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London’s Met Police abandons plan to issue 15-20,000 iPads after spending $13k/iPad on a trial

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London’s Metropolitan Police service has apparently abandoned plans to issue iPad minis to 15-20,000 frontline officers after spending a total of £6M ($8.58M) on a trial of just 641 devices. This means that the trial ended up costing the taxpayer £9,360 ($13,397) per iPad.

The Inquirer obtained the information using a Freedom of Information request.

The Met spent £1.2m on hardware during that time, including the iPads and supporting servers and accessories, £4.1m on custom software development, which included the databases to support mobile operations, £600,000 on business and management activities and £100,000 on licences. The costs also include the replacement of 12 tablets during the trial period … 



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PSA: Got a MasterCard and Apple Pay? Travel for free in London today and the next three Mondays

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If you’re in London, have got a MasterCard and haven’t yet started using Apple Pay, today would be a great time to start. The card company has launched a promotion offering free travel in London on Mondays, starting today. Quite a neat way of persuading people to select a MasterCard as their primary card in Apple Pay …

The promo covers tubes, trains and buses. Just use Apple Pay with a MasterCard selected when you touch in and out, and all your fares for the day will be refunded to your card – up to a maximum of £27.90. The offer runs on Monday November 23rd & 30th, plus December 7th and 14th.

Apple has also been highlighting Apple Pay, recently adding a new Guided Tour video to its YouTube channel on how to use Apple Pay on the iPhone. The company already had one for the Apple Watch, but this is the first video how-to for the iPhone. The expansion of Apple Pay to new cards continues apace.

Via Engadget

More video screensavers added to Apple TV 4, including aerial views of London & Great Wall of China

londonaerial

After debuting the Apple TV 4 with San Francisco-themed video screensavers, Apple has added some new videos to the queue, including flyover footage of central London (above) and the Great Wall of China (below). Both are found within the Aerial screensavers section, but you can’t specifically choose them, the device just loops the ones Apple pushes to it … 

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Apple describes its first store in Europe as “tired and outdated” as it joins the queue for a refresh

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A planning application to refresh the design of Apple’s Regent Street store in London describes the current look as “tired and outdated” as it joins the queue to see a major redesign. This is expected to be broadly in line with the new look first seen in Brussels when it opened two weeks ago, overseen by Jony Ive in his new role as Apple’s Chief Design Officer.

The status of the building as ‘listed’ (historically protected) will limit the exterior changes the company is allowed to make, but the four Apple logos in the windows will be removed to allow in more light, reports the Evening Standard.

The brief looked to re-imagine the overall customer experience within the store and address a tired and outdated interior sales area […] Part of the proposed works is also removing the four Apple Logos from the Regent Street facade. This assists with natural light penetrating the retail floor and preserves the historic character of the facade.

The upper floor will be set back from the front of the building, to allow more light into the ground floor. The existing glass staircase will also be removed and replaced with ““two new dramatic staircases,” which we assume to be the spiral designs seen in many Apple Stores. The store first opened in 2004, and has seen only limited interior refreshes since then.

As with the Brussels store, the redesign will be carried out by Foster & Partners, the architects behind London’s famous Gherkin building. It’s not known when the work will be completed, the planning approval being valid for up to three years.

Samsung tries to sell its phones to … people in an Apple Store queue for an iPhone 6s

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So, you’re Samsung. You want to try to sell some phones. You need to find some potential customers. You draw up lists of potential targets, and right at the bottom, in billionth place, are Apple fans so dedicated that they’ve queued up outside an Apple Store to buy the shiny new iPhone 6s. So where does Samsung go? Yep, to the Apple Store in London’s Regent Street, complete with backpack-mounted banners, reports The Enquirer. And it gets worse … 

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Apple Watch takes over Selfridges in London with eye-catching floral display

Apple Watch Selfridges

Apple has long been known to extravagantly deck out its own retail stores with eye-catching window displays featuring flagship products at key times, and unsurprisingly it’s treating the 24 window displays that wrap around Selfridges’ high-end retail store in London just the same. Profiled today by Wallpaper.com, the massive display of detailed floral shots easily catches the attention of window shoppers to advertise the Apple Watch. The profile also shows previous themes used by Apple to advertise the Apple Watch’s availability at the high-end retailer and includes some interesting details about the display as well:

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Pharrell & One Direction headlining Apple Music Festival September 19-28 in London

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Apple today announced that it will be holding its annual music festival across 10 days during the month of September in London. Previously known as the iTunes Festival, this year’s show is known as the “Apple Music Festival” in reference the recently launched Apple Music service. It is also notably shorter than the typical 30 days of concerts. Pharrell Williams, One Direction, Florence + The Machine and Disclosure will be the headlining acts at this year’s festival, which takes place from September 19th to September 28th.

Apple’s Eddy Cue in addition to the main artists have commented on the announcement:



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iOS 9 Transit Maps to launch in a handful of cities in North America, Europe & China

Maps Transit

While Apple plans to debut its own mass transit directions service for Maps in iOS 9 as soon as June, the rollout will not be as ambitious as some users may have hoped. In its first iteration, Apple’s Transit service will only support approximately a half-dozen cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe, in addition to China, according to sources…



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London’s cycle hire scheme finally gets an official iPhone app

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Cycling is definitely the fastest and most pleasant way to get around central London, and the large-scale cycle hire scheme – informally known as Boris Bikes, after Mayor Boris Johnson who launched the scheme – finally has an official app.

Named after the scheme’s new sponsor, the Santander Cycles App allows users to find the nearest docking station, check availability of bikes and obtain a release code to hire one. Transport for London has long made the data publicly available, allowing developers to create their own apps with limited functionality, but it’s taken five years to create an official app that allows you to hire the bikes.

There are more than 700 Boris Bike docking stations in London, with a total of 11,500 bicycles available. More than 10 million journeys were made by Boris Bike last year. Users pay £2 ($3) for a one-day membership, and can then make unlimited use of the bikes for journeys of up to 30 minutes each (which will pretty much get you anywhere to anywhere in central London).

The app is a free download from iTunes, and the full press release can be found below.

London’s newest red icon – Santander Cycles – today launched a revolutionary new App, making the cycle hire scheme easier to use than ever before.

The new Santander Cycles App for Android and iOS smartphones is free to download for both members and casual users. In addition to viewing the nearest docking station and bike availability, the new App is able to send a ‘bike release’ code straight to a user’s phone, which means they can hire a cycle without having to use the docking station terminal.

All customers need to do is register with their bank card, use the App to ‘hire now’ from a nearby docking station, and just tap the code into a docking point to release a bike for use.

Extra features of the Santander Cycles App

  • See up-to-the minute information about which docking stations have cycles and spaces available;
  • Users can log in to their membership accounts;
  • Buy 24 hour and annual subscriptions;
  • Receive notifications showing the cost at the end of a hire period;
  • View recent journeys and charges;
  • Tells users exactly when their hire period has started – and confirms the bike has been securely docked at the end of a hire period;
  • Plan a journey with an easy to follow map – Transport for London’s (TfL’s) real-time cycling Journey Planner is available at the touch of a button, which shows users where they can hire a bike and how many are available at any one of the Capital’s 750 docking stations;
  • Smart design means it can be constantly upgraded and improved by TfL and Santander with the latest app technology available.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

‘The new Santander Cycles App will make finding and hiring a bike in our great Capital city even more of a doddle. The App is packed full of handy new features and is part and parcel of our plans to take the cycle hire scheme to the next level and encourage more people on to two wheels.’

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:

‘This is just one of the exciting new developments we’re bringing to life with our new partnership with Santander. Together we’re working hard to make cycling an integral part of London life, so anyone can jump on a bike to get to work, the shops or discover the Capital. The new official Santander Cycles App will make hiring a bike much easier for both members and casual users by being able to find the nearest docking station and check how many bikes are available, and get an access code so you can just hop on and go without spending time at the terminal.’

Nathan Bostock, CEO, Santander UK, said:

‘We’re absolutely committed to growing and developing Santander Cycles together with TfL by making more bikes available, providing more docking stations and offering extra benefits in future to give Londoners and visitors to the Capital the best possible experience.

‘Since announcing our partnership in February of this year, we’ve already added 3 per cent cashback on cycle hire journeys for customers using their 1|2|3 credit card, and the App further demonstrates our commitment to making the cycle scheme more fun, rewarding and easy.’

The new red-and-white livery of Santander Cycles is already widespread across London and the transition is continuing at pace as docking stations and distribution vans are rebranded.

Santander Cycles is the second-largest cycle hire scheme in Europe, and since it was introduced in 2010, around 40 million journeys have been made using the bikes, making it a popular and affordable way to travel around London for work or leisure.

Usage of the scheme rose by a quarter last year and is at a record high, with more than 10 million journeys made in 2014. Customer satisfaction is also at an all-time high, with over 80 per cent of members intending to renew their membership.

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EasyJet’s new app provides end-to-end proactive guidance to air passengers

European no-frills airline EasyJet seems to have taken a full-service approach to its new app, dubbed Mobile Host. The app aims to provide proactive, location-based guidance to passengers from one end of their journey to the other.

The app begins with check-in reminders, guides you to the baggage-drop if you have luggage, tells you when your gate is open and navigates you there, opens your boarding pass when you get there, and directs you to the correct baggage carousel on arrival. The service goes live at London Gatwick Airport today, with other airports to follow.

easyJet’s Mobile Host is a joint initiative with Gatwick and combines live data from the airports information systems, using Google indoor maps, together with a passenger’s booking details, location and flight time.  The result is personalised instructions and updates for passengers during their journey.

The app is currently iPhone-only, and is available in seven languages. The new app was not on the App Store at the time of writing, but if you download the current app, it should update.

EasyJet last updated the app a few weeks ago to add support for the Apple Watch. It was one of the first European airlines to support Passbook boarding passes, and started using iBeacons for location-based alerts last summer.

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Tim Cook reported to be in Paris, likely for Apple Watch launch in Galeries Lafayette (update: or not)

A previous visit to Paris by Tim Cook to promote the Apple Watch

A previous visit to Paris by Tim Cook to promote the Apple Watch

Update: Another French site, Macplus, says it has “confirmation” that Cook will not be in Paris tomorrow, but does not state a source for this.

Mac4Ever is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Paris, likely for the Apple Watch launch in the upmarket Galeries Lafayette department store. The Apple Watch section of the store spans four balconies and is set for its grand opening at 9am tomorrow.

The similar section within the Selfridges department store in London opens the same day, and with the two cities just a 45-minute flight (or 2 hour train away, it seems likely Cook will put in an appearance there too. Visits to nearby Apple Stores in both cities also seem a reasonable bet, London’s Regent Street store is very close to Selfridges.

The watch saw mixed reviews yesterday, with the general consensus that it was easily the best smartwatch on the market but suffered from a number of usability issues–and several reviewers were still trying to figure out whether it really had a useful role to play in their daily lives.

Apple announces grand opening for Apple Watch shops in department stores in London, Paris and Tokyo (Gallery)

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We reported last month that Apple was creating Apple Watch displays inside department stores in London and Paris, adding earlier this month that Tokyo was joining the party. All three stores-within-a-store are now official, with entries on Apple’s website. As we previously noted, the locations are Selfridges in LondonGaleries Lafayette in Paris and Isetan Shinjuku in Tokyo.

All three are opening on April 10th, the same day Apple Watchs are available for preview and pre-orders in Apple’s own retail stores, and are being given a high-profile presence in each department store … 

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Tim Cook’s latest stop in whirlwind international tour: London’s Covent Garden Apple Store

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Tim Cook’s international tour continues. After visiting BILDChancellor Angela Merkel and an Apple Store in Germany, and President Reuven Rivlin in Israel, he was photographed today in the Apple Store in London’s Covent Garden.

Business Insider pulled together a few tweets in which Cook gave Apple Watch demos to surprised customers, and posed for selfies with store employees … 

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Apple Maps adds animated 3D imagery starting w/ UK’s London Eye & Big Ben (Videos)

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Apple has added some nice new touches to Apple Maps with animated 3D imagery for iconic landmarks starting with the UK. Apple Maps now shows the correct time on Big Ben and a rotating London Eye when users viewing the landmarks access the app’s 3D Flyover feature.

Videos showing off the animated London Eye and Big Ben in Apple Maps are below:

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Apple showcases iPad with creative Smart Cover storefront display at Apple Store

Apple has had some interesting retail storefront displays for the iPhone, iPad and Mac in the past, but its latest effort all but tops the cake. At the iconic Apple Store on Regent Street in London, the Cupertino-based company now has a row of iPads on display with colorful Smart Covers that automatically open and close.

This video (from Vid.Me) does not explain how the Smart Covers are able to move on their own, although magnets underneath the shelf are almost certainly involved. Anyone who has used a Smart Cover knows that the accessory is not actually able to open and close by itself, but that hasn’t stopped some customers from inquiring about the trick at Apple Stores.

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Apple looking for London-based ‘Apple Pay Intern’ to help expand service into Europe

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A new UK job listing posted on Apple’s website and uncovered by iClarified indicates that the company is planning to expands its payment service into Europe and elsewhere. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Apple wants to put its iPhone 6-based payment system into as many hands worldwide as possible, but this is one of the first indications of a move in that direction.

The intern will be part of a new London-based team that will help roll the product out across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia. Specifically the intern will be responsible for handling contracts and non-disclosure agreements between Apple and third-parties like banks and retailers.



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UK corporate tax crackdown potentially impacts Apple, Google, Amazon & others

Covent Garden, London – one of the largest Apple Stores in the world

Covent Garden, London – one of the largest Apple Stores in the world

New corporate tax measures aimed at preventing multinational companies making profits in the UK and then shifting them overseas where they incur lower taxes could potentially impact a number of tech companies, including Apple, Google and Amazon.

The British government announced a new 25% tax on profits generated in the UK and then “artificially shifted” overseas, reports the BBC … 

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Apple Store promoting upcoming iTunes Festival w/ pins and wristbands, music-related events

iTunes Festival London

After bringing the iTunes Festival to the US earlier this year at Austin SXSW, Apple’s annual music event in London kicking off next week has been the focus of much of the company’s attention recently. Earlier this week, Apple’s newly acquired Beats Music began promoting the iTunes Festival with a contest within the app to attend the festival.

Apple will also use its retail stores to further promote the event with iTunes Festival Pins to be worn by retail employees to “spark conversation about the event,” according to an internal document obtained by 9to5Mac. Retail employees will also receive iTunes Festival wristbands and redemption codes for music. Select Apple Stores will also host “music-related events” with local artists, according to the document.

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iTunes Festival 2014 schedule updated with new acts including Mary J. Blige and deadmau5

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Apple has once again updated the lineup for its upcoming iTunes Festival in London, adding several new musical artists to the schedule, including Mary J. Blige, deadmau5, Tony Bennett, and Ed Sheeran. The addition of 19 more acts brings the current announced total to 40, with another 20+ still to be announced.

The complete list of artists added tonight is below:



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Calls to Apple confirm: Apple TV promotion and upcoming iTunes Festival wipe out Store stock, still available for shipping

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The Apple TV is showing up as ‘Unavailable for pickup’ at Apple Stores across the U.S., with multiple NY Apple Stores we called saying that in-store stocks had been exhausted by demand created by the promotion offering $25 iTunes credit with every purchase, along with that generated by the upcoming London iTunes festival as well as the recent Lollapalooza livestream. Apple has been promoting the music festival as a good reason to buy the box now … 



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