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Jake Smith

October 14, 2012

Apple will occupy the bottom of this building

Apple’s retail store expansion continues in China, as the company confirmed this evening that its third Apple Store in Beijing, China is opening Oct. 20. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company confirmed the news on its website, letting customers know the Wangfuijing store’s doors will open at 10 a.m. IfoAppleStore described the location:

Wangfujing Street, a mile-long, pedestrian-only collection of over 200 shops that include Chinese and international brands. The street’s retail history dates back to 1200, and it is now a major destination for locals and tourists. The existing Xidan Joy City Apple store is about a mile west of Tianman Square, while the Wangfujing location will be east of the square. The country’s first Apple store at Sanlitun is about 3½ miles northeast.

China has proved to be a big growth market for Apple. The company has positioned itself aggressively there with additional retail openings. Most recently, Hong Kong’s second Apple Store opened in Kowloon Tong in the Festival Walk shopping center in September. In the summer, we also reported another store is rumored for Hysan Place in Causeway Bay.

Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated China’s importance several times on company earnings calls. Apple will also open a massive data center in Hong Kong, breaking ground in Q1 2013, our sources told us. expand full story

Developer allegedly gets his hands on photos of Google’s Maps for iOS?

Developer Ben Guild posted alleged screenshots of Google’s upcoming Maps for iOS app. He claimed the photos show the alpha version of the app that is “speedy” and supports the iPhone 5. Further details in the report assert that Maps for iOS is vector-based and supports two-finger rotation.

The photos do not show anything too mind-boggling. However, if real, they show Google is actively working on the app which many hope is coming. Last month, we reported that Google has a Maps for iOS coming—and others agree.

The hope for Google to release a standalone app came after the flop of Maps that Apple introduced in iOS 6. Users have complained, while Apple CEO Tim Cook promised Maps would get better over time. Google chairperson Eric Schmidt voiced last week in Tokyo that Apple should have kept Google Maps: “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know?” He would neither confirm nor deny working on a Maps app for iOS, but he mentioned Apple would “have to approve it. It’s their choice.”

If it is released, I think it is safe to say that a Google Maps for iOS would quickly reach top of the charts in the App Store.

Update: A Twitterer shows how easy these are to fake:

October 11, 2012

Apple poaches top Samsung chip designer for its staff

The Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung chip designer Jim Mergard has left the South Korean-based company to work for Apple. According to the report, Mergard’s duties before his short stint at Samsung were to lead the development of a “high-profile AMD chip that carried the code name Brazos and was designed for low-end portable computers.”

Mergard’s work at Samsung was rumored to be focused on building ARM chips for servers. It would be interesting to see Apple pick up this capacity.

Apple and Samsung have an intense rivalry in the smartphone space, but Samsung produces all of Apple’s Ax processors. Samsung opened a factory in Austin, Texas just last year that is responsible for making chips to power Apple’s iOS devices.

October 10, 2012

Shown during its media event last month, Apple posted a new iPod advertisement online. It has also been appearing on television. The ad, titled “Bounce”, highlights the various new designs in Apple’s iPod lineup and the choice of colors it now offers.

In case you are wondering how these iPods really bounce, we have the first iPod touch drop test below:

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There is nothing worse than dropping your iPhone…except maybe dropping it into a lake. That is just an awful feeling. Not shamed by the occasion, 9to5mac reader Ken Hovanes shared his story of when he dropped an iPhone into Smith Lake roughly six months ago. He dropped it from a dock and was not able to see through six feet of water to pick it up. Hovanes considered it damaged/lost, so he bought a new iPhone.

Thinking all hope was gone, Hovanes was surprised this weekend to find his lost iPhone in the lake once the water levels lowered and the lake became clearer. Even more surprising: he discovered the iPhone still operates. As you can see in the gallery below, the screen turns on when plugged into a power source. There is a little water damage (including Wi-Fi, screen issues, and the bulges you can see below), but he is trying to clean out the 30-pin adapter area.

Lesson to learn? Do not give up hope on a water-damaged iOS device.

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October 9, 2012

Multi-iOS device manager Apple Configurator updated with iOS 6 features, iMessage, bug fixes and more

In March, the folks in Cupertino released Apple Configurator. It is a Mac app that allows someone to administer many iOS devices at a time like in a school or business (or a 9to5mac editor’s house) setting. The application has been updated this evening with a slew of features, including: support for new iOS 6 features, iMessage, iBookstore, GameCenter, and for configuring advanced network options on Apple TV. If you have many iOS devices under your watch on a daily basis, you may want to check out this update. [Mac App Store]

The full release notes:

As the new Passbook feature available on iOS 6 starts to settle in the hands of more users, the sales of printed tickets may start to go down. MarketWatch reported this afternoon that Major League Baseball wants to phase out printed tickets all together and move to apps like Passbook to deliver tickets instead. The MLB tested this type of digital ticket sale with four teams during the last two weeks of the season. From the sound of it, results are better than expected.

Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB Advance Media, told MarketWatch that 1,500 e-ticket buyers, or 12 percent, bought their tickets using Passbook. He was shocked: “That adoption rate really floored us – there is no question our fans want digital tickets.” This has to be just what Apple wants.

Passbook offers benefits that paper tickets do not. Sure, there is nothing like having the paper ticket as a collectors item, but the benefits of a digital version may seem worth it to some. Bowman explained, “Fans can use the tickets, forward them to a friend, resell them, or even donate them to charity – and they never get lost or left at home.” Fans can also purchase a paper ticket, leave it at home, and use their ticket via Passbook instead. expand full story

New report suggests iPad Mini to be available with Wi-Fi only; 10-inch iPad to be updated for UK 4G network

Apple’s new iPad mini is expected to be announced Oct. 17; and with that launch date swiftly approaching, we have seen our fair share of rumors and leaks. A report from The Guardian today refuted a prior claim, claiming the 7.85-inch iPad mini will not include 3G or 4G and will stick with Wi-Fi instead.

Industry sources indicated to the Guardian that they do not expect to see 3G-capable versions of the iPad mini. That would allow Apple to produce it comparatively cheaply and to limit the top price of the product, while retaining mobile broadband connectivity for its pricier iPad line.

Being Wi-Fi only, it would put the iPad mini in-line to be a direct competitor with the Google’s Nexus 7 that also lacks 3G or 4G. The Amazon Kindle Fire was also without wireless capabilities until it received a refresh last month. Being without cellular connection would keep the iPad mini down on price. However, it seems like something Apple would at least make an option in fear of losing potential customers look to access data on-the-go. 

October 4, 2012

For new orders, Apple Store showing 3 week shipping time for iPod touch, 2 weeks for iPod nano

Apple updated its Australian online store with updated shipping times for the new iPod touch and iPod nano that were unveiled alongside the new iPhone last month. You may remember Apple made pre-orders available Sept. 14 and promised the first batch will be shipped to customers by the end of October. The pre-orders still look to be on-track for a delivery soon.

However, if you are just getting around to ordering, there is good news: the Apple Online Store is displaying shipping times of ‘3 weeks’ this evening for the iPod touch and ‘2 weeks’ for the iPod nano. There is not a backlog like the iPhone 5.

Pre-orders for both music players are also available on Amazon.

Thanks, Jerry Lee!

Update 8:53AM: According to several 9to5mac tipsters, Apple is preparing to ship the fifth-generation iPod touch to customers. Furthermore, the Japan launch for the new iPod touch looks to be October 9, Macotakara reports.

Update Nov. 8: Apple has notified developers that the App Store also falls in the Dec. 21 to Dec. 28 category. More details below.

Does this seem early, or what? Apple’s iBooks team began emailing publishers to notify them that iTunes Connect will shutdown for the winter holidays Dec. 21 to Dec. 28. Presumably, the holiday also applies to developers a part of the App Store review process. Last year, Apple set aside Dec. 22 to Dec. 29 for what we imagine is some much-needed RNR.

As many of you know, the iTunes Connect holiday is a yearly tradition. It is a time where apps and books will not be updated and price changes will be locked. Apple recommends that no changes be submitted during this time.

We strongly recommend that you do not schedule any pricing changes in iTunes Connect that would take effect between December 21 and December 28, 2012. Pricing changes scheduled to take effect during this date range will not be reflected on the iBookstore and your book will become unavailable for purchase.

We also recommend that you do not schedule any books to go live during the shutdown. Releases scheduled with a start date between December 21 and December 28, 2012 will not go live on the iBookstore until after the shutdown.

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Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 supplemental update, offering fix for Safari parental controls and Japanese character support

Apple released a supplemental update for OS X 10.8.2, just two weeks after releasing 10.8.2 to the masses. The update is very minor, offering a fix for three issues:

  • Resolves an issue that may cause certain Japanese characters to appear incorrectly in Mail 
  • Allows Safari to access secure sites when parental controls are enabled 
  • Addresses an issue that may prevent systems with more than 64 GB of RAM from starting up

The update is now available through Software Update on the Mac App Store.

Excellent iPad Mini renders

Designer Martin Hajek (via Gizmodo) posted stunning renders of the upcoming iPad mini based on recent rumors. Hajek gave us a look at how the 7.85-inch screen may look and introduces a new concept: colored backs, just like the new iPod touch. As you can see in the gallery below, this designer did a very good job. Apple should have no problem stealing some 7-inch marketshare away from the Kindle Fire, if these renders are anything like the real deal.

Now we will just have to wait until what most say will be mid-October to hear the official word, straight from Apple. Hajek is offering a 3D model based off rumors on Turbosquid, if your itching finger just cannot wait.

Bonus: Check out our case renders.

October 3, 2012

Starbucks now available on Passbook, updated with iOS 6 support

While showing off Passbook at WWDC 2012, Apple touted Starbucks as one of the flagship services to be offered in the one-stop ticket and coupon organizer. However, when Passbook officially became available to the masses last month, many were surprised to see Starbucks was not yet available on the service. In the hopes of calming a few lost souls, Starbucks promised a quick arrival on Passbook.

October 2, 2012

Nokia ad touts colorful phones over iPhones black or white

Hopping on the “Don’t buy an iPhone” bandwagon with Samsung, Nokia just posted an advertisement touting its slew of colors for the Lumia line to pull customers away from the iPhone’s basic white or black options.

It’s as if the other manufacturers cannot even make an advertisement showing off their phone; they simply bash Apple instead. However, it is worth noting early impressions of the upcoming Lumia 920, running Windows Phone, have all been very good.

There’s at least one Apple product line with a slew of colors..

October 1, 2012

Apple announced on its Investor Relations page this afternoon that it will release its Q4 earnings Oct. 25. In typical fashion, Apple releases its earnings in a press release at 4:30 p.m. after the market closes and follows with an earnings call with key Apple executives at 5 p.m. This quarter’s call will be one to tune in for, as CEO Tim Cook will surely discuss iPhone 5 sales and more. You can listen to the call on Apple’s website, and as always, 9to5mac will provide full coverage and analysis when it all goes down.

During Q3’s earnings call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said, “Apple expects Q4 revenues of about $34 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $7.65.” Apple announced revenues of $35 billion and diluted earning per share of $9.32 in Q3.

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September 27, 2012

ABC News tracks missing iPad to the home of TSA officer…who blames situation on his wife

In a bait-and-hook situation set up by the folks at ABC News; they were able to track a stolen iPad to the home of a TSA officer. The production team set out 10 iPads in airports known to have thefts, and nine of the tablets were eventually reported as lost.

But in Orlando, the iPad was not immediately returned and two hours later its tracking application showed the device as it moved away from the airport to the home of the TSA officer.

After waiting 15 days, ABC News went to the home and asked Ramirez to return the iPad.

It gets worse. The TSA officer blamed the situation on his wife:

Ramirez produced the iPad only after ABC News activated an audio alarm feature, and turned it over after taking off his TSA uniform shirt.

His explanation for the missing iPad in his home was that his wife had taken it from the airport.

The employee was terminated—and this is another situation of how turning on “Find my iPad” just might save you from losing a tablet.

Daniel Ioffe and TechCrunch reported earlier this afternoon on a “serious bug that violates Facebook user privacy policy.” According to the report, Facebook made it easy for users to gain random users’ information on Facebook due to a flaw within the “Update All Contacts” feature in iOS 6. Both noted a user could enter a phone number and quickly gather information (users full name, picture, birthday, and email address) without even knowing the other person. However, we have clarified this is not some big privacy conspiracy. It’s simply a Facebook feature and setting, but it is something you might want to watch.

iOS 6 is simply mirroring a feature available on Facebook’s website. The feature enables users to search for emails and phone numbers on Facebook, and users can allow their email and phone number to be searchable by editing the “How you connect” section and by setting the “Who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided” to friends.

This feature could come in handy if you are trying to fill out contact information without all the necessary data. For example: If you only had the phone number of a person you met at a party, you could easily gain the rest of his or her details. If users do not want the information shared publicly, and therefore obtainable by Facebook integration within iOS 6, they can simply make a change to the setting.

If this concerns you, head over here to edit your Facebook prefs.

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Rovio’s next big title ‘Bad Piggies’ now available on App Store for 99 cents

Banking (quite literally) on the success of its popular Angry Birds game, the folks at Rovio have released yet another game on the App Store. This morning, the crew has released Bad Piggies for 99 cents. The game reminds us of Angry Birds; it is described as “the ultimate flying/crawling/rolling/spinning/crashing device and pilot the pigs safely to the eggs” by the app development firm. Rovio listed the features:

  • 60 levels crammed with flying/driving/crashing fun!
  • 30 additional puzzles unlocked by three-starring levels!
  • Free updates!
  • 4 sandbox levels to stretch your creativity!
  • Ultra-special, ultra-secret, ultra-difficult sandbox level to unlock by collecting all the skulls!
  • 33 objects to create the ultimate machine: motors, wings, fans, bottle rockets, umbrellas, balloons, and much more!

[iPhone, iPad, Mac] Screenshots:

Update: Already #1

September 24, 2012

Fire up your Apple TV folks, there is a new update waiting for you. Not to leave the Apple TV out in the cold after a huge week with other iOS devices, the hardworking group in Cupertino has released its latest update to the second- and third-generation Apple TVs. Surprisingly still not called ‘iOS 6’, Apple released build 10A406e to the masses with a slew of new features. The Apple TV now features shared photo streams, and the ability to switch between iTunes accounts, re-order icons on the second page by holding the select button on the remote, and send audio from the Apple TV to Airplay-enabled speakers and devices. Hit up the download links or open software update on your Apple TV to get going. [2nd Gen, 3rd Gen]

Release notes below: expand full story

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