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Apple investing billions in LG’s OLED production

Apple is investing around $2.7 billion in LG’s OLED display production, The Korea Herald reports. That funding will help LG get up to producing 45,000 units each month, of which Apple’s orders alone are expected to account for 30,000. Samsung is currently the sole supplier of the OLED screens expected to debut in the iPhone 8 later this year, but KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo notes the panels have been “the single most troublesome component for Apple” in constructing the iPhone 8. Kuo said Apple is “committed to having LG Display geared up for its OLED iPhone display business in 2018,” and this latest round of funding seems to back that up. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple pulls VPN apps from China’s App Store over new government rules

Creators of VPN apps like ExpressVPN have been notified that their apps have been removed from China’s App Store. China greatly restricts the content its citizens have access to on the internet, making VPN services popular for users trying to circumvent what has come to be called The Great Firewall. Apple told developers their apps has been removed because they included “content that is illegal in China,” adding in a statement to 9to5Mac that the Chinese MIIT requires VPN providers to obtain a special license before they’re allowed to be sold. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple Pay now available for use on Weebly online stores

Weebly’s group of online stores now support Apple Pay, according to a release from the company. The company says its research shows “one in four people abandon their carts because of a “too long and complicated checkout process” and checkout conversions are 66 percent lower on mobile than on desktop,” and with 40 percent of all Weebly’s transactions coming on mobile devices, David Rusenko, Founder and CEO of Weebly, said, “Apple Pay makes checking out online a frictionless experience.” The roll out will be phased in over the next few weeks, and to be eligible merchants need to be connected to the Stripe payment gateway.

Apple sued over ‘What did he say?’ Apple TV feature

Apple has been sued over the Siri feature that lets users say “What did he say?” and have the Apple TV rewind the program and replay that section with subtitles turned on, MacRumors reports. In the lawsuit, CustomPlay contends that the functionality copies its movie companion software. That patent covers, “A remote control capable of activating a replay function comprises a WHAT? button, key, or other replay function key or means, to enable a viewer by activating the replay function to automatically cause the system to: i) rewind or skip backwards the playing of the video a system default or a viewer specific previously defined amount, e.g. 20 seconds; ii) turn on the subtitle to a system default or a viewer specific previously selected subtitle language, e.g. English; iii) turn off the subtitle at either the point the WHAT? button was pressed or at some viewer specific previously defined point.”

Receipts in UK, Canada hint at 4K and HDR options coming to iTunes

Some iTunes receipts in the UK and Canada are showing movies listed as 4K and HDR, hinting at Apple adding those viewing options in the near future, MacRumors reports. Apple currently only offers movies in SD and HD, which tops out at a maximum 1080p, and even users who are seeing 4K and HDR options on their bills say the movies are still only available for download in HD. The change also hasn’t appeared in the US yet. The current Apple TV can only stream in HD, but in February there were rumors that Apple’s fifth-generation Apple TV—which could debut as soon as this year—would be capable of streaming in 4K.

HomePod firmware appears to reveal iPhone 8 front design, support for facial recognition

In digging through the newly released firmware for Apple’s HomePod, developer Steve Troughton-Smith has come across an image seemingly confirming the rumored bezel-less iPhone 8 front design and code that shows users will be able to use facial recognition to unlock the phone. Troughton-Smith claims to have found an infra-red face unlock inside BiometricKit — the framework also responsible for Touch ID support — that can detect faces from various angles and even when they’re partially obscured. The framework also guards against using images or 3D models of faces to gain access, but time will tell whether facial recognition is secure and responsive enough to replace Touch ID for things like Apple Pay.

Apple Store app now supports payments via Touch ID

Apple has updated its Apple Store app for iOS, adding the ability to use Touch ID to authorize payments and make changes to account information. Although Apple originally added Touch ID support to the Apple Store app back in 2015, the feature was originally limited to viewing orders, accessing EasyPay receipts, and making online reservations at an Apple Store, and still required the user to enter their Apple ID password to access stored payment information or actually place orders.

Tim Hortons launches Mobile Order and Pay, with Apple Pay support

Iconic Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons has launched its new Mobile Order and Pay feature, following several months of testing that began this past spring. A new Tim Hortons app has been release on the App Store for the new service, replacing the older “TimmyMe” app that was previously used to manage Tim Hortons store card payments. The new app will allow existing users of the TimmyMe app to seamlessly transfer their balances to the new app, which will allow users to place orders from their nearest Tim Hortons and pay for them directly in the app. Users can log into the app using Facebook, Google, or an e-mail address, and payment can be made from an existing Tim Hortons card or directly from any supported in-app payment method using Apple Pay. Although Mobile Order and Pay is far from new — Starbucks debuted the feature in 2015 in the U.S., bringing it to Canada early last year — Tim Hortons eclipses Starbucks in Canada, making the feature a huge boon to Canadian iPhone users, particularly in light of its support for making direct payments via Apple Pay rather than via an intermediary store card. [via iPhone in Canada]

FCC grants license to Apple for 5G wireless testing

Apple has been granted a license by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to begin testing 5G wireless networking technology, according to a new report by DSLReports. Apple filed an application with the FCC back in May for an experimental license, looking to set up two fixed locations in Cupertino and Milpitas, California. The FCC approval doesn’t appear to add anything significant to the original application, merely granting permission for Apple to begin testing the experimental millimeter wave technology at the designated locations, using the already FCC-approved 28 and 39 GHz bands. Details of Apple’s plans for the new technology remain somewhat unclear, particularly since the 5G standard remains incomplete at this time, however the company’s application states that the company is interested in collecting “engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.”

Apple discontinues iPod nano and iPod shuffle, updates iPod touch prices and capacities

Apple has officially discontinued the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, signalling the end of an era as the last remaining traditional iPod models in its lineup disappear. Both devices have been removed from the Apple online store, which now points only to the iPod touch, which has also been updated with lower pricing, lowering the prices of the 32GB and 128GB models to $199 and $299, respectively, while entirely discontinuing the 16GB and 64GB models that were previously sold at those prices.

Rumor: ‘iPhone 8’ may not ship until late 2017, Touch ID support still uncertain

A new report from Japanese site Mac Otakara is suggesting that the “iPhone 8” may in fact be delayed until late 2017, seemingly contradicting a report yesterday from tech blogger Benjamin Geskin that indicated that Foxconn has “started trial production of the new model, and that the “iPhone 8 is not delayed.” Mac Otakara on the other hand claims that while the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus are expected to arrive on schedule, the “premium model iPhone Edition” may only be announced at a September event, with availability in “the first half of the first quarter of 2018” (corresponding to Oct – Dec 2017) and an initial supply that will likely be “extremely limited.”  Although it’s arguable whether an October release technically constitutes a “delay,” the Mac Otakara report casts further doubt on the specific availability of the higher-end iPhone model, particularly in light of reports of suppliers struggling to keep up with component demand.

Google to merge Play Music and YouTube Red into a unified service

Google is planning on merging its Google Play Music streaming service with its YouTube Red to create a single unified streaming offering, The Verge reports. The news came during a panel session for the New Music Seminar conference in New York, where YouTube music chief Lyor Cohen stated that Google needed to merge the two services so that customers would better understand their offerings, as well as bringing in new subscribers. Although Google Play Music and YouTube Red have long offered a unified subscription plan — users with a paid subscription to one service automatically gain access to the other — Cohen acknowledges that marketing the two services separately has been confusing and prevented YouTube Red from being more popular with music users. Cohen didn’t comment on what would happen in terms of the individual iOS apps for the services, but it seems likely that there will remain at least some distinction between the two apps.

Rumor: iPhone 8 not delayed, enters trial production

Despite multiple rumors that the iPhone 8 could be delayed over design and production issues, tech blogger Benjamin Geskin claims to have a source who confirms Foxconn has “started trial production of 3 new iPhones (7s,7s Plus, “8”)” and that the “iPhone 8 is not delayed.” Many of the rumors around Apple’s possible iPhone 8 delays center around problems with the embedded Touch ID sensor, but Geskin claims, “Fingerprint identification was under-screen in testing machine,” which is being produced at a rate of “about 200 units per day” at this point. Geskin seems confident about Apple’s production schedule, but his optimism comes amid reports that Apple’s suppliers are struggling to meet the company’s demand for components, so time will tell.

Apple ordered to pay $506 million in patent dispute

Apple has been ordered to pay $506 million for infringing on a patent owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, double the damages initially imposed by the jury in the case, Reuters reports. Despite facing up to $862 million in damages for improperly using the university’s patents in its A7, A8 and A8X processors, a jury awarded the school’s patent licensing arm $234 million after U.S. District Judge William Conley limited the damages, ruling that Apple had not willfully infringed on the university’s patent. On Monday Conley added another $272 million to the award, saying that the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation was owed the additional money and interest because Apple has continued to infringe on the patent until it expired at the end of last year. Apple has filed to appeal the ruling, but didn’t comment publicly about the case.

Cochlear reveals first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor

Cochlear Limited is rolling out its new Nucleus 7, the first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor to aid the hearing impaired. The new implant allows users to stream the sound directly from compatible iPhones, iPads and iPods over Bluetooth. Reuters reports that Cochlear’s previous sound processors only worked with mobile phones when implant wearers connected the sound processor to an intermediate Bluetooth device that would then pair with the phone or tablet. “It’s the first time people with an iPhone will be able to pick up the phone normally, or just listen to music, without any additional devices,” Jan Janssen, senior vice president of research and development at Cochlear, said. Apple developed the protocols with hearing aide firms like GN ReSound and Starkey, and is now licensing it to the other firms for free. Sarah Herrlinger, director of global accessibility policy for Apple, said developing a solution for users whose doctors recommend different devices for each ear — often from different manufacturers — was a big challenge. “We had to figure out how you could do a bi-modal solution where you’re able to simultaneously pair, control and hear both of them running at the same time,” she said. “That was a really interesting engineering opportunity for us to solve.”

Apple releases third round of public betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11

Apple has released a third series of public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11, as usual addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. To enroll in Apple’s public beta program, visit the company’s website.

Trump claims Apple is building ‘three big plants’ in U.S.

President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed the company to building “three big plants, beautiful plants” in the U.S. While Apple has reportedly discussed having its manufacturing partners move some of their facilities to the U.S., Apple has never publicly expressed any plans to open facilities in the U.S. In January, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said his company is considering a $7 billion investment with Apple in a “highly automated” display production facility inside the U.S., creating between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. Gou said that Trump’s tough talk on the campaign trail about implementing high tariffs on imports led him to conclude that an increase in protectionist policies is “inevitable,” but warned of rising prices if production is moved to the U.S.

Adobe accidentally reveals Nimbus photo editing app for Mac

After announcing its Nimbus photo editing app last year, Adobe accidentally made it available to some Creative Cloud users, MacG reports. Those who downloaded it discovered that Nimbus users will have 1TB of cloud storage, much more than the 20GB offered to current Creative Cloud subscribers, ostensibly to make sure that there’s enough space for users to truly make use of cloud-based photo editing that stores both photos and edits for use from multiple devices. The app’s search function also automatically recognizes the content of images, reducing the need to manually tag every photo. Adobe has admitted that it released the development version to “a small group of Creative Cloud customers” and has since taken the app down with no word on when it will be publicly available. [via 9to5Mac]

Qualcomm rips tech group for ‘misdirecting’ trade regulators in Apple case

Qualcomm is disputing arguments made by other tech companies in its case with Apple, claiming its critics are involved in a “coordinated effort aimed at misdirecting” trade regulators, Reuters reports. The lobbying group — which includes Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Samsung, among others — took issue with Qualcomm’s attempt to block imports of the iPhone while the legal battle over royalties plays out in court, saying such a move would help Qualcomm use its monopoly power for further leverage against Apple and allow them to drive up prices on consumer devices.” In its own filing, Qualcomm dismissed the idea that its import ban on iPhone would hurt competition, since ““Apple can purchase and utilize any LTE modem it chooses so long as it does not infringe Qualcomm’s asserted patents.” The problem with that is the Intel chips Apple is currently using still fall under Qualcomm’s patent for the time being, leading Intel to call Qualcomm’s import ban request ” a transparent effort to stave off lawful competition from Qualcomm’s only remaining rival.”

Apple TV’s universal search adds US support for Discovery Communications channels and others

Apple has updated its Apple TV universal search feature for US users to include several new providers, many from the Discovery Communications group of networks. On the fourth-generation Apple TV, Siri can now search for shows that air on AHC GO, Destination America GO, Discovery Life GO, Filmstruck, Shudder, Sundance Now and Velocity GO. While those changes only apply to the US, Canada gains integration for City Video and CraveTV, while Australian users now have support for AnimeLab and DocPlay. MUBI support has also been extended to France, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and Spain. [via AppleInsider]

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