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Popular Phoneys sticker app for iMessage in limbo after warning from Apple

The Phoneys sticker app for iMessage has landed its creator in a serious conundrum after Apple called him with demands that he change it or face its removal from the iMessage app store. In a post on Medium, Adam Howell explains he built the sticker pack—which allows users to paste a convincing-looking iMessage bubble over a friend’s message to make it look like they said something they didn’t—with every expectation that it wouldn’t make it through the approval process. Once it did, people took notice, and with a little publicity, it shot to the top of the Top Paid list on the iMessage store.

Apple ordered to pay $302.4M over FaceTime patents

Apple has been ordered to pay $302.4 million in damages after losing another round in its years-long legal fight with patent holder VirnetX, Reuters reports. In 2012, a jury awarded VirnetX $368.2 million in damages over Apple’s use of its patented security technology in the company’s FaceTime app, but an appeals court overturned the verdict over issues with how the damages were calculated. A second trial upped those damages to $625.6 million, but another judge threw out that verdict as well, after expressing concerns that jurors may have been confused by repeated references to the earlier trial. Apple declined to comment on the case, but the company faces yet another court proceeding to determine if it willfully infringed on the patents, which could lead to higher damages.

Apple announces ‘Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition’ interactive iBooks

Apple has announced the exclusive publication of interactive digital editions of Game of Thrones to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the popular George R.R. Martin best-seller. The new interactive iBooks will allow readers to go deeper into the history of some of the great houses of Westeros, via interactive character maps, detailed annotations, and more, along with glossary terms that will provide insight into character connections and the lineage of the various houses. An appendix of all 92 house sigils is also included, with comprehensive information about symbolism, house seats, regions, and allegiances.

Apple announces App Store Search Ads

Apple has sent out an email to registered developers announcing the debut of search ads in the App Store. Apple SVP Phil Schiller announced earlier this year that search ads would be coming to the App Store, however provided few additional details at the time beyond saying that Apple was giving careful consideration on the best way to implement ads in a customer-friendly manner. Search Ads will allow developers to easily create tailored ads to promote their apps at the top of App Store search results, with basic ads created automatically using metadata and imagery from the developer’s app and automatic matching of ads to relevant searches in the App Store. Advanced features will allow developers to target their ads to iPhone or iPad users, adds their own keywords, specify a target demographic for ads, and schedule campaigns to appear only during certain time periods. Apple has published a new set of pages at where developers can find out more information on the new service and sign up to receive a $100 credit toward their first campaign.

Apple announces iOS business development partnership with Deloitte

Apple has announced a new partnership with Deloitte aimed at promoting business solutions on the iOS platform. As part of the new initiative, Deloitte will be creating a first-of-its-kind Apple consulting practice that will include over 5,000 strategic advisors focused on helping enterprise organizations develop and implement solutions in over 20 different industries, including retail, field services, recruiting, R&D, inventory management and back-office systems. EnterpriseNext, a new service from Deloitte Consulting, will help clients properly implement and leverage iOS hardware, software, and services, discovering new possibilities, prioritizing digital resources, and developing custom solutions with rapid prototyping. Apple also has enterprise relationships with IBM and SAP.

Apple logs iMessage contact info, could be compelled to offer info to police

A new report from The Intercept reveals a caveat to Apple’s privacy policies surrounding text and iMessage communications. According to the report, while Apple’s end-to-end iMessage encryption precludes the company from being able to disclose the content of messages between iOS device users, the company does maintain a server-based log of phone numbers that users have attempted to communicate with via the Messages app. Numbers are added to these logs whenever an iMessage user enters a new phone number into the Messages app and Apple’s servers need to determine whether the message should be delivered to the recipient via its own iMessage service or using the carrier’s SMS text messaging services.

Apple reportedly calls in hackers for meeting on bug bounty program

Apple is reportedly briefing a select group of hackers on its plans to launch a bug bounty program for those discovering iOS and Mac vulnerabilities, Forbes reports. One source said the group attending the meeting “is not too big at all,” limited to an invite-only list focused more on quality than quantity of hacking talent. Apple is said to be rewarding hackers with up to $200,000 for providing the company with information about security flaws in its devices. Apple first announced the program during August’s Black Hat security conference, joining companies like Google and Microsoft who have long offered similar programs for hackers.

Apple creating new London headquarters

Apple is moving its 1,400 London employees into a new headquarters inside the once-derelict Battersea Power Station, the Evening Standard reports. The London employees are currently scattered across eight sites, but when the new six-floor office space opens in 2021, the entire operation will finally be under one roof. “This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighborhood rich with history,” Apple said in a statement. Apple’s facility in Cork, Ireland will remain its main European headquarters, but the new London office will be one of the company’s largest worldwide.

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.

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