Retail section of Apple.com updated with new design inspired by iOS 7

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Apple quietly updated the retail section of its website today with a new look that more closely resembles iOS 7. Where the previous version of these pages used content boxes, borders, textured backgrounds, and gradients, the new page instead utilizes ample whitespace and thinner typefaces.

The change is probably best illustrated on the section’s home page, where images previously constrained by content boxes now fill the entire page. On the “Learn” page, buttons with heavy gradients have been replaced by thinly-outlined, lighter versions of the previous design. Gradient-filled headers have disappeared from every page, now replaced by unadorned text.

Oddly, the “Make a Reservation” button that allowed users to quickly create a Genius Bar appointment has been removed from the site’s navigation. Appointments can only be made by navigating to the Genius Bar page and clicking a link in the first paragraph of that page’s content. The Concierge page has not been updated to the new design yet.

You’ll find a bunch of before-and-after comparisons and take our poll on the new design below:

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WWE Network comes to Apple TV with in-app subscriptions as service debuts

Update: The WWE Apple TV app is now live for users in at least the US and Canada.

Following rumors back and forth regarding the new WWE network launching today, the company has just announced that the service will be available to Apple TV users. WWE confirmed to us in a statement that the Apple TV app will arrive today.

WWE-Network-Apple-TV-03The Apple TV app will provide access to all 12 live WWE Pay-PerView events including WrestleMania, original programming from the network like reality shows and documentaries, as well as 24/7 programming from WWE and a ton of on-demand content.

The update appears to have hit Apple TVs (at least in the US or Canada) with the ability to access the network and purchase subscriptions. The subscription-based WWE network allows users to sign up for service directly within the Apple TV app using an iTunes account. The company notes that subscriptions purchased through Apple TV are “billed as a single charge of $59.99 (plus applicable tax) for the six month subscription period.” Read more

Venmo update brings the simplicity of AirDrop to mobile payments

Mobile payment app Venmo received a big update today that introduces a new way to quickly send money to nearby friends. It works just as easily as Apple’s AirDrop sharing system. The app uses Bluetooth to detect nearby Venmo users and lists them above your recent payment recipients when sending money.

While some apps make the process of sending money relatively quick, Venmo has the added benefit of making it easy to pay people around you without needing to enter any contact details at all, even if you’ve never met them before. The only catch is that both parties need to be using Venmo for the feature to work.

Venmo is available for free on the iOS App Store.

CES 2014: Belkin shows off app controlled WeMo lightbulbs, Crock-Pot Slow Cooker, & ‘Maker’ DIY kit

Belkin is the official sponsor of 9to5Mac’s International CES 2014 coverage 

At CES this year Belkin is focusing on expanding WeMo, its lineup of home automation products that allow you to control power outlets and connected products using an iOS app. We reviewed the company’s original WeMo kit, but it’s come a long way from just the socket and motion detector it first launched. Today we got a look at three new WeMo products coming soon, including: smart LED lightbulbs, a Crock-Pot slow cooker, and a new DIY kit dubbed “Maker”.  Read more

Behind the scenes look at Apple TV app development w/ the new Bloomberg channel

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Unlike its developer program and vast ecosystem of apps on iOS and Mac, there’s not much we know about Apple’s strategy for content on the Apple TV. There’s been a lot of talk that a much rumored refreshed Apple TV set top box— or perhaps even the rumored full-fledged TV set— might also come alongside a more open developer platform with app distribution.

For now, however, Apple is slowly and quietly behind closed doors making deals with select content partners that are building apps for the platform. How is Apple working with developers to build and approve these apps? Does it have an Apple TV SDK that could in theory be released to all developers? With Bloomberg TV today becoming the latest app to launch on the platform, we’ve talked with the people that built the app to get some insight into the Apple TV development process. Read more