Apple granted five patents covering the overall design of the Apple Watch

apple-watch-design-patent

As spotted by Patently Apple, Apple was today granted five patents covering the form factor and overall design of the Apple Watch. The patent images show the near-invisible bezel, Digital Crown, contacts button, rear sensors and strap attachment slots.

The company was last month granted patents on three of its watch bands – the Sport Band, Classic Buckle and Link Bracelet – and we’re likely to see many more watch-related patents granted in the coming months …  Read more

Apple/IBM partnership piloting scheme with Japan Post to monitor the elderly

Apple IBM Japan Post

A low-tech scheme where postal workers from Japan Post check-in on how elderly residents are doing is about to go hi-tech with the help of iPads, reports the WSJ. The pilot scheme – one of the fruits of the Apple/IBM partnership – will see Japan Post hand out free iPads to 1,000 older citizens to allow closer and more frequent checks.

“By handing iPads to the elderly, we can closely check in on them more often—not only confirming if they are doing fine but also making sure that they are not involved in any trouble like a scam targeting the elderly,” a Japan Post official said on Thursday.

Data from the iPads will be analyzed by IBM’s Watson computer, reports Nikkei
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Apple will soon let you shop the Apple Store from your Apple Watch

watch

Amazon and Target won’t be the only major retailers on your wrist for long: sources say that Apple is finishing up work on a version of its Apple Store application for the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch app will come “soon” as part of an update to the Apple Store iPhone and iPad application, and will likely enable customers to make certain types of Apple Store purchases from their wrists, as well as receiving Apple Store-related notifications. As the Apple Watch does not have a keyboard, more involved orders will require the user to move over to the iPhone app. Apple will ask employees to push Apple Store app installations for the Apple Watch to customers this summer, when the Watch goes on sale in Apple’s own stores. Until then, retail employees will be encouraged to show off the Apple Store app on demo Apple Watches.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on why he’s still optimistic about the iPad despite significant decline in sales

ipad-sales(Credit Quartz)

Tim Cook has once again defended the iPad in the face of continued falling sales, arguing that the “underlying data” paints a more positive picture than the pure sales numbers, and predicting that there will be future iPad growth.

As Quartz noted, the 23% year-on-year fall in iPad shipments to 12.6M means that iPad revenue actually dropped below Mac revenue for the second time since 2011. Cook again acknowledged that other Apple products cannibalize iPad sales, the iPhone 6 Plus a strong competitor on one side and the MacBook Air and new 12-inch MacBook on the other, but said that there were a number of reasons to be positive about the future of the iPad …  Read more

China finally overtakes U.S. in iPhone sales, Chinese revenue up 71%

Hangzhou Opens Second Apple Store

Pundits have been predicting for several successive quarters that iPhone sales in China would outstrip those in the U.S., and Q2 2015 was when it finally happened, reports Reuters.

Apple […] sold more iPhones in China than the United States for the first time […] increasing its revenue in the country 71 percent to $16.8 billion, although that was helped by gift-buying for Chinese New Year.

Tim Cook said that the iPhone was responsible for the bulk of Apple’s revenue in China, though he did also note that Mac sales were “unbelievable,” up 31% year-on-year. As with other markets, the iPhone is usually the first Apple product people buy, but that brings them into the ecosystem and boosts sales of other products …  Read more

Apple releases iOS 8.4 beta 2 to developers with revamped Music app

IMG_0814

A couple of weeks following the first beta, Apple today released iOS 8.4 beta 2 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 8.4 beta 2 is available via Software Update for those running the first beta, and it should be available for download soon via the Apple Developer Website.Apple has also released the iOS 8.4 Public Beta 1, which corresponds to this second developer seed, and Xcode 6.4 beta 2.

As we first reported, iOS 8.4 brings a revamped Music app to iOS with a new design, a Mini-Player feature, improved search, and a larger focus on album artwork. At WWDC, Apple will announce the new Music app and its integration with a new Beats-based streaming music service. We’ll update this post live as new features in the second beta are discovered.

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AAPL’s numbers today are going to be huge, analysts predict: double-digit growth in all but iPads

aapl-q2-2015

With Apple set to reveal its fiscal Q2 earnings after market close today, analysts are expecting double-digit year-over-year growth in all categories except iPads. Fortune‘s roundup says that analysts predict revenue of $56.84B, up a massive 24.5% year-over-year, and above the top end of Apple’s $52-55M guidance. Earnings per share is predicted to be $2.21, up a third on the previous year, with gross margin just shy of Apple’s top-end guidance at 39.4%.

Double-digit growth is expected in both iPhones and Macs. For iPhones, the prediction includes sales just under 56M, 32.6% higher than the same quarter last year, while Mac sales are forecasted to hit 4.7M, 13.6% up on last year …  Read more

Apple moves to third-generation Siri back-end, built on open-source Mesos platform

siri-mesos

Apple is now on its third-generation system for handling Siri queries, moving to the open source Mesos platform, according to the Mesosphere blog. Apple reportedly made the announcement at the Bay Area Mesos meetup last week.

During a presentation, Apple engineers said that the switch to Mesos would reduce latency, assist scalability, and made it easier to deploy new services as Siri’s capabilities are expanded …  Read more

1.7M US Apple Watch orders to date, 22% of them shipped – Slice Intelligence

apple-watch-shipping

Slice Intelligence, which earlier estimated first-day US Apple Watch pre-orders at just under a million, said that the number has now reached 1.7M, and that 376,000 of them have shipped – around 22% of pre-orders. KGI has estimated worldwide shipments of 631,000 in Q1, with Q2 shipments expected to hit 3.8M.

Slice gathers its data by scanning the email inboxes of more than two million participating online shoppers and extrapolating its numbers from there. Of those panel members who ordered an Apple Watch, 22% of them were given a shipping date of Friday to Sunday inclusive …

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Apple patent application shows how Force Touch could in future simulate more than just clicks

Apple's existing Force Touch mechanism

Apple’s existing Force Touch mechanism

An Apple patent application published today shows that the Force Touch trackpad used in the 12-inch MacBook and latest 13-inch MacBook Pro could get more sophisticated in future versions. The patent describes how a mix of vibration and temperature could fool your finger into ‘feeling’ different surfaces, such as metal and wood.

For example, a glass surface may be controlled to have the temperature of a relatively cooler metal material and/or a relatively warmer wood material […]

In some cases, the temperature may be varied over time, such as in response to one or more touches detected using one or more touch sensors. For example, a metal material may increase in temperature while touched in response to heat from a user’s finger.

The patent describes how vibrations could be used to simulate a textured surface, such as the grain of a wooden surface …  Read more