With Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference looming on the horizon in just over two weeks, speculation about what Cupertino will introduce with iOS 9 is at an all-time high. Our Thursday edition of Apple Daily takes a look at the latest new features rumored for the iPad and Apple Maps, as well as a peek at Apple Watch bands out in the wild for the very first time.
9to5Mac today reported Apple has a number of new initiatives in the works to help stimulate sagging iPad sales, including the arrival of one or more long-rumored 12-inch models, and at least one major software change sources say could arrive with the first developer beta of iOS 9 expected next month during WWDC.
That feature involves a new multitasking split-screen, side-by-side mode allowing two different apps to be displayed at the same time, a feature Microsoft’s competing Surface tablets have offered for some time now. Apple’s implementation of this feature apparently involves 1/2, 1/3, and 2/3 views, which includes “multiple views of the same app” — for instance, showing two different Safari browser tabs or Pages documents at once.
Split-screen was supposedly something Apple hoped to debut with iOS 8 last year, but has continually been pushed back to focus on the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. Further down the line, Apple is also rumored to introduce support for multiple users, allowing two or more family members or co-workers to share the same device.
Apple Watch early adopters can now pick up alternate bands for their smartwatches at Apple Retail Stores in the United States, U.K., and presumably other countries on the initial launch list, according to a report on MacRumors.
Twitter user @AppleRadar posted a photo of Sport () bands in multiple colors and Classic Buckle (9) bands on the shelves of a retail store in Miami. This marks the first such confirmed sighting of the accessories, which have been exclusively sold online up to this point. Anyone else seeing Apple Watch bands turning up in their local stores?
In a separate report, 9to5Mac reiterated that transit directions are apparently still on the radar for iOS 9, which would finally deliver bus, subway, and train route navigation to the built-in Maps app.
Sources claim these features — which were originally on track for iOS 8 last year, but pulled prior to WWDC 2014 — will not only help public transit riders plan their routes, but also provide a dedicated Transit view alongside the current standard, hybrid, and satellite or flyover modes. Apple has been spotted ramping up hiring of engineers specializing in transit routing, so presumably it’s just a matter of time until the fruits of their labor arrive on iOS and OS X.
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(Images courtesy of 9to5Mac and Twitter)
In today’s Apple Daily, a respected analyst claims that the demand for Apple Watch is already dwindling, Apple reportedly plans to expand its “San Francisco” font to iOS and OS X, and the company is attempting to grab more office space in Silicon Valley even as construction on its “spaceship” campus chugs along.
Like the Apple Watch’s “San Francisco” font? If not, you’d probably better learn to like it, as insider sources who reportedly spoke with 9to5Mac claim that the new typeface is probably coming to iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. Apple currently uses the similar, slim Helvetica Neue, which has been around since the launch of iOS 7 and OS X Yosemite.
Apple developed the San Francisco font specifically for legibility, as Helvetica Neue poses problems once it’s shrunk down to a display as small as the Apple Watch’s. San Francisco is supposed to retain its legibility regardless of the how big or small it is, but 9to5 Mac claims that some Apple developers aren’t too fond of the font, as it allegedly doesn’t look as appealing on non-Retina screens.
There’s an aura of truth about the report, as Apple has already revealed hints of this shift when it designed the new 12-inch MacBook with a San Francisco keyboard. Even so, the sources also reportedly claim that we might not even see the shift this year, and, indeed, that Apple might abandon its plans for such a massive shift all together.
You’d think that all that room in the new “spaceship” campus enough, but a new report from the Silicon Valley Business Journal (via Cult of Mac) claims that Apple is attempting to grab more office space in nearby San Jose. The Cupertino company reportedly isn’t having an easy time of it, however, as it’s facing competition from Tesla Motors, which is attempting to secure more office space from the same area.
The leasing battle is reportedly centered on a 300,000-square-foot building on Orchard Parkway owned by Ellis Partners and the Coleman Highline development near Mineta San Jose International Airport. The latter development alone could bring more than 1.5 million square feet of office space for Apple’s needs.
Apple, having taken over the vast majority of office space in Cupertino, has already had to expand into offices in nearby Santa Clara and Sunnyvale over the last few years.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is back with another letter to his investors, and this time the respected analyst claims that the demand for the Apple Watch is already slowing down. Many current estimates peg the Apple Watch as selling around 20 to 30 million units in the 2015 fiscal year, but Kuo claims (via MacRumors) that actual number might end up being as low as 15 million. For the third quarter alone, Kuo chopped his shipping estimates for the third quarter by 20 to 30 percent.
Kuo is known for basing a lot of his reports on insider sources, but this latest letter was based on a survey from KGI Securities. Even so, the survey produced some fascinating results. The larger 42mm models seem to represent over 80 percent of the devices ordered, for instance.
“We have learned that 42mm Apple Watch accounts for 60-70 percent of production. However, the shipping times of 38mm models are generally earlier than those of 42mm,” Kuo says in the letter. “We believe this is because demand for 38mm watches is significantly below that of 42mm ones. We estimate that 42mm models account for over 80 percent of sales. Assuming that 42mm and 38mm watches are mainly purchased by men and women respectively, the Apple Watch has attracted mostly men.”
Kuo sees potential for the new device, but believes that sales are currently hampered by the absence of must-have apps, worse-than-desired battery life, and the device’s reliance on connection to the iPhone for many features.
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In today’s Apple Daily, Apple releases its first update for the Apple Watch since launch. In other Apple Watch news, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly claims that the device will start appearing on store shelves in June.
Just under a month after the Apple Watch’s first appearance on April 24, Apple has released the first official patch for the device. If you’re one of the lucky customers who’ve managed to get your device by now, you can download the update through the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. In order to install the update, the Apple Watch needs to be on its dock and close to its paired iPhone; from the iPhone app, navigate to My Watch > General > Software Update.
The update mainly covers bug fixes, although the notes also report unspecified “improvements” for Siri, measuring your stand activity, calculating calories burned for indoor cycling and rowing workouts, accessibility, and third-party apps. In addition, the patch also includes support for the more than 300 emojis Apple introduced with iOS 8.3, as well as language support for Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Thai, and Turkish.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently in China speaking to employees at the company’s local headquarters, and already reports are starting to trickle in regarding what he said (via 9to5 Mac). Most notably, Cook claimed that customers would be able to buy the Apple Watch from Apple retail stores in June, which is in line with April employee memo from Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who claimed that the device would only be available online through May.
At this point, that seems to suggest that the Apple Watch could start appearing on store shelves even before some pre-order customers get their device by mail, but nevertheless, Cook reportedly said that the launch for Apple Watch “could not be going better” and that “we’re working really hard on making more.”
Cook also joked that he wished more operations staff and engineers were on hand to make the launch smoother. In addition, Cook revealed that one of his main goals for his visit to the world’s most populous country was trying to hammer out a deal for Apple Pay in China, which Cook claimed would eventually surpass the United States in terms of sales of the company’s products.
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