Despite a bitter legal fight over its tax agreements, Apple is moving even more assets to Ireland, The Business Post reports. The company has relocated its international iTunes business to a data center in Hollyhill, Ireland from its current location in Luxembourg. The Hollyhill facility will now manage “iTunes business and content stores for more than 100 countries,” amounting to an estimated $9 billion in assets. Apple has been clear that it remains committed to doing business in Ireland even as it fights a ruling from the European Union that ordered the company to pay Ireland $14.5 billion in back taxes. [via Apple Insider]
In his first trip to Japan as Apple CEO, Tim Cook painted a grand future for the artificial intelligence that will soon be developed in the company’s Yokohama facility, telling Nikkei it will be “horizontal in nature, running across all products.” Cook said new AI developments will transform the way people use their phones “in ways that most people don’t even think about,” helping with everything from increasing battery life in iPhones, to locating cars in a crowded parking lot. Cook sees an “incredible future ahead” as the smartphone industry matures, and other smart devices expand into new business and medical uses.
Apple has shifted its automotive ambitions away from building its own electric car in favor of developing an autonomous driving system, Bloomberg reports. People familiar with the project said hundreds of employees from Project Titan have been been “reassigned, let go, or left of their own volition” in the past few months. Apple executives are displeased with the lack of progress and want the car team to prove the feasibility of the self-driving system. It’s been said the team must decide on a final direction by “late next year” — the deadline was imposed after months of “strategy disagreements”, leadership changes, and supply chain problems. The shift in strategy is expected to help Apple keep open the option of partnering with existing carmakers, while not fully closing the door on the possibility of the company designing its own vehicle in the future. Apple declined to comment on the story.
Apple has started selling SIM-free iPhone 7 models in the U.S. online Apple Store, allowing customers who wish to purchase an unlocked iPhone outright without signing a carrier contract the opportunity to do so. A new “SIM-free” option now appears on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus ordering pages as an alternative to the traditional carrier selection options. As the SIM-free iPhone models are not subsidized by carrier contracts, customers will pay the full retail purchase prices, ranging from $649 for a 32GB iPhone 7 up to $969 for a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus. SIM-free models appear to be the A1660 and A1661 versions, which include CDMA support for use on Sprint or Verizon Wireless in addition to AT&T and T-Mobile.
Apple has updated its Apple Watch Nike+ web page, adding an Oct. 28 release date for the new special edition of the Series 2 Apple Watch. When Apple debuted the Apple Watch Series 2 last month, the company announced a special running-focused Nike+ model would be coming in “late October.” The Nike+ watch includes exclusive watch faces, a special perforated band, and a custom Nike app which more proactively promotes and tracks running workouts, allowing users to compete with other Apple Watch Nike+ users. It remains unclear whether this app will be exclusive to the Apple Watch Nike+ edition or be made available for other Apple Watch models after the Nike+ edition’s release.
Following Monday’s release of iOS 10.1 beta 3 to developers, Apple has now also released a third developer beta for watchOS 3.1. As with the iOS 10.1 beta, the accompanying release notes list few significant changes, with the new version likely being primarily focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Registered iOS developers can download the new watchOS beta from Apple’s Developer site.
Apple is setting up a research and development center in Shenzhen to bolster the company’s rocky relationship with China, Reuters reports. The announcement of the Shenzhen facility comes just two months after Apple’s promise to place a similar center in Beijing. While in China, CEO Tim Cook touted the company’s search for local software developers to work closely with Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partners.
Apple has released the third beta of iOS 10.1 to registered iOS developers today. The company also released its third beta for tvOS 10.0.1. These new releases come less than a week after the second beta releases were released to developers.
Apple has won an appeals court ruling against Samsung for $119.6 million, reinstating a previous patent-infringement verdict, Bloomberg reports. Related to several Apple parents, including the slide-to-unlock feature, this ruling overturns a prior three-judge ruling that threw out the verdict from February, after a jury trial resulted in the original award. The U.S. Court of Appeals decided in an 8-3 ruling that the three-judge panel was wrong to throw out the earlier verdict, and in fact ordered the trial judge to consider whether the amount should be increased based on intentional infringement by Samsung.
Apple is working on bringing together its various Cloud Services teams into a single campus to improve product development, Bloomberg reports. Although they all come under the oversight of Apple SVP Eddy Cue, teams for services such as Siri, Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News, Apple Music, and iTunes generally work in isolation from each other, at various office park locations rented out throughout Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California. With Apple’s new futuristic Apple Campus 2 scheduled to open next year, Cue feels that unifying his Cloud Services teams at the current Apple Campus will improve his organization in terms of improvement development time and product stability, and will continue to build on Apple’s rapidly growing cloud services business.
A new study from Citizens for Tax Justice claims that Apple tops the list of U.S. companies profiting from keeping its money in foreign countries. According to the study, Apple booked $214.9 billion in revenue offshore in 2015, revenue on which the company would have paid $65.4 billion if that money wasn’t kept outside the country. The report mentions a 2013 investigation into Apple’s two Irish subsidiaries that were structured to be “tax residents of neither the United States, where they are managed and controlled, nor Ireland, where they are incorporated.”
Omar Johnson, the chief marketing officer who helped make Beats into a household name, is leaving the company next month, Fast Company reports. Johnson joined Beats as vice president of marketing in 2010 and was named CMO in 2012. His unique ad campaigns — which feature personal looks at the athletes and musicians who endorsed the product — catapulted the company to prominence in pop culture. In a statement, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine said, “Omar Johnson is a one of the most talented marketing executives I’ve ever met and we couldn’t have built Beats without him. He has my support in his future endeavor.” Jason White, who has worked for Johnson since 2014 when Apple acquired Beats, will become Beats’ executive vice-president of marketing.
Apple has now released a second set of developer betas for iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 to registered iOS developers. The documentation accompanying the new betas lists few significant changes, suggesting the new versions are primarily focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Registered iOS developers can download the new betas from Apple’s Developer site.
Apple has rescheduled the earnings call for its Q4 financial results to Tuesday, October 25. The call was originally scheduled for October 27, but the company moved the event up two days citing a “scheduling conflict.” As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q4 of revenue between $45.5 billion and $47.5 billion, and gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.
Apple has patented scanning technology that would allow a fingerprint sensor to function through an iPhone’s display, lending new credibility to rumors that the company will be doing away with the home button in next year’s iPhone. The new technology uses a series of electrostatic lenses to focus fingerprint scans that would otherwise become too blurred to use for identification purposes. While the new system would allow the sensor to be placed behind the display, Apple notes a “drive ring” is still needed to supply voltage to a user’s finger for the scan, presenting a quandary for the company if it wants to entirely eliminate the stationary home button in favor of expanding the usable surface area of the screen.
After a quick test last month, Apple has officially launched its new Spoken Editions section under the podcasts heading in iTunes. Users can now get a spoken-word version of news updates from media companies like Time, Reuters, Slate, Wired, Mic, Bustle, Jezebel, and the Huffington Post. Apple’s simple pitch for the section targets people too busy to read their favorite websites each morning, offering narrated versions of the stories for those on the go. Providers are divided into categories that cover breaking news, politics, LGBT and racial issues, pop culture, lifestyle, business, and technology.
The Phoneys sticker app for iMessage has landed its creator in a serious conundrum after Apple called him with demands that he change it or face its removal from the iMessage app store. In a post on Medium, Adam Howell explains he built the sticker pack—which allows users to paste a convincing-looking iMessage bubble over a friend’s message to make it look like they said something they didn’t—with every expectation that it wouldn’t make it through the approval process. Once it did, people took notice, and with a little publicity, it shot to the top of the Top Paid list on the iMessage store.
Apple has been ordered to pay $302.4 million in damages after losing another round in its years-long legal fight with patent holder VirnetX, Reuters reports. In 2012, a jury awarded VirnetX $368.2 million in damages over Apple’s use of its patented security technology in the company’s FaceTime app, but an appeals court overturned the verdict over issues with how the damages were calculated. A second trial upped those damages to $625.6 million, but another judge threw out that verdict as well, after expressing concerns that jurors may have been confused by repeated references to the earlier trial. Apple declined to comment on the case, but the company faces yet another court proceeding to determine if it willfully infringed on the patents, which could lead to higher damages.
Apple has announced the exclusive publication of interactive digital editions of Game of Thrones to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the popular George R.R. Martin best-seller. The new interactive iBooks will allow readers to go deeper into the history of some of the great houses of Westeros, via interactive character maps, detailed annotations, and more, along with glossary terms that will provide insight into character connections and the lineage of the various houses. An appendix of all 92 house sigils is also included, with comprehensive information about symbolism, house seats, regions, and allegiances.
Apple has sent out an email to registered developers announcing the debut of search ads in the App Store. Apple SVP Phil Schiller announced earlier this year that search ads would be coming to the App Store, however provided few additional details at the time beyond saying that Apple was giving careful consideration on the best way to implement ads in a customer-friendly manner. Search Ads will allow developers to easily create tailored ads to promote their apps at the top of App Store search results, with basic ads created automatically using metadata and imagery from the developer’s app and automatic matching of ads to relevant searches in the App Store. Advanced features will allow developers to target their ads to iPhone or iPad users, adds their own keywords, specify a target demographic for ads, and schedule campaigns to appear only during certain time periods. Apple has published a new set of pages at searchads.apple.com where developers can find out more information on the new service and sign up to receive a $100 credit toward their first campaign.