Apple just didn't announce its new iPhone models and smartwatch on Tuesday, the company also announced its own mobile wallet called Apple Pay, new iCloud storage pricing and that iOS 8 will launch on September 17th.
Apple Pay will allow iPhone owners to simply tap their device on a payment terminal and use their Touch ID fingerprint sensor as an electronic signature to pay for products at participating retailers such as Starbucks. The advantage of Apple Pay is that no credit card information is stored on Apple's servers and Apple has no interest in tracking your purchases. Merchants will also be blocked from seeing your card numbers and the Find my iPhone feature will allow users to suspend mobile payments if their phone is lost or stolen.
Apple today announced the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, but the company did not unveil a new iPad model like some iOS fans had hoped they would.
Tim Cook and company finally unveiled the long awaited "iWatch," which is officially being called the "Apple Watch". The new wearable device is equipped with a sapphire display, four sensors, a "Digital Crown" physical button and it will be offered in three different collections: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. The different collections will offer three different finishes, aluminum, stainless steel, 18-karat gold, and six different band choices at launch. The bands feature their own unique connecting mechanism, which means users will be stuck using only the six Apple-approved choices.
Cook made it clear that the Apple Watch is not a miniature iPhone that straps to your wrist, but it does require an iPhone 5 or later to work. It also features WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and it ships with stock third-party and Apple apps. The Apple Watch will be available early 2015 starting at $349.
This is not what Apple had planned for the week leading up up to their huge press conference at Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9th. Instead of enjoying the consumer buzz about its upcoming product refresh, Tim Cook and team were busy dealing with accusations that an iCloud security breach led to a hacker leaking tons of private nude celebrity pictures to the internet. Even though Apple says none of the stolen passwords were leaked from the company's servers, Tim Cook had to focus on defending Apple's iCloud service instead of preparing to announce the iPhone 6.
Cook told The Wall Street Journal that the "celebrities' iCloud accounts were compromised when hackers correctly answered security questions to obtain their passwords, or when they were victimized by a phishing scam to obtain user IDs and passwords." Cook also announced that Apple would be adding extra security features in iOS 8 to protect users from future attacks. Users who still want to opt out of iCloud photo sharing can learn how to do so here.
If you have somehow missed the frenzied hype, Apple will be holding an event next Tuesday, September 9th, at the Flint Center for Performing Arts in Cupertino. The venue has almost four times the capacity of the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, where Apple typically announces new products, so this one is expected to be big. The obvious seat of honor will belong to the iPhone 6, but many analysts and amateurs alike expect a wearable device (popularly dubbed "iWatch") to be introduced as well. Now there are rumors that the next generation iPad Air may also make its first appearance.
According to a research note written by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (obtained by AppleInsider), he believes the iPad Air 2 will debut on Tuesday alongside both iPhone 6 models (the 4.7" and the phablet size 5.5") and the iWatch. About iPads, he writes that only the iPad Air 2 will see significant upgrades in 2014, which implies that the next generation iPad mini may not launch this year as some expected.
Wacom has unveiled three new pressure sensitive stylus at IFA in Berlin. The new lineup includes a new third-generation Bamboo Stylus, a new fineline Bamboo Stylus and the Creative Stylus 2. The Bamboo Stylus 3 features a new easy to replace carbon fiber tip which helps reduce friction. It is available now as a solo model for $20, or as the "duo" which features a refillable ballpoint pen on the flip side. The duo is also available now on wacom.com for $30. Both models are available in silver, grey, blue, green, orange and pink.
The fineline promises to deliver the "most natural writing experience" on a tablet thanks to its pressure sensitive 1.9mm solid plastic tip. The stylus supports the iPad 2 or later and Wacom's Bamboo Paper app available on the App Store, Google Play, Windows App Store and Amazon App Store. The Bamboo fineline is $60 and it also available on silver, grey, blue, green, orange and pink.
While the world waits for the iPhone 6 and iWatch to be announced on September 9th, the supply chain is gearing up production for the next-generation iPad Air, according to the DigiTimes. The Taiwanese trade publication said "touch panel makers TPK and GIS are among some of the makers receiving orders from Apple," and that the iPad Air 2 "will remain unchanged in terms of size and resolution," but it will be "thinner". Previous leaks of purported iPad Air parts have also revealed that the new tablet will not feature any cosmetic changes worth getting excited about.
The iPad Air 2 is also expected to ship with the an improved version of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor found on the iPhone 5s. What "improved" means is still unknown at this time, but you can bet Apple will be pushing its Touch ID technology even harder after the alleged iCloud breach.
Microsoft has really been listening to Microsoft Office users when it comes to their suite of iPad apps. The company has been adding user requested features, such as printing support, since the apps first landed on the Apple App Store back in March. Now Microsoft has announced that users can buy a monthly Office 365 subscriptions instead of having to pay for it yearly.
An Office 365 subscription is required to access all the features of Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad. An Office 365 Personal is $6.99 a month and an Office 365 Home account is now $9.99 a month. A Personal account allows for one PC or Mac, and one tablet to be connected to the service, and a Home account allows for up to five computers and tablets to be connected.
Companies love to add social sharing to their apps for one reason, free advertising, but the truth is nobody pays attention to their friends' automated posts from Candy Crush or other apps. Netflix obviously understands how annoying over sharing on social media has become, and has created a new way for friends and family to make movie suggestions without annoying everyone else.
The movie streaming company today announced a new social recommendation feature that allows members to share movie suggestions on Facebook privately. Here's how it works... After watching a movie you will have the option to log into your Facebook account to find friends who may also enjoy what you have just watched. After signing in, you will be able to select your friends based on their profile photos and send them the suggestion. Friends who do not have their Facebook connected to their Netflix account will receive the recommendation as a private message instead of a post on their wall.
The iWatch rumors really started pouring in after Apple sent out invites for its September 9th media event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. Apple is expected to announced its first wearable device alongside the iPhone 6 at the same venue where it unveiled the original Mac 30 years ago. Previous rumors have suggested that the device dubbed the "iWatch" will be available in three models: a 1.6-inch version and two 1.8-inch versions. Over the weekend Re/code published a report claiming that Apple's smartwatch could cost up to $400 and include a range of lower priced versions.
"Apple executives have discussed charging around $400 for the company’s new wearable device. Pricing has yet to be finalized for the forthcoming product, which is expected to begin shipping next year. Sources say consumers should expect a range of prices for different models including lower priced versions."
Re/code also noted that the watch will be unveiled on September 9th but will not begin shipping until 2015. If true, it is still unclear if Apple will announce pricing at thekeynote or when pre-orders for the device will open.
Once again there were zero iPad-only games released to the App Store, but two big universal titles did arrive this week: BioShock and Tiny Tower Vegas. We should see an increase in App Store activity in a couple of weeks after Apple announces the iPhone 6 and releases iOS 8.
In App Store news, Rovio released a 16-second gameplay trailer for Angry Birds Stella before its September 4th launch. You can watch the trailer after the break. This weekend is the last chance to get the first wing of Hearthstone's "Curse of Naxxramas" expansion for free. After September 1st the wing will cost 700 in-game gold or $6.99, just like the other four levels.
As always, don't forget to check out our weekly App Store recap every Saturday for all the weekly universal releases, jailbreak tweaks, App Store news and important app updates.