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printed November 19, 2017
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Apple Releases iOS 11.1.2 to Clean Up More Bugs

Thursday, 5:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.1.2 for the iPhone and iPad. This minor release primarily fixes bugs. Specifically, it resolves an issue where the iPhone X screen might temporarily freeze up or become unresponsive to touch input after a rapid decrease in temperature. It also addresses an issue that might result in blurry Live Photos captured with the iPhone X. The small update is free to download and install over the air.


ITC to Investigate Another Complaint Against Apple

Wednesday, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The International Trade Commission today said it will investigate claims made by Aqua Connect and Strategic Technology Partners that Apple is infringing on its patents. The two California-based firms filed grievances with the ITC in October and assert Apple's Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Apple TVs violate their intellectual property. The specific technology in question was not immediately identified. The ITC will assign the case to an administrative law judge for review. The judge will make an initial ruling that will then be reviewed by the entire ITC panel. Aqua Connect and Strategic Technology Partners hope to ban Apple from selling the devices unless it pays up. The ITC is a popular venue for legal complaints between tech companies because it has the power to prevent them from importing devices into the country.


New iOS 11.2 Beta Squashes Bugs, Preps Apple Pay Cash

Nov 14, 2017, 8:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made iOS 11.2 beta 3 available to both developers and public testers of its mobile device platform. The main feature of iOS 11.2 appears to be the addition of Apple Pay Cash, which allows iPhone owners to pay one another directly via the iOS messaging application. iOS 11.2 beta 3 cleans up the code a bit. For example a bug impacting calculator operation has been swept under the rug, and several animations found in the calculator have been removed entirely. The update adds a warning screen that explains to end users the difference between disabling Bluetooth or WiFi via the Control Center versus doing the same thing from the Settings menu. The former puts the radios to sleep, while the latter turns them off entirely. iOS 11.2 beta 3 shows off new camera emoji and animations for Live Photos, as well as a way to see "now playing" content in the Control Center when using the iPhone as a remote for the Apple TV. New Live wallpapers on are deck, too. iOS 11.2 beta 3 is free for registered developers and beta testers to download and use.


Apple Overhauls Clips App to Take Advantage of iPhone X TrueDepth Camera

Nov 9, 2017, 1:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released an updated version of its Clips video application with new and fun tools to improve both the experience of using the app and the end results. The most exciting addition is Selfie Scenes, which takes advantage of the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X to place the user inside a 360-degree, animated scene when recording selfies. The app includes 10 scenes created by Apple, such as landscapes, paintings, and spaceships from "Star Wars." iPhone X owners can put themselves in a scene and then pan around, viewing and recording themselves within the landscape. All users will be able to take advantage of new artistic effects that can turn photos or videos into watercolors, oil paintings, sketches, and other art styles in real-time. Clips gains access to more sticker and poster content from Disney, including "Star Wars" characters and Disney favorites such as Mickey Mouse. More than 20 new soundtracks can be used to accompany Clips recordings. Apple redesigned the user interface for Clips with streamlined controls that make it easier to find and use filters, labels, stickers, and emoji. Buttons have new labels, too, and a full-screen browser lets people see their entire project while editing and creating. Last, Clips gains support for iCloud. iPhone and iPad owners can store, access, and edit their Clips projects from any device, which is automatically saved to iCloud. Clips is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Releases iOS 11.1.1 to Fix Keyboard Bug

Nov 9, 2017, 1:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11.1.1 available to iPhone owners. The minor release primarily resolves a keyboard-based autocorrect bug that impacted the ability to type the letter "I", which was often replaced with an odd character. The software update also fixes a bug that cause "Hey Siri" to stop working. iOS 11.1.1 is free to download over the air.


Apple Pay Cash Arrives In Latest iOS 11.2 Beta

Nov 7, 2017, 1:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.2 Beta 2 to public testers, one day after releasing the developer variant. Of note, iOS 11.2 Beta 2 introduces the Apple Pay Cash tool that Apple announced earlier this year. Though the service is in beta form, iPhone owners can use Apple Pay Cash to send funds directly to one another via Apple Pay. The funds can be send from any credit or debit card associated with the sender's Apple Pay account. Apple Pay Cash shows up as a button within Apple's messaging application, though users can also request money from friends and family. Apple does not charge fees to use Apple Pay Cash, though it is instituting a virtual tool called the Apple Pay Cash card. Funds sent to people land in the Apple Pay Cash card, which can be used immediately to fund Apple Pay-based transactions or send cash to others. It means people have instant access to the money, rather than be forced to endure a minimum transfer window or waiting period. The public beta of iOS 11.2 is free to download for those enrolled in the program. Apple hasn't said when iOS 11.2 might reach all users.


Supreme Court Refusal Means Samsung Owes Apple $120M

Nov 6, 2017, 2:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. Supreme Court today said it will not review an appeal made by Samsung to overturn a $120 million fine owed to Apple for violating the latter's patented technology. In May 2014, a jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's slide-to-unlock, autocorrect, and quick link patents. Later, a three-judge panel reversed the decision and said Samsung didn't owe Apple damages. In October 2016, that decision was reversed by a higher court because the smaller panel didn't follow the proper guidelines in reviewing the case. Samsung hoped appealing directly to the Supreme Court would negate the reward. By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court in effect allowed the lower ruling — and $120 million in damages — to stand. Apple and Samsung have been battling in court over patents for years. This case is separate from a 2011 case that was just ordered back to court over $399 million in damages Samsung owns Apple for violating its design patents.


Qualcomm Sues Apple Over Spilled Tech Secrets

Nov 2, 2017, 4:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm hit Apple with a lawsuit today, alleging the iPhone maker allowed Intel to access Qualcomm's proprietary software. Apple uses modems from Qualcomm and Intel in the iPhone and has separate engineering teams for each. Qualcomm had a strict software license contract with Apple that was meant to ensure its confidential information, including source code, wasn't shared with Intel. Qualcomm says Apple emailed the company in July requesting sensitive information about how its chips work and copied an Intel engineer on the email chain. Qualcomm also says Apple's Qualcomm engineers shared information with Apple's Intel engineers regarding Qualcomm's software. Apple did not immediately offer comment on the latest lawsuit. The two companies have been embroiled in legal battles over the last year, though largely over the cost of licensing wireless chips. Apple is withholding a $1 billion royalty payment owed to Qualcomm until the matter is settled.


Apple Adds Instrument Sound Library to GarageBand

Nov 1, 2017, 3:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 1, 2017, 3:42 PM

Apple today updated its GarageBand music-creation tool for iPhones and iPads. To start, Apple says the revised app will be compatible with the display of the new iPhone X, which goes on sale Nov. 3. GarageBand now includes an expanded library of instruments, called the Sound Library, most of which are available as Group or pack downloads. According to Apple, all instruments in the Sound Library are free. The app adds several new drum styles that can be activated via the drum machine tool. Other additions include support for new languages, new sharing/file options, recording in 24-bit sound, iMessasge stickers, and of course bug fixes and performance improvements. GarageBand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Makes iOS 11.1 Available to iPhones and iPads

Oct 31, 2017, 12:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 31, 2017, 12:11 PM

Apple today released the final version of iOS 11.1 to the public. The minor operating system update has been in beta testing with developers for more than a month. The most significant addition to iOS 11.1 is that of Unicode 10, which includes dozens of new emoji. Moreover, the Apple keyboard now generates multiple emoji options when typing keywords that support emoji. iOS 11.1 also resurrects the 3D Touch App switcher for certain iPhones. On the security front, iOS 11.1 includes a patch for the KRACK WiFi exploit that recently came to light. The improved operating system further offers a number of under-the-hood bug fixes and performance adjustments. iOS 11.1 is free to download over the air. Apple also released watchOS 4.1, which brings LTE-based Apple Music streaming to the Apple Watch Series 3. The watchOS update also includes a new Beats 1 radio application, WiFi toggle, and Unicode 10. WatchOS 4.1 is free to download through the associated iPhone app.

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Virgin Mobile to Sell iPhone X Starting November 10

Oct 27, 2017, 12:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile USA today said it will offer customers the Apple iPhone X starting November 10. The company will accept preorders beginning November 3, which happens to be the same day the handset reaches Apple retail stores and those of Virgin's owner, Sprint. Virgin did not reveal pricing details for the iPhone X, but it will likely charge customers the full retail price of $999 for the 64 GB model and $1,049 for the 256 GB model. iPhone X owners on Virgin Mobile can get unlimited talk, text and data at up to 4G LTE speeds for just $50 per month.


Apple Bought Wireless Charging Company PowerbyProxi

Oct 25, 2017, 7:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple confirmed that it has acquired PowerbyProxi, a New Zealand-based company that designs and sells wireless charging products for both consumers and businesses. Apple did not provide terms of the deal. Wireless charging appears for the first time the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Apple adopted the Qi wireless charging standard for its new iPhones. These latest iPhones can use existing Qi-based wireless charging pads, though Apple will release its own charging pad early next year. Apple didn't say why it bought PowerbyProxi, but clearly it can use the company's expertise to create more charging pad accessories for iPhones and other products.


Apple Says iPhone X Will Be Available for Walk-In Purchases In Stores November 3

Oct 24, 2017, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today shared a number of details concerning the iPhone X launch, which will officially get under way October 27. First, Apple says Apple Stores will stock the device for launch-day purchases. "Stores will have iPhone X available for walk-in customers, who are encouraged to arrive early," said Apple. That means those who don't preorder the phone may be able to pick it up at their local Apple Store, which will open at 8a.m. local time on Friday, November 3. Numerous reports have suggested launch day stock of the phone may be severely limited. Preorders for the iPhone X begin at 12:01a.m. PDT on October 27. Apple suggests people take advantage of the Apple Store mobile application to complete their preorder. People who are members of the iPhone Upgrade Program can check to see if they’re eligible to upgrade and get a head start on their iPhone X upgrade between now and 4p.m. PDT on Thursday, October 26. Apple will accept trade-ins. Eligible smartphones will be accepted for up to $375 in credit towards the cost of a new iPhone X. The iPhone X will be available in silver and space gray in 64 GB ($999) and 256 GB ($1,149) variants. People interested in buying the device through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program can score the phone and AppleCare+ starting at $49.91 per month. Last, Apple said a number of accessories will be available for the iPhone X on launch day, including silicon and leather cases, and Lightning Docks. The iPhone X sports a new design when compared to the iPhone 6, 7, and 8. It has a 2:1 display that measures 5.8 inches across the diagonal. It includes wireless charging, dual cameras, and Face ID, Apple's new facial recognition security feature.


MTA Approves $573M for Contactless Fare System

Oct 23, 2017, 4:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority plans to do away with the aging MetroCard fare system in favor of one that supports contactless payments, reports the New York Times. The agency has approved a $573 million contract to update the system's turnstiles with new wireless readers that can accept smartphones and certain types of credit/debit cards. The readers will be installed in some 500 subway turnstiles and 600 NYC buses beginning in late 2018, with a projected completion date of late 2020. The new wireless fare payment system will replace MetroCards, though the cards won't be phased out until 2023. The new system will handle fares for the MTA-operated Long Island Railroad and Metro-North train systems, but not Amtrak or NJ Transit. The system will be compatible with Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung pay, as well as cards that carry NFC chips. The MTA first began accepting proposals for a wireless payment system in April 2016.


Apple Pushes iOS 11.1 Beta 5 to Developers

Oct 23, 2017, 12:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11.1 Beta 5 available to developers. According to Apple, the minor update contains bug fixes and other under-the-hood improvements. For end users, the latest iOS build also contains hundreds of new emoji for the iPhone and iPad thanks to the addition of Unicode 10. Apple detailed some of the new emoji earlier this month, which include new characters, food, animals, creatures, and hand gestures. Apple hasn't said when the final version of iOS 11.1 will be available to the public. The company will likely push a new public beta of iOS 11.1 to testers later this week.

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Apple vs. Samsung Heads Back to Court

Oct 23, 2017, 12:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung will get another chance to reduce the amount of money it owes to Apple for copying the look of the iPhone. The original verdict is not in question: Samsung is guilty of violating Apple's design patents in a case that dates back to April 2011. What's at stake is the jury award, which was initially $1.05 billion and, through a series of appeals, whittled down to $399 million. Samsung challenged the $399 million in an appeal that was eventually heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2016. The court agreed with Samsung's position that it should not be forced to forfeit all the profits from the infringing devices because their design is just one aspect. The Supreme Court said the lower courts had improperly calculated the fine and sent the case back to those courts for further deliberation. Today's decision comes from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif. — the same judge who oversaw the initial case. Koh agrees that the instructions given the jury in 2012 inaccurately informed them on how the damages should be calculated. Apple had hoped to prevent the retrial over the damages from moving forward. Samsung said it was looking forward to the new trial.


Google Testing 3rd-Party Email Access in iOS Gmail App

Oct 18, 2017, 7:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is allowing people to use their non-Gmail email service within the Gmail app for iOS. Apple's own iOS email app and Microsoft's Outlook email app both already support multiple email services, as does Gmail on Android handsets. This will be the first time Google has brought the feature to its iOS Gmail app. Those interested in testing the feature can sign up with Google to take the beta app for a spin. The beta app will be distributed through TestFlight, rather than the iTunes App Store. Google hasn't said how long the feature might be in testing before it reaches final form.


Qualcomm Moves to Block iPhone Sales in China

Oct 13, 2017, 3:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm has filed more lawsuits against Apple, this time seeking to prevent Apple from manufacturing and selling the iPhone in China. The fresh litigation was filed in an intellectual property court in Beijing. The two companies are embroiled in a series of legal battles over licensing fees. Apple insists that Qualcomm overcharges by requiring compensation not only for the actual chips, but also for licensing the technology in the chips. Qualcomm often demands that hardware makers pay it a percentage of the total device sale, rather than just a per-chip or per-license fee. As a result of the on-going litigation, Apple has withheld more than $1 billion in royalty payments from Qualcomm. Qualcomm's technology licensing practices have run afoul of several governments, including the U.S., China, and Korea.


Sprint Offers $10 Lease on iPhone 8

Oct 13, 2017, 7:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today rolled out a new lease offer for the Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus that sees discounts up to $350 off the list price with an eligible trade-in. For example, customers can snag the 64 GB iPhone 8 for $0 down and $9.72 per month after bill credits. The same monthly price is available for the 256 GB iPhone 8, but it requires a $150 down payment. Lease prices for the iPhone 8 Plus are a few dollars more at $13.89 per month with $0 down for the 64 GB model and $150 down for the 256 GB model. Device trade-ins must be fairly new and in working order. Eligible devices include the Apple iPhone 6, 6s, 7, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, and 7 Plus; the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, S8+; the LG G5, G6, or V20; the Motorola Z Droid, Z Play, Z Force Droid, Z2 Play, or Z2 Force; the Google Pixel or Pixel XL; the BlackBerry KEYone; or the HTC U11. Trades must be owned outright and not under any form of payments. Sprint allows lessees to upgrade their device after 12 monthly payments.


iOS 11.0.3 Resolves Yet More Bugs

Oct 11, 2017, 12:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.0.3 to help clean up some ongoing issues in the code. According to Apple, the updated system fixes an problem where audio and haptic feedback would not work on some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices. It also addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 6s displays that had been repaired with non-genuine Apple parts. iOS 11.0.3 is free to download for iPhone and iPad owners. Apple is already testing iOS 11.1, which will include hundreds of new emoji. Apple hasn’t said when the public can expect to see iOS 11.1.


Wells Fargo Brings NFC Access to 5,000 ATMs

Oct 10, 2017, 11:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Wells Fargo today made good on its promise to allow customers to access their accounts at ATMs via tap-and-go NFC transactions. The company says 40% of its 13,000 ATMs, or about 5,000, now support NFC-based interactions. Wells Fargo plans to update its remaining 8,000 ATMs with NFC by 2019. Customers tap their phone to the NFC sticker on the ATM to initiate the transition, which will also require their banking card PIN. The company says it supports most mobile wallet features from Wells Fargo Wallet for Android, Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay. The ATMs will continue to support traditional bank cards. Earlier this year, Wells Fargo rolled out mobile access at its ATMs through its own mobile app, which generated an 8-digit PIN. This PIN-based mobile service is still available at ATMs that don't yet support NFC.


Apple Seeds iOS 11.1 Beta 2 with New Emoji in Tow

Oct 9, 2017, 12:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11.1 Beta 2 available to developers. According to Apple, the minor update contains bug fixes and other under-the-hood improvements. For end users, the latest iOS build also contains hundreds of new emoji for the iPhone and iPad thanks to the addition of Unicode 10. Apple detailed some of the new emoji in a blog post last week, which include new characters, food, animals, creatures, and hand gestures. Apple didn't say when the final version of iOS 11.1 will be available to the public.


Apple Investigating Swollen iPhone 8 Batteries

Oct 6, 2017, 1:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple says it is taking a close look at an issue impacting the iPhone 8 battery. According to a half dozen reports, the iPhone 8 battery sometimes swells during charging to the point of damaging the phone. Several iPhone 8 owners have posted photos of their devices, which have burst open due to the swollen battery. Apple issued a brief statement saying, "We are aware and looking into it." The number of affected iPhones appears to be very small and there have been no reports of fires or burns.


Apple Says Unicode 10 Emoji to Appear in iOS 11.1

Oct 6, 2017, 6:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it will introduce hundreds of new emoji with the debut of iOS 11.1 as soon as next week. The company has baked support for Unicode 10 into the future release of iOS and plans to disseminate it to developers and beta testers in the days ahead. Unicode 10 includes new characters, food, animals, creatures, and hand gestures. Apple says the new emoji will be available within iOS, macOS, and watchOS. Apple didn't say when the final version of iOS 11.1 will be available.


Latest Build of WatchOS Fixes LTE Connectivity Problem

Oct 4, 2017, 2:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made watchOS 4.0.1 available to the Apple Watch Series 3. According to the release notes, the minor update targets a bug that prevented Watch Series 3 wearables from properly connecting to WiFi networks, which in turn prevented LTE connectivity. "watchOS 4.0.1 fixes issues that, in rare cases, were causing Apple Watch to join unauthenticated (captive) WiFi networks, such as those found in public places like coffee shops and hotels, which direct the user to a webpage before the network can be accessed," explained Apple. Today’s update should resolve the issue. WatchOS 4.0.1 is free to download over the air.

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Apple Addresses Crackling Bug Via iOS 11.0.2

Oct 3, 2017, 12:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.0.2 for the iPhone and iPad. The minor update tackles a bug that resulted in crackling during voice calls on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Apple didn't say if the release resolves other bugs. iOS 11.0.2 is free to download over the air.


Apple Releases Open-Source Kernels for iOS, MacOS

Oct 2, 2017, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made available mobile-friendly versions of its iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 kernels through GitHub. The kernels are both compatible with ARM-based mobile chips, but are far from complete operating systems. The kernel is the core source code for iOS and macOS, and doesn't include the user interface or application framework, which means anyone interested in developing on the kernel would have to create most of the operating system on their own. Apple has typically made the macOS kernel available with each major build, though it hasn't offered the iOS kernel as often. The fact that both kernels compatible with ARM chips is a curiosity. Developers can download the core platform code from GitHub under fairly strict licensing terms.


FCC Wants Apple to Turn On iPhone's FM Radio

Sep 28, 2017, 11:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 28, 2017, 7:28 PM

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai today suggested that Apple enable the FM radio chips found inside iPhones. The FM radios are there, but Apple has left them inert. "It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first," said Pai. The remarks follow a series of devastating storms that have wrecked portions of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. FM radios provide access to information that may not otherwise be available thanks to potentially downed or spotty wireless service. Many other phone makers have already enabled the FM radios within their devices. Apple, however, says its newest iPhones don’t include such radios. “iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products,” explained Apple in a statement emailed to media. “Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information directly from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts.” Apple did not say if it can enable FM radios in older iPhones.


Apple, Samsung, Fitbit Join FDA Trial for Faster Health Device Approval

Sep 27, 2017, 9:29 AM   by Rich Brome

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced the companies participating in a trial program designed to streamline government approval of health devices and software. Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Verily (an Alphabet company) are among the nine companies selected, out of over 100 that applied. The pilot program is called Pre-cert and will determine quality standards for a company's software design, validation, and maintenance. Companies that meet the new standards will become pre-certified, allowing them to submit less information to the FDA when submitting a health or medical device or app for approval. The pilot program includes site visits by FDA staff, and gathering feedback from the industry, stakeholders, and the public. The first public update on the pilot program will be shared in January 2018.


Apple Pushes iOS 11.0.1 to Fix Bugs

Sep 26, 2017, 4:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has released iOS 11.0.1 a week after that platform's first public debut in a move to stamp out early bugs. The new operating system is rife with small glitches and Apple says this release helps smooth some of them over on the iPhone and iPad. According to Ars Technica, one of the most significant bugs repaired in the patch impacted email syncing from certain Microsoft Exchange-based email services. iOS 11.0.1 is free to download from Apple.


Siri Switches From Bing to Google

Sep 25, 2017, 5:08 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple today changed its Siri voice assistant to use Google for web searches instead of Microsoft's Bing. The change affects direct requests to search the web, as well as default results when Siri cannot return a more specific, intelligent answer or action. Apple says the switch is intended to make web search more consistent, as Google is already the default within Apple's Safari web browser in phones. Bing will still power Siri's image search function. The change takes effect today.


iOS 11 Muddies WiFi and Bluetooth Controls

Sep 21, 2017, 12:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 11, introduces some counterintuitive behaviors with respect to Control Center and the wireless radios. Tapping the WiFi or Bluetooth toggles in Control Center does not actually turn off these radios. "In iOS 11 and later, when you toggle the WiFi or Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, your device will immediately disconnect from WiFi and Bluetooth accessories. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will continue to be available," explained Apple in its documentation for iOS 11. In earlier versions of iOS, tapping these toggles did in fact turn the radios off. iPhone and iPad owners who wish to completely turn off their Bluetooth and WiFi radios will need to do so from the settings menu. According to Apple, disabled WiFi radios will wake back up under certain circumstances: when toggled on, when users encounter a new WiFi network, when the device is restarted, or automatically at 5am. Turning WiFi and Bluetooth off is often viewed as a good security practice. Apple did not rationalize these changes in behavior.


Apple 'Investigating Fix' for Faulty Watch 3 LTE Performance

Sep 20, 2017, 2:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today admitted that its new cellular-connected smartwatch has a problem. Early reviewers of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE complained of intermittent or non-existent data connections when away from their iPhone. Testers from the Wall Street Journal and The Verge, for example, were unable to make or maintain voice calls, or stream music via LTE. According to Apple, the issue occurs when the new watch attempts to join "unauthenticated WiFi wireless networks without connectivity." In other words, the device is prioritizing WiFi over LTE and will drop LTE even when it latches onto shoddy WiFi that doesn't actually offer a connection. The company is "investigating a fix for a future software release." The Apple Watch Series 3, which starts at $399, includes an optional LTE radio for connecting to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. The carriers are charging $5 or $10 per month to add the watch to existing data plans. The new smartwatch from Apple goes on sale Friday, Sept. 22.


Apple Boosts Over-the-Air App Downloads to 150 MB

Sep 19, 2017, 4:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made it possible for iPhone owners to download larger applications via their cellular connections. "We’ve increased the cellular download limit from 100 MB to 150 MB," said Apple to developers, "letting customers download more apps from the App Store over their cellular network." Apple has slowly increased the size limit over the years to account for both the increase in app sizes and the improvement in network speeds. It's not uncommon to encounter apps that are larger than 100 MB. iPhone owners will have to find WiFi to download apps larger than 150 MB.


Apple Music for Android Updated to Match iOS 11

Sep 19, 2017, 3:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today updated its Apple Music application for the Android platform in order to ensure the experience is similar to that of the revised iOS version. Android device owners have access to the same iOS 11 Apple Music discovery feature that allows people to create public profiles and share playlists. The new music app also introduces support for voice search, which lets people say "OK Google" to find artists, albums, and songs. Apple Music gains a fresh widget that highlights music that was recently played, and a new tap-and-hold shortcut to quickly play Beats 1 Radio or start a new search. Apple Music is free to download from the Google Play Store, but the service requires a $10 monthly subscription.


Apple Releases WatchOS 4.0 for the Apple Watch

Sep 19, 2017, 12:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made watchOS 4.0 available to the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 wearables. The platform prioritizes the heart rate monitor. Apple Watches will now notify people when it senses a high heart rate if owners are not active. The new software can also look for atrial fibrillation and provide health alerts when necessary. WatchOS 4.0 includes the new Siri watch face that contains the owner's personalized data, such as commute times, calendar appointments, reminders, photo memories, weather updates, and more. The kaleidoscope watch face changes over time, and a wider selection of Disney characters are being added as watch faces. Activity notifications will be more personalized, including goal achievements. Apple says the new workout app makes it quicker to start workouts, such as swims, hikes, and runs. WatchOS 4.0 is more compatible with gym equipment for counting reps. The music player now supports multiple playlists and a wider selection of album art for workouts when using Apple EarPods. Moreover, music functionality will be much more accessible within workout apps. Other features include a new flashlight, a blinking light for nighttime visibility, and support for other sensors, such as glucose monitors. WatchOS 4.0 is free to download from Apple.


Apple Releases iOS 11 for iPhones and iPads

Sep 19, 2017, 12:14 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made new system software available to its smartphones and tablets. iPhone and iPad owners can download iOS 11, which introduces new lock screen behaviors, new control center behaviors, as well as new features for the camera, messages, maps and more. For the first time, iPhone owners will be able to use augmented reality thanks to the addition of ARKit and apps in the App Store. iOS 11 is free to download. Apple suggests users back up their devices before updating. iOS 11 is compatible with the iPhone 5SE, iPhone 6/6 Plus, 6s/6s Plus, and 7/7s Plus.


iOS 11 Won't Support Peer-to-Peer Apple Pay Right Away

Sep 18, 2017, 6:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today reiterated that iOS 11 will reach iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch beginning September 19. Not all the new features will be available at launch, however, with Apple Pay on deck for later this year. According to Apple, the peer-to-peer mobile payment function is "coming this fall with an update to iOS 11 and watchOS 4." Once installed, Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money from friends and family quickly, easily, and securely. Payments will work through the Messages app and/or Siri. The money is funneled into the Apple Pay Cash card, which is found in Apple Wallet. The funds can be used instantly to pay for goods and services through any credit or debit card stored in Apple Wallet. Apple has held back other features in previous iOS launches so the news that Apple Pay will arrive later than iOS 11 itself isn't uncommon.


Apple Addresses Face ID and Safari Privacy Concerns

Sep 16, 2017, 8:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 16, 2017, 9:20 AM

Apple this week provided more detail concerning some of the behaviors of its forthcoming Face ID tech on the iPhone X and Safari in iOS 11. Concerning the former, Apple executive Craig Federighi explained to Techcrunch that "[Apple does] not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data." Instead, all the data created by the dot projector is processed locally on the A11 bionic chip. Critically, the feature needs to see the user's eyes, nose, and mouth. Face ID will work with most sunglasses, though certain IR coatings can scramble Face ID. "If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work," explained Federighi. "But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf, it works quite well." This means Face ID may not work with some masks required at work, or some religious head coverings. The feature works from multiple angles and distances, but it absolutely requires user attention: the owner must be looking at the iPhone X in order for Face ID to work. This means people can't unlock others' phones when they are sleeping. Last, people will be able to instantly disable Face ID by simultaneously squeezing the buttons on either side of the phone. Doing so will switch to the passcode backup. There are instances that will require a passcode, such as when the phone has been rebooted, if Face ID has not be used in 48 hours, or if there have been five failed attempts at Face ID. Concerning Safari, Apple recently took heat from advertisers because iOS 11 blocks intelligent cookies that track users across the web. The advertising groups in question maintain that this practice is vital for providing timely and relevant advertising. Apple thinks different. "Apple believes that people have a right to privacy ... and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy," said the company in a statement provided to The Loop. "Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private." Apple further explained that Intelligent Tracking Prevention does not get in the way of ads that are served normally on the web. It can be disabled in Safari's settings if people wish.


Powermat to Upgrade Starbucks Charging Mats to Support iPhone X

Sep 14, 2017, 11:47 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Powermat, which has deployed PMA-compliant wireless chargers at thousands of Starbucks locations around the U.S., plans to update its charging pads to support the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8 from Apple. At the moment, there are two competing wireless charging standards, PMA and Qi. Handsets from Samsung and others typically support PMA, though some (Galaxy S8, Note8) support both PMA and Qi. Apple's new iPhones support only the Qi standard, which makes them incompatible with the wireless chargers at Starbucks. Speaking to Slashgear, Powermat CTO Itay Sherman explained that its Starbucks charging pads are connected to its cloud. This gives Powermat the ability to update them when necessary. "If there's a new standard, a new variant of the standard — you have PMA, you have Qi, you have Samsung’s Wireless Fast Charging — we can download new software to our points and support them," said Sherman to Slashgear. "The biggest difference between PMA and Qi is the communication protocols. We designed a controller which is software programable so we can integrate new communication protocols on this platform." Further, Powermat "designed the magnetic part to be as generic as possible to cover all standards if possible." Sherman did not say how quickly it will be able to update its Starbucks Powermat chargers with support for Qi, and conceded it will rely in part on the individual venues in question. This upgrade will not impact stand-alone, consumer Powermat chargers, which will remain limited to the PMA standard.


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