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Apple reports that iOS 10.2.1 significantly reduces unexpected iPhone 6s shutdown issues

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Apple has indicated that improvements made in iOS 10.2.1 have addressed most of the problems with unexpected shutdowns that some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s users were experiencing. Apple notes that approximately 50 percent of iOS devices are already using iOS 10.2.1 and that Apple has been receiving diagnostic data from users on that version revealing a reduction of over 80 percent on iPhone 6s devices, and over 70 percent on iPhone 6 devices. Apple notes that in the unlikely event users are still experiencing unexpected shutdowns, with iOS 10.2.1 the iPhone can now restart without needing to be connected to power. In its statement, Apple emphasizes that these shutdowns are not a safety issue, however the company naturally wants to mitigate the inconvenience of the issue for its users. iPhone 7 models are not affected by the issue.

Apple issues statement opposing Trump administration’s rescission of transgender rights

Apple has issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s recent decision to rescind protections for transgender students that would have allowed them to use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Trump overruled his own education secretary’s recommendations, siding with his attorney general in a decision to reverse the Obama administration’s interpretation of nondiscrimination laws, stating that the directive was “improperly and arbitrarily devised ... without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” In a statement to Axios, an Apple spokesperson criticized the Trump administration’s decision, effectively calling it a step back in the rights and acceptance of transgender students.

Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections.

Apple has long been a supporter of LGBT rights and anti-discrimination in general, getting involved as far back as early 2014 in urging the Governor of Arizona to veto a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on their religious beliefs. In 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed column for the Washington Post in response to a similar “religious freedom” bill passed in Indiana, declaring such laws as dangerous, and stating that “These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”

Apple claims EU made ‘fundamental errors’ in calculating $14B Irish tax ruling

Newly published details of Apple’s appeal to the EU over last year’s $14 billion tax judgment reveal the company claims the European commission made “fundamental errors” in calculating the tax bill, The Irish Times reports. Apple cited 14 separate objections to the ruling in the filing made on December 19, 2016, arguing that the commission misinterpreted Irish law, ignored expert testimony, and wrongly attributed income from intellectual property based in the United States to Ireland. After a three-year investigation, the commission ruled that Ireland had dodged international tax rules, letting Apple use its country as a tax shelter for profits from other European nations in exchange for maintaining jobs within the country. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases third betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple has released a third batch of new betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.

Apple plans to begin iPhone manufacturing in India starting with the iPhone SE

Apple is planning to forge ahead with its plans to manufacture iPhone units in India, beginning with the iPhone SE, according to a new report in India’s Economic Times. Citing sources familiar with the company’s plans, the report indicates that Apple will initially assemble 300,000 - 400,000 units of the iPhone SE model at a plant in Karnataka being set up by Wistron, a company that Apple has contracted with for its manufacturing plans in India. Apple is expected to move ahead with its manufacturing plans without waiting for the concessions it has been requesting from the Indian government, with a source suggesting that Apple wants to “experience manufacturing in India.” A senior government official told the Economic Times that this is merely a small venture to get started, and that the concessions Apple is requesting from the country are “for the larger plans of the company to really scale up manufacturing in India.” A source in the contract manufacturing industry indicated that Wistron is ready to begin assembling the iPhones as early as April.

Report: Apple working on 4K for next-generation Apple TV

Apple is planning to release a new Apple TV sometime this year which will include ultra-high-definition 4K support, Bloomberg reports. According to people familiar with the plans, the Apple TV is internally codenamed “J105” and will also feature more vivid colors, but little else is known about the new device. Sources suspect that it may not include any other significant new features beyond the processor upgrade necessary to support the higher 4K resolution.

Apple announces WWDC 2017

Apple has announced details for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which is scheduled to be held from Jun. 5 - 9 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Registration is scheduled to open Mar. 27 at 10:00 a.m. PDT, with the opportunity to purchase tickets being offered by random selection. Only those who are members of the Apple Developer Program as of the release of today’s announcement will be eligible to register for the conference. It’s expected that Apple will unveil the next major versions of iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS at the conference, and as in prior years, Apple will offer videos of the conference sessions for developers who cannot attend in person.

Apple patent points to possible new Smart Keyboard with dedicated ‘Share’ and ‘Emoji’ keys

A new Apple patent application outlines some possible ideas that Apple may be working on for a new iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, including the addition of new dedicated keys for sharing, accessing search and Siri features, and bringing up the Emoji keyboard. The patent application, titled User Interface for a Touch Screen Device in Communication with a Physical Keyboard, primarily concerns itself with “user interfaces for viewing, creating, editing, and sharing content on an electronic device” in relation to accepting multiple inputs — both on the touchscreen surface, as well as in conjunction with a physical keyboard. Much of the information outlined in the patent application reflects techniques already in use by Apple, such as finger gestures, focus selectors, and use of cursor keys and key combinations. However, the patent notably outlines new keys, such as a dedicated Share key that would bring up the iOS share sheet, an Emoji key that would presumably activate the on-screen emoji keyboard, and a magnifying glass key that could be used to bring up the Spotlight search window and/or activate Siri. As with most Apple patent applications, of course, it’s unclear whether any of the new features illustrated here will ever come to fruition. [via MacRumors]

 

Shareholders seek more diversity in Apple upper management

A small group of investors is pushing Apple to increase diversity on its board of directors and at senior management levels, but the company is pushing back against those efforts, The Verge reports. For the second straight year, investor Tony Maldonado has submitted a proposal asking Apple to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy ... to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors.” But in an SEC filing, Apple’s board argued it already has “much broader” efforts at achieving diversity improvements in place. Apple claims Maldonado’s policy “is not necessary or appropriate because we have already demonstrated our commitment to a holistic view of inclusion and diversity.” Maldonado countered that the company is using the diversity numbers from its retail operations to mask the fact that it is doing less to promote women and minorities to the company’s higher posts.

Apple to fight Nebraska ‘right to repair’ bill

Apple is gearing up to fight “right to repair” legislation currently making its way through the Nebraska state legislature, Motherboard reports. Nebraska is one of eight states considering legislation that would force Apple and other electronics manufacturers to provide the public with diagnostic and service manuals so they can do their own repairs, but Nebraska is the first state to schedule hearings for the proposed law. A source within the legislature said “an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist” will testify against the bill during the March 9 hearing, arguing that customers trying to make their own modifications could cause the device’s lithium battery to catch fire. Apple declined to comment on the story, but the company has successfully lobbied against similar legislation in the past, most recently last year in New York. The bills gained new steam this year after being backed by the trade organization Repair.org and endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Apple patents another way to scan fingerprints without Touch ID sensor

Apple has been granted a patent for a new type of fingerprint reading technology that doesn’t require a dedicated scanning sensor. The patent was originally filed by LuxVue before that company was bought by Apple in 2014. The design uses a combination of micro-LED light and infrared diodes to detect a pattern, making it possible to scan a fingerprint without the use of the capacitive metal ring in Apple’s current Touch ID sensor. The improvement could allow Apple to finally get rid of the dedicated home button and increase the iPhone’s screen size while still allowing the device to be unlocked with a fingerprint. The technology could also lead to other new features for the iPhone’s display, such as the ability to partially dim the screen depending on the available light, or even to dim certain areas of the screen to tackle glare. [via Apple Insider]

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Following yesterday’s Fireside Chat at the University of Glasgow, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with UK Prime Minister Teresa May at her home at 10 Downing Street. A tweet from James Cook of Business Insider UK noted Cook’s appearance at the Prime Minister’s residence and later published a statement from a government spokesperson about the meeting.

According to the statement, Cook and May had a “positive and useful discussion” concerning Apple’s recent announcements about its investment in the U.K., the importance of government and business on developing digital skills, and May’s plans to negotiate the U.K.‘s exit from the EU.

Tim Cook discusses immigration ban, Steve Jobs’ influence at ‘Fireside Chat’

During Tim Cook’s visit to the University of Glasgow yesterday, the Apple CEO participated in a “Fireside Chat” with staff and students of the university, fielding questions on a number of topics, including politics, the environment, and Apple’s design philosophy. The University posted a number of photos and short video clips on its Twitter account, and one attendee posted a video of the full hour-long event on YouTube. The video was recorded from within the audience using an iPhone 7 Plus as dedicated cameras were not permitted at the event, so while it’s not an official video, it covers the entire event, including Cook receiving his honorary degree as well as the chat that occurred afterward.

Apple developing new ‘Ultra Accessory Connector’ for Made-for-iPhone accessories (Update: No)

Apple is preparing to adopt a new connector type for accessories, known as the Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC). The company has launched a developer preview of the new connector type, 9to5Mac reports. Sources claim this new, smaller connector could replace the use of Lightning and USB connectors in some cases. The 8-pin connector would be thinner than USB-C, and about half the width of Lightning and USB-C. According to the report, use of the connector is currently specified to be used on headphone cables — Apple would allow for Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC, and 3.5mm headphone jack to UAC connectors. While the smaller UAC would certainly “allow accessory makers to save space inside their designs,” this news will likely give rise to plenty of speculation on how the UAC will be incorporated into future Apple devices. There was plenty of confusion in 2012 when Apple introduced its Lightning Connector, so we’ll have to wait for official word on just how the company plans to use the UAC.

Update: Apple has clarified that the new connector in question has actually been around for years, The Verge reports. The ‘Ultra Accessory Connector’ is actually just Apple’s name for an 8-pin connector used in several products, including Nikon cameras. Apparently multiple cable manufacturers have their own names for the connection type and Apple was simply standardizing the naming convention, not creating a new connection type. To clarify, use of this connector is new to the MFi program, but that’s all.

Apple patents ‘dual mode headphones’ that transform into standalone speaker

Apple has filed a patent for ‘dual mode’ headphones or earbuds that easily can be reconfigured into standalone speakers. Both the headphones and earbuds in the accompanying sketches have the ability to rotate to a freestanding position, which will trigger an internal sensor that tells the speakers to play at a much louder volume than when the device is right against the user’s ear. Apple already employs similar technology in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, using the phone’s ear speaker for stereo sound while the device is being held in a landscape position and reverting to the usual lower volume when the phone returns to the portrait orientation. [via Apple Insider]

Apple releases second betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple has released a new batch of second betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.

Apple negotiating to sell used iPhones in India after earlier denial

Apple has reopened its request to sell used iPhones in India during its seemingly endless negotiations with the country’s government, Bloomberg reports. India has already rejected Apple’s request to sell the pre-owned devices in their country, but with ongoing negotiations reportedly improving, the company is making a new case for bringing used phones to India to be refurbished. A person familiar with the matter said Apple is claiming it will open the proper facilities in India to ensure that refurbished products are up to local standards, adding the request to a long list of concessions it hopes to win in exchange for bringing manufacturing to the country.

Report: Blogger claims Apple augmented reality headset may arrive this year

Tech blogger Robert Scoble, who previously claimed that Carl Zeiss was working with Apple to create augmented reality glasses after an encounter at CES, is now claiming that the glasses will debut this year. On a recent episode of the show “This Week in Tech,” Scoble said several sources “at the highest levels” have told him Apple my announce the glasses this summer, possibly in conjunction with the opening of Apple’s new headquarters or release of the 10th anniversary iPhone.

Apple joins 96 other companies in filing legal brief to oppose immigration order

Apple and 96 other companies have joined together to file an amicus brief opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, Bloomberg reports. The companies filed the brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Sunday night, accelerating their timeline after legal challenges began to mount over the weekend, according to sources familiar with the process. “Immigrants make many of the Nation’s greatest discoveries, and create some of the country’s most innovative and iconic companies,” the brief reads.

Tim Cook to receive honorary degree from University of Glasgow, participate in ‘Fireside Chat’

Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to make an appearance at the University of Glasgow next week to receive an honorary degree and participate in a a “Fireside Chat” Q&A session afterward. The event, which is only open to students and staff of the university, sold out within an hour of being announced; the university appears to have originally planned to include university alumni as well, but announced a half-hour after opening registration that it could no long offer tickets to a alumni due to a high volume of demand.

While a specific agenda has not been published, 9to5Mac notes that the rector of the University of Glasgow is currently Edward Snowden, suggesting that the conversation may touch on privacy, encryption and government policy issues.

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