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Apple’s (Product) RED Holiday Campaign Raised $20 Million to Fight AIDS

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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For this year’s World AIDS Day campaign, Apple ran several (Product) RED promotions, providing a (RED) section in the App Store and donating a portion of all retail and online sales from Friday, November 28 and Monday, December 1.

According to an email Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out to Apple employees (via Re/code), the campaign was a huge success, earning more than $20 million for the (Product) RED charity, which uses its funds to fight AIDS in Africa.

“I’m thrilled to announce that our total donation for this quarter will be more than $20 million — our biggest ever — bringing the total amount Apple has raised for (PRODUCT) RED to over $100 million,” Cook wrote. “The money we’ve raised is saving lives and bringing hope to people in need. It’s a cause we can all be proud to support.”

During the campaign, Apple partnered with 25 app developers to offer a variety of (RED) themed apps in the App Store, with purchase proceeds going towards the charity. Apple’s annual Black Friday event was also (RED) themed, and customers who purchased an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or qualifying Apple accessory received a (RED) iTunes gift card.

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Job Listing Confirms Apple Pay Expansion is Underway, Led by London Team

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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Apple’s newly introduced payment initiative Apple Pay is currently only available in the United States, but the company has said that it is “working hard” to bring the feature to additional countries.

A new job listing for an Apple Pay Intern via iClarified) seemingly confirms Apple’s efforts to expand its payments service, stating that Apple Pay is “set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa.”

According to the job posting, the Apple Pay intern will join a London-based Apple Pay team that will facilitate the rollout of Apple pay to various countries by working with “Issuers, payment networks and merchants across Europe.”

Apple Pay is a new and exciting area in Apple that is set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. Apple Pay will change the way consumers pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to pay in an easy, secure, and private way. The new London-based Apple Pay team will work to drive the roll-out of this technology across EMEIA by working with a variety of internal and external partners, including teams in the US where the product Continue Reading

Judge Rules Steve Jobs Deposition Video Will Not See Public Release

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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The Steve Jobs deposition video that played a key role in the iPod antitrust trial Apple faced in court last week will not see a public release, ruled by District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

In a filing released today (via AppleInsider), the judge denied a request issued by several major news outlets last week, including CNN, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press. The news agencies had filed a motion to have the deposition video, which was filmed just six months before Steve Jobs’ death, released to the public.

Citing past precedent of a decision made by the Eighth Circuit court in a case involving a video deposition of former President Bill Clinton, the court decided the Jobs video was not a judicial record and should be treated as any live testimony.

Here, the Court agrees with the Eighth Circuit and concludes that the Jobs Deposition is not a judicial record. It was not admitted into evidence as an exhibit. Instead, the Jobs Deposition was merely presented in lieu of live testimony due to the witness’s unavailability, and was and should be treated in the same manner as any other live testimony offered at trial. As is Continue Reading

Apple Allows ‘Drafts’ App to Reinstate Notification Center Widget

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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Earlier this month, Apple asked note-taking app Drafts to can be downloaded from the App Store for $9.99. [Direct Link]

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Apple Seeds Safari 8.0.3, 7.1.3, and 6.2.3 to Developers [Mac Blog]

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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Apple today seeded a new Safari 8.0.3 beta for developers running OS X Yosemite, along with a Safari 7.1.3 beta for Mavericks and a Safari 6.2.3 beta for Mountain Lion.

Registered Mac developers can download the new Safari builds through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store or through the Mac Dev Center. In the release notes for the new betas, Apple asks developers to focus on features like Extensions, Password AutoFill, HTML5 video playback, notifications, and more.

Focus Areas
Please focus testing on the following areas:

– General website compatibility
– Extension compatibility
– Password AutoFill
– HTML5 video playback on popular video sites
– Using the Web Inspector to debug websites
– Reading List read/unread state
– Editing bookmarks in the Favorites Bar and Bookmarks Sidebar
– Website notifications

In addition to the forthcoming Safari update, Apple is also working on another general OS X Yosemite update, OS X 10.10.2, which saw its second beta seeded to developers last Friday.

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Apple Shares Behind the Scenes Look at New Holiday Ad ‘The Song’

Posted by | December 17, 2014.

Over the weekend, Apple released a touching new holiday ad called “The Song,” focusing on a woman who found an old record of her grandmother singing a love song to her grandfather, which she then enhanced with her own vocals and musical accompaniments using Apple’s tools.

Apple has now released a second video, which offers details on how the spot was created. As explained by the musician who starred the ad, Dana Williams, and vocalist Rhiannon Giddens, a series of recordings were made with a voice-o-graph, a 1940’s booth for recording short spurts of audio directly onto a record.

The voice-o-graph used in the spot was supplied by Third Man Records, which is Jack White’s indie label. Giddens, voicing the grandmother, sang the “Love Is Here to Stay” audio, and it was then transferred into GarageBand for editing by Williams, who says that she uses the app for recording “basically all of her music.” “Anyone who’s not tech savvy like myself can just kind of find their way around it,” she explains.

“The Song,” which highlights both GarageBand and the iPad mini, follows in Continue Reading

Apple Reminds Developers About February 64-Bit Support Deadline for Newly Submitted iOS Apps [iOS Blog]

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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Apple today began sending out emails to developers, reminding them that as of February 1, 2015, all apps submitted to the App Store need to be built with the iOS 8 software development kit and include 64-bit support. Developers were first informed of the upcoming rules back in October, after the release of iOS 8 and the iPhone 6/6 Plus.

The email also states that as of June 1, 2015, all app updates submitted to the App Store will need to adhere to the same requirements, giving the company a way to make sure all current apps take advantage of 64-bit support and are iOS 8 compliant. The shift to across-the-board 64-bit support will offer improved app performance on 64-bit devices.

Dear Developer,
As we announced in October, beginning February 1, 2015 new iOS apps submitted to the App Store must include 64-bit support and be built with the iOS 8 SDK. Beginning June 1, 2015 app updates will also need to follow the same requirements. To enable 64-bit in your project, we recommend using the default Xcode build setting of “Standard architectures” to build a single binary with both 32-bit and 64-bit code.

Apple first began asking developers to Continue Reading

Gene Munster Still Believes in the Apple Television Set, Thinks 2016 Launch Likely [Mac Blog]

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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After numerous failed attempts at predicting Apple’s first foray into television sets, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has not yet given up hope that the company will deliver. During an interview at Business Insider’s 2014 Ignition Conference earlier this month, Munster made yet another prediction on the rumored Apple technology, citing a two-year wait for Apple’s own television set.

Munster regarded this year’s prediction as an “annual penance” for being consistently incorrect in guessing the release date for Apple’s rumored television set. Instead of the usual one-year prediction Munster has been throwing out the past few years, the analyst looked into the past to further support his two-year suggestion for Apple’s next big product.

“Apple takes a long time in-between products. If we look back over the last decade, it’s 3-6 years between major products. And so, ultimately the Watch is what hit this year, they’re gonna refine that next year along with payments. And then that probably gets us into 2016 as more of a time frame for the actual television.”

Though it may seem a bit behind the game for Apple to launch a television set when connected TVs are already becoming ubiquitous and prices Continue Reading

‘Continuity Activation Tool’ for Adding Handoff to Older Macs Now Supports Bluetooth 4.0 Dongles

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
continuity

A new update to the community-built “Continuity Activation Tool” for OS X Yosemite brings Bluetooth 4.0 USB dongle support, allowing users of some older model Macs to enable Handoff and other Bluetooth-related Continuity features on their machines without upgrading internal hardware. The tool does, however, come with some caveats users should be aware of before attempting to activate these features.

Apple’s introduction of Continuity alongside OS X Yosemite promised a suite of features that interweave Mac and iOS devices without any hassle. Unfortunately for Macs old enough to not include Bluetooth 4.0 (and even a few older models that do include it), several of the features are officially unsupported on their machines and these users haven’t been able to experience Continuity in its full form.

Addressing this issue, enterprising members of the MacRumors forums banded together to discuss the issue, leading to the creation of a “Continuity Activation Tool.” Users with Apple devices unable to directly access the new feature could follow a set of instructions that would enable Bluetooth-linked Continuity features such as Handoff and Instant Hotspot to work on Macs previously unable to support the features.

While only the software Continue Reading

Netflix Executive: Offline Viewing ‘Never Going to Happen’ [iOS Blog]

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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Netflix customers hoping for offline viewing on their iPad or iPhone may have to wait indefinitely for the feature to be supported by the streaming service. Speaking to TechRadar, Netflix director of corporate communications and technology Cliff Edwards said offline viewing is “never going to happen.”

Edwards asserts that offline viewing is a “short term fix” that doesn’t address the bigger issue of sparse public Wi-Fi access. In the next five years, Edwards believes the expansion of public Wi-Fi and cellular coverage will make the idea of offline viewing obsolete. With a ubiquitous Internet connection, customers won’t need to download as they will be able stream all the time.

Instead of working to support offline viewing, Netflix has been focusing on original programming, with twenty new series planned for the coming years. The company also has been moving forward with 4K content and steadily improving its iOS app, recently adding support for iOS 8 and 1080p HD streaming on the iPhone 6 Plus.

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Fleksy Keyboard for iOS Gains New Extensions, Theme Packs

Posted by | December 17, 2014.
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With iOS 8, Apple began allowing third-party keyboards for the first time, and over the last few months, dozens of feature-rich keyboards have hit the market. With an ever-increasing number of keyboard options available, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for keyboard developers to stand out

Fleksy, a company that has long had an Android-based keyboard and was one of the first to launch a keyboard for iOS, is aiming to get itself back into the public eye with a major 5.0 update. The new version of Fleksy introduces a slew of features, including several customizable extensions and dozens of premium themes. With Extensions, Fleksy is now able to go beyond simple text insertion, offering additional features that extend Fleksy‘s functionality.

iOS extensions being offered include GIFs, one-handed typing (for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus), a Number Row, Cursor Control, and Rainbow Key Pops. The GIF feature allows users to browse and share animated images, while Cursor Control allows users to move the cursor using the spacebar.

The Number Row adds numbers to the top of the keyboard, Rainbow Key Pops add a pop of color with each key press, and the one-handed typing feature moves the keyboard to Continue Reading

Apple Temporarily Halts Online Sales in Russia Due to ‘Extremely Sharp’ Ruble Fluctuations [iOS Blog]

Posted by | December 16, 2014.
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Apple has temporarily halted online sales in Russia due to fluctuations in the value of the ruble, reports Bloomberg. The online store will be down until Apple is able to revise its prices in the country.

“Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing,” Alan Hely, a spokesman for the Cupertino, California-based company, said today in an e-mailed statement. “We apologize to customers for any inconvenience.”

Similarly, an Apple spokesperson told Russian site Lenta.ru that the store was offline due to “extremely sharp” fluctuations of the Russian ruble.

As of right now, the Apple Online store for Russia is down, displaying Apple’s typical “We’ll be back” message that is offered when a store is taken offline. It is not clear how long it will take to making the pricing adjustments.

Due to the weak Russian ruble, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in Russia were priced much lower than other the devices in other European countries. Ahead of the store closure, the 16GB iPhone 6 was priced at 39990 rubles, equivalent to €447 or $558. The 16GB iPhone 6 Plus was priced at 46990 rubles, or €550/$681. In many other European countries, the Continue Reading

TAG Heuer Announces Smartwatch Plans as Threat From Apple Watch Looms

Posted by | December 16, 2014.
TAG Heuer

High-end Swiss watchmakers have generally been publicly dismissive of any threat posed by Apple’s upcoming smartwatch, but now that the Watch is creeping closer to launch, fashion watch leaders are starting to take notice. According to Reuters, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer has changed course and begun preparing a smartwatch and is willing to forge partnerships and acquire companies in order to produce an original luxury offering to compete with Apple Watch.

This endeavor is a marked change for the luxury watch maker, which is the largest brand under LVMH’s umbrella. Following Apple’s Watch announcement, LVMH watch chief and TAG Heuer interim chief executive Jean-Claude Biver dismissed the smart watch, saying it was “too feminine” and looked like “it was designed by a student in their first trimester.” He added that smartwatches such as the Apple Watch will soon be outdated, while “luxury always has something timeless.”

Biver admits he has changed his mind on the smartwatch category and already has outlined plans for a smartwatch device. He also has negotiated several partnerships and is open to future acquisitions if necessary to help jumpstart this smartwatch project.

“We started on the project about four months ago. We Continue Reading

Instagram for iOS Gains Five New Filters, Slo-Mo Video Uploads [iOS Blog]

Posted by | December 16, 2014.
instagramfilters

For the first time in two years, the Instagram app for iOS has been updated with all new filters. Added today, Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Perpetua, and Aden are subtle filters that are designed to slightly enhance photos without overwhelming effects.

According to Instagram, early filters were designed to compensate for lower image quality, while the filters released today take into account higher image quality while providing tools to capture the mood of a moment.

Inspired by the photography, art, fashion and design of the global Instagram community, we’re releasing five new filters that we believe are our best yet. You’ll see the filters at the front of your filter tray: Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden and Perpetua. They soften and subtly shift colors to achieve the look and feel you want for your each photo.

In addition to the five new filters, Instagram for iOS has also gained the ability to upload slo-mo video, real-time commenting, a customizable filter tray, a new look for previewing filters, and photo perspective adjustment options.

Instagram can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Apple Wins iPod Antitrust Lawsuit, Found Not Guilty of Harming Consumers

Posted by | December 16, 2014.
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Jury deliberations for the iPod antitrust lawsuit Apple faced in court last week began on Monday, and it appears the jury has already reached a verdict just a day later. As reported by The Verge, the jury has sided with Apple, finding the company not guilty of harming consumers with anticompetitive practices.

In the class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that Apple had deliberately crippled third-party music services by locking iPods and iTunes to its own ecosystem, which in turn artificially raised the price of Apple’s products. At issue was a specific iTunes 7.0 update that disabled the DRM workarounds put in place by RealNetworks, a competing music service, allowing its music to be played on the iPod.

Apple argued that the iTunes update in question was done mainly to improve the iTunes service rather shut down third-party music services, a point that the jury agreed with.

Delivering a unanimous verdict today, the group said Apple’s iTunes 7.0, released in the fall of 2006, was a “genuine product improvement,” meaning that new features (though importantly increased security) were good for consumers. Plaintiffs in the case unsuccessfully argued that those features not only thwarted competition, but also made Apple’s Continue Reading

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