In a rare move, Apple is providing automatic refunds for users who bought the Peace ad blocker for iOS 9, according to developer Marco Arment. The app was pulled from the app store by Arment shortly after its launch, prompting more than 13,000 users to request refunds through the manual process. Arment said Apple contacted him to say the company was going to issue proactive refunds to everyone who bought the app, which he said “effectively never happens. When I decided to pull the app, I asked some Apple friends if this was even possible, and we all thought the same thing: iTunes billing works the way it works, period, and no special cases can be made.” In this instance, Apple seems to have made an exception, and users who purchased the app should see a refund notification from Apple within a few days. [via iMore]
Apple is setting 2019 as the target for shipping its first vehicle, an electric car, The Wall Street Journal reports. Project leaders “have been given permission to triple the 600 person team,” sources said. Though much talk has surrounded the company’s plans to create a self-driving car, this new report claims an electric car is the first step, with a self-driving car being part of a larger, long-term plan. It’s also noted that Apple’s ship date may not mean wide consumer release; to Apple, “it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product’s main features.” There is reportedly skepticism from some sources regarding this aggressive timeline. Apple declined comment.
Apple confirmed that iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus units will be available at 8 a.m. local time Friday in Apple retail stores, but recommends getting there early to secure one. Apple notes that those living in tax-free U.S. states will have to make a reservation for their phone, as will residents of China, Hong Kong and Japan. Other U.S. customers can line up and take their chances Friday morning or make an online reservation for in-store pick up starting Saturday. Both models will also be available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, other cellular carriers and some Apple Authorized Resellers, but customers buying the new phone at an Apple retail store will be offered free personal setup.
Sprint announced it will be selling the Apple Watch starting Sept. 25, and T-Mobile might not be far behind with CEO John Legere tweeting that the watch is coming, but not offering a firm date. After experiencing strong sales, Apple is expanding sales of the Apple Watch to all Best Buy locations this month, with more retailers and cellular carriers likely to be added to that list in the weeks to come. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is trying to rid the App Store of hundreds of apps containing a malicious program called XcodeGhost, Reuters reports. The flaw was brought to Apple’s attention by several cybersecurity firms last week, including Palo Alto Networks, which claims that popular apps like Angry Birds 2 and WeChat have been built with a counterfeit version of Xcode downloaded from Chinese servers. The malware’s primary function is to collect information stored on devices and upload that data to remote servers, but it has also been found to prompt fake alerts to phish for passwords from users, hijack opening specific URLs, and read and write data into the user’s clipboard, allowing the malware to read a user’s password if it is copied from a password management tool.
Apple hasn’t commented on what iPhone and iPad users can do to determine which devices have been infected, but spokeswoman Christine Monaghan said, “We’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software. We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.” So far that list doesn’t include popular apps like Angry Birds 2 or WeChat, which are still available in the App Store as of Monday morning. Angry Birds maker Rovio has also made no mention if the XcodeGhost bug, making the app’s inclusion on the list even more baffling. Palo Alto Networks Director of Threat Intelligence Ryan Olson said the firm had uncovered no clear cases of data theft or harm as a result of the attack so far, but that the attack is significant because it proved the App Store’s security can be compromised by infecting the machines of software developers writing legitimate apps. The full list of affected apps published by Palo Alto Networks (including titles translated from Mandarin by Business Insider) is listed below:
Apple has registered an entity in the Shanghai free-trade zone to operate Apple Pay in China, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple Technology Service (Shanghai) Ltd. is the name of the new entity, which was registered in June. A number of issues have delayed an Apple Pay launch in the country, but this most recent development puts Apple in position to gain approval from regulators to enter the market. If the company does get approved, the WSJ notes that Apple “would be entering a market where electronic payments are already deeply entrenched”— a main competitor would be Alibaba’s Alipay, which has about 320 million mobile users. Nevertheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously said that he’s “bullish” on Apple Pay’s potential in the country.
Apple executives met with California’s department of motor vehicles last month to discuss plans for the company’s self-driving car, The Guardian reports. The DMV would only state that “the Apple meeting was to review [the] DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations” and nothing further. California is developing regulations for “the post-testing deployment of autonomous vehicles” — such regulations could very well be adopted nationwide in the future. This report suggests that Apple’s self-driving car “is almost ready for public view.” A report from last month claimed Apple was looking at testing locations for the vehicle.
Apple has won some ground back against Samsung in a recent U.S. federal appeals court decision, Variety reports. The court ruled that a lower court decision erred in denying Apple’s request for an injunction to prevent Samsung from using certain Apple-patented features. A Northern California federal district court had previously denied Apple’s request, indicating that Apple had failed to prove that Samsung’s infringement of Apple’s patents was the sole cause of lost sales. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rules that this decision was in error, and that Apple had also established that monetary damages alone were not sufficient compensation. “The right to exclude competitors from using one’s property rights is important. And the right to maintain exclusivity — a hallmark and crucial guarantee of patent rights deriving from the Constitution itself — is likewise important,” the court said. The patented features that Apple is seeking to bar Samsung from using in its devices include slide-to-unlock, automatic links for features like calling, and text autocorrection. The Federal Circuit court’s decision vacated the lower court’s order denying the injunction and remanded the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.
Apple has made another acquisition in efforts to continue building up its Maps infrastructure, Re/code reports. The company this month acquired Mapsense, a startup that builds location data analysis and visualization tools, paying somewhere between $25 million and $30 million for the small twelve-person team, according to multiple sources familiar with the details. Apple provided its usual generic statement that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
As hinted at during last week’s event, Apple has released iMovie 2.2, an update designed primarily to bring 4K video editing support for the new iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPad Pro. In addition to 4K video, the update also introduces support for 1080p video at 60fps and adds 3D Touch interactions for the new iPhone models. Several iPad enhancements have also been added, including a new user interface design for the iPad Pro, including a full-height media browser and 1080 HD viewer, support for editing shortcuts on external keyboards, improved Inspector controls, and redesigned Project Details and Video views. The new version also adds support for Slide Over and Split View along with a redesigned Audio Browser in the iMovie Extension for Photos.
As announced last week, Apple has released iOS 9, its latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update should now be available for over-the-air installation via Settings, General, Software Update, or by connecting to iTunes and using the Check for Updates option. Described by Apple as its “most advanced mobile experience”, the new version includes more intelligent Siri features, proactive suggestions, new keyboard and multitasking features for iPad users, and a number of under-the-hood performance and stability improvements. Stay tuned for our iOS 9 Instant Expert feature, filling you in on everything you need to know about iOS 9.
Stephen Colbert got his hands on a rose gold iPhone 6s during his interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook Tuesday on The Late Show, taking viewers through the basics of how to work the device’s 3D Touch technology within email. A light touch gave Colbert what Cook called a “peek,” a quick glance at the email he selected. A harder press resulted in a “pop,” actually opening the email for full viewing. The host noticed the haptic feedback immediately, saying, “It kind of touches me back.” Colbert even created a slapstick comedy bit with the phone’s new Live Photos feature, which records video during the second and a half before and after a photo is taken. The host pressed Cook on comments made by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick last week, who casually suggested that Apple was working on its own car project during his own interview with Colbert. Cook gave a standard non-answer, saying only, “We look at a number of things along the way and we decide to really put our energies in a few of those.”
Games made for the new Apple TV must support the device’s included remote, according to the App Programming Guide for tvOS, as pointed out by developer Dustin Westphal in a recent tweet. Although the device will support third-party controllers, those controllers can’t be required to play a game. This represents a change — as recently as last week, Apple allowed developers to require an extended game controller. Apple’s guide also notes “tvOS games that support controllers must support the extended control layout,” and games that support that layout must be playable solely using one standalone controller. All controllers for tvOS games must also have a pause button. [via TouchArcade]
Apple is beginning the process of shifting all of its cloud-based services to the open-source platform Mesos, The Information reports. After migrating Siri to Mesos earlier this year, Apple is combining all its cloud services onto one platform in the hopes of making it easier to deploy and scale new applications. The move will also make integrating all of Apple’s myriad products less cumbersome, but the company could have other motivations as well, with the report noting that Apple’s past secrecy about its code and internal technology has made it difficult to recruit open-source developers whose portfolios rely on being able to share their work publicly. Regardless of the reasons for the switch, implementing the changes is expected to take years to finish, so users won’t see the results of the shift for quite some time. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple is expanding its mapping research operations at a facility in Sweden, according to Swedish site DiGITAL. Citing a report from Rapidus, the site claims that after acquiring Swedish mapping company C3 Technologies in 2011, Apple quietly kept working on C3’s 3D modeling method, based on combinations of images taken by airplanes and cars from different angles. The new story claims Apple has been further developing that technology out of a facility in Lund, Sweden since last November, recently ramping up hiring. Apple has doubled down on improving its maps in recent years, sending its own vans out to collect data and acquiring other companies — like mapping firm Broadmap in 2013 and GPS firm Coherent Navigation this May — in addition to adding its new Transit feature to the Maps app in the upcoming iOS 9 release. [via 9to5Mac]
Luxury fashion house Burberry is the first brand to get its own channel on Apple Music, exclusively spotlighting British acts, Fortune reports. While a clothing and accessories brand may seem a strange fit for Apple Music, the company has been showcasing British music on its Burberry Acoustic site since 2010. Burberry also has deep ties to Apple leadership, with current Apple retail head Angela Ahrendts leaving Burberry’s CEO position to join Apple in 2013, then bringing Burberry’s former social media chief Musa Tariq over to Apple the following year. Burberry’s Apple Music channel includes playlists featuring emerging British talent, songs used on the runway and even a personal playlist from Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey, who said “I am excited about our partnership with Apple on this amazing platform which will enable us to take what we do now with Burberry Acoustic and share it with an even bigger audience.” The launch will include a series of special videos and a concert by Alison Moyet held at Burberry’s womenswear show in London next week.
While the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are relatively close in size to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, respectively, Apple’s latest product environmental reports show the new models are around 11 to 12 percent heavier, mostly due to the new 3D Touch screen technology. The display for the iPhone 6s weighs in at 29g, more than double the 12g weight of the display in the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6s Plus display weighs 40g compared to the iPhone 6 Plus’ 19g display, again, more than double the weight. Even with a marked decrease in the circuit board weight in both new phones and a slight drop in battery weight in the iPhone 6s (the iPhone 6s Plus’ battery weight stayed the same), both of the new models added enough weight in displays and glass to account for a 10.9 percent increase in weight for the iPhone 6s over the iPhone 6, and an 11.6 percent increase in weight for the iPhone 6s Plus over the iPhone 6 Plus.
In a banner message to users on its website, HopStop announced it will no longer be available in October, as Apple said it will be shutting down the popular transit directions app, according to 9to5Mac. Apple acquired HopStop in 2013 in an effort to improve its own transit directions in Apple Maps, and with those improvements coming online when iOS 9 launches on Sept. 16, Apple is shutting down HopStop’s app. The plan will leave some users in the lurch, as the transit feature in Apple Maps currently supports far fewer cities than the HopStop app. Apple is reportedly working quickly to close that gap — aiming to expand to cities like Boston and Tokyo, Japan by next year — and already provides transit directions for many areas outside those listed on it website, but in the meantime HopStop’s exit could leave users in countries like Russia, Israel and Australia without a working solution.
BMW’s new CEO told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that he is open to exploring a deeper partnership with Apple, Reuters reports. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with senior managers working on BMW’s i3 electric car and opened negotiations to use the body of the i3 as the basis for Apple’s own electric car. Those talks broke off amid big personnel changes at BMW, with Apple opting to pursue creating a car on its own and BMW skeptical of sharing its manufacturing expertise with outsiders, but BMW’s incoming CEO Harald Krueger said similarities between the BMW and Apple brands provide the potential for both companies to benefit from a partnership. “Fundamentally, both partners need to profit from the cooperation, otherwise it will not last. And both companies need to share the same principles, for example with regard to data security,” Krueger said.
Apple said strong pre-orders of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have put the company on pace to beat last year’s 10 million unit first weekend record, CNBC reports. The company said online demand for the iPhone 6s Plus exceeded its own forecasts and that it’s “working to catch up as quickly as we can,” while still guaranteeing that both iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus units will be available at Apple retail stores when they open next Friday. Online demand in China was particularly high, with wait times for the iPhone 6s Plus at three to four weeks and waits for the iPhone 6s around two to three weeks, as of last Saturday.