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Apple logo takes shape ahead of ‘Spring Forward’ event

Today, 07:24 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
We’re five days away from finding out all the juicy details of the Apple Watch, but preparations are already underway at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Apple’s crew began working on the event decorations thismf.gif


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‘Spring forward’ banners start going up at Yerba Buena ah...

Today, 06:56 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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The banners for the Spring Forward Apple event have started going up at Yerba Buena, in preparation for March 9th. As is usual, the display mirrors the logo and patterns seen on the event invite sent last week. Apple has already been setting up an outdoor structure behind the venue, which will likely become the demo area for press when the event is over.

More pics below (we’ll update as the workers fill in the banner)  …

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Apple logo going up at Yerba Buena for Watch event. This time with pic. http://t.co/kaNeH2W99V
Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) March 04, 2015

Apple will use the event on Monday to showcase more details about the Apple Watch, hopefully shining light on pricing and availability for the US and internationally. Right now, we know that the Apple Watch starts from $349 (assumed to be the Sport model which has an aluminium body). Expect Apple to show off a wide range of apps for the Watch, as it has been keeping developers on lockdown in the run up to the event.

There is also the chance that Apple will feature some other announcements alongside the Watch, such as refreshed Macs, although it is still unclear whether Apple wants to share the stage with other products — potentially splitting attention from the Watch.

Apple will be live streaming the presentation, so you can follow along on line. 9to5Mac will also be bringing full coverage of the all announcements, from 10 AM.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices, Tech Industry Tagged: Apple event, Spring forward 367728 367728 367728 367728 367728 367728 367728 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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MacBook Air Refresh With Broadwell Processors and Intel H...

Today, 06:55 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple's MacBook Air hasn't been updated since last April, which means the company's line of ultraportable notebooks is due for a refresh. New screenshots from the forums of Chinese site Feng.com suggest an update is imminent, depicting the specifications of a MacBook Air with one of Intel's Broadwell processors. According to the user who posted the screenshots, they're from a 2015 MacBook Air that was produced by Foxconn.

The screenshots show the system information for a low-end 13-inch MacBook Air (MacBookAir7,2) with an Intel Core 1.6GHz i5-5250U processor and Intel HD Graphics 6000, which is what we would expect to see. The machine ships with 4GB of RAM and continues to use a display with a resolution of 1440 x 900. The battery appears to be very similar to the battery in the existing 13-inch MacBook Air.

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The notebook is running a custom version of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 with a build number of 14C2043, another marker we would expect to find in a new machine. The serial number provided is not registered with Apple and comes up as invalid, but that may be due to its unreleased status. There is no information within the screenshots that indicates the information has been faked, but there's also no concrete detail that earmarks them as real, either, aside from the fact that they closely align with what we would expect to see in the next MacBook Air refresh.

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A chart suggests that the 13-inch MacBook will come in three iterations. The first two will use the 1.6GHz Core-i5 processor and will ship with either 128 or 256GB of storage. The higher-end model will use the Intel Core i7-5650U 2.2GHz chip and will ship with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of flash storage. There will be a variety of upgrade options as well.

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There is no information available on the 11-inch MacBook Air, but it will use the same Broadwell chips and will offer many of the same upgrade options.

As for when the MacBook Air refresh will come, that's unknown. It appears the machines are ready to go, so it's very possible that Apple will announce the refresh during its upcoming March 9 event. Rumors initially suggested the MacBook Air might be quietly updated on February 24, but that date came and went, leaving a potential refresh date up in the air.

Apple's March 9 event is said to be focused on the Apple Watch, but it's possible the company will use the time to unveil other products as well. Rumors have suggested the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air may also make an appearance at the event, and there's a possibility Apple could unveil all three machines at the same time.

As with the MacBook Pro, it's likely the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air will initially be sold alongside existing MacBook Air machines due to differences in price. Over time, the Retina MacBook Air may replace the existing MacBook Air, just as the Retina MacBook Pro replaced the standard MacBook Pro.mf.gif


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Apple Still Tweaking iTunes Music Store Algorithms, Resto...

Today, 06:45 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Following several months of experimentation with how it curates the music portion of its iTunes Store, Apple has rolled back some of those changes to restore an emphasis on editorial rather than sales-based criteria, according to Billboard.

The news comes after a few independent record labels voiced concern over their artists being lost under the better-performing singers and albums of bigger labels. The company has apparently to not fully eliminate sales-based algorithms for deciding on what content to feature, but have "toned down" that aspect to allow editorial discretion to once again steer the offerings on iTunes' main page.

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After a few weeks of experimenting with that presentation, the iTunes teamed toned down the algorithm and re-asserted the role that editorial discretion has in choosing which music is highlighted in the store. "iTunes will always be driven by editorial discretion," says a source who is familiar with Apple's online store philosophy. "Editorial choice will always be at the heart of what music is featured in the store."
Despite the introduction of the sales-focused algorithm towards the end of 2014 and into the new year, the indie music market still found itself fairly well-represented on the storefront. As Billboard reports, the sector got 40 percent of carousel ads on the main page of iTunes, 50 percent of the "New Music" section, 37 percent of the "Hot Tracks" section, and 20 percent of what Apple calls the "Bricks", the rectangular-shaped ads populating the store.
Indie labels were worried that they would get lost in the shuffle with all the changes happening in the iTunes Store. They were concerned that a sales velocity algorithm playing a strong role in determining what would be featured in its sliders would bolster the advantage of the majors, who tend to have bigger-selling records.
Various other concerns of smaller labels were alleviated, as well, including iTunes' ongoing effort to clean up song duplicates in the storefront, to an extent where some songs were taken down despite being in compliance with the company's rules. But, as one indie executive noted, if a proper case is made to bring back the music, Apple will listen. "iTunes are flexible; they are not an account who says 'its our way or the highway.'"

Perhaps the biggest shift on the back-end of iTunes relates to how pre-order numbers factor into album sales. Previously, pre-order numbers were added to launch day sales, rocketing popular pre-release albums to the top of charts on release. The new configuration wipes pre-order figures away on launch day and starts all albums on level ground, requiring albums to garner successful day one-and-onward launches to hit the top spots.

Apple has been steadily building up iTunes in preparation for the future integration with Beats Music this year. The company has most recently hired BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe to possibly work on its iTunes Radio service and acquired media analytics company Semetric to integrate its Musicmetric tracking service into the iTunes/Beats refresh. Apple has also been seeking expertise in music journalism, perhaps to fill out editorial content appearing alongside listings in the iTunes Store.mf.gif


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'iPhone 6s' Could Have 2GB of RAM and Pre-Install...

Today, 06:40 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
The next-generation iPhone is expected to ship with 2GB of RAM and could also have a pre-installed Apple SIM, according to AppleInsider. The so-called "iPhone 6s," and presumably the "iPhone 6s Plus," would be adopting both features from the iPad Air 2, which also has 2GB of RAM and a pre-installed Apple SIM.

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Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and all previous models dating back to the iPhone 5, have 1GB of RAM and must be used with a SIM card obtained from an individual carrier. Apple SIM, introduced alongside the iPad Air 2, allows you to choose between a variety of carriers without locking into long-term plans. Participating U.S. carriers include AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
"The same source also told AppleInsider that Apple is strongly considering shipping its next-generation handset with the Apple SIM pre-installed. That piece, which also made its debut with the iPad Air 2, allows consumers to sign up for mobile data plans from any participating carrier directly from the Settings app without long-term contracts and to switch providers at any time."
While the report claims that Apple is strongly considering including a pre-installed Apple SIM on the next iPhone, the company's vice president of iPhone, iPod and iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak downplayed the idea last year because of the higher number of iPhone customers that purchase their smartphone directly from a carrier.
"It's about the customer experience," he said during an appearance here at Re/code's Code/Mobile conference. "We ultimately don't know who you are going to use as the carrier, [and] we want to make it as easy as possible."

Joswiak said Apple has not discussed putting the Apple SIM into iPhones, but said that because of the way most customers buy an iPhone--through a carrier directly--the Apple SIM is not as well suited. "I don't think you're going to go to the Verizon store and say, 'Can you hook me up with AT&T?,'" he said.
These rumors are rather predictable given that Apple typically improves the hardware specifications of iPhones and iPads each year, although the addition of a pre-installed Apple SIM on iPhone may still not materialize due to tough opposition from carriers. Verizon, for example, was notably absent as a participating carrier for Apple SIM when the iPad Air 2 was released last year.

Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPhones in September per usual. The "iPhone 6s" was also rumored to have 2GB of RAM and Force Touch in January based on sources within Apple's supply chain. Few other details about the upcoming iPhones are known, aside from a disputed claim that the devices will include a DSLR-like dual-lens camera system.mf.gif


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Meet the delicious future of emoji: ligatures

Today, 06:37 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple is making revolutionary breakthroughs in emoji technology with racially diverse emoji in iOS 8.3. For their next innovative addition, wouldn’t it be great if multiple emoji could be joined together as a single icon? Designers Alexa Grafera and Louie Mantiamf.gif


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These interactive sites let you try out Apple Watch band...

Today, 06:12 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Two new interactive tools let you try out the Apple Watch before it hits Apple Store shelves next month: The first lets you try out various Apple Watch case colors and finishes with the different strap options available. The next lets you play with the Apple Watch apps that have already been announced.

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MixYourWatch.com: We know Apple will have bands sold separately as accessories when Apple Watch launches, but we’ll have to see what style of bands it has for sale. In other words, the gold case with steel milanese loop combo pictured above might not be an option if the band isn’t available separately (not that you’d want that combo anyway). But you can at least dream up your favorite combo now using MixYourWatch and hope Apple delivers with more than just its Sport bands when the device launches. Here are a few not so great combos I made:

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WatchAware.com: App developers have slowly been announcing upcoming Apple Watch apps. A second tool on WatchAware.com collects them all in one place and lets you flip between App, Glance, and Notification views to get a feel for how the apps will work on the Watch.

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Some of the apps you can already check out on the site include Pinterest, American Airlines, MLB at Bat, Run 5K, Twitter, and some of Apple’s own apps like Maps.

We’ll of course be bringing you live coverage of Apple’s March 9 event where the company will likely give us a second look at Apple Watch and maybe show off new features, pricing, and availability ahead of the device’s April launch.


Filed under: Apple Watch 367705 367705 367705 367705 367705 367705 367705 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Numerous will put number tracking on your wrist with upco...

Today, 06:09 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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The Apple Watch is expected to take stage on Monday ahead of its aniticipated debut next month, and with it will come a whole new class of apps based on the iPhone that present information on the wrist. Today we got the first look at what Numerous, my favorite number tracking app for iOS, has planned for the Apple Watch as soon as it starts shipping.

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The shots of Numerous on the Apple Watch are real screenshots of what will be available, not theoretical mockups, and show just what you would want from a number tracking app on your watch: clear data and attractive imagery.

The main view of Numerous on Apple Watch features a grid view similar to the iOS version, but optimized for the small display. Every channel and number from the iOS app can be presented on the Watch version, and you will be able to further customize what you track on your Watch from the iPhone app similar to how the widget currently works.

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For especially quick access, Numerous can present specific numbers as glance alongside information from other apps. This puts important numbers a swipe away anywhere on the Apple Watch. To dive deeper into a number, tap it from the Apple Watch app and you’ll see rich graphs just like on the iOS app.

Numerous on Apple Watch will also feature live countdowns, something very appropriate for a wrist watch. If only we could use it to count down to the Apple ‘Spring forward’ event on Monday … the iOS app will have to do for now.

You can download Numerous for iPhone and iPad now for free on the App Store. The Apple Watch update will be submitted to Apple as soon as WatchKit apps are allowed to be submitted with availability as soon as the Watch goes on sale planned.

There’s no doubt we’ll see even more Apple Watch app demoes on Monday, and Realmac Software is already teasing Clear for Apple Watch, so stay tuned as we get closer to Apple Watch time.


Filed under: Apple Watch, Apps, iOS Tagged: Apple watch, number tracking, Numerous 367696 367696 367696 367696 367696 367696 367696 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Next iPhone rumored to (unsurprisingly) feature 2 GB of R...

Today, 06:07 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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AppleInsider is reporting that it has received information about the next-generation iPhone hardware. It claims that the next iPhone, generally expected to be a ‘6s’ style device (meaning that it will feature internal changes but the external chassis will be the same as the 6), will feature 2 GB of RAM, just like the A8X in the iPad Air 2. It also says that Apple is considering inclusion of an Apple SIM as standard, just like the cellular iPads.

For some context, the iPhone first shipped with 1 GB of RAM in 2012 with the iPhone 5. This means a RAM jump is now about ‘due’, with many expecting an increase last year to help accommodate the increased asset size required by the Retina HD iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Although 9to5Mac cannot directly backup the claims, the advancements feel like an obvious progression for the device given Apple’s inclusion of 2 GB of RAM in the iPad Air 2 as well as the introduction of the Apple SIM last fall. Note also that Apple has doubled RAM every few generations of iPhone, and given that many were expecting an increase last cycle, it is not surprising to see it rumored for the ‘iPhone 6s’, which is likely to feature new and improved internals like other ‘tock’ years.

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When the Apple SIM was introduced, it was obvious that Apple would want to bring it to other products eventually. However, it is likely Apple will face some pushback from the carriers about including the Apple SIM in iPhones as it erodes even more of the carrier’s control. This makes the situation more complicated than a RAM bump, as it involves inter-company negotiations and not just hardware changes. Even on the iPad, Apple SIM is currently only supported by four carriers worldwide. Apple would likely need to get more carriers onboard before considering including the Apple SIM as standard for the iPhone.

Greg Joswiak was asked about the Apple SIM in an interview at Code/Mobile last year. Joswiak said that the Apple SIM was currently iPad only as it more necessary for that device as there are more sales of cellular iPads at Apple Stores than carrier stores. This contrasts to the phone, where the majority of devices are sold through carrier channels rather than Apple directly. Joswiak would (obviously) not comment on future plans for the iPhone and Apple SIM however.

AppleInsider has also commented on the possibility of Force Touch for the next iPhone. Again, this is a logical progression from the Apple Watch to the iPhone. Bloomberg has been predicting Force Touch for the iPhone since 2013 in fact. The report does not detail any specifics about how the technology would be implemented on iOS, which results to little more than educated guesswork. By contrast, Apple Watch OS has been developed with Force Touch in mind to open a context menu-like interface.


Filed under: iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: 2 gb, Air, Apple, apple sim, iPad, iPhone, RAM 367697 367697 367697 367697 367697 367697 367697 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Potty humor adds levity to historic solar-powered flight

Today, 05:51 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Sometime this month, a plane will lift off from an airstrip in the United Arab Emirates and attempt to fly around the world fueled only by rays of the sun. How technology will keep the plane airborne, or how twomf.gif


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