Apple announces major new bond sale to finance increases in capital return program

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At its last earnings call, Apple announced that it is expanding its capital return program by more than 50%. This means the company is now looking to repurchase over $140 billion worth of shares and a larger dividend for shareholders.

To fund this activity however, it is cheaper for the company to sell domestic company debt than repatriate its ever-increasing cash hoard that is ‘trapped’ overseas. Therefore, Apple has today announced it will issue a new 7-part bond to raise the funds.

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Top 6 essential smart home accessories (Video)

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There’s no denying that connected smart home accessories are on the rise. Apple’s HomeKit is slowly making an entrance into this space, but for the moment there are a wide variety of accessories available that can make your house a lot cooler. Today we’re taking a look at some of the essential options that have been around for a little while, but are definitely must-haves if you’re into the smart home scene. These devices may not be necessary, but they make things around the house more convenient… Read more

Microsoft announces new tool for effortlessly porting iOS apps to Windows 10

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Microsoft announced today during its Build conference that it will release a tool for developers to port their iOS apps directly to Windows 10 as “universal apps” that run on both phones and desktop computers. Developers will be able to feed their existing Objective-C code into a new software package and have it converted to work on the upcoming PC operating system.

At least, that’s how Microsoft is pitching it, though the whole process is a bit more complex. Essentially Windows 10 will ship with APIs that mirror the expected behavior of many iOS APIs, and this new conversion tool will help developers swap out iOS code for matching Windows code.

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Samsung reclaims top smartphone maker title from Apple

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Strategy Analytics has a new report out that estimates that Samsung has once again become the number one smartphone manufacturer by units shipped. Although Samsung doesn’t officially report unit numbers, the analytics firm is estimating 83 million smartphones sold worldwide for the company. IDC is also reporting similar numbers.

Apple, which does report the number of iPhones it shipped, sold 61 million iPhones in the last quarter. This is a new record for Apple (which became the #1 manufacturer during the previous quarter with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) but is clearly outstripped by Samsung’s (estimated) number by about 20 million units.

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Apple Store signs around the world go green for Earth Day

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As part of Apple’s push for a greener environment, the company has changed up its physical signage outside Apple Stores around the world to celebrate Earth Day. The updated logos are mostly the same but the leaf section is tinted green. The celebration can be seen at Apple Stores worldwide.

Apple has also put the Apple logo with the green adornments in some places online, such as on its YouTube account. Apple’s homepage is currently dominated by its environmental initiatives for the occasion, with the launch of Apple Watch relegated to one of the smaller summary panels.

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Apple partners with The Conservation Fund to protect 36,000 acres of forest for sustainable product packaging

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Through a press release and a post on Medium by Apple VP Lisa Jackson, Apple and The Conservation Fund have today announced a ‘breakthrough’ arrangement for sustainability. The deal involves Apple purchasing 36,000 acres of forest land in the eastern United States.

Apple will use the paper from the forests for sustainable product packaging with guarantees to ensure that “forests stay forests” and harvested timber is done so in a sustainable way.

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Jawbone unveils Up4 fitness tracker w/ mobile payment support, budget-focused Up2

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Even though the long-delayed Up3 isn’t shipping until later this month, Jawbone this evening has taken the wraps off of two new fitness trackers, the Up4 and the Up2. The latter is a replacement for the Up24 released in 2013, while the former is a new fitness tracker by the company. The Up4 most notably adds support for on-band wireless payments from American Express. Both watches pair with your iPhone over Bluetooth.

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Apple adds new Apple Watch video guided tours for Phone, Siri, Maps & Music

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Update: Apple just uploaded the four new guided tours to its YouTube channel, as well. They are embedded below.

Apple has now updated its Apple Watch Guided Tour page with four more videos, featuring Phone Calls, Siri interactions, Maps navigation and the Music app. Apple began this series earlier in the month.

The videos demonstrate different Apple Watch features, such as taking a phone call, asking Siri for directions, getting navigation turn-by-turn directions in Maps or controlling music playback in the Music app.

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Samsung reportedly has new 200 employee team exclusively working on screens for Apple

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In a new report by Bloomberg, Samsung apparently has created an independent group of about 200 people that work solely on screens for Apple products. Bloomberg claims this is part of a plan to “strengthen business ties” between Apple and Samsung, which obviously have had a shaky history since the lawsuits over iPhone technology.

The patent disputes between Apple and Samsung were dropped in mid 2014, which led many to speculate that relations between the two companies may improve. This report by Bloomberg suggests exactly that.

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CalDigit unveils durable USB-C Tuff drive for the 12-inch MacBook, T4 nano RAID drive w/ HDMI & Thunderbolt 2

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USB-C is the sole port on Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, and CalDigit today announced a version of its durable external drive that takes advantage of the new reversible USB 3.1 port. CalDigit Tuff features a USB-C port and cable for connecting the portable drive to the Apple’s ultra-thin notebook, and an included adapter cable ensures compatibility with the USB port that you’re used to seeing on your hardware as well. Since the new MacBook’s thin and light profile intends for it to venture out of your office and into the wild, CalDigit Tuff is ruggedized to endure drops, splashes, dust and other extreme environments.

CalDigit Tuff starts at $139.99 for 1TB HDD with availability starting in July (new MacBook orders currently deliver in 4-6 weeks). A solid state drive version with up to 1TB of storage will also be available while a higher capacity 2TB HDD option will be offered. Read more

Time to sell your Android Wear: NextWorth starts wearable trade-ins as Apple Watch launches

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You don’t want to admit it, but you were talked into being an early adopter of Android Wear or Pebble before Apple Watch was even a thing. Now that Apple Watch preorders have kicked off and the Watch is almost in your hands, it’s time to unload your Android Wear watches before people catch on and resale values plummet.

Good news: NextWorth, one of the leaders in mobile device trade-ins, today announced it will begin paying out for your old Android, Samsung, and Pebble watches (and soon Apple Watches too). Read more

Apple confirms Apple Watch orders are exclusively online for the launch period, expects demand to outstrip supply

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Leaked delivery details from Apple.com indicated supply would be constrained.

Update: A reader got a reply from Apple CEO Tim Cook about the situation. See below.

Apple has today posted a press release reaffirming that Apple Watch try-on sessions and preorders start tomorrow, Friday April 10th. It also confirms that Apple Watch orders will be exclusively online for the launch period.

Angela Ahrendts says that Apple expects demand to outstrip supply at launch on the back of tremendous interest from customers viewing watches online and in the Apple Store app. As such, this has forced the company to limit orders to online only for the time being.

“We are excited to welcome customers tomorrow and introduce them to Apple Watch, our most personal device yet. Based on the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores, as well as the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. “To provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can, we will be taking orders for Apple Watch exclusively online during the initial launch period.”

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