Apple Watch sales started with a bang, tailed off into a whimper, shopping tracking firm says

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Slice Intelligence, which monitors purchase receipts in the email inboxes of a panel of two million online shoppers, has published a chart showing that the majority of Apple Watch orders were placed on the first day of pre-orders, and have since fallen to far smaller numbers than some analysts have predicted.

Quartz tech editor Dan Frommer notes that while the company’s data shows that almost 1.5 million U.S. orders were placed on day one (up from its initial estimate of one million), subsequent orders have typically been running at under 30,000 per day – compared to the 100,000 per day globally needed to meet some predictions …  Read more

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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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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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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Apple releases iOS 8.4 beta 3 with revamped Music app ahead of late June launch

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Apple today released the third beta of iOS 8.4 to developers, labeled build 12H4098c. The update is available via Software Update on iOS and it should be hitting the developer center soon. The second Public Beta is available as well for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Xcode 6.4 beta 3 is also available. As with the first pair of betas, iOS 8.4 brings a revamped Music application with a new design, Up Next functionality, a Mini Player, and a new version of iTunes Radio. As we’ve reported several times, iOS 8.4’s Music app will also be home to Apple’s upcoming Beats-based streaming music service. Sources say that the new service will be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8th alongside iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, and it will launch publicly in several countries alongside the new iTunes Radio in late June.

Below, we list the changes in this new beta:

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Nike CEO discusses future of Apple partnership, exiting wearables, & Apple Watch (Video)

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Nike+ Running App for Apple Watch

Earlier today, Nike CEO Mark Parker sat down with CNBC for a video interview to discuss his company exiting wearable hardware, Fitbit’s IPO, fitness software, a partnership with Apple, and the Apple Watch. Asked where the Nike and Apple partnership goes from here, Parker said “it continues,” and that “we are excited about the potential that the Apple/Nike relationship has.”

Parker noted that Nike already offers the Nike+ app on the Apple Watch and that Nike has over 60 million digital fitness software users. Parker said Nike is “working with Apple” on new software and experiences. He ended by saying there is “more” coming from Apple and Nike. Apple and Nike are already close partners for HealthKit as well. 

Apple and Nike’s relationship dates back nearly a decade with Apple releasing a special chip for Nike shoes that talked to early generations of the iPod for steps tracking. The pair of companies enhanced this partnership by installing step tracking sensors in the second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3GS last decade.

Additionally, as is well known, Apple CEO Tim Cook is a Nike fan and sits on the fitness and sports company’s Board of Directors. Last year, Nike shuttered its FuelBand business to focus on fitness software. Apple has also poached multiple former FuelBand engineers to work on the Apple Watch, we reported in the months leading up to the product’s introduction last fall.

The full video interview can be watched below:

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AAPL’s numbers today are going to be huge, analysts predict: double-digit growth in all but iPads

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With Apple set to reveal its fiscal Q2 earnings after market close today, analysts are expecting double-digit year-over-year growth in all categories except iPads. Fortune‘s roundup says that analysts predict revenue of $56.84B, up a massive 24.5% year-over-year, and above the top end of Apple’s $52-55M guidance. Earnings per share is predicted to be $2.21, up a third on the previous year, with gross margin just shy of Apple’s top-end guidance at 39.4%.

Double-digit growth is expected in both iPhones and Macs. For iPhones, the prediction includes sales just under 56M, 32.6% higher than the same quarter last year, while Mac sales are forecasted to hit 4.7M, 13.6% up on last year …  Read more

Opinion: Will Apple’s streaming music service mean I finally stop buying music?

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I was an early adopter of digital music (you hide your surprise well). I bought my first mp3 player in 1998, some three years before the first iPod. It cost a silly amount of money and stored exactly one album at a time in its 64MB (not GB) of flash memory.

Me being me, I went through a few different generations of mp3 player before Apple completely changed the game with the iPod. Ironically, by adopting a less sophisticated technology–a hard drive in place of flash memory–Apple created a far better product. One that allowed us to carry around 80 albums at a time. I bought one the day it went on sale, having by then finished ripping all my CDs to mp3.

When the 160GB iPod came out in 2007, I again bought one immediately. That was large enough to hold my entire music collection at the time. I not only carried it everywhere with me, I also plugged it into my hifi at home and to the AUX socket of my car stereo. At which point, I started wondering why I still had a wall full of CDs …  Read more

Review: Griffin’s iTrip Bluetooth adds wireless iPhone music streaming to your car’s stereo

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Twelve years have passed since Griffin released its first iTrip, a breakthrough FM transmitter that enabled iPods to send music wirelessly to car and home stereos. The original model, a glossy white housing that sat atop early iPods like a tube of Chapstick, effectively defined iPod accessories for an entire generation of early adopters. And it was fun, too: using an radio antenna and brilliant software, iTrip could flood an empty FM radio channel with iPod music, acting like a pocket-sized pirate radio station.

Everything changed when the FCC cracked down on FM transmitters, forcing reductions in broadcasting power that made iTrips (and numerous competitors) sound staticky, reducing their appeal. Around the same time, Apple and car companies transitioned to better-sounding solutions — Bluetooth and aux-in audio ports, respectively — leaving FM transmitters with fewer customers. But Griffin is rejuvenating the iTrip family with iTrip Bluetooth, aka iTrip Aux Bluetooth, which provides a different type of dead-simple wireless solution for cars. Priced at $50 but available online for $38, it has one purpose: to receive Bluetooth audio sent by your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, conveying it through an included 3.5mm audio cable to your car’s aux-in port…

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Review: Elgato’s Game Capture HD60 livestreams your iPad, iPhone, and console games at 1080p/60fps

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Over the past decade, video gaming became social, as voice chat, multi-player matchmaking, and live game streaming enabled gamers to share their experiences with friends and strangers online. Streaming game video was the hardest, requiring so much horsepower that consoles needed computer assistance. Elgato entered the market in 2012 with Game Capture HD, which was designed to record directly from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now there’s a more powerful version called Game Capture HD60 ($180), which offers professional-quality full 1080p HD recording support at 60 frames per second, plus one-touch live streaming to uStream, Twitch, and YouTube. It works with iPads, iPhones and iPod touches using Apple’s Lightning to Digital AV Adapter, and Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and PlayStation 4 game consoles with nothing more than an HDMI cable.

Elgato has years of experience making cutting-edge video recorders: back when Macs weren’t nearly as powerful as they are today, its EyeTV DVRs could record live TV while streaming video to iOS devices. Similarly, Game Capture HD60 lets you simultaneously enjoy lag-free gaming, stream live video to the Internet, and optionally include voice commentary with automatic audio level balancing. It also does all of these things with barely any need for user involvement. And although the price was just a little too high when it debuted last year, it’s now hovering around $150 — a great price given the quality of its video output. Read on for all the details…

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Apple plans relaunched Beats streaming music service for WWDC, skipping March event; Apple TV still coming

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Apple won’t take the wraps off of its upcoming Beats-based music streaming service at its March 9 “Spring Forward” event, according to music industry sources briefed on the launch timeline. Instead, Apple currently plans to introduce the service, at least in beta form, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June. The WWDC keynote likely takes place on Monday, June 8th, and that’s the event where the debut will occur. The new iTunes music streaming service is based on technology acquired from Beats Music, including curated playlists, cloud-based libraries, and offerings customized to the musical tastes of individual users. The service will be priced as high as $7.99 per month, which is less expensive than current $9.99 pricing for Beats Music, Spotify, and Rdio…

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Apple puts Environment VP Lisa Jackson in charge of boosting accessibility efforts

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Apple Watch Accessibility Settings

Apple told employees during a week at the flagship Berlin Apple Store in Germany that the company will increase its focus on product accessibility by putting executive Lisa Jackson in charge of the efforts, according to people in attendance. Asked by an Apple Store employee if the Apple Watch will include accessibility features, Cook reportedly replied:

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