Apple iPhone 7
Virgin Mobile USA, which is owned and operated by Sprint, transformed itself today into new provider much more closely aligned with the Virgin brand. Significantly, Virgin Mobile USA is now an iPhone-only carrier, meaning Apple's iPhones are the only phones Virgin will sell moving forward. Further, shoppers will be able to buy and activate an iPhone on Virgin Mobile USA at Apple Stores. Pricing for Virgin Mobile iPhones starts at $279 for the 32 GB iPhone SE and ranges up to $969 for the 256 GB iPhone 7 Plus. According to the company's web site, Virgin Mobile does not offer financing for iPhones and customers will have to pay full price. The company now offers only a single service plan. For $50 per month, Virgin Mobile USA provides unlimited talk, text, and data in the U.S. International roaming add-ons start at $5 per month. There are limitations on Virgin's plan: video playback is capped at 480p, music is streamed at 500Kbps, and gaming is streamed at 1.5Mbps. Virgin says mobile data speeds will be suppressed when the network is congested. For a limited time, Virgin Mobile is offering up to 12 months of service for just $1. The $1 yearly service offer is only available to customers buying a new iPhone and activating it on Virgin's network. Customers will have to sign up by July 31, 2017 to score the $1 deal. At the end of the 12-month service plan for $1, customers will automatically be moved to the $50 plan. Last, the $1 yearly plan and iPhone purchase buy customers access to the Virgin Inner Circle. The Inner Circle is a promotional program that provides benefits with other Virgin-branded properties. For example, Inner Circle members who buy one plane ticket on Virgin Atlantic will be given a second ticket for free. Inner Circle members who book two nights at a Virgin-owned hotel will be able to cash in on a third night for free. Virgin says these offers will be made available to Inner Circle members every few weeks. Customers interested in this package can pre-order one of Virgin Mobile USA's iPhones starting today. The phones and Inner Circle will become available starting June 27. Last, Virgin said it will offer "pre-loved" iPhones starting in the fall, allowing customers to take advantage of more affordable prices.
Apple is taking another angle in its patent fight with Qualcomm. The iPhone maker is going after one of Qualcomm's core strategies, which is to demand a percentage of the sale price for every iPhone sold in addition to the cost of the processors, basebands, modems, and other Qualcomm chips that may be inside. The fresh legal framework, seen by Reuters, suggests Apple is relying on a brand new Supreme Court decision (Impression Products v. Lexmark, May 2017) to argue that Qualcomm should only charge for the patent license or the chips, but not both. Apple also asked the court to force Qualcomm to drop its countersuits against Apple's manufacturing partners. Apple is withholding a significant amount of cash from Qualcomm while the legal spat plays out, and Qualcomm, in turn is targeting Foxconn and others to recoup the money. Apple believes the fight should be between Apple and Qualcomm only. Qualcomm is tangled in a web of legal lawsuits strung around the world concerning its licensing practices.
Apple plans to make it easier to repair damaged or broken iPhone screens by distributing its proprietary fix-it machine to third-party stores. Apple Stores use a custom device called the Horizon Machine, which is about the size of a microwave oven, to replace cracked iPhone screens. The device contains a suction cup for loosening the display, the needed screw drivers, and other precision parts to complete each repair. Apple has agreed to make this device available to its authorized resellers, including Best Buy in the U.S. Apple has some 500 Horizon Machines already in use at its own stores and mail-in repair centers. It expects to seed about 200 of the Horizon Machines to its reseller partners over the next couple of months and reach a total of 400 by the end of the year. This will almost double the availability of Horizon Machines by the holiday season and should make it much easier for consumers to have their iPhone given a fully compliant repair. "We've been on a quest to expand our reach," said Brian Naumann, senior director of service operations at Apple, in a statement provided to Reuters. Naumann said repair times at its own stores have increased. Apple hopes providing more Horizon Machines will cut down on those repair times. The news from Apple comes as "right to repair" laws gain strength around the U.S. Kiosks and other small shops in malls offer screen repairs, but often do so without official parts or coverage from Apple and other OEMs. An aggressive law moving through the New York State legislature would require Apple to provide such shops with its genuine parts at a minimum. Though many small shops perform perfectly adequate repairs with third-party glass, Apple's official screen part includes the fingerprint sensor and only the Horizon Machine can repair damaged sensors.
Apple debuted iOS 11 during the June 5 keynote of its annual developer conference. The refreshed mobile operating system is primed to hit iPhones and iPads later this year with improvements to the App Store, Apple Maps, the camera, Control Center, Files, keyboard, iMessage, Live Photos, Siri, screenshots, and much more. iOS 11 is only available to developers, but here is a first look at the initial beta from Apple.
Some older iPhones will not be part of the iOS 11 party scheduled to arrive this fall. According to Apple's web site, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5c, and the fourth-generation iPad cannot handle iOS 11's 64-bit app requirements, so they will not be receiving the updated operating system. Devices that can run iOS 11 include the iPhone 5s and SE, 6 and 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus, and the 7 and 7 Plus. On the tablet front, iOS 11 is compatible with the iPad Mini 2, 3, and 4, the iPad Air and Air 2, the newer iPad, as well as the big and small iPad Pros. The older iPhones in question use 32-bit processors, while every iPhone and iPad released since 2013 uses 64-bit processors (with 32-bit backward compatibility built in.) One of the under-the-hood changes in iOS 11 is dropped support for 32-bit apps, moving all apps to 64-bits. Since the iPhone 5 and 5c can only run 32-bit apps, iOS 11 simply won't work as intended. Apple has been warning developers to update their apps with 64-bit compatibility for some time. Starting some point later this year, Apple will entirely drop 32-bit apps from the App Store. Such apps have likely not been updated by their developers in years. iOS 11 is available to developers in beta. The final version for consumers isn't expected to arrive until the fall.
Apple is about to let iPhone owners use their handsets' NFC radios for more than just Apple Pay. Apple today introduced the CoreNFC API, which will permit the iPhone's NFC radio to detect NFC tags and read the information contained therein. Though several iPhone models include NFC radios (6, 6 Plus 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus), functionality is restricted to Apple Pay. The new API gives developers access to the NFC radio so their own apps "can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum." Based on the documentation published on Apple's developer web site, only the iPhone 7 and Phone 7 Plus will gain the ability to interact with external NFC tags. Android devices have long been able to use NFC radios and tags for varying purposes. The CoreNFC API is part of iOS 11, which dictates that the expanded NFC functionality for the iPhone 7/7 Plus won't arrive until later this year when Apple releases the final version of iOS 11.
Apple says its new mobile platform will soon become the biggest augmented reality platform with the adoption of ARKit, a new way for developer to take advantage of existing iOS hardware and software to generate AR experiences. Apple is already working with game and other content developers to bring AR to the iPhone and iPad. Augmented Reality merges real-world views with computer-generated content (think Pokemon). Like all iOS 11 features, the new AR content is expected to arrive later this year.
Apple today debuts iOS 11, its next-generation mobile operating system. Starting with messages, iOS 11 introduces improved discoverability for stickers and emoji. iOS 11 will automatically synchronize conversations across devices (iPhone, iPad, macOS), including deleted messages and threads. Apple says most iMessage content is stored in the cloud, which means it uses less storage on mobile devices. Apple Pay gets a boost in iOS 11, too, with the addition of person-to-person payments. The idea here is to make it easy to send money from one person to another when cash isn't available. Apple was sure to upgrade Siri. Apple used deep learning to create a new voice for Siri, both female and male. The app interface now displays multiple results, and can handle translation. Translations works between English and Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. SiriKit, for developers allows developers to push Siri deeper unto their own applications. The camera application takes advantage of new compression techniques in order to use less on-device storage. The camera roll gains more tools for Live Photos, which allows for video looping and other effects such as bouncing. The Depth API lets developers take advantage of the iPhone 7 Plus's dual-camera array for portrait-style photos The camera roll takes advantage of machine learning to identify the subjects within photos and tag them accordingly. Live Photos now support trimming, shortening, and more. iOS 11 redesigns the Control Center, as well as the lock screen and notifications center in order to make vital controls and data as easy to reach as possible. Apple Maps gains indoor map data, such as mall and airport floor plans, for navigating around within large buidings. A new tool called 'Do No Disturb While Driving' will essentially silence the device and prevent notifications from reaching your iPhone when it senses it is driving. AirPlay 2 brings with it playback controls for multi-room speakers. A separate API will help developers add AirPlay 2 and multi-room functionality to their own speakers. Apple Music lets people see what their friends are listening to. The new MusicKit API for developers will target social sharing for music, too. Apple is offering iOS 11 to developers in beta starting today. Apple expects to kick off the public beta for iOS 11 later this summer. The operating system won't reach all users until the fall.
Verizon Wireless today announced new options for its prepaid service. Beginning June 6, Verizon prepaid customers can select from four main plans: 3 GB for $40 per month, 7 GB for $50, 10 GB for $60, or unlimited for $80. All these plans include unlimited talk and text, international text to more than 200 countries,unlimited calling from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico, mobile hotspot, and carryover data. Users who exceed their monthly allotment will be throttled down to 2G speeds for the remainder of the billing period. Video is capped at 480p standard definition, and Verizon will prioritize its postpaid customers when the network is congested. For a limited time, Verizon is offering a $100 credit to customers who port their number from a competing carrier. Verizon prepaid offers phones such as the iPhone 7, Galaxy S8, and Pixel.
People who own an Alexa-enabled device can now interact with their iCloud calendar. Amazon added support for Apple's iCloud calendar service to Alexa this week, making it possible for iPhone owners to access and use their calendar through devices such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and more. In addition to iCloud, Alexa also supports email from G Suite, Gmail, Office 365, and Outlook. Setting up iCloud requires users to use the smartphone-based Alexa app. Two-factor authentication through Apple iCloud is required. Once the link is established, Apple users need only say, “Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?” or “Alexa, add lunch with Sarah at noon to my calendar" in order to interact with their iCloud calendar. The feature is available to Alexa-support devices in the U.S., U.K., and Germany.
T-Mobile hopes its new "Get Out of the Red" deal will tempt Verizon customers to switch to T-Mobile. T-Mobile is offering to pay the remaining balance on Verizon subscribers' handsets and allow them to use those same handsets on T-Mobile's network. Lots of caveats apply. In order to qualify for the deal, Verizon customers must be in good standing with Big Red and come to T-Mobile with an Apple iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, Google Pixel, or Pixel XL. These phones have the proper radios to support T-Mobile's LTE network. The company is working to add other devices to the list. Verizon customers will need to port their number to T-Mobile, sign up for a T-Mobile One plan, buy a new T-Mobile SIM card, and sign up for T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection Plus insurance plan for $15 per month. Once all these criteria are met, T-Mobile will pay the remaining balance on the Verizon iPhone or Pixel, whatever that may be. T-Mobile says customers will be reimbursed for their Verizon iPhone/Pixel balances within 15 to 30 days via prepaid MasterCard. T-Mobile is pitching the idea as an easier way to switch carriers as it doesn't require people to backup or transfer content from one phone to another. The offer works with Verizon handsets because by law Verizon's LTE phones must be unlocked. AT&T and Sprint customers cannot take advantage of this offer precisely because their phones are carrier locked. T-Mobile's Get Out of the Red promotion will be available starting May 31. T-Mobile is, however, throwing a bone to AT&T and Sprint customers. T-Mobile said it will pay off the remaining handset balance and/or early termination fee for AT&T/Sprint customers who port a number to T-Mobile and finance a new device on T-Mobile's equipment installment plan. Last, T-Mobile customers who already have two T-Mobile One plans will be able add two additional lines of service for the price of one. This promo requires autopay.
Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 available to the iPhone and iPad. The minor system update primarily resolves bugs, patches security holes, and improves performance. Apple has been testing the update for the past month through its developer and public beta programs. iOS 10.3.2 is free to download and install over the air. Apple also distributed watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 — all of which focus on security and performance.
Apple today said it plans to invest $200 million in its business partner Corning. Corning makes the Gorilla Glass used on iPhones and many other modern smartphones and tablets. Apple said the funds will support Corning's research and development efforts, as well its equipment purchases, and manufacturing facilities. Apple is targeting Corning's facility in Harrodsburg, Ky., which has supplied Apple with glass since the first iPhone in 2007. The Harrodsburg facility employs about 400 people. Earlier this year, Apple committed to spending $1 billion through its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to foster innovation among American manufacturers. Corning is the first recipient of these funds.
Apple recently published a new web site with a number of how-to tutorials on photography for the iPhone 7. Rather than focus on technical explanations, Apple demonstrates how to improve a variety of specific shots, such as close-ups, portraits, panoramas, selfies, and so on. The tutorials are generally about 30 seconds long and include just a few steps for people to follow. The web site can be accessed from any internet device, but the videos are optimized for viewing on an iPhone.
Imagination Technologies said it plans to sell two of its business units and strengthen its balance sheet before its years-old partnership with Apple expires. Earlier this year Apple told Imagination Technologies that it will no longer need the company's GPUs for the iPhone in 15 to 24 months time. Apple is Imagination Technologies' largest customer and the loss of the iPhone maker's business will result in a transformative change for Imagination Technologies. The company has already begun a legal dance around Apple. "Imagination has been unable to make satisfactory progress with Apple to date regarding alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement [and] has therefore commenced the dispute resolution procedure under the licence agreement with a view to reaching an agreement through a more structured process," said the company. Imagination contends that Apple will not be able to design and manufacture its own GPU without violating Imagination's patented technology. At the same time, Imagination is preparing to sell its MIPS and Ensigma businesses. Imagination will hold onto its PowerVR businesses unit. Imagination Technologies did not spell out a timeframe for making these changes.
Google today expanded the security features Google Mobile Management administrators can enforce on corporate iOS devices. The new tools will let businesses that rely on Google's device management service to ensure iPhone and iPad users conform to corporate security policies. For example, G Suite admins can now sync managed corporate contacts to iOS devices and revoke access when needed. This is particularly helpful when using global address lists, which are now compatible with the native iOS email, calendar, phone, and contacts apps. G Suite admins can also now configure Google account on iOS to sync contacts and calendars, manage Safari browser settings, manage photo sharing, and set permissions with respect to screenshots, screen recording, Siri, and Apple Watch. The new tools are rolling out to all G Suite admin users over the next few weeks.
Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 4 available to developers. Apple hasn't provided any specific details about what's in iOS 10.3.2; it likely focuses on resolving bugs and smoothing over performance issues. Apple also made fourth betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers. Public betas typically drop a day or two after the developer betas. Consumers interested in testing pre-release software will need to register their Apple device, such as the iPhone 7, in order to receive beta builds of iOS and other platforms.
Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 3 available to developers. Apple hasn't provided any specific details about what's in iOS 10.3.2; it likely focuses on resolving bugs and smoothing over performance issues. Apple also made third betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers. Public betas typically drop a day or two after the developer betas. Consumers interested in testing pre-release software will need to register their Apple device, such as the iPhone 7, in order to receive beta builds of iOS and other platforms.
Belkin's ridiculously-named dongle does one thing: it lets you simultaneously charge your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus and listen to music. If you want to rock out and power up at the same time, Belkin's Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar makes it possible.
Qualcomm filed a retaliatory lawsuit against Apple and accused the iPhone maker of bad behavior. The filing is in response to one Apple made against Qualcomm earlier this year. It that argument, Apple accused Qualcomm of abusing its market position to unfairly charge for chips and licenses. Qualcomm's response points out five major grievances with Apple, suggesting the company has not negotiated in good faith to license Qualcomm's patents. Specifically, Qualcomm says Apple "chose not to utilize the full performance of Qualcomm’s modem chips in its iPhone 7 [and] misrepresented the performance disparity between iPhones using Qualcomm modems and those using competitor-supplied modems." Qualcomm also accused Apple of breaching and mischaracterizing agreements with Qualcomm, interfering with Qualcomm's licensees, encouraging regulatory attack around the world, and threatening Qualcomm to go public over disparities in chip performance. Qualcomm is seeking damages from Apple for "reneging on its promises in several agreements" and it wants Apple to cease interfering with Qualcomm's partners. Qualcomm has come under fire from several governments, including that of the U.S., that allege Qualcomm uses predatory and unfair licensing practices.
Apple today pushed a minor system update to iPhones, iPads, and iPods that's primarily meant to fix bugs. iOS 10.3.1, which clocks in at under 50 MB, also improves device security. The update is free to download and install over the air.
Apple is developing a new graphics chip for the iPhone that will see the end of its long-term relationship with Imagination Technologies. Apple has relied on Imagination for years to provide the iPhone's GPU. Apple recently informed Imagination that it "will no longer use [Imagination's] intellectual property in its new products in 15 months to two years time." The iPhone is packed with third-party components, but Apple designs the main application processor. Phone performance relies on the CPU and GPU working together closely, so it stands to reason that Apple would also want to control that piece of the iPhone. Imagination, however, doesn't think Apple can get away so easily. "Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information," said the company in a statement. Imagination requested these details from Apple, but Apple declined to provide them. The two companies have already explored alternative commercial arrangements for the patent licenses and royalties that pertain to Imagination's technology. Imagination said it won't stand for its patents to be violated. Apple hasn't commented on the matter. Imagination is a U.K.-based firm. Investors punished Imagination's stock after the company shared the news.
T-Mobile today improved its monthly insurance program by offering AppleCare at no additional cost. Customers who subscribe to T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection and Jump! with Premium Device Protection insurance plans will have access to T-Mobile's insurance benefits as well as those offered by AppleCare. T-Mobile's plans cover loss, theft, accidental damage, hardware coverage, and security. AppleCare is available for the newest iPhones and iPads, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and iPad 9.7. AppleCare includes 24/7 technical support from Apple and low fees for certain repairs at Apple Stores and certified Apple repair facilities. For example, screen replacement deductibles cost just $29, while battery replacement service is free. T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection and Jump! with Premium Device Protection insurance plans cost $12 per month.
Apple today debuted (Product) Red versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The devices are identical to the iPhones released last year, the only difference is the color. A portion of the proceeds from (Product) Red iPhone sales will contribute to the Global Fund to help fight AIDs. The red-colored iPhones will only be available in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. The 128 GB (Product) Red iPhone 7 costs $749 and the 128 GB (Product) Red iPhone 7 Plus costs $869. The special edition (Product) Red iPhones will be available online and in stores beginning Friday, March 24.
Whether you're a podcaster, musician, or budding filmmaker, capturing high-quality audio is key when creating content. IK Multimedia's iRig Mic HD and iRig Mic Field give you mono and stereo options, respectively, in compact and easy-to-use accessories for your iPhone. The devices work hand-in-hand with IK Multimedia's software and third-party apps to raise the audio bar.
Adobe today updated its Lightroom Mobile application and added the ability for Android and iOS devices to shoot in RAW HDR mode. Adobe says the new HDR mode automatically scans each scene to measure the best-possible exposure range and then takes three photos that are merged to deliver the widest exposure and contrast range. The result is a 16-bit floating point DNG image that Adobe claims can rival the quality of images captured by today's dSLR cameras. The new HDR RAW capture mode is available to the Apple iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, iPhone SE, and iPad Pro 9.7. The iOS version of Lightroom also gains the ability to export original files and RAW images, as well as a gesture-to-rate tool, Force Touch actions, and sleep prevention. As for Android devices, the new tool works with the Samsung S7, S7 edge, Google Pixel, and Pixel XL. Adobe says this is because these are the only devices capable of capturing DNG images on their own. More devices will be given access to the HDR RAW capture feature over time. Adobe Lightroom Mobile is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.
T-Mobile today resurrected its offer of a free iPhone 7 to people who switch to the Uncarrier, though there are lots of requirements and caveats to the offer. To start, customers must port their number in from another carrier, sign up for the T-Mobile One plan, and trade in an eligible device to score the free iPhone 7. Moreover, T-Mobile is requiring people to purchase the new iPhone 7 (or 7 Plus) on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will provide instant credit toward the new device based on the value of the trade-on. The devices eligible for trade in are limited to the most recent iPhones (6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus) and Galaxies (S7, S7 edge, S7 Active). T-Mobile will then send a MasterCard gift card in the mail for the balance of the new iPhone 7. That gift card can be applied to the remaining monthly EIP payments on the account, but it doesn't have to be. The offer is only available from March 3 to March 16 in T-Mobile stores.
Google today announced a significant update to GBoard, its advanced keyboard application or the iPhone. Voice dictation is the most significant new feature added to the tool, allowing GBoard users to press a microphone and speak their messages rather than type them. GBoard also gains support for 15 more languages, a wider set of emoji, and Google Doodles. The emoji, in particular, include the entire set of characters from iOS 10. GBoard is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Sprint today announced an updated version of its unlimited plan that improves video quality and includes up to 10 GB of mobile hotspot data. Sprint says the new plan allows customers to stream video at up to 1080p HD rather than 480p; stream music at 1.5 Mbps rather than 512 Kbps; and stream games at up to 8 Mbps rather than 2 Mbps. These represent significant improvements over Sprint's previous unlimited plan, but subscribers will still be subject to data deprioritization when the network is congested. The deal is only available to new customers and they must sign up for Unlimited Talk, Text and Data with Sprint AutoPay. The first line costs $50 for unlimited everything. The second line costs $40, and lines three and four are free, leaving the total monthly cost for up to four lines at $90 (plus taxes and fees). This rate, however, is only good through March 31, 2018. After that date, subscribers to this promotion will see the first line jump to $60 per month, the second line stays at $40, and lines three and four increase to $30 each. Moreover, after March 31, 2018, streamed video, music, and games will be capped at the lower bit rates. Accompanying the revised plan, Sprint is further tempting consumers with a free phone lease. Customers who switch to Sprint and port their number can lease the 32 GB iPhone 7 at no cost for 18 months with a qualifying trade-in. Eligible trade-in devices include the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, Samsung GS7, GS7 edge, GS6, GS6 edge, Note 5, LG V20, G5, and Moto Droid 2. T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have trotted out similar changes to their unlimited plans over the course of the last week.
Unlocked smartphones let you use your device on the carrier of your choice, whether at home or travelling overseas. Though unlocked phones tend to be pricey, you can't really put a price on the freedom they offer. Here are our picks for the five best flagship-class unlocked phones available right now.
Sprint gave some of its high-end smartphones a speed boost this week. The company added 3-channel carrier aggregation to the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and the LG V20 and G5. The HTC Bolt already supports 3xCA, and Sprint plans to update a half dozen more phones soon. The update, which binds together three spectrum bands, boosts potential top download speeds from 100 Mbps to more than 200 Mbps. Sprint says 2xCA is already available in some 250 markets and that it has added 3xCA to about 100 markets. The 3xCA technology will serve as the base for Sprint's forthcoming HPUE network technology. Combining HPUE, 3xCA, 256 QAM, and MIMO can deliver 1 Gbps speeds, according to Sprint. Sprint will begin deploying HPUE in its 2.5 GHz spectrum (Band 41) later this year. The company said 55% of its post-paid phones will support HPUE by the end of this year, with the rest to follow in 2018.
Google today updated its Chrome browser for iOS devices and added a novel tool: a QR and barcode scanner. iPhone owners can scan a QR code or barcode by using 3D Touch on the app logo or by searching for "QR" in iOS's Spotlight search bar. Google says it also redesigned the tab switcher layout for the iPad to make it easier for people to access open sites. Chrome 56 is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Otterbox has expanded its Universe Case system to the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, as well as added to its roster of swappable modules. The system includes a rugged case to protect the iPhone day in and day out, and optional accessories, such as a tripod, Flash drive, Bluetooth speakers, multi-tool, and much more. Here is Phonescoop's in-depth review.
Catalyst's case for the iPhone 7 is fully rugged and waterproof. It provides a high level of protection from various threats, including those that adventure seekers are prone to encounter when out and about. Here is Phonescoop's in-depth review.
Apple today released a slew of new beta builds for its various operating systems. iOS 10.3 beta 1 for the iPhone and iPad adds one significant new feature called Find My AirPods. With it, people can locate their AirPod headphones by forcing the ear buds to emit a loud, high-pitched sound. Apple didn't call out any other new features within iOS 10.3 other than a few minor tools for developers. Apple also released first beta builds of macOS Sierra 10.12.4, tvOS 10.2, and Xcode 8.3. These builds are for developers and not public testers. Apple typically makes public betas available a day or two after releasing the developer builds.
Apple has filed a lawsuit against partner Qualcomm, alleging the mobile chipmaker used its monopoly power to push for "onerous, unreasonable and costly" licensing terms. Moreover, Apple says Qualcomm prevented it from seeking chips from other suppliers between 2011 and 2016. Apple uses Qualcomm's baseband chips in the iPhone and iPad. Apple is seeking $1 billion in rebate payments that it says Qualcomm has withheld since Apple met with Korea's fair trade regulatory body last year. Apple's lawsuit arrives just days after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm over what it called aggressive and unfair business practices. The government, in particular, said Qualcomm had taken advantage of Apple and others with its licensing terms. Qualcomm denied the allegations. "While we are still in the process of reviewing the complaint in detail, it is quite clear that Apple's claims are baseless. Apple has intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing program," said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel, Qualcomm. In addition to the FTC complaint, Qualcomm was recently sued by the Korean government over similar claims.
Apple today announced a major update to GarageBand, its music creating and recording app for iOS devices. Chiefly, GarageBand now includes the Alchemy synthesizer, which adds more than 150 new patches from Apple that span myriad styles like pop, rock, EDM, and hip hop. Apple says Alchemy's on-screen tools let musicians merge up to eight patches at a time to create their own, unique sounds. GarageBand includes a new sound browser, too, which should make it easier to find Apple's Touch Instruments. A multi-take recording tool makes it possible for people to record several takes and then compare them to see which is best. Last, the audio recorder has been redesigned with one-tap vocal effects, such as pitch correction, distortion, and delay. Singers can take advantage of visual equalizers to fine-tune their sound, as well as use third-party plugins for even more vocal sound options. GarageBand is free for most modern iPhone and iPad owners.
An on-going lawsuit accusing Apple of holding a monopoly on the market for iPhone apps has been given new life today thanks to an appeals court ruling. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Apple's sole distribution method of mobile apps for the iPhone may be anticompetitive. The original lawsuit was filed in 2012. It charged that Apple's policy of allowing only apps distributed via the app store onto iPhones violates federal law. Apple's legal argument centered on the idea that the App Store serves only as a platform for end users to buy apps from developers, the iPhone maker sees the App Store as shelf space that is rented out by app writers. However, app developers pay a 30% portion of revenues for the ability to sell via the App Store. Moreover, people pay Apple directly for apps via iTunes; they do not pay developers. Initial rulings in the case sided with Apple, but today's decision reversed lower courts, as iPhone owners cannot buy or install apps via any method other than the App Store, lest they jailbreak (or hack) their device. Apple maintains that this policy protects end user security, but a collection of iPhone owners contend it leads to less competition and higher pricing for mobile apps. It's not clear what the next steps in the case are, nor where they may lead.
Google updated its Motion Stills app for iOS with several new features. First, users can now apply text to their GIFs. The Motion Text feature lets people position text anywhere they want in the GIF. It can then follow or move with a subject for the duration of the GIF. Google says it is using motion tracking technology and machine learning to make this function properly. Motion Stills also gains a new looping tool. Motion Stills is able to freeze the background of an image and analyze the movement to create the perfect loop transition. The result is GIFs that loop with fewer obvious cuts. Motion Stills takes advantage of Live Photos as captured by the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, and 7 Plus and turns them into shareable GIFs. Motion Stills is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today began accepting orders for its AirPod wireless headphones. The AirPods instantly turn on and connect to nearby iPhones when the carrying case is opened. The AirPods can automatically switch from iPhone to Apple Watch based on what the owner is using. The AirPods provide up to 5 hours of battery life and the case has a built-in battery that can provide a total of 24 hours of play time. The devices rely on the W1, Apple's first wireless chip. The pods include a battery, antenna, accelerometer, and proximity sensor. The AirPods will automatically halt music playback if the pods are removed from the owner's ear. They are compatible with most iPhones and iPads. The AirPods cost $159 and are available online. The headphones were originally expected to debut in October, but Apple delayed the launch. Orders placed online should arrive before Christmas.