Thai officials revealed on Wednesday that Apple received approval to sell two new iPhone models in the country, and a new report notes that a seemingly displeased Apple has met with those officials about the disclosure. The translated report, from Thai Rath, also makes a point to note that the new devices may or may not be called “iPhone 6,” leaving some doubt into what the names of the new devices will actually be; “iPhone Air” has previously been floated as a possible alternative. Though Apple may be upset, it doesn’t seem the disclosure will likely affect the sale of the new phones in Thailand. The report suggests the phone could launch in Thailand in early October, after first hitting the market in late September. [via MacRumors]
Apple has banned the use of two chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, in final assembly of its iPhones and iPads, the Associated Press reports. The company has drawn criticism in the past for using both potentially hazardous chemicals — workers reported n-hexane-related sicknesses in 2010, and by 2011, workers at an Apple manufacturing partner wrote a letter regarding their concerns and health issues due to n-hexane exposure. Though Apple claims an investigation at 22 factories revealed no evidence that either chemical endangered workers, the company is requiring all factories to test substances for the two chemicals on top of the general ban. “This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives. “We think it’s really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemistries.” Apple also released a new message from Jackson on the company’s decision to ban the two controversial chemicals.
- August 14, 2014
More new photos of the alleged 4.7” iPhone 6 have been released by Feld & Volk. A closeup of the front panel reveals greater detail about the phone’s design, showing curved, tapered edges that should meet the rounded edges of the rear shell. Like the iPhone 5 and 5s, the power button has a metallic finish, which the volume and mute switches will apparently continue to have as well. The mute switch has changed internally, using rocker-style side pins rather than a sliding mechanism. Additional photos show components under the front panel, and a metal SIM card tray. [via MacRumors]
- August 13, 2014
Hewlett Packard and Apple reportedly had talks about a possible enterprise partnership before Apple announced its IBM deal, according to The Information. HP has developed an enterprise mobile search product interestingly nicknamed “Enterprise Siri.” The main gist of the report is that HP has been discussing an enterprise deal with Google’s Android unit, as the partnership would develop Google Now into a voice tool that could search for company information. It’s unclear how serious the discussions were between Apple and HP. [via Business Insider]
- August 13, 2014
Apple has received approval to sell two new iPhone models in Thailand, according to Manager Online. The approval was also confirmed in a tweet by Takorn Tantasith, Thailand’s Secretary General of the National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission.
It’s reported that Apple requested to sell two new models, A1586 and A1524. The request was filed on August 5 and approved on August 8. Considering the early approval, it’s possible that Thailand will be in the first launch wave for the iPhone 6. [via MacRumors]
Apple is honoring Robin Williams on its website and in its iTunes Store following the recent death of the actor and comedian. A new “Remembering Robin Williams” webpage has been posted on Apple’s official website — a rare occurrence. Additionally, the iTunes Store now has its own “Remembering Robin Williams” section. The section gathers many of Williams’ movies in one place, in addition to the first season of his recent TV show, The Crazy Ones, and a few of his comedy albums.
Amazon has introduced its Local Register Secure Card Reader ($10), a mobile credit card reader to rival products from Square and PayPal. The iPhone and iPad-compatible card reader offers a 2.5 percent rate for swiped transactions — lower than Square and PayPal. Additionally, customers who sign up by October 31 will only pay 1.75 percent per swipe until 2016. Though the card reader costs $10, for a limited time, Amazon will credit the first $10 in processing fees for customers who create an Amazon Payments account and sign up to use the reader.
Activision has announced the Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack for iPad ($75). The newest video game in the popular Skylanders series features a special tablet edition that includes a wireless portal and wireless game controller, in addition to game figurines. For those unaware of the Skylanders series, the game uses real-life figurines that can be controlled within gameplay by use of an NFC-enabled portal; the iPad edition will use a Bluetooth LE portal and Bluetooth LE controller. Third-party controllers are said to work as a secondary controller in multiplayer mode. The pack will be released on October 5. [via FamilyGamerTV]
- August 12, 2014
As promised last month by CEO Tim Cook, Apple has released its first diversity report. It’s revealed that Apple employees are 55 percent white, 15 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent black. The remaining 12 percent were made up of people who belong to two or more racial groups, another racial group, or did not declare their race. Those statistics were revealed alongside comparisons with race and ethnicity figures in tech, non-tech industries, and leadership. Apple is also 70 percent male and 30 percent female globally.
The numbers are accompanied by a Tim Cook letter. Cook writes that “inclusion inspires innovation” and that Apple believes other categories factor into diversity — “personal qualities that usually go unmeasured, like sexual orientation, veteran status, and disabilities.” Though Cook does point to Apple’s sponsorship of various rights groups, he also writes, “Let me say up front: As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page. They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them. We are making progress, and we’re committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing our products.”
- August 12, 2014
Apple has been discussing its upcoming HealthKit service with major healthcare providers, including Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins, Reuters reports. The company has also talked about the service with Allscripts, an electronic health records provider. Though the report notes the talks “may not amount to anything concrete,” they illustrate how Apple is planning on making iOS-gathered health data widely available for health providers to view. As noted at this year’s WWDC, Apple is also working with the Mayo Clinic on an app that can notify doctors of abnormal results. However, there is still some skepticism that Apple will be able to deliver on the promise of HealthKit, considering differing hospital IT systems and data protection requirements of HIPAA.
- August 12, 2014
Two new photos of the alleged iPhone 6 rear shell have been posted on Twitter by Sonny Dickson. The photos of a scuffed-up shell show the round True Tone flash, and it appears that the ring around the camera is protruding. Antenna breaks are still somewhat of a mystery — it’s possible that these are unfinished shells, with antenna breaks to be filled later with another material — but it’s also possible that Apple will be using plastic covers for the antennas.
- August 12, 2014
Apple’s suppliers have started manufacturing new iPads, Bloomberg reports. Mass production of an iPad with a 9.7” screen — likely the second-generation iPad Air — has already begun, with a source claiming the display will come with a new anti-reflection coating which makes the screen easier to read. A new iPad mini is also starting production and “will probably be available by the end of the year,” though it’s unclear if the display will come with the same anti-reflective coating. The report offers no further information on other rumored changes to the new iPads, such as the inclusion of Touch ID, A8 processors, or improved cameras.
- August 11, 2014
A number of alleged iPhone 6 parts have been posted to nowhereelse.fr, with perhaps the most interesting part being a circular Apple True Tone flash. The roundness isn’t a true surprise, as multiple leaks and mockups have shown the iPhone 6 using a circular flash, replacing the current pill-shaped True Tone flash in the iPhone 5s. However, two different colors can be seen within the leaked flash module, so it does appear that this will be a new, circular version of the True Tone flash. Other parts in the leak include a metallic, opaque embedded Apple logo, as well as an external camera ring that may indicate a protruding lens.
- August 11, 2014
Apple’s internal training program, the secretive Apple University, is the subject of a new profile in The New York Times. Three Apple employees who took classes in Apple University spoke to the Times about the program, which is run year-round and features a faculty that includes professors from many prominent universities. In 2008, Steve Jobs selected former Yale School of Management dean Joel Podolny to run the program, and he still remains in that position. Employees who enroll in the program can sign up for courses that match their positions — one class specifically concentrated on teaching founders of newly acquired companies “how to smoothly blend resources and talents into Apple.”
As one might expect, simplicity in design seems to be a common theme in classes at Apple University. One class highlighted Pablo Picasso’s The Bull, a series of lithographs that starts with a highly detailed bull, and ends with a very basic figure that still represents a bull. “You go through more iterations until you can simply deliver your message in a very concise way, and that is true to the Apple brand and everything we do,” an employee said. Another course, “What Makes Apple, Apple,” compared the 78-button Google TV remote to the considerably simpler Apple TV remote to show how Apple decided upon “just what was needed.” Other classes revolve around case studies that focus on important Apple business decisions, such as the once internally controversial decision to make the iPod and iTunes compatible with Windows.
- August 8, 2014
A U.S. District Judge in California has rejected the $324.5 million anti-poaching settlement proposed by Apple and three other tech companies, CNBC reports. Judge Lucy Koh said the proposed amount “falls below the range of reasonableness.” Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel — all accused of agreeing not to hire each other’s employees — agreed in May to pay former workers $324.5 million. It remains unclear what the new settlement amount will be. The former employees were initially seeking as much as $9 billion in lost wages.
- August 8, 2014
- Apps + Games,
Rules! ($2) is a new puzzle game from TheCodingMonkeys. A polished puzzler, Rules! looks to establish ground in the competitive and crowded territory of casual puzzle games on iOS.
Grabbing early attention hasn’t seemed to be a problem for Rules!, as it’s catapulted to the top of the puzzle game charts and has hit the top ten for all games. It’s a quick-play puzzler which, at first glance, will remind some gamers of the equally exclamatory Threes!— but it has unique gameplay of its own. Developers TheCodingMonkeys may be best-known for converting board games Carcassonne and Lost Cities into iOS games.
Apple products including iPads and MacBooks have not actually been banned from any Chinese government procurement lists, the country’s chief procurement center has said. This new report, from Reuters, refutes a recent Bloomberg report that claimed 10 Apple products could not be purchased with public money for security reasons. Apparently, the confusion may have stemmed from a list involving energy-saving products, on which Apple could not be found — the report notes that Apple has never been on that list.
- August 7, 2014
Apple has released iTunes 11.3.1, a minor update that fixes a few podcast bugs — one problem caused podcast subscriptions to stop updating with new episodes, and another issue caused iTunes to become unresponsive while browsing podcast episodes. Users can get the update through Software Update in the Mac App Store or at Apple’s iTunes download page.
- August 7, 2014
- Apps + Games,
Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings ($3) — PBS Kids has just released Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings. The app, based on the show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, has a variety of activities for youngsters. Kids can draw, play mini-games, step into the feelings photo booth, or sing along to their favorite songs from the show — all concentrating on different feelings. This is a well done app with lots of content and great voicework; the activities are intuitive, even for younger children. If you’ve got a Daniel Tiger fan in the house, they’ll enjoy Grr-ific Feelings.
NFL Now (free) — The NFL has released its anticipated NFL Now app, also expected soon as an Apple TV channel. Until then, the iOS app allows for AirPlay to an Apple TV. NFL Now claims to offer “hundreds” of new videos daily in a personalized stream. Currently, fantasy football and training camp videos are the focus. Users view the app’s content in portrait mode, and the app automatically switches to landscape mode for video. Only some content is available for free — full highlights and unlimited access to the NFL Films library cost $2 a month for USA, Mexico, and UK users, and $5 a month for the rest of the world.
Apple has added a new Beats by Dr. Dre section to its online store. The new section, which links to Beats headphones, speakers, and accessories, can be found in the accessories section of Apple’s online store. It’s interesting that Apple has gone with the “Beats by Dr. Dre” name, as opposed to “Beats by Dre” or just “Beats.”
The online store includes some lesser-known products, including the all-white Beats by Dr. Dre Studio x Snarkitecture Headphones ($600), which were used in Apple promo images after the acquisition was announced. These special edition Studio headphones come with a “signature pillow” that is “cast from cultured marble.” [via 9to5Mac]