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Updated 11-Inch and 13-Inch MacBook Airs Reportedly Coming Next Week

Apple may be planning to update its MacBook Air line next week, according to a new report from MacGeneration [Google Translate]. Citing reliable sources, the website notes that references have been made towards new devices featuring screens of 11-inches and 13-inches, which are the current display sizes for the MacBook Air.

Apple last updated the MacBook Air in June 2013, which featured Intel's energy-efficient Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based storage, and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

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If the claims turn out to be true, it is likely that a new MacBook Air at this point in time would feature a small speed bump among few other changes. As outlined by Intel's processor roadmap, Apple could choose to use a number of just-launched processors for an updated entry-level MacBook Air, including the 1.4 GHz i5-4260U, 1.4 GHz i5-4350U, or the 1.5 GHz i5-4360U.

Notably, the 4350U chip has been available since last year, but Apple elected not to use it in the current MacBook Air. It is also unclear as to what processor Apple would integrate into an updated high-end MacBook Air, as leaked roadmaps have still yet to show a direct successor to the current i7-4650U chip.

Multiple reports have also indicated that Apple is working on a brand new 12-inch MacBook Air for later this year. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the notebook is expected to feature a thinner design than the current MacBook Air, and utilize a fan-less cooling system, buttonless trackpad, and higher resolution Retina display.

While it is unclear how a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air would fit into the current lineup, analyst Daniel Matte argued that the laptop will be exactly 11.88'' in diagonal screen size, allowing Apple to offer a Retina Display (2732 x 1536, twice 1366x768) with the exact same PPI as the iPad Air (264 PPI).

Apple is also expected to update its line of Retina MacBook Pros during the third quarter of 2014 alongside the aforementioned 12-inch Retina MacBook Air.

Related roundup: MacBook Air

Report Claims iPhone 6 Will Feature Curved Display, All-Aluminum Rear Shell

Apple's next-generation iPhone may feature rounded edges and a curved glass display, according to a new report from Mac Otakara [Google Translate].

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The Squair Curvaceous Bumper

Citing "reliable sources", the publication notes that the iPhone 6's cover glass will sit flush with the device's rounded corners, departing from the straight edges seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5s. The report likens the device's profile to the Squair Curvaceous Bumper, a Japan-made aluminum bumper for the iPhone that features a rounded housing.

The report also claims that Apple will do away with the rear glass antenna breaks found on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5s in favor of an all-aluminum design. Such a move would likely mean that Apple is incorporating significant changes to its overall antenna layout, perhaps positioning current radios in different locations.

Throughout the past few months, various reports have indicated that the iPhone 6 may feature slightly rounded edges. However, only a few reports have claimed that the device will feature a curved glass display, with Bloomberg noting last December that the company was working on two iPhones with large curved screens for this year. That account however was contrasted by The Wall Street Journal this past January, which said that Apple would not be using a curved display in its devices.

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Renderings of the iPhone 6 (4.7'') and iPhone 6 (5.7'') based on leaked schematics

Apple will likely unveil the iPhone 6 later this year in two different sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. It is also likely that the smaller 4.7-inch version of the phone will ship first in the third quarter of this year, while the larger version is estimated to ship later due to challenges with the device's display technology and battery life.

In addition to a larger display, both versions of the iPhone 6 are expected to include a thinner, bezel-free design, faster A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and an upgraded camera with optical image stabilization. The device is also expected to debut with Apple's latest iOS 8 mobile operating system, which will likely feature enhancements to Maps, Siri, and iCloud in addition to a new "Healthbook" app. Apple is also said to be negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.

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

iPhone 6 Size Compared to Galaxy S5 and Other Android Phones

With a large bulk of the rumors for the iPhone 6 revolving around its purported increased screen size, there have been a healthy amount of iPhone 6 renderings exploring what the phone could look like and how big it would be compared to the current iPhone 5s.

MacRumors forum member deuxani decided to take it a step further and compared the 4.7" iPhone 6 to its Android-based competition.
If the rumors are true, at least one model of the iPhone 6 will contain a 16:9 4.7” screen. When you think about it realistically the iPhone 6 will have a home button with a finger print scanner the same size as the iPhone 5S. Also will the top and bottom bezels have the same height for symmetry. The side bezels will be smaller than the iPhone 5S, but they will not be non-existing.
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First, deuxani compared the rumored iPhone 6 to the Motorola Moto X and LG G2 Mini, two 4.7-inch Android phones, that were actually smaller despite having the same screen size. This is largely because of of the rounded Touch ID sensor on the bottom and the need for the top and bottom bezels to be symmetrical due to Apple's design philosophy.
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Compared to the 5" Nexus 5 and the 5.2" LG G2, deuxani found the iPhone 6 could be as tall as either phone with less screen real estate.

And finally, when compared to this year's flagship 5" HTC One (m8) and Samsung Galaxy S5, deuxani found that the Android devices were larger in every way.
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In conclusion, deuxani found that the iPhone 6 could find it difficult to impress in screen size alone when compared to its Android competition. However, the iPhone 6 may stand out in thinness, which was highlighted in a video earlier today comparing an leaked iPhone 6 case to other devices.

Apple has been rumored to release two larger sized iPhones this fall. The rumored sizes are 4.7" and 5.5", though the 4.7" version is thought to arrive first as Apple is allegedly having a difficult time finding a thin enough battery to place in the 5.5" model. A recently released Apple slide revealed that the company acknowledged that consumers wanted larger screened phones, which Apple couldn't provide them at the time.

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

iPhone 6 Case Compared to iPhone 5s, Nexus 5 and Galaxy Note 3 in New Video

We've seen several examples of cases designed for the rumored 4.7-inch version of the upcoming iPhone 6, and in a new video, Unbox Therapy compares a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 case to the iPhone 5s, the Nexus 5 and the Galaxy Note 3, giving us an idea of how the iPhone 6 might look next to other large-screened devices.

The 4.7-inch case is depicted next to the 4-inch iPhone 5s, the 4.95-inch Nexus 5, and the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3. The case is closest in size to the Nexus 5, which gives the best representation of how a 4.7-inch iPhone may feel in the hand. The iPhone 5s looks quite a bit smaller than the case, while the Galaxy Note 3 looks significantly larger.


Along with a size comparison, the video points out some of the design features on the case, which may translate to design changes on the iPhone 6. As has been pointed out in other case and part leaks, the sleep/wake button has been moved from the top right of the device to the right side.

Rumors have suggested the sleep/wake button might be relocated in order to improve one-handed use on a larger device, and the volume buttons might be altered as well, gaining a rectangular iPad-mini-style shape rather than the existing circular buttons on the iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 6 case is also noted to be quite thin, which is in line with previous rumors about the device. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 6 could be significantly thinner than the existing 7.6mm iPhone 5s at 6.5–7.0mm and it may also have a narrower bezel.

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Rendering of the iPhone 6 in both 4.7 and 5.7-inch sizes

Apple is expected to ship the iPhone 6 in two different sizes, the 4.7-inch version described in the video and also a 5.5-inch version that has reportedly seen some production delays. While the 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 may make its debut as soon as September, the 5.5-inch version may not ship until 2015.

Along with a thinner profile, multiple sizes, and a narrower bezel, the iPhone 6 might include a sapphire crystal screen, an A8 processor, and camera improvements in the form of optical image stabilization.

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

Apple CEO Tim Cook: It 'Means More to Us to Get it Right' Than to Be First

During the question and answer portion of today's financial earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained why the company has been slow to put products out in 2014, pointing towards the company’s attention to detail and its desire to "perform at a really high level of quality" that Apple's customers expect.

Cook noted that Apple did not ship the first MP3 player, smartphone, or tablet, but he said that the company did release the first "acceptable" and "modern" smartphone, tablet, and MP3 player when it launched the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

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"We care about every detail and it takes us a bit longer to do that. That's always been the case," he said. "It means more to us to get it right than to be first."

Cook pointed towards examples in the marketplace where the clear objective was to be first, possibly referring to Samsung and its poorly received Galaxy Gear smart watch. Apple customers "want great, insanely great," said Cook, and "that’s what we want to deliver."

According to Cook, Apple has many products in the pipeline that the company is excited about, but it is not yet ready to "pull the string on the curtain." He did say, however, that Apple has expanded the number of things the company is working on behind the scenes.

Apple Acquired 24 Companies Over Last 18 Months, 'We're On The Prowl' for More

Applelogo.pngDuring today's second quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has purchased a total of 24 companies over the last 18 months, some that are known and some that remain unknown.

Just over half of Apple’s acquisitions have come to light, which means the company has purchased a number of additional companies that have not been disclosed. So far in 2014, Apple acquired SnappyLabs, a company that produced a burst-mode photo app, and Burstly, the company behind the Testflight iOS beta testing platform.

2013 saw Apple acquire several different mapping apps, including BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, and WiFiSlam, along with other notable additions like 3D company PrimeSense and Novauris, a speech recognition company. Back in October, Tim Cook noted Apple had completed 15 strategic acquisitions in 2013, pointing towards a number of new acquisitions already in 2014.

The technology from Apple’s acquisitions will likely make its way into future products and updates. For example, all of the mapping acquisitions are expected to be put to use in iOS 8, which will see the addition of transit directions and possibly improved indoor mapping techniques.

During the call, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that investing in research and development along with hardware, software, and services were top priorities, and that the company was "on the prowl" for new companies to acquire.

Former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to Join Apple Next Week

During today's second quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company's new retail and online leader, Angela Ahrendts, will be joining Apple next week.

Ahrendts first resigned from British luxury fashion house Burberry in October of 2013, but was contractually obligated to stay on with the company for another six months as it transitioned to new CEO Christopher Bailey. As of April, Ahrendts fulfilled her obligations and became free to leave Burberry to join Apple.

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Earlier this month, rumors suggested Ahrendts might stay on with Burberry until June in order to pick up a two million pound performance bonus, but it appears that she will not be staying with the company in order to collect the payment.

Ahrendts will join Apple as the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, a position that has seen significant turnover over the past several years. In 2011, Ron Johnson left Apple for J.C. Penney, after building up Apple's retail presence during his 11-year tenure. Johnson was then replaced by Dixons CEO John Browett, who served less than a year at Apple. Since Browett's departure, the position has been empty.

Apple Reports Record March Quarter Results, Splits Stock 7-for-1, and Boosts Share Buyback

Apple LogoApple today announced financial results for the first calendar quarter and second fiscal quarter of 2014. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $45.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $43.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 39.3 percent compared to 37.5 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 66 percent of revenue. Apple also declared an increased dividend payment of $3.29 per share, payable on May 15 to shareholders as of the close of trading on May 12. The company currently holds $150.6 billion in cash and marketable securities.

In addition to the increase in the dividend payment, Apple said it will dramatically increase its share repurchase authorization to $90 billion from $60 billion and will execute a 7-for-1 stock split as of June 9. The company says it expects to spend over $130 billion in cash under its capital return program by the end of 2015. Apple is now paying $11 billion per year in dividends to shareholders.

Apple previously had a 2-for-1 stock split back in 2005.
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Quarterly iPhone unit sales reached 43.7 million, compared to 37.4 million in the year-ago quarter, and the company sold 16.35 million iPads, down from 19.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 4.1 million Macs compared to just under 4 million in the year-ago period.
“We’re very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market.”
Apple's guidance for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 includes expected revenue of $36-38 billion and gross margin between 37 and 38 percent.

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Apple will provide live streaming of its fiscal Q2 2014 financial results conference call at 2:00 PM Pacific, and MacRumors will update this story with coverage of the conference call highlights.

Conference Call and Q&A Highlights are available in reverse chronological order after the jump.

Click here to read rest of article...

Apple Leaves Users Vulnerable By Not Fixing iOS and OS X Security Issues Simultaneously

Notable computer security researcher Kristin Paget, who worked on Apple's security team before leaving for Tesla in early 2014, has taken to her blog (via Ars Technica) to criticize Apple for fixing more than a dozen security flaws in iOS weeks after patching them in OS X.

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iOS 7.1.1, released yesterday, patched multiple WebKit vulnerabilities that were initially fixed in OS X with the release of Safari 7.0.3 on April 1. The delay between fixes, says Paget, alerted hackers to serious flaws potentially exploitable on Apple's mobile operating system and then gave hackers ample time to exploit the vulnerabilities.
Is this how you do business? Drop a patch for one product that quite literally lists out, in order, the security vulnerabilities in your platform, and then fail to patch those weaknesses on your other range of products for weeks afterwards? You really don't see anything wrong with this?

Someone tell me I'm not crazy here. Apple preaches the virtues of having the same kernel (and a bunch of other operating system goop) shared between two platforms – but then only patches those platforms one at a time, leaving the entire userbase of the other platform exposed to known security vulnerabilities for weeks at a time?
Addressing Apple, Paget goes on to write that Apple needs to sit in front of a chalkboard and write out "I will not use iOS to drop 0day on OSX, nor use OSX to drop 0day on iOS."

In addition to the WebKit vulnerabilities that were patched out of sync, Apple also recently exposed a major OS X flaw when patching the same flaw in iOS. Back in February, with the release of iOS 7.0.6, a major SSL connection verification vulnerability came to light. Known as the "goto fail" bug, it left iOS and OS X users vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks where hackers could pose as a trusted website to intercept communications or acquire sensitive information.

Apple launched iOS 7.0.6 on a Friday, fixing the vulnerability on iOS but leaving OS X users vulnerable to attack until the following Tuesday, when it released OS X 10.9.2 to patch the security flaw.

GameStop Expanding Beyond Video Games with Aggressive Growth Plans for 'Simply Mac' Stores

Major video game retailer GameStop is making a significant push to broaden its business, expanding its retail operations with new brands and stores that will focus on Apple gear and AT&T Mobility products, reports The Star-Telegram.

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While the diversification will include a move into AT&T mobile services through GameStop's acquisition of Spring Mobile, of more interest for Apple users is GameStop's plans for Simply Mac, a chain of authorized Apple resale and repair shops that focuses on smaller markets where Apple has not shown interest in opening its own stores. Founded in 2006 in Utah, Simply Mac grew to eight stores by October 2012 when GameStop acquired a 49.9 percent stake in the Apple reseller. In November 2013, GameStop exercised an option to purchase the rest of Simply Mac, which now includes 23 locations focused in the western half of the United States, and GameStop has plans for a significant expansion of the Simply Mac network.
[GameStop CEO Paul] Raines said GameStop’s confidence in rapid growth at the small chains, acquired for about $110 million last year, is buoyed by their strong ties to industry leaders AT&T and Apple.

Steve Bain and Jason Ellis, the executives who built Simply Mac and Spring Mobile, continue to run the operations for GameStop and see strong growth opportunities. After opening 23 stores this year, Bain said, the company plans to open 50 more Simply Mac stores in 2015.
While its stores are smaller and lower profile than many of Apple's retail stores, Simply Mac's push to open nearly 75 stores through the end of 2015 appears to dwarf Apple's own plans in the United States. Apple typically opens around 30 stores per year, but at this point the majority of those are outside of the United States.
The “transformation,” as CEO Paul Raines dubbed it, is intended to keep GameStop growing and leverage its expertise in store operations and buying and selling used devices. He said he envisions GameStop as a “family of specialty retailers that make your favorite technologies affordable and simple.”
As GameStop expands into the lucrative mobile phone and Apple device market, the retailer plans to downsize its video games operations by closing up to 130 of its 6,400 GameStop stores sometime this year. Though video games will remain its primary focus, GameStop CEO Rob Lloyd believes the company's new technology brands could generate up to $1 billion in revenue and contribute up to 10 percent of GameStop's revenue by 2016.

This move into Apple's retail segment comes at a time when Apple is in the middle of a retail transition. The company is awaiting the arrival of retail head Angela Ahrendts, who is completing her transitionary period at Burberry. Apple also is rumored to be working on a mobile payments system under the leadership of Jennifer Bailey, who allegedly left her executive role in online retail to spearhead this new mobile initiative.

References to Siri for Apple TV Found in iOS 7.1 Code

Amid persistant rumors that Apple is developing a revamped Apple TV set-top box, new code appearing in iOS 7.1 indicates that the company is indeed working on building in support for Siri voice input on the Apple TV, as highlighted by 9to5Mac. The references are included in both iOS 7.1 and iOS 7.1.1, but not in earlier releases such as iOS 7.0.6.

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The file is a supporting property-list resource for Assistant (Apple's internal name for Siri), containing information about the feature. The UIDeviceFamily array declares what platforms are compatible with the feature.

As shown by Apple’s documentation, '1' and '2' represent the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad families. The '3' represents the Apple TV family.
References to a new Apple TV model were previously found in iOS 7 builds, and today's information suggests that voice input and feedback are likely to be included on the new device.

Apple's launch plans for a new Apple TV box remain unclear, with rumors of a late 2013 launch giving way to reports centering around an introduction in March or April of this year. Those rumors were then quashed by The Loop's Jim Dalrymple, leaving uncertainty about Apple's television plans. A recent product roadmap prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated that the new Apple TV could arrive around September or October of this year.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Apple's New 'Powerful' iPhone 5s Micro-Site Profiles Apps from Latest TV Ad

Apple today unveiled a new section on its website dedicated to the "Powerful" ad that made its prime time television premiere on Tuesday. The commercial promotes the message that with the capabilities of the iPhone 5s "You're more powerful than you think."

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The accompanying website continues this "Powerful" theme that promotes the iPhone 5s as having the power "to create, shape, and share your life. The power to do everyday things in extraordinary ways, and to do extraordinary things every day." The new page includes both a high-definition version of the television commercial as well as links to all the apps showcased in the advertisement. The apps include Star Walk [iTunes], Instant Heart Rate [iTunes], Word Lens [iTunes], AmpliTube [iTunes], Luminair [iTunes] and Pacific Rim [iTunes].

The "Powerful" ad features "Gigantic" by the Pixies [iTunes] playing in the background while iPhone 5s owners use their iPhone to play music, create art and even launch amateur rockets. This new television advertisement follows the company's earlier "Your Verse" campaign that showcases how individuals are using the iPad in amazing ways.

Sprint to Make All Devices Launched After February 11, 2015 Unlockable

In an updated unlocking FAQ found on its website (via Android Police), Sprint has stated that it will make all of its devices released after February 11, 2015 unlockable for use on other domestic networks such as AT&T or T-Mobile.

The move is a part of the agreement that the five major U.S. wireless carriers and the Federal Communications Commission signed in December in order to allow customers to unlock their devices and switch carriers if they wish.
I've been told by another carrier that Sprint needs to unlock my SIM slot in order to use my phone on the other carrier's network.

For eligible devices, Sprint will unlock the SIM slot, to the extent that a device SIM slot is capable of being unlocked. It is important to note that not all devices are capable of being unlocked, often because of the manufacturers' device designs, and that even for those devices capable of being unlocked, not all device functionality may be capable of being unlocked. Specifically, devices manufactured with a SIM slot within the past three years (including, but not limited to, all Apple iPhone devices), cannot be unlocked to accept a different domestic carrier's SIM for use on another domestic carrier's network. Sprint has no technological process available to do this. In accordance with Sprint's voluntary commitment contained within CTIA's Consumer Code for Wireless Service (“Unlocking Commitment”), Sprint is working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015 are capable of being unlocked domestically.
Last year, the Library of Congress ruled that

Apple Fixes FaceTime on Older Versions of OS X, iOS 6 Still Not Working

Apple tonight released an update for FaceTime on OS X [Direct Link], which resolves connections issues and is recommended for all FaceTime users currently running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The connection issues are presumably related to the problems reported last week which affected both older versions of OS X and iOS 6 versions of FaceTime.

Apple, however, has not yet addressed the problems with FaceTime that are in iOS 6. While it is encouraging that Apple released an update for FaceTime for OS X 10.6, Apple support's recommendations for iOS 6 users has been to upgrade to iOS 7. One user has quoted Apple support as saying that the only fix for iOS 6 is to upgrade to the latest version of iOS 7, with no current plans to release a fix on iOS 6 or iOS 5.

According to Apple's updated FaceTime troubleshooting page, users who are still having trouble with the application are recommended to update to the latest version of iOS or OS

Apple Debuts New 'Powerful' TV Ad Focusing on iPhone 5s [Updated]

Apple has debuted a new TV ad alongside Marvel's Agents of SHIELD tonight on ABC called "Powerful". The ad, which was first spotted by 9to5Mac, showcases iPhone 5s owners using the device to enhance their lives in multiple ways.


With "Gigantic" by the Pixies [iTunes] playing in the background, the app has users using the iPhone 5s to check their health, check for directions, create short monster movies, record videos, create art installations and more, including a band preparing to play a song. The ad ends with the tagline "You're more powerful than you think".

Apple has not aired an iPhone 5s ad since the seasonal holiday ad "Misunderstood", which has since been removed from its YouTube channel. In the meantime, Apple has instead focusing its advertising efforts on the iPad's "Your Verse" ad campaign.

Update 8:31 PM: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the ad as "Gigantic". It has been corrected to its proper name, "Powerful". Apple's official YouTube video for the ad has also been swapped

iWatch May Ultimately Replace iPod, No iPod Updates Expected in 2014

A research note (via Barrons) from Christopher Caso, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group, reiterates previous analyst reporting about the iWatch, saying Apple is looking to enter production with a pair of screen sizes in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Caso says Apple has production targets of 5-6 million units, but believes the iWatch will "essentially replace the iPod in the consumer portion of AAPL's product lineup" and will see lowered iPod sales as a result of customers choosing the iWatch instead. The note says the iPod is not expected to be updated this year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this year that the iPod "is a declining business", with sales dropping to under $5 billion in 2013, down from a peak of more than $8 billion in 2008. Apple's iPod lineup has not seen a significant update since Fall 2012, other than a minor color change to match the rest of Apple's portable offerings. The iPod Classic has not been updated in several years.

Apple has worked hard to have products at a variety of price points, from the $49 iPod Shuffle up to the 128GB iPad Air at $799, and then to the various Mac

Google Covering Defense Costs and Damage Awards for Four Patents in Apple/Samsung Case

Google is covering lawyer fees and potential damage awards with regards to four patents in the ongoing Apple/Samsung patent case, according to a report from Re/code, quoting deposition testimony from a Google attorney that Apple introduced in court today.

Google's contractual obligations to defend Samsung relate to a "Mobile Application Distribution Agreement" between the two companies related to the distribution of Google applications, including Gmail on Samsung's Android devices. Samsung called several Google employees as witnesses as part of its defense.

The case between Apple and Samsung is seen by many as a proxy for the larger battle between Google and Apple over the company's respective mobile operating systems.

Apple played deposition testimony from Google lawyer James Mccoun, who verified e-mail in which Google agreed to provide partial or full indemnity with regards to four patents as well as to take over defense of those claims.

A Samsung representative said he could not immediately say which if any claims in the case for which Google is in fact providing the defense and indemnity.
Yesterday, Samsung argued that, if it lost at trial, it would only owe Apple $40 million in damages, substantially less than the $2 billion that Apple says it is owed for infringement of five of its

Apple Allowing Non-Developers to Apply for OS X Beta Program

Alongside iOS 7.1.1, Apple has introduced a new OS X beta program that will see non-developers given an opportunity to download OS X betas before they are released to the public. Previously, participating in OS X betas required a developer account, priced at $99 per year.

Join the OS X Beta Seed Program and accept the Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement. Apple will provide a Beta Access Utility for your Mac, which gives you access to pre-release versions of OS X in the Mac App Store Updates panel.
Users can apply to join the beta program on Apple's new Appleseed Beta website, which allows users to apply using an Apple ID.Apple requires everyone who signs up to sign a confidentiality agreement, which prevents users from disclosing, publishing, or disseminating confidential information to anyone not also enrolled in the Appleseed program.

After agreeing to keep beta information confidential, Apple asks users to make a backup on their Macs before downloading a special Beta Access Utility App which allows a Mac to be enrolled for beta software updates. All updates will be delivered via the Mac App Store, similar to standard OS X updates.

iOS 7.1.1 Now Labels Apps with 'In-App Purchases' in Top Charts and Featured Sections

As part of iOS 7.1.1, released earlier today, Apple has implemented some minor changes to the iOS App Store to make it more clear which apps offer in-app purchases.

Apple has provided an "Offers In-App Purchases" disclosure on individual app detail pages since March of 2013, but now the App Store has been updated to include a small "In-App Purchases" notification for apps in Top Charts listings and on specific featured apps listings, such as in the "Great Free Games" category.

Old Top Charts view on left, new Top Charts view with in-app purchase disclosure on right
This expanded in-app purchase view allows users to determine which apps on the Top Free, Paid, and Grossing charts offer in-app purchases. The disclosure is also available on top category listings as well.

Apple's new in-app purchase warnings come following a January settlement with the FTC that saw Apple providing $32 million in refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items. Apple was also required to obtain express consent from consumers before billing them for an in-app purchase, a measure that it initially implemented with iOS 7.1.

In-app purchases have long been an issue for Apple, first landing the company in hot water with the FTC in 2011 after multiple parental complaints over children over-spending within apps. Apple has made many updates to its in-app purchase policies since that time, including requiring a separate passcode entry for initiating an in-app purchase and providing multiple notifications before a purchase is made.

Along with changes to the App Store,

Apple Releases iOS 7.1.1 With Touch ID Improvements, Bug Fixes

Apple today released iOS 7.1.1 to the public, a month and a half after releasing its first major update, iOS 7.1. While iOS 7.1 included several visual tweaks along with the addition of CarPlay, Siri improvements, and Touch ID enhancements, today's minor update focuses only on bug fixes.

iOS 7.1.1, labeled as build 11D201, offers additional improvements to Apple's Touch ID, fixes a bug that impacts keyboard responsiveness, and fixes a bug involving Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver enabled. The update also includes Safari support for new top-level domains like .photo and .camera.

This update contains improvements, bug fixes and security updates, including:

- Further improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition
- Fixes a bug that could impact keyboard responsiveness
- Fixes an issue when using Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver enabled
iOS 7.1.1 can be downloaded via the software update tool in the settings menu on iOS devices.

Apple has also released a 6.1.1 update for the Apple TV.