Apple launches new service allowing local businesses to get listed on Apple Maps, solicits indoor mapping partners

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Apple has launched a new web service called Maps Connect that allows small business owners to manage their listings on Apple Maps along with a tool for setting up indoor positioning in select areas. Companies can enter their own listings and verify via a phone call or email address.

The iBeacon-powered indoor mapping tool allows businesses to setup interior views of their businesses on Apple Maps to help guide users through their venues. This tool is currently limited only to locations that meet specific criteria, such as Wi-Fi throughout the building and at least 1 million visitors per year.

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Triple-core iPad Air 2 pegged as 55% faster than any other iOS device, Retina 5K iMac top score beats low-end Pro

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Geekbench results for the iMac with Retina 5K Display have hit the web and show that when it comes to 64-bit processing, the 4.0 GHz model of the new all-in-one comes out ahead of the lowest-end (3.7 GHz) Mac Pro. Of course, the rest of the Mac Pro family handily beats the iMac in the same category.

The extra power is almost certainly dedicating to keeping things running smoothly on the impressive new 5K display.

Meanwhile, on the mobile, new benchmarks for the iPad Air 2 have revealed…

GT Advanced reaches deal to part ways w/ Apple, will sell sapphire furnaces to pay debt

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Following a report last week that Apple was seeking to keep its involvement in its sapphire supplier GT Advanced’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing secret, today Bloomberg reports that GT Advanced and Apple have reached an agreement that will allow the two companies to part ways. Lawyers for GT Advanced said the deal “will save millions of dollars and solve most issues” and be an “amicable parting of ways,” according to the report.  Read more

Apple responds to iCloud network attacks with guide on verifying browser security

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Following the recent attack by Chinese institutions on iCloud.com to attempt to steal account information, Apple has posted a new how-to article about verifying the page you visit when you type iCloud.com into your web browser is the genuine Apple site.

The page doesn’t offer a fix per se, but walks through how to check the certificates of the page in Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

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Certain card types through some banks (and all corporate cards) are not yet supported on Apple Pay

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With Apple’s launch of its new Apple Pay payments service in the US yesterday, it has now published a support document detailing supported card types from each of its initial banking partners. We already knew that MasterCard, Visa, and American Express cards would be supported initially through a growing list of banking partners, but the support document shows certain types of cards, like business and corporate cards, aren’t yet supported through some banks. Read more

Apple Pay already works abroad on supported NFC terminals w/ US-based cards

Following yesterday’s launch of Apple Pay through participating card issuers, banks and retailers in the US, some users have discovered that the payment service is also already being accepted through some retailers abroad. 9to5Mac readers report using Apple Pay loaded with a US-based credit card at retailers in Australia and Canada… Read more

“iPad has a great future,” said Cook: long-term more important than “90-day clicks”

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While yesterday’s iPad numbers don’t look great – down 12.5% year-on-year, the third successive quarter in which sales have fallen – Tim Cook remains upbeat about the product, stating that it “has a great future” and that its long-term prospects are more important than “individual 90-day clicks.”

Quartz‘s Dan Frommer pulled together some of the things Cook has to say about the device, and while you’d clearly expect Apple’s CEO to put the best possible spin on things, he makes some reasonable arguments …  Read more

AAPL out-performs most bullish analyst predictions with its record numbers

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Apple not only announced record profits for Q4 results and smashed through its own revenue guidance, but out-performed even the most bullish of analyst estimates with earnings of $42.123B. The highest analyst estimate in yesterday’s Fortune roundup was for $41.8B.

The consensus analyst expectation for earnings per share was $1.32, against the actual 20% climb to $1.42, aided by Apple’s stock buyback program, which now totals $68B of the $90B target announced by Apple …  Read more

Both MLB stadiums will accept Apple Pay at concession stands for 2014 World Series

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Forbes reports today that during the 2014 World Series (which starts tomorrow) two MLB stadiums will be accepting Apple Pay at concessions stands. Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium and San Francisco’s AT&T Park will be the first professional sports stadiums to accept Apple’s new payment process.

MLB hasn’t clarified when the rest of the league’s stadiums will begin accepting Apple Pay. The hardware has apparently only been installed at the World Series stadiums so far.

There are also plans to implement Apple Pay in the MLB At the Ballpark app to allow users to purchase tickets using Touch ID in a future update, though there’s no timeline for when that feature will be available just yet.

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Tim Cook praises Apple’s growth and new products in letter to employees

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Following today’s release of Apple’s quarterly earnings report, Tim Cook has sent a letter to employees praising the company’s growth and the dedication of Apple employees to the development of new iPhones, iPads, and Retina iMac. Cook calls the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch the “most successful” in the history of the device.

Cook also talks about the Apple Pay launch and reiterates the points made during today’s earnings call, saying that the purpose of introducing a payment system was to ensure that customers have a “simple, secure and private way to pay.” He also commends the software development teams on the consistent cross-platform experience introduced in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.

Cook closes by saying that he will be traveling to Beijing to talk to employees in a meeting that will be recorded and posted the company’s internal website. Employees from across Apple will be able to submit questions beforehand to be asked during the Q&A session.

You can read the full letter below:

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Live blog: Apple’s Q4 2014 earnings call

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As we mentioned last month, Apple is scheduled to host its quarterly conference call today to discuss its earnings report from the fourth quarter of its fiscal year: this includes 39 million iPhones, 12.3 million iPads, 2.6 million iPods, and 5.5 million Macs. Apple already reported today that it earned $42.1 billion in revenue during its Q4 period.

This will quarterly conference call with analysts and investors will include the opening weekend of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales which included a record 10 million sales including 4 million units sold during the first 24 hours of pre-orders. It will also be the first call since Apple previewed the Apple Watch to the public, shipped iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and introduced new iPads and a Retina 5K iMac, although sales for those devices are not included in the previous quarter. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple CFO Luca Maestri will also likely mention Apple Pay, the company’s mobile payment service which launched for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users earlier today.

Investors and analysts will have an opportunity to ask Tim Cook and company questions during the earnings call and we’ll be listening to bring you coverage starting at 5pm EST/ 2pm PST. Read more