News/Rumors

Apple airs new ‘Parenthood’ iPhone 5s ad with focus on family

Apple on Sunday aired a a new TV ad to promote the iPhone 5s focusing on the device’s ability to help parents teach, interact and connect with their children through different apps.

The ad is entitled ‘Parenthood,’ and shows how the iPhone can be used to record home video, find a lost dog, monitor the children, and turn off the lights in the living room.  According to reports, it is not BWA’s Media Arts Lab, who is responsible for the latest run of commercials, but Apple’s own in-house ad team.

The video highlights such apps like teeth-brushing tutor MyTeeth, alphabet learning game DRAWNIMAL and pet tracker Pet Manager PRO. The company also paid attention to first party titles including FaceTime, allowing parents to connect with their kids even when you are far from home.

The ad comes ahead of HomeKit Smart Home appliance integration with iOS 8 this fall. HomeKit is expected to allow iOS devices to become a central control and monitoring hub for supported home automation hardware and software. HealthKit will serve in a similar way for fitness products, letting keep self and health data.  The new ad also shows a mother taking her child’s temperature with the Kinsa Smartphone Thermometer, while another mother uses the Nike+ Running app on a stroller-mounted iPhone.

The song features “Life of Dreams” written by singer-songwriter Julie Doiron. The commercial ends with the “You’re more powerful than you think” tagline, which was first used in April’s ‘Powerful’ 5s spot, and again this month with ‘Strength.’

Apple has also updated its iPhone website with its “Powerful” campaign webpage, where the company also added a set of links to apps and music used in the “Parenthood” ad.

News/Rumors

Apple launched cheaper iPod touch model and slashed prices on 32GB & 64GB models

According to a number of sources, Apple has launched its new entry-level 16 GB fifth-generation iPod touch, while also cutting the price on the current 32/64 GB iPod touch, offering them for $249 and $299, respectively.

The update added the 16-gigabyte iPod touch to line with its larger 32- and 64-gigabyte versions, which are all available in different colors, including black, space grey, pink, yellow, blue, and (Product)RED. All three models can be ordered on Apple’s online store and are promised to ship within 24 hours.

The new iPod touch is also offered in six different colors with a rear camera and a lower price tag of $199. The new model now offers the same features as the larger capacity iPods, although the Loop wrist strap can be purchased separately on the 16 GB model and included with 32 and 64 GB models.

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All three have a 4-inch Retina display, a forward facing FaceTime HD camera, and are powered by Apple’s A5 processor. They also run iOS 7 and ship with Apple’s EarPods.

iPod touch

The fifth-generation iPod touch first appeared in October of 2012 and was priced at $299, while the iPod touch lineup was last updated in June of 2013 with 16-gigabyte version available for $229 in one color.

Today iPod isn’t so popular, like it previously was. During its quarterly earnings conference calls, the company said that the iPod touch accounted for more than half of all iPod sales. Meanwhile, last quarter, Apple managed to sale just 2.7 million iPods, a number that is far from a mention from the company as it discussed its financial results.

News/Rumors

Apple iWatch fitness capabilities being tested by professional athletes

Apple has invited professional athletes from the MLB, NHL, and NBA to its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. to test the upcoming “iWatch’s” fitness capabilities in intense training environments. The source says that Apple has teamed up with  LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant, LA Kings player Dustin Brown, and several other famous professional athletes, including a player from the Boston Red Sox, on the testing project.

The athletes are said to have signed non-disclosure-agreements regarding the existence of the upcoming Apple product. Nonetheless, Bryant was spotted at Apple’s headquarters a few weeks ago and was reportedly there to meet with Apple’s design boss Jony Ive. The athletes are probably testing out the multitude of health and fitness sensors built into the device, stated to measure everything from sleep quality to heart rate to give an overall picture of health.

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The iWatch is believed to launch this October and will be available in a variety of sizes. According to The Reuters report, the iWatch will be provided with a 2.5-inch screen. The device will likely feature a slightly rectangular face that protrudes slightly from a band to create an arch shape around the wrist.  KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also predicted, that Apple’s iWatch will be available at multiple price points and in different materials.

Last year, the iPhone maker hired former Nike fitness expert and FuelBand developer Jay Blahnik to reportedly work on the iWatch. According to Gurman, Blahnik joined the team that is testing the device in health and fitness environments.

Another source stated that former Yves St. Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, now a vice president at Apple reporting to Tim Cook, has been working on strategies for selling fashion products in Apple’s stores, while Senior VP of Apple Retail Angela Ahrendts is preparing the device for marketing.

The iWatch is expected to enter manufacturing within the next few months, in time for an October debut.

News/Rumors

Foxconn and Pegatron hiring new workers for iPhone 6 production

According to the Monday report, iPhone manufacturing partner Foxconn will hire some 100,000 workers in order to ramp up iPhone 6 production toward July. Additionally, secondary supplier Pegatron is also boosting its workforce by 30% to support production of the next iPhone.

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News reported that Foxconn’s 100,000-person hiring spree will allow to boost the company’s iPhone workforce by 10 % in comparison with past production of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

In addition to the increase in recruitment, Foxconn is reportedly planning to involve two production lines in order to meet expected high demand for the upcoming device line. Foxconn is believed to be responsible for producing 70% of iPhone 6 orders, with some sources reporting the company will handle all assembly of a much-rumored 5.5-inch “phablet” version. There was also an idea of what the device will look like, including the LCD for the rumored 5.5-inch model.

foxconn

As for Pegatron, it is unclear if the share is representative of an exact iPhone 6 model or the lineup as a whole.

Foxconn and Pegatron hiring additional employees this month fits  the rumored iPhone 6 schedule, with production reportedly set to ramp up next month ahead of a launch around the usual September timeframe.

According to the previous reports,two models of the iPhone 6 are expected to be available for public later this year. The smaller 4.7″ display will reportedly go on sale around September, while the larger 5.5″ version will be delayed. The next-generation smartphone will likely have a resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels, NFC and wireless charging, a larger and thinner chassis, software-based image stabilization, a relocated power button and more.

News/Rumors

iWatch to come in multiple sizes with more than 10 sensors

According to the new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s upcoming entry to the smartwatch market will be accompanied by as many as ten or more sensors for collecting health data.

The device is said to be able to utilize over 10 sensors to track health and fitness and will be available in multiple screen sizes.  At WWDC earlier this month, the company introduced a new Health app, tasked to aggregate data from different wearable devices at one place. For the new projects, the iPhone maker has reportedly been hiring medical professionals.

Apple’s smartwatch is expected to launch as early as October and serve as a health-focused device. The new product will likely work with Apple’s new Health application.

According to Taiwanese contract manufacturer Quanta, the manufacture of the iWatch will begin from next month. In total,  Apple is reportedly expecting to ship 10-15 million units of the iWatch by December and potentially 65 million units in the first year.

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Reuters also claimed that the iWatch would feature a surprisingly large 2.5 inches diagonally, and wireless charging capabilities in addition to a touch interface. Meanwhile, it is still unclear if the 2.5-inch screen will be one of the “multiple versions” of the watch that hits the market this fall. Earlier rumors had suggested that the product would be available in a 1.3 and 1.6 inch sizes to accommodate various sized wrists.

Apple has not made any major hardware announcement this year, but according to the statement of CEO Tim Cook, the company is working on “some really great stuff” including new device categories. Most of the announcements are scheduled at the end of the year and early next year.

 

News/Rumors

Kanye West: Samsung-Jay Z collaboration drove Apple to buy Beats

Kanye West praised recent deal between Apple and Beats Electronics during a recent appearance at a seminar in Cannes. The rapper also said, that a collaboration between Jay Z and Samsung last year played into Apple’s decision to buy Beats.

Samsung reportedly purchased instant cultural cachet when it worked with Jay Z last year to provide one million free copies of the Brooklyn-based rapper’s latest album to Galaxy phone buyers.

iPhone maker did almost the same, spending $3 billion for acquisition of Beats, West added. He also explained that the company has lost touch with culture since Jobs’ death in 2011 and the acquisition of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s firm is meant to regain some of that lost ground.

“The reason I said I didn’t like Samsung particularly is because throughout my entire life, because of how my parents raised me, I have to work with the No. 1. Samsung is not quite Apple, but it showed that Jimmy and Dre would be able to connect with the No. 1 influencers.”

Beats

During his speech, West also mentioned Instagram, which he has some interest in redesigning.

“Now, you know, Instagram is nice. It’s nice looking. I’m not knocking it. But just in general, everyone spends all of their time looking at their screens or their phones. And just as a simple task, we could clean that up.” Kanye West said his official wedding photo with Kim Kardashian took four days to produce after top photographer Annie Leibovitz pulled out of their wedding one day before the big event. By the way, Kim and Kanye’s wedding photo is the most-liked image ever on Instagram, gaining more than 1.93 million likes, and more than 35,000 comments.

Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier said that acquisition of Beats Music would give the company a head start in subscription-based music streaming. Apple also reportedly spend about $500 million for Beats’ music arm.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Apple TV software beta brings iCloud Family Sharing

Yesterday, Apple released the second iOS 8 beta alongside with a new version of the Apple TV software. The first beta version of its upcoming Apple TV Software update brings one of iOS 8′s headline features to the hobby device: iCloud Family Sharing.

There is also a new section for “Family Purchases” in the iOS App Store’s Purchased tab and a new iCloud Family setting for the Apple TV. That means, that up to six people with iTunes accounts that use the same credit card will be allowed to share different content, including apps, music, movies, iBooks and more, across all of their devices using iCloud. The option also allows users to share photos, videos, a calendar, reminders, and more, to keep everyone in the family in touch.

The feature on the Apple TV is not yet functional, but the company said during the Worldwide Developers Conference, that with its help users will be able to share purchased content across accounts.

familysharing

Latest Apple TV Software beta means limited support to third-generation Apple TVs, suggesting users of older models may be left out when the update will be available for public. In addition, there are several issues with the first Apple TV Software beta including intermittent stuttering or full playback stoppage.

Family Sharing was presented at WWDC earlier this year and is expected to become publicly available this fall along with the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite software updates.

In addition to the new feature, the new beta also adds support for the updated iCloud Photos feature.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

The first Bitcoin wallet for iOS “Coin Pocket” appeared in App Store

Apple updated its policy for developers to allow for “approved” virtual currencies in apps. Now, Coindesk reports that the first Bitcoin wallet app has been approved on the App Store as a standalone app.

Coin Pocket is currently ranked No. 74 on the list of the top free iPhone apps in the finance category of the App Store. The app was developed by Mike Enriquez of Ohio and is tasked to allow users to send and receive Bitcoins on iPhones and iPads. In addition, it also lets people check the price, and collect private keys into a single spot and encrypt them. The creator describes its app as “a wrapper for a previously available open source HTML5 version, this time with full access to the camera hardware for QR code scanning.”

“Check your state and federal laws on the transmission of Bitcoin or virtual currencies before using the send feature of this app. You are liable for the use of Bitcoin in your jurisdiction,” the app’s description reads.

coinpocket_ios

In addition to Coin Pocket, gift card purchasing app eGifter was also updated to now add Bitcoin payments following Apple’s change. Earlier this month, app Betcoin was also added to the App Store with in-app Bitcoin spending capabilities.

With appearance of Coin Pocket, users will likely be able to have more Bitcoin-related apps in the App Store.

News/Rumors

iOS 8 code shows split-screen multitasking

During Apple’s 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, the company revealed several features for iOS 8, including improved messaging, revamped notifications, different user-interface enhancements and more. But some of the features did not make them into the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference.  One of such innovations is a split-screen multitasking feature for iPad on iOS 8. In May, the well-connected blogger Mark Gurman hinted at an iPad-only split-screen option for iOS 8, but the company did not mention the feature at its WWDC keynote.

According to the developer Steven Troughton-Smith, iOS 8′s internal SpringBoard has code that allows apps to run side-by-side in multiple sizes: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4. Apps that are running side-by-side are displayed as a single app in the App Switcher.

The split-screen multitasking is expected to let two apps to be displayed on a single screen on the iPad Air, Apple’s largest tablet. The option will be available only in landscape mode and will allow iPad users to use two apps simultaneously and share information, including links, pictures, and text between two apps.

split-screen

While the iPad was not previously able to display two apps at once, Microsoft managed to include this ability in its Surface tablet.

Split-screen multitasking support for the iPhone and the Retina iPad mini is believed to come later. Split-screen multitasking is also rumored to be slated for Apple’s 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” that may or may not be in development.

Graphic designer Sam Beckett provided a video giving a first look at split-screen multitasking. Beckett uses pairing apps together through the multitasking menu, with a draggable divider for adjusting the split-screen view.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

HealthKit supports some Bluetooth products natively

Apple’s HealthKit is said to promise an all-in-one location for health and fitness-related iOS accessories and their companion information.  In addition to this ability, the platform can reportedly also support some medical Bluetooth accessories natively, making it possible to skip developing apps for iOS and focus on their hardware. That means, that HealthKit can automatically connect to and control the device itself. The products that will be built-in and supported natively by HealthKit include heart rate and blood pressure monitors, glucose sensors, and health thermometers.

Bluetooth medical products can be detected by HealthKit and all the data will be collected and synced by the new Health app without the user having to do anything in a third-party app, providing with an easy way to find health information in a single place. Additionally, device makers won’t have to spend resources and time making an app rather than focus on their hardware.

Apple is using official standard specs for Bluetooth LE devices from Bluetooth.org, allowing iOS 8 to automatically establish a connection with the devices without the developers thinking about anything related to software.

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Previously these manufacturers were required to spend time and money creating companion apps for their devices that handle the pairing and collection of data. It will also be helpful to app developers, who allow users to connect to products from third-party companies.

iPhone maker is also prompting and giving manufacturers the ability to create other types of accessories that don’t fall under the natively supported devices above, but those will need an iOS app to implement the HealthKit API.