News | iLounge

News

Browse News by Category:

Report provides new insights into Apple’s upcoming Siri smart speaker

Apple’s long-rumoured Siri smart speaker is already in production, according to a new report by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg. Citing people familiar with the matter, Gurman lends his weight to recent rumours that Apple may in fact debut the speaker next week at WWDC, although he stops short of declaring that a sure thing, and notes that sources suggest the device will still not be ready to ship until later in the year.

Gurman’s report also provides a few additional insights into Apple’s plans for differentiating the new device from competing Google and Amazon offerings, noting that Apple will naturally offer “deep integration” with its product lineup, as well as focusing more heavily on audio fidelity by offering virtual surround sound technology, providing better sound quality, and possibly even sporting advanced features such as integrated sensors to measure a room’s acoustics and adjust audio settings accordingly. However, the speaker will not feature any kind of touchscreen, according to sources who have seen the actual product.

Nuvyyo adds new Tablo Dual to its over-the-air TV DVR lineup

After expanding the Tablo over-the-air TV DVR to the Apple TV last year, Nuvyyo is releasing the new Tablo Dual starting June 4. The $250 device now includes 64 GB of onboard storage — where the original relied solely on an external hard drive to use DVR functionality — but it still supports the addition of an external hard drive of up to 8 TB for those who find 40 hours of HD recording not to be enough. Tablo Dual is available only in a two-tuner version, and is priced at $50 more than the basic two-tuner Tablo; users looking for a four-tuner model will still need to go with the original Tablo, which remains available in Canada from the company’s web site.

Apple’s ‘Carpool Karaoke: The Series’ to debut August 8

After being delayed from an April launch, Apple’s ‘Carpool Karaoke: The Series’ will debut on Apple Music on August 8, the company confirms. Instead of comedian James Corden driving around with celebrities in the original bit on CBS’ ‘The Late Late Show,’ stars from the music, television, film, sports and pop culture worlds will hit the road in pairs (or groups) to generate the show’s comedy and musical bits. Celebrity pairings include Will Smith and James Corden; Miley, Noah, Billy Ray and the entire Cyrus family; Shakira and Trevor Noah; Game of Thrones stars Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams; Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith; John Legend, Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson; LeBron James and James Corden; and Michael Strahan and Jeff Gordon (who appear to be driving passengers around in some kind of rickshaw duel).

Regulatory filings hint at four new iPads, new Magic Keyboard for possible release at WWDC

New registry numbers appearing on the Eurasian Economic Commission’s website overnight are linked to four new types of iPad and a new Magic Keyboard, Consomac reports. Rumors of a new 10.5” iPad Pro have been swirling for months and have been backed up more recently by alleged renderings of the device and images of cases, but even if Apple has a cellular and WiFi model of that device coming, that still leaves two more mystery iPads to come. It’s been a few years since Apple debuted hardware during WWDC and even longer since it debuted an iOS device at the event—revealing the iPhone 4 there in 2010—but respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims there’s an “over 70 percent” chance that Apple will debut the 10.5” iPad Pro at the event. If Apple is going to release new hardware its software event, we can’t help but wonder if they’re ramping up in anticipation of some new significant iPad-related features in iOS 11.

Apple releases WWDC app update ahead of next week’s event

Apple has released a big update to its companion app for the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference, scheduled to begin next Monday. WWDC 6.0 features a number of significant improvements, including the ability to use almost all of the features in the app without signing in with an Apple ID. The app now provides curated video playlists based on featured themes, a new “Venue” tab that provides information on the venue, and interactive venue and street maps for the local area. The update also adds an iMessage app that provides some exclusive stickers for WWDC attendees to share.

Android pioneer Andy Rubin announces ‘Essential Home’ Smart Home Hub

Andy Rubin, the father of the Android operating system, has announced the first innovations from his new company Essential Products, one of which is a new “open” smart home hub that will provide support for tying together technologies from every major home automation platform, including not only Apple’s HomeKit but also SmartThings, Nest, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa. A touchscreen will provide direct access to features, and voice control will provide support for Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. The new hub, dubbed simply Essential Home, features a large round touch-sensitive display that will apparently be able to be triggered by simply looking at it. A new open-source operating system titled Ambient OS will power the device, which WIRED describes as “the spiritual successor to Android,” and Rubin hopes will be the “open source Internet of Things platform” that nobody seems to have developed yet.

Apple releases second round of betas for iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, watchOS 3.2.3

Apple has released a second set of developer betas for iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and watchOS 3.2.3. As with the first round of betas, these all include only minor updates and bug fixes. iOS 11 is expected to be debuted next week at WWDC, with a public release likely to follow alongside the new iPhone models in the fall.

Apple developing dedicated AI chip

Apple is working on building artificial intelligence technology directly into its hardware, a new report by Bloomberg reveals. According to a “person familiar with the matter,” Apple is developing a new processor, dubbed the “Apple Neural Engine,” that will be dedicated to AI-related tasks. The goal is to improve how AI tasks such as facial recognition and speech recognition are handled by incorporating it into a specialized hardware chip that would optimize performance as well as providing for more advanced capabilities. Complex AI tasks are currently handled by software processes that use the existing CPU and GPU hardware, requiring the workload to be shared with other tasks being performed on the device. A dedicated module would ensure that AI-related tasks are handled more efficiently both in terms of processing speed and battery consumption.

Report: Sources suggest Apple has succeeded in creating a screen-integrated Touch ID sensor

Apple has succeeded at integrating Touch ID technology into the display of the next-generation iPhone, according to a new report unearthed by MacRumors. The original report comes from Chinese-language site Economic Daily News, which claims to have received the information from sources at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), one of Apple’s key suppliers. TSMC sources apparently confirmed Apple’s achievement during a technology convention earlier this week in Taipei. At the symposium, TSMC reportedly discussed the lack of a home button on the redesigned OLED iPhone, attributing it to Apple’s implementation of “an optical fingerprint sensor to enable authentication directly on the screen.”

Apple announces Live Stream of WWDC 2017 Keynote

Apple has added an events page for its upcoming WWDC 2017 Keynote, confirming that the Jun. 5 event will be live streamed, similar to prior years. As usual, Apple will use its own HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology introduced in 2010 to broadcast the event so that users of any relatively recent iOS or macOS device can view it in the Safari web browser. PC users can view the event using Microsoft Edge on Windows 10; older versions of Windows don’t appear to be supported. For Apple TV users, the event will be broadcast in the Apple Events tvOS app; interestingly it also appears that Apple will still be broadcasting the event to second- and third-generation Apple TV devices, suggesting the “Apple Events” channel will simply appear on these now-discontinued models in time for the event. [via MacRumors]

Wemo to add support for Apple HomeKit

Belkin has announced that it will at long last be bringing HomeKit to its lineup of Wemo home automation accessories. The added compatibility will come in the form of a new HomeKit-enabled Wemo Bridge that will provide the interface between existing Wemo Smart Plugs and Light Switches — including the company’s recently-launched Wemo Dimmer — to enable them to be used with Apple’s HomeKit system. Although Wemo created some of the earliest iOS-based home automation products, for unknown reasons the company was oddly not on board with HomeKit when Apple first launched, leaving Wemo products as outliers in a home automation ecosystem that’s become increasingly dominated by HomeKit accessories due to their higher degree of interoperability. Despite the lack of HomeKit support, Wemo continued to expand its compatibility in other areas, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, and IFTTT. Much like other HomeKit bridge solutions from companies like Philips and Lutron, the Wemo Bridge will connect to any home Wi-Fi router via an Ethernet cable, pairing with HomeKit as a single accessory and exposing all associated WeMo devices to the HomeKit platform. The Wemo Bridge for HomeKit is expected to be available later this fall. Pricing will be announced at the time of availability.

Apple creates new Editor-in-Chief position for Apple News

Apple has created a new Editor-in-Chief role for Apple News, appointing veteran editor Lauren Kern to the post, Politico reports (via MacRumors). Describing it as a “move that’s sure to raise eyebrows” in media circles, Politico adds that Kern is one of New York magazine’s “most high-ranking editors” as well as having formerly been a deputy editor at The New York Times Magazine. While there’s no information available on what Kern’s responsibilities will be in the new role, which is an entirely new position within Apple, it obviously suggests that Apple is continuing to forge ahead with its News app and service, possibly taking it in some new directions. Apple has not yet confirmed the hiring, and Kern declined to comment.

Apple releases AirPods firmware 3.7.2 update

Apple has released a new AirPods wireless firmware update. While no release notes are provided with AirPods updates at this point, the update likely just includes bug fixes and performance improvements for the wireless earbuds. AirPods firmware updates should be automatically transferred from a paired iPhone to the AirPods whenever they’re connected; users can check the version number from the iOS Settings app, under General, About, AirPods. [via MacRumors]

1Password adds ‘Travel Mode’ to help protect data during border crossings

AgileBits has announced a new “Travel Mode” feature for 1Password that will help to keep confidential data such as passwords, credit cards, and secure notes, safe from unwarranted searches when travelling. The new feature, which is free to all 1Password subscribers, allows users to automatically and completely remove password vaults from their devices with a single click before travelling, and then just as easily restoring them later. Travel Mode is engaged from the 1Password.com web site rather than an option within any of the 1Password apps, so vaults cannot be restored from the apps themselves. By default, all vaults are removed when Travel Mode is engaged, however individual vaults can be flagged as “Safe for Travel” which will leave them on the device, so users can maintain a vault of only those items that they need when travelling, while ensuring all other data remains securely locked away on 1Password.com and not on the local device. In addition, administrators of 1Password for Teams accounts can specify which vaults are safe for travel as well as administratively turning travel mode on or off for individual users.

UK carrier EE begins selling ‘new’ 2017 32GB iPhone 6 model

Apple’s resurrected iPhone 6 appears to now be on sale in the United Kingdom, AppleInsider reports. The ‘new’ 32GB model of the 2014-era iPhone first appeared in on select Asian carriers in March, appearing in Belarus two weeks later, leading many to believe that Apple was releasing it primarily as a lower-cost option for emerging markets. However, its appearance in the U.K. — and the U.S. on Virgin Mobile — suggests slightly more widespread distribution, although it’s still unclear as to why the it remains available on only a few specific carriers.

IKEA bringing HomeKit support to its smart lighting products

IKEA has announced plans to add support for HomeKit to its complete range of TRÅDFRI smart lighting products. According to the company’s press release, updates are expected to arrive “during the summer and early autumn” that will not only provide HomeKit integration but also add support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Released last month, IKEA’s TRÅDFRI smart lighting provides a plug-and-play solution that allows users to simply swap out existing bulbs and use a remote control or companion iOS app to adjust lighting intensity and colour temperature for different moods. While the announcement doesn’t specify how IKEA plans to deliver the updates, German site phone-ticker.de (translated link) suggests that it will be made available as a software update to the TRÅDFRI Gateway and the TRÅDFRI App. Although adding HomeKit support to existing accessories typically requires hardware updates due to Apple’s security requirements, it’s possible that the TRÅDFRI system already includes the necessary hardware and is merely waiting for the necessary software update to enable it. [via MacRumors]

Apple to begin testing ‘5G’ wireless technology

Apple has filed an application with the FCC to begin testing “5G” wireless technology, Business Insider reports. The application for an experimental license for the new technology was filed by Apple and made public by the FCC earlier this week, and states in part that, “Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum,” and that “These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.” The application outlines Apple’s plans to test the technologies at two locations in Cupertino and Milpitas, California, transmitting from two fixed points at Apple facilities at these sites. While it’s not entirely clear what Apple’s goals are for this testing, the technology has the potential to significantly increase the speed and bandwidth of iPhone cellular connections, however the 28GHz band that Apple intends to test has also been allocated for earth-to-space transmissions, suggesting a possible connection to Apple’s rumoured move into satellite communications research.

Apple and Nokia settle patent dispute

Apple and Nokia have announced a resolution to the patent dispute that began late last year. In addition to settling all litigation related to the intellectual property dispute, the two companies have also agreed to a multi-year patent license, which will see Nokia providing certain network infrastructure products and services to Apple, and Apple returning Nokia’s digital health products (formerly Withings) to its store shelves. The two companies are also exploring future collaboration in digital health initiatives, with regular summits between their top executives to maintain the business relationship. Details of the agreement remain confidential, however Nokia will receive an up-front cash payment from Apple, with additional payments made during the term of the agreement.

Cases and renderings show possible new 10.5” iPad Pro design

A new series of case images tweeted by prolific leaker Benjamin Geskin (via MacRumors) show the possible physical design of the upcoming 10.5” iPad Pro. The cases include the expected cutouts for the Lightning connector, speakers, and microphone, as well as a cutout for a 3.5mm headphone jack; however the camera cutout suggests a camera with a vertically aligned flash. Cases for an upcoming 12.9” iPad Pro were also shown, and Geskin adds that no new iPad mini is expected this year, confirming rumours last week that Apple may be planning to discontinue the smaller tablet. Geskin also shared several mockups and renderings with MacRumors of what the new 10.5” iPad Pro might look like based on the case designs that he’s seen. In his tweet, Geskin also claims that the 10.5” iPad is “100% confirmed. Already in mass production,” supporting claims made last week by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that there’s an “over 70 percent change” that the new 10.5” iPad Pro will see its unveiling at WWDC in two weeks.

Apple denies responsibility for in-flight Beats headphone explosion, points to third-party batteries

Apple has pointed to third-party batteries as the cause of a woman’s Beats headphones exploding on a plane in February, according to a report by the Australian Associated Press. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was sleeping on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne when she was woken up by the sound of an explosion and a burning sensation on her face. The woman’s face, hands, and hair were burned, and she sought compensation from Apple for the replacement of the headphones and clothing which was ruined as a result of the incident. In a statement released by the woman’s lawyers, an Apple representative stated that the investigation “indicated the issue was caused by a third-party battery.” The woman had purchased a standard set of AAA batteries in Australia, and noted that she was extremely disappointed with Apple’s decision as the headphones require batteries, however Apple does not specify a specific brand of batteries anywhere on the headphones or their packaging.

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2017 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy