Founder Anand Shimpi latest Apple hire from hardware review site AnandTech

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AnandTech founder and EiC Anand Shimpi announced last night via a post on the site that he had decided to retire from technology journalism, but didn’t specify what he’d be doing instead. Today, Re/code reports that Shimpi will be going to Apple, as confirmed by the tech firm’s representative, though his exact role is still unknown.

Earlier this year AnandTech’s Brian Klug also left the site for a role at Apple with a focus on building mobile processors for the company’s iOS lineup. It’s possible and perhaps likely that Shimpi will be taking up a similar role in quality assurance or marketing.

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Apple has reached agreements w/ American Express & MasterCard to work on iPhone payments system

We reported in May that Apple was expected to launch an iPhone payments system with the iPhone 6 and iOS 8.

Apple wants to replace yet another daily tool with your iPhone: your wallet. Executives from the Cupertino-based technology company have begun discussions with directors from retail store chains about a mobile payments service, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks. Previous reports indicated that Apple is exploring new payments services through discussions with executives from existing payments companies. These latest mobile payments-related discussions, which have occurred with retail store brands such as those that sell luxury clothing and premium goods, have taken place over the past couple of months, according to the source. The source declined to be named and requested that the identities of the companies talking to Apple not be published.

Subsequent reports echoed that same Information including naming Visa as a partner.  Re/code today reports that Apple has signed up a major American financial institution to work on its iPhone wallet program.

Apple has reached an agreement with American Express to work together on its new iPhone payments system, according to sources familiar with the talks. American Express is one of several partners Apple will need to sign up before it can launch its new payments plan, which sources say it plans to announce at its September 9 product event.

Apple’s new payments system is expected to let iPhone 6 owners use their phone in place of a credit card or cash to pay for goods in brick-and-mortar stores. Customers will present their phones at the checkout counter of partnering retailers to transmit payment information to complete a purchase. It’s not clear which retailers have signed on to accept such payments.

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Apple highlighting top ten reasons apps get rejected on new developer page

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 12.25.21

As noticed by Apfelpage, Apple has published a new page to be more open about why it rejects apps. A chart at the bottom of the page shows the top ten reasons for app rejection in the last seven days; such as lack of information, crashes or bugs encountered, complicated user interfaces. Around 60% of rejections come from violation of just ten guidelines of the App Store rules. Some of these, like the existence of placeholder text in applications, seem rather trivial issues and it’s interesting that it arises so frequently as a cause of rejection.

The page goes into more detail on some of these points. In one instance, Apple highlights what it deems to be a ‘substandard user interface’, which apparently is responsible for 6% of all rejections. In the example, Apple advises use of a tableview to cleanly lay out information.

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Apple ‘spaceship’ campus construction caught on film by flying drone

9to5-image 2014-08-31 at 10.18.52 AMThe 8-minute video, highlighted by Apple Spotlight and embedded below, shows the latest progress on Apple’s Campus 2. Although the spaceship site is cordoned off by high walls to prevent pictures at street level, a GoPro-equipped drone has no trouble getting the aerial shots seen in the video. Images of the campus were last seen in JulyRead more

Apple execs discuss $400 price point for wearable with the media, what do you think?

Re/code via sources unknown says today that Apple has been considering the $400 price point for its wearable, expected to be announced on September 9th and available for sale in 2015.

Apple executives have discussed charging around $400 for the company’s new wearable device. Pricing has yet to be finalized for the forthcoming product, which is expected to begin shipping next year.  Sources say consumers should expect a range of prices for different models including lower priced versions.

The price positioning is reminiscent of Apple’s latest product launch, the iPad, in which price points of $1,000 were batted around before Steve Jobs took the stage and conjured up the jaw-dropping $499 starting price point.

But without knowing about the wearable product, how can we judge the price point… Read more

Support for 3x image assets found in latest iOS 8 beta ahead of larger display iPhone 6

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Developer James Thompson has found an interesting behavior in the latest iOS 8 beta, giving even more weight to the reports that indicate the iPhone 6 will feature a new resolution, featuring a new ‘pixel-tripling’ scaling factor of 3. In May, 9to5Mac first broke news of Apple testing a new screen resolution for an upcoming iPhone, which used a 3x screen scale for content.

The behavior is inconsistent, as iOS 8 beta 5 does not always load these 3x assets. However, it reliably chooses the 3x image on 2x devices using the ‘initWithContentsOfFile’ method. After seeing Thompson’s discovery, 9to5Mac has independently confirmed that this is indeed the case.

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Someone assembled their own iPhone 6 using leaked parts (Video)

iPhone 6 hands-on - YouTube 2014-08-29 13-12-42 2014-08-29 13-12-44

Following photos that surfaced this morning showing much more subtle antenna breaks on the back of a supposed production model iPhone 6, a video of a device based on the upcoming flagship has surfaced thanks to Feld & Volk, an association of designers and engineers who create luxury custom versions of Apple’s most popular handsets. But what’s interesting about this device is that it seems to actually be built from working parts, and can be seen booting and asking the user to connect to iTunes.

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Apple wearable reportedly only being previewed at iPhone event, shipping next year

via @EA_Roa

via @EA_Roa

Following Re/code’s report earlier this week that Apple will announce its wearable product (iWatch, iBand) alongside new iPhones on September 9th, Re/code now adds that the device won’t actually be available this year.

Sources in position to know tell me it won’t arrive at market for a few months. “It’s not shipping any time soon,” said one. So when does Apple plan to ship its eagerly anticipated wearable? That’s not clear, but my understanding is that we’re unlikely to see it at retail until after the holiday season — think early 2015.  Read more

Apple Store promoting upcoming iTunes Festival w/ pins and wristbands, music-related events

iTunes Festival London

After bringing the iTunes Festival to the US earlier this year at Austin SXSW, Apple’s annual music event in London kicking off next week has been the focus of much of the company’s attention recently. Earlier this week, Apple’s newly acquired Beats Music began promoting the iTunes Festival with a contest within the app to attend the festival.

Apple will also use its retail stores to further promote the event with iTunes Festival Pins to be worn by retail employees to “spark conversation about the event,” according to an internal document obtained by 9to5Mac. Retail employees will also receive iTunes Festival wristbands and redemption codes for music. Select Apple Stores will also host “music-related events” with local artists, according to the document. Read more

Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media

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Apple CEO Tim Cook with former VP of Worldwide Communications Katie Cotton

“Beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”

“Feature for feature, it’s identical to iPad Air in every way.”

“Just avoid holding it in that way.”

Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company. Before customers get their first chance to see or touch a new Apple product, the company has carefully orchestrated almost every one of its public appearances: controlled leaks and advance briefings for favored writers, an invite-only media debut, and a special early review process for a group of pre-screened, known-positive writers. Nothing is left to chance, and in the rare case where Apple doesn’t control the initial message, it remedies that by using proxies to deliver carefully crafted, off-the-record responses.

Except for a few big exceptions, such as the memorably off-pitch quotes above, Apple’s “tell them what to believe” PR strategy has worked incredibly well for years. But it has also created tensions between the company and the people who cover it, as well as within Apple itself. The company’s long-time head of PR, Katie Cotton, left the company earlier this year as CEO Tim Cook openly sought to make a major change in the way Apple interacted with the press and its customers. As the hunt for Cotton’s replacement is still in progress, and the depth of Apple’s commitment to change remains unclear, we look today at the techniques Apple has used to quietly manipulate its coverage over the years.

You can navigate between the chapters, below:

- Part 1) Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets

- Part 2) Introducing the Teams: How PR Is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop

- Part 3) Strategies: The “Art of Deep Background” and Controlling the Press

- Part 4) The Departure of a “Tyrant”

- Part 5) Two Heads In Place Of One

- Part 6) Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires

- Part 7) Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer’s Guides

- Part 8) Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases

- Part 9) A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?

Two months in the making, this article is the product of over a dozen interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR professionals, including many who have worked at Apple.

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Mini-review: Lensbaby LM-10, a fun if pricey accessory for iPhonography fans

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It took a while for Lensbaby’s Kickstarter-funded selective focus lens for the iPhone to make it into production, but the LM-10 is now here and I took it out for a play.

For those not familiar with Lensbaby, the company makes lenses for DSLRs with a bellows lens that provides a small in-focus area, with the rest of the image out of focus. It’s not the same effect as the shallow depth-of-field achieved with a wide-aperture lens, but a less-controllable effect designed to provide fun and unusual images …  Read more