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iPhone X pre-orders predictably sell out within minutes

As expected, pre-orders for Apple’s new iPhone X went online at approximately 3:01 a.m. ET this morning, and not surprisingly saw initial stock running out and ship dates being pushed into 2 – 3 weeks within two or three minutes of the Apple Store going live, and in fact within a half-hour availability moved to 4 – 5 weeks, pushing delivery dates for many into late November or early December, and by 4:30 a.m. the iPhone X ordering page was reporting 4 – 5 weeks. Notably, there didn’t seem to be any difference in demand or availability between models this year, with both the Silver and Space Gray colors and 64 GB and 256 GB capacities appearing to sell out at roughly the same time.

Nintendo to debut Animal Crossing game for iOS next month

Nintendo is set to debut its next iOS offering — Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp — next month, according to the company’s website. The game lets players take the role of campsite manager, allowing them to craft a campsite to appeal to animals from the surrounding area. Players can also do all the things you’d usually do in a camping environment, like catch bugs, pick fruit or go fishing. The app will be free to download but have in-app purchases, and users can sign up here to be notified when it’s available to download.

Apple shying away from edgy shows for its video content debut

While much has been made about Apple looking to compete with the likes of HBO and Netflix in its move into original video content, the company is looking to steer clear of the nudity and violence common in so many of their competitors’ hit shows, Bloomberg reports. A delay of Carpool Karaoke’s release for previously unknown reasons is now said to have come about because of last-minute edits to remove “foul language and references to vaginal hygiene,” and Apple is reportedly looking to avoid anything unseemly in its other original programs as well. “I think for both NBC and Apple, it’s about finding that sweet spot with content that is creative and challenging but also allows as many people in the tent as possible,” said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment.

Mitte Kickstarter aims to create smart home mineral water system

The Mitte smart home water system — almost fully funded on Kickstarter in its first day — is aiming to allow users to create their own mineral water at home.  The system first purifies water with a “proprietary distillation-based method,” then adds back in minerals to increase the health benefits of drinking the water produced more in line with the natural water cycle. The replaceable mineral cartridges come in three varieties: Balance, Vitality and Alkaline, which mimic the minerals found in Evian, Vittel, and Essentia, respectively.

Amazon rolls out smart lock/camera kit to allow packages be delivered inside the house

In a move aimed at protecting packages from would-be thieves, Amazon is rolling out a security camera/smart lock bundle that would allow deliveries to be left inside the home. The $250 bundle includes an Amazon Key-compatible smart lock and Key Edition Amazon Cloud Cam that would allow Amazon Prime members the ability to watch a package be delivered inside their home. While it’s probably not for everyone, Amazon has tried to make the process feel as secure as possible, with notifications sent the morning of delivery, just before, and right after, along with the ability to watch the delivery happening live or view a video clip of it later. The locks — provided by Yale — are available in a variety of finishes to compliment most doors. The bundle is currently avail;able for pre-order but is exclusive to Amazon Prime members.

Apple acquires wireless charging company PowerbyProxi

Apple has acquired wireless charging firm PowerbyProxi, leading to speculation in that company’s native New Zealand that Apple could move operations to another country, Stuff reports. Apple announced the purchase in its usual tight-lipped fashion today, confirming plans to keep the business in New Zealand despite local talk that future research and development would probably move elsewhere. The company currently employs about 55 people and holds more than 300 wireless charging patents. Apple has debuted its first wireless charging-compatible iPhones this year and has teased a wireless charging mat to come soon.

Apple cuts accuracy requirements for Face ID to increase supply of iPhone X devices

Amid rumors of delays in iPhone X production due to low yields of 3D camera components necessary for the device’s Face ID, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple loosened its requirements for the accuracy of the components to increase supplies ahead of next week’s launch. People familiar with the discussions said the company quietly informed suppliers that they could “reduce the accuracy of the face-recognition technology to make it easier to manufacture.” As recently as a month ago Foxconn pulled as many as 200 workers off an iPhone X assembly line because there weren’t enough of the delicate sensor components to justify their staffing levels.

Twelve South brings back HiRise Duet combination iPhone and Apple Watch charging dock

After a period of being unavailable, Twelve South has brought back its HiRise Duet dual charging station for iPhone and Apple Watch. The stand — which we reviewed last year — still has a magnetic Apple Watch charging disc built right into the front that supports Nightstand Mode and the Lightning connector above can be adjusted to fit different iPhone cases and even some iPads. The dock comes with its own power cables and features an output of 15-watts, making it able to charge your iPhone “approximately 40 percent faster than your standard in-box charger or wireless charging.”

Apple Pay expanding to four new countries, heading to Ticketmaster, NYC subways, new retailers

During the Money 20/20 conference, Apple executive Jennifer Bailey shared plans to launch Apple Pay in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates in the coming days, iMore reports. Bailey also announced a partnership with Ticketmaster to bring contactless tickets to all of its locations and the roll out of Apple Pay to all Albertsons Companies’ 2,300 retail locations in the U.S., including popular grocery store chain Safeway. Bailey confirmed that Apple employees are testing Apple Pay Cash as well, but stopped short of confirming it would be released in iOS 11.1.

Apple promises iPhone X stock at retail stores on Nov. 3 as other retailers announce discounts

Despite Nikkei Asian Review’s report that Apple is only getting half of its planned number of iPhone X shipments this year due to a lack of components for the new 3D camera, Apple has promised “iPhone X will be available in more than 55 countries and territories, and in Apple Stores beginning Friday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m. local time.” The company does give a nod to supply constraints, however, saying walk-in customers are “encouraged to arrive early.” Those in Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program can also start the pre-approval process for their loan in the Apple Store app, which will speed up the process of getting an iPhone X on launch day.

Apple releases fifth developer betas for iOS 11.1, watchOS 4.1

Apple has released a fifth set of betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1, and watchOS 4.1 to registered developers, the third release in under a week. The number for the latest iOS 11.1 beta is only one digit from the previous release, showing that Apple seems to be pushing out minor tweaks to its operating system for testing ahead of the iPhone X release next week. The release notes for both platforms mostly indicate bug fixes, and it’s unclear what new changes were made. Recent reports also suggest that iOS 11.1 may add support for Apple Pay Cash, with Apple’s corporate and retail employees already testing the feature, although it doesn’t appear to have yet been unlocked in the developer betas.

Apple’s patent fight with Samsung headed to court again

Apple’s seemingly endless fight with Samsung over smartphone patents is headed back to court once again, Foss Patents reports. A ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court last year holds that Samsung isn’t on the hook for its full profits from smartphone sales just because it infringed on some of Apple’s patents, but doesn’t make clear what portion of the profits should go to Apple or how that should be decided. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh has ordered both sides back to court and put the burden on Apple to prove it should be allowed to keep the $399 million award from 2016 given the new ruling. Koh wrote that since an entire Samsung phone is no longer the “article of manufacture,” jurors in the new trial will have to “identify the ‘article of manufacture’ to which the infringed design has been applied” and then “calculate the infringer’s total profit made on that article of manufacture.”

Yale parent company acquires fellow smart lock maker August Home

On the heels of its release of a new doorbell cam and smart lock, August Home has been acquired by Assa Abloy according to a press release from the company. Assa Abloy is the parent company of Yale Locks & Hardware — a competing smart lock maker — but in a statement August’s representative said, “August will continue to operate independently, now part of the Americas division of Assa Abloy, pending regulatory approval. Jason Johnson will remain CEO and the August brand will continue to be sold in North America.”

Apple collaborating with Google and AT&T to deliver internet to Puerto Rico

Apple is partnering with Google parent company Alphabet and AT&T to deliver internet to those in Puerto Rico affected by the fallout from Hurricane Maria, according to a blog post by Alistair Westgarth, head of Project Loon. The Project Loon balloons deliver communications equipment to remote parts of the world, and multiple U.S. agencies have approved their use over Puerto Rico. AT&T will provide LTE service, and SES Networks, Liberty Cablevision, and other companies are providing hardware on the ground. An Apple update to cellular settings in iOS will grant iPhones in that region access to the unused LTE frequency Band 8 used by Project Loon’s balloons. [via AppleInsider]

China cuts off cellular access for Apple Watch Series 3 as Uniloc sues over GPS patent

China has cut off access to the Apple Watch Series 3’s cellular capability after a brief period of availability on one of the country’s phone providers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Analysts claim the country tightened restrictions because of the difficulty in tracking user identity through the watch’s eSIM, which is embedded in the device by Apple rather than the cellular carriers. China Unicom offered cellular service for the Apple Watch at launch, but new subscriptions were cut off a week later, on Sept. 28. So far users who already subscribed still have service, but China Unicom’s website now claims the feature had been offered on a “trial basis” and provides no timeline for when subscriptions will be available again. In a written statement, Apple coinfirmed, “We were informed by China Unicom that the new cellular feature on the Apple Watch Series 3 has been suspended,” but referred all other questions back to the provider.

Apple hires ex-Amazon exec for international content role

Apple has added another high-profile media name to its growing content division, hiring former Amazon executive Morgan Wandell to head up its international development, Variety reports. During his tenure at Amazon, Wandell was the point man on shows like “The Man in the High Castle,” “Goliath,” and the upcoming “Jack Ryan” series. Before that he worked at ABC working on hits like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” and “Desperate Housewives.” He has also worked with former Sony execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg now heading up Apple’s video efforts, putting together a deal for the series “Sneaky Pete.”

Dispute over payments keeps Facebook’s new subscription service off Apple devices

Facebook is putting up paywalls around some content on its site and driving users to publisher pages to buy subscriptions, but a dispute over the revenue generated is keeping the tool off Apple devices, Recode reports. In discussions that have gone on for months, Apple has demanded as much as 30 percent of the subscription revenue generated — in keeping with its typical cut of in-app subscriptions — where Facebook wants to leave all of the revenue with the publishers. The tool provides publishers with the option to allow users 10 free articles a month before throwing up a paywall around content or another method that only puts paywalls around individual articles, but because of Apple’s insistence that it be paid for any money collected through an iOS app, Facebook is launching the tool exclusively on Android devices in the meantime. Both Facebook and Apple declined to comment on the discussions, so it’s unclear how Facebook’s iOS app will handle the articles in question with no agreement in place.

Apple releases fourth developer betas for iOS 11.1, watchOS 4.1

Apple has released a fourth set of betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1, and watchOS 4.1 to registered developers. The release notes for both platforms mostly indicate bug fixes, although watchOS 4.1 adds Apple Music streaming capabilities to the Apple Watch Series 3, including support for iCloud Music Library and Apple Music radio stations. Recent reports also suggest that iOS 11.1 may add support for Apple Pay Cash, with Apple’s corporate and retail employees already testing the feature, although it doesn’t appear to have yet been unlocked in the developer betas.

Apple partners with GE on industrial apps

Apple has partnered with GE to provide the framework for industrial apps based on GE’s Predix Internet of Things platform, according to a joint release from the companies. The new Predix software development kit for iOS will give developers the building blocks to create their own IoT apps that make use of predictive data and analytics to anticipate and spot problems with even extremely complex machines. The Predix SDK will be available for download next week, allowing industrial operators to design apps that monitor and diagnose problems instantly, allowing repairs to be conducted and coordinated remotely.

iTunes U app update moves collections to Podcasts app, in line with iTunes changes

Apple has updated its iTunes U app to bring it in line with the recent changes to iTunes, migrating the collections features to the Podcasts app just like they were moved to the podcasts area within iTunes. Other than that, the app functions mostly the same as before, allowing users to view iTunes U courses and offering “performance improvements for accounts with a large number of courses.” Links to collections from within the iTunes U app will now open directly in the Podcasts app.

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