Apple users send 200,000 iMessages every second

Since being introduced back in 2011, iMessage has gone on to become a monster hit for Apple as a communication tool. How popular is it? According to Eddy Cue, iOS users cumulatively send up to 200,000 per second: a number which adds up to a whopping 63 quadrillion messages per year. “The scale for this […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Discuss Bloated Software Accusations, Upcoming iTunes Plans

Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi spoke with John Gruber in this week’s episode of „The Talk Show,“ where they commented on recent opinions that Apple’s software isn’t up to snuff and offered some details on a new version of iTunes coming in OS X 10.11.4.

Last week, Re/code‘s Walt Mossberg wrote a piece entitled „Apple’s Apps Need Work,“ pointing towards a „gradual degradation“ in quality in several Apple apps and services like iCloud, Mail, and Photos. iTunes for the desktop was one of the most heavily criticized apps, with Mossberg saying he „dreads“ opening it because it’s „bloated, complex, and sluggish.“

During the podcast, Gruber asked Eddy Cue about Mossberg’s opinion, prompting him to give some background on how Apple wanted the iTunes experience to work. iTunes, Cue said, was designed at a time when people synced their devices via cable, so offering a centralized place with all of a user’s content was key. With Apple Music, Apple decided on a design that would put music front and center while also integrating cloud music with hard copies purchased through iTunes.

„We decided in the short term that what we wanted to do is really make it when you’re in music and iTunes, all you see is music,“ said Cue. He went on to explain that Apple is continually re-evaluating iTunes, and there are plans to release a refreshed version alongside OS X 10.11.4 next month.

„That’s not to say we are continuing… and will continue to think about what’s the best way to architect the app and whether it makes sense to do a separate app for some of the components that are in there or all of the components that are in there. But right now, we think we’ve designed iTunes and you’ll see we’ve got a new refresh with the new version of OS X that’s coming out next month that makes it even easier to use in the music space.“

Cue and Federighi went on to talk about the issues that arise whenever Apple makes major changes to software, as there are always people who prefer not to see significant changes. According to Federighi, there’s a „tricky balancing act“ with software updates.

„People are serious about their music and their collection, and so I think we debate pretty heavily internally the right way to evolve these things. We tend to err on the side of being pretty bold, but there’s a lot of responsibility.

The two also highlighted the immense scale that Apple is working on, with more than 1 billion active devices and 782 million iCloud users. More than 200,000 iMessages per second are sent at peak times, and there are more than 750 million transactions per week in the iTunes Store and the App Store. Apple Music has grown to 11 million subscribers and more than 2.5 million errors in Maps have been fixed, a number presented as evidence that Apple is continually working on its software.

„I would say first there’s nothing we care about more,“ said Federighi, speaking on Apple’s software and services. He believes Apple’s core software quality has improved significantly over the course of the last five years, but pointed towards an ever-raising bar that pushes Apple to keep evolving and implementing new features. „Every year we realize the things we were good at last year and the techniques we were using to build the best software we can are not adequate for the next year because the bar keeps going up,“ he said.

Federighi and Cue’s full discussion with John Gruber about the state of software, the desktop version of iTunes, and Apple’s efforts to expand its public beta program, can be listed to over on the Daring Fireball website.

Tags: iTunes, Apple Music
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What to Expect at Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ Media Event

With just one day to go until Apple’s „Spring Forward“ media event in San Francisco, there are still plenty of unknowns about what the company will be showing off beyond a focus on the Apple Watch. As a result, we’ve put together this summary of what we expect to see, what we might see, and what we probably won’t see at the event.

Apple Watch

Given the time-related tagline of „Spring Forward“ and today’s start of Daylight Saving Time in the United States, it’s clear the Apple Watch is the focus of tomorrow’s event. We got a first look at the device last September, but now with just a month to go until launch, it’s time for Apple to provide final details and shape the marketing message. Expect more details on launch dates and pricing of course, as well as some updates on performance aspects such as battery life.

Also expect apps to play a significant role in the event, with Apple allowing a few developers to show off what they’ve been able to accomplish over the past few months since guidelines and developers tools for the device were made available.

Pricing will undoubtedly be one of the most interesting topics to be covered, with the company so far refusing to disclose any information beyond a $349 starting price. Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber has made his final predictions, arguing the stainless steel Apple Watch collection will be more expensive than people think.

[T]he steel Apple Watch, that’s something that most people still look at as for them. And so they expect the starting price to be around $500, and the various leather and metal band options to cost $100-300 more.

But if the starting price for the steel Apple Watch is $500, I don’t see why Apple Watch Sport exists at $350. $150 difference does not justify the difference. If they were that close in price, there’d only be one of them. […] With Sport and steel Apple Watches, everything you can see or touch is different. Different metal (aluminum vs. steel), different finishes (matte vs. highly-polished), different displays (glass vs. sapphire), different case backs (plastic vs. ceramic and sapphire).

With that in mind, Gruber predicts the steel Apple Watch collection will start at $749 while the gold Apple Watch Edition collection starts at $7500. He expects Apple will charge a small premium for the 42mm size compared to the 38mm casing, and various band options will quickly drive up the cost of the steel and gold models.

Gruber is of course only one voice among many who are speculating about pricing, but he offers a clear and thorough argument for his pricing predictions, serving as a solid basis for debate and discussion.

Possibilities

With the Apple Watch undoubtedly being the main attraction tomorrow, the question becomes just how much Apple is willing to have the watch share the spotlight with other announcements. Here are a few of the possibilities for additional announcements:

11″ and 13″ MacBook Air

There have been rumors about an imminent update to the current MacBook Air line for several weeks now, and a leak from late last week claimed to share system information from a new 13-inch model and general details on the rest of the 13-inch lineup. The 11-inch MacBook Air would undoubtedly also receive an update, as it uses the same processors and other components as its larger sibling.

The updates would be modest ones, involving a shift to Intel’s latest Broadwell processors that were launched in January. General specs otherwise appear to be the same as the current generation, with 4 and 8 GB RAM options and 128/256/512 GB flash storage configurations.

13″ Retina MacBook Pro

While we haven’t seen any specific claims of an imminent update to the Retina MacBook Pro lineup, there are a few signs that one could be coming, at least for the 13-inch portion of the family. As with the MacBook Air, Broadwell chips for the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro were released in January, suggesting a release could come at any time.

And on Friday, shipping estimates for all base configurations of the MacBook Air and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro in Apple’s online store slipped from „in stock“ to „1 business day“. It’s not much of a move, but with the change applying to a logical set of machines ready for possible updates and the delay coinciding with tomorrow’s event, it’s easy to speculate about an imminent refresh.

Given that the MacBook Air and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro updates are fairly minor, it’s possible Apple could simply quietly update them without a mention at Monday’s event.

The 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is not yet ready for an update, as the higher-power Broadwell chips for that machine are not expected to launch until mid-year.

12″ Retina MacBook Air

It looks like this one needs to be filed away in the „possible but unlikely“ category for the time being. Rumors of an even thinner MacBook Air with a 12-inch Retina display have been circulating for some time now, but the latest rumor says shipments of the machine from suppliers aren’t scheduled to start until the second quarter.

Rendering of 12-inch Retina MacBook Air
Assuming this is accurate, Apple technically could introduce the machine at tomorrow’s event but not begin shipping until next month when the new quarter starts. There appears, however, to be little reason for an early announcement that would have to share the limelight with the Apple Watch, and an April launch for the machine would also bump up against the Apple Watch debut.

As a result, it appears more likely we’ll see an unveiling of the Retina MacBook Air at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, with shipping beginning shortly after to meet the „second quarter“ timeframe.

iPad mini

Here’s another one that should be considered unlikely: a new iPad mini 4. There’s a single report of a possible update from Japanese site Mac Otakara, which has offered accurate information in the past, but even the report’s author expresses skepticism about this one. The update would include a move to an A8 chip and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, bringing it more in line with the iPad Air 2’s specs.

In trying to justify the possibility of a mid-cycle update for the iPad mini, it’s easy to look back to the introduction of the iPad mini 3 in October, which was viewed as a significant disappointment by many fans of the smaller tablet. Unlike the iPad Air 2, which received significant upgrades, the iPad mini 3 was unchanged from the iPad mini 2 with the exception of Touch ID and a new gold color option.

Not Ready Yet

Apple has a number of other major updates to its products and services in the works, according to rumors, but several prominent ones appear to not be ready for launch yet. The first is the so-called „iPad Pro“, a 12.9-inch tablet that has been rumored for some time but yet to come to fruition. The latest report says Apple’s internal timeline for the project has been pushed back due to difficulties with display production, and Apple is reportedly now looking to begin mass production in September, perhaps for launch in October as part of the company’s usual iPad refresh event.

Another topic of conversation has been Apple’s plans for its Beats Music service acquired last year, with the company said to be working to revamp Beats and fold it into the iTunes brand. „Industry scuttlebutt“ last year had indicated Apple was shooting to launch the revamped service around February, but it now appears a debut will come at WWDC in June. A revamped Apple TV has also been rumored to be in the works for quite some time, but does not yet appear to be ready for launch.

Coverage

Apple’s media event kicks off at 10:00 AM Pacific Time tomorrow, and the company will be offering a live video stream. MacRumors will also have full coverage of the event, with a live blog on our front page and updates going out on our @MacRumorsLive Twitter account. We’ll also have specific coverage of tomorrow’s announcements in separate news stories, and our forums are a great place for readers to discuss the announcement before, during, and after the event.




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Upcoming Steve Jobs Book Promises ‘Sensational’ New Stories, Launches March 24

There’s a new Steve Jobs book set to be published later this month, penned by Brent Schlender, a reporter who interviewed Jobs several times throughout his life and became close to him, and Rick Tetzeli, Executive Editor at Fast Company. Called Becoming Steve Jobs, the book aims to go beyond existing myths and stereotypes about Jobs, giving a look at a man who was only human, who „wrestled with his failings and learned to maximize his strength over time.“

The book explores the story of how Steve Jobs made the transformation from an arrogant young man exiled from Apple to the visionary leader that skyrocketed Apple to fame. Schlender and Tetzeli interviewed many of Steve Jobs’ friends, family, and inner circle, to get access to never-before-told stories. Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, and Robert Iger all contributed to the book. It also draws on the experiences Schlender had with Jobs in interviews across many years.

Schlender and Tetzeli make clear that Jobs’s astounding success at Apple was far more complicated than simply picking the right products: he became more patient, he learned to trust his inner circle, and discovered the importance of growing the company incrementally rather than only shooting for dazzling game-changing products. .

Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber received an advanced copy of Becoming Steve Jobs and called it „the book about Steve Jobs that the world deserves.“ According to Gruber, it’s an accurate retelling of the life of Jobs, with a „significant amount of new reporting. Some stories, he writes, „are going to be sensational.“

The book is smart, accurate, informative, insightful, and at times, utterly heartbreaking. Schlender and Tetzeli paint a vivid picture of Jobs the man, and also clearly understand the industry in which he worked. They also got an astonishing amount of cooperation from the people who knew Jobs best: colleagues past and present from Apple and Pixar – particularly Tim Cook – and his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs.

A hardcover copy of Becoming Steve Jobs can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com for $21.78. There’s also a Kindle edition and an Audible version.




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Apple Watch Debut in ‘Style’ Suggests Space Gray Pricing May Start at $349 [iOS Blog]

The worldwide magazine debut of the Apple Watch continues this week on the cover of fashion magazine Style in the United Kingdom. The cover of the Big Spring Issue for March features model Guinevere Van Seenus wearing an Apple Watch and is accompanied by a two-page spread inside the magazine that provides further details about the wrist-worn device, including an interesting hint about the pricing of space gray models.

A caption in the magazine spotted below model Guinevere Van Seenus claims that the „Apple Watch Sport with 38mm Space Grey aluminum case and black band“ will cost $349. The price is notable given that Apple pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball previously speculated that Apple may charge more for the space gray Apple Watch Sport and space black stainless steel Apple Watch.

„Note that the silver Apple Watch Sport only has four band color choices: white, blue, green, and pink,“ wrote Gruber. „The space gray Sport edition has only one band: black. I think Apple might charge more for both the space gray Sport model and the space black stainless steel model.“

Gruber may still be correct in that the magazine may simply be referencing the $349 starting price that Apple CEO Tim Cook announced during a media event last September. While the Apple Watch Sport will start at $349, the stainless steel Apple Watch has been speculated to cost at least $500 and the luxurious Apple Watch Edition is predicted to cost up to $20,000 depending on the band.

Apple will provide more details about the Apple Watch at its March 9th media event.




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Popular iOS and Mac app iA Writer launches on Android

iOS developers are constantly spitting on Android. But that’s not necessarily the way it should be. The developers behind iA Writer, one of the most beautiful distraction-free writing apps for iOS and Mac, have just ported their app to Android.…Read more ›



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First Impressions of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Sleek Look, Great Display, Unoptimized Apps Blurry, Loud Vibration

While the official reviews of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were published several days ago, with the devices now making their way into customers’ hands we are starting to see broader first impressions of the larger iPhones.

Case from MacRumors giveaway, based on rumored design specs (Photo by @adam_moreno)
Several posters in our forums have highlighted the high-quality „Retina HD“ displays on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but have observed that apps yet to be optimized for the larger displays appear „quite blurry“ or „‘big’ and disgusting“ due to scaling issues.

Photo by jchiou
Another aspect being noticed by users is the much louder vibration on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, something highlighted by John Gruber in his review earlier this week.

The iPhone 6 has a noticeably stronger vibrator to me, and with the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s so powerful it’s actually a bit noisy — the sound made by the 6 Plus vibrator is so strong, I wonder if there are going to be complaints that it’s not “silent” at all.

As someone who runs his iPhone in silent mode much of the time, I definitely appreciate the stronger vibrator.

Customers are also generally praising the overall look of the new iPhones, calling them „sleek and beautifully made“ and „glorious“. Those opting for the gold model may notice that it is „a bit more yellow golden“ than the gold iPhone 5s.

Gold iPhone 6 (left) vs. gold iPhone 5s (Photo by @horwitz)
As for size, some customers have been concerned about placing orders for the iPhone 6 Plus without having a good idea of just how big the device really is. Reactions now that users are getting their hands on them seem to be mixed, with some saying they „love every inch“ of the 5.5-inch display while others have found it too big for their tastes. Some in-store customers were able to compare the two sizes before purchasing, helping make the decision easier.

For ongoing coverage of photos and first impressions, readers are welcome to follow our consolidated thread stickied in our iPhone forum.




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China Telecom Launches Preorder Page With Fictional iPhone 6 Claims, Rendered Images

Following in the footsteps of China Mobile, Chinese carrier China Telecom has also begun taking preorders for the iPhone 6 ahead of the device’s official launch in order to drum up interest with customers. As noted by TechCrunch, the site has a preorder page that sports rendered images of the iPhone 6, along with several suspect specifics about the device that have undoubtedly come from unconfirmed rumors.

The preorder page depicts the 4.7-inch iPhone, which China Telecom suggests has a pixel density of 416, which would be in line with a 1704 x 960 resolution. While that resolution has been rumored for the iPhone 6, recent images of a supposedly functional device have leaned towards a 1334 x 750 resolution with a 326 ppi first proposed by Apple pundit John Gruber.

An A8 processor and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor are highlighted in the image, which are two likely inclusions for the iPhone 6, but the image also points towards a 2,100 mAh battery. While that capacity has been rumored, there have also been several photos of an 1,810 mAh battery bearing an Apple logo and regulatory text. Finally, China Telecom’s image suggest a 3-megapixel front-facing camera, another unsubstantiated rumor.

According to TechCrunch, the graphic originally included a non-blurred version of the word „iPhone“, but it was later updated by China Telecom, likely at Apple’s request.

Earlier this week, China Mobile began accepting preorders for the iPhone 6 and garnered more than 33,000 orders in just hours, pointing towards strong interest in the iPhone 6. Analyst predictions have suggested the iPhone 6 launch could bring a in more upgraders and Android switchers than normal, due to its larger display and redesigned body.

Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 6 at a September 9 media event, which is now just under four days away. Rumors and part leaks have suggested the device will have an A8 processor, NFC support, and an upgraded camera. It’s expected in two sizes – 4.7 and 5.5 inches – but it is unknown if both versions of the phone will ship to consumers at the same time due to production difficulties with the larger model.




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The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could have a Super Retina 461 PPI display

With the iPhone 6 set to come in two separate display sizes — a 4.7-inch model, and a 5.5-model — Apple needs to increase the iPhone’s resolution to keep up. But what will the new resolutions be? Up until now,…Read more ›



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