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Apple to drop first-gen Apple TV, iPod classic support as of Sept 8th

Apple will be discontinuing support for another series of its older products, which are being moved to “Obsolete” status as of September 8th, 9to5Mac reports. According to internal documents from Apple, the report notes that the original first-generation Apple TV, fifth-generation iPod nano, second- and third-generation iPod touch, and third-generation iPod shuffle will be designated as “Obsolete” in Asia-Pacific/Canada/EU/Japan/Latin America and all Apple Retail Stores, while these models will be designated as “Vintage” in the U.S., where Apple is still required to provide hardware service for a longer period of time as required by California law. The iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano will be declared as “Obsolete” in all markets. Apple typically declares products “Vintage” when they have not been manufactured for more than five years, but less than seven. “Obsolete” products are those that have not been manufactured for more than seven years.

Media companies balk at $40/mo. plan for Apple TV service

Pricing remains a major sticking point in Apple’s negotiations with content providers for its proposed subscription television service, according to a new report from The Information. Although Apple had been planning to unveil a new TV service as early as this fall, and was reported to be making progress in negotiations in June, more recent reports have indicated that the service isn’t expected to debut until 2016, citing talks that have been progressing more slowly than expected.

This latest report provides some insight, indicating that the major sticking point in negotiations is Apple’s desire to hold consumer pricing to roughly $40 per month, which is said to be considerably less than the media companies want to license their TV content to the service. This echoes similar difficulties Apple had in negotiations with record labels last fall, with Apple eventually capitulating. Despite the uncertain future of a television subscription service, Apple still plans to debut new Apple TV hardware in September, but will likely focus on integration with HomeKit and security. [via AppleInsider]

Former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers leaves Apple

Ian Rogers, one of the key executives behind the Apple Music launch, has now left Apple, the Financial Times reports. Rogers originally headed up the Beats Music subscription service prior to the company’s acquisition by Apple in 2014, after which he was appointed to a senior director position with Apple Music, responsible for iTunes Radio and the new Beats 1 radio service. According to people familiar with the situation, he is now leaving to work for a European company in an unrelated industry, a move that came as a surprise to his colleagues when he announced his resignation. Apple confirmed that Rogers is leaving but did not provide any further comment.

Apple partners with PayAnywhere for Apple Pay

Apple has announced a new Apple Pay deal with credit card processing firm PayAnywhere, CNBC reports. The new arrangement allows Apple Pay to be accepted at any PayAnywhere credit card reader — currently in place in More than 300,000 locations throughout the U.S. As part of the deal, Apple will also become the exclusive seller for the newest version of the PayAnywhere reader in its retail stores. To promote the new deal, PayAnywhere is also offering no processing fees for the first $5,000 in Apple Pay transactions for new users.

Apple sends out invites to September 9 event

Apple has sent out media invitations to its September 9 event. The invites show a stylized top of the Apple logo with the phrase “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” As rumored earlier today, the event is being held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, and as usual will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific time. It’s expected that we’ll see the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus debuted at the event, alongside a new Apple TV as well as official launch dates for iOS 9 and watchOS 2. As implied by the invitations tagline, Siri has now begun responding with cute and cryptic responses around the date of September 9th to the phrase “Siri, give me a hint.”

Report: Apple behind San Francisco ‘mystery event’ in early September

A report has appeared in Hoodline, a local San Francisco neighborhood news site, that Apple is behind a “mystery event” being planned at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The venue has reportedly been booked through mid-September, and security personnel are already on constant duty with heavy equipment being moved in. Official documents simply reference a “trade show” scheduled for the week of September 4-10, however no companies or organizations seem to have any plans to host a trade show, and a source now confirms to Hoodline that the activity is specifically in preparation for an Apple event, revealing documents showing that Apple is renting the building through September 12. This corroborates a report from earlier this month that Apple is planning to hold its iPhone event on September 9.

Taiwan court rules Samsung used stolen trade secrets to make A9 chip

Taiwan’s top court ruled that a former senior director of R&D at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company stole the trade secrets that enabled Samsung to produce A9 chips for Apple devices, DigiTimes reports. Samsung seemed to have lost Apple’s chip business to TSMC in 2013, when Apple signed a three-year deal with TSMC to produce its A8 and A9 chips. But after ex-TSMC employee Liang Mong-song allegedly helped Samsung shrink the size of the transistors in its chips, Apple turned back to Samsung to produce the A9 chip earlier this year. A report compiled by third-party experts shows that while older Samsung chips are very different in design from TSMC’s chips, newer models are almost impossible to tell apart. “It could be hard to tell (if the product) came from Samsung or TSMC if only structural analysis is used,” the report states. Liang taught at a Samsung-sponsored university in South Korea after leaving TSMC’s advanced modules technology division, then became CTO of Samsung’s system LSI division in July 2011. TSMC sued Liang in 2011 over trade secrets, and this latest ruling prohibits Liang from working for Samsung in any form until December 31, 2015. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple loses German patent lawsuit over slide-to-unlock feature

Germany’s top civil court has ruled that Apple’s slide-to-unlock technology isn’t sophisticated enough to warrant a patent, Bloomberg reports. In 2012, Apple won an injunction against Motorola Mobility based on its patent on using a finger swipe to unlock smartphones, and while that case is still pending, Tuesday’s ruling is the second to say that feature can’t be patented. “This user-friendly display was already suggested by the state of the art. The contested patent thus isn’t based on an invention,” the court wrote in its ruling. Apple didn’t immediately comment on the ruling.

Best Buy expanding Apple Watch sales to all its stores in September

Best Buy will expand Apple Watch sales to all its stores in September, Fortune reports. The company started selling the watch in August and initially expected to have the watches in 300 of its stores by the holiday season. But in a call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Hubert Joly said Best Buy has seen such strong demand for the Apple Watch, both in stores and online, that sales will be expanding to all 1,050 of its storefronts next month. Joly also said 740 Best Buy locations are updating their Apple shop-in-shops to include new fixtures and more display tables for phones, computers and tablets. Best Buy will also begin selling AppleCare product service and support this quarter, with 50 stores acting as authorized service providers on a trial basis.

Report: Apple ending One to One tutoring program

Apple may be discontinuing its One to One tutoring program for iOS and Mac users, MacRumors reports. An unnamed source claims Apple is stopping the program to place more emphasis on free workshops that allow one employee to teach multiple people at once. Apple is also reportedly in the process of revamping its website to make registering for free workshops easier and more accessible to those with disabilities. The One to One program currently charges users $99 for one year of instruction on how to use their Mac, iPhone or iPad, providing users with individual or group training sessions on basic usage, Apple services and specific apps like Photos, Mail and Final Cut Pro. Apple plans to honor existing One to One memberships until they expire, but will no longer be offering new memberships.

Rumor: Apple working on health tracking ‘smart bands’ for Apple Watch

Czech website Letem Svetem Applem claims Apple is planning to release a set of ‘smart bands’ that will use the hidden data port on Apple Watch to add new health monitoring functionality to the device. Citing unnamed sources, the website claims the new straps will include sensors to let the watch monitor blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, and body temperature. The sensors would be located on the side of the wrist opposite the watch, to control for the heat and interference coming from the internal components of the watch itself. The sources claimed the new bands could appear as soon as early 2016 and be available with an array of sensor configurations. The 6-pin sensor port — located within the groove on the lower half of the watch where the wristband attaches — has proven to be capable of transmitting data and power to the watch, but is sealed. Apple’s guidelines for third-party band manufacturers make no mention of the hidden diagnostic port, but that hasn’t prevented speculation about possible uses for the port since its initial discovery in May. [via Apple Insider]

Apple provides iPads to 114 schools through ConnectED program

In an interview with Good Morning America at Tuskegee Public School in Alabama, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted the company’s participation in the White House’s ConnectED initiative, which has delivered iPads to 114 schools in 29 states. Cook – himself a product of the public school system – said too many kids are stuck in a less-engaging analog environment at school that isn’t giving them the tools to succeed in a highly competitive digital world. “I think technology has to be a key part [of education] and that’s why we’re here,” Cook said. “Too many times today kids aren’t given the right for a great public education and this isn’t right. It’s not fair.” Cook also said establishing more diverse role models to encourage kids from various backgrounds to pursue a career in technology will benefit the industry in the long run, since “inclusion and diversity inspires innovation. And so we actually make better products because we’re more diverse.”

Apple to streamline Genius Bar, Workshop scheduling online

Apple will be making changes to its Genius Bar and Workshop services online, more deeply integrating them within individual Apple Store Retail pages as soon as Tuesday, August 25, 9to5Mac reports. In a note to retail employees, Apple said the updated service will focus on accessibility for those with visual and hearing impairments and provide a much more streamlined interaction for users on mobile devices. Like the upgraded Apple website, the new system will have unique appearances customized for viewing on desktops, smartphones and tablets. Sources briefed on the plans said in addition to moving to individual store pages, the existing complex array of Workshop scheduling options will be narrowed down within three categories — Discover, Create and Organize — making it easier for customers to select the workshops that apply to them. The system will also provide deep social media integration for sharing Workshops on Twitter, Facebook, Weibo, QQ, and email.

Apple offering free replacements for some defective iPhone 6 Plus cameras

Apple recently announced a replacement program for defective iSight cameras found in some iPhone 6 Plus units sold between September 2014 and January 2015. Apple said a “small percentage” of the devices sold during that time contain a component that may fail, causing photos to come out blurry. The offer only applies to the iPhone 6 Plus, as Apple claims the iPhone 6 has been unaffected by the defect. Users can search their phone’s serial number here to see if it is covered by the recall and, if so, can have their phone’s iSight camera replaced free of charge after an examination to make sure the unit is in working order. Customers can contact Apple customer service or take their phones to an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or an Apple Store for more information.

Dr. Dre, Apple make statements on Beats co-founder’s abusive past

Apple and Beats co-founder Dr. Dre have both issued a formal response to the allegations of his past incidents of misogyny and decades-old criminal charges of physical abuse against women, which have resurged in the wake of the new N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. In a statement to The New York Times, Dre said, “Twenty-five years ago I was a young man drinking too much and in over my head with no real structure in my life. However, none of this is an excuse for what I did. I’ve been married for 19 years and every day I’m working to be a better man for my family, seeking guidance along the way. I’m doing everything I can so I never resemble that man again. I apologize to the women I’ve hurt. I deeply regret what I did and know that it has forever impacted all of our lives.”

Apple followed this up with its own statement: “Dre has apologized for the mistakes he’s made in the past and he’s said that he’s not the same person that he was 25 years ago. We believe his sincerity and after working with him for a year and a half, we have every reason to believe that he has changed.”

Samsung takes patent appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Following the rejection last week of Samsung’s appeal to have its iPhone patent infringement judgement overturned, the San Jose Mercury News reports that the South Korean tech company now plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, the only legal recourse left open to it at this point. An 2012 jury verdict had ruled that Samsung violated Apple’s iPhone patents, originally resulting in a judgement of more than $1 billion against Samsung, although the amount was later reduced. In court papers filed this week, Samsung’s legal team wrote that “the questions present issues of enormous importance to patent litigation and the scope of innovation, especially in high-technology industries.” Other major Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Facebook, and Hewlett-Package had also backed Samsung’s appeal, and are also expected to weigh in to persuade the Supreme Court to hear the case. A decision by the Supreme Court as to whether or not to take the case may not come until the end of its term next June, however.

Apple moving iPod stock to accessory shelves in stores

Apple retail sources say starting next Wednesday, August 26, Apple Stores will be stocking iPods on store shelves alongside accessories, according to 9to5Mac. The move further separates the iPod from other Apple devices, which are kept in the back of the store and brought out to customers once they decide to buy one. Despite just getting a fresh set of updates, the iPod line has been demoted in Apple’s website redesign, as the once-flagship device is no longer prominently featured in the online store’s navigation menu. In store, the iPod will now sit beside accessories like headphones, iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands.

The common sight of iPads turned into “smart signs” featuring product information is also going away in most stores, with pricing information and product details about display iPhones, iPads, and Macs now being loaded onto the devices themselves. Retail employees said the iPad signs confused customers who didn’t realize the iPads were there simply to provide information about the nearby product. The iPad mini displays set up near the Apple Watches will be hanging around, but getting rid of the other iPad signs will give Apple the space to feature more devices — including its new iPhones, which will be displayed on redesigned white docks.

US patent office invalidates iPhone design patent

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has ruled that one of Apple’s iPhone design patents should never have been granted, Foss Patents reports. The patent office’s Central Reexamination Division — acting on an anonymous request from 2013 that may have came from Samsung — issued a non-final action last week rejecting the design patents that formed part of a 2012 Apple lawsuit against Samsung. That suit resulted in a judge ordering Samsung to pay nearly $1 billion in damages to Apple, an award that was later reduced to $548 million. This latest blow against Apple’s patents — while still technically non-final — further undermines the basis of that $548 million ruling, but Samsung’s appeal on that verdict was rejected last week despite other tech companies voicing support for Samsung’s position, leaving an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to be Samsung’s last option.

Pharrell Williams, Florence + The Machine to headline Apple Music Festival in September

Apple’s rebranded iTunes Music Festival — now called the Apple Music Festival — will take place from September 19 to 28 at London’s Roundhouse and feature headlining acts Pharrell Williams, Florence + The Machine, One Direction, and Disclosure, among others. U.K. residents can apply to win tickets through Apple Music and Apple’s media partners, but as always, Apple plans to make performances available for free to Apple Music and iTunes users live and on-demand. Apple TV owners will also be able to view the event in HD. Beats 1 and individual artists’ Connect pages will provide continuing coverage of the event and access to backstage news and footage. The event has been held in London annually under the iTunes Music Festival name since 2007.

Apple Stores shifting to walk-ins for Apple Watch trials

Apple seems to have eliminated try-on appointments for the Apple Watch from its online store. An appointment was never required to try on an Apple Watch (though prospective customers would have to make an “appointment” in store), but high demand early on meant that walk-in customers trying on an Apple Watch had to buy online. Four months after the Apple Watch’s debut, Apple Retail employees say customers looking to try on the watch can now simply walk in and will be accommodated in a first-come, first-served fashion, 9to5Mac reports. While they won’t have to give up any personal information to try the watch, customers can provide their email address and Apple Watch preferences in-store to be saved in their Apple Online Store wish list for purchase later through the Apple Store app or website. Apple has relaxed requirements around buying the watch in recent months, allowing for in-store pickup in June and opening watch sales to Best Buy earlier this month.

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