Apple will fight iOS bugs with first-ever iOS Public Betas: 8.3 in March, 9 in summer

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In an effort to eliminate bugs from upcoming iOS versions ahead of their general releases, Apple plans to launch the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, according to multiple people briefed on the plans. Following the successful launch of the OS X Public Beta program with OS X Yosemite last year, Apple intends to release the upcoming iOS 8.3 as a public beta via the company’s existing AppleSeed program in mid-March, according to the sources. This release will match the third iOS 8.3 beta for developers, which is planned for release the same week. Apple then expects to debut iOS 9 at its June Worldwide Developer Conference, with a public beta release during the summer, and final release in the fall…

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Revealed: The experts Apple hired to build an electric car

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In the last few weeks we’ve heard about a poaching war between Apple and Tesla, a couple hires by Apple from the auto industry, and a whole lot of speculation followed by reports that Apple has a team of hundreds working on an electric vehicle. But who exactly is working on the project at Apple?

We can learn a lot about the scope of the research Apple is doing from the talent on the team, so we’ve talked to our sources and compiled a list of some key employees Apple has hired and assigned to the project. 

A couple things we learn from the hires: Evident by this long list of automotive experts, it’s clear Apple’s ambitions go well beyond just its iOS-based CarPlay in-dash system. Well beyond software too, as many of the names below are hardware engineers coming from Tesla, Ford and other notable automotive related areas. In fact, the majority of employees on this list that are reporting to team leader Steve Zadesky come from an automotive hardware background and many only joined Apple recently or around the time Cook reportedly approved the electric car project. 

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Happy Hour Podcast 002 | Getting the facts straight about Apple’s mystery car project

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Welcome to the second installment of the revamped Happy Hour podcast. Today we’re talking all about cars. Apple cars. Do they exist? Well, that’s anyone’s guess at this point, but there are a lot of details that line up for this to become a possibility. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…

Click here to subscribe on iTunes or listen to the second episode embedded above.

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Motorola president responds to Ive criticism in New Yorker profile, says Apple charging ‘outrageous prices’

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In an amusing retaliation to Jony Ive’s opinion of Motorola’s Moto Maker, Motorola president described their company as a ‘different philosophy’ as well as directly attacking Apple’s product lineup, describing iPhone prices as ‘outrageous’ in a conversation with the BBC. Read more

IDC: Xiaomi’s growth tops Samsung in China, but Apple is making a dent too

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According to the latest numbers from IDC, Xiaomi—the rising star of the smartphone industry—has managed to pass up Samsung in China. In 2013, Xiaomi trailed Samsung’s almost 19% market share by a solid 13 percentage points (at just 5.3%), and was only the 5th largest maker of smartphones in China. Things changed in 2014. Last year, Xiaomi finished off with 12.5% of the market, almost a half-point more than Samsung at 12.1%, taking the top spot and passing not just Samsung, but Lenovo, Huawei, and Coolpad as well.

Interestingly, though, the latest numbers also show that Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus contributed to a decent size dent in both Samsung and Xiaomi’s market footprint in Q4 of last year. Read more

Apple reportedly terminated contract w/ Alabama lobbyist over his same-sex marriage opposition

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Tim Cook’s Apple is no stranger to standing up for social issues including marriage equality.

Almost a year ago to date, the company—not just Tim Cook—voiced public opposition to anti-gay legislation in Arizona which was surprisingly vetoed after weeks of public attention. The company also embraced last year’s annual Pride parade in San Francisco with an official video highlighting participation by thousand of employees and family members. There’s also Tim Cook’s widely praised essay published last year in which he first publicly acknowledged being gay—a first for a Fortune 500 chief executive.

So when Apple realized it hired a former politician with a history of promoting anti-gay legislation to lobby on its behalf to the Alabama Congress, it’s no surprise that the company reportedly severed ties with the individual… Read more

Can you guess the price of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch?

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Can you guess the price of the gold Apple Watch? There has been a lot of speculation about how much the 42mm and 38mm versions of the 18-karat Apple Watch Edition will cost, but we wanted to poll the 9to5Mac community to see where everyone stands. Put your guess in the comments, vote using the polls below, and we’ll check back in April to point fingers, etc.

We do have some clues about how much it might cost: We reported recently that Apple Stores are being prepped with jewelry store-style touches for the Apple Watch launch, including safes that will store the expensive 18-karat gold Watch Edition models. That could be a hint that we’re looking at a product pricier than anything Apple currently has in stock at its stores. Read more

Apple granted patent for Google Cardboard/Samsung-Oculus style VR headset for iPhone

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Apple is about to go head-to-head with Google on smartwatches and also encroaching on Google’s territory with research into electric and possibly autonomous vehicles, but what about virtual reality? Today we get a look at yet another area in which Apple might compete with Google as the US Patent and Trademark office grants a patent to Apple for a Google Cardboard/Samsung-Oculus style VR headset for iPhone (via PatentlyApple). Read more

Apple invites developers to Cupertino to finish Apple Watch apps, test out device

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Apple has been working with several third-party App Store developers at its Cupertino, California offices to assist developers in finishing up applications for the upcoming Apple Watch. Development and design representatives from dozens of different development firms have visited Apple last week, or are coming to Cupertino this week, to work with Apple engineers to finish up WatchKit-based applications. One source claims that Apple is holding workshops for over 100 different developers across February. Apple also met with a smaller number of developers to assist with WatchKit development and discuss future plans in early January…

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Inside Apple’s new offices in Herzliya, Israel [Gallery]

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Apple is opening up a new suite of offices inside Israel this week, with CEO Tim Cook reportedly visiting Israel in part to inaugurate the new workspace. Recent reports have indicated that the offices will hold approximately 800 employees across 180,000 square feet of space.

Today, Israel-based website GSM-Israel has published purported photos of the upcoming new Apple space in Herzliya. The construction, features, and tables are all in line with Apple’s offices in others parts of the world. A full gallery of the new offices can be viewed below.

Apple has a history of working in Israel from purchases of companies like Anobit and PrimeSense, to the construction of research and development offices. Cook has also previously met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During this upcoming visit, Cook will reportedly meet with former President Shimon Peres.

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