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Apple releases fifth iOS 10 public beta, sixth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10 + watchOS 3

Apple has released the fifth 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 sixth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. 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, with the unveiling of each of the major new operating system releases.

Cook touts artificial intelligence, augmented reality as big parts of Apple’s future

In an expansive interview with the Washington Post, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at Apple’s plans for the future, touching on artificial intelligence and augmented reality. While Cook dodged questions on the company’s car project, he was bullish on artificial intelligence’s ability to transform the dwindling cell phone market in the near future, renewing the company’s focus on things that will help users in their daily lives. Touting Apple’s own efforts and those of Uber and Lyft to integrate car-hailing services into Siri, he said the company opening up the personal assistant to third-party developers has unlocked a lot of potential. “Third-party developers are writing tons of those that will be available to the public in the fall,” Cook said of the integrations. “And that’s how we’re broadening Siri in a huge way.”

Report: Twitter in talks to bring app to Apple TV for streaming NFL games

Months after winning its bid to live-stream Thursday night NFL games, Twitter is in talks to bring its app to Apple TV, The New York Times reports. Apple was reportedly interested in the March bidding war over the rights to stream the games, but didn’t end up entering the race against rivals like Amazon, Google and Yahoo. A deal with Twitter would potentially let Apple gain access anyway, allowing millions of Apple TV users to watch the live broadcasts, according to two people briefed on the discussions. Whether the Apple TV app would be mostly identical to the company’s iOS app or a stripped down version (similar to what Adobe did with its Lightroom viewer) is unclear. Both Apple and Twitter declined to comment.

KGI: 10.5” iPad Pro model coming next year, flexible display in 2018

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo made is predicting three new iPad models for 2017 and even more “revolutionary” changes to the tablet in 2018. The analyst said Apple is working on a flexible AMOLED display and dramatic chassis redesign for the device in 2018, following a predicted drastic overhaul to the iPhone expected in 2017. Next year’s iPads are expected to be modest improvements by comparison, with an iPad Pro 2 possibly featuring the new A10X system-on-chip launching in 12.9” and 10.5” sizes. With the 10.5” iPad Pro reportedly set to replace the 9.7” Pro model, Apple is also expected to offer a 9.7” iPad of some sort in 2017, but as a low-cost alternative to the Pro options. [via , AppleInsider]

Report: Secondary speaker holes on new iPhone may be simply cosmetic

A new report from Nowherelese.fr (via MacRumors), suggests the the additional speaker holes shown on leaked photos of the next-generation iPhone may in fact be purely cosmetic in nature to give the device a symmetrical look, rather than indicating stereo speakers as previously speculated. Annotations in a leaked design drawing refer to the area that currently occupies the 3.5mm headphone jack as having simply a microphone and microphone mesh, oddly failing to mention the presence of a speaker in that location.

Apple gets approval to build proposed data center in Ireland

Over a year after announcing plans to build a new data center in County Galway, Ireland, Apple has finally received approval from Irish authorities to begin construction on the new facility. Apple has been granted permission to build only a single data center for now, but the company reportedly plans to build as many as eight facilities on the site over the next decade or so, although the company will have to reapply for planning permission to expand beyond the single one. The project is part of a plan by Apple to bring 1,000 new jobs to Ireland, and will be used to support Apple’s online services such as the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri for European customers. The data center will be constructed in a forest just outside the small town of Athenry, and Apple notes that it will be powered completely by renewable energy and build on land that a state forestry company used to grow and harvest non-native trees; Apple promises to restore native trees to the forest and create a new outdoor education space for local schools as part of the project. [via Business Insider]

Apple patent reveals possible electrocardiographic wearable health device

A new Apple patent application published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office outlines the design for a new wearable health device that would be capable of recording electrocardiographic signals and detecting and correcting for inversions in electrocardiographic measurements based on where the device is worn on the body. The patent, titled Method Of Detecting the Wearing Limb of a Wearable Electronic Device discusses a number of methods of wearable health technology, including not only a watch, but also a ring, pendant, brooch, wrist band, and bracelet, and would be designed to take accurate electrocardiographic measurements based on the electrode’s relative position to the heart automatically, based on the ability to determine where on the body that the device is being worn. It could then adjust the measurements accordingly. Interestingly, the patent comes on the heels of a report earlier this week suggesting that Apple is working on new health-related hardware for release next year that would more accurately collect information like heart rate, pulse, blood sugar changes, and more. [via Patently Apple]

Apple SVPs Cue and Federighi provide more insight into Apple Maps data gathering

A follow-up article today by Fast Company provides a more detailed transcript of its interview with Apple Senior Vice Presidents Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi discussing Apple’s challenges surrounding the introduction and ongoing development of its Maps platform. The in-depth comments provide some additional insight into how Apple has been rising to the challenge of improving the quality and accuracy of real-time data in Maps, highlighting some interesting approaches, such as determining where new businesses are opening by tracking geolocated app usage on iPhones, and determining road closures by analyzing traffic activity from users’ iPhones.

India creates new path for Apple to open stores

After last month’s news that India was clearing the way for Apple to open retail locations, the country’s finance minister has approved a proposal exempting the company from local sourcing requirements, Bloomberg reports. An anonymous source said the new rules will give India’s information technology ministry the authority to label a retailer of a single brand as a “cutting-edge technology” provider, opening a new path for Apple to gain a three-year exemption to the country’s requirement that it obtain 30 percent of its product materials locally. Apple can now reapply to open stores in India after failing to gain the exemption on its first attempt.

Report: South Korean battery maker claims to be partner in Apple car project

A South Korean battery company has allegedly signed on to supply batteries for Apple’s rumored car project, ETNews reports. The website cites a battery industry source who claims the unnamed manufacturer signed a non-disclosure agreement after meeting with an Apple employee. The company in question is said to have around 20 employees and hold international patents for hollow lithium-ion batteries. Maintaining an open center makes for a cooler-running battery, decreasing the need for cooling systems and preventing overheating.

Apple claims Australian banks’ request would damage iPhone security

After the three largest Australian banks filed an application to make their own mobile payment apps available on the iPhone, Apple has countered with claims that opening up its NFC technology could damage the device’s security, the Australian Financial Times reports. The company told Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission that Apple Pay “upholds very high security standards for our customers when they use Apple devices to make payments. Providing simple access to the NFC antenna by banking applications would fundamentally diminish the high level of security Apple aims to have on our devices.”

Apple releases fifth developer betas for iOS 10, tvOS 10 + watchOS 3

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.

Report: Key Apple supplier develops all-glass phone casing

In the wake of rumors that Apple’s 2017 iPhone will feature an all-glass body, Nikkei reports that Apple supplier FoxConn is in the process of developing a glass phone casing. Sources familiar with the developments said FoxConn has been experimenting with the glass chassis since last year, determined to secure its position as a key iPhone assembler. “It is only natural that Foxconn is trying to come up with glass chassis as the capabilities to provide more components will bolster its standing within the supply chain and help with more orders,” one source said. FoxConn declined to comment.

Russia investigating Apple for price fixing (Update: Apple denies wrongdoing)

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.

Rumor: Apple building new health-related hardware for 2017 release

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.”

Hulu moving free streaming service to new Yahoo View, switching to all-subscription model

Hulu is moving to an all-subscription model, ditching the ad-supported service that has let viewers watch free TV episodes since it launched nine years ago, Variety reports. Hulu’s free service will be phased out over the next few weeks, with an expanded distribution deal with Yahoo filling that void. The new Yahoo View site will offer the five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, NBC and Fox eight days after they air alongside other network shows and day-after full clips, all on a free, ad-supported basis. After handing off the free side of its service, Hulu will ratchet up its competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime as it prepares to launch a live TV service sometime in 2017, offering linear channels from its parent companies that include local TV stations.

Eddy Cue: Apple Maps debacle led to release of public betas

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?”

New photo leaks hint at black iPhone 7

New leaked photos of black SIM card trays seem to suggest that Apple’s new iPhone 7 will include a black color option. The two photos, posted on Twitter by Steve Hemmerstoffer of French site NowhereElse, show black trays alongside others that are silver and rose gold. The lack of a space gray tray alongside the new black version lends some credibility to previous rumors that a possible space gray replacement would be will be a “much darker color,” but the lack of gold trays in the photos could also just mean that both gold and space gray trays are among those that belong in the empty spaces.

Report: Two new versions of Apple Watch coming this year

In a note to investors, well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple has plans to launch two versions of the Apple Watch this year. One will be a minor update of the current Apple Watch model, sporting the same general design, but with improved internal components and better waterproofing. The other, referred to as “Apple Watch 2,” will also share a similar outward design, but will boast a higher capacity battery, GPS radio, and a barometer for improved geolocation capabilities.

Incipio acquires Griffin Technology

Incipio Group has announced the acquisition of Griffin Technology, the latest in a series of acquisitions that have recently included Skullcandy, Clamcase, Incase, and Braven. “Griffin has a 25 year history of designing, manufacturing and distributing iconic mobile accessories,” stated Andy Fathollahi, Founder and CEO of Incipio Group. “As part of Incipio Group, Griffin strengthens our product development and manufacturing capabilities, complements our existing product lines in rugged cases, power and connectivity, and allows our brands to reach a broader domestic and international audience through enhanced distribution in the business-to-business,  enterprise and education verticals.” Griffin will continue as a stand-alone brand and retain its global headquarters in Nashville. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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