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Direct web linking to tvOS apps now available

Apple has announced to developers that they can now generate direct links to Apple TV applications that will preview in a user’s web browser, similar to the way in which iOS and macOS links presently work. Links to universal apps — those that include iOS and tvOS versions in the same application package — will still go to the iOS app by default, and no specific Apple TV references appear in those app previews; however, apps that exist solely for the Apple TV can now be previewed on the web, with full descriptions, screenshots, and reviews. Notably, it appears that Mac/PC users will still need to visit the Apple TV App Store to actually download or purchase tvOS apps — unlike iOS apps, a “View in iTunes” button does not appear for tvOS-only apps. However, links opened on an iPhone or iPad will automatically take the user to the iOS App Store, where the app can be purchased and then automatically downloaded to the Apple TV.

Apple begins selling refurbished iPhones in online Apple Store

Apple’s online store has begun selling refurbished iPhone 6s models, allowing customers to save money on last year’s iPhone models by purchasing certified refurbished versions. A variety of colors and capacities are available, with prices starting at $449 for a 16GB iPhone 6s — about $100 less expensive than a brand new entry-level iPhone 6s, although it’s worth keeping in mind that Apple has doubled storage capacities on this year’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models, making the refurbished iPhones arguably less of a deal — a brand new 32GB iPhone 6s sells for $549. All refurbished iPhone models currently being sold appear to be unlocked and SIM-free, meaning they can be used on any carrier.

Report: Apple acquired technology, employees from streaming music startup

When streaming music startup Omnifone went bankrupt this summer, Apple acquired some of the company’s technology and at least 16 of its employees, TechCrunch reports. Apple was initially rumored to be acquiring Omnifone in June, and 16 of the company’s London-based employees have since changed their LinkedIn status to show they’re now working at Apple. Omniphone still owns over 50 patents related to streaming, downloading and digital media identification, but it’s unclear how many of those — if any — Apple has acquired. A source claims some of that technology found its way into Apple Music and iTunes, and the employees who joined Apple from Omnifone include engineers now working in iTunes and apps. Apple declined to comment on the story.

Apple patents augmented reality mapping system

Apple has been granted a patent for “Augmented Reality Maps” that layer map information and directions over live iPhone video, giving more credibility to recent rumors that the company will soon be integrating AR into its existing product lines. A drawing enclosed with the patent application shows street names superimposed on the image being received by the iPhone’s camera and points of interest labeled in the distance. The idea is to use the phone’s GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, and digital compass to determine the device’s precise position and use that information to provide thew correct information about what’s in front of the user.

Apple releases second betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers

Apple has released its second betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. The first betas were released a week ago, and Apple also later added the Single Sign-On feature for Apple TV and iOS beta users.

Apple makes deal with NBCUniversal to sell ads in News app

Apple is handing off ad sales for its News app to NBCUniversal, Recode reports. Publishers can still sell their own ads and keep 100 percent of the profit generated, but NBCUniversal will now be selling the remaining ad space. Publishers will get 70 percent of the revenue from those ads sales, just like they’re currently getting under the existing arrangement with Apple. Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal’s head of sales, said the company is creating a new “dedicated sales group” for the app. Earlier this year Apple pulled the plug on its lackluster iAd service after not being able to find a reasonable way to use customer data while still maintaining privacy.

Apple looks for incentives to bring manufacturing to India

Apple is asking for government incentives to bring its manufacturing to India, The Economic Times of India reports. An unnamed official said Apple has asked for consideration from the Department of Revenue and Department of Electronics and Information Technology, adding that the department has been “doing their due diligence from (sic) quite some time.” India offers benefits to foreign manufacturers under its Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme, including subsidies for investments in “special economic zones.” The news comes on the heels of earlier reports that the company asked manufacturing partner Foxconn to look into making iPhones in India in the next two or three years, fitting into the three-year exemption on local manufacturing Apple hopes to negotiate in order open its own stores in the country.

KGI: Apple could launch AR in 1-2 years, use it to boost autonomous driving system

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told investors they probably won’t see augmented reality technology from Apple for at least 1-2 years, but to expect the company to “leapfrog” competitors by 3-5 years once they finally enter the market. Kuo doesn’t provide specifics, but said he foresees Apple integrating AR to “redefine key product lines” and change the way people use devices like the Apple TV and Apple Watch. Kuo also considered the possibility that Apple could use AR innovations to break into new areas, specifically autonomous driving systems like the one being developed by the company’s Project Titan team. [via Apple Insider]

Apple releases iOS 10.2 public beta

Following yesterday’s release of the first iOS 10.2 developer beta, Apple has now released a public beta version of iOS 10.2 through its Apple Software Beta Program. The iOS 10.2 public beta notably adds the full Unicode 9.0 emoji approved earlier this year, along with a new Preserve Settings feature that allows users to determine whether modes, filters, and Live Photo settings in the Camera app persist across launches or reset to default values. iOS 10.2 also adds three new wallpapers for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users, a new widget for the Videos app, new “Press and Hold to Speak” options under Accessibility settings, star-based ratings support in the iOS 10.2 Music app, and new Activity reporting in the Health app for Apple Watch users. 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.

Apple seeds first betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1.1 to developers

Apple has released the first betas for iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. This follows today’s earlier public release of iOS 10.1.1.

Apple releases iOS 10.1.1 with Health data fix

Apple has released iOS 10.1.1 to the public today, providing a number of bug fixes — most notably, a fix for users who couldn’t view Health data in iOS 10.1. The update comes just one week after the release of iOS 10.1, which added the beta version of Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, transit support in Maps, new wheelchair tracking workout summary information in Activity for Apple Watch users, and improved Bluetooth connectivity.

Apple delays AirPods release

Apple’s AirPods, the wireless W1-aided earphones which debuted at the company’s September event, apparently won’t be released in “late October” after all. Though Apple’s website still gives that time frame as of this writing, TechCrunch reports that the earphones aren’t ready for market. “The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. The report notes that no timeline was given for their availability — so we can only speculate on just how long “a little more time” will be.

Notes from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call

Kicking off Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of quarterly numbers for Q4 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the quarterly results were strong and near the top of the guidance that Apple provided for the quarter. Cook said that the iPhone continues to see year-over-year improvements compared to the last two quarters, and that iPhone sales are up year-over-year in 33 of the top 40 markets where the iPhone is sold. Fiscal 2016 also saw more customers switching from Android to iPhone than ever before, Cook said, and Apple saw a record-setting quarter for services, with revenue growth accelerating to 24 percent, reaching 6.3 billion dollars, with Apple Music doing particularly well. Cook noted that Apple Pay recently launched in Japan, Russia, and New Zealand and will be coming to Spain in the next few months; Apple Pay volume is up 500 percent year-over-year and in fact September saw more Apple Pay transactions than all of fiscal year 2015 put together. Cook also spoke about the release of iOS 10, hailing many of the new features but notably pointing out that Apple has seen a “marked increase” in iMessage users since the release of iOS 10, likely due to the new features available in the Messages app. Cook also touched on HomeKit, noting that we can expect over one hundred HomeKit-compatible products to be on the market by the end of this year, all reviewed and approved by Apple to help ensure customer security when using them.

Apple Q4 2016: $46.9B revenue, 45.5M iPhones + 9.2M iPads sold

Apple reported its fourth quarter 2016 financial results today, with 45.5 million iPhones and 9.2 million iPads sold. The company posted quarterly revenue of $46.9 billion and quarterly net income of $9 billion, or $1.67 per diluted share. In Q4 2015, Apple had revenue of $51.5 billion and net income of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.9 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 62 percent of this quarter’s revenue.

For Q1 2017, Apple is providing guidance of revenue between $76 billion and $78 billion, and gross margin between 38 percent and 38.5 percent. Apple’s earnings call will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and can be heard live on the company’s investor website. We’ll have a recap shortly after.

Apple reportedly hiring engineers from BlackBerry, developing car operating system in Canada

Apple has reportedly hired two dozen engineers from BlackBerry’s QNX division to work on its new car operating system, Bloomberg reports. The engineers comprise part of a larger team based at an Apple office in Ottawa, Canada — about a five-minute walk from QNX headquarters. Apple was said to have targeted QNX employees specifically due to their experience in developing key components of operating systems and power management. The car operating system group is one of multiple teams working on various components of Apple’s Project Titan software, including a team working on the autonomous driving components for self-driving cars, and others working on heads-up display features, and a simulation group developing VR to test self-driving features. BlackBerry’s QNX unit currently maintains the operating system software used in more than 60 million cars, mostly for “infotainment” systems, although the company noted in January that it has also been working on building its operating system as a foundation for autonomous driving software.

Apple releases iOS 10.1, tvOS 10.0.1, watchOS 3.1

Apple has released iOS 10.1 to the public today. The update contains the beta version of Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, transit support in Maps, new wheelchair tracking workout summary information in Activity for Apple Watch users, improved Bluetooth connectivity, and a series of bug fixes and other minor improvements. Apple has also released tvOS 10.0.1 which features bug fixes, and watchOS 3.1, which includes bug fixes and — like iOS 10.1 — now gives users the option to replay the bubble and full screen effects in Messages.

Apple sends out press invites for ‘Hello Again’ Oct. 27 Mac event

Apple has sent out press invites for a special event to be held next Thursday, Oct. 27. The event will be held at the company’s Cupertino campus at 10 a.m. Pacific time, and is expected to be primarily focused on unveiling new Mac hardware — the title of “hello again” on the invite is seemingly a reference back to the original Mac’s 1984 introduction. As the event will likely be focused on new Macs, we don’t expect that iOS hardware, software, or accessories will be featured to any significant extent, although it remains possible that Apple may mention a release date or further details on iOS 10.1, or give a release date for its upcoming AirPods, which are expected to be available by the end of this month. [via The Verge]

Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released the fifth beta of iOS 10.1 to registered developers today, featuring minor bug tweaks to the new operating system. We anticipate that the official public release of iOS 10.1 — which contains the Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users — is not far off, based on this release and rumors of an Oct. 25 launch date from this morning.

Apple releases fourth beta of iOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released the fourth beta of iOS 10.1 to registered developers today, hours after releasing the iOS 10.0.3 update to iPhone 7/7 Plus users. We anticipate that the official public release of iOS 10.1 — which contains the much-ballyhooed Portrait camera mode for iPhone 7 Plus users — is not far off.

Apple releases iOS 10.0.3 to fix cellular connectivity bug in iPhone 7/7 Plus

Apple has released iOS 10.0.3 for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The update for the new iPhones fixes a bug which could cause a temporary loss of cellular connectivity. The update is currently available as an over-the-air download. It shouldn’t be much longer until Apple releases a bigger update with iOS 10.1 — last week, the company released its third beta for that upcoming update.

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