On Wednesday Microsoft released their Microsoft Outlook app (free) for iPhone and iPad. The app offers you an integrated interface for email, calendar, contacts, and attachments. You can use it to access your iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and Outlook.com accounts, as well as Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Especially if you're a corporate user, this is a great way to integrate all your accounts in one app.
Apple's quarterly results yesterday smashed expectations and set a record for the highest quarterly profit by any publicly traded company in history. The company had revenue of $74.6 billion and a profit of $18 billion. No other company worldwide has had a quarterly profit as high as that. iPhone sales were the engine for this huge income. Whereas analysts had been optimistically predicting sales of between 65–69 million iPhones, Apple reported sales of 74.6 million. Just to put that in perspective, that amounts to 34,000 iPhones every hour every of the day, every day of the week for the entire quarter. iPhone sales in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were a big factor in Apple's huge revenue, bringing in $16 billion, with the iPhone now being the highest-selling smartphone in China.
On Tuesday, USA Technologies announced support for Apple Pay, bringing this mobile payment system to over 200,000 self-serve appliances throughout the U.S. USA Technologies is a leader of wireless, cashless payment solutions for small-ticket, self-serve retailing industries, according to their press release. Locations and services officially supporting Apple Pay now include owners and operators of coffee brewers, vending machines, kiosks, laundry equipment, parking pay stations, and other self-serve appliances.
Apple has launched a new section in the iTunes Store title "Free on iTunes" that gives you convenient access to free songs and free full-length TV episodes. The music section currently offers 16 songs from artists such as Rogue Wave, Purity Ring, Michelle Chamuel, and Machine Head — which, as you can see, are mostly unknown or up-and-coming artists. The 24 TV episodes available are from TV series such as 12 Monkeys, The Musketeers, K.C. Undercover, Backstrom, and Eye Candy, plus episodes from educational channels such as TLC and Animal Planet. This new section is available in the desktop iTiunes software and on your device.
Analysts are generally expecting Apple to have had a monster quarter for the three months that ended Dec. 31. And they've estimated that Apple will have sold a record 65 to 69 million iPhones in the quarter. That compares to Apple's previous record of 51 million in the December quarter a year earlier. We'll get all the details on Tuesday when Apple announces their results for the quarter after the market closes. Not only are iPhone projections stellar, sales of the Macintosh are also expected to have been high. The big question is the iPad. For three straight quarters, sales have dropped compared to the same quarter a year earlier. Apple always follows their announced results with a conference call with investors. And in an unusual move, the call this time will be webcast. The event will begin at 5 p.m., EST.
It's been several years since Apple updated the Apple TV, and we keep hearing rumors that a new box is imminent. The rumors have been wrong. Some people are getting impatient and are jailbreaking the second-generation Apple TV in order to add functionality they had hoped that Apple would make available. In fact, the second-generation Apple TV is so superior when jailbroken that it's selling for between $150–$200 on eBay — which is more than the $99 price of a new third-generation Apple TV (which can't be jailbroken).
A Chinese-language publication in Taiwan with sources in Apple's supply chain has reported that Apple will up the amount of RAM in the next iPhone to 2 GB. But even more important, it will be next-generation LPDDR4-based RAM. According to an article on Forbes, this type of RAM is twice as fast as the RAM in the current iPhone.
There's not much to go on, and not many blogs have picked this up. Yet I pass it along, given that I'd love to think that Apple may be offering a special event soon. According to Tgaap, Apple may be holding a special event on February 24. They aren't clear on the date, though, nor on what will be announced. But their "research" suggests that Tim Cook will revisit the Apple Watch and may introduce yet new features. Plus, at that time he would announce the availability dates and pricing for all the various models. According to Tgaap, Apple itself hasn't yet settled on a specific date when the Apple Watch will be available. Which makes sense, given that it often depends on how smoothly mass production goes. And production has only recently begun. The post also says something unknown will be announced, possibly Apple Watch-related. In addition, Tgaap says Apple will announce a new entry-level MacBook Pro with retina display.
The stuff on our iPhones and iPads tends to accumulate, using up valuable storage space. But if you're careful, you can use your storage space more efficiently. And one way to do that in iOS 8 is to enable a setting to automatically delete text messages after 30 days. This will be especially useful in saving space if your text messages include video and audio messages.
To have your iPhone or iPad automatically delete text messages, go the Settings > Messages > Message History.
Tap on the Keep Messages setting to bring up a screen that shows your options: 30 Days, 1 Year, and Forever.
On Wednesday Google released a new version of Google Translate (free) in the App Store that has some great new features. Most importantly, it now includes Word Lens: you can point your camera at some text in a foreign language, and the translated text will instantly overlay the image on your screen. You don't even need an Internet connection. According to the announcement on the Official Google Blog, the translation works between English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, with more languages to be added.