Apple starts using China Telecom’s data centers to store iCloud data for China users, rather than US locations

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Update: Apple confirmed the use of China Telecom servers in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

But the company said Friday in a statement to The Wall Street Journal that all data stored is encrypted, meaning China Telecom won’t have access to its content.

“Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously. We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland China,” it said.

Apple has begun using Chinese data centers to store iCloud data for local Apple customers, the first time Apple has used mainland China for iCloud account and information storage. On a municipal government website, Fuzhuo City Telecom said that ‘Apple China has completed the iCloud data dump into China Telecom’s cloud services’. The post has since been taken down from the government site, however.

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Apple bans potentially dangerous chemicals from iPhone and iPad assembly process (Update: Apple statement)

Photo: Sunday Mirror

Photo: Sunday Mirror

Five months after Chinese and American labor watchdog groups petitioned Apple to investigate the use of potentially hazardous materials in its iPhone and iPad assembly process, the company has announced that it will make changes banning the use of at least two chemicals, the Associated Press reported today. The chemicals in question are benzene and n-hexane, which are tied to lukemia and nerve damage, respectively.

After conducting a four-month study, Apple says it determined that there was no evidence to suggest that these chemicals posed a threat to workers assembling its devices in twenty-two factories, but announced that it would take steps to ensure that it would not become a problem in the future. To that end, both benzene and n-hexane have been banned from the assembly line.

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Close-up photos appear to show iPhone 6 display panel w/ tapered edges, power button, & mute toggle

We’re now less than a month away from the anticipated iPhone event in September meaning it’s prime season for parts from the next generation iPhone to surface. New high resolution photos shared today by Feld & Volk (via MR) clearly show another look at what claims to be the front panel for the iPhone 6. Specifically, the up-close shots focus on the tapered edges of the display panel aligning with existing information showing a more rounded design on the next generation iPhone. In addition to the high resolution photos of the various views of the apparent iPhone 6 front panel, the new photos also include close-up shots of the iPhone 6 power button and mute toggle as well… Read more

Amazon takes on Square and PayPal Here with $10 iPhone/iPad cardreader & lower fees

Small businesses looking to take occasional card payments without paying monthly fees now have a third option as Amazon has launched Local Register to compete with Square and PayPal Here – as we predicted last month. The $10 card-reader is compatible with any iPhone from the iPhone 4 onward, as well as any iPad or iPad mini.

Amazon is undercutting both competitor services with a flat fee of 2.5 percent per transaction (vs 2.7 percent for PayPal Here and 2.75 percent for Square). Not enough? Amazon is sweetening the deal with a special introductory rate of 1.75 percent until the end of 2015, and will also credit the $10 cost of the cardreader in full against transaction fees …  Read more

Verizon announces plans to launch VoLTE service in Q4 2014, will still release CDMA-capable phones until 2016

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Verizon Wireless has announced its plans to launch support for Voice over LTE service (or VoLTE) on its cellular network later this year, according to FierceWireless. However, the company says it has moved back its plan to release a VoLTE-only phone until 2016, and will continue releasing CDMA-capable phones until that time. Such a device was originally anticipated for the end of 2014.

The carrier originally announced earlier this year that it would support the new voice service, which provides higher-quality phone calls by utilizing high-speed data connections, but declined at the time to say exactly when it would happen. Other U.S. carriers, including T-Mobile and AT&T, have already started rolling the technology out in select markets.

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Apple Stores to start offering iPhones via carrier financing on Aug. 20th

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A significant number of Apple Stores in the United States will likely begin offering iPhone sales via the latest carrier financing programs later this month, according to several sources. We previously detailed that Apple Stores will soon offer iPhones on AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, and the T-Mobile Jump plans, and now we’ve learned some new information on the matter. We’re told that Apple is tentatively planning to begin rolling out the programs on Wednesday, August 20th as a pilot.

Of course, this could slip back a few days as this new program’s existence has not even been officially confirmed by Apple.  We’ve also been sent a couple of slides from internal Apple employee training materials showcasing what exact plans will be offered. The slide above details the differences between the plans, and the photo below compares the perks of each program. Also, it does not appear that Sprint’s latest financing offerings will be in the mix for Apple Stores anytime in the near future. Will you buy your iPhone 6 at the Apple Store via carrier financing? Tim Cook certainly thinks you should.

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Apple prominently advertising Beats Music to new iOS device users

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Apple has prominently featured its own suite of free apps when iOS users first open the App Store, such as its iLife and iWork apps, for a while. Now that Beats Music and Beats Electronics are officially part of the family, the Beats Music app is now appearing on this ‘Apple Apps’ list as well. Beats Music is currently the last entry in the list, described as a way to ‘listen to music that’s always right for you’.

Tapping ‘Download All’ will install Beats Music alongside Apple’s other apps. Naturally, one way for Apple to significantly increase adoption of the service is to advertise it to every new iOS user.

The view will show up for new iOS devices or by performing a clean restore to a version of iOS 7, on both iPhone and iPad.

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iOS holds two-thirds of enterprise market, but drops five points to Android

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The latest enterprise market share data from Good Technology shows that iOS holds two-thirds of the market, at 67 percent, but has dropped five points to Android – which increased its share to 32 percent. Windows Phone remains flat (and irrelevant) at just 1 percent. (BlackBerry data is not included as the company uses its own servers and activations are invisible to Good Technology.)  Read more

Alleged iPhone 6 backplate appears in new, high-resolution leaked photos

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New photos of the iPhone 6 surfaced tonight from Sonny Dickson that appear to show the backplate of the upcoming iPhone 6.  Dickson says that these photos were obtained from a source with access to the part, and they do appear to be legitimate.

The first photo, seen above, shows a close-up view of the cutouts for the camera (which appears to be raised), circular True Tone flash, rear microphone, and Apple logo. While it’s entirely possible that these photos are faked, the level of visible detail would make this quite the con job if that turned out to be the case (see the scuffs, scratches, dents, and texture).

Of course, we’ve seen fake wear on iPhone photos before, including the last batch leaked by Sonny, which featured fake fingerprint smudges across the screen.

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Microsoft no longer dissing the iPad in Surface ads, now dissing the MacBook Air

Oh dear. Just when we thought Microsoft might have gotten over its misleading Surface tablet ads attacking the iPad (and iPad mini), it has run three new ones, each attacking the MacBook Air (the other two are shown below the fold).

Microsoft’s decision to go on the offensive is perhaps understandable: while Apple can run a MacBook Air ad simply observing that it’s “the notebook people love,” poor sales of the Surface despite high marketing costs have so far resulted in Microsoft losing $1.7B on the device …  Read more

Apple says it has created or supported 629,000 jobs in Europe, including 500k from the ‘app economy’

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Apple is today touting a lot of new stats regarding Apple’s contribution to European economies. The company has done similar things for the United States, in the past. For Europe, Apple claims to have created or supported 629,000 jobs across Europe, with over 500,000 of those representing the ‘app economy’. Apple says this number is made up of employees whose jobs can be directly attributed to the App Store. Out of $20 billion in worldwide developer earnings, $6.5 billion has gone to European developers.

In 2014, Apple estimates the ‘app economy’ will add $86 billion to worldwide GDP this year. Aside from the App Store, Apple employees 16,000 Europeans directly and indirectly supports a total of 132,000 jobs elsewhere. The company has also calculated that 116,000 European jobs have been created at other companies as a result of Apple’s growth.

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