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Numerous Apple Watch bands removed from online Apple Store

Photo: MacRumors

Apple appears to have discontinued a number of its Apple Watch bands ahead of its upcoming September event, MacRumors reports. Since Apple typically updates its collection of bands each year with the release of new Apple Watch models, along with changing its lineup with different seasonal collections, the move isn’t entirely surprising, although this time around we’re seeing a relatively large number of band options disappearing, with 14 in the Sport Loop and Sport Band families having now vanished from the U.S. Apple Store. A large portion of the Hermès are also unavailable, showing as “Sold Out” than “Currently Unavailable” which suggests that they’ve been discontinued rather than simply suffering from a stock shortage. Apple does, however, still have every version of the original 2015 Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet bands available, although these are some of Apple’s only fashion-focused designs as the company has focused on more durable and low-cost fitness and casual bands for everyday use. A full list of the bands that have been discontinued can be found on MacRumors

Apple’s Jen Folse leaving Apple TV team for Caffeine social broadcasting startup

Apple TV design lead Jen Folse is leaving Apple to head to social broadcasting startup Caffeine, where she will serve as VP of Product, 9to5Mac reports. Folse is likely best known to Apple keynote watchers as the face of Apple TV, having taken the stage in several recent Apple events to demo tvOS and related features such as Apple’s new TV app. While the news has been circulating for a few weeks that Folse planned to follow other ex-Apple team members to Caffeine, the startup has now made the new official with a press release, noting that Folse will “be responsible for leading the product experience, roadmap, and product design team” and touting her as a “world-class product design leader who has lived at the intersection of technology and TV products at Apple.”

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WeTransfer acquires popular Paper app developer FiftyThree

Photo: WeTransfer

Amsterdam-based cloud company WeTransfer has announced that it has basically acquired the iOS developer FiftyThree, best known for the popular and award-winning immersive sketching app Paper, along with the more recent slide deck app, Paste. While the WeTransfer announcement officially states that it has acquired the apps themselves, the deal includes FiftyThree’s entire patent, IP, and trademark portfolio, all assets for the applications themselves, and FiftyThree’s founders Georg Petschnigg and Andrew Allen. WeTransfer notes that it intends to keep the apps in place under the WeTransfer brand, likely using them as part of its continued push into the creative user community.

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Netflix testing removal of in-app subscription purchases

Netflix is looking to cut Apple out of its action by removing the option to purchase a Netflix subscription via the App Store’s in-app purchasing system. According to TechCrunch, while the streaming media giant says it has been “testing the iTunes payment method” in 33 countries, what it actually means to say is that it’s texting how to bypass the iTunes payment method. Until Sept. 30, anybody in Europe, Latin America, and Asia subscribing to Netflix will be unable to pay using iTunes, and will instead be redirected to the mobile web version of the Netflix site to enter payment details directly.

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Costco now accepting Apple Pay at all U.S. Warehouse locations

All Costco Warehouse locations in the United States now support Apple Pay, according to a statement provided by the wholesale retailer to MacRumors. The project of equipping its warehouses with contactless payment terminals has been ongoing over the past several months, and as of this week the rollout has finished and contactless payments are now active at 750 locations throughout the U.S. At this point Apple Pay is only available in the actual warehouse stores, with Costco gas stations expected to come online at a future date. Costco had previously been trialling Apple Pay at key locations in the U.S., although Costco has supported Apple Pay since its inception in countries such as Canada where card-based NFC payments have long been available.

Daily Deal: Soundfreaq Double Spot Bluetooth Speaker

Today in iLounge Deals, we’re offering the Soundfreaq Double Spot Bluetooth Speaker for only $79.99 — that’s 46% off the regular price. Balancing room-filling sound with an attractive profile, Double Spot is a one-size-fits all wireless home speaker. You can easily move it around the house and get great sound anywhere with its custom designed dual stereo drivers that provide optimal sound projection and stereo separation, combined with Soundfreaq’s UQ3 digital spatial enhancement technology. This Bluetooth speaker features a built-in rechargeable battery that provides six hours of playback on a single charge, along with a standard USB power port to power or charge the speakers. A line-in port allows wired device to be connected, and built-in capacitive touch buttons can be used to control playback right from the speakers.

Get the Soundfreaq Double Spot Bluetooth Speaker now for only $79.99

Apple releases iOS 12 beta 9 alongside eighth tvOS 12 + watchOS 5 betas

Apple has released the latest iOS 12 beta, the ninth beta release following last week’s release of iOS 12 beta 8 to replace the flawed seventh beta. The new iOS 12 beta is accompanied by the regularly scheduled eighth beta releases of tvOS 12 and watchOS 5. iOS 12 beta 9 features a build number of 16A5362a, while tvOS 12 beta 8 is build 16J5355a and watchOS 5 beta 8 is build 16R5357a. With a release of all of the new OS versions expected by this time next month, the latest betas are down to polishing up performance and fixing bugs.

German carriers peg Sept. 14 as iPhone preorder date

Leaked information from German mobile carriers suggests that Apple will be opening pre-orders for its new lineup on Sept. 14, according to information sourced by German blog Macerkopf and reported by MacRumors. While the information hasn’t been confirmed, it would line up with Apple’s typical announcement schedule, which has occurred during the second week in September for the past several years, with pre-orders frequently opening the Friday following the announcement.

Eurasian database filings suggest six upcoming Apple Watch models

Leading up to the expected launch of new models next month, Apple has now registered six new model identifiers for the Apple Watch Series 4 in the Eurasian economic database, according to Consomac. This suggests that Apple may be selling fewer models of the new Apple Watch than in the past, although the finings aren’t specific enough to determine for sure which models may be excluded. Since it’s safe to assume there will still be two sizes as with prior Apple Watch models, this leaves three distinct models, as opposed to the four Series 3 versions — three cellular and one GPS-only. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple pulls 25,000 illegal apps from Chinese App Store

Apple has pulled approximately 25,000 illegal gambling apps from its App Store in China, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move reportedly comes as a result of pressure from Chinese state media, although Apple released a statement emphasizing that “Gambling apps are illegal and not allowed on the App Store in China,” and that it has “already removed many apps and developers for trying to distribute illegal gambling apps on our App Store” and remains “vigilant in our efforts to find these and stop them from being on the App Store.” Apple has been under fire from Chinese news outlets for its weak enforcement in filtering banned content and applications. According to one of Apple’s more vocal critics, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, approximately 25,000 apps had been removed as of Sunday. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology notes that Apple offers more than 1.8 million apps in China, so 25,000 apps would amount to about 1.4 percent of the total number of apps available on the Chinese App Store, although Apple has not confirmed either number.

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