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Apple Quickly Releases iOS 10.2 Beta 5

Yesterday, 2:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.


AT&T Has Low-Cost Mobile TV Services to Bolster DirecTV Now

Monday, 4:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 Drops Beta 4 of iOS 10.2, watchOS 3.1.1

Monday, 1:46 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 to Replace Batteries On Some iPhone 6s Devices

Nov 21, 2016, 8:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 to Charge $149 to Repair 'Touch Disease' Afflicted iPhones

Nov 18, 2016, 8:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 to Sell Refurbished Phones

Nov 17, 2016, 10:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 Outs More Betas, Including Refined iOS 10.2

Nov 14, 2016, 2:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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 Selling Refurbished iPhones Online

Nov 8, 2016, 5:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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.


Apple Releases iOS 10.2 Beta 2

Nov 8, 2016, 2:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made iOS 10.2 Beta 2 available to both developers and public beta testers. Apple has not publicly listed the new features in iOS 10.2, but a handful are present in the test build of the operating system. For example, iOS 10.2 includes Unicode 9 and a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. iOS 10.2 Beta 2 is free for to download from Apple's developer console, or via the public beta program. Apple hasn't said when it might release iOS 10.2 to all users. Apple also made new betas of watchOS 3.1.1, tvOS 10.1, and macOS Sierra 10.12.2 available to developers.


Google Calendar for iOS Adds More Ways to View Schedule

Nov 7, 2016, 12:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google pushed out an update to its iOS Calendar app today with a handful of new tools. To start, the app now includes month view and week view in landscape modes, which make the app more flexibile. The Calendar also adds support for Apple's Spotlight Search, allowing Google Calendar users to search for events, reminders, and goals across accounts. Last, Calendar for iOS adds support for alternate calendars, such as non-Gregorian and others. Google Calendar for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Seeds a Host of New Betas, Including iOS 10.2

Nov 1, 2016, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple this week released new beta versions of all its core operating systems to developers. App writers can download and test beta 1 of iOS 10.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.2, watchOS 3.1.1, tvOS 10.1, and Xcode 8.2. The company did not spell out what's new in these betas, but a number of features in iOS 10.2 were immediately apparent. For example, it includes Unicode 9 and a fresh batch of emoji, as well as new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, camera settings, video widgets, and emergency contact alerts. The camera feature, in particular, allows people to easily save the most-recently used setting. iOS 10.2 beta 1 is free for developers to download. Apple hasn't said if or when it will release a public beta of iOS 10.2, but it typically does so about a day after the developer betas are made available.


iOS 10.1.1 Resolves Health Data Bug

Oct 31, 2016, 10:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today pushed iOS 10.1.1 to iPhones and other iOS devices to resolve several bugs. In particular, iOS 10.1.1 fixes an issue that prevented Apple Health data from being visible to some users. The update is free to download and install over the air.


iOS 10.1 Fixes Major Security Vulnerabilities

Oct 24, 2016, 5:52 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple's iOS 10.1 — released today — fixes several potentially-major security vulnerabilities in iOS. At least two of the issues could potentially allow an attacker complete control of the device after the user merely visits a web page with malicious code. All users should upgrade to iOS 10.1 immediately. In one issue with the "CoreGraphics" system software, viewing "a maliciously crafted JPEG file may lead to arbitrary code execution". JPEG is the most popular image format for photographic content, both on and off the web. In a separate issue with WebKit — which a large number of popular apps use to display web pages — "Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution". A number of other security and privacy issues are fixed by the 10.2 update, although most would be more difficult to exploit. iPhone and iPad users can update to 10.1 by going to Settings > General > Software Update.


iOS 10.1 Available Today

Oct 24, 2016, 12:32 PM   by Rich Brome

iPhone and iPad users can now use the Software Update feature to get the final version of iOS 10.0, which adds Portrait Mode (blurred backgrounds) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Today also sees the release of watchOS 3.1 for the Apple Watch.


iPhone 7 Plus Intel Modem Not Equal to Qualcomm Modem

Oct 20, 2016, 11:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Under poor network conditions, the iPhone 7 Plus with Intel inside does not perform as well as the iPhone 7 Plus with Qualcomm inside. Apple sourced the iPhone 7 Plus modem from both Intel and Qualcomm. This represents a major change for the company, which has relied solely on Qualcomm modems for years. The Intel modem (XMM7360) is found in the AT&T and T-Mobile variants of the iPhone 7, while the Qualcomm modem (MDM9645M) is found in the Sprint, Verizon, and unlocked variants of the iPhone 7. Cellular Insights conducted extensive signal tests on the iPhone 7 Plus in LTE Bands 12, 7, and 4 to see if any performance differences exist between the two modems. Under optimal network conditions both the Intel- and Qualcomm-equipped iPhones demonstrated an equal level of performance in speed and maintaining a connection. Under weak network conditions, however, the Intel-equipped iPhone 7 Plus posted speeds that were on average 30% slower than those of the Qualcomm-equipped iPhone 7 Plus. The slower speeds at the cell edge mean the Intel-based iPhone 7 Plus may be more likely to experience dropped VoLTE calls and other, similar behaviors. "In all tests, the iPhone 7 Plus with the Qualcomm modem had a significant performance edge over the iPhone 7 Plus with the Intel modem," said Cellular Insights in its report. Apple has not said why it selected modems from two separate suppliers for the iPhone 7 Plus.


Apple Releases iOS 10.1 Beta 5 for Devs and Public Testers

Oct 19, 2016, 11:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 19, 2016, 12:23 PM

Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 5 available to registered developers and public beta testers alike. This fifth beta follows the release of the fourth beta by just two days, implying that some urgent bug fixes may be contained within. Apple otherwise didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (bokeh effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple still hasn't indicated when iOS 10.1 might reach the public other than to say "October."


Apple Drops iOS 10.1 Beta 4 for Developers

Oct 17, 2016, 3:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 4 available to registered developers. Apple didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (bokeh effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple typically releases public betas a day or two after the developer beta. Apple still hasn't indicated when iOS 10.1 might reach the public other than to say "October."


Apple Releases iOS 10.0.3 to Resolve iPhone 7 Connectivity Bug

Oct 17, 2016, 12:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.0.3 available to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. This update is targeted at Apple's newest iPhones and resolves an issue that impacted cellular connectivity. Apple recommends all iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners apply the update when possible.

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Apple Offering SIM-Free iPhone 7s Online

Oct 14, 2016, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made SIM-free versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus available for sale on its web site. The SIM-free versions differ from the carrier versions only in that they are unlocked and don't carry any obligations to carriers. Customers can purchase the SIM-free iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and put any SIM card in it. Carrier financing is not available on SIM-free models, but consumers may use Apple Pay, PayPal, and Apple Store Gift Cards to purchase unlocked iPhones. Some financing options are available from Apple and its banking partners. The iPhone 7 starts at $649 and the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769.


Pandora Plus Reaches Mobile Devices Today

Oct 12, 2016, 12:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Pandora today made its Pandora Plus service available to mobile devices. The service, which launched last month, was initially only available on the web. For $5 per month, Pandora Plus offers ad-free listening with the ability to skip and replay songs, as well as listen offline. Pandora's ad-supported listeners can skip more songs or replay a song, too, if they agree to view a short video ad. Customers who already subscribe to Pandora One will be transitioned automatically to Pandora Plus. Pandora competes with Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, and now Amazon Unlimited Music, which launched earlier today.


Amazon Launches Apple, Spotify Music Competitor

Oct 12, 2016, 7:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon today announced Amazon Music Unlimited a streaming music service that offers on-demand access to tens of millions of songs. Amazon is offering Music Unlimited at several different price points. The standard price is $10 per month for non-Prime members and includes unlimited playback across all the user's devices. People who subscribe to Amazon Prime can get this plan for $8 per month. Alternately, those who own an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap can subscribe to the Echo plan, which provides unlimited streaming to just one of these devices for $4 per month. Last, Amazon Unlimited Music will also offer a family plan (soon) that allows up to six family members to use the service across their devices for a single fee of $15 per month. Amazon's new music service includes ad-free listening, and will permit local downloads for offline playback. People who own an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-powered device can ask for songs by name, artist, album, decade, and more. It differs from the Amazon Prime Music service in that it includes more songs and doesn't match or sync with user-owned libraries. Amazon Unlimited Music competes with Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Spotify.


Apple Releases Third Developer Beta of iOS 10.1

Oct 10, 2016, 12:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 3 available to registered developers. Apple didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (booked effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple typically releases public betas a day or two after the developer beta. Apple also made tvOS 10.0.1 Beta 3 and Xcode 8.1 Beta 3 available to developers.


Appeals Court Says Samsung Owes Apple $120M

Oct 7, 2016, 10:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A federal appeals court today reinstated a $120 million patent verdict against Samsung. Samsung was initially found to be infringing on Apple's slide-to-unlock and autocorrect patents in 2014. Later, a three-judge panel reversed the decision and said Samsung didn't owe Apple damages. This week's decision was determined by a larger panel of judges that said the smaller panel didn't follow U.S. Supreme Court guidelines in reviewing the case. The court also upheld $160,000 in damages awarded to Samsung that Apple must pay over digital photo technology. Last year, Samsung paid Apple almost $550 million in damages stemming from a 2012 jury verdict. Apple hit Samsung with a number of patent-related complaints after the firm's Galaxy S handsets began to genuinely challenge the iPhone in the market.


Samsung to Buy AI Startup

Oct 5, 2016, 6:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it has agreed to purchase Viv, an artificial intelligence startup run by the team that originally developed Apple's Siri. Siri's creators left Apple to form Viv, which is based in San Jose. Samsung plans to add Viv's artificial intelligence technology to its own Galaxy smartphones and other consumer electronics products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Samsung did not explain if Viv will have its own personality, or if it will be baked into Samsung's S Voice app, which is already on its phones. Samsung wants to ensure its devices can compete with the voice-activated personal assistants available on products from Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.


Apple Outs New iOS 10.1 Beta for Public Testers

Oct 5, 2016, 12:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.1 beta 2 available to those enrolled in the public beta testing program. The highlighted new feature of iOS 10.1 is Portrait Mode for the iPhone 7 Plus. Portrait Mode uses both the rear cameras of the 7 Plus to help blur the background of portrait images — creating a Bokeh effect. Apple already made iOS 10.1 beta 2 available to developers earlier this week. Apple hasn't said when iOS 10.1 will be released to all iPhones, though the company earlier indicated that Portrait Mode wouldn't reach the iPhone 7 Plus until later this month. Apple also released new developer betas of tvOS 10.0.1 and watchOS 3.1.

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VirnetX Lawsuit Returns to Take a Bite Out of Apple

Oct 1, 2016, 10:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple was ordered this week to pay VirnetX Holding Corp $302 million in damages for violating the company's patented technology. This case has been bouncing around the court system since 2010 when VirnetX accused Apple's FaceTime app of using its intellectual property concerning VPNs without permission. This week's decision in Texas was the result of a new trial after VirnetX's original $625.6 million win was tossed in August. The Texas jury determined the $302 million in damages based on two VirnetX patents that Apple was previously found to be violating. The bad news for Apple is that it still faces a second trial over newer VirnetX patents the company claims are being violated in Apple's iMessage app. Moreover, the court still needs to assess whether or not Apple violated VirnetX's patents willfully, which could impact the amount of damages awarded to VirnetX. Apple didn't immediately comment on the court's latest decision.


Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Reach Cricket Stores

Sep 29, 2016, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today commenced sales of the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at select stores around the country. The prepaid carrier is selling the iPhone 7 32 GB for $649, and the 128 GB for $749. It is also selling the 7 Plus 128 GB for $869. Cricket is not carrying the high-capacity 256 GB models. Cricket customers interested in these phones will have to pay full price for them, as Cricket doesn't offer monthly payment plans for hardware. The iPhones are also available from Cricket's web site, but the company says it has sold through its online inventory for the time being. Cricket has discounted several older iPhone models, as well. The iPhone 5s 16 GB, for example, is available for $199 and the iPhone 6s 16 GB is available for $449. Cricket's service plans start at $30 per month.


Skype for iOS Gains Siri Support

Sep 28, 2016, 10:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released a new version of Skype for iOS 10 devices that includes support for Siri. Skype users can now initiate Skype calls by asking Siri to connect them. In order for the tool to work well, Skype suggests users save Skype contact information directly to the native contacts app — something that's now possible in the new version of Skype. This should make it easier to start Skype audio/video calls, as well as Skype IM chats, without requiring people to first open the Skype app. Last, Skype for iPhones and iPads makes use of Apple's CallKit, so incoming and outgoing calls now rely on the native iOS phone application. Skype 6.25 for iOS 10 devices is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Releases iOS 10.0.2 to Fix Bugs

Sep 23, 2016, 11:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.0.2 available to iPhones and iPads in order to resolve some bugs. According to Apple, the small update addresses a problem impacting audio controls, fixes an issue that prevents some app extensions from working, and solves a bug that caused Photos to crash. iOS 10.0.2 is free to download and install.


Apple Drops iOS 10.1 Beta for Public Testers

Sep 22, 2016, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.1 beta available to those enrolled in the public beta testing program. The only known new feature of iOS 10.1 is Portrait Mode for the iPhone 7 Plus. Portrait Mode uses both the rear cameras of the 7 Plus to help blur the background of portrait images — creating a Bokeh effect. Apple already made iOS 10.1 beta available to developers. Apple hasn't said when iOS 10.1 will be released to all iPhones, but earlier indicated that Portrait Mode wouldn't reach the iPhone 7 Plus until October.

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Apple Releases New iOS, WatchOS Betas

Sep 21, 2016, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made a handful of beta operating systems available to developers. To start, the company releases iOS 10.1, which follows last week's public distribution of iOS 10. iOS 10.1 adds Portrait Mode to the iPhone 7 Plus and makes a resolves a number of bigs and performance issues. Along with iOS 10.1 Beta 1, Apple also released betas of watchOS 3.1, macOS Sierra 10.12.1, tvOS 10.0.1, and Xcode 8.1. Apple didn't discuss any details of the betas, such as new features. Registered developers can download these beta operating systems immediately. Apple is expected to make iOS 10.1 Beta 1 available to public beta testers by the end of the week.


Apple Says iPhone 7 Plus Sold Out for Launch Day

Sep 15, 2016, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Consumers hoping to walk into an Apple Store on Friday and pick up an iPhone 7 Plus will come away disappointed. Apple says launch day supply for the larger iPhone is sold out. Moreover, only a small supply of the iPhone 7 will be available in stores. "Beginning Friday, limited quantities of iPhone 7 in silver, gold, rose gold, and black will be available for walk-in customers at Apple retail stores," said Apple in a statement provided to TechCrunch. "During the online pre-order period, initial quantities of iPhone 7 Plus in all finishes and iPhone 7 in jet black sold out and will not be available for walk-in customers." Customers have been able to preorder the iPhone since Sept. 9 and choose from home delivery or in-store pickup. The black models quickly saw shipping times slip to two to three weeks. Apple says its carrier and retail partners may have some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units on hand, but availability will vary. Apple recommends people who want an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus order the device online. "We sincerely appreciate our customers' patience as we work hard to get the new iPhone into the hands of everyone who wants one as quickly as possible." The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have larger batteries, improved cameras, faster processors, stereo speakers, and touch-sensitive home buttons. The devices lose the headphone jack, but are water resistant.


Apple's watchOS 3.0 Available to Apple Watch

Sep 13, 2016, 12:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made watchOS 3.0 available to the first-generation Apple Watch. WatchOS 3.0 allows apps to update quickly both in the background and when launched so they display new content as soon as opened. The UI includes a new dock accessed by the side button, and a new control center accessed by sliding up from the bottom of the screen. These new tools make it simpler to access apps and control toggles. Replying to messages now includes smart replies and scribbling directly on the screen. WatchOS makes it easier to switch and change watch faces; initiate workouts; and access notifications. WatchOS 3.0 adds an SOS function that will automatically call 911 with a long-press of the button in times of need. The revised platform allows users to share fitness data throughout the day. A new app included in WatchOS 3.0 called Breathe can be used to schedule and perform deep-breathing and calming exercises. WatchOS 3.0 is free to download. It requires an iPhone and 50% charge on the Watch.

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Final Build of iOS 10 Now Available to All

Sep 13, 2016, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 10 to the general public after months of testing. The refreshed platform, compatible with iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch, brings with it a number of core changes and features. The most important new tool is third-party access to Apple's voice assistant, Siri. Moving forward, Siri will be able to do more with third-party apps installed on iOS devices. Apple also made design changes to iMessage, adding new animations, stickers, and emoji. A sticker store now accompanies iMessage, allowing people to download sticker packs. The keyboard also adds contextual suggestions; further, people can more easily switch between languages for multi-lingual typing. Apple News, Music, Maps (reservations, in-route search, smarter re-routing), and Photos also gain retooled designs and features. Apple Photos, in particular, is better at organizing photos thanks to improved facial recognition aided by artificial intelligence. Notifications now appear when users raise the phone, and notifications offer previews of images and videos. iOS 10 is free to download over the air. It is compatible with all iPhones from the 2012 iPhone 5 and up. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will ship with iOS 10 preinstalled.

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LG and Samsung Sued Over Hiring Practices

Sep 13, 2016, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A former LG employee is suing both LG and Samsung, alleging the companies have a no-recruit agreement between them in the U.S., which can impact employees' potential earnings. Accuser A. Frost, once an LG employee, claims a recruiter from Samsung reached out to him for a job, but later reneged saying, "I’m not supposed to poach LG for Samsung!" The recruiter went on to explain the companies have an agreement not to hire away one another's workers. Mr. Frost is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit. Silicon Valley companies have been taken to task in recent years for such agreements. For example, in 2015 Apple, Intel, Adobe, and Google agreed to pay some 64,000 workers $415 million to settle similar class-action lawsuits. Those companies never admitted wrongdoing. Neither LG nor Samsung commented on this latest legal action.


Boost, Virgin to Sell iPhone 7 Starting September 23

Sep 9, 2016, 12:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint's prepaid brands, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, will sell the Apple iPhone 7 beginning September 23. Boost and Virgin will not be selling the iPhone 7 Plus. The company didn't provide specific release details, but customers should expect to pay full retail price for the handset. The 32 GB iPhone 7 costs $649.


Google Photos for iOS Bakes In 'Motion Stills'

Sep 8, 2016, 1:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google updated Google Photos for iOS and merged its separate Motion Stills app into the larger Photos app. This chiefly impacts Live Photos as captured by the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Live Photos can be shared with other Apple devices and through Facebook, but not other social networks. Google Photos now uses Google's video stabilization technology to freeze the background portions of Live Photos while allowing the subject/foreground to move independently. It can also pan across the background to follow moving subjects. The end result is a looping GIF that can be shared easily via most social media apps. The app allows iPhone owners to merge looping GIFs into a larger moving picture. The new version also makes it easier to select thumbnail photos, sort photo albums, and share to YouTube. Google Photos is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Motion Stills will remain available as a separate app.


Apple Makes iOS 10 Grand Master Available to Testers

Sep 8, 2016, 12:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made the penultimate version of iOS 10 available to public beta testers. The release gives testers one last change to check for and report bugs before the final version is released to everyone September 13. iOS 10 adds a number of features to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Most importantly, it opens Siri up to third-party developers, who will be able to integrate Siri voice commands and actions into their own apps. iOS 10 also improves Apple Photos, News, Maps, and Music, and adds features such as stickers and animations to iMessage. iOS 10 will be compatible with all iPhones from the 2012 iPhone 5 up. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be the first iPhones to ship with iOS 10 installed.

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AT&T Waves Around Free Phone Offer

Sep 8, 2016, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T is giving people the opportunity to get a free phone with a new line of service. Beginning September 9, DirecTV or U-Verse customers who add a new line to their AT&T account will be rewarded with $695 in monthly bill credits towards a new phone. The free smartphone, which can be the new Apple iPhone 7 if that's what customers want, must be added to an AT&T Next or AT&T Next Every Year program when activated. People who are not DirecTV or U-Verse customers can still score a free phone. Consumers who port their number from another carrier to AT&T will be given up to $650 in bill credits when they trade-in their current device and buy a new one on an AT&T Next plan. AT&T says this port-in deal is limited to select phones, but didn't specify which ones. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be available for pre-order starting September 9, but don't reach stores until September 16.


AppleCare+ Lowers Screen Repair Price to $29

Sep 8, 2016, 7:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has tweaked its AppleCare+ protection plans and made some pricing changes that will benefit customers. AppleCare+ costs $129. iPhone owners who subscribe to AppleCare+ will receive warranty coverage for two years from the date of purchase, which is one year more than standard coverage. Moreover, AppleCare+ customers will be given discounts on up to two incidents of accidental damage. Moving forward, screen repairs will cost $29 (down from $99). Cracked and shattered screens are the most common form of damage associated with iPhone repairs. Apple says any and all other types of repairs will cost a flat $99. AppleCare+ is included with the monthly price of Apple's iPhone financing program, or it can be added separately within two months of the original purchase date.


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