Apple snaps up company to improve its Maps

A new acquisition from Apple suggests that the iPhone maker might be getting into the map-making business. The company paid as much as $30 million for a 12-person San Francisco startup that specializes in parsing location data into visualizations, according to reports. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do […]

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


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Apple snaps up company to improve its Maps

Sketchy Report Claims No New iPad Air in 2015, One Last iPad Mini

With Apple said to unveil its long-rumored 12.9-inch iPad Pro in November, many assumed that both the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 would see refreshes as well. However, a new report from Economic Daily News [Translation] (via Macotakara [Translation]) says that no new iPad Air will be revealed.

While the iPad Air 2 may not see a refresh, the iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro will see introductions. Liaoxian Li, investment advisor at Fubon Hardware, tells Economic Daily News that Apple may want the attention on the new iPad Pro and thus will let its main assembly plant for iPads, Foxconn, focus on the Pro to maximize deployment capacity. Li believes a new iPad Air might not be released until 2016. Economic Daily News has a mixed track record on rumors and the accuracy of this particular analyst isn’t known.

Additionally, the report claims that the new iPad mini might be the last one as the Apple wants to focus on the two larger iPads in the future. Many people were disappointed with the iPad mini update in 2014, which essentially added Touch ID to the existing iPad mini 2. The next iPad mini will likely be more of an upgrade, with a rumored rear shell featuring iPad Air 2 design elements already making the rounds.

While it’s possible Apple won’t upgrade the iPad Air 2 this year, the company has been constraining supplies of the iPad Air to third-party retailers, suggesting the iPad Air 2 would become the lower-cost option as an iPad Air 3 slots into Apple’s tablet lineup. However, it’s possible Apple introduces an iPad Air 3 with minimal additions, as it did with the iPad mini 3.



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Sketchy Report Claims No New iPad Air in 2015, One Last iPad Mini

Apple May Have Acquired iPad Publishing Platform Prss

Apple may have acquired Prss, a Dutch-based company that created a web app aimed to help people design magazines for Apple’s Newsstand and other magazine platforms, reports iCulture [Google Translation]. While there is no solid proof of the acquisition at this point, iCulture suggests that an inside source has revealed the purchase and Prss co-founder Michel Elings recently moved to the bay area.

The Dutch magazine platform Prss was acquired by Apple for an undisclosed amount. This discovery iCulture thanks to a knowledgeable source. This source confirms that several employees of Prss now employed by Apple.

Several other former Prss employees are also now located in the bay area according to their LinkedIn profiles, suggesting an acquisition might have taken place in the summer months. Prss has also shut down its Twitter account and its website.

Prss was known for creating a browser-based collaborative tool that could be used to design magazines for Apple’s Newsstand. The tool included a simple drag-and-drop interface and let up to 30 people collaborate on a project, with the team charging 5 cents per magazine download for published content.

iCulture is unsure what role the Prss team will take on at Apple, but suggests the acquisition might have been about talent rather than product.




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Apple May Have Acquired iPad Publishing Platform Prss

Possible 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Volume/Power Flex Cable and SIM Card Tray Shown in New Images

We’ve seen several different parts for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, but parts for the larger 5.5-inch version have thus far been in short supply. Apple.club.tw [Google Translation] has shared some new images of what might be the first leaked internal parts for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, offering up pictures of power/volume flex cables and SIM trays said to be for the device.

The two flex cables that separately house the left side volume buttons/mute switch and the top power button are similar in design to an earlier set of leaked flex cables said to be for one of the iPhone 6 models. There are, however, some design differences that suggest there are two distinct sets of flex cables designed for two different devices floating around the Asian supply chain. For example, the new set of flex cables depicts less space between the volume buttons and the mute buttons and the two flex cables for the power button have different shapes.

iPhone 6 volume/mute flex cable on top, power button flex cable on bottom
Like the earlier cables, the flex cables in the new images resemble parts from other devices and have an Apple-style part number.

As it is difficult to determine size based on images, it is unclear which set of leaked flex cables might be designed for the 4.7-inch iPhone and which is destined for the 5.5-inch iPhone, but as both cables are different than existing parts for the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini, they point towards two separate devices if legitimate.

Apple.club.tw has also shared images of a longer flex cable with an unknown purpose and a set of SIM card trays in a cobalt blue color. Blue is not expected to be a color for the iPhone 6, as current rumors have pointed towards a release in the existing silver, gold, and space gray for both models, so the blue SIM trays are somewhat questionable.

As we move closer to the September launch date of the iPhone 6, we expect part leaks to become more frequent. We may also see more parts designed for the larger iPhone 6 as it is expected to enter mass production in August or September. The 4.7-inch iPhone is said to have entered mass production in July.

Rumors have suggested that Apple may ship the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 ahead of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 due to supply constraints with the latter, so it remains unclear if we will see the bigger phone at Apple’s prospective iPhone 6 launch event in September.




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Possible 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Volume/Power Flex Cable and SIM Card Tray Shown in New Images

Apple’s Newest Japan Store Features ‘Green’ Wall for Climate Control [Mac Blog]

Apple’s upcoming Omotesando retail store located in Japan may incorporate a unique „green curtain“ of vines and plants to help with climate control, according to Japanese Apple site Mac Otakara [Google Translation].

Though much of the store remains hidden under large curtains, one entire wall of the building appears to be entirely covered with plant life, which the site suggests is used to insulate the store to save energy. Toyko, where the store is located, can get quite hot and humid during the summer months.

The store’s construction walls also show off a leafy design, hinting at its unusually „green“ exterior. In recent years, Apple has committed itself to lowering its carbon footprint, utilizing 94 percent renewable energy for both its data centers and corporate facilities. Apple was featured as a „Green Energy Innovator“ by Greenpeace back in April, and the company has also hired former EPA chief Lisa Jackson to head up its environmental initiatives.

While the Omotesando store design appears to be Apple’s first of that nature, it is possible the company will adopt a similar strategy for future stores should it prove successful.

The new Omotesando store with its unique green wall may be opening as soon as June.




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Apple’s Newest Japan Store Features ‘Green’ Wall for Climate Control [Mac Blog]

Alleged ‘iPad Pro’ Model Shows What the Giant Tablet Might Look Like In-Hand

A model said to be an industrial prototype of the upcoming 12.9-inch „iPad Pro“ has surfaced, giving a look at what the larger tablet might look like in-hand. Discovered on Chinese Twitter-like site Weibo by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translation] the machined aluminum is said to be a reference for creating cases and other accessories.

The design of the mockup is very rudimentary and while it is said to be the iPad Pro, it is impossible to determine the exact size of the prototype from the photos. It is also not clear if this „prototype“ is based on any type of legitimate specifications as Apple is said to be multiple months away from releasing a larger tablet. Along with a larger size, the model also has an Apple logo and a rear camera cutout. At 12.9-inches, the iPad Pro would be similar in size to a 13-inch MacBook Air and quite a bit larger than the existing 9.7-inch iPad Air.

Rendering of a 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air
News that Apple was testing displays for a larger 12.9-inch iPad first surfaced in July of last year in a report from The Wall Street Journal. While initial rumors suggested Apple could release the device in 2014, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has pointed towards a possible 2015 launch date for the device, while Digitimes indicated in March that development on the tablet had been shelved in favor of other projects.

Rumors have suggested the iPad Pro, if released, will adopt many of the same design elements offered in the current iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, including an ultrathin chassis and narrow side bezels. It is also rumored to include an ultra high-definition display.




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Alleged ‘iPad Pro’ Model Shows What the Giant Tablet Might Look Like In-Hand

Apple Expands iTunes in the Cloud in Germany With Access to Movies and TV Shows [iOS Blog]

Apple today expanded iTunes in the Cloud in Germany, adding access to movies and television shows. As noted by German site iFun.de [Google Translation] German users are now able to download TV shows on their Apple TVs, as well as access previously purchased movie and television content on any of their Apple devices.

Prior to today’s update, iTunes in the Cloud in Germany was limited to music, apps, and e-books, though German users were able to purchase movies via iTunes. Apple has also reportedly updated its terms of service in the country to reflect the new content offerings, but the iTunes in the Cloud support page and the country’s Apple TV page have yet to be updated.

iTunes in the Cloud, which allows iTunes users to download previously purchased content, initially launched back in June of 2011 in the United States, with U.S. users receiving access to movies and TV shows in March of 2012. Apple has been working on expanding movie and television show coverage to additional countries since that time. Currently, a number of countries have iTunes in the Cloud access to movies, while television shows are limited to just five countries.

Apple last expanded iTunes in the Cloud back in August of 2013, adding movie support in Japan and seven other European countries, including Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.




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Apple Expands iTunes in the Cloud in Germany With Access to Movies and TV Shows [iOS Blog]

Photo of Alleged Front Panel from Larger-Screen iPhone 6 Surfaces

An alleged photo of what appears to be a front panel from Apple’s larger-screen iPhone 6 has surfaced on Chinese microblogging site Weibo (via iPhone.fr, Google Translation).

The image appears to show an individual in a factory-type setting holding up an iPhone 5s next to a much larger front panel that contains similar characteristics, including cutouts for a front-facing camera, ambient light sensor, ear speaker, and home button. However, the front panel also features a notably thinner bezel, which is consistent with previous rumors about the iPhone 6’s slimmer design.

While the validity of the image cannot be confirmed, the leak is the latest among a number of others recently. This past weekend, several photos reportedly showed the details on manufacturing molds for the iPhone 6, which was followed by a photo yesterday that hinted at a 4.7-inch display.

Last month, Japanese magazine MacFan published alleged design drawings of what appeared to be 4.7-inch and 5.6-inch iPhone 6 models, with a photo showing cases for the larger iPhone surfacing shortly afterward.

Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 6 later this year, which may ship in two different sizes: 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Recent reports have indicated that the smaller 4.7 inch version will ship first in the fall, while the larger version may ship later this year or in early 2015 due to manufacturing challenges.

Along with a larger screen, both models of the next-generation iPhone are rumored to include a new A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and an upgraded camera featuring optical image stabilization. A report yesterday from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also stated that Apple is negotiating with wireless carriers to raise the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.




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Photo of Alleged Front Panel from Larger-Screen iPhone 6 Surfaces

iPhone 6 Case Maker’s Model Points to Larger Display, Ultra Thin Body

iPhone 6 rumors have thus far pointed towards a device that includes a larger screen and a thinner chassis than the existing iPhone 5s. Supporting those rumors, French site Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translation] has shared a case maker’s iPhone 6 model from Chinese case manufacturer Elam, which shows an ultra thin form factor very similar to that found in recent schematics.

The iPhone case model appears to have rounded corners and a single unified volume switch, which is different from the separate volume buttons in the iPhone 5s. It’s also a slight deviation from earlier design drawings, which showed separate rectangular volume buttons, suggesting this model may come from a different source.

Though not depicted on the case model, separate rumors have pointed towards a relocated power button, either on the top left edge of the device or on the side of the device, to improve one-handed use on a larger device. Currently, the power button is located on the top right edge of the iPhone. Bezels are also not visible, but rumors have indicated they could be 10 to 20 percent thinner than the bezels of the iPhone 5s and the phone itself may be 6.5mm to 7mm thick.

Earlier this week, MacRumors published a set of renderings based on the schematics that share similarities with the case model, depicting what the finished iPhone 6 might look like.

iPhone 6 (4.7″) and iPhone 6 (5.7″)
Apple’s iPhone 6 is expected to come in two different sizes: 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. Recent rumors have indicated the 4.7 inch version will be available to ship in in the third quarter of 2014, while the larger version may ship somewhat later due to production delays.

Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested the 4.7-inch iPhone will have a 1334×750 Retina display with 326 pixels per inch, while the 5.5-inch version will have a 1920×1080 screen with 401 pixels per inch.

Along with a larger screen, both versions of the iPhone 6 are expected to include an upgraded A8 processor, Touch ID, 1GB of RAM, and camera improvements in the form of optical image stabilization.




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iPhone 6 Case Maker’s Model Points to Larger Display, Ultra Thin Body