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printed May 27, 2017
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Facebook to Make Its Instant Articles Compatible with Google, Apple Formats

Yesterday, 7:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook wants content to be more readable across the web and took steps this week toward that goal by tweaking the SDK for its Instant Articles. Facebook's Instant Articles give publishers a way to streamline content for consumption on mobile devices, but Instant Articles aren't compatible with the mobile-first styles used by Google and Apple. The new Instant Articles SDK includes extensions that will let publishers create content that is compatible with all three formats: Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP, and Apple News. The SDK includes support for AMP immediately, but won't add Apple News for several weeks. Facebook, Google, and Apple all want publishers to adjust their articles, photos, and videos for mobile devices. Doing so improves usability for phone and tablet owners. It will be up to individual publishers to adopt Facebook's new Instant Articles SDK.


T-Mobile Goes After Verizon Customers with Latest Promo

Wednesday, 7:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile hopes its new "Get Out of the Red" deal will tempt Verizon customers to switch to T-Mobile. T-Mobile is offering to pay the remaining balance on Verizon subscribers' handsets and allow them to use those same handsets on T-Mobile's network. Lots of caveats apply. In order to qualify for the deal, Verizon customers must be in good standing with Big Red and come to T-Mobile with an Apple iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, Google Pixel, or Pixel XL. These phones have the proper radios to support T-Mobile's LTE network. The company is working to add other devices to the list. Verizon customers will need to port their number to T-Mobile, sign up for a T-Mobile One plan, buy a new T-Mobile SIM card, and sign up for T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection Plus insurance plan for $15 per month. Once all these criteria are met, T-Mobile will pay the remaining balance on the Verizon iPhone or Pixel, whatever that may be. T-Mobile says customers will be reimbursed for their Verizon iPhone/Pixel balances within 15 to 30 days via prepaid MasterCard. T-Mobile is pitching the idea as an easier way to switch carriers as it doesn't require people to backup or transfer content from one phone to another. The offer works with Verizon handsets because by law Verizon's LTE phones must be unlocked. AT&T and Sprint customers cannot take advantage of this offer precisely because their phones are carrier locked. T-Mobile's Get Out of the Red promotion will be available starting May 31. T-Mobile is, however, throwing a bone to AT&T and Sprint customers. T-Mobile said it will pay off the remaining handset balance and/or early termination fee for AT&T/Sprint customers who port a number to T-Mobile and finance a new device on T-Mobile's equipment installment plan. Last, T-Mobile customers who already have two T-Mobile One plans will be able add two additional lines of service for the price of one. This promo requires autopay.


YouTube TV App for iOS Adds AirPlay Compatibility

Tuesday, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google recently updated its YouTube TV app for iOS and gave it the ability to push content to the Apple TV. The Android version of the mobile app can cast video to Chromecast-enabled TVs, but Apple TV users were left without a way to connect the gap between their iPhone and television set. The new version of YouTube TV for iOS adds AirPlay, allowing iPhone owners to view YouTube TV programming on their television set through the Apple TV. YouTube TV for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store, but the availability of the service is limited to just a handful of markets for the time being.


Apple and Nokia Bury the Patent Hatchet

Tuesday, 7:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it has settled its patent complaints against Nokia and the two have signed a multi-year patent license. The two corporations sued one another in December of last year concerning licensing fees for Nokia's patents. Nokia said Apple refused to pay fair prices, while Apple accused Nokia of antitrust behavior. Nokia had sold its patents to patent-assertion firms that then demanded higher rates. Moving forward, Nokia will provide Apple with network infrastructure products and services, and Apple will resume selling Nokia-owned smart devices (Withings) as the two look at future potential digital health offerings. Apple is set to pay Nokia a significant upfront fee and then on-going payments. Both companies expressed positive sentiments in having the matter behind them. "We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia," said Apple COO Jeff Williams. Companies often use lawsuits as a negotiation tactic.


Small Company Takes Apple to Court Over Apple Pay Patents

May 22, 2017, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Universal Secure Registry, a small firm from Boston, has filed a patent complaint against Apple and Visa over the technology used to create Apple Pay. According to the lawsuit, Kenneth P. Weiss, CEO of Universal Secure Registry, holds 13 patents pertaining to the use of fingerprints and one-time tokens in order to authenticate secure financial transactions. Weiss pitched the technology extensively to Visa in 2010. Visa agreed to a 10-year nondisclosure agreement and even assigned engineers to understand how Universal Secure Registry's process worked. Visa never adopted the technology, but several years later worked with Apple, MasterCard, and American Express to create Apple Pay, which launched in 2014. Apple Pay relies on fingerprints and one-time tokens to facilitate iPhone-based mobile payments. Patent law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan — one that represented Samsung and its fight against Apple over Android patents — suggested Universal Secure Registry take Apple to court over the patented technology. Apple has not yet responded publicly to the lawsuit.


Apple Pushes iOS 10.3.3 to Developers

May 17, 2017, 11:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple this week released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple didn't provide any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. Earlier this week, Apple released a final build of iOS 10.3.2, which was also a maintenance release.


Qualcomm Goes After Apple's Manufacturing Partners

May 17, 2017, 11:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm is targeting companies that manufacture Apple products in an attempt to recover royalty payments. Qualcomm sued Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron, and Compal Electronics seeking patent fees. Apple is withholding about $1 billion in royalties from Qualcomm after it sued the company in January for overcharging for patents and technology licenses. The move is just the latest in a series of legal maneuvers between the two companies. "While not disputing their contractual obligations to pay for the use of Qualcomm's inventions, the manufacturers say they must follow Apple's instructions not to pay," said Qualcomm in a statement. Apple said it will support its suppliers until the dispute with Qualcomm is resolved. Qualcomm is being sued by the FTC, Apple, and other companies over its patent-licensing practices. The FTC says Qualcomm's business practices may violate antitrust laws.


Apple Releases iOS 10.3.2 with Bug Fixes

May 15, 2017, 12:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 15, 2017, 12:31 PM

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 available to the iPhone and iPad. The minor system update primarily resolves bugs, patches security holes, and improves performance. Apple has been testing the update for the past month through its developer and public beta programs. iOS 10.3.2 is free to download and install over the air. Apple also distributed watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 — all of which focus on security and performance.


Intel, Samsung Pile On Qualcomm By Supporting FTC Lawsuit

May 15, 2017, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Intel and Samsung support the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation against Qualcomm and have filed amicus briefs to air their own complaints. The FTC hit Qualcomm with legal action in January and suggested that the company's patent licensing practices may violate monopoly regulations. Intel and Samsung, it would seem, agree. "Intel is ready, willing, and able to compete on the merits in this market that Qualcomm has dominated for years. But Qualcomm has maintained an interlocking web of abusive patent and commercial practices that subverts competition on the merits," said Intel in a blog on its web site. Intel has been unable to crack the smartphone market, which sees more than 1 billion devices ship annually. Samsung, for its part, suggests Qualcomm's unwillingness to play fairly has held back its in-house processor business. "Despite having requested a license from Qualcomm, Samsung cannot sell licensed Exynos chipsets to non-Samsung entities because Qualcomm has refused to license Samsung to make and sell licensed chipsets." Qualcomm argued that the FTC's case is weak and should be dismissed. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for June. Apple filed its own lawsuit against Qualcomm shortly after the FTC concerning the chip-maker's "onerous, unreasonable and costly" licensing terms.


Apple to Invest $200 Million in Corning

May 12, 2017, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it plans to invest $200 million in its business partner Corning. Corning makes the Gorilla Glass used on iPhones and many other modern smartphones and tablets. Apple said the funds will support Corning's research and development efforts, as well its equipment purchases, and manufacturing facilities. Apple is targeting Corning's facility in Harrodsburg, Ky., which has supplied Apple with glass since the first iPhone in 2007. The Harrodsburg facility employs about 400 people. Earlier this year, Apple committed to spending $1 billion through its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to foster innovation among American manufacturers. Corning is the first recipient of these funds.


Apple Wants iPhone Owners to Take Better Pictures

May 12, 2017, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple recently published a new web site with a number of how-to tutorials on photography for the iPhone 7. Rather than focus on technical explanations, Apple demonstrates how to improve a variety of specific shots, such as close-ups, portraits, panoramas, selfies, and so on. The tutorials are generally about 30 seconds long and include just a few steps for people to follow. The web site can be accessed from any internet device, but the videos are optimized for viewing on an iPhone.


T-Mobile Device Insurance Plan Adds ID Protection

May 5, 2017, 9:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today rolled out a new option for those seeking to protect not only their expensive smartphone, but themselves. The new Premium Device Protection Plus monthly insurance plan adds McAfee Security for T-Mobile with ID Protection. Specifically, the ID protection service gives subscribers 24/7 access to lost wallet and ID restoration services with a $1 million insurance policy for potential loses. The revised insurance plan also now includes Tech Personal Help Desk, which T-Mobile says provides "VIP-level" personal support through T-Mobile's online and phone-based support staff. The Tech Personal Help Desk covers diagnostics and some self-service repairs for phone, tablets, hotspots, and even routers, TVs, and game consoles. The monthly insurance program already includes device protection, data protection, and AppleCare for iPhone owners. T-Mobile's new Premium Device Protection Plus monthly insurance plan will be available starting May 7. It costs $15 per month.


Imagination to Divest Biz Units In Wake of Losing iPhone Contract

May 5, 2017, 7:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Imagination Technologies said it plans to sell two of its business units and strengthen its balance sheet before its years-old partnership with Apple expires. Earlier this year Apple told Imagination Technologies that it will no longer need the company's GPUs for the iPhone in 15 to 24 months time. Apple is Imagination Technologies' largest customer and the loss of the iPhone maker's business will result in a transformative change for Imagination Technologies. The company has already begun a legal dance around Apple. "Imagination has been unable to make satisfactory progress with Apple to date regarding alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement [and] has therefore commenced the dispute resolution procedure under the licence agreement with a view to reaching an agreement through a more structured process," said the company. Imagination contends that Apple will not be able to design and manufacture its own GPU without violating Imagination's patented technology. At the same time, Imagination is preparing to sell its MIPS and Ensigma businesses. Imagination will hold onto its PowerVR businesses unit. Imagination Technologies did not spell out a timeframe for making these changes.


Google Gives Enterprise Admins More Control Over iPhones

May 2, 2017, 12:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today expanded the security features Google Mobile Management administrators can enforce on corporate iOS devices. The new tools will let businesses that rely on Google's device management service to ensure iPhone and iPad users conform to corporate security policies. For example, G Suite admins can now sync managed corporate contacts to iOS devices and revoke access when needed. This is particularly helpful when using global address lists, which are now compatible with the native iOS email, calendar, phone, and contacts apps. G Suite admins can also now configure Google account on iOS to sync contacts and calendars, manage Safari browser settings, manage photo sharing, and set permissions with respect to screenshots, screen recording, Siri, and Apple Watch. The new tools are rolling out to all G Suite admin users over the next few weeks.


Google, Amazon, eBay Call Time Out On Apple Watch Apps

May 2, 2017, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A handful of marquee apps have dropped support for the Apple Watch in recent weeks, according to AppleInsider. Checks of the iTunes App Store show Google Maps, Amazon, eBay, Target and others have removed the Apple Watch from their list of supported devices. With Watch apps, developers create a watchOS version that goes alongside the standard iOS version. The companies above have ceased distributing the watchOS companion app with their full iOS apps, which means the apps are no longer available to the watch. Google was the only company to issue a statement. It said: "We removed Apple Watch support from our latest iOS release but expect to support it again in the future." Removing apps from Apple's wearable doesn't necessarily signal that the platform is in decline, but it does show supporting the platform may not be viable from a third-party business standpoint. Apple did not comment on the matter.


Apple Spits Out Fourth Round of iOS, WatchOS Betas

Apr 24, 2017, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 4 available to developers. Apple hasn't provided any specific details about what's in iOS 10.3.2; it likely focuses on resolving bugs and smoothing over performance issues. Apple also made fourth betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers. Public betas typically drop a day or two after the developer betas. Consumers interested in testing pre-release software will need to register their Apple device, such as the iPhone 7, in order to receive beta builds of iOS and other platforms.


Apple to Help Make Live Photos More Shareable On the Web

Apr 20, 2017, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new tool for developers that should make it easier for people to share their Live Photos with others. Specifically, the company made available the LivePhotoKit JS API. Apple says, "This new JavaScript-based API makes it easy to embed Live Photos on your web sites. In addition to enabling Live Photos on iOS and macOS, you can now let users display their Live Photos on the web." Live Photos, which are essentially short moving pictures, can be shared between iOS and macOS devices, but not so easily across platforms. Google solved this problem with its own Motion Stills app for iOS, which lets iPhone owners turn Live Photos into web-compatible GIFs. Apple says it will be up to individual developers and web sites to put the LivePhotoKit JS API to use on their own sites. Until they do, Google's Motion Stills app remains a viable alternative.


Third Round of Betas for Apple Platforms Reach Developers

Apr 17, 2017, 1:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 3 available to developers. Apple hasn't provided any specific details about what's in iOS 10.3.2; it likely focuses on resolving bugs and smoothing over performance issues. Apple also made third betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers. Public betas typically drop a day or two after the developer betas. Consumers interested in testing pre-release software will need to register their Apple device, such as the iPhone 7, in order to receive beta builds of iOS and other platforms.


Qualcomm Countersuit Says Apple Hobbled Its Chips

Apr 11, 2017, 7:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 11, 2017, 10:55 AM

Qualcomm filed a retaliatory lawsuit against Apple and accused the iPhone maker of bad behavior. The filing is in response to one Apple made against Qualcomm earlier this year. It that argument, Apple accused Qualcomm of abusing its market position to unfairly charge for chips and licenses. Qualcomm's response points out five major grievances with Apple, suggesting the company has not negotiated in good faith to license Qualcomm's patents. Specifically, Qualcomm says Apple "chose not to utilize the full performance of Qualcomm’s modem chips in its iPhone 7 [and] misrepresented the performance disparity between iPhones using Qualcomm modems and those using competitor-supplied modems." Qualcomm also accused Apple of breaching and mischaracterizing agreements with Qualcomm, interfering with Qualcomm's licensees, encouraging regulatory attack around the world, and threatening Qualcomm to go public over disparities in chip performance. Qualcomm is seeking damages from Apple for "reneging on its promises in several agreements" and it wants Apple to cease interfering with Qualcomm's partners. Qualcomm has come under fire from several governments, including that of the U.S., that allege Qualcomm uses predatory and unfair licensing practices.


Apple Offers Developers a Fresh Round of Beta Builds

Apr 10, 2017, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 2 available to developers. Apple has not provided any details about what's contained in iOS 10.3.2, though it likely focuses on resolving bugs and performance issues. Apple also made second betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers.


Comcast Details Mobile Phone Service as Xfinity Mobile

Apr 6, 2017, 8:30 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 6, 2017, 9:07 AM

Comcast today revealed details of its forthcoming Xfinity Mobile phone service. The company will use Verizon's 4G LTE network for the service, using an existing MVNO agreement. The service will also automatically, seamlessly leverage 16 million Xfinity wi-fi hotspots for free data, capacity, and coverage. The service will initially be available only to customers who use at least one other Comcast Xfinity product, but will be billed separately. Comcast's main goal is customer loyalty. Plans include unlimited data, ranging from $45 to $65 per line, depending on the Xfinity home services the customer uses. Unlimited LTE data is throttled to slower speeds after 20 GB. For metered data, customers can create their own plan at $12/GB of LTE data. Texting and voice are unlimited. A new mobile app will let users monitor usage and change data plans on the fly. Customers can switch from metered to unlimited at any time via the app, even in the middle of a billing period, and the change will be retroactive without penalty. Customer service will be available via text messaging. The company will offer a range of phones, including the Apple iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S8, and LG X Power. Phones will be available for full price or on an installment plan. The company is launching a large trial of Xfinity Mobile today, open to all Comcast employees. It will launch for consumers in the coming weeks.


Apple Retunes Apple Music for Android Devices

Apr 4, 2017, 2:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released Apple Music 2.0 for Android handsets and the app introduces a number of features found on the iOS version. To start, Apple Music for Android drops all elements of Google's Material Design in favor of Apple's app design language. The Android app user interface now mirrors that of the iOS version. In-app navigation is simplified thanks to four major sections, called Library, For You, Browse, and Radio. These make it easier for people to move through the app to find their own music or new tunes recommended by Apple. Apple Music 2.0 for Android also adds on-screen song lyrics and larger album art. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store, but the service costs $10 per month.


Apple Releases iOS 10.3.1 to Fix Bugs

Apr 3, 2017, 12:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today pushed a minor system update to iPhones, iPads, and iPods that's primarily meant to fix bugs. iOS 10.3.1, which clocks in at under 50 MB, also improves device security. The update is free to download and install over the air.


Apple to Create Its Own GPU for the iPhone

Apr 3, 2017, 7:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple is developing a new graphics chip for the iPhone that will see the end of its long-term relationship with Imagination Technologies. Apple has relied on Imagination for years to provide the iPhone's GPU. Apple recently informed Imagination that it "will no longer use [Imagination's] intellectual property in its new products in 15 months to two years time." The iPhone is packed with third-party components, but Apple designs the main application processor. Phone performance relies on the CPU and GPU working together closely, so it stands to reason that Apple would also want to control that piece of the iPhone. Imagination, however, doesn't think Apple can get away so easily. "Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information," said the company in a statement. Imagination requested these details from Apple, but Apple declined to provide them. The two companies have already explored alternative commercial arrangements for the patent licenses and royalties that pertain to Imagination's technology. Imagination said it won't stand for its patents to be violated. Apple hasn't commented on the matter. Imagination is a U.K.-based firm. Investors punished Imagination's stock after the company shared the news.


Apple Patches 911 Bug Via iOS 10.3

Mar 31, 2017, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple this week distributed iOS 10.3 and with it a plug for a serious vulnerability that impacted 911 call centers. Last fall, an Arizona man created code that forced iPhones to call 911 over and over. The code, which appeared as a link, spread via Twitter and it was later shared as a prank. The results led to thousands of unintentional calls to 911 centers is some 12 states around the country. Some of those call centers were overwhelmed. The exploit only impacted iPhones and did not cause problems for Android devices. The person who wrote the code was arrested and charged with computer tampering. Apple said iOS 10.3 prevents the accidental 911 calls from connecting by requiring a second confirmation press before dialing calls initiated via links. Apple is working with developers that include phone-making functionalities within their own apps to ensure the fix is universal.


Apple Drops First Beta of iOS 10.3.2

Mar 28, 2017, 1:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta One available to developers. The beta arrives just one day after the public release of iOS 10.3. Apple has not provided any details about what's contained in iOS 10.3.2, but it is likely a bug-fixing update. Apple also made fresh betas of macOS Sierra 10.12.5, watchOS 3.2.2, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers.


T-Mobile Pitches Free MLB Content to Customers

Mar 28, 2017, 8:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said baseball fans will be able to watch every regular season Major League Baseball game on their smartphones for free. T-Mobile has again partnered with MLB and is providing customers with access to a free year of MLB.TV Premium, which includes MLB.com At Bat Premium. T-Mobile customers can stream every out-of-market regular season game to their Apple or Google smartphone and tablet via the MLB.TV app. At Bat Premium is a mobile sports app for watching home and away broadcasts, and it also includes player stats, highlights, and other information. T-Mobile One customers don't need to worry about streaming on their plan thanks to unlimited data. T-Mobile says games will be streamed in standard definition by default, but can be viewed in HD if customers wish. The free year-long subscription will available for just 24 hours on April 4. T-Mobile customers will need to redeem the free subscription via the T-Mobile Tuesdays application and then sign up for MLB.TV Premium no later than April 11. T-Mobile made a similar offering to customers last year.


Apple Releases iOS 10.3 to Everyone

Mar 27, 2017, 12:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 27, 2017, 12:39 PM

Apple today made iOS 10.3 available to the public after several months of beta testing. The most significant feature of iOS 10.3 is a tool called Find My AirPods, which helps people locate lost earbuds via an audio alert. The system update also adopts the Apple File System (APFS), refreshes the Apple ID profile behaviors, tweaks animations, and provides more details concerning iCloud storage use. Other features include wider HomeKit compatibility with connected lightswitches, alerts concerning out-of-date apps, more CarPlay actions, and refined SiriKit behaviors for voice-based payments and other activities. People who own an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch can download and install iOS 10.3 for free. Apple also released final, public builds of watchOS 3.2, tvOS 10.2, OS X Sierra 10.12.4, and Xcode 8.3.


T-Mobile Adds Free AppleCare to Its Device Insurance Plan

Mar 27, 2017, 8:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today improved its monthly insurance program by offering AppleCare at no additional cost. Customers who subscribe to T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection and Jump! with Premium Device Protection insurance plans will have access to T-Mobile's insurance benefits as well as those offered by AppleCare. T-Mobile's plans cover loss, theft, accidental damage, hardware coverage, and security. AppleCare is available for the newest iPhones and iPads, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and iPad 9.7. AppleCare includes 24/7 technical support from Apple and low fees for certain repairs at Apple Stores and certified Apple repair facilities. For example, screen replacement deductibles cost just $29, while battery replacement service is free. T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection and Jump! with Premium Device Protection insurance plans cost $12 per month.


Wells Fargo to Bring Smartphone Sign-Ins to 13,000 ATMs

Mar 21, 2017, 4:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Wells Fargo customers will soon be able to access their accounts at ATMs via their smartphones. Wells Fargo plans to update all 13,000 of its ATMs in the U.S. next week, completing a pilot that's been in the testing phase for more than a year. The ATMs will grant access to accounts and cash through the Wells Fargo mobile app. The smartphone-based app will generate an 8-digit code, which the customer will then need to enter into the ATM. The ATMs will continue to support traditional bank cards. Wells Fargo plans to add support for NFC, negating the need for the 8-digit code, later this year. NFC-enabled ATMs will allow people to access their account by holding their phone against a reader on the ATM, similar to Apple Pay or Android Pay. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have similar pilots in testing, but they have yet to announce deployment plans.


Apple's New Clips App Offers a Fun Way to Create Videos

Mar 21, 2017, 8:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced Clips, an app for the iPhone and iPad that lets people piece together photos, videos, and music for sharing on social networks. One of the core features is called Live Titles, which lets people create animated captions by using their voice, rather than typing. Clips includes effects such as comic book filters, speech bubbles, shapes, and animated posters to add personality to videos. Apple is pitching the app as an easy-to-use alternative to iMovie. It doesn't require timelines, tracks, or complicated editing tools. Instead, users need only touch a single button to shoot photos or videos from within the app, or pull content directly from the camera roll. Dozens of music soundtracks are included and they will automatically adjust to match the length of the video clip. Apple says videos created in the Clips app can be shared directly to most social networks, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, and others. Clips bakes in support for Apple's own iMessage, as well, and will automatically suggest sharing options based on the people who appear in the videos. Clips will be available for free to most iPhones and iPads in April.


Apple Improves Storage Options for iPhone SE

Mar 21, 2017, 7:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today gave the iPhone SE a modest update thanks to improved storage capacities. Beginning this week, the iPhone SE will be available in 32 GB and 128 GB versions. These replace the 16 GB and 64 GB models. The refreshed 32 GB iPhone SE starts at $399 and will be available online and in stores starting March 24. Other than the storage boost, the iPhone SE's other specs remain unchanged. Apple first released the iPhone SE about this same time last year. It has a 4-inch display and relies on the same design Apple used for the 2012 iPhone 5 and 2013 iPhone 5s.


Apple Announces (Product) Red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Mar 21, 2017, 7:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today debuted (Product) Red versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The devices are identical to the iPhones released last year, the only difference is the color. A portion of the proceeds from (Product) Red iPhone sales will contribute to the Global Fund to help fight AIDs. The red-colored iPhones will only be available in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. The 128 GB (Product) Red iPhone 7 costs $749 and the 128 GB (Product) Red iPhone 7 Plus costs $869. The special edition (Product) Red iPhones will be available online and in stores beginning Friday, March 24.


Google's Motion Stills for iPhone Picks Up a Useful Update

Mar 17, 2017, 11:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google updated its Motion Stills app for the Apple iPhone this week and added a small number of new features. Motion Stills allows iPhone owners to export their Live Photos in the more widely usable GIF format, which can be shared with non-Apple devices. Chiefly, users can now pick the best possible frame within the Live Photo. This sets the tone for how the app treats other frames in the Live Photo and creates a more personal animation. The app also improves how it treats floating text bubble tracking, and how GIFs are exported. Motion Stills is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Amazon Adds Alexa AI to iPhone Shopping App

Mar 16, 2017, 11:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon today made Alexa, its artificial intelligence, available to a much wider selection of devices by adding Alexa to its iOS mobile shopping application. Now any iPhone with the Amazon app aboard has access to Alexa, allowing people to search for and buy goods simply by asking Alexa for it. Amazon says customers can say things like "search for paper towels" or "reorder batteries" and Alexa will do those things within the confines of the Amazon app. The app lets people listen to music and play Kindle books, ask basic questions, add skills, access Smart Home features, and check the news, weather, and traffic — all via voice requests. The app works hand-in-hand with iPhone owners' Amazon accounts and subscriptions to services such as Amazon Music Unlimited or Amazon Prime. The revised app includes a new microphone button that people tap in order to access Alexa from wherever they happen to be. Separate Alexa-powered devices, such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or FireTV are not required. Amazon's main mobile shopping app is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Amazon didn't say when Alexa might reach the Android variant of its app. Amazon's Alexa artificial intelligence competes on some level with Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant, and Microsoft's Cortana. This marks the first time Alexa has been made widely available to smartphones.


iOS 10.3 Beta 6 Available for Download

Mar 13, 2017, 12:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple made iOS 10.3 beta 6 available to developers today. Apple has been working on iOS 10.3 for several months. The most significant feature is a tool called Find My AirPods, which helps people locate lost earbuds via an audio alert. The minor system update also adopts the Apple File System (APFS), refreshes the Apple ID profile, tweaks animations, and provides more details concerning iCloud storage use. Beta 6 of iO 10.3 is meant for developers. Apple typically makes public beta builds available a day or two after it releases developer betas. Apple also released a sixth developer beta of macOS 10.12.4.


Pandora Launches Premium Music Service

Mar 13, 2017, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Pandora today finally launched its long-awaited Pandora Premium music service for mobile devices and the web. Pandora Premium is a $10-per-month music streaming service that competes 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 creates 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 first announced Pandora Premium late last year. Today marks the service's official launch. The Pandora app is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.


Apple Releases Fifth Wave of Betas

Mar 8, 2017, 1:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple made iOS 10.3 beta 5 available to developers on Wednesday. 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 fifth developer betas of macOS 10.12.4, watchOS 3.2, tvOS 10.2, and a fourth developer beta of Xcode 8.3.


Apple Files Yet Another Lawsuit Against Qualcomm

Mar 3, 2017, 9:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple is taking Qualcomm to court in the U.K. over patent-licensing fees. Apple filed a similar lawsuit against Qualcomm in the U.S. Apple alleges that Qualcomm using unfair practices to license its chips and technology. At the heart of the matter is how Qualcomm works its contracts. It charges companies to use its chips, including mobile processors and cellular radios, but also charges a separate technology licensing fee that's based on the total retail price of the device in which the chips are used. Apple says Qualcomm "unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with." The FTC in the U.S. and the associated governmental bodies in the European Union and in Korea have filed similar complaints against Qualcomm. The FTC's complaint revealed that Qualcomm effectively forced Apple to use only Qualcomm chips for several versions of the iPhone. Qualcomm hasn't responded to Apple's latest legal action.


Apple Releases Fourth Wave of Betas

Feb 28, 2017, 3:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple made iOS 10.3 beta 4 available to developers on Monday. 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 fourth betas of macOS 10.12.4 and watchOS 3.2.


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