First Click: What the hell is going on in Apple’s US-based Mac Pro factory?

First Click: What the hell is going on in Apple's US-based Mac Pro factory?

First Click: What the hell is going on in Apple’s US-based Mac Pro factory?

Remember when Apple came out with its six-guns a blazin’ to announce its Mac Pro and a return to US manufacturing? It was a big deal for much of 2013 and 2014, accompanied by a lot of flag-waving bombast and back-patting bravado. But then Apple fell mysteriously silent on the topic as the months turned into years without any upgrades.

It was President Obama who, at the beginning of 2011, asked Steve Jobs what it would take to build iPhones in the United States. Why can’t that work come home, the president asked. Steve Jobs’ answer was unequivocal: “Those jobs aren’t coming back.” Nevertheless, in 2012 Tim Cook’s Apple committed to investing over $100 million to kickstart US manufacturing. In 2013, Apple would launch the completely redesigned Mac Pro, which would be partially manufactured and then assembled in Austin, Texas though a partnership with Flextronics.

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You can now buy refurbished Apple Watch models for as little as $229

You can now buy refurbished Apple Watch models for as little as $229

You can now buy refurbished Apple Watch models for as little as $229

Apple’s renewed commitment to refurbished mobile products now extends to its smartwatch line. Starting today, you can buy discounted Apple Watch devices straight from the company’s website. The cheapest model, a refurbished Apple Watch Series 1 in a 38mm rose gold aluminum case, is only $229. Others, like stainless steel versions of the Apple Watch Series 2, are available for $509, or about 15 percent off. This move follows Apple’s recent decision to start selling refurbished iPhone models on its online store.

Most of the discounts, and there’s an entire page of them, range from around 14 to 16 percent off. And the price reductions don’t appear to change too much depending on whether you’re purchasing the standard aluminum model — which used to be known as the Apple Watch Sport before the entire device line was rebranded with a fitness focus — or the pricer stainless steel one.

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Apple extends USB-C accessory discounts until March 31st

Apple extends USB-C accessory discounts until March 31st

Apple extends USB-C accessory discounts until March 31st

Apple has extended the price cuts on nearly all USB-C cables and adaptors in its store, pushing the sale’s end date back three months, from December 31st to March 31st.

The price cuts were announced at the beginning of November, shortly after the introduction of the MacBook Pro and amid a flurry of complaints from potential buyers about the computer’s lack of commonly used ports. Because it only has USB-C ports, new cables or adaptors are needed to connect pretty much anything a person already owns, tacking on added costs to the computer and potentially requiring more devices to be carried around.

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Apple will charge you $69 to replace a lost AirPod

Apple will charge you $69 to replace a lost AirPod

Apple will charge you $69 to replace a lost AirPod

We now know precisely how much each of Apple’s little wireless earbuds is worth: $69. As Apple Insider noticed this morning, that’s the charge for replacing a lost AirPod, the new Bluetooth variation of Apple’s EarPod headphones. Apple’s service pricing page goes over all the details of repairing or replacing AirPods; the one-year limited warranty covers problems like a defective battery. Otherwise, you’ll be spending $69 to repair or replace an earbud or the charging case they come with. Battery service, which might be necessary as the headphones age, costs $49.

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Latest watchOS update bricks some Apple Watches

Latest watchOS update bricks some Apple Watches

Latest watchOS update bricks some Apple Watches

Apple has pulled the latest watchOS 3.1.1 update after some users reported that it bricked their Apple Watch.

Unfortunate users that installed the update—which launched on Monday and promised various bug fixes—were left with watches displaying a red exclamation mark on the screen and a link to www.apple.com/help/watch. The issue appears to mostly affect the Apple Watch Series 2, although not every user has experienced problems with the update.

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Apple’s CarPlay is now available in more than 200 different models

Apple’s CarPlay is now available in more than 200 different models

Apple’s CarPlay is now available in more than 200 different models

If reports are to be believed, Apple has scaled back ambitions to build its own car, but it’s still going strong with its more prosaic automobile offering: CarPlay. As spotted by 9to5Mac, the in-car operating system (like a stripped back version of iOS) is now available in more than 200 different vehicles. The latest list features cars from Audi, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Volkswagen, including vehicles that are already on the market, and some 2017 models. You can check the full list here.

It’s not clear in terms of precise numbers how this compares to Google’s rival car OS, Android Auto, but both companies cover all the major manufacturers. As of this October, Android Auto was scheduled to be available on more than 40 2016 models, including some from BMW, Fiat Chrysler (including Dodge and Jeep), and Toyota and Lexus. You don’t have to buy your car new to get Android Auto or CarPlay though, and there are quite a few aftermarket solutions including Sony’s recently released XAV-AX100 — yours for the (relatively) affordable $499.

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Samsung victorious at Supreme Court fight with 8-0 opinion against Apple

Samsung victorious at Supreme Court fight with 8-0 opinion against Apple

Samsung victorious at Supreme Court fight with 8-0 opinion against Apple

For the first time in a century, the US Supreme Court has weighed in on how much design patents are worth. The answer: not nearly as much as Apple thinks.

The 8-0 opinion (PDF) is a rebuke to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which held that the relevant “article of manufacture” for calculating damages was—in fact, had to be—the entire smartphone. That meant even though Apple’s patents covered only certain design elements, it was entitled to $399 million in lost profits damages.

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Apple will break with tradition and start publishing AI research

Apple will break with tradition and start publishing AI research

Apple will break with tradition and start publishing AI research

Apple, the most the secretive member of the technology industry, is starting to break down its walls. Russ Salakhutdinov, the company’s director of artificial intelligence research, says Apple will start letting its AI researchers publish papers and engage with the greater AI community, according to a report from Business Insider. Salakhutdinov reportedly made the announcement earlier today at the NIPS conference in Barcelona, Spain.

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Tim Cook says the Apple Watch just had its best sales week ever

Tim Cook says the Apple Watch just had its best sales week ever

Tim Cook says the Apple Watch just had its best sales week ever

Tim Cook has delivered an update on Apple Watch sales through the unusual medium of email to Reuters reporter. “Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook said. “Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch.”

The timing of Cook’s essentially public comments is notable, coming the day after research firm IDC published a report estimating that Apple Watch sales last quarter were down 71 percent year on year. The figures weren’t surprising considering that Apple released the new Series 2 line right at the end of the July-September period, with supply constraints lasting well into the current quarter — basically, this summer was a bad time to buy an Apple Watch.

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