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Updated: 30 min 17 sec ago

Tim Cook: maybe we have car and TV plans, maybe we don’t

5 hours 11 min ago

In a press/analyst conference regarding Apple’s latest financial results, CEO Tim Cook would neither confirm nor deny any company plans regarding an “Apple Car” or automotive software --or anything else that may be cooking in its secret labs.

“I can’t speak about rumors, but Apple looks for ways to improve customer experiences, and it’s clear that there are lots of technologies that will become available or will revolutionize the car experience,” he said. “However, we have nothing to announce today.”

When asked about the doubling of the company’s research and development budget, Cook said that Apple has products in development face that haven’t yet reached the market that factor into the R&D budget, but — as you might expect — didn’t elaborate.

When asked if Apple still had any interest in television, he said it was of “intense interest to me and many other people here.” Adding that the company had focused on some original content, he won’t talk about things such as Apple streaming service, only stating vaguely that TV “is an area that we’re focused on.”

When asked if Apple had a grand vision for what it wants to do over the next 3-5 years or if its strategy was to react to the market then decide, Cook said: “We have the strongest pipeline we’ve ever had and we’re very confident about what’s it, but we won’t talk about what’s in it. We have a strong sense of where things go and we’re very agile and able to shift where people need to.”

AWT News Update: October 25, 2016 (Q4 2014 Earnings Call Special Edition)

5 hours 24 min ago

Ahhh, the joy of earnings calls. They provide a lot of information, and are usually as dry as Death Valley National Park. Today's Apple Q4 2016 Earnings Call was no exception, so today we're taking that one-hour phone call and condensing it down to a bit over 7 minutes. Highlights? Read the rest of this post and listen to the podcast.

  • Apple "kinda" beat the street estimates, slightly over for earnings per share and iPhone units sold, but was just a hair under estimates for revenues at "only" $46.9 billion.
  • One of the key points is that supply is constrained on the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7. Apple is expecting the iPhone 7 to "catch up" during the quarter, but it sounds like supplies of the iPhone 7 Plus could be low until early in 2017.
  • Services now account for a huge percentage of Apple's revenues, and Apple CFO Luca Maestri noted that Apple Pay transactions were up over 500% since 2015. The company did more transactions in September of 2016 than in all of 2015.
  • The iOS App Store also contributed to that services revenue jump, creating 100% more revenue than the competing Google Pay app store.
  • As usual, shares of AAPL are sharply down in after hours trading, with the latest quote at 6:27 PM ET showing a share price of 114.90, down 2.83 percent.
  • There's more, so be sure to click the play button and listen to that podcast!

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

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Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is an AWT News Update special edition for October 25, 2016. This week’s podcasts are sponsored by Spidercase, a rugged protective case for your iPhone that won’t cost a bundle. Check out the link in the show notes for more information.

Today’s podcast is a summary of the news from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call that just ended. All in all, Apple net sales were down from last year, as were margins. On the plus side, R&D expenditures climbed quite a bit, so Apple obviously has a lot coming up in the future that it is working on.

Apple did beat analyst estimates for earnings per share with $1.67 versus the street estimate of $1.66 per share, and in iPhone units sold 45.5 million vs. 45 million. The company didn’t meet street expectations of $47 billion revenues, coming in at $46.9 billion.

More customers switched from Android to iPhone than ever before, and the company made a record $6.3 billion on services. As part of services, CEO Tim Cook noted that Apple Pay transactions were up over 500% for 2016, with more transactions in September of 2016 than in all of 2015. The company has almost doubled the size of its services revenue in the last 4 years.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — Demand continues to outstrip supply. The company is also seeing a good response to the release of Apple Watch Series 2. Cook noted that Aetna is rolling out Apple Watch to its employees to supply motivation and fitness help.

Cook brought up HomeKit, and expected over 100 HomeKit-compatible products by the end of the year, emphasizing the security of HomeKit products after last week’s “Internet of Things” distributed denial of service attacks.

Cook noted that the company is increasing its R&D, focusing on how machine learning is being used in a number of ways. iPhone sales in India were up over 50%, and Apple has inked a partnership with a new carrier in the country to provide the best possible service over the carrier’s all-IP network.

Enterprise is a big area for Apple. Deloitte is creating an Apple practice with over 5,000 employees who will be working on integrating Apple iOS products into corporations.

45.5 million iPhones were sold during the quarter, but was well below its desired inventory — that means sales of the new devices are quite hot.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri said that he believes China sales will rebound in the 1st quarter of 2017 (ending December 31) due to strong demand for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

451 Research 65% will purchase an iPhone 97% customer satisfaction rating

In the September quarter, iOS App Store created 100% more revenue than Google Play.

Mac installed base is at an all-time high, and news of the new Macs is expected to boost sales.

Maestri said that over 120 partners are working with Apple now on mobility solutions. 34,000 Shell locations will soon start using iPad point-of-sale systems, which will support Apple Pay where available.

Apple ended the quarter with $237.6 billion in cash + marketable securities. That’s a lot of cash. At one point, Cook noted that Apple is open to acquisitions of any size that help the company.

Some highlights from the analyst Q&A follow:

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray: Annual upgrades - Car - Cook talked around an answer, saying that Apple is “Always looking at new things, a lot of technologies that will become available or will revolutionize the car experience” iPhone 7 Plus may be in short supply through the end of the year

Katy Huberty was interested in R&D investments, and why they’re growing at such a high rate. “Confidently investing in the future”

Toni Sacconaghi: Company is benefiting from the Samsung fiasco and an extra few days in the next quarter compared to last year, but he is concerned that iPhone growth is actually flat as seen in the guidance for the 2017 first quarter. What should investors think about iPhone growth for the future? Luca Maestri said that the supply constraints are a bit of a concern for the next quarter. The company feels good for iPhone going forward, though.

Good question on having a home assistant that’s separate — Cook said that most people want it with them all the time, and that’s why it’s nice to have it on the iPhone and iPad. Apple gets 2 billion Siri requests a week, they’ve shipped more assistant-enabled devices than anyone else out there.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.

Apple’s Services business sets an all-time revenue record

5 hours 24 min ago

Apple’s Services business saw revenue grew 24% to set another all-time record during the company’s fourth fiscal quarter. Those Services include Apple Music subscriptions, iTunes Music, iCloud storage plans, paid apps from Apple's App Store, and Apple Care service plans, Apple Pay, etc.

Apple Pay transactions were up 500% year-over-year. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri says there were more Apple Pay transactions in the fourth quarter than inall of 2015. CEO Tim Cook expects “rapid” adoption of Apple’s mobile payment system in Japan, where it launched this week. He also teased a Spain launch in “the next few months.”

Apple’s music revenue from Apple Music and iTunes was up 22% year-over-year in quarter four.

iPhone sales beat the street’s consensus (by about 1.5 million)

5 hours 31 min ago

Apple sold 45.5 million iPhones during its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter that ended Sept. 24. That’s a bit better than the consensus of 44 million. The smartphone sales were down 13% from the prior-year period, but up 17% from the previous quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says that demand for the iPhone 7 and, especially, the iPhone 7 Plus continues to outstrip supply, but “we’re working to get devices into customers hands as quickly as possible.” Apple’s smartphone was up in sales in 33 countries and boasts an average selling price of $619. Cook says there were more Android to iPhone switchers in the fourth quarter than ever before though he gave no stats regarding this. Things also look good on the upgrade front.

“Carriers that had an upgrade plan say that demand is robust,” says Cook.

Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri adds that Canada, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, South Asia show strong iPhone sales. China sales are down, but preliminary reaction to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus offers “reassurance for the holiday quarter,” says Cook.

Apple CFO: there’s ‘some exciting news for current and future Mac owners very soon’

5 hours 40 min ago

Apple sold 4.89 million Macs during its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter that ended Sept. 24. That’s down 17% year-over-year, but things may be looking up.

Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri says that Mac installed base at the end of the September quarter was the biggest ever. And, obviously referring to Thursday’s “hello, again” media event said that there would be “some exciting news for current and future Mac owners very soon.”

Things were also a bit brighter for the iPad in the fiscal fourth quarter. Apple sold 9.7 million tablets during the quarter. That’s about flat with the same period a year-ago, but at least it saw the halt of a downward spiral of iPad sales. 

When it comes to the smartwatch Apple didn’t release figures (it never has). The company’s “Other Products” category (which includes the Apple Watch, iPod, Apple TV, and Beats products) were down 22% year-over-year.

However, CEO Tim Cook says that the Apple Watches, Series 2 is “off to a great start.” He also said that there would be 100 HomeKit compatible products available by year’s end.

Apple’s shares were down 2.1% at $115.75 in after-hours trading today. The shares hit a 12-month low of $89.47 in May but have been on an uptrend since then as investor confidence returned.

Notable apps and app updates for Oct. 25, 2016

7 hours 1 min ago

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.

macOS Apps/Updates

MacHTTP.Org has released MacHTTP-js Preview for macOS, a full-featured Web server for 21st century desktops and servers.

MacHTTP-js is a modern take on the classic stand-alone, desktop computer Web server plus a whole lot more, using current state-of-the-art technology while derived from the core ideas that went into the creation of the original Mac Web server, MacHTTP, says creator Chuck Shotton.

MacHTTP-js eliminates the need to understand arcane command line tools or to be an expert in deploying Linux-based servers. Instead, it returns to its roots as a double-clickable application with a friendly user interface allowing anyone technical enough to operate a text editor to set up a web server or create compelling Web applications on their desktop which can be migrated to public servers, he adds. 

The free Preview version of MacHTTP-js runs on any version of macOS that’s actively supported by Apple. Implemented with modern technologies like node.js, Express.js, and Electron, MacHTTP-js is designed for upcoming versions to run on multiple different operating systems and computers, from Macs running macOS to Windows 10, various flavors of Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, etc.), and even Raspberry Pis running Raspbian or container-based systems like Docker. These other versions will be released as part of the final release of MacHTTP-js, coming soon.

Maintain has served up Cocktail 10.1 (Sierra Edition), a new edition of Cocktail for users running macOS Sierra.

It’s a general purpose utility for macOS that lets users clean, repair and optimize their Macs. The new version adds: compatibility with macOS Sierra 10.12.1; the ability to clear CoreCapture log; the ability to clear .awd, .dpsub, .ips and .report files; improvements on the "Clear Apple mobile devices logs and diagnostic messages" procedure; and miscellaneous improvements on the "Clear log files" procedure.

Cocktail costs $19 for a single user license and available for purchase from the Maintain website. When unregistered, Cocktail runs in demo mode and will expire after the tenth launch.

iOS Apps/Updates

iRecognize is a new app for creating custom photo flashcard quizzes. Users can create quizzes intended for learning and recollection by using their own photos, text, and voice to create educational material. iRecognize is free, but does tout in-app purchases.

Apple reports Q4 2016 results

7 hours 5 min ago

Rather than re-type everything, here's the press release in its entirety (except for the usual legal slop at the end):

“Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results
Services Revenue Grows 24% to All-Time Quarterly Record of $6.3 Billion

CUPERTINO, California — October 25, 2016 — Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter ended September 24, 2016. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $46.9 billion and quarterly net income of $9 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $51.5 billion and net income of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“Our strong September quarter results cap a very successful fiscal 2016 for Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2, as well as the incredible momentum of our Services business, where revenue grew 24 percent to set another all-time record.”

“We are pleased to have generated $16.1 billion in operating cash flow, a new record for the September quarter,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “We also returned $9.3 billion to investors through dividends and share repurchases during the quarter and have now completed over $186 billion of our capital return program.”

Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2017 first quarter:
• revenue between $76 billion and $78 billion
• gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent
• operating expenses between $6.9 billion and $7 billion
• other income/(expense) of $400 million
• tax rate of 26 percent

Apple’s board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.57 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on November 10, 2016 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 7, 2016.”

Rumor: Apple has dozens of software engineers working on a car operating system in Canada

7 hours 25 min ago

According to Bloomberg, Apple has dozens of software engineers in Canada building a car operating system. Many of the engineers working in Canada were hired over the past year and about two dozen came from BlackBerry Ltd.’s QNX, a leading automotive software provider, the article adds, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter.”

“The engineers now work at an Apple office in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, about a five-minute walk from QNX, the people said. Apple targeted QNX employees because of their experience developing fundamental components of operating systems and power management, a former QNX executive said,” according to Bloomberg. “The most notable Apple hire from QNX was its chief executive officer, Dan Dodge. Since joining Apple’s Project Titan car initiative early this year, he’s taken on a larger role overseeing the car operating system, splitting his time between Canada and California, the people said. Another notable addition is Derrick Keefe, who left QNX last year after more than a decade as a senior engineer.”

Dodge is the co-creator of the QNX CAR Platform for Infotainment, a set of pre-integrated and optimized technologies from QNX Software Systems and dozens of ecosystem partners. Designed for flexibility, it “provides development teams with a variety of options for building reliable world-class infotainment systems that keep pace with ongoing advancements in mobile device markets.”

macOS Sierra 10.12.1 includes images of new MacBook Pro with a ‘Magic Toolbar’

7 hours 59 min ago

As noted by MacRumors, macOS Sierra 10.12.1 includes hidden Apple Pay images that depict a  MacBook Pro with an OLED touch panel that will debut at Apple’s “hello, again” media event on Thursday, Oct. 27.

The images confirm the “Magic Toolbar” — an OLED touch bar that will will dynamically change its appearance and present virtual buttons to users based on the app or task at hand. In the images, Apple Pay dialog is depicted, asking a customer to confirm a purchase with a finger on the panel. Apparently, Touch ID is built directly into the OLED panel and no dedicated Touch ID button is included.

MacTech Conference 2016: Get $200 off your registration from Apple World Today

8 hours 13 min ago

As with last year, Apple World Today is proud to be a media sponsor of MacTech Conference. This year's conference is scheduled for November 16 - 18, 2016 at the Westin LAX in Los Angeles, California, with pre-conference workshops scheduled for November 15.

MacTech Conference is the only place where Mac IT professionals can experience a broad spectrum of vendors, speakers, and conference sessions designed to not only educate, but provide opportunities for networking with others. 

Topics at the conference include:

• Managing Macs
• Real world macOS and iOS
• Mobile Device Management
• Security and encryption
• New Apple File System (aka APFS)
• DevOps
• Productivity tools
• Database, Developer, Cloud, Collaboration, Communication and Network Technologies
• Storage and Backups
• Directory Services
• Business Best Practices
• Virtualization
• Safely deploying changes
• Xcode for System Administrators
• Testing
• Building hardware to help you
• Non-Apple Tools
• Development environment best practices
• Swift
• watchOS and tvOS: A place in your org? 

and more!

We could tell you about all of the fantastic speakers, vendors, and other attendees who will be at MacTech Conference 2016, but we'll let you visit the conference website instead. When you register for the event, save an extra $200 by using this link

Rowkin Bit Wireless Stereo Earbuds: Smaller, less expensive than AirPods

11 hours 54 min ago

Rowkin Bit Wireless Stereo Earbuds on a US quarter. Photo ©2016, Steven Sande

Apple's AirPods wireless earbuds should be coming out soon -- in fact, they may hit stores by the end of this week -- but for some people there are negatives associated with the product. First of all, those little white dangly bits just seem a bit weird to some folks, and the lack of a way to keep them completely connected to your ear while running is a concern. Then there's the price tag -- $159. Fortunately, there are alternatives, and today we're looking at the Rowkin Bit Wireless Stereo Earbuds ($109.99, affiliate link). 


Forget about that little white part that sticks out of the bottom of the AirPods. The Rowkin Bit earbuds fit entirely into your ear. A small button bisects the surface of each earbud, and there's a small LED to indicate pairing or listening status; it's also there to let you know if you have the left or right earbud. Several sets of silicon plugs are included in different sizes, so the Bits will fit in your ear regardless of the size of the ear canal.

The Bits use inductive charging, and a small, lipstick-sized charger with a battery inside is used to charge them. Once it is charged by plugging in the USB to micro-USB cable that's included, the charger is totally portable and the earbuds are place at either end for charging. The charger can provide two charges, each of which can provide up to 2 or 3 hours of battery life.

Rowkin Bit Stereo Earbuds plugged into charger. Photo ©2016, Steven Sande

How small are the Bits? It's quite easy to put both of them on top of a US quarter-dollar coin (see image at top of page). Together, they weigh just 0.3 ounces (8.5 grams). 

The Bits use Bluetooth 4.1 and can be paired with several devices. 


To make sure that I had enough power for a review, I plugged the charger into my Mac, then placed the two earbuds into their respective areas in the charger. A small red LED shows that the 'buds are charging, and goes out when the process is done. 

Pairing the Bit earbuds is quite simple using the included instruction sheet. When setting up the earbuds for stereo use, both must be paired simultaneously. 

The Bits can be used either singly or as a pair. Stereo sound, of course, comes only when they're both being used. Believe it or not, the devices contain microphones for making calls or receiving calls or providing Siri with commands. 

As light as they are, the Bits are very comfortable in the ears. They fit snugly, and the silicon plugs can be swapped out if the fit seems too tight or loose.  

The Bits have both noise reduction and echo cancellation built in, which does a good job of reducing ambient noise and keeps your voice from echoing as you speak on the phone.  

How's the sound quality? Impressive! You might think that earbuds this small would not deliver decent bass, but you would be wrong. Listening to songs with a driving bass line is like sitting in front of a speaker at a live concert! The Bits do not just exaggerate bass, though -- highs were equally crisp and intense. Stereo separation was excellent as well. 

However, while I was listening I did have the sound drop out on one or both earbuds about once a minute. This is one situation where I think the AirPods with their W1 chip might be superior, as the Apple earbuds apparently have an impressive range. Oddly, some songs played all the way through without interruption; others had the dropouts. 

Tapping twice on the left headset summons Siri for controlling music, asking for directions, or making calls. I thought the call sounded a bit muddled through the headset, although it was acceptable and loud enough to carry on a conversation without issue. I asked the call recipient how the sound quality was on her end; she replied that it sounded like I was talking through a pillow... 


All-in-all I was quite impressed with the Bits; they're tinier than AirPods, it's less apparent that you're wearing them, and they definitely stay in your ears. My biggest complaints are with the sound dropping out in the right earbud once or twice per song, and with the quality of the microphone for phone calls. 

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★

9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPhone 7, and Apple Watch Series 2 are on Best Buy’s ‘Top Tech’ list

14 hours 26 min ago

Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPhone 7, and Apple Watch Series 2 are all on Best Buy’s annual “Top Tech” list — the 20 “must-have technology products” for the holiday season.

The list contains the hottest new and emerging technologies handpicked by Best Buy’s tech experts, from virtual reality and smart home products to drones and hair dryers (yes, hair dryers). It also includes the latest laptops, gaming systems, TVs, cameras and more. Customers can browse, learn about, preorder or buy them now in Best Buy stores and on

“This holiday, we’re making it easier than ever for our customers by taking out the guesswork as they shop for friends, family or even themselves,” said Mike Mohan, chief merchandising officer at Best Buy. “These products showcase the newest, most innovative trends and what’s truly possible with technology.”

Your Apple devices may someday recognize your face and unlock themselves

14 hours 51 min ago

Someday soon you may be able to unlock your iPhone or iPad (heck, maybe even your Mac) by looking at it (or rather having it look at you). Apple has been granted a parent (number 9,477,829) for “locking and unlocking a mobile device using facial recognition.” 

Per the patent, an unlocked mobile device is configured to capture images, analyze the images to detect a user's face, and automatically lock the device in response to determining that a user's face doesn’t appear in the images. The camera capturing and face recognition processing may be triggered by the device having detected that it has been motionless for a set period of time. 

The locked mobile device can also be configured to capture an initial image using its camera, capture a new image in response to detecting movement of the device, determine that the device moved to a use position, capture a subsequent image in response to determining that the device moved to a use position, analyze the subsequent image to detect a user's face, and unlock the device in response to detecting the user's face.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that, generally, mobile devices are programmed to enter the lock mode when a user presses a specific button or a series of buttons or when it has been idle for a certain period of time. When a user desires to use a device that is locked, the user will typically be required to drag a slide bar, press a specific button or a series of buttons (e.g., to enter a password) to unlock the device. Apple says, that however, a user may find these steps inconvenient and time consuming. 

For example, a user may be reading a document using the device when the device detects that it has been idle for a certain period of time. In this case, the device will automatically enter the lock mode where it turns off or dims its display screen, and the user will be required to unlock the device before being able to resume reading the document. In another example, a user may be prone to forgetting the password needed to unlock the device. As a result, the user may decide to configure the device so that it does not automatically lock. If she then forgets or chooses not to manually lock her device, that leaves the device susceptible to inadvertent operation or unauthorized use. Apple thinks its facial recognition solution overcomes such problems.

Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.

Apple’s wearable display patent involves, among other things, a shirt with a display

15 hours 2 sec ago

Apple is keeping whatever augmented reality (AR) plans it has secret (no surprise), but the company has been granted a patent (number 9,478,583) for a “wearable display having an array of LEDs on a conformable silicon substrate.”

You would think that such technology would involve AR glasses. And it might. However, the images accompanying the patent filing also show a shirt with a flexible display (pictured). Hmmm.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that flexible display technology can potentially be used in a variety of electronic devices such as rollable displays, irregularly shaped displays, and wearable displays. Currently, the flexibility of the electronic device is at least partially limited by the substrate on which the display is formed, but several flexible displays have been developed using thin glass or plastic as a flexible substrate onto which low-temperature polycrystalline silicon thin-film transistors (TFTs) are formed. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Embodiments of a conformable electronic device may include a silicon substrate having a thickness of 50 .mu.m or less. An array of LEDs that are electrically coupled to a controller chip may be formed on a surface of the silicon substrate. In an embodiment, a top passivation layer is formed over the array of LEDs, the one or more controller chips, and the top surface of the silicon substrate. An embodiment also includes a bottom passivation layer formed on a bottom surface of the silicon substrate.”

In September Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed augmented reality/virtual reality technologiesduring an ABC News interview. He said that, in his opinion, augmented reality (AR) is the larger of the two, “probably by far, because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present talking to each other, but also have other things visually for both of us to see.”

Apple has filed for several patents involving VR and AR. One patent involves augmented reality (AR) apps for iOS devices such as an iPhone and iPad — and which would seem handy if Apple ever made a version of Google Glasses. Another is for a a glasses-free, interactive device that can display holograms in 3D. A 3D Mac, perhaps?

Another patent filing indicates that Apple has considered a 3D imaging and display system that would work with Macsand iOS devices, and which would scan and display simultaneously. Yet another patent filing describes a device for “projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user” to deliver “an enhanced viewing experience.

Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.

Xiaomi launches ‘phablet phone’ with 5.7-inch, flexible OLED display

15 hours 14 min ago

Darn. Now my 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus looks so small. Xiaomi has launched the Mi Note 2, a “phablet phone” with a 5.7-inch, flexible OLED display that sits under a panel of wraparound glass and curves around the sides of the handset. 

It’s obviously designed to fill the void left by Samsung’s discontinued Galaxy Note 7. The Mi Note 2 sports a 22.56-megapixel camera on the back, an 8-megapixel camera on the front, and up to 6GB of RAM.

The phone starts at 2799 yuan (approximately $413) for a 4GB model with 64 GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. A 3499 yuan ($516) model sports 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM.

The SVALT D2 is a cool (literally) Mac laptop accessory

16 hours 24 min ago

I’m not sure how “hot” (in the literal sense) the next MacBook Pro — certain to be unveiled this Thursday — will be. However, when running high-demand apps (such as Final Cut Pro X), a laptop’s built-in cooling system can get a bit toasty, leading to processor throttling and slower performance. 

If you’ve experienced this — or simply don’t want to take a chance that you will — the $295 SVALT D2 is worth the $295 investment. It’s designed to transform your laptop into a desktop workstation via its built-in cooling system, temperature sensor and automatic speed control. The SVALT D2 also provides a Turbo mode so you can manually implement a blast of cool air. Also, there are a number of advanced, customizable, user-determined cooling modes.

Overall, the SVALT D2 runs quietly (well, expect for Turbo mode) thanks to its Silence Adapter. However, you can also turn off the fan if you wish and still see benefits. Namely, your laptop’s internal fans and vents will operate with enhanced performance thanks to the stand’s vertical orientation and the aluminum heat sink’s passive cooling.

The SVALT D2’s adjustable pad accommodates a wide range of devices, such as all sizes of the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and 12-inch MacBook (although you’re not likely to need it for the latter two Mac laptop models). And it should easily accommodate new laptops introduced at Thursday’s “hello, again” Apple media event. 

TheD2’s leaning clamshell configuration with adjustable retention pad design helps to accommodate future and thinner laptop models, and this innovative configuration allows for quick and secure opening of the laptop to access the power button and keyboard without requiring removal from the support cradle or cable disconnection.

Besides keeping your Mac laptop running cool, the SVALT D2’s leaning configuration allows it to stay docked during the power-on process to avoid accidental cable disconnection or a laptop drop, while also allowing for quick desktop-to-mobile transitions. This will be especially handy if Apple ditches the MagSafe ports on all its laptops as it did with the 12-inch MacBook. Since the SVALT D2 weighs two pounds and boasts an adjustable rubber foot, it doesn’t slide around the surface of your desk.

The SVALT D2 supports laptops in closed-screen mode while connected to an external power source, monitor and keyboard/mouse. The device is designed for designers, artists, photographers, videographers, gamers, 3D designers, engineers, and others who need to keep their Mac laptop running cool while getting peak CPU and graphics performance. If you fall into any of these categories, check it out.

How to use Power Reserve on your Apple Watch

16 hours 54 min ago

Although the Apple Watch Series 2 offers better battery life than the first generation smartwatch, sometimes you may still find yourself running out of juice. In that case, you’ll want to switch to Power Reserve mode.

Power Reserve lets you see the time on your Apple Watch while preserving your battery life. In Power Reserve, press the side button to show the current time in a 24-hour format. While your Apple smartwatch is in Power Reserve, it won’t communication with your iPhone. Nor can you access other watch features.

When your battery charge drops to 10 percent, your Apple Watch alerts you and asks if you want to use Power Reserve. When the battery gets too low, your watch automatically enters Power Reserve, and a red lightning bolt icon appears next to the time. To turn on Power Reserve:

  • Swipe up on the watch face to open Control Center.
  • Tap the battery percentage, then tap Power Reserve > Proceed.

To turn off Power Reserve:

  • Press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.
  • Wait for your Apple Watch to restart. You might need to charge your Apple Watch first. 

AWT News Update: October 24, 2016

Mon, 2016-10-24 15:50

Today was a "kinda slow" news day to start off what should be a rather exciting week of Apple news. Tomorrow's the Q4 2016 Earnings Call, while Thursday Apple is holding its "hello again" Mac event. So what happened on this slow Monday?

  • Some readers reported having issues connecting to Apple's iCloud Music Library today
  • The Apple Watch Nike+ will be available on Friday, October 28
  • T-Mobile says the iPhone 7 was partially responsible for better-than-expected quarterly earnings
  • Mac sales are expected to be down yet again for the quarter that ended on September 30, but Thursday's event will hopefully provide a much needed boost to the Mac line's bottom line. 

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Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 24, 2016. This week’s podcasts are sponsored by Spidercase, a rugged protective case for your iPhone that won’t cost a bundle. Check out the link in the show notes for more information.

If you’re having issues connecting to Apple’s iCloud Music Library today, you’re not alone. We’re getting notifications from readers who are saying that they’re unable to connect to iCloud Music Library. This happened shortly after the release of the iOS and macOS updates earlier today, so we’re not sure if iCloud is just being overworked or what. Oddly, Apple’s system status web page is not showing that there are any issues.

Apple announced today that the Apple Watch Nike+ will arrive on Friday, October 28. That’s perfect for all of you who might be at a nearby Apple Store to pick up a new Mac announced on the 27th. This edition of the Apple Watch is different in that it combines the Apple Watch Series 2 with the new Nike Club app, providing social motivation from friends, guidance from coaches and athletes, and running plans that can help you progress to a higher level of fitness. As with the other Apple Watch Series 2 devices, the Apple Watch Nike+ has built-in GPS for tracking pace, distance and route even without carrying an iPhone along.

Carrier T-Mobile announced its quarterly earnings today, and the results were great — a double-digit increase in earnings, a 165% jump in net income, and improved retention of customers in a business where jumping ship to go to another carrier is very common. So why did total revenues grow by 18 percent year over year? The company attributes it to the launch of the iPhone 7 during the quarter, as well as the introduction of the new T-Mobile One unlimited plans. Even the dynamic and crazy T-Mobile CEO John Legere got an iPhone 7, telling folks he was “quite excited” about getting the jet black model.

Speaking of earnings reports, tomorrow is the day that Apple will announced how it did in its fiscal fourth quarter ending September 30, 2016. Just before each earnings call, analyst Philip Elmer-DeWitt does a poll of other analysts and tries to get a consensus on what to expect. He’s expecting that 4.95 million to 5.09 million Macs were sold during the quarter, which means it’s the fourth year-over-year quarterly decline in a row. That’s not surprising, since Apple has pretty well ignored the Mac line for the past few years, but it’s expected that will all change on Thursday when new MacBook Pros — and hopefully much more — are to be announced.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back Monday afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.

Notable apps and app updates for Oct. 24, 2016

Mon, 2016-10-24 14:44

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.

macOS Apps/Updates

Andrei Doubrovski has released Elements+ 9.0, an update of his enhancement patch for Adobe Photoshop Elements. Featuring hundreds of tools, including missing adjustments, smart filters, vector masks, and more, it is an add-on that unlocks the undocumented advanced functions in Photoshop Elements+ featured in the latest versions of Photoshop. 

The kit includes some extra adjustments, smart filters, vector masks, and other advanced tools normally hidden under the hood. Version 9 adds:

  • The ability to re-edit Curves, Color Balance, and other unlocked adjustments;
  • The ability to re-edit Camera RAW photos in ACR converter; 
  • Customizable PSE keyboard shortcuts; 
  • Customizable PSE menus;
  • Pen and other advanced vector tools;
  • Auto-recovery after PSE crashes;
  • A Script Events Manager.

Elements+ 9.0 requires macOS 10.4.11 or later. It costs US$12.

Zevrix Solutions has announced BatchOutput DOC 2.4.7, a compatibility update to its output automation solution for Microsoft Word on macOS. 

BatchOutput automates printing and exporting of multiple documents to PDF, and allows to carry out professional PDF production directly from Word bringing PDF creation options right to the user's fingertips. The new version makes BatchOutput DOC compatible with the recently released macOS 10.12 Sierra.

BatchOutput DOC can be purchased for US $39.95 from the Zevrix Solutions website, as well as from authorized resellers and the Mac App Store. A demo is available for download. The update is free for users of version 2 and $20 from version 1. BatchOutput DOC requires Mac OS X 10.6-10.12 and Microsoft Word 2008, 2011 or 2016.

eMarketer: iPhone shares to remain static in 2016, while iPad shares continue to decline

Mon, 2016-10-24 13:59

Apple’s share of smartphone users in the US is expected to remain static in 2016, accounting for a 43.5% share, from 43.3% in 2015, according to new data from eMarketer. Android, by comparison, will see its share of US smartphone users rise slightly to 52.0%, up from 51.7% the previous year, adds the research firm. 

Although the number of overall iPad users continues to increase, Apple has been losing share in the U.S. tablet market.  After falling below 50% for the first time in 2015, Apple's share of the tablet market is expected to drop to 47.8% in 2016, per eMarketer’s estimates. By 2020, eMarketer estimates that 44% of tablet users in the US will be using an iPad. This year, eMarketer estimates that 51.4% of Americans will use a tablet once a month, totaling 168.2 million. 

In the UK, Apple is expected to account for a 31.8% share of smartphone users this year, a slight increase from 31.6% last year. eMarketer estimates Android will account for 55.7% of UK smartphone users this year, compared to 55.3% last year.

eMarketer expects there to be 17.8 million iPad users in the UK in 2016, representing 27.1% of the population. That figure also represents 50.7% of UK tablet users, which eMarketer estimates will be up from a 49.5% share of all tablet users last year.

This year, eMarketer estimates, 35.2 million people in the UK will use a tablet at least once per month, up from 32.8 million users last year. By 2020 this figure is forecasted to rise to 41.5 million. 

Apple TV trails the US connected TV market, behind Google Chromecast and Roku, with its share shrinking.  This year, 11.3% of connected TV users will subscribe to Apple TV, compared with 16.8% for Chromecast and 16.4% for Roku.

Based on eMarketer’s latest forecast, US mobile proximity payments -- which include payments made with a smartphone at the point of sale in place of a credit card or cash -- are expected to reach $27.67 billion in 2016, according to eMarketer. That figure will more than double in 2017, to $62.49 billion. By 2020, mobile proximity payments ($314.13 billion) will exceed retail smartphone commerce sales ($261.62 billion), according to eMarketer’s estimates.

There will be 38.4 million US mobile proximity payments users in the US in 2016, according to eMarketer. That figure will rise to 50.8 million in 2017 and reach 76.0 million, or close to one-third of smartphone users, by 2020.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments in the US are also on the rise. In 2016, close to one-quarter of US adults (45.8 million people) will make at least one peer-to-peer transaction on their mobile phone per month, totaling $59.42 billion. Mobile P2P payment apps like Venmo and Square Cash are taking advantage of Apple’s new iMessage and Siri SDKs in iOS 10 to make it easier to transfer funds to friends and family.

“With the launch of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, Apple is following through with its plans to extend Apple Pay to the web, as well as enhancing the capabilities of third-party mobile app developers to enable new payment experiences in iMessage and Siri,” says Bryan Yeager, senior analyst, eMarketer. “Though an abundance of research points to consumers not yet replacing their physical wallet with a mobile one, Apple continues to lay the groundwork in the US and around the world to make commerce more frictionless while maintaining a high degree of security. Cementing consumer trust that mobile payments are secure will be critical to mass market adoption.”