Apple retail exec Ahrendts indicates “spring” launch date for Apple Watch

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Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 11:16
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Wearables

The latest word is that the Apple Watch will launch next spring.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts, stated the device’s release timeframe to retail employees in a video message, a transcript of which was provided by a source. While explaining that employees need to conserve energy for upcoming shopping seasons, Ahrendts stated, “we’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring:”

Up until this point, Apple has consistently said that the Apple Watch will ship in “early 2015,” without specifying a day or month. The broad window was announced at the Apple Watch’s unveil in September, is stated on Apple’s website, and was reiterated by Apple executives last month. Sources indicated in September that Apple would struggle to hit a Valentine’s Day release, which now appears to be even more unlikely. Spring begins on March 20th and lasts until June. If Apple considers late March to be “early 2015,” there may have actually been no change in plans. However, Ahrendts clearly states the launch is after the Chinese New Year (February 19th), so it appears the launch will miss Valentine’s Day regardless.

Last year, a report indicated that Apple planned to ship the wearable in fall 2014, but engineering difficulties delayed the launch to 2015. Subsequent reports confirmed that battery issues were partially to blame for Watch delays, and sources tell us that Apple is still working out kinks in the device’s battery system. Tim Cook has noted that Apple intends for the first-generation model to last all day and be charged each night. While Apple has reportedly hit that particular goal, the company is still working to speed up the amount of time it takes the inductive MagSafe charging system to fully juice up the product.

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Rumor: Apple designing larger, thinner “iPad Pro” tablet for education market

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Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 10:23
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

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The new iPads are out.

That doesn’t stop the rumor mill speculating about the next generation of the tablets.

Per AppleInsider and Macotakara, the latest rumblings surrounding the anticipated release of a larger, education-focused iPad next year suggest the device may touch down with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 in its crosshairs, sporting a super-slim form factor, enhanced audio, and a slightly more compact 12.2-inch display.

Macotakara has cited its own sources as saying that iPad maker is specifically designing the device to play into the same markets as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, but adds that the company may choose to employ a slightly more compact 12.2-inch display than the 12.9-inch option that is widely rumored and also used by the Surface Pro 3.

The overall design of the iPad Pro itself is said to largely resemble a jumbo iPad 2 with two additional speakers (and an additional microphone) located at the top of the device, which “might” make the iPad Pro “capable of supporting stereo audio.” It reportedly won’t be as thin as the 6.1mm iPad Air 2, but will still be as slim as an iPhone, measuring somewhere between the iPhone 6′s 6.9mm and the iPhone 6 Pro’s 7.1mm at its thickest point.

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Circuit court ruling states that police can require fingerprint, not pass code, for cell phone entry

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Date: Friday, October 31st, 2014, 13:24
Category: iPhone, Legal, News

This could open up a whole new can of worms.

According to HamptonRoads.com, a Virginia Beach, Virginia, Circuit Court judge has ruled that a criminal defendant can be compelled to give up his fingerprint, but not his pass code, to allow police to open and search his cell phone.

The question of whether a phone’s pass code is constitutionally protected surfaced in the case of David Baust, an Emergency Medical Services captain charged in February with trying to strangle his girlfriend.

Prosecutors had said video equipment in Baust’s bedroom may have recorded the couple’s fight and, if so, the video could be on his cell phone. They wanted a judge to force Baust to unlock his phone, but Baust’s attorney, James Broccoletti, argued pass codes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits forced self-incrimination.

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci’s written opinion.

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Walgreens weighs in on Apple Pay, CurrentC conflict, offers snarky response to competitors CVS and Rite Aid

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Date: Friday, October 31st, 2014, 11:51
Category: Uncategorized

It’s not a huge step in the squabble between Apple and retail chains like CVS and Rite Aid who are opting out of Apple Pay to keep using CurrentC, but it is another chain taking advantage of the conflict.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, CVS competitor Walgreens has chosen its weapon for the battle, and that weapon is snark.

The company is currently promoting the following Tweet on Twitter.
Hey, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users! The choice is yours: Use #ApplePay today at any of our stores!

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Rumor: Seth Rogen to play Steve Wozniak in upcoming Steve Jobs bioic

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Date: Friday, October 31st, 2014, 11:03
Category: Fun, Rumor

You may love or hate Seth Rogen, but it looks like he’ll be playing the Woz.

According to MacRumors and Variety, Seth Rogen will play Steve Wozniak alongside Christian Bale, who has been cast in the role of Steve Jobs in Sony’s upcoming Jobs biopic. Rogen will have the opportunity to get advice directly from Wozniak, who is working as a consultant on the film.

Rogen is a popular actor who has starred in movies like Neighbors, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up and This Is the End. While Rogen often stars in comedic films, he has demonstrated his ability to do more serious work in movies like Take This Waltz and 50/50.

After several months of limbo after writer Aaron Sorkin finished the screenplay, production on Sony’s Steve Jobs movie is picking up. Danny Boyle, who directed Slumdog Millionaire has been announced as the director of the film, and just last week, Sony signed on Christian Bale to play Jobs.

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AT&T admits to testing “unique tracker” on smartphones, offers opt-out option

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Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:55
Category: iPhone, News, security, wireless

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This isn’t the best news.

According to Forbes, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have ceded that they’re tagging their customers with unique codes that are visible to third parties, making smartphone users far easier to track on the Web than they’ve ever been before, targeted advertising being that much easier to create as a result of this. After the findings by researchers, AT&T admitted it’s “testing” a new way of tracking its customers for ad display purposes.

“There’s nothing ready to announce,” said AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel. “We’re still testing.”

But that means, yes, AT&T customers are being tagged by AT&T in a way that’s visible to the websites they visit, but AT&T says it’s building in what it considers to be a privacy-protective measure: the unique code for each user will change every 24 hours. Siegel says this is happening now, but Kenneth White, one of the researchers who discovered the tracking, says that is “categorically untrue,” saying he found three identifying codes being sent by AT&T that were persistent.

“AT&T does not currently have a mobile Relevant Advertising program. We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” read a statement from AT&T. “For instance, we are testing a numeric code that changes every 24 hours on mobile devices to use in programs where we serve ads to the mobile device. This daily rotation on the numeric code would help protect the privacy of our customers. Customers also could opt out of any future AT&T program that might use this numeric code.”

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Apple Pay fans tears down CurrentC’s App Store rating, MCX suggests possible switch to NFC technology

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Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:53
Category: Finance, iOS, News, Software

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The most recent volley in the NFC payment war between Apple Pay and the MCX consortium’s CurrentC mobile payment service has been fired.

And it has a lot to do with app reviews.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of users have expressed their displeasure with the CurrentC app, at the time of writing, the app having accumulated 2,856 1-star reviews against a total of just 30 reviews giving it 2 stars or more …

The movement to boycott merchants who are members of the MCX consortium also seems to be growing in popularity, gaining a Boycott MCX website with a full list of members. When you click on the name of a consortium member (CVS Pharmacy in the example shown below), a list of competing stores who accept or plan to accept Apple Pay is displayed.

Having been criticized for its clunky use of QR codes, MCX said yesterday that CurrentC may “pivot to NFC over time.” The company had earlier said that it was “entirely possible” that it would do a U-turn on its current exclusivity requirement and allow merchants to accept both CurrentC and Apple Pay at some point in the future, though no certainty or timeframe was offered.

MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson also expanded on yesterday’s less than convincing assurances about data security, saying that the recent hack “does not impact the rollout of CurrentC at all” – that the company expected attacks and will “deal with them.”

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Hours after citing capable security, CurrentC announces unauthorized access of users’ email accounts

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 16:35
Category: Finance, iOS, News, security, Uncategorized

currentc

Hubris, anyone?

Just hours after publishing a blog post answering some questions about its upcoming CurrentC mobile payments system and touting the security of its cloud-based storage of sensitive information, the company behind the effort, Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) has alerted users of unauthorized access to their email addresses.

Per MacRumors, the company released the following statement:

Thank you for your interest in CurrentC. You are receiving this message because you are either a participant in our pilot program or requested information about CurrentC. Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of you. Based on investigations conducted by MCX security personnel, only these e-mail addresses were involved and no other information.

Details on the unauthorized access have not been disclosed, but reporter Nick Arnott of iMore took some time earlier this week took a look at some of the personal information being collected by MCX and CurrentC and noted that he could ping CurrentC’s systems to look for valid registered email addresses on the system. While he did not find valid addresses, the system appeared capable of returning a substantial amount of personal information about such accounts.

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IHS iSuppli completes iPad Air 2 teardown, estimates slightly higher manufacturing and component costs

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 15:21
Category: Finance, Hardware, iPad

As is customary, the new iPad Air has been torn down to get an approximate fix on his much its component pieces retailed for.

The answer for the iPad Air 2 is about US$275.

Per MacRumors and Re/code, research firm IHS iSuppli has torn down the new iPad Air 2 in an attempt to estimate Apple’s component costs for the device. According to IHS iSuppli’s estimates, the 16 GB iPad Air 2 costs Apple roughly US$275 to build, just one dollar more than last year’s iPad Air.

The report unsurprisingly points out that Apple benefits from stronger profit margins as users move to higher capacity models, with Apple paying only about US$50 more for 128 GB of storage compared to the base 16 GB configuration while charging users US$200 for the upgrade. Still, Apple’s move to eliminate the 32 GB option and slide the 64 GB and 128 GB models down US$100 has slightly eroded Apple’s profit margins at the top end.

The latest report from the research firm IHS, shows that the base model of the iPad Air 2, the 16-GB Wi-Fi version, which sells for a price of US$499, costs $275 to build, exactly one dollar higher than the previous base model. The top-end model, the 128-GB LTE version costs which sells for US$829, costs US$358 to manufacture.

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Microsoft releases updated Office 365 APIs, iOS SDKs to development community

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 11:48
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Not that the competition between Apple and Microsoft will ever truly go away, but this could herald in slightly better relations between the two companies, especially given how long it took Microsoft Office to come to iOS.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Microsoft has released a new series of tools for developers looking to improve integration between their apps and the company’s Office 365 service. For iOS users and developers, the main point of interest will be the new 365 APIs for mail, files, calendar, and contacts. There is currently more than 400 petabytes of data stored via Office 365, and these news tools will allow developers to access that information from their own apps.

These API’s will provide better options for connecting apps to users who need to use Office 365. Microsoft hopes to see travel reservation apps that connect to your 365 calendar and sales automation apps that integrate with your mail and files to save and send receipts.

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