Today at its event, Apple unveiled the highly anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, focused primarily on an enhanced design aesthetic, water and dust resistance and some significant camera improvements. Both of the iPhone 7 models now come in a new jet black glossy finish and black finish, in addition to the more standard silver, gold, and rose gold options, and also now feature IP67 water and dust resistance. A new taptic, force-sensitive Home button replaces the prior mechanical button, allowing real-time haptic feedback in both built-in and third-party apps for things like quick actions, messages, and notifications.
Apple today announced the release of the next-generation Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 2. Key features of the new model include swimproof water resistance of up to 50 meters, along with a faster dual-core CPU, a GPU with twice the performance of the prior model, and a new second-generation display that is twice as bright. The Series 2 model will also feature a built-in GPS so that workouts can be tracked without needing an iPhone in tow, with a fast start so users don’t need to wait for a GPS fix, and route map and GPS-accurate pace and distance. Developers will also be able to access the built-in GPS via watchOS 3 APIs. The Apple Watch Series 2 adds a new white ceramic model with a casing that is four times harder than stainless steel, while other body and wrist band options remain much the same as the first Apple Watch, now known as Apple Watch Series 1.
Follow @iLounge on Twitter during Apple’s event today for up-to-the-second coverage of everything new about the iPhone 7, Apple Watch 2, and any other surprises Apple has in store. After the event ends we’ll have all the details here, so check back regularly throughout the day for an in-depth look. Apple’s special event starts at 10 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. EST), and will be streaming live on Apple’s website and on Apple TV’s Special Events channel.
Apple has asked manufacturing partner Foxconn to look into the possibility of making iPhones in India within the next two or three years, The Economic Times of India reports. Sources with knowledge of the matter said Apple began the inquiry after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue during a meeting earlier this year. The new report seems to corroborate earlier reports that Foxconn’s $10 billion facility in the Indian state of Maharashtra will focus on iPhone production. That plant should be up and running within 18 months, and Apple recently opened a development office for its Maps app in Hyderabad as well, doubling down on its commitment to India as it moves to open retail stores in the country. Apple is likely to gain a three-year exemption to open its stores without meeting requirements that it obtain 30 percent of its product materials locally, but will need to come into compliance with those regulations after that period expires.
Apple is moving ahead with some more of the App Store changes promised back in June, with an email sent to developers today announcing new auto-renewable subscription capabilities and advising that they can now begin getting their apps and games ready for the new subscription model. As Apple’s developer page on Offering Subscriptions explains, auto-renewable subscriptions can now be offered on all Apple platforms and in all app categories, including games, to provide users with access to content or services on an ongoing basis, and automatically renew until a user chooses to cancel. Developers will be able to allow users to sign up for subscriptions with free trial periods, subject to the normal subscription durations, and will also be able to offer upgrades, downgrades, and crossgrades to subscriptions, all controlled via Apple’s in-app purchase APIs.
Ireland’s cabinet has agreed that it will join Apple in an appeal against the European Commission’s €13 billion (~ $14.5b USD) demand for back taxes from the company, Reuters reports. Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan has been on the record since the EU began investigating Apple’s Irish tax affairs in 2014 in stating that the government would fight any adverse ruling in order to protect Ireland’s interests in attracting large multinational companies to the country. Although the cabinet ministers have agreed to join in the appeal, Ireland’s minority government is currently supported by independents who have concerns about multinationals tax policies being reviewed to ensure foreign companies are “seen to be paying their fair share.” However, the main opposition party also favors a legal challenge, suggesting that the government should have no problem winning parliamentary support to move forward with the appeal. The cabinet is expected to ask parliament to endorse the legal challenge next Wednesday.
In addition to unveiling next-generation iPhones, it appears that Apple will also unveil new Beats products at next week’s event, according to an email received from the Beats PR team by iGeneration. Although the announcement merely says “a selection of new Beats by Dre products will be unveiled” without going into specifics, considering that the iPhone 7 is expected to omit the headphone jack in favor of the Lightning port, it seems likely that new Lightning-equipped headphones and possibly even wireless headphones will make their debut.
In an email sent to registered developers, Apple today announced that as of Sept. 7 it will begin “an ongoing process of evaluating apps” and removing any apps that “no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated” with a goal of improving the quality of apps in the App Store and making it easier for users to find apps which meet their needs. The announcement notes that the review will cut across all categories on the App Store, and developers of apps that don’t meet the criteria will be contacted to be given a 30-day window to make any necessary changes in order for their app to remain on the App Store. Apps that are completely non-functional — that is, those that crash on launch — will be removed immediately. Apps that are removed will only be taken down from the App Store’s catalog, and users who have already downloaded a removed app will be able to continue using it and even take advantage of in-app purchases.
A new report from Re/code reveals that after Apple CEO Steve Jobs turned over the reigns of the company, he planned to remain with Apple working on his own secret pet project to reinvent television. Walt Mossberg explains how Jobs called him on the night that he formally handed over the Chief Executive role to Tim Cook and shared his TV ambitions, telling Mossberg, “I think we figured out a way to do it, and it’s going to be fantastic.” Although Jobs invited Mossberg to come and see what he was working on, the untimely demise of the former CEO only two months later meant that much of his vision never came to fruition. The report notes that “Mossberg believes (Jobs) was talking about an integrated set.” Of course, Apple has yet to introduce its own TV set, and rumors on that front died down some time ago.
In an exclusive interview with Ireland’s Independent, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated on the record that he rejects the European Competition Commissioner’s assertion that Apple did not pay sufficient tax in Ireland as “total political crap” and that he believes Ireland is being “picked on” by the European Union in an effort to forcibly harmonize tax rates across the EU without any kind of public discussion.
I think we’ll work very closely together, as we have the same motivation. No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable.
Cook went on to state that the Commission just “picked a number” from nowhere, and that in the year that Commission alleges that Apple paid only 0.005pc tax in Ireland, the company actually paid $400 million, making it what he believes was the highest taxpayer in the entire country during that year. Cook’s latest comments stem from the EU’s ruling earlier this week that Apple owed €13 billion (~ $14.5b USD) in back taxes to Ireland, stating that the Irish government provided selective tax benefits to Apple — a practice illegal under EU state aid rules. Despite this, Cook emphasizes that Apple will still be pressing ahead with its expansion in Ireland, including a new data center in Country Galway and 1,000 new jobs in its offices in Cork. “I want to be really clear that we are very committed on Ireland,” Cook said.
A judge has thrown out a former partner’s claim that the he was double-crossed by Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine during negotiations for the headphone maker’s $3 billion sale to Apple, the Associated Press reports. Noel Lee, founder of video and audio cable maker Monster, contended that Dre and Iovine orchestrated a “sham” deal with HTC in 2011 that led to the termination of Beats’ alliance with Monster and reduced his 5 percent share in Beats to 1.25 percent. Lee said Beats’ misrepresentations led him to sell off that remaining stake for $5.5 million in 2013, ahead of the 2014 Apple deal that would have made that stake worth $30 million.
Apple has filed a scathing response to Australian banks requesting the ability to negotiate to have their own mobile payment apps featured on the iPhone, claiming the country’s “big three” banks are looking to stall Apple Pay’s adoption among consumers to stifle competition. The banks asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for the right to collectively bargain with Apple, and while the ACCC refused their request for interim approval to start the negotiations, the Commission won’t release its final ruling until October.
After a three-year investigation, the European Commission has concluded that Ireland should recover 13 billion euros (about $14.5 billion) in back taxes from Apple, saying the company’s deal in that country was illegal, the BBC reports. The commission said Apple paid substantially less than other companies, ending up with a corporate tax rate of no more than 1 percent while other companies pay around 12.5 percent. “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
The European Commission will rule against Ireland’s tax deals with Apple on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The commission will reportedly make the recommendation for Ireland to recoup more than 1 billion Euros (about $1.19 billion) in back taxes from Apple. Both Apple and Ireland have previously said they would appeal any such ruling, and neither Apple nor the European Commission has commented as of yet. Despite the commission’s recommendation, Irish authorities will be able to determine exactly what must be owed — further details will likely emerge upon the expected official announcement from the European Commission on Tuesday.
A nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple by some iPhone 6/6 Plus owners, Reuters reports. The suit has been prompted by the issue which iFixit recently dubbed “Touch Disease” — flickering gray lines appear at the top of an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, causing the screen to become glitchy or unresponsive. iFixit claims Apple has refused to recognize the problem as a major issue. The problem may be caused by bending either phone, which causes connections between the touchscreen controller chips and logic board to break down.
Apple has sent out media invitations to its upcoming event, slated for Sept. 7. The invite features a series of colored dots and a simple caption: “See you on the 7th.” The event is being held at 10 a.m. Pacific time, in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It’s expected that we’ll see the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus debut at the event, along with launch dates for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. It’s also conceivable that we’ll see new Apple Watch models and new MacBook Pro models. We’ll have live coverage on Twitter during the event, with all the vital information to follow here on iLounge.com.
Apple has released the seventh public beta of iOS 10 through its Apple Software Beta Program, continuing enhancements to Music, Maps, Messages, and News. 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. The company also released the corresponding developer beta for iOS 10 along with a seventh developer beta of tvOS 10. As usual, the latest 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, and the beta cycle continues to ramp up as the new operating systems move closer to final release, with the latest iOS 10 developer beta representing the third new beta released in the past two weeks.
Apple is planning to release new technology in the next generation iPhone that will support mobile payments and tap-to-pay for transit in Japan, Bloomberg reports. While most countries use payment terminals compatible with the NFC standard already used by Apple Pay in current iPhone models, Japanese systems use a Sony-designed technology known as FeliCa. Sources reveal that Apple plans to include this hardware technology in the next-generation iPhone, although the functionality could be held back until later depending on how Apple’s negotiations with Japan-based payment networks go. The feature would allow customers in Japan to store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones, which could then be tapped against entrance scanners in place of a physical card. Although the FeliCa chip is used across the board, there are still multiple providers of transit payment cards for different types of transit and regions within the county, and Apple intends to work with multiple providers to ensure maximum coverage for the feature. The FeliCa chip is also used by Japanese point-of-sale systems, so the move would allow Apple to effectively roll out Apple Pay in Japan as well.
Apple has released iOS 9.3.5, its third minor update in the past six weeks, coming only a little more than three weeks on the heels of the release of iOS 9.3.4. As with the prior release, the latest update appears to be another minor patch, with release notes merely describing it once again as “an important security update” that is recommended for all iOS 9 users. With iOS 10 expected to debut in the near 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.
Apple has been working on a new video sharing and editing application with a focus on social networking, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Sources familiar with Apple’s strategy suggest that the move is aimed at taking on apps such as Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. The move would likely expand on new features in iOS 10’s new Messages app, which will bring new animated effects, stickers, and tools expandable via third-party App Store plug-ins — features clearly designed to bring the Messages app more into line with apps like Snapchat to appeal to a younger set of users.