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Apple suppliers ramping up to mass production of all 3 new iPhones

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple has already entered mass production for the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, with the iPhone 8 expected to pass verification later this month before going into mass production as well in mid-September, according to AppleInsider. Kuo’s report reflects what has been seen by supply chain sources speaking to Digitimes, who said that all three models “have entered volume production.” Both reports foresee supply shortfalls of the iPhone 8, with Kuo estimating the company will produce 2–4 million units in this quarter.

Apple releases fourth round of public betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11

Apple has released a fourth series of public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11, allowing end users an opportunity to get an early preview of what’s coming in the new operating systems this fall and provide their feedback to Apple. With this round, Apple has also taken the unusual step of sending out e-mail notifications to at least some registered developers letting them know that the public beta is available, although it’s unclear whether this was intentional or not. Users can enroll in Apple’s public beta program by visiting the company’s Apple Beta Program website.

Coach releases new and updated Apple Watch bands

Coach has released a series of new Apple Watch bands and updated the colors of some others for fall, Haute Ecriture reports. Many of the styles incorporate looks that have been seen in other Coach products, like a black leather band with the brand’s tea rose appliqué and a yellow band with its Rexy T-Rex emblazoned under the watch face. New printed leather straps include car, floral and cherry prints, while the woven-looking Snake Strap got a new red color. The bands range from $150 to $195 on Coach’s website, but not all types are available for both Apple Watch sizes.

Top telcom regulator in India angry over Apple’s slow review of government’s ‘do not disturb’ app

The head of India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority is taking Apple to task for refusing to approve an official government “do not disturb” app for iOS, The Times of India reports. The app serves to block annoying unsolicited calls and texts, and TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma claimed Apple is engaging in “anti-consumer” actions by not approving it. “So basically you (Apple) are violating the right of the user to willingly share his/her own data with the regulator or with any third party of his/her choice. If a customer wants to share financial transaction data with his/her bank, for getting a loan, why should it not be allowed?” Sharma said. “This is what we call data colonization.”

Purported X-ray of prototype iPhone 8 shows inductive charging coil inside

Photos of a purported X-ray of an iPhone 8 in testing posted on Chinese social media site Weibo show a large dark area in the center thought to be the new inductive coil to enable wireless charging. Weibo is unpredictable in terms of accuracy, but wireless charging is expected to be a marquee feature in this year’s iPhone models. Problems with the wireless charging system’s development were reported in July, but it’s possible that those were related to software instead of hardware, meaning that it’s possible the problem could be patched with an iOS 11 update after the devices ship.

Apple patents way to use FaceTime camera and sensors to take health measurements

A recent Apple patent describes new ways to use the FaceTime camera and accompanying sensors in current iPhones to take health measurements. The process “uses one or more of the camera and the proximity sensor to emit light into a body part of a user touching a surface of the electronic device and one or more of the camera, the ambient light sensor, and the proximity sensor to receive at least part of the emitted light reflected by the body part of the user,” much like the Apple Watch uses reflected light from the sensors in contact with a user’s skin to take its measurements. With added sensors in future devices to boost what is already there, Apple claims it might be able to provide “a blood pressure index, a blood hydration, a body fat content, an oxygen saturation, a pulse rate, a perfusion index, an electrocardiogram, a photoplethysmogram, and/or any other such health data.” [via 9to5Mac]

Apple releases fifth round of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released a fifth series of betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, as usual addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will likely follow within the next day or two.

Apple reportedly interested in deal for Bollywood movies and music

Apple is one of a handful of companies pursuing a deal with Indian movie production house Eros, Reuters reports. Apple’s video content strategy has been disorganized to say the least, and iTunes Store is losing its dominance in movie rentals and sales. A source familiar with the matter said the discussions are in a very early stage for what could be a $1 billion deal. Eros owns the rights to several Bollywood hits and has recently expanded into other Indian languages, claiming to now have a library of more than 3,000 films. Apple declined to comment, but is making a big push in India on multiple fronts.

Report: Apple working on multiple prototypes of AR glasses

While Apple has committed a considerable investment toward its augmented reality project, the Financial Times reports the company still has multiple prototypes for its rumored AR glasses. People familiar with the project said some of Apple’s AR glasses are separate units that rely on their own internal displays to overlay a virtual world on top of the real one, other methods rely on an iPhone inserted into a headset to create the effect. Some Apple engineers have pushed for the glasses to have their own 3D cameras, but rely on the iPhone for display purposes. The iPhone’s pixel count is lower than that of the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive—making it likely to fall far behind those devices when used for up-close viewing—but with the iPhone 8 expected to contain a higher pixel density than the iPhone 7 Plus and the latest iPad Pros getting a bump to a 120Hz refresh rate, Apple is showing signs of closing the gap. [via AppleInsider]

Report: Cellular Apple Watch coming later this year

After last year’s speculation about a cellular Apple Watch didn’t come to fruition, a new Bloomberg report claims the device will be released later this year. Citing people familiar with the development, at least some new Apple Watches will come equipped with LTE chips and be able to perform tasks like downloading new songs or accessing apps without a tethered iPhone. Intel is said to be supplying the modems—not surprising since Apple is embroiled in a nasty legal battle with its other supplier, Qualcomm—and Apple is already said to be in talks with US and European carriers to support the devices. Previous predictions placed a cellular Apple Watch launching earlier next year and including a hybrid USB-C/Lightning connector, and Daring Fireball cites an unconfirmed source saying the device could even include an “all-new form factor,” but provided no specifics about what that would entail.

iPhone 8 fingerprint sensors reportedly scrapped while cameras add “SmartCam” mode, better 4K video

Code extracted from Apple’s new HomePod and posted on iOs developer Guilherme Rambo’s Twitter account seems to show a “SmartCam” feature in the iPhone 8 that will automatically select the best shots while photographing particular subjects. The setting names cover a variety of commonly photographed objects or scenes, including babies, pets, documents, brightly lit stages, fireworks, foliage, sports, snow, the sky, sunsets and sunrises. While the iPhone already makes educated guesses at which shots are best when used in burst mode, Rambo said the “SmartCam” functionality is new to the HomePod iOS 11.0.2 firmware. Other snippets of code show that both the front and rear iPhone 8 cameras may support recording video in 4K at 60 fps, according to iHelp BR. The front cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus currently record video at 4K at 30 fps, but the FaceTime camera tops out at 1080p.

mXers Audio announces Modular Earbuds

mXers Audio has debuted a new modular earphone system via a Kickstarter campaign. The new system features a patented connector design that allows the earbuds to be disassembled into separate parts so that any wire or earbud can be interchanged in seconds, allowing users to customize for features, fit, or simply their preferred choice of color and style. The interchangeable parts also make the Modular Earphones easier to repair, since only a single broken part such as a wire needs to be repaired or replaced, rather than an entire set of expensive earbuds. The system will offer both wired and wireless Bluetooth 4.2 base modules onto which either a standard set of mXers earbuds can be connected, or the bass-heavy xBass earbuds, both available in color choices of blue, red, or pink. Pricing via the Kickstarter campaign ranges from $30 for a basic wired set to to $120 for a set of three earbuds with the wireless module.

Leaked HomePod firmware suggests Apple Pay may use Facial Recognition

Developers are continuing to dig through the leaked HomePod firmware, discovering new insights into features that may be implemented on the upcoming premium “iPhone 8” that Apple is rumoured to be working on. The latest discovery by iOS developer @r_idn suggests that Apple may in fact be preparing to leverage the facial recognition features that are expected to be included in the new flagship iPhone to work with Apple Pay, supplementing or possibly even replacing Touch ID as the authentication method.

Plex expands Live TV support, time shifting to Apple TV

After making its Live TV function available in beta on iOS in June, Plex has taken it out of beta and expanded Live TV support to the Apple TV as well, according to an update from the company. The company’s Plex DVR feature for recording and watching programs is also officially out of beta on iOS, but according to a company spokesperson users will still need to use the iOS, web, or Android apps to schedule recordings, after which they can be viewed on the Apple TV in the same way as any other media item in the Plex library.

Tim Cook dances around questions about autonomous systems, augmented reality

While Apple CEO Tim Cook’s comments during yesterday’s earnings call didn’t contain any major revelations, he did reiterate that he expects the cutting edge augmented reality and autonomous systems technology that the company is working on to fundamentally improve the way people live. Earlier this year Apple shifted its focus away from building an electric car and toward constructing an autonomous driving system, but Cook said cars are just one of many applications for autonomous technology, “the mother of all AI projects.” “Autonomous systems can be used in a variety of ways. A vehicle is only one, but there are many different areas of it. And I don’t want to go any further with that,” he said, although he did add that the company does “have a large project going, and we’re making a big investment in this from our point of view.”

Apple wants tax breaks for suppliers to produce iPhones in India

Apple has requested tax breaks for its suppliers to set up a manufacturing hub in India, Reuters reports. The company has been actively pursuing its own incentives in India to offset the costs of moving more of its production to the country and has now begun putting pressure on the Indian government to extend the same concessions to its suppliers. Apple started assembling iPhones in India earlier this year in order to break into the Indian market, but the two sides have been negotiating about Apple’s list of “prerequisites” to get to the point where Apple is building the iPhones from scratch in India.

Apple dumps hundreds of binary trading apps after fraud complaints

After an intervention by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, Apple has pulled more than 300 binary trading apps from the App Store, Bloomberg reports. The ASIC made the request to both Apple and Google after uncovering numerous cases of fraud where unlicensed products beyond the reach of regulators prevented consumers from withdrawing cash from their accounts or losing money on the live app after making “winning trades 9 times out of 10 in the demonstration app.” Apple recently updated its developer guidelines to prohibit new apps that facilitate binary options trading, but didn’t comment on discussions with the ASIC. Of the 330 that have been verified as removed, the ASIC said “80 percent had no warnings about the risks inherent in trading.”

Judge allows FaceTime lawsuit to proceed

A federal judge has ruled that iPhone 4 and 4s users can pursue their class action lawsuit against Apple for intentionally disabling FaceTime on iOS 6 devices, Reuters reports. After losing a patent lawsuit to VirnetX in 2012, Apple was forced to discontinue its direct device-to-device mode for FaceTime, greatly increasing the fees it had to pay to Akamai Technologies — dropping as much as $50 million in one six-month period according to court documents. In developing iOS 7, Apple engineers were able to include a method of peer-to-peer FaceTime communication that didn’t infringe on the VirnetX patents, however, Apple was either unable to unwilling to bring these improvements into an iOS 6 update. Based on internal emails and sworn testimony from the VirnetX case, the new class-action lawsuit claims that Apple made plans to deliberately “break” FaceTime on older iOS versions by forcing a key digital certificate used for FaceTime to expire prematurely.

Apple investing billions in LG’s OLED production

Apple is investing around $2.7 billion in LG’s OLED display production, The Korea Herald reports. That funding will help LG get up to producing 45,000 units each month, of which Apple’s orders alone are expected to account for 30,000. Samsung is currently the sole supplier of the OLED screens expected to debut in the iPhone 8 later this year, but KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo notes the panels have been “the single most troublesome component for Apple” in constructing the iPhone 8. Kuo said Apple is “committed to having LG Display geared up for its OLED iPhone display business in 2018,” and this latest round of funding seems to back that up. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple pulls VPN apps from China’s App Store over new government rules

Creators of VPN apps like ExpressVPN have been notified that their apps have been removed from China’s App Store. China greatly restricts the content its citizens have access to on the internet, making VPN services popular for users trying to circumvent what has come to be called The Great Firewall. Apple told developers their apps has been removed because they included “content that is illegal in China,” adding in a statement to 9to5Mac that the Chinese MIIT requires VPN providers to obtain a special license before they’re allowed to be sold. [via 9to5Mac]

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