Apple preparing iOS 7.1.1 bug fix update as iOS 8, OS X 10.10 testing increases

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Unsurprisingly, Apple appears to be readying a bug fix update to iOS 7.1 called iOS 7.1.1. Numerous visits to 9to5Mac from areas surrounding Apple’s campus on devices running iOS 7.1.1 have appeared in our analytics. The increase in views likely indicates that the bug fix update will come over-the-air to iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches in the near future. iOS 7.1 was released in March with user-interface tweaks, a new calendar view, and CarPlay support.

In similar news, it appears, based on our analytics, that iOS 8 testing inside Apple has increased:

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Wall Street predicts just two percent year-on-year growth in iPhone sales

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Fortune has its usual roundup of what the analysts are expecting Apple to report in iPhone sales next week, and the forecasts make worrying reading. The overall average is for quarterly sales of 38.2 million, which would represent year-on-year growth of just two percent.

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Adding to the concern, ten of the 32 analysts included in Fortune‘s poll predict a fall in sales when compared to the same quarter last year.

With the new iPhones having generated record sales in their opening weekend, and Apple having reported all-time quarterly high iPhone sales in Q1, the question is why the pessimism regarding Q2 … ?  Read more

Apple and Shazam planning to team up for music identification feature built into iOS

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Apple and Shazam are teaming up to build a music identification feature natively into iOS, according to a Bloomberg report. The feature will allow users to find the name and artist of a song that’s playing, likely with the option to download the song from the iTunes Store or create an new iTunes Radio station.

Unlike some of Apple’s other music-releated features (such as Podcasts and iTunes U), the system will be built into the OS directly rather than require a separate download. So far there isn’t any confirmation of whether this feature will appear in iOS 8 or a later version, but with WWDC right around the corner, Apple will need to work quickly to secure the deal if the feature is to be announced with the next-gen software update.

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Marissa Mayer planning to push Apple to make Yahoo! the default iOS search engine

Jony Ive and Marissa Mayer eat pizza with other industry executives

Jony Ive and Marissa Mayer (right) eat pizza with other industry executives

Re/code reports that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is planning an attempt at persuading Apple to switch its default iOS search engine from Google to her company’s own offering. According to Re/code’s sources, Mayer has built what she hopes will be a convincing arguement in favor of the change.

Yahoo! current powers the weather and stocks apps and Notification Center widgets found in iOS 7 as well as a few Siri functions, such as sports, but lost out on the chance to power Siri’s web search to Microsoft’s Bing. Both Yahoo! and Bing are included as optional search engines in the Safari browser, but the default selection is Google.

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Hyundai announces CarPlay coming this summer to its 2015 Sonata

Hyundai CarPlay

Hyundai announced today at the New York International Auto Show its 2015 Sonata will be the first of its vehicles to feature Apple’s new CarPlay technology bringing phone, messaging, music, and navigation functionality from the iPhone to the in-dash display through iOS and Siri. Apple rebranded its iOS in the Car feature announced at WWDC in 2013 as CarPlay earlier this year with a number of committed partners including Hyundai, and today’s announcement by the automative manufacturer is the first unveiling of its official plans to bring CarPlay to market with its brand.

Hyundai says its 2015 Sonata will be available at dealerships in early summer this year. While pricing and availability specifics have yet to be unveiled, Hyundai’s CarPlay offering is expected to be considerably more affordable than other brands partnered including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo.

The news comes just one day after Pioneer official announced it will bring CarPlay to a number of its existing 2014 in-dash systems through a firmware update. Ford, Toyota, and other automotive manufacturers are expected to unveil new products at the auto show as it continues through the month, although Honda is the only partner committed to CarPlay in 2014 (per Apple’s CarPlay site) without a compatible car announced.

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Death of Steve Jobs prompted Samsung’s U-turn on Apple attack ads

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We learned yesterday from patent trial evidence that Samsung was worried about running ads that directly attacked Apple, wanting Google to do it for them. We now know that it was the death of Steve Jobs which prompted Samsung’s change of mind, running the Next Big Thing ads which directly mocked Apple customers.

An email trail shows that Samsung America’s VP of U.S. sales Mike Pennington cynically described the death of Jobs as “the best opportunity” to run the campaign, as consumers might be worried about Apple’s future product innovations following the death of its famous co-founder.

Sorry to continue to push this issue, but I have seen this far too long and I know this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone …

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Alleged iPhone 6 cases reflect rumored design changes, repositioned power button

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We’re still months away from Apple’s expected announcement of the iPhone 6, but ambitious manufactures are already designing accessories based on current rumors. Additional silicon cases rumored to fit the iPhone 6 were recently published on NoWhereElse and provide a closer look at some of the device’s possible design changes.

The case pictured above has slightly rounded edges, similar to the 5th generation iPod touch or iPhone 5c, and are consistent with previous rumors. As we’ve seen in recent accessory leaks, the case also features a repositioned power button and thin oblong volume buttons similar to an iPod touch. It has also been rumored that Apple’s iPhone 6 will feature a larger 4.7-inch display.

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8 GB iPhone 5c now available in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Ireland and several others

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After a brief period of downtime, the Apple Store website around the world has now gone back up. Aside from a bit of Mother’s Day promotional advertising, there is no change to most regions. For some countries, however, Apple has now made the 8 GB iPhone 5c introduced last month available for sale. The device is now available in the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, and other regions.

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Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

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Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Physical iPhone 6 mockups & upcoming accessories shown off at Hong Kong Electronics Fair

Following a number of leaks claiming to show prototypes, cases, and manufacturing tools for the next-generation iPhone, today yet another leak of a physical iPhone 6 mockup has popped up via Japanese blog Macotakara.jp. The site posted images from the Hong Kong Electronics Fair taking place from April 13-16 that apparently show mockups of the iPhone 6 used by case makers to create cases and accessories they plan to launch alongside the new iPhone.   Read more

Apple meeting with UK ad agencies in preparation for iTunes Radio rollout

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Apple appears to be readying for an UK iTunes Radio launch in the near future. As indicated by this tweet, Apple’s director of iAd Paul Wright has recently been visiting media marketing agencies to discuss iAd in relation to iTunes Radio.

Bloomberg said that Apple was planning to launch in the UK in ‘early 2014′ last October, but so far this has not happened several months into 2014. Although many people have seen iTunes Radio sporadically appear on their devices in recent months, it is has only officially expanded to Australia beyond the US launch alongside iOS 7.

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