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Apple Grabs Fans by the Ears by Ditching Headphone Jack on iPhone 7



After a run of more than 50 years, the traditional headphone jack is disappearing. Or at least it is on the next versions of Apple’s smartphones, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Following months of rumours, Apple’s new-product announcement, held Wednesday in San Francisco, offered new iPhones with more powerful processors, improved cameras and slightly better battery lives. But it was changes to the audio experience that grabbed fans by the ears.

Prior to Wednesday, word had leaked that the company planned to drop the headphone plug-in on its signature product. There was speculation Apple wanted to make the change so the latest iPhone could be more waterproof or thinner. But neither of those benefits was touted during the company’s nearly two-hour presentation.

“It comes down to courage, the courage to do something new that betters all of us,” said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., explaining the change.

The new iPhones go on sale in Canada on Sept. 16, with pre-orders starting a week earlier. Prices run from $899 for the 32GB iPhone 7 to $1,309 for the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus. With the audio jack gone, they will ship with a pair of earbuds that connect to the phone’s lightning port — where the phone’s charge cord plugs in — as well as an adapter for those who want to use other headphones.

The new iPhone7 comes with an adapter to allow traditional headphones to plug into the lightning port.
The new iPhone7 comes with an adapter to allow traditional headphones to plug into the lightning port.  (BECK DIEFENBACH / REUTERS)  

Apple also announced its new AirPods, a pair of wireless headphones that will be available in October for $219. Schiller also announced three new series of Beats wireless headphones.

Much of the online reaction was negative, with many focusing on concerns that AirPods could be easily lost or fall out of users’ ears.

Still, despite initial snarky sentiments — which have become routine after Apple announcements in recent years — sales likely won’t be affected.

“It’s an evolution of the device, and I don’t think the change will be materially negative,” said Krista Collins, research director, mobility, at market research firm IDC Canada. “I still think the iPhone 7 will be well received by consumers.”

Collins did note that the Canadian phone market is reaching a saturation point, so while she believes the phone will do well, it will be harder for all manufacturers to grow their business. That could be another reason to create expensive accessories.

The Apple AirPods are wireless earbuds designed to replace traditional earbuds. The new iPhone7 does not have a traditional 3.5 millimetre headphone jack.
The Apple AirPods are wireless earbuds designed to replace traditional earbuds. The new iPhone7 does not have a traditional 3.5 millimetre headphone jack.  (BECK DIEFENBACH)  

Apple has a history of aggressively removing ports, and while there is often initial outrage, over time, such moves have been forgotten.

“It takes this type of bold move to create change, and Apple is a company that can do it. Look at the rhetoric around getting rid of floppy drives and USB ports. In that narrative, it has always been Apple that takes the lead every single time . . . We look back on it two years later and say, ‘Why did we ever use those things?’ ” says Neil Bearse, director of marketing at the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University.

The jack “serves its place because it’s a widespread, open standard. But if we’re ever going to get to a place with a new, better standard, you need to do this. You need an Apple who can ship 80 million devices into the world, that is going to spur the type of innovation for third-party manufacturers, to get something better.”

Apple isn’t the only company ditching the jack. Motorola’s Moto Z doesn’t have one, and while the HTC 10 still does, that phone has a third-party headphone that plugs into its USB-C port, which is what many experts believe will become the standard in the next few years.

There are also a number of third-party companies that have created truly wireless earbuds that are on the market, including Bragi and Earin. Samsung recently launched a pair that work exclusively with its phones.

But with Apple’s headphone elimination, a jack-less future just got ushered in a little bit faster.

Apple is bringing Nintendo's Mario to the App Store.
Apple is bringing Nintendo’s Mario to the App Store.  (JIM WILSON)  

Five other things to know from Apple’s announcement

It’s a me, Mario: There were not a lot of surprises, but the big one was the news that Nintendo is launching a Mario game on iOS. Called Super Mario Run, it is an endless runner featuring gaming’s most famous plumber, and is expected to arrive in December. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said the game would have a premium price, although it was unclear if there would be in-app purchases.

Watch me Pokemon: The Nintendo news was likely based on the success of Pokemon Go, which is now coming to the Apple Watch, although in a simplified version that lets users to hatch eggs and be notified of nearby Pokemon.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature upgrades to battery life and camera functions, as well as removal of the traditional analog headphone jack.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature upgrades to battery life and camera functions, as well as removal of the traditional analog headphone jack.   (BECK DIEFENBACH)  

Apple Watch Series 2: An Apple Watch refresh was expected, and the device will now sport a faster processor and brighter display. It will also be waterproof enough to allow people to swim with it and will have built-in GPS. It will, however, still sport basically the same bulbous, square design as the original. The original Apple Watch is the world’s bestselling smartwatch, but most recent competitive watch designs have shown more traditional circular watch looks. Apple Watch Series 1 will remain on sale. There will also be a Nike+ fitness model variation available.

Cameras: Similar to last year’s models, the cameras will be the point of differentiation between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus. The iPhone 7 will have optical image stabilization, but the 7 Plus will have dual cameras on the back, which will allow it to have a wide-angle and 2x mechanical zoom.

Increased storage: After some complaints, Apple has ditched the traditional 16GB base storage model and doubled it, so that now all models start with 32 GB, and now go up include 128 and 256 models.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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