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Pandora CFO Calls Apple a 'Frenemy,' Says Music Service is Coming to CarPlay and Apple Watch
pandora_newlogoWhen Apple's CarPlay feature launched last year, Apple partnered with several music services to offer a variety of listening choices on the platform, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Rdio, and more.

Noticeably absent from CarPlay was Pandora, but that appears to be set to change. Pandora CFO Mike Herring spoke to Fox Business Network yesterday and said Pandora will "definitely be in CarPlay" and integrated into the Apple Watch as well.

Though Herring did not provide a timeline for the possible launch of a Pandora CarPlay app, his statement to Fox is the closest Pandora's come to revealing its plans for the platform. Last year, Pandora told MacRumors that Apple was a valued partner and though it did not have a CarPlay offering at the current time, it was exploring opportunities to expand its presence in the car in the future.

Speaking to Fox, Herring also spilled some details on Pandora's relationship with Apple, which hints at why there may have been a delay getting Pandora on CarPlay. According to Herring, the two companies have a "frenemy kind of relationship," possibly due to the similarities between Pandora and Apple's iTunes Radio.
Pandora, which owes part of its success to the popularity of its iPhone app, has a "frenemy kind of relationship going on" with Apple, according to Herring. "We were part of what made it fun to have an iPhone," Herring added. While the two companies are "close partners," it is a "very interesting relationship."
At the current time, there are still only a handful of CarPlay apps available, like Spotify, Beats Music, CBS Radio News, Umano, MLB.com At Bat, Overcast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and Rdio. If Pandora comes to CarPlay, it'll be the fourth non-Apple owned music app available.

CarPlay is still largely limited to aftermarket in-dash systems from companies like Alpine and Pioneer, as many automobile manufacturers are still working on integrating CarPlay into their vehicles. Of Apple's CarPlay partners, Audi, Volkswagen, and Hyundai have promised CarPlay-compatible cars will be available for purchase in 2015.


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Verizon Wireless Lets Customers Opt Out of Tracking 'Perma-Cookies'
Last year, Verizon and AT&T made headlines when researchers discovered they had been engaging in some unsavory customer tracking techniques, using unique identifier numbers or "perma-cookies" to track the websites that customers visited on their cellular devices to deliver targeted advertisements, a practice called "Relevant Advertising."

Following customer backlash, AT&T stopped using the hidden web tracking codes to keep tabs on the websites that its customers visited, but Verizon continued on with its Relevant Advertising program, which it's been using for approximately two years. While there was an option to opt out of Verizon's program, opting out did not stop the intrusive code from being inserted into the URLs of Verizon customers, leaving a security hole that could let advertisers exploit Verizon customers.

verizontracking
As of today, The New York Times reports that Verizon has given its customers a true opt out option that does not insert the identifying tracking codes (or UIDH) into the URLs of customers who opt not to be tracked, as it promised to do in January.
In a statement, Debra Lewis, a Verizon spokeswoman, said privacy is a "central consideration" for the company when it develops new products and services.

"As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus," Ms. Lewis said. "As a reminder, we never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs.
Verizon customers can opt out of the Relevant Advertising program by logging into their My Verizon accounts and selecting "Manage Privacy Settings" from the "Manage My Account" section of their user profile. AT&T and Verizon customers are able to check whether their devices are sending identifying codes by visiting a website created by Kenneth White, one of the security researchers who originally discovered the tracking methods. Verizon's tracking programs are automatic opt-in, so many users may need to navigate to the aforementioned page to turn off the tracking.


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HBO CEO: We Partnered With Apple for HBO NOW Based on HBO GO Popularity
Apple and HBO recently inked a deal that will see Apple becoming the exclusive launch partner for HBO's upcoming "HBO Now" web-based streaming service, and in an interview with CNBC, HBO CEO Richard Plepler explained why the company chose to partner Apple.

According to Plepler, the main reason why HBO opted to team up with Apple was due to the success of its existing cable-based service, HBO GO. 60 percent of HBO GO traffic comes from Apple devices, including the Apple TV, Macs, and the iPhone and the iPad. HBO GO apps have been available on iOS devices since 2011 and the service has been available on the Apple TV since 2013. Plepler also pointed towards the popularity of Apple devices as a deciding factor.

hbonow
Well, listen. They're obviously an extraordinary company with a wide range of devices, and those devices are proliferating throughout the consumer base. But also, as we look at HBO GO, which is our streaming service tethered to distributors, we saw about 60 percent usage on Apple devices so it made perfect sense for us to work with Apple introducing HBO Now.
HBO Now differs from HBO GO because it does not require a cable subscription for access. Instead, all of HBO's content, including TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more, is available to customers for $14.99 per month. Launching in time for the Game of Thrones premiere in April, HBO NOW will be exclusively available on the Apple TV and Apple devices for the first three months of its life.

Once that three month period has expired, HBO will bring the service to other platforms as well. Plepler expects HBO NOW will be popular with millennials, calling it a "millennial missile," and he doesn't believe the price, which is higher than other services like Netflix, will turn customers away. "We think we have a premium product," he said. "We have extraordinary content ... and it's the price of a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn."

In addition to partnering with HBO for HBO Now, Apple is also in the middle of negotiations for its own streaming television service, which would provide a select number of cable channels to customers via the web, with no cable subscription necessary. Apple is said to be planning to price the service at $30 to $40 per month for approximately 25 channels, and is partnering with ABC, CBS, Viacom, Fox, Discovery, Disney, and more.

Apple may be planning to launch its new service in June, at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, possibly alongside a revamped set-top box.


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Apple Begins Accepting Apple Watch App Submissions From All Developers
Apple announced on Tuesday that all registered developers can now submit Apple Watch app submissions based on WatchKit for approval on the App Store. A number of popular apps have already been updated with Apple Watch support on the App Store over the past week, and the approval process is now extended to all members of Apple's Developer Program.

Apple Watch App Submissions
Apple has updated its WatchKit website with details on how developers can optimize the design and development of their Apple Watch apps, including the app's name, description, icon, screenshots, keywords, version number and build number. Apple Watch apps, excluding the ones that have already appeared on the App Store, should be steadily approved leading up to and following the launch of the wrist-worn device.

A select number of testers and reviewers will be able to access the apps prior to April 24, unless developers set the release date for their apps to "manual" and update on that date. Apple Watch apps that have started appearing on the App Store include Evernote, Sky Guide, Dark Sky, Target, NYTimes, Procreate Pocket, Yahoo Tourney Pick'em, ECB Cricket, The Wall Street Journal, MLB.com at Bat and Expedia.


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Checkout Problems Hindering Growth in Apple Pay Usage
Apple Pay growth is being stymied by issues people are experiencing at checkout, including cashiers unfamiliar with the service and problems getting payment terminals to work. According to a new study conducted by Phoenix Marketing International (via Bloomberg) in February, these ongoing problems are resulting in fewer repeat usage attempts and missed payment opportunities.

Two out of three iPhone buyers surveyed linked a credit card to their iPhones to enable Apple Pay, and 88 percent of those used the service once in the past four months. On average, Apple Pay users made 2.6 in-store transactions using the payments service during its first four months of availability.

Two-thirds of Apple Pay users claimed to have run into problems at checkout, making the Apple Pay experience less appealing. 48 percent of those who had problems said the merchant took too long completing the transaction, 42 percent said the cashier was unfamiliar with Apple Pay, and 36 percent said transactions were posted incorrectly or double counted.

applepayproblems
The Apple Pay terminal simply did not work according to 27 percent of respondents who had issues, and 23 percent said it was inconvenient to choose a card in Passbook. In a separate section, 47 percent of those who had attempted to use Apple Pay ran into problems with the store not accepting Apple Pay even though it was one of Apple's partners.
"However, the early-on transaction potential is being undercut by low repeat usage and lost payment opportunities," said Greg Weed, Director of Card Research at Phoenix. "The demand is there: 59% of Apple Pay users have gone into a store and asked to make a purchase with Apple Pay. But so is the disappointment: 47% visited a store that was listed as an Apple Pay merchant only to find out that the specific store they visited did not accept (or were not ready to accept) Apple Pay."
For the study, Phoenix surveyed 3,002 respondents. Of those, 532 owned an iPhone 6, 350 linked a card to Apple Pay, and 302 used Apple Pay to make a purchase at least once during the last four months. With a small sample size, it is difficult to draw concrete conclusions about overall Apple Pay usage habits and customer experiences, but Phoenix's survey seems to be reflective of issues users have had with the service.

In our own experiences at MacRumors, we've had multiple occasions where an Apple Pay terminal simply failed to work, or took several tries to register a payment. We have also seen Apple Pay partner stores that were not equipped to accept Apple Pay payments, and we've run into employees who knew little about the service.

At other locations, we've been forced to sign for purchases, greatly cutting down on Apple Pay's ease of use, and at times, we've also been asked to show ID for a purchase, causing us to pull out a wallet anyway. We've seen several other reports of problems with Apple Pay on our own forums, and several journalists have gone hands-on with Apple Pay and seen issues first hand.

applepaytouchid
Apple Pay may still have hiccups to overcome, but the service has seen early success and will continue to improve with wider adoption. 72 hours after launch, Apple Pay had more than 1 million credit and debit activations, and from October through January, Apple Pay accounted for two of every three dollars spend through contactless payments on Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. As of March, Apple Pay is accepted at more than 700,000 locations in the United States, and merchant adoption continues to grow.

In January, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Pay was "off to a very strong start" and that he expects 2015 to be "the year of Apple Pay."


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Microsoft Announces Intel Atom-Based Surface 3 With Windows 8.1 for $499
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the Surface 3 tablet with Windows 8.1, available in May for a starting price of $499. The latest iPad competitor is designed to be a complete laptop replacement, running full Windows, including desktop applications, and delivering all-day battery life. Surface 3 also includes a quad-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, a significant shift from ARM processors used in previous models.

Microsoft Surface 3
Surface 3 comes with 64GB storage and 2GB of RAM for $499, while a 128GB option with 4GB of RAM costs $599. Both Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE models are available. The tablet also features a 10.8" Full HD display at 1,920×1,280 pixels resolution, full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader, headphone jack, cover port, micro USB charging port, Bluetooth 4.0 and three-position kickstand. The tablet will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 when available and includes a one-year Office 365 subscription.


The base model Surface 3 in 64GB and 128GB options is available for pre-order now through Microsoft's website for delivery starting the first week of May, while the 4G LTE models are listed as shipping by June 26th. The tablet includes a 1-year limited hardware warranty. Type Covers are a $130 add-on, and Surface pens are available in blue, red, black, and original silver.

Microsoft's new Surface 3 joins the existing Surface Pro 3, starting at $799. The professional tablet rivals the MacBook Air with a 12" Full HD display at 2,160×1,440 pixels resolution, Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, up to 9 hours of web browsing, full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader, two 5-megapixel HD cameras on the front and back, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and more.


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U.S. ITC to Investigate Apple After Ericsson Patent Infringement Claims
ipad_iphone_ios_8The ongoing conflict between Apple and Ericsson escalated this afternoon as the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed to launch an investigation into claims that Apple infringed on as many as 41 of Ericsson's cellular technology patents with its iPad and iPhone devices, reports PCWorld.

Apple and Ericsson first clashed in January, after the expiration of a 2008 licensing agreement between the two companies. Despite two years of negotiations, the companies failed to establish a new agreement that would let Apple use Ericsson's cellular technology patents.

Apple filed a complaint suggesting Ericsson was both demanding excessive royalties for LTE patents and wrongly claiming its patents as essential for the LTE wireless communication standard. Ericsson responded with its own complaint, asking the court to determine whether its licensing fees were fair.

Ericsson's cellular technology patents are considered essential and are subject to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). According to Ericsson, the licensing deal it offered Apple (estimated to be between $250 million and $750 million annually) was reasonable, but Apple disagreed.

In February, Ericsson went on to file seven new lawsuits against Apple and two complaints with U.S. ITC in an effort to prevent Apple from selling products in the U.S., which is what led to today's ITC investigation. Companies often file complaints in district court and with the ITC simultaneously as the ITC moves faster and has the ability to block products from being sold in the United States. The looming threat of a product ban can accelerate licensing negotiations.

Should the International Trade Commission's investigation find that Apple infringed on Ericsson's patents, it could potentially lead to an exclusion order preventing the infringing products from being sold in the United States until the dispute is resolved.


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Apple Seeds Sixth OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite Beta to Developers, Public Beta Testers
os_x_yosemite_round_iconApple today seeded a new beta of OS X Yosemite to developers and public beta testers, a week after seeding the fifth OS X Yosemite beta and almost two months after releasing the first OS X 10.10.3 beta.

The new beta, build 14D127a, is available for registered developers through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Mac Developer Center. OS X Yosemite Recovery Update 1.0 is also available, improving the reliability of Yosemite Recovery when restoring from a Time Machine backup.

OS X 10.10.3 includes several new features, like the Photos for OS X app. Designed to integrate with iCloud Photo Library and the Photos app on iOS, the Photos for OS X app is a replacement for both iPhoto and Aperture. Reviews have suggested that while Photos is a suitable replacement for iPhoto, with more advanced tools and performance optimizations, it may leave professional users disappointed in its initial incarnation.

Along with the new Photos for OS X app, earlier OS X 10.10.3 betas have introduced a redesigned emoji picker that consolidates emoji into a single scrollable page with clear labels, new diversified emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers, new flag emoji and updated emoji for the iPhone, iMac, and Apple Watch, and support for Google 2-step verification when setting up accounts in System Preferences.

With the fifth OS X 10.10.3 beta, there were just two minor bug fixes to the OS X Photos app, and today's update likely includes similar small changes. Given that we're on the sixth beta, OS X 10.10.3 is undoubtedly getting close to completion and we may see a public release of the software in the near future.


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iPad Pro Dummy Points Towards Dual Lightning Ports or USB-C Port
Images of what appear to be a mockup version of the upcoming larger-screened "iPad Pro" depict either a secondary Lightning port or a USB-C port on one side of the device, suggesting it could potentially have multiple methods of charging and/or the ability to support accessories like keyboards and mice. The pictures, which show the mystery port, a headphone jack/speakers, and the camera, originated on microblogging site Sina Weibo and were shared by Italian site HDBlog.

Case manufacturers and other accessory makers often create dummy models of upcoming Apple devices to get an early start on the development process, and the tablet pictured in the photos is likely one of these mockups. Most of these models are based on rumors and leaked schematics, and while they're frequently accurate, there have been errors in dummy models for past devices.

ipadprodummy1
The port on the left side of the device in the images does line up with a previously leaked iPad Pro case that had an opening on the left side believed to be for a SIM card tray, but the presence of a side port was not seen in schematics shared by Japanese magazine Mac Fan last November. Those schematics may have been inaccurate or out of date, as rumors have suggested Apple is still working on ironing out the tablet's features ahead of its release.

Given the design similarities between a Lightning port and a USB-C port, it is not entirely clear what function the extra port serves, but a recent rumor from The Wall Street Journal pointed towards the the possible inclusion of USB 3.0 ports on the iPad Pro, potentially allowing the device to connect to a keyboard or mouse.

Aside from the Lightning port, the other images shared on Weibo show a rear camera with light sensor and microphone, and a headphone jack adjacent to a row of speakers. Rumors have suggested the iPad Pro will have speakers and microphones at the top and bottom edges of the device for a stereo audio experience.

ipadprodummy2
Aside from its larger size and tweaked design elements to accommodate new features, the iPad Pro is said to look similar to the existing iPad Air and iPad mini. It's rumored to have a high-resolution display between 12.2 and 12.9 inches, an A8X processor, 2GB RAM, and Touch ID. It may also support an optional stylus accessory.

Apple may be targeting a September 2015 production timeline for the tablet, so it may come alongside new iPad Air and iPad mini models this fall.

Update: We've received word that these images were originally shared by Dutch site vandaagapple.nl [Google Translate] in February.


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Leaked Images Provide First Look at Purported Rear Shell of 'iPhone 6c'
Chinese parts supplier Future Supplier (via Nowhereelse.fr) has posted leaked images of what it believes could be the rear shell for the so-called "iPhone 6c." The rear housing looks similar to the plastic iPhone 5c, with two notable differences being a pill-shaped LED flash cutout and two rows of speaker grilles on the bottom of the smartphone. The size of the rear shell indicates that the device's screen size could fall within the 4-inch range.

iPhone 6c Rear
The pill-shaped LED flash design and two rows of speaker grilles are also found on the iPhone 5s, indicating that the iPhone 6c could have the same internals as the two-generation-old smartphone with a plastic shell. The smartphone would likely be positioned at the low end of the iPhone lineup as Apple's free smartphone, alongside the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and next-generation iPhones released later this year.

iPhone 6c Rear Bottom
Apple did not refresh the iPhone 5c when it launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year, leading to speculation that the plastic smartphone might be discontinued from the smartphone lineup. Last week, however, it was reported that Apple is planning to release three new iPhones later this year, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and 4-inch iPhone 6c.


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Apple's Smartphone Trade-In Program Launches in United States, Canada and Europe
Apple has expanded its Reuse and Recycling Program in the United States, Canada and several European countries to cover eligible Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone smartphones. The new trade-in program is available online and in-store and provides customers with the option to mail in eligible non-Apple smartphones, including certain Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Sony and BlackBerry models, for credit in the form of an Apple Store gift card or bank transfer.

Apple Smartphone Trade in Program
The smartphone trade-in program has gone live in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany and Canada in partnership with third-party device buyback and trade-in company Brightstar. Apple is also accepting various PC models by certain manufacturers as part of its expanded Reuse and Recycling Program, handled by third-party vendor Dataserv.

Apple's Reuse and Recycling Program launched in August 2013 and was previously limited to trading in qualifying iPhones, iPads and Macs for immediate credit towards the purchase of a new Apple device. Apple also offers a traditional recycling program for disposing of devices such as iPhones, iPads, Macs and other smartphones and computers that are no longer eligible for trade in.


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Tim Cook Calls 'Religious Freedom' Legislation 'Very Dangerous'
Apple CEO Tim Cook has called recent "religious freedom" legislation passed in Indiana and Arkansas "very dangerous" in a public op-ed letter published by The Washington Post. Cook argues that there are nearly 100 pro-discrimination bills in the United States that "go against the very principles" the country was founded on and "have the potential to undo decades of progress towards greater equality."

Tim Cook
Cook's letter comes in response to Indiana governor Mike Pence passing the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, following intense opposition from opponents that believe the bill supports discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians. The bill, based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, takes effect July 1st.
"America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business," said Cook. "At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms."
Cook believes that the recently passed legislation in Indiana and Arkansas, and similar bills being considered in other states, draw comparisons to the days of segregation in the United States, adding that Apple will never tolerate discrimination regardless of the laws passed. "This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue," he said. "This is about how we treat each other as human beings."
"Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination."
Cook tweeted last week that Apple is "open for everyone" and "deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law," calling on Arkansas to veto its similar HB1228 bill. Indiana has received a lot of backlash for signing the bill, with several organizations and companies throughout the United States vowing to stop supporting the state.

Cook has remained committed to equality in the workplace as chief executive at Apple. In November 2013, he publicly supported the U.S. Employment Nondiscrimination Act, legislation proposed to prohibit many civilian, nonreligious employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for the purposes of hiring or other employment practices.

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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Apple Won't Allow Swapping of Bands at Apple Watch 'Try-On' Appointments
The Apple Watch will be available for in store previews and Try-On appointments starting on April 10th. The Apple Watch comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and band-types which can make the decision of how to pick a band and Apple Watch combination complicated.

applewatchtable
Apple has a number of recommended combinations highlighted on their online store, but also sells bands separately, allowing customers to potentially mix and match between the various Apple Watches and bands. Some combinations could yield a mix of materials that readers feared may not look natural together, such as an aluminum Apple Watch Sport and a stainless steel accented band. The stainless steel Apple Watch is the most cosmetically versatile but carries a $200 premium over the aluminum Apple Watch Sport.

Apple, however, will not allow customers to try arbitrary mix and match options during their Apple Watch Try-On appointments, presumably in the interest of time and simplicity. According to retail training materials MacRumors received, Apple specifically states that they "will not size links or swap bands" at the Try-on table or Try-on cases. Try-on appointments for non-Edition Apple Watches are meant to last only 5-15 minutes. Apple will have 18 specific Apple Watch combinations on display at their Try-On tables and 10 specific combinations at their Try-On cases.

Apple Watch pre-sales and try-on appointments start on April 10th, and the official launch of the Apple Watch is April 24th.


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Apple Watch for Sale in Retail Stores by Reservation Only, No Walk-In Sales
As the Apple Watch launch approaches, details have been leaking out about how Apple will be handling sales of their new device. According to leaked Apple documentation, the company will not be selling the Apple Watch to walk-in customers at launch.

Apple Watch Case
Apple will begin offering online pre-sales of the Apple Watch starting on April 10th, with the first deliveries occurring on April 24th, the official Apple Watch launch date. During those two weeks, customers will be able to have hands-on "try-on" appointments at Apple retail stores in order to help make up their mind.

However, according to training documents that MacRumors has received, Apple is not allowing any walk-in retail purchases for the Apple Watch at launch. Instead customers must make an online "Product Reservation" to hold a specific Apple Watch model at a retail store. This new "Product Reservation" system is used instead of Apple's "Personal Pickup" system for Apple Watches. Apple's retail training documents indicate that "If a customer walks in and wants to purchase a watch, offer the option to try on a watch. Then help them place an order online or through the Apple Store app."

Apple seems to expect low inventory for the Apple Watches, and notes that "try-on" appointments also do not reserve a specific Apple Watch for purchase. Apple expects to eventually allow walk-in purchases, but not until the initial wave of demand has passed.


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Hands-On With the Apple Watch: A Developer's Experience at Apple's WatchKit Labs
Earlier this month, Apple began inviting a select number of developers to an Apple Watch development lab in Sunnyvale, California, located near the company's main Cupertino campus. Developers were invited to reserve a testing appointment to test their Apple Watch apps on actual Apple Watch devices to get ready for the device's April 24 launch.

One of the developers who had a chance to visit Apple's WatchKit lab and get hands-on time with the Apple Watch shared his testing experience with MacRumors and gave us some of his thoughts on the device after spending all day using it.

Apple maintained strict control over the Apple Watches that developers were allowed to use for testing. Security guards were on hand, and developers were not allowed into the room until receiving a badge, which had to be worn at all times. Entering into the lab was done through two doorways, each of which was locked and could only be opened via an electronic keycard.

applewatchcollection
Developers had to cover their cameras and leave their bags on shelves, and they were not allowed to pair the Apple Watch with their own iPhones. No one was allowed to go to the bathroom or run out for coffee until they let Apple's security see their wrists to prove they weren't leaving with a watch.

Apple has used similar tight security when bringing the Apple Watch on location to be featured in magazines as well, and it's clear they're making sure none of these devices leak out ahead of April 24.

In the lab, there were 5 rows of long tables, and approximately 10 developers could fit at each table. Apple had five engineers on hand to help developers put the finishing touches on their apps, and all of the engineers in the room were described as helpful and insightful. It's still not clear what criteria Apple used to decide which developers to invite to Sunnyvale, but a lot of major app developers were there, as were teams from various startups and bigger companies.

Developers were given 42mm Apple Watch Sport models to test their apps with, and 38mm models were only supplied upon request. The developer we spoke to thought the Sport models were "extremely light" and did not look tacky or cheesy. He also thought that the 42mm Apple Watch was the ideal size, neither too big nor too small. The extra 4mm of screen size made a big difference when it came to reading text on the device, and he thought that people who used the Apple Watch for long periods of time might better appreciate the larger screen.

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The design and the feel of the watch were described as "absolutely amazing" and software was described as "fluid" and not like other smart watches available on the market. "Animations on the Apple Watch are really what separate it from its competitors," he said. Handoff works very well, letting users transfer tasks from the Apple Watch to the iPhone with ease, and Siri's functionality was described as "absolutely phenomenal."

He also shared a bit of information about battery life. Wearing the watch all day, he used it regularly to send messages and test his app, and he said the watch battery lasted all day with some to spare. He was really impressed and said, "When Apple says all day battery life, they mean it."

Overall, the developer that we spoke with thought his time at the Apple WatchKit lab was an "inspirational experience" and in his opinion, Apple is on the right track with the Apple Watch.

Apple has heavily guarded the Apple Watch thus far, but two weeks from today, the general public will be able to see the device in person and test it out after Apple begins its in-store try-on period. The company will let people schedule 15 minute appointments beginning on April 10, which is also the day that Apple Watch pre-orders will begin.

The Apple Watch will officially launch on April 24, but pre-orders are recommended because supplies may be constrained.


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Apple Hasn't Approached NBC Over Content Deal for Upcoming Streaming TV Service
Over the past couple of weeks, rumors have leaked pointing towards an Apple-branded streaming television service that could include 25 channels for $30 to $40 per month with partners like CBS, ABC, and Fox. NBC and parent company Comcast are not part of the negotiations, and according to a new report from Re/code, that's because Apple has not approached Comcast about a partnership.

Earlier rumors about the streaming television service suggested NBC's absence from the upcoming package was due to a falling out between Apple and Comcast, but on Thursday, Comcast said that wasn't true in a letter that it sent to the Federal Communications Commission. Comcast's letter was a response to a filing from Stop Mega Comcast, a group that's opposed to a Comcast-Time Warner merging, and in it, Comcast said Apple had not even approached NBC for a content deal.

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Stop Mega Comcast's note, filed on Wednesday, said, "Comcast may be withholding affiliated NBCUniversal ("NBCU") content in an effort to thwart the entry of potential new video competitors." The note cited a recent Wall Street Journal report that said Apple wasn't talking to NBCUniversal because of a "falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast."

That's a bit right but mostly wrong, Comcast attorney Francis Buono wrote to the FCC: "Not only has NBCUniversal not 'withheld' programming from Apple's new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request." I've asked Apple for comment.
It is not clear why Apple has not approached NBC about a possible content deal for its most recent streaming television efforts, but Apple and Comcast have attempted to negotiate a deal in the past, which didn't pan out. The Wall Street Journal has suggested that earlier talks failed to establish a deal due to Comcast's focus on its own X1 web streaming platform.

As noted by Re/code, Apple could initiate talks with NBC in the future or potentially take advantage of a clause in the contract that was established when Comcast and NBC merged several years back, which would force NBC to license its content to Apple if Apple were able to establish deals with the company's competitors.

Apple may be planning to debut its streaming television service at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Many of the details about the service remain unknown, including the channel lineup Apple is aiming for, but the company is said to be in talks with ABC, CBS, Fox, Disney, ESPN, Discovery, and Viacom, which would give Apple access to channels like Animal Planet, TLC, MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.

The streaming television service may be accompanied by a revamped set-top box, rumored to include an A8 processor, expanded storage, an App Store, and Siri support.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Speaks Out Against Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law
Apple CEO Tim Cook today sent out a series of Tweets condemning Indiana Governor Mike Pence's decision to sign a controversial "religious freedom" bill into law, saying Apple is "deeply disappointed" in the move and "open for everyone."


The religious freedom legislation that was approved by Pence on Thursday could let businesses turn away gay and lesbian customers by citing "religious freedom." The approval of the bill has earned Indiana national attention, and much of it has been negative, with organizations and companies throughout the United States vowing to stop supporting the state.

mikepence
Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person's ability to exercise their religion -- unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.
Along with Apple's condemnation, the NCAA has questioned the impact the legislation will have on future sporting events, Salesforce has vowed to halt expansion plans in the state, several conventions typically held in Indiana have said they will find other venues, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee spoke out against the decision and barred all non-essential publicly funded City employee travel to the state.

In his tweets, Cook also called for Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to veto H.B.1228, a similar bill that was recently passed by the Arkansas state senate, and he reiterated Apple's own commitment to equality and its efforts to treat every customer the same, regardless of "how they worship or who they love."


Cook came out as gay last October, but even before then, he's had a long history of supporting equality and speaking out against discrimination. In 2013, he lectured on equality at his alma mater Auburn University, and during that same year, both he and Apple publicly supported the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

Under his direction, Apple released a statement in support of Supreme Court gay marriage rulings, and Cook also led Apple to march in support of the LGBT community during the 44th annual Pride parade in San Francisco.

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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'Wunderlist' for Apple Watch Brings To-Do Lists, Agendas and Reminders to Your Wrist
Wunderlist has provided a closer look at its Apple Watch companion app, which appeared on the App Store on Thursday ahead of the device's launch next month. The app is designed with a unique Home View that provides access to your most important items first, with four buttons that display a bird's eye view of your to-do lists, agenda and reminders on your wrist.

Wunderlist on Apple Watch
Wunderlist for Apple Watch delivers a hand-free experience in situations where you might normally use your iPhone, such as while shopping at a supermarket and checking items off your grocery list, or when using smart voice input to add to-dos for an upcoming meeting. The combination of Glances and real-time notifications ensure that you will stay up to date with important things during your day, be it during your morning commute, at the office or at home.
"As you move through the day, you won’t even have to open Wunderlist on your Watch to get stuff done. Just take a look at our Glance during breakfast to review your most important to-dos for the day. Thanks to Wunderlist’s real-time notifications, a subtle tap on your wrist will let you know what your colleagues are working on during your morning commute, and remind you to pick up the milk on your way home from work."
Wunderlist for Apple Watch features custom animations for interacting with the app, and its developers have carefully considered which font sizes, layouts and interactions would work best with limited screen real estate. The result is a design that was inspired by Wunderlist's brand-new colorful sidebar icons, with the majority of the user interface consisting of white text on a black background.

Wunderlist Apple Watch Views
Ultimately, the developers behind Wunderlist for Apple Watch wanted to create software that gets out of your way, all the while providing multipurpose functionality for managing your day-to-day life. Apple Watch, and by extension the wrist, provides a more natural setting for to-do apps such as Wunderlist and Todoist, so it will be interesting to see how developers build upon these apps in the future.

Wunderlist [Direct Link] is free on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.


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'Citymapper' and 'Transit App' Offer In-Depth Looks at Transit Experiences on Apple Watch
As a few popular iPhone apps begin rolling out updates for their built-in Apple Watch apps ahead of the April 24 launch, a pair of transit-focused services have posted on Medium to share detailed looks into exactly what kind of experience users can expect from Citymapper and Transit App on the Apple Watch next month.

Sifting through the data gathered from its iPhone app, Citymapper learned that its users frequently turned their phone on and off throughout one trip, unlocking to reorient themselves and quickly locking the device again to save battery. That's where its upcoming Apple Watch app comes in, Citymapper promising an experience tailor-made for the wrist-worn device.

Citymapper apple watch
This is the nature of transit information when you move across the city. You need snippets of information. Different things at different times, depending on where you are along the way.

Transit info works well on a device that focuses attention on one thing at a time. And where the transaction cost (ie hassle) of getting additional information is low (raise your wrist and swipe). Using a wearable app may also be safer. City dwellers are generally walking too fast, crossing streets, using stairs, jostling through crowds.
Citymapper has a few cool things planned for its Watch app, with Glances showcasing "how messed up your city is", pointing out stalled bus and train schedules around a user's location. The app will even notify a user, with the much-touted wrist-tap feature, when to get off of a current bus or train route to continue along their way.

Citymapper on the Apple Watch will be available in every city Citymapper has already established itself, including places like New York City and Rome, and support English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, with more cities and languages "coming soon."

Transit's Apple Watch app appears to be providing less of a notification-heavy experience and more of a straight-forward curated list of departure times and easy-to-follow directions, with a static "Take Me Home" button always on hand for when users get lost. The company aims to shave off as many precious seconds as possible with its wrist-worn experience.

transit apple watch
It’s not every day that developers get the chance to build something for a completely new platform. And we think that the Apple Watch might just be the ideal platform for us. Sure, it’s not so difficult to pull your phone out of your pocket. But it’s while we’re in transit that those seconds matter most.

With Transit App for Apple Watch, all of that friction is gone. No matter where you are, you will have instant access to departure times for nearby routes — on hand at all times. Sprinting for the bus? Need to know which route is leaving soonest? Don’t want to interrupt your game of Candy Crush? We’ve got your back.
Both Citymapper [Direct Link] and Transit App [Direct Link] promise to be available on day one of the Apple Watch's April 24 launch.


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Intel's New 3D NAND Technology Allows for Greater Than 10TB Solid-State Drives
Intel and Micron on Thursday announced the availability of new 3D NAND technology that enables high-density flash devices with three times more storage capacity than other NAND technologies in production. 3D NAND technology is also more cost efficient than planar NAND, with faster performance, improved latency and new sleep modes that result in low-power use by cutting power to inactive NAND die.

Intel Micron
The advancements pave the way for future Macs and other devices with flash memory to be equipped with greater than 10TB solid-state drives, significantly more storage capacity than the maxed out 1TB PCIe-based flash storage upgrade option that Apple offers for the MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro. As planar NAND faces practical scaling limits, Intel and Micron expect that 3D NAND will shape the future of flash memory.
"Micron and Intel's collaboration has created an industry-leading solid-state storage technology that offers high density, performance and efficiency and is unmatched by any flash today," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Memory Technology and Solutions at Micron Technology. "This 3D NAND technology has the potential to create fundamental market shifts. The depth of the impact that flash has had to date—from smartphones to flash-optimized supercomputing—is really just scratching the surface of what's possible."
3D NAND has innovative process architecture with a floating gate cell that enables greater performance and increased quality and reliability. Intel and Micron expect that 3D NAND technology, which "stacks flash cells vertically in 32 layers to achieve 256Gb multilevel cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) die," will result in continued performance gains, cost savings and widespread adoption of flash storage solutions for mobile consumer devices and enterprise deployment.

Intel and Micron claim that the 256Gb MLC version of 3D NAND is being sampled by select partners beginning this week, while the 384Gb TLC design will be sampling later this spring. Both devices are slated to enter full production in the fourth quarter, and both companies are developing separate lines of SSD solutions based on 3D NAND technology that are expected to be available within the next year.

Given that flash storage solutions using 3D NAND are not expected to be available until the end of this year at the earliest, it is unlikely that larger SSDs based on the new technology will be included in any next-generation Macs for the foreseeable future. Apple also recently refreshed the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, so those two notebook models in particular are still early in their product cycles.


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