Tag Archives: apple news

iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 Now Available In Stores via Personal Pickup

Apple's new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 have begun hitting retail stores, as we reported earlier, and the tablets are now available for in-store pickup for a limited number of retail locations that have received shipments. It appears that in-store availability is limited to Wi-Fi only tablets at this time.

Many stores on the east coast of the United States are showing wide availability of both tablets as stores receive shipments and unpack boxes. Availability on the west coast is still limited as it is earlier in the day and stores are not yet prepared to begin retail sales.

ipadair2personalpickup
Apple store employees appear to be unaware that stores are receiving stock today, as several phone calls placed by MacRumors resulted in responses suggesting the tablets would not arrive in stores until later in the week or early next week.

The iPad Air 2 is still showing shipping estimates of two to four days when ordered online, and some rumors have suggested that supplies are limited, which explains the tablet's quiet in-store release. At announcement, Apple declined to state when the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 would be available in retail stores.

Apple's iPad mini 3, meanwhile, appears to be available in greater supply, displaying shipping estimates of 24 hours. iPad mini 3 pricing starts at $399 for the entry-level model, while iPad Air 2 pricing starts at $499.

While the iPad mini 3 received only Touch ID and a gold color option, the iPad Air 2 has seen significant updates including a thinner design, a new "gapless" display, an anti-reflective coating, 2GB of RAM, an A8X processor, and an upgraded 8-megapixel camera.


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Apple Encouraging Chrome and Firefox Users to Download Safari After Installing Yosemite

Chrome and Firefox users that install OS X Yosemite are receiving notifications suggesting they give Safari a try, according to multiple reports on Twitter (via Tom Davenport). After upgrading to Yosemite, Apple is sending popups that read "Try the new Safari. Fast, energy efficient, and with a beautiful new design."

The interactive notification comes with "Later" and "Try Now" options, and it seems that users may be receiving the messages when opening Chrome or Firefox for the first time after installing the operating system update.

trythenewsafari
Apple made several updates to Safari in OS X Yosemite, including adding a new "blazing-fast [Nitro] JavaScript engine" and energy saving technologies to make Safari both faster and more energy efficient. According to Apple, Safari is significantly faster than both Firefox and Chrome, a claim that was tested by CNET and received mixed results.

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Safari did better on Apple's JetStream and Speedometer benchmarks that measure JavaScript performance, and it also outperformed Chrome and Firefox using JSBench, but CNET's testing saw it perform worse on Google's Octane benchmark and Mozilla's Kraken benchmark.

The new Safari 8 did demonstrate significant improvements over Safari 7, scoring 81 percent better on JetStream and 89 percent better on Speedometer, suggesting Apple has indeed made some major under-the-hood improvements to the browser.

Along with speed improvements, Safari gained some new security features, including DuckDuckGo support and isolated Private Browsing windows that allow users to have a non-private browsing window open at the same time as a private browsing window. The browser also continues to offer third-party cookie blocking, malware monitoring, and sandboxing for websites.

Safari received a complete visual overhaul in OS X Yosemite, introducing a new streamlined look that does away with the favorites bar by default and a revamped Tab View that displays all open tabs in a tiled arrangement, much like iOS.

safari
Safari has also benefitted from Handoff, a Continuity feature that allows users to open a webpage on a Mac and seamlessly continue browsing on an iOS device (or vice versa), and the browser natively supports Netflix, providing two extra hours of battery life when watching movies or TV shows.

Built into OS X Yosemite, Safari 8 is automatically installed alongside the new operating system. Released on October 16, Yosemite is estimated to be installed on approximately 20 percent of Macs at this point in time.


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Apple Pay Glitch Causes Bank of America Customers to Be Charged Twice for Purchases

With Apple Pay positioned as a brand new service that requires banks, credit card companies, and vendors to all work together, it seems that some glitches in the system are inevitable.

Some Bank of America customers have been running into a serious problem when using Apple Pay to make purchases, with two charges showing up on their credit card statements. A CNN report from this morning first suggested that multiple Bank of America customers had been double charged, which Bloomberg later confirmed. Hundreds of customers are said to be affected.

applepayA Bank of America representative contacted by CNN said that the issue was on Apple Pay's end and after some confusion about who should be contacted for a refund, Bank of America was able to refund the money.
Bank of America transferred me to Apple Pay customer support. The only problem: Apple's representative reminded me that for security's sake -- as promised -- Apple keeps no records of names or amounts for any of the transactions.

That meant there's nothing Apple could do, the representative told me. So Apple told me to call Bank of America. It was every consumer's worst nightmare: customer service for two companies telling you to call the other.

Thank God for three-way calling. I got Apple and Bank of America on the same line and let them sort it out.

BofA was smart enough to refund me the money, because they said it was obvious to them that these were duplicate charges for the same exact amount.
Bank of America is planning to issue refunds to all Apple Pay customers who were double charged, and according to CNN, a fix for the problem is expected to be released at some point on Wednesday.
"We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to correct the issue. All customers have been made whole," said Tara Burke, a spokeswoman for Bank of America. "We are always here for our customers and resolve any issues they have."
Banking issues aren't the only problem Apple Pay users are facing. According to a quick test conducted by Business Insider at eleven different retailers, many employees have little knowledge about Apple Pay. At eight separate locations, store clerks did not know whether or not they accepted Apple Pay, and only employees McDonald's, Whole Foods, and American Eagle Outfitters were aware of the service.

The site had considerably difficulty conducting a return at American Eagle Outfitters, as the store cashiers had not been taught how to do them, but a refund was received "after a period of trial-and-error."

There's also a minor Apple Pay glitch that's causing some credit cards to display the wrong card design within the Passbook app, affecting some Chase and Citibank card users, but a fix for that issue is said to be in the works, according to 9to5Mac.

Many of the kinks with Apple Pay will be worked out over the coming weeks, as retail employees adapt to the new payments service and banks and credit cards work out remaining bugs and issues. According to Apple's Eddy Cue, Apple Pay will be a "game changer." "There's a lot to do here and we have a lot of work to do, but it should be huge," he said in an interview.

Rolled out on Monday through an update to iOS 8.1, Apple Pay is accepted at more than 200,000 retail locations, wherever NFC contactless payments are available. It is also available in an array of apps that have adopted the Apple Pay API, including Uber, Target, and Apple's own Apple Store app.


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MasterCard Airs ‘Priceless Surprises’ World Series Ads Featuring Apple Pay

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball and MasterCard announced a partnership that has seen Apple Pay support roll out at concession stands at ballparks in San Francisco and Kansas City for the World Series. As part of its World Series promotional push, MasterCard also debuted a pair of television ads during last night's Game 1, featuring Apple Pay and the company's "Priceless Surprises" program that has seen cardholders surprised with various rewards.


One spot features former New York Yankees star Mariano Rivera and longtime Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, while the second features Kansas City Royals legend George Brett, with MasterCard promoting surprises such as meet-and-greets with the stars and tickets to World Series games.


On its Priceless Surprises website, MasterCard notes it has surprised over 70,000 cardholders with various rewards, and now Apple Pay gives users more ways to win.

Apple launched its Apple Pay mobile payments service on Monday with the debut of iOS 8.1, with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus supporting the service in-store and in apps, while the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 support it for in-app purchases only.

MasterCard, Visa, and American Express have all signed onto the program, as have over 500 banks and a number of major retailers. Launching first in the United States, Apple Pay is now accepted at over 200,000 points of sale and the cards and banks responsible for the vast majority of U.S. credit card spending are compatible with the service.


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iPad Air 2 and Retina Mini iPad 3 Pre-Orders Arrive as Apple Begins In-Store Sales

Following the launch of pre-orders last Friday, Apple's new iPad Air 2 and Retina iPad mini 3 models are now making their way into customers' hands and onto retail store shelves. According to The Inquirer and reports from MacRumors readers, pre-orders are now being delivered, and the tablets are now available for purchase online and in store.

apple-store-ipad-air2
Customers in launch countries of the UK and Australia started receiving their tablets today and have already posted unboxing videos. Unlike the iPhone 6 which featured a plain white box, customers report the box for the iPad Air 2 is similar to the original iPad Air with a color representation of the iPad on the cover.


Apple's online store also is still accepting orders with delivery dates of 2 to 4 days for most iPad Air 2 models. In-store pickup for the Air 2 is not available yet for online shoppers, but we have heard from multiple sources that Wi-Fi models are arriving at at least some of Apple's own retail stores for sale beginning today. Based on online ordering, iPad mini 3 supplies are more abundant, with most Wi-Fi models currently available within 24 hours and cellular models shipping in 1-3 days.

Apple announced the iPad Air 2 last week, highlighting the device's new A8X processor, Touch ID sensor and improved camera. Early benchmarks suggest the iPad Air 2 is up to 55 percent faster than the iPhone 6 and 68 percent faster than last year's iPad Air. The first round of reviews of the Air 2 point out benefits such as a thinner profile and vibrant display, while also noting a slight decrease in battery life compared to the previous generation.

While the Air 2 has received fairly strong reviews, the iPad mini 3 has been less well received with most reviews noting the device's similarity to the iPad mini 2. The iPad mini 3 ships with the same processor and camera options as its predecessor, with the only notable improvements being a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a new gold option.

The iPad Air 2 is available with a starting price of $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, with equivalent cellular models available for $130 more. The iPad mini 3 starts at $399 and is available in Wi-Fi-only and cellular configurations.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Meets with Top Chinese Official After iCloud Login Harvesting Claims

timcook.png Apple CEO Tim Cook met with a top Chinese government official in Beijing Wednesday to discuss the security of user data, reports Reuters. The meeting comes after web censorship blog Great Fire claimed earlier this week that hackers worked with Chinese authorities to harvest Apple ID information from Chinese users visiting iCloud.com.

Yesterday, Apple issued a statement acknowledging the attacks on its servers and launched a new browser security guide on its website. The guide stressed the importance of digital certificates, asking users to check for any certificate warnings in their browser and ensure that they are connected to iCloud.com versus a malicious third-party website that resembles the service's homepage.

China has become an increasingly important market for Apple, as the company now has eleven retail stores in the country and sells the iPhone on all three major wireless carriers. Apple also launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China last Friday following a week of successful pre-orders.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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First iPad Air 2 Reviews: ‘Ridiculously Fast’, ‘Vibrant Display’, Thinner Profile Comes at the Cost of Battery Life

Following Apple's October 16 event that saw the debut of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, Apple provided multiple publications with review units. The embargo has now lifted on review posts, so we've gathered some of the relevant excerpts from each site in order to highlight general release reactions to the new tablet.

ipadair2c
Apple's iPad Air 2 is an entire millimeter thinner than the original iPad Air, and Apple has billed it as the thinnest tablet in the world. It offers a new A8X processor, Touch ID fingerprint support, an anti-reflective screen coating, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and an improved 8-megapixel rear camera.

Walt Mossberg, Re/code:
So when Apple brought out new iPads last week, and I had a chance to test them over the past four days, you might think I'd be pretty excited about them -- but I'm not. They are, in most respects, the best iPads ever made. But for average users, they represent only a modest evolutionary improvement over last year's models, not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year. [...]

The Air 2 didn't allow me to hold or carry the tablet longer and more comfortably than the Air. Its weight of 0.96 pounds isn't discernibly lighter than the Air's weight of one pound. And its thickness of 0.24 inches is a barely noticeable reduction from the Air's 0.29 inches.
Nilay Patel, The Verge:
The Air 2 has a vibrant, sharp display that looks almost painted on. Apple says the new antireflective coating on the Air 2 reduces glare by 56 percent, but I didn't really notice it making a huge difference; you definitely can't use it in bright sunlight. [...]

Inside the iPad Air 2 lies Apple's new A8X chip, which is a variant of the A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with additional graphics capabilities. It's ridiculously fast -- noticeably faster to load web pages and launch apps than my iPad Air, and it has so much graphics headroom that I'm eager to see how game developers take advantage of it.

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch:
The 6.1 mm chassis just makes all the difference when it comes to the Air feeling like something that you could comfortably hold for long periods of time, and even for all-day computing, should you need it (and it's easy to imagine an event coordinator, for instance, needing exactly that).

Our review unit came in Apple's gold finish, and let me just say that on the iPad, that means there's a lot of gold going on. Apple's take on this particular metal color is better than most, but this definitely isn't my favourite finish. The Air 2 in either space grey or silver still looks fantastic however, and the gold is definitely going to stand out in a crowd, especially if you're also using the iPad as a camera.
Brad Molen, Engadget:
A thinner profile comes at the expense of battery size. The new Air's is 5.1Whr smaller than the old one, but Apple still promises that you'll get the same 10-hour battery life because the A8X is more power-efficient. Real-life use shows that the original Air still rules the roost; after a day of heavy use, I typically went to bed with around 20 percent left in the tank. If you're only using it moderately -- say, for casual content creation or consumption -- you should get a little over two days. In our video test, in which an HD movie plays through the life of the battery, the Air 2 squeezed out 11 hours and 15 minutes, significantly lower than last year's Air and about an hour short of the Samsung Tab S. [...]

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The Air 2 also doesn't have a mute switch, which I didn't think would be a huge loss until I actually found myself trying to use it and becoming frustrated more frequently than I expected. Your new options are to press and hold the volume down button or go into the Control Center and press the mute key; if you used the switch to lock screen orientation, you'll need to do that in the Control Center as well. A microphone now sits where the mute switch once was; there's another one right next to the camera.
Joanna Stern, The Wall Street Journal:
That anti-reflective screen also makes a great, though admittedly ginormous, viewfinder for snapping nature shots with the revamped 8-megapixel camera. It takes much crisper shots than before, and in many cases, ones as good as those I can take with my iPhone 6. But I won't bring my iPad to some mountain peak, as some Apple promo shots suggest.

Besides, when I set the iPad Air 2 down for a second on a bench, it slid off and hit concrete, shattering the screen. Sure, I'm to blame, but if Apple wants me to climb every mountain armed with nothing but an iPad, ruggedness should be as important as anti-reflectivity.
Harry McCracken, Fast Company:
The weirdest fact about the iPad Air 2 is that Apple isn't publicizing (or even acknowledging) one of its best new features. The tablet now has 2GB of RAM, up from the rather cramped 1GB allotment in the original iPad Air. (Some competitors, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, have even more.)

Doubling the RAM means that the iPad can keep more apps and browser tabs in memory without having to reload anything. That results in a speed boost which which is very apparent as you hop between apps and load new web pages.
Lance Ulanoff, Mashable
To get an anecdotal sense of the performance, I installed a pair of console-level games: Asphalt 8 Airborne and Modern Combat 5: Blackout. Each of these games is notable for rich imagery and physics including smoke, water, rain, and reflections. The games looked and worked great on the original iPad Air and worked just as well — if not better — on the iPad Air 2.

iPadAirGeekbenchScore
However, Apple isn’t just blowing smoke when it says the A8X is more powerful. I ran Geekbench 3 on both Airs and found that that Apple’s A8X has 3 cores (the A7 had 2) and that the multicore score for the iPad Air 2 is nearly double that of the original Air. The singlecore score for the iPad Air 2 is only slightly better than that of the iPad Air.
Other Reviews:

Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times
Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian
David Pogue, Yahoo Tech
Chris Davies, Slashgear
Matt Warman, The Telegraph

The iPad Air 2 is currently available for pre-order from Apple's online store, with prices starting at $499. Apple has not yet revealed when the new tablets will be available in stores, but the first pre-orders will be arriving to customers this week.


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