The Supreme Court has upheld new government procedures for challenging patents, The Wall Street Journal reports. The upheld ruling is a big win for companies like Apple, which are constantly bombarded by patent lawsuits. The 2011 law in question put in place a quicker and cheaper process for challenging patents, placing the decision-making power in the hands of the patent office instead of a federal judge. Opponents of the law argued that the new process was too friendly to patent challengers and made patents too vulnerable to being overturned.
Starting today, millions of people who bought e-books from Apple will receive credits or checks as part of a $450 million settlement, the law firm Hagens Berman confirmed in a press release. Customers who bought e-books published by HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group Inc. and Simon & Schuster from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012 are eligible for payments amounting to $400 million in total.
After months of back and forth, Apple once again seems close to opening retail stores in India after the country relaxed its restrictions on foreign retailers, Bloomberg reports. Apple was denied an exemption to rules that require single-brand retailers in India to source at least 30 percent of their components locally, but on Monday India relaxed restrictions on all foreign investors in an effort to boost investment.
Apple has notified Republican leaders that it won’t be providing any funding or support to this year’s convention in protest to Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments, Politico reports. Facebook, Microsoft and Google are all providing some support to the GOP’s Cleveland convention, but two sources familiar with Apple said the company decided against donating cash or technology over Trump’s remarks about women, minorities and immigrants.
Bank of America is ramping up support for Apple Pay at its ATMs, debuting new NFC readers that allow users to withdraw money using their iPhone. Several Reddit users have experimented with the new machines, finding that they are able to tap their phone to the NFC logo and enter their PIN to take out money. But the new system doesn’t allow for much else, as customers have found themselves unable to make deposits or use cards issued by non-Bank of America banks to withdraw money. Chase and Wells Fargo have confirmed that they are working on similar ATM upgrades, but haven’t provided a timetable for when they’ll be available. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple may have to halt sales of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China after a the company was ruled to violate patent rights of a Chinese company, Bloomberg reports. The Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled the iPhones infringe upon Baili’s 100C phone (which doesn’t look that similar to Apple’s iPhones). The decision only affects Beijing, but it could be used as precedent in China. Apple can appeal the ruling, and the report notes the company “could be allowed to continue selling its phones during the process.”
Apple will be requiring all the apps in its App Store to connect to the web through an HTTPS connection starting on January 1, 2017. TechCrunch reports. The company debuted its App Transport Security feature in iOS 9, but until now developers weren’t required to use it. While the end user won’t really be able to observe any difference, starting next year all connections between apps and servers will be encrypted. Apple has been ramping up its efforts to protect user privacy in iOS after its public fight with the FBI, even though there is still some internal disagreement within the company over how far its privacy mandates should go at the expense of user experience.
This week’s WWDC keynote also saw the unveiling of the next-generation version of OS X — now renamed as “macOS” to match its mobile counterparts (and likely to avoid confusion with iOS 10). macOS Sierra introduced a number of new “Continuity” features to build upon the tight integration between Apple’s Macs and iOS devices. Apple SVP Craig Federighi outlined several new features including automatic unlocking, Universal Clipboard, iCloud Desktop and Documents synchronization, and Apple Pay for Safari, all of which tie a user’s Mac into a closer relationship with their iOS and watchOS devices, and make it possible to work seamlessly across multiple devices. Here’s a closer look at those “crossover” features.
Apple has quietly removed its requirement that all games for tvOS be playable using the Siri Remote. The updated support document for game programmers now states that, “When designing a tvOS game, you may require the use of an MFi game controller, but where possible you should also support the Siri Remote.” Apple had such a suggestion in place when tvOS debuted last year, but soon began requiring all tvOS games to offer support for using the Siri Remote as a controller.
One of the many smaller but welcome new features in iOS 10 that wasn’t mentioned in yesterday’s keynote will be the ability to remove most of Apple’s own built-in stock apps from the iOS Home Screen, using the same process as deleting third-party apps. The ability to remove these apps is seen in the iOS 10 beta and has been noted by Apple. Not all apps appear to be eligible for deletion, however, including both obvious exceptions like Settings and App Store as well as apps that have a more “core” function such as Wallet, Camera, Photos, Activity, Clock, Phone, Messages, and Safari..
Following yesterday’s iOS 10 unveiling, August has announced that it will be one of the first companies to take advantage of increased HomeKit accessory support with its August Doorbell Cam. During yesterday’s unveil, Apple SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, revealed that HomeKit would be expanding the list of supported accessories to include devices such as cameras, doorbells, air conditioners, air purifiers, and humidifiers. August added HomeKit support to its Smart Lock in April, however, the August Doorbell Cam lacked HomeKit support simply due to the necessary HomeKit frameworks not being available from Apple. With the release of iOS 10, new HomeKit capabilities will be added to the Doorbell Cam via a free, automatic software update coming this fall once the profile has been finalized and the Doorbell Cam can be certified by Apple. While it is not normally possible to add HomeKit support to existing home automation accessories via a software update, August CEO Jason Johnson explained in a press release that August took the proactive step of developing the Doorbell Cam with the necessary Apple HomeKit chips already in the device, so that it would be HomeKit-ready once Apple introduced the necessary profile support.
Closing off today’s WWDC keynote, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Swift Playgrounds, a new app that Apple is releasing this fall that aims to teach kids — and other users new to programming — how to code in Apple’s new Swift development language. Swift Playgrounds takes users through some very simple interactive coding tutorials before moving on to more advanced topics, in a fun and playful graphical interface, with projects that involve games and fun tasks to keep kids engaged and learning to code. Users will be able to proceed through the tutorials step-by-step, or jump to any tutorial directly from a table of contents, and more advanced freeform coding is also available within the app. Swift Playgrounds will be available this fall as a free download from the App Store when iOS 10 ships.
The big unveil during Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference today in San Francisco was iOS 10, the next generation of Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Dubbing it the “biggest iOS release ever,” Apple’s Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, outlined ten major enhancements to a number of core iOS applications and APIs, beginning with a significantly redesigned user experience. iOS 10 redesigns the Lock Screen, Notification Center, and Control Center user interfaces, providing much richer notifications and enhanced support for 3D Touch for more comprehensive interaction with notifications. For example, users will be able to stay in Message conversions now from the Lock Screen, rather than simply dashing off a quick reply, more effectively deal with calendar invitations, and more, all via 3D Touch gestures.
During this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco today, Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services, provided more details on its next-generation version of tvOS. While Cue conspicuously omitted any kind of version number, he highlighted key features in the next tvOS release, including a redesigned Apple Remote app for iOS that will provide the full capabilities of the Siri Remote, including voice control and accelerometer and gyroscope support for games, the ability to search movies and TV shows by topics, search YouTube using Siri, and expansion of the Live Tune-In feature added earlier this year to more channels. A new Single Sign On feature will improve the authentication process for TV network apps, allowing users to sign in once — presumably with their Apple ID — to authenticate to multiple apps directly on the Apple TV. Apple has also added a new “Dark Mode” to tvOS, which replaces the light background on the main menus with colors more reminiscent of prior Apple TV generations, support for up to four game controllers, and ReplayKit, HomeKit, and PhotoKit APIs to tvOS for developers.
During today’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, Apple’s VP of Technology, Kevin Lynch took the wraps off watchOS 3, the next generation of the company’s operating system for its wearable device. Available today as a developer preview, and scheduled for public release in the fall, watchOS 3 will significantly enhance the speed at which favorite apps load and update information on the device. The update also features other notable UI changes such as the removal of Glances in favor of a new “Dock” that users can access from the side button to access favorite apps with live previews of each. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen in watchOS 3 will now display a Control Center instead of the prior Glances view, and watch faces can be switched by swiping left to right from the edges of the screen.
Expectations are high ahead of today’s WWDC keynote, with big improvements to Siri assumed to be a focal point of the event. Apple is expected to release a third-party Siri SDK for developers and is rumored to be putting out some kind of Siri-capable hardware device to rival Amazon’s Echo, though the latter isn’t expected to make an appearance today. “Sweeping changes” to Apple Music are also anticipated as part of the iOS 10 unveiling, with a more intuitive user interface and enhanced 3D Touch features among expected improvements.
On the heels of news that BMW is bringing CarPlay to its 2016 X5 M and X6 M models this summer, Bimmerpost News reports the feature will also be available in the 2017 M3 Sedan, M4 Convertible and M4 Coupe. The site points to the company’s 2017 pricing guide, which lists CarPlay as an available upgrade for each vehicle at a cost of $300. While the pricing options in the guide take effect in June, the CarPlay entry appears to indicate it won’t be available until August, in line with the previous report. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is reportedly planning to use chips from Intel as modem chips in some versions it next-generation iPhone model, Bloomberg reports. The Intel chips will replace the Qualcomm chips that have traditionally been used in prior iPhone models for GSM versions of the iPhone used on the U.S. AT&T network and some overseas markets, according to people familiar with the matter. Verizon iPhones will apparently continue to use Qualcomm chips for their CDMA network, as will iPhones sold in China.
A new report from Mac Otakara claims that the Apple will be releasing a “deep blue” color option for the next-generation “iPhone 7” expected to be released this fall, as an addition to the current silver, gold, and rose gold color options, although its source claims that is is “highly likely” that the space gray option will be discontinued in favor of the new deep blue color. The report also notes that the LCD glass surface of the new model will be the same as that of the current models.
A new report suggests that Apple may announce plans to release an iMessage app for Android at next week’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. According to “a source familiar with the company’s thinking” cited by MacDailyNews, Apple’s goal behind such a move would be to focus more on its service offerings beyond its own iOS and OS X platforms, specifically pointing to reports that Apple is looking to add person-to-person Apple Pay payments via its messaging platform. The move would not be unprecedented, considering the release of Apple Music for Android devices late last year, and would potentially improve the messaging user experience for iOS users who have close friends and family members using Android devices, allowing them to communicate using iMessage features with all of their contacts, including the ability to properly participate in group messaging conversations, share videos and photos in full resolutions, and avoid other carrier SMS restrictions. While the source noted that the timing of the actual announcement could change between now and Monday, they emphasized that the iMessage service would “definitely” be coming to Android at some point this year.