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Media player app Plex coming to Apple TV

Popular media streaming app Plex is coming to Apple TV, according to a report from IT World. Plex co-founder Scott Olechowski confirmed that the company is awaiting tvOS developer beta information to work on adapting the app to the new platform. The app — which organizes video, music and photos on a computer and allows them to be streamed to media players, smart TVs and mobile devices — is available on iOS, but has only been accessible on Apple TV through a software hack. While Olechowski declined to give a timeline for Plex’s debut on Apple TV, he said there is no question that it will be possible to run a fully loaded version of the app on the new platform. “Our goal is to enable people to enjoy Plex on the hardware platforms of their choice, and there is no doubt this will be a top platform for us,” he said.

Report: iPhone 6s Live Photos to take up 2X the storage

Photos taken with the new “Live Photos” feature on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will reportedly take up twice the storage as a standard 12MP picture, according to a new report from TechCrunch. In a video, TechCrunch’s Editor-in-Chief Matthew Panzarino explains that even current iPhones are buffering photos as soon as the Camera app is launched in order to create a fast and responsive user experience, with only the most recent image stored when the shutter button is pressed. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, on the other hand, will basically dump this entire buffer in such a way as to store the standard 12MP image along with “sidecar data” that adds up to approximately one more image’s worth of data, thereby requiring twice the space. According to Apple’s Developer Documentation on the feature, iOS 9.1 will also offer APIs that will provide third-party apps with the ability to incorporate playback of Live Photos, and export Live Photos for sharing and exporting both Live Photos and traditional JPEG versions of Live Photos.

Apple required to pay unpaid back taxes, fines in China

Apple has found itself in hot water in China, CNN Money reports, with the Chinese Ministry of Finance revealing that Apple had misreported sales and profits in the country. The company failed to report 8.8 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) in sales in 2013 while also overstating its profit by 5.4 billion yuan ($220 million) that same year. Apple has been required to pay 452 million yuan ($71 million) in back taxes to the Chinese government, and a 65 million yuan ($10 million) fine has been levied against the company for the failure to report the 2013 taxes. A spokesperson for Apple claimed the error was discovered during an audit of the company’s 2013 operations, and resulted from “a difference in interpretation of a tax rule.” The Apple spokesman stated, “We pay all the taxes we owe wherever we do business and we will continue working closely with the Ministry of Finance.” China has reportedly been cracking down on unpaid taxes by U.S. companies recently, with Microsoft also being charged with $140 million in unpaid taxes in November 2014.

Zagg announces iPad Pro, iPad mini 4 keyboard lineup

Zagg has announced the release of its new Bluetooth keyboard lineup for the iPad Pro and iPad mini 4. Three new iPad mini 4 keyboards include the Slim Book ($120), Folio with backlit keys ($100), and Folio with non-backlit keys ($80), which will be available for order on Sept. 15 for the Slim Book and Sept. 25 for the Folio models. Two new iPad Pro keyboards are also coming in November — the Messenger Universal ($70) and the Slim Book Pro ($140). All of the new keyboards provide device protection, 135-degree viewing angles, and two-year battery life along with multi-pairing so that they can be used with multiple iOS devices or even Macs. On Thursday, Logitech introduced its Smart Connector-compatible keyboard for iPad Pro, Create, so it hasn’t taken long to see third-party accessories for Apple’s upcoming large-screen iPad.

Ive discusses Hermès Apple Watch partnership

In a joint interview with The Wall Street Journal, Apple design chief Jony Ive and Hermès artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas provided some insight into Apple’s new partnership with the French fashion house and where the company is positioning the Apple Watch in terms of luxury branding. Ive revealed that he approached Hermès about collaborating on the Apple Watch before the device had even been announced — an unusual move for the normally secretive company — and that the two companies decided to partner over lunch in Paris last October.

Ive noted that Apple also took a very unique approach in its partnership with Hermès, allowing the fashion company’s branding to display more prominently on the Watch, using three fonts that Hermès has long used in its own watches, and excluding the Apple name and logo from the Hermès user interface — the first time Apple has ever allowed another company’s symbols to upstage its own. While the new Hermès Apple Watch is far from either company’s most expensive offering, the $1,500 Hermès edition is clearly intended to enhance Apple’s positioning of the Apple Watch as more than a high-tech gadget, although Ive shies away from the idea that the Apple Watch is heading in a more exclusive direction in the manner usually associated with luxury goods. He stated that he doesn’t feel the attention that has been lavished on the Apple Watch Hermès provides it with any special status, indicating that even placed next to the lower-end Sport Edition, “there’s not one that had more care invested in its designing or making.” The new Hermès edition Apple Watch goes on sale Oct. 5 and will be available in Apple and Hermès stores in fourteen countries, with prices ranging from $1,100 for the 38mm classic bracelet version to $1,500 for the 42mm cuff version.

Pokémon, Niantic, and Nintendo announce Pokémon GO coming to iOS

The Pokémon Company, Ingress developer Niantic, and Nintendo have announced that they are collaborating on the release of Pokémon GO, a new location-based iOS game set in the Pokémon universe. Trainers will use their iPhone GPS to explore real-world locations to catch, trade, and battle with each other in their search for Pokémon. The game director of the original Pokémon video game series, Junichi Masuda, will also be contributing to the project, ensuring that the new Pokémon GO app remains true to the original Pokémon experience while at the same time branching out into new types of gameplay and tying into the main Pokémon series. Nintendo will also be developing and selling a separate Bluetooth device called Pokémon GO Plus that will alert users to nearby events with flashes and vibrations, such as Pokémon in their vicinity, and allow them to catch Pokémon with the press of a button without having to reach for their iPhone. Pokémon GO is expected to debut as a free download on the App Store in 2016.

Google releases Mobile Application Management for iOS devices

Google has announced that its Mobile Application Management (MAM) solution for Google for Work environments is now available to iOS devices. A new Google Device Policy app for iOS allows users of Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government to enroll their iOS devices in their organizational policies in order to streamline access to device approval requests and internal Wi-Fi networks, use single sign-ons across all Google Apps such as Gmail, Drive, and Docs, and install iOS apps that have been whitelisted by the organization in a managed device profile.

Google Apps Administrators will be able to use the Google Admin console to whitelist any free app found on the iOS app store, allowing a list of approved apps to be easily discovered and downloaded by their organization’s users without having to scour the App Store or recall specific app names from an orientation session or employee handbook. Apps installed through the Google Device Policy app are also managed by the organizational policies and can be removed from a user’s device when no longer whitelisted, or when a device is remotely wiped by an admin, ensuring that corporate information is not retained on personal devices when a user leaves the organization.

SteelSeries introduces Nimbus Game Controller for Apple TV

SteelSeries has announced Nimbus, the first wireless gamepad controller for the new Apple TV. Featuring a rechargeable battery with over 40 hours of life, a Lightning connector for rapid charging, and pressure sensitive buttons for precise control, Nimbus is designed to allow users to take advantage of the gaming capabilities of Apple’s new tvOS platform, while also supporting the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The SteelSeries Nimbus Gaming Controller is expected to be available on Apple’s online store and in Apple Retail stores in late October for $50.

FiftyThree’s Paper app comes to the iPhone

FiftyThree has released a major update to its popular Paper idea capture app, adding support for iPhone users along with a number of interesting user interface improvements. Version 3.0 allows iPhone users to capture images, notes, and sketches at the tap of a button and provides a new home view to make it easier to see everything at a glance. Text in notes can now be quickly styled by swiping to create headers, checklists, and bullet points, or rearrange items in a list, and photos can be “spotlighted” using freehand drawing to outline an area for highlighting. Annotation features for writing notes on photos are also provided. Users can collaborate with other Paper users, or export notes as PDFs, Keynote and Powerpoint files, or export to Adobe Creative Cloud apps such as Illustrator.

Apple posts iPhone 6s ‘Get ready for pre-order’ instructions

Apple has added a “Get ready for pre-order” link on its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus store pages, leading to a pop-up box that provides customers with guidance on what they can do now to ensure that they’re ready to pre-order the new iPhone models when pre-orders begin on Sept. 12. Instructions include advising users to enter their account details to check their account status and upgrade eligibility now, as well as directing them to the Apple Store app on their current iPhone where they can store their wireless account details to save time when pre-orders actually begin. Customers will be able to pre-order the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus beginning at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Sept. 12, and if past years are any indication, availability of new models will become scarce within the first few minutes, so tips on speeding up the checkout process will be helpful both for customer satisfaction and avoiding heavier loads on Apple’s servers.

Logitech announces Create keyboard for iPad Pro

Logitech has announced Create, the first third-party keyboard for Apple’s upcoming iPad Pro. The new full-sized keyboard will be compatible with Apple’s new magnetic Smart Connector. Create automatically connects to the iPad Pro when docked in the typing position, and the keyboard is powered by the iPad Pro itself. Create is said to be made of “tightly-woven premium fabric,” but few other details are known at this time. It will be released when the iPad Pro launches. Logitech has yet to reveal pricing information for the new accessory, but Apple’s own upcoming Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro will cost $169 at launch.

Apple adds ‘Hey Siri’ training mode in iOS 9 GM

Apple has added a new series of setup and training screens for enabling the “Hey Siri” feature in iOS 9, explaining the feature and taking users through a series of steps where they’re asked to speak phrases such as “Hey Siri”, “Hey Siri, how’s the weather today?”, and “Hey Siri, it’s me.” Users updating to iOS 9 — even from a beta to the GM candidate — will likely find that the “Hey Siri” feature has been disabled under Settings, General, Siri, and turning it on will take them through the process before the feature gets enabled. The new training mode should likely help to reduce the number of false positives where Siri accidentally thinks users are talking to it, and will probably be particularly useful in the case of the new iPhone 6s models which will allow “Hey Siri” to function even when not connected to power.

New Apple TV to have 2GB RAM, iPad Pro 4GB RAM?

A new tweet from Steve Troughton-Smith has revealed that Apple has actually listed the new Apple TV’s RAM in the documentation as 2GB – a very uncharacteristic move for the company which normally says nothing publicly about the amount of RAM in each of its iOS devices.

In a similar vein, an Adobe blog post yesterday revealed that the new iPad Pro is expected to include an unprecedented 4GB of RAM, although the memory references were later removed from the post, making it unclear whether the information is in fact accurate or whether Apple simply may not yet want these details revealed. (via GforGames)

Apple releases iOS 9 GM seed, first iOS 9.1 developer beta

As in previous years, following yesterday’s event, Apple has now released the final GM seed for iOS 9 to registered developers. The GM seed is a final “release candidate” and barring any problems found in this version, it is expected to be identical to the final iOS 9.0 release scheduled to be rolled out to the public next week. Unlike prior beta updates, the GM seed does not appear to be available as an over-the-air update; developers will need to download the GM seed from Apple’s site and update to it manually via iTunes.

Along with the iOS 9 GM Seed, Apple has also already released the first beta version of iOS 9.1 to developers. The iOS 9.1 beta release notes don’t reveal much new in iOS 9.1, although it appears to include developer-level enhancements for new features introduced on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus yesterday, such as 3D Touch and Live Photos. The iOS 9.1 beta continues to support the same devices as iOS 9.0 and registered iOS developers can download the iOS 9.1 beta from Apple’s Developer site.

Apple making limited new Apple TV units available to registered developers

In order to give developers a chance to develop Apple TV applications in advance of the public release of the new set-top box, Apple is making a limited number of Apple TV Developer Kits available to registered Apple Developer Program members. To qualify, developers must already be members of the Apple Developer Program, must be located in one of 22 specific countries and must register to request a kit by Sept 11 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The kit includes the new Apple TV, Apple TV Remote, Power cord, Lightning to USB Cable, USB-A to USB-C Cable, and documentation. Apple notes that due to limited availability, priority will be given to teams that already have apps on the App Store, and developers will be notified of whether or not they have been selected beginning on Sept. 14.

In addition, Apple has already posted developer documentation on building apps for the new Apple TV as well as downloads and release notes of the new tvOS beta. Of particular note is that “the maximum size of an Apple TV app is limited to 200MB. Anything beyond this size needs to be packaged and loaded using on-demand resources.”

Apple increases AppleCare+ pricing for iPhone 6s

Apple has increased the pricing of its AppleCare+ plans for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to $129 — $30 more than last year’s AppleCare+ pricing for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. The less expensive $99 AppleCare+ for iPhone 6 and earlier models remains available, with the new pricing only applying to users purchasing AppleCare+ for Apple’s newest iPhones. The AppleCare+ plan for the iPhone 6s models is also included in Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program. The terms and conditions of the AppleCare+ program do not appear to have changed for the new models, however.

Numerous companies debut iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus cases

Today’s introduction of Apple’s new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has already led a number of companies to reveal cases for the upcoming devices. We’ve already received plenty of new iPhone 6s cases from Spigen, including Liquid Crystal, Neo Hybrid, Neo Hybrid Carbon, Neo Hybrid EX, Perfect Armor, Rugged Capsule, Thin Fit and Ultra Hybrid. All of those cases are advertised as 6/6s cases — once we have the iPhone 6s in hand, we’ll see how they all measure up and post plenty of reviews, but until then, you can take a look at these other newly announced offerings.

Griffin has expanded its Survivor line of cases, adding the Summit and Journey models to its existing All-Terrain offering. The multi-layered Survivor Summit ($50 for iPhone 6s, $60 for iPhone 6s Plus), can withstand a maximum 10-foot drop and provides a textured grip. The case fully weather seals all ports and device controls to protect against rain, dust and sand.

Apple announces iPhone Upgrade Program

During its fall event today, Apple also briefly announced a new iPhone Upgrade Program initiative. Being introduced initially in U.S. Apple Retail stores, the program will allow customers to pay a monthly fee to receive a new iPhone each year. Pricing for the program starts at $32/month and would include AppleCare+ and an unlocked iPhone that could be used on a carrier of the customer’s choice. Users could then upgrade to the latest model each year, presumably an equivalent version to their current iPhone, appropriate to the price level they’re paying. Additional details are not yet available, although Apple did indicate that it plans to roll the program out to additional countries in the future.

Apple schedules iOS 9 release for Sept. 16

Apple has announced Sept. 16 as the official release date for iOS 9, the next major update to its mobile operating system. Originally shown in June at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference and then released into public beta over the summer, iOS 9 will add a number of new features including a more proactive assistant mode for Siri, Transit directions in Apple Maps, a News app for curated news feeds, split-screen multitasking for iPad users, and support for loyalty cards in Passbook, which is being renamed Wallet in light of its new role. The new version will also offer HomeKit support for new devices, as well as accessing HomeKit via iCloud, and support for wireless CarPlay connections. New developer features will also allow for smaller and more efficient iOS applications. The new version is also expected to run more efficiently on older iPhone and iPad models.

Apple reduces iCloud Storage Pricing

Apple has announced new pricing tiers for its iCloud Storage Plans, more closely matching the prices offered by competing services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft. Effective today, users can purchase 50GB of iCloud storage for $1/month (users previously only received 20GB for that price), 200GB for $3/month (down from $4/month), or 1TB for $10/month (down from $20/month). Users still get 5GB of storage for free, while the prior 500GB plan which was priced at $10/month has now disappeared rather than being similarly discounted.

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