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Apple Daily: September 18 iPhone Launch; Refreshed Peripherals; Best Buy AppleCare

Maybe it’s merely German efficiency or maybe it’s insider knowledge, but two of Germany’s three largest carriers reportedly believe they already know the launch date of the next iPhones. In other news, refreshed versions of two popular Apple peripheral devices appear to be on the way, and Best Buy is reportedly getting ready to start selling AppleCare and AppleCare+ in its stores.

German Carriers Claim Sept. 18 Launch Date for ‘iPhone 6s’

Officially, at least, we still don’t know the date of Apple’s expected announcement event for the so-called iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but sources who spoke with Macerkopf say that hasn’t stopped two out of the three major German carriers from pegging September 18 as the devices’ official launch date. The report itself doesn’t specify which carriers are involved, but it’s two of the following: O2, Vodafone, or T-Mobile DE.

Current rumors claim that Apple’s media event this year will fall on September 9, and September 19 is well in line with Apple’s trend of releasing new iPhones on the second Friday after their announcement. If true, that also means the iPhone 6s will almost certainly launch on that day in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, France, and Singapore as well. There’s also a chance it could launch in China on the same day, considering the market’s massive importance for Apple’s contemporary operations.

 

Refreshed Magic Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard Coming

The majority of the current hype in the Applesphere is directed at the upcoming iPhones and the new developments with Apple TV. but two beloved Apple peripherals appear to be on the verge of a major update as well. As discovered by SlashGear, documents posted on the website for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission yesterday show that Apple plans to release new versions of both the Magic Mouse and its wireless keyboard.

The internals of both devices have been reworked to support Bluetooth 4.2 instead of the previous devices’ Bluetooth 2.1, which means that both peripherals should see improvements in battery life and clearer signals between the devices and the computers they’re being used with.

Source: SlashGear

The batteries themselves are getting an overhaul. The current models rely on AA batteries, but the new versions will have rechargeable integrated lithium battery packs. The shift will affect the design of the wireless keyboard in particular, which will no longer have the tube on the back that contains the replaceable AA batteries.

Both devices have reportedly already been through testing with “pre-production” units, so it’s quite possible we’ll see the new devices on or around Apple’s expected September iPhone event.

 

Best Buy to Begin Selling AppleCare, AppleCare+ Warranty Plans

At long last, AppleCare is venturing out of the Apple Store and select carriers and into Best Buy. Beginning September 13, customers will be able to buy both AppleCare and AppleCare+ extended warranty plans at the retailing giant whenever they purchase iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and other Apple devices there (via 9to5Mac). The services will reportedly cost the same as they do in a regular Apple Store, and they’ll also cover most device-specific accessories purchases in the same transaction.

Photo: Mike Mozart

Even better, the new Best Buy option allows you to bring your product directly to an Apple Store in the event that you need a repair or replacement, although you can also bring it to Best Buy. Notably, the timing of Best Buy’s new offer is almost certainly meant to coincide with the expected announcement of the new “iPhone 6s” and “iPhone 6s Plus” devices in the first two weeks of September.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: Apple Best in Tech Support; Dodge Caravans Explained; iMessage Bug

In today’s Apple Daily, Apple once again nabs the top spot for customer satisfaction with tech support over at Consumer Reports. Additionally, some insider sources finally (and allegedly) reveal what’s up with those Dodge Caravans driving around cities like San Francisco and Dallas, and Apple releases a support document that helps iOS users cope with a troublesome iMessage bug.

Consumer Reports: Apple Tops Rankings for Tech Support

Nine years on, Apple continues to deliver the best tech support among PC manufacturers, according to Consumer Reports’ latest survey. For this year’s report, Consumer Reports surveyed 3,200 personal computer users and found that “Mac users give Apple’s phone and online support glowing reviews, and four out of five said tech support was able to resolve their problem.”

Source: Wikipedia

These are impressive figures, especially considering that there was usually only “a 50-50 chance” that tech support would “do the trick” for a problem with a machine from a Windows-based PC manufacturer. Specifically, tech support only satisfied customers half the time for four out of the six non-Apple PC manufacturers surveyed, and the best two — Lenovo and Dell — only lived up to expectations 61 percent of the time.

Much of Apple’s success in the rankings here rests on the strength of the Genius Bar, which Consumer Reports praised for providing free lifetime support. In addition, the publication praised Apple for its year’s worth of warranty coverage and the option to extend that coverage through AppleCare. For most other manufacturers, the report noted, you’ll often have to pay just to have your problem diagnosed. The one mark against Apple was that it “provides just 90 days of free phone and online tech support, compared to one year for most other companies,” but the strengths of Apple’s offerings were apparently enough to counter this one downside.

And it’s been this way for a while, too. Apple first topped the list of Consumer Reports’ customer satisfaction rankings way back in 2007 — when the surveys began — and it hasn’t slipped since.

 

‘Mystery’ Apple-Leased Dodge Caravans Reportedly Focusing on Maps Improvements

When people first started seeing Apple-leased Dodge Caravans in American cities with fancy, tech-y contraptions on their roofs last winter, speculation as to their purpose ran the gamut from a “Google Street View” for Apple Maps to prototypes for an Apple-branded automated car. It turns out (a bit unsurprisingly) that the truth is much closer to the former, according to insider sources who spoke with 9to5Mac.

Source: Claycord

While a Street View-style option might indeed be in the works, the vans are supposedly meant first and foremost to reduce Apple’s reliance on TomTom, which has supplied much of the location data for Apple’s navigation service since it launched. The idea here is that Apple will be able to gather its own data and thereby correct any inaccuracies immediately rather than waiting on TomTom to fix it first. This transition might be a ways off, however, as Apple renewed its contract with TomTom just 10 days ago.

Apple is also reportedly using the Caravans to take photos of storefronts of the businesses that appear in Apple Maps, which would allow the company to replace the images it normally pulls from sites like Yelp with its own images.

It’s possible (but not entirely probable) that we’ll get a glimpse of some of these new features at WWDC in a few days, as Apple is said to be bringing some Maps-related changes to iOS 9, such as a new Points of Interest system and transit routing data for a select number of cities.

 

Apple Releases Support Document for iMessage Bug

Apple has yet to release a proper patch for the nasty iMessage bug we reported on the day before yesterday involving a random string of mostly Arabic characters, but in the meantime, it’s released a support document informing affected users of a workaround.

Source: AlphaCoders

Keep in mind that the listed steps don’t prevent you from being affected by the bug; instead, they merely allow you to open the Messages app again so you can delete it. The steps listed also won’t fix problems with other apps such as Twitter, Snapchat, and WhatsApp — all of which were recently discovered to be vulnerable to the same bug on iOS.

Apple’s instructions are as follows:

Ask Siri to “read unread messages.”

Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you’ll be able to open Messages again.

In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: Q2 2015 Earnings; Best Buy Accepts Apple Pay; Low Watch Shipments

In today’s Apple Daily, Apple’s latest quarterly earnings shows that it made a large pile of money again. In other news, Best Buy has agreed to start accepting Apple Pay in spite of its obligations to rival payment service CurrentC, and only around 22 percent of Apple Watch preorders may have made their way onto the wrists of customers this weekend.

Apple Announces Q2 2015 Earnings

Apple’s financial results for the second fiscal and first calendar quarter are in, and in case you were wondering — yes, everyone’s favorite Cupertino company brought in a boatload of money. All total, the company brought in billion in revenue for the quarter and .6 billion of that was profit. Last year at this time, the company “only” brought in .6 billion in revenue, and its net quarterly profit reached only .2 billion. International sales accounted for a whopping 69 percent of the company’s revenue.

All this is especially good news for shareholders, as Apple also took the opportunity to announce that it’s expanding its share repurchase authorization from billion to 0 billion, and the company expects that it’ll return over 0 billion to shareholders by March 2017. To date, Apple has returned 2 billion to its shareholders.

Such massive numbers were built on the sales of 61.2 million iPhones, a significant boost from the 43.7 million sold during the same quarter last year. Mac sales remained strong, with 4.56 million units going out into the world compared to 4.1 million from the year before. The iPad, meanwhile, sold 12.6 million.

“We are thrilled by the continued strength of iPhone, Mac, and the App Store, which drove our best March quarter results ever,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We’re seeing a higher rate of people switching to iPhone than we’ve experienced in previous cycles, and we’re off to an exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch.”

Best Buy Begins Accepting Apple Pay

It’s been about half a year, but you might recall that many retailers who were members of the MCX consoortium that was trying to push its own form of mobile payments (dubbed CurrentC) withdrew support for Apple Pay almost as soon as it launched. During today’s earnings call, however, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that MCX member Best Buy would start accepting Apple Pay on its app today. Sometime later in the year, you’ll also be able to use it in the store itself. Best Buy later confirmed the news in a tweet.

Yet that doesn’t mean that Best Buy plans to break with both CurrentC and MCX — according to a spokesperson from the company, Best Buy will “remain invested in MCX.” Now, however, Apple Pay will be offered alongside the rival payment system, and that can’t be good news for CurrentC. Apple device owners will now have a choice of which service they use upon entering the store, and considering the ease and security of using Apple Pay, there’s almost doubt as to which service they’ll choose.

Only 22 Percent of Apple Watch Preorders May Have Shipped Last Weekend

We’ve known for a while that the Apple Watch had a bumpy start thanks to all the day-one sellouts back on April 10, but new (and somewhat speculative) data from Slice Intelligence suggest it may be even bumpier than previously thought. Based on Slice’s estimation, only around 22 percent (or 376,000 units) of preorders were delivered over the weekend, and there are perhaps as many as 547,000 Apple Watch preorders waiting to go out between today and June 11.

Slice Intelligence obtains its data by studying the receipts from around 2 million customers who reportedly agreed to have such data tracked. The firm has recorded 10,774 transactions for the Apple Watch to date, a number which (to Slice) translates into around 1.7 million Apple Watches sold in the U.S. so far.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri is very much aware of the frustration, and in an interview with Bloomberg News following today’s earning’s call, he stated that the company is working “very, very hard” to keep up with the demand. Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the shortages during today’s earnings call as well.

“Right now, demand is greater than supply, so we’re working hard to remedy that,” Cook said. “We were able to ship more watches during this past weekend than we had anticipated.”

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Morning Report: Apple’s Best of 2014, Change is In the Air, Holiday iTunes Radio

Best of 2014

Apple may be shutting down the App Store for the holidays in two weeks, but Cupertino is using that time to celebrate the best of the year. Our Monday Morning Report has the details on some of the content making Apple’s Best of 2014 list, a look at Cupertino’s new iPad Air 2 commercial, and how to get some free, ad-supported holiday music streamed right to your device. Don’t be a Scooge, click and read on!

Apple Honors Best iTunes, App Store Content of 2014

There’s less than a month before 2014 becomes the past, but Apple is gearing up for the new year by commemorating the iTunes Store apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books worthy of being awarded Cupertino’s highest honor.

“Exhilarating, innovative, surprising — this year’s standouts reminded us of just how extraordinary apps and games can be. Discover our favorites and explore 2014′s chart-toppers,” the special Best of 2014 section of the App Store reads, with similar highlights posted in the Mac App Store and iTunes Store as well.

Among the handpicked 2014 titles for the U.S. are iPhone App of the Year Elevate – Brain Training, iPad App of the Year Pixelmator, and iPhone Game of the Year Threes! on the App Store, Notability and Tomb Raider for App & Game of the Year on the Mac App Store, Guardians of the Galaxy for Best Blockbuster Movie, Fargo for TV Show of the Year, Taylor Swift’s 1989 for Best Music Album, and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr for Best Fiction Book.

Each category also has a pair of runner-ups selected, along with an assortment of other highlighted apps, music, TV shows, and books worthy of consideration. Apple has also posted year-end charts for most downloaded and top-grossing iOS apps, including Facebook Messenger for top free iPhone app and YouTube for top free iPad app.

Change is In the Air with Apple’s Latest iPad Commercial

The iPad Air 2 is the star of the show in Apple’s newest commercial, which hit YouTube on Sunday. The spot shows a variety of ways Cupertino’s slimmest tablet is being used in all walks of the life, as the screen gradually shrinks to a tiny sliver to demonstrate just how thin the device actually is.

“Change is in the Air. From the studio to the classroom, the field to the garage, iPad Air 2 is helping people discover new and better ways to do the things they love. Imagine what you’ll do with it,” reads the description of the one-minute ad.

The commercial is also accompanied by a new iPad Air 2 section of the Apple website, which breaks out “just a few of the hundreds of thousands of apps waiting for you in the App Store” featured in the new ad.

iTunes Radio Fires Up 10 Holiday-Themed Stations

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and Apple is celebrating with 10 new iTunes Radio stations offering a variety of holiday-themed music. According to MacRumors, the new stations are Children’s Christmas Holiday Sing-Along, Country Holiday, Classical Holiday, Holiday Classics, Holiday Hits, Latin Holiday, Rockin’ Holiday, Soulful Holiday, Swingin’ Holiday, and The Sounds of Christmas. As always, the stations can be called up using iTunes on Mac or PC, or from the Music app on iOS devices, and iTunes Match subscribers have the added benefit of listening free of the occasional advertisements free users have to endure.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Best Buy Cuts Prices on Macs, iPhones, Apple TV, and More for Black Friday

If you’re willing to brave the crowds on Black Friday this year (particularly when retailers are referring to the sales as “doorbusters”), you’ll find some good deals at Best Buy that you’ll never find in an Apple retail store. Other sales sheets from Target and Sam’s Club leaked over the last couple of days, but Best Buy took a different direction and published their deals for their Doorbusters sale outright.

It’s a good sale if you want to pick up an iPad Air 2, which now starts at 9 if you’re going for the 16GB version with Wi-Fi, which represents a 0 cut off the standard retail price. You can also save on the latest iPad mini. Best Buy’s sale pegs it at 4.99 for the starter unit with 16GB and Wi-Fi, which represents a discount.

Looking for an iPhone 6? You can pick it up for just 0 with a two-year agreement. Apple fans looking to upgrade their MacBook Pro, Retina MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and non-retina iMac models will find savings of around 0 on select devices. The discounts also extend to Apple’s other devices, whether it’s an Apple TV for , a 5th generation 16GB iPod touch 16GB for 9, or a 0 iTunes gift card for .

You might want to be around to bust down those doors sooner if you’re interested in the best deals, as Best Buy’s site claims that most stores are opening at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday (Thanksgiving) and closing at 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Stores will also generally open at 8:00 a.m. on Friday proper, although this time may vary according to your location.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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