Apple’s market-leading tablet share falls to 22% against growing cheap media consumption options

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Worldwide unit shipments for the top 5 tablet plus 2-in-1 device vendors over last five quarters

New data from IDC tracking worldwide tablet shipments shows that Apple has maintained its lead during the third quarter despite “a decline in overall iPad shipment volume in 3Q14.” Specifically, Apple grabbed 22.8% of the market with 12.3 million shipments during the quarter compared to 14.1 million units and 29.2% share in the year ago quarter. That compares to Samsung at 18.3% of the market and 9.9 million units shipped up from 19.3% and 9.3 million units shipped in the third quarter last year: Read more

Meijer is first MCX member to break ranks, continuing to support Apple Pay

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While CurrentC consortium MCX’s contracts state that members cannot accept competing forms of mobile payment, Midwest grocery chain Meijer appears to be the first member to break ranks by continuing to allow NFC payment – including Apple Pay.

Michigan Live quotes spokesman Frank Guglielmi as saying that the chain’s 213 grocery and gas outlets have no plans to block Apple Pay.

We have had the technology in our stores to accept mobile wallets for several years now. If a customer has Apple Pay capability, our hardware works with it [...] We don’t plan to remove or disable these systems.

Meijer is currently shown on both Apple Pay and MCX websites:

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Skype for iPhone gets save/delete photos feature, adds improved chat load times, synced avatars, more

Skype-iPhone-chatFollowing an update to version 7.1 for Mac yesterday, today Skype for iPhone is getting its own update that brings a few highly requested new features.

First up, version 5.7 of Skype for iPhone introduces the ability to save and delete photos: If you want to save a memorable photo to your camera roll or delete a sent photo from a chat, simply press and hold the image and the options will appear.

Also new in the updated app is much improved performance, according to Skype, including faster chat load times especially when entering a chat through notifications: Now when you receive a notification and tap it to open the app, the message will be there waiting for you without any delays.

Skype is also making avatars work as you’d expect for all users, across all chats types and synced across platforms. In addition the updated app is introducing easier to use people list search and filter options: Read more

Any.do gets a massive update to version 2.0 with a focus on collaboration

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Any.do, the popular to-do list management application for iOS, has received a huge update to version 2.0, which introduces a new focus on collaboration among teams and families. All of the app’s previous functions still work the way they did in previous versions, so existing users won’t need to re-learn anything, but those who want better support for groups and sharing will find a lot of useful enhancements in this update.

A new chat function allows members of a project to talk with each other, share files from Dropbox, add and remove group members, and more. Shared lists and tasks make it easy to quickly assign work, update the group’s progress, or just add something to a shared grocery list.

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Kamcord first to bring gameplay recording to Metal, passes Twitch w/ 1.3M unique content creators

KamcordKamcord, the SDK that lets mobile app developers offer gameplay recording and sharing functionality, today announced some pretty impressive milestones alongside new updates for its SDK and mobile app. In addition to announcing 25 million videos shared (it uploads around 1hr of mobile gameplay video per minute), the company also told me it’s now passed popular gaming community Twitch in terms of unique content creators. It has also just became the first to offer gameplay recording functionality for mobile games using Apple’s new Metal technology. Read more

‘Third-generation’ Flipboard iOS app gets redesign, 30,000 topics and officially curated content

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The popular Flipboard app has received a significant upgrade in version 3.0, in what the company is describing as “the most personal and most magazine-like experience we’ve ever built.”

In addition to a slicker interface, users are now presented with top-level topics that drill down into increasingly specific ones (for example, from Technology to iPhone). In all, there are more than 30,000 topics …  Read more

Apple Pay fans express displeasure at MCX in app ratings; consortium suggests possible future switch to NFC

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While the MCX consortium’s CurrentC mobile payment service isn’t due to launch until next year, it has been carrying out limited trials, facilitated by placing the app in the iTunes store. iPhone owners have been expressing their displeasure at the blocking of Apple Pay by MCX members by rating and reviewing the app.

At the time of writing, the app had accumulated 2,856 1-star reviews against a total of just 30 reviews giving it 2 stars or more …  Read more

Tim Cook officially comes out as gay in public essay about equality

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In an essay published on Bloomberg’s website, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly come out as gay. Although his sexuality wasn’t really a secret, this is the first time he has officially confirmed his sexual orientation. Cook says he has relaxed this aspect of privacy to help others as part of Apple’s efforts against discrimination. The essay can be read in full at Bloomberg Businessweek.

At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

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Android Wear Devices won’t be iOS or Mac compatible this year

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Google invited us to check out their new line of Nexus products running Lollipop earlier today.   The Motorola Nexus 6 is about the size of the iPhone 6 Plus with a slightly bigger screen and thicker/heavier profile. On the other hand, the HTC Nexus 9 is smaller than the iPad Air with a 9-inch display and stereo speakers. Both run Android 5.0 Lollipop which has a new Material Design. The new products will go up against Apple’s iOS devices for global electronics consumers’ holiday shopping money.

However, one set of devices won’t be competing for Apple users’ shopping dollars. An Android Wear project manager told me that there were no current plans to make Android Wear compatible with iOS but that they were continuing to evaluate other platforms because they wanted to get Wear devices into as many hands as they could. When I pressed and said something to the effect of “if ever there was a time to sell these to Apple users, it was the holiday season before the Apple Watch is released”, the product manager said something akin to  “Our Christmas lineup of announcements is set and over”.

On one hand, it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard. After all, Google eventually got Google Glass to work on iOS devices.

Microsoft, on the other hand, just announced its new Fitness Band which will work with Android, iOS and of course Windows Phones.

Macworld today suggested that you take a $99 Pebble for a spin to see if it could act as a smartphone gateway drug until users get their Apple Watch fix next year.  Read more

Microsoft outs upcoming fitness ‘Band’ with premature Mac and iPhone app releases (updated)

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Update: Microsoft has now announced the Microsoft Band, a $199 fitness band that does everything described below. It goes on sale Thursday.

Microsoft hasn’t officially announced its wearable device, but it seems the company has accidentally published its desktop syncing client to the Mac App Store early. Whoops. The device is called the Microsoft Band (possibly Lumia Band, according to some currently non-functional support URLs) and sports a 310 x 102 resolution display.

The Microsoft privacy policy for the app lists some of the Band’s features: “Microsoft Band sensors help you keep track of things like your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and sleep.” Links in the document claiming to lead to a page with additional data, such as a list of sensors, currently lead to a 404 page.

Other key feature include the ability to get phone notifications on the Band, create reminders using Cortana, and more:

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MCX: Merchants accepting both CurrentC and Apple Pay ‘entirely possible’ in the future

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Earlier this week, retailers CVS and Rite Aid blocked NFC payments at their stores following the launch of Apple Pay because of their existing commitment to MCX’s CurrentC platform. Nevertheless, MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson assures that merchants accepting both CurrentC and Apple Pay “could be entirely possible” in the future.

The blockade has ignited somewhat of a controversy between Apple Pay and MCX, only worsened by the fact that it was confirmed that CurrentC suffered a security breach earlier this morning. MCX, or Merchant Customer Exchange, consists of a number of high-profile retailers that grouped together to work on their own CurrentC contactless payments platform. Read more

Apple reportedly in ‘preliminary contact’ with distributors to bring iPhone to Iran

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in early talks with “Iranian distributors” to bring the iPhone to Iran:

Apple Inc. is in preliminary contact with Iranian distributors about a possible entry into the country should Western sanctions ease sufficiently, people familiar with the matter said.

The report notes that financial and banking sanctions as well as political tension has thus far prevented companies like Apple from conducting business in Iran, but points to a policy change in May that lifted the ban on sales of “consumer communications technologies” in the country. The report goes on the claim that “senior Apple executives” have already met with “potential Iranian distributors” at Apple’s regional headquarters in London. Read more