Monday October 20, 2014 2:21 pm PDT by Juli Clover
During its financial results call covering the fourth fiscal quarter (third calendar quarter of 2014), Apple shared details on the success of its iTunes Store, which has become an increasingly important revenue source for the company in recent years, mainly due to the ever-growing popularity of the App Store.
$4.6 billion in revenue marks Apple's most successful iTunes quarter ever, up $2 billion from last year, and its $18 billion in revenue for 2014 is $2b higher than last year's $16 billion in total iTunes revenue.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple hit an all time high in App Store revenue, with growth of 36 percent compared to Q4 2013. Apple has seen cumulative app downloads of 85 billion, up 10 billion since July. Along with "tremendous" growth in the App Store, the iTunes Store saw all-time record billings, up 22 percent year over year.
Overall, Apple posted revenue of $42.1 billion and a net quarterly profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $37.5 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.5 billion ($1.01 per diluted share) in the year-ago quarter.
Monday October 20, 2014 1:58 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Apple's iPad sales are down for the third straight quarter according to the company's earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2014, selling a total of 12.3 iPads which is down from 14.1 million units in the year-ago quarter. The company has sold 68 million iPads in 2014 and has sold 237.5 million iPads total. The news comes after the company announced its new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 last week at its special media event.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented that the drop in iPad sales over the past two quarters was just a "speed bump" for Apple. In the company's third-quarter earnings call, Cook highlighted overall sales of more than 225 million iPads since the device launched in 2010 and suggested the tablet market as a whole was still "in its infancy." The CEO also stated at the time that "significant innovation could be brought to the iPad" ahead of this year's new iPad releases.
The new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will go on sale this week, although the company focused primarily on the former at its event. The iPad Air features a faster A8X processor, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a profile that is just 6.1 mm thick, and a new gapless laminated display that produces sharper images. Meanwhile, the iPad Mini 3 includes a few changes aside from the Touch ID home button and a new gold color option.
Apple is also said to be preparing to launch a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro early next year, although some reports have claimed that mass production of the larger tablet has been put on hold to shift resources towards iPhone 6 plus production. The display of the larger tablet will reportedly near ultra high-definition quality and will likely ship with the faster A8X processor.
Monday October 20, 2014 10:27 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today updated its Apple Store app, adding support for Apple Pay, which was enabled with the recently released iOS 8.1 update. Following the update, users will be able to use their iPhones to make purchases in the Apple Store app that are verified with a simple finger on Touch ID.
In-app Apple Pay purchases are available for iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus users. When the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 are available, those devices will also be able to use Apple Pay within apps thanks to the addition of Touch ID. While all devices with Touch ID can app purchases for physical goods using Apple Pay, retail purchases will be limited to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users, as those devices support NFC.
Along with the Apple Store app, several other apps should be receiving updates in the very near future to allow them to work with Apple Pay. Apple has several app launch partners including Starbucks, Uber, Grupon, Target, and more.
Monday October 20, 2014 8:07 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Chinese authorities allegedly are using a man-in-the-middle attack to harvest Apple ID information from Chinese users visiting Apple's iCloud service, reports web censorship blog Great Fire (via The Verge). A similar attack reportedly targets Microsoft's login.live.com website.
According to Great Fire, Chinese users trying to access iCloud.com are redirected to a fake site that resembles Apple's iCloud website. While some browsers will issue a warning, popular Chinese browser Qihoo gives no indication users are entering their Apple credentials into a dummy site. Users fooled by the site may be putting their personal information at risk as attackers can then use these login details to access contacts, messages and more stored in iCloud.
This is clearly a malicious attack on Apple in an effort to gain access to usernames and passwords and consequently all data stored on iCloud such as iMessages, photos, contacts, etc. Unlike the recent attack on Google, this attack is nationwide and coincides with the launch today in China of the newest iPhone. While the attacks on Google and Yahoo enabled the authorities to snoop on what information Chinese were accessing on those two platforms, the Apple attack is different. If users ignored the security warning and clicked through to the Apple site and entered their username and password, this information has now been compromised by the Chinese authorities.
This attack follows the Chinese launch of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and may be related to the encryption options and increased security of Apple's iOS 8. It is possible Chinese authorities are using this hack to penalize Apple for taking extra measures that would prevent the government from snooping on phones.
Great Fire advises Chinese users to switch to a trusted browser such as Firefox and Chrome, which will warn users when they access an illegitimate site. Apple owners also can use a VPN to bypass this redirection and connect directly to iCloud.com. Two-factor authentication may also prevent attackers from accessing an iCloud account using a compromised username and password.
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.
Monday October 20, 2014 1:19 am PDT by Richard Padilla
File-sharing service Dropbox has updated its official iOS app with a number of new features, including full optimization for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as well as integration with Touch ID for more convenient unlocking. The app also includes a fix for previewing rich text format files and general stability and performance improvements.
Dropbox saw its last major update last month after the release of iOS 8 which brought a new Notification Center widget, a new Share extension that allows files from other apps to be opened and saved, and the ability to manage shared folders in the app. A number of other apps have also included support for Touch ID since the release of iOS 8 last month.
Dropbox is a free app for the iPhone and iPad and can be downloaded from the App Store. [Direct Link]
Saturday October 18, 2014 6:41 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Yahoo-owned photo sharing service Flickr today updated its iOS app to Version 3.2, bringing full optimization for the iPad along with other new features. Flickr for iPad allows users to browse images on their feeds in high resolution and contains a full camera interface and editing suite for shooting and editing photos. In addition to a new interface, Flickr also now comes with its own iOS 8 share extension that allows photos to be shared through social media services like Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter.
This version of the Flickr iOS app is optimized to take full advantage of the larger screen on iPad, while delivering the gorgeous design you expect of Flickr, our powerful camera, and the versatility you need to manage your photos while on the go. On iPad, Flickr can now display images in high resolution by pushing up to 3,000,000 pixels per photo.
Flickr launched a redesigned app for the iPhone earlier this year, which brought new features like live filters and HD video recording. The service was acquired by Yahoo in May 2013, which led to a major overhaul and 1TB of free photo storage space for all users.
Flickr is a free app for the iPhone and iPad and can be downloaded through the App Store. [Direct Link]
Friday October 17, 2014 1:33 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Though the second-generation iPad Air was just announced yesterday, several prominent case manufacturers have already begun releasing cases for the new ultra thin tablets.
Many cases for the original iPad Air won't fit the new version of the iPad Air because it is 18 percent thinner at 6.1 mm instead of 7.5 mm, even though it has the same 9.4-inch height and 6.6-inch width. For that reason, prospective iPad Air 2 buyers who want to keep their tablets protected in a case will need to buy a case specifically created with the new design in mind.
We've gathered up a list of the iPad Air 2 cases that are available now or that will be available in the very near future below.
Griffin - Griffin has already come out with several different cases for the iPad Air 2, which have estimated shipping dates of one to two weeks. There's a Survivor All-Terrain Case and a Survivor Slim, both of which are priced at $79.99 and are designed to protect the iPad from drops and weather elements.
Griffin also has a simple TurnFolio case available for the iPad Air 2, which functions as a four-position workstand in landscape or portrait mode. The case, which ships in one to two weeks, is available for $49.99.
Apple - Apple has created its own Smart Cover and Smart Case for the iPad Air 2, which can be purchased from its online store. The iPad Air 2 polyurethane Smart Cover is designed to protect just the front of the iPad and is available in Black, White, Pink, Yellow, Blue, Green, and (PRODUCT) Red colors for $39. It appears that older iPad Air Smart Covers will fit the new tablet as new Smart Covers fit the original iPad Air.
Apple's leather Smart Case offers more protection and is designed to protect both the cover and the rear shell of the device. It's available in Black, Midnight Blue, Olive Brown, Soft Pink, and (PRODUCT) RED colors for $79.
Incipio - Incipio has four separate iPad Air 2 cases that will be available to purchase in the near future, including the $40 Octane Folio, designed to be impact resistant; the $35 Clarion, with a clear backing; the $40 Faraday, with a magnetic fold over closure; and the $50 Tuxen, a Snap-On Folio with a magnetic closure.
A limited number of existing iPad Air cases may fit the new iPad Air 2, and all sleeves and bags designed for the iPad Air will, of course, also be compatible with the new iPad Air 2. Additional Apple accessory makers will be coming out with iPad Air 2 cases in the coming weeks as well, now that the new tablets are shipping to customers in just a few days.
Friday October 17, 2014 7:27 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Following a successful week of pre-orders, Apple today started selling its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in China. The launch was relatively calm with hundreds of people reportedly waiting in lines at each retail store amidst strong security, according to The Wall Street Journal.
About 100 customers waited in line Friday morning outside Apple’s store in Beijing’s upscale Sanlitun shopping district, which opened its doors at 8 a.m. for buyers who had pre-ordered their new wares—the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+. That was in part because the phone also went on sale at midnight elsewhere, including offices of China’s biggest telecom carriers.
This orderly gathering is a marked difference from some previous iPhone launches which were marred by fights and near riots by waiting mobs of mostly scalpers.
Those waiting in line reportedly were interested in the bigger screen of the new iPhone with customers opting for the pricier 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus over the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. This preference also was apparent in pre-orders with Chinese e-commerce site Jingdong Mall (JD.com) processing more reservations for the iPhone 6 Plus.
As retailers handle in-store customers, car service Uber, which is known for occasionally offering delivery of offbeat items such ice cream or playtime with kittens, offered on-demand delivery of their 16 GB iPhone 6 units in Shanghai earlier today. Customers who requested the Uber service were able purchase a phone from an authorized specialist who was driven to the customer's desired location.
Beyond China, Apple this month is expanding its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to 36 additional countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. It is the company's fastest iPhone rollout ever, with a goal to launch the iPhone in 115 countries by the end of the year.
Friday October 17, 2014 1:56 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Belkin has announced a lineup of new cases made for Apple's new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, including new keyboard cases and a variety of protective covers catered to the design of both tablets.
The QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for the iPad Air 2
The QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard for the iPad Air 2 ($149.99) features an improved keyboard layout that features the same amount of keys as a laptop, and also includes three brightness levels for backlighting. The keyboard is rated for up to one year of continuous battery life and also has adjustable landscape and portrait modes with two viewing angles.
Slim Style Cover and Slim Stripe Cover for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3
In addition to the keyboard cases, Belkin is also launching a variety of new covers for both the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 that are similar to Apple's own Smart Covers. Each cover can fold into a keyboard stand and features smart-wake technology. Made for the iPad Air 2 ($49.99) and iPad mini 3 ($39.99), the Slim Style Cover includes a curved, form-fitting design with a velvet finish, while the Stripe Cover for the iPad Air 2 ($39.99) and iPad mini 3 ($34.99) comes with a classic folio style. Belkin is also offering a Classic Cover for the iPad mini 3 ($29.99) that features a slim two-tone design and a Chambray Cover for the iPad Air 2 ($39.99) that features a folio style with a chambray finish.
Classic Cover for the iPad mini 3 and Chambray Cover for the iPad Air 2
Belkin's new protective covers for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are available to order now at its official website. Belkin's QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case and the QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2 will be available starting in December.
Thursday October 16, 2014 6:16 pm PDT by Juli Clover
GT Advanced Technologies today notified City Council members in Mesa, Arizona that it plans to permanently eliminate 727 jobs at its sapphire plant. Layoffs will include 524 production workers, 108 technical positions, 70 management jobs, and 25 administrative jobs.
Affected employees were notified about their impending layoffs on Thursday. Layoffs will start on Tuesday and employees will be "separated from employment" beginning on December 15, according to a notice provided by Linda Luman, GT's vp of human resources.
News that GT would eliminate hundreds of positions first surfaced last week, after the company asked the court for permission to "wind down" operations at its Mesa, Arizona manufacturing plant. The facility, which was purchased and outfitted by Apple, has been operational for less than a year.
GT Advanced first filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, after Apple withheld a $139 million loan payment because the sapphire supplier failed to meet necessary technical milestones. According to court documents and securities filings, GT may have begun having issues with sapphire production as early as February.
Apple gave GT Advanced a $440 million loan for purchasing sapphire equipment, but according to information leaked during the GT's court proceedings, the sapphire company was unable to produce sapphire up to Apple's standards, leading Apple to stick with Gorilla Glass for the iPhone and the iPhone 6.
GT Advanced has plans to shut down its Mesa, Arizona plant, and it has also asked for court approval to void its contracts related to the operation, calling the terms of the contracts with Apple "oppressive and burdensome." The company will wind down operations over the course of the next few months, keeping on a small number of workers to monitor ongoing sapphire growth.
Once the current sapphire boules have been prepared for sale, employees will clean and decommission furnaces and then clean the plant itself, with a final closure coming on December 31. Apple has not commented publicly on the matter beyond its initial pledge promising to work to preserve jobs in the area.
Thursday October 16, 2014 3:01 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
With the release of OS X Yosemite today, Apple has updated its iWork suite of productivity apps on both Mac and iOS with support for the new version of OS X and Continuity, which allows users to continue their work from their iOS devices to Macs and back again.
iWork for Mac received the biggest improvements, with all new looks for Pages, Keynote and Numbers inspired by the look of OS X Yosemite. iWork for iOS received support for third-party storage providers, allowing users to save their documents with providers like Dropbox. Both versions of iWork received numerous improvements and refinements, like updated file formats for easier sharing through Gmail and Dropbox, customizable alignments and much more.
Apple's line of iWork apps are free to users who have recently purchased a new Mac or iOS device. Otherwise, each iWork app for Mac is available for $19.99 while each iWork app for iOS is available for $9.99.
Thursday October 16, 2014 1:03 pm PDT by Richard Padilla
Pixelmator today announced that it will be bringing a full-fledged version of its popular image editing app to the iPad, first showing it off at Apple's special media event earlier today and giving more details on its blog.
Like the Mac version, Pixelmator for iPad is a layer-based image editor that allows users to edit images in a non-destructive fashion and create illustrations. The app features a painting engine with retouching tools for photos, a touch-optimized painting engine, and a number of effects for typography, shapes, and more. Pixelmator for iPad also is compatible with Photoshop documents and can work with Pixelmator for Mac through iCloud or through OS X Yosemite's Handoff feature.
Pixelmator for iPad will sell for $4.99 when it launches later this year.
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