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Apple makes deal with NBCUniversal to sell ads in News app

Apple is handing off ad sales for its News app to NBCUniversal, Recode reports. Publishers can still sell their own ads and keep 100 percent of the profit generated, but NBCUniversal will now be selling the remaining ad space. Publishers will get 70 percent of the revenue from those ads sales, just like they’re currently getting under the existing arrangement with Apple. Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s head of sales, said the company is creating a new “dedicated sales group” for the app. Earlier this year Apple pulled the plug on its lackluster iAd service after not being able to find a reasonable way to use customer data while still maintaining privacy.

Apple looks for incentives to bring manufacturing to India

Apple is asking for government incentives to bring its manufacturing to India, The Economic Times of India reports. An unnamed official said Apple has asked for consideration from the Department of Revenue and Department of Electronics and Information Technology, adding that the department has been “doing their due diligence from (sic) quite some time.” India offers benefits to foreign manufacturers under its Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme, including subsidies for investments in “special economic zones.” The news comes on the heels of earlier reports that the company asked manufacturing partner Foxconn to look into making iPhones in India in the next two or three years, fitting into the three-year exemption on local manufacturing Apple hopes to negotiate in order open its own stores in the country.

KGI: Apple could launch AR in 1-2 years, use it to boost autonomous driving system

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told investors they probably won’t see augmented reality technology from Apple for at least 1-2 years, but to expect the company to “leapfrog” competitors by 3-5 years once they finally enter the market. Kuo doesn’t provide specifics, but said he foresees Apple integrating AR to “redefine key product lines” and change the way people use devices like the Apple TV and Apple Watch. Kuo also considered the possibility that Apple could use AR innovations to break into new areas, specifically autonomous driving systems like the one being developed by the company’s Project Titan team. [via Apple Insider]

Apple releases iOS 10.2 public beta

Following yesterday’s release of the first iOS 10.2 developer beta, Apple has now released a public beta version of iOS 10.2 through its Apple Software Beta Program. The iOS 10.2 public beta notably adds the full Unicode 9.0 emoji approved earlier this year, along with a new Preserve Settings feature that allows users to determine whether modes, filters, and Live Photo settings in the Camera app persist across launches or reset to default values. iOS 10.2 also adds three new wallpapers for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users, a new widget for the Videos app, new “Press and Hold to Speak” options under Accessibility settings, star-based ratings support in the iOS 10.2 Music app, and new Activity reporting in the Health app for Apple Watch users. 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 seeds first betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1.1 to developers

Apple has released the first betas for iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. This follows today’s earlier public release of iOS 10.1.1.

Apple releases iOS 10.1.1 with Health data fix

Apple has released iOS 10.1.1 to the public today, providing a number of bug fixes — most notably, a fix for users who couldn’t view Health data in iOS 10.1. The update comes just one week after the release of iOS 10.1, which added the beta version of Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, transit support in Maps, new wheelchair tracking workout summary information in Activity for Apple Watch users, and improved Bluetooth connectivity.

Apple delays AirPods release

Apple’s AirPods, the wireless W1-aided earphones which debuted at the company’s September event, apparently won’t be released in “late October” after all. Though Apple’s website still gives that time frame as of this writing, TechCrunch reports that the earphones aren’t ready for market. “The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. The report notes that no timeline was given for their availability — so we can only speculate on just how long “a little more time” will be.

Notes from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call

Kicking off Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of quarterly numbers for Q4 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the quarterly results were strong and near the top of the guidance that Apple provided for the quarter. Cook said that the iPhone continues to see year-over-year improvements compared to the last two quarters, and that iPhone sales are up year-over-year in 33 of the top 40 markets where the iPhone is sold. Fiscal 2016 also saw more customers switching from Android to iPhone than ever before, Cook said, and Apple saw a record-setting quarter for services, with revenue growth accelerating to 24 percent, reaching 6.3 billion dollars, with Apple Music doing particularly well. Cook noted that Apple Pay recently launched in Japan, Russia, and New Zealand and will be coming to Spain in the next few months; Apple Pay volume is up 500 percent year-over-year and in fact September saw more Apple Pay transactions than all of fiscal year 2015 put together. Cook also spoke about the release of iOS 10, hailing many of the new features but notably pointing out that Apple has seen a “marked increase” in iMessage users since the release of iOS 10, likely due to the new features available in the Messages app. Cook also touched on HomeKit, noting that we can expect over one hundred HomeKit-compatible products to be on the market by the end of this year, all reviewed and approved by Apple to help ensure customer security when using them.

Apple Q4 2016: $46.9B revenue, 45.5M iPhones + 9.2M iPads sold

Apple reported its fourth quarter 2016 financial results today, with 45.5 million iPhones and 9.2 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $46.9 billion and quarterly net income of $9 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share. In Q4 2015, Apple had revenue of $51.5 billion and net income of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.9 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 62 percent of this quarter’s revenue.

For Q1 2017, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $76 billion and $78 billion, and gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website. We’ll have a recap shortly after.

Apple reportedly hiring engineers from BlackBerry, developing car operating system in Canada

Apple has reportedly hired two dozen engineers from BlackBerry’s QNX division to work on its new car operating system, Bloomberg reports. The engineers comprise part of a larger team based at an Apple office in Ottawa, Canada — about a five-minute walk from QNX headquarters. Apple was said to have targeted QNX employees specifically due to their experience in developing key components of operating systems and power management. The car operating system group is one of multiple teams working on various components of Apple’s Project Titan software, including a team working on the autonomous driving components for self-driving cars, and others working on heads-up display features, and a simulation group developing VR to test self-driving features. BlackBerry’s QNX unit currently maintains the operating system software used in more than 60 million cars, mostly for “infotainment” systems, although the company noted in January that it has also been working on building its operating system as a foundation for autonomous driving software.

Apple releases iOS 10.1, tvOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3.1

Apple has released iOS 10.1 to the public today. The update contains the beta version of Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, transit support in Maps, new wheelchair tracking workout summary information in Activity for Apple Watch users, improved Bluetooth connectivity, and a series of bug fixes and other minor improvements. Apple has also released tvOS 10.0.1 which features bug fixes, and watchOS 3.1, which includes bug fixes and — like iOS 10.1 — now gives users the option to replay the bubble and full screen effects in Messages.

Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event

Apple has sent out press invites for a special event to be held next Thursday, Oct. 27. The event will be held at the company’s Cupertino campus at 10 a.m. Pacific time, and is expected to be primarily focused on unveiling new Mac hardware — the title of “hello again” on the invite is seemingly a reference back to the original Mac’s 1984 introduction. As the event will likely be focused on new Macs, we don’t expect that iOS hardware, software, or accessories will be featured to any significant extent, although it remains possible that Apple may mention a release date or further details on iOS 10.1, or give a release date for its upcoming AirPods, which are expected to be available by the end of this month. [via The Verge]

Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released the fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to registered developers today, featuring minor bug tweaks to the new operating system. We anticipate that the official public release of iOS 10.1 — which contains the Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users — is not far off, based on this release and rumors of an Oct. 25 launch date from this morning.

Apple releases fourth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released the fourth beta of iOS 10.1 to registered developers today, hours after releasing the iOS 10.0.3 update to iPhone 7/7 Plus users. We anticipate that the official public release of iOS 10.1 — which contains the much-ballyhooed Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users — is not far off.

Apple releases iOS 10.0.3 to fix cellular connectivity bug in iPhone 7/7 Plus

Apple has released iOS 10.0.3 for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The update for the new iPhones fixes a bug which could cause a temporary loss of cellular connectivity. The update is currently available as an over-the-air download. It shouldn’t be much longer until Apple releases a bigger update with iOS 10.1 — last week, the company released its third beta for that upcoming update.

Apple moving $9 billion in assets to Ireland

Despite a bitter legal fight over its tax agreements, Apple is moving even more assets to Ireland, The Business Post reports. The company has relocated its international iTunes business to a data center in Hollyhill, Ireland from its current location in Luxembourg. The Hollyhill facility will now manage “iTunes business and content stores for more than 100 countries,” amounting to an estimated $9 billion in assets. Apple has been clear that it remains committed to doing business in Ireland even as it fights a ruling from the European Union that ordered the company to pay Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes. [via Apple Insider]

Cook shares vision for AI ‘running across all products’

In his first trip to Japan as Apple CEO, Tim Cook painted a grand future for the artificial intelligence that will soon be developed in the company’s Yokohama facility, telling Nikkei it will be “horizontal in nature, running across all products.” Cook said new AI developments will transform the way people use their phones “in ways that most people don’t even think about,” helping with everything from increasing battery life in iPhones, to locating cars in a crowded parking lot. Cook sees an “incredible future ahead” as the smartphone industry matures, and other smart devices expand into new business and medical uses.

Apple halts electric car plans, shifts toward autonomous driving system

Apple has shifted its automotive ambitions away from building its own electric car in favor of developing an autonomous driving system, Bloomberg reports. People familiar with the project said hundreds of employees from Project Titan have been been “reassigned, let go, or left of their own volition” in the past few months. Apple executives are displeased with the lack of progress and want the car team to prove the feasibility of the self-driving system. It’s been said the team must decide on a final direction by “late next year” — the deadline was imposed after months of “strategy disagreements”, leadership changes, and supply chain problems. The shift in strategy is expected to help Apple keep open the option of partnering with existing carmakers, while not fully closing the door on the possibility of the company designing its own vehicle in the future. Apple declined to comment on the story.

Apple begins sale of ‘SIM-free’ unlocked iPhone 7 models in the U.S.

Apple has started selling SIM-free iPhone 7 models in the U.S. online Apple Store, allowing customers who wish to purchase an unlocked iPhone outright without signing a carrier contract the opportunity to do so. A new “SIM-free” option now appears on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus ordering pages as an alternative to the traditional carrier selection options. As the SIM-free iPhone models are not subsidized by carrier contracts, customers will pay the full retail purchase prices, ranging from $649 for a 32GB iPhone 7 up to $969 for a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus. SIM-free models appear to be the A1660 and A1661 versions, which include CDMA support for use on Sprint or Verizon Wireless in addition to AT&T and T-Mobile.

Apple Watch Nike+ Edition coming Oct. 28, AirPods still ‘late October’

Apple has updated its Apple Watch Nike+ web page, adding an Oct. 28 release date for the new special edition of the Series 2 Apple Watch. When Apple debuted the Apple Watch Series 2 last month, the company announced a special running-focused Nike+ model would be coming in “late October.” The Nike+ watch includes exclusive watch faces, a special perforated band, and a custom Nike app which more proactively promotes and tracks running workouts, allowing users to compete with other Apple Watch Nike+ users. It remains unclear whether this app will be exclusive to the Apple Watch Nike+ edition or be made available for other Apple Watch models after the Nike+ edition’s release.

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