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Tuesday October 28

Samsung's Four Year Business Plan is proving to be a...

Yesterday we reported just how well Apple's iPhone 6 pre-orders were doing in South Korea. Analysts estimated that total presale figures for the new iPhones had reached roughly 100,000 units, which topped an estimated 30,000 units for the Galaxy Note 4 over a similar time frame. Today the Korean press revealed Samsung's ongoing problems. It's not just a matter of losing smartphone market momentum; it's about their disastrous business plan that was laid out four year ago.

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Apple Granted 39 Patents Today Covering the Secure Enclave...

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 39 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover three inventions. The first covers Apple's iDevice chemical tempered glass. The second covers a halogen-free flame retardant material for Apple hardware. The third patent covers Apple's secure enclave used to protect both a user's fingerprint and information regarding safe transactions for Apple Pay.

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Apple's 2014 Annual Report: Insight on Employee Numbe...

Apple today filed its 2014 10-K annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, offering a look at how the company has grown over the past year. Among the interesting details included in the report: - The iTunes Store generated a total of $10.2 billion in net sales during 2014, up from $9.3 billion in 2013. Apple credits the growth to an increase in revenue from app sales, but acknowledged that digital music sales were in decline and partially offset the growth. - Apple noted that it now has 92,600 full-time equivalent employees, up from 80,300 at the end of fiscal 2013. The majority of that growth was outside of the company's retail division, which grew by 3,400 to 46,200 full-time equivalent employees. - Apple's store count...

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Monday October 27

Apple Had More Than 1 Million Card Activations During Firs...

During the first 72 hours that Apple Pay was available, Apple saw more than one million credit and debit card activations, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook who took the stage today at the WSJ.D conference in Laguna Beach, California. Cook himself told the audience that he used Apple Pay himself at Whole Foods after the service launched, commenting on how easy it was. "You're no longer fishing for your credit card," he said. "It's the first mobile payments system that's easy, secure, and private." According to Cook, the early ramp of Apple Pay "looks fantastic," and though it's only been available for a short time, Apple Pay accounts for more mobile wallets in the U.S, than all other mobile payment options combined. During the interview, Cook commented on CVS, Rite Aid, and other retailers' decisions to opt out of Apple Pay, saying that "over the long arc of time"...

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Tim Cook on Apple Watch: 'You're Going to Wind U...

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage today at the WSJ.D conference in Laguna Beach, California, where he commented on an array of topics including the Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple TV, and more. Unsurprisingly, Cook said that Apple is "excited" about the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch, and he's impressed that Jony Ive and his team had the foresight to understand that "something you wear has to be personal" and that it can't be "geeky." Cook divulged some new information on the Apple Watch's battery, which has previously gone unmentioned by Apple. Cook says that people will use it so much that it will need to be charged on a daily basis. "You're going to wind up charging it daily," he said, declining to provide a specific battery life for the device as Apple is still examining how people use it. Battery life on the...

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T-Mobile's John Legere Talks Apple SIM, iPhone 6 Dema...

T-Mobile CEO John Legere today took the stage at Re/code's Code/Mobile event in Half Moon Bay, California, where he spoke on the new Apple SIM, demand for the iPhone 6 Plus, and the importance of selling the iPhone. According to Legere, the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was T-Mobile's biggest phone launch the company had ever seen, and Legere called demand for the iPhone 6 Plus "mind blowing." He said that it skewed very differently from what the company anticipated, and while he couldn't comment on the current demand ratio, he said at one point it was around 55/45 rather than the 75/25 or 80/20 projected in favor of the iPhone 6. Legere said that while the backlog is coming down, it will be awhile before the company is able to provide devices to everyone. While on stage, Legere sorted out much of the confusion surrounding the Apple...

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Apple Set to Donate $100 Million in Grants to 114 U.S. Sch...

Apple's CEO Tim Cook was proud to state during their last Financial Conference Call that Apple's iPad held 90% of the education market. Tonight it's being reported that Apple plans to dole out $100 million in grants to U.S. schools ....

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Apple owns the Market's Mind Share because they'...

During one of Bloomberg TV's business videos posted today, Emily Chang had Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger on to talk about Google, Amazon and Motorola. Yet at the 3:26 mark of this 4:39 minute video, the topic surprisingly shifted to an Apple mind share vs. Android market share discussion that was quite interesting.

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LG Uplus under Attack for their Excessive iPhone 6 Marketi...

The Korean press reported earlier today that LG Uplus, the nation's smallest mobile carrier, has come under attack for its "excessive" marketing strategy in its bid to sell more Apple iPhones.

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Korean Press Attacks Apple for not Opening a Flagship Stor...

Earlier this morning we were greeted with the good news about iPhone 6 pre-orders in India and South Korea over the weekend. In India, Apple pre-orders of the iPhone 6 sold out in 72 hours. In South Korea, the numbers for the iPhone 6 were phenomenal, outpacing presales of Samsung's new smartphones handily. But that good news didn't sit well South Korea's press who immediately began to attack Apple.

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Amazon Launches $39 'Fire TV Stick' to Compete W...

Amazon today announced the launch of a new Fire TV Stick, designed to compete with Google's Chromecast and Apple's Apple TV. The Fire TV Stick is a media streaming stick much like the Chromecast, designed to allow users to plug it in to the HDMI port of a television to access content like TV shows, movies, games, and more. The Fire TV Stick offers a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, and dual-band/dual-antenna MIMO Wi-Fi. It can be controlled with a remote control, a smartphone, or voice control through an app. According to Amazon, it offers 50 percent more processing power than the Chromecast, along with 2x the memory and 32 times more storage. "Fire TV Stick is the most powerful streaming media stick available--a dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi, included remote control, voice search with our free...

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Rumbling Surfaces from European Telcos over Apple SIM

On October 17 we posted a report titled "While the New Apple SIM didn't get any Coverage during Yesterday's Event, CNBC sees it as a Knockout Feature." Apple downplayed this feature knowing it would cause some ripples from their foreign telcos partners. Today we've learnt that in Europe ...

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Apple Responds to CVS/Rite Aid Controversy: 'Overwhel...

Last week, news surfaced that popular drugstore Rite Aid was disabling support for NFC and Apple Pay in its retail stores and over the weekend, CVS followed in its footsteps. Apple has now commented on the situation, telling Business Insider that it's working to get as many merchants on board with Apple Pay as it can.The feedback we are getting from customers and retailers about Apple Pay is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. We are working to get as many merchants as possible to support this convenient, secure and private payment option for consumers. Many retailers have already seen the benefits and are delighting their customers at over 220,000 locations.Both CVS and Rite Aid are members of...

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New Version of Outlook for Mac Leaked in Screenshots, Rele...

Earlier this year, rumors suggested that Microsoft was preparing to launch a new version of Office for Mac in 2014, and now images of what is said to be a new version of Outlook have surfaced on Chinese site cnBeta [Google Translate], suggesting Microsoft is drawing closer to releasing updated Mac Office software. Depicting "Outlook for Mac 16," the images show a new version of Outlook that's been updated with a new OS X Yosemite-style look, adopting translucent menu elements and a flatter overall design. The interface takes on a "simple, modern style," according to cnBeta, which is "more intuitive" and it includes support for Retina displays much like Office 2011 for Mac. The design is said to be more unified...

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Wells Fargo Enticing Users to Try Apple Pay With $10-$20 C...

While some merchants are pushing back against Apple's new Apple Pay mobile payment service as they work on their own competing solution, banks are putting their weight behind Apple's solution that seeks to streamline the current experience of using a credit or debit card. In an effort to encourage users to adopt Apple Pay, Wells Fargo has just launched a program offering credits of up to $20 just for trying out the service. Wells Fargo credit card users can receive one-time $20 credits, while debit and prepaid card users can receive $10 credits simply by using their iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to complete an Apple Pay purchase on their cards through November 30. Credit card customers will receive $20 credits on their statements within 1-2 billing cycles, while...

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Fitbit Announces 'Surge' Fitness 'Super Wat...

Fitbit today announced three new wearable devices, including the Surge, described as a "fitness super watch," the Charge, an update to the Fitbit Force activity tracker, and the Charge HR, which tracks a user's heart rate. Positioned as Fitbit's most advanced wearable yet, the Fitbit Surge offers GPS tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring, and the activity tracking that's been standard in Fitbit's early wearables, keeping track of steps, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed, sleep quality, and various other fitness-based activities like running and cardio workouts. Available in Tangerine, Black, and Blue, the Surge has a black and white touchscreen display. Aside from tracking various activities, it also allows users to control their music and it includes customizable watch faces able to display incoming smartphone information...

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Apple's NFC Ambitions Extend Beyond Apple Pay to Buil...

Apple is pushing NFC in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for Apple Pay, but the company may have bigger plans for the wireless technology beyond mobile payments. A report from The Information claims Apple has been in talks with technology providers about using NFC for building security access and public transit ticketing. The Apple representatives have talked to technology providers like HID Global and Cubic, which enable secure access to buildings and transit fare systems, respectively, said people briefed on the discussions. Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment about any discussions with Apple, but executives there discussed how they could integrate their systems with the iPhone. Apple debuted NFC in its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and is using the short-range wireless technology for mobile payments processing.The technology has wide...

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Apple Pay Competitor CurrentC Detailed as Convoluted Syste...

With recent moves by pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid to disable Apple Pay or even NFC payments entirely at their stores, a separate mobile payments initiative backed by these and other major retailers is gaining significant attention. This consortium of merchants, which includes Best Buy, Walmart, Lowe's, and many more, is known as Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) and is developing a mobile payments solution known as CurrentC. Though it is supported by major retailers attempting to work around the credit card swipe fees charged by banks and card issuers, CurrentC may be hindered by a complicated user interface and security concerns as detailed in a report by TechCrunch. Unlike Apple Pay, which uses NFC to process payment wirelessly, the CurrentC system uses a...

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iPad Air 2 Display Praised for Antireflective Coating, but...

With the iPad Air 2, one of Apple's main selling points has been the improved display, which includes a new bonded construction that eliminates the air gap between the display and the cover glass, as well as a new antireflective coating to reduce glare in situations with high ambient light. Ray Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies has now put the new display to the test, finding that the antireflective coating is indeed a significant improvement for the iPad and a major step above competing tablets, but in overall performance competitors are still doing better than the iPad. Apple receives only minimal credit for the bonded display, as it is mainly catching up with competitors on that aspect.A major innovation for the iPad Air 2 (that is not fully appreciated) is an anti-reflection coating on the cover glass that reduces ambient light reflections by about 3:1 over most other Tablets and Smartphones (including the previous...

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Apple iPhone 6 Pre-orders Clobber Samsung's Note 4 in...

On Friday we reported that "Apple Takes the Smartphone War to Korea with Pre-Orders. Today the results are in on how well Apple did. According to a new report this morning, in less than an hour, South Korean carriers reported ...

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Apple's First iPhone 6 Allotment to India Sold Out in...

Apple slowly gaining ground in India: Today an Indian publication's headline reads "Apple's India revenue jumps 10-fold in just four years." Apple sold ...

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CVS and Rite Aid Officially Disable Apple Pay Support At S...

Last week, multiple reports indicated that pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid were disabling near field communications (NFC) payment terminals at some of their locations in order to stop the use of Apple Pay. Now, The New York Times reports that both drug chains have officially disabled Apple Pay from working at their stores nationwide. A spokeswoman for Rite Aid said that the company "does not currently accept Apple Pay" and that the company was "still in the process of evaluating mobile payment options." Representatives from CVS did not respond to interview requests from The New York Times. Apple declined to...

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Sunday October 26

More Healthcare Industry Players are Thinking Apple

Over the last two months we've been noticing how the Healthcare industry is paying more attention to Apple's iOS and/or iDevices (the iPhone and/or iPad). With Apple's new HealthKit now available to developers in the Healthcare industry we'll be keeping an eye out for new apps and/or processes that will take advantage of Apple's platform.

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Tech Companies Continue to Work towards the Self-Driving C...

Self-driving and autonomous vehicles, in particular, are much closer to reality than most people and businesses realize, according to a new Gartner study. Over the next six years, self-aware vehicles will emerge first that are increasingly also able to autonomously sense, interpret, decide, act and communicate with other automobiles, infrastructures, businesses, people and organizations.

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The iFixit Apple iPad Air 2 Teardown Video

Although the iPad Air 2 teardown from iFixit has been available for days now, we wanted to post their video of it for those who prefer to review the teardown over a coffee without any reading. Enjoy.

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Monster Flash Review
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