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iLounge Weekly coming Monday, July giveaway reminder

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.

Also be sure to enter our July Unu Ultrapak Tour Giveaway, in which iLounge and uNu are giving away five (5) uNu Ultrapak Tour Portable Battery Packs. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page; the giveaway ends July 31, 2014 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Report: iPhone 6 A8 chip to reach 2GHz range

Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 will be equipped with an A8 dual-core microprocessor that will reach or exceed 2GHz per core, Chinese site cnBeta claims. This would be a significant jump from the current 1.3GHz A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s. It’s believed the chip will remain 64-bit, and it will be manufactured using a 20nm process. A number of reports have indicated Apple’s newest devices will feature the upgraded A8 chip; a Thursday report noted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has started shipping chips to Apple. [via G for Games]

Apple joins SupplierPay program to pay small suppliers faster

The Obama Administration said that Apple, along with about two dozen other companies, has agreed to join the administration’s voluntary SupplierPay program, according to The Wall Street Journal. President Barack Obama is preparing to announce the program, in which “companies commit to paying small suppliers faster or help them get access to lower-cost capital.” The goal of SupplierPay is to have larger companies pay small-business contractors within 15 days of delivering a product or service. The smaller companies will have a stronger cash flow, and should be less dependent on borrowing money.

China calls iPhone tracking a ‘national security concern’

State-run China Central Television has called the iPhone’s location-tracking a “national security concern,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The broadcaster criticized the “frequent locations” function in iOS 7; researchers quoted in the report claimed those with access to the data could learn state secrets. It’s noted that CCTV’s broadcasts are very influential in China, though not always accurately representative of the views of the country’s leaders. While Apple only holds a 6 percent share of the Chinese smartphone market, the company has an 80 percent share of the high-end $500+ market, according to research firms.

Apple has had a number of recent issues in China. Last April, Cook publicly apologized for misunderstandings with the company’s warranty policies; Apple made changes to those policies in China. That apology was met with praise from media and China’s Foreign Ministry. Last July saw Apple adding a power adapter page to its Chinese website to help users identify official Apple chargers, following two reported incidents in the country involving shocks from third-party chargers — soon after, the company announced its USB Power Adapter Takeback Program. In October, Apple was criticized for showing too much loyalty to the Chinese government after pulling an app that allowed anonymous browsing.

Apps of the Week: Capo touch, Dino Dog, Minecraft 0.9 + more

New Apps

Capo touch ($10) — Capo touch is a new iOS app based on Capo, the app featured today in our Mac section. The app, from SuperMegaUltraGroovy, teaches users how to play the songs in an iTunes library through automatic chord detection. Capo touch is currently on sale for $5, half off the regular price.

Care Bears Love to Learn (free) — Care Bears Love to Learn is a new learning app from American Greetings. Made for ages 5 and under, the app includes a number of activities featuring popular Care Bears. Kids can count with Share Bear, build shapes with Grumpy Bear, make music with Harmony Bear, and so forth.

iTunes 11.3 brings HD Extras to Mac; iTunes Extras comes to Apple TV (Update)

Apple has released iTunes 11.3, bringing iTunes Extras for HD movies to the Mac — iTunes Extras has also been added to Apple TV within software update 6.2 for the set-top box. As noted in the release, “iTunes Extras can include behind-the-scenes videos, short films, high-resolution image galleries, director’s commentary, scenes, and more.” iTunes Extras will also be brought to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 8 in the fall. Previously purchased HD content will automatically gain the iTunes Extras content with any additional purchases necessary.

Update: With the update, Apple is changing the way it treats HD video files, as one download now contains all extras, and some movies start by showing users a screen more akin to a DVD menu. A consistent Extras UI works across iTunes, iOS, and Apple TV, sometimes including even more content than was previously available. The Bourne Legacy, for instance, adds 5 additional featurettes to the two originally included. Photos are included after the jump.

iPhone 6 to feature haptic feedback?

The iPhone 6 will reportedly feature haptic feedback, according to Chinese site Laoyaoba. A tactile feedback linear motor would allow the phone to send differing, subtle vibrations to users through the touchscreen. Users would also be able to feel vibrations on specific areas of the screen. It’s claimed this new motor would cost two to three times more than the current $0.60 vibration motor featured in the iPhone 5s. Apple did publish a patent application in 2009 relating to haptic display technology, and although it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility, we would consider the inclusion of haptic feedback in the iPhone 6 to be unlikely.

WSJ: TSMC shipping microprocessors to Apple

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has started shipping its microprocessors to Apple as of this year’s second quarter, The Wall Street Journal reports. There have long been reports of Apple using TSMC for its chips in order to decrease dependence on Samsung, which previously manufactured all the microprocessors for Apple’s smartphones and tablets. It’s unclear how many chips TSMC has shipped thus far; Apple will still use Samsung for some of its microprocessors for now. TSMC and Apple will continue working on “more advanced chips” next year, a source said. A previous report claimed TSMC would make A8 chips for this year’s new Apple devices, and would start producing A9 chips in this year’s third quarter for future iPhones and iPads.

iPhone 6 part leaks point to possible color variations

Recent leaks of alleged iPhone 6 parts point to various questionable color options on the upcoming devices. A parts leak on Czech site letemsvetemapplem shows three SIM card trays for the iPhone 6 in what appears to be space gray, silver, and gold, matching the colors of Apple’s iPhone 5s. Although it’s not a surprise that these would be the colors for Apple’s upcoming device, the gold color on the card tray does look a bit darker than the current 5s gold, though that could be due to the way the photo was taken. Also included in the leak are the power flex cable with power button and volume flex cable with mute and volume buttons. Based on the power flex cable, it does seem likely that the position of the power button will be on the side of the phone, as has been rumored and seen in various mockups.

Today, MacRumors posted photos of alleged rear shells for the upcoming 4.7” iPhone 6. The leaks show an unfinished silver shell provided by Moscow company Feld & Volk, and more interestingly, a dark gray rear shell from a separate source. The latter part appears darker than the current space gray color — nearly black, like the original iPhone 5 — but as always, these photos should be taken with a grain of salt.

Cook says Apple will release diversity data

Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the Sun Valley media conference that his company will release information “at some point” regarding the diversity of Apple’s workforce, Bloomberg reports. Cook didn’t give an exact timeline for such a disclosure, saying, “We are more focused on actions.” Silicon Valley companies have drawn heat recently for a lack of diversity. Facebook recently reported its employees are 91 percent white or Asian, and 69 percent male. As Bloomberg notes, those figures are “in line” with similar disclosures from Google, LinkedIn, and Yahoo.

Reuters: Advocates for disabled want more accessibility from Apple

Advocates for the disabled are debating how to approach Apple in a push for expanded accessibility features, Reuters reports. Though many advocates for the blind and deaf consider Apple to be a longtime ally, some of those advocates are ultimately seeking enforced accessibility requirements for apps sold within the App Store. “It’s time for Apple to step up or we will take the next step,” said Michael Hingson, a board member of the National Federation of the Blind’s California chapter. Hingson said litigation is “the only resort” in lieu of Apple instituting accessibility requirements on its own. According to Reuters, the National Federation of the Blind sent a legal demand letter to Apple in 2008 regarding iTunes accessibility. Apple reached an access agreement with the organization and the Massachusetts attorney general, paying $250,000 and adding accessibility improvements, including captions, to iTunes.*

Apple has continued to update its accessibility features since then. More will be done in iOS 8 — VoiceOver users will be able to access the male “Alex” voice of Siri, there’s added support for six-dot Braille keyboards, and the zoom feature has been enhanced. MFi hearing aids are also starting to make their way to market. The Reuters article notes that some third-party apps can give the disabled navigation issues, putting the users at a disadvantage, but there’s a question on how much of that should fall on Apple’s shoulders. Apple declined comment “on its accessibility strategy or whether developers should be required to make apps accessible.” (Editor’s Note: The original version of Reuters’ story characterized Apple as having settled a lawsuit brought by the National Federation of the Blind, however, the story was subsequently corrected to note that the organization did not file a lawsuit, reaching an agreement with Apple without resorting to the courts.)

Apple hires two FuelBand engineers

Apple has hired two more engineers who worked on Nike’s FuelBand, 9to5Mac reports. As confirmed by their LinkedIn pages, mechanical design engineer Ryan Bailey and sensing systems engineer Jon Gale have joined Apple. The report notes Bailey’s wearable experience and Gale’s firmware experience with the FuelBand, both as relating to the iWatch, though their specific responsibilities at Apple are somewhat ambiguous. Although the iWatch is expected to debut in October, it appears that Apple is still hiring recently to assist with the device’s development. The company also hired Patrick Pruniaux, former VP of sales and retail for TAG Heuer, last month.

Apple launches iTunes U 2.0, as expected

As Apple previously announced, the company has updated its iTunes U app today. iTunes U 2.0 allows teachers to create courses within the free app on iPad. The iPad’s camera can be used to take photos or videos to be uploaded for course materials. It’s also possible for teachers to create materials in Pages, Numbers, Keynote or other apps and add them to a course by using the “Open in iTunes U” option, and teachers from qualified institutions can make their courses available on the iTunes U catalog. Additionally, the update makes it easier for students in private courses to pose questions and participate in discussion.

Apple Maps engineer leaves for Uber

Apple Maps engineer Chris Blumenberg has left the company for Uber, The Information reports. Blumenberg was a senior engineering manager at Apple, and one of the first engineers to work on the Maps iPhone software. A June report noted that a number of issues prevented Apple from debuting major new Maps improvements at WWDC. Those issues reportedly included bad planning and internal politics. [via 9to5Mac]

iOS 8 Health app adds step and caffeine tracking

Apple has updated its Health app in iOS 8 beta 3. The app now uses the M7 chip — currently only found in the iPhone 5s — to track steps, as pointed out by 9to5Mac. A full week of data is added to the app instantly from the M7, similarly to the step tracking app Breeze; users of non-M7 devices can manually input step data. Health can also now track caffeine intake, as caffeine has been added to the app’s nutritional categories, currently requiring manual entry of caffeine in milligrams. A number of already available App Store apps can track caffeine intake.

WSJ: Cook looking for new Apple board directors

A new Wall Street Journal profile on Apple’s Tim Cook claims the CEO is “actively seeking” new directors for Apple’s eight-person board. The piece points out that six of the seven outside directors on the board are 63 or older. Most of the profile covers relatively well-established ground, pointing out Cook’s moral concerns for the company, and his comparatively hands-off role when compared to former CEO and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Apple is described as a “kinder, gentler workplace” under Cook, but some current and former employees worry about the ramifications of a slower pace. While Cook is looking to broaden the company’s focus and offerings — with Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats, and a rumored new iWatch on the way, among other new products — some of those employees also wonder if the company is spreading itself too thin. “It was Steve’s job to say no,” a source said. “Tim is not as comfortable doing that.”

iOS 8 beta 3 released to developers

A little less than three weeks after releasing the second beta of its upcoming iOS 8 software, Apple has released beta 3 to registered developers. We’ll update here with any notable information on what’s included in the new beta.

Update: Apple also released new betas of Apple TV Software, as well as Find My iPhone 4.0 and Find My Friends 4.0. 9to5Mac reports that enhancements in the latest beta include new toggles for Handoff, App Analytics, and upgrading from Documents in the Cloud to iCloud Drive. Some new wallpapers and a few other UI tweaks are also included.

Apple ordered to change App Store terms, refunds in S. Korea

Apple and Google were both ordered to change “unfair provisions” in their app stores by the Korea Fair Trade Commission, the Korea Herald reports. Among those provisions to be revised is Apple’s App Store refund policy — currently, each refund request is reviewed before approval from Apple. ‘‘We expect the measure, aimed at protecting consumers, will have a ripple effect on similar cases throughout the world,” the KFTC said in a press release. The App Store must send a notice to consumers when changing its contract terms in the future. Apple “said it would consider applying the revised contract terms globally,” according to the KFTCs Hwang Won-chul.

Foxconn to use robots in iPhone production

According to a report from IThome.com, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou announced at a recent shareholder meeting that new manufacturing robots are in the final testing stage. The first company to take advantage of the new robots’ capabilities will be Apple, presumably for the iPhone 6. Called “Foxbots,” these robots will cost between $20,000 to $25,000 each, and 10,000 are expected to be deployed. Each robot reportedly has a production capacity of 30,000 units, although it’s not clear what time frame that number speaks to. Foxconn previously announced plans to deploy a million robots on its assembly lines, and has already deployed at least 20,000 robots for other projects.

iLounge Weekly arrives Monday, new July giveaway

  • July 4, 2014

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

Your Email Address:   

IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.

We also have a new giveaway for the month of July! In our Unu Ultrapak Tour Giveaway, iLounge and uNu are giving away five (5) uNu Ultrapak Tour Portable Battery Packs. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page; the giveaway ends July 31, 2014 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

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