Apple has made the SIM-free variant of the iPhone Xr available from its web site. The phone ships unlocked and without service from any wireless carrier. People who buy the phone will need to use an existing SIM card or purchase one separately. The SIM-free iPhone Xr is compatible with most U.S. networks. Pricing starts at $749, which is the same as the carrier versions.
Spotify today revealed a new way for people to manage their music. The company developed an app specifically for watchOS and the Apple Watch. Once installed, people will be able to play, pause, or skip to the next track; instantly set tempo-matching songs for runs; connect to home speakers; as well as access and manage playlists. The wrist-born controls also make it possible to favorite tracks and rewind podcasts on the go without reaching for your iPhone. The controls are built into the Spotify watch face. Spotify says its new app for the Apple Watch will be rolling out to users in phases over the coming weeks. Apple Watch owners will also need to update Spotify on their iPhone. The app is free. Spotify charges for some subscriptions.
Amazon has agreed to sell more products from Apple, including the company's iPhone, iPad, Beats headphones, and wearables. The deal arrives just ahead of the holiday shopping season and means Amazon customers will have access to the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, Xr, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch 4, among other products. Amazon already sells a few Apple devices, including some Beats models and MacBook laptops. Amazon will not sell the Apple HomePod, which competes directly with Amazon's own Alexa-powered home speakers. The distribution deal applies to Amazon's footprint in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India. Products should reach Amazon's warehouses in those markets over the next few weeks. Moving forward, only authorized Apple resellers will be allowed to sell Apple and Beats products via the Amazon marketplace. The move means pricing of Apple products on Amazon should normalize. Moreover, it makes Apple's products more available to consumers.
Apple today provided an update to Clips, its app for creating and sharing videos on the iPhone and iPad. First, the new version of Clips adds a half dozen Selfie Scenes, which are Apple's 360-degree background environments that let people put themselves into a 3D scene. The new Scenes rely on the TrueDepth camera on the newer iPhones and iPad Pros so people can record themselves against animated backdrops, such as from "Incredibles 2." Clips gains three new filters, too, including black and white comic book, monochrome watercolor, and aged film. There are new posters for creating title cards with fun scenes. Fresh stickers and text labels let people dress up their Clips, and 17 new soundtracks mean users can add background music to their Selfie Scenes. Clips 2.0.5 is free to download from the iTunes App Store. It is compatible with devices from the iPhone 5s and up, and the iPad Air, and up. Selfie Scenes requires a device with a TrueDepth camera.
Apple is not in settlement talks with Qualcomm "at any level" and is preparing to go to trial against the chipmaker over patent fees. Apple sued Qualcomm in 2017 over what it described as illegal patent licensing practices. Apple has since ceased using Qualcomm-made modems in its mobile devices and instead relies on Intel for those components. "There is absolutely no meaningful discussion taking place between us and Qualcomm, and there is no settlement in sight," said an unnamed source to Reuters. "We are gearing up for trial." The case, which is separate from the one between the Federal Trade Commission and Qualcomm, is scheduled to go to trial early next year. Qualcomm’s chief executive, Steve Mollenkopf, told investors in July that the two companies "continue to talk." It's not clear if those talks have since broken down. Neither Apple nor Qualcomm commented on the matter. Apple hasn't paid Qualcomm royalty fees since filing the lawsuit. Reuters says another, unnamed phone maker is also disputing royalty fees with Qualcomm. The company, believed to be China's Huawei, has made a "good faith partial payment" of $500 million and the talks are ongoing.
Apple today released watchOS 5.1.1, an update to watchOS 5.1 correcting a problem that bricked some Apple Watches. Apple pulled the update last week to sweep up the bug. Apple didn't indicate how many devices were impacted, but not all users experienced the problem. WatchOS 5.1 adds new emoji, Group FaceTime audio, and new watch faces.
7-Eleven is testing a new way for customers to pay for items as they shop at 7-Eleven retail locations. The Scan & Pay feature is being added to the 7-Eleven mobile app. Customers will need to install the app and sign up for the 7Rewards loyalty program in order to gain access to the feature. When customers are near a store that supports Scan & Pay, the "start scanning" option will appear within the app. Customers can then scan their items through the app as they go, adding items to their virtual basket. The app supports Apple Pay, Google Pay, or credit/debit cards for completing the transaction. Once customers have paid, the app generates a QR code that shoppers scan at the confirmation station before they can leave with their items. 7-Eleven is piloting this feature at just 14 stores in the Dallas area. It expects to expand availability of Scan & Pay over time.
Apple recently added the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to its roster of refurbished phones. The iPhone 8 starts at $499 and the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $599 (a savings of $100 each compared to new). Apple's refurbished phones are given a new battery, a new outer shell, and are certified by the company. They ship with a standard warranty, are eligible for AppleCare, and include all the in-box accessories that come with brand new iPhones. Apple's refurbished iPhones are only available online. Supply is subject to change.
People who purchased an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X may see their phone's performance slow down thanks to new software. Apple distributed iOS 12.1 earlier this week and with it new tools for managing battery life and performance. People who own these phones can use the system settings to choose top optimize speed or battery life. In December 2017, Apple admitted to slowing down older iPhones in order to prevent them from shutting down. The issue pertained to how lithium ion batteries lose capacity over time. Apple placed a priority on keeping the phone up and running over raw speed. Apple later introduced software allowing customers to choose between the two. This same software is now on the 2017 batch of iPhones from Apple. "Starting with iOS 12.1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X include this feature, but performance management may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design," said Apple on its support page. Apple had initially implied that its 2017 iPhones wouldn't need this software.
Apple today released the first public beta of iOS 12.1.1. iPhone and iPad owners who have registered for the public beta should be able to download the beta right away. This release is mostly expected to fix bugs, but it does include some feature adjustments. For example, Apple News users can now hide the side bar if they wish. The platform tweaks FaceTime controls a bit, as well. The bar at the bottom now offers buttons for switching cameras and muting calls, with other actions a short swipe away. Apple provided this beta to developers earlier in the week. It's likely iOS 12.1.1 will remain in beta testing for a month before a final version is released.
Apple this week distributed iOS 12.1 and with it turned on the dual-SIM capability of the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. Each of these newer iPhones includes a slot for physical SIM cards as well as an embedded eSIM. The eSIM can be used to change carriers at will. Despite the feature's availability from Apple, U.S. carriers aren't supporting it just yet. A check of Apple's web site shows that AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless will add the capability "later this year." AT&T says it is still working with Apple to add the feature, T-Mobile says it is still finalizing the software, and Verizon has confirmed that the eSIM causes coverage issues. Sprint has publicly said it will support the dual-SIM and eSIM functionality of the newer iPhones, but the company has not said when that might be. This all means U.S. consumers hoping to take advantage of the new iPhones' dual-SIM capabilities will have to wait a bit longer.
Apple has pulled the watchOS 5.1 update after reports of bricked devices surfaced. The system upgrade for Apple's smartwatch was initially released alongside iOS 12.1 on Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, users began to report that their watches were stuck on the loading screen. Apple later pulled the update. "Due to a small number of Apple Watch customers experiencing an issue while installing watchOS 5.1 today, we've pulled back the software update as a precaution," said Apple in a statement. "Any customers impacted should contact AppleCare, but no action is required if the update installed successfully. We are working on a fix for an upcoming software update." Apple didn't indicate how many devices were impacted, nor how long it will be before the revised update is available. WatchOS 5.1 adds new emoji, Group FaceTime audio, and new watch faces.
Apple today pushed out a significant update to the Shortcuts app, which lets iOS device owners make more connections between Siri and actions. For example, new shortcuts let people ask for the current weather or the weather forecast, easily set alarms and timers, convert between a variety of units and measurements, as well as view the most recent batch of imported photos. Apple says running shortcuts from HomePod via Siri will now automatically play back from the HomePod using AirPlay, rather than nearby iOS devices. Shortcuts 2.1 also includes bug fixes. The app is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Verizon Wireless will not support Apple's dual-SIM technology at first due to a software bug that degrades service. The new Apple iPhones (Xs, Xs Max, Xr) support dual-SIM functionality thanks to one physical SIM and one eSIM. The way dual-SIM phones typically work is to designate a primary SIM for voice, text, and data, with a secondary SIM handling voice and messaging through a second subscription. Many dual-SIM phones allow you to switch which SIM is designated as the primary/secondary at will. With the new iPhones, a third option exists that uses the primary SIM for iMessage and FaceTime, and the secondary for data. According to PCMag, when a Verizon physical SIM is designated as the secondary account, it drops to 2G CDMA data, which is slow, not widely available, and doesn't support MMS. Verizon confirmed the issue to PCMag and said it is working on a fix. "Wireless customers will be able to activate Verizon service eSIMs as soon as we're confident you'll be able to have the great, high-quality service you expect from us on both your primary and secondary line. If you are a Verizon customer and you activate another carrier's service on your iPhone's eSIM, your Verizon service will be degraded due to the current software configuration. We believe these concerns will be resolved quickly and you should be able to add our great Verizon service on your secondary line before the end of the year." Verizon said that until the secondary SIM supports all its LTE-based services, it won't activate service on any eSIM for now. Apple is activating the dual-SIM feature on its new iPhones today via iOS 12.1.
Apple today said it will release iOS 12.1 to the iPhone and iPad on Tuesday, October 30. The updated platform contains a number of new features. For example, all devices will be able to conduct Group FaceTime calls with between 2 and 32 participants. Group FaceTime chats are able to intelligently and automatically prioritize the active speaker in group sessions. Group chats are also integrated with iMessage, feature a silent ringer, and are encrypted end-to-end for privacy. The system software also introduces 70 new emoji that are more representative of peoples' individual appearances. The iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr gain real-time depth control when shooting portrait photos. Last, these same phones gain access to the built-in dual SIM functionality, allowing owners to add service from a second carrier if they wish. iOS 12.1 will be free to download and install starting midday.
Addressing attendees at a privacy conference in Brussels, Apple CEO Tim Cook said new, national privacy laws are needed to govern how personal data is collected and used by big companies. Apple has prided itself on doing what it can to safeguard customer privacy, and even went head-to-head with the FBI when it refused to unlock a customer's iPhone. Cook drew on the fallout of major security lapses that have taken place over the last few years as evidence that new action is required. "Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency. These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold," argued Cook. "Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm." Threats come from every angle. Phone makers, wireless service providers, email providers, social networks, gaming communities, and other organizations have suffered breaches in recent years exposing the data of hundreds of millions of consumers. "Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies. Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false. This crisis is real. It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy. We shouldn't sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance." Cook's audience was made mostly of European officials and he complemented the European Union for its recent success in implementing the GDPR privacy law. It's not clear what impact Cook's words will have on U.S. lawmakers.
Apple plans to adjust its software to appease owners of its newest iPhones. Some users complain that pictures captured with the user-facing camera produce images with skin that is overly smooth. The result is lost detail and an unnatural look. Apple explained to the Verge that the Smart HDR tool on the new iPhones is selecting the wrong frame when processing HDR selfies. Smart HDR works by taking a number of exposures and then merging elements of them together into a single frame. The software is sometimes choosing a frame with a longer exposure time as the base image, which results is a small amount of blur and smoothness in the end result. Moving forward, Apple will update the software to base its Smart HDR photos on frames taken with a shorter shutter speed, which generally produces cleaner, sharper results with more detail. The end product should be selfies that look less doctored. Apple will include this update in iOS 12.1, which it is expected to release to the public soon.
The iPhone XR goes on sale Friday, October 26, and Apple has revealed what it will cost to repair the device should it break. If the screen is broken accidentally due to mishandling, or if the screen breaks on its own, and the device isn't covered by AppleCare+, Apple will charge $199 to repair it. Other breakages for the iPhone XR, such as a cracked rear panel, will cost a weightier $399 to repair. These same repairs cost $279/$549 for the iPhone XS an $329/$599 for the iPhone XS Max. iPhone owners who opt for AppleCare+ will see far lower repair costs. Apple charges AppleCare+ subscribers a straight $29 deductible for screen repairs and a $99 deductible for all other repairs across its entire iPhone range. The standard price for AppleCare+ is $199, which can be broken down into monthly payments if needed.
Apple today made iOS 12.1 beta 5 and watchOS 5.1 beta 5 available to developers. These new betas further tweak the code and clean up bugs. One of the biggest additions to iOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1 will be support for more emoji. Apple is planning to add some 70 new characters, based on Unicode 11, to its platform. These emoji will brings new representation for people with options for red hair, gray hair, curly hair, and no hair, as well as more food, animals, sports, and other items. The new OS is also expected to enable the eSIM on the new iPhone Xs and Xs Max, as well as include real-time depth control for portrait photos. Apple will likely provide a new public beta within several days. Apple hasn't said when it will release iOS 12.1 and watchOS 5.1 to the public, but it is kicking off sales of the iPhone Xr on October 26, and has a media event planned in New York for October 30. It's possible iOS 12.1's arrival will coincide with one of these events.
Apple has updated its privacy web site and given customers new tools to manage their personal information. Specifically, Apple has made it possible for owners of Apple devices to download and view all the data Apple has collected on them. This change is specific to Apple's U.S. customers. Apple's European customers have been able to access their data since May, when the GDPR privacy regulations went into effect. The latest versions of iOS and macOS include more privacy protections and provide people with more control over their information. Apple's updated web site also explains how user data is stored and transported, and what encryption and security protocols are employed in the process. Anyone can log in to their account to view their data.
Apple and Genius today announced a new partnership that brings new features to Apple Music and to Genius. Genius is a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of music that offers lots of information about songs, including their full lyrics. Moving forward, Apple Music subscribers will be able to access Genius' database of song lyrics while listening to their favorite tunes. Further, Apple Music subscribers who visit Genius will be able to play any song in full from the song's dedicated Genius page. In order to play the song on Genius, people will need to sign into their Apple Music account. The Apple Music-powered player is available on Genius.com and in the Genius iPhone app.
Apple has agreed to purchase assets, employees, and intellectual property from Germany-based Dialog Semiconductors. The two companies have worked together for years, and Dialog supplies Apple with power management technology for the iPhone. Apple will pay $300 million for about 300 engineers as well as Dialog facilities in Germany, Italy, and the U.K. Apple will give Dialog another $300 million as a pre-payment for future products to be delivered over the next three years. In addition to this deal, Apple has agreed to source more power management, audio subsystem, charging, and other mixed-signal integrated circuits from Dialog. Dialog will continue to provide components to other customers. Apple and Dialog expect the transaction to close during the first half of 2019, pending regulatory approval.
One of the nation's largest retail chains has finally given up on its own mobile payment solution in favor of industry-standard mobile payments. CVS announced today that it now accepts contactless payments using Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay at all locations. It was among the last major national chains to resist standard NFC payment platforms. The company will retire its CVS Pay app on October 15th. CVS previously accepted Apple Pay, but disabled support in 2014 so it it could develop CVS Pay, which launched in 2016. Apple announced just a few weeks ago that Apple Pay support was expanding this year to CVS, 7-Eleven, and Costco.
Apple today made iOS 12.0.1 available to iPhones and iPads. This is the first public update since Apple released iOS 12 last month. The goal of today's update is to resolve performance issues and stamp out bugs that were part of the initial public release. For example, iOS 12.0.1 tackles a problem that prevented some iPhone Xs devices from charging properly via the Lightning port. It resolves a problem that caused iPhone Xs devices to join 2.4 GHz WiFi networks instead of 5 GHz networks. It fixes an issue that made Bluetooth unavailable, and a problem that prevented subtitles from appearing in some apps. It also restores the original position of the ".?123" key on the iPad keyboard, which had been switched with the emoji key. iOS 12.0.1 is free to download from Apple.
Apple today provided some clarity on the arrival of more emoji for iOS devices. Earlier this year, the iPhone-maker committed to adopting more than 70 new emoji that are based in Unicode 11. Unicode 11 brings new representation for emoji with options for red hair, gray hair, curly hair, and no hair, as well as more food, animals, sports, and other items. Apple says the new emoji will soon arrive on the iPhone and iPad via iOS 12.1. Separate updates to watchOS and macOS will bring the same new emoji to Apple's smartwatch and computers. In addition to the emoji, iOS 12.1 fixes certain iPhone bugs, such as the inability to charge when locked. Apple seeded developer and public betas of iOS 12.1 today and will likely test the update for several weeks before offering it to everyone.
Apple today said the students at three universities can now use their iPhone and Apple Watch to substitute for their student ID card. Those studying at Duke University and the Universities of Alabama and Oklahoma can add their student ID to the Apple Wallet app and use the NFC radio on the phone or watch for contactless entry into their dorm, the library, the fitness center, and other buildings that require ID. Further, students will be able to make purchases via their ID and Apple Wallet at cafeterias, the book store, and other on-campus locations that accept student IDs for payment. Apple says Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara, and Temple Universities will adopt this functionality by the end of the year. Apple didn’t say if other universities will participate in the program.
Google today is making some additions to Google Maps that it hopes will help people get to work quicker and with less stress along the way. The app has added a "commute" tab that offers one-tap access to live traffic and transit details that are personalized for each person's specific commute. The tab can instantly show people if their commute will be normal or impacted by traffic or accidents. Google will proactively suggest alternate routes if there are delays in the way. Android device owners will receive real-time notifications and re-routes if problems occur while on the road. Maps now includes support for mixed-mode commutes, such as those that involve driving and walking, or walking and bus/train rides. Google will surface information about the time each leg of the trip will take and offer suggestions if one or more of the legs is running slow. Google will take all these factors into account to help it create a more accurate ETAs. Train and subway commuters gain new insight into their daily ride thanks to real-time bus/train data. Transit riders in some 80 metropolitan areas will be able to see exactly where their bus or train is in order to anticipate how long they have to catch it. In Sydney, Maps will even show how many seats are left on the train. Last, Google Maps is adding direct support for Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music so commuters can control their morning music right from Maps. This is meant to prevent people from toggling between apps while behind the wheel. Google says the new Maps is rolling out to Android and iOS devices this week.
Apple met with another round of reprieve today thanks to the U.S. International Trade Commission. A judge with the agency said the ITC won't prevent Apple from importing Intel-based iPhones into the U.S. Qualcomm had earlier filed a complaint with the ITC concerning Apple's use of its power management patent. The judge overseeing the case agreed that the iPhones do infringe on that one patent, but refused to block their entry into the country. He noted "public interest factors" in denying Qualcomm's request. Neither company commented on the matter.
Apple has made watchOS 5.0.1 available to the Apple Watch in order to resolve several bugs. The tweaked software fixes an issue that caused some users to see an unexplained increase in exercise minutes. It addresses a problem that prevented some people from receiving credit for standing in the afternoon. Apple says the update also tackled a bug impacting the Watch's ability to charge. The update is free to download and install.
The latest build of YouTube for iOS devices adds HDR support to the newest iPhones from Apple. YouTube version 13.37 allows iPhone Xs and Xs Max owners to flip on HDR and then view HDR content at resolutions up to 1080p at 60fps. The OLED screens on the new iPhones have 1,000,000:1 contrast ratios, allowing them to offer deeper blacks and finer gradations of color. This makes them well-suited to HDR content, which delivers a more vivid experience. Apple's iPhones do not yet support 4K playback. YouTube for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Qualcomm has taken yet more action against Apple, which it alleges stole trade secrets and offered them to Intel in a bid to improve Intel's modems. This year's iPhones rely solely on Intel modems, rather the a mix of modems from Intel and Qualcomm, in part because Apple and Qualcomm are locked in a legal dispute over patents and licensing fees. Qualcomm claims Apple broke a software licensing agreement and shared confidential information about Qualcomm's modems with Intel engineers. Qualcomm accused Apple of undertaking a "multi-year campaign of sloppy, inappropriate and deceitful conduct ... for the purpose of improving lower-quality modem chipsets, including those manufactured by Intel, a competitor of Qualcomm, to render such chipsets useable in Apple devices with the ultimate goal of diverting Qualcomm's Apple-based business to Intel." Qualcomm claims to have evidence to back up this claim thanks to software clues it has found in Intel's modems. Qualcomm is seeking to add this complaint to its existing lawsuit so that it doesn't need to file a separate case. Apple has not responded publicly to the new allegations.
Google today said iPhone users can opt for Google-owned Waze instead of Apple Maps for navigating in their CarPlay-equipped car. Apple added support for third-party apps to CarPlay in iOS 12, which was released earlier this month. Google updated its Waze real-time traffic app in order to make it compatible with iOS 12 and CarPlay. Google says Waze supports traffic alerts, police hazards, instant route changes, live ETAs, cheap gas station locations, and a variety of voices for guided navigating. Google says Waze should be available in most vehicles that include CarPlay, though it suggests users check online to view Apple’s list of compatible vehicles.
Apple today said it has finalized its acquisition of Shazam. The $400 million deal, first announced in December 2017, was recently cleared to proceed by the EU after delay of several months. Shazam is a music service that lets people identify the music being played around them. The app listens to the music, sends a sample to Shazam's servers to identify the song, and then returns the results to the phone or watch. Apple says it plans to bring an ad-free version of Shazam to everyone in the near future. The app has been downloaded 1 billion times worldwide and is used more than 20 million times every day.
Apple has updated its Apple Music application for Android devices and improved the app's usefulness in the car. Android device owners can now access their Apple Music service through the Android Auto user interface in the car. Apple Music also offers search by lyrics using a few words to find songs. The app tosses in a new artist page, letting people view artist information and play artist's hits with a tap, and the friends mix, which shows a playlist of songs liked by friends. Last, Apple Music for Android now includes the Top 100 songs from around the world. Apple Music is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Google today said iPhone users can opt for Google’s Maps instead of Apple Maps when using their CarPlay-equipped automobile. Apple added support for third-party apps to CarPlay in the recently-released iOS 12 platform. Google has updated its navigation app in order to make it compatible with iOS 12 and Apple’s CarPlay system. Google says Maps via CarPlay supports seamless transitions from Maps on the iPhone to Maps via CarPlay; point-to-point navigation with real-time traffic updates and rerouting; offline maps for use in spotty coverage areas; and support for saved lists/favorites. Google says Maps should be available in most vehicles that include CarPlay, though it suggests users check online to view Apple’s list of compatible vehicles.
Along with the release of iOS 12, Apple has updated its GarageBand app with more tools for music makers. To start, the latest version of GarageBand includes a fresh collection of Touch Instruments and Drummer Apple Loops. Apple says these let musicians shape their sounds and performances after they've been added to any given project. This version of GarageBand now supports the import and playback of MIDI files, something that's been on users' wishlists for a ling time. Apple also took the time to provide stability improvements and bug fixes. GarageBand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
The new Apple Books reading app is now available to iPhones and iPads in the iTunes App Store. This app replaces the former iBooks app and is what iOS users will use moving forward for consuming books and other materials. Some of the new features include a Reading Now tab, which is a collection of the books being read or listened to by users. The Want to Read tool lets people manage wishlists of books, while the Complete the Series function offers suggestions based on previously read books. Apple Books more prominently calls out audiobooks, simplifying the process of listening on an iPhone, iPad, or via CarPlay. The Book Store tab includes new ways to browse via best-seller charts, staff picks, editorial recommendations, and special offers. Apple says the more people browse, buy, read, and listen via the app, the better the Apple Books store will be able to offer personalized recommendations. The new Apple Books app requires iOS 12, which was distributed to iPhones and iPads earlier this week.
The Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods are not among the list of products that will be subject to a new 10% tariff directed against imports from China. The tariff, levied by President Donald Trump, covers some $200 billion of goods shipped into the U.S. Apple had feared its products would be among those hit with the tariff, but it has been spared. FitBit said its products were spared from this round of tariffs, as well, but some Cisco, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard components necessary for cloud computing equipment do fall on the list of taxed products. The 10% tariff goes into effect September 24, and rises to 25% on January 1, 2019. Trump has threatened to expand the tariffs to an additional $267 billion worth of goods. In that case, Apple's products would no longer be exempt from the added fees, nor would the phones from Samsung, LG, and most other manufacturers. Tariffs are generally viewed as a tax on consumers, as they often result in higher prices on goods.
A new trial between Qualcomm and Apple has begun at the U.S. International Trade Commission this week. In this case, Qualcomm is seeking to ban the import of Apple iPhones over patent violations. Qualcomm alleges that the iPhone's Intel-based modem violates two of its patents, and Apple's method for putting iPhones to sleep violates a third. Apple and Qualcomm are at war. Apple has accused Qualcomm of unfair licensing practices, while Qualcomm has targeted Apple for patent violations. In a separate case, an administrative law judge at the FTC found Apple to be violating a Qualcomm patent and called for a ban. The full ITC panel is evaluating that early decision and will make a final ruling next month. Import bans are rare and Apple would be able to appeal the decision. As Reuters points out, Qualcomm is suing Apple in civil court over the same patents in this newer case. The ITC case is seen as a litmus test for the strength of those patents. A win at the ITC would bolster Qualcomm's civil case against Apple.
Apple today made watchOS 5 available to the Apple Watch with a wide range of new features. The wearable platform includes new social powers, allowing people to challenge one another to various workouts or closing rings. WatchOS 5 brings third-party access to Siri, which let's Siri on the Apple Watch surface content or suggestions for apps other than those made by Apple. The platform gains support for WebKit. WebKit views will make some content easier to view on the Watch. WatchOS 5 also gains a walkie-talkie function for quick conversations with other Apple Watch owners. It works over cellular and wifi. WatchOS 5 adds support for podcasts. Other features include student ID cards, notification tuning, UV index in weather, new emoji picker, auto workout sensing, background audio mode, support for stocks, and customized world clocks. WatchOS 5 is free to download from Apple.