‘iPad Air 2′ and ‘iPad mini 3′ with Touch ID & Burst Mode confirmed, show up early in iTunes

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Apple’s iTunes Store has just made a little bit of a slip-up (and with perfect uncanny timing): screenshots for the iOS 8.1 iPad user guide have just appeared within iBooks and include Apple’s upcoming iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. Of course, Apple will be formally debuting these devices tomorrow.

The screenshots confirm that both new tablets will include nearly identical designs to their predecessors and the addition of Touch ID sensors in the Home button. Another new feature confirmed by this leak is a new Burst Mode (first introduced with the iPhone 5s) for the iPad Air 2 (image below).

These images also indicate that the new tablets will be named “iPad Air 2″ and “iPad mini 3,” which means that Apple will bringing the numbering scheme for names back to the iPad lineup. Of course, the presence of this user guide means iOS 8.1 (with Apple Pay) is likely to drop tomorrow, too.

Besides the tweaked designs and Touch ID sensors, a gold color option, and a stronger A8X processor, improved camera optics, and new software can be expected at least on the new Air. Apple will also discuss the Mac line tomorrow, including the new iMac with Retina display and OS X Yosemite.

Boom?

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Google announces Nexus 9 tablet, Nexus 6 phone and Player TV/Gaming on the eve of Apple’s iPad event

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One day before Apple’s big iPad event tomorrow, Google has just unveiled its latest Nexus devices alongside official announcements for Android 5.0 Lollipop and more. With Apple expected to launch new iPad Air and possibly iPad mini models tomorrow, Google today announced the Nexus 9, an 8.9-inch HTC-made tablet with brushed metal bezels and a gold (Best!, duh) color option not unlike that expected for the new iPad Air tomorrow. The tablet also features a keyboard folio that attaches magnetically to the device. But iPad’s not the only Apple device the Mountain View company is targeting… Read more

Apple reportedly dropping Fitbit wearables from its retail stores

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According to Re/code, Apple may soon drop the Fitbit health tracking devices from its retail stores. The report lacked a specific reason for Apple planning to no longer carry Fitbit bands but noted Fitbit’s lack of support for HealthKit on iOS 8 so far as well as Apple’s own fitness tracking device plans with the release of the Apple Watch in 2015.

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HBO’s upcoming web-only subscription could unlock the full potential for Apple TV

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HBO CEO Richard Plepler shared today that the premium satellite and cable network will begin offering a web-only package sometime in 2015 as it attempts to gain new paid subscribers. A web-only offering for HBO (and other popular networks) is something cable cutters have wanted for years although many argued that the economics of the cable industry wouldn’t make the option feasible for the networks.

Plepler, though, cited “the current ten million broadband-only homes” before announcing that HBO will launch “a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service” next year. Could a version of HBO unbundled from cable providers mean that Apple TV may also become less restrained by required cable subscriptions?

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Morgan Stanley adds AAPL to Best Ideas list for investors, citing high iPhone 6/Plus margins

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Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty has added AAPL to its Best Ideas list of investments, saying that increased margins from iPhone 6 sales see the stock “set for significant upside.”

While Credit Suisse had earlier suggested that margins on the iPhone 6 would be lower than that of the iPhone 5s and 5c, Huberty says that numerous sources are suggesting that more people this time are opting for the middle storage tier, thus pushing up both average selling price and margins …  Read more

Digitimes still thinks the Retina MacBook Air is coming tomorrow, says Apple logos going 3D

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Digitimes still seems to think the long-rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook Air is going to be announced tomorrow, claiming that shipments have already begun.

Shipments of a new MacBook Air model, reportedly equipped with a 12-inch Retina screen, have begun in small volumes and large-volume shipments will begin in November, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

The claim seems highly unlikely given that just two days ago Re/code cited Apple sources as specifically stating that, while the product was in the pipeline, it would not be shown at tomorrow’s event …  Read more

As promised, Angry Birds Transformers hits USA and rest of the world today

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Rovio’s latest game in the Angry Birds series, Angry Birds Transformers, has rolled out worldwide today after its earlier soft-launch last month in New Zealand, Finland, Canada and Australia.

Angry Birds and Transformers collide in this action-packed, 3D shoot ‘em up adventure! The EggSpark has transformed the eggs into crazed robots who are destroying Piggy Island, but who can stop them?! Autobirds, roll out! 

Gamers have been waiting for quite some time as the Transformers mash-up game was first announced back in June …

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KGI: 27″ Retina iMac ready to roll, 21″ next year, iPad Air 2 supply constrained, iPad minis to see minimal updates

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KGI has published a new research note indicating that the 27″ model of the new “Retina” iMac will begin shipping before the end of this year. However, according to the note, a 21-inch version which is currently in development will not be released until the beginning of 2015, probably alongside other products “early 2015″ like the Apple Watch and Photos for Mac.

With regards to the iPad Air 2, KGI says that constrained supplies are likely, with a possible initial shipment of only 7-9 million. Compare that to the original iPad Air, which kicked of sales with 12 million units. The iPad mini will be updated, but the changes will be more conservative than those coming to the Air. A 12.9″ iPad is also said to be in development, though no timeline seems to have been set for its release.

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‘Oops, sorry about that:’ Bono responds to ‘Songs of Innocence’ iTunes deal

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iTunes customers who didn’t watch Apple’s iPhone keynote last month were a bit surprised to discover that they suddenly owned a copy of U2’s new albumSongs of Innocence,” even though they’d never bought it. The band had partnered with Apple to add the album to every single iTunes account for free in what they called the largest album debut ever.

iTunes users were less than thrilled at the arrangement, noting that the album was being automatically downloaded to their devices in many cases and there was no way to remove it from their purchase history. Apple responded soon thereafter by releasing an online tool to remove the album, but thus far U2 has remained quiet on the issue… until today.

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GT Advanced COO sold $1.2M in shares before bankruptcy, Apple asks court to seal documents

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Apple is seeking to keep its involvement in GT Advanced’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing secret as it reportedly asked courts to file its objections in the case under seal. Bloomberg reports that Apple has requested permission to keep its comments in the case secret to avoid disclosing “confidential research, development, or commercial information regarding Apple’s business processes.” Read more