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Hands-On With the Apple Watch: A Developer’s Experience at Apple’s WatchKit Labs

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
applewatchcollection

Earlier this month, Apple began inviting a select number of developers to an Apple Watch development lab in Sunnyvale, California, located near the company’s main Cupertino campus. Developers were invited to reserve a testing appointment to test their Apple Watch apps on actual Apple Watch devices to get ready for the device’s April 24 launch.

One of the developers who had a chance to visit Apple’s WatchKit lab and get hands-on time with the Apple Watch shared his testing experience with MacRumors and gave us some of his thoughts on the device after spending all day using it.

Apple maintained strict control over the Apple Watches that developers were allowed to use for testing. Security guards were on hand, and developers were not allowed into the room until receiving a badge, which had to be worn at all times. Entering into the lab was done through two doorways, each of which was locked and could only be opened via an electronic keycard.

Developers had to cover their cameras and leave their bags on shelves, and they were not allowed to pair the Apple Watch with their own iPhones. No one was allowed to go to the bathroom Continue Reading

Buyer’s Guide: Deals on iPad Air 2, iMac, MacBook Air, and Apple Accessories [Mac Blog]

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
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Deals continue to be good this week, with Best Buy offering deep discounts on a few iPad Air 2 models and iPad mini 2 models. B&H Photo is discounting some of the new MacBook Air models by $50, and there continue to be steep discounts on older MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models.

We’ve got quite a few Mac-oriented Apple accessories available at a discount this week, including a backup battery pack and SD card storage. We’ve even got deals on Apple Watch accessories — Casetify is offering discounts on its custom Apple Watch band pre-orders.

iPad Air 2

Best Buy is still offering the lowest prices we’ve seen on a few select iPad Air 2 models. The for a complete list.

Puzzle game MUJO is available for free, down from $1.99. Call of Duty: Strike Team is available for $1.99, down from $6.99. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is available for $2.99, down from $4.99. Fantastical 2 for iPad is available for $6.99, down from $9.99. Fantastical 2 for iPhone is available for $2.99, down from $4.99.

XCOM: Enemy Within is available for $4.99, down from $12.99. BioShock is available Continue Reading

Apple Hasn’t Approached NBC Over Content Deal for Upcoming Streaming TV Service

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
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Over the past couple of weeks, rumors have leaked pointing towards an Apple-branded streaming television service that could include 25 channels for $30 to $40 per month with partners like CBS, ABC, and Fox. NBC and parent company Comcast are not part of the negotiations, and according to a new report from Re/code, that’s because Apple has not approached Comcast about a partnership.

Earlier rumors about the streaming television service suggested NBC’s absence from the upcoming package was due to a falling out between Apple and Comcast, but on Thursday, Comcast said that wasn’t true in a letter that it sent to the Federal Communications Commission. Comcast’s letter was a response to a filing from Stop Mega Comcast, a group that’s opposed to a Comcast-Time Warner merging, and in it, Comcast said Apple had not even approached NBC for a content deal.

Stop Mega Comcast’s note, filed on Wednesday, said, “Comcast may be withholding affiliated NBCUniversal (“NBCU”) content in an effort to thwart the entry of potential new video competitors.” The note cited a recent Wall Street Journal report that said Apple wasn’t talking to NBCUniversal because of a “falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Continue Reading

Eyefi Review: Hands-On With the Mobi Pro 32GB WiFi-Connected SD Card [iOS Blog]

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Popular WiFi-connected SD card manufacturer Eyefi recently released a brand new product, the Eyefi Mobi Pro. For those unfamiliar with Eyefi, the company makes WiFi-connected SD cards to give people a way to quickly transfer photos from their cameras to their Macs, iPhones, and iPads, even when a WiFi network is unavailable.

The company’s newest card, the Eyefi Mobi Pro offers 32GB of storage, support for RAW file transfers, and a wireless transfer feature that lets users selectively choose which photos to upload. When used on a home WiFi network, the Mobi Pro lets users transfer images at high speeds, but when away from home, it creates its own WiFi hotspot, so it’s always possible to get pictures from the SD card to an iPad, iPhone, or Mac.

MacRumors went hands-on with the new Eyefi Mobi Pro SD card to check out all of the new features and to figure out whether or not it’s worth the $99 price tag.

What’s in the Box

The Eyefi box contains one 32GB Class 10 SDHC WiFi card, a USB card adapter that’s used to configure the Mobi card, and an activation card that lets the Mobi Pro pair Continue Reading

Apple CEO Tim Cook Speaks Out Against Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
mikepence

Apple CEO Tim Cook today sent out a series of Tweets condemning Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s decision to sign a controversial “religious freedom” bill into law, saying Apple is “deeply disappointed” in the move and “open for everyone.”

Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015

The religious freedom legislation that was approved by Pence on Thursday could let businesses turn away gay and lesbian customers by citing “religious freedom.” The approval of the bill has earned Indiana national attention, and much of it has been negative, with organizations and companies throughout the United States vowing to stop supporting the state.

Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.

Along with Apple’s condemnation, the NCAA has questioned the impact the legislation will have on future sporting events, Salesforce has vowed to halt expansion plans Continue Reading

Coppertino Announces LOOP Music Locker With Support for HD Audio Files, VOX Music Player for iOS [Mac Blog]

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
voxloopformac

Coppertino, the company behind the popular VOX Music Player for Mac, has some major announcements to share exclusively with MacRumors readers today, including its upcoming expansion to iOS, an update to the VOX Mac app, and the launch of an all new music storage service, LOOP.

LOOP is a new cloud-based music locker service that will be built in to both the VOX Music Player for Mac and the upcoming VOX iOS app. Unlike most music lockers available, LOOP will support any type of music file, including FLAC, and it offers unlimited storage. Songs stored in LOOP can be streamed in full quality to any device with the VOX Mac and iOS apps, and music can also be cached for playing offline.

Many of the popular music lockers like iTunes Match or Google Play Music limit the number of songs that can be uploaded and only support a few file types. iTunes, for example, only supports MP3 and AAC, while Google Play Music supports MP3, AAC OGG, and WMA. You can upload FLAC music files to Google Play Music, but they’ll be transcoded to MP3. LOOP can play them natively, but access to high quality music Continue Reading

‘Wunderlist’ for Apple Watch Brings To-Do Lists, Agendas and Reminders to Your Wrist

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
Wunderlist on Apple Watch

Wunderlist has provided a closer look at its Apple Watch companion app, which appeared on the App Store on Thursday ahead of the device’s launch next month. The app is designed with a unique Home View that provides access to your most important items first, with four buttons that display a bird’s eye view of your to-do lists, agenda and reminders on your wrist.

Wunderlist for Apple Watch delivers a hand-free experience in situations where you might normally use your iPhone, such as while shopping at a supermarket and checking items off your grocery list, or when using smart voice input to add to-dos for an upcoming meeting. The combination of Glances and real-time notifications ensure that you will stay up to date with important things during your day, be it during your morning commute, at the office or at home.

“As you move through the day, you won’t even have to open Wunderlist on your Watch to get stuff done. Just take a look at our Glance during breakfast to review your most important to-dos for the day. Thanks to Wunderlist’s real-time notifications, a subtle tap on your wrist will let you know what your colleagues are Continue Reading

‘Citymapper’ and ‘Transit App’ Offer In-Depth Looks at Transit Experiences on Apple Watch

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
Citymapper apple watch

As a few popular iPhone apps begin rolling out updates for their built-in Apple Watch apps ahead of the April 24 launch, a pair of transit-focused services have posted on Medium to share detailed looks into exactly what kind of experience users can expect from Citymapper and Transit App on the Apple Watch next month.

Sifting through the data gathered from its iPhone app, Citymapper learned that its users frequently turned their phone on and off throughout one trip, unlocking to reorient themselves and quickly locking the device again to save battery. That’s where its upcoming Apple Watch app comes in, Citymapper promising an experience tailor-made for the wrist-worn device.

This is the nature of transit information when you move across the city. You need snippets of information. Different things at different times, depending on where you are along the way.

Transit info works well on a device that focuses attention on one thing at a time. And where the transaction cost (ie hassle) of getting additional information is low (raise your wrist and swipe). Using a wearable app may also be safer. City dwellers are generally walking too fast, crossing streets, using stairs, jostling through Continue Reading

Intel’s New 3D NAND Technology Allows for Greater Than 10TB Solid-State Drives

Posted by | March 27, 2015.
Intel Micron

Intel and Micron on Thursday announced the availability of new 3D NAND technology that enables high-density flash devices with three times more storage capacity than other NAND technologies in production. 3D NAND technology is also more cost efficient than planar NAND, with faster performance, improved latency and new sleep modes that result in low-power use by cutting power to inactive NAND die.

The advancements pave the way for future Macs and other devices with flash memory to be equipped with greater than 10TB solid-state drives, significantly more storage capacity than the maxed out 1TB PCIe-based flash storage upgrade option that Apple offers for the MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro. As planar NAND faces practical scaling limits, Intel and Micron expect that 3D NAND will shape the future of flash memory.

“Micron and Intel’s collaboration has created an industry-leading solid-state storage technology that offers high density, performance and efficiency and is unmatched by any flash today,” said Brian Shirley, vice president of Memory Technology and Solutions at Micron Technology. “This 3D NAND technology has the potential to create fundamental market shifts. The depth of the impact that flash has had to date—from smartphones to flash-optimized supercomputing—is really just scratching Continue Reading

Apple Announces April 10 Grand Openings for Apple Watch Shops in London, Paris, and Tokyo

Posted by | March 26, 2015.
apple_watch_selfridges_opening

Apple today officially announced April 10 grand openings for its three dedicated Apple Watch shops located in high-end department stores in London, Paris, and Tokyo. As previously outlined, the store-within-a-store locations are at Selfridges in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and Isetan in Tokyo.

The new locations appear set to handle only Apple Watch viewing and sales, with customers being directed to other Apple retail stores for their support needs.

The Selfridges Apple Watch shop will be located near the entrance to the iconic Wonder Room, a massive shopping hall that houses a wide selection of luxury jewelry and watch brands alongside a concept store and mezzanine wine bar. Apple has reportedly been drawing employees from other retail stores in London to staff the new shop. The Galeries Lafayette shop will take over four balcony sections overlooking the main rotunda of the department store.

Apple will begin in-store previews and pre-orders for the Apple Watch on April 10, with launches in the first wave of countries coming two weeks later. The high-end gold Apple Watch Edition models will only be available at select Apple retail stores, and the dedicated Apple Watch Continue Reading

iTunes Store, App Store and Other Apple Services Experiencing Outage [Mac Blog]

Posted by | March 26, 2015.
applesystemstatus

According to Apple’s System Status page, several of its services are experiencing downtime. Some users may be unable to access the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, and iBooks Store.

The page also suggests some users may be experiencing issues with the Apple TV, iTunes Match, iTunes Radio, iTunes U, and OS X Software Updates.

The downtime appears to have started just after 3pm and is ongoing. We have received several emails and tweets from users who are unable to access the App Store or can only access certain parts of the App Store.

App Store Top Charts, for example, have been unavailable since the downtime originally began, and while some app categories were also blank, those seem to be reappearing, suggesting the outage may be short.

Today’s App Store outage is the second Apple has seen this week.

Continue Reading

Apple Watch Apps Begin Showing Up in the App Store Ahead of Apple Watch Launch

Posted by | March 26, 2015.
thingsevernote

Ahead of the Apple Watch’s upcoming April 24 launch, apps that include Apple Watch support are beginning to be released in the App Store. As of today, several popular iOS apps have been updated with built-in Apple Watch apps, including Evernote, Dark Sky, Things, and Target.

Additional apps with Apple Watch support will be rolling out over the course of the day, giving us a first look at how many of the apps on the device will function. We’ll be updating this post with a list of Apple Watch apps that are available as they come out in the App Store.

According to Evernote‘s app description, for example, users will be able to dictate notes into the Apple Watch, which will be transcribed and synced to Evernote. Users will also be able to see recently created, updated, and viewed notes, and get reminders about items that are due. Dark Sky‘s weather information will be brought to the wrist, and according to the app release notes, it’s been designed from scratch to fit on the smaller screen of the Apple Watch.

As we’ve mentioned before, Apple Watch apps are bundled into existing iPhone apps because the iPhone Continue Reading

How to Digitally Sign a PDF Using Preview on Mac [Mac Blog]

Posted by | March 26, 2015.
MacRumors PDF Signature

When you receive a PDF document by email that you must sign, the process of printing out the file, signing on the dotted line with a pen, scanning the signed document and sending it back can be a rather tedious task. Fortunately, Apple introduced the ability to digitally sign a PDF document using Preview, a program that comes preinstalled on every Mac, on OS X Lion or later.

The steps involved to digitally sign a PDF using Preview on Mac are quite simple and will save you valuable time, especially if you have multiple documents, contracts, forms or other paperwork to sign. If you are worried that your digital signature will look bad, rest assured that you can create your signature by using the trackpad or holding up your signature on paper to a Mac’s built-in iSight camera. …CONTINUE READING =>

Amazon Cloud Drive Now Includes Unlimited Cloud Storage Plans

Posted by | March 26, 2015.
Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon on Thursday announced two new unlimited cloud storage plans for Amazon Cloud Drive, enabling users to store an endless amount of photos, videos, movies, music, and files. Amazon users can choose either the Unlimited Photos Plan for $11.99 per year or the Unlimited Everything Plan for $59.99 per year, with a free three-month trial available for each plan for customers that want to try the service.

The lower-tier Unlimited Photos Plan allows for an unlimited number of photos to be stored on Amazon Cloud Drive, alongside up to 5GB of additional storage for videos, documents and other files. The more expensive Unlimited Everything Plan allows for unlimited storage of photos, videos, files, documents, movies and music with no restrictions. Amazon Prime members are already provided with an Unlimited Photos Plan at no additional cost.

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure Continue Reading

Apple Hiring for Retail Store in São Paulo as Construction Nears Completion [Mac Blog]

Posted by | March 26, 2015.
Apple Store Sao Paulo

Apple has posted several job listings in recent weeks to fill retail positions at an under-construction Apple Store in São Paulo, the most populous city in Brazil. The company is seeking to hire Creatives, Specialists, Geniuses, Managers and a number of other positions for the store, which appears to be nearing completion based on new photos published by Brazilian website Blog do iPhone.

Apple has placed its traditional large wooden tables throughout the store, while the lighting fixtures and interior panels have also been installed. This new location will be the second Apple Store in Brazil, alongside the Village Mall store in Rio de Janeiro that opened in February 2014. Apple now has over 450 retail stores in 16 countries, with aggressive plans to continue opening new stores in China and other emerging markets.

Continue Reading

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