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Report: New Apple TV will feature universal search, cost $149

The fourth-generation Apple TV will cost $149 and feature a universal search, enabling users to enter the title of a movie or TV show once and view results from multiple sources, BuzzFeed reports. Sources familiar with Apple’s plans said the universal search feature is the cornerstone of the new Apple TV, finally providing for searches across multiple streaming services and the iTunes Store. Users will also be able to run more targeted searches, or search by specific actors or directors. Sources said the new search incorporates Siri, as well as features once provided by Matcha — an iOS app that searched for available content from streaming services, TV providers and digital stores like iTunes and Amazon before being bought by Apple in 2013 and shut down. Matcha’s functionality has resurfaced in the new Apple TV, addressing a long-standing user complaint that the search methods on previous Apple TV models are frustrating and not intuitive.

Retrial for damages in Apple patent case set for March or April

A retrial to set damages in Apple’s long-standing patent dispute with Samsung is set for March or April of next year, Apple Insider reports. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh set the timeline after getting an official mandate from the Federal Circuit’s Court of Appeals, less than a week after putting a freeze on filings in the case ahead of the appeals court’s recommendation. The new trial will calculate the damages Samsung must pay Apple over five of its products that infringed on six Apple patents. Samsung previously argued an initial $930 million judgement down to $548 million and is hoping to knock more off that total now that some of the Apple patents cited in the initial ruling have since been deemed invalid. Koh ordered Apple to respond to Samsung’s latest round of objections by Sept. 8, ahead of a case management conference for both sides set for Sept. 16.

Apple eyed Bill Simmons for exclusive podcast deal

Amid rumors of Apple showing interest in generating its own original programming, Re/code reports that the company held talks with former ESPN star Bill Simmons aimed at signing the sports commentator to an exclusive podcast deal. Sources familiar with the discussions said Apple media boss Eddy Cue floated the idea to Simmons a couple times over the summer, before Simmons ended up signing an exclusive “multi-year, multi-platform agreement” with HBO in July that includes a podcast set to debut in October. Apple also reportedly pursued the stars of BBC’s “Top Gear” for its own content — they ended up at Amazon. Before launching Apple Music, sources said Apple executive Jimmy Iovine was also toying with the idea of exclusive contracts for recording artists before settling on more modest exclusive offerings.

Report: Apple considering move into original programming

After going head-to-head with Spotify in streaming music, Apple is considering taking on the likes of Netflix and Amazon in the original programming business, Variety reports. One high-level Hollywood executive who had talks with the company said Apple is looking to start its own development and production divisions to create long-form content for streaming. The source didn’t know whether the focus would be on TV series, movies or both, but said the company is looking to start hiring in the next few months with hopes of the new venture being operational next year. Other sources claimed Apple’s interest in creating its own content is still in a much more preliminary stage, but the company is said to have made a bid to secure the stars of “Top Gear” after they left their BBC show earlier this year — only to lose the show to Amazon in July. Apple has been buying up content on the independent film circuit for distribution on iTunes for years, and has made a big push to incorporate local content into its upcoming paid subscription TV service to set it apart from competitors’ offerings. While starting its own in-house production company could be expensive, Apple holds more than $200 billion in cash and has proven with Apple Music that the company is willing to enter a new market with original, exclusive content. Apple declined to comment on the story.

Apple announces partnership with Cisco for iOS business users

Apple has announced a partnership with Cisco to “create a fast lane for iOS business users by optimizing Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps.” In addition to optimizing Cisco networks and iOS devices to work together, the two companies are also focused on make iPhone more collaborative with Cisco’s “voice and video environments” to make a “seamless experience” between a user’s iPhone and desk phone. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has also written a blog post about the new partnership.

Google releases iOS app that links some Android Wear watches to newer iPhones

Google announced on its official blog that an iOS app rolling out today will finally let users pair some Android Wear watches with newer iPhones. Android Wear for iOS will let users running iOS 8.2+ on an iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 or 6 Plus connect their phone to the LG Watch Urbane. Google said all future Android Wear watches — including those from Asus, Huawei and Motorola — will support the iOS app as well, but for now, only the Urbane offers support. Once connected, the watch will mirror the notifications on a user’s iPhone, display messages, and show info about incoming phone calls. In the announcement, Google makes a point of noting that Android Wear’s always-on display means users won’t have to move their wrist to “wake up” their watch — a clear dig at how the Apple Watch only turns its screen on to display notifications after a user rotates their wrist or taps the smartwatch. Android Wear is going after Apple Watch on the health front as well, allowing iPhone users to track heart rate, distance traveled, and progress toward fitness goals. The app also attempts to provide an alternative to Siri in offering the “OK Google” capability, which allows users to get responses to questions, check traffic or flight information, and create to-do list reminders on the fly.

Apple to make Apple Camp program available year-round

In a note to employees, Apple retail boss Angela Ahrendts said the company plans to make its popular Apple Camp summer program available to students year-round, 9to5Mac reports. The expansion will also make field trips and programs for teachers a year-round enterprise, with Ahrendts touting “the impact they make on so many lives and the energy they bring to the store” in her message. While the website for Apple Camp hasn’t yet been updated to reflect the upcoming year-round status, the change dovetails with Apple’s retooling of its in-store workshops.

Apple hiring ex-Microsoft employee hints at augmented reality plans

Apple’s hiring of a former Microsoft employee is fueling rumors that the company is working on an augmented reality interface, Street Insider reports. In a note to clients, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said, “Based on recent acquisitions of augmented reality companies, hiring of a key Microsoft Hololens employee, and conversations with industry contacts within the virtual and augmented reality spaces, we believe Apple has a team exploring the AR space.” According to 9to5Mac, that former employee of Microsoft’s Hololens team is Nick Thompson, whose LinkedIn profile shows he moved to Apple in July. The report comes on the heels of Apple’s acquisition of augmented reality company Metaio in May, and plans to integrate augmented reality features into Apple Maps.

Judge limits further filings in patent case between Apple and Samsung

After a week of rapid-fire filings in the never-ending court struggle between Apple and Samsung over patents, a U.S. judge has banned any further filings without the consent of the court, Apple Insider reports. A week after Samsung lost its appeal to overturn a $548 million fine for infringing on certain Apple patents, the U.S. Patent office issued a non-final action saying some of those patents shouldn’t have been granted to Apple in the first place. With Samsung still hoping to have the case go before the U.S. Supreme Court, Apple filed a motion with U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh proposing a partial final judgment that wouldn’t take the invalidated patents into account. That sparked an angry response from Samsung, a response to that response from Apple, a motion for judgment as a matter of law from Samsung, and one final Samsung objection to Apple’s partial judgment request that sent Koh over the edge. “The Court has not yet received the mandate from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals,” Judge Koh wrote in her order. “Despite this, the parties have already filed a letter, two responses, an objection, and a motion. The parties shall not file any further motions, briefs, or letters with the Court until authorized by the Court.”

Apple to drop first-gen Apple TV, iPod classic support as of Sept 8th

Apple will be discontinuing support for another series of its older products, which are being moved to “Obsolete” status as of September 8th, 9to5Mac reports. According to internal documents from Apple, the report notes that the original first-generation Apple TV, fifth-generation iPod nano, second- and third-generation iPod touch, and third-generation iPod shuffle will be designated as “Obsolete” in Asia-Pacific/Canada/EU/Japan/Latin America and all Apple Retail Stores, while these models will be designated as “Vintage” in the U.S., where Apple is still required to provide hardware service for a longer period of time as required by California law. The iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano will be declared as “Obsolete” in all markets. Apple typically declares products “Vintage” when they have not been manufactured for more than five years, but less than seven. “Obsolete” products are those that have not been manufactured for more than seven years.

Media companies balk at $40/mo. plan for Apple TV service

Pricing remains a major sticking point in Apple’s negotiations with content providers for its proposed subscription television service, according to a new report from The Information. Although Apple had been planning to unveil a new TV service as early as this fall, and was reported to be making progress in negotiations in June, more recent reports have indicated that the service isn’t expected to debut until 2016, citing talks that have been progressing more slowly than expected.

This latest report provides some insight, indicating that the major sticking point in negotiations is Apple’s desire to hold consumer pricing to roughly $40 per month, which is said to be considerably less than the media companies want to license their TV content to the service. This echoes similar difficulties Apple had in negotiations with record labels last fall, with Apple eventually capitulating. Despite the uncertain future of a television subscription service, Apple still plans to debut new Apple TV hardware in September, but will likely focus on integration with HomeKit and security. [via AppleInsider]

Former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers leaves Apple

Ian Rogers, one of the key executives behind the Apple Music launch, has now left Apple, the Financial Times reports. Rogers originally headed up the Beats Music subscription service prior to the company’s acquisition by Apple in 2014, after which he was appointed to a senior director position with Apple Music, responsible for iTunes Radio and the new Beats 1 radio service. According to people familiar with the situation, he is now leaving to work for a European company in an unrelated industry, a move that came as a surprise to his colleagues when he announced his resignation. Apple confirmed that Rogers is leaving but did not provide any further comment.

Apple partners with PayAnywhere for Apple Pay

Apple has announced a new Apple Pay deal with credit card processing firm PayAnywhere, CNBC reports. The new arrangement allows Apple Pay to be accepted at any PayAnywhere credit card reader — currently in place in More than 300,000 locations throughout the U.S. As part of the deal, Apple will also become the exclusive seller for the newest version of the PayAnywhere reader in its retail stores. To promote the new deal, PayAnywhere is also offering no processing fees for the first $5,000 in Apple Pay transactions for new users.

Apple sends out invites to September 9 event

Apple has sent out media invitations to its September 9 event. The invites show a stylized top of the Apple logo with the phrase “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” As rumored earlier today, the event is being held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, and as usual will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific time. It’s expected that we’ll see the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus debuted at the event, alongside a new Apple TV as well as official launch dates for iOS 9 and watchOS 2. As implied by the invitations tagline, Siri has now begun responding with cute and cryptic responses around the date of September 9th to the phrase “Siri, give me a hint.”

Report: Apple behind San Francisco ‘mystery event’ in early September

A report has appeared in Hoodline, a local San Francisco neighborhood news site, that Apple is behind a “mystery event” being planned at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The venue has reportedly been booked through mid-September, and security personnel are already on constant duty with heavy equipment being moved in. Official documents simply reference a “trade show” scheduled for the week of September 4-10, however no companies or organizations seem to have any plans to host a trade show, and a source now confirms to Hoodline that the activity is specifically in preparation for an Apple event, revealing documents showing that Apple is renting the building through September 12. This corroborates a report from earlier this month that Apple is planning to hold its iPhone event on September 9.

Taiwan court rules Samsung used stolen trade secrets to make A9 chip

Taiwan’s top court ruled that a former senior director of R&D at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company stole the trade secrets that enabled Samsung to produce A9 chips for Apple devices, DigiTimes reports. Samsung seemed to have lost Apple’s chip business to TSMC in 2013, when Apple signed a three-year deal with TSMC to produce its A8 and A9 chips. But after ex-TSMC employee Liang Mong-song allegedly helped Samsung shrink the size of the transistors in its chips, Apple turned back to Samsung to produce the A9 chip earlier this year. A report compiled by third-party experts shows that while older Samsung chips are very different in design from TSMC’s chips, newer models are almost impossible to tell apart. “It could be hard to tell (if the product) came from Samsung or TSMC if only structural analysis is used,” the report states. Liang taught at a Samsung-sponsored university in South Korea after leaving TSMC’s advanced modules technology division, then became CTO of Samsung’s system LSI division in July 2011. TSMC sued Liang in 2011 over trade secrets, and this latest ruling prohibits Liang from working for Samsung in any form until December 31, 2015. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple loses German patent lawsuit over slide-to-unlock feature

Germany’s top civil court has ruled that Apple’s slide-to-unlock technology isn’t sophisticated enough to warrant a patent, Bloomberg reports. In 2012, Apple won an injunction against Motorola Mobility based on its patent on using a finger swipe to unlock smartphones, and while that case is still pending, Tuesday’s ruling is the second to say that feature can’t be patented. “This user-friendly display was already suggested by the state of the art. The contested patent thus isn’t based on an invention,” the court wrote in its ruling. Apple didn’t immediately comment on the ruling.

Best Buy expanding Apple Watch sales to all its stores in September

Best Buy will expand Apple Watch sales to all its stores in September, Fortune reports. The company started selling the watch in August and initially expected to have the watches in 300 of its stores by the holiday season. But in a call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Hubert Joly said Best Buy has seen such strong demand for the Apple Watch, both in stores and online, that sales will be expanding to all 1,050 of its storefronts next month. Joly also said 740 Best Buy locations are updating their Apple shop-in-shops to include new fixtures and more display tables for phones, computers and tablets. Best Buy will also begin selling AppleCare product service and support this quarter, with 50 stores acting as authorized service providers on a trial basis.

Report: Apple ending One to One tutoring program

Apple may be discontinuing its One to One tutoring program for iOS and Mac users, MacRumors reports. An unnamed source claims Apple is stopping the program to place more emphasis on free workshops that allow one employee to teach multiple people at once. Apple is also reportedly in the process of revamping its website to make registering for free workshops easier and more accessible to those with disabilities. The One to One program currently charges users $99 for one year of instruction on how to use their Mac, iPhone or iPad, providing users with individual or group training sessions on basic usage, Apple services and specific apps like Photos, Mail and Final Cut Pro. Apple plans to honor existing One to One memberships until they expire, but will no longer be offering new memberships.

Rumor: Apple working on health tracking ‘smart bands’ for Apple Watch

Czech website Letem Svetem Applem claims Apple is planning to release a set of ‘smart bands’ that will use the hidden data port on Apple Watch to add new health monitoring functionality to the device. Citing unnamed sources, the website claims the new straps will include sensors to let the watch monitor blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, and body temperature. The sensors would be located on the side of the wrist opposite the watch, to control for the heat and interference coming from the internal components of the watch itself. The sources claimed the new bands could appear as soon as early 2016 and be available with an array of sensor configurations. The 6-pin sensor port — located within the groove on the lower half of the watch where the wristband attaches — has proven to be capable of transmitting data and power to the watch, but is sealed. Apple’s guidelines for third-party band manufacturers make no mention of the hidden diagnostic port, but that hasn’t prevented speculation about possible uses for the port since its initial discovery in May. [via Apple Insider]

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