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Apple’s assembly sites in China hit zero-waste milestone

Apple has reached one of its biggest environmental goals in China, bringing all 14 of its final assembly sites into zero-waste compliance, the company said in a press release. All waste from the facilities is now either reused, recycled, composted or burned to create power. The company also announced a commitment from supplier Lens Technology to run its Apple operations on entirely renewable energy by 2018, making an “unprecedented” power purchasing agreement with local wind projects. Apple has made a serious environmental push in China, working to protect sustainable forest land for the fiber used in its packaging and partnering with local companies to create multiple solar energy farms.

Report: Apple going with ‘iPhone 7’ name for new phone, not releasing ‘iPhone Pro’

Citing a “reliable information source,” Macotakara is reporting that the new iPhone coming next month will be called “iPhone 7” despite months of speculation that the company would hold back that designation as it moves from a two-year to a three-year refresh cycle. The report also claims the expected dual-camera model will be named “iPhone 7 Plus,” backing previous reports that rumors of an “iPhone Pro” were unfounded. The story bolsters previous leaks about camera improvements, the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack and a haptic Home button, saying those changes are enough to warrant the move to a new numbered model over another iPhone 6 designation.

Apple making a documentary with hip-hop label Cash Money Records

Apple is making a documentary with Cash Money Records, home to hip-hop stars like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake, Bloomberg reports. Cash Money co-founder Bryan Williams posted a picture of himself standing alongside Larry Jackson, the head of Apple’s original music content, to celebrate the new deal. People familiar with the arrangement said Apple is funding a documentary about the label, not securing all of Cash Money’s new albums to be Apple Music exclusives as had been speculated. Drake already has close ties to Apple — he hosts his own show on Beats 1 and made his latest album an Apple Music exclusive for its first week.

Leaked AT&T schedule hints at Sept. 23 release date for iPhone 7

An AT&T retail schedule obtained by 9to5Mac hints at a Sept. 23 release date for the new iPhone. Previous rumors predicted pre-orders for the new phone will start on Sept. 9, with a likely release date of Sept. 16. The leaked schedule shows AT&T highlighting extra hours needed for a “merchandising rest” on both Sept. 9 and Sept. 23. Either is a possibility: The wait between the start of pre-orders and the official release date for most iPhones since 2011 has been a single week, but last year’s iPhone 6s launch had a two-week lead time for pre-orders.

Key Apple Watch engineer provides details on device’s development

Bob Messerschmidt — who sold his company to Apple in 2010 and became a key part of the Apple Watch’s development — gave some insights into how products are created at Apple in a new Fast Company article. Working with Jony Ive’s Industrial Design Group constantly challenged Messerschmidt and his employees to redesign their components, specifically the heart rate sensor that became the Apple Watch’s marquee selling feature. When Messerschmidt told Ive’s team that he needed to put the watch’s sensors in the band so they’d make contact with the underside of a user’s wrist to get the most accurate reading, the response was a flat no. “They (the Industrial Design group) said very quickly that ‘that’s not the design trend; that’s not the fashion trend. We want to have interchangeable bands so we don’t want to have any sensors in the band.’”

Berkshire Hathaway increases its stake in Apple

After buying $1.07 billion of Apple stock in March, Berkshire Hathaway has boosted its total stake in the company to $1.46 billion, Reuters reports. Regulatory filings from the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate showed the company had expanded its Apple holdings by 55 percent as of June 30, doubling down on the investment as other notable investors like George Soros and Carl Icahn are bailing on the company over concerns about Apple’s future prospects in China.

Apple announces new R&D facility to be located in China

During his latest trip to Beijing, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple is preparing to build its first Asia-Pacific research and development center in China, Reuters reports. The move comes as demand for the iPhone has plunged in China amid the government’s efforts to tighten its grip on Apple’s business, increasing scrutiny of the company’s App Store operations and shutting down iBook and iTunes movie sales. Despite the difficulties, Apple has continued to invest in the country, recently sinking $1 billion into China’s Didi Chuxing ride-hailing service, enabling that company to buy out Uber’s Chinese operations. Cook told Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli that the new R&D facility will be built by the end of the year, according to official Chinese state media.

Rumor: iPhone 7 to offer support for faster charging

A source cited by online tipster The Malignant claims the iPhone 7 will support faster charging speeds. The accompanying Twitter photo shows what appears to be an updated circuit board that the source claims will support “at least” a 5-volt, 2-amp charging speed. Current iPhone chargers are only rated up to 1 amp, but as we’ve pointed out in the past, current iPhones can charge a bit faster at times when using a 2.1A iPad charger. It’s likely that any fast charging possibilities would be designed to get a future iPhone up to a certain battery percentage more quickly than is currently possible. Many Android devices now offer some form of fast charging, and Apple already uses battery technologies that allow for faster charging, but has never chosen to market it as a feature. [via Apple Insider]

Apple releases fifth iOS 10 public beta, sixth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10 + watchOS 3

Apple has released the fifth public beta of iOS 10 through its Apple Software Beta Program, continuing enhancements to Music, Maps, Messages, and News. 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. The company also released the sixth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. The latest round of betas is intended to allow developers to continue working on the new features and APIs first debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, with the unveiling of each of the major new operating system releases.

Cook touts artificial intelligence, augmented reality as big parts of Apple’s future

In an expansive interview with the Washington Post, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at Apple’s plans for the future, touching on artificial intelligence and augmented reality. While Cook dodged questions on the company’s car project, he was bullish on artificial intelligence’s ability to transform the dwindling cell phone market in the near future, renewing the company’s focus on things that will help users in their daily lives. Touting Apple’s own efforts and those of Uber and Lyft to integrate car-hailing services into Siri, he said the company opening up the personal assistant to third-party developers has unlocked a lot of potential. “Third-party developers are writing tons of those that will be available to the public in the fall,” Cook said of the integrations. “And that’s how we’re broadening Siri in a huge way.”

Report: Twitter in talks to bring app to Apple TV for streaming NFL games

Months after winning its bid to live-stream Thursday night NFL games, Twitter is in talks to bring its app to Apple TV, The New York Times reports. Apple was reportedly interested in the March bidding war over the rights to stream the games, but didn’t end up entering the race against rivals like Amazon, Google and Yahoo. A deal with Twitter would potentially let Apple gain access anyway, allowing millions of Apple TV users to watch the live broadcasts, according to two people briefed on the discussions. Whether the Apple TV app would be mostly identical to the company’s iOS app or a stripped down version (similar to what Adobe did with its Lightroom viewer) is unclear. Both Apple and Twitter declined to comment.

KGI: 10.5” iPad Pro model coming next year, flexible display in 2018

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo made is predicting three new iPad models for 2017 and even more “revolutionary” changes to the tablet in 2018. The analyst said Apple is working on a flexible AMOLED display and dramatic chassis redesign for the device in 2018, following a predicted drastic overhaul to the iPhone expected in 2017. Next year’s iPads are expected to be modest improvements by comparison, with an iPad Pro 2 possibly featuring the new A10X system-on-chip launching in 12.9” and 10.5” sizes. With the 10.5” iPad Pro reportedly set to replace the 9.7” Pro model, Apple is also expected to offer a 9.7” iPad of some sort in 2017, but as a low-cost alternative to the Pro options. [via , AppleInsider]

Report: Secondary speaker holes on new iPhone may be simply cosmetic

A new report from Nowherelese.fr (via MacRumors), suggests the the additional speaker holes shown on leaked photos of the next-generation iPhone may in fact be purely cosmetic in nature to give the device a symmetrical look, rather than indicating stereo speakers as previously speculated. Annotations in a leaked design drawing refer to the area that currently occupies the 3.5mm headphone jack as having simply a microphone and microphone mesh, oddly failing to mention the presence of a speaker in that location.

Apple gets approval to build proposed data center in Ireland

Over a year after announcing plans to build a new data center in County Galway, Ireland, Apple has finally received approval from Irish authorities to begin construction on the new facility. Apple has been granted permission to build only a single data center for now, but the company reportedly plans to build as many as eight facilities on the site over the next decade or so, although the company will have to reapply for planning permission to expand beyond the single one. The project is part of a plan by Apple to bring 1,000 new jobs to Ireland, and will be used to support Apple’s online services such as the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for European customers. The data center will be constructed in a forest just outside the small town of Athenry, and Apple notes that it will be powered completely by renewable energy and build on land that a state forestry company used to grow and harvest non-native trees; Apple promises to restore native trees to the forest and create a new outdoor education space for local schools as part of the project. [via Business Insider]

Apple patent reveals possible electrocardiographic wearable health device

A new Apple patent application published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office outlines the design for a new wearable health device that would be capable of recording electrocardiographic signals and detecting and correcting for inversions in electrocardiographic measurements based on where the device is worn on the body. The patent, titled Method Of Detecting the Wearing Limb of a Wearable Electronic Device discusses a number of methods of wearable health technology, including not only a watch, but also a ring, pendant, brooch, wrist band, and bracelet, and would be designed to take accurate electrocardiographic measurements based on the electrode’s relative position to the heart automatically, based on the ability to determine where on the body that the device is being worn. It could then adjust the measurements accordingly. Interestingly, the patent comes on the heels of a report earlier this week suggesting that Apple is working on new health-related hardware for release next year that would more accurately collect information like heart rate, pulse, blood sugar changes, and more. [via Patently Apple]

Apple SVPs Cue and Federighi provide more insight into Apple Maps data gathering

A follow-up article today by Fast Company provides a more detailed transcript of its interview with Apple Senior Vice Presidents Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi discussing Apple’s challenges surrounding the introduction and ongoing development of its Maps platform. The in-depth comments provide some additional insight into how Apple has been rising to the challenge of improving the quality and accuracy of real-time data in Maps, highlighting some interesting approaches, such as determining where new businesses are opening by tracking geolocated app usage on iPhones, and determining road closures by analyzing traffic activity from users’ iPhones.

India creates new path for Apple to open stores

After last month’s news that India was clearing the way for Apple to open retail locations, the country’s finance minister has approved a proposal exempting the company from local sourcing requirements, Bloomberg reports. An anonymous source said the new rules will give India’s information technology ministry the authority to label a retailer of a single brand as a “cutting-edge technology” provider, opening a new path for Apple to gain a three-year exemption to the country’s requirement that it obtain 30 percent of its product materials locally. Apple can now reapply to open stores in India after failing to gain the exemption on its first attempt.

Report: South Korean battery maker claims to be partner in Apple car project

A South Korean battery company has allegedly signed on to supply batteries for Apple’s rumored car project, ETNews reports. The website cites a battery industry source who claims the unnamed manufacturer signed a non-disclosure agreement after meeting with an Apple employee. The company in question is said to have around 20 employees and hold international patents for hollow lithium-ion batteries. Maintaining an open center makes for a cooler-running battery, decreasing the need for cooling systems and preventing overheating.

Apple claims Australian banks’ request would damage iPhone security

After the three largest Australian banks filed an application to make their own mobile payment apps available on the iPhone, Apple has countered with claims that opening up its NFC technology could damage the device’s security, the Australian Financial Times reports. The company told Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission that Apple Pay “upholds very high security standards for our customers when they use Apple devices to make payments. Providing simple access to the NFC antenna by banking applications would fundamentally diminish the high level of security Apple aims to have on our devices.”

Apple releases fifth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10 + watchOS 3

Apple has released the fifth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. The fifth round of betas is intended to allow developers to continue working on the new features and APIs first debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, with the unveiling of each of the major new operating system releases; the fifth round of betas likely continues to refine the experience from the previous round of betas, with the release notes indicating mostly minor updates. We’ll update if any major developments pop up.

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