Richard Padilla



'Launch Center Pro' Developer Releases Quick Messaging Apps 'Group Text+' and 'Email+'

Launch Center Pro developer Contrast today launched Group Text+ and Email+, two apps for quickly creating messages and emails by using shortcuts for adding contacts, groups, images, and more. Both apps work similarly to Launch Center Pro, with Contrast touting a "simplified" and "refined" interface for easily composing messages with shortcuts. For example, a Group Text+ user can quickly send an iMessage or SMS message sharing a location by tapping a few contacts, tapping a shortcut to add the location, and tapping a camera shortcut to take a photo of the location. Users can also send animated GIFs or copied text from the clipboard without having to manually input content, and shortcuts work in the exact same way for Email+. Group Text+ and Email+ also include their own iOS 8 Share sheet extensions, as users can easily compose a new message in other apps like Safari to easily access information. Group Text+ is available at a special price of $1.99 to commemorate its launch for the iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link] Email+ is available for $2.99 and can be downloaded for the iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]

EA Launches Free to Play 'SimCity BuildIt' for iOS

Electronic Arts today launched SimCity BuildIt for iOS devices, which is a new mobile iteration of its popular city-building franchise. The game features a variety of fully-detailed buildings found in the PC iterations of SimCity with touch-optimized controls for pinching, zooming, and rotating, as the game works online and offline. Like the PC version, gameplay is centered around keeping citizens happy by solving challenges like traffic and pollution while expanding a city with new resources and buildings. Players can also trade resources with friends and unlock exclusive buildings, natural disasters, and other content. The game was originally announced in September, and follows the release of the latest SimCity title on the Mac last August. SimCity BuildIt is a free download for the iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]

iPhone 6 Takes #1 Spot in Top Trending Google Tech Searches for 2014

Google today released its "Year in Search" feature, highlighting popular and trending searches for 2014 in a number of categories. Unsurprisingly, a number of Apple-related search terms ranked highly among the most trending searches in the Consumer Electronics category, with "iPhone 6" taking #1, "Apple Watch" taking #8, and "iPad Air" taking #10. Other popular search terms in the Consumer Electronics category include "Samsung Galaxy S5" which took #2, "Xbox One" which took #7, and "Nokia X" which took #9. Google's top 10 overall trending searches of the year did not include any tech products, however Dong Nguyen's ultra-popular app Flappy Bird did take the #6 spot. Last year, Apple-related terms like "iPhone 5s", "iOS 7", and "iPad Air" ranked highly among the most popular Google searches for 2013, coming in at #3, #11, and #68, respectively. Apple-related terms also performed strongly in the trending tech category last year, with the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad Air, iPad mini, and even the iPhone 6 all placing among the top

ShopKeep Updates iPad App with Apple Pay Support

Point-of-sale manufacturer ShopKeep today updated its official iPad app with support for Apple Pay, now allowing customers to pay with their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Merchants can accept Apple Pay payments if they have a ShopKeep terminal and an Ingenico iCMP Bluetooth Credit Card reader, which sells for $249 and also supports mangetic swipe and contactless payments. The reader will also be able to support EMV chip card payments in the future. What's New in Version 2.5.2 Introducing support for Apple Pay. ShopKeep has partnered with Ingenico, the global leader in secure electronic transactions, to integrate support for the iCMP card reader. This reader allows merchants to accept various forms of credit card payments, including magnetic swipe and contactless. This reader also supports chip card (EMV) capabilities, and support in the app will be available early next year ahead of the liability transition deadline. ShopKeep's move to accept Apple Pay comes a few weeks after payment processing service Square announced that it would be supporting Apple Pay at some point in 2015. Square would have to release all new hardware with built-in NFC connectivity to support Apple Pay, as its current reader is not able to accept the payment method. iCMP's Apple Pay capable Bluetooth reader for ShopKeep POS systems ShopKeep is a free app for the iPad and can be downloaded through the App Store. [Direct Link]

Apple Solves Yield Issues with Apple Watch Components, Mass Production Now Slated for January Claims Report

Apple and supply partner Quanta Computer have apparently solved its yield issues with various Apple Watch components as the wearable device is now gearing up to enter mass production in January, reports Taiwan's United Daily News (Google Translate, via GforGames). Previously, other sources projected that the Apple Watch would enter mass production at the end of February. The report notes that this is due to Quanta increasing its number of employees from 2,000 to 10,000, as the company expects to hire 20,000 employees to help with production. Apple is projecting to ship a total of 24 million Apple Watches in 2015. The United Daily News also mentions how a new "iPhone 6s" will likely miss a Spring debut, but that is to be expected as production of a new A9 chip has yet to gear up. The launch would also be unlikely as Apple's iPhones have never launched in the Spring. Employee comments made after the Apple Watch's debut in September noted that Apple may not be planning to launch the device until February 2015 or later, as the company originally planned to have the watch ready to ship in time for the 2014 holiday season. However, it is now possible that Apple has solved many of the issues surrounding production of the Apple Watch and will make its "early 2015" release projection. When it goes on sale, the Apple Watch will be available in a variety of materials with several different band choices and start at

Snapchat Updated with Support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Improved Captions and Filters

Photo sharing app Snapchat has been updated to version 8.1.0, bringing full support for the larger screens of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The update also includes improved captions with the ability to change the colors of special text, and the ability to stack filters by holding a photo in place with one finger and swiping it to add another filter. What's new iPhone 6 and 6+ layouts! Improved Captions! You can now change the color of Special Text, pinch to resize, and drag around the screen. Stacked Filters! After adding a filter, press and hold with one finger and swipe with another to add a 2nd filter to your Snap! Snapchat saw its last major update in November, which brought a new "Snapcash" money transfer feature built-in to the chat function. The service also launched a "Snapchat Stories" feature in October that allows users to add photos and videos to a news feed that expire after 24 hours. Snapchat is a free app for iOS devices and can be downloaded from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Some Bose Products Return to Apple Online Store After Two Month Absence

Following a two month absence, Apple has restarted sales of Bose products in its online store. The reinstated products include the Bose QuietComfort 20i, the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker, and the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III, but notably do not include the company's over-the-ear headphone offerings. The move follows a report yesterday which noted that some French Apple retail stores had begun receiving shipments of Bose products with an intent to put the products back on shelves, and it is now likely those products will return to stores shortly. It still is not clear as to why Apple removed Bose products from its stores, but the decision may have had something to do with Apple's acquisition of Beats Electronics and a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Bose in July against Beats. That lawsuit was settled between Beats and Bose before Bose products disappeared from Apple's store shelves, which may indicate that the removal and reinstatement was a part of the discussions between the two companies. Bose also signed a deal with the NFL to ban NFL players from wearing Beats headphones during games, which garnered comments from Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine who stated that it made Beats "look like the underdog." Bose products were not the only products removed by Apple in recent months, as the company also pulled Fitbit products from its retail and online stores. Unlike Bose products however, Fitbit products have yet to return to the Apple Store.

Apple's Best of the iTunes Store 2014: 'Elevate' and 'Pixelmator' Win Top App Honors

Apple today released the 2014 version of its iTunes Store awards, which highlights the best music, movies, TV shows, apps, books and podcasts of the year. Here are some of the top-level winners for 2014: Apps: iPhone App of the Year: Elevate - Brain Training iPhone Game of the Year: Threes! iPad App of the Year: Pixelmator iPad Game of the Year: Monument Valley Music: Best Artist: Beyoncé Best Album: 1989 by Taylor Swift Best Song: Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) by Iggy Azalea Best New Artist: Sam Smith Movies: Best Blockbuster: Guardians of the Galaxy Best Family Movie: The LEGO Movie Best Director: Richard Linklater Best Discovery: Obvious Child TV Shows: TV Show of the Year: Fargo Best Performances: True Detective, Season 1 Best Discovery: The Honorable Woman Best Breakthrough: Key & Peele, Volume 4 Books: Best Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Best Nonfiction: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs Apple has also given its end of the year charts for the most downloaded and top grossing iPhone and iPad apps. For the iPhone, Heads Up!, Facebook Messenger, and Clash of Clans finished as the top paid, top free, and top grossing app, respectively. For the iPad, Minecraft - Pocket Edition, YouTube, and Clash of Clans finished as the top paid, top free, and top grossing app, respectively. As customary for its end of the year listings, Apple has also highlighted various games and apps from a wide variety of categories. The company is also featuring content across the various genres and categories

Apple Debuts New iPad Air 2 TV Ad 'Change' with New Website Section

Apple today debuted a new ad for the iPad Air 2 named "Change" which showcases the new tablet being used in a wide variety of professions and situations. The ad shows the tablet being used by artists, motorcycle enthusiasts, photographers, and schoolteachers as its full-screen visuals shrink to resemble the form of the device itself. Apple has also posted a new "Change" section on its website, spotlighting the apps used inside of the ad such as illustration app Tayasui Sketches, cinematography app iStopMotion Plus, automotive app OBD Fusion, and AutoCAD 360. The ad is also backed by the song "Who Needs You", which is performed by American rock band The Orwells. The new "Change" ad campaign for the iPad Air 2 follows Apple's "Your Verse" campaign for the original iPad Air, which debuted last January and showed the specific use in the iPad in a number of dedicated fields. Those stories noted the iPad's use in mountaineering, sports, choreography, oceanography, travel, musical composition, and

Apple Tentatively Approves Plans to Expand Reseller Network in India with 500 New Stores

Apple will expand its retail operations in India with 500 new stores that see the company's reseller network moving into smaller towns and cities, according to a new report from The Times of India (via iPhone Hacks). The new locations will be done in collaboration with longtime distribution partners Redington and Ingram, and the stores themselves are said to be "smaller in size" and could range from 300-600 square feet. Apple is said to be in favor of adopting a franchise model for these stores, and is expected to increase spending for direct advertising in India. "All this will change now. The company is finalizing plans to become a serious player in India, which is being seen as a strategic and one of the most promising markets globally," a top company source told TOI. Sources said the company feels that there is "very high" potential for its products, including in smaller towns and cities like Amritsar, Pathankot, Moga, Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagpur and Nasik. Currently, the company is big in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. "We are amazed at the purchasing power in smaller towns. The primary objective is to give a better and proper experience with adequate product demonstration," another source added. Plans for the expansion have been tentatively approved by Apple and are expected to be fully defined soon. Previously, a report last October shared similar information about the company's plans in India, although that report said that the company would build 100 exclusive standalone stores under the franchise model in smaller markets.

Starbucks Launches 'Mobile Order & Pay' for iPhone in Portland, National Rollout Coming in 2015

Starbucks today launched its "Mobile Order & Pay" feature in Portland, Oregon, which allows customers to place an order on their iPhones with the Starbucks app and schedule it for a pick up, reports WIRED. The feature requires that users accept a one-time Location Services prompt in order to identify the nearest location accepting Mobile Order & Pay, and uses a customer's connected Starbucks card to pay for purchases. 1. Click on the “Order” option at the top right of the screen 2. Select the food and beverage items to order: Just as in-stores, beverages are customizable, including the option to modify size, number of espresso shots, dairy selections and more. 3. Select the participating store for pick up: Approximate wait times will be viewable on the customer’s phone prior to selecting store location. Directions will also be available if needed. 4. Confirm by clicking “order:” At the time of order, payment is made from the customer’s registered Starbucks Card. 5. Proceed to the selected Starbucks® store to pick up food and beverages: Orders are immediately sent to the selected store where Starbucks partners (baristas) will begin preparing the items. Starbucks plans to roll out the feature to more cities in the coming months and expects to complete a national rollout next year. The move could end up being a significant one for the company, as CEO Howard Schultz recently announced that 7 million of its 47 million weekly transactions are made with phones. Starbucks also notes that Mobile Order & Pay will be rolled out to its Android app next year. Mobile Order &

iPhone 6 Plus Makes Up 41% of Large Phone Sales as iPhone 6 Leads iOS Devices

Sales of the iPhone 6 Plus made up 41% of all sales for handsets with a display size of 5.5-inches or greater, according to a new report by Kantar Worldpanel. The data in the report represents the three month period ending in October 14, and also notes that sales of larger phones now represent 10% of overall smartphone sales, up from 2% for the same period in 2013. Aside from Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, larger-screen handsets from competitors like Samsung, LG, and HTC have also seen success. At the point of sale, when asked what drove their choice of smartphones, 58% of those surveyed who bought an iPhone 6 Plus said screen size was the primary reason for choosing their device. Despite the more compact design of the iPhone 6, 60% of consumers who chose it also cited screen size as the primary purchase driver. The ability to connect to a 4G/LTE network was the second most important reason cited by both buyer groups. The report still notes however that the iPhone 6 was the best-selling iOS device during the time period with a 33% market share. This was followed by the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c which owned a 26% and 16% market share respectively, and followed by the iPhone 6 Plus which captured 10% of iOS device sales. Of all iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus buyers, 85% of those surveyed were repeat iOS device buyers while 9% said they switched from Android. The iPhone 6 Plus saw heavy supply constraints shortly after its launch in September, with Apple reportedly delaying mass production for the iPad Pro to focus on producing more iPhone 6 Plus units. However, shipping times

Realmac Software Launches 'Typed', a Markdown Writing App Featuring a Minimal Interface

Clear and Ember developer Realmac Software today launched Typed, a new Markdown writing app for the Mac that emphasizes a minimal, responsive UI with multiple export features and customizable typefaces. When a user is writing inside of Typed, the app's interface automatically scales text to fit the current window size and contains a live character and word count functionality. Content written inside of the app can also be automatically exported to a number of formats including HTML, RTF, and PDF with auto save and auto preview options. The app also contains a full screen feature called "Zen Mode" which includes six soundtracks designed to help a writer's focus, and contains six font choices with one signature typeface that differentiates headers from body text. Typed also contains intelligent cursor placement when formatting text, keyboard shortcuts akin to other writing applications, and support for OS X Yosemite and OS X Mavericks. Typed is available for $19.99 from the Realmac Software store.

Apple Opening New Retail Store in Toledo, Ohio Saturday, December 6

Apple today announced on its website (via ifoAppleStore) that it will be opening a new store in Toledo, Ohio this Saturday, December 6. The store will be located at the Franklin Park Mall, which is home to a number of high-end and casual retailers. ifoAppleStore notes that this newest Apple Store carries a roll-out number of 266, which indicates that the store has been planned for years. Newer Apple Stores carry a 600-series rollout number. The Franklin Park Mall location marks Apple's first store in Toledo and eighth total in the state of Ohio. Apple's other stores in the state include locations in Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Westlake, and Woodmere. The Apple Store Franklin Park Mall opens at 9:00 A.M. this Saturday, December 6, and the company is expected to hand out commemorative T-shirts to the first 1,000 customers to visit. The location has also already begun accepting reservations for workshops and Genius Bar appointments.

Video Shows Size of 12.2-Inch 'iPad Air Plus' Mockup Next to iPhones, iPads, and MacBook

Last week, Japanese magazine Mac Fan published possible schematics depicting the design of a 12.2-inch "iPad Pro" or "iPad Air Plus". The schematics suggested that the larger-screened tablet would carry dimensions of 305.31mm x 220.8mm x 7mm, or 12 inches x 8.7 inches x 0.28 inches, which is in line with previous rumors about the device. Now, YouTube user Canoopsy (via Nowhereelse.fr) has created a video showing how an iPad Air Plus with those dimensions would measure up to Apple's other devices including the company's current iPads, iPhones and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Some reports have noted that the larger iPad would carry a 12.9-inch display, however Mac Otakara has suggested a 12.2-inch display for the device in two of its reports. A 12.2-inch iPad Air Plus is of course shown to be much bigger than Apple's current line of iPhones and bigger than the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2, as it even approaches the display size of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The iPad Air Plus is said to also feature a new A9 processor and dual top and bottom speakers for improved audio. Mac Otakara claims that the iPad Air Plus and a new iPad mini 4 may launch between April and June of 2015. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested earlier this month that the iPad Pro may not enter production until the second quarter of 2015 as Apple shifts its production resources towards improving supplies of the iPhone 6

Google's Chromebooks Overtake Apple's iPads for First Time in U.S. Education Market

Apple's iPad has lost its lead over Google's line of Chromebook laptops in the U.S. education market as Google shipped more devices to schools last quarter, according to figures released by IDC (via the Financial Times). In Q3 2014, IDC notes that Google shipped 715,500 Chromebooks to U.S. schools while Apple shipped 702,000 iPads. Analysts note that this advantage for Google's Chromebooks can be attributed to their low cost, which starts at $199 for some models. Samsung, HP, Dell and Acer make Chromebooks and has been active promoting the device to school districts, she added. Low upfront costs and simpler device management for schools’ IT departments has increased their appeal, compared with Apple’s higher-priced tablets, which start at $379 for last year’s iPad Air, including educational discounts. While the iPad’s touchscreen makes it a versatile device, the Chromebook’s integrated keyboard is also a factor in its appeal. “As the average age of the student grows the need for a keyboard becomes very important,” said Ms Singh. The report also notes that the Apple still holds a commanding lead over other tablet manufacturers in the U.S. education market, as numbers from the company in July stated that the iPad had an 85% market share. The news follows a report about the worldwide tablet market issued by IDC last week, which stated that year-over-year growth is expected to slow to 7.2% in 2014 from 52.5% in 2013. Analysts estimated that the market slowdown can be attributed to a decline in iPad shipments, as Apple is expected to ship 64.9 million iPads this

Apple Stores Once Again Coloring Logos Red in Recognition of World AIDS Day

As it has done for the past three years, Apple is once again recognizing December 1 as World AIDS Day at its retail locations by coloring their Apple logos red for the occasion. Several Apple Stores in the United States and the United Kingdom are expected to change the color of their logos, with images from Twitter showing that the company's store in Sydney, Australia has already adjusted its logo. The Apple Store in Sydney, Australia (Image credit: @AusNewsNetwork) Last week, Apple announced a new campaign for World AIDS Day 2014 done in collaboration with (Product) RED which saw the launch of a special Apps for (RED) section in the App Store and a donation initiative. The Apps for (RED) section is active until December 7 and contains 25 well known apps with the proceeds benefiting the Global Fund to fight AIDS. All of Apple's customers who purchased a select Apple product on Friday, November 28 received a special (RED) iTunes gift card, and during December 1, Apple will donate a portion of every sale at its retail and online stores to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. Apple sells a number of (Product) RED items where a percentage of the profits are donated to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. Throughout the past, those items have included iPod nanos and shuffles, iPad Smart Covers, iPhone Bumpers, iPhone cases, and more. This past June, (Product) RED announced that Apple had contributed $75 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics,

President Obama Signs E-Label Act, Companies No Longer Required to Etch FCC Labels on Devices

Earlier this year, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced the E-Label Act, which would allow for companies to meet the FCC's demands for certification labels by placing digital stamps on a device's software as opposed to etching information on hardware. The senators argued that the changes would allow manufacturers to save money and pass savings onto consumers. This was followed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) loosening its rules for labeling, stating that manufacturers could bypass etching FCC labels on their devices in favor of labeling by alternative means. Now, The Hill reports that U.S. President Barack Obama has officially signed the E-Label act into law, which will now allow for companies like Apple to drop FCC labeling from their devices. Instead of being etched on hardware, it is likely that the required information will now be inside of a settings menu. However, it is also likely that the certification labels representing the European Commission (EC) and its Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) initiative will still be seen on devices. Verizon iPhone 4 without FCC logos on left, GSM iPhone 4 with FCC logos on right. The slight design change could come to Apple's lineup of devices for next year, although it remains unclear as to how exactly the company will take advantage of the new rules and

Apple to Reportedly Stop Production of iPhone 5c in 2015

Apple will discontinue the iPhone 5c next year, according to Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times. Production of the handset is said to be stopping in the middle of the year, as Apple suppliers Wistron and Foxconn will look to wind down production of the device. The news follows a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this week which noted that production of the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 4S would end later in 2015 after promotional plans. Originally released as a lower-cost option last year, the iPhone 5c is currently available in a single 8GB configuration alongside the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. It is likely that Apple will stop production of the iPhone 5c to streamline its iPhone lineup, as every handset would then likely be equipped with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple's iPhone 5c saw lower-than-expected sales after its debut in 2013 due to high demand for the then-flagship iPhone 5s. Apple did attempt a renewed push late last year to promote the iPhone 5c, debuting ads for the device on popular blogging platform Tumblr and on websites like Yahoo.com. Other reports also suggested that Apple cut iPhone 5c production significantly while ramping up iPhone 5s production to meet customer demand last

iPhone Shipments Expected to Rise to 71.5 Million Units in Q4 2014, Drop to 49.4 Million Units in Q1 2015

Shipments of Apple's iPhone are expected to surge to 71.5 million units in Q4 2014 before the company decreases shipments to an estimated 49.4 million units in Q1 2015, according to a new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The analyst estimates that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will account for nearly 57 million of the fourth-quarter number and that the iPhone 5c and iPhone 4S will experience quarter-over-quarter growth in Q1 2015 before Apple ceases production of both phones later in the year. Kuo notes that he expects shipments of the iPhone 6 to outnumber shipments of the iPhone 6 Plus by a 2:1 ratio: We attribute the shortage of iPhone 6 Plus partly to less smooth production than iPhone 6. Moreover, while iPhone 6 Plus attracted greater attention when it was launched, we think more consumers will prefer iPhone 6 as they can operate the handset with one hand. Eventually, iPhone 6 shipments will outperform those of the iPhone 6 Plus model. Sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus topped ten million during the launch weekend for both devices, with the larger model seeing supply constraints. However, shipping times for the iPhone 6 Plus improved last week, with the 16GB model showing a shipping estimate of 7 to 10 days and the 64GB model showing an estimate of 2 to 3 weeks. A survey of U.S. customers done by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) earlier this month also noted that U.S. customers are favoring the iPhone 6 over the iPhone 6 Plus by a 3:1 ratio. Update: This article initially stated the 71.5 million estimate was for iPhone 6 and 6