Debunking retail rumors, Apple says its stores are equipped to repair new MacBook Pro

Jan 09, 2017 - 3:01 PM - by sparkyscott21

Reports claiming Apple Stores can't repair the 2016 MacBook Pro because of a lack of diagnostic tools are false, as AppleInsider has been told that stores are fully equipped and trained to perform all required diagnostics and repairs necessary.

An account emerged at enthusiast site Macotakara claiming that several utilities needed to diagnose and repair the 2016 MacBook Pro weren't available at Apple Stores and other authorized service venues. According to the report, the "Apple Service Toolkit" was scheduled to be updated on Dec. 13, 2016, but has not yet been altered to accommodate the new models.

Initial queries to high-volume Apple retail store staff were met with light dismissal, with accounts reporting that staff training was complete, and gear is on-hand. AppleInsider's own retail sources indicated that most of the service inquiries for the MacBook Pro are either exchanged on the spot within 10 days of original purchase, or replaced by the Apple Store under direction of Apple corporate, with the faulty unit returned to Apple engineers for evaluation.

AppleInsider has also been told unequivocally that the report is wrong by our contacts within Apple corporate.

"Apple stores have all of the software and hardware they need to successfully accomplish repairs on the new MacBook Pro," a source said, elaborating on the denial. "We do, at our discretion, utilize depot-level facilities for repair on both iOS devices and Macs that may be beyond the scope of a local Apple store for any reason, including volume in-store."

While the assorted software tools required for service were not named specifically, Apple has confirmed that at least some repairs can be completed in-store, if not all.

Additonally, AppleInsider has learned that three parts considered as "likely break-points" are held as stock at stores for repairs, with quantities depending on store volume. One of 11 stores we queried said that they had only one part in any quantity.

As it has been for decades, if a specific repair part beyond the likely repairs is needed, it arrives overnight by FedEx, with the "core" needing to be sent back to Cupertino for analysis and refurbishment, as possible.


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Apple executives,India officials to talk local manufacturing, retail store this month

Jan 09, 2017 - 2:37 PM - by sparkyscott21

An Apple team is reportedly scheduled to meet with senior Indian government officials on Jan. 25 in order to discuss demands for setting up manufacturing in the country, which could potentially pave the way for local Apple stores and more competitive pricing.

The meeting will involve officials from several Indian ministries, including commerce, revenue, environment and forest, industrial policy and promotion, and electronics and information technology, BGR reported.

In previous exchanges with the Indian government, Apple has allegedly been asking for various incentives, such as tax breaks and duty exemptions. Recently however it was claimed that the government's assessment of Apple's demands is almost finished, and the company may not receive any handouts that wouldn't also apply to other smartphone manufacturers.

India already offers subsidies to electronics manufacturers, and even operates "special economic zones" with looser laws designed to to attract multinationals. BGR noted that as many as 42 companies are producing phones in India, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, which might not give Apple much leverage in demanding extra.

One Apple manfacturing partner, Wistron, is believed to building an iPhone-oriented factory in Bangalore which could start supplying units by the end of this year. Foxconn is also reportedly working on a factory, though it might take longer to come to fruition.

Indian manufacturing would allow Apple to meet 30 percent local sourcing requirements for single-brand retailers, which have so far kept it from opening first-party stores. It might also make devices like iPhones more affordable, bypassing a 12.5 percent import duty.

Apple is still a marginal player in the Indian smartphone market. While it's thought to control a majority of the "premium" segment, it holds just a slender fraction of the overall market —in the second quarter of 2016, that amounted to less than 1 percent of sales. This has been blamed mostly on price, since even the iPhone SE costs far more than the average smartphone sold in the country.


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Size of Apple's New 'High End' iPad Pro Model Said to be Between 10 and 10.5-Inches

Jan 09, 2017 - 2:36 PM - by sparkyscott21

Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new research report underlining his expectations for the future of Apple's iPad line-up, with slightly revised predictions for a new "high-end" middle-size tablet to be released later this year.

According to Kuo, Apple is planning to introduce three iPads in 2017: a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and a "low-cost" 9.7-inch iPad, along with a new bezel-free, mid-size model in the range of between 10 and 10.5 inches.

"We note the 12.9" model will be the second generation of the existing 12.9" iPad Pro, the 10-10.5" model will be the high-end model equipped with a narrow bezel design, and the 9.7" model will be the low-priced option. The former two models will have an A10X chip manufactured by TSMC (2330 TT, NT$183.5, N), while the latter comes with an A9 chip made by Samsung LSI. Although we estimate iPad shipments in 2017 will drop again YoY to 35-37mn units, we except the decline to narrow to 10% from 2016's roughly 20%, given that the 10-10.5" model may see more demand from commercial/enterprises and tender markets, while the low-priced 9.7" model may have a greater shipment contribution and likely account for 50-60% of total shipments of new iPads."

Last August, Kuo's expectation for Apple's mid-size model was a more definite 10.5 inches. His latest revised prediction of 10-10.5 inches suggests Apple is still testing multiple tablets and has yet to settle on a final size. Interestingly, Japanese site Mac Otakara released two separate reports last year stating that the tablet will be 10.1 inches and 10.9 inches, so while the former size falls into the lower end of Kuo's revised range, the exact dimensions remain unclear.

Market-wise, Kuo believes "the worst has passed" for Apple's iPad as he predicts a narrower year-on-year shipment decline in 2017. The analyst puts this down to an improved product mix, decreasing exposure to the iPad mini, and an improved cost structure due to an increasing number of suppliers of touch-module lamination and display panels, with Samsung being "the biggest winner" in joining previous monopoly-holder Silicon Works to supply the latter.

Mac Otakara and Barclays Research have both predicted an early 2017 launch for the new iPads, perhaps in March or April. However, if a radical bezel-free redesign is planned, it is unlikely that Apple will upstage the 2017 iPhone 8 that's expected in September with an edge-to-edge iPad launching earlier in the year.


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As the iPhone turns 10, here are what the first reviews looked like in 2007

Jan 09, 2017 - 2:25 PM - by sparkyscott21

10 years ago today, Steve Jobs walked on stage and introduced the world to the iPhone. Without exaggeration, the iPhone forever changed the way we interact with technology, and more broadly speaking, how millions of people across the world live their lives. Everything we use our smartphones for today, whether it be browsing the web, watching movies, downloading apps on the cheap, taking eye-popping photographs, none of it would have been possible without the original iPhone.

Even though many of the technologies that shaped the original iPhone were not Apple inventions — with multitouch being a prime example — Apple’s iPhone brought said technologies into the mainstream for the very first time. Even the shape of the original iPhone itself — a rectangle with rounded corners — would soon become the blueprint for nearly all other smartphone manufacturers on the planet. And even though the original iPhone lacked a number of important features at launch, such as support 3G, cut and paste, and a compelling camera, it was nonetheless as impactful and significant of a product as we’ve seen over the last three decades.

In light of the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, we’ve gone back in time and have scoured the web for some of the first things that people said about the iPhone, not only after Steve Jobs introduced it, but also what some of the first reviews had to say about the device. Interestingly enough, not all of the first impressions and reviews were overwhelmingly positive.


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App Store Sets New Records With $240M in Sales on New Year's Day, $20B Paid to Devs.

Jan 06, 2017 - 2:23 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple today announced that January 1, 2017 was the iOS App Store's "busiest day ever" with $240 million total in customer purchases made on the storefront on New Year's Day. Looking back at the past year, App Store developers made $20 billion in 2016, which the company said was up 40 percent from 2015.

In the announcement, Apple gave a few statistics on categories like the top grossing apps of the year, which included Monster Strike, Fantasy Westward, Clash Royale, and Pokémon Go. Following a launch in December, Super Mario Run was the number one downloaded app on both Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Throughout December, customers spent $3 billion in total on the App Store, which Apple said was another record-breaking month for the company.

“2016 was a record-shattering year for the App Store, generating $20 billion for developers, and 2017 is off to a great start with January 1 as the single biggest day ever on the App Store,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We want to thank our entire developer community for the many innovative apps they have created — which together with our products — help to truly enrich people’s lives.”

In total, the App Store now offers 2.2 million apps, having increased by 20 percent from 2015. Independently developed apps, like Prisma, Reigns, Procreate, Lumino City, Sweat With Kayla and djay Pro, were listed as some of the "most successful apps" of 2016.

Globally, Apple said that the App Store helped raise over $17 million in both the fight against AIDS thanks to its annual PRODUCT(RED) campaign, as well as for the World Wildlife Fund thanks to the Apps for Earth program. The Chinese App Store has grown 90 percent in 2016, and in total the top-grossing markets for the App Store are ranked as: the U.S., China, Japan and the U.K.

In terms of apps with subscription fees, Netflix, HBO Now, Line, Tinder and At Bat were listed as the most popular. Revenue from subscription fees grew 74 percent in 2016 to $2.7 billion, following major changes Apple made to App Store fees for these specific subscription video apps.

The all-new iMessage App Store also got a mention today, with Apple announcing that 21,000 iMessages apps are now available for users to install. Data gathered by Sensor Tower back in September accounted for just under 2,000 iMessage apps in the App Store, with sticker-related apps remaining the most popular throughout the year.


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iOS 10 Now Installed on 76% of Active iOS Devices

Jan 06, 2017 - 2:20 PM - by sparkyscott21

Nearly four months after iOS 10 was released to the public, the operating system is installed on 76 percent of active iOS devices, according to new numbers posted on Apple's App Store support page for developers.

iOS installation rates have grown significantly over the holiday period, jumping up 13 percentage points between the end of November and the beginning of January. On November 27, 2016, iOS 10 was installed on 63 percent of devices.

18 percent of devices continue to run iOS 9, and six percent of devices are running iOS 8 or earlier.

iOS 10 adoption rates may have seen a jump thanks to the release of iOS 10.2 on December 12. iOS 10.2 introduced several new features, including a new "TV" app, new emoji, improvements to Live Photos, and a huge list of bug fixes.

Around this time last year, iOS 9 was installed on 75 percent of active devices, so iOS 10 adoption rates have eclipsed iOS 9 adoption rates during the same time frame in 2016.

Apple has been steadily releasing updates to iOS 10, and rumors suggest we will see the first beta of the next major update, iOS 10.3, on January 10.


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