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March 9 Apple Announcement: Surprise! Apple News We Didn't Expect

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Apple normally tries to be super secretive before an announcement, but the Apple Watch was an anomaly. Apple took the rare step of introducing it months before it was shipping or even finalized. As Apple did not have a smartwatch product line to protect, they could afford to do so. Plus, it froze consumer purchases of competing gadgets. Still, we didn't know everything about the Apple Watch, until today. And we still have more to learn, once it reaches consumers' hands (and wrists!)



March 9 Apple Announcement: Apple TV-Same Device, Lower Price. Featuring HBO NOW.

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The Apple TV hasn't had a product refresh in about three years. So when Tim Cook brought up the Apple TV at today's event, I was so excited to see what Apple was about to reveal. At long last I thought, a new Apple TV! Something fresh and refined to compete with the likes of the Chromecast and Roku streaming devices!



March 9 Apple Announcement: Medical Research Apps Will Help Researchers Cure Diseases

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Small sample sizes, frequency of data, subjective data, and one-way communication have always been issues in the Medical Research field. Research Kit is a software kit built in to iPhone that allows researchers to collect data about certain diseases right from iPhone users who have these diseases.



Apple Will Join Dow Jones on March 18

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Apple, the world's largest publicly traded company according to market capitalization, will join the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the market closes on March 18, according to a report by Reuters on Friday. In a bit of irony, Apple will replace AT&T among the 30 stocks included in the Dow. Originally primarily a telegraph and telephone company, AT&T has been eclipsed by Apple. The goal of the change is to maintain the weighting of the technology sector in the Dow following a stock split by Visa, according to the press release on Mac Daily News. Ever since Apple's seven-for-one stock split, market analysts had been expecting that Apple would be added to the Dow. 



What to Expect from Apple’s March 9 Event

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Tomorrow, during Apple’s “Spring Forward” event, Tim Cook is expected to officially launch the Apple Watch, five months after first announcing the device last September. This will be the first time Apple has released a new product category since Cook became CEO.



Website Lets You See How Your Customized Apple Watch Will Look

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Mix Your Watch is a new website that lets you try different combinations of Apple Watch cases and bands to see which you like best. Of course, you likely won't be able to decide for sure until you see it in person, but this site can give you an idea of the combinations you might prefer. 



Apple iPad Pro Pushed to September

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As users migrate to tablets, in particular iPads, to replace their laptops, there has been speculation that Apple might bridge the gap between the iPad Air and the MacBook Air. An iPad Pro, at just over 12 inches, with some kind of a keyboard case or cover, like Microsoft's Surface has, could be just what the doctor ordered. There are also suggestions that a Pro version of the iPad might support USB 3.0 for faster data transfer and charging and even support for a wired keyboard. I had a Microsoft Surface with the magnetically-attached keyboard cover and that was a nice touch (no pun intended) that I'd like to see Apple mimic.



Next iPhone Might Support All Cellular Carriers

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When the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 were announced, I wrote about the revolutionary shift in shipping one cellular model that supported all carriers. At the time, I speculated that Apple might get around to doing this with the iPhone. The latest rumors suggest that will be the case, with the iPhone 6s (presuming that naming convention sticks) and likely the iPhone 6s Plus (or iPhone 6 Plus S?)



Android Wear Watches to Work With iPhone?

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Google, Microsoft, Pebble, and other smartwatch makers think there's room for them on the wrists of iPhone owners. Apple has left an opening by charging $349 minimum and compromising on battery life and other features. This means there may be an opportunity for other watch makers to sell to iPhone users, if only they could make their devices work with iOS. Microsoft already does, with their Microsoft Band, and Pebble always has. Pebble just launched a color version, called Pebble Time, that is attractive and offers a week or more of battery life, thanks to e-Paper display technology. They also launched a $250 steel version including the option of a gold color case, which is a lot more affordable than Apple's gold Edition will be!



Website Gives Interactive Preview of Apple Watch Apps

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If you're curious about how Apple Watch apps will work in practice, hop on over to Watchware, which has interactive demos of 26 of the apps that will be available (with more being added all the time). 



Google Vs Apple and the Search for More Money

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The iOS vs. Android story is old, but there is another dimension to the Apple vs. Google battle. Just as Samsung is both a competitor and a provider to Apple, Google has been providing search results for iOS users. Apple's Siri introduced another way to search, by voice, and Apple switched to Microsoft's Bing as a way to provide some Siri-based search results. This put a minor damper on Google's search volume, and therefore display ads, which is still their primary source of revenue.



Rumor: iPhone 6s to Have "Force Touch" Display

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Although the Apple Watch is getting most of the attention right now, rumors are starting to percolate regarding the next iPhones. According to a post on AppleInsider, the forthcoming phones will be named the iPhone 6s and will come in the same sizes and design as the current iPhone 6. In addition, their sources ("people familiar with the matter") say that the display will use the Force Touch feature being introduced in the Apple Watch. 



Apple Posts "World Gallery" Web Page Highlighting 77 Stunning Photos Taken with iPhone 6

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On Sunday Apple posted a new World Gallery web page that features stunning photos by 77 photographers taken with the iPhone 6, which Apple describes as "the world's most popular camera." Each photo is accompanied by a caption that gives the name and location of the photographer, a description of what makes the photo effective and the techniques used, and the apps used by the photographer. One can glean a lot of tips for taking great photos by reading the descriptions.



Apple Watch Tells Time, Even in Low-Power Mode

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The first thing a smart watch should do is tell time. Of course, the Apple Watch will do that, but given the concerns about sub-24-hour battery life, this could be a concern. The New York Times is reporting that Apple's watch will have "Power Reserve", a low-power mode that strictly displays the time. That's reassuring and understandable. Laptop makers have been offering low power modes for years, decreasing brightness, powering down disk drives, etc., to squeeze every last drop of power out of the battery.



Apple Watch Sightings Continue

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Just as politicians are showing up in Iowa ahead of the upcoming Presidential election, the Apple Watch is starting to pop up in fashion magazines around the world as the Apple Watch announcement nears. Angela Ahrendts, Apple's new head of retail and former CEO of Burberry, is pulling strings (threads?) to get the watch seen in fashionable places. It's probably not much of a sales job... what fashion or style magazine wouldn't want early access to the most anticipated fashion accessory of 2015?



Apple's Online iWorks Suite Now Available to Everyone, Free

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Apple's online iWorks suite is no longer in a beta testing phase and is now available for free to anyone on any platform via Safari, Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer. In the past, the suite, which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, was only available to those with Apple devices. 



After the Apple Watch, Virtual Reality?

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With the March 9 announcement date revealed, with the cheeky "Spring Forward" message indicative of turning clocks ahead, we can now look forward to what comes after the Apple Watch. Yes, there will be updates to the MacBook Air, with a 12-inch screen expected, and maybe a 12-inch iPad Pro as well. Others have written about the 200 engineers working on an Apple Car, although I think the likelihood of Apple shipping cars is still small.



Apple Announces March 9 Event

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Apple sent out invitations Thursday inviting media to an event on March 9 at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which Apple has used in the past for special events. As is typical, Apple's invitation doesn't give any information about what will be announced. It simply shows an Apple logo over a geometric flower-like background, with the words "Spring forward." 



Apple Kicks Off Apple Watch Advertising with 12-Page Spread in Vogue Magazine

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As the April launch of the Apple Watch approaches, Apple has started a major advertising campaign, beginning with a 12-page spread in the March issue of Vogue magazine. According to the photos of the spreads posted on MacRumors, each full-page ad is simply an actual-size image of the Apple Watch on a white background. The images show different casings and bands, giving readers a sense for the style options. 



Apple Plays Important Role on Modern Family

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On a very special Modern Family, Apple products played a very important role. The entire February 25 episode was filmed using Apple gear, and tools like FaceTime were integrated into the show. This was a bit of an experiment and there are no signs that this will be a recurring theme although iPhone footage has been used in the past. Apple provided the equipment but did not pay any other promotional consideration for being included. It could have been dismissed as a gimmick, perhaps to get ratings from the Apple fans and news coverage, but the show is doing pretty well on its own. Rather, the novel approach reminded me of the "Point of View" episode of MASH that was shot from a patient's view. It gives the viewer another way to appreciate the show, and the characters, from another perspective.



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