Posts in news

Apple Pay Now Available for UK HSBC and First Direct Customers

HSBC and First Direct customers in the UK can now use Apple Pay, two weeks after Apple Pay launched in the UK. Both banks had been expected to support Apple Pay when it launched in the UK (HSBC even accidentally leaked the launch date), and both were listed as a participating bank right up until the Apple Pay launch date, when HSBC revealed that it had to delay Apple Pay support due to "some issues".

HSBC and First Direct join several other financial institutions including Royal Bank of Scotland, American Express, Nationwide, Natwest, Santander, and Ulster Bank in supporting Apple Pay in the UK. Out of the four big banks in the UK, two now support Apple Pay (HSBC & Royal Bank of Scotland), with the other two (Lloyds Bank and Barclays) committed to support it in the future.

Apple Pay support from HSBC seems to be limited at launch to those who have a personal bank account with a Visa Debit Card. For more information on setting up and using Apple Pay, see this Apple Support article.


‘Apps at a Tap': Apple Posts Three New Apple Watch Ads Focusing on Travel, Fitness and Music Apps

Apple tonight debuted three new ads for the Apple Watch, each featuring the new tagline of 'Apps at a tap'. Unlike Apple's most recent Apple Watch ads from earlier this month which showed the Apple Watch in use by people in real world situations, today's ads (which are brief 15 second clips) simply feature quick demos of various Apple Watch apps.

The three ads each have a different theme, with one focused on travel apps, another on fitness apps and a third on music apps. Some of the apps featured include Uber, Expedia, WaterMinder, Shazam and StubHub.

You can view the new ads below the break or on YouTube: Travel Apps, Fitness Apps, Music Apps.

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VideoBlocks: Royalty-Free Stock Footage Downloads [Sponsor]

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Our thanks to VideoBlocks for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Apple Prevents App Store Reviews From Users on iOS 9 Betas

Within the last 12 hours Apple has modified the App Store to prevent users running "prerelease" software from leaving app reviews on the App Store. Now when a user running a beta version of iOS 9 tries to leave an app review, they will get the following error message:

This feature isn't available.
You can't write reviews while using a pre-release version of iOS.

However it appears that the change only applies to iOS 9, because users running OS X El Capitan can still post reviews on the Mac App Store.

The change should help end the annual frustration experienced by app developers when users running beta versions of iOS discovered a third party app wasn't compatible with the beta software and then left a 1-star rating on the App Store. Poor reviews on the App Store can hurt sales, and developers often can't do anything to fix the problem because they can't submit software built for the new versions of iOS whilst it remains in beta, and the bug could be one for Apple to fix, not the developer.

As Federico wrote earlier this month:

In this day and age of high competition and over 1.5 million apps available, having negative reviews displayed on the app's product page is a problem for developers. But it gets worse when those negative reviews cite problems that developers can't fix yet. At that point, developers feel that it's not fair to receive a negative review for something that's completely out of their control. And when the livelihood of independent app markers is at stake, it's hard to argue aganst their sentiment of frustration and disappointment. There's nothing they can do to fix their app issues on betas of iOS and OS X and they can't respond directly to reviews on the App Store – and yet they're taking all the blame. This, every year, repeatedly for every beta of iOS and OS X, and it's possibly becoming more of a problem now that Apple has two public betas.

The problem of permitting app reviews from users on beta software was always a problem, but it risked being a much bigger issue this year because it is the first year that Apple has begun offering public betas of a major iOS release.


Apple Q3 2015 Results: $49.6 Billion Revenue, 47.5 Million iPhones, 10.9 Million iPads Sold

Apple has published their Q3 2015 financial results for the quarter that spanned from April to June 2015. The company posted revenue of $49.6 billion. The company sold 10.9 million iPads, 47.5 million iPhones, and 4.8 million Macs, earning a quarterly net profit of $10.7 billion.

“We had an amazing quarter, with iPhone revenue up 59 percent over last year, strong sales of Mac, all-time record revenue from services, driven by the App Store, and a great start for Apple Watch,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The excitement for Apple Music has been incredible, and we’re looking forward to releasing iOS 9, OS X El Capitan and watchOS 2 to customers in the fall.”

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Igloo: An Intranet You’ll Actually Like [Sponsor]

Igloo is a social intranet. It’s built with easy-to-use apps, like shared calendars, task management, file sharing and more. It’s everything you need to work better together, in one very configurable cloud platform.

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Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Apple Posts New iPhone Advert: “Amazing Apps”

Apple's third advert featuring the new "If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone" tagline was today posted online. The new advert, "Amazing Apps", focuses on highlighting the huge amount of apps ("over one and a half million") available on the App Store, and the notion that apps on the iPhone are "hand-picked" and "awe-inspiring".

This is an iPhone, and it comes with something amazing. An App Store with over one and a half million of the best apps available. That's over one and a half million, hand-picked, awe-inspiring, just plain surprising, who knew a phone could do that, apps. If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone.

You can watch the new advert below the break, or on YouTube.

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Apple Posts Four New Apple Watch Commercials

Apple has posted four new commercials for the Apple Watch today, showcasing the device's capabilities for private communication and fitness, as well as a variety of third-party apps for international users. The new commercials follow the same stylistic choices and presentation of the first Apple Watch ads that debuted in April.

In the first two ads, called Closer and Goals, the company demonstrates how it's possible to stay in touch with others and achieve a healthier, more active lifestyle using Apple Watch. In Closer, Apple Watch use cases include Digital Touch, making phone calls, using the Watch as a remote for music, and even playing games. Rather than showing the Watch as a gadget that absorbs a user's time and attention, the message is that Apple Watch can bring people closer to each other in new ways.

In Goals, on the other hand, the company shows how the fitness tracking capabilities of Apple Watch can extend beyond workouts. From brisk walks to yoga and even filling the last three minutes of the activity rings with jumping jacks in the bedroom, achieving goals with Apple Watch includes workouts, but it can be more than that. Also in this case, Apple puts the focus on some of the fitness-oriented third-party Watch apps that have been released so far.

Lastly, in the Beijing and Berlin commercials Apple Watch is presented as a travel companion and a useful extension to the iPhone. While Apple has previously marketed the iPhone as a handy device for traveling thanks to its camera, built-in maps, and rich app ecosystem, the Watch is shown as having more or less the same role but in a more discreet and contextual fashion. These two ads are more focused on the story of Apple Watch as an everyday companion, and traveling to another city or country enables the company to easily condense features and apps in 30 seconds.

As I wrote when the first Apple Watch commercials were released:

Notably, the ads never dwell on each example too long, using multiple mini-stories to convey the glanceable, spontaneous, and brief nature of Watch interactions. With simple and elegant ads Apple is saying that the Watch is a device to get out of technology obsession and let apps come to us (and vice versa) only when necessary.

You can watch the ads below or on Apple's YouTube channel.

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Apple Releases New iPod touch, New Colors for Entire iPod Line

Apple this morning released an updated slate of iPods, featuring a big update to the internals of the iPod touch and updated colors for the entire line of iPods. The new iPods are available for purchase now on the Apple Online Store and Apple Retail Stores.

"iPod touch gives customers around the world access to Apple Music, the App Store and iOS, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, starting at just $199,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone, iPod and iOS Product Marketing. “With big advancements like the A8 chip and the 8 megapixel iSight camera, customers can experience next-level gameplay, take even more beautiful photos and enjoy their favorite music, TV shows and movies.”

The iPod touch can now be purchased in space gray, silver, gold, pink, blue, and red. The same new colors are available for the iPod nano and shuffle, also updated today with new colors but without changes in price or tech specs.

The new iPod touch now has an 8 megapixel rear camera, a big increase from the previous 5 megapixel camera. The internals have also been brought up to date with a 64-bit A8 processor and an M8 Motion chip to track steps and elevation. The iPod touch still starts at $199 for a 16 GB device, with the 32 GB model available at $249 and $299 for 64 GB, but there's also a new 128 GB model for $399. Today's update to the iPod touch is the first since Apple released the fifth generation iPod touch in October 2012.

Aside from the new colors, the iPod nano and iPod shuffle remain the same feature-wise, including the pre-iOS 7 style icons on the iPod nano. The iPod nano costs $149 and the iPod shuffle costs $49.