Pre-orders and previews begin April 10, launches April 24.
Apple Watch, Retina MacBook, New MacBook Air & 13" Pro
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.
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.
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.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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
Two out of three iPhone buyers surveyed linked a credit card to their iPhones to enable Apple Pay, and 88 percent of those used the service once in the past four months. On average, Apple Pay users made 2.6 in-store transactions using the payments service during its first four months of availability.
Two-thirds of Apple Pay users claimed to have run into problems at checkout, making the Apple Pay experience less appealing. 48 percent of those who had problems said the merchant took too long completing the transaction, 42 percent said the cashier was unfamiliar with Apple Pay, and 36 percent said transactions were posted incorrectly or double counted.
The Apple Pay terminal simply did not work according to 27 percent of respondents who had issues, and 23 percent said it was inconvenient to choose a card in Passbook. In a separate section, 47 percent of those who had attempted to use Apple Pay ran into problems with the store not accepting Apple Pay even though it was one of Apple's partners.
"However, the early-on transaction potential is being undercut by low repeat usage and lost payment opportunities," said Greg Weed, Director of Card Research at Phoenix. "The demand is there: 59% of Apple Pay users have gone into a store and asked to make a purchase with Apple Pay. But so is the disappointment: 47% visited a store that was listed as an Apple Pay merchant only to find out that the specific store they visited did not accept (or were not ready to accept) Apple Pay."For the study, Phoenix surveyed 3,002 respondents. Of those, 532 owned an iPhone 6, 350 linked a card to Apple Pay, and 302 used Apple Pay to make a purchase at least once during the last four months. With a small sample size, it is difficult to draw concrete conclusions about overall Apple Pay usage habits and customer experiences, but Phoenix's survey seems to be reflective of issues users have had with the service.
In our own experiences at MacRumors, we've had multiple occasions where an Apple Pay terminal simply failed to work, or took several tries to register a payment. We have also seen Apple Pay partner stores that were not equipped to accept Apple Pay payments, and we've run into employees who knew little about the service.
At other locations, we've been forced to sign for purchases, greatly cutting down on Apple Pay's ease of use, and at times, we've also been asked to show ID for a purchase, causing us to pull out a wallet anyway. We've seen several other reports of problems with Apple Pay on our own forums, and several journalists have gone hands-on with Apple Pay and seen issues first hand.
Apple Pay may still have hiccups to overcome, but the service has seen early success and will continue to improve with wider adoption. 72 hours after launch, Apple Pay had more than 1 million credit and debit activations, and from October through January, Apple Pay accounted for two of every three dollars spend through contactless payments on Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. As of March, Apple Pay is accepted at more than 700,000 locations in the United States, and merchant adoption continues to grow.
In January, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Pay was "off to a very strong start" and that he expects 2015 to be "the year of Apple Pay."
Surface 3 comes with 64GB storage and 2GB of RAM for $499, while a 128GB option with 4GB of RAM costs $599. Both Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE models are available. The tablet also features a 10.8" Full HD display at 1,920×1,280 pixels resolution, full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader, headphone jack, cover port, micro USB charging port, Bluetooth 4.0 and three-position kickstand. The tablet will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 when available and includes a one-year Office 365 subscription.
The base model Surface 3 in 64GB and 128GB options is available for pre-order now through Microsoft's website for delivery starting the first week of May, while the 4G LTE models are listed as shipping by June 26th. The tablet includes a 1-year limited hardware warranty. Type Covers are a $130 add-on, and Surface pens are available in blue, red, black, and original silver.
Microsoft's new Surface 3 joins the existing Surface Pro 3, starting at $799. The professional tablet rivals the MacBook Air with a 12" Full HD display at 2,160×1,440 pixels resolution, Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, up to 9 hours of web browsing, full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader, two 5-megapixel HD cameras on the front and back, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and more.
Apple and Ericsson first clashed in January, after the expiration of a 2008 licensing agreement between the two companies. Despite two years of negotiations, the companies failed to establish a new agreement that would let Apple use Ericsson's cellular technology patents.
Apple filed a complaint suggesting Ericsson was both demanding excessive royalties for LTE patents and wrongly claiming its patents as essential for the LTE wireless communication standard. Ericsson responded with its own complaint, asking the court to determine whether its licensing fees were fair.
Ericsson's cellular technology patents are considered essential and are subject to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). According to Ericsson, the licensing deal it offered Apple (estimated to be between $250 million and $750 million annually) was reasonable, but Apple disagreed.
In February, Ericsson went on to file seven new lawsuits against Apple and two complaints with U.S. ITC in an effort to prevent Apple from selling products in the U.S., which is what led to today's ITC investigation. Companies often file complaints in district court and with the ITC simultaneously as the ITC moves faster and has the ability to block products from being sold in the United States. The looming threat of a product ban can accelerate licensing negotiations.
Should the International Trade Commission's investigation find that Apple infringed on Ericsson's patents, it could potentially lead to an exclusion order preventing the infringing products from being sold in the United States until the dispute is resolved.
The new beta, build 14D127a, is available for registered developers through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Mac Developer Center. OS X Yosemite Recovery Update 1.0 is also available, improving the reliability of Yosemite Recovery when restoring from a Time Machine backup.
OS X 10.10.3 includes several new features, like the Photos for OS X app. Designed to integrate with iCloud Photo Library and the Photos app on iOS, the Photos for OS X app is a replacement for both iPhoto and Aperture. Reviews have suggested that while Photos is a suitable replacement for iPhoto, with more advanced tools and performance optimizations, it may leave professional users disappointed in its initial incarnation.
Along with the new Photos for OS X app, earlier OS X 10.10.3 betas have introduced a redesigned emoji picker that consolidates emoji into a single scrollable page with clear labels, new diversified emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers, new flag emoji and updated emoji for the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch, and support for Google 2-step verification when setting up accounts in System Preferences.
With the fifth OS X 10.10.3 beta, there were just two minor bug fixes to the OS X Photos app, and today's update likely includes similar small changes. Given that we're on the sixth beta, OS X 10.10.3 is undoubtedly getting close to completion and we may see a public release of the software in the near future.
Case manufacturers and other accessory makers often create dummy models of upcoming Apple devices to get an early start on the development process, and the tablet pictured in the photos is likely one of these mockups. Most of these models are based on rumors and leaked schematics, and while they're frequently accurate, there have been errors in dummy models for past devices.
The port on the left side of the device in the images does line up with a previously leaked iPad Pro case that had an opening on the left side believed to be for a SIM card tray, but the presence of a side port was not seen in schematics shared by Japanese magazine Mac Fan last November. Those schematics may have been inaccurate or out of date, as rumors have suggested Apple is still working on ironing out the tablet's features ahead of its release.
Given the design similarities between a Lightning port and a USB-C port, it is not entirely clear what function the extra port serves, but a recent rumor from The Wall Street Journal pointed towards the the possible inclusion of USB 3.0 ports on the iPad Pro, potentially allowing the device to connect to a keyboard or mouse.
Aside from the Lightning port, the other images shared on Weibo show a rear camera with light sensor and microphone, and a headphone jack adjacent to a row of speakers. Rumors have suggested the iPad Pro will have speakers and microphones at the top and bottom edges of the device for a stereo audio experience.
Aside from its larger size and tweaked design elements to accommodate new features, the iPad Pro is said to look similar to the existing iPad Air and iPad mini. It's rumored to have a high-resolution display between 12.2 and 12.9 inches, an A8X processor, 2GB RAM, and Touch ID. It may also support an optional stylus accessory.
Apple may be targeting a September 2015 production timeline for the tablet, so it may come alongside new iPad Air and iPad mini models this fall.
Update: We've received word that these images were originally shared by Dutch site vandaagapple.nl [Google Translate] in February.
The pill-shaped LED flash design and two rows of speaker grilles are also found on the iPhone 5s, indicating that the iPhone 6c could have the same internals as the two-generation-old smartphone with a plastic shell. The smartphone would likely be positioned at the low end of the iPhone lineup as Apple's free smartphone, alongside the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and next-generation iPhones released later this year.
Apple did not refresh the iPhone 5c when it launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year, leading to speculation that the plastic smartphone might be discontinued from the smartphone lineup. Last week, however, it was reported that Apple is planning to release three new iPhones later this year, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and 4-inch iPhone 6c.
The smartphone trade-in program has gone live in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany and Canada in partnership with third-party device buyback and trade-in company Brightstar. Apple is also accepting various PC models by certain manufacturers as part of its expanded Reuse and Recycling Program, handled by third-party vendor Dataserv.
Apple confirms new trade-in program is up and running today in US, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) March 30, 2015
Apple's Reuse and Recycling Program launched in August 2013 and was previously limited to trading in qualifying iPhones, iPads and Macs for immediate credit towards the purchase of a new Apple device. Apple also offers a traditional recycling program for disposing of devices such as iPhones, iPads, Macs and other smartphones and computers that are no longer eligible for trade in.
Cook's letter comes in response to Indiana governor Mike Pence passing the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, following intense opposition from opponents that believe the bill supports discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians. The bill, based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, takes effect July 1st.
"America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business," said Cook. "At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms."Cook believes that the recently passed legislation in Indiana and Arkansas, and similar bills being considered in other states, draw comparisons to the days of segregation in the United States, adding that Apple will never tolerate discrimination regardless of the laws passed. "This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue," he said. "This is about how we treat each other as human beings."
"Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination."Cook tweeted last week that Apple is "open for everyone" and "deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law," calling on Arkansas to veto its similar HB1228 bill. Indiana has received a lot of backlash for signing the bill, with several organizations and companies throughout the United States vowing to stop supporting the state.
Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same — regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015
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