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October 20, 2014

iOS 8.1 Out Now With Apple Pay

iOS 8.1Heads up, iOS users. Apple just released the latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 8.1, which includes support for Apple Pay.

The new mobile wallet feature lets you pay for items using your phone at certain retailers, but it only works on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Those who spring for a new iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3, both of which arrive on Friday, will be able to use the in-app version of Apple Pay, but no tapping your huge iPad to a mobile payment terminal at your local drugstore.

At Apple's iPad event last week CEO Tim Cook said a number of additional retailers have signed on to support Apple Pay since the company unveiled it in September, and 500 more banks will add support later this year and into 2015.

Launch partners include McDonald's (use Apple Pay in the drive-thru), Whole Foods, Panera, Sephora, and Disney theme parks. You can also, of course, use it at Apple Stores.

Meanwhile, iOS 8.1 also includes some new features, improvements, and fixes for Photos and Messages. In the Photos app, you'll see a new iCloud Photo Library as a beta service. The app will also now send you an alert when you're running low on space before capturing Time Lapse videos.



October 16, 2014

Apple Reveals iMac With ‘Retina 5K Display’

27-inch Retina iMacIn addition to updating its iPad lineup, Apple today also revealed a 27-inch iMac with Retina display and a new Mac mini.

The new iMac has what Apple calls a "Retina 5K display" because its 5,120-by-2,880 display has four times more pixels than the standard 27-inch iMac and 67 percent more pixels than a 4K display.

The device is available for purchase on Apple's website today, starting at $2,499 with a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 chip, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, 8GB (two 4GB) of memory, a 1TB Fusion Drive, and an AMD Radeon R9 M290X with 2GB of video memory. It will ship within 1-3 days, while a pick-up option is expected soon.

Those who want a little something extra can opt for a 4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz for an extra $250. For $200 more, you can get 16GB of memory, while $600 extra will get you 32GB of memory.

There are also options for a 3TB Fusion Drive ($150), as well as 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of Flash storage, and AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5 graphics.

"Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said in a statement. "With a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive, and Thunderbolt 2, it's the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever."

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October 16, 2014

Apple Reveals Ultra-Slim iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3

New iPadsApple today revealed the iPad Air 2, which it said is the thinnest tablet on the market, and the iPad mini 3.

The new iPads will come in silver, gray, and a new gold color. Pricing begins at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version of the iPad Air 2 and $399 for the iPad mini 3. Like the new iPhones, Apple is doing away with the 32GB version, so you can get a 64GB for $100 more and a 128GB version for $200 more.

Pre-orders begin Oct. 17 and they will start shipping by the end of next week. Apple will continue selling the iPad mini with Retina display (now iPad mini 2) and iPad Air, both of which will get a $100 price cut. The original iPad mini, meanwhile, will sell for $249, down from $299.

Among the updates on Apple's new iPads is Touch ID, the fingerprint scanner currently available on newer iPhones like iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

The updated tablets will also support the Apple Pay mobile payment system, though only within apps, not in stores. Apple Pay is set to roll out on Monday, Oct. 20 with iOS 8.1, which will come pre-loaded on the new iPads.

The iPad Air 2 is just 6.1mm thick and weighs less than a pound. "Can you even see it?" Tim Cook quipped as he turned the iPad Air 2 to the side.



October 16, 2014

Apple Mac OS X Yosemite Hits Mac App Store Today

OS X Yosemite

Apple's next-gen operating system, Mac OS X Yosemite, arrives today as a free download.

Mac owners will be able to download it and the new iWork via the Mac App Store.

The new OS arrives shortly before iOS 8.1's Monday launch, which will include Apple Pay, Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple, said during an event at Apple's headquarters.

Apple first revealed Yosemite at this year's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), at which time developers were given early access. A beta version arrived in July.

At WWDC, Federighi joked that Apple execs took a road trip to hunt for the best follow-up name to Mavericks. After passing on Mac OS X Oxnard, OS X Rancho Cucamonga, and OS X Weed, they landed on Yosemite.

The major theme of Yosemite is Continuity, which provides for a deeper link between Mac and iOS when users are signed into iCloud.

As part of this Continuity concept, AirDrop will now work between iOS and Mac rather than just iOS devices.



October 10, 2014

Report: Apple Supplier GT Might Ditch Sapphire Business

Apple Watch

Following Monday's bankruptcy filing, GT Advanced Technologies is reportedly ramping down production of its scratch-resistant sapphire material.

The company, which has about $85 million in cash, is hoping for debtor-in-possession financing, which would allow it to stay afloat and pay its employees.

Lawyers representing the company reportedly asked a court to seal crucial bankruptcy documents—a move that will keep investors in the dark, which Reuters called "highly unusual."

"GT has a strong and fundamentally sound underlying business," CEO Tom Gutierrez said in a statement on Monday. "[This] filing does not mean we are going out of business; rather, it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet."



October 8, 2014

Apple Sends Invites for Oct. 16 iPad Event

iPad Invite

Get excited for some iPad news, Apple fans.

The Cupertino tech giant on Wednesday afternoon sent invites to an Oct. 16 media event, where it's widely expected to unveil its next-generation iPad lineup.

"It's been way too long," the invite says, perhaps a reference to the fact that Cupertino only just held a media event on Sept. 9 for its new iPhones.

The invite provides no other details. It will be held on Apple's campus, instead of the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, where Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It's also expected to be a more low-key event than the iPhone unveiling (no U2 concerts this time).

The date itself isn't a surprise; it was first tipped last week by The Wall Street Journal and Re/Code, both of which have reliable track records with Apple event rumors.



October 7, 2014

Samsung Stumbles Amidst Pressure From Apple, iPhone 6

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung is prepping for its first annual earnings drop since 2011, based on a third-quarter profit marking the company's lowest in more than three years.

One of the world's top smartphone sellers, Samsung on Tuesday announced that operating profit likely fell 59.7 percent in the third quarter to 4.1 trillion won ($3.8 billion). Though less of a blow, quarterly sales are also expected to have dropped 20 percent, landing around 47 trillion won ($43.7 billion) for the quarter ending Sept. 30.

The numbers were released ahead of the company's full earnings report later this month.

When Samsung stumbled last quarter—dropping net profits by 20 percent and revenues by 8.9 percent—the company blamed increased competition and an overestimation of the demand for its smartphones.



October 2, 2014

Rumor: iOS 8.1 With Apple Pay Launching Oct. 20

Apple Pay Apple has had some bad luck with its iOS 8 updates so far, but here's hoping iOS 8.1 - rumored to be arriving on Oct. 20 - fares a bit better.

Banking blog Bank Innovation reported the rumored iOS 8.1 launch date on Wednesday, and said the update will activate Apple Pay.

Apple announced Apple Pay at its Sept. 9 iPhone event, and said at the time that it would formally arrive in October as part of an iOS update. Only the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will support Apple Pay for now, but it will work on the Apple Watch when that device launches next year.

The news comes several days after Apple launched iOS 8.1 Beta 1. Developer Hamza Sood later posted a screenshot from the beta that showed off how to enter credit or debit card info, billing and shipping addresses, and personal contact details in Apple Pay. The image also detailed Apple Pay's privacy policy, which says that information may be provided to your card issuer for use in fraud detection.

The iOS 8.1 beta also appears to support Touch ID on the iPad, though as Hamza explained, "Apple Pay on iPad with Touch ID is just for purchasing things through apps. Not NFC or anything like that."



October 1, 2014

Report: Next iPad Will Come in Gold

Rumored Gold iPhoneIf the silver and space gray iPads are a little too boring for your taste, you might soon have a new color option to choose from — gold.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, citing unnamed people familiar with the plans, Apple is planning to add a gold color option for its next-gen 9.7-inch iPad, expected to be unveiled later this month.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company is reportedly adding the gold model in an effort to "boost a category that's posted declining shipments this year," Bloomberg noted. Apple sold 13.3 million iPads during the most recent quarter, down from 16.3 million in the previous quarter and 26 million over the holiday quarter.



September 29, 2014

Apple Pulls iOS 8 Launcher App From App Store

One of the big changes in iOS 8 is the addition of widgets in Notification Center. Apple has resisted the call to add more glanceable information to its platform for years, but it has finally acquiesced. Cupertino isn't letting developers go completely wild, though. The most recent app to be drummed out of the App Store shows us where Apple is drawing the line with this feature.

Before it was booted from the App Store on Friday, Launcher allowed users to create links to their favorite apps and actions in a small notification widget. It's the sort of capability Android has offered for years. People were excited for good reason—Notification Center is easily accessible almost everywhere on the device, so these links were just a tap away. Launcher had hundreds of thousands of users.

Apple told the developer upon removal of the app that using an app to link to other apps in Notification Center was a "misuse of widgets." He attempted to submit a fix that bounced users to the Launcher app first before continuing on to the selected app, but Apple rejected that as well.