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Unreleased 'Mid 2014' Mac Mini Referenced on Apple Support Page

An Apple support page on Boot Camp was updated yesterday to include a mention of a mid-2014 Mac mini, perhaps hinting that a refresh of the desktop computer might be in the works.

First noticed by 9to5Mac, a cached version of the support page suggests yesterday's update also added mentions of the 2014 low-cost iMac and 2014 MacBook Airs. Today's newly released mid-2014 Retina MacBook Pros were not added to the updated page.

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The mention of the mid-2014 Mac mini may be a simple error, but the machine is long overdue for a refresh. Last updated in October of 2012, the Mac mini is the only product in Apple's mainstream Mac lineup that has not seen an update with Haswell processors.

Aside from the mention on Apple's support page, there has been no indication that a Mac mini refresh is on the horizon. Several events, including the unveiling of the new iPads last October and Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference seemed like opportune times for the company to unveil a refreshed version of the desktop computer, but no new Mac mini materialized at either event. It continues to remain unclear when Apple might release a new Mac mini, but the support page does offer hope that the product line might continue to live on.

An updated Mac mini would likely offer some improvements brought to the rest of Apple's Mac lineup over the course of the last two years, including Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based flash storage options, and 802.11ac WiFi.

Related roundup: Mac mini

15-Inch Mid 2014 Retina MacBook Pro Benchmark Shows Decent Entry-Level Speed Gains

Apple's newly refreshed Retina MacBook Pros, released this morning, have already begun showing up in Geekbench benchmarks, offering a look at the performance boost of the updated machines compared to their predecessors.

A GeekBench 3 result for the entry-level 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro indicates that the new machine is eight percent faster than the entry-level 2013 Retina MacBook Pro, and only two percent slower than the mid-level Retina MacBook Pro released in 2013.

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Single-Core performance for the machine came in at 3050, up from 2811 for the similar 2013 model, while Multi-Core performance was also impressive, at 11586 vs. 10730.

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The new Retina MacBook Pros feature upgraded Haswell processors in 2.6 and 2.8 GHz dual-core configurations for the 13-inch versions, and 2.2 and 2.5 GHz quad-core configurations for the 15-inch models, with build-to-order options featuring a 3.0 GHz dual-core processor available for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and a 2.8 GHz quad-core processor available for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

All of Apple's 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros now come with 8 GB of RAM standard (upgradeable to 16 GB), while 15-inch models come with 16 GB standard. The high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro has seen a $100 price cut, and buyers now have the option to upgrade to 1 TB of flash storage on both 13 and 15-inch models.

As noted by John Poole of Primate Labs, with the newly refreshed Haswell Retina MacBook Pros, customers are receiving mid-level performance at an entry-level price.

Though the update brings some decent gains to Apple's Retina MacBook Pro lineup, the new Haswell processors are largely a stopgap measure designed to hold customers over until Intel's more powerful and more efficient Broadwell chips are available next year.

Apple's refreshed Retina MacBook Pros are available today at Apple retail locations and its online store.

Apple's Smartphone Market Share Slips as Huawei, Lenovo Make Gains

Apple's growth in the overall worldwide smartphone market continues to slow as it loses ground to smaller Chinese vendors releasing more affordable devices, even as the smartphone market itself grows substantially.

According to IDC's latest estimates, worldwide smartphone sales for the second quarter of 2014 grew 23.1 percent year-over year as smartphones continue to replace feature phones, with a record quarter of 295.3 million shipments.

Apple shipped 35.1 million iPhones during the quarter, up from 31.2 million during Q2 2013, for a share of 11.9 percent, a slight drop from its 13 percent share in the year-ago quarter. The company's growth was at just 12.4 percent.

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Worldwide smartphone shipments in 2Q14 in millions of units (Source: IDC)

Samsung, the vendor that has long held the top spot with the most smartphone shipments, fared even worse during the quarter, with estimated shipments of 74.3 million for a 25.2 percent share of the market, down from 32.3 percent in Q2 2013, and overall growth of -3.9 percent.

Smaller Chinese vendors like Huawei and Lenovo continue to see significant growth, with Huawei shipping 20.3 million smartphones during the quarter for a 6.9 percent share and growth of 95.1 percent, while Lenovo shipped 15.8 million smartphones for 5.4 percent market share and growth of 38.7 percent.
Despite a challenging quarter for Samsung, and to a lesser extent Apple, the strong market demand boosted results for most smartphone vendors. Emerging markets supported by local vendors are continuing to act as the main catalyst for smartphone growth. Among the top vendors in the market, a wide range of Chinese OEMs more than outpaced the market in 2Q14. By far the most impressive was Huawei, nearly doubling its shipments from a year ago, followed by another strong performance from Lenovo.
As noted by IDC, Apple's second quarter is typically its seasonal low of the year due to its release schedule. Apple may see significant growth later in 2014 as it gears up to release the iPhone 6, meeting consumer demand for a larger-screened device for the first time.

Apple has also made efforts towards releasing low-cost devices in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) markets that are ripe for growth, but it is difficult for the company to keep up with the myriad low-cost devices coming from manufacturers like Lenovo and Huawei in those markets.

Ford Transitioning From BlackBerries to iPhones for Employees

Ford Motor Company is planning to transition its corporate employees from BlackBerry to Apple, providing approximately 3,300 workers with iPhones by the end of the year, reports Bloomberg. According to Ford spokesperson Sara Tatchio, Ford is also aiming to get iPhones into the hands of an additional 6,000 corporate employees over the course of the next two years as they transition from flip phones.

To oversee the switch to iOS devices, Ford will hire a mobile technology analyst, with one facet of the job involving the "global deployment of corporate iPhones." In her statement to Bloomberg, Tatchio highlighted the iPhone's ability to meet both the personal and secure business needs of Ford's employees as a reason for the switch.

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"We are going to get everyone on iPhones," Tatchio said. "It meets the overall needs of the employees because it is able to serve both our business needs in a secure way and the needs we have in our personal lives with a single device."

Having all employees on the same smartphone will improve security and simplify information technology management, Tatchio said. Ford is making "no extra investment" to convert to iPhones, other than the cost of replacing the devices, she said.
While the iPhone and the iPad are already used by more than 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies, Apple is aiming to make significant strides in the enterprise market in the coming months to bolster its penetration numbers, and Ford is likely to be just one of many companies transitioning to Apple devices in the near future.

The Cupertino company has recently formed a partnership with IBM to "transform enterprise mobility" through a series of new business apps and services for iOS devices, and the deal will also see IBM selling Apple devices to its corporate customers, which is bad news for BlackBerry.

During Apple's most recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook suggested the company was aiming to get iPhones, iPads, and Macs into the hands of more people, with enterprise marking a "huge opportunity" for growth.

Rumored iWatch Supplier TPK's Q3 Forecast Falls Flat Amid Reports of Production Issues

Details discussed during a recent earnings conference call by Apple supplier TPK Holdings suggest the production of the iWatch is behind schedule, reports UDN via GforGames. According to earlier rumors, the iWatch may debut in late 2014 with the latest report claiming it will launch alongside the 5.5-inch iPhone 6.

Based on reports from Asian sources, TPK executives spent a portion of the company's Q3 2014 earning conference call explaining why it sees poorer than expected financial projections for the current quarter. TPK is allegedly supplying Apple with flexible displays that use silver nanowire touch screen technology for inclusion in the iWatch wearable.

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iWatch concept based on TRIWA's Havana Nevil Brown watch, by Gábor Balogh

Though the iWatch was not mentioned in the call, pundits believe TPK's shortfall is the result of a slip in the production schedule for the iWatch, which had been expected to be in production and contributing to TPK's bottom line during the third quarter. Now, the company is projecting an increase in profits during Q4 2014, suggesting the iWatch rollout may be slated for closer to the end of this year.

Shares of TPK stock dropped significantly late last week on the outlook.
At an investor conference Thursday, TPK forecast flat quarterly growth, or at best a 5 percent sequential increase, of its consolidated sales for the third quarter, citing decisions by its customers to postpone the launch of their new products. [...]

Sales growth, however, could pick up in September, TPK said, forecasting a break-even operating margin in the third quarter on higher operating costs.
This late start in production may result in Apple shipping fewer iWatch units than expected in 2014, claims analysts at CSLA, a leading Asian investment banking and asset management firm. Instead of shipping 20 million iWatch units by the end of the year, Apple may only be able to deliver a significantly smaller 6 million units. It is unknown if this lowered estimate will translate into a shortage of the device at launch.

Related roundup: iWatch

Apple TV Updated with CNBC and FOX NOW Channels

Apple today added two more channels to the Apple TV, delivering financial news channel CNBC and network FOX NOW to the platform.

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CNBC offers access to a live stream of the financial channel, as well as on-demand clips from news segments and full episodes of the channels "Prime" content original series. Viewing requires authentication with one of a number of cable and Internet providers. Notable cable companies not available for authentication include Time Warner and Charter.

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FOX NOW includes on-demand access to a number of shows from the network, including 24: Live Another Day, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Glee, and more. Authentication through a cable provider is required for full access to content.

Update 7:40 AM: Apple has also added TV2 Sumo [Google Translate], the online version of popular channel TV2, in Norway.

Update 8:48 AM: As noted by The Loop, Brazilian sports subscription channel Esporte Interativo has also been added in that country.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Apple Launches Retina MacBook Pros with Faster Haswell Processors, More RAM Standard

As indicated over the weekend and yesterday, Apple today launched refreshed 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros.The new notebooks feature faster versions of Intel's Haswell processors, as all 13-inch models now come with 8GB of RAM standard while all 15-inch models now feature 16GB of RAM. The high end 15-inch model also received a $100 price cut, going from $2599 to $2499.

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New models include:

13-inch:
- $1299: 2.6 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB flash storage
- $1499: 2.6 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB flash storage
- $1799: 2.8 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB flash storage

15-inch:
- $1999: 2.2 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB flash storage
- $2499: 2.5 GHz quad-core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB flash storage

Build-to-order options now include a 3.0 GHz dual-core i7 processor on the 13-inch model and a 2.8 GHz quad-core i7 processor on the 15-inch model. Users can also now add up to 1 TB of flash storage for both the 13-inch and 15-inch models.

Alongside the refreshed line of Retina MacBook Pros, Apple's 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro received a price cut, going from $1199 to $1099. However, the machine has not been updated with faster internals and remains the same model introduced in June 2012.

Today's minor refresh is primarily a stopgap measure until Apple can launch a more significant update to its Retina MacBook Pro line once Intel's next-generation Broadwell processors hit the market. Broadwell chips appropriate for the MacBook Pro may, however, not arrive until mid-2015. Apple is also rumored to be working on a 12-inch Retina MacBook for 2015 which is said to feature an ultrathin chassis, a fan-less cooling system and a revamped trackpad.

Apple's refreshed Retina MacBook Pros are available today through the company's various retail locations and online store, with all standard configurations showing a shipping avaliability of "within 24 hours." The new notebooks will also be a part of Apple's back-to-school program, which gives qualified educational purchasers an Apple Store gift card of $100 with the purchase of a new Mac.

Update: Apple has issued a press release announcing the update.
“People love their MacBook Pro because of the thin and light, aluminum unibody design, beautiful Retina display, all day battery life and deep integration with OS X,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The MacBook Pro with Retina display gets even better with faster processors, more memory, more affordable configurations and a free upgrade to OS X Yosemite this fall.”
Apple also highlights the price drop on the non-Retina model, noting the machine is popular with Windows switchers.

Related roundup: MacBook Pro

Hilton to Adopt Digital Check-In, Smartphone-Based Room Keys Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide, a company that operates thousands of hotels around the globe, today announced plans to roll out new mobile-based check-in and room selection tools, as well as digital smartphone-based room keys.

Hilton guests will be able to select their rooms online using their smartphones, which will be able to display floor plans for each available room. Guests will also be able to check-in/check-out using their smartphones, as well as purchase upgrades and make special requests for item deliveries.

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Room selection: At 6 a.m. the day before a booked stay, Hilton HHonors members can sign into their account via their mobile device, tablet or computer to check-in and choose their preferred room through floor plan maps or lists populated from the hotel's available inventory. Photos of rooms are also available to help with their selection. Hilton's digital lobby function is updated in real-time, so guests no longer have to wait until they are physically in the hotel lobby to be assigned a room.
While Hilton's new service is limited to check-ins and room selection at the current time, next year the hotel chain plans to allow guests to unlock their hotel rooms with their smartphones.

Hilton is planning to roll out its digital enhancements to select hotels during the summer and the fall, and by the end of 2014, smartphone-based check-ins and room selection will be available for more than 650,000 rooms across 4,000 hotels. The technology that allows smartphones to be used as room keys will begin rolling out in 2015, with wide availability in 2016.

Hilton is not the first hotel chain to begin allowing guests to enter their hotel rooms with their smartphones, as Starwood Hotels & Resorts implemented a pilot program to test the technology earlier this year. Hilton's eventual rollout will be much larger, however, and it also includes the aforementioned tools for personalized room selections and easy check-ins.

Bare Logic Boards for 4.7-Inch and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Compared in New Photos

Following the publication of several photos over the weekend showing what was claimed to be the bare logic board for the upcoming 4.7-inch iPhone 6, Nowherelse.fr now shares [Google Translate] a new set of photos showing the same part reportedly from the even larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model.

The photos include side-by-side comparisons of the part from both iPhone 6 models and the iPhone 5s, and while it does not appear to be confirmed which iPhone 6 logic board is for which device size, there are now clearly two distinct parts larger than the current iPhone 5s logic board.

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Logic board fronts left to right: newly shown iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, previous iPhone 6
(Click for larger)

The component layout of the logic boards from the two iPhone 6 models appear very similar, but the board design and screw hole layout are somewhat different, particularly on the upper portion of the board including the arm extending across the top of the device above the battery. As with the first logic board, this part allegedly includes support for near field communications (NFC).

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Logic board backs left to right: newly shown iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, previous iPhone 6
(Click for larger)

While the legitimacy of the parts can not be confirmed, they do appear very similar to existing parts and exhibit complexity that would be expensive to fake. They also contain part numbers (820-3675-04 and 820-2486-09) in the pattern followed by Apple.

The iPhone 6 is expected to debut around the September timeframe, although it is unclear whether that launch will include both versions or only the 4.7-inch model. Rumors have been split on whether the 5.5-inch model will launch simultaneously or up to several months later due to production challenges.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Retina MacBook Pro Updates Reportedly Due Tuesday, July 29: Minor Haswell CPU Updates Expected

Following yesterday's reported spotting of in-store digital signage from an Apple retail store in China showing upgraded specs for the Retina MacBook Pro, MacG.co now claims [Google Translate] the update is set to arrive tomorrow, July 29. The information comes from a reliable source who has accurately predicted MacBook Air, iMac, and iPod touch updates in recent months, although the source was off by a few days on the iPod touch update timing.

Few details on the new Retina MacBook Pros are available from the source other than that the update will include both 13-inch and 15-inch models and that only minor changes to the internal model number (J44a and J45a respectively) point to a simple speed bump.

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The in-store digital signage had shown details on three 15-inch MacBook Pro models, all carrying "Haswell refresh" processors clocking in at 200 MHz faster than their counterparts currently used in the Retina MacBook Pro line. Those new Haswell chips were introduced by Intel last week, and we noted at the time that the list of three dual-core and three quad-core processors appeared almost custom tailored for a Retina MacBook Pro update.

In addition to the processor upgrades, the signage also pointed to a bump in RAM for the low-end 15-inch model, moving from 8 GB to 16 GB.

While the Retina MacBook Pro upgrade appears imminent, the minor update is in large part a stopgap measure as Apple and other manufacturers await Intel's much-delayed Broadwell family of processors. Broadwell chips appropriate for the Retina MacBook Pro may not be ready until as late as mid-2015.

Update 1:22 PM: MacRumors has received word that seven new model numbers are indeed incoming to retail stores, likely corresponding to the three stock configurations of the 13-inch model and two for the 15-inch model, along with a maxed-out "ultimate" configuration of each as is commonly carried in-store.

Related roundup: MacBook Pro

Microsoft Launches New Cortana vs. Siri Ad Showing Off Context-Aware Reminders

Microsoft today launched a new commercial comparing its new Cortana virtual assistant to Apple's virtual assistant Siri, demonstrating how the former is able to perform contextually-aware tasks using a number of services.


Titled "Happy Anniversary", the commercial shows Cortana and Windows Phone 8.1 running on the Nokia Lumia 635 as the narrator makes commands related around a wedding anniversary. First, the narrator asks Cortana to remind him to wish his wife a happy birthday he next time she calls, as the voice assistant schedules a reminder around the call. Meanwhile, Siri does not comply to the request.

The narrator then asks Cortana to remind him to get roses when he comes near any flower shop, while Siri once again does not comply. Finally, Cortana automatically gives a traffic reminder prompting the narrator to leave before traffic delays, as Siri finishes by saying "Now that is a smart phone."

This is the first time that Microsoft has demonstrated its new Cortana voice assistant against Siri, however the company has used Siri's voice to poke fun at the iPad in the past. Cortana was originally announced in April alongside Windows Phone 8.1, as Microsoft touted the virtual assistant's ability to tie reminders and tasks around people and locations. Notably, a Windows Phone manager said last month that the company wants Cortana to be "pervasive" among mobile platforms, perhaps indicating that Microsoft could expand Cortana to iOS and Android.

Apple Close to Acquiring Radio Streaming Service Swell for $30 Million

Apple is close to acquiring talk radio curation service Swell for about $30 million, reports Re/code. Swell's iOS app launched last year and allows users to listen to streaming audio from iTunes, NPR, ABC, ESPN and others through a design that emphasizes simplicity.

As a part of the acquisition, Swell will shut down its iOS app this week as its CEO Ram Ramkumar and other members of its development team will join Apple. Apple will likely look to use Swell's technology to improve its own Podcasts app, which holds a 1.5 star rating and has been widely criticized for performance issues. Users of Podcasts also experienced an outage last month, as the app constantly crashed upon opening.

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Swell's iOS app

Apple's purchase of Swell follows the acquisition of "Pandora for Books" startup BookLamp in April for a reported sum between $10 million and $15 million, as the company also acquired Beats Electronics this past May for $3 billion. It was revealed in the company's Q3 2014 results earnings call that it had acquired 29 companies since beginning of 2013, with 5 coming from beginning of March quarter, not including Beats.

Update 7/29 12 PM PT: Apple has confirmed its acquisition of Swell in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

Chart Suggests Speed-Bumped 15-Inch Retina MacBook Pros with 16GB of RAM Standard Coming Soon

Apple may be planning to launch a slightly refreshed line of 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros complete with faster Haswell processors and 16GB of RAM standard, according to a photo said to have come from the company's Chongqing, China store (via BBS Feng, Google Translate).

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The purported pricing chart shows two standard configurations priced at 14,288 yuan and 18,688 yuan, which is the same as Apple's current pricing for its 15-inch notebook line in China. If real, this pricing chart would indicate that Apple would keep its current pricing instead of offering each new model for less as done for the MacBook Air earlier this year.

The first configuration comes with a faster Intel Core i7 2.2 GHz processor and 16GB of RAM standard compared to the current 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 and 8GB of RAM found on the current base model 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the second configuration features a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 processor and the same 16GB of RAM, up from the current 2.3 GHz Intel Core i7 processor. Both models feature the same graphics, with the first configuration coming with Intel's Iris Pro graphics and the second coming with both the Iris Pro and NVIDIA's GeForce GT 750M.

A third high-end configuration priced at 23,688 yuan also appears on the chart, boasting a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of flash storage, and Intel's Iris Pro graphics plus a NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M.

All of the processors listed on the chart correspond to Intel's new line of Core i7 Haswell processors launched last week, perhaps indicating that an updated 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro line may be imminent. Apple's line of 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros should also see an update in the near future, as Intel also launched new Core i5 Haswell processors alongside its refreshed i7 Haswell chips.

A minor refresh of the Retina MacBook Pro line was originally noted earlier this year alongside a rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook. According to the latest reports, the 12-inch Retina MacBook may be pushed back to next year because of Intel's delayed Broadwell chips.

Bare iPhone 6 Logic Board Surfaces, Claimed to Support NFC and 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Claimed internal components for the iPhone 6 are beginning to surface with increasing frequency as it is now likely less than two months until launch. In line with those developments, a new set of photos [Google Translate] shared by Nowhereelse.fr reveal what appears to be the bare logic board of the iPhone 6, likely the 4.7-inch model.

According to Nowehereelse.fr, the source who shared the photos of the parts claims the iPhone 6 will include support for both near field communication (NFC) and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, although neither of those claims can be confirmed from the photos themselves. NFC for the iPhone has been rumored for years, but has yet to come to fruition and rumors are once again split as to whether the iPhone 6 will include the technology. 802.11ac seems to be a natural upgrade for the iPhone now that appropriate chips are available.

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The logic board bears a number of similarities to corresponding parts from other iPhones, although this part includes a much longer piece extending across what would be the top of the device. Given the larger body size of the iPhone 6, however, it is unsurprising that internal components could see some changes to their design and layout.

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Overlay of logic board and rear shell

Screw holes in the board also appear to line up with ones seen in recent leaks of claimed rear shell parts for the iPhone 6, indicating they are indeed likely from the same device.

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Annotation of likely iPhone 6 logic board component locations
(Click for larger)

With the photos showing only the bare printed board and no chips or other components installed, it is difficult to tell much new information from the part, although the locations of some components can be identified based on their similarities to other iPhone logic boards.

The iPhone 6 is expected to see a similar launch timeframe as in recent years, with a September media event introduction followed by a launch shortly after. While the 4.7-inch model is expected to follow this timeline, an even larger 5.5-inch model is said to still be in flux and may not debut until several months later.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6

Apple Acquired 'Pandora for Books' Startup BookLamp In April

Apple has acquired BookLamp, a "Pandora for books" startup that aimed to provide personalized book recommendations to readers via specialized algorithms, reports TechCrunch. BookLamp first shut down in April.

BookLamp was known for its Book Genome project, a book discovery engine that analyzed the text of books to break them down by various themes and variables to let readers search for books similar to books they liked.

For example, analyzing The Da Vinci Code, the search engine would break it down to elements of 18.6% Religion and Religions Institutions, 9.4% Police & Murder Investigation, 8.2% Art and Art Galleries, and 6.7% Secret Societies and Communities, and then it would be able to recommend a book similar to The Da Vinci Code based on that data.

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BookLamp screenshot via Mashable

This type of analytics service could be directly used to improve recommendations and search in iBooks, and as noted by TechCrunch, BookLamp's technology could be used to create a competitor to Amazon X-Ray, which lets readers see where in the book certain terms or characters appear.

BookLamp also provided content analysis services to a number of e-book distributors like Amazon, Apple, and other publishers, screening books for categorization and providing a platform for publishers to screen manuscripts. The acquisition will see Apple ramping up its focus on books, according to one source with knowledge of the acquisition.
Part of the reason that Apple made the move to acquire BookLamp was because of this long list of clients. "At first Apple and BookLamp talked about growing their contract, but then they talked more from a strategic standpoint," a source says. "What Apple wanted to do was, instead of contract, they wanted to make sure whatever work was done was done just for them."

And what is that work? The details are not clear yet, but the source says, "in broad strokes, the goal that [founder Aaron] Stanton and three of the folks he was working with from the original BookLamp crew is to beat Amazon at their own game."
BookLamp was purchased for a sum between $10 million and $15 million and while Apple has yet to confirm the purchase, a large amount evidence gathered by TechCrunch suggests several former BookLamp employees have relocated to Cupertino and are now working for Apple.

Update 6:30 PM PT: Apple has confirmed the purchase of BookLamp, giving Re/code its standard statement on purchases: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

U.S. House Approves Bill Making Smartphone Unlocking Legal, Obama Pledges to Sign it Into Law

We're one step closer to being able to legally unlock smartphones again, as the United States House of Representatives today passed legislation that legalizes cell phone unlocking, unanimously voting in favor of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act.

The Act was approved by the Senate last week, which means the final step is presidential approval. Obama has long supported making cell phone unlocking legal again, and today pledged to sign the bill into law.

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I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a "We the People" petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom.

The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.
The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act came about following a 2013 "We the People petition" that called for cell phone unlocking to be made legal. Cell phone unlocking first became illegal in January of 2013, after an exception in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act expired, restricting U.S. customers from shifting service to other carriers or using their devices abroad with local SIM cards.

Under the terms of the bill, consumers and third-party services will again be able to unlock cell phones and tablets without receiving express permission from carriers and without facing criminal penalties.

In December of 2013, U.S. cellular carriers and the FCC also came to an agreement over a set of voluntary principles that make it easier for wireless customers to unlock their devices and switch from carrier to carrier after a contract has been fulfilled.

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.

Bose Sues Beats for Patent Infringement Over Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Bose today filed a lawsuit against Beats Electronics, accusing Beats of infringing on a number of patents related to noise cancellation and other audio technologies (via TechCrunch). The lawsuit accuses Beats Studio and Studio Wireless branded headphones, which advertise "Adaptive Noise Cancellation," of violating five separate Bose patents in the United States.

In the filing, Bose points towards the 50 years of research, engineering, and development of noise cancellation techniques that went into the creation of its QuietComfort line of noise-cancelling headphones, which use the technology Beats has allegedly stolen.

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Beats has been accused of infringing on the following five U.S. patents, which pertain to various noice-cancelling techniques:

No. 6,717,537 - "Method and apparatus for minimizing latency in digital signal processing systems"
No. 8,073,150 - "Dynamically configurable ANR signal processing topology"
No. 8,073,151 - "Dynamically configurable ANR filter block topology"
No. 8,054,992 - "High frequency compensating"
No. 8,345,888 - "Digital high frequency phase compensation"

The lawsuit asks for an injunction that prevents Beats from continuing to produce products that infringe on Bose patents and it requests a damages award for using the company's technology. Bose has also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, seeking a sales ban on the Beats products that violate its patents.

Bose's infringement lawsuit against Beats is set to become Apple's problem as the company's purchase of Beats is expected to close this quarter. Apple initially announced its $3 billion acquisition of the headphone manufacturer in May. Apple is currently embroiled in a number of lawsuits, including an ongoing dispute with Samsung Electronics and several class action suits brought against it by former employees.

OS X Yosemite's Share of Mac Traffic Doubles Following Public Beta Launch

Following the launch of yesterday's public beta for OS X Yosemite, the operating system's share of global Mac traffic has nearly doubled according to installation numbers from GoSquared.

The site has been tracking the usage of OS X Yosemite in real time since its initial developer launch on June 2. Yesterday, ahead of the beta launch, Yosemite accounted for 0.26 percent of all Mac traffic globally and as of today, that number has crept up to 0.49 percent.

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In just over 24 hours, the number of Yosemite users has doubled, and those numbers will likely grow even further today and over the weekend as additional testers download the beta OS. Many users are still having issues downloading the software, which is preventing Yosemite from reaching all prospective beta testers.

Earlier this month, analytics from Chitika suggested developer interest in Yosemite was higher than usual, with early adoption rates outpacing Mavericks adoption rates by a significant margin. High interest in OS X Yosemite can be attributed to both the operating system's redesign with a focus on simplicity and translucency and its new features that offer deep integration with iOS 8, including Continuity.

Last year, OS X Mavericks was adopted at a rapid pace, seeing 7 percent installation in under 24 hours after its public launch. Based on the public beta numbers and the high developer interest, Yosemite adoption may be even more rapid when the software is released to the public this fall.

OS X Yosemite is currently available to registered developers and those who signed up to beta test the software. Beta users who are new to the operating system can check out our first impressions post and get troubleshooting tips and information on Yosemite's new features in our Yosemite forums.

GoSquared's Yosemite numbers are gathered from the percentage of page views across all sites using GoSquared's analytics and updated on a minute-by-minute basis.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

OS X Yosemite Beta Failing to Download for Some Users

After announcing its OS X beta program at WWDC in June, Apple yesterday released the first beta version of the operating system to the public amid favorable reviews. For a growing number of people, the early impressions of OS X have not been positive due to a downloading issue that has prevented the installation of the OS.

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Users in MacRumors forums, Apple support forums and on Reddit have complained about not being able to download OS X Yosemite from the Mac App Store. These users have successfully redeemed a promo code and initiated the installation, only to have it fail during the download process. This issue has persisted more than 24 hours after the beta was released, suggesting it is not a problem with server overload.
All Apple's online services are fully operational, and Apple support has not mentioned any potential issues that could interfere with OS X downloads. Several users have reported that using a VPN and selecting an alternative country such as Canada has solved the download issue, while others have chosen to delay the install indefinitely.

Apple's beta program has made OS X Yosemite available to up to a million new, non-developer users who now are experiencing the OS for the first time. Beta users can check out our first impressions post as well as our forums for troubleshooting tips, known issues and more.

Related roundup: OS X Yosemite

Apple's Quarterly Spending Points to Major Product Launches, Significant Revenue Growth

Looking at Apple's quarterly SEC quarterly filing, Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley believes Apple's revenue is poised to explode in the coming quarters. Huberty based her prediction on increases in Apple's off-balance sheet commitments, which have a historical correlation with revenue growth.

Off-balance sheet commitments are those investments in components and services that are involved in the mass production and launch of new devices. These line items include component purchases, manufacturing process equipment investments, advertising, and other services. Huberty notes that Apple's total spending in these areas has climbed 46 percent yearly and 36 percent quarterly in fiscal Q3 2014, making last quarter's jump the largest spending increase since Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007.

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Huberty, not surprisingly, attributes this spending increase to Apple's iPhone 6 and iWatch wearable, both of which are expected to launch later this year. These new products, along with services such as mobile payments, could accelerate growth and boost margins.
Apple has the opportunity to take share in slower growth smartphone and tablet markets with larger screens and new services. New product categories like iWatch, and services like payments could further boost growth.
Apple is rumored to be launching its next-generation iPhone 6, refreshed iPad models and a new iWatch smartwatch later this year. The company may also update its Mac hardware to coincide with the debut of OS X Yosemite.

Related roundups: iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPad Air, iWatch