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Apple continues to promote Apple Pay Cash in latest ad

Apple has released a another ad in its new “Just Text Them The Money” Apple Pay Cash ad campaign, with the latest video simply showing an iMessage transaction using Apple Cash to debate over who should pay for a dinner out, with two participants repeatedly texting $55 back and forth to each other. Today’s ad is the fifth in Apple’s Apple Pay Cash focused campaign, following the first four ads that debuted last month. Apple Pay Cash, which debuted in iOS 11.2, allows iOS users to send quick payments to each other via the Messages app, although the feature remains limited to users in the U.S. at this time. [via MacRumors]

Apple Music rolling out new social ‘Friends Mix’

Apple is expanding the social discovery features of Apple Music with a new “Friends Mix” section in its discovery mixes. Discovered by 9to5Mac, the new Friends Mix will be updated every Monday with a collection of 25 songs that are being listened to by other Apple Music users that you’re following. According to the report, the new mix is slowly rolling out in Apple Music on various platforms, and does not seem to be tied to any specific iOS or iTunes version. The new Friends Mix appears to be a natural evolution of the social features that Apple debuted last fall, allowing Apple Music users to follow other users to see what they’re listening to and what playlists they’re recommending. Although iOS 11 and iTunes 12.7 introduced a “Friends Are Listening To” section, the new “Friends Mix” seems intended to provide a more accessible cross-section of what your friends are listening to.

EU considering action to enforce mobile phone charging standards

The European Union is revisiting a 2009 agreement where hardware device manufacturers committed to using the micro USB standard for charging smartphones and other mobile devices, Reuters reports. According to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, EU regulators are considering what actions to take against phone makers who have not lived up to their agreements to adopt universal charging standards. The European Commission has long been pushing for companies to adopt a common charging connector in order to reduce waste — 51,000 tons yearly — from old chargers, as well as the challenges that it presents to consumers. Apple and 13 other companies voluntarily signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) back in 2009 committing to harmonize chargers for new smartphones as of 2011, with micro USB chosen as the new standard; however it was later speculated that Apple could fulfill its obligations under the agreement simply by including an adapter, such as the Lightning to Micro USB Adapter that the company released in 2012. However, the EU has recently suggest that it’s not happy with the status quo; in a response to an EU lawmaker, Vestager said that “Given the unsatisfactory progress with this voluntary approach, the Commission will shortly launch an impact assessment study to evaluate costs and benefits of different other options.” The EU does not name any specific companies, however, making it unclear whether the lack of progress refers exclusively, or even specifically, to Apple, particularly in light of the number of manufacturers who are moving from micro USB to USB-C as a new standard. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple expands the cast of upcoming ‘See’ sci-fi drama

Apple has added two more names to its upcoming sci-fi drama, Variety reports. First revealed in early June, the new series, entitled “See,” is already slated to star Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, Yadira Guevara-Prip, and Nesta Cooper, and now as of last week Sylvia Hoeks of “Blade Runner 2049” fame and Archie Madekwe of the 2018 miniseries version of “Les Misérables” have been added to the cast list. The new series is being written by English screenwriter Steven Knight, and is described as an “epic, world-building drama set in the future.” Hoeks has been cast in the character of Queen Kane, a spiritual and military political head, while Madekwe will play Kofun, an intelligent son. Knight will also serve as executive producer alongside director Francis Lawrence, and Chemin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Jon Steinberg, and Kristen Campo.

Apple chip supplier TSMC hit by computer virus

Apple chip supplier TSMC was hit by a computer virus over the weekend, Bloomberg reports, resulting in a severe disruption to its operations right in the midst of its annual iPhone production ramp-up. According to a statement from the company, a number of its fabrication tools had been infected, although it added that the virus wasn’t the result of a deliberate hacking attack, with a more recent report by V3 (via 9to5Mac) revealing that the shutdown was actually the result of an outbreak of the North Korean WannaCry virus resulting from “unpatched Windows 7 systems running critical processes in its fabrication facilities.” The company notes that it was able to contain the outbreak and bring it under control, but stated that the incident will still cause delays to some shipments and negatively impact its third-quarter results.

Apple releases sixth round of betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12 + watchOS 5

Apple has released a sixth set of betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5 to registered developers, along with the corresponding public betas for iOS 12 and tvOS 12. These latest betas come only a week after the last betas were released, suggesting that Apple may be ramping up development efforts as we get closer to the expected September release of iOS 12. iOS 12 beta 6 features a build number of 16A5345f and is accompanied by release notes outlining fixes to Bluetooth and Siri from the last beta, although a number of issues still remain in areas such as Accessibility, HomeKit, Screen Time, Phone and FaceTime, and Siri.

Apple likely to remove Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter from 2018 iPhone boxes

A new research note from Barclays reported on by MacRumors has seemingly confirmed a report earlier this year that Apple will be omitting its Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter from this year’s iPhone lineup. Back in April, Barclays lowered its revenue guidance for Cirrus Logic — the supplier of the audio components in the adapter — on what appeared to the speculative belief that Apple was planning to exclude the dongle this year. Although the company’s analysts accurately predicted that the adapter would be included with Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup, they noted that it would take until later in the year until they know for sure. It appears now, however, that Cirrus Logic has confirmed that the dongle won’t be bundled with any of this year’s iPhone models.

Tim Cook calls $1 trillion valuation a ‘significant milestone’ but emphasizes it’s about core values

Apple CEO Tim Cook has told employees that while the company’s trillion dollar valuation reached yesterday is a “significant milestone” it’s “not the most important measure” of the company’s success. In an e-mail obtained by Reuters, Cook noted that the record-breaking valuation is simply a result of Apple’s emphasis on its products, customers, and core values, and that Apple needs to continue to focus in these areas, “putting our products and customers first, and always staying true to our values” and that financial returns should simply be seen as a natural result of Apple’s innovation. “Steve [Jobs] founded Apple on the belief that the power of human creativity can solve even the biggest challenges — and that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do,” Cook wrote in the memo, adding that “Just as Steve always did in moments like this, we should all look forward to Apple’s bright future and the great work we’ll do together.” The full text of the memo can be found at 9to5Mac

Apple crosses the trillion dollar threshold

Apple has officially become the world’s first company to cross the trillion dollar mark, as stocks spiked upward following Tuesday’s quarterly results. According to CNBC, stocks rose nearly three percent, hitting a high of $207.05 in midday trading today before dropping back below $207 again. While 9to5Mac noticed Apple’s own Stocks app — based on Yahoo Finance — reporting that Apple had already hit the mark, it took Google Finance a while to catch up, as the Yahoo Finance numbers were based on outdated information regarding outstanding shares. The trillion dollar market capitalization is based on the company’s total outstanding shares — 4,829,926,000 in this case — multiplied by the price of each share, meaning the stock price had to reach $207.05 for Apple to cross the threshold. Apple’s stock has since dropped down below $207, placing its current market cap at only $999 billion, although Apple still retains the distinction of being the first company to reach one trillion dollars in valuation, even if only for a few moments, beating out rivals like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s Alphabet.

Apple to remove apps from iTunes Affiliate Program as of Oct. 1

Apple has announced that it will no longer be including apps in its iTunes Affiliate Program. According to an e-mail sent to publishers last night, apps for iOS and macOS will no longer be part of the affiliate program, beginning Oct. 1, 2018. This will likely be coincident with the release of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, as Apple explained that its new App Store interfaces on both the Mac and IOS platforms offer “increased methods of app discovery” that renders the Affiliate Program less necessary. Apple originally provided a seven percent affiliate rate for apps promoted through the iTunes Affiliate Program, although the company dropped that rate last year to 2.5 percent for in-app purchases, while reconsidering a decision to do the same for app purchases after publishers pushed back on the idea. Apple notes that all other content types — music, movies, books and TV shows — will remain in the affiliate program. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple Watch, AirPods now account for $10 billion in total sales

Following yesterday’s quarterly results announcement, Apple CFO Luca Maestri revealed to the Financial Times that Apple’s revenue from wearables saw a 60 percent jump in the June quarter, and that over the last four quarters, revenue from this category — which primarily consists of the Apple Watch and AirPods — now exceeds $10 billion. Maestri underscored the results by adding that “This is a product category that essentially didn’t exist three years ago.” Apple doesn’t normally breakout wearables revenue separately in its financial statements, instead including these all under the border “Other Products” category which also includes things like the HomePod speaker, as well as the iPod. [via 9to5Mac]

Zagg acquires Braven from Incipio

Zagg has announced that it plans to acquire Braven from Incipio Group, adding the company’s premium rugged speaker lineup to its existing product portfolio. Braven, which began as an independent speaker company, was acquired by Incipio in 2013, although it continued to be run as an entirely separate division with its original branding. With its acquisition by Zagg, it appears Braven will move into a similar position under the new parent company, which also acquired Mophie in 2016 and continues to operate it as a separate brand. According to the press release, Zagg will acquire all intellectual property rights and product development capabilities, including Braven’s engineering and product design teams, while backing up Braven with Zagg’s retail, distribution, and supply chain strengths. “As a leading mobile lifestyle company, today’s announcement marks an important milestone for our company,” said Chris Ahern, CEO of Zagg. “Braven is a category creator and leader in technology, and expands our house of brands into new segments of the large and growing audio category while leveraging our global distribution to rapidly scale the company. Together, we look forward to continuing the Braven brand heritage of developing intelligently designed products with cutting-edge innovation and craftsmanship that will thrill even the most demanding outdoor adventurers and audio enthusiasts.” The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Apple Q3 2018: $53.3B revenue, 41.3M iPhones + 11.6M iPads sold

Apple reported its third quarter 2018 financial results today, with 41.3 million iPhones and 11.6 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $53.3 billion and quarterly earnings of $2.34 per diluted share. For Q4 2018, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $60 billion and $62 billion, and gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent.

Nuvyyo releases major Tablo Apple TV app update

Nuvyyo has has released a major update of its Tablo app for the Apple TV, bringing many of the features of its Roku and Amazon Fire TV apps over to the tvOS version. Tablo for tvOS 1.6 adds a new guide screen with filters for prime time, premiering, TV shows, movies, and sports, similar to those found in the iOS version as well, along with a Scheduled screen with filters, support for turning the new Surround Sound feature on and off from the tvOS app, and display of the current time on the Live TV screen. The new version of the app should be appearing on the App Store as a free update within the next 24 hours.

Fourth Public Betas of iOS 12 + tvOS 12 now available

The fourth public betas of iOS 12 and tvOS 12 are now available to testers, corresponding to the fifth betas released to developers yesterday. Apple’s Beta Software program allows members of the public to sign up to receive pre-release beta versions of Apple’s latest iPhone/iPad and Apple TV operating systems ahead of the fall release, with public beta releases normally mirroring the betas made available to developers one to two days earlier. Users who are interested in living on the edge and trying out the latest iOS and tvOS versions can sign up on Apple’s Beta Software Program page.

Twelve South announces AirSnap case for AirPods

Twelve South has announced AirSnap, a stylish new protective case for Apple’s AirPods. Featuring full-grain leather, AirSnap is specifically designed to fit the encased AirPods while still offering easy access to the earbuds and the charging port without any need to remove the case. AirSnap is crafted from the same leather as Twelve South’s RelaxedLeather iPhone cases, and is designed to develop a unique patina over time for a personalized weathered look and feel. A built-in metal carabiner clip helps keep AirSnap attached to a bag, backpack, or even a keychain, and a secure snap closure is used to ensure that AirPods are protected with no risk of them falling out of the case when on the go. AirSnap is available from Twelve South in Black, Deep Teal, and Cognac colors for $29.99.

The Infinite Cooler launches on Indiegogo

The Infinite Cooler, a new high-tech cooler has just launched on Indiegogo that promises to reinvent the simple cooler with an astonishing amount of versatility and high-tech features. Designed by a team of experienced outdoor enthusiasts, engineers, and product designers, the 61-quarter cooler provides refrigeration capacity for up to 17 days of cooling, but adds significantly more, including a blender and coffee grinder, a Bluetooth speaker, and a USB charger. In addition to a touch screen with a dedicated music streaming and social media sharing app, the cooler also includes more utilitarian features, such as six cup holders, a cutting board with utensils, a bottle opener, and a corkscrew,

Logitech to acquire Blue Microphones

Logitech has announced plans to acquire Blue Microphones, the venerable studio-quality microphone company that’s known for unique gems such as the Spark, Raspberry, and Nessie. In the announcement, Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell stated, “Logitech’s acquisition of Blue Microphones will accelerate our entry into a growing market, and offers another way for us to help bring people’s passions (from music to blogging) to life. Joining with Blue is an adjacent opportunity for us – a new way to grow – with additional synergies related to our existing gaming, PC webcam and audio categories. It’s exciting!” Blue Microphones CEO John Maier added that, “Blue and Logitech have a lot in common. Both companies work at being small, fast and hungry, crafting great products with cutting-edge design and technology. We’re an established leader in the broadcasting space with a strong product portfolio. Logitech has design at its heart, tech know-how and global reach. Together we can do amazing things.” Blue produces a very unique and popular lineup of studio quality microphones used by music artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Imagine Dragons, and from Blue’s announcement, it would seem that Logitech will be continuing to operate Blue as an independent brand, joining its other recent acquisitions such as Ultimate Ears and Jaybird.

iOS 12 beta 5 points to HomePod phone call support, future dual-SIM iPhone

The fifth beta of iOS 12, released yesterday to developers, seems to confirm a report last month that the HomePod will be gaining support for placing phone calls, according to new screens discovered by 9to5Mac. Specifically, the “Personal Requests” setup screen for the HomePod now includes a fourth app icon and adds “Make phone calls” to the description of things that HomePod will b able to do, in addition to reading messages, adding reminders, and creating notes.

9to5Mac also discovered evidence of dual-SIM support coming to a future iPhone model, as also rumoured earlier this year, with internal components of iOS 12 referring to “second SIM status” and “second SIM tray status” and “dual SIM device,” all of which seem to be pretty clear indicators that iOS is getting ready to support two SIM cards, and as 9to5Mac notes, the reference to a “second SIM tray” suggests two actual physical SIM cards, rather than a regular SIM and an e-SIM that some have speculated would be used.

Latest iOS 12 beta reveals rumoured AirPods wireless charging case

New images found by 9to5Mac in the developer beta of iOS 12 released earlier today reveal what is very likely Apple’s new wireless AirPods charging case. While the difference is extremely subtle, the new images show the case with an LED displaying either a green or an amber light, indicative of charging status. The new charging case will possibly be included with the second-generation AIrPods that are expected to arrive this fall, but will also reportedly be sold separately for users who simply want to upgrade their original AirPods case to add wireless charging. Reports last fall suggested Apple would have a new AirPods wireless charging case much sooner, so it’s unclear whether those original rumours were off of whether Apple has experienced internal delays similar to problems it has encountered with its AirPower charging pad.

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