Apple is setting 2019 as the target for shipping its first vehicle, an electric car, The Wall Street Journal reports. Project leaders “have been given permission to triple the 600 person team,” sources said. Though much talk has surrounded the company’s plans to create a self-driving car, this new report claims an electric car is the first step, with a self-driving car being part of a larger, long-term plan. It’s also noted that Apple’s ship date may not mean wide consumer release; to Apple, “it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product’s main features.” There is reportedly skepticism from some sources regarding this aggressive timeline. Apple declined comment.
Apple has released watchOS 2, the first major software update for its Apple Watch. The 515MB update was delayed last week, missing its launch date last Wednesday due to a bug. The list of new features and capabilities within the update is lengthy. Users can update to watchOS 2 from the Apple Watch app on the iPhone paired to Apple Watch. To download and install the update, the watch must be in range of a Wi-Fi connected iPhone and connected to its charger, and Apple Watch must be charged to at least 50 percent of its battery life.
The new Apple TV supports the use of Bluetooth headphones and speakers, 9to5Mac reports in a hands-on look at the device. While the new model’s Bluetooth capability has already been mentioned in regards to game controllers, the ability to link wireless headphones and speakers will appeal to a broad group of users who want to listen to music or view movies without using their TV’s speakers. Apple has yet to announce a firm release date for the new Apple TV, which the company says will be coming in late October — Apple’s website still just lists the device as “coming soon.”
Apple confirmed that iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus units will be available at 8 a.m. local time Friday in Apple retail stores, but recommends getting there early to secure one. Apple notes that those living in tax-free U.S. states will have to make a reservation for their phone, as will residents of China, Hong Kong and Japan. Other U.S. customers can line up and take their chances Friday morning or make an online reservation for in-store pick up starting Saturday. Both models will also be available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, other cellular carriers and some Apple Authorized Resellers, but customers buying the new phone at an Apple retail store will be offered free personal setup.
Sprint announced it will be selling the Apple Watch starting Sept. 25, and T-Mobile might not be far behind with CEO John Legere tweeting that the watch is coming, but not offering a firm date. After experiencing strong sales, Apple is expanding sales of the Apple Watch to all Best Buy locations this month, with more retailers and cellular carriers likely to be added to that list in the weeks to come. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is trying to rid the App Store of hundreds of apps containing a malicious program called XcodeGhost, Reuters reports. The flaw was brought to Apple’s attention by several cybersecurity firms last week, including Palo Alto Networks, which claims that popular apps like Angry Birds 2 and WeChat have been built with a counterfeit version of Xcode downloaded from Chinese servers. The malware’s primary function is to collect information stored on devices and upload that data to remote servers, but it has also been found to prompt fake alerts to phish for passwords from users, hijack opening specific URLs, and read and write data into the user’s clipboard, allowing the malware to read a user’s password if it is copied from a password management tool.
Apple hasn’t commented on what iPhone and iPad users can do to determine which devices have been infected, but spokeswoman Christine Monaghan said, “We’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software. We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.” So far that list doesn’t include popular apps like Angry Birds 2 or WeChat, which are still available in the App Store as of Monday morning. Angry Birds maker Rovio has also made no mention if the XcodeGhost bug, making the app’s inclusion on the list even more baffling. Palo Alto Networks Director of Threat Intelligence Ryan Olson said the firm had uncovered no clear cases of data theft or harm as a result of the attack so far, but that the attack is significant because it proved the App Store’s security can be compromised by infecting the machines of software developers writing legitimate apps. The full list of affected apps published by Palo Alto Networks (including titles translated from Mandarin by Business Insider) is listed below:
Apple has registered an entity in the Shanghai free-trade zone to operate Apple Pay in China, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple Technology Service (Shanghai) Ltd. is the name of the new entity, which was registered in June. A number of issues have delayed an Apple Pay launch in the country, but this most recent development puts Apple in position to gain approval from regulators to enter the market. If the company does get approved, the WSJ notes that Apple “would be entering a market where electronic payments are already deeply entrenched”— a main competitor would be Alibaba’s Alipay, which has about 320 million mobile users. Nevertheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that he’s “bullish” on Apple Pay’s potential in the country.
Apple executives met with California’s department of motor vehicles last month to discuss plans for the company’s self-driving car, The Guardian reports. The DMV would only state that “the Apple meeting was to review [the] DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations” and nothing further. California is developing regulations for “the post-testing deployment of autonomous vehicles” — such regulations could very well be adopted nationwide in the future. This report suggests that Apple’s self-driving car “is almost ready for public view.” A report from last month claimed Apple was looking at testing locations for the vehicle.
iFixit has posted its teardown of Apple’s iPad mini 4. The biggest internal change from a user standpoint is the smaller battery when compared to the iPad mini 3 — Apple’s newest mini has a thinner 19.32 Whr, 5124 mAh single cell battery, as opposed to the prior generation’s double cell 24.3 Whr, 6471 mAh battery. We’ll see if there are any major differences during battery testing in our upcoming review. The teardown points out many of the new mini’s similarities to the iPad Air 2, including the 8MP rear iSight camera and laminated screen technology.
Apple has won some ground back against Samsung in a recent U.S. federal appeals court decision, Variety reports. The court ruled that a lower court decision erred in denying Apple’s request for an injunction to prevent Samsung from using certain Apple-patented features. A Northern California federal district court had previously denied Apple’s request, indicating that Apple had failed to prove that Samsung’s infringement of Apple’s patents was the sole cause of lost sales. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rules that this decision was in error, and that Apple had also established that monetary damages alone were not sufficient compensation. “The right to exclude competitors from using one’s property rights is important. And the right to maintain exclusivity — a hallmark and crucial guarantee of patent rights deriving from the Constitution itself — is likewise important,” the court said. The patented features that Apple is seeking to bar Samsung from using in its devices include slide-to-unlock, automatic links for features like calling, and text autocorrection. The Federal Circuit court’s decision vacated the lower court’s order denying the injunction and remanded the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.
AT&T’s plans to launch Wi-FI calling for the iPhone in iOS 9 have run into some roadblocks, according to a new report from Phone Scoop. Although the feature was expected to be widely available following the launch of iOS 9, it has now been delayed due to pending approval on an FCC requirement to ensure that the new Wi-Fi calling feature can reliably accommodate the hearing impaired. Traditionally, hearing impaired users have relied on TTY technology, however TTY cannot be used reliably with Wi-Fi calling, and AT&T has proposed to instead implement a new real-time text (RTT) feature as an alternative. Doing so, however, requires AT&T to get a waiver to the FCC’s accessibility rules; the company requested the waiver earlier this year, but it has not yet been granted by the FCC. Those that were selected to beta test WI-Fi calling on iOS 9 were able to use the feature and will be able to continue to do so, according to AT&T, however no timeline has been provided by the FCC or AT&T as to when Wi-FI calling will be approved for use. [via The Verge]
We’ve gotten our hands on the fourth-generation iPad mini and have posted an unboxing and comparison gallery below, highlighting the contents of the new iPad mini packaging along with differences between the slightly longer iPad mini 4 and last year’s iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2. Look for our full iPad mini 4 review next week.
Apple has made another acquisition in efforts to continue building up its Maps infrastructure, Re/code reports. The company this month acquired Mapsense, a startup that builds location data analysis and visualization tools, paying somewhere between $25 million and $30 million for the small twelve-person team, according to multiple sources familiar with the details. Apple provided its usual generic statement that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Apple’s Phil Schiller has confirmed that screen protectors should not interfere with the sensitivity of Apple’s new 3D Touch display on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, according to 3D Techtronics. While there were some concerns that the presence of a screen protector overlay might interfere with 3D Touch operations by changing the pressure sensitivity on the new displays, Schiller replies to an email from the blog stating that “screen overlays that follow [Apple’s] guidelines will continue to work with 3D Touch.”
As hinted at during last week’s event, Apple has released iMovie 2.2, an update designed primarily to bring 4K video editing support for the new iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPad Pro. In addition to 4K video, the update also introduces support for 1080p video at 60fps and adds 3D Touch interactions for the new iPhone models. Several iPad enhancements have also been added, including a new user interface design for the iPad Pro, including a full-height media browser and 1080 HD viewer, support for editing shortcuts on external keyboards, improved Inspector controls, and redesigned Project Details and Video views. The new version also adds support for Slide Over and Split View along with a redesigned Audio Browser in the iMovie Extension for Photos.
Apple has released iTunes 12.3, which addresses several issues with Apple Music support and enables two-factor authentication security. This latest release specifically notes fixes for Apple Music and VoiceOver support, reordering songs in Up Next, radio stations appearing in Recently Played, and syncing of Loved songs between iOS and iTunes. iTunes 12.3 is now available as a software update in the Mac App Store, or as a direct download from iTunes.com.
As announced last week, Apple has released iOS 9, its latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update should now be available for over-the-air installation via Settings, General, Software Update, or by connecting to iTunes and using the Check for Updates option. Described by Apple as its “most advanced mobile experience”, the new version includes more intelligent Siri features, proactive suggestions, new keyboard and multitasking features for iPad users, and a number of under-the-hood performance and stability improvements. Stay tuned for our iOS 9 Instant Expert feature, filling you in on everything you need to know about iOS 9.
Apple is delaying the release of watchOS 2, which Apple Watch owners were expecting to see today alongside the release of iOS 9, TechCrunch reports. “We have discovered a bug in development of watchOS 2 that is taking a bit longer to fix than we expected,” an Apple spokesperson said. “We will not release watchOS 2 today but will shortly.” Apple didn’t say specifically which part of the OS was affected by the bug or set a date for watchOS 2’s eventual release. The company has only pushed back a major OS release once before, when a VoIP bug was discovered in iOS 4.2 in 2010. Today’s release of iOS 9 seems to be unaffected by whatever hindered watchOS 2 and is still on schedule for 1 p.m. Eastern Time.
Mobile device accessory maker Incipio Technologies has acquired Incase Designs, which specializes in laptop bags and cases for Apple devices. The move comes on the heels of Incipio buying up iPad keyboard case and peripheral manufacturer ClamCase this June and two years after the company acquired speaker manufacturer Braven. Incase’s product lines further expand Incipio’s reach into Apple-specific accessories, while Incipio’s distribution network will allow Incase to expand its market globally. Financial terms of the deal remain confidential, but like Braven and ClamCase, Incase will continue as its own standalone brand with its own headquarters.
Stephen Colbert got his hands on a rose gold iPhone 6s during his interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook Tuesday on The Late Show, taking viewers through the basics of how to work the device’s 3D Touch technology within email. A light touch gave Colbert what Cook called a “peek,” a quick glance at the email he selected. A harder press resulted in a “pop,” actually opening the email for full viewing. The host noticed the haptic feedback immediately, saying, “It kind of touches me back.” Colbert even created a slapstick comedy bit with the phone’s new Live Photos feature, which records video during the second and a half before and after a photo is taken. The host pressed Cook on comments made by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick last week, who casually suggested that Apple was working on its own car project during his own interview with Colbert. Cook gave a standard non-answer, saying only, “We look at a number of things along the way and we decide to really put our energies in a few of those.”