Apple announces AirPods Pro, will be available October 30th, feature noise canceling technology

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Date: Tuesday, October 29th, 2019, 03:29
Category: AirPods, AirPods Pro, Apple, Apple Watch, Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News, Processors, retail, Siri

Apple on Monday announced that its new AirPods Pro earbuds would be available on October 30th, would feature a new shape and silicone ear tips to support active noise cancellation technology, and retail for $249.

Apple says that the AirPods Pro have been engineered for “comfort and fit” and each earbud ships with three different sizes of silicone ear tips that conform to the contours of the individual ear, offering up a comfortable fit and a “superior seal.” 

Upon inserting the AirPods Pro in each ear, Apple’s software will leverage the built-in microphones to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what’s coming from the speaker driver. The company says this task is achieved within seconds, and that its algorithm will be able to tell whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit or should be adjusted for a better seal. 

An “innovative vent system” within the AirPods Pro earbuds is also designed to equalize pressure to minimize discomfort within the ear itself. Apple has also stated that the AirPods Pro are both sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 rating. This implies that the units will hold up to some light splashing and sweating, but submersion should be avoided.  

The AirPods feature an Active Noise Cancellation feature that uses two microphones (one facing outward to detect environmental noise while the other faces inward towards the ear). Apple has also stated that a series of software functions can customize sound signal 200 times per second.

A Transparency mode offers users the option to listen to music while still hearing the environment around them. Transparency mode takes advantage of the vent system in the ‌AirPods‌ to leave just the right amount of noise cancellation

A new force sensor system allows users to play, pause, or skip tracks as well as answer and hang up on phone calls. The mode can also be controlled through the Control Center on iPhone and iPad, or by tapping the AirPlay icon on Apple Watch while music is playing. 

The AirPods Pro feature Apple’s new H1 chip, which incorporates 10 audio cores to power real-time noise cancellation as well as “Hey Siri” commands. The battery life is expected to be about the same as the AirPods 2, which last for up to five hours in standard mode. When Noise Cancellation is active, ‌AirPods Pro‌ offer up to four and a half hours of listening time and three and a half hours of talk time. 

The H1 chip also supports hands-free “Hey ‌Siri‌” commands and it allows for Audio Sharing so two people who have ‌AirPods Pro‌ can watch the same movie or listen to the same song with an iPhone or ‌iPad‌.  

The AirPods Pro include the Wireless Charging Case (which supports Qi-based wireless charging), and can deliver more than 24 hours of listening time and over 18 hours of talk time. A USB-C to Lightning cable is also included in the box for charging purposes. 

Customers can snag the AirPods Pro via the Apple web store, and the Apple Store app. Units will begin arriving to Apple retail locations on Wednesday, October 30th.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via MacRumors

Apple Watch Series 5 now available in South Korea, Thailand, and Brazil

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Date: Monday, October 28th, 2019, 03:35
Category: Apple, Apple Watch, battery, News, retail

If you’re living in South Korea, Thailand, or Brazil, the Apple Watch Series 5 has just arrived.

Apple will begin selling the smartwatch soon at roughly the same price point in the U.S. as well as Korea or Thailand, where the device sells for 539,000 ($458) and 13,400 ($444) respectively.

The device will be significantly more expensive in Brazil, where prices will start around R$3,999 ($996).

The Apple Watch Series 5 features an ultra-low power display driver that works with optimized watch faces to deliver what is in theory an all-day 18-hour battery life. A number of users have commented that the Apple Watch Series 5 battery does run down a little faster than the Apple Watch Series 4’s battery.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via The Mac Observer and AppleInsider

Apple Pay surpasses Starbucks to become the most popular mobile payment platform in the U.S.

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Date: Thursday, October 24th, 2019, 03:38
Category: Apple, Apple Pay, Finance, Google, News, Samsung

Apple Pay has taken the title as the most popular mobile payment platform in the United States.

Per new data from eMarketer, Apple Pay has surpassed Starbucks in the US.

Starbucks adopted mobile payments relatively early on, and incentivized users with rewards and features such as ordering ahead. As such, Apple Pay and other mobile payment platforms have largely been playing catch up with Starbucks until now.

Apple Pay’s user base is expected to reach 30.3 million users in the United States during 2019. Starbucks is expected to have 25.2 million users this year, followed by Google Pay at 12.1 million and Samsung Pay at 10.8 million.

The eMarketer report cites Apple Pay’s wider adoption as a point-of-sales system given its NFC compatibility. The Starbucks app, uses barcodes as opposed to NFC.

Starbucks itself has also adopted Apple Pay support in-store and in-app. For instance, in the Starbucks mobile app, you can use Apple Pay to reload your Starbucks virtual card.

Apple itself has heavily touted Apple Pay growth recently. During Apple’s last earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Pay growth has surpassed PayPal in terms of transaction volume and new user growth. Apple will report its Q4 2019 earnings on October 30.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via 9to5Mac and eMarketer

Apple Card offers Disaster Relief feature, leniency in payments following emergencies

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2019, 03:41
Category: Apple, Apple Card, Finance, News, retail

The Apple Card now includes Disaster Relief as a perk.

A customer who lives in Houston and was impacted by flooding from tropical storm Imelda received the following email:

“We understand that you have been affected by a natural disaster. We’d like to offer our support and assistance through our Disaster Relief Program.”

The program offers the following provisions:

  • No interest for two months, starting with the month the user enrolls. After two months, standard purchase APR applies.
  • Payment due in the enrollmnet month can be skipped
  • Those whose accounts are in good standing remain current while enrolled.
  • Those whose accounts are past due, your account do not go further delinquent while enrolled. However they will remain past due until all due payments are made. Ability to make new purchases may continue to be restricted too.

Definitely not a bad thing, especially if your life has been turned upside down by something.

If you’ve noticed this or similar emails regarding your Apple Card, please let us know in the comments.

Via The Mac Observer and MacRumors

Microsoft Xbox wireless controller now available on Apple Store web site

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Date: Thursday, October 10th, 2019, 03:15
Category: Accessory, Apple, Apple TV, battery, Bluetooth, Fun, Game, Hardware, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Microsoft, News, TvOS

This is unexpected, but it’s still nifty.

Apple recently began selling Microsoft’s Xbox wireless controller on its online store.

The controller retails for $59.95, and arrives with two AA batteries. The unit is supported on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

You’ll need to be running iOS 13, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, or later to use it with your Mac or device.

The controller also offers a built-in 3.5mm stereo headset jack that can be used to connect any available headset.

If you have a chance to snag this and try it out, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

Via The Mac Observer and the Apple Store

Some iPhone 11 Pro preorders slip to October, 256GB and Space Gray models seem to be in the highest demand

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Date: Monday, September 16th, 2019, 03:46
Category: Apple, iPhone, News, retail

There’s the law of supply and demand and the fact that supply isn’t always sufficient to meet demand.

As of Friday, a number of iPhone 11 Pro delivery estimates slipped to October within minutes of the device opening to preorders. The 256GB iPhone Pro Space Gray models has slipped to delivery dates between October 4th and October 11th. Apple’s “midnight green” iPhone 11 Pro 256GB also slipped to early October.

Other models, such as the Gold 256GB model, still showed September 20th. The Black iPhone 11 256GB model was also still showing September 20th delivery. All models checked were AT&T. To its credit, Apple’s website was experiencing none of the draggy performance that have sometimes been seen with prior iPhone launches.

If you’ve seen your iPhone 11 preorder slip, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

Via The Mac Observer

Apple Card units begin arriving at customers’ homes

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Date: Tuesday, August 13th, 2019, 03:22
Category: Apple, Apple Pay, Business, Finance, iOS, News, retail, security

The Apple Card recently rolled out to a limited number of customers via the Wallet app, and some customers are beginning to receive their physical, titanium Apple Card in the mail.

Over at The Verge, Nilay Patel shared photos of his Apple Card. The card was revealed to be thicker than his other metal and plastic credit cards, weighing in around 14.75, making it slightly heavier than the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card but lighter than an American Express Platinum. 

Aaron Andino shared the following unboxing video of his Apple Card, the card and packaging remaining consistent with pre-launch photos that had leaked out into the ether.

The physical Apple Card, made out of titanium, features a clean design with an Apple logo, a chip, and a name. There’s no card number or expiration date on the card, nor is there a CVV on the back. Instead, these details are stored in the Wallet app for added security in the event the card is lost or stolen. 

The back of the card features Goldman Sachs and Mastercard logos as well as a mag stripe. Goldman Sachs serves as the Apple Card’s issuing bank, and Mastercard is handling payment network responsibilities.

Later this month, Apple will allow all U.S. residents age 18 or older to apply for the card. So far, it appears that Goldman Sachs is being quite lenient with approvals, and it’s been reported that some customers with credit scores in the 600s have been approved, albeit with lower credit limits and higher APRs. 

When fully available, iPhone users can apply for the Apple Card in the Wallet app within minutes and take advantage of features such as 1-3 percent in daily cash back, color-coded spending summaries, and no fees. Just ahead of launching, the card’s APR range was lowered to 12.99-23.99 percent.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via MacRumors, The Verge and Twitter

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will absorb additional cost of upcoming tariffs

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Date: Monday, August 5th, 2019, 03:13
Category: AirPods, Apple, Apple Watch, Business, Finance, iPad, iPhone, News, retail, Wearables

Following up on concerns as to additional tariffs, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a new investor note on Sunday predicting how President Trump’s tariffs might affect prices. Kuo stated that he believes “the tariff may not impact the prices of Apple’s hardware products” in the United States.

Last week, Trump announced that the United States would impose a 10 percent tariff on another $300 billion worth of good imported from China. The tariffs would begin on September 1st.

Kuo wrote that Apple has likely made “proper preparations” for such a tariff, and that Apple will “absorb most of the additional costs” in the mid-short term. Kuo predicted that “prices of hardware products and shipment forecasts for the U.S. market will remain unchanged” despite the tariff.

The note stated that Apple’s non-Chinese production locations could likely meet “most of the demand from the U.S. markets” for the next two years. Kuo’s logic behind this is based on a combination of “production automation degree” and Apple’s marketshare within the United States. “If the market share of the U.S. market is lower, and the production automation degree is higher, expanding the non-Chinese production capacity” to meet U.S. demand is made easier, Kuo swroteays.

Here is Kuo’s forecast:

1. iPhone. Expanding non-Chinese production capacity is challenging due to the low degree of production automation. We expect that non-Chinese production locations to meet U.S. market demand in 2020.

2. iPad. It’s not difficult to expand non-Chinese production capacity to meet U.S. demand because of the higher degree of production automation and the smaller U.S. market share.

3. Mac. Though its degree of production automation is higher than the iPhone’s, the Mac’s non-Chinese production locations can’t meet demand from the U.S. market until 2021 because of higher market share of U.S. market .

4. Apple Watch. We expect there will be non-Chinese production locations, starting in 2020.

5. AirPods. We estimate that the change of AirPods’ internal design from SMT to SiP will enhance the level of production automation.

Apple has largely escaped the effects of the trade war’s tariffs, with only some accessories being penalized in the process.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via 9to5Mac

Verizon announces five new “Unlimited” phone plans, four of which offers access to Apple Music

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Date: Monday, August 5th, 2019, 03:11
Category: 5G Wireless, Apple, Apple Music, iPhone, News, retail, wireless

It never hurts to have different plans to choose from.

Verizon on Friday announced five new “unlimited” phone plans, four of which include extended access to Apple Music.

The plans, termed “Start Unlimited,” “Do More Unlimited,” “Play More Unlimited,” “Get More Unlimited,” and “Just Kids.” “Get More” and “Play More” include an Apple Music bundle, provided one of the customers is a Verizon subscriber. The “Start Unlimited” and “Do More Unlimited” bundle include six months of Apple Music access.

The plans are $5/month cheaper than their predecessors, and offer different terms regarding their data caps and video quality. The “Just Kids” is the most restricted, capped at 5 gigabytes of 4G with 480p video. “Start Unlimited” has no data cap, but is still locked to 480p video, and offers no tethering. 

“Do More” once again has 480p video, but a 50-gigabyte cap including 15 gigabytes of tethered use. Play More cuts that cap in half but with support for 720p video — the top tier is Get More, which has 720p and 75 gigabytes of data, 30 tethered.

Users who exceed their data caps will be throttled to speeds of 600 kilobits per second during periods of congestion. On the plus side, 5G access, which is typically included at a fee of an extra $10 per month, features a waived fee, the fee itself paying for truly unlimited data including 4K video streaming.

Verizon’s 5G network is currently only available in a few markets, and no Apple devices support it without a third-party hotspot. Apple’s first 5G-capable iPhones are expected in 2020.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and Verizon Wireless

Apple announces Q3 2019 revenue of $53.8 billion, net quarterly profit of $10 billion

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Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2019, 03:09
Category: Apple, Business, Finance, iPad, iPhone, News, retail, Wearables

Apple announced its Q3 2019 numbers today, citing $53.8 billion in revenue, its services division reaching a new high.

The revenues are up one percent year-on-year from the same quarter in 2018, which saw revenue of $53.3 billion.

“This was our biggest June quarter ever — driven by all-time record revenue from Services, accelerating growth from Wearables, strong performance from iPad and Mac and significant improvement in iPhone trends,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “These results are promising across all our geographic segments, and we’re confident about what’s ahead. The balance of calendar 2019 will be an exciting period, with major launches on all of our platforms, new services and several new products.”

Apple’s revenue derived from iPhone sales for the quarter is $26 billion, down from $29.9 billion for the quarter last year, though due to Apple’s change in reporting to no longer report units shipped. It is unclear if it is from a change in shipment quantities or from an altered average selling price. The iPad earned $5 billion, up from $4.74 billion a year ago, while Mac revenue of $5.8 billion is up from $5.3 billion seen in quarter three 2018. 

The company’s “Wearable, Home, and Accessories” category reported net sales of $5.2 billion, up from $3.7 billion for Q3 2018. Services grew to $11.5 billion in revenue, up from $9.6 billion one year ago.

Apple has forecast revenues between $61 billion and $64 billion, with a gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent. Operating expenses for the period are anticipated to be between $8.7 billion and $8.8 billion.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and MacRumors