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Marshall unveils Wireless Multi-Room Speaker System

Marshall has introduced The Marshall Wireless Multi-Room System, the first Wi-Fi speaker lineup from the iconic audio company. The new multi-room speakers build on the designs of its wireless Bluetooth product range that debuted four years ago with the Stanmore, and the new speakers follow the same style and naming convention, with the classic Acton, Stanmore, and Woburn designs now available in “Multi-Room” versions, starting at $350. The new speakers provide full AirPlay compatibility along with support for Chromecast and Spotify Connect as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a 3.5mm input jack along with RCA inputs to connect a traditional turntable or preamp.

Apple raises over $3 million for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

Apple has raised over $3 million in donations for Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts, according to an internal e-mail sent by Tim Cook to employees, as reported by BuzzFeed News. Apple began accepting donations on Sunday for Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts via the iTunes Store, with funds going directly to the American Red Cross. In an e-mail sent out on Wednesday afternoon, Tim Cook discussed the effects of Hurricane Harvey, lauding the company’s fundraising impact, and noting that Texas is home to more than 8,700 Apple employees, and that the company has a global crisis management team on the ground in Texas helping to move some of the employees and their families who are impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Cook also added that Apple is matching employee donations two-for-one, in addition to a pledge of $2 million the company has made from its own coffers. Further, Cook also acknowledged Apple employees in the Houston area who have “generously been helping people displaced by the flooding by opening their homes to team members and their families, and in some cases, assisting in rescue operations.”

Apple receives an Emmy for Siri Integration on Apple TV

Apple has received an 2017 Technical / Engineering Achievement Emmy Award in the category of Contextual Voice Navigation for Discovering and Interacting with TV Content for the company’s Siri voice integration on the fourth-generation Apple TV. The award was given to Apple alongside Comcast, Universal Electronics, and Nuance Dragon TV.

New details emerge on ‘iPhone 8’ design, removal of Home Button

A new report from Bloomberg provides an in-depth look at the user interface changes that will likely accompany the buttonless “iPhone 8” expected to make its debut next month. With Apple expected to eliminate the concept of a home button entirely and effectively turn its flagship iPhone into one big screen, many of the classic iPhone user interactions will have to change along with it. The iconic home button has been a key component of the iPhone’s design since it launched in 2007, providing a single an intuitive control that users can click to return to their home screen. While later iOS updates added more functions to the home button accessed via press-and-hold and double and triple-click gestures, the main function of the button has remained the same for the past decade.

Amazon Prime tvOS app may not launch until after Apple’s September event

According to Recode, Amazon’s Apple TV app may not be ready in time for it to debut alongside the new 4K Apple TV next month. Although Apple only said it would be coming “later this year” when it announced Amazon Prime for the tvOS platform, many assumed it would be logical for Amazon to have the app ready to rollout for September’s event, particularly with Apple expected to debut a new Apple TV. The latest information from Recode, included as a footnote to an article discussing today’s earlier news about 4K content, indicates simply that its sources “say the app may not be live in time for next month’s product launch,” although it’s unclear if this actually represents any change to Amazon’s plans for launching the Amazon Prime tvOS app.

WSJ confirms a 4K Apple TV is coming, Apple and Hollywood struggling with pricing for content

Apple and Hollywood studios are once having difficulty coming to terms for movie distribution, this time concerning pricing for the offering of 4K “Ultra-HD” content on the iTunes Store. Confirming rumours of a new 4K-capable Apple TV, a new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Apple has been “scrambling” to strike deals with the studios to ensure content is available on the new set-top box when it’s expected to launch next month. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple has met resistance from the Hollywood studios in terms of what should be an acceptable price at which to offer ultra-HD content, with Apple pushing to sell movies at a standard price of $19.99 — the same price the company currently charges for new release HD movies — while Hollywood studios want to add a $5 to $10 premium for higher-definition 4K content.

Apple releases eighth developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released an eighth set of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, continuing to address a number of issues in the prior developer previews as we inch closer to their expected release next month. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will also likely follow within the next day or so.

Apple to hold product launch event on Sept. 12

A new report from the Wall Street Journal confirms rumours from last week that Apple is planning to hold its fall product launch event on Sept. 12. WSJ cites “people briefed on its plans” who provided the date of the event as well as information about a possible venue, but did not offer any further specifics on what would be launched. Other sources suggest that Apple will unveil three new iPhone models — two modest upgrades to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus along with a premium “iPhone 8” model that would feature and edge-to-edge display and facial recognition technology; other recent reports have suggested a next-generation Apple Watch with cellular capabilities will be announced at the same time as the new iPhone models.

iOS 11 beta code reveals new Apple Watch workouts

More new workout options may be coming to the Apple Watch, according to a new report from MacRumors. Developers have been poring over the recently leaked HomePod firmware and various iOS 11 betas, looking for various pieces of code and other resources that may provide insights into what’s coming from Apple. The latest new discovery, found by iHelp BR, shows code strings and icons within the iOS 11 FitnessUI framework that refer to a fairly extensive list of new workouts for Apple’s watchOS Workout app, including basketball, bowling, climbing, cricket, cross-country skiing, curling, dance, equestrian sports, fencing, fishing, golf, gymnastics, jump rope, pilates, skating, surfing, and more.

Apple expands ‘App Development with Swift’ curriculum to over 30 Community Colleges

Apple has announced that, starting this fall, its App Development with Swift curriculum will be offering in over 30 community colleges through the United States. Designed by engineers and educators at Apple, the full-year course is geared toward students with no programming experience, taking them to the point of building fully-functional apps of their own design for the macOS and iOS platforms.

Apple publishes details of deep learning improvements to Siri voice quality in iOS 11

Apple’s latest post on its fledgling Machine Learning Journal provides some interesting insights into how the company is using artificial intelligence technology to not only improve Siri’s speech recognition capabilities, but to make the personal assistant’s voice sound more natural, smother, and provide more personality. The article provides technical details about the deep learning technology used to improve Siri behind the scenes, describing the basic technology behind speech synthesis and the differing approaches used to provide digitized and sampled speech, and how previously lower-quality “parametric” speech synthesis is being improved by the implementation of deep learning in speech technology.

 

Kensington releases new SecureBack Rugged Case for using Square reader with iPad

Kensington has released its new SecureBack Rugged Case, geared toward businesses that use an iPad and a Square reader to conduct their sales. The dual-layer case for 9.7-inch iPad, iPad Air or iPad Air 2 has a non-slip grip to keep the device in the user’s hand (and rubber cushioning to keep it safe when it falls out), along with a rotating hand strap and padded shoulder strap to provide different carrying options throughout the day. Cover plates keep customers from tampering with the power button and volume controls, while cutouts provide protection for the Square Contactless & Chip Reader and support for a Square Magstripe Reader. The case doesn’t include a ClickSafe cable lock, but one can be purchased to help further guard against theft if the user is willing to sacrifice mobility. The case — available now for $100 — can also be turned into an anchored kiosk with the available stand for those who want the ability to switch from anchored to mobile on the fly.

Reports: Apple will reveal ‘iPhone 8’ on Sept. 12 with 64GB, 256GB and 512GB options

A pair of reports from hit-or-miss sources claim the “iPhone 8” will be revealed at an event on September 12 and come in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options. In a Chinese-language social media post, GeekBar founder Lei Ge provided what he claims is an image of Sandisk flash memory chips destined for the next-generation iPhone. In addition to revealing the upgraded base storage capacity, Ge also predicts the new device will be called the “iPhone Edition” rather than the “iPhone 8,” borrowing the naming convention used in the initial rollout of the top-of-the-line Apple Watch. Whatever the device ends up being called, French site Mac4Ever claims carrier sources have revealed that the official Apple event announcing it will be held on Sept. 12, a week later than some others are predicting. Carriers typically know about the launches in advance to prepare their stores and staff for pre-orders and overnight stocking requirements. The carriers didn’t have a firm launch date to share, but the site predicts that the new iPhones would hit stores on Sept. 22, the Friday of the week after the announcement. [via 9to5Mac]

Latch unveils new HomeKit-enabled Latch C smart deadbolt

Startup smartlock maker Latch has created a new HomeKit-enabled deadbolt that lets users unlock their door with Siri using the iOS Home app, TechCrunch reports. The device includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities and boasts a wide-angle camera, a touchscreen and various other sensors alongside a traditional key slot for those who prefer to unlock the door the old-fashioned way. The Latch C can also provide temporary access to service providers or guests and maintains a digital log of who goes in and out using the camera. The company is backed by various real estate funds and is more business-facing than consumer-facing — meaning its Latch C deadbolt, Latch M mortise doorknob/lock and Latch R electronic reader for apartment building entrances are geared toward the owners of rental properties.

New details, possible photos of iPhone 8’s 3D sensor emerge

In a memo obtained by 9to5Mac, well-respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple has a “significant lead” on Qualcomm wjhen it comes to 3D sensors, saying Apple is likely two years ahead of its rival. Qualcomm’s “immature” software and hardware will likely delay the appearance of 3D sensing technology in Android phones and give Apple a rare moment where it is first to market with a new feature. As Bloomberg points out, Apple usually prefers to perfect technological advancements rather than rush to be first to market, but their analysis shows that the iPhone 8’s expected advancements in using infrared sensors to detect depth, improve scene detection, boost AR applications and use facial recognition both to unlock the device and authorize payments will all be new in the smartphone space this time around. A photo on Slashleaks claims to show the module responsible for all the 3D sensing magic, but the post has no accompnaying information to help verify whether it is genuine.

iOS 11 beta shows Control Center interface, new swipe gestures; tvOS 11 beta hints at 4K video

New betas have been released for iOS 11, tvOS 11 watchOS 4 and macOS 10, and developer Guilherme Rambo has discovered a couple of gems amid all the bug fixes and minor improvements. In ios 11, Rambo found one video that seems to show off a new swipe-up gesture used to activate the iOS app switcher and another that runs through changes to the lock screen interface. Swiping down brings the lock screen up from anywhere in the operating system, and while a left swipe still brings up the device’s widgets, a right swipe now seems to bring up the phone’s Control Center instead of activating the camera as it does in iOS 10. Swiping up from the bottom — which activated the Control Center in iOS 10 — now turns on the iOS app switcher, which previously was accessed by a home button double tap or by swiping right after pressing down on the left edge of the screen; the latter method has already been removed from iOS 11

Promise Technology releases Apollo Cloud 2 Duo personal cloud system

For those who enjoy the benefits of the cloud but are more than a little wary of trusting their data to third-parties, Promise Technology has released the Apollo cloud storage device to combine the benefits of the cloud combined with keeping data safely inside the home. The Apollo Cloud 2 Duo provides 8TB of space split between two surveillance-class hard drives that can be accessed remotely with a dedicated app, all with no subscription fees. Up to 40 members can have access to the system and time-limited links can also provide access to files with outside users. Photos uploaded to the system can be sorted using facial recognition and/or location, making it simpler to find photos of specific people or places. The device is available now for $449 and is compatible with iOS and macOS operating systems.

New details from Aetna meeting show concerns about Apple Watch privacy, costs

Mandi Bishop, now running a startup called Lifely Insights after running Dell’s health analytics section, said Apple was very focused on privacy at the previously reported meeting between the company, Aetna and other health influences, CNBC reports. Aetna employees asked about how data sharing with outside vendors would be handled and if it would be possible to extract measurements like heart rate and other vitals to be store in a personal health record. “Both companies wanted to make sure that we knew what data is shared and what isn’t,” Bishop said. Privacy is particularly important for employees of self-insured companies, who could potentially target their workers for termination if doing so would cut their insurance rates substantially.

iOS 11 introduces way to prevent Touch ID from opening device with fingerprint

Those testing the iOS 11 public beta have discovered pressing an iPhone or iPad’s lock button five time or opening a Medical ID now disables Touch ID and forces a user to enter their passcode to unlock the device. A source told 9to5Mac that the behavior is intentional, claiming it’s aimed at protecting people who have fallen unconscious from having their fingerprint used to access their private information. However Apple ends up presenting the feature, it can also clearly be used to protect information from police if used before an arrest, as at least some judges have proved willing to compel suspects to allow their fingerprint to be used to discover data that could incriminate them.

Report: iPhone 8 facial recognition unlocks in ‘millionths of a second’

The iPhone 8’s facial recognition sensors “can deeply sense a user’s face in the millionths of a second,” The Korea Herald reports. The source claims 3D sensors will be integrated in both the front and rear cameras to provide augmented reality experiences in real time, but provided scant information on how they would work. In an effort to answer that question, The Wall Street Journal points to Apple’s 2013 acquisition of PrimeSense, an Israeli company that helped develop Kinect motion sensors for the Xbox 360. That depth-sensing technology — referred to as “structured light” — emits thousands of tiny infrared dots and senses their reflection to gather highly accurate depth information that could even be used to unlock the device in total darkness. Apple declined to comment, but leaked firmware for the HomePod seems to reveal that the iPhone will have some form of depth and facial recognition sensors.

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