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Google launches Google Keep for iOS

Google has released an official Google Keep iOS app for its Google Keep note-taking service. Although Google launched Google Keep for Android more than two years ago, it was one of the few Google services that didn’t seem to be making it onto the iOS platform. Although Keep was available through a web browser, and some third-party apps appeared attempting to provide web wrappers, none of them provides the same seamless experience that Android users enjoyed.

Apple releases iOS 9.0.1 to public, iOS 9.1 beta 2 to developers (Update: public beta also)

Apple has released iOS 9.0.1, a minor maintenance update that fixes issues with the setup assistant, alarms and timers sometimes failing to play, video problems in Safari and Photos, and custom APN setups via external profiles. The iOS 9.0.1 update is available over the air under General, Software Updates in the iOS Settings app.

The second beta of iOS 9.1 has also been released for registered iOS developers, continuing the development of the next iOS update to add developer-level enhancements for the upcoming iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models. Registered iOS developers can download the iOS 9.1 beta from Apple’s Developer site.

Update (Sept. 24): Apple has now also released the same iOS 9.1 beta 2 as a public beta.

Apple posts XcodeGhost Q&A, lists affected apps

Apple has posted a Q&A on XcodeGhost, the counterfeit software development kit that was used to create malicious apps that were able to be released on the App Store. As expected, the Q&A emphasizes that the problem was created by developers downloading iOS software development tools from third-party sites, rather than Apple’s, but also interestingly notes that OS X protections that Apple has put in place — such as Gatekeeper — had to be “deliberately disabled by the developer for something like XcodeGhost to successfully install.” The Q&A also notes that Apple has no reason to believe that the code was ever actually used to do anything malicious, or that any personally identifiable information could have been transmitted, and that it “did not have the ability to request customer credentials to gain iCloud and other service passwords” as some other reports had suggested.

Apple releases tvOS beta 2 to developers

Apple has released the second beta of its tvOS for the new Apple TV to registered developers, allowing those who have already received a development kit for the new Apple TV to continue getting a head start on Apple TV App Development prior to the public release of the new set-top box. The release notes for the second beta indicate fixes in areas including app launching, Bluetooth, Game Center, home screen, keyboards, media playback, screen savers, and more. The tvOS beta can be downloaded by registered developers from Apple’s Developer Site; a new Apple TV is required to run the tvOS beta.

Apple patents thinner headphone plug

Apple has patented a new “D-shaped connector” plug to replace existing 3.5mm headphone jacks. The plug still has the standard contacts for transmitting left audio, right audio and microphone signals, but is flat on one side, meaning it will only fit into the jack one way and would make standard headphones unusable with devices adhering to the new standard. Multiple outlets have speculated that the slightly slimmer headphone jack hints at thinner iPhones to come, since phones can only be as slim as their largest internal components will allow, notably evidenced by protruding cameras on the iPhone 6. Apple applied for the patent in May 2011, but hasn’t publicly discussed changing over the headphone jacks on any of its devices.

iPad Pro users will have to pay to use Microsoft Office

If iPad Pro users want to use Microsoft’s Office suite, they’re going to have to pay for an Office 365 subscription. In a March blog post, Microsoft VP Kirk Koenigsbauer said the company uses screen size to “delineate between professional and personal use,” allowing devices with screens smaller than 10.1 inches to use a limited version of its productivity software for free. Last November Microsoft made Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps capable of basic editing available for free on iOS devices, but the iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch display makes it the first iOS device to fall outside of the bounds Microsoft sets for free use. The distinction applies to Android and Windows tablets as well, with Microsoft referring to devices with bigger displays as “a ‘pro’ category tablet that is used for design or presentations.” [via MacWorld]

Apple censors ‘Ferguson Firsthand’ app

An app exploring the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has been rejected by Apple, according to a blog post by creator Dan Archer. Archer is a graphic journalist and founder of Empathetic Media, a media agency that produces virtual and augmented reality stories. The “Ferguson Firsthand” app was listed as an educational app and takes users on a 3D tour through the apartment complex where Brown was shot, but Archer said an Apple representative told him the app’s subject matter ran afoul of the company’s policies, calling it too narrow in scope. The representative allegedly told Archer he should develop an app around “a new topic” that would be “topical in general terms,” leading Archer and other Internet commentators to condemn Apple’s app review policy as journalistic censorship.

New York City, Philadelphia customers may see iPhone delivery delays

Apple has sent an email to some customers in New York City and Philadelphia warning them their new iPhones may not be delivered by the Sept. 25 launch date. Citing “traffic restrictions expected for that day in New York City” — alluding to Pope Francis’ first visit to the U.S. — the company said deliveries could be delayed, but assured customers that they’ll be making Saturday deliveries in an effort to compensate, and apologized for the inconvenience. New York City and Philadelphia seem to be the only affected areas so far, and at least one San Francisco customer got her iPhone early on Monday.

Apple posts note to developers about validating Xcode (Updated)

In an e-mail to developers and a post on its website, Apple has laid out the proper process for downloading Xcode after hundreds of apps were found to be using a malware-laden version of the IDE. Apple states that Xcode should always be downloaded from the Mac App Store or the Apple Developer website and validated by Gatekeeper to ensure the downloaded software hasn’t been contaminated. For those wanting to test a version of Xcode they’ve already downloaded, Apple’s post provides the proper command to run on a Gatekeeper-enabled computer to verify the version came from a legitimate source.

Update: In an interview with Chinese website Sina, Apple’s chief marketing executive Phil Schiller said the company is also making Xcode available for domestic download to Chinese developers to eliminate the need for third-party downloads. Schiller added that the company has found no known instances of apps affected by the malware transmiting customer data, but Apple still plans to warn users of the tainted apps to delete or update them. [via Reuters]

Apple giving automatic refunds for Peace ad blocker app

In a rare move, Apple is providing automatic refunds for users who bought the Peace ad blocker for iOS 9, according to developer Marco Arment. The app was pulled from the app store by Arment shortly after its launch, prompting more than 13,000 users to request refunds through the manual process. Arment said Apple contacted him to say the company was going to issue proactive refunds to everyone who bought the app, which he said “effectively never happens. When I decided to pull the app, I asked some Apple friends if this was even possible, and we all thought the same thing: iTunes billing works the way it works, period, and no special cases can be made.” In this instance, Apple seems to have made an exception, and users who purchased the app should see a refund notification from Apple within a few days. [via iMore]

Customer’s iPhone 6s delivered ahead of release date

Twitter user @MoonshineDesign received her rose gold iPhone 6s a little early, sharing pictures of the new phone and its capabilities in a series of tweets. She ordered the phone through AT&T, and in a tweet of its own, the company congratulated the new owner and didn’t seem to mind they had delivered her new phone earlier than expected. The user posted several 4K videos and Geekbench test results proving the new phone has 2GB of RAM and is markedly faster than current iPad mini and iPad Air models. So far, no other users have reported getting their phones early, but 9to5Mac said some customers are claiming their tracking numbers show delivery dates as early as today, still well ahead of the new phone’s official release on Friday, Sept. 25.

Apple plans to ship its first electric car in 2019

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 releases watchOS 2

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.

New Apple TV supports Bluetooth headphones, speakers

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 confirms walk-in availability for iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus starting Friday

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 to sell Apple Watch starting Sept. 25, T-Mobile teases debut

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]

XcodeGhost malware infects hundreds of iOS and OS X apps

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 Pay begins process to enter China

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.

Report: Apple meets with California DMV about self-driving car plans

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’s iPad mini 4 teardown reveals smaller battery

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.

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