Posts in news

Google Approaches Email in a New Way with Inbox

Google yesterday unveiled Inbox, a new email client for Gmail that takes a different approach to email. Google frames Inbox as a product that recognises we now use email in very different ways today, but email (and email clients) have barely changed.

Email started simply as a way to send digital notes around the office. But fast-forward 30 years and with just the phone in your pocket, you can use email to contact virtually anyone in the world…from your best friend to the owner of that bagel shop you discovered last week.

With this evolution comes new challenges: we get more email now than ever, important information is buried inside messages, and our most important tasks can slip through the cracks—especially when we’re working on our phones. For many of us, dealing with email has become a daily chore that distracts from what we really need to do—rather than helping us get those things done.

Google Inbox is different in a few fundamental ways, with a strong focus on some interesting features:

  • Bundles: Inbox will group together similar emails into bundles such as Travel, Purchases, Promotions.
  • Highlights: Inbox will try to intelligently highlight key information from your emails (event details, flight itineraries) and even pull in information from outside your emails (such as real-time status of a delivery or flight)
  • Reminders, Assists, and Snooze: Inbox also becomes a kind-of to-do app, able to remind you about emails or tasks to accomplish at a later date. This includes letting you snooze on messages until a later date.

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Maps Connect: Apple’s Tool for Small Businesses to List on Apple Maps

Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land has a great post that details how small businesses can use Apple's Maps Connect tool to add their business to the Apple Maps database. It isn't a completely new feature, as pointed out by Apple Spotlight, but new features have been added and Apple is now actively promoting the feature.

This afternoon Apple notified us of a new self-service portal to add or edit local business listings: Apple Maps Connect. It’s intended for small business owners or their authorized representatives (though not agencies) to be able to quickly and easily add content directly into Apple Maps.

Updates or new listings will show up within a week or could show up more quickly depending on the situation and whether the listing was flagged and/or there’s additional verification required. Beyond this, Apple has additional fraud prevention measures in place but didn’t discuss them extensively.

Sterling's post has screenshots of the entire process, so if you're interested I recommend reading it yourself. Also interesting is that as part of Maps Connect, businesses can apply for Apple's indoor positioning technology which it launched with iOS 8. The website notes that Apple is currently focused on working with those businesses that have annual visitors of over 1 million, WiFi throughout and accurate maps, amongst other things.

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Igloo: An intranet that actually works on your phone [Sponsor]

Work doesn’t stop when you leave your desk (although most intranet software will have you believe that).
 
With Igloo’s responsive design, your intranet can be fully optimized for almost any device you’re using. Manage tasks, share status updates, download documents — almost everything you can do on your desktop, you can do on your tablet or phone. It will even work on your new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Boom.
 
Plus, when you design your Igloo, any change you make to the look and feel carries across all devices.
 
Igloo is free to use with up to ten people. Sign up now to start building your mobile-friendly intranet.

Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Apple Q4 2014 Results: $42.1 Billion Revenue, 39.3 Million iPhones, 12.3 Million iPads Sold

Apple has published their Q4 2014 financial results for the quarter that ended September 27, 2014. The company posted revenue of $42.1 billion. The company sold 12.3 million iPads, 39.3 million iPhones, and 5.5 million Macs, earning a quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion.

“Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”

A new 'Other' category for Apple Watch in 2015

As noted by Bloomberg, starting next year, Apple will create a new 'Other' category for their financial results which will combine the sales of the new Apple Watch, iPod, Apple TV, Beats products and other accessories. The move will make it difficult to break out exact sales figures for the Apple Watch and is also different to how Apple treated the iPhone and iPad which from the first quarter received their own category.

“This gives Apple cover for the early months of Apple Watch sales at least,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst and founder of Jackdaw Research. “If they’re low, the results will be buried with other product sales and hard for analysts to back out. But if they’re good, then Apple can still crow about them and split out results on an ad-hoc basis.” (via Bloomberg)

 

Notably, Apple's gross margin was slightly higher at 38%, compared to 37% in the year-ago quarter. International sales also accounted for 60% of all Apple's revenue. You can see all our usual earnings call charts below.

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Apple Releases iOS 8.1 – Here’s What’s New

Following an official announcement at a media event last week, Apple today released iOS 8.1, the first major update to iOS 8, which was originally launched in September.

As Apple's Craig Federighi noted last week, Apple uses the launch of major new versions of iOS to collect “feedback” and quickly release bug fixes, address questions and concerns, and ship improvements that didn't make the cut for the first release.

iOS 8.1 brings bug fixes, speed improvements, and interface changes, but it also enables Continuity features such as Text Message Forwarding and Instant Hotspot, allowing iOS devices to better integrate with each other and Macs running OS X Yosemite. With iOS 8.1, Apple is opening access to its iCloud Photo Library beta – an iCloud service that stores all your photos from all your devices, in a single library that relays changes to every device. And last, iOS 8.1 marks the debut of Apple Pay, the company's new payment service that rolls out in the US today.

iOS 8.1 is available through Software Update now. You can find a list of the most notable changes below; you can read our previous iOS 8 coverage here.

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Adobe Releases Aperture Import Tool for Lightroom

MacRumors:

The free plugin, which can be downloaded from Adobe's site, will make it simple for Aperture users to migrate their libraries into Lightroom, a task that takes quite a bit of time to do manually. It is available only for Mac users and requires Lightroom 5.6 or later.

Using the plugin, Aperture users can import the following data into Lightroom: Flags, Star Ratings, Keywords, GPS Data, Rejects, Hidden Files, Color Labels, Stacks, and Face Tags. Color Labels, Stacks, and Face Tags are imported as Lightroom keywords, and because adjustments to photos made in Aperture can't be read into Lightroom, the tool will import both original images and copies of images with adjustments applied.

This plugin should make life considerably easier for those wanting to migrate from Aperture (which has been discontinued by Apple) to Adobe's Lightroom. Keep in mind that this plugin does require a subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud, which starts at $9.99.

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The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display

At Apple's media event yesterday, Apple unveiled a new high-end iMac that includes a Retina 5K display. Starting at US$2499 it includes the 5K display with a resolution of 5120x2880, a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive and an AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. In every other respect, the iMac is identical to its non-Retina version, still tapering off to the sides with an edge of just 5mm.

“Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive, and Thunderbolt 2, it’s the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever.”

The Retina iMac can be further upgraded to a 4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 32GB of RAM a 3TB Fusion Drive or 1TB SSD and an AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.

Apple's website explains the interesting technical features that allow the iMac to have a 5K display, including a custom timing controller, Oxide TFT and highly efficient LEDs. Because there are nearly 15 million pixels, Apple developed its own timing controller that has four times the bandwidth of the previous generation 27-inch iMac.  The Oxide thin film transistor (TFT) provides the electrical charge to each pixel and does so more precisely and quicker than other technologies - and is even more energy efficient. Apple have also used more efficient LEDs which has actually enabled them to power four times the number of pixels with 30 percent less power.

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The Numbers From Apple’s October 16 Event

Photo courtesy of Jason Snell at Six Colors.

Every year, Apple kicks off their product presentations with a “state of the business” introduction that, with various numbers and facts, reveals how the company is doing in several areas such as retail, the App Store, iOS device sales and software upgrades, and Mac sales.

At today’s media event in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared only a few details about the launch of new iPhones, but the company still revealed some interesting numbers and statistics throughout the keynote.

  • 48% of customers have already updated to iOS 8 after 4 weeks; 46% of them remain on iOS 7, and 6% on "other" versions of iOS.
  • Another 500 banks have confirmed they will support Apple Pay.
  • More than a million members of the Mac community signed up for the Yosemite public beta.
  • 225 million iPads have been sold to date.
  • 675,000 apps have been created specifically for the iPad.
  • The new iPad Air 2 is 6.1 mm thin; 18% thinner than the first iPad Air.
  • The new A8X chip of the iPad Air 2 has a 40% faster CPU, 2.5x faster GPU.
  • The Mac's line has been growing 18% year-over-year.
  • The iMac's new Retina 5K display has 67% more pixels than 4K.

For more coverage, check out our October 16 news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.