Apple has released the fifth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. The fifth 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, with the unveiling of each of the major new operating system releases; the fifth round of betas likely continues to refine the experience from the previous round of betas, with the release notes indicating mostly minor updates. We’ll update if any major developments pop up.
Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service has opened an investigation after receiving price-fixing allegations against Apple, Reuters reports. The agency said a citizen provided information showing that identical prices had been set for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models at 16 major resellers, and an independent investigation showed the resellers kept their prices at the same level for a certain period of time. Euroset, one of the retailers mentioned in the statement, denied coordinating prices with anyone. An Apple representative in Russia did not return a request for comment.
UPDATE: In a statement to Reuters, Apple has denied any wrongdoing, claiming the company didn’t require Russian resellers to fix prices. “Resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world,” the company’s press release said.
Supply chain sources are claiming Apple has a new piece of health tracking hardware in the works that will more accurately collect information like heart rate, pulse, blood sugar changes and lots of other personal measurements, the Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reports. The vague report doesn’t give any specifics about what the device will be or how it will be used, but Macotakara referred to it as a “new smart home terminal.”
In an interview with Fast Company, Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue admitted that the company’s embarrassment over its dismal Maps rollout directly led to its offering of public betas today. When the Maps app debuted in 2012 with bridges plunging into rivers, shopping malls marked as hospitals, and airport runways labeled as navigable roads, Apple went into crisis mode. “We had completely underestimated the product, the complexity of it. All the roads are known, come on! All the restaurants are known, there’s Yelp and OpenTable, they have all the addresses,” Cue said. “The mail arrives. FedEx arrives. You know, how hard is this?”
At this week’s Black Hat security conference, Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture, Ivan Krstic, announced that the company will begin offering cash bounties of up to $200,000 to security researchers who discover vulnerabilities in the company’s products, TechCrunch reports. While companies such as Google and Microsoft have long offered similar programs to encourage hackers to find and disclose vulnerabilities, Apple has traditionally remained a holdout, despite the strong emphasis that the company places on security — particularly in an era when solutions like Apple Pay, HomeKit, and HealthKit are storing more and more crucial data on user’s iOS devices and in Apple’s cloud.
Apple has been working for the past few years on developing a custom low-power Bluetooth radio chip for wireless earbuds, according to a new report in Forbes. The report notes that Apple could launch a set of Bluetooth earbuds as soon as September alongside the new iPhone model, which is expected to omit the 3.5mm headphone jack found on prior models. Recent leaks have suggested that Apple will bundle either Lightning EarPods or a Lightning audio adapter in with the next-generation iPhone models. Low-power Bluetooth headphones could provide another alternative — although it seems likely that such earphones would be sold as a separate option rather than being included in the package.
Apple is working on developing an enhanced digital TV guide service for its Apple TV, according to a new report from Re/code. According to industry sources cited by the report, Apple has been talking to TV programmers and other video companies about a solution that works not only on the Apple TV, but on other Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad. The new service appears to be an expansion of its Universal Search debuted on the fourth-generation Apple TV, letting users see what kind of programming is available in video apps such as HBO, Netflix, and ESPN, and to access shows and movies with a single click.
Apple has released iOS 9.3.4, a minor update that comes a little more than two weeks following the release of iOS 9.3.3, and purports to fix at least one security issue with the release notes merely describing it as “an important security update” that is recommended for all iOS 9 users. With iOS 10 expected to debut in the next six to eight weeks, 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.
A group of over 100 leading industrial design professionals and educators have filed an Amicus brief supporting Apple’s side in its long running design patent case with Samsung, a battle that began with a 2012 jury verdict in which Apple was initially awarded $930 million in damages as a result of Samsung’s copying of Apple’s industrial designs, before a number of other developments allowed the case to continue on without an end in sight.
As Congress correctly recognized, ‘it is the design that sells’ the product and ‘makes it possible to realize any profit at all.’
In the Amicus brief filed today, a group of notable design experts — which include such names as Braun’s Dieter Rams, Microsoft’s Executive Creative Director Raymond Riley, Bentley’s Director of Design Stefan Hans Sielaff, and even Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein, among dozens of others across the automotive, technology, fashion, and food industries — maintains that the industrial design of a product is in fact the most important factor that drives the sales of the product, supporting the original court and jury’s award that awarded the total profits to Apple from the sale of Samsung’s infringing smartphones, based on the fact that Samsung copied Apple’s designs and profited from them by selling more smartphones.
Almost nine months following its initial beta release on the Google Play Store, Apple’s Apple Music app for Android devices has officially dropped the “beta” tag with an update that appeared late yesterday. Although the app remained in beta status up until now, Apple continued to make improvements to the Apple Music experience on Android, adding support for a home screen widget for controlling playback, allowing the ability to save music to SD card storage, and support for Music Videos and purchasing of Family Plan subscriptions from within the app. In addition to removing the beta status, the latest update also adds equalizer settings and “a variety of performance, playback, and stability improvements.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced via Twitter yesterday that July set a new record for App Store sales, with the “highest-ever monthly billings and money paid to developers.” In a subsequent tweet, Cook went on to say that App Store developers have now collectively earned a total of over $50 billion over the past eight years that the App Store has been in operation.
July was a record-breaker for the @AppStore! Highest-ever monthly billings and money paid to developers.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 3, 2016
Last month during the company’s Q3 2016 conference call, Cook revealed that the App Store had reached its highest revenue ever, and that Apple also set a new record for the average amount spent per customer on the App Store. During the same call, Cook went on to say that Apple expects its services revenue to continue to grow, which will be driven largely by App Sales, and that he expects it to be the size of a Fortune 100 company by itself by this time next year.
Apple has released its third annual diversity report, providing an outline of the company’s efforts toward employment equality in the workplace. The latest data shows that Apple has a current workforce made up of 32 percent women and 22 percent minorities, and 37 percent of new hires globally over the past year were female and 27 percent were from minorities underrepresented in the U.S. Minorities made up 54 percent of new hires by Apple in the U.S. over the past year. This year’s report also includes a section addressing pay equity, stating that Apple reviewed its compensation for U.S. employees, closing any gaps that it found in order to achieve full pay equity in the U.S. The report states that Apple will continue to analyze salaries, bonuses, and annual stock grants of all employees worldwide to ensure that the company maintains pay equity across the board.
Apple and Broadcom have countersued the California Institute of Technology, claiming that the school’s Wi-Fi patents should be invalidated, MacRumors reports. Caltech’s original lawsuit claims Broadcom’s chips—used in several Apple devices—infringe on four of the school’s patents related to improvements in Wi-Fi standards. Apple is arguing that Caltech filing its lawsuit more than six years after publication of the 802.11n wireless standard makes it ineligible to collect damages. The company also pointed out that Caltech doesn’t make, use or sell any product that makes use of the patents.
Apple’s Smart Keyboard for both 9.7” and 12.9” iPad Pro models is now available in several new languages. Apple’s websites in regions where the new keyboard options are available allow users to select keyboards configured for Arabic, British English, French, Spanish, Italian, Korean and other languages. The rollout seems to have been done by region, so the British English model is available on Apple’s United Kingdom-based site and the Arabic option is listed on Apple United Arab Emirates site. So far, sites in Canada and the United States only show the standard English option as available for sale and Apple Stores aren’t offering the ability to order any of the specialized models.
Apple has released the third public beta of iOS 10 through its Apple Software Beta Program. Corresponding to the fourth beta released to developers earlier this week, the latest public beta continues enhancements to Music, Maps, Messages, and News. The latest version also features updated emoji characters first revealed yesterday, including Apple’s replacement of the gun emoji with a water gun. 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.
Kudelski Group, owners of software company OpenTV, has announced a deal to settle a legal fight over patents with Apple. In March, Kudelski Group won a German lawsuit against Apple over streaming technology used in iOS, OS X, the App Store, iTunes and on Apple TV, with similar lawsuits pending in the United States. In today’s announcement, Kudelski Group said it has reached a “comprehensive patent license agreement with Apple” and agreed to dismss all pending litigation over patents. Apple hasn’t publicly commented on the story and financial terms weren’t disclosed. Under the German ruling, Apple was barred from selling products that used the streaming software covered under the five OpenTV patents, but it’s not clear if the new settlement resolves that issue as well. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has released its new Apple TV Remote app in the App Store. The app, which requires iOS 9.3.2 or later, allows users to take advantage of features found on the 4th-gen Apple TV’s Siri Remote. Siri access is available from the app, and an iOS device can be used as a game controller, in addition to past features like a keyboard for text, and playback controls. The app works for 2nd and 3rd-gen Apple TV units, as well, but without the Siri and game controller features, of course. We first detailed the Apple TV Remote app in our tvOS 10: Inside the betas article, and now the app is available to the public for free.
Apple has released the fourth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. The fourth 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, with the unveiling of each of the major new operating system releases; the fourth round of betas likely continues to refine the experience from the third round of betas, with the release notes indicating mostly minor updates. We’ll update if any major developments pop up.
A federal judge has overturned a verdict requiring Apple to pay $625.6 million in damages to VirnetX for infringement of four patents, Reuters reports. This is the second time a judge has thrown out a huge judgment won by VirnetX against Apple. In 2014 an appeals court overturned a $368 million judgment over the uses of VirnetX patents in FaceTime technology, contending that Apple did infringe on the patents, but that the damages hadn’t been calculated properly. A second trial concluding this year put Apple on the hook for $625.6 million, but the most recent court decision contends that jurors may have been confused by repeated references to the earlier trial. “The repeated references to the prior jury verdict in the consolidated case resulted in an unfair trial,” U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder wrote. Schroeder has ordered that both cases be retried separately, with the first slated to begin on Sept. 26.
After Apple’s $1 billion investment in May, Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing has announced plans to buy Uber’s operations in China, Bloomberg reports. The deal will see Didi absorb Uber’s brand, business operations and stored data in the country, with Uber receiving a 20-percent stake in the combined company. Didi founder Cheng Wei and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will also join each other’s boards.