Accessories, News/Rumors

New iPhone reportedly receives Force Touch and pink color option

Apple is reportedly planning to add its Force Touch technology to the next version of the iPhone.

Force Touch was first announced in the Apple Watch last September and allows a device to detect the level of deformation caused by the user’s press.

Force Touch helps products distinguish between a light tap and a hard press, enabling new gestures. The company calls the advance its “most significant new sensing capability since Multi Touch.” 

According to the source, Apple’s next-generation iPhones will see 4.7 and 5.5-inch screen sizes along with the same resolution. However, a new color option might be introduced. Apple is said to be planning to offer its users a pink version to its existing space gray, silver, and gold iPhone lineup. 

New iPhone reportedly receive Force Touch and pink color option

In addition to Force Touch technology, little was unveiled about the next-generation iPhones. The next-generation devices will likely be called the “iPhone 6s” and the “iPhone 6s Plus,” and are reportedly provided upgraded A9 processors. Finally, they are expected to feature camera upgrades, more RAM, and enhanced Touch ID. The company will likely debut the new iPhones in September.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Hands-on with the Apple Watch

Following yesterday’s event, a number of attendees were provided with the opportunity to go hands-on with a finished version of the Apple Watch with fully functional software.

Apple allowed journalists to try out demo versions of the new device when it was announced last fall, but this is much different. This time around, they were given the ability to launch apps, navigate menus and play with different features.

Several sources have shared new tidbits and impressions on the device, which we’ve rounded up below.  They are expected to help create a proper picture of what to wait from your Watch next month. 

TechCrunch:

TechnoBuffalo:

The Verge:

CNET:

Mashable:

Apple Watch is set to go on sale April 24, with preorders and hands-on previews in stores beginning April 10. The Sport version will be available starting from $349, the stainless steel version will start at $549, and the luxury Apple Watch Edition will start at $10,000.

In addition to Apple wearables, the company also announced an all-new 12-inch MacBook with a high-resolution Retina display and a click-less Force Touch trackpad. The MacBook will be available April 10 starting at $1,299.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

HBO reportedly in talks to launch its standalone streaming service on Apple TV in April

HBO is reportedly in negotiations with Apple over a launch destination for HBO’s standalone streaming service called “HBO Now.” News of HBO’s web-based subscription service first appeared in October of 2014, after HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced the company’s plans at an investor presentation. 

The partnership means, that its upcoming standalone web-only subscription television package will be available on the Apple TV in April. It would be the first time users won’t be required to go through a cable or satellite provider to have access to HBO.

HBO is reportedly planning to charge $15 per month for the service, which would offer HBO content, including “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire”. Notably, that during last year’s season premiere of Game of Thrones, the on-demand HBO Go service collapsed under network traffic, causing several days delay in streaming the fourth season’s first episode.

Apple TV

The iPhone maker has allegedly been “most aggressive” in its attempts to secure an Apple TV deal. HBO Go can be found in the set-top box and makes users authenticate through cable providers, but it’s expected that Apple would be able to add a second app for HBO Now.

HBO hasn’t yet revealed an official launch date, pricing or device support for the service.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Ahead of launch, Apple Watch wins noted iF Design Gold Award

Ahead an expected debut in April, Apple’s Watch won design awards at the 2015 iF Design Awards, an annual industrial design competition dating back to 1954.

TIF upcoming device was given the iF Design Gold award from the iF International Forum Design. The organization declared that the Cupertino-designed smartwatch is “already an icon.”

“The idea of combining classic materials such as leather and metal with state-of-the-art technology to create a very individual fashion accessory has resulted in a delightful product offering a holistic user experience. The Apple Watch scores highly for each design detail and is an altogether extraordinary piece of design. For us, it is already an icon.”

Overall, 1,124 products were granted an iF Label, while only 47 won the gold award for excellence.

The wearables went up against more than 3,200 other designs in the Product discipline, the largest iF award area that deals with several commercial industries, including vehicles, medical devices, smartphones, computers, tableware, kitchen equipment, furniture, bathroom products and more.

Apple_Watch-l

Each product was judged by a number of criteria, including design quality, workmanship, choice of materials, degree of innovation, environmental friendliness, functionality, ergonomics, visualization for use, safety, brand value and branding, and universal design. 

It is not the first time, when Apple’s creations are granted an award. Nearly every company’s product has won one, including most of the iPhone and iPad case the company has produced.

The Apple Watch is set to debut in April in several countries.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Apple Watch reportedly to get ‘Power Reserve’ mode to conserve battery life

Ahead of the company‘s media event, The New York Times has shared a piece about the culmination of the Watch project.

Among the new details is the existence of an unannounced “Power Reserve” mode for the device that will display only the time in order to stretch the smart-watch’s battery longer and make for less frequent charging. According to the company’s statement, the watch battery is estimated to last a full day, requiring an owner to charge it at night, similar to a smartphone. The low-power mode will display the time only and will be able to do so on even very little battery.

Apple has said the watch battery is estimated to last a full day, requiring a user to charge it at night, similar to a smartphone. The company also developed a yet-to-be-announced feature called Power Reserve, a mode that will run the watch on low energy but display only the time, according to one employee.”

Power Reserve mode1

The wearables were previously reported to get approximately 19 hours of average usage time per day, combining in-app functions with standby time, as well as 2.5 hours of straight heavy app usage. Improving battery life appears to be a main goal of development since the Watch’s initial debut in September. Tim Cook has also said several times that the product will need to be charged every night, implying approximately one day of battery life.

The source also reported that while the new product has been widely tested by Apple employees, the iPhone maker did work to conceal a lot of those prototypes by disguising them to resemble Samsung smartwatches.

Apple is expected to offer more specifics at its event on March 9th, where the company will reveal more details about Apple Watch.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple Maps reportedly adds GasBuddy and GreatSchools as data providers

Apple has recently added two new companies to its Apple Maps Acknowledgements page.  Among the newcomers cited are GasBuddy and GreatSchools, both of which are data aggregates that collect information on gas prices and local schools, respectively.

Though gas prices and school information are not yet available when searching on Apple Maps. The deals with GasBuddy/OpenStore and GreatSchools possibly hint at future plans for improvements to its mapping app.

Another addition to the Maps company list is the National Land Survey of Finland Topographic Database.

Apple is expected to reveal new features for Maps in 2015, when updates to its anticipated iOS 9 come.

Apple has begun to add data providers to Maps since first launching its own Maps app to replace Google Maps back in 2012. Last year, the iPhone maker brought 10 new sources to the business listings. They were DAC Group, Location3 Media, Marquette Group, Placeable, PositionTech, SIM Partners, SinglePlatform, UBL, Yext, and Yodle.

apple-maps-app

Moreover, the company has made a number of improvements in recent months, including the expansion of its Maps Connect features for small businesses and the addition of new 3D Flyover locations and other data.

According to some sources, Apple is also planning to provide the app with crowdsourcing features, Siri and Passbook integration, and Waze-like incident reporting and real-time traffic alerts.

It is unclear when Maps might see its next major update, but it’s possible Apple is planning the feature for iOS 9. 

News/Rumors

Apple reportedly acquired digital audio effects maker Camel Audio

Apple has reportedly acquired UK-based digital audio effects maker Camel Audio, which is responsible for the popular Alchemy synth plug-in.

Audio software developer Camel Audio said in January that it would be shutting down and removing its software from sale, but the reason of its closing is.

“We would like to thank you for the support we’ve received over the years in our efforts to create instruments and effects plug-ins and sound libraries. Camel Audio’s plug-ins, Alchemy Mobile IAPs and sound libraries are no longer available for purchase.

We will continue to provide downloads of your previous purchases and email support until July 7, 2015. We recommend you download all of your purchases and back them up so that you can continue to use them (Instructions: How to Download and Backup Your Products).”

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This week Camel Audio updated a number of its corporate information, including its address, which is now 100 New Bridge Street, which is Apple’s London address. The company also removed all directors and replaced with just one person: Heather Joy Morrison, a member of Apple’s legal team, suggesting the company is in the possession of Apple.

It wasn’t revealed what Apple intends to do with Camel Audio, but it’s likely the company’s technology could be incorporated into a future version of Logic Pro X, Apple’s software designed for professional musicians, or GarageBand.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Apple Watch makes US magazine cover debut with Victoria’s Secret Angel

In October 2014, the Apple Watch released its magazine cover with Vogue China, featuring the Chinese model Liu Wen. Now, as the company prepares to reveal the Apple Watch in April, the device is given its U.S. magazine cover debut. Its March issue will feature cover model Candice Swanepoel, best known for her work as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, wearing Apple’s unreleased smartwatch. 

Considering Swanepoel’s athletic prowess, it was the best accessory for her sporty cover shoot. She told SELF, “I’m an athlete. I use every single muscle, especially my core and arms, when I pose. It’s so important for me to feel strong!”

Candice Swanepoel will be demonstrating the Apple Watch Sport with a white fluoroelastomer band. Self also gives a brief overview of Apple Watch’s features, such as its accelerometer, heart rate sensor, GPS and WiFi in print and in photos. 

Self will probably one of many publications to feature the Apple Watch in the coming weeks as the product‘s launch approaches, and the company plans to market the Apple Watch to a wide range of potential customers.

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Candice Swanepoel

Aside from existing details on the upcoming device, the short blurb on SELF’s website does not give new information regarding Apple’s forthcoming wearable. It is also unclear if the print version will bring a more comprehensive look at the new product.

Apple Watch makes US magazine cover debut with Victoria's Secret Angel

Liu Wen

The iPhone maker asked several developers to make content for the Apple Watch to have their apps completed by mid-February. Apple is also reportedly inviting certain developers to its Cupertino headquarters to put the finishing touches on some Apple Watch apps. 

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Apple Watch will hit the market in April, but the exact date is still unclear.

Mac, News/Rumors

‘The Sims 4′ now available for Mac

Electronic Arts has finally released the popular “The Sims 4″ for Mac, as promise in January. The Sims 4 were available on PC back in September of 2014, but it’s taken a number of months for the developers to launch a Mac version of the game. 

The Sims 4 for Mac is the latest addition to The Sims lineup.

You will control your characters in different activities and form relationships. The game, like the rest of the series, does not have a defined final goal; gameplay is nonlinear.

The Sims 4 allows you to customize your Sims more than ever with distinct new appearances and massive personalities. You have the ability to randomly create a sim to start the game off in just a few minutes, but for those who would like select each aspect of their sim, the options are available. It is possible to customize facial features, hair, accessories, makeup, and select outfits for different occasions. 

the sim

In addition, you are given the ability to choose a name, personality traits that affect how sims interact with other characters, and more.

Emotional state plays a larger role in “The Sims 4″ than in previous titles, with effects on social interaction, user interface, and personality.

The Sims 4 was criticised for notable gameplay changes and features that were stripped from the previous game, but EA has promised to release updates that will bring some missing functionality back to the game soon. The company has already returned pools and ghosts, two major features that did not come with the title. 

The Sims 4″ can be downloaded through EA’s Origin platform for $59.99. If you already have the version for Windows, you needn’t pay for the Mac version. EA is also offering a deluxe version available for $69.99, which features exclusive bonus content.

News/Rumors

BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe joining Apple

BBC Radio 1 has announced that its popular DJ, Zane Lowe, is set to leave the historic British broadcaster in March for a job at Apple.

Zane Lowe has worked as an award-winning Radio 1 DJ for nearly twelve years and has long been regarded as one of the UK’s top sources for music discovery.

He has won a number of awards for his radio show and was nominated for a Grammy Award this year for his role in writing and producing Sam Smith’s album “In The Lonely Hour.” 

There’s no news on what position Lowe is taking at the company, but it would make sense he would be involved into the company’s iTunes Radio streaming music service. 

Apple has placed a high degree of emphasis on musical curation, especially after purchasing Beats Music and bringing in cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

“We get a subscription music service that we believe is the first subscription service that really got it right,” Apple chief Tim Cook said when discussing the deal. “They had the insight early on to know how important human curation is. That technology by itself wasn’t enough — that it was the marriage of the two that would really be great, and produce a feeling in people that we want to produce.”zane_lowe

iTunes Radio currently has curated stations created by well-known DJs, artists, and other stars. Beats Music features a similar function.

The Cupertino-based company is reportedly planning to rollout a new iTunes subscription service later this year that could be perfect for Lowe’s human curation.