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Olloclip introduces Active, Core, and Macro Pro lens sets for iPhone 7/7 Plus

Olloclip has announced three all new lens sets for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus — the Active Lens Set ($120), Core Lens Set ($100), and Macro Pro Lens Set ($80). The new lens kits boast improved optics and a new Connect interchangeable lens system, which lets users swap out the included lenses with other Connect-compatible lenses. Active Lens Set comes with a Telephoto 2x optical zoom lens — it’ll be interesting to see how this works or compares with the iPhone 7 Plus optical zoom — and an Ultra-Wide 155-degree “action camera” lens. Core Lens Set will likely have the widest appeal, as it comes with a mix of Fisheye, Macro 15x, and Super-Wide lenses. Macro Pro Lens Set includes three separate macro lenses for magnification shots — Macro 7x, 14x, and 21x. Olloclip claims the Macro 21x lens can achieve “nearly 100x magnification” when paired with the iPhone’s own digital zoom. The lens sets are currently available for pre-order, and they should hit the market in early November.

Apple wins $119.6M appeal against Samsung

Apple has won an appeals court ruling against Samsung for $119.6 million, reinstating a previous patent-infringement verdict, Bloomberg reports. Related to several Apple parents, including the slide-to-unlock feature, this ruling overturns a prior three-judge ruling that threw out the verdict from February, after a jury trial resulted in the original award. The U.S. Court of Appeals decided in an 8-3 ruling that the three-judge panel was wrong to throw out the earlier verdict, and in fact ordered the trial judge to consider whether the amount should be increased based on intentional infringement by Samsung.

FBI looking to crack Minnesota mall terrorist’s iPhone

The FBI is attempting to gain access to the iPhone that belonged to Dahir Adan, the culprit in the recent stabbing attack in a Minnesota mall, Wired reports. Last month, Adan randomly stabbed 10 people in the mall before being shot by police; at a press conference today in St. Cloud, Minnesota, FBI special agent Rich Thornton noted that the agency has obtained Adan’s iPhone, which is locked with a passcode, and is “in the process of assessing our legal and technical options to gain access to this device and the data it may contain.” Thonton did not reveal any details about the iPhone such as the model or version of iOS being used on the device, which will be key factors in whether the FBI will be able to circumvent its security measures.

Apple Music begins adding unofficial remixes

Apple Music has begun allowing unofficial remixes, TechCrunch reports. Apple struck a deal with Dubset in March which heralded the move to allowing remixes and DJ mixes to be included in Apple Music, although it’s taken until now for any remixes to actually appear on Apple Music. Unofficial remixes have traditionally been surrounded by licensing issues, since they can feature multiple songs that require multiple royalty payments to different artists and labels; Dubset brings a proprietary technology to the table that can analyze remixes so appropriate royalties can be paid, allowing Apple Music and other services to stream them while complying with copyright requirements. Only single-track remixes appear to be available on Apple Music at this point, although Dubset’s CEO indicates that multi-song mixsets are coming soon.

Samsung acquires Viv, an AI assistant made by the original Siri team

Samsung has acquired Viv, the AI system developed by the original creators of Siri, TechCrunch reports. Siri was originally a company acquired by Apple in 2010, which was developed into Apple’s own integrated voice assistant of the same name. A little over a year later, Siri’s co-founder and CEO, Doug Kittlaus, left Apple to pursue new opportunities, ultimately founding Viv Labs in 2012. A demonstration of Viv was shown at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY conference earlier this year — the demo revealed a more conversational and personal system that allows users to interact with multiple services through an open developer platform, allowing for more complex queries than Siri can typically handle. Viv also incorporates a “dynamic program generation” feature that allows it to better understand user intent and build routines to handle tasks on the fly.

Apple plans to unify Cloud Services teams

Apple is working on bringing together its various Cloud Services teams into a single campus to improve product development, Bloomberg reports. Although they all come under the oversight of Apple SVP Eddy Cue, teams for services such as Siri, Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News, Apple Music, and iTunes generally work in isolation from each other, at various office park locations rented out throughout Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California. With Apple’s new futuristic Apple Campus 2 scheduled to open next year, Cue feels that unifying his Cloud Services teams at the current Apple Campus will improve his organization in terms of improvement development time and product stability, and will continue to build on Apple’s rapidly growing cloud services business.

Apple tops new study’s list of U.S. tax avoiders

A new study from Citizens for Tax Justice claims that Apple tops the list of U.S. companies profiting from keeping its money in foreign countries. According to the study, Apple booked $214.9 billion in revenue offshore in 2015, revenue on which the company would have paid $65.4 billion if that money wasn’t kept outside the country. The report mentions a 2013 investigation into Apple’s two Irish subsidiaries that were structured to be “tax residents of neither the United States, where they are managed and controlled, nor Ireland, where they are incorporated.”

Beats chief marketing officer leaving the company

Omar Johnson, the chief marketing officer who helped make Beats into a household name, is leaving the company next month, Fast Company reports. Johnson joined Beats as vice president of marketing in 2010 and was named CMO in 2012. His unique ad campaigns — which feature personal looks at the athletes and musicians who endorsed the product — catapulted the company to prominence in pop culture. In a statement, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine said, “Omar Johnson is a one of the most talented marketing executives I’ve ever met and we couldn’t have built Beats without him. He has my support in his future endeavor.” Jason White, who has worked for Johnson since 2014 when Apple acquired Beats, will become Beats’ executive vice-president of marketing.

Apple discontinues third-generation Apple TV

Apple has officially discontinued the third-generation Apple TV, communicating the news to education partners and pulling the device from its online store, 9to5Mac reports. The company began phasing out the device last month, instructing employees to pull the third-generation models from Apple Store shelves and send them back to Apple. In an email, Apple promised to fulfill backlog orders of the device, but redirected partners to other products for new purchases. Refurbished models are still being sold on Apple’s website.

Apple releases second iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, tvOS 10.0.1 developer betas

Apple has now released a second set of developer betas for iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 to registered iOS developers. The documentation accompanying the new betas lists few significant changes, suggesting the new versions are primarily focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Registered iOS developers can download the new betas from Apple’s Developer site.

Apple Q4 earnings call moved to October 25

Apple has rescheduled the earnings call for its Q4 financial results to Tuesday, October 25. The call was originally scheduled for October 27, but the company moved the event up two days citing a “scheduling conflict.” As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q4 of revenue between $45.5 billion and $47.5 billion, and gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.

Apple Pay goes live in Russia

Apple Pay is now live in Russia, making it the 10th country to gain access to Apple’s mobile payment system. The company has partnered with Mastercard and Sberbank for the initial rollout and hasn’t yet announced any plans for expanding the service to other banks or credit providers. Apple is said to have its eye on a greater push to bring Apple Pay into more Asian countries, with recent reports claiming the company is going so far as to include special hardware in the iPhone to breaking into Japan’s mobile payment market.

Apple patents fingerprint sensor that works through display

Apple has patented scanning technology that would allow a fingerprint sensor to function through an iPhone’s display, lending new credibility to rumors that the company will be doing away with the home button in next year’s iPhone. The new technology uses a series of electrostatic lenses to focus fingerprint scans that would otherwise become too blurred to use for identification purposes. While the new system would allow the sensor to be placed behind the display, Apple notes a “drive ring” is still needed to supply voltage to a user’s finger for the scan, presenting a quandary for the company if it wants to entirely eliminate the stationary home button in favor of expanding the usable surface area of the screen.

Apple launches Spoken Editions of popular websites

After a quick test last month, Apple has officially launched its new Spoken Editions section under the podcasts heading in iTunes. Users can now get a spoken-word version of news updates from media companies like Time, Reuters, Slate, Wired, Mic, Bustle, Jezebel, and the Huffington Post. Apple’s simple pitch for the section targets people too busy to read their favorite websites each morning, offering narrated versions of the stories for those on the go. Providers are divided into categories that cover breaking news, politics, LGBT and racial issues, pop culture, lifestyle, business, and technology.

College student’s iPhone 6 Plus reportedly ignites in his pocket

College student Darin Hlavaty said his iPhone 6 Plus burst into flames in his back pocket and burned a hole in his jeans, 6ABC reports. Hlavaty said, “I felt this crazy, hot burning in my leg” while sitting on his phone in class, reaching down to find his phone on fire and smoking in his pocket. “Out of nowhere, we heard a fizzing and a popping sound. Suddenly a great mass of smoke comes out from his pocket,” said Rebecca Bookbinder, a fellow student.

Popular Phoneys sticker app for iMessage in limbo after warning from Apple

The Phoneys sticker app for iMessage has landed its creator in a serious conundrum after Apple called him with demands that he change it or face its removal from the iMessage app store. In a post on Medium, Adam Howell explains he built the sticker pack—which allows users to paste a convincing-looking iMessage bubble over a friend’s message to make it look like they said something they didn’t—with every expectation that it wouldn’t make it through the approval process. Once it did, people took notice, and with a little publicity, it shot to the top of the Top Paid list on the iMessage store.

Apple ordered to pay $302.4M over FaceTime patents

Apple has been ordered to pay $302.4 million in damages after losing another round in its years-long legal fight with patent holder VirnetX, Reuters reports. In 2012, a jury awarded VirnetX $368.2 million in damages over Apple’s use of its patented security technology in the company’s FaceTime app, but an appeals court overturned the verdict over issues with how the damages were calculated. A second trial upped those damages to $625.6 million, but another judge threw out that verdict as well, after expressing concerns that jurors may have been confused by repeated references to the earlier trial. Apple declined to comment on the case, but the company faces yet another court proceeding to determine if it willfully infringed on the patents, which could lead to higher damages.

Report: 2017 iPad Pro line to add 7.9” mini model, replace 9.7” model with 10.1”

A new report from Macotakara claims Apple’s 2017 line of iPad Pros will add a 7.9” mini version and increase the size of the 9.7” model to 10.1”. The story says a new 12.9” model will also be equipped with the 12 megapixel camera and True Tone flash from the current 9.7” model. The 7.9” model is said to include the improved camera and the standard Smart Connector seen on previous iPad Pros. All of the tablets will feature four microphones instead of the previous two, and sport the True Tone display that offers higher levels of brightness and a wider color display.

August adds Motion Detection, Video Recording to Doorbell Cam

August has released an update for its Doorbell Cam adding promised support for motion detection and cloud-based video recording. Available via an iOS app update, the new version also offers a few other enhancements such as the ability to disable “Low Power Mode,” which can improve camera responsiveness, but may result in buzzing or humming from the doorbell chime as the Doorbell Cam continues to draw power rather than waking up on demand. With the new version, motion sensitive can be adjusted and motion notifications can be enabled, which will let you know when somebody is at your door regardless of whether they choose to ring the doorbell or not, and automatically record video whenever any motion is detected. The new August Video Recording service, now available as a free public beta trial, saves video clips recorded by the Doorbell Cam, allowing them to be reviewed at a later time directly from the in-app activity feed.

Black hat security firm triples exploit bounty to $1.5m in wake of improved iOS 10 security features

Black hat security company Zerodiium has tripled the bounty its offering for zero-day iOS 10 exploits to $1.5 million, according to a new report by Arstechnica. The company’s founder Chaouki Bekrar, explained that the higher bounty is in direct response to the improvements that Apple has made in iOS 10 that have made iOS devices “much harder to exploit than their previous versions.” Notably, Zerodium also increased its bounty for Android 7 exploits to $200,000, explaining that the lower price compared to iOS 10 represented a mix of both demand for iOS exploits and the difficulty in finding exploits in iOS 10 as compared to Android 7.

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