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Pandora CFO Calls Apple a 'Frenemy,' Says Music S...

Today, 12:30 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
pandora_newlogo.pngWhen Apple's CarPlay feature launched last year, Apple partnered with several music services to offer a variety of listening choices on the platform, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Rdio, and more.

Noticeably absent from CarPlay was Pandora, but that appears to be set to change. Pandora CFO Mike Herring spoke to Fox Business Network yesterday and said Pandora will "definitely be in CarPlay" and integrated into the Apple Watch as well.

Though Herring did not provide a timeline for the possible launch of a Pandora CarPlay app, his statement to Fox is the closest Pandora's come to revealing its plans for the platform. Last year, Pandora told MacRumors that Apple was a valued partner and though it did not have a CarPlay offering at the current time, it was exploring opportunities to expand its presence in the car in the future.

Speaking to Fox, Herring also spilled some details on Pandora's relationship with Apple, which hints at why there may have been a delay getting Pandora on CarPlay. According to Herring, the two companies have a "frenemy kind of relationship," possibly due to the similarities between Pandora and Apple's iTunes Radio.
Pandora, which owes part of its success to the popularity of its iPhone app, has a "frenemy kind of relationship going on" with Apple, according to Herring. "We were part of what made it fun to have an iPhone," Herring added. While the two companies are "close partners," it is a "very interesting relationship."
At the current time, there are still only a handful of CarPlay apps available, like Spotify, Beats Music, CBS Radio News, Umano, MLB.com At Bat, Overcast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and Rdio. If Pandora comes to CarPlay, it'll be the fourth non-Apple owned music app available.

CarPlay is still largely limited to aftermarket in-dash systems from companies like Alpine and Pioneer, as many automobile manufacturers are still working on integrating CarPlay into their vehicles. Of Apple's CarPlay partners, Audi, Volkswagen, and Hyundai have promised CarPlay-compatible cars will be available for purchase in 2015.mf.gif


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Gamify your commute: Waze drops Easter eggs all over the...

Yesterday, 09:32 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Crowd-sourced navigation app Waze has got a neat little idea for this coming Easter: little eggs you can drive over while using the app for points (three per egg!) and bragging rights. So, as you drive down the street, headedmf.gif


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NASA’s new Mars technology has a familiar look: the flyin...

Yesterday, 09:19 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Flying saucers from Mars is the stuff of science fiction. But a flying saucer from Earth is part of the mission to get astronauts to the Martian surface. NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory completed a successful spin test ofmf.gif


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Verizon Wireless Lets Customers Opt Out of Tracking '...

Yesterday, 08:48 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Last year, Verizon and AT&T made headlines when researchers discovered they had been engaging in some unsavory customer tracking techniques, using unique identifier numbers or "perma-cookies" to track the websites that customers visited on their cellular devices to deliver targeted advertisements, a practice called "Relevant Advertising."

Following customer backlash, AT&T stopped using the hidden web tracking codes to keep tabs on the websites that its customers visited, but Verizon continued on with its Relevant Advertising program, which it's been using for approximately two years. While there was an option to opt out of Verizon's program, opting out did not stop the intrusive code from being inserted into the URLs of Verizon customers, leaving a security hole that could let advertisers exploit Verizon customers.

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As of today, The New York Times reports that Verizon has given its customers a true opt out option that does not insert the identifying tracking codes (or UIDH) into the URLs of customers who opt not to be tracked, as it promised to do in January.
In a statement, Debra Lewis, a Verizon spokeswoman, said privacy is a "central consideration" for the company when it develops new products and services.

"As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus," Ms. Lewis said. "As a reminder, we never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs.
Verizon customers can opt out of the Relevant Advertising program by logging into their My Verizon accounts and selecting "Manage Privacy Settings" from the "Manage My Account" section of their user profile. AT&T and Verizon customers are able to check whether their devices are sending identifying codes by visiting a website created by Kenneth White, one of the security researchers who originally discovered the tracking methods. Verizon's tracking programs are automatic opt-in, so many users may need to navigate to the aforementioned page to turn off the tracking.mf.gif


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Grovemade Review: Hands-On With the Leather & Maple i...

Yesterday, 08:18 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Portland-based company Grovemade is known for its range of attractive wood accessories designed for the iPad and the iPhone, which it has been producing for several years now. Grovemade recently invited MacRumors to go hands-on with two of its newest products for the iPhone 6 Plus, and we jumped at the chance because Grovemade products have been popular with our readers in the past.

We checked out the Maple and Leather iPhone Case and the matching Maple iPhone Dock. Read on to see what we thought.

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Maple & Leather iPhone Case
All of Grovemade's products are crafted by hand and the company's attention to detail is evident in both the dock and the Maple & Leather iPhone Case. The base of the iPhone case is made of maple (there's also an option for a darker walnut) that's been carved to fit the iPhone 6 Plus.

Design
The phone fits tightly into the maple shell, which has a cutouts for the camera, the mute switch, the headphone port, the speakers, and the Lightning port. There are darker wooden buttons for the volume and the power, which are lined with foam on the inside to activate the volume and power on the iPhone.

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At the points where different wood pieces have been joined to create the case, there's darker wood burned accents, which is aesthetically pleasing, and there's also some wood burning around each of the ports, for a darker look. A piece of leather wraps around the backside of the shell and covers the front of the phone, and the leather front cover is attached to another thin piece of maple that protects the iPhone's display.

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On the maple attached to the cover, there are three pieces of metal, which adhere to three magnets built into the wooden shell. Inside the case, there are two additional magnets that pop away to allow the leather cover pull back to serve as a stand for the iPhone when in landscape mode. There are three separate stand positions that give slightly different viewing angles, and because of the cover, the phone also stands up by itself in portrait mode.

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All of the wood used in the case has been polished smooth, and the leather, which is available in a reddish brown for the maple case and a black for the walnut case, matches well with the wood. As with any leather case, it will become worn in over time for a more natural look. One minor aesthetic detail should be noted -- there's a visible line in the leather on the back of the case because of the inner cutout for the stand.

Functionality
Because the iPhone is fully enclosed in Grovemade's Maple & Leather iPhone Case, both the display and the rear of the phone are protected from scratches, dings, and damage. This isn't a case that's meant to stand up to a lot of wear and tear like something from Otterbox, but it seems reasonably protective.

A few drop tests from a moderate height of four feet onto concrete and wood damaged neither the case nor the phone. Since this case is made of wood, it's important to keep in mind that it's breakable. If it was dropped at the wrong angle or from a high enough point, it's possible the wood could splinter or crack (Grovemade offers a Case Replacement Program for this reason). You'll also need to treat the leather exterior with a reasonable amount of caution, as you would any product made of leather.

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We saw no damage to the case after approximately a month of daily use, but the cover did become a bit more worn in and relaxed as would be expected with leather.

Portability wise, this is not a thin case. It is bulky and adds a lot of extra thickness to the iPhone, negating the super thin design of Apple's newest devices. On an iPhone 6 Plus, it's probably not going to fit comfortably in the pocket of a pair of pants, and it might even be a tight fit in a jacket. The case is light, though, so there's not much extra weight to deal with.

With the thick wood of the case, there's some restriction to the headphones and charging accessories that can be used. The standard Apple Lightning cable works for charging, and the Apple EarPods work, but other headphones may not fit. The hole is decently sized, though, and it does work with Apple's Beats branded headphones.

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Maple iPhone Dock
Like the leather and wood iPhone cases, Grovemade's iPhone dock comes in two woods: walnut and maple. The walnut is a darker wood and the maple is a lighter wood, and both stands match the Grovemade iPhone cases. The matching look is nice, but unfortunately, the stand and the Leather iPhone Case are not designed to work together. The thick wood underneath the case means it doesn't fit securely in the dock.

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Though the Maple iPhone Dock doesn't work with Grovemade's own Leather iPhone Case, the website says that it works with most other cases. We found this to be true after testing a variety of cases in different thicknesses, including cases from Apple.

The stand consists of three pieces: a steel base, a maple cover, and a plastic insert to hold a Lightning cable in place. It does not ship with a Lightning cable -- you will need to supply your own.

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Weighing in at three pounds, the steel base of the dock feels solid and it's not going anywhere on a desk or table. Because of the weight, there's no shifting of the dock when you plug in or remove your iPhone, so it can be done one-handed. Underneath the base, there's a slot for the iPhone cable, and an opening where you pull the cable through.

The cable is secured by a key-shaped black plastic cable holder that is the least impressive part of this dock setup. There are actually two of these cable holders included in the package, which is good, because we broke one of them a week into testing after trying to readjust the cable. The idea is to draw the cable up through the dock and secure it with the cable holder, placing the maple cover over the base so just the Lightning adapter is visible.

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Getting the Lightning cable into the dock is a difficult task because the fit is so tight, and the purely visual instructions are a bit lacking. The whole cable holder is an inelegant solution because each time the phone is placed on the dock, it pushes the Lightning cable down further and eventually you will need to readjust because the phone no longer fits.

With the maple cover on (held in place by a built-in magnet), the cable holder and the top part of the steel base are successfully concealed. Fully assembled, the dock's design is clean and it fits into many different decors thanks to its neutral colors. Grovemade even makes a whole range of desk accessories to match the dock and the iPhone case, in maple and walnut. There's a keyboard stand, a monitor stand, a mouse pad, a pen cup, a paper clip holder, and two plant holders.

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Who Are They For?
These are attractive, high-quality accessories, designed for those who appreciate the careful work that goes into making them and those who don't mind paying for that work. All of Grovemade's products are made by hand, and if you're someone who enjoys well-crafted handmade accessories, the Maple & Leather iPhone Case and the Maple iPhone Dock won't disappoint.

If you're looking for an iPhone case that's compact and doesn't add a lot of bulk, the Maple & Leather iPhone case isn't for you, but if you don't mind sacrificing form for function, the case does offer a lot of protection because it covers both the back and the display. Its wood and leather look is also undeniably attractive, even to those who don't necessarily appreciate that design aesthetic.

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As for the dock, it's like any other iPhone dock, so what you're buying here is the design. It's just a piece of wood and steel that holds your iPhone in place on your desk or nightstand, but it looks pretty good doing it. Don't buy the dock if you want it to work with Grovemade's leather iPhone case -- they're not compatible.

While we think the Maple & Leather iPhone offers a build quality and a feature set that makes it worth the price tag, we were less convinced with the dock. It looks nice, but it's a lot to pay for something that's sole claim to fame is its look.

Pros:

  • Handmade by a small company

  • Made of high-quality wood and leather

  • Excellent craftsmanship

  • Case offers complete iPhone protection


Cons:

  • Dock and case don't work together

  • Expensive

  • Case is bulky

  • Dock is difficult to set up, Lightning cable shifts


How to Buy
The Maple and Leather iPhone Case can be purchased from the Grovemade website for $129. The Maple iPhone Dock can also be purchased from the website for $99.mf.gif


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Apple patent puts a twist on facial recognition unlocking

Yesterday, 08:11 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple is looking to up its selfie game in a new patent awarded to the company by the United States Patent and Trademark Offices today. The new patent would allow iPhone and iPad users to unlock their devices by simplymf.gif


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Apple Watch Buyer's Guide: Which One Is Right for You...

Yesterday, 07:21 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
After announcing the Apple Watch in September of 2014, launch time has finally arrived. Apple in March announced that pre-orders for the Apple Watch will begin on April 10, with an official launch taking place on April 24.

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Apple product lines for its iOS devices and Macs are relatively simple, consisting of a few models from which to choose. Picking an Apple Watch is a little more complicated, with the different models, a couple of watch sizes, and multiple band options. The prices start at $349 and go all the way up to $17,000 -- a very wide range.

This guide walks you through the considerations you need to make when buying an Apple Watch. If you're not sure which one to buy, this guide will lead you in the right direction.

Model differences
The first step in buying an Apple Watch is to pick one of the three available models. Each model's case is made of a different metal, but the actual hardware and software used inside the case is the same.

Apple Watch Sport: This is the watch for athletes and active users, combining strength with a light weight. It's also the cheapest available option.

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The case is made of anodized aluminum that's available in silver or space gray, and Apple says it created a new alloy of 7000 series aluminum that's 60 percent stronger that standard alloys. Apple doesn't specify the exact alloy number, but 7000 series aluminum tends to be among the strongest aluminum alloys; some are almost as tough as steel.

Apple uses Ion-X glass to protect the display on the Sport collection. Ion-X isn't as hard as the sapphire crystal used in other watch models, but it is lighter, and Apple says it is especially resistant to scratches and impact.

Apple Watch: This is the watch Apple is positioning as the everyday solution, as seen by the collection sharing its name with the larger product line. It's not as light as the Apple Watch Sport, but it's stronger overall. There's a wide variety of bands from which to choose -- we'll get into that in a bit.

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It has a stainless steel case that's available in a polished silver form or in space black. Apple says it uses 316L stainless steel, a type of steel that has good corrosion resistance, and Apple says it cold-forges the steel to make it 80 percent harder than usual. The steel case is heavier than the Sport's aluminum case, but total weight will vary based on the band you pick. Some bands, like the fluoroelastomer band for the Apple Watch Sport, are heavier than other bands, like the leather Modern Buckle.

Apple uses sapphire crystal to protect the display. Sapphire, which is heavier than the Ion-X glass used in the Sport collection, has a Mohs hardness rating of 9 -- diamonds are the only substance that's harder.

Apple Watch Edition: This is the one for serious watch aficionados who have no problem plunking down thousands of dollars -- it's not just a smart watch, it's also a status symbol. The case is made of 18-karat gold that Apple claims is harder than standard gold, and it's available in yellow or rose gold. This watch also uses sapphire crystal to cover the display.

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Apple says the gold watch is available in limited quantities and in a limited number of high-end luxury stores. It's possible you may not be able to check out the Apple Watch Edition in a regular Apple Store, as it is not yet clear which retail Apple Stores will be carrying them. If you want to see one of Apple's $10,000 watches in person, you may need to visit one of the luxury pop-up shops or perhaps a flagship Apple retail store.

Bands
This might be the most important decision you make about the Apple Watch. Apple offers a set of band options for each model, and in some instances, the type of band you choose will affect the price. If you're worried about how each band fits on your wrist, Apple has a handy Apple Watch Sizing Guide. Listed below are the bands that you pick at the time of purchase.

Apple Watch Sport: Apple offers only fluoroelastomer (a soft but durable rubber) bands with this model. You do get to pick from five different colors: black, blue, green, pink, and white. And Apple gives you two bands in separate sizes (small/medium and medium/large), so the watch is guaranteed to fit all wrists.

Apple Watch: The selection of bands is wider for this model. There are six bands to choose from: Link Bracelet, Milanese Loop, Modern Buckle, Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, and a Sport Band like the one that comes with the Apple Watch Sport. These vary wildly in price, with the Modern Buckle and Link Bracelet carrying the highest price tags at $249 and $449, respectively.

Apple Watch Edition: Apple's approach to this watch limits the choices and sizes from which you can choose. The 38mm and 42mm models are available with a black or white Sports Band. Two 38mm models come with either a Rose Gray or Bright Red leather Modern Buckle band. And two 42mm models comes with either a Midnight Blue or black leather Classic Buckle band. You can, of course, purchase additional bands to go with your Apple Watch Edition, but many of the bands won't match well due a custom-colored Digital Crown.

Since watches are as much a fashion accessory as a practical tool, Apple sells its watch bands separately. Below is a price guide to the bands sans watch.

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If you buy an Apple Watch Sport and you want to buy an additional band, you might want to see how a band looks with the watch first. The Sport has an aluminum case, so will you be okay with the way it looks with a stainless steel Milanese Loop, or the stainless steel buckle of the Classic Loop? It may be a trivial nit-picky thing for some, but for others it's a detail that matters. (The same can be said of the gold Apple Watch Edition. There's no gold Milanese Loop or Link Bracelet, nor are there leather bands with gold buckles available after market.)

There are a few other things to keep in mind when choosing a band. Some of the bands are quite light (Modern Buckle and Classic Buckle) while others are very heavy. The 42mm Link Bracelet weighs 75 grams, which is a good bit heavier than the Classic Buckle, which weighs only 16 grams. Some of the bands are also going to be more resistant to water than others. You won't want to get one of the leather bands wet, but the Sport Bands will handle moisture with no problem. The Watch itself has a water resistance rating of IPX7 -- you can wash your hands with it on or exercise while wearing it, but you won't want to go swimming without taking it off.

You can see a full chart that lists all of the different Apple Watch combinations, sizes, and weights by clicking here.

Sizes
Apple offers two different sizes for each watch: 38mm and 42mm. That's measured vertically, not horizontally. You can see the actual sizes of the Apple Watch using the Apple Store iOS app.

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The two sizes also have different screen resolutions. Both are Retina displays, but the 38mm watch has a 340-by-272 pixel screen, while the 42mm watch is 390-by-312. The Apple Watch's software interface isn't affected by the screen size -- a bigger screen simply means bigger on-screen elements.

The size you pick comes down to your personal preference -- though keep in mind that the Modern Buckle Apple Watch comes only in 38mm, and the Leather Loop Apple Watch is only available in 42mm. The Apple Store iOS app has a section where you can see actual-sized pictures of the Apple Watch. You can display the 38mm or the 42mm watch face on your iPhone screen and get an idea of how big it is on your wrist.

Prices
Combine the model, size and band, and you can calculate a price.

Apple Watch Sport: Since it comes only with a Sport Band, the pricing for this model is easy. It's $349 for 38mm, and $399 for 42mm.

Apple Watch: Since there are more band options, there are more prices for this model. Here are the prices for the Apple Watch models.

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Apple Watch Edition: Here are the prices for the eight Edition models.

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Accessories
Each watch is bundled with a magnetic charging cable. If you want to buy an extra one, it's $29 for a 1 meter cable, and $39 for a 2 meter cable.

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The charging cables are the only accessories currently listed in the Apple Store. You can be sure that third parties are jumping on the Apple Watch bandwagon with bands, stands, battery replacements, and a lot more.

Get ready to order
At the Apple Watch event, the company said that the first wave of watches will be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States. Circle April 10 on your calendar: That's when Apple will start accepting pre-orders and when you'll be able to try on a watch at the Apple Store.

The watch will then start shipping on April 24. On this date, the Apple Watch will be available at Apple retail locations, select department stores, and boutiques worldwide.

Which Apple Watch should you buy?
There's an excellent variety of Apple Watch models, and since they all have the same functions, it really comes down to your personal taste and your budget. The Apple Watch Sport is ideal for athletes due to its sweat proof fluoroelastomer band, and it's also the ideal choice for those who want to get an Apple Watch at the lowest cost. It's the watch with the most colorful bands.

The Apple Watch is the watch you can wear everyday, appropriate for both work and casual outings. It can also handle the rigors of the active user or athlete, though it's heavier than the Sport when not paired with a leather band. The Apple Watch Edition is the watch for those with deep pockets who are looking for a luxury option.

Whichever watch you choose, keep one thing in mind -- this is a first generation device. We don't know its product cycle and thus we don't know when an upgrade is coming. Apple could choose to release an all new version of the device next year, and thus far, there's no indication that existing watches are upgradeable.

Before you shell out $10,000 or even $1,000 on an Apple Watch, make sure you're comfortable knowing that this isn't a product that has the same long life as other watches. There are going to be technological advances and they're going to be major, so make this purchase knowing that you'll need to upgrade at some point.

For in-depth details on the features of the Apple Watch, how it works, the materials its made of, and more, visit MacRumors Apple Watch: Everything We Know.mf.gif


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Apple is officially ready to accept your Watch app

Yesterday, 07:13 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple today announced that all members of its Developer Program can now officially submit Watch apps to the App Store; potentially triggering a gold rush similar to that seen when devs were first able to create iPhone apps early onmf.gif


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HBO CEO: We Partnered With Apple for HBO NOW Based on HBO...

Yesterday, 07:04 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple and HBO recently inked a deal that will see Apple becoming the exclusive launch partner for HBO's upcoming "HBO Now" web-based streaming service, and in an interview with CNBC, HBO CEO Richard Plepler explained why the company chose to partner Apple.

According to Plepler, the main reason why HBO opted to team up with Apple was due to the success of its existing cable-based service, HBO GO. 60 percent of HBO GO traffic comes from Apple devices, including the Apple TV, Macs, and the iPhone and the iPad. HBO GO apps have been available on iOS devices since 2011 and the service has been available on the Apple TV since 2013. Plepler also pointed towards the popularity of Apple devices as a deciding factor.

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Well, listen. They're obviously an extraordinary company with a wide range of devices, and those devices are proliferating throughout the consumer base. But also, as we look at HBO GO, which is our streaming service tethered to distributors, we saw about 60 percent usage on Apple devices so it made perfect sense for us to work with Apple introducing HBO Now.
HBO Now differs from HBO GO because it does not require a cable subscription for access. Instead, all of HBO's content, including TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more, is available to customers for $14.99 per month. Launching in time for the Game of Thrones premiere in April, HBO NOW will be exclusively available on the Apple TV and Apple devices for the first three months of its life.

Once that three month period has expired, HBO will bring the service to other platforms as well. Plepler expects HBO NOW will be popular with millennials, calling it a "millennial missile," and he doesn't believe the price, which is higher than other services like Netflix, will turn customers away. "We think we have a premium product," he said. "We have extraordinary content ... and it's the price of a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn."

In addition to partnering with HBO for HBO Now, Apple is also in the middle of negotiations for its own streaming television service, which would provide a select number of cable channels to customers via the web, with no cable subscription necessary. Apple is said to be planning to price the service at $30 to $40 per month for approximately 25 channels, and is partnering with ABC, CBS, Viacom, Fox, Discovery, Disney, and more.

Apple may be planning to launch its new service in June, at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, possibly alongside a revamped set-top box.mf.gif


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Apple Begins Accepting Apple Watch App Submissions From A...

Yesterday, 06:34 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple announced on Tuesday that all registered developers can now submit Apple Watch app submissions based on WatchKit for approval on the App Store. A number of popular apps have already been updated with Apple Watch support on the App Store over the past week, and the approval process is now extended to all members of Apple's Developer Program.

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Apple has updated its WatchKit website with details on how developers can optimize the design and development of their Apple Watch apps, including the app's name, description, icon, screenshots, keywords, version number and build number. Apple Watch apps, excluding the ones that have already appeared on the App Store, should be steadily approved leading up to and following the launch of the wrist-worn device.

A select number of testers and reviewers will be able to access the apps prior to April 24, unless developers set the release date for their apps to "manual" and update on that date. Apple Watch apps that have started appearing on the App Store include Evernote, Sky Guide, Dark Sky, Target, NYTimes, Procreate Pocket, Yahoo Tourney Pick'em, ECB Cricket, The Wall Street Journal, MLB.com at Bat and Expedia.mf.gif


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