About the Author

Jordan Kahn

@JordanKahn

Senior Editor

9to5Mac / 9to5Google / 9to5Toys / Electrek.co

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac. He covers Google for 9to5Google.com, the best gadgets and deals on 9to5Toys.com, and delivers a weekly roundup of EV and solar news on Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series covering music making with Apple devices and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints:  

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October 29, 2013

Amazon releases Cloud Player app for Mac

Amazon announced today that it’s releasing Amazon Cloud Player for Mac, a desktop client for its Amazon Cloud Player service that was previously released only for PC users earlier this year. You’ll be able to store all of your Amazon and iTunes music, browse and purchase Amazon MP3’s 25 million strong song catalog to purchase new songs, and also take advantage of features like AutoRip for getting free digital copies of CDs or vinyl purchased through Amazon’s AutoRip collection.

Once uploading and purchasing music for your Amazon Cloud Player app through the new Mac App, you’ll be able to access your whole collection on any device through apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android devices, Roku, Sonos, and Samsung TVs.

You can download the Amazon Cloud Player for Mac app for free here. The 45MB download is available for Macs running OS X 10.6 and up.

Amazon Cloud Player for Mac features include:

  • One-place for all your music: Play your Amazon and iTunes music all from one place, even when offline.
  • A music library that is always up-to-date: Cloud Player automatically detects and adds new music to your library even if you bought it from iTunes or ripped a CD. The app does all the work for you.
  • An integrated MP3 Store: You can shop from the Amazon MP3 catalog of more than 25 million songs and discover new music with personalized recommendations, all without having to leave the app.
  • AutoRip: Buy an AutoRip CD or vinyl record from Amazon and a free MP3 version of the album will be added to your Cloud Player for Mac library.
  • Built for speed: Forget bloated players with extra features you don’t need or use. Cloud Player for Mac is lean, mean and made for your music. It’ll get you from launch to play in seconds.
  • Music management made simple: Download your MP3 purchases automatically or with one click. Export your music to other music players. Create and manage playlists using simple drag-and-drop.
  • Instant search & play: Find music easily and quickly. Type anywhere to search for an artist, album or song and play directly from the search results.
  • Rich artist content: See artist photos, bios, tweets, and gorgeous, large album art.
  • Anywhere access: Music purchased using Amazon Cloud Player for Mac is securely backed up in the cloud for free and made instantly available on any Kindle Fire, Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Samsung TV, Roku, Sonos, PC or web browser.

October 28, 2013

Apple just wrapped up its Q4 earnings call where CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer went over some of the numbers discussed in its fourth quarter report, including record iPhone sales up 26% from last year to 33.8m units. Apple’s growth may not be as pronounced as in past quarters, but it appears that with its new iPhones and software it has been able to maintain what looks like more sustainable growth going into the holidays and next year.

Tim Cook hinted new product categories could be on the horizon, but even without a completely new product Apple was able to beat expectations by just about every metric. Here is a roundup of the notable numbers mentioned by Tim Cook and Peter Oppenheimer during Apple’s earnings call today that weren’t included in its fourth quarter results:

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Apple ordered to pay 12 million euros in France for unpaid iPad taxes

Earlier this year we reported that SACEM, the French society of authors, composers, and music publishers, noted Apple was ordered to pay around 5 million Euro in unpaid taxes for iPads sold in 2011. SACEM distributes the copie privée royalties, which are paid to Copie France for all devices capable of transferring and displaying copyrighted material. Today, PC INpact (via igen.fr) notes that a court in Paris has once again ordered Apple to pay for unpaid iPad taxes, this time around 12 million Euros for iPads sold between March and December of 2012. Some think Apple’s recent price increases in France could be to compensate for the copie privee taxes it hasn’t had success with avoiding. When asked about the price increases, French authorities were recently quoted as saying Apple has has yet to pay a penny towards the unpaid taxes. 

Clear iOS apps updated with support for iOS 7’s Background Refresh

The popular Clear productivity apps for iOS have been updated today with support for Apple’s Background Refresh feature new in iOS 7. That means your lists in Clear will now update more often, refreshing from iCloud in the background so they’re always up to date across all of your devices running Clear.

The update is available for the $1.99 Clear app for iPhone and the $4.99 Clear+ for iPhone and iPad now. Developer Realmac Software also teased that it’s working on other big new features for a future update:

We’re hard at work on some great new features for Clear – and today we’re releasing a small update to Clear and Clear+ to take advantage of a great new iOS 7 feature: Background Refresh.

iOS 7 launches your most frequently-used apps in the background throughout the day, allowing them to refresh their data. This means that, with today’s update, Clear will refresh your lists from iCloud to ensure they’re always up to date on all your devices.

NBA Game Time apps updated for 2013-14 season w/ iOS 7 redesign, new free content, and much more

The NBA Game Time apps for both iPhone and iPad have been updated today with a redesign for iOS 7 alongside full support for the 2013-2014 regular season and new content for both free and paid subscribers.

On top of the redesign pictured in the screenshots above, the apps add home and away broadcasts for every game and archives for each nationally broadcast game for those that have an NBA League Pass. It also adds new content for free users, however, including the Game Recaps, Team Video, Player Statistics, Team Rosters, and Team Statistics features previously only available to paid users.

Version 5.1 of NBA Game Time also includes alerts for live streaming videos and push notifications for League Pass subscribers.

NBA Game Time is available for free from the App Store now as separate downloads for iPhone and iPad.

What’s New in Version 5.1

Redesigned and Optimized for iOS7

Full support for the 2013-2014 NBA regular season

NBA League Pass subscribers will now be able to enjoy both the home and away TV broadcasts from every game.

NBA League Pass subscribers will now be able to enjoy archives from each nationally broadcast game.

Game Recaps from every game now free.

Team Video from every team now free.

Player Statistics, Team Rosters, and Team Statistics now free.

Live Video alerts let you know when we’re streaming press conferences and events live.

League Pass Push Notifications now let NBA League Pass users know when games they can watch get exciting.

Many performance improvements.

We’ve been maintaining a running list of the best new iPad Air cases ahead of its upcoming Nov. 1st launch date, and today Logitech announced four new products for the device with a new line of Ultrathin cases, covers and keyboard folios.

Available starting next month, the company will be offering The Logitech® FabricSkin Keyboard Folio, Logitech® Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, Logitech® Ultrathin Keyboard Folio and Logitech® Folio Protective Case all for Apple’s new iPad Air. Most of the products are similar to Logitech cases already available for previous generation iPads: expand full story

October 25, 2013

We’ve been posting images of various items designed by Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive and designer & friend Marc Newson for an upcoming  (Product) RED charity auction scheduled for November 23 at Sotheby’s New York. The latest was an aluminium Leica M camera designed by the pair, and today we get a look at a one-of-a-kind red next-generation Mac Pro listed on the Sotheby’s website.

The red Mac Pro is expected to bring in 40,000 — 60,000 USD at the auction. While there is no mention of specs for the machine, compare that with $2999 for the base model of the new Mac Pro that Apple announced earlier this week will begin shipping in December. That model includes a a 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of DRAM, Dual FirePro D300 graphics, 2GB VRAM each, and a 256GB 22D, and Apple has a $3999 configuration with a 6-core 3.5GHz Intel Xeon E5, Dual AMD FirePro D500, and 16GB of ECC memory.

Other items designed by Ive and Newson set to be auctioned off on November 23rd include an aluminium desk produced by Neal Feay Studios, a Steinway & Sons Parlor Grand Piano, a 2012 Range Rover, and the rose gold Apple EarPods. Full gallery of the red Mac Pro below.  expand full story

Following the introduction of Apple’s new iWork apps at its iPad Air event earlier this week, an increasing number of users have taken to Apple’s support forums to voice concerns over the removal of features as the apps receive new simplified user interfaces that bring them more in line with the iOS versions. Several pages of complaints from users in Apple’s forums point out that many features, those mostly used by power users, have been removed from Apple’s new redesigned version of Pages:

Why does Apple get rid of so many useful features in new pages? iWork 13 has been a huge disappointment and nothing more than a downgrade to match the capabilities of the iOS iWork apps.  If Apple simply made performance upgrades to iWork 09 I would have been happy.  I hope there is a way to get back to the most up to date version of iWork 09.

It comes down to this. Apple has discontinued Pages in its entirety. You can no longer download it or purchase it, and Apple won’t support it. Apple has simultaneously introduced a completely new and different product, also called Pages, that is designed for different users and different use cases. Despite the name, it is not a successor to Pages (old), except in the licensing terms, it is completely a completely different species of animal. Those of us who depended on Pages (old) cannot use Pages (new). We have to save all our Pages files in a widely used format and import them into a new word processor that supports the formatting.

Pages isn’t the only app, users are also hitting Apple’s forums to list features that have been removed from the redesigned versions of Keynote, Numbers, and iMovie: expand full story

Since Apple first unveiled its new MFi game controller framework at WWDC earlier this year, we’ve already got a look at a couple controllers hitting the market in the near future from both Logitech and ClamCase. One of the other companies that Apple mentioned at WWDC was Moga, and today we get a look at what might be the first press shot for the company’s upcoming MFi controller dubbed “MOGA Ace Power” (via Evleaks). A second image below shows the controller when in “closed” mode without an iPhone docked:

Moga-Mfi-game-controller-02

We don’t get many details about the controller above, but judging by the configuration and the fact that Apple already announced Moga was working on a controller, it’s a pretty good chance we’re indeed looking at the company’s upcoming MFi controller. Like some of Moga’s current controller products, the Ace Power will apparently sport a 1800mAh battery that will charge your device while docked in the controller.  expand full story

October 24, 2013

How to get your free iWork apps for Macs purchased after Oct. 1

When Apple unveiled its updated iWork suite during its iPad Air event earlier this week, it also confirmed that it would be making the apps free for all new Mac purchases. That means new Macs shipping with Mavericks would allow users to download Pages, Keynote, and Numbers– previously $20 each– for free from the Mac App Store. That offer also extends to Macs purchased on or after Oct. 1 and yesterday Apple made an Up-To-Date Program available on its website for those that purchased qualifying Mac.

Apple has instructions on its website for applying for the Up-To-Date Program, which requires users to enter their Mac’s serial number, purchase date, and provide Apple with “an electronic copy of a dated, itemized sales receipt indicating the marketing part number(s) of the qualifying product(s) purchased.” Apple will then send codes to customers within 24 hours of confirming the purchase that can be redeemed on the Mac App Store to download the apps.

For those that purchased between Oct. 1 and Oct. 22, you’ll have to apply to the program by Nov. 21. Purchases made after Oct. 22 will have 30 days to qualify.

Apple also says that the program is only for the United States (50 states and the District of Columbia) and Canada, but it’s unclear if it will have similar programs for customers in other countries.

Apple previously announced that its second wave of iPhone 5s and 5c launch countries would include more than 25 locations on Friday, October 25. For South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand, Macua, and others, that means we’re just hours away from online orders going live and already seeing lines starting to form (pictured below). It also means the Apple Store is currently down in many of the 25 launch countries as Apple prepares to start accepting online orders on the morning of October 25th local time.

Apple will start selling both devices as we roll into the morning of Oct. 25th in the following 25 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, French West Indies, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Island, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.

Apple’s initial roll out of the iPhone 5s and 5c last month included the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK. The company also previously announced that it would begin selling the new iPhones in a third wave of countries by Nov.1. Those countries include:

Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Colombia, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE.

After launching initially on September 20, Apple announced that first weekend sales for the two devices broke its previous record from the iPhone 5 launch with a total of 9 million units sold for both devices combined.  expand full story

Apple releases Apple TV 6.0.1 (11B511d) firmware update

Apple today issued a firmware update for Apple TV after earlier this week rolling out a new iMovie Theater channel that allows users to view movies and other video content uploaded to iCloud through iMovie Theater on other iOS devices.

Today’s firmware update brings Apple TV software up to version 6.0.1, build number 11B511d, and is available for second and third generation Apple TVs through Settings>General >Software Update.

The update brings “general performance and stability improvements,” but we’ll update you here if we discover any new goodies.

Promise Technology announces first Thunderbolt 2 storage products offering speeds up to 20Gbps

While the Mac Pro was expected to be the first machine to launch with the new Thunderbolt 2 standard announced by Intel earlier this year, Apple just unveiled its updated MacBook Pro this week that also received the new Thunderbolt 2 technology. That means it’s time for companies to start announcing storage products and other Thunderbolt accessories that also adopt the faster 20Gbps, 4k video capable Thunderbolt 2. The first to announce new products is Promise Technology (via MacRumors), with two new storage solutions including the Pegasus2 hardware RAID and the SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 to 8G Fibre Channel bridge:

Running bi-directionally at 20Gbps – twice the bandwidth of Thunderbolt at 10Gbps – Thunderbolt 2 is a breakthrough technology for video creators and multimedia professionals because it allows for simultaneous transfer and display of high-bandwidth 3D and 4K video files, which often requires 15Gbps… Pegasus2, the ideal external RAID storage solution, is available in 4-bay, 6-bay and 8-bay enclosures, and maximizes the available line rate of Thunderbolt 2 by providing blistering fast transfer speeds for a growing number of 4K applications. With two Thunderbolt 2 ports, 6 devices can be attached – allowing for daisy chaining of up to 6 Pegasus enclosure units, Apple Thunderbolt Displays, or Mini DisplayPort devices.

SANLink2 is a portable device bridge which provides dual 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports and dual 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 ports and can be used to connect Thunderbolt 2 systems directly to a high-speed Fibre Channel SAN, such as the PROMISE VTrak x10 or x30 RAID storage system or a VTrak A-Class shared SAN storage appliance for scale out capabilities and real time raw video HD/4K footage ingest, editing, and collaboration. SANLink 2 enables connectivity that provides flexibility to 4K workflows by removing limitations of systems previously unable to connect directly to a Fibre Channel SAN, and is backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 1.

Pegasus2 will be available from Apple Online Stores  and other retailers in 8TB, 12TB, 18TB, 24TB, and 32TB variants in November, and SANLink2 will become available in December.

Vine iOS app updated w/ ‘Time Travel’ editing features & ‘Sessions’ for saving drafts

Vine updated its iOS app today with a few new features that allow users to save and maintain multiple drafts of posts and edit their vines before posting.

The first new feature Vine is calling “Sessions.” These are essentially drafts of posts that you can save and access for future editing before posting:

Save any post and come back to it later –– work on up to ten posts at once. Simply tap the new icon in the bottom right corner of your camera to save a new session or open an existing one.

Vine is also including new editing features that it’s calling “Time Travel”. These features allow users to “remove, reorganize or replace any shot within a post at any time.” Now, when shooting a video you’ll see a new green bar that allows you to organize shots as well as a new “Edit” button when in preview mode.

The updated Vine app is available on the App Store now.

Following an announcement yesterday from billionaire investor Carl Icahn that he had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and would post the full letter online today, Icahn’s new website has now officially launched with the full text of the letter. In the letter on Icahn’s new website called the Shareholders’ Square Table, the investor urged Tim Cook to implement the $150 billion buyback plan that he has been suggesting since first announcing in August that he had taken a “large position” in Apple:

The S&P 500 trades at roughly 14x forward earnings. After backing off net cash, Apple trades at just 9x (not factoring into account that the company has a significantly lower cash tax rate than the rate Wall Street analysts use). This discount (cash adjusted) becomes even more compelling given our confidence that Apple will grow earnings per share at a rate well in excess of the S&P 500 for the foreseeable future. With such an enormous valuation gap and such a massive amount of cash on the balance sheet, we find it difficult to imagine why the board would not move more aggressively to buy back stock by immediately announcing a $150 Billion tender offer (financed with debt or a mix of debt and cash on the balance sheet).

While this would certainly be unprecedented because of its size, it is actually appropriate and manageable relative to the size and financial strength of your company. Apple generates more than enough cash flow to service this amount of debt and has $147 billion of cash in the bank. As we proposed at our dinner, if the company decided to borrow the full $150 billion at a 3% interest rate to commence a tender at $525 per share, the result would be an immediate 33% boost to earnings per share, translating into a 33% increase in the value of the shares, which significantly assumes no multiple expansion. 

In the letter Icahn adds that if the proposed $150 billion buyback was executed immediately, Apple would experience “further stock appreciation of 140% for the shareholders who choose not to sell into the proposed tender offer.” Icahn also agrees to not participate in the buyback by withholding his shares to “ invalidate any possible criticism” regarding the long term benefits of the proposal.

Icahn also noted that he has increased the size of his position in AAPL from 3,875,063 shares to 4,730,739 shares, a value of around $2.5 billion, and that he intends to buy more.

While there isn’t a ton of new information regarding Icahn’s new website, it is already accepting sign ups and a description on the website explains it as “a platform from which we can unite and fight for our rights as shareholders and steer towards the goal of real corporate democracy.”

Icahn says that Cook will call him after the October 28th earnings announcement.

Icahn’s full letter to Tim Cook is below:

expand full story

October 23, 2013

OS X Mavericks causing issues for DisplayLink USB displays

As noted by ArsTechnica, following yesterday’s release of OS X Mavericks, some users of USB-powered monitors that use DisplayLink drivers have experienced a variety of problems after updating.

The problems have already been identified by DisplayLink in a knowledge base article published on its website:

The following issues have been found on OS X 10.9 and do not currently have a resolution

  • Some applications can show severe flickering on DisplayLink screens. Examples of applications that show this issue are Safari, QuickTime and the App store.
  • Some applications can show corruption and/or missing contents while updating windows contents. Examples are Maps, iBooks and the Dock.
  • Display arrangement is not kept when using 2 or more DisplayLink displays.
  • All screens black and unusable after unplugging a DisplayLink screen. This is caused by Apple’s Window server crashing. This can be recovered by replugging the DisplayLink device.
  • On the Retina Macbook Pro, changing the layout to mirror logs the user out. Again this is caused by Apple’s Window server crashing.

DisplayLink is working on an update for some of the performance issue with Mavericks, but the company explained that the majority of bugs will have to be fixed by Apple:

Unfortunately there appear to be regressions in these interfaces in OS X 10.9 which are exposed when using DisplayLink screens. DisplayLink does not have workarounds to fix these issues and requires Apple to fix these problems in future 10.9 OS X updates.

DisplayLink has raised these bugs to Apple, but if you are a developer and affected by these problems, please also raise these bugs to Apple to help show fixes are required and it is affecting end users using DisplayLink products.

Analysis of new Mac Pro video shows how it’s assembled in the US

Yesterday during Apple’s iPad Air event, the company officially announced pricing and availability for the next-generation Mac Pro with the completely redesigned high-end Mac shipping in December starting at $2999. Since the new Mac Pro will be one of the first devices assembled in the US under Apple’s new initiative to bring manufacturing of some of its Macs back home, the company also ran a short video showing off the assembly process of the machine.

Today, industrial designer Greg Koenig has provided an interesting walkthrough of the video on his blog AtomicDelights that gives us an understanding of exactly what we’re looking at in Apple’s video above:

Most metal stampings go through one or two die tools to produce the final shape. With the Mac Pro though, the challenge is to produce a massive amount of plastic deformation without tearing, rippling or deforming the perfect cylindrical surface. To do this, the enclosure is drawn through a series of dies that progressively stretch the aluminum into something approaching the final shape of a Mac Pro.

Deep drawing is a process that very efficiently produces a “net shape” part. Apple could have just chucked a giant hunk of aluminum in a lathe and created the same part, but that amount of metal removal is extremely inefficient. Deep drawing efficiently creates a hunk of metal that is very close to the final shape of a Mac Pro in just a couple of operations. After that, the Mac Pro enclosure is lathe turned to clean up the surface and achieve desired tolerance, polished, placed back in a machining center to produce the I/O, power button and chamfer features and finally anodized.

With the Mac Pro, Apple has elevated a relatively low-precision/low-tolerance process (deep draw stamping) used to make my dog’s water bowl and toilet brush canister into the creation of an aerospace grade piece of desktop jewelry.

You can check out the full walkthrough of the video on AtomicDelights here.

(via @drwave)

Since Apple announced the all-new iPad Air alongside the second generation iPad mini, all of the big case makers are now announcing the cases they’ve been working on for the devices in the months leading up to the announcement. With the new iPad Air arriving in just over a week on Nov. 1, we thought it would be good to roundup some of the best cases that have already been announced for the device in addition to Apple’s new leather Smart Case ($79.99) and polyurethane Smart Cover ($39.99) for the iPad Air pictured above:

expand full story

October 22, 2013

During Apple’s next-generation Mac Pro portion of its iPad event earlier today, the company took some time to present first impressions from a few professionals that have been using the machine. While the public won’t officially get its hands on it until December, Apple noted that three professionals had been testing the new Mac Pro. One of those pros was award-winning extreme sports photographer Lucas Gilman pictured above next to his Mac Pro setup with a 4K Sharp display. We thought it would be interesting to have a chat with one of the only people in the world currently using the new Mac Pro, so we’ve reached out to Gilman to get his first impressions and learn more about his experience with Apple’s completely redesigned professional Mac line.

Head below for the full interview. expand full story

Apple TV update brings new iMovie Theater channel

When Apple updated its iLife suite on iOS and OS X today during its iPad event, it announced a new feature for iMovie called “iMovie Theater” designed to allow users to share content to iCloud and then watch the clips, movies or trailers easily on any Apple device. Apple mentioned that would also include the Apple TV and has now added a new “iMovie Theater” channel in a quiet update to Apple TV.

The new iMovie Theater channel is accessible after installing a software update on Apple TVs and you can access your shared content by signing into the same Apple ID used for your iCloud account on your other Apple devices with iMovie.

The iMovie apps are available for free to users who purchase new devices and to everyone else for $4.99 and $14.99 on the App Stores.

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