New wider color-screen smartwatch appears on Pebble’s website

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Update: The image has been removed and replaced with the below image of an actual pebble… Oops?

We told you last week that Pebble is likely about to announce the next-generation of its smartwatch, featuring a thinner design, a color e-paper-like display, and a revamped OS. Now, thanks to an image hosted on Pebble’s own servers, we have a look at a device with a physical appearance matching the device we described. The device looks to have a larger bezel, as well as buttons that are smaller compared to its predecessor.

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Apple announces $1.9B European plan for two of the world’s largest, clean energy data centers

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Apple has announced that it will be spending €1.7B ($1.92B) on two new European data centers, each of which will be among the largest in the world at 166,000 square metres (1.8M square feet)–three times larger than the company’s North Carolina facility.

One will be in Ireland, the other in Denmark, with each set to begin operations in 2017. Apple says that the facilities will provide online services across Europe, including the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Apple Maps and Siri.

We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date.”

As with all of Apple’s data centers around the world, the new centres will be powered entirely by clean, renewable energy …  Read more

Apple airs filmmaking iPad ad narrated by Martin Scorsese for the Oscars

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On the day of the annual Academy Awards ceremony, Apple has begun airing a new iPad Air advertisement highlighting how the tablet is used in the filmmaking industry. The new video advertisement is narrated with excerpts from notable movie director Martin Scorsese’s 2014 commencement speech at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. The video, embedded below, is accompanied by a website highlighting specific stories of the iPad being used to make movies. These video stories were actually filmed and edited on iPads. The new website also discusses key video planning, filming, and editing applications for the iPad such as Final Draft, Garageband (but not the consumer-focused iMovie), and VideoGrade. This film-focused advertisement follows a music-oriented one that aired on the day of the Grammy Awards.

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Apple Watch straps will be available to purchase separately at launch

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Despite speculation to the contrary, Apple does in fact plan to sell an array of bands as separate accessories for the Apple Watch at launch, according to sources. So far Apple has only shown the Watch in pre-assembled collections, which reduces their potential for customization, but our sources say that Apple’s retail outlets will be stocked on day one with individual straps so customers can easily mix and match the looks of their Watches.

While Apple has hinted at millions of combinations of Apple Watch when considering the various watch faces and interchangeable strap combos, up until now we’ve not had confirmation that straps would be available to purchase separately alongside the Apple Watch at launch. Read more

Opinion: If any Apple Watch will cost thousands of dollars, Apple needs to start telling that story

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Here’s a thought: Assume that the 18k gold Apple Watch Edition is several thousand dollars, as some people are currently predicting. How will Apple deliver that piece of news — which hasn’t officially been confirmed before, and remains the subject of increasingly wild speculation — to the public?

Depending on your perspective, a high price won’t be bad news for people who expect their jewelry to carry four- or five-digit price tags. But it’s going to be hard to explain why the Apple Watch Edition is priced so far apart from the entry level Apple Watch Sport… or most of Apple’s other products for that matter. Fake gold or not, golden iPhones starts at $99, and iPads at $399 or $499, just like non-gold ones.

While Apple has already started telling the story of what the Apple Watch will do for people that wear it, it has barely told the story on its own of how much it will cost and why. I believe that detail alone is worthy of a second Apple Watch event led by Tim Cook before the Watch hits the market in April. Read more

Apple will fight iOS bugs with first-ever iOS Public Betas: 8.3 in March, 9 in summer

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In an effort to eliminate bugs from upcoming iOS versions ahead of their general releases, Apple plans to launch the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, according to multiple people briefed on the plans. Following the successful launch of the OS X Public Beta program with OS X Yosemite last year, Apple intends to release the upcoming iOS 8.3 as a public beta via the company’s existing AppleSeed program in mid-March, according to the sources. This release will match the third iOS 8.3 beta for developers, which is planned for release the same week. Apple then expects to debut iOS 9 at its June Worldwide Developer Conference, with a public beta release during the summer, and final release in the fall…

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Opinion: What we can expect from an Apple Car if it really goes on sale in 2020

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What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  Read more

Virgin Mobile drops complete iPhone lineup from its online store

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Since the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last fall, we’ve noticed that Sprint subsidiary Virgin Mobile USA has offered limited-to-no stock on its iPhone lineup with “out of stock” messages on each of their iOS device and seemingly no plans to replenish inventory. Specifically, the pre-paid carrier went head first into the holiday season without any iPhone inventory for shoppers.

Virgin later confirmed that it had no specific plans to carry the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the time, and now the prepaid carrier has completely scrubbed the entire iPhone lineup from its online store. Read more

Apple said to be considering deal with Japan Display to help finance new factory

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A new report claims that Apple is in talks with Japan Display to help finance an LCD display factory in Ishikawa next year. The exact details of the agreement are still in flux, but Apple is said to be considering an investment of somewhere around 200 billion yen (or just under $1.7 billion).

The factory would churn out the same types of low-temperature polycrystalline silicon displays that are currently used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Japanese news sources also say the factory could eventually be repurposed to build OLED panels like those found in the Apple Watch—and possibly in future iPhones. The factory’s output wouldn’t be exclusive to Apple’s devices, however, as the deal currently allows JDI to sell its wares to competitors.

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Bloomberg: Apple planning to launch its own car by the year 2020

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Apple’s car team

Apple is pushing to launch its own electric car by the year 2020, according to a new Bloomberg report citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” The company has been rumored in recent weeks to be working on the project in secret, with some claiming that Tim Cook authorized it as much as a year ago.

Apple has been poaching employees from Tesla Motorsbattery technology manufacturers, and elsewhere in an effort to build a team of experts to work on the vehicle, currently codenamed “Titan.” Whether this car will be a self-driving vehicle is still unknown, with some reports claiming that it will and others contradicting that idea. Apple employees have said, however, that it will “give Tesla a run for its money” when it’s released.

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