Apple Store app redesigned, gains upcoming events feature, synchronized shopping

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Ahead of its major media event next week, Apple has issued a significant update to its Apple Store shopping iOS app. The first addition is a complete redesign for the iPhone and iPod touch application’s interface. The new design is more in-line with the recently released iPad variant. Speaking of the iPad version, the tablet-optimized layout is now a universal bundle (single download) with the iPhone/iPod touch version, and it has also gained support for making Apple Store One to One reservations. The app also has a new Stores section to search for upcoming events at local Apple Stores. There is also a new icon. Perhaps the most significant new feature is support for synchronizing shopping between iOS devices and desktop computers. For example, you can start shopping on your Mac and continue via the app on your iPhone. Apple (rightfully so) doesn’t want to a miss a single iPhone 6 or iWatch/iBand sale.

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Will the iPhone 6 include a reversible USB cable? Recent Apple patent makes it possible.

Reversible USB

The iPhone 6’s packaging might not only include a redesigned smartphone, but a redesigned USB to Lightning cable. While it’s unlikely that Apple will yet-again change the Lightning port introduced with the 2012 iPhone 5 anytime in the near future, a redesigned version of the USB plug could be ready for this fall. Sketchy photos of a reversible USB cable first surfaced on the web last week, and Sonny Dickson yesterday shared another shot of the cables via Twitter.

Like the Lightning connector, the benefit of a reversible USB connector is that it can be inserted into a USB port in either direction. This makes it easier to insert the connector in darkly lit or hard to reach places (like behind a desk). Due to uncertain sourcing, the first batch of photos did not seem completely believable, but digging a little deeper into the situation reveals that Apple readying a reversible USB iPhone cable is a real possibility…

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Apple releases iOS 8 beta 5 to developers with Health enhancements, UI tweaks

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As expected, Apple has released iOS 8 beta 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to developers this morning. This update, like the past betas, includes various performance and bug fixes. The previous beta brought various minor user-interface touch-ups and a new Tips app to iOS 8. We’ll be updating this post as new discoveries are made in iOS 8 beta, and you can send us what you find to tips@9to5mac.com. You can find what’s new in beta 5, below:

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Claimed next-gen iPad Air rear shell photos show redesigned speaker, recessed volume controls

In June, photos of purported physical mockups for the next-generation iPad Air (the next full-sized iPad) appeared on the web showing a similar design to the current model, but with some tweaks. Closely mimicking the improved design, images posted to Weibo this weekend purport to show a next-generation iPad Air frame with a redesigned speaker, recessed volume controls, and a new microphone next to the camera lens (like on the latests iPhones and iPods).

The photos do not show us much else, but they do provide some additional confirmation that a new iPad Air is on its way, and that the new tablet will not look much different externally from the current generation. While the exterior will be mostly the same, customers can count on the next full-sized Apple tablet to rock the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner and a faster A8 processor. The same Weibo poster of the above photos also recently shared an engineering diagram for the next iPhone:

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Apple announces Q3 2014 revenue of $37.4b: 35.2m iPhones, 13.2m iPads, 4.4m Macs

Apple Q3 Live blog earnings call

Apple today announced its Q3 2014 earnings results, revealing that the company pulled in $37.4 billion in revenue and $7.7 billion in profit during the quarter.

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended June 28, 2014. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $35.3 billion and net profit of $6.9 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 59 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple, as always, has also disclosed sales numbers for its main revenue generators. The company sold:

  • 35.2 million iPhones
  • 13.2 million iPads
  • 4.4 million Macs
  • 2.9 million iPods

Apple’s guidance for the quarter indicated revenue results between $36 and $38 billion, which Apple met.

Here’s Apple CEO Tim Cook on the results:

“Our record June quarter revenue was fueled by strong sales of iPhone and Mac and the continued growth of revenue from the Apple ecosystem, driving our highest EPS growth rate in seven quarters,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are incredibly excited about the upcoming releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, as well as other new products and services that we can’t wait to introduce.”

Here’s newly instated CFO Luca Maestri with his thoughts:

“We generated $10.3 billion in cash flow from operations and returned over $8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the June quarter,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “We have now taken action on over $74 billion of our $130 billion capital return program with six quarters remaining to its completion.”

Apple’s Q3 has been relatively quiet in terms of new product announcements, but the Cupertino-company did announce major moves such as the impending acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music along with an expansive future partnership with IBM for enterprise-related initiatives.

These numbers compare to last quarter’s results of $45.6 billion in revenue and sales of 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads, and 4.1 million Macs. You can also compare today’s numbers to analyst expectations from before the announcement. Apple is also holding a conference call today at 2 PM Pacific/5 PM Eastern time, which we will be covering live. Cook and Maestri will likely share prepared remarks and then take a series of questions at the end from financial analysts.

For Q4 2014, Apple is providing guidance between $37 billion and $40 billion. The full Q3 earnings results release is below:

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Here’s what analysts expect Apple to announce today: revenue up 8.5 percent, earnings up 18 percent

aapl

With Fortune having now filled in the blanks in its analyst roundup, above are the final numbers Wall Street expects Apple to announce at around 1.30pm PT/4.30pm ET this afternoon.

With all 34 analysts having revealed their predictions, the consensus view is for year-on-year revenue to have grown by 8.5 percent, with earnings up 18.1 percent …  Read more

iOS 8 beta 4 includes new Tips app with quick feature tutorials (Gallery)

IMG_0224

iOS 8 beta 4 brings a new app to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch called Tips. The application, as the name implies, provides quick tips and tutorials about iOS features. The app will be updated on a regular basis with new ways to use iOS device features. Apple has also launched a Tips website (in beta) so these tutorials can be accessed from a Mac web browser. You can find a full gallery of the current implementation of Tips, below:

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On average, analysts expect iPad sales to be flat, but no consensus

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Someone once said that if you put three analysts in a room and ask them a question, you’ll get four different opinions. This certainly appears to be the case today, with Fortune finding no more consensus on iPad sales than it did on iPhone numbers.

Asked to predict how many iPad sales Apple will announce in next week’s Q3 earnings announcement, the overall average suggested year-on-year sales would be flat at 14.35M. However, no consensus view emerged …  Read more

National Federation of the Blind says ‘Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company’

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Last week, inaccurate reporting emerged in regards to Apple’s work on making its products accessible to all consumers. As many Apple customers are aware, and as CEO Tim Cook takes extremely seriously, Apple works hard to ensure that Macs, iPhones, iPods, and iPads can be used to their full extent by people who are deaf or blind, for example. In response to the reporting (Philip Elmer-DeWitt has a good summary of the original reporting and takedowns at Fortune), Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has published a comprehensive blog post describing Apple’s work on accessibility, the technology industry as a whole, the resolution regarding iOS device accessibility, and what can be done to improve accessibility of third-party apps into the future.

The full blog post can be read here, but here is a key line that should further dispute last week’s inaccurate reports: “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date, and we have duly recognized this by presenting the company with at least two awards (including our annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award) and publicly praising it whenever the opportunity arises.” The blog post goes on to explain that the Federation believes Apple could work further with App Store developers on making all of the more than one million App Store apps more accessible to all users. “We simply want Apple to continue to discuss with us what measures the company can put in place to ensure accessibility,” the blog post reads.

It is also worth watching Cook’s speech regarding human rights and accessibility, below:

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Apple releases iOS 8 beta 3 to developers

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Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 3 build number 12A4318c to developers for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update is available in Software Update using the over-the-air update tool. Apple says the new beta brings various bug fixes and improvements. We’ll be updating this post as changes are found. You can send us what you find at tips@9to5Mac.com.

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Apple said to be working on ‘mainstream’ Smart Home hardware

HomeKit-WWDC-03

With iPhones in pockets, Macs on desks, iPads in bags, and iWatches soon coming to the wrist, Apple is said to be eyeing another category for continued growth: Smart Home hardware. The Cupertino-company is said to have assembled a team to work on various hardware products for the home that deeply integrate with the existing array of Apple devices on the market…

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