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iHeartRadio editorial content added to Apple News offering

Apple News now features editorial content from iHeartRadio, according to a recent blog post from the music and news provider. While mainly known for its music service, iHeartRadio also generates news content on everything from entertainment and celebrity gossip to sports and politics. The new content is featured in the Entertainment section of Apple News, and iHeartRadio’s radio service is also available on iOS, Apple TV and through CarPlay.

Reporters without Borders warns journalists in China to close iCloud accounts

French nonprofit advocacy group Reporters without Borders (RSF) is calling on journalists in China to close their iCloud accounts in wake of Apple’s recent plans to migrate iCloud users in China to an outsourced Chinese company’s servers. RSF is suggesting that journalists and bloggers in the country who use Apple iCloud should either change their geographic region to avoid having their data migrated, or close their iCloud accounts entirely by Feb. 28, the day when, as RSF notes, “control of their data will pass to the Chinese state.”

Apple dispels security concerns regarding leaked iOS 9 source code

While Apple has confirmed that recently leaked iOS 9 iBoot source is authentic, the company has dispelled any concerns users may have about the leak compromising iPhone security. In a statement to MacRumors, Apple emphasized that the leak is for iOS 9, a three-year-old operating system that is installed on less than seven percent of devices, and notes that “by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code” and “There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products.”

Apple loses Amazing Stories showrunners over creative differences

Apple has lost two of the production staff for its new “Amazing Stories” project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Showrunner Bryan Fuller reportedly left the project this week citing “creative differences” that may have stemmed from Apple’s insistence on keeping its content “PG”. Fuller had developed Amazing Stories for NBC before the project moved into Apple’s purview, but reportedly was looking to a more edgy show in the style of Black Mirror, which sources suggest was not what Apple was looking for. A subsequent update to The Hollywood Reporter article noted that Fuller’s partner, Hart Hanson, has also exited the project, leaving Apple and Universal Television searching for a new showrunner.

2017 iPhone models less susceptible to performance throttling

It appears that Apple may have made hardware improvements in its 2017 iPhone models to mitigate the need for the controversial performance throttling experienced by users of iPhone 6, 6s, and 7 series models. A new section in an updated support document on “iPhone Battery and Performance” referenced in the second beta of iOS 11.3 notes:

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery’s power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown. As a result, the impacts of performance management may be less noticeable on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

The support document doesn’t go as far as saying that performance won’t suffer as batteries age in these newer models, but it does suggest that the level of throttling may not be as severe, indicating that Apple was likely able to solve some of the power consumption issues that previously resulted in unexpected shutdowns from older iPhone batteries.

Patent application shows Apple considering Apple Pencil that works on any flat surface, in midair

A recent patent spotted by Techtastic shows Apple is considering creating an Apple Pencil that works without an iPad. The patent — credited to three Apple engineers — describes monitoring a stylus using some combination of motion and orientation sensors, cameras and electromagnetic or sound-based triangulation methods to determine the stylus’ position and record its movements. The data would then be processed to create text or drawings.

Apple now selling refurbished iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Apple TV 4K units

Apple has now begun selling refurbishing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and Apple TV 4K models on its U.S. online store for the first time, offering customers a chance to pick up these units at about a 10 percent discount as compared to the prices of brand new models.

Apple loses bid to HBO for new J.J. Abrams show

HBO has beat out Apple in a bid to produce J.J. Abrams latest sci-fi drama project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. HBO got the nod for a straight-to-series order for the new sci-fi thriller, which will be called “Demimonde,” with sources suggesting that Abrams made the call as a result of his impression with what the premium cable network did with “Westworld.” While the move may indicate that despite Apple’s strong original content ambitions and deep pockets, its status as a Hollywood newcomer may hamper its efforts in signing major productions, it’s also worth noting that Apple has already successfully picked up an original sci-fi show from Ronald D. Moore of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Outlander” fame. Sources also suggested to The Hollywood Reporter that Apple’s bid made may never have been under serious consideration in the first place.

Apple reports strong Q1 2018 results, iPhone X overwhelmingly popular

Apple has reported its financial results for Q1 2018, reflecting a strong holiday quarter and dispelling recent negative hype about underperforming iPhone X sales. Apple CEO Tim Cook declared it “the biggest quarter in Apple’s history” and emphasized that not only did Apple see “the highest revenue ever from a new iPhone lineup” but that the iPhone X was also the top-selling iPhone every week since it first shipped in November.

Apple hires Paramount executive to spearhead original comedy programming

Apple has added former Paramount executive Dana Tuinier to its original video content team to spearhead the development of comedy programming, TBI Vision reports. Tuinier will develop new comedy projects and oversee existing acquisitions starring Reese Witherspoon and Kristen Wiig. Tuinier previously acted as VP of development and original programming for The Paramount Network, which launched earlier this month in the US. Before joining Paramount Tuinier worked on hit Fox shows like Glee, New Girl and Bob’s Burgers.

Apple settles patent infringement case with Immersion

Apple has settled a two-year-old patent dispute with haptic technology company Immersion, according to an announcement by the company. Immersion filed a lawsuit against Apple in early 2016, accusing the company of infringing its patents with 3D Touch, Force Touch, and Apple Watch technologies, as well as vibration patterns used for ringtones and notifications. In today’s very brief announcement, Immersion simply stated that it has “entered into settlement and license agreements with Apple, the terms of which are confidential,” although it adds that it’s a global settlement, and implies that Apple has agreed to license at least some of Immersion’s technology, although it’s unclear which technologies or patents are specifically involved. [via Engadget]

First HomePod ads appear

Apple has posted four HomePod ads on its official YouTube channel, in the form of four 15-second music-focused clips that emphasize the HomePod primarily as a “breakthrough speaker.” The ads, titled Distortion, Bass, Equalizer, and Beat are each set to their own tracks, with most of the clip animating the word “HomePod” to the beat of the music, followed by a very brief glimpse of the speaker followed by an “Order Now” closing screen.

Apple places straight-to-series order from ‘La La Land’ filmmaker Damien Chazelle

Apple is ordering a new drama series from acclaimed filmmaker Damien Chazelle, according to a new report from Variety. While specific details of the series haven’t been disclosed, Chazelle is expected to write and direct every episode in addition to serving as executive producer alongside Jordan Horowitz and Fred Berger. Chazelle has been behind such award-winning films as last year’s “La La Land” and 2014’s “Whiplash” and have both received multiple Academy Awards. Chazelle has also been tapped to executive product and direct several episodes of the upcoming Netflix original series “The Eddy,” but Variety notes that the new Apple series will be the first time Chazelle will have written and directed every single episode of a series.

Apple releases first watchOS 4.3 beta, iOS 11.3 + tvOS 11.3 public betas

Apple has followed up the release of the first iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 developer betas earlier this week with the first beta of watchOS 4.3. Featuring a build number of 15T5165e, the very sparse release notes list only basic background information and “No known issues” providing no insight into what’s actually changed in the newest version.

Report: Apple working on revamped Books app

Apple has a redesign for its iBooks app in the works, according to a new report by Bloomberg, as part of a plan to once again try to take on Amazon in the digital book market. People familiar with the project have revealed that the new app, which will be released in the coming months, is expected to include a simpler user interface and a redesigned digital bookstore that will borrow its cues from the iOS 11 App Store redesign. The app will include a new section called “Reading Now” along with a dedicated tab for audiobooks, according to the report.

Apple releases first iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 developer beta

Apple has released the first betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 to registered developers, with the improvements previewed earlier today, specifically new Animoji and the promised improvements to battery health monitoring resulting from the recent iPhone slowdown controversy. iOS 11.3 also brings back the Messages in iCloud feature that was promised for the initial iOS 11 release, with the release notes indicating that it’s currently “for testing and evaluation purposes” and adds that the feature will be automatically enabled — in the beta at least — for users who already have two-factor authentication and iCloud Backup enabled. In addition, the new iOS version also adds a new security protocol that will require users to re-enter their device passcode to authorize a Lighting-connected USB accessory if it has not been connected to the device for more than a week.

EU hits Qualcomm with $1.2B fine over paying Apple to freeze out competitors

While the European Union still has its own unfinished business with Apple, the EU has sided with the company in its fight with Qualcomm, 9to5Mac reports. The EU fined Qualcomm $1.2 billion after ruling that the company’s rebate payments to Apple to freeze out other chip makers unfairly stifled competition. While the EU claims Apple’s deal with Qualcomm was anti-competitive, Apple wasn’t the subject of any further fines since the EU found Apple explored other options in the 5 years Qualcomm was using royalty payments to hold the company hostage. That royalty deal is a major component of Apple’s ongoing legal fight with Qualcomm, with Apple arguing that Qualcomm wants to capitalize on the work of others and Qualcomm arguing Apple wants to use technology they created without paying the company that developed it.

Tim Cook visits Canada, makes surprise drop-in at Toronto’s Eaton Centre Apple Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook made his first visit to Canada since becoming CEO, dropping in at the Apple Store at the Toronto Eaton Centre yesterday, The Globe and Mail reports. Cook’s unannounced visit to the Apple Store was a surprise for a group of grade 7 students who were attending a workshop to learn how to program robots using Swift, where Cook spoke about the importance of learning to code and Apple’s initiatives in education such as its “Everyone Can Code” program. Cook’s visit marks the first time an Apple CEO has come to Canada in almost 30 years; in addition to his appearance at the Apple Store, Cook also stopped by to see Shopify, noting their latest work in AR and VR technologies. [via iPhone in Canada]

Apple announces HomePod arriving Feb. 9, pre-orders open Friday

Apple has announced a release date for its HomePod speaker system, with the new device scheduled to arrive in stores on Feb. 9, and pre-orders opening this Friday in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Originally announced last June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference for a late 2017 release, Apple later acknowledged that the new speaker system would be delayed saying the company “need[ed] a little more time before it’s ready for our customers.”

Apple expands Everyone Can Code program to 70 more colleges in Europe

After rolling out its Everyone Can Code program to more than 20 international schools last November and Chicago high schools last December, Apple has allowed 70 colleges and universities across Europe to offer the program to students, according to a press release from the company. “Education institutions in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal will offer App Development with Swift to prepare their students for future careers in app development,” the release reads. “The full-year course was designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach coding and app design to students of all levels and backgrounds.” CEO Tim Cook echoed earlier comments he’s made about the importance of teaching coding in schools, saying, “Since launching Everyone Can Code two years ago, we’ve seen growing excitement for the initiative from schools around the world, who are increasingly incorporating the curriculum into their classrooms.”

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