- September 22, 2014
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.
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]
- September 22, 2014
- Apple Watch,
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]
- 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.
- September 19, 2014
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.
- September 19, 2014
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.
- September 19, 2014
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.
- September 19, 2014
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.
- September 18, 2014
- Apps + Games,
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.
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.
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.
- September 18, 2014
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.
Apparently Apple found a HealthKit issue on their end and have temporarily removed all HealthKit compatible apps. No ETA on fixes.— Federico Viticci (@viticci) September 17, 2014
Well that’s a relief. Just got a call from Apple, there’s nothing wrong with CARROT Fit. HealthKit is just broken and isn’t ready to launch.— Brian Mueller (@BrianMueller333) September 17, 2014
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.”
- 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 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.
- September 17, 2014
- Apple TV,
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.
The newest profile of Apple CEO Tim Cook, from Bloomberg Businessweek, provides a number of interesting details about Cook’s leadership of the company, including further insight into the development of the Apple Watch. “Anybody coming out of there yesterday knows that innovation is alive and well in Cupertino,” Cook said following the event introducing the new iPhones, Apple Pay, and the Apple Watch. “If there were any doubts, I think that they should be put to bed.”
In the article, Apple SVP Jony Ive reveals the Apple Watch was “conceived in his lab three years ago,” shortly after the death of Steve Jobs. Ive said the watch was “one of the most difficult projects” he’d ever worked on. The watch team included hundreds of employees from different disciplines, and Apple SVP Jeff Williams — described as “Tim Cook’s Tim Cook” in today’s Apple — led the program. “We want to make the best product in the world,” Williams said. “One of our competitors is on their fourth or fifth attempt, but nobody is wearing them.” Cook echoed the sentiment of waiting to get it right. The report notes that Cook “wishes he could make the device more affordable,” but he wouldn’t compromise Apple’s profit margins. He sees the watch as “the beginning of a very long run.”
The article also delves more into the culture of Apple under Cook — somewhat well-worn ground by this point, though it’s noted that some in the company aren’t fond of Cook’s financial discipline and use of larger teams to accomplish what smaller groups did in the past. Apple’s purchase of Beats is also examined quickly, and it’s also revealed that Cook psyched himself up before last week’s event by listening to OneRepublic’s “I Lived” on his iPhone while backstage.
As expected, Apple has released its latest operating system for iOS devices, iOS 8. The update is now available in Settings, General, Software Update. Apple describes it as “the biggest release since the launch of the App Store, with hundreds of new features.” We published our review of iOS 8 on Tuesday. Our iOS 8 Instant Expert feature is already up, as well, filling you in on everything you need to know about iOS 8.
As generally anticipated, Apple has set an October date for the release of new iPad models alongside OS X Yosemite. A new report from The Daly Dot, citing “sources familiar with the matter” indicates that the Apple is planning to hold an event on Tuesday, October 21st, where the company will debut two new iPad models as well as releasing OS X Yosemite. Last year’s event was held on October 22nd, where Apple similarly unveiled new iPad models and the latest version of OS X.
- September 17, 2014
The Wall Street Journal reports that Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturing partner, may be struggling to keep up with the demand for the new iPhone 6 models. The company has reportedly been “churning out 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6” units every day, which is its highest daily output every, but the volume still hasn’t been enough for the number of preorders. Foxconn has apparently had to hire additional workers at its largest production size in Zhengzhou, and is continuing to do so. The site currently employs more than 200,000 workers and is dedicated solely to making new iPhones and related components, operating about 100 production lines around the clock. As in previous years, production is expected to gradually improve over time as manufacturers streamline their processes.
Apple has released a new security document detailing the use of app-specific passwords for third-party apps in iCloud. A feature of two-step verification, the passwords will be required to sign in to iCloud when using third-party apps starting on Oct. 1. The passwords will allow for secure sign-ins, and ensure that third-party apps aren’t collecting or storing your primary Apple ID password. App-specific passwords can be generated and managed from the My Apple ID page. When the primary Apple ID password is changed or reset, all of the app-specific passwords will be revoked automatically, and new app-specific passwords will be required. For more details, see the security document.