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Apple releases fourth betas of iOS 10.3 + watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple released its fourth betas for both iOS 10.3 and watchOS 3.2 to registered developers today. iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch contains the Find My AirPods feature, among other changes, while watchOS 3.2 features the upcoming Theater Mode for Apple Watch. A new public beta for iOS 10.3 should be released in the near future.

Third-party screen repairs no longer void iPhone warranty

Third-party screen replacements no long void an iPhone warranty according to an internal memo recently issued by Apple, MacRumors reports. Until now iPhones with a non-original display weren’t eligible for any warranty repairs. Neither Apple’s standard one-year warrant nor AppleCare+ will cover issues with third-party displays or batteries, but now Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers have been instructed to offer replacements or repairs for in-warranty problems, as long as they’re not specifically issues with the new display itself. There are also a few catches — if the third-party display causes the technician to somehow break the iPhone or otherwise causes the repair process to fail, customers will be required to pay the out-of-warranty cost to replace the broken display, or even the cost of the entire device, if the damage is bad enough.

iDevices adds dynamic automation, enhanced scheduling to ‘Connected’ app for HomeKit

iDevices has released a major update to iDevices Connected, the company’s app for controlling HomeKit-based devices, including its own Switch, Socket, and Thermostat devices. Version 3.0 of iDevices Connected adds support for HomeKit location triggers, as well as “characteristic” triggers that can initiate HomeKit scenes when another HomeKit device is controlled, such as activating an “arriving home” scene when unlocking a HomeKit-enabled door lock. The new version also adds new services and characteristics to expand Scene capabilities, and brings a number of enhancements to scheduling, including a visual timeline the presents schedules in a calendar-like view, the ability to save and re-apply schedules across multiple scenes, and an initial setup assistant to create a baseline schedule for iDevices’ connected thermostat. The app also allows individual iDevices products to be scheduled without having to create single-device scenes, and makes some nice improvements to energy reporting. Firmware updates for iDevices’ accessories are also included as part of this update, improving responsiveness and addressing several minor stability bugs pertaining to certain Wi-Fi configurations.

Apple reports that iOS 10.2.1 significantly reduces unexpected iPhone 6s shutdown issues

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Apple has indicated that improvements made in iOS 10.2.1 have addressed most of the problems with unexpected shutdowns that some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s users were experiencing. Apple notes that approximately 50 percent of iOS devices are already using iOS 10.2.1 and that Apple has been receiving diagnostic data from users on that version revealing a reduction of over 80 percent on iPhone 6s devices, and over 70 percent on iPhone 6 devices. Apple notes that in the unlikely event users are still experiencing unexpected shutdowns, with iOS 10.2.1 the iPhone can now restart without needing to be connected to power. In its statement, Apple emphasizes that these shutdowns are not a safety issue, however the company naturally wants to mitigate the inconvenience of the issue for its users. iPhone 7 models are not affected by the issue.

Mobiata announces sunset of FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps

Mobiata has announced that it is shutting down its popular FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps, effective Mar. 1, 2017. Although the company admits that it hasn’t provided many updates to the two apps in recent months, FlightTrack was one of the first and best flight tracking apps on the App Store, and quickly became a mainstay for iPhone travellers. Mobiata was acquired by Expedia in 2010, and although it continued to run largely as an independent unit in developing its FlightTrack and FlightBoard apps over the past six years, a recent “critical assessment” by the larger parent company regarding the demand for travel app products suggests that a decision was made to focus Mobiata’s resources on implementing the technology in FlightTrack and FlightBoard into the main Expedia app in order to provide a “one-stop shopping” travel app solution.

Harman announces first Wireless CarPlay implementation

Photo: Business Wire

Harman has announced the first successful commercial implementation of Apple CarPlay over a wireless connection, allowing vehicles using Harman’s infotainment systems to use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect to an iPhone for CarPlay rather than requiring a wired USB/Lightning connection. Harman’s press release notes that the solution is currently “being deployed in the market on HARMAN infotainment systems for a luxury German automaker,” and although it does not mention a specific automaker by name, it likely that it’s referring to BMW as this is the only automaker that is including wireless CarPlay support on current model vehicles. Although Harman has not disclosed plans to roll out wireless CarPlay to other automakers, it gave a statement to MacRumors noting its business relationships as a tier 1 supplier of infotainment systems to other automakers including Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep, suggesting that it could expand wireless CarPlay to other car makers in the future.

Report: Apple still considering several possible wireless charging solutions for ‘iPhone 8’

A new report in Reuters discussing the state of Apple’s work on this year’s iPhone reveals that Apple may not have yet settled on a wireless charging solution for the upcoming “iPhone 8,” despite the company’s recent entry into the Wireless Power Consortium backing the Qi standard. The Reuters report cites a person with knowledge of the matter who indicates that there are presently five separate groups at Apple currently working on wireless charging technology, suggesting that each group is pursuing and testing different standards to determine which of them will be Apple’s preferred choice.

Mini Metro adds Endless Mode

Playdigious and Dinosaur Polo club have released an update to their highly-acclaimed Mini Metro, adding the long-awaited Endless Mode. Covered in our App Diary and selected as our 2016 Game of the Year, Mini Metro is an addictive puzzle-strategy game with a simple premise: players are tasked with creating an efficient rail system in a growing city, connecting rail stations on a variety of different maps to ensure the smooth flow of passengers within a limited amount of time — the goal being to move the highest number of passengers before one of your stations fills up to capacity, ending the game. With Endless Mode in the latest update, players now have the option of open-ended gameplay where time is no longer a stress factor, allowing for a more zen-like gameplay experience to experiment, design, and operate the subway grid of your dreams.

Apple issues statement opposing Trump administration’s rescission of transgender rights

Apple has issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s recent decision to rescind protections for transgender students that would have allowed them to use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Trump overruled his own education secretary’s recommendations, siding with his attorney general in a decision to reverse the Obama administration’s interpretation of nondiscrimination laws, stating that the directive was “improperly and arbitrarily devised ... without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” In a statement to Axios, an Apple spokesperson criticized the Trump administration’s decision, effectively calling it a step back in the rights and acceptance of transgender students.

Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections.

Apple has long been a supporter of LGBT rights and anti-discrimination in general, getting involved as far back as early 2014 in urging the Governor of Arizona to veto a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on their religious beliefs. In 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed column for the Washington Post in response to a similar “religious freedom” bill passed in Indiana, declaring such laws as dangerous, and stating that “These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”

ResearchKit study conducted using Apple Watch reveals new insights into seizures

The American Academy of Neurology has announced the recent conclusion of a ResearchKit study in which an Apple Watch app was used to track seizures in people with epilepsy. According to a preliminary study of the results scheduled to be presented at the Academy’s Annual Meeting in April, the research found that the most frequent triggers for seizures were stress and missed sleep. The ten-month study involved 598 volunteers who agreed to use a ResearchKit app called EpiWatch to track their seizures. Participants were asked to open the EpiWatch app whenever they felt a seizure aura starting, which then recorded their heart rate and movements for 10 minutes, after which they were asked to perform tasks to test their responsiveness, and then presented with a brief survey collecting data on seizure type, aura, loss of awareness, and possible seizure triggers. Forty percent of the participants tracked a total of 1,485 seizures, with 177 reporting more details on what triggered their seizures. Stress was the most commonly reported trigger, linked to 37 percent of seizures, while lack of sleep was identified as a trigger for 18 percent of the seizures, menstruation for 12 percent, and overexertion for 11 percent. Other reported triggers included diet, missed medications and fever or infection. Seizure triggers did not vary by the type of seizure people had.

Instagram adds ability to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post

Instagram has rolled out an update to its iOS app today allowing users to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post. When uploading photos, a new icon in the bottom right of the photo offers the option “select multiple,” after which users can choose to apply a filter to all the images/videos at once or edit each individually. The posts will all share the same caption and can only be square shaped for the time being. The first image will appear in followers’ feeds with an icon in the bottom right corner indicating there are more photos or videos attached, allowing users to swipe them to see more. The move is the latest push by Instagram to add new features to its tried-and-true single-image formula, following the addition of the Snapchat-like Stories feature last year and the inclusion of support for the iPhone 7’s Live Photos last month.

Facebook’s talks with MLB raise possibility that game streams could come to Apple TV

Facebook is reportedly in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game each week during the 2017 season, Reuters reports. The move raises the possibility that the broadcast could also land on the company’s new Apple TV app, similar to the deal reached by Twitter to stream Thursday night NFL games on the device. While Facebook’s promises about its upcoming Apple TV video app make no mention of using it to stream live sports, the company has been making deals to stream everything from Mexican soccer games to table tennis matches, and sources close to the discussions say the company is already in “advanced talks” with MLB.

Analyst claims wireless charging will be included in ‘iPhone 8,’ but rules out Energous as provider

Despite claims from wireless charging startup Energous’ CEO that seemed to hint at a partnership with Apple, a research note from Cowen and Company claims Energous is unlikely to provide the wireless charging technology rumored to be coming to the “iPhone 8,” Apple Insider reports. Back in January Energous CEO Steve Rizzone claimed his company had partnered with “one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world,” leading to speculation that he was talking about Apple since his company had signed a big deal with Apple chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor in December 2016.

Apple claims EU made ‘fundamental errors’ in calculating $14B Irish tax ruling

Newly published details of Apple’s appeal to the EU over last year’s $14 billion tax judgment reveal the company claims the European commission made “fundamental errors” in calculating the tax bill, The Irish Times reports. Apple cited 14 separate objections to the ruling in the filing made on December 19, 2016, arguing that the commission misinterpreted Irish law, ignored expert testimony, and wrongly attributed income from intellectual property based in the United States to Ireland. After a three-year investigation, the commission ruled that Ireland had dodged international tax rules, letting Apple use its country as a tax shelter for profits from other European nations in exchange for maintaining jobs within the country. [via MacRumors]

Analyst: ‘iPhone 8’ to feature ‘revolutionary’ front-facing camera with 3D sensors

Well-respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that Apple will include a “revolutionary” front-facing camera in the rumored “iPhone 8,” combining three different modules to achieve full 3D sensor capabilities. The claim comes on the heels of a report last week that Apple was considering dropping Touch ID from all 2017 iPhones in favor of a using new 3D facial recognition technology to unlock the devices. Kuo said in addition to the current front camera module, the new “iPhone 8” will include both an infrared transmitting module and an infrared receiver used in tandem to detect the depth of objects placed in front of the camera. The phone will then merge the data from the traditional 2D photo with the IR information to enable either facial or iris recognition. While the previous report claimed the 3D technology will be included in all 2017 iPhones, Kuo thinks the feature will be exclusive to the premium OLED “iPhone 8” before being rolled out to the rear cameras in future models. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases third betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple has released a third batch of new betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.

Happy Presidents’ Day from iLounge

Happy Presidents’ Day from all of us here at iLounge! In observance of the U.S. holiday, alongside Family Day in Canada, we’ll be on a limited publishing schedule today. We will be back to normal updates tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 21. Thanks for reading!

Apple plans to begin iPhone manufacturing in India starting with the iPhone SE

Apple is planning to forge ahead with its plans to manufacture iPhone units in India, beginning with the iPhone SE, according to a new report in India’s Economic Times. Citing sources familiar with the company’s plans, the report indicates that Apple will initially assemble 300,000 - 400,000 units of the iPhone SE model at a plant in Karnataka being set up by Wistron, a company that Apple has contracted with for its manufacturing plans in India. Apple is expected to move ahead with its manufacturing plans without waiting for the concessions it has been requesting from the Indian government, with a source suggesting that Apple wants to “experience manufacturing in India.” A senior government official told the Economic Times that this is merely a small venture to get started, and that the concessions Apple is requesting from the country are “for the larger plans of the company to really scale up manufacturing in India.” A source in the contract manufacturing industry indicated that Wistron is ready to begin assembling the iPhones as early as April.

Rumor: iPhone 8 to eliminate Touch ID in favor of Facial Recognition

Apple may be planning to phase out Touch ID in favour of a new facial recognition technology, according to a new research note by JPMorgan analyst Rob Hall, reported by MacRumors. Hall indicates that the rumoured 5.8-inch iPhone with edge-to-edge OLED display would phase out Touch ID due to Apple’s removal of the home button to accommodate the new display, replacing it instead with a front-facing 3D laser scanner. His research note also suggests that the volume of the module being produced within Apple’s supply chain suggests that it won’t be exclusive to the higher-end 5.8-inch iPhone either, claiming that the lower-end “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” models could also include the technology. The additional costs of the 3D laser scanner would be yet another component that could cause the new high-end iPhone to have a starting price tag of over $1,000.

Report: Apple working on 4K for next-generation Apple TV

Apple is planning to release a new Apple TV sometime this year which will include ultra-high-definition 4K support, Bloomberg reports. According to people familiar with the plans, the Apple TV is internally codenamed “J105” and will also feature more vivid colors, but little else is known about the new device. Sources suspect that it may not include any other significant new features beyond the processor upgrade necessary to support the higher 4K resolution.

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