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Cook shows signs of being open to EU tax reforms that keep revenue in countries where it’s earned

French officials claim Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t push back against French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for the company to pay more taxes, Bloomberg reports. Apple is embroiled in a legal fight with the EU over a ruling that the company owes more than $14.5 billion in taxes collected in Europe and not paid to Ireland, and thus far Cook and other company representatives have stood firm in their public opposition to the ruling, claiming Apple has followed all applicable tax laws. Macron and other European leaders are looking to plug those legal loopholes that allow major companies to funnel their European profits to countries like Ireland rather than paying taxes in the countries where sales are taking place, and the French president said Cook “accepted that fiscal laws worldwide are shifting toward making companies pay tax where money is actually earned.” Apple declined to comment on the meeting.

Apple leaves version of iTunes featuring App Store available for anyone to download

While Apple removed the App Store from its latest update of iTunes, the company has also left a version featuring the App Store — version 12.6.3 — available for download. The company’s support page for that download makes it clear the intent is to allow businesses deploying their own internal apps the ability to access the App Store from iTunes, even going so far as to provide special provisions allowing the older version to be downloaded to machines that already inadvertently downloaded iTunes 12.7. Anyone who wasn’t quite ready to part with all the things left out in Apple’s streamlining of iTunes can download iTunes 12.6.3 for PC or Mac, but the software won’t prompt you to execute future updates like iTunes always seems to do, so if you want to upgrade at a later date you’ll have to seek out the update yourself.

Apple inks deal with Spielberg for first show, cuts ties to Weinstein amid sex scandal

Apple has made a deal with Steven Spielberg, Amblin Television, and Universal Television to make new episodes of “Amazing Stories,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The popular sci-fi/horror series ran on NBC in the ‘80s, and sources familiar with the discussions said Apple will be creating 10 new episodes at a price tag of over $5 million each. One executive involved in the project said that level of spending is on par with higher-end shows currently being produced by HBO and Netflix, so Apple is betting heavily on its first jump into original programming.

Apple releases second developer betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1 + watchOS 4.1

Apple has released a second set of betas for iOS 11.1, tvOS 11.1, and watchOS 4.1 to registered developers. The release notes for all three 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 employees already testing the feature, although it doesn’t appear to have yet been unlocked in the developer betas.

Happy Columbus Day + Canadian Thanksgiving!

Our editors are celebrating Columbus Day and the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday today. We’ll be back tomorrow, October 10, with our full slate of news and reviews.

We hope you, your family, and friends enjoy a relaxing holiday together.

Sonos bringing AirPlay 2 support to its speakers next year

Sonos has announced it will bring support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 standard to its speakers next year, allowing users to control the devices with HomeKit or Siri. AirPlay 2 integration will allow voice control of music in addition to providing the ability to listen to the audio from videos, apps and games through the speakers. The company also debuted its new Sonos One speaker ($199) during the event — the company’s first speaker with built-in voice controls. Once the AirPlay 2 update rolls out, other Sonos speakers will be controllable by voice through Apple devices, but it’s unclear at what point next year the update will arrive.

Apple Store begins selling AR teddy bear

Apple has become the exclusive retailer for toy startup Seedling’s Parker the Bear, an ordinary looking teddy bear that has some serious augmented reality capabilities when paired with the companion app. Parker comes with his own backpack, doctor’s kit and X-ray bibs that produce AR responses in the free app, relying on an iOS 11-equipped device to produce fun effects instead of electronics built into the toy itself. Exams will display Parker’s bones and organs, prompt kids to use 3D Touch functionality to get the bear to perform tests like taking deep breaths, and display other games and puzzles that increase Parker’s “happiness factor,” which in turn unlocks other AR effects. The toy is available for $60 from Apple or directly from Seedling. [via AppleInsider]

Lifx debuts new HomeKit-enabled Beam lighting system

For smart home device users looking for a more unique lighting solution than the typical connected bulb, Lifx has revealed its Beam lighting system ($200). Each kit comes with six beams, one corner piece, and a power pack, allowing users to build themselves an illuminated right angle on any wall. Each beam can reproduce 16 million different colors and has 10 “blended light zones,” allowing for some serious control to create a variety of color schemes. The lights are dimmable fro 1 – 100 percent and can be controlled through HomeKit (or through the dedicated app for users without a hub). The Lifx Beam is expected to begin shipping in November and can be pre-ordered now on the company’s website.

Apple employees reportedly testing out Apple Pay Cash

Some of Apple’s corporate employees in the U.S. are testing Apple Pay Cash on iOS 11.1, MacRumors reports. A source claims Apple’s workers have been using the direct money transfer system after downloading iOS 11.1, installing an added beta profile and then getting their Apple IDs whitelisted by the company. The process only works when both users have the proper permissions, and attempts to send money to those outside the loop result in an error message.

Apple releases iOS 11.0.2 with fix for iPhone 8 speaker problems

Apple has released iOS 11.0.2, which fixes a bug that caused crackling sounds in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus earpieces during calls. The update also sorts out an issue that was causing the devices to hide photos and fixed the problem causing attachments in encrypted emails not to open.

YouTube iOS app update allows sharing in iMessage; Nike app adds new workouts, Apple Watch options

YouTube has updated its iOS app to allow for quick and easy sharing of videos directly through iMessage. Tapping the share button under a video in the YouTube app now allows the video to be sent in Messages, and the recipient can play the video directly in Messages without exiting the app. The Nike+ Run Club app also saw some improvements, adding Audio Guided Runs in both iOS and watchOS that pair specialized playlists with guidance from coaches and athletes. The app also activates a Cheers feature that encourages users to notify friends when they’re going out for a run and lets the friends send positive feedback. Perhaps most importantly, Apple Watch Series 3 users will now have access to elevation data even when running without their iPhone tethered to the watch. [via 9to5Mac]

Ireland may face penalty for not collecting on EU tax ruling against Apple

Ireland has presented a united front with Apple in disputing an EU ruling that the company owes the country $17.6 billion in back taxes, and refusing to collect the money from Apple may end up costing Ireland, Bloomberg reports. The European Commission has been pushing Ireland to collect the money, which was supposed to be due at the beginning of the year. Irish authorities are supposed to have collected the money and put it in escrow pending Apple’s appeal, but that hasn’t happened yet as Apple and Ireland negotiate how the money will be invested during the process, which could take as long as five years. But as the process drags on, it’s possible the EU regulators will sue over Ireland’s failure to implement its recovery order and impose a fine on the country.

Oakland A’s testing NFC capability of iPhone, Apple Watch for contactless ticket scanning

After the release of iOS 11 and watchOS 4, Major League Baseball ran a pilot program testing out contactless tickets for six Oakland A’s games, TechCrunch reports. The league is working on expanding the contactless option for next season, allowing fans to save their tickets in Apple Wallet and simply hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near a terminal just like they’d use Apple Pay. This marks the first time the NFC technology has been used for anything other than reward cards or gift cards, but it isn’t the first time the Oakland A’s have been the proving ground for tech solutions for tickets, as the team was the first to use ticketing via text massage in 2007.

Philips update retroactively adds HomeKit support to Hue products; Ikea adds new colored smart bulbs

The Hue 2.16.0 app update released by Philips has extended HomeKit compatibility to Hue tap, Hue dimmer switch and Hue motion sensor, making the company the first to retroactively add HomeKit support to its earlier products, following Apple’s announcement in June that it was allowing HomeKit capabilities to be added via software updates. Hue tap and Hue dimmer switches can now be configured to control other HomeKit-enabled accessories outside of the Hue family and no longer have to be configured from the Hue app. The Hue motion sensor will also be able to activate HomeKit automations and scenes as well, making the Hue product family much more viable as one part of a larger smart home solution.

Best Buy in Canada starts selling all its iPhones unlocked ahead of Dec. 1 deadline

With the Canadian government’s ban on locked cell phones going into place on December 1, Best Buy has already started selling all of its iPhones unlocked regardless of the carrier that a customer chooses to use, iPhone in Canada reports. Users are also reporting that Rogers and Telus locations are already unlocking iPhones for free, waiving the usual $50 fee. We reached out to Apple to ask whether on-contract iPhones sold in their Canadian stores are also now being sold unlocked, but haven’t yet received a response.

Apple registers international trademark for Apple Pay Cash, expected to launch later in fall

While Apple teased the ability to send money through Messages with Apple Pay Cash in iOS 11 and watchOS 4 during its WWDC presentation, the feature didn’t roll out along with those new operating systems. The feature hasn’t made its way into recent iOS or watchOS betas either, but that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t still working to get it out. Apple still lists the feature as “coming this fall” on its iPhone 8 website, and the company recently registered the Apple Pay Cash trademark in Canada as well according to MobileSyrup, although the development sheds no light on whether the feature will launch in Canada when it goes live in the US.

Apple acquires computer vision startup Regaind

Apple has acquired computer vision startup Regaind, TechCrunch reports. Regaind has been working on an API to analyze the content of photos that could do things like automatically finding the best shot in a burst series or hiding images flagged as duplicates. Reports over the summer suggested that Apple was working on a similar technology that was dubbed “SmartCam” that would have allowed the iPhone 8 to automatically select the best shots while photographing particular subjects such as babies, pets, documents fireworks, or sunrises and sunsets, however despite expectations, the “SmartCam” feature never materialized with the debut of the iPhone 8, suggesting that Apple is still working on it. It’s unclear whether Apple may be interested in using Regaind’s technology to help advance that feature or for other aspects of the photos app such as Memories. Apple only issued its usual blanket statement in response to the inquiry, saying “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple investigating reports of iPhone 8 Plus devices bursting open

Apple is investigating reports of an iPhone 8 Plus splitting open during charging, The Independent reports. Media in Taiwan interviewed one owner who said his device cracked open while plugged into an official Apple Lightning cable and power adapter when it was just five days old. Another iPhone 8 Plus received by a customer in Japan arrived with the screen partially detached as well. Apple is “looking into” the reports, which likely involve problems with swelling batteries.

Apple’s latest Transparency Report shows spike in National Security requests

Apple has released its latest bi-annual transparency report, providing an overview of requests by government agencies and private parties for customer data from January 2017 to June 2017. While the latest report shows that overall data requests have dropped over the past year, it also reveals a spike in the number of U.S. Government data requests under FISA and National Security Letters.

Apple releases first watchOS 4.1 beta, adding Apple Music support

Apple has released a first beta of watchOS 4.1 to registered developers, adding the promised Apple Music support. The feature promises users the ability to stream any song from Apple Music or their iCloud Music Library directly from their wrist, and also adds a new Radio app for access to Beats 1 live or any other Apple Music radio station, even while away from an iPhone or Wi-Fi connection. According to the release notes, this initial beta doesn’t yet provide support for ESPN or cellular connections in the Radio app, although it seems Apple intends to address both of these issues in future betas. The release notes also do not specify if Apple Music support will be limited to only certain Apple Watch models.

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