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Apple invite officially confirms Sept. 10 iPhone event

Apple has started to invite members of the media to a special event on September 10 at 10:00AM Pacific Time, one week from today. Scheduled to be held at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, the event’s invitation includes the phrase, “This should brighten everyone’s day.” It consists of an Apple logo atop a collection of dots, brightly colored similarly to tones seen in both iOS 7 icons and leaks of the iPhone 5C.

The event will almost certainly include the formal announcement of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, as well as the final release of iOS 7—at the very least, for iPhones and iPod touches. Reports have suggested that Apple will use a separate event, most likely in October, to debut new iPad models.

Publisher e-book settlement to pay from $162.25M fund

Macmillan and Penguin — two publishers that agreed to settle in the Apple e-book price-fixing case — now have a website detailing the distribution of a $162.25 million settlement fund. Customers eligible to receive a settlement payment are already being contacted. U.S. customers who purchased one or more e-books from Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, or Hachette between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 — including their divisions — are included in the settlement. Those who bought e-books through Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo will not be required to fill out a claim — Amazon customers will receive an automatic credit, while those who used the other e-bookstores will be notified to activate a credit. Though the exact payment amounts are unknown, the website estimates customers could receive $3.06 for each New York Times bestseller e-book, and $ .73 for non-NY Times bestsellers. This settlement will not affect any customer rights that may come from the conclusion of the ongoing Apple e-book lawsuit.

TV Shows disappear from Apple TV menu in outage

Apple TV is experiencing an unusual outage that is preventing users from accessing the TV Shows features of the devices. As of this writing, the TV Shows icon has been missing for over an hour.

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A number of users have tweeted about the issue within the past hour, and our devices are not seeing the icon, either. Apple has yet to comment on the outage.

Updated: The TV Shows app returned to U.S. Apple TVs after a roughly five-hour outage.

Report: AppleCare+ to debut in Europe

Apple will soon launch its AppleCare+ extended warranty program in Europe, according to a French report. AppleCare+ was introduced for the iPhone in the U.S. in 2011, and later expanded to include the iPad in addition to launching in Canada and Japan. Despite rumours of a U.K. launch last year, AppleCare+ was never made available in Europe, which continues to offer customers the standard AppleCare Protection Plan. AppleCare+ is an enhanced version of the standard AppleCare plan which provides iPhone and iPad users with coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to handling. No exact timeline or specific countries were mentioned in the report. Notably, Apple has had issues involving properly informing customers about warranty rights in a number of European countries. [via iGen.fr (translated link)]

E-book case judge seeks competition, not Apple punishment

The judge who found Apple guilty of fixing e-book prices doesn’t want the government’s proposed remedies to drastically affect Apple’s business, reports the Associated Press. “I want this injunction to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business,” U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said. Cote believes any provisions that would affect the App Store — such as allowing third party apps to link to their own e-bookstores — are unnecessary. “The App store (sic) was only an incidental part of this trial,” she said. Cote also said she would likely limit the authority of a monitor that would be assigned to prevent antitrust behavior at Apple. A trial to determine damages is still set for May 2014.

Apple acquires Swedish algorithm developer AlgoTrim

Apple has acquired AlgoTrim, a Swedish company that specializes in compression algorithms for mobile phones. AlgoTrim “developed algorithms for lossless compression of processing instructions in operating systems and applications,” according to a Swedish news service. The compression techniques allow for faster processing and reduced use in flash memory. AlgoTrim’s software was found in about 100 million phones by the end of 2011, with the company previously focusing on Android phones. Apple has made five known acquisitions in recent weeks, most recently acquiring transit app developer Embark. [via Rapidus]

Report: 64-bit chip unlikely in iPhone 5S

Despite recent speculation, it’s unlikely that Apple’s iPhone 5S will actually contain a 64-bit chip, according to a new report. ARM Ltd’s first 64-bit mobile processor cores aren’t expected to appear in smartphones until 2014, and a shift from 32-bit to 64-bit architectures would only yield an 8 to 10 percent performance boost on its own, suggests ARM’s James Bruce. Bruce also said the industry will move to 64-bit mobile chips “over the next four years,” starting with the Cortex-A53, ARM’s first 64-bit mobile processor. The report concludes with the assumption that Apple is indeed pursuing and testing 64-bit chips, but such tests can’t be taken as definitive evidence that such a chip is forthcoming this year. [via Network World]

Apple iPhone Reuse + Recycle Program starts Aug. 30 (Update)

Apple’s new iPhone trade-in program, the iPhone Reuse and Recycle Program, will roll out in select Apple stores this Friday, August 30, according to 9to5Mac. The program will roll out on a larger scale in September. Apple store employees will offer a value for an old iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S or 5 based on display and button quality, hardware and liquid damage, engraving, and if the device powers on and works normally. When trading in the device, customers will receive a gift card with the determined value amount to go toward the new iPhone. Customers will receive the old SIM card and employees will offer to setup the new iPhone.

As was reported in June, BrightStar will handle shipping and processing. Non-functioning iPhones with no worth will also be recycled through BrightStar. It’s also noted that “trade-in pricing for the iPhones is slightly below the competition.” An unlocked, undamaged 16GB iPhone 5 could net about $279, and an AT&T version of the same iPhone will be worth around $255, both below current Gazelle rates. A GSM 8GB iPhone 4 “will be worth between $120 and $140,” while the CDMA version will be closer to $80.

Update (Aug. 30): Apple is rolling out its in-store iPhone trade-in program nationwide today, according to a CNBC tweet. It was initially reported that Apple would roll out the program in select stores before a larger rollout, but it now appears the company is launching the program in all U.S. Apple stores.

Apple says DOJ e-book remedies biased toward Amazon

Apple has responded to the U.S. Department of Justice’s revised remedies in the e-book price-fixing case, claiming that the proposed remedy is biased in favor of Amazon. Apple said in a court filing, “Plaintiffs are seeking a remedy that would give Amazon significant competitive advantage over Apple — an advantage it is neither entitled to nor deserves.” According to a report, Apple is “vehemently opposed” to Amazon and others providing links from e-book apps to their own bookstores without paying Apple. The company also takes issue with the proposal of an external monitor, and is still seeking new remedies from the DOJ. Apple and the DOJ are scheduled to meet in court today. [via AllThingsD]

New AppleCare website, 24/7 chat support launched

Apple has launched a redesigned AppleCare support website, alongside 24/7 chat support for both iOS devices and Macs. The new site offers a number of options to help users, including live online chat and phone calls from Apple Support — users can see wait times for both options.

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The streamlined site also offers suggestions to resolve frequent support issues, sorted by device. A recent report noted that Apple would soon be introducing these revamped online support options. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Apple’s iPhone trade-in program set for September

Apple is getting ready to launch its rumored iPhone trade-in program in its retail stores in September, according to a new report. The program will let customers trade in older iPhones for new models. A June report claimed Apple would be launching its trade-in program that month, but this most recent report claims a planned July launch was “pushed back for unspecified reasons.” In addition to pushing iPhone sales, Apple believes the program will convince customers to trade in damaged iPhones for newer devices, so Genius Bar workers will be able to concentrate on issues other than getting customers refurbished replacement phones. Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly emphasized selling more iPhones in Apple stores, and it would make sense for Apple to introduce such a program around the release of the company’s newest iPhones next month. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple restricting access to iWork for iCloud beta

Apple is denying some users access to iWork for iCloud beta, which just opened to the public on Friday. A message from Apple says the new service has “had an overwhelming response,” and that users should “check back soon.” No timeframe is given for when the service will open up to users who are currently unable to gain access. Public invites to iWork for iCloud beta were first sent out in July. [via 9to5Mac]

DOJ revises proposed Apple e-book price fixing remedy

The U.S. Department of Justice has revised its previously proposed remedy addressing Apple’s e-book price fixing. While the general terms have not dramatically changed, the DOJ has offered to reduce the length of the injunction from ten years down to five along with easing some of the restrictions on Apple’s ability to make new deals with book publishers.

Apple’s response to the original proposal was to call it “a draconian and punitive intrusion” into the company’s business, and has stated that it will be appealing the July 10th ruling, arguing that it “exceeds the bounds of even criminal price-fixing cases” and is an effort to “inflict punishment” upon the company. [via Engadget]

Apple revising App Store rankings system?

Apple may be working toward incorporating user ratings into its App Store Top Charts rankings, according to some new analysis by Fiksu, an app marketing startup. The report notes that based on some in-depth and ongoing analysis, it would appear that Apple has been at least testing changes to the iTunes ranking algorithms to factor in user ratings and reviews in addition to the traditional number and frequency of downloads—apps with four stars or more seem to be receiving a consistent ranking boost.

The report also notes that the position of apps in the App Store appear to be updating with less frequency—every three hours as opposed to every 15 minutes previously. Fiksu speculates that this change may be to add a ‘buffer’ period to prevent developers and marketers from trying to game the system through short download bursts. It is unclear at this point whether these changes are part of a new strategy on Apple’s part or simply the result of the company experimenting with the App Store rankings. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple pushes forward with major TV content providers?

A new report from Quartz suggests that Apple is continuing to pursue talks for a future television offering. The report suggests that Apple has shifted its focus to negotiating directly with individual content providers rather than traditional cable companies. New sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Apple is negotiating with production studios and networks such as Disney’s ESPN, Time Warner’s HBO, and Viacom about possible strategies. Additionally, Apple reportedly has concluded that it “doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy,” rather just “enough good programming to distinguish the new product.”

While it remains unclear what stage these talks are at, sources indicate that Apple’s strategy could involve forming its own pay television service with content delivered entirely over the Internet—a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”), akin to planned offerings from Google, Intel, and Sony. With agreements from content providers, Apple could also offer channel-specific apps without the need for an existing cable television subscription. Apple has already gradually rolled out new services to the current Apple TV set top box, with both ESPN and HBO GO being added in a software update in June. These apps, however, depend on existing cable television subscriptions to the ESPN and HBO channels, as well as streaming agreements with specific cable providers.

iWork for iCloud beta opens to public?

Apple appears to have opened its iWork for iCloud beta to the general public, allowing anybody with an Apple ID to access its new web-based productivity suite. Originally only available to registered iOS Developers, Apple later sent out invitations to some users to the beta to for early access to the service.

Users can check out the new Pages, Numbers, and Keynote web apps by logging on with their normal Apple ID and password at iCloud.com. It is unclear at this point how long this public beta period for iWork for iCloud will run or whether Apple will continue to provide the web apps as a free service to iCloud users following release. [via Engadget]

 

Apple acquires transit app developer Embark

In a continuing quest to improve the quality of its mapping services, Apple has reportedly acquired transit app development firm Embark, a small Silicon Valley startup that develops free transit apps for iOS. While it is unclear how much Apple paid for the acquisition, the report notes that Apple plans to integrate Embark’s technology into Apple Maps, according to people knowledgeable about the deal. This is the second transit-related company Apple has acquired in the past few weeks, following its acquisition of HopStop in July, and suggests that Apple is working to develop its own transit guidance system to fill the gap in Apple Maps since it switched away from Google Maps last year. [via 9to5Mac]

Apps: Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3 1.3, Yahoo Weather 1.2, YouTube 2.0

Gameloft has released Asphalt 8: Airborne (iLounge Rating: A), an extremely impressive new instalment in the company’s long-running Asphalt racing game series. Asphalt 8 sets a new high standard for iOS gaming, taking the player through eight “seasons” with 180 diverse, fun, and interesting racing events. As its name hints, Asphalt 8: Airborne also introduces vehicular acrobatics to the mix, with ramps scattered throughout courses allowing players to flip their car through barrel rolls, 360-degree spins, and more. Visually and sonically fantastic, a tremendous amount of fun to play, challenging, and diverse in unexpected ways, it’s the best driving game we’ve yet seen in the App Store.

Real Racing 3 has been updated to version 1.3, introducing a whole new iconic collection of big Dodge and Shelby V8 muscle cars hailing from Detroit, along with a new racing series to feature the collection. The update also makes improvements to difficulty tuning, visual physics, and cameras, and adds additional social networking options for Time Shifted Multiplayer and Cloud Save.

iMessage, iCloud services down for some users

Apple’s system status page is reporting problems with several iOS and iCloud services since approximately 12:30 AM EDT. The site notes that some users may be unable to use iCloud Documents, Photo Stream, iPhoto Journals, Backup & Restore, or send or download attachments in iMessage. While the status update notes that less than 1% of users are affected by the service outage, with over 250 million iCloud users, this potentially represents over 2 million people.

Vevo coming to Apple TV this week?

Following previous reports that music video site Vevo is developing an Apple TV app, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Vevo—a joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group—has already signed a deal with Apple to deliver on-demand music videos to the Apple TV along with a new channel of original programming. The Wall Street Journal cites “people familiar with the matter” as noting that Apple could release the Vevo Apple TV app as soon as this week. A similar deal has been made with Samsung, however its launch is reportedly “a few weeks away.”

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