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iOS 10.1 Fixes Major Security Vulnerabilities

Monday, 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

Monday, 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.

T-Mobile Pitching Free iPhone 7 for a Traded iPhone 6

Sep 8, 2016, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile will give a free Apple iPhone 7 to customers who trade in an iPhone 6 or newer when they preorder the new phone. The offer is being made available to new and existing customers. T-Mobile says an iPhone 6 trade-in (any storage capacity) will net a 32 GB iPhone 7. Customers have to own the trade-in outright, it must power on, and it must be free of water and screen damage. Customers who trade in a device with more memory (or an iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus) will be given extra credit towards purchases of the 128 GB iPhone 7, etc. T-Mobile says customers may also elect to pay some cash up front for pricier models. For example, customers who trade in an iPhone 6 but want the iPhone 7 Plus will need to pay $120 up front. The free device is being offered through bill credits over a period of 24 months. After 24 months, the customers will own the iPhone 7. Customers can walk away from T-Mobile at any time during the 24-month period by paying off the phone balance or giving the phone back to T-Mobile. T-Mobile also said it will carry the Apple Watch Series 2 (online only) and the new Beats Powerbeats headphones in an exclusive magenta color. Last, MetroPCS will carry the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus beginning September 23. T-Mobile pre-orders for the new iPhones kick off Friday, September 9th at 12:01a.m. Pacific Time.

Apple Warns Against 'Micro-abrasions' On Jet Black iPhone 7

Sep 7, 2016, 3:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The shiny, jet black finish of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus may show scratches, according to Apple. "The high-gloss finish of the jet black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process," explained Apple in the footnotes on the iPhone 7's product page. "Its surface is equally as hard as other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use. If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone." Apple didn't say how just how obvious the micro-abrasions may be. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus also come in matte black, silver, gold, and rose gold.

Apple to Keep Selling iPhone 6s with More Storage

Sep 7, 2016, 1:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 7, 2016, 2:09 PM

Apple today said it will continue to sell the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone SE will be sold in 16 GB and 64 GB variants. Apple has decided to improve the value of the bigger models by improving the storage. Moving forward, the 6s and 6s Plus will be available in 32 GB and 128 GB models only. The 16 GB option will no longer be available. The 32 GB iPhone 6s costs $549 and the 32 GB iPhone 6s Plus costs $649.

Apple Says Final Version of iOS 10 to Be Available Sept. 13

Sep 7, 2016, 1:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 7, 2016, 2:29 PM

Apple today revealed that iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners will be able to upgrade to the latest version of its iOS platform come September 13. iOS 10 focuses on integrating Siri into third-party apps and makes significant changes to the Apple Photos, News, Maps, and Music apps. Apple expanded its HomeKit compatibility and says the iPhone will be compatible with more than 100 home-automation products in the near future. The messaging app adds stickers, animations, accents, and contextual suggestions. News stories will appear cleaner. Users will be able to make dinner reservations from within Maps. iOS 10 will ship in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. It will be available for download to the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus.

Apple Announces Wireless AirPods

Sep 7, 2016, 1:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 8, 2016, 2:43 PM

Apple today showed off a set of wireless AirPods that connect to the iPhone and Apple Watch with a single tap. The AirPods can automatically switch from iPhone to Apple Watch based on what the owner is using. The AirPods provide up to 5 hours of battery life. The devices rely on the W1, what Apple says is its first wireless chip. The pods include a battery, antenna, accelerometer, and proximity sensor. The case has a built-in battery, which can provide a total of 24 hours of play time. The AirPods will go on sale in October for $159.

Apple Showcases iPhone 7 with New Home Button

Sep 7, 2016, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 7, 2016, 2:03 PM

Apple today announced the iPhone 7, the latest version of its flagship product. The device is machines from aluminum and features a refreshed design. The home button, which owners use hundreds of times per day, is now a capacitive, force-sensitive button that works with a taptic engine to create an entirely new feedback feel. The enclosures are water and dust resistant. It rates IP67 thanks to new seals and baffles. The camera is all new. It includes a large-pixel, 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.8 aperture and six-element lens with optical image stabilization. The quad-tone LED flash helps balance skin tones and wide color gamut. An image signal processor makes billions of calculations in a fraction of a second to ensure the best photos. The camera adds stabilization to Live Photo capture, and iOS 10 permits RAW image capture both from the Apple camera app as well as third-party camera apps. The user-facing camera has a 7-megapixel sensor with wide color and image stabilization. The iPhone 7 Plus adds a second, telephoto 12-megapixel camera. The main camera has an effective focal length of 28mm, and the second has an effective focal length of 56mm for a zoomed-in effect. Apple is calling it 2x optical zoom and, when combined with digital zoom, produces higher quality photos at up to 10x zoom. The 7 Plus also includes a Bokeh effect to create better portraiture. (This feature will be added to the 7 Plus later this year.) Apple updated the displays, which it says are 25% brighter than last year's models, offer a wide color gamut, color management, and 3D Touch. For the first time, the iPhone includes stereo speakers that are twice as loud as the 2015 iPhones and have twice the dynamic range. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remove the headphone jack and rely on just the Lightning port for audio connections. The devices will ship with Lightning earbuds, as well as a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter. The new iPhones rely on the A10 Fusion processor, which Apple says is 40% faster than last year's A9 and twice as face as the 2014-era A8. The four-core CPU offers two high-efficiency cores that run at one-fifth the power draw for low-intensity or background tasks. Graphics are improved, too. Apple says battery life better, with the 7 providing two more hours of life per day when compared to the 6s and the 7 Plus providing one more hour when compared to the 6 Plus. The devices include LTE-Advanced for speedy wireless. The iPhone 7 comes in jet black, black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Pricing for the iPhone 7 is $649 for 32 GB, $749 for 128 GB, or $849 for 256 GB. Pricing for the iPhone 7 Plus is $769 for 32 GB, $869 for 128 GB, or $969 for 256 GB. The iPhone will be available for preorder September 9 and goes on sale September 16.

Apple Watch Series 2 Is Waterproof, Adds GPS

Sep 7, 2016, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 7, 2016, 2:13 PM

Apple today revealed the Apple Watch Series 2, a new version of its wearable. The Watch will ship with watchOS 3.0, which adds a number of new features. For example, text recognition for finger-drawn text, new animations within messaging, and an SOS function that can alert family/friends in an emergency. The device itself is waterproof, which Apple says can handle depths up to 50 meters and repeated use in the water for those who swim daily. Apple developed new fitness software for swimming workouts to accompany its new waterproof status. It can calculate time, distance, calories burned, and more during swim workouts. The device runs Apple's second-generation System-in-a-Package. It has a dual-core processor and new GPU for better performance. The refreshed display is now two times brighter than before at 1,000 nits. Apple added GPS to the watch to better track runs and walks. The wearable will be sold in stainless steel, aluminum, and ceramic finishes. Apple partnered with Hermes again for custom straps, and also with Nike for the Nike+ variant with colorful nylon band. The device meets Apple's environmental standards for sustainability. The Watch Series 2 and Nike+ models will start at $369. The ceramic model starts at $1,269. The wearable will continue to be sold in 38m and 42mm sizes. Apple has replaced the processor in the original model with the new SiP and is now calling it Apple Watch Series 1. The Series 1 will start at $269. The wearables will be available for preorder September 9, with watchOS 3.0 landing September 13m and the device reaching stores September 16.

Apple Accidentally Spills iPhone 7 and 7+ Details

Sep 7, 2016, 12:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today revealed new iPhones, the 7 and 7+, via its Twitter account before executives had a chance to show them off on stage at its live event. The devices largely resemble the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but still manage to make some significant changes to the hardware. To start, the phones are water resistant, come in full black colors, and the larger iPhone 7+ has dual cameras. Apple's Twitter account said the device will be available for preorder later today and reach stores September 16. Apple later pulled the tweet.

Apple Adds Realtime Collaboration to iWork

Sep 7, 2016, 12:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today demonstrated how users of its iWork productivity suite will be able to collaborate on documents in real time. The capability will work across Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers, as well as the web. The idea is to allow remote groups to contribute to a single project together. Apple hopes education and business customers will be able to put this functionality to use.

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Apple Scores Nintendo Game for iPhone

Sep 7, 2016, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nintendo today said its famed Mario character will come to the iPhone for the first time. Nintendo plans to bring a game called Super Mario Run to iOS devices. The side-scroller features hopping and jumping movements based on tapping and swiping the screen. Super Mario Run will also feature "battle mode" for multi-player action. The game will be sold at a single price with no in-app purchases for unlimited playing. Availability is slated for before the holidays. Nintendo has long resisted making the leap from its own consoles to today's mobile platforms, iOS and Android.

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Apple Adds 2TB Tier to iCloud Storage

Aug 31, 2016, 5:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has doubled the maximum amount of iCloud storage people can subscribe to. The new tier provides up to 2TB for $19.99. Apple also offers 1TB for $9.99, 200GB for $3.99, and 50GB for $0.99. The fees are assessed on a monthly basis. All users are given 5GB of iCloud storage for free.

Apple Pushes iOS 9.3.5 to Patch Security Holes

Aug 25, 2016, 1:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 9.3.5 available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The update, according to Apple, resolves three security issues. Two of the problems could have led to remote code execution. Apple suggests all users update as soon as possible. The update is free to download over the air.

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