Apple needn’t fear over-regulation of Apple Watch health & fitness functionality, says FDA

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While health tech has to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the agency will be taking “an almost hands-off approach” to fitness-oriented wearables like the Apple Watch, says policy advisor Bakul Patel in an interview in Bloomberg.

“We are taking a very light touch, an almost hands-off approach,” Patel, the FDA’s associate director for digital health, said in an interview. “If you have technology that’s going to motivate a person to stay healthy, that’s not something we want to be engaged in.”

Patel said the FDA would be drawing a distinction between products whose health claims focused on fitness rather than diagnosis …  Read more

Apple launches in-store Android trade-in program to boost iPhone sales

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In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.

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Tim Cook calls Arkansas & Indiana laws “dangerous,” says they echo days of racial segregation

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Tim Cook has written an op-ed in the Washington Post describing legislation permitting businesses to bypass anti-discrimination laws on religious grounds as “very dangerous,” and in fundamental opposition to the founding principles of the United States. In it, he referenced the ugly days of racial segregation, which finally ended only in the 1960s.

Men and women have fought and died fighting to protect our country’s founding principles of freedom and equality. We owe it to them, to each other and to our future to continue to fight with our words and our actions to make sure we protect those ideals. The days of segregation and discrimination marked by “Whites Only” signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past. We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone.

Apple has previously spoken out against religious discrimination in Arizona, and Cook tweeted on Friday to express Apple’s “deep disappointment” at a new law in Indiana …  Read more

Apple, Google & other large tech companies urge the White House & Congress not to renew the Patriot Act

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Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  Read more

Apple Stores to act more like jewelry stores for upcoming gold Apple Watch

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Apple is preparing to take some pages out of the traditional jewelry store playbook. For the upcoming 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, Apple is planning several new features for its retail stores to support the device. As we reported several months ago, Apple is planning on allowing customers to actually try on the watches and test out different band styles inside of stores. With the high-expected price tag of the gold watch models, Apple will also step up its security features for stores…

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China accused of protectionism through new cybersecurity rules aimed at western tech companies

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The NY Times reports that the Chinese government has adopted a set of supposed cybersecurity regulations on western companies selling technology to banks. These requirements are so absurd that it would be impossible for companies like Apple to comply.

The Chinese government has adopted new regulations requiring companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over secret source code, submit to invasive audits and build so-called back doors into hardware and software, according to a copy of the rules obtained by foreign technology companies that do billions of dollars’ worth of business in China.

The paper reports that while the regulations are so far limited to sales to Chinese banks, they are merely the first in a series of new cybersecurity policies expected to be introduced in the coming months, and businesses fear that they are designed to protect local manufacturers from western companies. It was recently announced that Apple became the biggest smartphone seller in China in the final quarter of last year …  Read more

Grab this (Typinator, Intensify Pro, Paperless, Pixa, MacJournal, more!) Mac Bundle while it is only a buck or 2

From 9to5Toys.com:

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We’ve got a nice 9to5Toys Specials deal on this evening and the best part is that it is a name your own price with the bids starting at $1.  The earlier you get in, the less you pay. Here’s the list of apps but frankly Typinator alone is worth it. Go big and 10% of your purchase price goes to a charity of your choice and you’ll be entered to win a Gold iPad 2 & iPhone 6

(Update:6:30am ET: the price is now $3.50)

  • Typinator – $32 – The program the “types” frequently used text for you
  • Hotspot Shield VPN – 1 Year Elite Subscription
  • Starry Night Enthusiast – $80 – Turn your computer into a virtual universe
  • Intensify Pro – $60 – The image enhancer for photographers of all levels
  • Spotdox 3 – $72 – Get access to all your files, on any device, anywhere
  • Data Backup 3 – $49 – Easy, powerful, and flexible backups
  • Paperless – $50 – Fuel your paper-free lifestyle
  • MacJournal 6 – $40 – Multimedia journal for the 21st century
  • Pixa – $25 – Image management and sharing app
  • Must Have Mac App Tutorial – $100 – Learn how to maximize the 9 apps included

 

Apple patents smoke detectors in iDevices that can call 911, activate sprinklers and locate building occupants

apple-smoke-detector

The Nest smoke detector may look decidedly old-fashioned if one Apple patent ever makes it into production. Apple has patented the idea of embedding smoke detectors into “electronic devices” and using those devices to provide a comprehensive response to a fire.

In response to detecting smoke with the smoke detector, the electronic device may issue an alert or take other suitable action. The electronic device may transmit alerts to nearby electronic devices and to remote electronic devices such as electronic devices at emergency services facilities. Alerts may contain maps and graphical representations of buildings in which smoke has been detected. Motion detectors and other sensors and circuitry may be used in determining whether electronic devices are being used by users and may be used in determining where the electronic devices are located. Alerts may contain information on the location of detected smoke and building occupants.

In other words, your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad or Mac could detect smoke, alert you, alert other devices within range, activate sprinklers, call emergency services and use the fact that an iDevice is moving or in use to tell fire crews where in the building you and your family members are …  Read more

iPad usage in North America rises slightly in September over third quarter

North American Tablet Usage Sep 2014 Chitika

The latest numbers from advertising company Chitika Insights show that iPad web usage in North America rose nearly 2% in September, marking a slight increase over the third quarter. Chitika found the iPad to have a 79.9% share of tablet web traffic in the United States and Canada during the month, compared to a 78.0% share reported in July. Read more

Apple reportedly in ‘preliminary contact’ with distributors to bring iPhone to Iran

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in early talks with “Iranian distributors” to bring the iPhone to Iran:

Apple Inc. is in preliminary contact with Iranian distributors about a possible entry into the country should Western sanctions ease sufficiently, people familiar with the matter said.

The report notes that financial and banking sanctions as well as political tension has thus far prevented companies like Apple from conducting business in Iran, but points to a policy change in May that lifted the ban on sales of “consumer communications technologies” in the country. The report goes on the claim that “senior Apple executives” have already met with “potential Iranian distributors” at Apple’s regional headquarters in London. Read more

The Apple Watch may not be here yet, but the 3rd-party stands keep coming

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We may need to wait a while until we get our hands on the Apple Watch, the company still saying only “early 2015,” but that hasn’t stopped third-party companies getting their charging stands ready – and so far, they’re all looking good.

After last month’s ‘$60-80′ Dodocase stand, Rest has announced pre-orders for the $79 Composure Dock. Both products have taken the same approach of supplying a stand with a slot into which you insert the Apple MagSafe charger that will be supplied with the watch …  Read more

Apple profiles its effort in Obama’s ConnectED education program: 114 schools receiving Macs, iPads, & Apple TVs

Apple ConnectED

The White House shared earlier this year that Apple is a participant in President Obama’s ConnectED education program focused on bringing Internet access and technology to schools in need, and today Apple has provided a micro site profiling its effort in the program.

While it was already known that Apple has pledged $100 million to provide iPads, MacBooks, and other products toward the program for schools across the United States, Apple has shared that Apple ConnectED grants are being received by a total of 114 different schools across the country with these schools spread out across 29 states. Apple added that “92% of students from our partner schools are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage.” Read more