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Apple Pay Setup Process Revealed as Retail Employees and Partners Begin Training

Apple has begun preparing its retail employees and retail partners for the upcoming launch of its Apple Pay mobile payments service with a host of new training materials that show the feature in action, reports 9to5Mac. Users will be able to set up Apple Pay in Passbook or through the Settings app, as up to eight credit or debit cards be connected with an iTunes account or by scanning one in with the iPhone's camera. Every card connected to the service will allow users to access a number of features, including the ability to see a simple transaction list, the ability to turn on push notifications, and an area that allows quick access to a bank's phone number and an accompanying app. Passbook will also be able to automatically update an expired card with a new expiration date without the need to re-enter information. For Apple's own stores, a customer will be able to return an item simply by holding an iPhone near a payment terminal to give a list of their recent transactions. Receipts from Apple Store purchases will also not display a customer's contact information or credit card number, but will rather show just the last four digits of a device's Apple Pay ID. If Apple Pay is not working properly for an Apple Store customer, retail employees will be able to use the "Apple Pay Demo" diagnostic software that can determine whether a device is having a hardware problem or other issue. For non-hardware issues, customers will be referred to their appropriate credit card providers or banks. Apple's training materials note that its retail employee should

Apple Rolling Out New iBeacon Transmitters, NFC Readers to Apple Stores and Disney Stores

Apple is rolling out near field communication (NFC) readers and updated versions of its iBeacon transmitters to its own stores and Disney Stores ahead of the launch of its mobile payments service and the iPhone 6, reports 9to5Mac. The company will begin integrating new proximity beacons made by Gimbal that will provide more accurate iBeacon location tracking in its own stores, and roll out new payment systems to support the NFC capabilities on the iPhone 6 and its highly-anticipated wearable device. The report also notes that Apple may be planning to roll out its own first-party iBeacon sensors in its retail locations, and could also provide or sell the transmitters to other retailers as an incentive to sign up for its new mobile payments service. An FCC filing earlier this year revealed that Apple was developing its own first-party iBeacon hardware, which may end up being the new hardware discussed in this latest report. Disney's retail stores are also said to be receiving new credit card machines that support NFC, which will also likely integrate with Apple's new mobile payment service. Reports from this past week have also indicated that Apple will be partnering with a number of other retailers for the service, including Walgreens, CVS, Nordstrom and more. Apple has also established deals with major credit companies such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and credit card issuers to support its mobile payments service. Apple will likely unveil its mobile payments service on Tuesday, along with the new iPhone 6 and its highly-rumored wearable

Apple Planning Mid-September Event for 4.7-Inch iPhone 6, Timing of 5.5-Inch Model Unclear

According to 9to5Mac, Apple is putting the finishing touches on iOS 8 in advance of a September iPhone and iOS 8 launch event. Based on current projections, Apple is unsurprisingly tentatively planning to hold this iPhone-oriented event in mid-September. In line with previous reports, Apple is said to be aiming for a second product launch event in October for the iWatch and OS X Yosemite. iPhone 5s with mockups of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models Similar to other recent September events, Apple is reportedly planning to focus on only iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 in this year's September event. While the 4.7-inch iPhone will headline the presentation, the debut of the 5.5-inch model is still uncertain as it is further behind the 4.7-inch model in both testing and manufacturing. These people say that the second and third weeks of September are the mostly likely weeks for the event to be held, but they add that manufacturing uncertainties could alter the event’s timeframe. A decision has not been finalized, and sources made it clear that the plans are in flux.This information aligns with an earlier report that suggests Apple may push off the 5.5-inch model until 2015. The report claims iOS 8 is on track for its public release this fall, with a fifth and final beta version expected on Monday, August 4, although a separate report from BGR claims a sixth beta is planned for Friday, August 15. A golden master version may debut a few weeks later at the end of August or early September. As rumored, dual-screen multi-tasking for the iPad and Maps improvements are still in the

Apple Said to Be Developing Smart Home Products for HomeKit Integration

Following a report from The Information yesterday claiming that Apple is building hardware to work with the new HomeKit home automation standard announced for iOS 8, a follow-up report from 9to5Mac is making similar claims. Details on the devices under consideration are scant, although the company is said to be beyond the exploratory stage of product development. Apple already sells one household product in the form of the Apple TV, which Macworld's Chris Breen argues is the logical hub for HomeKit, but Apple's smart home ambitions allegedly extend beyond the living room.The sources say that Apple is unlikely to move forward with devices to compete directly with Google’s Nest as the Cupertino-company feels it can build products that can gain usage wider than that of thermostats and smoke detectors. It is likely that Apple is building advanced speaker systems or control panels for homes, the sources say. It is possible that Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats Electronics and the audio company’s existing speaker systems play into this vision. While Apple is expected to expand its product lineup with the iWatch, perhaps a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air and possibly a revamped Apple TV this year, the company's HomeKit-integrated hardware is thought to be further down the roadmap in Apple's future product

Apple May Adopt 1704 x 960 Resolution Display for Upcoming iPhone 6

Apple's next generation iPhone 6 may adopt a higher resolution display, jumping from the current iPhone 5s resolution of 1136 x 640 to a sharper 1704 x 960 resolution, reports 9to5Mac. On the rumored 4.7-inch model, this would result in a display with 416 ppi and the same 16:9 ratio of the iPhone 5/5s/5c, while a 5.5-inch model at the same resolution would carry a density of 356 ppi. With Apple's rumored move to larger displays in the iPhone 6, much discussion has been centered around what resolution Apple will use and how any changes would affect developers. Some speculation had suggested Apple might simply maintain the same resolution as on the iPhone 5s, making a seamless transition for developers. This stretch process would, however, drop the pixel density of the display below Apple's criteria for a "Retina" display. Alternatively, Apple could boost the resolution to maintain or increase the pixel density, although this move would require work from app developers to maintain compatibility with the new devices. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested last month that Apple would maintain the current 326 ppi density, which could be achieved by bumping a 4.7-inch display to 1334 x 750, and we previously explored how that might work. But according to 9to5Mac, Apple may adopt an even higher-resolution display that triples the base number of pixels of the iPhone screen in both length and width. This "3x" mode would take the base "1x" resolution of 568 x 320 and expand it to 1704 x 960. Using this method, Apple would retain the Retina branding at 416 ppi and

Apple's WWDC 2014 to Focus on OS X 10.10 as Apple Pulls Resources from iOS 8 to Help

According to 9to5Mac, Apple may use WWDC 2014 to focus on OS X 10.10, giving the desktop OS more attention than iOS 8 during the annual developer conference. Apple allegedly has been moving iOS user interface developers to the OS X teams in order to finish up the new design in time for early June conference. As has been previously reported, Apple is not merging the two operating systems, opting to keep iOS and OS X as separate entities, but the next version of OS X may share similar design elements with iOS 7. The new look will have similar toggle designs to iOS 7, sharper window corners, more defined icons across the system, and more white space than the current version. However, OS X characteristics like the Finder, multi-window multitasking, and Mission Control will not disappear in favor of a more iOS-like experience. Apple is targeting the desktop OS for release in the fall along with new hardware that will ship with this latest OS X version. Though the internal development codename of OS X 10.10 is "Syrah," the shipping name is still unclear, with Apple apparently securing trademarks for popular California locations that would match the new theme started with "Mavericks." On the iOS 8 side of development, Apple is allegedly pushing some features of iOS 8 off to version 8.1 as the company focuses intently on its next version of OS X. Though Apple may present most of the new features of iOS 8 at WWDC next month, some notable additions such as transit functionality in Maps may not be available until later versions of iOS 8. iCloud will reportedly see some

Apple to Honor Earth Day 2014 at Retail Stores, Main Campus

Apple will be celebrating Earth Day 2014 next Tuesday, April 22 throughout its various retail locations and at its main campus, reports 9to5Mac. The company will color its logos in green for the occasion, as employees will wear special shirts with an event planned at Apple's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. Apple last celebrated Earth Day in 2006 by holding a free computer takeback program in honor of the event. Apple has remained active in its environment efforts throughout the past few years, which include powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy, expanding its recycling program, and reporting on its carbon footprint. Last May, Apple also hired former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to lead the company's environmental responsibility efforts. Environmental activist group Greenpeace also featured Apple as a "green energy innovator" in its latest report earlier this month, praising the company for its commitment to renewable energy after taking issues with previous efforts.

'Slide to Unlock' Engineer Greg Christie to Depart Apple After Fallout with Jony Ive [Updated]

Apple's Vice President of Human Interface Greg Christie is set to depart from the company after clashing with Jony Ive, Apple's Senior Vice President of Industrial Design who oversees and guides the Human Interface teams, reports 9to5Mac. Ive first took on a role "providing leadership" for the Human Interface teams in late 2012, following Scott Forstall's departure from the company.Christie has led much of Apple's software design and reports to Craig Federighi, who oversees development of iOS and OS X, but Christie interacts with Ive during design meetings. Christie's team was responsible for redesigning iOS 7, which reportedly led to disagreements with Ive.Sources say that Christie's upcoming departure is significant and stems from a falling out with Ive. When Ive tasked Apple's Human Interface team with redesigning iOS 7 to include an entirely new look, Christie and Ive reportedly clashed over design direction, after which Ive is said to have circumvented Christie's leadership of the team during the new operating system's development.Following Christie's departure, software design will fall under Ive's umbrella, with software designers working alongside Ive's industrial design team rather than Federighi's group.Christie, who has worked for Apple since 1996, was one of the original software engineers who developed iOS for the first iPhone. He recently did an interview with The Wall Street Journal detailing the development of the original iPhone and he testified in the second Apple vs. Samsung patent trial, telling the court that the "Slide to Unlock" feature he's

Apple's Healthbook App for iOS Shown in Renderings with New Details

Apple's rumored "Healthbook" app for iOS 8 may be the company's first big push into the current health and fitness craze that is being fueled by wearable technology, and a new report from 9to5Mac offers a look at what users can expect from the app as well as a few renderings of the app said to be recreated from actual screenshots. The renderings show a Passbook-inspired user interface with cards for different heath and fitness data points, with the app able to keep track of vitals mentioned in previous rumors such as heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, physical activity and more. Notably missing from the renders are parameters for other topic such as stress and pregnancy tracking, which had been suggested in a separate report from MobiHealthNews last month.Each category of functionality is a card in the Healthbook. Cards are distinguished by a color, and the tabs can be arranged to fit user preferences. As can be seen in the above images, Healthbook has sections that can track data pertaining to bloodwork, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, physical activity, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and weight. A big chunk of the Healtbook app will be dedicated to measurable health parameters such as blood sugar levels, oxygen saturation, bloodwork values and more. The blood sugar tracking would let diabetics enter their daily or weekly glucose levels and track changes over time, while the bloodwork tab would allow users to enter the results of routine bloodwork tests that are used to screen for overall nutrition as well as heart,

Apple Considering Standalone iTunes Radio App for iOS 8

Following its introduction at WWDC 2013, Apple's iTunes Radio music streaming service launched alongside iOS 7 in September of last year. The service is available within iTunes on the desktop and the Music app for iOS, allowing users create channels based on artists, genres or songs. To bring attention to the service and increase engagement, Apple may be spinning off iTunes Radio into its own app in iOS 8, according to a report by 9to5Mac.As a standalone application, users will be able to more quickly access iTunes Radio. Psychologically for users, iTunes Radio will be its own app competing with the likes of the Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio apps found on the App Store. The benefit for Apple, however, is that iTunes Radio will be pre-installed. The interface for the standalone iTunes Radio application is said to be nearly identical to the one found inside of the iOS Music app and its Home screen icon is a terrestrial radio graphic atop a red background. Apple originally wanted to launch iTunes Radio as a standalone app alongside iOS 6, but those plans allegedly fell through when licensing negotiations with major music labels hit a snag. As envisioned for iOS 8, the new standalone iTunes Radio reportedly would be similar to the current Music app version, continuing to offer Featured Stations and include a browsable music history. iOS users would maintain their ability to create and manage their music channels as well as purchase individual tracks. Despite being buried within the iOS Music app, iTunes Radio continues to grow in popularity. A recent report from

Apple Shortens iPhone Return Window to 14 Calendar Days

Customers who purchased an iPhone from an Apple Store in the U.S. had a 30-day period to try out the phone and return it for any reason. Starting March 13th, this return window is being shortened to 14 calendar days, claims 9to5Mac. According to an internal document provided by one of our retail sources, Apple plans to change its iPhone return policy to just 14 days beginning on March 13th. However the return policy currently published on Apple.com already reflects this change. This change brings Apple's return policy in line with U.S. carriers, which offer a 14-day return period for customers who buy an iPhone from a carrier's website or retail store. Previously, Apple would accept returns beyond the carrier's 14-day period, but within the company's 30-day return window. These customers would be credited for their iPhone purchase, but they still had to pay an early termination fee and any other associated charges to the carrier. This policy often was confusing to customers who expected to return their phone without penalty. This change also standardizes Apple's return policy across all product categories. Starting March 13th, customers who purchase an item from Apple will have 14 days in which to make a return, regardless of what they

Apple Maps to Include Transit Directions, Improved Points of Interest Data in iOS 8

Apple is preparing to significantly improve its Maps application in iOS 8, claims a report in 9to5Mac. Apple will slow its work on UI changes and focus instead on improving the underlying infrastructure that powers the application. These data-level changes will make Maps more informative and reliable for iOS users. The new application will also be injected with new points of interests and new labels to make places such as airports, parks, train stations, bus stops, highways, and freeways easier to find, the sources added. Sources also say that the mapping application’s cartography design has been tweaked to be slightly cleaner and to make streets more visible. Public transit is another major area that Apple will bring to the iOS 8 version of Maps, tapping into the engineering talent the company has acquired from mapping companies such as HopStop and Embark. The new Maps app likely will allow users to find train, subway and bus information in major U.S. and international cities. These public transit options will be embedded in the maps themselves and in the Directions panel, where they will show up in a new tab next to "Driving" and "Walking." Mockup of iOS 8's transit features These changes are only the beginning of Apple's proposed plans for its Maps application, as the company is reportedly also working to add indoor mapping views, improved car integration, and augmented reality features in the future. Apple switched away from a Google-powered mapping solution in 2012 when it introduced its own Maps application alongside iOS 6. Apple's Maps faced extensive

Apple Again Rumored to Release iOS 7.1 in March

A new report from 9to5Mac claims iOS 7.1 will indeed be released to all iOS users in March, representing the first major revision since iOS 7 was launched publicly in September of last year. Sources note the next version of iOS 7 will continue with the visual improvements, minor tweaks and bug fixes reported in earlier beta versions seeded to developers.While recent reports are pegging a launch sooner than later, reliable sources say that Apple is currently planning to ship iOS 7.1, the first significant update to iOS 7, in March. The iOS 7.1 update is said to not have any “secret features,” and it will basically be what we have been told to expect by the past five betas: some user-interface tweaks in the Phone app, an improved Calendar app, speed improvements, and numerous bug-fixes.BGR originally cited a March release date for iOS 7.1 back in late December, but a follow-up report earlier this week seemed to hedge on that claim somewhat by noting that the update was expected in the "coming weeks." Slowing increments of build numbers from the developer beta versions suggest the software is nearing a public launch, but whether that date lands in late February or the early March is not clear. Previous iOS 7.1 betas have included various improvements such as a new "Button Shapes" option in Accessibility, keyboard tweaks that indicate shift and caps locks, a new event list view within the Calendar app and refined icons for the Phone, FaceTime, and Messages app. The unreleased iOS in the Car feature has also been refined in the iOS 7.1 beta testing period, but it is

OS X 10.10 to Feature 'Flatter' Look, but Not as Stark as iOS 7

OS X 10.10, the next version of OS X which carries the code name of "Syrah", will take a few cues from iOS 7 with a somewhat flatter look compared to OS X Mavericks, but the changes will not result in as stark a look as seen on iOS 7, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. The report comes on the heels of comments from Apple executives reiterating that convergence of iOS and OS X is a "non-goal" for the company.Instead [of a complete iOS 7-like overhaul], I am expecting OS X 10.10 to have user-interface tweaks that will make the interface “flatter,” but not as stark as iOS 7′s look. I’d also expect some blur and translucency effects in a few places, but not in anyway that is central to the experience like it is on iOS. There will be a little bit more white space, more defined menu bars, and squared-off window controls, but I would not expect a full color palette change and redesigns for every single application and icon.The report indicates that internal build numbers for OS X 10.10 are currently around 14Z109 and that new features could include improved notifications, cross-platform AirDrop support to and from iOS 8, and possible Siri integration. Visitors to MacRumors.com via Apple's networks from machines running OS X 10.10 MacRumors has been seeing fairly low levels of activity coming from machines running OS X 10.10 from Apple's network, and that activity has unsurprisingly been beginning to ramp up this month following the holiday break. With Apple having accelerated its OS X release cycles over the past several major updates, a public release for OS X 10.10

Facebook Planning Significant iOS App Updates as Head Mobile Engineer Returns to Apple

Facebook is preparing significant updates for its primary iOS app and its Facebook Messenger app in the near future, reports 9to5Mac. The main Facebook for iOS app will reportedly feature the social network's "Graph Search" feature, which was introduced last year and allows for users to enter specific search queries for better results. Meanwhile, an updated Facebook Messenger app is set to feature iOS contacts integration and sport a look with heavy white space similar to the design aesthetic of iOS 7, with another version similar in looks to the Messages app on iOS also being tested. The report also states that Greg Novick, who was part of a group of Apple engineers hired by Facebook last year during a recruiting drive to work on its iOS app, has been rehired by Apple for an unstated role. Novick had previously been the Engineering Manager of iPhone Applications and Frameworks at Apple, and was a designer of the software that appeared on the original iPhone. Both Facebook and Facebook Messenger are free universal apps for iOS devices and can be downloaded through the following links: - Facebook [Direct Link] - Facebook Messenger [Direct Link]

Apple Working to Leverage New 'M7' Motion-Sensing Chip for Mapping Improvements

Alongside the new A7 main chip unveiled in the iPhone 5s this week, Apple also featured a new "M7" motion coprocessor designed to capture motion data to support new features such as health and fitness applications. As Apple notes on its feature page, the chip can also enhance mapping and location functions, helping the iPhone 5s sense and interpret movement.The new M7 coprocessor is like a sidekick to the A7 chip. It’s designed specifically to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass — a task that would normally fall to the A7 chip. But M7 is much more efficient at it. Now fitness apps that track physical activity can access that data from the M7 coprocessor without constantly engaging the A7 chip. So they require less battery power. M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you’re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won’t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn’t moved for a while, like when you’re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery. But beyond those mapping and navigation features, Apple is also working on tapping into the power of the M7 to add additional enhancements in future software updates, according to a report from 9to5Mac. Those improvements include the ability to help find a parked car as well as new features for public transit navigation and indoor mapping.Sources say that Apple is testing a tool for its Maps app that, with the M7 chip,

Apple Targeting Late October for OS X Mavericks Launch

Apple is currently planning a late October launch for OS X Mavericks, according to a report from 9to5Mac.The late-October Mavericks release is planned so Apple could focus the majority of its software engineering resources on pushing out iOS 7 alongside the new iPhone hardware over the next couple of weeks.For its past two major OS X updates, Apple has released the new software the day after an earnings release, and the report notes that the company could follow a similar pattern with Mavericks. Apple will release its September quarter earnings in late October, aligning with the rumored Mavericks launch timeframe. Apple's other major operating system update, iOS 7, is set to arrive later this month alongside new iPhone hardware. The new iPhones are expected to be introduced at Apple's media event scheduled for next Tuesday, and based on Apple's previous patterns iOS 7 could launch to the public roughly a week later. The iPad version of iOS 7 may, however, be held back slightly and launched aside new iPad hardware within the next several months. Update: AllThingsD has confirmed that Mavericks will be released in late

Apple Launches Redesigned AppleCare Website With 24/7 Live Chat Support

Apple has launched a newly redesigned AppleCare website that includes 24/7 live chat support, reports 9to5Mac. First rumored in early August, the redesign includes large, easy-to-click buttons and a simpler design. The page features links to each of Apple's products, including Macs, iPods, iPhones, and iPads, as well as a number of services including iTunes and other apps. When clicking one of the aforementioned categories, the site will offer further options. For example, in the iPhone section of the help site, users are presented with simple topic problems to narrow down the scope of an issue. After an issue has been selected, customers are able to talk to choose from several different help options, including a phone call with Apple Support, a live chat session, or an in-person appointment at the Genius Bar or other Apple Authorized Service Provider. According to 9to5Mac, both the site design and the 24-hour chat support are being introduced to customers on a rolling basis.On the topic of live chat support, we're told that 24/7 chat support has begun rolling out. Initially, the support was limited to certain hardware and software, but now Apple is supporting both Mac and iOS Device support at every hour of the day and night. While the new AppleCare site has begun going live for some readers, other users are reporting that they are still seeing the old website. It is likely that Apple will complete the release of the redesign in the coming days.Following its Support site redesign, Apple is expected to make significant changes to its AppleCare services

Apple Preparing to Upgrade AppleCare with 24/7 Chat Support, Revamped Website

Apple is preparing to launch several enhancements to its AppleCare services including 24/7 access to chat support services, reports 9to5Mac . The company is reportedly planning to launch the expanded chat services on August 12, although that target date may not yet be firm. Alongside the expanded chat services, Apple will also be launching a redesigned AppleCare support website, featuring large, easy-to-click buttons similar to those that have appeared in other areas of the company's site.The interface has been retooled with large, easy-to-understand controls that are more in line with the colorful icons in iOS. The new design makes it simpler for users to drill-down and provide Apple with information about the issue. Apple is in the middle of a significant revamp of its AppleCare services, making plans to shift to per-user subscription offerings rather than specific device coverage. The company is also making a move to perform more repairs rather than replacements on iPhones at its retail store Genius Bars, as seen with the new iPhone 5 display replacement program.

Apple Taps New Hires in Health Sensors, Broad Array of Internal Experts for 'iWatch' Team

Following a report from earlier this week indicating that Apple is still "aggressively" hiring new employees to support its smart watch project, 9to5Mac has published a lengthy feature highlighting a number of the company's recent hires. In particular, the report focus on Apple's hiring in the health sensor field.Based on new hires, it seems that Apple’s interest in sensors focuses on the ability to measure glucose and other body level information. With this data, the product could inform users of vital information in a non-invasive way. These sensors could also pick up more data to give a user a snapshot of their health, which would be ideal for fitness applications. To assist with the development of these sensors, Apple has hired several scientists and executives from multiple sensor developers. Some notable firms who lost employees to Apple are AccuVein, C8 MediSensors, and Senseonics.C8 MediSensors had been pursuing non-invasive monitoring of glucose and other substances, and Apple had reportedly considered an acquisition of the company. Ultimately, C8 MediSensors ceased operations and Apple was able to hire a number of the company's employees earlier this year. Drawing from Apple patent application for a "slap bracelet" video accessory resembling a smart watch The report also outlines the structure of Apple's "iWatch" group, which is reportedly led by Senior Vice President of Technologies Bob Mansfield, as well as former Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch and engineering senior director James Foster.According to our sources, Lynch’s side of the team