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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 Sells Almost a Million Watches on First Day; Final Cut Pro Update

In today’s Apple Daily, we learn that Apple seems to have sold around a million Apple Watches through preorders on the device’s first day of availability alone. In addition, Apple released an update for Final Cut Pro X and its companion apps Motion and Compressor.

Research Firm: Apple Sold Almost a Million Apple Watches on Friday

On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Watch preorders were “great,” but the Cupertino company hasn’t been forthcoming about actual numbers. Thanks to the efforts of research firm Slice Intelligence, however, we have a decent idea of what “great” might mean. According to the firm’s data, Apple might have sold almost a million Apple Watches on the first day of preorders alone.

Slice Intelligence tracks e-receipts from a pool of 9,080 online shoppers who’ve opted in to have their data tracked, and judging by the frequency of receipts for the Apple Watch, they believe 957,000 pre-orders were placed on April 10 in the United States.

The site’s data also reveals that around two-thirds of shoppers (62 percent) bought the Apple Watch Sport, and that 71 percent of buyers bought the larger 42mm case. Buyers bought an average of 1.3 Apple Watches, and the collective average expenditures were 3.83 per watch.

As the graph above shows, the most popular band was the Black Sport Band, which was preferred by 28 percent of buyers. The metal Milanese Loop followed not far behind with 24 percent.

Not surprisingly, the firm also discovered that Apple Watch buyers were loyal Apple customers, as almost a third had bought at least two Apple products within the last year.

In related news, AppleInsider learned from Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company that dozens of Apple retails employees from the San Francisco Bay area claimed that around 85 and 90 percent of customers who came in for a try-on appointment ended up preordering the device.

 

Apple Releases 3D-Focused Update for Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor

While everyone’s attention has been on the Apple Watch, Apple today released a significant update for a popular Mac program — Final Cut Pro X — and its associated apps Motion and Compressor.

According to the press release, Apple’s latest update for its popular video-editing software brings user-friendly tools for the creation of 3D titles, along with a variety of templates for backgrounds and animations. The update also allows users to easily convert 2D text into 3D, and brings a wide selection of tools for lightning and simulating materials.

Final Cut Pro X users can also utilize more video files and view up to four video scopes at once when they need precise color grading. In addition, Shape masks can now be saved as presets, and working with RED RAW files should be faster.

The focus on 3D carries over to the update for Motion, which allows users to create custom environments and materials for 3D titles and to export them to Final Cut Pro X. As for Compressor, its update allows users to easily package videos for sale on iTunes.

You can buy Final Cut Pro 10.2, Motion 5.2, and Compressor 4.2 on the Mac App Store for 9.99, .99, and .99 respectively. If you already own them, you can get the new content in an update patch that should be ready for download on your Mac.

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

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Apple Daily: Apple Store Employees Steal $700,000, Apple Requires Flash Update

Four former Apple Store employees are currently being indicated for fraudulently obtaining Apple gift cards worth 0,000 collectively, and the scary thing is that the Manhattan district attorney claims this kind of thing happens all the time. In other news, Apple wants you to update your Flash Player again.

Apple Store Employees Steal 0,000 Through Gift Cards

Apple’s retail stores are no strangers to crime, although the hijinks involved usually lack a certain subtlety, such as when thieves drove cars through the front windows of Apple Stores in Berkeley and Temecula, California. But according to ifoAppleStore, a number of Apple Store employees are getting in on the stealing gigs, too. According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., four former Apple Store employees used fraudulently obtained Apple gift cards to defraud Barclays Bank of around 0,000.

The actual process involved was a little complicated. Working hand-in-hand with a dental receptionist (who’s also being indicted), the four Apple employees stole personal information from over 250 dental patients, which they then used to receive instant online credit from Barclays. The alleged crooks in turn used this money to buy Apple gift cards, which they then used to buy Apple products at the Cupertino company’s retail stores.

If convinced, accused ringleader Devin Bazile could face up to 54 years in prison. But as ifoAppleStore notes, the most interesting thing about the case is not necessarily the crime itself, but rather Vance’s statement that this kind of thing happens all the time.

“Using stolen information to purchase Apple products is one of the most common schemes employed by cybercrime and identity theft rings today,” Vance said. He added that a single insider in an Apple Store can get the scam in place, and the ring “then tries to monetize the stolen information by purchasing Apple goods for resale or personal use.”

Apple Forcing Users to Upgrade Flash Player Following New Vulnerability

Steve Jobs may be gone, but his disdain for Adobe’s Flash program lives on at Apple, as evidenced by Apple’s recent decision to force all OS X users to upgrade to the latest version of the Flash player for Safari in order to keep them safe from vulnerabilities (via MacRumors).

As of yesterday, if you use a version of Flash Player with Safari that’s older than 16.0.0.305 (or 13.0.0.269 if you’re on an older operating system), you’ll see a message pop up in your browser either telling you that the plug-in is blocked or that your Flash Player is out of date.

The patch in question addresses critical security bug CVE-2015-0313, which allowed certain unsavory types to upload booby-trapped ads to Flash-based advertising networks.

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

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Morning Report: iPhone 6 Now Ships in a Day, FlowVella, Apple TV ABC Update

FlowVella

Our Friday Morning Report has some very good news for iPhone 6 shoppers in need of a last-minute holiday gift, as shipping estimates for all but the 128GB models finally improve to a single business day. We’re also spreading joy for fans of the Flowboard presentation software, and cord-cutters with an Apple TV can now watch full episodes of ABC shows without a cable subscription. Wrap up the work week on a high note by clicking ahead!

Apple Now Ships Most iPhone 6 Models in 1 Business Day

If you’re in the market for an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, the Apple Online Store may very well look like Santa Claus right now — assuming you want 16GB or 64GB, that is. According to MacRumors, shipment times for all carriers and colors have improved to just a single business day in the U.S. online store, with the larger capacity 128GB model the only one still languishing behind with a three-to-five day shipping estimate.

Americans aren’t the only ones to enjoy the shorter wait times, with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Thailand, Philippines, and other countries also showing a big improvement over estimates from earlier this month. Sadly, that won’t help your decision as to which model to buy, but it will get your choice in your hands that much sooner.

Flowboard Rebrands as FlowVella, Debuts Mac Presentation App

The folks at Flowboard announced a complete rebranding Thursday, with the company’s flagship presentation software now known as FlowVella. The change has been coordinated alongside the launch of FlowVella for Mac at the discounted price of just .99 (down from .99), which adds new presenter notes with display, auto play/advance features, PowerPoint import, Retina Display support, and the ability to import PSD files as flattened images.

A free iPad edition of FlowVella also benefits from the rebranding, and both versions have the ability to upgrade to monthly or annual Premium subscriptions, which now accommodate larger file sizes, adds additional templates and a password protection option, and the ability to track presentation views; FlowVella Education for iPad is also available is also available as a paid option for teachers and students. Existing customers only need to download the rebranded apps and log in to get started.

Last but not least, FlowVella is introducing a new product called iPad App Builder, which allows presentations to be transformed into standalone iPad apps, complete with custom branding. FlowVella’s first customer for this new service is Seattle’s EMP Museum, which has used the product to launch two new exhibits.

Apple TV WATCH ABC Channel Offers Cable-Free Full Episodes

ABC announced that Apple TV owners are being treated to the sam special benefit already enjoyed by iOS users: The ability to watch full episodes of the network’s television shows from the WATCH ABC channel without the need to sign in with a cable or satellite subscription.

Sure, it’s a baby step closer to the cord-cutting many of us dream of, and you’ll still need to link up with your provider in order to watch live TV streams, but chances are many readers will be unaffected by that requirement anyway, given that live video is only available in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco.

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

 

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Morning Report: Apple Watch Expectations, YouTube Music Key, Office 2011 Update

YouTube Music Key beta

They’re manufacturing how many Apple Watches?! Judging from sources in the supply chain, Apple appears to be anticipating yet another runaway hit for the wearable device, and we’ve got all the details in our Thursday Morning Report. There’s also a new Office for Mac 2011 patch and the complete rundown on Google’s new YouTube subscription service for music lovers. All the news that’s fit to print is just a click away!

Suppliers Anticipating Upwards of 40M Apple Watches at Launch

We still don’t know for sure when Apple Watch will be available for purchase, but Cupertino’s vague “early 2015″ is fast approaching — and not surprisingly, component suppliers are reportedly preparing to start producing the chips necessary to actually build the device.

DigiTimes reported Wednesday that chip suppliers are now “gearing up to start production,” according to unnamed industry sources. Those same loose-lipped supply chain tipsters claim Apple’s early 2015 orders for the wearable device are estimated in the 30 to 40 million unit range — a number that doesn’t sound so far-fetched when you consider there were will be three different models available.

YouTube Confirms Rumored Music Key Subscription Service

Remember when YouTube was better known as the place to watch funny videos like that dog riding the skateboard instead of streaming music? The self-proclaimed “biggest music service on the planet” confirmed plans to introduce a monthly subscription service Wednesday, but it’s not exactly the Spotify competitor everyone was expecting.

YouTube Music Key is launching in beta at a promotional price of .99 per month and will offer ad-free music, background play, and offline viewing — the three things YouTube claims users have requested most. But here’s where things get interesting: That price also includes a subscription to Google Play Music and its library of more than 30 million songs.

Signing up for YouTube Music Key beta will be a little tricky at first — the service is being offered to the company’s “biggest music fans” first through an in-app or email invitation, which will give those users six months to try the service for free. Everyone else can throw their email into a virtual hat and hope for the best, and eventually new users will be asked to pony up .99 per month for the service once it’s out of beta.

Microsoft Delivers Critical Update to Office for Mac 2011

Office for Mac 2011 users, to the AutoUpdater! Microsoft announced the release of a critical 14.4.6 update this week, which addresses an issue where an Office 365 subscription could fail to be recognized as having a full license and revert back to trial mode. The patch also fixes a problem MacBook owners were experiencing with reconnecting Outlook to the network after resuming from sleep mode. The update package can be downloaded directly from the link above, or by running Microsoft AutoUpdate from Word, Excel, or PowerPoint under the Help menu.

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

 

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