Apple Store Now Offering Exclusive Insta360 ONE Camera Bundle

Insta360, a company that offers a 360 degree camera, today announced the launch of an exclusive Insta360 ONE Camera Bundle that's available only from the Apple Store.

The bundle, priced at $329.95, includes an Insta360 ONE camera, a selfie stick, a case, a mini tripod, a micro SD card, and a new bullet-time handle.

Designed to attach to an iPhone's Lightning port or connect to an iPhone using Bluetooth, the Insta360 ONE Camera allows users to shoot and livestream 360 degree video and capture 360 degree photos.

Using a FreeCapture mode, the camera lets you shoot footage in 360 degrees and then go back and edit to a traditional 1080p format, so you can shoot an entire scene and then go back later to pick out what you want to highlight.

With the bullet-time handle, the Insta360 ONE camera can orbit a scene while suspended in mid-air, recording action in slow motion, hence the bullet-time name.

The new Insta360 ONE Camera Bundle is available from the Apple online store starting today, and it should be in retail stores later this week.

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Apple Retail Stores in China to Accept Alipay Mobile Payments

Alipay, the mobile payment system offered by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, will soon be accepted in Apple retail stores across China, making it the first third-party mobile payment system to be accepted at brick-and-mortar Apple stores anywhere in the world (via Reuters).

The partnership with Apple was announced in a statement on Wednesday by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, which runs Alipay. Apple's regional China website, iTunes Store, and App Store have accepted Alipay for over a year, but Apple has now agreed to accept Alipay payments across all of its 41 local retail stores in the country, where Apple Pay has thus far received a lukewarm reception.

Alipay is China's most used mobile payment platform, but Alibaba is looking to keep one step ahead of Tencent Holdings' rival digital payment system, which is integrated into hugely popular chat app WeChat.

Reports of discussions about a potential partnership between Apple and Alibaba date back to November 2014, when the idea of integrating Alibaba's Alipay with Apple Pay was first considered as a more comprehensive mobile payments solution for the Chinese market.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple’s Planned Flagship Store in Melbourne, Australia Faces Backlash From City Council Over its Design

In December, Apple announced its plans to open a new flagship retail location at the Federation Square shopping center in Melbourne, Australia in 2020. Since that announcement, many locals have come out against the store and the demolition of the existing Yarra building, arguing that the public space in Federation Square should stay that way and not be "given up" to a corporation.

This week, Apple's planned store has faced new backlash in regards to its design, coming from the Melbourne City Council (via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation). During a city council meeting on Tuesday it was reported that Apple's design proposal for the location was "overwhelmingly" rejected by the community through about 800 public submissions disliking the look of the store.

Image via Federation Square's website.

Melbourne councillors then "unanimously backed" a motion to lobby the government for a new store design and public consultation on the project, and now await to see if the government will accept or reject its proposal. Councillor Nicholas Reece was said to have described the proposed store as a "Pizza Hut pagoda."
If the Government rejects the council's proposal, then the administration will encourage Upper House MPs to disallow the planning scheme amendment enabling the project.

Councillor Leppert said the council lacked the power to block the development from going ahead. "This is one of the strongest positions we have taken," he said.

"It reminds me of a Pizza Hut pagoda and I just think it's like something that's rolled off an Apple Store production line," Cr Reece said.
Apple last month said the Federation Square location "respects the original vision for the plaza, with a bespoke design concept and extensive landscaping bringing increased opportunities for the community to enjoy this renowned cultural hub."

Despite uniting against the design of the store, Melbourne councillors are reportedly divided regarding further commercial development in Federation Square. Councillor Reece mentioned "with the right design," Apple's appearance in the area "could be a good thing." As pointed out by ABC in December, before becoming favored by the community today, Federation Square itself was a "controversial piece of architecture" when it was first built in 2002, "with many people dismissing it as ugly and strange."

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Apple Store App Updated With iOS 11 Enhancements and Support for iPhone Purchases Without Carrier Pre-Activation

Apple today updated its Apple Store app to version 4.4, introducing iOS 11 enhancements and a new scanner feature for quickly adding your credit card information at checkout.

According to the release notes, the app update also allows customers to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones, a purchasing option that has been available for the iPhone X on the Apple Store website since November.
What's New in Version 4.4
- iOS 11 enhancements
- Scanner now available to easily add your credit card information at checkout
- Customers now have the option to bypass pre-authorization and activate later on full price purchases of iPhones on AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint
The Apple Store app is Apple's iOS storefront, allowing customers to find and purchase a range of Apple products and accessories. It can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Lifeprint Launches Larger WiFi-Equipped AR Photo Printer That’s Available Exclusively From Apple

Lifeprint, known for its photo printers that come equipped with augmented reality technology, today announced the launch of its latest printer, which is larger than the original version to let iPhone users print bigger pictures.

The new Lifeprint photo printer can print images that are 3 by 4.5 inches, up from 2 by 3 inches. WiFi is new to this version of the printer, which means you can print to a Lifeprint printer from anywhere in the world and send photos to printers owned by friends and family. Bluetooth is also available for local printing.

With Lifeprint printers, you also can print a still of a video or a Live Photo and then use the Lifeprint app to see an augmented reality version of the video, essentially bringing your photos to life. It's a little bit gimmicky, but it can be a fun way to share videos with friends. It's also a neat way to print and share Live Photos.

Like many of the miniature iPhone printers on the market, Lifeprint printers use ZINK paper, which allows for color images without ink cartridges. ZINK also has a sticky back, so all of your printed photos double as stickers. On the downside, ZINK is expensive at over $1 per photo when using the Lifeprint-branded paper in the new size.

You can print photos, videos, Live Photos, GIFs, Snaps, and more with Lifeprint, and the Lifeprint app has built-in tools for editing your images and adding stickers, filters, and captions. There's also integration with Instagram and Facebook so you can print directly from your social network.
"For our second printer, we wanted to go bigger and broader. The larger film is classic instant camera size and really captures that retro look and feel. Perfect for decorating your walls. But more importantly the WiFi capability means you're always connected. This allows users to print to and from anywhere in the world. No matter where you are, you're connected and ready to print. And of course, the magical Harry Potter-like Hyperphotos still bring those videos to life in your hands. Super cool."
Lifeprint's new 3x4.5 printer is available exclusively from and Apple retail stores for $149.99 starting today. Film is priced at $50 for a pack of 40 and $30 for a pack of 20.

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Apple Retail Stores Offering iPad Pro ‘Sketch Walks’ in Celebration of Urban Sketchers 10th Anniversary

Apple is offering a series of "sketch walks" hosted by well-known artists to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers, a global community of artists that are dedicated to on-location drawing.

Many artists who are members of Urban Sketchers have adopted the iPad Pro as a drawing tool of choice, including Uma Kelkar from San Francisco, Rob Sketcherman from Hong Kong, Don Low from Singapore, and Omar Jamarillo from Berlin, all of whom will be teaching the sketching classes.

A member of Urban Sketchers for over four years, Rob has been creating artwork exclusively on iPad for just as long, and began drawing on iPad Pro in 2015 when it was introduced.

Rob says, "the flexibility [iPad Pro] offers fuels experimentation with line, texture and look, allowing any number of iterations. It's also very forgiving, expelling all fear of the dreaded blank page and of potentially 'ruining sketchbooks' in case an experiment goes awry."
All of the 10th anniversary sketch walks hosted by Urban Sketchers artists will take place on Thursday, November 30 at Apple retail locations around the world. Don Low will teach in Singapore, Rob Sketcherman will teach in Hong Kong, Uma Kelkar will teach in San Francisco, and Omar Jaramillo will teach in Berlin.

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers with artist Uma Kelkar, and explore how to free yourself from the notion of art as an exact science. She'll demo her free-flowing process, which sets aside space, proportion, and even gravity to tell a complex story in unexpected ways. And you'll practice sketching overlapping vignettes to tell your own unique story with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
Each class requires customers to bring an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, along with comfortable shoes. Walks range from 0.5km to 2km.

Apple also offers several other classes dedicated to drawing and sketching on Apple devices, all of which are part of its "Today" program. The Today program allows Apple retail stores to offer classes on a wide range of subjects, providing help and instruction for customers of all skill levels.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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Reach Robotics’ ‘MekaMon’ AR Gaming Robot Available at Apple Stores for $299

Augmented reality gaming company Reach Robotics today announced that its MekaMon gaming robot is coming to Apple Stores throughout the US and UK starting on November 16.

Priced at $299.99, MekaMon is a real-life robot that melds real-world gameplay with augmented reality. MekaMon, a four-legged spider-shaped robot that measures in at 11.8in x 11.8in x 5.9in, is designed to let players battle their robots in both the physical and virtual worlds using iOS devices.

MekaMon is compatible with newer iOS devices and adopts the iPhone's camera and infrared sensors for what Reach Robotics calls "precision gameplay." MekaMon robots connect to one another using infrared signals as players' iPhones connect over Bluetooth, letting friends battle against each other or participate in arcade and cooperative gameplay.

With the built-in augmented reality support, gamers can choose to play with their MekaMon robots either in the real world or using augmented reality. Once a battle is engaged, MekaMon is able to move and use objects in the room like tables, chairs, and more to block attackers.

Each MekaMon robot can be customized by adding weapons or shields to make the robot more aggressive, defensive, or technically inclined, and the MekaMon robots are compatible with Swift Playgrounds, so users can control their robots using Swift code.

MekaMon can be used as a code learning tool with users able to implement "fundamental coding concepts" to control MekaMon's movements, reactions, and startup and shutdown features.
"We've created an entirely new video gaming platform," said Silas Adekunle, CEO of Reach Robotics. "MekaMon straddles both the real and virtual worlds while taking the gaming experience beyond a player's screen and turning their sitting room into a limitless robotic battle zone. MekaMon represents a quantum leap forward in the leveraging of augmented reality. Players can whip out their smartphone to battle their multi-functional, connected battlebots in the physical and virtual worlds at the same time."
MekaMon can be purchased from or for $299 starting today. It will be in Apple retail stores tomorrow.

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Apple’s Extended 2017 Holiday Return Policy Begins November 25

Apple's annual extended holiday return policy will begin November 25 in the United States, according to a senior Apple support advisor.

Most products and accessories purchased between November 25 and December 25 of this year will be eligible for return until January 8, 2018 in the United States, and the extended window likely applies to Australia, Canada, and select other countries as well. Last year, in most of Europe, the end date was January 20.

Apple products that can be returned include, among other things, the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The few items that cannot be returned include Apple or iTunes gift cards. Apple products can be opened and used prior to the return date, but must be returned undamaged with the original packaging.

When making a purchase at an Apple retail store, we recommend that you ask for printed and emailed copies of your receipt. Both printed and emailed receipts will indicate the return date for each product purchased, while Apple also lists the cutoff date under the "Your Account" section on its website.

All purchases made before November 25 or after December 25 are subject to Apple's standard 14-day return policy in most countries.

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iPhone X Won’t Be Available to Walk-In Customers at Apple Stores in Belgium or France on Launch Day

Apple recently confirmed that the iPhone X will be available for walk-in customers to purchase at its retail stores when the device launches Friday, November 3, but that will not be the case in two European countries.

Due to anti-terrorism restrictions, Apple will not be selling the iPhone X to customers without a pre-order or pickup reservation in Belgium or France. The news was first reported by the Dutch-language blog One More Thing, and MacRumors has since received confirmation from a reliable source who asked not to be identified.

As best as we're aware, Apple is simply complying with local laws and regulations discouraging large gatherings and queues in popular tourist areas, due to recent terrorist attacks in cities with Apple retail stores like Brussels and Paris.

Belgian and French customers can still pre-order the iPhone X on Apple's website for in-store pickup or delivery, although shipping estimates have slipped to 5-6 weeks in both countries. Also, in Belgium at least, Apple will begin accepting reservations for in-store pickup on November 4 at 6:00 a.m. local time.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Belkin’s New iPhone X Screen Protectors Now Available

Belkin's new InvisiGlass Ultra and Anti-Glare screen protectors for iPhone X are now available to purchase.

Left to right: Anti-Glare, InvisiGlass Ultra, and EasyAlign sticker

InvisiGlass Ultra is made with 0.21mm ion-strengthened glass supplied by Corning, the same manufacturer of iPhone display glass. Belkin says the screen protector improves the iPhone X's scratch resistance by up to three to five times, with up to a 25 percent increase in protection against cracking and breakage from drops.

The anti-glare screen protector is said to reduce harsh reflections from both sunlight and artificial lighting, allowing you to view the screen comfortably in bright conditions. The ultra-thin screen protector has an anti-scratch coating.

Both screen protectors include a cleaning cloth and so-called EasyAlign sticker in the box for easier installation at home. The anti-glare version can also be professionally installed at an Apple Store with Apple's ScreenCare+ application system.

Belkin's InvisiGlass Ultra and Anti-Glare screen protectors are $39.95 and $19.95 respectively on Apple's online store in the United States. Both are currently estimated to ship in one business day.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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