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Apple denies rumor that it is looking to launch its own cellular service


In a rare move, Apple on Tuesday responded to a questionable rumor, outright denying that it’s planning to start its own mobile virtual operator network and become a wireless provider, much like MetroPCS or Boost Mobile.

In a statement to CNBC, Apple said it has not discussed becoming an MVNO, and has no plans to do so. The statement squashes a rumor that claimed Apple was looking to piggyback on established wireless networks, buying extra capacity from carriers like ATT and Verizon.

That rumor, started on Monday by Business Insider, seemed suspect from the start: iPhone users are among the most profitable subscribers for wireless carriers, and for companies like ATT and Verizon to sell excess capacity to Apple would see them essentially forfeiting those customers.

MVNOs, which include MetroPCS and Boost Mobile in the U.S., lease their voice and data service from major carriers. That excess capacity is sold to smaller companies at a discounted rate, who then sell budget mobile plans to customers.
iPhone users are among the most profitable subscribers for wireless carriers, and for companies like ATT and Verizon to sell excess capacity to Apple would see them essentially forfeiting those customers.
In 2012, CEO Tim Cook said Apple doesn’t need to “own the pipe,” referring to investment in carrier networks. He noted that Apple is focused on delivering quality devices and would rather leave network operations to its partners.

AppleInsider‘s own sources said earlier this year that the company is considering shipping its anticipated “iPhone 6s” with the Apple SIM card, which could make it easier for customers to select wireless plans. But that too would likely create concern amongst carriers around the world.

The Apple SIM launched last year, but it is limited to the iPad Air 2 with cellular connection. That alone was enough to upset Verizon, which refused to support the Apple SIM. As a result, Verizon customers in the U.S. must buy an LTE iPad from Apple, and then obtain a SIM card separately from Verizon.

Prior to the launch of the first iPhone, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly considered creating a proprietary wireless network, based on unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum, which would’ve allowed the the company to completely dodge deals with existing carriers. Patent filings show that around the same time the company was exploring the idea of a phone that would jump between multiple carriers on a distinct roaming network.

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B&H’s Back-To-School sale knocks $100 off iPad minis & 13″ MacBook, $200 off 15″ MacBook Pros


Apple authorized reseller BH Photo is holding its Back to School Savings event this week, with $100 discounts on some current-generation iPads and 11- 13-inch MacBooks, as well as $200 discounts on several current 15″ MacBook Pro configurations.

In addition to the Apple highlights — which we’ve rounded up below — BH is also discounting a wide selection of cameras, photography equipment, storage devices, video cameras, headphones, TVs, and drones as part of the sale. All ship free with no sales tax collected on out of state orders.

iPad mini 3
16GB Gold WiFi + Cellular $529.00 for $429.00+ ($100 discount)
128GB Silver WiFi Only $599.00 for $499.00+ ($100 discount)
128GB Silver WiFi + Cellular $729.00 for $639.00+ ($90 discount)

iPad Airs
128GB Gray WiFi + Sprint Unlocked $929.00 for $449.00+ ($480 discount)
128GB White WiFi + Sprint Unlocked $929.00 for $499.00+ ($430 discount)
128GB White WiFi + ATT $929.00 for $509.00+ ($420 discount)
128GB Gray WiFi + ATT $929.00 for $519.00+ ($410 discount)

Early-2015 MacBook Airs
11″ Air (1.60GHz/4GB/128GB) $899.00 for $799.99+ ($100 discount)
13″ Air (1.60GHz/4GB/128GB) $999.00 for $899.99+ ($100 discount)
13″ Air (1.60GHz/4GB/256GB) $1,099.00 for $1,099.00+ ($100 discount)

Early-2015 13″ MacBook Pros
13″ 2.7GHz i5/8GB/128GB $1,299.00 for $1,199.00+ ($100 discount)
13″ 2.7GHz i5/8GB/256GB $1,499.00 for $1,399.99+ ($100 discount)
13″ 2.9GHz i5/8GB/512GB $1,799.00 for $1,699.99+ ($100 discount)

Mid-2014 13″ MacBook Pros
13″ 2.8GHz i5/8GB/512GB $1,799.00 for $1,449.00+ ($350 discount)
13″ 3.0GHz i5/8GB/512GB $1,999.00 for $1,549.00+ ($450 discount)

Mid-2015 15″ MacBook Pros
15″ 2.2GHz/16GB/256GB $2,049.00 for $1,849.00+ ($200 discount)
15″ 2.5GHz/16GB/256GB $2,099.00 for $1,899.00+ ($200 discount)
15″ 2.5GHz/16GB/512GB/M370X $2,499.00 for $2,349.00+ ($150 discount)
15″ 2.5GHz/16GB/1TB/M370X $2,999.00 for $2,799.00+ ($200 discount)
15″ 2.8GHz/16GB/512GB $2,599.00 for $2,399.00+ ($200 discount)

Mid-2014 15″ MacBook Pros
15″ 2.5GHz/16GB/512GB/750M $2,499.00 for $1,999.00+ ($500 discount)
15″ 2.8GHz/16GB/1TB/750M $3,199.00 for $2,899.00+ ($300 discount)

Even More Deals on Other Top Apple Products

The deals above are just a few of the many ongoing exclusive offers on Macs and iPads. Check out and to see if there’s an ongoing offer that will save you hundreds on your next Apple purchase.

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Apple releases fourth public beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan


Apple on Tuesday provided public OS X beta testers with the fourth pre-release build of El Capitan, its forthcoming free Mac operating system update set to launch this fall.

The new public beta of OS X 10.11 comes one day after the sixth developer beta was released. It is likely that both builds are identical.

The latest build is said to include only minor tweaks and bug fixes from previous versions. Betas of El Capitan have been released more quickly, suggesting that Apple could be nearly done with the OS X update and is only working on polishing code before a public debut.

Still, beta releases are known to feature bugs, as one tester told AppleInsider on Tuesday that they have experienced a kernel panic with the OS X Mail app in the latest version of El Capitan. As such, testers are advised to not install El Capitan on their Mac’s main partition.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan is somewhat of a polish of last year’s OS X 10.10 Yosemite update, refining things that were previously introduced. However, there are a handful of new features in the next-generation Mac update, including Split View, a better Mission Control, and various performance improvements such as Metal graphics processing.

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Oxeye, Minecraft’s Mojang to release new Cobalt multiplayer platformer for Mac in October


Cobalt, a long-gestating multiplayer action platformer jointly developed by indie studio Oxeye and Minecraft creators Mojang, is set to drop on the Mac this October alongside the Xbox and PC.

First announced in 2011, Cobalt’s release date was revealed earlier Tuesday in advance of this week’s Gamescom trade show in Germany. Microsoft Studios will publish the game after acquiring collaborator Mojang for $2.5 billion last November.

In Cobalt, gamers can choose from one of six different multiplayer modes — including deathmatch, capture the flag, and team strike — each of which supports up to eight players, either locally or online. A more standard co-op mode is also available.

Content includes more than 30 maps, over 36 types of weapons, customizable avatars, and new gameplay elements like auto-slow-motion, rideable enemies, and tamable space hamsters. Custom maps will also be supported, with a map editor available for both desktop platforms.

Mac users can download and play what Oxeye calls a “remarkably dated alpha” from Cobalt’s official website today

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RBC reiterates $150 target for Apple stock, expects huge ‘iPhone 6s’ launch


Amid continued losses for Apple stock, investment firm RBC Capital Markets has remained steadfast with its $150 price target, once again on Tuesday advising investors to buy in ahead of the anticipated “iPhone 6s” product launch.

Analyst Amit Daryanani of RBC reiterated his “outperform” rating for shares of AAPL in a note to investors, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider. In it, Daryanani noted that Apple’s manufacturing and component purchase commitments as of June 2015 stood at $21.7 billion, a massive 40.9 percent year over year increase.

Noting that it’s the highest number he’s ever seen from Apple, the analyst said it suggests that the company is not only gearing up for the “iPhone 6s” launch, but could be planning other new products to debut in the coming months.

To Daryanani, Apple’s spending signals that the iPhone maker is planning a “material ramp” for new products in the second half of 2015 and the first half of calendar 2016. In his view, the company’s current valuation is well below what it should be trading at.

“We believe AAPL’s current stock price creates an attractive entry point for investors to benefit from AAPL’s ability to sustain revenue and (earnings per share) growth through (fiscal year 2015),” he wrote.

RBC was joined by a number of other investment firms in standing by Apple after last month’s record earnings report. Although Apple sold more iPhones than it had ever before in the June quarter, the company still fell short of bullish expectations on Wall Street, contributing to a recent tumble in share prices.

Like Daryanani, most prominent analysts have said they see the current slide as an opportunity for investors to buy into Apple. In particular, the company is expected to debut its next-generation “iPhone 6s” in September, along with a new Apple TV featuring a touchpad remote, dedicated App Store, and Siri support.

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Taylor Swift says she was surprised by positive response to Apple Music letter


Pop musician Taylor Swift was surprised by the positive response to an open letter criticizing Apple Music royalties, including Apple’s quick decision to reverse course, according to an interview published on Tuesday.

The concern was people would see her as obsessed with royalty issues, Swift said to Vanity Fair. In 2014, the musician infamously pulled her music from Spotify, complaining that the service doesn’t pay artists as much as they deserve.

Until Apple’s sudden turnaround, prompted by the Swift letter, the company had been planning to pay rights holders nothing for tracks streamed during an Apple Music listener’s free trial. This would have severely reduced payments for many musicians, publishers, and songwriters, and in fact resulted in no payments at all for the first three months of the service. Several other artists and record labels complained about the prospect.

“My fears were that I would be looked at as someone who just whines and rants about this thing that no one else is really ranting about,” Swift said.

She added that the letter was written before dawn in response to Apple Music contracts going out to some of her friends, one of whom sent her a screenshot with the phrase “zero percent compensation to rights holders.” Before publishing, she read it to her mother looking for approval.

Swift claimed that Apple treated her “like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about,” and much better than Spotify.

“And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine,” she said.

Swift is one of the most famous musicians on the planet, and losing her catalog could have potentially harmed the Apple Music launch. After the change in royalty policies, Swift relented on a threat to withhold her latest album, 1989.

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