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.
A new patent application uncovered by Patently Apple reveals that the company may be considering the expansion of Apple Pay into a wallet system capable of handling person-to-person transactions. Patent application 20150186887 describes a method that would allow two iPhone users to make a private sales transaction authenticated with Touch ID. The system would leverage the iOS Wallet/Passbook app and an encrypted wireless communication channel between the two devices likely similar in concept to the technology Apple already uses for transferring data via AirDrop; the Wallet app would identify nearby devices enabled for receiving payments and allow the user to select a target device to send a payment to, enter an amount, authenticate the payment with Touch ID, and send it to the other device. The receiving user would then have the option of accepting or declining the payment, and choosing a target payment applet such as a mobile banking app. The invention is attributed to Apple’s Senior Director of Apple Pay Engineering Timothy Hurley (formerly of Citibank) and Apple Pay engineer Ahmer Khan. The patent application was originally filed last year and as with many of Apple’s patent applications there are no guarantees as to when or if anything contained in the application may actually come to fruition. [via 9to5Mac]
An alleged internal document posted by a Foxconn employee on Weibo suggests that the next-generation iPhone models may in fact include an upgraded camera at a 12-megapixel resolution capable of recording 4K video, iPhoneArena reports. This latest information seemingly corroborates earlier analyst predictions on a pixel upgrade for the new device, as well as multiple rumors suggesting that the new models will also get an increase to 2GB of RAM. While the original documents have since been removed from Weibo, copies have been making the rounds online. They also mention internal model numbers of N66 for the iPhone 6S and N71 for the iPhone 6S Plus, and suggest that the front camera on both models will be an upgrade to 5 megapixels.
A newer Qualcomm LTE chip in Apple’s upcoming iPhone will be able to deliver “up to twice the theoretical LTE download speeds” compared to the current iPhones, according to 9to5Mac. Qualcomm’s MDM9635M chip is capable of offering 300 Mbps download speeds, as compared to the current 150 Mbps download speeds found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Upload speeds will be the same, however (50 Mbps), and the report notes real world performance will likely hover around 225 Mbps “or lower,” depending on cellular network performance. Since the new processor is more power efficient, it may mean slight battery gains — the report also claims the next iPhone motherboard will be thinner, possibly allowing for a larger battery.
A new iOS 9 beta will be arriving “early next week,” according to a tweet from Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue. Cue was responding to another tweet asking why Apple didn’t release Apple Music to developers — presumably, the upcoming third iOS 9 beta will contain Apple Music. Apple just released the second iOS 9 beta last week, alongside its watchOS 2 beta for Apple Watch.
Apple released iTunes 12.2 a bit later than usual on Tuesday, but as expected, the new release brings Apple Music to the Mac. iTunes 12.2 includes full Apple Music support, including Beats 1 and Apple Music Radio. The newest edition of iTunes can be downloaded on Apple’s iTunes website or through the Mac App Store.
A new report from 9to5Mac reveals that the exterior design of this year’s “iPhone 6S” models will look substantially the same on the outside despite a collection of internal changes. Citing “a proven source familiar with Apple’s supply chain,” the report claims, as others have, that Apple is planning on bringing Force Touch to the new models. However, the design of the iPhone 6S will be identical to the current iPhone 6 in terms of thickness and width, although it was less clear whether the same would apply to the iPhone 6S Plus. The new models will, however, reportedly include a different internal mounting structure for the new logic board and components, meaning casings will not be interchangeable between the devices. The design of the rear casing seems to quash the rumours of a dual-lens camera system, since it sports the same holes for camera, microphone, and LED flash as the current iPhone 6. Other design features such as the antenna lines, connectors, speakers, and microphones remain present.
A federal appeals court ruled against Apple Tuesday, affirming that the company conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices, Reuters reports. The 2-1 decision upheld a lower court ruling that the agreement that raised e-book prices to higher levels than those previously charged by Amazon violated antitrust laws. In his dissenting opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Jacobs said he would have reversed the ruling, holding that Apple’s behavior was pro-competitive in taking on “monopolist” Amazon, which controls about 90 percent of the e-book market.
Losing the appeal means Apple is on the hook for the previously determined $450 million settlement to resolve U.S. state and consumer claims from the case. The loss also means that Apple’s contentious relationship with its court-appointed antitrust monitor will continue. Neither Apple nor the Justice Department commented on the ruling.
The updated iTunes terms of service rolling out with Apple Music today indicate that carriers may be handling at least some Apple Music subscriptions. “Where available, you may be offered an Apple Music Subscription through your carrier (a ‘Carrier Subscription’). If you purchase a Carrier Subscription, your carrier will bill you for the cost of your Apple Music Subscription,” the updated terms read. Apple makes it clear that issues with subscriptions purchased this way will have to be handled with the carrier, not Apple, and that buying a carrier subscription will mean the carrier and Apple exchanging a user’s personal information. Which carriers will be offering Apple Music subscriptions is still unclear. AT&T currently handles subscriptions for Beats Music, which will be canceled when Beats Music users migrate to Apple Music according to a Beats support page.
The Apple Music update also makes the iCloud Music Library feature available to subscribers logged in with their Apple ID. The iCloud Music Library is turned on automatically when users set up their Apple Music subscription, and like iTunes Match, the library can hold up to 25,000 songs, not including those a user has purchased in iTunes. A tweet from iTunes head Eddy Cue teased that the capacity for the iCloud Music Library will go from the 25,000 tracks to 100,000 tracks soon, but as it stands 25,000 is the limit at launch. While listening to Apple Music radio stations, users can store songs they like on the cloud for later playback, but those letting their Apple Music subscriptions lapse will lose access to any saved Apple Music content in the iCloud Music Library that hasn’t also been purchased through iTunes.
Apple has released iOS 8.4, and with it, Apple Music makes its much-anticipated debut within the redesigned Music app. Apple Music’s DJ-curated Beats 1 station will begin broadcasting at 12 p.m. Eastern time. The full scope of Apple Music features will eventually cost $10/month, but all the features are available to users free of charge for the first three months. iOS 8.4 also includes iBooks improvements and bug fixes.
Apple has announced that it will release its Q3 financial results on Tuesday, July 21. As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q3 of revenue between $46 billion and $48 billion, and gross margin between 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.
Beats founder Jimmy Iovine and Apple’s head of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue are banking on human curation to set Apple Music apart from other streaming services, The Loop reports. Iovine said Beats 1 is less predictable than an algorithm-based playlist that leaves users stuck in a certain era or certain sound. Adding DJs back into the mix — but leaving them free from worrying about playing songs just because they’re hits at the moment — provides the flexibility to have an indie artist follow a mainstream act, or a rap track follow a rock song. “It works,” said Iovine. “And it works because the DJ is in the middle explaining how it works. DJs give you context.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor said other music services left him “feeling a little lacking.” For Reznor, who helped create Beats 1, the listening experience should make music discovery more accessible, like walking into a record shop where people are taking the time to help customers navigate through unfamiliar genres. “It’s exciting,” Reznor said. “And you leave with stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed you wanted and you’re excited to listen and share it and experience it.”
Dr. Dre’s classic rap album “The Chronic” will make its streaming debut tomorrow on Apple Music, Rolling Stone reports. The 1992 album joins Taylor Swift’s “1989” as another big-name album currently only streaming on Apple Music. Years of legal battles even kept “The Chronic” off Dre’s own Beats Music. Dre was granted proceeds from digital sales of the album in a 2011 court victory, but the album is still unavailable for purchase on iTunes and was notably absent when Beats Music launched in 2014, despite falling under the umbrella of Beats Electronics’ deal with Apple.
Apple has pushed up its usual release time by a few hours for iOS 8.4 ahead of Apple Music’s release Tuesday, Apple Insider reports. In a now-deleted blog post, Apple Music’s senior director Ian Rogers said iOS 8.4 will become available at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (11 a.m. EST) to allow users to use Apple Music and hear the inaugural broadcast of Apple’s Beats 1 radio programming. Beats 1 will start its global broadcasting with former BBC DJ Zane Lowe an hour later.
An Apple Music Facebook event encourages users to update to iOS 8.4 and directs them to another site spelling out requirements for using the streaming service. The new Music app in iOS 8.4 is needed to run Apple Music on an iPhone, which can then sync with an Apple Watch to provide playback “even when your paired iPhone is not nearby.” New Apple Music users with existing iTunes libraries will have access to their entire collection through iCloud, and Beats Music users opening the Beats Music app on an iOS device tomorrow will be prompted to join Apple Music, where their saved playlists and albums will be made available.
Apple also promises to roll out Apple Music to Android this fall, and Apple spokesman Tony Neumayr confirmed to Buzzfeed that Apple Music is coming to Sonos devices “before the end of the year” after previous reports claimed that the service wouldn’t be available on Sonos. Beats Music, which is owned by Apple, works on Sonos, but iTunes Radio and many other features that have been folded into Apple Music still don’t. More music updates are on the horizon as well, with iTunes head Eddy Cue tweeting that work is underway on expanding the size of iTunes Match libraries from 25,000 tracks to 100,000 tracks.
Apple has started production on new iPhone models that include Force Touch, Bloomberg reports. Sources with knowledge of the matter said the new iPhones have the same 4.7” and 5.5” measurements as the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. Higher-volume manufacturing is scheduled to ramp up as soon as next month, with assembly expected to go smoothly, because the phones also have the same exterior design as the 6 and 6 Plus. The only potential problem is the supply and yield of the new Force Touch-capable displays, which could cause production snags or influence the timing of the new iPhone’s release, one source said. Apple didn’t comment on the story, but it was reported months ago that Apple would be adding Force Touch to new iPhone models, and iOS 9 will support the new technology.
During a press event held in Toronto last night, Parrot provided demos and additional details on its new Minidrone lineup for 2015. Originally announced on the company’s French site earlier this month, Parrot has now confirmed that all of the new models will be arriving for sale in the U.S. and Canada this fall. While the complete lineup consists of thirteen visually distinct Minidrones, the models are grouped into three general product categories: the ground-based “Jumping” drones, the classic “Airborne” drones, and the new water-based “Hydrofoil” drones.
Apple has updated the terms of its AppleCare+ Protection Plan for the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch, now providing coverage for units where the battery retains less than 80% of its original capacity, an update from the previous terms that provided coverage at only the same 50% battery depletion. In situations where the battery will not hold a charge of at least 80% of its “original specifications” Apple will either “repair the defect at no charge” or simply exchange the device with a new or equivalent-to-new replacement unit. The updated policy includes all iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch models, however it only takes effect for new AppleCare+ coverage purchased after April 9th, 2015; AppleCare+ plans purchased prior to that date continue under the original terms in effect at the time the coverage was purchased. [via MacRumors]
A profile of Zane Lowe — the influential radio DJ hired to be one of the top “creative minds” behind Apple Music’s Beats 1 — has also revealed a number of high-profile musicians who will be hosting their own shows on the Internet radio station. The New York Times reports Elton John will host “Elton John’s Rocket Hour,” and Dr. Dre will host “The Pharmacy.” Other Beats 1 hosts will include Drake and Pharrell — who have already been linked to Apple Music — as well as St. Vincent, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and British electronic duo Disclosure. Oddly, Jaden Smith — actor and son of Will Smith (and notable tweeter) — will also host a Beats 1 show.
Apple has apparently removed all apps that include the Confederate flag from its App Store, including games set around the American Civil War, TouchArcade reports. The move comes on the heels of a number of other major U.S. retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, and eBay removing all Confederate flag merchandise from their stores in the wake of the recent tragic shooting in Charleston. Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out a tweet on Sunday making reference to “removing symbols & words that feed” racism.
Developers affected by Apple’s decision have received messages stating that their apps are being removed as they include “images of the confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.” Some developers have expressed concern that Apple may be casting too wide of a net, however, banning apps such as period-based games that incorporate the flag merely in an appropriate historical context, such as in games set around the American Civil war.