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printed September 20, 2017
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Apple Boosts Over-the-Air App Downloads to 150 MB

Yesterday, 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

Yesterday, 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

Yesterday, 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

Yesterday, 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

Monday, 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

Saturday, 8:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Saturday, 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.


Apple Watch Series 3 Supports Carriers' One Number Calling and Messaging

Sep 13, 2017, 2:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple this week announced the Apple Watch Series 3 with an optional cellular radio. The LTE radio makes it possible for the smartwatch to connect to cellular networks on its own, without a nearby iPhone. According to AT&T, the Apple Watch Series 3 is compatible with its NumberSync service, allowing people to make and receive phone calls from their main mobile number on the wearable. In addition to calls, NumberSync allows people to send/receive text messages from their main number directly on the smartwatch. The phone does need to powered on somewhere in order for the service to work. NumberSync is built into AT&T's network, so it doesn't require third-party apps in order to function properly. AT&T charges a $10 per month fee to add the Apple Watch Series 3 to an existing data plan. NumberSync is included for free. AT&T said it will waive the customary activation fee for the Apple Watch Series 3. Verizon Wireless customers will enjoy similar functionality via Verizon's NumberShare technology, which also allows people to make calls and send messages directly from their wrist over the cellular network. Like AT&T, Verizon is charging $10 per month to add the Apple Watch Series 3 to an existing plan. T-Mobile, too, has a $10 Apple Watch Series 3 plan that includes one-number calling from either the phone or the watch. Sprint has not yet detailed a similar service. The Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE goes on sale September 22 for $399.


AppleCare+ for the iPhone X Costs $199

Sep 12, 2017, 6:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today debuted new pricing for AppleCare+ alongside the iPhone X. Adding AppleCare+ to the new device costs $199, a significant jump from the $129 Apple has charged in the past for the same protection. AppleCare+ extends warranty and support coverage for up to two years from the date of purchase. With AppleCare+, replacing a damaged screen will cost $29, while repairing any other type of damage will carry a fee of $99. AppleCare+ also gives iPhone X owners 24/7 access to Apple experts via chat or phone. The iPhone X costs $999 for the 64 GB model and $1,149 for the 256 GB model. AppleCare+ for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus costs $129.


Apple Seeds iOS 11 GM to Developers and Public Testers

Sep 12, 2017, 2:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made the penultimate version of iOS 11 available to developers and those using the public betas. The company also made available gold masters of watchOS 4.0 and tvOS 11. All three platforms will push to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices in final form beginning September 19. iOS 11 brings changes to the camera and messaging apps, App Store, as well as Control Center and multitasking. Apple watchOS 4.0 focuses on improving the heart rate monitor, while tvOS 11 tweaks the user interface and App Store experience.


Apple Adopts Qi Wireless Charging, Teases AirPower Charge Mat

Sep 12, 2017, 2:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2017, 2:21 PM

Apple today announced new iPhones that are for the first time capable of charging wirelessly. The company has adopted the Qi wireless charging standard for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. These new smartphones, which have glass rear panels, can charge on any Qi-compatible charging pad. Moreover, Apple showed off a forthcoming charging pad called AirPower that will be capable of charging an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and EarPods all at the same time. The AirPower mat is based on the Qi standard, but Apple has adapted it to handle charging multiple devices at once. Apple said it will work with the Wireless Power Consortium to help others adopt the multi-device Qi technology. The AirPower charging mat won't arrive until some point in 2018.

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Apple Drops Prices of Older iPhones

Sep 12, 2017, 2:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it will continue to sell some of its older iPhones, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and iPhone SE. Apple has dropped the prices of these handsets across the board. Moving forward, the iPhone 7 starts at $549 and the 7 Plus starts at $669, the iPhone 6 starts at $449 and the 6 Plus starts at $549, while the iPhone SE starts at $349. These devices will be sold at Apple and carrier stores alongside the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.


Apple Reveals iPhone X with Facial Recognition

Sep 12, 2017, 1:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2017, 2:11 PM

Apple today announced the iPhone X (iPhone 10), a more advanced smartphone that serves as the company's flagship device. It boasts an edge-to-edge display with glass on the front and back surfaces. It has a stainless steel frame holding the glass panels together. Like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the iPhone X is water and dust resistant. It includes what Apple calls the Super Retina display. It is 5.8 inches across the diagonal with 2,465 by 1,135 pixels and it relies on OLED technology rather than LCD. It gets rid if the home button that has adorned the front of iPhones for 10 years. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen calls up the home screen, as well as the app switcher. The side button now activates Siri. It uses Face ID for unlocking the handset, based on facial recognition. It relies on the A11 Bionic chip and specialized hardware to create machine learning algorithms. The neural engine has its own dual-core design and can conduct 600 billion operations per second to assess the user's identity. Apple says Face ID requires user attention to unlock the phone, and it can't be fooled by photographs. It works with Apple Pay and apps, and can adapt to your face as it changes over time. The bar at the top of the screen includes an infrared camera, user-facing camera, flood illuminator, dot projector, earpiece, and proximity sensors. Apple created what it calls Animojis, which are animated emojis that rely on your own facial expressions to create movement in the movement. Like the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X has a revised 12-megapixel camera sensor with better dynamic range with two lenses, one at f/1.8 (wide angle) and another at f/2.4 (telephoto). It has optical image stabilization to create sharp focus and a quad-LED flash. It comes with the Portrait Lighting feature of the iPhone 8 Plus, as well, and can shoot 4K video at high frame rates. The iPhone X has a more advanced selfie camera. Apple claims the new handset offers two more hours of battery life, on average, than the iPhone 7. It supports Qi wireless charging, LTE-A, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, and GPS. The iPhone X comes in black and silver. It will come in 64 GB and 256 GB variants. It will be available for pre-order October 27, and will ship November 3. It starts at $999.


Apple Provides Final Details About iOS 11

Sep 12, 2017, 1:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today showed off a few unannounced features that will arrive with iOS 11 later this month. iOS 11 introduces improved discoverability for stickers and emoji. iOS 11 automatically syncs conversations across devices (iPhone, iPad, macOS), including deleted messages and threads. Apple says most iMessage content is stored in the cloud, which means it uses less storage on mobile devices. Apple Pay gets a boost in iOS 11, too, with the addition of person-to-person payments. Apple used deep learning to create a new voice for Siri, both female and male. The app interface now displays multiple results, and can handle translation. Translations works between English and Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. SiriKit, for developers allows developers to push Siri deeper unto their own applications. The camera app takes advantage of new compression techniques in order to use less on-device storage. The camera roll gains more tools for Live Photos, which allows for video looping and other effects such as bouncing. The camera roll takes advantage of machine learning to identify the subjects within photos and tag them accordingly. Live Photos now support trimming, shortening, and more. iOS 11 redesigns the Control Center, as well as the lock screen and notifications center in order to make vital controls and data as easy to reach as possible. Apple Maps gains indoor map data, such as mall and airport floor plans, for navigating around within large buidings. A new tool called 'Do No Disturb While Driving' will essentially silence iPhones and prevent notifications when it senses it is in a moving vehicle. AirPlay 2 brings with it playback controls for multi-room speakers. A separate API will help developers add AirPlay 2 and multi-room functionality to their own speakers. Apple Music lets people see what their friends are listening to. The new MusicKit API for developers will target social sharing for music, too. Apple expects to distribute iOS 11 to existing iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices on September 19.


Apple Announces iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

Sep 12, 2017, 1:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2017, 2:11 PM

Apple today revealed the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, a refresh of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It trades the metal rear panel for glass with a matching aluminum frame. Apple says the glass is infused with metal, making it strong. The phones are waterproof. Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus carry over the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays of last y pa's models, but add Apple's True Tone technology. The phones rely on the new Apple A11 Bionic processor with six cores. It contains two high-performance cores and four high efficiency cores for battery battery life. The A11 includes Apple's first custom-designed GPU. The phone includes a new image signal processor to handle quicker autofocus in low light while also reducing noise. The new iPhones have a revised 12-megapixel camera sensor with better dynamic range. The 8 Plus has two lenses, one at f/1.8 (wide angle) and another at f/2.8 (telephoto). The 8 Plus includes a new feature called Portrait Lighting. It dynamically adjusts the lighting on peoples' faces as you take their picture. A new video encoder can shoot at faster frame rates, including 1080p HD at 240fps for slow motion. The phones will support augmented reality via Apple's ARKit. Apple said the phones support Bluetooth 5.0 and LTE-Advanced cellular features, as well as Qi wireless charging thanks to the glass rear panel. The phones carry over features such a Touch ID, water resistance. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus comes in silver, gray, and gold. They will come in 64 GB and 256 GB options. The iPhone 8 costs $699 and the 8 Plus costs $799. They will be available for pre-order starting September 15 and will go on sale September 22.


Apple Refreshes the Apple Watch with LTE

Sep 12, 2017, 12:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2017, 2:12 PM

Apple today updated its smartwatch with several new features. Notably, the Apple Watch Series 3 gains an optional LTE radio for connections when phones aren't around or available. The Watch includes an e-SIM to save space, and uses the display itself to act as the cellular antenna. The LTE radio will require a data plan from carriers, such as AT&T or Verizon. People will be able to sync and control apps without their iPhone, as well as make voice calls. Apple says the cellular connection supports streaming from Apple Music and works with Apple's EarPods for on-the-go listening during workouts. The Watch Series 3 contains a new W2 wireless chip from Apple to enable Bluetooth and other connections and a refreshed dual-core processor that's 70% faster than Series 2. It comes in a variety of casings and bands, including a new sport loop made from breathable fabric. The ceramic option is now available in white and gray. The Apple Watch Series 3 costs $329 sans cellular and $399 with cellular. Apple will continue to sell the Series 1 for $249. Preorders begin September 15 and the Apple Watch Series 3 goes on sale September 22.


Apple's WatchOS 4.0 Arrives September 19

Sep 12, 2017, 12:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said watchOS 4.0 will reach existing Apple Watch wearables on September 19. The platform prioritizes the heart rate monitor. Apple Watch will notify people when it senses a high heart rate when owners are not active. It can also look for atrial fibrillation and provide alerts when necessary. WatchOS 4.0 includes the new Siri watch face that includes 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 a watch faces. Activity notifications will be more personalized, including goal achievements, and add monthly challenges with new "celebrations" for hitting milestones. The new workout app makes it quicker to start workouts, such as swims, hikes, runs, and more. Apple watchOS 4.0 will be more compatible with gym equipment for counting reps. The music service 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.


iOS 11 Developer Beta 10 Arrives Just Ahead of iPhone Event

Sep 6, 2017, 11:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11 Beta 10 available to application developers. The release fixes bugs and resolves performance issues, according to Apple. Earlier this week, Apple released tvOS 11 Beta 10. The company has sped up the release of developer and public betas over the last few weeks, pushing them every week rather than its traditional schedule of every other week. iOS 11 brings changes to the camera and messaging apps, App Store, as well as Control Center and multitasking. Apple hasn't made a new public beta available this week yet, though it likely will in the next 24 hours. Apple is widely expected to reveal the next generation of iPhones at an event scheduled for September 12. The company will likely show off the last few features of iOS 11 during the presentation, and set a final release schedule for the updated mobile operating system.


YouTube Improves Live Streaming Performance

Sep 5, 2017, 1:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

YouTube today rolled out several improvements to its live streaming functionality on mobile devices. To start, YouTube has made it possible to engage in real-time interactions with viewers during live streams thanks to a new ultra-low latency mode. Switching to the ultra-low latency setting drops latency down to just a couple of seconds, which is short enough to let people answer fan questions or respond to viewer input in near real-time. Google says the mode is easy to operate and doesn't require any coding. Separately, YouTube for iOS now lets people stream content from within select apps directly to YouTube. In other words, users can push their app experience and/or screen to YouTube Live in real-time. This particular feature relies on Apple's ReplayKit, which third-party apps will need to support in order to enable live streaming. Google says a small selection of apps already do, including Procreate, Asphalt 8, and Vainglory. Moreover, iPhone owners will be able to use their smartphone's microphone and selfie camera to add their own commentary to the live app stream. Last, YouTube Live adopts new tools to make live chat moderation easier. For example, inline moderation lets broadcasters easily pause chat feeds, while a "hold" tool gives moderators a chance to review potentially inappropriate messages before they go live. All these updates are headed to YouTube Live over the days ahead.


Hands On with the FitBit Ionic

Sep 1, 2017, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

FitBit hopes to take on Android Wear and the Apple Watch with its new Ionic smart wearable. This fitness tracker on steroids introduces many smartwatch features along with basics such as water resistance, GPS tracking, and music controls. The Ionic isn't cheap, however, and may not be smart enough considering the competitive prices of full-fledged smartwatches. Here are our first impressions of the FitBit Ionic.

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Apple Iterates iOS 11 Developer Beta Quickly with Build 9

Sep 1, 2017, 4:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has accelerated the pace of releasing fresh builds of iOS in recent weeks. The company typically makes new betas available once every two weeks, but has upped that rate to one per week as the public launch of iOS 11 and other platforms nears. This week saw Apple make iOS 11 Beta 9 available to developers, following Beta 8, which arrived just last week. Apple also released tvOS 11 Beta 9. Apple did not spell out any changes specific to these builds, though it generally resolves bugs and adds minor features with each successive release. The company has not yet made new public betas available based on this code. Apple is widely expected to provide the final details regarding iOS 11 and its other platforms at an event scheduled to take place September 12, where it will also reveal new iPhones.


Apple Seeds 8th Round of Developer Betas

Aug 28, 2017, 11:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made a handful of new beta builds of its various operating systems available to developers. App writers can download and installed iOS 11 Beta 8, watchOS 4 Beta 8, tvOS 11 Beta 8, and macOS High Sierra 10.13 Beta 8. Apple did not spell out any changes specific to these builds, though it generally resolves bugs and adds minor features with each successive release. Most of these platforms are expected to reach their final form as soon as next month, when they'll be released to the public.


Xfinity Says It's Now Available In All Comcast Markets

Aug 17, 2017, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Xfinity, Comcast's wireless service, today said it has expanded its availability to every market in which Comcast has a presence. The low-cost service launched in April, but was limited to just a small selection of markets. Now, Comcast customers can take advantage of the wireless offering and tie it to their existing internet and television service. Xfinity has also tweaked its service plans. Moving forward, the company offers unlimited service (up to 20 GB of high-speed LTE 4G) for $45 per line per month. It also sells access for $12 per 1 GB, which can be shared across all the lines in a plan. Xfinity offers all customers unlimited talk and text and a base 100 MB of data to get them started. Taxes and fees are included in the pricing structure. Xfinity operates on Verizon's network, but will offload data traffic to Comcast-owned WiFi hotspots when they are available. Xfinity says it has 18 million such hotspots positioned around the country. Xfinity offers a number of popular phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Apple iPhone 7. Customers can pay full price up front or over time via monthly installments.


Apple, Google, Others Weigh In On Supreme Court Data Case

Aug 15, 2017, 12:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple and a handful of technology companies are asking the Supreme Court to carefully consider the potential adverse outcomes if law enforcement is given warrantless access to personal information, such as location data. The companies filed a brief with the Supreme Court, which will soon hear a case about how law enforcement gleaned a suspect's location by taking the data from a third party without a warrant. The case, and the companies' collective opinion, hinges on the third-party doctrine, which has been in place since a 1979 case. The corporations that signed the brief together collect, transmit, and hold terabytes of data and meta-data generated by their customers' use of their services. If the Supreme Court decides data held by third-parties should still be up for grabs, the corporations may have to provide it whenever law enforcement asks. They feel this violates the spirit of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees certain expectations of privacy, and could in turn convince people to use their online services less. "This transmission of data will only grow as digital technologies continue to develop and become more integrated into our lives. Because the data that is transmitted can reveal a wealth of detail about people’s personal lives, however, users of digital technologies reasonably expect to retain significant privacy in that data," argued the companies. "Fourth Amendment doctrine must adapt to this new reality." The signees include Airbnb, Apple, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest, Oath, Snap, Twitter, and Verizon. The companies filed the brief through the ACLU, which is participating in the upcoming case.


iOS 11 Public Beta 5 Lands Right After Developer Beta

Aug 14, 2017, 4:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11 Public Beta 5 to those testing the platform, mere hours after the company made the developer version available. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both devices gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. Apple didn't immediately say what's new in this latest beta. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected until the fall.


Apple Releases Another Slew of Developer Betas

Aug 14, 2017, 12:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made a handful of new beta builds of its various operating systems available to developers. App writers can download and installed iOS 11 Beta 6, watchOS 4 Beta 6, tvOS 11 Beta 6, and macOS High Sierra 10.13 Beta 6. Apple did not spell out any changes specific to these builds, though it generally resolves bugs and adds minor features with each successive release. Most of these platforms are expected to reach their final form as soon as next month, when they'll be released to the public.


ITC Agrees to Review Qualcomm's Complaints Against Apple

Aug 8, 2017, 1:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The International Trade Commission today said it will investigate claims made by Qualcomm that Apple is infringing on its patents. Specifically, Qualcomm says the processor and baseband in the iPhone 7 are violating its patented technology. 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. Qualcomm hopes to ban Apple from importing the devices into the country. The ITC is a popular venue for legal complaints between tech companies. Apple and Qualcomm have traded lawsuits against one another this year over patents. Apple claims Qualcomm, which is being investigated by the FTC, charges unfair rates to license and purchase its patented designs.


iOS 11 Public Beta 4 Now Available

Aug 8, 2017, 1:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11 Public Beta 4 to those testing the platform. The release follows closely that of a new build for developers, which was made available earlier this week. This fourth beta is more stable than earlier betas. It packs in several new functions, including changes to the Control Center, Spotlight search, app icons, lock screen widgets, and 3D Touch. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both devices gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected until the fall.


iOS 11 Beta 5 for Developers Now Available

Aug 7, 2017, 12:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 11 to application developers. This beta is not yet available to public beta testers, though Apple typically releases new public betas shortly after it updates the developer code. Apple continues to refine iOS 11 and add features based on developer feedback. The company did not call out any specific changes concerning iOS 11 Beta 5. Apple will release more betas, generally once every other week, ahead of the expected final release in September. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both platforms gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. Apple today also released new beta builds of watchOS, tvOS 11, macOS High Sierra 10.13, and Xcode 9.


Huawei Prepping Mate 10 While Cutting Low-End Phones

Jul 27, 2017, 12:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei says its forthcoming flagship handset will be a better device than Apple's next iPhone. "We will have an even more powerful product," said Richard Yu, head of Huawei's consumer division, in an interview with Bloomberg. "The Mate 10, which has much longer battery life with a full-screen display, quicker charging speed, better photographing capability and many other features that will help us compete with Apple." Huawei is expected to reveal the Mate 10 as soon as September 2 at a press event scheduled during the IFA trade show in Berlin. At the same time, Yu said Huawei plans to exit the entry-level segment of the smartphone market. "We are giving up the very low-end devices because the margin in this is extremely low, and it’s not making enough profit for us." Moving forward, Huawei will focus on mid-range and high-end devices.


Foxconn Commits to Building Wisconsin Factory

Jul 26, 2017, 5:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Foxconn today said it will build a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, where it will make LCD panels and employ up to 3,000 people. The company previously announced it might invest up to $10 billion in the U.S. Today's news, shared by the White House, demonstrates Foxconn was serious about the investment. The facility will be approximately 20,000 square feet and may eventually employ up to 13,000. Foxconn, based in Taiwan, is chiefly known for manufacturing iPhones for Apple, though it has other consumer electronics customers. Foxconn said Sharp will be first to use the LCD panels made in Wisconsin for its television sets. Foxconn is weighing similar investments in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.


Apple Must Pay U. Wisconsin $506 Million Over Patent

Jul 26, 2017, 8:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple was ordered this week by a U.S. judge to pay $506 million to the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) thanks to patented technology found in Apple's A7, A8, and A8X processors. The patent involves increasing the efficiency of chips by predicting what instructions the user will give them. WARF originally filed the lawsuit in January 2014 and was granted a jury victory in October 2015. The original judgement was for $234 million, but the judge more than doubled the damages because Apple has continued to use the patented technology in its iPhones (A9 processors) during the course of the lawsuit. Apple sought to have the patent declared invalid, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Apple's bid. Apple is appealing the ruling. WARF sued Apple again in 2015 over the same patent, which it claims is being violated in newer versions of the iPhone. That second case is still winding its way through the courts. The patent, originally granted to WARF in 1998, expired in December 2016. Apple maintained its innocence.


USB 3.2 Spec Promises to Double Data Transfer Speeds

Jul 26, 2017, 7:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group this week released the spec for USB 3.2, which has the potential to boost speeds through cables. Specifically, USB 3.2 takes advantage of the multi-lane operation that has been built into existing USB Type-C cables. Now, as long as both devices support USB 3.2, end users should see data transfer speeds double. The Promoter Group says the spec allows for up to two lanes of 5 Gbps or two lanes of 10 Gbps operation. The spec makes use of the existing SuperSpeed USB physical layer, but makes minor updates to the hub specification to address increased speeds in addition to transitions between single- and two-lane operation. The USB 3.2 specification is available to developers only at this time. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group expects to release the final version of the spec in September. Devices with support for USB 3.2 will likely not appear in the market before 2018. It's unclear if or how USB 3.2 might be used with mobile devices. Some of the companies in the USB 3.0 Promoter Group include Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, ST Microelectronics, and Texas Instruments.


Apple Makes Third iOS 11 Beta Available to Public Testers

Jul 25, 2017, 2:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11 Public Beta 3 to those testing the platform. The release follows closely that of a new build for developers, which was made available earlier this week. This third beta is much more stable than the first or second. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both devices gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected until the fall.


Adobe to Retire Flash In 2020

Jul 25, 2017, 2:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Adobe today said it will stop updating and distributing the Flash player in 2020. The web plugin is widely used across the web to power experiences such as video and gaming. Adobe says new, open standards such as HTML5 and WebGL have already begun to replace Flash in web browsers. Adobe is working with partners including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla to help with the end-of-life process. Adobe will update and patch Flash up until the end-of-life moment arrives in order to ensure users are protected. It is already encouraging content creators to adopt the new open standards ahead of the change. Flash was once a flashpoint in the mobile space after Apple debuted the iPhone. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously penned a blog post entitled "Thoughts on Flash" in which he explained Apple's reasons for not supporting Flash within iOS. It was a major point of contention, as it prevented the iPhone from accessing some web content. Apple is now helping Adobe with the transition away from Flash.


Apple Pushes Fourth Round of Developer Betas

Jul 24, 2017, 12:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of iOS 11 to application developers. This build is not meant for public beta testers, though Apple typically offers new public betas shortly after it releases developer code. In this beta, Apple continues to refine iOS 11 and add features based on developer feedback. The company did not call out any specific changes concerning iOS 11 Beta 4. The final release of iOS 11 should reach all users this fall. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both platforms gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. Apple today also released new beta builds of watchOS, tvOS 11, macOS High Sierra 10.13, and Xcode 9.


T-Mobile Clearing Out iPhone 7 Inventory

Jul 21, 2017, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today introduced a limited-time offer to save big bucks on the Apple iPhone 7. The Uncarrier will give a $300 credit to those who trade in an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, or 6s Plus for an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. Trade-ins must be owned outright, with no remaining payments or commitments. T-mobile says the value of the trade-in can be applied to the purchase of a new iPhone 7 immediately, with the remainder of the $300 offer to arrive later in the form of a prepaid MasterCard. The offer requires people to finance the new iPhone on an installment plan with a T-Mobile service agreement. Sales tax is due on the full price of the new handset at the point of purchase. T-Mobile says the offer can be combined with its iPhone memory upgrade program, which knocks $100 off the price of the 256 GB iPhone for a potential total savings of $400. The balance of the $300 offer will arrive up to 8 weeks after T-Mobile customers sign up for the promotion on T-Mobile's web site. The offer cannot be combined with T-Mobile's Carrier Freedom program.


Clips, Apple's Video Creation App, Gains Disney Characters

Jul 20, 2017, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today updated its Clips mobile video application with characters from Disney movies and new graphic overlays and posters. Apple says several classic Disney characters, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy, can be added to videos complete with animations. A handful of Pixar characters are available, too, such as Wooody and Jessie from "Toy Story" and Fear and Sadness from "Inside Out." Along with the characters, new Disney-themed posters and backgrounds are available to enhance videos. Beyond the Disney content, Clips gains 10 new Apple-designed graphics, backgrounds, and animated text options so people can create more expressive and unique videos. Clips is available to more iPhones and iPads. It is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


YouTube TV Reaches 10 More Markets

Jul 20, 2017, 12:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made good on its promise to expand the reach of YouTube TV to more markets. YouTube TV is now available in the 10 markets it announced last month, which include Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, and Charlotte. YouTube TV costs $35 per month. The service includes live TV streaming of local channels, unlimited DVR use, and up to six individual user profiles per account. The service has expanded the selection of content, too, which now stands at about 50 channels. The service initially launched earlier this year in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. YouTube TV is available on smartphones, tablets, PCs, and select television sets. It can be cast from handsets to set-top-box devices such as Apple TV and Chromecast.

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Apple Updates iPhone, Watch, AppleTV Software

Jul 19, 2017, 12:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today pushed out updates to four of its core platforms. iPhone and iPad owners can update their devices to iOS 10.3.3, which Apple has been testing with developers for more than a month. The minor system update, likely the last for iOS 10, includes bug fixes and performance improvements. Apple also released watchOS 3.2.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and macOS Sierra 10.12.6. All the system updates are free to download and install. Apple is already beta testing iOS 11 with both developers and the public. iOS 11 brings a significant number of updates to the iPhone and iPad, and is expected to arrive in the fall.


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