Mac Headlines

Apple, Paypal Talks Over Apple Pay Soured Due to Samsung Deal

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

Apple and PayPal were in talks that would potentially have seen PayPal becoming a "preferred payment process" for Apple Pay, reports Bank Innovation, but those talks ended abruptly after PayPal inked a deal with Samsung to allow users to make PayPal payments with the Galaxy S5's fingerprint sensor.

Apple was reportedly so annoyed with the partnership between the two companies that it ended talks with PayPal and even went so far as to exclude PayPal from Apple Pay all together, not listing it as an acceptable payment platform in its developer documentation.

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But while these talks were going on, PayPal went ahead and partnered with Samsung on the Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner, a move that was reportedly forced onto PayPal by eBay CEO John Donahoe. PayPal's now-former president David Marcus was purportedly categorically against the Samsung deal, knowing that it would jeopardize PayPal's relationship with Apple. Donahoe won the day, however.
Apple and PayPal appear to be in somewhat of a dispute following the introduction of Apple Pay and PayPal's exclusion, with the latter company recently launching an ad campaign that subtly attacks Apple and Apple Pay.

In the advertisement, PayPal alluded to the recent hacking of celebrity iCloud accounts and suggested PayPal was the safer platform for transferring money. Without a deal between the two companies, PayPal is facing significant competition from Apple Pay.

In addition to allowing users to make purchases in retail stores with their phones, Apple Pay also lets users buy items in support apps using a debit or credit card connected with an iTunes account. PayPal works in a very similar way, letting users attach a credit or debit card and then make purchases through the service, alleviating the need to enter credit card details.

Apple has plans to launch Apple Pay in the coming weeks, through an update to iOS 8.






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Pebble Drops Prices on Its Watches, Pokes Fun at Jony Ive

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

Pebble is dealing with the threat of Apple's upcoming Apple Watch by making jokes about the enthusiasm Apple employees have shown for the device. On its website, Pebble has a graphic of a gleeful Pebble, which says "Chill." Above that, are the words "Breathe, Jony. It's just a watch."

Further down, Pebble advertises the seven day battery life of its smart watches. "Why measure battery life in days? 'Cuz we can." This is a reference to the poor battery life seen in other smart watches, including Samsung's Galaxy Gear and the Moto 360, both of which last less than a day before requiring a charge.

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Though Apple has not announced battery life of the Apple Watch, rumors have suggested that it will last for about a day, requiring nightly charging. It is likely, however, that the company is continuing to make tweaks to improve battery as much as it can, which is why no specific information on battery has been released.

Pebble also touts its customizability and its relatively low cost while poking a bit of fun at some of Apple's Apple Watch statements. "Overpriced trophy watch wasn't on our to-do list," reads the site. "Pebble is made by real people, for real people keeping it real," it says, wrapping up with the following statement: "Just to recap, we made a watch. We didn't solve global warming."

In addition to highlighting the capabilities of the product with sly references to the Apple Watch, Pebble has also announced plans to cut the prices of both the Pebble and the Pebble Steel. The standard Pebble watch now retails for $99, while the more recently introduced Pebble Steel retails for $199. Both options are quite a bit more affordable than the Apple Watch, which is said to start at a price of $349.

Pebble has also introduced new health and fitness capabilities for Pebble devices. Following an update, Pebble users are now able to track activity non-stop and monitor their sleep habits. Additionally, Pebble watches will be available in more retail locations, including Sam's Club, Fry's Electronics, and more.






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Some Owners of Older iOS Devices Receiving Up to $300 in Liquid Damage Indicator Settlement

September 30th, 2014 by Eric Slivka

Back in April 2013, it was announced that Apple had agreed to a $53 million settlement in a class action lawsuit involving iPhone and iPod touch units that may have been improperly denied warranty coverage due to liquid damage indicators having been triggered in the devices.

The settlement, which covers iPhones denied warranty coverage on or before December 31, 2009 and iPod touches denied coverage on or before June 30, 2010, stems from Apple's use of triggered liquid damage indicators as sufficient reason for denying warranty coverage. Given the timeframe for the issue, the settlement is limited to iPhone 3GS and earlier and third-generation iPod touch and earlier models.

With the indicators' manufacturer, 3M, acknowledging the indicators could be at least partially triggered by humidity and not necessarily direct liquid contact, some owners pursued a case against Apple for improperly denying warranty coverage. Apple did later adjust its procedures to require additional visual inspection for liquid damage on devices where the indicators had been triggered, but for those who had already paid out of pocket to replace their devices, the case continued.

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As outlined on the settlement home page, administrators finally began sending out settlement checks to eligible claimants last week, and a number of MacRumors readers have reported receiving their checks over the past few days.

Owners of several different iPhone models have reported receiving checks for $251.55, with some reporting amounts as high as $300 while others have received smaller amounts for affected iPod touch units. Users receiving checks have until January 21 to cash or deposit them.






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Apple to Announce Q4 2014 Earnings on October 20 [Mac Blog]

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

Apple today updated its investor relations page to confirm it will announce earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter (third calendar quarter) of 2014 on October 20. The quarterly earnings statement will be released around 1:30 PM Pacific / 4:30 PM Eastern, with a conference call to discuss the report following at 2:00 PM Pacific / 5:00 PM Eastern.

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This quarterly earnings report covers the period up to September 27 and will include early sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which launched in a number of countries on September 19. With a highly anticipated China launch slated for October 17, iPhone sales in the current quarter are expected to continue to be strong. The company confirmed it sold a record-breaking 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in the first weekend of sales and would have sold significantly more units if supply had not been constrained.

MacRumors will provide coverage of both the earnings release and conference call on October 20.






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Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Golden Master Candidate to Developers

September 30th, 2014 by Eric Slivka

Apple today released a candidate golden master version of OS X Yosemite to developers, just over two weeks after releasing the eighth Developer Preview alongside the third public beta of the upcoming Mac operating system.

The latest update for developers can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and through Apple's Mac Dev Center.

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OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, more modern look to OS X, with an emphasis on translucency and redesigned dock, windows, and more. It also includes a multitude of new features, such as improved integration with iOS 8 through Continuity, a new "Today" view in Notification Center that offers integration with third-party apps, a retooled Spotlight search with new data sources, and several new features for apps like Mail, Safari, and Messages.

Over the course of the beta testing period, each Developer Preview has added new features and refined the look and performance of OS X Yosemite, although changes have become less obvious in more recent builds as Apple begins finalizing Yosemite ahead of its public release, which is expected in late October.

The current build may or may not be a final version of OS X Yosemite, depending on the outcome of final testing. As an example, Apple last year seeded its planned golden master build to developers on October 3, although it did release a second golden master version a few weeks later just ahead of the public release on October 22.






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Mass Production of Apple Watch Reportedly Slated for January 2015

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

applewatch2Apple is reportedly finalizing the details on its upcoming Apple Watch as it prepares to begin mass production of the device ahead of its launch early next year. Mass production of the smartwatch device may begin January 2015, reports Taiwanese news source AppleDaily (via G For Games).

According to the news report, Apple is working only with long-time manufacturing partner Quanta to produce the device. This contradicts an earlier report suggesting Quanta would be handling the bulk of the production with Inventec supplementing the supply.
Quanta has allegedly received Apple’s heads-up and has begun making preparations (which involve increasing its worker head count to 4 million). Even more, it is said that Apple and Quanta have entered a deal which prohibits the Taiwanese company from manufacturing/assembling smartwatches for Apple’s rival OEMs.
Inventec was among several assembly companies said to be vying for Apple Watch orders months ago, but Quanta may have won an exclusive arrangement due to the complexity associated with manufacturing the device.

Apple says its Watch is unlike any device it has ever made, with cutting edge sensor and haptic feddback technologies. Given the advanced features of the device, it's not surprising Apple has selected to work with only one manufacturer as it streamlines the production process, as others may have been unable to meet Apple's standards.

Relatively reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had previously reported that Apple was planning a November production ramp for the Apple Watch, so a shift to January could indicate Apple believes it needs a bit more time to finalize the product's design.

Apple is expected to begin selling the Watch starting in early 2015, with one insider saying Apple would be "lucky" to launch it in time for Valentine's Day on February 14. A production ramp beginning in January would indeed make it difficult for Apple to have significant quantities available in time for Valentine's Day purchases. The smartwatch will retail at a starting price of $349 for the base model, with several collections including 18-karat gold luxury options available at higher prices.






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Velvetwire Unveils First Smart USB Charger Powered by Apple HomeKit Technology

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

Smart energy company Velvetwire today announced Powerslayer Blu, the latest addition to its Powerslayer lineup of USB chargers. This new model offers Bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity and is compatible with Apple's HomeKit technology rolling out with iOS 8. Apple's vision for HomeKit is to make it easy for developers to allow users to control and interact with accessories around the home, leveraging BLE for energy-efficient communications.

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"We are proud to be among the first group of companies to produce HomeKit-compatible devices," said Eric Bodnar, co-founder and CEO at Velvetwire. "By integrating Bluetooth technology into the Powerslayer, we're offering customers a new way to interact with their devices and be part of Apple's HomeKit. Velvetwire is committed to developing intelligent, energy-efficient devices that allow users to live more consciously without sacrificing convenience. We look forward to sharing Powerslayer Blu and future generations of our power-saving devices with the world."
The Powerslayer Blu improves upon earlier Powerslayer models with HomeKit integration and iOS app support that gathers information from the charger using Bluetooth LE. Users can receive notifications about the charging status of their devices and view energy level information via Velvetwire's iOS app. The device also includes the option to switch between a fast, high-power charging profile and an energy conservation mode that maximizes battery life.

The Powerslayer Blu will be available before the end of the year and will retail for $89. While the price tag is likely to be a hurdle for many potential customers, Powerslayer Blu serves as a good example of the potential of HomeKit to use iOS as a hub for bringing together devices from around the home.






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Foxconn Hiring More Workers to Help with Strong Demand for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus [iOS Blog]

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

Foxconn has begun another large-scale hiring effort for its factories in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou in order to help out with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus production, reports Digitimes.

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Because working on assembly lines is no longer as attractive as before for workers in China, Foxconn is having issues recruiting sufficient numbers of workers. The company has been hosting hiring events recently to maintain its manpower, the sources added.
The report notes that Apple's goal to launch its new handsets in 115 countries by the end of 2014 also pushed Foxconn to start another round of large-scale hiring. The company was previously said to be bringing on 100,000 new employees in June ahead of the iPhone 6 launch.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus went on sale in the first wave of countries on September 19 and saw expanded availability to more countries last Friday, September 26. Overall demand for the new devices has been greater than supply to this point, as Apple's Online Store still shows a 7-10 day shipping estimate for new iPhone 6 orders and a 3-4 week delay for new iPhone 6 Plus orders in the U.S.






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Samsung Supplying Apple with Panels for iPad Air 2 and 12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’ Later This Year

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

Samsung will supply Apple with displays for the second-generation iPad Air and the 12.9-inch 'iPad Pro' starting later this year, reports Korean-news outlet inews24 (via Digitimes). The Korean company will begin manufacturing the displays in the coming months, as the panels are said to feature IPS technology similar to Apple's current line of iPads.

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Physical mockup of the second-generation iPad Air

If the report is legitimate, it is likely that Apple will have a steady supply of panels for its first batch of iPad Air 2 units, which may launch in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Some reports have also claimed that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could be released in early 2015, which may lead to Samsung becoming the top supplier of displays for the new tablet if other suppliers are unable to meet Apple's demands.

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Rendering of a 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air

Apple has been attempting to reduce its reliance on Samsung as a component supplier due to tensions between the two companies as they have become top competitors in the mobile device market. However, Samsung's technological advantages and production capacity as a display supplier have proven valuable to Apple over the years, as the Korean company even became Apple's top iPad display supplier in Q1 2014.

The iPad Air 2 is rumored to feature a slightly thinner body, a faster A8 processor, 2GB of RAM, support for Apple Pay, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Meanwhile, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is said to include a more powerful A8X processor to power its large, high-resolution display.






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European Union Accuses Ireland of Giving Apple Illegal State Aid with Tax Deals

September 30th, 2014 by AppleInsider

euflag.png The European Commission today announced the results of its formal investigation into Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland, accusing the company of receiving illegal state aid from the country, reports The Wall Street Journal.

In its findings, the regulatory body stated that deals between Apple and Ireland struck in 1991 and 2007 helped Irish authorities "confer a selective advantage upon Apple" that resulted in a lowering of its tax liability. The Commission also added that Apple's increase in sales for its business in Ireland appear to be inconsistent when related to comparable operating costs that would come with growth. Furthermore, the Commission notes that there was a reported increase in "sales income" by 415%, but states that most of the profit-generating work was done elsewhere.
Accordingly, the Commission's of the opinion that through those rulings the Irish authorities confer an advantage on Apple. That advantage is obtained every year and on-going, when the annual tax liability is agreed upon by the tax authorities in view of that ruling.
Apple's tax policies have been questioned on numerous occasions throughout the past few years, as the company is said to utilize multiple subsidiary companies located in the Irish city of Cork to move money around without significant tax penalties. This in due in part to an exemption in the region's law, which allows companies that are managed abroad but located in Ireland to be exempt from taxes. CEO Tim Cook defended the company's tax practices in 2013, calling for a tax reform and simplified corporate tax policies along with lower rates for repatriation.

Apple and the Irish government will now have one month to respond to the findings published in the Commission's reports, as the case will likely take up to 18 months to reach a conclusion. In addition to its findings regarding Apple and Ireland, the European Commission also announced that it is investigating state aid cases involving coffee company Starbucks and car maker Fiat and their arrangements with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, respectively.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.






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