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

Inbox by Gmail iOS app now has full iPad version, still requires invite at present

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Inbox by Gmail, which Google appears to view as a replacement for the popular email client Sparrow, has been very quietly updated, notes TechCrunch, to include a native build for iPad. The app is currently only available in some countries (including the U.S.), and neither the App Store description nor What’s New entry mention the iPad build.

The app, which our hands-on last October described as “a marriage between Gmail and Google Now,” has tended to polarise views, some loving it, others hating it–with very few falling between the two …  Read more

VLC for iOS back in the App Store for some/upgraders, should be available to all shortly

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The VLC for iOS app–a favorite media player for many–has returned to the App Store in some countries and is expected to be available for all shortly. Some existing US users (us included!) are also reporting on Reddit being able to update to the latest version (2.4.1) if they have the previous version from before it was removed.

The app has something of a checkered history in the App Store, first removed from the store way back in 2011 after a licensing dispute; the original open-source developers claiming that the App Store terms were incompatible with the GNU Public License for the code. The app finally returned in 2013 before disappearing once more last September …  Read more

Opinion: Could Apple’s Pinterest profile be an early step toward properly-curated apps?

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iOS and Android are completely different worlds when it comes to apps. Android is pretty much the wild west, with little control over quality or even safety (malware is commonplace). iOS, on a non-jailbroken device, is a walled garden, where Apple decides what apps can and can’t do, and which ones get approved for sale.

Yet despite that carefully-controlled approach, the App Store can still feel like a bit of a jungle. Which is why I wonder whether the Pinterest tie-in announced yesterday may offer hope for the future.

But let’s start with the problem I think needs to be solved, and that problem begins with search. Results may vary by country, and you can try the searches for yourself to compare your results with mine, but here’s what I get for a few obvious app searches …  Read more

Tim Cook insists iPad prospects still rosy despite 18% drop in sales, 22% fall in revenue

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Apple’s press release yesterday noted “all-time record revenue from iPhone and Mac sales as well as record performance of the App Store,” while remaining silent on iPad sales. The reason? The slide continued last quarter, with year-on-year sales down 18%, and a reduction in average selling price meaning revenue was down 22%.

Tim Cook acknowledges that the switch to larger-screened iPhones mean the iPad is being squeezed from both sides.

There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with the Mac on one side and the phone on the other.

It’s also undeniable that people upgrade their iPads less frequently than their iPhones–Cook putting the number at “somewhere between” the 2-year cycle of the iPhone and 5-year cycle of Mac–meaning that Apple needs to find a continual stream of customers buying an iPad for the first time …  Read more

Apple hires Burberry’s VP of Digital Retail initiatives ahead of Watch launch

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Apple has made yet another key hire from the fashion industry: Chester Chipperfield, the Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design at Burberry. Chipperfield was “responsible for User Experience and Digital Design for all channels” and was “highly involved in digital retail initiatives” at Burberry, according to his LinkedIn profile. He confirmed the move to Apple on his profile as well as on Twitter

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Apple targets for Apple Watch battery life revealed, A5-caliber CPU inside

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Although Apple has said that the Apple Watch will need to be charged nightly, the company has not disclosed any details on how long the wearable’s battery will last. For the first time, people with knowledge of the Apple Watch’s development have provided us with the specific performance targets Apple wants to achieve for the Apple Watch battery, but the actual numbers may fall short of those targets.

According to our sources, Apple opted to use a relatively powerful processor and high-quality screen for the Apple Watch, both of which contribute to significant power drain. Running a stripped-down version of iOS codenamed SkiHill, the Apple S1 chip inside the Apple Watch is surprisingly close in performance to the version of Apple’s A5 processor found inside the current-generation iPod touch, while the Retina-class color display is capable of updating at a fluid 60 frames per second.

Apple initially wanted the Apple Watch battery to provide roughly one full day of usage, mixing a comparatively small amount of active use with a larger amount of passive use. As of 2014, Apple wanted the Watch to provide roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use versus 19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode. Sources, however, say that Apple will only likely achieve approximately 2-3 days in either the standby or low-power modes…

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iOS developers share their earnings, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way

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If you write iOS apps and wonder how your earnings compare against those of other developers – or you have an idea for an app, and are wondering whether it’s worth pursuing – it can be tough to find any hard information. We hear occasional stories about hugely successful apps like Flappy Bird making hundreds of thousands of dollars per day, and we know there are some apps with literally zero downloads to their name, but what about the middle ground?

Jared Sinclair, developer of the RSS reader Unread, decided last year to share both his earnings from the app, and the lessons he’d learned along the way. It’s taken six months, but several other developers started the new year by following his example, with numbers and lessons shared for podcast player Overcast, graphical game Monument Valley and developer aid Dash …  Read more

IDC: Q4 2014 PC growth better than expected, all-time high for Macs predicted

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Analysis firm IDC today put out its projected numbers for PC growth in Q4 of 2014, and these results are better than projected. IDC initially predicted that unit sales for PCs would fall 4.8% year-over-year in Q4, but, instead, the market only fell 2.4%. While the decrease in growth is not as weak as expected, IDC still notes that 2014 is the third consecutive year of slow-down in the PC market. Many analysts have attributed the lack of recent growth to the uptake in purchases and usage of both tablets and large-screen smartphones…

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French app to show support for Je Suis Charlie campaign approved in one hour after contacting Tim Cook

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As iOS developers will know, it can take a while to get a new iPhone app approved, with one online tracker showing that the average time is currently around ten days. The developers of a free app enabling people to express support for the Je Suis Charlie campaign following the terrorist attack in France didn’t want to wait. French news agency Nice-Matin emailed Tim Cook to request an expedited review, an assistant replied ten minutes later promising a review within the hour, and the app is now online.

Literally translated as “I am Charlie,” the phrase voices support for freedom of speech and a refusal to be silenced by terrorists …

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Higher European app store pricing takes effect in line with earlier email to developers

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Update: It appears subscriptions through iTunes (like magazines) that saw price increases have seen the auto-renew function disabled, a 9to5Mac reader reports, likely to avoid a higher subscription rate being charged, although users have not yet been notified of the change.

Apple has increased the prices of apps in all countries in the European Union in line with the email sent to developers a couple of days ago. Apple has made the move in response to shifts in currency exchange rates and varying tax rules.

Prices are also being increased in Norway and Russia, though Icelandic residents will see a price cut …  Read more