Expanded Apple Store in Toronto’s Fairview Mall Now Open

As expected, Apple today opened a new 10,287 square-foot store in the Fairview Mall in Toronto, Canada. The updated store is located next to the former location, but it is nearly twice the size.

Fairview Mall Apple Store photo via 9to5Mac and Ronald Quitoriano

The new retail location is the second Apple Store in Toronto with Apple's modern retail design elements, which include large rotating glass doors, a Forum and video wall for Today at Apple sessions, and wooden shelves along the walls for accessories.

With the store opening, Apple is now offering Today at Apple sessions that customers can sign up for either on the store's website or through the Apple Store app.


Apple has been working on revamping its chain of retail stores with updated designs since 2015. Just a few months ago, Apple opened another Toronto store located at the Eaton Centre.


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Fitbit’s Blood Oxygen Monitoring Feature Now Available in More Countries

Google-owned Fitbit is activating blood oxygen monitoring (sp02) in more countries, following the feature's U.S. launch for some of its smartwatches and fitness trackers last month. Now the company has released it for users in the U.K., Canada, and possibly other countries, with blood oxygen saturation data appearing in the Fitbit app.


Tech blog Tizenhelp.com confirmed the feature's appearance with device owners in the two countries, including Fitbit Versa, Versa Lite, Versa 2, Ionic and Charge 3 wearables. The blood oxygen monitoring sensor on the back of the devices works by detecting blood flow through the outer layer of the skin, which is used to detect sleep apnea and track sleep quality and quantity.

Before it ever came to market, early prototypes of the first Apple Watch featured sensors that measured the conductivity of skin, allowing the device to detect stress levels and heart-rate monitoring similar to an electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG. Apple also experimented with ways to track sleep, glucose monitoring, blood pressure, and how much oxygen is in a user's blood. However, a mix of consistency problems and potential oversight caused Apple to switch the focus of the device from health-related to a more general do-everything product.

Of course, Apple has reversed this trend with succeeding ‌Apple Watch‌ models, choosing once again to focus on health and fitness first while reining in functions that needlessly duplicate iPhone features. We've already seen ECG make it into the ‌Apple Watch‌, and rumors persist that sleep tracking will be included in the next model. We wouldn't be surprised if sp02 appears on ‌Apple Watch‌'s feature list soon.

Apple actually holds patents for blood oxygen monitoring. In fact, when the original ‌Apple Watch‌ was released back in 2015, iFixit discovered that Apple's heart sensors have the capability to monitor blood oxygen levels, but Apple has never activated the feature.

The ‌Apple Watch‌ may actually be able to accurately detect hypertension and sleep apnea already. According to a 2017 study, the conditions can be recognized by analyzing the heart-rate data collected by an ‌Apple Watch‌ via special software. Perhaps it just remains for Apple to go ahead and release it in a future model.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Downtown Toronto is About to Get a New Apple Store

The construction barriers covering an all-new Apple Store are nearly ready to come down at North America's busiest shopping mall.

Apple is set to open an over 10,000-square-foot store at the Eaton Centre in Toronto, Canada as early as December, according to a source, who said the grand opening will likely occur within the first half of the month.

Apple's existing store at the Eaton Centre

Unlike other Apple Stores, Today at Apple sessions at the existing Apple Eaton Centre location abruptly end after Friday, December 6, suggesting that the new store could open on Saturday, December 7. However, our source believes that employee training could push back the opening until Saturday, December 14.

MacRumors was first to report on Apple's plans for a new store at the Eaton Centre back in January, when Apple filed a building permit for a new street-level store near the Queen Street entrance to the mall. The new store will take over a space recently vacated by apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.


Apple's new store will be more than twice as large as the current 4,977-square-foot store, according to an Eaton Centre floor plan. The extra space is much needed, as not only is the Eaton Centre the busiest shopping mall in North America, but it is home to Apple's only store in Toronto's downtown core.

Apple has three other stores in Toronto at Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, and Fairview, all within shopping malls. Rumors suggest Apple plans to open its first street-facing store at The One, an upcoming condominium and retail complex slated to open by 2022 at the busy intersection of Yonge and Bloor in Toronto.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: Canada

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Apple Maps Vehicles to Begin Surveying Canada This Summer

Apple today announced that its Apple Maps vehicles will begin surveying parts of Canada throughout the summer.


The vehicles will drive across all 10 provinces between May and November, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. Absent are the territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

The data collected, including the likes of road details, signage, and landmarks, will be used to improve Apple Maps as part of Apple's efforts to rebuild the service, which began in the United States last year.

Apple Maps with more detailed data in Northern California

Apple's full statement:
Beginning in May, Apple Maps will be driving across Canada throughout the summer. We'll be capturing road details, signage and landmarks — all to make the most accurate and useful Maps experience possible. The information collected will be worked on by our teams in Cupertino, California. We plan to publish this data in a future product update.

We always have your privacy in mind, so we're working closely with local regulators to ensure we follow all laws and regulations. All of our vehicles are marked Apple Maps, so you'll always know it's us.

Privacy is a fundamental Apple principle, so we're proud to build it into everything we do.
Apple Maps vehicles have also surveyed parts of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Portugal, Croatia, Japan, Andorra, and Puerto Rico since data collection began in 2015.


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Apple Confirms ECG Functionality is Coming to Canada ‘as quickly as Possible’

Apple today told The Canadian Press that it is aiming to bring ECG functionality to Apple Watch Series 4 devices in Canada "as quickly as possible."

The news comes after Health Canada this month approved the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4, clearing the way for the features to be released in the country.


Health Canada classified the Apple Watch Series 4 as a Class II medical device, which places it in the "low-to-medium risk" category alongside other products like contact lenses.

Apple launched the ECG app in the United States in December as part of watchOS 5.1.2. It expanded to 19 European countries and Hong Kong in March 2019, and five additional European countries last week.

The ECG app is designed to allow Apple Watch Series 4 readers to place a finger on the Digital Crown to get a single-lead ECG reading, which can detect atrial fibrillation, a condition that can be indicative of major health problems. Irregular heart rhythm notifications are a separate feature, meant to let users know if an unusual heart rhythm is detected so medical attention can be sought.


Apple did not provide specific timing on when we can expect ECG and irregular heart rate notifications to be available in Canada, but it could perhaps come in the watchOS 5.3 update, which is being beta tested right now, or it could be incorporated into watchOS 6, which will be announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 3.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Tags: Canada, ECG
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Health Canada Gives Green Light to ECG App on Apple Watch

Health Canada has cleared the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4, suggesting that both features will make their much-anticipated debut in Canada in the near future.


As spotted by the blog iPhone in Canada and confirmed by MacRumors, Health Canada issued active licenses for both features on May 16. The regulatory agency classifies the Apple Watch Series 4 as a Class II medical device, placing it in a "low-to-medium risk" category alongside the likes of contact lenses.

To view the licenses, navigate to the Health Canada search page and search for Apple based on company name.


The ECG app first launched in the United States last December as part of watchOS 5.1.2. The feature expanded to 19 European countries and Hong Kong in watchOS 5.2 in March and to five more European countries in watchOS 5.2.1 last week.

With clearance from Health Canada, Apple could expand the ECG app to Canada in either watchOS 5.3 or watchOS 6, the latter of which should be unveiled at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference next month.

Apple Watch Series 4 users can generate an ECG waveform in just 30 seconds by placing their finger on the Digital Crown.
Electrodes built into the Digital Crown and the back crystal work together with the ECG app to read your heart's electrical signals. Simply touch the Digital Crown to generate an ECG waveform in just 30 seconds. The ECG app can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation — a serious form of irregular heart rhythm — or sinus rhythm, which means your heart is beating in a normal pattern.
Apple has yet to mention the ECG functionality on the Apple Watch health and fitness page on its Canadian website.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Tags: Canada, ECG
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Carrier Protection Plans for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch Now Offer Same Perks as AppleCare+ in Canada

Canadian residents who purchase third-party protection plans for an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch can now access service and support directly from Apple, with equivalent coverage as AppleCare+ customers, according to an internal document published by Apple today and obtained by MacRumors.


If a customer purchases a protection plan for her iPhone from a carrier like Bell or Rogers, for example, she can now book an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider in Canada and receive the same services as AppleCare+, including up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage.

Apple advises technicians to service customers with an eligible third-party protection plan "in the same manner you do today for AppleCare+" and to "address their issue in the same great way you take care of all our customers."

Theft, loss, and any accidental damage incidents after the first two will remain handled by carriers and their insurance providers, wrote Apple.

A few U.S. carriers already offer this, including T-Mobile.

AppleCare services for third-party protection plans in Canada are supported by Brightstar.

To schedule an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider in Canada, head to the Get Support page on Apple's website.


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Apple News Expands to Canada in iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4

iOS 12.2 and macOS Mojave 10.14.4, available in a beta capacity for developers as of this morning, expands the availability of Apple News app to Canada for the first time.

Canadian iPhone, iPad, and Mac owners can use Apple News in both English and French, with Apple's release notes indicating a bilingual experience is available when following a channel in a second language.


Apple says that publications available during the beta testing period do not reflect all of the content that will be available, and Top Stories and Digests are not updated as frequently as they will be when the feature officially launches.

Apple News first launched in iOS 9 in 2015, and initially, it was only available in the United States. It later launched in Australia and the UK, and those countries, along with Canada, are the only countries where the app can be accessed without adjusting the region location.

Canadians who are using Apple News for the first time (and U.S. readers) can access MacRumors content by following this link.

Apple News in Canada is limited to developers at the current time, but will be available to public beta testers as well when Apple releases public betas. iOS 12.2 and macOS Mojave 10.14.4 should see an official launch after several weeks of beta testing.


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Confirmed: Toronto’s Eaton Centre is Finally Getting a New Apple Store

The busiest shopping mall in North America for the past several years will finally be getting a brand new Apple Store in the not too distant future.

Apple's new store will take over this Abercrombie & Fitch location via Pedro Marques

A new building permit for the Eaton Centre shopping mall in Toronto, Canada was applied for three days ago, proposing interior alterations to unit 2105A. The space is currently occupied by apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, which will be relocating to a new store directly across the hall in spring 2019.

When finished, the unit will be a new "ground floor Apple Store," according to the building permit. Abercrombie & Fitch is currently located on "Level 2" of the Eaton Centre near the south Queen Street entrance to the mall. Apple will "move" its existing store into the space, the application confirms.


MacRumors was first to report on Apple's plans at the Eaton Centre last week based on info from people familiar with the matter.

The biggest benefit of Apple's planned move will be additional space. Abercrombie & Fitch currently has a 10,680-square-foot unit, more than twice the size of Apple's current 4,977-square-foot store, according to an Eaton Centre floor plan.

Not only is the Eaton Centre the busiest shopping mall in North America, but it is home to Apple's only store in Downtown Toronto. An expansion would be a sigh of relief for not only customers but the team staffing the busy store, as the location has developed a reputation for being frequently overcrowded.

Apple's current store at the Eaton Centre

Toronto-based photographer and urban planning aficionado Pedro Marques has informed MacRumors that two stores next to Abercrombie & Fitch will soon be vacating, including Scotch & Soda and Baby Gap, potentially giving Apple up to 15,000 square feet of space for its new store — triple the size of its current store.

The new store would feature Apple's updated retail aesthetic, which typically includes large glass doors, massive video screens for Today at Apple sessions and product marketing, and wall-mounted sequoia wood shelves called Avenues that display Beats headphones, iPhone cases, and other accessories.

Depending on how long the City of Toronto's zoning and safety reviews take, the new store could potentially open in time for the 2019 holiday shopping season. However, no timeframe has been specified as of yet.

Apple and the Eaton Centre's owner and property management company Cadillac Fairview did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Apple has four existing stores in Toronto at Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, Fairview, and the aforementioned Eaton Centre, but all of them are within shopping malls. Rumors suggest Apple also plans to open a new street-facing store at The One, an upcoming condominium bordering Downtown Toronto slated to open by 2022.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: Canada

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Sources: Apple to Expand Crowded Eaton Centre Store in Toronto, More Evidence of Yonge-Bloor Flagship Emerges

Apple's efforts to modernize its chain of over 500 retail stores around the world may extend to Canada soon.

Apple plans to relocate its oft-crowded store at the Eaton Centre shopping mall in Downtown Toronto to a much larger space in the mall, currently occupied by apparel chain Abercrombie & Fitch, which will also be relocating within the mall as part of the shuffle, according to people familiar with the matter.

A view of the existing Apple and Abercrombie & Fitch stores at the Eaton Centre

It is also certainly possible that Apple could take over a few additional units surrounding Abercrombie & Fitch for an even larger store.

Just this week, Abercrombie & Fitch erected a temporary barricade for its new store, slated to open in spring 2019. This suggests Apple could take over Abercrombie & Fitch's current space within three to five months from now and begin constructing its new store for a potential grand opening by the end of 2020.


Apple is currently located on the third floor of the Eaton Centre, while the existing Abercrombie & Fitch is situated almost directly beneath Apple on the second floor near the Queen Street entrance to the mall. Apple's mall-based stores are frequently in prime locations near entrances and escalators.

Apple's current store at the Eaton Centre in Toronto

The biggest reason for Apple's planned move would be additional space. Abercrombie & Fitch has a 10,680-square-foot unit, more than twice the size of Apple's current 4,977-square-foot unit, according to an Eaton Centre floor plan.

Eaton Centre is North America's busiest shopping mall, with more than 50 million people passing through its atrium in 2017 according to one study. It is also home to Apple's only store in Downtown Toronto. An expansion would surely be a sigh of relief for not only customers but the team staffing the busy store.

Apple has greatly expanded both its product lineup and retail initiatives since the store first opened in 2006, one year prior to the iPhone. The additional space would better accomodate customers in many ways, ranging from Apple Watch try-ons to Today at Apple sessions to Genius Bar appointments.

The new store would also have an updated aesthetic. Apple's latest retail design typically includes large glass doors, large video screens for Today at Apple sessions and product marketing, and wall-mounted sequoia wood shelves called Avenues that display Beats headphones, iPhone cases, and other accessories.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Eaton Centre owner and management company Cadillac Fairview declined to comment.

Taller Ambitions


Another move that could help with the traffic at Apple Eaton Centre is Apple's rumored flagship store at the ground level of The One, a super-tall 85-floor condominium under construction at the corner of Yonge Street and Bloor Street, one of the busiest intersections in Toronto and bordering the downtown core.

A render of The One upon completion

Early last year, Toronto-based photographer, writer, and urban planning aficionado Pedro Marques uncovered a reference to Apple in a planning document for the condominium. The architecture firm behind the project is Foster + Partners, which has partnered with Apple on many retail stores and its Apple Park headquarters.

Marques has now tipped MacRumors to another reference to Apple in a brochure for an adjacent condominium project at 19 Bloor Street West.


The brochure claims that The One will be "the future home of Apple," with the longest side of the store opening to Bloor Street's upscale shopping area Mink Mile. Excavation is underway for construction of the condominium, expected to be completed by late 2022, but its retail space may open as early as 2020.

The southwest corner of Yonge and Bloor is the former site of men's clothing store Stollery's, which closed in early 2015 after 114 years in business.

Apple has four existing stores in Toronto at Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, Fairview, and the aforementioned Eaton Centre, but all of them are within shopping malls. The One would finally provide Toronto with a long-desired street-facing Apple Store.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: Canada

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