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Apple Daily: Apple Watch App Store, User Guides Go Live; iPod Refresh This Fall?

Raise your hand if you’re excited about Apple Watch! Okay, the couple of you in the back who didn’t raise your hands, stick around, because this edition of Apple Daily has some non-Watch news as well. But if you’re not excited, you probably should be, because new Apple product-category launches don’t happen too often! Let’s dispense with the tomfoolery and jump right in.

Apple Watch User Guide, App Store Now Available

Prospective Apple Watch buyers have had months to pore over every excruciating bit of minutiae about the smartwatch, but should there remain any nagging questions about the device on the eve of preorders arriving in the hands of customers Friday, there’s now a user guide with all the answers.

Apple Watch User Guide

On Thursday, Apple published the official Apple Watch User Guide on its website, which breaks down into 22 categories covering every aspect of the wearable device one might expect. With sections entitled Get Started, Basics, Watch Faces, Notifications, Glances, Timekeeping, Messages, Digital Touch, Mail, Phone Calls, and Calendars and Reminders, among others, the manual should give anxious watch buyers plenty to study in the hours that remain before the devices are delivered tomorrow.

Apple has also hung the open sign outside the Apple Watch App Store, a specialized version of the existing iOS App Store focused on Watch-compatible titles that actually lives inside the Apple Watch app introduced with iOS 8.2. As previewed by Buzzfeed earlier today, the store’s virtual shelves are stocked with more than 3,000 apps, including all the usual suspects like Twitter, Instapaper, and The New York Times being singled out for special attention.

Apple Watch App Store

Apple Watch owners will also be able to use the existing App Store on their iPhone or from a Mac or Windows PC, with compatible product listings now showing watch screenshots below the usual iPhone screenshots, and a special “Offers Apple Watch App for iPhone” indicator under the title, making it easier for apps that feature support for the device to stand out from those that do not.

Initial Apple Watch preorders are expected to begin arriving on Friday, but apparently the device will not actually be available to purchase for customers walking into an Apple retail store — a departure from the usual long lines and circus atmosphere that has greeted every new iPhone and iPad released since 2007.

Report: iPod Could Live to Fight Another Day

AppleInsider today reported that Apple hasn’t quite forgotten about the iPod, the media player that helped pave the way for Cupertino to become more than just a computer manufacturer. According to an unidentified source, the product line will apparently see at least one more refresh later this year, with an emphasis on the iPod touch in particular, which may or may not retain the current four-inch form factor.

iPod touch

The iPod lineup has remained the same since late 2012, but the report specifically cites the processor, storage capacity, and camera as specific areas Apple may address in an effort to boost interest in its once-mighty media player.

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


Apple Daily: Apple Watch Packaging; HBO NOW Live; Star Wars on iTunes

Want a look at the packaging for the Apple Watch? An Instagram user may have you covered. In other news, it’s a great day for Apple-oriented television and movie lovers, as HBO’s cable-free streaming service went live this morning. In addition, all six Star Wars movies will soon be available on iTunes.

Apple Watch Packaging Photos Surface on Instagram

You won’t be able to get your hands on an Apple Watch until Friday, but thanks to Instagram user Jeremy Gan (who has since made his profile private), you can get a look of what almost certainly is the new packaging for the Apple Watch. As MacRumors notes, the photos appear to have been taken at the Daily Mail’s New York offices, where the publication possible already has a device, but it’s quite possible we’re looking at a fake unit.

Source: MacRumors

Still, it doesn’t seem like it, and if it is, that’s a darned good fakery of a 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch with a Milanese Loop band. Gan also included photos of what looks like the packaging for Apple Watch bands.


HBO NOW Goes Live for Apple Devices

At last, the age of cable-free “cable” programming may finally be here. Today HBO NOW went live for Apple TV, iPhones, Macs, and iPads, thus kicking off an Apple-exclusive relationship for three months that will allow Apple users to enjoy the network’s entire content offerings for a mere .99 per month. And if you sign up this month (April), you’ll get the first month for free.

As expected, the service comes just in time for viewers to catch the new season of Game of Thrones, which begins airing on Sunday, April 12. In a similar fashion to existing streaming services like Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, HBO NOW categorizes programming according to “Series,” “Movies,” and “More,” and it comes with a Watchlist feature to ensure you can keep track of your favorite shows.

The official app is available for download on both iPhone and iPad right now, and you can start watching as soon as you sign up for a subscription. You can also enjoy the content’s service from a Mac by visiting HBO NOW’s official website.

All Six Star Wars Movies to Come to iTunes This Friday

As of this Friday, April 10, all three Star Wars movies will be available for download on iTunes (in addition to other, similar digital distribution sites) for the first time ever. You’ll be able to purchase each movie separately or as part of collections, and the release also makes the appearance of two all-new special features.

The new special features include “Conversations,” which showcases some of the series’ most notable actors and crew members talking about their time making the films. In addition, you’ll find “Star Wars: Discoveries From Inside,” which includes some behind-the-scenes footage regarding how the sets and costumes were made.

Unfortunately for some, this release includes the updated, digitally altered versions of the original trilogy rather than the theatrical releases. Pricing for the “collections” hasn’t been announced yet, but you can currently pre-order each of the movies individually on iTunes for .99 each.

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


Apple Announces WWDC 2013 Live Stream via Safari, Apple TV

WWDC 2013

Miss the old days when you could tune in to an Apple keynote and feel like you were right there as new products were announced? Then you’ll want to saddle up, partner — today is one of those days.

Apple announced Monday that its WWDC 2013 keynote will be streamed live via the web and Apple TV devices starting at 10am PST (1pm EST) today, which will certainly knock some of the wind out of the sails of tech websites who were planning live blogs for the event.

Viewing the keynote address requires Safari on iOS 4.2 or later on any iPhone, iPad, iPad mini or iPod touch; Safari 4 or later on Mac OS X v10.6 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second or third generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later.

What will Cupertino announce? That’s anyone’s guess, but judging from the banners already hanging in Moscone West, a preview of iOS 7 and the next version of OS X appear to be sure bets.

The WWDC 2013 keynote kicks off on Monday, June 10 at 10am PST.

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



ABC Adds Live Streaming to iOS App, But There’s a Catch

ABC Player for iPadFor television viewers, the holy grail is the ability to watch live programming from the comfort of their mobile devices. ABC appears to be the first to actually make it happen, but as usual, there’s a catch.

The New York Times reported Sunday that ABC plans to release an update to its free, universal iOS app this week which adds a new “Live” button for streaming locally broadcast content to an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad for the first time ever.

Unfortunately, the technology will only appear for viewers in New York and Philadelphia, spreading its wings into six other ABC-owned markets sometime this sunny summer, and is in talks with more than 200 affiliates coast-to-coast as well.

The first of those affiliate deals with Hearst Television has already been locked, which will bring live streamed ABC to 13 additional markets including Boston and Pittsburgh. The network originally planned to launch live service next year, but has tapped into feedback from users to accelerate those plans.

“We keep a very close eye on consumer demand,” explained Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney. “We watch how people are behaving with their devices, and we really felt that we needed to move faster.”

This week’s release is also no coincidence: Tuesday, May 14 is when the network will hold its annual upfront and announcing its full fall television schedule. But ABC and others are also feeling pressure from third-party services like Aereo, which offers over-the-air broadcasts to mobile devices for only per month.

The rebranded Watch ABC app will feature mobile-centric advertising in place of the ads cable and satellite subscribers will see, but will otherwise include local newscasts, syndicated programming as well as national series. It will arrive soon for iOS, and is planned for other mobile platforms in the months ahead.

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



Overnight Recap: Foxconn Resumes Hiring, YouTube Adds Live Streams for iOS

Clock Weather NewsAmericans are still reeling from the explosions that rattled the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, which all but consumed social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook almost immediately after they took place. As a result, you might have paid far less attention to tech-related announcements (and who could blame you?), but thankfully we’ve assembled a handful to get you up to speed.

Foxconn Resumes Hiring Ahead of Next iPhone

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Foxconn Technology Group is once again enlisting new factory workers for its Chinese assembly lines following a hiring freeze after the holiday season. The move is viewed as a good indication that Apple will be ramping up production of the next iPhone soon, with the Taiwanese company reportedly adding 10,000 workers per week in its Zhengzhou location alone over the last several weeks. We have been very busy recently as we will start mass-producing the new iPhone soon,” a Foxconn executive remarked. The Zhengzhou factory alone employed roughly 300,000 people last year alone.

YouTube iOS App Adds Access to Live Streams

Google released version 1.3 of its official YouTube app for iOS on Monday, finally adding the ability to watch live streams on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The update also brings faster access to the latest uploads in the “My Subscriptions” feed,  the ability to queue up videos for TV playback, “One Channel” branding for the company’s original content channels and the usual battery of stability and performance improvements. YouTube 1.3 is a universal app now available on the App Store.

Yawn: Microsoft Also Rumored to Be Working on Smart Watch

The Verge reported Monday that Microsoft also intends to throw its hat into the “touch-enabled smart watch” market, with sources telling The Wall Street Journal that Redmond has already enlisted Asian suppliers for component shipments. With Apple, Samsung, Google and actual watch markers already rumored to also throw their hat into the ring, it’s getting easier to name which companies won’t be making a smart watch. However, the report notes that Microsoft has been down this road before with SPOT, a 2004 effort that crashed and burned four years later.

After App Store Removal, AppGratis Puts Fate in Hands of Users

The saga of Apple removing AppGratis from the App Store appears to be far from over, with the company launching a page on its website enlisting its more than 12 million users around the globe to rally behind the company’s efforts to get the app discovery service restored. “Today we believe it’s you, Apple’s customers, who should have the final word,” the page reads. “Today, you can speak up. Tell Apple that you think different.” The website encourages AppGratis fans to participate with emails or tweets, with nearly 800,000 thus far voicing their support at this writing.

Free Clock Weather News Brings Style to Retro Flip Clock

Clock, weather and RSS feed reader apps have been done to death on the App Store, but how many developers actually bring all three into one title? That’s exactly what Clock Weather News does, featuring a retro flip clock design with localized weather images and yes, the ability to scroll headlines using a Google Reader-powered RSS feed — but fear not, the developer already has an update ready to replace this functionality when Google pulls the plug in July. The best news is that the app is free, although users have the option to remove iAds from the bottom of the screen with a one-time in-app purchase of 99 cents, which also adds an alarm clock capable of waking users up to their favorite songs.

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



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