In a letter to KGI investors, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple isn’t expected to introduce an updated iPhone SE in early 2017. Kuo said Apple’s reluctance to release an improved SE is aimed at boosting the profit margins on the current model and avoiding offering more competition for its higher-end iPhone 7 models. Kuo was specific in saying that we probably won’t see a new SE by March, leaving the door open for a new model to debut later in the year. He also said Apple is eyeing other ways to get its profit margins back up, putting pressure on its manufacturing partners to bring component prices down. [via Apple Insider]
Apple has improved Bluetooth streaming to hearing aids, with a new support page detailing several new capabilities in iOS 10. Apple’s iOS devices have been compatible with MFi hearing aids since iOS 7, but the latest update adds a Live Listen feature to helps the iPhone’s microphone focus in on conversations in loud environments and allows for streaming calls, FaceTime conversations, movies, and other audio without using intermediary devices. Upgrading to iOS 10 also allows users to view the battery life of their hearing aids, adjust volume levels for each hearing aid independently, and adjust bass, treble and left-right balance to create an ideal listening experience. New presets for settings like concerts and restaurants make it easier to adjust volume levels on the fly, and a “find my hearing aid” feature makes it easier to locate a device that’s gone missing. [via Apple Insider]
Photo: The New York Times
Hundreds of fake retail apps aimed at deceiving holiday shoppers have begun appearing on the App Store, The New York Times reports. Counterfeit apps branded with recognizable store names like Dollar General, Nordstrom, Zappos and many others have popped up in the last few weeks, and while most of the junk apps just run pop-up ads when they’re opened, some have asked for Facebook logins or credit card information that could expose customers to obvious security issues. A careful look at many of the apps will reveal red flags, such as “menus written in butchered English, no reviews and no history of previous versions.”
Apple has quietly enabled its promised Single Sign On feature on its back-end servers for users running the iOS 10.2 or tvOS 10.1 betas. A new TV Providers option began appearing recently for U.S. users of the Apple TV and iOS betas. On the Apple TV, the setting is found under Accounts in the Settings app, while on the iPhone and iPad it can be found in the main Settings app, below the settings for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo.
August has released a firmware update for its August Smart Lock that adds full support for Apple’s Home app in iOS 10, including HomeKit notifications and triggers. The new firmware also reportedly “improves connection speed and motor operation.” Although August provided full core iOS 10 HomeKit support early on, the update to support Apple’s Home app lagged a bit behind other smart locks such Schlage, which updated its Sense firmware only days after iOS 10 was released to the public. With the update, the August Smart Lock can now be properly controlled from the iOS 10 Home app, and users can now enable notifications as well as setting up rules to take actions when the lock is locked or unlocked, such as turning on lights or adjusting thermostats.
Canadian telecommunications company Bell has announced that its Fibe TV service is now available on the Apple TV, making it the first Canadian television provider to embrace Apple’s television platform. Fibe TV subscribers can download the Bell Fibe TV tvOS app, giving them access to the entire Fibe TV channel lineup from the fourth-generation Apple TV. In its current incarnation, the app simply provides live streaming, although Bell promises that users will be able to watch Fibe TV recordings as well as pause and rewind live TV by the end of the year. While users will still need a Fibe TV subscription and primary Fibe TV receiver, it appears the Apple TV app will eliminate the need to purchase additional secondary receivers. In addition, Bell will begin selling the fourth-generation Apple TV both online and directly from its Bell stores in both Ontario and Québec. [via iPhone in Canada]
Vine co-founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll have released Hype, a new social video app that allows users to broadcast live interactive video. Followers can be notified instantly when a broadcast begins, and can comment and interact with the broadcast, and users can add photos, videos, music, and animations to spice up their videos. A replay feature allows users to make their broadcasts available for later viewing, and Hype broadcasts can be easily shared on Twitter. Broadcasters can also feature comments from followers, add themed backgrounds, and present videos and pictures in slideshow form. Rather than being a new Vine app, however, Hype appears to be more in line to compete with Twitter’s Periscope app and Facebook’s integrated Facebook Live feature.
Elgato has announced another new entry in its Eve HomeKit product lineup, following last month’s debut of Eve Light Switch. Eve Motion ($50) is a new Bluetooth motion sensor that integrates with HomeKit to provide automation for other HomeKit-compatible accessories. Like Elgato’s other Eve products, Eve Motion uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate with nearby iOS or tvOS devices to act as a trigger for activating other accessories, such as lights and thermostats, using HomeKit rules. Eve Motion features a passive infrared sensor with a 120-degree field of view and a range of up to 30 feet, with adjustable sensitivity to optimize performance. It’s also IPX3 water-resistant for outdoor use.
Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told investors they probably won’t see augmented reality technology from Apple for at least 1-2 years, but to expect the company to “leapfrog” competitors by 3-5 years once they finally enter the market. Kuo doesn’t provide specifics, but said he foresees Apple integrating AR to “redefine key product lines” and change the way people use devices like the Apple TV and Apple Watch. Kuo also considered the possibility that Apple could use AR innovations to break into new areas, specifically autonomous driving systems like the one being developed by the company’s Project Titan team. [via Apple Insider]
An app designed to alert residents of New York City to crimes being committed has been pulled from the App Store, The Guardian reports. In a blog post about launching the Vigilante app, parent company Sp0n said it monitors crimes reported to 911 and alerts nearby users so they can get to safety or film crimes as they unfold. But the app didn’t last long on the App Store, with Apple citing concerns about its content, according to the app’s creator. While Sp0n claims “the closed system excludes the community while the open system informs and empowers citizens,” it’s easy to see how encouraging average citizens to get involved in investigating or stopping suspected crimes could be problematic. Apple declined to comment on why it removed the app, but a Sp0n spokeswoman said, “The team is working with Apple to resolve the issue and they are confident the app will be made available in the near future. Vigilante will introduce an Android version of the app in the upcoming weeks with plans to expand in additional cities later this year.”
Following yesterday’s release of the first iOS 10.2 developer beta, Apple has now released a public beta version of iOS 10.2 through its Apple Software Beta Program. The iOS 10.2 public beta notably adds the full Unicode 9.0 emoji approved earlier this year, along with a new Preserve Settings feature that allows users to determine whether modes, filters, and Live Photo settings in the Camera app persist across launches or reset to default values. iOS 10.2 also adds three new wallpapers for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users, a new widget for the Videos app, new “Press and Hold to Speak” options under Accessibility settings, star-based ratings support in the iOS 10.2 Music app, and new Activity reporting in the Health app for Apple Watch users. Users who have already signed up for the Apple Software Beta Program should be able to log in and download the new versions now; users who haven’t signed up can do so at the same site.
Foxconn is in the process of building wireless charging modules for at least some of next year’s iPhone models, Nikkei Asian Review reports. An industry source familiar with the matter said Foxconn is building the modules specifically for use with an iPhone, but couldn’t say if the wireless charging feature will be in all the 2017 iPhones or exclusive to certain models. The source also said inclusion of wireless charging will be contingent on Foxconn being able to “boost the yield rate to a satisfactory level later on” — implying that the company is currently struggling to make enough successful units in each batch to make the process profitable.
Apple may drop the price of Apple Music’s monthly subscriptions by as much as 20 percent, Digital Music News reports. Two non-Apple sources who have been working closely with Apple Music since its launch said the changes are “under serious discussion” and could happen as soon as Christmas. The company would likely have to pay the difference to major recording labels—just like Amazon is doing with its Prime Music service—but the move could help Apple undercut competitors like Spotify, which charges $10 a month for subscriptions and likely couldn’t afford to further subsidize a price cut.
Apple has released iTunes 12.5.3, fixing an issue where albums play in an unexpected order, resolving problems that kept lyrics from displaying while listening to Beats 1, and making other minor bug fixes. Yesterday, Apple also released iOS 10.1.1 and beta versions of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1 and watchOS 3.1.1.
Apple has released the first betas for iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. This follows today’s earlier public release of iOS 10.1.1.
Apple has released iOS 10.1.1 to the public today, providing a number of bug fixes — most notably, a fix for users who couldn’t view Health data in iOS 10.1. The update comes just one week after the release of iOS 10.1, which added the beta version of Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, transit support in Maps, new wheelchair tracking workout summary information in Activity for Apple Watch users, and improved Bluetooth connectivity.
In an announcement on its developer website, Apple confirmed that it is now allowing developers to send a limited number of promo codes out from iTunes Connect to give away in-app purchases to select users. Developers can now send up to 100 promo codes for any single in-app purchase item, and up to 1,000 promo codes total per app. The move is aimed at allowing “press and influencers” to gain free access to items and features that are usually behind an app’s paywall.
Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu claims that Apple will switch to OLED screens for future iPhone models, Nikkei Asian Review reports. Tai—who is also an executive at Apple supplier and manufacturing partner FoxConn—told a group of students at Tatung University, “The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) to OLED panels. We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis, but it is also an opportunity.”
During today’s event in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a new TV app for the Apple designed to provide a unified TV experience with a central launch screen for all movies and TV shows across multiple content apps such as iTunes, HBO NOW, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and more. Expected to be available in the U.S. in December as part of a tvOS update, the new TV app will provide a “Watch Now” screen showing a play queue of recently watched TV series’, unfinished movies, and recommended content based on what the viewer has previously watched. A “Library” screen will provide unified access to the user’s purchased iTunes Movies and TV Shows, and a “Store” section provides access to iTunes content, as well as directly downloading other content provider apps from within the TV app. During the demonstration, Apple TV team member Jennifer Folds also hinted that the promised Single Sign-on feature for third-party apps would likely be available around the same time that the TV app launches in December. Apple is also bringing the new TV app to the iPhone and iPad, allowing users to see the same content index and view content across all of their devices.
Elgato has announced Eve Light Switch ($50), a new product in the company’s Eve lineup of HomeKit-enabled products. Eve Light Switch is the world’s first standalone HomeKit-enabled light switch, and it can be used with Siri or HomeKit in any single or multi-bulb lighting setup. The new accessory replaces a standard single pole switch and uses Bluetooth LE to communicate with nearby iOS and Apple TV devices for remote HomeKit access and Siri voice control. Eve Light Switch is unique from other HomeKit-enabled light switch solutions in that it’s a standalone switch that does not require a bridge or hub to communicate with HomeKit. It features a clean, white wall plate for a minimalist modern look, and uses a captive touch sensor for manual lighting control. Eve Light Switch notably does not provide dimming, although the company notes that it can be paired with a HomeKit-enabled Philips Hue system for this purpose.