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Apple’s wireless charger set to debut in 2018; Belkin’s coming this week

Alongside its wireless charging-capable iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X models, Apple showed off its upcoming AirPower charging mat during yesterday’s keynote. While the accessory won’t be available until next year, it will be large enough to allow users to charge iPhones, Apple Watches and AirPods on a single pad (provided users have the new compatible AirPods case). The company didn’t say how much the charging pad will cost or a specific release date, only saying customers will see it sometime in 2018.

Apple releases iTunes 12.7, ditching App Store and adding iOS 11 support, new social features

Apple has released iTunes 12.7 to all users, adding support for iOS 11 and Apple Music’s new social sharing features. The update also entirely does away with the App Store and Ringtones (and Books for Windows users), leaving those items to live on the iOS devices where they’re actually used and taking iTunes out of the equation. Apple has also eliminated separate categories for Internet Radio and iTunes U, streamlining the interface to place iTunes U collections in Podcasts and listing Internet Radio stations in the music library’s sidebar.

Apple unveils iPhone X with Face ID

Apple concluded today’s fall event with a classic “One more thing…” in honour of Steve Jobs, introducing the new-era-defining iPhone X. Describing it as the device that will shape the next ten years of smartphone technology, in the same way the original iPhone defined the past ten years, the iPhone X includes a 5.8” full front glass “Super Retina” OLED display that comes in at a resolution of 2436 x 1125 and a pixel density of 458 ppi. The display also features HDR support with a one million-to-one contrast ratio, enhanced colour accuracy and a True Tone display.

Apple debuts iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Apple took the wraps off of the first part of its much-anticipated new iPhone lineup today with the announcement of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The two new iPhones represent direct updates to last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, featuring a similar physical design that changes from an aluminum to a glass back that’s reinforced by aerospace-grade aluminum and steel, representing what Apple claims is the most durable glass that has yet been used in a smartphone. The new models also include Apple’s new A11 Bionic processor, a 64-bit six-core CPU with 4.3 billion transistors that improves performance by 25 percent over the iPhone 7’s A10 when using the performance cores, and up to 70 percent faster when using the four high-efficiency low-power cores. The new GPU is also 30 percent faster than the A10 at peak, and provides the same performance as the A10 at half the power consumption. A new Apple-designed image sensing processor (ISP) allows for faster low-light auto-focus, improved pixel processing, and hardware multiband noise reduction.

Apple to expand ‘TV’ app to seven additional countries, add Live Sports

In addition to today’s announcement of the Apple TV 4K, Apple also announced that it will be expanding its ‘TV’ app to seven additional countries over the next few months, beginning with Australia and Canada, as well as adding Live Sports and Live News section to the TV app, integrated with providers such as ESPN.

Apple announces Apple TV 4K, new 4K content coming to iTunes

Today during its fall event, Apple also announced Apple TV 4K, an upgrade to its set-top box that provides support for 4K resolution across the board as well as High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. The new Apple TV 4K includes an A10X processor — the same as that found in the iPad Pro — that promises double the CPU performance and four times the GPU performance of the prior-generation Apple TV.

Apple releases Apple Watch Series 3 with Cellular Capabilities

Apple kicked off the product announcements at today’s fall event with a quick recap of the health and fitness features coming in watchOS 4 and a new Apple Watch Series 3 version that incorporates a faster CPU and cellular capabilities that allow users to place and receive phone calls, communicate via text messages, and use other Internet-connected apps without having an iPhone in close proximity. As predicted by analysts, the new Apple Watch Series 3 incorporates an integrated eSIM card and shares the phone number with the user’s iPhone, meaning that although the new Apple Watch can be used without an iPhone in range, it is still not a completely standalone device.

Cozmo updates companion app to add new challenges, more depth to robot’s AI

Anki has released a major update to its Cozmo robot’s companion app — arriving later today — that adds new dimensions to what the toy can do, introducing a system of three basic needs that users can monitor and develop in each area to make the robot more adept. Where Cozmo previously had Daily Challenges that could be completed, each Cozmo now has three primary needs — Play, Energy and Tune-up — and will exhibit certain behaviors if any need isn’t being met. Playing games, performing tricks and seeing human faces all qualify as Play, and the device’s Power Cubes can be used in Play as well, in addition to filling out the Energy demand by “feeding” Cozmo. Tune-ups are exactly what they sound like, making sure the robot is in good enough working order to fulfill the Play and Energy requirements.

Apple creates mail-in option for iPhone Exchange program

For those waiting on today’s Apple announcement to decide on an upgrade, the company has added a new mail-in option for those interested in the iPhone Upgrade program. Customers who once had to go to an Apple Store to trade up can now “have a Trade-in Kit sent to you and return it by mail,” according to Apple’s updated website. The Trade-in Kit will be sent out after the user’s new iPhone ships and include a prepaid shipping label. As with all trades, Apple demands that the device be able to turn on, hold a charge, have a working screen and be free of cracks.

Apple working with Stanford, American Well to test Apple Watch heart monitoring

Apple has partnered with Stanford University and telemedicine company American Well to test whether the Apple Watch can be used to monitor common heart conditions, CNBC reports. People familiar with the discussions said the tests aim to discover whether the device’s sensors are sensitive enough to detect abnormal heart rhythms. American Well currently provides iPhone apps that allow those with an internet connection to quickly get in touch with a doctor, and Apple recently secured a patent covers methods of using an iPhone’s FaceTime camera and sensors to take health measurements. Apple is rumored to be working on partnerships across the health care industry, including a potential deal with Aetna to provide “free or discounted” Apple Watches to the company’s 23 million members.

Report: Apple won’t launch wireless charging accessory for iPhones today

While Apple is expected to debut wireless charging technology compatible with Qi chargers in at least some of its new iPhones, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims the company won’t be offering its own wireless charger when the devices launch today, 9to5Mac reports. Kuo said the company’s strict requirements for the charger’s RF specifications led to a delay in mass production, and it’s unclear how long it will be before Apple brings a wireless charging accessory to market. It’s possible Apple would announce the accessory even if it’s not readily available at launch, but Kuo seemed confident we won’t be hearing about it today.

iOS 11 code hints at new iPod touch, possible inclusion of Face ID (eventually)

Amid all the buzz for new iPhones, Apple Watches, Apple TVs and AirPods, prominent Apple leak source Benjamin Geskin has uncovered yet another device that might be debuting tomorrow: an updated iPod touch. Geskin found a reference to “iPod8,1” in the latest iOS 11 code, and another reference that hints at Face ID being used to unlock an iPod. None of that means a new iPod will launch tomorrow — much less support the iPhone X’s marquee facial recognition technology — but Apple doesn’t usually put device identifiers in iOS code until the device is at least in the prototype stage, so it’s likely we’ll see the new device before Christmas at least. Whether Face ID will make an appearance is anyone’s guess, but it’s possible Apple is just including the possibility for inclusion at a later time. [via AppleInsider]

LTE Apple Watch will share phone number with iPhone; new Apple TV may have A10X chip, 3 GB RAM

While the “iPhone X” is getting most of the attention ahead of tomorrow’s Apple event, the company is also expected to launch an LTE Apple Watch, 4K Apple TV and new set of AirPods tomorrow as well. The latest firmware leaks seem to indicate that the LTE Apple Watch will still be dependent on the user having an iPhone cellular plan, with 9to5Mac reporting the device will use the same phone number as the iPhone to make calls. That means incoming calls from the same number can be answered from either the iPhone or the Apple Watch after the user completes the setup process, falling short of some long shot hopes that the Apple Watch would be a completely standalone device. It’s still unclear what the additional cost will be to add the Apple Watch to an iPhone’s cellular plan, but the code suggests carriers may initially offer free or reduced-cost plans to get the Apple Watch on as many arms as possible, including references to a “preinstalled” carrier plan.

Firmware reveals details about ‘iPhone X’ 3D sensors, Face ID, internal components and more

Developers have been mining the latest Apple firmware release for every last detail about the new iPhones ahead of tomorrow’s Apple event, and Steve Troughton-Smith claims the much-hyped OLED iPhone will bear the name “iPhone X,” launching alongside an iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus that are skipping the usual “s” cycle naming conventions this time around. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors) also seemed to put another long-standing question to bed, stating that all three colors of the “iPhone X” will feature black front bezels to provide “better aesthetic design,” blending the narrow cutouts in with the new OLED screen for a sleeker look than a while border would. Kuo said the iPhone X adds structured light transmitters and receivers to the existing iPhone’s sensor package, allowing it to “collect depth information, integrating with 2D image data from front camera to build the complete 3D image.”

Logitech adds HomeKit support to Circle 2 Home Security Camera

Logitech has announced the addition of HomeKit support to its Circle 2 Wired security cameras, allowing users to access their camera’s live stream from the iOS Home app on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. Users with an Apple TV or iPad as a Home Hub will be able to view the Circle 2 live stream when away from home as well, and Siri can be used to display the camera feed with voice commands. HomeKit rich notifications are also supported when activity is detected by the Circle 2, and the camera’s motion sensors can also be used as HomeKit triggers for performing functions such as turning on lights when motion is detected. The new HomeKit integration is available to existing Circle 2 Wired owners as a free firmware update with no additional hardware required.

Apple continues to expand video content team with four more Hollywood execs

Apple is continuing to expand its video content team with the hiring of four more Hollywood executives, Variety reports. Not surprisingly, most of the new hires are veterans from Sony Pictures Television, following on from Apple’s hiring of Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg from Sony in June. The new executives include Kim Rozenfeld who previously headed up current programming at Sony Pictures Television and will be joining Apple as the future head of current programming and the lead executive responsible for documentary series development. Max Aronson and Ali Woodruff are also coming from Sony to join Apple as “development executives,” previously serving as VP of Drama development and Director of Creative Affairs, respectively. Rozenfeld, Aronson, and Woodruff will report to Erlicht and Van Amburg, while the last member of the new team, Rita Cooper Lee, comes from a role as head of publicity for WGN America and will lead communications for the new video unit, reporting to Tom Neumayr, Senior Director of App Store, Apple Music and Apple TV PR.

Apple rumored to be bidding for James Bond franchise

Apple is rumored to have entered the running to buy the rights to the James Bond franchise, a property worth between $2 billion and $5 billion, The Hollywood Reporter reports. Major film studios like MGM, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. have been pursuing a deal since the franchise’s deal with Sony expired in 2015, and Apple’s entry into the bidding has ratcheted up the intensity. Apple is also reportedly in discussions to buy or lease iconic Hollywood powerhouse The Culver Studios to house its burgeoning content operation, and industry analysts view the potential for the James Bond franchise as possibly as big as the Marvel and Star Wars brands for TV shows, toys, merchandising and more.

India ups pressure on Apple to approve anti-spam app

Apple’s refusal to approve India’s anti-spam app could cause problems for the company’s efforts to expand its sales in the country, Bloomberg reports. Apple has thus far refused to make the Telecom Regulatory Authority’s app — which blocks annoying unsolicited calls and texts — available on the App Store, drawing the ire of the TRAI’s leadership. Apple doesn’t permit third-party apps to access SMS details and call records, which are necessary for the app to function, but the TRAi is currently taking public comments ahead of drafting new policies about how much control users have over their personal information.

Apple ending Apple Music Festival after 10-year run

Apple has confirmed that it’s pulling the plug on the Apple Music Festival the company has hosted for the past 10 years, Music Business Worldwide reports. Originally named the “iTunes Festival,” the annual event was hosted at London’s Roundhouse for an audience of competition winners and broadcast live around the world over more than a week of performances. Popular artists like Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Beck, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, One Direction and Pharrell Williams have all taken a turn on the stare during the festival’s decade-long run, but Apple now seems to be shifting its focus more to one-off events and backing the tours of artists like Drake, with whom the company has a wide-ranging arrangement for exclusives.

Apple Events app gets update ahead of Sept. 12 keynote

Apple has updated its Apple TV Events app with a listing for its September 12 event — the first to be held at the new Steve Jobs Theater. As previously reported, at 10 a.m. Pacific time that day Apple is expected to reveal its new iPhones — including the tenth-anniversary iPhone 8/Edition — alongside a new 4K Apple TV and a cellular-capable Apple Watch. Apple TV owners will be able to stream the event through the Events app, and as always Apple will live stream the event on its website.

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