Apple has introduced a new web page on its site featuring a list of third-party cases that the company has tested and certified for use with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Titled “Apple Tested Cases,” the page provides details on testing the company apparently does on third-party cases, including ensuring proper fit, performing drop testing, and making certain that cases don’t interfere with the camera, acoustics, various sensors, and cellular, Wi-Fi, and NFC signals. This move follows a report late last year that Apple would be introducing more stringent requirements for MFi case makers, and could be a result of these new standards for case certification. The bottom of the page provides a link to all of the cases sold by the Apple Store, all of which presumably meet all of the specified requirements under the MFi program.
Confirming reports from last month, Showtime’s standalone channel launched today on Apple TV. Unlike last year’s addition of Showtime Anytime – which requires a traditional cable subscription to access content — the standalone Showtime channel will make the network’s offerings available for non-cable subscribers for $11 a month, undercutting HBO’s $15-a-month charge for the similar HBO Now service. Like HBO, Showtime is offering a 30-day free trial to attract users and is launching its channel on Apple TV before expanding to other platforms. A Showtime app for iOS isn’t available yet, but should be available soon.
Update: The Showtime iOS app is now available, as well.
Apple is now co-designing packaging for third-party accessories sold in its Apple Stores, 9to5 Mac reports. Apple has been working with select accessory makers over the past six months, and redesigning boxes to be more in line with the packaging of Apple’s own products. According to a memo to Apple Store employees, the new packaging will be mostly white and include simpler fonts, better compatibility labeling and new product photography. The boxes will also be made of higher-quality materials, underscoring Apple’s emphasis on controlling the sourcing of its packaging products. Apple has helped produce new packaging for Tech21, Sena, Incase, Mophie, Logitech and LifeProof. As packaging that doesn’t fit the Apple look is phased out, the company will work with more accessory makers to expand the new packaging style. No hard timeline for the change has been released, but new boxes have already started showing up in larger Apple Stores.
As we’ve seen — and were told earlier this year — Apple has been pushing out many third-party case options in order to develop a “boutique” feel in stores. This new move to co-design third-party packaging follows those same lines.
A week after Apple quietly dropped the popular Home Sharing feature from the Music app in iOS 8.4, Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue has promised the company is “working to have Home Sharing in iOS 9.” In a tweet, Cue confirmed that Apple is trying to bring back the missing feature, which allows an iOS device to stream music from a computer running iTunes on a local Wi-Fi network. With Home Sharing going missing just as Apple Music debuted, some have speculated that the feature was removed because it competed with the new streaming service and the company’s paid iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library options. Home Sharing is still available in the Videos app, and other than Cue’s tweet, Apple hasn’t hasn’t commented on the change.
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TempTraq, a Blue Spark Technologies company, has released the TempTraq Wearable Bluetooth Thermometer ($25), also known simply as TempTraq. A sticky patch designed to constantly monitor a child's temperature, TempTraq is worn directly on the skin, with the tip of the patch placed under a child's armpit. It uses Bluetooth to send live readings to a free app when a linked iOS device is within 40 feet. The app also allows users to track multiple children with multiple patches, and take notes, among other features. The patch is designed for one-time use, which makes the $25 price tag hard to swallow.
An alleged schematic revealed by Engadget Japan alludes to the iPhone 6S as being slightly thicker than the iPhone 6. If true, the 6S will be 7.1 mm thick, a very slight increase over the existing iPhone 6’s 6.9 mm profile. The increase in size could be explained by rumors that Force Touch will be making its iPhone debut in the new model. Sources have claimed that any change to the 6S won’t be big enough to alter how existing iPhone 6 accessories fit.
Internal communications sent to employees at multiple U.K. retailers appear to confirm that Apple Pay will be accepted for mobile payments in their country starting on July 14, 9to5Mac reports. Apple has also informed its own retail employees they’ll be getting training for Apple Pay support on July 12, just ahead of the launch date for retailers. It’s possible that Apple Pay will launch later at some stores, but July 14 seems like it could be a fairly widespread start date. Apple confirmed a July launch at WWDC, and an FAQ released a few weeks later explained that U.K. Apple Pay users won’t need to enter a PIN for purchases, but will still face the usual £20 limit currently imposed on contactless transactions. That limit is being increased to £30 nationally this September.
An examination of photos of an iPhone “6S” prototype shows that baseline models of the new phone could still start at 16GB of storage, 9to5Mac reports. Analysts agreed that a Toshiba memory chip spotted in the photos has a 16GB capacity, though whether that chip will actually ship with production models is unknown. The guts of the new model feature fewer chips and the ones that remain are notably smaller, hinting at Apple’s attempt to reduce power use while maintaining functionality. For all the changes inside, the photos seem to back up rumors that, despite adding Force Touch, the new iPhone’s size is identical to the iPhone 6, so using existing cases and other accessories shouldn’t be a problem. A leaked document from last week claimed that the new phone’s upgraded 12-megapixel camera will be able to record 4K video.
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