Category Archives: Front Page

First Generation Apple TVs Unable to Connect to iTunes

appletv-326x-tjlApple's first generation Apple TV have lost their ability to connect to iTunes and appears to be affecting users worldwide.

A lengthy Apple Discussions page shows that the problem started on the 17th of April and has persisted for 1st generation Apple TV users. Forum poster georgevargas describes the issue:
As of last night I had full access to the iTunes Store. Since this morning I was getting an Itunes Store Not Available message, and after unplugging the AppleTv the iTunes Store access completly disappeared except for movie trailers.
Users have gone through the usual diagnostics, including rebooting and restoring, but have found that nothing has restored connectivity. MacRumors has confirmed the issue on our own 1st generation Apple TV.

The initial timing of the outage corresponds to the FaceTime not working for iOS 6 users, suggesting some internal changes by Apple has affected both services. Some users are speculating that internal communication upgrades related to the Heartbleed security issue could be related. Apple denied that Heartbleed affected any of their "key services" but did not elaborate on what those might be.

Apple has not provided any statement on if and when 1st generation Apple TV functionality will be restored or not. The first generation Apple TV was released in January, 2007 and was sold until September, 2010.


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Nike Fires Majority of FuelBand Team, Plans to Stop Making Wearables

Nike plans to cease making wearable hardware and it has fired the majority of the 80-person team responsible for the FuelBand fitness tracker. Instead, the company will focus its efforts on fitness software, according to an unnamed source that spoke to CNET.
The shoemaker isn't throwing in the towel on technology. Rather, it's turning away from hardware and realigning its focus exclusively on fitness and athletic software, a strategic shift that would still benefit the company in the long run, analysts said.
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As the competition in the fitness wearable category has increased with entries from Jawbone and Fitbit, Nike has opted to shift its focus to software. Company spokesman Brian Strong told CNET in an email that Nike continually aligns its resources with business priorities and that it has made changes to its team as its Digital Sport priorities have shifted. Nike is also opening an incubator called Fuel Lab in San Francisco to allow developers to create products that incorporate its workout metric NikeFuel and plug into a Nike+ API that'll come this fall.

Nike's move away from wearables also comes as Apple's long-rumored iWatch is expected to come to fruition. Apple CEO Tim Cook is an avid wearer of the FuelBand and has sat on the Nike board for the last nine years, which has helped the two brands foster a strong relationship.

A possible partnership between Apple and Nike wouldn't be out of the question as the athletic company was one of the first to show support for the iPhone 5s' motion coprocessor, debuting the Nike+ Move app alongside the iPhone 5s at Apple's media event. Apple also helped Nike enter the wearable market in 2006 with the Nike+iPod shoe package.

Apple has also hired former members of the Nike's Digital Sport team, picking up former FuelBand consultant Jay Blahnik last August and Nike design director Ben Shaffer last September.

Apple is expected to release the iWatch later this year alongside iOS 8 and the iPhone 6.

Update 9:54 PM: Nike has issued a statement to Re/code indicating that it plans to continue selling and supporting the current Nike FuelBand and that it plans a "small number" of layoffs, but the company did not directly address whether development of any new hardware will continue.
“The Nike+ FuelBand SE remains an important part of our business,” the company said in a statement emailed to Re/code. “We will continue to improve the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colors, and we will sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future.”

The language does seem to leave a lot of room, however, for the possibility that the Portland athletic apparel giant won’t produce future products in the FuelBand line. One source with knowledge of the situation said that it could be that Nike wants to be able to run down its inventory of devices, or that it still has not completely decided to shutter the unit.
Sources have told Re/code that Nike has been debating for months what to do with the FuelBand line in the face of issues with financial performance and attracting engineers to work on the project.


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Apple Offering Some Developers Second Chance to Buy Unclaimed WWDC Tickets

Apple is offering some developers a chance to buy unclaimed WWDC tickets, according to a report from 9to5Mac and several Twitter users. Apple has emailed certain developers to offer them WWDC tickets, giving them 24 hours to pay the $1,599 ticket fee.

This year, because of nearly immediate ticket sellouts in past years, Apple decided to offer WWDC tickets to registered, paid iOS and Mac developers through a lottery system. Developers who won the ticket lottery had until April 14 to complete their purchases.

wwdc-2014-logo
Now Apple is reportedly reaching out to developers who didn’t win the lottery and offering them a chance to buy unclaimed tickets. Some developers are starting to get phone calls from the company informing them that they have been randomly selected to buy one of the tickets that winners failed to claim before the 14th.
It is unknown how many WWDC tickets went unclaimed by lottery winners, nor how the company is choosing developers to receive a second chance at tickets.

The annual Worldwide Developers Conference will be held from June 2-6 at the Moscone West convention center in San Francisco


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Apple’s Shazam Partnership Could Boost Advertising Efforts

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that Apple has plans to integrate song identification features into iOS 8 through a partnership with audio discovery platform Shazam, but as suggested by media professor Aram Sinnreich, Apple's ambitions may go beyond simple music recognition capabilities.

Speaking with Computerworld, Sinnreich, a media professor at Rutgers University, points out that Apple could use Shazam's audio recognition abilities to gather information on the media that iPhone and iPad users are consuming, including music, television shows, movies, and more, for targeted advertisements.

shazam
While Shazam is known for identifying songs that are playing on the radio or through other sources, the service is also capable of identifying and tagging television shows and advertisements. Shazam works by analyzing captured sound and comparing its acoustic fingerprint to an audio database, which began including television content in 2012.

Shazam's technology could, of course, be used to deliver music and television information to consumers, providing identification along with additional content like news, facts, and iTunes purchase links, but at the same time, Apple could also use it to gather information on consumer preferences each time a song, television show, or advertisement is "tagged" or identified by a user, allowing the company to use those preferences to deliver more targeted ad suggestions across iOS.
Sinnreich pointed out that Shazam has been indexing advertisements broadcast on television, as well as the pre-show ads shown in movie theaters, and in some cases, has stuck deals with advertisers to provide metrics of those who "tag" an ad. In some cases, tagging an ad presents the consumer with additional information, or even a special offer.
Currently, the existing Shazam app is able to run in the background of iOS, continually cataloging and identifying all of the music, television shows, and TV ads that a user watches. Apple could potentially integrate the feature in the same way into iOS 8, allowing it to run in the background to continually listen for various audio content.


This functionality would allow Apple to know what a user prefers to watch and listen to. For example, if someone was watching Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones, Apple's media recognition capabilities could theoretically automatically identify what's being watched, cataloging it for future use in advertisements. Sinnreich likens this functionality to an audio QR code.
"Apple could do whatever a QR code is used for now, but sonically," said Sinnreich of the audio fingerprinting technology. "Someone tags a commercial, and that's entered into a database, effectively targeting [that consumer] for further ads," he said.
While Sinnreich's theory is mere speculation at this point, it does fit in with Apple's current advertising methods, which the company says include "exceptional targeting." Apple has been working to expand its iAd platform in recent months, moving beyond app advertisements to encompass iTunes Radio ads as well. Further improving its targeting methods could entice major advertisers, which has been the company's goal -- recently, Apple made it simpler for advertisers large and small to sign up for the platform, eliminating the need for a developer account.

Apple's audio recognition capabilities are said to be coming alongside iOS 8, which is expected to make its debut during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The operating system will likely be released to the public later in the year, in September or October.


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Alleged iPad Air 2 Front Panel with Integrated Display Shown in New Photos

Following the leak of an alleged iPhone 6 front panel earlier this week, the iPad is now getting its turn with a pair of photos showing what is said to be a front panel for the next-generation iPad Air, shared by Dutch site One More Thing [Google Translate]. Notably, the part appears to include an integrated display in contrast to the separate panel and display parts used on the current model. A move to an integrated front panel/display would reduce overall thickness, potentially allowing Apple to further slim down the iPad Air or make room for other components such as a slightly larger battery.

ipad_air_2_panel_back
MacRumors spoke with iFixit co-founder Kyle Wiens, who noted that the assembly could indeed be legitimate and use a manufacturing process similar to that seen on the Retina MacBook Pro. The move to an integrated panel/display would increase repair costs, but ease of repair has not been a particularly major focus for Apple and the company already uses an integrated display on the iPhone.

ipad_air_2_panel_front
The next-generation iPad Air is expected to launch later this year, with notable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicting that upgraded iPad Air and Retina iPad mini models will debut in the third quarter of this year and adopt the Touch ID system introduced on the iPhone 5s last year.

(Thanks, Rogier!)


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Analysts Predict Q2 2014 Decline in iPad Sales, Slight Increase in iPhone Sales

Sales of Apple's iPad and iPhone remained strong during the holiday season with record quarterly sales reported in Q1 2014. Analyst predictions for Apple's second quarter of its fiscal year suggest iPhone sales may rise slightly, while iPad sales may decline slightly, reports Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune's Apple 2.0 blog.

ipad-sales-quarterly
The consensus estimate from 21 Wall Street professionals and 13 amateur analysts predict iPad sales of 19.3 million, a 0.7 percent decline in Q2 2014. This is a significant change from Q2 2013, which saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase.
The consensus estimate, at 19.3 million, would represent a 0.7% decline, with the pros slightly more optimistic (at 19.4 million) than the amateurs (19.2 million). Dragging down the amateur numbers is the 15 million estimate submitted by the Braeburn Group's Matt Lew. Tugging in the other direction is Horace Dediu's 21.8 million. One represents a year-over-year decline of 23%, the other an increase of 12%.
This dip in sales may only be temporary as Apple is expected to launch updated models of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display later this year, and may launch a larger-screen iPad Pro sometime in future after production issues are solved.

Apple will announce its earnings for the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2014 on Wednesday, April 23. The earnings release is posted just after 4:30 PM ET following the close of regular stock trading, and the conference call is scheduled to follow at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM Pacific.


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New iPhone 6 Renderings Based on Recent Info Show Design Changes

After showing off a concept for a sapphire-glass backed “iPhone Air” earlier this month, French Apple website Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] and graphic designer Martin Hajek have teamed up once again to create a set renders for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and accompanying cases in a variety of colors, which are based on leaked schematics posted by Japanese magazine MacFan and the dimensions of an alleged case that surfaced earlier this week.

iphone_6_hajek4_1
The renderings depict the iPhone 6 as a thin device with rounded corners, with the power button located along the upper right side of the device and rectangular volume controls similar to that of the fifth-generation iPod touch. The case rendered to compliment the phone also contains cutouts for each new design change, along with holes for the camera, flash, and Apple logo on the rear.

iphone_6_hajek4_3
Notably, a bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 is also rendered alongside the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 4-inch iPhone 5s, retaining the same design properties as the 4.7-inch version. Apple is expected to launch both sizes of the iPhone 6 in the near future, however reports have indicated the 4.7-inch version will launch first this fall as the company will likely delay the launch of the 5.5-inch version due to production issues.

iphone_6_hajek4_2
Along with a larger display, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to include a thinner design, new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an upgraded camera in the form of optical image stabilization. Apple is also reportedly negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.



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