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Apple, Paypal Talks Over Apple Pay Soured Due to Samsung Deal

Apple and PayPal were in talks that would potentially have seen PayPal becoming a "preferred payment process" for Apple Pay, reports Bank Innovation, but those talks ended abruptly after PayPal inked a deal with Samsung to allow users to make PayPal payments with the Galaxy S5's fingerprint sensor.

Apple was reportedly so annoyed with the partnership between the two companies that it ended talks with PayPal and even went so far as to exclude PayPal from Apple Pay all together, not listing it as an acceptable payment platform in its developer documentation.

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But while these talks were going on, PayPal went ahead and partnered with Samsung on the Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner, a move that was reportedly forced onto PayPal by eBay CEO John Donahoe. PayPal's now-former president David Marcus was purportedly categorically against the Samsung deal, knowing that it would jeopardize PayPal's relationship with Apple. Donahoe won the day, however.
Apple and PayPal appear to be in somewhat of a dispute following the introduction of Apple Pay and PayPal's exclusion, with the latter company recently launching an ad campaign that subtly attacks Apple and Apple Pay.

In the advertisement, PayPal alluded to the recent hacking of celebrity iCloud accounts and suggested PayPal was the safer platform for transferring money. Without a deal between the two companies, PayPal is facing significant competition from Apple Pay.

In addition to allowing users to make purchases in retail stores with their phones, Apple Pay also lets users buy items in support apps using a debit or credit card connected with an iTunes account. PayPal works in a very similar way, letting users attach a credit or debit card and then make purchases through the service, alleviating the need to enter credit card details.

Apple has plans to launch Apple Pay in the coming weeks, through an update to iOS 8.

Related roundup: Apple Pay

Pebble Drops Prices on Its Watches, Pokes Fun at Jony Ive

Pebble is dealing with the threat of Apple's upcoming Apple Watch by making jokes about the enthusiasm Apple employees have shown for the device. On its website, Pebble has a graphic of a gleeful Pebble, which says "Chill." Above that, are the words "Breathe, Jony. It's just a watch."

Further down, Pebble advertises the seven day battery life of its smart watches. "Why measure battery life in days? 'Cuz we can." This is a reference to the poor battery life seen in other smart watches, including Samsung's Galaxy Gear and the Moto 360, both of which last less than a day before requiring a charge.

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Though Apple has not announced battery life of the Apple Watch, rumors have suggested that it will last for about a day, requiring nightly charging. It is likely, however, that the company is continuing to make tweaks to improve battery as much as it can, which is why no specific information on battery has been released.

Pebble also touts its customizability and its relatively low cost while poking a bit of fun at some of Apple's Apple Watch statements. "Overpriced trophy watch wasn't on our to-do list," reads the site. "Pebble is made by real people, for real people keeping it real," it says, wrapping up with the following statement: "Just to recap, we made a watch. We didn't solve global warming."

In addition to highlighting the capabilities of the product with sly references to the Apple Watch, Pebble has also announced plans to cut the prices of both the Pebble and the Pebble Steel. The standard Pebble watch now retails for $99, while the more recently introduced Pebble Steel retails for $199. Both options are quite a bit more affordable than the Apple Watch, which is said to start at a price of $349.

Pebble has also introduced new health and fitness capabilities for Pebble devices. Following an update, Pebble users are now able to track activity non-stop and monitor their sleep habits. Additionally, Pebble watches will be available in more retail locations, including Sam's Club, Fry's Electronics, and more.

Some Owners of Older iOS Devices Receiving Up to $300 in Liquid Damage Indicator Settlement

Back in April 2013, it was announced that Apple had agreed to a $53 million settlement in a class action lawsuit involving iPhone and iPod touch units that may have been improperly denied warranty coverage due to liquid damage indicators having been triggered in the devices.

The settlement, which covers iPhones denied warranty coverage on or before December 31, 2009 and iPod touches denied coverage on or before June 30, 2010, stems from Apple's use of triggered liquid damage indicators as sufficient reason for denying warranty coverage. Given the timeframe for the issue, the settlement is limited to iPhone 3GS and earlier and third-generation iPod touch and earlier models.

With the indicators' manufacturer, 3M, acknowledging the indicators could be at least partially triggered by humidity and not necessarily direct liquid contact, some owners pursued a case against Apple for improperly denying warranty coverage. Apple did later adjust its procedures to require additional visual inspection for liquid damage on devices where the indicators had been triggered, but for those who had already paid out of pocket to replace their devices, the case continued.

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As outlined on the settlement home page, administrators finally began sending out settlement checks to eligible claimants last week, and a number of MacRumors readers have reported receiving their checks over the past few days.

Owners of several different iPhone models have reported receiving checks for $251.55, with some reporting amounts as high as $300 while others have received smaller amounts for affected iPod touch units. Users receiving checks have until January 21 to cash or deposit them.

Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Golden Master Candidate to Developers [Update: Also Public Beta]

Apple today released a candidate golden master version of OS X Yosemite to developers, just over two weeks after releasing the eighth Developer Preview alongside the third public beta of the upcoming Mac operating system.

The latest update for developers, which arrives as Build 14A379a, can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and through Apple's Mac Dev Center. Apple has also released Xcode 6.1 GM seed and a new version of OS X Server 4.0 developer preview.

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OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, more modern look to OS X, with an emphasis on translucency and redesigned dock, windows, and more. It also includes a multitude of new features, such as improved integration with iOS 8 through Continuity, a new "Today" view in Notification Center that offers integration with third-party apps, a retooled Spotlight search with new data sources, and several new features for apps like Mail, Safari, and Messages.

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Over the course of the beta testing period, each Developer Preview has added new features and refined the look and performance of OS X Yosemite, although changes have become less obvious in more recent builds as Apple begins finalizing Yosemite ahead of its public release, which is expected in late October.

The current build may or may not be a final version of OS X Yosemite, depending on the outcome of final testing. As an example, Apple last year seeded its planned golden master build to developers on October 3, although it did release a second golden master version a few weeks later just ahead of the public release on October 22.

Update 11:07 AM: Apple has also released the fourth public beta of OS X Yosemite, which carries a slightly different build number of 14A379b compared to the golden master candidate build distributed to developers.

Update 11:54 AM: Both the developer and public beta releases include the fix for the "Shellshock" bash security flaw. Apple released fixes for OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion yesterday.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Mass Production of Apple Watch Reportedly Slated for January 2015

applewatch2Apple is reportedly finalizing the details on its upcoming Apple Watch as it prepares to begin mass production of the device ahead of its launch early next year. Mass production of the smartwatch device may begin January 2015, reports Taiwanese news source AppleDaily (via G For Games).

According to the news report, Apple is working only with long-time manufacturing partner Quanta to produce the device. This contradicts an earlier report suggesting Quanta would be handling the bulk of the production with Inventec supplementing the supply.
Quanta has allegedly received Apple’s heads-up and has begun making preparations (which involve increasing its worker head count to 4 million). Even more, it is said that Apple and Quanta have entered a deal which prohibits the Taiwanese company from manufacturing/assembling smartwatches for Apple’s rival OEMs.
Inventec was among several assembly companies said to be vying for Apple Watch orders months ago, but Quanta may have won an exclusive arrangement due to the complexity associated with manufacturing the device.

Apple says its Watch is unlike any device it has ever made, with cutting edge sensor and haptic feedback technologies. Given the advanced features of the device, it's not surprising Apple has selected to work with only one manufacturer as it streamlines the production process, as others may have been unable to meet Apple's standards.

Relatively reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had previously reported that Apple was planning a November production ramp for the Apple Watch, so a shift to January could indicate Apple believes it needs a bit more time to finalize the product's design.

Apple is expected to begin selling the Watch starting in early 2015, with one insider saying Apple would be "lucky" to launch it in time for Valentine's Day on February 14. A production ramp beginning in January would indeed make it difficult for Apple to have significant quantities available in time for Valentine's Day purchases. The smartwatch will retail at a starting price of $349 for the base model, with several collections including 18-karat gold luxury options available at higher prices.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Velvetwire Unveils First Smart USB Charger Powered by Apple HomeKit Technology

Smart energy company Velvetwire today announced Powerslayer Blu, the latest addition to its Powerslayer lineup of USB chargers. This new model offers Bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity and is compatible with Apple's HomeKit technology rolling out with iOS 8. Apple's vision for HomeKit is to make it easy for developers to allow users to control and interact with accessories around the home, leveraging BLE for energy-efficient communications.

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"We are proud to be among the first group of companies to produce HomeKit-compatible devices," said Eric Bodnar, co-founder and CEO at Velvetwire. "By integrating Bluetooth technology into the Powerslayer, we're offering customers a new way to interact with their devices and be part of Apple's HomeKit. Velvetwire is committed to developing intelligent, energy-efficient devices that allow users to live more consciously without sacrificing convenience. We look forward to sharing Powerslayer Blu and future generations of our power-saving devices with the world."
The Powerslayer Blu improves upon earlier Powerslayer models with HomeKit integration and iOS app support that gathers information from the charger using Bluetooth LE. Users can receive notifications about the charging status of their devices and view energy level information via Velvetwire's iOS app. The device also includes the option to switch between a fast, high-power charging profile and an energy conservation mode that maximizes battery life.

The Powerslayer Blu will be available before the end of the year and will retail for $89. While the price tag is likely to be a hurdle for many potential customers, Powerslayer Blu serves as a good example of the potential of HomeKit to use iOS as a hub for bringing together devices from around the home.

Samsung Supplying Apple with Panels for iPad Air 2 and 12.9-Inch 'iPad Pro' Later This Year

Samsung will supply Apple with displays for the second-generation iPad Air and the 12.9-inch 'iPad Pro' starting later this year, reports Korean-news outlet inews24 (via Digitimes). The Korean company will begin manufacturing the displays in the coming months, as the panels are said to feature IPS technology similar to Apple's current line of iPads.

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Physical mockup of the second-generation iPad Air

If the report is legitimate, it is likely that Apple will have a steady supply of panels for its first batch of iPad Air 2 units, which may launch in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Some reports have also claimed that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could be released in early 2015, which may lead to Samsung becoming the top supplier of displays for the new tablet if other suppliers are unable to meet Apple's demands.

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Rendering of a 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air

Apple has been attempting to reduce its reliance on Samsung as a component supplier due to tensions between the two companies as they have become top competitors in the mobile device market. However, Samsung's technological advantages and production capacity as a display supplier have proven valuable to Apple over the years, as the Korean company even became Apple's top iPad display supplier in Q1 2014.

The iPad Air 2 is rumored to feature a slightly thinner body, a faster A8 processor, 2GB of RAM, support for Apple Pay, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Meanwhile, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is said to include a more powerful A8X processor to power its larger, high-resolution display.

Related roundup: iPad Air

European Union Accuses Ireland of Giving Apple Illegal State Aid with Tax Deals

euflag.png The European Commission today announced the results of its formal investigation into Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland, accusing the company of receiving illegal state aid from the country, reports The Wall Street Journal.

In its findings, the regulatory body stated that deals between Apple and Ireland struck in 1991 and 2007 helped Irish authorities "confer a selective advantage upon Apple" that resulted in a lowering of its tax liability. The Commission also added that Apple's increase in sales for its business in Ireland appear to be inconsistent when related to comparable operating costs that would come with growth. Furthermore, the Commission notes that there was a reported increase in "sales income" by 415%, but states that most of the profit-generating work was done elsewhere.
Accordingly, the Commission's of the opinion that through those rulings the Irish authorities confer an advantage on Apple. That advantage is obtained every year and on-going, when the annual tax liability is agreed upon by the tax authorities in view of that ruling.
Apple's tax policies have been questioned on numerous occasions throughout the past few years, as the company is said to utilize multiple subsidiary companies located in the Irish city of Cork to move money around without significant tax penalties. This in due in part to an exemption in the region's law, which allows companies that are managed abroad but located in Ireland to be exempt from taxes. CEO Tim Cook defended the company's tax practices in 2013, calling for a tax reform and simplified corporate tax policies along with lower rates for repatriation.

Apple and the Irish government will now have one month to respond to the findings published in the Commission's reports, as the case will likely take up to 18 months to reach a conclusion. In addition to its findings regarding Apple and Ireland, the European Commission also announced that it is investigating state aid cases involving coffee company Starbucks and car maker Fiat and their arrangements with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, respectively.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple Watch Makes First Public Appearance at Parisian Fashion Boutique Colette

As indicated by an announcement yesterday, Apple has teamed up with Parisian fashion boutique Colette to show off the Apple Watch at the retailer's gallery on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris for today only. The special event marks the first public appearance for the Apple Watch since being announced last month at a media event, as a long line began forming around Colette's before the event started at 11 AM local time.

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According to Engadget, Colette is displaying both the 38mm and 42mm versions of the Apple Watch to the public, and MacGeneration (Google Translate) states that the models being displayed are mostly from the Apple Watch Sport Collection while some are from the Apple Watch Collection. Also on display are some watches from the Apple Watch Edition Collection, which feature 18-karat gold casings and a sapphire display.

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Image taken by Elle magazine editor-in-chief Robbie Myers

Customers are only being allowed to look at the devices and will not have the opportunity to actually try out the smartwatch's capabilities. However, some journalists were allowed to try on the devices. Apple will also not be announcing any new details about the device at today's event, as info about full pricing and battery life remain unknown.

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Left to right: Colette's Sarah Andelman with Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, Jony Ive, and Marc Newson (via Vogue's Suzy Menkes)

A number of members from Apple's industrial design team are also present at the event, including Apple's Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive and newly hired Apple designer Marc Newson. Both Ive and Newson were also pictured with a number of high-profile fashion personalities, including notable designer Karl Lagerfeld and Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Other fashion journalists present also include Jean-Seb Stehli of Madame Figaro and Elle magazine editor-in-chief Robbie Myers.

In addition to positioning the Apple Watch as a consumer electronics product, Apple has also been pushing the wearable device as a fashionable accessory. The company invited top fashion editors and bloggers to its September 9 media event, and even allowed some to go hands-on with the smartwatch. Fashion publications including InStyle and Vogue were impressed with the Apple Watch, praising its design and the Digital Crown input method. However, others like The Doneger Group's Roseanne Morrison were unimpressed with the device, calling it "not pretty" and "future techno as opposed to feminine sexy."

At its event earlier this month, Apple said it is targeting an early 2015 launch for its wearable device. A report after the event stated that Apple would be "lucky" to launch the watch by Valentine's Day due to software development issues. The Apple Watch will start at $349 and may run up to $1,200 for the high-end Edition version.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Apple to Launch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China on Friday, October 17

Apple has announced that it will be begin selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus beginning Friday, October 17. The devices will be available through Apple's online store and retail locations in China and will also be sold at China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom stores. Customers in China will be able to pre-order the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus beginning Friday, October 10.

Pricing for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will start at 5,288 RMB ($860) for the 16GB model, 6,088 RMB ($990) for the 64GB model, and 6,888 RMB ($1120) for the 128GB model. The 16 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus models will sell for 6,088 RMB ($990), 6,888 RMB ($1120), and 7,788 RMB ($1267), respectively. All iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models will be available in gold, silver, and space gray variants.

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“We are thrilled to bring iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers in China on all three carriers at launch,” said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. “With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers will have access to high-speed mobile networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom for an incredible experience.”
Earlier today, it was revealed that Apple had received the final license needed to start iPhone 6 sales in China. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launched in the first wave of countries on September 19, and was made available to more countries last Friday, September 26. Apple revealed on September 22 that it had sold ten million units of both phones in its opening weekend, breaking the previous record of nine million units set by the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c last year.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

iOS 8.1 Carries Hidden Settings for Apple Pay, References Touch ID Support for iPad

The first beta of iOS 8.1 seeded earlier today has not yet revealed a significant number of changes visible to regular users, but developer Hamza Sood has managed to uncover several interesting hidden settings and strings from the new version.

First, Sood shares a screenshot of a hidden Settings pane for Apple Pay inside. The pane will allow users to manage their entered credit and debit cards linked to Apple Pay, as well as define their default card, billing and shipping address, email, and phone.

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The Settings screen for Apple Pay also links to a privacy disclosure outlining how the user's card and device information and location may be sent back to Apple and perhaps passed on to the card issuer to determine eligibility and detect possible fraud.

Apple Pay will allow users to easily authenticate payments to their preferred credit and debit cards, using NFC for point-of-sale transactions with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and Apple Watch while also allowing for Touch ID-based authentication of purchase transactions in apps supporting Apple Pay. Apple has announced that Apple Pay will be launching in October, and iOS 8.1 is likely to be the update carrying that support, but the company has not yet flipped the switch to broadly enable it in this first developer seed.

While Apple has so far only announced that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and Apple Watch will be compatible with Apple Pay, Sood has also turned up evidence suggesting next-generation iPad models will include Touch ID support and Apple Pay. The evidence comes in the form of a code string addressing support for the services:
Pay with iPad using Touch ID. With Apple Pay, you no longer need to type card numbers and shipping information.
It is unclear whether the upcoming iPads will include NFC technology for point-of-sale transactions or if Apple Pay support on the iPad will be limited to app-based transactions, but Apple's upcoming iPad have been widely rumored to see the addition of Touch ID.

Related roundups: iPad Air, iPad mini, iOS 8, iOS 8 Features

Apple Watch Being Displayed at Colette Boutique in Paris [Updated]

Ahead of an event planned for tomorrow in conjunction with Apple, Parisian fashion boutique Colette appears to be preparing to show off the Apple Watch at its boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. Various photos on Twitter and Instagram show the location displaying the Apple Watch prominently, with different variants of the device being placed in colored ovals.

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(Image credit: papasoey via Instagram)

While it is not known as to what exactly will be shown off at Colette's event tomorrow, hints from the invitation flyer suggest that the Apple Watch will be the highlight. Colette has also been known to be very selective of what makes it into their flagship location, and it is likely that a collaboration with Apple is part of an initiative by the Cupertino company to push its wearable device as a fashionable item.

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(Image credit: @JeromeRoussin via Twitter)

Apple announced earlier this month at its media event that it would start shipping the device in early 2015. A report after the event suggested Apple would be "lucky" to launch the watch by Valentine's Day due to issues with software development. The device will be available in three collections, including a high-end Edition collection which boasts an 18-karat gold enclosure and sapphire crystal display.

Update 9:13 PM: Colette's website has announced that the boutique is inviting people to preview the Apple Watch in a special one-day event.

Related roundup: Apple Watch