Bug delays new Apple Watch software
A bug has delayed the new operating system for the Apple Watch. Apple was supposed to release watchOS 2 on Wednesday but scrapped those plans at the last minute when it discovered a bug "that is taking a bit longer to fix than we expected," an Apple spokesman said. "We will not release watchOS 2 today, but will shortly," he added. WatchOS 2 was supposed to introduce new features and digital Watch faces, a smarter Siri and native apps built specifically for the Apple Watch. The launch of iOS 9, Apple's upgraded operating system for mobile devices, was unaffected and went on as planned Wednesday.
Olive Garden's Pasta Pass going back on sale
Olive Garden is bringing back its "Pasta Pass" that lets people gorge on as much pasta as they want for seven weeks. And friends and family are welcome to pig out too this year. The restaurant chain known for its free breadsticks says it will sell 1,000 of the $100 regular Pasta Passes starting Thursday at 1 p.m. CDT on its website. It will also sell 1,000 family Pasta Passes, which will cost $300 and let cardholders bring along up to three guests. The return of the promotional stunt comes after the passes sold out in 45 minutes last year and generated considerable publicity for Olive Garden, which is trying to modernize its image as customers have turned elsewhere in recent years.
Gasoline pushes consumer prices down
U.S. consumer prices edged down in August, marking the first decline in seven months and fueled by a big drop in gasoline prices. The Labor Department said its consumer price index slipped 0.1 percent in August after a small 0.1 percent rise in July. Gas prices, which had been rising for three months, dropped 4.1 percent amid the recent fall in global oil prices. Food prices were up 0.2 percent last month, led by another surge in egg prices. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose a modest 0.1 percent in August, indicating cost pressures remain a no-show in the economy. Over the past 12 months, overall prices are up just 0.2 percent, while core inflation is up a modest 1.8 percent.
Feds give Orbitz-Expedia merger all-clear
The Justice Department won't challenge travel booking site Expedia's $1.3 billion purchase of competitor Orbitz, saying the deal is unlikely to hurt competitors or consumers. The agency said it found no evidence that Expedia is likely to charge new fees and added the deal should not affect the commissions Expedia charges to hotels, airlines and car rental companies. It noted that Expedia will still have to compete with the Priceline Group Inc. and others and says the online travel business is changing rapidly, with new options and competitors emerging. Expedia agreed to buy Orbitz for $12 per share in February, and Orbitz shareholders approved the sale in May. The companies have said they want to complete the deal before the end of 2015.
Amazon offers free Washington Post trial
Jeff Bezos is finally bringing the Washington Post, which he purchased two years ago, into the Amazon.com fold. The Seattle e-commerce company announced that Amazon Prime members can get access to six months of free, unlimited access to the Post's national digital edition, a subscription offering usually sold for $9.99 a month. After the first six months, Prime members can get a discounted monthly subscription rate of $3.99.
Homebuilder sentiment at 10-year high
U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly more optimistic about the housing market, nudging their confidence this month to a level not seen since the high-flying days of the housing boom nearly 10 years ago. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose this month to 62, up from 61 in August. The last time the reading was higher was October 2005 at 68. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index has been consistently above 50 since July last year, reflecting a gradual rebound in sales of new homes.
S&P cuts Japan's long-term credit rating
Standard & Poor's cut Japan's long-term credit rating one level to A+, saying it sees little chance of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's strategy turning around the poor outlook for economic growth and inflation over the next few years. The move comes just a day after the Bank of Japan refrained from boosting record asset purchases