Tag Archives: apple news

Microsoft Pits Cortana Against Siri in New Ad Showcasing Contextual Reminders, Traffic Alerts

Microsoft today launched a new video advertisement that compares its Cortana virtual assistant to Apple's own digital assistant, Siri, showcasing Cortana's contextual reminders and traffic alerts, two functions that Siri does not have.

In the ad, entitled "Siri vs. Cortana: Bigger," Cortana and Siri have a "conversation" where Cortana queries Siri about her new abilities in the iPhone 6 and Siri continually responds that she just "got bigger."

Cortana: Hi Siri, looks like you're in a new phone. Congratulations.
Siri: Yes, I got bigger.
Cortana: Oh, are you more like me now? Can you give reminders based on who calls or texts?
Siri: No, I got bigger.
Cortana: How about traffic alerts? Can you tell people to leave early based on traffic reports?
Siri: No, seriously, I just got bigger.
Cortana: That's okay. Happens to everyone this time of year.
Microsoft first announced Cortana in April of this year. The digital assistant, designed to compete with Apple's Siri, is named after the AI character in the popular Halo video game series and is voiced by actress Jen Taylor. With Cortana, Microsoft aims to emulate real personal assistants, and Cortana will ask questions and monitor user activity to learn more about its users. Cortana, available on Windows devices, can perform a few functions that Siri is not capable of, including scheduling reminders from text messages and mapping out traffic patterns to provide travel recommendations.

Cortana has been starring in a series of anti-Siri advertisements since July, with the first advertisement highlighting context-aware reminders and the second showcasing Cortana's mapping capabilities.

Microsoft has a long history of targeting Apple in its advertisements, comparing its Surface line of products to Apple's iPad and iPhone. Just this week, Microsoft launched a new "Winter Wonderland" ad that pits the Surface Pro 3 against the MacBook Air, highlighting the Surface's kickstand, portability, and touchscreen.


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iCloud.com Photos App Gains New Uploading Capabilities

Following two weeks of testing on the iCloud beta site for developers, the consumer-facing iCloud.com site has gained support for uploading images to iCloud Photo Library (via iFun.de [Google Translate]).

Before the addition of the new uploading tool, the standard iCloud.com site allowed users to view all of their iCloud Photo Library images, as well as download and delete them, but it did not have a tool to allow users to upload photos captured with non-Apple devices.

icloudbetasiteuploadtool
New toolbar with upload support on iCloud.com site at top, previous iCloud.com toolbar on bottom

The new uploading feature on the iCloud.com site makes it possible to upload JPGs, but as with the beta feature, other image and video formats like .PNG, .MOV, .AVI, .MP4, and more are not supported. When a file is uploaded to the site, it syncs instantly to all of a user's iOS devices, much like a photo taken on an iPhone or iPad or added to iCloud Photo Library via the iOS Photos app.

Currently in beta and introduced alongside iOS 8.1, iCloud Photo Library stores all of the photos and videos that a user takes in iCloud, making them available on all iOS devices and Macs. iCloud Photo Library images can be viewed in the Photos app on iOS or through iCloud.com on the Mac, and the upcoming Photos app that Apple is creating for Macs will also work with iCloud Photo Library.

Users should be aware that photos uploaded to iCloud Photo Library use iCloud storage space. Apple offers 5GB of storage space for free, with additional plans ranging from $0.99 for 20GB of storage space to $19.99 for 1TB of storage space.


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Square Announces Plans to Begin Accepting Apple Pay in 2015

Speaking with CNN, Square founder Jack Dorsey confirmed that the payment processing service will support Apple Pay in the coming months, bringing Apple Pay to small business owners. In the interview, Dorsey reiterates his opinion that he does not view Apple Pay as a competitor and wants to add the mobile payments service as an available option for Square users.
"We're not building a credit card. We're not building a payment device. We're building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments," Dorsey told CNN in an interview.
While the existing Square Reader can process credit card payments via an iPad or iPhone, the hardware is not equipped to handle the wireless transactions required by Apple Pay. In order to support Apple's mobile payment technology, Square will need to introduce all new hardware with built-in NFC connectivity.

squarereader
Square is currently working on an EMV chip card Reader that it plans to introduce in the spring 2015, but that upcoming device does not support NFC, making it unclear when in 2015 an NFC-compatible Square Reader might be released.

Apple Pay launched last month alongside iOS 8.1 and is available only in U.S. with global expansion planned in the future. The payment service is supported by a number of large retailers, major banks and restaurants including the recently added Disney Store, Sephora, SunTrust Bank, and Levi's Stadium,.


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Chase Offers Apple Pay Users Free David Guetta Songs as More Retailers Jump Onboard

Credit card issuer and major bank Chase has been one of the highest profile Apple Pay partners since the service was announced in September and launched one month ago. This weekend, the bank has launched a plan to entice more Chase Visa card holders into Apple Pay with a free early-access music download.

david_guetta_chase
From November 21-23, users who add a Chase Visa card into Apple Pay will receive exclusive early access to fourteen songs off of David Guetta's new album "Listen." Apple Pay users can receive their iTunes Store redemption codes through the Chase app, which received an update today that is required for the Apple Pay promo to appear.

chase_david_guetta
The new album from Guetta officially launches on Monday, and is currently available for pre-order through the iTunes Store for $11.99. The Chase offer includes 14 of the 18 songs from the deluxe version of the album, omitting the four tracks that are currently available for advance purchase through iTunes.

Chase is not the first major bank to try to entice customers to try out Apple Pay, with Wells Fargo offering $10-$20 credits just for making an Apple Pay purchase on a Wells Fargo card by the end of this month.

Apple Pay has seen a number of other enhancements in recent days, including the addition of in-app Apple Pay support in the Disney Store app, another of the service's key partners mentioned alongside Apple Pay's unveiling. Apple Pay had already been accepted in Disney's retail stores, with Apple's own Eddy Cue showing off the service in a Disney Store earlier this week.Version 3.2.1 of the company's app, landing just before the holiday season rush, brings support for Apple Pay for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Despite Apple Pay being supported available for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, the iPad version of the Disney Store app does not yet include it.

Another of Apple's early in-app partners, Levi's Stadium, rolled out Apple Pay support earlier this week as well for visitors to the San Francisco 49ers home stadium in Santa Clara.

On the in-store front, a number of new retailers also rolled out support for Apple Pay, including several grocery store chains and just today Sephora announced (via TechCrunch) an early rollout in its Manhattan and Bay Area stores ahead of a full rollout in the near future. Sephora will initially accept Apple Pay at its Union Street and Powell Street stores in San Francisco, Valley Fair store in Santa Clara, Stanford store in Palo Alto, Burlingame store in Burlingame, and Lexington store in New York City.

With the recent release of the WatchKit SDK for Apple Watch to app developers, and Apple's promise that Apple Pay and the Apple Watch will be closely tied, the retailer and app support of Apple Pay will no doubt continue to grow.

The Chase Mobile [Direct Link], Levi's Stadium [Direct Link], and Disney Store [Direct Link] apps can all be downloaded from the App Store for free.


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Hands-On With Olloclip's New 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
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'WALTR' for Mac Lets Users Upload Any Media File to an iOS Device for Native Playback
'Sync Solver' Allows Fitbit Users to View Fitness Related Data in Apple's Health App
Mophie Launches 'Powerstation Plus' External Batteries With Integrated Cables, 2.4A Charging
SteelSeries Stratus XL iOS Gaming Controller Launches on Apple Store
Parrot Bebop Drone Landing at Apple Stores in December for $499







Chase Offers Apple Pay Users Free David Guetta Songs as More Retailers Jump Onboard

Credit card issuer and major bank Chase has been one of the highest profile Apple Pay partners since the service was announced in September and launched one month ago. This weekend, the bank has launched a plan to entice more Chase Visa card holders into Apple Pay with a free early-access music download.

david_guetta_chase
From November 21-23, users who add a Chase Visa card into Apple Pay will receive exclusive early access to fourteen songs off of David Guetta's new album "Listen." Apple Pay users can receive their iTunes Store redemption codes through the Chase app, which received an update today that is required for the Apple Pay promo to appear.

chase_david_guetta
The new album from Guetta officially launches on Monday, and is currently available for pre-order through the iTunes Store for $11.99. The Chase offer includes 14 of the 18 songs from the deluxe version of the album, omitting the four tracks that are currently available for advance purchase through iTunes.

Chase is not the first major bank to try to entice customers to try out Apple Pay, with Wells Fargo offering $10-$20 credits just for making an Apple Pay purchase on a Wells Fargo card by the end of this month.

Apple Pay has seen a number of other enhancements in recent days, including the addition of in-app Apple Pay support in the Disney Store app, another of the service's key partners mentioned alongside Apple Pay's unveiling. Apple Pay had already been accepted in Disney's retail stores, with Apple's own Eddy Cue showing off the service in a Disney Store earlier this week.Version 3.2.1 of the company's app, landing just before the holiday season rush, brings support for Apple Pay for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Despite Apple Pay being supported available for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, the iPad version of the Disney Store app does not yet include it.

Another of Apple's early in-app partners, Levi's Stadium, rolled out Apple Pay support earlier this week as well for visitors to the San Francisco 49ers home stadium in Santa Clara.

On the in-store front, a number of new retailers also rolled out support for Apple Pay, including several grocery store chains and just today Sephora announced (via TechCrunch) an early rollout in its Manhattan and Bay Area stores ahead of a full rollout in the near future.

With the recent release of the WatchKit SDK for Apple Watch to app developers, and Apple's promise that Apple Pay and the Apple Watch will be closely tied, the retailer and app support of Apple Pay will no doubt continue to grow.

The Chase Mobile [Direct Link], Levi's Stadium [Direct Link], and Disney Store [Direct Link] apps can all be downloaded from the App Store for free.


Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories
Hands-On With Olloclip's New 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
Things for iOS Now Free as Apple's Featured 'Free App of the Week'
Apple Continues to Boost Maps Efforts with New Business Data Providers
'WALTR' for Mac Lets Users Upload Any Media File to an iOS Device for Native Playback
'Sync Solver' Allows Fitbit Users to View Fitness Related Data in Apple's Health App
Mophie Launches 'Powerstation Plus' External Batteries With Integrated Cables, 2.4A Charging
SteelSeries Stratus XL iOS Gaming Controller Launches on Apple Store
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iWork for iCloud Updated with Eight New Languages, 50 Fonts and Improved Document Editing

Apple today updated iWork for iCloud with support for up to eight new languages and more than 50 new fonts. The changes were added to the cloud-based versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote and were first reported by German blog Macerkopf.

iwork_icloud_deutsch-update
New iCloud languages include French, German, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese, Arabic (Pages only) and Hebrew (Pages only) with Pages receiving 8 new languages and Number and Keynotes now supporting six. Apple also expanded the number of available fonts, adding 50 new font types that improve the creative options available to users as well as add support for the new languages. Other changes include a revised main toolbar that now allows users to easily change the name of a document and other-app specific improvements like the ability to undo the deletion of section breaks while editing in Pages.

Apple introduced iWork for iCloud at WWDC 2013 and has been steadily improving the service with small, but regular updates. The company still maintains a desktop version of the productivity suite and recently updated its iWork apps with new features and a redesign for OS X Yosemite.



Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories
Hands-On With Olloclip's New 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
Things for iOS Now Free as Apple's Featured 'Free App of the Week'
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'WALTR' for Mac Lets Users Upload Any Media File to an iOS Device for Native Playback
'Sync Solver' Allows Fitbit Users to View Fitness Related Data in Apple's Health App
Mophie Launches 'Powerstation Plus' External Batteries With Integrated Cables, 2.4A Charging
SteelSeries Stratus XL iOS Gaming Controller Launches on Apple Store
Parrot Bebop Drone Landing at Apple Stores in December for $499







iPhone 6 Plus Shipping Times Improve Slightly, Now 7 to 10 Days for 16GB Model

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, Apple Store shipping estimates for the iPhone 6 Plus have improved slightly, with the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus in all colors and from all carriers now carrying a shipping estimate of 7 to 10 days in the United States. Shipping estimates for the 64GB iPhone 6 Plus in all colors and from all carriers have also seen improvement, going from 3 to 4 weeks to 2 to 3 weeks.

While shipping estimates for the 16GB and 64GB iPhone 6 Plus have improved, shipping estimates for the harder-to-find 128GB iPhone 6 Plus remain at 3 to 4 weeks, suggesting the higher-capacity model is the most constrained.

iphone6plusshippingimprovements
Apple is also seeing improved supply of the iPhone 6, and the 16GB device now has a shipping estimate of 5 to 7 days, down from 7 to 10 days. Higher-capacity 64 and 128GB iPhone 6 models continue to ship in 7 to 10 days.

Many other countries in Europe and Asia are also seeing the same improved shipping estimates from the online Apple Store, as are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In store supply of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus also appears to be improving somewhat, as many stores across the country list availability of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 16 and 64GB configurations. Apple Stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments on a regular basis, but stock can go quickly because many retail locations are still seeing lines more than two months after the phones first went on sale. Tracking tool iStockNow can be used to find where iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices are available.

iphone6plusstockinstore
During Apple's fourth quarter earnings call on October 20, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was "far outstripping" supply, and that the company was "not close" to having a balance between supply and demand at that time. Apple has, however, been working hard to improve iPhone 6 and 6 Plus supply, reportedly delaying mass production of the rumored iPad Pro in order to focus its resources on higher iPhone 6 Plus output.

Early analysis has suggested that consumers in the U.S. are favoring the iPhone 6 over the 6 Plus by 3:1, but as supply of both models remains constrained, it is impossible to determine the true ratio of iPhone 6 demand vs. iPhone 6 Plus demand at this time.


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