United States Stories September 14, 2015

Apple discontinues combined Apple Watch + iPhone AppleCare packages

 

On the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus announcement day, Apple increased the pricing of its AppleCare+ protection plan from $99 to $129. We’ve since discovered that Apple has additionally discontinued its combined plans for the Apple Watch and iPhone. Since the launch of the Apple Watch earlier this year, Apple offered combined packages that allowed a customer to protect both devices on a single plan. Now, customers must purchase both plans separately. The combined packages did not bring any discount or value over purchasing the plans separately, so the discontinuation of the program does not come as a major change for consumers. Apple has told employees that customers who have already purchased the combined plans will not be affected through their deals.

United States Stories July 14, 2015

T-Mobile launches competitive new Family Plan, offering $30/per 10GB line

T-Mobile’s Uncarrier Amped moves are still going strong. Just days after announcing its cross-border ‘Mobile Without Borders’ plan, the magenta carrier has unveiled a brand new family plan.

With the new plan, two customers can get 10GB per line for $100 per month. Each additional line is then $20 per person, each with 10GB data allowance. As a special offer, T-Mobile is also giving customers a fourth line for free. Between now and Labor day, customers will be able to sign up to four lines with 10GB data on each, for $120 per month.

United States Stories May 20, 2015

le-toison-dor-01

New Brussels shopping complex<em> La Toison d’Or</em>

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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United States Stories May 13, 2015

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Apple has begun charging for and preparing to ship the first orders of the 42MM Space Black stainless steel, Modern Buckle, Leather Loop, and international stainless steel Link Bracelet orders, according to reports from several readers. Standard Apple Watch with Link Bracelet orders started arriving in the United States yesterday…

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United States Stories May 12, 2015

Screenshot 2015-05-12 11.42.58

Apple has pushed out several new content channels across many countries to the Apple TV, as noted by several readers. Here’s the breakdown of the new channels across the world:

  • Viaplay has been added to the Apple TV in Scandinavia (which is comprised of Denmark, Sweden, Norway) and Finland. Viaplay is comprised of local sports content, films, and TV shows.
  • Stan has been added in Australia, and it contains localized TV shows, films, and content for kids.
  • The WWE Wrestling Network has been added to Apple TVs in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The network first launched in several countries, including the United States in Canada, for the Apple TV in February.
  • Bandai, a localized, subscription-based digital network, has been added to the Apple TV in Japan.

Last week, Apple rolled out CBS Sports and USA Now channels in the United States. Apple is expected to announce new Apple TV hardware in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, complete with an App Store and redesigned Remote.

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United States Stories March 30, 2015

watch-healthkit

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 …  expand full story

ios-vs-android

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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Want to work for Apple in the US? Here are the five main jobs for which foreigners are hired

If Apple’s recently-revamped jobs site has tempted you to consider a move to the US, data from the Office of Foreign Labor Certification may provide a guide to your chances. Applications for H-1B visas–those allowing overseas workers to accept job offers in the US–reveal that top tech companies like Apple mostly sponsor the visas for five main roles, reports TechCrunch.

By examining the most common professions among H-1B applicants for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, five consistent career paths emerged across each company. Software engineers, systems software engineers, financial analysts, computer systems analysts and marketing managers make up a large part of H-1B visa applications.

The salary data shows that the average salary paid to foreign workers employed in the USA by the five tech companies is highest at Facebook, at $135k, with Apple sitting in the middle of the pack at a little over $120k.

tim-cook

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 …  expand full story

United States Stories March 26, 2015

patriot-act-reform

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 …  expand full story

United States Stories March 3, 2015

Obama weighs in as China demands access to data services provided by U.S. companies

President Obama has publicly criticized China’s plans to expand ‘security’ policies that would effectively prevent U.S. tech companies like Apple selling their products in China without completely compromising data security.

Reuters reports that the Chinese government plans to require foreign tech companies to host in China all data servers used by their products, and to allow the government access to the data. As this would include iCloud backups, this would provide the Chinese government with complete access to all data stored on iPhones and iPads sold in China.

In an interview with Reuters, Obama said he was concerned about Beijing’s plans for a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security “backdoors” in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access … 

United States Stories February 26, 2015

What will the Apple Watch Edition cost? Jewelry and watch people weigh in

[Ed. Note: Rob Bates, is a senior editor for JCK, and blogger/writer about the diamond and jewelry industries—this post originally posted here]

When we first started talking about the Apple Watch, some predicted that the highest-end model—the 18k gold Edition—could retail for more than $1,000. Now that seems almost quaint. Apple-focused blogs such as Daring Fireball now regularly bandy about numbers like $10,000—and sometimes far more.

The jewelry and watch sources I spoke with all think a price tag of $6,000 or more is reasonable, maybe even probable. “If it’s under $5,000, it will shock me,” says Michael Pucci, founder of the Los Angeles–based Abbiamo Group, marketing and sales consultants for jewelry and watches. He thinks the price tag will fall between $6,000 and $10,000, but not likely much more than that.

The 18k gold is, of course, the watch’s most valuable component. While it’s difficult to judge gold content from photos—given questions about thickness, etc.—industry experts believe the watch and accompanying case will use about 1 ounce of gold (currently trading for around $1,200).

The Apple Watch Edition.

Yet, you can’t just value the gold by weight, argues Torry Hoover, president of Hoover & Strong, the metals refiner.

“These can’t be mass-produced,” he says. “You can machine parts of it, but it will take a fair amount to make a case. There is still a lot of handwork that has to be done with it.”

That’s because gold’s properties sometimes make the metal ill-suited for assembly lines, says Jason Wilbur, a Los Angeles–based watch designer.

“We all know how soft gold is. It’s tricky. It moves around a little more than other metals. You have a lot of sharp edges and soft materials and little connection points, so you can’t just use manufacturing tools. The lugs may end up snapping off. One little pockmark on this thing will show up. You can’t just use the same tools as the other models and throw some gold in there, and there is your watch.”

Apple claims it’s using a company-developed metal that’s “up to twice as hard as standard gold.” Of course, saying “up to” gives it a lot of leeway, and no one I spoke to thinks it will introduce anything truly radical.

“There are always different alloys, but I think that’s more marketing than anything else,” says Morris Chabbott, managing director of New York City–based Morét Time. “I’ve been in the gold business, and there are many different things you can do with it. Apple is about making the best technology, so if they are making gold they may want a little edge to it.”

United States Stories February 20, 2015

Apple Maps Connect gains new languages as it expands to Canada, France & Germany

The Apple Maps Connect service, which allows small businesses to add their listings to the Apple Maps database, has been expanded to Canada, France and Germany. The service has also gained two new language options, French and German, to correspond with the regional expansion.

Apple first launched Maps Connect in the U.S. last October, enabling businesses to edit or add listings, as well as set up indoor mapping within selected areas. Entries made by businesses typically show up in Apple Maps around a week later. The international rollout began last month with the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Singapore.

Apple switched from Google Maps to its own mapping service on iCloud.com in December. Apple-leased camera cars have been spotted recently, with some suggesting that they are being used to add Street View style images to Apple Maps, while others believe they are part of the Apple Car project.

United States Stories January 31, 2015

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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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United States Stories January 29, 2015

apple-store-china

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 …  expand full story

United States Stories November 25, 2014

From 9to5Toys.com:

9to5-image 2014-11-25 at 3.54.44 PM

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

 

United States Stories November 20, 2014

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 …  expand full story

United States Stories November 13, 2014

U.S. Department of Homeland Security warns iOS users about ‘Masque Attack’ security flaw

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Thursday issued an alert warning iOS users about the recent “Masque Attack” security flaw that can affect both non-jailbroken and jailbroken iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team outlines how the technique works and offers solutions on how iOS users can protect themselves.

United States Stories November 7, 2014

Final IDC numbers for U.S. PC shipments confirm Mac hit highest ever market share

IDC has finalized the preliminary PC shipment numbers released last month, confirming that the Mac hit its highest ever share of the U.S. market at 13%. Apple regained the place in lost to Lenovo back in April, moving back into third place behind HP at 28% and Dell with 24%.

Apple reported year-on-year growth of more than 20% in its Q4 earnings report, with Mac sales of 5.52M. In a subsequent interview with the WSJ, Tim Cook asked:

Would you rather own the Mac business or any of the Windows OEMs?

We learned recently that Apple’s share of the worldwide tablet market fell markedly from 29.2% last year to 22.8% this year, thanks to both falling sales and an increase in the number of competitor tablets, especially at the low end. The news was not all bad, however, with U.S. data showing that the iPad continues to dominate web usage, accounting for almost 80% of North American tablet traffic on the web, leaving its three largest competitors all down in single digits.

United States Stories November 6, 2014

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. expand full story

United States Stories October 29, 2014

iphone6

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. expand full story

composure

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 …  expand full story

United States Stories October 27, 2014

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.” expand full story

United States Stories October 23, 2014

List of banks that will support Apple Pay in coming weeks/months

Visa has published a list of banks and financial institutions that will support Apple Pay in the United States “in the coming weeks,” while MasterCard has its own list of supported banks arriving in the coming months. The mobile payments service officially launched on Monday, October 20th and currently supports cards issued by Bank of America, Capital One, Citi Bank, Chase and Wells Fargo Bank. A full list of banks coming soon from Visa and Mastercard below:

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