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

office365ios

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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MCX responds to Apple Pay blocking controversy with questionable responses to issues at hand

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 11:46
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

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The most recent shot in the NFC payment wars has been fired.

And it kind of made MCX look like a bunch of jerks.

Per 9to5Mac, MCX, the retailer consortium behind the CurrentC mobile payment system, has responded to the controversy over its members being required to block Apple Pay or face fines with some unconvincing ‘assurances.’

The first sign of trouble between MCX and Apple Pay was when CVS disabled NFC functionality from its payment terminals. When Rite Aid joined in, consumers responded by threatening to boycott MCX members.

In a blog post which MCX says is designed to “set the record straight,” as it were, MCX responded to some of the recent concerns levied against it.

Responding to the fines issue, the company offered the following comment:

Importantly, if a merchant decides to stop working with MCX, there are no fines.

Nobody has suggested there are. What has been suggested–and which MCX has not denied–is that members are fined if they accept other forms of mobile payment, like Apple Pay, alongside CurrentC.

The consortium gets off to a marginally better start on privacy, with a statement that consumers “can choose to limit the information they share through our privacy dashboard, which means they will have the ability turn off location based services and opt out of marketing communications in our app.” However, that does nothing to limit the storage of other sensitive information, nor to address claims that merchants will share purchasing data amongst themselves.

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Users levy class action law suit against Apple for mid-2011 MacBook Pro GPU failures

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Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 16:26
Category: Hardware, Legal, MacBook Pro, News

If the GPU on your mid-2011 MacBook Pro failed and you wound up picking up the cost of replacing it, there may be some legal recourse that could help you out.

Per AppleInsider, a long-running issue with owners of Apple’s 2011 series of MacBook Pros has resulted in a class-action lawsuit, seeking compensation for apparent graphics card failures experienced by customers.

The firm of Whitfield, Bryson & Mason LLP announced on Tuesday that it has filed a class-action complaint in a California federal court against Apple. The lawsuit covers residents of both California and Florida who purchased 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks with AMD graphics.

The complaint was filed on behalf of plaintiffs Zachary Book, Donald Cowart, and John Manners. The lawsuit alleges that Apple failed to reimburse owners for out-of-pocket repairs that could cost anywhere from US$350 to US$600.

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DisplayMate tests find plausible, reflectance-based reasons as to why Apple may have opted not to install sapphire coating on iPhone 6 units

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Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 15:15
Category: Uncategorized

sapphire

If you were ever wondering why the iPhone lacked a much-anticipated sapphire coating, the answer comes down to reflectance.

Per Raymond Soneira, DisplayMate has published tests results concerning sapphire’s reflectance on assorted devices, the numbers standing for themselves.

According to the tests, the new iPad Air returned a result of 2.5 percent screen reflectance, the lowest that’s been measured by the citing, making it extremely unlikely that Apple will ever use Sapphire, with its 8.0 percent screen reflectance, on future iPhones.

The much lower 2.5 percent reflectance improves screen readability, image contrast, and color saturation in ambient light by almost 2:1 over the best existing mobile displays, a major innovation and enhancement for mobile displays that are almost always used in significant ambient light. And sapphire reflects 3 times the amount of ambient light.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook cites over one million Apple Pay subscriptions in first 72 hours

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Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 15:48
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News

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Apple may have gotten a pretty quick leg up in the NFC market.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a recent interview today, stated that Apple Pay received more than one million registrations within the first 72 hours.

“The early ramp [of Apple Pay] looks fantastic,” Cook said in an interview with WSJ managing editor Gerry Baker.

Cook referred to recent revelations that Merchant Consumer Exchange retailers like Rite Aid and CVS are now blocking Apple Pay, characterizing the situation as a “skirmish” that will ultimately be decided by consumers “over the long arc of time.”

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The Mac mini’s Intel GPU won’t cut it as a 4K media center

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Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 07:18
Category: 4K, Apple, Hardware, Mac mini, Television, UHD, Yosmite

Yosemite's 4K support is pretty poor - Jason O'Grady

I purchased a Samsung 4K television (a UN65F9000) for our family room and was super-excited to buy a late-2014 Mac mini (Macmini7,1, model A1347) to complete our entertainment center. The problem is that the Mac mini’s anemic GPU can’t drive a 4K display at a fast enough refresh rate to play smooth video, which is a bummer.

I’ve used a Mac mini connected to a 1080p panel in my living room for years, and it’s always worked great. A Mac mini is great in a media center computer, there’s nothing like having a real web browser for watching live streams and video podcasts and VLC media player is the de facto standard for playing every video CODEC known to mankind. (Tons of people also swear by Plex but I haven’t taken the time to set it up.)

I was optimistic that Apple would properly support 4K (UHD, 2160p) after early Yosemite rumors claimed that it would. When connected to my 65-inch Sammy 4K TV, the 2014 Mac mini can only muster a paltry 30 Hertz refresh rate, which is unacceptable for video. It results in choppy, unwatchable playback. The mini’s poor video performance is a result of its underpowered Intel Iris Graphics.

If you’re thinking of connecting a Mac to a 4K panel, beware. The only Macs that will do 4K justice are those that have a discrete graphics card – and you’ll probably need a $3K Mac Pro to do it right.

I connected my MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch to the Samsung F900 panel and it too only supports 30 Hz output, which won’t fly for video playback. The 13-inch rMBP only has Intel Iris 5100 Graphics which isn’t enough to drive a 4K panel at 60 Hz. According to the Apple Discussion Forums:

  • the 15″ rMBP w/NVidia does support 60Hz
  • the 13″ rMBP w/Iris does not support 60 Hz

If you want to drive a 4K monitor at 60Hz from a Mac you’ll need one with a discrete GPU. Boom. Sounds like the best justification I’ve heard to purchase a Mac Pro yet.

What’s your Mac media center setup?

Displaymate performs Display Technology Shoot Out tests on iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, finds both impressive and disappointing results

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 16:58
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

ipaddisplayshootout

The tests have been run, the results have come in and the answer may be a bit of a downer for iPad 3 mini owners.

Over on displaymate.com, Raymond Soneira has just pitted Apple’s recently released iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 displays against each other in almost every category imaginable. The tests and results, which can be found here, run the tablets through criteria such as power efficiency, viewing angles, screen brightness in high ambient lighting, absolute color accuracy, etc.

The tests found that the iPad Air 2′s new anti-reflection coating on its glass cover helps cut ambient light by about 3:1 over most other tablets and smartphones (including the previous iPads), and about 2:1 over all of the very best competing Tablets and Smartphones (including the new iPhone 6). The tests recorded a 62 percent decrease in reflected light glare compared to the previous iPads (Apple claims 56 percent) and agree with Apple’s claim that the iPad Air 2 is “the least reflective display of any tablet in the world”.

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CVS, Rite Aid refusing to accept Apple Pay system, lend support to current CurrentC payment system

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 16:32
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

applepayicon

Call it a trade blockade of sorts, but you might not be able to use Apple Pay to purchase items at CVS or Rite Aid for a while.

Per the New York Times and 9to5Mac, Rite Aid has joined CVS in disabling Apple Pay as a payment method in its stores. Like CVS, Rite Aid is a member of the Merchant Customer eXchange (MCX) consortium promoting a rival mobile payment service, CurrentC.

Consumers are responding by threatening to boycott stores which disable Apple Pay, with more than 2,000 comments across several Reddit threads on the topic. Android users are joining in, as disabling NFC also blocks alternative mobile payment services offered by higher-end Android handsets.

As with CVS, Apple Pay initially worked in Rite Aid stores, indicating that the company has made a deliberate decision to switch off support.

While Apple has declined to comment, MasterCard said that it was the wrong decision.

“We think consumers should have the ability to pay any way they want,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard.

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Rumor: Apple in negotiations to use NFC technologies as entry keycards, transit tickets

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Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 10:14
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

If NFC technology isn’t as widespread as it could be, Apple wants to increase its presence. According to 9to5Mac and The Information, Apple is actively scouting out partnerships to increase the utility of the NFC chip inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Right now, the chip can only be used for payments through Apple Pay as the API is not available to third-party developers.

Sources have stated that the company is talking to potential partners about using the technology for things like building security, public transit tickets and more. The report names that Apple has already been in talks with HID Global and Cubic, who make electronic ‘keycard’ secure building access and transit fare systems.

iphone6nfcchip

The Apple representatives have talked to technology providers like HID Global and Cubic, which enable secure access to buildings and transit fare systems, respectively, said people briefed on the discussions. Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment about any discussions with Apple, but executives there discussed how they could integrate their systems with the iPhone.

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AT&T confirms Apple SIM card lock, says customers will need to buy new SIM card to change carriers

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Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 10:11
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, wireless

attlogo

There may be increased competition and good deals to be had in the wireless markets, but the major carriers will still try to lock you in…

Per Re/code, wireless carrier AT&T has apparently taken advantage in the change to the SIM card found in the new iPad, which apparently allows customers to designate which wireless carrier they’d like to use it with, by essentially locking its customers in to the service, requiring the customer to purchase an entirely new SIM card to change their provider.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed to Re/code that customers who use the Apple SIM on AT&T will need another SIM card to switch carriers, but stressed that the device itself remains unlocked.

“With us you can change carriers with this iPad any time you want,” he said. “It is an unlocked device. … All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier.”

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