Details on Apple’s enterprise push with IBM emerge as company courts app developers & clients

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A new report from Reuters citing sources at Apple familiar with the company’s plans for future corporate offerings has unveiled new details on the Cupertino corporation’s efforts to recruit business clients and software developers. According to these sources, Apple is currently courting companies such as Citigroup, ServiceMax, and PlanGrid (among others) to augment its current IBM enterprise agreement.

The exact nature of the proposed partnerships between these companies hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the general idea is similar to the IBM arrangement. ServiceMax, a company that creates solutions for managing field technicians, and PlanGrid, which allows construction workers to share blueprints with each other, will both agree to roll out Apple hardware with custom software to their clients.

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iPhone 6: Will it bend?

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Some iPhone 6 owners have found that Apple’s latest and greatest phone comes with an unexpected (but patented!) new feature: flexibility. According to reports, the iPhone 6 is slightly bending beyond repair while in pockets. Some users say that the bending occurred after normal sitting, while other people have had more active lifestyles. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Apple will replace these more fragile-than-expected units at no cost. Some users are reporting that replacement costs are in the hundreds of dollars range. Additional bending pictures below:

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Costco to begin selling AppleCare+ for iPhone and iPad tomorrow

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Just in time for the iPhone 6, an internal memo sent to employees at Costco stores indicates that the company will begin offerring AppleCare+ on iPhones and iPads sold through its wireless kiosks tomorrow. The notice details the process for selling the extended warranties and states that the offer only applies to “connected/embedded iPads” sold at the kiosk, not those sold on the sales floor.

The wholesaler only recently started carrying Apple’s mobile products again earlier this year after a multi-year spat that resulted in the decision to remove them from Costco shelves. The devices are available both through the company’s website and in-store through its specialized mobile sales kiosks.

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Apple outlines iOS diagnostics capabilities in response to backdoor data breach claims

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Earlier this week, Apple denied claims that it had hidden secret backdoors in its iOS platform that could allow the government or malicious users to extract a variety of critical and personal details about a device’s user from an iPhone or iPad, sometimes storing that data in unencrypted formats.

Today, the company published a new document on its support website explaining the diagnostic tools that iOS uses to collect data for troubleshooting and other purposes. According to the document:

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iPhone & iPad AppleCare+ purchase window extended to 60 days as standard plan discontinued

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Apple today will be rolling out a couple of significant changes to its AppleCare support offerings. As we detailed in a report last month regarding Apple’s future plans for AppleCare, Apple will making a significant push for its premium AppleCare+ service. AppleCare+ is the iPhone and iPad protection plan offering that provides support for an additional two years (on top of the free 90 days of support) and support for up to two incidents of accidental damage.

Previously, customers were required to buy the plan within 30 days of purchase of an iPhone or iPad, but today’s change brings that purchase window to 60 days. This gives customers more time to decide if they will need enhanced support for their mobile Apple devices. The AppleCare+ plan costs $99 for both recent iPhone and iPad models. The plan can be purchased both via Apple’s Online Store or inside of official Apple retail stores. The AppleCare+ change is supported in all AppleCare+ regions except Japan, where the timeframe remains 30 days…

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Significant enhancements coming to AppleCare+, Apple IDs, iOS support

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Apple’s vice president of AppleCare and technical support initiatives, Tara Bunch, held a Town Hall meeting for for AppleCare employees earlier this week, according to several employees in attendance who asked to remain anonymous. During the meeting, Bunch, along with a few other Apple executives, spoke about Apple’s progress in customer service and support over the past few years, improvements from 2013 to 2014, and future plans.

Throughout the meeting, Bunch noted that customer satisfaction numbers from AppleCare and Apple product users are at the top of the industry. Going into the 15th year of AppleCare, Bunch asked employees to celebrate and be proud of their accomplishments, but she also noted that Apple still has room to improve its support practices. Employees in attendance during the meeting have shared some details regarding Apple’s future plans for its support initiatives…

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Apple formally acknowledges iMessage issue, says bug fix coming in a ‘future software update’

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In a statement to Re/code, Apple has acknowledged the iMessage issue which affects customers who switch away from the iPhone, without disabling iMessage. This means that texts to these users are never delivered, as iPhone devices continue to use the iMessage protocol on the phone number that is no longer associated with an iPhone. Aside from a second-hand report by an AppleCare representative, this is Apple’s first official response to the recent criticism.

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Apple reportedly acknowledges hijacked text message problem

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Adam Pash, former lead editor of Lifehacker, reports that Apple has acknowledged a problem we’ve heard reported before: text messages continue to be converted to iMessages and forwarded to an Apple ID even when that ID is no longer in use. This means that any text messages sent from an iPhone are reported as delivered while actually disappearing into the ether.

[The AppleCare rep] explained:

  1. This is a problem a lot of people are facing.
  2. The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it.
  3. There are no reliable solutions right now — for some people the standard fixes work immediately; many others are in my boat …

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Apple launches new program to repair faulty iPhone 5 sleep buttons

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Apple today launched a new program that will allow iPhone 5 owners to have devices with fautly sleep buttons repaired at no cost. Apple says it has identified an issue with some devices that can cause the button to fail on a “small percentage” of these devices. iPhone owners can use a new page on Apple’s support site to determine if their phone is eligible for repair.

Unfortunately for these users, the phones won’t be replaced or repaired in-store. Instead, the phone has to be sent to an Apple Repair Center, which means the entire process can take up to a week to be completed.

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Apple flips the switch on paid chat support, introduces Here to Help program for AppleCare employees

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Following our report late last month that Apple was preparing to start charging for out-of-warranty online chat support, we’ve been informed that today Apple support has finally flipped the switch on the new feature and started charging customers. While originally planned for earlier this month, Apple has been having difficulties with a new payment system it developed specifically for the online chat feature. Apple is also introducing a new training program for AppleCare employees called “Here to Help” that it hopes will improve the overall AppleCare support experience.  Read more

You can now buy iPad Airs at the Apple Store (refurb) for $419/16GB or $509/32GB with 1 year warranty

From 9to5Toys.com:

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lm-tile-refurbipad_LANG_ENThe Apple Store just got filled with refurbished iPad Airs in a few varieties starting at $419 for 16GB and $509 for 32GB in both Space Grey or White. That’s $80/$90 off the new price and the lowest price we’ve seen for iPad Airs with Apple’s 1 year AppleCare warranty (we saw them new for $430 last week). Apple certified refurbished products look and act like new, come with all manuals and accessories, a new outer shell batter and come in a new white box.

Walmart still has refurbished iPad Airs for $399 but with a more dubious 90-day non-Apple warranty. Meanwhile, if you are after new iPad Airs, Staples currently has them for $50 off across the board.  Read more

All Apple websites could be blocked in Belgium over AppleCare controversy

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Belgian Apple Store concept image: belgium-iphone.lesoir.be

A Belgian judge is reportedly considering ordering local ISPs to block access to all Apple websites in the country in response to a long-running dispute over the company’s promotion of AppleCare warranties, according to local newspapers cited by Tech.eu.

A case brought by the consumer protection group FPS Economy argued that Apple misleads consumers by claiming a standard warranty of one year, and selling an optional AppleCare extension, when EU law means that manufacturers are legally obliged to offer a minimum warranty of two years as standard …  Read more