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Apple Daily: iOS 9 Split-Screen iPad View, Transit Directions; Watch Bands at Retail

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.

iOS 9 Could Bring Split-Screen View, Multi-User Logins for iPad

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.

iPad split-screen mockup

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 Retail Stores Begin Stocking Apple Watch Bands

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.

Apple Watch bands at retail store

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?

Transit Services Once Again Rumored to Arrive with iOS 9 Maps

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.

Apple Maps public transit directions

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.

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

(Images courtesy of 9to5Mac and Twitter)

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Apple Daily: Taptic Engine Issues; iPad App Glitch Grounds Flights; Apple Store Watch App

In today’s Apple Daily, we learn that Apple is behind schedule on Apple Watch shipments because of production problems centered on a key feature of the device. In other news, a third-party app glitch keeps dozens of American Airlines flights grounded after it shows up on pilots’ iPads, and insider sources claim that an Apple Store app could be coming to the Apple Watch sometime this sunny summer.

Faulty Taptic Engines Hampering Apple Watch Production

At last, we have some idea why the Apple Watch is behind on production, to the point that many of pre-orders still haven’t made their way to customers. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the initial rollout has been hampered by issues with the Taptic Engines supplied for the device by AAC Technologies Holdings of Shenzhen, China. In essence, as Apple discovered as early as February, AAC’s units would wear down quickly after use.

The Taptic Engine is a key feature of the Apple Watch, as it simulates the sensation of someone tapping on your wrist — thus the name — through the help of a small rod when a notification comes in.

Source: iFixit

But the catch is that the Taptic Engines built by Japan’s Nidec Corp do work, and Apple has apparently shifted almost all production of the engine over to Nidec. Unfortunately, it may take some time before production gets up to Apple’s needs owing to Nidec’s having to adjust to the increased demand from its lines.

Apple apparently hasn’t told any of its other suppliers about the specifics of all this, which seems to have caused some confusion on their ends after Apple first them that inventory for the Apple Watch was insufficient and then later told them to slow production until sometime in June.

 

iPad App Glitch Grounds American Airlines Flights

One of the biggest bits of Apple news from the world of aviation over the last couple of years is the shift from using paper navigation charts in the cockpit to using iPads for the same purpose. American Airlines has been using Apple’s signature tablet for that very purpose since 2011, but a problem with the third-party app used for the charts caused “dozens” of American Airline flights to stay grounded over the last couple of days. Fortunately, the trouble now appears to be over.

Specifically, as reported by CNN, the glitch caused delays for 24 flights on Tuesday and 50 more today. That sounds like a lot, but considering that American Airlines reportedly sends off around 6,700 flights on a daily basis, it’s not anywhere near as bad as it could have been.

“Some flights are experiencing an issue with a software application on pilot iPads,” American Airlines said in a statement from earlier today. “In some cases, the flight has had to return to the gate to access a WiFi connection to fix the issue.” In addition, pilots were also told that they could pick up physical copies of the maps at the airports.

American Airlines also made sure to point out that the third-party application was to blame, not the iPad itself, but that hasn’t stopped a wave of negative reactions directed at the iPad from angry customers on social media outlets such as Twitter.

The airline claims that their reliance on iPad-focused digital charts saves American Airlines at least 400,000 gallons of fuel every year, presumably because of the comparative precision involved. In addition, the 8,000 iPads used by American Airlines reportedly replaced the 24 million pages used for the original charts.

 

Apple Store App Said to Come to Apple Watch This Summer

If you’re looking to have more Apple in your Apple, insider rumors suggest that you may be able to access the Apple Store directly from your Apple Watch later this year without having to switch over to your iPhone.

As reported by 9to5Mac, the feature apparently won’t support more “complicated” purchases that would work best with your keyboard, but you will be able to order an assortment of products straight from your wrist. The feature should be available sometime this sunny summer, at which time Apple Store employees will reportedly be pressed to play up the convenience of using the app in the presentations.

While you’re waiting on Apple’s official Apple Store app, though, be sure to check out our list of the 20 best Apple Watch apps so far.

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

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Apple Daily: iPad Pro Stylus, Steve Jobs Biopic Production, MLK Day

Steve Jobs probably wouldn’t have liked it, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple plans to release its 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a optional stylus. In other news, production has at last started on Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic, judging from the film crews outside Jobs’ boyhood home, and Apple paid homage to Martin Luther King, Jr. on its homepage today.

Rumor: Apple May Release iPad Pro with Optional Stylus

Famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities is back with another one of his predictions for Apple’s future, and this time he states that the Cupertino company will most likely release an optional stylus when (and of course, if) it releases the long-rumored 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Steve Jobs was famously critical of using a stylus during his 2007 iPhone announcement, but Kuo seems to think it might find a better market with Apple’s supposed ginormous tablet.

Optional is the key word here, as Kuo believes it’ll drive up the cost of the tablet itself too high if it came with all purchases.

“We don’t think all users will need a stylus initially,” Kuo said in his letter to investors, according to MacRumors. “Coupled with its unfavorable cost structure, high selling prices may turn consumers off if the 12.9-inch iPad is always bundled with it. We therefore expect the stylus to be an optional accessory before sufficient user feedback is received.”

Kuo believes the iPad Pro and its associated stylus should appear sometime in the second or third quarter of this year.

Production on Steve Jobs Biopic Starts in Los Altos

After all those months of rumors and cast and director changes, the new Steve Jobs biopic has at last commenced production at Steve Jobs’ boybood home in Los Altos, California. Currently crews are just setting up, according to CNET, but the actual filming should be begin on Friday afternoon.

Specifically, the team is currently in the process of making the garage look like it might have looked back in 1976 when Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were putting together the Apple I (although Wozniak says the garage story is a bit of a myth).

The film will star Michael Fassbender in the role of Jobs, while Seth Rogen will play the part of Steve Wozniak and Jeff Daniels will portray early Apple CEO John Sculley. Kate Winslet will also star in an unknown role.

You can check out a full gallery of the production photos at CNET.

Apple Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States, and to commemorate the event, Apple has updated its homepage to feature Dr. King with a full-page memorial. The page features a photo of King delivering one of his speeches, and is accompanied by the words: “Today we reflect on the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the work that continues in service of the broader concerns of humanity.”

Earlier today, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the federal holiday on Twitter, saying “Honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” with a link to Apple’s homepage. 9to5Mac reports that Apple is using the holiday to encourage its own employees to volunteer, and apparently the Cupertino company is donating “an additional for every voluntary hour worked by employees” as a part of its gift matching program.

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

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Apple Daily: ‘Leaked’ iPad Pro Shot, Apple Supports Charlie Hebdo

In today’s Apple Daily, we get a look of what kinda-sorta-possibly may be some kind of mold for the rumored 12-inch “iPad Pro” as well as a look at a new hire that could mean great things for Apple’s recent ventures into enterprise. In addition, be sure to check out what Apple’s doing to express its support for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in France.

‘Leaked’ Photo Claims to Show iPad Pro in Production

Yes, we’re not even two weeks into the new year and already new Apple “leaks” are pouring in. Today, an image from Weibo circulated that is said to depict an object used in the production of the rumored “iPad Pro.” At first glance, it looks like a mold; some other commentators, however, have speculated that it’s something used in the machining process to shape the device’s shell.

It certainly looks like it could have been made for some of Apple’s more recent products, but without any reliable references for scale, it could just as easily be an apparatus for the production of an earlier iPad. (Why, it could even be for an Android tablet.) And naturally, as with seemingly all such “leaked” photos, the image quality leaves much to be desired.

The photo follows the release of another “leaked” photo posted on NowhereElse.fr earlier this week, which is said to show stereo speakers on the side of an iPad Pro. At the very least, the photos certainly seem to align with the rumors regarding the release of the device, which tend to say we’ll see it sometime in the first half of this year.

 

Apple Shows Support for Charlie Hebdo on French Online Store

In an understated and classy show of support for the people who died in the attacks on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo yesterday, Apple has updated its French online store with a banner reading “Je Suis Charlie” at the bottom.

The phrase, meaning “I Am Charlie” in French, has been used by many organizations to express support for the magazine in the wake of the tragedy. Apple’s display of support for the magazine’s freedom of expression is especially poignant right now, as the company’s retail stores are running a massive campaign focusing on works of art created with the Cupertino company’s devices.

Word circulated earlier today that Google had donated 0,000 to ensure the publication could print one million copies of next week’s issue, but the truth is a little more complex. The money is actually coming from The Digital Innovation Press Fund, and the money will come from Google through a “donation tax” via a settlement with the French government, according to The Guardian. Elsewhere, though, Google added its own “Je Suis Charlie” to its French homepage.

 

Apple Hires Longtime HP Exec to Help with Enterprise Initiatives

Apple is taking its new focus on enterprise markets quite seriously, it seems, to the point that the company has hired longtime Hewlett-Packard executive John Solomon to help with the project (via Re/code). Apple confirmed the hiring without specifying Solomon’s role or title, but Re/code’s sources say he’ll help the Cupertino company “boost sales to big companies and government agencies with large technology budgets.”

The site calls the hiring “significant,” and indeed, Solomon spent two decades with HP in various roles before finally settling in as a vice president overseeing the company’s printing and personal systems group. Solomon’s connections could be integral in getting Apple products into government markets.

The news comes several months after Apple’s widely publicized partnership with IBM to reach out to enterprise customers, and we’ve already seen the first “Mobile First” apps to emerge from their combined efforts. Apple’s enterprise initiatives also include a specialized form of AppleCare for business customers.

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

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Morning Report: L.A. iPad Deal Nixed, Typed for Mac, Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Typed for Mac

December isn’t off to a particularly great start for Apple, with news that a lucrative contract with the L.A. Unified School District is being abandoned. Find out why in our Wednesday Morning Report, along with details on a pair of new Mac products to help you write better and expand the horizons of those Thunderbolt 2 ports. It’s all just a click away!

L.A. School District Ditches iPad Contract Amid Federal Scrutiny

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that a lucrative contract with Apple to provide iPads to every student in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has come to an end now that the .3 billion deal is under investigation by the FBI. On Monday, Feds seized 20 boxes of documents from LAUSD related to the bidding process that sealed the deal between Apple and former L.A. superintendent John Deasy, who resigned in October amid accusations that the educational initiative favored the iPad maker as well as publisher Pearson.

“We’re not going to use the original iPad contract anymore,” current superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said in a statement yesterday. “I think there have been too many innuendos, rumors, etc., and based on my reading of a great deal of material over Thanksgiving, I came to this conclusion. As CEO and steward of a billion-dollar operation, I have to make sure things are done properly so they are not questioned.”

Deasy also announced a suspension of the Apple contract back in August, but never followed through. The deal would have LAUSD spending upwards of 0 million on iPad hardware and accompanying curriculum to run on the devices, plus another 0 to provide improved wireless broadband, additional staff, and other expenses. LAUSD are now eyeing Google’s Chromebooks, which would be purchased under an entirely different contract.

Realmac Software Releases Markdown Editor Typed for Mac

There are plenty of writing apps for the Mac, but how many of them offer a unique “Zen Mode” to help minimize distractions and help you focus on getting words onto virtual paper? Realmac Software announced Tuesday the release of Typed, a new solution designed for any kind of writing, with a special focus on support for Markdown, one of the most popular ways to write for the web.

The app includes a complement of keyboard shortcuts as well as full syntax highlighting that promises to help anyone become a better writer. Typed is available now from the Realmac website for a special launch price of .99 for a limited time (normally .99), with a downloadable demo also available.

Elgato Debuts New Thunderbolt 2 Dock for Mac

Thunderbolt 2 hasn’t been adopted much faster than the first iteration, but at least it’s not taking quite as long for third-party accessories to appear on the scene. The latest is Elgato’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock, which offers a pair of high-speed ports in addition to three USB 3.0 ports, one of which is conveniently located on the front alongside separate jacks for microphone and headphones. The USB ports can even be used to charge high-powered devices like the iPad which won’t work with traditional hubs, as well as enabling support for the Apple SuperDrive.

Elgato’s latest dock also includes a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet port as well as an HDMI port capable of driving up to 4K resolution displays, all from the same box. Thunderbolt 2 Dock is now available from the Elgato website, priced at 9.95.

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

 

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