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AAPL: 112.18

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This week Benjamin and Zac talk about the latest Siri Speaker rumors, potential Apple Watch sleep tracking and smarter heart rate tracking features, the latest news in the HomeKit space, and much more. 9to5Mac’s Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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On the 20th anniversary of the first publication of A Game of Thrones, George RR Martin told the Guardian that a special edition of the book due to be released today on iTunes represents ‘an amazing next step in the world of books.’

A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition [offers] ‘a world of additional content,’ said its publisher HarperCollins, ranging from interactive character maps to detailed annotations, character journeys and timelines, family trees [and] audio clips.

The book, which is exclusive to iBooks, includes an extract from The Winds of Winter. Martin said that he was excited by the opportunity to offer readers access to a whole range of secondary material …

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With numerous reports suggesting that Apple will launch a new MacBook Pro range in late October, one sketchy rumor suggests that the keynote presentation will take place on October 24. A Monday doesn’t seem particularly likely, and the ‘multiple sources’ cited are apparently just anonymous emails, but sometime around that date seems more likely than not. Logic dictates that a new OS update will be required for these new machines and if they were ready late September/early October, Apple would have added them to the September event.

Additionally, Apple is known for its late October launches, having had one in October four of the past five years (skipping last year) and it wants to have its channel full of inventory for the runup to the holidays in November.  So October is a safe guess for upcoming products… expand full story

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Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park
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Tim Cook last month told the Chinese government that Apple would be building its first research and development center in China by the end of the year, and local media now appears to have some specifics.

The center will reportedly be located in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park and employ 500 staff.

The R&D center has a registered capital of CNY100 million (US$14.994 million), with total investment likely to reach CNY300 million in the future. The center plans to hire a total of 500 employees, focusing on the development of computer software and hardware products, communication, audio and video devices, as well as advanced technologies for consumer electronics products and the information industry.

The Digitimes report – citing local media – says that the role of the center is expected to go beyond research …

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New York’s Union Square Cafe will use Apple Watches to enhance its customer service efforts when the restaurant re-opens next month, reports Eater.

When Meyer’s 30-year-old Union Square Cafe reopens in Manhattan next month, every floor manager and sommelier will be wearing an Apple Watch. And when a VIP walks through the front door, someone orders a bottle of wine, a new table is seated, a guest waits too long to order her or his drink, or a menu item runs out, every manager will get an alert via the tiny computer attached to their wrist.

The restaurant – owned by Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer – is working with reservation system startup Resy to deliver a hi-tech approach to the entire restaurant experience, from reservation to check …

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September 28

AAPL: 113.95

0.86
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