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Apple posts video with behind-the-scenes look at Portrait Lighting

Apple has shared a new video on its YouTube channel providing a brief behind-the-scenes look at how the company developed the Portrait Lighting feature for the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, ranging from studying classic portraiture, bringing in top artists and photographers, and incorporating established lighting principles to build the machine learning algorithms used for the new photography feature.

Apple releases third watchOS 4.3 developer beta, new public betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3

Apple has released a third watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the third developer betas released yesterday. While the release notes are sparse, it appears from the betas that watchOS 4.3 will be bringing iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation. The latest beta also appears to resolve issues with weather information in Greater China and accuracy in the battery complication.

Apple releases third iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 betas to registered developers

Apple has released the third betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 to registered developers. While iOS 11.3 adds a few interesting new features, the third beta seems to mostly consist of bug fixes and relatively minor improvements, following the introduction of the battery health feature in iOS 11.3 beta 2, although iOS 11.3 beta 3 is also now available for the sixth-generation iPod touch, which was excluded from the two prior betas. It is likely that updated public beta versions will also appear in the next day or two.

Update: MacRumors reports, and we’ve also confirmed, that the third beta of iOS 11.3 also removes support for AirPlay 2 and the Apple TV entry in the Apple Home app. The release notes make no mention of this, so it’s unclear whether these are coming back in a future iOS 11.3 beta or will be pushed off to a later release.

Apple releases iOS 11.2.6 with Telugu character fix, watchOS 4.2.3 and tvOS 11.2.6

Apple has released iOS 11.2.6 with an update that fixes issues with third-party apps connecting to external accessories and a bug causing the Indian Tegulu character to crash Messages and other apps. Apple had fixed the special character bug in the iOS 11.3 beta, but seems to have pushed out the fix early to keep users from having to wait for the next big release. A macOS 10.13.3 update fixes the Tegulu problem for Mac users, and Apple also released tvOS 11.2.6 for Apple TV and watchOS 4.2.3 for Apple Watch.

Apple to require all new iOS apps to support iPhone X starting in April

Apple has announced that all new apps submitted to the App Store after April 2018 will be required to support the iPhone X. In an e-mail sent to registered developers, the company heralded the new features that iOS 11 has brought to the iOS platform, adding that “Starting April 2018, all new iOS apps submitted to the App Store must be built with the iOS 11 SDK, included in Xcode 9 or later. All new apps for iPhone, including universal apps, must support the Super Retina display of iPhone X.” Apple’s page on Submitting iOS apps to the App Store also adds that developers should make sure their App Store product page showcases updates for the Super Retina display of the iPhone X, and provides additional tips for developers on how to make sure that their apps look great on the iPhone X and how to submit proper screenshots for their App Store pages.

New iOS 11 bug crashing iPhones when a special character is received

A bug in iOS 11.2.5 has been discovered that’s will crash the iPhone when a specific Indian-language character is received in a text message or e-mail, The Verge reports. Originally discovered by Italian blog Mobile World, the bug affects iPhones running iOS 11.2.5 as well as Messages and Safari on macOS, and has been confirmed as affecting not only the built-in Messages and Mail apps, but also third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook, and Gmail. The crash is triggered when the device receives the Indian language Telugu character, which will cause the iOS Springboard to crash and prevent the affected app such as Messages to open as a result of trying and failing to load the character, at least until the point at which another message is received.

Apple considering placing orders for Chinese-made memory chips

Apple is considering buying some of the flash memory chips destined for use in the iPhone from Chinese manfacturer Yangtze Memory Technologies, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The little-known chipmaker is set to begin producing NAND flash memory chips this year, but sources close to the discussions with Apple said it will likely be 2020 or later before Yangtze can produce enough parts to meet Apple’s standards. The sources said the chips would be used only in iPhones destined for use in China, where Apple has been facing increasing pressure from the government on multiple fronts. Apple has shown a willingness to work with the Indian government to produce and assemble more of its products locally in exchange for more access to the country’s smartphone market, but it’s unclear if the Yangtze deal is part of any intervention on behalf of the Chinese government. Apple currently buys its NAND flash memory chips from Toshiba, Western Digital, SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics, and the company’s iPhone orders account for 15 percent of all such shipments worldwide.

Apple dispels security concerns regarding leaked iOS 9 source code

While Apple has confirmed that recently leaked iOS 9 iBoot source is authentic, the company has dispelled any concerns users may have about the leak compromising iPhone security. In a statement to MacRumors, Apple emphasized that the leak is for iOS 9, a three-year-old operating system that is installed on less than seven percent of devices, and notes that “by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code” and “There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products.”

Apple releases second watchOS 4.3 developer beta alongside new public iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 betas

Apple has released a second watchOS 4.3 beta along with new public betas for iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, matching the second developer betas released yesterday. While the release notes are sparse, it appears from the betas that watchOS 4.3 will be bringing iPhone music control back to the Apple Watch and allow Nightstand mode to work in portrait orientation.

2017 iPhone models less susceptible to performance throttling

It appears that Apple may have made hardware improvements in its 2017 iPhone models to mitigate the need for the controversial performance throttling experienced by users of iPhone 6, 6s, and 7 series models. A new section in an updated support document on “iPhone Battery and Performance” referenced in the second beta of iOS 11.3 notes:

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery’s power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown. As a result, the impacts of performance management may be less noticeable on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

The support document doesn’t go as far as saying that performance won’t suffer as batteries age in these newer models, but it does suggest that the level of throttling may not be as severe, indicating that Apple was likely able to solve some of the power consumption issues that previously resulted in unexpected shutdowns from older iPhone batteries.

Apple seeds iOS 11.3 beta 2 to developers with promised ‘Battery Health’ feature

Apple has released the second beta of iOS 11.3 to registered developers (a public beta is likely to follow soon), incorporating the promised Battery Health feature that should provide users with more insight into performance throttling that occurs on older batteries. As one might expect, the new feature can be accessed from the Battery section of the iOS Settings app, and provides a percentage indicator showing the battery’s relative health compared to when it was new, along with a section on “Peak Performance Capability.” A note at the top points out that batteries come less effective as they age, and provides a link to an Apple support article on iPhone Battery and Performance.

Report: Apple to ditch Qualcomm chips completely for Intel versions in 2018 iPhones

Amid Apple’s ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is now saying the company may be ditching Qualcomm’s baseband chips all together, 9to5Mac reports. Kuo said he expects Apple to use Intel’s chips exclusively in its 2018 iPhones since Intel chips now meet Apple’s technical requirements at a more competitive price, but he added Apple may be forced to return to Qualcomm if it turns out Intel can’t get ready for 5G networks fast enough. Previous reports claimed Qualcomm’s current 5G chips offer more specialized features, but sources said since many of those features won’t be widely adopted by carriers it’s likely Intel’s 5G modem will be more than sufficient for future iPhones.

Some iPhone X users unable to answer calls as screen fails to wake

Some iPhone X users are unable to answer calls because their phone displays aren’t waking up when a call comes in, The Financial Times reports. Users report that the ringtone will play for an incoming call, but the screen won’t wake up for several seconds, sometimes resulting in a missed call. A restart seems to resolve the problem temporarily, but after 15 to 20 calls the problem reappears. Users who have had their iPhone X replaced by Apple are reporting the same issues with the replacement units, but it’s still unclear whether a hardware or software problem is to blame. Apple is “looking into these reports,” but hasn’t provided any further information on a fix.

Apple providing free repairs for ‘No Service’ problem on some iPhone 7 models sold in US

Apple is offering free repairs to certain iPhone 7 models that are showing “No Service” in the status bar even when cellular coverage is available. The company has admitted a component on the logic board on some of the devices manufactured between September 2016 and February 2018 is prone to failure, and users have taken to Twitter to complain that their cellular service and Bluetooth capabilities suddenly stopped working. Models A1660, A1779, and A1780 qualify for the free repair and can be taken to Apple Authorized Service Providers or Apple retail stores to be sent back to the company for repair.

Apple now selling refurbished iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Apple TV 4K units

Apple has now begun selling refurbishing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and Apple TV 4K models on its U.S. online store for the first time, offering customers a chance to pick up these units at about a 10 percent discount as compared to the prices of brand new models.

Apple reports strong Q1 2018 results, iPhone X overwhelmingly popular

Apple has reported its financial results for Q1 2018, reflecting a strong holiday quarter and dispelling recent negative hype about underperforming iPhone X sales. Apple CEO Tim Cook declared it “the biggest quarter in Apple’s history” and emphasized that not only did Apple see “the highest revenue ever from a new iPhone lineup” but that the iPhone X was also the top-selling iPhone every week since it first shipped in November.

Report: Apple supplier to begin assembling iPhone 6s in India

Apple manufacturing partner Wistron has almost completed a land deal that would see it open a new plant in India, Reuters reports. A source close to the deal claims the plant would at least in part be responsible for producing Apple’s iPhone 6s, as Apple looks to expand its presence in India. The company began producing the iPhone SE in India last year as part of a larger effort to gain access to the Indian market, allowing Apple to sell the entry-level device to customers looking for an affordable iPhone. The 6s — launched more than two years ago — is another good fit in that regard and would give customers in India a more affordable larger screen option that has come into favor in much of the rest of the world. Wistron has already gained federal approval to import machinery from China to India that can be used to set up new assembly lines, and local assembly will save Apple money on import taxes and allow the company to offer the phones for a lower price in a market obsessed with cost.

DOJ and SEC both investigating Apple’s efforts to slow down older iPhones

The US Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission are both investigating whether Apple broke securities laws by not disclosing that it was intentionally slowing down older iPhones with aging batteries, Bloomberg reports. Sources familiar with the investigations said the government has requested information from Apple and has investigators examining public statements the company has made about the issue. While much attention has been paid to how the move irritated customers, the government seems to be looking at whether the company misled investors as well.

Analyst casts doubt on updated iPhone SE appearing in 2018

While rumors about an update to the iPhone SE have been swirling since early 2017, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doesn’t think we’re going to see a new version of the four-inch device any time soon, MacRumors reports. Apple released the smaller device in 2016 to fill the gap in its line up felt by users who didn’t want the larger size (and price tag) of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but Kuo now says with Apple developing both LED and LCD versions of the larger iPhones for this fall, the company doesn’t have the development resources to focus on another iPhone. “We think the firm will do all it can to avoid repeating the mistake of a shipment delay for the three new models,” Kuo wrote, referencing the delay in launching the iPhone X last year. “As such, we believe Apple is unlikely to have enough spare resources to develop a new iPhone model for launch in 2Q18.”

Update in iOS 11.3 will let parents approve ‘Ask to Buy’ purchases with Face ID

After leaving exhausted iPhone X-owning parents everywhere on the hook for entering their Apple ID password for every “Ask to Buy” App Store purchase request last Christmas, Apple appears to have taken mercy on them in iOS 11.3, finally allowing Face ID to be used to authorize the purchases,9to5Mac reports. Up until now, the “Ask to Buy” feature has allowed Touch ID to be used to approve the requests, but not Face ID. Users testing the iOS 11.3 beta have found that the first purchase request still requires entering the password, but now iOS asks if the user wants to enable Face ID for approving future requests, so those who aren’t too worried about their kids breaking into their phones using their similar face will soon be free to simplify the process again.

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