devices.
- September 30, 2014
Special tax deals granted to Apple in Ireland may in fact be illegal, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. European Union regulators indicated that the tax deals in question “constituted illegal state support for the companies.” In a letter to the Irish government, regulators stated that they had reached the “preliminary view” that the tax deals with Apple from 1991 and 2007 technically constituted state aid, in that the deals gave Apple an advantage which was “granted in a selective manner.” Apple responded to the allegations as it has in the past, stating that the company has “received no selective treatment from Irish officials over the years,” and that it is “subject to the same tax laws as the countless other companies who do business in Ireland.” An Irish government official stated that Ireland is confident no rules were breached in this matter. While the antitrust investigation is still in the early stages, a final ruling against the tax deals could result in Apple having to pay up to $200 million in back taxes to Ireland.
Apple has released the first beta of iOS 8.1 to registered developers. The latest version features a build number of 12B401 and appears to contain mostly minor tweaks and fixes, including the ability to disable Dictation independently from Siri, and a renaming of “Recently Added” photos back to “Camera Roll.” A report from MacRumors also notes that the beta includes hidden settings for Apple Pay as well as underlying code for iPad Touch ID support.
Apple has announced that its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in China starting on Friday, Oct. 17. Pre-orders start a week earlier, on Oct. 10. The two new iPhones have been released in a number of countries since the initial launch on Sept. 19, but the Chinese release was delayed for regulatory reasons, making it unclear when the phones would be available. According to Reuters, Apple received approval for selling the devices after addressing a number of security concerns raised by the Chinese government.
“We are thrilled to bring iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers in China on all three carriers at launch,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a release. “With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers will have access to high-speed mobile networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom for an incredible experience.”
Apple is currently working on iOS 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 at the same time, according to 9to5Mac. The report claims that such a move away from Apple’s normal development cycle might show that the company won’t tie annual major iOS releases to typical fall hardware releases. Otherwise, Apple may be accelerating its iOS point release development while keeping iOS 9 for release next fall. It’s possible that the upcoming releases of 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 will introduce major new features, such as Apple Pay, split-screen iPad apps, or an update to make iPhones compatible with the Apple Watch.