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iOS 9.1 adds multi-device Wi-Fi calling for Sprint customers

Sprint has announced that with today’s release of iOS 9.1, its customers can now take full advantage of Wi-Fi calling on other non-iPhone iOS devices. While Apple’s iOS 8 Handoff feature has allowed users to take iPhone calls on their iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, the feature normally requires the iPhone to be on the same Wi-Fi network as those other devices. iOS 9 introduced the ability for T-Mobile users to place and receive Wi-Fi calls on any other compatible iOS or OS X device, even when the user’s main iPhone is switched off or out of coverage, and iOS 9.1 now expands this capability to Sprint customers as well. Apple has also updated its Wi-Fi Calling support article, explaining the new feature and adding Sprint to the list of supported carriers for placing Wi-Fi calls from other devices.

Apple releases iOS 9.1, watchOS 2.0.1

Apple has officially released iOS 9.1 to the public. After going through a very rapid developer beta cycle following the major release of iOS 9.0, this latest update is primarily a maintenance release with fixes for Apple’s new Live Photos feature on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus — which now uses the accelerometer to avoid capturing frames when you raise or lower your iPhone — as well as more than 150 new emoji characters available in the iOS keyboard. Additional fixes highlighted in the release notes include improved stability for CarPlay, Music, Photos, Safari, and Search, improved performance in the Multitasking UI, and fixes related to Calendar, Game Center, Mail, recent contacts, carrier activation errors, and App Store app updates. The new version also adds new APIs for developers to allow displaying and sharing Live Photos in third-party apps. As usual, iOS 9.1 is available either as an over-the-air update or by updating via iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Apple Store employee charged with stealing nearly $1 million in gift cards

An Apple Store employee has been charged with using stolen credit card numbers to buy $997,000 in Apple gift cards, NBC reports. An investigation into charge-backs Apple began receiving on the gift card purchases led authorities to Ruben Profit, who told police he was paid $200 for each $2,000 Apple gift card he purchased with the stolen credit card information. When arrested, Profit was allegedly in possession of seven Apple gift cards worth $2,000 each and 51 Visa and American Express gift cards that had been fraudulently re-encoded with stolen credit card information. Profit has been charged with grand larceny among other crimes, and if convicted, could face up to 15 years in prison.

Apple opposes new cybersecurity bill

Apple has issued a joint statement with Dropbox condemning the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act currently under consideration by the U.S. Senate, The Washington Post reports. Sen. Diane Feinstein, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, argues that the bill allows companies to share information about “cyber threats” with the government, but doesn’t provide for the collection of personal data. “Things like Social Security numbers, addresses, passwords and credit information would be unrelated to a cyber threat and would, except in very exceptional circumstances, be removed” before data on a threat was sent to authorities, she said.

Apple can’t access encrypted data on newer seized iPhones

Apple has stated that it is “impossible” to access encrypted data on devices using the latest version of iOS, Reuters reports. Although the company conceded that it has the “technical ability” to help law enforcement access older iPhones, in a brief filed in a U.S. court it said that for devices running iOS 8 or higher it “would be impossible” to grant a request by the Justice Department to help authorities access the data on a seized iPhone due to strengthened encryption algorithms in the latest versions of iOS.

Apple TV adds CBS, NBC, M2M channels

Apple will start taking pre-orders for the new Apple TV next Monday, according to CEO Tim Cook, but three new channels have been added to the current set-top box today. The channels include: CBS, which offers access to the channel’s $6/month CBS All Access subscription service; NBC, which offers a limited number of free full episodes from select shows; and Made to Measure (or M2M), a new free fashion channel. Users interested in CBS All Access can sign up for a free one-week trial from within the CBS channel.

Tim Cook joins CEO Council for Sustainable Urbanization

The Paulson Institute has named Apple CEO Tim Cook to its CEO Council for Sustainable Urbanization, a group of 17 leaders from U.S. and Chinese companies aimed at encouraging businesses to support green development in China. In his welcome message, Paulson Institute Chairman Henry M. Paulson, Jr. said Cook has demonstrated a commitment to advancing sustainable business practices and “will play an important role in helping to advance the work of the Council.”

Cook reiterated Apple’s commitment to running its global operations on 100 percent renewable energy and the company’s efforts to push members of its supply chain to reduce their emissions, saying the company looks forward “to participating in the CEO Council’s effort to advance China’s green transformation and hope to do our part in helping China reach its climate goals.” This year the council will focus on scaling clean technologies and overcoming the barriers that limit their broader adoption in China’s new building developments. Apple also has its own environmental efforts underway in China, working to protect up to a million acres of sustainable forest land in China to produce the fiber used in Apple packaging and products.

Apple TV available for pre-order Monday, ships later next week

During a wide-ranging interview with The Wall Street Journal interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook said users will be able to pre-order the new Apple TV starting Monday, with the devices set to start shipping later next week. Touting the new device’s ability to search across multiple streaming services and interact with apps, Cook said the company has “developed an infrastructure to fix [a] terrible broken thing that none of us like.” Although Apple hasn’t yet secured all the deals it will need to start its own streaming TV service, Cook said the new Apple TV lays a foundation for changing the TV experience away from “linear viewing,” which has outlived its usefulness. (Cook didn’t mention a similar firm release date for the upcoming iPad Pro.)

Apple Maps adds Amtrak routes, Boston transit directions

Apple has added a number of Amtrak routes to Apple Maps. It appears as if routes included thus far are concentrated in the Northeast U.S. These routes include the Acela Express, Northeast Regional, and Pennsylvanian, among others.

In other Apple Maps news, Boston Transit directions have finally gone live, as The Boston Globe points out. Apple added Transit support for Boston a few weeks ago, but directions haven’t actually been available until now. [via MacRumors]

Electric motorcycle company blames collapse on Apple’s talent poaching

Mission Motors claims that Apple’s poaching of top engineers caused the company to fold, Reuters reports. Despite financial struggles, former Chief Executive Derek Kaufman said the company could have kept going if it hadn’t lost key employees to Apple, a development that further complicated fundraising efforts. “Mission had a great group of engineers, specifically electric drive expertise,” Kaufman said. “Apple knew that — they wanted it, and they went and got it.” A key investor backed out of funding Mission after two engineers jumped ship for Apple last fall, and more employees followed in the next few months, including the company’s director of power train systems engineering and vice president of software and electrical engineering. Apple decliend to comment on the situation at Mission, but the company has taken heat for poaching employees for its electric car project before, most recently settling out of court with battery manufacturer A123 after luring five of its top employees to Apple last June.

Apple ordered to pay $234 million for patent infringement

A U.S. jury has ordered Apple to pay $234 million for infringing on a University of Wisconsin-Madison patent, Reuters reports. The company was facing up to $862 million in damages for using the university’s microchip technology in the A7, A8 and A8X processors found in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus and several versions of the iPad, but U.S. District Judge William Conley limited the damages, ruling that Apple had not willfully infringed on the university’s patent. Apple has vowed to appeal the verdict, claiming that the patent entitles the university to as little as 7 cents per device sold, in contrast to the university’s request for $2.74 per device. The university has also filed a second lawsuit claiming similar grievances over Apple’s use of the same patent in processors found inside the iPad Pro, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Report: Intel has 1,000 employees working on iPhone modem chips

Intel has 1,000 employees working to outfit next year’s iPhone with the company’s 7360 LTE modem chip, Venture Beat reports. All iPhone modems are currently produced by Qualcomm, but sources close to the situation said Apple is considering sourcing LTE modems for the iPhone 7 from both Intel and Qualcomm. During a recent earnings call, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Intel’s 7360 modem will begin showing up in devices next year, and a source said Apple’s iPhone business is a “must-win for Intel,” forcing the company to dedicate a small army of people to winning the Apple account. While Apple hasn’t signed a contract with Intel yet, sources said Apple engineers have been making trips to Munich to work on the new modem chip with Intel engineers.

Hundreds of iOS apps caught taking user data from private APIs

Security firm SourceDNA claims to have discovered hundreds of App Store apps that violate Apple’s privacy policies by accessing private user information. Apps using the Youmi advertising SDK were found to be accessing users’ Apple IDs, gathering a list of apps installed on devices and documenting the serial numbers of peripherals, among other privacy invasions. Youmi’s SDK skirted Apple’s review process by hiding its data collection processes within binary code sent out to developers over the last two years, leaving even app developers themselves unaware of the data that was being collected and sent back directly to Youmi. After Apple started blocking apps from reading platform serial numbers in iOS 8, Youmi started collecting information on individual device components, like the battery system, and used those to identify individual devices.

Apple updates Pages, Numbers, Keynote with iOS 9 + 3D Touch features

Apple has released updates to its suite of iWork apps for iOS, adding new iOS 9 related features as well as 3D Touch support for the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. All three of the apps, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, have been updated with support for Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture features on supported iPad models, a new Shortcut Bar on the iPad for quick access to formatting tools, support for new Multi-Touch gestures on the iPad, new keyboard shortcuts for use with external keyboards, and 3D Touch support. The three apps now gain the ability to open documents from older versions, with Pages ‘06 and ‘08, Numbers ‘08, and Keynote ‘06 and ‘08 supported. Shared documents can now also be previewed in iOS and Android browsers, version history allows users to view and restore previous changes made to a document, and many accessibility improvements have also been added. New templates and themes are available in each of the apps, and compatibility with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats has also been improved.

Apple announces autism, epilepsy, and melanoma ResearchKit studies

Apple has announced that its ResearchKit framework is being used for new research studies on autism, epilepsy, and melanoma, allowing subjects to voluntarily opt-in to share data collected through the iOS Health app to contribute to these studies. An autism study being run by Duke University, Duke Medicine and other partners such as Peking University in China is leveraging the iPhone’s front-facing camera to detect signs of developmental issues at a younger age than previously believed possible, using “novel emotion detection algorithms” to measure a child’s reaction to videos shown on the iPhone. In another area, Johns Hopkins has developed a new EpiWatch app designed to test whether the Apple Watch can be used to detect the onset and duration of epileptic seizures; the initial phase of the study has patients triggering a one-touch complication on the Apple Watch face to capture accelerometer and heart rate data to attempt to built a digital signature of a seizure and send an alert to a loved one. Participants will also be able to track medication adherence, screen for side effects, and compare their condition with others in the study. In a third new study, Oregon Health & Science University is looking to use digital images taken on an iPhone to gain more information about mole growth and melanoma risks, with the aim of helping people to better manage their skin health.

Bell Canada fined $1.25 million for posting of fake App Store reviews

Canadian telecommunications giant Bell Canada has agreed to pay a $1.25 million “administrative monetary penalty” to the Canadian Government for encouraging its employees to post positive ratings and reviews of the company’s free MyBell Mobile and Virgin My Account apps, according to a news release from Canada’s Competition Bureau. The case concerns reviews posted last fall, when “certain Bell employees were encouraged to post positive reviews and ratings” of the company’s apps “without disclosing that they work for Bell.” The report notes that the company “acted quickly” to remove the reviews and ratings as soon as it became aware of the matter, stated that “the postings were the result of an overzealous effort on the part of our service team to highlight the app.” In its release, the Competition Bureau noted that regardless of the company’s action, these reviews and ratings “created the general impression that they were made by independent and impartial consumers and temporarily affected the overall star rating for the apps.” In addition to paying the monetary penalty, Bell also agreed to “enhance and maintain its corporate compliance program, with a specific focus on prohibiting the rating, ranking or reviewing of apps in app stores by employees and contractors” as well as to “sponsor and host a workshop to promote, discuss and enhance Canadians’ trust in the digital economy, including the integrity of online reviews.” [via iPhone in Canada]

CBS CEO Moonves optimistic but noncommittal on Apple TV deal

CBS CEO Les Moonves is confident that the broadcasting company’s discussions with Apple will lead to a deal, Bloomberg reports, although he’s making no predictions as to when this will ultimately happen. Moonves acknowledged that CBS has had conversations with Apple, “as have the other networks,” and says that he “probably” thinks something will happen, but stated, “I do not know when.” Apple is also not the only player in the game, as CBS has been having similar discussions with companies such as Facebook and Netflix about rights for stream live broadcasts. While Apple had originally hoped to launch a streaming television service as early as this fall, it has delayed into 2016 as a result of discussions with various content providers taking longer than expected.

Report: Apple to increase iTunes Match limit ‘before the end of the year’

Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue said Apple is working to increase the limit on iTunes Match from 25,000 songs to 100,000 songs “before the end of the year,” MacRumors reports. The $25/year service lets users upload their entire iTunes music library to the cloud, making all of their songs available on other devices using the same Apple ID. Since its debut, iTunes Match has been limited to a total of 25,000 tracks (although tracks purchased from the iTunes Store do not count against that limit). In June, Cue teased an upgrade to a 100,000 song capacity possibly arriving with iOS 9, but iOS 9 debuted in September with no update to iTunes Match’s maximum library size.

Apple launches @AppleMusicHelp Twitter account

Apple has created an @AppleMusicHelp account on Twitter to field questions about Apple Music and provide support to users. The account is manned seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PDT and will only respond to Apple Music-specific questions, directing users to Apple’s other support pages for inquiries about different products. Apple still lacks an official Twitter account to represent the entire company, but it maintains other accounts, such as those for Apple Music, the App Store, and App Store Games. [via 9to5Mac]

TD Canada Trust mistakenly releases Apple Pay update on its website

The sudden appearance and disappearance of an Apple Pay option on TD Canada Trust’s website is fueling speculation that the payment method will debut in Canada soon, iPhone in Canada reports. The link was spotted under “Ways To Pay,” directing users to a detailed but incomplete Apple Pay information page on the bank’s website promising that customers will soon be able to use the digital payment method, subject to a $100 transaction limit. Apple is rumored to be rolling Apple Pay out in Canada as early as the end of this month, but TD’s website update was quickly removed; in a tweet, the company confirmed that Apple Pay is still not available in Canada, apologizing to customers for the mistaken information on its site.

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