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Apple Pay Roundup: Everything We Know, Coming in October

Apple Pay is Apple's new mobile payments service, which it first debuted in September alongside the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch. Apple Pay is expected to become widely available to consumers beginning in October, and ahead of its official release, we've gathered everything that's currently known about the service into a roundup so users can get an idea of what to expect.

With Apple Pay, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners will be able to make payments for goods and services with their iPhones, both in stores and within participating apps, using the NFC chip built into the devices. While Apple Pay will initially be restricted to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners, iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s users will also be able to take advantage of the service if they purchase an Apple Watch after it is released.

Apple has described Apple Pay as the most secure payment solution available, as it uses Device Account Numbers rather than storing credit card numbers and keeps all payment information in a dedicated chip on the iPhone, called the Secure Element.

All payments are verified using Touch ID, which prevents someone who has stolen a device to make unauthorized purchases. Furthermore, if an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus is stolen, its ability to make payments can be disabled through Find My iPhone.

Apple has said that Apple Pay will be available beginning in October, enabled through an upcoming update to iOS 8.

The Apple Pay roundup, like all of our other roundups is accessible through a dedicated index page that shows a full list of all available roundups ordered by most recent

Audio Testing Confirms iPhone 6 Not Yet Capable of Direct HD Audio Playback

Earlier this year, Apple was rumored to be adding support for high-definition audio playback in iOS 8 and shipping new EarPods with the iPhone 6 in order to support this 24bit/96kHz standard. Apple ultimately made no such announcements for iOS 8 or the iPhone 6, and Mashable has now confirmed with some testing that Apple's latest iPhone 6 does not currently support high definition audio playback.

With the help of audio testing expert David Ranada, Mashable tested several sample .wav files encoded at a 96kHz sampling rate with 24 bits per sample. The tracks were played using third-party apps such as Onkyo's HF music player and recordings were made through the headphone jack to determine the quality of the audio output.

The results show that iPhone 6 does not yet support HD audio playback, even though the audio hardware inside the phone may be capable of 24bit/96kHz output. According to teardown analyses, Apple's iPhone 6 includes the custom made Cirrus Logic 338S1201 chip, which is likely the successor to the Cirrus Logic CS42L61 chip used in previous iPhone models. Though also a custom build, the older CS42L61 chip is part of Cirrus Logic's CS42L51 family, which supports 24bit/96kHz HD audio.
It's hard to conceive of Apple either creating a custom chip that's less capable than the equivalent off-the-shelf component, let alone downgrading the audio capabilities of the iPhone's DAC in subsequent generations. So it stands to reason the DAC on board the iPhone 6 is capable of sampling 24-bit/96kHz audio.
It's possible, however, that Apple could later update iOS 8

Apple Once Again Allowing HealthKit-Capable Apps in iOS App Store

Just before the public launch of iOS 8 earlier this month, Apple removed all HealthKit-enabled apps from the iOS App Store due to an last-minute issue with the service. Addressing the issue, Apple promised it was working on a fix with the goal to "have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month". As spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple is now allowing apps with HealthKit features back into the iOS App Store.

One of the first apps to debut with HealthKit today is FitPort [Direct Link], a replacement for the iOS 8 Health app. The fitness dashboard allows users both to view health stats pulled from Apple's Health database and to enter new data manually. Now that Apple is approving these apps, there should be a deluge of new HealthKit-capable apps appearing in the App Store in the coming days.

Apple planned to fix the HealthKit issue with iOS 8.0.1, but problems with cellular connectivity and Touch ID functionality on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices forced Apple to pull the update shortly after release. The company fixed these iOS problems and updated HealthKit in iOS 8.0.2, which was released late Thursday.

Apple: Most OS X Users Safe from 'Bash' Security Flaw, Software Update Coming Soon

Yesterday, it was revealed that security researchers from Red Hat uncovered a major exploit in the "Bash" command shell found in OS X and Linux. Named "Shellshock" by security experts, the exploit allows hackers to gain access to web connected devices and services through the use of malicious code.

Now, an Apple spokesperson (via iMore) has commented on the matter, stating that the majority of OS X users are safe from the exploits and that the company is working to provide a software update for advanced UNIX users:
The vast majority of OS X users are not at risk to recently reported bash vulnerabilities," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "Bash, a UNIX command shell and language included in OS X, has a weakness that could allow unauthorized users to remotely gain control of vulnerable systems. With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed to remote exploits of bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services. We are working to quickly provide a software update for our advanced UNIX users.
The exploit was called "as big as Heartbleed" by security researcher Robert Graham, who was referring to a flaw discovered in the popular open-source software OpenSSL that affected 66% of the Internet earlier this year. Apple eventually announced that Heartbleed did not affect its software or key services, and also released updates for AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule. It is likely that a fix for the Bash exploit will arrive relatively soon for

Apple Releases iOS 8.0.2 With Fix for Cellular Issues, Broken Touch ID

Apple has just released iOS 8.0.2, its second update to iOS 8 designed to fix major issues introduced with iOS 8.0.1, which went out to iPhone owners on Wednesday.

iOS 8.0.2 is available immediately as an over-the-air download and in addition to fixing the cellular issue introduced with iOS 8.0.1, it also includes the bug fixes that were included in the original iOS 8.0.1 update.

After installing iOS 8.0.1 yesterday, many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users found that their cellular service was disabled and that Touch ID was non-functional. Apple pulled the iOS 8.0.1 update approximately an hour and fifteen minutes after it was first released, but not before numerous iPhone users were able to download the software. The company announced an investigation in the afternoon, and in the evening, released a support document saying iOS 8.0.2 was in the works and directing users to fix the problem via an iTunes restore to iOS 8.

iOS 8.0.1 contained a fix for a major HealthKit issue that was discovered just before the public release of iOS 8, prompting Apple to remove all HealthKit enabled apps from the App Store. Following iOS 8.0.1 and iOS 8.0.2, these apps will be able to return to the App Store. The updates also bring fixes for third-party keyboards, Reachability, Photo Library, SMS/MMS messages, and more.

Update: According to Apple, less than 40,000 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices were affected by yesterday's iOS 8.0.1 bugs. Apple has also issued an apology alongside the release of iOS 8.0.2:

"iOS 8.0.2 is now available for users, it fixes an issue that affected iPhone 6

Apple iOS 8.0.1 Issues Linked to Maps Debacle, Same Manager Oversaw Both Projects

Apple's recent iOS 8.0.1 issue, which saw the update disable the cellular connection and Touch ID functionality on numerous iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices, may have links to Apple's 2012 Maps debacle, reports Bloomberg.

According to "people familiar with Apple's management structure," the same mid-level manager was in charge of overseeing quality assurance for both projects, having been moved to the iOS team after being removed from the Maps team.
[The manager] was removed from the maps team after the software gave users unreliable directions and mislabeled landmarks, though he remained in charge of testing for iOS, said one person, who asked not to be identified since the information isn't public.
The employee in question, who has worked at Apple since 2000, is in charge of a team of more than "100 people around the world" responsible for testing the software before it reaches consumers, says Bloomberg.

According to the Bloomberg report, engineers who test the new software often are unable to get the latest iPhones until they are available to customers, "resulting in updates that may not have gone through tests that are are rigorous as those for the latest handsets," and internal issues can also impact Apple's testing, which may explain how such a significant bug got through the testing process.
Internal turf battles also can impact quality testing, according to a former senior manager. Teams responsible for testing cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity will sometimes sign off on a product release, then [the manager's] team will discover later that it’s not compatible

Apple's Second Wave iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Launch Kicks Off With Online Availability in Several Additional Countries

Apple Online Stores around the world have begun accepting orders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as part of a second wave launch that will see the devices become available in more than 20 additional countries.

The two devices are now available for order online in multiple different countries, and will become available in local retail stores in the morning. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are already on sale in stores in New Zealand, where it is just after 11:30 AM.

Second wave launch countries for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

Many countries where the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are available for purchase online are displaying shipping estimates of five to seven days for both devices, for all colors, carriers, and capacities. In many cases, these shipping estimates are better than the shipping estimates for new orders placed in first wave launch countries, but estimates may change as available supply per country dwindles.

Initial iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales in the United States, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, and Singapore topped 10 million during the first weekend that the devices were available for purchase, which Apple CEO Tim Cook said "exceeded expectations."

Apple has plans to bring the new iPhones to 115 countries by the end of

Apple Invites Reporters Into Testing Lab, Details iPhone 6 Plus Durability Tests

Earlier today, Apple released a statement to several different media outlets in response to reports about the iPhone 6 Plus bending within user pockets, stating that bending from normal use was "extremely rare" and suggesting only nine customers had complained about bending issues.

In addition to outlining its rigorous testing policies, Apple has now invited reporters from both CNBC and The Verge to its testing facility to see the machines that it uses to test its products in person. The lab contains an array of different testing equipment, with Apple's head of engineering Dan Riccio telling CNBC the iPhone 6 was "the most tested product we have ever done" and that Apple had not tested another phone as exhaustively.

Three-point pressure test image, courtesy of The Verge "As we add more and more features, we have to find out a way to break them before customers do," Riccio told The Verge. According to Apple, 15,000 separate tests were conducted on both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. "The bottom line is that if you use enough force to bend an iPhone, or any phone, it's going to deform," said Riccio.

When asked about the reports of bending, Apple's head of marketing, Phil Schiller, called them "extremely rare occurrences" reiterating to CNBC that out of millions of iPhones sold, Apple had only received nine complaints. He also told The Verge that Apple "designed the product to be incredibly reliable throughout all your real world use."

New Mac Mini Finally Coming in October Alongside New iPads?

At just under two years since its last update, the Mac mini seems to have become the forgotten part of Apple's Mac lineup, with a number of fans of the small desktop waiting for any word of a potential update.

As they typically are with Mac products, rumors and leaks regarding the Mac mini's future have been relatively rare, with essentially nothing having appeared on the radar since a reference to a "Mid 2014" Mac mini surfaced on an Apple support page as a likely error several months ago.

MacRumors has now received word that Apple is planning a Mac mini update possibly launching next month alongside new iPad models and presumably OS X Yosemite. While we have been unable to obtain corroborating information of an imminent update, the mere possibility of an update as soon as next month is likely to be welcome news to Mac mini fans. The single source has provided no additional details on what to expect in terms of a next-generation Mac mini, but has provided accurate information in the past.

The timing of such an update would be a bit odd, as it is unclear what processors Apple would use in these machines. Next-generation Broadwell processors from Intel appropriate for the Mac mini are not scheduled to arrive until early next year, and the current Haswell processors are no longer cutting edge as Intel has been forced to prolong their shelf life due to continued delays with Broadwell.

Still, the Mac mini is not generally intended to be a workhorse machine with the fastest processors (although they are popular as servers), so Apple may be willing to launch the

FBI Concerned With New Default Encryption Settings in iOS and Android Devices

The FBI has been in talks with Apple and Google about the way the technology companies are marketing the privacy features in their smartphones, according to FBI Director James Comey (via The Huffington Post). Comey says that he is concerned that the two companies are "marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law."

Comey's remarks come following both privacy changes introduced with iOS 8 and a new privacy site that Apple introduced last week, explaining that the company has altered the way encryption works in iOS 8. Apple no longer stores the encryption keys for devices in iOS 8, making it impossible for it to unlock content on devices under police request.

"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access your data," reads its new privacy site. "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

Shortly after Apple announced the encryption changes to iOS 8, Google announced that the next generation of Android, set to be released next month, will also encrypt data by default, providing the same encryption protections to its smartphones that a passcode provides to iPhones.

According to Comey, though he understands the need for privacy, he believes government access to electronic devices is necessary in some cases.
"I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone," he said.

Apple: Bending in iPhone 6 Plus From Normal Use 'Extremely Rare', Only 9 Customers Have Complained

Apple has commented on the ongoing complaints about the iPhone 6 Plus bending in user pockets, telling CNBC that the new iPhones include steel/titanium inserts to reinforce stress locations and that they use the "strongest glass in the industry."

The company went on to say that only nine customers had complained about bent iPhones, suggesting the issue is not as widespread as it has appeared in the media. It also stated that both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have met or exceeded testing for strength and durability, and that bending in the iPhone 6 Plus during normal use is "extremely rare."

Our iPhones are designed, engineered and manufactured to be both beautiful and sturdy. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature a precision engineered unibody enclosure constructed from machining a custom grade of 6000 series anodized aluminum, which is tempered for extra strength. They also feature stainless steel and titanium inserts to reinforce high stress locations and use the strongest glass in the smartphone industry. We chose these high-quality materials and construction very carefully for their strength and durability. We also perform rigorous tests throughout the entire development cycle including 3-point bending, pressure point cycling, sit, torsion, and user studies. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use.

With normal use a bend in iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus. As with any Apple product, if you have

Mac Pro Models Now Available From Apple's Online Refurbished Store

Apple has recently added the Mac Pro to the refurbished section of its online store, giving customers the opportunity to purchase the professional-level desktop at a 15 percent discount compared to a brand-new machine for the first time since the computer's December 2013 release.

There are several different configurations available, ranging in price from $2,549 for the 3.7GHz quad-core machine with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage to $7,479 for the 2.7Ghz 12-core machine with 32GB RAM and 1TB storage. All available refurbished Mac Pro models ship within 3 to 5 business days.

All of Apple's refurbished products, the Mac Pro included, have been thoroughly tested for reliability and come with the same one-year warranty offered with standard products.

Apple's 2013 Mac Pro made waves when it was released, due to its radically redesigned cylindrical form factor and the fact that the machine is the first to be assembled in the United States. It features Ivy Bridge E processors, dual GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, and fast PCI Express-based flash