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 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.”
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.
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 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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.”
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.
In the wake of high demand for the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, Apple appears to have temporarily suspended its “Reserve and Pickup” service in the U.S., the U.K., and Italy until Sept. 17 — the day after the new iPhone models are expected to be available in Apple Stores. Reservations are now expected to open at 8 AM local time for U.S. Apple Stores and 6 AM local time for Apple Stores in the U.K. and Italy. Notably, Reserve and Pickup remains available for at least some models in Canada, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, although not surprisingly the iPhone 7 Plus appears to be largely sold out already at most stores in Canada, and likely many of these other countries as well. Users can still try lining up at an Apple Store in person on Sept. 16, although whatever inventory is available will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis as in prior years. [via Macrumors]
As previously announced, Apple opened preorders for the new Phone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus this morning at 12:01 AM PT. Shipping dates of the Jet Black iPhone models slipped back into October, and then November within minutes of preorders going live, suggesting either overwhelming popularity or limited stock of the new color option. The Black model followed as a close second, with ship dates pushed into late September. By contrast, the white-faced Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold models remained available with Sept. 16 delivery dates for some time after preorders began, although by press time this morning all of the iPhone 7 Plus models had moved into availability ranging from late September to early October, with only some of the standard non-black iPhone 7 models still retaining the Sept. 16 delivery date. All iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models are expected to become available for direct purchase at Apple Stores and other participating retailers on Sept. 16.
Two key Apple executives behind the iPhone 7 have provided a bit more insight into the company’s logic behind killing off the venerable 3.5mm headphone jack in the new iPhone 7.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s VP of iOS, iPad, and iPhone Product Marketing, and Dan Riccio, Apple’s SVP of Hardware Engineering, expand on Phil Schiller’s comments during Wednesday’s Apple event. Schiller said that it was time to move on from the hundred-year-old analog headphone technology in order to allow Apple to create more space inside the iPhone for new features. Joswiak explained that the only innovation the legacy audio connector has seen in the past 100 years was a simple reduction in size back in the 1960s, with nothing new since then. “It’s a dinosaur. It’s time to move on,” Joswiak said.
“It was holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone,” Riccio says. “It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life. And frankly, when there’s a better, modern solution available, it’s crazy to keep it around.”