posted 16 days ago on mac rumors
A growing number of users have turned to the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors discussion forums and Facebook in recent weeks to voice their complaints about the anti-reflective coating on Retina MacBook Pros becoming stained or wearing off. The long-standing display issue appears to affect several MacBook Pros, including mid-2012 to mid-2014 models sold between June 2012 and present. The anti-reflective coating appears to be wearing off under a variety of circumstances, including the pressure of the keys and trackpad on the display and the use of third-party cleaning solutions and microfiber cloths. While the issue is typically isolated to small areas of the screen, some users have shared pictures showing the anti-reflective coating wearing off across virtually the entire display."I had the exact same problem, and I followed the cleaning instructions on the Apple website: a lint free cloth and a small amount of water," writes MacRumors forum member wj2. "Was trying to remove a mark in the corner of my screen and a shiny scratch appeared on the bezel. It grew in size and it looked like the coating on the bezel was coming off like everyone is saying. Started happening at the top of my display by the camera also. I looked it up and stumbled across this same forum and realized that it was a problem that I should take up with Apple."Affected users have received mixed responses from Apple. While some Retina MacBook Pro owners covered under a one-year limited warranty or AppleCare Protection Plan have been able to get their notebook replaced through the Genius Bar for no charge, others have been told that cosmetic damage is not covered under warranty and offered to have their notebooks repaired for a service charge costing hundreds of dollars. While the anti-reflective coating issues are not new, with complaints dating back to at least August 2013, the problem has been gaining momentum in recent weeks. The issue has received over 90,000 views and close to 400 responses between the Apple Support Communities and MacRumors discussion forums, and dozens of users have submitted pictures of their damaged Retina MacBook Pros throughout March in a Facebook group set up to discuss the problem. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Pebble Time' Kickstarter Gained Momentum Following Apple Watch Event • Buyer's Guide: Deals on iPad Air 2, 2014 MacBook Air, Apple Accessories and More • Apple Fixes Keyboard in iOS 8.3 Beta So Searches.Don't.Look.Like.This • Amazon Hints at Upcoming Apple Watch App • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update

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posted 19 days ago on mac rumors
During its Spring Forward Apple media event, Apple announced that the new 12-inch MacBook would adopt the new USB standard USB Type C, which is a multifaceted port that can do multiple things like video and charging. In the newest episode of his podcast The Talk Show, John Gruber mentioned that Apple may have invented the new standard. I have heard, can't say who, but let's call them "informed little birdies", that USB-C is an Apple invention and that they gave it to the standard bodies. And that the politics of such is that they can't really say that. They're not going to come out in public and say it, but they did. It is an Apple invention and they do want it to become a standard.Gruber's comment comes at the 54 minute mark of the podcast, with TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino saying that Apple inventing USB-C and giving it to the standard bodies wouldn't surprise him. Gruber goes on to note that there are some contexts in which Apple wants users to have a standard port, but that there are other contexts in which they want users to have proprietary ports. However, Gruber says he does not know whether Apple will adopt USB-C in other devices like iPhones and iPads. Currently, the new USB standard will be only be available for the new 12-inch MacBook. Recently, Google announced that its new Chromebook Pixel would also adopt the standard. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Buyer's Guide: Deals on iPad Air 2, 2014 MacBook Air, Apple Accessories and More • Apple Fixes Keyboard in iOS 8.3 Beta So Searches.Don't.Look.Like.This • Amazon Hints at Upcoming Apple Watch App • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch

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posted 19 days ago on mac rumors
Earlier this week, we shared some Geekbench benchmarks for the Broadwell processors in the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the new 13-inch MacBook Air, which pointed towards speeds that were comparable to mid-2014 models. At the time, we noted the results might shift once more data came in and the machines got past their initial housekeeping tasks, and Primate Labs' John Poole has now shared additional benchmarks for all stock versions of the new machines. The new data indicate that performance improvements may indeed be somewhat better than initially thought, though still relatively moderate. On the new MacBook Air, both the default 1.6 GHz Core i5 chip and the 2.2 GHz Core i7 chip available as an upgrade performed somewhat better than their predecessors on the 32-bit single-core test, but there were more significant gains in the multi-core test for the higher-end processors. According to the new averages, single-core performance increased 6 percent from Haswell to Broadwell. Multi-core performance on the i5 chip increased 7 percent, while multi-core performance for the i7 model increased 14 percent. Due to the more meaningful jump in multi-core performance between the 2.2GHz Core i7 chip and the 1.6GHz Core i5 chip, Poole recommends that MacBook Air buyers go for the processor upgrade.If you're thinking of buying the new MacBook Air I would strongly recommend the i7 processor. It has 20% faster single-core performance and 25% faster multi-core performance for only a 15% increase in price.Benchmarks of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro showed slight gains over previous-generation models, but the differences were not quite as pronounced as on the MacBook Air. Single-core performance increased between 3 percent and 7 percent from Haswell to Broadwell, depending on the model, while multi-core performance increased 3 percent to 6 percent. I have no recommendations regarding the processor for the new MacBook Pro. The performance differences and the price differences between the processors are roughly equivalent.Intel operates on a "Tick-Tock" chip manufacturing model. Tock upgrades represent a new microarchitecture, while tick upgrades like Broadwell are generally an improvement on tock architecture, leading to improvements in efficiency. As a tick upgrade, the minor speed improvements Broadwell brings are no surprise. Intel's last tock upgrade was Haswell, and its next tock upgrade will be Skylake, coming later this year. Apple's new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and new MacBook Air models are available immediately from the online Apple Store and from Apple's retail stores. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Fixes Keyboard in iOS 8.3 Beta So Searches.Don't.Look.Like.This • Amazon Hints at Upcoming Apple Watch App • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

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posted 19 days ago on mac rumors
iOS developer Hamza Sood has shared further screenshots of the official Apple Watch app on iOS 8.2, providing a closer look at what the companion software looks like after pairing an Apple Watch. In particular, the screenshots reveal an Apple Watch setting menu for configuring the app layout, notifications, glances, brightness and text size, sounds and haptics, individual apps, internal options, and more. Apple Watch settings are similar to those found on iPhone, with About, Software Update and Automatic Downloads menus under General alongside options to adjust the watch orientation, accessibility, language and region, and Apple ID settings. Two toggle switches allow for Handoff and wrist detection to be enabled, the latter of which locks your Apple Watch when you're not using it to keep your information secure.A few more interesting things. You can select playlists to sync accros, with an adjustable limit up to 2GB pic.twitter.com/d40El8N9sq— Hamza Sood (@hamzasood) March 13, 2015 Sood has shared a full gallery of screenshots with 9to5Mac, which provided the first look at the Apple Watch app back in January based on code compiled by developer Steven Troughton-Smith. The additional screenshots show individual settings for Airplane Mode, Activity, Brightness and Text Size, Workout, Contacts, Friends, Maps, Messages, Passcode, Privacy, Photos, Stocks, Watch Orientation and more. Apple Watch will be available April 24, with pre-orders starting April 10 in the first wave of launch countries: United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and United Kingdom. The wrist-worn device starts at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport, while the stainless steel models will retail for between $549 to $1,099 and the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will cost up to $17,000. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Fixes Keyboard in iOS 8.3 Beta So Searches.Don't.Look.Like.This • Amazon Hints at Upcoming Apple Watch App • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

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posted 19 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's "Project Titan", its secretive and much-rumored electric car project, may involve a campus leased by Apple last year that is located in Sunnyvale, California, just a few minutes from the company's main 1 Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, reports AppleInsider. According to "two people with knowledge of the project", the company has been receiving shipments that may be related to the project's development at the Sunnyvale address, though it remains unclear if that location is indeed the headquarters of the car project. According to one AppleInsider source familiar with "Titan," many of Apple's new auto-related hires, including recruits from Tesla, have been working out of the Sunnyvale campus. This person claims that some of the projects underway there have been kept "very secret" within the company. It is said that the "Titan" development building itself is codenamed "SG5."Apple's presence at the campus is not a secret, but AppleInsider believes Apple is linked to another company quietly operating at the site, likely as a front for Apple's more secretive efforts. That company, SixtyEight Research, claims to be a market research firm, but there is little public evidence of any actual operations in that field. Instead, the building where SixtyEight Research is listed as a tenant has seen city permits issued for construction of an "auto work area" and a "repair garage". Photo of SixtyEight Research's offices (Source: AppleInsider)SixtyEight's affiliation with Apple could not be confirmed, but Apple does have a long history of using shell corporations and deceptive methods to hide its secret projects. Aside from a barren website, there is scant other information about SixtyEight — lending more credence to its use as a front. It wouldn't be a stretch to surmise that SixtyEight could play a role in allowing Apple to purchase and import automotive equipment and tools without drawing any suspicion. Apple, after all, is the biggest company in the world, and has been known to force engineers to use false names in the past when visiting suppliers to avoid unwelcome attention. A visit to SixtyEight's offices by AppleInsider was met with frosted opaque glass and security cameras, with a note pointing those looking for the company offices to a three-story building in the complex leased to Apple. Much of the evidence is circumstantial, but there definitely appear to be some curious circumstances at Apple's Sunnyvale campus. Apple's car project is reportedly still in the early stages, but the company is said to have committed to building a team of up to 1000 employees with a goal of launching a car around 2020 if the project proves promising. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China

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posted 19 days ago on mac rumors
iOS developer Hamza Sood has tweeted a series of screenshots from iOS 8.2 that provide a closer look at the upcoming "Activity" companion app for Apple Watch previewed on the Apple Watch microsite. Activity does not show up on iPhone until an Apple Watch is paired with the device, at which point the app provides a comprehensive overview of your daily activity and workout history.So the Fitness app does exist on 8.2, it's just hidden until you connect an Apple Watch pic.twitter.com/R1BgnKYRHe— Hamza Sood (@hamzasood) March 12, 2015 The main History tab allows you to view your Activity rings on a calendar to track how much walking, standing and exercise you have done, sorted over the course of a day, month or year. A second Achievements tab displays a grid of achievements that are unlocked for reaching personal bests or milestones. The screenshots reveal there are at least a dozen achievements to unlock. Apple is pushing the health and fitness capabilities of Apple Watch as one of three main selling points for the wrist-worn device, the others being communication and timekeeping. The upcoming Activity app is an important feature in that regard, and looks polished in time for the Apple Watch's release next month. Apple will begin taking pre-orders for the Apple Watch on April 10 ahead of an April 24 launch. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Microsoft is beefing up "Cortana", its virtual voice assistant found in its line of Windows Phones, with plans to provide her contextual reminders and various other features on iOS and Android devices later this year, according to Reuters. Announced for Windows 10 desktops earlier this year, Microsoft is planning to upgrade Cortana's functions even more through research from an artificial intelligence project called "Einstein." Reuters notes that the new iteration of Cortana would double-down on her being less reactive, akin to iOS users needing to instigate Siri commands themselves, and more proactive. The virtual assistant, named after an artificial intelligence character who appears in most of the main Halo games, could go so far as to plan out a trip to the airport. She would prep boarding passes, check traffic and flight delays, all from reading emails related to the matter. Cortana could tell a mobile phone user when to leave for the airport, days after it read an email and realized the user was planning a flight. It would automatically check flight status, determine where the phone is located using GPS, and checking traffic conditions. "This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame," said Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research and a part of the Einstein project, in an interview at the company's Redmond, Washington, headquarters. While still not officially confirmed by Microsoft, Reuters notes that a Cortana app for iOS and Android could extend the program's reach beyond the company's smaller share of the smartphone business, and perhaps win over converts not impressed with Siri's functionality. Microsoft definitely sees Siri as a competitor, releasing a string of advertisements last year pointing out Cortana's biggest features still unavailable to Siri users on iOS, like mapping out traffic patterns to provide a user alerts and contextually aware reminders Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Apple CEO Tim Cook called into "Mad Money" on CBNC today to speak to host Jim Cramer in honor of the show's 10th anniversary, where he shared some thoughts on ResearchKit, Apple's competitors, Apple Pay, the next frontiers of product development, and more. When asked what he believes the "next frontiers" will be when it comes to product development, Tim Cook highlighted health as "the biggest one of all," along with cars and the home. According to Cook, devices like the Apple Watch and services like ResearchKit and the Health app that allow people to track their own health and fitness are part of a market that's "probably significantly underestimated." Cook called ResearchKit, which the company debuted on Monday, "an absolute game changer." ResearchKit is an open source software framework aimed at researchers, and several apps have already been created with it. On Wednesday, Stanford University researchers said they had received 11,000 signups for just one apps. In regard to the Apple Watch and HealthKit, Cramer asked whether it was "within the realm of our lifetime" that the device paired with HealthKit might be able to monitor diabetes, blood pressure, and detect cancer, and Tim Cook said "Oh, I absolutely do." On competition, when Cramer asked whether or not Apple felt like the competition had been left behind, Cook said the company is "always paranoid" and always working towards the best possible product. We're always paranoid. We live paranoid. We always want the very best product. And so if we're not beating someone else we're trying to beat the thing that we have currently shipping. Everybody here lives on edge.As he often does, Cook spoke about Steve Jobs, reiterating that Jobs' DNA is "deep in the company" even though many of the products that Apple is shipping now were created entirely on Tim's watch, conceptualized after Jobs had passed away. Cook wrapped up the call by wishing an excited Cramer a happy anniversary. Cook's segment aired on "Mad Money" on CBNC at 6PM Eastern Time. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Command & Conquer: Generals Deluxe Edition' Now Available in the Mac App Store • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
There's a new Steve Jobs book coming out later this month, written by Brent Schlender, a reporter who interviewed Jobs several times throughout his life, and Rick Tetzeli, editor at Fast Company. The book, Becoming Steve Jobs, isn't set to be released until March 24, but Cult of Mac discovered some of the contents could be read using Amazon's "Look Inside the Book" feature and shared a few interesting tidbits that we haven't heard before. One of the best parts is a story about Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, which took place when Steve Jobs first got sick. When Jobs was ill and needed a new liver, Tim Cook offered to donate a portion of his own liver because the two shared a blood type. Jobs turned down Cook's offer and later received a full liver transplant in 2009.After discovering that he shared a rare blood type with his sick colleague, and undergoing a battery of tests at a hospital "far from the Bay Area, since he didn't want to be recognized," Cook offered his liver to Jobs -- only for Steve to turn it down. "Somebody that's selfish doesn't reply like that," Cook says.The book also reveals that Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Bob Iger contemplated buying Yahoo! as a way for Apple to get into the search business, and it unveils some details that contrast information that Walter Isaacson shared in his Steve Jobs biography. Walter Isaacson's biography was largely responsible for igniting rumors about Apple creating a literal television, but according to Becoming Steve Jobs, Jobs was not particularly interested in television, telling Jony Ive at one point "I just don't like television. Apple will never make a TV again." In Isaacson's telling, Jobs wanted to "do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones," creating an integrated television set that's "completely easy to use." At one point, he even reportedly said "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it." Amazon has removed much of the content that was offered via "Look Inside the Book," so additional stories about Jobs and other executives will be kept under wraps until its debut 12 days from now. With the book, Tetzeli and Schlender have aimed to explore the story of how Steve Jobs made the transformation from an arrogant young man exiled from Apple to the visionary leader that skyrocketed Apple to fame. The two authors interviewed many of Jobs' friends, family, and inner circle, getting access to never-before-told stories. Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, and Robert Iger all contributed to the book. Daring Fireball's John Gruber received an advanced copy of the novel, and has called it "the book about Steve Jobs that the world deserves," with stories that are "sensational." A hardcover copy of Becoming Steve Jobs can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com for $21.78. There's also an iBooks version available for $14.99. [Direct Link] Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Casetify Debuts Design-Your-Own Apple Watch Bands • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today made a pre-release version of iOS 8.3 available to those who sign up for the company's public beta testing program, giving them early access to a new version of iOS for the first time ever. The version of iOS 8.3 being distributed to beta testers is the third iOS 8.3 beta, which was seeded to developers a few hours ago. iOS 8.3 was first seeded to developers on February 9, while iOS 8.2 was still in testing. iOS 8.2 is mainly focused on the Apple Watch, but thus far, iOS 8.3 has introduced several new features including support for wireless CarPlay connectivity, a new emoji picker, support for Google 2-step verification, and Apple Pay support for the China UnionPay network. The second beta brought all new diversified emoji and skin tone modifiers, along with new emoji for country flags and updated emoji icons to represent the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch. Siri also gained several new languages, including Danish, Dutch, English (India), English (New Zealand), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish. Apple introduced its public beta testing program with the launch of OS X Yosemite, allowing more than a million consumers to sign up for and participate in the Yosemite beta. Prior to today, public beta testing was limited to OS X, but Apple appears to be ready to expand its beta testing program to iOS. Apple has also continued offering OS X betas, most recently seeding OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 with the Photos app to public beta testers. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the third beta of OS X Yosemite to developers, almost a month after seeding the first OS X 10.10.3 beta and a week after releasing OS X 10.10.3 to public beta testers. The new beta, build 14D98g, is available for registered developers through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Mac Dev Center. OS X 10.10.3 brings several new features to Yosemite, including the new Photos for OS X app. Designed to integrate with iCloud Photo Library, Photos for OS X is a replacement for both iPhoto and Aperture and is on track to see an early 2015 public launch. Reviews have suggested that while Photos is a suitable replacement for iPhoto, with more advanced tools and performance optimizations, it may leave professional users disappointed. Along with the new Photos for OS X app, the first two OS X 10.10.3 betas introduced a redesigned emoji picker that consolidates emoji into a single page with clear labels, new diversified emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers, new flag emoji and updated emoji for the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch, and support for Google 2-step verification when setting up accounts in System Preferences. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
Apple today seeded the third beta of iOS 8.3 to developers, more than two weeks after seeding the second iOS 8.3 beta and more than a month after releasing the first iOS 8.3 beta. Today's third beta release comes just days after the public launch of iOS 8.2, which included support for the Apple Watch. The beta, build 12F5047f, is available through the iOS Developer Center, and it may also be available via an over-the-air download. Previous versions of iOS 8.3 were not available over-the-air, but that was because iOS 8.2 was still in testing at the same time. Apple has also released Xcode 6.3 beta 3. Though iOS 8.2 introduced Apple Watch support, it brought only minor bug fixes and security updates to the operating system. iOS 8.3 brings more consumer-facing updates, like a new emoji picker and all new diversified emoji and skin tone modifiers. It also introduces new country flag emoji and updated emoji icons to represent the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch. Along with those emoji changes, iOS 8.3 brings wireless CarPlay connectivity, support for Google 2-step verification, Apple Pay for the China UnionPay network, and several new Siri languages. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone

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posted 20 days ago on mac rumors
IDC on Thursday reduced its five year forecast for worldwide tablet shipments following the tablet market's first year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter. The research firm estimates that 234.5 million tablets will be shipped during 2015, representing marginal growth of 2.1% from 2014. Android is expected to remain the market leader among platforms throughout the course of the forecast, whereas the iPad is predicted to be the "weakest link" and see its volume share of the market continue to decline in 2015. IDC believes that iOS will drop from its present 27.6% market share to 23% through 2019. The research firm also estimates that Microsoft could see its worldwide tablet market share nearly triple from 5.1% today to 14.1% market share in 2019 on the strength of Windows 10. IDC research director Jean Phillippe Bouchard claims Microsoft will slowly gain a foothold by delivering a consistent experience across all devices and platforms."Microsoft is doing a lot of good things right now and we believe the launch of Windows 10 later this year will not only have a significant impact on Microsoft's share of the market, but on the industry as a whole," said Bouchard, Research Director, Tablets. "There is an appetite for a platform that can provide a productivity experience that remains consistent across multiple form factors and device types, and we believe Microsoft is well positioned to capture some of that demand."iPad momentum fell flat in the fourth quarter as overall tablet market growth continues to decline. iPad sales have declined for four consecutive quarters, and Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri cautioned investors during its latest earnings call that iPad sales are unlikely to see a dramatic year-over-year improvement in the near future. Nevertheless, it is rumored that Apple could have two new iPad in the works in an attempt to reinvigorate tablet sales. First and foremost, Apple is expected to release the much-rumored "iPad Pro" later this year with a larger 12.9-inch screen and faster A8X processor. Meanwhile, a questionable rumor from last week claims that the company may release an iPad mini 4 with an A8 processor and 802.11ac Wi-Fi in the near future, after some users expressed disappointment that Touch ID was virtually the only new feature on the iPad mini 3. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • 'Sid Meier's Starships' Launches Today on iPad and Steam • Popular 'Ulysses' Writing App for Mac Expands to the iPad, Gets Major Update • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
At its "Spring Forward" event on Monday, Apple announced a brand-new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pros with a fully redesigned trackpad called the Force Touch trackpad. Like on the Apple Watch, Force Touch allows the device to distinguish between a light press and a deep press, opening up new methods for interaction. For example, while a light press could be a simple click, a deep press while browsing in Safari could bring up a Wikipedia entry in a pop-up window. The Force Touch trackpad on the MacBook and new MacBook Pros achieves this through a total reinvention of the way the trackpad works. Apple ditched the "diving board" structure of older trackpads for a new design with four sensors, called Force Sensors. These Force Sensors allow the user to click anywhere on the Force Touch trackpad. The "diving board" design on previous trackpads made it difficult to click toward the top of the trackpad, forcing users to move their fingers toward the bottom of the trackpad to click. The Force Sensors are bundled together with the Taptic Engine, which is also featured in the upcoming Apple Watch. The Taptic Engine senses when a user clicks on the trackpad and issues haptic feedback to let a user know that their action was successful. As noted by TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, this is because the trackpad itself doesn't move. While the Force Touch trackpad sounds like it clicks and feels like it clicks, it doesn't actually click.There is a set of vibrating motors underneath that provides ‘force feedback’, also known as haptics in some applications. This feedback fools your finger into believing that you’ve pressed down on a hinged button, the way your current trackpad works. This feedback relies on phenomenon called lateral force fields (LFFs), which can cause humans to experience vibrations as haptic ‘textures’. This can give you the feel of a ‘clickable’ surface or even depth. The Force Touch feature of the new trackpad allows you to press ‘deeper’, giving you additional levels of tapping feedback. The effect is done so well that you actually feel like you’re pressing down deeper into a trackpad that still isn’t moving at all. It’s so good it’s eerie.While the Force Touch trackpad was a main highlight of Apple's introduction of the new MacBook, the updated 13-inch MacBook Pro is actually the first Mac to ship with the feature. iFixit has already performed a teardown of the new MacBook Pro to get a closer look at the workings of the Force Touch trackpad after removing the machine's well-glued battery. iFixit's teardown reveals the electromagnets that make up the Taptic Engine, with four separate magnets likely working together in various combinations to generate different types of vibrational feedback. Electromagnetic coils on Force Touch trackpad (Source: iFixit)The magnets rapidly push and pull against a metal rail mounted beneath the trackpad, to create a tiny "buzz" of feedback with each click (and a second buzz for a "force click.")Digging further into the trackpad, iFixit discovered what appear to be strain gauges mounted on metal supports, allowing the trackpad to sense the amount of force being applied to the surface of the trackpad. Microscope view of apparent strain gauge. Gauges are located near each of the four corners of the trackpad. (Source: iFixit The internals of the new MacBook Pro are otherwise largely unchanged from the previous generation, with only some minor tweaks in the layout of logic board components, a not unexpected development considering the update is primarily a speed bump with the new trackpad offering a nice extra feature to entice customers to upgrade. While iFixit's look at the Force Touch trackpad gives a sense of the hardware involved, software also plays an important role in the overall user experience, with the new Force Click "deep press" able to feature multiple levels of "clicks" performing varying functions in different applications. MacRumors forum member TylerWatt12 notes that in QuickTime users can push harder to access around 10 additional "click levels". In its hands-on of the new MacBook, The Verge says that this added complexity can be difficult to get used to and some users may need to meddle with Force Touch's sensitivity options to find what's most comfortable for them. Gizmodo, on the other hand, said it "loved" the new feature and that it feels like something that could make it easier to get work done because of how OS X makes smart use of the new input feature. Engadget agreed, saying Force Touch feels "very deliberate" and "controlled", and that it can't see many users "deep pressing" when they meant to "lightly press" and vice versa. While Force Touch is currently limited to the updated 13-inch MacBook Pros and the upcoming Apple Watch and MacBook, it's likely the feature will make its way across other Apple devices as well. Yesterday, a report indicated that Apple is going to add the new feature to both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus later this year. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Pad and Quill Announces 'Luxury Pocket' Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
With the Apple Watch set to launch in April, Apple has decided to stop selling many competing fitness products in its retail stores. Re/code checked several popular Apple Stores in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, and New York, and found that Apple had ceased carrying the Jawbone UP and the Nike+ Fuelband. The two fitness bands are also unavailable through the company's online store, and it appears the only remaining fitness band available for purchase is the MIO Alpha Heart Rate Monitor Watch. Apple is still selling non-wrist worn fitness tracking devices, like the Jawbone UP Move and the Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor, both online and in stores. The Jawbone UP 24 Apple began removing wrist-worn fitness tracking devices from its stores back in November, when it stopped selling Fitbit's line of activity tracking devices. Fitbit's devices, along with the Jawbone UP and the Nike+ Fuelband all offer functionality that's similar to what can be found in the Apple Watch, including the tracking of metrics like steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and stairs climbed. According to Re/code, Apple told Mio founder Liz Dickinson that her company's activity trackers would be removed from the Apple Store due to an effort to re-work branding, which may be at new retail chief Angela Ahrendts' behest."They said they brought in a new executive in the marketing area who wanted to re-work branding for the stores, and to make the Apple brand more front and center and clean up and minimize the number of accessories," Dickinson said.The Apple Watch is set to be displayed in Apple's retail stores beginning on April 10, in an effort to allow customers to try on and experience the watches ahead of their April 24 launch. Prices on the Apple Watch range from $349 to $17,000, and pre-orders will also begin on April 10. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Apple on Monday refreshed its MacBook Air lineup, adding Broadwell chips and Intel 6000 graphics. Both models received the same processor updates, but the 13-inch MacBook Air got an extra boost -- new PCIe-based flash storage that Apple says is "up to two times faster" than the flash storage used in the previous generation MacBook Air. The 11-inch MacBook Air did not receive the same flash storage update. iFixit decided to test Apple's "two times faster" claim by comparing SSD speeds between a new 11-inch MacBook Air and a new 13-inch MacBook Air, with results that suggest the SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Air is indeed nearly twice as fast as the SSD in the MacBook Air. Average write speeds for the 11-inch MacBook Air using Black Magic's Disk Speed Test were 315MB/s, while average read speeds were 668MB/s. The 13-inch MacBook Air saw average write speeds of 629.9MB/s and average read speeds of 1285.4MB/s. An iFixit teardown of the 13-inch MacBook Air conducted this morning suggests the notebook is using Samsung flash memory with a Samsung controller. A teardown of the 11-inch MacBook Air, which does not feature the faster flash storage, was equipped with SanDisk flash memory and a Marvell controller. In comparison to the Samsung flash storage used in the previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Air, iFixit said "it's definitely an update." The new 13-inch MacBook Air is available from Apple's online and retail stores with prices that start at $999. The higher-end $1,199 model can be configured with up to 512GB of flash storage. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Some of Apple's iPhones produced in 2016 will use wireless modem chips supplied by Intel rather than Qualcomm, reports VentureBeat. iPhones (presumably the iPhone 7) sold in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America will reportedly use an Intel 7360 LTE modem. Intel has been gunning hard during the past year for a place in the iPhone and now appears to have succeeded, at least partly. The 7360 chip will ship inside a special version of the iPhone that will be marketed to emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, the sources said.The 7360 LTE modem chip [PDF] from Intel features up to 450Mbps downlink and it supports 29 LTE bands. It will begin shipping out to manufacturers during the second half of 2015. Apple engineers have reportedly been traveling to Munich, Germany to collaborate with Intel engineers on the chip. Though VentureBeat suggests the Intel chips might only be used in some iPhones in emerging markets, analyst Ben Bajarin believes that Apple would make the switch universal, rather than using separate chips in different versions of the phone. Today's report is the second time we've heard inklings of an Intel-Apple modem partnership. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple's switch from Qualcomm to Intel for its baseband chips back in January. The shift from Qualcomm to Intel for even a portion of LTE chips will be a major loss for Qualcomm, as the company has supplied Apple with modem chips for many years now. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Google today launched an updated version of its Pixel Chromebook, which is equipped with USB-C, much like Apple's new Retina MacBook. With USB-C, the Chromebook's 12-hour battery can be fully recharged in approximately 90 minutes, and a 15 minute charge supplies two hours of power, according to Google. The new Chromebook Pixel features an aluminum body, a 13-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 2560 x 1700 and an aspect ratio of 3:2, an Intel Core i5 Broadwell processor, 8GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage space. Unlike the Retina MacBook, the Chromebook Pixel has multiple ports, including two USB-C ports, but it can't compare to the Retina MacBook in size -- the Pixel is more than a pound heavier at 3.3 pounds. It also outweighs the standard 13-inch MacBook Air. Early reviews from sites like Re/code and Ars Technica have lauded the Chromebook Pixel for its design and its fast charging abilities, but the $999 price point is a major downside. The Pixel line is Google's most expensive Chromebook, and at such a high price, the web-focused ChromeOS operating system seems overly limited. Other Chromebooks sell for as little as $250. Along with the $999 Chromebook Pixel, Google also has a higher-end version, which it's calling the Ludicrous Speed (LS) model. It has an Intel Core i7 Broadwell processor, 16GB of RAM, a 64GB solid state drive, and a $1,299 price tag. The two new Chromebooks can be purchased from Google's new online Google Store, which it just debuted today. The Google Store sells a range of Google-branded products, from smartphones and tablets to Chromebooks and Android Wear accessories. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
Less than twenty-four hours after Apple unveiled ResearchKit, the open source medical framework has received thousands of sign-ups, according to Bloomberg. The report claims that Stanford University researchers awoke on Tuesday morning, the day after Apple's "Spring Forward" media event, to discover that 11,000 people signed up for MyHeart Counts, a cardiovascular disease app built using ResearchKit.“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”ResearchKit is an open source software framework aimed at revolutionizing medical studies by making them more readily available to millions of iPhone users worldwide. When given permission, the framework uses the iPhone's various sensors to collect user data such as weight, blood pressure, glucose levels and asthma inhaler use, information that Apple hopes will open up new possibilities for researchers. Apple will also enable users to answer surveys and input data directly from ResearchKit apps, although researchers caution that information collected from an iPhone user may be misleading due to various potential flaws. For starters, the report claims that iPhone users are more likely to have a graduate or doctoral degree than Android users, and the demographic differences can allegedly skew the results. “Just collecting lots of information about people -- who may or may not have a particular disease, and may or may not represent the typical patient -- could just add noise and distraction,” said Lisa Schwartz, professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, in an e-mail. “Bias times a million is still bias.”Meanwhile, an iPhone user simply hitting a button by accident or giving his smartphone to someone else can also result in misleading data. Nevertheless, there are issues with data collected through traditional clinical trials as well, and ResearchKit allowing people to engage in medical research more easily is still valuable and, as Apple claims, could transform the way that medicine is approached forever. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Twelve South Announces HiRise Charging Stand for Apple Watch • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App • The Apple Watch Battery Will Be Replaceable

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posted 21 days ago on mac rumors
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record in providing information on yet-to-be released Apple products, today released a report predicting that up to three new casing options for the Apple Watch will launch sometime this fall. Kuo points out that the Apple Watch's sale momentum could stall entering the fourth quarter of the year, and thinks the release of new casing options for the device could reinvigorate it heading into the 2015 holiday shopping season. Rumors stating that Apple was looking into a platinum casing for the Watch right before the "Spring Forward" event could point toward the option becoming available down the road. Aside from current casing materials of aluminum, stainless steel and 18k gold, we believe 1-3 new versions of Apple Watch featuring new casing materials are likely to go into mass production in 4Q15. If this is the case, we think it could boost Apple Watch shipments momentum in 4Q15-1Q16. Though impressed by the "outstanding designs" of the Apple Watch and new MacBook, Kuo sees the Watch underselling the market expectation of 20-30 million units in 2015 to about 15-20 million devices sold throughout the year. The analyst sees the Watch selling between 5-6 million units in the first half of the year, and the new MacBook about 450,000 units in that same time frame. Kuo notes that as with many first-generation products, the Apple Watch will "focus on verifying whether the user behavior and business model are right", with subsequent generations honing in and expanding on the device's features and adding new ones, as well. As a result, he expects shipments to "grow significantly" in these second or third-generation Apple Watches in comparison to his predicted numbers for the first-generation model. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Apple Watch Knock-Offs Already On Sale in China • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App • The Apple Watch Battery Will Be Replaceable • Apple Issues Security Updates Fixing 'FREAK' Security Flaw

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Apple Pay support has been extended to 14 additional retailers in the United States, including Bashas', Coca-Cola Vending, Dan's Fresh Market, Dick's Fresh Market, Fuddruckers, Jamba Juice, Jersey Mike's Subs, JetBlue, Lin's Fresh Market, Maceys, Office Max, Pep Boys, Regal Cinemas and Walt Disney World, as spotted by AppleInsider. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on Monday during the company's "Spring Forward" media event that Apple Pay support will be rolling out at some 40,000 Coca-Cola vending machines across the United States, with the mobile payments service now accepted at over 700,000 locations nationwide. Apple Pay remains limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the United States, although Apple has expressed plans to launch the service in other countries. GameStop and Marriott International also announced Apple Pay support this week. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App • The Apple Watch Battery Will Be Replaceable • Apple Issues Security Updates Fixing 'FREAK' Security Flaw • Apple Watch Diagnostic Port Spotted in Apple Promo Videos

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
A number of Apple services are experiencing an extended period of downtime, including the App Store and iTunes Connect. The iOS and Mac App Stores are displaying various error messages to users about being unable to connect or certain items being unavailable, as spotted by The Next Web, and iTunes Connect and TestFlight are also down for developers. The outage is affecting a significant number of users in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, India and many other countries worldwide. The downtime appears to have been ongoing for several hours this morning, although Apple has yet to update its System Status page to reflect the downtime for the iOS App Store, Mac App Store, iTunes Connect, TestFlight or any other affected Apple services.@AppStore is the store down atm keep getting this message. Tried restarting already. pic.twitter.com/dM9qgQtgU0— Calumk (@Calumk4) March 11, 2015 This post will be updated as the status of the outage changes. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App • The Apple Watch Battery Will Be Replaceable • Apple Issues Security Updates Fixing 'FREAK' Security Flaw • Apple Watch Diagnostic Port Spotted in Apple Promo Videos

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Apple will add pressure-sensing Force Touch technology to its next-generation iPhones, reports The Wall Street Journal in an article that covers a range of new details on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Currently built into the upcoming Apple Watch and 12-inch Retina MacBook, Force Touch lets devices distinguish between a light tap and a hard press, enabling new gestures. According to the report, which is sourced from Apple suppliers, Apple's next-generation iPhones will continue to be available in 4.7 and 5.5-inch screen sizes, with plans to "keep the resolution similar." New colors are a possibility though, and Apple is said to be considering adding a pink option to its existing space gray, silver, and gold iPhone lineup. Production may begin on components for the next-generation iPhones as early as May, but The Wall Street Journal notes that Apple often tests technologies and designs with various suppliers that may not make it into finalized products. Today's report echoes several other reports that have also pointed towards Force Touch for the next-generation iPhone. Supply chain sources first hinted at Force Touch technology back in January, and those rumors seem more plausible now that the feature has been incorporated into both the Apple Watch and Apple's recently announced MacBook. Beyond the Force Touch rumors, little is known about the next-generation iPhones, which will likely be called the "iPhone 6s" and the "iPhone 6s Plus." The devices are expected to receive upgraded A9 processors and have been rumored to include features like camera upgrades, more RAM, and improved Touch ID. Apple will presumably release the new iPhones in September. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • High Apple Store Traffic Distorting Mall Rent, Lifting Mall Sales • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App • The Apple Watch Battery Will Be Replaceable • Apple Issues Security Updates Fixing 'FREAK' Security Flaw • Apple Watch Diagnostic Port Spotted in Apple Promo Videos

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
Apple's newest MacBook is one of the first computers to take advantage of the USB Type-C specification, which was finalized in August of 2014. USB-C uses a small reversible connector that's similar in size to a Lightning connector, but slightly larger. In addition to delivering power to the Apple MacBook (it's capable of delivering up to 100 watts at 20 volts), USB-C has a DisplayPort alternate mode for connecting monitors, cables, docking stations, and more, plus it supports USB 3.1 data transfers up to 10Gbps, and it also has support for VGA and HDMI connections. It's able to deliver bi-directional power, meaning it lets the MacBook be charged and through the same port, it lets the MacBook charge other devices. USB-C is an upgrade from USB-A, the standard USB ports that many of us are used to on our computers, and USB-B, which we know best as Micro-USB, the ports built into many phones and portable electronic devices. In addition to its impressive data and power transfer rates, USB-C has the benefit of being easy to plug into devices, like the Lightning cable. Apple's adoption of USB-C might seem like something of an annoyance because it requires users to buy expensive adapters and adjust to an all new connection, but it's actually a huge step forward for the company that opens up the possibility of a whole range of new Apple-compatible accessories and devices. USB-C is the first non-proprietary charging system that Apple has introduced. MacBooks use MagSafe and iOS devices use Lightning connectors, both of which were designed by Apple, giving Apple strict control over how they're used. Apple lets product developers incorporate Lightning connectors and ports through its MFi (Made for iPhone) certification program, but the company does not have a MagSafe licensing program and has not allowed hardware manufacturers to create products that use the MagSafe connection in MacBooks. This forces manufacturers who create items like MacBook backup batteries to use the actual connectors from Apple's AC adapters, grafted onto their products. Apple has not looked kindly on this practice in the past, and has levied a lawsuit against at least one company using this method to create hardware for the MacBook. With the USB-C port in the MacBook, Apple will not have control over the products that are developed for it, paving the way for a whole range of accessories that were not possible before, like backup batteries. The future of USB-C is bright, but for early adopters, the USB-C experience might be somewhat frustrating because the notebook has a single USB-C port. Apple sells adapters, but the adapters only include one USB-C port, meaning it's not going to be possible for MacBook buyers to charge their devices and use a product like LaCie's new USB-C Porsche Design Mobile Drive at the same time using a USB-C port. One of Apple's new USB-C adapters Presumably manufacturers are already at work creating hubs that will include multiple USB-C ports for use with the myriad products that are going to use the new specification, but currently, someone wanting to use a USB-C storage drive would have to decide between charging and accessing data or using the older USB-A port for data transfers. USB-C is a brand new technology, but with Apple embracing it, it won't be long before we see tons of companies racing to produce USB-C compatible products. Apple will also undoubtedly spur its competitors to adopt the standard as well. It may not be long before we're able to charge a whole range of our devices with a single cable, ending the days of having to carry around MagSafe chargers, USB cables, Micro-USB cables, Lightning cables, and more. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App • The Apple Watch Battery Will Be Replaceable • Apple Issues Security Updates Fixing 'FREAK' Security Flaw • Apple Watch Diagnostic Port Spotted in Apple Promo Videos • Apple Offering AppleCare+ With Accidental Damage Coverage on Apple Watch

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posted 22 days ago on mac rumors
United States Central Intelligence Agency researchers have been working for years to crack the security of Apple's iPhone and iPad, and may have done so through the creation of a modified version of Xcode, Apple's software development tool designed for developers. According to secret documents obtained by The Intercept, at a 2012 "Jamboree" that focused on security flaws found in various electronics, CIA researchers outlined both a hacked version of Xcode and a modified OS X updater that could be used to install malicious software like keyloggers.The modified version of Xcode, the researchers claimed, could enable spies to steal passwords and grab messages on infected devices. Researchers also claimed the modified Xcode could "force all iOS applications to send embedded data to a listening post." It remains unclear how intelligence agencies would get developers to use the poisoned version of Xcode.The malicious version of Xcode could potentially be used to extract private data from devices that installed apps built by the hacked Xcode. Some of the things researchers said could be done with Xcode included installing "remote backdoors" in Mac apps, embedding an app developer's private key into iOS applications (letting the government masquerade as the targeted developer), forcing iOS apps to send data from an iPhone or iPad to a "listening post," and disabling core security features on iOS devices. None of the documents detail how the Xcode and OS X installer exploits have been used by the CIA, and they also don't state whether the efforts have been successful, but as noted by The Intercept, they suggest that the government's efforts to crack the security technology companies employ is a continually ongoing effort. Apple and the U.S. government have been at odds over privacy and security issues in recent years. A 2013 document leak suggested that Apple and other tech companies were working with the government on a secret project called PRISM, which allegedly provided the government with direct access to customer data on company servers. Apple and multiple other technology companies like Google vehemently denied their participation in such a program and have since gone to great lengths to ensure the public that they're not involved in the government's spying attempts. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other companies banded together to ask for greater surveillance transparency and the ability to share more info on government data requests with consumers, which was ultimately successful. Apple launched a privacy site in September of 2014 outlining the privacy features of its products and services and offering detailed information on government information requests. Across 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook began putting a heavy emphasis on the importance of privacy, and with iOS 8, Apple significantly increased the encryption protection on iOS devices. Prior to iOS 8, Apple had the ability to access data on iOS devices with a company-held encryption key, and now, that no longer exists. Google has made similar changes. The FBI has strongly opposed Apple's efforts to increase the security of its iOS devices, with FBI Director James Comey insisting that government access to electronic devices is necessary in some cases. Apple has reportedly been in talks with FBI officials over its security changes, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has maintained Apple's commitment to privacy and security. At the White House Cyber Security Summit in February, Cook said customer trust means everything to Apple. "When it comes to the rights of customers and citizens, we're all talking about the same people," he said. "People have entrusted us with their most personal and precious information and we owe them nothing less than the best protections we can possibly provide by harnessing the technology at our disposal." 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. Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories • Google Launches 'Google Calendar' App for iPhone • Griffin Announces Charging 'WatchStand' for Apple Watch • LaCie Announces First USB-C External Hard Drive Supporting New MacBook • Fandango Announces Apple Watch Movie Ticket App • The Apple Watch Battery Will Be Replaceable • Apple Issues Security Updates Fixing 'FREAK' Security Flaw • Apple Watch Diagnostic Port Spotted in Apple Promo Videos • Apple Offering AppleCare+ With Accidental Damage Coverage on Apple Watch

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