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Apple speaks out against UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill

Apple has officially spoken out against the U.K.‘s Investigatory Powers Bill, a broad proposed bill that would allow U.K. government officials to access website records, and would require companies to assist in bypassing encryption to access information on computers and phones. While it’s not surprising that Apple would oppose such legislation, the company only recently made a submission to the bill committee, The Guardian reports. Apple claims the bill could alter the way iMessage works. As Apple said in its submission: “The creation of backdoors and intercept capabilities would weaken the protections built into Apple products and endanger all our customers. A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys. The bad guys would find it too.” This statement echoes comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook in the past, and more recently during his interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

60 Minutes’ ‘Inside Apple’ touches on company culture, manufacturing, taxes + more

CBS’ 60 Minutes dedicated a great deal of its show to Apple last night in two “Inside Apple” segments. As expected, the segments included nothing that would be considered groundbreaking to regular followers of the company, but 60 Minutes correspondent Charlie Rose interviewed a number of Apple’s heavy hitters, including Jony Ive and Angela Ahrendts, among others, with Apple CEO Tim Cook as the main interview subject. Cook was questioned on the company’s culture, and its issues with manufacturing partners and taxes. Cook was typically vague about future products, as his response to Rose’s “How hard is it to say Apple will be in the car business?” was simply a shrug and a laugh. The second segment concluded with a glimpse at construction on Apple’s “Spaceship” corporate headquarters. The entire transcript of interviews done for the piece, along with additional videos, are available on the 60 Minutes website.

Report: Apple to pay Ericsson 0.5 percent of iPhone/iPad revenue in patent deal

Swedish company Ericsson has announced that it has settled a patent dispute with Apple, Reuters reports.
Investment bank ABG Sundal Collier “believed the deal meant Apple would be charged around 0.5 percent of its revenue on iPads and iPhones by Ericsson,” as it stated in a note to clients. The “broad agreement” covers 2G, 3G, and current 4G-LTE technologies, Ericsson Chief Intellectual Property Officer Kasim Alfalahi said. Apple declined comment on the story.

Apple promotes Jeff Williams to Chief Operating Officer

Apple has announced the promotion of Jeff Williams, formerly Senior VP of Operations, to the position of Chief Operating Officer. Williams has effectively been serving as the de facto head of Operations at Apple since Tim Cook’s appointment as CEO four years ago — Williams was appointed VP of Operations in 2004, and later promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations in 2010, while the Chief Operations Officer (COO) role formerly held by Tim Cook under Steve Jobs remained vacant after Cook became Chief Executive in August 2011, leaving Williams as the senior executive on the Operations side. As a result, Williams’ appointment as Chief Operating Officer is unlikely to have much impact on his day-to-day responsibilities within Apple, although the promotion likely means an increase in compensation and is clearly intended to recognize Williams’ contributions to Apple over almost two decades, with Cook referring to Williams as “hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with.”

NFL accepting bids from Apple, others to stream Thursday Night Football

The NFL is now accepting bids for streaming rights to its Thursday Night Football package, Sports Business Daily reports. In addition to the usual formal request-for-proposal (RFP) that the league sent to its usual TV partners, an RFP also went out to Apple and several other digital companies including Google, Yahoo, and Amazon, to stream the entire Thursday night schedule on a non-exclusive basis, with sources suggesting that the plan would have the digital streams simulcasted with television production, including the same ads and in-game production features. While bidding for television rights is expected to start in the low $300 million range, reflecting what CBS is currently paying for the package, it’s not clear how much the NFL is expecting to make from the streaming rights, although sources noted that the availability of streaming is not expected to diminish the fee for the TV rights.

Apple shuts down 2013 acquisition Topsy

Topsy, a Twitter analytics company acquired by Apple in 2013, tweeted last night that the company has searched its last tweet, as Apple has shut down the service. Topsy’s website now redirects to an Apple page which shows how to use search in iOS 9, perhaps hinting at where Topsy’s technology was used most. Topsy was acquired by Apple for more than $200 million two years ago. The company was originally known for analyzing tweets and “the social web,” though how Apple used Topsy was never completely clear.

Samsung appeals Apple patent case to Supreme Court

Despite having agreed earlier this month to pay $548 million in damages, Samsung has now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the previous verdict, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. While Samsung agreed to pay the damages to Apple as ordered in the earlier judgements, the company also made it clear at the time that it “reserves all rights to obtain reimbursement from Apple” as well as the rights to “reclaim or obtain reimbursement of any judgement amounts paid by Samsung to any entity,” should the judgement be reversed.

Apple patent application reveals method for weatherproofing iPhone connectors

A new Apple patent application reveals that Apple may be working on a new method of weatherproofing iPhone connectors such as the Lightning port and audio jack, lending more credence to recent rumors that the company is working on making the next-generation iPhone waterproof. The patent application, titled Electronic device with hidden connector, describes using a layer of self-healing elastomer to protect sensitive electrical contacts in headphone and Lightning ports. Connectors would be able to penetrate the elastomer material to make electrical contact, but the material would re-seal itself upon removal of said connectors. Multiple examples are provided in the application, including applying the material to the opening of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, lining the inside of the cylinder, or filling the audio jack completely with the material. The patent application was first filed in June 2014, and while rumors of a weatherproof iPhone 7 have been circulating recently, it’s unclear whether the methods described in this patent would be applied to the iPhone 7, some unspecified future device, or if they will make it into any future Apple device at all. [via AppleInsider]

Cook responds to criticisms of new Apple iPhone Smart Battery Case

In an interview with Mashable, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to various criticisms of the Apple’s new iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case, ranging from the “hump” on the back of the case to the idea that the release of the case is a tacit admission by Apple that the iPhone 6s’ battery life is insufficient. Regarding the protruding “hump” on the back of the case — a feature that many see as an “un-Apple” aesthetic — Cook notes that it was a conscious design decision to keep the case flexible in order to make it easier to insert and remove the iPhone, as compared to other battery cases which are so rigid that it takes “considerable strength and patience” to remove or insert an iPhone into them.

Apple: Upgrading to iOS 9.2 may fix unresponsive iPad Pro issue

In an update to its support page, Apple informed users that upgrading to iOS 9.2 may prevent the iPad Pro from becoming unresponsive after an extended period charging. Last month users began reporting that iPad Pro tablets running iOS 9.1 would appear frozen after charging, requiring a hard restart to resume functioning. Apple acknowledged the problem and recommended a forced restart as a temporary solution, but has since updated its support document to add that “Updating your iPad Pro to iOS 9.2 or later might prevent this issue from occurring in the future.” While users have speculated that restoring from an iCloud backup may be contributing to the freezing issue, Apple has offered no official word on what causes the iPad Pro to become unresponsive. After almost a month using the iPad Pro, we at iLounge have yet to experience the problem. [via App Advice]

More Apple picks for Best of 2015: Apple Watch apps, Books, Podcasts

Apple agreed with iLounge’s pick for the Best Apple Watch App of 2015, naming weather app Dark Sky its choice for Apple Watch App of the Year. Apple Watch Game of the Year went to Rules!, a fast-paced puzzle game which is a smaller version of its iOS edition. Best Classic Podcast went to WTF with Marc Maron, and newcomer Mystery Show was named Best New Podcast of 2015. Apple also released its picks for best books of 2015 in 16 categories, listed below.

Cue: Apple is working on ‘Siri Remote’ app for Apple TV

In an interview with BuzzFeed News discussing the success of the new fourth-generation Apple TV, Apple SVP Eddy Cue revealed that the addition of Apple Remote app support in yesterday’s tvOS update may actually just be a stop-gap measure while the company produces an enhanced Remote app for iOS devices. Cue noted that a new Apple TV remote app is in development that will provide “the full functionality of the Siri Remote on your iPhone,” and he expects Apple to release the new updated app in the first half of 2016.

Apple makes its picks for best iPhone, iPad and Apple TV apps of 2015

Apple has released its picks for best apps of 2015. The company picked Periscope (our runner up for App of the Year) as its iPhone App of the Year — calling it a game-changer that “made sharing and watching live videos an instant obsession” — and selected photo editor Enlight and stock-trading app Robinhood as its runners-up. Workflow won Most Innovative app for iPhone, and Instagram’s 3D Touch enhancements won it Best App on iPhone 6s. Lara Croft GO won Best Game of the Year for iPhone for its “beauty and clever design,” with Fallout Shelter and Mr Jump earning runner-up honors. Dark Echo was listed as the Most Innovative iPhone game and “immersive 3D Touch controls” won Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade honors as Best Game on iPhone 6s.

Apple puts plan to offer subscription TV service on hold

After months of unsuccessful negotiations, Apple has suspended its plans to offer a subscription TV service and is refocusing on being a platform for other media companies through the App Store, Bloomberg reports.  During a press conference on Tuesday, CBS CEO Les Moonves said Apple has put its live TV plans “on hold,” and sources with knowledge of the negotiations said Apple’s plan to offer a package of around 14 channels for $30 to $40 a month has stalled over networks’ demands for more money. While Moonves went on to say he’s confident Apple’s TV service “will happen” at some point, the company’s negotiations with TV executives have proven much more difficult than those with music companies, which have been mostly willing to partner with Apple. With cable providers already starting to offer smaller bundles and networks selling their own individual subscriptions through apps available on Apple TV, Apple is facing the prospect of charging more for its service unless it can convince media companies to accept less. Without those agreements in place, Apple is turning to software developers to create new entertainment content in the hopes of setting the latest Apple TV’s App Store apart from similar offerings from Roku, Amazon and Google.

Apple releases iOS 9.2, watchOS 2.1

Apple has released iOS 9.2 today, adding several improvements and bug fixes related to Apple Music, News, and Mail. More specifically, the update allows Apple Music users to create new playlists on-the-fly when adding songs, places the most recently modified playlist at the top when adding songs to a playlist, and provides an iCloud Download button for downloading albums or playlists, as well as more detailed indicators to help you see which songs are available for offline listening. Works, composers, and performers are also now shown when browsing Classical music in the Apple Music catalog. Although it remains limited to users in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, the iOS 9.2 update adds a new “Top Stories” section to the News app. Large attachments can also now be sent via Mail Drop, mirroring the feature introduced in OS X Yosemite, and iBooks gets several improvements including 3D Touch support for navigating through books, listening to audiobooks while still browsing your library. Notably, iOS 9.2 also brings support for Apple’s USB Camera Adapter to the iPhone; previously an iPad-only accessory, this will allow iPhone users to import photos and videos from their digital cameras directly to their iOS photo library. The iOS 9.2 update also fixes a number of smaller bugs, and improves stability, and makes some accessibility improvements.

Report: Apple planning March event to debut Apple Watch 2, could also reveal ‘iPhone 6c’

Apple is planning to unveil its second-generation Apple Watch at an event next March, 9to5Mac reports. Sources with knowledge of the plans said the new watches would ship by April, less than a year after the original hit stores. The sources also confirmed that Apple is working on the long-rumored 4” “iPhone 6c” and that new phone might also debut alongside the Apple Watch 2. A March announcement would be in line with last week’s predictions that the new phone would debut early next year, but details on what kind of hardware the new Apple Watch and iPhone models will contain is still up for debate.

Apple releases improved Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader

Apple has quietly replaced its old Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader with an improved model that supports USB 3.0 transfer speeds now possible with the iPad Pro. The size, shape and $30 price of the accessory remain unchanged, and older iPads will still top out at USB 2.0 transfer speeds, making the new card reader most useful to iPad Pro owners. As before, inserting the reader into an iPad or iPhone with an SD card inside automatically opens the Photos app and organizes your pictures. [via iDownloadBlog]

Apple ending One to One group training on Dec. 17

After taking steps to shutter its One to One tutoring program earlier this year, Apple has announced it is officially ending One to One group training on Dec. 17. Reports that Apple was looking to end to the subscription training program for Mac and iOS users first surfaced in August, and now the company is urging subscribers to download any notes they have saved from previous sessions before the service comes to an end. The $99 annual membership service first became available in 2009 to provide customers with training on basic usage, Apple services and specific apps, but has since been rendered obsolete by themed workshops that Apple offers all customers free of charge. [via Apple Insider]

Apple unveils its first official battery case for iPhone 6s

Apple has introduced its first ever iPhone battery case, entering the market with the Smart Battery Case ($99) for the iPhone 6s. Available in charcoal gray or white, the case looks like Apple’s other simple silicone cases with an added hump on the back for the extra battery. The company’s “intelligent” battery will display its charge status on the iPhone’s lock screen and in Notification Center to give users a more complete picture of how much power they have left. The case is compatible with the Lightning cable that came with the iPhone or Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock accessory, so it won’t need to be removed for charging. The product page says the phone and case can charge simultaneously. Apple claims the case gives the phone up to 25 hours of talk time, 18 hours of Internet use over LTE and up to 20 hours of video playback. We’ll post a full review of the new case in the near future.

Apple raises some iTunes Match, iCloud Music Library limits to 100K songs

After reports of multiple users being able to go over the old limit of 25,000 songs in their iTunes Match or iCloud Music Libraries, Eddy Cue confirmed Apple has “started rolling out support for 100k libraries,” MacRumors reports. When Apple Music launched in June, Cue promised Apple was working on raising the limit to accommodate larger libraries. Several users have documented pushing past the 25,000 song mark, but Apple still hasn’t updated its support page or made a public announcement, so it’s unclear how many users have access to the extra capacity and when the rollout will be complete.

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