Apple has released the third beta of iOS 7 to registered developers. The company released the second beta two weeks ago, and the first beta of iOS 7 two weeks before that. The third beta is now available through Software Update in iOS settings, and “contains bug fixes and improvements,” according to sparse notes. Additional details on newly added features will become available over the next several days.
Update: iOS 7 beta 3 has also been posted to Apple’s developer portal.
A new “Only on the App Store” promotion has made a number of top iOS apps and games free from iTunes. Infinity Blade II, Where’s My Water?, Badland, Tiny Wings for iPhone and iPad, Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery EP, Day One, Over, Barefoot World Atlas, Traktor DJ for iPhone and iPad and more are all currently free — Traktor DJ notably normally sells for $20.
The apps have likely gone free to mark the upcoming fifth anniversary of the App Store. It’s unclear how long the apps will be available for free, or if other apps will be made free at some point. [via The Verge]
Update: Apple has noted the apps are free for a limited time as part of “5 Years of the App Store.” A timeline of App Store milestones can be viewed within the App Store. The promotion also includes How To Cook Everything for free, in addition to the apps listed above.
A recently published Apple patent application details flexible battery packs for use in electronic devices. Apple’s application focuses on battery packs that may consist of multiple cells, which could be connected by laminate layers. The arrangement allows “the battery to be shaped to fit a form factor of the electronic device.” Cells could also be removed in certain situations, which could allow for more manufacturing possibilties.
The application notes the flexible battery packs could “be employed in wristwatches, calculators, laptop computers, tablet computers, and/or music players.” It’s possible Apple could use such technology in its rumored smart watch. The company has already been linked to flexible and wraparound displays, in both a job listing and previous patent applications published in March and February. [via Patently Apple]
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently spoke to Apple Retail Store Leaders about selling more iPhones in Apple Retail Stores, according to a report. During a summit that lasted for about three hours, Cook mentioned that Macs and iPads have sold well in Apple’s stores, but 80 percent of iPhones are purchased from other outlets. Apple will reportedly create new incentives to sell more iPhones in its own stores — the iPhone is now included in Apple’s Back to School promotion, and an earlier report noted Apple will start an in-store trade-in program for used iPhones. Sources said that program will be heavily promoted within stores. It’s also notable that one source said to expect “an army of new products this fall.” [via 9to5Mac]
Boston University has filed a lawsuit alleging Apple has infringed upon a patent held by computer engineering professor Theodore D. Moustakas. The 1997 patent for highly insulating mono crystalline gallium nitride thin films is alleged to be infringed upon in the iPhone 5, iPad, and MacBook Air. BU has reportedly filed identical claims against other companies, including Amazon and Samsung. The university plans to show in court that “at least one other company pays a licensing fee” for use of the allegedly infringed component. [via Boston Herald]
Apple has hired Paul Deneve, former CEO of French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. Deneve will report to CEO Tim Cook as a vice president working on “special projects,” according to Bloomberg. He previously worked for Apple in Europe in the 1990s. Considering Deneve’s fashion background, it’s possible those “special projects” may include Apple’s smart watch — the company has recently filed for an iWatch trademark in numerous countries.
Apple is close to a deal with Time Warner Cable that would give Time Warner subscribers access to channels on Apple TV, Bloomberg reports. An agreement between the two companies could be announced “within a few months,” according to sources. A recent Apple TV update added HBO GO and WatchESPN to the device, among other subscription services. Sources also say Apple is hiring Hulu senior vice president Pete Distad to help negotiate with media and cable companies.
Apple was granted a patent for a touch-sensitive bezel that could act as another form of input on a device. The filing details a method in which a display screen would be accompanied by a bezel that covers “a second portion of the active area.”
Sensors would recognize when the bezel is about to be used for input. The appearance of the bezel could be adjusted so control functions could become visible upon use, by changing the transparency of the active area; buttons hidden below the bezel could conceivably begin to glow as fingers approach. [via Apple Insider]
It has been discovered that Apple has filed for an “iWatch” trademark in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, and Colombia, just one day after learning the company filed for the same trademark in Japan. Apple has also apparently filed for the trademark in Russia. The easily found, widely reported trademark filings are unlike Apple; though a smart watch release from the company seems inevitable, it’s still unclear if this means we’ll be seeing the device earlier than expected. [via 9to5Mac, MacRumors]
Apple is likely to launch its annual Back to School promotion this week — and possibly tomorrow — according to a report. Eligible students will receive an iTunes/App Store gift card with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, and now, an iPhone. While $100 gift cards come with a Mac purchase, an iOS device purchase will net students a $50 gift card. Last year’s promotion ran from June into September — there’s a possibility this year’s promotion could run later due to its late starting date. [via 9to5Mac]
Update: Apple’s Back to School promotion started today, July 2, and it runs through Sept. 6.
Apple is reportedly negotiating with South Korea’s SK Telecom to release an LTE-Advanced iPhone 5S in “the coming months” in South Korea. An SK Telecom official said the company approached Apple to include LTE-A technology. “We are in the middle of negotiations,” the official said. It’s unclear if Apple has plans to include LTE-A technology in all iPhone 5S models, and whether the approach to Apple—a company that has been hesitant to adopt regionally-available cellular technologies outside of the United States—will be successful. [via The Korea Times]
Recent U.K. tax filings have revealed Apple paid no corporation tax last year, despite making about $103 million in pre-tax profits. A report states, “Tax deductions from share awards to employees helped wipe out the corporate tax liabilities of the UK subsidiaries in the year to September 2012.” Apple paid around $17 million in taxes the previous year. The new findings only increase public pressure on the company, as Apple faced questioning from the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on tax issues in May. [via Financial Times]
France’s Competition Authority recently searched Apple’s French headquarters, in addition to Apple wholesalers and retailers, according to a report. A 24-hour search was conducted, and documents were seized by investigators. The Competition Authority confirmed the searches, which appear to be based on anti-competitive issues. Among details noted in the report, France’s largest Apple reseller, eBizcuss, went bankrupt last year, and the company accused Apple of favoring its own retail stores. The report also notes the App Store is being monitored, possibly due to an increase last year in pricing for newspapers and magazines. [via LesEchos.fr (translated link)]
Apple is looking to trademark “iWatch” in Japan, according to Bloomberg. The company filed for the trademark with the Japan Patent Office on June 3. A prior report noted Apple filed for “iWatch” in Russia, though that report could not be independently confirmed. The name of Apple’s rumored smart watch is still unknown, but “iWatch” is certainly a distinct possibility based on these reported filings.
A new report from app analytics company Distimo claims that an app must make an average of $47,000 per day to crack the App Store’s top ten in top grossing apps. The report also notes a top ten paid app generally averages about 4,000 downloads per day, while a top ten free app averages about 72,000 downloads per day. An app that reaches the top 50 in the top grossing charts earns an average of $12,000 each day for iPhone apps, and $10,200 for iPad apps.
On a related note, Apple is introducing new pricing tiers in some of the international App Stores, a new report notes. A new 99-cent Euro price has been introduced for European countries, while a number of other countries have seen changes, as well. [via Apple Insider, 9to5Mac]
Foxconn has demonstrated an iPhone-compatible smart watch, which it plans to release on its own as an iOS accessory. The watch can measure vital signs, as well as check phone calls and Facebook posts. Though other iOS-compatible Bluetooth smart watches have already been released — such as Martian’s Passport Watch, ConnecteDevice’s Cookoo and Pebble — Foxconn’s watch is notable because the company has been Apple’s key manufacturing partner for years, and most likely would not want to damage its relationship with the Cupertino company by directly challenging it. [via WantChinaTimes]
A new Wall Street Journal report notes Google is also developing an Android-powered watch. Samsung is also developing a watch, ensuring Apple will have plenty of competitors for its own rumored watch-like device.
Apple will pay royalties for iTunes Radio based on both how many times listeners hear a song, and how much advertising Apple sells, according to a report. iTunes Radio will pay labels 13 cents each time a song is played, in addition to 15 percent of net advertising revenue, “proportionate to a given label’s share of the music played on iTunes.” The rates will rise to 14 cents and 19 percent of ad revenue in the second year of iTunes Radio. These rates exceed the 12 cents per listen paid by Pandora, which is very similar to iTunes Radio.
It’s notable, however, that a number of songs played on iTunes Radio will be exempt from paid royalties. These include songs already in a listener’s iTunes library, songs on an album that is partially owned by a listener, and “Heat Seeker” tracks selected for special promotions. Apple also avoids paying royalties for songs skipped before 20 seconds have played, but the company can only avoid royalty payments for two songs per hour. These terms, given to independent labels, are “similar but not identical to” the terms given to the three major labels — Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment. There are also references to terms regarding the use of music in talk, weather, sports, and news programming on iTunes Radio, but the report notes “it’s unlikely Apple will invest much in creating such programming.” [via The Wall Street Journal]
Apple has launched its official Russian online store, offering Russian customers the opportunity to directly buy iPhones, iPads, iPods and more. In addition to a full product lineup, the store also offers customer support.
New image detectors that recognize facial expressions — such as blinking or smiling — have been added to iOS 7 beta 2, according to a report. Facial recognition has been around since iOS 5, but the new APIs could allow developers to add new features based on particular expressions, such as taking a photo when no one in the frame is blinking. Although at this point the feature only appears in the underlying iOS APIs, it’s possible that Apple could include new features in its own Camera app for the official release of iOS 7, as new Camera features are usually instituted with each new OS. [via 9to5Mac]
Samsung is in discussions to settle with the European Union regulator regarding charges that the company blocked Apple from using an essential patent. In December, the European Commission informed Samsung it was unfair in seeking injunctions over the use of essential patents. Samsung has been discussing a settlement for months, according to a source.
Meanwhile, Apple has lost an appeal in Japan. Apple claimed Samsung infringed a patent regarding the synchronization of phone/tablet media files with servers, but the previous August ruling for Samsung was upheld, rejecting Apple’s infringement claim. [via Reuters, Bloomberg]