Beats announces Solo2 wireless headphones as first new product under Apple ownership

Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones

Following our exclusive report of FCC documents revealing that Beats was working on a new pair of headphones, the accessory maker this morning has announced its brand new Solo2 wireless headphones as its first new product since being acquired by Apple for $3 billion earlier this year. The headphones are set to launch in the United States this month at Apple Stores and select retailers for $299.95. Read more

Flashlight alpha app for Mac could show us the future of Spotlight

flashlight

Spotlight, the search tool built into OS X, got a lot smarter in Yosemite – but one developer thinks it could go a whole lot further. He’s developed Flashlight, an app that extends the capabilities of Spotlight to include weather animations and Wolfram Alpha searches.

More interestingly, he’s intending it to act as an unofficial API other developers can use to add functionality to Spotlight …  Read more

US-China trade deal set to reduce manufacturing costs for Apple, aims to cut prices for consumers

President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing (photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing (photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

A trade agreement reached between the U.S. and China looks set to reduce Apple’s manufacturing costs by removing import tariffs on components imported into the country.

Apple uses components from a number of countries around the world, notably Korea and Japan, which are imported into China for the assembly of iPhones, iPads and Macs. China currently imposes import tariffs on these components. The new deal would allow companies like Apple, Microsoft and HP to bring components into China free from these charges …  Read more

Apple surprises with A8X GPU, uses exclusive ‘semi-custom’ 8 cluster design

A8X-Mockup_575px

New chip analysis of the A8X powering the iPad Air 2 has revealed that it is even more powerful than it initially appeared.

Further analysis by AnandTech showed that initial guesses as to the GPU specification of the Apple A8X chip, exclusively available in the iPad Air 2, were wrong. In fact, the chip uses a unique 8 cluster design. AnandTech describes the discovery as “even better than I thought”. Although the customizations are limited, this represents a big step for the company as it is now dabbling in both custom CPU and GPU engineering, even if the leap over generally-available components in this instance is small.

Effectively, Apple has engineered a way to stick two Imagination GX6450 PowerVR chips on the same die. A die shot sourced by AnandTech confirmed this theory, although the site is unable to publish the image. Shown above is a mockup of what is going on internally.

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Flagship Apple Store and office space rumored for Broadway Trade Center in downtown Los Angeles

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Apple may be preparing to move into the historic Broadway Trade Center in downtown Los Angeles according to the latest rumor from ifo Apple Store. The company has reportedly leased the building for use as office space as well as a retail outlet.

Additionally, the report claims that some of that office space will be dedicated to the recently acquired Beats by Dre, which took up residence in a brand new Culver City facility earlier this summer.

The five-story structure was built in 1908 and boasts 1.1 million square feet of floor space. Apple would be a prime candidate for the space as the city continues a ten-year initiative to “Bring Back Broadway” by reviving the dormant theaters and other businesses in the area, including “more than a million square feet of vacant commercial space,” according to the commission’s website.

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Overcast 1.1 adds CarPlay, iPad layout and landscape mode on iPhone

Overcast 1.1 is out now, bringing several big improvements to the podcast client. The update adds rotation support for the iPhone, which is particularly helpful for people with car docks that enforce landscape device orientation. Arment tastefully uses popovers for the playback settings, a UI element that is generally underused on the iPhone.

For iPad, the app is now truly optimized for the larger canvas, making liberal use of split views and modal sheets. Given that Overcast prides itself on a clean appearance, a native iPad UI for navigation is very welcome indeed. Like the stock Mail app, a list view sits side-by-side with episode details like artwork and show notes. 9to5Mac reviewed Overcast when it originally launched, so check that out if you are looking for more details about the app’s functionality.

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Netflix updated for iOS 8, adds 1080p video playback for iPhone 6 Plus

Netflix for iPhone 6

Netflix updated its iPhone and iPad app to version 7.0 today adding optimization for the larger displays on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduced in September. The updated version of Netflix shows more content like titles and genres as well as previews of movies and TV shows when browsing for something to watch. In addition to optimizing the Netflix app for iPhone 6 users, Netflix says the new version of its app will now offer video playback in 1080p, full HD, for users with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Read more

Benefits of Apple Pay over CurrentC to retailers highlighted as Whole Foods transactions hit 1%

whole-foods

Shortly after retail chain Whole Foods announced that it had processed 150,000 Apple Pay transactions in the three weeks since the service was launched – estimated at around 1% of the company’s sales – a business author and senior Hitachi consultant has spoken about the twin attractions of Apple Pay for retailers.

Jim Maholic, author of Business Cases that Mean Business and vice president in Hitachi Consulting, said major retailers had two main reasons to favor Apple Pay over rival mobile payment service CurrentC …  Read more

Possible Apple-Alibaba partnership could lead to greatly accelerated rollout of Apple Pay in China

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The potential partnership between Apple and Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba could facilitate a far more rapid rollout of Apple Pay in the country than if Apple goes it alone, suggests a piece in the WSJ. Tim Cook first revealed that he was in talks with the company at the WSJ Digital conference last month.

One possible scenario is for Alibaba’s financial affiliate, which owns the Alipay electronic-payment business in China, to provide back-end services for Apple’s Apple Pay payment system, allowing iPhone users to pay with Apple Pay using the money from their Alipay accounts, Mr. Tsai said.

Such an arrangement would be significant for two reasons …  Read more