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iFixit Tears Down iPad Air 2, Confirms Smaller Battery, A8X Chip, and 2GB RAM
Now that the iPad Air 2 is being delivered to customers and showing up in retail Apple Stores, iFixit has acquired one of the new tablets and has begun one of its traditional teardowns to see just what's inside Apple's thinner, more powerful iPad Air 2.

According to iFixit, the "gapless" front panel is more rigid than previous iPad models, and feels sturdier when it's being pried up with the company's proprietary iOpener. As with all iPads, the glued down display is the only access point to the tablet.

As noted in reviews, the iPad Air 2 has a smaller battery than the original iPad Air, coming in at 27.62 Whr and 7,340 mAh. The first generation tablet had a 8,827 mAh/32.9 Whr battery life.

ifixitbattery
iFixit's teardown confirms the existence of both the more powerful A8X processor and 2GB of Elpida F8164A3MD RAM. The iPad Air 2's logic board includes two separate 1GB RAM chips located in on either side of the A8X processor.

logicboardipadair2
The iPad Air 2's Touch ID sensor cable appears to be very similar to the sensor cable found in the new iPhones, and the Touch ID sensor itself was made by NXP Semiconductors. The 8-megapixel camera is similar to the camera in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as well, but they are not identical. The iPad Air 2's ambient light sensor has been split into two sensors, with one now located on the headphone jack, possibly for improved accuracy.

Along with the repositioning of several internal microphone and camera components, the Wi-Fi model's antennas, previously located at the bottom of the tablet, have been moved to the top of the iPad.

Apple's iPad Air 2 is currently available for order online, with new orders shipping in two to four days. Wi-Fi only models are also available in retail stores as of today, with Wi-Fi + Cellular models coming at a later date. Prices for the new iPad Air 2 start at $499.

iFixit's teardown is still ongoing and we will add any additional information here.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Apple Pay Glitch Causes Bank of America Customers to Be Charged Twice for Purchases
With Apple Pay positioned as a brand new service that requires banks, credit card companies, and vendors to all work together, it seems that some glitches in the system are inevitable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update 1:22 PM: Bank of America has confirmed to Re/code that the problem is the result of an issue between the bank and at least one payment processor and that Apple is not involved. A fix is expected today, and roughly 1,000 customers were affected by the double billing.

Update 1:50 PM: An Apple spokesperson told Bank Innovation that Bank of America is working on a fix and that the issue is impacting only a small number of Apple Pay users.
"Apple Pay is off to an amazing start and customers are loving the easy, secure and private way to pay. We're aware of a Bank of America issue impacting a very small number of Apple Pay users. They're working on a fix that will be available shortly and reversing any duplicate transactions."



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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Meets with Top Chinese Official After iCloud Login Harvesting Claims
timcook.png Apple CEO Tim Cook met with a top Chinese government official in Beijing Wednesday to discuss the security of user data, reportsReuters. The meeting comes after web censorship blog Great Fireclaimed earlier this week that hackers worked with Chinese authorities to harvest Apple ID information from Chinese users visiting iCloud.com.

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

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

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


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First iPad Air 2 Reviews: 'Ridiculously Fast', 'Vibrant Display', Thinner Profile Comes at the Cost of Battery Life
Following Apple's October 16 event that saw the debut of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, Apple provided multiple publications with review units. The embargo has now lifted on review posts, so we've gathered some of the relevant excerpts from each site in order to highlight general release reactions to the new tablet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ipadairipadair2comparison
The Air 2 also doesn't have a mute switch, which I didn't think would be a huge loss until I actually found myself trying to use it and becoming frustrated more frequently than I expected. Your new options are to press and hold the volume down button or go into the Control Center and press the mute key; if you used the switch to lock screen orientation, you'll need to do that in the Control Center as well. A microphone now sits where the mute switch once was; there's another one right next to the camera.
Joanna Stern, The Wall Street Journal:
That anti-reflective screen also makes a great, though admittedly ginormous, viewfinder for snapping nature shots with the revamped 8-megapixel camera. It takes much crisper shots than before, and in many cases, ones as good as those I can take with my iPhone 6. But I won't bring my iPad to some mountain peak, as some Apple promo shots suggest.

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

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

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

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

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


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Apple and GT Advanced Reach Deal to End Partnership, GT to Sell Furnaces to Pay Debt
GT Advanced and Apple have reached a deal that will see the two companies dissolving their partnership, according to documents submitted to the court earlier today, reports The Wall Street Journal. According to GT Advanced attorney Luc Despins, the agreement between the two companies marks an "amicable parting of the ways."

Under the terms of the deal, GT Advanced will sell off more than 2,000 sapphire furnaces, with some of the proceeds going to Apple as repayment for the $440 million loan the company gave GT to purchase the sapphire equipment.

gt_advanced_technologies_banner
Mr. Despins said the proposed settlement allows GT Advanced to try to sell the furnaces at the Mesa, Ariz. sapphire-manufacturing facility, and give the money to Apple, which financed the equipment. GT Advanced would surrender its claims against Apple, under the deal, and agree not to disparage the technology giant, Mr. Despins said.
There was some speculation that GT Advanced was aiming to force Apple into taking over the sapphire operation, but it appears that Apple is not interested as both parties seem to want out of the deal. With GT planning to sell off all of the furnaces, it is unclear whether Apple will be able to source enough sapphire from other suppliers in order to incorporate sapphire into the iPhone display in the future.

Apple and GT Advanced have also agreed to file a revised explanation for the company's bankruptcy filing, which will be provided to the court at a November 25 hearing, but the original court papers remain sealed. If approved, the settlement between GT Advanced and Apple will see original court papers stricken from the court record, keeping the details of what went wrong between the two companies quiet.

Rumors have suggested that the deal between GT Advanced and Apple began falling apart early on, with GT Advanced missing technical milestones as early as February. A failure to produce high-quality sapphire led Apple to withhold a final $139 million loan payment, which may have been the reason behind GT Advanced's Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing in early October.

GT Advanced will begin winding down operations at its sapphire plant in the near future, eliminating the jobs of more than 727 employees in the coming weeks. GT Advanced plans to prepare existing sapphire boules for sale, clean and sell furnaces, and then close the plant for good by December 31.


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iPad Air 2 Up to 55% Faster Than iPhone 6, Up to 68% Faster Than iPad Air
A short time ago, we highlighted a new benchmark appearing to show an iPad Air 2 device carrying an A8X chip with a triple-core 1.5 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM.

While we mentioned that the enhanced specs have led to huge performance gains compared to the A8 chip found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Primate Labs has now published a nice pair of charts showing just how dramatic this improvement really is, making the iPad Air 2 far and away the fastest iOS device ever.

The most striking improvement comes in the multi-score benchmarks, where the A8X with its three cores of processing power blows away the dual-core A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. As a result, the iPad Air 2 registers over 55 percent faster than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the multi-core benchmark. Comparing iPad to iPad, the A8X in the iPad Air 2 measures 68 percent faster than the A7 in last year's iPad Air according to the multi-core benchmark.

ipad_air_2_geekbench_multi
The iPad Air 2 also sets new high scores in the single-core benchmarks thanks to the 1.5 GHz cores in the A8X, with much of the nearly 13 percent gain over the A8 coming from the 100 MHz speed improvement compared the 1.4 GHz cores found in the iPhone and 6 Plus. The iPad Air 2 of course also compares favorably to the original iPad Air, with single core scores up 23 percent.

ipad_air_2_geekbench_single


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iPad Air 2 Benchmark Points to A8X Chip With Triple-Core 1.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM
While Apple touted the power of the new A8X chip used in the iPad Air 2 at the company's media event last week, the company as usual opted not to disclose exact specifications on the part, leaving the details up to rumor and speculation until the device starts making its way into the hands of users and teardown experts.

But with Apple shipping out orders to customers for delivery as soon as tomorrow, it appears that at least one user has already gotten his or her hands on the iPad Air 2 and run a Geekbench 3 benchmarking test on it (via Gizmobic). If the result is genuine, and Primate Labs founder John Poole tells MacRumors that it appears to be, it reveals that the A8X contains an unusual triple-core CPU configuration running at 1.5 GHz and paired with 2 GB of RAM.

ipad_air_2_a8x_geekbench
The extra core and 100 MHz faster clock speed compared to the A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus means the iPad Air 2 scores roughly 13 percent higher on single-core benchmarks and 55 percent higher on multi-core benchmarks than Apple's latest iPhones.

More details will undoubtedly be unveiled in the coming days as teardown experts take the iPad Air 2 apart and chip experts examine the internal layout of the chip.


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High-End Retina 5K iMac Benchmarked Faster Than Low-End Mac Pro
Yesterday, Primate Labs highlighted some Geekbench 3 benchmarking results for the new 3.5 GHz 27-inch Retina 5K iMac, unsurprisingly showing the machine performing better than slower-clocked Core i5 chips in non-Retina models but below that of high-end Core i7 chips also available in the machines since their late 2013 introduction.

Primate Labs' John Poole noted that once benchmarks for the high-end Retina 5K iMac with Intel's 4.0 GHz Core i7-4790K chip started appearing, they could show the new iMac outperforming the low-end Mac Pro, and that is indeed the case as revealed today and highlighted in an updated version of Poole's blog post from yesterday.

The 4.0 GHz Retina 5K iMac clocks in with a score of 4438 on the single-core 64-bit benchmarking test, while multi-core testing achieves a score of 16407. Across the two tests, the new high-end Retina iMac scores 11-13 percent higher than the fastest non-Retina model due to the faster processor included on the Retina model.

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Compared to the low-end Mac Pro, which runs on a quad-core 3.7 GHz Xeon E5-1620 v2, the high-end Retina iMac clocks in over 13 percent higher on multi-core testing, although it is unsurprisingly outclassed by higher-level Mac Pro models carrying processors with more cores.

retina_imac 4_0_mac_pro_bench
Both Retina iMac processor options outperform all Mac Pro models on single-core benchmarks, but this is unsurprising as the Xeon processors used in the Mac Pro sacrifice single-core clock speed for many more cores and other benefits that enhance performance for professional-level applications that can take advantage of the multiple cores.


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Apple Aware of iCloud Login Harvesting in China, Launches Browser Security Guide
Earlier this week, web censorship blog Great Fire suggested that hackers aligned with Chinese authorities were using man-in-the-middle attacks in order to harvest Apple ID information from Chinese users that visited Apple's iCloud.com website.

In a newly released support document (via The Wall Street Journal), Apple has confirmed that it is aware of the "intermittent organized network attacks" on iCloud users, but says that its own servers have not been compromised.
Apple is deeply committed to protecting our customers' privacy and security. We're aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously. These attacks don't compromise iCloud servers, and they don't impact iCloud sign in on iOS devices or Macs running OS X Yosemite using the Safari browser.
Apple's support document goes on to stress the importance of digital certificates, suggesting that users who see an invalid certificate warning in their browser while visiting iCloud.com should not proceed. The company also outlines how users can verify that their browser is connected to iCloud.com and not a third-party man-in-the-middle website.

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Apple asks users to make sure that a green lock icon is visible in Safari and that the message "Safari is using an encrypted connection to www.icloud.com" is displayed when the lock icon is clicked. Apple also has verification instructions for both Chrome and Firefox.

Unfortunately, many of the victims falling prey to the fake iCloud sites are not using secure browsers that issue warnings when fake websites are visited. According to Great Fire, many Chinese users access the Internet through popular Chinese browser Qihoo, which does not let users know that a fake site is harvesting their information.

The attack works by redirecting Chinese users attempting to access iCloud.com to a fake website that resembles the iCloud website. Users that log into the fake site provide attackers with logins and passwords that can be used to access contacts, messages, photos, and documents stored within iCloud.

Though Great Fire has suggested that Chinese authorities may be involved in the attacks, a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry (via CNBC) said that Beijing was "resolutely opposed" to hacking.

Chinese users should switch to a trusted browser like Firefox or Chrome to avoid falling prey to the fake iCloud.com website, or use a VPN to bypass the redirection and log in directly to iCloud.com. Two-factor authentication should also be turned on as it can prevent unauthorized users from logging into an iCloud account even when a username and password are obtained.

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 Reportedly Preparing Holiday Launch of Apple Pay Loyalty Rewards Program
passbook_icon_ios_8Apple may have its rumored loyalty rewards program ready for the holiday shopping season, claims Bank Innovation. The loyalty program originally was thought to be launching alongside "Apple Pay 2.0" in October 2015, but recent reports suggest Apple may be pushed it ahead by a year due to merchant demand.
The loyalty program looks like it will come this year, based on Digiday’s timetable. This was unexpected — many had assumed the program would wait until the launch of Apple Pay 2.0, tentatively scheduled for October 2015. It looks like market demand pushed the timetable up to this holiday season, which my sources within the retail industry have said for sme time is “super unlikely.”
A previous report from Digiday, described as being "pretty accurate" by Bank Innovation sources, claims Apple plans to monetize its mobile payment system by integrating iAds with Apple Pay. This iAds portion of the loyalty system allegedly will use iBeacons and Bluetooth LE to push targeted ads with a "tap-to-buy" button to customers while they are visiting a participating merchant.
One way they’ve [Apple] thought up is, say you’re in a Duane Reade, hypothetically. You get a push notification from Pepsi that they’ve worked out a deal with Duane Reade that you can get a free case of Pepsi. Just pick it up and use Apple Pay at the counter.
Apple Pay officially launched yesterday and is compatible with major payment network, including American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. In-store NFC payments will require the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, while those devices and the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will be able to make online purchases with Apple Pay.


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Apple Pay Shown to Work Internationally Using U.S.-Based Credit Cards
Apple Pay launched on Monday with iOS 8.1, allowing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners to make contactless payments via NFC with Touch ID for authentication.

Though the initial launch is occurring in the United States where Apple has focused its efforts on getting credit card companies, banks, and retailers on board, international iPhone owners can also take advantage of Apple Pay if they have a supported U.S.-based credit card, as documented in Whirlpool forums and pointed out by Australian Beau Giles. Users in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere have also successfully used Apple Pay.

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To use Apple Pay in countries outside the U.S., Giles notes that iPhone owners need to change the region for their phones from their home countries to the United States. This enables Apple Pay, which will accept participating credit cards issued by U.S. banks.
To show the Apple Pay settings, simply open the Settings app on your iPhone (or iPad mini 3 or iPad Air 2), tap on General, Tap on Language & Region, and tap on ‘Region’. Change it to the United States.

Now you should be able to visit Passbook and see the option to set up Apple Pay.
Once an iPhone is configured with the appropriate U.S. credentials, international owners can use Apple Pay at point-of-sale terminals that support NFC payments. Australians, for example, can use Apple Pay at locations that accept MasterCard PayPass, Visa payWave, or American Express ExpressPay payments.

As Giles points out, the situation is not ideal for natives of countries outside of the U.S., as using a U.S. credit card for these purchases will incur currency conversion fees that can increase costs significantly. But for U.S. users traveling abroad or for international users who have U.S. credit cards and simply want to try out the service, Apple Pay does indeed function internationally.

Though Apple Pay is officially supported in the U.S. for the time being, the mobile payment solution is designed to work with existing payment terminals around the world. Once banks begin to work with Apple and offer support for Apple Pay, the expansion of the program into international countries should be relatively easy.

Update 7:49 AM: TechSmartt has posted a video walkthrough of Apple Pay setup and usage at a vending machine in Canada.




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2014 Mac Mini Teardown Highlights Increased Difficulty For User Upgradability
iFixIt has conducted its teardown of the brand new Mac mini, finding that the new device is more difficult to open than previous models. They've also discovered that the RAM is soldered onto the machine, which was first discovered late last week.

macmini2014teardown
The team found that gaining entry into the new desktop is more difficult than previous models. Instead of a twistable bottom cover, the new Mac mini requires a plastic opening tool to pop off the cover. Underneath that is a new solid door that blocks easy access to the RAM and fan. The door uses what iFixIt calls "the smallest Torx Security screw" they've ever seen, requiring their tool design team to prototype a new screwdriver to open the desktop.

Inside, the Mac mini now sports a new AirPort card that connects straight to a PCIe slot rather than via a cable. Unlike past Mac minis, the new version only contains one SATA port. Previously, Mac mini users could upgrade their desktops with an extra hard drive. However, iFixIt notes that there is an extra socket that could potentially be used for a SSD blade via a PCIe cable. Oddly, the new Mac mini's power supply is identical to both the 2012 and 2011 models.

Finally, iFixIt gave the new Mac mini a repairability score of 6 out of 10, which is a worse score than the 2012 Mac mini's 8 out of 10. Although disassembly is straight forward, the team noted that the presence of Torx security screws and soldered on RAM made it more difficult to repair than previous models.


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Spotlight Suggestions Sends Minimum Amount of Data to Apple, Exact Location and IP Addresses Not Collected
Following the release of OS X Yosemite with new Spotlight Suggestions, some users noted that Apple's Spotlight privacy policy began offering a warning letting users know that search terms were being uploaded to Apple's servers, with some of the info being forwarded to Microsoft's Bing search engine.

The search terms were being shared with Apple in order to enable Spotlight's new capabilities, which include searching sources like the Mac App Store, Wikipedia, and the web.

spotlightsuggestionsyosemite
When you use Spotlight, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple. Search results found on your Mac will not be sent. If you have Location Services on your Mac turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your Mac at that time will be sent to Apple. Searches for common words and phrases will be forwarded from Apple to Microsoft's Bing search engine.
While Apple noted directly within Yosemite's Spotlight preferences that the search terms were collected only to improve Spotlight Searches and directed users to turn off Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web searches in System Preferences if they didn't want their data uploaded, the issue still received quite a bit of attention over the course of the weekend, with one developer even uploading a Python script to prevent Apple from collecting data.

Apple has now given a statement on Spotlight Suggestions to iMore, stating that the company is "absolutely committed" to protecting user privacy and that Spotlight Suggestions minimizes the information that's sent to Apple.
"We are absolutely committed to protecting our users' privacy and have built privacy right into our products," Apple told iMore. "For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn't retain IP addresses from users' devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn't use a persistent identifier, so a user's search history can't be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.

"We also worked closely with Microsoft to protect our users' privacy. Apple forwards only commonly searched terms and only city-level location information to Bing. Microsoft does not store search queries or receive users' IP addresses.

"You can also easily opt out of Spotlight Suggestions, Bing or Location Services for Spotlight."
As Apple says in the statement that it gave to iMore, users that are concerned about their data being uploaded to Apple's servers can easily disable the new features by going to System Preferences --> Spotlight and unchecking both the boxes for "Spotlight Suggestions" and "Bing Web Searches."

Along with offering users its privacy policy directly in the System Preferences app under "About Spotlight Suggestions & Privacy," Apple has also updated its iOS 8 Privacy website to make it clear that limited user data is collected and that the data the company does acquire is obscured by an anonymous identifier.

Introduced with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Spotlight Suggestions allow Apple's Spotlight feature to give users search suggestions from sources like Wikipedia, the iTunes Store, and Maps. For example, it's now possible to search for an app in the Mac App Store using Spotlight, or look for a specific term on Wikipedia without needing to access Safari or another web browser.


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iOS 8.1 Brings iCloud Photo Library to All Users, With Images Accessible on iOS Devices, iCloud.com
iOS 8.1, released to the public earlier today, included Apple Pay support as its most notable feature, but it also brought several other updates to the mobile operating system, including iCloud Photo Library. With iOS 8.1, the iCloud Photo Library beta is now available to all iOS 8 users, as is a new iCloud Photos app that can be found within iCloud.com.

First introduced during WWDC, iCloud Photo Library stores all of the photos and videos that a user takes in iCloud, making them available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Macs through iCloud.com. It will also work with the Photos app that Apple is creating for the Mac, which is expected in early 2015.

icloudphotolibraryhero
iCloud Photo Library. You’re never without your camera. Now you’ll never be without your photos. Every photo and video you take now lives in iCloud — giving you the freedom to access your library from any device, anytime you want. So you can view a photo from last week or last year no matter where you are.
iCloud Photo Library is designed to keep all of a user's photos synced on all of their devices at all times. When an image is edited on an iOS device in the Photos app with Apple's built-in editing tools, those changes are immediately uploaded to iCloud and visible on other devices right away.

iCloud Photo Library is also designed to free up valuable storage space on iOS devices. Full high-resolution photos and videos are stored in the cloud, while smaller versions of the images are displayed on devices, taking up far less storage space. iCloud Photo Library uses the iCloud storage space of each user, with 20GB of storage space available for $0.99 per month. Apple's iCloud storage plans go up to 1TB, which is priced at $19.99 per month.

iCloud Photo Library can be enabled on iOS devices in the Settings app by going to iCloud > Photos and toggling on "iCloud Photo Library." The Settings app also lets users choose whether to optimize iPhone storage or download and keep original full-sized photos on their devices.

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Once iCloud Photo Library is enabled, images and videos stored on iOS devices will be automatically uploaded to the cloud. They can be viewed as usual within the Photos app for iOS, and on the web, they can be viewed through the new iCloud Photos app on iCloud.com.

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In the iCloud Photos app, users can perform several actions that are also available in the iOS version of the Photos app. Images can be favorited, which sends them to a special "Favorites" album, they can be downloaded in full resolution, or deleted, which removes the photos from iCloud Photo Library on all devices. From the main "Moments" view, it's also possible to click on the "Select Photos" option to delete or download multiple images at once.

deleteitemsicloudcom
iCloud Photo Library does not appear to be working flawlessly at the current point in time, which is likely why it's still given "beta" status. In MacRumors own testing, deleting some photos from the iCloud Photos app did not delete the photos from the iPhone 6 Plus they were taken on. A later sync even returned the photos to iCloud.com.

While iCloud Photo Library was available to developers during the iOS 8 beta testing period, Apple opted to pull it from the iOS 8 golden master ahead of iOS 8's public release and demote it to beta status.

The reason behind iCloud Photo Library's removal from the release version of iOS 8 was unclear, but it is possible Apple delayed the release in light of the negative press iCloud received in early September due to the celebrity photo leak.

With Apple having taken significant steps to bolster the security of iCloud, adding two-step verification and sending security emails when changes are made to iCloud or a device is restored, the company appears ready to let the public have full access to the new photo storage feature.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Demand 'Far Outstripping' Supply
Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the balance between supply and demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during today's earnings call, stating that demand is far outstripping supply despite a satisfactory production ramp-up. Cook noted that available data makes it unclear as to when supply will catch up with demand, and that the company was "not close" to having a balance between supply and demand at the end of Q4 2014.

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Supplies for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have remained tight since the launch of both devices last month, as new iPhone 6 orders still show a shipping estimate of 7-10 business days while the iPhone 6 Plus is still showing a shipping delay of 3-4 weeks. It is worth noting that the iPhone 6 has been mostly available at Apple's own stores and other retail locations, while the iPhone 6 Plus has a constrained supply in-store.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple delayed plans to mass produce the larger 12.9-inch iPad in order to shift its resources towards the iPhone 6 Plus as it has remained unsatisfied with the production output from its suppliers for its larger iPhone. A report from earlier this month also stated that the company is shifting its production balance towards the iPhone 6 Plus which may gradually improve its supplies of the larger phone.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook: Apple's 'Creative Engine' Has Never Been Stronger
During today's fiscal fourth quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that "obviously" the company is working on new products, but that he was going to keep things in the "cone of silence."
I'm not sure what to say. I'm not going to give any hints. We look at a lot of different things and we're fortunate to have a lot of creative people here that want to change the world and have a lot of great ideas.
Cook went on to say that Apple's "creative engine" had never been stronger and the company had never been more passionate, as evidenced with Apple's recent launches of Apple Pay and Apple Watch. Apple Pay, said Cook, is "classic Apple," with the company taking something old and outdated and focusing on making something "very elegant."

applewatch1
Cook also extolled the virtues of Continuity, which allows Macs and iOS 8 devices to integrate in new and innovative ways. "Use your imagination and think about where Continuity goes," said Cook. He went on to say that it would be "incredibly important" going forward for customers.

Cook said that Apple's investors should look at what Apple's done and what it has delivered, along with the skills of the company. Apple is the "only company on the planet" that has the ability to integrate hardware and software at a "world class level" according to Cook, but the company always has "more ideas than resources" to deal with. He also said as a personal investor, he "feels great" about products that are coming up in 2015.

While Cook declined to mention what products Apple might be working on, rumors have suggested the company has several new devices in the works that could significantly boost future sales, including a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air and a 12.9-inch iPad, dubbed the "iPad Pro" by the media.


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Apple Acquired 20 Companies Across 2014, 7 In Fiscal Fourth Quarter
During today's fourth quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple purchased 20 companies over the course of 2014, including seven companies during the fiscal fourth quarter. Of the 20 companies purchased, some remain known, but many remain unknown.

Apple's biggest purchase of fiscal 2014 was Beats Electronics, which the company bought for $3 billion in May. With the acquisition, it gained Beats popular line of headphones, the Beats Music music service, and it took on Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, aka Andre Young, as executives.

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Other recent known acquisitions in fiscal 2014 include iPad-publishing platform Prss, book recommendation platform BookLamp, radio streaming app Swell, social recommendation service Spotsetter, and low-power display company LuxVue.

Last quarter, Apple announced that it had acquired 30 companies thus far in fiscal 2014, which brings the total number of acquisitions since last October up to approximately 37. While some of those acquisitions were known, many of Apple's acquisitions were kept quiet, going under the radar.

The technology from Apple's acquisitions will undoubtedly make its way into future products and updates, and details on its acquisitions may become apparent over time.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple was "on the prowl" for additional companies to acquire and that Apple is always looking at acquisition space to avoid letting "money burn a hole in our pocket."


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Apple Reports Q4 2014 Year-End Results: $8.5 Billion Profit on $42.1 Billion in Revenue [Call Concluded]
Apple LogoApple today announced financial results for the third calendar quarter and fourth fiscal quarter of 2014. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $42.1 billion and net quarterly profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $37.5 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.5 billion, or $1.01 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 38 percent compared to 37 percent in the year-ago quarter, with international sales accounting for 60 percent of revenue. Apple also declared an upcoming dividend payment of $0.47 per share, payable on November 13 to shareholders of record as of November 10. The company currently holds $155.2 billion in cash and marketable securities.

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For the full fiscal year, Apple generated $182.8 billion in sales, a new record for the firm, with $38.5 billion in net income. In fiscal 2013, Apple made $35 billion on $170.9 billion in sales. In 2014, Apple sold 18.9 million Macs and just shy of 14.4 million iPods, its lowest total for that category since 2004.

It sold a record 169.2 million iPhones on the year, up 150 million from 2012, and the company has now sold more than 590 million smartphones in total. It sold 68 million iPads in 2014 and the company has now sold 237.2 million tablets.
"Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”
Apple's guidance for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 includes expected revenue of $63.5-66.5 billion and gross margin between 37.5 and 38.5 percent.

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Apple will provide live streaming of its fiscal Q4 2014 financial results conference call at 2:00 PM Pacific, and MacRumors will update this story with coverage of the conference call highlights.

Archive of Live Updates in Reverse Chronological Order

3:02 pm: The call is now concluded.

3:02 pm: A: For iPhone I have it by model from June quarter. As I mentioned before, the highest percentage is the 4s buyer in China, over 80% were buying first iPhone. For 5s in China, 50% were. I think what that says, those numbers are so high, 50-80, my gut tells me a great percentage of 6 and 6 Plus buyers will be new to iPhone.

3:01 pm: Q: 50-70% in top six countries were new buyers, wondered if you could give that same range for iPhones? Broadly speaking, how does that number change your guess as you look over the next couple quarters?

3:00 pm: Strength of a market, I look at unit sell-through. To share with you, Greater China, unit sell through despite no launch was up 32% year over year. Market was projected by IDC to only grow 13%. Incredibly great about that. Macs were up 54% year over year. That is against the IDC estimate of market contraction in China of 7%. Those are our two stalwarts that are really driving results. Underlying results look different from reported results because of channel inventory kind of differences. App Store doing great, growth there is phenomenal, iPad contracted some during the quarter but for the year we did grow, up 9% year over year for full year. I see lots of positives, as you know China is on early stages of 4G rollout, this weekend we launched it with China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. First time we've launched new iPhone with all three carriers and done at early stages of 4G rollout. Subsidies, regulatory pressures on subsidies, we've seen that. However, only 20% of iPhones that we've been selling in china have had a traditional subsidy applied to it. Vast majority don't. Will it make a difference with that 20%? I don't know yet. Intuitively, you'd think it would but it's at least a percentage of a 20% instead of a percentage of 100%. When I look at China, I see an enormous market where there are more people graduating into the middle class than any nation on earth in history. Incredible market where people want the latest technology and products that we're providing. We're investing like crazy in the market, we're more than doubling our stors. Will be close to 40 stores, now covering 350 cities on online store. Revenue more than double the previous year. Chinese developers have created 150,000 apps on App Store. I see lots of very positive vectors there and I couldn't be more excited.

2:57 pm: A: Look at Greater China Q4 of 2014 vs 2013, obvious difference is we launched 5s in Q4 of 13 and this year we didn't have new product launch, launching in Q1 of 15. Second thing that's not as apparent, last year we increased channel inventory by 1.3 million. This year we decreased it slightly. Compounded effect of no launch and a huge change in channel inventory on YoY basis.

2:56 pm: Q: China? Numbers weren't as good as the rest of the company this quarter, presumable the iPhone. Last few weeks, and December quarter? Related to political backdrop including carriers mandated not to spend same level of subsidies. Any of that impacting your opportunities broadly and specifically for iPhones as it relates to subsidy levels?

2:55 pm: A: You know what our product cadence is. Holiday season is a period where we have significant product events. We're not providing any guidance for March, keep in mind if you're trying to extrapolate into the future, there are so many factors that affect Gross Margin, transition costs, product mix, foreign exchange, commodity markets.

2:55 pm: Q: Typical transition costs with new products you're rolling out, do those start to ease in the March quarter, and would that have a positive impact on margin in March vs December.

2:54 pm: A: For Apple as an investor, I would hope that people would look at what we've done and what we've delivered. Power and strength of product line that we've announced and maybe more importantly than all the stuff you can see, look at the skills in the company. Only company on the planet that has ability to integrate hardware and software at a world class level. That allow Apple to play in so many areas. Which one to say no to and which to say yes to? One of focus. Not ones of "do we have any great ideas?" Always have more ideas than resources to deal with. I would look at that. Look at what we talked bout last week. Continuity. Use your imagination and think about where that goes, no other company can do this. Apple's the only one. For customers living in an environment where they're using multiple devices, skills, capabilities, passion of the company, creative engine has never been stronger. You can see that, Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple Pay is classic Apple, taking something that is incredibly old, outdated, klugey, everybody focused on everything else, we're focused on making something very elegant. Look at those things, as an investor I feel great. As a personal investor I feel great.

2:52 pm: Q: In terms of last year, had high expectations. Think about Apple as product cycle story. How do you think about the story broadly in 2015?

2:52 pm: A: Incredibly optimistic about the future. Announced two new categories in last 60 days with Apple Pay and Apple Watch. Obviously working on other things as well, to the degree that I can keep that in the cone of silence, I'm going to do it. Not sure what to say. Not going to give any hints or anything, we look at a lot of different things. Lot of creative people here that want to change the world and have a lot of great ideas.

2:51 pm: Q: You put out a lot of products, everybody gives credit for great new products. Everybody talks about what's next. You said recently that you're working on products that people didn't even speculate on yet, that's pretty hard with Apple given how many people watch your company and watch it. Elaborate on that in terms of your excitement about new products. How do you feel about the future?

2:50 pm: A: Said nothing about expectation for product, didn't form based on expectations. Looked at current revenue and decided that would lump everything that wasn't a Mac or iPad or Service or iPhone in one category. In future, might decide different. For now, in Q1, we're not shipping Apple Watches. So it seems appropriate to start it that way. Also, to be also straight, I'm not very anxious to report a lot of numbers on Apple Watch and giving a lot of detail on it. Our competitors are looking for it. Aggregating it is helpful from that point of view as well.

2:49 pm: Q: What should we make out with new segments, with Apple Watch in the other category. Seems like such substantial new category, could maybe sell tens of millions of units. Lumped in other with iPods and other things, does that say something about your expectations for that product? Do you think you'll break it out after a little while.

2:48 pm: Judge it as you will.

2:48 pm: More important than selling is changing the way people work. Catalysts going forward, obvious cannibalization things that are occurring. Some people look at Mac and iPad and decided on Mac. Don't have research to demonstrate that but I'm sure of that looking at the numbers. I'm fine with that. Some will look at iPhone and iPad and decide to get an iPhone. I'm fine with that. Over long arc of time, iPad has a great future. How individual 90 day clicks work out, I don't know. Very bullish on where we can take iPad over time and so we're continuing to invest in the product pipeline, continuing to invest in distribution. Look at how we did in emerging markets and BRIC countries, up 20% for full year of 2014. These numbers are impressive, BRIC countries are growing as a percentage of our total as are developing markets. Looks different geography to geography.

2:47 pm: People always respond for us doing great products and we feel really great about what we introduced last week. The deeper the apps go in the Enterprise, the more it opens up avenues in Enterprise. That's a key part of the IBM partnership.

2:46 pm: Real data: Top 6 revenue countries, in country that sold the lowest percentage of iPads to people who had never bought an iPad before, that number is 50%. Range goes from 50-70. When I look at first-time buyer rate in that area, saturated... that's not a saturated market. Never have first time buyer rates at 50-70%. People hold on to their iPads longer than they do a phone. Because we've only been in this business four years, we don't know what upgrade cycle will be for people. Difficult thing to call.

2:45 pm: For iPad, if I take a step back on iPad, I know that there's a lot of negative commentary in the markets on this, I have a little different perspective on it. If you step back, we've sold 240 million in 4 years. Twice the number of iPhones we sold. in Fiscal 13 we sold 71 million, but only down 4% on sell-in, took down channel inventory so sell through is a little better. Speed bump, not a huge issue. That said, we want to grow. We don't like negative numbers. So, looking further in the data, I know there's a popular view that the market is saturated. We don't see that. I look at our data deeply and the last market research data is from June quarter.

2:44 pm: A: Mac, just a blow-away quarter. Our best ever, it will result in our highest market share since 1995. Stunning. Back to school season voted and Mac won, carried the day. Really proud of that, proud of the Mac team. Clear that all the work that we've put into our notebooks on the hardware and software side is resonating with our customers. Go out to college campuses, you'd see a lot of Mac notebooks. Feels fantastic, up 21% in a market that's shrinking, it doesn't get better than that.

2:43 pm: Q: Strength in Mac, weakness in iPad. What's the message? Does that affect your view of doing a convertible type product? Very focused products but maybe something in between that can be successful.

2:42 pm: A: Not a lot of color I can give that is terribly accurate, so we're selling everything we make. Our current sell-through is our current supply. In long arc of time, once there's enough supply to meet demand, that mix might look differently. It is clear, I think, that we will see a difference by geography in terms of preference. We thought that going into launch. No data would suggest that that isn't the case. That's about all I can say at this point.

2:42 pm: Q: Is there more color you can give us to the mix of the iPhone to 6 to 6 Plus? We see 2.5:1 in the US, is there any color you can give us?

2:41 pm: The way I look at those, on a forward basis, what I would expect (though we don't give guidance on this kind of stuff), I see a fairly large opportunity in people buying their first iPhone ever. This opportunity increases not decreases with iPhone 6. Upgrade market for people that were waiting for iPhone 6 or 6 Plus as we can see from our order backlog, that number is huge. I would expect that to go on for some period of time because you have people that time out of contracts at different time. Not everybody does that at launch. I see both the first time buyer being a great opportunity, and the upgrade... some of the first time buyers are people who have never had a smartphone and some are switchers from Android. Right now all of those look very good to us but we're in the early going and we're selling everything we're making. It's going to take some period of time before we have a better handle on what those numbers will look like. Never felt so great after a launch before. Maybe that's the best way to summarize it.

2:39 pm: A: Difficult to answer. If you look at some of our top countries, and how they did in mid-year of selling a customer the first iPhone they'd ever bought, you'd see in countries like China, over 80% of people we were selling 4s to were buying first iPhone ever. In US, it was over 60%. Those kind of give you goalposts of large countries in terms of first time ownership at our entry level. Step across and look at 5s, that time the top-end phone, in China, still almost half were buying their first iPhone. A quarter of the US population buying a 5s were the first ones.

2:38 pm: Q: Qualitatively, could you help us understand what you think the mix of repeat buyers is for iPhone 6 over next year vs first-time iPhone customers? Question in that is, do you believe that because the iPhone is so compelling that the traditional replacement cycle might be accelerated? If that's ultimately the case, do you in the future run reversion back to elongating back to that replacement cycle in future generations?

2:37 pm: A: On sequential basis ASP for iPhone was up $42, reason for increase was higher mix of new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Partial offset in quarter from transition costs that we incurred when we move to a new product. Going forward, obviously the percentage of new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will increase sequentially as we get full quarter available to us. Correct that iPhone 6 Plus is supply constrained.

2:36 pm: Q: Pretty robust sequential increase in ASP on the iPhone. Understand if that was higher mix of new phones than you typically see in September quarter or was it really a function of the new phones having a richer ASP? If we look forward to fiscal Q1, last year had a substantial ASP increase. Should we be expecting a similar increase this quarter given widespread belief that availability on the 6 Plus has been more constrained and we could see higher percentage of 6 Plus next quarter?

2:35 pm: At this point, we're selling everything we make. It's difficult to say that we've estimated well on the SKU mix between the 6 and the 6 Plus. From everything we can tell, we've done a pretty good job on that. But, I stop short of saying there's no issue at all. It's hard to tell when you're at a point where you're selling everything you're making -- it's a good problem to have.

2:34 pm: We price our products in a way that is in general reflective of pricing here in the US and its a pricing that we want to keep in place for a reasonable period of time. Do not like to make sudden changes to our pricing.

2:34 pm: A: I said that the headwinds from FX are gonna be significant. I would tell you that they're most significant when you look at YoY than from sequential. Dollar has been strengthening for quite a while especially vs Yen or Canadian Dollar. It's a significant headwind and that's why we wanted to call it out.

2:33 pm: Q: Quantify currency headwinds on gross margin? A big focus on currency across tech. Should we expect price harmonization if the dollar remains strong?

2:33 pm: Very unusual to see every country having a marked improvement over the previous year and that's what we're seeing on iPhone. Couldn't be happier with how demand looks. Nancy's comment says we do not envision getting into extra inventory into the channel that we believe is needed when you think about the long food chains in these emerging markets. Distribution channels are not as efficient. That's the purpose of that comment.

2:32 pm: A: Ramp itself is going great. Fastest ever in our history. Couldn't be happier with it. That said, Today, demand is far outstripping supply. Unclear looking at the data when supply will catch up with demand. Don't want to leave you with a view that we know that we're going to get to a balance on both new products this quarter .I don't know that at this point. Very difficult to gauge demand without first finding the balance. As of today, certainly as of the end of the quarter, we're not nearly balanced. Not close. Not on the same planet. That said, I'm really confident the supply is going to be great, and that's why you see incredibly strong guidance from $63.5 to $66.5. Very difficult to gauge true demand.

2:30 pm: Q: Current supply constraints for iPhone, you'll reach supply/demand balance by end of quarter? What are bottlenecks for supply on iPhone?

2:30 pm: A: Puts and takes of margin. On positive, we are pleased with launch of new phones. Demand is phenomenal. Favorable impact from iPhone mix. Also getting some leverage from the higher revenues that we guided to. Continue to see fairly favorable commodity environment. On negative, talked about FX. We launched a lot of new products and got transition costs as we move from current to new products. Tends to be a headwind. Every time we launch new products, we make them better .Cost structure tends to go up. Good track record of taking those cost structures down over time. Take positives and negatives, that is what the guidance that we just provided.

2:29 pm: Q: Could you comment on how we should think about GM outside of FX? It's still early but how should we think about gross margin in iPhone 6 family vs iPhone 5s. Is this a normal cycle in expected cost improvements?

2:28 pm: A: Hedging program and strength of dollar towards the end of the quarter didn't impact Q4. Is becoming a significant headwind in Q1 YoY and Sequential. We have reflected the new FX situation at current levels into our guidance for revenue and gross margin. A fact of life, if the US dollar strengthens, that creates a headwind for us in revenue and margin for business outside the US. We have a comprehensive hedging program in place that mitigates the impact of foreign exchange. These hedges get rolled off and replaced by new hedges, protection that you get is temporary. Guidance that we provided full reflects the current FX situation.

2:27 pm: Q: How did you determine margin including US Dollar exchange rates?

2:26 pm: Those are private. As Nancy was saying, We'll be reporting Apple Pay in the services line item on the data sheet. Incredible service that is the most customer centric.

2:26 pm: Ease of use, security and privacy. We will sell more devices because we think it's a killer feature. Better than reaching into pocketbook and find card that you're looking for. Do not charge the customer for the benefit. Do not charge the merchant for the benefit. Commercial terms between Apple and the issuing banks. We're not disclosing what they are.

2:25 pm: Wanted to focus on security and privacy. Huge issues with security of traditional credit card system. Many people that have entered mobile payments are doing so in a way that they want to monetize the data that they collect from the customers. We think that customers in general do not want this. They want to keep their data private.

2:24 pm: A: What we wanted to achieve was to have an incredible consumer experience. Focused very much on making it elegant and simple, hopefully your trials have proven that. I used it over the weekend and it worked fantastically.

2:24 pm: Q: Apple Pay, used this afternoon and where it was rolled out it worked pretty well. Provide color on business model on Apple Pay, is it over time becoming a standalone business like iTunes or more a way to sell incremental products?

2:23 pm: Size, complexity of our channels, 5-7 week average range for iPhone and iPad is more appropriate and that will be our target range going forward. Given backlog for new products, we expect to exit the December quarter in old 4-6 week target range.

2:23 pm: Distribution channels have evolved and expanded in last couple of years. Today iPhone is sold in 200,000 locations around the world. iPad sold in more than 100,000. Revenue from emerging markets has increased significantly. Channel inventory in those markets tend to be much longer.

2:22 pm: Also reclassify historical results to be consistent with these new groupings.

2:22 pm: Q1 2015: Product reporting categories: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Services, and Other Products.

2:22 pm: New Reporting Category called Other Products: Everything we report in Accessories category including Beats, Apple TV, peripherals and accessories, adding iPod and Apple Watch in this line item.

2:21 pm: Making changes to product summary reporting: Reporting iPhone, iPad and Mac as separate line items. Also a category that we refer to as services: Everything we report under iTunes, Software and Services, Licensing, Apps. Also include Apple Pay.

2:21 pm: Reporting changes: To better serve customers and optimize results, collaborating across direct and indirect channels. Beginning in Q1 2015, including results in retail stores in the geographic census where stores are located. Consistent with way executive team measures the business. Reportable segments: Americas, Europe, Greater China, Japan, Asia-Pacific. Retail no longer classified as a segment.

2:20 pm: Board declares dividend of $0.47.

2:20 pm: Outlook: Expect revenue to be between $63.5 and $66.5 billion, vs $57.6 billion year ago. Double-digit revenue increase despite significant foreign exchange headwinds. GM between 37.5 and 38.5%, OpEx between $5.4 and $5.5 billion. Tax rate to be 26.5%.

2:19 pm: Review capital allocation regularly. Solicited feedback in the past, will continue to do so. Will report on conclusion in time-frame similar to last year.

2:18 pm:$155.2 billion in cash and marketable securities. Down $9.3 billion. Executing capital return program, total spend of $20 billion in Sept quarter. Spent $9 billion in share repurchase, $8 billion in open market, $2.8 billion in dividends, $300 million for vesting employee RSU's. $94 billion of $130 billion capital return, $68 billion in share repurchases with five quarters remaining.

2:17 pm: Retail stores generated $5.1 billion, up 15% YoY, new September quarter record. 10 new stores, remodels of 3 stores. 437 stores, 41% of which are outside the U.S. Total of 25 new stores in 2015, three-quarters will be outside the US, plan to remodel 5 stores. Average revenue per store was $11.9 million vs $10.9 million year ago. 102 million visitors. 18,000 visitors per store per week.

2:17 pm: 22% growth in registered app developers, approaching 10 million. Strong interest in Enterprise, with developers up 30% YoY.

2:16 pm: iTunes Store recorded all-time record billings, up 22% year over year. Tremendous growth in App Store.

2:15 pm: Apple working with 50 companies to become foundation clients and become mobile-first companies in their industries.

2:14 pm: iPad, sold 12.3 million vs 14.1 million last year. Anticipation of new product announcement, reduced iPad channel inventory by 500,000 from end of June quarter. Left in target range of channel inventory on look-back basis. Strong results in Japan with iPad sales up 46% YoY.

2:14 pm: Gained market share for 33 of last 34 quarters. Mac inventory slightly below 4-5 week target range.

2:13 pm: Strong demand for portables, double digit mac growth across most markets. Strong performance in emerging markets with Mac sales up 40+ percent.

2:13 pm: 5.5 million Macs, up almost 1 million from last year. 21% growth from last year and an all-time quarterly record.

2:12 pm: Enterprise markets remains strong. IDC says iPhone has 69% share of US commercial smartphone market, also ChangeWave of corporate IT buyers, among those planning to purchase smartphones in December Quarter, 75% plan to purchase iPhones.

2:12 pm: Channel inventory up just 1 million units, less than 3.3 million unit increase from year ago. Very strong demand for new iPhones, below our target range of 4-6 weeks for channel inventory.

2:11 pm: 39.3 million iPhones, up 5.5 million from last year, 16% growth. Underlying demand was stronger with sell through growth of 26%. iPhone sales grew across developed and emerging market. US up 17%, Western Europe up 20%. Latin America and Middle East with sales up 50%, central and eastern Europe more than doubled.

2:11 pm: Generated record revenue, up 12% year over year. Results exceeded guidance range thanks to better than expected sales for iPhones and Macs across all segments. 38% gross margin at high end of guidance range. Operating was $11.2 billion, 25% of revenue. $8.5 billion in revenue, diluted EPS of $1.42. 20% YoY increase. Cash flow from operations was strong, $13.3 billion, a new Q4 record.

2:10 pm: Thank all of our customers, employees, developers and business partners for making 2014 our best year yet. Thank shareholders for their continued support. Excited about road ahead.

2:09 pm: Incredibly proud of all of our work to protect the environment, to improve working conditions.

2:09 pm: Substantial investments in Apple's future while returning cash to shareholders. Executed aggressively against share repurchase program, spending $17 billion in September quarter alone, $45 billion in last year.

2:09 pm: 20 acquisitions in 2014, 7 alone in September quarter. Wonderful plans coming for Beats that will be shared in the future.

2:09 pm: Solutions will be ready next month across 6 sectors: Banking, Government, Insurance, Retail, Travel and Transportation and Telecommunications

2:08 pm: Partnership aims to redefine the way work gets done. Spark true mobile-led business change.

2:08 pm: Investing in developing markets where revenue approached $50 billion, up 16% and twice the rate of growth of the company overall. Landmark partnership with IBM.

2:07 pm: Big investments in our business and expanded global footprint. 437 retail stores.

2:07 pm: Record-breaking Fiscal 2014. Last 4 quarters, products and services have generated $183 billion in revenue, up $12 billion. 243 million iOS devices, 19 million Macs. Revenue from iTunes reached $18 billion, more than annual sales of 2/3 of companies in Fortune 500. $6.45 earnings per share, up 14% from last year, new record.

2:07 pm: Record for App Store. Grew 36% over last year, cumulative App downloads have topped 85 billion.

2:06 pm: Significant backlog for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. All-time quarterly Mac sales record, thanks in particular to strong performance of portables. Contraction of global PC market this year, highest quarterly market share since 1995.

2:06 pm: Strong demand for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and previous models, revenue growth of 21% year over year on iPhone in September. 26% growth in global unit sell through.

2:05 pm: Very strong earnings per share growth of 20%

2:05 pm: Strong results for Apple's fourth fiscal corner. Growth far exceeded Apple's expectations.

2:05 pm: Strong encryption and strict policies that govern how data is handled.

2:05 pm: New product introductions represent years of work across multiple departments at Apple.

2:04 pm: Apple Watch coming in early calendar 2015, more details coming as we get closer to launch.

2:03 pm: On track to be in more than 115 countries by the end of December.

2:03 pm: iPhone demand is markedly higher in every single country.

2:03 pm: Tim Cook: "Exciting and very busy time."Going over launch of recent products including iPhone. "Demand is staggering."

2:01 pm: The call is beginning now.

2:00 pm: The earnings call will begin momentarily.

1:42 pm: The earnings call will begin in approximately 20 minutes.


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Apple Pay With iPhone 6 Demoed in McDonald's Purchase
With Apple Pay enabled through an update to iOS 8.1 earlier today, users are now able to use Apple's payments service in a variety of retail locations. Apple's Apple Pay launch partner McDonald's is one location that's already accepting Apple Pay payments, as demoed in the video below.

Making an Apple Pay purchase is so simple that giving a food order becomes the most lengthy part of the ordering process. As seen in the video created by YouTube user John Ross, McDonald's payment systems are set up to accept contactless payments.

Ross, who is using an iPhone 6 with iOS 8.1 installed, makes his order and then his credit card (stored within Passbook) opens automatically as he nears the payment terminal. While holding a finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, he holds his phone near the point-of-sale system to make the payment for the food. It takes a couple of tries as the cashier appears to forget to press a button, but once a payment is ready to be accepted, it took only seconds for Ross to make the payment.


After the payment was accepted by McDonald's, the Passbook screen displayed a check mark and there was a confirmation beep to let Ross know his payment had gone through. The transaction data was also displayed directly on the Passbook screen after payment was made.

During the transaction, at no point did the cashier see Ross's card or his name, and his card number (replaced with a unique Device Account Number in Passbook) was not stored by McDonald's, keeping the transaction completely private.

Apple Pay is limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in retail locations as it requires the NFC chip built into those devices to function. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with the iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 will be able to make purchases in participating apps, however, and when it is released, the Apple Watch will be able to be used in retail stores to make Apple Pay payments.


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Apple to Continue Offering Public Beta Versions of OS X Software
With the release of Yosemite, Apple introduced a public beta test for the first time, allowing more than a million consumers to sign up for and participate in the Yosemite beta. In past years, beta testing new Mac software has been left up to developers and a select number of Apple Seed members.

It appears that Apple found Yosemite's public beta testing to be successful, as the company today sent out an email that suggests it will continue to offer public beta tests for OS X software in the future. In an email that thanks Yosemite testers, Apple says that members of the OS X Beta Program will continue to be offered beta versions of OS X software updates.

yosemitethanks
Thanks for participating in the OS X Yosemite Beta Program. As you know, OS X Yosemite brings an elegant redesign, continuity features for using your Mac, iPhone, and iPad together, and major enhancements to the apps you use every day. And it's now available for free from the Mac App Store.

Please install the release version of OS X Yosemite. As a member of the OS X Beta Program, you will continue to be offered beta versions of OS X software updates on any Mac that you installed the beta on. However, if you prefer to stop receiving beta updates, please click here.
Over the course of the beta testing period, Apple seeded six separate public betas to beta testers. While public beta testers received fewer updates than developers early on, towards the end of the beta testing period, updates became more frequent and the final beta that was sent out mirrored the third golden master sent to developers.

It is unclear if Apple will seed minor OS X updates to the beta testing public, or if the next major public beta test will come in 2015 with the release of the next-generation OS X 10.11 Mac operating system.


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List of Stores and Apps That Accept Apple Pay Payments
While Apple Pay will work in any store that accepts contactless payments, Apple has partnered up with several retailers for the launch of Apple Pay, to ensure the mobile payment service will work smoothly in those locations. In retail stores, only iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users can take advantage of Apple Pay, as payments require NFC.

Retail partners that will begin accepting Apple Pay payments today or in the immediate future include Aeropostale, Babies R Us, BJ's Wholesale Club, Bloomingdales, Champs, Chevron, DuaneReade, Foot Locker (including Lady Footlocker, Run by Footlocker, Kids Footlocker, and House of Hoops), FootAction, Macy's Nike, Office Depot, Petco (and Unleashed), Radioshack, Six:02, Sports Authority, Texaco, Toys R Us, Walgreens, and of course, Apple's own retail stores.

applepaypartners
Fast food locations now accepting Apple Pay include McDonald's, Subway, and Panera Bread, while grocery stores accepting the payments service include Wegmans and Whole Foods Market.

Apple Pay can also be used within apps on devices that support Touch ID, which includes the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple's upcoming iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2. Apple's iPhone 5s does not appear to be compatible according to the Apple Pay website, even though it has Touch ID. Over the weekend, Apple's iTunes chief Eddy Cue said that he expects most initial Apple Pay transactions to take place within apps.

Apple's app launch partners, which will begin accepting Apple Pay payments through app updates going out today, include AirBnB, Chairish, Disney Store, Fancy, Groupon, Hotel Tonight, Houzz, Instacart, Lyft, MLB.com, OpenTable, Panera Bread, Spring, Staples, Target, Tickets.com, and Uber. Apple's own Apple Store app now accepts Apple Pay payments as well.

Apple Pay updates for the above listed apps should be trickling out beginning today now that Apple Pay is live. Bank apps are also being updated with Apple Pay support, and Capital One and Navy Federal Credit Union have already launched apps with Apple Pay updates.


Recent Mac and iOS Blog Stories
Apple Updates 'Apple Store' iOS App With Apple Pay Support
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OWC Announces RAM Upgrade Kits for New Retina iMac, Up to 32GB for $399
List of Cases Available for Apple's New iPad Air 2
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus See Low-Key Launch in China as Uber Delivers Phones in Shanghai
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