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Apple Q4 earnings call set for October 27

Apple has announced that it will release its Q4 financial results on Thursday, October 27. 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 lacks lobbying power in fight with EU

Apple is fighting with the European Union over $14.5 billion in taxes without the usual lobbying force of a major company, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company spent just over $1 million in 2015 lobbying the EU, when Google parent company Alphabet dropped $4.5 million and employs more than 10 full-time lobbyists. American companies lack direct national representation within EU institutions, leaving them at a disadvantage when competing against European countries who can have their national representatives lobby on their behalf. Other companies have built a strong European lobbying presence to sway investigations and potential legislation, but while CEO Tim Cook has personally made the trip to Brussels to clarify the company’s positions directly with the EU’s antitrust chief, Apple is far behind in employing locals charged with keeping a constant eye on developing situations.

Hackers expose security flaw in iOS 10’s local backups

Apple has acknowledged claims that iOS 10 has weaker password security for local backups and promised it is looking into a fix, Forbes reports. Russian forensics company Elcomsoft discovered that the new iOS uses weaker password protection than previous versions when it comes to manual backups via iTunes. “We discovered an alternative password verification mechanism added to iOS 10 backups,” Elcomsoft’s Oleg Afonin wrote in a blog post. “We looked into it and found out that the new mechanism skips certain security checks, allowing us to try passwords approximately 2500 times faster compared to the old mechanism used in iOS 9 and older.”

Report: Apple’s Siri home hub has reached the prototype stage

Apple’s rumored standalone Siri home control hub may be getting closer to a reality, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Rumors earlier this year suggested that Apple was working on a standalone “Siri home speaker” that would rival Amazon’s Echo, with subsequent reports suggesting that it might go farther than merely being an Echo-like speaker, integrating a camera and possibly other technology. Citing people familiar with the project, the latest Bloomberg report reveals that it’s been in the works for more than two years, and has now reached the prototype testing stage where key Apple employees are now using prototypes of the device in their own homes.

Apple acquires machine learning company Tuplejump

Apple has acquired machine learning company Tuplejump, TechCrunch reports. According to the report, Apple had specific interest in the company’s “FiloDB”, an opensource project designed to “efficiently apply machine learning concepts and analytics to massive amounts of complex data right as it streamed in.” Apple gave its typical response to the reported acquisition, saying that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple releases iOS 10.1 public beta

Following yesterday’s release of the iOS 10.1 developer beta, Apple has now released a public beta version of iOS 10.1 through its Apple Software Beta Program. The iOS 10.1 public beta notably adds the “Portrait Camera” depth of field effect for iPhone 7 Plus, which Apple demonstrated at its event earlier this month — an enhancement that may encourage iPhone 7 Plus users to sign up for the public beta program to take an early peek at the feature. Users who have already signed up for the Apple Software Beta Program should be able to log in and download the new versions now; users who haven’t signed up can do so at the same site.

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

Only a little more than a week following the general release of iOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10, Apple has now seeded the first developer betas for all three platforms — iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 — to registered iOS developers. The documentation accompanying the new betas lists no significant changes, suggesting the new versions are primarily focused on fixing bugs, improving performance, and polishing up the major iOS 10, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10 releases. Registered iOS developers can download the new betas from Apple’s Developer site.

Report: Apple considering acquisition of high-performance car maker McLaren (Update: and Lit Motors)

Apple is in talks to acquire British supercar maker McLaren, the Financial Times reports. Three people briefed on the negotiations said the talks began months ago, with Apple exploring options that could include a full takeover or a strategic investment in the auto maker. McLaren would bring automotive engineering skills, on-board computer expertise, and experience using materials like carbon fiber and aluminum in chassis manufacturing to Apple’s rumored car project. The company currently produces luxury sports cars that can cost as much as $1 million each, but operates at a loss despite being valued somewhere between $1.3 billion and $1.95 billion. McLaren also operates an F1 racing team, the fate of which would be unclear if Apple were to buy the company. [via 9to5Mac]

Update: Apple is also in talks with Lit Motors about a possible acquisition, according to The New York Times. Lit Motors is a startup that develops two-wheeled vehicles, including a electric motorcycle which self-stabilizes with the use of gyroscopes.

Apple investigating claims of sexism within its ranks

Photo: Recode

Apple Human Resources Chief Denise Young Smith said the company is investigating accusations of sexism among its employees, Recode reports. In emails first reported by Mic, a female employee said her male coworkers publicly joked about rape and created a “very toxic atmosphere” that persisted despite several complaints to management. She finally escalated the issue directly to CEO Tim Cook. “Rape jokes in work chat is basically where I completely draw the limit.” she wrote to Cook in an email. “I do not feel safe at a company that tolerates individuals who make rape jokes.”

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Unboxing + comparison photos

Apple’s newest iPhones have arrived, and we’ve posted unboxing photos of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, both seen here in rose gold. We’ve also included some pictures comparing the new phones to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. Our independent, comprehensive review of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be published on Monday.

Apple Music’s Iovine denies that a Tidal acquisition is in the works

Apple Music head Jimmy Iovine has quashed rumors that Apple may be looking to acquire streaming music service Tidal. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Iovine stated flat-out that Apple Music is “running its own race” and “not looking to acquire any streaming services.” The question came up in response to a Wall Street Journal article that appeared in early July which claimed Apple was exploring the idea and was possibly even “in talks” about an acquisition. Notably, Iovine didn’t deny that discussions had taken place, but simply said that Apple does not have any acquisition deals in the works.

Jet Black iPhone 7 models, all iPhone 7 Plus models completely sold out in Apple Stores

Customers expecting to line up for an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at an Apple Retail Store tomorrow will likely find extremely limited stock available. Apple has issued a statement (via TechCrunch) that the jet black iPhone 7 and all iPhone 7 Plus models of any color have sold out completely during the initial online ordering and reservation period. As a result, no inventory will be available in Apple Stores for walk-in customers tomorrow.

Stock of iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus expanded for iPhone Upgrade Program members, call-backs ongoing

After serious blowback from angry iPhone Upgrade Program customers who couldn’t pre-order an iPhone 7, Apple has added more stock to the online reservation program and has started returning calls to solve ordering issues, Apple Insider reports. Customer service has begun placing orders for program members’ desired model and second choice, promising that they won’t have to travel more than 15 miles past their preferred Apple Store for pickup. An Apple Store manager said they hadn’t been updated about the calls, saying “We don’t know if the orders that started again [on Tuesday] through AppleCare are coming from our reserved launch day stock, or are extras that they’ll send that we don’t know about yet.” It’s unclear how the added availability will affect a class-action lawsuit filed against Apple over the initial shortfalls.

Tim Cook defends AirPods against claims they’ll fall out, get lost

CEO Tim Cook took on criticism of Apple’s new wireless AirPods in an interview with Good Morning America, telling Robin Roberts that he has worn them on the treadmill and out dancing without having the earbuds fall out of his ear. Cook even argued that wires make the old EarPods more likely to fall out during activity, providing chances to snag the cord on something, while also applying extra weight to the earbud that drags it down. A number of reviewers have said they were pleasantly surprised how well the AirPods stay in place, but The New York Times reported some interference and a glitch that caused a podcast to rewind and replay some segments. An Apple spokesperson said that reviewer had been testing pre-release hardware and that “bugs should be resolved by the time they are released next month.”

Apple’s iWork apps add real-time collaboration

Apple has updated its suite of iWork apps — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — for iOS 10, adding beta support for real-time collaboration with other iWork users. With the new feature, users can edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real-time across the iWork applications on iOS, macOS, and iCloud.com. Documents can be shared publicly or only with specific people. You can view who else is currently editing, and view their cursors in real-time as they’re editing. The apps also gain a new format pane for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, wide color gamut image support, support for older iWork ‘05 documents, improved downloading on-demand, and enhanced keyboard and navigation shortcuts. Additionally, a new Keynote Live feature in Keynote allows users to broadcast a slideshow to Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iCloud.com users, and the Apple Pencil can now be used to highlight when presenting from an iPad Pro.

Apple releases iOS 10, watchOS 3 and tvOS 10

As announced last week, Apple has released iOS 10, its latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update should now be available for over-the-air installation via Settings, General, Software Update, or by connecting to iTunes and using the Check for Updates option. The iOS 10 public release includes the new “Raise to Wake” feature, added Siri intelligence in the keyboard, enhancements to 3D Touch, redesigned Lock Screen, Notification Center, and Control Center user interfaces, the addition of the HomeKit Home app, upgrades to the Phone, Messages, Music, Photos and Maps apps, access to the iMessage App Store, and a number of other under-the-hood performance and stability improvements.

Apple facing class-action lawsuit over lack of iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus stock for Upgrade Program

A class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court accuses Apple of shutting iPhone Upgrade Program customers out of getting an iPhone 7 on the day it launches. The suit, filed on behalf of Emil Frank, claims Apple knowingly “allowed non-Upgrade Program users to snap up the limited inventory of the new devices while telling countless iPhone Upgrade Program customers to ‘check back later.’” Many program members learned for the first time last week that their upgrade process requires making reservations at a local Apple Store, where inventories are generally more constrained, as opposed to placing a normal pre-order through the online Apple Store.

Apple offering 10-movie bundles for $10 today to celebrate iTunes Movies’ 10th anniversary

Apple took to Twitter to announce the news that for today only, iTunes is offering six 10-movie bundles for $10 each to celebrate the 10th anniversary of iTunes Movies. The bundles are arranged by studio, with pre-selected movies from Sony, Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate grouped together for purchase. You can view which movies are included in each bundle on iTunes.

Apple lays off dozens of employees in car project ‘reboot’

Apple has laid off dozens of employees and shuttered parts of its secret car project, The New York Times reports. Sources briefed on the move said after expanding the Project Titan team to more than 1,000 employees over the last two years and bringing back highly regarded Apple veteran Bob Mansfield to helm the project after losing VP of Product Design Steve Zadesky, Apple is rethinking its plans for self-driving cars, telling employees the layoffs were part of a “reboot.”

Apple iPhone 7 preorders for Sept 16 delivery begin entering ‘Preparing for Shipment’ stage

It appears that customers who were lucky enough to snag an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus with a Sept. 16 delivery date have begun seeing orders entering the “Preparing for Shipment” stage, suggesting that Apple is already underway with getting the early units shipped out to customers in time for the promised launch day arrival. In this stage, orders can no longer be canceled or modified, and purchasers can expect to see their credit cards or other payment methods billed, and eventually receive a shipment notification once their iPhone leaves Apple’s warehouses. Early shipments however shouldn’t be taken as an indication of an arrival before Sept. 16 — in prior years, Apple has arranged with couriers to ship out orders to local UPS and FedEx distribution centers with instructions to postpone actual delivery to customers until the scheduled launch day.

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