UK Apple Pay now available for HSBC and First Direct customers

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Following the launch of Apple Pay in the UK two weeks ago, Apple is continuing the rollout with the addition of two major banks, HSBC and First Direct. Customers who have credit cards or debit cards with those banks can start using Apple Pay now. As with other UK Apple Pay transactions, there is a £20 transaction limit at most retailers apart from those with upgraded payment terminals that support higher-value contactless purchases. The £20 limit is getting raised to £30 in September.

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Chinese factory that produced 41,000 counterfeit iPhones shut down after some made it to the U.S.

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Beijing police have raided and closed down a factory which employed hundreds of workers on six production lines to make more than 41,000 counterfeit iPhones – some of which made it to the United States, reports Reuters. The total value of the fake phones was estimated at 120M Yuan ($19M). While the raid took place in May, Chinese authorities only shared details yesterday.

Police arrested nine people, including a married couple who led the operation, after a raid in May on the factory, run under the guise of a gadget maintenance shop on the northern outskirts of the Chinese capital.

The investigation was prompted by a tip-off from U.S. authorities after some of the fake phones made it to the USA …  Read more

Apple debuts new web campaign to accompany ‘If it’s not an iPhone’ ads

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Following up on its newest TV ad campaign, “If it’s not an iPhone,” Apple has launched a new web page dedicated to explaining what sets its smartphone apart from the competition. The page is titled “Why there’s nothing quite like iPhone,” and breaks down many key features, like iMessages, the camera, and the built-in security features.

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IDC: Apple snatches 3% of smartphone users from Samsung

Worldwide Smartphone Market Posts 11.6% Year-Over-Year Growth in Q2 2015, the Second Highest Shipment Total for a Single Quarter, According to IDC - prUS25804315 2015-07-23 11-00-04

IDC has just released its smartphone market share data for Q2 2015, and at least one thing is clear: Samsung is still struggling, and Apple is still doing really well. The Korean company’s smartphone market share dropped from 24.8% to 21.7% year-over-year, a 3.1 percentage point drop. Conveniently, while other manufacturers made gains as well, Apple’s numbers are up about the same number — 2.4 percentage points year-over-year to 14.1%… Read more

Apple’s 2015 Back to School deal: free Beats Solo2 headphones with Mac purchase

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Apple is today launching its Back to School promotion for 2015. This year, it will give away a free pair of Beats Solo2 headphones with the purchase of an eligible Mac.  Customers must either purchase an iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Pro with education pricing to qualify, including build-to-order configurations. The Mac mini does not participate in the deal.

Alternatively, customers can upgrade for an additional $100 to a pair of wireless Beats Solo2 headphones, rather than the usual $299 price. The announcement is not yet being advertised on Apple.com apart from a small mention on its rebates page. It is surprising that there appears to be no Back to School promotion for iPads this year, despite Apple pushing the tablet into education markets.

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Apple + IBM unveil 10 new MobileFirst enterprise apps for iPhone, iPad, & Apple Watch

IBM MobileFirst for iOS iPad

Apple and IBM today unveiled 10 new enterprise apps across several industries including tools for government inspectors, business travelers and managers, and field service professionals for the first time. The latest apps bring the number of iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch apps built for the enterprise under Apple’s IBM MobileFirst for iOS partnership to 32 in total. Here are the new apps joining the list today: Read more

Fortune: AAPL earnings likely to beat analyst expectations for 9th straight quarter

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With Apple due to report its fiscal Q3 (calendar Q2) earnings later todayFortune notes that the company has beaten Wall Street expectations for eight straight quarters – and strong iPhone sales mean that today’s earnings report is likely to make it nine.

iPhone sales typically drop in June as consumers hear more rumors about the next model and many decide to wait. But with Q3 sales estimated at close to 50M phones, representing a massive 40% year-on-year increase, that would put Apple’s revenue well in excess of the company’s own guidance of $47B and above the Wall Street consensus estimate of $49.5B …  Read more

Report: 82% of mobile podcast listening happens on iPhone, mostly using Apple’s Podcasts app

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A report from Clammr collected data on podcast listening habits shows that iOS dominates Android on mobile usage. Despite Android having a larger install base of smartphone devices than iOS, the iPhone is responsible for the vast majority of podcast listening. According to the study, 82% of smartphone podcasting listening takes place on an iPhone with the iTunes Store podcast directory being a significant reason for uptake.

In addition, despite the vast array of third-party podcast apps available for the iPhone, the report says that over three-quarters of users listen to podcasts on the iPhone with Apple’s built-in native Podcasts app.

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Apple debuts new “If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone” ad showcasing the App Store

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Apple, just a week and a half after initially introducing its new ad campaign, has today shared another new iPhone ad. The video advertisement is part of the “If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone” campaign and focuses on the App Store that comes along with owning an iPhone. In the ad, Apple touts that there are more than 1.5 million apps available for iPhone, all of which are “hand-picked, awe-inspiring, and just plain surprising.”

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KGI expects new gold colors for Apple Watch Sport to match iPhone 6s, thinner and lighter iPad mini coming this fall

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A new report out from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo includes some interesting details about Apple’s planned fall product releases. Firstly, Kuo expects iPhone shipments to fall in the current quarter as anticipation builds for the new iPhone dubbed the ‘iPhone 6s’, although apparently ‘Force Touch yields are low’ which may constrict availability at the beginning. For Apple Watch, following a report earlier in the year to expect new materials for Apple Watch casings, Kuo claims Apple will launch new Apple Watch Sport color options to match the new iPhone.

This includes anodizing aluminum in either yellow gold or rose gold to match the gold options on the iPhone 6s and create a faux-Edition Sport model. Third-party coating services already exist for the Apple Watch (pictured above), but Apple’s additions would seemingly be for the aluminum, not steel models.  KGI believes Apple shipped a “tepid” 3.9 million Apple Watch units to date.

There is also news of a new iPad mini covered in KGI’s report, as well as sales estimates for all of Apple’s products ahead of the earnings calls on Tuesday.

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