Apple’s design team headed to Paris Fashion Week, likely for Apple Watch event

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Is that Jony Ive and Marc Newson at the top right?

Update: Both relevant photos have since been removed from Instagram.

Following a report earlier today that Apple and French fashion retailer Colette were teasing a one day in-store experience, there’s now more evidence the collaboration might be for Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch. It appears that Apple’s design team could also be headed to the event or at least to the same city, lending more weight to the idea that Apple Watch is about to get some stage time during Paris Fashion Week. Read more

Apple developing iOS 8.1, 8.2, & 8.3 in shift for 2015 launches

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Starting with iOS 5 in 2011, Apple has released a major new iOS version each fall and a notable follow-up update early in the following year. For example, iOS 6 launched in September 2012 and was updated to iOS 6.1 in January, and iOS 7, which was launched in September 2013, was updated to iOS 7.1 with CarPlay and interface improvements in March 2014. But starting with the recently released iOS 8, it appears that Apple has a different development schedule for 2015 and perhaps beyond. According to sources, Apple is already hard at work on three major follow-up versions to iOS 8: iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3.

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We’ve confirmed that these major new versions are in development via two means. First, a developer of a major hardware-connected iOS application has shared with us their analytics, and this data indicates that all three versions are in testing by Apple employees in or around Cupertino, California. Second, and much closer to home, our own Google Analytics for 9to5Mac.com show that iOS users are visiting our website via iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, and iOS 8.3 devices. iOS 8.1 hits to 9to5Mac.com started appearing even months before iOS 8.0 launched, but 8.2 and 8.3 visits only started picking up following iOS 8’s release in mid-September.

8.3 9to5iOS 8.3 visits to 9to5Mac

While Apple works on several iOS features and enhancements over the course of several years, it typically only begins wholly testing major new releases close to the ship dates of the preceding release. Apple working on three significant follow-ups to iOS 8 is a shift from the usual development cycle, one which would normally indicate Apple to be working on just iOS 8.1 as well as iOS 9.0. It’s possible that iOS 9 is also in the works, and of course Apple is always working on nominal bug fix (x.x.1 or .2 or .3) updates, but the fact that 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 are all in simultaneous development raises some interesting possibilities:

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UK carrier O2 launches direct carrier billing for iTunes credit (Pay & Go too)

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As part of its Charge to Mobile carrier billing service, UK carrier O2 just let us know that it will now allow customers to purchase iTunes credit using the same method. That means customers of the carrier can now purchase iTunes codes charged directly to their wireless service bill that can be used to purchase apps, music and other iTunes and App Store content. Read more

Retina iMacs with OS X Yosemite in late testing within Apple, could launch soon

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A new line of iMacs with ultra high-resolution Retina Displays is in late testing stages within Apple, according to our sources who have used the future desktop computer. While the machine will sport a thin profile similar to that of the current design, which was introduced in 2012, it will be packed with new internals such as faster processors and improved WiFi antennas. The fact that the iMac is in late testing indicates that Apple could be preparing to launch it alongside OS X Yosemite this fall…

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Microsoft confirms it’s opening its “first flagship store” a few blocks from Apple’s iconic cube as Steve Jobs backstory revealed

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Microsoft has confirmed its rumored plan to open what it describes as its “first flagship store” on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, a few blocks away from Apple’s glass-cubed flagship store, reports the WSJ.

“As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience,” said David Porter, corporate vice president for Microsoft retail stores. “This is a goal we’ve had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.”

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European Commision to accuse Ireland of giving illegal state aid to Apple, fines could be €Billions

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It looks like this week’s Apple “xxx-gate” is a big one with the Financial Times reporting that the European Commision is about to come down hard on Apple for its long held tax avoidance strategies in Ireland.

Typically the EU has used its state aid powers to address broader competition issues. But in the past year Brussels has attempted to target the tax affairs of companies such as Apple, Starbucks and Amazon. It is a novel application of the law with far-reaching implications, not just for the companies, or EU countries, but for EU-US relations in general.

This week the European Commission will publish the first findings in the Apple case. The details – including evidence from bygone tax negotiations – are likely to be explosive.

The US is no happier with Apple’s use of specially created Irish tax loopholes which allow it to avoid paying taxes it would otherwise be due. Apple CEO Tim Cook and other execs faced Senate Subcommittee questioning in May in which focused on Apple’s tax avoidance schemes.

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Did Apple apply pressure to Irish authorities in 1991 and again in 2007 when negotiating tax deals and if so were these illegal competitive measures that gave Apple advantages over competitors? Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, of course denies any wrongdoing… Read more

Apple seemingly preparing for China iPhone 6 launch on October 10th

A supposed screenshot of a notice (via TechWeb) sent to Apple retail employees suggests that Apple is readying a China iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus) launch for October 10th. As stated on the Chinese site (translated):

It is important that the person broke new iPhone prototype store shelves will be put on Oct. 7, and should be officially on sale in October 10. A few days ago the Ministry of Industry Minister Miao Wei once said in an interview, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has entered the final stage of the audit, which means the phones will soon be landing in mainland China.

This is shortly after China’s national week-long holiday. Independently, the Chinese press have also reported the same October 10th date for the iPhone 6 debut. Last week, regulators stated that the phone was nearing final approval, causing black market iPhone 6 prices to plummet.

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‘Apps for Health’ section hits App Store following Apple’s release of Healthkit enabled iOS 8.0.2

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Now that Apple is 8.0.2 rolled out and we’re all relatively stable with a Healthkit-enabled OS, Apple is giving us a new section of the App Store for health-related apps. 

Experience an entirely new approach to wellness where your fitness app can talk to your calorie tracker, your doctor can be automatically notified of updates to your health data, and great apps work together for a healthier you. This handpicked collection highlights the best fitness, nutrition, and medical apps customized for iOS 8.

Red prices on pink background?  They must have moved that Maps launch and iOS 8.0.1 guy over to design.  Read more

Should you update your iPhone 4S to iOS 8? This video shows what you are in for

A few weeks ago we warned that iOS might be a little rough for iPhone 4S owners. Apple’s trailing edge iPhones always hobble a bit on the latest iOS release and test results on iOS 8 showed significant lag.

However, the video above sent in by a tipster shows that in everyday usage, the lag isn’t so bad when going from iOS 7.1.2 to 8.0.2 (most pronounced in App Store). Perhaps that point update released this week, besides fixing bugs, also included optimizations for the older phones.

FBI director says officials have been in talks with Apple, Google over device encryption policies

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Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey expressed his concern today over Apple and Google’s decision to encrypt information stored on smartphones, the Huffington Post reports, adding that FBI officials are pushing both companies to change their policies in order to allow law enforcement officials to access data in certain instances.

“I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

In the case of the iPhone maker, Apple CEO Tim Cook used the company’s privacy stance as a major marketing point on a number of occasions over the past month. Read more

Apple posts job for Product Design Structural Analysis engineer to make sure your next iPhone doesn’t bend

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At Apple’s Reliability Testing Lab the iPhone’s Multi‑Touch display is twisted and bowed.

With the iPhone 6 bending controversy heating up and Apple PR masterfully debunking the non-issue earlier today, it should come as no surprise that Apple does a lot of durability testing on its new devices before shipping. However, the team responsible for that testing– Apple’s Product Design Structural Analysis team for iPhone and iPod– needs some help. Read more

Apple responds to iPhone 6 Bendgate controversy, says only 9 customers have complained

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Apple has officially issued a statement regarding the iPhone 6 bending controversy saying the issue is rare during real world use and that it’s only received complaints from 9 customers (via CNBC). Apple adds, according to the reports, that the “new iPhones feature steel/titanium inserts to reinforce stress locations and use the strongest glass in the industry.” Apple also commented that bending is “extremely rare” during normal use and that it performs a number of strength and durability tests (as you’d expect) before it ships new devices (via WSJ):

Since going on sale Friday, Apple said only nine customers have contacted the company about a bent iPhone 6 Plus—the larger and more expensive of its two new iPhones. Apple said both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus passed a series of tests meant to check the products’ strength and durability to withstand every day, real-life use.

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