Category Archives: Front Page

Apple’s Desire to Include Local Stations in Streaming TV Service Could Delay Launch Beyond WWDC

Apple's desire to provide customers with live programming from local broadcasting stations in the United States could delay the company's plans to launch a streaming TV service in early fall, according to Re/code. The report also cites industry executives that do not believe Apple has reached any content deals with TV programmers yet, making it unlikely that the web-based TV service is announced at WWDC next month.appletv
"Apple’s ambitions have complicated its negotiations with the broadcast TV networks, because most broadcasters don’t own all their local stations, and have an affiliate, or franchise system. Clearing the rights to show local programs and commercials takes some time — ABC, for instance, spent two years getting the rights to show live programming via its Watch ABC app, and its live streams remain limited to viewers in eight cities."
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Apple plans to unveil its streaming TV service at WWDC, anchored by popular networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox, ESPN and FX. The web-based TV service for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and other devices is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 to $40 per month. The report claimed that the service will be available in September.


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New 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro Lives Up to Apple’s Claims, Reaches SSD Throughput Speeds of 2GB/s

Apple's new 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, unveiled on Tuesday, didn't include a processor upgrade due to Broadwell delays, but it did get a Force Touch trackpad and one other major improvement -- new PCIe-based flash storage that Apple says is 2.5 times faster than the flash storage in previous-generation machines, with throughput up to 2GB/s.

In benchmark testing conducted by French site MacGeneration [Google Translate], the entry-level 2.2GHz 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM and 256GB of storage lived up to Apple's claims, demonstrating impressive read/write speeds that topped out at 2GB/s and 1.25GB/s, respectively, in QuickBench 4.0.

quickbenchextended
Those read/write speeds far exceed the read/write speeds achieved by the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Air, which also received faster flash storage that doubles the speeds available in previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Air machines. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro's performance is similar to the 13-inch MacBook Air.

At speeds that reach 2GB/s throughput, the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro has the fastest storage of any of Apple's notebooks. It took 14 seconds to transfer an 8.76GB file to the machine, compared to 32 seconds for the slower Retina MacBook. With small files, read/write speeds exceed a gigabyte per second.

quickbench4standardtest
Like the 2015 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and 13-inch MacBook Air, the revamped 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro uses a solid state drive manufactured by Samsung. As noted by MacGeneration, it does not use the faster NVM Express SSD protocol that the 13-inch model was updated to, suggesting future machines could see even greater performance improvements with a swap to the next-generation protocol and with continued leaps in SSD technology.

Apple's 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available from the online Apple Store at prices that start at $1,999. The notebooks continue to use Haswell processors, but should see performance boosts due to the faster solid state drives.


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Apple Working on Split-Screen Multitasking, Multi-User Support for iPad

We've had previous rumors suggesting Apple is working on split-screen multitasking capabilities for the iPad, and hints of the feature are buried within iOS 8, but thus far multitasking has not made its way into the hands of customers. In a post covering information on future iPad upgrades, 9to5Mac confirms split-screen multitasking is still in the works and on schedule to be released as part of iOS 9.

Split-screen multitasking will display two apps side-by-side on the iPad's screen or two views of the same app, allowing users to see multiple documents in Pages at the same time, for example. As was first discovered in code buried within iOS 8, apps will be able to be arranged in multiple views, covering 1/2, 1/3, and 2/3 of the screen in the latest iteration.

Concept for split-screen multitasking (not based on specific rumors)

9to5Mac warns that though the split-screen multitasking feature is slated for inclusion in iOS 9, it could be removed before the update's debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference if it is not ready in time as it was originally developed for the upcoming "iPad Pro." 9to5Mac previously said the multi-tasking feature would be included in iOS 8.

Apple is also said to be working on a highly anticipated feature that customers have requested for years -- multi-user login support. This will allow multiple users to have unique profiles on a single iPad, with individual access to apps and documents. Multi-user support will not be ready when iOS 9 launches in the fall, but it could be released later in 2015 alongside the iPad Pro or in 2016.

Both split-screen multitasking and multi-user login support are features that will be added to Apple's rumored larger-screened 12-inch iPad Pro, which may also include features like a USB-C port, a stylus, and a pressure-sensitive Force Touch display. The tablet, internally numbered "J98" and "J99" to represent Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models, will launch in late 2015, according to the latest rumors. Apple is said to be working to finish software and source hardware components for the device.
Sources have confirmed that Apple is testing jumbo-sized iPads internally codenamed "J98″ and "J99," which are apparently larger versions of the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2, save for additional speaker holes.
Given the large size of the iPad Pro's display, some apps may be redesigned to accommodate the larger screen real estate available on the 12-inch tablet, with Apple rumored to be working on new designs for Siri and Notification Center. Features tailored to the iPad Pro could work in the same way as features tailored to the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a unique layout in landscape mode to account for a larger display size.


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Apple Working on Split-Screen Multitasking, Multi-User Support for iPad

We've had previous rumors suggesting Apple is working on split-screen multitasking capabilities for the iPad, and hints of the feature are buried within iOS 8, but thus far multitasking has not made its way into the hands of customers. In a post covering information on future iPad upgrades, 9to5Mac confirms split-screen multitasking is still in the works and on schedule to be released as part of iOS 9.

Split-screen multitasking will display two apps side-by-side on the iPad's screen or two views of the same app, allowing users to see multiple documents in Pages at the same time, for example. As was first discovered in code buried within iOS 8, apps will be able to be arranged in multiple views, covering 1/2, 1/3, and 2/3 of the screen in the latest iteration.

Concept for split-screen multitasking (not based on specific rumors)

9to5Mac warns that though the split-screen multitasking feature is slated for inclusion in iOS 9, it could be removed before the update's debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference if it is not ready in time as it was originally developed for the upcoming "iPad Pro." 9to5Mac previously said the multi-tasking feature would be included in iOS 8.

Apple is also said to be working on a highly anticipated feature that customers have requested for years -- multi-user login support. This will allow multiple users to have unique profiles on a single iPad, with individual access to apps and documents. Multi-user support will not be ready when iOS 9 launches in the fall, but it could be released later in 2015 alongside the iPad Pro or in 2016.

Both split-screen multitasking and multi-user login support are features that will be added to Apple's rumored larger-screened 12-inch iPad Pro, which may also include features like a USB-C port, a stylus, and a pressure-sensitive Force Touch display. The tablet, internally numbered "J98" and "J99" to represent Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models, will launch in late 2015, according to the latest rumors. Apple is said to be working to finish software and source hardware components for the device.
Sources have confirmed that Apple is testing jumbo-sized iPads internally codenamed "J98″ and "J99," which are apparently larger versions of the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2, save for additional speaker holes.
Given the large size of the iPad Pro's display, some apps may be redesigned to accommodate the larger screen real estate available on the 12-inch tablet, with Apple rumored to be working on new designs for Siri and Notification Center. Features tailored to the iPad Pro could work in the same way as features tailored to the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a unique layout in landscape mode to account for a larger display size.


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Apple to Remodel Flagship Regent Street Store in United Kingdom

Apple is planning to remodel its flagship Regent Street retail store in United Kingdom per a recent application filed with the City of Westminster in England. The company has contracted award-winning architecture firm Foster and Partners to design the layout of the new store and commissioned Donald Insall Associates to conduct a historic building report that justifies the renovations in the iconic shopping area.

Regent Street Apple Store
A view of the current Apple Store facade facing Regent Street (Foster and Partners)

The proposed renovation will consist of the partial removal of the existing mezzanine floor at the front of the store, the relocation of three columns to create a more spacious feel, the removal of the existing main glass stairs leading up to the mezzanine level and replacement with two new side staircases, and re-configuration of the back of house at the basement level with improved staff facilities.
"The proposal looks to enhance the ground floor sales area by removing the front part of the mezzanine and creating a double height entrance," reads Foster and Partners' project rationale. "This partial removal of the mezzanine also enhances the transparency from the street and floods the store with natural light. The interior front facade, with its full height arches, clad in natural Portland stone, can now be appreciated in its full extend. Moreover the visual connection between the two levels of retail is dramatically improved. This is key to the customer journey and the efficient use of the overall retail area."
Foster and Partners will also be removing the four Apple logos found on the store's facade in order to allow more natural light inside and preserve the historic look of the building. The store's overall square footage will be reduced by 4,400 square feet, or around 25% of the current size, and the interior will consist of terrazzo floor, GFRC cladding on the walls and oak timber for all fittings and fixtures.

Regent Street Apple Store Floor Plan
Floor plan for remodeled Regent Street store interior (Foster and Partners)

Apple plans to open a temporary store at 235 Regent Street to continue to serve customers during the remodeling process. The temporary location will be located at the basement level of the same building as the permanent store for a maximum of three years, accessible by a carefully designed lobby at ground level with a minimal steel staircase and a fully accessible lift.

Apple's flagship Regent Street retail store opened in November 2004 and attracts over 4 million visitors per year. The iconic store was last expanded and remodeled in mid-2006 to become the largest Apple Store location at the time. Apple has contracted Foster and Partners for several other projects in recent months, including the design of Campus 2 and remodeling of Apple's flagship San Francisco store.


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Apple Planning Transit Routing in iOS 9 Maps, Advances on Indoor Mapping Project

ios_8_maps_transitApple is planning to add a new Transit view to Maps in iOS 9 that features bus, subway, and train routing and directions, according to 9to5Mac. The much-rumored Apple Maps feature would bring native transit routing back to the iPhone for the first time since Apple ditched Google as the default mapping provider on iOS. The report also claims that Apple has made advancements on its indoor mapping project.
"Sources said last year that the transit functionality for Maps includes larger icons for users to more quickly spot airports, subway stations, and train stations within the Maps app. In addition to the main functionality, there is also a trip planning feature for transit, and a new Transit view alongside the existing Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite/Flyover views."
Transit features in Apple Maps were originally expected to launch alongside iOS 8 last year, but were delayed due to personnel issues and data inconsistencies within Apple. The company has reportedly "refined the data, added new cities, and developed a new push notifications system" since that time, however, and the feature is now ready to be unveiled at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Apple has been actively expanding its in-house routing team over the past few years through multiple job openings. In late April, for example, the company put out a job listing for a "Maps Software Engineer" part of the Routing team, as reflected by at least one Apple employee's LinkedIn profile. "As a member of the Routing team, you will work on one of the most anticipated features of Apple Maps," the job description reads.

Transit Routing Engineer
Apple has also been making progress on its indoor mapping project, which will enable iOS users to navigate major buildings, offices and landmarks. The company has been using autonomous robots with iBeacon sensors to collect indoor mapping data, starting at its offices in Cupertino, although the feature may not go live this year. The indoor mapping project is in conjunction with Apple's van-based street mapping data collection.


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Apple Watch Bands Now Available in Select Apple Stores

Apple Stores in the United States, United Kingdom and possibly other launch countries began stocking standalone Apple Watch bands for purchase as confirmed by MacRumors and multiple users on social media. The photo below shared by Twitter user Apple Radar shows an Apple Store in Miami stocking the Sport Band in multiple colors, and he says that the Classic Buckle is also available.

Apple Bands
Apple is selling individual Sport Bands for $49, while the Classic Buckle, Milanese Loop and Leather Loop retail for $149 each. The Modern Buckle is costlier at $249 and the Link Bracelet is the most expensive Apple Watch strap available at $449. The prices listed are based on the United States and will vary in international countries based on local currencies and exchange rates.

Apple Watch bands can also be ordered online through the Apple Online Store.

(Thanks, Alireza!)


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