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Latest Apple Video, Shot Entirely on iPad Air 2, Features High School Students Making Videos

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Apple aired a new video during the Oscars that featured high school students making videos, with voice-over by Hollywood director Martin Scorsese. The video, which shows snippets of the students' videos as well as behind-the-scenes shots, was filmed entirely on the iPad Air 2. 



Bloomberg: Apple Targeting Year 2020 for Producing Cars

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The New York Times has jumped on the bandwagon and is also now reporting that Apple is focused on developing a car. Citing "two people with knowledge of the company’s plans," the Times said that Apple has assembled a team of over 200 people to work on an electric car. And on Thursday we got the first hint of a timetable: Bloomberg reported that Apple is pushing its team to get the car ready by 2020. That's extremely ambitious, Bloomberg says, given that it typically takes an experienced car manufacturer five to seven years to bring a new model to market. The report says that Apple will likely be competing with both Tesla and General Motors, which are planning to begin selling an electric car in 2017 for under $40,000 that will go 200 miles on a single charge. 



Video Shows How Siri Will Sound More Natural in iOS 8.3

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Apple continues to quietly improve Siri's speech so that it sounds more natural. And a developer who is using the latest preview version of the forthcoming iOS 8.3 has posted a video on 9To5Mac that lets you hear how this new version will improve Siri's diction.



More Evidence Apple Is Interested in Building a Car

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As I outlined in a previous post, there's a considerable amount of evidence that Apple is seriously exploring becoming a car manufacturer, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Apple has over 300 employees working on the project. 



Gold Edition Apple Watch Could Add Billions to Apple's Revenues

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Apple could add $5 billion to its coffers each quarter in sales of the gold version of their Apple Watch. Expectations are that as much as 17 percent of the Apple Watch sales will be of the pricey gold version, which would translate to one million sales, per quarter, of a wearable expected to sell for $5,000. Are there 4 million wealthy Apple fans who are willing to pony up for that pricetag? If so, it could explain Angela Ahrents bonus of $73 million for leaving the CEO spot at Burberry to run Apple's retail division. That incentive seemed outrageous originally, but she gave up a comparable amount at Burberry. Now she has to work her magic to make sure that number is noise compared to the revenue she may bring in. It may be paying off, as Self magazine is already showcasing an Apple Watch on their cover worn by supermodel Candice Swanepoel.



Apple Acquires Patent for Virtual Reality Headset

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Is Apple preparing for a virtual reality device of their own? A new patent acquired by the company suggests it has at least crossed their minds.



Wall Street Journal: Apple Has Ordered 5 to 6 Million Apple Watches Prior to Launch

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The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Apple has ordered 5–6 million Apple Watches from its suppliers in advance of the April launch. Citing "people familiar with the matter," the report said that half of this initial order will be the low-end Sport model and another third will be the mid-tier watch. The initial order for the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition is relatively small, but the article says that after this first order Apple will be asking suppliers to make 1 million per month. Most are expecting the high-end model to sell for at least $4,000, while the entry-level version will start at $349, according to Apple's announcement.



The Apple Watch That Never Was

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We will be getting the Apple Watch soon, but it may not be the watch we could have had. As powerful as the Apple Watch will be, Apple reportedly had more ambitious plans for their first generation wearable, but they were axed for several reasons, including regulatory approval. If Apple were to start making medical claims, they would need approval from the FDA. While the watch will have a heart rate sensor, the dropped features include tracking of blood pressure and stress levels. Apple apparently couldn't guarantee accurate results, as there are too many variables, such as how tightly the watch is worn.



In Praise of Flip Phones

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It turns out that flip phones are still popular. Who knew? Actually, I did, as I often run into users with Flip Phones at trade shows where I'm promoting my apps. Nothing shuts down an app developer like "I use a flip phone!" But it turns out that while there are many users who just want a simple phone, without apps or a fragile, exposed touchscreen, there are flip phones that are quite advanced. And they're big in Japan.



Apple Beats Android, Barely

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Apple's iOS has been playing second fiddle to Google's Android in terms of market share since 2012. While Apple was doing quite well in terms of profits, they had been losing on volume to Android devices which tend to be much cheaper and even free with a contract. But a new report indicates that has changed with the larger iPhone 6 (and more affordable iPhone 5 models.)



Wall Street Journal Reports Apple Developing a Car

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What do you do if you have $180 billion in cash? If you're Apple, you develop a car. A number of reports in recent days have said that Apple is working on a design for an electric car and that it's expected to have self-driving features.



Another Apple TV Prediction

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Groucho Marx used to say "Live every day as if it were your last, because one day, you're going to be right." Likewise, Piper Jaffray's Gene Muster is always proclaiming that "this year" is the year Apple will ship its own full-size Apple TV and not just a hockey puck-sized set-top box. He still thinks a full-fledged television is coming from Apple, but in the meantime, an updated Apple TV should ship in 2015. That is a safer bet (and a far safer one than Apple shipping an automobile.)



Twitter Blames Apple and iOS 8 for Loss in Users, Then Backtracks

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Whenever Apple releases a new major version of iOS, it sends developers scrambling. They have to make sure their apps are compatible and aren't relying on "deprecated" code that no longer works or will stop working soon. But sometimes Apple changes things just enough in ways that don't break an app, but have an impact nonetheless. Twitter has just found this out the hard way.



Apple Watch Will Make You Move

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We are learning more about the Apple Watch, in part thanks to a conference call Apple CEO Tim Cook had recently with analysts. We already knew that the battery life (about 19 hours with light use) would prohibit sleeping with the watch on. This, and its size, make it less suitable as a sleep tracker. So don't expect the Apple Watch to tell you how you slept. In fact, it looks like the watch will discourage you from being still! There is a mode that beta testers have been using that will remind you to get up and stop being so sedentary.



Apple Watch Announcements Does Its Job, Discourages Other Smart Watch Purchases

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Apple made a rare move when it publicly announced the Apple Watch many months before it would be available. But this may have been designed to discourage potential customers from purchasing competing smart watches. If so, it worked, as only 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped during the last six months of 2014, the time period when it was available. Users might not want to spend $200 to $350 on a watch, and if they do, they will want to keep it a while, rather than upgrade every year or two. This means it was wiser to wait and see how robust Apple's offering would be.



iPhone Sales Up, iPhone Theft Down

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As Apple hits new sales and revenue records, selling more iPhones than ever, owners of those new iPhones are losing fewer of them to theft. Apple's iPhones have long been a target of thieves. People use their expensive devices in public, listening to music, chatting, texting, etc., and aren't always paying attention to their surroundings. This behavior combined with the high resale value of Apple products, has resulted in a lot of thefts; in some jurisdictions, more iPhones are stolen than any other item.



New Apple Ad Features iPad as Music-Creation Tool

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A new TV ad from Apple, embedded below, features the Swedish recording artist Elliphant using an iPad to help create her song "All or Nothing." It also shows the iPad being used by UK producer Riton to remix the song, and DJ The Gaslamp Killer using an iPad during live performance. Plus it shows the Parisian film director So Me using an iPad to shoot Elliphant's video. The tagline is "film changes with iPad." 



iOS 9 to Focus on the Fundamentals

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Apple should be releasing iOS 8.2 (or 8.3) to the public soon, when the Apple Watch ships;, but eyes are already on iOS 9, which would likely be introduced in June at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The next version of iOS has a code name, apparently, called Monarch. Rather than a nod to royalty, this could be a reference to the butterfly that emerges from its cocoon. That would be an appropriate analogy, as signs say this version of iOS is not going to be focused on new features, but rather finishing touches like stability. This is similar to how Apple's Swift didn't really offer new functionality, but instead was a cleaner, more efficient way to create apps. Such a shift should help iOS's performance on 16 GB devices.



Attention Cord Cutters: Sling TV Now Available for $20 Per Month, Offers ESPN, AMC

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If you balk at paying $60 to 100 per month for a bundle of cable channels that includes many you don't watch, the new offering from Sling TV will appeal to you, especially if you're a sports fan.



Console Gaming is Dying. Long Live iOS Gaming.

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I write a lot about video games for iPhone Life Magazine and iPhoneLife.com. Specifically iOS video games. So the fact that mobile games are set to generate higher revenue than console games this year is no surprise to me. I've reported on this trend before and I imagine it's just the beginning of a radically new status quo in the world of modern gaming.



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