Withings’ Activité and Activité Pop Updated With Swim Tracking Capabilities [iOS Blog]

Withings’ Activité and Activité Pop are two of only a handful of activity trackers on the market that are entirely waterproof, and as of today, the two devices are able to be used to track swimming. Swim detection is a feature that Withings has long promised and will be a welcome addition for customers who bought the activity trackers to track their swim movements.

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Following today’s firmware update, Activité fitness trackers will be able to automatically detect swim motions, recording a swimming session as a workout as the device does for other activities like running. Activity and workout information is then available for viewing within the accompanying Withings Health Mate app.
Activité Pop automatically recognizes swim. Just put it on, dive in and the watch will log your full session and record calories burned.

Both of the Withings activity trackers are water resistant down to 50 meters, or 164 feet, a feature that many of the popular activity trackers on the market cannot match.

Even Apple’s own Apple Watch is not rated for swimming, but several people have opted to test the waterproofing of the device and have found that it does seem to be able to be used in the water with no consequence. Still, Apple does not recommend that it be used when swimming or showering, unlike the Activité, which can be used reliably in both situations.

Withings’ Activité and Activité Pop can be purchased from the Withings website for $450 and $149.95, respectively.









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Banks in the U.K. Gearing Up for Apple Pay Launch as Santander Allows Customers to Register Cards

Apple Pay in the United Kingdom has yet to officially launch, but some banks are preparing for the upcoming release of the payments service and have begun allowing customers to register their cards for use with Apple Pay.

Several Santander customers on the MacRumors forums have been able to successfully add their cards to Passbook for use with Apple Pay, making the cards available on both their iPhones and their Apple Watches.

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Customers registering their cards are also receiving confirmation emails from Santander, informing them that they’re now able to use Apple Pay. As of the time of writing, customers have not yet tested the Apple Pay service at a location that accepts Apple Pay. One customer was told the bank’s system is not live and that customers who were able to mistakenly register early would be de-registered, so it is not clear if the registered cards will be able to be used to make purchases.

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Activating a Santander card with Apple Pay at this time requires U.K. users to set their region to U.S., add a card, and change their region back to U.K., at which point the card remains available in Passbook. It’s clearly a workaround, but a sign that banks are preparing to accept Apple Pay in the near future.

Other banks, like MBNA and Nationwide, are giving error messages like “Contact Card Issuer” and “Your Issuer Does Not Yet Offer Support.”

It is not clear exactly when Apple Pay will become officially available in the United Kingdom, but during its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple said the payments service would launch in July. Recently released employee training documents have suggested the launch could come next week, on Tuesday, July 14. 250,000 merchants are expected to support Apple Pay in the U.K. when it is released.









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Apple Adds New ‘Apple Tested Cases’ Page to Online Store

As it works on introducing some major changes to the third-party accessory sections of its retail stores, Apple has launched a new section in its online store dedicated to “Apple Tested Cases.”

The new page is displayed alongside third-party iPhone and iPad cases and outlines the testing procedures for Apple-approved Made for iPhone/iPad (MFi) third-party cases that Apple sells both online and in its retail stores. Designed to reassure customers about the quality of the third-party accessories available from Apple, the site goes over several testing parameters that cases must meet, including design, camera, acoustics, sensors, and cellular and wireless.

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We analyze how a case fits, so you can still access every button, port, and jack. And a series of drop tests tells us the design is strong enough for day-to-day use.

Each case must fit the iPhone or iPad exactly, leaving all ports and features accessible. The camera and flash must be unobstructed, cases can’t interfere with FaceTime, phone calls, or audio sound, and sensors for ambient light and Touch ID must work the same with the case on and off. Cellular, Wi-Fi, and NFC connectivity are also tested, with each case needing to meet Apple’s standards for signal quality.

Apple has long engaged in these testing procedures to make sure accessories are compliant with its MFi programs, but the launch of the “Apple Tested Cases” page marks the first time that Apple’s prominently shared its testing guidelines with the public.

The introduction of the page comes as Apple prepares to revamp the third-party accessory sections in many of its retail locations, cutting down on the number of accessories offered and packaging many of them in boxes that were co-designed by Apple to match the packaging of its own products.









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Apple No Longer Signing iOS 8.3 for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch [iOS Blog]

IPSWApple is no longer signing the iOS 8.3 software update for all compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, meaning that users can no longer downgrade to that version using iTunes. Apple is now only signing iOS 8.4 and later.

iPhone, iPad or iPod touch users that have jailbroken their device on iOS 8.3 should not worry about accidentally updating to iOS 8.4, as an untethered jailbreak is available for both software versions courtesy of Chinese tool TaiG.









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Tech21’s New Apple-Exclusive iPhone Cases Designed to Match Apple Watch Sport Bands [iOS Blog]

Tech21 today announced that its Evo Mesh Sport and Evo Elite case lineup for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are now available exclusively through the Apple Store and Apple Online Store. The new Evo Mesh Sport is the first iPhone case to identically match the Apple Watch sport band colors, in blue, green, pink, smokey black and white, while the new Evo Elite has a scratch-resistant aluminum finish.

Evo Mesh iPhone 6 Cases
Both of the new Evo cases for iPhone feature Tech21’s impact-absorbing material FlexShock, which is capable of withstanding drops up to 6.6 feet and is both thinner and lighter than many competing cases. The cases also provide full access to all of the iPhone’s ports and buttons, with corner and edge encasing and a raised screen bezel for added protection.

The new Evo Elite case can be purchased in space gray, silver and gold for $49 for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, while the new Evo Mesh Sport case is available in blue, green, pink, smokey black and white for $39 for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new Evo Mesh Sport with matching band colors has yet to become available on the Apple Store in the United States, but some of the new colors have surfaced on the U.K. store.









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‘Showtime’ Launches on Apple TV for $10.99 per Month [iOS Blog]

Showtime today confirmed that its self-titled standalone streaming service will be released today for the Apple TV, allowing viewers to pay for Showtime’s exclusive series directly without needing a cable subscription (via Re/code).

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First announced just over a month ago, the service will cost those interested $10.99 per month and everyone can sign up for a 30-day free trial to test the experience before subscribing. The service will cost users a few dollars less than HBO NOW’s $15 streaming cost, which debuted exclusively on Apple TV earlier in the Spring.

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Showtime’s launch today comes in a bit ahead of the previously-announced July 12 release date for the standalone service, a date that coincided with the network’s big summer premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex. No doubt giving users a few days to prepare before the summer premieres, those interested should be start seeing the Showtime app on the Apple TV shortly.









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Apple Watch Demand Slides Significantly in June as Launch Momentum Wanes

Apple Watch sales in the United States appear to have slowed down significantly in June based on new data that research firm Slice Intelligence shared with MarketWatch. Following a steep decline in the days after Apple Watch pre-orders commenced, which is to be expected of any product, daily U.S. sales remained relatively stable through May before experiencing a large drop-off last month as launch momentum begins to wane.

Apple Watch Sales Slice Apr to Jun 2015
The report claims that Apple is now selling fewer than 20,000 watches per day in the United States, and fewer than 10,000 on certain days, while the logarithmic chart above indicates that sales dipped to as low as 4000 to 5000 units per day in late June. The data does not account for sales in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom or the twelve other countries where the Apple Watch is sold outside of the United States.

Slice Intelligence claims that two-thirds of Apple Watches sold to date have been the entry-level Sport model, far outselling the more expensive stainless steel Watch and 18-karat gold Edition models that start at $549 and $10,000 respectively. The research firm also estimates that Apple has sold fewer than 2,000 luxury Apple Watch Edition models in the U.S. through June.

Slice Intelligence previously estimated 1 million Apple Watch pre-orders at launch, an average 30,000 Apple Watch sales per day in late May and an estimated 2.8 million total sales as of mid June. The research firm’s sales estimates are based on e-receipt data from online shoppers in the United States that opted-in to have their inboxes tracked for email receipts.

Apple has not publicly disclosed any Apple Watch sales figures since the wrist-worn device launched in April, and will be grouping the device under its “Other Products” category, which combines sales of Apple Watch, iPod, Apple TV, Beats Electronics and accessories, in its quarterly fiscal reports. Apple’s Q3 FY 2015 results are scheduled to be released on July 21 at 2:00 PM Pacific.









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Tim Cook Named to Duke University’s Board of Trustees on Six-Year Term

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been named as one of eight new board of trustee members at his alma mater Duke University, where he earned his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business in 1988, the school announced today. Cook began serving his six-year term on July 1 and will assist the governing body in determining Duke University’s educational mission and fiscal policies.

Duke University Tim Cook

Tim Cook speaking at Duke University in April 2013

The other new trustees are The Coca-Cola Foundation chairwoman Lisa Borders, PRM Advisors founder Patricia Morton, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and ValueAct Capital CEO Jeff Ubben. Duke University also appointed three observing members on the board, including Elastic Fabrics of America marketing executive and Duke alum Jack Boyd, recent Duke graduate Anna Knight and Duke JD/MBA candidate Ben Shellhorn.


Cook returned to Duke University in 2013 for his 25th reunion and participated in an hour-long dialogue with Fuqua School of Business Dean Bill Boulding and students about why Apple is successful, collaboration, ethical leadership, career planning, inspirational leaders, intuitions and more. The embedded playlist of videos above will play through each of the seven clips that the university shared.

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Cook poses for selfies with Blue Devils fans last April (Twitter/Mike Leopando)

Cook has also long been a supporter of Duke University basketball and took several photos with fans during the school’s NCAA Final Four men’s basketball championship winning game against Wisconsin on April 6. The chief executive made headlines at the time for wearing an Apple Watch, which became available for pre-order four days later before officially going on sale April 24.









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