Qualcomm today revealed two new sets of products design with the Internet of Things in mind. First, the company plans to add support for the Android Things operating system to its Snapdragon 210 processors and X5 LTE modems. Android Things is Google's IoT platform. Qualcomm says the the Snapdragon 210 and X5 combo will be the most powerful processor/modem available to Android Things, allowing developers and hardware makers to design more capable devices and services. Some possible use cases include electronic signage, video monitoring, and asset tracking, as well as smart home assistants and smart appliances. The Snapdragon 210 and X5 SoC for Android Things will be available later this year. Separately, Qualcomm said it is sampling two new SoCs for IoT that combine three radios into a single package. The QCA4020 includes Bluetooth Low Energy 5, Dual-band Wi-Fi, and 802.15.4-based technologies, including ZigBee and Thread. The QCA4024 integrates Bluetooth Low Energy 5 and 802.15.4 tech. These modules will support a wide range of IoT platforms, including Apple's HomeKit, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Open Connectivity Foundation. Qualcomm expects to see them put to use in smart cities, toys, home control and automation, networking, and home entertainment. The QCA4020 and QCA4024 are sampling now and will reach consumer devices later this year,
Apple today made iOS 10.3 beta 3 available to developers. The most notable new feature of iOS 10.3 is a tool called Find My AirPods, which helps people locate lost earbuds via an audio alert. iOS 10.3 also makes the jump to the Apple File System (APFS), refreshes the Apple ID profile, tweaks animations, and provides more details concerning iCloud storage use. This latest beta is meant for developers. Apple normally makes public beta builds available a day or two after it releases developer betas. Apple also released new betas of macOS 10.12.4, watchOS 3.2, tvOS 10.2, and Xcode 8.3.
Apple has joined the Wireless Power Consortium, according to IHS Technologies and the WPC's own web site. Apple is listed as a backing member of the organization, which is behind the Qi wireless charging standard. This is the first time Apple has appeared to support either of the two competing standards. Apple is not backing the AirFuel Alliance (formerly the Power Matters Alliance) wireless charging standard, at least not according to the Alliance's web site, where Apple is not listed as a member. Apple's membership in the WPC does not necessarily mean the company plans to bring wireless charging technology to its mobile devices; rather, it means Apple can contribute its own technology to the standard, as well as take advantage of the standard's existing feature set. Many of Apple's competitors already back at least one of the two major wireless charging standards. Samsung, for example, supports both Qi and AirFuel, which makes its devices compatible with most wireless chargers. Wireless charging is one of a handful of technologies that Apple's iPhone has yet to adopt.
Verizon Wireless today announced a promotional trade-in offer that will give a free flagship-class phone to those who switch from other carriers. The offer requires users to select Verizon's new $80 monthly unlimited plan. It also requires a working trade-in that is fully paid off. Customers will need to port their number in from a competing service provider. Customers can then select the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Force Droid, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, or LG V20. Verizon will provide up to $792 toward the cost of the phone spread out over 24 months. In order to get one of the above phones for free, switchers will need to trade-in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung Note 5, LG G5, LG V20, or the HTC 10. Customers who have an older phone to trade, such as the Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Note 4, Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G4, LG V10, or HTC M9, will need to pay $5 per month for the "free" phones being offered by Verizon. Verizon Wireless didn't say how long this promotion will be available.
Apple today made available a handful of new beta builds of its core operating systems. The new releases include iOS 10.3 beta 2, watchOS 3.2 beta 2, tvOS 10.2 beta 2, and Xcode 8.3 beta 2. The most notable new feature of iOS 10.3 is a tool called Find My AirPods, which helps people locate lost earbuds via an audio alert. iOS 10.3 also makes the jump to the Apple File System (APFS), refreshes the Apple ID profile, tweaks animations, and provides more details concerning iCloud storage use. WatchOS 3.2 includes two core additions to the platform: theater mode and SiriKit. Theater mode lets Watch owners disable sound and raise-to-wake functions while retaining haptic vibrations for notifications. SiriKit, available to iOS since last year, lets developers add Siri to their own watchOS apps. These new betas are meant for developers. Apple normally makes public beta builds available a day or two after it releases the developer betas.
Google today said it has made an open source version of its Chrome browser for iOS available to developers. Google says today's news is the result of year's worth of work. "Due to constraints of the iOS platform, all browsers must be built on top of the WebKit rendering engine," explained Google in a blog post. "For Chromium, this means supporting both WebKit as well as Blink, Chrome's rendering engine for other platforms. That created some extra complexities which we wanted to avoid placing in the Chromium code base." Google has pulled apart the code for iOS and carefully refactored it into the open-source repository. Google says developers can take the core code and use it to compile the iOS version of Chromium just as they already do for Android and other platforms. Google hopes developers will use the open source version of Chrome to improve web-based features for Apple's iPhone and iPad.
Apple today made a new beta version of watchOS available to developers. WatchOS 3.2 beta 1 includes two core additions to the platform: theater mode and SiriKit. With theater mode, Apple Watch owners will be able to disable sound and raise-to-wake functions while retaining haptic vibrations for notifications. SiriKit, available to iOS since last year, will allow third-party app developers to add Siri features to their own watchOS apps, expanding what Watch owners will be able to do via voice commands. Apple often makes public betas available shortly after releasing developer betas. Developers can download and install watchOS 3.2 beta 1 via Apple's developer console.
Apple has removed a tool within iCloud that allowed people to easily check the Activation Lock status of iPhones, iPods, and iPads. Activation Lock was introduced as a part of iOS 7's Find My iPhone feature in 2014. Any iPhone owner who activates Find My iPhone automatically locks the device to their Apple ID. The idea behind Activation Lock is to make it so stolen iPhones can't be activated on new accounts without first disassociating them from the original owner's account. iPhones with Activation Lock still in place are unusable with new Apple IDs, and thus not worth stealing in the first place. Until recently, iCloud provided an easy tool that allowed potential iPhone purchasers to check the Activation Lock status of a device by entering the IMEI or serial number. The tool is no longer available within iCloud, and the former web site returns a 404 error. Moreover, Apple has removed the language associated with the Activation Lock search tool from its support documents. Instead, Apple suggests potential buyers and sellers work together to ensure iPhones, iPads, and iPods are properly unlocked and erased before any sale or transfer takes place. This approach may work between legitimate transactions, but doesn't help people who've purchased stolen devices.
Following its release to developers earlier this week, Apple today made iOS 10.3 beta 1 available to people signed up for the public beta testing program. The most notable new feature of iOS 10.3 beta 1 is a tool called Find My AirPods, which helps people locate lost earbuds via an audio alert. iOS 10.3 also makes the jump to the Apple File System (APFS). APFS is better able to make use of Flash-based storage and includes stronger encryption. Other changes in iOS 10.3 include a refreshed Apple ID profile, tweaked animations, and more detail concerning iCloud storage use. Last, improvements to SiriKit will let third-party app developers add functionality such as voice-based bill payments and ride scheduling to their own apps. iOS 10.3 beta 1 is free to download from Apple's beta web site.
Apple has filed a fresh lawsuit against Qualcomm, this time in China where it alleges Qualcomm abused its market position to score higher patent-licensing fees. Apple also said Qualcomm failed to honor its promise to license standard essential patents at fair rates, reports Reuters. Apple is seeking about $145 million in damages. The lawsuit follows a similar complaint Apple filed against Qualcomm last week in the U.S. In that lawsuit, Apple is seeking $1 billion in rebates it says it is owed by Qualcomm. Qualcomm was quick to respond to Apple's latest claims. "These filings by Apple's Chinese subsidiary are just part of Apple's efforts to find ways to pay less for Qualcomm's technology," said the chipmaker. Qualcomm is also facing a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission over its technology licensing practices.
Apple today released a slew of new beta builds for its various operating systems. iOS 10.3 beta 1 for the iPhone and iPad adds one significant new feature called Find My AirPods. With it, people can locate their AirPod headphones by forcing the ear buds to emit a loud, high-pitched sound. Apple didn't call out any other new features within iOS 10.3 other than a few minor tools for developers. Apple also released first beta builds of macOS Sierra 10.12.4, tvOS 10.2, and Xcode 8.3. These builds are for developers and not public testers. Apple typically makes public betas available a day or two after releasing the developer builds.
The U.S. International Trade Commission today said it will investigate claims made by Nokia that Apple's smartphones and tablets violate its patented technology. Nokia filed its lawsuit with the ITC in December, accusing Apple of importing and selling "mobile phones, tablet computers, and components thereof" that infringe Nokia-held patents. Nokia is seeking an exclusion order and a cease and desist order. An administrative law judge will make a preliminary decision, followed by binding decision from the full ITC panel. The matter at hand pertains to ongoing, failed patent licensing negotiations between the two companies. Technology companies often use lawsuits to force business partners to agree to certain terms. Following Nokia's action against Apple in December, Apple filed a retaliatory lawsuit accusing Nokia of antitrust behavior. The government hasn't yet officially responded to Apple's legal filings.
Apple today made available the public build of iOS 10.2.1 to the iPhone and iPad. According to Apple, iOS 10.2.1 fixes bugs and improves the security of its smartphones and tablets. Apple recommends all users install the update. Apple also released watchOS 3.1.3, tvOS 10.1.1, and macOS Sierra 10.12.3. These releases all resolve small problems and improve performance.
Apple has filed a lawsuit against partner Qualcomm, alleging the mobile chipmaker used its monopoly power to push for "onerous, unreasonable and costly" licensing terms. Moreover, Apple says Qualcomm prevented it from seeking chips from other suppliers between 2011 and 2016. Apple uses Qualcomm's baseband chips in the iPhone and iPad. Apple is seeking $1 billion in rebate payments that it says Qualcomm has withheld since Apple met with Korea's fair trade regulatory body last year. Apple's lawsuit arrives just days after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm over what it called aggressive and unfair business practices. The government, in particular, said Qualcomm had taken advantage of Apple and others with its licensing terms. Qualcomm denied the allegations. "While we are still in the process of reviewing the complaint in detail, it is quite clear that Apple's claims are baseless. Apple has intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing program," said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel, Qualcomm. In addition to the FTC complaint, Qualcomm was recently sued by the Korean government over similar claims.
Apple today announced a major update to GarageBand, its music creating and recording app for iOS devices. Chiefly, GarageBand now includes the Alchemy synthesizer, which adds more than 150 new patches from Apple that span myriad styles like pop, rock, EDM, and hip hop. Apple says Alchemy's on-screen tools let musicians merge up to eight patches at a time to create their own, unique sounds. GarageBand includes a new sound browser, too, which should make it easier to find Apple's Touch Instruments. A multi-take recording tool makes it possible for people to record several takes and then compare them to see which is best. Last, the audio recorder has been redesigned with one-tap vocal effects, such as pitch correction, distortion, and delay. Singers can take advantage of visual equalizers to fine-tune their sound, as well as use third-party plugins for even more vocal sound options. GarageBand is free for most modern iPhone and iPad owners.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today filed a complaint against Qualcomm, alleging the chip-maker uses its market position to monopolize the sale of cell phone baseband processors. The FTC says Qualcomm is violating the FTC Act in several ways. First, Qualcomm refuses to license standard-essential patents to competitors even though it has committed to do so. Second, Qualcomm won't sell its baseband processors to customers unless they agree to Qualcomm's licensing terms. The FTC says this "no license, no chips" policy leads to elevated royalties. Last, Qualcomm offered Apple reduced patent royalties in exchange for exclusively using Qualcomm baseband processors for a period of 5 years. The FTC hopes a court order will force Qualcomm to cease its anticompetitive behavior and prevent further unfair business practices. "By excluding competitors, Qualcomm impedes innovation that would offer significant consumer benefits, including those that foster the increased interconnectivity of consumer products, vehicles, buildings, and the Internet of Things," said the government. Qualcomm did not immediately respond to the FTC's action. Qualcomm recently ran into similar legal trouble in South Korea, which fined the chip maker nearly $900 million over its anticompetitive business practices. Qualcomm has already settled with China and the European Union over similar charges.
An on-going lawsuit accusing Apple of holding a monopoly on the market for iPhone apps has been given new life today thanks to an appeals court ruling. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Apple's sole distribution method of mobile apps for the iPhone may be anticompetitive. The original lawsuit was filed in 2012. It charged that Apple's policy of allowing only apps distributed via the app store onto iPhones violates federal law. Apple's legal argument centered on the idea that the App Store serves only as a platform for end users to buy apps from developers, the iPhone maker sees the App Store as shelf space that is rented out by app writers. However, app developers pay a 30% portion of revenues for the ability to sell via the App Store. Moreover, people pay Apple directly for apps via iTunes; they do not pay developers. Initial rulings in the case sided with Apple, but today's decision reversed lower courts, as iPhone owners cannot buy or install apps via any method other than the App Store, lest they jailbreak (or hack) their device. Apple maintains that this policy protects end user security, but a collection of iPhone owners contend it leads to less competition and higher pricing for mobile apps. It's not clear what the next steps in the case are, nor where they may lead.
Apple today released iOS 10.2.1 Beta 4 to public testers. Apple has not said much about this minor update to iOS, but it is believed to resolve bugs and performance issues throughout the mobile operating system. Apple released a developer beta build of iOS 10.2.1 earlier this week.
Apple today made a slew of betas available for its core operating systems. iOS 10.2.1 beta 3 is the most important for developers as Apple prepares the next minor update to its platform. watchOS 3.1.3 beta 2 is also available, as is tvOS 10.1.1 beta 2, and macOS Sierra 10.12.3 beta 3. Apple didn't spell out any specific changes in this round of betas, which are believed to focus on bugs fixes and performance improvements. Public testers can expect to see updated betas for their devices in a day or so.
Google today announced new integration between its Google Goals tool and Google Fit and Apple Health. In order to help ease the process of meeting goals, Fit and Health can automatically record and mark users' goals in Google Calendar as "done." The tool is smart enough to see that if users set goals for something like "run at 6am" but never get out the door until 6:45, Goals will adjust automatically to reflect the user's actual behavior. Google says this integration with Google Fit and Apple Health give people more ways to manage the activities they like to pursue — and find the time to do them. The feature is being added to the latest version of the Google Calendar app.
Nokia and Apple have this week filed patent-related lawsuits against one another in various jurisdictions. Nokia's claims, filed in Germany and the U.S., say that Apple is using Nokia's patented technology without permission. The companies have been negotiating licensing fees for Nokia's patents for several years and can't agree on pricing. "Since agreeing [to] a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple's products," said Nokia. The lawsuit is meant to force Apple to agree to Nokia's terms. On the flip side, Apple is accusing Nokia of antitrust behavior. It claims Nokia divested a number of its standard essential patents to patent-licensing firms (in this case, Acacia and Conversant) in order to circumvent fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory pricing principles that apply to such patents. "With its cell phone business dying, Nokia began to seek out willing conspirators and to commence its illegal patent transfer scheme in full force; that scheme has continued in full effect to the present. The driving force behind Nokia's strategy was to diffuse its patent portfolio and place it in the hands of PAEs. Acacia and Conversant were its chief conspirators," said Apple in its complaint. Apple's lawsuit was first reported by PatentlyApple.
TDK Corp has agreed to acquire InvenSense for $1.33 billion in cash. TDK is a Japan-based maker of electronic components. InvenSense is a U.S. company that primarily makes gyroscopic motion sensors for mobile devices. Its sensors are most often found in smartphones from Apple and Samsung. The gyroscopes enable games and other apps that require movement calculations. TDK is already a large supplier of smartphone components. It expects to combine InvenSense's sensors with its own portfolio of magnetic, pressure, temperature, and microphone sensors. TDK sees the acquisition as a way to reach new customers. The deal has been approved by both companies' boards, but requires regulatory approval.
Apple has released new beta versions of iOS and macOS. These betas are specifically for developers, rather than public beta testers. App writers can download and test beta 2 of iOS 10.2.1 and beta 2 of macOS Sierra 10.12.3. Apple has not said anything about this particular batch of betas, which likely resolve bugs and performance issues. Apple typically makes the public betas for these platforms available a day or two after the developer beta.
Apple today released new beta versions of several of its operating systems. These betas are specifically for developers, rather than public beta testers. App writers can download and test beta 1 of iOS 10.2.1, beta 1 of tvOS 10.1.1, and beta 1 of macOS Sierra 10.12.3. Apple has not said anything about this particular batch of betas, which likely resolve bugs and performance issues. Apple typically makes the public betas for these platforms available a day or two after the developer beta.
Apple has ceased pushing the watchOS 3.1.1 update to users after reports surfaced of the software rendering some Apple Watch Series 2 devices unusable. "A very small number of Apple Watch customers experienced an issue while installing watchOS 3.1.1, so as a precaution we've pulled back the software update," explained Apple. "Any customers impacted should contact AppleCare, but no action is required if the update installed successfully. We are working on a fix for an upcoming software update."
Apple today began accepting orders for its AirPod wireless headphones. The AirPods instantly turn on and connect to nearby iPhones when the carrying case is opened. The AirPods can automatically switch from iPhone to Apple Watch based on what the owner is using. The AirPods provide up to 5 hours of battery life and the case has a built-in battery that can provide a total of 24 hours of play time. The devices rely on the W1, Apple's first wireless chip. The pods include a battery, antenna, accelerometer, and proximity sensor. The AirPods will automatically halt music playback if the pods are removed from the owner's ear. They are compatible with most iPhones and iPads. The AirPods cost $159 and are available online. The headphones were originally expected to debut in October, but Apple delayed the launch. Orders placed online should arrive before Christmas.
Apple today released iOS 10.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The minor update to iOS includes Unicode 9 with more than 100 new emoji, including more diverse depictions of minorities and women. iOS 10.2 also includes new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, improved camera settings, additional video widgets, single sign-on, and emergency contact alerts. It also introduces the new TV app from Apple, which is a TV-guide style app meant to help people find content across various video services. The operating system can be installed over the air or via iTunes.
Pandora has taken the wraps off Pandora Premium, its $10-per-month music streaming service that will compete with Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play Music. Like similar products, Pandora Premium offers ad-free, all-you-can-eat streaming of millions of tracks. It includes unlimited skips and downloads for offline listening. Pandora Premium competes with Pandora's own $5 monthly product, which is also ad-free and allows for some skipping. The major difference between the two is the recommendation engine. Pandora Premium relies on the data Pandora has collated via the Music Genome to the tune of one billion data points per day. It also takes advantage of users' own "thumbs up" activity and will create playlists based on those songs. The Premium product will be more aggressive about pushing recommendations, particularly when users reach the end of a play list or album. Pandora expects to launch Pandora Premium for mobile devices and the web early next year.
Apple has agreed to pay a fine of $450,000 for improperly operating a hazardous waste facility in California. The company ran a plant in Cupertino that processed some 1.1 million pounds of hazardous waste. The plant was closed in 2013 and moved to Sunnyvale. California's Department of Toxic Substances Control alleged that Apple ran the facility without the state's knowledge. Apple blamed the transgression on "an oversight in paperwork." The state accused Apple of mishandling some toxic dust, but no one was harmed and neither was the environment. Apple made clear that its own safety standards are more strict than the law demands.
Signing into TV and other video apps should be less painful thanks to the launch of Apple's Single sign-on service. Single sign-on allows people to enter their cable provider's credentials just once and then automatically be signed in to all that TV and video apps that require those credentials. At launch, the service is limited to CenturyLink, Prism, DirecTV, Dish, GTA, GVTC, Hawaiian Telcom, Hotwire, MetroCast, and Sling TV. Notable absences include Verizon's FiOS TV service, Comcast, Time Warner, and CableVision. Moreover, the initial batch of apps that support the service are limited, too. For example, A&E supports Single sign-on for iOS, but not tvOS. Similarly, NBC supports Single sign-on for tvOS, but not iOS. Major channels, including CBS and Disney aren't yet supporting Single sign-on. It is up to TV providers to voluntarily update their apps with support for Single sign-on, which is not mandated by Apple. Single sign-on requires iOS 10 and tvOS 10 or later.
The U.S. Supreme Court today vacated a $399 million reward that Samsung had been ordered to pay Apple for violating the iPhone maker's designs. 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 court said the lower courts had improperly calculated the fine and sent the case back to those courts for further deliberation. The case dates back to April 2011, when Apple first sued Samsung over its smartphones. An initial trial found Samsung guilty of willfully infringing on Apple's designs and rewarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. That reward has been whittled down over the years in subsequent hearings.
Apple today released a handful of new beta versions of its core operating systems. These betas are specifically for developers, rather than public beta testers. App writers can download and test beta 6 of iOS 10.2, beta 5 of watchOS 3.1.1, and beta 5 of macOS Sierra 10.12.2. Previous beta releases of iOS 10.2 show the platform includes Unicode 9 with a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. The newest betas of watchOS 3.1.1 and macOS Sierra 10.12.2 include stability improvements. Apple typically makes the public betas for these platforms available a day or two after the developer beta.
Apple today released iOS 10.2 beta 5 for developers, mere days after releasing beta 4. App writers can download and test beta 5 of iOS 10.2. Previous beta releases of iOS 10.2 show the platform includes Unicode 9 with a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. Apple hasn't yet updated the public beta to match the developer beta.
Alongside its new DirecTV Now streaming television service, AT&T announced Fullscreen and FreeView. Fullscreen includes more than 1,500 hours of ad-free content (movies, television) for $6 per month, while FreeView includes ad-supported content for free. Fullscreen is a video-on-demand platform that's compatible with iPhone, iPad, select Android Phones, Chromecast, and Apple TV. For a limited time, AT&T will let new and existing customers access Fullscreen for a year for free. Like DirecTV Now, Fullscreen will not impact AT&T Mobility customers' data buckets. FreeView is a highly-curated, on-demand content platform from Audience. Both Fullscreen and FreeView are available within the DirecTV Now app and will launch November 30.
Apple today released a handful of new beta versions of its core operating systems. These betas are specifically for developers, rather than public beta testers. App writers can download and test beta 4 of iOS 10.2, watchOS 3.1.1, and macOS Sierra 10.12.2. Previous beta releases of iOS 10.2 show the platform includes Unicode 9 with a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. The newest beta of watchOS 3.1 includes stability improvements. Apple typically makes the public beta available a day or two after the developer beta.
Apple will for free replace the battery on a small number of iPhone 6s smartphones that are experiencing power loss. "Apple has determined that a very small number of iPhone 6s devices may unexpectedly shut down," said Apple on its web site. The phones shut down even when the battery shows that it is half full or more. The issue impacts a limited number of iPhone 6s handsets that were manufactured in September and October 2015. Owners of the iPhone 6s who believe their device may be experiencing the issue can bring it to a local Apple Store or authorized retail facility for evaluation.
Apple has launched a repair program for the iPhone 6 Plus to fix what has become called touch disease. The issue, according to a class-action lawsuit filed against Apple, leaves the display unresponsive to finger-touch input. "Apple has determined that some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit display flickering or Multi-Touch issues after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device," said Apple on its web site. "If your iPhone 6 Plus is exhibiting the symptoms noted above, is in working order, and the screen is not cracked or broken, Apple will repair your device for a service price of $149." Owners of the iPhone 6 Plus who've already paid for a screen repair to resolve this issue will be refunded the difference between the price they paid for the original service and the new $149 repair amount. Apple's carrier partners are not participating in this program, so any and all repairs need to go through Apple directly.
FreedomPop today said it plans to sell low-cost, reconditioned smartphones to consumers in the U.S., the U.K., Spain, and Mexico. The FreedomShop will be a single, online space for people to shop for certified used handsets from a wide range of phone makers. FreedomPop said it will look to compete with other markets for used devices by offering competitive prices (up to 80% off original MSRP) on more than 100 phones from the likes of Apple, LG, Samsung, and others. It has forged relationships with more than 200 suppliers of refurbished phones from around the world to ensure its selection is top notch. Importantly, FreedomPop will offer a 30-day "no questions asked" money-back guarantee for any handset purchased from its on line shop. FreedomPop offers free and very-low-cost wireless service in a handful of countries, including the U.S.
Apple today released a handful of new beta versions of its core operating systems. These betas are specifically for developers, rather than public beta testers. App writers can download and test beta 3 of iOS 10.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.2, and tvOS 10.1, and beta 2 of Xcode 8.2. Previous beta releases of iOS 10.2 show the platform includes Unicode 9 with a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. Apple typically makes the public beta available a day or two after the developer beta.
Apple recently added iPhones to the list of refurbished devices it sells through its online store. The company has a small selection of iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models in varying colors and storage capacities. The average discount is about 15% when compared to new models. For example, a refurbished 64 GB iPhone 6s Plus sells for $589. According to Apple, refurbished iPhones have a new battery, a new outer shell, and are backed by a one year warranty. They are sold unlocked and without a SIM card.