November 27

AAPL: 117.81

Stock Chart

Citing a reliable source, a report from Japanese blog Macotakara claims that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone port from the upcoming iPhone 7, helping to achieve a “more than 1mm” reduction in thickness compared to the iPhone 6s. While the screen shape and radius will remain similar, the device will once again become Apple’s thinnest iPhone ever, albeit with a new restriction: headphones will only be able to connect over Lightning or Bluetooth… expand full story

Meet Apple’s largest Netflix display ever: iPad Pro. I’ve been using it for a little while now and have gathered some thoughts regarding its functionality, uses, and even the accessories like Apple Pencil and the new Smart Keyboard. Is it all worth the hype? Let’s go ahead and find out…

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As mentioned on an earlier Happy Hour podcast, I have a giant collection of iPad styluses, having tested dozens of them since the first iPad debuted in 2010. Earlier this week, my colleague Zac Hall reviewed the best (and most expensive) iPad stylus, Apple’s brand-new $99 Apple Pencil, which is hard to find in stores, and only works with the 12.9″ iPad Pro.

Since the Apple Pencil is two to six times as expensive as some other options, I wanted to spotlight its key strengths and weaknesses relative to rivals, all of which are more broadly compatible and readily available to purchase. During testing, I discovered that the Apple Pencil actually benefits from a surprising little Apple software cheat to make an ultra-fine first impression…

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If you’re wondering why Apple Pay is as yet only available for Amex cards in Australia, it’s not because Apple isn’t working hard enough to introduce it there: it’s because Australian banks are refusing to sign up for it. The opposition Labor Party spokesman on digital innovation is now suggesting that this refusal may constitute anti-competitive behavior, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Reserve Bank has been urged to examine potential anti-competitive behaviour in the emerging card-free payments market amid claims the banks have frozen out newcomer Apple Pay […]

“Australian consumers should not be denied the ability to make payment choices that are openly available to consumers globally,” Ed Husic wrote. “No doubt some will argue this move by the banks is anti-competitive – I am certainly concerned that it denies consumer access to a secure, efficient payment platform.”

As we reported back in August, one big sticking point is fees …  expand full story

November 26

AAPL: 118.03

Stock Chart

The best iPad deals (so far): Air 2 from $374 (Reg. $499), free gift card offersmore

$100 iTunes Gift Card for $80 with email delivery from PayPal (20% off), more

Apple Watch Deals: Save up to $100 at Best Buy – Sport from $299, $100 Target gift card with purchase

Apple Watch Deals: Up to $100 off + $50 gift card – Sport from $299, Stainless from $449, more

Apple 15″ Retina MacBook Pro 16GB/512GB SSD: $1,599 shipped

Continue on for more great Black Friday deals:

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The average Apple Watch owner interacts with their Watch 60-80 times a day, but most of that usage doesn’t involve anything more than looking at the watch face, checking the time and information displayed in the complications. The least common thing people do on the Watch is read emails.

These are among the findings of two very different studies noted by Fortune. Wristly’s latest update provides a whole raft of data about what people do with their watches, based on a large panel of 1450 owners, but relying on users to estimate their usage. A Stockholm University study took the exact opposite approach, studying a mere dozen owners, but analysing video from wearable cameras to measure what people actually did rather than what they reported …  expand full story

November 25

AAPL: 118.03

Stock Chart

Facebook today has unveiled its own SDK for the new Apple TV’s tvOS. In a blog post on its Developers site, Facebook says that using the Facebook SDK on tvOS will allow developers to build “immersive” social experiences on the platform including tools like login, sharing, and analytics.

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Apple Watch benefits from deeper blacks and greater energy efficiency thanks to OLED technology

Apple is expected to begin shifting iPhones from LCD displays to improved OLED screens starting in 2018, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Currently the display technology is only used by Apple to produce Apple Watch displays while iPhones and iPads use older LCD technology. OLED benefits from greater contrast levels and much deeper blacks as the display only illuminates to present color. This offers energy efficiency that leads to improved battery life compared lighting up the entire display each time. expand full story

This week, we’re discussing all things Apple Pencil. Should you buy one? Who is it for? Today, we’ll get to the bottom of Apple Pencil along with our impressions and opinions. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

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Just one day before Thanksgiving in the US and a month before Christmas, Apple has shared its annual holiday ad on YouTube.

From our family to yours, Andra Day and Stevie Wonder perform his 1967 holiday classic, “Someday At Christmas.

The video spans about a minute and a half, featuring legendary artist Stevie Wonder (a known Apple fan) performing with Andra Day, with various Apple products including MacBooks running GarageBand and Apple Watches in view. At the start of the video, Wonder, who has been blind since shortly after birth, uses OS X’s built-in VoiceOver accessibility features to mix a song in the audio editing software that comes with each Mac. The holiday ad wraps with a “Love, Apple” sign off. Check it out below: expand full story

Following Monday’s report that Apple is planning to launch Apple Pay in China in February of next year, Bloomberg reports that it has reached a preliminary agreement with UnionPay to use its card-processing terminals. The agreement was an essential step along the way as UnionPay has a monopoly on card-processing in China.

The agreement is provisional, as it still requires the individual banks to agree. They have reportedly been reluctant to agree to the 0.15% cut Apple takes of each transaction. Given the transaction volumes involved, that soon adds up to a significant chunk of the tiny percentage banks charge retailers.

That isn’t the only hurdle Apple needs to overcome …  expand full story

Not too long after the first rumors surfaced, Apple has given its usual non-confirmation that it has acquired Faceshift, the company behind the technology Star Wars used to animate the faces of CGI characters. It’s not an obvious fit for Apple, so what could be the thinking behind the purchase?

Like Apple’s patents, it is sometimes easy, I think, to read too much into some of the company’s acquisitions. Sure, it doesn’t go around acquiring companies randomly, but it may not always be after the complete package. It may well be that there is some small element of the company’s technology that Apple wants, or it may be an acquihire – where it’s the engineers rather than the specific tech the company wants.

But in this particular case, there is reason to suspect that Apple does have an interest in the broad brush-strokes of what Faceshift does …  expand full story


November 24

AAPL: 118.88

Stock Chart

Some people are reportedly stealing the Apple Pencil accessory that launched alongside the iPad Pro, according to various reports across the web.

The Pencil is a $99 (£79) stylus accessory that can be used to draw on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Apple has been heavily criticised for its lack of stock, with shipping times slipping to 4 or 5 weeks in both the UK and US.

In order to successfully demo the Pencil, the unit has to be un-tethered. Anyone could pick it up and, as some people have done, steal it.

Faisal Qureshi tweeted at influential Apple blogger Marco Arment detailing a theft he witnessed.

Feature Request is a new regular 9to5Mac series where authors offer their opinion on how to improve popular hardware or software products.

Before Apple even announced the oft-rumored iPad Pro, it unveiled a new version of iPad software, iOS 9, that included several new features that seemed perfect for a device with a larger screen. Sure enough, those features foreshadowed the launch of the larger, 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Zac did an excellent job last week of highlighting some of these enhancement that are great on the larger-screened device.

As Zac noted, iOS 9 includes a handful of really nice optimizations for iPad Pro. These include things such as Picture in Picture support for video and FaceTime calls, Split View and Slide Over multitasking, an enhanced keyboard, and more. While these features truly shine and highlight how much potential the iPad Pro has for professional use, I still feel like there’s a lot more Apple can do to take advantage of the larger 12.9-inch Retina display…

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Aside from its larger 12.9-inch display and faster A9X processor, the iPad Pro stands out from all other iPads to date thanks primarily to a new accessory: the Apple Pencil. For now, the Apple Pencil can only be used with the iPad Pro, and offers quantifiable differences in both good and bad ways compared with third-party styluses that have previously been sold for iPads.

While Pencil is not required to use the iPad Pro, it’s especially interesting because it’s Apple’s first official solution for handwriting, drawing, and precision input on iPads beyond finger touches and gestures. By contrast, Apple’s Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro is the company’s second or third typing solution for iPads; the company offered an official solution for physical keyboard input on iPads way back when the original iPad launched in 2010 with the short-lived Keyboard Dock, and has sold Wireless/Magic Keyboards as well. What does Apple’s first digital stylus bring to the iPad? Read on…

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