Life insurance provider John Hancock has announced that new and existing members of its Vitality program can receive an Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS only for an initial payment of just $25 plus tax. Additional fees apply for customers who choose a cellular model or other more expensive models.
The cost of the Apple Watch is actually split up into 24 monthly payments, which can be paid off by walking, running, biking, swimming, or completing various other exercises. Vitality members must earn at least 500 fitness-related Vitality Points per month over two years to avoid owing any of the instalments.
By connecting the Vitality Today app to Apple's Health app and confirming sharing of data, customers can earn Vitality Points for Light, Standard, and Advanced Workouts in the Workout app. Customers can share steps measured by their iPhone or Apple Watch, as well as active calories from the Apple Watch.
The Vitality program is available with select John Hancock life insurance policies in the United States. The free Apple Watch Series 3 offer will be available starting November 6 everywhere except New York.
John Hancock, owned by Manulife Financial, first started offering Apple Watches to a limited number of members last year. About half of the people who received the device achieved their monthly goals and did not pay for the device, John Hancock senior vice president Brooks Tingle told CNBC.
Today marks the 16th anniversary of the debut of the first iPod, which was introduced by Apple on October 23, 2001. Then Apple CEO Steve Jobs stood on stage at the Apple Town Hall in Cupertino and showed off a device that could fit in a pocket but hold an entire music library.
The first-generation iPod, which Apple advertised with the tagline "1,000 songs in your pocket," was a rectangle-shaped device with a 5GB 1.8-inch hard drive capable of holding 1,000 songs.
It featured a black and white LCD and the first click wheel, a mechanical scrolling interface that let users quickly and conveniently scroll through long lists of music. The click wheel also included easy access buttons for playing, pausing, rewinding, and fast forwarding through music content. The first iPod's battery lasted for up to 10 hours before needing to be recharged, and the device was priced at $399.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, he called it a quantum leap forward and outlined three major breakthroughs: ultra-portability, Apple's legendary ease of use, and auto-sync with iTunes.
iPod is an MP3 music player, has CD quality music, and it plays all of the popular formats of open music. The biggest thing about iPod is that it holds a thousand songs. Now this is a quantum leap because for most people, it's their entire music library. This is huge. How many times have you gone on the road with a CD player and said 'Oh God, I didn't bring the CD I wanted to listen to.' To have your whole music library with you at all times is a quantum leap in listening to music. The coolest thing about iPod is that your whole music library fits right in your pocket. Never before possible.
New versions of the iPod were released on a yearly basis following the launch of the original device, and other notable launches included the iPod Photo in 2004, which had the first color display, the smaller iPod mini in 2004, the tiny iPod nano in 2005, the even smaller iPod Shuffle, also in 2005, and the first iPod touch, which came out in 2007 following the launch of the iPhone.
An early version of the iPod Nano
Today, the iPhone, unveiled six years after the iPod, has largely replaced Apple's original music device. The iPhone does everything the iPod did and more, and has served as an iPod replacement since its debut.
Over the course of the last 16 years, Apple has stayed at the forefront of music technology with the debut of Apple Music, a streaming music service that now has more than 30 million paid subscribers.
Apple retired the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle in July of 2017, and now the iPod touch is the sole remaining iPod the company has for sale. The iPod touch was last updated in July of 2015 and it is not clear if the product will see additional updates in the future.
The iPod touch is available in 32GB and 128GB capacities for $199 and $299, respectively.
Quicken today announced the launch of the 2018 version of its popular finance and budgeting software for the PC and Mac.
Quicken 2018 introduces access to online bills from more than 11,000 companies, all of which are integrated into a streamlined bill and payment dashboard. The bill management center is designed to let Quicken users manage all of their bills in one place, with features like downloading PDFs of each bill.
The software also includes expanded investment capabilities with more specific lot tracking and a more customizable portfolio view, along with new loan tracking features that include "what-if" loan analysis.
"We are always listening to customer feedback and the 2018 releases of Quicken reflect the balance of new features and refinements to existing capabilities that we know our users want," said Eric Dunn, chief executive officer of Quicken. "With our latest products, Mac offerings are more robust, our interfaces are more intuitive, and our new membership program ensures that customers always have the latest and greatest Quicken without the pain of manually upgrading."
Quicken 2018 for Mac offers Mac users access to Quicken Starter, Quicken Deluxe, and Quicken Premier for the first time, allowing Mac users to choose the best Quicken software to meet their financial needs. Previously, these separate versions of Quicken were limited to Windows users.
The software offers different features depending on version, with Deluxe and Premier offering features for creating budgets, creating multiple savings goals, and tracking loans and investments. Premier offers investment evaluations, tax reports, and automatic updates to estimated home value.
With this change also comes a shift to a subscription-based service. Instead of purchasing upgrades each year, Quicken customers will automatically receive the latest version of Quicken as long as a membership is maintained, with one and two-year memberships available.
All of the 2018 versions of Quicken will include 5GB of cloud storage for Quicken backups provided through Dropbox.
Quicken 2018 Starter is priced at $34.99 for a one-year membership and $49.99 for a two-year membership, while Quicken Deluxe is priced at $49.99 for one years and $79.99 for two years.
Quicken Premier, the highest tier software available for Macs, is priced at $74.99 for a one-year membership and $119.99 for a two-year membership.
Following Miitomo, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Super Mario Run, Nintendo appears finally ready to reveal details for its fourth iOS gaming app, Animal Crossing. The company has confirmed on its Japanese website [Google Translate] that a new Animal Crossing-focused Nintendo Direct will debut this Wednesday, October 25 at 12 p.m. local time in Japan, meaning the direct will take place on October 24 in the United States at 8 p.m. PT (via GameSpot).
The pre-recorded broadcast will last 15 minutes and will focus on Animal Crossing‘s iOS application, with no news coming at this time for 3DS or Switch versions of the franchise. There also won’t be any details on any other smartphone apps, according to the company’s website.
Animal Crossing for iOS was first announced in April 2016, alongside Fire Emblem‘s iOS game, as the two newest titles in Nintendo’s original goal to release five smartphone apps before March 2017. When Animal Crossing didn’t show up for its original fall 2016 launch window, Nintendo delayed the game in January 2017 until its next fiscal year, running from April 2017 to March 2018. So, with the upcoming Nintendo Direct, it appears that the company is ready to debut Animal Crossing as its next iOS game, potentially before the end of the year.
After Animal Crossing — which will be the fourth game in Nintendo’s partnership with iOS developer DeNA — rumors have suggested that the final fifth game will be one set in The Legend of Zelda universe. Sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal in May predicted that Animal Crossing will hit iOS sometime “in the latter half of 2017,” and a smartphone version of The Legend of Zelda would launch afterwards, so if the Animal Crossing release window is accurate there may be some veracity to Zelda being the next Nintendo IP to come to iOS devices.
Meanwhile, contactless tickets supported in Apple's Wallet app are coming to all Ticketmaster sports and concert venues in the United States.
Jennifer Bailey, Vice President of Apple Pay, revealed the news at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas over the weekend. On stage, she also revealed several other statistics about Apple's mobile payments service.
Bailey said that Apple Pay now works with over 4,000 banks and other participating issuers around the world. She added that 50 percent of retailers in the United States now accept the mobile payments service.
In related news, payment processor First Data today announced that Clover Go, its all-in-one contactless, chip, and swipe card reader, will be available in the coming weeks on Apple.com and in Apple retail stores across the United States.
First Data also said more than one million of its business clients now accept Apple Pay. The company plans to enable Apple Pay support for loyalty and gift cards at these merchants through integration with its Clover platform.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus accounted for 16 percent of total iPhone sales in the July-September 2017 quarter, which means the new smartphones "look much more like an 'S' model" in terms of sales. According to a report sent to MacRumors today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the new devices actually represented a smaller sales percentage than 'S' devices have in past years, particularly in comparison to the iPhone 6s with 24 percent of iPhone sales in 2015.
In terms of each model, the iPhone 8 had 6 percent of iPhone sales and the iPhone 8 Plus had 10 percent in the fiscal quarter ending October 1, 2017. While the smartphones' small share makes sense, because they were only available for about a week (shipping September 22) in the quarter that CIRP analyzed, previous generation iPhones were notably higher at the same points over the past few years.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for 43 percent of sales during this period in 2016, while the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus had 24 percent of the iPhone sales in this period two years ago. In 2014, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus represented 46 percent of iPhone sales in their launch quarter.
“iPhone 8 and 8 Plus accounted for only 16% of total sales, compared to a 24% share for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus two years ago," said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. "While it’s a little early to know, it appears that this even lower share relative to that earlier ‘S’ model probably resulted from some buyers delaying a purchase, we think in anticipation of the new iPhone X.”
So, in terms of consumer demand and reception, the 8 and 8 Plus have a share of total sales that makes them look much more like an ‘S’ model, while the 7 and 7 Plus was closer to the very well-received 6 and 6 Plus. This is not surprising, as the form factor remained the same, and the improvements in features were incremental and internal.”
CIRP co-founder Mike Levin mentioned that Apple's dual-announcement of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X "changed the market dynamic" for 2017, echoing previous sentiments that many users are not ordering the former smartphone because they're waiting for the latter device. The new report is based on a survey of 500 Apple customers who made a purchase between July and September of this year.
In the 2017 quarter, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus continued seeing strong demand, with both devices accounting for 58 percent of sales. In total, older models like the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and SE represented 25 percent of sales in the quarter. Levin explained that "rather than waiting for and buying the iPhone 8, it looks like buyers in this quarter either bought existing models, or decided to wait for the iPhone X, later in the year."
Apple's over six year old legal battle with Samsung for copying the iPhone's design is headed back to court yet again.
U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Sunday ordered that a new trial is required to determine whether Apple's $399 million award for Samsung's design patent infringement should stand or whether a new damages trial is required.
Apple and Samsung have until Wednesday to propose a retrial date, according to intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, but he believes there is about a 30 percent chance the two parties could settle out of court before then.
The lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple successfully sued Samsung for infringing upon the iPhone's patented design, including its rectangular front face with rounded edges and grid of colorful icons on a black screen.
Apple's damages were awarded based on Samsung's entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones, but Samsung argued that the amount should be a percentage based on individual components like the front bezel or display.
Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court recommended that the U.S. Court of Appeals reconsider the damages amount that Samsung owes.
Apple's statement at the time:
The question before the Supreme Court was how to calculate the amount Samsung should pay for their copying. Our case has always been about Samsung's blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute. We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world's most innovative and beloved product. We remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right.
Calvin Klein, Dieter Rams, and over 100 other top designers backed Apple last year, arguing the iPhone maker is entitled to all profits Samsung has earned from infringing designs. They cited a 1949 study stating that more than 99 percent of Americans could identify a bottle of Coca-Cola by shape alone.
Apple was initially awarded nearly $1 billion in damages, but a significant part of the decision was reversed in 2015, leaving Samsung owing $548 million. The amount was eventually lowered to $399 million in subsequent retrials.
Apple and AT&T have been working together to improve cellular connectivity for iPhone users in Puerto Rico who have been largely without cellular service since Hurricane Maria hit a month ago.
The two companies are enabling LTE Band 8, a provisional LTE band that's been approved but not activated or licensed in the United States or Puerto Rico, reports TechCrunch.
LTE Band 8 will work with the iPhone 5c and up on iOS 10 or higher in Puerto Rico following a carrier update. Band 8 is a 900Mhz band with improved range to better reach cell towers that are located further away.
"We are working with AT&T to activate cellular service for iPhone users in Puerto Rico as the island recovers from Hurricane Maria," read an Apple statement. "Apple engineers have created a special carrier settings update which users connected to Wi-Fi or who are connected to a cellular network will automatically be prompted to download throughout the week. The update allows iPhone customers with iPhone 5c and later models running iOS 10 or higher, to connect to a provisional band on the AT&T network so they can be in touch with loved ones and get services in this time of need."
iPhone owners in Puerto Rico will need to go to Settings --> General --> About when connected to Wi-Fi or cellular to download the carrier update.
Once the new carrier data has been installed, iPhones will be able to use Band 8 where available to connect to cellular towers and Project Loon balloons being deployed by Google to improve cellular service in Puerto Rico.
Project Look balloons support basic communication and internet activities for sending text messaging and accessing information online over LTE.
Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on September 20, much of Puerto Rico continues to be without power, and millions are also without running water. Many areas are also without cellular service and Wi-Fi connectivity with up to 75 percent of antennas currently down, making it difficult for families to stay in touch.
Like most (all?) weeks in the world of iOS gaming, there's no shortage of things happening and games being released. I spent last weekend at the Hearthstone Summer Championship and wrote about the experience. It's downright incredible to see how huge esports are getting, particularly when Blizzard invites you to hang out in their real-deal esports arena they just built inside of the studio that was once home to The Tonight Show. Last weekend was packed with mobile esports in general, as Las Vegas was home to Amazon's Mobile Masters. I'm curious to see how Mobile Masters evolves over the years as esports over-saturation is definitely a thing.
Anyway, my favorite game that was released this week is Layton Hawkes' Campfire Cooking. It's a super clever puzzler that focuses on managing food you're cooking over a campfire by moving things around on a grid. We've got a great interview over on TouchArcade digging into the background of the game, along with some early concept art and work in progress shots. If nothing else, it's super refreshing to just play a $4 puzzle game that feels like a complete game experience instead of being packed with freemium shenanigans.
Another really cool game that came out this week is Guns Royale, which as of right now is the closest thing to a bite-sized mobile version of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds. Instead of 100 players, it's 16, and it takes place on a top-down Minecraft-y island. Aside from that limitation, it follows the Battle Royale format exactly with looting, killing, and surviving.
The sequel to the incredible Warhammer Quest was also released this week. We've got a review up for Warhammer Quest 2 where we gave it five stars. It's a beautiful turn-based strategy game where players make their way through various Warhammer adventures. There's one minor caveat to this recommendation though, as a few people in the TouchArcade community with older iOS devices that aren't running iOS 11 are experiencing crashes. The developers are totally aware of this problem and are actively working on a fix. So if you're running iOS 10 still, and end up having problems, it'll be updated soon.
We've been following the development of the upcoming global Minecraft event MineCon Earth for a while now, which takes place on November 18th. It's going to be a global event, streamed live, that everyone can participate in and they just announced that Will Arnett will be hosting it. When you consider that Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon worth quite literally billions, I guess it makes a lot of sense that they're pulling out all the stops for MineCon.
One of my favorite games on mobile is Kairosoft's Game Dev Story, which is a pretty simple game where you're in charge of a game studio. I spent years saying that I wish someone would take that same gameplay formula and flesh it out, which is exactly what the guys behind Game Dev Tycoon did. It's been on Steam for a few years now, and is headed to iOS on November 28th. If this is the first you've heard of this game, you need to read about the absolutely hilarious stuntthe developers pulled to screw with pirates.
Last, but not least, is the reveal of some art for the upcoming Banner Saga 3. Banner Saga and its sequel blends tactical gameplay with a fabulous story. They got their starts on Kickstarter and have been super successful since. The Banner Saga games are always on short lists of the best modern tactical RPG's, and I'm sure the third one will be just as good as the previous two (which you should totally play, or at least look into).
That's it for us this week, and remember, if you're at all interested in mobile gaming be sure to come check out TouchArcade where we post this sort of stuff day in and day out, with tons more details.
Mac owners who have recently downloaded Elmedia Player or Folx from Eltima Software may have unwittingly installed malware on their machines, reports ZDNet.
Downloads of Folx and Elmedia player were infected with Proton, a Remote Access Trojan, after Eltima's servers were hacked. The Proton backdoor lets attackers access browser information, keylogs, usernames, passwords, macOS keychain data, and more.
The compromised software was discovered on October 19, and customers who downloaded software from Eltima on that date before 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time may be affected by the malware. The following files will be found on an infected system:
Apple and Eltima have disabled the developer ID that was used to sign the Proton-infected software bundle, and Eltima is working with Apple to figure out what happened.
Anyone who was impacted by the malware will need to reinstall macOS to get rid of it. Eltima says it has taken action to prevent against further attacks and improve its server security. Clean versions of Elmedia Player and Folx are now available from the Eltima website. Discuss this article in our forums