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Apple TV App Store launches app preview feature

Apple has made it possible for Apple TV users to watch previews of the apps available for their device and has encouraged developers to upload app preview videos in a message sent out today. The 15 to 30 second videos are intended to showcase the features, functionality and user interface of an app or game and can be watched by selecting the “preview” button on an app’s product page. Since the feature was just opened to developers, we haven’t spotted any apps that feature a preview yet — not even Apple’s in-house products. Guidelines for recording and submitting previews are available on Apple’s developer site.

Appeals court upholds Apple’s e-book settlement

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has upheld Apple’s $450 million settlement in an e-book price fixing case, rejecting a challenge by a purchaser who questioned the fairness of the settlement, Reuters reports. Apple is still appealing the ruling that it is liable for conspiring to raise e-book prices, but agreed to a settlement that leaves the company paying out different amounts based on how its appeal goes. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote agreed to a deal letting the company pay $450 million to compensate consumers and cover legal fees if the judgment is upheld, $70 million if the case is ordered to retrial and nothing at all if the liability finding is overturned. The challenge accused Cote of abusing her discretion in authorizing the settlement, but an expert witness testified that the deal, combined with $166 million of earlier settlements with the publishers, would likely provide consumers with more money than they claimed to lose in the suit. In today’s decision, the 2nd Circuit ruled that Cote did not overstep her bounds in approving the settlement.

Bon Appétit’s March issue features photos shot on iPhone 6s

Bon Appétit insisted photographers shoot the main photos for its March issue with the iPhone 6s and documented their reactions to trading in their camera equipment for Apple’s flagship smartphone. Common complaints were a lack of fine control over depth of field and ability to keep lighting consistent, but New Orleans photographer Daymon Gardner said the experience was “liberating,” allowing him to keep everything more “conversational and loose” with the subjects as he shot photos. While he bought a couple of macro lenses to give the phone’s camera a boost, Gardner said he didn’t find them very effective. “The beauty of iPhone photography is that it’s very simple,” he said.

Apple stops selling iPhone 4s, 5c models in India

Apple has stopped selling to iPhone 4s and 5c models to customers in India, The Economic Times reports. The move essentially doubles the price of an entry-level iPhone in the country, from the 12,000 rupees charged for the iPhone 4s to 24,000 rupees for the iPhone 5s. The move brings the Indian market in line with countries like the U.S. and Canada, where the iPhone 5s is already the low-end option available from Apple, but the move could impact the company’s sales to a greater extent in India, where the fastest growing segment of the cell phone market is priced below 20,000 rupees. Apple is making a strong push in the Indian market, planning to open its own retail locations and starting up a development center in Hyderabad expected to employ around 150 people on the Maps team.

Tim Cook’s open letter opposes court order to unlock iPhone

A federal judge has ordered Apple to unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has responded with a letter noting that Apple opposes the court order. As reported by NBC News, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has argued that it needs Apple’s help to access encrypted content contained on the iPhone in question. The court ruled that Apple had five days to respond if the company believed compliance would be “unreasonably burdensome.” The iPhone is actually owned by the employer of the shooter, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, and the county has consented to investigators’ requests to search its contents.

Apple’s official response has arrived much earlier than five days. In an open letter titled “A Message to Our Customers,” Apple CEO Tim Cook has reiterated the company’s stance against creating a “backdoor” for government access to encrypted content. As the letter begins, “The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

Steve Jobs biopic available on Blu-ray, DVD today

After a rocky rollout, disappointing box office returns and pointed criticism from those who knew the Apple founder best, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic is available on Blu-ray and DVD today. The film, which traces Jobs’ life alongside three of his most iconic product launches, met with mostly positive reviews and garnered Academy Award nominations for stars Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, but never really caught on with the general movie-going audience and was pulled from theaters after two weeks. Despite ruffling plenty of feathers at Apple, the movie arrived on iTunes today, though with no promotion or fanfare.

Apple Pay launching in China on Feb. 18, possibly coming to France soon

Apple Pay is set to launch in China on Feb. 18 for customers of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Reuters reports. The bank’s representatives broke the news on social media today, making China the fifth country to adopt the digital payment system. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the post, but Apple cleared the way for expanding into China last year by reaching a deal to use UnionPay’s terminals. The company’s China website lists 19 lenders as Apple Pay partners and state media is reporting that two others will launch the service on Feb. 18. Apple Pay has seen strong push back in countries with existing mobile payment methods and faces stiff competition from entrenched competitors in a Chinese market where consumers are already used to paying for things with their devices.

Report: Apple expanding electromagnetic interference shielding in iPhone 7

Citing unnamed sources, South Korean site ETNews claims Apple is expanding its use of electromagnetic interference shielding to most of the major chips in the new iPhone 7. Apple has previously applied shielding to its circuit boards and connector, but expanding the technique to more components would decrease the space required between them, allowing for further miniaturization of the phone’s profile and possibly providing more space for the battery. Apple first used the process in the original Apple Watch — where space was at a premium — and has reportedly invested “tens of millions of dollars” in contracts with South Korean companies StatsChipPac and Amkor to expand the technology into the iPhone 7. The new process means higher costs for each shielded component, but the publication’s source emphasized the growing necessity to reduce interference “as clock signals of digital chips have increased and as diverse functions such as 3D-touch and others have recently [been] added.” [via Patently Apple]

New Dr. Dre show made for Apple Music

After reports last week of Apple releasing its own original television show based on Dr. Dre, an insider has told Re/code the company’s video content is only being used “to extend Apple Music,” not as the company’s first foray into the TV business. News that Apple had produced a “dark semi-autobiographical drama” about the rap icon and Beats co-founder titled Vital Signs added fuel to ongoing speculation that the company is making an entry into the original TV programming business, with the largest question being how the show would be distributed. As with Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video and Taylor Swift’s recent concert film, the answer seems to be Apple Music. In the same way that Netflix funds original programming in the hopes of selling its primary service of delivering third-party content, Apple seems to be producing its own video programs to draw users to its Apple Music service. Sources familiar with the company’s plans say there is more video content to come, but its focus will primarily be pushing users toward Apple Music for the time being.

Happy Presidents’ Day from iLounge

Happy Presidents’ Day from all of us here at iLounge! In observance of the U.S. holiday, alongside Family Day in Canada, we’ll be on a limited publishing schedule today. We will be back to normal updates tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 16. Thanks for reading!

iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se expected to be available March 18

Following reports that the iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 will be unveiled on March 15, it now appears that the models will also be available in Apple Stores three days later, on March 18, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. With the devices going on sale so soon after the event, sources suggest that Apple is unlikely to offer pre-orders for either of the new devices, although they cautioned that Apple’s plans could still change. In the case of iPhones, in particular, Apple has traditionally opened pre-orders within two to three days after it unveils a new model, with in-store availability coming one to two weeks later, around the same time pre-orders begin arriving in customers’ hands. While Apple’s iPad releases have been a little less consistent in this regard, it would still be unusual for Apple to release both devices in-store so quickly following a major Apple event. Sources have suggested that Apple has already begun ramping up production of the new four-inch iPhone, which is intended to bring the latest technology — specifically NFC for Apple Pay — to the iPhone 5 family for users who may be reluctant to embrace the larger iPhone 6 screen sizes.

Apple filming original ‘dark drama’ television series featuring Dr. Dre

Apple is forging ahead with plans for unveiling its own original, exclusive television programming, and is in fact already getting ready to announced its first television show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series, which will reportedly be titled Vital Signs, is described as a “dark semi-autobiographical drama” featuring Beats co-founder and rap legend Dr. Dre, who now works in the upper echelons of Apple. Multiple sources are said to have confirmed that Dre will be both starring in and executive producing the six-episode vehicle, with the production funded by Apple.

Apple under fire for patent infringement from haptic feedback company Immersion

Haptic feedback developer Immersion has filed a lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of patent infringement. The lawsuit cites technologies such as 3D Touch, Force Touch, and the Apple Watch, as well as vibration patterns for ringtones and notifications, claiming multiple Apple devices are using its intellectual property, including all iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s models and all Apple Watch models. Immersion claims these devices infringe on two of its own patents related to tactile feedback, including U.S. Patent No. 8,619,051, Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects and U.S. Patent No. 8,773,356, Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations. The suit also names AT&T for reasons that are not entirely clear, although in the filing Immersion claims AT&T “encourages and facilities infringing use by others” through its sale of Apple products, and its offering of guides, directions, and other materials. Notably, however, no other mobile carriers are mentioned in the lawsuit. Immersion has also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission to try and prevent the sale of the affected Apple devices in the United States. [via MacRumors]

CBS CEO Moonves notes Apple talks have stopped

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, has noted that his company’s talks with Apple have basically stopped, CNN Money reports. While Moonves was cautiously optimistic about making a deal with Apple back in October, he now tells CNN Money that those talks have ceased, at least for the time being, stating that although CBS had conversations with Apple “awhile back” his company hasn’t “had any recent conversations with them” although he notes that many other new digital companies are eager to partner with CBS and other content makers. Asked whether he believed that Apple will enter the marketplace with its streaming TV service this year, Moonves’ response was “You’ll have to ask Apple that. I don’t know that,” supporting recent reports that suggest Apple has been frustrated at a lack of progress in dealing with content providers, and may in fact be looking to develop exclusive content instead.

Apple will source iPhone 7 ‘A10’ CPU solely from TSMC

Apple will be sourcing the new CPU for its iPhone 7 models exclusively from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), according to a new report from The Electronic Times . The two companies reportedly reached a deal based on the Taiwanese company’s manufacturing process for 10nm chips and more advanced designs that provide better performance and efficiency. Although Apple had been rumoured to be looking for new suppliers for its A9 CPU in the two iPhone 6s models, the company went back to Samsung for at least some of its chips, splitting chip orders between both Samsung and TSMC. This led to a number of reports that the TSMC version of the A9 provided significantly better battery life than the Samsung version in at least some artificial benchmarks, with Apple tacitly acknowledging the difference but noting that it represents a two to three percent variance under real-world usage conditions. TSMC is expected to begin production of the A10 chip in June, with a ramp-up of its 10nm manufacturing process in the second half of 2016, ramping up to full production in 2017. [via MacRumors]

Federal bill aims to take regulatory power for phone encryption out of state hands

A new bipartisan bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives aims to bar states from introducing their own bans on smartphone encryption, The Verge reports. At the urging of local district attorney’s offices, assemblymen in New York and California have introduced identical bills that would ban smartphone encryption for phones sold in those states and fine manufacturers for each phone sold with secure disk encryption. While critics argue it wouldn’t be feasible to tailor phone encryption capabilities for specific states, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) have introduced the Ensuring National Constitutional Rights of Your Private Telecommunications (ENCRYPT) Act to override state and local government encryption laws, over concerns that having varying bills on encryption would endanger the country and the competitiveness of American companies.

Job post shows Apple emphasizing new complications, faces for Apple Watch

A job posting on Apple’s website shows the company is looking to expand its offering of clock face options for Apple Watch and add new complications that “push the envelope on human-computer interactions.” The Watch SDK released alongside watchOS 2 allows developers to write their own watch face complications, but so far Apple has only released three new official watch faces in watchOS 2 — Time-Lapse, Photo and Photo Album — and included another special complication for those buying the Hermès collection version of the watch. [via iPhoneHacks]

New comments hint at forthcoming streaming TV service from Apple

Recent comments from Apple’s main partner in content delivery hint at the company ramping up its in-house capability to provide faster downloads and streaming speeds to users, Business Insider reports. During an earnings call, Akamai CEO Tom Leighton forecasted a serious drop in revenue from one of the company’s “largest customers” — assumed to be Apple — resulting from “their increased do-it-yourself, or DIY efforts.” Apple is investing heavily in its own custom-designed data centers, and streaming services analysts have tracked OS X downloads now coming directly from Apple as opposed to their usual delivery through Akamai. Tim Cook has put a renewed emphasis on Apple’s commitment to online services like iCloud, but the improved in-house content delivery network would also bolster Apple’s rumored plans to offer streaming TV service, allowing the company more control over the streaming quality and lag that end-users would experience.

Apple Music available on Sonos starting today

After a public beta period that started last December, Apple Music is finally available on all Sonos speakers worldwide starting today. Apple Music users can add the service by selecting “Add Music Services” from any Sonos controller app, scrolling down to the Apple Music icon, and logging in. Sonos users will have access to the same For You, New, Radio and My Music categories they would see on Apple devices, and will be able to stream the entire Apple Music library through multiple speakers in separate rooms.

Screen protector installation now available at Apple Stores

Apple Stores worldwide began offering screen protector installation for iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus and 6s Plus users starting today. As previously reported, Apple has partnered with Belkin to place specialized screen protector installation machines in the back of stores, allowing customers to have their screen protector properly installed free of charge after they buy it. Two types of screen protectors — “Invisiglass” and “Anti-Glare” — are being offered. Apple will guarantee the installation of screen protectors and offer a free replacement and re-attempt at installation if the protector isn’t installed successfully for the customer. Many stores began rolling out the new process last week, but it is available everywhere as of today.

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