Apple gets closer to opening up its first store in Belgium

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New Brussels shopping complex La Toison d’Or

Apple is getting closer to taking its retail stores to a new market: Belgium. According to sources within Apple retail, Apple today sent out a memo announcing the new market. The note also was sent to gauge interest from employees who may be inclined to relocate to Belgium to assist with opening up the new location…

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Report: Apple in talks w/ Russian labels ahead of new music service, international iTunes Radio rollout

Apple Watch + Music

Apple Watch + Music

We’ve reported extensively on what Apple has in store for its new revamped music service that will come alongside an international expansion of iTunes Radio, and today reports from Russian publication Vedomosti (via Billboard) hint that Russia will be one market Apple is aiming to launch in soon… Read more

Apple’s planned iOS 9 ‘Home’ app uses virtual rooms to manage HomeKit accessories

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Apple’s plan to manage upcoming HomeKit-compatible accessories could revolve around a new iOS app called “Home,” according to sources familiar with the app. Introduced at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, HomeKit is an Apple initiative designed to encourage accessory makers to integrate “connected home” accessories such as Wi-Fi garage door openers, smart thermostats akin to Nest’s Learning Thermostat, and wireless door locks with iPhones and iPads. Using Siri or the Home app, users will be able to remotely control parts of their homes directly from iOS devices…

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Apple plans to refresh iOS 9, OS X 10.11 using new Apple Watch font

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Apple is currently planning to use the new system font developed for the Apple Watch to refresh the looks of iPads, iPhones, and Macs running iOS 9 “Monarch” and OS X 10.11 “Gala,” according to sources with knowledge of the preparations. Current plans call for the Apple-designed San Francisco font to replace Helvetica Neue, which came to iOS 7 in 2013 and OS X Yosemite just last year, beginning with a June debut at WWDC…

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Review: Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock plays nice with iPhones, cases, and even iPads

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Four years ago, I wondered why Apple sold such seemingly simple plastic docks for $29, so I cut two of them in half to see what was inside. I was impressed: in addition to a larger-than-expected collection of electronic components, they were filled with substantial zinc plates that kept Apple’s devices standing safely upright, no easy feat since the docks kept shrinking every year. The only problem: most (but not all) of Apple’s docks have been model-specific and case-unfriendly, issues that were particularly pronounced in the official iPhone 5s Dock and iPhone 5c Dock. When Twelve South released the handsome multi-device and case-compatible HiRise and HiRise Deluxe, many people — including me — had no need for a more limited, Apple-designed alternative.

Somewhat belatedly, Apple has just released the iPhone Lightning Dock ($39), its first docking solution for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It’s not clear why Apple took its time releasing this accessory, which uncharacteristically has a 2014 date on the back of its box. But it’s the dock Apple should have released three years ago, delivering case compatibility, multi-device support, and the expected Apple minimalism. It has no back support for your iPhone, instead relying on a stiffened and modestly padded Lightning connector to hold your device on the traditional Apple light recline. And it also includes an audio-out port, which has been absent from all of its third-party rivals. Now that Apple has released the right sort of dock, should you consider buying one?…

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Review: Dotti & Notti, fun (if pointless) ways to receive notifications

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My conclusion in my Skeptic’s Apple Watch diary series was that the device didn’t really have a unique selling-point to me, but was a slightly more convenient way to receive notifications. Ultimately, though, I kept it because it was a cool gadget.

The same argument, I think, would have to be deployed to justify what are really a couple of fun toys that happen to alert you to notifications: Dotti and Notti …  Read more

Apple readies first significant Apple Watch updates, ’TVKit’ SDK for Apple TV

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Nearly a month after the release of the first-generation Apple Watch with Watch OS 1.0, a proven source has disclosed a collection of upcoming Apple Watch software and hardware updates. Currently in development, the features seek to enhance Apple Watch security, connectivity with other Apple devices, health and fitness features, Wi-Fi capabilities, and integration with third-party applications. Additionally, Apple is also priming major updates for the Apple TV in both the hardware and software departments, including Apple Watch integration. Below, we detail what users can expect from Apple Watches and Apple TVs in the future…

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US appeals court partly reverses Apple’s $930M patent win against Samsung, may reduce award to $548M

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has partially reversed the $930M verdict Apple won against Samsung in the long-running iPhone patent case, reports Reuters.

Apple was originally awarded $1B in damages, before $450M of that was vacated and a retrial ordered to determine a revised sum. The retrial awarded Apple $290M instead for that element of the case, giving Apple a revised total award of $930M.

Samsung appealed, and has today been partially successful, making it a near-certainty that the $930M award will be reduced by up to $382M …  Read more