In an email sent to registered developers, Apple today announced that as of Sept. 7 it will begin “an ongoing process of evaluating apps” and removing any apps that “no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated” with a goal of improving the quality of apps in the App Store and making it easier for users to find apps which meet their needs. The announcement notes that the review will cut across all categories on the App Store, and developers of apps that don’t meet the criteria will be contacted to be given a 30-day window to make any necessary changes in order for their app to remain on the App Store. Apps that are completely non-functional — that is, those that crash on launch — will be removed immediately. Apps that are removed will only be taken down from the App Store’s catalog, and users who have already downloaded a removed app will be able to continue using it and even take advantage of in-app purchases.
A new report from Re/code reveals that after Apple CEO Steve Jobs turned over the reigns of the company, he planned to remain with Apple working on his own secret pet project to reinvent television. Walt Mossberg explains how Jobs called him on the night that he formally handed over the Chief Executive role to Tim Cook and shared his TV ambitions, telling Mossberg, “I think we figured out a way to do it, and it’s going to be fantastic.” Although Jobs invited Mossberg to come and see what he was working on, the untimely demise of the former CEO only two months later meant that much of his vision never came to fruition. The report notes that “Mossberg believes (Jobs) was talking about an integrated set.” Of course, Apple has yet to introduce its own TV set, and rumors on that front died down some time ago.
In an exclusive interview with Ireland’s Independent, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated on the record that he rejects the European Competition Commissioner’s assertion that Apple did not pay sufficient tax in Ireland as “total political crap” and that he believes Ireland is being “picked on” by the European Union in an effort to forcibly harmonize tax rates across the EU without any kind of public discussion.
I think we’ll work very closely together, as we have the same motivation. No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable.
Cook went on to state that the Commission just “picked a number” from nowhere, and that in the year that Commission alleges that Apple paid only 0.005pc tax in Ireland, the company actually paid $400 million, making it what he believes was the highest taxpayer in the entire country during that year. Cook’s latest comments stem from the EU’s ruling earlier this week that Apple owed €13 billion (~ $14.5b USD) in back taxes to Ireland, stating that the Irish government provided selective tax benefits to Apple — a practice illegal under EU state aid rules. Despite this, Cook emphasizes that Apple will still be pressing ahead with its expansion in Ireland, including a new data center in Country Galway and 1,000 new jobs in its offices in Cork. “I want to be really clear that we are very committed on Ireland,” Cook said.
A judge has thrown out a former partner’s claim that the he was double-crossed by Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine during negotiations for the headphone maker’s $3 billion sale to Apple, the Associated Press reports. Noel Lee, founder of video and audio cable maker Monster, contended that Dre and Iovine orchestrated a “sham” deal with HTC in 2011 that led to the termination of Beats’ alliance with Monster and reduced his 5 percent share in Beats to 1.25 percent. Lee said Beats’ misrepresentations led him to sell off that remaining stake for $5.5 million in 2013, ahead of the 2014 Apple deal that would have made that stake worth $30 million.
Apple has filed a scathing response to Australian banks requesting the ability to negotiate to have their own mobile payment apps featured on the iPhone, claiming the country’s “big three” banks are looking to stall Apple Pay’s adoption among consumers to stifle competition. The banks asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for the right to collectively bargain with Apple, and while the ACCC refused their request for interim approval to start the negotiations, the Commission won’t release its final ruling until October.
After a three-year investigation, the European Commission has concluded that Ireland should recover 13 billion euros (about $14.5 billion) in back taxes from Apple, saying the company’s deal in that country was illegal, the BBC reports. The commission said Apple paid substantially less than other companies, ending up with a corporate tax rate of no more than 1 percent while other companies pay around 12.5 percent. “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
The European Commission will rule against Ireland’s tax deals with Apple on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The commission will reportedly make the recommendation for Ireland to recoup more than 1 billion Euros (about $1.19 billion) in back taxes from Apple. Both Apple and Ireland have previously said they would appeal any such ruling, and neither Apple nor the European Commission has commented as of yet. Despite the commission’s recommendation, Irish authorities will be able to determine exactly what must be owed — further details will likely emerge upon the expected official announcement from the European Commission on Tuesday.
A nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple by some iPhone 6/6 Plus owners, Reuters reports. The suit has been prompted by the issue which iFixit recently dubbed “Touch Disease” — flickering gray lines appear at the top of an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, causing the screen to become glitchy or unresponsive. iFixit claims Apple has refused to recognize the problem as a major issue. The problem may be caused by bending either phone, which causes connections between the touchscreen controller chips and logic board to break down.
Apple has sent out media invitations to its upcoming event, slated for Sept. 7. The invite features a series of colored dots and a simple caption: “See you on the 7th.” The event is being held at 10 a.m. Pacific time, in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It’s expected that we’ll see the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus debut at the event, along with launch dates for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. It’s also conceivable that we’ll see new Apple Watch models and new MacBook Pro models. We’ll have live coverage on Twitter during the event, with all the vital information to follow here on iLounge.com.
Apple has released the seventh public beta of iOS 10 through its Apple Software Beta Program, continuing enhancements to Music, Maps, Messages, and News. Users who have already signed up for the Apple Software Beta Program should be able to log in and download the new versions now; users who haven’t signed up can do so at the same site. The company also released the corresponding developer beta for iOS 10 along with a seventh developer beta of tvOS 10. As usual, the latest round of betas is intended to allow developers to continue working on the new features and APIs first debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, and the beta cycle continues to ramp up as the new operating systems move closer to final release, with the latest iOS 10 developer beta representing the third new beta released in the past two weeks.
Apple is planning to release new technology in the next generation iPhone that will support mobile payments and tap-to-pay for transit in Japan, Bloomberg reports. While most countries use payment terminals compatible with the NFC standard already used by Apple Pay in current iPhone models, Japanese systems use a Sony-designed technology known as FeliCa. Sources reveal that Apple plans to include this hardware technology in the next-generation iPhone, although the functionality could be held back until later depending on how Apple’s negotiations with Japan-based payment networks go. The feature would allow customers in Japan to store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones, which could then be tapped against entrance scanners in place of a physical card. Although the FeliCa chip is used across the board, there are still multiple providers of transit payment cards for different types of transit and regions within the county, and Apple intends to work with multiple providers to ensure maximum coverage for the feature. The FeliCa chip is also used by Japanese point-of-sale systems, so the move would allow Apple to effectively roll out Apple Pay in Japan as well.
Apple has released iOS 9.3.5, its third minor update in the past six weeks, coming only a little more than three weeks on the heels of the release of iOS 9.3.4. As with the prior release, the latest update appears to be another minor patch, with release notes merely describing it once again as “an important security update” that is recommended for all iOS 9 users. With iOS 10 expected to debut in the near future, iOS 9 updates will likely be limited to security patches such as these to accommodate older devices incapable of being updated to iOS 10.
Apple has been working on a new video sharing and editing application with a focus on social networking, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Sources familiar with Apple’s strategy suggest that the move is aimed at taking on apps such as Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. The move would likely expand on new features in iOS 10’s new Messages app, which will bring new animated effects, stickers, and tools expandable via third-party App Store plug-ins — features clearly designed to bring the Messages app more into line with apps like Snapchat to appeal to a younger set of users.
Apple has announced the complete lineup of artists that will be performing at this year’s Apple Music Festival, scheduled to run from Sept. 18-30. The event will be headlined by popular artists including Alicia Keys, Bastille, Britney Spears, Calvin Harris, Chance The Rapper, Elton John, Michael Bublé, OneRepublic, Robbie Williams and The 1975, with the full lineup announced today on Beats 1 by London’s Julie Adenuga. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to access exclusive Festival content such as playlists, artist news, and backstage interviews throughout the month of September, and subscribers will be able to watch the ten nights of performances both live and on-demand via any device supporting Apple Music.
While Siri is the usual public focus of Apple’s artificial intelligence endeavors, a new Backchannel story points out that much of the behavior iPhone users notice in their device is also powered by the company’s increasing push to improve its AI. When the iPhone guesses which apps you’ll want to use next when you swipe your screen, that’s Apple’s AI at work, but the device also lashes together pieces of information from several places to provide a more complete picture. Machine learning helps Apple devices do everything from extending battery life between charges to identifying a caller who isn’t in its contact list by referencing emails. It’s also responsible for the iPad Pro knowing the difference between the Apple Pencil’s touch and the palm being dragged alongside it while a user is drawing, accepting the Pencil’s input while rejecting the palm’s. “If this doesn’t work rock solid, this is not a good piece of paper for me to write on anymore — and Pencil is not a good product,” said senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi. “If you love your Pencil, thank machine learning.”
Apple has announced that its annual Apple Music Festival will run from Sept. 18-30 this year at London’s Roundhouse. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but U.K. residents will soon be able to apply to win tickets through Apple Music and Apple’s media partners. As always, Apple plans to make performances available for free to Apple Music users live and on demand. The event has been held in London annually under the iTunes Music Festival name since 2007, but was rebranded last year.
Nikkei Asian Review claims Apple is planning to release three iPhone models next year, including a premium device that will feature a curved display. A source familiar with Apple’s plans said, “There will be a 4.7-inch model, another that will be 5.5-inches and a premium handset that will be either 5.5-inches or larger equipped with a screen bent on the two sides,” noting the first two phones will feature the flat screen found on current Apple devices.
Apple partner Foxconn said two workers at one of its manufacturing facilities died last week, The Wall Street Journal reports. A 31-year-old employee at the Zhengzhou plant that specializes in production of Apple devices climbed to the top of the building and leapt to his death after finishing his night shift on an iPhone assembly line Wednesday night. The man had been on the job only a month, prompting one fellow Foxconn employee to ask, “Why is it always the entry-level workers who jump?” A female employee from the same facility died in a train accident on her way to work Friday. Foxconn said it is cooperating with authorities investigating both deaths. Foxconn has worked to improve labor conditions since a series of suicides in 2010 and 2011, but as recently as last year an employee at the Zhengzhou plant was reported dead in an apparent suicide. In an official statement, Apple said, “We constantly monitor working conditions to ensure that they meet our strict standards, and we will investigate the incidents in Zhengzhou.”
Apple’s digital health team has made its first known acquisition, a personal health data startup named Gliimpse, Fast Company reports. The Silicon Valley company was started in 2013 and built its own software platform to allow people to collect, personalize and share a picture of their health data. Gliimpse was funded by Anil Sethi, a “serial entrepreneur” who spent the past decade working with health startups and got his start as a systems engineer at Apple in the 1980s.
Apple was reportedly one of several companies that held talks over the last few months to consider buying ride-hailing company Lyft, but didn’t end up making an offer, The New York Times reports. Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company in which Apple invested $1 billion in May, was also mentioned as a possible buyer, alongside General Motors, Google, Amazon, and Uber. Didi Chuxing acquired Uber’s operations in China earlier this month, seemingly upending a partnership the company had forged with Lyft to fight Uber’s expansion into new markets. Lyft hasn’t publicly stated whether it will continue working with Didi Chuxing after the merger, which saw Didi founder Cheng Wei and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick join each other’s boards, and gave Uber a 20-percent stake in the combined company.