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Apple Unveils Next Generation of iPhones
Apple's latest iPhones will come in a bevy of colors and two distinct designs, one made of plastic and the other that aims to be "the gold standard of smartphones" and reads your fingerprint.
Apple unveiled the latest iPhone models, available on Sept. 20, during an event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The move comes as rival phones from Samsung and other manufacturers are challenging Apple's hold on the smartphone market.
The lower-cost iPhone 5C will be available in five colors — green, blue, yellow, pink and white. CEO Tim Cook calls it "more fun and colorful" than any other iPhone. The 5C has a 4-inch Retina display and is powered by Apple's A6 chip. It also has an 8 megapixel camera, live photo filters and a rear cover that lights up.
The iPhone 5C will cost $99 for a 16 gigabyte model and $199 for a 32 gigabyte model with a two-year wireless contract. The phone is expected to help Apple boost sales in China and other areas where people don't have as much money to spend on new gadgets as they do in the U.S. and Europe.
The second phone, the 5S, is "the most forward-looking phone we have ever created," said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple. It will come in silver, gold and "space gray" and run a new chip, the A7 that is up to twice as fast as the A6.
Schiller said the new phone can run more health and fitness applications. These apps have become increasingly popular as more people use them to track exercise routines, calorie intake and even sleep patterns.
The camera in the 5S received some major upgrades, including several automatic features designed to produce better photos. It has larger pixels, which helps capture more light. The phone also has a two-tone flash feature that is designed not to clash with the colors in the room or a person's skin color — something Schiller said has not been done on a phone before.
The camera, called iSight, has "auto image stabilization," which helps avoid blurry pictures, and a slow-motion camera for video.
The 5S also includes "Touch ID," which reads fingerprints at a "detailed level," Schiller said. He said it is "fun and easy" to teach the 5S about your fingerprint and once you do, you can just touch the home button to unlock the phone. The company said fingerprints will not be stored on its servers.
Tying the fingerprint scanner to payments could also open new revenue channels for Apple.
Both models will be on sale on Sept. 20 in the U.S., Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and U.K. Apple said this is the first time that a new phone has been available right away in China — a sign of the growing importance of that market to the company. People will be able to order the 5C in advance on Sept. 13.
For buyers entering a two-year contract with a wireless carrier, the phone will cost $199 for 16 gigabytes of memory, $299 for 32 and $399 for 64.
Apple also said its next mobile operating system, iOS 7, will be available as a free download on Sept. 18.
Craig Federighi, head of software at Apple Inc., said at an event at the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters that "downloading iOS 7 is like getting an all new device."
The new system can be downloaded on the iPhone 4 and later models, as well as on the tablets beginning with the iPad 2.
Apple also says it expects to ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month. Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts that iOS 7 will become the most popular mobile operating system in the world.
Investors seemed unimpressed. Apple's stock price fell $3.17 to $503.10 during the event, which also featured Elvis Costello. The singer performed a new song from a record coming out next week.
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Last Update on November 28, 2014 20:00 GMT
HOLIDAY SHOPPING-BLACK FRIDAY
UNDATED (AP) -- A lot of Americans seem willing to head out to the malls, right after Thanksgiving dinner.
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, says it drew 100,000 customers between 5 p.m. yesterday and 1 a.m. today. A spokesman says traffic slowed down after 2 a.m., but it's been picking up again today. And mall officials are still hoping to top last year's total of 230,000 Thursday-to-Friday visitors.
One shopper at a mall in Aurora, Illinois, this morning said she thinks people are feeling more confident about the economy this year. But Kimberly States said she still plans to spend about the same amount -- or maybe less -- on Christmas gifts compared with last year.
For retailers hoping for strong online sales, it's not the best time for technical issues. But Best Buy's website has been down this morning, with a message that asks customers to "Check back soon."
LONDON (AP) -- Americans celebrating Thanksgiving in Britain may have felt right at home as Black Friday shopping chaos caused some disruption.
The practice of offering bargain basement prices the day after Thanksgiving has spread across the Atlantic, with some retailers opening overnight to lure determined shoppers.
Police were called early Friday morning to help maintain security at some supermarkets and outlets that offered deep discounts starting at midnight.
Fights broke out at some stores and major websites stopped functioning because of too much traffic as shoppers sought online bargains.
Greater Manchester Police said two arrests were made and injuries reported as police closed some stores to prevent more severe problems.
The force tweeted "Keep calm, people!" at one point.
There were problems in many parts of Britain, including Wales and Scotland.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- Demonstrators are looking to grab the attention of post-Thanksgiving shoppers today, to voice their anger over a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in suburban St. Louis.
They've been going to major retailers around the St. Louis area to speak out. And similar protests have been planned at shopping centers around the nation.
In Chicago, about 200 people gathered near the city's Magnificent Mile shopping district. One demonstrator called it "a day of awareness and engagement." Kristiana Colon said, `We want them to think twice before spending that dollar today." She added, "As long as black lives are put second to materialism, there will be no peace."
Early today in the St. Louis suburb of Manchester, about two dozen people chanted, "No justice, no peace, no racist police" after police moved them out of a Wal-Mart.
Other planned events around the country seemed relatively brief and thinly attended. In Brooklyn, New York, a "Hands Up, Don't Shop" protest had been scheduled, but no one materialized.
Security was heightened at the Wal-Mart in Ferguson on Friday morning, with military Humvees, police cars and security guards on patrol. The store was busy, but there were no protesters.
CANDY CENTER FIRE
MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) -- Some orders for chocolates have been halted after fire gutted a candy warehouse and distribution center in northeast Ohio.
Authorities are trying to determine what caused the blaze that began Thursday morning at the Fannie May Fine Chocolates center in Maple Heights, Ohio. Authorities said there were no injuries.
Firefighters from several departments responded, and hazardous materials units stood by because of ammonia in the center.
Fannie May Chocolates is a division of 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. The company says it is assessing the effects of the fire and the contingency plans that will be needed for the holiday season.
The company on Friday posted a message on its website saying Fannie May and its Harry London gourmet chocolates business have temporarily halted orders for most of their candies and confections.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States is appealing a World Trade Organization decision that made it harder for U.S. consumers to know where meat in the grocery store came from.
The WTO in October rejected U.S. rules requiring labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat identifying where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The WTO said the "country of origin labeling" requirements put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.
On Friday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative appealed the ruling.
U.S. farmers who compete with Mexican and Canadian ranchers welcomed the appeal. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson on Friday called it "the right thing to do for American family farmers, ranchers and consumers." But meatpackers oppose the labeling requirements, saying they impose costly paperwork.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Sharp falls in energy prices as a result of the dramatic decline being recorded in oil markets has pushed inflation across the 18-country eurozone down to 0.3 percent in the year to November.
Preliminary figures from the European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, show that the fall in eurozone consumer price inflation from the previous month's 0.4 percent was largely due to a 2.5 percent decline in energy costs.
The drop takes inflation further away from the European Central Bank's target to keep price rises just below 2 percent. It's likely to maintain pressure on policymakers to launch in the coming months a monetary stimulus similar to the one the Federal Reserve recently brought to an end.
Eurostat also said Friday that unemployment was steady in October at 11.5 percent.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The head of the European Union's executive is opting not to sanction France or Italy just yet over their failure to meet targets on their public finances.
Instead, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is giving them until spring to deliver on commitments.
In an interview with eight European papers, published Friday, Juncker says he has "made the choice not to sanction," for the failure of Paris and Rome to meet rules that force the euro member states to observe strict limits on spending.
France and Italy have been accused of being too profligate in their budgetary spending plans at a time when the EU and the 18-country eurozone have been advocating strict austerity as the best way to get their public finances into shape.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union is extending economic and travel sanctions to 13 people and five entities it accuses of involvement with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The EU's 28 member countries agreed to the action Friday, the bloc announced in a news release.
The EU said the names of the people, organizations and businesses affected will be made public Saturday.
The decision brings the total number of people subject to an EU-wide travel ban and asset freeze for allegedly undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity to 132, and the number of entities whose assets have been ordered frozen to 28.
Earlier this month, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said more sanctions alone will not end the crisis in eastern Ukraine, and that there is a need to relaunch a dialogue with Russia.
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