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Apple Likely to Introduce iPad Pro and iPad Mini 4 at September 9 Event

Along with unveiling the next-generation iPhones, the revamped Apple TV, and new Apple Watch Sport bands at its September 9 event, Apple is also likely planning to introduce the updated iPad mini 4 and the much-anticipated larger-screened iPad Pro, reports 9to5Mac.

While the event will see the debut of the 12.9-inch tablet, Apple does not plan to ship it until November, following late October pre-orders. A September introduction for new iPads is not in line with Apple's past iPad updates, which have come in October for several years running, but Apple may be introducing the iPad Pro several months early in order to give developers time to create apps for the new device.


Apple also plans to introduce the iPad mini 4, a significant update that brings the 7.9-inch tablet in line with the existing iPad Air 2. It appears the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 may not be updated in 2015, with Apple instead focusing its attention on the iPad Pro and the iPad mini 4 and pushing the iPad Air 2 update back to 2016.

New Macs are also not expected to be included at Apple's September event, and with the iPads being debuted this month instead of next month, it's unclear if we will see two fall Apple events in 2015 as we have in past years.

Today's report warns that while Apple's plan is to unveil the iPad Pro at the September 9 event, the company could choose to delay its introduction until October.

In addition to a larger 12.9-inch display, the iPad Pro is expected to include an A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, a Force Touch-enabled stylus, and perhaps USB 3.0 ports that will support peripheral devices. The tablet will run iOS 9.1, an update to iOS 9 that will debut in November when the iPad Pro launches.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: 9to5mac.com

Apple to Debut New Apple Watch Sport Bands at September 9 Event

At its upcoming iPhone-centric event on September 9, Apple will debut new Apple Watch Sport bands in a variety of new colors, MacRumors can confirm. News of the new bands was shared by 9to5Mac this morning, and we've also been hearing similar rumors about Apple's plans to introduce additional band options.

It is not clear what colors Apple is planning to introduce, but it's possible the company will focus on darker colors to complement the neon-like shades of the existing Apple Watch Sport bands, which come in bright pink, green, and blue, along with black and white.

Apple has already produced Sport Bands in additional colors, which were initially shown off by Jony Ive at the Milan Design Week in April shortly before the Apple Watch launched. At that event, he displayed a selection of bands in red, orange, yellow, blue, and several nude shades.

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Image via Umberta Gnutti Beretta

Apple has also provided several celebrities with custom Apple Watch Sport bands in unique colors. Former professional rugby player Will Carling received a red Apple Watch Sport band, while director J.J. Abrams was given a custom navy blue Sport band.

Along with introducing new Apple Watch bands, iPhones, and the revamped Apple TV, Apple may also announce sales of the Apple Watch in additional countries, including Austria, Denmark, and India. We'll also hear more about watchOS 2 at Apple's iPhone event, with Apple providing a launch date for the new operating system update.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

New Apple TV to Start at $149, Feature Universal Search With Siri

Apple is set to introduce the next iteration of its Apple TV lineup at next week's September 9 media event, alongside the expected announcement of new iPhones, and a previously rumored feature is gaining additional traction today with a report from BuzzFeed claiming the new Apple TV will have universal search functionality, letting users search once and get hits from multiple sources, not just iTunes.

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Universal search feature will reportedly be a "cornerstone" of the new Apple TV, allowing users to, for example, search for one movie across services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes, among others. The ability to search for actors and directors will also be included in the search options, and won't limit users to just movie or television show titles.
Sources familiar with Apple’s plans say that a cornerstone of the the company’s new set-top box is a universal search feature that will enable searches across multiple streaming video services as well as Apple’s iTunes Store. Instead of searching the catalogs of multiple video services one-at-a-time for a particular movie, you’ll now be able to search all — or most of them — at once and then choose the service on which you’d like to watch it. You’ll also be able to search for actors and directors, and run other more targeted searches as well — all with Siri.
The report also claims that the new Apple TV will "start" at a price point of $149, hinting that there could be more expensive models with perhaps the possibility of expanded storage capacities. The $149 retail price does line up with previous rumors that pegged the Apple TV of launching with either a $149 or $199 price tag. The company has been said to be keeping the third-generation Apple TV, currently priced at $69, as an entry-level option.

Along with Siri integration, the next-generation Apple TV is rumored to feature an A8 processor, a touch-pad remote, and an App Store with an SDK available for developers to create apps. The new box will be aimed at more than just video consumption, with recent rumors hinting that the newly designed remote control will include motion sensors to support "casual" gaming experiences.

Update 8:52 AM: According to a follow-up report by 9to5Mac, the new Apple TV's onboard storage will be in the 8–16 GB range, and the touchpad remote included with the box will be black rather than the silver seen on the current Apple TV remote.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Tag: buzzfeed.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Intel Unveils Full Lineup of Skylake Processors for Notebooks and Desktops, Early 2016 Likely for Most Macs

Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.

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Retina MacBook

Intel's new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.

CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).

Intel Skylake Core M MacBook
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.

Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.

Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.

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Apple Continues to Recruit Talent to Join Secretive Automotive Team

Apple continues to recruit talent to bolster its "Project Titan" team, which is rumored to be researching an electric vehicle. Over the past several weeks, the company has hired multiple employees from Tesla Motors, Texas Instruments, and other companies in the automotive and technology industries, likely to join hundreds of others already working on the so-called "Apple Car."

Tesla Texas Instruments
Apple hired former Tesla Motors engineering manager Hal Ockerse last month to join its own software engineering team, according to his LinkedIn profile. Ockerse was employed at Tesla between July 2014 and August 2015, working on hardware architecture and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) components, including cameras, radars, LiDAR, and engine control units (ECUs).

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Ockerse does not list his responsibilities at Apple, but it is likely that he is working on Apple's car-related project. His experience prior to Tesla includes an eleven-year stint at Gentex Corporation, where as a research manager he worked on advanced driver assist solutions, a three-axis automotive electronic compass, custom designed HDR image cameras and sensors, and more.

Apple also recruited former Texas Instruments design engineer Subhagato Dutta to join its in-house technologies team in July. Dutta is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, known for its research on self-driving vehicles, and worked on an automotive algorithm and imaging algorithm development team at Texas Instruments between July 2012 and November 2013.

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Yakshu Madaan joined Apple as a technical program manager in July, according to his LinkedIn profile. Madaan previously served as an operations manager at Tata Motors, the largest Indian automotive manufacturer, between July 2012 and August 2014. Madaan also designed and developed fuel injection strategies as a research assistant at the Indian Institute of Technology and UBC in early 2011.

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Apple has been recruiting automotive experts since at least February for its automotive-related project, including former Tesla, Ford and GM employees, but there still remains some uncertainty as to whether Apple is working on its own vehicle or building upon its CarPlay platform for an enhanced in-car experience. As expected, the project remains highly secretive in Cupertino.

Last week, it was reported that former Tesla firmware engineer Jamie Carlson left the company to join Apple's "Special Projects" group in August, alongside several other autonomous vehicle experts. Apple also hired Doug Betts, former Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group, and Paul Furgale, a researcher who specializes in autonomous vehicles, according to a report in July.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tags: linkedin.com, Tesla, Texas Instruments

Apple Watch Could Launch in Austria, Denmark and India This Month

Apple is expected to provide additional details about watchOS 2 at its September 9th media event in San Francisco. Alongside that announcement, a trio of rumors hint towards Apple expanding Apple Watch sales to Austria, Denmark, India and possibly other countries later this month.

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Austrian website MacMania claims that the Apple Watch will be available in Austria starting September 15, citing information it received over Facebook Messenger from a reputable source working for an undisclosed large electronics chain in the country. Apple does not have an official retail presence in Austria.

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MacMania reports the Apple Watch will launch in Austria on September 15

Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark, also recently issued a press release stating that its MobilePay service will support the Apple Watch when the device launches in Denmark next month (via Rec.dk), but the bank has since backtracked and now cites "rumors" about a September launch.

Danske Bank has a large presence throughout the Nordic region of Europe, with locations in Denmark, Finland and Norway, three countries where the Apple Watch is slated to launch before the end of the year per Apple's website. The bank also operates in Sweden, where the Apple Watch launched in July.

Indian website iGyaan claims that the Apple Watch will launch in India in September, starting at Rs. 24,999 for the entry-level Apple Watch Sport. "However we have some good news for those waiting to get their hands on the device," the report said in late August. "It arrives in the country next month."

The full list of countries where the Apple Watch will be "available in 2015" includes Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, Malaysia, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Apple also has an Apple Watch preview website live in Latin America, but no launch date is provided.

Apple has launched the Apple Watch in 22 countries to date in four waves:

  • April 24: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, U.K. and U.S.
  • June 26: Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan
  • July 17: The Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand
  • July 31: New Zealand, Russia, Turkey

    It should be noted that all four dates listed above were Fridays, so there is a possibility that Denmark's rumored Apple Watch launch date of Tuesday, September 15 is inaccurate. But with "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" pre-orders expected on Friday, September 11, ahead of a Friday, September 18 launch, and watchOS 2 expected midweek, Apple could go for an unusual date.

    Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
    Tags: India, Austria, Denmark
    Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
  • Apple Reportedly Exploring Producing Original TV Shows

    Apple has been having early discussions with Hollywood executives about producing original video programming in a bid to potentially compete against companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, according to a new report from Variety.

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    Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif. colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.
    It's currently unclear how large Apple's ambitions and commitment to producing original video content are, as sources have told Variety contradictory things about the Cupertino company's plans. One source says Apple wants to create development and production departments that could create long-term content like Netflix does with original TV shows and movies. Another source says Apple is "flirting" with the idea, and launched an "unprecedented bid" to sign Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond when they left the BBC. However, Amazon ended up winning that bidding war.

    In recent years, Apple has hired independent film content experts to shore up iTunes Movies' independent offerings with exclusive windows on films and a broader selection of content, including offering movies available for rent before or during their theatrical runs.

    More recently, Apple has expanded into original content with its worldwide Beats 1 Radio station and music videos for artists like Drake, Eminem and M.I.A., which are reportedly produced in-house. With Apple's rumored live TV-over-the-internet service coming in 2016, it's likely the Cupertino company could be looking for original and exclusive content to lure customers to its service rather than its competitors.

    Related Roundup: Apple TV
    Tag: variety.com
    Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

    Samsung Announces Round 'Gear S2' Smart Watch

    Samsung today unveiled its newest smart watch, the Samsung Gear S2, which is the company's first watch that includes a round display instead of one that's square or rectangular.

    Positioned as Samsung's seventh smart watch release, the Gear S2 comes in three varieties: Classic, standard, and 3G. The Classic version includes a black case with a black leather band, while the standard version includes a dark gray case with a matching rubber band or a silver case with a white rubber band. According to Samsung, the Classic model is for users "who prefer a more timeless watch design," while the standard model is "ideal for those who are on-the-go and have an admiration for minimal and modern design."

    samsunggears2
    The third model, the 3G Gear S2, features the same design as the standard model but includes a 3G radio to connect to 3G cellular networks. With dedicated 3G capabilities, the 3G Gear S2 can be used without a phone, unlike the Apple Watch and most other smart watches on the market.
    "For the past several years, Samsung has pioneered and advanced the wearables category, bringing brave new concepts to the smart wearables market," said JK Shin, CEO and Head of Samsung's IT & Mobile Business. "The Samsung Gear S2 reflects Samsung's most progressive innovation. It is the perfect complement for any occasion, easily taking you from day to night, from work to workout--and ensuring that you get more out of every moment in your day, by making it smarter and ultimately more personal and fun."
    Each of the 11.4 millimeter thick Gear S2 watches includes a 1.2-inch diameter touch display with a resolution of 360 x 360 (302 pixels per inch), a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512MB RAM, and 4GB of storage space. It charges wirelessly, has two to three days of battery life, and includes NFC, WiFi, and Bluetooth. On the battery front it outshines the Apple Watch depending on use, but it has less storage space than the Apple Watch's 8GB.

    The bezel of the Gear S2 rotates, a feature that's used to navigate through the operating system to interact with apps, and it also uses dedicated Home and Back buttons. Samsung plans to release apps and watch faces designed specifically for the circular display of the Gear S2. Taking a cue from Apple, Samsung designed a new 24-hour fitness activity log for the Gear S2, which will let users view daily progress and get reminders to help them stay on track with fitness goals.

    Samsung's Gear S2 watch runs the Tizen operating system instead of Android, making it incompatible with the Android Wear app for iOS that Google launched earlier today.

    Samsung has not yet released pricing details on the Gear S2 or provided a release date, but the company plans to provide more information at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, which starts later this week.

    Apple TV Gains Updated NFL Channel With Game Pass Integration

    The Apple TV's existing NFL Now channel was today revamped, changing the name to "NFL" and adding support for Game Pass subscriptions. Through the updated channel, NFL fans who have a Game Pass subscription can watch on-demand NFL games and live out-of-market preseason games on the Apple TV for the first time.

    In late July, the NFL did away with its existing NFL Game Rewind program, which previously gave customers in the United States access to on-demand NFL games after they aired on broadcast television. Game Rewind was replaced with Game Pass, with access being added to the Apple TV and the NFL Mobile app on the iPhone and the iPad.

    nfl_game_pass_main
    The prior NFL Now channel that was on the Apple TV was limited to historic videos, breaking news, and game highlights rather than complete games as the NFL's contracts with television providers have previously prevented it from showing full game content on the television through the Apple TV.

    Game Pass includes live access to most out-of-market preseason games, aside from those that are nationally broadcast, plus on-demand regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl games that are available after they air on broadcast television.

    Game Pass is available in the United States, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), and Mexico. An NFL Game Pass subscription is priced at $99.99 and access to content will last until July 31, 2016.

    nfl_game_pass
    NFL fans outside of the United States also have access to an international "Game Pass" service that offers up live games and on-demand content, which confusingly shares the same name as the new service available in the United States.

    (Thanks, Dale!)

    Related Roundup: Apple TV
    Tags: NFL, NFL Game Pass
    Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

    University of Oklahoma Becomes First School to Accept Apple Pay Across Campus

    applepayoklahomaAs of this week, the University of Oklahoma will begin accepting Apple Pay across its entire campus, becoming the first university to widely embrace Apple Pay. Students attending the University of Oklahoma can use Apple Pay at any of the campus's 400 point-of-service locations, including bookstores, restaurants, and more.
    Starting this week, Sooners are now able to pay for items at any one of OU's 400 point-of-service locations -- everywhere from Couch Restaurants to the One University Store and the OU Bookstore. That's right: Buying textbooks, technology and food on campus has never been easier -- or more techy.
    In a quirky post announcing Apple Pay, the university created a list of reasons why "having Apple Pay campus wide is so awesome," ranging from being able to pay without a wallet to the security of the transactions.

    The University of Oklahoma appears to be the first college to begin accepting Apple Pay campus wide, but in the near future, more than 700 universities and colleges will adopt the payments service. Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement during the company's third-quarter earnings call, specifically naming the University of Oklahoma, the University of Kentucky, and Auburn University, Cook's own alma mater.

    Since its October 2014 debut, Apple Pay has steadily grown in popularity. Apple Pay works with hundreds of debit and credit cards in the United States and it is accepted at more than 1 million locations across the country.

    (Thanks, Joshua!)

    Related Roundup: Apple Pay

    Apple and Cisco Team Up for iOS Enterprise 'Fast Lane'

    Apple today sent out a press release announcing a new partnership with Cisco, which will see the two companies teaming up to create a "fast lane" for iOS business users through the optimization of Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps. The partnership will allow iOS devices to work more efficiently in workplaces that use Cisco technology.

    cisco_apple
    iOS is the world's best mobile platform, and nearly every Fortune 500 and Global 500 company today has put iOS at the center of their mobile strategy," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "iPhone and iPad have become essential tools for the modern workforce and are changing the way work gets done. Together with Cisco, we believe we can give businesses the tools to maximize the potential of iOS and help employees become even more productive using the devices they already love."
    Through the partnership, iOS devices and Cisco networks will be optimized to work together to enhance productivity for enterprise users. Apple and Cisco are aiming to make the iPhone a better business collaboration tool for use with Cisco's voice and video environments, "providing employees with a seamless experience between their iPhone and their desk phone."


    Cisco will create "experiences" tailored to iOS devices across mobile, cloud applications, and collaboration tools like Cisco Spark, Cisco Telepresence, and Cisco WebEx to improve collaborative interactions and "reinvent the meeting experience.

    Apple Seeds Eighth Beta of OS X El Capitan to Developers, Sixth Beta to Public Testers

    Apple today released the eighth beta of OS X El Capitan to developers for testing purposes, nearly two weeks after releasing the seventh El Capitan beta and more than two months after unveiling the operating system at its 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference.

    Today's update, build 15A279b, is available through the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Apple Developer Center. There's also a new sixth beta for public beta testers, which is identical to the eighth developer beta.

    It is not clear if this update will add any outward-facing changes to El Capitan, as many of the prior betas have focused on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes to optimize the operating system ahead of its public release, but beta 7 did add some minor cosmetic updates to El Capitan.

    As an update complementary to OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan builds on the myriad features introduced last year. Behind-the-scenes improvements in El Capitan make a number of apps and processes on the Mac faster, and the introduction of Metal makes system-level graphics rendering 40 percent more efficient.


    El Capitan introduces a new system-wide font, a revamped Mission Control feature, a split-view feature for using two full-screen apps at once, deeper functionality for Spotlight, and improvements to Safari that include Pinned Sites and a universal mute button.

    OS X 10.11 El Capitan is currently available to both registered developers and public beta testers. Apple plans to release El Capitan to the public in the fall.

    Related Roundup: OS X El Capitan