After we published our review of the ClamCase Pro keyboard for the iPad Air 2, some of our readers suggested that we take a look at other iPad keyboards available on the market. We decided to take MacRumors readers up on that suggestion, and over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at several keyboards designed for Apple’s newest tablet, the iPad Air 2.
We’re kicking things off with a review of the BrydgeAir keyboard, which is able to work with both the original iPad Air and the iPad Air 2. Much like the ClamCase Pro we previously looked at, the all-aluminum BrydgeAir is designed to turn the iPad into a miniature MacBook.
At $169, the BrydgeAir is one of the more expensive iPad keyboards on the market, but that price point comes with some perks not found in many cheaper options — quality aluminum construction, a fluid 180 degree hinge, built-in dual stereo speakers, and backlit keys.
Images of what appear to be a mockup version of the upcoming larger-screened “iPad Pro” depict either a secondary Lightning port or a USB-C port on one side of the device, suggesting it could potentially have multiple methods of charging and/or the ability to support accessories like keyboards and mice. The pictures, which show the mystery port, a headphone jack/speakers, and the camera, originated on microblogging site Sina Weibo and were shared by Italian site HDBlog.
Case manufacturers and other accessory makers often create dummy models of upcoming Apple devices to get an early start on the development process, and the tablet pictured in the photos is likely one of these mockups. Most of these models are based on rumors and leaked schematics, and while they’re frequently accurate, there have been errors in dummy models for past devices.
The port on the left side of the device in the images does line up with a previously leaked iPad Pro case that had an opening on the left side believed to be for a SIM card tray, but the presence of a side port was not seen in schematics shared by Japanese magazine Mac Fan last November. Those schematics may have been inaccurate or out of date, as rumors have suggested Apple is still working on ironing out the tablet’s features ahead of its release.
Given the design similarities between a Lightning port and a USB-C port, it is not entirely clear what function the extra port serves, but a recent rumor from The Wall Street Journal pointed towards the the possible inclusion of USB 3.0 ports on the iPad Pro, potentially allowing the device to connect to a keyboard or mouse.
Aside from the Lightning port, the other images shared on Weibo show a rear camera with light sensor and microphone, and a headphone jack adjacent to a row of speakers. Rumors have suggested the iPad Pro will have speakers and microphones at the top and bottom edges of the device for a stereo audio experience.
Aside from its larger size and tweaked design elements to accommodate new features, the iPad Pro is said to look similar to the existing iPad Air and iPad mini. It’s rumored to have a high-resolution display between 12.2 and 12.9 inches, an A8X processor, 2GB RAM, and Touch ID. It may also support an optional stylus accessory.
Apple may be targeting a September 2015 production timeline for the tablet, so it may come alongside new iPad Air and iPad mini models this fall.
With just under a month until the April 24 launch date of the Apple Watch, internationally renowned Nanoblock artist Christopher Tan has re-created the Apple Watch in block form in anticipation of the wearable’s release next month.
As Tan notes, the sculpture is a 2.6x scale model of the 42mm Apple Watch created from over 800 pieces of Nanoblock, which is a popular building block product in Japan, akin to LEGO. Tan says he’s “been a long-time Apple fan” and is “eagerly anticipating the Apple Watch.”
Tan has been creating Apple-related Nanoblock structures for a while now, last year debuting a 2,000-piece structure of the Fifth Avenue Apple Store, complete with the iconic glass cube entrance and descending spiral staircase. Tan’s creations have earned him spreads in magazines and even award recognition in the Nanoblock company’s own spotlight of the best creations and creators using the product.
Check out the rest of Tan’s Nanoblock creations on his blog.
Yes, the rumors of Apple expanding its trade-in program were true — the company’s stores are now willing to take your competing smartphone in return for credit toward a new iPhone. If you live in France, Italy, the UK or the US, you can trade in certain Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices (the BlackBerry Z10, Lumia 1020 and Nexus 5 are among the examples). We can’t imagine that you’ll be too eager to use this option — you may either remain loyal to a platform, or can find a buyer who’ll offer more — but it could be useful if you’re determined to ditch an old phone in an eco-friendly way. Just be sure to call if you’re going to try this soon. We’ve reached out to a number of stores, and only a few were aware that non-iPhone trade-ins were live. It could take some time before every store is up to speed.
Photo by Will Lipman.
A number of tech executives have decried state laws that promote discrimination against the LGBT community by allowing companies to refuse service on religious grounds, but Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking his opposition to the next level. The executive has written an editorial for the Washington Post that says it’s “dangerous” to enact these laws, which include Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Arkansas’ tentative HB1228. To him, these measures not only “rationalize injustice” against fellow human beings (including himself), but are “bad for business” — they could stifle employment and corporate growth.
Cook stops short of taking direct action. He’s not closing retail stores or otherwise scaling back operations in states where these laws exist. However, a mix of cities and companies (including tech outfits like Salesforce and Yelp) have already said they’ll either avoid doing business in Indiana when possible, or shift their growth elsewhere. The editorial shows that there’s potential for more dramatic reactions — it isn’t far-fetched to see Apple, Google or others refusing to set up data centers and offices in states with laws that restrict civil liberties.
Source: Washington Post
Chinese parts supplier Future Supplier (via Nowhereelse.fr) has posted leaked images of what it believes could be the rear shell for the so-called “iPhone 6c.” The rear housing looks similar to the plastic iPhone 5c, with two notable differences being a pill-shaped LED flash cutout and two rows of speaker grilles on the bottom of the smartphone. The size of the rear shell indicates that the device’s screen size could fall within the 4-inch range.
The pill-shaped LED flash design and two rows of speaker grilles are also found on the iPhone 5s, indicating that the iPhone 6c could have the same internals as the two-generations-old smartphone with a plastic shell. The smartphone would likely be positioned at the low end of the iPhone lineup as Apple’s free smartphone, alongside the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and next-generation iPhones released later this year.
Apple did not refresh the iPhone 5c when it launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year, leading to speculation that the plastic smartphone might be discontinued from the smartphone lineup.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has called recent “religious freedom” legislation passed in Indiana and Arkansas “very dangerous” in a public op-ed letter published by The Washington Post. Cook argues that there are nearly 100 pro-discrimination bills in the United States that “go against the very principles” the country was founded on and “have the potential to undo decades of progress towards greater equality.”
Cook’s letter comes in response to Indiana governor Mike Pence passing the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, following intense opposition from opponents that believe the bill supports discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians. The bill, based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, takes effect July 1st.
“America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” said Cook. “At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.”
Cook believes that the recently passed legislation in Indiana and Arkansas, and similar bills being considered in other states, draw comparisons to the days of segregation in the United States, adding that Apple will never tolerate discrimination regardless of the laws passed. “This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue,” he said. “This is about how we treat each other as human beings.”
“Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.”
Cook tweeted last week that Apple is “open for everyone” and “deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law,” calling on Arkansas to veto its similar HB1228 bill. Indiana has received a lot of backlash for signing the bill, with several organizations and companies throughout the United States vowing to stop supporting the state.
Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same — regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015
Cook has remained committed to equality in the workplace as chief executive at Apple. In November 2013, he publicly supported the U.S. Employment Nondiscrimination Act, legislation proposed to prohibit many civilian, nonreligious employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for the purposes of hiring or other employment practices.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
As Apple and other companies create products capable of providing more and more detailed health-related information, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to give the companies creating these devices breathing room to manufacture the devices free, for the most part, from the scrutiny of the agency (via Bloomberg Business).
The FDA’s associate director for digital health, Bakul Patel, noted that while the agency will be more lenient on devices aimed at simply improving the lifestyle of its customers, more health-invasive features, like a glucose monitor app on the Apple Watch, will continue to be reviewed by the FDA.
“We are taking a very light touch, an almost hands-off approach,” Patel, the FDA’s associate director for digital health, said in an interview. “If you have technology that’s going to motivate a person to stay healthy, that’s not something we want to be engaged in.”
The rule of thumb released in a few guidelines by the agency highlight that the FDA’s focus will be on devices and software that are attempting to replicate, or mimic, the functionality of a medical service or device. Basic heart-rate and step-counting aspects of these wrist-worn devices will receive little-to-no regulation from the FDA.
Marketing will also be a factor for the agency, according to Patel. If a company is attempting to promote a product as being able to assist doctors in making medical decisions, “it will require more oversight.” This is a concern not aimed currently at Apple’s own Apple Watch and HealthKit, due to both’s minimally invasive health-related functionality, but could become a concern in the future as Tim Cook himself echoed hopes of both platforms helping to pinpoint diseases and cancers in the near future.
“We have to be confident in what we are getting,” Patel said. “The trajectory is there and all signals are headed that way, but by the same token the research and science should get us that confidence. It boils down to will it work or not.”
“The FDA has a role to play for providing patients and consumers a level of confidence that they can use it,” he said.
With a focus “only on the higher end of technology”, Patel notes that the agency asks itself what kind of harm a user may face if the product fails, and uses that answer as a springboard into regulation of the product as a whole. The new laid-back angle is in stark opposition of how the tech world views the FDA, with most startups listing regulation by the agency as one of the biggest risks to a business “even when scrutiny is unlikely.” Patel, and the FDA, knows of the issue and plans to hire new staff in assisting to “improve relations with technology companies” in the future.
Although the FDA’s new lax approach to basic fitness-tracking will give companies more room to operate on their own terms, as technology for the smart wearables category moves forward, we’ll no doubt see more and more glucose- and blood pressure-tracking applications in the future. Apple itself has met with the FDA several times in the past few years, with most recent discussions centering around the functions and regulations of the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch will be available for in store previews and Try-On appointments starting on April 10th. The Apple Watch comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and band-types which can make the decision of how to pick a band and Apple Watch combination complicated.
Apple has a number of recommended combinations highlighted on their online store, but also sells bands separately, allowing customers to potentially mix and match between the various Apple Watches and bands. Some combinations could yield a mix of materials that readers feared may not look natural together, such as an aluminum Apple Watch Sport and a stainless steel accented band. The stainless steel Apple Watch is the most cosmetically versatile but carries a $200 premium over the aluminum Apple Watch Sport.
Apple, however, will not allow customers to try arbitrary mix and match options during their Apple Watch Try-On appointments, presumably in the interest of time and simplicity. According to retail training materials MacRumors received, Apple specifically states that they “will not size links or swap bands” at the Try-on table or Try-on cases. Try-on appointments for non-Edition Apple Watches are meant to last only 5-15 minutes. Apple will have 18 specific Apple Watch combinations on display at their Try-On tables and 10 specific combinations at their Try-On cases.
Apple Watch pre-sales and try-on appointments start on April 10th, and the official launch of the Apple Watch is April 24th.
As the Apple Watch launch approaches, details have been leaking out about how Apple will be handling sales of their new device. According to leaked Apple documentation, the company will not be selling the Apple Watch to walk-in customers at launch.
Apple will begin offering online pre-sales of the Apple Watch starting on April 10th, with the first deliveries occurring on April 24th, the official Apple Watch launch date. During those two weeks, customers will be able to have hands-on “try-on” appointments at Apple retail stores in order to help make up their mind.
However, according to training documents that MacRumors has received, Apple is not allowing any walk-in retail purchases for the Apple Watch at launch. Instead customers must make an online “Product Reservation” to hold a specific Apple Watch model at a retail store. This new “Product Reservation” system is used instead of Apple’s “Personal Pickup” system for Apple Watches. Apple’s retail training documents indicate that “If a customer walks in and wants to purchase a watch, offer the option to try on a watch. Then help them place an order online or through the Apple Store app.”
Apple seems to expect low inventory for the Apple Watches, and notes that “try-on” appointments also do not reserve a specific Apple Watch for purchase. Apple expects to eventually allow walk-in purchases, but not until the initial wave of demand has passed.