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

1.3 GHz, built-to-order MacBooks begin preparing to ship following charges

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Apple has started to charge the credit cards of customers who ordered the highest-end 1.3GHz version of the 12-inch MacBook, according to emails from 9to5Mac readers. The customized, built-to-order MacBook went on sale earlier this month with 3-4 week shipping times for even the earliest orders, and Apple originally promised a delivery timeframe of May 8th to May 15th. As we saw with Apple Watch credit card charges earlier this week, it seems plausible that Apple already charging customers for the 1.3 GHz MacBook could indicate that shipments of the new laptop will begin occurring sooner than originally expected. However, readers have yet to report any signs of UPS or FedEx tracking numbers, or their Apple Online Store status pages moving from “Processing” to “Preparing for Shipment.”

Update: Several readers reporting that their MacBooks are now preparing to ship, several weeks early:

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First screenshots of top Apple Watch apps revealed by new tool [Gallery]

While hundreds of apps for the Apple Watch have been announced and detailed, screenshots of most of the major applications have yet to be revealed, until now. Developer Steven Troughton-Smith has created a tool to view screenshots of Apple Watch applications by pasting in the link to the existing iPhone application. Below, we’ve put together several galleries of several notable Apple Watch applications, including Twitter, Instagram, Uber, Starbucks, and Apple’s own Keynote presentation remote. We’ll be updating this post live as more application screenshots are discovered. WatchAware is also showcasing more interactive previews of over 2000 Apple Watch apps.

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Jony Ive opens Condé Nast luxury conference, talks mass-made ‘craftsmanship’, partnership with Marc Newson

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Apple design head Jony Ive has given the opening interview at the first Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, in which he justified the concept of a mass-produced Apple Watch as worthy of the label ‘craftsmanship.’

It’s not so much about things being touched personally – there are many ways to craft something. It’s easy to assume that just because you make something in small volumes, not using many tools, that there is integrity and care – that is a false assumption.

Newson echoed this comment, reports Vogue, saying that machines are simply tools, much like a craftsman making a hand-made product might use a drill …  Read more

OS X 10.10.3 update failed to fix Rootpipe vulnerability, says former NSA staffer

A former NSA staffer says that the OS X 10.10.3 update which Apple claims fixed a significant security vulnerability has failed to do so, reports Forbes. Patrick Wardle, who now heads up research at security firm Synack, demonstrated the vulnerability in a video (without revealing exactly how it was done) to allow Apple time to issue a further fix.

The Rootpipe vulnerability allows an attacker with local access to a Mac to escalate their privileges to root – allowing them full control of the machine – without further authentication. A second security researcher confirmed the flaw …  Read more

L.A. Unified School District may sue Apple for “millions of dollars” over failed iPad project

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The Los Angeles Unified School District is exploring the possibility of litigation against Apple over the failed project intended to provide every student with an iPad, reports the LA Times.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is seeking to recoup millions of dollars from technology giant Apple over a problem-plagued curriculum that was provided with iPads intended to be given to every student, teacher and administrator.

The project ran into early problems when students figured out how to bypass the restrictions designed to ensure the devices could be used only for school work, shortly before the district was accused of having miscalculated the cost of the program. The program was suspended last year, and later abandoned after deciding iPads were the wrong device. This was far from the end of the story, however …  Read more

No Apple Watches in store until June, Ahrendts tells staff as April 24th date removed from website

apple-watch-availability

Angela Ahrendts has told Apple Store staff that the Apple Watch is unlikely to be available for in-store purchases before June – but they should expect the usual ‘blockbuster launches’ in retail stores for future products.

In a memo to retail store staff, Apple’s retail head thanked staff for making the try-ons “unforgettable,” told them customer feedback had been “overwhelmingly positive” and that the online-only ordering period was likely to continue throughout May.

Many of you have been getting questions asking if we will have the watch available in stores on April 24 for walk-in purchases. As we announced last week, due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I’ll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May.

Ahrendts said that the decision to do things this way had not been an easy one …  Read more

Chinese Apple Pay launch delayed by stalled bank negotiations, maybe UK too

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The launch of Apple Pay in China, originally expected to be part of iOS 8.3, has been delayed by stalled negotiations with both the state-owned card processor UnionPay and Chinese banks, reports MarketWatch. Developers had originally been told that iOS 8.3 would support UnionPay, but found that support was missing when the update rolled out last week.

A UnionPay employee who declined to be named said the company has not reached any agreements with the U.S. tech company, and no timetable for cooperation has been set […]

Those sources also say Apple has not made any breakthroughs in talks with Chinese banks, which would also have to agree for the Apple Pay system to work.

The banks are reportedly unhappy about the cut Apple takes from each transaction …  Read more

Opinion: I’ve seen the future of Apple’s online/offline retail experience, and it’s magic

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‘Seen’ is something of an exaggeration, but ‘had a small glimpse of’ would have made for a rather lengthy headline.

Despite the fact that I’d placed my Apple Watch order online within a few minutes of pre-orders opening, I also made a same-day appointment for a try-on. This was partly because I wanted to handle the watch right away: Apple PR does not smile on a website that consistently reports upcoming product information, so we are firmly crossed-off the list of invitees to launches. But it was also partly because I was curious how the watch would be presented by store staff.

But let me begin by backing up a step or two …  Read more

Polling data suggests the Sport made up 55-60% of all Apple Watch sales to date

apple-watch-sport

With estimated Apple Watch preorders getting close to a million, a number of polls suggest that the Sport made up between 55% and 60% of these. Our own poll, by far the largest of those featured in a Fortune roundup, put Sport sales at just under 56% based on 11,865 responses at the time.

A second poll of just over 5,000 responses showed a slightly higher number of 59%, while a pre-sale poll of purchase intentions put the number at 60%. Only one poll differed markedly from this range, but that was based on a much smaller number of respondents so is likely to be less reliable …  Read more