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iTunes Radio to launch in U.K., Canada in early 2014

Apple’s iTunes Radio is expected to launch in the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in early 2014, Bloomberg reports. A source noted that Nordic countries were “being targeted in the same time frame.” Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue recently said plans are to bring iTunes Radio to more than 100 countries. It appears the streaming radio service will beat Pandora to launch in both the U.K. and Canada, as Apple has already negotiated agreements for international rights with record companies. Pandora doesn’t have similar agreements, instead relying on “rights granted by government entities.”

Apple to release Q4 2013 earnings on Oct. 28

Apple has announced on its investor website that it will release its fourth quarter 2013 fiscal results on Monday, Oct. 28. As usual, a conference call discussing the results can be found on the same website at 5 p.m. Oct. 28. The call will likely feature Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer discussing sales of the iPhone 5c and 5s, among other results. It’s possible that Apple may also comment on iPad releases, which may be announced before the conference call.

Apple criticized for pulling private browsing app in China

Apple has drawn criticism for pulling an app from China’s App Store that circumvents firewalls and allows access to restricted sites. OpenDoor, which is still available in other markets, is a free app that uses a randomized IP address to browse anonymously. It was removed from the Chinese App Store for containing “illegal content,” CNN reports. The app’s anonymous developer said Apple provided no notification of pulling the app — the developer learned the news from customers. After the app was pulled, a number of Chinese users of microblog site Weibo accused Apple as showing too much loyalty to the Chinese government.

SEC ends review of Apple’s tax policies

The Securities and Exchange Commission has closed its review of Apple’s finances, AllThingsD reports, as Apple has apparently been cleared of wrongdoing regarding its tax policies and its handling of overseas cash. The company has taken heat for its tax policies since a U.S. Senate subcommittee accused Apple of tax avoidance in May. But the SEC sent a letter to Apple in September stating its review had been completed. Apple’s disclosures were apparently sufficient enough to avoid SEC action.

Apple aims to open stores in small India markets

Apple plans to enter smaller India markets by opening a number of new stores, according to The Economic Times. The company is looking to enter the “top 50 tier II and tier III markets” by selling iPhones, iPads, and iPods in 100 exclusive standalone stores, and other stores-within-stores. Apple reportedly plans on setting up the stores within this fiscal year. The company has recently upped its presence in India, increasing the size of its executive team in the country. Earlier this year, Apple introduced incentives to make the iPhone more affordable in India.

NY Times mag publishes iPhone launch revelations

A number of revelations behind the original launch of the iPhone in 2007 have been published in The New York Times Magazine. Fred Vogelstein, author of the upcoming “Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution,” profiles a number of Apple employees at the time, including Andy Grignon, senior manager in charge of all radios in the original iPhone. Grignon tells of the tense moments leading up to launch, as the iPhone suffered from numerous bugs prior to the unveiling. During rehearsals, Grignon “had rarely seen Jobs make it all the way through his 90-minute show without a glitch” — including dropped calls, lost Internet connections, freezes, and unprompted shutdowns. A “golden path” was pre-determined to keep the iPhone from crashing through the numerous known issues, but backups on stage were ready in case of a failure.

The report notes that “software in the iPhone’s Wi-Fi radio was so unstable that Grignon and his team had to extend the phones’ antennas by connecting them to wires running offstage so the wireless signal wouldn’t have to travel as far.” AT&T brought in a portable cell tower to boost phone reception, and Apple rigged the on-screen cellular strength indicator to show 5 bars at all times, even if the phone’s radio crashed and restarted. But the biggest problem involved memory, as the iPhone often required a restart when multitasking. Jobs usually had a backup plan, but not this time. “It was Apple TV or the iPhone,” Grignon said. “And if he had gone to Macworld with just Apple TV … the world would have said, ‘What the heck was that?’ “

Jobs initially resisted making a phone, and Apple designed and built three early versions of the iPhone in 2006, putting inordinate pressure on employees in the process. Employees were pulled from other areas at Apple and told that they would work on something amazing, but that it would be the hardest work they had ever done. Other insights in the piece include the challenges of shrinking OS X, developing capacitive multitouch, and some incredible details on the lengths of Jobs’ obsession with secrecy surrounding the launch—including a squashed plan to keep contractors sleeping at the venue the night before the unveiling to avoid leaks. The successful iPhone demo ended with Grignon and the iPhone team drunk from scotch snuck into the keynote event.

Company offers iOS 7-cracked Lightning cables

A Hong Kong company, E-Ser Electronic Co., claims to have completed Lightning cables compatible with both iOS 7 and allegedly new Lightning authentication chips found inside the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. The claims haven’t been verified, but are still notable, as non-certified Lightning accessories began to invoke warnings and charging malfunctions after iOS 7 was released.

‘Voice of Siri’ steps forward

Susan Bennett, an Atlanta-area voice actress, has revealed herself as the original voice of Siri. Though Apple won’t confirm Bennett as the voice, CNN reports, “Professionals who know her voice, have worked with her and represent her legally say she is Siri. And an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience has studied both voices and says he is ‘100%’ certain the two are the same.” Though Siri didn’t debut until Oct. 4, 2011 during the unveiling of the iPhone 4S, Bennett unknowingly recorded voice samples for the virtual assistant in July 2005. Under contract with ScanSoft, Bennett recorded samples for four hours a day that month. Bennett didn’t find out she was Siri’s voice until the iPhone 4S was released. A colleague with the new phone emailed Bennett, asking if she was Siri. Bennett checked Apple’s website to hear the audio. “Oh, I knew,” she said. “It’s obviously me. It’s my voice.”

Report: Apple acquires assistant app Cue

Apple has acquired personal assistant app Cue, according to numerous reports. The acquisition has cost Apple at least $35 million, as reported by Apple Insider, while TechCrunch reports the app sold for somewhere between $40 million to $60 million. Cue recently shut down its app, which was capable of culling information from your e-mails and social media accounts to provide a daily agenda, as well as offering a searchable collection of your personal online information. Conceivably, Cue could bolster Apple’s iOS 7 notifications and Siri features. In response to inquiries, Apple released its typical acquisition statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Schools say iOS 7 removed filters from student iPads

A number of schools across the U.S. have found that upgrading their student-used iPads to iOS 7 removed previous supervision profiles on the devices, AllThingsD reports. Losing the filters cleared any restrictions administrators put on the devices. Administrators also lost remote management privileges due to the upgrade. In response, some schools have changed network settings to stop iPads from updating to iOS 7. Apple is working toward a resolution. “Some business and education users have reported that their supervised devices have reverted to unsupervised when they upgrade to iOS 7,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said. “We are aware of this issue, and will have a fix this month.”

Report: Next-gen iPad, mini to have 8MP cameras

Apple’s fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini will both have 8MP cameras with larger apertures, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo expects both devices to launch this year. Another report from earlier today expressed doubt that the second-generation iPad mini would launch this year — and if it is released in 2013, it may only be available in limited quantities. While all analyst predictions should be viewed with some skepticism, Kuo has been fairly accurate in the past. [via 9to5Mac]

iCloud email push notifications return to Germany

German iCloud users can now receive push email notifications again, Apple has confirmed. The feature was restored last night after a delay of more than 19 months, caused by a dispute with Google’s Motorola Mobility which forced Apple to deactivate the notifications. Apple reportedly had to post a $132 million bond to lift the injunction. A Munich court will hold an invalidation hearing Nov. 13 on the patent that caused the dispute. [via FOSS Patents]

Apple working to fix iOS 7 iMessage glitch

Apple is working on a solution for a known iOS 7 glitch that is disrupting iMessage, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some users have found that iMessages appear to go through, only to later discover that the message has not actually been delivered. “We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update,” Apple said in a statement. A few workarounds have been suggested by users for the time being, including restarting the device, and disabling iMessage, resetting Network Settings, and then turning iMessage back on.

Reuters: Retina iPad mini may slip to 2014

Apple’s second-generation iPad mini with Retina display won’t get a wide rollout this month, and might not even launch until 2014, Reuters reports. Sources in Apple’s supply chain say the company is just now readying production for the new iPad mini. If the device actually is released this year, it may only be available in limited quantities. While the exact reasons for the delays are murky, one source said “strict power-saving requirements” postponed Apple’s certification of panel producers. Two sources claim Apple is looking to reduce costs, and the company might also release an 8GB version of the new iPad mini. An August report claimed Apple would release both the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini this year.

Apple and others back NSA, FBI transparency bills

Apple and a number of other technology companies have signed a letter supporting a pair of bills that would clarify the companies’ abilities to publish details on the government’s demands for user information. The bills — Senator Al Franken’s S. 1452, the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, and Representative Zoe Lofgren’s H.R. 3035, the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013 — were introduced in August. Apple and other tech companies have been pushing for NSA transparency for some time. The Cupertino company immediately denied the NSA and FBI were mining its servers for data when the PRISM program came to light in June. [via The Verge]

Obama compares Healthcare.gov ‘glitches’ to iOS 7 launch

Obama addressed concerns over today’s full launch of Healthcare.gov by comparing its “glitches” to Apple’s iOS 7 launch. “Now, like every new law, every new product roll-out, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix. I’ve been saying this from the start. For example, we found out that there have been times this morning where the site’s been running more slowly than it normally will,” Obama said.

“…Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t. That’s not how we do things in America. We don’t actively root for failure. We get to work, we make things happen, we make them better, we keep going.” [via Washington Post]

MobileMe customers lose storage, iCloud affected

Apple has informed former MobileMe members via email that their 20GB iCloud storage upgrade has expired. Those users who haven’t purchased a storage plan and are still using more than 5GB of iCloud space have found that iCloud has temporarily stopped working. The service will work again once the amount of storage space used is reduced to 5GB or less, or if a larger storage plan is purchased. Apple has released a support article on the changes. Apple started notifying customers in early August that the free upgrade would expire and changes would need to be made to their iCloud storage. For more information on how to best reduce your iCloud footprint, check out this iLounge article from last week.

Apple to pay $40 to some older iPad 3G owners

A ruling has been issued in a class action lawsuit filed in 2010 against Apple and AT&T, with Apple agreeing to pay $40 to U.S. customers who bought or ordered an iPad 3G before June 7, 2010. Customers who didn’t sign up with AT&T are eligible for a $20/month discount for up to a year on the carrier’s 5GB monthly plan. The lawsuit stems from AT&T advertising an unlimited data plan for iPads, then eliminating the unlimited data plan. Reportedly, the deal will be finalized in February, when Apple will try to contact eligible customers. Due to anti-class action provisions in the AT&T contract, payouts will be limited; the AT&T discount will be offered to those who no longer own their original iPad and didn’t sign up for any AT&T data plan. [via GigaOM]

Apple motion against Lodsys dismissed

Apple’s motion to intervene in a patent infringement lawsuit Lodsys filed against numerous iOS developers has been dismissed by US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, according to a report. Lodsys originally sued seven third-party iOS developers, which prompted Apple’s motion to intervene more than two years ago. Apple proposed to claim alleged infringements by iOS developers were covered under its existing license to Lodsys’s patents. Lodsys’ original claims were related to patents involving in-app purchases and “upgrade” buttons. Martha Stewart, who was just in the news recently for tweeting about her broken iPad, recently sued Lodsys after the patent troll demanded Stewart pay the holding company for each of her company’s apps. Lodsys’ case is still on track for trial. [via Ars Technica]

Apple hires Nike design director Shaffer

Apple has hired Nike design director Ben Shaffer, according to a report. Shaffer was Studio Director of Nike’s research and development lab, and he played a key role in developing the company’s lightweight Flyknit shoe; some reports have suggested, perhaps erroneously, that he was involved in the FuelBand as well. Shaffer’s hiring and Apple’s earlier hiring of another Nike Fuel Band developer, Jay Blahnik, lends further credence to a report that the company’s rumored “iWatch” would be focused on fitness. Another report made note of Apple “aggressively” hiring for the project — a trend that appears to be continuing. [via 9to5Mac]

[Editor’s note: This report was updated after publication to reflect ambiguity over Shaffer’s role in FuelBand development.]

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