Archive for the ‘Front Page’ Category

Apple Welcomes Beats to the Family as Beats Electronics Closes Its Online Store

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Apple today updated its website with a new page celebrating its acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music.
Today we are excited to officially welcome Beats Music and Beats Electronics to the Apple family. Music has always held a special place in our hearts, and we’re thrilled to join forces with a group of people who love it as much as we do. Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have created beautiful products that have helped millions of people deepen their connection to music. We’re delighted to be working with the team to elevate that experience even further.

And we can’t wait to hear what’s next.
beats-apple-welcome
The page also links visitors to the the front page of the revamped Beats Electronics website, which contains a message from the Beats team about joining Apple.

As part of these changes, Beats Electronics also has confirmed the closure of its online store. Going forward, all transactions will be handled through Apple's Online Store and customers are advised to contact Apple about purchases made after August 1, 2014.

Apple's acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music is moving forward, with the deal recently receiving regulatory approval from the European Commission. U.S. regulators are expected to weigh in on the deal in a decision to be announced sometime this quarter.

In other acquisition news, Bloomberg also reported that Vivendi sold its 13 percent stake in Beats Electronics to Apple for $404 million. This stake was held by Vivendi's Universal Music Group.






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Home Button and Sensor Flex Cables From 4.7-Inch and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Shown in New Photos

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] has published several high-resolution images purportedly showing flex cables from both the 4.7-inch and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6. These latest images add to the growing number of flex cables and other internal components for the iPhone 6 that have surfaced in the past few months.

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These images include a possible look at the home button cables from both iPhone 6 models. The photos show two different designs for the part, each with a square section for the Touch ID sensor but distinct from the iPhone 5s part. While Apple's iPads are also rumored to be gaining Touch ID functionality this year, the parts shown in the photos are compact enough that they are much more likely to be for the iPhone.

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Another set of photos shows a flex cable with the ambient light/proximity sensors and a microphone. The corresponding part from the iPhone 5s includes the device's FaceTime camera, but the camera is not included on the purported iPhone 6 cable.

As the rumored September launch of the iPhone 6 approaches, we expect to see additional part leaks, especially for the 5.5-inch model which may enter mass production in the coming month. Supply chain reports claim the 4.7-inch model entered mass production in July.

Rumors suggest Apple may stagger the launch of the iPhone 6, introducing the 4.7-inch model in September and following that launch with the 5.5-inch version later in the year.






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Initial iWatch Shipments May Be Limited Due to Sapphire Issues, Half of Devices May Use Glass Displays

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Echoing his earlier iWatch predictions, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today suggested (via AppleInsider) that Apple's iWatch will be available in limited quantities in 2014, with only three million devices hitting store shelves before the end of the year.

Kuo says that while market predictions point towards shipments between 5 and 10 million smart watches before the end of 2014, his own prediction based on supply chain checks is at three million units due to the iWatch's late production date.

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Traditional watch-style iWatch concept by Gábor Balogh

Earlier this month, Kuo released a report pointing towards a November production date for the iWatch. Difficulties developing the screen for the device as well as its sapphire crystal cover are said to have slowed development on the iWatch, pushing back targeted production dates. "We believe developing the hardware and OS of iWatch will be a much more difficult task than for Apple's existing products," Kuo wrote.

Kuo believes that continued problems with the sapphire display for the iWatch may lead Apple to produce some of the devices with glass covers instead of sapphire. In the note, he also points towards TPK as the supplier for the iWatch's touch module. TPK's recent earnings report has suggested iWatch production has been delayed and will not begin until until the fourth quarter.

Apple is said to be aiming to introduce the iWatch at an October event, which means it may debut before production even begins. In the event that the device does not enter production until November, Apple may launch the device well after it is first introduced, much like it did with the Mac Pro. As a result, the iWatch may be available in very limited quantities in 2014, with availability increasing in early 2015.






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Microsoft’s Office for iPad Apps Gain New Picture Tools, Third-Party Fonts, and Ability to Send Files as PDFs

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Microsoft's Office for iPad apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint received a major update today that adds several new user-requested features to each app. All three apps have gained the ability to export files as PDFs, and each one has also gained new Picture Tools that let users crop to focus on the right part of an image. Third-party fonts have also been added to each app.

Excel now includes improved external keyboard support to make the experience of using Excel on the iPad more like a desktop usage experience. There are more print options available, and a new "Flick to Select" feature lets users flick to select all data in a row or column.

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Excel is all about interacting with, consuming, and manipulating your data. When it comes to interacting with data, PivotTables are key to helping explore that data. With Excel for iPad you can now sort, filter, expand and collapse, show details, and even refresh PivotTables whose data is all contained within the workbook. You can even change how your PivotTables look and feel by changing both their visual style and layout.

We’ve also made it easier to consume workbooks and select data, including a large data range, with the introduction of a new flick gesture. Simply grab the selection handle, flick it in any direction, and Excel will automatically select from where you started to the next blank cell. Say you’re at the top of a column of data and want to select all the way to the bottom. Just flick down and the column is selected automatically.
Word didn't gain new features beyond the Picture Tools, Fonts, and ability to send PDFs, but PowerPoint has seen some improvements. The app has a new Presenter View that lets users view and edit speaker notes, see next slides, and jump to other slides while presenting. Presenter tools allow for highlights and drawings to be erased within presentations, while new media features make it possible for users to play videos, sound effects, and background music while presenting. There are also new tools to insert videos from the Camera Roll and add/edit hyperlinks.

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With this update you can also make your presentations more rich and interactive than ever by more easily including video and sound to help get your point across. Not only do all of your embedded videos and sound recordings now play right from PowerPoint for iPad, but you can insert video directly from your Camera Roll as well. This allows you to quickly record, embed, and present interactive content more quickly than ever, and all from one device.
Today's update is the second major update the Office software has gotten since its March release. Back in April, the three apps gained some important features that had been missing since launch, including the ability to print directly from the apps.

Microsoft's Office for iPad apps have proven to be highly successful for the company. During its Q4 earnings call in July, Microsoft announced that its Office for iPad software had been downloaded more than 35 million times.

Microsoft has committed to continually improving its Office for iPad apps, which now directly compete with Apple's own iWork suite including Numbers, Keynote, and Pages. "As this wave of updates hopefully shows, we're making good on our commitment to delivering continuous updates and improvements to the Office for iPad apps," read's the company's blog post on the new update.

All of the updates to the new Office apps are currently available and can be downloaded from the App Store for free. While the apps can be accessed for free, unlocking full capabilities, including editing and creating documents, requires an Office 365 subscription.

- Microsoft Word for iPad [Direct Link]
- Microsoft Excel for iPad [Direct Link]
- Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad [Direct Link]






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Apple’s Content Delivery Network Now Live, Making Faster OS X/iOS Downloads Possible

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Apple's content delivery network is now live in the US and Europe, reports analyst Dan Rayburn of Frost & Sullivan (Via ArsTechnica). The CDN may deliver multiple terabits of data per second, allowing Apple to more efficiently to distribute software updates and other content to its customers.

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Apple's CDN apparently went live recently as current trace routes provided by Rayburn show that OS X downloads are piped directly from Apple to internet service providers, such as Comcast. Apple is paying for this direct route in order to avoid congestion and other issues during times of high volume traffic, such as when a new version of OS X is released. Other providers who possibly have negotiated these interconnect deals with Apple are rumored to include AT&T and Verizon, both of which have similar contracts with Netflix.

Apple has not publicly commented on its CDN plans, but the company is expected to use the network to deliver iOS and OS X downloads, while gradually transitioning its iTunes and App Store away from Akamai and other Level 3 CDNs.
"It’s too early to know how much traffic will come over and when, but Apple’s already started using their own CDN much faster than I expected. The pace of their build out and amount of money they are spending on infrastructure is incredible. Based on my calculations, Apple has already put in place multiple terabits per second of capacity and by the end of this year, will have invested well more than $100M in their CDN build out."
Apple allegedly has been working on building this content delivery network for several years, with a rapid acceleration in the past year to bring the service online. The rollout of this network brings content delivery under Apple's direct control, helping to ensure its customers can access data reliably and quickly.






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Apple Trimming 200 Employees From Beats Team to Streamline Overlapping Functions

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

beatsbydreAs part of its pending acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, Apple has begun making offers to Beats employees that will see roughly 200 of Beats' 700 positions phased out over the next few months. News of the job cuts was first reported by 9to5Mac yesterday, with additional detail provided by the New York Post.

According to the reports, most of the job cuts will be in human resources, finance, and other areas where there is overlap between Apple and Beats staff. Some Beats employees will reportedly transfer to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, while others will remain at Beats' current facility in the Los Angeles area.

Apple has issued a statement to Re/code confirming that some Beats employees have received only temporary offers from Apple as part of the transition.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr’s explanation: “We’re excited to have the Beats team join Apple, and we have extended job offers to every Beats employee. Because of some overlap in our operations, some offers are for a limited period and we’ll work hard during this time to find as many of these Beats employees as we can another permanent job within Apple.”
Apple's $3 billion deal to acquire Beats and its headphone and streaming music businesses has been approved by European regulators, but will not be finalized until U.S. regulators sign off on the deal. Apple indicated at the time the acquisition was announced that it expects the deal to close this quarter.






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Apple Trimming 200 Employees From Beats Team to Streamline Overlapping Functions

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

beatsbydreAs part of its pending acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, Apple has begun making offers to Beats employees that will see roughly 200 of Beats' 700 positions phased out over the next few months. News of the job cuts was first reported by 9to5Mac yesterday, with additional detail provided by the New York Post.

According to the reports, most of the job cuts will be in human resources, finance, and other areas where there is overlap between Apple and Beats staff. Some Beats employees will reportedly transfer to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, while others will remain at Beats' current facility in the Los Angeles area.

Apple has issued a statement to Re/code confirming that some Beats employees have received only temporary offers from Apple as part of the transition.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr’s explanation: “We’re excited to have the Beats team join Apple, and we have extended job offers to every Beats employee. Because of some overlap in our operations, some offers are for a limited period and we’ll work hard during this time to find as many of these Beats employees as we can another permanent job within Apple.”
Apple's $3 billion deal to acquire Beats and its headphone and streaming music businesses has been approved by European regulators, but will not be finalized until U.S. regulators sign off on the deal. Apple indicated at the time the acquisition was announced that it expects the deal to close this quarter.






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Researcher Details USB-Based Attack That Circumvents All Known Protective Security Measures

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

usb3Security research Karsten Nohl of Berlin's SR Labs has revealed a flaw in USB devices that potentially allows hackers to evade all known security measures used by a computer. In a report by Wired, Nohl says his BadUSB exploit is "almost like a magic trick" because "you cannot tell where the virus came from."

The exploit takes advantage of a flaw that allows a hacker to tamper with the firmware that controls the functions of USB devices such as mice, thumb drives and keyboards.
Because BadUSB resides not in the flash memory storage of USB devices, but in the firmware that controls their basic functions, the attack code can remain hidden long after the contents of the device’s memory would appear to the average user to be deleted. And the two researchers say there’s no easy fix: The kind of compromise they’re demonstrating is nearly impossible to counter without banning the sharing of USB devices or filling your port with superglue.

“These problems can’t be patched,” says Nohl, who will join Lell in presenting the research at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. “We’re exploiting the very way that USB is designed.”
Nohl, along with fellow SR Labs researcher Jakob Lell, will present additional details on this attack during a presentation at the annual Black Hat hacking conference, which will be held next week in Las Vegas. The title of his presentation is "Bad USB - On Accessories that Turn Evil."






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iPhone 6 Said to Launch on Tuesday, October 14, Part of ‘Incredibly Busy’ Month for Apple

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 6 on Tuesday, October 14 as the month itself will be an incredibly busy one for the company, according to a source that spoke to MacRumors citing an internal Apple Retail Store meeting.

The source notes that a senior Store Leader mentioned October 14th as being an "immense" day for Apple, adding that the whole month of October would be very busy for stores and the company itself. Apple is also said to planning a media event for Tuesday, September 16, coming a month ahead of the device's launch.

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4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 mockups compared to iPhone 5s

To this point, most reports have pointed to a September announcement and launch for the iPhone 6. However, a report last week claimed that Apple is planning a mid-September event for the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, which would be followed by an October event showcasing the iWatch, OS X Yosemite, new iPads, and new Macs. An announcement event for September 16 would also fall on a Tuesday, which is when Apple typically announces new products.

Apple launching the iPhone 6 on a Tuesday would be a change from past years, as the company has launched previous iPhones and most new hardware on a Friday. However, the source claims that high customer demand and an ample supply due to a large production effort will motivate Apple to start iPhone 6 sales earlier in the week.

It is unknown if an October release for the iPhone 6 would include both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch version, as recent rumors have pointed toward several production issues plaguing the larger model. It is possible that the 5.5-inch may launch later in the year or in 2015 after Apple can produce enough devices. In addition to a larger screen, both versions of the iPhone 6 are expected to feature a thinner profile, a faster A8 processor, and an improved camera.






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Shazam Brings Always-On Music and TV Recognition to Mac With Free Menu Bar App

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Music recognition service Shazam, which was one of the early App Store hits and has continued to see good success on mobile platforms, is now bringing its services to the desktop in the form of the first music, TV show, and ad recognition app for Mac.

Running as a menu bar item, Shazam for Mac quietly monitors audio around the user's Mac and provides not only pop-up notifications of the content being played but also easy access to supplemental content such as lyrics, additional tracks from the album, purchasing options such as the iTunes Store, music videos, social sharing options, and more.

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Once content has been identified by Shazam, a standard Notification Center pop-up appears onscreen, and an entry for the item is added to the running list of Shazam IDs in the menu bar app. Clicking in either location takes the user to a dedicated page on the web for the identified content.

MacRumors spoke with Shazam's Chief Product Officer Daniel Danker about the launch, and Danker highlighted the utility of Shazam for Mac in the context of the popularity of lyrics searches on the Internet. With Shazam's dedicated track pages on the web, Shazam for Mac seamlessly directs users to high-quality lyrics presented in a responsive layout appropriate for various screen sizes and without ads or other distractions.

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Content feature page on shazam.com

In our testing of Shazam for Mac, the app generally did a solid job of picking up audio and quickly identifying the tracks being played. It is of course limited by the number of tracks available in Shazam's database, and on an eclectic mix of tracks Shazam was unable to identify some of the tracks. Identification was generally solid, however, and came fairly quickly after the track began playing.

Beyond music, Shazam also works with television channels in the U.S., and Shazam for Mac was able to identify a number of shows and movies airing on a nearby television. Clicking on the item's listing in Shazam offers quick access to content such as cast information, IMDB and Wikipedia listings, and more. With over 160 U.S. TV channels included in Shazam's database, content can even be identified from the commercials being played between segments. Even ads such as Apple's latest "Stickers" commercial for the MacBook Air can be identified by Shazam.

Shazam for Mac marks the next step in the service's evolution as the company seeks to integrate its platform into users' daily technology experience. Its always-on status builds upon the Auto Shazam functionality added to the iOS app late last year. Shazam has also entered into a partnership with Apple that will see Shazam's music identification services integrated with Siri, allowing users to quickly and easily ask Siri to identify the music playing around them.

As for the future of Shazam for Mac and the service in general, Danker noted the company is working to build seamless connections with streaming music services to aid listeners, and also enhancing the lyrics experiencing with syncing and other features.

Shazam for Mac [Direct Link] is a free app launching today in the Mac App Store.






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