Apple Stores unify employee shirts as major customer service enhancements planned

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Apple is taking a small-step to unifying the attire of its U.S.-based Apple Store employees this upcoming week: the black shirts worn by Apple Store Business Team members for several years will be going into retirement, and all Apple Store employees will begin wearing the same, classic blue t-shirts as normally seen on the store sales floors. Is this a move from the handbook of Angela Ahrendts’ fashion background? Probably not. Sources say that the move happened in Europe a few months ago and the change-up is simply to unify the Apple Store teams as one. The business team will continue to exist in its current form (for now), so this is mostly just a visual change.

In other news, multiple sources also say that Apple is planning some significant operational changes within its stores to improve customer experience…

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NFC rumored for next iPhone for fourth year in a row, this time based on leaked circuit board

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A new iPhone is shipping in a few months, so that naturally means that there is talk of the new Apple device including NFC capabilities. This time, the claims come via website NoWhereElse.fr, which claims that the above printed circuit board is a legitimate iPhone 6 part that includes an NFC chip and an 802.11ac WiFi card among the usual other components. Why would Apple include NFC, an old technology far inferior to Bluetooth Low Energy? I’m not sure, so don’t count on it happening. You can see from the image above that the iPhone 6 part is quite similar to the current iPhone’s variant, and today’s leak does not tell us much more about what we already know is coming: a thinner, lighter device, with a larger and higher-resolution display, new sensors, and a faster processor. We’ve reported that at least the upcoming 4.7-inch model will take its bow in mid-September, while the 5.5-inch version is shipping later.

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Apple acquired BookLamp startup for $10-15 million earlier this year (Update: confirmed)

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Apple acquired a company called BookLamp earlier this year for somewhere between $10-15 million, according to information uncovered by TechCrunch.

The Idaho-based startup created what was referred to as “Pandora for books,” including a system known as the Book Genome Project that could recommend books based on analysis of the text and previous ratings of other books by users (very similar to Pandora’s Music Genome Project, which does the same thing for musical analysis).

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Bose files lawsuit against Beats Electronics over noise-cancelling technology patent

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Update: Statement from Bose regarding the complaint below the fold…

Bose has filed a legal complaint against Beats Electronics over the use of noise-cancelling technology used in their headphones, according to CNBC. Apple, of course, announced earlier this year plans to acquire the headphones maker in a $3 billion deal, which it expects to gain regulatory approval for by the end of September.

Re/code reports that Bose has filed a request with the International Trade Commission to ban the sale and import of certain Beats products. The following patents owned by Bose appear to be relevant in the complaint: Read more

iOS 8’s iPhoto to Photos app transition to ditch Journals, Books, and Slideshows

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Starting in iOS 8 beta 4, which was released this past Monday to developers, Apple has begun notifying users of the soon-to-be-defunct iPhoto for iOS to migrate their iPhoto data to the totally revamped Photos app in iOS 8, as part of Apple’s new photo strategy being rolled out this fall and early next year. While photo data can be migrated out of iPhoto, Apple warns that Journals, Slideshows and Book layouts will no longer be available going forward. Right now, Apple’s “Learn More” link appears to be dead.

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Review: BACtrack Vio keyfob-sized Bluetooth breathalyzer

People don’t always appreciate the degree of dedication and devotion to duty that can be required to carry out a review. In order to test the BACtrack Vio keyfob breathalyzer, I was forced to drink wine on a number of different occasions, the most recent of which – last night – a friend and I decided that a second bottle would be needed in order to meet 9to5Mac standards of thoroughness …  Read more