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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]

Apple releases fourth round of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released a fourth series of betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, 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. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will likely follow within the next day or two.

Samsung, Intel and others rally to Apple’s side in Qualcomm legal fight

A group representing major tech companies has filed comments with the U.S. International Trade Commission backing Apple in its legal fight against chip maker Qualcomm, Reuters reports. The Computer & Communications Industry Association — a group that represents Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung and Intel, among others — opposed Qualcomm’s request to block the import of foreign-assembled iPhones with Intel chips, claiming the move would cause “significant shocks to supply” of the devices. “If the ITC were to grant this exclusion order, it would help Qualcomm use its monopoly power for further leverage against Apple and allow them to drive up prices on consumer devices,” Ed Black, the CEO of the group, said in a statement. “What’s at stake here is certainly the availability of iPhones and other smartphones at better prices.”

Apple reportedly involved in R&D project with automotive battery maker

Apple is working with Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. on an secret automotive battery R&D project, Yicai Global reports. CATL split from Apple’s largest battery supplier — Amperex Technology Ltd. — in 2011 and has gone on to produce car batteries for National Electric Vehicle Sweden, according to Electrek. Apple didn’t comment on the story and has reportedly shifted its focus away from building an entire electric car on its own and toward autonomous driving systems, so what the company is researching and how it would be applied to Project Titan are unclear. [via 9to5Mac]

ARKit developer videos show maps, navigation overlaid on live camera feed

Two new videos posted to Twitter by iOS developer Andrew Hart show points of interest and navigation directions overlaid on what the device’s camera sees, illustrating one possible use for the company’s upcoming ARKit. In the first video, Hart moves his phone around from a London rooftop as the app points out points of interest in the skyline. In the second video, Hart types in “Starbucks” and is greeted by floating red arrows and a blue line displayed over the roads seen in his camera feed, leading him to his destination. The idea is similar to an Apple patent filed late last year for “Augmented Reality Maps” that layer map information and directions over live iPhone video, although the Apple model is displayed with the phone held horizontally and Hart said he’s only been able to get his working with the phone held vertically due to issues in ARKit. Hart said he plans to have his library up on GitHub this week.

Apple adds new ‘Customer Support’ role for App Developers

Apple has added a new “Customer Support” role to the iTunes Connect portal for app developers, allowing companies to provide designated representatives with the ability to respond to customer reviews on the App Store. The new role complements the change earlier this year that allowed app developers to begin responding to reviews on the App Store. Previously, only members of the developer’s team with the Legal, Admin, App Manager, or Marketer roles had the ability to respond to customer reviews; this new more specific role allows developers to more easily delegate this task to other members of their team without the need to provide unnecessary extra privileges.

Google Play Music gains CarPlay support

Google’s Play Music app has quietly gained CarPlay support in a recent update, allowing users of the streaming music service to more easily access and play content from their dashboard in a CarPlay-enabled vehicle. The addition of CarPlay support isn’t listed in Google Play Music’s release notes, so it’s unclear when the feature actually became available, but the addition of the feature was discovered and reported on reddit yesterday. Although Apple generally restricts what apps can be made available via the CarPlay interface — mapping apps seem to be excluded, for instance — support for audio apps has been available to third-party developers since CarPlay first debuted, and even Spotify, which competes directly with Apple Music, has had a place on the CarPlay dashboard since almost the very beginning, suggesting that the late addition of CarPlay support for Play Music has more to do with Google dragging its feet than any restrictions on Apple’s part. [via MacRumors]

Apple updates ‘Clips’ app with Disney and Pixar content

Apple has released an update to Clips, the video app that the company debuted earlier this year designed to help users easily create videos fro their photos, music, and video clips. The new version adds content from Disney and Pixar, allowing users to include Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck, as well as popular characters from Toy Story and Inside Out. New Disney-designed posters have also been included that can be added to videos as title cards, joining 10 new Apple-designed overlays and 12 posters. The update also makes improvements to Live Title editing, sharing, and provides other fixes to streamline the creation process.

Apple and Balmain unveil Beats Special Edition Headphones

Apple has released a new high-end collection of Beats headphones in partnership with French design house Balmain. Providing a new fashion-forward take on both Beats Studio and Powerbeats 3 headphones, the new models are priced at $250 for the Balmain Special Edition Powerbeats 3 — a $50 premium over the normal selling price — and $600 for the Balmain Special Edition Beats Studio — a markup of $220 over the standard Beats Studio headphones. The new style is available in two different color options: a neutral pinkish “Safari” version that is available exclusively through Apple and a green-tinted “Khaki” version which is exclusive to Balmain. Both versions have gold accents and feature Balmain logos and include suede, Balmain-branded carrying cases.

Apple releases iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, watchOS 3.2.3

Apple has released minor updates to iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3, focused exclusively on bug fixes and security improvements. iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and watchOS 3.2.3 will likely be the last updates to be released prior to the rollout of iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 expected in September, although it’s possible Apple may release one or two more very minor iOS 10 patches in the future for legacy 32-bit devices such as the iPhone 5 that won’t be capable of running iOS 11.

Apple starts online AI journal to publish research

Apple has started an online journal with artificial intelligence development research papers written by the company’s engineers, making good on its promise to allow employees to publish their findings to the great academic world. Last year Apple announced that it was breaking with its strict privacy rules to allow AI researchers to publish their work, ostensibly because it was becoming increasingly difficult to recruit top talent with such stringent rules in place. So far the site features a welcome message and the first article, “Improving the Realism of Synthetic Images,” an in-depth look at using realistic images to cost-effectively train neural nets.

Apple backs four manufacturing partners in suing Qualcomm

As part of its ongoing fight with Qualcomm, Apple is backing four of its manufacturing partners in their antitrust fight against the chip maker, Reuters reports. Foxconn, Wistron, Pegatron and Compal Electronics have accused Qualcomm of violating US antitrust law in response to Qualcomm’s attempt to force the companies to pay royalties that Apple told them to stop paying. “Qualcomm has confirmed publicly that this lawsuit against our clients is intended to make a point about Apple and punish our clients for working with Apple,” said Theodore J. Boutrous, a lawyer representing all four companies. “The companies are bringing their own claims and defenses against Qualcomm.”

Nintendo launches companion iOS app for Switch console

Nintendo has launched a companion iOS app for its Switch console, aimed at improving the gaming experience by making it more social. The app provides the ability to check leader boards for some games, invite others to play and even provides a voice chat option to be used while playing a game together. Users will need a Switch console, a Nintendo account and the supported games to make use of the app, which is free for now but will become part of a paid subscription service at some point next year.

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