Mac|Life - News http://www.maclife.com/articles/24/feed en iTunes Sales Drop By 13%, Beats Music Rebranding Rumors Persist http://www.maclife.com/article/news/itunes_sales_drop_13_beats_music_rebranding_rumors_persist <!--paging_filter--><p>It's well known that Apple was a little late to the streaming music party, and thus its fantastically expensive acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics makes sense for a company looking to get ahead in the business. It'll need it, too. <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/itunes-music-sales-down-more-than-13-this-year-1414166672" target="_blank">The Wall Street Journal</a> reported today that traditional digital music sales on iTunes have dropped by 13 percent so far this year.</p><p>Thus continues the trend from last year, when Apple's digital sales started declining for the first time as the market moved away from purchased songs and albums and more toward on-demand subscription services like Spotify, Google Play Music, and, of course, Beats Music. The Journal repeated rumors that Apple plans to <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_reportedly_preparing_ditch_beats_streaming_music_service_updated" target="_blank">rebrand the service</a> sometime in the near future.</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/cookbono.jpg" width="620" height="414" /></p><p>"The plummeting download numbers help illustrate why Apple bought the $10-a-month subscription streaming service Beats Music earlier this year, as part of its $3 billion acquisition that included headphone maker Beats Electronics. Apple is rebuilding Beats Music and plans to relaunch it next year as part of iTunes, according to a person familiar with the matter."</p><p>Additional <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/audio/apple-might-actually-slash-beats-music-subscription-price-in-half-1269877?src=rss&amp;attr=all">rumors</a>&nbsp;state that Apple may bring the required subscription down to just $5 per month in order to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/itunes_sales_drop_13_beats_music_rebranding_rumors_persist#comments News Beats Beats Music iTunes Music sales streaming Sat, 25 Oct 2014 00:24:29 +0000 Leif Johnson 20842 at http://www.maclife.com AT&T Confirms It's Locking Apple's New iPad SIM Card After Activation http://www.maclife.com/article/news/att_confirms_its_locking_apples_new_ipad_sim_card_after_activation <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/sim.jpg" width="250" height="184" class="graphic-right" />For consumers, at least, the news that the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 would support a SIM card that could freely be switched out among AT&amp;T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and EE in the United Kingdom seemed like a dream come true. Unfortunately, AT&amp;T refuses to play along. Word surfaced at numerous sources today that anyone who connects their new iPad to an AT&amp;T data plan will find their Apple SIM cards locked to the carrier.</p><p>As Apple says <a href="http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6499?viewlocale=en_US&amp;locale=en_US" target="_blank">on its site</a>, “When you choose AT&amp;T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&amp;T dedicates Apple SIM to their network only." That means that if you ever want to switch to another carrier, you'll need to buy another Apple SIM card from an Apple retail store or approved partner. On the bright side, they typically cost only $10 or so.</p><p>It's a low blow, no doubt, but hardly surprising considering how tenaciously the carrier held on to the iPhone during its early years. But at least AT&amp;T customers have the option to switch, even if it's saddled with petty inconveniences — Verizon customers can't use Apple's self-branded SIM card at all.</p><p>If you're worried, no, AT&amp;T's locked SIM card doesn't mean that the iPad itself is locked. (AT&amp;T confirmed this earlier today in a statement to <a href="http://recode.net/2014/10/24/att-confirms-apple-sim-gets-locked-to-its-network-but-says-switching-carriers-still-easy/" target="_blank">Re/code</a>.) When it's time to switch, just pull out AT&amp;T's antisocial card and pop in a new Apple SIM card, and it should work as well as before.</p><p><strong>Photo via<a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/24/att-apple-sim/" target="_blank"> MacRumors</a></strong></p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/att_confirms_its_locking_apples_new_ipad_sim_card_after_activation#comments News Apple SIM AT&T iPad ipad air 2 iPad mini 3 SIM Sprint T-Mobile verizon Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:46:07 +0000 Leif Johnson 20841 at http://www.maclife.com Morning Report: Rite Aid vs. Apple Pay, Handoff on Older Macs, Bitcasa Changes http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/morning_report_rite_aid_vs_apple_pay_handoff_older_macs_bitcasa_changes <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u220903/rite_aid_store_on_strike_620px.png" alt="Rite Aid on strike" width="620" height="300" /></p><p>Apple Pay has only been available to the public since Monday, and already one retailer has decided to wall off their NFC payment terminals from iPhone 6 users. Our Friday Morning Report has the details, along with Bitcasa's decision to strong-arm unlimited storage customers into more expensive plans, and a glimmer of hope for older Mac owners to get Handoff working. Let's close out the work week with some news!</p><h3>Rite Aid Intentionally Blocks Apple Pay Users</h3><p>Although Rite Aid isn't on Apple's official list of retailers supporting Apple Pay, the drugstore chain uses point-of-sale hardware fully compatible with NFC-equipped smartphones. <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/23/rite-aid-disable-apple-pay/" target="_blank">According to MacRumors</a>, customers with iPhone 6 models were able to make contactless purchases at Rite Aid starting with the arrival of iOS 8.1 on Monday, but the retailer quickly closed the door on such purchases by Wednesday.<br /><br /><a href="http://joshhudnall.com/2014/10/some-merchants-are-intentionally-crippling-apple-pay/" target="_blank">As noted by user Josh Hudnall</a> and confirmed by MacLife.com with mid-week purchases at two different Rite Aid stores, Apple Pay transactions appear to go through normally, but the last transaction details show a blank amount. More troubling, the screen on the POS terminal specifically notes "Apple Pay is not supported," despite having successfully worked earlier in the week.<br /><br />According to Hudnall, Rite Aid corporate recently sent stores an email explaining that Apple Pay will not be accepted by the chain, presumably because the retailer supports the competing (and as-yet unreleased) CurrectC system. Coincidentally, whatever Rite Aid did appears to also be affecting Google Wallet users, who are also now blocked from making NFC payments at the register.</p><h3>Bitcasa Forces Infinite Subscribers to Expensive Capped Plans</h3><p>Cloud storage underdog Bitcasa is up to its old tricks again: Only 11 months after switching to tiered pricing and raising the cost of its unlimited "Infinite Drive" storage from $99 to $999 per year, <a href="https://support.bitcasa.com/hc/en-us/articles/203936983-Bitcasa-Personal-Account-Update-FAQ" target="_blank">the service this week announced</a> that grandfathered users who have continued to pay the lower amount are being kneecapped completely.<br /><br />Bitcasa says the change is being made because the company has spent the last year working on "a new and greatly improved backend storage system, which will make uploading, downloading, and loading your files faster!" As a result, users will have to install new desktop and mobile software that supports the updated system, but which is incompatible with the old one. (Also worth noting: Bitcasa has pulled the trigger on this change without having a new iOS app ready, which they claim is being held up by App Store approval.)<br /><br />Existing grandfathered users are being given until November 15 to upgrade their accounts to one of two plans: 1TB for the same $99 per year, or 10TB for $999 per year (or $99 per month), which effectively replaces the previous unlimited plan. Bitcasa users have lashed out on social networks and the company's support forums, noting that the short cutoff date doesn't allow them time to download terabytes of content, which will be purged should they fail to upgrade to the new plans.</p><h3>Github Tool Said to Enable Handoff on Unsupported Macs</h3><p>The new Continuity features introduced with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 are pretty fantastic, unless you have a Mac model released earlier than 2012. <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/23/continuity-activation-tool/" target="_blank">MacRumors reported Thursday</a> there may be hope for such models, thanks to a new Github project called <a href="https://github.com/dokterdok/Continuity-Activation-Tool/" target="_blank">Continuity Activation Tool</a>. Created by Dokterdok, the tool performs a compatibility check prior to creating backups of the original system drivers, and then disabling Bluetooth code that effectively blacklists unsupported models.<br /><br />Continuity Activation Tool reportedly works straight away with MacBook Air and Mac mini models from mid-2011 without additional hardware, but older Macs without the necessary Bluetooth 4.0 hardware require installation of new wireless cards, which may scare off average users from attempting such a modification. Full details are available from the Github portal.<br /><br /><em>Follow this article’s author, <a href="https://twitter.com/JRBTempe" target="_blank">J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter</a></em></p><p><em>(Image courtesy of The Chronicle-Telegram)</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/morning_report_rite_aid_vs_apple_pay_handoff_older_macs_bitcasa_changes#comments Gallery News angry customers App Store Apple Pay Bitcasa Continuity GitHub Handoff infinite storage iOS 8 Morning Report older Macs Rite Aid iPhone Mac Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:21:15 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 20837 at http://www.maclife.com Designer Creates Office Furniture Out of Old Power Mac G5 Units http://www.maclife.com/article/news/designer_creates_office_furniture_out_old_power_mac_g5_units <!--paging_filter--><p>The Apple Power Mac G5 was a head-turner when it first appeared back in 2003. Slick, crafted from sturdy aluminum, and tough, it seemed to embody the term "industrial design." Macs have changed a lot since then, but German designer <a href="http://projektgalerie.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/mac-g5-moebel/" target="_blank">Klaus Geiger </a>(via <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/23/power-mac-g5-furniture/" target="_blank">MacRumors</a>) sees no reason why such an iconic design should fade away or be confined to specialty collections. As such, he's "upcycled" several old units for a project and transformed them into contemporary furniture.</p><p>One of his most memorable designs is a bench playfully called "Benchmarc," in which two gutted Power Mac G5s support a handsome block of wood that matched the curves on the handles for the G5 chassis on each end. It looks like it'd be right at home in the waiting room of a Mac app developer's offices.</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/benches.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>Geiger showcases several more designs on his site, such as a set of drawers constructed from two G5 frames turned on their sides. As with all of Geiger's designs, the insides have been pulled out, in this case allowing users to pull back the front of the units to reveal storage space inside. If you need to move it, wheels on the bottom allow you to roll it around.</p><p>Additional photos show an entire office suite designed around the old units, including everything from conference tables to bookcases. In lesser hands, even with the undeniable beauty of the G5, such a project might still have ended up looking like some outdated junk stashed in a corner. In Geiger's hands, it looks like the kind of thing any admirer of contemporary furniture would enjoy having in their home or office.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/designer_creates_office_furniture_out_old_power_mac_g5_units#comments News Art Design Klaus Geiger Mac office furniture Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:31:04 +0000 Leif Johnson 20835 at http://www.maclife.com Apple Releases TestFlight App Beta Testing to the Public http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_releases_testflight_app_beta_testing_public <!--paging_filter--><p>An iOS public beta may still be the stuff of legend, but Apple today ensured that developers could get easy widespread feedback for their prerelease iOS apps&nbsp;by extending the amount of people who can test them through&nbsp;<a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_buys_burstly_parent_company_testflight" target="_blank">TestFlight</a>. Initially showcased at WWDC back in June, TestFlight now allows third-party developers to invite up to 1,000 members of the public to best test their apps ahead of launch.</p><p>That's a big step up from Apple's original description of the service, which limited developers to 100 beta invitations. Indeed, TestFlight is now all about inclusiveness. At the very least, it removes the barrier of required technical expertise from the process and ensures that a wider pool of beta testers have a chance to identify bugs and related problems.</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/testflightdevices.jpg" width="620" height="367" /></p><p>Even the process of gaining access to beta tests is easier. Obtaining a TestFlight invitation from a developer simply directs users to the official app through iTunes Connect, where they then download and run TestFlight without having to worry about finding their device's UDID or installing provisioning files. They're not even required to check their e-mail for news about recent builds, as notifications in iOS 8 inform them when new builds are ready.</p><p>Those updates may not go out as frequently as some developers wish. One big catch associated with TestFlight is that apps must pass a Beta App Review from Apple, much like the reviews apps must already pass before they're allowed to appear on iTunes. That puts the service at a disadvantage compared to existing testing platforms like Hockey, which suffer from no such setbacks.</p><p>But for developers, it's likely worth the wait. If you're interested, head over to the <a href="https://developer.apple.com/app-store/testflight/" target="_blank">special page</a> Apple's made regarding getting started with the service.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_releases_testflight_app_beta_testing_public#comments News Apps beta iOS iPad iphone Mac TestFlight testing iPad iPhone iPod Thu, 23 Oct 2014 23:24:09 +0000 Leif Johnson 20834 at http://www.maclife.com Morning Report: Big Retail Plans for China, Christian Bale Confirmed as Steve Jobs http://www.maclife.com/article/news/morning_report_big_retail_plans_china_christian_bale_confirmed_steve_jobs <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u220903/christian_bale_620px.png" alt="Christian Bale" width="620" height="300" /></p><p>It's widely known that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had a dark side, so why not go straight to The Dark Knight himself to play the iconic CEO on the big screen? Our Thursday Morning Report includes details on Sony's ambitious biopic, as well as Apple's pending retail invasion of China, plus Google's new take on email.</p><h3>Apple Planning 25 More Stores in China Within 2 Years</h3><p>Apple CEO Tim Cook is in China this week, and <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/apple-plans-more-stores-in-china-1414056873" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reported today</a> that Cupertino is planning to increase the number of retail stores in that country from 15 to 40 within the next two years. Speaking to Chinese news portal Sina.com, Cook announced the ambitious plans, which were confirmed by an Apple spokeswoman.<br /><br />“In the future China will become Apple’s biggest revenue contributor,” Cook prognosticated. “It’s just a matter of time.”<br /><br />The report noted that the "Greater China" region cited by Cook also includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, suggesting that not all of the forthcoming 25 stores could wind up being located in mainland China.</p><h3>It's Official: Christian Bale Leaps from Batman to Steve Jobs</h3><p>After Ashton Kutcher was announced as the lead in an unauthorized biopic on the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs more than two years ago, <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/features/ican_act_5_actors_we’d_rather_see_play_steve_jobs" target="_blank">we tossed out a handful of actors we'd rather see cast in that role</a>, which included <em>Pirates of Silicon Valley</em> star Noah Wyle, who actually portrayed Jobs twice — one in the aforementioned TV movie, and again during a 1999 Apple keynote alongside the iconic CEO himself.<br /><br />Our top choice at that time was none other than Christian Bale, who <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-23/christian-bale-didn-t-have-to-audition-for-jobs-film-role.html" target="_blank">Bloomberg today confirmed</a> as now starring in the official adaption of Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography. Penned by the same writer who brought us <em>The Social Network</em> (screenwriter Aaron Sorkin), the Steve Jobs biopic is scheduled to begin shooting "in the next couple of months," and should prove to be a new challenge for the artist formerly known as Batman.<br /><br />“He has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined,” Sorkin teased. “There isn’t a scene or a frame that he’s not in. So it’s an extremely difficult part and he is gonna crush it.”<br /><br />Bale has widely been rumored as a contender for the coveted role in recent months, and Sorkin himself considered the actor the best "on the board in a certain age range," noting that Bale didn't have to audition for the role. (Can we officially brag about calling it back in April 2012 now?)</p><p>Danny Boyle, of&nbsp;<em>Slumdog Millionaire</em>&nbsp;fame, is reportedly directing.</p><h3>Google Opens Invite-Only System for New Inbox Email App</h3><p><a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/an-inbox-that-works-for-you.html" target="_blank">The Google Official Blog announced Wednesday</a> a new email solution called Inbox. Currently available by invitation only, Inbox comes from the same team behind Gmail, but is being billed as "a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters." The app, which will be available for both iOS and Android, includes unique features like Bundles (for automatic organization) and Highlights (important information at a glance), but also combines to-do features like reminders, assists, and snooze all in one place. Eager Google lovers can send an email to inbox@google.com to speed up the invitation process, and once invited, will be able to bring friends into the fold as well.<br /><br /><em>Follow this article’s author, <a href="https://twitter.com/JRBTempe" target="_blank">J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter</a></em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/morning_report_big_retail_plans_china_christian_bale_confirmed_steve_jobs#comments News Aaron Sorkin Apple Inc. Apple Retail Stores China christian bale Google inbox Morning Report Steve Jobs steve jobs biopic Tim Cook iPad iPhone iPod Mac Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:16:02 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 20831 at http://www.maclife.com Working 1976 Apple I Sells at Auction for $905,000 http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/working_1976_apple_i_sells_auction_905000 <!--paging_filter--><p>The next time you think you've paid a lot for your Apple computer, consider the buyers of a rare working Apple I motherboard who put down $905,000 for the unit at a Bonhams <a href="http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22247/" target="_blank">History of Science</a> auction in New York. The Bonhams video accompanying the auction (below) suggested it might go for around $300,000 or $500,000, but it left the lot for about double that.</p><p>The computer itself, bearing the model number 01-0070, dates from 1976. It's one of 50 Apple 1 computers that Apple co-founders Steve "Woz" Wozniak and Steve Jobs built in Jobs' garage in Palo Alto, California specifically for sale in The Byte Shop. Around 150 more were made in the original run (although they went to individual buyers), and of the total 200, only around 17 are thought to still work today. At the time, they sold for the decidedly devilish price of $666.66.</p><p><iframe src="http://content.jwplatform.com/players/XsKNUiWJ-uJeNAjNM.html" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto"></iframe></p><p>According to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/22/us-applecomputer-auction-idUSKCN0IB2FG20141022" target="_blank">Reuters</a>, the lucky buyer was the <a href="http://www.thehenryford.org/museum/index.aspx" target="_blank">Henry Ford Museum</a> in Dearborn, Michigan, which collects important artifacts from American history with a focus on industry.</p><p>"The Apple-1 was not only innovative, but it is a key artifact in the foundation of the digital revolution," Henry Ford President Patricia Mooradian said in a statement following the acquisition.</p><p>It's been a relatively quiet year for auctions of the historical units, but last year one of the motherboards sold along with schematics and a manual signed by Woz for <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_i_auction_brings_387750_christies" target="_blank">$387,750</a>. A little over a month earlier, another Apple I sold for <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/original_apple1_auction_germany_fetches_671400" target="_blank">$671,400</a> at an auction in Germany. At this rate, the next auction we hear about might break over $1 million.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/working_1976_apple_i_sells_auction_905000#comments Gallery News apple Apple I auctions Bonhams history history of Apple motherboard Steve Jobs Steve Wozniak Woz Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:45:09 +0000 Leif Johnson 20830 at http://www.maclife.com Glitch Causes Apple Pay to Double Charge Some Bank of America Cardholders http://www.maclife.com/article/news/glitch_causes_apple_pay_double_charge_some_bank_america_cardholders <!--paging_filter--><p>Apple has enjoyed a generally smooth launch of its Apple Pay mobile payment service, but that track record changed today in the face of reports from <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/22/technology/mobile/apple-pay-double-charge/" target="_blank">CNN</a> and <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/bi-intelligence-tests-out-apple-pay-2014-10" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a> that some Bank of America customers found the service was charging them twice for certain transactions. Considering that the service relies on a delicate balance between technology, banks, retailers, and credit companies, it's actually rather surprising that we haven't heard many more horror stories besides this.</p><p>It's a nightmare that shouldn't last long. Bank of America claimed in a statement to <a href="http://recode.net/2014/10/22/bank-of-americas-apple-pay-glitch-should-be-fixed-today/" target="_blank">Re/code</a> this afternoon that the problems stems from an issue "between the bank and at least one payment network," and that around 1,000 customers were affected. Bank of America has already agreed to refund all the affected purchases, and a fix for the glitch should go live sometime this afternoon. Notably, Apple apparently wasn't to blame.</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/cnn.jpg" /></p><p>But the ordeal caused no small amount of pain for customers affected by the glitch, leading them to express their grievances on venues like <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/2jyr4w/is_anybody_else_getting_charged_twice_when_using/" target="_blank">Reddit</a>. CNN reporter&nbsp;Sam Burke was one of the people affected, and his story hints at some of the dangers of a service like Apple Pay in relation to the Cupertino company's celebrated privacy policies.</p><p>"Bank of America transferred me to Apple Pay customer support," Burke wrote. "The only problem: Apple’s representative reminded me that for security's sake — as promised — Apple keeps no records of names or amounts for any of the transactions. That meant there’s nothing Apple could do, the representative told me. So Apple told me to call Bank of America. It was every consumer’s worst nightmare: customer service for two companies telling you to call the other."</p><p>Other issues associated with the service are comparatively minor, such as Chase and Citibank credit cards that show the wrong designs in Facebook (via <a href="http://9to5mac.com/2014/10/22/apple-pay-card-display-bug/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+9To5Mac-MacAllDay+%289+to+5+Mac+-+Apple+Intelligence%29" target="_blank">9to5Mac</a>). As <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/bi-intelligence-tests-out-apple-pay-2014-10" target="_blank">Business Insider </a>reports, customers have also faced transitional issues at the participating retail establishments, where clerks didn't know the service existed. Out of the 11 establishments surveyed, only employees at McDonald's, Whole Foods, and American Eagle Outfitters knew how to use the service, and even then, American Eagle Outfitters only figured out how to grant a refund with the service "after a period of trial-and-error."</p><p>Apple's Eddy Cue, the company's senior vice president of Internet software and services, seemed to expect such hurdles in the days before Apple Pay's launch in an interview with <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/apple-pay-rolls-out-with-holes-in-system-1413762943?tesla=y" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em></a>.</p><p>"We’re trying to do something that I think is a game changer and it requires a lot of people to play together,” Cue said. “There’s a lot to do here and we have a lot of work to do, but it should be huge."</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/glitch_causes_apple_pay_double_charge_some_bank_america_cardholders#comments News Apple Pay Bank of America iphone iphone 6 Passbook Touch ID Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:40:48 +0000 Leif Johnson 20829 at http://www.maclife.com Morning Report: Cook Talks iCloud in China, iPad Air 2 Reviews, GT's Apple Split http://www.maclife.com/article/news/morning_report_cook_talks_icloud_china_ipad_air_2_reviews_gts_apple_split <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u220903/ipadair2-3up-lockscreen-print_620px.png" alt="iPad Air 2" width="620" height="300" /></p><p>Did you preorder an iPad Air 2 last week? If so, it's probably already on the way to you, and now the critics have weighed in with their own thoughts, and our Wednesday Morning Report has pulled the best quotes so you don't have to read them all. We've also got details of Tim Cook's latest trip to China, and a settlement between Apple and GT Advanced over the latter's abrupt trip to bankruptcy court.</p><h3>Apple CEO Tim Cook in China to Diffuse iCloud Hacking</h3><p><a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/22/us-apple-china-idUSKCN0IB12920141022" target="_blank">Reuters today reported</a> that Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook was on hand for a discussion on user data security with members of the Chinese government on Wednesday. According to official news agency Xinhua, the meeting focused on recent hacker attacks on iCloud members in China, which Greatfire.org believes were initiated by the Chinese government itself.<br /><br />Xinhua claims the meeting in Beijing between Cook and China's vice premier Ma Kai were reportedly focused on "protection of users' information," as well as "strengthening cooperation and in information and communication fields." According to Greatfire, the attacks were defused after Apple rerouted user data on Tuesday.</p><h3>iPad Air 2 Reviews Are In, But Nobody's Quite Blown Away By It</h3><p>When is faster, lighter, and more vibrant simply not good enough? Apparently that's the case with Apple's new iPad Air 2, which started racking up reviews from coast to coast on Tuesday night from the usual suspects. Despite the mostly positive reviews, many critics couldn't help but feel underwhelmed by the latest tablet out of Cupertino, which <a href="http://recode.net/2014/10/21/review-apples-ipad-air-2-is-better-but-is-it-better-enough/" target="_blank">Walt Mossberg of Re/code</a> referred to as "only a modest evolutionary improvement over last year's models."<br /><br />"They are, in most respects, the best iPads ever made," Mossberg elaborated. "But for average users... [it's] not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/21/7027485/apple-ipad-air-2-review" target="_blank">The Verge praised</a> the iPad Air 2's "vibrant, sharp display that looks almost painted on," while <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/21/ipad-air-2-review/" target="_blank">TechCrunch dismissed</a> the new gold finish as not a favorite, although "Apple's take on this particular metal color is better than most." <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/21/ipad-air-2-mini-3-review/" target="_blank">Engadget dinged Apple</a> for making iPad Air 2 thinner, claiming the smaller profile "comes at the expense of battery size," noting that last year's iPad Air "still rules the roost" in real-world usage. <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/ipad-air-2-review-the-best-tablet-needs-to-work-harder-1413939662" target="_blank">Joanna Stern of <em>The Wall Street Journal</em></a> also complained the device isn't particularly rugged, mistakenly shattering the screen of her review unit on concrete.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/21/ipad-air-2-reviews/" target="_blank">MacRumors has assembled a rogue's gallery of the best quotes from each review</a>, few of which actually note the biggest improvement of all: The bump to 2GB of RAM, which ultimately has the biggest effect in day-to-day use since apps and browser tabs don't have to constantly reload, <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3037335/ipad-air-2-ipad-mini-3-review" target="_blank">as pointed out by Fast Company</a>.</p><h3>Sapphire Maker Reaches "Amicable" Split with Apple</h3><p><a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/gt-advanced-apple-in-deal-for-amicable-split-up-1413931269" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reported Tuesday</a> that attorneys for bankrupt sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies have reached an “amicable parting of the ways" with Apple, which will effectively wipe clean any public record of what really went wrong with Cupertino's $578 million financing arrangement. GT Advanced's swift move to Chapter 11 has been seen as a setback for Apple's sapphire ambitions, which were a no-show on the latest iPhone 6 models but expected for next year's Apple Watch.<br /><br /><em>Follow this article’s author, <a href="https://twitter.com/JRBTempe" target="_blank">J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter</a></em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/morning_report_cook_talks_icloud_china_ipad_air_2_reviews_gts_apple_split#comments News apple ceo Apple Inc. China critics GT Advanced Technologies hacking iCloud iCloud accounts ipad air 2 Morning Report reviews Tim Cook iPad iPhone Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:35:42 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 20825 at http://www.maclife.com Apple May Launch Rumored Apple Pay Loyalty Program in Time for Holidays http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_may_launch_rumored_apple_pay_loyalty_program_time_holidays <!--paging_filter--><p>Apple made us wait a while for Apple Pay, but now that the service is out of the gate, a new rumor suggests that the company is already preparing to release the loyalty rewards program that was reportedly scheduled for a late 2015 release. According to <a href="http://bankinnovation.net/2014/10/apple-pay-loyalty-due-to-start-within-the-year/" target="_blank">Bank Innovation</a>, we could see it in time for the holiday shopping season.</p><p>The details of the rumored rewards program itself are nebulous, although most sources tend to agree that it will allow retailers use iBeacons to pass along more data than what you'd get through a simple NFC connection. The service would thus generate special offers based on your preferences or purchase history. One of Bank Innovation's sources described how it would work back in August:</p><p>"One way they’ve [Apple] thought up is, say you’re in a Duane Reade [drug store], hypothetically. You get a push notification from Pepsi that they’ve worked out a deal with Duane Reade that you can get a free case of Pepsi. Just pick it up and use Apple Pay at the counter."</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/applewatch.jpg" width="620" height="348" /></p><p>Most early rumors claimed Apple would hold back on the rewards program until the launch of Apple Pay 2.0 sometime late next year, but today's report claims "market demand" will cause Apple to release it within the next few weeks. There is, of course, still the possibility that the retailers themselves might not be ready for the service, as supporting it would require the optimal placement of iBeacons and the development of offers specially tailored for holiday shoppers. And time is running out quickly.</p><p>Apple officially launched Apple Pay on Monday with the release of iOS 8.1. Although the press-and-pay functionality at retails stores is currently limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple will also expand the service to the Apple Watch when it launches sometime next year.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_may_launch_rumored_apple_pay_loyalty_program_time_holidays#comments News Apple Pay Apple Watch iBeacons iOS 8 iphone iphone 6 iPhone 6 Plus loyalty rewards Rumors speculation Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:01:58 +0000 Leif Johnson 20824 at http://www.maclife.com