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Shareholders seek more diversity in Apple upper management

A small group of investors is pushing Apple to increase diversity on its board of directors and at senior management levels, but the company is pushing back against those efforts, The Verge reports. For the second straight year, investor Tony Maldonado has submitted a proposal asking Apple to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy ... to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors.” But in an SEC filing, Apple’s board argued it already has “much broader” efforts at achieving diversity improvements in place. Apple claims Maldonado’s policy “is not necessary or appropriate because we have already demonstrated our commitment to a holistic view of inclusion and diversity.” Maldonado countered that the company is using the diversity numbers from its retail operations to mask the fact that it is doing less to promote women and minorities to the company’s higher posts.

Apple to fight Nebraska ‘right to repair’ bill

Apple is gearing up to fight “right to repair” legislation currently making its way through the Nebraska state legislature, Motherboard reports. Nebraska is one of eight states considering legislation that would force Apple and other electronics manufacturers to provide the public with diagnostic and service manuals so they can do their own repairs, but Nebraska is the first state to schedule hearings for the proposed law. A source within the legislature said “an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist” will testify against the bill during the March 9 hearing, arguing that customers trying to make their own modifications could cause the device’s lithium battery to catch fire. Apple declined to comment on the story, but the company has successfully lobbied against similar legislation in the past, most recently last year in New York. The bills gained new steam this year after being backed by the trade organization Repair.org and endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Apple eyeing another supplier for future OLED screens

Apple is currently in discussions with Chinese technology company BOE to begin supplying OLED screens for the iPhone as early as 2018, Bloomberg reports. Apple has currently contracted with Samsung to provide 160 million OLED displays for its 2017 iPhones, but people familiar with the discussions said Apple is considering adding BOE to its list of suppliers moving forward to offset the chances of experiencing an OLED display shortfall. BOE is building new OLED plants in China in anticipation of ramping up production in the hopes of becoming Apple’s first display provider outside of Japan and South Korea. LG is also set to begin supplying foldable OLED screens to Apple starting in 2018.

Facebook announces Apple TV app along with iOS app video improvements

Facebook has announced its rumored video-centric app for the Apple TV, alongside several other improvements to viewing videos within the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad. Originally rumored earlier this month to be in development, the new Facebook app is expected to “roll out soon” on the Apple TV App Store, alongside support for several other smart TV platforms and media devices such as Amazon’s Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. The new app will allow users to watch top videos, videos shared by friends and shared on Pages that they follow, recommended videos, and videos that have been saved to watch later.

Apple patents another way to scan fingerprints without Touch ID sensor

Apple has been granted a patent for a new type of fingerprint reading technology that doesn’t require a dedicated scanning sensor. The patent was originally filed by LuxVue before that company was bought by Apple in 2014. The design uses a combination of micro-LED light and infrared diodes to detect a pattern, making it possible to scan a fingerprint without the use of the capacitive metal ring in Apple’s current Touch ID sensor. The improvement could allow Apple to finally get rid of the dedicated home button and increase the iPhone’s screen size while still allowing the device to be unlocked with a fingerprint. The technology could also lead to other new features for the iPhone’s display, such as the ability to partially dim the screen depending on the available light, or even to dim certain areas of the screen to tackle glare. [via Apple Insider]

Report: Apple to make room for larger battery in future 4.7” OLED iPhone

Photo: MacRumors

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims a new 4.7” OLED iPhone will feature a more expensive stacked logic board to accommodate a larger battery. Kuo said the phone would be able to pack the battery life of a 5.5” iPhone into a device roughly the same size as the current 4.7” model. With a number of seemingly conflicting reports emerging now with regards to how many iPhone models Apple will release this year, it’s unclear if there would be only one 4.7” iPhone and 5.5” iPhone, a 4.7” OLED iPhone in addition to two LCD base models, or two versions of both form factors — a 4.7” LCD iPhone, a 5.5” LCD iPhone, a 4.7” OLED iPhone, and a 5.5” OLED iPhone, all with differentiating features and names. And that doesn’t even factor in the rumored 5.8” high-end iPhone. Some of these possibilities seem highly unlikely to us, but this is just where the rumor mill appears to be at right now. Whichever direction Apple chooses to go, Kuo said the increased battery size combine with new OLED screen technology will greatly improve the battery life of the next iPhone. [via MacRumors]

Samsung wins new contract to supply Apple with OLED displays

Samsung has inked a new deal with Apple to supply the company with 60 million OLED displays for the next iPhone, The Korea Herald reports. The new deal comes after last year’s announcement that Samsung would be making 100 million OLED screens for Apple, bringing the new total to 160 million. Apple sells an estimated 200 million iPhones a year, but it’s still unclear whether the OLED screens will be used in all of Apple’s 2017 iPhones or just in the expected “iPhone X” premium model. Samsung is currently the only supplier able to ship OLED displays in time for the iPhone’s likely September release, since LG’s reported deal to provide Apple with foldable OLED displays wouldn’t go into effect until 2018.

Report: Only new high-end iPhone getting wireless charging, charger to be sold separately

Citing sources in Taiwan, Macotakara claims only one of the three iPhone models expected to be released this year will have a glass back and be equipped for wireless charging. While it’s possible that the feature will be included to differentiate the “iPhone 8” (or “iPhone X”) from the other models, early reports that Foxconn was having trouble delivering working charging modules could point to a need for Apple to scale back its plans due to the limited supply. The report also suggests that Apple won’t be providing the Lightining-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter that came with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus or a Lightning-to-USB-C cable that would make the phone compatible with the current line of MacBook Pros without buying the cable or using a dongle. Those wanting to make use of the wireless charging features in the “iPhone 8” would have to buy that charger separately as well.

Security researcher discovers Apple retains deleted browser history in iCloud

Security researchers at Elcomsoft, a company that developers forensic tools for extracting data from iOS devices, have discovered that Apple has been storing users’ Safari browsing histories in iCloud for extended periods of time, Forbes reports. Elcomsoft CEO Vladimir Katalov, who also discovered last November that Apple was storing iPhone call logs in iCloud, told Forbes that data stored in iCloud for syncing web browsing history and related data across iOS and macOS devices is actually retained in separate “tombstone” records even after browsing history entries have been “cleared” from Safari. Katalov indicated he came across the issue by accident when testing one of his company’s forensic tools to compare data extracted from an iPhone to the data from that iPhone’s linked iCloud account. According to Katalov, these records “stay in the cloud probably forever.”

Report: Apple addressing heat dissipation challenges in ‘iPhone X’ design

A new report from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple’s rumored 2017 flagship iPhone, now being referred to by many as the “iPhone X,” will face increased heat dissipation issues, AppleInsider reports. With the new high-end iPhone expected to incorporate wireless charging and a glass external casing — both factors that will generate and retain heat inside the device — Kuo expects that Apple will be adding a graphite sheet inside the iPhone to help dissipate heat. According to Kuo, Apple plans to switch to a new 3D Touch film sensor that will be more heat-sensitive. Kuo indicates that this addition should be enough to prevent any issues with malfunctions or performance due to overheating, such as that users “won’t notice a difference.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Following yesterday’s Fireside Chat at the University of Glasgow, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with UK Prime Minister Teresa May at her home at 10 Downing Street. A tweet from James Cook of Business Insider UK noted Cook’s appearance at the Prime Minister’s residence and later published a statement from a government spokesperson about the meeting.

According to the statement, Cook and May had a “positive and useful discussion” concerning Apple’s recent announcements about its investment in the U.K., the importance of government and business on developing digital skills, and May’s plans to negotiate the U.K.‘s exit from the EU.

Tim Cook discusses immigration ban, Steve Jobs’ influence at ‘Fireside Chat’

During Tim Cook’s visit to the University of Glasgow yesterday, the Apple CEO participated in a “Fireside Chat” with staff and students of the university, fielding questions on a number of topics, including politics, the environment, and Apple’s design philosophy. The University posted a number of photos and short video clips on its Twitter account, and one attendee posted a video of the full hour-long event on YouTube. The video was recorded from within the audience using an iPhone 7 Plus as dedicated cameras were not permitted at the event, so while it’s not an official video, it covers the entire event, including Cook receiving his honorary degree as well as the chat that occurred afterward.

Report: 2017 ‘10th Anniversary’ special edition iPhone could be priced above $1,000

A new report in Fast Company is fueling rumors that Apple is working on a special 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone that is “expected to be the ultimate iPhone” with a price tag that will be “very likely north of $1,000,” according to a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans. The report notes that the most expensive iPhone right now — the 256 GB iPhone 7 Plus — already sells for $969, and expects that the “iPhone 8” will be “packed with many more features,” including a new OLED display that the report’s source says will likely cost Apple twice as much as the LCD displays currently being used. The report also suggests that upgraded memory could significantly increase the price of the new premium 5.8-inch iPhone model that could be named the “iPhone 8” or the “iPhone X.”

EPIX launches Apple TV app

Today EPIX announced it has joined the ranks of other pay channels like HBO and Showtime, offering an Apple TV app for the first time. EPIX is offering a “limited free trial of the app exclusively on Apple TV,” with a report from Variety spelling out that new subscribers enrolling through Apple TV will receive a four-week free trial before having to sign up for the channel through their cable provider. The app provides access to the channel’s live programming and the ability to add content to a queue, search through the channel’s older content, browse curated collections and view movie trailers. The app is also available on iPhone and iPad, where users can download content for offline viewing.

Apple hires former Amazon, Netflix executive to run Apple TV marketing

Apple has recruited Timothy Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV unit, to be the new vice president heading up Apple TV’s product marketing, Bloomberg reports. The move has pushed out the role’s former occupant, Pete Distad, who sources say will now be working with Eddy Cue on Apple’s ongoing efforts to secure new streams of content. Twerdahl brings plenty of experience in the streaming content and set-top device industry, spending time as an executive at Netflix and vice president at Roku before he landed at Amazon.

Iovine: Apple’s original content strategy ‘has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing’

Photo: Variety

In an interview with Variety, Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine discussed his vision for building Apple’s streaming music service into a blending of “the worlds of Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry,” sharing some passing insights on Apple’s aims for its much-rumored original content strategy and how he believes streaming can be done “right.” In speaking to Apple’s move into original video content, Iovine made it clear that the company’s plans are focused entirely on material that fits in with and enhances the Apple Music experience in order to “make the music service a cultural point of reference” and that it’s not in any way about competing with Netflix.

To me it’s all one thing. It’s Apple Music, and it happens to have video and audio. … It has nothing to do with what Netflix is doing.

Apple makes App Launch, other features available to Apple TV accessory makers

Apple has given third-party Apple TV accessory makers access to tvOS specs that will allow them to make use of App Launch and a slew of new accessibility features, 9to5Mac reports. The tvOS 10.0.1 update released in October added support for the new features, but Apple only recently made the necessary information available to partners in the Made-for-iPhone/iPad/Apple TV licensing program. Now accessory makers producing things like game controllers can instruct the device to prompt users to install companion apps like iOS devices already do, simplifying the installation process and handling things like firmware updates. WiFi Accessory Configuration is also enabled to allow wireless devices piggyback off of the Apple TV to avoid manually selecting the correct network and entering the password to connect. VoiceOver features to provide audio cues for what’s on the screen for the visually impaired is also now possible.

Apple developing new ‘Ultra Accessory Connector’ for Made-for-iPhone accessories (Update: No)

Apple is preparing to adopt a new connector type for accessories, known as the Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC). The company has launched a developer preview of the new connector type, 9to5Mac reports. Sources claim this new, smaller connector could replace the use of Lightning and USB connectors in some cases. The 8-pin connector would be thinner than USB-C, and about half the width of Lightning and USB-C. According to the report, use of the connector is currently specified to be used on headphone cables — Apple would allow for Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm headphone jack to UAC connectors. While the smaller UAC would certainly “allow accessory makers to save space inside their designs,” this news will likely give rise to plenty of speculation on how the UAC will be incorporated into future Apple devices. There was plenty of confusion in 2012 when Apple introduced its Lightning Connector, so we’ll have to wait for official word on just how the company plans to use the UAC.

Update: Apple has clarified that the new connector in question has actually been around for years, The Verge reports. The ‘Ultra Accessory Connector’ is actually just Apple’s name for an 8-pin connector used in several products, including Nikon cameras. Apparently multiple cable manufacturers have their own names for the connection type and Apple was simply standardizing the naming convention, not creating a new connection type. To clarify, use of this connector is new to the MFi program, but that’s all.

Delayed BeatsX headphones to hit stores Feb. 10

The delayed BeatsX will be available at Apple stores in the U.S. and on the company’s website starting February 10, CNET reports. The $150 neckband-style headphones will feature Apple’s new power-efficient W1 chip already seen in AirPods, and will come in white or black. Beats has also announced gray and blue colors will be added, but there’s no official timeline for when those will appear or when international stores will be getting the headphones.

Apple patents ‘dual mode headphones’ that transform into standalone speaker

Apple has filed a patent for ‘dual mode’ headphones or earbuds that easily can be reconfigured into standalone speakers. Both the headphones and earbuds in the accompanying sketches have the ability to rotate to a freestanding position, which will trigger an internal sensor that tells the speakers to play at a much louder volume than when the device is right against the user’s ear. Apple already employs similar technology in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, using the phone’s ear speaker for stereo sound while the device is being held in a landscape position and reverting to the usual lower volume when the phone returns to the portrait orientation. [via Apple Insider]

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