posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
As was rumored earlier this week, Apple today announced plans to establish a new iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bangalore, India. According to Apple, the accelerator is part of an effort to support engineering talent and boost growth in India's iOS developer community. "India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we're giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world."On a weekly basis, Apple experts plan to lead briefings and offer one-on-one app reviews for developers. The facility will also feature support and guidance to help Indian developers master Swift, Apple's programming language. Apple plans to open its iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in early 2017."This is a huge vote of confidence in India's developer community and a tremendous opportunity to gain world-class design and development expertise," said Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal. "Apple's support will help drive growth and accelerate progress among the country's vast talent pool."News of Apple's Development Accelerator comes as Apple CEO Tim Cook is making his first official visit to India, where he will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apple is also planning to open a technology development center in Hyderabad, India, where it will focus on Maps development, and rumors suggest Apple will open its first three retail stores in India over the course of the next 18 months.Tag: India Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
The launch of the fourth-generation Apple TV, with Siri integration and a full App Store, resulted in a huge Apple TV sales boost, according to new data shared by Parks Associates. In 2015, Apple TV unit sales were 50 percent higher than unit sales in 2014. Despite the surge in sales, the Apple TV continues to rank as the fourth most popular streaming media player in the United States, coming in behind Roku, Amazon, and Google. The Apple TV accounted for 20 percent of streaming media players purchased from 1Q 2015 to 1Q 2016, compared to 30 percent for Roku and 22 percent each for Amazon and Google. While Apple TV remains in fourth place among the four major brands, it had the largest increase in unit sales year-over-year, primarily due to its long-awaited new version, launched in 4Q 2015. Its share of sales in 2015 was 50% higher than its share in 2014. Amazon also had a substantially higher share of unit sales in 2015.Parks Associates believes Apple trails behind because both Amazon and Roku offer multiple form factors with both standard boxes and smaller sticks available. Amazon, Roku, and Google also offer more affordably priced streaming media players than Apple, with its latest box starting at $149. Apple does, however, continue to sell its third-generation Apple TV for $69, more competitively priced with competing set-top boxes. In total, 36 percent of U.S. broadband households now have at least one streaming media player, up from 27 percent last year, and media players from Amazon, Roku, Apple, and Google make up 94 percent of those. Media player sales are expected to grow significantly over the next few years, with an estimated 86 million streaming media players set to be sold globally in 2019. Since Apple just released its latest Apple TV set-top box in October of 2015, there's no word on when another update is planned. Apple has recently been working on building out the tvOS software included on the fourth-generation Apple TV, introducing much-needed new features like dictation, app folders, and Bluetooth keyboard support.Related Roundup: Apple TV Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
Over the past six weeks, a number of 9.7-inch iPad Pro early adopters have reported sporadic crashing issues that result in the tablet soft rebooting to the Apple logo start up screen and prompting Touch ID or passcode verification. The bug has afflicted a wide range of 9.7-inch iPad Pro models since the tablet launched on March 31, regardless of storage capacity, color, and Wi-Fi or cellular capabilities. Both iOS 9.3.1 and iOS 9.3.2 appear to be affected. Based on crowdsourced information from the Apple Support Communities and MacRumors discussion forums, it appears that Safari, while not necessarily the root cause of the problem, may be triggering the crashing and reboot cycles. MacRumors reader jekjones1558 writes:I have started getting random reboots. Today for the first time my 9.7-inch iPad Pro froze on the Apple screen during reboot. It seems to happen most when switching between Mail and Safari. I had to hold the on/off button to get it unstuck.Apple Support Communities user MangoSoda experienced similar behavior:My 9.7-inch iPad Pro (32GB) is less than 15 days old and has exhibited this behavior at least twice now. I'm up to date on iOS. […] Last time [it crashed] I was looking at […] images on Safari. I also had 5-6 apps running in the background.Various related discussion topics have amassed over 30,000 views and 500 comments, indicating more than a few isolated users are affected. The actual underlying problem remains unknown, but it is likely rooted in software and should be addressed by Apple in a future update if warranted, in the same vein as iOS 9.3.2 fixed iPhone SE Bluetooth issues and multiple other bugs. Most affected users report seeing "bug type 298" under Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & Usage > Diagnostic & Usage Data. Apple has not officially commented on the matter, but some customers that have contacted support claim the company is aware of the issue and working on a fix. In the interim, some customers have had their iPad Pro swapped out for a new model at an Apple retail store; however, for some, the problems persist. We will update this article if and as new information becomes available.Related Roundup: iPad Pro Tags: Safari, iOS 9.3.1, iOS 9.3.2 Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 7 days ago on mac rumors
As rumors swirl around Apple's potential integration of wireless charging in future iPhone models, The Verge discovered the company has recently hired a pair of engineers with specialties focused in wireless charging and ultrasonic technology. Those two hires came in the past four months, but they are part of a larger group of more than a dozen wireless charging hires over the past two years. The two latest hires, Jonathan Bolus and Andrew Joyce, come from startup uBeam, which is working on a wireless charging technique centered around the harnessing of ultrasonic waves that are converted into electricity to charge an electronic device. Questions about the viability of uBeam's technology have been around for a while, and former VP of Engineering at uBeam, Paul Reynolds, has been highlighting the company's errors and potential for failure on his personal blog. The most recent post centers around the mishandled and controversial PR battle faced by blood test startup Theranos, and the suggested implications similarly affecting uBeam.Last week a former engineer from the much hyped wireless charging startup uBeam left some scathing criticism of the company on his blog. He compared uBeam to the now disgraced startup Theranos, saying that uBeam has avoided any full-fledged public demonstrations because its technology doesn't work as advertised. While it can do some very limited charging over a short distance, he allowed, the basic laws of physics prevent the product from being practical at any commercial level.Given the ongoing controversy over the viability of uBeam's proposed technology, it is perhaps unsurprising some of its engineers are looking at other job opportunities, and Apple's interest in wireless charging makes the company a natural fit. Apple has filed various patents relating to wireless charging in the past, but remains quiet on its implementation in a future iPhone. Apple executives have downplayed the significance and usefulness of wireless charging before, mainly due to the necessity of users needing some kind of mat to lay the iPhone on, which would still need to be plugged into a wall. A possible solution for that problem came from a Bloomberg report earlier in the year, which said Apple was pursuing an extended range wireless charging technique that would negate the need of a separate charging mat and fuel up an iPhone from across a room with no extraneous accessories required. Apple never commented on the report, but speculation suggested Apple could be working with Energous Corporation on the technology. uBeam's promise for wireless charging is similar to Apple's alleged goal of a free range, totally wireless charging ability for iPhone devices, so the two new hires could be helping the company introduce such a feature into a new model down the line. Reports early in the year pointed to the introduction of wireless charging in this year's iPhone 7, but it's largely expected now for the feature to be held off until 2017 or even later.Tags: wireless charging, uBeam Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today announced a major update to its GarageBand music creation software for Mac and iOS, adding a wide range of Chinese instruments that are designed to celebrate the "rich history of Chinese music." Today's update also includes "extensive Chinese language localization." In a press release, Apple says the update adds traditional Chinese instruments like the pipa and erhu, plus Chinese percussion offerings that include drums, wood blocks, cymbals, and gongs. 300 Apple-created Chinese musical loops have also been added to the apps. "GarageBand is the most popular music creation app in the world and we're excited to introduce these new features that incorporate the rich history of traditional Chinese music," said Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of Product Marketing. "By adding classic Chinese instruments and new Live Loop templates, the new GarageBand app makes it fun and easy to make Chinese-inspired music right on your iPhone, iPad or Mac."The new instruments are available on both the iOS and Mac versions of GarageBand, and each instrument includes different playing articulations like rapid picking and note bend for the pipa and trill, grace note, and glissando for the erhu. Apple-created loops have been created from a wide variety of instruments and styles, including guzheng, dizi, yangqin and Peking Opera, which can be combined with the new instruments for a unique sound. GarageBand for iOS also includes two new Chinese templates for Live Loops and new sharing options for popular Chinese social networks. All of the new features in today's update are automatically enabled in Greater China and for Mac users outside of Greater China. On iOS devices outside of Greater China, the features can be enabled through the advanced settings menu. Apple has been aiming to express its support for China in recent weeks following hints of regulatory trouble in the country. Apple is reportedly being targeted for being "too deeply established" in China's core industries and recently saw iTunes Movies and iBooks Stores in the country shut down following the Hong Kong iTunes release of the controversial independent movie Ten Years, which had been banned in China. Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing, and this morning, he visited the country to meet with Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu. Cook also met with App Store developers at an Apple Store in Beijing. GarageBand for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link] GarageBand for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link]Tags: China, GarageBand Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple Pay competitor Merchant Payment Consortium, aka MCX, has decided to postpone the rollout of its CurrentC payments platform following feedback from its pilot program. MCX will be downscaling and laying off 30 employees as it transitions to focusing on business partnerships with financial institutions instead of building out CurrentC. MCX CEO Brian Mooney announced the news in a statement today, which was shared by TechCrunch. Utilizing unique feedback from the marketplace and our Columbus pilot, MCX has made a decision to concentrate mode heavily in the immediate term on other aspects of our business including working with financial institutions, like our partnership with Chase, to enable and scale mobile payment solutions. As part of this transition, MCX will postpone a nationwide rollout of its CurrentC application. As MCX has said many times, the mobile payments space is just beginning to take shape -- it is early in a long game. MCX's owner-members remain committed to our future. As a result, MCX will need fewer resources. This change has resulted in a staff reduction of approximately 30 employees. These are very tough decisions, but necessary steps.MCX, a consortium of merchants like Walmart, Best Buy, CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Lowe's, and more, has been working on the CurrentC payments platform since 2012. Given that it was backed by multiple high profile retailers, it was believed CurrentC could be a major Apple Pay competitor, but over the past two years, it has not moved out of the testing and development phase. CurrentC made headlines in 2014 after MCX members CVS and Rite Aid disabled Apple Pay at their retail locations due to MCX exclusivity agreements that lasted until 2015, while other MCX retailers, like Walmart and Best Buy, publicly stated they would not support Apple Pay. As CurrentC development stalled and exclusivity agreements expired, several MCX members that refused to accept Apple Pay, including Rite Aid and Best Buy, reversed course and began using Apple's payment platform. Major CurrentC backer Walmart, meanwhile, developed its own Apple Pay competitor called Walmart Pay, further casting doubt on the future success of CurrentC. CurrentC relied on customers to open an app and scan QR codes to make payments, a convoluted system that has been described as offering minimal benefit to consumers. Merchants backed CurrentC because it aimed to do away with credit card processing fees by requiring customers to connect a bank account or pre-paid debit card, and it offered the ability to track customer purchases, something not possible with Apple Pay.Related Roundup: Apple Pay Tags: MCX, CurrentC Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
iOS 9.3.2 is causing problems for some 9.7-inch iPad Pro owners, with multiple MacRumors readers and Twitter users reporting issues shortly after installing the update over the air. Affected users are seeing an "Error 56" message that instructs them to plug their devices into iTunes. An iPad Pro bricked after installing iOS 9.3.2. Image via Twitter. While not all 9.7-inch iPad Pro users have reported problems, there have been a number of reports on the MacRumors forums and on social networks, suggesting the problem is widespread. Attempting to restore through iTunes doesn't appear to resolve the issue. From MacRumors user NewtypeCJ:Mine is bricked. Says it needs to be plugged into iTunes, won't restore or update, just a big loop. Fantastic. :/According to Apple's error code support document, error 56 is a hardware issue. The document recommends installing the latest version of iTunes, checking for issues with third-party security software, and attempting a restore twice. Apple recommends customers who are still seeing the error message contact Apple support. With a number of users affected by the bricking issue, Apple will likely need to release an updated version of iOS 9.3.2 that solves the problem.Related Roundup: iOS 9 Tag: iOS 9.3.2 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today released iTunes 12.4, bringing some minor design tweaks and important bug fixes to its media software. iTunes 12.4 comes seven months after the launch of iTunes 12.3, which was released to the public in September, and nearly two months after the last minor iTunes update. iTunes 12.4 includes a redesigned interface that's designed to be simpler, with the reintroduction of a sidebar for easier navigation and a revamped media picker, as was shared by MacRumors earlier this month. Today's update may also include safeguards to protect users from an issue that could cause music stored in iTunes to be deleted. The deletion problem affected a small number of users and while Apple was not able to recreate the bug, the company promised "additional safeguards." The iTunes 12.4 update can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. Full release notes are below.Now enjoy all of your music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and more in a simpler design. Navigation. Now you can use Back and Forward buttons as you navigate between your Library, Apple Music, iTunes Store, and more. Media Picker. Easily switch between Music, Movies, TV shows and more--and Edit to choose just the items you want. Library and Playlists. Use Sidebar to view your Library in new ways. Drag and drop songs to easily add them to Playlists. And Edit Sidebar to show only your favorite views. Menus. Menus in iTuns are now simpler and easier to use. Use the View menu to customize your Library or try context menus to act on specific items.Apple is working on OS X 10.12, set to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. iOS 10 is rumored to be gaining Apple Music changes, and it's possible OS X 10.12 will bring additional design tweaks to iTunes for a more streamlined Apple Music interface.Tag: iTunes 12.4 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today released OS X 10.11.5 to the public, marking the launch of the fifth update to the El Capitan operating system that was first released on September 30, 2015. OS X 10.11.5 comes nearly two months after the release of OS X 10.11.4, an update that introduced Live Photos for Messages and password protected notes in the Notes app. The OS X 10.11.5 update can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. It is available to all OS X El Capitan users. Most of the updates to OS X El Capitan have focused largely on under-the-hood improvements, bug fixes, and security enhancements rather than outward-facing changes, and OS X 10.11.5 is no exception. No obvious feature changes were discovered in the beta, and according to Apple's release notes, OS X 10.11.5 includes bug fixes, performance improvements, and security updates. Prior to releasing the OS X 10.11.5 update, which has been in testing since April 6, Apple seeded four betas to developers and public beta testers.Related Roundup: OS X El Capitan Tag: OS X 10.11.5 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today released iOS 9.3.2 to the public, marking the second update to iOS 9 since iOS 9.3 launched in March of 2016. In testing since April 6, Apple seeded a total of four iOS 9.3.2 betas to developers and public beta testers prior to releasing the update to the public. Today's iOS 9.3.2 release is available as an over-the-air update for all iOS 9 users and it can also be downloaded through iTunes. iOS 9.3.2, as a minor 9.x.x update, focuses mainly on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes rather than outward-facing changes. One of the biggest bug fixes resolves an ongoing issue that caused Bluetooth accessories to experience audio quality issues when paired with an iPhone SE.- Fixes an issue where some Bluetooth accessories could experience audio quality issues when paired to the iPhone SE - Fixes an issue where looking up dictionary definitions could fail - Addresses an issue that prevented typing email addresses when using the Japanese Kana keyboard in Mail and Messages - Fixes an issue for VoiceOver users using the Alex voice, where the device switches to a different voice to announce punctuation or spaces - Fixes an issue that prevented MDM servers from installing Custom B2B appsIn addition to the bug fixes listed above, the update also introduces support for using Night Shift and Low Power Mode simultaneously. During the first few iOS 9.3 betas, the two features were able to be turned on simultaneously, but later betas removed that functionality. With iOS 9.3.2, devices capable of using Night Shift can turn it on with Low Power Mode enabled. iOS 9.3.2 is the eighth update to the iOS 9 operating system, following iOS 9.0.1, iOS 9.0.2, iOS 9.1, iOS 9.2, iOS 9.2.1, iOS 9.3, and iOS 9.3.1.Related Roundup: iOS 9 Tag: iOS 9.3.2 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
The latest data from market research firm IDC reveals that the Apple Watch remained the most popular smartwatch in the first quarter, with an estimated 1.5 million sales and 46 percent market share through the first three months of 2016. Meanwhile, basic wearables unsurprisingly continue to outpace smartwatches. Samsung was the closest threat to Apple Watch among smartwatches in the quarter, with an estimated 700,000 sales and 20.9 percent market share, followed by Motorola, Huawei, and Garmin with estimated 400,000, 200,000, and 100,000 shipments respectively for a combined 18.6 percent market share. Apple finished third in the overall wearables market with 7.5 percent market share, behind lower-price fitness tracker vendors Fitbit and Xiaomi. Fitbit commanded a leading 24.5 percent market share off an estimated 4.8 million shipments, while Xiaomi had 3.7 million shipments for 19 percent market share. Apple does not disclose Watch sales in its quarterly earning results, instead grouping the device under its Other Products category alongside iPods, Apple TVs, Beats Electronics, and accessories. IDC and Strategy Analytics estimates place total Apple Watch sales at nearly 16 million from April 2015 through March 2016.Fitbit began 2016 the same way it finished 2015: as the undisputed leader in the wearables market. The launch of its new Alta and Blaze devices resulted in million unit shipment volumes for each, pointing to a new chapter of fashion-oriented fitness trackers. It also points to significant declines for its previously successful Surge, Charge, Charge HR, and Flex product lines. Still, with a well-segmented portfolio, pricing strategy, and a strong brand, Fitbit's position is well-established.IDC's data supports the notion that Apple continues to cede market share to Android Wear smartwatches and other wearables as the market evolves. Strategy Analytics data from April, however, had a higher Apple Watch sales estimate of 2.2 million for 52.4 percent market share in the first quarter. Many prospective buyers are now holding out for the Apple Watch 2, which is rumored to debut in the second half of 2016 and could feature a FaceTime camera, expanded Wi-Fi abilities, cellular connectivity, and thinner design. New bands, finishes, and models are always possibilities as well.Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2 Tags: Samsung, IDC, Fitbit, Xiaomi Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
After an initial announcement late last year, and a small test rollout, Walmart is now beginning a statewide launch of its in-house mobile payments solution Walmart Pay in Texas and Arkansas. All 480 Walmart retail locations in Texas will support the mobile wallet service beginning today, as well as the 110 stores in Arkansas. Although the company continues to reiterate its plans for a wide-release rollout in the United States soon, it's still yet to give customers a specific launch window for Walmart Pay beyond the two states announced today. “We can’t wait to hear what our customers and associates in Texas [and Arkansas] think of Walmart Pay. The service was built to make shopping easier and faster, something we know our customers want,” said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president, Services, Walmart U.S. “Walmart Pay is a powerful addition to our app, a tool that we’re using to transform the shopping experience by seamlessly connecting our online assets and our stores for customers. The service opens the door to new and better ways we can serve the 140 million customers who shop our stores each week.” Unlike Apple Pay's NFC and Touch ID system, there are a few added steps to successfully check out with Walmart Pay: users have to navigate to the Walmart app on their phone, tap through to the Walmart Pay section, and then scan a QR code displayed at the register. Users can set up the app to be protected by a PIN or Touch ID, and the company says that "mostly any card" can be directly linked as a payment method for the service. Walmart was part of an original collection of retailers who opposed Apple Pay in favor of an alternative mobile payments service, CurrentC, along with companies like Best Buy and Target. Best Buy has since backed support for Apple Pay, while Target is working on its own QR code solution, similar to Walmart Pay. Although the launch of Walmart Pay suggests that the company isn't interested in integrating with other digital wallets -- like Apple Pay -- down the line, last year Walmart senior vice president of services Daniel Eckert said the QR code service allows "for integration of other mobile wallets in the future." Eckert continued to describe Walmart Pay as "an innovation that will make the ease of mobile payments a reality for millions of Americans.” The Walmart App can be downloaded from the App Store for free [Direct Link].Related Roundup: Apple Pay Tag: Walmart Pay Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 8 days ago on mac rumors
As planned, Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in Beijing on Monday for his latest visit to China, where the iPhone maker has experienced a turbulent few months. Earlier today, he caught a ride using Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-sharing service that Apple just invested $1 billion in, alongside Didi president Jean Liu. "Taxi!" Caught a cab in Beijing this morning with Didi Chuxing's Jean Liu. pic.twitter.com/Sl2xnzXtNY— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 16, 2016While an earlier report said Cook plans to meet with senior Chinese government officials to discuss a range of issues, including iBooks and iTunes Movies store closures and a recent patent dispute, the CEO has thus far met with App Store developers at an Apple Store in Beijing for a seminar hosted by Liu, per CNBC.At the Apple store, Cook attended a seminar hosted by Didi Chuxing's President Jean Lui, also known as Liu Qing, and attended by the founders and CEOs of some of China's top app providers, including Groupon-like Meituan, picture-editing app MeituPic, news content provider Toutiao.com, culinary app DayDayCook and game developer Tap4Fun.Cook, who shared photos of his visit on Twitter and Weibo, understands the importance of Apple maintaining a positive image in China. Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, is Apple's second largest market by revenue after the U.S. Last month, the iPhone maker reported that sales dropped 26 percent in the region in the second quarter, primarily due to declining iPhone sales as China's smartphone market becomes increasingly saturated. Cook has made similar visits to Beijing to meet with Chinese officials, carrier partners, and customers in both 2012 and 2014. Tags: China, Tim Cook, Apple, Beijing, Didi Chuxing Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 11 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today confirmed reports of an issue that causes music from personal collections to be deleted, telling The Loop it only affects a small number of users and that a fix is incoming in an iTunes update next week. “In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission,” Apple said. “We’re taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we’re releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.”Last week, debate raged over the supposed glitch after Vellum's Jake Pinkstone wrote a blogpost complaining that Apple Music had deleted 122 GB of his personal music collection without his permission after he joined the service. The deletion occurred after Pinkstone had his music library scanned by Apple to make his collection available across his devices. Confusion ensued after Pinkstone was told by an Apple Support Representative named Amber that Apple Music's matching system was "functioning as intended." When asked whether Apple Music was supposed to delete his personal music without his permission, Amber responded "yes." Amber's statement, however, was inaccurate according to Apple's own support document. While the causation of the bug is still unknown, as Apple has failed to reproduce the issue, the company's statement suggests Apple has narrowed down the issue to iTunes rather than the Apple Music service. It's unclear whether the fix will arrive with a minor or major iTunes update. However, one possibility is iTunes 12.4, which will include a minor redesign and arrive in the next couple of weeks, according to a MacRumors source. Tags: iTunes, Apple Music Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 11 days ago on mac rumors
Apple announced yesterday that it has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing, but CEO Tim Cook refused to elaborate on the reasoning behind the move, beyond saying that it will help the company better understand the Chinese market and "deliver a strong return" on its invested capital over the long term. Nevertheless, a pair of new reports suggest that Apple's ambitions behind its investment in the Uber rival could relate to its oft-rumored electric vehicle plans and broader push into the automotive industry. The Wall Street Journal wrote that Didi Chuxing is "not only an important ally in a key market, but also a rich data source for self-driving vehicles," which is valuable to Apple amid rumors that it is developing its own electric and possibly autonomous vehicle.Didi provides Apple with a rich data source for its self-driving vehicle push. It also could provide benefits to Apple’s mobile ecosystem. Ride-sharing apps are closely linked to payment services, such as Apple Pay. They also can be the foundation for other mobile commerce transactions such as deliveries. The investment sets up with a potential showdown of firms aligned with Uber, which has taken investments from Alphabet Inc.’s venture capital arm and Chinese search giant Baidu. Both Alphabet and Baidu have invested heavily in autonomous driving technology.The Information reported that ride-sharing services like Didi Chuxing and Uber are highly interested in self-driving vehicles, which would reduce overhead costs by eliminating the need for contracted drivers. In fact, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was reportedly planning to meet at Apple headquarters this week to "talk about future partnership opportunities," but the status of that meeting remains unknown.This deal isn’t about the Didi service today. It establishes a future alliance around tech like self-driving cars, where Apple and Google are going head-to-head. Developing autonomous vehicles is the end game for these ride sharing companies—the move that will help them mint money by cutting out the cost of drivers. Uber has made big investments on that front, as has its partner Baidu. Didi had not. But Apple […] can help.The so-called Apple Car, allegedly known as Project Titan internally, could launch by 2020. The bulk of research and development may be centered in the Santa Clara Valley area, near Apple's existing Cupertino headquarters, led by a team that includes former Tesla, Ford, and GM employees and other automotive experts. The vehicle is expected to compete with the likes of Tesla and Google.Related Roundup: Apple Car Tag: Didi Chuxing Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 11 days ago on mac rumors
A large number of MacBook Pro owners running OS X El Capitan are reporting widespread system freezes since installing the 10.11.4 update to Apple's Mac OS. Hundreds of MacRumors forum members have been posting to a dedicated thread to discuss the issue, which spans 20 pages at the time of writing. The problem appears to be concentrated on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros (Early 2015) running 10.11.4. Users report that their system becomes totally unresponsive at seemingly random times, with no way to regain access to their Mac other than to force a hard reboot. The issue was initially reported by MacRumors forum member Antonnn on March 25, four days after Apple released what is the third update to the Mac OS. In Antonnn's case, the freezes have been occurring "about once a week", first when browsing in Safari, but then also during the use of other Mac apps, including Adobe Photoshop and several third-party browsers. The freeze seems to affect not only the screen and mouse cursor but also the Mac's Force Touch trackpad, which completely loses feedback. Many other users have since reported similar freezes after updating to 10.11.4, with some 15-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2015) owners also experiencing issues. One potential cause has been identified from crash logs as a system framework or an Intel Graphics driver bug. The issue is also being reported after installing Safari Technology Preview Version 1 and OS X 10.11.5 Public Beta 1. Video by MacRumors forum member appleofmy"i" experiencing the freeze issue. Apple Support is apparently aware of the issue but have so far offered no concrete solution. Meanwhile, some users have resorted to downgrading their system to 10.11.3 by restoring from a Time Machine backup or performing a clean install. We'll update this post throughout the day as we learn more.Related Roundup: MacBook Pro Tag: OS X 10.11.4 Buyer's Guide: Retina MacBook Pro (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing company and Uber competitor Didi Chuxing, reports Reuters. The move is a strategic investment that will help the Cupertino company better understand the Chinese market, CEO Tim Cook told Reuters. "We are making the investment for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market," he said. "Of course, we believe it will deliver a strong return for our invested capital over time as well."Didi Chuxing, which has raised several billion dollars in funding, says the investment from Apple is the largest it's ever received. Didi Chuxing dominates the ride-sharing market in China, completing more than 11 million rides a day and owning 87 percent of the market in the country. Although Apple has hired many employees in recent months with automotive backgrounds, likely for its secretive Apple Car project codenamed Project Titan, Cook insists Apple is currently focused on the in-car experience. However, he did not deny what the future may have in store for a potential Apple Car. "That is what we do today in the car business," he told Reuters. "So we will have to see what the future holds." Cook also used the deal to underline Apple's confidence in the market, saying that it reflects the company's "continued confidence in the long term in China's economy." Apple's sales fell 26 percent in Greater China in the second quarter of 2016, causing Carl Icahn to sell his full stake in the company. Apple was also recently forced to take down its iTunes Movies and iBooks stores in the country. Cook will visit China and meet with government officials this month.Related Roundup: Apple Car Tags: China, Didi Chuxing Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
With Apple shares dipping below $90 this morning, Google's parent company Alphabet briefly overtook Apple as the world's most valuable company hitting a market cap of $498 billion compared to Apple's market cap of $494 billion. Apple and Google shares continue to fluctuate and the two companies are neck-and-neck for the top valuation, but Google remains in the lead. Apple's stock has seen steep declines in recent weeks, following its first ever drop in iPhone sales and its first year-over-year revenue decline since 2003. Apple's share price is down again amid rumors of weak demand for the upcoming iPhone 7 and there's no relief in sight as Apple is also expecting a revenue drop in Q3 2016. Apple's guidance for the quarter includes expected revenue of $41 to $43 billion and gross margin between 37.5 and 38 percent, compared to $49.6 billion revenue and gross margin of 39.7 percent in Q3 2015. Google parent company Alphabet previously overtook Apple as the most valuable company in the world in February of 2016 following a strong Q1 2016 earnings report. Earlier today, Apple was ranked the world's most valuable brand by Forbes, assigned a brand value of $154.1 billion compared to Google's $82.5 billion.Tags: Google, AAPL, Alphabet Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
While much attention has been placed on Apple's first quarterly revenue decline in thirteen years, with some suggesting that the iPhone maker may push deeper into services to combat the slowdown, there is evidence to suggest that Tim Cook and company have bigger plans in store. Apple analyst Neil Cybart of Above Avalon notes that Apple is now on track to spend a record $10 billion on research and development this year, up nearly 30 percent from 2015 and significantly more than the little over $3 billion per year it was spending on R&D just four years ago. Cybart believes that the most likely explanation for Apple's increased R&D spending is that the company is looking to make a long-term pivot beyond the iPhone, which currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of the company's revenue. His predicted product of the future: the widely rumored Apple Car. "Apple is not spending $10 billion on R&D just to come up with new Watch bands, larger iPads, or a video streaming service," he wrote. "Instead, Apple is planning on something much bigger: a pivot into the automobile industry." Apple's R&D spending has experienced a significant uptick since mid-2014, which Cybart attributes to Apple Car development over the past few years. There were similar quarter-over-quarter spikes in spending leading up to the release of the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, as illustrated in the chart below. The analyst added that Apple has likely already spent upwards of a few billion dollars on Project Titan, the alleged internal codename for the Apple Car, with R&D spending likely to hit at least $14 billion per year by 2017 or 2018. He predicts the odds of Apple releasing an electric vehicle are at least 80 percent.There is one very simple reason for my high degree of confidence: Project Titan is a long-term pivot. I don't consider Titan to be just another project that Apple has been tinkering around with in the lab for years like an Apple television set or Apple Pencil. Instead, Project Titan is much more about building a foundation for Apple that will literally represent the company's future.Apple is widely rumored to be working on an electric vehicle that could launch by 2020. The bulk of research and development may be centered in the Santa Clara Valley area, near Apple's existing Cupertino headquarters, led by a team that includes former Tesla, Ford, and GM employees and other automotive experts. Read More: Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot Is Coming — Above AvalonRelated Roundup: Apple Car Tag: Above Avalon Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
Taylor Swift this morning tweeted out a new ad for Apple Music, this time showcasing a playlist called "Friday Night Rocks!" within the For You tab of the music streaming service. The new commercial plays out in a way similar to the singer's previous ad, which saw her lip syncing to Jimmy Eat World as she prepared for a night out. This time, however, Swift dances around her living room alone to the tune of The Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing Called Love." Dance like no one's watching @AppleMusic @thedarknesshttps://t.co/QfX9l0EXX7— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) May 12, 2016 After the last ad, Apple Music head of content Larry Jackson confirmed that the company had created a series of commercials with Swift, and would continue a steady release of them, akin to the release of singles on a record.Tag: Apple Music Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 12 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has been named the world's most valuable brand in 2016, according to the latest Forbes rankings, despite posting its first negative-growth quarter since 2003 with declining sales across its iPhone, iPad, and Mac product lines. Apple's recent slowdown was not enough to prevent the company from securing the number one position in the list for the sixth consecutive year, ahead of rivals Google and Microsoft. Forbes placed Apple's brand value at $154.1 billion, up 6-percent from 2015 and nearly double Google's value of $82.5 billion. Coca-Cola, Facebook, Toyota, IBM, Disney, McDonald's, GE, Samsung, Amazon, AT&T, BMW, and Cisco rounded out the top fifteen. Apple Watch fashion partner Hermès ranked 48th on the list. Other notable companies listed include Intel (17th), Verizon (21st), HP (38th), Sony (76th), Netflix (79th), and T-Mobile (93rd). Apple remains the world's most valuable company with a market cap of over $510 billion, despite its stock being down around 30-percent from May 2015 highs. Google parent company Alphabet trails closely behind, and briefly surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company in February. Apple also topped Interbrand's most valuable brand list in 2013, 2014, and 2015.Tags: Apple, forbes.com Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
Apple allegedly has an aggressive plan to "terminate" music downloads from iTunes within two years, reports Digital Music News citing sources with "close and active business relationships" with Apple. Apple is also rumored to be considering a three to four year timeline for the shutdown of iTunes downloads, but overall discussions with Apple executives are said to focus on "not on if, but when" the company should retire music downloads. Termination of music downloads could be staggered by country based on the popularity of streaming content in different regions.Back to the story, the sources indicated that a range of shutdown timetables are being considered by Apple, though one executive noted that "keeping [iTunes music downloads] running forever isn't really on the table anymore." Also under discussion is a plan to "ride the [iTunes music download offering] out for the next 3-4 years, maybe longer," when paid music downloads are likely to be an afterthought in a streaming-dominated industry. [...] According to one source, an initial shutdown could take place in 'tier 1' countries like the United States, UK, and leading countries in Europe and Asia, with 'tier 2' and 'tier 3' countries experiencing a staggered shutdown in subsequent years.The timeline is unclear because Apple's iTunes business continues to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but it is on the decline due to the rise of streaming music services. According to music industry Mark Mulligan, iTunes music downloads will be worth $600 million in 2019, down from $3.9 billion in 2012. Mulligan believes Apple's download business could be 10 times smaller than its streaming music business by 2020. Apple is also said to be considering ending music downloads due to the confusion it causes with Apple Music, mixing downloaded music purchases with Apple Music content. Late last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Music now has 13 million paying subscribers, up from 11 million users in February. Apple Music originally launched on June 30, 2015 in more than 100 countries and at its current growth rate, Apple is on track to have 15 million subscribers at its one-year anniversary.Tags: iTunes, Apple Music Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
New iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus blueprints point towards no headphone jack and no stereo speakers, along with a dual camera, a Smart Connector, and 3GB RAM limited to the larger-screened iPhone 7 Plus. New rumors also suggest Apple is working on a single dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus model, nullifying past rumors suggesting both a single-lens and dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus could launch. Make sure to read the rumors about the iPhone coming in 2017 at the bottom of the roundup - it's rumored to have features like an edge-to-edge display with embedded Touch ID sensor. Check out the full iPhone 7 roundup.

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
Rumors suggest Apple's 2016 iPhone 7 will look very similar to the iPhone 6s, with major changes to the iPhone's form factor actually coming in 2017, the year that marks the 10th anniversary of the device's initial launch. Apple blogger John Gruber recently shared some tantalizing details about the 2017 iPhone, which may see some radical design tweaks. In the latest episode of his podcast The Talk Show, Gruber said he's heard "scuttlebutt" suggesting the 2017 iPhone will include an edge-to-edge display that eliminates the top and bottom bezels on the device, with the front-facing camera, Touch ID, and other sensors hidden under the display. Concept image via ConceptsiPhoneI think next year's phone, the 2017 model, the one that will come out in September of 2017. What I have heard -- now this is not really from the rumor mill but just scuttlebutt that I've heard -- is that it will be an all-new form factor. And there have been some rumors, I guess, but what I'm saying is that I've heard this independently and it is completely getting rid of the chin and forehead of the phone. The entire face will be the display. And the Touch ID sensor will be somehow embedded in the display. The front-facing camera will somehow be embedded in the display. The speaker, everything. All the sensors will somehow be behind the display. What I don't know... I have no idea, but whether that means that they're going to shrink the actual thing in your hand to fit the screen sizes we already have, or whether they're going to grow the screens to fit the devices we're already used to holding... I don't know.Previous rumors have indicated Apple is planning to introduce a flexible OLED display in the 2017 iPhone, and an OLED display panel would allow for an edge-to-edge screen design. Apple has already signed a deal with Samsung for a portion of the OLED panels it will need for the devices. Multiple rumors have suggested one 2017 iPhone could include a 5.8-inch OLED display, which would perhaps mean Apple plans to have the display wrap around the edges of a 5.5-inch device, but it is not clear how such a screen size would work without top and bottom bezels as suggested by Gruber. Along with an OLED display, the iPhone coming in 2017 is rumored to include a glass shell, like the iPhone 4 and 4s, rather than the aluminum body that's been used for the iPhone 5s, 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, and SE. Long-range wireless charging and expanded biometric features like iris or facial recognition are also features that have been rumored, along with a 10-nanometer A11 chip from TSMC and NAND flash memory supplied by Samsung. Apple has been working on developing touch and display driver integration (TTDI) chips since 2015, which would let the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system be embedded directly into the display, allowing for the elimination of the Home button. Analyst rumors have previously suggested the Home button will be removed in the 2017 iPhone, in line with what Gruber has heard. With Apple planning major design changes for the 2017 iPhone, there have been rumors indicating the devices will not feature an "S" name, with Apple perhaps skipping the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus to move directly to the iPhone 8 or another name.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tags: iPhone 7s, iPhone 8 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 13 days ago on mac rumors
Apple recently reported its first year-over-year decline in iPhone sales, with CEO Tim Cook claiming one of the reasons is that the upgrade cycle for the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s series has stretched out longer than it anticipated. Despite the launch of the lower-priced iPhone SE, that decline is expected to continue into the second half of this year. In reporting its first negative-growth quarter since 2003, Apple forecasted another revenue drop next quarter. The sales decline is placing downward pressure on Apple's overseas suppliers, who have rode the iPhone's coattails to success over the past half-dozen years. Not only does LCD supplier Japan Display reportedly expect to post a nearly $300 million loss for the fiscal year ended March, but Nikkei reports that Apple's slowdown is also sending Taiwanese suppliers into a downward spiral."Suppliers are saying that they are getting fewer orders for the second half of this year compared with the year-ago period," a source said. "The traditional peak season this year will not be able to compare to the past few years."The report claims Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of Apple's primary chip suppliers, may ship up to 30% fewer chips in the second half of 2016 compared to the year-ago period. The decline is attributed to the iPhone 7's expected lack of innovative features, saturation of the smartphone market, increased competition, and a global economic slowdown.Another source said that for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the sole supplier for the latest A10 chips used in iPhone 7, its iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 chip shipments for the June to December period will likely shrink to 70%--80% of the level reached in the second half of 2015.Apple suppliers Largan Precision, LG Display, Catcher Technology, Foxconn, and Pegatron have and will likely continue to face similar declines in the near term.Largan Precision, a key high-end camera module supplier for Apple's iPhone, reported its first year-on-year decline in revenue in three years in the last quarter of 2015. The company has suffered a revenue fall for five months in a row since last December. Adam Lin, chief executive of Largan, attributed the dip to a "significant scale-back of orders from a major customer."Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the latter of which may be branded with a "Pro" name instead, in September. Newly leaked drawings suggest both smartphones may have no 3.5mm headphone jack and a single speaker, while a dual-lens camera system and Smart Connector will seemingly be exclusive to the larger 5.5-inch model with 3GB of RAM.Related Roundup: iPhone 7 Tags: TSMC, Foxconn, pegatron Discuss this article in our forums

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