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printed January 21, 2018
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iOS Update to Let iPhone Owners Keep Phones Running Fast

Thursday, 8:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple plans to give iPhone owners more control over their devices, particularly the battery and performance, says CEO Tim Cook. Speaking to ABCNews, Cook addressed the issue concerning older iPhone batteries. The company admitted late last year that it slows down the performance of some devices in order to prevent them from shutting down. End users often complain that their devices feel slow after updating the software. "At the heart of any decision we make is the user, and we felt it would be better to take something off of the performance to prevent [iPhones from restarting]. We deeply apologize for anybody who thinks we have some other kind of motivation," said Cook. Because the problem pertains to the battery, Apple reduced the cost of replacement batteries from $79 to $29. Putting a new battery in an old phone mitigates the issue. Apple plans to take things a step further. It will soon give people more insight into the health of their iPhone's battery. "We've listened to the feedback very carefully and in addition to giving everyone a very low price on a battery if they'd like to get a new battery, we're also going to, in a developer release that happens next month, give people the visibility of the health of their battery. It's very very transparent. This hasn't been done before. We will tell someone we're reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have an unexpected restart and, if you don't want it, you can turn it off." Cook didn't provide specifics as to how the battery tool will work. The company tests new features in developer betas ahead of releasing them to the general public. Apple did not say when the feature might reach all iPhones.


Apple Plans Major Investment in U.S., Says 20,000 Jobs On Deck

Wednesday, 1:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today outlined plans to contribute up to $350 billion to the U.S. economy across various avenues over the next five years. The company will invest some $30 billion in capital expenditures by opening a new campus and creating 20,000 new jobs. Apple already employs about 84,000 people in the U.S. The new Apple campus (location to be announced at a later date) will house technical support for customers. The company will invest $10 billion in data centers around the courtly, such as a new facility that broke ground today in Reno, Nev. Apple will power these facilities with 100% renewable energy. Apple said it is increasing the size of its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, first announced last spring, from $1 billion to $5 billion. The fund will continue to support ingenuity from American manufacturers. Further, Apple said it will work closer with its American suppliers to procure parts and materials for its own products. The company intends to provide more direct support to coding and science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education. For example, it will expand initiatives such as its Swift Playgrounds coding app for kids. The company hopes these efforts will eventually pay off for developers. Apple claims the iOS app economy alone has created 1.6 million jobs and generated $5 billion in revenue for U.S companies in 2017 alone. "Apple is a success story that could only have happened in America, and we are proud to build on our long history of support for the U.S. economy," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "We believe deeply in the power of American ingenuity, and we are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness."


Senator Wants Answers from Apple Over iPhone Slow-Down

Jan 10, 2018, 1:56 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has caught the ire of Sen. John Thune (R) who wants to know more about Apple's throttling of older iPhones. The company admitted last month that it sometimes slowed down older iPhones with aging batteries in order to prevent shutdowns. Apple insisted the strategy was meant to keep phones up and running, rather than allowing them to crash and reboot from overheated batteries. Others don't see it that way and the company has been the subject of harsh criticism. A number of lawsuits have been filed against Apple in the U.S. and other regions. In a letter sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Thune said, "The large volume of consumer criticism leveled against the company in light of its admission suggests that there should have been better transparency.” Thune serves as the chairman of a U.S. Senate committee overseeing business issues. He believes Apple should have been more upfront with consumers with respect to this business practice. In response to the issue, Apple dropped the price of replacing iPhone batteries from $79 to $29. Replacing batteries in older iPhones mitigates the need to slow down their performance. Apple has yet to publicly comment on Thune's request for more information.


Apple Plans to Add More Parental Controls for Protecting Kids

Jan 9, 2018, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple this week said it will improve the tools parents can use to control how much time their children spend on iPhones and iPads. The move is a response to investor criticism that suggested screen time is highly damaging to kids. “We have new features and enhancements planned for the future, to add functionality and make these tools even more robust," said Apple in a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal. "We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids." Apple already provides a series of parental controls for iPhone and iPad use, such as moderating what content is accessible by children and what apps are downloaded. Apple did not specifically state what new features it plans to introduce.


iOS 11.2.2 Tackles iPhone and iPad Security

Jan 8, 2018, 2:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.2.2 in order to patch several significant security problems. Specifically, iOS 11.2.2 includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of the Spectre vulnerability discovered earlier this month. Apple recommends all iPhone and iPad owners install the update as soon as possible. Apple issued a similar update to its macOS desktop software.


Powermat Has Joined the Wireless Power Consortium

Jan 7, 2018, 1:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 11, 2018, 4:40 PM

Powermat, a member of the Power Matters Alliance using the AirFuel standard, has also joined the Wireless Power Consortium, the group that supports the Qi wireless charging standard. Powermat became a member of the WPC this week, where it will contribute its technology to improve and advanced inductive wireless charging for both PMA and Qi devices. The PMA and WPC competed for years to bring wireless charging to the masses, each with its own charging tech The WPC, however, scored a major victory last year when Apple picked the Qi for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. "Qi has become the dominant wireless charging standard on the market and the recently launched Apple iPhone lineup is evidence of this success," said Elad Dubzinski, Powermat CEO. "Powermat will share technology innovation to further unlock wireless charging potential, and will expedite the growth of the wireless charging infrastructure, bringing wireless charging to wherever users need it." More than 360 companies already back the Qi standard. Powermat plans to make gear that supports both PMA and Qi. The company is already working with Starbucks to upgrade the many PMA-powered wireless charging stations in some U.S. Starbucks locations with support for Qi.


Apple Says Chip Flaws Impact All iOS and Mac Devices

Jan 4, 2018, 9:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today verified that many of its laptops, tablets, and smartphones are compromised by the security issues known as Meltdown and Spectre. These exploits take advantage of a modern CPU tool called speculative execution, which allows processors to predict where instructions will travel. Hackers could use certain techniques to manipulate speculative execution in order to access privileged memory, such as that of the kernel. Apple says the vulnerabilities are found in all modern processors and touch nearly every computing device and operating system, including its Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones. However, Apple has already mitigated the issue via recent system updates. For example, iOS 11.2 for iPhones and iPads, macOS 10.13.2 for Mac computers, and tvOS 11.2 for the Apple TV defend against these exploits. Apple has a release planned for Safari that will help protect Macs against the Spectre vulnerability. The company will continue to monitor the exploit and test further updates to keep Meltdown and Spectre at bay. There are no known exploits of either Meltdown or Spectre.


Apple Lowers Battery Replacement Cost to $29 Immediately

Dec 30, 2017, 10:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple made $29 replacement batteries available to owners of older iPhones effective starting today. The drop, announced earlier this week, was originally slated to go into effect in late January. "We expected to need more time to be ready, but we are happy to offer our customers the lower pricing right away," said Apple in a statement provided to Axios. "Initial supplies of some replacement batteries may be limited." Apple uses software to limit the performance of some older iPhones in order to prevent battery-related shutdowns. Replacing the original, aging battery with a new one resolves such issues and leads to better performance of the smartphone. The battery replacement service typically costs $79, but Apple has lowered the cost to $29. The program will run through December 2018 and targets the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE.


Apple Drops Price of iPhone Battery Replacement In Wake of Slow-down Kerfuffle

Dec 28, 2017, 5:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it will significantly drop the cost of replacing iPhone batteries in order to appease customers upset about their device's performance. "We’ve been hearing feedback about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize," said Apple in a letter posted to its web site. Apple explained that it tweaked some performance parameters in older iPhones in order to prevent battery-related shutdowns. The result is sometimes-slower speeds on devices such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. Apple maintains that it took steps necessary to account for the behavior of lithium-ion batteries as they age. "We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades," explained Apple. "Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that." Even so, many customers felt they had been misled over the performance degradation issue, while some have filed lawsuits against Apple. In order to address customer concerns, the company is dropping the out-of-warrany cost of replacing the battery in an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, or SE from $79 to $29 beginning late next month through December 2018. Further, Apple plans to issue a software update with new features that will give iPhone owners more visibility into the health of their handset's battery. Apple says this will let people see for themselves if the battery's condition is impacting the iPhone's overall performance. Replacing the battery in an older iPhone should fully mitigate the speed issue experience on some handsets. More information regarding the specifics of the replacement battery program will be available early next month.


Apple Says It Slows Older iPhones To Manage Battery Performance

Dec 20, 2017, 4:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today confirmed what owners of older iPhones have long suspected: that new versions of iOS will slow down the performance of older iPhones. The matter has regained significant discussion in recent days due to benchmark scores shared on Reddit that appear to show a correlation between new versions of iOS and reduced performance. Apple says this is a feature, not a bug. “Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices,” said Apple in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.” Device shutdowns are problematic for a number of reasons, including safety. “Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.” In short, Apple says older iPhones will in fact slow down from time to time in order to preserve battery performance and prevent the shutdowns. Apple has not previously disclosed this policy. Doing so might have helped it mitigate customer complaints. It is worth pointing out that iPhone owners have the option of having Apple install a new battery in their older iPhone (~$79), which would resolve the battery-related slow down issue.


T-Mobile Rolls Out iPhone BOGO Promo

Dec 20, 2017, 10:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced a new buy-one, get-one promotion for select iPhones. People who purchase an Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus can earn a second iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus (up to $700) for free. The devices must be purchased on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will make monthly payments for the second device over a period of 24 months until it is paid off. Further, T-Mobile is offering up to $300 off the iPhone X when people trade in a recent iPhone. The $300 rebate is applied via monthly payment credits over 24 months (~$12/mo) when the iPhone X is purchased on an equipment installment plan. These deals kick off Thursday, December 21. T-Mobile is already offering BOGO deals on select LG and Samsung smartphones.


Apple's Indoor Maps Land in 30 New Airports Around the Globe

Dec 15, 2017, 8:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple recently improved the selection of indoor airport maps in Apple Maps with an expansion to 30 new structures. Apple worked with each individual airport and the associated airlines in order to provide the most accurate data possible, including directions to gates, details about food courts and other amenities, and the ability to jump between floors/levels. A button tagged "look inside" clues users it to the availability of indoor maps at the supported airports. According to TechCrunch, Apple relies on WiFi inside each airport to help triangulate the user's iPhone and accuracy is to within a few meters. The new indoor maps are available at major airports including Amsterdam Schiphol, Baltimore/Washington International, Berlin Tegel, Chicago O’Hare and Midway, Denver, Detroit, Geneva, Hong Kong, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas McCarran, London Heathrow and Gatwick, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Nashville, New York JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, and Vancouver. Apple plans to add more airports over time.


Verizon to Offer iPhone 8, Galaxy S8 BOGO

Dec 13, 2017, 4:49 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless plans to let holiday shoppers score a smartphone for free with an upcoming buy-one, get-one deal. Beginning Friday, December 15, customers who buy an Apple iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus, or a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ can get a second device for free. Both devices will need to be purchased on a payment plan and at least one must be a new line of service. The second phone must be from the same manufacturer and be of equal or lesser value. The cost of the second device will be reimbursed monthly over a 24-month period. Verizon says the offer is valid for existing customer upgrades, as well as those who switch to Verizon. The buy-one, get-one deal will be available for a limited time.


iOS 11.2.1 Arrives to Stomp Out Bugs

Dec 13, 2017, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 11.2.1 available to the iPhone and iPad in order to resolve performance issues. Specifically, the update tackles a problem that could disable remote access to shared users of the Home application. The update is rather lightweight at about 69 MB and it can be downloaded and installed over the air.


Apple Awards Face ID Laser Company Finisar with $390 Million

Dec 13, 2017, 8:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it plans to invest $390 million in Finisar, the Texas-based supplier of its VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers) wafers. Apple uses the VCSEL technology in the iPhone X to power Face ID, Animoji, and portrait photography in the TrueDepth camera. VCSELs are also found in the AirPods headphones for sensing proximity. The investment will allow Finisar to re-open a plant and employ 500 new engineers and technicians. Apple says 100% of the VCSELs it plans to purchase will be made in Texas. The plant, expected to be producing by mid-2018, will be powered entirely be renewable sources. The investment comes from a $1 billion fund Apple set aside to foster innovation and high-skilled jobs in the U.S. Earlier this year, Apple agreed to invest $200 million in Corning, the company behind Gorilla Glass.


YouTube TV Reaches 34 New Markets

Dec 12, 2017, 1:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

YouTube TV has expanded once again to 34 new markets around the country. The additional cities, some of which include Flint, Green Bay, New Orleans, Rochester, San Antonio, San Diego, Savannah, Shreveport, Tulsa, and Tucson, make for a total of 83 markets. YouTube TV originally launched in just five markets in April. YouTube TV costs $35 per month and includes up to six personal accounts all with unlimited DVR recordings and access. The number of channels is still limited to about 50. YouTube TV is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as via the Chrome browser on desktop PCs. A YouTube TV app is expected to reach the Apple TV shortly.


Synaptics Says A 'Top Five' Phone Company to Use Its Under-the-Glass Fingerprint Reader

Dec 12, 2017, 8:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Synaptics today said of the five largest phone manufacturers in the world has agreed to use its Clear ID FS9500 optical, in-display fingerprint sensor. The FS9500 can scan fingerprints through the full thickness of smartphone cover glass, which means device makers can create sleek, button-free designs and still include a fingerprint reader on the front. Synaptics says the FS9500 was designed with "bezel-free infinity displays" in mind. This latest generation of Synpatics' technology can read fingerprints on wet, dry, or cold fingers, and the reader is always protected by the glass, making it durable and waterproof. Synaptics claims its sensor is twice as fast as 3D facial recognition tools, and comes and goes only when needed to authenticate the user. Synaptics didn't name the phone maker, nor did it suggest when a device with the Clear ID FS9500 might come to market. According to IDC, the top five phone makers in the third quarter of 2017 were Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi.


Apple to Let People Pre-Order Apps

Dec 12, 2017, 8:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made it possible for people to pre-order applications. Technically, the power is being given to developers, who can publish product pages and accept orders ahead of the app's release. Once the app is ready for download, customers will be notified and it will automatically download to their device. Developers can further advertise their apps by using the pre-order badges in their marketing materials. In another change, developers can now offer new customers discounted introductory pricing for auto-renewable subscriptions that are managed on the App Store. For example, digital magazines can offer the first three months of a 12-month subscription for a lower price. Developers can do this thanks to a new API in iOS 11.2 that allows them to configure introductory pricing. The new tools are available to developers today, and will reach end users soon.


Apple Has Acquired Shazam

Dec 11, 2017, 12:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced that it has acquired Shazam, the song-identifying service, for an undisclosed sum. The deal was first revealed last week in a report from TechCrunch. The Shazam mobile application is available to iOS and Android devices. "Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users," said an Apple spokesperson to Reuters. "We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement." Apple didn't say if the purchase would impact Shazam's availability on Android. Shazam has a worldwide user base of hundreds of millions of people. The deal will need to clear regulatory hurdles before it can be finalized.


Apple Design Guru Jony Ive Returns to Hardware

Dec 8, 2017, 5:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Jony Ive, Apple's chief designer, will once again have direct oversight of the company's hardware and software design. Ive handed those responsibilities off to other managers in 2015 in order to concentrate on larger projects, such as Apple's new headquarters building and retail stores. With those projects complete or well under way, Ive will tackle Apple's consumer products once more. "Apple's design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design," Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette told Reuters.


WatchOS 4.2 Brings Apple Pay Cash to the Apple Watch

Dec 5, 2017, 3:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today distributed watchOS 4.2 to the Apple Watch. In addition to several bug fixes, the updated software adds support for Apple Pay Cash to Apple's wearable. Apple Pay Cash lets people send money directly to one another through Apple's messaging application. The idea is to make it easy for people to pay or repay one another directly. Apple recently added support for Apple Pay Cash to the iPhone via iOS 11.2.


Google Launches Multi-Purpose File-Wrangling App

Dec 5, 2017, 10:20 AM   by Rich Brome

Google today released the final version of Files Go, its new file-management app for Android. The app serves multiple purposes: it includes a file browser, local file transfer tool, and a tool to help free up storage on your phone. The file browser is arranged by file type: images, videos, audio, document, and apps. The file browser also includes multiple views, plus sorting and filter options. The file-transfer tool lets you send and receive files with nearby Android phones also running Files Go. It's similar to Apple's AirDrop feature. It automatically creates a temporary mobile hotspot to transfer files quickly over Wi-Fi. The storage cleaner tool uses a simple card interface with visual previews to suggest various types of apps and files that may be unnecessary. Tapping a card deletes that data, freeing up storage space on the phone. Manufacturers have recently been adding their own, similar storage-cleaning tools to Android phones. Files Go was released in beta one month ago.


Apple Begins Selling SIM-Free iPhone X

Dec 5, 2017, 9:43 AM   by Rich Brome

Apple is now directly selling a version of its iPhone X in the U.S. without a SIM for any specific U.S. carrier. The phone is unlocked and will work with any U.S. carrier, although the same is true of the Verizon model Apple has been selling before today.


Target Adds Mobile Payment Feature to its App

Dec 4, 2017, 4:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Target today made it possible for people to make in-store payments with their smartphones through the Target mobile app. Similar to Walmart’s offering, shoppers can link their debit cart to the new Wallet function within the Target app. At the register, users call up a code on their device that the cashier then scans to complete the sale. Target’s new system does not rely on NFC, used by Apple Pay or Android Pay, or NFC/MST, used by Samsung Pay, for tap and go payments. The new functionality of the Target app can be paired with existing tools, such Cartwheel, for discounts and sales. The new Target app is available to both Android and iOS devices and is free to download.


Apple Releases iOS 11.2 with Apple Pay and Bug Fixes

Dec 2, 2017, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.2 to the public. The main feature introduced in iOS 11.2 is Apple Pay Cash, which lets iPhone owners send funds directly to one another via Apple Pay. The funds can be sent from any credit or debit card associated with the sender's Apple Pay account. iOS 11.2 also introduces faster wireless charging for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. Last, this update fixes several bugs, including one that causes iOS devices to crash beginning December 2. iOS 11.2 is free to download and install. Apple recommends all users install it at their earliest convenience.


Qualcomm Says iPhone Violating 16 More Patents

Dec 1, 2017, 11:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm this week filed yet more lawsuits against Apple over alleged patent infringement. Three new lawsuits say Apple's iPhones violate some 16 additional Qualcomm patents. The company says the Intel modem used in some iPhones is infringing on its intellectual property. In addition to the lawsuits, Qualcomm asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate its latest claims. The ITC has the power to ban companies from importing goods into the country. Apple sued Qualcomm earlier this week, suggesting that Qualcomm was infringing on several the iPhone-maker's patents. The two companies have traded lawsuits for the past year over patent licensing fees and other patent-related matters. Lawsuits such as these are often used as bargaining chips in financial discussions. Apple did not comment on the most recent legal filings.


Apple Says Qualcomm Violating Patents

Nov 29, 2017, 9:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm over power-management patents. The claim counters a July lawsuit filed by Qualcomm against Apple. Apple says certain Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are violating its patents with respect to battery life. The Apple patents in question ensure that a phone's processor draws only the minimum amount of power needed, turning on and off to make the most efficient use of the CPU. Apple asserts that Qualcomm's patents regarding these technologies are invalid and were awarded after Apple had already developed its own, similar technology. The company says Qualcomm is violating at least eight power-management patents in the Snapdragon 800 and 820 processors. This week's lawsuit is the latest move in a lengthy, on-going series of patent battles between Apple and Qualcomm.


Fifth Beta of iOS 11.2 Arrives

Nov 28, 2017, 4:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 11.2 Beta 5 to developers. The main feature introduced in iOS 11.2 is Apple Pay Cash, which lets iPhone owners send funds directly to one another via Apple Pay. The funds can be send from any credit or debit card associated with the sender's Apple Pay account. The fifth developer beta of iOS 11.2 is free to download for those enrolled in the developer program. The fifth public beta will likely arrive within 24 hours. Apple hasn't said when iOS 11.2 might reach all users.


Apple Releases iOS 11.1.2 to Clean Up More Bugs

Nov 16, 2017, 5:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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


ITC to Investigate Another Complaint Against Apple

Nov 15, 2017, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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


New iOS 11.2 Beta Squashes Bugs, Preps Apple Pay Cash

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

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


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

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

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


Apple Releases iOS 11.1.1 to Fix Keyboard Bug

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

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


Apple Pay Cash Arrives In Latest iOS 11.2 Beta

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

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


Supreme Court Refusal Means Samsung Owes Apple $120M

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

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


Qualcomm Sues Apple Over Spilled Tech Secrets

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

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


Apple Adds Instrument Sound Library to GarageBand

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

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


Apple Makes iOS 11.1 Available to iPhones and iPads

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

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

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Virgin Mobile to Sell iPhone X Starting November 10

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

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


Apple Bought Wireless Charging Company PowerbyProxi

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

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


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