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    Study: Apple’s new iPhones score big in durability

    The iPhone 6, at left, and iPhone 6 plus are shown next to each other during a new product release in Cupertino, Calif. Apple’s new and bigger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are more durable than last year’s model and a leading Android phone, a study says.

    Sep 21, 2014 5:43 PM

    NEW YORK — Apple’s new and bigger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are more durable than last year’s model and a leading Android phone, a study says. Apple’s iPhone 6, whose screen measures 4.7 inches, did the best across a variety of tests that measures how prone smartphones are to break due to everyday accidents, according to SquareTrade, a company that provides extended protection plans. The iPhone Plus 6, whose screen measures 5.5 inches, wasn’t far behind but lost points because it could slip out of a person’s hand since some users may have a hard time gripping its large but slim form, SquareTrade says.The iPhone 5s, which measures 4 inches and came out last year, fared better than Samsung’s Galaxy S5, which measures 5.1 inches. The Samsung phone got poor marks on several tests including the slide test. The more a phone slides, the greater its chance of falling off the edge of a table. Still, all four of the smartphones tested had a medium risk of breakage and had no drastic differences among them.“The phones are getting more and more durable,” says Ty Shay, chief marketing officer at SquareTrade. “Manufacturers are paying more attention.”SquareTrade examines the phones based on eight factors, including size, weight, grip and the quality of the front and back panels. The company measured how far the phones slide when pushed across a table on their backs and how well they withstand drops from 4 feet and being dunked in water for 10 seconds. SquareTrade says it uses robots to do the testing to ensure consistency, and rates the phones on a 10-point durability scale, with 10 signifying the highest risk. Apple’s iPhone 6 scored the best at 4; the iPhone 6 Plus scored a 5; the iPhone 5s a 6; and Samsung Galaxy S5 a 6.5.Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus passed the slide test, but the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy’s S5 got poor marks in that area. The iPhone 6 Plus was the only one that didn’t fare as well when dropped 4 feet by the robot. The glass screen survived, but the case separated from the glass. All four phones fared well in the water resistance test.SquareTrade provided The Associated Press with the results ahead of Monday’s announcement.Aside from larger screens, the new Apple iPhones 6 and 6 Plus announced this month promises faster performance and offers a wireless chip for making credit card payments at stores by holding the phone near the payment terminal. The phones start at $199 with a two-year service contact. The new iPhones initially were available this month in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K. Availability is expanding to more than 20 additional countries.

    Business

    5 things small businesses need to know this fall

    Heath care, Internet security and new technology are among the list of things that small businesses need to be on top of over the next several months.

    Sep 21, 2014 7:34 AM

    NEW YORK — What do small business owners need to pay attention to this fall? Heath care, Internet Security and new technology make the list. Here are five things that small businesses need to be on top of over the next several months: Health Care Small business owners who bought employee health insurance policies before the end of 2013, sidestepping the law’s requirements for a year, could pay between 10 percent and 20 percent more when it’s time to renew, says Michael Stahl, chief marketing officer of HealthMarkets Inc., a broker based in North Richland Hills, Texas. They’ll also have to decide on plans. Policies issued under the law have significant changes including the requirement that pre-existing conditions be covered. Some owners may decide it’s better if workers purchase their own government-subsidized coverage on health insurance exchanges.Companies whose coverage took effect Jan. 1 of this year and complied with the law could see increases between 5 percent and 10 percent for 2015, Stahl says. Not all small business owners will have to make these decisions this year. Employers with 50 to 99 workers have until 2016. Companies with fewer than 50 workers are exempt. Internet SecurityHome Depot Inc.’s news that it was hacked should prompt small businesses to improve Internet security, says Charles Tendell, CEO of Azorian Cyber Security in Denver. Small companies tend to be vulnerable to hacking because many don’t have strong Internet security.Businesses should install software designed to protect computers from viruses and what’s called malware, programs used to harm computers or steal information, Tendell says. If companies offer WiFi to customers or visitors, it should be separate from their operations. Owners should consider hiring an Internet security expert who can show them where their vulnerabilities are and suggest a solution, Tendell says. Owners should also train employees to help avoid hacking attacks.New TechnologyBusinesses interested in accepting Apple Pay, the digital payment system linked to the new iPhone 6, will need to invest in equipment that processes contactless payments. Contactless payments are transactions made by tapping a smartphone, credit card or key fob on an electronic device. The iPhone 6 will be in stores starting Friday. Small business owners should also look ahead to October 2015, when credit and debit cards will be required to have embedded chips rather than magnetic strips, says Denee Carrington, an analyst with Forrester Research. Businesses will need new equipment to accept those cards, but the good news is they can already buy equipment that also processes contactless and swipe transactions.Microsoft is expected to release its Windows 9 operating system for laptop and desktop computers by early next year. But owners shouldn’t rush to buy it until they know whether it’s compatible with computers, hardware like printers and software they use to run their companies, says David Rosenbaum, president of Real-Time Computer Services, a technology services company in New York. If owners have aging PCs that need to be replaced before there are more answers about Windows 9, they’re better off getting machines with the better-known Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, Rosenbaum says.Internet Sales TaxAfter the November elections, Congress could act on legislation that would force retailers and other companies to collect sales tax in states where they don’t have a store or other physical locations. Under current federal law, online, phone and mail-order transactions are exempt from sales tax. The legislation has support in the Senate, which passed a preliminary bill earlier this year. It faces opposition in the House.

    Business

    Letting your car find a spot and park itself

    Technology being honed by the French auto parts maker uses a dozen ultrasonic sound-wave sensors, 360-degree cameras and a laser scanner to allow a vehicle to safely park within a few centimeters of other vehicles.

    Sep 21, 2014 7:33 AM

    Technology being honed by French auto parts maker Valeo uses a dozen ultrasonic sound-wave sensors, 360-degree cameras and a laser scanner to safely park within a few centimeters of other vehicles. Then, when you’re done with dinner or a business meeting, the car will return to you after another swipe of the thumb. The fully-automated system called “Connected Automated Valet Parking” is still about a decade away, however. More states must permit driverless cars and regulations have to be crafted. Equipment needs to be rolled out.

    Business

    Wild Turkey maker reaches 60th year in business

    Wild Turkey sampling bottles sit on the bar at the distillery’s visitors’ center near Lawrenceburg, Ky. Master distiller Jimmy Russell, celebrating his 60th anniversary in the bourbon business, likes to visit with tourists when he has the time, posing for pictures and autographing bottles.

    Sep 21, 2014 7:33 AM

    In a business where age is valued, Jimmy Russell is seen as a special vintage. Known among his peers as the “Buddha of Bourbon,” Russell is the longest-tenured master distiller in the tradition-filled industry. “If there was a Mount Rushmore of bourbon, Jimmy would be one of the first faces on it,” said Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory.

    Business

    Apple iPhone 6 Plus outselling smaller model, survey finds

    Tim Edic, right, of Virginia Beach checks out the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at the Apple store at Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday.

    Sep 21, 2014 5:43 PM

    More buyers are picking Apple Inc.’s iPhone 6 Plus over the iPhone 6 in this debut weekend, according to a Piper Jaffray Cos. survey, and supplies of the larger model already are selling out in some U.S. stores.The iPhone 6 Plus is “more popular,” Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, said in a report today. The survey of 386 Apple customers waiting in line in Minneapolis and New York yesterday found that 57 percent intended to buy the iPhone 6 Plus, he said. Munster said he had expected buyers to split 50-50 between the models this weekend and shift more in favor of the smaller phone over time.More buyers also said they would pay for higher storage capacity for either phone than for the iPhone 5S last year. The survey showed 22 percent choosing 16 gigabytes, 52 percent picking 64 GB and 26 percent opting for 128 GB. Last year, 35 percent planned to buy 16 GB, 39 percent intended to get 64 GB and 25 percent wanted 128 GB, Munster said.The shift to higher storage capacity and larger phones “will provide an incremental benefit to gross margins,” Munster said. That should help revenue outpace analysts’ average estimate by 9 percent and earnings estimates by almost 12 percent in the three months through December, he said.

    Business

    Drugstores, retailers dive deeper into vaccines

    A sign telling customers that they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store is seen Tuesday in Indianapolis. The nation’s biggest drugstores and retailers are grabbing larger chunks of the immunization market, giving customers more convenient options to protect themselves against the flu, pneumonia and more than a dozen other illnesses.

    Sep 21, 2014 7:38 AM

    The nation’s biggest drugstores and other retailers are grabbing larger chunks of the immunization market, giving customers more convenient options outside the doctor’s office to protect themselves against the flu, pneumonia and other illnesses. In fact, nearly half of all flu vaccines provided to adults are now administered in nonmedical settings like drugstores or worksite clinics.

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