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Microsoft Launches Office 2016 for Mac Preview, Available for Free to Mac Users

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
macbookoutlook

Microsoft is today introducing a preview of the next iteration of its office software designed for Mac users, Office 2016. Office 2016 for Mac is the company’s first major Mac release since Office 2011, and it brings new versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with redesigned Retina-optimized interfaces, new features, and a heavy focus on collaboration and cloud integration.

Office 2016 for Mac, which is free to all Mac users running OS X Yosemite during the preview period, is the next step in Microsoft’s plan to make its Office products available anywhere, anytime, on any device, and as such, it’s been designed to work with Office 365 and OneDrive. Users will get the best experience when signed into Office 365 because that allows them to access all of their documents on all of their devices, but an Office 365 account is not required to use the software.

Office 2016 for Mac has adopted many elements previously found in both the Windows version of Office and in the mobile Office apps, released last year. There’s a new Ribbon that reorganizes tools and formatting options, a task pane interface for greater graphics customization within all three apps (which can Continue Reading

Apple Rumored to Offer Personal Engravings on Apple Watch [iOS Blog]

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
apple_watch_back

Apple may give customers the ability to engrave personalized messages onto the upcoming Apple Watch, according to French Apple and tech site iPhonote [Google Translate].

According to the website’s source, who remained anonymous due to their “involvement at Apple”, the company would offer an engraving option similar to that of products like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod lines.

The contact, however, remains unsure of whether the feature would be available on the Apple Watch’s launch date or not. They remain “almost certain”, however, that the customization option will emerge for the device eventually.

An engraving option certainly makes sense for Apple’s new fashion-focused wearable, especially considering that essentially all of the company’s mobile products include the personalization option, but the small footprint of the Watch does raise questions on where the actual engraving would be located.

The heart rate sensor located on the device’s backside takes up nearly all of the real estate of the 38mm or 42 mm device, although drastic character count limitations could perhaps fit truncated messages around the sensor. There’s also a possibility that more room could be found on the device’s side opposite the digital crown, but Continue Reading

Opho’s Keys Teaches You How To Play The Piano

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
Opho Keys

Those looking to learn the piano have a new option in the form of Keys, a smart keyboard you can connect to your phone to pick up new songs or to your computer to make your own. Read More
Continue Reading

iOS 8.2 to Launch Next Week as Final Beta Seeded to Employees and Carrier Partners

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
IPSW

After initially reporting that iOS 8.2 would be released to the public this week, BGR now claims that the upcoming software update will arrive next week as Apple decided to seed one last beta to employees and carrier partners for testing. The final GM carries a build number of 12D508 and includes Health app improvements, stability enhancements and bug fixes.

While the initial report was incorrect, this new timeframe appears more plausible given Apple’s upcoming “Spring Forward” media event for the Apple Watch on March 9. Apple also promised that a fix would be coming soon for the recently discovered “FREAK” security vulnerability affecting devices such as the iPhone, iPad and Mac. The security flaw was disclosed to Apple well in advance of the public.

The release notes for iOS 8.2 outline several improvements to Apple’s stock Health app, including the ability to select units of measurement for body temperature, weight, height, distance and blood glucose. Continue Reading

Apple Patents Waterproofing Method ‘For Shielding Electronic Components from Moisture’ [iOS Blog]

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
waterproof patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent created by Apple, detailing a method for the extensive waterproofing of various components within a device, possibly an iPhone, thus creating a completely waterproof smartphone without the need of a special case (via Patently Apple).

Originally filed in September of 2013, the patent describes a “hydroponic coating” to be layered onto integral parts within a device, like its printed circuit board. Apple describes achieving this using a “plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition (PACVD) process” that would adhere the coating substance onto the surface of the printed circuit board in such a way as to not take up much additional room in the already small casing of a smartphone.

In the bigger picture, immersing electronic devices in water generally has predictably negative results. Through testing it has been determined that high voltage power components are more likely to short or malfunction after only brief exposure to liquids or moisture. More specifically, exposed metal areas having high voltage differentials in close proximity can easily experience short circuit events when corrosion or water immersion bridges the gap between such areas.

By providing an insulating layer or barrier around these highly Continue Reading

12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’ Again Rumored to Have Oxide LCD Display

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
ipadair2c

Apple’s much-rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” could have Oxide LCD display technology and will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2015, according to DigiTimes. The report, citing sources within the supply chain, claims that Apple has elected to use oxide panels for the tablet after weighing the cost versus performance of display technologies a-Si, TFT LCD and Oxide LCD.

“Market rumors over the last six months have stated that Apple would aim to release the device in the first half of the year, with mass production occurring in the first quarter. The company, however, has been assessing different panel technologies ranging from a-Si, TFT LCD and Oxide LCD in terms of cost versus performance, and has only recently decided to move forward with Oxide technology.”

The report adds that Sharp, LG Display and Samsung Display have been sending Apple display samples as they compete to secure component orders for the iPad Pro. Sharp is expected to be the main supplier due to its advantages in Oxide LCD display production, with LG also in the running to be a secondary vendor. The panel suppliers will reportedly produce limited supply in May and begin mass production in July and August.

KGI Continue Reading

BMW Denies Report of Electric Car Discussions With Apple

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
siri_eyes_free_bmw

German carmaker BMW on Thursday denied that its discussions with Apple involved developing an electric car, according to Reuters. German automotive magazine Auto Motor und Sport reported hours earlier that Apple and BMW were in close negotiations about developing the automaker’s all-electric i3 vehicle into a so-called “Apple Car.”

“The BMW spokesman said: ‘We are in regular talks with companies from the IT and telecommunications sector, including Apple, concerning topics like connected vehicles. Developing or building a car is not a topic of these discussions.'”

The original report claimed that the electric car could be manufactured by BMW and sold at Apple Stores, with Apple developing a full-fledged operating system for the vehicle that integrates with the car’s fuel consumption and driving data. It is plausible that Apple is working to expand its CarPlay efforts on the dashboard, but it remains to be seen how closely integrated the platform will be with future vehicles.

Multiple reports claim that Apple is working on an electric car that is possibly self-driving and <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.macrumors.com/2015/02/19/apple-car-production-2020/" title="Apple Aiming to Begin Electric Car Continue Reading

June WWDC Launch Looking More Likely for 12-Inch Retina MacBook Air

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
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Despite rumors earlier this week suggesting the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air could see a launch during Apple’s upcoming March 9 media event, The Wall Street Journal tonight released a report indicating the notebook won’t be shipping until Q2 2015. The site shared the tidbit in a detailed report on upcoming features that might be added to the larger-screened 12.9-inch “iPad Pro.”

While suppliers are gearing up to ship the new 12-inch MacBook Air in large quantities in the second quarter, Apple’s launch schedule remains unclear, the people said.

A Q2 2015 shipment date for the 12-inch MacBook Air suggests Apple could be planning to launch the notebook around June, possibly at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple has launched products during WWDC before, introducing the Mac Pro in 2013 and the Retina MacBook Pro in 2012.

Rendering of the 12-inch MacBook Air next to an existing MacBook Air by Martin Hajek

Aside from a potential launch date for the notebook, there’s one other significant point of interest in The Wall Street Journal‘s report — a clear distinction between the 12-inch MacBook Air and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Some users have speculated that due to the similarity in screen Continue Reading

Apple May Include USB 3.0 Ports on Upcoming 12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’

Posted by | March 5, 2015.
12_9_ipad_ipads_light

Following up on a report from earlier today claiming Apple has pushed back its plans for the so-called “iPad Pro”, asking suppliers to begin production in September rather than this quarter, The Wall Street Journal weighs in with its own claim that Apple is indeed now targeting the second half of this year for the mass production of the device.

Mockup of iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini
Beyond timing, the report also claims Apple is still tweaking plans for the iPad Pro’s design and feature set, with the company considering including USB 3.0 ports to accommodate data transfer and peripherals connectivity.

“Apple has continued to rework some of the features of the larger iPad. It is now considering the faster technology for data synchronization between the larger iPad and other computing devices,” said the person. [..]

The company has also been considering adding ports to connect to a keyboard and mouse, the people said.

Apple is reportedly also looking into ways to speed up charging time for the iPad Pro, as the device will almost certainly come with an even higher-capacity battery than the iPad Air family.

Finally, The Wall Street Journal‘s sources indicate Continue Reading

Apple Watch Site Lets Users Explore Different Band and Casing Combinations [iOS Blog]

Posted by | March 4, 2015.
mixyourwatchsite

Ahead of Apple’s upcoming “Spring Forward” event that is expected to see the company unveiling more information about the Apple Watch, a new website has been launched that allows users to explore all of the different casing and band combinations for the device.

Using images taken from Apple’s Apple Watch website, MixYourWatch lets users pair each of the six different Apple Watch casings (stainless steel, space gray stainless steel, aluminum, space gray aluminum, gold, and rose gold) with the 16 different bands made of fluoroelastomer, leather, and steel.

Rumors have suggested that Apple plans to allow users to purchase extra bands to wear with their Apple Watch devices, but the band options for the various models will be limited. For example, on Apple’s website, the Leather Loop band is only listed as being available for the 42mm Apple Watch, while the Modern Buckle is only available for the 38mm Apple Watch.

Some of the combinations are not particularly attractive, like the space gray aluminum Apple Watch paired the green fluoroelastomer band, and the site gives an excellent overview of how different Apple Watch combinations will look before the device’s launch.

<img src="http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2015/03/mixyourwatchgreenspacegray-800×484.jpg" alt="mixyourwatchgreenspacegray" Continue Reading

Apple Delaying Production on Larger-Screened ‘iPad Pro’ Until September

Posted by | March 4, 2015.
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Apple has opted delay production on the rumored larger-screened “iPad Pro” due to issues with display panel supply, reports Bloomberg. Manufacturing on the tablet will reportedly begin in September, rather than earlier in the year.

Production of the 12.9-inch-screen iPad is now scheduled to start around September because of delays involving the supply of display panels, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. Apple had initially planned to begin making the larger version this quarter, people familiar those plans had said.

This isn’t the first time that rumors have hinted at delays for the iPad Pro. Apple was said to be targeting an early 2015 release date for the tablet last year, but those plans were reportedly put on hold. Back in October, The Wall Street Journal said that Apple had opted to delay mass production on the iPad in order to focus on iPhone 6 Plus production, and in November, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said production could be delayed until Q2 2015 because of difficulties related to the production of display components. With production delayed until September, the tablet could see a release in late 2015.

Rendering of Continue Reading

Apple Putting Banners Up at Yerba Buena Center Ahead of March 9 Event

Posted by | March 4, 2015.
yerbabuenabanners

Apple began its efforts to decorate the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco yesterday, putting up the scaffolding that would allow workers to hang colorful banners and logos, and as of today, the first decorations have gone up.

Starting this morning, workers were spotted in the basket of a bright orange cherry picker, placing a banner across the glass of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where Apple will hold a special “Spring Forward” media event on March 9. The initial banner panels, which include Apple’s iconic Apple logo, use the same general colors that were seen on the event invite, in shades of green ranging from pistachio to honeydew.

Image via @RaceJohnson

Workers have only just begun decorating the event center and it’s likely the building’s entire side will feature the same graduated lotus flower Apple design that was seen on the invitation, so colors should expand from green to blue to purple over the next few days as the company finishes preparations for Monday’s event.

Apple’s “Spring Forward” affair is said to be focused on the Apple Watch, and the company is expected to unveil additional details about Continue Reading

HBO and Apple in Talks for $15/Month Apple TV Streaming Service Launching in April

Posted by | March 4, 2015.
apple_tv_splash_2014

HBO is in talks with Apple over a partnership that would see its upcoming standalone web-only subscription television package available on the Apple TV, reports Michael Learmonth, writing for International Business Times. CNBC has also confirmed that Apple and HBO are in talks in the video tweet posted below.

BREAKING: Sources tell @JBoorstin that Apple & HBO are in talks for Apple TV to be a launch partner for ‘HBO Now’.
https://t.co/hQd9AzA3Xr

— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) March 4, 2015

Apple could potentially be one of HBO’s launch partners for its web-only service, which may be called “HBO Now.” News of HBO’s web-based subscription service first surfaced in October of 2014, after HBO CEO Richard Plepler shared the company’s plans at an investor presentation.

The service, aimed at cable cutters, will allow users to access HBO content without a cable subscription for a set monthly fee. With the launch of a cable-free subscription service, HBO will become the first major premium content provider to cease limiting its television and movie offerings to cable subscribers.

According to Learmonth, HBO’s web-only subscription will launch in April alongside the premiere of the fifth season Continue Reading

MacBook Air Refresh With Broadwell Processors and Intel HD 6000 Graphics Appears Imminent

Posted by | March 4, 2015.
macbookairsysteminfo

Apple’s MacBook Air hasn’t been updated since last April, which means the company’s line of ultraportable notebooks is due for a refresh. New screenshots from the forums of Chinese site Feng.com suggest an update is imminent, depicting the specifications of a MacBook Air with one of Intel’s Broadwell processors. According to the user who posted the screenshots, they’re from a 2015 MacBook Air that was produced by Foxconn.

The screenshots show the system information for a low-end 13-inch MacBook Air (MacBookAir7,2) with an Intel Core 1.6GHz i5-5250U processor and Intel HD Graphics 6000, which is what we would expect to see. The machine ships with 4GB of RAM and continues to use a display with a resolution of 1440 x 900. The battery appears to be very similar to the battery in the existing 13-inch MacBook Air.

The notebook is running a custom version of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 with a build number of 14C2043, another marker we would expect to find in a new machine. The serial number provided is not registered with Apple and comes up as invalid, but that may be due to its unreleased status. There is no information within the screenshots Continue Reading

Apple Still Tweaking iTunes Music Store Algorithms, Restored Editorial Focus Pleases Indies [Mac Blog]

Posted by | March 4, 2015.
iTunes

Following several months of experimentation with how it curates the music portion of its iTunes Store, Apple has rolled back some of those changes to restore an emphasis on editorial rather than sales-based criteria, according to Billboard.

The news comes after a few independent record labels voiced concern over their artists being lost under the better-performing singers and albums of bigger labels. The company has apparently to not fully eliminate sales-based algorithms for deciding on what content to feature, but have “toned down” that aspect to allow editorial discretion to once again steer the offerings on iTunes’ main page.

After a few weeks of experimenting with that presentation, the iTunes teamed toned down the algorithm and re-asserted the role that editorial discretion has in choosing which music is highlighted in the store. “iTunes will always be driven by editorial discretion,” says a source who is familiar with Apple’s online store philosophy. “Editorial choice will always be at the heart of what music is featured in the store.”

Despite the introduction of the sales-focused algorithm towards the end of 2014 and into the new year, the indie music market still found itself fairly well-represented on the storefront. As Continue Reading

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