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Apple Watch steals the spotlight during Paris Fashion Week


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 10:32 am PT (01:32 pm ET)

Huge crowds — and some of the world’s most sought-after models — greeted the Apple Watch during its Tuesday debut in Paris, as the wrist-worn device captivated the attention of the glitterati in town for Paris Fashion Week.

The display was a strictly hands-off affair for the public, but Apple seems to have made some exceptions for some of its more high-profile fans. Supermodel Karlie Kloss Instagrammed a photo of herself wearing what appears to be the Apple Watch Sport with a white band, tagging it “#iWant.”

Madame Figaro Editor-in-Chief Jean-Seb Stehli tweeted that he found the Apple Watch “vey [sic] cool once you try it on.” La MJC co-founder Michael Dupouy, a famous name in the “street style” movement, called it “very nice.”

The same courtesy was presumably extended to Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Chanel creative head Karl Lagerfeld — who were given a personal introduction to the Apple Watch by Jony Ive earlier in the day — though no photos of them wearing the device have circulated.

The public faced a more daunting wait, however. Lines extended around the block, and the interior of host boutique Colette was packed with eager viewers. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet that it was “amazing to see the excited crowds today in Paris to preview Apple Watch for the first time.”

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Microsoft looks to distance itself from Windows 8, jumps to Windows 10


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 10:57 am PT (01:57 pm ET)

Software behemoth Microsoft on Tuesday announced that its next-generation desktop operating system would not follow the numerical progression of its two predecessors — which would have made it Windows 9 — but will instead be called Windows 10.

Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore demonstrates Windows 10. Photo courtesy of the Seattle Times.

“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows,” Microsoft operating systems chief Terry Myerson said during the unveiling, according to the Seattle Times. Leaked builds have shown a return to a Windows 7-style start menu with Windows 8-like tiles.

“It gives the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the new benefits that exist in Windows 8,” Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore said, a clear sign that the company is attempting to turn around the questionable choices it made with Windows 8.

The launch of Windows 8 was a disaster for Microsoft, as the heavily-promoted OS took nearly a year to surpass the installed base of Apple’s own OS X, which runs on a relatively paltry number of computers. Users revolted against the changes in long-standing Windows user interface patterns — like the Start menu — and the switch to the new Metro design language that was clearly designed with touchscreens in mind.

Microsoft relented with Windows 8.1, which re-introduced a “boot to desktop” mode, among other capitulations. That was not enough for many buyers, however, and Windows 7 continues to outstrip the combined user base of Windows 8 and 8.1.

Myerson said that enterprises, which account for a massive proportion of Microsoft’s revenue, would likely begin to see preview builds of Windows 10 soon, and that the company was “starting the dialogue” with its most important clients.

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Pebble smartwatch gets $50 price cut, background tracking for fitness & sleep


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 11:21 am PT (02:21 pm ET)

In the wake of the Apple Watch announcement, startup smartwatch maker Pebble has countered with a $50 price cut for its entry-level and high-end Steel model, while also adding new background tracking capabilities for exercise and sleep.

Activity tracking applications from Misfit, Jawbone and now work seamlessly in the background on all Pebble hardware. Users can view installed “Activity” apps and toggle their preferences in the Pebble Settings menu, and a dedicated icon is visible within menus when a compatible app is installed and running.

The Misfit app for Pebble allows continuous, around-the-clock activity tracking and sleep monitoring. Jawbone has also launched its own activity tracking watface for Pebble which shows daily and weekly activity progress, and it syncs with the Up app for iOS.

Finally, is the first watch app that allows users to measure distance, pace, times, stroke and efficiency while swimming with their Pebble, which has a water resistance rating of 5 ATM. The watch app also syncs data with the iPhone and the cloud once the user is out of the pool.

Pebble is differentiating itself from Apple Watch and Android Wear devices by focusing on its multi-day battery life, which offers uptime of as many as seven days before a recharge is needed. And the company has also responded to competitors with a $50 price cut, and is now selling its original plastic model for $99, or the premium Steel for $199.

In addition to the new activity functions, all Pebble models also gain a new “Quick Launch” feature, which allows users to set shortcuts from a watchface to their favorite apps. These shortcuts can be accessed with a long press of the unit’s up or down buttons after the feature has been enabled in settings.

Pebble now also displays a persistent battery icon within menus. And iPhone users running iOS 8 gain notification dismissal for both their watch and phone when pressing the select button.

The accessory maker revealed on Tuesday that the Pebble appstore has more than 4,000 applications available, and that they have been downloaded over five million times. There are more than 18,000 developers on the Pebble platform, and partners include Mercedez-Benz, Pandora, the Weather Channel, and ESPN.

Pebble hardware is also expanding its retail presence in the U.S to Sam’s Club, Fry’s Electronics, and Sprint stores, while the U.K. will seee availability at Dixons, O2, and They join Best Buy, Target, ATT stores and in America.

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PayPal purportedly cut out of Apple Pay due to partnership with Samsung


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 02:40 pm PT (05:40 pm ET)

A report on Tuesday claims PayPal was in the running to be a prominent partner in Apple’s rollout of Apple Pay, but talks went south earlier this year after the payments company struck a similar partnership with Samsung.

When Apple unveiled Apple Pay last month’s iPhone 6 event, the company highlighted a number of bank and credit card firms working to integrate the technology with existing payment systems. Noticeably absent from the list was PayPal, a prime contender for integration into any new digital wallet system.

Reports from January indicated PayPal was eager to team up with Apple on a mobile payments solution, however. The company was even “willing to white label parts of its payment service” like fraud prevention and processing to get in on Apple’s digital wallet system.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bank Innovation is now reporting that Apple and PayPal were indeed discussing a possible tie-up, but talks were scrapped after PayPal decided to sidle up to Samsung. Specifically, PayPal partnered with the Korean tech giant to handle mobile payments for the Galaxy S5, which uses a fingerprint scanner to access digital wallet functions.

According to sources, Apple was not pleased with PayPal’s partner choice, with one person reportedly saying, “Apple kicked them out of the door.” Apple ultimately chose to bring payments startup Stripe into the fold, seemingly filling the seat at the table left vacant by PayPal.

The publication claims former PayPal president David Marcus was against the Samsung partnership as it would hinder future operations with Apple, but eBay CEO John Donahoe forced PayPal to accept. The dynamic just got more interesting with news today that PayPal will be spun off from eBay in 2015, possibly opening the door to policy changes and realigned alliances.

Following Apple Pay’s unveiling, PayPal ran an ad that questioned how Apple could offer effective payments security in light of the then-current leak of personal celebrity photos stolen from iCloud.

Apple Pay will go active in October at 220,000 retail locations and support from major credit card issuing banks and networks like Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The rollout may happen soon, as the latest iOS 8.1 beta seeded to developers on Monday contained a hidden Apple Pay settings menu, suggesting the company is making final preparations for launch.

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Jony Ive, Marc Newson showcase Apple Watch to fashion luminaries in Paris


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 06:45 am PT (09:45 am ET)

The Apple Watch has attracted some of fashion’s biggest names to its one-day-only showing at Parisian boutique Colette, with industry icons like Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld turning up to get a look at Apple’s long-awaited foray into the wearable device market.

Source: Instagram user papasoey

Wintour — the infamous editor of Vogue and arguably the most powerful person in fashion — and Chanel creative chief Lagerfeld were given a personal introduction to the Apple Watch by Apple design czar Jony Ive and Marc Newson, the latest addition to Cupertino’s industrial design team.

Newson’s is a more familiar name in fashion circles than Ive’s, thanks to the former’s stint designing timepieces under the banner of Swiss watchmaker Ikepod. Newson officially joined Apple earlier this month, and his presence in Paris seems to confirm that he was intimately involved with the Apple Watch’s design process.

Tuesday’s showing, which coincides with Paris Fashion Week, marks the first time Apple’s newest product has been shown to the general public. The choice of Colette — one of the trendiest shops in Paris, the epicenter of fashion — is unsurprising, given Apple’s deliberate positioning of the Apple Watch as a fashion accessory, rather than strictly as an electronic device.

During a review of the Apple Watch, well-known horological blogger Ariel Adams hinted that Apple might expand distribution of the Apple Watch to include high-end department stores and boutiques.

While the Apple Watch Sport is made of aluminum and will ship with a plastic-like band for around $350, the Apple Watch Edition is made of 18-karat gold. Apple has yet to reveal pricing for the higher-end model, but some estimates have placed its final retail cost at as much as $5,000 — a total that would place it in direct competition with traditional timepieces from brands like Rolex and Omega.

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Evercore raises Apple price target to $125, sees bigger iPhones leading to bigger sales


Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Bigger iPhone 6 screens are likely to result in a bigger upgrade cycle for Apple, in the eyes of Evercore Partners, which increased its price target to $125 on Tuesday and advised investors to buy in.

Analyst Rob Cihra reiterated his “overweight” rating for AAPL stock in his latest research note to investors, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider. He also increased his estimated iPhone sales for the September quarter to 39 million units, which would be a 15 percent year over year increase.

Looking forward to the December quarter, Cihra sees Apple selling a massive 65 million iPhone units, which would be a 27 percent year over year increase and a new all-time record for the company.

But to Cihra, even more impressive than sales growth would be if Apple is able to maintain or even grow its average iPhone selling price. The analyst noted that the broader smartphone market is showing growth only at the lower end, and companies outside of Apple are largely stagnant in terms of high-end sales.

Many analysts expect that the average selling price of the iPhone will increase with Apple’s new lineup. This year, the company is offering more capacity than ever, and is also charging a $100 premium for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

For Cihra, the 4.7- and 5.5-inch screen sizes in the new iPhone 6 lineup hit a “sweet spot” with consumers, which he believes will result in a “major upgrade cycle” for the more than 300 million worldwide iPhoen users.

Apple is scheduled to report its results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2014 on Oct. 20. Cihra’s overall estimates call for the company to report revenue of $40.1 billion, up 7 percent year over year, and earnings per share of $1.31, which would be a 11 percent increase from the September 2013 quarter.

Looking forward to fiscal 2015, Cihra sees Apple’s revenue reaching $210 billion, which would be a 16 percent year over year increase. He’s also forecast Apple to earn $7.53 per share.

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