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Morning Report: Improved iPhone 6 Plus Ship Times, Plex Home, BitTorrent Sync

Plex Home switch to user

We’re now officially one week out from that notorious shopping holiday known as Black Friday, but judging from the number of deals retailers have been throwing out over the last couple weeks, it’s hard to imagine there will be much left to offer next week. Our Friday Morning Report casts a spotlight on iPhone 6 Plus availability, along with improvements to Plex and BitTorrent Sync, so click on to read more!

iPhone 6 Plus Availability Improves from Apple Online Store

With the holiday season fast approaching, many shoppers may be eyeing the purchase of an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, either as a gift to themselves or for a loved one. The good news is that shipment times have finally started to improve just a bit — but we wouldn’t wait too long.

MacRumors reported Thursday that shipments of the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus from the Apple Online Store now show an estimate of seven to 10 days, regardless of color or carrier. The more popular 64GB model nearly doubles that wait  (two to three weeks), but that’s an improvement over the three-to-four week estimate just a few days ago.

It’s also easier to grab an iPhone 6 from Apple.com, with the 16GB model shipping in five to seven days (down from seven to 10 days), although the higher capacity 64GB and 128GB models continue to take a few days longer. Interested shoppers can use the Personal Pickup tool on the Apple website to determine stock availability at their nearest retail store, although the report notes that some locations continue to see long lines for the devices, even two months after launch.

Plex Home Delivers User Accounts for Families

For anyone who prefers to skip popular streaming services like Netflix and build their own, Plex is considered one of the best ways to do just that — but sharing an account with the whole family doesn’t do much for privacy or parental controls, which is why the company announced Thursday the addition of a new feature called Plex Home.

Available with the latest Plex Media Server release for Mac or Windows, Plex Home enables easy setup of user accounts for everyone in the family (as shown above), with fine-grain controls over which libraries they have access to, along with per-user restrictions for movie or TV show ratings and other criteria. Switching between accounts is a snap, and PIN protection can also be set up to keep the kiddies out of their parents’ media.

At launch, Plex Home is only available from the web app, Plex Home Theater for Mac, Windows, or Linux, and Roku (using the PlexTest channel until the official one is updated); the company promises Plex Home Support for other apps (including iOS) in the near future.

BitTorrent Offers Peek at Next-Generation Sync 2.0

As the dream of the cloud continues to sour in the minds of many, BitTorrent announced this week details on what to expect from Sync 2.0, the company’s cross-platform solution for syncing or sending files between computers, servers, and mobile devices. Out of beta after a year and a half, Sync 2.0 will introduce a new Pro edition priced at .99 per year which offers improved performance, access to folder contents on-demand, and the ability to control folder permissions.

BitTorrent promises an alpha build of Sync 2.0 will arrive soon, and is positioning the Pro tier against existing (and more expensive) cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. BitTorrent will continue to offer a free tier for Sync as well, with the same functionality that exists today.

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



iPhone 6 Outselling iPhone 6 Plus 3-to-1

The iPhone 6 Plus is a big hit, but according to research by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (via MacRumors), it’s the smaller iPhone 6 that’s the big hit in the United States. Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone is outselling its big brother by 3 to 1, the firm reports, based on data pulled from the first 30 days the phone was available for purchase.

The report also stated that the iPhone 6 represented 68 percent of all iPhone sales in that period, with the iPhone 6 Plus accounting for 23 to 24 percent. That means that the two phones together accounted for around 92 percent of all iPhones sold in the country at that time, with the remaining 8 percent or so consisting of older generation iPhones such as the 5s.

It’s important to note that the data don’t necessarily mean that the iPhone 6 Plus is frowned upon over on this side of the pond. The larger version is heavily in demand, a trend which caused Apple to pull back on production on the smaller size and focus on the bigger version. As a result, many customers likely opted for the more readily available iPhone 6. CIRP says the iPhone 6 Plus could still “exceed expectations, especially in Asia.”

Together, the two iPhones represent Apple’s most successful iPhone launch to date. Over 10 million units were sold on the launch weekend alone, and 4 million of those phones were preorders.

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


Morning Report: TLC Nixed from iPhone 6, Pixelmator for Mac 3.3, Amazon Echo

iPhone 6 two models

Ever wish you could have one or more devices around your home capable of answering questions whenever the whim strikes? Our Friday Morning Report has the details on Amazon’s latest hardware endeavor, as well as what steps Apple may be taking to stomp out NAND flash storage issues with the iPhone 6, plus the release of Pixelmator for Mac 3.3. It only takes a click to find out more!

Apple May Drop TLC NAND Flash Storage After iPhone 6 Issues

BusinessKorea today reported that Apple may be eyeing a switch away from triple-cell (TLC) NAND flash storage, which is allegedly responsible for the “functional defects” experienced by owners of the 64GB and 128GB iPhone 6 models. The problem, which Apple has yet to acknowledge, reportedly stems from the controller IC made by former SSD supplier Anobit, which the iPhone maker absorbed in 2011.

TLC NAND flash is actually more affordable than multi-level cell (MLC) solid-state flash memory, but capable of holding three bits of data per cell — three times that of traditional single-level cell (SLC) and 1.5 times the capacity of MLC. According to the report, the tradeoff is that MLC is actually slower at read/write operations than the lower capacity storage types.

There’s apparently hope for current iPhone 6 users suffering from flash storage-related problems: The forthcoming iOS 8.1.1 update currently being tested by developers is expected to provide some relief by improving “products already equipped with TLC NAND.” Apple also reportedly plans to switch to MLC NAND flash for newly assembled 64GB iPhone 6 and 128GB iPhone 6 Plus models.

Pixelmator for Mac 3.3 Adds Yosemite, Handoff Support

The folks behind Pixelmator received plenty of acclaim for bringing its image editing software to the iPad last month, but they haven’t forgotten their roots. On Thursday, the company released Pixelmator 3.3 to the Mac App Store, a significant update to the .99 application which adds full support for OS X Yosemite along with a redesigned user interface.

In addition to its new good looks, Pixelmator for Mac 3.3 adds support for iCloud Drive along with a new Repair tool extension, which allows users to quickly fix images in other compatible applications like Mail or TextEdit. Last but not least, the Mac version now supports Handoff with the iPad edition for seamlessly working between desktop and tablet. The update is available for existing users absolutely free from the Mac App Store.

Amazon Echo Aims to Be Like Siri in a Box

It’s hard to beat the convenience of Siri, especially when most of us have our iPhone or iPad close at hand — but Amazon thinks they can do one better. Yesterday, the e-tailer announced Amazon Echo, a cylindrical black tube that promises to be “always ready, connected, and fast” when answering your questions. Featuring far-field voice recognition, the device named “Alexa” also doubles as an “expertly-tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound.”

Ironically, Amazon Echo can be controlled from a free companion app on a Kindle Fire, Fire Phone, or Android device, but iOS devices require using a web browser (which also works on the desktop) for managing alarms, music, shopping lists, and more. The cloud-connected Echo is priced at 9, but Amazon Prime members can save 0 for a limited time only — but you’ll need to request an invitation, which may or may not arrive “in the coming weeks,” and only then can you warm up the credit card.

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



Rumor: Next iPhone Might Feature a Glasses-Free 3D Display

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News has been on a roll with sketchy news lately. Just this Monday the site claimed that Apple is ditching the iPad mini forever in favor of the still-rumored “iPad Pro,” and now it’s claiming that Apple is on the verge of designing an iPhone with a glasses-free 3D display. It’s a tough sell, especially since the recent resurgence of enthusiasm for 3D technology already appears to be on the wane.

But maybe, just maybe, Apple could be the company to (once again) push other manufacturers in that direction. The report claims that Apple can’t achieve the effect with its current screen technology, and thus it’s allegedly already reaching out to touchscreen maker TPK to help make a new “naked eye 3D screen.” TPK is reportedly already in the process of raising .63 billion yuan ( billion) for the project, which will mark the first step toward a wider3D “hardware and software ecosystem.”

Source: Wallpapers Wide

Don’t laugh so soon; it’s not as far-fetched as it initially sounds. Apple won a patent pertaining to stereoscopic displays back in 2010, and before that the Cupertino company patented a “Hyper Reality” display that repositions objects on the screen depending on how a user moves his or her head.

More directly, back in November of last year we reported that Apple had acquired Israel’s PrimeSense, the chipmaker responsible for the 3D sensors in Microsoft’s first Kinect for its Xbox 360 gaming system. Thus far, however, the only evidence we’ve seen of Apple dabbling in 3D displays consists of the parallax background for iOS, which earned a conflicted reception at best.

The rumor may thus amount to little more than idle speculation, but the components are certainly already available for Apple to make such an unexpected move.

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


Morning Report: Spring Launch for Apple Watch, $99 iPhone 6 Deal at Sam’s Club

Apple Watch

Looks like Apple fans may have to come up with other Valentine’s Day plans for next year, now that the company’s retail boss has let slip that Apple Watch won’t be arriving until spring. We’ve got the details on that story as well as a potential bond offer on the horizon from Apple and a killer one-day deal on iPhone 6 in our Monday Morning Report!

Apple Retail Boss Casually Mentions Spring Apple Watch Launch

The official word from Cupertino is that Apple Watch is coming in “early 2015,” with recent rumors claiming the company will be lucky to ship the device by Valentine’s Day next year. 9to5Mac reported Sunday that Apple may be eyeing a spring release, which technically begins March 20 — a date that could also still qualify as “early 2015.”

“We’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring,” Apple senior vice president of retail and online stores Angela Ahrendts reportedly told retail employees in a recent video message, which was transcribed and provided to 9to5Mac.

With Chinese New Year falling after Valentine’s Day on February 19, it seems that lovers can scratch the Apple Watch off their gift list for the annual February 14 holiday. However, 9to5Mac sources also claim that once Apple Watch is available, customers will actually be able to slap the device on their own wrist prior to purchase, “including swapping out different sizes and bands.”

Sam’s Club Offering iPhone 6 Ahead of Black Friday

Black Friday is still 25 days away at this writing, but you won’t have to wait quite that long to lock in a good deal on an iPhone 6. According to GottaDeal.com (via MacRumors), Sam’s Club will be holding a “special one-day-only sale” on Saturday, November 15 that includes an iPhone 6 for only with two-year agreement, or 0 off larger capacity models.

Detailed in an exhaustive 11-page leak of the full sales ad, Sam’s Club stores will also be knocking 0 off iPad Air models on the same day. The event kicks off at 7AM local time on November 15, and will apply to both Sam’s Club retail locations as well as the warehouse club’s online store as well.

Apple May Be Planning to Issue Bonds in Euros for First Time

The Wall Street Journal today reported that Apple appears to be eyeing a new bond deal in conjunction with Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs Inc., which could be announced in a call with investors on Monday. According to the usual “person familiar with the matter,” the deal could arrive later this week and may include euros as well as US dollars, a first for Cupertino.

Apple’s last foray into the bond market came in April with a billion deal, which attracted more than billion worth of orders from investors. With a yield of 1.068 percent for three years and 4.483 percent for 30 years, Apple’s previous bond deals have been considered slightly better than those offered by the US government.

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


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