Apple fans are once again remembering the life and times of Steve Jobs today on what would have been the 60th birthday of the legendary co-founder. In our Tuesday edition of Apple Daily, we’ll find out how current CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that date, along with news that Samsung may still be in the iPhone memory game, the latest Apple acquisition, and how much of the smartphone market iOS and Android have gobbled up to date.
It’s been just over four years since the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, but his predecessor certainly hasn’t forgotten the influential legacy of the man who brought him into the Cupertino fold. On Tuesday morning, current CEO Tim Cook started his day with a tweet acknowledging Jobs’ birthday on February 24.
“Remembering Steve, who would have turned 60 today,” Cook wrote, capped off by a quote from his former mentor: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Although Cook’s influence has changed many things at Apple over the last four years, there’s little doubt that the executive team and the iPhone maker’s global workforce continue to live by those words. (For more Steve Jobs quotes, click here.)
The Korea Times reported late Monday that Samsung Electronics appears to still be very much in the Apple manufacturing game, despite rumors of an icier relationship between the two patent foes. An unnamed industry official claims Samsung will provide “at least half” of the DRAM chips needed for this year’s presumed iPhone 6S, and the door appears to be open for Apple to increase that amount, should it become necessary. Samsung will also reportedly provide mobile processors for the same device, which is widely expected to arrive this fall.
Apple’s music-centric software GarageBand and Logic Pro X could become a lot more powerful in the future, thanks to Cupertino’s acquisition of music software plug-in maker Camel Audio. According to The Loop, the creators of Alchemy quietly closed their doors back on January 8, removing all products for purchase and limiting email and download support for previous purchases.
As noted by MacRumors, Camel Audio’s corporate registry now points to Apple’s London address at 100 New Bridge Street, while the company’s only director is listed as Heather Joy Morrison, one of Cupertino’s fleet of attorneys. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the acquisition to The Loop in their typically standard way: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Poor Microsoft and BlackBerry: The latest quarterly smartphone data from IDC is now available, and it shows Apple and Google absolutely dominating the worldwide market with 96.3 percent of shipments made during the fourth quarter of last year, a slight increase from 95.6 percent during the same quarter in 2013.
Unfortunately, Android accounted for 76.6 percent of all smartphones sold, but considering how few iPhone models Apple actually has in the lineup, 19.7 percent is nothing to sneeze at — especially when it coincides with 46.1 percent year-over-year growth. (By comparison, Windows Phone holds a meager 2.8 percent share, while BlackBerry slipped into near-total irrelevance with 0.4 percent. Ouch!)
IDC released its calendar year 2014 data as well, painting very much the same picture, with iOS and Android again responsible for a whopping 96.3 percent of worldwide smartphone shipments.
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The numbers are in, and it appears that Apple’s Activation Lock has been massively successful in curbing the tide of iPhone thefts in three major cities. In addition, iPhone 6 Plus owners reportedly use a lot more data than their iPhone 6 counterparts, and Apple is apparently planning to pull Aperture for good once Photos for Mac launches later this year.
Apple introduced Activation Lock for iOS 7 as a means of combating a meteoric rise in iPhone thefts, and, according to officials in London and the two U.S. cities that did the most to call attention to the problem, it’s working extraordinarily well. According to Reuters, reports of stolen iPhones have fallen 25 percent in New York, 40 percent in San Francisco, and an impressive 50 percent in London.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, New York state attorney Eric Schneiderman, and London Mayor Boris Johnson all have made names for themselves lobbying for “kill switches” on smartphones to prevent such thefts, and all praised Activation Lock upon its release in 2013. And partially thanks to their efforts, such theft prevention features are about to become law. By July 2015, according to a law passed by the California state legislature, all smartphones must have such theft-prevention measures built in before they can be sold in the home state of both Google and Apple.
The number for San Francisco has slightly improved since December, when we reported that Activation Lock had decreased iPhone thefts there by 38 percent.
Screen size isn’t the only major difference between the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus: According to a new PDF report from Citrix, owners of the iPhone 6 Plus on average use twice as much data as owners of the smaller iPhone 6. The report also shares other interesting tidbits, such as how all that data equates into around 10 times more data than was commonly used on the older and slower 3.5-inch iPhone 3GS.
Citrix believes the large disparity suggests that owners of iPhone 6 Plus units are using their phones more like tablets, and thus using them for data-intensive activities such as streaming movies more often than they would for a previous iPhone.
Among other things, the report reveals that iOS remains the dominant operating system in enterprise. iOS accounts for 67 percent of phones in enterprise, while Android commands 27 percent and Windows Mobile accounts for 7 percent. Interestingly enough, Windows Mobile jumped a full five percentage points from last year—a rise that cut into both Apple and Android’s market shares.
A recent update to the official Aperture page confirmed the fears of many a photo enthusiast — yes, the arrival of Photos for OS X means that Aperture will be removed from the App Store once the new app arrives. On the bright side, anyone who’s purchased the software prior to its removal will still be able to download it via the “Purchases” tab, but keep in mind that Apple already said back in June that there would be no new development on Aperture in the future.
The announcement came directly on the heels of Photos for OS X’s inclusion in the beta for OS X 10.10.3. It’s currently not known when the update will go live, but it could be a while yet as Apple plans to host a public beta for the software before turning it out in the wild. In the meantime, now’s your opportunity to pick up Aperture before it’s gone for good.
Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.
Yo, HTC raps … apparently. In today’s Apple Daily, watch as the Taiwanese smartphone maker starts a rap battle with Apple and Samsung. Elsewhere, listeners seem to prefer the iPhone over Neil Young’s ambitious PonoPlayer, and we could see iOS 8.2 sooner than expected.
Since iOS 8.2 contains Apple Watch support and the WatchKit API, it’s generally been thought that the two would launch at the same time. But that just isn’t so, according to sources who spoke with BGR. According to them, we’ll see it in March, and thus anywhere from a week to a full month ahead of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s stated April launch date for the Apple Watch.
All the same, there are signs that there’s some truth to the rumor, as Apple recently started asking key app developers to have their apps ready by mid-February, prompting speculation that Apple will hold a big media event regarding the Apple Watch in March. That, or perhaps an earlier launch than Tim Cook’s vague “April” launch window would have us believe.
Samsung’s well known for attempting to bash Apple through its many television ads, but at least the Korean tech giant has the sense to bring a touch of class (however small) to the business at hand. Taiwanese smartphone developer HTC, however, is having none of that.
Apparently wanting a rapper of its own considering Dr. Dre’s affiliation with Apple and Jay-Z’s association with Samsung, the smartphone maker enlisted the skills of Greg Carr (or “Doc G”) and David Bruce to rap about how HTC’s phones are better than iPhones and Galaxies.
Let’s just say the final product, called “Hold the Crown,” probably could have been better. Throughout the whole video, poor saps dressed as iPhones and Galaxies put on a performance that recalls the left shark from the Super Bowl, and the rappers take verbal shots at Apple and Samsung. To Apple: “Your chip is slower, But you’ll never touch our BoomSound.” Ouch. To Samsung: “More than a few clowns stole what we originated, we own the universe, your Galaxy is overrated.” Yeesh.
Remember the PonoPlayer? Singer Neil Young unveiled the 9 Kickstarter-funded device just under a year ago, believing that its gigantic, supposedly lossless files would deliver a far better audio experience than Apple’s iPod and iPhone owing to their reliance on smaller sound files.
Not so, claims Yahoo Tech‘s David Pogue (via AppleInsider), a former musician who had a chance to try out Young’s Toblerone-shaped audio device. According to Pogue, the audio files from the PonoPlayer sounded no different than high-quality MP3s played on an iPhone. Indeed, Pogue found that listeners actually preferred the iPhone’s sound over the PonoPlayer’s in a series of blind trials comparing the new audio player and Apple’s smartphone.
“Pono’s statement that ‘Everyone who’s ever heard PonoMusic will tell you that the difference is surprising and dramatic’ is baloney,” Pogue said. “When conducting the test with today’s modern music files, I couldn’t find even one person who heard a dramatic difference.”
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It wouldn’t be Friday without a juicy Apple leak or rumor, and, as if on cue, photos of the display and lid of the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air supposedly leaked today. In other news, Tim Cook reportedly agreed to let Chinese officials check Apple products for security flaws, and iPhones accounted for precisely half of all phone activations in the U.S. during the last quarter.
Just in time for weekend speculation fun, a set of photos have popped up on iFanr purporting to show the lid and display for the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air. The photos are noticeably less fuzzy than the usual leaked fare, and they helpfully show the parts stacked alongside a 13-inch MacBook Pro and a 9.7-inch iPad for comparison.
There’s some doubt about the authenticity of the photos, however, in that they show that the traditional backlit Apple logo for MacBooks has been traded out for the polished metal logo common to iPads. For its part, iFanr believes Apple might have chucked the widely beloved backlit Apple in favor of making the unit ever so slightly thinner.
Also missing are the gray bezels common to most new MacBook Air models, which means that Apple might be extending the glass to the edges of the unit as seen with the MacBook Pro. That sounds lovely, but it does clash with an earlier rumor that the device would have the familiar gray bezels. Of course, there’s always a good chance that Apple simply changed its mind.
China’s massive market means a lot to Apple—so much, in fact, that Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly agreed to let the country’s officials inspect its products for security flaws, according to The Beijing News (via MacRumors). The officials are supposedly interested in finding “back doors” that would grant the Cupertino company (or anyone else, for that matter) access to private data stored in the units.
Calligraphy exhibit for the upcoming Apple Store in Hangzhou, China.
Lu Wei, director of China’s State Internet Information Office, had expressed concerns last year that Apple might be afforded a window into Chinese state secrets through its devices. Cook assured Wei that this was not the case in a well-publicized visit, but the official apparently wanted to check out the products for himself.
The danger of such a decision is that it might reveal some secrets about how Apple designs its own software, which could in turn lead to leaked knowledge regarding how to exploit the vulnerabilities. But if it means staying in China’s billion-strong market, that’s a chance that Cook’s apparently willing to take.
Just in case you needed any more proof that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are wildly popular, consider the latest report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partner, which states that Apple accounted for half of all phone activations in the United States for Q4 2014 (via AppleInsider).
“Apple had virtually double the sales of Samsung, and five times that of LG. No other brand accounted for as much as 5% of US sales,” says Josh Lowitz, partner and co-founder of CIRP.
Keep in mind that, at 500, the data sampling is quite small for reaching such sweeping conclusions, and that 86 percent of activations came from consumers who’d upgraded from an earlier iPhone. Still, Apple has certainly accomplished a major feat here, and impressively enough, CIRP reports that 25 percent of new iPhone users were former Samsung users and that 15 percent came from LG phones.
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A new patent suggests that Apple’s tinkering with the idea of turning the iPhone’s home button into a joystick for gaming, but is it practical or just a cool idea? In other news, a well-known iPhone case maker shoots an iPhone 6 into the stratosphere for a demo video and a modern game developer prepares to re-release the MacVenture games from the 1980s.
It’s been an interesting week for Apple patents, and now there’s more fuel on the speculation fire thanks to a newly published patent discovered by Patently Apple that describes an iPhone home button that can be popped out of the frame to serve as a joystick for games.
When it’s compressed within the phone, the home button would likely handle Touch ID and all its standard functions, but when a user presses it in, it’ll pop up to serve as a slightly more traditional joystick. Turned on its side, the phone would then be able to function as a portable gaming device a bit more like the Nintendo 3DS or the Sony PlayStation Vita.
It’s a cool idea, but there certainly seems to be a chance that the button’s springs would wear down with continued use, and accidentally bumping it when it’s out could effectively ruin the entire phone on account of the numerous responsibilities of the home button. The patent, submitted by Apple in 2013, was designed by Colin Ely and Fletcher Rothkopf.
On the Mac gaming side of things (and the Apple-history side of things for that matter), developer Zojoi announced today that it’s re-releasing the entire MacVenture series of games, originally published by Mindscape circa 1985-1988, on Mac and PC later this month. The series includes Shadowgate, Deja Vu, Deja Vu II: Lost in Las Vegas, and Uninvited, which all rely on a similar point-and-click style of adventuring.
For its part, Zojoi was responsible for the Kickstarter-funded remake of Shadowgate that was released last August, and it plans to allow players to buy the games either individually or in a complete pack.
“Fans of the new re-imagined Shadowgate have been clamoring for more story-based adventures in the style and themes of the original MacVenture games,” said Zojoi founder Dave Marsh in a press release. “So while we were developing our new projects, we did a face palm. Why not make these memorable classics available to them now and take a look into other platforms as well? It was a blast to see how awesome the titles have held up!”
Even better, in a welcome nod to Mac lovers, Zojoi will allows players to play with either the original Macintosh 128k black-and-white graphics or with the 4-bit color graphics created for the Apple IIGS. The games will be available on Steam “and other digital distributors” before the month is out.
You might say the bar for an iPhone case demo video has been lifted into the stratosphere. As MacRumors noticed today, case maker Urban Armor Gear released a video earlier this month showing how they shot an iPhone 6 surrounded by their latest composite case up 101,000 feet (or around 19 miles) into the atmosphere to demonstrate how tough their cases are.
UAG accomplished the stunt by attaching the case to a weather balloon equipped with two GoPro cameras. Way up there, the phone was subjected to 70-mile-per-hour winds and temps that got as low as -79 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually the balloon burst, and the whole apparatus came tumbling back to earth while enduring around 140 rotations per minute.
The remains of the balloon itself seems to have offered some resistance as the device fell back down, and in the end it landed rather softly in a muddy English field. But now, as UAG co-founder Steve Armstrong says, “Our cases already meet military drop-test standards, but now we can officially say that they are space tested as well.”
As for the iPhone itself, it powered off in the stratosphere because it couldn’t handle the extreme cold, but it switched back on with no problems once it finally dropped back to earth. Not a bad showing for Apple, either, then.
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