Apple is continuing its more rapid iOS development cycle, now releasing its third beta of iOS 9.2 to developers. Sporting a build number of 13C71, the beta again features sparse release notes that focus on minor fixes to UI and developer API issues. Registered iOS developers can download the latest iOS 9.2 beta from Apple’s Developer site.
On his tour of London this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook pushed the idea that the new iPad Pro is as versatile a product as the company has ever made with features that appeal to a broad range of users. In his interview with The Telegraph, Cook said the new tablet has the screen and speakers to give the average media consumer a much more robust viewing and listening experience, but when paired with the company’s keyboard case the device is powerful enough to replace a user’s notebook or desktop computer and challenge the PC’s dominance in the workplace. “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one?” Cook said.
When paired with the Apple Pencil, Cook said the device is the first of its kind to give creatives a true alternative to putting pencil to paper for sketching. Addressing criticism that the Apple Pencil is a stylus that users don’t need since their finger can do the same job, Cook told The Independent that the Apple Pencil has won over artists by going far beyond what a stylus can do. “The traditional stylus is fat, it has really bad latency so you’re sketching here and it’s filling the line in somewhere behind. You can’t sketch with something like that, you need something that mimics the look and feel of the pencil itself or you’re not going to replace it,” Cook said. “We’re not trying to replace finger touch, we’re complementing it with the Pencil.”
European Union regulators will decide by Christmas whether Apple’s tax deals in Ireland are illegal, Dow Jones Business News reports. Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan addressed the company’s ongoing legal battle on his way to a meeting, saying “We’re expecting an adjudication on Apple maybe in the next few weeks, but certainly between now and Christmas.” The EU recently ruled against Starbucks and Fiat in similar cases, concluding that the companies had received tens of millions of euros in illegal state aid from the Netherlands and Luxembourg respectively. Noonan said it wasn’t yet clear whether the EU decision would go against Apple, but that Ireland would “deal with that when the announcement comes.” The EU began its investigation into Apple last year after Apple was accused of moving $8.9 billion in untaxed profits from Australia to Ireland.
A judge has thrown out a 2013 lawsuit by Apple Store employees asking for back pay for the time they spent enduring “demoralizing” security searches while leaving work for the day, Bloomberg reports. As many as 12,400 former and current Apple Store workers from 52 stores in California were seeking a few extra dollars per work day for the time they spent over a six-year period having bags and Apple devices searched during meal breaks and after the end of their shifts, which could have left Apple facing a payment of more than $60 million. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup sided with Apple, saying employees were free to choose to avoid the searches by not bringing their bags to work. Lee Shalov, a lawyer for the workers, said the employees are disappointed in the ruling and exploring a possible appeal. Apple declined to comment.
Apple has announced that the iPad Pro will be available for purchase online Wednesday and is set to arrive at Apple Stores and other retailers later this week. The Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories will also be available for online order Wednesday. The announcement confirms previous reports that Apple would start selling the device on Wednesday and explains why Sam’s Club listed the iPad Pro as launching in its stores on Friday. It appears other third-party retailers have different sale dates listed for the device — Staples, for instance, has an availability date of Nov. 25.
A new Apple patent filing reveals that Apple may be working on a way to have an iPhone secretly enter a “panic mode” when unlocked using Touch ID with a specific finger. The patent, titled “Fingerprint Activation of a Panic Mode of Operation for a Mobile Device” and dated May 5, 2014, describes how a different mode of operation could be engaged by the detection of a specific finger on a fingerprint sensor, activating a “panic mode of operation” that would “automatically alter at least one standard operation of the mobile device,” such as restricting access to personal data stored on the device. The patent further describes how users could register multiple fingerprints to be associated with different modes of operation, presumably taking the implementation beyond a mere “panic mode” feature into calling up specific usage modes or profiles based on the finger used to unlock the device.
Apple has been training Siri voice recognition on the Apple TV to recognize movie and TV show titles in country-specific pronunciations, according to a new report from MacPrime (translated link). While Siri is available in more than 30 countries on the iPhone, on the Apple TV it remains limited to eight — Australia, Canada, Great Britain, United States, Germany, France, Spain, and Japan — and is notably not available even in other countries where the same languages are used, such as Switzerland. Asked why Siri support on the Apple TV was not available in Switzerland, where residents speak German and/or French, Apple responded by explaining that Siri on the Apple TV was designed to “put a special focus on television and film content,” specifically ensuring that it could quickly and accurately recognize film titles and names of actors, directors, producers, and so forth. To achieve this goal, Apple undertook efforts to teach Siri to recognize specific dialect and phonetic pronunciations for each country. This likely also explains why it has taken longer for Siri support for other features such as Apple Music to arrive on the Apple TV. The report notes that Apple is working on expanding Siri support to other countries, although the company has not given a firm date as to when this will happen. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple’s erstwhile sapphire supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, has come to an agreement to pay off its $439 million debt, The Wall Street Journal reports. GT Advanced contracted with Apple in late 2013 to open a plant in Arizona to produce sapphire for Apple’s display screens and Touch ID sensors with financial backing from Apple to help fund the plant’s startup costs. However, GT Advanced ultimately struggled to get sapphire production going and filed for bankruptcy late last year. After some legal wrangling, the two companies came to an agreement, with GT given four years interest-free to repay its $439 million loan to Apple by selling its sapphire furnaces.
Apple is continuing its more rapid iOS development cycle with the release of the second iOS 9.2 beta to developers. This second beta, build number 13C5060d, again features sparse release notes that focus on minor fixes to UI and developer API issues, specifically focused on Apple Watch support, audio, dictionary, iCloud Keychain, networking, Safari, Video, and Wi-Fi calling. The iOS 9.2 beta continues to support the same devices as iOS 9.1. Registered iOS developers can download the iOS 9.2 beta from Apple’s Developer site.
Now that the new fourth-generation Apple TV has been released to the public, Apple has begun its first developer beta cycle for its new tvOS operating system, releasing the first beta of tvOS 9.1 to developers today. With a build number of 13U5061d, the release notes identify a focus primarily on UI and networking issues, as well as fixes for developers testing Apple TV apps in the simulator. As with iOS developer betas, the beta versions of tvOS are intended for installation only on devices that have been registered with the Apple Developer Program; it is unclear whether Apple will be running a public beta of tvOS at this point as it has with iOS and OS X betas.
Apple appears to be planning to roll out its “Personal Pickup” service internationally, according to a new report from MacRumors. The report notes that Apple employees in Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and other countries are currently undergoing training for a wider launch of the service, which allows customers to place an online order that can then be picked up at any Apple Retail Store within an hour. The service launched exclusively in the U.S. back in 2011, and it appears the international rollout could now come as early as November, perhaps in time for the launch of the iPad Pro.
Apple plans to begin selling the iPad Pro in its retail and online stores on November 11, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. The Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard are expected to be available for purchase on the same day. The new 12.9-inch tablet was announced by Apple in September, however the company previously only listed a general November release date, and while some reports suggested pre-orders might begin sooner, it now appears that the iPad Pro will be available in retail stores the same day it becomes available to order online.
We’ve received the new Apple TV and have posted unboxing photos of Apple’s latest set-top box. We’ve also included a few shots comparing the new Apple TV to its predecessors, the third-generation Apple TV and the now classic original first-generation Apple TV. Look for our full, independent, comprehensive Apple TV review on Monday.
Apple’s penchant for secrecy is likely slowing down its development of artificial intelligence technology, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Apple regularly eschews active participation in major artificial intelligence conferences attended by rivals such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM, instead sending representatives to merely attend and observe while keeping a low profile. Further, Apple’s representatives at these conferences are told not to identify themselves as Apple employees unless specifically asked. Researches and professors attending the conference describe Apple’s secrecy as being “off the scale” and the company as “completely out of the loop” when it comes to the latest development in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
While Apple Music will be available on the new Apple TV early next week, the ability to use Siri to search Apple Music won’t be available until early next year, according to Buzzfeed News. The new set-top box already incorporates Siri voice search commands for finding video content — even across multiple platforms — but it appears that this won’t be enabled for Apple Music out of the box. Considering that Siri can already be used with Apple Music on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, this seems like an odd omission and suggests that Apple’s resources have been stretched thin in getting the new Apple TV ready for release.
Employees have confirmed that Apple Stores will begin selling the new Apple TV on Friday, 9to5Mac reports. Apple Stores are already receiving shipments of the new devices and stores will be reorganized Thursday night to begin promoting sales on Friday. Earlier in the day Best Buy announced it will begin selling the device in its stores on Nov. 4.
Best Buy’s U.S. website is now accepting preorders for the new Apple TV, listing a release date of Nov. 4 for in-store pickup and offering free shipping for those who don’t want to visit a store. Users of Best Buy’s Canadian site are still only seeing the third-generation Apple TV listed for sale. The new device went on sale for both U.S. and Canadian users on Apple’s own website Monday, with the earliest possible arrival date listed as Oct. 30 for those opting for expedited shipping. Apple hasn’t informed customers when the new devices will be available for purchase in Apple Stores.
Kicking off Apple’s conference call announcing its record-breaking numbers for Q4 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported that the company had its largest absolute revenue growth ever, noting that Apple’s growth in one quarter was greater than the full year revenue of almost 90 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500. Cook also noted that in this past quarter Apple crossed 100 billion cumulative downloads from the App Store, debuted Apple Pay in the U.K., Apple Music in over 100 countries, and Apple News in the U.S. Cook mentioned that the company is ending the year on a “high note” with a record-breaking September quarter, and that while momentum for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus remains strong, the company also set a new launch record for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Another 5.1 billion dollars in service revenue, fuelled by the App Store, was also an all-time record. Cook also highlighted that the App Store now has over 13,000 Apple Watch apps, over 1300 of which are native apps, and the numbers are growing rapidly.
Apple reported its fourth quarter 2015 financial results today, with 48 million iPhones and 9.8 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $51.5 billion and quarterly net profit of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share. In Q4 2014, Apple had revenue of $42.1 billion and net profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share. Gross margin was 39.9 percent compared to 38 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 62 percent of this quarter’s revenue.
For Q1 2016, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $75.5 billion and $77.5 billion, and gross margin between 39 percent and 40 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website.
Less than a week after the public release of iOS 9.1, Apple has already released the first beta version of iOS 9.2 to developers. The iOS 9.2 beta release notes reveal little about what’s new in this version, simply noting some minor issues in the beta surrounding Apple Watch support, iCloud Keychain, Safari, and Video, suggesting that these are areas being worked on. The iOS 9.2 beta continues to support the same devices as iOS 9.1. Registered iOS developers can download the iOS 9.2 beta from Apple’s Developer site.