Apple holding March 9th special event for upcoming products

Feb 26, 2015 - 12:55 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple has scheduled its first major event of the year for March 9th, where we’ll definitely get some news on the Apple Watch but may also get some other intriguing new products, including the new 12-inch Retina MacBook Air. The title of the event is simply called “Spring Forward” and Apple predictably gives us no details about what it’s going to discuss.

Since the Apple Watch is going to start shipping in April, we’re sure that Apple will give us some more details on the product at its upcoming event. Recent reports have claimed that Tim Cook told Apple employees at a store in Berlin that the Apple Watch is now water resistant enough to shower with, so that could definitely be a new feature the company will tout.

The upcoming 12-inch Retina MacBook Air is definitely another candidate to be shown off at the event. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman earlier this year leaked out major details about Apple’s newest laptop, which means it’s a pretty good bet that it’s very close to being ready for market.

One final possibility that we consider to be more remote is that Apple will show off its long-rumored giant iPad, which has alternately been referred to as the “iPad Pro” or the “iPad Air Plus.” Since there have been comparatively few leaks about this new tablet lately, we figure that it’s the least likely to get a mention at the event.

We won’t know for absolute certain until Apple tells us everything it has in store in just two weeks, of course.



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Apple reportedly acquired audio software developer Camel Audio in January

Feb 25, 2015 - 2:11 PM - by sparkyscott21

Audio software developer Camel Audio announced in January that it would be shutting down for good and removing its software from sale, but no one knew quite why. However, it now appears that the company has been acquired by Apple.

Today Camel Audio updated some of its corporate information, including its address and directors, as listed on the UK government’s Companies House website. The new address is 100 New Bridge Street in London, which also happens to be the address of Apple’s UK offices.

As highlighted by MacRumors, Camel also updated its board of directors (seen in some of the filings below), removing all directors and replacing with just one person: Heather Joy Morrison, a member of Apple’s legal team.

Camel Audio was responsible for popular audio software such as the award-winning Alchemy synthesizer for desktop and mobile platforms, as well as sound libraries and effects plug-ins. The company’s team will likely be put to work on Apple’s music apps, GarageBand for iOS and OS X, and Logic Pro X. Camel will also continue supporting its own products until the first week of July.



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Supporting payment infrastructure for Apple Pay will be in place in Europe by mid-Apr

Feb 25, 2015 - 2:08 PM - by sparkyscott21

Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on.

Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.

Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too–at least for Visa cards …

While Apple has not yet announced a date for introducing Apple Pay to Europe, bank sources have suggested that the UK launch will be in the first half of this year. A job listing revealed last year that Apple had a London-based team working on rolling out the service across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa.

Visa Europe has not confirmed that Apple will be using the service, but has strongly hinted that this is the case in a statement to Reuters.

“Apple and Visa (Inc) have an agreement around what has happened,” spokesman Steve Perry said. “I am as excited as anyone, but we have to wait,” he said.

Visa had earlier announced plans to roll out tokenization for other mobile and online payment services, including Visa Checkout.

Within the U.S., Apple Pay is now supported by more than 80 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. If yours isn’t listed, you can check out our rolling list of banks which have promised to introduce support for Apple Pay, together with the stores and apps where the service can be used.



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Tim Cook met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during Berlin visit, talked privacy

Feb 25, 2015 - 2:03 PM - by sparkyscott21

It seems Tim Cook had more on his schedule than a meeting with BILD during his visit to Berlin yesterday: the newspaper reports that he also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Cook told BILD that they discussed security, net neutrality, environmental protection and education–but the key topic appears to have been data privacy.

Cook said that he could well understand Germany’s strong stance on data privacy, stating that Germans “have the same views on privacy as I do” …

Cook said it was the first time he had met Merkel, and that he was “impressed by her deep knowledge of many different topics.”

The Apple CEO takes a tough line on privacy, recently telling a White House security summit that “History has shown us that sacrificing our right to privacy can have dire consequences […] we risk our way of life.”

BILD also shared some additional photos of Cook, including one of him being handed a piece of the Berlin wall, and another looking out over where the wall once stood, dividing East and West Berlin. The tie was, it seems, for the meeting with Merkel–he removed it afterwards.



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Apple hit with massive half-billion dollar blow in patent trial

Feb 25, 2015 - 1:59 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple lost an iTunes-related patent case, Bloomberg reports, with a jury having decided to award Smartflash a massive $532.9 million in damages. Smartflash was looking for $852 million, whereas Apple said the three patents part of the trial were worth $4.5 million at most.

Smartflash alleged that its inventions, related to digital rights management, to data storage and access through payment systems, were infringed by Apple’s iTunes. The company also asked for royalties on iPhone, iPad and Mac sales, or devices used to access iTunes content.

Apple, meanwhile, said that Smartflash doesn’t actually have a product, and it’s simply looking to score royalties from Apple tech.

“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet said. “We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”

Smartflash doesn’t have any products, Bloomberg says, and its only business is licensing seven patents it got between 2008 and 2012. However, the company was offered at some point less than $200,000 for an interest in one of its patents, according to court documentation, and its founder once met with executives of Gemalto SA, including Augustin Farrugia, who is now a senior director at Apple.

In addition to Apple, the company has also sued Samsung and Google.



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Apple's Oscars ad shot entirely on iPad Air 2, features voiceover by Martin Scorsese

Feb 23, 2015 - 1:18 PM - by sparkyscott21

Just in time for the Academy Awards, Apple on Sunday released a new TV commercial focusing on the filmmaking process featuring footage captured on the latest iPad Air 2 and a voiceover by acclaimed Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese.

The minute-long spot, aptly titled "Make a film with iPad," was shot entirely on iPad Air 2 and throws a spotlight on student filmmakers attending the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, who scripted, shot and edited three separate projects using iPad hardware provided by Apple.

In the ad, snippets of the students' work are interlaced with behind-the-scenes footage — also captured on iPad Air 2 — all of which plays under excerpts from Scorsese's 2014 commencement speech to the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. The director's poetic address speaks to the necessary trials and tribulations inherent to the creative process.

"For your work, for your passion, every day is a rededication," Scorsese says. "Painters, dancers, actors, writers, filmmakers, it's the same for all of you, for all of us. Every step is a first step, every brush stroke is a test, every scene is a lesson, every shot is a school. So, let the learning continue."

As with other recent Apple spots, the Oscar ad sees apps play a starring role beside the company's hardware. Among the featured software LACHSA students used to realize their respective short films are script writing app Final Draft Writer, camera app FiLMiC Pro and color processing app VideoGrade. Apple also featured its own GarageBand app, which was used to edit sound captured with the Apogee MiC microphone for iPhone, iPad and Mac.

The ad wraps up with the tagline "Everything changes with iPad," the same phrase applied to Apple's music-minded Grammys commercial from February.



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