Tim Cook & Apple Technology VP Johny Srouji visiting Israel today (Photos)

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Apple CEO Tim Cook & Israel President Reuven Rivlin

Apple CEO Tim Cook is continuing his international tour this week with a stop in Israel, The Marker reports. The publication reports that Cook arrived in Israel today and has since met with President Reuven Rivlin (seen above) at his home in Jerusalem; Cook is also expected to meet with former President Shimon Peres during the trip. Alongside Cook for the trip, notably, is Johny Srugi, Apple’s Vice President of Hardware Technologies, a graduate of Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology…

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Results: 60% want Apple to thicken the next iPhone to improve battery life

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A recent poll of over 3,100 9to5Mac readers indicates that most are not satisfied with current-generation iPhone battery life. Over 90% of respondents said that they want to see Apple improve iPhone battery life, versus less than 7% saying that “iPhone battery life and battery cases are good enough as-is.”

The split in responses interestingly suggests that Apple can safely stop prioritizing thinness over superior battery performance. A solid majority of over 60% of respondents said that Apple should thicken the next iPhone to improve its battery life, which is especially noteworthy given that there were other poll options. Over 31% said that Apple should achieve whatever battery improvements it can by improving the iPhone’s chips, while just under 2% said that Apple should instead focus on improving battery cases.

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Tim Cook: Apple Watch will be showerproof, Apple Pay goal for Europe is “end of the year”

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French site iGen is reporting that Tim Cook told an employee in the Kurfürstendamm Apple Store in Berlin that he wears his Apple Watch all the time–”even in the shower.” While Apple has previously mentioned water-resistance, and stated that the S1 innards are “completely encapsulated in resin,” this is the first time we’ve had a specific indication on what that means in practice.

In line with expectations that the watch will only have one day of battery-life, Cook confirmed that he removes it every night to charge …  Read more

Prong’s PWR case for iPhone 6 provides the easiest way to juice up (Video)

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There are a ton of power accessories on the market for iPhone that it’s almost difficult to tell them apart. They all fit a ton of battery power in a case, but they are all pretty much the same, except for one.

Prong has recently launched a new Indiegogo campaign for its new PWR case for iPhone 6. Not only does this case have a built-in battery pack, it also features a power supply as well. This means you could get away with never using a cable again to charge up your iPhone…

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Opinion: Does the Apple Watch Edition signal future luxury-model iPhones, iPads and Macs?

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Back in April of last year, when a luxury model of the Apple Watch was still a vague rumor, I wrote an opinion piece in which I expressed the view that Apple could indeed pull this off. I went further, and suggested that it could even create an entire range of luxury versions of its existing products, from iPhones to Macs.

Ten months on, with the Apple Watch Edition now real, and the general expectation that it’s going to cost several thousand dollars at least, I thought it was time to revisit that idea. Is a luxury model of the Apple Watch a one-off, or does Apple see this as the first step toward Edition models of its complete product range … ?  Read more

Number tracking app ‘Numerous’ adds channels for Google Sheets, Tesla, & Celestial Events like SpaceX launches

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New channels added to Numerous for iOS

Numerous, a dashboard app for tracking a wide range of numbers, is an iOS app gem in terms of taking advantage of Apple technologies and one of my favorite lesser known apps for that reason. Today a new version of Numerous is being released adding new channels including a Tesla channel for Model S owners as well as a Google Sheets channel for tracking numbers from spreadsheets… Read more

Tim Cook met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during Berlin visit, talked privacy, security & more

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It seems Tim Cook had more on his schedule than a meeting with BILD during his visit to Berlin yesterday: the newspaper reports that he also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Cook told BILD that they discussed security, net neutrality, environmental protection and education–but the key topic appears to have been data privacy.

Cook said that he could well understand Germany’s strong stance on data privacy, stating that Germans “have the same views on privacy as I do” …  Read more

Apple ordered to pay out $532.9 million for gaming-related patent infringement

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A Texas jury has ordered Apple to pay out just under $533 million in a patent infringement case brought by Smartflash LLC regarding technology that the company said iTunes used without permission. Apple had attempted to argue that the patents were invalid. The court ruled in Smartflash’s favor, but chose not to award the entire $852 million the software maker was seeking.

The patents in question were related to “data storage and managing access through payment systems,” according to Bloomberg. Several game developers who took advantage of the tech settled out of court last year, leaving Apple to stand against Smartflash alone.

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How-To: Upgrade the SSD in your MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro, boosting size & speed

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Over the past two weeks, I’ve written about the (surprisingly easy) process of adding solid state drives (SSDs) to radically speed up older iMacs, and the varied challenge levels of adding SSDs to older Mac Pros, Mac minis, and non-Retina MacBooks. Today’s guide looks at the easiest SSD installations of all: the MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro. A new SSD in one of these machines could have two, four, eight, or sixteen times the original storage, plus two to four times faster speeds.

Apple shipped most MacBook Airs and all Retina MacBook Pros with solid state storage, so upgrading these machines for extra capacity and speed is generally as simple as picking a new drive, then using two special screwdrivers during the installation process. Assuming your MacBook is old enough to be out of warranty — except for a few specific models — you’ll find that pretty much anyone can handle this swap with the right tools. Below, I’m going to show those tools to you, as well as the MacBook-ready SSDs that are worth considering…

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iOS & Android increase duopoly on smartphone market to 96%, Apple beats market in Q4

IDC just released its latest numbers on the top smartphones by operating system showing iOS and Android continue to collectively dominate the market with both experiencing growth during 2014. Together, iOS and Android grabbed 96.3% of all smartphone shipments, which IDC points out is up from 95.6% in 4Q13 and from 93.8% in calendar year 2013.

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Facebook Messenger adds iOS 8 extension, WordPress gains WYSIWYG editor & image features

Facebook is out with a useful update to its Messenger app for iPhone and iPad today adding an action extension for sharing content from other apps on iOS 8. This adds the ability to have deep Facebook Messenger integration with other apps including Safari and Photos just like Apple’s own Messages app.

Once enabled, you can do things like share images and videos from the Photos app or links from Safari directly to your contacts on Facebook Messenger without having to jump back and forth between apps. Facebook Messenger version 22.0 is rolling out now on the App Store.

WordPress’s mobile blogging app for iPhone and iPad also received a new update bringing the experience closer to that on the desktop …  Read more

Mercedes-Benz chairman not losing sleep over Apple Car, compares it to car guys making a smartphone

Dieter Zetsche, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche

It happens each time there is talk that Apple is preparing to enter a new product category: industry leaders issue the standard statement that they’re unfazed by potential Apple competition because 1) Apple makes computers and 2) this is their turf, their expertise.

Almost like fulfilling the prophecy, head of Mercedes-Benz cars Dieter Zetsche recently did just that while discussing the rumor with Australian publication motoring.com.au:

“If there were a rumour that Mercedes or Daimler planned to start building smartphones then they (Apple) would not be sleepless at night. And the same applies to me.”

Zetsche added that his position in saying that Apple building a car would be like Mercedes building a smartphone is “full of respect” for the iPhone maker. Read more