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Apple quietly discontinues iPod classic

  • 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 releases iOS 8 GM seed to developers

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.

Apple releases latest U2 album as free iTunes exclusive

  • 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.

Apple Watch to start at $349, with 3 versions, 2 sizes, 6 bands

  • 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.

Apple debuts Apple Watch

Apple has officially introduced Apple Watch, a wearable device referred to as the iWatch until now. The watch has a square display. Coming in silver and gold with a number of different watch straps, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Watch is “the most personal device” Apple has ever created. As expected, Apple Watch is also being billed as a health and fitness device.

The Apple Watch uses Digital Crown — a type of dial — on the side of the device to navigate through apps and return to the home screen. A Jony Ive video focused on the Digital Crown, display, and “digital touch,” which allows users to send quick sketches, share heartbeats, and more.

Apple unveils Apple Pay mobile payment system

  • September 9, 2014

Apple has formally introduced its own mobile payment system, Apple Pay (also styled Pay). CEO Tim Cook described the “outdated and vulnerable magnetic stripe interface” on credit cards before introducing the system. A short demo was shown — twice — illustrating the ease and quickness of the payment process.

Apple Pay uses NFC, Touch ID, and the new Secure Element chip to process transactions at compatible credit card terminals in certain retailers. The system uses a one-time payment number and a dynamic security code. Payments can also be suspended using Find My iPhone if your iPhone gets lost. The system uses one-touch checkout, with no need to enter card numbers, type addresses, or share information with a retailer. Apple does not receive your purchase information when the system is used.

The system will launch with the support of American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, in addition to a number of large banks. Many large retailers will use Apple Pay at launch. It will only be compatible with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to start, and it’s coming in October.

Apple drops iPhone 5c to $0, iPhone 5s to $99

  • September 9, 2014

During its introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple today announced that the iPhone 5c will become its “free” on contract phone, while the iPhone 5s will become a “starting at $99” model. It appears that the iPhone 5c will only be available in one capacity—perhaps 16GB—while the iPhone 5s will come in more than one capacity.

Apple shows iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases

  • September 9, 2014

Silicone rubber and leather cases were introduced for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus today, as the “iPhone 6 Silicone Case” and “iPhone 6 Leather Case.”

Each comes in a variety of different colors: the leather version is sold in five tones at $45 (iPhone 6) or $49 (iPhone 6 Plus), while the silicone version comes in six “bright” colors, each $35 (iPhone 6) or $39 (iPhone 6 Plus). Apple notes that both the Silicone and Leather Cases have a “soft microfiber lining on the inside [that] helps protect your iPhone,”

Apple sets iOS 8 release date

During today’s event, Apple announced the official release date for iOS 8, the next generation of the company’s mobile operating system. Originally unveiled at WWDC in June, iOS 8 adds several significant enhancements such as new Health and Home Automation frameworks, an iCloud-based Photo Library, Family Sharing, and more.

iOS 8 is compatible with the iPhone 4S and later, fifth-generation iPod, iPad 2 and later models, and all iPad mini models. It will be available for download as a free update via iTunes and OTA update on September 17th.

Apple officially debuts iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

  • September 9, 2014

Calling it the “the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone,” Tim Cook today introduced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which are the same devices previously leaked. They are glass-fronted, with anodized aluminum backs and stainless steel Apple logos. Each has a right side-mounted Sleep/Wake button—the first relocation of the button in any iOS device.

The new iPhone 6 comes in two screen sizes—4.7” and 5.5”—which Apple is calling “Retina HD displays,” “new in every way,” and SRGB color-accurate. They use greater angle-visible IPS liquid crystal displays with improved polarizers and ion-strengthened glass. The screen resolutions are somewhat surprising—1334x750 for the 4.7” version, and 1920x1080 for the 5.5” version, the latter the first time an iPhone has exactly matched HDTV resolution. The 4.7” is 6.9mm thin, and the 5.5” version is 7.1” thin. Both contain NFC wireless hardware for use with Apple Pay, Apple’s new credit card transaction system.

Mayo Clinic to play role in today’s Apple event

Renowned Minnesota-based medical group the Mayo Clinic will reportedly be “at (Apple’s) side” during today’s event, according to the Star Tribune. Mayo will demonstrate how Apple’s iOS 8 Health app can mesh with a major health center system. According to the article, Mayo and Apple “have been working together for about two years.” An August report noted Apple has discussed its HealthKit with other providers, including Mount Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins.

Alleged iPhone 6 benchmarks: 1.4 GHz dual-core A8, 1GB RAM, 8MP camera

Following what appeared to be a leak of a fully operational 4.7” iPhone 6 in China, a Weibo user has posted alleged results from a Geekbench 3 test on the device. The tests show a 1.4 GHz dual-core A8 chip that is “almost 20 percent more powerful” than the previous A7 chip. Reportedly, the device will continue to contain 1GB of RAM, and an 8MP camera that is said to feature an improvement in low-light image quality despite remaining at the same megapixel count as its predecessor. It’s also claimed that there will be a 128GB storage option. [via G4Games]

Apple Events channel returns to Apple TV for today’s live stream

  • September 9, 2014
  • Apple,

Following Apple’s announcement last week that today’s event will be live streamed, the Apple Events channel has returned to the Apple TV, allowing viewers to view the live stream on a television via Apple’s set-top box. The event starts at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, and Apple is expected to reveal its newest iPhones, debut the iWatch, and announce an official release date for iOS 8, amongst other announcements.

Report: Both iPhone 6 models to launch September 19

Both the 4.7” and 5.5” iPhone 6 models will launch on Friday, September 19, according to iGen.fr. While the base model’s date is expected, considering past Apple timelines, it’s been unclear as to what the larger iPhone’s release date might be amidst reports of manufacturing delays. A June report did note both iPhones might be released at the same time, but numerous claims as to production issues have called a simultaneous release into question. It’s still very possible that the 5.5” iPhone — perhaps named the iPhone 6 Plus — could be released in relatively limited quantities on launch day.

New iPhone names: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus?

A new report claims that Apple will name its new iPhones the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The 4.7” model would get the regular iPhone 6 name, while iPhone 6 Plus would be the 5.5” model, according to Macotakara. It’s also noted that the lineup will feature the same colors as the 5s, with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options — whether there’s an 128GB model is unknown. While the report’s accuracy is unclear, we first suggested the possibility of a larger-sized iPhone being named iPhone Plus back in January 2013, as sources indicated that the “Plus” name was the correct moniker for what had previously been mistranslated as “iPhone Math.”

iWatch schematics reveal boxy body?

A Reddit user has posted (via 9to5Mac) alleged schematics of Apple’s iWatch, showing what appears to be a rounded rectangular body and circular bottom sensor opening. The renderings are consistent with Apple designs, although the chassis is nowhere near as futuristic as has been postulated over the last year or so. While there’s no definitive proof that these images represent the iWatch, the detailed schematics are marked with the name and logo of Apple supplier Quanta, and show individual button and audio components for the device. The Reddit poster also claims the iWatch will have a mic, speaker, and Siri. Other claims suggest that the battery will last more than a day, with a waterproof housing safe to about 20m (about 65 feet), and that eight versions will be introduced — two different-sized watches, each in four different colors.

Another recent report from 9to5Mac claims Apple’s upcoming wearable device will run third-party applications. A number of companies have already received Apple’s SDK for wearables, and Facebook is said to be one of these companies. The new device may also have its own App Store.

Latest iPhone 6 roundup: videos, battery, landscape interface details

A number of recent iPhone 6 reports have surfaced in recent days, with little time left before Apple is set to unveil its newest smartphone tomorrow. YouTube user PhoneEvaluation posted a video review of the alleged iPhone 6: in it, a man compares the device to the iPhone 5s, and shows a number of the new phone’s well-documented design features and physical details. More short videos allegedly showing Apple’s latest phone in action have been posted on Miaopai; none is particularly interesting, but most of the virtually identical iOS 8 apps are shown on the device, including a slightly updated Passbook icon with a red credit card stripe to indicate added payment functionality. Bank Innovation has reported that Apple’s mobile payment system in the iPhone 6 and iWatch will use token technology — transactions will feature codes that can only be used once.

Developer Steven Troughton-Smith tweeted (via 9to5Mac) that some 5.5” iPhone 6 apps switch to the iPad layout when the phone is in landscape mode. Separately, another video, posted on Nowhereelse.fr, alleges to show the rumored 2915 mAh battery in the 5.5” iPhone 6. All of the details regarding these devices are expected to be officially discussed tomorrow by Apple.

Video Review: Waterproof Grace Digital Ecostone and iHome iBN6 speakers

Our latest video review takes a look at two new waterproof Bluetooth speakers — Grace Digital’s Ecostone Bluetooth Speaker (reviewed here) and iHome’s iBN6 Waterproof Speaker (reviewed here). We’ll highlight some of the differences between these two similar speakers, which both earned the same iLounge rating. Check out our previous video reviews for Parrot’s Minidrones and Otterbox’s Agility Tablet System, as well.

Renowned industrial designer Marc Newson joining Apple

  • September 5, 2014
  • Apple,

Industrial designer Marc Newson is joining Apple’s design team, Vanity Fair reports. Newson, who collaborated with Apple SVP of Industrial Design Jony Ive for last year’s (RED) Auction, will join Ive’s team at Apple. The report notes that Newson will still be based in the U.K. as an employee, but he will make frequent visits to Apple headquarters in California. “I’m full of admiration and respect for the extraordinary design work that has been produced by Jony and the team at Apple,” Newson said. “My close friendship with Jony has not only given me a unique insight into that process, but the opportunity to work together with him and the people that have been responsible. I am enormously proud to join them.”

“Marc is without question one of the most influential designers of this generation,” Ive said in a statement. “He is extraordinarily talented. We are particularly excited to formalize our collaboration as we enjoy working together so much and have found our partnership so effective.” Newson has been commissioned by a number of large companies for his work. His personal website offers a good look at his many designs over the years.

Report: iWatch battery life could disappoint

The battery life for Apple’s iWatch might be “disappointing,” The Information reports. According to the article, “People who have talked to Apple about the watch said that Apple employees have set low expectations.” It’s unclear just how long the device will last in between charges — a March 2013 report claimed the company was aiming for battery life of four to five days, but it’s tough to envision those numbers in light of this new report. A recent report claimed the iWatch will charge wirelessly. [via Business Insider]

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