posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
The Microsoft Surface has been ranked the highest in overall consumer satisfaction, and six points above Apple's iPad in second place, according to J.D. Power's 2017 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study. This marks the first top spot win for Microsoft in all six years that J.D. Power has published the Tablet Satisfaction Study, with the company earning a total 855 satisfaction score out of a potential 1,000 points. The J.D. Power U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction in the tablet market by looking at five areas: performance (28 percent); ease of operation (22 percent); features (22 percent); styling and design (17 percent); and cost (11 percent). The study accounts for 2,238 tablet owners who have owned their current device for less than one year, with participants being questioned between October and December 2016. With these rankings, Microsoft has received the designation as "among the best" on the market, while Apple at 849 points is "better than most." According to J.D. Power, Microsoft's win this year "is largely due to its top rankings in the features and styling & design factors." The company earned top marks in categories related to the variety of pre-loaded applications, internet connectivity, and availability of manufacturer-supported accessories. This last category highlights the Surface's versatility, according to consumers, who reportedly "have the highest incidences of accessory use" with Microsoft Surface when compared to competitors. Specifically, the Microsoft Surface's stylus saw a 48 percent usage rate in comparison to 27 percent of the industry average, while the tablet's add-on keyboard had a 51 percent usage rate in comparison to just a 14 percent industry average. Rounding out the Surface's pros were its variety of input/output ports (like a microSD card slot, USB 3.0, and 3.5mm headphone jack) and amount of internal storage available. “The Microsoft Surface platform has expanded what tablets can do, and it sets the bar for customer satisfaction,” said Jeff Conklin, vice president of service industries at J.D. Power. “These tablet devices are just as capable as many laptops, yet they can still function as standard tablets. This versatility is central to their appeal and success.” Microsoft also beat Apple in areas like the size of the tablet, quality of materials used, and attractiveness of tablet design. Microsoft's customers who are using the Surface Pro line of tablets are said to largely be early adopters (51 percent), younger than the customers of its competitors, and "more likely to consider productivity features as important." Microsoft customers tend to list productivity-related tasks as "very important" in comparison to industry average, like emailing, word processing, and banking. Overall, J.D. Power found that customer satisfaction with their tablets is rising, with the study average sitting at 841 and increasing 21 index points from the six-months-ago iteration of the study. Customers are also tending to choose large screens, with satisfaction at 869 points for customers with screens measuring 10 inches or more, 850 points for screens 8-10 inches or more, and 824 for screens less than 8 inches. More key findings include: Driving the selection process: Lower price and past experience are the most commonly cited reasons for tablet selection among customers (22% each). Reputation is next at 19%. Data plans increase satisfaction: Nearly one-third (32%) of customers have a data plan with their tablet. Overall satisfaction among customers with a data plan is 863 vs. 834 among those without such a plan. Apple has moved up and down J.D. Power's Tablet Satisfaction Study throughout the years, earning the top spot on some iterations of the study, while falling back down a few months later in others. Previous first place holders include Amazon and its Fire Tablets, as well as Samsung. When it's on top, Apple has used J.D. Power's ratings in numerous web campaigns in the past.Related Roundups: iPad, iPad Pro Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Surface Buyer's Guide: 9.7" iPad Pro (Caution), 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today announced that its social video creation app "Clips," announced last month, will be available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad around 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time today, as reported by Engadget. Clips lets users combine videos, images, and music into one seamless video that can then be shared through iMessage, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and elsewhere. Users can also create animated captions called "Live Titles" using only their voice, and apply effects such as comic book filters, speech bubbles, and shapes. Here's a quick hands-on video from Scott Stein at CNET: As noted by The Verge, clips have a familiar square format popularized by Instagram. Individual video clips up to 30 minutes in length can be combined to create up to an hour-long video shareable in 1080p HD.Clips are created in a square format, and are added to a basic timeline at the bottom of the screen. You can add individual video clips up to 30 minutes long to this timeline; and the total run time of a finished Clips video can be as long as 60 minutes. It’s also created and shared in 1080p HD, if your source video is HD. This is the kind of stuff that makes it much more of a video creation app than a Snapchat competitor.MacRumors will provide a closer look at Clips when the app launches on the App Store later today. More First Impressions: TechCrunch, TIME, Mashable, and The Wall Street JournalTags: App Store, Clips Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has reportedly signed a two-year contract with Samsung for the supply up to 92 million curved OLED panels, as it attempts to ramp up capacity for this year's release of its high-end "iPhone 8". Earlier this week supply chain sources claimed Apple had ordered 70 million units of panels from Samsung, its sole OLED supplier for the upcoming phone, which is expected to feature a major design overhaul. However, according to reports on Thursday in Korea-based ET News, Chosun Biz, and other media outlets, Apple has upped its OLED demands in an effort to cater for higher demand later this year and beyond 2017. "iPhone X" concept via Gabor Balogh Based on the contract, Samsung Display will ship 70-92 million small-size OLED panels to Apple in 2017, said the reports. This means that about 30% of iPhone devices shipped in 2017 will come with curved OLED panels, given that Apple currently ships about 200 million iPhone devices a year.Rumors have consistently suggested Apple will offer the OLED iPhone alongside more typical iPhone 7S and 7S Plus models with standard LCD panels when it announces the devices in September. Apart from a 5.2-inch edge-to-edge display, the redesigned "10th anniversary" iPhone is thought to feature a glass body, some form of wireless charging, no Home button, and a premium price tag. Meanwhile, Taiwan-based Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting has estimated that shipments of Apple's forthcoming iPhones are likely to reach 100 million units in 2017. At least 55 million of the units are expected to feature OLED panels. Samsung has reportedly converted an LCD factory in Asia into an OLED panel plant to meet Apple's demands. The South Korean firm's total investments for OLED production lines could reach 10 trillion won in 2017, according to sources from the supply chain. (via DigiTimes.)Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: Samsung, OLED Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a lawsuit against Apple alleging that it violated Australian consumer law when a software update it issued last year bricked some users' iPhones. The lawsuit relates to the infamous "error 53" message reported back in February 2016 that began greeting some users after they updated their devices. It later emerged that the devices bricked by the message had been repaired by third-party technicians. Apple initially said the message was a protective security feature designed to protect consumers' devices from the installation of fraudulent Touch ID components, but later admitted the error was a mistake and apologized for it, offering instructions online explaining how to fix affected devices. The Australian regulator that filed the federal lawsuit is seeking financial penalties from Apple. Penalties of up to A$1.1million ($829,000) per breach could be assessed, according to The Wall Street Journal, but it would be up to the court to define how many breaches occurred. Apple has yet to respond to request for comment. Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC, said the lawsuit challenges Apple's entire policy of requiring customers to pay for repairs to defective components if their device was previously serviced by a third party. "It's fair to say we haven't observed similar behavior by other manufacturers," Mr. Sims said in an interview, adding that it is often cheaper for customers to seek repairs from third-party shops. "Apple seems to have a particular way of doing things."Australian Consumer Law requires that when a product is purchased, there's a guarantee that it will be "reasonably fit" for its intended purpose. As the ACCC sees it, the error 53 message rendered customers' iPhones and iPads unusable, therefore they should be entitled to a remedy from Apple under the law. Apple faced a class action lawsuit in the U.S. over the error message last year, after some users accused it of false advertising and complained of data loss. Apple reimbursed the affected customers with working devices, and the company's motion to dismiss the case was successful after a district judge ruled that plaintiffs lacked evidence to back up their claims. Tag: Error 53 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
YouTube TV, YouTube's streaming television service that was first announced in late February, is rolling out to five cities in the United States starting today. Priced at $35, the service is available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Separate from YouTube Red, YouTube's premium service that features content from prominent YouTubers, YouTube TV is a standalone app that's focused on a mobile first experience. It features access to ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CW, Disney, ESPN, FX, USA, and dozens of other major cable channels, alongside standard YouTube video content. Premium channels like Showtime are available for an additional fee. YouTube TV is priced competitively with other streaming services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue, and its feature set includes cloud DVR options with unlimited storage space and an AI-powered recommendation system. Up to six people in a household can use a single YouTube TV subscription. To access YouTube TV, customers will need to download the YouTube TV app for iOS or Android, both of which are available today. A one-month free trial is available, and YouTube is providing a free Chromecast with the first month's payment to allow customers to stream content to a television set. YouTube TV can be downloaded from the App Store starting now. [Direct Link]Tag: YouTube Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Apple recently invited a small group of reporters to Cupertino for a roundtable discussion about the Mac, and while the conversation was primarily focused on the Mac Pro, Apple also revealed that it has no plans for Macs with touchscreens or Macs powered solely by ARM chips, rather than Intel processors, per Axios. The company has no plans for touchscreen Macs, or for machines powered solely by the kind of ARM processors used in the iPhone and iPad. However, executives left open the possibility ARM chips could play a broader role as companion processors, something that showed up first with the T1 processor that powers the Touch Bar in the new MacBook Pro.Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller aptly said "no" when asked about the prospect of touchscreen Macs, according to TechCrunch.It's worth noting that, when asked about a touch display here, in the context of efforts like Microsoft's Surface Studio, Schiller replies "No." "That's a whole other long discussion we can get into, but suffice it to say, it's not a big need of the Mac Pro customers that we’re trying to address," he says. "You mentioned again how we're talking about both the iMac and MacBook — I do think that we have a two-prong desktop strategy with both iMac and Mac Pro, we think are each going to be important for pro desktops."It's not the first time that Schiller or Apple have dismissed the idea of a touchscreen Mac. In November, he said that Apple has tested a touchscreen Mac and "absolutely come away with the belief that it isn't the right thing to do." He even went as far as calling the idea of a touchscreen iMac "absurd."“Can you imagine a 27-inch iMac where you have to reach over the air to try to touch and do things? That becomes absurd.” He also explains that such a move would mean totally redesigning the menu bar for fingers, in a way that would ruin the experience for those using pointer devices like the touch or mouse. “You can’t optimize for both,” he says. “It’s the lowest common denominator thinking.”Apple design chief Jony Ive has likewise said that a touchscreen Mac would "not be a particularly useful or appropriate application of Multi-Touch." For now, it appears the closest we will get to a touchscreen or ARM-based Mac is the latest MacBook Pro, which has a Touch Bar powered by an ARM-based T1 chip as a companion processor. Apple has said one thing and later reversed course in the past, however, so the company's roadmap could change in the future.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's trouble with getting a wide array of its users, retail partners, and banks to adopt Apple Pay has been highlighted in a new article today by The Wall Street Journal, which also underlines a belief from Apple executives that the service's growth is adequate and that Apple Pay could soon become consumers' "primary payment system," in lieu of cash and credit cards. Data collected from technology research firm Creative Strategies reported that 40 percent of U.S. consumers have raised concerns about security risks of adding a credit or debit card onto their iPhone, while more than 60 percent aren't even familiar with contactless payments. While data from a recent Nilson Report noted that Apple Pay's rate of acceptance has "more than doubled since 2015," only a third of stores based in the U.S. have accepted it as a form of payment. Many well-known companies have rolled out support for the service, including Best Buy and Whole Foods, but there remain notable absences from Apple Pay's retail supporter list, namely Target and Wal-Mart. Braden More, the head of partnerships and industry relations at Wells Fargo, asked, "If you can’t use it everywhere, why are you going to switch?" This reticence by consumers to jump in on Apple Pay's launch is said to have permeated within the company surrounding its debut, to the point where Apple executives "were reluctant to promote it." Apple Pay has been noticeably absent from the company's advertising strategy since its launch, with just two Apple Pay-focused commercials being made in nearly three years. Apple expected consumers to embrace Apple Pay as energetically as they did iTunes—an instant hit when it launched in 2003—because executives felt it was faster and safer than existing payment systems, a former employee on the project said. When retailers didn’t support it initially, the person said, Apple executives were reluctant to promote it and invest in retail terminals that would spur adoption. More recently, the company has become less concerned with Apple Pay's slow adoption over the past few years, because it still sees the mobile wallet as a nascent service whose domination over the industry will come with time. "Does it matter if we get there in two years, three years [or] five years?" Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue said in an interview. "Ultimately, no." Cue compared Apple Pay's adoption as faster than other mobile wallets and thinks it could go so far as to replace cash, debit and credit cards as a primary payment system. Until that happens, Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey is working on beefing up the company's retail training so that users aren't more knowledgable of paying with the service than employees. The company is said to be working with retailers to add Apple Pay instructions into work manuals as a way to spread knowledge of the mobile wallet's check-out process. Apple Pay made $30 million for the company in the last fiscal year, accounting for a small portion of Apple's total services business, which made $24.35 billion in total in the same period. While adoption is low and consumer knowledge remains slim, Apple's services business -- which includes iCloud, the App Store, iTunes, and more -- has become a point of focus for the company, so much so that it expects to double its revenue in this area by 2021, Apple Pay expectedly included. For this reason, David Roberts of Nilson said that Apple Pay is right on the cusp of a wider, "ubiquitous" acceptance. Nilson Report publisher David Robertson said that with about a third of U.S. retailers adopting it, Apple Pay is on the cusp of broad acceptance. “It’s going to become so ubiquitous that we will all do it,” he said. Notably, the rest of 2017 is a big year for Apple and Apple Pay, as the year marks the three-year anniversary of Apple Pay, as well as the end of three-year contract agreements that the company made with banks and credit card issuers back in 2014. Apple will begin negotiations to renew these contracts for the next few years, which the company hopes to be a major contributing factor in helping to double its services revenue over the next four years.Related Roundup: Apple Pay Tag: The Wall Street Journal Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Apple has informed its authorized resellers that the Mac Pro's new 8-core stock configuration will be available to order by the end of April. Until then, Apple said the model can be created by selecting the 6-core option and using the configure-to-order options to match the 8-core model's upgraded tech specs. Packaging changes are likely the only reason why the 8-core model is currently unavailable as a stock configuration to resellers and customers, given that the base model customized with an 8-core processor and dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs for the same price currently ships in 1-3 business days on Apple.com. Apple adjusted its Mac Pro configurations and pricing yesterday. The former 6-core model with dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs and 16GB of RAM for $3,999 is now the $2,999 base model, while the previously configure-to-order 8-core model with dual D700 GPUs and 16GB of RAM is now the high-end stock configuration for $3,999. Apple listed the new Mac Pro configurations on its online store on Tuesday, but the 8-core model is currently unavailable for customers to order. Apple's website briefly said the 8-core model would be available in "30 business days," somewhat in line with the end of April, but that estimate was quickly removed. Apple has discontinued the previous base model, equipped with a quad-core Xeon E5 processor, dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs, and 12GB of RAM. The bigger news is that Apple said it is working on a "completely rethought" Mac Pro featuring a modular design. The all-new Mac Pro, which won't launch until at least next year, will be Apple's highest-end, highest-throughput system, and it will be accompanied by a new Apple-branded pro-focused external display. Apple also said that it is working on new iMac models that will be unveiled later this year, but it remained tight-lipped about what to expect. It is rare for Apple to pre-announce future products in this manner, but it was a welcomed response to concerns that Apple was no longer focused on professional users. Given that the current Mac Pro still has over three year old hardware, prospective buyers should weigh the price drop against the old tech before purchasing the computer. Some professionals might consider waiting for the completely redesigned and modular Mac Pro launching at some point after 2017. (Thanks, Holden!)Related Roundup: Mac Pro Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
The next-generation Apple Watch is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2017, according to supply chain newspaper DigiTimes. The timeline matches a Chinese-language Economic Daily News report that claimed new Apple Watch models will be unveiled in the third quarter of 2017, aka fall, with battery life and performance improvements. Apple Watch Series 2 models and slightly upgraded Series 1 models launched in September alongside the iPhone 7, so it is reasonable to assume that Series 3 models could launch in September as well. The original Apple Watch, now dubbed Series 0, launched in April 2015. In addition to a faster processor and longer battery life, cellular connectivity has been a long-rumored addition to the Apple Watch, and SIG analyst Christopher Rolland believes LTE capabilities could be included in Series 3 models. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said LTE could be added as early as 2017. With a cellular connection, Apple Watch owners would not need a paired iPhone nearby to do things like make phone calls or stream Apple Music content, but a separate data plan from a carrier would likely be needed. Apple is also expected to switch to a glass-film touchscreen this year in place of the current touch-on-lens solution, but it is unclear if this change would have any obvious consumer-facing benefits. The overall design of the Apple Watch has not changed since the original models launched in April 2015, but one report yet to be substantiated claims Series 3 models will have few if any significant hardware changes. Apple has instead introduced new bands each season to offer a fresh look and feel. Few other details are known about the next Apple Watch at this point, and no parts have leaked from the supply chain yet. Apple has filed patents for a number of ideas that could eventually be included in an Apple Watch, such as a heart rate identification system, modular bands, haptic feedback band, and a band with a built-in charger. More significant health and fitness features could be added pending further FDA approvals. Quanta Computer is expected to remain the primary manufacturer of the Apple Watch, with some production reportedly shifting to Compal Electronics.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3 Tag: digitimes.com Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Apple could delay its rumored high-end iPhone with a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge OLED display until October or even November, according to a new report out on Wednesday. In recent years, Apple has released its iPhone updates in September, but according to Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN), suppliers are encountering "technical issues" in the production of the upcoming "iPhone 8" because of differences in the display lamination process and challenges involved in integrating the 3D sensing front camera system. The report tallies with a rumor that circulated last month suggesting the iPhone 8 may go on sale later than usual, due to the switch to an OLED display and the new technology needed. In such a scenario, the launch of an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus would go ahead in September as scheduled, with the higher-end iPhone 8 coming later in the year. Such a staggered release would be highly untypical of Apple, and it's hard to imagine the company holding a September launch event for "S" cycle iPhones with no mention of the highly rumored OLED device. However, it is possible the higher-end phone could be revealed at the same time but launched in limited quantities or at a later date. Barclays analysts recently claimed that Apple will launch its "10th anniversary iPhone" in the usual September timeframe, albeit in short supply until a full stock arrives in the fourth quarter. Earlier this week it was reported that Apple has placed an order for 70 million OLED panels from Samsung, anticipating high demand. Samsung is preparing to be able to produce up to 95 million panels in 2017, said the sources. Market watchers are said to be analyzing the pull-in of orders for passive components from the iPhone's supply chain to see whether production of the new iPhone devices is on track, according to EDN. Apart from the edge-to-edge OLED display, the "iPhone 8" is expected to include wireless charging, no physical Home button, and perhaps 3D facial recognition and/or iris scanning. In addition, rumors suggest that Touch ID could be embedded in or under a True Tone display. (Via DigiTimes.)Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's widely rumored high-end iPhone with an OLED display is expected to cost upwards of $1,000, but UBS analyst Steven Milunovich believes that a base 64GB model could start at $850 to $900 in the United States. That price point would be similar to Samsung's new Galaxy S8+, which starts at $840 to $850. "iPhone X" concept by designer Gabor Balogh Milunovich said the flagship iPhone could start at under $1,000 as part of Apple's "mainstream luxury" pricing strategy. He also believes the 5.8-inch device will be competing at a screen size disadvantage compared to the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+, leading him to predict Apple will adopt similar pricing as Samsung. Milunovich thinks that a 256GB model could cost between $950 and $1,000, so the iPhone could very well be the first smartphone in the United States to have a four-digit price tag. He also predicted that the tentatively named iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will start at their usual $649 and $749 prices respectively. An excerpt from Milunovich's latest research note obtained by MacRumors:Contrary to some perceptions, Apple prices quite competitively. Apple likes to position its entry-level products at the mid-market with "Pro/Plus" products close to competitors at the high end. Therefore, we do not think Apple will stray far from the price point of Samsung's most expensive model at $840-850 and will keep the entry OLED model at $850-900. Apple's 256GB OLED model could be $950-1,000, but the 256GB 7 Plus already is $970.The research note cites UBS Asia hardware analyst Arthur Hsieh, who estimates the factory cost of the tentatively named iPhone 8 could be $70 to $90 higher than the iPhone 7 Plus, which starts at $769. Milunovich's prices appear to be merely predictions, however, and not based on other inside information. In addition to an edge-to-edge OLED display with narrow bezels, the iPhone 8 is expected to resemble the Galaxy S8 in many ways, including wireless charging, no physical Home button, and potentially 3D facial recognition and/or iris scanning. Touch ID might be embedded in or under the True Tone display. Milunovich maintains a "buy" rating for AAPL with a $151 price target. AAPL closed at $144.77 on Tuesday.Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tags: UBS, Steven Milunovich Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today sent out emails to a small number of iCloud users, warning them that a bug in iOS 10.3 may have caused some iCloud services that had been disabled to be mistakenly re-enabled. The email asks iCloud users to revisit their iCloud settings to make sure to turn off any service that might have been turned on through the iOS 10.3 update. It's not entirely clear which iCloud services might have been affected, but MacRumors reader Karl, who sent us the email, said that he typically disables iCloud Mail. Following the update, he found the Mail option turned back on.We discovered a bug in the recent iOS 10.3 software update that impacted a small number of iCloud users. This may have inadvertently reenabled some iCloud services that you had previously disabled on your device. We suggest you go to iCloud settings on your iOS device to make sure that only the services you'd like to use are enabled. Learn more about how to manage your iCloud settings or contact AppleCare with any questions. The iCloud teamiOS 10.3, released on March 27, introduced a new Apple Filesystem among other major features like Find My AirPods, plus it included an overhauled iCloud storage breakdown, which may explain why some iCloud services were mistakenly turned back on. To check which iCloud services are enabled on your iOS device, open the Settings app and scroll down to the "iCloud" section. A list of apps and services using iCloud is front and center, and anything that was enabled via iOS 10.3 can be turned off using the toggle buttons. A wide range of first and third-party apps and services use Apple's iCloud feature, including Photos, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes, Safari, News, Keychain, Find My iPhone, iCloud Backup, and more.Related Roundup: iOS 10 Tag: iCloud Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today announced that it will be opening its second retail location in Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. We’re getting ready for our newest store in UAE by celebrating local artists and entrepreneurs. Excited for Apple Dubai Mall! pic.twitter.com/SIT4FeDr1x— Angela Ahrendts (@AngelaAhrendts) April 4, 2017 The store will be located at The Dubai Mall in downtown Dubai, opposite the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. As we reported in February, the store will be split into two floors inside the shopping mall. Apple said the grand opening will be "soon," but it did not provide a specific date or time. Apple is celebrating the upcoming grand opening with an artistic display on its website and on the construction barrier covering the storefront. Meanwhile, in the United States, Apple continues to renovate a number of its older stores with its newer retail design introduced in 2015. Apple has announced that its stores in Burlingame, California and Canoga Park in Los Angeles temporarily closed for renovations on Sunday. Apple also temporarily closed its store at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on March 25 for renovations. All three stores will likely reopen by the end of the year. Apple also announced that its current North Point Mall store in Alpharetta, Georgia will be closing and relocating to Avalon, a new mixed-use development in the Atlanta suburb. The grand opening is April 13 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Elsewhere, construction continues for Apple's upcoming flagship store near the historic Michigan Bridge in downtown Chicago. Apple unloading glass panels for its Chicago River store (Thanks, Scott!) The store will include a "grand flight of stairs" going from street level to a walkway alongside the Chicago River's north bank. At street level, the store will have an entry pavilion that's 14-feet high. Pedestrians entering from North Michigan Avenue can reach the sales floor by stairs or elevator. MacRumors has also received a tip from reader David about Apple possibly expanding its retail store at the Providence Place shopping mall in Providence, Rhode Island. David sent us a photo of what appears to be Apple's typical black construction barrier taking up four units on the lower level of the Macy's wing of the mall. The tipster said he confirmed with multiple employees that the construction is indeed for a new Apple Store in the mall, which will replace its much smaller one down the hall. The tipster has heard that Apple is aiming to complete construction by June, and the store will likely open at some point in the summer. Apple-like construction barrier at the Providence Place shopping mall Apple's newer retail layout often includes wider open spaces with some combination of large glass doors, touch-sensitive sequoia wood tables and shelves, seating areas for community events, large 6K resolution video screens, indoor trees, and light boxes extending the length of the ceiling. Apple is similarly expanding its retail stores at Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, Connecticut and Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Related Roundup: Apple Stores Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today announced price drops for its Mac Pro lineup ahead of a major revamp coming in the future, dropping the 4-core option and significantly lowering the prices of its new baseline 6-core and 8-core machines. Apple has also made Mac Pro build-to-order processor and GPU upgrades much more affordable for pro users who need higher-end specs than the base machines provide. Upgrading the new 3.5GHz entry-level 6-core Mac Pro to the 3.0GHz 8-core processor now costs $800, while upgrading to the 2.7GHz 12-core machine costs $2,000. Prior to today, the 8-core upgrade was priced at $1,500, and the 12-core upgrade was priced at $3,000. GPU upgrades are also more affordable. With the 6-core machine, upgrading from the stock dual AMD FirePro D500 to the FirePro D700 now costs $200, an upgrade that was previously priced at $600. The GPU upgrade isn't necessary on the new stock 8-core machine, as it ships with the D700s. RAM and flash storage upgrade pricing has not changed, however. It continues to cost $400 to upgrade to 32GB RAM and $1,200 to upgrade to 64GB RAM. 512GB flash storage is available for $200, and the 1TB flash storage upgrade costs $600. Prices on flash storage were lowered back in October alongside the launch of the new MacBook Pro. All in all, a maxed out Mac Pro machine with a 12-core processor, 64GB RAM, 1TB flash storage, and dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs will now cost $6,999 instead of $9,599. The Mac Pro lineup has not gained any refreshed or updated hardware -- all that's changed is configuration and price. The machines continue to use Ivy Bridge E Xeon processors, dual AMD FirePro GPUs, and Thunderbolt 2. Apple's reconfigured Mac Pros are available starting today from the online Apple Store and Apple retail stores. The 6-core model can be purchased immediately, but the 8-core model is listed as "currently unavailable." Today's price drops come ahead of a promised overhauled Mac Pro that will be introduced sometime after this year. Apple is working on a high-end high-throughput modular Mac Pro system that will facilitate regular upgrades to meet the needs of Apple's pro user base.Related Roundup: Mac Pro Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Following a surprise Mac Pro update today, Apple has now listed the "new" models on its online store. Essentially, this is just a pricing adjustment: the former $3,999 model is now the $2,999 base model, while the previously built-to-order 8-core model with dual D700 GPUs is now the high-end stock configuration. The base model Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs, and 16GB of RAM is available to purchase now for $2,999 online and at select Apple Stores in the United States, Canada, and select other countries. Online orders ship in as little as one business day. The higher-end model with a 3.0GHz 8-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs, and 16GB of RAM is listed as "currently unavailable" online, with no purchase button yet. Just moments ago, the model was listed as available in "30 business days," but Apple has removed that timeframe. Today's spec bumps have raised the entry-level Mac Pro to a 6-core processor with 16GB of RAM for $2,999, compared to the former base model with a quad-core processor and 12GB of RAM. Likewise, Apple used to sell a high-end 6-core Mac Pro for $3,999, but has today bumped that model to 8-cores for the same price. There are no other hardware changes to either model, but upgrade pricing for built-to-order configurations is now cheaper. Upgrading from 6-core to 8-core or 12-core, for example, used to be $1500 or $3000 respectively, but it is now $800 or $2000 respectively. AMD FirePro graphics upgrades are likewise cheaper. The news came today in a collection of announcements that Apple unveiled to journalists near its headquarters in Cupertino, including a confirmation of new pro-level iMac models coming later in 2017 and a promise that the Mac Mini is still "important." Apple also announced that it is working on a "completely rethought" version of the Mac Pro, as well as a pro display that works with the system, but Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller admitted that "you won't see any of those products this year."Related Roundup: Mac Pro Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple recently invited a small group of reporters to Cupertino for a roundtable discussion about the future of the Mac. Apple revealed to them a relatively minor spec bump to its current Mac Pro lineup, but the bigger news was that it's working on a "completely rethought" Mac Pro that will feature a modular design. The all-new Mac Pro, which won't launch until at least next year, will be Apple's highest-end, highest-throughput system. Apple said the new Mac Pro will be accompanied by an Apple-branded external display geared towards pro users. Apple appears to be reversing course after discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display, and reportedly exiting the display business. It most recently partnered with LG on the UltraFine 4K and 5K displays. Apple also said that it's working on new iMac models that will be unveiled later this year, but it remained tight-lipped about what to expect. Meanwhile, Apple said the Mac mini remains an "important" product in its lineup, and one that it will continue to sell, but it did not reveal any plans for future updates. It isn't often that Apple pre-announces new products in its pipeline, but there were growing concerns that Apple no longer cared about professional users, and this is Apple's way of proving otherwise. Apple stressed that it remains committed to the Mac and pro users throughout its entire media briefing. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller apologized about the "pause in upgrades and updates" to the Mac Pro, and promised that Apple will have "something great" to replace it, according to TechCrunch. The Mac Pro went 1,202 days without an update prior to today's spec bump, per the MacRumors Buyer's Guide."If we've had a pause in upgrades and updates, we're sorry for that — what happened with the Mac Pro — and we're going to come out with something great to replace it."Schiller also apologized about the current Mac Pro's lack of upgradability and expandability, per Daring Fireball:We're not going to get into exactly what stage we’re in, just that we told the team to take the time to do something really great. To do something that can be supported for a long time with customers with updates and upgrades throughout the years. We’ll take the time it takes to do that. The current Mac Pro, as we’ve said a few times, was constrained thermally and it restricted our ability to upgrade it. And for that, we’re sorry to disappoint customers who wanted that, and we’ve asked the team to go and re-architect and design something great for the future that those Mac Pro customers who want more expandability, more upgradability in the future. It’ll meet more of those needs.Schiller said Apple chose to be more transparent with today's news because it "cares deeply" about pro users that "invest so much" in the Mac:“We’ll talk about what’s going on and frankly be a little more transparent with some of the things we’re doing, some of the places we’re going, because our pro users desire that and we care deeply about them and we’re dedicated to communicating well with them and helping them understand what we’re doing and what we’re up to. We want to be as transparent as we can, for our pro users, and help them as they make their buying decisions. They invest so much in the Mac, we want to support them, and we care deeply about them. So that’s why we’re here.”The overall tone was that Apple is committed to the Mac, even if the iPhone accounts for some two-thirds of Apple's revenue.We’re committed to the Mac, we’ve got great talent on the Mac, both hardware and software, we’ve got great products planned for the future, and as far as our horizon line can see, the Mac is a core component of the things Apple delivers, including to our pro customers.In the end, the comparatively small but vocal community of pro users was loud enough that Apple likely felt it needed to respond now, rather than keep its plans for new products under wraps until later. It's exciting news for Apple's pro customers, even if some patience is still required until Apple's roadmap materializes.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller and software engineering chief Craig Federighi have confirmed that Apple is working on new iMac models that the company expects to launch later this year, as reported by TechCrunch. Apple did not share specific details about what to expect from the refresh, but Thunderbolt 3 ports and faster processors are likely at the very least. Related Roundup: iMac Buyer's Guide: iMac (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 23 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today introduced spec-bumped versions of the current Mac Pro and revealed that it is working on a "completely rethought" Mac Pro with Apple-branded pro displays that will launch in the future. As noted by Daring Fireball, the $2,999 model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs. The $3,999 model goes from 6 CPU cores to 8, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D800 GPUs. There are no other hardware changes, so Thunderbolt 3 ports remain notably lacking. "If we've had a pause in upgrades and updates, we're sorry for that — what happened with the Mac Pro, and we're going to come out with something great to replace it," said Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, referring to the over 1,200 days that passed between the last Mac Pro refresh and today's updates. More information to follow…Related Roundup: Mac Pro Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 24 days ago on mac rumors
United States President Donald Trump today signed into law a bill that reverses Obama-era broadband privacy rules preventing Internet Service Providers from selling a subscriber's web browsing history and other personal information without permission. The now-reversed law would have limited what ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T could do with sensitive customer data like location, browsing history, and other personal information like Social Security number. Under the law, which would have been enacted at the end of 2017, ISPs were also required to strengthen protections against hackers and security breaches. Going forward, Internet Service Providers will not need to get permission from customers to sell customer data like web browsing history, but following customer outcry and confusion over the repeal of the law, many ISPs have said customer data won't be sold. Image via The Verge Comcast, for example, says it has "no plans" to sell individual web browsing history, while Verizon says it "does not sell the personal web browsing history" of its customers. Internet providers argued that the rules were confusing to customers and discriminatory and unfair because they didn't apply to tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. Privacy advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation opposed the rollback of the law and have argued that privacy protections are desperately needed to keep consumers safe. For end users, the repeal of the law effectively maintains the status quo because it was not enacted before being shuttered, but it's worth noting that the resolution contains language preventing the FCC from enabling similar privacy rules in the future. The repeal is the first step the Trump administration plans to take towards deregulating broadband internet service providers. According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, President Trump has "pledged to reverse" net neutrality rules passed in 2015. 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.Tag: privacy Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 24 days ago on mac rumors
Longtime industrial designer Christopher Stringer, who has been with Apple for 21 years, is leaving the company, reports The Information. Stringer, who is part of Jony Ive's industrial design team and had a hand in designing the iPhone, notably testified in the ongoing Samsung v. Apple legal battle back in 2012. As he's been working alongside Ive for many years, Stringer has had a hand in designing everything from the iPhone and iPad to the Mac over the last 20 years. Ive's industrial design team is notoriously private, so little else is known about Stringer, or where he might be going after Apple. His departure comes nearly two years after Jony Ive took on the role of Chief Design Officer and took a step back from the day-to-day management of the company's design team, a task that now falls to Richard Howarth. Stringer is the second longtime Apple designer to have left Ive's team over the course of the last year. Daniel Coster, who was also on the team for more than 20 years, left in April of 2016 to join GoPro. Despite the changes to the industrial design team, and some mid-2016 rumors suggesting Jony Ive might be on his way out, Apple's design chief is said to be as devoted and involved as ever.Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 24 days ago on mac rumors
Just one week after releasing iOS 10.3, a major update that included Apple Filesystem and Find My AirPods, Apple has released iOS 10.3.1, which appears to be a minor update to address bugs and other issues that have popped up since the release of iOS 10.3. iOS 10.3.1 is available as a free over-the-air update for all iOS 10 users, and it can also be downloaded via iTunes. According to Apple's release notes, iOS 10.3.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad, and a security document suggests it fixes a Wi-Fi-related vulnerability. The release notes do not go into more detail about what bug fixes might be bundled into this release, so we'll update this post if and when we learn more about the content of the iOS 10.3.1 update. Related Roundup: iOS 10 Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 24 days ago on mac rumors
Production on the 2017 iPhone is moving along, with Apple recently having placed orders for 70 million OLED panels, reports Nikkei. Samsung, as we already know, will be Apple's sole OLED supplier, and will provide Apple with the panels. Demand for the 2017 iPhone, which is expected to feature a major design overhaul with an edge-to-edge display, glass body, and a premium price tag, is expected to be high as it typically is in a year when a new look is unveiled. Apple and Samsung are gearing up to meet demand with the large panel order. "iPhone X" concept via Gabor Balogh Nikkei's info comes from a supply chain source and also matches with estimates provided by IHS Markit analyst David Hsieh."Apple has ordered 70 million units of OLED panels from Samsung this year, while Samsung is preparing to churn out as many as 95 million for Apple in 2017, in case demand exceeds expectations," Hsieh said.There have already been rumors suggesting the OLED iPhone will be in short supply when it launches in September, with the majority of the stock unavailable until later in the year, and Hsieh also believes that could be the case. "It is also possible that some of these 70 million handsets will not be shipped to customers this year and be carried over to next year depending on demand," he said. Nikkei's industry source, in addition to covering panel orders, also shared some details on the upcoming device that echoes many rumors we've heard in the past. The site believes we will see a premium OLED iPhone with a 5.2-inch screen and no home button, which will be sold alongside standard 4.7 and 5.5-inch devices with LCD screens and home buttons. All three iPhones will include wireless charging functionality (lately said to be inductive) and waterproofing, while at least one model, presumably the OLED iPhone, will include a 3D sensor that supports facial recognition. Other features rumored for the iPhone 8 not mentioned in Nikkei's report include camera improvements, a faster and more efficient A11 processor, Touch ID built into the display, True Tone ambient light adjustment, and perhaps augmented reality functionality enabled through the camera. Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017) Tag: nikkei.com Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 24 days ago on mac rumors
JEDEC, the organization that develops global standards for computer memory, has announced it will be previewing its next-generation DDR5 standard for RAM in June 2017. The standard is expected to be finalized by 2018, at which point chipmakers like Intel will be able to add support for the technology. As noted by Ars Technica, DDR5 RAM will double the speed of current DDR4 RAM while offering greater power efficiency.DDR5 memory will offer improved performance with greater power efficiency as compared to previous generation DRAM technologies. As planned, DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density over DDR4, along with delivering improved channel efficiency. These enhancements, combined with a more user-friendly interface for server and client platforms, will enable high performance and improved power management in a wide variety of applications.It might be quite a while until DDR5 RAM goes mainstream, however, as the first computers with DDR4 RAM did not arrive until two years after that standard was finalized. Apple itself has yet to even adopt DDR4 RAM, with the entire current Mac lineup equipped with older DDR3 RAM. • MacBook: 8GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 RAM • MacBook Air: 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM • MacBook Pro: 8/16GB of 1866/2133MHz LPDDR3 RAM • iMac: 8/16/32GB of 1867MHz LPDDR3 RAM • Mac mini: 4/8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM • Mac Pro: 12/16GB of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC RAM Apple's latest MacBook Pro models in particular use an enhanced low-power version of DDR3 RAM called LPDDR3E, which maxes out at 16GB. Apple said the 2016 MacBook Pro does not support DDR4 RAM because of battery life considerations. DDR4 memory's low-power variant LPDDR4 is not supported by Intel's Skylake processors powering the latest MacBook Pro models, and using regular DDR4 RAM would have reduced space for batteries. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller in November:The MacBook Pro uses 16GB of very fast LPDDR memory, up to 2133MHz. To support 32GB of memory would require using DDR memory that is not low power and also require a different design of the logic board which might reduce space for batteries. Both factors would reduce battery life.The often reliable Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said Apple will release a 15-inch MacBook with 32GB of desktop-class RAM later this year, but it is unclear which Intel processor the notebook would use. Intel's next-generation Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake processors do not support LPDDR4 RAM beyond ultra-low-power chips, while Cannonlake processors expected by early 2018 are not designed for the MacBook Pro.Related Roundup: MacBook Pro Tag: RAM Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral) Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 24 days ago on mac rumors
Shares in Imagination Technologies plunged by 70 percent on Monday, after Apple informed the British firm that it plans to stop using its graphics technology in Apple consumer devices in up to two years' time. Imagination said Apple had made the decision because the tech giant was developing its own independent graphics processing chips, which would reduce its reliance on the company. The news delivers a major blow to Imagination Technologies, which traditionally provides the PowerVR graphics architecture found in Apple's full range of iOS devices and receives a small royalty on every sale, which amounts to up to half of the British firm's revenue. In a press release posted on the company's website, Imagination said it doubted that Apple could go it alone without violating Imagination' patents, intellectual property and confidential information. Apple has used Imagination’s technology and intellectual property for many years. It has formed the basis of Graphics Processor Units ("GPUs") in Apple’s phones, tablets, iPods, TVs and watches. Apple has asserted that it has been working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on Imagination’s technology. Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence has been requested by Imagination but Apple has declined to provide it.The firm said that Apple's notification had triggered talks on alternative commercial arrangements for the current license and royalty agreement. Apple has been a licensee and stakeholder in the company since at least 2008, and became a key investor in mid-2009 after raising its stake in the firm to 10 percent. Apple paid Imagination license fees and royalties totaling 60.7 million pounds for the year to end-April 2016 and is expected to pay about 65 million pounds for this year, Imagination said. Late last year it was reported Apple was in "advanced talks" to acquire Imagination Tech after the British chip maker announced job cuts. Despite confirming the talks, Apple subsequently decided not to make a buyout offer, but several Imagination employees were recruited by Apple as part of its efforts to build an in-house graphics team.Tag: Imagination Technologies Discuss this article in our forums

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posted 25 days ago on mac rumors
Apple is considering offering HBO, Showtime, and Starz television channels in a combined "premium TV bundle" to be delivered to viewers via Apple TV and iOS devices, according to a new report on Sunday. Apple already enables users to buy the named channels individually, but according to a source who spoke to Recode, Apple has approached the three networks about rolling them up into a single paid package similar to how conventional TV operators market their channels. However, unlike paid TV operators like Charter, which usually require consumers to subscribe to a basic range of TV channels before offering a premium bundle, Apple wants to provide the package as an upfront standalone option for all its consumers. Apple has yet to nail down a deal with any of the networks, according to industry sources, while representatives from HBO, Stars, and Showtime declined to comment on the report. Apple also didn't respond to requests for comment. Apple currently offers HBO for $15 a month, Showtime for $11 a month, and Stars for $9 a month, but Recode had no information on the price of any possible bundle package. Apple's attempts to set up a traditional streaming bundle of TV channels have come to nothing in recent years, despite rival companies like Google and Hulu announcing plans of their own. In 2015, Apple was in talks for a streaming television service that would bundle several popular live channels and on-demand television at a price point of approximately $30 per month, but Apple canned the project after being unable to establish the necessary deals because content providers were reluctant to unbundle their channels. The company's assertive negotiation tactics with cable providers have also been blamed, with Apple executives accused of making demands networks aren't prepared to meet. Content providers meanwhile have been reluctant to agree to Apple's terms for fear of potentially compromising their traditional revenue streams. Apart from its TV subscription service ambitions, Apple is said to be building a "significant" business centered around creating original, scripted television shows and possibly even movies, for a possible launch by the end of 2017.Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10 Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy) Discuss this article in our forums

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