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Qualcomm CEO floats idea of out-of-court settlement with Apple

Despite a heated on-going court battle over patents and intellectual property, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf still sees the potential for an out-of-court resolution to the dispute with Apple, Fortune reports. Mollenkopf compared the case to others the company has fought over the years with other tech giants. “There’s not really anything new going on,” Mollenkopf said during the Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen. “Those things tend to get to resolved out of court and there’s no reason why I wouldn’t expect that to be the case here.” That said, Mollenkopf admitted he had no real news on a possible resolution to the case, and rhetoric on both sides is fairly intense. While Qualcomm claims its technology is “at the heart of every iPhone,” Apple argues that, “As Apple innovates, Qualcomm demands more. Qualcomm had nothing to do with creating the revolutionary Touch ID, the world’s most popular camera, or the Retina display Apple’s customers love, yet Qualcomm wants to be paid as if these (and future) breakthroughs belong to it.”

Apple showcases new emoji headed to iOS, watchOS, macOS later this year

Apple has released a sneak peek at the new emoji coming to iOS, macOS and watchOS later this year. The update includes more mundane changes like adding a sandwich to the food items and a bearded face alongside more socially conscious changes like a woman in a headscarf and a breastfeeding mother. A T-Rex has made his way into the animals section and zombies and elves will make their first appearance. To further celebrate World Emoji Day, the company is highlighting apps to create or utilize emoji in the App Store and has replaced some movie titles with emoji versions over in iTunes.

Australian government holds meeting with Apple over turning over user data on terrorists, criminals

Australian Attorney General George Brandis will meet with Apple this week to discuss gaining access to encrypted information from “suspected terrorists and criminals,” Sky News reports. Brandis said he hopes companies can be convinced to comply voluntarily, but said the country “will also be legislating so that we do have that coercive power if need be if we don’t get the cooperation we seek.” Facebook and other tech companies have raised serious concerns they will be forced by security agencies to hand over their user data. Apple won a very public fight with the FBI over the company’s refusal to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone and has supported the fights of tech giants like Google against having their data seized as well, but is under increased pressure in places like China to keep tabs on users and limit which apps are available.

Apple announces 2017 Back to School Promo, offering free Beats headphones with Mac purchase

Apple has announced its annual Back to School Promotion for 2017, once again providing free or discounted Beats headphones with select Mac or iPad purchases. This year’s promotion is similar to the deal Apple offered last year, although it notably excludes the iPhone from the list of eligible products. This year, qualifying educational customers purchasing just about any Mac model can choose to receive a free pair of Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones, or BeatsX Earphones, while those purchasing one of the new iPad Pro models can receive a free pair of BeatsX Earphones, or alternatively choose to purchase a pair of Beats Solo3 headphones for $150 or Powerbeats3 for $50 — basically receiving a discount equal to the price of the otherwise-free BeatsX Earphones.

Apple setting up data center in China to comply with new cybersecurity rules

Apple is setting up its first data center in China to comply with new cybersecurity regulations, CNBC reports. The company will build the data center in partnership with local data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co as part of a $1 billion investment in Guizhou province, an Apple spokesman said in a statement. “These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we’re partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud,” the statement read. Apple has faced increased pressure from China in the last year, with the government ordering the company to monitor mobile app users and pull The New York Times app from the county’s App Store. China has also voiced concerns over live streaming apps, but an Apple representative claims all of Apple’s safeguards for privacy are still in place. “No backdoors will be created into any of our systems,” the company’s statement said.

Apple earns four out of five stars from online privacy watchdog

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s newest “Who Has Your Back” report on how companies handle government requests for user data gave Apple four out of five stars, docking points only for the company’s lack of support for reforming the NSA’s surveillance programs. The EFF tweaks Apple for “not publicly [calling] for reforms to Section 702 to curtail the surveillance of innocent people,” but otherwise delivers high marks, including lauding Apple’s constant efforts to provide users with transparency whenever their data is accessed by government order. Many information requests also come with an indefinite gag order to keep Apple from disclosing when the government collects its data, and Apple’s standard procedure includes appeals for judicial review within 30 days of why each gag order should stay in effect. “If Apple receives notice that the nondisclosure order no longer applies, it will notify the affected customer(s) pursuant to Apple’s customer notice policies,” the EFF found. The company also scored high marks for its legal fight with the FBI after a terrorist shooting in San Bernardino led to a government request to develop a method to break into locked iPhones. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple to open second renewable-powered data center in Denmark

Apple is planning to open a second data center in Denmark, to be run entirely on renewable energy, Reuters reports. The center is expected to power online services like the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for European customers. “The planned facility in Aabenraa, like all of our data centers, will run on 100 percent renewable energy from day one, thanks to new clean energy sources we’re adding,” said Erik Stannow, Nordic manager for Apple. The first announced facility in Denmark is scheduled to go online later this year, and the newly announced project should be up and running by mid-2019. Stannow said ‘the reliability of the Danish grid” was a key factor in choosing the county for two data centers, as well as an abundance of wind and biomass energy.

Apple opening office near Imagination Technologies months after severing ties to the company

Apple is opening an office near Imagination Technologies just months after severing ties to the company, The Telegraph reports. The move to open its own graphics technology development office a “stone;‘s throw away” from Imagination’s headquarters has led to speculation that Apple is intent on poaching away the British company’s top employees. In April, Apple announced its plans to part ways with the company that previously crated the technology to power the iPhone’s graphics, instantly cutting Imagination’s revenue in half and sending the company’s stock dropping. Imagination’s CEO has expressed doubts that Apple will be able to create its own graphics technology without infringing on his company’s patents, but the struggles since Apple’s announcement have forced Imagination to put itself up for sale. Apple was reportedly in talks to acquire Imagination in 2016, but a deal never materialized.

Apple’s Bug Bounty program not paying enough to entice hackers

An Apple program that’s intended to entice hackers to reveal iOS security flaws in exchange for cash is failing to generate the necessary traction due to insufficient cash incentives, Motherboard reports. The program, announced by Apple’s security chief Ivan Krstic at last summer’s Black Hat conference, offers a cash bounty of up to $200,000 to hackers who discover and report vulnerabilities in the company’s products. However, almost a year later, the program appears to have struggled to take off, with many researchers reporting that they can sell exploits for considerably more money on the grey market than the mere $200,000 that Apple is willing to pay.

US government trying to intervene in Apple’s $14.8B EU tax case

The US government is trying to intervene on Apple’s behalf in the company’s $14.8 billion EU tax case, Reuters reports. In December, Apple appealed the European Commission’s ruling that it owed Ireland $14.8 billion in back taxes, and now an unnamed source “can confirm the United States filed an application with the European Union General Court to intervene in the case involving the retroactive application of state aid rules to Apple.” At the time of the ruling, the Obama administration claimed the EU was attempting to claim money that should be landing in US coffers instead, and since then the Trump administration has set its sights on creating a tax break that would allow companies to repatriate the estimated $26 trillion sitting in overseas banks. Europe’s second highest court, the General Court based in Luxembourg, is expected to hear the case late next year. Ireland is also backing Apple’s claims that the European Commission’s tax ruling oversteps its authority and is based on faulty math.

Apple’s Greg Jozwiak reveals strong developer uptake in new ARKit tech

In an interview with The Australian, Greg “Joz” Jozwiak, Apple’s VP of iOS, iPad, and iPhone Product Marketing, provide some insights into Apple’s new ARKit technology that will be rolling out in iOS 10, describing the rapid uptake by iOS developers has been “unbelievable,” and describing some of the applications that he’s already seen rolling out for the new technology: “They’ve built everything from virtual tape measures (to) ballerinas made out of wood dancing on floors. It’s absolutely incredible what people are doing in so little time.”

New Kickstarter campaign producing documentary on ‘Firing Steve Jobs’

A new Kickstarter campaign has been launched seeking funding for a new documentary about the early history of Apple and Steve Jobs. Titled “Firing Steve Jobs,” the documentary promises to take a unique point of view on the dramatic events surround Jobs’ firing from Apple in the early days of the Mac back in 1985. The documentary plans to feature interviews with John Sculley, Mike Markkula, Steve Wozniak and many others, with a goal to capture the contradiction and controversy that led to the decision to dismiss Jobs without frills or embellishment but focusing merely on the facts behind the story, painting a portrait of who Steve Jobs was at the time from the perspective of those who worked most closely with him in the early days of Apple. The new documentary is expected to be released in the spring of 2018, provided the project meets its funding goal of €35,000 before the close of the Kickstarter campaign.

Report: Apple acquires computer vision company SensoMotoric Instruments

A paper trail of purchases through shell companies seems to indicate that Apple has secretly acquired German computer vision company SensoMotoric Instruments, MacRumors reports. On May 2, Apple’s vice president of corporate law Gene Levoff signed off on allowing a German law firm to buy SensoMotoric on behalf of Vineyard Capital Corporation — suspected to be a shell company. On June 16, SensoMotoric filed new articles of incorporation and subsequently removed more than a dozen pages that once featured information about its products, also deleting the site’s job listings and contact information, among other things.

Apple partners with Hertz to test self-driving car technology

Apple has leased a “small fleet” of cars from Hertz to test its self-driving car technology, Bloomberg reports. In the latest round of filings with the California DMV, Apple is shown to be leasing more of the Lexus RX450h models that it was originally reported to be using to test its systems, all coming from Hertz’s Donlen fleet-management unit. The deal mirrors a much larger agreement between Alphabet and Avis for a similar arrangement, and Hertz’s stock jumped 18 percent on the news of its relationship with Apple. Neither Hertz nor Apple commented on the report, but a person familiar with Apple’s project said the company has been testing a half-dozen self-driving vehicles on public roads near San Francisco for more than a year.

Apple releases first iOS 11, tvOS 11 public betas, updates to developer betas

For those willing to accept the risks associated with installing a beta OS on your device, Apple has rolled out its first public iOS 11 and tvOS 11 betas. The iOS 11 update provides a greatly expanded and customizable Control Center, the ability to record what’s happening on your screen, a Maps app that includes indoor maps for airports and malls, and new HomeKit functionality, among other improvements. On iPad, iOS 11 provides a new dock and better support for the Apple Pencil. The tvOS 11 upgrade comes with some new bells and whistles as well, including an automatic setting for toggling between Light and Dark Mode, and the ability to store your Home screen layout in iCloud — along with your installed apps — so that this information can be synced across multiple Apple TVs or restored should you ever have to reset or replace your Apple TV. For anyone not already enrolled in the public beta program, you can get started on Apple’s website.

Virgin Mobile USA to become first ‘iPhone-only’ carrier

Virgin Mobile USA plans to become the world’s first “iPhone-only” network as part of a new deal with Apple to begin selling the carrier’s wireless plans through Apple’s retail network, Reuters reports. The carrier, which is a subsidiary of Sprint that licenses its name from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is revamping its business to remove Android devices from its lineup in the coming years. Branson, who was directly involved with the deal, told Reuters in an interview that he felt it was a good fit due to the similarities between the Apple and Virgin brands in advocating for human rights and other social causes, and that Apple’s retail head Angela Ahrendts was “tremendously supportive” of the partnership, and that Virgin was basically “knowing on an open door” in approaching Apple.

Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2 to developers

Apple has released fourth developer betas for iOS 10.3.3 and tvOS 10.2.2; a new beta of watchOS 3.2.3 has not been released at this point. As with the last round of betas, these all include only minor updates and bug fixes, alongside the iOS 11 developer releases that are currently in beta with major new features, expected to be debuted in the fall.

Qualcomm claims its technology is ‘at the heart of every iPhone’ in latest filings

After Apple expanded its lawsuit against the wireless chip maker earlier this week, Qualcomm has responded with claims that its “innovations are at the heart of every iPhone and enable the most important uses and features of those devices,” MacRumors reports. Apple claims Qualcomm is “double-dipping” by forcing manufacturers to pay unreasonable licensing rates and royalties to gain access to its chips. Qualcomm fired back that “Apple knows well that Qualcomm has been the de facto R&D arm of the industry” and claimed that Apple is “rarely first to market with any new technology, which shows it is relying heavily on the R&D investments in the most revolutionary technologies by companies like Qualcomm.” How integral Qualcomm’s technology is to the iPhone has become the central question of the case, with Apple arguing that Qualcomm charging royalties on the entire value of the device is unfair given the company only supplies one component. “As Apple innovates, Qualcomm demands more. Qualcomm had nothing to do with creating the revolutionary Touch ID, the world’s most popular camera, or the Retina display Apple’s customers love, yet Qualcomm wants to be paid as if these (and future) breakthroughs belong to it,” Apple said in its complaint.

Ex-iOS head Scott Forstal talks about the grudge that helped create the iPhone

In a rare interview with the Computer History Museum, former iOS head Scott Forstal revealed that the original iPhone would never have existed without Steve Jobs’ dislike of one particular Microsoft employee. The technology that would eventually create the entire smartphone industry as we know it started as a tablet project conceived by Jobs after a particularly irritating encounter, Forstal said. “We had been working on a tablet project and it began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft,” Forstal recalled. “Every time Steve had any social interaction with that guy, he would come back pissed off. He came back one time and that guy was talking about how Microsoft had solved computing. Steve came in on Monday with a set of expletives and said ‘Let’s show them how it’s really done’.”

Apple Camp registration for kids’ summer classes now open

Apple has opened up registration for its summer Apple Camp classes aimed at kids 8 to 12, with sessions set to begin in July. There at three courses available at Apple Stores across the US and in select other locations, all of which utilize Apple products and software. The Creating Characters and Composing Music course will encourage kids to create their own stories by sketching characters with an Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro, then creating a musical track with vocals in GarageBand. The three-day Stories in Motion with iMovie course will teach students to storyboard their ideas, then learn about camera angles and editing during shooting before presenting their finished product. During the Coding Games and Programming Robots session, kids will use Tynker to solve puzzles before learning to program a Sphero robot. All of the courses are free to attend.

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