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Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner

Apple’s SVP Eddy Cue reportedly floated the idea of Apple making a bid to buy Time Warner late last year, according to a new report from the Financial Times. Three sources who were briefed on a meeting between Cue and Olaf Olafsson — Time Warner’s Executive VP of Corporate Strategy — at the end of last year revealed that Cue broached the idea of a bid to purchase the media company, although discussions did not go beyond a very preliminary stage and never included any higher-level Apple or Time Warner executives. The purpose of the meeting, held at Time Warner’s Manhattan headquarters, was to discuss ways in which the two companies could build a business relationship, such as including Time Warner’s cable channels in the streaming service that Apple has been developing.

Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.

Pokémon GO is now open to beta testers in the U.S. while the game is still in active development. The game, first announced last fall, uses an iPhone’s GPS to let users catch, trade and battle over Pokémon based on their location in the real world. Phones will notify players when they are approaching a Pokémon “in the wild” and give them the chance to catch it by using the touch scree to throw a Poké Ball. Poké Balls and other special items can be collected at PokéStops, placed at “interesting places such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments.”

Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)

Apple’s attempt to bypass Indian rules to open its own retail locations in the country has been rejected, Bloomberg reports. The company was expected to qualify for an exemption from rules forcing single-brand retailers to obtain 30 percent of their products’ materials locally, applying as a provider of cutting-edge technology. But sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board ruled Apple has to comply with the regulations, refusing to certify Apple for the exemption.

The decision still needs to be ratified by the government, meaning it could be overturned, but the ruling is a significant blow for Apple’s prospects in the country given most of its products are made in China and don’t meet the FIPB criteria. Apple already trails Samsung and Micromax in India due to the high price of its products. The company has ramped up advertising efforts in India in recent months, with Tim Cook likening the market there to China a decade ago.

Update: Bloomberg reports India’s finance minister has ratified the FIPB’s ruling, seemingly ending Apple’s plans to open its own stores in the country for the time being. The company will have to begin procuring at least 30 percent of device components in India if it wants to sell them through its own retail stores.

Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars

Apple has begun talking to charging station companies about how to charge electric cars and is hiring engineers with expertise in the field, Reuters reports. After years of ongoing speculation about Apple’s automotive ambitions, the company appears to be tackling software issues and laying the groundwork for infrastructure to power an electric vehicle. Apple specifically seems to be responding to a longstanding gripe with electric cars — “filling up” the battery. Overcoming the hurdles presented by a lack of public charging stations and the extended time currently necessary to charge a car’s battery could be the opportunity Apple is looking for to make its mark on the industry.

Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring

Apple has rehired a top encryption expert to bring stronger security to a range of its products, Reuters reports. Jon Callas, who worked at Apple in the 1990s and again from 2009 to 2011 to design the Mac’s encryption system, has rejoined the company to address security concerns in the wake of Apple’s public spat with the FBI. Both Apple and Callas declined to discuss his role at the company, but he is the brains behind several well-respected secure communications companies, including PGP Corp, Silent Circle and Blackphone. Callas has publicly stated he is opposed to companies being compelled to break into their own encryption by law enforcement, but has floated the idea that the government should be allowed to take advantage of undisclosed software vulnerabilities to hack into systems, provided they disclose the vulnerabilities afterward so they can be patched. The FBI hasn’t bought into that type of arrangement, withholding its method of breaking into iPhones from Apple thus far.

Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles

Hyundai has released a software update that brings CarPlay to eight additional vehicles. The company didn’t publicly announce the news, but dealers were informed on May 19 that the 2016 Elantra GT, 2015 and 2016 non-hybrid Sonata, 2017 Santa Fe Sport, 2017 Santa Fe, 2015 and 2016 Genesis Sedan and 2016 Tucson would all be eligible for the upgrade as of yesterday.

Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive

Plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against Apple after replacement Touch ID sensors resulted in their iPhones becoming non-operational are now fighting the company’s efforts to dismiss the case, Apple Insider reports. The issue cropped up in February, when iPhone owners who had used third-party service centers to replace Touch ID sensors started getting “Error 53” messages that left their devices locked and unusable. Each Touch ID sensor is paired with its unique device and can’t be replaced without causing problems with Touch ID and Apple Pay, but the release of iOS 9.2.1 locked all other functions on iPhones with replacement sensors as well.

Report: Apple developing Siri home speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo; will release Siri SDK at WWDC

A new report from The Information (subscription required), reveals that Apple is preparing to release a Siri SDK for third-party developers, as well as possibly releasing a standalone Siri-capable hardware device, similar to the Amazon Echo. The report suggests that a Siri SDK will likely be unveiled at WWDC next month, allowing third-party developers to make services available directly through Siri — something that many iOS developers and users have been hoping to see since Siri was first introduced by Apple five years ago. While Apple has provided direct integration with a small number of third-party services like OpenTable and Shazam, and “deep links” introduced in iOS 9 last year provide some integration for searches to open within apps, an open SDK would likely allow any iOS developer the ability to tie Siri requests directly into their own apps.

The report notes that the Siri hardware device is likely a little farther off, although sources suggest that the device has been in development by Apple since before the Amazon Echo was introduced last year. The Siri hardware device is expected to include a speaker and be web-connected. It should also include deep integration with HomeKit — a feature still lacking on even the fourth-generation Apple TV — and the device should be able to use AirPlay. An actual timeframe for the release of the Siri hardware device is unclear. [via 9to5Mac]

iOS Spotlight search now offers relevant results for some emoji

The Spotlight search on iOS devices now provides results for certain emoji. Searching with the hamburger emoji, for example, provides a list of nearby burger joints in Maps. Searching using the dress or pants emoji returns Maps results for clothing stores, while a dress shirt with a tie emoji curiously returns results for clothing retailer apps before the Maps listings. Searching the stack of American cash emoji returns results for nearby banks, but searching the stack of yen or Euros only provides web results.

Cook discusses ambitious plan to beef up Apple Watch’s health monitoring

During Startup Fest Europe, Tim Cook compared Apple’s ambitious hopes for improvements to Apple Watch functionality to a car’s computer monitoring system, Bloomberg reports. “If you drive for a while and your car gets too hot, it says pull over. If you need an oil change, it says check your oil. What’s the equivalent for the body?” Cook said to the crowd. The current Apple Watch monitors vital signs and encourages users to move around or exercise at regular intervals, but Cook hopes to see a watch that will know more about the body and even be able to recommend a doctor’s visit when it’s necessary.

New leak shows dual camera exclusive to ‘iPhone 7 Plus,’ but no Smart Connector

The latest alleged leaked iPhone images, dug up by HDBlog off of the Chinese Baidu forum,  show schematics and metal casts of what appear to be the rear shells of an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. As mentioned in some previous reports, the new images show the larger dual camera setup to be exclusive to the larger phone. Smart Connector holes are also nowhere to be seen on either model.

Apple releases first developer betas for iOS 9.3.3, tvOS 9.2.2

Apple has released the first betas for iOS 9.3.3 and tvOS 9.2.2 to developers today. Both betas are likely to be minor updates; we’ll update if there are any major findings. Apple just released iOS 9.3.2 and tvOS 9.2.1 to the public one week ago.

More iPhone 7 leaks surface, protruding camera seen

Another alleged iPhone 7 leak from Chinese social network Weibo shows a more refined, similar design to past leaks and schematics (via Nowhereelse.fr), with a protruding circular camera on the rear shell. Antenna lines are also seen once more at the top and bottom of the device. The new leak, however, doesn’t match another recent leak which featured two holes between the camera and the flash. There’s also no Smart Connector seen on the rear of the iPhone on this new leak, which we previously learned was a possibility.

Apple pulls iOS 9.3.2 update for 9.7” iPad Pro due to ‘bricking’ issues

Apple has pulled the iOS 9.3.2 update for the 9.7” iPad Pro and is working on a fix, according to a tweet from Rene Ritchie of iMore. A report earlier today at MacRumors noted that they have received a number of reports that the update has been causing an “Error 56” message on some 9.7” iPad Pro devices, although not all iPad Pro users are impacted by the problem and the larger 12.9” iPad Pro also appears to be unaffected. Users who have encountered the problem have found their devices rendered unusable. Users are prompted to plug their devices into iTunes to restore, however, an iTunes restore does not fix the problem, leaving the affected iPad Pro devices bricked. MacRumors notes that they have heard several reports that Apple is replacing iPad Pro devices that have been bricked by the update as no other fix is available for the problem. Users who have not updated to iOS 9.3.2 should see iOS 9.3.1 as the latest version available; other iOS devices appear to be unaffected and the update remains available for all other models.

Report: CarPlay coming to BMW vehicles later this year

BMW may finally be bringing CarPlay support to at least some of its vehicles, according to a new report at Bimmerpost News. The report notes that the German price list and catalog for the X5M and X6M, which take effect in August, list several new technology options, including a touchscreen LCD and Apple CarPlay. An analysis of the report by 9to5Mac highlights that the translated price list text also reveals the possibility of wireless CarPlay support, although it acknowledges that it’s unclear whether the translation refers to wireless CarPlay or simply standard Bluetooth capabilities independent of CarPlay support. While it’s unclear which specific models will feature CarPlay support, several commenters on the original Bimmerpost News article have pointed to press releases stating that the 3 series will be included with CarPlay to come as an update later in the year.

Report: One iPhone model to use a glass casing next year

A new report from Nikkei Asian Review appears to add credence to other rumors and reports which predict that the 2017 iPhone may have an all-glass body. Allen Horng, chairman and chief executive of Catcher Technology — which supplies metal casings for Apple’s iPhones — stated that as far he knows “only one [iPhone] model will adopt glass casing next year.” He expects that future iPhones would still need a “durable metal frame” and that there would be no iPhones using glass-only casings that don’t at least have metal frames as part of their construction. In addition to comments by KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo back in April, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber also recently revealed scuttlebutt that the 2017 iPhone could feature an edge-to-edge glass display with a Touch ID sensor embedded behind the glass. Horng’s comments about only a single model featuring all-glass construction raise more questions as to exactly what Apple’s plans will be for the iPhone lineup in 2017.

Apple opening Maps development office in India

Apple has announced the opening of a new office in Hyderabad, India to focus on the development of the Apple Maps platform. Apple expects to employ up to 4,000 people in the new facility, to be located on the Waverock campus, which will help accelerate the development of the Maps infrastructure for Apple’s iOS and OS X devices. “Apple is focused on making the best products and services in the world and we are thrilled to open this new office in Hyderabad which will focus on Maps development,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations.”

Apple eyeing partnerships with Indian phone companies

Tim Cook is meeting with Indian phone companies with hopes of using the country’s expanding 4G network to make Apple devices more appealing, The Economic Times reports. A senior executive at Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile phone operator, said his company is in talks with Apple to create a strategic partnership that may end up including special offers on devices, deals to sell products through retail stores, and new training of company personnel. A senior Reliance executive said bundling of Apple products was also an option, supporting claims that Apple’s leadership sees potential for India’s increased 4G coverage to boost sales of iPads and Apple TVs in addition to iPhones.

Apple engineers visit musician’s home, are stumped by iTunes deletions

After going public with his gripe about Apple Music deleting 122 GB of music off his personal computer, musician James Pinkstone added a new blog entry detailing what happened when Apple sent two engineers to his house to investigate the issue. Running a special version of iTunes designed to document any further mass deletions, the engineers spent hours troubleshooting but weren’t able to replicate the issue. Of particular concern was that there is no pattern to what was deleted, with files of all types, sizes and genres suddenly disappearing.

China scrutinizing Apple over security concerns

Chinese authorities are reviewing whether the encryption on Apple devices poses a potential security threat to the country and its consumers, The New York Times reports. Anonymous sources confirmed that China is quietly scrutinizing Apple and other U.S. tech companies, requiring executives or employees of foreign companies to answer questions about their products’ encryption capabilities and data storage. The interviews are being run by a committee tied to the bureau which controls the country’s internet, and it includes experts from military and security agencies.

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