Apple has released iTunes 12.3.2, a minor update that adds the Apple Music enhancements related to browsing for Classical music that appeared in iOS 9.2 earlier this week — specifically the ability to see works, composers, and performers while browsing through Classical music in the Apple Music catalog. The new version also includes the usual stability and performance improvements. iTunes 12.3.2 is available as a software update in the Mac App Store, or as a direct download from iTunes.com.
A leaked document sent to Mercedes-Benz dealers in the U.S. (PDF) has been obtained by C450 AMG, revealing that the company plans to include CarPlay in select 2016 models beginning with Dec. 1 and Jan. 8 builds. Specifically, CarPlay will be offered on CLA, GLA, and B-Class models either as a standalone $350 package with the Audio 20 sound system or as a no-cost enhancement to the traditional Multimedia Package. E-Class Coupe & Cabriolet, CLS, GLE, and GLE Coupe models will automatically include CarPlay at no extra cost with the applicable packages that include the COMAND Navigation system. No information is available on when or if the C class will get CarPlay support.
The document suggests that CarPlay will only be available via a wired USB connection, and adds that Apple has confirmed a number of apps to be supported at launch, including Podcasts, Audio Books, iHeartRadio, MLB At Bat, Spotify, Stitcher, CBS Radio, Rdio, Overcast, Audiobooks.com, Audible, and Pandora, but notes that “content and features available on Apple CarPlay are selected solely by Apple” suggesting the final list may be subject to change — for example with Rdio scheduled to shut down in the coming weeks it seems unlikely that an Rdio app would be included.
A new Apple patent application reveals that Apple may be working on a new method of weatherproofing iPhone connectors such as the Lightning port and audio jack, lending more credence to recent rumors that the company is working on making the next-generation iPhone waterproof. The patent application, titled Electronic device with hidden connector, describes using a layer of self-healing elastomer to protect sensitive electrical contacts in headphone and Lightning ports. Connectors would be able to penetrate the elastomer material to make electrical contact, but the material would re-seal itself upon removal of said connectors. Multiple examples are provided in the application, including applying the material to the opening of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, lining the inside of the cylinder, or filling the audio jack completely with the material. The patent application was first filed in June 2014, and while rumors of a weatherproof iPhone 7 have been circulating recently, it’s unclear whether the methods described in this patent would be applied to the iPhone 7, some unspecified future device, or if they will make it into any future Apple device at all. [via AppleInsider]
In an interview with Mashable, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to various criticisms of the Apple’s new iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case, ranging from the “hump” on the back of the case to the idea that the release of the case is a tacit admission by Apple that the iPhone 6s’ battery life is insufficient. Regarding the protruding “hump” on the back of the case — a feature that many see as an “un-Apple” aesthetic — Cook notes that it was a conscious design decision to keep the case flexible in order to make it easier to insert and remove the iPhone, as compared to other battery cases which are so rigid that it takes “considerable strength and patience” to remove or insert an iPhone into them.
In an update to its support page, Apple informed users that upgrading to iOS 9.2 may prevent the iPad Pro from becoming unresponsive after an extended period charging. Last month users began reporting that iPad Pro tablets running iOS 9.1 would appear frozen after charging, requiring a hard restart to resume functioning. Apple acknowledged the problem and recommended a forced restart as a temporary solution, but has since updated its support document to add that “Updating your iPad Pro to iOS 9.2 or later might prevent this issue from occurring in the future.” While users have speculated that restoring from an iCloud backup may be contributing to the freezing issue, Apple has offered no official word on what causes the iPad Pro to become unresponsive. After almost a month using the iPad Pro, we at iLounge have yet to experience the problem. [via App Advice]
Apple agreed with iLounge’s pick for the Best Apple Watch App of 2015, naming weather app Dark Sky its choice for Apple Watch App of the Year. Apple Watch Game of the Year went to Rules!, a fast-paced puzzle game which is a smaller version of its iOS edition. Best Classic Podcast went to WTF with Marc Maron, and newcomer Mystery Show was named Best New Podcast of 2015. Apple also released its picks for best books of 2015 in 16 categories, listed below.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News discussing the success of the new fourth-generation Apple TV, Apple SVP Eddy Cue revealed that the addition of Apple Remote app support in yesterday’s tvOS update may actually just be a stop-gap measure while the company produces an enhanced Remote app for iOS devices. Cue noted that a new Apple TV remote app is in development that will provide “the full functionality of the Siri Remote on your iPhone,” and he expects Apple to release the new updated app in the first half of 2016.
A little more than a month after its open beta period, Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant hit the App Store today. The free app allows users access to functions similar to those performed by Apple’s Siri, like getting answers to questions, but adds the ability to sync reminders between an iOS device and a Windows PC. Cortana is also able to track packages, flights, sports scores and stocks for those looking for up-to-the-minute updates, and a Notebook function stores information about a user’s interests and activities. But Cortana’s functionality is much more limited on the iPhone than on Windows phones where it’s fully integrated: Cortana isn’t allowed to change iPhone settings or activate when users say “Hey Cortana,” making the app less of a full replacement for Siri and more of a handy extension for iOS device users operating a Windows PC that they want to integrate with their device.
Apple has released its picks for best apps of 2015. The company picked Periscope (our runner up for App of the Year) as its iPhone App of the Year — calling it a game-changer that “made sharing and watching live videos an instant obsession” — and selected photo editor Enlight and stock-trading app Robinhood as its runners-up. Workflow won Most Innovative app for iPhone, and Instagram’s 3D Touch enhancements won it Best App on iPhone 6s. Lara Croft GO won Best Game of the Year for iPhone for its “beauty and clever design,” with Fallout Shelter and Mr Jump earning runner-up honors. Dark Echo was listed as the Most Innovative iPhone game and “immersive 3D Touch controls” won Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade honors as Best Game on iPhone 6s.
After months of unsuccessful negotiations, Apple has suspended its plans to offer a subscription TV service and is refocusing on being a platform for other media companies through the App Store, Bloomberg reports. During a press conference on Tuesday, CBS CEO Les Moonves said Apple has put its live TV plans “on hold,” and sources with knowledge of the negotiations said Apple’s plan to offer a package of around 14 channels for $30 to $40 a month has stalled over networks’ demands for more money. While Moonves went on to say he’s confident Apple’s TV service “will happen” at some point, the company’s negotiations with TV executives have proven much more difficult than those with music companies, which have been mostly willing to partner with Apple. With cable providers already starting to offer smaller bundles and networks selling their own individual subscriptions through apps available on Apple TV, Apple is facing the prospect of charging more for its service unless it can convince media companies to accept less. Without those agreements in place, Apple is turning to software developers to create new entertainment content in the hopes of setting the latest Apple TV’s App Store apart from similar offerings from Roku, Amazon and Google.
Apple has released tvOS 9.1, the first major update to the company’s new fourth-generation set-top box. While no release notes are yet available, the new update adds support for using Siri voice control with Apple Music, as promised earlier this fall, and the ability to use Apple’s Remote app with the new box, albeit it in a more limited fashion — the Remote app will pair through Home Sharing as with prior-generation Apple TVs, but it is limited to providing touchpad control of the Apple TV user interface and keyboard input into text fields; the ability to browse or navigate content found on prior-generation Apple TVs is not supported in the new model. Even with the tvOS 9.1 update, the new set-top box also still lacks support for external Bluetooth keyboards, although the ability to at least now enter text from an iPhone or iPad keyboard with the Remote app should mitigate this limitation somewhat.
Apple has released iOS 9.2 today, adding several improvements and bug fixes related to Apple Music, News, and Mail. More specifically, the update allows Apple Music users to create new playlists on-the-fly when adding songs, places the most recently modified playlist at the top when adding songs to a playlist, and provides an iCloud Download button for downloading albums or playlists, as well as more detailed indicators to help you see which songs are available for offline listening. Works, composers, and performers are also now shown when browsing Classical music in the Apple Music catalog. Although it remains limited to users in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, the iOS 9.2 update adds a new “Top Stories” section to the News app. Large attachments can also now be sent via Mail Drop, mirroring the feature introduced in OS X Yosemite, and iBooks gets several improvements including 3D Touch support for navigating through books, listening to audiobooks while still browsing your library. Notably, iOS 9.2 also brings support for Apple’s USB Camera Adapter to the iPhone; previously an iPad-only accessory, this will allow iPhone users to import photos and videos from their digital cameras directly to their iOS photo library. The iOS 9.2 update also fixes a number of smaller bugs, and improves stability, and makes some accessibility improvements.
Apple is planning to unveil its second-generation Apple Watch at an event next March, 9to5Mac reports. Sources with knowledge of the plans said the new watches would ship by April, less than a year after the original hit stores. The sources also confirmed that Apple is working on the long-rumored 4” “iPhone 6c” and that new phone might also debut alongside the Apple Watch 2. A March announcement would be in line with last week’s predictions that the new phone would debut early next year, but details on what kind of hardware the new Apple Watch and iPhone models will contain is still up for debate.
Apple has quietly replaced its old Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader with an improved model that supports USB 3.0 transfer speeds now possible with the iPad Pro. The size, shape and $30 price of the accessory remain unchanged, and older iPads will still top out at USB 2.0 transfer speeds, making the new card reader most useful to iPad Pro owners. As before, inserting the reader into an iPad or iPhone with an SD card inside automatically opens the Photos app and organizes your pictures. [via iDownloadBlog]
After taking steps to shutter its One to One tutoring program earlier this year, Apple has announced it is officially ending One to One group training on Dec. 17. Reports that Apple was looking to end to the subscription training program for Mac and iOS users first surfaced in August, and now the company is urging subscribers to download any notes they have saved from previous sessions before the service comes to an end. The $99 annual membership service first became available in 2009 to provide customers with training on basic usage, Apple services and specific apps, but has since been rendered obsolete by themed workshops that Apple offers all customers free of charge. [via Apple Insider]
More than a year and a half after partnering with Apple, Volvo is finally making CarPlay available in the 2016 XC90 crossover, CNET reports. For those who have already purchased an XC90, a trip to the dealership will be necessary to install the CarPlay software on the car’s Sensus touchscreen. The upgrade takes about an hour and is free for customers who bought their car on or before Nov. 23. Those picking up an XC90 after that date will have to pay an additional $300 for the upgrade. When the iPhone is plugged into the XC90’s USB port, CarPlay doesn’t take up the entire 9-inch touchscreen like it does in some other cars, leaving vehicle functions available at the top while providing access to the phone’s apps underneath. The system also includes Siri integration, so drivers can hear their text messages and reply to them using only their voice.
Apple has introduced its first ever iPhone battery case, entering the market with the Smart Battery Case ($99) for the iPhone 6s. Available in charcoal gray or white, the case looks like Apple’s other simple silicone cases with an added hump on the back for the extra battery. The company’s “intelligent” battery will display its charge status on the iPhone’s lock screen and in Notification Center to give users a more complete picture of how much power they have left. The case is compatible with the Lightning cable that came with the iPhone or Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock accessory, so it won’t need to be removed for charging. The product page says the phone and case can charge simultaneously. Apple claims the case gives the phone up to 25 hours of talk time, 18 hours of Internet use over LTE and up to 20 hours of video playback. We’ll post a full review of the new case in the near future.
Japan Display Inc.—a key supplier of the LCD displays used in iPhones—is rumored to be in talks with Apple to supply OLED screens for iPhones as early as 2018, Japanese newspaper Nikkan reports. Reports that Apple is testing OLED screens in its prototype iPhone 7 models have prompted speculation that Apple would be forced to move away from companies like Japan Digital and Sharp, which currently supply iPhone LCD displays. But Japan Display reportedly plans to have an OLED prototype line in place by next spring and is sending executives next week to pitch Apple on its plans for scaling up to mass production by 2018. [via G For Games]
After reports of multiple users being able to go over the old limit of 25,000 songs in their iTunes Match or iCloud Music Libraries, Eddy Cue confirmed Apple has “started rolling out support for 100k libraries,” MacRumors reports. When Apple Music launched in June, Cue promised Apple was working on raising the limit to accommodate larger libraries. Several users have documented pushing past the 25,000 song mark, but Apple still hasn’t updated its support page or made a public announcement, so it’s unclear how many users have access to the extra capacity and when the rollout will be complete.
Almost five years after the patent infringement lawsuit between the two companies began, Samsung has dropped further appeals and has agreed to pay Apple the $548 million in damages ordered by a Federal Appeals court last spring, according to a new report by FOSS Patents. Samsung had made a request to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in August to re-examine the verdict, however that request was denied, and after a rapid series of back-and-forth filings from the two companies, a U.S. judge banned any further filings in the case until further notice.