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Report: Apple planning upgraded AirPods for later this year

Apple is currently working on two significant upgrades to the AirPods, according to a new report from Bloomberg, suggesting that Apple intends to regularly release updates to the wireless headphones. According to people familiar with the matter, a new model of AirPods could be coming as early as later this year which would include an upgraded wireless chip and “Hey Siri” support for calling up Siri without the need to physically tap the headphones. Apple also already reportedly has a subsequent model in the design stages for 2019, which would add water resistance.

New Apple TV trademark filing may indicate stronger gaming focus

A new trademark filing discovered by Patently Apple suggests that Apple may have plans for a stronger push into next-generation gaming technology for its set-top box. According to the report, Apple has updated its logo trademark for the Apple TV to expand its scope into all things related to gaming; Apple’s Trademark filing 87801324 was filed solely under class 028, which specifically covers “video game consoles; controllers for game consoles; video output games, namely, video output game machines for use with televisions; apparatus for electronic games adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor.”

Apple posts video with behind-the-scenes look at Portrait Lighting

Apple has shared a new video on its YouTube channel providing a brief behind-the-scenes look at how the company developed the Portrait Lighting feature for the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, ranging from studying classic portraiture, bringing in top artists and photographers, and incorporating established lighting principles to build the machine learning algorithms used for the new photography feature.

Apple releases third watchOS 4.3 developer beta, new public betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3

Apple has released a third watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the third developer betas released yesterday. While the release notes are sparse, it appears from the betas that watchOS 4.3 will be bringing iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation. The latest beta also appears to resolve issues with weather information in Greater China and accuracy in the battery complication.

Netgear updates Arlo Baby Camera to make it first HomeKit-compatible baby monitor

Netgear has issued a software update to make its Arlo Baby Camera the first baby monitor to be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit. Updating to the latest version of the Arlo app will reveal a new HomeKit option in the camera’s settings, allowing users to add the device to HomeKit, name the camera and assign it to the room. After that, the Arlo Baby Camera will be available as a video feed from Apple’s Home app. The Home app won’t provide access to some of the more in-depth features, such as controlling lights and music, but for users with multiple camera feeds in the Home app the update should prove particularly useful. [via 9to5Mac]

Leaked Nokia memo: No path forward for digital health business

After very public problems with regulators forced Nokia to disable key features of its Body Cardio scale, a leaked memo obtained by The Verge reveals that the company’s strategic review of its digital health business shows the division may be in big trouble. Nokia’s chief strategy officer Kathrin Buvac wrote that, “Rather than only falling in love with our technology, we must be honest with ourselves. Currently, we don’t see a path for [the digital health business] to become a meaningful part of a company as large as Nokia.” While the memo stops short of saying Nokia will shutter its digital health business — which began in 2016 when the company acquired French startup Withings for $190 million — Buvac said Nokia is now looking to become “a business-to-business and licensing company.”

Apple in talks to buy its cobalt directly from the mining companies

Apple is looking to buy the cobalt used in its batteries directly from the mining companies who dig it up, Bloomberg reports. Apple is one of the largest consumers of the metal—used in the batteries that power its gadgets—but is looking to go directly to the source for the first time amid rising competition from the burgeoning electric vehicle industry. People familiar with the matter said Apple is trying “to secure several thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or longer” in discussions that have been going on for more than a year. While Apple may just stick with relying on its battery manufacturers and scrap the direct buying route, plenty of other companies are going straight to the source. BMW, Volkswagen and Samsung are all working on deals with mining companies to secure their sources, with some signing deals that extend for a decade or more.

Regulatory filings and code in iOS 11.3 beta hint at new iPad models

A set of new regulatory filings with the Eurasian Economic Commission shows Apple has registered two new iPads, Consomac reports. The devices, listed as tablets running iOS 11, were registered with serial numbers that don’t correspond to any existing iPads. Last month, developer Filipe Espósito dug up references to an “iPad_Modern” in the iOS 11.3 beta that echoes the earlier use of “iPhone_Modern” to refer to the iPhone X, but it’s still unclear if a new iPad would have the look and/or features of the iPhone X. Regardless of what form they end up taking, Apple has been approved by the EEC to sell two new iPads likely to debut relatively soon.

Apple releases third iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 betas to registered developers

Apple has released the third betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 to registered developers. While iOS 11.3 adds a few interesting new features, the third beta seems to mostly consist of bug fixes and relatively minor improvements, following the introduction of the battery health feature in iOS 11.3 beta 2, although iOS 11.3 beta 3 is also now available for the sixth-generation iPod touch, which was excluded from the two prior betas. It is likely that updated public beta versions will also appear in the next day or two.

Update: MacRumors reports, and we’ve also confirmed, that the third beta of iOS 11.3 also removes support for AirPlay 2 and the Apple TV entry in the Apple Home app. The release notes make no mention of this, so it’s unclear whether these are coming back in a future iOS 11.3 beta or will be pushed off to a later release.

Apple renews Carpool Karaoke for second season

CBS has announced that Apple has renewed Carpool Karaoke for a second season, 9to5Mac reports. The show’s Apple Music version was delayed to scrub the episodes of potentially offensive language and met with mixed reviews after finally being released. Apple has shied away from pushing the envelope in its video content, since the company reportedly plans to release its first few projects to everyone with an Apple device and that leaves top executives hesitant to greenlight anything that parents wouldn’t want kids to see. The first season had to be edited to remove “foul language and references to vaginal hygiene,” so it’s unclear if Apple will make any changes to the production formula for a second season.

Woman credits Apple Watch with saving lives after car crash

A woman involved in a crash with an alleged drunk driver said her Apple Watch allowed her to alert authorities and get help quickly, Shape reports. Kacie Anderson was waiting at a red light with her nine-month-old baby when her car was struck. “The moment he hit us everything inside the car went airborne,” Anderson said. When her phone proved out of reach, Anderson used the SOS feature on her Apple Watch to call 911. Anderson credits the feature with “saving” her and her son after she suffered severe injuries and was unable to move.

HomePod’s embarrasing ‘white ring’ problem on wood surfaces should find quick fix

The vibrations from Apple’s HomePod that are leaving a white silicone ring on wood surfaces treated with oil have marred the product’s launch, but Business Insider thinks a fix won’t be too difficult to implement, according to industry experts. Apple spent a lot of time and effort on getting the sound right, but Ignazio Moresco, a product design expert who has worked at Frog Design, Microsoft and Ericsson, said a “rigorous QA process” should have caught the issue before it was released to consumers. “They didn’t test the product enough and in the right variety of circumstances, especially considering that a wood surface is a very likely support for the product,” Moresco said.

Apple releases iOS 11.2.6 with Telugu character fix, watchOS 4.2.3 and tvOS 11.2.6

Apple has released iOS 11.2.6 with an update that fixes issues with third-party apps connecting to external accessories and a bug causing the Indian Tegulu character to crash Messages and other apps. Apple had fixed the special character bug in the iOS 11.3 beta, but seems to have pushed out the fix early to keep users from having to wait for the next big release. A macOS 10.13.3 update fixes the Tegulu problem for Mac users, and Apple also released tvOS 11.2.6 for Apple TV and watchOS 4.2.3 for Apple Watch.

Happy Presidents’ Day from iLounge

Happy Presidents’ Day from all of us here at iLounge! In observance of the U.S. holiday, alongside Family Day in Canada, we’ll be on a limited publishing schedule today. We will be back to normal updates tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 20. Thanks for reading!

Apple promotes Apple Watch fitness with new ‘Close Your Rings’ page

Apple has launched a new Close Your Rings page, promoting the fitness features of the Apple Watch while also providing basic guidance on how the three activity rings work and some quick tips for staying active and closing them each day. The page provides practical suggestions for each goal, such as “playing chase with your kids” to close the Move ring, using fitness apps to close the Exercise ring, and getting up to visit a co-worker or get some water to close the Stand ring, while also explaining how each ring works and the health benefits related to them. Additional tips are also provided, such as how to add the Activity rings to a watch face, how to change a Move goal, and how monthly challenges, achievements, and sharing all work. [via 9to5Mac]

Nokia rethinking its Digital Health business

Nokia has announced that it is undertaking a “review of strategic options” regarding its Digital Health business, a market that the company entered two years ago when it acquired Withings. The rather brief post highlights the suite of products in the company’s Digital Health portfolio — hybrid smart watches, scales, and digital health devices that effectively all came from the Withings brand — and notes that the review “may or may not result in any transaction and other licensing changes” and that it will make another announcements “if and when appropriate.” While the vague blog post is relatively unclear, the review suggests that Nokia may be considering divesting itself from the health business altogether, after recent reports suggesting that it had overestimated the value of Withings’ assets in the first place, and struggles with regulatory issues that resulted in some features being removed from its products earlier this year. [via The Verge]

iDevices releases ‘Instant Switch’ wireless remote wall switch

iDevices has released Instant Switch, a new accessory designed to provide an easily-mountable wall switch for controlling other accessories within the iDevices ecosystem (HomeKit support does not appear to be included at this time). The battery-powered Instant Switch can be placed anywhere, and pairs with other iDevices products over Bluetooth to provide convenient control of lights and outlets. Instant Switch can be paired with any of iDevices’ wall outlet accessories to switch attached appliances on or off, or even with iDevices’ Wall Switch to easily and inexpensively create a three- or four-way switching solution with no additional wiring required. Instant Switch mounts to a wall using a standard peel-and-stick adhesive, and is also designed to be compatible with any standard rocker faceplate. A pre-installed battery that promises a two-year lifespan is also included. iDevices’ Instant Switch is available now directly from iDevices’ web site for $34.95.

Apple to require all new iOS apps to support iPhone X starting in April

Apple has announced that all new apps submitted to the App Store after April 2018 will be required to support the iPhone X. In an e-mail sent to registered developers, the company heralded the new features that iOS 11 has brought to the iOS platform, adding that “Starting April 2018, all new iOS apps submitted to the App Store must be built with the iOS 11 SDK, included in Xcode 9 or later. All new apps for iPhone, including universal apps, must support the Super Retina display of iPhone X.” Apple’s page on Submitting iOS apps to the App Store also adds that developers should make sure their App Store product page showcases updates for the Super Retina display of the iPhone X, and provides additional tips for developers on how to make sure that their apps look great on the iPhone X and how to submit proper screenshots for their App Store pages.

New iOS 11 bug crashing iPhones when a special character is received

A bug in iOS 11.2.5 has been discovered that’s will crash the iPhone when a specific Indian-language character is received in a text message or e-mail, The Verge reports. Originally discovered by Italian blog Mobile World, the bug affects iPhones running iOS 11.2.5 as well as Messages and Safari on macOS, and has been confirmed as affecting not only the built-in Messages and Mail apps, but also third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook, and Gmail. The crash is triggered when the device receives the Indian language Telugu character, which will cause the iOS Springboard to crash and prevent the affected app such as Messages to open as a result of trying and failing to load the character, at least until the point at which another message is received.

Twelve South adds iPhone X version of its SurfacePad case in exclusive colors

Twelve South has released an iPhone X version of its popular SurfacePad case. Like other SurfacePad cases, this one sticks to the back of the device using the company’s SurfaceGrip adhesive and provides a thin layer of protection around the front and back of the device. The case includes automatic sleep/wake functionality when the case is open and closed. Like previous SurfacePad cases it folds into a stand to watch videos and includes slots to hold credit cards. The $50 case comes in the standard black and also cognac and teal colors specific to the iPhone X.

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