While Netatmo is probably still best known for its Urban Weather Station system for monitoring temperature, rainfall, and wind, the company has also been actively working on expanding its Netatmo Welcome smart home camera that it introduced last year, adding improved facial recognition along with enhancements such as FTP and Dropbox storage for users who would prefer to save videos to their own server or the cloud. Now, in addition to software enhancements, Netatmo is building Welcome into a home security hub with its new Netatmo Tags ($99), a set of durable door and window security sensors that tie into the Welcome system.
Apple is planning to jump on board the fashion trends for the 2016 Olympic Games with a lineup of special edition Apple Watch bands representing the flags of fourteen of the major countries who will be participating in the Games. A new report in GQ reveals that the new limited-edition nylon bands will be sold exclusively at the Apple Store, VillageMall in Barra da Tijuca for $49 beginning in early August, and will include bands for the U.S.A., Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and The Netherlands.
A new research note from Deutsche Bank (via Business Insider) reports that the next-generation iPhone will include a “Lightning-to-audio dongle” in the package rather than a set of Lightning-equipped EarPods. Although the research note confirms several other recent rumors about the upcoming iPhone, including the elimination of the 3.5mm audio jack in favor of a Lightning connection, it cites supply chain sources claiming that Lightning headphones will not be included in the package; however it’s unclear whether this means Apple will simply continue to include the 3.5mm EarPods of prior versions, or eliminate the headphones from the packaging entirely.
Today in iLounge Deals, we’re offering Screens 3 for Mac for only $12.99 — that’s 56% off the regular price. This user-friendly remote access tool lets you access your Mac from anywhere you have an Internet connection using any other Mac, Windows, or Linux PC or even your iPhone or iPad using the companion iOS app (sold separately). You can even set up actions to automatically trigger each time you disconnect from your Mac, configure secure connections via SSH tunnelling, transfer content between local and remote clipboards, and more.
If you’ve got a new MacBook but often find yourself needing a bit more expansion between work, school, or home, Kensington’s new SD1500 USB-C Mobile Dock ($90) may be just what you need. Featuring not only USB port expansion for your mouse, keyboard, or portable storage device, the SD1500 gives you a gigabit Ethernet port for connecting to a wired network, and an HD VGA and HDMI port for displaying video on a 4K/1080p monitor or projector.
Former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden is designing a device to help prevent unauthorized monitoring of iPhone signals, Wired reports. The proposed device, which has been developed in cooperation with hardware hacker Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, is a case-like accessory that connects into the iPhone’s internals via its SIM card slot to monitor the signals sent to the iPhone’s internal antennas. The add-on would constantly check on whether the iPhone radios are transmitting, and Huang and Snowden suggest that it’s an “infinitely more trustworthy method” of ensuring that no unauthorized radio signals are being sent than simply using “Airplane Mode” which can be hacked or spoofed. By designing this device, which they’ve duebbed an “introspection engine,” Snowden and Huang are looking to provide strong privacy guarantees to iPhone users who would need to shield their iPhones from “government-funded adversaries with advanced hacking and surveillance capabilities,” such as reporters working in hostile foreign countries who want to shield their locations.
A detailed profile in The Information (via Macrumors) of three brothers allegedly working on Apple’s new car initiative, codenamed “Project Titan,” notes that the rumored 2020 launch date may be slipping to 2021 due to a number of challenges that the team has encountered. According to people “briefed about aspects of Titan,” the group has been struggling, and the January departure of Apple VP of Product Design Steve Zadesky, who was believed to be heading up the project since 2014, has not helped both in terms of direction and morale. Despite this, however, the project remains at an early stage, and with another several years of research and development ahead, it would not be unexpected for Apple’s roadmap to change even further — last fall the Wall Street Journal reported that the Apple Car was targeted to ship as early as 2019.
Corning has announced Gorilla Glass 5, the fifth-generation of the chemically-strengthened glass that has been used in iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. The latest version promises to protect against even higher drops, and has been tested to survive 1.6-meter shoulder-height drops onto hard, rough surfaces up to eighty percent of the time — an improvement by a factor of four over competing glass solutions. Corning also notes that despite the improved toughness, Gorilla Glass still retains the same damage resistance, optical clarity, and touch sensitivity as prior generations. To date, Corning Gorilla Glass has been deployed in 4.5 billion devices worldwide across more than 1,800 product models and 40 major brands, and the company’s announcement notes that the new glass is “expected to be on product models from leading global brands later this year,” suggesting the possibility that it might make it into the next-generation iPhone. [via iPhone in Canada]
A new class action lawsuit has been filed in California alleging that Apple is not living up to the terms of its AppleCare+ service plan by providing refurbished service stock replacements to customers rather than new devices. The suit takes specific issue with Apple replacing damaged devices with refurbished devices, focusing on the clause in the AppleCare+ terms that state that devices replaced under the program are “equivalent to new in performance and reliability” with lawyers for the plaintiffs arguing that refurbished means “a secondhand unit that has been modified to appear to be new” and therefore can’t be considered to be equivalent to a new unit in durability or functionality.
A new report by Macrumors suggests that Apple may be behind the recent acquisition of Omnifone, a cloud-based music provider behind the MusicStation service as well as providing the foundation for mobile partnerships through companies including Samsung, Vodafone, LG, Blackberry, Sony, and others, powering Samsung’s Milk, Sony’s Music Unlimited and Blackberry’s BBM Music services. A report earlier this month in Music Ally indicated that Omnifone’s tech business and assets had been purchased by a “mystery buyer” in the U.S. for $10 million, and sources back in May of this year suggested to Music Ally that Apple was believed to be interested in the company. Despite earlier reports that Apple might purchase Omnifone for its patent portfolio, documents covering the sale note that the patent portfolio was excluded, as were all debts and investments, although the terms did include a “royalty bearing license” that the company claims will help it to determine the value of its patent collection; Omnifone holds a number of patents related to downloading music, digital rights management, and generating recommendations that would likely appeal to streaming music companies.
Update: Jim Dalrymple of The Loop notes that although the original report does indicate a “mystery buyer” of Omnifone, his sources have told him that Apple is not the buyer.