Time runs out for Apple Watch pop-up shop experiment

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apple watch
Tokyo store is the last of Apple's three Apple Watch pop-up shops.
Photo: Apple

Apple is closing the last of its remaining Apple Watch pop-up shops. Based in Tokyo, the last of the mini-stores is located in Shinjuku’s high-end Isetan department store. It will shut its door next month.

A message outside the store reads, “This is a notice that Apple Watch at Isetan Shinjuku will close as of Sunday, May 13. Thank you very much for your continuous patronage.”

Today in Apple history: App Store hits 1 billion downloads

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App Store
What was the first app you ever downloaded?
Photo: Apple

Apple cuts HomePod orders by more than half

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Apple HomePod smart speaker
HomePod sales aren't setting the world on fire.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker isn’t off to the best start in terms of sales. A new report claims that lack of demand for the speakers has resulted in Apple cutting orders from 500,000 units per month to just 200,000.

Extrapolated over the course of a year that would mean that Apple expects to sell around 2.4 million HomePods in 12 months. That would put it on a level with the 2015 first year sales of the Amazon Echo, but would be highly disappointing given the relative maturity of the smart speaker market and Apple’s name recognition.

Facebook delays smart speaker until October

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HomePod
Facebook's HomePod rival could arrive in six months.
Photo: Apple

Facebook’s smart speaker will reportedly launch in October, a new report claims. The social media giant’s entry into the AI speaker market already home to Apple’s HomePod, Amazon’s Echo and Google Home was allegedly delayed several months as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

As a result, Facebook has cut its 2018 order volume by around 20 percent, although orders for 2019 will remain unchanged.

Your 13-inch MacBook Pro might need its battery replaced

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Mac
Anyone who bought a 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) in the last year and a half should check if it needs a new battery.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple admits that some MacBook Pro laptops have a problem that causes their batteries to swell up. The company is replacing these free of charge.

This affects only the non-touchbar version of the macOS laptop, and only models with a 13-inch screen. In addition, the device needs to have been produced in a specific timeframe.

Choose two Casetify Apple Watch bands, save 20% [April Sale]

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casetify
Take your pick of any two Casetify Apple Watch bands and get 20% off! Includes Stainless Steel, Woven Nylon and Saffiano Leather bands.
Photo: Courtesy of Casetify

Spring’s the perfect time to up your Apple Watch style game and swap out that old strap for something fresh.

Enter Casetify’s collection of fun and super stylish Apple Watch bands in Stainless Steel Mesh, Woven Nylon and the artist-inspired line of Saffiano Leather bands.

Browse the full lineup of Casetify bands in our Watch Store, and remember to use code CULTOF20 at checkout for 20 percent off when you purchase two Casestify Apple Watch bands. And, as always, enjoy free shipping with your Casetify purchase. Sale ends April 31st!

Drafts 5, Vulse, Things, and other awesome apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This week has been big on big updates. Drafts, the best text-capture app for iOS, got a brand-new version. Cultured Code’s Things also received a big update (but still doesn’t allow drag-and-drop to task lists). And Dropbox finally did add drag-and-drop, just seven months after iOS 11 added the feature.

Well done!

Today in Apple history: Apple teams with Volkswagen for VW iBeetle

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The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
Photo: Volkswagen

April 22: Today in Apple history: Apple teams with VW for the iBeetle April 22, 2013: The world gets its first Apple car. Well, kind of.

In reality, the iBeetle is a collaboration with German carmaker Volkswagen that offers a car “stylistically linked” to Apple. This means Apple-inspired colors, a built-in docking station for your iPhone, and a special app that lets you control the car’s features.

Developers enjoy a huge boost from iOS 11’s App Store redesign

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iPhone App Store
The iPhone App Store is a sort of magazine about iOS software.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The iOS App Store got a new look last fall, and the change has greatly benefited developers of third-party applications, as Apple intended. A new study found that getting named Game of the Day results in an 800 percent increase in downloads.

Inclusion in the other segments of the App Store Today screen brought improved performance as well.

Today in Apple history: Rumors fly that Canon might buy Apple

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money
Apple was up for sale in the 1990s.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

April 21: Today in Apple history: Rumors fly that Canon might buy Apple April 21, 1995: Rumors swirl that Canon (yes, the Japanese camera company!) might take over Apple in either a partial or complete acquisition.

Speculation grows about a possible deal after Apple reveals its latest earnings, which show big improvement but still fall far short of Wall Street’s expectations.