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Apple acquires Digital Magazine Platform PRSS

  • September 24, 2014
  • Apple,

Apple has acquired a small Dutch digital magazine startup, according to a new report (translated link) from Dutch Apple blog iCulture. The company, PRSS, launched in 2012 as a way to allow users to easily create digital magazines for the iPad Newsstand platform without requiring iOS coding or development experience. While neither Apple nor PRSS has confirmed the acquisition officially, TechCrunch received a boilerplate statement from Apple that “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Apple’s Newsstand platform has not gained much traction since its launch in 2011, and the PRSS acquisition, which essentially provides a magazine-specific alternative to the textbook app iBooks Author, could be used to encourage publishers to take better advantage of the platform. [via 9to5Mac]

 

Apple quietly pulls back on 2014 CarPlay availability

Apple appears to be quietly pulling back on its promise of 2014 availability for CarPlay technology, with an update to its CarPlay page now removing any indications of 2014 availability for specific models. Apple originally announced earlier this year that CarPlay would be “available in select cars shipping in 2014”, and several other manufacturers including Audi, Hyundai, and Volvo had originally indicated that they would be delivering CarPlay in at least some 2015 models due to hit the market this year. However, Mercedes and Volvo have since both announced last month that they are now delaying CarPlay support until 2015. The specific reasons for the delay are unclear at this time. [via 9to5Mac]

iPhone 6 Plus users reporting bending iPhones

  • September 23, 2014

Several MacRumors readers have reported cases of iPhone 6 Plus units actually bending while being carried in pockets, merely days after the device launched. One user reported discovering that his new iPhone 6 Plus had bent slightly after only about 18 hours of sitting in a front suit pocket. While the problem of iPhones bending slightly isn’t new, the much larger but thinner profile of the iPhone 6 Plus increases the likelihood of this occurring, particularly when users attempt to carry the 5.5” device in a typical pants pocket. [Photo by hanzoh, courtesy of MacRumors]

FXNOW channel comes to Apple TV

Apple has added the FXNOW channel to Apple TV. It was reported in July that FXNOW would be arriving on Apple’s set-top box in the next 12 months — that time has already come. FXNOW is the on-demand service for FX, FXX, and FXM, and as such, the channel features a number of FX shows, and a surprising amount of popular movies, as well. Authentication of a cable subscription is required to access the content.

Apple airs two new iPhone 6 ads

Apple has posted two new ads for the iPhone 6, featuring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. The new ads, Huge (above), and Cameras, began airing last night and highlight the larger screens of the new models and the enhanced camera capabilities. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple to reportedly shutter Beats Music? (Update: No)

  • September 22, 2014
  • Apple,

A new report from TechCrunch reveals that Apple may be planning to shut down its Beats Music subscription service. Citing “five sources, including several prominent employees at Apple and Beats,” the report notes that a number of engineers from the Beats Music team have already been moved to other projects at Apple such as iTunes. Although it remains unclear when this is expected to happen, all sources point to Apple planning to discontinue the Beats Music brand. Even more surprisingly, this news comes on the heels of an Apple TV Software Update that added the Beats Music channel, as well as promoting the Beats Music app for iOS devices, suggesting at least some commitment to the service by Apple. No information was disclosed about Apple’s future plans for streaming, so it is entirely possible that the company intends to fold Beats Music into some future service under the iTunes brand. [via 9to5Mac]

Updated: Apple has denied the report to Re/code, which suggests that the company may change the name of the service or otherwise integrate it into iTunes.

Report: iOS 8 adoption rate estimated at 30%

Several research and analytics firms have reported that iOS 8 adoption has reached 30% following the first weekend of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales, based on in-app analytics reported by Fiksu, Mixpanel, Appsee, and Chitika. While this number is up from the estimated 15% adoption following the initial iOS 8 public release last week, it still falls short of the almost 50% of users that had updated to iOS 7 by this time last year. The higher adoption rates of course include the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both of which come with iOS 8 preinstalled, which would account for at least some of the increase. Stats from Appsee also notably indicate that 2% of users are still on iOS 6.0. Apple has not yet released any official numbers for iOS 8 adoption. [via 9to5Mac]

 

Apple Watch to come in 4GB, 8GB versions?

A new analyst report suggests that the Apple Watch may be released in both 4 GB and 8 GB versions. Based on discussions with Apple’s suppliers, Timothy Arcuri of investment research firm Cowen and Company released a note to investors today outlining that the component makers expect the Watch to include 512 MB of RAM and and 4 GB of storage in the “mainstream” version, with a larger-capacity 8 GB version also expected to be available. Arcuri’s report also stated that he expects the Apple Watch to feature a wireless combination chip similar to that found in the iPhone 5s. The Apple Watch is also expected to incorporate chips and circuitry from many of Apple’s other usual suppliers, including chips from NXP and AMS for NFC its NFC technology, likely similar to those used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. [via AppleInsider]

Apple hits 10 million iPhone 6, 6 Plus sales in first weekend

  • September 22, 2014

Apple today announced the achievement of a new milestone for first-weekend iPhone sales, hitting a record 10 million sales of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices only three days after their September 19 debut in stores. The record includes over 4 million pre-orders, and was notably achieved despite Apple’s last-minute inability to sell the new iPhones in China due to regulatory delays, as well as significant shortages of the larger iPhone 6 Plus model.

“While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, “we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible.” The new iPhones will go on sale in 20 additional countries at the end of this week, and a total of 115 countries by the end of 2014.

Video First Look: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Check out our new Video First Look focusing on Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. See both devices side by side as we dig into the differences between the two new, bigger iPhones. While you’re at it, take a look at our First Look article, and our unboxing gallery showing off both iPhones, as well. Our official comprehensive review of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will also be coming soon.

iPhone 6, 6 Plus support 2.1A charging, ship with 1A adapters

Our preliminary testing of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has revealed that both devices are capable of using 2.1-Amp power under certain circumstances, despite shipping with lower-powered 1-Amp USB Power Adapters shown here.

When connected to a Mac running OS X Yosemite, both models reported drawing 1600 mA of extra power, in addition to the base 500 mA used by the USB standard, suggesting that the new models can be charged more rapidly when using a higher-current power adapter or newer Mac. With 2.1-Amp power, the iPhone 6 Plus appears to be capable of recharging to 90% in around two hours, a number that will be markedly longer with the slower included 1-Amp adapter.

iPhone 6, 6 Plus unboxing and comparison gallery posted

iLounge has posted an unboxing gallery for Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In a full photo gallery, we take a closer look at both devices, along with comparison photos.

The photos illustrate the comparative size differences between the two models, as well as a better look at the less-often seen rear casing, including the slightly protruding camera section at the top.

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.

iFixit posts teardowns of iPhone 6, 6 Plus

As expected, iFixit has posted its complete teardown of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, confirming some specs while revealing a few new insights. The iPhone 6 has the anticipated prominently visible 0.6mm bump along the top of the device, a compromise required by the improved optics in the new model. Both models include virtually identical camera hardware—an 8 MP ƒ/2.2 aperture rear-facing camera, with the only difference being the optical image stabilization in the 6 Plus, where the lens element is contained in a tiny metal cage with electromagnetic coils surrounding the sensor on the right. The iPhone 6 battery was identified as an 1810 mAh, 3.82 V Lithium-ion Polymer battery with a 6.91 Wh rating, although the rating on the flip side of the battery is listed as 7.01 Wh; the battery weighs in at 28 grams. By comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus packs an 11.1 Wh, 2915 MAh battery.

In terms of chip sets, both models are basically identical, containing an Apple A8 CPU with 1 GB RAM, and a collection of radio and controller chips from Qualcomm, Broadcom, RF Micro Devices, SkyWorks, NXP, and Texas Instruments. Notably, both models contain NXP 65V10 NFC chips, as reported prior to the launch, as well as an AMS chip for the NFC front-end. The iPhone 6 Plus also appears to include an extra EDGE power amplifier module, perhaps due to the need to improve reception with the larger design; two plastic antenna stripes are also featured on the outer case to help with wireless reception. The audio codec in both devices is a Cirrus Logic 338S1201, and notably the headphone jack and Lightning connector now share a single assembly, requiring the entire part to be replaced should a problem develop with one or the other. The teardown noted on the upside, however, that the connector for the Touch ID sensor is now a longer cable that has been rerouted, making it easier to disassemble the new models without breaking the link to the sensor.

Apps of the Week: Epic Zen Garden, OmniFocus, Evernote, Pocket + more

New Apps

Other than the new Health and Tips apps from Apple — check out our recent iOS 8 Instant Expert article for more details — the most notable new apps this week are third-party keyboards which can be used in iOS 8. We’ve started testing the keyboards, but we’ve run into a number of bugs early on. Look for a more detailed piece later.

New Games

Epic Zen Garden (free) — Epic Zen Garden from Epic Games was first seen at Apple’s WWDC in June, meant to show off Unreal Engine 4 and Apple’s Metal, a new system designed to improve graphics and processing in iOS games. We tried Epic Zen Garden on an iPhone 5s, and it did look nice, and the effects were impressive enough, but it’s barely a game. Download it just to get a hint of what Metal might have to offer down the line, but don’t feel bad about deleting it from your iPhone or iPad after 10 minutes or so.

Apple and U2 working on ‘secret project’ to boost music sales

Last week, Apple and U2 teamed up to release the band’s newest album — Songs of Innocence — for free on iTunes. A new article from Time claims that the company and band are also teaming up on a “secret project” to boost digital music sales. According to the article, Bono “hopes that a new digital music format in the works will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music — whole albums as well as individual tracks.” Details are very sparse, but it’s highly possible that this new project could involve a long-rumored higher-bitrate iTunes audio format, and/or the inclusion of iTunes Extras for albums, as Apple currently does with HD videos.

Apple launches new privacy webpage

  • September 18, 2014
  • Apple,

Apple has launched a new webpage detailing the company’s commitment to privacy and security. The page contains a letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook in which he writes, “We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why.” Separate sections of the site focus on privacy in specific Apple services, tips on how to be more secure online, details on how Apple handles government information requests, and the company’s privacy policy. The company is working to alleviate any security concerns users may have in the wake of the recent iCloud celeb photo hack, especially with new iPhones launching tomorrow and Apple Pay coming in October.

Apple HealthKit not ready for prime time? (Update: Yes)

Some iOS developers have reported that Apple has been removing HealthKit compatible apps from the App Store following their rollout earlier today ahead of the public iOS 8 release due to issues with the HealthKit framework. Affected apps include titles such as Carrot Fit, MyFitnessPal, and WebMD, all of which disappeared shortly after releasing updates for the new Health features in iOS 8.

 

Another large health-releated app developer has also apparently delayed launching HealthKit integration in its apps due to delays from Apple. It is not known what the specific problem is or when these apps will reappear on the App Store. Apple also had a problem with iOS 8 extension support in apps released over the past few days, resulting in some updates needing to be re-issued earlier today, although it is unclear if the two issues are in any way related. [via 9to5Mac]

Update: Tim Bradshaw of Financial Times just tweeted a “full statement” received from Apple via e-mail, which states: “We discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps available on iOS 8 today. We’re working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month.”

First-party Apple apps updated en masse for iOS 8

  • September 17, 2014

Simultaneously with the release of iOS 8 earlier today, Apple has updated a large collection of first-party apps to include compatibility with the latest release of iOS. Updates include AirPort Utility 1.3.4, Beats Music 2.3, Find My Friends 4.0, Find My iPhone 4.0, iTunes Movie Trailers 1.4.1, iTunes U 2.1, and Remote 4.2.1, most of which have received minor compatibility tweaks for iOS 8. Find My Friends and Find My iPhone now both add support for Family Sharing, so you can easily add both family members and their devices to the location-based search applications.

Apple notably integrated formerly separate iOS apps iBooks 4.0 and Podcasts 2.2 directly into every copy of iOS 8, and is also pre-installing the latest versions of iLife and iWork applications on higher-capacity iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices. The updated iLife and iWork applications are expected to hit the App Store any time now for existing users.

Logitech debuts Harmony Living Home line

Logitech has announced a new series of home automation products, the Harmony Living Home line. The products include the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home remote ($350), which features a 2.4” color touchscreen and can control up to 15 compatible home entertainment devices. A button-only remote, the Logitech Harmony Home Control ($150) controls up to 8 home entertainment devices. The hardware looks to be very similar to last year’s Harmony Ultimate Universal Remote Control and Harmony Smart Control, but with new functionality.

Both of those remotes come with the Harmony Home Hub ($99), which can also be purchased separately. The hub uses RF, IR, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi to relay commands from the remotes or the Harmony Mobile iOS app to selected home devices. Also included in the line is the Harmony Hub Extender ($130), which can control other devices such as locks, lights, garage doors, and sensors through ZigBee or Z-Wave. The Extender should hit the market in December, but the rest of the lineup should arrive sometime this month.

Apple TV software updates to 7.0 with Beats Music channel and redesigned look

Apple TV Software 7.0 has been released for the third-generation Apple TV, bringing a new Beats Music channel to the set-top box. As in the case of the iOS app, the Beats Music channel prompts users to sign in or get started on a 14-day free trial. The software update also includes the flatter, redesigned look we previously detailed when the software was in its fourth beta. As seen in that beta, support for Family Sharing and iCloud Photos have also been added to Apple TV. Additionally, the 720p Apple TV received a new update, 6.2.1, which has none of the new UI changes.

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