HSBC tweets UK Apple Pay launching on Tuesday as signs start appearing at retailers

HSBC appears to have let slip the release date of Apple Pay in the UK over Twitter. In a tweet that has since been deleted, a support representative from the bank said ‘Yes! It’s due to launch this Tuesday! We are excited too’. 9to5Mac previously reported the 14th July date for the expansion of Apple Pay into the UK a couple of weeks ago.

UK retailers also seem to think that the Apple Pay launch is imminent as signs showing support for the contactless technology have started appearing across the country, as noted by 9to5Mac readers and Matt Brian on Twitter.

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Reuters: FTC investigating Apple App Store subscription rules in light of Apple Music

Freedom?

Freedom?

The US antitrust regulators are reportedly looking into Apple’s subscription service rules for the App Store are anticompetitive and illegal under US law, according to Reuters. The main issue of contention is that the standard streaming music price of $9.99 per month is not attainable for Apple Music competitors as App Store rules enforce a 30% cut of all revenues made from within apps.

This means that streaming companies either have to take on significant profit cuts to stay at the $9.99 mark or charge more in the App Store to account for the 30% margin. The argument is that consumers will not want to pay $12.99 (approximately $9.99 with a 30% increase) per month for a streaming music service when they can readily buy Apple Music for $9.99.

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iGen: iPod refresh expected early next week, iPod Touch may get a 64-bit processor

ipod

Just yesterday I was speculating about the future of the iPod, and it appears we may not have long to wait until we learn a little more about it. French site iGen, which has a good track-record, says that the iPod line-up will see a refresh on or around 14th July.

It appears to have little hard information beyond internal model numbers, but based on those speculates that the Shuffle and Nano will see only the color changes spotted in iTunes 12.2, while the Touch may receive a more substantive update …  Read more

Apple debuts “If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone” ad campaign with two TV spots

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Apple today uploaded a pair of new ads to YouTube. The first ad, entitled “Hardware & Software,” showcases the fact that Apple is responsible for both major aspects of the iPhone, making for a more seamless and stable experience. The obvious goal here is to advertise the fact that with an Android device, you get hardware made by a manufacturer and software made by Google.

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T-Mobile ‘Mobile without Borders’ adds free calls, texts, 4G LTE data for Canada and Mexico

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T-Mobile’s mission to change the entire U.S. wireless industry took another step forward this morning. In an Uncarrier Amped move dubbed ‘Mobile without Borders‘, T-Mobile announced that it will offer its American customers free telephone call roaming to and from Mexico and Canada. For the first time, it will also include free 4G LTE data. Postpaid, prepaid and business customers will be able to make use of it from Wednesday, July 15th. It’s a killer move, and effectively erases the virtual borders between the U.S. and its neighboring countries.

Unlike the current Simple Global feature, when a T-Mo subscriber crosses the Mexican or Canadian borders, they won’t be reduced down to EDGE speeds. They retain 4G LTE connectivity seamlessly, providing there is LTE coverage in that area. T-Mo partnered with carriers in those two countries to pull this move off. There’s only one small asterisk — the feature is being offered in specific cities within Canada and Mexico — as discussed below…

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New App Store price tiers let developers set very low prices for apps in emerging markets

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Apple alerted developers to some App Store price adjustments earlier in the week and the alternative price tier details have now been posted. Apple has added other alternative price tiers in the past, but what’s interesting with these changes in particular is is that they are specifically targeted at offering really low price options for apps in a select few countries.

The new tiers enable developers to set prices for their apps way below the usual $0.99 price floor in India,  Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey. (Special pricing for China has existed for some time.)

For example, using the ‘Alternative Price Tier A’ means that apps are priced at 10 Indian Rupees. This is equivalent to about 16 cents in USD. Before the addition, the lowest price developers could charge in India was 60 rupees, which is about 96 cents.

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Apple reportedly set to produce record 90 million ‘iPhone 6S’ this year with Force Touch and new color option

9to5mac_6s8

Following reports that said Apple had begun manufacturing the next-generation iPhone in late June, a new report by the Wall Street Journal is oloorroborating the story. It says that Apple is asking suppliers to produce a record number of ‘iPhone 6S’ units for the upcoming fall launch, topping 90 million units by the end of the year. Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the equivalent quarter in 2014, spurred by the success of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The report also matches previous rumors that the new iPhone will feature Force Touch, which 9to5Mac extensively covered back in May. The iPhone 6S is expected to look almost identical to the iPhone 6 with improvements focusing on the camera, new pressure sensitivity screens and internal component improvements.

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iOS 8.4 reportedly accounts for 40% of all iOS usage just one week after release

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Using data by Mixpanel, Apple Music seems to be quickly driving adoption of Apple’s latest iteration of its operating system, iOS 8.4. The chart shows that, in just one week, iOS 8.4 usage now makes up more than 40% of all iOS device usage. This is a rather staggering rate of uptake for a point-release. Clearly, the interest and advertisement around Apple Music is having an effect on update rates. Obviously, this only tracks OS adoption and says nothing about how well Apple Music itself is being received.

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What the Apple Watch Retina Display looks like when magnified to the pixel level

Bryan Jones has taken close up images of the Apple Watch screen, magnified such it is possible to discern the individual pixels and sub-pixels. The images show the arrangements of red, green and blue light that make up the images users see on the Apple Watch Retina Display.

Jones compares the screen technology with that of iPhone screens (shown below). They look quite different likely due to the fact that Apple Watch uses an AMOLED display rather than a LCD. iPhone pixels are tightly packed together with the red, green and blue aligned vertically. With the Apple Watch, the blue sub-pixels act as spacers for the stacked red and green sub-pixels. Jones also notes that the imaging specs are a lot smaller than compared with an iPhone which seems to be in aid of maximising battery life. When zoomed in to this level, it means you can see a lot more black space. Jones says this contributes to the Apple Watch’s excellent contrast ratios.

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Eddy Cue: Apple ‘working’ to bring back music Home Sharing with iOS 9

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Last week, we noted that Apple’s latest iOS 8.4 release with Apple Music removes support for the long-existing Music Home Sharing feature. This function allows an iOS device user to stream music from a computer running iTunes on their own WiFi network. Today, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services noted on Twitter that Apple is “working” to restore Home Sharing functionality in iOS 9. It is likely that Home Sharing was removed in iOS 8.4 due to changes necessary with the record labels to launch the new streaming music service. Cook previously revealed details on this week’s iOS 9 beta, streaming bit rates, and more via Twitter.

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Opinion: Will size alone be enough to sell a bigger iPad?

ipadpro-2

There isn’t any question that Apple’s working on a larger-screened iPad: early details leaked in 2013 and have been followed by dimensional drawings and prototype shells over the past year. All of the leaks suggest that the “iPad Pro” or “iPad Plus” will be nearly identical to the iPad Air 2, except with an almost 13″ screen and four (rather than two) speaker grilles. Few of the leaks have suggested major new design elements, such as an extra connector port, an integrated stand, or a stylus; no one believes Apple will even rotate the rear logo to signify a preferred horizontal orientation. In short, the “iPad Pro” will likely be a bigger-screened iPad Air, much as the iPad Air was just a bigger version of the iPad mini that preceded it.

Despite once-credible reports of an early 2015 release, the big iPad was apparently pushed back at least twice so Apple could focus on making more iPhones. Since it’s supposedly been rescheduled for a fall release, I wanted to pose a question: given what we (think we) know about it, do you believe a bigger-screened iPad without other major design changes will be compelling enough to succeed?…

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