Apple acquires media analytics startup Semetric, seemingly as part of Beats Music relaunch

iPhone 6 Beats Music

The Guardian is reporting that Apple has acquired media analytics startup Semetric, apparently as part of the ongoing Beats Music relaunch. Of note, Semetric owns Musicmetrics, an analytics tool for artists to track the popularity of their music around the web.

Apple replied to the Guardian with its typical company acquisition statement: Read more

Apple grabs 33% smartphone marketshare in South Korea, a historic record for foreign manufacturers in Samsung’s home turf

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Apple’s marketshare in South Korea has skyrocketed in the last quarter, driven by strong demand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, according to data by Counterpoint. Apple increased its share of sales from 15% to 33%, more than doubling its market power in one quarter.

Historically, Samsung has dominated South Korea, largely due to geographic advantages, but Apple’s gains now threaten the #1 spot. Apple is the first foreign smartphone company ever to surpass 20% marketshare in the region, taking the number 2 spot. Samsung’s marketshare fell from 60% in November to 46% and (now third-place) South Korean LG Electronics fell to 14%.

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TAG Heuer exec changes tune on Apple Watch, says he’ll likely wear one, even while gearing up to challenge it

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TAG Heuer executive Jean-Claude Biver may have dismissed the Apple Watch just a few short months ago (as Apple was poaching members of the company’s leadership for the project), but it seems he has recently had a change of heart. In an interview with Bloomberg, Biver called the upcoming gadget “a fantastic product, an incredible achievement” and said he’ll likely wear one.

At the same time, however, Biver acknowledges that his company plans to partner with Silicon Valley to create its own entries to the smartwatch market. Because Switzerland doesn’t have the technological prowess needed to produce such a device, it will need to rely on external partners for some parts of its design.

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Dropbox will no longer support OS X 10.5 or older starting May 18th

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Dropbox has announced through an email to users on older versions of OS X that it will soon be discontinuing support for computers running Leopard or other older versions of the operating system. Users still running anything older than OS X 10.6 will need to upgrade in order to continue using future versions of the Dropbox app.

Users who don’t upgrade will still be able to use the web-based Dropbox manager, but will be automatically signed out of the Mac app. From that point forward, they will not be able to login back into the Mac client until they are on a newer version of OS X.

The changes will go into effect on May 18th, so users still have plenty of time to upgrade their software (or hardware, if necessary). The full email is included below:

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Apple’s investment in Washington D.C. lobbying continues to rise

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While Apple may spend less than half that of Microsoft and a quarter that of Google on Washington D.C. lobbying, the company under Tim Cook is investing an increasing amount of its cash in its influence around the United States capital.

As Bloomberg reports, data from OpenSecrets.org puts Apple’s spending on Washington lobbyists from January through September last year at $2.9 million (a number which doesn’t include the last quarter of 2014) and almost $3.5 million during the full 2013 period. For perspective, Apple’s lobbyist spending only first reached $1 million annually in 2006, the year before the iPhone’s introduction and first crossed $2 million in 2011. Read more

Review: RAVPower’s Savior delivers 9000mAh of Apple-certified Lightning battery power at a great price

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RAVPower has done a great job of changing the traditional price-to-performance equation for Apple device chargers. Its two-, four-, and six-port wall chargers (reviewed here) are the best options I’ve seen at their price points, so it’s no shock that its Savior 9000mAh External Battery Pack (MSRP $100, street price $50) delivers great value, as well.

Equipped with wall blades for easy recharging, Savior combines a high-capacity 9000mAh battery with an Apple-certified Lightning cable, competing with similar accessories such as myCharge’s Hub 9000 — but for half the street price. Read on for why Savior is so easy to recommend, as well as details on the compromises it makes to keep its size and price down.

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LastPass password manager debuts on Mac w/ offline support, security check feature, more

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Smart password and security techniques are becoming increasingly important in our digital lives as new hacks seem to appear all the time, and having a unique and secure password (unlike these) helps ensure that your online identity is safe in the event of such a compromise.

LastPass, a cross platform secure digital vault app, is helping Mac users tackle the password management problem with the debut of its new Mac app. Previously only available for Mac as a browser extension and web portal, the new LastPass for Mac app brings new features to the desktop including quick search, security check, and more. Read more

Apple teases soon-to-open Apple Store in Hangzhou, China, with stunning mural

Update: Apple has posted a version of the video with English subtitles on YouTube (embedded above).

Apple is certainly not thinking small when it comes to China, with 25 new retail stores promised within a two-year period, and its latest soon-to-open store in Hangzhou features a massive mural covering the entire front of the store. The store is due to open on Saturday, January 24th, the second of five new stores Angela Ahrendts said would be opening by the Chinese New Year on February 19th.

Featuring a poem written around 2000 years ago celebrating the importance of the city—a provincial capital—the stunning calligraphy was hand-painted by Wang Dongling, a famous modern calligrapher. Apple has released a video of its creation …  Read more