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Apple Watch

Next Apple Watch could include new ceramic and titanium models

Next Apple Watch could include new ceramic and titanium models

August 17, 2019

Apple’s next Apple Watch revision could include new materials for the case, including titanium and ceramic. That’s according to new assets pulled form the latest watchOS beta release, as uncovered by Brazilian site iHelp.br (via 9to5Mac). The new screens discovered in the beta show graphics used to pair the Apple Watch during setup, and list “Titanium Case” and “Ceramic Case” alongside model size identification info.

Apple has previously offered a ceramic Apple Watch, alongside its Series 2 and Series 3 models, with a premium price and white and black case options. The company hasn’t previously used titanium, but the lightweight, durable metal is popular among traditional watchmakers because it can really significantly reduce the heft of a watch case, while still providing a premium look and feel.

Last year’s Apple Watch Series 4 was the first significant change in body design for the wearable since its introduction in 2015, so it seems unlikely that Apple will change that this year again. The new physical design includes larger case sizes (40mm and 44mm, respectively, vs. 38mm and 42mm for previous generations), a thinner profile and a display with rounded corners and slimmer bezels.

Offering new materials is a way for Apple to deliver new hardware that is observably new on the outside, in addition to whatever processor and component improvements they make on the inside. Apple will likely also offer these alongside their stainless steel and aluminum models, should they actually be released this fall, and would probably charge a premium for these material options, too.

The Series 4 Apple Watch proved a serious improvement in terms of performance, and added features like the onboard ECG. Splashy new looks likely won’t be the extent of what Apple has planned for Series 5, however, especially since the company is revamping watchOS …

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Apple brings contactless student IDs to a dozen more universities

Apple brings contactless student IDs to a dozen more universities

August 13, 2019

Ahead of the upcoming school year, Apple this morning announced it’s bringing contactless student IDs in Apple Wallet to several more U.S. universities. The expansion will allow more than 100,000 additional college students to carry their student ID on their iPhone or Apple Watch, where it can be used for a variety of tasks, including paying for their meals and snacks and entry into buildings, like the student’s dorm and other campus facilities.

The expanded list of universities includes: Clemson University, Georgetown University, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of San Francisco, University of Vermont, Arkansas State University, South Dakota State University, Norfolk State University, Louisburg College, University of North Alabama and Chowan University.

These join the previously supported schools: Duke University, University of Oklahoma, University of Alabama, Temple University, Johns Hopkins University, Marshall University and Mercer University.

Apple first announced its plans for contactless student IDs at WWDC 2018, then rolled out to its debut schools last October.

The contactless IDs not only serve as a means of student identification, but also work as a payment mechanism for on-campus transactions — like meals at the cafeteria or textbooks and supplies at the college’s bookstore, for example. Contactless entry into buildings is also now common on college campuses, and these digital IDs can work to open doors, too, as an alternative to swiping an entry card.

Apple brings student IDs to iPhone and Apple Watch university of san francisco student ID screen 081319

Support for college student IDs is only one way that Apple is trying to replace the physical wallet. The company also supports the ability to add your debit and credit cards, transit and loyalty cards, tickets and even paper money through Apple Pay Cash. And now it’s launching its own credit card, too, which rewards you with cashback for shopping Apple and using Apple Pay.

“We’re happy to add to the growing …

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The smartwatch category is growing, as Apple remains dominant

The smartwatch category is growing, as Apple remains dominant

August 9, 2019

Last week Samsung and Fossil kicked off the week by announcing new smartwatches. On the same day. At the same time. For a brief moment, it felt like 2015 all over again, when the world of smartwatches felt exciting and new.

Mid-way through 2019, the good news for smartwatches is that the category continues to grow. Numbers from Strategy Analytics show some truly impressive movement on that front, with shipments from 44% year over year in Q2, from 8.6 million to 12.3.

Lots of reason to celebrate there if you’re a smartwatch maker — or, rather, if you’re one very specific smartwatch maker. The very important caveat to the rosy numbers is that they start to look considerably less rosy when you take Apple out of the equation. The Apple Watch accounted for 5.7 million of those Q2 numbers. That’s 46% of the category, up slightly from 44% the year prior.

The numbers were reflected in Apple’s last earnings. The wearables category (which, notably, also includes AirPods) was a bright spot in the company’s otherwise disappointing hardware numbers. Compare that to the company with the second-largest numbers for the quarter: Samsung, which shipped two million smartwatches in that time period.

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iPhones have weak quarter, but wearables are doing great

iPhones have weak quarter, but wearables are doing great

July 30, 2019

As anticipated, Apple’s hardware numbers were a mixed bag during today’s fiscal Q3 earnings report. Apple continues to shift much of its resources to services and content, including a billion-dollar push into Apple TV+. But while iPhone number were down, things weren’t all bad on the device front.

Notably, wearables are up in a big way. The category hit $5.5 billion for the quarter, up from $3.7 billion, year-over-year. The boost came in no small part due to the arrival of new AirPods, featuring wireless charging functionality, in spite of the company DOAing its AirPower charging pad.

“The wearables category is doing extremely well.” said Tim Cook on today’s earnings call. “We stuck with it when others perhaps didn’t.”

Apple CFO Luca Maestri pointed out that the revenue of the wearables division alone would make for a Fortune 200 company.

Meanwhile, iPad revenue is up 8% year-over-year, Mac revenue is up 11% and the services category it’s been putting so much focus into is up 13%.

“This was our biggest June quarter ever — driven by all-time record revenue from Services, accelerating growth from Wearables, strong performance from iPad and Mac and significant improvement in iPhone trends,” Tim Cook said in a press release tied to earnings. “These results are promising across all our geographic segments, and we’re confident about what’s ahead. The balance of calendar 2019 will be an exciting period, with major launches on all of our platforms, new services and several new products.”

The optimism around iPhone isn’t entirely universal at the moment. The quarter marked another year-over-year decline for iPhone revenues, from $29.5 billion in fiscal Q3 2018 to $25.9 billion in fiscal Q3 2019, with the category dipping below 50% of the company’s total …

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Apple disables Walkie Talkie app due to vulnerability that could allow iPhone eavesdropping

Apple disables Walkie Talkie app due to vulnerability that could allow iPhone eavesdropping

July 11, 2019

Apple has disabled the Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app due to an unspecified vulnerability that could allow a person to listen to another customer’s iPhone without consent, the company told TechCrunch this evening.

Apple has apologized for the bug and for the inconvenience of being unable to use the feature while a fix is made.

The Walkie Talkie app on Apple Watch allows two users who have accepted an invite from each other to receive audio chats via a ‘push to talk’ interface reminiscent of the PTT buttons on older cell phones.

A statement from Apple reads:

We were just made aware of a vulnerability related to the Walkie-Talkie app on the Apple Watch and have disabled the function as we quickly fix the issue. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and will restore the functionality as soon as possible. Although we are not aware of any use of the vulnerability against a customer and specific conditions and sequences of events are required to exploit it, we take the security and privacy of our customers extremely seriously. We concluded that disabling the app was the right course of action as this bug could allow someone to listen through another customer’s iPhone without consent.  We apologize again for this issue and the inconvenience.

Apple was alerted to the bug via its report a vulnerability portal directly and says that there is no current evidence that it was exploited in the wild.

The company is temporarily disabling the feature entirely until a fix can be made and rolled out to devices. The Walkie Talkie App will remain installed on devices, but will not function until it has been updated with the fix.

Earlier this year a bug was discovered in the group calling feature of FaceTime that allowed people to …

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