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Apple Daily: Apple Refutes HomeKit’s Delay; Massive iPhone Sales Coming?

In today’s Apple Daily, Apple makes a rare break from its silence concerning rumors to address the reported delay of HomeKit, plus UBS claims Apple will see more extensive iPhone sales than analysts are already predicting.

Apple Counters Rumors, Says It’s Releasing HomeKit in June

It’s not often that Apple rushes to correct rumors circulating in the press, but the Cuperino company didn’t waste any time today crushing a Fortune report that Apple would be delaying the launch of its HomeKit home automation platform until August or September. Far from being delayed, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told The Wall Street Journal later, the service is on track to launch in June.

“[The hardware certification for] HomeKit has been available for just a few months and we already have dozens of partners who have committed to bringing HomeKit accessories to market and we’re looking forward to the first ones coming next month.” she said.

Fortune‘s earlier report claimed that Apple was still having trouble getting the service to work with battery-operated devices, and while there may be some truth to that, the company seems poised to release it anyway.

Analysts Are Underestimating This Quarter’s iPhone Sales, Claims UBS

We haven’t seen the end of the mad sales rush for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, says financial services company UBS (via BusinessInsider), and their most recent report from their Evidence Lab claims that Apple’s sales of the device will likely exceed current expectations.

Most current Wall Street estimates say about 45 million iPhones will sell this quarter, but UBS says the company should sell around 51.1 million iPhones. As evidence, UBS included a graph showing the actual track record of iPhone sales compared to its predictions and those of Wall Street. The company believes that the continued surge of sales of the device in China will account for most of the momentum.

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

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Apple Daily: Ping-Like Service Coming to ‘Apple Music’?; Apple Opens Apps Analytics Beta

In today’s Apple Daily, we learn some more details about Apple’s upcoming music streaming service, plus Apple today opened its App Analytics beta to all developers who design apps for iOS.

New Streaming Service Reportedly Called ‘Apple Music’, Will Feature Ping-Like Network

Anonymous sources associated with Apple have reportedly spoken again, and this time they claim that Apple’s upcoming music streaming service most likely will be called “Apple Music,” and that it will include a built-in social networking service for artists to promote their work (via 9to5Mac).

The service supposedly recalls Ping, the dead social networking system for iTunes that Apple created for the same purpose back in 2010 before shutting it down in 2012 in favor of Facebook and Twitter integration. Apple Music users would be able to follow artists with the service (although they won’t be able to create their own profiles), and artists themselves could use the service to share “track samples, photos, videos, and concert updates.”

As 9to5 Mac cheekily puts it, “Artists will also be able to share the content of other artists in an effort of cross-promotion. For example, all-gold Apple Watch wearer Kanye West could promote a new album from Taylor Swift on his ‘Apple Music’ artist page, if he so chooses…”

 

Apple Opens App Analytics Beta to All Developers

It’s been only a few days since Apple revealed a new Apps Analytics program that allows developers to see usage statistics associated with their work, and now the Cupertino company has given all developers free access to the beta. If you’re already a member of the iOS Developer Program, then it’s free.

The Apps Analytics platform reportedly tells much more besides download statistics; it also tells developers how much time users spend with apps and where their apps are the most popular. In order to use the service, you’ll need to log into iTunes Connect (if you’re an app developer, of course).

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

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Apple Daily: Latest on Apple Watch and MacBook at Retail; Maps Update Coming?

With all eyes on Friday’s launch of the Apple Watch, it’s not surprising that much of this edition of the Apple Daily is focused squarely on Cupertino’s first wearable. We’ve got updates on new product availability, developers being offered a chance to buy a Watch this week, and potentially good news for Maps fans looking forward to the return of public transit directions.

Retail Boss Updates Employees on Watch, MacBook Launches

French website Mac4Ever (via Google Translate) today shared a video intended for Apple employees around the world in which senior vice president of retail and online stores Angela Ahrendts updates her staff on what’s going on with product launches for the Apple Watch and the slim new MacBook, both of which have frustrated early adopters with limited availability.

Angela Ahrendts video

In a nearly five-minute video shot near Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, Ahrendts praises retail staffers for the way they’ve handled in-store Apple Watch demos, which require prospective customers to order online and potentially wait weeks or months to actually receive one.

“It was not an easy decision, and I think it’s really important to remind every single customer that this is not just a new product for us, this is an entirely new category. And the first time we’ve ever previewed a product two weeks before availability,” Ahrendts explained. “The great news is from anyone who did preorder, they’ll start getting their orders this Friday.”

Ahrendts promises to provide retail employees with weekly reports on supply constraints, pledging a return to the days of huge crowds outside Apple Stores for future product launches. The executive also confirmed “overwhelming” response for the new MacBook, with many retail outlets still missing demo units, let alone actual inventory to sell.

Select Developers Offered Watch Sport with Expedited Delivery

Although iOS developers have been working on WatchKit updates for weeks now, few have been able to properly test those apps on an actual Apple Watch. On Tuesday, some were offered the incentive to do so, courtesy of a “special opportunity” emailed to select developers offering the chance to purchase one (and only one) Apple Watch Sport with 42mm Silver Aluminum Case and Blue Sport Band with guaranteed shipping by April 28.

Apple Watch Sport developer email

According to a screenshot of the email obtained by MacRumors from Twitter user Kevin Chen, quantities are limited and developers must register before 10AM PST Thursday to take advantage of the offer. The real question is, where are they getting these extra Apple Watches when preorders have been sold out since minutes after they kicked off on April 10…?

Apple Job Opening Confirms Public Transit Plans for Maps App

AppleInsider today reported that public transit directions appear to be on their way back to iOS and OS X after a nearly three-year absence. The confirmation comes by way of an official job posting in search of a software engineer for the built-in Maps app with the Routing division, and more specifically requests “in-depth knowledge about public transit, both as a consumer of those services and the technical aspects.” With WWDC 2015 fast approaching, it’s entirely possible Apple could announce the return of public transit directions with the forthcoming iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 updates expected later this year.

Apple Maps public transit directions

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

(Images courtesy of Mac4Ever and Kevin Chen)

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Apple Daily: Apple’s Online TV Service Coming; Nintendo to Make iOS Games

In today’s Apple Daily, Apple at last seems poised to launch that online TV service that has been rumored for years now. In other news, Nintendo has finally agreed to start making games for the iPhone and iPad, but not surprisingly, there’s a significant catch.

Apple to Launch Online TV Service This Fall

It’s been a long time coming, but a new report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is at last ready to kick off an “online TV service” sometime this fall. And it’s apparently not limited to Apple TV. We’ll reportedly be able to use the service on all iOS devices (which means everything from the Apple TV to the iPad and the iPhone), and the package will cost between and a month at launch.

The report calls the service — which will contain around 25 channels including ABC, CBS, Disney, and Fox — a “slimmed down bundle of TV networks.” Beyond a few name drops, however, it’s not currently know what else we’ll see in the service, and Apple’s ongoing clashes with Comcast reportedly might keep Comcast-owned NBCUniversal out of the running as well.

And now for the (possibly) bad news, depending on your stance. The New York Post reported this morning that Apple has allegedly been successful in this venture in part because it has promised to share data with the participating networks. Under Apple’s program, networks such as CBS and ABC would have access to data showing who’s watching which programs, where they’re watching them, and at what time they’re watching them. They’d also have the ability to air specific ads at specific times. However anonymous the data might be, this seems like a break with Apple’s usual commitment to privacy, and the Post acknowledges that.

“They’re allowing a lot more decision-making by the content owner,” said one of the Post’s sources. The source said that Apple is telling potential partners, “It’s up to you, whatever you guys want to do.”

Nintendo to Start Making Mobile Games with DeNA

After years of resistance, Nintendo has at least broken down and decided to start making games for mobile platforms such as the iPhone and the iPad. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the legendary game developer, publisher, and hardware manufacturer will work with Japanese game maker DeNA to get new titles from beloved series potentially including Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong out onto the market. As an oversight of sorts, Nintendo will buy a 10 percent stake in the company valued at 2 million, while DeNA will purchase a 1.24 percent interest in Nintendo.

It sounds exciting, but don’t expect to see beloved games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda on the iPhone and iPad. In Nintendo’s official press release for the announcement, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that “We have no intention at all to port existing game titles for dedicated game platforms to smart devices…because if we cannot provide our consumers with the best possible play experiences, it would just ruin the value of Nintendo’s IP.”

DeNA’s own press release confirms it, claiming that “only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created.” On the other hand, Nintendo apparently hasn’t placed any restructions on what types of new games could be created, stating that “all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance.”

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

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Apple Daily: New Features Coming to Apple Maps, Big Gains for Apple Pay, & More

Our Wednesday Apple Daily finds Final Cut Pro X making a comeback with the new Will Smith movie, and more than a million Chase cardholders signing up for Apple Pay. On the downside, Apple may lose half a billion dollars to a patent dispute over iTunes. Read on for all the details!

 

Apple Focuses on Will Smith Feature Edited with Final Cut Pro X

In the four years since Apple launched Final Cut Pro X, the reaction has mostly been negative. The 9 pro video-editing software has made headlines for the number of customers jumping ship to competitors like Adobe Premiere Pro, while Apple toiled away in the background refining the application.

The silence from Cupertino ended today, with Apple launching a new “Final Cut Pro in Action” page on its website detailing how an upcoming Warner Bros. film starring Will Smith was edited entirely in 2K ProRes 4444 format — the first major studio release edited with Final Cut Pro X.

“We got exactly the film we set out to make,” remarked John Requa, who co-directed Focus with Glenn Ficarra. “What I love about Final Cut Pro X is that it allowed me to be involved with, and in control of, every aspect of making our film.”

Check out the Apple website for the complete story of how Focus came to be.

 

GasBuddy, GreatSchools Appear as New Apple Maps Data Sources

MacRumors today reported that Apple has quietly added acknowledgements to both GasBuddy and GreatSchools in the built-in Maps app, suggesting iOS and Mac users may soon see gas prices, station locations, and school data populate search results.

A third service, Yext, is also new to Apple Maps, although that partnership was announced prior to turning up on the acknowledgments screen. Described as a service which “allows businesses to update their locations for multiple online sites at one time,” Yext joins The National Land Survey of Finland Topographic Database as a new data source.

Coin Dozer

Apple Ordered to Pay 2.9M in iTunes Patent Dispute

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that a federal jury has awarded Texas-based Smartflash LLC the sum of 2.9 million in a lawsuit alleging that Apple’s iTunes software infringed upon three of the company’s patents. Smartflash originally sought 2 million in damages, an amount Apple’s lawyers attempted to reduce to a mere .5 million.

The patents in question are described as covering “digital rights management and inventions related to data storage and managing access through payment systems,” with third-party apps Coin Dozer and 4 Pics 1 Movie specifically cited as infringing upon Smartfish intellectual property. At least one of those developers, Game Circus LLC, was dismissed as a defendant last year. Apple plans to appeal the decision.

Apple Pay Chase card

Chase Confirms Over 1M Customers Have Set Up Apple Pay

AppleInsider reported Tuesday that JP Morgan Chase has hit an impressive milestone with more than one million customers having activated credit or debit cards with Apple Pay, the mobile wallet service introduced with iOS 8.1 last fall. The news was announced during the company’s 2015 Investor Day yesterday, and serves as more good news for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

“We were an early participant of Apple Pay,” said Eileen Serra, CEO of Chase Card Services. “We do continue to see good growth in the number of consumers that are provisioning Chase cards in their Apple Pay wallet.”

Chase described Apple Pay customers as “younger with higher incomes,” with 69 percent of card transactions coming from credit cards, with debit cards making up the remaining 31 percent.

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

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